Quarterly Review: Paradise Lost, Alastor, Zahn, Greynbownes, Treebeard, Estrada Orchestra, Vestamaran, Low Flying Hawks, La Maquinaria del Sueño, Ananda Mida

Posted in Reviews on July 15th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

The days grow long, but the Quarterly Review presses onward. I didn’t know when I put this thing together that in addition to having had oral surgery on Monday — rod in for a dental implant, needs a crown after it heals but so far no infection; penciling it as a win — this second week of 10 reviews per day would bring my laptop breaking and a toddler too sick to go to camp for three hours in the morning. If you’re a fan of understatement, I’ll tell you last week was easier to make happen.

Nevertheless, we persist, you and I. I don’t know if, when I get my computer back, it will even have all of these records on the desktop or if the hard-drive-bed-shitting that seems to have taken place will erase that along with such inconsequentials as years of writing and photos of The Pecan dating back to his birth, but hey, that desktop space was getting cleared one way or the other. You know what? I don’t want to think about it.

Quarterly Review #81-90:

Paradise Lost, At the Mill

Paradise Lost At the Mill

If Paradise Lost are trying to hold onto some sense of momentum, who can blame them? How many acts who’ve been around for 33 years continue to foster the kind of quality the Yorkshire outfit brought to 2020’s studio outing, Obsidian (review here)? Like, four? Maybe? So if they want to put out two live records in the span of three months — At the Mill follows March’s Gothic: Live at Roadburn 2016, also on Nuclear Blast — one isn’t inclined to hold a grudge, and even less so given the 16-song setlist they offer up in what was the captured audio from a livestream last Fall, spanning the bulk of their career and including requisite highlights from ’90s-era landmarks Gothic and Icon as well as Obsidian features “Fall From Grace,” “Ghosts” and “Darker Thoughts,” which opened the studio LP but makes a rousing finisher for At the Mill.

Paradise Lost on Facebook

Nuclear Blast Records store

 

Alastor, Onwards and Downwards

alastor onwards and downwards

The second long-player from Sweden’s Alastor is a surprising but welcome sonic turn, pulling back from the grimness of 2018’s Slave to the Grave (review here) in favor of an approach still murky and thick in its bottom end, but sharper in its songwriting focus and bolder melodically right from the outset on “The Killer in My Skull.” They depart from the central roll for an acoustic stretch in “Pipsvängen” after “Nightmare Trip” opens side B and just before the nine-minute title-track lumbers out its descent into the deranged, but even there the four-piece hold the line of obvious attention to songcraft, instrumental and vocal phrasing, and presentation of their sound. Likewise, the spacious nod on “Lost and Never Found” caps with a shorter and likewise undeniable groove, more Sabbath than the Queens of the Stone Age rush of “Death Cult” earlier, but with zero dip in quality. This takes them to a different level in my mind.

Alastor on Facebook

RidingEasy Records website

 

Zahn, Zahn

Zahn Zahn

Its noise-rock angularity and tonal bite isn’t going to be for everyone, but there’s something about Zahn‘s unwillingness to cooperate, their unwillingness to sit still, that makes their self-titled debut a joy of a run. Based in Berlin and comprised of Felix Gebhard (Einstürzende Neubauten keyboards) as well as drummer Nic Stockmann and bassist Chris Breuer (both of HEADS.), the eight-tracker shimmers on “Tseudo,” punkjazzes on lead cut “Zerrung,” goes full krautrock drone to end side A on “Gyhum” and still has more weirdness to offer on the two-minute sunshine burst of “Schranck,” “Lochsonne Schwarz,” “Aykroyd” and finale “Staub,” all of which tie together in one way or another around a concept of using space-in-mix and aural crush while staying loway to the central pattern of the drums. “Aykroyd” is brazen in showing the teeth of its guitar work, and that’s a pretty solid encapsulation of Zahn‘s attitude across the board. They’re going for it. You can take the ride if you want, but they’re going either way.

Zahn on Facebook

Crazysane Records website

 

Greynbownes, Bones and Flowers

Greynbownes bones and flowers

Bones and Flowers is a welcome return from Czech Republic-based heavy rockers Greynbownes, who made their debut with 2018’s Grey Rainbow From Bones (review here), and sees the trio foster a progressive heavy flourish prone to Doors-y explosive vocal brooding tempered with Elder-style patience in the guitar lines and rhythmic fluidity while there continues to be both an underlying aggressive crunch and a sense of Truckfighters-ish energy in “Dream Seller,” some blues there and in “Dog’s Eyes” and opener “Wolves” besides, and a willful exploratory push on “Burned by the Sun and Swallowed by the Sea,” which serves as a worthy centerpiece ahead of the rush that comprises much of “Long Way Down.” Further growth is evident in the spaciousness of “Flowers,” and “Star” feels like it’s ending the record with due ceremony in its largesse and character in its presentation.

Greynbownes on Facebook

Greynbownes on Bandcamp

 

Treebeard, Nostalgia

Treebeard Nostalgia

One can’t argue with Melbourne heavy post-rockers Treebeard‘s impulse to take the material from their prior two EPs, 2018’s Of Hamelin and 2019’s Pastoral, and put it together as a single full-length, but Nostalgia goes further in that they actually re-recorded, and in the case of a track like “The Ratchatcher,” partially reworked the songs. That makes the resultant eight-song offering all the more cohesive and, in relation to the prior versions, emphasizes the growth the band has undertaken in the last few years, keeping elements of weight and atmosphere but delivering their material with a sense of purpose, whether a give stretch of “8×0” is loud or quiet. Nostalgia effectively pulls the listener into its world, duly wistful on “Pollen” or “Dear Magdalena,” with samples adding to the breadth and helping to convey the sense of contemplation and melodic character. Above all things, resonance. Emotional and sonic.

Treebeard on Facebook

Treebeard on Bandcamp

 

Estrada Orchestra, Playground

Estrada Orchestra Playground

Estonian five-piece Estrada Orchestra recorded Playground on Nov. 21, 2020, and while I’m not 100 percent sure of the circumstances in which such a recording took place, it seems entirely possible given the breadth of their textures and the lonely ambience that unfurls across the 22-minute A-side “Playground Part 1” and the gradual manner in which it makes its way toward psychedelic kraut-drone-jazz there and in the more “active” “Playground Part 2 & 3” — the last part chills out again, and one speaks on very relative terms there — it’s entirely possible no one else was around. Either way, headphone-ready atmosphere persists across the Sulatron-issued LP, a lushness waiting to be closely considered and engaged that works outside of common structures despite having an underlying current of forward motion. Estrada Orchestra, who’ve been in operation for the better part of a decade and for whom Playground is their fifth full-length, are clearly just working in their own dimension of time. It suits them.

