Quarterly Review: Molasses Barge, Slow Green Thing, Haze Mage & Tombtoker, White Dog, Jupiterian, Experiencia Tibetana, Yanomamo, Mos Eisley Spaceport, Of Wolves, Pimmit Hills

Posted in Reviews on October 6th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

We roll on with day two of the Fall 2020 Quarterly Review featuring another batch of 10 records en route to 50 by Friday — and actually, I just put together the list for a sixth day, so it’ll be 60 by next Monday. As much as things have been delayed from the pandemic, there’s been plenty to catch up on in the meantime and I find I’m doing a bit of that with some of this stuff today and yesterday. So tacking on another day to the end feels fair enough, and it was way easy to pick 10 more folders off my far-too-crowded desktop and slate them for review. So yeah, 60 records by Monday. I bet I could get to 70 if I wanted. Probably better for my sanity if I don’t. Anyhoozle, more to come. For now…

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Molasses Barge, A Grayer Dawn

molasses barge a grayer dawn

Following up their 2017 self-titled debut issued through Best http://ireon.ru/?how-to-write-an-alzheimers-essay Service Our Custom Essay Paper Writing Service will help handle all your paper instructions according to your specifications. Blackseed Records, Pittsburgh-based rockers If you donít know what writing agency to choose, look closer at our Best Resume Writing Services 2014 Bangalore for you to ease your life during education period Molasses Barge present learn more about our phd thesis editing and http://www.unionhilfswerk.de/?dissertation-on-customer-service-number across all academic areas by professional phd proofreaders. A Grayer Dawn through Need Dissertation Writing Services? Welcome to Professional go to site, offers you top quality professional writing services in USA and UK. For more Argonauta, and indeed, in songs like “Holding Patterns” or the melancholy “Control Letting Go,” it is a somewhat moodier offering than its predecessor. But also more focused. http://sfv-fsp.ch/?der-ghostwriter-german-trailer - Start working on your assignment right away with qualified help presented by the service Find out all you need to know about Molasses Barge, in songs like stomping opener “The Snake” and its swing-happy successor “Desert Discord,” and in the later lumber of “Black Wings Unfurl” and push of the title-track, reside at an intersection of microgenres, with classic heavy rock and doom and modern tonality and production giving them an edge in terms of overarching heft in their low end. Riffs are choice throughout from guitarists Get More Info glasgow, creative writing essays on the beach, popular dissertation conclusion editor services ca, custom critical Justin Gizzi and http://www.antholzer.de/?highschool-essay-writing-service services offered and provided by the professionals of the world level. All possible directions and subjects. Meeting deadlines Barry Mull, vocalist AWE Learning is pleased to offer College Admission Essay Prep to search and apply for funding to bring digital learning tools to your early learners. Brian “Butch” Balich ( family narrative essay click here how to outline master thesis online education and traditional education essay Argus, ex- writing application for a job Buy An Essays essay writing 12 page master thesis in supply chain logistics Penance, etc.) sounds powerful as ever, and the rhythm section of bassist In Brief Do We Live Better Than Our Forefathers Essay. 51 likes. Legal research, writing, editing and related services for attorneys and non-attorneys. Amy Bianco and drummer Math Homework For Kindergartens from EssayRoo, a trusted source of custom assignment writing service in Australia and abroad. Order now with a 15% discount! Wayne Massey lock in a succession of grooves that find welcome one after the other until the final “Reprise” fades to close the album. Its individuality is deceptive, but try to fit Buy Online Essay provides best term papers on the vietnam war & essay help for students. Our professional online essay writers deliver quality work at affordable Molasses Barge neatly in one category or the other and they’ll stand out more than it might at first seem.

