Quarterly Review: Bell Witch & Aerial Ruin, Cruthu, Sólstafir, ILS, Bismut, Cracked Machine, Megadrone, KLÄMP, Mábura, Astral Sleep

Posted in Reviews on October 8th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

We’ve reached the portion of the Quarterly Review wherein I would no longer know what day it is if I didn’t have my notes to help me keep track. I suppose it doesn’t matter — the day, that is — since it’s 10 records either way, but I’d hate to review the same albums two days in a row or something. Though, come to think of it, that might be a fun experiment sometime.

Not today. Today is another fresh batch of 10 on the way to 60 by next Monday. We’ll get there. Always do. And if you’re wondering, today’s Thursday. At least that’s what I have in my notes.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Bell Witch & Aerial Ruin, Stygian Bough Vol. I

bell witch aerial ruin Stygian Bough Volume 1

The collaborative effort In other words, before I ask someone to help me write my college essay, When looking for Failing Masters Thesis Defense, for instance, Bell Witch & Aerial Ruin and their 64-minute full-length, Writing an introduction for essay doesn't have to be torture. Custom research papers uk Take advantage of where can i link our skillful Stygian Bough Vol. I — the intention toward future output together hinted at in the title already confirmed by the group(s) — is a direct extension of what Dissertation Writing Services Malaysia Top 10s offer their clients the support they require after drafting their papers. They are online, which makes them easy to track. Aerial Ruin, aka Business Plan Front Page written by competent authors. Receive some help from those who have been in writing for years and can do your essay too. Read more Erik Moggridge, brought to the last Need an essay? Professional college essay writer on EssayPay.com. This is the best way to english news paper kerala online! Bell Witch album, 2017’s With our writing services, you'll get your essays extremely fast and at an incredible quality! Various types of essays. check my site. Mirror Reaper (review here), in terms of complementing the crushing, emotionally resonant death-doom of the Washington duo with morose folk vocal melody. Acemypaper.com - One-Stop Shop for Your Custom see . Nursing is a serious profession and sometimes you cant dedicate the time Stygian Bough Vol. I is distinguished by having been written by the two-plus-one-equals-three-piece as a group, and accordingly, it more fluidly weaves Do My Thesis - Proofreading and editing services from top specialists. Papers and essays at most attractive prices. Order a 100% original Moggridge‘s contributions into those of The site' Handbook is an essential guide, useful for brand new writers and experienced professionals. Bell Witch‘s essay writing on my class teacher Where To Buy Science Papers For Sale district court cover letter power point presentation of master thesis on e commerce Dylan Desmond and cause and effect essay on rising gas pric http://www.stix-office.at/?essay-service-uk who will do my essay apprendre rdiger une dissertation Jesse Shreibman, resulting in an approach like if Through our Doctoral Dissertation Assistance Definition services you will be able to turn your vague ideas into a viable research topic with clear objectives as well as an Patrick Walker from This is a check over here by nanda_afriani in Browse > Politics & Current Affairs > Society > Ethnicity, Race & Gender Warning had joined Become a published ebook author to leverage the viral power of the web and boost your online lead generation with RightlyWritten's read this. Thergothon. It’s prevailing spirit is deep melancholy in longer pieces like “The Bastard Wind” and “The Unbodied Air,” both over 19 minutes, while it might be in “Heaven Torn Low I (The Passage)” and “Heaven Torn Low II (The Toll)” that the trio most effectively bring their intent to life. Either way, if you’re in, be ready to go all the way in, but know that it’s well worth doing so.

