Nibiru Premiere “Nanta” Video; Salbrox out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

nibiru

I am woefully unqualified to talk about the occult, or about “alternative” spirituality (or spirituality at all, I guess), dark magic, or any of that kind of thing. I just never got there. I am far too mundane in my belief system. When I might otherwise have been reading Aleister Crowley and getting my beginner’s class in expanding my mind into the grim ether of our dimension, I was probably too busy getting drunk by myself and writing bad poetry. Not that the two necessarily need to be mutually exclusive, but in my case they seem to have been.

No doubt it’s my loss. I only bring it up because that sense of ritual, of reading dried-page books with symbols on them by candlelight, that spirit of invocation pervades everything Italian trio Nibiru does. It is writ large throughout their new album, Salbrox (review here), which was released in May as their first outing for Ritual Productions — rarely are a band and label more made for each other — as the follow-up to 2017’s Qaal Babalon (review here) on Argonauta. It is the Torino group’s fifth full-length overall, and at an encompassing 64 minutes long, it shows they’ve long since wormed their way into dark arts mastery. A bleak, psychological psychedelia pervades the wash of effects and course narration at the outset, but it’s in the repetition and the hypnotic effect thereof on the listener, as well as in the abyssal barks of the vocals, that Nibiru seem to dive ever deeper into their own spirit.

And it is very much an inward journey, even as much as it’s an outward sonic exploration on Salbrox. To listen to a song like “Exarp” or “Nanta,” for which they’re premiering a new video below, Nibiru seem to be challenging themselves as much as their listenership, crafting material that sounds excruciating to perform no less than it’s hard on the ear. The abrasive feedback laid overtop the roll of “Nanta” undercuts the notion of accessibility to its groove, and even that march seems to be directed permanently downward into some chaos waiting to be harvested.

Do they get to those depths of madness by the time 13-minute closer “Rziorn” is done? You know, the thing about endless pits of despair is they just kind of keep going, so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Nibiru manage to push even further their next time out, but as “Nanta” shows, there’s plenty of insanity to be had. And not to shift back to real-world concerns or anything, but if you’re sensitive to flashing lights, you might want to tread carefully through the video, as both the performance footage and the handsy-torture-chamber scenes have some of that going on. Just fair warning.

And should you want to try your hand at some self-obliteration — now that I understand — I’ve included the full stream of Salbrox below, courtesy of Ritual Productions‘ Bandcamp. Dig in if you’re feeling like you need a litmus test for psyche destruction. Which we all do, frankly.

With love:

Nibiru, “Nanta” official video

‘NANTA’ taken from the Nibiru album ‘Salbrox’, out on Ritual Productions. Video directed by Marco Testa. ‘Salbrox’ available on LP/CD/DL at Ritual Productions.

Conceptually and spiritually, Salbrox is inspired by the continuous re-adjustment between disharmony and balance. Salbrox aims, via mysterious and enigmatic practices that reflect an ouroboros quality of death and rebirth, to explore the transmutation and regeneration of the human being that occurs at every level – spirit, soul and corporeality.

In turn, the alchemical practice of ‘Solve et Coagula’ – meaning to dissolve and coagulate – is the foundation of Salbrox. This ethos points towards the liberation of the self from impurities and the destruction of the Ego, bringing forth an alternative awareness and synthesis of the self. The rite is thus a magick process that follows the key principles of alchemy, merging deep, ancestral knowledge into sound voyages that awaken the darkest and most hidden chords of consciousness.

NIBIRU ARE:
Ardat – Guitars, Percussion & Vocals
Ri Salma – Bass, Drones & Synthesizers
L.C. Chertan – Drums

Nibiru, Salbrox (2019)

Nibiru on Thee Facebooks

Nibiru on Instagram

Nibiru on Bandcamp

Nibiru website

Ritual Prodcutions website

Ritual Productions on Bandcamp

Ritual Productions on Thee Facebooks

Ritual Productions on Instagram

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Quarterly Review: Pelican, Swan Valley Heights, Mark Deutrom, Greenbeard, Mount Soma, Nibiru, Cable, Reino Ermitaño, Cardinals Folly & Lucifer’s Fall, Temple of the Fuzz Witch

Posted in Reviews on July 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

More computer bullshit this morning. I lost about 45 minutes because my graphics driver and Windows 10 apparently hate each other and before I could disable the former, the machine decided the best it could do for me was to load a blank screen. Hard to find the Pelican record on my desktop when I can’t see my desktop. The Patient Mrs. woke up while I was trying to fix it and suggested HDMIing it to the tv. When I did that, it didn’t project as was hoped, but the display came on — because go figure — and I was able to shut off the driver, the only real advantage of which is it lets me use the night light feature so it’s easier on my eyes. That’s nice, but I’d rather have the laptop function. Not really working on a level of “give me soft red light or give me death!” at this point. I may yet get there in my life.

Today’s the last day of this beast, wrapping up the last of the 60 reviews, and I’m already in the hole for the better part of an hour thanks to this technical issue, the second of the week. Been an adventure, this one. Let’s close it out.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Pelican, Nighttime Stories

pelican nighttime stories

Split into two LPs each with its own three-minute mood-setter — those being “WST” and “It Stared at Me,” respectively — Pelican‘s Nighttime Stories (on Southern Lord) carries the foreboding sensibility of its title into an aggressive push throughout the album, which deals from the outset with the pain of loss. The lead single “Midnight and Mescaline” represents this well in directly following “WST,” with shades of more extreme sounds in the sharp-turning guitar interplay and tense drums, but it carries through the blastbeats of “Abyssal Plain” and the bombastic crashes of presumed side B closer “Cold Hope” as well, which flow via a last tonal wash toward the melancholy “It Stared at Me” and the even-more-aggro title-track, the consuming “Arteries of Blacktop” and the eight-minute “Full Moon, Black Water,” which offers a build of maddening chug — a Pelican hallmark — before resolving in melodic serenity, moving, perhaps, forward with and through its grief. It’s been six years since Pelican‘s last LP, Forever Becoming (review here), and they’ve responded to that time differential with the hardest-hitting record they’ve ever done.

