Quarterly Review: Elara Sunstreak Band, Lost Breed, T.G. Olson, Acid Reich, White Powder, Hellish Form, Mosara, Tombstunner, Moanhand, Appalooza

Posted in Reviews on July 12th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

Second week, locked in and ready to roll. The message of today is that the Quarterly Review goes where it wants when it wants. If I’m steering this ship at all, it’s in only the most passive of ways. I hope you had a good weekend. I hope you spent it listening to killer music. I hope you managed to get all your reviews done. Ha.

So much good stuff to come this week. I’m looking forward to diving into it. And you know what? I did end up adding the extra day, so the Summer 2021 QR will go 11 days instead of 10, bringing it to 110 releases covered. Pretty sure that’s the longest I’ve ever gone.

Better get to it.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Elara Sunstreak Band, Vostok I

Elara Vostok 1

True, Elara Sunstreak Band‘s second album and first for Sulatron Records, dubbed Vostok 1, is not a minor ask at four songs and 72 minutes. But by the time you’re through the 19:44 opener/longest track (immediate points) “Nexus,” the three-piece of bassist/vocalist Daniel Wieland, drummer Martin Wieland and guitarist/sitarist/synthesist Felix Schmidt have set their course outward and they continue to surprise along the way, from the shimmering Elder-style progressive guitar work in the title-track to the guest vocals of Felix Seyboth nodding at Blind Melon in the crescendo of sitar-laced closer “Orange October.” Even “On a Drink With Jim” manages to thrill with its blend of the terrestrial with the spacious, let alone its Doors homage as hinted in its title. These nuances meld with an overarching hypnosis to create a satisfying depth of presentation on the part of Elara Sunstreak Band, and it becomes all the more a far out journey worth taking.

Elara Sunstreak Band on Facebook

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Lost Breed, Speak No Evil

Lost Breed Speak No Evil

Classic doom metal from experienced practicioners of the art. Speak No Evil is kind of a curious release. Vinyl only as yet, and self-released by the band, it answers back to the group’s initial Hellhound Records run in the 1990s and also their 1989 Wino Daze demo that featured Scott “Wino” Weinrich on vocals around the same time he left Saint Vitus and restarted The Obsessed. Weinrich appears on vocals and lead guitar throughout the first half of Speak No Evil, fronting the catchy opener “My Way Out” as well as “Thrift Store Girl,” “Cradle to the Grave” and the double-kick-laced “Doom,” which is nothing if not aptly-titled, while guitarist Pat Lydon sings on “Snakebite,” the less outwardly political “Wake the Dead,” “Siren Song” and “Stalker,” the pairing of which feels intentional. One might think the two sides/two-frontmen thing would make the release uneven, or the fact that it was recorded across two coasts, but nah, it’s doom either way and these guys know what they’re doing. Don’t sweat it. Do hope it gets a wider release.

Lost Breed on Facebook

Pat Lydon on YouTube

 

T.G. Olson, T.G. Olson

T.G. Olson T.G. Olson

Though it’s been a minute as he’s reprioritized Across Tundras, embarked on other projects, relocated to Iowa, farmed, and so on, T.G. Olson has still put out enough records under his own name that to have one arrive as a self-titled is significant in itself. Sure enough and somewhat ironically for someone who’s done so much him-and-guitar work in the past, the nonetheless-unassuming 35-minute eight-tracker features more personnel and broader arrangements than one might expect. That’s hardly a detriment, as even the layers of voice on “Steal a Day” come through as benefitting from the attention to detail, and the harmonica-inclusive twang of “Scythe” has its blues all the more emphasized for the clarity of its strum, while closer “Downer Town” invites a singalong. Personnel varies throughout, but the contibutions of Abigail Lily O’Hara (vocals), Ben Schriever (guitar, bass) and Caleb R.K. Williams (synth, guitar, banjo) — all of whom feature in the latest incarnation of Across Tundras as well — aren’t to be understated, as identifiable as Olson‘s songcraft is at the core of this material.

