Tau and the Drones of Praise Stream Full Set Live From Dublin

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 8th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

tau

Filmed in December, the following audience-less livestream from Tau and the Drones of Praise was shot in Dublin and premiered this past weekend. I have no idea if the video is going to remain public or if it will be taken down at some point, but while you can see it, you should.

I’ll readily admit to being a late convert to Tau, not really digging in until I heard 2020’s Seanóirí Naofa EP (discussed here), which was preceded by a 2019 self-titled full-length from Tau and the Drones of Praise that’s no less righteous in its definitively-Irish-in-its-nationlessness, heathen-without-being-masked-white-supremacist psychedelic folk, taking elements from traditions Asian, American and European and fusing them together in this a fashion at once inevitably of the earth and ready to depart from it. Flutes were had, y’all.

The stream took some from the album — “It’s Already Written,” “Craw” — and some from 2016’s Tau Tau Tau — “Mother,” Spanish-language closer “Espiral” — one from 2015’s Wirikuta EP — “Huey Tonantzin” — and three of the four from Seanóirí Naofa — the title-track, the cello-laced “Speak Your Truth” and “Mongolia.” All of this, plus the song of the land, “Éist Le Ceol An Chré,” and the stream makes a surprisingly effective sampling of Tau and the Drones of Praise past and present while filtered through a singular performance.

That performance, by the way, is gorgeous. There’s a bird. That might be Nibbles, I don’t know. The bird introduces the band, and the band unfurls 50 minutes of casual brilliance, filmed like it’s a BBC special from the year 1QX6, varying instruments and personnel here and there along the way, but keeping a steady core with Seán Mulrooney‘s guitar and vocals running throughout.

I know you’re way cooler than I am and way down with all this stuff already, but this is the kind of set that, even if you don’t know all the material, you’re going to put on and be stuck there for the duration. Between the engaging delivery itself and the ethereal spirit that surrounds the songs, there’s little to be done except appreciate, sing, maybe dance. If there’s any justice in this wretched universe, it’ll be a live album by the next Bandcamp Friday.

Have at it and enjoy:

Tau and the Drones of Praise, Live From Dublin

Thanks so much Fuinneamh for presenting our online gig tonight.

The premier airs tonight. The great gig in the sky, the great and freaky unknown. We haven’t a clue what to expect but it’s exciting.

We are playing Fuinneamh festival this September. Everything they do they do with love and energy. Fuinneamh means energy in Irish.

Setlist:
Huey Tonantzin
Mother
It’s Already Written
Mongolia
Speak Your Truth
Craw
Seanóirí Naofa
Éist Le Ceol An Chré
Espiral

Tau and the Drones of Praise:
Seán Mulrooney – guitar/vocals
Ruarí Mac Néill Aodha – guitar
Bob “Wildman” Glynn – percussion/vocals
Iain Faulkner – bass/vocals
Ken “Moon” Mooney – drums/percussion
Gabriele Dikciute – cello

Tau and the Drones of Praise, Seanóirí Naofa (2020)

Tau on Instagram

Tau and the Drones of Praise on Thee Facebooks

Tau and the Drones of Praise on Bandcamp

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Abysm Sign to Desert Records for EP Series

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 1st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Cork, Ireland’s Abysm released the debut EP, A Grim Reminder, in October 2020. The project was founded as a solo endeavor split off from Worn Out during lockdown. One suspects 2021 is going to bring a lot of quarantine-era solo outfits, and fair enough. For Abysm, the debut EP is reportedly to begin a series, which it’s now been announced will be released through Desert Records. A Grim Reminder, then, is the first installment of a trilogy of short releases. Not like there wasn’t time to come up with plenty of stuff.

The plot thickens when the band hints at lineup expansion, i.e. becoming a band rather than a project, and adding vocals to what was instrumental initially. How that means A Grim Reminder will serve as a lead-in to the series it’s beginning, I don’t know. Depends on how the progression of what Abysm is/does plays out over the subsequent releases. We could just be hearing an extended intro this time around, which I find fascinating.

Here’s the announcement from the PR wire, spliced with a few words from Abysm when the EP came out:

abysm logo

Abysm – Desert Records

Please welcome the sludge metal project ABYSM to Desert Records.

Based out of Cork, Ireland (a city I absolutely love), I’m very happy to bring you the first EP, A Grim Reminder.

The EP is up on Bandcamp now! It’s NYP.

Please support this and pay whatever you can afford if you’re digging this. $1 from many supporters can really help a band these days.

The big news: Desert Records will be releasing a trilogy of EP’s from ABYSM this this year.

“I have been putting a lot of work into piecing this together and I couldn’t be more proud of the outcome,” says Abysm. “The process of creating a follow up is well underway and expect some new things from the next release, and also some vocals as well, but more on that on when the time is right.”

EP2 and EP3 will continue the story arc of EP1.

Dig it here:
abysm-sludge.bandcamp.com/album/a-grim-reminder

https://www.facebook.com/ABYSMNOISE/
https://abysm-sludge.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/desertrecordslabel/
https://desertrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://desertrecords.bigcartel.com/

Abysm, A Grim Reminder (2020)

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Nomadic Rituals Premiere “Them” Video; Tides out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 28th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Nomadic Rituals

Look. I don’t know the cats from Belfast trio Nomadic Rituals at all. I was fortunate enough to see the band in Dublin in 2017 (review here), but it’s not like we hung out after the show or anything. Point is, for all I know, baritone guitarist/vocalist Peter Hunter (also synth), bassist/vocalist Craig Carson and drummer Mark Smyth could be absolute sweethearts — really nice guys. But their sound is nasty as fuck.

Crushing, wrenching, slow-motion-grinding atmospheric sludge is writ all across the feels-longer-than 45 minutes of their third full-length, Tides, released earlier this month through respected Irish purveyor Cursed Monk Records. The follow-up to 2017’s likewise gruesome Marking the Day (review here), the six-song Tides gives the listener hints in how to approach it in how it leads off. While it begins with an initial onslaught of noise meant to symbolize the ‘launch’ in the title of opener/longest track (immediate points) “Cassini-Huygens Part 1 (The Launch),” what builds up over the next few minutes from there is gradual, recalling some of We Lost the Sea‘s Challenger-themed post-rock, if in immediately heavier fashion.Nomadic Rituals Tides Shortly before three and a half minutes in, however, the switch is flipped and the thicker chug arrives, followed shortly thereafter by the harsh, barking vocals that will pervade much of what follows, adding to the extremity of the band’s approach overall.

But it’s in the pairing of “Cassini-Huygens Part 1 (The Launch)” and the subsequent “Cassini-Huygens Part 2 (Last Transmission)” that Tides tells you how to read it. Of course it splits in half to accommodate vinyl with three songs on two sides, but if you’re listening, say, digitally, it also functions as three sets of two songs each. You get the “Cassini-Huygens” duology named for the mission to study Saturn, and you get “Them” and Tumulus” paired, the one ending in silence, the other picking up from it, and you get the slow-building “Moving Towards Total Disorganization” feeding into closer “The Burden” — more than just an intro, but certainly complementary in how it rolls out, ending quiet and giving way to the more immediate low-end pulsations of the finale. Nomadic Rituals by no means go out of their way to make moves toward accessibility — even unto the depths of “The Burden,” they are ferocious, shifting between angular churn and sample-laced noise, only to end with scathing layers of feedback — but with a different understanding of how Tides might be intended to work, the perspective shifts accordingly, and the immersion that is so well enacted by the songs becomes even more vital.

However you go through Tides, one should be aware of the undertow that comes with the trio’s lumbering oscillations. That is to say, the album is one that does not blink as it pulls the listener into its sphere, at once broad and spacious and crushing and freezing the way one thinks of vacuum affecting lungs; gorgeous and destructive in kind.

You’ll find the Bandcamp stream of the full release down toward the bottom of the post, and I’m thrilled to host the premiere of the video for “Them” below.

However you approach, please enjoy:

Nomadic Rituals, “Them” official video premiere

Nomadic Rituals are a heavy 3-piece Sludge/Doom band from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Formed in July 2012 by Craig Carson, Peter Hunter, and Mark Smyth, the band started writing and gigging, when they released 3 self-recorded tracks that became their demo “DFWG”. This was followed up with the recording of a full-length album in late March 2013 with Niall Doran at Start Together Studios, Belfast. Released in September of that year, “Holy Giants” garnered a number of very positive reviews.

Gigging continued after release of the album, and the increasing attention received by the band opened up opportunities for shows further afield. Writing also continued, and the band returned to Start Together Studios to work with Niall Doran on the recording of “The Great Dying”. This was released in late February 2015 as a split 12″ vinyl along with fellow local Doom band Tome.

Further gigging and a lengthy period of writing followed, after which the band returned to Start Together Studio to record their second full length album ‘Marking the Day’ in late March 2016. As with the first two releases, the artwork and packaging for the new album was created, designed and screen printed by the band themselves. ‘Marking the Day’ was released in February 2017.once again to critical acclaim.

After several gigs in countries such as Denmark, Norway and Lithuania the band return with their third album ‘Tides’ which was released on CD, Cassette, and Digital Download on the 8th of January 2021 through Cursed Monk Records.

