Quarterly Review: Per Wiberg, Body Void, Ghorot, Methadone Skies, Witchrot, Rat King, Taras Bulba, Opium Owl, Kvasir, Lurcher

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

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

In my hubris of adding an 11th day to this Summer 2021 Quarterly Review — why not just do the whole month of July, bro? what’s the matter? don’t like riffs? — I’ve rendered today somewhat less of a landmark, but I guess there’s still some accomplishment to be felt in completing two full weeks of writing about 10 records a day, hitting triple digits and all that. Not that I doubted I’d get here — it’s rare but it’s happened before — and not that I doubt I’ll have the last 10 done for Monday, but yeah. It’s been a trip so far.

Quarterly Review #91-100:

Per Wiberg, All Is Well In the Land of the Living But for the Rest of Us… Lights Out

per wiberg all is well in the land of the living but for the rest of us lights out

The cumbersome-seeming title of Per Wiberg‘s new solo EP derives from its four component tracks, “All is Well,” “In the Land of the Living,” “But for the Rest of Us…” and “Lights Out.” The flow between them is largely seamless, and when Wiberg (whose pedigree as an organist/keyboardist includes Opeth, Candlemass, Big Scenic Nowhere and more others than I can count) pauses between tracks two and three, it feels likewise purposeful. It’s a dark mood inflected through the melodies of the opener and the atmospheric piano lines of “But for the Rest of Us…,” but Wiberg offers a driving take on progressive heavy rock with “In the Land of the Living” and the build in the subsequent “Lights Out” is encompassing with the lead-in it’s given. Wiberg sounds more comfortable layering his voice than even on 2019’s Head Without Eyes, and his arrangements are likewise expressive and fluid. Dude is a professional. I think maybe that’s part of the reason everybody wants to work with him.

Per Wiberg on Facebook

Despotz Records website

 

Body Void, Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth

Body Void Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth

Massive, droning lurch, harsh, biting screams and lumbering, pummeling weight, Body Void‘s third album and first for Prosthetic, Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth, boasts feelgood hits like “Wound” and “Laying Down in a Forest Fire,” bringing cacophonous, Khanate-style extremity of atmosphere to willfully, punishingly brutal sludge. It is not friendly. It is devastating, and it is the kind of record that sounds loud even when you play it quietly — and that’s before you get to “Pale Man”‘s added layers of caustic noise. Front to back in the four songs — all of which top 12 minutes — there’s no letup, no moment at which the duo relent in order to let the listener breathe. This is intentional. A conjuring of aural concrete in the lungs coinciding with striking lines like “Your compromises are hollow monuments to your cowardice” and other bleak, throatripping poetry of dead things and our complicity in making them. Righteous and painful.

Body Void on Facebook

Prosthetic Records website

 

Ghorot, Loss of Light

ghorot loss of light

Ghorot is the three-piece of bassist/vocalist Carson Russell (also Ealdor Bealu), drummer/vocalist Brandon Walker and guitarist Chad Remains (ex-Uzala), and Loss of Light is a debut album no less gripping for its push into darkness, whether it’s the almost-toying-with-you Sabbath-style riff of “Harbinger” or the tortured atmospherics in the back end of “Charioteer of Fire,” which follows. Competing impulses result in a sense of grueling even through the barks and faster progression of “Woven Furnace,” while “Dead Gods” offers precious little mourning in its charred deathsludge, saving more ambience for the 12-minute closer “In Endless Grief,” which not only veers into acoustics, but nods toward post-metal later on, despite holding firm to cavernous growls and wails. Obscure? Opaque? There isn’t a way in which Loss of Light isn’t heavy. Everywhere they go, Ghorot carry that weight with them. It is existential.