Across Tundras/T.G. Olson on Bandcamp

 

Acid Reich, Mistress of the Perpetual Harvest

Acid Reich Mistress of the Perpetual Harvest

John McBain, Tim Cronin and Dave Wyndorf — in Dog of Mystery together at the time — would go on to form Monster Magnet a short time after, seemingly on a whim, Acid Reich‘s freakout Mistress of the Perpetual Harvest was put to tape in their rehearsal space as one of a number of “fake” weirdo projects. Listening to these five tracks, including likewise irreverent takes on “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” and “Amazing Grace,” the feel here is like an acid psych treasure trove of Jersey Shore fuckery. Joining the trio were Ripping Corpse‘s Shaune Kelley and Joe Paone of hellSausage, and by their own admission, the audio’s a mess. It’s an archival tape dug up from 1989 — if you’re thinking you’re getting high fidelity, you’re missing at least one of the points of putting it out in the first place. Laced with acid culture samples that may or may not have been added after the fact, this is the first official release this material has ever gotten, and it’s nasty, raw, demo fare that, if it wasn’t so blown into the cosmos you’d call it punk rock. If that doesn’t sound right on to you, it’s probably your loss.

Guerssen Records on Bandcamp

Guerssen Records website

 

White Powder, Blue Dream

white powder blue dream

Based in Austin, Texas, and operatin as the four-piece of guitarist Jason Morales (also Tia Carrera), bassist Win Wallace, keyboardist Ezra Reynolds and drummer Jeff Swanson, White Powder recorded their whoa-this-shit-is-awesome mostly-instrumentalist debut LP, Blue Dream in 2014 and only now is it being at last pressed to vinyl. Given their chosen moniker, the 46-minute/nine-song session is perhaps surprisingly laid back, with the keys/synth and guitar coming together in mellow-prog style atop not-entirely-languid-but-not-overly-insistent grooves; all parties seeming geared toward immersion as much of self as for their listenership, be it in the piano of “Connemara” or the later fuzzer “Rula Jabreal,” where ripplng organ lines top the popping-snare rhythmic tension until the guitar pushes it over the edge of volume swell and wash. Some classic heavy for good measure in “Alice Walker,” but Blue Dream works best taken in its entirety, and listening to it that way, one only hopes they manage to do another in seven years or so. Or seven months. That’d work too. Extra points for the sleek-as-hell soul vocals in the Steely Dan cover “Dirty Work” on side B.

White Powder on Spotify

White Powder on Bandcamp

 

Hellish Form, Remains

Hellish Form Remains

Quarantine-era cross-country duo Hellish Form earn a Khanate comparison on their debut release, Remains, for their sheer unwillingness to pull back from the grueling, punishing tension they create in the slowly unfolding opener/longest track (immediate points) “Your Grave Becomes a Garden.” The dirge is so much forward that it makes the post-Bell Witch lead guitar mourning feel like an afterthought, and the screaming, echoing vocals shared between multi-instrumentalists Willow Ryan (Body Void) and Jacob Lee — who both recorded their parts at home — are a harsh reminder of the existential chaos serving as the background to these songs’ making. “Ache” is shorter and puts synth more forward, and “Shadows with Teeth” thicker and nastier if that’s possible, but through them and the 10-minute finale “Another World,” the feeling of dread, fear, and loss is palpable, and Remains is a fitting name for a record that feels so much like an aftermath.

Hellish Form on Facebook

Translation Loss Records website

 

Mosara, Mosara

Mosara Mosara

Mosara emerge from Phoenix, Arizona, with a sound that just as easily could’ve come down from the mountains as out of the desert, and that’s by no means a complaint. Big riffs promulgate their eight-song self-titled debut LP, and they bring forth aggro sludge undertones alongside lumbering rollout, rawly-captured in the recording but not lacking presence for that, as the mounted chug of “Cypher” demonstrates. Is it heavy enough to crash your hard drive? I’m not trying to lay blame on Mosara‘s riffs or anyone else’s, but apparently there’s only so much assault modern technology can take before falling victim. We’ll call that computer a sacrifice to the eight-minute “Earth God,” its crashing drums and deceptively spacious mix creating a cavernous largesse in spite of the barebones vibe that persists across the span, “Clay and Iron” and “Majestik XII” establishing the atmosphere early but not the full sonic reach of the band, whose plunge is made all the deeper by the High on Fire-style drive of “Oumuamua.” Doesn’t have to be a revolution to fuck you up.

