Nibiru Premiere “Nanta” Video; Salbrox out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

nibiru

I am woefully unqualified to talk about the occult, or about “alternative” spirituality (or spirituality at all, I guess), dark magic, or any of that kind of thing. I just never got there. I am far too mundane in my belief system. When I might otherwise have been reading Aleister Crowley and getting my beginner’s class in expanding my mind into the grim ether of our dimension, I was probably too busy getting drunk by myself and writing bad poetry. Not that the two necessarily need to be mutually exclusive, but in my case they seem to have been.

No doubt it’s my loss. I only bring it up because that sense of ritual, of reading dried-page books with symbols on them by candlelight, that spirit of invocation pervades everything Italian trio Nibiru does. It is writ large throughout their new album, Salbrox (review here), which was released in May as their first outing for Ritual Productions — rarely are a band and label more made for each other — as the follow-up to 2017’s Qaal Babalon (review here) on Argonauta. It is the Torino group’s fifth full-length overall, and at an encompassing 64 minutes long, it shows they’ve long since wormed their way into dark arts mastery. A bleak, psychological psychedelia pervades the wash of effects and course narration at the outset, but it’s in the repetition and the hypnotic effect thereof on the listener, as well as in the abyssal barks of the vocals, that Nibiru seem to dive ever deeper into their own spirit.

And it is very much an inward journey, even as much as it’s an outward sonic exploration on Salbrox. To listen to a song like “Exarp” or “Nanta,” for which they’re premiering a new video below, Nibiru seem to be challenging themselves as much as their listenership, crafting material that sounds excruciating to perform no less than it’s hard on the ear. The abrasive feedback laid overtop the roll of “Nanta” undercuts the notion of accessibility to its groove, and even that march seems to be directed permanently downward into some chaos waiting to be harvested.

Do they get to those depths of madness by the time 13-minute closer “Rziorn” is done? You know, the thing about endless pits of despair is they just kind of keep going, so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Nibiru manage to push even further their next time out, but as “Nanta” shows, there’s plenty of insanity to be had. And not to shift back to real-world concerns or anything, but if you’re sensitive to flashing lights, you might want to tread carefully through the video, as both the performance footage and the handsy-torture-chamber scenes have some of that going on. Just fair warning.

And should you want to try your hand at some self-obliteration — now that I understand — I’ve included the full stream of Salbrox below, courtesy of Ritual Productions‘ Bandcamp. Dig in if you’re feeling like you need a litmus test for psyche destruction. Which we all do, frankly.

With love:

Nibiru, “Nanta” official video

‘NANTA’ taken from the Nibiru album ‘Salbrox’, out on Ritual Productions. Video directed by Marco Testa. ‘Salbrox’ available on LP/CD/DL at Ritual Productions.

Conceptually and spiritually, Salbrox is inspired by the continuous re-adjustment between disharmony and balance. Salbrox aims, via mysterious and enigmatic practices that reflect an ouroboros quality of death and rebirth, to explore the transmutation and regeneration of the human being that occurs at every level – spirit, soul and corporeality.

In turn, the alchemical practice of ‘Solve et Coagula’ – meaning to dissolve and coagulate – is the foundation of Salbrox. This ethos points towards the liberation of the self from impurities and the destruction of the Ego, bringing forth an alternative awareness and synthesis of the self. The rite is thus a magick process that follows the key principles of alchemy, merging deep, ancestral knowledge into sound voyages that awaken the darkest and most hidden chords of consciousness.

NIBIRU ARE:
Ardat – Guitars, Percussion & Vocals
Ri Salma – Bass, Drones & Synthesizers
L.C. Chertan – Drums

Nibiru, Salbrox (2019)

Nibiru on Thee Facebooks

Nibiru on Instagram

Nibiru on Bandcamp

Nibiru website

Ritual Prodcutions website

Ritual Productions on Bandcamp

Ritual Productions on Thee Facebooks

Ritual Productions on Instagram

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Burning Gloom, Amygdala: Out Beyond Walls

Posted in Reviews on July 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

burning gloom amygdala

For a band to switch names is no minor decision. First of all, once past the initial over-thought process of picking one in the first place, the band name becomes more than just a collective brand, it’s a flag you fly. And that’s for bands starting out, never mind those who already have a release under their belt. Italy’s My Home on Trees had two in 2015’s How I Reached Home (review here) debut and their prior 2013 self-titled EP before they made the decision to morph into Burning Gloom, so it seems all the more of consequence. The lineup of vocalist Laura Mancini, guitarist Marco Bertucci, bassist Giovanni Mastrapasqua and drummer Marcello Modica is intact despite the transition, and Burning Gloom offer their own debut, Amygdala, through Argonauta Records as an aggro-spirited eight songs/47 minutes that still keeps a sense of atmosphere in its echoing instrumentation and voices.

Mancini, joined by High Fighter‘s Mona Miluski on “Nightmares,” switches smoothly between melodic singing and harsher screams, either driving the change herself, as on “The Tower II” or following the linear build behind her, as in the payoff of the subsequent “Eremite.” Heavy rock is a tool in their arsenal, as the central riff to the penultimate “Beyond the Wall” will attest, but Amygdala is less centered on playing to genre than it is on establishing and developing this new identity for the group. There’s a current of ’90s alt rock in the proceedings from the outset, as brief 2:48 opener “The Tower I” sprints out of the proverbial gate, and though Burning Gloom will wind up in a much different place by the end of the record in the reggae-inflected initial verses and quiet melodic finish of eight-minute closer “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder,” the journey from one to the other wants nothing for cohesion either in the individual songs or in how they’re drawn together. They seem to find middle ground, suitably enough, in the middle, with “Modern Prometheus” drawing together elements of sludge rock, grunge and heavier churning groove, but Amygdala is neither summarized within or built around a single track. It’s a whole-album album.

