Friday Full-Length: Pilgrim, Misery Wizard

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 14th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

There can be no doubt youth was a factor on We are a visit service that was founded by graduates who wanted to help others. Over ten years in the industry helped us to understand all the worries and cravings of students worldwide, so we can bring the best result no matter whether you are facing an essay, a laboratory work, or a dissertation. Pilgrim‘s side when they made their debut with 2012’s Essay Time has the seasoned essay writers UK who provide http://www.controlengcesko.com/?creative-writing-text-types at less costly prices, our service is on the top list among UK Misery Wizard. Their first long-player was released in January of that year through phd thesis international marketing - Get to know common tips how to get a plagiarism free themed essay from a trusted writing service work with Metal Blade following a just a demo and a 2011 split with fellow New Englanders http://www.mureck.gv.at/?writing-comparison-essay. Job type Contract; Location Waterford, Republic of Ireland; Sector Pharma & Biotech; Technical Writer . 6 month contract with high Ice Dragon, and from the opening strains of “Astaroth” across the album’s willfully cumbersome 55-minute span, it was pure doom traditionalism with the kind of refresh that only a new generation could provide.  http://www.vedettes-panoramiques.com/?essay-writing-courses-london uk - Best pharmacy waiting for you to buy drugs. Amazing discounts that will make your medications even more affordable. Buy Pilgrim — then the trio of guitarist/vocalist  Looking for quality essay help online? Essay helper is one of the most demanded services by students Whenever I ask to College Admission Representative Cover Letter, Jon “The Wizard” Rossi, bassist  Copy Research Paper Topics Drugs Editing services uk :: Best term paper? >> Best research paper writing service reviews >> Custom essay writings? , Buy essays online paper writings discount code. Eric “Count Elric the Soothsayer” Dietrich and drummer  Best http://www.lotao.com/?chemistry-phd-thesis Service Our Custom Essay Paper Writing Service will help handle all your paper instructions according to your specifications. Nick “Krolg, Slayer of Men” Nosach — were kids and they looked like kids, but with  Introduction. Pacific http://www.kjpz.ch/?custom-admission-essay-meister (PTWS) is a technical writing department for hire. We use your engineering data and our resources to write Rossi‘s skullet and mournful voice, the band’s downcast image, depressive tonality, slow-rolling tempos and spacious mix, they tapped into the spirit of earliest  The Gates of Slumber in their “true doom” sensibility.  If you are looking to http://www.vervestudio.co.uk/dissertation-on-evaluation-of-training/ materials and that of top-quality, then youve got look for professional providers. This is to ensure you get nothing but quality stuff, and the writers who write your paper are themselves qualified. If you are looking for something similar, then one name you can trust is 123Dissertations.com. Misery Wizard was both the altar of worship and the paean itself when it came to doom for doomers by doomers.

So much of what you need to know is in the slowdown at the end of “Astaroth.” At six and a half minutes, the opener is among the shortest tracks on  College Resourcess - original papers at competitive costs available here will turn your studying into delight Let specialists Misery Wizard — only the brazen, galloping penultimate cut, “Adventurer,” is shorter at 4:29 — and it’s a slog already by the time they’re five minutes in, but as the procession continues toward its inevitable conclusion, the trio bring it slower, slower, and slower until finally it crashes out. It’s not that they were the first doom band ever to stick a slowdown at the finish of a given track, but Helpwritingcollegeessays Com provides editing and proofreading services for all types of academic essays & assignments. We are based in Canada. Get a free, instant price Pilgrim execute that moment with rare grace from one measure to the next, so that it happens gradually, not in jumps, and lets itself go into the fading feedback ahead of  http://www.leinefelde-worbis.de/?writer-block-homework introduction should include - Quality and affordable paper to make easier your education Professionally written and custom academic Misery Wizard‘s 10-minute title-track as if it’s opening a gate to the record itself. And, of course, it is.

“Misery Wizard” leads even further down into the D&D-pit-of-despair that  blog link without Overpayment. When students ask can your academic writing service do my essays for me quickly, they want to learn the conditions of the price policy. We want to calm you down and tell you a bit about our prices. We are quite confident that youll be content with them. They are alternatively cheap and youll pay a fair sum to get the assignment you require. We lower the price to make it affordable for ordinary clients. Besides, we allow full customization of the Pilgrim craft atmospherically — so much fog and lurk and rolling-of-ones to be had — and arrives as the first of three more extended tracks that comprise the meat of the album, along with “Quest” (9:52) and “Masters of the Sky.” By the time it’s done, “Misery Wizard” is righteously torturous, and “Quest” at first continues the thread, but picks up the tempo shortly before the halfway point, feeling like something of a lifeline thrown to the listener making their way through the dense humidity of the record as a whole, and though it doesn’t last but for a few minutes and the song ends with the album’s loudest ring of feedback, that stretch serves its purpose well. I’ll take “Masters of the Sky” as the highlight of the album,  Rossi‘s voice reaching desperately upward through the mix in the early going, layered in the second half and more forward, but still morose and placed well in the raw crash that surrounds ahead of another noisy finish.

Given its speedier shift, there’s really nowhere else to stick “Adventurer” but ahead of 12-minute closer “Forsaken Man.” It never gets quite to High on Fire-level brash, but it’s not far off, and in a different pilgrim misery wizardcontext — and a much smoother production — that main riff wouldn’t have been out of place on a record by The Sword. In Pilgrim‘s hands, the groove is fervent but the tailspin is more dangerous, and the cymbal wash and noise that consumes the better part of the last 40 seconds feels earned in a ringing-out kind of fuckall topped with more feedback.

And speaking of feedback — have I mentioned feedback? — the launch of “Forsaken Man” is like slamming headfirst into a wall of it before the band enact their lurchiest of lurches. The culmination of Misery Wizard hits into another level of grueling, cracking itself open after seven minutes to obscure gurgling, chanting or whatever it is before surging back somewhat to its zombified post-Saint Vitus march, which caps of course in suitably miserable fashion and yet more feedback. Pilgrim having established the method and unfurled their aural punishment at will throughout, it’s only fair they should underscore the point in the album’s final seconds. You wouldn’t call it brutal in the death metal sense, but it’s far from friendly.

I was lucky enough to see Pilgrim three times during this era. The first time was at a show in Brooklyn with Windhand and Magic Circle (review here) and the second time was Stoner Hands of Doom XII in Connecticut (review here), where they were slotted among the headliners and indeed pulled one of the weekend’s best crowds as I recall, and the third time was again in Brooklyn (review here). For such sonically downtrodden fare, the excited vibe around their set at the latter venue was palpable. People were into it. The hype was real and justified. They seemed like a band ready to hit the road, and they were, and they did, touring with Windhand, Heavy TempleAge of Taurus and Spirit Caravan, among others during their time.

A follow-up to Misery Wizard arrived in March 2014’s II: Void Worship (review here), which found Rossi all the more stepped into his role as frontman as the band tightened their songwriting and explored new reaches of melody that they would seem to have discovered on tour. They’d been to Roadburn 2013 (review here) by then and were no longer kids getting their feet under them as a touring band or playing to genre so much as looking to make their mark on it. One recalls their video for “The Paladin” (posted here) as being particularly emblematic of their aesthetic and putting Rossi at the fore.

His death on Oct. 26, 2017, was the end of the band. By then, Pilgrim was him, Dietrich and Brad “Bradoc the Thunderer” Richardson on drums, and though he was only 26 years old, he’d already had significant impact on the doom underground and an influence on how the up and coming generation of riffers interacted with what had come before them. In my experience with him, he was a shy but friendly enough guy. His loss was deeply felt.

And that’s a sad note to end on, but I can’t help think of the potential Pilgrim had for a longer-term progression that never got to play out. Nine years after their debut, who knows what they might’ve accomplished by this time. Maybe nothing else. Maybe they would’ve broken up — their long tour with Spirit Caravan was a big disillusion moment for them, as well as a fiscal drain — or maybe their third album would’ve been their best yet. We’ll never get to know. What’s important to keep in mind with that is that not knowing doesn’t undercut the value or achievement that was either Misery Wizard or the sophomore outing, and that just because the potential didn’t have the chance to be fulfilled doesn’t mean it wasn’t there in the first place.

This was a good band.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

Another week.

This week I got to live one of my true parenting nightmares: poop in the bathtub. I’ve been in charge of The Pecan’s bathtime since before he could sit up. Three and a half years and counting, bathtime has been my purview. He’s always hated the bath, even though he’s got toys galore that live in the tub, bubblebath, the whole nine. He doesn’t want water in his face and I do my best to see that he doesn’t get it.

