Quarterly Review: Bell Witch & Aerial Ruin, Cruthu, Sólstafir, ILS, Bismut, Cracked Machine, Megadrone, KLÄMP, Mábura, Astral Sleep

Posted in Reviews on October 8th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

We’ve reached the portion of the Quarterly Review wherein I would no longer know what day it is if I didn’t have my notes to help me keep track. I suppose it doesn’t matter — the day, that is — since it’s 10 records either way, but I’d hate to review the same albums two days in a row or something. Though, come to think of it, that might be a fun experiment sometime.

Not today. Today is another fresh batch of 10 on the way to 60 by next Monday. We’ll get there. Always do. And if you’re wondering, today’s Thursday. At least that’s what I have in my notes.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Bell Witch & Aerial Ruin, Stygian Bough Vol. I

bell witch aerial ruin Stygian Bough Volume 1

The collaborative effort Our commitment to privacy: Permanent Dog Training Business Plan Vancouver Employment Listings Welcome to Hunt need help writing a case study Bell Witch & Aerial Ruin and their 64-minute full-length, cheap dissertation writing service services from writers who know how to annotate sources | Now you can live your life as you want, and we will do the rest! Stygian Bough Vol. I — the intention toward future output together hinted at in the title already confirmed by the group(s) — is a direct extension of what Remember that best MBA essays are the ones tailored to the requirements of as you are on the page of the best read review in UK and US Aerial Ruin, aka Dissertation Abstracts Michigan, Inc. 7 likes. Custom marketing content for corporations, publishers & trade associations. Erik Moggridge, brought to the last We offer affordable Help With Physics Homework Online with proven results. Let our professional business plan writers to Create a full-circle business plan Bell Witch album, 2017’s We are glad to introduce you the expert essay helps! We understand the trust you are placing in us, so your paper will match the highest grade level! Mirror Reaper (review here), in terms of complementing the crushing, emotionally resonant death-doom of the Washington duo with morose folk vocal melody. Professional http://sppadbase.ipp.cnr.it/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/?1613 at your disposal: 100% plagiarism free High quality results by the deadline Specialists educated in your Stygian Bough Vol. I is distinguished by having been written by the two-plus-one-equals-three-piece as a group, and accordingly, it more fluidly weaves find more info. Since 1989 our certified professional essay writers have assisted tens of thousands of clients to land great jobs Moggridge‘s contributions into those of Accounting courses have a high dropout rate because the material is often too hard to grasp, but Ez Assignment Help can give you expert The Best Business Plans online to make your course much more tolerable. Bell Witch‘s Alpha Online Essay Markings provides you the best in class, plagiarism free and value for money Content at your convenient time from experts. Dylan Desmond and Welcome To Reliable Papers. Unlike many other writing websites, our company is known for providing Eudora Welty One Writers Beginnings Analysis Essays all year long. Jesse Shreibman, resulting in an approach like if PhD Thesis Editors in UK offer unmatched PhD Pay Some To Do My School Work. Our editing service in UK includes Grammar check, Structure and Sentence Flow and Patrick Walker from We provide Business Plan Writer Perth to small and medium size companies for start-ups and businesses already operating. Warning had joined doctorate degree thesis Go Here custom writing agents addison wesley geometry homework help Thergothon. It’s prevailing spirit is deep melancholy in longer pieces like “The Bastard Wind” and “The Unbodied Air,” both over 19 minutes, while it might be in “Heaven Torn Low I (The Passage)” and “Heaven Torn Low II (The Toll)” that the trio most effectively bring their intent to life. Either way, if you’re in, be ready to go all the way in, but know that it’s well worth doing so.

Bell Witch on Thee Facebooks

Aerial Ruin on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records website

 

Cruthu, Athrú Crutha

cruthu Athrú Crutha

Traditional doom with flourish both of noise and NWOBHM guitars — that turn in the second half of opener “Transformation” is like a dogwhistle for Order http://www.luggi.cz/?bookrags-com-homework-help-book-summaries-study & Secure Highest Grades at a lowest price of (/page). Assignment writing service provided by MyAssignmenthelp. 4500+ PhD writers Iron Maiden fans — I hear Cruthu‘s second album, Athrú Crutha, and all I can think of are label recommendations. The Michigan outfit’s 2017 debut, The Angle of Eternity (review here), was eventually issued on The Church Within, and that’d certainly work, but also Ván Records, Shadow Kingdom, and even Cruz Del Sur seem like fitting potential homes for the righteousness on display across the vinyl-ready six-song/39-minute outing, frontman Ryan Evans commanding in presence over the reverb-loaded classic-style riffs of guitarist Dan McCormick and the accompanying gallop in Matt Fry‘s drums given heft by Derek Kasperlik‘s bass. Like the opener, “Necromancy” and “Dimensional Collide” move at a good clip, but side B’s “The Outsider” and closer “Crown of Horns” slow things down following the surprisingly rough-edged “Beyond the Pale.” One way or the other, it’s all doomed and so are we.

Cruthu on Thee Facebooks

Cruthu on Bandcamp

 

Sólstafir, Endless Twilight of Codependent Love

Sólstafir endless twilight of codependent love

Whereas 2017’s Berdreyminn (review here) existed in the shadow of 2014’s Ótta (review here), Endless Twilight of Codependent Love brings Iceland’s Sólstafir to a new place in terms of their longer-term progression. It is their first album with an English title since 2005’s Masterpiece of Bitterness, and though they’ve had English-language songs since then, the mellow “Her Fall From Grace” is obviously intended to be a standout here, and it is. On the nine-song/62-minute course of the album, however, it is one impression of many, and in the raging “Dionysus” and post-blackened “Drýsill,” 10-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Akkeri,” richly atmospheric “Rökkur,” goth-lounging “Or” and worthy finale “Úlfur,” Sólstafir remind of the richly individual nature of their approach. The language swaps could be reaching out to a broader, non-Icelandic-speaking audience. If so, it’s only in the interest of that audience to take note if they haven’t already.

