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 see url. Get Professional Help for Your Dissertation. Get your thesis or dissertation done sooner by learning techniques that 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, Try the impactful professional page service that crafts stellar papers. Ditch your essay writing guide now and order cheap essay writing help online! Boris doesn’t need my push and I don’t need to tell them how great they are. PhD Thesis Editors in UK offer unmatched PhD Creative College Application Essays. Our editing service in UK includes Grammar check, Structure and Sentence Flow and 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 High-Quality Paper Writing Service offers "write Help With Marketing Assignment uk my essay" help. Save your time - get professionally written original essays Boris being their own genre. Much respect to the band, and I suppose one might critique Finding an Expert to Help Me to Business Safety Plan. Our team members are specialists in all various fields of study. It is important to note that experts will certainly be handling your homework. Their long years of service has equipped them with all the skills to tackle different homework and projects. Boris for, what?, being so Our http://www.visionrun.at/?a-descriptive-essay-on-a-person services will help you get the desired grade that you are looking for. We have a team of skilled and qualified editors who know their craft well: they come up with a paper, no matter how tough your deadline may be, that is well-written and free of any traces of plagiarism. We provide proper thesis help at all academic levels. In order to guarantee success in terms of grades 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 — 27-4-2018 How Hair And Beauty Salon Business Plan Sample to Write an Essay. An Award-Winning Author's Practical homework help for government Writing Tips on SAT Essay Prep 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 Our see this here also ensure that every single completed paper is of great quality and delivered on time. Our experts will also offer you a bit of advice to help with your work or any other type of paper. DVNE as an act on What To Write An Essay On by Bryan Greetham, writer and philosopher, official Website Metal Blade Records, unless of course one counts the two songs on the Writing academic papers can be a rather challenging task. Learn to deal with it the right way. If you order professional guidance from our website, you will surely get a fabulous dissertation with a full analysis and original research. If your aim is to get a Communication Assignment, use DissertationHelp.com custom company. Professional authors with sharp writing skills will quickly complete your order. Our gifted writing managers will make any kind of research for you. Choose the discipline and Omega Severer EP itself, which are post-metallic beasts of the sort that would and should make who can do my accounting homework resume writing services edmonton river homework help thames write my original term paper The Ocean blush. Progressive, heavy, and remarkably ‘next-wave’ feeling, Buy an Essay Online Cheap Versatile and Vigorous Writing Solutions. In a perfect world, no student would have to blog links papers. But, lets face it, the academic world we live in is hardly characterized by perfection. Your college might be an amazing place where many wonderful things are possible, but one thing that you cant have there is to take a break whenever you want it DVNE‘s awaited follow-up to 2017’s writing the perfect essay Research cv writing service york stalin research paper 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 And thus, lots of Computer Science students come to our website to say- Web Design Homework Help. Computer Science means more than mere programming. Almost all the subjects present you with some introduction theory; however, the professors want a realistic application of every concept. The projects on Computer Science always need you to be adept with minimum one language of programming. Omega Severer is http://bayern.lpv.de/?how-to-publish-your-research-paper - diversify the way you do your homework with our time-tested service put out a little time and money to get the paper you could not even 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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Friday Full-Length: Floor, Oblation

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

In 2009, Robotic Empire released the comprehensive and consuming 11LP/8CD discography box set Below & Beyond (discussed here) from Miami bomb-tone heavy rockers Floor. The band, part of the wide-reaching family tree of sludgers Cavity, had their own sludge elements, but with the vocals and tonal heft of guitarist Steve Brooks, fostered a penchant for upbeat and almost poppy songcraft. Amid a vast swath of EPs and other short releases, their 2002 self-titled debut full-length (discussed here) gained an after-the-fact cult following despite the band’s breakup the same year, thanks at least in part to Brooks‘ subsequent work in the similarly-minded-if-less-punk Torche. Even with the box set, a Floor reunion didn’t seem likely. At that point, Torche were riding the success of 2008’s Meanderthal and their Chapter Ahead Being Fake split with Boris, and that seemed very much where the priority was. Fair enough. One more band that those who saw the first time around were lucky to have seen.

You see where this is going. By 2010, Floor — with the lineup of Brooks on guitar/vocals, Anthony Vialon on guitar and Henry Wilson on drums — were touring (review here) and drawing out the next-generation crowd who’d either heard of them through word of mouth on the burgeoning phenomenon of mobilized social media, or had otherwise traced the line back from Torche and discovered that Floor were not only the root from which that band’s early ideas grew, but a special act with landmark material of their own. One way or the other, people came out, and Floor continued activity mostly around Florida and Georgia, but elsewhere too. In 2013, the announcement came through they’d signed to Season of Mist and had a new album coming, and a little over a year and more touring (review here) later, they released Oblation (review here), collecting 14 tracks and 44 minutes of new material that even six years later continues to resonate.

Though it seemed at the time to exist in the shadow of the self-titled, Oblation was and remains its own album with its own strengths of songwriting and delivery. The opening riff of the title-track brings the massive weight that Floor always made bounce in what seemed like such a miracle, and unfolded with immediate spaciousness and melody. Slower than much of what would follow, its lurch doubled as a setup for the sprint of the hooky “Rocinante”floor oblation and the bombastic “Trick Scene” — a showcase for how underrated Floor always were as songwriters and doubly so how underrated Wilson was/is as a drummer. He not only follows the changes of riff, meter and rhythm, but enhances them, and comes across as duly massive in so doing, complementing the tones of Vialon and Brooks while also being the punch behind the stops in “Trick Scene” and the wash that flows through “Find Away,” which follows. The hook party continues as the 47-second instrumental “The Key” makes an intro for “New Man,” another in the ongoing series of righteously propulsive grooves, catchy despite no obvious hit-you-over-the-head-chorus and a lead-in for “Sister Sophia” and the feedback-soaked “The Quill,” which finish the first of the two LPs with Floor‘s signature sensibility of all-momentum-until-the-crash well intact.

