Orange Goblin Announce Fall UK & Ireland Tour with Conan

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 28th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

orange goblin

Orange Goblin will this summer lay claim to the fire at the centre of the earth (among other things) with the July 19 arrival of their new album, Science, Not Fiction, and honestly, a reminder of that is probably enough to justify this post on its own, but the London stalwarts announced this UK/Ireland tour with Conan last week while my head was ostriched in the Quarterly Review, and that pairing is too good to let slip. Plus it’s not until October, so the idea that I’m ‘late’ on posting the news is an illusion bred by social media brain-shortening. December would be late.

There are two singles streaming from the impending Science, Not Fiction in the title-track and “Cemetery Rats,” both of which have a shove behind them one can only call signature Orange Goblin groove and push. Not that I can confirm or deny having heard it or anything, but the whole album is a burner. Conan reportedly have a new LP in the works as well, which will be their first to feature bassist David Riley (ex-Fudge Tunnel), who joined late last year. No idea whether that will be 2024 or 2025, but my suspicion is the latter.

But there’s no time like the nearer-future to get yourself pummeled by two of England’s finest, so here are the dates:

orange goblin science not fiction uk ireland tour

Not only are we releasing a new album in July, but we are going on tour in October around the UK & Ireland and taking our good friends in Conan with us!

Tickets for the Orange Goblin ‘Science, Not Fiction’ UK & Ireland tour in October 2024 are on sale NOW and already selling fast so don’t miss out!

https://routeonebooking.fanlink.tv/ogsciencenotfictiontour

Very special guests: Conan

You can catch the tour at the following shows:

04.10 – Opium, Dublin, REP. OF IRELAND
05.10 – Limelight 2, Belfast, N. IRELAND
06.10 – King Tut’s, Glasgow, UK
08.10 – Gorilla, Manchester, UK
09.10 – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton, UK
10.10 – The Fleece, Bristol, UK
11.10 – The 1865, Southampton, UK
12.10 – The Dome, London, UK

Artwork by: Machine

Orange Goblin is:
Ben Ward – Vocals
Joe Hoare – Guitar
Harry Armstrong – Bass / Backing vocals
Christopher Turner – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/orangegoblinofficial/
https://www.instagram.com/orangegoblin1/
http://www.orange-goblin.com/

https://facebook.com/burningshed
https://instagram.com/burningshed
http://www.peaceville.com/store

Orange Goblin, Science, Not Fiction (2024)

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Quarterly Review: Lamp of the Universe Meets Dr. Space, Inter Arma, Sunnata, The Sonic Dawn, Rifflord, Mothman and the Thunderbirds, The Lunar Effect, Danava, Moonlit, Doom Lab

Posted in Reviews on May 24th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

The-Obelisk-Quarterly-Review

This is it. This one’s for all the marbles. Well, actually there are no marbles involved, but if you remember way back like two weeks ago when this started out, I told you the tale of a hubristic 40-something dickweed blogger who thought he could review 100 albums in 10 days, and assuming I make it through the below without having an aneurysm — because, hey, you never know — today I get to live that particular fairy tale.

If you’ve kept up, and I hope you have, thanks. If not, click here to see all the posts in this Quarterly Review. Either way, I appreciate your time.

Quarterly Review #91-100:

Lamp of the Universe Meets Dr. Space, Enters Your Somas

Lamp of the universe meets dr space Enter Your Somas

Who’s ready to get blasted out the airlock? New Zealand solo-outfit Lamp of the Universe, aka multi-instrumentalist Craig Williamson (also Dead Shrine, ex-Datura, etc.), and Portugal-residing synth master Dr. Space, aka Scott Heller of Øresund Space Collective, Black Moon Circle, and so on, come together to remind us all we’re nothing more than semi-sentient cosmic dust. Enters Your Somas is comprised of two extended pieces, “Enters Your Somas” (18:39) and “Infiltrates Your Mind” (19:07), and both resonate space/soul frequencies while each finds its own path. The title-track is more languid on average, where “Infiltrates Your Mind” reroutes auxiliary power to the percussive thrusters in its first half before drifting into drone communion and hearing a voice — vague, but definitely human speech — before surging back to its course via Williamson‘s drums, which play a large role in giving the material its shape. But with synthy sweeps from Heller, Mellotron and guitar coming and going, and a steady groove across both inclusions, Lamp of the Universe Meets Dr. Space offer galactic adventure limited only by where your imagination puts you while you listen.

