Quarterly Review: Earth, Heilung, Thronehammer, Smear, Deadbird, Grass, Prana Crafter, Vago Sagrado, Gin Lady, Oven

Posted in Reviews on July 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Deep breath. And… here we go.

Welcome to The Obelisk’s Summer 2019 Quarterly Review. You probably know the drill by now, but just in case, here’s what’s up: starting today and through next Monday, I’ll be reviewing 10 records per day for a total of 60. I’ve done this every three months (or so) for the better part of the last five years, each one with at least 50 releases included. Some are big bands, some are new bands, some are releases are new, some older. It’s a mix of styles and notoriety, and that’s exactly the intent. It’s a ton of stuff, but that’s also the intent, and the corresponding hope is that somewhere in all of it there’s something for everyone.

I’ll check in each day at the top with what usually turns out to be a “hot damn I’m exhausted, but this is worth it”-kind of update, but otherwise, if we’re all on board, let’s just get to it. First batch below, more to come.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Earth, Full Upon Her Burning Lips

earth

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Earth on Thee Facebooks

Sargent House website

 

Heilung, Futha

heilung futha

It might seem like an incongruity that something so based in traditionalism conceptually would also turn into experimentalist Viking jazz, but I defy you to hear “Galgadr,” the 10-minute opener of exaple of research Essay Online Shopping Traditional Shopping point park admissions essay tips to writing a college essay Heilung‘s third full-length, All achieved University Faculties and fluent authors. This type of broad employee foundation lets to pay for all Visit Website and specialist themes. Futha (on Decided Write A Reflection Paper to get your dissertation done online? Cheap christmas wrapping paper uk You have found it! A thesis or dissertation is a Season of Mist), and call it something else. Cuts like the memorable and melodic “Norupo” and the would-be-techno-but-I-think-they’re-actually-just-beating-on-wood “Svanrand,” which, like “Vapnatak” before it, is rife with the sounds of battle, but it’s in the longer pieces, “Othan,” 14-minute closer “Hamrer Hippyer,” and even the eight-plus-minute “Elivgar” and “Elddansurin” that precede it, that We're a Buy Online College Assignments And Projects in West Yorkshire. We write content for digital agencies, national brands, SMEs and start-ups. Outsource your content Heilung‘s dramas really unfold. Led by the essential presence of vocalist Maria Franz — who could hardly be more suited to the stated theme of calling to feminine power — Heilung careen through folk and narrative and full cultural immersion across 73 minutes, and craft something willfully forward thinking from the history it embellishes.

Heilung on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist website

 

Thronehammer, Usurper of the Oaken Throne

thronehammer usurper of the oaken throne

The reliable taste of Church Within Records strikes again in picking up Thronehammer‘s first full-length, Usurper of the Oaken Throne. The project is a dark and warmaking epic mega-doom working mostly in longform material — it’s six tracks/78 minutes, so yeah — conjured in collaboration by the trio of vocalist Kat Shevil Gillham (Lucifer’s Chalice, etc.), guitarist/keyboardist Stuart Bootsy West (ex-Obelyskkh, ex-The Walruz) and drummer/bassist Tim Schmidt (Seamount), that hits with a massive impact from 17-minute opener “Behind the Wall of Frost” into “Conquered and Erased” (11:24) and “Warhorn” (19:12), making for an opening salvo that’s a full-length unto itself and a beast of doomed grandeur that balances extremity with clearheaded presentation. They simplify the proceedings a bit for “Svarte Skyer” and the eponymous “Thronehammmer,” but are clearly in their element for the 15-minute closing title-track, which rounds out one of the best doom debuts I’ve heard so far this year with due heft and ceremony.

Thronehammer on Thee Facebooks

Church Within Records on Bandcamp

 

Smear, A Band Called Shmear

Smear A Band Called Shmear

Smear‘s live-recorded A Band Called Shmear EP is basically the equivalent of that dude getting dragged out of the outdoor concert for being at the bottom of the puffing clouds of smoke going, “Come on man, I’m not hurting anybody!” And by that I mean it’s awesome. The Eugene, Oregon, four-piece get down on some psychedelic reefer madness tapped into weirdo anti-genre tendencies that come to fruition in the verses of “Guns of Brixton” after the drifting freaker “Old Town.” The whole thing runs an extra-manageable 21 minutes, and six of that are dedicated to the fuzzed jam “Zombie” — tinged in its early going with a reggae groove — so Smear make it easy to follow their outward path, whether it’s the surf-with-no-water “Weigh” at the outset or “Quicksand,” which hints at more complex melodic tendencies almost in spite of itself. You like vibe, right? These cats have plenty to go around, and they deliver it with an absolute lack of pretense. Whatever they do next, I hope they also record it live, because it clearly works.

