Quarterly Review: Monkey3, The Quill, Nebula Drag, LLNN & Sugar Horse, Fuzzter, Cold in Berlin, The Mountain King, Witchorious, Skull Servant, Lord Velvet

Posted in Reviews on February 29th, 2024 by JJ Koczan


Day four of five puts the end of this Quarterly Review in sight, as will inevitably happen. We passed the halfway point yesterday and by the time today’s done it’s the home stretch. I hope you’ve had a good week. It’s been a lot — and in terms of the general work level of the day, today’s my busiest day; I’ve got Hungarian class later and homework to do for that, and two announcements to write in addition to this, one for today one for tomorrow, and I need to set up the back end of another announcement for Friday if I can. The good news is that my daughter seems to be over the explosive-vomit-time stomach bug that had her out of school on Monday. The better news is I’ve yet to get that.

But if I’m scatterbrained generally and sort of flailing, well, as I was recently told after I did a video interview and followed up with the artist to apologize for my terribleness at it, at least it’s honest. I am who I am, and I think that there are places where people go and things people do that sometimes I have a hard time with. Like leaving the house. And parenting. And interviewing bands, I guess. Needing to plow through 10 reviews today and tomorrow should be a good exercise in focusing energy, even if that isn’t necessarily getting the homework done faster. And yeah, it’s weird to be in your 40s and think about homework. Everything’s weird in your 40s.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Monkey3, Welcome to the Machine

monkey3 welcome to the machine

What are Monkey3 circa 2024 if not a name you can trust? The Swiss instrumental four-piece are now more than 20 years removed from their 2003 self-titled debut, and Welcome to the Machine — their seventh album and fourth release on Napalm Records (three studio, one live) — brings five new songs across 46 minutes of stately progressive heavy craft, with the lead cut “Ignition” working into an early gallop before cutting to ambience presumably as a manifestation of hitting escape velocity and leaving the planetary atmosphere, and trading from there between longer (10-plus-minute) and shorter (six- and seven-minute) pieces that are able to hit with a surprising impact when they so choose. Second track “Collision” comes to crush in a way that even 2019’s Sphere (review here) didn’t, and to go with its methodical groove, heavy post-rock airiness and layered-in acoustic guitar, “Kali Yuga” (10:01) is tethered by a thud of drums that feels no less the point of the thing than the mood-aura in the largesse that surrounds. Putting “Rackman” (7:13, with hints of voice or keyboard that sounds like it), which ends furiously, and notably cinematic closer “Collapse” (12:51) together on side B is a distinct immersion, and the latter places Monkey3 in a prog-metal context that defies stylistic expectation even as it lives up to the promise of the band’s oeuvre. Seven records and more than two decades on, and Monkey3 are still evolving. This is a special band, and in a Europe currently awash in heavy instrumentalism of varying degrees of psychedelia, it’s hard to think of Monkey3 as anything other than aesthetic pioneers.

Monkey3 on Facebook

Napalm Records website

The Quill, Wheel of Illusion

the quill wheel of illusion

With its Sabbath-born chug and bluesy initial groove opening to NWOBHM grandeur at the solo, the opening title-track is quick to reassure that Sweden’s The Quill are themselves on Wheel of Illusion, even if the corresponding classic metal elements there a standout from the more traditional rock of “Elephant Head” with its tambourine, or the doomier roll in “Sweet Mass Confusion,” also pointedly Sabbathian and thus well within the wheelhouse of guitarist Christian Carlsson, vocalist Magnus Ekwall, bassist Roger Nilsson and drummer Jolle Atlagic. While most of Wheel of Illusion is charged in its delivery, the still-upbeat “Rainmaker” feels like a shift in atmosphere after the leadoff and “We Burn,” and atmospherics come more into focus as the drums thud and the strings echo out in layers as “Hawks and Hounds” builds to its ending. While “The Last Thing” works keyboard into its all-go transition into nodding capper “Wild Mustang,” it’s the way the closer seems to encapsulate the album as a whole and the perspective brought to heavy rock’s founding tenets that make The Quill such reliable purveyors, and Wheel of Illusion comes across like special attention was given to the arrangements and the tightness of the songwriting. If you can’t appreciate kickass rock and roll, keep moving. Otherwise, whether it’s your first time hearing The Quill or you go back through all 10 of their albums, they make it a pleasure to get on board.

The Quill on Facebook

Metalville Records website

Nebula Drag, Western Death

Nebula Drag Western Death

Equal parts brash and disillusioned, Nebula Drag‘s Dec. 2023 LP, Western Death, is a ripper whether you’re dug into side ‘Western’ or side ‘Death.’ The first half of the psych-leaning-but-more-about-chemistry-than-effects San Diego trio’s third album offers the kind of declarative statement one might hope, with particular scorch in the guitar of Corey Quintana, sway and ride in Stephen Varns‘ drums and Garrett Gallagher‘s Sabbathian penchant for working around the riffs. The choruses of “Sleazy Tapestry,” “Kneecap,” “Side by Side,” “Tell No One” and the closing title-track speak directly to the listener, with the last of them resolved, “Look inside/See the signs/Take what you can,” and “Side by Side” a call to group action, “We don’t care how it gets done/Helpless is the one,” but there’s storytelling here too as “Tell No One” turns the sold-your-soul-to-play-music trope and turns it on its head by (in the narrative, anyhow) keeping the secret. Pairing these ideas with Nebula Drag‘s raw-but-not-sloppy heavy grunge, able to grunge-crunch on “Tell No One” even as the vocals take on more melodic breadth, and willing to let it burn as “Western Death” departs its deceptively angular riffing to cap the 34-minute LP with the noisy finish it has by then well earned.

Nebula Drag on Facebook

Desert Records store

LLNN & Sugar Horse, The Horror bw Sleep Paralysis Demon

LLNN Sugar Horse The Horror Sleep Paralysis Demon

Brought together for a round of tour dates that took place earlier this month, Pelagic Records labelmates LLNN (from Copenhagen) and Sugar Horse (from Bristol, UK) each get one track on a 7″ side for a showcase. Both use it toward obliterating ends. LLNN, who are one of the heaviest bands I’ve ever seen live and I’m incredibly grateful for having seen them live, dig into neo-industrial churn on “The Horror,” with stabbing synth later in the procession that underscores the point and less reliance on tonal onslaught than the foreboding violence of the atmosphere they create. In response, Sugar Horse manage to hold back their screams and lurching full-bore bludgeonry for nearly the first minute of “Sleep Paralysis Demon” and even after digging into it dare a return to cleaner singing, admirable in their restraint and more effectively tense for it when they push into caustic sludge churn and extremity, space in the guitar keeping it firmly in the post-metal sphere even as they aim their intent at rawer flesh. All told, the platter is nine of probably and hopefully-for-your-sake the most brutal minutes you might experience today, and thus can only be said to accomplish what it set out to do as the end product sounds like two studios would’ve needed rebuilding afterward.