Estrada Orchestra on Facebook

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Vestamaran, Bungalow Rex

Vestamaran Bungalow Rex

Even in the sometimes blinding sunshine of Vestamaran‘s debut album, Bungalow Rex, there is room for shades of folk and classic progressive rock throughout the summery 10-tracker, which makes easygoing vibes sound easy in a way that’s actually really difficult to pull off without sounding forced. And much to Vestamaran‘s credit, they don’t. Their songs are structured, composed, engaging and sometimes catchy, but decidedly unhurried, unflinchingly melodic and for all their piano and subtle rhythmic intricacy, mostly pretense-free. Even the snare sound on “Grustak” feels warm. Cuts like “Risky Pigeon” and “Cutest Offender” are playful, and “Solitude” and closer “Only for You” perhaps a bit moodier, but Vestamaran are never much removed from that central warmth of their delivery, and the abiding spirit of Bungalow Rex is sweet and affecting. This is a record that probably won’t get much hype but will sit with dedicated audience for more than just a passing listen. A record that earns loyalty. I look forward to more.

Vestamaran on Facebook

Apollon Records website

 

Low Flying Hawks, Fuyu

low flying hawks fuyu

Three records in, to call what Low Flying Hawks do “heavygaze” feels cheap. Such a tag neither encompasses the post-rock elements in the lush space of “Monster,” the cinematic flourish of “Darklands,” nor the black-metal-meets-desert-crunch-riffing-in-space at the end of “Caustic Wing” or the meditative, post-Om cavern-delia in the first half of closer “Nightrider,” never mind the synthy, screamy turn of Fuyu‘s title-track at the halfway point. Three records in, the band refuse to let either themselves or their listenership get too comfortable, either in heavy groove or march or atmosphere, and three records in, they’re willfully toying with style and bending the aspects of genre to their will. There are stretches of Fuyu that, in keeping with the rest of what the band do, border on overthought, but the further they go into their own progressive nuance, the more they seem to discover they want to do. Fuyu reportedly wraps a trilogy, but if what they do next comes out sounding wildly different, you’d have to give them points for consistency.

Low Flying Hawks on Facebook

Magnetic Eye Records store

 

La Maquinaria del Sueño, Rituales de los Alucinados

la maquinaria del sueno rituales de los alucinados

Cult poetry on “Enterrado en la Oscuridad,” garage rock boogie “Ayahuasca” and classic, almost-surf shuffle are the first impressions Mexico City’s La Maquinaria del Sueño make on their debut full-length, Rituales de los Alucinados, and the three-piece only benefit from the push-pull in different directions as the seven-song LP plays out, jamming into the semi-ethereal on “Maldad Eléctrica” only to tip hat to ’60s weirdo jangle on “Mujer Cabeza de Cuervo.” Guitars scorch throughout atop swinging grooves in power trio fashion, and despite the differences in tone between them, “Enterré mis Dientes en el Desierto” and “Ángel de Fuego” both manage to make their way into a right on haze of heavy fuzz ahead of the motoring finisher “La Ninfa del Agua,” which underscores the live feel of the entire procession with its big crashout ending and overarching vitality. Listening to the chemistry between these players, it’s not a surprise they’ve been a band for the better part of a decade, and man, they make their riffs dance. Not revolutionary, but cool enough not to care.

La Maquinaria del Sueño on Facebook

LSDR Records on Bandcamp

 

Ananda Mida, Karnak

Ananda Mida Karnak

A three-tracker EP issued through drummer Max Ear‘s (also of OJM) own Go Down Records, Karnak features an instrumental take on a previously-vocalized cut — “Anulios,” from 2018’s Anodnatius (review here) — an eight-minute live jam with Mario Lalli of Fatso Jetson/Yawning Man sitting in on guitar, and a live version of the Conny Ochs-fronted “The Pilot,” which opened 2019’s Cathodnatius, the cover of which continues to haunt one’s dreams, and which finds the German singer-songwriter channeling his inner David Byrne in fascinating ways. An odds-and-ends release, maybe, but each of these songs is worth the minimal price of admission on its own, never mind topped as they are together with the much-less-horrifying art. If this is a reminder to listen to Anada Mida, it’s a happy one.

Ananda Mida on Facebook

Go Down Records website

 

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Quarterly Review: Amenra, Liquid Sound Company, Iceburn, Gods and Punks, Vouna, Heathen Rites, Unimother 27, Oxblood Forge, Wall, Boozewa

Posted in Reviews on July 14th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

You’ll have to forgive me, what the hell day is it? The url says this is day eight, so I guess that’s Wednesday. Fine. That’s as good as any. It’s all just 10 more records to my brain at this point, and that’s fine. I’ve got it all lined up. As of me writing this, I still haven’t heard about my busted-ass laptop that went in for repair last Saturday, and that’s a bummer, but I’m hoping that any minute now the phone is going to show the call coming in and I’ll just keep staring at it until that happens and I’m sure that will be awesome for my already brutalized productivity.

My backup laptop — because yes, I have one and will gladly argue with you that it’s necessary citing this week as an example — is a cheapie Chromebook. The nicest thing I can say about it is it’s red. The meanest thing I can say about it is that I had to change the search button to a caps lock and even that doesn’t respond fast enough to my typing, so I’m constantly capitalizing the wrong letters. If you don’t think that’s infuriating, congratulations on whatever existence has allowed you to live this long without ever needing to use a keyboard. “Hello computer,” and all that.

Enough kvetching. Too much to do.

Quarterly Review #71-80:

Amenra, De Doorn

Amenra De Doorn

I’ve made no secret over the last however long of not being the biggest Amenra fan in the universe. Honestly, it’s not even about the Belgian band themseves — live, they’re undeniable — but the plaudits around them are no less suffocating than their crushing riffs at their heaviest moments. Still, as De Doorn marks their first offering through Relapse Records, finds them departing from their Mass numbered series of albums and working in their native Flemish for the first time, and brings Caro Tanghe of Oathbreaker into the songs to offer melodic counterpoint to Colin H. van Eeckhout‘s nothing-if-not-identifiable screams, the invitations to get on board are manifold. This is a band with rules. They have set their own rules, and even in pushing outside them as they do here, much of their ideology and sonic persona is maintained. Part of that identity is being forward thinking, and that surfaces on De Doorn in parts ambient and quiet, but there’s always a part of me that feels like Amenra are playing it safe, even as they’re working within parameters they’ve helped define for a generation of European post-metal working directly in their wake. The post-apocalyptic breadth they harness in these tracks will only continue to win them converts. Maybe I’ll be one of them. That would be fun. It’s nice to belong, you know?

