Suncraft Premiere “Bridges to Nowhere”; Flat Earth Rider out Aug. 6

Posted in audiObelisk on July 26th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

suncraft

Norwegian heavy rockers Suncraft release their debut album, Flat Earth Rider, on Aug. 6 through All Good Clean Records. In the vast annals of modern conspiracy theory, those who are committed to the notion of the planet being a disc which one might one day go off the side — ridiculous; reality as a holographic simulation, on the other hand… — are ultimately harmless, at least in comparative terms, and as Suncraft‘s first full-length following behind a few Spotify-able singles likewise content to dig into its own stylistic niche, throw a burly elbow here and there en route to hard-hitting, forward push hooks, but especially early on in “Flat Earth Rider” and “Space Buddha,” the Oslo four-piece seem to be exploring their way through songwriting toward establishing their sound and discovering who they are as a band. The double-guitars of Sigurd Grøtan and Vebjørn Rindal Krogstad lead that charge and boast duly charged leads, while bassist Rasmus Skage Jensen serves vocal duties and drummer Tobias Paulsen patiently awaits the next change requiring a fluid transition, leading the riffs from inside the pocket.

Jensen‘s vocals get into gruffer fare in “Flat Earth Rider,” centerpiece “Lingo Hive Mind,” and here and there throughout “Commie Cannibals and even the more spacious “Adaptation” ahead of the 11-minute closer “Bridges to Nowhere” (premiering below), but the delivery is more dynamic than, say, a cleaner verse and shouted chorus, or vice versa. It might Suncraft Flat Earth Riderbe a line or two with a throatier delivery, then back to a burgeoning melody making a song like “Space Buddha” or “Lingo Hive Mind” less predictable for the single fact that one is less sure where it’s going to turn next, even if the underlying structures are largely straightforward. These clever arrangements, coupled with the ability of the guitars to push the energy of a song forward with a sense of build to which the drums are only suited, help to give Flat Earth Rider its sonic persona, which doesn’t seem to be taking itself too seriously but can bear significant heft when inclined to do so, as in the rolling chorus of “Commie Cannibals” or the early verses of “Bridges to Nowhere,” which opens in its midsection to more complex melodic layering before surging outward and paying off the touches of metallic aggression and progressive heavy rock that have shown themselves across the six-song span to that point.

That span is manageable at 37 minutes and of course vinyl-ready with the atmospheric echo of “Adaptation” signifying a shift to side B even digitally, but that movement becomes important to someone making their way through the entirety, and it feels like another level on which Suncraft‘s potential shines through. The rougher-edged moments bring to mind Orange Goblin from the title-track onward, and “Flat Earth Rider” indeed sets the tone for side A with the hooks of “Space Buddha,” “Lingo Hive Mind” — for which I’d love to read the lyrics; getting a very “guess I’ll go live on the internet” kind of vibe from what I can discern — and the more weighted, longer “Commie Cannibals” acting as a bookend for what’s almost the first of two mini-albums, with “Adaptation” and “Bridges to Nowhere” serving as the second, broader in ambition but holding to a lack of pretense on the whole. All of this rounds out to an affect that makes me less concerned about where Suncraft are going — surely not off the end of the earth — than where they are now.

Their songcraft is obviously in capable hands, and their performance is energetic without losing the thread of its own purpose in being part of the larger album as a whole. If you were looking for an encouraging debut from a relative-newcomer heavy rock band, well, that’s one thing you can tick off your to-do list for today. Cheers. Take the rest of the afternoon off.

Enjoy “Bridges to Nowhere” on the player below, followed by some comment from the band and more info from the PR wire.

Dive in:

Suncraft on “Bridges to Nowhere”:

“Bridges to Nowhere” is the closing track on Suncraft’s debut album, Flat Earth Rider. A ten-minute, ever-changing epic, the song is a journey of a listen, not holding back on anything the band has to offer. Heavy stoner rock riffs, impactful build-ups, thrash-metal-like choruses, riveting guitar solos and intense blast-beats are some of the features to expect. Lyrically, the song is about alienation from a commodity-based society, as seldom knowing where the commodities we buy come from, who made them and why, can make us feel disconnected from others. The song gradually turns from despair to hope and optimism, insisting that a better future is possible.

