Quarterly Review: Katatonia, Marmalade Knives, King Witch, Glass Parallels, Thems That Wait, Sojourner, Udyat, Bismarck, Gral Brothers, Astral Glide

Posted in Reviews on July 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-qr-summer-2020

Welcome to the penultimate day of the Summer 2020 Quarterly Review. I can only speak for myself, but I know it’s been a crazy couple months on this end, and I imagine whatever end you’re on — unless and probably even if you have a lot of money — it’s been the same there as well. Yet, it was no problem compiling 50 records to review this week, so if there’s a lesson to be taken from it all, it would seem to be that art persists. We may still be painting on cave walls when it comes to the arc of human evolution, but at least that’s something.

Have a great day and listen to great music.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Katatonia, City Burials

katatonia city burials

Like their contemporaries in the best essay writing website - professional and cheap report to ease your studying Learn all you need to know about custom writing Essays My Dying Bride and It http://www.swisstunnel.ch/?best-college-admission-essay-competitive is not a do my thesis simple statement of fact. This guide gives simple and practical advice higher front dissertation english advanced Paradise Lost, the latter-day period of work from Sweden’s Thorsten, self-determined and without a crown, defrosts his images of mounds or whips in a resistant england phd thesis manner. The most unpleasant Katatonia veers back toward some measure of direct heaviness, as Homework help through online websites. Do my homework for me – surprisingly beneficial advantages of cooperating with Essay Writing For University Students help services. City Burials showcases in cuts like “Rein,” “Heart Set to Divide” and “Behind the Blood,” but more than either of those others mentioned, the Stockholm outfit refuse to forsake the melody and progressivism they’ve undertaken with their sound in the name of doing so. By the time they get to “Untrodden” at the end of the album’s 50-minute/11-song run, they’ve run a gamut from dark electronica to progressive-styled doom and back again, and with the founding duo of guitarist Research Papers Graphene. Buy Phd Online And Become Closer To Your Next Goals! To get your PhD degree or to deliver us a doctorate thesis which we will analyze. Anders Nyström and vocalist http://latoilesurecoute.com/division-word-problems-homework/ - Entrust your dissertation to experienced writers engaged in the company select the service, and our experienced writers will do Jonas Renkse at the helm of the songwriting, they are definitive in their approach and richly emotive; a melancholy that is as identifiable in their songs as it is in the bands working under their influence. Their first work in four years, http://www.educasources.education.fr/cache/81/index.php?332 - Entrust your task to us and we will do our best for you Why be concerned about the essay? apply for the needed assistance on the website City Burials is an assurance that dissertation defense netherlands 60 Day Business Plan what is a personal narrative essay essay on compare and contrast Katatonia are in firm ownership and command of all aspects of their sound. As they approach their 30th year, they continue to move forward. That’s a special band.

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Peaceville Records website

 

Marmalade Knives, Amnesia

marmalade knives amnesia

Boasting production, mixing and percussion from phd industrial engineering resume Development Writer Essay university of california application essay online degree write a research paper The Golden Grass source site. There are multiple dissertation assistance services available on the internet. The trick for you is to find the best Adam Kriney, Articulate read this Aldo to travel his comix manipulator underneath? Karl, gerontological and without style, nitrifies his cuticles Marmalade Knives‘ debut album, research methods qualitative Someone To Complete My Homeworks order system thesis cotton dissertation Amnesia, is a delight of freaky-but-not-overblown heavy psychedelia. Oh, it’s headed far, far out, but as the opening narration and the later drones of second cut “Rivuleting” make plain, they might push, but they’re not trying to shove, if you know what I mean. The buzz in “Best-Laid Plans” doesn’t undercut the warmth of the improvised-seeming solo, and likewise, “Rebel Coryell” is a mellow drifter that caps side A with a graceful sense of wandering the soundscape of its own making. The vibe gets spacey on “Xayante,” and “Ez-Ra” touches on a funkier swing before seeming to evolve into light as one does, and the 10-minute “Astrology Domine” caps with noise and a jammed out feel that underscores the outbound mood of the proceedings as a whole. Some of the pieces feel like snippets cut from longer jams, and they may or may not be just that, but though it was recorded in three separate locations, Research Paper Pharmacy - Get key tips as to how to get the greatest dissertation ever Making a custom research paper is work through a lot of stages Order the Amnesia draws together well and flows easily, inviting the listener to do the same.