Amenra on Facebook

Relapse Records website

 

Liquid Sound Company, Psychoactive Songs for the Psoul

Liquid sound company psychoactive songs for the psoul

A quarter-century after their founding, Arlington, Texas, heavy psych rockers Liquid Sound Company still burn and melt along the lysergic path of classic ’60s acid rock, beefier in tone but no less purposeful in their drift on Psychoactive Songs for the Psoul. They’re turning into custard on “Blacklight Corridor” and they can tell you don’t understand on “Who Put All of Those Things in Your Hair?,” and all the while their psych rock digs deeper into the cosmic pulse, founding guitarist John Perez (also Solitude Aeturnus) unable to resist bringing a bit of shred to “And to Your Left… Neptune” — unless that’s Mark Cook‘s warr guitar — even as “Mahayuga” answers back to the Middle Eastern inflection of “Blacklight Corridor” earlier on. Capping with the mellow jam “Laila Was Here,” Psychoactive Songs for the Psoul is a loving paean to the resonant energies of expanded minds and flowing effects, but “Cosmic Liquid Love” is still a heavy rollout, and even the shimmering “I Feel You” is informed by that underlying sense of heft. Nonetheless, it’s an acid invitation worth the RSVP.

Liquid Sound Company on Facebook

Liquid Sound Company on Bandcamp

 

Iceburn, Asclepius

iceburn asclepius

Flying snakes, crawling birds, two tracks each over 17 minutes long, the first Iceburn release in 20 years is an all-in affair from the outset. As someone coming to the band via Gentry Densley‘s work in Eagle Twin, there are recognizable elements in tone, themes and vocals, but with fellow founders Joseph “Chubba” Smith on drums and James Holder on guitar, as well as bassist Cache Tolman (who’s Johnny Comelately since he originally joined in 1991, I guess), the atmosphere conjured by the four-piece is consuming and spacious in its own way, and their willingness to go where the song guides them on side A’s “Healing the Ouroboros,” right up to the long-fading drone end after so much lumbering skronk and incantations before, and side B’s “Dahlia Rides the Firebird,” with its pervasive soloing, gallop and veer into earth-as-cosmos terradelia, the return of Iceburn — if in fact that’s what this is — makes its own ceremony across Asclepius, sounding newly inspired rather than like a rehash.

Iceburn on Facebook

Southern Lord Recordings website

 

Gods & Punks, The Sounds of the Universe

gods and punks the sounds of the universe

As regards ambition, Gods & Punks‘ fourth LP, The Sounds of the Universe, wants for nothing. The Rio De Janeiro heavy psych rockers herein wrap what they’ve dubbed their ‘Voyager’ series, culminating the work they’ve done since their first EP — album opener “Eye in the Sky” is a remake — while tying together the progressive, heavy and cosmic aspects of their sound in a single collection of songs. In context, it’s a fair amount to take in, but a track like “Black Apples” has a riffy standout appeal regardless of its place in the band’s canon, and whether it’s the classic punch of “The TUSK” or the suitably patient expansion of “Universe,” the five-piece don’t neglect songwriting for narrative purpose. That is to say, whether or not you’ve heard 2019’s And the Celestial Ascension (discussed here) or any of their other prior material, you’re still likely to be pulled in by “Gravity” and “Dimensionaut” and the rest of what surrounds. The only question is where do they go from here? What’s outside the universe?

Gods & Punks on Facebok

Abraxas on Facebook

Forbidden Place Records website

 

Vouna, Atropos

vouna atropos

Released (appropriately) by Profound Lore, Vouna‘s second full-length Atropos is a work of marked depth and unforced grandeur. After nine-minute opener “Highest Mountain” establishes to emotional/aural tone, Atropos is comprised mostly of three extended pieces in “Vanish” (15:34), “Grey Sky” (14:08) and closer “What Once Was” (15:11) with the two-minute “What Once Was (Reprise)” leading into the final duo. “Vanish” finds Vouna — aka Olympia, Washington-based Yianna Bekris — bringing in textures of harp and violin to answer the lap steel and harp on “Highest Mountain,” and features a harsh guest vocal from Wolves in the Throne Room‘s Nathan Weaver, but it’s in the consuming wash at the finish of “Grey Sky” and in the melodic vocal layers cutting through as the first half of “What Once Was” culminates ahead of the break into mournful doom and synth that Vouna most shines, bridging styles in a way so organic as to be utterly consuming and keeping resonance as the most sought target, right unto the piano line that tops the last crescend, answering back the very beginning of “Highest Mountain.” Not a record that comes along every day.

Vouna on Facebook

Profound Lore website

 

Heathen Rites, Heritage

heathen rites heritage

One gets the sense in listening that for Mikael Monks, the Burning Saviours founder working under the moniker of Heathen Rites for the first time, the idea of Heritage for which the album is titled is as much about doom itself as the Scandinavian folk elements that surface in “Gleipner” or in the brief, bird-song and mountain-echo-laced finish “Kulning,” not to mention the Judas Priest-style triumphalism of the penultimate “The Sons of the North” just before. Classic doom is writ large across Heritage, from the bassline of “Autumn” tapping into “Heaven and Hell” to the flowing culmination of “Midnight Sun” and the soaring guitar apex in “Here Comes the Night.” In the US, many of these ideas of “northern” heritage, runes, or even heathenism have been coopted as expressions of white supremacy. It’s worth remembering that for some people it’s actually culture. Monks pairs that with his chosen culture — i.e. doom — in intriguing ways here that one hopes he’ll continue to explore.

Heathen Rites on Facebook

Svart Records website

 

Unimother 27, Presente Incoerente

Unimother 27 Presente Incoerente

Some things in life you just have to accept that you’re never going to fully understand. The mostly-solo-project Unimother 27 from Italy’s Piero Ranalli is one of those things. Ranalli has been riding his own wavelength in krautrock and classic progressive stylizations mixed with psychedelic freakout weirdness going on 15 years now, experimenting all the while, and you don’t have to fully comprehend the hey-man-is-this-jazz bass bouncing under “L’incontro tra Phallos e Mater Coelestis” to just roll with it, so just roll with it and know that wherever you’re heading, there’s a plan at work, even if the plan is to not have a plan. Mr. Fist‘s drums tether the synth and drifting initial guitar of “Abraxas…il Dio Difficile da Conoscere” and serve a function as much necessary as grooving, but one way or the other, you’re headed to “Systema Munditotius,” where forward and backward are the same thing and the only trajectory discernible is “out there.” So go. Just go. You won’t regret it.