Pelican on Thee Facebooks

Southern Lord Recordings website

 

Swan Valley Heights, The Heavy Seed

swan valley heights the heavy seed

Though the peaceful beginning of 13-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “The Heavy Seed,” for which the five-song album is named, reminds of Swan Valley Heights‘ Munich compatriots in Colour Haze, the ultimate impression the band make on their Fuzzorama Records debut and second album overall behind a 2016 self-titled (review here) is more varied in its execution, with cuts like “Vaporizer Woman” and the centerpiece “Take a Swim in God’s Washing Machine” manifesting ebbs and flows and rolling out a fuzzy largesse to lead into dream-toned ethereality and layered vocals that immediately call to mind Elephant Tree. There’s a propensity for jamming, but they’re not a jam band, and seem always to have a direction in mind. That’s true even on the three-minute instrumental “My First Knife Fight,” which unfurls around a nod riff and simple drum progression to bridge into closer “Teeth and Waves,” a bookend to The Heavy Seed‘s title-track that revives that initial grace and uses it as a stepping stone for the crunch to come. It’s a balance that works and should be well received.

Swan Valley Heights on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzorama Records on Bandcamp

 

Mark Deutrom, The Blue Bird

Mark Deutrom The Blue Bird

Released in the wee hours of 2019, Mark Deutrom‘s The Blue Bird marks the first new solo release from the prolific Austin-based songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist through Season of Mist, and it’s a 50-minute run of genre-spanning outsider art, bringing ’70s folk vibes to the weepy guitar echoes of “Radiant Gravity” right before “O Ye of Little Faith” dooms out for six of its seven minutes and “Our Revels Now Are Ended” basks in 77 seconds of experimentalist winding guitar. It goes like that. Vocals are intermittent enough to not necessarily be expected, but not entirely absent through the midsection of “Hell is a City,” “Somnambulist” and “Maximum Hemingway,” and if there’s traditionalism at play anywhere, it might be in “They Have Won” and “The Happiness Machine,” which, toward the back end of the album, bring a sax-laden melancholy vibe and a straightforward heavy rock feel, respectively, ahead of the closer “Nothing out There,” which ties them together, somehow accounting for the 1:34 “On Fathers Day” as well in its sweetness. Don’t go into The Blue Bird asking it to make sense on any level other than its own and you should be fine. It’s not a minor undertaking at 50 minutes, and not without its indulgences, but even the briefest of pieces helps develop the character of the whole, which of course is essential to any good story.

Mark Deutrom website

Season of Mist website

 

Greenbeard, Onward, Pillager

greenbeard onward pillager

Austin bringers of hard-boogie Greenbeard reportedly issued the three-song Onward, Pillager as a precursor to their next full-length — even the name hints toward it being something of a stopgap — but its tracks stand well on their own, whether it’s the keyboard-laced “Contact High II,” which is presumably a sequel to another track on the forthcoming record, or the chunkier roll of “WCCQ” and the catchy finisher “Kill to Love Yourself,” with its overlaid guitar solo adding to a dramatic ending. It hasn’t been that long since 2017’s Lödarödböl (review here), but clearly these guys are committed to moving forward in neo-stoner rock fashion, and their emergence as songwriters is highlighted particularly throughout “WCCQ” and “Kill to Love Yourself,” while “Contact High II” is more of an intro or a would-be interlude on the full-length. It may only be pieces of a larger, to-be-revealed picture, but Onward, Pillager shows three different sides of what Greenbeard have on offer, and the promise of more to come is one that will hopefully be kept sooner rather than later.

Greenbeard on Thee Facebooks

Sailor Records on Bandcamp

 

Mount Soma, Nirodha

mount_soma_nirodha

Each of the three songs on Mount Soma‘s densely-weighted, live-recorded self-released Nirodha EP makes some mention of suffering in its lyrics, and indeed, that seems to be the theme drawing together “Dark Sun Destroyer” (7:40), “Emerge the Wolf” (5:50) and “Resurfacing” (9:14): a quest for transcendence perhaps in part due to the volume of the music and the act itself of creating it. Whatever gets them there, the trajectory of Nirodha is such that by the time they hit into the YOB-style galloping toward the end of “Resurfacing,” the gruff shouts of “rebirth!” feel more celebratory than ambitious. Based in Dublin, the four-piece bring a fair sense of space to their otherwise crush-minded approach, and though the EP is rough — it is their second short release following 2016’s Origins — they seem to have found a way to tie together outer and inner cosmos with an earthbound sense of gravity and heft, and with the more intense shove of “Emerge the Wolf” between the two longer tracks, they prove themselves capable of bringing a noisy charge amid all that roar and crash. They did the first EP live as well. I wonder if they’d do the same for a full-length.

Mount Soma on Thee Facebooks

Mount Soma on Bandcamp

 

Nibiru, Salbrox

nibiru salbrox

One might get lost in the unmanageable 64-minute wash of Nibiru‘s fifth full-length (first for Ritual Productions), Salbrox, but the opaque nature of the proceedings is part of the point. The Italian ritualists bring forth a chaotic depth of noise and harsh semi-spoken rasps of vocals reportedly in the Enochian language, and from 14-minute opener “EHNB” — also the longest track (immediate points) — through the morass that follows in “Exarp,” “Hcoma,” “Nanta” and so on, the album is a willful slog that challenges the listener on nearly every level. This is par for the course for Nibiru, whose last outing was 2017’s Qaal Babalon (review here), and they seem to revel in the slow-churning gruel of their distortion, turning from it only to break to minimalism in the second half of the album with “Abalpt” and “Bitom” before 13-minute closer “Rziorn” storms in like a tsunami of spiritually desolate plunge. It is vicious and difficult to hear, and again, that is exactly what it’s intended to be.