Outside of the still-to-come “Sign of Aeth” (7:54), side C opener “Love Comes Crushing” is the only other track on Oblation over four minutes long. It still manages to sprint and gallop to its conclusion, and by the time “War Party” starts, Floor have picked up where they’ve left off. “War Party” was the first single released from the record ahead of its release, and fair enough. Under three minutes. Melodic. Unspeakably heavy. Motion. Quick and memorable with an emotional undercurrent to its melody — it would be and was a sign to listeners both of Floor‘s progression since their disbanding nine years earlier and of how much of their original approach was held over to their reunion. With “Homegoings and Transitions,” which would be enough of a standout to feature on a 12″ EP in 2014 with “Shadowline” and an etched B-side, pushed melody to the forefront with a rare, more patient take, and so brought about “Sign of Aeth” on side D as the beginning of Oblation‘s final movement. Riddled with Rush references, the sense of willful departure in “Sign of Aeth” is of course palpable, but as much as Floor are known for shorter songs, they’ve never had any trouble transposing that to longer material when it suits their needs. And though the fadeout of “Sign of Aeth” feels awfully final as it goes, “Raised to a Star” revives the forward thrust and “Forever Still” adds more melody to that as the record runs inexorably to its end.

Floor toured to support Oblation, and hit Europe for what I’m pretty sure was the first time ever in 2015, including a stop at Roadburn (review here) in the Netherlands. They continued to do regional Florida gigs periodically until about 2016, and by then, Brooks‘ focus seemed to have shifted back to Torche and Wilson had already released one full-length with his House of Lightning project and would soon offer a second. No one could say they didn’t put their work in or give the record its due, but Floor just kind of petered out after that, which considering the energy and the momentum built up in Oblation‘s tracks, kind of left them in the same place as the self-titled — seeming like a band with more to say leaving it unsaid.

To me, Floor is movement. I have a few albums I refuse to travel without, and Floor‘s self-titled and Oblation are both on that list, permanently. That sense of momentum. I hear Oblation and think of getting off an airplane, walking up to a gate. Maybe going somewhere else, maybe going home, but going. Floor is get-off-your-ass-and-do-something music, and more than just that too. Because it’s not just that the songs are fast, or that they lock in this mini-epic feel, or that they’re catchy. They’re almost totally individualized. Even when one puts Floor next to Torche, they don’t sound the same. Floor‘s identity as a band was/maybe-is something unique, and something that well deserved the fulfillment that Oblation gave it. As to whether it’s the final word on Floor as a whole, of course I have no idea, but its character and that distinctive shove still feel like they want to keep moving forward.

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

This weekend, The Pecan turns three, and the “still two” mantra that The Patient Mrs. and I have employed to explain various behaviors over these hard months of isolation will no longer apply. It’ll be “still three.” I love him desperately — more than I thought I would, if I can say that — and I look forward to being a grandfather.

I had one of those things this past week where you get a year older as well. I’m 39 now. As The Patient Mrs. precedes me by eight months or so, she has already been experiencing some anxiety about turning 40. Fortunately — or not at all so — there has been plenty happening throughout this year to pull her attention in other directions. I do not see myself having particular trouble turning 40. I was never particularly good at being young, except maybe for the drinking. Mostly I was just an asshole. Now I’m quieter about it and I care less about what music other people listen to or what movies they watch. I was a real prick about that stuff for a long time. Different brand of asshole these days.

Her semester continues to be hard, and harder than it needs to be thanks to her university’s handling of the situation. I have friends who teach in high school and middle school I saw this week as well and their misery was recognizable (if differentiated) from hers. My mother was a teacher, and I probably should’ve been too, if we’re honest, but I am a firm believer that no teacher at any level of education should make less than $100,000 a year. Ever. Anywhere. Plus holiday bonuses. There is no more important work, and to see those in position as educators get so screwed over time and again, in the case of my friends as benefits and positions are slowly chipped away toward the cause of privatization, only emphasizes the point that the ruling elite class of this country wants the middle and working classes beneath them to be dumber and easily controlled. Those without awareness of critical thinking are less inclined to look around and see how they’re being fucked over by capitalism.

Alas, tangent.

The dog also peed on The Patient Mrs. last night while we were sitting on the couch watching the new episode of Star Trek: Discovery. I remain in camp “find this dog a better home,” and I continue to seem to be the only one there. Three months now, zero joy, zero fun. At her most tolerable moments, she is at least work. I find the best times are when I can pretend for a while she doesn’t exist. It does not feel good to actively dislike an animal.

So, family time this weekend for The Pecan’s birthday and also my niece’s, which is after Halloween — I would not be surprised to see us journeying north to see them in Connecticut next weekend even though they’re here as of whatever point today — and a full week next week both domestically and in writing terms. Premieres slated every day, which has its ups and downs like anything.

I’m going to try to do another video interview — looking at you, Peder Bergstrand from Lowrider — but with a packed weekend, a Gimme Metal show next week, and The Pecan starting pre-K on Monday, I honestly may or may not get there. We’ll see.

Or won’t see, if I don’t get it done. I kind of hated seeing my face in that Crystal Spiders interview this week. I wonder if I could take myself out of the picture.

Anyway, it’s 6:30AM and The Pecan’s starting to stir and I need a post-run shower, so I’m gonna split out. Have a great and safe weekend. Enjoy the Fall if that’s your thing — it’s my favorite season or at least it used to be before climate change — and don’t forget to hydrate. So important.