Unimother 27 on Facebook

Pineal Gland Lab website

 

Oxblood Forge, Decimator

Oxblood Forge Decimator

Not, not, not a coincidence that Massachusetts four-piece Oxblood Forge — vocalist Ken Mackay, guitarist Robb Lioy, bassist Greg Dellaria and drummer/keyboardist Erik Fraünfeltër — include an Angel Witch cover on their third long-player, Decimator, as even before they get around to the penultimate “Sorcerers,” the NWOBHM is a defining influence throughout the proceedings, be it the “hey hey hey!” chanting of “Mortal Salience” or the death riders owning the night on opener “Into the Abyss” or the sheer Maidenry met with doom tinge on “Screams From Silence.” Mackay‘s voice, high in the mix, adds a tinge of grit, but Decimator isn’t trying to get one over on anyone. This blue collar worship for classic metal presented in a manner that could only be as full-on as it is for it to work at all. No irony, no khakis, no bullshit.

Oxblood Forge on Facebook

Oxblood Forge on Bandcamp

 

Wall, Vol. 2

wall vol 2

They keep this up, they’re going to have a real band on their hands. Desert Storm/The Grand Mal bandmates and twin brothers Ryan Cole (guitar/bass) and Elliot Cole (drums) began Wall as a largely-instrumental quarantine project in 2020, issuing a self-titled EP (review here) on APF Records. Vol. 2 follows on the quick with five more cuts of unbridled groove, including a take on Karma to Burn‘s “Nineteen” that, if it needs to be said, serves as homage to Will Mecum, who passed away earlier this year. That song fits right in with a cruncher like “Avalanche” or “Speed Freak,” or even “The Tusk,” which also boasts a bit of layered guitar harmonies, feeling out new ground there and in the acousti-handclap-blues of “Falling From the Edge of Nowhere.” The fact that Wall have live dates booked — alongside The Grand Mal, no less — speaks further to their real-bandness, but Vol. 2 hardly leaves any doubt as it is.

Wall on Facebook

APF Records website

 

Boozewa, Deb

Boozewa Deb

The second self-recorded outing from Pennsylvania trio Boozewa, Deb, offers two songs to follow-up on Feb. 2021’s First Contact (review here) demo, keeping an abidingly raw, we-did-this-at-home feel — this time they sent the results to Tad Doyle for mastering — while pushing their sound demonstrably forward with “Deb” bringing bassist Jessica Baker to the fore vocally alongside drummer Mike Cummings. Guitarist Rylan Caspar contributes in that regard as well, and the results are admirably grunge-coated heavy rock and roll that let enough clarity through to establish a hook, while the shorter “Now. Stop.” edges toward a bit more lumber in its groove, at least until they punk it out with some shouts at the finish. Splitting hairs? You betcha. Maybe they’re just writing songs. The results are there waiting to be dug either way.

Boozewa on Instagram

Boozewa on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: The Vintage Caravan, Oslo Tapes, Filthy Hippies, Dunbarrow, Djinn, Shevils, Paralyzed, Black Spirit Crown, Intraveineuse, Void Tripper

Posted in Reviews on July 7th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

Day Three. The kinds of material covered have varied, but it’s been pretty good so far, which as you can probably imagine makes this whole process much, much easier. Today would traditionally be hump day, where we hit and surpass the halfway mark, but since this is a double-size Quarterly Review, we’re only a quarter of the way there. Still a long way to go, but I’ve got decent momentum in my head at this point and I’ve taken steps not to make the workload crushing on any given day (this mostly involved working last weekend, thanks to The Patient Mrs. for the extra time), so I’m not feeling overly rushed either. Which is welcome.

In that spirit, let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

The Vintage Caravan, Monuments

the vintage caravan monuments

To every sorrowful head who bemoans the state of rock and roll as being dead, who misses big songs, bands unafraid to groove, to engage their audience, to change things up and stay anchored to a vital spirit of the live experience, the answer is The Vintage Caravan. Monuments is the Icelandic trio’s follow-up to 2018’s Gateways (review here) and it opens with a righteous four-song mission-statement salvo from “Whispers” to “Dark Times” before mellowing out in “This One’s for You” and diving into the eight-minute centerpiece “Forgotten” — later answered by the more subdued but likewise proggy closer “Clarity” — before the hard-hitting shuffle renews on side B with “Sharp Teeth,” “Hell” and “Torn in Two” try to outdo each other in has-the-most-swagger and “Said & Done” sneaks in ahead of the finale to walk away with that particular title. Suitably enough. Momentum is almost a detriment to the proceedings, since the songs are worth individual attention, but among the classic tenets here is leave-’em-wanting-more, and The Vintage Caravan do, no question.

The Vintage Caravan on Facebook

Napalm Records website

 

Oslo Tapes, ØR

Oslo Tapes ØR

First thing to note? Oslo Tapes are not from Oslo. Or Trondheim, for that matter. Founded by Marco Campitelli in Italy, the band is a work of homage and exploration of ideas born out of a trip to Oslo — blessings and peace upon the narrative — and ØR, which is Norwegian for “confusing,” is their third album. It arrives loaded with textures from electro-krautrock and ’70s space modernized through to-day’s post-heavy, a breathy delivery from Campitelli giving a song like “Kosmik Feels” an almost goth-wave presence while the harder-landing “Bodø Dakar,” which follows, shifts with pointed rhythm into a textured percussion jam in its second half, with ethereal keys still behind. The shimmering psychedelia of “Norwegian Dream” comes paired with “Exotic Dreams” late in the record’s eight-track procession, and while the latter emphasizes Oslo Tapes‘ can-go-anywhere sensibility with horn sounds and vague, drumless motion, the hard dance in closer “Obsession is the Mother of All” really seems to be the moment of summary here. That must’ve been some trip.

Oslo Tapes on Facebook

Pelagic Records on Bandcamp

 

Filthy Hippies, Departures

filthy hippies departures

Clocking in at 15 tracks and 77 minutes of deeply varied cosmic fuckery, from the motorik push of “Your Are the Sun” to the ’90s Britgaze stylizations of “Mystified” to the twanging central guitar figure of “The Air is Poison” and onward into the blowout kosmiche echo “Sweet Dreams and Nicotine” and chic the-underground-is-actually-made-of-velvet “Like a Halo” ahead of the Hawkwind-on-ludes “I’m Buggin’ Out,” Filthy HippiesDepartures at very least gets points for having the right title. Departs from everything. Reality, itself, you. The whole nine. The good news is the places it goes have a unifying element of grunge laziness woven throughout them, like Filthy Hippies just rolled out of bed and this material just happened — and maybe that’s how it went — and the journey they make, whistling as they go on “Among the Wire” and ending up in the wistful wash of “Empty Spaces” is a joy to follow. Heady. More purposeful than it’s letting on. Not a minor investment, but not a minor reward either.

