The Obelisk Questionnaire: Sami Mustonen of Velvets

Posted in Questionnaire on July 16th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

velvets

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Sami Mustonen of Velvets

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

Velvets is an individual take on classic rock. We mixed together a lot of elements from blues, schlager, pop, funk and many different styles of rock’n’roll to get the sound right. The band started in January ’21 when me (Sami) and Sakke had some spare time on our hands while our other band Rokets couldn’t rehearse since our drummer got injured. The first idea for Velvets was to do love songs and along the way we added a bit more ingredients to it.

Describe your first musical memory.

As a kid I didn’t really listen to music that much. My parents didn’t listen to records, so everything I heard was on the radio, TV and movies. My first significant musical memory was when my older brother had just returned from a holiday in the US. I was 10 years old and he brought me a CD as a gift. The album was Cypress Hill’s “Black Sunday”. He had a CD player and we started listening to it. I was hooked. From then on I started exploring music and have been on that journey ever since. I never played any instruments, I just loved to sing, but it wasn’t something I was planning on doing in a band. It just happened when my best friends started a heavy metal band called United Seafood and needed a singer, so they asked me to try it out. Happy that they did!

Describe your best musical memory to date.

I don’t think I have a single best musical memory, but the best ones are from any packed shows we played with Rokets or Seafood. Doesn’t get much better than that. Looking forward to getting on stage with Velvets too, we have a boogie woogie band we really want you to hear and see!

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

I grew up in a suburb that was a relatively safe place. As a kid the world didn’t seem that big and scary when it feels like your surroundings are constantly giving you hugs and kisses. When I started skateboarding and exploring other cities, it really showed me the world for what it could actually be like. People, places, music, culture, food – of all of these I learned through skateboarding while making a lot of friends doing it. It really opened up the world to me and I couldn’t be more grateful for it!

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Towards better outcomes. Starting off with an idea of how you should do something and then learning different approaches, new ideas and techniques along the way to get the best out of you.

How do you define success?

Being happy with yourself and what you do. Feeling proud of and standing behind something that you have created. Sharing your life with someone you love and appreciate.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

David Cronenberg’s The Fly at age nine. Couple of nightmares was had after that. Learned to appreciate the film a bit older though. Gotta love the genius of Cronenberg!

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I’m studying cultural management and have a dream of running my own venue here in Helsinki. Would love to offer a space for up-and-coming bands as well as bigger names and to create an atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

For me it’s the freedom to create. It also works as a therapy of some sort. For the explorers of art, I think its purpose is to bring joy and understanding to people’s lives.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Getting married in a couple of weeks! Love you Siri!

https://www.facebook.com/velvetshelsinki
https://www.instagram.com/velvetshelsinki/
https://velvetshelsinki.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thesignrecords/
http://www.thesignrecords.com

Velvets, Velvets (2021)

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Friday Full-Length: Amorphis, Am Universum

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 18th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

I’m begging you, just listen to this record. Please. For me. For you. Just listen.

Am Universum, the fifth album by Finland’s Amorphis, turns 20 this year. It was released through Relapse Records on April 3, 2001, so the date’s already passed. As the follow-up to 1999’s Tuonela (discussed here), it found the band progressing further into traditional rock melodies tinged with Finnish folk elements and drives inherited from their journey through death metal. Vocalist Pasi Koskinen still throws in a couple growls if you listen for them, but from Santeri Kallio‘s keys to the guitar nuance from Eso Holopainen and Tomi Koivusaari that unfurls in opener “Alone,” there’s no question that by this point Amorphis had largely left such extremity behind.

They did so organically, but boldly, over the course of their prior outings — 1992’s The Karelian Isthmus, coupled with the 1993 Privilege of Evil EP, 1994’s pivotal Tales From the Thousand Lakes, 1996’s even-more-pivotal Elegy, ’97’s My Kantele EP and the aforementioned Tuonela — their sense of progression never faltered, and it by no means stopped with Am Universum either. But, 10 years out from their first demo, Am Universum‘s 10-song/50-minute run marked a special moment in what was becoming the band’s signature blend of elements, and I don’t know that they’ve to-date ever written a stronger collection of tracks. Some songs are memorable. Once you get these into your head, they’re unforgettable.