“Flat Earth Rider” was produced, mixed and mastered by Ruben Willem (The Good The Bad and The Zugly, Okkultokrati, Djevel, etc…) and features six unique tracks that show Suncraft combining elements from groovy stoner rock and riff-based heavy metal.

Since late 2017, this Oslo-based quartet have played their fair share of club shows in the nooks and crannies of Norway, honing the craft of playing explosively energetic concerts. After releasing released their debut EP, “Saigon” in 2019, the live-performances abruptly ended due to Covid-19. Turning the blow of the pandemic into a positive, the boys put all their efforts into writing their debut album, “Flat Earth Rider” and as soon as the world is safe enough, Suncraft will hit the road again and bring their unique flavor of rock n’ roll to a growing audience.

Line-up:
Rasmus Skage Jensen: Bass/Vocal
Tobias Paulsen: Drums
Sigurd Grøtan: Guitar
Vebjørn Rindal Krogstad: Guitar

Suncraft on Facebook

Suncraft on Instagram

Suncraft on Spotify

All Good Clean Records on Facebook

All Good Clean Records website

Tags: , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Paradise Lost, Alastor, Zahn, Greynbownes, Treebeard, Estrada Orchestra, Vestamaran, Low Flying Hawks, La Maquinaria del Sueño, Ananda Mida

Posted in Reviews on July 15th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

The days grow long, but the Quarterly Review presses onward. I didn’t know when I put this thing together that in addition to having had oral surgery on Monday — rod in for a dental implant, needs a crown after it heals but so far no infection; penciling it as a win — this second week of 10 reviews per day would bring my laptop breaking and a toddler too sick to go to camp for three hours in the morning. If you’re a fan of understatement, I’ll tell you last week was easier to make happen.

Nevertheless, we persist, you and I. I don’t know if, when I get my computer back, it will even have all of these records on the desktop or if the hard-drive-bed-shitting that seems to have taken place will erase that along with such inconsequentials as years of writing and photos of The Pecan dating back to his birth, but hey, that desktop space was getting cleared one way or the other. You know what? I don’t want to think about it.

Quarterly Review #81-90:

Paradise Lost, At the Mill

Paradise Lost At the Mill

If Paradise Lost are trying to hold onto some sense of momentum, who can blame them? How many acts who’ve been around for 33 years continue to foster the kind of quality the Yorkshire outfit brought to 2020’s studio outing, Obsidian (review here)? Like, four? Maybe? So if they want to put out two live records in the span of three months — At the Mill follows March’s Gothic: Live at Roadburn 2016, also on Nuclear Blast — one isn’t inclined to hold a grudge, and even less so given the 16-song setlist they offer up in what was the captured audio from a livestream last Fall, spanning the bulk of their career and including requisite highlights from ’90s-era landmarks Gothic and Icon as well as Obsidian features “Fall From Grace,” “Ghosts” and “Darker Thoughts,” which opened the studio LP but makes a rousing finisher for At the Mill.

Paradise Lost on Facebook

Nuclear Blast Records store

 

Alastor, Onwards and Downwards

alastor onwards and downwards

The second long-player from Sweden’s Alastor is a surprising but welcome sonic turn, pulling back from the grimness of 2018’s Slave to the Grave (review here) in favor of an approach still murky and thick in its bottom end, but sharper in its songwriting focus and bolder melodically right from the outset on “The Killer in My Skull.” They depart from the central roll for an acoustic stretch in “Pipsvängen” after “Nightmare Trip” opens side B and just before the nine-minute title-track lumbers out its descent into the deranged, but even there the four-piece hold the line of obvious attention to songcraft, instrumental and vocal phrasing, and presentation of their sound. Likewise, the spacious nod on “Lost and Never Found” caps with a shorter and likewise undeniable groove, more Sabbath than the Queens of the Stone Age rush of “Death Cult” earlier, but with zero dip in quality. This takes them to a different level in my mind.