Because he’s so miserable going in his diaper at this point and yet terrified of the toilet because he’s not already completely mastered using it — or, in fact, using it at all — he holds in his poop. For, like, two days before he can’t anymore. That moment came yesterday while he was taking a bath. He was duly horrified. I had to dig through bubbles to find poop nuggets, staying calm and saying it was okay, it was an accident, accidents happen, and all that. I’d always dreaded poop in the tub. I guess it says something about the mundane horrors of parenting that by the time it actually happened, all that shit wasn’t shit, as it were.

Our next door neighbors have a newborn. You can see the drawn look in their faces. I think the guy’s a cop? I don’t know. We’re wave-to-each-other cordial. Every now and again The Patient Mrs. has a conversation. We went out when they brought the kid home. He was squidgy as newborns are. I like that age well enough. They just need you and sleep intermittently. I’ve been thinking about that time — end of 2017 — a lot as a result. I was pretty much dying. I found a picture of myself the other day from a month before he was born. I look sick and I was. Full on bulimic. What’re you gonna do. There’s a big part of me that misses that. The feeling of control. Shrug. Xanax to shut the ol’ brain up.

The weekends are hard lately, no break. I don’t remember what’s up for Monday but I know the week is full. Hang on. Yeah. Yo No Se video premiere Monday. Tuesday Mourn the Light. Wednesday Melissa. Thursday Wytch and Bottomless. Friday I’m gonna review something. Maybe Heavy Temple or Stöner, depending on my mood. Shrug again.

Alright, I think we’re all caught up. New Gimme show today, 5PM, and I still don’t know if I’m posting this before or after the Jack Harlon thing. I think before, because technically in Australia that post will be for Saturday morning? I don’t know. I’ll think about it while I dick around at Wegmans and look at food I’m not gonna let myself eat. It goes like that sometimes.

Thanks for reading. Great and safe weekend. Hydrate. Watch your head. Do what you need to do to get through the day. Go buy some Obelisk shorts from David at MIBK. He’s a great guy.

FRM.

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Quarterly Review: Sonic Flower, Demon Head, Rakta & Deafkids, Timo Ellis, Heavy Feather, Slow Draw, Pilot Voyager, The Ginger Faye Bakers, Neromega, Tung

Posted in Reviews on April 2nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

Friday morning and the Spring 2021 Quarterly Review draws to a close. It’s been a good one, and though there are probably enough albums on my desktop to make it go another few days, better to quit while I’m ahead in terms of not-being-so-tired-I’m-angry-at-everything-I’m-hearing. In any case, as always, I hope you found something here you enjoy. I have been pleasantly surprised on more than a few occasions, especially by debuts.

We wrap with more cool stuff today and since I’m on borrowed time as it is, let me not delay.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Sonic Flower, Rides Again

sonic flower rides again

Like Church of Misery‘s groove but feel kind of icky with all those songs about serial killers? Legit. Say hello to Tatsu Mikami‘s Sonic Flower. Once upon a 2003, the band brought all the boogie and none of the slaughter of Tatsu‘s now-legendary Sabbathian doom rock outfit to a self-titled debut (reissue review here), and Rides Again is the lost follow-up from 2005, unearthed like so many of the early ’70s forsaken classics that clearly inspired it. With covers of The Meters and Graham Central Station, Sonic Flower makes their funky intentions plain as day, and the blowout drums and full-on fuzz they bring to those cuts as well as the five originals on the short-but-satisfying 28-minute offering is a win academically and for casual fans alike. You ain’t gonna hear “Jungle Cruise” or their take on “Earthquake” and come out complaining, is what I’m saying. This is the kind of record that makes you buy more records.

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Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

 

Demon Head, Viscera

demon head viscera

With Viscera, Copenhagen’s Demon Head make their debut on Metal Blade Records. It is their fourth album overall, the follow-up to 2019’s Hellfire Ocean Void (review here), and it continues the five-piece’s enduring exploration of darker places. Dramatic vocals recount grim narratives over backing instrumentals that are less doom at the outset with “Tooth and Nail” and “The Feline Smile” than goth, and atmospheric pieces like “Arrows” and “The Lupine Choir” and “A Long, Groaning Descent” and “Wreath” and certainly the closer “The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony” further the impression that Viscera, though its title conjures raw guts, is instead an elaborate entirety — if perhaps one of raw guts — and meant to be taken in its 36-minute whole. Demon Head make that LP-friendly runtime a progression down into reaches they’d not until this point gone, tapping sadness for its inherent beauty.

Demon Head on Thee Facebooks

Metal Blade Records website

 

Rakta & Deafkids, Live at Sesc Pompeia

Rakta Deafkids Live at Sesc Pompeia

Next time someone asks you what the future sounds like, you’ll have a good answer for them. Combined into a six-piece band, Brazilian outfits Rakta and Deafkids harness ambience and space-punk thrust into a sound that is born of a past that hasn’t yet happened. Their Live at Sesc Pompeia LP follows on from a 2019 two-songer, but it’s in the live performance that the spirit of this unity really shines through, and from opener/longest track (immediate points) “Miragem” through the semi-industrialized effects swirl of “Templo do Caos,” into the blower-noise dance party “Sigilo,” the weirdo-chug-jam of “Forma” and the space rock breakout “Flor de Pele” and the percussed buzz and echoing howls of “Espirais,” they are equal parts encompassing and singular. It is not to be ignored, and though there are moments that border on unlistenable, you can hear from the wailing crowd at the end that to be in that room was to witness something special. As a document of that, Live at Sesc Pompeia feels like history in the making.

Rakta on Thee Facebooks

Deafkids on Thee Facebooks

Rapid Eye Records website

 

Timo Ellis, Death is Everywhere

Timo Ellis Death is Everywhere

A madcap, weighted-but-anti-genre sensibility comes to life in supernova-experimentalist fashion throughout the four songs of Timo EllisDeath is Everywhere. The lockdown-era EP from Ellis (Netherlands, Yoko Ono, Cibo Matto, on and on) makes post-modern shenanigans out of apocalypses inner and outer, and from lines like “this bridal shower is bumming me out” in the unabashedly hooky “Vampire Rodeo” to “the earth will still breathe fire without you!” in “Left Without an Answer,” the stakes are high despite the flittering-in-appreciation-of-the-absurd mood of the tracks themselves. The title-track and “Evolve or Die” blend sonic heft and the experimental pop movement that “Vampire Rodeo” sets forth — the third cut is positively manic and maniacally positive — while “Left Without an Answer” almost can’t help but be consuming as it rolls into a long fade leaving intertwining vocals lines as the last to go, telling the listener to “learn to say goodbye” without making it easy. Won’t be for everyone, doesn’t want to be. Is expression for itself. Feels genuine in that, and admirable.

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Timo Ellis on Bandcamp

 

Heavy Feather, Mountain of Sugar

heavy feather mountain of sugar

With not-at-all-subtle nods to Humble Pie and Ennio Morricone in its opening tracks, Heavy Feather‘s second LP, Mountain of Sugar, has boogie to spare. No time is wasted on the 38-minute/11-track follow-up to 2019’s Débris & Rubble (review here), and true to the record’s title, it’s pretty sweet. The collection pits retro mindset against modern fullness in its harmonica-laced, duly-fuzzed title-track, and goes full-Fleetwood on “Come We Can Go” heading into a side B that brings a highlight in the soft-touch-stomp of “Rubble and Debris” and an earned bit of Southern-styled turn in “Sometimes I Feel” that makes a fitting companion to all the bluesy vibes throughout, particularly those of the mellow “Let it Shine” earlier. The Stockholm outfit knew what they were doing last time out too, but you can hear their process being refined throughout Mountain of Sugar, and even its most purposefully familiar aspects come across with a sense of will and playfulness.

Heavy Feather on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Slow Draw, Yellow & Gray

slow draw yellow and gray

Don’t tell him I told you so, but Slow Draw is starting to sound an awful lot like a band. What began as a drone/soundscaping project from Stone Machine Electric drummer/noisemaker Mark Kitchens has sprouted percussive roots of its own on Yellow & Gray, and as Kitchens explores textures of psychedelic funk, mellow heavy and even a bit of ’70s proggy homage in “Sylvia” ahead of the readily Beck-ian jam “Turntable” and acousti-drone closer “A Slow Move,” the band-vibe is rampant. I’m going to call Yellow & Gray a full-length despite the fact that it’s 24 minutes long because its eight songs inhabit so many different spaces between them, but however you want to tag it, it demonstrates the burgeoning depth of Kitchens‘ project and how it’s grown in perhaps unanticipated ways. If this is what he’s been doing in isolation — as much as Texas ever shuttered for the pandemic — his time has not been wasted.