Craig Carson – Bass Guitar / Vocals
Peter Hunter – Baritone Guitar / Vocals / Synth
Mark Smyth – Drums / Percussion

Nomadic Rituals, Tides (2021)

Nomadic Rituals on Thee Facebooks

Nomadic Rituals on Instagram

Nomadic Rituals on Bandcamp

Nomadic Rituals website

Cursed Monk Records website

Cursed Monk Records on Bandcamp

Cursed Monk Records on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Monk Records on Instagram

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The Obelisk Presents: THE BEST OF 2020

Posted in Features on December 31st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

london-news-etching-1854-newcastle-upon-tyne

[PLEASE NOTE: These are not the results of the year-end poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t contributed your list to the cause yet, please do so here.]

Invariably, the ultimate measure of 2020 will be in lives and livelihoods lost around the world. I have nothing to add to the discourse of the COVID-19 pandemic that others haven’t said in more articulate and precise language. Suffice it to note that 2020 was the year that the very concept of “unprecedented” itself became trite.

One does not have to look far to find positives amid the devastation. Creativity continues to flourish. Art cannot be killed. Even locked away from each other in quarantine, artists will continue to reach out, to collaborate, to fulfill the human need for expression that has driven the species since cave drawings and will no doubt be the ruins we leave behind us when we’re gone.

In underground music, it was simply overwhelming. And though I’ll admit it was hard at times to listen to music and divorce it from the larger context of what was happening in the world — it was there like a background buzz — this year reinforced how necessary music is, not only as an escape or a source of income for those who make/promote it, but as an integral component of life and community. Absences have been keenly felt.

I won’t try to sate you with platitudes, to say “things will get better.” Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. One year turning to the next does not fix broken systems and it does not cure raging plagues. It’s just a number. Arbitrary except as a convenient marker for things like this, births, deaths, and so on. Bookkeeping.

Before I turn you over to the lists: Please be kind in the comments if you choose to leave one. To me. To other people. To yourself. These lists are culled from my listening preference and what I consider of critical importance. But I’m one person. If there’s something you feel has been left out, say so. I ask you only to do so in a spirit of friendship rather than argument. Thank you in advance.

ukmedsnorx.com/zopiclone
ukmedsnorx.com/zolpidem

Okay:

The Top 50 Albums of 2020

#50-31

50. Sun Crow, Quest for Oblivion
49. Atramentus, Stygian
48. Arcadian Child, Protopsycho
47. Fuzz, III
46. Jointhugger, I Am No One
45. Dirt Woman, The Glass Cliff
44. Switchblade Jesus, Death Hymns
43. Foot, The Balance of Nature Shifted
42. Hymn, Breach Us
41. IAH, III
40. Lord Fowl, Glorious Babylon
39. Acid Mess, Sangre de Otros Mundos
38. 1000mods, Youth of Dissent
37. Deathwhite, Grave Image
36. Soldati, Doom Nacional
35. Cortez, Sell the Future
34. Kadavar, The Isolation Tapes
33. Black Rainbows, Cosmic Ritual Supertrip
32. Shadow Witch, Under the Shadow of a Witch
31. Insect Ark, The Vanishing

Notes: To say nothing of the honorable mentions that follow the rest of the list below, immediately we see the problem of so-many-albums-not-enough-space. People talk about a top 50 as ridiculous, like there’s no way you can like that much music. Bullshit. I agonized over how to fit Sun Crow on this list because their Quest for Oblivion felt like it deserved to be here. Ditto that for Arcadian Child. And the achievements of bands like Kadavar, 1000mods and Switchblade Jesus and Insect Ark in breaking the boundaries of their own aesthetics deserve every accolade they can get, and likewise those who progressed in their sound like Cortez, Shadow Witch, Lord Fowl, Hymn, Foot, Black Rainbows, Deathwhite and IAH. Add to that the debuts from Atramentus, Dirt Woman, Jointhugger, Acid Mess and Sergio Ch.’s Soldati, and you’ve got a batch of 20 records — some born of this year’s malaise, some working in spite of it — that vary in sound but are working to push their respective styles to new places one way or the other.

30. High Priestess, Casting the Circle

high priestess casting the circle

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed May 5.

There was no shortage of anticipation for what L.A. cultists High Priestess would do to follow their 2018 self-titled debut (review here), and the three-piece did not disappoint, instead gave a ritual mass that included the 17-minute concept piece “Invocation” alongside infectious and ethereal melodies like “The Hourglass.” And now that the circle’s been cast? Seems like they can do anything.

29. Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation

Polymoon Caterpillars of Creation

Released by Svart Records. Reviewed Oct. 12.

High-powered cosmic metal from Finland pulling apart heavy psychedelia on an atomic level with an urgency that speaks of youth, progress and an ingrained need for exploration? Sign me up. A lot of bands on this list put out their first album this year. There are few for whom my hopes are as high as they are for Polymoon. If you haven’t yet heard Caterpillars of Creation, do.

28. Sons of Otis, Isolation

Sons of Otis Isolation

Released by Totem Cat Records. Reviewed Sept. 30.

Of the sundry horrors 2020 wrought, a new album from long-running Toronto three-piece Sons of Otis was an unexpected positive, and their ultra-spaced, murky riffs on their first studio album since 2012’s Seismic (review here, also here) launched like a slow-motion escape pod of righteous doom (s)tonality. There will never be another Sons of Otis. Be thankful for everything you get from them.

27. Lamp of the Universe, Dead Shrine

Lamp of the Universe Dead Shrine

Released by Projection Records. Reviewed May 25.

Organ, Mellotron, sitar, acoustic and electric guitars, various percussion elements, and of course the inimitable fragility in Craig Williamson‘s voice itself — the ingredients for Lamp of the Universe‘s Dead Shrine were familiar enough for those familiar with the one-man outfit running more than two decades, but the lush acid folk created remains a standout the world over. Dead Shrine was a much-needed gift of peace and meditation.

26. BleakHeart, Dream Griever

bleakheart dream griever

Released by Sailor Records. Reviewed Nov. 18.

The debut album from Colorado’s BleakHeart collected pieces united by melody and overarching atmosphere, positioned stylistically somewhere around heavygaze or heavy post-rock, but feeling less limited to genre bounds than some others working in a similar sphere. As a first outing, it brought a promise of things to come even as the depths of its mix seemed to swallow the listener entirely, equal parts serving claustrophobia and escapism.

25. Pale Divine, Consequence of Time

Pale Divine Consequence of Time

Released by Cruz Del Sur Music. Reviewed June 3.

There is not enough space here to properly commend Pale Divine founding guitarist/vocalist Greg Diener on how much he opened up the band by bringing in his and drummer Darin McCloskey‘s former Beelzefuzz bandmate Dana Ortt on shared guitar, vocal and songwriting duties. Completed by Ron “Fezz” McGinnis on bass/vocals, Pale Divine are a refreshed and ready powerhouse of American traditional doom.

24. Uncle Woe, Phantomescence

uncle woe phantomescence

Released by Packard Black Productions. Reviewed Oct. 21.

One is going to have to get used to the idea of Uncle Woe residing in the places between, I think. An inward-looking cosmic doom that’s likewise morose and reaching, opaque and translucent, Phantomescence could be almost troubling in its feeling of off-kilter expression. Yet that’s exactly what multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Rain Fice was going for. Thriving on contradiction, exploratory, and individualized. Start from doom, move outward.

23. REZN, Chaotic Divine

rezn chaotic divine

Released by Off the Record Label. Reviewed Oct. 15.

I don’t feel like I’m cool enough to offer any substantive comment on what Chicago’s REZN do, but their sax-laced heavy psychedelia comes across warm and is invitingly languid while still delivered with a sense of energy and purpose. It rolls and you want to roll with it, so you do. They were clearly hurt by not being able to tour this year, as were audiences for not seeing them. Call them neo-stoner metal or whatever you want, these songs deserve to be played live.

22. Ruff Majik, The Devil’s Cattle

ruff majik the devils cattle

Released by Mongrel Records. Reviewed Oct. 29.

A revamped lineup for South African desert-ish heavy rockers Ruff Majik brought producer Evert Snyman in as co-conspirator with frontman/principal songwriter Johni Holiday, and found the former trio working as a five-piece with a broader sound underscored by an electric sense of purpose and willingness to push themselves to places they hadn’t gone before. Their third record, it seemed as well to be a new beginning, and they met the challenge head-on.

21. Curse the Son, Excruciation

Curse The Son Excruciation

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed June 8.

The underheralded children of rolling fuzz riffage, Connecticut’s Curse the Son found new depths of emotion to bring to Excruciation — and I do mean “depths.” Dark times for dark times. Fueled by personal hardship, turmoil, motorcycle accidents and a pervasive sense of struggle, the LP was nonetheless a triumph of their songwriting and brought new melodic character to their established largesse of tone. Your loss if you missed it.

20. The Atomic Bitchwax, Scorpio

The Atomic Bitchwax Scorpio

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed Aug. 26.

Business as usual in ferocious heavy/speed rock from The Atomic Bitchwax on Scorpio — and that was only reassuring since the band’s eighth full-length marked the first since the departure of guitarist/vocalist Finn Ryan and his replacing with Garrett Sweeny, a bandmate of founding bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik and drummer Bob Pantella in Monster Magnet. They barely stopped to cool their heels and yet still managed to be catchy as hell. How do they do it? Jersey Magic.

