New Keepers of the Water Towers, Infernal Machine: A Work in Texture (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 4th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

new keepers of the water towers infernal machine

[Click play above to hear the premiere of “Tachyon Deep” from New Keepers of the Water Towers’ Infernal Machine, out April 1 on Listenable Records. Enjoy.]

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Clearly intended to be taken in its entirety, Infernal Machine has standout moments, but each one of them feeds into an overarching impression of the whole, and New Keepers of the Water Towers make themselves at home working in such a grand scope, beginning with the 11-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “The Forever War” — also the name of the book on which the album is based — which eases the listener into the soundscapes they’ll inhabit as they make the journey from front to back, some alarming textures and wide-open guitar and keys gradually taking shape over a marching drum beat and howling tones.

Like a lot of Infernal Machine, “The Forever War” isn’t without some structure, but mood and atmosphere are for more central to the listening experience than hooks or anything of the sort. By its halfway point, “The Forever War” has locked into a kosmiche groove, but the band departs from there to go back to more spacious fare, guitar leading to an instrumental build that feels like it’s going to be grandiose but never actually goes overboard, quieting down as it makes ready to shift into “Tracks over Carcosa,” which swells initially like the monolith scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey and patiently transitions into more pulsing space rock. Patience is a virtue throughout Infernal Machine, something New Keepers of the Water Towers have learned over time, and something they use exceptionally well here.

The second cut morphs into kind of a surf rock if you were surfing on Titan, but the immersion that “The Forever War” began holds firm, and they pull back from the instrumental push to end the last minute-plus of “Tracks over Carcosa” on an ambient note before mellotron sounds set a peaceful beginning of “Tachyon Deep,” from which a standout rhythm will emerge along a contained linear build led by keyboard textures in a deceptively complex pastoral atmosphere. There’s just a hint of tension beneath to betray the insistence that will come as thicker tones enter the fray in the song’s back half, winding lead guitar echoing over the percussion and bassline in a way that recalls Ancestors‘ “First Light” — not a comparison I make lightly — before crashing to a finish that even with six minutes leading up to it feels somewhat sudden. Given the obvious intent shown in everything else on Infernal Machine and the song’s position right before centerpiece/likely-side-B-intro “Misantropin Kallar,” one has to imagine that’s on purpose, a cold ending following 20-plus minutes of graceful flow to toss a bucket of water on the audience before they flip the platter to its second half.

new keepers of the water towers

Either way, the effect is palpable even on the digital version, though its worth noting that the quiet fade-in of “Misantropin Kallar” makes for a cinematic reentry into the band’s cosmic sphere, bringing to mind Goblin‘s soundtrack work and even including a bit of spoken word dialogue, in Swedish, to highlight the point. A noisy wash comes to the fore in the last seconds of “Misantropin Kallar,” but drops out as “Escape Aleph Minor” begins its more immediate space rock push. The pattern of the drums is pure Hawkwind, but much to their credit, New Keepers of the Water Towers do about as much as anyone could to make such a recognizable element their own, surrounding the push with lush tones, manic rhythm guitar, piano/key lines and soaring vocals in the first half of the song and pushing through to a psych-jazz freakout in the second before bringing everything to a swirling head and crashing out to let the keys end on a subdued-into-silent note, from which “Jorden Wave” emerges, slowly crashing but eminently spacious.

Shorter, but mirroring the instrumental “Tracks over Carcosa,” its breadth works through in the melodies brought to bear over a simple rhythm, lumbering and made melancholy through mellotron, but still unremittingly progressive. There is a foreboding thud, crash and ring-out in the midsection — is that V’ger? — but they never let go of the restraint, and the tension crafted in the droning finish of “Jorden Wave” is all the more effective for the payoff the band refuses to give it. Silence — used here the way many bands use volume — leads into the closing semi-title-track “This Infernal Machine,” also the second-longest cut at 8:46, which, also instrumental, sets out to expand on the interplay of mellotron and lead guitar and cascading sweeps of “Tachyon Deep” as the moment of resolution to which the whole of Infernal Machine has been traveling. There’s even a bit of bounce in the keys à la “Misantropin Kallar,” so not only does it summarize the band’s stylistic accomplishments across the record, but bookends side B as well before it enters into its final build and caps, suitably, on a long tonal wash fadeout.