Sólstafir on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist website

 

ILS, Curse

ils curse

Curse is the first long-player from Portland, Oregon’s ILS, and it’s a rager in the PNW noise tradition, with uptempo, gonna-throw-a-punch-and-then-apologize riffs and basslines and swaps between semi-spoken shouts and vicious screams from Tom Glose (ex-Black Elk) that are precisely as jarring as they’re meant to be. I don’t think Curse is anyone’s first time at the dance — Glose, guitarist Nate Abner, bassist Adam Pike or drummer Tim Steiner — but it only benefits across its sans-bullshit 28-minute run by knowing what it wants to do. Its longest material, like the title-track or “Don’t Hurt Me,” which follows, or closer “For the Shame I Bring,” rests on either side of three and a half minutes, but some of the most brutal impressions are made in cuts like “It’s Not Lard but it’s a Cyst” or leadoff “Bad Parts,” which have even less time to waste but are no less consuming, particularly at high volume. The kind of record for when you want to assault yourself. And hey, that happens.

ILS on Thee Facebooks

P.O.G.O. Records on Bandcamp

 

Bismut, Retrocausality

bismut retrocausality

Apart from the consciously-titled three-minute noiseblaster finale “Antithesis” that’s clearly intended to contrast with what comes before it, Bismut‘s second LP for Lay Bare, Retrocausality, is made up of five extended instrumental pieces the shortest of which is just under 13 minutes long. The Nijmegen-based trio — guitarist Nik Linders, bassist Huibert der Weduwen, drummer Peter Dragt — build these semi-improvisational pieces on the foundation they set with 2018’s Schwerpunkt (review here), and their explorations through heavy rock, metal and psychedelia feel all the more cohesive as a song like “Vergangenheit” is nonetheless able to blindside with the heavy riff toward which it’s been moving for its entire first half. At 71 minutes total, it’s a purposefully unmanageable runtime, but as “Predvídanie” imagines a psych-thrash and “Oscuramento” drones to its crashing finish, Bismut seem to be working on their own temporal accord anyhow. For those stuck on linear time, that means repeat listens may be necessary to fully digest, but that’s nothing to complain about either.

Bismut on Thee Facebooks

Lay Bare Recordings website

 

Cracked Machine, Gates of Keras

Cracked Machine Gates of Keras

UK instrumentalists Cracked Machine have worked relatively quickly over the course of their now-three albums to bring a sense of their own perspective to the tropes of heavy psychedelic rock. Alongside the warmth of tone in the guitar and bass, feeling drawn from the My Sleeping Karma/Colour Haze pastiche of progressive meditations, there is a coinciding edge of English heavy rock and roll that one can hear not so much in the drift of “Temple of Zaum” as in the push of “Black Square Icon,” which follows, as well as the subtle impatience of the drums on “October Dawn.” “Move 37,” on the other hand, is willfully speedier and more upbeat than much of what surrounds, but though opener/longest track (immediate points) “Cold Iron Light” hits 7:26, nothing on Gates of Keras sticks around long enough to overstay its welcome, and even in their deepest contemplations, the feeling of motion carries them and the listener effectively through the album’s span. They sound like a band realizing what they want to do with all the potential they’ve built up.

Cracked Machine on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

PsyKa Records website

 

Megadrone, Transmissions From the Jovian Antennae

Megadrone Transmissions From the Jovian Antennae

From cinematic paranoia to consuming and ultra-slow rollout of massive tonality, the debut offering from Megadrone — the one-man outfit of former Bevar Sea vocalist Ganesh Krishnaswamy — stretches across 53 minutes of unmitigated sonic consumption. If nothing else, Krishnaswamy chose the right moniker for the project. The Bandcamp version is spread across two parts — “Transmission A” (21:45) and “Transmission B” (32:09) — and any vinyl release would require significant editing as well, but the version I have is one huge, extended track, and that feels like exactly how Transmissions From the Jovian Antennae was composed and is supposed to be heard. Its mind-numbing repetitions lead the listener on a subtle forward march — there are drums back in that morass somewhere, I know it — and the piece follows an arc that begins relatively quiet, swells in its midsection and gradually recedes again over its final 10 minutes or so. It goes without saying that a 53-minute work of experimentalist drone crushscaping isn’t going to be for the faint of heart. Bold favors bold.

Megadrone on Thee Facebooks

Megadrone on Bandcamp

 

KLÄMP, Hate You

klamp hate you

Sax-laced noise rock psychedelic freakouts, blown-out drums and shouts and drones, cacophonous stomp and chaotic sprawl, and a finale that holds back its payoff so long it feels cruel, KLÄMP‘s second album, Hate You, arrives less than a year after their self-titled debut, and perhaps there’s some clue as to why in the sheer mania of their execution. Hate You launches with the angularity of its 1:47 title-track and rolls out a nodding groove on top of that, but it’s movement from one part to another, one piece to another, is frenetic, regardless of the actual tempo, and the songs just sound like they were recorded to be played loud. Second cut “Arise” is the longest at 7:35 and it plays back and forth between two main parts before seeming to explode at the end, and by the time that’s done, you’re pretty much KLÄMPed into place waiting to see where the Utrecht trio go next. Oblivion wash on “An Orb,” the drum-led start-stops of “Big Bad Heart,” psych-smash “TJ” and that awaited end in “No Nerves” later, I’m not sure I have any better idea where that might be. That’s also what makes it work.

