Borer Premiere Video for Title-Track of Debut LP Bag Seeker; Album Out May 10

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on April 2nd, 2024 by JJ Koczan

BORER Photo by Dan Cooper

New Zealand’s Borer are set to make their full-length debut May 10 with Bag Seeker, on Landmine Records. With it, they bring the sludge of one thousand deaths, and no, that doesn’t mean they’re giving you a bunch tiny cuts until eventually you bleed out. It means they sound like they’ve died inside a thousand times and perhaps, somewhere around 920 or so with that last 80 still ahead of them, they got bitter about it. The resulting five-tracker waves its disaffection like a banner; a resolved call to everybody who, perhaps only for today, has landed at “fuck it” as the endgame of their existence. If you can’t relate as the leadoff title-track “Bag Seeker” moves from its opening sample of Ozzy talking about drugs — immediately writing off 99 percent of the planet’s population who won’t get how brilliantly on/up the nose that is — into the dense low-end lurch wrought through Boden Powell and Tim Hunt‘s guitars and Greg Newton-Topp‘s bass, with Josh Reid‘s drumming making it roll and vocalist Tom Brand‘s mood-defining, actively-doing-damage raspy gurgle telling a story few will be able to decipher but getting the point across anyhow in its omnidirectional fuckyouism, well, you’re probably lucky.

The video premiering below for “Bag Seeker” brings this ultra-stoned, ultra-heavy despondency to the visual realm as Brand stands in a not-warm-looking flow of river water and mimes the lyrics deadpan for the bulk of the song’s nine minutes as the rest of the band hangs around behind. Save for passing a joint, vaping and drinking some beer, they barely move until it’s time to de-tableau and split as a bookending sample of some guy from a viral TikTok talking about how having too much gear is better than running out of gear brings the track to its end — Terence McKenna starts the subsequent “Ket Witch,” pontificating on the effects of ketamine — and the vibe is set.

There’s more on offer in Bag Seeker‘s 55-minute stretch than raw, searing punishment, but the more subdued moments happen around the core extremity, like the baked-creeper nod in the five-minute buildup of “Ket Witch” before it reverts to the primitive assault methodology of the opener or the shorter backdrop at the outset of 21-minute finale “Lord of the Hanged,” which puts dialogue from the 2010 Cohen Bros. remake of True Grit of three men about to be executed saying their last words before the riff kicks in and Borer dive into a by-then-characteristically scathing verse section with stops beneath the screams offset BORER Bag Seekerby crash and death-stench sensory overload. These stretches, a longer break in “Lord of the Hanged” after that verse, and the two-and-a-half-minute centerpiece “6.32” — mostly harsh noise and a likely-inebriated voicemail telling you that you missed the party; “I hope you had a good sleep” sounds like an accusation — add to the atmosphere and provide some opportunity to breathe before, say, the markedly-soaked-in-feedback “Wretch” or the next round of tonally-consuming gnash in “Lord of the Hanged” takes hold, but the five-piece leave no question as to where their priorities lie in the filthier end of caustic, slow subjugation.

I had to go to the urgent-care place down the road yesterday. They built it in the middle of a strip-mall parking lot last summer, which should tell you the state of the American healthcare system just by virtue of being somehow normal, last summer. It is cube-shaped. I’ve had an infection in my left middle finger, probably a hangnail I tore out; can’t really remember. The doctor — who was not an actual doctor, but I don’t even ask anymore because I trust nurses more anyway in that kind of situation — took some cold-spray and numbed up the swollen, hard and very-clearly-full-of-pus side of my finger before digging in with a scalpel to drain it and as I watched this fluid ooze out of my person, saw the faces of the two women in the room trying to maintain their professional aspect in the face of something universally ‘ugh,’ it was echoes of Borer‘s Bag Seeker ringing in my head. I felt the cut despite the cold, felt the gunk being pushed out, got a band-aid and a prescription and was sent on my unmerry way, alone. You check in with a QR code now. They already have your information because of course they do. $15. Supposed to be a bargain.

This experience may end up defining my engagement with Borer‘s first album, because as much as I’ve been unable to get that picture of metal cutting into my skin and some tiny manifestation of the sheer wretchedness of my being leaking forth, the physical catharsis, the Kingdom Animalia satisfaction of resolving a thing, resonates as the extended soloing in the back half of “Lord of the Hanged” gives over to the last screams, crashes and feedback that end Bag Seeker as they invariably would. Release of pressure bought with pain. Expurgation. Put on the record again and churn into foul-smelling-goo oblivion what used to be vaguely human. Fucking a.

“Bag Seeker” video follows below. Jewel case CD of the album is limited to 100 copies. If you get one, give it plenty of room.


Borer, “Bag Seeker” video premiere

Clocking just under a ten-minute runtime, the resin-coated title track to Bag Seeker is delivered through a video directed by Tim Hunt and edited by Nick Smith, that rolls in like the tidal waters depicted within. The band reveals, “‘Bag Seeker’ captures a year-long descent into the shadows, where a man pursues fleeting happiness through the enigmatic allure of a bag, a quest for joy in the embrace of ephemeral highs.”

Bag Seeker will be released on CD and all digital platforms on Landmine Records May 10th. Find preorders HERE:

Bag Seeker was recorded and mixed in Christchurch by Joseph Veale (Blindfolded And Led To The Woods), mastered by Luke Finlay at Primal Mastering, and completed with artwork and layout by Jake Clark (Mr Wolf), and is a detrimental listen for fans of Iron Monkey, Bongzilla, Weedeater, Fistula, Indian, Dystopia, and Electric Wizard.