19. Cinder Well, No Summer

cinder well no summer

Released by Free Dirt Records. Reviewed July 21.

Such pervasive melancholy could only be derived from Irish folk, and so it was on Cinder Well‘s No Summer, which managed to move between singer-songwriter minimalism from Amelia Baker and arrangements of deceptive and purposeful intricacy. Wherever it went, from traditional songs “Wandering Boy” and “The Cuckoo” to originals like “Fallen” and the nine-minute “Our Lady’s,” it was equal parts gorgeous and sad and resonant. It remains so, despite the fleeting season.

18. Pallbearer, Forgotten Days

pallbearer forgotten days

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Dec. 24.

Their fourth album and first since crossing the decade-mark since their inception, Pallbearer‘s Forgotten Days wasn’t just heavy, emotional or big-sounding; it was the most their-own of anything they’ve done. It felt exactly like the record they wanted it to be, and reconfirmed that the generation of listeners being introduced to doom by their music is going to be just fine if they follow the cues laid out for them here.

17. Slift, Ummon

slift ummon

Released by Stolen Body and Vicious Circle Records. Reviewed March 26.

Less a reinvention of space rock than a kick in its ass, Slift‘s Ummon pushed well past the line of manageability at 72 minutes and reveled in that. The French outfit were greeted as liberators when they released the album, and with the way the respect has been maintained in the months since they’ve given themselves a high standard to meet, but there’s only promise to be heard as you get lost in the nebular wash of this sprawling 2LP. They’ll have two more records out before this one’s fully digested.

16. My Dying Bride, The Ghost of Orion

my dying bride the ghost of orion

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Feb. 25.

The first album in half a decade from long-established UK death-doom forebears My Dying Bride found vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe coping with his daughter’s cancer diagnosis and translating that into the morose poetry for which the band is so well known and with which they’ve been so influential. My Dying Bride has never wanted for sincerity, but to call them affecting here would be underselling the quality of their craft and the heart they put into it. Follow-up EP is already out with extra non-album tracks.

15. Causa Sui, Szabodelico

causa sui Szabodelico

Released by El Paraiso Records. Reviewed Nov. 11.

Denmark’s Causa Sui may be on a mission to unite jazz and heavy psychedelia — and blessings on them for that — but the mellow jammy vibes they conjured on Szabodelico only emphasized how much it’s the character of what they do and the chemistry they’ve brought as bandmates that has allowed them to branch thusly in terms of aesthetic. It was the kind of album you wanted to put on again even before it was over, and its sweet instrumentals felt born to a greater timeline than a single year can encompass.

14. All Souls, Songs for the End of the World

All Souls Songs for the End of the World

Self-released. Reviewed Sept. 21.

I’m not a punk rocker, but All Souls make me wish I was. Their emotive and engaged heavy rock looks out as much as in on Songs for the End of the World — their second LP behind a 2018 self-titled debut (review here) — but it’s undeniably punk in its foundation, and what the four-piece of Antonio Aguilar and Meg Castellanos (both ex-Totimoshi), Erik Trammell (Black Elk) and Tony Tornay (Fatso Jetson) have put together builds on that in exciting, inventive and individualized ways, while staying nonetheless true to its roots.

13. Kind, Mental Nudge

kind mental nudge

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Oct. 20.

Five years after their debut album, Rocket Science (review here), Boston four-piece Kind return with Mental Nudge. And despite the different situations in which it finds the band’s members — bassist Tom Corino is now ex-Rozamov, drummer Matt Couto now ex-Elder — the group’s focus remains on carving memorable, mostly structured tracks out of ethereal heavy psychedelia, guitarist Darryl Shepard (Milligram, etc.) and vocalist Craig Riggs (RoadsawSasquatch, etc.) adding space and melody to the crunching, driving grooves.

12. Molassess, Through the Hollow

Molassess Through the Hollow

Released by Season of Mist. Featured Aug. 17.

Founded by vocalist Farida Lemouchi (ex-The Devil’s Blood) and guitarist Oeds Beydals (ex-Death Alley, also ex-The Devil’s Blood) and commissioned as a project for Roadburn Festival 2019 (review here), Molassess are inextricably tied to Lemouchi‘s groundbreaking former outfit and its tragic ending, but the musical branching out into darkened progressive textures on Through the Hollow isn’t to be understated. It was an album that pushed past the past, not overlooking it, but finding new ways of moving forward in life and sound.

11. Tony Reed, Funeral Suit

tony reed funeral suit

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Sept. 28.

While of course the Mos Generator frontman is no stranger to writing or recording on his own, Funeral Suit was Tony Reed‘s debut as a solo artist and it carried his progressive stamp in melody and arrangement. It was not just a guitarist playing acoustic instead of electric, and it was not a manifestation of self-indulgence. Whether it was reworking a Mos Generator song like “Lonely One Kenobi” or pursuing a new piece like the title-track or “Waterbirth,” Reed found balance between personal and audience, evoking traditional songsmithing even as he reminded listeners of his dual role as a producer.

10. Geezer, Groovy

Geezer Groovy

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed May 18.

Spectacular showing from Kingston kingpins Geezer with Groovy as their first offering for Heavy Psych Sounds. Led by guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington, the three-piece brought material that flowed with the organic feel of jams despite being structured and catchy songs. In pieces like “Dead Soul Scroll” and “Drowning on Empty,” they melded stonerized groove with what felt like genuine emotional expression, and “Dig” and “Groovy” still managed to be a heavy fuzz-blues party. And they still had room at the end to jam out on “Slide Mountain” and “Black Owl.” It was nothing but a win, rising to the occasion on every level.

9. Big Scenic Nowhere, Vision Beyond Horizon

big scenic nowhere vision beyond horizon

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Jan. 29.

So Bob Balch from Fu Manchu and Gary Arce from Yawning Man have a band. They get Tony Reed from Mos Generator on board. Mario Lalli from Yawning Man/Fatso Jetson comes and goes. Nick Oliveri comes and goes. Bill Stinson from Yawning Man plays drums. Alain Johannes sits in on vocals. Reed does a bunch of vocals; his kid does a track too. Per Wiberg from Spiritual Beggars, Opeth, Candlemass, etc., lends some keys. What do you call such a thing? Who cares? You call yourself lucky it exists. They called the record Vision Beyond Horizon. Can’t wait to find out what they call the next one.

8. Elder, Omens

elder omens

Released by Armageddon Shop and Stickman Records. Reviewed April 27.

Omens marked a new beginning for Elder as the band pushed deeper into the realm of progressive rock and beyond their weightier beginnings. The arrival of Georg Edert (also Gaffa Ghandi) on drums in place of Matt Couto shifted the band’s dynamic in a number of ways, providing not a swinging anchor for the rhythm section necessarily, but another avenue of prog fluidity. Bassist Jack Donovan brought a steady presence in the low end as guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo and guitarist/keyboardist Mike Risberg embarked on new melodic explorations while staying loyal to the band’s established penchant for sweeping changes. Omens may live up to its name as a sign of things to come, but either way, it was a strong display of the band’s will to pursue new ideas and methods.

7. Forming the Void, Reverie

forming the void reverie

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed April 15.

First words that come to mind here: “eminently listenable.” With seven tracks and 36 minutes, Reverie may not have taken up much of your afternoon… once. But by the time you gave it its proper respect and listened through three times in a row, the situation was somewhat different. The Lafayette, Louisiana, four-piece gracefully brought together structured songwriting with proggier leanings and were able to bring together rampaging hooks like “Trace the Omen” and “Manifest,” casting a sense of sonic hugeness without forgetting to add either melody or personality along with that. The band — who here welcomed bassist Thorn Letulle alongside guitarist/vocalist James Marshall, guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa and drummer Thomas Colley — have worked quickly and evolved with a sense of urgency. Is Reverie the goal or another step on that path?

6. Grayceon, MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES

grayceon mothers weavers vultures

Released by Translation Loss Records. Reviewed Nov. 18.

Vocalist/cellist Jackie Perez Gratz (interview here), guitarist Max Doyle and drummer Zack Farwell comprise Grayceon, and with their fifth record, the band looks around thematically at environmental devastation through the lens of record-breaking California wildfires from their vantage point in the Bay Area. Even as the world shifted priorities (at least most of it did) to yet another global crisis in the COVID-19 pandemic, genre-melting-pot songs like “Diablo Wind,” “The Lucky Ones,” and “This Bed” reminded of the horrors humanity has wrought on its battered home, and still managed to find hope and serenity in “And Shine On” and “Rock Steady,” a closing duo that shifted to a more personal discussion of family and one’s hope for a better future for and by the next generation. 2020 had plenty of horror. At least we got a new Grayceon record out of it.

5. Brant Bjork, Brant Bjork

brant bjork brant bjork

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed April 28.