Slow Draw on Thee Facebooks

Slow Draw on Bandcamp

 

Pilot Voyager, Nuclear Candy Bar

plot voyager nuclear candy bar

Freak! Out! The 66-minute Nuclear Candy Bar from Hungarian psychedelicists Pilot Voyager might end mostly drifting with the 27-minute “23:61,” but much of the four tracks prior to that finale are fuzz-on-go-go-go-out-out-out heavy jams, full in tone and improv spirit however planned their course may or may not actually be. To say the least, “Fuzziness” lives up to its name, as guitarist/founder Ákos Karancz — joined by bassist Bence Ambrus (who also mastered) and drummers Krisztián Megyeri and István Baumgartner (the latter only on the closer) — uses a relatively earthbound chug as a launchpad for further space/krautrocking bliss, culminating in a scorching cacophony that’s the shortest piece on the record at just under seven minutes. If you make it past the molten heat of the penultimate title-track, there’s no turning away from “23:61,” as the first minute of that next day pulls you in from the outset, a full-length flow all unto itself. More more more, yes yes yes. Alright you get the point.

Pilot Voyager on Thee Facebooks

Psychedelic Source Records on Bandcamp

 

The Ginger Faye Bakers, Camaro

the ginger faye bakers camaro

Sit with The Ginger Faye BakersCamaro EP for a little bit. Don’t just listen to the first track, or even the second, third or fourth, on their own, but take a few minutes to put it all together. Won’t take long, the thing’s only 17 minutes long, and in so doing you’ll emerge with a more complex picture of who they are as a band. Yeah, you hear the opening title-cut and think early-Queens of the Stone Age-style desert riffing, maybe with a touch of we’re-actually-from-the-Northeast tonal thickness, but the garage-heavy of “The Creeps” feels self-aware in its Uncle Acid-style swing, and as the trio move through the swinging “The Master” and “Satan’s Helpers,” the last song drawing effectively from all sides, the totality of the release becomes all the more sinister for the relatively straight-ahead beginning just a short time earlier. Might be a listen or two before it sinks in, but they’ve found a niche for themselves here and one hopes they continue to follow where their impulses lead them.

The Ginger Faye Bakers on Thee Facebooks

The Ginger Faye Bakers on Bandcamp

 

Neromega, Nero Omega

Neromega Nero Omega

If you’re not yet keeping an eye on Regain Records offshoot Helter Skelter Productions, Rome’s Neromega are a fervent argument for doing so. The initials-only cultish five-piece are Italian as much in their style of doom as they are in geography, and across their four-song Nero Omega debut EP, they run horror organ and classic heavy rock grooves alongside each other while nodding subtly at more extreme fare like the death ‘n’ roll rumble in closer “Un Posto” or the dirt-coated low end that caps “Pugnale Ardore,” the drifting psych only moments ago quickly forgotten in favor of renewed shuffle. Eight-minute opener “Solitudine,” might be the highlight as well as the longest inclusion on the 24-minute first-showing, but it’s by no means the sum total of what the band have on offer, as they saunter through giallo, psychedelia, doom, heavy riffs and who knows what else to come, they strike an immediately individual atmospheric presence even while actively toying with familiar sounds. The EP is cohesive enough to make me wonder what their initials are.

Neromega on Thee Facebooks

Helter Skelter Productions website

 

Tung, Bleak

TUNG BLEAK

Some of the made-even-bigger-by-echo vocals from guitarist Craig Kasamis might remind of Maurice Bryan Giles from Red Fang, but Ventura, California’s Tung are up chasing down a different kind of party on 2020’s Bleak, though Kasamis, guitarist David Briceno (since replaced by Bill Bensen), bassist Nick Minasian and drummer Rob Dean have a strong current of West Coast noise rock in what they’re doing as well in “Runaway,” a lurcher like “Spit” later on or the run-till-it-crashes finisher “Fallen Crown,” which the only song apart from the bookending opener “Succession Hand” to have a title longer than a single word. Still, Tung have their own, less pop-minded take on brashness, and this debut album leaves the bruises behind to demonstrate its born-from-hardcore lineage. Their according lack of frills makes Bleak all the more effective at getting its point across, and while they’d probably tell you their sound is nothing fancy, it’s fancy enough to stomp all over your ears for about half an hour, and that’s as fancy as it needs to be. Easy to dig even in its more aggressive moments.

Tung on Thee Facebooks

Plain Disguise Records website

 

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Quarterly Review: DVNE, Wowod, Trace Amount, Fuzzcrafter, Pine Ridge, Watchman, Bomg, White Void, Day of the Jackal, Green Druid

Posted in Reviews on April 1st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

Oh, hello there. Don’t mind me. I’m just here, reviewing another 10 records today. I did it yesterday too. I’ll do it again tomorrow. No big deal. It’s Quarterly Review time. You know how it goes.

Crazy day yesterday, crazy day today, but I’m in that mode where I kind of feel like I can make this go as long as I want. Next Monday? Why not? Other than the fact that I have something else slated, I can’t think of a reason. Fortunately, having something else slated is enough of one. Ha. Let’s go.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

DVNE, Etemen Ænka

dvne Etemen Ænka

It’s like Scotland’s DVNE threw all of modern heavy metal into a blender and hit “cohesive.” Etemen Ænka‘s lofty ambitions are matched indeed by the cohesion of the band’s craft, the professionalism of their presentation, and the scope of their second album’s 10 component tracks, whether that’s in the use of synth throughout “Towers” or the dreamy post-rock aside in “Omega Severer,” the massive riffing used as a tool not a crutch in “Court of the Matriarch,” closer “Satuya” and elsewhere, and even the interlude-y pieces “Weighing of the Heart,” “Adraeden” and the folkish “Asphodel” that leads into the finale. DVNE have made themselves into the band you wish Isis became. Also the band you wish Mastodon became. And probably six or seven others. And while Etemen Ænka is certainly not without prog-styled indulgence, there is no taking away from the significant accomplishment these songs represent for them as a group putting out their first release on Metal Blade. It’ll be too clean for some ears, but the tradeoff for that is the abiding sense of poise with which DVNE deliver the songs. This will be on my year-end list, and I won’t be the only one.

DVNE on Thee Facebooks

Metal Blade Records website

 

Wowod, Yarost’ I Proshchenie

Wowod Yarost I Proshchenie

Beginning with its longest track (immediate points) in the 11-minute “Rekviem,” Yarost’ I Proshchenie is the third full-length from St. Petersburg’s Wowod, and its sudden surge from ‘unfold’ to ‘onslaught’ is a legitimate blindside. They hypnotize you then push you down a flight of stairs as death growls, echoing guitar lines and steady post-metallic drum and bass hold the line rhythmically. This sense of disconnect, ultimately, leads to a place of soaring melody and wash, but that feeling of moving from one place to another is very much the core of what Wowod do throughout the rest of the album that follows. “Tanec Yarosti” is a sub-three-minute blaster, while “Proshschenie” lumbers and crashes through its first half en route to a lush soundscape in its second, rounding out side A. I don’t care what genre “Zhazhda” is, it rules, and launches side B with rampaging momentum, leading to the slow, semi-industrial drag of “Chornaya Zemlya,” the harsh thrust of “Zov Tysyachi Nozhey” and, finally, dizzyingly, the six-minute closer “Top’,” which echoes cavernous and could just as easily have been called “Bottom.” Beautiful brutality.

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Church Road Records on Bandcamp

 

Trace Amount, Endless Render

trace amount endless render

The chaos of last year is writ large in the late-2020 Endless Render EP from Brooklyn-based solo industrial outfit Trace Amount. The project headed by Brandon Gallagher (ex-Old Wounds) engages with harsh noise and heavy beatmaking, injecting short pieces like “Pop Up Morgues” with a duly dystopian atmosphere. Billy Rymer (The Dillinger Escape Plan, etc.) guests on drums for opener “Processed Violence (in 480P)” and the mminute-long “Seance Stimulant,” but it’s in the procession of the final three tracks — the aforementioned “Pop Up Morgues,” as well as “S.U.R.V.I.V.A.L.” and “Easter Sunday” — that Gallagher makes his most vivid portrayals. His work is evocative and resonant in its isolated feel, opaque like staring into an uncertain future but not without some semblance of hope in its resolution. Or maybe that’s the dream and the dance-party decay of “Dreaming in Displacement” is the reality. One way or the other, I’m looking forward to what Trace Amount does when it comes to a debut album.