1. Bag Seeker (9:33)
2. Ket Witch (11:36)
3. 6.32 (2:30)
4. Wretch (10:21)
5. Lord of the Hanged (21:44)

BORER has also booked two release shows for the album, taking place in Dunedin on Bag Seeker’s release date and in their hometown of Christchurch the following day. Watch for additional shows to be announced over the months ahead.

BORER Bag Seeker album release shows:
5/10/2024 The Crown Hotel – Dunedin, NZ w/ Brackish, Festering Death
5/11/2024 Churchill’s Tavern – Christchurch, NZ w/ Witchcult, From Moose Mountain


Tom Brand – vocals
Boden Powell – guitar
Tim Hunt – guitar
Greg Newton-Topp – bass
Josh Reid – drums

Borer on Facebook

Borer on Instagram

Borer on Bandcamp

Landmine Records on Facebook

Landmine Records on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

Earth Tongue to Release Great Haunting June 14; “Bodies Dissolve Tonight!” Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 27th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

earth tongue

Fresh off supporting Queens of the Stone Age in their native New Zealand, stopping by SXSW on a string of US shows to play a few unofficial showcases after ditching their official one for the age-old reason — the malignant corporate influence of weapons manufacturers — and looking forward to a Spring that will see them in Europe to feature at Desertfest in Oslo, Berlin and London, Poland’s Red Smoke Festival and others following the summer run they did last year, Earth Tongue have announced their second full-length, Great Haunting, will be released on In the Red Records this June 14. Got all that? Sweet.

They have a video up now for “Bodies Dissolve Tonight!” that leans more heavy than psych but still has plenty of both to offer along with krautrock-informed pop and hard-landing riffery in its under-three-and-a-half-minute span, and if you’d like to get acquainted, it’s at the bottom of this post. It’s got a flying truck, if that helps you get on board.

And maybe it will, but it’s the song itself that’s going to make the difference. Find it and the album announcement below, courtesy of the PR wire:


Announcing second full-length from fuzz-soaked psychedelic rock duo EARTH TONGUE

Drawing inspiration from eerie depths of ’70s and ’80s horror cinema, delivering a sonic concoction of dark and primitive songs with thick layers of fuzz and punchy, compressed drums.

Share new single/video ‘Bodies Dissolve Tonight!’

Earth Tongue, the brainchild of guitarist Gussie Larkin and drummer Ezra Simons, present their second full-length album Great Haunting. The duo, known for their heavy flavor of fuzz-soaked psychedelic rock, are also pleased to unveil their signing to In The Red Records.

Earth Tongue’s partnership with In The Red stems from a run of shows supporting the legendary Ty Segall throughout New Zealand. Larkin explains: “Ty’s band Fuzz was a significant influence for our sound early on. Ezra and I saw them play live in London about nine years ago, long before Earth Tongue existed. We absorbed a lot of music at that time, and in fact many of the bands we saw released records via In The Red.”

Great Haunting sees the duo draw inspiration from the eerie depths of ’70s and ’80s horror cinema, delivering a sonic concoction of dark and primitive songs with thick layers of fuzz and punchy, compressed drums. The album was engineered by Jonathan Pearce from The Beths at his studio on Karangahape road in Auckland.

The ascent of Earth Tongue is testament to their dedication and hard work. They’ve toured relentlessly across Europe and scored support slots for acts like IDLES and Queens Of The Stone Age. They’re consistently selling out headline shows and have featured on festival lineups throughout Aotearoa and Australia. Having just spent last week shredding SXSW, they tour America and then, in May, hit Europe/UK, playing DESERT FEST in London on 18th May!! Amongst a huge EU tour.

In The Red Records
Release date: 14th June 2024

1. Out Of This Hell
2. Bodies Dissolve Tonight!
3. Nightmare
4. The Mirror
5. Grave Pressure
6. Miraculous Death
7. Sit Next To Satan
8. Reaper Returns
9.The Reluctant Host

Earth Tongue:
Gussie Larkin – Guitar & Vocals
Ezra Simons – Drums & Vocals

Earth Tongue, “Bodies Dissolve Tonight!” official video

Tags: , , , , ,

Borer Announce May 10 Release for Debut Album Bag Seeker

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 22nd, 2024 by JJ Koczan

BORER Photo by Dan Cooper

Amid the various distractions of another day like the other days, the teaser for Borer‘s Bag Seeker caught my eye in coming down the PR wire. I don’t remember what I was supposed to be doing when I was rerouted, but that’s hardly the first time that’s happened. It’s why I keep notes, and Borer quickly went into those as well. The New Zealand extreme-sludge five-piece will release their debut album — the title as noted above is Bag Seeker — on May 10 through Landmine Records. Fair enough.

I’m not generally one for teasers. Usually you don’t get much more than 30 seconds or a minute or so of music and if you’re already excited for a thing, a snippet is really just there to piss you off that you can’t hear more. Ultimately, it was Borer‘s teaser, where you see the band in the studio sort of standing around, looking like they’re getting ready to record something or other, as part of a track plays. There’s a moment in there as the 57-second video plays out where the tone kicks in, and not then, but maybe like the next measure, the way they take that surge and lock it into the stankfaced nod they’ve already established hit me just right. All of a sudden, well, I was pissed off I couldn’t hear more.

The cover, album info, order link, etc., are below, as well of course as that teaser. By way of a plug, I’ll have the video mentioned in the press release premiering here April 2. That’s a Tuesday, if you were curious. Sometime between now and then I’m going to try to find out exactly what kind of bag is being sought.

For now:

BORER Bag Seeker

BORER: Christchurch, New Zealand Caustic Sludge Metal Quintet To Release Debut LP, Bag Seeker, On Landmine Records May 10th; Album Details, Teaser, And Preorders Posted

Landmine Records, formed and operated by members of Blindfolded And Led To The Woods, welcomes fellow New Zealand crew BORER to the label, for the May release of their caustic debut LP, Bag Seeker.