Lamp of the Universe on Facebook

Dr. Space on Facebook

Sound Effect Records website

Inter Arma, New Heaven

inter arma new heaven

Richmond, Virginia’s Inter Arma had no small task before them in following 2019’s Sulphur English (review here), but from the tech-death boops and bops and twists of New Heaven‘s leadoff title-track through the gothic textures of “Gardens in the Dark,” self-aware without satire, slow-flowing and dramatic, this fifth full-length finds them continuing to expand their creative reach, and at this point, whatever genre you might want to cast them in, they stand out. To wit, the blackdeath onslaught of “Violet Seizures” that’s also space rock, backed in that by the subsequent “Desolation’s Harp” with its classically grandiose solo, or the post-doom lumber of “Concrete Cliffs” that calls out its expanse after the seven-minute drum-playthrough-fodder extremity of “The Children the Bombs Overlooked,” or the mournful march of “Endless Grey” and the acoustic-led Nick Cavey epilogue “Forest Service Road Blues.” Few bands embrace a full spectrum of metallic sounds without coming across as either disjointed or like they’re just mashing styles together for the hell of it. Inter Arma bleed purpose in every turn, and as they inch closer to their 20th year as a band, they are masters unto themselves of this form they’ve created.

Inter Arma on Facebook

Relapse Records website

Sunnata, Chasing Shadows

sunnata chasing shadows

The opening “Chimera” puts Chasing Shadows quickly into a ritualized mindset, all the more as Warsaw meditative doomers Sunnata lace it and a decent portion of their 11-track/62-minute fifth album with an arrangement of vocals from guitarists Szymon Ewertowski and Adrian Gadomski and bassist/synthesist Michal Dobrzanski as drummer/percussionist Robert Ruszczyk punctuates on snare as they head toward a culmination. Individual pieces have their own purposes, whether it’s the momentary float of “Torn” or the post-Alice in Chains harmonies offset by Twin Peaks-y creep in “Saviours Raft,” or the way “Hunger” gradually moves from light to dark with rolling immersion, or the dancier feel with which “Like Cogs in a Wheel” gives an instrumental finish. It’s not a minor undertaking and it’s not meant to be one, but mood and atmosphere do a lot of work in uniting the songs, and the low-in-the-mouth vocal melodies become a part of that as the record unfolds. Their range has never felt broader, but there’s a plot being followed as well, an idea behind each turn in “Wishbone” and the sprawl is justified by the dug-in worldmaking taking place across the whole-LP progression, darkly psychedelic and engrossing as it is.

Sunnata on Facebook

Sunnata on Bandcamp

The Sonic Dawn, Phantom

The Sonic Dawn Phantom

Among the most vital classic elements of The Sonic Dawn‘s style is their ability to take spacious ideas and encapsulate them with a pop efficiency that doesn’t feel dumbed down. That is to say, they’re not capitulating to fickle attention spans with short songs so much as they’re able to get in, say what they want to say with a given track, and get out. Phantom is their fifth album, and while the title may allude to a certain ghostliness coinciding with the melancholy vibe overarching through the bulk of its component material, the Copenhagen-based trio are mature enough at this stage to know what they’re about. And while Phantom has its urgent stretches in the early going of “Iron Bird” or the rousing “Think it Over,” the handclap-laced “Pan AM,” and the solo-topped apex of “Micro Cosmos in a Drop,” most of what they’re about here harnesses a mellower atmosphere. It doesn’t need to hurry, baby. Isn’t there enough rush in life with all these “21st Century Blues?” With no lack of movement throughout, some of The Sonic Dawn‘s finest stretches here are in low-key interpretations of funk (“Dreams of Change,” “Think it Over,” “Transatlantique,” etc.) or prog-boogie (“Scorpio,” “Nothing Can Live Here” before the noisier crescendo) drawn together by organ, subdued, thoughtful vocal melodies and craft to suit the organic production. This isn’t the first The Sonic Dawn LP to benefit from the band knowing who they are as a group, but golly it sure is stronger for that.

