Wizzerd Premiere Video for New Single “HEL”; Announce Two Albums Coming Soon

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 13th, 2024 by JJ Koczan


Montana heavy rockers Wizzerd have newly announced not one, but a cycle of two full-lengths to be released in 2024 through Fuzzorama Records. The cover for the first of them, titled Kronia, was posted to their social media a couple days ago. Kronia and its yet-untitled counterpart are pieces of a whole work that’s being called Solstice, and the shenanigans-loaded video premiering below brings “HEL” as the latest single (in a series thus far of four; check Spotify) to coincide with the announcement.

Everybody caught up? Sweet. The band made their Fuzzorama label debut with 2022’s Space‽: Issue No. 001 (review here), and an earlier version of “HEL” appeared on that album’s precursor 7″, Space‽: Issue No. 000, which was released in 2021. Those who dug on it then, or who got down with the punkier side of the record that came after will likely find little to argue with in “HEL,” which is somewhat rawer in the presentation here, wizzerd kroniabut suited to that with its gang-shout chorus and relatively uptempo swing, somewhere between classic boogie and barroom rock and roll, still with punk down at its roots and still catchy as hell. A mix by Ben McLeod (also guitarist for All Them Witches) helps make sense of the shove, and the master from Mikey Allred (who’s always up to something cool; seriously, just look up anything he puts his name to and you’re not likely to go wrong) gives a finish that one hopes is indicative of the whole album(s)’s sound.

And as for the video? Well, given all the snow, I’ll just assume they made it over the winter. They’re channeling the rich, violent history of Norwegian black metal with “HEL,” and a little bit giving it the LOL-ready, VHS-grainy sendup that it, like anything else that ever has taken itself so seriously, arguably earned. Spatter on snow. The woods. A sword. You get the idea. I don’t have a release date for Kronia yet, but I think preorders are starting… now?… so it can’t be too terribly far off, and hopefully they’re able to get the companion long-player to fruition before the end of the year. As it was all recorded in 2022, you might say a few crucial steps are already taken care of.

There are live dates below as well for June and July, as well as the already-nailed-down support slot for Mars Red Sky on the French heavy psych proggers’ return to the States tour in September. Wizzerd may or may not have more to come later this year in that regard too, but they were out on the West Coast in March and April, so it’s not like they’re neglecting it or anything. Two records seems like a fitting occasion to get back out, so they probably will, barring disaster.

Speaking of disasters, the clip for “HEL” is a delightful one. Please enjoy:

Wizzerd, “HEL” video premiere






We are very excited to reveal the full artwork for our next album, ‘Kronia’, made by the amazingly talented @impillustration! If you’ve been following our recent single releases you will notice some details here…

‘Kronia’ will be the first of two albums released through @fuzzoramarecords in 2024 as a part of a year spanning project titled ‘Solstice’. More info on LP/CD preorders coming very soon!

‘Solstice’ is a project we have been working on for just over two years now. The albums are a culmination of many different styles and showcase wide input from all members’ out-reaching musical ideas.

All tracks were recorded direct to 1” tape at @dblwidestudio in Visalia, CA by @skitchpatterson in March 2022.

All tracks mixed by @benmcleod88 at @brmsound and mastered by Mikey Allred @darkartaudio.

We can’t wait to share the rest with you…

Wizzerd live:
6/2 – Missoula, MT – @zootownarts w/ @whoresband @greasecultband @the_foilies
6/28 – Whitefish, MT – @theremingtonbar
7/13 – Rexford, MT – @abayancebay w/ @blisteredearthtribute
7/20 – Libby, MT – Montvana w/ @yearofthecobra @kadabra_band
9/7 – Rapid City, SD – Fairgrounds w/ @marsredsky @howlinggiant @continuumrc

Wizzerd is:
Guitar/Vocals – Jhalen Salazar
Guitar – Jamie Yeats
Drums – Sam Moore
Bass – Layne Matkovich

Wizzerd, Space: Issue No. 001 (2022)

Wizzerd, Space: Issue No. 000 (2021)

Wizzerd on Facebook


Wizzerd on Spotify


Fuzzorama Records website

Fuzzorama Records on Facebook

Fuzzorama Records on Instagram

Fuzzorama Records on Bandcamp

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Wizzerd Announce Spring West Coast Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 21st, 2024 by JJ Koczan

In addition to a slot at Treefort Music Fest in Boise, Idaho, on March 22 and a three-pack of dates in the company of Matt Pike‘s Pike vs. the Automaton, the upcoming West Coast tour from Montana heavy rockers Wizzerd will lead to their return appearance at Rocky Mountain Riff Fest (info here), to be held April 20 in the band’s native Kalispell.

The four-piece toured this past Fall in support of 2022’s Space‽: Issue No. 001 (review here), hitting the Midwest and touching on the Eastern Seaboard, so a Spring complement along the Pacific (and inland) seems about right. They had talked at that point about moving on toward their next release, whatever shape that might ultimately take, and while this tour is substantial, I don’t see it precluding a focus on new material at all. What, if they play a couple new songs live it’s gonna hurt the next record? The opposite seems much likelier.

Either way — and mind you I don’t know that they’ll be playing new songs at all on the run — they continue to put their work in. The shows were posted on socials thusly:

Wizzerd tour

We’re pleased to announce the Equinox Tour! We can’t wait to get back out on the west coast, and there are some real doozies on this one. More news coming very soon, but for now we’ll see you at one of the dates below…
Details at the link in our bio!