Nibiru on Thee Facebooks

Ritual Productions website

 

Cable, Take the Stairs to Hell

Cable Take the Stairs to Hell

The gift of Cable was to take typically raw Northeastern disaffection and channel it into a noise rock that wasn’t quite as post-this-or-that as Isis, but still had a cerebral edge that more primitive fare lacked. They were methodical, and 10 years after their last record, the Hartford, Connecticut, outfit return with the nine-song/30-minute Take the Stairs to Hell (on Translation Loss), which brings them back into the modern sphere with a sound that is no less relevant than it was bouncing between This Dark Reign, Hydra Head and Translation Loss between 2001 and 2004. They were underrated then and may continue to be now, but the combination of melody and bite in “Black Medicine” and the gutty crunch of “Eyes Rolled Back,” the post-Southern heavy of the title-track and the lumbering pummel of “Rivers of Old” before it remind of how much of a standout Cable was in the past, reinforcing that not only were they ahead of their time then, but that they still have plenty to offer going forward. They may continue to be underrated as they always were, but their return is significant and welcome.

Cable on Instagram

Translation Loss Records webstore

 

Reino Ermitaño, Reino Ermitaño

Reino Ermitano Reino Ermitano

Originally released in 2003, the self-titled debut from Lima, Peru’s Reino Ermitaño was a beacon and landmark in Latin American doom, with a sound derived from the genre’s traditions — Sabbath, Trouble, etc. — and melded with not only Spanish-language lyrics, but elements of South American folk and stylizations. Reissued on vinyl some 16 years later, it maintains its power through the outside-time level of its craft, sliding into that unplaceable realm of doom that could be from any point from about 1985 onward, while the melodies in the guitar of Henry Guevara and the vocals of Tania Duarte hold sway over the central groove of bassist Marcos Coifman and drummer Julio “Ñaka” Almeida. Those who were turned onto the band at the time will likely know they’ve released five LPs to-date, with the latest one from 2014, but the Necio Records version marks the first time the debut has been pressed to vinyl, and so is of extra interest apart from the standard putting-it-out-there-again reissue. Collectors and a new generation of doomers alike would be well advised on an educational level, and of course the appeal of the album itself far exceeds that.

Reino Ermitaño on Thee Facebooks

Necio Records on Bandcamp

 

Cardinals Folly & Lucifer’s Fall, Split

cardinals folly lucifers fall split

Though one hails from Helsinki, Finland, and the other from Adelaide, Australia, Cardinals Folly and Lucifer’s Fall could hardly be better suited to share the six-song Cruz Del Sur split LP that they do, which checks in at 35 minutes of trad doom riffing and dirtier fare. The former is provided by Cardinals Folly, who bring a Reverend Bizarre-style stateliness to “Spiritual North” and “Walvater Proclaimed!” before betraying their extreme metal roots on “Sworn Through Odin’s and Satan’s Blood,” while the Oz contingent throw down Saint Vitus-esque punk-born fuckall through “Die Witch Die,” the crawling “Call of the Wild” and the particularly brash and speedier “The Gates of Hell.” The uniting thread of course is homage to doom itself, but each band brings enough of their own take to complement each other without either contradicting or making one or the other of them feel redundant, and rather, the split works out to be a rampaging, deeply-drunk, pagan-feeling celebration of what doom is and how it has been internalized by each of these groups. Doom over the world? Yeah, something like that.

Cardinals Folly on Thee Facebooks

Lucifer’s Fall on Thee Facebooks

Cruz Del Sur Music website

 

Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Temple of the Fuzz Witch

Temple of the Fuzz Witch Temple of the Fuzz Witch

A strong current of Electric Wizard runs through the self-titled debut full-length from Detroit’s Temple of the Fuzz Witch (on Seeing Red Records), but even to that, the outfit led by guitarist/vocalist Noah Bruner bring a nascent measure of individuality, droning into and through “Death Hails” after opening with “Bathsheba” and ahead of unveiling a harmonized vocal on “The Glowing of Satan” that suits the low end distortion surprisingly well. They continue to offer surprises throughout, whether it’s the spaciousness of centerpiece “329” and “Infidel,” which follows, or the offsetting of minimalism and crush on “The Fuzz Witch” and the creeper noise in the ending of “Servants of the Sun,” and though there are certainly familiar elements at play, Temple of the Fuzz Witch come across with an intent to take what’s been done before and make it theirs. In that regard, they would seem to be on the right track, and in their 41 minutes, they find footing in a murky aesthetic and are able to convey a sense of songwriting without sounding heavy-handed. There’s nothing else I’d ask of their first album.

Temple of the Fuzz Witch on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

 

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Nibiru Sign to Ritual Productions; New Album in 2019

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Italian cult sludgers Nibiru released their gruesome Qaal Babalon (review here) album last year on Argonauta Records, and the news has come in that their next offering will be made, suitably enough, through Ritual Productions. They’re the second roster addition to Ritual in the last week or so behind Brazil’s Basalt (info here), and if the UK-based label is on a binge, they certainly know what they’re looking for in terms of bands who, indeed, bring a sense of ritual to their sound. That’s basically been Nibiru‘s thing all the more on each of their releases, and with a new one due sometime next year, I wouldn’t at all expect that to subside.