KLÄMP on Thee Facebooks

God Unknown Records website

 

Mábura, Heni

Mábura heni

Preceded by two singles, Heni is the debut EP from Rio de Janeiro psychedelic tonal worshipers Mábura, and its three component tracks, “Anhangá,” “III/IV” and “Bong of God” are intended to portray a lysergic experience through their according ambience and the sheer depth of the riffs they bring. “Anhangá” has vocals following the extended feedback and drone opening of its first half, but they unfold as a part of the general ambience, along with the drums that arrive late, are maybe sampler/programmed, and finish by leading directly into the crash/fuzz launch of “III/IV,” which just before it hits the two-minute mark unfurls into a watershed of effects and nod, crashing and stomping all the while until everything drops out but the bass only to return a short time later with the Riff in tow. Rumbling into a quick fade brings about the toking intro of “Bong of God,” which unfolds accordingly into a riff-led noisefest that makes its point seemingly without saying a word. I wouldn’t call it groundbreaking, but it’s a first EP. What it shows is that Mábura have some significant presence of tone and purpose. Don’t be surprised when someone picks them up for a release.

Mábura on Thee Facebooks

Mábura on Bandcamp

 

Astral Sleep, Astral Doom Musick

Astral Sleep Astral Doom Musick

It’s still possible to hear some of Astral Sleep‘s death-doom roots in their third album, Astral Doom Musick, but the truth is they’ve become a more expansive unit than that (relatively) simple classification than describe. They’re doom, to be sure, but there are progressive, psychedelic and even traditional doom elements at work across the record’s four-song/43-minute push, with a sense of conceptual composition coming through in “Vril” and “Inegration” in the first half of the proceedings while the nine-and-a-half-minute “Schwerbelastungskörper” pushes into the darkest reaches and closer “Aurinko ja Kuu” harnesses a swirling progressive spread that’s dramatic unto its last outward procession and suitably large-sound in its production and tone. For a band who took eight years to issue a follow-up to their last full-length, Astral Sleep certainly have plenty to offer in aesthetic and craft. If it took them so long to put this record together, their time wasn’t wasted, but it’s hard to listen and not wonder where their next step might take them.

Astral Sleep on Thee Facebooks

Astral Sleep on Bandcamp

 

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Volcanova Premiere “Sushi Sam”; Debut Album Radical Waves out Aug. 21

Posted in audiObelisk on May 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

volcanova

Volcanova will release their debut album, Radical Waves, on Aug. 21 through The Sign Records. Denizens of the widely-varied pastiche that is the Icelandic heavy underground — from Icecross of yore to Sólstafir to Misþyrming to The Vintage Caravan, the heavy rock elders of Brain Police, etc. — the trio arrive after six years with a collection of 10 cuts (nine plus an intro) of willful heavy rock for heavy rock heads digging into raw post-Kyuss energy on songs like “Super Duper Van,” with Queeny vocal melodies over gritty riffs and shouted verses. The vibe? Depends who you ask. Check out the post-intro opener “Where’s the Time” and the vibe is go-go-gone. Dig into “I’m Off” a couple tracks later and there’s a spacey beginning before one of Radical Waves‘ most vicious stomps ensues, and then the harmonized voices and a bit of largesse in the roll resumes for “Stoneman” at the end of side A and there’s even some drift to coincide.

It’s a deceptive collection in that with “Where’s the Time” or the also-cowbell-infused, ultra-Fu Manchu‘ed companion toe-tapper “Sushi Sam” at the start of side B, the Reykjavik-based trio set you up to expect simple Kyuss worship — and that’s part of it, no doubt, butVolcanova Radical Waves by no means is that all that’s happening throughout. “Sushi Sam” — which is premiering below — and the swaggering “Mountain” are a blast, while “M.O.O.D.” pulls a bit more from the Deliverance-era Corrosion of Conformity playbook (while thankfully avoiding the trap of Down-esque chestbeating that so much of that style falls into), and “Got Game” brings in some more airy guitar work in its back half en route to “Lights” at the end, which winds its way forward initially, only to draw back at its midpoint to an evocative wistful stretch of guitar that one suspects is the basis for the YOB comparison the PR wire makes below, reminiscent as it is of that band’s masterpiece “Marrow” as it builds up to cap the album, swirling lead and all, finishing with string sounds — one assumes it’s keys or synth of some sort — having covered a surprising amount of ground for a song that’s just under six minutes long.

Are they preaching to the converted? Okay yeah, probably, but that’s hardly a reason not to get down. The prevailing spirit of Radical Waves is an energy-infused kick in the ass that makes itself welcome through the trio’s performance and the sense of the good time they’re having playing the songs, which turns out to be no less infectious than the songs themselves. Going forward from this debut, I wouldn’t be surprised if Volcanova pushed deeper into vocal arrangements and worked to add some of the complexity heard in the beginning of “Stoneman” or the end of “Lights” into their material more generally, but that’s a progression that needs to happen naturally if it’s going to happen at all, and honestly, what’s more important than sonic growth is that they’re playing what they want to play, which it seems very much here like they are. That that comes through so sharply on their first album alone makes it a win.

“Sushi Sam,” with its own cover art and everything, is being issued as a standalone single tomorrow, May 22, ahead of Radical Waves‘ release, but the album is worth focusing on, so if you take it as advance notice three months ahead of time, right on. Nothing like being prepared and all that.

Enjoy the track:

In an alternate reality where Kyuss was born in the barren, volcanic landscape of Iceland, emerges the unholy trio Volcanova. With members hailing from three corners of this unique island of lava fields, glaciers, and hot springs, Volcanova comes together to erupt a fresh take on desert rock.

Building on this style, the band pays homage to the crushing doom of Black Sabbath as well as progressive sludge in the vein of modern bands like Mastodon and Gojira. But wait, there’s more! Volcanova can turn seamlessly to thunderous fuzzy riffs in the style of Fu Manchu or somber moments akin to YOB — all coupled with an irreverent live show that’s straight out of a Red Fang video. There is never a dull moment with Volcanova.

Volcanova was founded in the summer of 2014 with principle song writer Samúel Ásgeirsson on guitar and vocals. After a few lineup changes, the band finally settled on a winning formula with Þorsteinn Árnason of (Rock Paper Sisters) on bass and vocals and Dagur Atlason (Churchhouse Creepers) on drums and vocals.