LLNN on Facebook

Sugar Horse on Facebook

Pelagic Records website

Fuzzter, Pandemonium

fuzzter pandemonium

Fuzzter aren’t necessarily noisy in terms of playing noise rock on Pandemonium, but from the first cymbal crashes after the Oppenheimer sample at the start of “Extinción,” the Peruvian outfit engage an uptempo heavy psych thrust that, though directed, retains a chaotic aspect through the band’s willingness to be sound if not actually be reckless, to gang shout before the guitars drift off in “Thanatos,” to be unafraid of being eaten by their own swirl in “Caja de Pandora” or to chug with a thrashy intensity at the start of closer “Tercer Ojo,” doom out massive in the song’s middle, and float through jazzy minimalism at the finish. But even in that, there are flashes, bursts that emphasize the unpredictability of the songs, which is an asset throughout what’s listed as the Lima trio’s third EP but clocks in at 36 minutes with the instrumental “Purgatorio,” which starts off like it might be an interlude but grows more furious as its five minutes play out, tucked into its center. If it’s a short release, it is substantial. If it’s an album, it’s substantial despite a not unreasonable runtime. Ultimately, whatever they call it is secondary to the space-metal reach and the momentum fostered across its span, which just might carry you with it whether or not you thought you were ready to go.

Fuzzter on Facebook

Fuzzter on Instagram

Cold in Berlin, The Body is the Wound

cold in berlin the body is the wound

The listed representation of dreams in “Dream One” adds to the concrete severity of Cold in Berlin‘s dark, keyboard-laced post-metallic sound, but London-based four-piece temper that impact with the post-punk ambience around the shove of the later “Found Out” on their The Body is the Wound 19-minute four-songer, and build on the goth-ish sway even as “Spotlight” fosters a heavier, more doomed mindset behind vocalist Maya, whose verses in “When Did You See Her Last” are complemented by dramatic lines of keyboard and who can’t help but soar even as the overarching direction is down, down, down into either the subconscious referenced in “Dream One” or some other abyss probably of the listener’s own making. Five years and one actual-plague after their fourth full-length, 2019’s Rituals of Surrender, bordering on 15 since the band got their start, they cast resonance in mood as well as impact (the latter bolstered by Wayne Adams‘ production), and are dynamic in style as well as volume, with each piece on The Body is the Wound working toward its own ends while the EP’s entirety flows with the strength of its performances. They’re in multiple worlds, and it works.

Cold in Berlin on Facebook

Cold in Berlin website

The Mountain King, Apostasyn

the mountain king apostasyn

With the expansive songwriting of multi-instrumentalist/sometimes-vocalist Eric McQueen at its core, The Mountain King issue Apostasyn as possibly their 10th full-length in 10 years and harness a majestic, progressive doom metal that doesn’t skimp either on the doom or the metal, whether that takes the form of the Type O Negative-style keys in “The White Noise From God’s Radio” or the tremolo guitar in the apex of closer “Axolotl Messiah.” The title-track is a standout for more than just being 15 minutes long, with its death-doom crux and shifts between minimal and maximal volumes, and the opening “Dødo” just before fosters immersion after its maybe-banging-on-stuff-maybe-it’s-programmed intro, with a hard chug answered in melody by guest singer Julia Gusso, who joins McQueen and the returning Frank Grimbarth (also guitar) on vocals, while Robert Bished adds synth to McQueen‘s own. Through the personnel changes and in each piece’s individual procession, The Mountain King are patient, waiting in the dark for you to join them. They’ll probably just keep basking in all that misery until you get there, no worries. Oh, and I’ll note that the download version of Apostasyn comes with instrumental versions of the four tracks, in case you’d really like to lose yourself in ruminating.

The Mountain King on Facebook

The Mountain King on Bandcamp

Witchorious, Witchorious


The self-titled debut from Parisian doomers Witchorious is distinguished by its moments of sludgier aggression — the burly barks in “Monster” at the outset, and so on — but the chorus of “Catharsis” that rises from the march of the verse offers a more melodic vision, and the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Antoine Auclair, bassist/vocalist Lucie Gaget and drummer Paul Gaget, continue to play to multiple sides of a modern metal and doom blend, while “The Witch” adds vastness and roll to its creeper-riff foundation. The guitar-piece “Amnesia” serves as an interlude ahead of “Watch Me Die” as Witchorious dig into the second half of the album, and as hard has that song comes to hit — plenty — the character of the band is correspondingly deepened by the breadth of “To the Grave,” which follows before the bonus track “Why” nod-dirges the album’s last hook. There’s clarity in the craft throughout, and Witchorious seem aware of themselves in stylistic terms if not necessarily writing to style, and noteworthy as it is for being their first record, I look forward to hearing how they refine and sharpen the methods laid out in these songs. The already-apparent command with which they direct the course here isn’t to be ignored.

Witchorious on Facebook

Argonauta Records website

Skull Servant, Traditional Black Magicks II

skull servant traditional black magicks ii

Though their penchant for cult positioning and exploitation-horror imagery might lead expectations elsewhere, North Carolinian trio Skull Servant present a raw, sludge-rocking take on their second LP, Traditional Black Magicks II, with bassist Noah Terrell and guitarist Calvin Bauer reportedly swapping vocal duties per song across the five tracks while drummer Ryland Dreibelbis gives fluidity to the current of distortion threaded into “Absinthe Dreams,” which is instrumental on the album but newly released as a standalone single with vocals. I don’t know if the wrong version got uploaded or what — Bauer ends up credited with vocals that aren’t there — but fair enough. A meaner, punkier stonerism shows itself as “Poison the Unwell” hints at facets of post-hardcore and “Pergamos,” the two shortest pieces placed in front of the strutting “Lucifer’s Reefer” and between that cut and the Goatsnake-via-Sabbath riffing of “Satan’s Broomstick.” So it could be that Skull Servant, who released the six-song outing on Halloween 2023, are still sorting through where they want to be sound-wise, or it could be they don’t give a fuck about genre convention and are gonna do whatever they please going forward. I won’t predict and I’m not sure either answer is wrong.

Skull Servant on Facebook

Skull Servant on Bandcamp

Lord Velvet, Astral Lady

lord velvet astral lady

Notice of arrival is served as Lord Velvet dig into classic vibes and modern heft on their late 2023 debut EP, Astral Lady, to such a degree that I actually just checked their social media to see if they’d been signed yet before I started writing about them. Could happen, and probably will if they want it to, considering the weight of low end and the flowing, it’s-a-vibe-man vibe, plus shred, in “Lament of Io” and the way they make that lumber boogie through (most of) “Snakebite Fever.” Appearing in succession, “Night Terrors” and “From the Deep” channel stoned Iommic revelry amid their dynamic-in-tempo doomed intent, and while “Black Beam of Gemini” rounds out with a shove, Lord Velvet retain the tonal presence on the other end of that quick, quiet break, ready to go when needed for the crescendo. They’re not reinventing stoner rock and probably shouldn’t be trying to on this first EP, but they feel like they’re engaging with some of the newer styles being proffered by Magnetic Eye or sometimes Ripple Music, and if they end up there or elsewhere before they get around to making a full-length, don’t be surprised. If they plan to tour, so much the better for everybody.