And that seems to suit Burning Gloom‘s purposes just fine as the Milano four-piece make their way deeper into the emotional and atmospheric mire as “Modern Prometheus” and “Nightmares” give way to “Warden,” which is longer at 7:47, has a slower rollout in its first half — they get into some gritty-style shuffle late, or at least what would be shuffle in a different context — and signals the arrival at Amygdala‘s final salvo. Though really, if one wants to trace the change further, the arrival of Miluski on “Nightmares” at the outset of side B is a departure in itself from the first four tracks — her recognizable scream and growl adding to Mancini‘s own approach as the track drives toward its fadeout. That plunge at the end feels especially crucial in what it does to set up the mood of “Warden” and the subsequent “Beyond the Wall,” and it’s not that “The Tower II” or “Eremite” or “Modern Prometheus” were wanting for some deeper sensibility, but the balance of aggression shifts after the Mancini/Miluski blowout in “Nightmares,” and the energy with which the end of that song is executed — the sheer metallic feel of it — seems to be as far as Burning Gloom are willing to push in that direction this time out.

burning gloom

To be fair, it’s pretty far, and Miluski‘s contributions there would be enough to make Angela Gossow blush. But it’s in “Warden,” “Beyond the Wall” and “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder” that the dynamic of Amygdala more fully begins to show itself, and it’s not just that the songs are longer — “Beyond the Wall” isn’t, at 5:32 — but in how they relate to the initial impression of “The Tower I,” its companion and the others on side A. Everything fits together, and so Amygdala reveals itself as even more of a second album than a first, though part of what makes it exciting is that though the band benefits from their time as My Home on Trees on the level of basic chemistry, they’ve made this conscious decision to embark on something new together. As the manifestation of that, Burning Gloom‘s debut is all the more engaging, even down to the accented croon on “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder,” which only adds to the sway of that song’s beginning moments.

Like a lot of Amygdala — the part of the brain’s limbic system in which emotions are processed — the finale is a subtle build, but it has enough time at its disposal to hit its payoff in the middle and even out again, choosing not to end the record not on an all-go push, but with a more gentle, easing letting go. It’s only about a minute and a half longer than, say, “Modern Prometheus,” but its purposes are compellingly different, and underscore the band’s purpose in crafting such breadth between the two sides of the record. If one goes back to the beginning of My Home on Trees, they’ve been a band for about seven years, and the shades of grunge, post-hardcore, heavy rock, sludge and whatever else they throw into Amygdala stand as testament to the work they’ve done thus far into their tenure to develop their sonic identity.

At the same time, Amygdala is Burning Gloom‘s first album, and an even-more-purposeful first album for the fact that they became a new band to make it, so while it’s forehead-slappingly plain to hear once one understands they’d worked together before, one has to acknowledge the element as well of forward potential in these songs and most of all in the way they interact with each other across the full span of the collection. I would say that’s the most resounding impression Amygdala makes, but it needs to be weighed against the atmospheric accomplishments of this material itself, and it’s pick-your-poison whether you want to appreciate what Burning Gloom are doing now or be excited at the prospect of what they might do next. Their heft, shove and melodic prowess is as much realized as it is pointing toward future realization.

Burning Gloom, Amygdala (2019)

Burning Gloom on Thee Facebooks

Burning Gloom on Bandcamp

Argonauta Records on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

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Ananda Mida Announce Fall Dates Supporting Cathodnatius

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ananda mida

This very weekend, Ananda Mida play the esteemed Stoned from the Underground fest in Erfurt, Germany, heralding the arrival earlier this year of their new album, Cathodnatius. Though the Italian outfit are somewhat amorphous of lineup, their commitment to progressive sounds remains unflinching, and they were out in the first half of 2019 as well, but the new batch of dates run from this month through October in Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Austria over a series of weekenders and long-weekenders followed by more of a straight-run tour. One way or the other, it’ll be enough to keep them busy as Cathodnatius continues to sink in, and though I’m not sure if they’ll have more shows filled in on some of the off days or not, it’s obviously worth keeping an eye out should you happen to be in that part of the world.

“Cool band playing shows,” is the bottom line, I guess. Pretty simple story, but as you can hear in the album stream at the bottom of this post, it’s a story worth telling.

If you’re going to Stoned from the Underground, enjoy.

Dates:

ananda mida tour

Ananda Mida – Fall Tour Dates

After the first tour in January of the presentation of the second album Cathodnatius, our Ananda Mida return with new dates in Italy and Germany (at the prestigious Stoned from the Underground festival) and for an European tour in September and October.

TOUR:
SAT 13.07 DE – Erfurt – @stonedfromtheunderground
SAT 20.07 IT – Bologna – Fondazione Villa Ghigi
SUN 21.07 IT – Aviano – Bar al Contrario
MON 22.07 SLO – Lubiana – @galahalametelkova
TUE 23.07 IT – Mirano – @miranosummerfestival
SAT 07.09 – IT – Treviso – In Veneto there is no law 5
SUN 08.09 – IT – Carmignano – Karmin Fest
FRI 27.09 – CH – Olten – @coqdor_olten
SUN 29.09 – AT – Salzburg – @rockhouse_bar_salzburg
MON 30.09 – DE – Wiesbaden – @kupawiesbaden
TUE 01.10 – DE – Rosenheim – @asta_rosenheim
THU 03.10 – DE – Berlin – Dunckerclub
SAT 05.10 – DE – Passau – @zauberbergpassau
SUN 06.10 – IT – @punkyreggaepub

Ananda Mida is stoner rock and psychedelia collective, leaded by Max Ear, former drummer of OJM and co-founder of Go Down Records, and Matteo Pablo Scolaro, underground guitarist and curator of Go Down Bands on Tour, with the help of Eeviac artworks.