The Sonic Dawn on Facebook

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Rifflord, 39 Serpent Power

RIFFLORD 39 Serpent Power

It’s not until the hook of second cut “Ohm Ripper” hits that Rifflord let go of the tension built up through the opening semi-title-track “Serpent Power,” which in its thickened thrashy charge feels like a specific callout to High on Fire but as I understand it is just about doing hard drugs. Fair enough. The South Dakota-based five-piece of bassist/vocalist Wyatt Bronc Bartlett, guitarists Samuel Hayes and Dustin Vano, keyboardist Tory Jean Stoddard and drummer Douglas Jennings Barrett will echo that intensity later in “Church Keys” and “Tumbleweed,” but that’s still only one place the 38-minute eight-track LP goes, and whether it’s the vocals calling out through the largesse and breadth of “Blessed Life” or the ensuing crush that follows in “LM308,” the addled Alice in Chains swagger in the lumber of “Grim Creeper” or the righteously catchy bombast of “Hoof,” they reach further than they ever have in terms of sound and remain coherent despite the inherently chaotic nature of their purported theme, the sheer heft of the tonality wielded and the fact that 39 Serpent Power has apparently been waiting some number of years to see release. Worth the wait? Shit, I’m surprised the album didn’t put itself out, it sounds so ready to go.

Rifflord on Facebook

Ripple Music website

Mothman and the Thunderbirds, Portal Hopper

Mothman and the Thunderbirds Portal Hopper

At the core of Mothman and the Thunderbirds is multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Alex Parkinson, and on the band’s second album, Portal Hopper, he’s not completely on his own — Egor Lappo programmed the drums, mixed, and plays a guitar solo on “Fractals,” Joe Sobieski guests on vocals for a couple tracks, Sam Parkinson donates a pair of solos to the cause — but it’s still very much his telling of the charmingly meandering sci-fi/fantasy plot taking place across the 12 included progressive metal mini-epics, which he presents with an energy and clarity of purpose that for sure graduated from Devin Townsend‘s school of making a song with 40 layers sound immediate but pulls as well from psychedelia and pop-punk vocals for an all the more emphatic scope. This backdrop lets “Fractals” get funky or “Escape From Flatwoods” hold its metallic chicanery with its soaring melody while “Squonk Kingdom” is duly over-the-top in its second-half chase soon enough fleshed out by “So Long (Portal Hopper)” ahead of the lightly-plucked finale “Attic.” The specificity of influence throughout Portal Hopper can be striking as clean/harsh vocals blend, etc., but given the narrative and the relative brevity of the songs complementing the whims explored within them, there’s no lack of character in the album’s oft-careening 38-minute course.

Mothman and the Thunderbirds on Instagram

Mothman and the Thunderbirds on Bandcamp

The Lunar Effect, Sounds of Green and Blue

The Lunar Effect Sounds of Green & Blue

Given its pro-shop nature in production and performance, the ability of The Lunar Effect to grasp a heavy blues sound as part of what they do while avoiding either the trap of hyper-dudely navelgazing or cultural appropriation — no minor feat — and the fluidity of one piece into the next across the 40-minute LP’s two sides, I’m a little surprised not to have been sick of the band’s second album, Sounds of Green and Blue before I put it on. Maybe since it’s on Svart everyone just assumed it’s Finnish experimentalist drone? Maybe everybody’s burnt out on a seemingly endless stream of bands from London’s underground? I don’t know, but by the time The Lunar Effect make their way to the piano-laden centerpiece “Middle of the End” — expanding on the unhurried mood of “In Grey,” preceding the heavy blues return of “Pulling Daisies” at the start of side B that mirrors album opener “Ocean Queen” and explodes into a roll that feels like it was made to be the best thing you play at your DJ night — that confusion is a defining aspect of the listening experience. “Fear Before the Fall” picks on Beethoven, for crying out loud. High class and low groove. Believe me, I know there’s a lot of good stuff out already in 2024, but what the hell more could you want? Where is everybody?