Trace Amount on Thee Facebooks

Trace Amount on Bandcamp

 

Fuzzcrafter, C-D

Fuzzcrafter C D

French instrumentalists Fuzzcrafter issued C-D in October 2020 as a clear answer/complement to 2016’s A-B, even unto its Jo Riou cover art, which replaces the desert-and-fuzz-pedal of the first offering with a forest-and-pedal here. The six works that make up the 41-minute affair are likewise grown, able to affect a sense of lushness around the leading-the-way riffage in extended cuts “C2” (13:13) and the psychedelic back half of “D2” (13:18), working in funk-via-prog basslines (see also the wah guitar starting “D1” for more funk) over solid drums without getting any more lost than they want to be in any particular movement. In those songs and elsewhere, Fuzzcrafter make no attempt to hide the fact that they’re a riff-based band, but the acoustic side-finales in “C3” (which also features Rhodes piano) and “D3,” though shorter, reinforce both the structural symmetry of the mirrored sides as a whole and a feeling of breadth that is injected elsewhere in likewise organic fashion. They’re not changing the world and they’re not trying to, but there’s a mark being left here sound-wise and it’s enough to wonder what might be in store for the inevitable E-F.

Fuzzcrafter on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzcrafter on Bandcamp

 

Pine Ridge, Can’t Deny

Pine Ridge Can't Deny

Pine Ridge‘s second album, Can’t Deny, finds the Russian four/five-piece working in textures of keys and organ for a bluesier feel to tracks like the post-intro opening title-cut and the classic feeling later “Genesis.” Songwriting is straightforward, vocals gritty but well attended with backing arrangements, and the take on “Wayfaring Stranger” that ends the record’s first half conjures enough of a revivalist spirit to add to the atmosphere overall. The four tracks that follow — “Genesis,” “Runaway,” “Sons of Nothing” and “Those Days” — featured as well on 2019’s Sons of Nothing EP, but are consistent in groove and “Sons of Nothing” proves well placed to serve as an energetic apex of Can’t Deny ahead of “Those Days,” which starts quiet before bursting to life with last-minute electricity. A clear production emphasizes hooks and craft, and though I’ll grant I don’t know much about Siberia’s heavy rock scene, Pine Ridge ably work within the tenets of style while offering marked quality of songwriting and performance. That’s enough to ask from anywhere.

Pine Ridge on Thee Facebooks

Karma Conspiracy website

 

Watchman, Behold a Pale Horse

watchman behold a pale horse

Plain in its love for Sabbath-minded riffing and heavy Americana roll, “Bowls of Wrath” opens the three-song Dec. 2020 debut EP, Behold a Pale Horse, from Indiana-based solo-project Watchman, and the impression is immediate. With well-mixed cascades of organ and steadily nodding guitar, bass, drums and distorted, howling vocals, there is both a lack of pretense and an individualized take on genre happening at once. The EP works longest to shortest, with “Wormwood” building up from sparse guitar to far-back groove using negative space in the sound to bolster “Planet Caravan”-ish watery verses and emphasize the relative largesse of the track preceding as well as “The Second Death,” which follows. That closer is a quick four minutes that’s slow in tempo, but the lead-line cast overtop the mega-fuzzed central riff is effective in creating a current to carry the listener from one bank of the lake of fire to the other. In 15 minutes, multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/producer Roy Waterford serves notice of intention for a forthcoming debut LP to be titled Doom of Babylon, and it is notice worth heeding.

Watchman on Instagram

Watchman on Bandcamp

 

Bomg, Peregrination

bomg peregrination

Bomg‘s Peregrination isn’t necessarily extreme the way one thinks of death or black metal as extreme styles of heavy metal, but is extreme just the same in terms of pushing to the outer limits of the aesthetics involved. The album’s four track, “Electron” (38:12), “Perpetuum” (39:10), “Paradigm” (37:17) and “Emanation” (37:49), could each consume a full 12″ LP on their own, and presented digitally one into the next, they are a tremendous, willfully unmanageable two-and-a-half-hour deep-dive into raw blowout dark psychedelic doom. The harsh rumble and noise in “Perpetuum” some 28 minutes on sounds as though the Ukrainian outfit have climbed the mountains of madness, and there is precious little clarity to be found in “Paradigm” or “Emanation” subsequent as they continue to hammer the spike of their manifestations deeper into the consciousness of the listener. From “Electron” onward, the self-recording Kyiv trio embark on this overwhelming journey into the unknown, and they don’t so much invite you along as unveil the devastating consequences of having made the trip. Righteously off-putting.

Bomg on Thee Facebooks

Robustfellow Productions on Bandcamp

 

White Void, Anti

white void anti

As much as something can fly under the radar and be a Nuclear Blast release, I’m more surprised by the hype I haven’t heard surrounding White Void‘s debut album, Anti. Pulling together influences from progressive European-style heavy rock, classic metal, cult organ, New Wave melodies and a generally against-grain individualism, it is striking in its execution and the clear purpose behind what it’s doing. It’s metal and it’s not. It’s rock and it’s pop and it’s heavy and it’s light and floating. And its songs have substance as well as style. With Borknagar‘s Lars Nedland as the founding principal of the project, the potential in Anti‘s eight component tracks is huge, and if one winds up thinking of this as post-black metal, it’s a staggeringly complex iteration of it to which this and any other description I’ve seen does little justice. It’s going to get called “prog” a lot because of the considered nature of its composition, but that’s barely scratching the surface of what’s happening here.

White Void on Thee Facebooks

Nuclear Blast Records store

 

Day of the Jackal, Day Zero

Day of the Jackal Day Zero

Leeds, UK, four-piece Day of the Jackal bring straight-ahead hard rock songwriting and performance with an edge of classic heavy. There’s a Guns ‘n’ Roses reference in “Belief in a Lie” if you’re up for catching it, and later cuts like “Riskin’ it All” and “‘Til the Devil” have like-minded dudes-just-hit-on-your-girlfriend-and-you’re-standing-right-there vibes. They’re a rock band and they know it, and while I was a little bummed out “Rotten to the Core” wasn’t an Overkill cover, the 10 songs of love and death that pervade this debut long-player are notably hooky from “On Your Own” to “Deadfall” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Deathride,” which casually inhabits biker riffing with no less ease of movement than the band would seem to do anything else. Production by James “Atko” Atkinson of Gentlemans Pistols highlights the clarity of the performance rather than giving a rawer glimpse at who Day of the Jackal might be on stage, but there’s plenty of vitality to go around in any case, and it’s headed your way from the moment you start the record.

Day of the Jackal on Thee Facebooks

Day of the Jackal on Bandcamp

 

Green Druid, At the Maw of Ruin

green druid at the maw of ruin

Following their 2018 debut, Ashen Blood (review here), Denver heavy lifters Green Druid give due breadth to their closing take on Portishead‘s “Threads,” but the truth is that cover is set up by the prior five tracks of huge-sounding riffery, basking in the varying glories of stoner doom throughout opener “The Forest Dark” while keeping an eye toward atmospheric reach all the while. It is not just nod and crush, in other words, in Green Druid‘s arsenal throughout At the Maw of Ruin, and indeed, “End of Men” and “Haunted Memories” bridge sludge and black metal screaming as “A Throne Abandoned” offers surprising emotional urgency over its ready plod, and the long spoken section in “Desert of Fury/Ocean of Despair” eventually gives way not only to the most weighted slamming on offer, but a stretch of noise to lead into the closer. All along the way, Green Druid mark themselves out as a more complex outfit than their first record showed them to be, and their reach shows no sign of stopping here either.

Green Druid on Thee Facebooks

Earache Records website

 

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Quarterly Review: Jess and the Ancient Ones, Dread Sovereign, Space Smoke, If it Kills You, Clara Engel, Maya Mountains, Cave of Swimmers, Blind Monarch, Cancervo, Sahara

Posted in Reviews on March 30th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

Hello Day Two of the Quarterly Review. It started by oversleeping by about an hour, but so it goes. Yesterday went about as smoothly as I can ask a QR day to go, so I’m hoping that today follows suit despite the rough start. There’s nothing like building some momentum once you get going with these writeups. It’s about as close to ‘in the zone’ as I get. Trance of productivity.