Since 2015, they have been playing, with different line-ups, from three up to six members, both instrumental or with singers, a seventies sound mixed with desert and psychedelia grooves.

Ananda Mida are:
Davide Bressan: bass guitar
Max Ear: drums
Matteo Pablo Scolaro: electric guitar
Alessandro Tedesco: electric guitar

https://www.facebook.com/anandamidaband
https://anandamidaband.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/GoDownRecords/
https://www.godownrecords.com/
https://vincebuseruptum.bandcamp.com/
http://www.vincebuseruptum.it/

Ananda Mida, Cathodnatius (2019)

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Solar Mantra Sign to Argonauta Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 9th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

It’ll probably be a 2020 release by the time we get there, but Solar Mantra‘s full-length debut — whenever it happens — will be made under the regularly-expanding banner of Argonauta Records. I’ve said on multiple occasions that Argonauta have done well in remembering to support native-Italian heavy even as its reach has expanded well beyond its home country, and Solar Mantra represent yet another side of that, bringing psychedelic turns to swinging groove and capping off with a Roman energy that seems to show up regardless of how fast a given song is actually moving. They made their debut last year with a self-titled EP that you can stream below, and while I don’t know if any of those songs will be re-used on the impending long-player, they’d only be welcome if so, particularly if they managed to keep the same bass tone. That’s pretty tasty.

The PR wire brings the signing announcement from Argonauta:

solar mantra

SOLAR MANTRA inks worldwide deal with Argonauta Records!

Italian fuzz rockers, Solar Mantra, have signed a worldwide record deal with Argonauta Records, the powerhouse label and home for Sludge, Doom, Blackened and Stoner Metal bands such as Mammoth Storm, Ancient Vvisdom, High Fighter, Kal-El, Destroyer of Light and many more.

Solar Mantra was born in Rome in 2017. Since then, their deep fuzzy sound creates a unique and powerful experience, taking their ever-growing fanbase on a special trip into a psychedelic wonderland. Countless live performances lead the band along a desert path across Europe to spread its stoner soul all around, Solar Mantra have shared prestigious stages with acts such as Banquet, The Well, Tuna de Tierra, Fvzz Popvli, Fuzzalicious among many more. With their heavy riffs and an excellent psychedelic mood in their sound, the four-piece caught Argonauta Records’ attention and have proudly inked a worldwide record deal. Says Argonauta owner Gero Lucisano:

“When I hear those typical sonorities made of big fuzzy riffs, it’s just a matter of time before I get overwhelmed by the songs of the band. Undefined latitudes of desert landscapes is what the music of SOLAR MANTRA makes you thinking about. And a touch of psychedelic space imagery gives the final mark to the exciting sound of the band. Listening to their songs is like to see an ancient druid surfing across the planets and we really can’t wait to share with you all their new material!”

Stay tunes for many more details, first album news and tunes to be unveiled soon!

Solar Mantra is:
Lupus Dei – Vocals
Fabio Teragnoli – Bass
Simone Bianchini – Drums
Carlo Loffredo – Guitar

www.facebook.com/SolarMantraStoner
https://solarmantrastoner.bandcamp.com
www.argonautarecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
https://www.instagram.com/argonautarecords/

Solar Mantra, Solar Mantra EP (2018)

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Quarterly Review: Pelican, Swan Valley Heights, Mark Deutrom, Greenbeard, Mount Soma, Nibiru, Cable, Reino Ermitaño, Cardinals Folly & Lucifer’s Fall, Temple of the Fuzz Witch

Posted in Reviews on July 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

More computer bullshit this morning. I lost about 45 minutes because my graphics driver and Windows 10 apparently hate each other and before I could disable the former, the machine decided the best it could do for me was to load a blank screen. Hard to find the Pelican record on my desktop when I can’t see my desktop. The Patient Mrs. woke up while I was trying to fix it and suggested HDMIing it to the tv. When I did that, it didn’t project as was hoped, but the display came on — because go figure — and I was able to shut off the driver, the only real advantage of which is it lets me use the night light feature so it’s easier on my eyes. That’s nice, but I’d rather have the laptop function. Not really working on a level of “give me soft red light or give me death!” at this point. I may yet get there in my life.

Today’s the last day of this beast, wrapping up the last of the 60 reviews, and I’m already in the hole for the better part of an hour thanks to this technical issue, the second of the week. Been an adventure, this one. Let’s close it out.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Pelican, Nighttime Stories

pelican nighttime stories

Split into two LPs each with its own three-minute mood-setter — those being “WST” and “It Stared at Me,” respectively — Pelican‘s Nighttime Stories (on Southern Lord) carries the foreboding sensibility of its title into an aggressive push throughout the album, which deals from the outset with the pain of loss. The lead single “Midnight and Mescaline” represents this well in directly following “WST,” with shades of more extreme sounds in the sharp-turning guitar interplay and tense drums, but it carries through the blastbeats of “Abyssal Plain” and the bombastic crashes of presumed side B closer “Cold Hope” as well, which flow via a last tonal wash toward the melancholy “It Stared at Me” and the even-more-aggro title-track, the consuming “Arteries of Blacktop” and the eight-minute “Full Moon, Black Water,” which offers a build of maddening chug — a Pelican hallmark — before resolving in melodic serenity, moving, perhaps, forward with and through its grief. It’s been six years since Pelican‘s last LP, Forever Becoming (review here), and they’ve responded to that time differential with the hardest-hitting record they’ve ever done.

