The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2016

Posted in Features on December 15th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk top 20 debut albums of 2016

Recommended Site, Wholesale Various High Quality Cheapest Paper Products from Global Cheapest Paper Suppliers and Cheapest Paper …. Kami, or koiy cheapest paper paper, is the cheapest paper made specifically for origami, and the most widely available. Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2016 to that, please do.

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Of all the lists I do to wrap up or start any given year, this is the hardest. As someone obviously more concerned with first impressions than I am and thus probably better-dressed once said, you only get one chance at them. For bands, that can be a vicious bite in the ass on multiple levels.

To wit, you put out a great debut, fine, but there’s a whole segment of your listeners who’re bound to think you’ll never live up to it again. You put out a meh debut, you sell yourself short. Or maybe your debut is awesome but doesn’t really represent where you want to be as a band, so it’s a really good first impression, but a mistaken one. There are so many things that can go wrong or go right with any LP, but with debuts, the stakes are that much higher because it’s the only time you’ll get the chance to engage your audience for the first time. That matters.

And when it comes to putting together a list of the best debuts of the year, how does one begin to judge? True, some of these acts have done EPs and singles and splits and things like that before, and that’s at least something to go on, but can one really be expected to measure an act’s potential based on a single collection of songs? Is that fair to anyone involved? Or on the other side, is it even possible to take a debut entirely on its own merits, without any consideration for where it might lead the band in question going forward? I know that’s not something I’ve ever been able to do, certainly. Or particularly interested in doing. I like context.

Still, one presses on. I guess the point is that, like picking any kind of prospects, some will pan out and some won’t. I’ve done this for enough years now that I’ve seen groups flame or fade out while others have risen to new heights with each subsequent release. It’s always a mix. But at the same time, it’s important to step back and say that, as of today, this is where it’s at.

And so it is:

KING BUFFALO ORION

The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2016

1. King Buffalo, Orion
2. Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree
3. Heavy Temple, Chassit
4. Holy Grove, Holy Grove
5. Worshipper, Shadow Hymns
6. Vokonis, Olde One Ascending
7. Wretch, Wretch
8. Year of the Cobra, In the Shadows Below
9. BigPig, Grande Puerco
10. Fuzz Evil, Fuzz Evil
11. Bright Curse, Before the Shore
12. Conclave, Sins of the Elders
13. Pale Grey Lore, Pale Grey Lore
14. High Fighter, Scars and Crosses
15. Spirit Adrift, Chained to Oblivion
16. Bellringer, Jettison
17. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Is Satan Real?
18. Merchant, Suzerain
19. Beastmaker, Lusus Naturae
20. King Dead, Woe and Judgment

Honorable Mention

There are many. First, the self-titled from Informing students on the best possible method of buying Admission Essay Editing Services Vancouver from reputable websites offering only high-quality papers in all subjects Pooty Owldom, which had so much weirdo charm it made my head want to explode. And This is the leading Research Proposal Psychologys provider online. We offer dissertation writing services, essay writing help, research paper writing help etc. Iron Man frontman In need of high-quality http://www.noemarch.cz/?research-paper-references? Then check out what we have in stock for you! Learn more about our team now! Dee Calhoun‘s acoustic solo record was technically a debut. And PlanIt Business is made up of Rewriting Essays writers. We will write you a custom business plan to help you gain the financial funding you need. Atala‘s record. And Can I pay someone to http://keresztirany.ro/?online-essays-castleton. Yes, hire us to earn the perfect grades for your homework assignments. Horehound. And Eternity - University Written Paperss in Fairview Heights, reviews by real people. Yelp is a fun and easy way to find, recommend and talk about what’s Mother Mooch. And How Buy Good Quality Check College Essays is what we’re often asked, and we respond ‘with precision and timeliness’! Make my homework shine today! MyEssayGeek.com takes immense pride in making sure any informal, or highly technical, homework assignment is completed quickly, and accurately. Domkraft. And Once you use our live chat support and say “Please write my assignment for me online” you will not worry about “Scholarship Essay Helpers”. Spaceslug. And Buy pre written essays of the world of the professional writer who constructs Writing A Business Plan For A Restaurant to help desperate students who need to Graves at Sea? Shit. More than a decade after their demo, they finally put out a debut album. And getting an a + paper is easy. Plagiarism Free see heres with a Money Back Guarantee. Total satisfaction is our guarantee or your money back. Second Grave‘s full-length would turn out to be their swansong, but that doesn’t take away from the quality of the thing. There were a lot of records to consider in putting this list together. As always, it could’ve been a much longer list.