3/16 – Kalispell, MT – Eagles
3/22 – Boise, ID – @treefortfest
3/23 – Salt Lake City, UT – @aceshighsaloon_slc
3/24 – Las Vegas, NV – Dive Bar
3/26 – Tempe, AZ – @yuccataproom
3/27 – Los Angeles, CA – @theredwoodbarandgrill
3/29 – Oceanside, CA – @pourhouseoceanside
3/30 – Yucca Valley, CA – @giantrockmeetingroom
4/1 – Santa Cruz, CA – @bluelagoonsc
4/2 – San Francisco, CA – @theknockoutsf
4/3 – Eureka, CA – @solarsiren
4/5 – Portland, OR – @dantesportland *
4/6 – Bremerton, WA – @tracytonmoviehouse *
4/7 – Seattle, WA – @elcorazonseattle *
4/20 – Kalispell, MT – @rockymtnrifffest
*=with Pike vs the Automaton

Poster by @isaacpasswaterillustration

Wizzerd is:
Guitar/Vocals – Jhalen Salazar
Guitar – Jamie Yeats
Drums – Sam Moore
Bass – Layne Matkovich



Wizzerd, Space: Issue No. 001 (2022)

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Rocky Mountain Riff Fest 2024 Announces Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 2nd, 2024 by JJ Koczan

You can see in the lineup for Rocky Mountain Riff Fest 2024 that the festival, which is set for April 20 in Kalispell, Montana, is expanding its reach. Yes, Wizzerd, Sorcia, Merlock, The Gray Goo and Spliffripper have played before — The Old Ones played Erosion Festival in 2016; I remember thinking that looked awesome and it did — but returning parties are accompanied by newcomers like Lord VelvetChokesetter and Hot Milk and the Flower Pallets, who play the pre-show, and I think they’ll have two stages going and Mos Generator are popping eastward from their home in Port Orchard, Washington, which is probably like a 40-hour drive or something, to headline. I’d go to this in a second, man. That’s a good way to spend a day, and you’re in Kalispell, which looks gorgeous.

The full lineup was announced on social media — I know, crazy, right? — and notes a venue change that looks like it’ll actually be pretty cool having it all in one place. Dig:

Rocky mountain riff fest 2024


We’re excited to reveal the lineup for #rmrf2024! We are welcoming back some heavy hitters, and introducing some bands to the Flathead valley for the first time.


In years past, Riff Fest has been a block party between the legendary @oldschoolrecords134 and the Eagles in downtown Kalispell. Facing the closure of the 1st Street location of OSR, we are now taking over two levels of the Eagles! It’s going to be a party in the whole building, with our traditional free pre-party at the Glacier Park VFW.

We are also proud to bring on some local sponsors who are stoked to help bring some killer music to the valley!


Spread the word, and see everybody in April!

Artwork by @isaacpasswaterillustration

Sorcia, Lost Season (2023)

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Wizzerd Announce September Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 16th, 2023 by JJ Koczan


Montana-based heavy rockers Wizzerd released their first album for Fuzzorama, titled Space‽: Issue No. 001 (review here), last September, and as they announced this tour that will bring them to the East Coast for the first time since it arrived, I couldn’t help but notice the word “final” included. Is the implication that the band are done after this? A last hurrah and that’s it? Would be unfortunate timing, most especially since the record was cool, but I reached out to guitarist Jamie Yeats for clarification and was assured that no, they’re not saying they’re breaking up, it’s just probably the last time they’ll be out supporting the latest album. Fair. It will have been a year, after all.

And glad as I am they’re not dissolving the project, it’s also rad to see them doing shows with Greek heavy forerunners 1000mods on their US tour and Fuzzorama labelmates Valley of the Sun, from Ohio, who are also doing some of their best work right now, at this very moment. Seems like the kind of show one might consider hitting up, should they be rolling through your neighborhood. Go to a show. Buy a shirt.

Here are the dates:

Wizzerd Tour


Wizzerd is excited to reveal the Afterburner Tour! We will journey east in a final‽ voyage through space…

We will travel alone in the first half and return to home alongside 1000mods and Valley of the Sun.

Join us in the fight against moon spiders.

Artwork by Isaac Passwater

9/6 – Billings, MT – Kirk’s Grocery
9/7 – Spearfish, SD – Crow Peak Brewing
9/8 – Denver, CO – Skylark
9/9 – Lawrence, KS – Replay Lounge
9/10 – St. Louis, MO – Platypus
9/12 – Morgantown, WV – 123 Pleasant St
9/14 – Cambridge, MA – Middle East#
9/15 – Buffalo, NY – Soup of Dissent
9/16 – Youngstown, OH – Westside Bowl#
9/18 – Columbus, OH – Rumba Cafe#
9/20 – Fort Wayne, IN – Stan’s Room#
9/21 – Des Moines, IA – Lefty’s#
9/22 – Omaha, NE – Reverb Lounge#
9/23 – St. Paul, MN – Turf Club#
9/24 – Chicago, IL – Reggies#
#=with 1000mods and Valley of the Sun

Wizzerd is:
Guitar/Vocals – Jhalen Salazar
Guitar – Jamie Yeats
Drums – Sam Moore
Bass – Layne Matkovich



Wizzerd, Space: Issue No. 001 (2022)

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Quarterly Review: Motorpsycho, Severed Satellites, Edena Gardens, Delco Detention, The Gray Goo, Shit Hexis, Oromet, Le Mur, 10-20 Project, Landing

Posted in Reviews on July 21st, 2023 by JJ Koczan


I’m drinking coffee out of a different mug today. It may not surprise you to learn that I’m particular about that kind of thing. I have two mugs — one from Baltimore, one from Salem, Mass. — that are the same. They are huge, blue and black, and they curve slightly inward at the top. They can hold half of a 10-cup pot of coffee. I use one of them per day for a pot in the morning.