BORER was expelled into the void in 2021 during the COVID-19 lockdowns in Christchurch, Aotearoa, by vocalist Tom Brand and guitarist Boden Powell, shortly thereafter fleshed-out by guitarist Tim Hunt, bassist Greg Newton-Topp, and drummer Josh Reid. Worshipping the tones of Electric Wizard, Iron Monkey, and the like, they released their two track EP, Priest Thrower, in October 2021 which created a buzz in the sludge/doom scene and led to support slots with Beastwars, Stalker, and more, as well as playing some of the most renowned rock and metal festivals in Aotearoa.

2023 saw the BORER crew work away on their debut full-length, the now completed Bag Seeker. The resin-coated grooves of the hulking album deliver five tracks, most of which pass the ten-minute-mark, dragging the listener on a harrowing, bongwater and lukewarm beer bender which culminates in the twenty-one-minute epic “Lord Of The Hanged.”

Bag Seeker was recorded and mixed in Christchurch by Joseph Veale (Blindfolded And Led To The Woods), mastered by Luke Finlay at Primal Mastering, and completed with artwork and layout by Jake Clark (Mr Wolf), and is a detrimental listen for fans of Iron Monkey, Bongzilla, Weedeater, Fistula, Indian, Dystopia, and Electric Wizard.

Bag Seeker will be released on CD and all digital platforms on Landmine Records May 10th. Find preorders HERE:

Stand by for an official video, live announcements, and more to be dispatched surrounding the release of the record.

Bag Seeker Track Listing:
1. Bag Seeker
2. Ket Witch
3. 6.32
4. Wretch
5. Lord Of The Hanged

Tom Brand – vocals
Boden Powell – guitar
Tim Hunt – guitar
Greg Newton-Topp – bass
Josh Reid – drums

Borer, Bag Seeker teaser

Tags: , , , , ,

Album Review: Lamp of the Universe, Kaleidoscope Mind

Posted in Reviews on December 4th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Lamp of the Universe Kaleidoscope Mind

Lamp of the Universe‘s Kaleidoscope Mind is the second full-length of 2023 from Hamilton, New Zealand’s Craig Williamson. Delivered through Sound Effect Records, it bookends the year with The Eightfold Path (review here), the debut from Williamson‘s Dead Shrine project, which is the rock-psych to Lamp of the Universe‘s psych-rock as lines that used to be more stark blur with time. Williamson late in 2022 also oversaw a reissue through Sound Effect of Lamp of the Universe‘s 2001 debut, The Cosmic Union (review here; discussed here), that followed the early-2022 LP, The Akashic Field (review here). These, together with the seven-song/40-minute Kaleidoscope Mind, are the latest manifestations of a creative progression that’s been under way for over 20 years, before Williamson even began the one-man psych-folk outfit that’s grown so cosmically expansive in the years since, weaving through bands like Arc of Ascent and Dead Shrine with an inescapable love of heavy riffing while keeping the e’er molten Lamp of the Universe separate, distinct, in its own special place.

And keeping it his own. Williamson — who sounds like he’s having fun drumming on “Ritual of Innerlight” and in the funky “Codex Moon” — plays all the instruments, as always, for Lamp of the Universe. Synth to sitar, flutes and chimes, guitar, bass, the aforementioned drums that a couple records ago were unheard of from this band, vocals, probably this or that vintage keyboard, all written, arranged, performed and recorded DIY — it is the very definition of ‘dug in.’ At nine-plus minutes, “Ritual of Innerlight” is both opener and longest track (immediate points) on Kaleidoscope Mind, and it welcomes returning and new listeners alike with a hypnotic backing drone and swirling, ethereal verses. Grounded by the drums in a way that the additional hand percussion bolsters rather than detracts from, the songs that follow the extended leadoff are by and large shorter, with the let’s-make-feedback-sexy “Codex Moon” and the righteously organ-happy, blown-out-the-drums finisher “Transfiguration,” the central riff remains extrapolated from Sleep, however far that extrapolation has taken it.

But, much like the 60-ish-year history of psychedelic rock music, Williamson has no trouble bringing these ideas into his own aural context. At the same time, it has to be pointed out that after two decades, Lamp of the Universe‘s continuing evolution is something unto itself in underground acid psych, prog, space rock, cosmic folk or whatever other genre you want either to name or make up. Kaleidoscope Mind might be the 14th full-length under the Lamp of the Universe moniker — that doesn’t include splits, etc. — and it is both in line with the trajectory of everything that’s come before it and a realization unlike anything else in the band’s catalog for the places it goes in terms of songwriting. As second cut “Golden Dawn” backs up “Ritual of Innerlight,” there’s a discernible pivot toward more straightforward structures. The song moves smoothly and fluidly over its drumbeat with a pulsing kick, and the vocals are still mellow and softly delivered, but harmonized layers are used to emphasize the chorus, and when the electric guitar sweeps in for a solo before the three-minute mark, it becomes clear that Lamp of the Universe might just be writing rock tunes this time out.

Craig Williamson of Lamp of the Universe

This is not a thing about which one might complain. At all. With the penultimate “Immortal Rites” notwithstanding, as that 4:42 piece is laden with sitar and acoustic guitar, very much to the roots of Lamp of the Universe on records like the aforementioned The Cosmic Union. But even that is catchier and more forward structurally. And before it, the centerpiece “Procession” anchors itself to its Mellotron line and complements it with organ and delay in low guitar notes so that even as it fades out, the presence and atmosphere remain, and the subsequent “Live of the Severing” is perhaps the most blatant hook I’ve ever heard from Lamp of the Universe, and it works. A wah solo follows the chorus and bridges to the verse, but the next chorus isn’t far off, and Williamson has organ, guitar, massive drums and a general impression of breadth in four and a half minutes. This is a project that in the past has had songs longer than 20 minutes, and whose work has in the past been expansive meditations on spirit and the universe. Four of the seven cuts here don’t hit five minutes.