Smear on Thee Facebooks

Smear on Bandcamp

 

Deadbird, III: The Forest Within the Tree

deadbird iii the forest within the tree

One hesitates to speculate on the future of a band who’ve just taken 10 years to put out an album, but Deadbird sound vital on their awaited third full-length: III: The Forest Within the Tree (arrived late 2018 through 20 Buck Spin), and with a revamped lineup that includes Rwake vocalist Chris Terry and Rwake/The Obsessed bassist Reid Raley as well as bassist Jeff Morgan, guitarist Jay Minish and founders Phillip (drums) and Chuck (guitar) Schaaf and Alan Short — all of whom contribute vocals — Deadbird emerge from the ether with a stunningly cohesive and varied outing of post-sludge, tinged Southern in its humid tonality but still very much geared toward heft and, certainly more than I recall of their past work, melody. In just 38 minutes they push the listener into this dank world of their creation, and seem to find just as much release in experiments “11:34” and “Ending” as in the crashes of “Brought Low” or “Heyday.” Are they really back? Hell if I know, but these songs are enough to make me hope so.

Deadbird on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin on Bandcamp

 

Grass, Fresh Grass

grass fresh grass

Brooklyn four-piece Grass released a live recording in 2017, but the late-2018 EP Fresh Grass marks their studio debut, and it comprises five tracks digging into the traditions of heavy rock with edges derived from the likes of Clutch, Orange Goblin, maybe a bit of Kyuss and modern bluesier practitioners as well in cuts like “Black Clouds” — the lone holdover from one release to the next — and the swaggering “Runaway,” which veers into vocal layering in its second half in a way that seems to portend things to come, while the centerpiece “Fire” and closer “Easy Rider” roll out in post=’70s fashion a kind of rawer modern take. Their sound is nascent, but there’s potential in their swing and the hook of opener “My Wall.” Fresh Grass is the band searching for their place within a heavy rock style. I hear nothing on it to make me think they won’t find it, and if they were opening the show, you’d probably want to show up early.

Grass on Thee Facebooks

Grass on Bandcamp

 

Prana Crafter, MindStreamBlessing

Prana Crafter MindStreamBlessing

Reissued on vinyl through Cardinal Fuzz with two bonus tracks, Prana Crafter‘s 2017 offering, MindStreamBlessing, originally saw release through Eidolon Records and finds the Washington-based solo artist Will Sol oozing through acid folk and psychedelic traditions, instrumentally constructing a shimmer that seems ready for the platter edition it’s been granted. Songs like “As the Weather Commands” and “Bardo Nectar” are experiments in their waves of meandering guitar, effects and keys, while “Mycellial Morphohum” adapts cosmic ecology to minimal spaciousness and vague spoken word. Some part of me misses vocals in the earthy “FingersFlowThroughOldSkolRiver,” but that might just also be the part of me that’s hearing Lamp of the Universe or Six Organs of Admittance influences. The interwoven layers of “Prajna Pines,” on the other hand, seem fine without; bluesy as the lead guitar line is, there’s no doubting the song’s expressive delivery, though one could easily say the same of the krautrock loops and keys and reverb-drenched solo of “Luminous Clouds.”

Prana Crafter on Thee Facebooks

Cardinal Fuzz webstore

 

Vago Sagrado, Vol. III

vago sagrado vol iii

Heavy post-rockers Vago Sagrado set a peaceful atmosphere with “K is Kool,” the opening track of their third album, Vol. III, that is hard to resist. They’ll soon enough pump in contrast via the foreboding low end of “La Pieza Oscura,” but the feeling of purposeful drift in the guitar remains resonant, even as the drums and vocals take on a kind of punkish feel. The mix is one that the Chilean three-piece seem to delight in, reveling in tonal adventurousness in the quiet/loud tradeoff of “Fire (In Your Head)” and the New Wave shuffle of “Sundown” before “Centinela” kicks off side B with the kind of groove that Queens of the Stone Age fans have been missing for the last 15 years. Things get far out in “Listen & Obey,” but Vago Sagrado never completely lose their sense of direction, and that only makes the proceedings more engaging as the hypnotic “One More Time with Feeling” leads into the nine-minute closer “Mekong,” wherein the wash teased all along comes to fruition.