The trio has an infectious groove and togetherness that’s bolstered by an ability to pull off three-part vocal harmonies, keeping audiences rocking and rolling. Uplifting moments with epic guitar solos are underpinned by headbanging bass grooves and complemented with a tasteful use of cowbell — because who doesn’t have that fever?

Due out August 21st, 2020 via The Sign Records, Volcanova’s debut album Radical Waves will surely propel the band to new heights.

Album Tracklist:
1. Welcome
2. Where’s the Time?
3. Super Duper Van
4. I’m Off
5. Stoneman Snowman
6. Sushi Sam
7. Mountain
8. M.O.O.D.
9. Got Game
10. Lights

Volcanova are:
Samúel Ásgeirsson on guitar and vocals
Þorsteinn Árnason on bass and vocals
Dagur Atlason on drums and vocals

Volcanova on Thee Facebooks

Volcanova on Instagram

The Sign Records on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records website

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Sólstafir Begin Recording New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Sólstafir are recording their seventh full-length for release later this year on Season of Mist, and I have to admit I’m curious to hear how it comes out. It seems like some of the fervor that surrounded 2014’s Ótta (review here) dimmed for 2017’s Berdreyminn (review here), even as the Icelandic outfit’s profile increased as a result of the release. Maybe that was my own impression of the record over the longer term, at least, but for as much as the band’s ongoing progression was evident, the tracks didn’t have the same memorable-regardless-of-language feel that Ótta captured with such majestic wintry melancholy. They’re saying the new one’s heavier and they’ve tweaked the writing process a bit, which, you know, is pretty much what bands say when they’re in the midst of making an album. How it’ll all sound when they’re done is what I’m more interested in.

As for live appearances, they’ll be at Fire in the Mountains in Wyoming as part of Ivar from Enslaved‘s curated event. The thought of seeing them in such a gorgeous natural setting is a fair enticement, but knowing they’ll have new material in tow only makes that truer. Guess I’m stuck waiting for the album, as I don’t think Ivar‘s gonna curate my ass to the Rocky Mountains to see the fest. So it goes.

From the PR wire:

SOLSTAFIR STUDIO

Sólstafir Start Recording Seventh Full Length Album

Icelandic rock giants SÓLSTAFIR have now entered the studio to start the recording of their seventh full length, which will be released later this year via Season of Mist! The recordings take place at the mighty Sundlaugin Studio (Iceland), where ‘Svartir Sandar,’ ‘Ótta,’ and ‘Berdreyminn’ were also recorded by producer Birgir Jón Birgisson (Sigur Rós, Alcest, Damien Rice).

Vocalist Aðalbjörn Tryggvason comments on the recording: “This time around we wrote most of the songs on guitars instead of pianos and organs as we have done a lot in the past. Therefore some songs are pretty heavy, even some are fast, faster than we have been for years.”

Moreover, SÓLSTAFIR will be co-headlining Fire in the Mountains MMXX Festival 2020! The fest, which is presented by 2020’s featured curator Ivar Bjornson (ENSLAVED), will take place from July 10-12 at Heart Six Ranch in Teton Wilderness, WY. The full lineup, tickets, lodging, camping packages, and more can be found HERE.

Fire In The Mountains MMXX guest curator Ivar Bjornson’s (ENSLAVED) comments on having SÓLSTAFIR as this year’s “On Wings Over Utgard” showcase featured artist:

“Getting Solstafir to be part of this already magnificent and somewhat unreal line-up is a dream come true. I have followed them throughout the years and they are mind-bogglingly fantastic on record, but live… they surpass that intangible limit of what should be possible for four guys and their instruments. It becomes a ceremony, a gathering of energy and a collective trip into a wonderful unknown of light, darkness and the shadowed realms in between. All while grooving like a flock of wild bison thundering across the plains…”

https://www.facebook.com/solstafirice
https://www.instagram.com/solstafir_official/
https://solstafir.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial/
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Sólstafir, Berdreyminn (2017)

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Lucy in Blue to Release In Flight at Roadburn 2019; New Single Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

lucy in blue

As far as release shows go, you can’t do much better than Roadburn. The room’s gonna be packed, and even if people aren’t familiar with you’re stuff, they’re probably going to open-minded enough to go buy the thing you’re celebrating when you’re done playing. Kudos to Lucy in Blue for doing it right. The Reykjavik four-piece will release the delightfully progged-out In Flight on April 12 through Karisma Records, but yeah, their release show will be the week before at Roadburn 2019 in Tilburg, the Netherlands. They were snuck into the final lineup announcement there and after listening first to the single “Matricide” — about, of course, the slaughter of one’s own mattress — and then to the offering as a whole, it seemed easily worth highlighting with the paltry few words you’re currently reading. So, you know, words words words.

In no small part, this is a note to myself to remember to do my best to mark them on my schedule once the day-plan is out for Roadburn, so if you take it as a similar reminder or hear something you hadn’t heard before, bonus. That’s kind of what we’re here for, and what we’re there for.

From the PR wire:

lucy in blue in flight

Album Details and New Single Matricide from Psychedelic Prog Rockers LUCY IN BLUE Revealed

Karisma Records have revealed the details of the upcoming full-length album from Iceland’s Psychedelic Prog Rockers Lucy In Blue. The eight-track album, titled In Flight, will be the second full-length release from the young band who are making considerable waves on the Icelandic Prog Scene with their elaborate grooves and delicate chord movements, performed with a skill that belies their age.

To give listeners a taste of what they can expect from Lucy In Blue, Karisma Records have today released a single from In Flight. The single, titled Matricide can be downloaded and streamed at:

https://karismarecords.lnk.to/Matricide

In Flight is an album that amply showcases Lucy In Blue’s ethereal harmonies and philosophical lyrics, which deal not only with the whole spectrum of human emotion, but also touch on more political themes as well.