When Sho’Nuff asked Bruce Leroy “who’s the master?,” dude should’ve said Brant Bjork. It would’ve been a confusing end to Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon, but ultimately more accurate, as Brant Bjork‘s homegrown kung fu was unfuckwithable as ever on the album that shares his name. After two decades of solo releases in one form or another, Bjork is not just a pivotal figurehead for desert rock, he’s a defining presence, as well as one of its most treasured practitioners. Brant Bjork, the album, brought initial waves of funk in “Jungle in the Sound,” explored weedy worship in “Mary (You’re Such a Lady)” and toyed with religious dogma in offsetting that with “Jesus Was a Bluesman” while still tossing primo hooks in “Duke of Dynamite” and “Shitkickin’ Now” ahead of the more open “Stardust and Diamond Eyes” and the acoustic closer “Been So Long.” With Bjork recording all the instruments himself, a due feeling of intimacy resulted, and yet he still found a way to make it rock. How could it be otherwise?

4. Enslaved, Utgard

enslaved utgard

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Sept. 29.

Why do I feel the immediate need to defend this pick? I’m not sure. Norway’s Enslaved are an institution, not just of black metal, but of bringing an ideology of creative growth to that style that often willfully resists it. They are iconoclastic even unto their own work. Utgard was released as the band stood on the precipice of 30 years together and yet it stood as their most forward-looking offering yet, as co-founders Grutle Kjellson (bass/vocals) and Ivar Bjørnson (guitar/sometimes vocals), as well as longtime lead guitarist Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal backed up the change from 2017’s E (review here) that brought in new keyboardist/vocalist Hakon Vinje with the incorporation of drummer Iver Sandøy, who doubles as a vocalist (and triples as a producer). The “new blood” made all the difference on Utgard, allowing Enslaved to piece together new ranges of melody in their work and offset instrumental shifts into and out of krautrock-derived progressions. Simply the work of a band outdoing itself from a band who does so at nearly every opportunity.

3a. Colour Haze, We Are

colour haze we are

Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten and Ripple Music. Reviewed Dec. 3, 2019.

Every year I allow myself one addendum pick, and this is it. We Are was on last year’s list because it was digitally released, but the vinyl came out this year and it received its North American release this year as well, so it seemed only right to acknowledge that. So here it is in its proper place.

3. All Them Witches, Nothing as the Ideal

All-Them-Witches-Nothing-as-the-Ideal

Released by New West Records. Reviewed Sept. 3.

This is a band controlling their own narrative. Instead of Nothing as the Ideal being ‘the one they made as a three-piece,’ the Nashville outfit decided to make it ‘the one they recorded at Abbey Road.’ Were they thinking of it on those terms? Yeah, likely not, but it goes to demonstrate all the same just how much of themselves All Them Witches put into what they do musically, since not only are they continuing to refine and define and undefine their approach, but they’re setting the terms on which they do it. Each of their records has been a response to the one prior, but that conversation has never been so direct as to make them predictable. So what are they chasing? Apparently nothing. I’m not entirely sure I buy that as a complete answer, but I am sure I love these songs and the experiments with tape loops and other sounds that fill these spaces. Whatever they do next — or even if nothing — their run has been incredible and exciting and one only hopes their influence continues to spread over the next however many years.

2. Elephant Tree, Habits

elephant tree habits

Released by Deathwish Inc.. Reviewed April 13.

There was a high standard set by Elephant Tree‘s 2016 self-titled debut (review here), but their second LP, Habits, surpassed even the loftiest of expectations. With vocals centered around harmonies from guitarist Jack Townley and bassist Peter Holland, the former trio completed by drummer Sam Hart brought in guitarist/keyboardist John Slattery (also sometimes vocals), and the resultant breadth gave the material on Habits spaciousness beyond even what the first album promised. Drifting, rolling, unflinchingly melodic and somehow present even in its own escapism, Habits was not just an early highlight for a rough 2020, but a comforting presence throughout, and the further one dug into tracks like “Sails,” “Exit the Soul,” “Faceless,” “Wasted” and the acoustic “The Fall Chorus,” the more there was to find — let alone “Bird,” which I’ll happily put against anything else one might propose for song of the year. As their former UK label crumbled, Habits emerged unscathed and Elephant Tree‘s future continues to shine with ever more hope for things to come. Being able to say that about anything feels like a relief.

2020 Album of the Year

1. Lowrider, Refractions

Lowrider Refractions

Released by Blues Funeral Recordings. Reviewed Jan. 24.

Twenty years ago, Sweden’s Lowrider put out what would become a heavy rock landmark in their 2000 debut, Ode to Io (reissue review here). A follow-up years in the making even after the band got back together to play Desertfest in London (review here) and Berlin in 2013, Refractions first saw limited release in 2019 as part of Blues Funeral‘s PostWax series (discussed here), but its proper arrival was in early 2020, and there was really no looking back after that. It wasn’t just the novelty of a new Lowrider album that made Refractions such a joy, but the manner in which the band went about its work. There was no pretending that 20 years didn’t happen. There was no attempt to recapture the bottled lightning that was the first record, and Lowrider did not sound like a band “making a comeback” rife with expectations and fan-service. Refractions acknowledged the legacy of Ode to Io, sure enough, but as a step toward adding to it in meaningful and engaging ways. The songs — “Red River,” “Ode to Ganymede,” “Sernanders Krog,” “Ol’ Mule Pepe,” “Sun Devil/M87” and the 11-minute finale “Pipe Rider” — were fashioned without pretense and came across as the organic output of a band with nothing to prove to anyone but themselves. They made it their own. In a wretched year, Lowrider shined.

The Top 50 Albums of 2020: Honorable Mention

Yeah, okay. There are a lot of these, so buckle in. Last year I just threw out a list of bands. This year I’m a little more organized, so here are bands and records alphabetically.

Across Tundras, LOESS ~ LÖSS
Across Tundras, The Last Days of a Silver Rush
Alain Johannes, Hum
Arboretum, Let it All In
Bell Witch & Aerial Ruin, Stygian Bough Vol. 1
Black Helium, The Wholly Other
Boris, No
Brimstone Coven, The Woes of a Mortal Earth
CB3, Aeons
Celestial Season, The Secret Teachings
Crippled Black Phoenix, Ellengæst
Cruthu, Athrú Crutha
Domo, Domonautas Vol. 2
DOOL, Summerland
Dopelord, Sign of the Devil
Dwaal, Gospel of the Vile
Elder Druid, Golgotha
Ellis Munk Ensemble, San Diego Sessions
Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou, May Our Chambers Be Full
EMBR, 1823
Familiars, All in Good Time
Forlesen, Hierophant Violent
Galactic Cross, Galactic Cross
The Heavy Eyes, Love Like Machines
Hum, Inlet
Human Impact, Human Impact
Humulus, The Deep
Jupiterian, Protosapien
Kariti, Covered Mirrors
Khan, Monsoons
Kingnomad, Sagan Om Ryden
King Witch, Body of Light
Kryptograf, Kryptograf
Light Pillars, Light Pillars
Lord Buffalo, Tohu Wa Bohu
Lord Loud, Timid Beast
Lotus Thief, Oresteia
Malsten, The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill
Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter
Motorpsycho, The All is One
Mountain Tamer, Psychosis Ritual
Mr. Bison, Seaward
Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery
Mugstar, GRAFT
Murcielago, Casualties
Oranssi Pazuzu, Mestarin Kynsi
Paradise Lost, Obsidian
Parahelio, Surge Evelia Surge
The Pilgrim, …From the Earth to the Sky and Back
Pretty Lightning, Jangle Bowls
Psychlona, Venus Skytrip
Puta Volcano, AMMA
Ritual King, Ritual King
River Cult, Chilling Effect
Rrrags, High Protein
Shores of Null, Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying)
Sigiriya, Maiden – Mother – Crone
Six Organs of Admittance, Companion Rises
16, Dream Squasher
Slomosa, Slomosa
Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne
Steve Von Till, No Wilderness Deep Enough
Stone Machine Electric, The Inexplicable Vibrations of Frequencies Within the Cosmic Netherworld
Sumac, May You Be Held
Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Red Tide
Temple of Void, The World That Was
The Kings of Frog Island, VI
Tia Carrera, Tried and True
Turtle Skull, Monoliths
Uffe Lorenzen, Magisk Realisme
Ulcerate, Stare Into Death and Be Still
Vessel of Light, Last Ride
Vestal Claret, Vestal Claret
Vinnum Sabbathi, Of Dimensions and Theories
Wight, Spank the World
Wino, Forever Gone
Yatra, All is Lost
Yuri Gagarin, The Outskirts of Reality

By no means is that list exhaustive. And to look at stuff like Psychlona, Oranssi Pazuzu, Wight, Wino, Puta Volcano, Kingnomad, Ellis Munk Ensemble, Paradise Lost, Alain Johannes, Arbouretum, Uffe Lorenzen, Tia Carrera — on and on and on — I can definitely see where arguments are to be made for records that should’ve been in the list proper. I can only go with what feels right to me at the time.

Together with the top 50, this makes over 110 albums in the best of 2020. If you find yourself needing something to hang your hat on, be glad you’re alive to witness this much excellent music coming out.