As to whether or not it’s a coincidence of concurrent pickups or Ritual Productions is actively building a roster and more announcements are to come, I don’t know and won’t speculate at this point. Two bands in a week is a lot. If there’s another in the next month or so, I’ll be ready to call it a boom. Keep an eye out.

Info from the PR wire:

nibiru

RITUAL PRODUCTIONS INITIATE NIBIRU INTO THEIR ROSTER; LIVE RITUALS INCOMING THIS WEEK

With immense pleasure Ritual Productions amplify its roster with the addition of grim psych alchemists Nibiru, with UK rituals imminent!

The Italian three-piece immerse listeners within their terrifically hypnotic realm of mind-altering heavy psychedelic sonics, where deep Enochian chants seamlessly infuse with phenomenally sublime ritualistic tones. The result induces an entrancing and magick ambience that simultaneously conjures awe and wonder with foreboding danger and terror, speaking profoundly to your subconscious. Extreme in all elements, Nibiru continue to reach higher musical prowess with each aural offering.

Nibiru are equally excited to join Ritual Production’s prolific roster – with their first rite for the label scheduled for 2019 – saying:

“It’s hard to find words that express how thrilled and proud we are to announce this signing. It goes without saying that Ritual Productions represents our philosophy. We needed a label who would understand us and our music, so we are happy to have found our new home with them. Joining their incredible roster of artists who we love is simply a dream come true. We are grateful for this opportunity and are looking forward to this collaboration which feels like the beginning of a new, exciting chapter in the history of Nibiru!”

For those uninitiated to Nibiru’s sound, the band formed in 2012 with shared spiritual and emotional knowledge existing between the three members. This knowledge transmuted, and every energy concentrated, into a totally impetuous creative approach with their subsequent sonic sorcery conjuring a ritualistic psychedelia. To date, Nibiru has four releases that have met exceptional praise from the worldwide press – Caosgon, Netrayoni, Padmalotus and Qaal Babalon, respectively. The band have also hosted a string of soaring gigs across Europe, including an excellent performance at the 2016 edition of the highly esteemed Roadburn Festival.

Nibiru play four live UK rituals commencing at the Black Heart, London on October 11th – do not miss these shows! Dates below:

NIBIRU – RITUALS OVER UK TOUR 2018
11/10 – The Black Heart, London
12/10 – Star and Garter, Manchester
13/10 – Hammer and Anvil, Birmingham
14/10 – The Old Salutation Inn, Nottingham

Cryptic, stimulating, progressive and expansive, Nibiru will entrance you into their ever-imploding yet tremendous cataclysm. Join the ritual and stayed tuned for news and offerings, with the band’s first rite for Ritual Productions incoming during 2019.
NIBIRU ARE:
Ardat – Guitars, Percussion & Vocals
Ri – Bass, Drones & Synthesizers
L.C. Chertan – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/nibiruritual/
https://www.instagram.com/nibiru_ritual/
https://nibiru667.bandcamp.com
http://www.nibiruritual.com/
http://www.ritualproductions.net
https://ritualproductions.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/ritualproductionsuk
www.twitter.com/ritualmusic
www.instagram.com/ritualproductions

Nibiru, Qaal Babalon (2017)

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Nibiru to Headline UK Tour Next Month

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

nibiru

Even though they wouldn’t let me hang out at the downstairs bar with The Pecan earlier this year, The Black Heart in London is still an excellent place to see a show, and I’d imagine that when Italian ritualistic sludgers Nibiru hit that stage — which is upstairs, far away from anywhere I’d have tried to take the baby, plus it was daytime! — they’ll have no problem filling that room with a wash of sometimes harsh but always immersive noise.

Nibiru will land at The Black Heart as part of a UK tour that also includes stops in Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham, and they’ll be headlining while doing shows with Varego and Surya as well as The Medea Project and Even Vast. They’re also working on a new record, which is only good news for anyone who digs a little psychosis in their psych.

The PR wire has details:

nibiru uk tour poster

NIBIRU announce UK headline tour in October 2018

For the first time in their successful career Italian ritual psychedelic sludgers NIBIRU will tour as headliners in UK in October 2018!

The band will be hitting the road for 4 dates next month. Italian heavy prog outfit VAREGO and London-based doom atmospheric sludge post-metal merchants SURYA have been confirmed as special guests at The Black Heart in London on Thursday October 11th.

Nottingham based gothic death doom trio THE MEDEA PROJECT and UK sludge doomers EVEN VAST will support NIBIRU in Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham.

NIBIRU was born in 2012, following a relentless process of spiritual and emotional knowledge that involves every member of the band and is reflected in a totally free and impetuous creative approach. Since the first album Caosgon, the music of NIBIRU is recognized a unique identity, instinctive and difficult to label in an artistic panorama overloaded by clone bands and lack of originality. These characteristics are further developed in the next records. Netrayoni, Padmalotus and Qaal Babalon got amazing reviews from press worldwide.

The genre proposed by NIBIRU could be described as Ritual Psychedelic Sludge and finds no term of stylistic comparison with other active bands, although the influences of Black Sabbath, Neurosis and MZ.412 have always been pretty clear since their inception until today. The musical journey to the dark star NIBIRU is an experience from which anyone can only come back deeply changed, an evil and visceral representation that sets new rules for genres such as black metal, sludge and drone as we know them.

NIBIRU managed to play several shows with ORANSSI PAZUZU, UADA, MORTIIS, SUMA, NIGHTSTALKER and PHANTOM WINTER. Their performance at Roadburn Festival 2016 was unforgettable! The band is currently putting the finishing touches on their upcoming full-length album.