Bell Witch on Thee Facebooks

Aerial Ruin on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records website

 

Cruthu, Athrú Crutha

cruthu Athrú Crutha

Traditional doom with flourish both of noise and NWOBHM guitars — that turn in the second half of opener “Transformation” is like a dogwhistle for Our custom essay papers writing service is one of the cheap essay writing service online which provide custom essay help and best site in essay Iron Maiden fans — I hear Cruthu‘s second album, Athrú Crutha, and all I can think of are label recommendations. The Michigan outfit’s 2017 debut, The Angle of Eternity (review here), was eventually issued on The Church Within, and that’d certainly work, but also Ván Records, Shadow Kingdom, and even Cruz Del Sur seem like fitting potential homes for the righteousness on display across the vinyl-ready six-song/39-minute outing, frontman Ryan Evans commanding in presence over the reverb-loaded classic-style riffs of guitarist Dan McCormick and the accompanying gallop in Matt Fry‘s drums given heft by Derek Kasperlik‘s bass. Like the opener, “Necromancy” and “Dimensional Collide” move at a good clip, but side B’s “The Outsider” and closer “Crown of Horns” slow things down following the surprisingly rough-edged “Beyond the Pale.” One way or the other, it’s all doomed and so are we.

Cruthu on Thee Facebooks

Cruthu on Bandcamp

 

Sólstafir, Endless Twilight of Codependent Love

Sólstafir endless twilight of codependent love

Whereas 2017’s Berdreyminn (review here) existed in the shadow of 2014’s Ótta (review here), Endless Twilight of Codependent Love brings Iceland’s Sólstafir to a new place in terms of their longer-term progression. It is their first album with an English title since 2005’s Masterpiece of Bitterness, and though they’ve had English-language songs since then, the mellow “Her Fall From Grace” is obviously intended to be a standout here, and it is. On the nine-song/62-minute course of the album, however, it is one impression of many, and in the raging “Dionysus” and post-blackened “Drýsill,” 10-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Akkeri,” richly atmospheric “Rökkur,” goth-lounging “Or” and worthy finale “Úlfur,” Sólstafir remind of the richly individual nature of their approach. The language swaps could be reaching out to a broader, non-Icelandic-speaking audience. If so, it’s only in the interest of that audience to take note if they haven’t already.

Sólstafir on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist website

 

ILS, Curse

ils curse

Curse is the first long-player from Portland, Oregon’s ILS, and it’s a rager in the PNW noise tradition, with uptempo, gonna-throw-a-punch-and-then-apologize riffs and basslines and swaps between semi-spoken shouts and vicious screams from Tom Glose (ex-Black Elk) that are precisely as jarring as they’re meant to be. I don’t think Curse is anyone’s first time at the dance — Glose, guitarist Nate Abner, bassist Adam Pike or drummer Tim Steiner — but it only benefits across its sans-bullshit 28-minute run by knowing what it wants to do. Its longest material, like the title-track or “Don’t Hurt Me,” which follows, or closer “For the Shame I Bring,” rests on either side of three and a half minutes, but some of the most brutal impressions are made in cuts like “It’s Not Lard but it’s a Cyst” or leadoff “Bad Parts,” which have even less time to waste but are no less consuming, particularly at high volume. The kind of record for when you want to assault yourself. And hey, that happens.

ILS on Thee Facebooks

P.O.G.O. Records on Bandcamp

 

Bismut, Retrocausality

bismut retrocausality

Apart from the consciously-titled three-minute noiseblaster finale “Antithesis” that’s clearly intended to contrast with what comes before it, Bismut‘s second LP for Lay Bare, Retrocausality, is made up of five extended instrumental pieces the shortest of which is just under 13 minutes long. The Nijmegen-based trio — guitarist Nik Linders, bassist Huibert der Weduwen, drummer Peter Dragt — build these semi-improvisational pieces on the foundation they set with 2018’s Schwerpunkt (review here), and their explorations through heavy rock, metal and psychedelia feel all the more cohesive as a song like “Vergangenheit” is nonetheless able to blindside with the heavy riff toward which it’s been moving for its entire first half. At 71 minutes total, it’s a purposefully unmanageable runtime, but as “Predvídanie” imagines a psych-thrash and “Oscuramento” drones to its crashing finish, Bismut seem to be working on their own temporal accord anyhow. For those stuck on linear time, that means repeat listens may be necessary to fully digest, but that’s nothing to complain about either.