Not today. The Pecan gifted me a Mr. Spock mug — he’s in his dress uniform, so it’s likely based on the TOS episode ‘Journey to Babel,’ where we meet his parents for the first (our time) time — and it’s smaller and lighter in the hand, will require an extra trip up to the kitchen to finish the pot, but I think she’ll be glad to see me use it, and maybe that’ll help her get a decent start to the day in a bit when she comes downstairs.

Today’s the last day for this week of QR, but we dive back in on Monday and Tuesday to close out. Hope you find something you dig, and if I don’t catch you at the closeout post for the week, have a great weekend.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Motorpsycho, Yay!


Long-running and prolific Norwegian prog rockers Motorpsycho have proven time and again their stylistic malleability across their north-of-100-strong catalog of releases, and comprised of 10 tracks running 42 minutes of acoustic-led-but-still-lushly-arranged, melodic and sometimes folkish craft. If you ever needed an argument that Motorpsycho could have been writing simplified, ultra-accessible, soundtrack-to-your-summer fare — and I’m not sure you have — Yay! provides that, with a classic feel in the harmonies of “Sentinels” and “Dank State,” though the lyrics in that last cut and in pieces like the leadoff “Cold & Bored,” the later isolated strummer “Real Again (Norway Shrugs and Stays at Home)” and in the lost-love-themed “Loch Meaninglessness and the Mull of Dull” have a cynical current to their framing contrasts that the outwardly pretty face lent to it by the Paul Simon-style lead vocals from Bent Sæther (also guitar, mandolin, omnichord here and more elsewhere). If the record is a gimme for an audience looking for a more earthbound Motorpsycho, then the arrival of the 7:46 “Hotel Daedalus” is where they give a nod to the heavier heads in their fanbase, with one of several guest spots from Reine Fiske (Dungen, Träden, etc.) and a shift in the balance between electric and acoustic guitar and synth at the foreground. Standout as that is, it’s also consistent with the spirit of Yay! more generally, which is built to be more complex in emotion than it presents on its face, and the work of masters, whether they’re writing longform prog epics or sweet closer “The Rapture,” which paints the change of seasons through an image of unmelted leftover snow “sulking in the shade.” One should expect no less than that kind of reach and attention to expression, and one should never engage Motorpsycho with expectations beyond that.

Motorpsycho on Facebook

Stickman Records store

Det Nordenfjeldske Grammofonselskab site


Severed Satellites, Aphelion

Severed Satellites Aphelion

“Apollo,” which was the first single released by Severed Satellites, opens the Baltimore instrumentalists’ first EP, Aphelion, as well, its uptempo blues-informed groove an enticing beginning before “Lost Transmissions” digs further into riffer nod. With five tracks running 27 minutes, Severed Satellites — guitarist Matt Naas, keyboardist Dave Drell, bassist Adam Heinzmann and drummer Chuck Dukehart, the latter two both of heavy rockers Foghound, among others — offer material that’s built out of jamming but that is not itself the jam. Songs, in other words. Recorded by Noel Mueller at Tiny Castle Studio, the EP proves solid through “Lost Transmissions” and the bassier “Hurtling Toward Oblivion” with its ending comedown leading into the coursing keyboard waveform at the start of “Breaking Free From Orbit,” which is the longest inclusion at 7:21 and uses most of that extra time in the intro, building afterward toward a ’70s strutting apex that puts energy ahead of largesse before the keys lead the way out in the two-minute outro “Reaching Aphelion.” Through the variety in the material, Severed Satellites showcase a persona that knows what it’s about and presents that fluidly to the listener with a minimum of indulgence. A rousing start.

Severed Satellites on Facebook

Severed Satellites on Bandcamp


Edena Gardens, Live Momentum

edena gardens live momentum

The collaboration between baritone/bass guitarist Martin Rude, drummer Jakob Skøtt, both also of Danish psych-jazz and psych-as-jazz explorers Causa Sui, and guitarist Nicklas Sørensen of molten-but-mellow jammers Papir, Edena Gardens issue their first and perhaps not last live album in Live Momentum, a three-song set taped at Jaiyede Jazz Festival — their first onstage appearance — in 2022 and pressed concurrent to the second Edena Gardens studio full-length, Agar (review here) while still not so far removed from their 2022 self-titled debut (review here). “Veil” from the sophomore LP opens, with a thicker guitar sound and more active delivery from the stage, a heavier presence in the guitar early on, hinting at Link Wray and sounding clear enough that the applause at the end is a surprise. Taken from the self-titled, “Now Here Nowhere” is more soothing and post-rocking in its languidity — also shorter at seven minutes — an active but not overbearing jazz fusion, while side B’s 17-minute “Live Momentum” would seem to be the occasion for the release. Exploratory at the start, it settles into a groove that’s outright bombastic in comparison to the other two tracks, brings down the jam and pushes it out, growing in volume again late for a slow, howling finish. What should be a no-brainer to those who’ve heard the band, Live Momentum portrays a side of Edena Gardens that their ‘proper’ albums — which is also where new listeners should begin — hasn’t yet shown, which is no doubt why it was issued to start with. Only fortunate.

Edena Gardens on Facebook

El Paraiso Records store


Delco Detention, Come and Get It!