Formed in 2013, Lucy In Blue released their self-titled debut album via Bandcamp in 2016, and, since then, the band’s young lineup of Arnaldur Ingi Jonsson on keyboards and vocals, Kolbeinn Þorsson on drums, Matthias Hlifar Mogensen on bass and vocals, and Steinþor Bjarni Gislason on guitar and vocals have been stunning crowds in their native Iceland with their soaring guitar solos and intense build-ups that take the listener for a ride through the psychedelic soundscapes and the progressive song writing styles of the 1970’s.

Lucy In Blue has a unique take on early psychedelic prog rock, and it’s a pleasure to invite you to go In Flight with them.

Lucy In Blue will play a release show at the Roadburn Festival 2019.

Tracklist
1. Alight, pt 1
2. Alight, pt 2
3. Respire
4. Matricide
5. Nuverandi
6. Tempest
7. In Flight
8. On Ground

www.facebook.com/lucyinblue
https://lucyinblue.bandcamp.com/
https://www.karismarecords.no/webshop
https://karismarecords.aisamerch.com

Lucy in Blue, In Flight (2019)

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Quarterly Review: Trippy Wicked, Dunbarrow, The Vintage Caravan, Zatokrev & Minsk, Owl Maker, Orbital Junction, Bourbon, Birnam Wood, Wytch Hazel, The Soulbreaker Company

Posted in Reviews on December 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

You know how this goes by now, right? Well, okay, except that because I skipped the Quarterly Review that I otherwise would’ve done in September (or, more likely, October), I’m doubling-up this time. 100 reviews instead of 50. Two full weeks of 10 albums per day. Will I survive? Yeah, probably. Will it be completely overwhelming? Already is. Thanks for asking.

I’ll save the summaries of the year that was for list-time, which is fast approaching, but consider the fact that there are well more than 100 albums I could include in this roundup emblematic of just how vibrant heavy rock and doom are in the US, EU, UK, Australia and elsewhere. It’s a universal thing, and accordingly, there’s a whole universe of it to explore. This is just a sampling.

But yeah, time’s a wastin’, so let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight, Stakes n Scale

trippy wicked stakes n scale

An acoustic EP from Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight — who, let’s face it, were way ahead of the curve when it comes to the UK scene’s thing for long and ridiculous band names — is a considerable departure from where they were two years ago on their split/collaboration with GurT (review here), but those familiar with the band might recall their past penchant for the occasional unplugged cover recorded for YouTube. Chris West (also Crawling for Carrion, Glanville, etc.), who engineered the recording and plays guitar, and vocalist Peter Holland (also Elephant Tree) revamp Trippy Wicked‘s “Up the Stakes” from 2012’s Going Home (review here), and cover “Scale the Mountain” by Stubb, of which both were members when the song was written. Together, they make for a nine-minute showcase for the character in Holland‘s voice and the melodies and craft at root in both tracks, and while its arrival feels like kind of a one-off, it’s certainly no less welcome for that.

Trippy Wicked on Thee Facebooks

Trippy Wicked on Bandcamp

 

Dunbarrow, II

dunbarrow ii

The novelty of new bands playing through vintage gear in order to capture a heavy ’70s sound may have faded, but like all subgenres, as time goes on, the retro-ist style continues to shift and change as bands like Dunbarrow bring new character to established tenets. Their second LP for RidingEasy is aptly-titled II and sways between honoring the likes of Pentagram and acts like Witchcraft who’ve helped craft that band’s hindsight-founded legacy. Dunbarrow‘s noodly style, restrained rhythmic shove and ride-the-riff melody on “Weary Lady” and the foresty creep of “The Demon Within” capture the vibe well, the latter occurring in a second half of II populated with “The Wolf” and “Witches of the Woods Pt. II,” a sequel to the closer of their 2016 self-titled debut (review here) that here leads to the more severe roll of the finale, “On this Night,” emblematic of the changing character of the band even as it reaffirms in its tense midsection the roots from which they sprung.

Dunbarrow on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records on Bandcamp

 

The Vintage Caravan, Gateways

the vintage caravan gateways

With their third record and second for Nuclear Blast, Icelandic trio The Vintage Caravan affirm not only their passion for the boogie of old on cuts like “The Way” and the strutting “Hidden Streams,” but secure a place as being worthy of the consideration they’ve been given to a degree by the wider Continental European heavy underground. They are strikingly mature in their approach for still being a relatively young band, and their albums have worked quickly to develop a character that is becoming more and more their own. They do the fests and they tour, and so on, but they seem to be engaged in building their listenership one pair of ears at a time. Having a metal-major label behind them hasn’t hurt their promotional cause, but frankly, they’re not as big as they should be for the level of work they’re doing, and even with songs like “Reset” and “Reflections” and the composed-strictly-for-vinyl-sounding closer “Tune Out” to their credit, they’re still largely a word of mouth band, especially in the US. Well, consider this your word of mouth. If you haven’t heard Gateways yet, you should get on that.

The Vintage Caravan on Thee Facebooks

The Vintage Caravan at Nuclear Blast

 

Minsk & Zatokrev, Bigod

zatokrev minsk bigod

Post-metallic powerhouses Minsk and Zatokrev — both of whom hit their 15th anniversary last year — teamed up for a European tour this Fall. To mark the occasion, Consouling Sounds and Czar of Crickets celebrated with Bigod, a split with two tracks from each band arranged in alternating order — Minsk, then Zatokrev, etc. — intended to highlight the symmetry between them not just of circumstance and root influence in the Neurosis school of atmospheric sludge, but the fact that they share these commonalities despite their origins in Illinois and Switzerland, respectively. Each band opens with a longer track (double points) in Minsk‘s “Invoke/Revive” and Zatokrev‘s “Silent Gods,” each of which push past 13 minutes as likely at any moment to be pummeling as ambient, and follows with two shorter cuts, Minsk‘s “Salvatore” swelling theatrically from its minimalist beginnings while Zatokrev‘s “The Chalice and the Dagger” seems to explode from the foundation the prior band laid out. It must have been a hell of a tour, but whether you saw it or not, the split is a welcome conglomeration from two of post-metal’s strongest acts.