Debut Album of the Year

Molassess, Through the Hollow

Molassess Through the Hollow

Other notable debuts (alphabetically):

Atramentus, Stygian
Bethmoora, Thresholds
BleakHeart, Dream Griever
Crystal Spiders, Molt
Dirt Woman, The Glass Cliff
Dwaal, Gospel of the Vile
Electric Feat, Electric Feat
Familiars, All in Good Time
Galactic Cross, Galactic Cross
Human Impact, Human Impact
Jointhugger, I Am No One
Light Pillars, Light Pillars
Love Gang, Dead Man’s Game
Malsten, The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill
Might, Might
Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter
Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery
Parahelio, Surge Evelia Surge
Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation
Ritual King, Ritual King
SEA, Impermanence
Slomosa, Slomosa
Soldati, Doom Nacional
Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne
SpellBook, Magick & Mischief
Spirit Mother, Cadets
Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Red Tide
The Crooked Whispers, Satanic Melodies
White Dog, White Dog

Notes: I sparred with myself every step of the way here. The last couple years I’ve tried to give the top-debut spot to not just a new band, but a new presence. Green Lung, King Buffalo, etc. Molassess, with members from The Devil’s Blood, Death Alley and Astrosoniq, isn’t exactly that. So what do I do? Do I go with something newer like Polymoon, Dirt Woman, BleakHeart, SEA, White Dog or The Crooked Whispers, or something with more established players like Molassess, Soldati, or even Light Pillars?

In the end, what made the difference was not just how brilliant the songs on Molassess’ Through the Hollow, but how honestly the band confronted the legacy they were up against. The songs had a familiar haunting presence, but they were also moving ahead to somewhere new. It was that blend of old and new ideas, and the resonant feeling of emotional catharsis — as well as the sheer immersion that took place while listening — that ultimately made the decision. Turns out I just couldn’t escape it.

And why not a list? Because this feels woefully inadequate as it is. I reviewed over 250 records this year one way or another — and that’s a conservative estimate — but a lot gets lost in the shuffle and somehow it just seemed wrong this time around to call something the 13th best first record of the year. I wanted to highlight the special achievement that was the Molassess album, but really, all of these records kicked my ass one way or the other.

Short Release of the Year 2020

King Buffalo, Dead Star

King Buffalo Dead Star

Other notable EPs, Splits, Demos, etc.:

Big Scenic Nowhere, Lavender Blues
Coma Wall, Ursa Minor
Conan/Deadsmoke, Doom Sessions Vol. 1
Fu Manchu, Fu30 Pt. 1
Grandpa Jack, Trash Can Boogie
Howling Giant/Sergeant Thunderhoof, Masamune/Muramasa (split)
Oginalii, Pendulum
Kings Destroy, Floods
Lament Cityscape, The Old Wet
Limousine Beach, Stealin’ Wine +2
Merlock, That Which Speaks
Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast
Mos Generator/Di’Aul, Split
Pimmit Hills, Heathens & Prophets
Rito Verdugo, Post-Primatus
Rocky Mtn Roller, Rocky Mtn Roller
Spaceslug, Leftovers
10,000 Years, 10,000 Years
The White Swan, Nocturnal Transmission
Thunderbird Divine, The Hand of Man
Witchcraft, Black Metal

Notes: If you were wondering why King Buffalo’s Dead Star (review here) wasn’t on the big list, this is why. It was pitched to me as an EP and that’s how I’m classifying it. I’m taking the out. Is it an EP? Not really, but neither is it a full-length album, given its experimental nature and focus around its extended two-part title-track. Whatever it was, it was the best that-thing, and this is the category where such things go.

Again, tough choices after King Buffalo. Thunderbird Divine’s EP was wonderfully funk-blasted and woefully short (new album, please). The newly-issued Spaceslug EP branches out their sound in fascinating ways as a result of the lockdown. Witchcraft’s acoustic EP, Coma Wall’s EP and Big Scenic Nowhere’s EP all signaled good things to come, and Howling Giant’s split with Sergeant Thunderhoof was a highlight of the most recent Quarterly Review. There really isn’t a bummer on the list there, from the bitter psych of Oginalii to the industrial metal of Lament Cityscape, the unadulterated riffery of Merlock to the live-captured rawness of Monte Luna.

So again, why no list? Same answer. I want to highlight the progression King Buffalo made in their sound and leave room open elsewhere for things I missed. Please let me know what in the comments. Cordially.

Live Album of the Year 2020

Yawning Man, Live at Giant Rock

yawning man live at giant rock

Other notable live releases:

Ahab, Live Prey
Amenra, Mass VI Live
Arcadian Child, From Far, for the Wild (Live in Linz)
Author and Punisher, Live 2020 B.C.
Cherry Choke, Raising Salzburg Rockhouse
Dead Meadow, Live at Roadburn 2011
Dirty Streets, Rough and Tumble
Electric Moon, Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019
Kadavar, Studio Live Session Vol. 1
King Buffalo, Live at Freak Valley
Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast
Orange Goblin, Rough & Ready: Live and Loud
Øresund Space Collective, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019
Pelican, Live at the Grog Shop
SEA, Live at ONCE
Sumac, St Vitus 09/07/2018
Sun Blood Stories, (a)Live and Alone at Visual Arts Collective
Temple Fang, Live at Merleyn
YOB, Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn

Notes: In this wretched year (mostly) void of live music, marked by canceled tours and festivals, the live album arguably played a more central role than it ever has, whether it was a band trying to keep momentum up following or leading into a studio release, taking advantage of the emergence of the Bandcamp Friday phenomenon or just trying to maintain some connection to their fans and the process of taking a stage. Or even playing in a room together. Or not a room. Anything. What was once a tossoff, maybe an afterthought companion piece became an essential worker of the listening experience.

You might accuse desert rock progenitors Yawning Man of playing to their base with Live at Giant Rock (featured here), and if so, fine. At no point in the last 50 years has that base more needed playing-to. And in the absence of shows, being able to hear (and watch, in the case of the accompanying video) Yawning Man go out to the landscape that spawned them and engage with their music was a beautiful moment of reconciliation. An exhale for the converted that didn’t fill one with empty promises of better tomorrows or tours to come, but served to remind what’s so worth preserving about the spirit of live music in the first place. The fact that anything can happen. A replaced note here, a tuning change there — these things can make not just an evening, but memories that go beyond shows, tours, to touch our lives.

There were a ton of live records this year. Some were benefits for worthy causes between saving venues, Black Lives Matter, voting rights organizations, and so on. And whether these were new performances from captured livestreams (Monte Luna, Kadavar) or older gigs that had been sitting around waiting for release at some point (Sumac, Dead Meadow), this, very much, was that point, and these live offerings kept burning a fire that felt at times very much in danger of being extinguished.

Looking Ahead to 2021

A list of bands. Some confirmed releases, some not. Here goes:

Dread Sovereign, Sasquatch, Year of Taurus, Apostle of Solitude, Weedpecker, Borracho, Love Gang, Jointhugger, Demon Head, Iron Man, Greenleaf, Samsara Blues Experiment, The Mammathus, Evert Snyman, Wo Fat, Conclave, Here Lies Man, Kabbalah, Komatsu, Hour of 13, Wedge, Amenra, La Chinga, Spidergawd, Wolves in the Throne Room, Vokonis, Freedom Hawk, Masters of Reality, ZOM, Eyehategod, Sanhedrin, Green Lung, The Mountain King, Albatross Overdrive, Elder, King Buffalo, Sunnata, Howling Giant, SAVER, Conan, Slomatics, Ruff Majik, Kind, Mos Generator, Yawning Sons, Lantlôs, Brant Bjork, Spiral Grave, Crystal Spiders, Lightning Born, Samavayo, Wovenhand, Merlock, Comet Control, The Age of Truth, Eight Bells, BlackWater Holylight, DVNE, Monte Luna.

Thank You

You’ve read enough, so I will do my best to keep this mercifully short. Thank you so much for reading — whether you still are or not — and thank you for being a part of the ongoing project that is The Obelisk. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have such incredible support throughout not just this year, but all the years of the site’s existence. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you most of all to The Patient Mrs. for her indulgence in letting me get this done. I’m am amazed forever.

More to come.

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Dread Sovereign Announce Alchemical Warfare out Jan. 15; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 30th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

dread sovereign (Photo jj koczan)

New Dread Sovereign. No-brainer. Listened to it once; already stuck in my head. Can’t wait for the whole record.

It’s really as simple as that. The upcoming third album from Dublin-based Dread Sovereign, titled Alchemical Warfare, will arrive Jan. 15, 2021. That’s nearly four years after its 2017 predecessor, For Doom the Bell Tolls (review here), and prior to its slow-down-and-rip-yourself-apart finish, first single “Nature is the Devil’s Church” is actually speedy enough to warrant the Slayer pun in the album’s title. Bassist/vocalist Alan “Nemtheanga” Averill (also Primordial), guitarist Bones Huse (also Morass of Molasses) and drummer Johnny King (also Conan, among a slew of others) bring together classic, dark heavy metal swirlings and a worship-ready hook with “Nature is the Devil’s Church,” and if you weren’t already looking forward to this album just by knowing that it exists, the video for the single is at the bottom of the post here.

But like I said at the outset: No-brainer. Can’t wait.