Those who caught wind of New Keepers of the Water Towers through The Cosmic Child will find that Infernal Machine is a more coherent representation of similar progressive sonic ideals, but the real triumph of the new record is how masterfully the band guide their audience through it and how smoothly it seems to flow. Patient, but heavy, Infernal Machine acts like a classic concept record in that it devotes more time to telling its story than to being impressed with itself for telling a story at all. That’s not to say there aren’t self-indulgent moments — there would have to be, or it wouldn’t be making its point — but that where their last time out, New Keepers of the Water Towers were making a foray into uncharted ground, this time they’ve made that ground their home and proven themselves able to remake it to suit their creative will.

New Keepers of the Water Towers on Thee Facebooks

Listenable Records

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Roadburn 2016 Goes Apeshit and Adds Like 30 More Bands to Complete its Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 18th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Every year, without fail, there comes a point at which one is forced to wonder if Roadburn has lost its damn mind. So it is today as the news hits the inbox of Roadburn 2016 “rounding out its lineup” with more bands than most festivals manage to host in a weekend. Unbefuckinglievable.

Over 30 acts have joined the bill for Roadburn 2016, which I’m thrilled and proud to say I’ll be attending and covering while also editing the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch daily ‘zine once again, including Scott Kelly and Sanford Parker‘s Mirrors for Psychic Warfare, Buried at Sea (also featuring Parker), New Keepers of the Water Towers, Usnea, Death Alley, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, Beastmaker, Gomer Pyle, Carousel, Zone Six, The Progerians (who have a new video out that’s getting posted in just a bit, Menhir and of course many others.

Oh yeah, and Jucifer are playing the pre-show. Pure madness.

I can’t wait:

Final additions to the Roadburn bill, including full Cul de Sac line up

New additions to the bill include BURIED AT SEA, MIRRORS FOR PSYCHIC WARFARE, INVERLOCH, CULT OF OCCULT, CHVE, and USNEA.
Full line up for Cul de Sac venue announced, including ‘Roadburn Introduces…’
JUCIFER announced for the Hard Rock Hide Out pre-Roadburn part

BURIED AT SEA

From the beginning surge of feedback through the last filth-caked rumble, BURIED AT SEA’s sound is a monument to the notion of tone as weight. Abrasive in the extreme and matched in aural largesse only by the sway of its rhythm, it surrounds completely and oppresses mercilessly. Here at Roadburn Festival HQ, we are beyond excited to announce BURIED AT SEA will bring their one-of-a-kind dirges to Roadburn 2016 on Sunday, April 17 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

MIRRORS FOR PSYCHIC WARFARE

We always knew they were unusually talented musicians, but in the last few years Scott Kelly and Sanford Parker have also become remarkably prolific, showing a wonderfully multi-faceted aspect to their artistic expression throughout a multitude of projects. They now appear as the sole members of this latest endeavour, MIRRORS FOR PSYCHIC WARFARE. A sort of reverse side of the coin to the unfettered, confrontational aggression of Corrections House, the five songs on their self-titled debut, are more insidious. MIRRORS FOR PSYCHIC WARFARE perform on Sunday, April 17 in the Green Room.

For more information about the above bands click here.

FURTHER ADDITIONS TO THE BILL

In addition to the above, the following bands have also been added to the Roadburn 2016 line up.

CHVE – click here for more info

SIR ADMIRAL CLOUDSESLEY SHOVEL (part of Lee Dorrian’s curated event)
BEASTMAKER (part of Lee Dorrian’s curated event)
CAROUSEL
click here for more info on these bands

CULT OF OCCULT
DANIEL PAYNE
HELL
INVERLOCH
USNEA
click here for more info on these bands

CUL DE SAC LINE UP

Once again, Roadburn Festival is very happy to be hosting our fifth at the Cul de Sac in collaboration with Never Mind The Hype, an independent Dutch music platform (think: rock meets alternative, or stoner rock meets psych). At Cul de Sac, we will focus on showcasing promising Dutch and Belgian bands, plus some acts from further afield. Positioned just around the corner from the 013 venue, the intimate surroundings of the Cul de Sac mean you can get up close and personal with some of the best up and coming bands we could get our hands on.