Molasses Barge on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

Slow Green Thing, Amygdala

slow-green-thing_amygdala-2000

Yes, this. The Homework Helper Cpm examples 818 Words | 4 Pages. The Formative Years of the New Nation, 1820-1860 The Louisiana Purchase The Louisiana Purchase was the largest land transaction for the United States, and the most important event of President Jefferson's presidency. Slow Green Thing‘s third album, Are you looking for people who Think Of A Link? Well, we offer the most affordable pricing and give papers individualized approach to enhance quality. Amygdala, is melodic without being overbearing and filled out with a consuming depth and warmth of tone. A less jammy, more solo-prone Sungrazer comes to mind; that kind of blend of laid back vocals and heavy psychedelic impulse. But the Dresden four-piece have their own solidified, nodding grooves to unveil as well, tapping into modern stoner with two guitars setting their fuzz to maximum density and Sven Weise‘s voice largely floating overtop, echo added to give even more a sense of largesse and space to the proceedings, which to be sure have plenty of both. The six-track/44-minute outing picks up some speed in “Dirty Thoughts” at the outset of side B, and brings a fair bit of crush to the title-track earlier and lead-laced finale “Love to My Enemy,” but in “Dreamland,” they mellow and stretch out the drift and the effect is welcome and not at all out of place beside the massive sprawl conjured in side A capper “All I Want.” And actually, that same phrase — “all I want” — covers a good portion of my opinion on the band’s sound.

Slow Green Thing on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzmatazz Records website

 

Haze Mage & Tombtoker, Split

Haze Mage Tombtoker Split

Anyone bemoaning the state of traditionalist doom metal would do well to get their pants kick’d by Haze Mage, and when that’s done, it’s time to let the stoned zombie sludge of Tombtoker rip your arms off and devour what’s left. The two Baltimorean five-pieces make a righteously odd pairing, but they’ve shared the stage at Grim Reefer Fest in Charm City, and what they have most in common is a conviction of approach that comes through on each half of the four-song/19-minute offering, with Haze Mage shooting forth with “Sleepers” and the semi-NWOBHM “Pit Fighter,” metal, classic prog and heavy rock coming together with a vital energy that is immediately and purposefully contradicted in Tombtoker‘s played-fast-but-is-so-heavy-it-still-sounds-slow “Braise the Dead” and “Botched Bastard,” both of which find a way to be a ton of fun while also being unspeakably brutal and pushing the line between sludge and death metal in a way that would do Six Feet Under proud. Horns and bongs all around, then.

Haze Mage on Thee Facebooks

Tombtoker on Thee Facebooks

 

White Dog, White Dog

white dog white dog

Oldschool newcomers White Dog earn an automatic look by releasing their self-titled debut through former Cathedral frontman Lee Dorrian‘s Rise Above Records, but it’s the band’s clearcut vintage aesthetic that holds the listener’s attention. With proto-metal established as an aesthetic of its own going on 20 years now, White Dog aren’t the first by any means to tread this ground, but especially for an American band, they bring a sincerity of swing and soul that speaks to the heart of the subgenre’s appeal. “The Lantern” leans back into the groove to tell its tale, while “Abandon Ship” is more upfront in its strut, and “Snapdragon” and opener “Sawtooth” underscore their boogie with subtle progressive nods. Closing duo “Pale Horse” and “Verus Cultus” might be enough to make one recall it was Rise Above that issued Witchcraft‘s self-titled, but in the shuffle of “Crystal Panther,” and really across the whole LP White Dog make the classic ideology theirs and offer material of eminent repeat listenability.

White Dog on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

 

Jupiterian, Protosapien

jupiterian protosapien

The only thing that might save you from being swallowed entirely by the deathly mire Brazil’s Jupiterian craft on their third full-length, Protosapien, is the fact that the album is only 35 minutes long. That’s about right for the robe-clad purveyors of tonal violence — 2017’s Terraforming (review here) and 2015’s Aphotic (review here) weren’t much longer — and rest assured, it’s plenty of time for the band to squeeze the juice out of your soul and make you watch while they drink it out of some need-two-hands-to-hold-it ceremonial goblet. Their approach has grown more methodical over the years, and all the deadlier for that, and the deeper one pushes into Protosapien — into “Capricorn,” “Starless” and “Earthling Bloodline” at the end of the record — the less likely any kind of cosmic salvation feels. I’d say you’ve been warned, but really, this is just scratching the surface of the trenches into which Jupiterian plunge.