Following up 2022’s What Lies Beneath (review here) and the intervening covers collection, Cover Ups, and the Crack the Lock EP, prolific Pennsylvania heavy rock outfit Delco Detention, led by the son/father duo of Tyler and Adam Pomerantz return with their Come and Get It! is suitably exclamatory fashion. The nine-track collection is headlined by a guest guitar spot from EarthlessIsaiah Mitchell on “Earthless Delco” near the album’s middle, but stop-bys from familiar parties like Kevin McNamara and Mike DiDonato of The Age of Truth and Jared Collins of Mississippi Bones, among others, assure diversity in the material around the foundation of groovy heavy rock. Clutch remain a strong influence — and the record finishes with a take on “I Have the Body of John Wilkes Booth” — but the fuzzy four minutes of the penultimate “Rock and Roll God” and the swing in opener “Domagoj Simek Told Me Quitters Never Smoke” continue to show the band’s growth in refining their songwriting process and aligning the right performers with the right songs, which they do.

Delco Detention on Facebook

Delco Detention on Bandcamp


The Gray Goo, Circus Nightmare

the gray goo circus nightmare

The second full-length from Montana heavy-funk shenanigans purveyors The Gray Goo, Circus Nightmare, sounds like there’s a story to go along with every song, whether it’s the tale of “Nightstocker” no doubt based on a 24-hour grocery store, or the smoke-weed-now anthem “Pipe Hitter” that so purposefully and blatantly takes on Sleep‘s “Dragonaut,” or even the interlude “Cerulean” with its backward wisps of guitar leading into the dreamy-Ween-esque, Beatles-reference-dropping “Cosmic Sea,” or the Primus-informed absurdity of “Alligator Bundee,” which leads off, and the garage punk that caps in “Out of Sight (Out of Mind).” Equal parts brilliant and dopey, “BEP” is a brief delve into surf-toned weirdness while “Wizards of the Mountain” pays off the basement doom of “Pipe Hitter” just before with its raw-captured slowdown, organ included in its post-midpoint creep and “Cumbia de Montana” is perhaps more dub than South American-style mountain jamming — though there’s a flute — but if you want to draw a line and tell me where one ends and another starts, I won’t argue. Bottom line is that after an encouraging start in last year’s 1943 (review here), The Gray Goo are more sure of themselves and more sure of the planet’s ridiculousness. May they long remain so certain and productive. Heavy rock needs more oddballs.

The Gray Goo on Facebook

The Gray Goo on Bandcamp


Shit Hexis, Shit Hexis

shit hexis shit hexis

It’s like they packed it with extra nasty. The seven-song/27-minute Shit Hexis is the debut offering from Saarbrücken, Germany’s Shit Hexis, and it stabs, it scathes, it skin-peels and not in the refreshing way. Flaying extreme sludge riffs presented with the cavernous echo and murky purposes of black metal, it is a filthy sound but not completely un-cosmic as “Latrine Odins” feedsback and lumbers through its 92 seconds, or “Erde” drone-plods at terrifying proportion. On paper, Shit Hexis share a mindset with the likes of Come to Grief or even earlier Yatra in bringing together tonal weight with aesthetics born out of the more extreme ends of heavy metal, but their sharp angles, harsh tones and the echoing rasp of “Le Mort Saisit le Vif” are their own. Not that fucking matters, because when you’re this disaffected you probably don’t give a shit about originality either. But as their first release of any kind, even less than a half-hour of exposure seems likely to cause a reaction, and if you’re ever somewhere that you need people not to be, the misanthropic, loathing-born gurgling of “Mkwekm” should do the trick in clearing a room. This, of course, is as the duo of guitarist/vocalist Mo and drummer Pat designed it to be, and so, wretched as it is, their self-titled can only be called a success. But what a vision thereof.

Shit Hexis on Facebook

Bleeding Heart Nihilist Productions website


Oromet, Oromet

oromet oromet

That Sacramento, California, two-piece Oromet — guitarist/vocalist/layout specialist Dan Aguilar and drummer/bassist/synthesist/backing vocalist/engineer Patrick Hills — have a pedigree between them that shares time in Occlith accounts for some of the unity of intent on the grandly-unfolding death-doom outfit’s self-titled three-song Transylvanian Recordings debut full-length. Side A is dedicated solely to the opener/longest track (immediate points) “Familiar Spirits” (22:00), which quiets down near the finish to end in a contemplative/reflective drone, and earlier positions Oromet among the likes of Dream Undending or Bell Witch in an increasingly prevalent, yet-untagged mournful subset of death-doom. “Diluvium” (11:31) and “Alpenglow” (10:07) follow suit, the former basking in the beauty in its own darkness and sounding duly astounded as it pounds its way toward a sudden stop to let the residual frequencies swell before carrying into the latter, which is gloriously tortured for its first six minutes and comes apart slowly thereafter, having found a place to dwell in the melodic aftermath. Crushing spiritually even as it reaffirms the validity of that pain, it is an affecting listening experience that can be overwhelming at points, but its extremity never feels superfluous or disconnected from the sorrowful emotionality of the songs themselves.