Am Universum is a riding-a-bike album. Once you put it on, it’s like you never left. Multi-stage choruses in run rampant throughout, and as “Alone” introduces tones, melodies, the richness in Niclas Etelävuori‘s bass (he had replaced Olli-Pekka Laine, who’d soon come back) and the push of Pekka Kasari‘s drums (again, Jan Rechberger would return to the band in short order), the spectrum of colors offered only grows across cuts like “Goddess (of the Sad Man),” “The Night is Over” and “Shatters Within,” the band bringing structural variety along with a range of expression and an overarching flow that continues as the record progresses through the hard-riffed/well-organed “Crimson Wave,” “Drifting Memories” — one of several tracks to feature echo-lacedAmorphis Am Universum saxophone, but one on which it’s particularly well used — into the victory lap of “Forever More,” the gorgeous, melancholic semi-acoustic standout of “Veil of Sin,” and the closing duo, “Captured State,” which returns to some of the heavier hookmaking of the early cuts, and “Grieve Stricken Heart,” which is the first song since “Alone” to top six minutes and a beyond effective summation of the record’s many strengths in craft and aesthetic.

It’s hard with Amorphis — even harder than spelling “isthmus” — because especially up to this point in their career, every album really was an era. They had gone from raw death metal to the innovative use of instrumentation and themes from Finnish folk music, basing songs on the Kalevala, and so on, and they did so largely at a time before the internet really spread into people’s lives. So listeners lived with these albums in a different way. Even Relapse wasn’t the metal-major, whatever that means, it is now circa 1994 — indeed records like those Amorphis produced helped make them one. But the point is there are loyalists to each of those offerings listed above, and in that regard, Am Universum doesn’t get nearly enough credit for what the band managed to accomplish across its span.

Please. Just listen to it. I wouldn’t ask you if I didn’t think it was something you should hear.

On its face, it’s kind of unassuming. Two six-minute tracks bookending a bunch of others around four and five minutes long, pretty consistent, and the art? 20 years later and I’m still not sure what’s going on there, but I can tell you that its muted colors don’t come close to representing either the vast soundscape or the emotional breadth that comes across in the listening experience. In context it makes sense. This was, ostensibly, a metal band putting out a melodic heavy prog rock record. There had to be a certain amount of, “what the hell do we do with this?” going on, because especially coming out of death metal, and especially walking the sonic path that Amorphis were across genres, almost defining them as they went — folk metal is still a thing — it had never happened before. Am Universum pushed across boundaries and challenged the band to become something almost entirely different than they were when they started, and even crazier, pulled it off. I never have, but I’d love to talk to Matt Jacobson from Relapse about this album, if only to say thanks for taking the chance on putting it out.

Amorphis, true to their name, would continue to change. In 2003/2004, they offered Far From the Sun, as their first outing for Nuclear Blast, which stripped their songwriting down further into melodic heavy rock and would prove to be Koskinen‘s last album with the band; he has gone on to contribute to a number of outfits, among them MannhaiShape of Despair, Ajattara and so on. His replacement, Tomi Joutsen (also Hallatar and a bunch of others), made a distinguished first impression on 2006’s Eclipse (I saw them at BB King’s in Manhattan on that tour; it was the day I got back from SXSW that year; I was tired, they were great) and has gone on to be a reliable frontman presence for the group across the better part of two decades’ worth of releases, the band ultimately finding a line between melody and harder hitting fare that is no less their own for the influence it’s had over European metal in general.