From the PR wire:

dread sovereign alchemical warfare

Dread Sovereign reveals details for new album, ‘Alchemical Warfare’; launches video for first single, “Nature Is The Devil’s Church”

On January 15th, Dread Sovereign will release their third full-length, Alchemical Warfare, via Metal Blade Records. For a first preview of the record, a video for the new single, “Nature Is The Devil’s Church”, can be viewed at: metalblade.com/dreadsovereign – where Alchemical Warfare can be pre-ordered in the following formats:

– digipak-CD
– 180g black vinyl (EU exclusive)
– slate blue / grey marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
– raisin rouge marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 150 copies)
– gold / black dust vinyl (Kings Road exclusive – limited to 100 copies)
– white / black marbled vinyl (US exclusive)

Dread Sovereign was formed in Dublin, Ireland in 2013 by Primordial vocalist Nemtheanga to give praise to filthy cult old doom, black and heavy metal. Their first EP – 2013?s Pray to the Devil in Man – came out on Roadburn/Burning World Records to coincide with the band’s live debut. Soon after, two full-lengths were released by Van Records: All Hell’s Martyrs (2014) and For Doom the Bell Tolls (2017). And now, in early 2021, the band will release their new album, Alchemical Warfare, through Metal Blade Records.

“Our motto when we started was ‘The World is Doomed’…and it seems life is imitating art…as we are looking like filthy prophets!” says vocalist/bassist Nemtheanga. “Several years in the making, the new Dread Sovereign is ready for the End of the World, which might be next year in case you didn’t know! A bit more reckless and up-tempo than the previous releases, yet the template remains doom, ‘Alchemical Warfare‘ just has a bit more Venom and Motorhead thrown into the mix. If it’s the end of days we might as well go out with middle fingers raised right?”

“Alchemical Warfare” track-listing
1. A Curse on Men
2. She Wolves of the Savage Season
3. The Great Beast We Serve
4. Nature Is the Devil’s Church
5. Her Master’s Voice
6. Viral Tomb
7. Devil’s Bane
8. Ruin Upon the Temple Mount
9. You Don’t Move Me (I Don’t Give a Fuck) *CD+digital bonus track only

Dread Sovereign line-up:
Nemtheanga – vocals/bass
Bones – guitars
Johnny King – drums

https://www.facebook.com/DreadSovereign
https://www.instagram.com/dreadsovereign
https://dreadsovereign.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/metalbladerecords
https://www.instagram.com/metalbladerecords/
https://www.metalblade.com/

Dread Sovereign, “Nature is the Devil’s Church” official video

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Friday Full-Length: Primordial, To the Nameless Dead

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

‘From mountain top to valley deep
From shore to cursed shore
What nation? What state? What land is this?’
— “As Rome Burns”

Dublin, Ireland’s Primordial released their sixth album, To the Nameless Dead, on Nov. 16, 2007. I remember it was so late in the Fall of that year both because it’s information readily available on the internet and because it’s the latest release I’ve ever made my album of the year. Hearing it, I felt like there was no other choice. The songs forced themselves into the consciousness.

Primordial had made their debut on Metal Blade two years earlier with The Gathering Wilderness, which saw them continuing to move beyond their more strictly black metal beginnings toward distinct, Celtic-informed fare, readjusting the balance of elements at work in their sound to incorporate more melody in the guitars of Ciáran MacUiliam and Micheál O’Floinn and a cleaner vocal take from frontman Alan Averill — who also mastered the album and mixed with producer Chris Fielding (now also of Conan) — atop the affirming, drivingly metallic rhythms of bassist Pól MacAmlaigh and drummer Simon O’Laoghaire. By the time 2007 came around, that transition-to-something-else could only be called complete, and while one would still call their roots black metal, and that can be heard across the album in the guitar tones and in songs like “Gallows Hymn” or even the electric parts of the declarative “Heathen Tribes” — lest one not mention the more willfully charred “Traitors Gate” and the earlier verses of closer “No Nation on This Earth” — the emphasis in To the Nameless Dead was less adherence to genre than adherence to the songs themselves. Running seven songs and 53 minutes, it is an impeccable clarity of sound honed by the band while still coming across with any semblance of a natural impression, and the nuance of this particular moment in the development of their style happens to coincide with a front-to-back batch of memorable works of genuinely epic metal.

Beginning with opener “Empire Falls,” Primordial‘s lyrics tell tales of crumbling hedonism that are cast in ancient frames but applicable to modernity just the same. In 2007, Ireland and Northern Ireland — having been embroiled in violent conflict since the ’60s that continues to resonate across the two nations to this day and there are murals of murdered people all over the walls of Belfast to prove it — were less than a decade out from signing the Good Friday Agreement, and with the cultural corruption that was unveiled with the Catholic church’s sex abuse scandal (also ongoing), the band of course would’ve been no strangers to the tumult, the violence and the sheer unsettled-ness of the atmosphere of their home nation. Among Ireland’s rich histories PRIMORDIAL TO THE NAMELESS DEADis one of protest music, and Primordial represent that as well, in the lyrics of “As Rome Burns” and “No Nation on This Earth” and “Empire Falls” specifically, and coupled with the folk lyricism of “Gallows Hymn” and the triumphant touring chronicle “Heathen Tribes,” To the Nameless Dead cast itself from its leadoff fade-in to its final fadeout as a tale of defeats and victories, of battles fought, won and lost.

Averill‘s performance is striking on the record and many of his declarations carry a sense of stage drama. The language is grand and poetic — see, “And winter mocks me though he does not need to call my name/He thinks my bones are brittle” in “Failures Burden” personifying a season as an oppressor — and the vocalist’s delivery designed to suit, but the complexity on display across To the Nameless Dead is about more than one aspect. It’s everything on this album. The atmosphere is cold like that winter being described, and the feeling of struggle writ large in the guitars and the melancholy but insistent groove of “Gallows Hymn” and the decidedly progressive jabs amid the later chug in “Empire Falls.” Though “Gallows Hymn” is the shortest inclusion on To the Nameless Dead at 5:55 — the 90-second drone interlude “The Rising Tide” ahead of “Traitors Gate” notwithstanding — and plays as part of a back and forth between songs on either side of six minutes and songs longer than eight, no matter what mode Primordial seem to be working in at any given time, and no matter which side of their aesthetic is in the foreground, the material never sounds bloated in terms of structure or pompous. To be sure, there is an elaborate affect happening across the entire span of the release, but the manner in which that’s manifest is efficient, and all the parts of all the songs feel as though they’ve been evaluated to determine whether or not they serve the record’s overarching purpose.

“Heathen Tribes” is perhaps the most direct engagement of audience on To the Nameless Dead, as Averill‘s lyrics take the listener sightseeing on tour, noting monuments like the “spires of Sofia” in Bulgaria and “Senatus Populusque Romanus” in Italy. The band signed to Hammerheart Records for 2000’s third album, Spirit the Earth Aflame — a landmark in their progression — and their first two outings, 1998’s A Journey’s End and 1995’s Imrama had backing from Misanthropy Records and Cacophonous Records, respectively, but one can’t help but wonder if maybe there was an element of self-introduction happening too. Seems strange for a band’s sixth full-length, sure, but considering the band’s earlier works (2002’s Storm Before Calm preceded The Gathering Wilderness) had yet to see the reissues they’ve since been given, To the Nameless Dead would’ve arrived as Primordial‘s second long-player with the breadth of Metal Blade‘s distribution, and maybe served as a point of entry for international listeners as a result. They had momentum behind them with The Gathering Wilderness just two years before, but no question To the Nameless Dead would take their recognition to another level. It’s fortunate, then, that the sensibility throughout “Heathen Tribes” is welcoming.

It was four years before Primordial issued a follow-up in 2011’s Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand (review here), and 2014’s Where Greater Men Have Fallen and 2018’s Exile Amongst the Ruins (review here) arrived behind that, but in some crucial ways, To the Nameless Dead became the stylistic model from which their growth would continue, and even now its resonance and relevance feel as sharp as they did 13 years ago when it was released.

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

Cold this morning, and dark. Alarm was set for 3:40AM and that’s when I got up — yes, that 20 minutes makes a difference — and as I didn’t go yesterday because I was working on the Quarterly Review, I just went for a run after finishing the above. Left at 5:45, got back at 5:58, so that’s pretty good. Felt like I was keeping a decent pace for someone old, fat, tired and who just put an entire pot of coffee in his belly. It may not be the last one I get to today.

But winter, as the saying goes, is coming. Mars is out and big as the summer haze has dissipated. Orion’s out. It’ll be back to sweatpants before I know it.

It wasn’t my original intent to close out the week with Primordial. I had the back end set up for a whole different post, but it’s fitting that To the Nameless Dead should butt its way into my consciousness at the last minute like it did, since that’s also how it wound up as my pick for the best album of 2007. Like a few other bands I seem to insist on writing about every now and again, I don’t ever get a huge response to talking about them from social media or anything, but as far as I’m concerned if you don’t listen to the above long-player in its front-to-back entirety today, that’s your loss and not mine. I’m glad I did.

Oh, and I didn’t note it earlier, but Enslaved totally shared my review of their album from last week, which officially — YES OFFICIALLY — means I’m a big deal like Obamacare. In all seriousness, that one did mean a lot to me. I don’t know if they do their social media or someone on their management team handles it, but whoever it was thanked me for my years of support, and that was a pretty special moment to my week.