Filthy Hippies on Facebook

Mongrel Records website

 

Dunbarrow, III

Dunbarrow III

Long since in command of their aesthetic, Norway’s Dunbarrow embark on III, their third long-player, with a full realization of their purpose. Recorded by the five-piece in Spring 2020 and left to gestate for a year’s time, it’s having been unearthed is suitable to the classic doom vibe wrought throughout the eight tracks, but Dunbarrow‘s sound is more vintage in structure than production at this point, and the shifting balance between ‘then’ and ‘now’ in what they do imagines what might’ve been if self-titled era Witchcraft had retained its loyalty to the tenets of Sabbath/Pentagram while continuing to grow its songcraft, such that “Worms of Winter” both is and is decidedly not “Snowblind,” while “Lost Forever” embarks on its own roll and “Turn in Your Grave” makes for an organ-laced folkish highlight, fitting in its cult atmosphere and setting up the rawer finish in “Turns to Dust.” This is who Dunbarrow are, and what they do, they do exceedingly well.

Dunbarrow on Facebook

Blues for the Red Sun Records on Facebook

 

Djinn, Transmission

Djinn Transmission

The year is 2076. The world’s first Whole Earth parliament has come together to bask in the document Transmission, originating in Gothenburg, Sweden, at the behest of an entity known only as Djinn and respected purveyor Rocket Recordings. It is believed that in fact Transmission and its eight component freak jazz psychedelia tracks were not written at the time of their first release some 55 years earlier, but, as scholars have come to theorize after more than a half-century of rigorous, consistent study, it is a relic of another dimension. Someplace out of place, some time out of time as humanity knows it. So it is that “Creators of Creation” views all from an outsider’s eagle eye, and “Urm the Mad” squees its urgency as if to herald the serenity of “Love Divine” to come, voices echoing up through the surcosmic rift through which Djinn sent along this Transmission. What was their purpose? Why make contact? And what is time for such creatures? Are they us? Are we them? Are we alone? Are we “Orpheus?” Wars have been fought over easier questions.

Djinn on Bandcamp

Rocket Recordings website

 

Shevils, Miracle of the Sun

shevils miracle of the sun

Their third album, ShevilsMiracle of the Sun renews the band’s collaboration with producer Marcus Forsgren, which obviously given the sound of the record, was not broken. With a tidy 10 songs in 32 minutes, the Oslo-based four-piece deliver a loyal reading of heavy hardcore riffing minus much of the chestbeating or dudely pretense that one might otherwise encounter. They’ve got it nailed, and the break as “Monsters on TV” squibblies out is a forceful but pleasant turn, especially backed by the pure noise rock of “Scandinavian Death Star.” The band plays back and forth between heft and motion throughout, offering plenty of both in “Wet Soaking Wet” and “Ride the Flashes,” hitting hard but doing more than just hitting at the same time. Topped with fervent shouts, Shevils feels urgent in manner that to my ears recalls West Coast US fare like Akimbo, but is nonetheless the band’s own, ranging into broader soundscapes on “No More You” and anti-shred on “It Never Ends,” the only two cuts here over four minutes long. No time to screw around.

Shevils on Facebook

Shevils on Bandcamp

 

Paralyzed, Paralyzed

paralyzed paralyzed

If they haven’t been yet — and they may have — it’s entirely likely that by the time I’m done writing this sentence some record label or other will have picked up Paralyzed to release their self-titled debut album on vinyl. The Bamberg, Germany-based four-piece bring classic heavy metal thunder to still-Sabbathian doom rock, casting their lot in with the devil early on “Lucifer’s Road (My Baby and Me),” which feels like as much a statement of aesthetic purpose as it does a righteous biker riff. It’s by no means the sum-total of what’s on offer in a more extended piece like “Prophets” or side B’s rumble-and-roll-plus-wah-equals-doom “Mother’s Only Son,” but the brash fare they bring to light on “Green Eyes” and the post-lizard king-turns-Purple spirit of “Golden Days” tie in well with the toss-your-hair-in-the-wind, how’d-that-hole-get-in-my-jeans spirit of the release on the whole. They start instrumental with the eponymous “Paralyzed,” but vocals are a focus point, and as they round out with the rawer “Parallel,” their command of ’70s heavy is all the more evident. They signed yet? Give it another minute, if not.

Paralyzed on Facebook

Paralyzed on Bandcamp

 

Black Spirit Crown, Gravity

Black Spirit Crown Gravity

Admittedly, I’m late to the party on Black Spirit Crown‘s 2020 debut full-length, Gravity, but as one will when in orbit, it’s easy to be pulled in by the record. The Ohio-based two-piece of Dan Simone (vocals, guitar, theremin, dulcimer) and Chris Martin (vocals, keys & programming, bass) — plus guitar spots from Joe Fortunato (Doomstress, ex-Venomin James) — flourish over longform progressive heavy rock pieces like “Doomstar” and “Orb,” both over eight minutes, and the 21:10 closing title-track, which well earns having the album named after it for its consuming balance between aural weight, darkness of atmosphere and tone, and breadth. Before the last several minutes give way to droning noise, “Gravity” counterbalances the metallic underpinning of “Saga” and the rush of the penultimate “Teutates,” its patience singular even among the other longer cuts, balanced in alternating fashion with the shorter. Peppered-in growls make the proceedings less predictable on the whole, and feel like one more strength working in favor of these complex compositions.

Black Spirit Crown on Facebook

Black Spirit Crown on Bandcamp

 

Intraveineuse, Chronicles of an Inevitable Outcome

intraveineuse chronicles of an inevitable outcome

Parisian instrumentalists Intraveineuse make a strong statement with their 32-minute/single-song debut EP, Chronicles of an Inevitable Outcome, the feeling of aftermath — regret? — permeating the goth-doom atmosphere coming through in tectonically-dense riffs as well as the piano that offsets them. France would seem to have a post-Type O Negative standard-bearer in Hangman’s Chair, but to discount Intraveineuse on that basis is to miss out on the flowing, immersive progression the band emit on this already-sold-out tape, working in three distinct movements to find their own place within the style, building momentum gradually until the last payoff cuts itself short, as if to emphasize there’s more to come. Hopefully, anyhow. EP or LP, debuts with this kind of scope are rare and not to be overlooked, and though there are stretches where one can hear where vocals might go, Intraveineuse ably steer “Chronicles of an Inevitable Outcome” through its various parts with natural-sounding fluidity.