Once again we have picked one band to showcase under the Roadburn Introduces… banner, and in association with Nevermind The Hype, we’re pleased to announce that the showcase band for 2016 is DOOL. Hailing from Rotterdam, DOOL will lure us into their spiraling netherworld, and connect with the international Roadburn community during an intimate show at the Cul de Sac on Saturday April 16 in Tilburg,The Netherlands. DOOL starts at 2 pm. Click here to read more about DOOL.

Thursday April 14
MOLOKEN
NEW KEEPERS OF THE WATER TOWERS
ZONE SIX
DEAD NEANDERTHALS
GOMER PYLE
MANTRA MACHINE
Click here for more info

Friday April 15
HERDER
ALKERDEEL FEATURING GNAW THEIR TONGUES
COCAINE PISS
NOCTUM
OBESE
CONCATENATUS
Click here for more info

Just as we did last year, Roadburn will focus on Belgium, and in collaboration with one of the country’s foremost bookings agencies, RuffStuff Music, we welcome some fantastic bands hailing from just next door in Belgium – bands that embodied the spirit of Roadburn. Together we will host some exciting, cutting edge bands, alongside Roadburn’s established acts, for the second year in a row.

Saturday April 16
HEMELBESTORMER (click here for more info)
GRIMMSONS
PARTISAN
THE PROGERIANS
WE’REWOLVES
VVOVNDS
Click here for more info

Sunday April 17
SYNDROME
CHAOS ECHOES
MENHIR
WITCH TRAIL
And finish your Roadburn experience with DEATH ALLEY
Click here for more info

HARD ROCK HIDE OUT

In keeping with what has become Roadburn tradition, we’ll be welcoming keen Roadburners to Tilburg on Wednesday, April 13 with a party at Cul de Sac. Whilst newcomers get their bearings, return visitors will slip straight back into old habits. Welcoming Roadburners to Tilburg this year will be none other than our our favourite pair of highly-amplified nomads – JUCIFER. They will park up at the Cul de Sac for the evening and rip through their harsh, thrashy, sludgy, doomy, downright massive tunes.

TICKETS

Day tickets for Thursday and Friday remain on sale, but all other ticketing options are now SOLD OUT. For a full rundown of the line up and to view the line up posters, please click HERE.

Buried at Sea, Ghost (2007)

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New Keepers of the Water Towers Releasing Infernal Machine April 1

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 9th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

new keepers of the water towers

Three years after offering up a boldly progressive third outing in 2013’s Cosmic Child (review here), Sweden’s New Keepers of the Water Towers return on Listenable Records with Infernal Machine, due out April 1. They’ve got a new video for opening track “The Forever War,” and it seems indeed to be drawing the listener through its slow, heavy march and immersive classic prog, so I can’t help but wonder what might come next, but for now the intro will have to do. These guys have never failed to progress since offering up their debut album, Chronicles (review here), in 2009 and The Calydonian Hunt (review here) in 2011, so this should be one to look forward to.

You can see the new video below, and all other album info follows here, courtesy of the PR wire:

new keepers of the water towers infernal machine

NEW KEEPERS OF THE WATER TOWERS: Swedish Progressive Space Rock Faction To Unveil Infernal Machine Full-Length Via Listenable This Spring; New Video Available

Swedish progressive space rock faction, NEW KEEPERS OF THE WATER TOWERS, will release their Infernal Machine full-length in North America this Spring via Listenable Records.

Attempting to label NEW KEEPERS OF THE WATER TOWERS feels futile. This five-piece hailing from Stockholm, Sweden has grown at such a consistent pace since first forming in 2006, that pigeonholing their unique sound is immediately outdated with each passing album as the band continues to grow and push the boundaries of their musical and writing abilities.

With their fourth full-length, Infernal Machine, a concept album based on the classic sci-fi novel The Forever War, they’ve transformed a tale of an interstellar Galactic battle into a musical odyssey that supersedes anything you’ve heard to date. From the record’s initial onset, listeners are flung into a world where classic prog meets it’s unlikely counterparts of pure, vintage space rock, perfectly haunting harmonizing vocal lines, and just enough of the far from modest power riffs to keep you gasping for air with anticipation for the next track to begin as you move forward on your journey.

In advance of Infernal Machine’s release, NEW KEEPERS OF THE WATER TOWERS recently revealed a brand new video for opening cut, “The Forever War” noting, “This is a very sad song about leaving everyone you know and love behind to face something new, when everything is different but nothing really changes. It’s about the war inside each of us and the war we wage on each other while striving to create the life we want for ourselves.”