Lord Velvet on Facebook

Lord Velvet website

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Monkey3 Announce Spring & Summer Touring; Welcome to the Machine Out Friday

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 20th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

As they make ready to release their new album, Welcome to the Machine, this Friday through Napalm Records, Swiss instrumentalist prog-psych mainstays Monkey3 have revealed the tour that draws together previously-announced stops through festivals like Desertfest London, Desertfest Berlin, Esbjerg Fuzztival, Heavy Psych Sounds, an so on. Their paths will cross with the Brant Bjork Trio more than once as they go, and you’ll note that the entirety of the run is billed as ‘Pt. I’ of a larger touring plan. It would not be a surprise to find them out again later this year as well, perhaps on the Sound of Liberation circuit of Fall festivals? You never know.

There are two singles out from Welcome to the Machine, both of which stream below if you haven’t had the chance yet to engage, and the e’er crucial ticket link, should you be in a position to leave the house for a few hours at some point in the next couple months. And if not, no judgment. I don’t always have those hours either. The music’s still cool and there for you to check out.


monkey3 tour

MONKEY3 – 🔥Tour Announcement🔥

Sound of Liberation Presents: MONKEY3 – WELCOME TO THE MACHINE TOUR – EUROPE 2024 Part 1
27.04 FR Savigny le Temple, L’Empreinte, Paris Grand Sludge
28.04 FR Colmar, Le Grillen
10.05 CH Seewen, Gaswerk
11.05 DE Fulda, Kulturkeller Kreuz
12.05 DE Köln Club Volta w/Brant Bjork Trio
13.05 DE Hamburg, Knust
14.05 DK Kopenhagen, Stengade
15.05 DE Bremerhaven, Shiva
16.05 BE Sint-Niklaas, De Casino w/Brant Bjork Trio
17.05 BE Brussels, Magasin 4
18.05 UK London, Desertfest
19.05 NL Den Bosch, Willem Twee
23.05 DE Jena, KuBa
24.05 DE Berlin, Desertfest
25.05 PL Krakow, Kamienna 10
27.05 AT Vienna, Viper Room
29.05 DE Dresden, Chemiefabrik
31.05 DK Esbjerg, Fuzztival
07.06 CH Winterthur, Heavy Psych Sounds Fest
08.06 CH Martigny, Heavy Psych Sounds Fest
28.06 DE Passau, Blackdoor Festival
09.08 BE Kortrijk, Alcatraz Festival
18.08 FR Motocultor, Carhaix

More dates to be announced !

Tickets at: http://monkey3official.com/node/62

Walter – Drums
Jalil – Bass
Boris – Guitars
dB – Keys and Sounds



Monkey3, Welcome to the Machine (2024)

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Monkey3 to Release Welcome to the Machine Feb. 23; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 19th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

monkey3 (Photo by Giuseppe Aufiero)

Swiss heavy progressive instrumentalists Monkey3 have already been confirmed for Desertfest Berlin 2024 and its UK co-flagship Desertfest London 2024, which implies at least a week of touring, so it’s not the craziest thing in the universe that the band are announcing the release of Welcome to the Machine today and streaming the visualizer for the first single “Rackman” that you can find at the bottom of this post, but it’s welcome news either way.

Their last studio outing was 2019’s Sphere (review here), and 2023 marks two decades since their self-released self-titled debut. “Rackman,” as the first I’ve heard of Welcome to the Machine to come — out Feb. 21, on Napalm — is duly mature and progressive but also somewhat surprisingly heavy. There are moments in the first few minutes where if you put a growl on there you’d have death-doom, but that’s only one element of the atmospherics Monkey3 present. They’ve never been an outfit to do the same thing over and over, but if the other four songs on the record stand up to “Rackman” tonally, it could be the band’s heaviest work.

The PR wire explores themes and more in the info that follows:

monkey3 welcome to the machine

Instrumental Psych Rock Masters MONKEY3 Announce New Album Welcome To The Machine

Music Video For First Single “Rackman” Premiering Now!

New Album, Welcome To The Machine, out February 23, 2024 via Napalm Records

Pre-Order HERE: https://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/monkey3

Following Live at Freak Valley in 2017 and their latest, much-acclaimed album, Sphere (2019), instrumental psych rock frontrunners MONKEY3 will herald 2024 with a true album highlight of the new year: The Lausanne-based four-piece has announced a brand new, cosmic studio offering, entitled Welcome To The Machine, set for release on February 23, 2024 via Napalm Records!

Once again, MONKEY3 envelops listeners in their unique, cosmic auditory haze. Welcome To The Machine not only marks their seventh and most epic, dark and captivating record to date, but will also clearly prove why they are one of the most exciting instrumental rock bands in the modern stoner and psychedelic rock scene.

Today, MONKEY3 has premiered a music video for their first album single “Rackman”. “‘Welcome To The Machine’ is a reflection on the future of humanity through the duality of man and machine,” the band explains. About the new single, they comment: “Are human beings becoming machines or machines becoming human beings?”

Welcome To The Machine’s musical themes are inspired by movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Matrix, Sunshine, Solaris and 1984, while unveiling an intense mankind vs. machines story that instantly launches the listener into deep space. Right from its first tones, the album immediately emerges as a perfect soundtrack to a journey into the unknown. Tracks such as “Rackman” perfectly showcase how MONKEY3, who formed in 2001, are one of only a few instrumental bands that know how to tell an enthralling story. Welcome To The Machine explores as much as it poses questions. It is dark and menacing; evoking melancholic destruction while somehow bursting with hope at the same time, moving between haunting passages and progressive breaks, mesmerizing grooves and colossal riffs.

The album was recorded and mixed by Raphaël Bovey at Blend Studio and MyRoom Studio, and was mastered by Lad Agabekov at Caduceus Studios in Switzerland. The incredible cover artwork was created by Sebastian Jerke.
Pre-Order Welcome To The Machine HERE: https://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/monkey3

Welcome To The Machine track listing:
1. Ignition
2. Collision
3. Kali Yuga
4. Rackman
5. Collapse

Welcome To The Machine will be available in the following formats:
– Digipak
– 1 Vinyl Gatefold Black
– 1 Vinyl Gatefold Clear Orange
– 1-Vinyl Gatefold Crystal Clear Deluxe Version (incl. Slipmat & Art Print )
– Digital

MONKEY3 live:
May 24 – 26, 2024 (DE) Desertfest Berlin
+ many more live dates to be announced soon!