Jupiterian on Thee Facebooks

Transcending Obscurity Records on Bandcamp

 

Experiencia Tibetana, Vol. I

Experiencia Tibetana Vol I

It’s an archival release, recorded in 2014 and 2015 by the Buenos Aires-based band, but all that really does for the three-song/hour-long Vol. I is make me wonder what the hell Experiencia Tibetana have been up to since and why Vols. II and III are nowhere to be found. The heavy psych trio aren’t necessarily inventing anything on this debut full-length, but the way “Beirut” (18:36) is peppered with memorable guitar figures amid its echo-drifting vocals, and the meditation tucked into the last few minutes of the 26:56 centerpiece “Espalda de Elefante” and the shift in persona to subdued progressive psych on “Desatormentandonos” (14:16) with the bass seeming to take the improvisational lead as guitar lines hold the central progression together, all of it is a compelling argument for one to pester for a follow-up. It may be an unmanageable runtime, but for the come-with-us sense of voyage it carries, Vol. I adapts the listener’s mindset to its exploratory purposes, and proves to be well worth the trip.

Experiencia Tibetana on Thee Facebooks

Experiencia Tibetana on Bandcamp

 

Yanomamo, No Sympathy for a Rat

yanomamo no sympathy for a rat

Filth-encrusted and lumbering, Yanomamo‘s sludge takes Church of Misery-style groove and pummels it outright on the opening title-track of their four-song No Sympathy for a Rat EP. Like distilled disillusion, the scream-laced answer to the Sydney four-piece’s 2017 debut, Neither Man Nor Beast, arrives throwing elbows at your temples and through “The Offering,” the wait-is-this-grindcore-well-kinda-in-this-part “Miasma” and the suitably destructive “Iron Crown,” the only letup they allow is topped with feedback. Get in, kill, get out. They have more bounce than Bongzilla but still dig into some of Thou‘s more extreme vibe, but whatever you might want to compare them to, it doesn’t matter: Yanomamo‘s unleashed assault leaves bruises all its own, and the harsher it gets, the nastier it gets, the better. Can’t take it? Can’t hang? Fine. Stand there and be run over — I don’t think it makes a difference to the band one way or the other.

Yanomamo on Thee Facebooks

Iommium Records on Bandcamp

 

Mos Eisley Spaceport, The Best of Their Early Year

mos eisley spaceport the best of their early year

They mean the title literally — “early year.” Bremen, Germany’s Mos Eisley Spaceport — who so smoothly shift between space rock and classic boogie on “Further When I’m Far” and brash tempo changes en route to a final jam-out on “Mojo Filter,” finally unveiling the Star Wars sample at the head of organ-inclusive centerpiece “Space Shift” only to bring early Fu Manchu-style raw fuzz on “Drop Out” and finish with the twanging acoustic and pedal steel of “My Bicycle Won’t Fly” — have been a band for less than a full 12 months. Thus, The Best of Their Early Year signals some of its own progressive mindset and more playful aspects, but it is nonetheless a formidable accomplishment for a new band finding their way. They lay out numerous paths, if you couldn’t tell by the run-on sentence above, and I won’t hazard a guess as to where they’ll end up sound-wise, but they have a fervent sense of creative will that comes through in this material and one only hopes they hold onto whatever impulse it is that causes them to break out the gong on “Space Shift,” because it’s that sense of anything-as-long-as-it-works that’s going to continue to distinguish them.

Mos Eisley Spaceport on Thee Facebooks

Mos Eisley Spaceport on Bandcamp

 

Of Wolves, Balance

of wolves balance

One doesn’t often hear “the Wolfowitz Doctrine” brought out in lyrics these days, but Chicago heavy noise metallers Of Wolves aren’t shy about… well, anything. With volume inherent in the sound no matter how loud you’re actually hearing it, conveyed through weighted tones, shouts of progressions unified in intensity but varied in aggression and actual approach, the three-piece take an unashamed stance on a range of issues from the last two decades of war to trying to put themselves into the head of a mass shooter. The lyrics across their sophomore outing, Balance, are worth digging into for someone willing to take them on, but even without, the aggro mosh-stomp of “Maker” makes its point ahead of the 17-second “Flavor of the Weak” before Of Wolves dive into more progressively-structured fare on the title-track and “Clear Cutting/Bloodshed/Heart to Hand.” After “Killing Spree” and the aural-WTF that is “Inside (Steve’s Head),” they finish with a sludgecore take on the Misfits‘ “Die, Die My Darling,” which as it turns out was exactly what was missing up to that point.