Clearly some shift in methodology has taken place, but the truth is that, as noted above, Lamp of the Universe has never really been about doing the same thing over and over. Williamson‘s style is highly identifiable and characteristic — you know it when you hear him sing, and that’s true here or in Dead Shrine — and often in Lamp of the Universe is used to enhance the fluidity or the melody of the arrangements surrounding. That’s happening on Kaleidoscope Mind, but to hear Williamson bringing together ideas from the more rock-aligned side of his craft into Lamp of the Universe is satisfying, and frankly, there’s more of it. Tracks on The Akashic Field were shorter than on some other Lamp records too, and Kaleidoscope Mind is a another progressive step in that direction. But what has to be emphasized is that it’s another progressive step — on the 14th album! It’s the 14th progressive step (unless I have my numbers wrong). Williamson has been exploring just what the hell a Lamp of the Universe might be for the last 22-plus years and he’s still finding out.

That journey, and this record’s place in it, is singular. It is Williamson‘s own, and if one is a longtime fan — as I’ll profess to being, not so much as a brag as an admission of dorkdom — then Kaleidoscope Mind, with its wide open third eye and expanded definitions of heavy, is a pun-totally-intended no-brainer. That the album has “Ritual of Innerlight,” “Codex Moon,” and “Transfiguration” only makes it multifaceted and all the more a demonstration of the various places Lamp of the Universe can and does go, in this dimension and otherwise.

Lamp of the Universe, Kaleidoscope Mind (2023)

Lamp of the Universe on Facebook

Lamp of the Universe on Instagram

Lamp of the Universe on Bandcamp

Sound Effect Records on Facebook

Sound Effect Records website

Tags: , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: David Eugene Edwards, Beastwars, Sun Dial, Fuzzy Grass, Morne, Appalooza, Space Shepherds, Rey Mosca, Fawn Limbs & Nadja, Dune Pilot

Posted in Reviews on December 1st, 2023 by JJ Koczan


Well, this is it. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to do Monday and Tuesday, or just Monday, or Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or the whole week next week or what. I don’t know. But while I figure it out — and not having this planned is kind of a novelty for me; something against my nature that I’m kind of forcing I think just to make myself uncomfortable — there are 10 more records to dig through today and it’s been a killer week. Yeah, that’s the other thing. Maybe it’s better to quit while I’m ahead.

I’ll kick it back and forth while writing today and getting the last of what I’d originally slated covered, then see how much I still have waiting to be covered. You can’t ever get everything. I keep learning that every year. But if I don’t do it Monday and Tuesday, it’ll either be last week of December or maybe second week of January, so it’s not long until the next one. Never is, I guess.

If this is it for now or not, thanks for reading. I hope you found music that has touched your life and/or made your day better.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

David Eugene Edwards, Hyacinth

David Eugene Edwards Hyacinth

There are not a ton of surprises to behold in what’s positioned as a first solo studio offering from David Eugene Edwards, whose pedigree would be impressive enough if it only included either 16 Horsepower or Wovenhand but of course is singular in including both. But you don’t need surprises. Titled Hyacinth and issued through Sargent House, the voice, the presence, the sense of intimacy and grandiosity both accounted for as Edwards taps acoustic simplicity in “Bright Boy,” though even that is accompanied by the programmed electronics that provides backing through much of the included 11 tracks. Atop and within these expanses, Edwards broods poetic and explores atmospheres that are heavy in a different way from what Wovenhand has become, chasing tone or intensity. On Hyacinth, it’s more about the impact of the slow-rolling beat in “Celeste” and the blend of organic/inorganic than just how loud a part is or isn’t. Whether a solo career under his name will take the place of Wovenhand or coincide, I don’t know.

David Eugene Edwards on Instagram

Sargent House website

Beastwars, Tyranny of Distance

beastwars tyranny of distance

Whatever led Beastwars to decide it was time to do a covers EP, fine. No, really, it’s fine. It’s fine that it’s 32 minutes long. It’s fine that I’ve never heard The Gordons, or Julia Deans, or Superette, or The 3Ds or any of the other New Zealand-based artists the Wellington bashers are covering. It’s fine. It’s fine that it sounds different than 2019’s IV (review here). It should. It’s been nearly five years and Beastwars didn’t write these eight songs, though it seems safe to assume they did a fair bit of rearranging since it all sounds so much like Beastwars. But the reason it’s all fine is that when it’s over, whether I know the original version of “Waves” or the blues-turns-crushing “High and Lonely” originally by Nadia Reid, or not, when it’s all over, I’ve got over half an hour more recorded Beastwars music than I had before Tyranny of Distance showed up, and if you don’t consider that a win, you probably already stopped reading. That’s fine too. A sidestep for them in not being an epic landmark LP, and a chance for new ideas to flourish.

