Quarterly Review: Russian Circles, War Cloud, Here Lies Man, Book of Wyrms, Möyhy-Veikot, Darsombra, Set Fire, Jesus the Snake, Föllakzoid, Dresden Wolves

Posted in Reviews on October 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Had to take a second this morning to get my email back under 100 unread. It currently stands at 95. There’s just something about being in triple digits that I can’t stand. Press releases and stuff I can usually file right away since not everything’s relevant to the site, etc., but that’s all stuff that either wants follow-up or could be a factor here if there was time. I do my best to try to keep up. And I fail, consistently.

The tradeoff, of course, is I spend that time writing reviews and other stuff for the site. Today’s hump day when we pass the halfway mark of the Fall 2019 Quarterly Review, and we’re doing it in absolutely all-over-the-place style, so all the better. Some pretty familiar names today, but some that might not be as well, so whatever your poison, I hope you enjoy the picking.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Russian Circles, Blood Year

russian circles blood year

There’s simply no denying the force behind the depths and swell of a song like “Kohokia” on Russian Circles‘ latest offering, Blood Year (Sargent House), and though one knows what to expect to some degree from the Chicago heavy post-rockers at this point in their career, they seem to be doing all they can to deliver their instrumental progressions with energy to match the breadth of the spaces and the heft they conjure. Like 2016’s Guidance (review here), the seven-track/39-minute Blood Year — was recorded with Kurt Ballou, whom the trio imported to their hometown to work at Electrical Audio (aka Steve Albini‘s stomping ground) instead of traveling to Massachusetts to track at Ballou‘s Godcity. If it was the long-famed drum sound of Electrical Audio that they wanted and the live feel that so many of the recordings done there have, they got both, so mark it a success and another notch in the belt of one of the heavy underground’s most immersive and evocative outfits. Their building and releasing of tension is second to none and moves into the spiritual by the time they even get to side B, let alone through it.

Russian Circles on Thee Facebooks

Sargent House website

 

War Cloud, State of Shock

war cloud state of shock

Oh, the riffs you’ll gallop. Oakland, California’s War Cloud skirt the line between classic thrash and heavy rock and roll on their second album for Ripple Music, State of Shock, and from the sound of things, they have a good time doing it. The record’s not much over a half-hour long, which is as it should be for this kind of party, and they toy a bit with the balance between their two sides on a rocker like “Do Anything” or the subsequent “Means of Your Defeat” on side B, but the main crux of State of Shock and certainly the impression it makes off the bat with “Striker” and “White Lightning” up front ahead of the six-minute that-moment-when-ThinLizzy-turned-into-IronMaiden “Dangerous Game” is one of homage to the metal of yore, and in following-up the band’s 2017 self-titled debut (review here), it’s a showcase of energy and craft alike as two guitars shred, chug, groove and charge through the material. If they were from the Eastern Seaboard, I’d say something about getting caught in a mosh. As it stands, I’ll go with urging you to jump in the fire instead. Horns up, either way.

War Cloud on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

Here Lies Man, No Ground to Walk Upon

here lies man no ground to walk upon

They should’ve just called it an album. Yeah, it would be short at 26 or so minutes, but it’s got everything you’d want from a full-length, and if they’d put a four-minute jam or something on it, they’d have been there anyhow. In any case, Los Angeles’ Afrobeat-infused heavy psych rockers Here Lies Man present seven tracks of dug-in glory with No Ground to Walk Upon (on RidingEasy), continuing to build on the potential shown across their first two LPs, 2017’s self-titled debut (review here) and last year’s You Will Know Nothing (review here), even as they swagger their way through a groove like “Long Legs (Look Away)” and show their continued forward potential. They continue to be a special band — the kind of band who doesn’t just come along every day and who shouldn’t be overlooked during their time, because maybe they’ll be around 30 years and maybe they won’t, but what they’re doing now is bringing something wholly individual to a heavy context. They’ve already proven influential to some degree, but listening to No Ground to Walk Upon cuts like the dream-keyed “Iron Rattles” and the opening strut-into-drone of “Clad in Silver,” one wonders if they wouldn’t be more so if people weren’t too afraid to try to pull this thing off. Hard to argue with that, since more likely than not most couldn’t.

Here Lies Man on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Book of Wyrms, Remythologizer

Book of Wyrms Remythologizer

I won’t take anything away from the eight-minute “Blacklight Warpriest” earlier in the offering, but the highlight of Book of Wyrms‘ second album, Remythologizer (on Twin Earth & Stoner Witch Records) has to be the closing “Dust Toad,” which at 9:25 is the longest track and the slowest crawl included. Led into by the synth-infused “Curse of the Werecop,” it takes the crunch that showed itself through opener “Autumnal Snow” and, later, the melody and swing of “Undead Pegasus” — as seen on the cover art — and brings them together in order to perfectly summarize the doom rocking ethic the Richmond, Virginia, four-piece are working from. Tonally righteous and more solvent in their songwriting than they were on their 2017 debut, Sci-Fi/Fantasy (review here), the band sound assured as they move in “Spirit Drifter” from a standout keyboard line to a likewise standout guitar solo, giving a feeling of progressive nuance that’s continuing to take hold in their sound, balanced by the underlying naturalism of their approach. That dynamic continues to duke it out on Remythologizer, much to the benefit of anyone who takes the record on.