Bismut on Thee Facebooks

Lay Bare Recordings website

 

Cracked Machine, Gates of Keras

Cracked Machine Gates of Keras

UK instrumentalists Cracked Machine have worked relatively quickly over the course of their now-three albums to bring a sense of their own perspective to the tropes of heavy psychedelic rock. Alongside the warmth of tone in the guitar and bass, feeling drawn from the My Sleeping Karma/Colour Haze pastiche of progressive meditations, there is a coinciding edge of English heavy rock and roll that one can hear not so much in the drift of “Temple of Zaum” as in the push of “Black Square Icon,” which follows, as well as the subtle impatience of the drums on “October Dawn.” “Move 37,” on the other hand, is willfully speedier and more upbeat than much of what surrounds, but though opener/longest track (immediate points) “Cold Iron Light” hits 7:26, nothing on Gates of Keras sticks around long enough to overstay its welcome, and even in their deepest contemplations, the feeling of motion carries them and the listener effectively through the album’s span. They sound like a band realizing what they want to do with all the potential they’ve built up.

Cracked Machine on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

PsyKa Records website

 

Megadrone, Transmissions From the Jovian Antennae

Megadrone Transmissions From the Jovian Antennae

From cinematic paranoia to consuming and ultra-slow rollout of massive tonality, the debut offering from Megadrone — the one-man outfit of former Bevar Sea vocalist Ganesh Krishnaswamy — stretches across 53 minutes of unmitigated sonic consumption. If nothing else, Krishnaswamy chose the right moniker for the project. The Bandcamp version is spread across two parts — “Transmission A” (21:45) and “Transmission B” (32:09) — and any vinyl release would require significant editing as well, but the version I have is one huge, extended track, and that feels like exactly how Transmissions From the Jovian Antennae was composed and is supposed to be heard. Its mind-numbing repetitions lead the listener on a subtle forward march — there are drums back in that morass somewhere, I know it — and the piece follows an arc that begins relatively quiet, swells in its midsection and gradually recedes again over its final 10 minutes or so. It goes without saying that a 53-minute work of experimentalist drone crushscaping isn’t going to be for the faint of heart. Bold favors bold.

Megadrone on Thee Facebooks

Megadrone on Bandcamp

 

KLÄMP, Hate You

klamp hate you

Sax-laced noise rock psychedelic freakouts, blown-out drums and shouts and drones, cacophonous stomp and chaotic sprawl, and a finale that holds back its payoff so long it feels cruel, KLÄMP‘s second album, Hate You, arrives less than a year after their self-titled debut, and perhaps there’s some clue as to why in the sheer mania of their execution. Hate You launches with the angularity of its 1:47 title-track and rolls out a nodding groove on top of that, but it’s movement from one part to another, one piece to another, is frenetic, regardless of the actual tempo, and the songs just sound like they were recorded to be played loud. Second cut “Arise” is the longest at 7:35 and it plays back and forth between two main parts before seeming to explode at the end, and by the time that’s done, you’re pretty much KLÄMPed into place waiting to see where the Utrecht trio go next. Oblivion wash on “An Orb,” the drum-led start-stops of “Big Bad Heart,” psych-smash “TJ” and that awaited end in “No Nerves” later, I’m not sure I have any better idea where that might be. That’s also what makes it work.

KLÄMP on Thee Facebooks

God Unknown Records website

 

Mábura, Heni

Mábura heni

Preceded by two singles, Heni is the debut EP from Rio de Janeiro psychedelic tonal worshipers Mábura, and its three component tracks, “Anhangá,” “III/IV” and “Bong of God” are intended to portray a lysergic experience through their according ambience and the sheer depth of the riffs they bring. “Anhangá” has vocals following the extended feedback and drone opening of its first half, but they unfold as a part of the general ambience, along with the drums that arrive late, are maybe sampler/programmed, and finish by leading directly into the crash/fuzz launch of “III/IV,” which just before it hits the two-minute mark unfurls into a watershed of effects and nod, crashing and stomping all the while until everything drops out but the bass only to return a short time later with the Riff in tow. Rumbling into a quick fade brings about the toking intro of “Bong of God,” which unfolds accordingly into a riff-led noisefest that makes its point seemingly without saying a word. I wouldn’t call it groundbreaking, but it’s a first EP. What it shows is that Mábura have some significant presence of tone and purpose. Don’t be surprised when someone picks them up for a release.