Beastwars on Facebook

Beastwars BigCartel store

Sun Dial, Messages From the Mothership

sun dial messages from the mothership

Because Messages From the Mothership stacks its longer songs (six-seven minutes) in the back half of its tracklisting, one might be tempted to say Sun Dial push further out as they go, but the truth is that ’60s pop-inflected three-minute opener “Echoes All Around” is pretty out there, and the penultimate “Saucer Noise” — the longest inclusion at 7:47 — is no less melodically present than the more structure-forward leadoff. The difference, principally, is a long stretch of keyboard, but that’s well within the UK outfit’s vintage-synth wheelhouse, and anyway, “Demagnitized” is essentially seven minutes of wobbly drone at the end of the record, so they get weirder, as prefaced in the early going by, well, the early going itself, but also “New Day,” which is more exploratory than the radio-friendly-but-won’t-be-on-the-radio harmonies of “Living for Today” and the duly shimmering strum of “Burning Bright.” This is familiar terrain for Sun Dial, but they approach it with a perspective that’s fresh and, in the title-track, a little bit funky to boot.

Sun Dial on Facebook

Sulatron Records webstore

Echodelick Records website

Fuzzy Grass, The Revenge of the Blue Nut

Fuzzy Grass The Revenge of the Blue Nut

With rampant heavy blues and a Mk II Deep Purple boogie bent, Toulouse, France’s Fuzzy Grass present The Revenge of the Blue Nut, and there’s a story there but to be honest I’m not sure I want to know. The heavy ’70s persist as an influence — no surprise for a group who named their 2018 debut 1971 — and pieces like “I’m Alright” and “The Dreamer” feel at least in part informed by Graveyard‘s slow-soul-to-boogie-blowout methodology. Raw fuzz rolls out in 11-minute capper “Moonlight Shades” with a swinging nod that’s a highlight even after “Why You Stop Me” just before, and grows noisy, expansive, eventually furious as it approaches the end, coherent in the verse and cacophonous in just about everything else. But the rawness bolsters the character of the album in ways beyond enhancing the vintage-ist impression, and Fuzzy Grass unite decades of influences with vibrant shred and groove that’s welcoming even at its bluest.

Fuzzy Grass on Facebook

Kozmik Artifactz store

Morne, Engraved with Pain

Morne Engraved With Pain

If you go by the current of sizzling electronic pops deeper in the mix, even the outwardly quiet intro to Morne‘s Engraved with Pain is intense. The Boston-based crush-metallers have examined the world around them thoroughly ahead of this fifth full-length, and their disappointment is brutally brought to realization across four songs — “Engraved with Pain” (10:42), “Memories Like Stone” (10:48), “Wretched Empire” (7:45) and “Fire and Dust” (11:40) — written and executed with a dark mastery that goes beyond the weight of the guitar and bass and drums and gutturally shouted vocals to the aura around the music itself. Engraved with Pain makes the air around it feel heavier, basking in an individualized vision of metal that’s part Ministry, part Gojira, lots of Celtic Frost, progressive and bleak in kind — the kind of superlative and consuming listening experience that makes you wonder why you ever listen to anything else except that you’re also exhausted from it because Morne just gave you an existential flaying the likes of which you’ve not had in some time. Artistry. Don’t be shocked when it’s on my ‘best of the year’ list in a couple weeks. I might just go to a store and buy the CD.

Morne on Facebook

Metal Blade Records website

Appalooza, The Shining Son

appalooza the shining son

Don’t tell the swingin’-dick Western swag of “Wounded,” but Appalooza are a metal band. To wit, The Shining Son, their very-dudely follow-up to 2021’s The Holy of Holies (review here) and second outing for Ripple Music. Opener “Pelican” has more in common with Sepultura than Kyuss, or Pelican for that matter. “Unbreakable” and “Wasted Land” both boast screams worthy of Devin Townsend, while the acoustic/electric urgency in “Wasted Land” and the tumultuous scope of the seven-plus-minute track recall some of Primordial‘s battle-aftermath mourning. “Groundhog Days” has an airy melody and is more decisively heavy rock, and the hypnotic post-doom apparent-murder-balladry of “Killing Maria” answers that at the album’s close, and “Framed” hits heavy blues à la a missed outfit like Dwellers, but even in “Sunburn” there’s an immediacy to the rhythm between the guitar and percussion, and though they’re not necessarily always aggressive in their delivery, nor do they want to be. Metal they are, if only under the surface, and that, coupled with the care they put into their songwriting, makes The Shining Son stand out all the more in an ever-crowded Euro underground.

Appalooza on Facebook

Ripple Music website

Space Shepherds, Washed Up on a Shore of Stars

Space Shepherds Washed Up on a Shore of Stars

An invitation to chill the beans delivered to your ears courtesy of Irish cosmic jammers Space Shepherds as two longform jams. “Wading Through the Infinite Sea” nestles into a funky groove and spends who-even-cares-how-much-time of its total 27 minutes vibing out with noodling guitar and a steady, languid, periodically funk-leaning flow. I don’t know if it was made up on the spot, but it sure sounds like it was, and though the drums get a little restless as keys and guitar keep dreaming, the elements gradually align and push toward and through denser clouds of dust and gas on their way to being suns, a returning lick at the end looking slightly in the direction of Elder but after nearly half an hour it belongs to no one so much as Space Shepherds themselves. ‘Side B,’ as it were, is “Void Hurler” (18:41), which is more active early around circles being drawn on the snare, and it has a crescendo and a synthy finish, but is ultimately more about the exploration and little moments along the way like the drums decided to add a bit of push to what might’ve otherwise been the comedown, or the fuzz buzzing amid the drone circa 10 minutes in. You can sit and listen and follow each waveform on its journey or you can relax and let the whole thing carry you. No wrong answer for jams this engaging.