Make sure to catch the band live on the following UK dates presented by Neecee Agency, Leynir Booking & Fabiola Santini Photography.

Thursday October 11th 2018 – UK – The Black Heart, London (+)
Friday October 12th 2018 – UK – Star and Garter, Manchester (*)
Saturday October 13th 2018 – UK – Hammer and Anvil, Birmingham (*)
Sunday October 14th 2018 – UK – The Old Salutation Inn, Nottingham (*)

Special guests (+) VAREGO & SURYA; (*) THE MEDEA PROJECT & EVEN VAST

Pre-sales are available now!

http://www.nibiruritual.com/
https://nibiru667.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/nibiruritual

Nibiru, Netrayoni (2018 reissue)

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Quarterly Review: Nibiru, The Ditch and the Delta, Cyanna Mercury, Surya Kris Peters, Golden Bats, Blind Hen, The Black Wizards, Low Flying Hawks, Brother Sister Hex, Cold Insight

Posted in Reviews on September 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

Ready for round three of the Fall 2017 Quarterly Review? I hope so, because it’s a doozy. Things get pretty weird and pretty rockin’ in this batch, and at the risk of being completely honest, I much prefer it that way. It’s a varied group — maybe the most diverse in terms of sound throughout the entire week, though there’s stiff competition still to come — and as we hit the 30th review, that brings us to the halfway point of the Quarterly Review itself, which if all keeps proceeding according to plan will wrap up on Monday with a grand total of 60 done. Let’s hope no pianos fall on my head between now and then, literally or figuratively. Onward.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Nibiru, Qaal Babalon

nibiru qaal babalon

The fourth full-length from Italian sludge ritualists Nibiru, Qaal Babalon (on Argonauta) is an encompassing, 57-minute grind comprised of four extended tracks, the longest of which is opener (immediate points) “Oroch” at 19:07 – a song whose depths run dark and cruel and which, even when the tempo pushes upward from its initial slow crawl, still feels massively slow. Still, the spirit behind “Oroch” as well as the following and much faster “Faboan” (10:51), the buzzsaw noise cutting avant insanity of “Bahal Gah” (16:40) and full-drone rite of “Oxex” (11:05) is less directly about the punishment itself than about the exploration enacted thereby. That is, Nibiru aren’t just heavy for heaviness’ own sake and they’re not just assaulting their listenership without reason. Though I won’t take away from its raw sonic impact, Qaal Babalon’s greatest asset is its atmospheric impression and the experimentalism it brings to bear, which moves Nibiru into a terrifying place sound-wise that they seem to have all to themselves.

Nibiru on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

The Ditch and the Delta, Hives in Decline

the-ditch-and-the-delta-hives-in-decline

Hailing from the unlikely heavy hotbed of Salt Lake City, Utah – though where better for a counterculture to emerge? – sludge rocking trio The Ditch and the Delta made their debut earlier in 2017 with the seven-song Hives in Decline via Battleground Records before being picked up by Prosthetic for this reissue. Comprised of bassist/vocalist Kory Quist (see also: Making Fuck), guitarist/vocalist Elliot Secrist and drummer Charles Bogus, the three-piece pummel handily throughout early cuts like opener and longest track (immediate points) “Hives in Decline” “Fuck on Asphalt” and the nodding “Sleeping Dogs,” but with the instrumental interlude “Dry Land,” they tap into post-Across Tundras heavy Americana and in that brief two-minute stretch deeply affect the mood of the release overall. They’re back to angular noise rock turns soon enough on “Till Body Quits” and the Remission-era-Mastodon-style “Mud” before alternating between lurching crush and airier prog/post-rock on closer “Dread Spectacle,” but by then the secret’s out of their underlying complexity, and rather than offset the sense of drive in the prior cuts, one finds them only enhanced by the later unfolding. Intense, and very much in the process of sorting through these impulses, but loaded with potential.

The Ditch and the Delta on Thee Facebooks

The Ditch and the Delta at Prosthetic Records

 

Cyanna Mercury, Archetypes

Cyanna-Mercury-Archetypes

From Greek dialogue in “Hermes” to the Nick Cave-style piano balladry of “Apollo” to the organ-and-handclaps Mediterranean pop underscoring “Lilith”’s boogie and the spoken verses and explosive hook of “Snake” ahead of moody closer “There will be a Time,” Cyanna Mercury’s debut long-player, Archetypes, seems to leave no sonic stone unturned. The Athens-based five-piece hone a thoroughly progressive approach across the 10-track/40-minute (plus a CD bonus track) outing, touching on heavy psych in opener “Horse Dark as Night” and injecting a darker theatricality into centerpiece “Ode to the Absent Father” and the later “Nothing We Can Do,” but refusing to relegate themselves ultimately to one sound or another. Elements of folk, heavy rock, psychedelia, classic prog, pop and more besides show themselves across what’s a legitimate head-trip of a record, and though it’s hard to get a grip on where Cyanna Mercury are ultimately headed with this sonic brew already so potent and already so much their own, they seem to be completely in control of how it all plays out in arrangement and songwriting, and they work quickly to earn the listener’s trust via a resonant overarching flow that renders Archetypes truly immersive. Will fly under most radar, but a stunningly creative debut.