Alastor on Facebook

RidingEasy Records website

 

Zahn, Zahn

Zahn Zahn

Its noise-rock angularity and tonal bite isn’t going to be for everyone, but there’s something about Zahn‘s unwillingness to cooperate, their unwillingness to sit still, that makes their self-titled debut a joy of a run. Based in Berlin and comprised of Felix Gebhard (Einstürzende Neubauten keyboards) as well as drummer Nic Stockmann and bassist Chris Breuer (both of HEADS.), the eight-tracker shimmers on “Tseudo,” punkjazzes on lead cut “Zerrung,” goes full krautrock drone to end side A on “Gyhum” and still has more weirdness to offer on the two-minute sunshine burst of “Schranck,” “Lochsonne Schwarz,” “Aykroyd” and finale “Staub,” all of which tie together in one way or another around a concept of using space-in-mix and aural crush while staying loway to the central pattern of the drums. “Aykroyd” is brazen in showing the teeth of its guitar work, and that’s a pretty solid encapsulation of Zahn‘s attitude across the board. They’re going for it. You can take the ride if you want, but they’re going either way.

Zahn on Facebook

Crazysane Records website

 

Greynbownes, Bones and Flowers

Greynbownes bones and flowers

Bones and Flowers is a welcome return from Czech Republic-based heavy rockers Greynbownes, who made their debut with 2018’s Grey Rainbow From Bones (review here), and sees the trio foster a progressive heavy flourish prone to Doors-y explosive vocal brooding tempered with Elder-style patience in the guitar lines and rhythmic fluidity while there continues to be both an underlying aggressive crunch and a sense of Truckfighters-ish energy in “Dream Seller,” some blues there and in “Dog’s Eyes” and opener “Wolves” besides, and a willful exploratory push on “Burned by the Sun and Swallowed by the Sea,” which serves as a worthy centerpiece ahead of the rush that comprises much of “Long Way Down.” Further growth is evident in the spaciousness of “Flowers,” and “Star” feels like it’s ending the record with due ceremony in its largesse and character in its presentation.

Greynbownes on Facebook

Greynbownes on Bandcamp

 

Treebeard, Nostalgia

Treebeard Nostalgia

One can’t argue with Melbourne heavy post-rockers Treebeard‘s impulse to take the material from their prior two EPs, 2018’s Of Hamelin and 2019’s Pastoral, and put it together as a single full-length, but Nostalgia goes further in that they actually re-recorded, and in the case of a track like “The Ratchatcher,” partially reworked the songs. That makes the resultant eight-song offering all the more cohesive and, in relation to the prior versions, emphasizes the growth the band has undertaken in the last few years, keeping elements of weight and atmosphere but delivering their material with a sense of purpose, whether a give stretch of “8×0” is loud or quiet. Nostalgia effectively pulls the listener into its world, duly wistful on “Pollen” or “Dear Magdalena,” with samples adding to the breadth and helping to convey the sense of contemplation and melodic character. Above all things, resonance. Emotional and sonic.

Treebeard on Facebook

Treebeard on Bandcamp

 

Estrada Orchestra, Playground

Estrada Orchestra Playground

Estonian five-piece Estrada Orchestra recorded Playground on Nov. 21, 2020, and while I’m not 100 percent sure of the circumstances in which such a recording took place, it seems entirely possible given the breadth of their textures and the lonely ambience that unfurls across the 22-minute A-side “Playground Part 1” and the gradual manner in which it makes its way toward psychedelic kraut-drone-jazz there and in the more “active” “Playground Part 2 & 3” — the last part chills out again, and one speaks on very relative terms there — it’s entirely possible no one else was around. Either way, headphone-ready atmosphere persists across the Sulatron-issued LP, a lushness waiting to be closely considered and engaged that works outside of common structures despite having an underlying current of forward motion. Estrada Orchestra, who’ve been in operation for the better part of a decade and for whom Playground is their fifth full-length, are clearly just working in their own dimension of time. It suits them.