Infernal Machine Track Listing:
1. The Forever War
2. Tracks Over Carcosa
3. Tachyon Deep
4. Misantropin Kallar
5. Escape Aleph Minor
6. Jorden
7. This Infernal Machine

NEW KEEPERS OF THE WATER TOWERS’ Infernal Machine will be available in North America on April 1st, 2016 with preorders available at THIS LOCATION.

http://www.facebook.com/NewKeepers
http://www.facebook.com/listenablerecs
http://www.listenable.net

New Keepers of the Water Towers, “The Forever War” official video

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Roadburn 2014: Sets from ASG, Carlton Melton, E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr, Gozu, Hull, Mansion, Nicklas Barker & Reine Fiske and New Keepers of the Water Towers Available to Stream

Posted in audiObelisk on August 27th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

I’m always happy to post streams from Roadburn, and I think I’ve made that clear over the last half-decade, but this batch in particular features two of my favorite performances from this year’s fest, namely Brooklyn’s Hull, who played Day One, and Boston’s Gozu, who played Day Three. The two bands are pretty far from each other sonically and aesthetically, but both are fantastic at what they do and for me represent where I come from (the New York area) and where I’m at now (the Boston area). So in addition to having enjoyed watching these guys wreck up Stage01 and the Green Room, respectively, I’m happy now to have the chance to revisit those memories. Heavy riffs and fuzzy feelings.

Also cool to hear Mansion‘s set again, which was something of a sleeper, and Carlton Melton, who were so psyched out I almost broke a vinyl-buying embargo, as well as acts I missed like E-Musikgruppe Lux OhrNew Keepers of the Water Towers and ASG. As ever, all the sets were recorded by the venerable Marcel van de Vondervoort and his team, and they’ll be available into perpetuity so that future generations can know just how much they suck in comparison to the rock and roll we beheld.

So behold:

ASG – Live at Roadburn 2014

Carlton Melton – Live at Roadburn 2014

E-musikgruppe Lux Ohr – Live at Roadburn 2014

Gozu – Live at Roadburn 2014

Hull – Live at Roadburn 2014

Mansion – Live at Roadburn 2014

Nicklas Barker & Reine Fiske – Live at Roadburn 2014

New Keepers Of The Water Towers – Live at Roadburn 2014

Thanks as always to Walter and the Roadburn crew for permission to host the streams. To check out past streams from Roadburn 2014 click here, here and/or here, and to read the coverage from this year’s fest, click here.

Roadburn’s website

Marcel Van De Vondervoort on Thee Facebooks

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Buzzov*en, Corrections House, Lumerians, 40 Watt Sun, New Keepers of the Water Towers and The Body Join Roadburn 2014 Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 30th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

It would seem as though we’ve entered that period of the year when Roadburn just starts throwing down amazing lineup additions at the drop of a hat. A slew of new ones came out today — some even as I was starting this post about them; hello, New Keepers of the Water Towers — and as ever for Roadburn, the 2014 lineup is a monster. To be honest, it was a monster already before today, but between Buzzov*en and Corrections House sets (two from the latter, including solo appearances), return slots for Lumerians and 40 Watt Sun, and debuts for The Body and New Keepers, it’s a landmark afternoon for the fest, which takes place April 10-13, 2014, at 013 in Tilburg, the Netherlands.

Here’s the latest from the Roadburn site:

Buzzov-en’s Rebirth At Roadburn Festival 2014; Headlining The Thursday Roadburn Date, April 10th

Roadburn 2014 is ecstatic to announce that sludge/stoner legends buzzov-en will be making an extremely special performance, headlining the Thursday, Roadburn date, April 10th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Now remaining original member Kirk Lloyd Fisher (guitar/vox) has re-joined forces with bassist Dixie Dave (Weedeater, Bongzilla, Buzzov*en‘s …At A Loss) and drummer Ashley (To A Frown, Sore) to reform the band and bring them to Europe for the first time ever. Time (and sobriety) may have tempered Buzzov*en‘s shows to be less broken glass and blood filled, but the music remains as potent as ever.

“I’m looking forward to Buzzov*en’s rebirth being at Roadburn. I am gearing up to make our European debut an onslaught of swamp ass guttural delusions. I have started my ascent out of my corner of HELL that caged me. With the help of fellow members Dixie, Ash and Floyd, we have chosen you all to assault first. Welcome to violence fuckers” – Kirk / Dirtkicker.