FRM.

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Cave of Swimmers Post “Still Running” Playthrough From Reflection Remaster

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 18th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

cave of swimmers

They call it a play-along rather than a playthrough, and to me that just sounds like a dare. As if to tell you to go ahead and try it. You might, and hell, you might even be able to pull it off, but you’d be one up on me. Cave of Swimmers‘ new video for “Still Running” essentially portrays the duo’s studio process, each member of the band shown on two separate cameras playing their parts, with Guillermo Gonzalez pulling minor double-duty switching between bass and guitar necks as Arturo García jumps from snareless-snare percussion lines to blastbeats like it’s the kind of thing bands do all the time.

The track comes from a remastered edition of Cave of Swimmers‘ 2015 EP, Reflection, and though they haven’t done much in the studio since putting out the single “The Sun” in 2017, they’ve continued to put their time in on tour (not this year, obviously) and have obviously been honing their chops. They make this song look easy.

And maybe it is for them. It’s an older track, after all, so presumably they’ve been kicking out the proverbial jams on it for the last half-decade and it’s routine. Still an impressive sight from this end, and it’s a reminder that, sooner or later, someday, somewhere, somehow, Cave of Swimmers are going to release a full-length debut. It will happen. They released their first EP in 2013 and sounded ready then, and they don’t seem to have gotten less so over time, but nothing has manifested up to this point and, well, I think it’s been long enough. A remaster of Reflection is cool, certainly a welcome refresher on the quality of the original, but it’s time to make a record happen and watch heads start spinning in response.

Video follows. Enjoy:

Cave of Swimmers, “Still Running” playthrough

MERCH http://www.caveofswimmers.com

With the remaster of the album “Reflection” comes a two-part video series. Part 1, “Still Running” a fast-paced-prog-influenced song with revealing lyrics and a cool interlude showcasing Guille’s double neck guitar/bass. The split screen theme has been used a lot during these pandemic times in social media, yet Cave of Swimmers bring a very high quality split screen video showing each member in detail for those daring to learn their parts. Part 2 coming soon…

Since the band’s conception, this Florida-based power duo continues to earn a reputation as a beautifully strange and artistic musical force, rich with wild and colorful dynamics and genre-bending soundscapes. They have toured the country, garnering fans across the US, and have a surprising international following in Europe, South America, Australia, and Russia despite never having been overseas. They were also invited to play at the Psycho Las Vegas Festival in 2016 along side Sleep, Blue Oyster Cult, Electric Wizard, among others. The writing is on the wall, pun intended. Simply put, the Cave of Swimmers has never stopped making Rock Art.

Cave of Swimmers are:
Guillermo Gonzalez: Lead Vocals, Guitar, Synth
Arturo García: Drums, Percussion, Vocals

Cave of Swimmers, Reflection (2015)

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Cave of Swimmers on Instagram

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Cave of Swimmers website

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Moon Destroys Announce Maiden Voyage EP out March 27

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

moon destroys

Based in Miami and Atlanta, the Southeastern two-piece of Juan Montoya (ex-Torche) and Evan DiPrima (ex-Royal Thunder) form the core of Moon Destroys, and their mission, at least judging by the bit of their aptly-titled debut EP, Maiden Voyage, that I’ve had the chance to hear, would seem to be to further blur the line between heavy and prog, which is a barrier that over the last several years has only become increasingly obscure. Inevitably that will lead to a snap-back/regression sooner or later, but that’s years away, frankly, and in the interim, an outfit like Moon Destroys, which brings shades of Montoya‘s brighter-tinged guitar work along with guest vocals from Cynic‘s Paul Masvidal and Mastodon‘s Troy Sanders — working that prog angle — makes for a fascinating as well as head-spinning listen. You can stream “Blue Giant” below, which is the cut with Sanders, and it’s one to keep up with, but it proves worth the effort to do so.

Something cool to check out that doesn’t sound like everything else? Yeah, I’ll give that upwards of four minutes out of my day, thanks. Preorders are also a thing.

Dig:

moon destroys maiden voyage

MOON DESTROYS (ex-TORCHE, ex-ROYAL THUNDER): Announce Debut EP Maiden Voyage coming March 27th

MOON DESTROYS is the brainchild of guitarist Juan Montoya (ex-Torche) and drummer Evan Diprima ( Brother Hawk, ex-Royal Thunder). Having written together in various configurations for over a decade, they now come together under the auspices of celestial forces with a new project to unveil their mesmerizing debut EP Maiden Voyage.

An experiment of truly galactic proportions, MOON DESTROYS blend heavy riffage with psychedelic flourishes and vivid imagery across two intricately designed centerpiece tracks; “Blue Giant” along with “Stormbringer” featuring the gorgeous vocals of Paul Masvidal (Cynic) and layers of synths from Bryan Richie (The Sword). Three instrumental bursts connect the pieces together to create one mind-melting trip across the cosmic highway! Maiden Voyage is an absorbing, dynamic and forward-thinking debut that explores the new frontiers of heavy music in the 21st century.

Maiden Voyage will be released on March 27th on LP/Digital via Brutal Panda Records and is available for pre-order at this LOCATION.

Tracklisting:
1. At The End Of Time
2. Blue Giant (feat. Troy Sanders)
3. The Shores Of The Cosmic Ocean
4. Stormbringer (feat. Paul Masvidal)
5. The Edge Of Forever

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Moon Destroys, “Blue Giant”

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Quarterly Review: Torche, Spillage, Pharlee, Dali’s Llama, Speedealer, Mt. Echo, Monocluster, Picaporters, Beaten by Hippies, Luna Sol

Posted in Reviews on July 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

We meet again. The Summer 2019 Quarterly Review. It’s four in the morning and I’m getting ready to start the day. I haven’t even managed to pour myself coffee yet, which even as I type it out feels like a crime against humanity, such as it is. I’ll get there though.