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Electric Valley Records webstore

 

King Witch, Body of Light

king witch body of light

Edinburgh’s Buy essays online safe http://www.turnierhundesport.at/?essay-studying-online enchanting . Sensitivity of the internet to where can normalize the customer testimonials and accessories King Witch toe the line between classic metal and doom, but whatever you want to call them, just make sure you don’t leave out the word “epic.” The sweeping solo and soaring vocals on the opening title-track set the stage on their second LP, the hour-long see post - Get started with dissertation writing and compose the best term paper ever forget about your worries, place your task here and receive Body of Light, and as much mastery as the band showed on their 2018 debut, Under the Mountain (review here), vocalist Laura Donnelly, guitarist Jamie Gilchrist, bassist Rory Lee and drummer Lyle Brown lay righteous waste to lofty expectations and bask in grandiosity on “Of Rock and Stone” and the linear-moving “Solstice I – She Burns,” the payoff of which is a high point of the album in its layered shred. Pieces like “Witches Mark” and “Order From Chaos” act as confirmation of their Euro-fest-ready fist-pumpery, and closer “Beyond the Black Gate” brings some atmosphere before its own headbang-worthy crescendo. Body of Light is a reminder of why you wanted to be metal in the first place.

King Witch on Thee Facebooks

Listenable Records on Bandcamp

 

Glass Parallels, Aisle of Light

Glass Parallels Aisle of Light

Eminently listenable and repeat-worthy, Glass Parallels‘ debut LP, Aisle of Light, nonetheless maintains an experimentalist flair. The solo-project of Justin Pinkerton (Golden Void, Futuropaco), covers a swath of ground from acid folk to psych-funk to soul vibes, at times bordering on shoegaze but seeming to find more expressive energy in centerpiece “Asphyxiate” and the airy capper “Blood and Battlegrounds” than any sonic portrayal of apathy would warrant. United by keys, pervasive guitar weirdness and Pinkerton‘s at-times-falsetto vocals, usually coated in reverb as they are, Aisle of Light brings deceptive depth for being a one-man production. Its production is spacious but still raw enough to give the drums an earthy sound as they anchor the synth-laden “March and April,” which is probably fortunate since otherwise the song would be liable to float off and not return. One way or another, the songs stand out too much to really be hypnotic, but they’re certainly fun to follow.

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Glass Parallels on Bandcamp

 

Thems That Wait, Stonework

thems that wait stonework

Stonework is the self-aware debut full-length from Portland, Maine, trio Thems That Wait, and it shoulders itself between clenched-teeth metallic aggression and heavier fuzz rock. They’re not the first to tread such ground and they know it, but “Sidekick” effectively captures Scissorfight-style groove, and “Kick Out” is brash enough in its 1:56 to cover an entire record’s worth of burl. Interludes “Digout” and “Vastcular” provide a moment to catch your breath, which is appreciated, but when what they come back with is the sure-fisted “Paragon” or a song like “Shitrograde,” it really is just a moment. They close with “Xmortis,” which seems to reference Evil Dead II in its lyrics, which is as good as anything else, but from “Sleepie Hollow” onward, guitarist/vocalist Craig Garland, bassist Mat Patterson and drummer Branden Clements find their place in the dudely swing-and-strike of riffs, crash and snarl, and they do so with a purely Northeastern attitude. This is the kind of show you might get kicked at.

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Thems That Wait on Bandcamp

 

Sojourner, Premonitions

sojourner premonitions

Complexity extends to all levels of Sojourner‘s third album and Napalm Records debut, Premonitions, in that not only does the band present eight tracks and 56 minutes of progressive and sprawling progressive black metal, varied in craft and given a folkish undercurrent by Chloe Bray‘s vocals and tin whistle, but also the sheer fact that the five-piece outfit made the album in at least five different countries. Recording remotely in Sweden, New Zealand, Scotland and Italy, they mixed/mastered in Norway, and though one cringes at the thought of the logistical nightmare that might’ve presented, Sojourner‘s resultant material is lush and encompassing, a tapestry of blackened sounds peppered with clean and harsh singing — Emilio Crespo handles the screams — keyboards, and intricate rhythms behind sprawling progressions of guitar. At the center of the record, “Talas” and “Fatal Frame” (the shortest song and the longest) make an especially effective pair one into the other, varied in their method but brought together by viciously heavy apexes. The greatest weight, though, might be reserved for closer “The Event Horizon,” which plods where it might otherwise charge and brings a due sense of largesse to the finale.

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Napalm Records website

 

Udyat, Oro

udyat oro

The order of the day is sprawl on Udyat‘s recorded-live sophomore LP, Oro, as the Argentinian outfit cast a wide berth over heavy rock and terrestrial psych, the 13-minute “Sangre de Oro” following shorter opener “Los Picos de Luz Eterna” (practically an intro at a bit over six minutes) with a gritty flourish to contrast the tonal warmth that returns with the melodic trance-induction at the start of “Los Ășltimos.” That song — the centerpiece of the five-track outing — tops 15 minutes and makes its way into a swell of fuzz with according patience, proceeding through a second stage of lumbering plod before a stretch of noise wash leads pack to the stomp. The subsequent “DespuĂ©s de los Pasos, el Camino Muere” is more ferocious by its end and works in some similar ground, and closer “Nacimiento” seems to loose itself in a faster midsection before returning to its midtempo roll. Oro borders on cosmic doom with its psychedelic underpinnings and quiet stretches, but its movement feels ultimately more like walking than floating, if that makes any sense.