Ghorot on Facebook

Transylvanian Recordings on Bandcamp

Inverse Records on Bandcamp

 

Methadone Skies, Retrofuture Caveman

methadone skies retrofuture caveman

Lush from the outset and growing richer in aural substance as it plays out, the 17:56 longest/opening (immediate points) title-track of Methadone Skies‘ latest work, Retrofuture Caveman, is an obviously intended focal point, and a worthy one at that. Last heard from with 2019’s Different Layers of Fear (review here), the Romanian four-piece break down walls across the bulk of this fifth full-length, with “Retrofuture Caveman” itself setting the standard early in moving instrumentally between warm heavy psychedelia, prog, drone, doom and darker black metal. It’s prog heavy that ultimately wins the day on the subsequent linear build of “Infected by Friendship” and centerpiece “The Enabler,” but there’s room for more lumber in the 11-mminute “Western Luv ’67” and closer “When the Sleeper Awakens” offers playful shove riffing in its midsection before a final stretch of quiet guitar leads to a last-minute volume burst, no less consuming or sprawling than anything before, even if it feels like it finishes too soon.

Methadone Skies on Facebook

Methadone Skies on Bandcamp

 

Witchrot, Hollow

witchrot hollow

Stood out by the gotta-hear bass tone of Cam Alford, the ethereal-or-shouting-and-sometimes-both vocals of Lea Reto, the crash of Nick Kervin‘s drums and the encompassing wah of Peter Turik‘s guitar, Toronto’s Witchrot offer a striking debut with their awaited first full-length, Hollow, oozing out through opener/longest track (immediate points) “Million Shattered Swords” before the stomping wash of “Colder Hands” sacrifices itself on an altar of noise, leading to the more directly-riffed “Spiral of Sorrow,” which nonetheless maintains the atmosphere. Things get noisier and harsher in the second half of Hollow, which is presaged in the plod of “Fog,” but as things grow more restless and angrier after “Devil in My Eyes” and move into the pair “Burn Me Down” and “I Know My Enemy,” both faster, like blown-out Year of the Cobra toying with punk rock and grunge, Witchrot grow stronger for the shift by becoming less predictable, setting up the atmospheric plunge of the closing title-track that finishes one of 2021’s most satisfying debut albums.

Witchrot on Facebook

Fuzzed and Buzzed Records website

DHU Records store

 

Rat King, Omen

Rat King Omen

Omen is the first long-player from Evansville, Indiana, four-piece Rat King, who use rawness to their advantage throughout the nine included tracks, at least one of which — “Supernova” — dates back to being released as a single in 2017. With manipulated horror samples and interludes like the acoustic “Queen Anne’s Revenge” and “Shackleton” and the concluding “Matryoshka” spliced throughout the otherwise deep-toned and weighted fare of “Capsizer” and the chugging, pushing, scream-laced “Druid Crusher,” Omen never quite settles on a single approach and is more enticing for that, though the eight-minute “Vagrant” could well be a sign of things to come in its melodic reach, but the band revel in the grittier elements at work here as well — the thunderplod of “Glacier,” the willful drag of “Nepenta Divinorum,” and so on — and the ambience they create is dreary and obscure in a way that comes across as purposeful. Is Omen a foreshadow or just the name of a movie they dig? I don’t know, but I hope it’s not too long before we find out.

Rat King on Facebook

Rat King store

 

Taras Bulba, Sometimes the Night

Taras Bulba Sometimes the Night

What was Earthling Society continues to evolve into Taras Bulba at the behest of Fleetwood, UK’s Fred Laird. Sometimes the Night (on Riot Season) is a mostly solo affair, and truth be told, Laird doesn’t need much more than his own impulses to conjure a full-sounding record, as he quickly shows on the acid lounge opener “The Green Eyes of Dragon,” but the guest vocals from Daisy Atkinson bring echoing presence to the subsequent “Orphee” and Mike Blatchford‘s late-arriving sax on “The Sound of Waves,” “The Big Duvall” and “House in the Snow” highlight the jazzy underpinnings of the organ-laced “Night Train to Drug Town” and the avant, anti-anything guitar strum and piano strikes of “One More Lonely Angel.” No harm done, in any case, unless we’re talking about the common conception of what a song is, and hey, if it didn’t need to happen, it wouldn’t have. An experiment in vibe, perhaps, in psychedelic brooding, but evocative for that. Laird‘s no stranger to following whims. Here they lead to moodier space.