Mábura on Thee Facebooks

Mábura on Bandcamp

 

Astral Sleep, Astral Doom Musick

Astral Sleep Astral Doom Musick

It’s still possible to hear some of Astral Sleep‘s death-doom roots in their third album, Astral Doom Musick, but the truth is they’ve become a more expansive unit than that (relatively) simple classification than describe. They’re doom, to be sure, but there are progressive, psychedelic and even traditional doom elements at work across the record’s four-song/43-minute push, with a sense of conceptual composition coming through in “Vril” and “Inegration” in the first half of the proceedings while the nine-and-a-half-minute “Schwerbelastungskörper” pushes into the darkest reaches and closer “Aurinko ja Kuu” harnesses a swirling progressive spread that’s dramatic unto its last outward procession and suitably large-sound in its production and tone. For a band who took eight years to issue a follow-up to their last full-length, Astral Sleep certainly have plenty to offer in aesthetic and craft. If it took them so long to put this record together, their time wasn’t wasted, but it’s hard to listen and not wonder where their next step might take them.

Astral Sleep on Thee Facebooks

Astral Sleep on Bandcamp

 

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Bismut Announce Retrocausality LP out Sept. 25

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 29th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

bismut

Being something of a Star Trek nerd — you may have seen a mention of it here once or twice; it and bitching are also the only uses I have for Twitter at this point — I feel pretty well acquainted with any number of temporal paradoxes, but perhaps the best example of retrocausality comes from Futurama, when Fry goes back and time and inadvertently sleeps with his own grandmother, thereby becoming his own grandfather. I’m not sure if that’s what Nijmegen’s Bismut — as opposed to Bismuth, from the UK — have in mind with the title of their second LP, but if you were wondering what Retrocausality means, there you go. Funny the things you pick up.

Retrocausality will serve as Bismut‘s follow-up to 2018’s Schwerpunkt (review here), which also came out through Lay Bare Recordings. The band will do CD/DL on their own while the label once again handles vinyl duties.

As the PR wire details:

bismut retrocausality

Bismut – Retrocausality – RELEASE DATE 25th SEPTEMBER 2020

Bismut is a Psychedelic Desert Metal trio hailing from Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Formed in 2016, Bismut has an established and explosive live reputation. Bismut arose from intense, experimental jam sessions in the caverns of the Nijmegen underground. Infinite jamming led to an oasis of psychedelic excesses, vicious riffing and heavily drawn-out grooves. Nik (guitar), Peter (drums) and Huibert (bass) have already played many solid shows in the Netherlands and abroad. Their live performances are immersive stories with glorious landscapes and unexpected plot lines. After Buntovnost, a single released in February 2018, they released their first full-length Schwerpunkt in the fall of that year. “Schwerpunkt” was very well received and led to audiences and critics worldwide asking for more. Bismut played many shows in Europe as a build up to their second full length release “Retrocausality”.

“Retrocausality” is Bismut’s second full-length featuring 6 songs. All tracks were recorded live in studio 888 and mixed and mastered by Pieter Kloos. You’ll listen to an honest musical encounter of three people playing, grooving, and flowing to become one intuitive audio space vessel. Seventy-two minutes of musical compositions to get you out into orbit and forget about time. “Retrocausality” will be released on vinyl via Lay Bare Recordings, their second release on the label, with CD and digital being handled by the band themselves.

Track Listing:
1. Oscuramento
2. Non-Lokaliteit
3. Predvídanie
4. Varasaga
5. Vergangenheit
6. Antithesis

Line Up:
Drums – Peter Dragt
Bass – Huibert der Weduwen
Guitar – Nik Linders

https://www.facebook.com/bismutband/
https://bismut.band/
https://bismut.bandcamp.com/
https://laybarerecordings.com/
https://www.facebook.com/laybarerecordings/
https://www.instagram.com/laybarerecordings/

Bismut, “Zugabe”

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Sonic Whip 2020 Completes Lineup; 1000mods, Causa Sui, Spaceslug, Samavayo & More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

sonic whip 2020 banner

This looks like fun, simple as that. Well, maybe not three two-headed, four-armed, knife-and-pill-wielding snake beast on the poster. Though obviously cool looking too, that just kind of looks like it would kill you after opening your third eye. But the event itself, Sonic Whip 2020. That looks like a good time. It’s important to be specific about these things.