The Lunar Effect on Facebook

Svart Records website

Danava, Live

danava live

Even if I were generally inclined to do so — read: I’m not — it would be hard to begrudge Portland heavy rock institution Danava wanting to do a live record after their 2023’s Nothing But Nothing (review here) found them in such raucous form. But the aptly-titled Live is more than just a post-studio-LP check-in to remind you they kick ass on stage, as side A’s space, classic, boogie, heavy rocking “Introduction/Spinning Temple” and “Maudie Shook” were recorded in 2008, while the four cuts on side B — “Shoot Straight with a Crooked Gun,” “Nothing but Nothing,” “Longdance,” “Let the Good Times Kill” and “Last Goodbye” — came from the European tour undertaken in Fall 2023 to support Nothing But Nothing. Is the underlying message that Danava are still rad 15 years later? Maybe. That certainly comes through by the time the solo in “Shoot Straight with a Crooked Gun” hits, but that also feels like reading too much into it. Maybe it’s just about representing different sides of who Danava are, and if so, fine. Then or now, psych or proto-thrashing, they lay waste.

Danava on Instagram

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Moonlit, Be Not Afraid

moonlit be not afraid

A free three-songer from Varese, Italy’s Moonlit, Be Not Afraid welcomes the listener to “Death to the World” with (presumably sampled) chanting before unfurling a loose, somewhat morose-feeling nighttime-desert psych sway before “Fort Rachiffe” howls tonally across its own four minutes in more heavy post-rock style, still languid in tempo but encompassing in its wash and the amp-hum-and-percussion blend on the shorter “Le Conseguenze Della Libertà” (1:57) gives yet another look, albeit briefly. In about 11 minutes, Moonlit — whose last studio offering was 2021’s So Bless Us Now (review here) — never quite occupy the same space twice, and despite the compact presentation, the range from mid-period-QOTSA-gone-shoegaze (plus chanting! don’t forget the chanting!) to the hypnotic Isis-doing-space-push that follows with the closer as a but-wait-there’s-more/not-just-an-afterthought epilogue is palpable. I don’t know when or how Be Not Afraid was recorded, whether it’s portentous of anything other than itself or what, but there’s a lot happening under its surface, and while you can’t beat the price, don’t be surprised if you end up throwing a couple bucks Moonlit‘s way anyhow.

Moonlit on Instagram

Moonlit on Bandcamp

Doom Lab, Northern Lights

Doom Lab Northern Lights

Much of Northern Lights is instrumental, but whether or not Leo Scheben is barking out the endtimes storyline of “Darkhammer” — stylized all-caps in the tracklisting — or “Night Terrors,” or just digging into a 24-second progression of lo-fi riffing of “Paranoid Isolation” and the Casio-type beats that back his guitar there and across the project’s 16-track latest offering, the reminder Doom Lab give is that the need to create takes many forms. From the winding scales of “Locrian’s Run” to “Twisted Logic” with its plotted solo lines, pieces are often just that — pieces of what might otherwise be a fleshed-out song — and Doom Lab‘s experimentalism feels paramount in terms of aural priorities. Impulse in excelsis. It might be for the best that the back-to-back pair “Nice ‘n’ Curvy” and “Let ’em Bounce” are both instrumental, but as madcap as Scheben is, he’s able to bring Northern Lights to a close with resonant homage in its title-track, and cuts like “Too Much Sauce on New Year’s Eve” and “Dark Matter” are emblematic of his open-minded approach overall, working in different styles sometimes united most by their rawness and uncompromising persona. This is number 100 of 100 records covered in this Quarterly Review, and nothing included up to now sounds like Doom Lab. A total win for radical individualism.

Doom Lab on YouTube

Doom Lab on Bandcamp

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Elephant Tree Announce Fall Shows Including Riffolution Festival

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 7th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

While by no means the longest stretch of touring London’s Elephant Tree have ever done, it is noteworthy in the context of the “return to the stage” mentioned below. That return, which took place at Masters of the Riff III in London in early March, follows a mostly quiet stretch as guitarist/vocalist Jack Townley has been embroiled in an ongoing, months-if-not-years-long recovery from a cycling accident that nearly ended his life. Seriously. I’ve heard the list of bones broken and innards damaged. It is extensive.