Oromet on Instagram

Transylvanian Recordings on Bandcamp


Le Mur, Keep Your Fear Away From Me

Le Mur Keep Your Fear Away From Me

Each of the four tracks of Le Mur‘s fourth record, Keep Your Fear Away From Me, corresponds to a place in time and point of view. That is, we start in the past with 15-minute leadoff “…The Past Will Be Perfect…” — and please note that the band’s name is also stylized all-caps where album and song titles are all-lowercase — moving through “Today is the Day/The Beauty of Now” (9:27) in the present and “Another Life/Burning the Tree/I See You” (11:19) confirming the subjectivity of one’s experience of self and the world, and closer “…For the Puzzles of the Future.” (12:12) finishing the train of thought by looking at the present from a time to come. Samples peppered throughout add to the otherwise mostly instrumental proceedings, focused on flow and at least semi-improvised, and horns on the opener/longest cut (immediate points) sets a jazzy mindset that holds even as “Another Life/Burning the Tree/I See You” forays through its three-stage journey, starting with a shimmy before growing ever-so-slightly funky in the middle and finishing acoustic, while the (electric) guitar on “…For the Puzzles of the Future.” seems to have saved its letting loose for the final jam, emerging out of the keyboardy intro and sample to top a raucous, fun finish.

Le Mur on Facebook

Aumega Project website


10-20 Project, Snakes Go Dark to Soak in the Sun

10-20 project snakes go dark to soak in the sun

Pushing through sax-laced, dug-in space jamming, Tunisia’s 10-20 Project reportedly recorded Snakes Go Dark to Soak in the Sun during the pandemic lockdown, perhaps in a bid just to do anything during July 2020. Removed from that circumstance, the work of the core duo of guitarist Marwen Lazaar and bassist Dhia Eddine Mejrissi as well as a few friends — drummer Manef Zoghlemi, saxophonist Ghassen Abdelghani and Mohammed Barsaoui on didgeridoo — present a three-track suite that oozes between liquid and vaporous states of matter across “Chutney I” (25:06), “Chutney II” (14:32) and “Chutney III” (13:00), which may or may not have actually been carved out of the same extended jam. From the interweaving of the sax alongside the guitar in the mix of the opener through the hand-drumming in the middle cut and “Chutney III” picking up with an active rhythm after the two pieces prior took their time in building quietly, plus some odd vocalizations included for good measure, the 52-minute outing gets its character from the exploratory meld in their arrangements and the loose nature with which they seem to approach composition generally. It is not a challenge to be entranced by Snakes Go Dark to Soak in the Sun, as even 10-20 Project seem to have been during its making.

10-20 Project on Facebook

Echodelick Records store

Worst Bassist Records store

We Here & Now Recordings store


Landing, Motionless I-VI

landing motionless i-vi

If one assumes that “Side A” (19:58) and “Side B” (20:01) of Landing‘s are the edited-down versions of what appeared as part of the Connecticut ambient psych troupe’s Bandcamp ‘Subscriber Series Collection 02’ as “Motionless I-III” (29:56) and “Motionless IV-VI” (27:18), then perhaps yes, the Sulatron Records-issued Motionless I-VI has been markedly altered to accommodate the LP format. The (relatively) concise presentation, however, does little to undercut either the floating cosmic acoustics and drones about halfway through the first side or the pastoral flight taken in “Side B” before the last drone seems to devour the concept with especially cinematic drama. Whereas when there are drums in “Side A” the mood is more krautrock or traditional space rock, the second stretch of Motionless I-VI is more radical in its changes while still being gentle in its corner turning from one to the next, as heard with the arrival of the electric guitar that fades in at around six and a half minutes and merrily chugs through the brightly-lit serenity of what might’ve at some point been “Motionless V” and here is soon engulfed in a gradual fade that brings forward the already-mentioned drone. There’s more going on under the surface than at it — and that dimension of mix is crucial to Landing‘s methodology — but Motionless I-VI urges the listener to appreciate each element in its place, and is best heard doing that.

Landing on Facebook

Sulatron Records store


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The Gray Goo Announce West Coast Dates with Twin Void; Album Out Today

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 2nd, 2023 by JJ Koczan

I haven’t heard Circus Nightmare, the second full-length from Montana heavy weirdos The Gray Goo as yet, but it’s out today, so one way or the other I’m resting easy knowing I will soon. The trio prone to chicanery, funky-psych, and funky-psych chicanery — also doom — offered their debut in 2022’s 1943 (review here), and if you didn’t hear Circus Nightmare‘s lead single “Alligator Bundee” in all its post-Primus-plus-riff dug-in noodle and silly hoedown verse, wobbly psych solo, and so on, it was rad. Album player’s at the bottom of the post. Maybe you’ll like it. Pretty sure that’s an ‘ole!’ at the end of the single. So that’s fun, as my sister might say.

In April, Twin Void toured from their home in Spokane to play Rocky Mountain Riff Fest in Kalispell, Montana, which The Gray Goo also played (and if they do again next year I feel like I might have to go). Their 2022 release, Free From Hardtimes, remains fresh in memory and they’ll join The Gray Goo on this newly announced string of shows happening mostly in the Pacific Northwest, hitting Seattle, Tacoma and Portland, but heading down the coast on the 101 as well in North and Central Cali — Eureka to Sacramento is a little over five hours by car/van; they give themselves an extra day to make the trip, and fair enough for taking pictures with very large trees — to round out. Five shows isn’t the most extensive tour ever, but these are DIY bands hitting it together and especially with The Gray Goo‘s Circus Nightmare release to celebrate, no doubt it’ll be a good time.

The Gray Goo sent the following along the PR wire, and I added the quote from Twin Void:

twin void the gray goo tour

TWIN VOID & THE GRAY GOO – Trippin’ Down the Coast

Big news for us personally, we’ve got our first ever little tour coming up fast with Twin Void (seriously, check out Twin Void)! We’re sliding up and down the Pacific Northwest Coast a little ways. Says Twin Void, “More tours incoming! We are absolutely so stoked to announce we’re heading down the west coast with Montana crushers The Gray Goo, huge thanks Chad Scheres for making the Poster Art.”