Estrada Orchestra on Facebook

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Vestamaran, Bungalow Rex

Vestamaran Bungalow Rex

Even in the sometimes blinding sunshine of Vestamaran‘s debut album, Bungalow Rex, there is room for shades of folk and classic progressive rock throughout the summery 10-tracker, which makes easygoing vibes sound easy in a way that’s actually really difficult to pull off without sounding forced. And much to Vestamaran‘s credit, they don’t. Their songs are structured, composed, engaging and sometimes catchy, but decidedly unhurried, unflinchingly melodic and for all their piano and subtle rhythmic intricacy, mostly pretense-free. Even the snare sound on “Grustak” feels warm. Cuts like “Risky Pigeon” and “Cutest Offender” are playful, and “Solitude” and closer “Only for You” perhaps a bit moodier, but Vestamaran are never much removed from that central warmth of their delivery, and the abiding spirit of Bungalow Rex is sweet and affecting. This is a record that probably won’t get much hype but will sit with dedicated audience for more than just a passing listen. A record that earns loyalty. I look forward to more.

Vestamaran on Facebook

Apollon Records website

 

Low Flying Hawks, Fuyu

low flying hawks fuyu

Three records in, to call what Low Flying Hawks do “heavygaze” feels cheap. Such a tag neither encompasses the post-rock elements in the lush space of “Monster,” the cinematic flourish of “Darklands,” nor the black-metal-meets-desert-crunch-riffing-in-space at the end of “Caustic Wing” or the meditative, post-Om cavern-delia in the first half of closer “Nightrider,” never mind the synthy, screamy turn of Fuyu‘s title-track at the halfway point. Three records in, the band refuse to let either themselves or their listenership get too comfortable, either in heavy groove or march or atmosphere, and three records in, they’re willfully toying with style and bending the aspects of genre to their will. There are stretches of Fuyu that, in keeping with the rest of what the band do, border on overthought, but the further they go into their own progressive nuance, the more they seem to discover they want to do. Fuyu reportedly wraps a trilogy, but if what they do next comes out sounding wildly different, you’d have to give them points for consistency.

Low Flying Hawks on Facebook

Magnetic Eye Records store

 

La Maquinaria del Sueño, Rituales de los Alucinados

la maquinaria del sueno rituales de los alucinados

Cult poetry on “Enterrado en la Oscuridad,” garage rock boogie “Ayahuasca” and classic, almost-surf shuffle are the first impressions Mexico City’s La Maquinaria del Sueño make on their debut full-length, Rituales de los Alucinados, and the three-piece only benefit from the push-pull in different directions as the seven-song LP plays out, jamming into the semi-ethereal on “Maldad Eléctrica” only to tip hat to ’60s weirdo jangle on “Mujer Cabeza de Cuervo.” Guitars scorch throughout atop swinging grooves in power trio fashion, and despite the differences in tone between them, “Enterré mis Dientes en el Desierto” and “Ángel de Fuego” both manage to make their way into a right on haze of heavy fuzz ahead of the motoring finisher “La Ninfa del Agua,” which underscores the live feel of the entire procession with its big crashout ending and overarching vitality. Listening to the chemistry between these players, it’s not a surprise they’ve been a band for the better part of a decade, and man, they make their riffs dance. Not revolutionary, but cool enough not to care.

La Maquinaria del Sueño on Facebook

LSDR Records on Bandcamp

 

Ananda Mida, Karnak

Ananda Mida Karnak

A three-tracker EP issued through drummer Max Ear‘s (also of OJM) own Go Down Records, Karnak features an instrumental take on a previously-vocalized cut — “Anulios,” from 2018’s Anodnatius (review here) — an eight-minute live jam with Mario Lalli of Fatso Jetson/Yawning Man sitting in on guitar, and a live version of the Conny Ochs-fronted “The Pilot,” which opened 2019’s Cathodnatius, the cover of which continues to haunt one’s dreams, and which finds the German singer-songwriter channeling his inner David Byrne in fascinating ways. An odds-and-ends release, maybe, but each of these songs is worth the minimal price of admission on its own, never mind topped as they are together with the much-less-horrifying art. If this is a reminder to listen to Anada Mida, it’s a happy one.