Intraveineuse website

Intraveineuse on Bandcamp

 

Void Tripper, Dopefiend

Void Tripper Dopefiend

Grim, gritty and ghastly, Void Tripper is the debut full-length from Brazil’s Void Tripper, comprised of five tracks marked by the shared/alternating vocals of guitarists Mário Fonteles and Anastácio Júnior. The former gurlges on opener “Devil’s Reject” while the latter complements with a cleaner take on the subsequent “Burning Woods,” setting up the back and forth that plays out in the remaining three tracks, “Hollow,” “Satan & Drugs” and “Comatose.” With the lumbering bass and drums of Jonatas Monte and Gabriel Mota, respectively, as the thickened foundation beneath the riffs, there are shades throughout of Electric Wizard and other acts to be heard, but it’s Sabbath-worshiping sludge one way or the other, and Void Tripper willingly head into that void with a dense fog preceding them and a bleak mood that does nothing if it doesn’t feel suited to our times. Riffy disaffection writ large. You wouldn’t call it groundbreaking, but you’d nod the fuck out.

Void Tripper on Facebook

Abraxas on Facebook

 

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Bentrees Sign to Argonauta Records; Two of Swords out This Fall

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

Sardinian two-piece Bentrees have signed to Argonauta Records and will release their second album, Two of Swords, later this year. No art or real details as yet, but the news here is they’re a new pickup for the label, which after slowing its pace somewhat in terms of acquisitions owing to recent existential disaster — maybe you heard something about it? — seems to be back on track despite the apparently-universal vinyl pressing concerns. I’m telling you, kids. CDs are the way to go. Less fragile, better sound most of the time, can print anything you want on them and even make them in different colors like an LP if you want. It’s not an argument I’ll ever win, but it is one I enjoy having, child of the ’90s as I am.

Speaking of ’90s kids, Bentrees have that look about them as well. And dig breaking out Pater Nembrot as an influence. Right frickin’ on. The duo’s debut, Psychollage, came out in 2017 and you can hear that below. Mostly longform, big fuzz jams, doing just fine through headphones thank you very much. Will look forward to the follow-up.

PR wire take me away:

bentrees

BENTREES Signs With Argonauta Records For Release Of New Album

BENTREES, the heavy psych and power stoner rock duo hailing from Sardegna, Italy, has inked a worldwide deal with Argonauta Records for the release of their upcoming, sophomore studio album.

The band’s sound is a vibrant mix of fuzzy power blues and hard rock influences, drawing from the 70’s wrapped in the glory of 90’s and early 2000’s stoner rock; BENTREES creates a wild ride of addictive and heavy riffage into psychedelic wonderlands. They have been continuously looking for an authentic and genuine formula, often represented by introspective lyrics, a reference to their homeland and connection with nature. Following the band’s 2017- debut, Psychollage, and countless live shows with acts such as Yawning Man, Black Rainbows, The Cosmic Dead, The Spacelords or Pater Nembrot, the duo will release its second album, entitled Two Of Swords, in the Fall of 2021 via Argonauta Records.

“We are really happy to announce our collaboration with Argonauta Records. This is an important step forward for us and we’re proud to be part of a label that includes a lot of important artists on its roster!” The band comments.

“Our new album “Two Of Swords” is made of six heavy rock tracks; it tells about duality in its multiple forms and it opens up some new musical paths for us. On this sonic journey, heavy riffs and pounding drums meet psychedelic landscapes, each song tells a story that somehow has ambivalent contours.”

https://www.facebook.com/bentreesband
https://instagram.com/bentreesband_
https://bentrees.bandcamp.com/
www.argonautarecords.com
www.facebook.com/argonautarecords

Bentrees, Psychollage (2017)

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Sonic Wolves to Release Limited EP on Argonauta Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 10th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Italian trio-of-enviable-pedigree Sonic Wolves have signed on to release a limited-limited-limited EP through Argonauta Records later this year. The offering will be an installment in a series the label has going called simply ‘LTD100’ because, as you might guess, only 100 copies of each release will be pressed. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but hey, I don’t think that’s going to be enough copies! I don’t know when preorders will start, but I have a pretty good idea of when they’ll end, and it’s about five minutes later that same day.

I’m not sure what will comprise the actual release — you can see in the PR wire info it says a 12″ single EP. Does that mean it’s one song split over two sides? One-side? More than one song and I’m just reading incorrectly because I’m dumb and old and not very good with the comprehension? I don’t know. Also things I don’t know: when it’s out, what it’s called, what it’ll sound like, on and on. But here’s a picture of the band holding up a piece of paper with Argonauta‘s logo on it — the contract, one assumes — and the announcement that the two parties have all done the deed on the dotted line.

It comes from the PR wire, duh:

sonic wolves

SONIC WOLVES (feat. former members of PENTAGRAM, UFOMAMMUT & more) Announce Special Release With Argonauta Records!

As part of the new Argonauta LTD100 series, heavy rock ‘n’ rollers SONIC WOLVES have announced their collaboration with the Italian powerhouse label!

Just recently, Argonauta Records started its special Vinyl series, limited to 100 copies of each edition, and to highlight some extraordinary releases of underground bands, special projects or label acts, that may not be under your radar yet but should deserve your attention. After the previously announced releases featuring doom metal trio HEBI KATANA, and MITOCHONDRIAL SUN’s “Bodies And Gold EP”, Argonauta Records is proud to be working with SONIC WOLVES as the label’s latest addition to the LTD100 series.

SONIC WOLVES is an Italian heavy rock’n’roll band, formed by drummer Vita (formerly of Ufomammut and currently in Rogue State), bassist and singer Kayt Vigil (currently in Rogue State, formerly Pentagram, …Of The Horizon, Syzslak, The Hounds of Hasselvander & many more) and guitarist Alessandro Camu (Kurt RussHell). With their heavily groovy, dark and dirty sound – highly inspired by 70’s hard rock, proto metal, psychedelic rock and power blues – SONIC WOLVES take hard rock to a nastier and louder level, and one that is hard not to be moved by. Following several European tours, including festival appearances at Desertfest Antwerp, Headz Up and Tube Cult Fest to name just a few, two 7” singles and two full length albums to date, the trio is currently hard at work of an upcoming, very special 12” single EP, to be released through Argonauta Records later this year.

“Sonic Wolves is excited to start a new collaboration with Gero and Argonauta Records. As individual musicians never having worked with him before, we are pleased to have the opportunity to be a part of an internationally recognized and respected label from our scene,” the band comments. “It brings us great pride to stand alongside such band as Los Natas and our friends Dee Calhoun, Suma and Infection Code. In our quest for the perfect collaboration for the release of a unique single, with two special songs inspired by musicians we want to pay tribute to, we came across Gero, whose offer and idea threw gasoline on the fire and set the wheels in motion.