Corrections House To Hoax The System at Roadburn Festival 2014

Neurosis‘ Scott Kelly has joined up with Mike IX Williams (Eyehategod), Sanford Parker (Minsk / Buried at Sea) and Bruce Lamont (Yakuza / Bloodiest), along with ‘Minister of Propaganda’ Seward Fairbury, to form Corrections House, an end-times collaboration unit and collective, and we here at Roadburn are proud to announce that the members of Corrections House will be playing two sets for us at Roadburn 2014.

Corrections House is a meeting of minds and ideologies that sees all four members incorporating their obvious individual talents and voices but simulatenously carving paths away from the sounds for which they are usually known, with forthcoming debut full-length Last City Zero – following first single Hoax The System – shifting from the tectonic plate-shifting doom and downcast gloom of Kelly‘s usual ouevre into mutated industrial hissing and clanging EBM beats from Parker, squalls and drones of oblique saxophone from Lamont and Williams familiar phlegm-drenched fire-spitting ire and all points between across its length.

Corrections House themselves will be preaching the end-time message with apocalyptical zeal from their righteous pulpit atop the main stage of the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands, on Thursday, April 10th, hoaxing the system and smashing out selections from Last City Zero (out on Neurot recordings).

The individual members will play a second show on Friday, April 11th at Het Patronaat, and for this show, Scott Kelly, Mike IX Williams, Sanford Parker and Bruce Lamont will each perform solo material, aided and abetted by a selection of the others as they see fit.

The Body To Plunge Us Into Apocalyptic Darkness at Roadburn Festival 2014

On their latest album, Christs, Redeemers, The Body crafts a template of extreme heaviness, incorporating crushing, downtuned, ultra doom, searing black metal and ravishing grimness with elements of noise, avant-garde composition, and experimental electronic music par excellence.

The duo of Chip King and Lee Buford‘s sprawling, black hole, sonic mystery goes far beyond what is normally considered as crushing, post doom heaviness – the two man pummel advocates a doctrine of misanthropy to those brave enough to gorgeously dwell in crawling, collapsing, soul devouring darkness.

Since their humble origins, back in 2004, as scrappy DIY punk rock noisemakers, King and Buford have evolved and refined their craft in order to absolutely nullify the spirit in the most harsh and violent way sonically possible, pushing their emotive yet harrowing doom into the horrifying unknown.

The Body will plunge us into apocalyptic darkness and bring about the very end of days with devastating assaults of volume and brutal sonic battery on Friday, April 11th at Het Patronaat in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Hypnotic Space-Psych-Funk Cosmonauts Lumerians To Steer Roadburn 2014 Afterburner Into Unknown Galaxies

It makes perfect sense that San Francisco’s spaced-out, hypno-dirge, psych-funk rockers Lumerians will appear at Roadburn 2014 Afterburner on Sunday, April 13th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands. Originally starting out as a more straight ahead psychrock band, Lumerians evolved to combine the motorik, kraut-psych punch of Hawkwind and Spacemen 3, soon exploring the same intergalactic territories as their peers, Wooden Shjips and Sleepy Sun and the likes.

Over the years and the course of several LP’s and 12-inches – from Transmalinnia to Horizon Structures and The High Frontier – Lumerians pushed the envelope of all thing psychedelic, and moved more into a more distinctly different direction than their aforementioned peers, something that we really admire at Roadburn HQ: Lumerians woozy transmissions from planet Telos have been guiding us on many of our interplanetary travels into the unknown (the 2014 festival is gradually heading more and more towards the outer limits and beyond, as you all have noticed).

Lumerians excel at constantly shifting their sound, equal parts seventies space-funk explorations, eighties new wave, lygeric drones, serious progginess and kosmishe synth workouts, and at other times mixing Bitches Brew-era Miles and Sextant-era Herbie Hancock with wildly sci-fi inspired psych, the band keeps their hypnotic, cinematic, futuristic freak outs as psychedelic as they are totally exotic.