Walter – Drums
Jalil – Bass
Boris – Guitars
dB – Keys and Sounds



Monkey3, “Rackman” visualizer

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Black Willows Premiere “Communion”; Shemurah Out Oct. 21

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 11th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Black Willows

Swiss atmospheric post-doomers Black Willows release their third full-length, Shemurah, on Oct. 21. It is an arrival that has been some time in the making even when one discounts the fact of the three years since the Lausanne trio’s second album, Bliss (review here), and concurrent split with Finland’s Craneium (review here). In May 2020, the band posted the second of Shemurah‘s kind-of-an-injustice-to-call-them interludes, “Interlude II,” and so at least some portion of the record will have been done and ready to roll out for 17 months.

Given the incredible, worth-whatever-volume-you-can-give-it scope of Shemurah, that is an impressive feat, both in it maybe taking a year and a half since Bliss to put such a consuming 79-minute 2LP together, and to subsequently sit on it for that long afterward without getting more excited and releasing any more of it than they have to this point. At this point, the most honest thing I can do is spare you a longwinded diatribe and just tell you to click play on “Communion” premiering below. Then come back and read or do whatever else you’re doing today while listening. It will summarize a lot of what I’m talking about. I hope you enjoy.

“Communion” at 19:33, is the opener and longest track (immediate points) on Shemurah, and its heft of tone and atmosphere is nothing less than a thing of crumbling-tectonics beauty. Throughout Shemurah, guitarist/vocalist Aleister Crowley, bassist Sacha Ruffieux and drummer/pianist Erik Dettori embrace a cosmic weight worthy of sitting alongside Eve-era Ufomammut or anyone else you’d like to namedrop, and “Communion” sets this pattern very much in motion. Cosmic. Fucking. Doom. There is, however, another side entirely to “Communion” and the journey-waiting-to-be-undertaken album that follows, broken into four sides across two platters. It is the ambient aspect of what Black Willows here accomplish, and with a break 7:30 into “Communion,” a different kind of procession begins no less ritualistic than the lumbering prior, but meets Om-style chant with YOBian guitar exploration. In this, as in their release cycle, Black Willows remain patient, methodical in their delivery. Even as the track builds back to its eventual resurgent crush at 14:08, it does so with such fluidity as to be organic and inevitable in kind. You know it’s coming, but the path to get there is no less satisfying than the arrival.

A landmark unto itself, “Communion” is joined on side A by “Interlude I” a 2:24 complement that miniaturizes the progression of the lead cut and, in linear format, transitions directly into side B’s “Ascent,” which, at 18:06, follows the pattern set out by LP1’s first half, in its own crux as well as in being followed by the aforementioned “Interlude II” (3:39). After a droning beginning with the drums subtly foretelling the kick to come, what takes hold at 3:21 is a nodding chug the largesse of which is oxygen-reducing. Met soon with vocals that pull together the two sides playing out in “Communion,” “Ascent” lives up to its title as it willfully drags along the trail of its own making, forward, growing to an echo and roll that transitions toward a shorter quiet stretch before a (relative) uptick in tempo leads to the wash of the apex lead and final, stomping crashes and feedback, cutting to silence just before “Interlude II” starts with drums and efficiently finds its own rollout. These short pieces are songs, could easily have titles, but serve well to offset the album-unto-themselves longer tracks they accompany.

Shemurah — the Hebrew word translating to “eyelid” — to an extent holds the LP1 pattern across the second 12″, but “Blindness” and “Anathem” are shorter at a little under 11 minutes apiece, and “Annhiliated” (8:07) and the closer “Aphorism” (6:13) are longer than the “Interlude” pair. More importantly, the construction of the songs themselves changes, with “Blindness” playing off back and forth quiet/loud trades in post-metallic fashion while remaining delightfully, stubbornly committed to the melody and rich psychedelia underpinning. It is arguably the most YOB that Black Willows get, but that should only be taken as a compliment for the emotionalism on display in the midsection and the engrossing payoff that ensues. As one might expect, “Annihilated” is simpler, but rather than revise the righteously grueling pummel of “Ascent” or “Communion,” it builds a tension in Dettori‘s drums across its first five and half minutes before unveiling its faster lurch — and the letting go of that tension is temporary, carrying into the quiet spaciousness of “Anathem.”

The penultimate track on Shemurah, though on the LP it comes on the next side (D), works cleverly after “Annihilated,” essentially trading out the rumble-punctuated crashes of the piece before with subdued, meandering guitar for most of its stretch. Vocals come quietly and yes, it’s got its own build, but for seven-plus minutes, the flow is as languid and unhurried as “Annihilated” seemed to be teeth-grinding, and the resultant louder push likewise departs before Black Willows are done. A fading hum gives way to “Aphorism,” and the albeit-slow-motion dizzying aspect of Shemurah at this point shouldn’t be understated. Before they round out the last quarter of the eight-cut movement of the whole record, the band have well proven they can go where they want and remain in complete control while sounding likewise as though, with eyes rolled back in their head, they’re touching on the intangibility of sonic spiritualism that those of dogmatic breeding call god and find speaking in tongues. That is, they sound like they’re letting themselves go into their own sound while leading the listener with a steady hand.

“Aphorism,” which rounds out with piano, is something of an epilogue to the outing as a whole, but it’s not so much serene in its mood as it is continuing to speak to the either-outward-or-inward searching the rest of Shemurah undertakes. A melancholy, plotted lead layers over the central notes of the rhythm in melodic complement, and though instrumental, there’s really nothing else that needs to be said when the first keys strike and the last resonant fade goes, no less intentional in their execution than the 17 seconds of rising drone that precede the initial viscosity of “Communion.”

Everything in its place; none of it forced there.

A quote from Crowley and more album info follows the player below.

Once again, enjoy:

Black Willows, “Communion” track premiere

Black Willows Shemurah outside gatefold

Black Willows Shemurah inside gatefold

Aleister Crowley on “Communion”:

“Communion” is about trying to make peace with yourself and then finding serenity.

When you reach this state of consciousness you are finally free and in entire communion with yourself and all the things surrounding you.

I thought a lot about this record, how long it last and the general tuning/mood of it… and I already know that Shemurah is particular, it’s not like another records you can listen, it’s more like a very long mantra, the record should be listened like something going through to your subconscious, your soul and get into vibrations with them. Like a yoga/meditation cession or something like that…

I know that is a very special record and people will need/have to be in the right mood and state of consciousness for this one.

I took a risk with this one but I really wanted and needed to push the boundaries of what I had in mind…

Black Willows | Shemurah

1. Communion (19:33)
2. Interlude I (2:24)
3. Ascent (18:06)
4. Interlude II (3:39)
5. Blindness (10:51)
6. Annihilated (8:07)
7. Anathem (10:57)
8. Aphorism (6:13)

Written by Aleister Crowley

All songs performed live and recorded by Sacha Ruffieux at studio de la Fonderie, Fribourg, Switzerland. Additional recordings engineered by Raphaël Bovey at Blend studio, Lutry, Switzerland. Vocals recorded by Brian Bendahan at Shiverland productions, Switzerland. Mixed and mastered by Raphaël Bovey at MyRoom Studio, Switzerland.