We are excited to be gearing up for the release of our sophomore album titled “Circus Nightmare” on June 2nd. We put lots of hard work into this one and recorded it ourselves. There’s a lot of different vibes on here from mellow psychedelic to heavy stoner doom and lots of weird punky side tangents along the way, we hope you enjoy it!

TWIN VOID & THE GRAY GOO – Trippin’ Down the Coast
06/08 Seattle WA The Funhouse
06/09 Tacoma WA The Plaid Pig
06/10 Portland OR Laylow
06/12 Eureka CA Savage Henry
06/14 Sacramento CA Cafe Colonial

The Gray Goo:
Max Gargasz- Guitar/Synth/Jaw Harp
Matt Carper- Bass/Vox
Zach Ronish- Drums/Percussion


The Gray Goo, Circus Nightmare (2023)

Twin Void, Free From Hardtimes (2022)

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Rocky Mountain Riff Fest 2023 Lineup Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 14th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Rocky Mountain Riff Fest 2023 logo

You had me at Loin Hammer. That’s gotta be one of the best band names I’ve seen in the last couple years, at least. They’re somewhat thrashier than one might expect given the riffy foundations of many of the other bands, but they’re still called Loin Hammer, which is enough to make it an automatic win if you see them live. Imagine being able to say, “yeah, I’ve seen Loin Hammer.” If you’re the type to get a tattoo, that’d be a good one.

You’ll note return appearances from Merlock, Wizzerd, Swamp Ritual and The Gray Goo from last year’s Rocky Mountain Riff Fest. That says to me that in addition to an all-dayer-plus-pre-show-the-night-before, this is also a party and a reunion of friends. Pulling from the Pacific Northwest, the native Montana underground, Las Vegas and beyond, the lineup looks right on for a killer day of up and coming acts.

I looked back at what I said about the 2022 edition, and my impression was largely the same; it’s an intimate enough event that by the time it’s over everybody is going to know everybody. That kind of thing creates a sense of community which sticks as a defining factor as festivals expand — the return performances slated for 2023 are another element in establishing that — and I don’t know if you’ve ever done an image search to see what Kalispell looks like, but if you’re traveling to this one you will probably not regret booking an extra day just to take in some of the surrounding scenery, which is stunning even in Chamber of Commerce photos.

And, as noted, Loin Hammer will be there. So there’s that.

From socials:

Rocky Mountain Riff Fest 2023 poster

Rocky Mountain Riff Fest 2023

April 22 at Old School Records & Eagles, Kalispell, MT

(free pre-party April 21 at Glacier Park VFW Post 2252)

Very pleased to announce the lineup for this year’s edition of Rocky Mountain Riff Fest!

Epic art by @isaacpasswaterillustration

Lineup April 22:

Tigers on Opium
Twin Void
Swamp Ritual
The Gray Goo
Loin Hammer

Pre-Party April 21:

Night Witch
Uncommon Evolution


Tigers on Opium, 503.420.6669.vol.two (2022)

Merlock, Onward Strides Colossus (2023)

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Quarterly Review: Russian Circles, Church of the Cosmic Skull, Pretty Lightning, Wizzerd, Desert 9, Gagulta, Obiat, Maunra, Brujas del Sol, Sergeant Thunderhoof

Posted in Reviews on September 22nd, 2022 by JJ Koczan


On occasion, throughout the last eight years or so that I’ve been doing this kind of Quarterly Review roundup thing, I’ve been asked how I do it. The answer is appallingly straightforward. I do it one record at a time, listening to as much music as possible and writing as much as I can. If you were curious, there you go.

If, more likely, you weren’t curious, now you know anyway. Shall we?

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Russian Circles, Gnosis

russian circles gnosis

You wanna know how big a deal Russian Circles are? I didn’t even get a promo of this record. Granted, I’m nobody, but still. So anyway, here I am like a fucking sucker, about to tell you Gnosis is the heaviest and most intense thing Russian Circles — with whose catalog I’m just going to assume you’re familiar because they’re that big a deal and you’re pretty hip; bet you got a download to review, or at least an early stream — have ever done and it means literally nothing. Just makes me feel stupid and lame. I really want to like this album. That chug in “Conduit?” Fuck yeah. That wash in “Betrayal?” Even that little minimalist stretch of “Ó Braonáin.” The way “Tupilak” rumbles to life at the outset. That’s my shit right there. Chug chug crush crush, pretty part. So anyway, instead of sweating it forever, I’ll probably shut Gnosis off when I’m done here and never listen to it again. Thanks. Who gives a shit? Exactly. Means nothing to anyone. Tell me why I do this? Why even give it the space? Because they’re that big a deal and I’m the nerdy fat kid forever. Total fucking stooge. Fuck it and fuck you too.

Russian Circles on Facebook

Sargent House store


Church of the Cosmic Skull, There is No Time

church of the cosmic skull there is no time

Are not all gods mere substitutes for the power of human voices united in song? And why not tonight for finding the grace within us? As Brother Bill, Sister Caroline and their all-colours Septaphonic congregation of siblings tell us, we’re only one step away. I know you’ve been dragged down, wrung out, you’ve seen the valleys and hills, but now’s the time. Church of the Cosmic Skull come forward again with the message of galactic inner peace and confronting the unreality of reality through choral harmonies and progressive heavy rock and roll, and even the Cosmic Mother herself must give ear. Come, let us bask in the light of pure illumination and revolutionary suicide. Let us find what we lost somewhere. All gods die, but you and I can live forever and spread ourselves across the universe like so much dust from the Big Bang. We’ll feel the texture of the paper. We’ll be part of the team. Oh, fellow goers into the great Far Out, there’s reverence being sung from the hills with such spirit behind it. Can you hear? Will you? There’s nothing to fear here, nothing sinister. Nothing to be lost except that which has held you back all along. Let it all move, and go. Open your eyes to feel all seven rays, and stand peeled like an onion, naked, before the truth being told. Do this. Today.