Taras Bulba on Facebook

Riot Season Records website

 

Opium Owl, Live at Hodila Records

Opium Owl Live at Hodila Records

I’ll admit, there’s a part of me that, when “Intro” hits its sudden forward surge, kind of wishes Opium Owl had kept it mellow. Nonetheless, the Riga, Latvia-based double-guitar (mostly) instrumental heavy psych four-piece offer plenty of serenity throughout the four-song live set Live at Hodila Records, and the back and forth patterning of the subsequent “Echo Slam” is all the more effective at winning conversion, so fair enough. “Stone Gaze” dips into even bigger riffage, while “Tempest Double” dares vocals over its quieter noodling, dispensing with them as it pushes louder toward the finish. For a live recording, the sound is rich enough to convey what would seem to be the full warmth of Opium Owl‘s tonality, and in its breadth and its impact, there’s no lack of studio-fullness for the session-style presentation. Live at Hodila Records may be formative in terms of establishing the methods with which the band — who formed in 2019 — will continue to work, but showcases significant promise in that.

Opium Owl on Facebook

Hodila Records on Facebook

 

Kvasir, 4

kvasir 4

Doled out with chops to spare and the swagger to show them off, Kvasir‘s eight-song debut LP, 4, puts modern heavy rock riffing in blender and sets it on high. Classic, epic heavy in “Where Gods to to Pray” and a more nodding groove in “Authenticity & the Illusion of Enough” meet with the funkier starts-stops of “Slow Death of Life” and the languid Sabbathism of “Earthly Algorithms.” “Chill for a Church” opens side B with trashier urgency and suitable rhythmic twist, and “The Brink” sets its depressive lyric to a ’70s boogie swing, not quite masking it, but working as a flowing companion piece for “The Black Mailbox,” which follows in like-minded fashion, letting closer “Alchemy of Identity” underscore the point with a rawer take on what once made The Sword so undeniable in their groove. There’s growing to do, patience to learn, etc., but Kvasir make it easy to get on board with 4 and their arguments for doing so brook little contradiction. Onto the list of 2021’s best debut albums it goes.

Kvasir on Facebook

Glory or Death Records on Bandcamp

 

Lurcher, Coma

lurcher coma

Lurcher might go full-prog before they’re done, but they’re not their yet on their four-song debut EP, Coma, and the songs only benefit from the band’s focus on impact and lack of self-indulgence. The leadoff title-track has an immediate hook that brings to mind an updated, tonally-heavier version of what Cave In innovated for melodic post-hardcore, and the subsequent “Remove the Myth From the Mountain” follows with a broader-sounding reach in its later solo that builds on the heavy rock foundation the first half of the song put forth. Vocalist/guitarist Joe Harvatt — backed by the rhythm section of bassist Tom Shortt and drummer Simon Bonwick — is prone, then, to a bit of shred. No argument as that’s answered with the Hendrix fuzz at the outset of “All Now is Here,” which both gets way-loud and drones way-out in its seven minutes, in turn setting up the lush-and-still-hard-hitting capper “Cross to Bear,” which rounds off the 26-minute release with all the more encouraging shifts in tempo, flowing melody, and mellotron sounds to add to the sweeping drama. I know the UK underground is hyper-crowded at this point, but consider notice served. These cats are onto something.

Lurcher on Instagram

Trepanation Recordings on Bandcamp

 

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Witchrot: Debut Album Hollow Preorders May 1; Album Teaser Premieres

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 16th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

witchrot 2

If you’re not already looking forward to Hollow, the debut album from Toronto’s Witchrot, then the 50-second teaser making its first airing at the bottom of this post should take care of that with all due efficiency. The four-piece outfit will have the Tony Reed-mastered record up for preorder on May 1, and from its moody-then-explosive opening in “A Million Shattered Swords” and the equal-parts massive and soaring “Burn Me Down” and the final closing statement in its title-track — the word “hollow,” incidentally, is how guitarist Peter Turik once described the voice of singer Leo Reto as making him feel — the band make spaces and fill them with drenched tones and post-grunge melody. They may have made their name by breaking up, but this album is nothing if not alive.