Ananda Mida on Facebook

Go Down Records website

 

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

Dig Deeper Sign to Vinter Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 12th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Even as the test pressing for the label’s first release comes in, Norway’s Vinter Records continues to add to its roster. The latest is Dig Deeper from Oslo, whose pedal-steel-inflected melodic twang rock can be heard on their third album, 2017’s In Central European Time, streaming on the Soundcloud player below. I’m only excited to admit the four-piece are new to me, but their psychedelia shimmers with tonal brightness and the intent toward warmth and organic spirit of what they do comes through pretty immediately. They haven’t had anything out since this record, so far as I can tell, but their follow-up will presumably arrive in 2022, and that’s something to look forward to.

While we’re talking about digging, I dig the fact that Dig Deeper come across like a polar opposite of Vinter‘s prior signing, Norna, whose bleak ritualization would seem to be far, far removed from the whimsical conversational interplay of lead and backing vocals on “Stars Tonight (Have You Seen).” Of course, the underlying message there is that this isn’t a label looking to do just one thing, even as their first several pickups — MoE (whose test pressings have arrived), Norna and now Dig Deeper — are all Norwegian countrymen. Gotta start somewhere, and fortunately there’s plenty of sonic diversity to work with.

To wit, do my ears hear a little bit of All Them Witches in Dig Deeper‘s In Central European Time? I’m on board with the vibe either way.

Announcement follows:

dig deeper

We’re really excited to share the signing of Oslo´s finest hippie cult. The mighty fine addition of groove rockers Dig Deeper, sparkle our roster with drips of californian lifestyle rock, mixed with a sweet touch of modern americana!

Dig Depper is already a household name all over Norway and we hope that this collaboration will make them reach new heights, and we assure you that their next album is gonna be lit!

https://www.facebook.com/DigDeeperNorway
https://www.facebook.com/vinterrecords
https://www.instagram.com/vinter_records/
http://vinterrecords.com/

Tags: , , ,

Quarterly Review: The Vintage Caravan, Oslo Tapes, Filthy Hippies, Dunbarrow, Djinn, Shevils, Paralyzed, Black Spirit Crown, Intraveineuse, Void Tripper

Posted in Reviews on July 7th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

Day Three. The kinds of material covered have varied, but it’s been pretty good so far, which as you can probably imagine makes this whole process much, much easier. Today would traditionally be hump day, where we hit and surpass the halfway mark, but since this is a double-size Quarterly Review, we’re only a quarter of the way there. Still a long way to go, but I’ve got decent momentum in my head at this point and I’ve taken steps not to make the workload crushing on any given day (this mostly involved working last weekend, thanks to The Patient Mrs. for the extra time), so I’m not feeling overly rushed either. Which is welcome.

In that spirit, let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

The Vintage Caravan, Monuments

the vintage caravan monuments

To every sorrowful head who bemoans the state of rock and roll as being dead, who misses big songs, bands unafraid to groove, to engage their audience, to change things up and stay anchored to a vital spirit of the live experience, the answer is The Vintage Caravan. Monuments is the Icelandic trio’s follow-up to 2018’s Gateways (review here) and it opens with a righteous four-song mission-statement salvo from “Whispers” to “Dark Times” before mellowing out in “This One’s for You” and diving into the eight-minute centerpiece “Forgotten” — later answered by the more subdued but likewise proggy closer “Clarity” — before the hard-hitting shuffle renews on side B with “Sharp Teeth,” “Hell” and “Torn in Two” try to outdo each other in has-the-most-swagger and “Said & Done” sneaks in ahead of the finale to walk away with that particular title. Suitably enough. Momentum is almost a detriment to the proceedings, since the songs are worth individual attention, but among the classic tenets here is leave-’em-wanting-more, and The Vintage Caravan do, no question.