Black Willows are:
Guitar and vocals: Aleister Crowley
bass: Sacha Ruffieux
drums and piano: Erik Dettori

Black Willows, “Interlude II”

Black Willows on Facebook

Black Willows on Bandcamp

Black Willows on YouTube

Black Willows webstore

Black Willows website

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Friday Full-Length: Monkey3, 39 Laps

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 1st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Born in Lausanne, Switzerland, 2021 marks the 15th anniversary of instrumentalist progressive/heavy psych rockers Monkey3, who released their second album, 39 Laps, on Buzzville Records in 2006 after making a self-titled debut in 2003. If the number in the band name strikes as weird, it was more common around the turn of the century with European acts; consider Hypnos 69 from Belgium or 7Zuma7 and 35007 from the Netherlands. The latter are perhaps most relevant when it comes to the work Monkey3 were doing in the mid-aughts — the self-titled included a song named for them, for example. 35007‘s final offering, Phase V (discussed here) came out on Stickman Records — with whom Monkey3 would sign for 2011’s third LP, Beyond the Black Sky (review here) — in 2005, and found that band working in a sphere of immersion to which 39 Laps is at least complementary if probably not working in direct answer. That is, bassist Christophe Picasso, drummer Walter Albrecht, guitarist Boris de Piante and keyboardist Guilaume Desboeufs — who may or may not also be dB and Mister Mapropre; the band have always been cagey about names — probably didn’t sit down and say they should directly build on what the Dutch band had done the year before, but the two records certainly work well alongside each other.

And while we’re setting an afternoon’s playlist of (at least mostly) instrumental meditative heavy psychedelic progressivism, it’s worth considering that as Monkey3 were finding their way forward with the six songs and 51 minutes of 39 Laps, Germany’s My Sleeping Karma released their own self-titled debut (discussed here) the same year, and despite a more direct thematic in the exploration of various Buddhist and other philosophies, they’re still a sonic fit as well. So Monkey3 have been and continue to be in good company.

They’ve also — here comes the inevitable pivot — done well to distinguish themselves among that very company, and 39 Laps is a prime example of how. The album doesn’t quite work shortest-to-longest in its procession of tracks, but among the five original inclusions, it separates into two halves with three six-minute cuts, “Xub,” “Last Moulinao” and “Driver,” comprising a theoretical side A and the longer “Jack” (9:09) and “Je et Bikkje” (13:24) on the again-theoretical side B. In reality, the original CD release also contains the nine-minute take on Ennio Morricone‘s “Once Upon a Time in the West” theme, starting with wind and sparse guitar and gradually building to a fully-weighted roll and topping it with a willfully grandiose guitar lead over the slowed-down progression as an apex before the ringing of the bell signals, I guess, the start of the movie. I’ll admit, it’s been a while.

Also in reality, by the time 39 Laps came out on vinyl, it was through the short-lived Napalm Records-offshoot Spinning Goblin Productions, and the album was released as a 2LP, with a cover of Black Sabbath‘s “Electricmonkey3 39 laps Funeral” also included on side D alongside the Morricone piece. So there.

These 15 years after the fact, there are arguments to be made as to whether 39 Laps works better with or without that final cover. “Je et Bikkje” caps at a fury, with a solo soaring out over an ocean of swirling synth and rhythmic churn — an encapsulation that’s an exciting moment on its own, a payoff for the earlier heft and percussive motion of the song’s midsection and the ongoing proggy tension of the guitar after its own volume surge. It’s a moot debate — the album is what it is — if perhaps a fun one, but if there’s a winning case, it’s probably “the more the merrier,” and that certainly applies to “Once Upon a Time in the West.”

To that point, Monkey3 have already wildly immersed the audience in their atmospherics. This band could and still can be crazy heavy, and “Driver” demonstrates that as plainly as possible, but they’re no less dedicated to trance than impact. The basslines are essential to this. Beneath the smooth, almost Tool-style bounce of the guitar as it makes its way into “Xub,” the bassline holds steady and not only adds to the movement of the build, but is the ground on which that movement takes place. That’s not to detract from the drums at all — steady snare pops are welcome punctuation throughout “Xub” and the rest of the album that follows — but just as often in the most ambient stretches of 39 Laps, the low end bears the significant task of grounding the procession, helping give structure to what especially without vocals could easily have become more ethereal than the band intended.

And perhaps it’s unsurprising that their intention and the realization of it is so much of why 39 Laps succeeds at that listener-immersion. Even unto “Once Upon a Time in the West,” this is an easy, easy, easy record in which to lose one’s self and be brought back by whatever given element — the vague effects-laden speech of “Je et Bikkje,” the acoustic guitar of “Last Moulinao,” the bursts of extra heft in the culmination of “Jack,” etc. — and the recording and mix of Mario Krag deserves special mention for the depths and spaces created in which one might explore. They remain resonant and broad in kind.

Long a staple of the Sound of Liberation booking roster, Monkey3 were recently announced as taking part in Desertfest Belgium 2021 in Antwerp and the newcomer Noise Fest in their native Switzerland, as well as Orange Factory‘s 25th anniversary bash next year, also in Belgium. I’ll admit — if it’s a thing that warrants confession — their appearance at Desertfest is what put them in my mind. They were there as well for their latest studio release, 2019’s Sphere (review here), and at the Orange Factory show, Monkey3 will play alongside a reunion for the aforementioned Hypnos 69, with whom they also put out a split in 2006, concurrent to 39 Laps.

They have other appearances booked and recently completed as well, and it could well be that 2022 will mark a fuller return to the road. They did tour in Fall 2019 to support Sphere, but if they needed an excuse to go, certainly even a delayed 20th anniversary celebration would more than suffice.

In any case, as always, I hope you enjoy. Thank you for reading.

I need to shower. Maybe before I write this. Hang on…

…I do not even a little bit regret that decision. Yes, that puts it closer to 10AM than not — started the post before The Pecan woke up, finishing after he’s off to school — but a good, languid scalding was precise what I needed. As The Patient Mrs. tells me often, “You never regret showering.” She is correct in that, as in so much else.

Earlier this week, Tuesday in fact, was our 24th anniversary of when we first got together. I was 15 at the time. I turn 40 later this month. The lazy math on that says that’s over 60 percent of my life. There is nothing I regret less than spending that time in that way.

I wish I could say we did a lot to celebrate, but not really. We were pretty light on cash this week — getting caught up after her starting during-semester paychecks; we live mostly one to the next, like fucking everybody because the American social safety net is a scam and our government, when not actively trying to cause your death, doesn’t care if you live or die and if they did, even remotely, we’d have universal healthcare and basic income and we all know it and still do nothing about it — but my mother bought us takeout from our favorite diner and that was kind and made the kid happy since he got a cookie with his grilled cheese. Otherwise she worked and I was doing the Quarterly Review all week, so that was pretty much that. She’s got work this weekend too, and I’ve got more Quarterly review coming Monday and Tuesday and a liner notes project (Slomatics) and a bio project (Stompbox) besides, so yeah.