With every new collaboration come new opportunity and experiences.

We look forward to taking our fans, thanks to Argonauta Records and Mona of All Noir, to the next chapter of Sonic Wolves with this limited edition 12” single.”

www.facebook.com/SonicWolves
www.instagram.com/sonic_wolves
www.sonicwolves.bandcamp.com
www.argonautarecords.com

Sonic Wolves, Sonic Wolves (2018)

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Australasia Post New Single “Perdere”

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 27th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

A raven clutching at pearls is the lead image of Australasia‘s new digital single “Perdere,” and it’s not too hard to imagine where they’re coming from with that. Every time I see someone on the social medias mourning the long passage of time without shows and/or expressing the hope that things can be what they were, as though the nigh-universal trauma of 2020-2021 never took place, it seems likewise that there’s a bird of death carrying off the memory of what was. Italy went through some hard shit. We all did. And by “we,” I mean the species.

“Perdere,” as noted below, translates to English as “to lose” — recall À la recherche du temps perdu — and is the first outing from Australasia since a two-songer in 2019 that followed on from their 2015 EP, Notturno (review here). Those who’ve heard them before or who might at least surmise from the fact that they take their moniker from Pelican‘s record of the same name will probably already guess that there’s an atmospheric focus in “Perdere,” perhaps a wistful, longing kind of feel, and well, you’d be right. The intention seems to be to release however many tracks as singles before presumably compiling them in some fashion, but as a leadoff for that, “Perdere” is intriguing and immersive.

Dig:

australasia perdere

Australasia – Perdere

Streaming & Download Link: https://australasia.fanlink.to/perdere

“Perdere” (Italian for “to lose”) is the first piece of a series of singles, which will be published over the next few months, based on the concept of “Perdere e Ritrovare” (To lose and find again). A cycle where negative and positive events follow each other, leaving hope for the future does not fail, even at a time, like the present, when we look at it with so much uncertainty.

Musically, it’s a track centered around the sound of clean guitar that deflates into heavily distorted moments where the voice of a vintage RAT takes center stage. The riffs and arpeggios follow each other, ferrying the listener towards the final catharsis.

The artwork, created by illustrator Sara Fasolin (@sarabaun.art), depicts a magpie (also present in other Australasia covers), collector of forgotten objects or objects taken away from human beings.

The album was recorded and mixed at Last Floor Studio (@lastfloorstudio) by Francesco Barletta.

Label: Golden Morning Sounds

Lineup:
Gian Spalluto – Guitar, Bass, Synth
Giovanni Cilio (@giovacilio) – Drums

http://www.facebook.com/australasiamusic
https://australasia.bandcamp.com/

Australasia, “Perdere”

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Daniele Murroni of Gramma Vedetta, Aliceissleeping & Mandrone Records

Posted in Questionnaire on May 24th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Daniele Murroni of Gramma Vedetta, Aliceissleeping & Mandrone Records

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

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

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Daniele Murroni of Gramma Vedetta, Aliceissleeping & Mandrone Records

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

I will define myself as Jack of all trades, master of nothing. I’m a software engineer from 9 to 5 day and a musician, sound engineer and record label owner from 5pm to 9am. (occasionally video editor).

This is because I like to do different things, I get bored quickly, but also because I’m a geek and I’m pretty curious about how things work.

I’ve always been interested in science since I was a kid and I’ve been raised by music-lover parents, so in the ’90s I started playing the guitar with friends in a small town in Sardinia, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and since then everything I wanted to learn was something that could have been applied to music.

I started Computer Science at Uni because I wanted to learn how to develop audio plugins (tried, put together a distortion, sounded like shit).

I develop an interest in sound engineering and music production because I wanted to record my band’s first demo back in 1998. I learned how to edit videos because I wanted to edit video for bands.

Money was scarce, time was in abundance.

I married a bass player, actually, she married me because I’m a guitarist.

We opened Mandrone Records because we wanted to release our stuff and friends’ stuff.

So I do a lot of things and I am a lot of things, I’m not mastering anything but I enjoy life being like this.

Describe your first musical memory.

I have two early musical memories that I remember very well. I was like 4 or something.

“Dad, please put the disc with the thing that spin!” It was me asking my dad to put the Vinyl of Gentle Giant, Octopus, Side B, where the label had the full-size Vertigo logo printed in it.

With the vinyl rotating, the logo generated a 3D Optical illusion. I was hypnotized, I spent hours staring at that drawing.

Second musical memory: “Dad, please, put the music where there are kids singing, an ass with wig and eyes and hammers walking”. (The Wall)

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Guess the best musical memories are related to gigs I’ve seen.

I’ve been an avid music listener in my teens but haven’t seen any big band live because no one came down in Sardinia to play music.

Finally, at the age of 17, a couple of friends ad I organised a trip to Milan to attend the gig of our idols: Dream Theater!

To leave the island we needed of course to take a ship, It was an amazing experience, first time travelling with no adult supervision, seeing new places, watching your heroes playing your fav songs few meters from you, people jumping, moshpit.

Amazing. Sometimes I’d like to revive an experience like this. It was something completely new that I’ve never seen before. Real musicians, wow!

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

This question is not easy. Honestly, I don’t have absolute beliefs, I always question myself, thanks to the experiences I’ve had in my life. Human history itself has shown that certain assumptions, certain beliefs deeply rooted in society for a certain period, have turned out to be incorrect or otherwise limited.

Perhaps the only thing I believe at the moment is that the human being is evil and that in order to justify himself he had to create someone above or there responsible for his behaviour.

But I want to be clear, I don’t think ALL human beings are bad. There are many good people, like me for example, otherwise, we would have been extinct with an atomic war in the ’80s to the sound of Rust in Peace by Megadeth played by Vangelis on the synthesizer.

(I know Rust in Peace was released in 1990 but if I have to imagine the end of the world I imagine it in my own way.)

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

The artistic progression does not happen to everyone. There are many artists who have been repeating themselves for decades. The absence of artistic progression makes you an assembly line product, sterile and rigid made for mass consumption.

The artistic progression, which in my opinion consists of evolving, in developing new skills and therefore new ideas, in breaking out of the mould, takes you to unexplored, inaccessible territories, lands to conquer, where your survival skills are put to the test. In short, it makes you suffer, it makes you feel alive and unique.

How do you define success?

My definition of success is when you look at what you do and who you are and what you see it’s exactly what you wanted to do and be.

It’s not a matter of numbers or money.

It’s having no regrets, it’s being able to say “I wanted to do it so I tried” instead of “I haven’t done it because I don’t know if I’m capable” or “I wish I’d be like this but I can’t.”