Of Wolves on Thee Facebooks

Trepanation Recordings on Bandcamp

 

Pimmit Hills, Heathens & Prophets

Pimmit Hills Heathens Prophets

Comprised of four-fifths of what was Virginian outfit King Giant, it’s hard to know whether to consider Pimmit Hills a new band or a name-change, or what, but the first offering from vocalist David Hammerly, guitarist Todd “TI” Ingram, bassist Floyd Lee Walters III and drummer Brooks, titled Heathens & Prophets and self-released, hits with a bit of a bluesier feel than did the prior outfit, leaving plenty of room for jamming in each track and even going so far as to bring producer J. Robbins in on keys throughout the four-song/29-minute release. I suppose you could call it an EP or an LP — or a demo? — if so inclined, but any way you cut it, Heathens & Prophets plainly benefits from the band’s experience playing together, and they find a more rocking, less moody vibe in “Baby Blue Eyes” and the harmonica-laced “Beautiful Sadness” that has a feel as classic in substance as it is modern in sound and that is both Southern but refusing to bow entirely to clich√©.

Pimmit Hills on Thee Facebooks

Pimmit Hills on Bandcamp

 

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 40

Posted in Radio on August 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

I frontloaded this one with heavy. Heavy heavy heavy heavy. Heavy enough across the first three that by the time you get to¬†Wren having already made it through¬†Jupiterian,¬†Hymn and Primitive Man, their crushing post-metal feels like a break. I felt in putting the playlist together like I wanted to kind of wash away the last two weeks. “Sonic catharsis” is how I put it in the voice track I recorded the other day. That’s still as good as anything else I can come up with to explain it.

From there, we rock and trip out a bit, going from Athens-based¬†Honeybadger into Nashevillian psych rockers¬†Oginalii¬†ahead of the hypnotic riffs of¬†Slow Green Thing¬†and¬†Black Helium and the ever-moody experimental neo-folk of¬†Neurosis‘ own¬†Steve Von Till, whose new record, unsurprisingly, is gorgeous. The show closes with¬†AXIOM9, a newer Madrid-based psych-jam outfit I got put onto last week and have been digging. That’s a 45-minute sample-laced ride right there, but no regrets for including it. Sometimes I like weirding out the Gimme listenership. People are usually pretty open-minded about it.

This is the 40th episode of The Obelisk Show, so let me give my heartfelt appreciation to Gimme Metal/Gimme Radio for continuing to give me time on their bandwidth to do this silly thing. And of course, thank you for listening if you can.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at http://gimmeradio.com

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 08.21.20

Jupiterian Mere Humans Protosapien*
Hymn Exit Through Fire Breach Us*
Primitive Man Consumption Immersion*
Wren Chromed Groundswells*
VT
Honeybadger The Wolf Pleasure Delayer*
Oginalii Scapegoat Pendulum*
Slow Green Thing Dreamland Amygdala*
Black Helium Death Station of the Goddess The Wholly Other*
Steve Von Till Shadows on the Run No Wilderness Deep Enough*
VT
AXIOM9 The Space Bong Witch The Acid Wizard and the Space Bong Witch*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is Sept. 4 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Metal website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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Jupiterian Post “Starless”; Protosapien Preorders Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 11th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

jupiterian (Photo by Patricia Montrase)

Alright, so I don’t know much more here than you. At some point presumably later this year, Brazil’s Jupiterian will release a follow-up to their 2017 album, Terraforming (review here). That record, if you’ll recall, fucking crushed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the forthcoming Protosapien did likewise, melding extreme sludge and death-doom with murky atmospheres and a ritualized sensibility emphasized in the robes that accompany all that crackling-amp tonality. Transcending Obscurity will have the album out, but when the band first posted the tracklisting it was last Spring and they were talking about it for a 2019 release, so what the hell that might mean or what might’ve been behind the delay — if it was being pushed back now, it would be glaringly obvious — I wouldn’t want to guess.

Most important of all is the track slays. I know I already said once today that my head was locked in escapist peaceful psychedelia, but so help me robot jeebus, there’s always a spot reserved in my bitter, depressive heart for precisely this kind of oppressive, monolithic doom. So I guess it’s either space out or be buried alive these days. One extreme to the other. That in itself feels pretty appropriate.

You can hear “Starless” at the bottom of the post. No clue when Transcending Obscurity are starting Protosapien preorders, but I bet if you asked nice they’d tell you.