Wednesday in the Quarterly Review marks the halfway point of the week, and as we’ll hit 30 reviews at the end, it’s half of the total 60 as well, so yeah. Feeling alright so far. As always, good music helps. I’ve added a couple things for consideration to my ongoing best-of-the-year list for December, so that’s something. And I think I’ll probably be doing so again today, so let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Torche, Admission

torche admission

15 years later and Torche‘s sound is still expanding. To that point, it’s never sounded quite as expansive as it does on Admission, their fifth album and second for Relapse behind 2015’s Restarter (review here). There are still plenty of straight-ahead heavy riffs on cuts like “Reminder” or “Slide” or the bomb-tone-laden “Infierno,” but in the title-track, in “Times Missing,” the closer “Changes Come,” “Slide” and even the 1:30-long “What Was,” there’s a sense of spaciousness and float to the guitars to contrast all that crunch, and it effectively takes the place of some of the manic feel of their earlier work. It’s consistent with the brightness of their melodies in songs like “Extremes of Consciousness” and the early pusher “Submission,” and it adds to their style rather than takes away, building on the mid-paced feel of the last album in such a way as to demonstrate the band’s continued growth long after they’d be well within their rights to rest on their laurels. Sharp, consistent in its level of songwriting, mature and engaging across its 36-minute entirety, Admission is everything one might ask of Torche‘s fifth album.

Torche on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records website

 

Spillage, Blood of Angels

spillage blood of angels

If you, like me, believe doom to be the guardian style of classic heavy metal — you could also argue power metal there, but that’s why it’s an argument — Chicago’s Spillage might be the band to help make your case. With their own Ronnie James Dio in Elvin Rodriguez (not a comparison I make lightly) and a connection to the Trouble family tree via founding guitarist Tony Spillman, who also played in Earthen Grave, the band unfurl trad-metal poise throughout their 53-minute second album, Blood of Angels, hitting touchstones like Sabbath, Priest, and indeed Trouble on a chugger like “Free Man,” a liberal dose of organ on “Rough Grooved Surface” adding to the classic feel — Rainbow, maybe? — and even the grandiose ballad “Voice of Reason” that appears before the closing Sabbath cover “Dirty Women” staying loyal to the cause. I can’t and won’t fault them for that, as in both their originals and in the cover, their hearts are obviously in it all the way and the sound is right on, the sleek swing in the second half of “Evil Doers” punctuated by squealing guitar just as it should be. Mark it a win for the forces of metal, maybe less so for the angels.

Spillage on Thee Facebooks

Qumran Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Pharlee, Pharlee

pharlee pharlee

San Diego strikes again with Pharlee‘s self-titled debut on Tee Pee Records, a 29-minute boogie rock shove that’s marked out by the significant pipes of Macarena Rivera up front, the shuffling snare work of Zach Oakley (also guitar in JOY and Volcano) and the organ work of Garret Lekas throughout, winding around and accentuating the riffs of Justin “Figgy” Figueroa and the air-push bass of Dylan Donovan. It’s a proven formula by now, but Pharlee‘s Pharlee is like the band who comes on stage in the middle of the festival and surprises everyone and reminds them why they’re there in the first place. The energy of “Darkest Hour” is infectious, and the bluesier take on Freddie King‘s “Going Down” highlights a stoner shred in Figueroa‘s guitar that fits superbly ahead of the fuzz freakout, all-go closer “Sunward,” and whatever stylistic elements (and personnel, for that matter) might be consistent with their hometown’s well-populated underground, Pharlee take that radness and make it their own.

Pharlee on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records website

 

Dali’s Llama, Mercury Sea

dalis llama mercury sea

Long-running desert rockers Dali’s Llama return with Mercury Sea, their first release since 2017’s The Blossom EP (review here) and their first full-length since 2016’s Dying in the Sun (review here), sounding reinvigorated in rockers like opener “Weary” and the subsequent grunge-vibing “Choking on the Same,” “When Ember Laughs” and the garage-style “She’s Not Here.” Persistently underappreciated, their albums always have a distinct feel, and Mercury Sea is no different, finding a place for itself between the laid-back desert blues and punkier fare on a cut like “Someday, Someday,” even delving into psychedelic folk for a while in the 6:54 longest track “Goblin Fruit,” and a bit of lead guitar scorch bringing it all together on closer “All My Fault,” highlighting the theme of love that’s been playing out all the while. The sincerity behind that and everything Dali’s Llama does is palpable as ever in these 11 tracks, an more than 25 years on from their inception, they continue to deliver memorable songs in wholly unpretentious fashion. That’s just what they do.

Dali’s Llama on Thee Facebooks

Dali’s Llama on Bandcamp

 

Speedealer, Blue Days Black Nights

speedealer blue days black nights

Speedealer ride again! And just about at top speed, too. The Dallas, Texas, outfit were last heard from circa 2003, and their turnabout is marked with the self-release of Blue Days Black Nights, a fury-driven 10-tracker that takes the best of their heavy-rock-via-punk delivery and beefs up tones to suit another decade and a half’s worth of hard living and accumulated disaffection. The Dallas four-piece blaze through songs like “Never Knew,” the hardcore-punk “Losing My Shit,” the more metallic “Nothing Left to Say,” and the careening aggro-swagger of “Rheumatism,” but there’s still some variety to be had throughout, as highlight “Sold Out,” “War Nicht Genung” and “Shut Up” find the band no less effective working at a somewhat scaled-back pace. However fast they’re going, though the attitude remains much the same, and it’s “fuck you fuck this” fuckall all the way. Those familiar with their past work would expect no less, and time has clearly not repaired the chip on Speedealer‘s shoulder. Their anger is our gain.