Mosara on Facebook

Transylvanian Tapes on Bandcamp

 

Tombstunner, Call to the Void

Tombstunner Call to the Void

I don’t know if Grand Rapids, Michigan, yet has an officially designated “scourge,” but I’d be happy to see Tombstunner end up with the title. The band’s debut album, Call to the Void, reminds at once of fellow sneering Midwestern chicanery-bringers Bloodcow and also of early ’90s, Blind-era C.O.C., their tones refusing to give themselves over to one side or the other of the argument between metal and heavy rock. Marked out by considered and sometimes willfully clever lyrics, the record strikes with plenty of groove — plenty of “strike,” for that matter — and not an ounce of pretense on pieces like “ASH” or the later “Contempt’s Concrete,” which touches on harsher fare, but again, isn’t really keen to leave its rock foundation behind. They probably make the right choice in that. Eight-minute capper “The Last Ride” is catchy and weighted in kind, seeming to pack as much as possible into its finale as though to let there be no uncertainty the band has more to say. Fair enough. There’s growing to be done, but Call to the Void‘s untamed sensibility is ultimately a strength, not a weakness.

Tombstunner on Facebook

Tombstunner on Bandcamp

 

Moanhand, Present Serpent

moanhand present serpent

Sometimes there’s nothing like a good scream. Moscow-based Roman Filatov has one. The lone figure behind Moanhand can growl, and unlike many harsher metal vocalists, he can also sing, and does so readily across his band’s first album, Present Serpent, but god damn, that’s a good scream. Enviable. Comprised of six tracks, Present Serpent is as progressive as it is extreme, as doom as it is any number of other microgenres, and despite the formidable and varied nature of his performances throught — second track “The Charmthrower” has more scope than many bands do in an entire career arc — he does not fail to put songwriting first ahead of either technique or impact. Present Serpent will not hit a nerve with everyone, but the lumbering “Raw Blessings” and the atmosludge metal of finisher “The Boomering of Serpents,” calling back to opener “Serpent Soul (A Tale of Angels’ Slaughter)” in semi-blackened throb, just leaves me wondering why the hell not. On the level of Moanhand‘s forward potential alone — never mind any of the actual songs — it is a staggering debut.

Moanhand on Facebook

Moanhand on Bandcamp

 

Appalooza, The Holy of Holies

appalooza-the-holy-of-holies-cover

The percussion nuance and guitar lick nodding at Morricone in opener “Storm” amid all the post-Alice in Chains vocal arrangements should be a signal of the reach France’s Appalooza bring to their second LP and Ripple debut, The Holy of Holies. To wit, the subsequent “Snake Charmer” is off and careening almost immediately on its own path, and it’s commendable on the band’s part that where they go on the burlier “Reincarnation” and the more spacious “Nazareth” and the centerpiece “Conquest” — which starts out particularly hard-hitting and by the time it’s done is given over to standalone acoustic guitar without sounding disjointed in getting there — remains so seemingly even-handed in its delivery. Their material is considered, then. It proves no less so through the brash/tense “Azazael,” the desert-but-not “Distress” and “Thousand Years After,” which is a melodic highlight even among the many other surrounding. Tasked with summarizing, closer “Canis Majoris” answers “Conquest” with melancholy and heft, its ending satisfying in an emotional context in additing to being a well earned sonic payoff.

Appalooza on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

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Maryland Doom Fest 2021 Announces Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 22nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Maryland Doom Fest 2021 is set for Halloween Weekend, Oct. 28-31, in Frederick, Maryland. Some of the acts on the newly announced bill are carryovers from the first-delayed-then-canceled 2020 edition — among them SasquatchWorshipper, and so on — but it’s worth noting that among those and others, the likes of The Age of Truth will have a new record out by this Fall, and pre-pandemic, Boozewa didn’t even exist. So yes, things have changed.