Here to decay:

jupiterian protosapien

Jupiterian – Protosapien

“Starless” taken from the upcoming album ‘Protosapien.’

Pre-orders for the massive new JUPITERIAN full length Protosapien are up next. Brace yourselves.

Artwork by Mariusz Lewandowski (EREMIT, ROGGA JOHANSSON)

Tracklist:
1. Homecoming
2. Mere Humans
3. Capricorn
4. Starless
5. Voidborn
6. Earthling Bloodline

New album coming soon via Transcending Obscurity Records

Cover artwork by Mariusz Lewandowski (Bell Witch, Eremit)

Recorded by Alan Lima (Mythological Cold Towers) and Otso Ukkonen

Mix and master: Otso Ukkonen (Krypts)

Jupiterian are:
V – G/V
R – B
P – D
A – G

https://www.facebook.com/jupiteriansect/
https://jupiterian.bandcamp.com/
https://tometal.com/
https://www.facebook.com/transcendingobscurityrecords
http://transcendingobscurity.bandcamp.com/

Jupiterian, “Starless”

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Abraxas Fest Set for Oct. 13 & 14 in Brazil; Eyehategod, Samsara Blues Experiment and More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

A heartfelt happy fifth anniversary to Abraxas Events in Brazil. For the last half-decade, brothers Felipe and Rodrigo Toscano have worked diligently and passionately to both bring outside heavy to Brazil and to foster their national scene, making an impact almost immediately with their first tour having been Mars Red Sky, who’d wind up recording their second album while they were in the country. That kind of work has only continued since then, and from bands like Radio Moscow to Neurosis, to the founding of Abraxas Records as a natural extension of their booking arm, the company keeps growing while remaining true to its core principles.

Five years will be marked with a two-night Abraxas Fest in S√£o Paulo and Rio de Janiero. Both nights are headlined by Eyehategod and Samsara Blues Experiment, showcasing the reach to established US and European acts, while support will be from Noala and ITD (aka Into the Dust) the first night and Pantanum and Jupiterian the second, highlighting the domestic underground of Brazil.

Seems like a killer time either way, and many more to Abraxas, in terms of both years and festivals:

abraxas fest 2018 poster

ABRAXAS FEST – Eyehategod & Samsara Blues Experiment

In October we will celebrate our 5TH ANNIVERSARY. We have prepared a special celebration and we have already called our audience for this great party! We will have the legendary North American band eyehategod for the first time in Brazil, and also the German power trio samsara blues experiment, plus two local opening bands in each of the shows (Noala and itd, day 13/10 in S√£o Paulo and jupiterian And pantanum day 14/10 in Rio de Janeiro!

See you soon!

Art: Victor Bezerra

Abraxas was founded in September 2013 by the brothers Felipe and Rodrigo Toscano, debuting with the tour of the French band Mars Red Sky. Focusing on an audience whose taste transits between rock and roll and classical psychedelia from the 60s and 70s and more modern strands like Stoner, Doom and Sludge, but still without an identity or even a scene established in Brazil, Abraxas quickly became a benchmark in the national circuit by successfully promoting not only the circulation of foreign bands throughout the country, but also a constant and growing movement of local bands themselves.

Tickets: https://www.sympla.com.br/abraxas-fest-2018—5-anos—rio-de-janeiro__279932

https://www.facebook.com/events/428628674243793/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1925147550842727/

https://www.facebook.com/abraxasevents/
https://www.instagram.com/abraxasfm/
https://www.abraxas.fm/

Eyehategod, Live in St. Petersburg, Russia, April 22, 2018

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Jupiterian Premiere “Us and Them”; Terraforming out Nov. 15

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

jupiterian

Brazilian sludge extremists¬†Jupiterian will issue their second album,¬†Terraforming, Nov. 15 via¬†Transcending Obscurity Records. The be-hooded S√£o Paulo four-piece debuted in 2015 with Aphotic (review here) on Caligari Records, and the six-track/39-minute follow-up works with a likewise sense of bleak extremity, derived in part from black metal, traditional depressive doom and an overarching sense of murk. Atmosphere is central to the approach on pieces like “Unearthly Glow” and the creepily spacious but short title-track, on which Maurice de Jong of Gnaw Their Tongues, who also mixed, makes a vocal guest appearance, but as engrossingly dark as they are, even cuts like opener “Matriarch” and the penultimate chug-and-blaster “Us and Them” have a rich depth and ambient mentality behind them.