Vinyl release date is June 30, and there are the preorder links that you’ll find with that teaser clip below in shimmering PR wire blue:

witchrot hollow

Witchrot – Hollow

https://witchrot.bandcamp.com

Two years ago, Witchrot splattered across the internet with an infamous breakup post on Facebook. The notoriety from the breakup gave them renewed vigor and they soldiered on to fashion themselves into the seventh best band of all time (narrowly pushing the Beatles out of the top ten).

Now Witchrot are set to premiere their debut vinyl long player – Hollow. This killer mix of ethereal vocals, crushing riffs and bottom end dredged up from your local graveyard will be available on Fuzzed and Buzzed Records in North America and DHU in Europe.

The wax comes in three different colorways including the Band edition, the DHU edition and Fuzzed and Buzzed black. Artwork is by ZZ Corpse and each edition comes with a bonus poster from Shane Horror. The whole thing is mastered to vinyl by the heaviest of all heads, Tony Reed.

Celebrate the Beltane Festival with pre-orders on May 1 at Noon EST and 6pm CEST. Available from fuzzedandbuzzed.com in North America and darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com in Europe or straight from the band https://witchrot.bandcamp.com/.

Witchrot are:
Lea Reto
Peter Turik
Nick Kervin
Cam Alford

https://www.facebook.com/witchrot
https://www.instagram.com/witchrotband/
https://witchrot.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Fuzzedandbuzzed-631019733954614/
https://www.instagram.com/fuzzedandbuzzed/
https://www.fuzzedandbuzzed.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://www.instagram.com/dhu_records/
https://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bandcamp.com/
darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/

Witchrot, Hollow teaser video

Witchrot-Hollow_Promo(Pre-order_May_1).mov from Fuzzed and Buzzed on Vimeo.

Witchrot, Strega / Hey Hey My My (2020)

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Witchrot: Debut Album Hollow Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 2nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

witchrot

Right on. I dug the 2020 Strega / Hey Hey My My (review here) single from Toronto’s Witchrot, and the news of an impending full-length debut is only welcome as far as I’m concerned. The release — which will be out… ever — is unsurprisingly set to issue through the ongoing collaboration between Fuzzed and Buzzed and DHU Records that has wrought much cultishness of purpose and much fuzz of tone already and one hopes will only continue to do so throughout 2021. The more the merrier.

If you didn’t hear the single last year, it’s streaming below as there’s no audio as yet from the album, which is titled Hollow. One assumes that will come in time along with stuff like, oh, a release date and preorders and all that whatnot.

DHU sent the preliminaries along the PR wire:

witchrot hollow

New release by Fuzzed and Buzzed & DHU Records: Witchrot ~ Hollow

DHU Records is excited to announce we will be teaming up once again with that super stoned label of Canadian descent Fuzzed and Buzzed Records to bring you the debut full length LP Hollow by Toronto Doom Cult Witchrot!!

“After releasing 2 crushing 7″ & 8” singles in 2019 and 2020, the time has come for Canadian Doomers Witchrot to unleash their debut full length and they did not hold back to bring you earth shattering hymns of colossal proportions!

Ultra Heavy riffing, uncomfortable atmospheres coiled in overwhelming & mesmeric chants from singer Lea make Hollow a Doom Masterpiece!”

DHU Records & Fuzzed and Buzzed Records are proud to bring you Hollow on Limited Edition Vinyl in the second quarter of 2021. DHU, Fuzzed and Buzzed and Witchrot Editions will be available. All Editions will be available to order in EU and CAN/US

More info & details coming soon…

Side A:
A1. Million Shattered Swords 6:44
A2. Colder Hands 5:42
A3. Spiral Of Sorrow 5:58
A4. Fog 2:46

Side B:
B1. Devil In Your Eyes 5:10
B2. Burn Me Down 5:27
B3. I Know My Enemy 4:16
B4. Hollow 5:04

Engineered and mixed by Dylan Frankland
At Palace Sound // Candle Studio November 2019 and October 2020.
Assistant Engineer Simon Kou
Mastered by Tony Reed at HeavyHead Recording Co.
Album art & layout by ZZ Corpse
Executive Producer Lex Shuper