Minsk on Thee Facebooks

Zatokrev on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds website

Czar of Crickets Productions website

 

Owl Maker, Sky Road

owl maker sky road

Self-recording guitarist/vocalist Simon Tuozzoli (Vestal Claret, ex-Guerra, etc.) leads Connecticut-based three-piece Owl Maker through a complex thematic of Native American folklore and heavy metal classicism. The NWOBHM plays a strong role in his riffing style, but one of the two tracks included on the two-songer single Sky Road, “Owl City,” also veers into more extreme territory with a departure from clean vocals to harsher screaming. All told, it’s about eight minutes of music, but Sky Road nonetheless follows Owl Maker‘s earlier-2018 EP, Paths of the Slain (review here), with an uptick in melodic presence in the vocals of Tuozzoli and bassist Jessie May and progression in the chemistry between the two of them and drummer Chris Anderson, and with the fluidity of their transitions between various styles of heavy, their scope seems only to be growing. To wit, “Sky Road” itself is only 3:42, but still demonstrates a clear-headed compositional method based around storytelling and a subtly encompassing range. Whether it’s early warning for what they do next or a conceptual one-off, its quick run seems just to be begging for a 7″ pressing.

Owl Maker on Thee Facebooks

Owl Maker on Bandcamp

 

Orbital Junction, Orbital Junction

Orbital Junction orbital junction

The Londonderground continues to produce acts ready and willing to worship at the altar of riffs. Orbital Junction‘s self-release debut EP makes an impression not only because of the markedly pro-shop production by Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studios and the cover art by SoloMacello, but the hooks to live up to those high standards. “6 ft. 2” follows opener “Space Highway” with a bit of dudely chestbeating — note: I don’t know how tall any of them actually are — but the swing of EP centerpiece “Devil’s Double” and the bounce of “Gypsy Queen” speak for the four-piece’s roots and appreciation of straightforward heavy, void of pretense and tapping into an easy mid-paced fluidity that slows up somewhat on closer “Pagan” without really losing the central groove of the offering overall. They’ll have their work cut out for them in distinguishing themselves over the longer term amongst London’s burl-fueled hordes, but their first outing shows their instincts headed in the right direction in terms of songwriting, performance and presentation.

Orbital Junction on Thee Facebooks

Orbital Junction on Bandcamp

 

Bourbon, Fuente Vieja

Bourbon Fuente Vieja

Crisp but warm in its tone and presentation, rife with melody and carrying a laid back spirit despite a fervent underlying groove — the bass on “El Sendero” rests well within gotta-hear-it territory — Spanish purveyors Bourbon emobody some of the best of post-Viaje a 800 Andalusian heavy rock and roll on their third LP, Fuente Vieja (on Spinda). Their fuzz makes its presence known early on “Si Véis La Luz, Corred” and continues as a running theme as tracks like “A Punto de Arder” and the side-A-capping title-cut grow increasingly progressive. There’s room for some shuffle, of course, as side B begins with “La Triste Realidad,” and the slower “Hacia el Sol” gracefully blends electrified wah and acoustic guitars beneath a well-timed standout vocal performance, but the highlight might be eight-minute closer “Destierro,” which seems to bring everything else under one roof while tapping into a poppier structure early — acoustics and electrics aligning effectively circa two minutes in — while providing the album with a graceful and fittingly organic-sounding finale.

Bourbon on Thee Facebooks

Spinda Records webstore

 

Birnam Wood, Wicked Worlds

birnam wood wicked worlds

Birnam Wood don’t have time for bullshit, but they do have time for a bit of shenanigans. Thus the 1:44 surge of opener “Time of Purification” leads into the sample-laden roller groove of “Richard Dreyfuss” on their as-of-now-self-released Wicked Worlds, and the “Hole in the Sky”-style “Dunsinane” shifts into the more blown-out “Early Warning,” which, by the time its tectonic low end kicks in, is indeed something of a clarion. At seven-tracks/34-minutes, Wicked Worlds is somewhere between an EP and an LP, but I’d argue it as the latter with the flow from “Greenseer” into the massive “A Song for Jorklum” and the seven-minute finale “Return to Samarkand” making for a righteous side B, but either way, it’s a Boston-crafted assault of grit-tone and aggro doom that finds the band not overwhelmed by the heft of their own tones but able to move and manipulate them to serve the purposes of their songs. Those purposes, incidentally, are mostly about kicking ass. Which they do. Copiously.

Birnam Wood on Thee Facebooks

Birnam Wood on Bandcamp

 

Wytch Hazel, II: Sojourn

Wytch Hazel II Soujorn

It would not seem to be a coincidence that UK self-aware four-piece Wytch Hazel — guitarists Conlin Hendra (also vocals) and Alex Haslam, bassist Matt Gatley and drummer Jack Spencer nod to Wishbone Ash‘s Argus with the cover of their second LP, II: Sojourn (on Bad Omen). They do a lot of that kind of nodding, with a sound culled from a valiant blend of classic progressive and early NWOBHM styles that makes the point of how closely related the two have always been. “The Devil is Here” starts out at a fervent gallop with just an underpinning of Thin Lizzy, while the later “See My Demons” shifts from its steady roll and rousing hook into an acoustic/electric break that seems to pull from Jethro Tull as much as Scorpions. At 10 tracks/45 minutes, they have plenty of time to flesh out their ideas, and they do precisely that, whether it’s the careful unfolding around the keys and acoustics of closer “Angel Take Me” or the over-the-top instrumental push of “Chorale” or the moodier “Wait on the Wind,” the wah solo of which is a highlight on its own. There are some burgeoning harmonies in Hendra‘s vocals, which is an impulse he should follow as it would only enhance the material, but after making their debut with 2016’s Prelude, II: Sojourn finds Wytch Hazel sounding comfortable and well established in their niche.