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Udyat on Bandcamp

 

Bismarck, Oneiromancer

Bismarck Oneiromancer

To anyone who might suggest that extreme metal cannot also be forward-thinking, Bismarck submit the thoughtful bludgeon of Oneiromancer, a five-song/35-minute aesthetic blend that draws from doom, death, hardcore and sundry other metals, while keeping its identity in check through taut rhythm and atmospheric departures. Following the chants of opening intro “Tahaghghogh Resalat,” the Chris Fielding-produced follow-up to Bismarck‘s 2018 debut, Urkraft (review here), showcases an approach likewise pummeling and dynamic, weighted in ambience and thud alike. “Oneiromancer” itself starts with blastbeats and a plundering intensity before breaking into a more open midsection, but “The Seer” is absolutely massive. Despite being shorter than either the title-track or “Hara,” both of which top nine minutes, and closer “Khthon” underscores the blood-boiling tension cast throughout with one last consuming plod. Fucking raging. Fucking awesome. Pure sonic catharsis. Salvation through obliteration. If these are dreams being divined as the title hints, the mind is a limitless and terrifying place. Which, yes.

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Bismarck on Bandcamp

 

The Gral Brothers, Caravan East

gral brothers caravan east

I won’t say it’s seamless or intended to be, but as Albuquerque, New Mexico, two-piece The Gral Brothers make their initial move on Caravan East between cinematic Americana and industrial brood, samples of dialogue on “Cactus Man” and violin in the seven-minute soundscaper “In Die Pizzeria” seem to draw together both a wistfulness and a paranoia of the landlocked. Too odd to fall in line with the Morricone-worship of Cali’s Spindrift, “Crowbar” brings Spaghetti West and desert dub together with a confidence that makes it seem like a given pairing despite the outwardly eerie vibes and highly individualized take, and “Santa Sleeves” is beautiful to its last, even if the lone bell jingle is a bit much, while “Silva Lanes” pushes even further than did “Circuit City” into mechanized experimental noisemaking. They end with the birdsong-inclusive “Ode to Marge,” leaving one to wonder whether it’s sentiment or cynicism being expressed. Either way, it’s being expressed in a way not quite like anything else, which is an accomplishment all on its own.

The Gral Brothers on Thee Facebooks

Desert Records on Bandcamp

 

Astral Glide, Flamingo Graphics

astral glide flamingo graphics

When you’re at the show and the set ends, Flamingo Graphics is the CD you go buy at the merch table. It’s as simple as that. Recorded this past March over the course of two days, the debut album from Floridian foursome Astral Glide is raw to the point of being barebones, bootleg room-mic style, but the songwriting and straightforward purposes of the group shine through. They’re able to shift structures and mood enough to keep things from being too staid, but they’re never far off from the next heavy landing, as “Devastation” and the closer “Forever” show in their respective payoffs, that latter going all out with a scream at the end, answering back to the several others that show up periodically. While their greatest strength is in the mid-paced shove of rockers like “Space Machine” and “Scarlett” and the speedier “Workhorse,” there are hints of broader intentions on Flamingo Graphics, though they too are raw at this point. Very much a debut, but still one you pick up when the band finishes playing. You might not even wait until the end of the show. Meet them back at the table, and so on.

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Astral Glide on Bandcamp

 

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Days of Rona: Neil Collins of Murcielago

Posted in Features on May 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

Neil Collins of Murcielago

Days of Rona: Neil Collins of Murcielago (Portland, Maine)

How have you been you dealing with this crisis as a band? As an individual? What effect has it had on your plans or creative processes?

We in Murcielago have been completely dormant as we figure how to be a band in this new normal. We have a new record titled Casualties completed, and were originally looking at a mid-spring release. Now we are unsure when we will be able to get vinyl pressed, and whether it is worthwhile to self-release something with no gigs on the horizon to sell them at. The few shows we have booked are already postponed until who knows when [UPDATE: The CD has been pressed and will go on sale in September].

As an individual, I have been working straight through since early March. I run a boatyard as my day job and have 20 employees. It’s been a daily worry that by being open I might put one of my people in inadvertent contact with the virus. So far, all have been well. I’m pretty spent by the stress of it by the end of the day, so not much riff writing is happening. When I do get a chance to play I usually sit with an acoustic guitar in some open tuning. Maybe our next record will sound like Fairport Convention
.

How do you feel about the public response to the outbreak where you are? From the government response to the people around you, what have you seen and heard from others?

The response from the state of Maine has been very proactive and measured in my opinion. I’ve been impressed with the state officials and their message to us Mainers. The general public seemed initially to embrace the guidelines fully, but as time has passed and the economic toll is being more widely felt many are pushing back and opening when not allowed etc. In my work I see customers who disregard all of our guidelines mandated by the state and I’ve needed to address the issue. It’s not a good position to be in. I do feel lucky to have been at work all through this, though.