Cyanna Mercury on Thee Facebooks

Cyanna Mercury on Bandcamp

 

Surya Kris Peters, 2nd Chances

surya-kris-peters-second-chances

Numerically-titled three-song EP 2nd Chances is – since we’re going by the numbers – the third release of 2017 from Surya Kris Peters, behind the synth-driven Dream Exit EP digitally-issued this past summer and January’s Holy Holy Holy (review here) full-length. With it, Samsara Blues Experiment frontman Christian Peters further expands the contextual breadth of his solo work, revisiting songs from his prior outfit Terraplane in the Mellotron-infused melancholy of “Smalltown Blues” and the quick, folkish rambling instrumental “Dark Euphoria” while also covering Jefferson Airplane’s “Come up the Years” between. All told, it’s only 10 minutes long, but Peters brings a particularly progressive psychedelic folk vibe to the tracks, and from the shimmering guitar lead that takes hold in “Come up the Years” and the intimate feel of “Smalltown Blues” despite an arrangement of keys, vocals, multiple layers of guitar and effects, an emotional and sonic resonance is still very much achieved. One never wants to guess what Peters will do next, but if he had a full-length of this kind of thing out at some point, you wouldn’t be likely to find me complaining.

Surya Kris Peters on Soundcloud

Electric Magic Records on Bandcamp

 

Golden Bats, Residual Dread

golden-bats-residual-dread

An underlying mournfulness pervades Golden BatsResidual Dread, or maybe that’s just the Brisbane-based solo-project of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/engineer Geordie Stafford living up to the title chosen for the album on “Nothing.” Elsewhere, Residual Dread takes on guitar-as-keyboard plotted soloing in 11-minute closer “The Crows Build a Fire” and find a place between black metal and doomly roll, and add piano to tapped Godflesh-style programming on opener “Trouble in the Sewers” and bring organ to the relative bounce of “Eye Juices” as far-back echoing shouts provide the vocal presence. Setting elements against each other would seem to be a core aspect of Stafford’s intent, and the feel on Residual Dread is more about the smashing them together and seeing what happens than trying to gently meld one idea from two or three. That lends a raw, experimentalist sensibility to the lumber of “Outer Body” and “Into the Silver Valley” that serves them well, like a Large Hadron Collider driven by riffs and thickness of tone.

Golden Bats on Thee Facebooks

Haemorrhage Records webstore

 

Blind Hen, Life

blind-hen-life

In its first two minutes, Blind Hen’s “As a Monster” moves from electronica-style Euro dance rock to heavy-riffed progressive metal. Then it turns back. This is just the start of the Finnish four-piece’s four-track/21-minute Life EP, and “Titanic” follows stylistic suit with an even more intense thrust early before moving into psychedelia in its second half with an underlying tension in its beat to contrast the melodic wash overtop. The chugging “The Maze” is more guitar-led and straightforward, but even there, Blind Hen find room for nuance in their vocal arrangement, also bringing in acoustics amid the multiple layers of singing, and with a sample at the outset, closer “Catch” moves once again toward the danceability of the earlier fare, if in a via-Mr.Bungle rhythmic restlessness rather than the fusion beatmaking. Weird, weird, weird. What draws Life together is the fact that Blind Hen cross this aesthetic swath with stuck-in-your-head choruses as a constant, essentially giving the audience something to grasp onto while they go wherever they want in terms of sound. It is appreciated to say the least, and shows the band to be all the more attuned to their craft, even when they seem at their most unhinged.

Blind Hen on Thee Facebooks

Blind Hen on Bandcamp

 

The Black Wizards, What the Fuzz!

the-black-wizards-what-the-fuzz

If you’ve got 68 minutes, Portuguese four-piece The Black Wizards are ready to have a heavy blues shindig on their second 2LP full-length, What the Fuzz!, and I do believe we’re all invited. The nine-song outing emphasizes the vocals of guitarist Joana Brito, who emerges on post-intro opener “Freaks and Geeks” with a prominent kind of trilling in her voice of the sort Parker Griggs brings to Radio Moscow that holds for the duration as a steady presence. Joined by guitarist Paulo Ferreira, bassist/acoustic guitarist B and drummer/backing vocalist Helena Peixoto, Brito leads the way through the fuzzy rollout of the nine-minute “The Story of an Hopeless Drummer” (sic), stepping back to let the guitar/bass have a righteously nodding moment late in the track, but holds firm in a forward position on the short, twanging “Just Not Today” as well as the early going of the prior subdued-blues-smoker highlight “Floating Blues.” “Build Your Home,” “I Don’t Wanna Die” and the particularly-classic-sounding “Fire” revive the classic heavy rock spirit of “Freaks and Geeks,” and 16-minute finale “Everything is Good Until Trouble Comes” uses its extra runtime for a satisfying and patient execution with an expanded arrangement including choral vocals, organ and additional guitar effects. You might be boogied out by the time they’re done, but as The Black Wizards crash through their big finish, they sound like their party’s just getting started.

The Black Wizards on Thee Facebooks

The Black Wizards on Bandcamp

 

Low Flying Hawks, Genkaku

low-flying-hawks-genkaku

One might expect that with all the Melvins affiliation going on in the second Magnetic Eye Records full-length from L.A. duo Low Flying Hawks, Genkaku would sound, you know, more like the Melvins, but despite working with bassist Trevor Dunn, drummer Dale Crover and producer Toshi Kasai, and despite bringing in Buzz Osbourne for guest vocal spots on eight-minute opener/longest track (immediate points) “Smile” and side B leadoff “Space Wizard,” initials-only multi-instrumentalists EHA and AAL follow their 2016 debut, Kofuku (review here), with a sound even more their own, balancing between thick riffy rollout and post-rock atmospherics. Of course, they weird out a bit on “Smile” and the lumberingly spacious “Uncool” and “Virgin Witch,” but whether it’s the later mournfulness of “Hallucination” or “Twilight” toying with noisy fuckall while seeming to mock heavy rocker burl ahead of the melodic payoff in closer “Sinister Waves,” there’s more EHA and AAL in Low Flying Hawks than the prominent pedigree of their collaborators might lead you to believe. All the better for what becomes a richly satisfying 43-minute listen rife with depth, patience, and yes, personality.