So while you’d look at a weekender in September, a stop at Riffolution Festival in Manchester and two nights at London’s famed The Black Heart from a lot of acts and think it’s not the hugest amount of activity ever, that Elephant Tree are “getting back” at all is a reason to rejoice.

They have releases upcoming as well, which I know because I have two ongoing liner-notes projects for the band. One is the split LP with Lowrider that will be out as part of Blues Funeral Recordings‘ PostWax series. The other one I haven’t seen announced as yet — if you’re thinking it might be album-three, it’s not — so I will hold off talking about to be on the safe side, but suffice it to say I’ve been digging back into their catalog of late and as they’re on my mind anyhow, I’m happy to see something like this take shape and the fact that they’ve got a booking agency again speaks of more to come, if not this Fall, then after. I hope that’s how it pans out.

From socials:

elephant tree fall shows

Following on from our surprisingly smooth return to the stage earlier this year, we thought we’d team up with Atonal once again to go on a little jolly this September and December. It gets awful stuffy in them recording rooms and we need a rest from reviewing artwork…

Catch us live at:
13.09.2024 – The Corporation, Sheffield
14.09.2024 – Abyssal Festival, Southampton
15.09.2024 – The Exchange, Bristol
29.09.2024 – Riffolution Festival, Manchester
19.12.2024 – The Black Heart, London
20.12.2024 – The Black Heart, London

Tickets on sale now: https://www.atonal.agency/tickets

Elephant Tree are:
Jack Townley – guitar/vocals
Peter Holland – bass/vocals
Sam Hart – drums
John Slattery – guitar/keys

https://www.facebook.com/elephanttreeband
http://instagram.com/elephant_tree_band
https://elephanttree.band

Elephant Tree, Habits (2019)

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Gurt Premiere “Knife Fever” Lyric Video; New Album Satan Etc. Out June 7

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 16th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

gurt (Photo by Mithun)

Gurt‘s fourth full-length, Satan Etc., will be released June 7, and to go with announcing that happy and foreboding prospect, the London-based party sludgers are premiering a lyric video for the new song “Knife Fever” that you can see below. With chasm screams and no shortage of aural crush, you’ll be glad to know that the five years since their last outing, 2019’s Bongs of Praise (review here), does not seem to have dulled their impact. But to coincide with its raw push, “Knife Fever” reminds that Gurt have always also been able to make caustic sounds memorable for more than just, well, being caustic, and as frontman Gareth Kelly repeats the lines, “I’ve never done this before/Can you tell?,” don’t be surprised if you end up with those screams stuck in your head after the fact.

Satan Etc. — not their first brilliant title, hopefully not their last — is a welcome reminder of the band’s dual penchants for hooks and aural slaughter, and some of the efficiency-uptick in their delivery as referenced by the PR wire below can indeed be heard in the structural clarity throughout the sub-four-minute runtime of “Knife Fever.” How that might play out across the album as a whole is something that probably requires hearing said thing in its entirety, and as I’ve not yet done that, can’t necessarily speak to it — but if they’re pushing a more pointed attack, “Knife Fever” embodies one in more than just the conveniency of a pun that I assure you was all the way intended.

And as Gurt approach their 15th year in 2025, perhaps you’re thinking this all a sign of maturity, grown-up-Gurt, and so on. Could be, but I mean, they did call the record Satan Etc., so I feel decent in the assumption that there’s further chicanery to follow. Here’s looking forward.

Info from the aforementioned PR wire follows here. Please enjoy:

Gurt, “Knife Fever” lyric video premiere

Preorder: https://gurt.bigcartel.com

It’s been five long years since “party doom” riff merchants GURT released their last crushing opus “Bongs of Praise”, now on June 7th 2024 they are set to return with their latest, crushing-ist opus yet, “Satan Etc”.

A lot has happened in the band members lives since 2019, some suffered tragic losses, some welcomed new life into the world, some grew awesome skullets. Not to mention that global event in 2020 that kept us all inside.

Left to ferment in frustrating circumstances has led to the new material being more aggressive and abrasive than previous offerings, whilst still retaining that signature GURT silliness and swagger.