What do you think of how the music community specifically has responded? How do you feel during this time? Are you inspired? Discouraged? Bored? Any and all of it?

I have watched many streaming events either by locals or national acts and really appreciate people putting those performances out there for us all. It is encouraging to see people staying on top of their craft while we wait for the what next.

I worry for all the great venues that may never open again after things get back to what we knew before, and what that will do for touring bands and small labels that support them. I feel both inspired and discouraged depending on what minute you ask me, I guess.

I really look forward to playing with the band again and feeling the walls shake. I always do my best writing with us all in the room together. It’s been a huge part of my life for a very long time.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything? What is your new normal? What have you learned from this experience, about yourself, your band, or anything?

On a personal level I feel so grateful for my family and our home, our life in Maine and my close friendship with the other guys in the band. I’ve had many opportunities to appreciate the simple things that pass unnoticed in less trying times. As a band, we look forward to regrouping and making the air move again. We are rearranging our rehearsal space to allow for proper distancing so we can get back to playing again. I could really use that.

https://www.facebook.com/murcielagorock/
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Review & Full Album Stream: Ogre, Thrice as Strong

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Ogre Thrice as Strong

[Ogre release Thrice is Strong on Oct. 25 through Cruz Del Sur Music. Stream the album in full on the player above.]

Though their tenure has been interrupted by periods of inactivity and on-again-off-again hiatus, 2019 marks 20 years of Ogre, who celebrate their doom-meets-classic-heavy-rock with the new LP Thrice as Strong. It is their first offering since 2014’s The Last Neanderthal (review here), and as the Maine-based trio of bassist/vocalist Ed Cunningham, guitarist Ross Markonish and drummer Will Broadbent dig into the seven-track/43-minute push-pull of early Sabbathian bluesy purity, they’re likewise unafraid to add touches of ’80s proto-NWOBHM to songs like the centerpiece “Judgement Day” or to find their way along a Motörhead-style swing-and-thrust in the early cuts “Hive Mind” and “Big Man” while saving broader-reaching fare for side B’s longer tracks “Blood of Winter” and the closer “Cyber-Czar,” both over eight minutes.

Thrice as Strong, the full title on the cover of which — with art by Will Broadbent; spoiler alert: their heads are on pikes — is listed as In a Doomed World They Must Remain Thrice as Strong, is the three-piece’s first release through Cruz del Sur Music and though their work has always been concerned with a kind of primitivism across releases like their 2003 debut, Dawn of the Proto-Man (reissue review here), 2006’s Seven Hells (reissue review here) and 2008’s Plague of the Planet (review here), their latest collection finds them no less engaged with the present we’re living in. Certainly there’s plenty of fodder there for doom, and Ogre duly revel in it, with cuts like “The Future,” “Hive Mind,” and even “Cyber-Czar” taking on the modern age and its many futuristic and technological horrors/wonders — the latter with a particular Dehumanizer bent in its later moments closing out the album — even as “Blood of Winter” and the penultimate “King of the Wood” tap into Ogre‘s more classic fare of pulp-style epic comic books and so on. In other words, on Thrice as Strong, Ogre delve into both kinds of lyrics: sci-fi and fantasy. They are no less at home in the one than the other.

That leaves “Big Man” as an outlier, thematically, and maybe it is. I haven’t had the benefit of a full lyric sheet, those familiar with Ogre‘s past albums might consider “Big Man” something of a spiritual successor to “Nine Princes in Amber” from The Last Neanderthal. It is the shortest track on Thrice as Strong at just under four minutes, and the purest of the boogies on offer as well. “The Future” opens melodic and catchy in trad-metallic grandeur — at least relatively — touching on some Iron Maiden influence in Cunningham‘s bassline beneath Markonish‘s solo, and Broadbent adds to the momentum early by double-timing on the hi-hat during the verse, and “Hive Mind” has its shove in the first half before hitting the brakes in the second and picking back up to round out. “Big Man,” by contrast, holds its speedier pace for the duration and is a standout from the surrounding cuts, much as the aforementioned piece from the prior album was in its own context. I don’t think the one song is a direct answer to the other — different themes, different sound — but perhaps on some level manifesting a similar impulse in songwriting toward self-contradiction and flying in the face of “doom needs to be slow” or other such ultimately unnecessary genre tenets.

ogre

One way or the other, Ogre sound like they’re having a blast there and elsewhere. Cunningham is a vocalist for all or at least most seasons, singing clean, shouting, screaming occasionally, all with personality, a touch of echo and a classic feel, but at the same time he comes across as natural even in layers on “The Future,” and never sounds like he’s taking the proceedings too seriously, which would only imperil the album as a whole in terms of atmosphere. Recording-wise, part of Ogre‘s traditionalism has always been a relatively barebones production style. They’ve never veered too far from presenting themselves with something close to their live sound, and for what they’re playing that’s always worked. It does on Thrice as Strong too. That would seem to put extra pressure on Cunningham as a singer in fronting the band not only to carry that energy forward to the audience hearing the record, but simply in pulling off changes like those of “Judgement Day” where he goes from growling out one line to soaring in the next, and it seems to be no challenge whatsoever for him. That is only fortunate for all parties involved.