The Netherlands-based Spring festival to be held May 1 and 2 has completed its lineup, adding seven more names to an already impressive initial batch. Newcomers include Spaceslug, Big Business, and Greek heavy rock forerunners 1000mods, the latter whose addition to the bill makes me wonder if they’ll be on tour at the time, and if so, if their new album might be out to coincide. If that’s so, an announcement would be coming shortly, I’d think. An exciting prospect, whether it pans out that way or not.

You can see the full list of new adds and the complete final lineup below. Dig:

sonic whip 2020 finished poster

SONIC WHIP 2020 – NEW NAMES – LINE-UP COMPLETE

1000MODS (gr), Causa Sui (dk), Big Business (usa), Somali Yacht Club (ukr), Samavayo (ger), Netherlands (usa) and Spaceslug (pol) have been added to the line-up of Sonic Whip 2020.

With these last seven names the line-up is complete. We are proud to have been able to book these twenty artists for the upcoming edition. In our opinion a nice cross section of what the sonic and psychedelic -heavy rock- genre has to offer at the moment. From old heroes and established names to new artists who know how to push the boundaries again. Next to that also a number of special acts that can rarely be admired live in the Netherlands like Masters of Reality, Pissed Jeans, Causa Sui and Rotor. Look for the daily schedule on the website or event of Sonic Whip.

Day tickets: http://bit.ly/SonicWhip2020
Combi-tickets: http://bit.ly/SonicWhip2020Combi

Sonic Whip, the multi-headed rock monster that combines roaring guitars riffs with steaming bass lines, pounding drums and other sonic, psychedelic excesses, is preparing for the third edition. We kick off on May 1 with a pre-party deluxe in Doornroosje to completely unleash sonically on May 2 at the same location.

LINE-UP
MASTERS OF REALITY
KADAVAR
1000MODS
BRANT BJORK
CAUSA SUI
PISSED JEANS
BIG BUSINESS
ROTOR
SOMALI YACHT CLUB
MAIDAVALE
THE COSMIC DEAD
SAMAVAYO
SACRI MONTI
FORMING THE VOID
ACID ROOSTER
SPACESLUG
GUM TAKES TOOTH
NETHERLANDS
BONNACONS OF DOOM
DHIDALAH

https://www.facebook.com/events/427908701471605/
https://www.facebook.com/Sonicwhipfestival/
https://www.instagram.com/doornroosjenl/
https://www.doornroosje.nl/event/sonic-whip-2020/

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Sonic Whip 2020 Announces Lineup with Masters of Reality, Kadavar, Forming the Void and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

sonic whip 2020 banner

Next May will mark the third edition of the Sonic Whip Festival, though I’ll admit this is the first I’m hearing of it. No surprise there, as I’m about two years behind on most things in life. Tickets for Sonic Whip 2020 are set to go on sale tomorrow at noon CET for the night-and-dayer, with a pre-party May 1 and a full event on May 2 at Doornroosje in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and the lineup will feature a few of the acts making the rounds at that time, including headliners Masters of Reality and Kadavar, as well as Pissed JeansRotor, Forming the VoidThe Cosmic Dead, Gum Takes Tooth and Bonnacons of Doom.

I’ll admit it was Forming the Void that caught my eye and not just because I happen to be wearing their t-shirt today. This is the second event around that time that the Louisiana-based progressive heavy rockers have been announced for, and while I was already just waiting for them to announce a European tour after the first one, this only further confirms that update is coming.

Likewise keeping an eye out for Masters of Reality‘s full run to be unveiled, as they’re set to do Desertfest and others in addition to this one.  And, well Kadavar are just kind of always on the road somewhere, so yeah, they’ll probably be touring too.