Book of Wyrms on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records on Bandcamp

Stoner Witch Records BigCartel store

 

Möyhy-Veikot, Huume Jet Set Life

moyhy-veikot huume jet set life

Too weird for planet earth and, well, probably too weird for anywhere else too, Helsinki psych-space-kraut-whathaveyou experimentalists issue their third tape in the form of Huume Jet Set Life and whether it’s the cosmo-jamming on “MITÄ ON TULLUT VEDETTYÄ?” or the who-the-hell-knows-what-ism of “MEDIA-AJOJAHTI 2000,” the band at no point fail to make an impression of being out there in the far gone far out there reaches of the far out there. Talkin’ freaked out next level total, like the cassette just fell into the atmosphere to represent some other planet’s culture where things are both dangerous and interesting and you never really know if you’re going to get laid or eaten or both. Still, they may be doing math of the likes not yet conceived by humanity, but Möyhy-Veikot go about it in suitably friendly if totally over-the-top fashion, and it’s fun to play along while also being completely overwhelmed at the various pushes and pulls happening all at once, the media samples and the Windows 95 compatibility of it all. It’s one small step for man, one giant leap for disco.

Möyhy-Veikot on Thee Facebooks

Möyhy-Veikot on Bandcamp

 

Darsombra, Transmission

Darsombra Transmission

It’s just lovely. Really. In some ways it feels like the 41:20 single-track full-length Transmission — self-released, no less — is what Baltimore ambient exploratory two-piece Darsombra have been building toward all along, but I think the truth is they probably could’ve done this at any time if they’d chosen to do so. Still, the fluidity of “Transmission” itself is something special, with its cascades of manipulated voice, riffs that swell and recede, loops, synth and somehow-manifested light that are as much immersion for the spirit as the eardrum. One doesn’t want to dive too deep into hyperbole and oversell it to the point of dulling the listener’s own impression, but Transmission is the kind of record that even those who profess to never “get” drone or noise offerings can engage with. Part of that is owed to Brian Daniloski‘s guitar, which provides landmarks along the path of swirl conjured by his own effects and the synth from Ann Everton (both add vocals where applicable; don’t look for lyrics or verses) that allow those who’d take it on to do so more easily. But the real joy in Transmission is letting go and allowing the piece to carry you along its progressive course, genuine in its reaching for the unknown. Plus there’s a gong, and that’s always fun too. Go with it.

Darsombra on Thee Facebooks

Darsombra on Bandcamp

 

Set Fire, Traya

set fire traya

Traya is the third three-song full-length from Boston’s Set Fire, and it would seem that, and in addition to marking the last recording to feature drummer Rob Davol, who’s since been replaced by Josh Cronin, it would seem to show the three-piece nailing their sound of classic-tinged duet-fronted heavy rock and roll. With two powerhouse vocalists on board in guitarist Jim Healey (We’re all Gonna Die, Black Thai, etc.) and keyboardist Jess Collins (ex-Mellow Bravo), they work in varying arrangements across a meager 12-minute run that feels short mostly because it is short. Too short. “Any Place Left” puts Collins in the foreground, while “Sacred Song” is more Healey‘s, and unsurprisingly to anyone who’s experienced their past work either together or separate, they’re more than able to carry the material — only more so with the other party backing. “Waves” brings them together around theatrical layers of piano and keyboard and guitar, and that they manage to hold it steady at all, let alone take flight as it does, speaks to how ready they are to embark on a longer offering. Put out an album, already, would ya?

Set Fire on Thee Facebooks

Set Fire on Bandcamp

 

Jesus the Snake, Black Acid, Pink Rain

Jesus the Snake Black Acid Pink Rain

For those feeling adventurous, Portugal’s Jesus the Snake follow-up their 2017 self-titled EP (review here) with the unmitigated warmth of Black Acid, Pink Rain, their live-recorded full-length debut. And for the sort of heavy psych-jazz-prog meandering, one would almost expect the organ-laced instrumentalist four-piece to track the record as they perform it, if not front-to-back then certainly one song at a time across multiple takes. Not one piece of the five total on the 49-minute offering is under eight minutes long, and sandwiched between opener “Karma” (10:28) and the closing title-track (10:55) are three cuts circa nine that prove no less hypnotic. The beginning of “Floyds I” is so fluid with the interplay of organ and guitar that one almost expects a gentle Portuguese spoken word verse to start, but of course one never does. Instead, Jesus the Snake complement mindful drift with flashes of more weighted or active fare, all the while holding to a central vibe that is peaceful even as “Duna” finds its chill before the halfway point, with no loss of spirit in the process.

Jesus the Snake on Thee Facebooks

Jesus the Snake on Bandcamp

 

Föllakzoid, I

follakzoid i

As with any kind of sonic minimalism or release based around trance induction — see Darsombra above — there’s a certain amount of buy-in that needs to happen on the listener’s side. Accordingly, those going into the fourth LP from Chilean duo Föllakzoid, titled I and issued through Sacred Bones Records as a double-vinyl, should be aware that it’s requires that kind of interaction from one side to the other. It’s not especially loud or abrasive, or even demanding in terms of the basic sonics of the thing, but as “I” becomes “II” becomes “III” becomes “IIII” and the songs such as they are alternate between 17- and 13-minute runtimes and the blend of effects and electro beats tips to one side or the other — “II” with a fervent ‘ump-tis’ in its early going while “III” brings a more Vangelis-style cinematic wash — of course there’s an ask in terms of indulgence happening on the part of the two-piece to their audience. Whether an individual is willing to make that jump is obviously going to be up to their headspace and where they’re at, but Föllakzoid‘s work here is more than worth the investment, even for those less familiar with their methods.