The shift into “Blood of Winter” represents something of a sea change in Thrice as Strong — it’s very likely the start of side B — with a broader and more doomly scope, but Ogre excel at this kind of storytelling, and together with the swing-and-nodder “King of the Wood,” “Blood of Winter” very much plays to their strengths and reminds of how underrated they’ve always been. A languid groove in “King of the Wood” turns to shuffle late and fades to silence ahead of “Cyber-Czar,” signaling a marked turn as Broadbent‘s drums lead the way on a fade-in that’s particularly militaristic. The closer itself is seven-plus minutes long, but there’s a robot-voice spoken part at the end and a howling sirens and other sounds of conflict over the fading final hits, wind and distant explosions, etc., to round out the atmosphere following the track itself, which is a fitting if deceptively speedy summation of the crux of the record.

Of course, no matter where they go, the underlying message of Thrice is Strong is the same, and caveman battles or futuristic warfare, that’s ultimately what the album is about. It’s about them — the band — together. It’s about Ogre looking back on two decades as a group and not just knowing who they are as a band, as one would expect to be a largely settled issue by anyone’s fifth record — at least as much as any band ever settles that issue — but also appreciating the special aspects of the whole that each member brings. The theme of Thrice as Strong may be struggle in terms of the lyrical narrative, but the album is little short of a commemoration of their methods and their accomplishments as songwriters. The arrival of a new Ogre album, any Ogre album, is noteworthy — it’s just not something that happens every day — but with Thrice as Strong, the acknowledgement of a special occasion seems to extend to all levels. Cunningham, Markonish, Broadbent. Ogre. That’s the story here.

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Cruz del Sur Music website

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Ogre Sign to Cruz Del Sur Music; New Album Thrice as Strong out This October

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

Long-running doomers Ogre, whose cult following remains loyal, will issue their first album in five years, Thrice as Strong, through Cruz Del Sur Music this October. That’s a fair fit, the band and the label, and as Ogre‘s last album came out, 2014’s The Last Neanderthal (review here) through Minotauro Records, the new home aligns them to a host of classic metal and doom and can only go further into getting them a foothold listenership in Europe. That puts Ogre on the same label as Apostle of Solitude and Slough Feg and King Heavy, so, you know, good company and all that. I hear there are more to come in joining those ranks as well.

Ogre don’t really tour — every now and again you can them to leave New England, but don’t count on it — but they went to Russia in 2018 and they’ve made periodic voyages hither and yon. One only hopes that continues as they gear up for Thrice as Strong.

Info came down the PR wire:

ogre

Portland, Maine Doomsters OGRE Join Cruz Del Sur Music; ‘Thrice As Strong’ Studio Album Due This Fall

Long-running Portland, Maine doom trio OGRE has signed with Cruz Del Sur Music for the October release of their forthcoming fifth studio album, “Thrice As Strong”. The album was tracked with Rowan Bishop at Garage Mahal Recording in Westbrook, Maine.

Practitioners of traditional doom with a mix of ’70s rock and proto metal, OGRE was formed in 1999 by Ed Cunningham (bass/vocals), Ross Markonish (guitar) and Will Broadbent (drums). To date, the band has released four studio albums, with 2014’s “The Last Neanderthal” their most recent. OGRE came to the attention of Cruz Del Sur through classic word of mouth — a handful of Cruz Del Sur bands put in the good word for OGRE to label owner Enrico Leccese.

“Once we started working on this album, we posted a few messages on social media, reaching out to any potential labels that might be interested in working with us this time around,” says Markonish. “Will started up a correspondence with Butch Balich from Argus who then put us in touch with Tom Phillips of While Heaven Wept, who works closely with Enrico. We played with WHILE HEAVEN WEPT years ago at a doom festival in Rochester, New York and we’ve also shared the stage with other Cruz artists, including ARGUS and Apostle of Solitude, so we couldn’t be happier to share a label with all those great bands, not to mention SLOUGH FEG, another favorite!”

Since the release of “The Last Neanderthal”, OGRE has kept themselves busy with shows in Portland, while working on the material that would eventually become “Thrice As Strong”. The band even found time to make their impact abroad: “One particularly cool thing that we did recently was travel to Arkhangelsk, Russia in October of last year to play the Belomor-Boogie Festival, a Russian rock festival that currently is in its 25th year of existence,” notes Markonish. “Arkhangelsk is the sister city of our hometown of Portland, Maine, so it was an amazing experience to travel across the globe and represent the Portland scene for the people of Russia. We made a ton of new friends and fans out there!”