In 2021, the band released Live at Helsinki Ice Hall, and Holopainen has a solo-ish album out under the moniker Silver Lake by Esa Holopainen on which he collaborates with different singers, so there’s plenty more to dig into after this. Amorphis‘ latest studio outing was 2018’s Queen of Time (review here), which demonstrated just how much the band’s sound has come to encompass over their now 30 years, and how distinctive their work is across the greater sphere of heavy music, metal or otherwise.

Please, just listen.

Thanks for reading. As always, I hope you enjoy.

Man, nobody’s gonna give a shit. I know it. Amorphis is one of those bands I write about because I love them and no one cares. Amorphis, Anathema, Swallow the Sun, etc. I’ve got a whole list. Let the record show I did it for me anyway, despite the begging aspect. That’s mostly me trying to convince Mike H. and a few others it’ll make their day better.

Lot going on this weekend, but somewhere in there I’m going to find time to review the Fatso Jetson/All Souls stream. I think that might be the last livestream review I do, at least of pandemic-era stuff. Shows are starting up again this Fall, it’s looking like, and barring disaster, it’ll be possible to see bands in-person rather than onscreen. I don’t think livestreams are going to completely disappear, so I’m not gonna say I’ll never do another one, period, but for now, unless something really amazing comes up — more ‘Live in the Mojave Desert’ etc. — I feel like maybe this is a good one to go out on.

Weird week. The Pecan is out of the boot post-legbreak, and that’s good. He’s still favoring the leg a bit, but it’s only been a few weeks. He’s running again, so that’s good, and I took him to the playground down the way yesterday and he played hard like a three year old who hasn’t been to the playground in the better part of a month, so that was good to see. He saw the moon while he was on the swings and got all excited: “It’s a crescent moon!” If I could live a thousand years, I’d hope never to forget it.

But the week is over, which is good, I think. No school next week, which is going to be a crunch. Summer break, huh? Okay. Camp starts after the July 4 holiday, so that’s about two and a half weeks he’s home. There you go. If you’re wondering, that’s why I didn’t answer your email. I’ll be lucky if I have time to shower twice.

I made Facebook group for The Obelisk this week. It’s here if you want to check it out: http://www.facebook.com/groups/theobeliskcollective/

So far it’s a lot of people introducing themselves and their projects, but that’s to be expected, I think. And the whole point of the thing is to share music, so that’s reasonable. You could argue I did the same thing by starting it in the first place.

So yes, needless to say I’ll be phasing out this blog in the next couple weeks to focus on The Obelisk as a purely social media-based entity.

No. Of course not. Not that I’m so attached to WordPress — though apparently I am — but I’ve yet to find a social media interface that holds a candle to AOL 3.0. Or maybe I’m just nostalgic. I can still hear my 28k baud modem screeching in my head, about to get knocked offline when someone picks up the phone. Charged by the minute. Madness.

What a time to be alive.

But that’s enough whatnot. I plug along. I did some good reading this week, nothing too challenging, but it feels good for the brain. I hope you’re well and stay that way. Have fun, be safe, watch your head, hydrate. Gotta hydrate. So important.

No Gimme show today, but next week’s is the first part of a two-parter Neurosis deep-dive. It’s gonna be awesome.

FRM.

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Caskets Open to Release Concrete Realms of Pain on Wise Blood & Seeing Red Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 24th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

caskets open (Photo by Perttu Salo)

Finland’s Caskets Open have signed to Wise Blood Records and Seeing Red Records for new physical pressings of their fourth album, 2020’s Concrete Realms of Pain (review here). Seeing Red will do vinyl for US and Canada and Wise Blood has the tape, after Nine Records did the CD version last year. If you didn’t hear the record at that point, you get a pass — it came out in March 2020, everyone gets a pass for everything except not wearing a mask — but short of referring you to the review, which I already did, I’ll just say that it’s worth the second look it’s getting as it checks off LP and cassette formats.

There are references to acts below like Carnivore and In Solitude and I heard shades of Misfits when I made my way through as well, but these guys are four records deep as they’re starting to hit home, so don’t be surprised when it comes through with an identity of its own either.