Föllakzoid on Thee Facebooks

Sacred Bones Records website

 

Dresden Wolves, Hiedra – Sencillo

dresden wolves Hiedra Sencillo

The sub-three-minute “Hiedra – Sencillo” is the latest in an ongoing series of digital offerings from Mexico City’s Dresden Wolves, and though the two-piece band bill themselves as post-punk and they may actually have a history in playing punk rock — stranger things have happened, certainly — the song finds them working in a taut heavy rock context, brash in delivery but not overly so as to lose the overarching swagger they seem intent on conveying. Particularly as it follows behind two EPs and a swath of other single tracks, and is offered name-your-price through their Bandcamp, “Hiedra – Sencillo” feels like its most nefarious aim is to hook anyone who’d click play on first listen and try and keep them intrigued for next time out. Fair enough. I won’t profess to know what Dresden Wolves‘ plans are, but they’ve got songwriting in their pocket and the production on “Hiedra – Sencillo” is crisp and clear enough to convey the heft of the guitar but not so much so as to dull its rawer aspects. They’ve got the balance ready to go, whatever they might choose to do with it from here.

Dresden Wolves on Thee Facebooks

Dresden Wolves on Bandcamp

 

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Los Mundos, Calor Central

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Los Mundos Calor Central

[Click play above to stream Los Mundos’ Calor Central in its entirety. Album is out April 26 through Cardinal Fuzz, Avandadoom and Little Cloud Records.]

Depending on how one counts, Calor Central is upwards of the sixth full-length from Monterrey, Mexico, two-piece Los Mundos, and it follows on a quick turnaround from their 2018 offering, Ciudades Flotantes. Issued through Avandadoom in Mexico, Cardinal Fuzz in Europe and Little Cloud Records in the US, comprises six tracks and 28 minutes of earthy heavy psych rock, here and there peppering in garage buzz tonality in the guitars of Luis Angel Martínez (also vocals, synth) and/or Alejandro Elizondo (also drums, bass, synth), as on “Sin Vértigo,” but making more of an impression with the subtle layering in cuts like “Olas de Lava” and the overarching spaciousness to be found across the songs. Part of that might stem from the fact that the duo reportedly recorded the drums and percussion for Calor Central in an abandoned mine outside of Monterrey, but it extends to the guitar and bass and even vocals as well, which are just as likely to be coated in cavernous echoes on the nine-minute penultimate groover “Subterráneo Mar Jurásico” as are the drums that begin the opening title-track.

Indeed, for a sound that holds so much grit, space plays a large part in what Los Mundos do, the band creating and populating a context for their songs to inhabit across the relatively short LP, holding to an experimentalist feel while staying true to a foundation in heavy rock and psychedelia. They’ve had time to develop this approach — their self-titled debut was released in 2011 — but even that release and the subsequent 2012 EP, Mi Propia Banda Quiero Ver, have a clear forward-thinking intention at their root. A heavier overall result suits them throughout Calor Central, such that even shorter tracks like the fuzz-blasting second cut “Apertura” or the strut-right-out-of-here closer “La Salida” land with considerable impact and are able to play off the open sense of creativity both within themselves and in the pieces surrounding. If this is their journey to the center of the earth, then the core is indeed molten.

Though, again, Calor Central is relatively brief, it sets an immersive pattern from the outset. Vibe is primary. Ringing bell begins “Calor Central” like a call to prayer and echoing drum thud follows soon after, joined by guitar that only adds to the breadth of sound. More than two minutes have passed before the vocals enter in chanting layers and semi-spoken forward lines that shift between half-singing and all-out narration, guitar strums accompanying in a mood of defiance. It’s the drums at the bottom of the mix holding everything together as keys and backing voices and guitar ooze out overhead, and the title-cut feels its way forward until essentially the drums stop, and it’s as gentle as it could possibly be — that shift to silence — but still somewhat jarring. “Apertura” plays off that gracefully with the suckerpunch of its own percussive start, a churning progression more immediately greeted by airy guitar arriving in waves and seemingly intent on blowing every tube in whatever amp is being so cruelly tested.

los mundos (Photo by Victoria Orozco)

The shift to “Sin Vértigo” is direct and smoothly done, but the impact of “Apertura” goes beyond its own two minutes to the album as a whole. Its departing from even the loosest of verse/chorus structure, which “Calor Central” had, gives Martínez and Elizondo free reign to go where their whims take them, and they do precisely that with the command of a band on their sixth record. Foreboding guitar lines open to full-on fuzz roll in “Sin Vértigo” with a return of the spoken word of the opener to come and a guitar line that seems to answer back and beckon the song forward into its tonal bliss and semi-hook, a solo in the second half giving way to a last verse before the devolution to rumbling amplified noise takes hold and fades out slowly to end side A, only to let the immediately dreamy “Olas de Lava” lead off Calor Central‘s back half in surprising fashion.