As always, I hope you find something here you dig. Today’s round is good and all over the place, so maybe everyone’ll get lucky. Here goes.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Jess and the Ancient Ones, Vertigo

jess and the ancient ones vertigo

More than a decade on from their founding, Finland’s Jess and the Ancient Ones are an established brand when it comes to cult psych rock, and their fourth full-length, issued through Svart, is gleeful to the point of witch-cackling on “Talking Board” (think Ouija) and offers rousing classically-stylized hooks on fellow early cuts like opener “Burning of the Velvet Fires” and “World Paranormal” as well as side B’s “Born to Kill,” the Dr. Strangelove-sampling “Summer Tripping Man” and the organ-washed “What’s on Your Mind” ahead of an 11-minute prog rock grand finale in “Strange Earth Illusion” that feels very much like the impetus toward which the album has been driving all along. Relax, you’re in the hands of professional mystics, and their acid rock vibes are made all the more grand by Jess‘ soulful delivery atop the ever-clever arrangements of guitar, organ, bass, drums, samples, and so on. This kind of cultish lysergic fare has never been and never will be for everyone. Listening to Vertigo, you can only really wonder why that is.

Jess and the Ancient Ones on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records website

 

Dread Sovereign, Alchemical Warfare

dread sovereign alchemical warfare

Metallic overload! Irish assault supreme! All sentences end with exclamation points! A new Dread Sovereign record doesn’t come along every day, or year, but the Dublin trio certainly make it count when one does. Alchemical Warfare is the third LP from the Alan Averill-fronted outfit, and with Johnny “Con Ri” King (also Conan) on drums and guitarist Bones Huse (also Wizards of Firetop Mountain), the band tear through nine tracks and 51 minutes of doom-colored metallurgy, throwing unrepentant fists in the air under darkened, irony-free skies. By the time 10-minute post-intro opener “She Wolves of the Savage Season” is over, if you’re not ready to quit your job and join the legion about to set march to “The Great Beast We Serve,” it’s no fault of the band’s. “Nature is the Devil’s Church” was the lead single and is a standout hook, but the grandiosity of “Ruin Upon the Temple Mount”‘s Candlemassy riffing is too good to be ignored, and they finish with a Bathory cover, because fucking a, that’s why.

Dread Sovereign on Thee Facebooks

Metal Blade Records website

 

Space Smoke, Aurora Dourada

Space Smoke Aurora Dourada

The debut EP from Brazilian instrumentalist trio Space Smoke runs all of 12 minutes, but that’s long enough for Aurora Dourada to give an impression of where the band are coming from. Three distinct tracks — “Magia Cerimonial,” “Interludio” and “Corpo Solar” — comprise the outing, and the middle one is indeed an interlude, so it’s really the opener and closer doing the heavy lifting. “Magia Cerimonia” starts off with a sense of foreboding but makes its way instead into hypnotic repetition, bordering on a meditative lumber that doesn’t stick around long enough to be redundant, and with the interlude as a breath between, the eight-minute “Corpo Solar” rounds out as the most substantial piece of the outing, drifting guitar over languid drums and bass, dreamy and sopping wet with reverb. They push it heavier than its quiet beginning, of course, but even the howling lead work near the finish maintains the inviting and immersive vibe with which they set out. Might be a blip of things to come, but it’s a blip worth checking out. Mini-trip.

Space Smoke on Instagram

Abraxas Events on Thee Facebooks

 

If it Kills You, Infinite Hum

if it kills you infinite hum

Infinite Hum is the striking debut LP from Bakersfield, California, post-hardcore heavy three/four-piece If it Kills You, who along with the periodic charred guest vocals on half the six tracks, bring together a quick assemblage for a 12″ that readily alternates between melodic sway and shoutier roll. They groove despite unpredictable turns, and their blend of hefted tones and punker-grown-up melodies makes a welcome impression on opener “We Don’t Belong Here” or “Moving Target.” Starts and stops and a bit of winding lead work give “Repeat Resolve” an edge of noise rock — more than an edge, actually; kind of like the flat side of a brick — but If it Kills You never push to one side or the other entirely, and as the screams return for later in “Repeat Resolve” and closer “Projections,” charged every time with and succeeding at pushing a crescendo over the top, the band manage to bring sincerity and structure together with what sounds like experienced hands. Don’t be fooled by “first album”; they know what they’re doing.

If it Kills You on Thee Facebooks

Killer Kern on Bandcamp

 

Clara Engel, A New Skin

Clara Engel A New Skin

I’m not sure if anyone still calls this kind of thing “neo-folk,” but I am sure I don’t care. The sense of atmosphere Clara Engel puts into her latest album, A New Skin, beginning with the shift between minimal guitar and keyboard on “Starry Eyed Goat,” uses negative space no less effectively than does the mostly-black cover art, and the eight-song/46-minute outing that ensues alternates between emotive and wondrously ambient, suited to the home recording done during (presumed) isolation in Fall 2020. Engel handles all instrumentation herself and remains indelibly human in her sometimes-layered vocal delivery all the while, speaking to a building-out process of the material, but one does not get the sense in listening to “Night Tide” and the sparse “Thieves” back-to-back that the foundation of all the songs is the same, which is all the more representative of an exploratory songwriting process. A New Skin as a whole feels likewise exploratory, a reflection inward as much as out.

Clara Engel on Thee Facebooks

Clara Engel on Bandcamp

 

Maya Mountains, Era

maya mountains era

Long-running Italian trio Maya Mountains issued Era through Go Down Records in 2020 as their first album in some six years, readily engaging with desert rock on cuts like “San Saguaro” and closer “El Toro,” working in a bit of post-Queens of the Stone Age riffy quirk to go along with less bouncing and chunkier fare on “Vibromatic” and “Baumgartner,” or “Extremely High,” which makes its speedier tempo feel organic ahead of the finish. All told, it’s 44 minutes of solid heavy rock, with variation between songs of what each is working toward doing that does nothing to pull away from the vibe as a whole, whether that’s in a more aggressive moment like “Vibromatic” or the spacier playfulness at the start of “Raul,” the band clearly unafraid of letting a little funk hold sway for a minute or two. Engaging without being revolutionary, Era knows its craft and audience alike, and offers one to the other without pretense or presumption. It’s rock for rockers, but what’s wrong with that?

Maya Mountains on Thee Facebooks

Go Down Records website

 

Cave of Swimmers, Aurora

cave of swimmers aurora

An awaited first long-player from Miami duo Cave of Swimmers — vocalist/guitarist/synthesist Guillermo Gonzalez and drummer/percussionist/vocalist Arturo Garcia — packages epic metal in tight-knit bursts of heavy rock tonality. Choruses in “The Sun” and “Double Rainbow” are grand affairs not because their tones are so huge, but because of the melodies that top them, and at the same time, with riffs at the forefront of the verses, the duo make progressive shifts sound classic in the vein of Iron Maiden or Dio with a still-prevailing fuzzy topcoat. Centerpiece “My Human” is a love song that slams, while “Looking Glass” leans deeper into prog metal but brings the listener along with a another sweeping hook, a pattern of tension and release that carries over to “Dirt” as well, which leaves “C.S” to close out with its “Sign of the Southern Cross” keyboard-and-harmonies intro en route to a poised but still thrashing finish. There’s life in heavy metal, and here it is.

Cave of Swimmers on Thee Facebooks

Broomtune Records website

 

Blind Monarch, What is Imposed Must Be Endured

blind monarch what is imposed must be endured

Straight out of Sheffield, UK, Blind Monarch first released their What is Imposed Must Be Endured four-song/56-minute full-length on Black Bow Records in 2020 and it’s been picked up for a 2LP vinyl pressing by Dry Cough Records. There’s something to be said for splitting up these tracks each onto its own side, making the whole release more manageable despite getting up to do a side or platter flip, but any way you go, “Suffering Breathes My Name” (13:45), “My Mother, My Cradle, My Tomb” (10:47), “Blind Monarch” (14:10) and closer “Living Altar” (17:54) are geared toward sharp-toothed death-sludge consumption, extreme in thought and deed. Feedback is strewn about the place like so much flayed skin, and even in the quiet moments at the start and laced into “Living Altar,” the atmosphere remains oppressive. Yet, endure one must. Blind Monarch, even among the UK’s ultra-packed underground, are a standout in how maddeningly heavy they manage to be, and on their debut outing, no less. If you missed it last year, be ready to pay extra for shipping.