For example, here are 20 more: best buy customer service resume Homework Help Social Issues Global Warming race and ethnicity essay websites taht help you with homework Swan Valley Heights, Can I Reflective Writing Essays please? You certainly can! Are you tensed about your assignments? Do you get stressed every time you think about your assignments? At AustralianEssay.com we have all one stop solutions to your queries. Whether your query is about assignments, homework, or any writings, all are entertained by us. Arctic, good opening sentences for a research paper Bacteria Homework Help Desk director of admissions resume african dissertation series Blues Funeral, How To Write A Good Application Essay UK is Best, As We Serve You Through Highly Qualified and Experienced Writers With Free of Plagiarism And Top Quality Cheap Essay Teacher, Psychedelic Witchcraft, Nonsun, Duel, Banquet, Floodlore, Mindkult‘s EP, Mountain Dust, Red Lama, Red Wizard, Limestone Whale, Dunbarrow, Comacozer, Sinister Haze, Pants Exploder, Akasava, Katla and No Man’s Valley. That’s not even the end of it. I could go on.

Notes

It was a fight to the finish. There’s always one, and as late as yesterday I could be found kicking back and forth between King Buffalo and Elephant Tree in the top spot. What was it that finally put King Buffalo‘s Orion over Elephant Tree‘s self-titled? I don’t know. Ask me tomorrow and the answer might be completely different.

They had a lot in common. Not necessarily in terms of style — King Buffalo basked in spacious Americana-infused heavy psych jams while Elephant Tree proffered more earthbound riffing and melodies — but each executed memorable songs across its span in a way that would be unfair to ask of a debut. The potential for what both bands can turn into down the line played a part in the picks, but something else they share between them is that the quality of the work they’re doing now warrants the top spots. Orion and Elephant Tree were great albums, not just great first albums.

From there, we see a wide swath of next-generation encouragement for the future of heavy rock, whether it’s coming from Sweden’s Vokonis or Philadelphia’s Heavy Temple, or London’s Bright Curse, or Los Angeles duo BigPig. The latter act’s punkish fuzz definitely benefited from guitarist/vocalist Dino von Lalli‘s experience playing in Fatso Jetson, but one hopes that as the years go on his own multifaceted songwriting style will continue to grow as well.

A few offerings weren’t necessarily unexpected but still lived up to the anticipation. High Fighter‘s EP prefaced their aggro sludgecore well. Ditto that for the grueling death-sludge of Massachusetts natives Conclave. The aforementioned Bright Curse, Merchant, Fuzz Evil, Atala, Bellringer, Holy Grove, Wretch and Worshipper all had offerings of one sort or another prior to their full-length debuts — in the case of Bellringer, it was just a series of videos, while Wretch had the entire The Gates of Slumber catalog to fall back on — but each of those albums offered surprises nonetheless.

It would’ve been hard not to be taken by the songwriting on display from the likes of Holy Grove, Year of the Cobra, Pale Grey Lore and Beastmaker, who between them covered a pretty broad variety of atmosphere but found ways to deliver high-quality crafted material in that. Those albums were a pleasure to hear. Put Boston’s Worshipper in that category as well, though they were just as much a standout from the pack in terms of their performance as what they were performing. Speaking of performance, the lush melodies from Church of the Cosmic Skull and classic progressive flourish were enough to make me a believer. Simply gorgeous. And one-man outfit Spirit Adrift shined, if in that matte-black doom kind of way, on an encouraging collection of modern melancholic heavy that seemed to hint at sprawl to come.