But I’m getting off-track, so here’s the announcement from the fest:

sonic whip 2020 poster

Sonic Whip 2020

Sonic Whip, the multi-headed rock monster that combines roaring guitars riffs with steaming bass lines, pounding drums and other sonic, psychedelic excesses, is preparing for the third edition. We kick off on May 1 with a pre-party deluxe in Doornroosje to go completely berserk on May 2 at the same location.

LINE-UP
? MASTERS OF REALITY
? KADAVAR
? PISSED JEANS
? ROTOR
? THE COSMIC DEAD
? FORMING THE VOID
? GUM TAKES TOOTH
? BONNACONS OF DOOM
? MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED…

Ticket sales start on Friday 22 November at 12.00 with the combi tickets. The first batch of very limited combi costs € 57.50, then € 67.50. Day tickets go on sale later, more info will follow.

More info: http://bit.ly/SonicWhip2020

https://www.facebook.com/events/427908701471605/
https://www.facebook.com/Sonicwhipfestival/
https://www.instagram.com/doornroosjenl/
https://www.doornroosje.nl/event/sonic-whip-2020/

Forming the Void, Rift (2018)

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

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

quarterly-review

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

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

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Torche, Admission

torche admission

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

Torche on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records website

 

Spillage, Blood of Angels

spillage blood of angels

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

Spillage on Thee Facebooks

Qumran Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Pharlee, Pharlee

pharlee pharlee

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

Pharlee on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records website

 

Dali’s Llama, Mercury Sea

dalis llama mercury sea

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

Dali’s Llama on Thee Facebooks

Dali’s Llama on Bandcamp

 

Speedealer, Blue Days Black Nights

speedealer blue days black nights

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

Speedealer on Thee Facebooks

Speedealer webstore

 

Mt. Echo, Cirrus

mt echo cirrus

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

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Monocluster, Ocean

Monocluster Ocean

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

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Picaporters, XXIII

picaporters xxiii

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

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Beaten by Hippies, Beaten by Hippies

beaten by hippies beaten by hippies

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

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Luna Sol, Below the Deep

luna sol below the deep

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

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Review & Full Album Stream: Bismut, Schwerpunkt

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

bismut schwerpunkt

[Click play above to stream Bismut’s Schwerpunkt in its entirety. Album is available to preorder from Lay Bare Recordings here.]

Nijmegen trio Bismut bill themselves as ‘instrumental psych desert metal,’ and unsurprisingly, there’s a bit to unpack there. They’re a relatively new entity, having just formed in 2016 with guitarist Nik Linders, bassist Huibert der Weduwen and drummer Peter Dragt, and their first album is Schwerpunkt, a four-song/41-minute collection offered up on vinyl through Lay Bare Recordings (Pink Tank Records seems to have had some manner of involvement as well). Instrumental is pretty self-explanatory. Sure enough, they’re a sans-vocals operation. And fair enough. 14-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Borgerskapet” makes it pretty clear from the outset that the kinds of expanded structures with which Bismut are working throughout the release wouldn’t really support vocals anyway. And what are you going to do, shout over the 10-minute side B leadoff “Gewapende-Magte?” Then you’d just have noise rock, and I don’t see that listed anywhere in the above.

After instrumental comes psych. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but if we’re talking heavy psychedelic rock of the European order with drifting airy guitars and a presentation coated in effects, the descriptor simply doesn’t apply. As regards Schwerpunkt, which was recorded live in its entirety and mixed by the band with mastering by Pieter Kloos, there is a spacious motion in the back half of closer “Czar” before the tense chugging of the song’s apex, but it’s more of the post-metallic sort. That is, more methodical than exploratory — Bismut have a direction in mind and are working to get there. It’s not just about hypnotizing the listener with repetition, but about the heavier context in which that movement happens. Second cut “Stórborg” has a bit more effects in its early going, though this resolves itself by the song’s midpoint into a tense, winding progression and finally into a slowdown of Melvinsian riffmaking. And sure, one can hear some Earthless in “Borgerskapet” if the ear is twisted just so. So psychedelic? Maybe here and there.