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

Racist, ignorant, misogynistic and corrupt people rise to power. It hurts even more when you realize they have been voted on in regular elections.

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

I have an idea for a book/novel. It’s a dream I had once it was weird because the story had a twist towards the end that I wasn’t expecting. My brain played it very well during that dream.

I still remember it.

Also, I’d like to create a fictional universe, like Gene Roddenberry in Star Trek, George Lucas in Star Wars. I’m working on it, but’s not easy when you waste your time doing all the shit I’ve mentioned in question 1.

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

I’m related to this. As I said I like science and math, I work on computers, on machines that follow rules I impose on them. In this field, things have to be done in this way, with this sequence of operation, catch the exception, what If, then else.
Science is something that grows, but laws of physics are that one, you can’t defy them and we are forced to follow them.

Art is exactly what let us deviate from this, Art is something that his not tied to anything, let you build links between phenomena and parallel path. Art is the chaos that makes us non-machine, that scramble the numbers and give us guidance to create something new.

Art is what makes me feel alive after hours spent watching on a screen.

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

To see my family again. To gather together at a table, eat our favourite food and drink the best wine we have, telling each other stories about how we spent the past years.

https://www.facebook.com/grammavedetta
https://www.instagram.com/grammavedetta
https://grammavedetta.bandcamp.com/
www.aliceissleeping.com
https://www.instagram.com/aliceissleeping
https://www.facebook.com/aliceissleeping
https://www.twitter.com/sleepingisalice
https://www.aliceissleeping.bandcamp.com
https://shop.mandronerecords.com/

Aliceissleeping, Completely Fine (2021)

Gramma Vedetta, A.C.I.D. Compliant (2020)

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Bottomless Premiere “Centuries Asleep” Lyric Video; Self-Titled Debut out July 16

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 20th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

bottomless

Italian trio Bottomless make their self-titled debut July 16 through Spikerot Records. Oh, it’s doomy. Classic doom. Doom schooled in the ways of doom. Comprised in the CD version of 10 tracks running a total of 46 minutes, the collection does not dissemble and gets right to business with the post-Saint Vitus rollout of opener “Monastery,” guitarist/vocalist Giorgio Trombino going all-in on the Reagers-style vocals. Cuts like the subsequent “Centuries Asleep” have a bit more boogie and the title-track or the later “Loveless Reign” nod toward The Obsessed while the shove of “Losing Shape” vibes deep in Pentagram, but one way or another, it all comes back to pure doom, with Trombino, bassist Sara Bianchin and drummer David Lucido offering more than referential reverence in their progressions, but still speaking most to an audience of the genre-converted. In another time, another place, it’s easy to imagine their logo on any number of Doom Over…-style festival posters. They may yet get there.

Trombino and Lucido have played together in a number of outfits as you can read below, and Bianchin is perhaps best known for her work in Messa, so maybe their cohesion around the central idea of Bottomless — that is, dooom, with three ‘o’s and all — shouldn’t be a surprise, but it is righteous. bottomless bottomlessListening to LP-centerpiece “Ash” lumber across its first half before an “alright!” from Trombino signals the tempo shift in its second is to hear worship expressed as persona. Like their cover art works off of Henri-Joseph Harpignies’ painting Lever de Lune sur un Étang — yes, I was given that info; that’s not a pick I made off the top of my head and I won’t pretend otherwise — so too is their aesthetic born of established methods but presented in sincere, back-to-the-roots fashion, and what once made Reverend Bizarre‘s work so purposeful resonates too in “Vestige” here in a sense that richness of sound means more than just subsuming oneself in microgenre for its own sake. They knock on your door. You answer. They hold up the pamphlet comprised entirely of killer riffs and nodding grooves. On the front, you read the words, “Is there room for doom in your heart?”

Almost certainly there is.

And just as the resounding push in “Cradling Obsession” is sure to enact a satisfied metal-frown even unto its fading solo and the arrival of the bonus track “Hell Vacation,” so too does the earlier “Centuries Asleep” speak to the core of what makes doom doomed. The band cites a ’70s influence, calling out the Tony Iommi-produced Necromandus as well as underrated Scots Iron Claw, and fair enough, but if you’re wondering what makes it lead-single-ready, it’s the hook and the fullness of its sound that’s doing the heavy lifting here, as well as the bleeding-black sneering vocal from Trombino. Fucking a.

Ahead of the album’s release this summer, still about two months off, you can stream a lyric video for “Centuries Asleep” premiering below, followed by a few words from the band about it, preorder link, album info, etc.

Doom on:

Bottomless, “Centuries Asleep” lyric video premiere

Bottomless on “Centuries Asleep”:

This particular song strikes closest to our vision of 70s dark and doomed rock. Iron Claw, Necromandus: you name ’em. We try to write rock songs, first and foremost, and they gotta have that structure and feel otherwise it’s plain musical failure. It’s about a vision of an ever still and dangerous world.

Bottomless is our vehicle to express a love that never dies, i.e. that for the most threatening, Sabbathic form of slow heavy metal we could ever come up with. There’s no room for anything but our influences inside this project. That being said, our first album is the materialization of our vision.

Preorder: https://smarturl.it/bottomless
Set for release on July 16th 2021 and featuring members of well known acts like Messa, Assumption and more, BOTTOMLESS will stir up the scene with their upcoming debut album, to be released this summer via Spikerot Records! Consisting of guitarist/singer Giorgio Trombino and drummer David Lucido (together in Assumption, Undead Creep, Haemophagus, Morbo and more) and joined by Sara Bianchin (Messa, Restos Humanos) in 2018 on bass, a constantly demanding musical schedule has forced the trio to keep postponing the recording and release of their first-full length album for years, yet, in 2021, it is finally about to come to life. BOTTOMLESS’ first self-titled record will be coming out on CD, LP and digital and features nothing but unadulterated Doom Metal in the vein of the ancient masters Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Pentagram, Trouble and The Obsessed!

BOTTOMLESS’ s/t debut will be coming out July 16th on Spikerot Records and is now available for pre-order here: http://smarturl.it/bottomless

Tracklist:
01. Monastery
02. Centuries Asleep
03. Bottomless
04. The Talking Mask
05. Ash
06. Losing Shape
07. Loveless Reign
08. Vestige
09. Cradling Obsession
10. Hell Vacation (CD BONUS TRACK)

BOTTOMLESS are:
Giorgio Trombino – Guitars / Vocals
Sara Bianchin – Bass
David Lucido – Drums

Bottomless on Facebook

Bottomless on Instagram

Spikerot Records on Facebook

Spikerot Records on Instagram

Spikerot Records website

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