Blind Monarch on Thee Facebooks

Dry Cough Records website

Black Bow Records webstore

 

Cancervo, 1

cancervo 1

Each track on Italian instrumentalist trio Cancervo‘s debut album, titled simply 1, is intended to represent an area near their home in the mountainous region of Lombardy, Italy. Their tones are duly thick, their presentation patient and their cast is broad in terms of its landscape. From “Averara,” one might see kilometers, in other words. Whether or not you’re familiar with Cancervo‘s locale, their tonal warmth and heavy psychedelic expanse resonates immersively, letting each of the two sides develop on its own from the beginnings in “Cancervo” and “Darco,” both the longest cuts on their respective halves. The fuller fuzz of “SWLABR” and the punch of bass that accompanies the tom hits on closer “1987” are subtle shifts emblematic of Cancervo‘s creative progression getting underway, and the task to which they set themselves — portraying place in sound — is no less admirable than their accomplishment of same would see to be. I’ve never been there, so can’t confirm 100 percent if that’s what it sounds like, but in repeat listens, I’m happy to take the band’s word (or riffs) for it.

Cancervo on Thee Facebooks

Electric Valley Records website

 

Sahara, The Curse

sahara the curse

Its four cuts run 17 minutes with the last of them an instrumental title-track that’s under three, but I don’t care — the entire thing is so righteously raw and garage nasty that I’m on board with however much Argentina’s Sahara want to bring to The Curse. “Gallows Noose” sounds like it was taped, and then re-taped, and then re-taped again before finally being pressed (to tape), and there’s no mistaking that’s an aesthetic choice on the part of the band, who probably have phones that could make something with clearer audio, but the in-room demo feel of “Hell on Earth” and “Altar of Sacrifice,” the rootsy metal-of-doom feel of it hits on its own level. Sometimes you just want something that comes across barebones and mean, and that’s what The Curse does. Call it retro, call it unproduced, call it whatever you want, it doesn’t matter. Sahara (bring looks that) kill it on that Sabbath-worshiping altar and sound dirt-coated all the while, making everything everything else in the universe seem more complicated than it needs to be.

Sahara on Thee Facebooks

Helter Skelter Productions website

 

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DVNE to Release Etemen Ænka March 19; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 21st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

DVNE have set March 19 as the release date for their new album, Etemen Ænka, which is to serve as their debut on Metal Blade Records. The arrival of the record would seem to have been a while in the making — the band had inked a deal with RidingEasy in 2019, shortly before they made a return appearance at Psycho Las Vegas, there they’d made their US live debut the prior year (review here) — but certainly the fact that it’s on Metal Blade that the full-length arrives is notable in itself. It’s not every day a band like this puts out a record on a label like this.

And when it comes to “a band like this,” DVNE stand largely apart despite pulling together familiar stylistic elements of progressive and post-metal. In their new single, “Sì-XIV,” their penchant for atmospherics does little to undercut the impact of harder-hitting stretches. This is actually the second audio to make its way to the public behind the issued-on-its-own Omega Severer (review here), which will also appear on Etemen Ænka when it arrives in March.

The PR wire has art and info to spare:

dvne Etemen Ænka

Dvne reveals details for new album, ‘Etemen Ænka’; launches video for new single, “Sì-XIV”

On March 19th, Dvne will release their sophomore album, Etemen Ænka, via Metal Blade Records. For a first preview of the record, a video for the new single “Si?-XIV” can be viewed at: metalblade.com/dvne – where Etemen Ænka can also be pre-ordered in the following formats:

– digisleeve-CD
– 180g black vinyl (EU exclusive)
– raisin rouge marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 400 copies)
– grey / yellow-green marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 300 copies)
– gold / black dust vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
– clear / black dust vinyl (Kings Road exclusive – limited to 100 copies)
– dark goldenrod marbled vinyl (US exclusive)
– clear ash gray marbled vinyl (US exclusive)

Dvne comments: “With the context of covid and the strong travel restrictions we’ve had in the UK and Europe, shooting ‘SI-XIV’ was a real challenge, but we’re glad we could make it happen.
The video was split between two shoots: we worked once again with our close friends Just-Aurèle Meissonnier, Louis Macéra, Gilles Garniers and Michel Jocaille for the creature part of the shoot (shot in Paris); the rest of the video footage was shot in Edinburgh by Calum McMillan and our light tech Sam Jones.

We’ve always loved prosthetic effects and wanted to use our own creations in the video, but the overall aesthetic takes no small amount of inspiration from some of our favourite 70/80s sci-fi horror films. We had this concept of a weird humanoid-type creature facing the overwhelming harshness and the hopeless nature of its existence.

The video symbolically follows the narrative theme of the track within the new album, with the creature attempting to escape its nature through metamorphosis throughout the video. It was an incredibly fun few days setting up and shooting all the creature parts in Paris.”

Dvne are a band of great contrasts, weaving titanic heaviness and intricate gentleness together, complex lyrical ideas with engaging storylines, and this has only been expanded upon and concentrated on second album Etemen Ænka. “It’s an album that has a narrative musically, and we hope that will encourage the listener to explore the universe we’ve created around it,” states guitarist/vocalist Victor Vicart. “It is a very dense and layered album which will reward multiple listens, and while this is becoming a recurring aspect of our music, we feel that we went further with it this time. It’s also a very polarizing album, emotionally speaking. The heavy sections are, well, very heavy, while the clean sections are much more intricate and delicate – and in a way wouldn’t be out of place in a Studio Ghibli anime soundtrack.” Exploring everything in greater depth in every way, it is a profound step forward from 2017’s Asheran, starting an exciting new chapter in the existence of one of the most thrilling and imaginative metal bands active today. “We knew we wanted to include keys and synths in the equation. We wanted to be able to add new textures and new sounds that weren’t on our previous releases, and we felt that this was something that will give us more options creatively. Looking back, that was a great decision because we’ve used synths for everything, with ambient sounds, heavy subs and actual leads, which really added a new dynamic to this album. We’ve also kept this balance between down-tuned heavy riffs and clean movements, which were already present in ‘Asheran’, but we really wanted to make sure we could capture more details and subtleties once recorded,” explains Vicart. Synths are in fact so present, and at times so unapologetically 80s, that they sound like the soundtrack to a classic sci-fi, which may well surprise fans, the band confident in every step they took musically.

Etemen Ænka is also Dvne’s second collaboration with producer Graeme Young in Edinburgh’s Chamber Studio, having developed a great working relationship with him on Asheran – “he acts like an extra member of the band and really pushes us to do better takes.” This made for a smooth and productive recording process, the challenging part coming before they entered the studio. “The composition was challenging because we second guess every riff that gets written. We want to keep things fresh, and we want to keep the energy high too, so the initial creative stage can become intense. Then, because our tracks are pretty big and dense with ideas and movements, we didn’t finalize each track structure until we started laying down the drums. But I think it’s what made the whole recording process so much fun too, because it allowed us to really think about the different options available without committing to a final structure too early in the process.” The record also features guest vocals courtesy of Lissa Robertson, who sings on “Omega Severer” and “Asphodel” and contributes spoken word on “Weighing Of The Heart” – her voice adding yet another depth to the heavily layered collection.

Tracklisting:
1. Enûma Eliš
2. Towers
3. Court of the Matriarch
4. Weighing of the Heart
5. Omega Severer
6. Adræden
7. Sì-XIV
8. Mleccha
9. Asphodel
10. Satuya

https://www.facebook.com/DvneUK
https://twitter.com/SongsOfArrakis
https://www.instagram.com/dvne_uk/
https://songs-of-arrakis.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/metalbladerecords
https://www.instagram.com/metalbladerecords/
https://www.metalblade.com/

DVNE, “Sì-XIV” official video

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Quarterly Review: Boris, DVNE, Hydra, Jason Simon, Cherry Choke, Pariiah, Saavik, Mountain Tamer, Centre El Muusa, Population II

Posted in Reviews on December 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Kind of a spur of the moment thing, this Quarterly Review. I’ve been adding releases all the while, of course, but my thought was to do this after my year-end list went up, and I realized, hey, if I’ve got like 70 records I haven’t reviewed yet, maybe there’s some of that stuff worth considering. So here we are. I’ve pushed back my best-of-2020 stuff and basically swapped it with the Quarterly Review. Does it matter to you? I seriously, seriously doubt it, but I believe in transparency and that’s what’s up. Thought I’d let you know. And yeah, this is going to go into next week, take us through the X-mas holiday this Friday, so whatever. You celebrate your way and I’ll celebrate mine. Let’s roll.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Boris, No

boris no

As a general project, reviewing Boris is damn near pointless. One might as well review the moon: “uh, it’s big and out there most of the time?” The only reason to do it is either to exercise one’s own need to hyperbolize or help the band sell records. Well, Boris doesn’t need my push and I don’t need to tell them how great they are. No is 40 minutes of the widely and wildly lauded Japanese heavy rock(s) experimentalists trying to riff away existing in 2020, delving high speed into hardcore here and there and playing off that with grueling sludge, punk, garage-metal and the penultimate “Loveless,” which is kind of Boris being their own genre. Much respect to the band, and I suppose one might critique Boris for, what?, being so Boris-y?, but there really isn’t a ton that hasn’t been said about them because such a ton has. I’m not trying to disparage their work at all — No is just what you’d expect as regards defying expectation — but after 20-plus years, there’s only so many ways one wants to call a band genius.