In January 2024 GURT took these new songs into the mighty Monolith Studios in London and under the watchful eye of Steve Sears, they birthed the magnificent, monstrous “Satan Etc”. This album marks GURT’s 5th collaboration with Sears, who always coaxes the best out of the band with a healthy mixture of positive support and scathing insults.

When asked about the influences and inspiration behind this album vocalist Gareth Kelly states “it’s about survival in the very fucked up world we live in, but of course delivered in the bands tongue in cheek style”. Drummer Bill Jacobs says ” we wanted shorter punchier songs to go with the new aggro vibe, nothing to do with us being older and fatter” whilst bassist David “Spicy” Blakemore enigmatically adds “I’ve been listening to lots of Slavic hardcore!”.

Delving into varied topics, from bodged vasectomies to the beauty of brown cars, from self pleasure on Arrakis to the wholesome matter of how damn much Gareth loves his kids, “Satan Etc” is the sound of the band ready to get back to doing what they love most: having a great big sludgy party with their rabid fans. PARTY DOOM HAS EVOLVED.

“Satan ETC” is released on 7th June via When Planets Collide and is available to pre-order from: https://gurt.bigcartel.com

GURT are:
Gareth Kelly – Vocals
Rich Williams – Guitar
David Blakemore – Bass Guitar
Bill Jacobs – Drums

Band photo by Mithun.

Gurt on Facebook

Gurt on Instagram

Gurt on YouTube

Gurt on Bandcamp

Gurt BigCartel store

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Orange Goblin to Release Science, Not Fiction July 19; Preorder Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 5th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

After the reveal of the first single “(Not) Science Fiction” yesterday — it’s also below if you don’t feel like opening another tab; I’ll tell you up front it’s not every band that gets two posts in two days around here — Orange Goblin have followed up this morning with an announcement for the July 19 release of Science, Not Fiction, their 10th album, and the launch of preorders through Peaceville Records.

Word of the album came through their email list, and according to that, it was sent to subscribers a few hours early, so I’ve delayed posting this in an effort to not be, well, a prick about it. But I mean, if you heard the track yesterday — and if not, don’t think you’re late — then I think the turn in production style from 2018’s The Wolf Bites Back (review here) or 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here), that sharper, more metallic edge in the sound, makes sense. They don’t come on stage to, “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna be a metal band.” They come out to classic heavy rock. What I hear in “(Not) Rocket Science,” aside from the optimism of the lyric, “We’re doing alright” — which, as a species, are we really? — is Orange Goblin‘s version of that. It’s not about going back to an earlier style, necessarily, because the point of view, sound and style is new, but about bringing a more organic-feeling side of their sound forward. I’ve only heard the one song, so can’t tell you more about the record than that, but I hear purpose there and am intrigued to find out where the rest of Science, Not Fiction goes.

The tracklisting below is the CD digipak version, which comes with a bonus track. That’s the one I ordered, so that’s what I’m using. The info below is combined from the email they sent to subscribers (that’s your hint to sign up for their mailing list), the preorder page on Merchnow, and the tour dates I think I initially grabbed from their Facebook. If it seems like a hodgepodge, that’s probably why.

I probably should’ve gotten a t-shirt bundle. Alas:

orange goblin science not fiction

ORANGE GOBLIN – SCIENCE, NOT FICTION – JULY 19TH 2024 – PRE-ORDER NOW!

Preorder: https://orangegoblinpv.lnk.to/Science

Science, Not Fiction – the band’s 10th studio album. Recorded and produced by Mike Exeter (Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Tony Iommi) at Woodworm Studios in Oxfordshire over a few weekends at the end of 2023.

Available as:
10 Track Double 45rpm Vinyl (various colour choices)
10 Track Deluxe Digipak CD
9 Track CD
Range of merch bundle combinations available.

Originally formed in London under the name Our Haunted Kingdom back in 1995, celebrated UK metal greats Orange Goblin entered the world of heavy music as wide-eyed enthusiasts, eager to channel the fire and fury of their favourite bands. Emerging amid the exhilarating melee of the mid-‘90s stoner rock and doom explosion, Orange Goblin’s debut album ‘Frequencies From Planet Ten’ was released via underground imprint Rise Above Records in October 1997.