Perhaps the most outwardly psychedelic inclusion on the record, “Olas de Lava” gives its guitar line a sitar treatment and an according backwards layer during its initial verses, the title line serving as the chorus in the midsection as forward momentum is built and maintained. From there, there’s no return to the verse or hook as “Olas de Lava” spaces out and a synth drone rises from out of the mix to consume the guitar even as the whole affair fades out slowly to let a troubling wash of distortion act as precursor to “Subterráneo Mar Jurásico,” which as it takes up almost a third of the album’s runtime on its own is an obvious focal point. The rhythm is relatively straightforward early on — though that might just be Los Mundos doing well in adjusting the listener’s frame of mind/expectations for “normality” — with a tinge of grunge in the verse riff, but after the second chorus, the switch flips and the guitar freaks out with a noisy lead that shifts into surf-rocking echo only to itself be consumed by the next verse, with effects swirl, drums and percussion coming forward to meet the guitar buzz head on, and a outbound progression that sure enough shows no interest in making its way back.

A noisy jam ensues to provide a satisfying apex to Calor Central as a whole in terms of the band doing whatever the hell they want and making it work, and along with some residual percussive tension and guitar ring-out, there’s a kind of vocal echo test at the end that seems to be there just for extra weirdness. Right on. On their way out, they tap garage-doomgaze with “La Salida,” swinging all the way and seeming to build to a grand finale but cutting off before they get there because, once more, they’re by no means beholden to the traditional tenets of genre. That’s not to say they don’t put them to use when they so please — there’s no shortage of fuzz or nod-ready groove throughout — just that their intention is broader than general stylistic confines can generally hold. Of course, that only makes Calor Central all the more righteous in its position.

Los Mundos on Thee Facebooks

Los Mundos on Bandcamp

Cardinal Fuzz webstore

Avandadoom on Bandcamp

Little Cloud Records on Bandcamp

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Rivers of Gore to Release Self-Titled LP on Cursed Tongue Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Mexico City riffbashers Rivers of Gore will release their 2018 self-titled debut through Cursed Tongue Records on vinyl next year. The album, originally comprised of three extended tracks for the digital version — which, hey, you can stream at the bottom of this post, and how about that — has been remastered for vinyl by ever-busy Mos Generator frontman Tony Reed, and with the middle track, “Glory and Punishment,” split into two parts, there’s still plenty of fuzzy ultra-heft to go around, while the guttural vocals of guitarist/vocalist Rolo Riemer echo out over top of the ensuing swirl. A depiction of harsh reality through harsh fantasy, Rivers of Gore‘s LP is not for the feint of heart among the converted. These are riffs for riffers.

The PR wire has the news of Cursed Tongue’s continual expansion. So to that:

rivers of gore (Photo by Ulises Reyes)

RIVERS OF GORE SIGNS TO CURSED TONGUE RECORDS FOR A WORLD WIDE RELEASE OF THEIR DEBUT ALBUM ‘RIVERS OF GORE’ DUE FOR SPRING 2019.

Cursed Tongue Records is happy to announce the signing of Mexican heavy psychedelic gore rockers Rivers Of Gore for a vinyl release of their critically acclaimed debut full length album spring 2019. On first laying ears to this Mexican outfit our faces instantly melted and our bones where grinded to dust. After the first shock of how terrifyingly great this fairly newly formed trio is, we soon gathered what was left of our shattered bodies and sat out to hook up with Rolo, Daniel and Samuel aka the three gringos behind Rivers Of Gore. Luckily the interest was mutual and a contractual basis in blood and bone powder was concocted.

Rivers of Gore, experienced veterans of the heavy underground music scene in Mexico City Samuel López (drums), Daniel García (bass) and Rolando Valseca (aka. Rolo Riemer, guitar/vocals), after being part of bands like Vinnum Sabbathi, Bloodwitch, Powertrip, respectively, now reunite with the purpose of making noises to reveal the images of the dark violent world we live and ‘describing reality through fantasy and epic sounds’.

The guys came together over a shared love of the almighty riff and soon discovered they had tapped into something a little special. Rivers Of Gore’s self titled album is a collection of truly memorable stoner flavored heavy rock with its roots sucking up nutrients from the pools of both doom and psych. Swirling guitar solo’s , growling bass and punishing percussion permeate each of the three songs that make up “Rivers of Gore”, with all three songs coated in low pitched and throaty vocal tones that tell evocative tales of anger, violence and bloodshed.

Only three songs but “River of Gore” will take you on an uncompromising, unswerving and unapologetic journey through the darker recesses of a world that we all try to deny is there but all have to deal with on a day to day basis.