The announcement follows here as well as the severe artwork, with moniker and title also somewhat reminiscent of Type O Negative, now that I think about it. Go figure.

PR wire has it like this:

caskets open concrete realms of pain

Caskets Open – Concrete Realms of Pain – Wise Blood & Seeing Red

For 14 years, Finnish doom trio Caskets Open have written songs rife with strife and dark-souled riffs. Their fourth LP “Concrete Realms of Pain” emerged from the wasteland of a pandemic summer as the band’s brooding masterwork. Caskets Open’s evocative compositions conjure the frailty of the crestfallen ballads of Type O Negative and Danzig. Meanwhile, there’s also a simmering snarl of hardcore punk that raises a chalice to Peter Steele’s Carnivore. Throughout the years, Caskets Open has warmed up the stage for bands as awesomely diverse as Church of Misery, Wolves in the Throne Room, and Primitive Man. Bonded by a mutual love for this album, Seeing Red Records and Wise Blood Records have brought the songs stateside to celebrate this stunning doom achievement.

Originally released in March 2020 when COVID struck worldwide, Finnish misfits CASKETS OPEN released the album Concrete Realms of Pain quietly on Nine Records (Poland) via CD/Digital. When listening to this record you may recall the dirge of Type O Negative, the vibe & aesthetic of early Danzig, and the melancholic emptiness of country-mates In Solitude. There is probably a bunch more you will pick out as they seem to flirt with post punk and there are certainly moments that lean heavy into the hardcore punk realm, but with that said, it’s along the same lines as Type O’s harder moments or even Peter’s previous work in Carnivore. CASKETS OPEN not only blend all of these influences brilliantly, but in such authentic fashion I’d swear these songs were written between ’89-’91!

Recorded and mixed 2019 at Tonehaven Recording Studio by Tom Brooke. Mastered 2019 by James Plotkin. Front cover and band photo by Perttu Salo.

PREORDER Vinyl / Cassette:
Seeing Red Records (U.S. & Canada): https://casketsopen-fi.bandcamp.com/album/concrete-realms-of-pain
OR shop.seeingredrecords.com
Wise Blood Records (Cassette): https://wisebloodrecords.bandcamp.com/

Track Listing:
1. Four Shrines
2. Riding on a Rotting Horse
3. Homecoming
4. Tunnel Guard
5. White Animal
6. Tadens Tolthe
7. Blossom
8. Soul Stained Glass
9. Pale Hunter

Line-up
Timo Ketola – bass, vocals
Antti Ronkainen – guitars
Pyry Ojala – drums

Caskets Open, “Tunnel Guard” official video

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Desert Lord to Release Symbols This Fall; Title-Track Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 13th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Look carefully at that discography — or at least kind of carefully — and you’ll note that it’s been six years since Finnish doom rockers Desert Lord released their full-length debut, To the Unknown. The forthcoming Symbols, which will be issued through Under a Serpent Sun Records as a vinyl/DL-only offering (shout to my fellow CD fan Jose Humberto; we’re a dying breed you and I), is preceded by a video for the title-track that you can see below. It’s noteworthy that with a sub-five-minute runtime, “Symbols” is shorter than anything that appeared on the first record, but as to how that might play out across the record as a whole, I couldn’t say, as I haven’t heard it.

Nevertheless, would you be surprised if I told you the “Symbols” video comes loaded with visual metaphor? I certainly hope not. Blending cinematic and band-performance elements, it’s a fitting presentation to the thick-toned, roll-riffed cut, with just an underlying touch of more extreme metal. You’ll hear it.

Announcement and video follow here, from the PR wire:

desert lord

Desert Lord – Symbols

Desert Lord releases a music video of a new song from the forthcoming record

Finnish Doom/Stoner/Heavy metal band Desert Lord will release a new album ’Symbols’ in autumn from which the self titled opening track is taken from.