Otherwise, rough week in a series thereof. My wife’s schedule this semester is a cruel thing. Conflict continues about the dog. The Patient Mrs. is taking her to a training/boarding place today. I don’t know what the endgame is. I know nobody’s happy. Not her, not me, not The Pecan — whose new thing is grabbing the dog’s skin as hard as he can to make her bite him then getting upset when she bites him and hitting her so she bites at him again and he gets upset and then kicks and grabs and hits and she bites and by then they’ve probably been removed to separate rooms again — and not the dog, who stays in the kitchen all day and whines. I’d let her in the living room, but just about every time one of us does so, she pees on the rug. Fortunately we have a robust system of gates in place for The Pecan already, or we’d be sunk. In urine.

I have been beset with Russian-language spam the last few days. Hundreds of emails from the contact form, then corresponding hundreds of Mail Undelivered notices when the autoresponder bounces back. I know it’s a moving target, but the internet’s been around one way or the other for like 50 years now. Can it really be so hard to solve this most basic shit? This is why humans don’t deserve to go to other planets.

The Quarterly Review, which consumed my being this week as only it can, continues on Monday. I could easily do a seventh day — well, easy in terms of filling out 10 records; probably less so in terms of the actual writing — but I have two premieres-with-announcements set for Tuesday and so that put the kybosh on that. Maybe next time. I’ll have plenty left over either way. Would you believe I haven’t reviewed the new Kingnomad? Or Faith in Jane? Or the Conan and Deadsmoke split? Hell’s bells. What have I been doing with my time? Can feeling-bad-about-yourself really take up so much of one’s day?

I should roll out. The Pecan will be up shortly and will want three yogurts or whatever it is this morning for breakfast. He likes the strawberry & rhubarb kind, the mixed berry kind and the vanilla with freeze-dried crunchy blueberries added that turn it purple. I think it was Wednesday he had one of each. Siggi’s, the brand we get, is pretty low sugar, so whatever. I try not to give him bullshit. I do, however, feel like leftover pizza breakfast every once in a while is good for the soul.

Have a great and safe weekend. Have fun, wear a mask, stay hydrated. So important.

FRM.

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Quarterly Review: Mrs. Piss, Ulcerate, Shroom Eater, Astralist, Daily Thompson, The White Swan, Dungeon Weed, Thomas V. Jäger, Cavern, Droneroom

Posted in Reviews on October 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Today is what would be the last day of the Fall 2020 Quarterly Review, except, you know, it’s not. Monday is. I know it’s been a messed up time for everybody and everything, but there’s a lot of music coming out, so if you’re craving some sense of normalcy — and hey, fair enough — it’s right there. Today’s an all-over-the-place day but there’s some killer stuff in here right from the start, so jump in and good luck.

And don’t forget — back on Monday with the last 10 records. Thanks for reading.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery

mrs piss self surgery

If “Nobody Wants to Party with Us” as the alternately ambient/industrial-punk fuckall of that song posits, most likely that’s because they’re way too intimidated to even drop a text to invite Mrs. Piss over. The duo comprised of vocalist/guitarist Chelsea Wolfe and guitarist/bassist/drummer/programmer Jess Gowrie issue Self-Surgery as an act of sheer confrontation. The screams of “You Took Everything.” The chugging self-loathing largesse of “Knelt.” The fuzzed mania of ‘M.B.O.T.W.O.,” which, yes, stands for “Mega Babes of the Wild Order.” The unmitigated punk of “Downer Surrounded by Uppers” and the twisted careen-and-crash of the title-track. The declaration of purpose in the lines, “In the shit/I’m sacrosanct/I’m Mrs. Piss” in the eponymous closer. Rage against self, rage against other, rage and righteousness. Among the great many injustices this year has wrought, that Wolfe and Gowrie aren’t touring this material, playing 20-something-minute sets and destroying every stage they hit has to be right up there. It’s like rock and roll to disintegrate every tired dude cliché the genre has. Yes. Fuck. Do it.

Mrs. Piss on Instagram

Sargent House website

 

Ulcerate, Stare into Death and Be Still

Ulcerate Stare into Death and Be Still

As progressive/technical death metal enjoys a stylistic renaissance, New Zealand’s Ulcerate put out their sixth full-length, Stare into Death and Be Still and seem right in line with the moment despite having been around for nearly 20 years. So be it. What distinguishes Stare into Death and Be Still amid the speed-demon wizardry of a swath of other death metallers is the sense of atmosphere across the release and the fact that, while every note, every guitar squibbly, every sharpened turn the 58-minute album’s eight tracks make is important and serves a purpose, the band don’t simply rely on dry delivery to make an impression. To hear the cavernous echoes of the title-track or “Inversion” later on, Ulcerate seem willing to let some of the clarity go in favor of establishing a mood beyond extremity. In the penultimate “Drawn into the Next Void,” their doing so results in a triumphant build and consuming fade in a way that much of their genre simply couldn’t accomplish. There’s still plenty of blast to be found, but also a depth that would seem to evoke the central intention of the album. Don’t stare too long.

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Debemur Morti Productions on Bandcamp

 

Shroom Eater, Ad.Inventum

shroom eater ad inventum

Nine songs running an utterly digestible 38 minutes of fuzz-riffed groove with samples, smooth tempos and an unabashed love for ’90s-style stoner rock, Shroom Eater‘s debut album, Ad.Inventum feels ripe for pickup by this or that heavy rock label for a physical release. LP, CD and tape. I know it’s tough economic times, but none of this vinyl-only stuff. The Indonesian five-piece not only have their riffs and tones and methods so well in place — that is, they’re schooled in the style they’re creating; the genre-converted preaching to the genre-converted, and nothing wrong with that — but there are flashes of burgeoning cultural point of view in the lead guitar of “God Isn’t One Eyed” or the lyrics of “Arogant” (sic) and the right-on riffed “Traffic Hunter” that fit well right alongside the skateboarding ode “Ride” or flourish of psychedelia in the rolling “Perspective” earlier on. Closing with “Dragon and Tiger” and “Friend in the High Places,” Ad.Inventum feels like the work of a band actively engaged in finding their sound and developing their take on fuzz, and the potential they show alongside their already memorable songwriting is significant.

Shroom Eater on Instagram

Shroom Eater on Bandcamp

 

Astralist, 2020 (Demo)

astralist 2020 demo

I’m not usually one to think bands should be aggrandizing their initial releases. It can be a disservice to call a demo a “debut EP” or album if it’s not, since you only get one shot at having an actual first record and sometimes a demo doesn’t represent a band’s sound as much as the actual, subsequent album does, leading to later regret. In the case of Cork, Ireland’s Astralist, it’s the opposite. 2020 (Demo) is no toss-off, recorded-in-the-rehearsal-space-to-put-something-on-Bandcamp outing. Or if it is, it doesn’t sound like it. Comprised of three massive slabs of atmospheric and sometimes-extreme doom, plus an intro, in scope and production value both, the 36-minute release carries the feel and the weight of a full-length album, earning its themes of cosmic destruction and shifting back and forth between melodic progressivism and death-doom or blackened onslaught. In “The Outlier,” “Entheogen” and “Zuhal, Rise” they establish a breadth and an immediate control thereof, and their will to cross genre lines gives their work a fervently individualized feel. Album or demo doesn’t ultimately matter, but what they say about Astralist‘s intentions does.

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Astralist on Bandcamp

 

Daily Thompson, Oumuamua

daily thompson oumuamua

Lost in the narrative of initial singles released ahead of its actual arrival is the psychedelic reach Dortmund trio Daily Thompson bring to their fourth album, Oumuamua. Yes, “She’s So Cold” turns in its second half to a more straightforward heavy-blues-fuzz push, but the mellow unfurling that takes place at the outset continues to inform the proceedings from there, and even through “Sad Frank” (video posted here) and “On My Mind” (video posted here), and album-centerpiece “Slow Me Down,” the vibe remains affect by it. Side B has its own stretch in the 12-minute “Cosmic Cigar (Oumuamua),” and sandwiched between the three-minute stomper “Half Thompson” and the acoustic, harmonized grunge-blues closer “River of a Ghost,” it seems that what Daily Thompson held back about the LP is no less powerful than what they revealed. It’s still a party, it’s just a party where every room has something different happening.

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Noisolution website

 

The White Swan, Nocturnal Transmission

The White Swan Nocturnal Transmission

Following up 2018’s Touch Taste Destroy (review here), Ontario’s The White Swan present their fourth EP in Nocturnal Transmission. That’s four EPs, in a row, from 2016-2020. If the trio — which, yes, includes Kittie‘s Mercedes Lander on vocals, drums, guitar and keys — were waiting to figure out their sound before putting out a first full-length, they were there two years ago, if not before. One is left to assume that the focus on short releases is — at least for now — an aesthetic choice. Like its predecessor, Nocturnal Transmission offers three circa-five-minute big-riffers topped with Lander‘s floating melodic vocals. The highlight here is “Purple,” and unlike any of the other The White Swan EPs, this one includes a fourth track in a cover of Tracy Bonham‘s “Tell it to the Sky,” given likewise heft and largesse. I don’t know what’s stopping this band from putting out an album, but I’ll take another EP in the meantime, sure.