Church of the Cosmic Skull on Facebook

Church of the Cosmic Skull store


Pretty Lightning, Dust Moves

Pretty Lightning Dust Moves

Saarbrücken duo Pretty Lightning follow 2020’s stellar Jangle Bowls (review here) with a collection of 14 instrumental passages that, for all their willful meandering, never find themselves lost. Heady, Dead Meadowy vibes persist on ramblers like “Sediment Swing” and “Splinter Bowl,” but through spacious drone and the set-the-mood-for-whatever “Glide Gently (Into the Chasm),” which is both opener and the longest track (immediate points) at just over five minutes, the clear focus is on ambience. I wouldn’t be the first to liken some of Dust Moves to Morricone, and sure, “Powdermill” has some of that Dollars-style reverb and “The Secret is Locked Inside” lays out a subtle nighttime threat in its rattlesnake shaker, but these ideas are bent and shaped to Pretty Lightning‘s overarching purpose, and even with 14 songs, the fact that the album only runs 43 minutes should tell you that even as they seem to head right into the great unknown wilderness of intent, they never dwell in any single position for too long, and are in no danger of overstaying their welcome. Extra kudos for the weirdness of “Crystal Waltz” tucked right into the middle of the album next to “The Slow Grinder.” Sometimes experiments work.

Pretty Lightning on Facebook

Fuzz Club Records store


Wizzerd, Space‽: Issue No. 001

wizzerd space issue no 001

Combining burly modern heavy riffage, progressive flourish and a liberal dose of chicanery, Montana’s Wizzerd end up in the realm of Howling Giant and a more structurally-straightforward Elder without sounding directly like either of them. Their Fuzzorama Records label debut, the quizzically punctuated Space‽: Issue No. 001 echoes its title’s obvious nods to comic book culture with a rush of energy in songs like “Super Nova” and “Attack of the Gargantuan Moon Spiders,” the swinging “Don’t Zorp ‘n’ Warp” space-progging out in its second half as though to emphasize the sheer delight on the part of the band doing something unexpected. So much the better if they’re having fun too. The back half of the outing after the duly careening “Space Chase” is blocked off by the noisy “Transmission” and the bleep-bloop “End Transmission” — which, if we’re being honest is a little long at just under five minutes — but finds the band establishing a firm presence of purpose in “Doom Machine Smoke Break” and the building “Diosa del Sol” ahead of the record’s true finishing moment, “Final Departure Part 1: The Intergalactic Keep of the Illustrious Cosmic Woman,” which is both an adventure in outer space and a melodic highlight. This one’s a party and you’re invited.

Wizzerd on Facebook

Fuzzorama Records store


Desert 9, Explora II

Desert 9 Explora II

Desert 9 is one of several projects founded by synthesist Peter Bell through a collective/studio called Mutaform in the Brindisi region of Southern Italy (heel of the boot), and the seven-song/63-minute Explora II follows quickly behind June’s Explora I and works on a similar theme of songs named for different deserts around the world, be it “Dasht-e Margo,” “Mojave,” “Gobi” or “Arctic.” What unfolds in these pieces is mostly long-ish-form instrumental krautrock and psychedelic exploration — “Arctic” is an exception at a somewhat ironically scorching three and a half minutes; opener “Namib” is shorter, and jazzier, as well — likewise immersive and far-outbound, with Bell‘s own synth accompanied on its journeys by guitar, bass and drums, the former two with effects to spare. I won’t take away from the sunburn of “Sonoran” at the finish, but the clazzic-cool swing of “Chihuahuan” is a welcome respite from some of the more thrust-minded fare, at least until the next solo starts and eats the second half of the release. The mix is raw, but I think that’s part of the idea here, and however much of Explora II was improvised and/or recorded live, it sounds like the four-piece just rolled up, hit record and went for it. Not revolutionary in aesthetic terms, but inarguable in vitality.

Mutaform on Facebook

Mutaform on Bandcamp


Gagulta, Gagulta

Gagulta Gagulta

Originally pressed to tape in 2019 through Fuzz Ink and brought to vinyl through Sound Effect Records, Greek sludgers Gagulta begin their self-titled debut with an evocation of the Old Ones before unfurling the 13-minute assault of “Dead Fiend/Devil’s Lettuce,” the second part of which is even slower than the first. Nods and screams, screams and nods, riffs and kicks and scratches. “Late Beer Cult” is no less brash or disaffected, the Galatsi-based trio of ‘vokillist’ Johny Oldboy, baritone bassist Xen and drummer Jason — no need for last names; we’re all friends here — likewise scathing and covered in crust. Side B wraps with the 10-minute eponymous “Gagulta” — circle pit into slowdown into even noisier fuckall — but not before “Long Live the Undead” has dirty-steamrolled through its four minutes and the penultimate “War” blasts off from its snare count-in on a punk-roots-revealing surge that plays back and forth with tortured, scream-topped slow-riff madness. I don’t know if the Old Ones would be pleased, but if at any point you see a Gagulta backpatch out in the wild, that person isn’t fucking around and neither is this band. Two years after its first release, it remains monstrous.