For further proof of the festival’s stylistic branching out — and with this many bands, they’d just have have to — you’ll note the departure in the poster art from the fest-standard purple toward a greater range of color. The music they’re pushing is likewise broader in palette, and to think of seeing the likes of Howling Giant and Revvnant alongside Arduini/BalichOmen Stones, and Place of Skulls is an encouraging thought indeed. This even was much-missed last year.

Expect a time-table sooner than later, as organizer JB Matson doesn’t screw around when it comes to that kind of thing. The lineup announcement — short and sweet, as ever — is further proof of same.

I don’t know what the world’s gonna look like come Halloween, but I know damn well this is one reason I’m glad I got that vaccine.

[UPDATE 04/30: Black Road and Vessel of Light can’t make it. Lo-Pan and When the Deadbolt Breaks have been added. If there are any further changes, I’ll probably just make a new post.]

To wit:

maryland doom fest 2021 new poster

Here is the Md Doom Fest 2021 roster folks!!!
Halloween weekend – Oct 28-31, 2021
WE CANNOT WAIT TO DOOM WITH YOU!!

Lineup:

Poobah, Sasquatch, Place of Skulls, Lo-Pan, Lost Breed, Cavern, Horseburner, Spiral Grave, The Age of Truth, Mangog, Wrath of Typhon, Helgamite, Almost Honest, Indus Valley Kings, VRSA, Monster God, Et Mors, Astral Void, Worshipper, Boozewa, Admiral Browning, Omen Stones, Formula 400, Molasses Barge, Arduini/Balich, Dirt Eater, Dyerwolf, Ol’ Time Moonshine, Shadow Witch, Revvnant, Bloodshot, Ritual Earth, Gardens of Nocturne, Conclave, Crow Hunter, Bailjack, Warmask, Akris, Alms, Thunderbird Divine, Strange Highways, Howling Giant, Yatra, Jaketehhawk, When the Deadbolt Breaks, Grave Huffer, Dust Prophet, Plague Wielder, Weed Coughin, Morganthus, Tines

www.marylanddoomfest.com
#4daysofdoom

https://www.facebook.com/MdDoomFest/
https://www.instagram.com/marylanddoomfest/
www.marylanddoomfest.com

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Wino Wednesday: Lost Breed Jam with Wino, Jan. 2015

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 25th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

wino wednesday

Pretty god damn clever to record in front of a green screen so you can go back and put different backgrounds in afterwards and make a video of it. Kudos to Van Nuys, California, doomers Lost Breed, who have been working on new material the last several months after overseeing Shadow Kingdom Records reissues in the past couple years of their two albums, 1993’s The Evil in You and Me and 1995’s Save Yourself, both originally put out by Hellhound Records, as well as one on At War with False Noise of their 1989 Wino Daze demo. That demo was recorded with Scott “Wino” Weinrich on vocals as his time in Saint Vitus was winding down — they’d put out V, their last (pre-reunion) album with Wino as frontman, in 1990 — and prior to his reigniting The Obsessed with their self-titled full-length, also in 1990. Initially released in 2007 by Helltown Records, it’s had a sort of cult presence all along thanks in no small part to Wino‘s involvement, so as Lost Breed put together new songs, it’s not surprising that Pat Lydon and Jamie Silver might call Weinrich up to come play some guitar and vocals.

Lydon handles bass on the unnamed track, and Silver drums, and what was recorded at SPL Studios in Van Nuys and credited songwriting to Wino is simply called “Wino Jam” according to the post. Aptly enough titled. The cut has a laid back groove, smooth in the weaving of bass and lead and rhythm guitar, and an easy flow that’s less trad doom than quiet contemplation. I’m not sure whether or not it will surface on whatever it is Lost Breed are culling, be it a new full-length, EP, or whathaveyou, but it’s new music, anyway, and a “Wino Jam” isn’t something I’m going to complain about. Wino‘s time in Lost Breed was pretty short, but their material both with and without him has managed to endure — a “lost album” called World of Power from 1989 is due out in June on Blood and Iron Records, who also issued a collection of recordings that would’ve been a third Lost Breed full-length last year with the title Bow Down — so I don’t see any reason why a new album doesn’t hold promise. The video for “Wino Jam” is hardly the highest-production -value clip you’ll ever see, but the song itself is studio clear and has a classic, distinctly Wino touch.