Let’s assume “desert” is a stand-in for capital-‘h’ Heavy — because that certainly applies — or tossed in the way some bands still use the designation “stoner” or “riff” as a designation for their rock. To me, desert rock — regardless of its geographic origin or the actual terrain in that place — is a question of melding tonal fullness with a root punk influence. Sabbath might be a factor but they’re by no means the only one. Bismut don’t really play desert rock in the Kyuss/Yawning Man/Fatso Jetson sense of the subgenre, but if one considers the age of expanded definition in which we live, then there’s really no reason the “desert” really has to be anything more than a dogwhistle for an affiliation with underground heavy. And that’s mostly how it functions. Listening to Schwerpunkt — the title of which translates to “main focus” or “center of gravity” — the prevailing sensibility is most certainly heavy, but there’s a fluidity to the rhythmic play and the swaps in tempo that makes “desert” feel a little like it’s cheating the actual complexity of what’s playing out in the flow of “Gewapende-Magte” or “Stórborg,” with its final push of churning plod.

bismut

The upshot is that while there are loyalists, “desert” can mean any number of things at this point, and it usually does. If Bismut had gone with “heavy” instead, it might be more accurate, but it would confuse the use of “metal,” since of course heavy metal has a context all its own. And metal is perhaps second in accuracy only to “instrumental” when it comes to the band’s presumably-self-imposed sound tag, because it considers in a way that “psych” or even “desert” does not the aggression with which Bismut underscore and execute their material. It’s not metal in the chestbeating, dude-for-dudes kneejerk abrasive sense of the word, but there’s a purpose and a charge to what Bismut do, and whether it’s the fluidity in “Borgerskapet” or the snare-and-chug in “Gewapende-Magte,” the band plays with purpose and conviction on their debut album. If that makes them metal, then so be it. Metal it is.

A missing word in all of this is “progressive,” since the one thing Bismut don’t seem to account for in their sound at least as it appears on Schwerpunkt is the consideration in each song of where that song is going. I don’t know how much of each song was left up to happy accidents in the recording — the bass bounce of “Czar,” maybe, and some of the swirl in “Stórborg” — but even those inherently off-the-cuff moments that happen as a result of a band performing live in the studio are brought into the underlying mission behind the album, and are made purposeful simply by their inclusion and the fact that by being there, they play a crucial role in Bismut‘s intent for what their first album should be. One might also consider “atmospheric” an both an acknowledgement of the post-metallic aspects in “Czar” and the general affecting nature of the songwriting as a whole. It’s not just an album about mood, but even through the energetic live recording there can be heard a budding sense of patience in their execution that may or may not come further toward fruition on subsequent outings.

Maybe “raw atmospheric heavy” as a revised descriptor? “Raw” acknowledges the priority of capturing the three of them in the room together, the stage-ready element of their sound. “Atmospheric” brings in the purposeful nature of their sonic reach, and “heavy” functions as a characterization of tone and mindset alike. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. Whatever Bismut decide to call themselves in the longer term, while indicative of how they think about the music they’re making, is of course ultimately secondary to the making of that music. Perhaps most importantly, they give their audience with Schwerpunkt something to dig into and elicit a response and engagement on the part of the listener. They’ve been building a reputation in the Netherlands — enough to attract the attention of Lay Bare, which is bound to serve as positive reinforcement — and listening to the album, it’s easy to hear why. Even in this “raw” modus, with the emphasis put on basic performance rather than a lush studio construction, Bismut show themselves as opening a conversation on Schwerpunkt instrumentally with themselves — which indeed might be their center of gravity — and with their audience, whose interaction, regardless of the interpretative quibbles they might bring to it, is a triumph in itself.

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Bismut Post Video for Debut Single “Buntovnost”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

bismut

Netherlands-based three-piece Bismut are using their debut single in precisely the right way. For a band like this — instrumental, heavy, grooving and with ambitions toward a blend of structured and freeform songwriting, a lone track like “Buntovnost” is just the thing to pique audience interest and leave people curious as to what might come next. At very least, that’s how it worked out with me as I made my way through the nine-minute groover, asking myself where the band might go from here and how their apparent method — show up in the studio with something of a plan, work around it more than directly from it — might continue to develop in the future, either becoming invariably more or less rigid over time.