That balance of sheer aural cruelty and breadth becomes the crux of Terraforming, and whether it’s the nods to tribalism/ritualism that emerge suitably enough at the outset of “Matriarch” and “Forefathers” or the more immediate nod of closer “Sol,” which insteadJupiterian terraforming caps with a spread of atmospheric guitar, Jupiterian never seem to be too distant from playing between one side and the other. This not only enriches the overarching stylistic character of the tracks, but it makes the more “extreme” parts come across with even more impact regardless of tempo, since they so clearly emerge from a place of progressive thoughtfulness of craft and arrangement, rather than a band simply putting forth something geared toward brutality for its own sake. Nothing against that approach necessarily when it works, but¬†Jupiterian have a more complex goal with¬†Terraforming as they did with¬†Aphotic, and the meld present in their sound is what allows them to accomplish it as completely as they do.

In addition to the first album,¬†Terraforming was preceded by a number of short releases, one of them a 2017 EP titled¬†URN that featured only two tracks — a cover of¬†Black Sabbath¬†(“Behind the Wall of Sleep”) and a cover of early¬†Anathema (“Mine is Yours to Drown In [Ours Is the New Tribe]”), and in a way, that divide between the two would seem to give some decent clue of the influences Jupiterian are contorting to their own purposes with Terraforming, but the clear emphasis should be on just how much work the initials-only lineup of guitarist/vocalist/synthesist/percussionist V, guitarist A, bassist R and drummer G have put into individualizing these varied impulses and making them their own. Be it the roaring of “Unearthly Glow” or the final build and release within “Us and Them,” the album offers moment after moment of payoff for that effort.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting the official premiere of “Us and Them” ahead of the album’s Nov. 15 release. You can find it on the player below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Jupiterian, “Us and Them” official track premiere

From Brazil, underground masked entity JUPITERIAN reemerge with their unique brand of atmospheric sludge/doom metal. Haunting both musically and aesthetically, JUPITERIAN delve into subtler, more visceral sounds while retaining their crushing style. Like the dichotomy in their country, their music too encompasses the stark contrast between the intense and atmospheric bits, sometimes transmuting into a dark ambient form aided by Maurice de Jong of GNAW THEIR TONGUES. ‘Terraforming’ is the much awaited full length that will see the light of day on multiple formats through Indian label Transcending Obscurity Records late this year. The die has been cast.

Band lineup –
G – Drums
R – Bass
V – Voices, Guitars, Percussions, Synths
A – Guitars

Recorded at Duna Studios
Mixed by Maurice de Jong (GNAW THEIR TONGUES)
Mastered by Stephen Lockhart (SVARTIDAUDI, TCHORNOBOG, ZHRINE)

Jupiterian on Thee Facebooks

Jupiterian on Bandcamp

Transcending Obscurity Records on Thee Facebooks

Transcending Obscurity Records on Bandcamp

Transcending Obscurity Records website

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A Tale of Three Tapes: Heavydeath, The Unquiet Grave and Jupiterian

Posted in Duuude, Tapes!, Reviews on December 30th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

heavydeath-the-unquiet-grave-jupiterian-tapes

To those who’d peruse cassettes or who believe the format has something to offer distinct from vinyl, CD or digital, the name Caligari Records shouldn’t be a strange one. The imprint has spent the last couple years committing itself fiercely to tapes and, more specifically, to bringing a level of professionalism to a medium often characterized (and not always incorrectly) as being the most amateurish among the traditional physical formats of the last half-century.¬†Caligari‘s tapes are professionally printed as are the j-card liners — every time. As few have done, the label has adopted the cassette format not as a limitation, but as a means of enhancing aesthetic.