Speedealer on Thee Facebooks

Speedealer webstore

 

Mt. Echo, Cirrus

mt echo cirrus

Based in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, the instrumentalist four-piece Mt. Echo present a somewhat noisier take on Russian Circles-style heavy post-rock with their nine-song/46-minute debut, Cirrus. Not at all shy about incorporating a noise rock riff or a more weighted groove, the dual-guitar outfit nonetheless spend significant time patiently engaged in the work of atmosphere-building, so that their material develops a genuine ebb and flow as songs tie one into the next to give the entire affair a whole-album feel. It is their first outing, but all the more striking for that in terms of how much of a grip they seem to have on their approach and what they want to be doing in a song like “Lighthouse at the End of Time” with airy lead and chugging rhythm guitars intertwining and meeting head-on for post-YOB crashes and an eventual turn into a harder-pushing progression. Ambience comes (mostly) to the fore in the seven-minute “Monsters and the Men Who Made Them,” but wherever they go on Cirrus, Mt. Echo bring that atmospheric density along with them. The proverbial ‘band to watch.’

Mt. Echo on Thee Facebooks

Mt. Echo on Bandcamp

 

Monocluster, Ocean

Monocluster Ocean

Over the course of five longform tracks on Ocean, Germany’s Monocluster build fluidly on the accomplishments of their 2015 self-titled debut (review here), greatly expanding on the heft and general reach of their sound while, as opener “Ocean in Our Bones” demonstrates, still holding onto the ability to affect a killer hook when they need one. Ocean is not a minor undertaking at 56 minutes, but it dedicates its time to constructing a world in cuts like “Leviathan” and “A Place Beyond,” the giant wall of fuzzed low end becoming the backdrop for the three-part story being told that ends with the 11:43 “Home” standing alone, as graceful and progressive as it is brash and noisy — a mirror in that regard to the nine-minute centerpiece “Guns and Greed” and a fitting summation of Ocean‘s course. They keep this up for very long and people are going to start to notice. The album is a marked step forward from where Monocluster were a few years ago, and sets up the expectation of continued growth their next time out while keeping a focus on the essential elements of songwriting as well. If we’re looking for highlights, I’d pick “Leviathan,” but honestly, it’s anyone’s game.

Monocluster on Thee Facebooks

Monocluster on Bandcamp

 

Picaporters, XXIII

picaporters xxiii

The third full-length from Argentine trio Picaporters marks another level of achievement for them as a band. XXIII arrives three years after El Horror Oculto (review here) and is unquestionably their broadest-cast spectrum to-date. The album comes bookended by eight-minute opener “La Soga de los Muertos” and “M.I.,” an 18-minute finale jam that would give a Deep Purple live record reason to blush. Soulful guitar stretches out over a vast rhythmic landscape, and all this after “Jinetes del Universo” motorpunks out and “Vencida” pulls together Floydian melo-prog, “Numero 5” precedes the closer with acoustic interplay and the early “Despertar” offers a little bit of everything and a lot of what-the-hell-just-happened. These guys started out on solid footing with their 2013 debut, Elefantes (review here), but neither that nor El Horror Oculto really hinted at the scope they’d make sound so natural throughout XXIII, which is the kind of record that leaves you no choice but to call it progressive.

Picaporters on Thee Facebooks

Picaporters on Bandcamp

 

Beaten by Hippies, Beaten by Hippies

beaten by hippies beaten by hippies

As their moniker hints, there’s some edge of danger to Belgium’s Beaten by Hippies‘ self-titled debut (on Polderrecords), but the album ultimately resolves itself more toward songwriting and hooks in the spirit of a meaner-sounding Queens of the Stone Age in songs like “Space Tail” and “More is More,” finding common ground with the energy of Truckfighters though never quite delving so far into fuzzy tones. That’s not at all to the band’s detriment — rather, it helps the four-piece begin to cast their identity as they do in this material, whether that’s happening in the volatile sudden volume trades in “Dust” or the mission statement “Rock ‘n’ Roll,” which feels geared a bit to the anthemic but would probably work just as well in whatever pub they happen to be terrorizing on a given evening. Their delivery skirts the line between heavy and hard rock as only that vaguely commercially viable European-style can, but the songs are right there waiting to take the stage at whatever festival is this weekend and blow the roof — or the sky, I guess, if it’s outdoors — off the place.

Beaten by Hippies on Thee Facebooks

Polderrecords website

 

Luna Sol, Below the Deep

luna sol below the deep

Guitarist/vocalist Dave Angstrom may be best known in heavy rock circles for his work alongside John Garcia in Hermano, but in leading the four-piece Luna Sol through their 12-song/50-minute sophomore outing, Below the Deep (on Slush Fund Recordings), he proves a capable frontman as well as songwriter. Sharing vocal duties with bassist Shannon Fahnestock while David Burke handles guitar and Justin Baier drums, Angstrom is a steady presence at the fore through the well-constructed ’90s-flavored heavy rock of “Below the Deep” and “Along the Road” early, the later “Garden of the Gods” playing toward a more complex arrangement after the strutting “The Dying Conglomerate” paints a suitably grim State of the Union and ahead of the fuzz-rich ending in “Home,” which keeps its melodic purpose even as it crashes out to its languid finish. Whether it’s the charged “Man’s Worth Killin'” or the winding fuzz of “Mammoth Cave,” one can definitely hear some Hermano at work, but Luna Sol distinguish themselves just the same.