The album is a follower to the debut album ’To the Unknown’ released in 2014, which attracted a lot of positive reception from both the media and listeners. The band has been preparing the upcoming album for a long time in the depths of the rehearsal room and the recordings have taken place at the Animalhouse studio. The album will be released on LP, digitally and on streaming services by Under a Serpent Sun Records.

The music video is directed by Henri Tondi.

Runner: Antti Askolin
Actor: Asko Laine
Set assistants: Antti Jouhten, Jesse Bollström
Set artist: Konsta Ojala
Set designer: Samuli Juopperi
Art designer: Kaamanen
Director and Camera operator: Henri Tondi
Editor: Samuli Juopperi

Special thanks to Kalasataman seripaja, Valofirma & co.

Desert Lord Discography:
2020 – Symbols LP (Under a Serpent Sun Records, julkaistaan syyskuussa 2020)
2014 – To the Unknown CD (Under a Serpent Sun Records)
2011 – Salvation 7″ (Under a Serpent Sun Records)

Desert Lord are:
Janne – Guitar
Mika – Drums
Sampo – Vox
Roni – Bass

https://facebook.com/desertlorddoom
https://desertlorddoom.bandcamp.com
https://www.instagram.com/desertlord_band

Desert Lord, “Symbols” official video

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Mercury Circle Set Aug. 14 Release for The Dawn of Vitriol; Teaser Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

mercury circle

Alright, so the teaser got me. I guess I didn’t read the whole press release before I clicked on the link to check out the video and I thought it was going to be a whole song, then when it faded out just as it seemed like everything was about to kick in, I kind of got annoyed at it. Because I couldn’t hear more. The teaser totally worked. It doesn’t always, but yeah, pretty much nailed me this time.

Finland’s Mercury Circle, Aug. 14, first EP, The Dawn of Vitriol, on Noble Demon and The Vinyl Division. Members of Swallow the Sun, the way, way, way underrated Hallatar and a host of others. Preorders/pre-saves are up now. And yeah, the teaser sounds pretty cool.

You’ll find that below. Just don’t expect the whole song.

From the PR wire:

mercury circle the dawn of vitriol

MERCURY CIRCLE (feat. members of SWALLOW THE SUN) sign worldwide record deal with Noble Demon and announce first EP!

Noble Demon is proud to announce the newest signing to their eclectic artist roster: MERCURY CIRCLE, the brand new project by ICONCRASH’s and SWALLOW THE SUN’s Jaani Peuhu, has signed a worldwide deal with the German record company! Dark metal infused with powerful synth/electro waves and doom – Helsinki, Finland based MERCURY CIRCLE is creating a diverse offering of atmospheric and darkly music where the songs differ wildly in expression and sonic aesthetics. Truly a genre of its own, grabbing the listener’s attention while establishing their very own kind of “New Doom”.

Says Jaani Peuhu about the signing:

“We are so excited about these news! I was on a North American tour with Swallow the Sun supporting Children of Bodom and we shared a bus with Wolfheart. One day I was chatting with Tuomas Saukkonen about our future plans and he told me about this new label who will release the Dawn of Solace album. I have known Tuomas since he started with Before the Dawn because I produced their first two albums and I know that he knows what he is doing. Always. I’d already forgotten the conversation we had, but a few months later I was talking about the Mercury Circle album with an A&R of one of my fav labels and he said that Noble Demon would be a perfect label for us because I want to do something fresh and fearless with this band. No rules and 100% artistic freedom. Our agent then contacted Patrick and he instantly understood my vision and we have been a team since.”

Furthermore he comments: “Noble Demon does not care about social media numbers or how many gigs we have played. They were willing and excited to start an adventure with a band who were still working with their first demos. That is rare these days when nothing is certain in the music industry. All that matters to me and Noble Demon is the quality of the art.”