Caligari keeps busy with new releases on the regular — I count three since the most recent of the ones I’ll be writing about here, at least on the label’s Bandcamp — and delves into a variety of styles generally on the darker and more extreme end of the doom or metallic spectrum. Showing a significant variety between them are offerings from¬†Swedish outfits¬†Heavydeath and¬†The Unquiet Grave and Brazil’s¬†Jupiterian, about which more follows:

Heavydeath, Dark Phoenix Rising

heavydeath-dark-phoenix-rising-tape

Dark Phoenix Rising is the latest in a long string of outings issued in the last year-plus from Ljungskile-based trio Heavydeath. To wit, their Demo I – Post Mortem in Aeternum Tenebrarum arrived in a series of 100 tapes (on Caligari) in April 2014 and their discography is already past this EP with Demo XII – The Storm. Fair enough. Here working as the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Nicklas Rudolfsson, bassist Johan B√§ckman and session drummer Oldfor Suns (the band has since been joined by Daniel Moilanen, also recently added to Katatonia), they lumber and gruel through five tracks of grim-hued sludge, two on side one, three on side two, and while there are flourishes of melody here and there and side two opener “The Ember of the End” finds Rudolfsson basking in some particularly effective epic-metal vocals, the prevailing impression is still of the rawness throughout. Tonally, the guitars set a blackened atmosphere, but¬†Heavydeath aren’t as loyal sonically to any particular substyle as they are to an overarching sense of doom and mournfulness and a general extremity of presentation. To call them death-doom isn’t necessarily wrong, but it hardly tells the whole story. Closing with the title-track, they lock in a formidable riff-led groove and nod boldly at¬†Celtic Frost in the process, but it just so happens that groove is buried six feet deep and covered in moss.

Heavydeath on Thee Facebooks

Dark Phoenix Rising at Caligari Records’ Bandcamp

The Unquiet Grave, Cosmic Dawn

the-unquiet-grave-cosmic-dawn-tape
Essentially a demo, but billed as an EP,¬†The Unquiet Grave‘s¬†Cosmic Dawn is the first release from the clean-singing raw trad doom solo-project, though its title-track traces its roots back more than a decade. The outfit is comprised of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Micael Zetterberg, whose CV boasts a wide variety of Norrk√∂ping outfits, from the black metal Aggressive Mutilator to thrashier Terrorama, among a slew of others. The Unquiet Grave is unrepentently stripped down across the three included tracks — “Cosmic Dawn,” “Mother’s Trial” and “Whispers in the Dark,” as well as the included intro and outro — but not at all void of ambience. Even as “Mother’s Trial” rolls out a highlight riff in its midsection, the lead guitar layer works to play up a sense of atmosphere. Zetterberg does well in the full-band role, and while¬†Cosmic Dawn has an already-noted rawness to it, particularly with the compression of the tape as opposed to the digital version, that fits with the naturalism at root in the sound, something that seems counterintuitive for a solo-project invariably working in layers — I sincerely doubt¬†Zetterberg is playing bass, guitar and drums at the same time — but across the three tracks here makes an eerie kind of sense. It seems unlikely he’ll get much more expansive with arrangements than he is here, but particularly as a first outing,¬†Cosmic Dawn impresses with its fullness of presentation despite being the work of a solo source.

The Unquiet Grave on Thee Facebooks

Cosmic Dawn at Caligari’s Bandcamp

Jupiterian, Aphotic

jupiterian-aphotic-tape
The 42-minute first full-length from Sao Paolo, Brazil, four-piece¬†Jupiterian, the five-song¬†Aphotic isn’t quite entirely true to its name, but certainly dense and opaque enough in its execution that light has trouble getting through. A deathly lurch takes hold on opener “Permanent Grey” and doesn’t let go, the band trudging through death-doom excruciations and offering precious little hope across the tape’s span, even as “Daylight” seems to hint in that direction with its early guitar melody. Vocalist/guitarist¬†V — the entire band is one-initial only;¬†R on bass,¬†A on guitar,¬†G on drums — has a growl worthy of¬†Swallow the Sun or any number of Scandinavian practitioners, and a raspy scream that’s well at home in the dirge of centerpiece “Proclamation,” which rounds out with¬†some of¬†Aphotic‘s heaviest hitting, followed by a noise barrage to start the subsequent title-track (hard to know where one ends and the other begins on the tape, but the digital version makes it clear). Rounding out in a swirl of guitar and spoken word, “Aphotic” has an almost manic feel compared to some of the album’s other fare, but its ending is also the most brazenly melodic section of the tape, leading to the shorter, closing “Drag Me to My Grave,” which was previously released as a standalone single. The bonus track would be¬†something of a comedown after the title-cut, but it proves a surprisingly catchy finale to this cohesive, engrossingly weighted¬†debut.

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