The Vintage Caravan on Facebook

Napalm Records website

 

Oslo Tapes, ØR

Oslo Tapes ØR

First thing to note? Oslo Tapes are not from Oslo. Or Trondheim, for that matter. Founded by Marco Campitelli in Italy, the band is a work of homage and exploration of ideas born out of a trip to Oslo — blessings and peace upon the narrative — and ØR, which is Norwegian for “confusing,” is their third album. It arrives loaded with textures from electro-krautrock and ’70s space modernized through to-day’s post-heavy, a breathy delivery from Campitelli giving a song like “Kosmik Feels” an almost goth-wave presence while the harder-landing “Bodø Dakar,” which follows, shifts with pointed rhythm into a textured percussion jam in its second half, with ethereal keys still behind. The shimmering psychedelia of “Norwegian Dream” comes paired with “Exotic Dreams” late in the record’s eight-track procession, and while the latter emphasizes Oslo Tapes‘ can-go-anywhere sensibility with horn sounds and vague, drumless motion, the hard dance in closer “Obsession is the Mother of All” really seems to be the moment of summary here. That must’ve been some trip.

Oslo Tapes on Facebook

Pelagic Records on Bandcamp

 

Filthy Hippies, Departures

filthy hippies departures

Clocking in at 15 tracks and 77 minutes of deeply varied cosmic fuckery, from the motorik push of “Your Are the Sun” to the ’90s Britgaze stylizations of “Mystified” to the twanging central guitar figure of “The Air is Poison” and onward into the blowout kosmiche echo “Sweet Dreams and Nicotine” and chic the-underground-is-actually-made-of-velvet “Like a Halo” ahead of the Hawkwind-on-ludes “I’m Buggin’ Out,” Filthy HippiesDepartures at very least gets points for having the right title. Departs from everything. Reality, itself, you. The whole nine. The good news is the places it goes have a unifying element of grunge laziness woven throughout them, like Filthy Hippies just rolled out of bed and this material just happened — and maybe that’s how it went — and the journey they make, whistling as they go on “Among the Wire” and ending up in the wistful wash of “Empty Spaces” is a joy to follow. Heady. More purposeful than it’s letting on. Not a minor investment, but not a minor reward either.

Filthy Hippies on Facebook

Mongrel Records website

 

Dunbarrow, III

Dunbarrow III

Long since in command of their aesthetic, Norway’s Dunbarrow embark on III, their third long-player, with a full realization of their purpose. Recorded by the five-piece in Spring 2020 and left to gestate for a year’s time, it’s having been unearthed is suitable to the classic doom vibe wrought throughout the eight tracks, but Dunbarrow‘s sound is more vintage in structure than production at this point, and the shifting balance between ‘then’ and ‘now’ in what they do imagines what might’ve been if self-titled era Witchcraft had retained its loyalty to the tenets of Sabbath/Pentagram while continuing to grow its songcraft, such that “Worms of Winter” both is and is decidedly not “Snowblind,” while “Lost Forever” embarks on its own roll and “Turn in Your Grave” makes for an organ-laced folkish highlight, fitting in its cult atmosphere and setting up the rawer finish in “Turns to Dust.” This is who Dunbarrow are, and what they do, they do exceedingly well.

Dunbarrow on Facebook

Blues for the Red Sun Records on Facebook

 

Djinn, Transmission

Djinn Transmission

The year is 2076. The world’s first Whole Earth parliament has come together to bask in the document Transmission, originating in Gothenburg, Sweden, at the behest of an entity known only as Djinn and respected purveyor Rocket Recordings. It is believed that in fact Transmission and its eight component freak jazz psychedelia tracks were not written at the time of their first release some 55 years earlier, but, as scholars have come to theorize after more than a half-century of rigorous, consistent study, it is a relic of another dimension. Someplace out of place, some time out of time as humanity knows it. So it is that “Creators of Creation” views all from an outsider’s eagle eye, and “Urm the Mad” squees its urgency as if to herald the serenity of “Love Divine” to come, voices echoing up through the surcosmic rift through which Djinn sent along this Transmission. What was their purpose? Why make contact? And what is time for such creatures? Are they us? Are we them? Are we alone? Are we “Orpheus?” Wars have been fought over easier questions.