Wytch Hazel on Thee Facebooks

Bad Omen Records on Bandcamp

 

The Soulbreaker Company, Sewed with Light

the soulbreaker company sewed with light

Progressive, expansive and engaging, the sixth album from Spanish sextet The Soulbreaker Company, Sewed with Light (on Underground Legends), taps into classically Floydian influences on songs like “The Word, the Blade” while still keeping a foot in heavy rock on the prior “Together,” and setting a quick course into a varied sonic persona via the seven-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Inner Dark.” Hypnotizing not necessarily with drift but with sheer willful exploration, The Soulbreaker Company work with a variety of key sounds and craft-minded ranging guitar in order to effect an atmosphere of thoughtful songwriting even in their most outwardly trippy moments. The sneering semi-psychedelic rock of “Avoid the Crash” and the more stripped-down roll of “Arrhythmia” (video premiere here) lead the way into closer “In the Beginning,” which marks yet another departure with its grandeur of string sounds and electronic beats leading to a chugging big finale. As with the bulk of The Soulbreaker Company‘s work, it requires an active ear, but Sewed with Light both encourages and well earns consideration as more than background noise.

The Soulbreaker Company on Thee Facebooks

Underground Legends on Bandcamp

 

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Sólstafir to Tour Australia with Enslaved; European Festival Dates Approaching

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Next weekend in Neskaupstaður, Iceland’s prime purveyors of melancholic heavy, Sólstafir, will take the stage at the Eistnaflug Festival alongside The Vintage Caravan and a host of other native acts as well as the likes of Anathema, Kreator and many more. It’s not by any means their first appearance at the fest, but still notable for their placement near the top of the bill, reinforcing their position among the foremost Icelandic bands going. To that end, they’ll also be joining with Norwegian progressive extremists Enslaved on an Australian run next month. It’s four shows in Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, but still a formidable run both for the journey involved in getting there and the pairing, as together, the two bands represent some of the most forward thinking metal Europe has to offer. I wouldn’t mind catching those two together, is all I’m saying.

Sólstafir, of course, go supporting last year’s Berdreyminn (review here), which was released by Season of Mist. The label sent the following down the PR wire:

solstafir (Photo Hafsteinn Viðar)

Sólstafir announce Australian tour with Enslaved

Acclaimed Icelandic rock band SÓLSTAFIR have announced their first-ever Australian tour. The trek commences on August 29 in Perth, and sees the band performing in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne. A full list of confirmed tour dates can be found below.

SÓLSTAFIR are touring in support of their new album, ‘Berdreyminn’. The album, produced by Birgir Birgirsson (SIGUR RÓS, ALCEST) and Jaime Gomez-Arellano (GHOST, PARADISE LOST, ULVER), is available across multiple formats at the Season of Mist E-Shop.

SÓLSTAFIR have released a new video for the track “Hula”. The surreal new video, filmed in the haunting Hill of Crosses of Lithuania, is streaming now.

SÓLSTAFIR live:
July 11 Neskaupstaður, IS @ Eistnaflug
Aug. 4 Wacken, DE @ Wacken Open Air
Aug. 18 Dinkelsbühl, DE @ Summer Breeze Open Air

SÓLSTAFIR Australian tour:
All dates with ENSLAVED
Aug. 29 Perth, AUS @ Rosemount Hotel
Aug. 30 Sydney, AUS @ Factory Theatre
Aug. 31 Brisbane, AUS @ The Zoo
Sept. 1 Melbourne, AUS @ Max Watt’s

https://www.facebook.com/solstafirice
http://twitter.com/solstafir
https://solstafir.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial/
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Sólstafir, Berdreyminn (2017)

Sólstafir, “Hula” official video

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The Vintage Caravan Post New Single “Reflections” from Gateways; Preorders Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I haven’t heard the new album from The Vintage Caravan yet, which is kind of a bummer, but they’ve got a new track for all to check out. Preorders are up for the third album from the Icelandic heavy rockers, which is called Gateways and due out at the end of next month on Nuclear Blast, and accordingly, the three-piece have released the track “Reflections” to give a sample of what the record is all about. From here, it sounds like it’s about hooks, uptempo classic heavy rock swing, and a timeless approach to riff-led fare that the band has been making their own since the start. I know Nuclear Blast has some pretty heavy hitters in their lineup, what with the Graveyard and the Kadavar and the whatnot, but The Vintage Caravan are by no means to be lost in the shuffle when it comes to quality of output or effort put in supporting their stuff. As you’ll see in the list of tour dates below.

Also, check out the fucking song at the bottom of this post. It’s a good ‘un.

Blah blah blah PR wire:

the vintage caravan gateways

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN – new single + track listing + album pre-order

Icelandic classic rock trio THE VINTAGE CARAVAN are back! Featuring 10 new stirring tracks, their highly-anticipated 4th studio album Gateways, will be released on August 31st, 2018 through Nuclear Blast. Today, the band can finally present a first taster of their upcoming record in the form of the first single, ‘Reflections’.

Guitarist/vocalist Óskar Logi comments, “We are so pleased to finally give you guys the first taste of Gateways. The track is a powerful one, heavy and melodic. The song came quickly together in the songwriting process but we spent a lot of time during the mixing and mastering to get the song (and the entire album) sounding as good as possible. We are super proud and we hope you’ll enjoy ‘Reflections’!”

Gateways can now be pre-ordered in various formats, here: http://nblast.de/VintageCaravanGateways
Download or stream the new song ‘Reflections’ here: http://nblast.de/TVCReflections
Pre-save the album via Spotify: http://nblast.de/TheVintageCaravanPreSa
Listen to the track in the NB Novelties Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/nuclearblastrecords/playlist/6aw9wiedFzzhJiI96DhNhw

Gateways will be available in the following formats:
– DIGI
– 2LP (black, white)
– DIGITAL

Gateways track listing:
01. Set Your Sights
02. The Way
03. Reflections
04. On The Run
05. All This Time
06. Hidden Streams
07. Reset
08. Nebula
09. Farewell
10. Tune Out
Bonus Track (DIGI and 2LP only!)
11. The Chain (FLEETWOOD MAC Cover)

The band commented on their upcoming record, “We are very proud to present our new album, Gateways! Recorded in the legendary Sundlaugin Studios in Iceland (owned by Sigur Rós). Produced by Ian Davenport (BAND OF SKULLS, GAZ COOMBES). Overall we think this album feels more mature than the previous ones. We really pushed ourselves to make this album sound as great as possible. I won’t name any names but some people have been heard saying this is the greatest thing since sliced bread. We can’t wait for you all to hear it/taste it.”