Since then, the quartet has shared the stage with legendary acts such as Alice Cooper, Danzig, and Heaven & Hell among numerous others on their rise to prominence. A stream of critically acclaimed and widely revered studio albums also added to Orange Goblin’s substantial legacy, from early classics like ‘Time Travelling Blues’ and ‘The Big Black’ through to more recent triumphs like 2012’s universally praised ‘A Eulogy For The Damned’ and 2018’s equally hailed ‘The Wolf Bites Back’.

Fast forward to 2021 and Orange Goblin ushered in a new era of metal chaos, signing with legendary UK metal imprint Peaceville Records, with long-standing trio Ben Ward, Joe Hoare & Chris Turner joined by new bassist Harry Armstrong for this next chapter.

The first fruits of this union manifest in new studio album ‘Science, Not Fiction’; an absorbing exploration (and exploitation) of the world as seen through the three fundamental factors; Science, Spirituality, & Religion and how they determine and affect the human condition. Commandingly articulated as ever through vocalist Ben Ward, this is backed by Orange Goblin’s unmistakably catchy and accomplished yet often deceptively intricate brand of Sabbath-ian Heavy Metal thunder.

‘Science, Not Fiction’ was recorded at Woodworm Studios UK in late 2023, with production and mixing duties carried out by Grammy winning producer Mike Exeter (most notable for his work with Black Sabbath) and mastering was conducted by the esteemed Peter Hewitt-Dutton at The Bakery in LA.

This edition of ‘Science, Not Fiction’ is presented on digipack format, including the bonus track, ‘Eye of the Minotaur’, including 20 page booklet.

Tracklisting:
1. The Fire At The Centre Of The Earth Is Mine [05:19]
2. (Not) Rocket Science [04:21]
3. Ascend The Negative [05:23]
4. False Hope Diet [06:57]
5. Cemetary Rats [05:57]
6. The Fury Of A Patient Man [03:01]
7. Gemini (Twins Of Evil) [05:05]
8. The Justice Knife [04:58]
9. End Of Transmission [05:51]
Bonus Tracks
10. Eye Of The Minotaur [04:32]

Orange Goblin live:
06.04 – Cyclone (Shibuya) – Tokyo, JAPAN (w/ Church of Misery)
07.04 – Soccer Factory, Osaka, JAPAN
09.04 – Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide, AUSTRALIA
10.04 – The Basement, Canberra, AUSTRALIA
11.04 – The Zoo, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
12.04 – Crowbar, Sydney, AUSTRALIA
13.04 – The Croxton, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
15.04 – Mothership, Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
16.04 – Rolling Stone, Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND
17.04 – Valhalla, Wellington, NEW ZEALAND

Tickets for all shows are available here:
https://routeonebooking.fanlink.tv/orangegoblinjpausnz2024

Orange Goblin is:
Ben Ward – Vocals
Joe Hoare – Guitar
Harry Armstrong – Bass / Backing vocals
Christopher Turner – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/orangegoblinofficial/
https://www.instagram.com/orangegoblin1/
http://www.orange-goblin.com/

https://facebook.com/burningshed
https://instagram.com/burningshed
http://www.peaceville.com/store

Orange Goblin, “(Not) Rocket Science” lyric video

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Orange Goblin Post New Single “(Not) Rocket Science”

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 4th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

This weekend, Orange Goblin begin their tour of Japan, Australia and New Zealand, and before they went — and even I think a day early, the band has posted a lyric video for their new single, “(Not) Rocket Science.” And it’s a rocker. Handclaps and all. The first studio offering from the band since 2018’s The Wolf Bites Back (review here), and the first with bassist Harry Armstrong — who for sure gets his punches in — has a classic heavy groove propelled by Christopher Turner‘s drums, a line of keys or guitar deep in the mix to add to the urgency, and a trademark gruff vocal from Ben Ward in a hook over a choice Joe Hoare riff. Call it Orange Goblin, because it’s Orange fucking Goblin.