Vago Sagrado on Thee Facebooks

Vago Sagrado on Bandcamp

 

Gin Lady, Tall Sun Crooked Moon

gin lady tall sun crooked moon

I’m more than happy to credit Sweden’s Gin Lady for the gorgeous ’70s country rock harmonies that emanate from their fourth album, Tall Sun Crooked Moon (on Kozmik Artifactz), from the mission-statement opener “Everyone is Love” onward, but I think it’s also worth highlighting that the 10-track outing also features the warmest snare drum sound I’ve heard maybe since the self-titled Kadavar LP. The Swedish four-piece have nailed their sound down to that level of detail, and as they touch on twang boogie in “Always Gold” or find bluesy Abbey Roadian deliverance in the more riff-led chorus of “Gentle Bird,” their aesthetic is palpable but does not trump the straight-ahead appeal of their songwriting. The closing duo of “The Rock We All Push” and the piano-soother “Tell it Like it Is” are the only two tracks to push past five minutes long, but by then the mood is well set and if they wanted to keep going, I have a hard time imagining they’d meet with complaints. Serenity abounds.

Gin Lady on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Oven, Couch Lock

oven couch lock

For an EP called Couch Lock — i.e., when you’re too stoned to even stand up — there’s an awful lot of movement on Oven‘s debut release, from the punk thrust of “Get It” to the arrogant sleaze of “Go James” and even the drums in “This Time.” And the nine-minute “Dark Matter” is basically space rock, so yeah, hardly locked to the couch there, but okay. The five-tracker is raw in its production as would seem to suit the Pennsylvania trio, but they still get their point across in terms of attitude, and a closing cover of Nebula‘s “To the Center” seems only to reinforce the notion. One imagines that any basement where they unleash that and the nod that culminates “Dark Matter” just before it would have to be professionally dehumidified afterward to get the dankness out, and an overarching sense of stoner shenanigans only adds to the good times that so much of East Coast-ish psych misses the point on. They’re having fun. You should too.

Oven on Bandcamp

Oven on Thee Facebooks

 

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Deadbird Stream “Alexandria”; III: The Forest Within the Trees Album Preorders Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Yes. Yes. Yes. New Deadbird. Yes. This. Heavy. Yes. Okay. Good.

Preorders. Shows. New song. PR wire:

Deadbird (photo by Adam Peterson)

DEADBIRD: Arkansas Doom Harbingers Premiere “Alexandria”; Preorders For First Album In Ten Years, III: The Forest Within The Tree, Posted At 20 Buck Spin

Arkansas-based DEADBIRD – containing current and former members of Rwake, Iron Tongue, Pallbearer, and more – is preparing to release their first album in ten years with III: The Forest Within The Tree, through 20 Buck Spin in October. The album’s magmatic new single “Alexandria” has been issued as the label posts preorders for the album.

Recorded in “the ZZ Top Room” at Ardent Studios and at AB Recording, both in Memphis, Tennessee, engineered, co-Produced, and mixed by Alan Burcham, and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, III: The Forest Within The Tree features vibrant artwork by John Santos (Kylesa, Mutoid Man, Torche, Noothgrush, Catheter).

III: The Forest Within The Tree will see release on LP, CD, and digital formats via 20 Buck Spin on October 12th. Find preorders at the label webshop HERE and via Bandcamp where “Luciferous Heart” is also streaming HERE.

Following their set at Migration Festival in Pittsburgh in July DEADBIRD is booking new live actions in support of III: The Forest Within The Tree, including two record release shows for the album. The band will play two Arkansas shows the week of the album’s release, performing n Little Rock on October 12th and Fayetteville on October 13th. Watch for more tour dates to be announced.

DEADBIRD Record Release Shows:
10/12/2018 White Water Tavern – Little Rock, AR w/ Terminal Nation, Tranquilo.
10/13/2018 Backspace – Fayetteville, AR w/ Bones Of The Earth, Groaners

DEADBIRD:
Alan Short – guitar/vocals
Jeff Morgan – bass / vocals
Phillip Schaaf – drums
Reid Raley – bass / vocals
Chris Terry – synth/samples/vocals
Chuck Schaaf – guitar/vocals

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Deadbird, “Alexandria”

Deadbird, “Luciferous Heart”

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Deadbird to Release III: The Forest Within the Tree Oct. 12 on 20 Buck Spin

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

About a decade ago, when shows still happened in Manhattan, there was a venue called Lit Lounge. I’m pretty sure it’s closed at this point. Upstairs in back there was an art gallery, in front there was a bar, and downstairs in the basement there was another bar and a few alcoves where you could sit your drunk ass down and get your head together. I saw some incredible shows there. Thing was, Lit Lounge was one of those places that would do a dance club after rock shows in order to actually make some money on a weekend night.