Witchrot are:
Lea Reto
Peter Turik
Nick Kervin
Cam Alford

https://www.facebook.com/witchrot
https://www.instagram.com/witchrotband/
https://witchrot.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Fuzzedandbuzzed-631019733954614/
https://www.instagram.com/fuzzedandbuzzed/
https://www.fuzzedandbuzzed.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://www.instagram.com/dhu_records/
https://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bandcamp.com/
darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/

Witchrot, Strega / Hey Hey My My (2020)

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Quarterly Review: Steve Von Till, Cyttorak, Lambda, Dee Calhoun, Turtle Skull, Diuna, Tomorrow’s Rain, Mother Eel, Umbilichaos, Radar Men From the Moon

Posted in Reviews on October 5th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Oh hi there. It’s Quarterly Review time again, and you know what that means. 50 records between now and Friday — and I may or may not extend it through next Monday as well; I think I have enough of a backlog at this point to do so. It’s really just a question of how destroyed I am by writing about 10 different records every day this week. If past is prologue, that’s fairly well destroyed. But I’ve yet to do a Quarterly Review and regret it when it’s over, and like the last one, this roundup of 50 albums is pretty well curated, so it might even be fun to go through. There’s a thought. In any case, as always, I hope you find something you enjoy, and thank you for reading if you do or as much as you do.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Steve Von Till, No Wilderness Deep Enough

steve von till no wilderness deep enough

Neurosis guitarist/vocalist Steve Von Till seems to be bringing some of the experimentalism that drives his Harvestman project into the context of his solo work with No Wilderness Deep Enough, his fifth LP and first since 2015’s A Life unto Itself (review here). Drones and melodic synth backs the deceptively-titled “The Old Straight Track,” and where Von Till began his solo career 20 years ago with traditional folk guitar, if slower, on these six tracks, he uses that meditative approach as the foundation for an outward-reaching 37-minute run, incorporating ethereal strings among the swirls of “Shadows on the Run” and finishing with the foreboding hum of “Wild Iron.” Opener “Dreams of Trees” establishes the palette’s breadth with synthesized beats alongside piano and maybe-cello, but it’s Von Till‘s voice itself that ties the material together and provides the crucial human presence and intimacy that most distinguishes the offerings under his own name. Accompanied by Von Till‘s first published book of poetry, No Wilderness Deep Enough is a portrait of the unrelenting creative growth of its maker.

Steve Von Till on Thee Facebooks

Neurot Recordings on Bandcamp

 

Cyttorak, Simultaneous Invocation of Apocalyptic Harbingers

Cyttorak Simultaneous Invocation of Apocalyptic Harbingers

Take a breath before you hit play only to have it punched right out from your solar plexus by the brutalist deathsludge Cyttorak cleverly call “slowerviolence.” Dominated by low end and growls, screams, and shouts, the lumbering onslaught is the second standalone EP for the three-piece who hail from scenic Pawtucket, Rhode Island (former home of the PawSox), and throughout its six-track run, the unit conjure an unyieldingly punishing tonal morass set to aggressive purpose. That they take their name from the Marvel Universe character who controls X-Men villain Juggernaut should not be taken as coincidence, since their sound indeed seems intended to put its head down and smash through walls and/or anything else that might be in its path in pursuit of its quarry. With Conan-esque lyrical minimalism, the songs nonetheless give clues to their origins — “Royal Shokan Dismemberment” refers to Goro from Mortal Kombat, and finale “Domination Lord of Coldharbour” to Skyrim (which I still regret not playing) — but if you consider comics or video games to be lighter fare, first off, you’re working with an outdated mentality, and second, Cyttorak would like a bit of your time to smother you with volume and ferocity. They have a new split out as well, both on tape.

Cyttorak on Thee Facebooks

Tor Johnson Records website

 

Lambda, Heliopolis

lambda heliopolis

Also signified by the Greek letter from which they take their moniker, Czech four-piece Lambda represent a new age of progressive heavy post-rock. Influences from Russian Circles aren’t necessarily surprising to find coursing through the instrumental debut full-length, Heliopolis, but there are shades of Elder as well behind the more driving riffs and underlying swing of “Space Express,” which also featured on the band’s 2015 EP of the same name. The seven-minute “El Sonido Nuevo” did likewise, but older material or newer, the album’s nine-song procession moves toward its culminating title-track through the grace of “Odysea” and the intertwining psychedelic guitars of “Milkyway Phaseshifter” with an overarching atmosphere of the journey to the city of the sun being undertaken. And when they get there, at the closer, there’s an initial sense of peace that gives way to some of the most directly heavy push Heliopolis has to offer. Payoff, then. So be it. Purposeful and somewhat cerebral in its execution, the DIY debut brings depth and space together to immersive effect.