Luna Sol on Thee Facebooks

Slush Fund Recordings webstore

 

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Torche Set July 12 Release for Admission; “Slide” Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

torche (Photo by Keans Llamera)

So Torche have a new bassist in Eric Hernandez, who joins guitarist/vocalist Steve Brooks, guitarist Jon Nuñez (formerly bass) and drummer Rick Smith, for their fifth album, Admission. The record is due out July 12 on Relapse Records, and will be the follow-up to 2015’s Restarter (review here), which I really dug but seemed to catch internet-flack for being slower and not as maniacally upbeat as some of their past work. That’s something Nuñez seems to implicitly acknowledge below when he talks about the new lineup being more inspired and Hernandez being excited to be in the group. So it goes, I guess. I still thought that album was cool.

Torche of course have a bunch of tour dates to go with the release of Admission, and preorders are up and there’s the new single “Slide” playing below that you can dig into as well. So, uh, do that.

PR wire:

torche admission

TORCHE: Announce New Album Admission Coming July 12; Share First Single “Slide”

Miami’s heavy rock quartet TORCHE release Admission, the band’s fifth album, and first new music since 2015’s critically-lauded Restarter, on July 12 via Relapse Records.

“This album is more revealing of who we are. I think the core of the band is happier and more inspired than we have been in some time, and we’ve got somebody new who’s excited to be a part of it. It’s just refreshing. It feels right. It feels real,” says guitar player Jon Nuñez, referencing the band’s new line-up which includes a shift from bass to guitar for Nuñez and the addition of bass player Eric Hernandez (Wrong). Steve Brooks (guitar/vocals) and Rick Smith (drummer) round-out the band.

“Slide,” a new song from the Nuñez produced album, is streaming now. “’Slide’ is one of the first songs Eric came to the table with, fully realized and arranged,” explains Smith. “Eric is a total beast of a songwriter. I suggested he use the first three Gary Numan records as inspiration and he came back at us with some melodically sound material that nailed the Torche vibe.”

The new song arrives as Torche announce their first wave of tour dates, including performances at this year’s Levitation, The Fest and Sled Island festivals. Tickets for all non-festival dates are on-sale this Friday at 10 am eastern.

Admission pre-orders are available now via Relapse’s webstore (http://relapse.com/torche-admission/). Digital downloads and streaming services are available at http://ffm.to/torcheadmission.

Admission cover; artwork by Richard Vergez

Admission Tracklist:
From Here
Submission
Slide
What Was
Times Missing
Admission
Reminder
Extremes of Consciousness
On The Wire
Infierno
Changes Come

The 11-song album is available in various formats (CD/LP/CS/Digital) with several highly-limited colored vinyl options on-sale now. The album artwork was created by Richard Vergez, a Cuban-American visual artist, who is known for his handmade collages that highlight the meeting of human and technological elements in our modern society. His work has been shown at No Romance Galleries (TriBeCa), Urban Arts Society (Chicago) and Kids of Dada (London).

TORCHE Tour Dates:

May 31 – Chicago, IL @ Chicago Doomed & Stoned Festival
June 15 – Denver, CO @ Electric Funeral Fest IV
June 19 – Calgary, AB @ Sled Island Festival
July 26 – Tampa, FL @ The Crowbar
July 27 – Jacksonville, FL @ The Justice Pub
July 28 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
July 29 – Harrisonburg, VA @ Golden Pony
July 31 – Washington, D.C. @ Black Cat
August 1 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
August 2 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bazaar
August 3 – Boston, MA @ Great Scott
August 4 – Pawtucket, RI @ The Met
August 5 – Hamden, CT @ Space Ballroom
August 6 – Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon Club
August 7 – Wilmington, NC @ Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern
August 8 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
August 9 – Orlando, FL @ Henao Center
August 10 – Miami, FL @ Las Rosa’s
September 21 – Asheville, NC @ Heavy Mountain
November 1 – Gainesville, FL @ FEST
November 9 – Austin, TX @ Levitation

torchemusic.com
facebook.com/torcheofficial
instagram.com/torche_band
http://www.relapse.com
http://www.relapserecords.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords

Torche, “Slide” official video

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Torche Enter Studio to Record New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

It seemed like Miami’s Torche surprised a lot of people with their 2015 fourth album, Restarter (review here), and maybe confused some as well with a more complex emotional basis than they’d showed previously. That record took the manic energy that typified 2012’s Harmonicraft (review here) and the heft of 2008’s Meanderthal and kept some of both, but also expanded in order to encompass a broader range of expression on the whole. I thought it worked well, but going by the response I saw, others seemed confused by what they were doing and the changes the band had undergone.

All the more curious, then, to hear what Torche come up with for their fifth long-player, about which the first thing they mention is the “balance of new elements.” Does that mean they’re pitting different sides of the band’s sound against each other? Working in new modes of songwriting? New tones? It could be anything, I suppose. Restarter opened a lot of doors for them sonically to work in new directions. Only bummer is it looks like we have to wait until next year to find out how that’s manifest on the new album.

They’re in the studio now with guitarist Jonathan Nunez at the helm:

torche

TORCHE RECORDING RESTARTER FOLLOW-UP; ALBUM SLATED FOR 2019 RELEASE VIA RELAPSE RECORDS

Torche has entered the studio to record the band’s fifth full-length album, due in 2019 via Relapse Records.

“The new record has a great balance of new elements that have become a part of our sound over the last couple years, which is very exciting for us,” said the band in a joint statement. “We’re pushing classic signatures of our sonic identity, and bringing new vibes to the table. This time around there’s going to more dynamics while pushing our ‘wall of sound’ nature much further.”