Space Shepherds on Facebook

Space Shepherds on Bandcamp

Rey Mosca, Volumen! Sesion AMB

rey mosca volumen sesiones amb

Young Chilean four-piece Rey Mosca — the lineup of Josué Campos, Valentín Pérez, Damián Arros and Rafael Álvarez — hold a spaciousness in reserve for the midsection of teh seven-minute “Sol del Tiempo,” which is the third of the three songs included in their live-recorded Volumen! Sesion AMB EP. A ready hint is dropped of a switch in methodology since both “Psychodoom” and ” Perdiendo el Control” are under two minutes long. Crust around the edge of the riff greets the listener with “Psychodoom,” which spends about a third of its 90 seconds on its intro and so is barely started by the time it’s over. Awesome. “Perdiendo el Control” is quicker into its verse and quicker generally and gets brasher in its second half with some hardcore shout-alongs, but it too is there and gone, where “Sol del Tiempo” is more patient from the outset, flirting with ’90s noise crunch in its finish but finding a path through a developing interpretation of psychedelic doom en route. I don’t know if “Sol del Tiempo” would fit on a 7″, but it might be worth a shot as Rey Mosca serve notice of their potential hopefully to flourish.


Rey Mosca on Bandcamp

Fawn Limbs & Nadja, Vestigial Spectra

Fawn Limbs & Nadja Vestigial Spectra

Principally engaged in the consumption and expulsion of expectations, Fawn Limbs and Nadja — experimentalists from Finland and Germany-via-Canada, respectively — drone as one might think in opener “Isomerich,” and in the subsequent “Black Body Radiation” and “Cascading Entropy,” they give Primitive Man, The Body or any other extremely violent, doom-derived bludgeoners you want to name a run for their money in terms of sheer noisy assault. Somebody’s been reading about exoplanets, as the drone/harsh noise pairing “Redshifted” and “Blueshifted” (look it up, it’s super cool) reset the aural trebuchet for its next launch, the latter growing caustic on the way, ahead of “Distilled in Observance” renewing the punishment in earnest. And it is earnest. They mean every second of it as Fawn Limbs and Nadja grind souls to powder with all-or-nothing fury, dropping overwhelming drive to round out “Distilled in Observance” before the 11-minute “Metastable Ion Decay” bursts out from the chest of its intro drone to devour everybody on the ship except Sigourney Weaver. I’m not lying to you — this is ferocious. You might think you’re up for it. One sure way to find out, but you should know you’re being tested.

Fawn Limbs on Facebook

Nadja on Facebook

Sludgelord Records on Facebook

Dune Pilot, Magnetic

dune pilot magnetic

Do they pilot, a-pilot, do they the dune? Probably. Regardless, German heavy rockers Dune Pilot offer their third full-length and first for Argonauta Records in the 11-song Magnetic, taking cues from modern fuzz in the vein of Truckfighters for “Visions” after the opening title-track sets the mood and establishes the mostly-dry sound of the vocals as they cut through the guitar and bass tones. A push of voice becomes a defining feature of Magnetic, which isn’t such a departure from 2018’s Lucy, though the rush of “Next to the Liquor Store” and the breadth in the fuzz of “Highest Bid” and the largesse of the nod in “Let You Down” assure that Dune Pilot don’t come close to wearing down their welcome in the 46 minutes, cuts like the bluesy “So Mad” and the big-chorus ideology of “Heap of Shards” coexisting drawn together by the vitality of the performances behind them as well as the surety of their craft. It is heavy rock that feels specifically geared toward the lovers thereof.

Dune Pilot on Facebook

Argonauta Records website

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lamp of the Universe to Release Kaleidoscope Mind Nov. 10

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 10th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

For however long I’ve run this site (and I know how long, I just don’t feel like talking about it), a consistent thread has been nerdery for the work of Craig Williamson, also known as the psych-mantra-folk solo-outfit Lamp of the Universe. The first post about the band on this site was in May 2009, and I’d already been a geek for that stuff for years at that point. Based in New Zealand, Williamson has stayed active all the while, putting out more than a handful of Lamp of the Universe records, as well as doing three albums with the trio Arc of Ascent — a more heavy rock-based outfit; Williamson began Lamp of the Universe following the demise of Datura, in which he played. Earlier this year, he branched back into rock territory with the new solo band Dead Shrine.

And this whole time, I’ve gone on and on about how righteous all this stuff is, how affecting and engrossing the psychedelia of Lamp of the Universe is, the creative range that takes Williamson through inner and outer universes, blah blah blah blah blah. Years of this.

So you know what happened? I saw Kaleidoscope Mind — the new album from Lamp of the Universe out Nov. 10 — was coming in the Sound Effect Records newsletter, and next thing I know I’m stopping myself from writing Williamson an email being like “OMG ANOTHER RECORD CAN I HEAR IT????” A few days later, he reached out, and I got to feel a little less embarrassed for myself.

But yeah, I’ve heard this one, and as I invariably would, I think it’s brilliant. He’s trying some new stuff, working in some funk and sexy grooves. Also sounds like he bought some new mics for his studio, and it’s pretty clear in listening that particular attention has been given to the vocals, which I don’t know if that’s true or not but it sure is what it sounds like. And the drums are killer as well. So basically, here I am, nerding out again to a Lamp of the Universe record, and I guess I don’t give a shit if I look like a goon because now I’ve told you this entire story. Is it a little embarrassing at this point? Yes. Is that going to stop me from reviewing the album? Come on.

Here’s news. A single will be premiering this week. Not here, but you’ll be able to see it on the embed below. Something to enjoy on the 12th:

Lamp of the Universe Kaleidoscope Mind

Lamp of the Universe – Kaleidoscope Mind

Release date : 10th November 2023

Sound Effect Records presents the new album from New Zealand’s Psychedelic artist, Lamp of the Universe.

Multi-instrumentalist and Psych guru Craig Williamson returns with an album of classic Lamp of Universe tunes. Full of artifacts from the original era, including Mellotron, fuzz guitar, Sitar, swirling effects and trippy vocal harmonies, this album touches the Psychedelic Psoul.