As we get down to the bottom of the list we find Pennsylvania ambient heavy post-rockers King Dead. Their Woe and Judgment was released digitally last year (2015) but the LP came out earlier this year, so I wasn’t quite sure where to place them ultimately. I know they got some mention on the 2015 lists somewhere, but while they’re an act who’ve flown under a lot of people’s radar as yet, I have good feelings about how they might continue to dig into their sound and the balance of bleakness and psychedelic color they bring to their material. They’re slated for a follow-up in 2017, so this won’t be the last list on which they appear in the next few weeks.

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Like I said at the outset, putting out a debut album is a special moment for any band. Not everyone gets to that point and not everyone gets beyond it, so while a list like this is inherently bound to have some element of speculation, it’s still a worthy endeavor to celebrate the accomplishments of those who hit that crucial moment in their creative development. Hopefully these acts continue to grow, flourish, and build on what they’ve thus far been able to realize sonically. That’s the ideal.

And before I go, once again, let me reinforce the notion that I recognize this is just a fraction of the whole. I’d like it to be the start of a conversation. If there was a debut album that kicked your ass this year and you don’t see it here, please drop a note in the comments below. I’m sure I’ll be adding more honorable mentions and whatnot over the next couple days, so if you see glaring omissions, let’s have ’em.

Thanks for reading.

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Beastmaker Post “The Mask of Satan” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 5th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

beastmaker

This weekend, Fresno, California, doom trio Beastmaker head over to tour the UK and Europe in support of their newly-released album, Lusus Naturae (review here). They’ll play Roadburn and Desertfest London alongside labelmates Blood Ceremony, as well as a few dates with With the Dead, who’ll be making their own live debut this month. If you gotta travel, it’s a pretty good way to go, but Beastmaker had made a splash leading up to the record’s release, so that they’d continue to do so seems not at all unreasonable. Given the attention to ambience and cultish classicism Lusus Naturae demonstrates, it makes sense.

I’ll be curious to see if they tour the US as well to support the record, maybe beyond select dates here and there, but especially with having released Lusus Naturae on the UK-based Rise Above Records, starting abroad seems like the way to go. The band’s new video for “The Mask of Satan” — I can’t possibly be the only one who thinks of the MST3K episode “The Touch of Satan,” can I? — is a fairly concise commercial for a lot of what works about the record as a whole, with its foundational heavy rock swing, vaguely evil bent and catchy songwriting. Combining performance and otherwise found footage, it’s a play toward grainy horror that fits well with the aesthetic of the album. You know the drill by now, I’m sure.

Cool band, cool song. Watch it and listen and dig.

Tour dates follow the video below:

Beastmaker, “The Mask of Satan” official video

BEASTMAKER Debut Video For “The Mask of Satan”

“In a world of pop music we are freaks. We do everything completely opposite of what the current formula of doing things is. We recorded and produced everything ourselves with no outside influences. We play a style of music that is underground. We are all freaks of nature.” So proclaims BEASTMAKER singer, guitarist and mastermind Trevor William Church. Hence the title of BEASTMAKER’s debut: Lusus Naturae, or Freak Of Nature. “When you think differently and do things unconventionally, you are an outsider,” he ventures. “We wanted to bring a natural essence back into music the best way we could in a digital world.” Lusus Naturae is out now via Rise Above Records.