Pelican on Thee Facebooks

Southern Lord Recordings website

 

Swan Valley Heights, The Heavy Seed

swan valley heights the heavy seed

Though the peaceful beginning of 13-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “The Heavy Seed,” for which the five-song album is named, reminds of Swan Valley Heights‘ Munich compatriots in Colour Haze, the ultimate impression the band make on their Fuzzorama Records debut and second album overall behind a 2016 self-titled (review here) is more varied in its execution, with cuts like “Vaporizer Woman” and the centerpiece “Take a Swim in God’s Washing Machine” manifesting ebbs and flows and rolling out a fuzzy largesse to lead into dream-toned ethereality and layered vocals that immediately call to mind Elephant Tree. There’s a propensity for jamming, but they’re not a jam band, and seem always to have a direction in mind. That’s true even on the three-minute instrumental “My First Knife Fight,” which unfurls around a nod riff and simple drum progression to bridge into closer “Teeth and Waves,” a bookend to The Heavy Seed‘s title-track that revives that initial grace and uses it as a stepping stone for the crunch to come. It’s a balance that works and should be well received.

Swan Valley Heights on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzorama Records on Bandcamp

 

Mark Deutrom, The Blue Bird

Mark Deutrom The Blue Bird

Released in the wee hours of 2019, Mark Deutrom‘s The Blue Bird marks the first new solo release from the prolific Austin-based songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist through Season of Mist, and it’s a 50-minute run of genre-spanning outsider art, bringing ’70s folk vibes to the weepy guitar echoes of “Radiant Gravity” right before “O Ye of Little Faith” dooms out for six of its seven minutes and “Our Revels Now Are Ended” basks in 77 seconds of experimentalist winding guitar. It goes like that. Vocals are intermittent enough to not necessarily be expected, but not entirely absent through the midsection of “Hell is a City,” “Somnambulist” and “Maximum Hemingway,” and if there’s traditionalism at play anywhere, it might be in “They Have Won” and “The Happiness Machine,” which, toward the back end of the album, bring a sax-laden melancholy vibe and a straightforward heavy rock feel, respectively, ahead of the closer “Nothing out There,” which ties them together, somehow accounting for the 1:34 “On Fathers Day” as well in its sweetness. Don’t go into The Blue Bird asking it to make sense on any level other than its own and you should be fine. It’s not a minor undertaking at 50 minutes, and not without its indulgences, but even the briefest of pieces helps develop the character of the whole, which of course is essential to any good story.

Mark Deutrom website

Season of Mist website

 

Greenbeard, Onward, Pillager

greenbeard onward pillager

Austin bringers of hard-boogie Greenbeard reportedly issued the three-song Onward, Pillager as a precursor to their next full-length — even the name hints toward it being something of a stopgap — but its tracks stand well on their own, whether it’s the keyboard-laced “Contact High II,” which is presumably a sequel to another track on the forthcoming record, or the chunkier roll of “WCCQ” and the catchy finisher “Kill to Love Yourself,” with its overlaid guitar solo adding to a dramatic ending. It hasn’t been that long since 2017’s Lödarödböl (review here), but clearly these guys are committed to moving forward in neo-stoner rock fashion, and their emergence as songwriters is highlighted particularly throughout “WCCQ” and “Kill to Love Yourself,” while “Contact High II” is more of an intro or a would-be interlude on the full-length. It may only be pieces of a larger, to-be-revealed picture, but Onward, Pillager shows three different sides of what Greenbeard have on offer, and the promise of more to come is one that will hopefully be kept sooner rather than later.

Greenbeard on Thee Facebooks

Sailor Records on Bandcamp

 

Mount Soma, Nirodha

mount_soma_nirodha

Each of the three songs on Mount Soma‘s densely-weighted, live-recorded self-released Nirodha EP makes some mention of suffering in its lyrics, and indeed, that seems to be the theme drawing together “Dark Sun Destroyer” (7:40), “Emerge the Wolf” (5:50) and “Resurfacing” (9:14): a quest for transcendence perhaps in part due to the volume of the music and the act itself of creating it. Whatever gets them there, the trajectory of Nirodha is such that by the time they hit into the YOB-style galloping toward the end of “Resurfacing,” the gruff shouts of “rebirth!” feel more celebratory than ambitious. Based in Dublin, the four-piece bring a fair sense of space to their otherwise crush-minded approach, and though the EP is rough — it is their second short release following 2016’s Origins — they seem to have found a way to tie together outer and inner cosmos with an earthbound sense of gravity and heft, and with the more intense shove of “Emerge the Wolf” between the two longer tracks, they prove themselves capable of bringing a noisy charge amid all that roar and crash. They did the first EP live as well. I wonder if they’d do the same for a full-length.

Mount Soma on Thee Facebooks

Mount Soma on Bandcamp

 

Nibiru, Salbrox

nibiru salbrox

One might get lost in the unmanageable 64-minute wash of Nibiru‘s fifth full-length (first for Ritual Productions), Salbrox, but the opaque nature of the proceedings is part of the point. The Italian ritualists bring forth a chaotic depth of noise and harsh semi-spoken rasps of vocals reportedly in the Enochian language, and from 14-minute opener “EHNB” — also the longest track (immediate points) — through the morass that follows in “Exarp,” “Hcoma,” “Nanta” and so on, the album is a willful slog that challenges the listener on nearly every level. This is par for the course for Nibiru, whose last outing was 2017’s Qaal Babalon (review here), and they seem to revel in the slow-churning gruel of their distortion, turning from it only to break to minimalism in the second half of the album with “Abalpt” and “Bitom” before 13-minute closer “Rziorn” storms in like a tsunami of spiritually desolate plunge. It is vicious and difficult to hear, and again, that is exactly what it’s intended to be.