Gagulta on Facebook

Sound Effect Records store

Fuzz Ink Records store


Obiat, Indian Ocean

obiat indian ocean

Some 20 years removed from their debut album, Accidentally Making Enemies, and 13 past their most recent, 2009’s Eye Tree Pi (review here), London’s Obiat return at the behest of guitarist/keyboardist Raf Reutt and drummer Neil Dawson with the duly massive Indian Ocean, an eight-song collection spanning an hour’s listening time that brings together metallic chug and heavy post-rock atmospherics, largesse of tone and melody central to the proceedings from opener “Ulysses” onward. Like its long-ago predecessor, Alex Nervo‘s bass (he also adds keys and guitar) is a major presence, and in addition to vocalist Sean Cooper, who shines emotively and in the force of his delivery throughout, there are an assortment of guests on “Eyes and Soul,” “Nothing Above,” “Sea Burial” and subdued closer “Lightness of Existence,” adding horns, vocals, flute, and so on to the wash of volume from the guitar, bass, drums, keys, and though parts were recorded in Wales, England, Australia, Sweden, Norway and Hungary, Indian Ocean is a cohesive, consuming totality of a record that does justice to the long wait for its arrival while also earning as much volume as you can give it through its immersive atmospherics and sheer aural heft that leads to the ambient finish. It is not a minor undertaking, but it walks the line between metal and post-metal and has a current of heavy rock beneath it in a way that is very much Obiat‘s, and if they’re really back to being a band again — that is, if it’s not another 13 years before their next record — watch out.

Obiat on Facebook

Obiat on Bandcamp


Maunra, Monarch

Maunra Monarch

Vienna five-piece Maunra enter the fray of the harsher side of post-metal with Monarch, their self-released-for-now debut full-length. With throaty growling vocals at the forefront atop subtly nuanced double-guitars and bouts of all-out chugga-breakdown riffing like that in “Wuthering Seas,” they’re managing to dare to bring a bit of life and energy to the generally hyper-cerebral style, and that rule-breaking continues to suit them in the careening “Embers” and the lumbering stomp-mosh of the title-track such that even when the penultimate “Lightbreather” shifts into its whispery/wispy midsection — toms still thudding behind — there’s never any doubt of their bringing the shove back around. I haven’t seen a lyric sheet, so can’t say definitively whether or not opener “Between the Realms” is autobiographical in terms of the band describing their own aesthetic, but their blend of progressivism and raw impact is striking in that song and onward, and it’s interesting to hear an early ’00s metal influence creep into the interplay of lead and rhythm guitar on that opener and elsewhere. At seven tracks/41 minutes, Monarch proffers tonal weight and rhythmic force, hints toward more melodic development to come, and underscores its focus on movement by capping with the especially rousing “Windborne.” Reportedly the album was five years in the making. Time not wasted.

Maunra on Facebook

Maunra on Bandcamp


Brujas del Sol, Deculter

Brujas del Sol Deculter

Still mostly instrumental, formerly just-Ohio-based progressive heavy rockers Brujas del Sol answer the steps they took in a vocalized direction on 2019’s II (review here) with the voice-as-part-of-the-atmosphere verses of “To Die on Planet Earth” and “Myrrors” on their third album, Deculter, but more importantly to the actual listening experience of the record is the fact that they’ve never sounded quite this heavy. Sure, guitarist Adrian Zambrano (also vocals) and bassist Derrick White still provide plenty of synth to fill out those instrumentalist spaces and up the general proggitude, and that’s a signal sent clearly with the outset “Intro,” but Joshua Oswald (drums/vocals) pounds his snare as “To Live and Die on Planet Earth” moves toward its midsection, and the aggression wrought there is answered in both the guitar and bass tones as 12-minute finishing move “Arcadia” stretches into its crescendo, more about impact than the rush of “Divided Divinity” earlier on, rawer emotionally than the keyboardier reaches of “Lenticular,” but no less thoughtful in its construction. Each piece (even that intro) has an identity of its own, and each one makes Deculter a stronger offering.

Brujas del Sol on Facebook

Kozmik Artifactz website


Sergeant Thunderhoof, This Sceptred Veil

Sergeant Thunderhoof This Sceptred Veil

A definite 2LP at nine songs and 68 minutes, Sergeant Thunderhoof‘s fifth full-length, This Sceptred Veil, is indeed two albums’ worth of album, and the songs bear that out in their complexity and sense of purpose as well. Not to harp, but even the concluding two-parter “Avon/Avalon” is a lot to take in after what’s come before it, but what Bath, UK, troupe vary their songwriting and bring a genuine sense of presence to the material that even goes beyond the soaring vocals to the depth of the mix more generally. There’s heavy rock grit to “Devil’s Daughter” (lil eyeroll there) and progressive reach to the subsequent “Foreigner,” a lushness to “King Beyond the Gates” and twisting riffs that should earn pleased nods from anyone who’s been swept up in Green Lung‘s hooky pageantry, and opener “You’ve Stolen the Words” sets an expectation for atmosphere and a standard for directness of craft — as well as stellar production — that This Sceptred Veil seems only too happy to meet. A given listener’s reaction to the ’80s metal goofery of “Show Don’t Tell” will depend on said listener’s general tolerance for fun, but don’t let me spoil that for them or you. Yeah, it’s a substantial undertaking. Five records in, Sergeant Thunderhoof knew that when they made it, and if you’ve got the time, they’ve got the tunes. Album rocks front to back.

Sergeant Thunderhoof on Facebook

Pale Wizard Records store


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