Guitar player Jonathan Nunez is recording the release at Cabana East in Miami.

torchemusic.com
facebook.com/torcheofficial
instagram.com/torche_band
twitter.com/torcheband
http://www.relapse.com
http://www.relapserecords.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords
http://www.twitter.com/RelapseRecords

Torche, Restarter (2015)

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Quarterly Review: The Sword, Mountain Tamer, Demon Head, Bushfire, Motherslug, Dove, Treedeon, Falun Gong, Spider Kitten, Greynbownes

Posted in Reviews on April 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Quarterly-Review-Spring-2018

Okay then. We got past the first day and I thought it went reasonably well. No casualties. Nobody’s brain melted from trying to find another word for “riffs” for the 19th time, so yeah, mark it a win. There’s a good spread of stuff in today’s batch — a little of this, a little of that — so hopefully somewhere in the mix you’re able to run into something you dig. Hell, I’ll say the same for myself as well. Come on, let’s go.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

The Sword, Used Future

the sword used future

Now-veteran Austin heavy rockers The Sword have gotten a mixed response to the more progressive approach their recent work has taken, and I doubt Used Future (on Razor & Tie) is going to be any less polarizing, but its crisp 13 tracks/43 minutes are pulled off with professionalism. Yes, it has its self-indulgent aspects in “Sea of Green” or the earlier instrumental “The Wild Sky,” but The Sword have never done anything other than deliver accessible heavy rock and tour like hell, so while I get the mixed response, at this point I think the band has at very least earned a measure of respect for what they’ve accomplished as ambassadors of underground heavy. They wanna throw a little John Carpenter influence into “Nocturne?” Fine. They’re not hurting anybody. The unfortunate truth about The Sword is that neither polarized side is right. They’re not the end of heavy metal as we know it; some crude ironic take on what metal should be. And they’re not the greatest band of their generation. They have a good record deal. They write decent songs. Where’s the problem with that? I don’t hear it on Used Future.

The Sword on Thee Facebooks

Razor & Tie website

 

Mountain Tamer, Living in Vain Demo

mountain tamer Demo 2017

If it was Mountain Tamer’s intention to get listeners excited about the prospect of a second full-length from the Santa Cruz, CA three-piece, then the Living in Vain demo serves this purpose well. Their 2016 Argonauta Records self-titled debut (review here) expounded on the potential they originally showed with 2015’s Mtn Tmr demo (review here), and though it’s only two songs, Living in Vain would seem to do the same in building on the accomplishments of the album before it. The opening title-track is labeled “Living in Vain Pt. 1” and nestles easily into a mid-paced shuffle before shifting into psychedelic lead layering and a more jammed-out spirit, from which it returns in the last 30 seconds to hit into a more solidified ending riff, leading to the immediately slower “Wretched.” More spacious, more of a march, it plays into an instrumental hook and holds to its structure for its entire 5:40, ending with guitar on a quick fade. Obviously the intention with a release like this is to entice the listener with the prospect of the band’s next album. Living in Vain does that and more.

Mountain Tamer on Thee Facebooks

Mountain Tamer on Bandcamp

 

Demon Head, The Resistance

demon head the resistance

Returning just about a year after issuing their second album, Thunder on the Fields (review here), Copenhagen-based proto-metallers Demon Head offer a new two-songer single titled The Resistance that at least to my ears speaks to the current political moment of populism opposing liberalism – as much at play in Europe as in the US, if not more so – and the fight for an open society. They present it as a six-plus-minute languid groove with flashes of militaristic snare; something of a turn from the cult rock of their two-to-date long-players. One could say the same of the sci-fi themed “Rivers of Mars,” though like its predecessor, it remains sonically on-point with the band’s vintage aesthetic, fostered through naturalist guitar and bass tones, bluesy, commanding vocals and classy, creative drumming. Actually, apply that “classy” all around. As Demon Head continue to come into their own sound, they do so with poise that’s all the more striking for how raw their presentation remains.

Demon Head on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records

 

Bushfire, When Darkness Comes

bushfire when darkness comes

When Darkness Comes is German heavy rocking five-piece Bushfire’s follow-up to late-2013’s Heal Thy Self (review here), and it retains the Darmstadt-based outfit’s penchant for quality riffcraft and a showcase for the vocals of frontman Bill Brown, which hit in bottom-of-the-mouth melodies and gruff shouts fitting to cuts like “The Conflict” and the swinging “Shelter.” Bushfire are no strangers to a semi-Southern element in their sound, and that remains true on When Darkness Comes from the opening title-track through the later “Another Man Down” and closer “Liberation.” Somewhat curiously, that closer is instrumental, and where the vocals play such a role in the overarching impression the record makes, it’s an interesting twist to have them absent from the final statement, leaving guitarists Marcus Bischoff and Miguel Pereira, bassist Vince and drummer Sascha to finish out on their own. If groove is the measure, they’re certainly up to the task, but then, that was never really in doubt.

Bushfire on Thee Facebooks

Bushfire on Bandcamp

 

Motherslug, The Electric Dunes of Titan

motherslug the electric dunes of titan

I’m sorry. I don’t see how you could dig anything calling itself “stoner” and not be down with what Motherslug are doing with their second long-player, The Electric Dunes of Titan. Plus-sized riffing all over the place, languid rollouts, excursions into psychedelic splendor (see “Followers of the Sun,” etc.), explosions into massive groove (see “Staring at the Sun”), a nod to High on Fire in “Tied to the Mast” and a Sleep-style march on closer “Cave of the Last God” that’s probably the best I’ve heard since the Creedsmen Arise demo in 2015. Really, if Motherslug doesn’t do it for you, nothing will. Five years after they initially released their self-titled EP (review here), which was later expanded into their debut album for NoSlip Records (review here), the Melbourne outfit charge back with what should be a litmus test for riff-heads. In all seriousness, from tone to structure to songwriting to production to the cover art, there’s just nothing here that doesn’t deliver the message. Should’ve been on my best of 2017 list.