Nibiru on Thee Facebooks

Ritual Productions website

 

Cable, Take the Stairs to Hell

Cable Take the Stairs to Hell

The gift of Cable was to take typically raw Northeastern disaffection and channel it into a noise rock that wasn’t quite as post-this-or-that as Isis, but still had a cerebral edge that more primitive fare lacked. They were methodical, and 10 years after their last record, the Hartford, Connecticut, outfit return with the nine-song/30-minute Take the Stairs to Hell (on Translation Loss), which brings them back into the modern sphere with a sound that is no less relevant than it was bouncing between This Dark Reign, Hydra Head and Translation Loss between 2001 and 2004. They were underrated then and may continue to be now, but the combination of melody and bite in “Black Medicine” and the gutty crunch of “Eyes Rolled Back,” the post-Southern heavy of the title-track and the lumbering pummel of “Rivers of Old” before it remind of how much of a standout Cable was in the past, reinforcing that not only were they ahead of their time then, but that they still have plenty to offer going forward. They may continue to be underrated as they always were, but their return is significant and welcome.

Cable on Instagram

Translation Loss Records webstore

 

Reino Ermitaño, Reino Ermitaño

Reino Ermitano Reino Ermitano

Originally released in 2003, the self-titled debut from Lima, Peru’s Reino Ermitaño was a beacon and landmark in Latin American doom, with a sound derived from the genre’s traditions — Sabbath, Trouble, etc. — and melded with not only Spanish-language lyrics, but elements of South American folk and stylizations. Reissued on vinyl some 16 years later, it maintains its power through the outside-time level of its craft, sliding into that unplaceable realm of doom that could be from any point from about 1985 onward, while the melodies in the guitar of Henry Guevara and the vocals of Tania Duarte hold sway over the central groove of bassist Marcos Coifman and drummer Julio “Ñaka” Almeida. Those who were turned onto the band at the time will likely know they’ve released five LPs to-date, with the latest one from 2014, but the Necio Records version marks the first time the debut has been pressed to vinyl, and so is of extra interest apart from the standard putting-it-out-there-again reissue. Collectors and a new generation of doomers alike would be well advised on an educational level, and of course the appeal of the album itself far exceeds that.

Reino Ermitaño on Thee Facebooks

Necio Records on Bandcamp

 

Cardinals Folly & Lucifer’s Fall, Split

cardinals folly lucifers fall split

Though one hails from Helsinki, Finland, and the other from Adelaide, Australia, Cardinals Folly and Lucifer’s Fall could hardly be better suited to share the six-song Cruz Del Sur split LP that they do, which checks in at 35 minutes of trad doom riffing and dirtier fare. The former is provided by Cardinals Folly, who bring a Reverend Bizarre-style stateliness to “Spiritual North” and “Walvater Proclaimed!” before betraying their extreme metal roots on “Sworn Through Odin’s and Satan’s Blood,” while the Oz contingent throw down Saint Vitus-esque punk-born fuckall through “Die Witch Die,” the crawling “Call of the Wild” and the particularly brash and speedier “The Gates of Hell.” The uniting thread of course is homage to doom itself, but each band brings enough of their own take to complement each other without either contradicting or making one or the other of them feel redundant, and rather, the split works out to be a rampaging, deeply-drunk, pagan-feeling celebration of what doom is and how it has been internalized by each of these groups. Doom over the world? Yeah, something like that.

Cardinals Folly on Thee Facebooks

Lucifer’s Fall on Thee Facebooks

Cruz Del Sur Music website

 

Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Temple of the Fuzz Witch

Temple of the Fuzz Witch Temple of the Fuzz Witch

A strong current of Electric Wizard runs through the self-titled debut full-length from Detroit’s Temple of the Fuzz Witch (on Seeing Red Records), but even to that, the outfit led by guitarist/vocalist Noah Bruner bring a nascent measure of individuality, droning into and through “Death Hails” after opening with “Bathsheba” and ahead of unveiling a harmonized vocal on “The Glowing of Satan” that suits the low end distortion surprisingly well. They continue to offer surprises throughout, whether it’s the spaciousness of centerpiece “329” and “Infidel,” which follows, or the offsetting of minimalism and crush on “The Fuzz Witch” and the creeper noise in the ending of “Servants of the Sun,” and though there are certainly familiar elements at play, Temple of the Fuzz Witch come across with an intent to take what’s been done before and make it theirs. In that regard, they would seem to be on the right track, and in their 41 minutes, they find footing in a murky aesthetic and are able to convey a sense of songwriting without sounding heavy-handed. There’s nothing else I’d ask of their first album.

Temple of the Fuzz Witch on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Tia Carrera, Inter Arma, Volcano, Wet Cactus, Duskwood, Lykantropi, Kavod, Onioroshi, Et Mors, Skånska Mord

Posted in Reviews on July 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Day four. I should’ve known we’d hit a snag at some point in the week, but it happened yesterday afternoon when Windows decided I desperately needed some update or other and then crapped the bed in the middle of said update. I wound up taking my laptop to a repair guy down the road in the afternoon, who said the hard drive needed to be wiped and have a full reinstall. Pretty brutal. He was going to back up what was there and get on it, said I could pick it up today. We’ll see how that goes, I guess. Also, happy Fourth, if America’s your thing. Let’s dive in.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Tia Carrera, Visitors / Early Purple

tia carrera visitors early purple

They had a single out between (review here), but the two-song LP Visitors / Early Purple is Tia Carrera‘s first album since 2011’s Cosmic Priestess (review here). The Austin, Texas, three-piece — which now includes bassist Curt Christianson of Dixie Witch alongside guitarist Jason Morales and drummer Erik Conn — haven’t missed a beat in terms of creating heavy psychedelic sprawl, and as the side-consuming “Visitors” (18:32) and “Early Purple” (16:28) play out, it’s with a true jammed sensibility; that feeling that sooner or later the wheels are going to come off. They don’t, at least not really, but the danger always makes it more exciting, and Morales‘ tone has been much missed. In the intervening years, the social media generation has come up to revere Earthless for doing much of what Tia Carrera do, but there’s always room for more jams as far as I’m concerned, and it’s refreshing to have Tia Carrera back to let people know what they’ve been missing. Here’s hoping it’s not another eight years.