7 new songs re-calling times of yester-year, and also the unlimited expanses of the future. Take a dive into the Kaleidoscope Mind.

Lamp of the Universe, “The Golden Dawn”

Lamp of the Universe, The Akashic Field (2022)

Tags: , , , , ,

Beastwars Launch Preorders for Covers LP Tyranny of Distance

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 13th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Beastwars (Photo by David James)

With no intent to offend, I’ll say outright that I have never heard of any of the artists Beastwars are covering on their upcoming eight-track covers LP, Tyranny of Distance, but I’ve heard the thing and it sure sounds like Beastwars, which is enough for me. I got a listen-through and didn’t initially know it was covers, but remarked on some different kinds of moods and shifts in sound around their central crushing ethic — you can hear some of that in the single “Waves” at the bottom of the post, and not just in the guest vocals from Julia Deans — and then was told what the deal was. As regards ferocity, I’ve yet to do a side-by-side with 2019’s IV (review here), but I’m genuinely thrilled to have the excuse to do one.

One of the vinyl editions is already sold out on preorder. I would not be surprised if others go before the actual release date, which is Oct. 13. So just a heads up on that.

Here’s info from the PR wire:

beastwars tyranny of distance

BEASTWARS: Wellington Metallers Celebrate the Music of New Zealand with TYRANNY OF DISTANCE Covers Album

The band’s fifth studio album offers interpretations of classic NZ artists such as The 3Ds, The Gordons, Superette, Snapper, and more!

Tyranny of Distance will be released on 13th October 2023 | Pre-order HERE:

Renowned Wellington metallers Beastwars are thrilled to announce the release of their long-awaited fifth studio album, Tyranny of Distance, this October.

Showcasing the band’s remarkable talent for covering a range of artists and genres, the album spans across four decades of New Zealand’s rich musical history. Featuring reimagined tracks by acts such as The Gordons, Superette, Snapper, Marlon Williams, The 3Ds and more, Beastwars have extracted, mutated and distorted riffs to create a fresh and characteristically powerful sound.

The concept behind the album took root several years ago when vocalist Matthew Hyde expressed his admiration and desire to cover Marlon Williams’s ‘Dark Child’. The band didn’t pursue the idea until 2022 when they were approached to contribute a song to a Soundgarden tribute album. While on hiatus with band members facing personal challenges, the prospect of creating new, original music felt seemingly impossible. Yet they quickly discovered that the act of making music together was not only healing and cathartic but incredibly enjoyable. This realisation led to the resurrection and expansion of the idea to cover Williams’ song, marking the beginning of an ambitious journey involving shortlisting songs, seeking artists’ blessings, uncovering the inspirations behind the tracks, and even undertaking the challenging quest to decipher long-lost lyrics from original recordings.

Panhead Custom Ales, local institution and champions of rock music and custom car culture stepped up to show their unwavering support for Beastwars by embracing a simple proposition: “Would you finance the band’s recording of hot-rodded New Zealand songs?” Their answer? A resounding, “hell yeah!”

‘Waves’, the first single from Tyranny of Distance – featuring Fur Patrol’s Julia Deans and originally performed by ’90s Flying Nun act, Superette – exemplifies the band’s experimental approach when pushing the boundaries of the source material. With two Superette songs initially considered for the project, Beastwars based the song on the monolithic riff from ‘Saskatchewan’, overlaying the haunting lyrics and melody of ‘Waves’ to carry the pathos of the original, while making it entirely their own.

To celebrate the release of Tyranny of Distance, the band will also embark on a nationwide tour this October and November, with seven dates scheduled across Aotearoa (see below). For live performances, Christian Pearce, who also contributes to Beastwars’ side projects End Boss and Putrid Future, will join the band on guitar duties while original member Clayton Anderson takes a temporary break.

Tyranny of Distance will be released on 13th October 2023

Obey the Riff, Long Live the Beast!

13/10 – The Musicians Club, Whanganui
14/10 – Zeal/The Mayfair, New Plymouth
26/10 – Last Place, Hamilton
27/10 – Galatos, Auckland
28/10 – San Fran, Wellington
3/11 – 12 Bar, Christchurch
4/11 – Dive, Dunedin

Tickets on sale now from

1. Identity (Orig. by The Gordons)
2. Waves (Orig. by Superette)
3. Emmanuelle (Orig. by Snapper)
4. Dark Child (Orig. by Marlon Williams)
5. Looking for the Sun (Orig. by Children’s Hour)
6. High and Lonely (Orig. by Nadia Reid)
7. We Light Fire (Orig. by Julia Deans)
8. Spooky (Orig. by The 3Ds)

Beastwars, Tyranny of Distance (2023)

Tags: , , , ,

Mammuthus Premiere “Bloodworm”; Imperator Out July 7

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 4th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Mammuthus Imperator

Wellington, New Zealand, heavy rock trio Mammuthus will self-release their debut album, Imperator, on July 7. And don’t let the fact that it’s 29 minutes long fool you, it’s an LP. The heavy-swinging chug ‘n’ rollers released their four-song self-titled debut EP in 2020, and like End Boss, whose vocalist EJ Thorpe shows up for a guest spot on Imperator closer “Formless,” Mammuthus find a niche within post-Beastwars NZ heavy, guitarist/vocalist Josh Micallef working some Sasquatch influence into the riff and vocals of second cut “Long Drive” after “Holy Goat” has taken three minutes out of your busy day to lower a bludgeon of tone and establish a perimeter of largesse like an impact zone for where his and bassist Matt Bradford‘s fuzz will land, drummer Jay Rodeo (new since the EP) signaling the change to the hook with two hits on the splash.