Band statement:
“Reunited to enjoy some riffs and some jams, we started the concept of Rivers of Gore like trying to talk about the violence of life which is ineludible and so irony is the only way we have left to keep laughing in the face of death… so this is an album full of fantasy and perfect to listen to while you violently cut your enemies into little pieces with a heavy rotten axe… cheers all of you out there, thanx for listening… enjoy the trip…”

CTR-019: RIVERS OF GORE – ‘RIVERS OF GORE’, vinyl official release date: actual date TBA – March/April 2019

Rivers Of Gore is:
Samuel López – Drums
Daniel García – Bass
Rolando Valseca – Guitar and Vocals

All songs written and performed by Rivers Of Gore
Recorded and Mixed by Abraham Anell at Bong Records
Mastered for vinyl by Tony Reed at HeavyHead Rec.
Artwork by Zuriel Perikillo Lòpez, Dabitch and Valde Gutiérrez
Layout & design by Michael Andresakis

Track listing:

Side A
1. Abduction (The Message)
2. Glory and Punishment Pt. I

Side B
3. Glory and Punishment Pt. II
4. Shell Shock

https://www.facebook.com/riversofgoredoom
http://instagram.com/riversofgoredoom
https://riversofgore.bandcamp.com/releases
http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CursedTongueRecords
https://www.instagram.com/cursedtonguerecords

Rivers of Gore, Rivers of Gore (2018)

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Review & Track Premiere: Vinnum Sabbathi & Cegvera, The Good Earth is Dying Split

Posted in audiObelisk on November 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

vinnum sabbathi cegvera the good earth is dying split cover

[Click play above to hear the premieres of ‘Intermission (The Good Earth is Dying)’ and ‘Arrival/Colonia’ from Vinnum Sabbathi and Cegvera’s The Good Earth is Dying split. LP, CD and DL are released Dec. 10 on Stolen Body Records.]

For as long as humanity has been willing to acknowledge its existence — a substantially shorter amount of time than humanity has known about it — space has represented a reason to hope. The question of whether or not we’re alone in the universe — spoiler alert: nope — and whether we might someday wander among the stars has been a central fuel burnt by science and science-fiction alike. But nothing is apolitical, and with their new split release, Vinnum Sabbathi and Cegvera remind that at best, interplanetary exploration and even colonization can only be a temporary fix without real, substantive changes to what it means to be human. The five-track/33-minute The Good Earth is Dying paints a grim picture that only seems suitable when one looks at shifting weather patterns, melting permafrost, rising sea levels, floating garbage islands and dying coral reefs, and though there are no lyrics, in the titles of its instrumental pieces, the offering brings the two bands together to work around the common theme. A narrative arc is followed that takes human beings deeper into space than we’ve ever gone before, only to find, colonize and destroy yet another world, having learned nothing from the collapsing of earth’s ecosystem that caused us to leave in the first place.

Samples from NASA documentaries pervade Vinnum Sabbathi‘s “HEX VIII: The Malthusian Spectre,” and the transition with “Intermission (The Good Earth is Dying)” involves both bands before Cegvera — who also see Vinnum Sabbathi drummer Gerardo Arias move to guitar to play on their portion — get underway with “Arrival/Colonia,” before moving into “Depletion/Overshoot” and the inevitable-seeming “Collapse/Aftermath.” The ease with which the two lineups come together emphasizes a central characteristic of The Good Earth is Dying, which is just how much the two bands are working toward the same ends, toward telling the same story instrumentally. Granted, the Mexico City and Bristol, UK, outfits have their sonic disparities, with Vinnum Sabbathi centering more on crunching riffage and Cegvera shifting from sludge into most post-metallic fare, but this split was born earlier in 2018 following a tour the two groups did together in Mexico, and rather than play in competition with each other as so many splits see groups do, The Good Earth is Dying — recorded, mixed and mastered by KB at Testa Studio in León, Guanajuato — demonstrates just how much the two bands work together.

Granted, for Vinnum Sabbathi, the 13-minute “HEX VIII: The Malthusian Spectre” continues a live-recorded, should-be-compiled-into-an-LP-at-some-point-how-about-now series of tracks that has also had two prior installments on their April 2018 split with Owain and began on 2015’s split with Bar de Monjas (review here), but that song’s relation to ideas about overpopulation tie directly into the destruction of natural resources characterized in Cegvera‘s three tracks. And there’s precious little to argue with in terms of delivery from Vinnum Sabbathi either, as the band fluidly bring their stage-hewn chemistry to the studio as one would expect. Their commitment to recording live extends back through their awaited 2017 full-length debut, Gravity Works (review here), and their earlier work, and at this point it’s their standard modus. Adding samples after the fact lends further depth to the proceedings, and a studio feel is enhanced as well through the sampling on “Intermission (The Good Earth is Dying),” which ends with a recording of people laughing amid the sound of bagpipes before shifting into the quiet opening lines of “Arrival/Colonia” that soon give way to such heavy nod on the five-minute track.

Arriving on this foreign world seems to be the easy part, and things are rolling along well enough on a heavy groove as Cegvera unfold their portion of the outing, but the atmosphere only grows darker with time, and “Depletion/Overshoot” finds them exploring textures out of mournful heavy blues and airy post-rock alike before turning again to heavier riffing — some prime fuzz, that — and in what’s presumably the “Overshoot” portion in the second half of the song, an increasingly intense forward pummel. By the time they’re into the last minute, cacophony has taken full hold of the song, and they leave a final note out to hang in open space as a transition into the organ-laced final statement, “Collapse/Aftermath,” which indeed feels suitably mournful as regards humanity’s prospects for a better existence. Fair. The floating guitars that showed up in “Depletion/Overshoot” make a return over a gradually-unfurled progression that, at 90 seconds into its total 6:35, turns to a build that brings it to more densely-weighted riffing. If that’s the collapse, then the aftermath is no less engaging or heavy in its execution, and one is reminded of the ambience that Vinnum Sabbathi are able to so naturally conjure on “HEX VIII: The Malthusian Spectre” with echoing guitars and such heft of tone.