Motherslug on Thee Facebooks

Motherslug on Bandcamp

 

Dove, Dove Discography

dove discography

In the wake of Floor’s disbanding, drummer Henry Wilson formed Dove. They were around for about five years, did some touring (one remembers picking up their self-titled in a Manhattan basement with $2 Rolling Rocks calling itself The Pyramid), and disbanded to a cult status not so different from that which Floor enjoyed prior to their own reunion, if to something of a lesser degree. As the title indicates, Dove Discography compiles “every listenable track” the band ever put out, including their self-titled, Wilson’s original demo for the project, compilation and 7” material. All told, it’s 20 tracks and just under an hour of documentation for who Dove were and the kind of punk metal they were about, never quite stoner, but heavy rock to be sure, and definitely of the Floridian ilk that produced both Floor and Cavity and a style Wilson has progressed with House of Lightning. Dove could be blazingly intense or they could plod out a huge riff, holding a deceptively wide purview that was only part of the reason they were so underrated at the time.

Dove on Bandcamp

House of Lightning on Thee Facebooks

 

Treedeon, Under the Manchineel

treedeon under the manchineel

To anyone who might complain that all sludge sounds the same, I humbly submit Treedeon, whose second album for Exile on Mainstream, Under the Manchineel, is a work both noise-laden and righteously avant garde. Perhaps even more ferocious than its 2015 predecessor, Lowest Level Reincarnation (review here), the seven-track/44-minute outing offers a touch of melody in “Breathing a Vein” and buried deep in the midsection of 16-minute closer “Wasicu,” and arguably in guitarist Arne Heesch’s delivery in opener “Cheetoh” as well, but he and bassist Yvonne Ducksworth mostly keep to harsh shouts as they create consuming washes of noise over the madcap drumwork of newcomer Andy Schuenemann, who punctuates every punch of Ducksworth’s gotta-hear-it bass tone on album centerpiece “No Hell” as Heesch goes lands the chorus with the line “No hell can hold me” as its standout line. Bringing a sense of themselves to an established style to a degree that’s rare, rarer, rarest, Treedeon are no less aggressively weird than they are aggressive, period.

Treedeon on Thee Facebooks

Exile on Mainstream website

 

Falun Gong, Figure 1

Falun Gong Figure 1

There are some post-Electric Wizard shades that emerge in the debut single from London’s Falun Gong by the time it reaches its feedback-soaked finale, but really, “Figure 1” is much more about digging into its own cultistry than that of the Obornian sort. Still, the overarching impression is somewhat familiar, and will be particularly to those who were fans of The Wounded Kings, but the duo who remain anonymous present themselves with a clearheaded intent toward maximum sonic murk, and with the lumbering misery they trod out in “Figure 1,” they seem to achieve what they’re going for. I don’t know who they are, but I’d guess this isn’t their first band, and as crowded as London’s heavy underground has become over the course of this decade, acts like Falun Gong are fewer and farther between than some others, and during these 10 minutes, they make a striking first impression. One hopes for “Figure 2” sooner rather than later.

Falun Gong on Bandcamp

 

Spider Kitten, Concise and Sinister

https://theobelisk.net/obelisk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/spider-kitten-concise-and-sinister.jpg

Intended as a thematic continuation to some degree of 2016’s Ark of Oktofelis, the four-song Concise and Sinister finds long-running multi-genre UK outfit Spider Kitten bookending two extended crushers around two shorter pieces, one of which is a cover of Hank Williams’ “Alone and Forsaken” (also memorably done by 16 Horsepower) and the other of which is a noise-punk assault that lasts 46 seconds and is called “I’m Feeling So Much Better.” Whether fast or slow, loud or quiet, the intention of Spider Kitten doesn’t seem even at its most abrasive to be to punish so much as to challenge, and whether it’s the cinematic elements dug into the march of opener and longest track (immediate points) “A Glorious Retreat” (11:33) or the harmonies that accompany especially-doomed 10-minute closer “Martyr’s Breath,” Spider Kitten and founder Chi Lameo demonstrate a creativity acknowledging that bounds exist and then simply refusing to accept them, making even the familiar seem unfamiliar in the process.

Spider Kitten on Thee Facebooks

Spider Kitten on Bandcamp

 

Greynbownes, Grey Rainbow from Bones

greynbownes grey rainbow from bones

Comprised of guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Lukas, bassist Martin and drummer Jakub, Greynbownes hail from Moravia in the Czech Republic and the moniker-explaining Grey Rainbow from Bones is their self-issued debut full-length. It is comprised of nine tracks of inventive heavy rock, pulling elements from grunge and ‘90s-era stoner noise on cuts like “Across the Bones” while veering into fare more aggressive, or psychedelic or jammy in the trio of six-minute tracks “Seasons,” “Death of Autumn Leaves” and “B 612” that precedes the closing duo of the funky “Sitting at the Top” and the mellow-but-still-heavy finisher “Weight of Sky,” which feels far removed from the opening salvo of “Boat of Fools,” the fuzz-punker “Madness” and the fuckall-chug of “What is at Stake.” Yes, it’s all over the place, and one might expect Greynbownes’ sound to solidify over time, but to the trio’s credit, Grey Rainbow from Bones never flies apart in the way that it seems at multiple points it might, and that’s an encouraging sign.

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