I don’t know when their 10th album, from whence the new single comes, will be out, but hearing this only makes me more excited at the prospect. Not gonna delay further. Here’s the info, the tour dates, the video. Go go go:

orange goblin not rocket science

Legendary UK metal giants Orange Goblin are back with a new single “(Not) Rocket Science”

Video created by Matthew Vickerstaff (IG @matthew_vickerstaff )

“(Not) Rocket Science” is a matter of fact observation on the human tendency to over-complicate life …” Frontman and lyricist Ben Ward says “It’s basically saying that life can be pretty simple and straightforward if you just stop wasting your time and make each day count. Be prepared to work hard, don’t expect any hand outs and basically enjoy yourself along the way. When Chris came up with the music he said it needed something that could be delivered in a Bon Scott / Lemmy style and I think it came out really well”.

06.04 – Cyclone (Shibuya) – Tokyo, JAPAN (w/ Church of Misery)
07.04 – Soccer Factory, Osaka, JAPAN
09.04 – Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide, AUSTRALIA
10.04 – The Basement, Canberra, AUSTRALIA
11.04 – The Zoo, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
12.04 – Crowbar, Sydney, AUSTRALIA
13.04 – The Croxton, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
15.04 – Mothership, Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
16.04 – Rolling Stone, Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND
17.04 – Valhalla, Wellington, NEW ZEALAND

Tickets for all shows are available here:
https://routeonebooking.fanlink.tv/orangegoblinjpausnz2024

Orange Goblin is:
Ben Ward – Vocals
Joe Hoare – Guitar
Harry Armstrong – Bass / Backing vocals
Christopher Turner – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/orangegoblinofficial/
https://www.instagram.com/orangegoblin1/
http://www.orange-goblin.com/

https://facebook.com/burningshed
https://instagram.com/burningshed
http://www.peaceville.com/store

Orange Goblin, “(Not) Rocket Science” lyric video

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Stonus Announce Live in Zen Coming Soon; New Album to be Recorded

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 28th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

London-based groove-conjurors Stonus will return to Cyprus, where they originally formed in 2015, to support Sweden’s Truckfighters in the coastal city of Larnaca. Don’t be surprised if they end up putting some new material in the set, since as of at least a few weeks ago, they were planning to record this summer and make a follow-up to their debut LP, Aphasia, which was released in 2020 and followed the next year by their Séance EP (review here). In the presumed interim time between now and the arrival of that yet-unrecorded full-length, Stonus will offer Live in Zen, for which you can see a brief teaser below.

Zen Production Studios is also located in Cyprus, and honestly I don’t know how much of the band lives there versus in the UK, etc., but you can see in the clip it looks like a classy establishment to showcase Stonus‘ riffery. Details are short at this point as regards things like a tracklisting — possible there could be new material on Live in Zen too, depending on when it was recorded and apparently filmed — and a release date, artwork, and so on, but if the repeating undulations of heavy rock and doom have taught anything in the last five decades-plus, it’s patience. So be patient.

And yes, I’m talking to myself there.

The following was cobbled together from social media:

stonus

Stonus – Live in Zen (TEASER)

“We have been waiting for a while for this one and we are super-excited to finally start sharing it with you all!”

Out soon on youtube and on vinyl via Electric Valley Records and Ouga Booga and the Mighty Oug!!

We are currently working on our sophomore album which we are aiming to record this summer!

Couldn’t be more excited and we are eager to share with you some of our new material but till then we got work to do.

Recorded at Zen Production Studios in Nicosia, Cyprus
Filmed by SevenSouled Photography
Recorded & Engineered by Alexis Yiangoullis
Mastered by Billy Anderson
Lights by Nikolas Karatzas
Artwork by Seven souled Photography & Rafael Marquetto

https://www.facebook.com/stonerscy
https://www.instagram.com/stonus.band/
https://stonus.bandcamp.com/

http://electricvalleyrecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/electricvalleyrecords
https://www.instagram.com/electricvalleyrecord
https://evrecords.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Ougaboogarecs
https://ougaboogaandthemightyoug.bandcamp.com/

Stonus, Live in Zen teaser

Stonus, Séance EP (2021)

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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

The-Obelisk-Quarterly-Review

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

WITCHORIOUS SELF TITLED

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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