40 Watt Sun To Make A Much Anticipated Return To Roadburn Festival 2014

UK’s 40 Watt Sun will be making a much anticipated return to Roadburn Festival 2014 on Thursday, April 10th at Het Patronaat in Tilburg, The Netherlands. Lead by singer / guitarist Patrick Walker, 40 Watt Sun gets a chance to reprise their extraordinary 2012 Roadburn performance, this time playing a stark, stripped-back set of songs from their forthcoming second album as well as performing songs from the band’s stunning debut full-length, The Inside Room.

New Keepers Of The Water Towers Keep It Cosmic At Roadburn 2014 Afterburner

At last year’s Roadburn ticket release show we enjoyed Switchblade so much we decided to ask them to play the 2013 Roadburn Afterburner too and at this year’s ticket release show, wouldn’t you know it, we enjoyed fellow Swedes New Keepers of the Water Towers so much we also decided to ask them to play next year’s Roadburn Afterburner!

Since forming in 2006 and across the span of three epic albums, this Stockholm-based Stoner Metal ensemble have been increasingly upping the progressive and cosmic ante of their sound, culminating in 2013?s epic album The Cosmic Child, a wild ride across territory occupied by kindred spirits such as Mastodon, Shrinebuilder and even the Moog-driven sounds of Rush.

Join frontman Rasmus Booberg and his cosmic cohorts as they trip the light fantastic and melt faces at The Roadburn 2014 Afterburner on Sunday, April 13th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Roadburn Festival 2014 will run for four days from Thursday, April 10th to Sunday, April 13th 2014 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Roadburn Festival 2014 ticket pre-sales are in full swing! GET IN ON THE ACTION HERE!

http://www.roadburn.com/roadburn-2014/tickets/

Corrections House, “Grin with a Purpose” official video

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New Keepers of the Water Towers, The Cosmic Child: Weight of Space

Posted in Reviews on January 29th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

It’s been two years since Stockholm heavyweights New Keepers of the Water Towers released their sophomore full-length, The Calydonian Hunt, through MeteorCity, and that span of time has found them making a jump in more than just their label. Issued via Listenable Records, their third album, The Cosmic Child, finds New Keepers of the Water Towers a much more mature, more patient band, embarking on progressive psychedelic sprawl and incorporating acoustics alongside periods of the more expected weighted distortion. Tracks are by and large longer than either the second album (review here) or their Chronicles debut (review here), which compiled two self-released EPs into a 60-minute long-player rife with formative Mastodonic crush, and the three-turned-four-piece don’t shy away from including atmospheric interludes both within the songs and in the form of the closing title-track. All told, The Cosmic Child runs through six tracks in just under 47 minutes, and while there are times where it seems like New Keepers of the Water Towers have wandered beyond their capacity to restore structured order, there’s never actually a moment throughout where the songs get away from them, and the record winds up being as much of a success as it is a surprise, though those diametrically opposed to progressive indulgences will want to stay wary, as The Cosmic Child is full of them right from the beginning of opener “The Great Leveller,” which swirls to a march led by drummer Tor Sjödén and complemented by the guitars of Rasmus Booberg and Victor Berg (Björn Andersson has since joined on bass, but in this liner-noteless digital age, there’s no word on whether or not he’s actually playing on the album). “The Great Leveller” swells to a slow verse plod topped with melodic vocals and open, big-sounding guitar, gradually giving way to the chorus and a chugging rhythm playing out under a grandiose echoing, winding solo. The Mastodon feel isn’t completely gone from New Keepers’ sound – let’s not forget that they too “went prog” – but The Cosmic Child feels less outwardly concerned with showy technicality than it does with mood and atmosphere, “Visions of Death” setting a side-to-side sway in its guitar line that rests on a strong rhythmic foundation between the bassline and the drums.