Plus the kid, whom I’ve taken to school the last two days because of a no-show bus. It came this morning. Just trying to keep us on our toes, I guess. We rearranged rocks in the yard while waiting. That’s real life.

Clutch, Stöner and King Buffalo are playing tomorrow night in New Haven, Connecticut. I’d love to go. I’m dying to go. To go, take pictures, see the KB guys play new songs, do the thing. I just can’t bring myself to do it. It feels too big. My kid can’t get vaccinated. My wife already is back working on a college campus. I’m vaccinated and so is she. And I don’t care if I get sick. Hell, there were at least three times during the Quarterly Review this week that I would’ve happily traded writing for lungfire. But I can’t be responsible for getting either of them sick. I just can’t.

Kind, Geezer and Curse the Son play Hamden (also CT) on Oct. 21. It’s a Thursday night. I’m thinking that might be a good, lower-key “first show back.” I doubt The Patient Mrs. will complain about spending time with her family up there.

My consolation in this is that I’ll get another chance with the full Clutch, Stöner and King Buffalo lineup in December in New Jersey. I have no idea what the world will look like then, let alone my own Covid-anxiety, but it’s less urgent in my brain than tomorrow, so it’s enough to hang my hat on. King Buffalo are also at Mercury Lounge on Nov. 7. I won’t go to that unless I’m feeling entirely on board after the Curse the Son show, but knowing it exists is a comfort.

That’s where I’m at. High on Fire at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan? No way. Pallbearer, Somnuri and Heavy Temple at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn? Doubtful. I’m just not there.

I’m doing my best.

Next week — two more days of Quarterly Review (could definitely be more, but yeah…), plus Slowshine full stream, a Wail video premiere, and so on. Gonna try to review something in there as a favor to myself, but I haven’t decided what yet. And I’m gonna try to get a video interview done in there too, but we’ll see.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Have as much fun as you can. Hydrate. Watch your head. Listen to the Gimme Metal show today at 5PM Eastern. All that fun stuff.

New t-shirts coming soon.


The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk merch

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Quarterly Review: Monkey3, Asthma Castle, The Giraffes, Bask, Faerie Ring, Desert Sands, Cavalcade, Restless Spirit, Children of the Sün, Void King

Posted in Reviews on September 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Call two friends and tell them to tell two friends to tell two friends, because the Quarterly Review has returned. This time around, it’s 50 records front to back for Fall 2019 and there are some big names and some smaller names and a whole lot of in between which is just how I like it. Between today and Friday, each day 10 album reviews will be posted in a single batch like this one, and although by Wednesday this always means I’m totally out of my mind, it’s always, always, always worth it to be able to write about so much cool stuff. So sit tight, because there’s a lot to get through and, as ever, time’s at a premium.

Thanks in advance for keeping up, and I hope you find something you dig.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Monkey3, Sphere

monkey3 sphere

It’s a full-on Keanu Reeves “whoa” when opening track “Spirals” kicks in on Monkey3‘s sixth album, Sphere (released by Napalm), and that’s by no means the last one on the cinematic six-tracker. The long-running Swiss mostly-instrumentalists have been consistently, persistently underappreciated throughout their career, but whether it’s the aural scope of guitar and keys in “Axis” or the swaps between intensity and sprawl in 14-minute closer “Ellipsis,” their latest work is consuming in its sense of triumph. Even the four-minute “Ida,” which seems at first like it’s barely going to be more than an interlude, finds a thread of majestic cosmic groove and rides it for the duration, while the proggy immersion of “Prism” and the harder drive of “Mass” — not to mention that shredding solo — make the middle of the record anything but a post-hypnosis dip. I won’t pretend to know if Sphere is the record that finally gets the Lausanne four-piece the respect they’ve already well deserved, but if it was, one could only say it was for good reason. Blends of heft, progressive craft, and breadth are rarely so resonant.

Monkey3 on Thee Facebooks

Napalm Records website


Asthma Castle, Mount Crushmore

Asthma Castle Mount Crushmore

When you call your record Mount Crushmore, you need to bring it, and much to their credit, Baltimorean sludge-rocking five-piece Asthma Castle do precisely that on their debut full-length. Issued through Hellmistress Records, the 37-minute/six-track outing is a wordplay-laced pummeler that shows as much persona in its riffing and massive groove as it does in titles like “The Incline of Western Civilization” and “The Book of Duderonomy.” Trades between early-Mastodonic twists and lumbering sludge crash add a frenetic and unpredictable feel to pieces like the title-track, while “Methlehem” trades its plod for dual-guitar antics punctuated by metallic double-kick, all the while the vocals trade back and forth between growls, shouts, cleaner shouts, the odd scream, etc., because basically if you can keep up with it, Asthma Castle wouldn’t be doing their job. One shudders to think of the amount of Natty Bo consumed during its making, but Mount Crushmore is a wild and cacophonous enough time to live up to the outright righteousness of its title. If I graded reviews, it would get a “Fuckin’ A+,” with emphasis on “fuckin’ a.”

Asthma Castle on Thee Facebooks

Hellmistress Records website


The Giraffes, Flower of the Cosmos

the giraffes flower of the cosmos

Some day the world will wake up and realize the rock and roll powerhouse it had in Brooklyn’s The Giraffes, but by then it’ll be too late. The apocalypse will have happened long ago, and it’ll be Burgess Meredith putting on a vinyl of Flower of the Cosmos in the New York Library as “FAKS” echoes out through the stacks of now-meaningless tomes and the dust of nuclear winter falls like snow outside the windows. The band’s tumultuous history is mirrored in the energy of their output, and yet to hear the melody and gentle fuzz at the outset of “Golden Door,” there’s something soothing about their work as well that, admittedly, “Raising Kids in the End Times” is gleeful in undercutting. Cute as well they pair that one with “Dorito Dreams” on this, their seventh record in a 20-plus-year run, which has now seen them find their footing, lose it, find it again, and in this record and songs like the masterfully frenetic “Fill up Glass” and the air-tight-tense “Like Hate” and “Romance,” weave a document every bit worthy of Mr. Meredith’s attention as he mourns for the potential of this godforsaken wasteland. Oh, what we’ll leave behind. Such pretty ruins.