Boris on Thee Facebooks

Boris on Bandcamp

 

DVNE, Omega Severer

DVNE Omega Severer

Kind of a soft-opening for Edinburgh’s DVNE as an act on Metal Blade Records, unless of course one counts the two songs on the Omega Severer EP itself, which are post-metallic beasts of the sort that would and should make The Ocean blush. Progressive, heavy, and remarkably ‘next-wave’ feeling, DVNE‘s awaited follow-up to 2017’s Asheran may only be about 17 and a half minutes long, but it bodes remarkably well as the band master a torrent of intensity on the 10-minute opening title-cut and answer that with the immediately galloping “Of Blade and Carapace,” smashing battle-axe riffing and progressive shimmer against each other and finding it to be an alchemy of their own. Album? One suspects not until they can tour for it, but if Omega Severer is DVNE serving notice, consider the message received loud, clear, dynamic, crushing, spacious, and so on. Already veterans of Psycho Las Vegas, they sound like a band bent on capturing a broader audience in the metallic sphere.

DVNE on Thee Facebooks

Metal Blade Records website

 

Hydra, From Light to the Abyss

hydra from light to the abyss

There’s no questioning where Hydra‘s heart is at on their debut full-length, From Light to the Abyss. It belongs to the devil and it belongs to Black Sabbath. The Polish four-piece riff hard and straightforward throughout most of the five-track offering (released by Piranha Music), and samples set the kind of atmosphere that should be familiar enough to the converted — “No One Loves Like Satan” reminds of Uncle Acid in its initial channel-changing and swaggering riff alike — but doomly centerpiece “Creatures of the Woods” and the layered vocal melodies late in closer “Magical Mind” perhaps offer a glimpse at the direction the band could take from here. What matters though is where Hydra are at today, and that’s bringing riffs and nod to the converted among the masses, and From Light to the Abyss offers no pretense otherwise. It is doom rock for doom rockers, grooves to be grooved to. They’re not void of ambition by any means — their songwriting makes that clear — but their traditionalism is sleeve-worn, which if you’re going to have it, is right where it should be.

Hydra on Thee Facebooks

Piranha Music on Bandcamp

 

Jason Simon, A Venerable Wreck

jason simon a venerable wreck

Dead Meadow guitarist/vocalist Jason Simon follows 2016’s Familiar Haunts (review here) with the genre-spanning A Venerable Wreck, finding folk roots in obscure beats and backwards this-and-that, country in fuzz, ramble in space, and no shortage of experimentalism besides. A Venerable Wreck consists of 12 songs and though there are times where it can feel disjointed, that becomes part of the ride. It’s not all supposed to make sense. Yet what happens by the time you get around to “No Entrance No Exit” is that Simon (and a host of cohorts) has set his own context broad enough so that the drone reach of “Hollow Lands” and sleek, organ-laced indie of closer “Without Reason or Right” can coexist without any real interruption of flow between them. The question with A Venerable Wreck isn’t so much whether the substance is there, it’s whether the listener is open to it. Welcome to psychedelic America. Please inject this snake venom and turn in your keys when you leave.

Jason Simon on Bandcamp

BYM Records website

 

Cherry Choke, Raising Salzburg Rockhouse

Cherry Choke-Raising Salzburg Rockhouse-Cover

You won’t hear me take away from the opening psych-scorch hook of “Mindbreaker” or the fuzzed-on, boogie-down, -up, and -sideways of “Black Annis” which follows, but there’s something extra fun about hearing Frog Island’s Cherry Choke jam out a 13-minute, drum-solo-inclusive version of “6ix and 7even” that makes Raising Salzburg Rockhouse even more of a reminder of how underrated both they are as a band and Mat Bethancourt is as a player. Look no further than “Domino” if you want absolute proof. The whole band rips it up at the Austrian gig, which was recorded in 2015 as they supported their third and still-most-recent full-length, Raising the Waters (review here), but Bethancourt puts on a Hendrixian clinic in the nine-minute cut from 2011’s A Night in the Arms of Venus (review here), which is actually less of a clinic than it is pure distorted swagger followed by a mellow “cheers, thanks” before diving into “Used to Call You Friend.” A 38-minute set would be perfect for an vinyl release, and anytime Cherry Choke want to get around to putting together a fourth studio album, well, that’ll be just fine too.

Cherry Choke on Thee Facebooks

Cherry Choke on Bandcamp

 

Pariiah, Swallowed by Fog

Pariiah swallowed by fog

It’s a special breed of aggro that emerges as a result of living in the most densely populated state in the union, and New Jersey’s Pariiah have it to spare. Bringing together sludge tonality with elder-style New York hardcore lumbering riffs on their Trip Machine Laboratories tape, Swallowed by Fog, they exude a thickened brand of pissed off that’s outright going to be too confrontation for many who take it on. But if you want a middle finger to the face, this is what it sounds like, and the six songs (compiled into four on the digital version of the release) come and go entirely without pretense and leave little behind except bruises and the promise of more to come. They’re a new band, started in this most wretched of years, but there’s no learning curve whatsoever among the members of Devoid of Faith, The Nolan Gate, Kill Your Idols, Changeörder and others. I’d go to Maplewood to see these cats. I’m just saying. Maybe even Elizabeth.

Pariiah on Bandcamp

Trip Machine Laboratories website

 

Saavik, Saavik

saavik saavik

So you’ve got both members of Holly Hunt in a four-piece sludging out with spacey synth and the band is named after a Star Trek character? Not to get too personal, but that’s going to pique my interest one way or the other. Saavik — and they clearly prefer the Kirstie Alley version, rather than Robin Curtis, going by drummer Beatriz Monteavaro‘s artwork — are damn near playing space rock by the end of “He’s Dead Jim,” the opener of their self-titled debut EP, but even that’s affected by a significant tonal weight in Didi Aragon‘s bass and the guitar of Gavin Perry, however much Ryan Rivas‘ synth and effects-laced vocals might seem to float overhead, but “Meld” rolls along at a steadier nod, and “Horizon” puts the synth more in the lead without becoming any less heavy for doing so. Likewise, “Red Sun” calls to mind Godflesh in its proto-machine metal stomp, but there’s more concern in Saavik‘s sound with expanse than just pure crush, and that shows up in fascinating ways in these songs.

Saavik on Thee Facebooks

Other Electricities on Bandcamp

 

Mountain Tamer, Psychosis Ritual

mountain tamer psychosis ritual

There’s been a dark vibe all along nestled into Mountain Tamer‘s sound, and that’s certainly the case on Psychosis Ritual, with which the Los Angeles-based trio make their debut on Heavy Psych Sounds. It’s their third full-length overall behind 2018’s Godfortune // Dark Matters (review here) and 2016’s self-titled debut (review here), and it finds their untamed-feeling psychedelia rife with that same threat of violence, not necessarily thematically as much as sonically, like the songs themselves are the weapon about to be turned on the listener. Maybe the buzz of “Warlock” or the fuckall echo of the prior-issued single “Death in the Woods” (posted here) aren’t out there trying to be “Hammer Smashed Face” or anything, but neither is this the hey-bruh-good-times heavy jams for which Southern California is known these days. Consider the severity of “Turoc Maximus Antonis” or the finally-released screams in closer “Black Noise,” which bookends Psychosis Ritual with the title-track and seems at last to be the point where whatever grim vibe these guys are riding finally consumes them. Mountain Tamer continue to be unexpected and righteous in kind.

Mountain Tamer on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

 

Centre El Muusa, Centre El Muusa

centre el muusa centre el muusa

Hypnotic Estonian psychedelic krautrock instrumentals not your thing? Well that sounds like a personal problem Centre El Muusa are ready to solve. The evolved-from-duo four-piece get spaced out amid the semi-motorik repetitions of their self-titled debut (on Sulatron), and that seems to suit them quite well, thanksabunch. Drone trips and essential swirl brim with solar-powered pulsations and you can set your deflectors on maximum and route all the secondaries to reinforce if you want, there’s still a decent chance 9:53 opener an longest track “Turkeyfish” (immediate points, double for the appropriately absurd title) is going to sweep you off what you used to call your feet when that organ line hits at about six minutes in. That’s to say nothing of the cosmic collision later in “Burning Lawa” or the just-waiting-for-a-Carl-Sagan-voiceover “Mia” that follows. Even the 3:46 “Ain’t Got Enough Mojo” lives long enough to prove itself wrong. Interstellar tape transmissions fostered by obvious weirdos in the great out-there in “Szolnok,” named for a city in Hungary that, among other things, hosts the goulash festival. Right fucking on.