That Cegvera would seem to be so much in conversation with “HEX VIII: The Malthusian Spectre” — whether the songs were written out or the concept decided before the tour or not — is emblematic of how well the two groups sit alongside each other. With the bulk of the time belonging to the latter, there’s nonetheless room for both to offer a suitable glimpse at their overall approach while staying on-message in terms of the plotline being followed. I guess the only shame is they didn’t have it to take on tour earlier this year, but these things have a way of working out, whether Cegvera — now a duo down from the three/four-piece they are here — return to Mexico or bring Vinnum Sabbathi to the UK in a show-trade. Either way, the split stands as a document of their time on the road and what they were able to construct in terms of song and theme alike. There may or may not be hope for the future of humanity — again, spoiler alert: nope — but no one other than the willfully blind can say we didn’t see it coming, and though the future they’re imaging isn’t particularly bright, that they’re imagining it at all speaks to one aspect of our species most worth preserving.

Vinnum Sabbathi on Thee Facebooks

Vinnum Sabbathi on Bandcamp

Cegvera on Thee Facebooks

Cegvera on Bandcamp

Stolen Body Records webstore

Stolen Body Records on Instagram

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Terror Cósmico Premiere “Salió del Pantano”; III out Sept. 3

Posted in audiObelisk on August 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

terror cosmico

Mexico City-based duo Terror Cósmico have a Sept. 3 digital release date for their aptly-titled third album, III. With impending CD issue via Concreto Records to follow and vinyl sometime in 2019 — presumably before they embark on a European tour in May — the two-piece of guitarist Javier Alejandre and drummer Nicolás Detta make an impression in crunch tones, hard-hit drums and a variety of atmospheres from the Earth-meets-near-traditional doom of opener “Nocturno” through the ambient-vocalized “La Cabalgata de Asmodeo” and the foreboding tension in the dirge “Hypnos.” The screams in “La Cabalgata de Asmodeo” and the growls/throatrippers later in the penultimate “Salió de Pantano” are standout moments, to be sure, but ultimately they become part of the atmosphere created by the guitar and drums, surely influenced in its most raging moments by bands like Black Cobra but having more in common in Alejandre‘s tone on “Kronosauris” with the defunct Beast in the Field, though even that comparison is a stretch as Terror Cósmico set off on the 10-minute journey that is closer “La Montaña,” a patient build that disintegrates in its second half only to ebb and flow again before its sudden cold-stop finish. There’s even some melody late in the guitar, just in case you think you might have Terror Cósmico at all figured out.

And from the rumble and spaciousness of “Nocturno” onward, the seven-track/43-minute offering never quite gives its audience a chance to be fully hypnotized. “Nocturno” has underlying movement and a subtle angularity that’s just enough to stave off trance-inducement, and just when it might begin to dull the consciousness, “Tlatecuhtli” picks up directly with a more active thrust and popping, forcefulterror cosmico iii snare work and an ultimate noise assault that’s as precise as it is tonally and rhythmically dense. It probably doesn’t need to be noted that for all their lacking a bassist there’s no shortage of low end in Alejandre‘s guitar, and as he loops through layers and tops a steady rhythm line with a scouring lead on “Kronosaurus,” the sound is indeed full and deep-running. They’re three albums in, and have several other singles and shorter-releases besides, so Detta and Alejandre have a clear sense of what they want their sound to do and the impact they want it to make, and III manifests that in both an aggressive pummel and steady-handed shifts in mood. “La Cabalgata de Asmodeo” is the centerpiece and particularly extreme in both its faster and slower stretches — and Detta does excellently in leading the way through both — but even there, Terror Cósmico remain coherent and able to slip into a second half of relatively-minimalist guitar, the residual noise fading en route to “Hypnos.”

Following behind 2015’s Devorador de Sueños and 2013’s Muerte y Transfiguración, III is a record for which genre is a thing to be manipulated to suit its own ends, not the other way around. As Terror Cósmico roll and nod through “Salió del Pantano,” which is the shortest inclusion at 4:11, the full-album flow of which that song is part becomes all the more apparent, and with “La Montaña” still to climb, there’s no loss either of the presence of the band’s delivery or the deceptive breadth they conjure in the material. Though it would seem to be a contradiction to have a two-piece that’s as expansive as it is crushing, Alejandre and Detta break the glass of expectation and use the shards to expose the raw flesh of their creation. It is a powerful and consuming release.

Below, you can stream the premiere of “Salió del Pantano,” which you’ll find on the YouTube embed followed by some more info off the PR wire. More on the European tour when I hear it, but in the meantime, please enjoy:

Terror Cósmico, “Salió del Pantano” official track premiere

An instrumental duo born in 2012 in Mexico City, Terror Cósmico is made up of guitar and drums. Even with only two instruments, the dynamics of their music lead you from mystic and harmonic passages to dark and violent cuts.

On September 2013 they released their first full-length album, “Muerte y Transiguración”, with the Mexican label Concreto Records. With this material they toured México, the U.S. and Argentina. On August 2015 they released their second album, “Devorador De Sueños” (Concreto Records), this time touring Mexico, the west coast of the US and finally Europe alongside mexican stoner metal band “Weedsnake” through 2017´s summer. In 2018 the band will release their 3rd full length album.