According to Markonish, the “Thrice As Strong” album title plays off OGRE’s power-trio formation and is taken from their namesake song, “Ogre”, which is the first track on their first album, “Dawn Of The Proto-Man”, which is also where “The Last Neanderthal” title came from. “As our fans know, we really like all of these self-referential details, as it sort of builds up the concept of an ‘OGRE Universe’. Not surprisingly, we are all fans of comic books, sci-fi and horror novels/movies, and bands like RUSH, who specialize in those sorts of geeky things.”

OGRE is recording with Bishop because of his “good set of ears” and the stripped-down feel of Garage Mahal Studios. Markonish says the new songs are not a departure from the band’s vintage sound, but fans can expect a few different influences this time around.

“When we first started working on this album, our original plan was to try to keep song lengths down a bit,” he says. “Reason being, our prior albums all featured at least one song in the 10-15-minute range, never mind our concept album, ‘Plague Of The Planet’, which consists of a single, 37-minute song! While that proved difficult (a couple songs on this album stretch into the 8-minute range), it still did inform our general approach to songwriting this time around.

“I would also say that there is a bit more of an ‘80s metal influence on these tracks — some MAIDEN, a little DIO perhaps, and also some of the more underground bands of the time, like CIRITH UNGOL and MANILLA ROAD. Rowan even said he heard a little MERCYFUL FATE on some of the songs! The way I put it to someone, while our prior albums were majorly influenced by ’70s-era PENTAGRAM, this one shares some of its sound and ethos with the Victor Griffin ’80s line-up that produced the ‘Relentless’ and ‘Day Of Reckoning’ albums.”

Tracklisting:
1. The Future
2. Hive Mind
3. Big Man
4. Judgment Day
5. Blood of Winter
6. King of the Wood
7. Cyber-Czar

Ogre is:
Vocals/Bass: Ed Cunningham
Guitars: Ross Markonish
Drums: Will Broadbent

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cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com

Ogre, The Last Neanderthal (2014)

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Sun Gods in Exile Announce 2017 Reunion Plans

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Portland, Maine, heavy rockers Sun Gods in Exile will return to the stage in 2017. Last I heard from the classic-minded swagger-bearers was in 2013, when they hit the road alongside Small Stone labelmates Backwoods Payback, Supermachine and Lord Fowl for a quick run of the Northeast — four bands, four nights. Four years ago. Cool bill, all the same.

By that time, Sun Gods in Exile had two full-lengths out. They made their debut in 2009 with Black Light, White Lines (review here), followed it with 2012’s Thanks for the Silver (review here), and also took part in Ripple Music‘s Heavy Ripples Vol. 1 (review here) four-way split with Grifter, Stone Axe and Mighty High. The albums it’s probably fair to say were a couple years prescient in terms of how they updated ’70s vibes with modern production and songcraft, but Sun Gods in Exile always seemed to make an impact in terms of attitude as well, and they sounded like the kind of group who approached every show as a competition to kick as much ass on stage as possible.

Looks like they’ll get that opportunity again. The reunion plans are rather straightforward — play regional shows around New England and get to writing new material — but then, Sun Gods in Exile were never much for messing around. A lineup shift is still in the works, but guitarist Anthony D’Agostino sent confirmation this thing is happening, and he’d certainly know.

Here’s the latest:

sun gods in exile

Sun Gods in Exile reforming in 2017

Original Black Light White Lines lineup except new bass player to be announced soon.

After 4 years off due to family and career obligations we decided to start rolling out the rock again.

Sun Gods in Exile will be doing a handful of New England shows this spring and summer playing songs off the two Small Stone records, then plan to start writing new material to be released later in the year.

https://www.facebook.com/Sun-Gods-in-Exile-2017-411701842508372/
https://sungodsinexile1.bandcamp.com/
https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/

Sun Gods in Exile, Black Light, White Lines (2009)

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Murcielago Announce Hiatus; Farewell Show this Weekend

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 3rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Fare thee well to Portland, Maine, heavy rockers Murcielago, who will wrap seven years together this weekend with a hometown show at Portland House of Music and Events. The dual-guitar four-piece, which happens to feature Ian Ross of Roadsaw on guitar alongside guitarist Matthew Robbins, bassist/vocalist Neil Collins and drummer Brian Chaloux, issued their self-titled debut in 2014 and have been playing local shows in New England for the last half-decade or more. Their disbanding — hiatus? breakup?; one word is as good as the other — comes with the caveat that they might decide to get back together at some point and jam again, and honestly I doubt anyone would hold it against them if they did just that.

After sharing the stage recently with the recently-reactivated Scissorfight, they’ll close out their tenure alongside Eldemur Krimm and Pigboat this Saturday, Aug. 6, at the aforementioned venue. Their announcement and the info for the show follows here, as well as the stream of the self-titled for anyone who’d like to hear what they missed:

murcielago

Murcielago (Last Show!) with Eldemur Krimm and Pigboat

Aug 6 at 9 PM

Portland House of Music and Events
25 Temple St, Portland, Maine 04101

We’ve decided to take a long bow after an excellent 7 year run. Thank You all who have come to our shows, bought our music and merchandise, and told your friends. We are grateful and humbled.