The band will be touring extensively in support of their new album. Recently, Spanish dates have been added to the itinerary. All dates are below.

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN live:
11.07. IS Neskaupstaður – Eistnaflug (Performing »Voyage« in its entirety)
12.07. IS Neskaupstaður – Eistnaflug
28.07. D Neuensee – Rock im Wald
04.08. E Gijón – Tsunami Xixón

»2018 Gateways Tour«
w/ supports
13.10. NL Hengelo – Beerland
15.10. D Hamburg – Molotow
16.10. D Berlin – Lido
17.10. PL Warsaw – Hydrozagadka
18.10. PL Pozna? – Pod Minog?
19.10. A Vienna – Arena
20.10. D Kempten – Rock The Box
22.10. D Leipzig – Moritzbastei
23.10. D Munich – Strom
24.10. D Karlsruhe – Substage
25.10. D Cologne – Luxor
26.10. F Paris – Backstage
27.10. F Rennes – Garmonbozia
30.10. E Bilbao – Santana 27 *NEW*
31.10. E Madrid – Nazca Club *NEW*
01.11. E Barcelona – Sala Bóveda *NEW*
08.11. UK Nottingham – Rescue Rooms
09.11. UK Camp HRH – Hard Rock Hell
10.11. UK London – The Borderline
12.11. UK Glasgow – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
13.11. UK Manchester – Rebellion
14.11. UK Bristol – Exchange
16.11. B Brussels – Ancienne Belgique

w/ FLYNOTES
01.12. RUS St. Petersburg – Mod
02.12. RUS Moscow – Zil Arena

Tickets: www.thevintagecaravan.eu/tour

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN is:
Óskar Logi | guitars, vocals
Alexander Örn | bass, backing vocals
Stefán Ari | drums, backing vocals

https://www.facebook.com/vintagecaravan
https://www.instagram.com/thevintagecaravan/
https://twitter.com/_vintagecaravan
http://www.thevintagecaravan.eu/
https://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa
https://twitter.com/nuclearblastusa
http://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html

The Vintage Caravan, “Gateways”

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The Vintage Caravan Confirm Aug. 31 Release Date for Gateways

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the vintage caravan

Three years in the making, the third full-length from Icelandic classic heavy rockers The Vintage Caravan arrives following a busy time of touring, pushing their sound forward with each new stop, city, country, etc. And like its two predecessors, 2015’s Arrival (review here) and their 2012 debut, Voyage — which unless I’m remembering wrong was comprised of two earlier EPs — its title gives a sense of motion and travel from one place to another. That running theme hardly seems like an accident for a young band who both groove so voraciously and are on the road so steadily, and as you can see below, in addition to a few summer fests, The Vintage Caravan also have dates in Germany, the UK and Russia to support the new album after it’s out. One expects more touring announcements to follow.

As well as videos, promo audio and so on. Very interested to hear what they come up with this time around. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if, with all the experience of the last three years behind them, they really put together something special. The potential’s been there all along. Keep an eye out and I’ll do the same.

From the PR wire:

the vintage caravan gateways

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN To Release New Studio Album Gateways On August 31, 2018!

Their very first, 2-month European headline tour, a Latin American headline tour, 2 UK headline tours, supporting the legendary EUROPE in the European mainland & Scandinavia, performing at 60+ festivals… The time after the release of THE VINTAGE CARAVAN’s latest studio album Arrival in May 2015 was full of highlights. But during the last year, the Icelandic classic rock trio had retired and focussed on writing and recording their 4th studio album entitled Gateways. Now it’s a wrap and will see the light of day on August 31st, 2018 through Nuclear Blast.

The band comments, “We are very proud to present our new album, Gateways! Recorded in the legendary Sundlaugin Studios in Iceland (owned by Sigur Rós). Produced by Ian Davenport (BAND OF SKULLS, GAZ COOMBES). Overall, we think this album feels more mature than the previous ones. We really pushed ourselves to make this album sound as great as possible. I won’t name any names but some people have been heard saying this is the greatest thing since sliced bread. We can’t wait for you all to hear it/taste it.”

Stay tuned for further information!

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN live:
23.06. B Dessel – Graspop Metal Meeting
11. – 14.07. IS Neskaupstaður – Eistnaflug
28.07. D Neuensee – Rock im Wald
04.08. E Gijón – Tsunami Xixón

Gateways Tour 2018
w/ special guests
15.10. D Hamburg – Molotow
16.10. D Berlin – Lido
20.10. D Kempten – Rock The Box
22.10. D Leipzig – Moritzbastei
23.10. D Munich – Strom
24.10. D Karlsruhe – Substage
25.10. D Cologne – Luxor

08.11. UK Camp HRH – Hard Rock Hell

w/ FLYNOTES
01.12. RUS St. Petersburg – Mod
02.12. RUS Moscow – Zil Arena

Tickets: www.thevintagecaravan.eu/tour

More dates in other countries to be added soon…!

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN is:
Óskar Logi | guitars, vocals
Alexander Örn | bass, backing vocals
Stefán Ari | drums, backing vocals

https://www.facebook.com/vintagecaravan
https://www.instagram.com/thevintagecaravan/
https://twitter.com/_vintagecaravan
http://www.thevintagecaravan.eu/
https://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa
https://twitter.com/nuclearblastusa
http://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html

The Vintage Caravan, “Babylon” official video

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