Third LP from the Mexico City duo, having as title the number of release “III”. The band shows 7 tracks redefining the sound they’ve had since the beginning. Recorded at Testa Studio in Leon, Guanajuato in May 2018. The tracks travel through different sonic sceneries, going through introspective ambient moods to raw and aggressive songs that mutate with each other. An album that maintains the sound of the band but has new elements, more loops and vocals without lyrics in 2 tracks. The artwork is done by Karmazid and the album will be released on September 3 in all digital platforms. Cd will be released by Mexican label Concreto Records before the end of the year and vinyl will be coedited by different labels for next year.

Terror Cósmico on Thee Facebooks

Terror Cósmico on Bandcamp

Terror Cósmico on Tumblr

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Electric Mountain Sign to Electric Valley Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Last year, Mexico City heavy rock trio Electric Mountain released their self-titled debut album through Loud, Slow, Distorted Riffs Records, and it’s newly announced that the three-piece of GibMax and JB will make their follow-up through Electric Valley Records. Well, actually, that’s a surmise, because all the word that’s really been put out at this point is that the band has signed to the label. There’s nothing said about what will actually come out — maybe a reissue of the record they did for LSDR, or maybe something new. Maybe both? Neither? The mystery is killing me.

What matters is the fuzz, and Electric Mountain pretty much live inside of it. Their self-titled starts out with the classic stoner powerhouse push of “Free Woman” and whether it’s the ’70s-style stomp of “Dune,” the acoustic interlude “Into the Maelstrom” or the Goatsnaked riffing of “Green Mountain Side” that follows to lead into the softshoe-worthy boogie of “Down on the Road,” the THC-soaked vibe remains prevalent and there isn’t anywhere that Electric Mountain go that isn’t natural sounding and seemingly in the wheelhouse for good-time-seeking riff heads. As to what their next record might bring whenever it arrives, I’ve no idea, but if they can keep the organic production of their debut intact, they should be well on their way to carving their own niche in terms of sound and aesthetic within the genre.

The self-titled is streaming at the bottom of this post. Cool shit is happening in Mexico. Dig it:

electric mountain

Electric Valley Records is proud to announce the signing of the Mexican Stoner Rock band *** ELECTRIC MOUNTAIN ***

Electric Mountain is a Stoner Rock band born in Mexico City in 2013.

Formed by Gib (guitar – voice), Max (drums) and JB (Bass), the band gives life to a series of rock influences from the Rock of the 70’s and Stoner’s 90’s, which shake walls and floors.

His powerful riffs and heavy drums are the perfect hook to stay focused on the message of his music and receive all the energy that emanates. ?

https://www.facebook.com/TheElecMountain/
https://www.instagram.com/electricmountainband/
https://www.facebook.com/electricvalleyrecords/
https://www.instagram.com/electricvalleyrecords/
www.electricvalleyrecords.com

Electric Mountain, Electric Mountain (2017)

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Saturno Grooves, Solar Hawk

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

saturno grooves solar hawk

[Click play above for the premiere of Saturno Grooves’ Solar Hawk, out in June via L.S.D.R. Records]

Some albums work better on vinyl or tape, with that split down the (roughly) middle, and some work better on CD or digital, where you can listen straight through in one sitting with no interruption to the process. Saturno Grooves‘ debut full-length, Solar Hawk, arrives via L.S.D.R. Records as a record that feels designed to go either way and still not lose its grasp on the listener. With a split between its first three and second three tracks, it allows one to pause for a second and catch their breath before immersing in the broader explorations to come that the six-minute-on-the-dot “Cherna Bong” sets up at the end of side A.

In a linear format, with no break in the six-track/34-minute run, Solar Hawk unfolds gracefully and sets up its flow early on the shorter opening duo “Beaumont” (3:24) and “Seven Hills” (4:20) before “Cherna Bong,” the title-track (6:22), “White Sand” (7:42) and closer “Red Sun Arising” (6:56) push further outward into a heavy desert psychedelia that seems as much about the Durango, Mexico-based trio’s enjoyment of the trip as the audience’s experience of the results. Guitarist José Peyro, bassist Oscar Cisneros and drummer Adolfo Solís make no claim that I’ve seen of their debut being a concept album — they seem to cite a variety of cultural and thematic influences — but the fluidity with which they loose their material speaks to a certain wholeness just the same.