Tia Carrera on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone Records on Bandcamp

 

Inter Arma, Sulphur English

inter arma sulphur english

I can’t help but think Inter Arma‘s Sulphur English is the album Morbid Angel should have made after Covenant. And yes, that applies to the harmonies and organ of “Stillness” as well. The fourth full-length (third for Relapse) from the Richmond, Virginia, outfit is a beastly, severe and soulful 66-minute stretch of consuming, beyond-genre extremity. It punishes with purpose and scope, and its sense of brutality comes accompanied by a willful construction of atmosphere. Longer pieces like “The Atavist’s Meridian” and the closing title-track lend a feeling of drama, but at no point does Sulphur English feel like a put-on, and as Inter Arma continue their push beyond the even-then-inventive sludge of their beginnings, they’ve become something truly groundbreaking in metal, doing work that can only be called essential to push forward into new ground and seeming to swallow the universe whole in the meantime. It’s the kind of record that one can only hope becomes influential, both in its purpose toward individualism and its sheer physical impact.

Inter Arma on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records website

 

Volcano, The Island

volcano the island

So you’ve got Harsh Toke‘s Gabe Messer on keys and vocals and JOY guitarist/Pharlee drummer Zach Oakley on guitar, and bassist Billy Ellsworth (also of Loom) and Matt Oakley on drums, plus it seems whoever else happened to be around the studio that day — and in San Diego, that could be any number of players — making up Volcano, whose debut, The Island (on Tee Pee) melds Afrobeat funk-rock with the band’s hometown penchant for boogie. The songs are catchy — “10,000 Screamin’ Souls,” “Naked Prey,” “Skewered,” “No Evil, Know Demon”; hooks abound — but there’s a feeling of kind of an unthinking portrayal of “the islander” as a savage that I can’t quite get past. There’s inherently an element of cultural appropriation to rock and roll anyway, but even more here, it seems. They make it a party, to be sure, but there’s a political side to what Afrobeat was originally about that goes unacknowledged here. They might get there, they might not. They’ve got the groove down on their first record, and that’s not nothing.

Volcano on Instagram

Tee Pee Records website

 

Wet Cactus, Dust, Hunger and Gloom

wet cactus dust hunger and gloom

Sometimes you just miss one, and I’ll admit that Wet CactusDust, Hunger and Gloom got by me. It likely would’ve been in the Quarterly Review a year ago had I not been robbed last Spring, but either way, the Spanish outfit’s second long-player is a fuzz rocker’s delight, a welcoming and raucous vibe persisting through “Full Moon Over My Head,” which is the second cut of the total five and the only one of the bunch under seven minutes long. They bring desert-jammy vibes to the songs surrounding, setting an open tone with “So Long” at the outset that the centerpiece “Aquelarre” fleshes out even further instrumentally ahead of the penultimate title-track’s classic build and payoff and the earth-toned nine-minute finale “Sleepy Trip,” which is nothing if not self-aware in its title as it moves toward the driving crescendo of the record. All throughout, the mood is as warm as the distortion, and Wet Cactus do right by staying true to the roots of desert rock. It’s not every record I’d want to review a year after the fact; think of it that way.

Wet Cactus on Thee Facebooks

Wet Cactus on Bandcamp

 

Duskwood, The Long Dark

duskwood the long dark

A follow-up EP to Duskwood‘s 2016 debut long-player, Desert Queen, the four-track The Long Dark is a solid showcase of their progression as songwriters and in the capital-‘d’ Desertscene style that has come to epitomize much of the UK heavy rock underground, taking loyalism to the likes of Kyuss and topping it off with the energy of modern London-based practitioners Steak. The four-piece roll out a right-on fuzzy groove in “Mars Rover” after opening with “Space Craft” and show more of a melodic penchant in “Crook and Flail” before tying it all together with “Nomad” at the finish. They warn on their Bandcamp page this is ‘Part 1,’ so it may not be all that long before they resurface. Fair enough as they’ve clearly found their footing in terms of style and songwriting here, and at that point the best thing to do is keep growing. As it stands, The Long Dark probably isn’t going to kick off any stylistic revolution, but there’s something to be said for the band’s ability to execute their material in conversation with what else is out there at the moment.

Duskwood on Thee Facebooks

Duskwood on Bandcamp

 

Lykantropi, Spirituosa

Lykantropi-Spirituosa

Sweet tones and harmonies and a classic, sun-coated progressivism persist on Lykantropi‘s second album, Spirituosa (on Lightning Records), basking in melodic flow across nine songs and 43 minutes that begin with the rockers “Wild Flowers” and “Vestigia” and soon move into the well-paired “Darkness” and “Sunrise” as the richer character of the LP unfolds. “Songbird” makes itself a highlight with its more laid back take, and the title-track follows with enough swing to fill whatever quota you’ve got, while “Queen of Night” goes full ’70s boogie and “Seven Blue” imagines Tull and Fleetwood Mac vibes — Flutewood Mac! — and closer and longest track “Sällsamma Natt” underscores the efficiency of songwriting that’s been at play all the while amidst all that immersive gorgeousness and lush melodicism. They include a bit of push in the capper, and well they should, but go out with a swagger that playfully counteracts the folkish humility of the proceedings. Will fly under many radars. Shouldn’t.