There’s a current of excellent guitar leads throughout The Cosmic Child, and “Visions of Death” certainly has one in its midsection, but even these are never so over-the-top as to distract from the overall balance of the material, which rests between modern prog metal and heavy psychedelia. At nearly nine and a half minutes, “Visions of Death” presages much of what’s to come thematically from 12-plus-minute cuts like “Pyre for the Red Sage” (12:05) and “Lapse” (12:32), but each piece of the album has an identity of its own that simultaneously works to the benefit of the whole work. This is the best case scenario for a thematic, semi-narrative album, which The Cosmic Child purports to be (no lyric sheet with that download). Piano drives a transition between “Visions of Death” and the subsequent “Pyre for the Red Sage,” which opens with the same line and adds acoustic guitar for its introductory base. By the end of the first full minute, the song has unfolded its grandeur, but as big as it gets – it gets plenty big – there remains a grounding element in a catchy chorus and driving kick bass. Booberg, Berg and Sjödén all handle vocals reportedly, and on “Pyre for the Red Sage,” layers assure that as much largesse is carried across musically, it’s duly met with the singing. Before its halfway point, the track breaks to synth ambience and moves gradually, patiently, over its next couple minutes to post-Floydian prog metal, a thrashy riff running rhythm for a semi-shred solo that works because of the time spent getting to it. The guitar line that follows is one of the more memorable aspects of the song and indeed the album, and it’s met by far-off echoing vocals before a slowdown introduces the acoustics that will carry into “Cosmosis,” typified by a sweet vocal melody and rounding out with a darker electric guitar line that serves as a foreshadow to “Lapse,” the culmination of The Cosmic Child and New Keepers’ most ambitious single work to date.

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New Keepers of the Water Towers, The Calydonian Hunt: The Call From the Crystal Lake

Posted in Reviews on May 16th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

If there was one lesson learned from New Keepers of the Water TowersMeteorCity debut, Chronicles (review here), it was that the Stockholm four-piece were just getting started in terms of their development, and that despite their abundance of sonic pummel, the really interesting work lay ahead of them. Chronicles was a compilation of two EPs, and two years later, they follow it with The Calydonian Hunt (also MeteorCity), a half-hour full-length that plays off some of the same ideas and influences as Chronicles, but shows an unmistakable sonic growth. The four-piece – who previously were lacking a bassist where now the position is filled by Robin Holmberg, though Edward Hansson also plays on a few tracks – self-recorded The Calydonian Hunt over the course of 2009-2010, but rather than sound sloppily pieced together, the record has such a flow to it that it sounds more like a single-track with different movements, rather than a collection of songs written and recorded during a year’s span. The tracks don’t bleed into each other apart from “Mankind’s Fall” and “Arise, the Serpent,” but there’s a continuity of approach and flow that nonetheless pushes the album smoothly along its plotted course of beastly, bearded riff metal.

Perhaps the biggest point of change between Chronicles and The Calydonian Hunt is New Keepers of the Water Towers’ melodic capability. Vocalist/guitarist Rasmus Booberg (who also handled the album artwork), guitarist/vocalist Victor Berg and drummer/vocalist Tor Sjödén share singing duties well, giving the tracks a varied feel and occasionally – as on “Arise, the Serpent” or the title cut – give the material a dramatic boost that wasn’t there before. Flaming Thyrr of Dead Nugent (about whom I can find absolutely no information) guests on the semi-ballad “Crystal Lake,” kicking off the second half of the album with surprising accessibility that would be all the more so were it not for the production, which seems at all times to play up the heaviest aspects of the band. That song, which follows the interlude “The Call From the Cosmos,” is clearly meant to be a focal point. It took me a couple listens to get what Booberg and company were going for – at first the song sounded overly commercial to my American ears – but then I remembered that in the European market, it’s possible to be both accessible and rocking without necessarily sacrificing one for the other, and in the context of the heaviness surrounding, “Crystal Lake” made a lot more sense. They were trying something new, taking the oh-so-hot-right-now American ethic of blending metal and pop and applying it to a more European sound. It takes some getting used to, but given the melodies of the title track and the burlier closer “The Sword in the Stone,” it’s not so out of place.

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New Keepers of the Water Towers Take it to the Danes

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 3rd, 2010 by JJ Koczan

I looked up how far it is from Log-Islet, from whence beastly rockers New Keepers of the Water Towers (MySpace here) hail in Sweden, to Odense, Denmark, where they’re starting their week-long tour of that country, and it’s about eight and a half hours if you take E4 and E20, according to the Go-oogle. Maybe the band knows a shortcut, but that’s a pretty decent ride — not too terrible, doable in a day, but long enough. Good thing when they show up they’ve got plenty of monster heaviness to unleash all their frustration. They’re calling it the Chronicles of the Massive Tour. Here are the show dates:

March 4th. Kansas City Odense
March 5th. Huset Esbjerg
March 6th. Rock Nielsen Aalborg
March 8th. Bryggervej Aarhus
March 10th. The Rock Kopenhagen
March 11th. Gimle Roskilde

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