That turns out to be a strength particularly when taking the album in one single dose: by the time the rolling apex of “White Sand” seems to provide the album’s culmination, the rest of Solar Hawk — apart from “Red Sun Arising,” obviously — has hit the bloodstream and already had its engaging effect, whether it’s the feedback drenched largesse that initiates the post-Kyuss semi-prog thrust of “Seven Hills” or the drawn out and echoing lead that Peyro layers atop the title-track as it oozes toward its midsection, which drops momentarily to a quiet space of guitar-only desert tonality that, frankly, I wish there was more of throughout. With an EP and a single behind them in their five years together, Saturno Grooves clearly constructed this debut out of jams — note that the “construction” is very much a factor; this isn’t just jams put to tape — but it’s in the flashes of patience like that of the title-track or the start of “White Sand” that offer flashes of the dynamic developing within their sound.

saturno grooves

I’m not saying they need to start doing loud/quiet tradeoffs or straight-up quiet-to-loud builds exclusively or anything, simply that in the tones of Peyro and Cisneros, there’s enough presence to hold up those subdued moments perhaps more than the band are willing to give themselves credit for. Hell, in “White Sand,” even Solís gets to take the fore briefly to lay down a shuffling foundation for the push to come. There’s a lot of all-three-together here, and it works very, very well. Where Saturno Grooves have room to grow is in toying with the balance between all-three-together and highlighting each individual’s contributions and presence as well as the balance between louder and softer, faster and slower parts, which they already do exceedingly well, blending shades of the aforementioned Kyuss with some of Earthless‘ cyclical virtuosity and Sleep‘s penchant for nod, which again, makes “White Sand” seem like the peak of Solar Hawk when it hits into its moment of arrival.

And I’ve used “seem” twice now as regards that track only because when the subsequent “Red Sun Arising” begins to land its bombastic, plodding crashes, the effect of that stomp is nearly resonant enough to leave footprints. Saturno Grooves thud and riff their brains out on the finale, and by the time it’s about 2:45 into its nearly seven minutes and they seem to draw back for a second, one has to wonder where they’ll head next, but the answer is into a speedier, solo-topped middle third that soon enough gives way to a far, far gone section of molten roll, again showcasing Peyro‘s impressive lead work as it sort of flowingly dances — because it’s not marching, and it’s not lumbering anymore, and it’s still too cohesive just to be melting away — to its finish, which upon its arrival feels somewhat sudden, as “Red Sun Arising” sound both like it could just keep going and like it’s destined for a gentle fadeout rather than the cold snap ending it receives.

Maybe that’s Saturno Grooves‘ way of subverting expectation, but either way, when one goes back and revisits “Beaumont” at the outset, its galloping progression and straightforward riffing underscore the point of the distance the three-piece travel from one end of the LP to the other. However one chooses to connect with it, the most important factor is that Saturno Grooves make that connection while sounding natural and utterly in their element as they progress throughout. Again, I don’t think it’s a concept album from their end, but even in its instrumental form, it’s easy to read a narrative progression into the songs themselves, let alone any other tale they might actually be telling. While this is technically their first album, Saturno Grooves sound like a group who’ve played together for a while, who have developed a sense of musical conversation between themselves and the common language for that to take place. One only hopes that dialogue will be ongoing.

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Saturno Grooves on Bandcamp

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Owain to Release Acrid EP this Month via LSDR Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

owain

Actually, if you’re feeling fancy, you can pop on over to Owain‘s Bandcamp — dutifully linked below — and check out a name-your-price download of their second EP, Acrid, but you know I’m a sucker for physical media, so here I am posting about the forthcoming LSDR Records-backed CD version of the release either way. Tape is also out via Colectivo Lxs Grises for the Tijuana duo’s six-song/24-minute offering, which hits on High on Fire-style thrash in “Thieving Swine” as easily as it rolls out noisy sludge lumber on the suitably titled “Sledgehammers.” They shout out Brainoil as an influence, which should be automatic points in just about anybody’s book for specificity alone, and set an admirably noisy target that cuts like rolling, barking opener and longest track (immediate points) “Sculptors” and the later “Backfire” attempt to meet head-on.

Raw stuff, and mean, but all the more so because it knows exactly what it’s doing. LSDR sent the following down the PR wire, including the David Paul Seymour cover art:

owain acrid

LSDR RECORDS: OWAIN – Acrid (2017)

Owain is a sludge doom metal duo from Tijuana Mexico. They are presenting a new EP called “Acrid” recorded and mixed by Arturo Leon at La Cacho Estudio in the city of Tijuana, Mexico and mastered by Bill Henderson at Azimuth Mastering in New Jersey, USA. The art was the work of David Paul Seymour known for is extensive work with other bands in the genre such as Mothership, 16 and many others.

The band formed in 2015 by Anibal Flores (guitar and vocals) and Luis Astorga (drums and vocals) and release their first Self-titled EP in 2016. The genres in which they can be catalogued are somewhere between stoner metal and sludge, with the sound having heavy southern rock accents on guitar and metal styled percussion. One of the bands targets is trying to sound as huge as any other band in the genre regardless of being only a two piece ensemble.

Their main influences would be the bands Brainoil and Down, since these are the ones that sparked the idea of making a band of this sort, although earlier influences have been present beforehand like Sleep and Orange Goblin. Dopefight, Bongzilla, Bongripper and Weedeater have also been great influences regarding the southern sound, and on the more metal oriented side, Eyehategod, High on Fire, Mastodon and Crowbar are of great regard in what tailored their sound.

The lyrics are based in human cynic, questioning authority in all its forms, repulsion to religion, general addiction, drawbacks in social consciousness and protest to social paradoxes.

The EP will be released in September 2017 in the following formats:
– Digital release through the band’s Bandcamp
– CD release through LSDR Records
– Cassette Tape through Colectivo Lxs Grises

https://www.facebook.com/Owainband/
https://twitter.com/Owainmusic
https://www.instagram.com/owainband/
https://owain.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/lsdrrecords/

Owain, Acrid (2017)

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