Lykantropi on Thee Facebooks

Lightning Records website

 

Kavod, Wheel of Time

kavod wheel of time

As Italian trio Kavod shift from opener “Samsara” into “Absolution” on their debut EP, Wheel of Time, the vocals become a kind of chant for the verse that would seem to speak to the meditative intention of the release on the whole. They will again on the more patient closer “Mahatma” too, and fair enough as the band seem to be trying to find a place for themselves in the post-Om or Zaum sphere of spiritual exploration through volume, blending that aesthetic with a more straight-ahead songwriting methodology as manifest in “Samsara” particularly. They have the tones right on as they begin this inward and outward journey, and it will be interesting to hear in subsequent work if they grow to work in longer, possibly-slower forms or push their mantras forward at the rate they do here, but as it stands, they take a reverent, astral viewpoint with their sound and feel dug in on that plane of existence. It suits them.

Kavod on Thee Facebooks

Kavod on Bandcamp

 

Onioroshi, Beyond These Mountains

onioroshi beyond these mountains

Onioroshi flow smoothly from atmospheric post-sludge to more thrusting heavy rock and they take their time doing it, too. With their debut album, Beyond These Mountains, the Italian heavy proggers present four tracks the shortest of which, “Locusta,” runs 10:54. Bookending are “Devilgrater” (14:17) and “Eternal Snake (Mantra)” (20:30) and the penultimate “Socrate” checks in at 12:29, so yes, the trio have plenty of chances to flesh out their ideas as and explore as they will. Their style leans toward post-rock by the end of “Devilgrater,” but never quite loses its sense of impact amid the ambience, and it’s not until “Socrate” that they go full-on drone, setting a cinematic feel that acts as a lead-in for the initial build of the closer which leads to an apex wash and a more patient finish than one might expect given the trip to get there. Beyond These Mountains is particularly enticing because it’s outwardly familiar but nuanced enough to still strike an individual note. It’s easy to picture Onioroshi winding up on Argonauta or some other suitably adventurous imprint.

Onioroshi on Thee Facebooks

Onioroshi on Bandcamp

 

Et Mors, Lux in Morte

et mors lux in morte

Whoever in Maryland/D.C. then-four-piece Et Mors decided to record their Lux in Morte EP in their practice space had the right idea. The morose death-doom three-songer takes cues from USBM in the haunting rawness of “Incendium Ater,” and even though the 19-minute “House of Nexus” comes through somewhat clearer — it was recorded to tape at Shenandoah University — it remains infected by the filth and grit of the opener. Actually, “infected” might be the word all around here, as the mold-sludge of closer “Acid Bender” creeps along at an exposed-flesh, feedback-drenched lurch, scathing as much in intent as execution, playing like a death metal record at half-speed and that much harsher because they so clearly know what they’re doing. If you think it matters that they mixed stuff from two different sessions, you’re way off base on the sound overall here. It’s patch-worthy decay metal, through and through. Concerns of audio fidelity need not apply.

Et Mors on Thee Facebooks

Et Mors on Bandcamp

 

Skånska Mord, Blues from the Tombs

skanska mord blues from the tombs

When Sweden’s Skånska Mord are singing about the deep freeze in album opener “Snow” on the Transubstans-released Blues from the Tombs, I believe it. It’s been seven years since Small Stone issued their Paths to Charon LP (review here), and the new record finds them more fully dug into a classic rocker’s take on hard-blues, rolling with Iommic riffs and a mature take on what earliest Spiritual Beggars were able to capture in terms of a modern-retro sound. “Snow” and “Simon Says” set an expectation for hooks that the more meandering “Edge of Doom” pulls away from, while “The Never Ending Greed” brings out the blues harp over an abbreviated two minutes and leads into a more expansive side B with “Blinded by the Light” giving way to the wah-bassed “Sun,” the barroom blueser “Death Valley Blues” and the returning nod of closer “The Coming of the Second Wave,” stood out by its interwoven layers of soloing and hypnosis before its final cut. It’s been a while, but they’ve still got it.

Skånska Mord on Thee Facebooks

Transubstans Records website

 

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Black Rainbows Announce European Touring & Fest Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

black rainbows

It’s going to be a busy couple months for Black Rainbows. The Italian magnates of heavy psychedelic rock have two recently-announced reissues on deck for July 26 release, and they have a bunch of killer shows booked, including dates with Orange Goblin and Wolfmother and stops at numerous festivals, HRH Doom vs. StonerUp in Smoke, and four dates of the Heavy Psych Sounds Fest among them. That will take them through the end of the year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a new album followed sometime sooner than later in 2020, though I wouldn’t fight with them if they decided to do an American tour either. I think they’re about due, don’t you?

Here’s the (hypothetical, of course) package: Ecstatic VisionDuel and Black Rainbows. I’d say Nebula headline, but Nebula are already touring this Fall, and I’m thinking a 21-date full-US tour in Spring 2020. Just don’t hit New York while I’m at Roadburn and that’ll be great, thanks.

…And booking shows is that easy, right?

Seriously though, Black Rainbows have been around for 12 years and frontman Gabriele Fiori‘s label, Heavy Psych Sounds, has made itself among the most essential outlets going in no small part because of picking up bands like Duel and Ecstatic Vision — also Fatso JetsonYawning Man, Brant Bjork, etc. — so yeah, I think it’s time we got them over. Let them play some fest or other to make a little cash, and set them up with Made in Brooklyn for a bunch of merch, and they’d be good to go. They can get robbed in Chicago, for the complete ‘American Tour’ experience. Shit, while we’re daydreaming, I’ll drive the van and write a book about it. I always wanted to do that anyway.