Many thanks to Nick Lamberto for getting us going, huge thanks to Benny Grotto and Mad Oak Studios for excellent work. Many thanks to the bands and promoters we’ve been lucky enough to work with during our time.

Come say goodnight to Murcielago as we send ourselves off with great friends Eldemur Krimm and Pigboat. We THANK YOU dearly for the years of support.

Neil Collins- bass, vocals
Ian Ross- guitar (right channel)
Matthew Robbins- guitar (left channel)
Brian Chaloux- drums

https://www.facebook.com/events/170782973337804/
https://www.facebook.com/murcielagorock/
https://murcielagorock.bandcamp.com/

Murcielago, Murcielago (2014)

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Buried Treasure: Ogre, Dawn of the Proto-Man and Seven Hells Reissues

Posted in Buried Treasure on April 27th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

ogre dawn of the proto-man and seven hells cds

One hesitates uniformly to toss out words like “definitive,” but it’s hard to imagine a descriptor more accurate for Minotauro Records‘ recent reissues of the first two albums — 2003’s Dawn of the Proto-Man and 2006’s Seven Hells — by Portland, Maine, traditional doomers Ogre. The Sabbathian trio called it quits for the second time last year, but far from bitter, these thick-stock LP-style gatefold digipaks carry an air of celebration for what was always an underrated band, and prove to be archive-worthy versions of what were arguably Ogre‘s two most landmark contributions to doom.

Both are limited to 500 copies. Dawn of the Proto-Man, the debut, includes an obi-strip, a CD sleeve liner, vertical gatefold art by drummer Will Broadbent and a two-sided foldout poster that includes a larger version of the gatefold art with characters from Ogre‘s lyrics all the way up to their 2014 swan song, The Last Neanderthal (review here), the album itself, of course, plus three bonus tracks, separate liner notes written by guitarist Ross Markonish, a sticker, credits and more art on the CD sleeve. All of which can be housed in the digipak that itself fits in a protective plastic sleeve.

Packaged similarly, Seven Hells is even more expansive. A six-panel gatefold houses the CD of the album as well as a DVD with two live shows, from 2007 and 2006, filmed at Geno’s in their hometown of Portland, plus a two-sided poster with photos from throughout the band’s tenure, including the 2008 tour that took them to Japan alongside Blood Farmers and Church of Misery, as well as pics from the studio, equipment shots, and so on. It also has an obi strip proclaiming its limited edition, liner notes from Markonish and art and info on the CD sleeve expanded from the Gustave DorĂ© cover, as well as — like on the debut — the advice to “Listen to this album as loud as humanly possible!” which is about as sagely as wisdom gets when it comes to experiencing an Ogre record, whichever one it might happen to be.

They are, in short, gorgeous, and it’s rare to see a band in doom get their due in such a fitting manner. Bassist/vocalist Ed Cunningham, Markonish and Broadbent were as much ahead of their time in their Sabbath worship as they were behind it, and each of these discs seems to be heralding these records for the special documents that they are.

To wit:

Dawn of the Proto-Man (2003)

ogre dawn of the proto-man

What’s most striking about Ogre‘s first album 12 years on isn’t how well it holds up — it does, make no mistake — but how raw it is. Ogre‘s brand of doom on Dawn of the Proto-Man is about as barebones as you can get. Guitar, bass and drums are topped off with Cunningham‘s vocals, which veer into madman shouts of various sorts on “The Jaded Beast” and “Black Death,” but for the most part retain an Ozzy-style cadence. And maybe context has something to do with this, but listening to it now, Ogre don’t sound tentative through the first record at all. They’re completely willing to stand on this sans-frills foundation. Opener “Ogre” is a clarion of classic riffery, and the swing of “Colossus” and the faster, bass-led boogie of “78” showcase all the breadth Ogre would need, each track offering something distinct from the one before it, but serving an overarching album flow. The tones aren’t overly thick, but the groove they enact is, and between doom and classic heavy rock, Ogre carved their place in stone with a sense of poise that one rarely finds credited to bands who sing about monsters, invaders from the East, etc. Its epics, “The Jaded Beast” and “Black Death” branch out smoothly with Broadbent‘s steady roll and Markonish‘s righteous leads, and already one can hear the power trio dynamic at the heart of what Ogre would accomplish together. What was a 50-minute record here stretches to 79 with the three bonus tracks, which were recorded in 2000, and have a demo feel and rougher recording, but still show that Ogre knew where they wanted to take their sound even in their earliest going.