Already preparing for their first full length record for late 2020, today MERCURY CIRCLE announced the release of “The Dawn Of Vitriol”, the band’s first EP and a fantastic preview of what to follow. To be released on August 14th on Noble Demon (Digital) and The Vinyl Division (Vinyl + Digipack CD), make sure to check out the official trailer and a first appetizer for “The Dawn Of Vitriol”, streaming here:

Two times Finnish grammy award nominated producer, songwriter and musician Jaani Peuhu, who joined SWALLOW THE SUN in the year of 2019 and has also worked with various multiplatinum-selling Finnish pop artists and metal acts like Before The Dawn, Lord of the Lost, Thunderstone and Hallatar, continues to stir up the scene with his brand new and unique sounding project, MERCURY CIRCLE.

On the official landing-page you can already NOW give permission to have a release saved to your streaming library or added to your playlist as soon as it is out. So no need to mark your calendar anymore! You will also find the videos streaming and links to physical pre-orders at THIS LOCATION

Tracklist:
01. Oil Of Vitriol
02. The Beauty Of Agony
03. Black Flags
04. The Last Fall
05. New Dawn

MERCURY CIRCLE are:
Jaani Peuhu – Vocals, Guitars, Synths (Iconcrash, Swallow the Sun, Hallatar)
Jussi Hämäläinen – Guitars, Synths, Backing vocals (Hanging Garden, The Chant)
Juppe Sutela. – Guitars (To/Die/For)
Ande Kiiski – Bass (Sleep of Monsters, Rytmihäiriö)
Juuso Raatikainen- Drums (Swallow the Sun)

https://www.facebook.com/mercurycircleofficial
https://www.instagram.com/mercurycircleband
http://nobledemon.com
https://fb.me/nobledemonrecords
https://www.youtube.com/c/NobleDemon
https://www.instagram.com/nobledemonrecords/
https://snd.click/nobledemon
https://nobledemon.bandcamp.com/
https://www.tiktok.com/@nobledemonrecords
https://sptfy.com/4Oow
http://facebook.com/TheVinylDivision/

Mercury Circle, The Dawn of Vitriol teaser

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Superfjord Release For the Moment Vol. 1 Live Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 16th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

superfjord

Am I the only one who looks at live albums with a kind of wistfulness now? Like, “Oh yeah, I remember when concerts were a thing.” It’s not like it’s been years or anything. Certainly in my life I’ve got a few months without going to a show before, but I guess there’s something about the shows not even happening that makes the difference. Finland’s Superfjord, who released the stellar All Will Be Golden (review here) through Svart in 2018, are beginning a new live series they’re calling For the Moment, focusing as they apparently do when onstage on improv and exploration. For the Moment Vol. 1 is streaming at the bottom of this post and is on Bandcamp, Spotify and I assume all the rest.

It makes for quite a moment:

superfjord for the moment vol 1

New live release series from Superfjord

Improvisation in live performance has always been at the heart of Finnish cosmic psych-rockers Superfjord. Following the release of the band’s well-received second album (All Will Be Golden / Svart Records 2018), in concert the band found themselves gradually tipping the balance between composed and freeform music, evermore in favour of the latter.

For The Moment, vol. 1 is the first release in a digital series of live recordings that aims to capture Superfjord at their purest, in a way no studio recordings are able to. Volume 1 features excerpts – or captured Moments – from the band’s January 2020 concert at Helsinki’s G Livelab. The venue’s state-of-the-art audio fidelity and cozy atmosphere allowed the band an ideal opportunity to chase after that chakra-opening critical mass, where band and audience travel together through no one knows what exactly.

As its name implies, the new release series is all about what happens in the Moment. Enjoy.

For The Moment, vol. 1 is available on all major streaming platforms and as a digital download on Bandcamp.