Lambda on Thee Facebooks

Lambda on Bandcamp

 

Dee Calhoun, Godless

dee calhoun godless

Following his 2016 debut, Rotgut (review here) and 2018’s Go to the Devil (review here), Godless is the third full-length from former Iron Man and current Spiral Grave frontman Dee Calhoun, and its considerable 63-minute runtime finds him working in multiple directions while keeping his underlying roots in acoustic-based heavy metal. Certainly “To My Boy” — and Rob Calhoun has appeared on his father’s releases before as well — has its basis in familial expression, but its pairing with “Spite Fuck” is somewhat curious. Meanwhile, “Hornswoggled” cleverly samples George W. Bush with a laugh track, and “Here Under Protest,” “The Greater Evil,” “Ebenezer” and “No Justice” seem to take a worldly view as well. Meanwhile again, “Godless,” “The Day Salvation Went Away” and “Prudes, Puritanicals and Puddles of Piss” make their perspective nothing if not plain for the listener, and the album ends with the two-minute kazoo-laced gag track “Here Comes the Bride: A Tale From Backwater.” So perhaps scattershot, but Godless is nonetheless Calhoun‘s most effective outing yet in terms of arrangements and craft, and shows him digging further into the singer-songwriter form than he has up to now, sounding more comfortable and confident in the process.

Dee Calhoun on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

Turtle Skull, Monoliths

Turtle Skull Monoliths

Melodic vocal lines weave together and float over alternately weighted and likewise ethereal guitars on Turtle Skull‘s second album, Monoliths. The percussion-inclusive (tambourine, congas, rain stick, etc.) Sydney-based heavy psychedelic outfit create an immersive wash that makes the eight-song/55-minute long-player consuming for the duration, and while there are moments of clarity to be found throughout — the steady snare taps of “Why Do You Ask?” for example — but the vast bulk of the LP is given to the overarching flow, which finds progressive/space-rock footing in the 11-plus minutes of finale “The Clock Strikes Forever” and is irresistibly consuming on the drifting wash of “Rabbit” or the lysergic grunge blowout of “Who Cares What You Think?,” which gives way to the choral drone of “Halcyon” gorgeously en route through the record’s back half. It’s not the highest profile heavy psych release of 2020, but neither is it to be overlooked for the languid stretch of “Leaves” at the outset or the fuzz-drenched roll in the penultimate “Apple of Your Eye.”

Turtle Skull on Thee Facebooks

Art as Catharsis on Bandcamp

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Diuna, Golem

diuna golem

In some ways, the dichotomy of Diuna‘s 2019 sophomore full-length, Golem, is set by its first two tracks, the 24-second intro “Menu” and the seven-minute “Jarmark Cudów” that follows, each longer song throughout is prefaced by an introduction or interlude, varying in degrees of experimentation. That, however, doesn’t cover the outsider vibes the Polish trio bring to bear in those longer songs themselves, be it “Jarmark Cudów” devolving into a post-Life of Agony noise rock roll, or the thrust in “Frank Herbert” cut into starts and stops and shouting madness. Heavy rock, noise, sludge, post-this-or-that, it doesn’t matter by the end of the 12-track/44-minute release, because Diuna establish such firm control over the proceedings and make so clear the challenge to the listener to keep up that it’s only fun to try. It might take a couple listens to sink in, but the more attention one gives Golem, the more one is going to be rewarded in the end, and I don’t just mean in the off-kilter fuckery of closer “Pan Jezus Idzie Do Wojska.”