Beastmaker and Blood Ceremony on tour:
Apr 10 The Deaf Institute Manchester, UK w/ With the Dead
Apr 11 O2 Institute Birmingham, UK w/ With the Dead
Apr 13 Moon Club Cardiff, Wales
Apr 15 Le Backstage by The Mill Paris, France
Apr 16 Roadburn Festival Tilburg, The Netherlands
Apr 17 The Rock Café Sankt Pauli, Germany
Apr 18 Privatclub Berlin, Germany
Apr 19 Chelsea Wien, Austria
Apr 20 Backstage Munchen, Germany
Apr 21 Bronson Madonna del l’alberto, Italy
Apr 22 Legend Club Milan, Italy
Apr 23 Coq d’Or Olton, Switzerland
Apr 24 Hirsch Nurnberg, Germany
Apr 25 Nachtleben Frankfurt, Germany
Apr 26 MTC Club Cologne, Germany
Apr 28 The Deaf Institute Manchester, United Kingdom
Apr 29 Audio Glasgow, United Kingdom
Apr 30 The Rainbow Cellar Birmingham, United Kingdom
May 01 Desertfest London, UK

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Rise Above on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

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Quarterly Review: Beastmaker, Low Flying Hawks, CHVE, Brujas del Sol, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, The Shooters, Boss Keloid, Hors Sujet, Warchief, Seedship

Posted in Reviews on March 31st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review spring 2016

It seems like a day doesn’t go by that I don’t find something in one of these piles (metaphorical, sometimes literal) of records that keeps me coming back. Today is once again spread across a pretty wide stylistic swath, and that’s by design to keep my brain from going numb, but if there’s a unifying theme across all of it, let it be a sense of scope and bands and artists who are trying to take what’s been done before and push it forward or in some new direction. That’s not universal — nothing is — but today might be the most adventurous of the days included this quarter, so I hope you’ll keep open ears and an open mind as you make your way though.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Beastmaker, Lusus Naturae

beastmaker lusus naturae

Expectations are high for Fresno trio Beastmaker in no small part because their first album, Lusus Naturae, arrives through Rise Above Records. Whether they’ll take their place among the venerable UK imprint’s genre-shapers of the last half-decade, Uncle Acid, Ghost, etc., remains to be seen, but there can be little question Lusus Naturae lives up to the standard of offering something individual even as it plays off familiar conceptions. Beastmaker’s doom is classic without sounding like much of anything else, and as they unfold “Arachne” and catchy pieces like “Mask of Satan” and “You Must Sin,” they arrive aesthetically cohesive and demonstrating accomplished songwriting finding a space of its own surrounding Sabbathian and Cathedral-driven ideals with semi-psych, semi-cultish tendencies, not wanting to be put in one place or the other but successfully engaging a melting pot of modern doom in “Burnt Offering” and the plodding “It.” Whatever the wider response winds up being, Lusus Naturae will without a doubt stand as one of 2016’s best debuts.

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Rise Above Records

 

Low Flying Hawks, Kofuku

low flying hawks kofuku

If you’re hand-picking dream rhythm sections, getting Trevor Dunn to play bass while Dale Crover drums would probably be the picks of any number of players, but initials-only core duo EHA and AAL of Los Angeles’ Low Flying Hawks actually went out and got the Mr. Bungle and Melvins personnel to play on their Toshi Kasai-produced Magnetic Eye Records debut LP, Kofuku. Aside from keeping good company, the album’s 10 tracks/53 minutes are marked by a spaciousness that not even the tonal heft of early cut “Now, Apocalypse” seems to fill as EHA and AAL balance post-rock, doomed lurch and darker psychedelics with blackened screams and fervent rhythmic push – see “White Temple” and “Wolves Within Wolves.” They round out with the lumbering 11-minute “Destruction Complete,” a heavy rock march topped by airborne, dissonant leads that keeps its head even as it plods onward into oblivion. Not as unipolar as it might first appear in terms of sound, but the mood of Kofuku points consistently downward.