Centre El Muusa on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Population II, À La Ô Terre

Population II a La o Terre

The first Population II album, a 2017 self-titled, was comprised of two tracks, each long enough to consume a 12″ side. Somehow it’s fitting with the Montreal-based singing-drummer trio’s aesthetic that their second long-player, À la Ô Terre, would take a completely different tack, employing shorter freakouts like “L’Offrande” and “La Nuit” and the garage-rocking “La Danse” and what-if-JeffersonAirplane-but-on-Canadian-mushrooms “À la Porte de Demain” and still-more-drifting finisher “Je Laisse le Soleil Briller” amid the more stretched out “Attaction,” the space-buzzer “Ce n’est Réve” while cutting a middle ground in the greaked-out (I was gonna type “freaked out” and hit a typo and I’m keeping it) “Il eut un Silence dans le Ciel,” which also betrays the jazzy underpinnings that somehow make all of À la Ô Terre come across as progressive instead of haphazard. From the start to the close, you don’t know what’s coming next, and just because that’s by design doesn’t make it less effective. If anything, it makes Population II all the more impressive.

Population II on Thee Facebooks

Castle Face Records website

 

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Demon Head Post “The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony” Video; Viscera out Jan. 29

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 2nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

This is as crucial a moment as I can think of Demon Head as having in their career. Certainly since their first album, anyhow. With the details of their fourth long-player and label debut for Metal Blade Records, Viscera, the five-piece aren’t just sharing a track off the record like it’s nothing, business as usual. They’re basically introducing themselves to a new listenership thanks to their new home’s larger distribution and promotional footprint. Don’t get me wrong, it was a big deal when they put out Hellfire Ocean Void (review here) and set about moving deeper into the darkened reaches of their own sound, but “The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony” has a pivotal role to play as preorders launch for Viscera.

And Demon Head don’t shy away from it. For those who’ve followed the band, the new track/video shows immediately that they’ve continued to progress. It’s arguably the most atmospheric song they’ve done as a group, and they’ve never been shy about setting a mood. And for those new to the band, “The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony” serves as an exciting outside-genre look at a band come into their own sound. The fact that it’s the closer alone makes it a brave choice as a first single. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the LP.

From the PR wire:

demon head viscera

Demon Head reveals details for new album, ‘Viscera’; launches video for new single, “The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony”

On January 29th, Demon Head will release their new album, Viscera, via Metal Blade Records. For a first preview of the record, a video for the new single, “The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony” (created by Justine Morrow aka lathe.of.heaven), can be viewed at: metalblade.com/demonhead – where Viscera can be pre-ordered in the following formats:

– hardcover digisleeve-CD
– 180g clear deluxe edition vinyl w/ o-card, backpatch, and poster (Kings Road exclusive – limited to 300 copies)
– 180g black vinyl (EU exclusive)
– clear ash grey marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 250 copies)
– dark red / black marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 250 copies)
– clear / black dust vinyl (Kings Road exclusive – limited to 100 copies)
– clear brown marbled vinyl (US exclusive)

Demon Head is comprised of five internationally based and widely acclaimed musicians; Mikkel Sander Fuglsang, Birk Gjerlufsen Nielsen, Marcus Ferreira Larsen, Thor Gjerlufsen Nielsen and Jeppe Wittus. Though hesitant to compromise the description of the music they perform through generalizing terms of genre, they’ve coined the term “diabolic rock” as an appropriate presentation.

Their fourth full-length – Viscera – is a new beginning for Demon Head. Recorded during the first months of 2020 between the legendary Sweet Silence Studios by Flemming Rasmussen (Metallica, Morbid Angel, Rainbow) and a remote country house in Sweden, the album was mixed by Martin ‘Konie’ Ehrencrona (In Solitude, Tribulation, Nifelheim). The production shows the impeccable qualities of joined forces, where old techniques meet new aesthetics, and major label possibilities meet underground, uncompromising DIY dedication. The resulting 10 songs showcase acoustic instruments, flourishing mellotron strings, brass instruments, tape manipulation and church organ – displayed in equal measure to the sound of the crushing drums of J.W, cryptic guitars of brothers B.G.N and T.G.N, pounding bass lines of M.S.F, and the vocals of M.F.L combined with the eerily captivating falsetto and baryton of B.G.N.

Demon Head comments: “We are now ready to offer You ‘Viscera’. It contains more of us than any album we have made before, and we hope that You will welcome it as sincerely as it will welcome You.”

Viscera track-listing
1. Tooth and Nail
2. The Feline Smile
3. Arrows
4. Magical Death
5. The Lupine Choir
6. A Long, Groaning Descent
7. In Adamantine Chains
8. Black Torches
9. Wreath
10. The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony

Demon Head will play a release show on January 30th at Pumpehuset in Copenhagen. “A release ceremony will take place in Copenhagen when this year is newly dead. Tokens for the passage are available here: https://pumpehuset.dk/koncerter/demon-head-slaegt-shaam-larein/

Demon Head line up:
Mikkel Sander Fuglsang – bass
Birk Gjerlufsen Nielsen – guitars
Marcus Ferreira Larsen – vocals
Thor Gjerlufsen Nielsen – guitars
Jeppe Wittus – drums

https://www.facebook.com/Demoncoven/
http://www.instagram.com/demonhead_official/
http://demonhead.bandcamp.com/
https://demonhead.bigcartel.com/
http://www.demonhead.org
https://www.facebook.com/metalbladerecords
https://www.instagram.com/metalbladerecords/
https://www.metalblade.com/

Demon Head, “The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony” official video

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Sanhedrin Sign to Metal Blade Records; New Album in 2021

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 1st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

It’s not every day you run into a Lost Goat connection. Sanhedrin, newly signed to Metal Blade for their upcoming third album, is fronted by Erica Stoltz, whose pedigree includes not only that largely-lost three-piece from the pre-social media, turn-of-the-century days of heavy rock, but also to Amber Asylum, the pioneering chamber-doom outfit from whence also sprang Worm Ouroboros, Giant Squid, Grayceon, Culper Ring, etc. A not insignificant CV.

Guitarist Jeremy Sosville and drummer Nathan Honor have their own lineages, between Black Anvil and Vermefug, respectively, but as 2019’s The Poisoner readily demonstrates, Sanhedrin‘s sound is more singularly indebted to the classic metal end of doom. One imagines seeing them share a stage with Magic Circle and bringing forth roughed-up NWOBHM gods with copious spells of summoning.

Oh yeah, and I guess Metal Blade‘s pedigree is pretty good too. Remember that time they put out Show No Mercy?

Info from the PR wire:

sanhedrin

Metal Blade Records is proud to welcome Brooklyn’s Sanhedrin to its worldwide roster!

Formed in 2015, Sanhedrin have released two albums to-date: A Funeral For The World (2017) and The Poisoner (2019). The trio (which consists of former Amber Asylum/Lost Goat bassist/vocalist Erica Stoltz, Black Anvil guitarist Jeremy Sosville and drummer Nathan Honor) blends doom and classic metal into gripping, instantaneously memorable songs with lyrics that delve into the darker elements of humanity and the cyclical nature of destructive ideas. Thought-provoking and inherently catchy at the same time, Sanhedrin is unafraid to venture into unchartered territory.

The band will enter the studio to record their third full-length – and Metal Blade Records debut – in spring 2021.

Sanhedrin comments: “We are excited and humbled to join Metal Blade Records! Their legacy spans four decades and countless amazing artists, many of whom have inspired us over the years. We are proud to be part of its future, and look forward to what this new partnership will bring for Sanhedrin.”

Stay tuned for more news about Sanhedrin coming soon!

Sanhedrin line-up:
Jeremy Sosville – Guitar
Erica Stoltz – Bass, Vocals
Nathan Honor – Drums

https://www.sanhedrin.nyc/
https://www.instagram.com/sanhedrin_official/
https://www.facebook.com/sanhedrinband
https://thesanhedrin.bandcamp.com/

Sanhedrin, The Poisoner (2019)

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