Both of those comparisons, I’ll note, were made in the PR wire bio below, but they’re both right (Black Sabbath and Kyuss apply more generally, but you wouldn’t call them wrong for this kind of thing ever) and supported by specific examples. At the same time, “Backdoor” finds Mammuthus — not to be confused with MammatusMammathusUfomammutWooly Mammoth or Mammoth Volume, etc.; that first ‘u’ and the fact that they’re from New Zealand do some heavy lifting in distinguishing the name — works in a bluesy C.O.C.-style semi-metal double-kick later, and the centerpiece “King of the Dead” lurches out initially with a doomly presence, if still righteously fuzzed, so Micallef, Bradford and Rodeo are less beholden to one or another side of the heavy underground aural sphere than it might at first seem when “Holy Goat” swaggers through its gritty verse. They speed up in “King of the Dead” and some backing growls behind Micallef — or at least a layer of added burl — emphasize the weight surrounding while its position at the end of a presumed A-side (or the beginning of a B-side) sets an expectation for “Formless” to answer back in particularly huge fashion, which it does following “Monolith” and “Bloodworm.”

For all the chugging bulk it throws around, “King of the Dead” has a hook — Mark Mundell of Planet of the Dead does a guest spot — and its tempo variety makes the sleek middle-ground groove of “Monolith” feel like a landing point. It’s a standout either way for being entirely instrumental, and though one can hear where the initial verse lines would go, the fact that the first half of the song doesn’t shift into a chorus gives its bouncing progression more room to flourish. At 1:36, the fuzz pedal clicks off and Micallef‘s guitar moves into a floating heavy psych midsection that pulls out memories of Sungrazer maybe informed by some of Elder‘s shimmering prog-heavy, and at 3:29 into the purposeful-seeming total 4:20, Mammuthus unveil the triumph-of-riff that feels like what they named the album after. They don’t ride it for long — nothing on Imperator overstays its welcome, including the album as an entirety — but the crater is made and that makes a fitting setting for the arrival of “Bloodworm.”


The second of two tracks repurposed from the demo — the other was “Backdoor” — the penultimate track is likewise bluesier at its outset and sub-four-minutes in its runtime, but the last of those minutes shifts into a heavier thrust that’s like a mini-rampage. Not lacking atmosphere, “Bloodworm” has bombast worthy of the re-recording, and lets the softer beginning of “Formless” and the start of Thorpe‘s vocals become a dynamic contrast. It is no small thing for a band to give away the crescendo of their debut album, and even at 5:52, “Formless” isn’t as long as it would be on any number of other records, but a rumble of bass at about 4:37 signals the start of the build and the guitar sweeps forward to preface the surge at 4:55, screamed repetitions of the title mounting in intensity as they push higher for the second of two sets of four, capping with residual feedback and crunch-noise before ending cold.

Going back around to the start, the roll of “Holy Goat” feels all the more immediate and the swing seems to carry an extra touch of Sabbath, so fair enough. Mammuthus know the styles they’re playing toward, and the genre elements they’re picking from in a given track, whether it’s a lurching groove or sludgy shove or chugga-chugga-chugga, and that awareness serves them well throughout while not holding them back in terms of craft. With the impression of “Backdoor” and “Bloodworm” as the oldest inclusions, one might anticipate Mammathus to continue to grow more mammoth (mammuth?) in sound as demonstrated though “King of the Dead,” “Monolith” or “Formless,” but in under half an hour they find room to celebrate a variety of heavy forms, and that’s an accomplishment in itself, and the expanse they lay out across that minimal LP runtime isn’t to be understated either. Whatever direction they take from here, the thing to hope for is growth, and they give every indication of that being underway, so right on.

We’ve got a ways to go until July, but you can get a sample of Imperator with “Bloodworm” as first single premiering below, followed by more from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

The roar of MAMMUTHUS is a doom/stoner rock bred proposal embracing the inspirations of bands such as Black Sabbath, Sasquatch, Beastwars, and Kyuss but a confrontational involvement of sound stamping its own commanding individuality. The Wellington band’s 2020 released debut EP stamped down that distinction, its quartet of tracks a sinewy introduction which soon proved a praise luring incitement. It was a rippling of creative muscle which has grown into a pharaonic snowball of craft and imagination; evolution and intent uniting within the unforgiving yet alluring seductive beast that is ‘Imperator’.

Overall an eclectic body of enterprise and invention, ‘Imperator’ finds MAMMUTHUS breaching a whole new realm in their and heavy rock’s tempestuous plateaus. From the incisive and invasive swings of Jay Rodeo’s beats, the prowling growling bestiality of Matt Bradford’s bass to the distorted yet melodically searing weaving of Josh Micallef’s guitar, it all rapaciously courted by the latter’s inner and vocal snarling, the album is a hulking shadow of sound and intimidation upon the senses but, as proven by the likes of tracks such as ‘Formless’ featuring EJ from End Boss, equally a source of keen surprise and untethered imagination.

Set to be released on July 7th, “Imperator” was recorded and mixed by James Goldsmith and mastered by Will Borza, and also features the Mark Mundell of Planet of the Dead as guest vocalist in “King Of The Dead”.

1. Holy Goat
2. Long Drive
3. Backdoor
4. King of the Dead (feat. Mark Mundell)
5. Monolith
6. Bloodworm
7. Formless (feat. EJ Thorpe)

Mammuthus are:
Josh Micallef – guitar/vocals
Matt Bradford – bass
Jay Rodeo – drums

Mammuthus on Facebook

Mammuthus on Instagram

Mammuthus on Bandcamp

Tags: , , ,