The Giraffes website

The Giraffes on Bandcamp


Bask, III

bask iii

In the fine tradition of heavy rock as grown-up punk, North Carolina’s Bask bring progressive edge and rolling-Appalachian atmospherics to the underlying energy of III, their aptly-titled and Season of Mist-issued third album. Their foot is in any number of styles, from Baroness-style noodling to a hard twang that shows up throughout and features prominently on the penultimate “Noble Daughters II – The Bow,” but the great triumph of III, and really the reason it works at all, is because the band find cohesion in this swath of influences. They’re a band who obviously put thought into what they do, making it all the more appropriate to think of them as prog, but as “Three White Feet” and “New Dominion” show at the outset, they don’t serve any aesthetic master so much as the song itself. Closing with banjo and harmonies and a build of crash cymbal on “Maiden Mother Crone” nails the point home in a not-understated way, but at no point does III come across as hyper-theatrical so as to undercut the value of what Bask are doing. It’s a more patient album than it at first seems, but given time to breathe, III indeed comes to life.

Bask on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist on Bandcamp


Faerie Ring, The Clearing

fairie ring the clearing

Listening to the weighty rollout of opening cut “Bite the Ash” on Faerie Ring‘s debut album, The Clearing (on King Volume Records), one is reminded of the energy that once-upon-a-time came out of Houston’s Venomous Maximus. There’s a similar feeling of dark energy surging through the riffs and echoing vocals, but the Evansville, Indiana, four-piece wind up on a different trip. Their take is more distinctly Sabbathian on “Lost Wind” and even the swinging “Heavy Trip” lives up to its stated purpose ahead of the chugging largesse of finisher “Heaven’s End.” They find brash ground on “The Ring” and the slower march of “Somnium,” but there’s metal beneath the lumbering and it comes out on “Miracle” in a way that the drums late in “Lost Wind” seem to hint toward on subsequent listens. It’s a mix of riff-led elements that should be readily familiar to many listeners, but the sheer size and clarity of presentation Faerie Ring make throughout The Clearing makes me think they’ll look to distinguish themselves going forward, and so their first record holds all the more potential for that.

Faerie Ring on Thee Facebooks

King Volume Records on Bandcamp


Desert Sands, The Ascent EP

Desert Sands The Ascent

Begun as the solo-project of London-based multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Mark Walker and presently a trio including Louis Kinder and Jonathan Walker as well, Desert Sands make their recorded debut through A Records with the three-song/half-hour The Ascent EP, a work of psychedelic existentialism that conveys its cosmic questioning even before the lyrics start, with an opening riff and rhythmic lurch to “Are You There” that seems to throw its central query into a void that either will or won’t answer. Does it? The hell should I know, but The Ascent proves duly transcendent in its pulsations as “Head Towards the Light” and 11:45 closer “Yahweh” — yeah, I guess we get there — bring drifting, languid enlightenment to these spiritual musings. The finale is, of course, a jam in excelsis and if drop-acid-find-god is the narrative we’re working with, then Desert Sands are off to a hell of a start as a project. Regardless of how one might ultimately come down (and it is, by my estimation at least, a comedown) on the question of human spirituality, there’s no denying the power and ethereal force of the kind of creativity on display in The Ascent. One will wait impatiently to see what comes next.

Desert Sands on Thee Facebooks

A Recordings on Thee Facebooks


Cavalcade, Sonic Euthanasia

Cavalcade Sonic Euthanasia

Say what you want about New Orleans or North Carolina or wherever the hell else, Midwestern sludge is another level of filth. To wit, the Carcass-style vocals that slice through the raw, dense riffing on “Aspirate on Aspirations” feel like the very embodiment of modern disillusion, and there’s some flourish of melodic guitar pluck there, but that only seems to give the ensuing crunch more impact, and likewise the far-back char of “Freezing in Fire” as it relates to the subsequent “Dead Idles,” as Cavalcade refute the trappings of genre in tempo while still seeming to burrow a hole for themselves in the skull of the converted. “Noose Tie” and “We Dig Our Own Graves” tell the story, but while the recording itself is barebones, Cavalcade aren’t now and never really have been so simple as to be a one-trick band. For more than a decade, they’ve provided a multifaceted and trickily complex downer extremity, and Sonic Euthanasia does this as well, bringing their sound to new places and new levels of abrasion along its punishing way. Easy listening? Shit. You see that eye on the cover? That’s the lizard people staring back at you. Have fun with that.

Cavalcade on Thee Facebooks

Cavalcade on Bandcamp


Restless Spirit, Lord of the New Depression

restless spirit lord of the new depression

Long Island chug-rockers Restless Spirit would seem to have been developing the material for their self-released debut album, Lord of the New Depression, over the last couple years on a series of short releases, but the songs still sound fresh and electrified in their vitality. If this was 1992 or ’93, they’d be signed already to RoadRacer Records and put on tour with Life of Agony, whose River Runs Red would seem to be a key influence in the vocals of the nine-track/39-minute offering, but even on their own, the metal-tinged five-piece seem to do just fine. Their tracks are atmospheric and aggressive and kind, and sincere in their roll, capturing the spirit of a band like Down with somewhat drawn-back chestbeating, “Dominion” aside. They seem to be challenging themselves to push outside those confines though in “Deep Fathom Hours,” the longest track at 7:35 with more complexity in the melody of the vocals and guitar, and that suits them remarkably well as they dig into this doomly take on LOA and Type O Negative and others from the early ’90s NYC underground — they seem to pass on Biohazard, which is fine — made legendary with the passage of time. As a gentleman of a certain age, I find it exceptionally easy to get on board.

Restless Spirit on Thee Facebooks

Restless Spirit on Bandcamp


Children of the Sün, Flowers

Children of the Sun Flowers

An eight-piece outfit based in Arvika, Sweden, which is far enough west to be closer to Oslo than Stockholm, Children of the Sün blend the classic heavy rock stylizations of MaidaVale, first-LP Blues Pills and others with a decidedly folkish bent. Including an intro, their The Sign Records debut album, Flowers, is eight track and 34 minutes interweaving organ and guitar, upbeat vibes and bluesier melodies, taking cues from choral-style vocals on “Emmy” in such a way as to remind of Church of the Cosmic Skull, though the aesthetic here is more hippie than cult. The singing on “Sunschild” soars in that fashion as well, epitomizing the lush melody found across Flowers as the keys, guitar, bass and drums work to match in energy and presence. For a highlight, I’d pick the more subdued title-track, which still has its sense of movement thanks to percussion deep in the mix but comes arguably closest to the flower-child folk Children of the Sün seem to be claiming for their own, though the subsequent closing duo of “Like a Sound” and “Beyond the Sun” aren’t far off either. They’re onto something. One hopes they continue to explore in such sünshiny fashion.