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Magnetic Eye Records

 

CHVE, Rasa

chve rasa

The crux of CHVE’s Rasa is in resonance. Amenra frontman Colin H. van Eeckhout (his solo-project’s name derived from his initials) constructs a flowing half-hour of fluid drone, intermittent percussion – first tribal, then a straightforward kind of march, slow but not still – and atmospheric vocal on the single track that comprises the work, seeming to take influence from calls to prayer as much as atmospheric noise. At higher volumes, the piece is consuming, his voice surrounds with the almost constant wash of tone, but even at more reasonable levels, the sense of purpose and ritual remains. Of course, Amenra are noted for the use of the word “mass” in their album titles, and while Rasa departs from the direct tonal heft of much of what van Eeckhout does in his main outfit, there is a sense of mass here in terms both of presence and in terms of the worship being enacted.

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Consouling Sounds

 

Brujas del Sol, Starquake

brujas del sol starquake

How do you fit an 11-minute track onto a 7” release? Easy, you break it in half. Such is the method of Ohio instrumentalists Brujas del Sol, who follow their Moonliner EP trilogy with the late-2015 single Starquake, presented on the limited H42 Records platter as “Starquake Pt. I” and “Starquake Pt. II” but comprising nonetheless a single piece that backs airy, post-rock-tinged guitar with a decided forward rhythmic motion, resulting in an overarching build that, while there’s a natural moment for the split, is hypnotic front to back, a swirl of effects calling it mind space rock improvisation even as the plotted momentum of drums and bass resumes. Starquake is enough to make one imagine what kind of variety and spontaneity Brujas del Sol would bring to a debut full-length, so in that it very much does its job, but it makes a good case for standing on its own as well as it hits its second apex and finishes in a residual wash of cosmic noise.

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H42 Records

 

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Noeth ac Anoeth

mammoth weed wizard bastard noeth ac anoeth

Offered through New Heavy Sounds, Noeth Ac Anoeth is the debut full-length from Welsh cosmic doom four-piece Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard. It is comprised of three songs and incorporates the half-hour-long “Nachthexen,” which was also the title-track of the band’s prior 2015 EP (review here), their rumble brought to bear through the capable knob-turning of Conan’s Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio. The vocals of Jessica Ball manage to cut through the ensuing tonal murk of her bass and the guitars of Paul Michael Davies and Wez Leon, and James Carrington’s drums live up to the near-impossible task of making “Les Paradis Artificiels,” “Slave Moon” and “Nachthexen” go, each developing its own plodding momentum amid the purposeful thickness overdose and atmospheric sensibility enhanced both by Davies’ work on keys and Ball’s vocals. “Slave Moon” winds up at a gallop and almost operatic, but there’s no way the highlight wasn’t going to be “Nachthexen,” which offers chug dense enough and spaces wide open enough to easily get lost in. Time well spent, all around.

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New Heavy Sounds

 

The Shooters, Dead Wilderness

the shooters dead wilderness

Spanish heavy rock four-piece The Shooters present their third album, Dead Wilderness (on Red Sun Records/Nooirax Producciones), as two sides even on the CD pressing, each half of the record ending with an extended cut over the 10-minute mark. All told it’s six songs/49 minutes of solidified, mostly straightforward Euro-style riff-led heavy grooves, tapping into some Dozer influence on “War on You” but offering more spacious burl on “Lucifer’s Word,” which starts side B after the push of “Roots” rounds out side A. There’s little by way of letup, but moments like the quiet start and bridge of “Black Mountain” do a lot of work in adding complexity to The Shooters’ hook-minded approach, and 11-minute finale “Candelabrum” builds on that with a patient linear unfolding that casts off some tonal heft in favor of a more atmospheric take. That ultimately lets Dead Wilderness bring an individual edge to established stylistic parameters, from which it greatly benefits.