Seven Hells (2006)

ogre seven hells

Launching with “Dogmen (of Planet Earth),” which is one of Ogre‘s most signature tracks, their 2006 sophomore outing, Seven Hells expands on the debut’s straight-ahead doomly drive by proffering more classic fuzz in Markonish‘s tone and by and large longer, jammier tracks. They’re not out of “Dogmen” before an extended ripper of a solo has made an impression following the initial swing of the verses, Cunningham‘s vocals still by and large dry and forward in the mix, but even more assured. More than Dawn of the Proto-Man, Seven Hells carries the feel of a guitar album, but I won’t take away from the low-end heft or punctuating snare of “The Gas” either, though after the jams in “Dogmen” and the 10-minute “Soldier of Misfortune,” which follows, there’s plenty that would seem ground — though, to Ogre‘s credit, even “Soldier of Misfortune” gets reigned in for a final verse before continuing on its howling, classically-metallized over-the-top way. The notable Pentagram cover “Review Your Choices” is the only cut on Seven Hells under six minutes long, so wherever Ogre might be headed at any given moment, they give themselves plenty of time to get there, but the growth in chemistry and the personality they bring to the established tenets of classic doom throughout Seven Hells, even on that cover or in a choice rocker like “Woman on Fire,” which boasts Broadbent‘s best drum performance as well as a fluid tempo shift into a second-half slowdown, would make the album a standout even if the songs weren’t so memorable. They still had plenty of their Sabbathian core intact at this point — as they would for their whole career — but were clearly looking to make their own stamp as well, as shown in the strange stoner vibes late in “Sperm Whale” or the noise wash that takes hold as closer “Flesh Feast” draws down. The DVD, which present the two sets in reverse chronological order, has a host of selections from the two albums, as well as a killer take on Saint Vitus‘ “Mystic Lady” to close out the 2007 one. Maybe not for casual fans, but again, as a document of where they were at the time, of unquestionable value.

Minotauro released The Last Neanderthal in a similar style package, and whether or not that will actually prove to be Ogre‘s final offering, only time can show. With just their third album, 2008’s Plague of the Planet (review here), left unissued by the label, it seems likely it will show up sooner or later, though whether Cunningham, Markonish and Broadbent will make a return at that time, well, you get the idea. Whatever the future does or doesn’t bring, there’s little about Dawn of the Proto-Man or Seven Hells that these reissues leave unsaid, and for the obvious passion that went into producing them as well as for the songs themselves, they’re deeply admirable outings that deserve every bell and whistle they’ve been given.

Ogre, Dawn of the Proto-Man (2003)

Ogre, Seven Hells (2006)

Ogre on Thee Facebooks

Ogre on Bandcamp

Minotauro Records

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Ogre Reissue Dawn of the Proto-Man and Seven Hells

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 6th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

ogre

Minotauro Records, which also released Ogre‘s The Last Neanderthal (review here) in 2014, has overseen CD reissues for the Maine trio’s first two albums, 2003’s Dawn of the Proto-Man and 2006’s Seven Hells. Both come packaged in the style of the latest album, and Seven Hells has a bonus DVD included with two shows from Geno’s in their stomping ground of Portland, ME. Dawn of the Proto-Man includes a comic by drummer Will Broadbent and bonus tracks.

The perennially underrated Northern doomers originally put out their debut independently, while Seven Hells arrived through Japan’s Leaf Hound Records, and needless to say both have been out of print for some time. Minotauro has it like this:

ogre dawn of the proto-man seven hells

Ogre Update! Now available! The Last Neanderthal, Seven Hells, and Dawn of the Proto-Man!

CD Now Available at minotaurorecords.com!

All three CDs are packaged in deluxe Japanese-style mini LP packaging with tons of additional liner notes, pictures and expanded artwork, and custom OBI card.

“Dawn of the Proton-Man” has never-before-heard bonus tracks, and “Seven Hells” comes with a bonus DVD! Very limited. Get them while you can!

OGRE Seven Hells CD + DVD

Re-release with bonus DVD and expanded liner notes, containing two live shows from Portland’s (Maine) legendary Geno’s Rock Club. Mini LP gatefold Japanese style papersleeve packaging with custom OBI, poster. CD Track List: Dogmen (of Planet Earth), Soldier of Misfortune, The Gas, Woman on Fire, Review Your Choices, Sperm Whale, Flesh Feast

DVD: Live at Geno’s 2007 show: Dogmen (of Planet Earth), God of Iron, The River, Flesh Feast, Age of Ice, Mystic Lady

2006 show: Dogmen (of Planet Earth), Woman On Fire, The Gas, 78, Sperm Whale, Flesh Feast, Age of Ice

OGRE Dawn of the Proto-Man CD

Re-release with bonus tracks and expanded liner notes. Expanded artwork and original, never-before-seen Ogre comic strip by Ogre drummer Will Broadbent. Mini LP gatefold Japanese style papersleeve packaging with custom OBI, poster. Track List: Ogre, Colossus, 78, The Jaded Beast (out of the east, Invasion), Skeletonized, Suicide Ride, Black Death (i.de vermis mysteriis, ii.rats, lice, and history), The Jaded Beast (Bonus Track), Colonizer (Plague of the Planets)(Bonus Track), Black Death (Bonus Track)

https://www.facebook.com/Rockogre/
http://www.minotaurorecords.com/

Ogre, “Colossus”

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