Children of the Sün on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records on Thee Facebooks


Void King, Barren Dominion

void king barren dominion

Having made their debut with 2016’s There is Nothing (discussed here), Indianapolis downtrodden heavy rock four-piece Void King come back for a second go with Barren Dominion (on Off the Record Label), a title of similar theme that finds them doom riffing through massive tonality on “Burnt at Both Ends,” asking what if Soundgarden played atmospheric doom rock on “Crippled Chameleon” — uh, it would be awesome? yup — and opening each side with its longest track (double immediate points) in a clearly intended vinyl structure hell bent on immersing the listener as much as possible in the lumber and weight the band emit. Frontman Jason Kindred adds extra burl to his already-plenty-dudely approach on “Crippled Chameleon” and closer “The Longest Winter,” the latter with some harmonies to mirror those of opener “A Lucid Omega,” and the band around him — bassist Chris Carroll, drummer Derek Felix and guitarist Tommy Miller — seem to have no trouble whatsoever in keeping up, there or anywhere else on the eight-song/46-minute outing. Topped with striking cover art from Diogo SoaresBarren Dominion is deceptively nuanced and full-sounding. Not at all empty.

Void King on Thee Facebooks

Off the Record Label BigCartel store


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Monkey3 Announce Fall Touring and Fest Appearances

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan


It’s a big world out there, I know, and not everyone can be huge, but Monkey3 strike me as being particularly undervalued. With origins that stretch back to the pre-social media heavy rock of the turn of the century, the Swiss instrumentalist progressive heavy psych rockers have six albums to their name and have thereby amassed a catalog of persistently forward-thinking material that I’d gladly argue puts them in the conversation with acts like 35007 when it comes to bands who’ve helped paved the way for the European underground’s space-jam boom. They’re the kind of band who, if they broke up five years ago, would probably be a big deal if they were getting back together now. So why not cut out the middle-man and just appreciate them while they’re here?

They toured in Spring around the release of Sphere, their latest outing for Napalm Records, and they’ll do likewise this Fall on a tour presented by Sound of Liberation that includes not one, but two sets at Desertfest Belgium 2019 as well as stops along the way a numerous other festivals. Come to think of it, maybe I’m too America-centered in my thinking about them being underrated. I wonder what I’d find if I went to a Monkey3 show in Europe. Probably a good time, at very least.

Sound of Liberation announced the tour thusly:

monkey3 tour

Monkey3 – “Sphere Fall Tour 2019”

Guys, we are pleased to tell you today that the Swiss quartet monkey3 will hit the road again next October!

Still promoting their 6th album “Sphere” (released last Spring via Napalm Records), they will stop at Desertfest Belgium for 2 different shows!

18.10.19 Zürich / Bergmal Festival
20.10.19 Antwerp / Desertfest Antwerp
21.10.19 Hamburg / Molotow (Sky Bar)
22.10.19 Frankfurt am Main / Nachtleben
23.10.19 Strasbourg / La Maison Bleue
25.10.19 La Mezière (Rennes) / Samain Fest
26.10.19 Beaune / Les Ateliers du Cinema
28.10.19 Saarbrücken / Kleiner Klub (Garage)
29.10.19 Leipzig / Werk 2
30.10.19 Leifers / Jugend/Kulturzentrum Fly
31.10.19 Passau / Zauberberg
02.11.19 Münster / Golden Silence Festival (@ Skaters Palace)

MONKEY3 are:
Walter – drums
Kevin – bass
Boris – guitar
dB – keys


Monkey3, “Prism” official video

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Monkey3: New Album Sphere Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan


It was announced this past Fall that Swiss progressive heavy instrumentalists Monkey3 would hit the road with Samsara Blues Experiment this March, and now we know a little bit more about why. Their new album, Sphere, is set to release April 12 through Napalm Records and is up for preorder now. For a band who are more than 15 years removed from their debut album, they continue to be something of a well kept secret of Europe’s heavy underground — at least to those outside of it — but their last full-length, 2016’s Astra Symmetry (review here), was easily their most progressive outing yet, and they followed it with the 2017 Live at Freak Valley offering, so between that and the ample touring they’ve done all the while, they head into Sphere with some solid momentum behind them. One hopes they continue to build on their litany of accomplishments over the better part of this decade.

The PR wire brought album details and the preorder link:

monkey3 sphere

MONKEY3 To Release New Album “Sphere” April 12th via Napalm Records

Pre-Orders Available Now

Heavy Psych-Rock from Outer Space
Your Mind-Blowing Trip to the Universe

Instrumental rockers MONKEY3 have buckled up for their next interstellar journey. After the success of the 2016 album “Astra Symmetry,” the Swiss four piece continues its cosmic journey of space rock, psychedelic, stoner and progressive on their 6th full length studio album “Sphere”.

MONKEY3 describes the new album:
“Spiraling out of a majestic landscape & its untamed environment, ‘Sphere’ stands for an abstract interpretation of nature’s phenomenons, their geometric patterns, and colorful elements.

The backbone of MONKEY3’s new album is a solid axis around which revolves a multitude of distinct atmospheres – like a wild journey along a winding road – sometimes brutal, sometimes sublime. Here the instrumental roots of the band refract in a prismatic soundscape where each musical beam finds its own space; and yet at the same time they all come together to weave a massive wall of sound. Moreover a feminine & graceful touch enhances the overall artwork, allowing the audience to travel through a wide panel – from the depths of Death Valley to the magnitude of Mount Ida – like a cosmic trip through a meditative canal. And whatever this opus might be, “Sphere” could be reminiscent of an ellipsis in which one omits part of what is being said in order for the listener to fill in the blanks with one’s own imagination, and make it its own.”

Today, MONKEY3 unveils the album cover and the tracklist.

Pre Order “Sphere” HERE!

1. Spirals
2. Axis
3. Prism
4. Mass (feat. Bumblefoot)
5. Ida
6. Ellipsis

“Sphere” will be available in the following formats:
-4 Page Digipack
-2LP Gatefold
-LP Deluxe Box, including Double-LP Gatefold + 1 LP Bonus LP Gatefold + Slipmat
-Digital Album

In March, MONKEY3 will hit the road together with Samsara Blues Experiment:
w/ Samsara Blues Experiment
29.03.19 DE – Cologne / Helios 37
30.03.19 BE – Antwerp / Zappa
31.03.19 NL – Nijmegen / Doornroosje
01.04.19 FR – Paris / Petit Bain
03.04.19 FR – Toulouse / Rex
05.04.19 DE – Stuttgart / JH Hallschlag
06.04.19 DE – Jena / F-Haus
07.04.19 DE – Dresden / Beatpol
08.04.19 DE – Munich / Feierwerk
09.04.19 CH – Zuerich / Rote Fabrik
10.04.19 AT – Vienna / Arena
11.04.19 CH- Budapest / A38
12.04.19 AT – Salzburg / Rockhouse
13.04.19 DE – Aschaffenburg / Colos-Saal

30.04.19 CH – Pratteln / Z7 Konzertfabrik
10.05.19 FR – Guéret / Metal Culture(s) Festival
02.08.19 FR – Monestier-de-Clermont / Stade Régis Perrin
03.08.19 FR – Saint-Maurice-de-Gourdans / Sylak Open Air
10.08.19 DE – Balve / German Kultrock Festival

MONKEY3 are:
Walter – drums
Kevin – bass
Boris – guitar
dB – keys


Monkey3, Live at Freak Valley (2017)

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