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The White Swan on Bandcamp

 

Dungeon Weed, Mind Palace of the Mushroom God

Dungeon Weed Mind Palace of the Mushroom God

A quarantine project of Dmitri Mavra from Skunk and Slow Phase, Dungeon Weed is dug-in stoner idolatry, pure and simple. Mavra, joined by drummer Chris McGrew and backing vocalist Thia Moonbrook, metes out riff after feedback-soaked, march-ready, nod-ready, dirt-toned riff, and it doesn’t matter if it’s the doomier tolling bell of “Sorcerer with the Skull Face” or the tongue-in-cheek hook of “Beholder Gonna Fuck You Up” or the brash sludge that ensues across the aptly-named “Lumbering Hell,” all layered solos and whatnot, the important thing is that by the time “Mind Palace” comes around, you’re either out or you’re in, and once you make that choice there’s no going back on it. Opener “Orcus Immortalis/Vox Mysterium” tells the tale (or part of it, as regards the overarching narrative), and if ever there was a band that could and would make a song called “Black Pudding” sound heavy, well, there’s Dungeon Weed for you. Dungeon Weed, man. Don’t overthink it.

Dungeon Weed on Thee Facebooks

Forbidden Place Records website

 

Thomas V. Jäger, A Solitary Plan

thomas v jager a solitary plan

The challenge of rendering songcraft in the nude can be a daunting one for someone in a heavy band doing a solo/acoustic release, but it’s a challenge Thomas V. Jäger of Monolord meets with ease on the home-recorded A Solitary Plan, his solo debut. Those familiar with his work in Monolord will recognize some of the effects used on his vocals, but in the much, much quieter context of the seven-song/29-minute solo release — Jäger plays everything except the Mellotron on the leadoff title-track — they lend not only a spaciousness but a feeling of acid folk serenity to “Creature of the Deep” and “It’s Alright,” which follows. Mixed/mastered by Kalle Lilja of Långfinger, A Solitary Plan is ultimately an exploration on Jäger‘s part of working in this form, but it succeeds in both its most minimal stretches and in the electric-inclusive “The Drone” and “Goodbye” ahead of the buzzing synth-laced closer “The Bitter End.” It would be a surprise if this is the only solo release Jäger ever does, since so much of what takes place throughout feels like a foundation for future work.

Thomas V. Jäger on Bandcamp

RidingEasy Records website

 

Cavern, Powdered

CAVERN POWDERED

Change has been the modus operandi of Cavern for a while now. They still show some semblance of their post-hardcore roots on their new full-length, Powdered, but having brought in bassist/vocalist Rose Heater in 2018 and sometime between then and now let out of Baltimore for Morgantown, West Virginia, their sonic allegiance to a heavier-ended post-rock comes through more than ever before. Guitarist/synthesist Zach Harkins winds lead lines around Heater‘s bass on “Grey,” and Stephen Schrock‘s drums emphasize tension to coincide, but the fluidity across the 24-minute LP is of a kind that’s genuinely new to the band, and the soul in Heater‘s vocals carries the material to someplace else entirely. A song like “Dove” presents a tonal fullness that the title-track seems just to hint at, but the emphasis here is on dynamic, not on doing one thing only or locking their approach into a single mindset. As Heater‘s debut with them, Powdered finds them refreshed and renewed of purpose.

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Droneroom, …The Other Doesn’t

droneroom the other doesnt

Droneroom is the solo vehicle of guitarist Blake Edward Conley and with …The Other Doesn’t, experiments of varying length and degree of severity are brought to bear. The abiding feel is spacious, lonely and cinematic as one might expect for such guitar-based soundscaping, but “Casual-Lethal Narcissism” and “The Last Time Someone Speaks Your Name” do have some measure of peace to go with their foreboding and troubling atmospherics. An obvious focal point is the 15-minute dronefest “This Circle of Ribs,” which feels more forward and striking than someone of Droneroom‘s surrounding material, but it’s all on a relative scale, and across the board Conley remains a safe social distance away from structural traditionalist. Recorded during Summer 2020, it is an album that conveys the anxiety and paranoia of this year, and while that can be a daunting thing to face in such a way or to let oneself really engage with as a listener — shit, it’s hard enough just living through — one of the functions of good art is to challenge perceptions of what it can be. Worth keeping in mind for “Home Can Be a Frightening Place.”

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Humanhood Recordings on Bandcamp

 

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Album Review: Cinder Well, No Summer

Posted in Reviews on July 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

cinder well no summer

The essential marriage on Cinder Well‘s third full-length, No Summer, is between the Irish and the Appalachian strains of folk. Driven by the songwriting and vocals, guitar, organ and production of Amelia Baker, the nine-track/37-minute collection brings minimalist stretches together with passionate delivery, subdued melancholy with mischief and traditionalism with the progressive. Baker, who is joined by Marit Schmidt on viola and vocals and Mae Kessler on violin and vocals and who recorded in Washington with Nich Wilbur, is the central presence that ties the songs and the variety of influence together, and as each piece unfolds into the next, she brings character and setting to the proceedings that resonate all the more on repeat listens, whether it is the the relatively full arrangement of organ, banjo, vocals and strings on “Our Lady’s,” which is the longest inclusion at nine minutes long and departs in its midsection to ghostly strings suitable to the stated theme of its lyrics, or traditional pieces like “Wandering Boy,” which opens, or centerpiece “The Cuckoo” and the later instrumental “Queen of the Earth, Child of the Skies.”

One more familiar with folk tradition might take comfort in the recognizable nature of these songs, but I’ll profess my ignorance in that regard (and plenty of others), so they’re new enough to me, though the rising of Baker‘s voice in “Wandering Boy” calls to mind any number of Appalachian melodies as portrayed by the likes of 16 Horsepower, and in Baker‘s fiddle work on “Queen of the Earth, Child of the Skies,” she seems to find a way to make the point of bringing Americana and Celtic elements together without using her voice at all. Likewise, in originals like the title-track that follows the opener, or the sweeping interplay of string and vocals on “Fallen,” Baker underscores her work with an edge of rock influence — a mention of Dublin’s Lankum feels obligatory — and it would work as an arrangement of distorted electric guitar no less well than it does as presented on No Summer, where it nonetheless serves as a striking moment of depth.

Place is a consistent theme, and in that, the narrative of “Wandering Boy” fits in with the story of the record as a whole, which moves from the West Coast of the US to the West Coast of Ireland in the span of a lyric on “No Summer” and only grows more specific with “Our Lady’s” and the story of an abandoned asylum in the town where Baker has settled in County Clare — home to the Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle, etc. — which serves as the backdrop as well for the epistolary closer “From Behind the Curtain,” opening with the line, “I write to you to tell you where I live now,” Baker‘s voice hesitant in the rhythm of the delivery as though she’s not sure how much she wants to share. After the captured wind whistles of “The Doorway,” “From Behind the Curtain” finishes full with violin and guitar before dropping out as the sound of waves on coastlines are directly compared.

cinder well

Two places at once, then, and Baker chooses to end the record on her own, as opposed to elsewhere throughout, where harmonies play through as on “No Summer,” or, most strikingly, “Old Enough,” which follows suit from “Fallen” in a kind of linear build, but is more patient in the execution and joins its strings with layers of vocals in graceful and willfully haunting melody. It does not feel like a coincidence that “Old Enough” — which ends only with singing — should give way directly to the instrumental “Queen of the Earth, Child of the Skies,” which in its three minutes transitions from Americana pastoralism to more gleeful fiddling, missing only handclaps to punctuate the point. By the time “Queen of the Earth, Child of the Skies” is over, the sense of departure from the effect of “Old Enough” is complete, but there’s still “The Doorway” positioned curiously ahead of the finale. It brings not just a feeling of place, but also of experimentalism on Baker‘s part that she moves from description through the lyrics to actually putting the listener there.

Maybe that’s the last step, to actually bring the audience to where Baker is, though the song-as-letter form of “From Behind the Curtain” renews that distance, so perhaps we’re not all the way across that threshold. In any case, as it rounds out with Baker giving the details of the town where she lives — “The asylum, the pub, the catholic church” — and talks about going into the church for the first time, the shift that No Summer has made from its beginning point to its end is that from a point of wandering to having landed. And what’s in the middle? The flying cuckoo bird of the centerpiece track.

For this reason as well as for the turns in its second half from one piece to the next and the simple experience of hearing it, No Summer is best taken in its entirety rather than as single pieces. Baker‘s songs might work well as standalones, particularly “Fallen” or “Our Lady’s” or “Old Enough,” but one of the joys of the album is hearing them interact with each other, a harmony here and a pinched note of fiddle on “Queen of the Earth, Child of the Skies” left in for authenticity’s sake. The first element that greets the listener is Baker‘s voice, strong and resounding, and the last to go is a plucked guitar that seems less resolute, but the dynamic Cinder Well brings to bear throughout doesn’t need to be either thing entirely to seem honest, and in fact is all the more honest for not being. Baker‘s performance is hardly joyous, but it is a joy to behold, and though the album takes the time to describe the gray tones that surround it in Ireland where lavender L.A. skies might otherwise be, it is no more of the one than the other, and its portrayal is richer for the travels that inspired it.

Cinder Well, “No Summer” official video

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