I’m getting off track. Dates from the PR wire:

black rainbows tour dates

Heavy Psych Sounds Records & Booking is really stoked to present BLACK RAINBOWS – Heavy Space Psychedelic Tour Dates

Our heavy fuzz riffers BLACK RAINBOWS are presenting a bunch of gigs during the next 6 months !!!

The band will play single gigs but also perform at some of the biggest European festivals such as UP in SMOKE festival at Z7 in Switzerland, Black Bass Festival in France, HRH Doom Vs HRH Stoner in UK and at the HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Fest in Rome, Innsbruck, Berlin and Dresden.

!!! Don’t miss them !!!

– Heavy Space Psychedelic Toud Dates –
06.07.2019 IT Roma-Traffic w/Orange Goblin
07.07.2019 IT Chiusi-Lars Fest w/ Wolfmother
12.07.2019 IT Isernia-Rock in Musica
25.07.2019 IT Parma-Splinter Club
26.07.2019 FR Saint Felix-Panic Fest
27.07.2019 IT Alessandria-Cascina Bellaria
30.08.2019 FR Bordeaux-Black Bass Fest
28.09.2019 UK Sheffield-HRH Doom vs Stoner
03.10.2019 CH Basel-Up in Smoke Fest
04.10.2019 CH Chur-Palazzo Bowling & Beat Club
05.10.2019 IT La Spezia-Shake Club
12.10.2019 IT Rome-Traffic HPS Fest
01.11.2019 AT Innsbruck-PMK HPS Fest
06.12.2019 DE Berlin Dresden-HPS Fest
07.12.2019 DE Berlin Dresden-HPS Fest

Since the release of their debut album, Twilight in the Desert, in 2007, Roma rockers Black Rainbows have become one of the most essential acts in Europe’s heavy underground. As the spearhead of an entire movement of Italian bands, They’ve issued five full-lengths to-date and are on the precipice of their sixth in 2018, with founding guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori and bassist Giuseppe Guglielmino welcoming new drummer Fillippo Ragazzoni to the fold for the first time.

Across albums like 2010’s Carmina Diablo (recently reissued), 2011’s Supermotherfuzzalicious!!, 2015’s Hawkdope and 2016’s Stellar Prophecy, Black Rainbows’ sound has oozed between classic ‘90s-style stoner fuzz and deep-cosmos psychedelia, drawing on the best of hard-driving space rock to conjure a vibe totally tripped-out and all its own. By bringing Ragazzoni on board, the riffs have gotten tighter and are fuzzed as ever, and two years after their last outing, Black Rainbows enter 2018 refreshed and with well-earned veteran status resulting from countless tours, festival appearances, and their track record of absolutely unstoppable energy. In january they released their new record Pandaemonium.

BLACK RAINBOWS is:
Gabriele Fiori – Vocals, Guitars
Giuseppe Guglielmino – Bass, Vocals
Filippo Ragazzoni – Drums

http://www.theblackrainbows.com/
https://www.facebook.com/BLACKRAINBOWSROCK/
http://blackrainbows.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/

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NAGA Announce New Album Void Cult Rising on Spikerot Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Void Cult Rising is the third full-length from Italy’s screamy post-metal lurchers NAGA and it’ll be released in November through Spikerot Records following three years behind Inanimate, which came out on Lay Bare Recordings. I didn’t get to write about that album, because I suck at this, but it’s available as a name-your-price download now, so that’s convenient, and if you happen to be unfamiliar with the band — possible — makes a likewise rousing and grim introduction, what with the plod and the atmosphere and whatnot. I’m gonna be telling you how to live your life all day today — it’s just that kind of day, sorry — but if you’ve got headphones handy and don’t care about blowing out your ears, do it up right.

The announcement came down the PR wire, like announcements do:

naga spikerot

Blackened Doom Metal trio NAGA sign with Spikerot Records!

New album to be unleashed in November 2019

Spikerot Records is thrilled to announce the signing of the Italian Blackened Doom monster NAGA. The Naples-based three-piece is deeply grounded in the sulphurean atmosphere of their land and known to deliver a great amount of distortion, heaviness and nihilism. The band’s new album will be the third full-length after the fortunate ‘Hen’ and ‘Inanimate’ and it’s due to be unleashed in November 2019 under the name of ‘Void Cult Rising’.

“It is surely our most elaborate album to date” says NAGA’s frontman Lorenzo De Stefano. “Its development took longer than usual due to personal issues that have been affecting us in the last three years. Despite all this we find the final output fully satisfying, it’s the album where we dared the most and tried to find diverse solutions compared to our previous works, both on a musical and songwriting level, things that are leading us towards new territories”.

From a lyrical point of view “Void Cult Rising is a meditation on death from a personal perspective, like for example losing someone dear, but also a global one like the end of all things”.

About joining the Spikerot roster, De Stefano adds “We are so happy to start working with Spikerot Records, hence with our lifelong friend Davide. They’re an ambitious label and it’s been our first and last choice since the end of the recording sessions”.

NAGA pick up where they left off. Expect a masterpiece of grief and nihilism, a true bliss for fans of Tryptikon, Unearthly Trance, Craft and Amenra.

Watch out for many more news, details and album tunes to follow in the days ahead!

NAGA is:
Lorenzo – (Vocals and guitar)
Emanuele – (Bass)
Dario – (Drums)

www.facebook.com/nagadoom
www.nagadoom.bandcamp.com
www.instagram.com/nagadoom666
www.spikerot.com

NAGA, Inanimate (2016)

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