Diuna on Thee Facebooks

Diuna on Bandcamp

 

Tomorrow’s Rain, Hollow

tomorrows rain hollow

“Ambitious” doesn’t begin to cover it. With eight songs (plus a bonus track) and 11 listed guest musicians, the debut full-length, Hollow, from Tel Aviv-based death-doomers Tomorrow’s Rain seems to be setting its own standard in that regard. And quite a list it is, with the likes of Aaron Stainthorpe of My Dying Bride, Greg Mackintosh of Paradise Lost, Fernando Ribeiro of Moonspell, Mikko Kotamaki of Swallow the Sun, and so on, it is a who’s-who of melodic/gothic death-doom and the album lives up to the occasion in terms of the instrumental drama it presents. Some appear on one track, some on multiple tracks — Ribeiro and Kotamaki both feature on “Misery Rain” — and despite the constant shifts in personnel with only one of the eight tracks completely without an outside contributor, the core six-piece of Tomorrow’s Rain are still able to make an impression of their own that is bolstered and not necessarily overwhelmed by the extravagant company being kept throughout.

Tomorrow’s Rain on Thee Facebooks

AOP Records website

 

Mother Eel, Svalbard

mother eel svalbard

Mother Eel‘s take on sludge isn’t so much crushing as it is caustic. They’re plenty heavy, but their punishment isn’t just meted out through tonal weight being brought down on your head. It’s the noise. It’s the blown-out screams. It’s the harshness of the atmosphere in which the entirety of their debut album, Svalbard, resides. Five tracks, 33 minutes, zero forgiveness. One might be tempted to think of songs like “Erection of Pain” as nihilistic fuckall, but that seems incorrect. Nah, they mean it. Fuckall, yeah. But fuckall as ethos. Fuckall manifest. So it goes through “Alpha Woman” and “Listen to the Elderly for They Have Much to Teach,” which ends in a Primitive Man-ish static assault, and the lumbering finish “Not My Shade,” which assures that what began on “Sucking to Gain” half an hour earlier ends on the same anti-note: a disaffected malevolence writ into sheer sonic unkindness. There is little letup, even in the quiet introductions or transitions, so if you’re looking for mercy, don’t bother.

Mother Eel on Thee Facebooks

Mother Eel on Redbubble

 

Umbilichaos, Filled by Empty Spaces

Umbilichaos Filled by Empty Spaces

The four-song/39-minute atmospheric sludge long-player Filled by Empty Spaces is listed by Brazilian solo outfit Umbilichaos as being the third part of, “the Tetralogy of Loneliness.” If that’s the emotion being expressed in the noise-metal post-Godflesh chug-and-shout of “Filled by Empty Spaces Pt. 02,” then it is loneliness viscerally presented by founding principal and multi-instrumentalist Anna C. Chaos. The feel throughout the early going of the release is plodding and agonized in kind, but in “Filled by Empty Spaces Pt. 01” and “Filled by Empty Spaces Pt. 03” there is some element of grim, crusted-over psychedelia happening alongside the outright dirge-ism, though the latter ultimately wins out in the four-minute instrumental capper “Disintegration.” One way or the other, Chaos makes her point through raw tonality and overarching intensity of purpose, the compositions coming across simultaneously unhinged and dangerously under control. There are many kinds of heavy. Filled by Empty Spaces is a whole assortment of them.

Umbilichaos on Thee Facebooks

Sinewave website

 

Radar Men From the Moon, The Bestial Light

radar men from the moon the bestial light

Fueled by avant grunge/noise impulsion, Radar Men From the Moon‘s latest foray to Planet Whothefuckknows arrives in the eight-song/41-minute The Bestial Light, a record alternately engrossing and off-putting, that does active harm when the sounds-like-it’s-skipping intro to “Piss Christ” comes on and then subsequently mellows out with psych-sax like they didn’t just decide to call the song “Sacred Cunt of the Universe” or something. Riffs, electronics, the kind of weirdness that’s too self-aware not to be progressive, Radar Men From the Moon take the foundation of experimentation set by Astrosoniq and mutate it via Swans into something unrecognizable by genre and unwilling to compromise its own direction. And no, by the time “Levelling” comes on to round out, there is no peace to be found, though perhaps a twisted kind of joy at the sheer postmodernism. They should score ballets with this stuff. No one would go, but three centuries from now, they’d be worshiped as gods. Chance of that anyway, I suppose.

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