Low Flying Hawks on Thee Facebooks

Magnetic Eye Records on Bandcamp

 

Brother Sister Hex, End Times

brother-sister-hex-end-times

Coherent songwriting rests at the core of what Denver’s Brother Sister Hex bring to their five-song third EP, End Times, which darkens up Queens of the Stone Age-circa-Songs for the Deaf vibing on its title-track (also a bit of Kyuss’ “El Rodeo” in there for good measure) before delving into more ambient fare on the centerpiece “Confessions.” Vocalist/guitarist Colfax Mingo demonstrates SubRosa-style vocal command there, but the context is more rock-based, uptempo and straightforward as she, guitarist Patrick Huddleson, bassist Drew Hicks and guest-drummer Jordan Palmer (Plastic Daggers) meld traditionalist structures with atmospheric moodiness. Opener “Hey” offers a suitable greeting through hook and groove, and the shuffle of “Sweet and Sleazy” and the rumbling fuzz (Hicks makes it a highlight) of closer “News Feed” wraps with another grunge-style QOTSA melody efficiently drawn, shouting the question “what have we done?” as it thuds into its second half. Uh, you’ve made a professional-sounding, excellently-constructed EP that shows you’re more than ready to embark on a debut full-length, permanent drummer or no. So yeah, get on that.

Brother Sister Hex on Thee Facebooks

Brother Sister Hex on Bandcamp

 

Cold Insight, Further Nowhere

cold-insight-further-nowhere

As progressive as it is brutal, Further Nowhere is ostensibly the debut release from Paris’ Cold Insight. The material seems to date back at least to 2013, if not earlier than that, when band-spearhead Sébastien Pierre (also of Enshine, Fractal Gates, and others) first issued what’s now tagged as a “pre-production album” version, but it’s hardly as though the lush, growling, melodeathly doom sounds dated. With sonic likenesses throughout to bands like Amorphis, Dark Tranquility and Paradise Lost, Cold Insight – on which Pierre, who also did the artwork, is joined by drummer Christian Netzell while Jari Lindholm adds lead guitar – hit on a very particular, very European style, and not an unfamiliar one as displayed in the righteously driving “Distance,” but the find-the-beauty-in-darkness spirit behind “Close Your Eyes” and songs like “Even Dies a Sun” and the more uptempo later piece “I Will Rise” help ensure that the formidable 12-song/66-minute run of Further Nowhere never gets too bogged down in its melancholy. It may have been a while in the making, and one hopes a follow-up won’t take as long to arrive, but the precise execution Pierre hones in these songs and the depths to which he can bring a willing audience are a fitting payoff for the years of work that went into their construction.

Cold Insight on Thee Facebooks

Cold Insight on Bandcamp

 

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Here are 40+ New Releases to Look for in the Next Three Weeks

Posted in Features on September 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Starting tomorrow, the next three weeks are absolutely stupid with new albums. Over-the-top, ridiculous. An immediately-go-broke amount of music. Nothing less than an onslaught. We’re under attack.

Far be it from me to tell you how to spend your money — also far be it from me not to — but there’s some really killer stuff in here. As to why it’s all landing now? Some of it of course has to do with the timing of when it was recorded, bands hitting the studio in Spring before heading out on the road over the summer, but Fall releases also line up nicely for tours in October and November, heading into the holiday season, when the music industry basically shuts down. This is the last chance for releases to come out in 2017 and be considered for best-of-year lists.

I doubt the likes of Chelsea Wolfe or Godspeed You! Black Emperor or even Kadavar would cop to that as a motivating factor, instead pointing to the timing of Fall touring and so on, but these things are rarely coincidental. You know how there aren’t any blockbusters in January but every movie feels like it’s trying to win an Oscar? Same kind of deal.

Nonetheless, 2017 is laying it on particularly thick these next couple weeks, and as you can see in the lists below, if you’ve got cash to spend, you can pretty much choose your rock and roll adventure. I’ll add to this as need be as well, so keep an eye for changes:

Sept. 22:

Alcest, Souveinirs d’un Autre Monde (10th Anniversary Edition)
Brant Bjork, Europe ’16
Chelsea Wolfe, Hiss Spunthe-flying-eyes-burning-of-the-season
Epitaph, Claws
Faces of the Bog, Ego Death
The Flying Eyes, Burning of the Season
Fvzz Popvli, Fvzz Dei
Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Luciferian Towers
Jarboe & Father Murphy, Jarboe & Father Murphy
Monarch, Never Forever
Nibiru, Qaal Babalon
Process of Guilt, Black Earth
Satyricon, Deep Calleth Upon Deep
Spelljammer, Inches from the Sun (Reissue)
Thonian Horde, Inconnu
Trash Titan, Welcome to the Banana Party
Ufomammut, 8
With the Dead, Love from With the Dead
Wolves in the Throne Room, Thrice Woven

Sept. 29:

monolord rust
Cities of Mars, Temporal Rifts
Deadsmoke, Mountain Legacy
A Devil’s Din, One Hallucination Under God
Disastroid, Missiles
Jim Healey, Just a Minute More (Sept. 26)
Idylls, The Barn
Kadavar, Rough Times
Lucifer’s Chalice, The Pact
Monolord, Rust
Outsideinside, Sniff a Hot Rock
Radio Moscow, New Beginnings
Scream of the Butterfly, Ignition
Tronald, Tronald (Sept. 30)
Unsane, Sterilize
Wucan, Reap the Storm

Oct. 6:

fireball-ministry-remember-the-storyElder Druid, Carmina Satanae
Fireball Ministry, Remember the Story
Frank Sabbath, Are You Waiting? (Oct. 2)
Himmellegeme, Myth of Earth
House of Broken Promises, Twisted EP
O.R.B., Naturality
Primitive Man, Caustic
Spirit Adrift, Curse of Conception
Spotlights, Seismic
Sumokem, The Guardian of Yosemite
Torso, Limbs
White Manna, Bleeding Eyes

Also:

Oct. 13: Enslaved, Firebreather, I Klatus, R.I.P., Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats (reissue), Weird Owl, etc.