1. Moment 1 10:09
2. Moment 2 11:00
3. Rainbow 08:03
4. Moment 3 11:22

Superfjord – For The Moment, vol. 1:
Sampo Fagerlund: drums, percussion
Mikko Kapanen: vocals, guitars
Juho Ojala: vocals, keyboards, synthesizers
Jussi Ristikaarto: vocals, guitars, electronics, percussion
Teemu Soininen: bass
Olavi Töyli: tenor saxophone, percussion
Jukka Hyvärinen: recording, mixing, mastering
Rami Mursula: cover art

https://open.spotify.com/album/6gcpzxaxaUfZxKfwEULTIp
http://superfjord.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/superfjord
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
www.youtube.com/svartrecords

Superfjord, For the Moment, Vol. 1 (2020)

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Caskets Open Premiere “Tunnel Guard” Video from Concrete Realms of Pain LP

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 6th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

caskets open (Photo by Perttu Salo)

Finland’s Caskets Open release their new album, Concrete Realms of Pain, on March 20 through Nine Records. It is the depressive Helsinki three-piece’s fourth full-length in a tenure that dates back to 2007, and it brings together nine songs for 46 minutes that alternate between willful slog and outright thrashing punk. With little more notice than a grunt from bassist/vocalist Timo Ketola, the drums of Pyry Ojala and the riffs of Antti Ronkainen might take off at any moment and speedily complement the downer movement of a cut like the opener “Four Shrines” or the later and especially grueling “Tadens Tolthe” — which goes from minimalist crawl to Misfits-style brashness — with a rush of raw adrenaline.

The more-melodic-but-also-screamy “Homecoming” and decidedly midtempo “Tunnel Guard,” which follows, find some measure of balance between the two extremes as laid out in “Four Shrines” and all-go second cut “Riding on a Rotten Horse,” but Concrete Realms of Pain continues to bring in a variety of sonic elements, be it the Type O Negative-style bass fuzz on “White Animal,” the chug and starts and stops of “Blossom,” and the melo-punk-into-noise-wash procession of “Soul Stained Glass” ahead of the building finale “Pale Hunter,” which moves from the ground up in increasingly aggro fashion.

There are shades of the rich history of Finnish doom to be heard here and there among the other aspects of the band’s persona,caskets open concrete realms of pain but Caskets Open have clearly established parameters for their sound and work effectively in pushing forward one side, the other, or in some cases, both at the same time. It works well for them throughout Concrete Realms of Pain in creating an atmosphere that’s never quite lush, but neither afraid to incorporate or cast off melody as the song requires, whichever song it might be. In the three tracks that top six minutes — “Four Shrines,” “Tadens Tolthe” and “Pale Hunter” — they’re able to find room to flesh out the journey from beginning to end more than, say, “Tunnel Guard,” which though it gets more aggressive vocally in its second half and Ketola tosses in one of the record’s several effective “ough” grunts, largely holds to its central pace and style around that.

Nothing against either approach — if anything, the diversity of the material is one of Concrete Realms of Pain‘s greatest strengths; it is a less predictable album because of it — but though the album itself is longer than was its 2017 predecessor, Follow Nothing, its songs seem shorter on average than anything Caskets Open have done before, which speaks to an interesting cohesion taking hold in their execution, perhaps even a shifting of focus to more traditionalist songcraft. No matter. In the center of the centerpiece, at the midpoint of “White Animal,” it’s still that bass fuzz getting the band’s point across.

Doom is engaged, internalized, reformed and deployed, and 13 years on from their formation, Caskets Open righteously hold onto a volatile sensibility that makes Concrete Realms of Pain as exciting as it sometimes seems barebones. It is a doom record, to be sure, but it nonetheless forces one to ask themselves exactly what that means and how that is judged. Righteous.

The video for “Tunnel Guard” is premiering below. Please have at it. PR wire info for Concrete Realms of Pain follows.

Enjoy:

Caskets Open, “Tunnel Guard” official video

“Tunnel Guard” from Caskets Open’s fourth full-length album “Concrete Realms of Pain”. Recorded and mixed at Tonehaven Recording Studio by Tom Brooke. Mastered by James Plotkin. Shot and edited by Sakari Rinta-Valkama.