Enjoy:

Lost Breed, “Wino Jam,” Jan. 18, 2015

Lost Breed on Thee Facebooks

Pat Lydon’s YouTube channel

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Wino Wednesday: Lost Breed Covers “Iron Horse (Born to Lose)” on Wino Daze Demo, 1989

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 22nd, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Fact: This post is late because I wanted to wait until I got home because I wanted to look in the liner notes to confirm what I thought the timeline on recording the demo was. Sad, but true.Aside from what seems to be a genre-exclusive perpetuation of the “daze/days” play on words (see also Trouble and Pentagram), the Wino Daze demo from Los Angeles-based doom rockers Lost Breed fascinates because it both rocks and has an interesting place in the career timeline of Scott “Wino” Weinrich. The demo was recorded in 1989, and though it wouldn’t be released until it was compiled with non-Wino live tracks by Helltown Records in 2007, it managed to capture Wino right at the cusp of leaving Saint Vitus following the release and touring for V in 1990 and reviving The Obsessed for their ’90s run.

According to the liner notes for the Wino Daze reissue, the tracks on that demo were recorded in a break before Vitus picked back up for recording V, and it was understood in the band that, unless they got signed and really took off (a pretty popular caveat, as I hear it), the situation was temporary. And although Lost Breed put out two full-lengths on Hellhound Records — those being The Evil in You and Me (1993) and Save Yourself (1995) — before morphing into the band Vengeance Brothers, plagued by an inability to hold a stable lineup, they went through six singers and never were able to have the kind of impact they perhaps otherwise might have. Wino Daze wound up as their most enduringly relevant material.

The cover of Motörhead‘s “Iron Horse (Born to Lose)” was left off the 2007 version of Wino Daze, but Weinrich made it a highlight of his 2010 acoustic album, Adrift, so it’s pretty clear the song has stuck with him over the years. Easy to hear why in listening.

Happy Wino Wednesday:

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Buried Treasure: Upstate Marks the Spot

Posted in Buried Treasure on July 22nd, 2010 by JJ Koczan

It’s funny, but when CBS Radio does its traffic reports of Hudson River crossings, they never mention Route 7 in Albany. Maybe that’s because the station doesn’t come in up there (I know for trying to listen to the Yankees), or maybe they’re just lazy. Seems like an oversight to me, in any case.

On my way back for a few days to Jersey and my humid, humid valley yesterday, I made a brief pitstop at Albany‘s Last Vestige Music Shop on Quail St. It was my first time there, and I thought initially they were closed since the neon “Open” sign was off and it looked like there were no lights on. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case.

All hail the dying breed of independent music stores. They had vinyl galore, up front and in a back room, but since my buying proclivities lean me else-wise, I paid little attention to it, focusing instead on the vaguely alphabetized racks of used CDs. In the “Recent Arrivals” bin I found Lewis Black‘s latest, Stark Raving Black, which was alright, Blind Guardian‘s Live, which I apparently already own, and the Wino Daze compilation by Lost Breed on Helltown Records of Glenville, NY, a mere 40 minutes south from where I was.

It wasn’t an easy store to search through, as there was a lot in a relatively small amount of space and the organization wasn’t great, but Last Vestige seemed like a killer shop for classic rock mainstays. They had a small metal section from whence I grabbed the Lost Breed and Blind Guardian discs, but there was also most of the Judas Priest and Iron Maiden catalogs available used as well. If they’d had Rocka Rolla, I would have bought it, but no dice.

I was glad to have found Last Vestige, even if it wasn’t the most successful haul I’ve ever had. The Lost Breed disc is an interesting curio, and for that and the much-needed moment to regroup before getting on the terminally boring New York Thruway, it was easily worth the trip. I’d recommend stopping in to anyone passing through or by Albany, and as Last Vestige‘s Saratoga shop recently went out of business, and Albany‘s Music Shack also went under a few years ago, the store might just be living up to its name.

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