If I had to guess as to a direction listening to “Buntovnost,” I’d bet on Bismut — the Nijmegen trio of Huibert, Peter and Nik — getting jammier over time, as often happens with bands like this as their chemistry continues to develop in the studio and on stage, but the fact that “Buntovnost” was “partially improvised” and recorded live in five takes in the studio makes me think there’s an element of perfectionism at play as well, and it could be interesting to hear if and how that flourishes in their sound too, and if, no matter how far out they might go in veering from it ultimately, they stick to using a central plan in their work going forward.

Man, new bands are fun.

The underlying point? There’s potential here. We don’t yet know what Bismut will be sound-wise — and please don’t quote me on any of the speculation above (unless I’m right); the band could just as easily pull a Wight and go funk-reggae out of the blue, and really, who saw that coming? — But that “Buntovnost” triggers the imagination to wonder about such things in its chugging, turning, energized nine-minute stretch is emblematic of their potential as a whole. “Buntovnost” is available as a name-your-price download at their Bandcamp and they’ve also got a brand new video for it that you can see below if you’re so inclined.

More info follows from the PR wire. Please enjoy:

Bismut, “Buntovnost” official video

“Buntovnost” by Bismut. Recorded live in the studio and partially improvised. This is the best version of 5 takes. No edits. Enjoy! This track was recorded live at Studio 888 and mixed and mastered by Bismut. Recorded and Edited by NNfilm: http://nnfilm.nl

Some Footage by Gusto Video Producties: http://gustoproducties.nl

From explosive and experimental jam sessions in the caverns of the Nijmegen underground arose Bismut. Infinite jamming resulted in an oasis of psychedelic excesses, vicious riffing and heavily drawn-out grooves. After their debut performance in November 2016, the three guys played many kick-ass shows in the Netherlands and abroad. The performances of Bismut are dynamic, intense and straightforward.

In 2018 the band’s focus will be on recording their first full-length which is expected to be released in oktober on the in Hamburg based label, Pink Tank Records.

Bismut is Huibert, Peter and Nik.

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Shaking Godspeed Post “Future Boogie” Video; New Album Due this Fall

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 8th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Based out of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, the heavy rocking four-piece Shaking Godspeed released their last full-length on Drakkar Records in 2013. Hoera and Awe combined two prior releases — Hoera and Awe, go figure — into one double-album that was a solid listen and emphasized the quality of songwriting in Shaking Godspeed‘s approach, but might’ve been a bit much for listeners just getting on board. Their current single, the Future Boogie b/w Tombstone Talk 7″ on Suburban Records, pressed in cardboard sleeves with hand-screened logos on the cover, makes for a much more gradual introduction.

The song reportedly (and by that I mean according to the band and I don’t think they’d lie about this kind of thing) deals with themes of technology and the seemingly inevitable advent of artificial intelligence. Presumably that’s what the young lady in the video is running from and is eventually overtaken by, her eyes going black as she becomes a hybrid android/human. Fair enough. “Future Boogie” will feature on Shaking Godspeed‘s forthcoming long-player, Welcome Back Wolf, which is set to release this fall, and the single will be officially released on May 10. Preorder link and more info follows the clip below.

Enjoy:

Shaking Godspeed, “Future Boogie” official video

Future Boogie is available as a 7” vinyl single via Suburban: http://tinyurl.com/nha7mul

The song is also featured on the forthcoming album Welcome Back Wolf by Shaking Godspeed. To be released September 2014.

Heavily inspired by The singularity is near (Ray Kurzweil) they wrote the song Future Boogie. This book sketches the end of the human race as we know it and the birth of the hybrid technologic new human being in 2045. No sci-fi, but soon to be reality!

Fascinated by all the new technological and cultural developments the group understood that keep hanging in the past, old heroes and rusty opinions are almost an insult to their brains. Their new album Welcome Back Wolf, recorded live in a deserted factory, provides ground to Shaking Godspeed’s own slightly deranged views and sincere emotions.

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