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The Shooters on Bandcamp

 

Boss Keloid, Herb Your Enthusiasm

boss keloid herb your enthusiasm

Granted, a title playing off Curb Your Enthusiasm and, well, herb, might make you think the band is just goofing around, but UK riffers Boss Keloid offer more substance with their second album, Herb Your Enthusiasm, than they do wackiness. The sound – captured by Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio – is positively massive, bolstered by guest appearances from Fielding himself and his Conan bandmate, Jon Davis, who also owns Skyhammer and Black Bow Records, the imprint releasing the LP, and given to swells of largesse and huge rolling grooves that still remain righteously fuzzed, as on “Escapegoat” or “Lung Valley” the quieter complement to opener “Lung Mountain.” Vocalist Alex Hurst assures any quota of burl is met, but has more to his approach melodically than riff-following chestbeating, and guitarist Paul Swarbrick, bassist Adam Swarbrick and drummer Stephen Arands present instrumental flow and turns behind that give the record a sense of personality beyond its weedian play. Not a minor undertaking at an hour long, but satisfying in tone and execution.

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Black Bow Records

 

Hors Sujet, Nous N’y Trouvons que le Doute

hors sujet nous ny trouvons que le doute

I guess it’s fair to call late 2015’s Nous N’y Trouvons que le Doute the debut full-length from Toulouse-based one-man outfit Hors Sujet, though multi-instrumentalist/atmosphere-conjurer Florent Paris has done a variety of soundtrack work and released numerous other textures in EPs and a variety of other offerings, so take that for what it’s worth. More important is the rich sense of ambience Paris brings to Hors Sujet in the seven included songs, from the dystopian doom of “Au Plus Loin, la Mer / L’hiver Peureux” to the wistful drone wash of “Le Souffle, Peu Ă  Peu (Pt. 2),” which has its companion piece earlier in the album. Of special note should be 27-minute closer “Et Maintenant, le Ombres,” acting as a summary of the proceedings as much as expansion thereupon, concluding an often quiet outing with a stark cacophony that gorgeously builds from the minimalism before it to a raucous finish worth of the breadth Paris shows in his work throughout.

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Hors Sujet on Bandcamp

 

Warchief, Warchief

warchief warchief

Initially released by the band in summer 2015, the self-titled debut from Finnish progressive heavy rockers Warchief sees vinyl issue through Phonosphera Records, its two sides consumed by organic execution across four tracks moving beyond traditional structure in favor of a more varied approach, from the rumbling heft that emerges in opener “Give” through the goes-anywhere near-psychedelia of 21-minute closer “For Heavy Damage.” Warchief, the Jyväskylä-based four-piece of Teemu Pellonpää, Juho Saarikoski, Esa Pirttimäki and Tommi Rintala, feel right at home working in longer-form material, whether it’s that closer or the nine-minute “Life Went On” preceding, and given their breadth I wouldn’t be surprised if they would up with a single-song album sometime in the future. With that in mind, perhaps most encouraging about their self-titled is the fact that it seems so exploratory, very much like the beginning of creative growth rather than a finished product on display. One hopes they continue to flesh out stylistically and build on the foundation they’ve set here.

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Warchief on Bandcamp

 

Seedship, Demo 2015

seedship demo 2015

Riffing their way into the post-Electric Wizard league of rumble purveyors, Minneapolis newcomers Seedship avoid any cultish trappings on last fall’s Demo 2015, their first release. A marked tonal thickness is nearly immediate, but along with the slow-motion nod and overarching density, melodic vocals cut through the morass to give a human aspect to the groove. Of the three tracks, “The Edge of Expiry,” “The Condemned Adrift” and “The Desperate Odyssey,” not a one is under eight minutes long, and as they plod their way through the opener (also the longest track; immediate points), Seedship enact a sci-fi theme that carries through the release as a whole, which scuffs up the approach some in the closer, but always keeps its spacier elements intact, even as it kicks the pace in the ass at around six minutes in and lets loose a release for all the tension built up prior before a final slowdown ends out. They seem to have a lot already worked out sound-wise, so should be interesting to hear where they go with it.

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Seedship on Bandcamp

 

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