Oct. 20: Iron Monkey, Spectral Haze, Bell Witch, The Spacelords, etc.

Something I forgot?

Invariably, right? If you know of something not seen above that should be, then by all means, please leave a comment letting me know. My only ask is that you keep it civil and not call me a fucking idiot or anything like that. I write these posts very early in the day, and if something has been neglected, I assure you it’s not on purpose and I’m happy to correct any and all oversights.

Thanks for reading and happy shopping. Support local record stores.

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Nibiru Announce New Album Qaal Babalon Due Sept. 22

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

nibiru

Proffering noise-infused sludge ritualism over the course of its four extended tracks, Nibiru‘s forthcoming Qaal Babalon is a chamber of horrors worthy of headphone-and-closed-eye immersion. Its 57-minute stretch begins with the engulfing drone extremity of “Oroch” (19:07) and unfolds from there in manners deathly and churning, whether it’s the hammering “Faboan” that follows or the feedback-laden crashing recesses of “Bahal Gah” and the Ramesses-style altar-building of the instrumental “Oxex” that finishes out, all expansive guitar and echoing thud and ultra-creeper moodiness. It’s a weight as much ambient as it is tonal, but rest assured, it’s a weight all the same, and the Torino trio wield it in the manner of some kind of obscure medieval weaponry. Not that I’ve heard it or anything.

Qaal Babalon is available now to preorder via the near-ubiquitous Argonauta Records and follows a 2017 special edition of Nibiru‘s 2013 debut, Caosgon, that the same label released just earlier this month. No substitute for keeping busy.

From the PR wire:

nibiru qaal babalon

NIBIRU – Qaal Babalon

(Argonauta Records) Italian Ritual Sludgers new album! Their best to date, the natural continuation of the very first works CAOSGON and NETRAYONI. PREORDER NOW AND SAVE 20% – RELEASE DATE SEPT 22nd, 2017.

After their latest full length PADMALOTUS (2015), the impressive EP TELOCH (2016) and the Roadburn Documentary (2017), NIBIRU are today a consolidated strength of the international underground scene, thanks to their inexhaustible attitude both in composition and in live performances, a physically and mental experience.

QAAL BABALON is “the exact continuation of our first opus CAOSGON (2013, re-released in 2017) and NETRAYONI (2014)” the band says “Anger, uncontrolled psychedelia, and now the most sick, intense and suffering creation. ‘Qaal Babalon’ is the lacerating scream of a lost soul.”

TRACK LISTING
1 Oroch
2 Faboan
3 Bahal Gah
4 Oxex

Nibiru is:
Ardath | Guitars, Percussions and Vocals
Ri | Bass, Drones and Synthesizers
L.C. Chertan | Drums

https://www.facebook.com/nibiruritual/
https://nibiru666.bandcamp.com
http://www.nibiruritual.com/
http://www.argonautarecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/

Nibiru, Caosgon – 2017 Edition

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Nibiru to Reissue Debut Album Caosgon Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Italian hypnotists Nibiru released their Caosgon album in 2013 as their first outing. It’s a work of darkened swirl that doubtless owes some of its pulsating cosmic intensity to synth-sludge countrymen forebears Ufomammut but that set the three-piece on a course toward their own identity within atmospheric extremes that they’d continue to develop across offerings like 2015’s Padmalotus and last year’s Teloch, working as part of the diverse and perpetually-growing lineup of Argonauta Records. That same label has stepped forward and will reissue Caosgon next month in an expanded “2017 Edition” with a new tracklist, cover and master, including an unreleased song from the original sessions, “Invokation III : L.S.D.”

You can hear the original version of the record at the bottom of this post. It’s trippy as hell, and one expects the update wouldn’t be any less so given the work the band has done since. You’ll also pardon me, I hope, if as I take the time to dig into the blackened swirl of “Invokation IV: Heru, Khentan, Maati” I also pause to reflect in horror at the fact that the “next month” referred to in the headline above is July, and the implications of that for how quickly this year is going by so far. Doom is slow, time is fleeting. The madness is a lot to keep up with.

Speaking of madness:

nibiru caosgon

Thrilled to announce Argonauta Records will release an extended edition of the stunning 2013 album by Italian psychonauts Nibiru.

CAOSGON is actually a milestone of the ritual sludge scene, been praised by awesome reviews and by massive feedbacks all across the board.

Now the album will benefit of a completely new artwork, new master and a bonus track from the original recording sessions, previously unreleased!

NIBIRU “Caosgon – 2017 Edition” will be released in CD/DD and available from July 7th, 2017. Preorders run here: http://bit.ly/2rfb3su

TRACK-LIST:
1) Invokation I: the Acid skull
2) Smashanam, the Crematorium Ground of Kali
3) Aster Argos
4) Invokation IV: Heru, Khentan, Maati
5) Umbra Venefica
6) Invokation III : L.S.D

Argonauta Records | NeeCee Agency

Nibiru is:
Ardath | Guitars, Percussions and Vocals
Ri | Bass, Drones and Synthesizers
L.C. Chertan | Drums

https://www.facebook.com/nibiruritual/
https://nibiru666.bandcamp.com
http://www.nibiruritual.com/
http://www.argonautarecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/

Nibiru, Caosgon (2013)

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