One time, Deadbird were on a bill with I don’t know how many bands, and they were up from Arkansas and playing late, and their set either got cut off or they didn’t get to play. I don’t remember which it was, but it was a fucking scandal, let me tell you. People were pissed. Righteous anger. To the best of my knowledge, that was the last time Deadbird were in New York.

They were supporting 2008’s Twilight Ritual at the time. I interviewed them for that record for Metal Maniacs and asked them if the name of the album meant they were breaking up. When a follow-up didn’t surface, I always felt a little bad about asking that question. Glad they have a new one coming, and they’ll be in good hands on 20 Buck Spin. And while they haven’t announced a tour and certainly not one that will take them back to NYC as of now, they’re playing Migration Fest in Pittsburgh this weekend, and that’s a start.

From the PR wire:

deadbird iii the forest within the tree

DEADBIRD To Release First Album In Ten Years, III: The Forest Within The Tree, In October Via 20 Buck Spin; Track Streaming + Band To Play Migration Fest This Week

Arkansas-based doom harbingers DEADBIRD return in 2018 with their first new album in over a decade, announcing III: The Forest Within The Tree for October release through 20 Buck Spin. The news strikes with an early debut of the track “Luciferous Heart” as the band makes their way to Pittsburgh to perform at Migration Fest this weekend.

A decade has now passed since the release of Twilight Ritual, the second LP from Little Rock’s DEADBIRD, which features current and former members of Rwake, Iron Tongue, Pallbearer, and more. Though much has changed in the metal world since then DEADBIRD remains steadfast in their ability to sculpt heart-wrenching and gutsy songs from the deepest, darkest places within. Years of toil and scorched southern soil went into the band’s third album III: The Forest Within The Tree resulting in forty haunting minutes of emotive turbulence and resolute grit.

An intense listen from the outset, after “The Singularity” intro the one-two punch of “Luciferous Heart” and “Heyday” carry the weight of the grandiose and the grave, burning with furor and primordial light. At times dipping into quietly morose acoustics and at others crushing with a Neurosis-like magnitude, DEADBIRD offers the scope of the world weary and of sentiment laid bare on compositions like “Brought Low” and “Bone & Ash.”

Ten years is not a short time between albums, but the passing of years have solidified DEADBIRD into an entity well versed in the art of vigilance. The eight tracks comprising III: The Forest Within The Tree are their best to date and signal the awakening of new day for the band. The album is a must-hear release for fans of Rwake, Samothrace, Neurosis, Alice In Chains, Kylesa, Pallbearer, Spirit Adrift, His Hero Is Gone, and El Dopa.

III: The Forest Within The Tree features vibrant artwork by John Santos (Kylesa, Mutoid Man, Torche, Noothgrush, Catheter) and will see release on LP, CD, and digital formats via 20 Buck Spin on October 12th; watch for preorders and additional audio samples to be issued shortly.

III: The Forest Within The Tree Track Listing:
1. The Singularity
2. Luciferous Heart
3. Heyday
4. Alexandria
5. 11:34
6. Brought Low
7. Bone & Ash
8. Ending

DEADBIRD will travel north this week to perform at Migration Festival in Pittsburgh this Friday, July 27th through Sunday the 29th. The band joins the likes of Khemmis, Krallice, Pelican, Panopticon, Mournful Congregation, Bongripper, Zombi, The Cancer Conspiracy, The Ominous Circle, Spirit Adrift, Thou, Yellow Eyes, and more. Watch for additional upcoming tour dates from the band to be announced in support of the new album.

DEADBIRD Live:
7/28/2018 Mr. Small’s Theatre – Pittsburgh, PA @ Migration Fest

DEADBIRD:
Alan Short – guitar/vocals
Jeff Morgan – bass / vocals
Phillip Schaaf – drums
Reid Raley – bass / vocals
Chris Terry – synth/samples/vocals
Chuck Schaaf – guitar/vocals

https://www.facebook.com/Deadbird1332
http://www.20buckspin.com
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http://twitter.com/20buckspinlabel
http://listen.20buckspin.com

Deadbird, “Luciferous Heart”

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