Finnish Doom Lords Caskets Open will release Concrete Realms of Pain, the trio’s fourth album, March 20 on Nine Records.
Suicide plans in a nocturnal ski-jump tower, existential anxiety in a bleak sports bar, long walks in the shadows of the Central Park, Concrete Realms of Pain is a journey into experiences of loss and human suffering. Icicle sharp guitar leads guide the listener through sorrowful doom metal to gnarly hardcore punk parts. And of course the songs are enveloped by the band’s trademark buzzing bass sound. Caskets Open have outdone themselves on Concrete Realms of Pain.

Concrete Realms of Pain was recorded and mixed at Tonehaven Recording Studio by Tom Brooke. It was mastered by James Plotkin.

Track Listing:
1. Four Shrines
2. Riding on a Rotting Horse
3. Homecoming
4. Tunnel Guard
5. White Animal
6. Tadens Tolthe
7. Blossom
8. Soul Stained Glass
9. Pale Hunter

Line-up
Timo Ketola – bass, vocals
Antti Ronkainen – guitars
Pyry Ojala – drums

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Caskets Open on Instagram

Caskets Open on Bandcamp

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Nine Records website

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Orbiter to Release Debut EP The Deluge Next Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Following up on their announcement last November of the single Bone to Earth, Finnish heavy five-piece Orbiter have now put out word that their debut EP, a four-tracker titled The Deluge, will be out on Jan. 29. Rest assured, I have no frickin’ idea what day it is as I write this, but when I take the millisecond to glance downward at the calendar, it says that’s next week, so there you go. Quick turnaround.

“Bone to Earth” will lead off the EP, and its rolling groove is welcome to be sure. Orbiter‘s take is in a place between heavy rock and doom, and Carolin Koss‘ vocals highlight an edge of psychedelia in the guitar, but that only makes the overall outing richer in sound. The Deluge‘s scope might be familiar to experienced heads, but that does nothing to make it less enjoyable, particularly in the righteously atmospheric eight-minute closer “In Echoes.” Admittedly, I’m still digging into the release, but that’s an immediate standout.

One to keep an eye on. Maybe mark your calendar. Set a reminder. Do the thing. Get involved. Make your way. Blah blah blah. Whatever, it’s right on. You like music, right?

Dig:

orbiter (photo by Pauli Bostrom)

Finnish doom metal band Orbiter to release debut EP “The Deluge” on January 29, 2020

The Finnish doom metal band Orbiter will release their debut EP The Deluge on Wednesday, 29 January. The four-song EP is a blend of heavy riffing, atmospheric psychedelia, and soaring vocals. The central theme of the record is human nature and its contradictions: over and over again people’s aspirations towards wisdom are in danger of being drowned under the waves of their own greed. The EP has been mastered by Brad Boatright (Audiosiege), one of the most renowned mastering engineers in the industry worldwide.

Orbiter released a pre-single Bone to Earth in late November. In addition to the Finnish media, the song also received international attention in Germany, Spain, France, and America.

Founded at the turn of the year 2014-2015, the band has been influenced by the genre’s founder Black Sabbath, 90s stoner bands like Kyuss, and 21st century doom bands. Additional influences have been drawn from psychedelic and progressive rock.

Orbiter’s new vocalist Carolin Koss joined the band last April. She’s an artist, filmmaker, and singer originally from Germany, and now residing in Finland. This is Orbiter’s first record with Koss. The band has previously released three singles, most recently Anthropocene in early 2019.

Upcoming gigs (in Finland)
6.2. Lepakkomies, Helsinki
10.4. Ravintola Cactus, Helsinki

Orbiter: The Deluge
1. Bone to Earth
2. Astral Racer
3. Orchids
4. In Echoes

Orbiter
Carolin Koss – Vocals
Alexander Meaney – Guitar
Jere Remes – Guitar
Tuomas Talka – Bass
Sami Heiniö – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/orbiterconnection
https://www.instagram.com/orbiterband/
https://orbiterconnection.bandcamp.com/

Orbiter, “Bone to Earth”

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