Djinn on Bandcamp

Rocket Recordings website

 

Shevils, Miracle of the Sun

shevils miracle of the sun

Their third album, ShevilsMiracle of the Sun renews the band’s collaboration with producer Marcus Forsgren, which obviously given the sound of the record, was not broken. With a tidy 10 songs in 32 minutes, the Oslo-based four-piece deliver a loyal reading of heavy hardcore riffing minus much of the chestbeating or dudely pretense that one might otherwise encounter. They’ve got it nailed, and the break as “Monsters on TV” squibblies out is a forceful but pleasant turn, especially backed by the pure noise rock of “Scandinavian Death Star.” The band plays back and forth between heft and motion throughout, offering plenty of both in “Wet Soaking Wet” and “Ride the Flashes,” hitting hard but doing more than just hitting at the same time. Topped with fervent shouts, Shevils feels urgent in manner that to my ears recalls West Coast US fare like Akimbo, but is nonetheless the band’s own, ranging into broader soundscapes on “No More You” and anti-shred on “It Never Ends,” the only two cuts here over four minutes long. No time to screw around.

Shevils on Facebook

Shevils on Bandcamp

 

Paralyzed, Paralyzed

paralyzed paralyzed

If they haven’t been yet — and they may have — it’s entirely likely that by the time I’m done writing this sentence some record label or other will have picked up Paralyzed to release their self-titled debut album on vinyl. The Bamberg, Germany-based four-piece bring classic heavy metal thunder to still-Sabbathian doom rock, casting their lot in with the devil early on “Lucifer’s Road (My Baby and Me),” which feels like as much a statement of aesthetic purpose as it does a righteous biker riff. It’s by no means the sum-total of what’s on offer in a more extended piece like “Prophets” or side B’s rumble-and-roll-plus-wah-equals-doom “Mother’s Only Son,” but the brash fare they bring to light on “Green Eyes” and the post-lizard king-turns-Purple spirit of “Golden Days” tie in well with the toss-your-hair-in-the-wind, how’d-that-hole-get-in-my-jeans spirit of the release on the whole. They start instrumental with the eponymous “Paralyzed,” but vocals are a focus point, and as they round out with the rawer “Parallel,” their command of ’70s heavy is all the more evident. They signed yet? Give it another minute, if not.

Paralyzed on Facebook

Paralyzed on Bandcamp

 

Black Spirit Crown, Gravity

Black Spirit Crown Gravity

Admittedly, I’m late to the party on Black Spirit Crown‘s 2020 debut full-length, Gravity, but as one will when in orbit, it’s easy to be pulled in by the record. The Ohio-based two-piece of Dan Simone (vocals, guitar, theremin, dulcimer) and Chris Martin (vocals, keys & programming, bass) — plus guitar spots from Joe Fortunato (Doomstress, ex-Venomin James) — flourish over longform progressive heavy rock pieces like “Doomstar” and “Orb,” both over eight minutes, and the 21:10 closing title-track, which well earns having the album named after it for its consuming balance between aural weight, darkness of atmosphere and tone, and breadth. Before the last several minutes give way to droning noise, “Gravity” counterbalances the metallic underpinning of “Saga” and the rush of the penultimate “Teutates,” its patience singular even among the other longer cuts, balanced in alternating fashion with the shorter. Peppered-in growls make the proceedings less predictable on the whole, and feel like one more strength working in favor of these complex compositions.

Black Spirit Crown on Facebook

Black Spirit Crown on Bandcamp

 

Intraveineuse, Chronicles of an Inevitable Outcome

intraveineuse chronicles of an inevitable outcome

Parisian instrumentalists Intraveineuse make a strong statement with their 32-minute/single-song debut EP, Chronicles of an Inevitable Outcome, the feeling of aftermath — regret? — permeating the goth-doom atmosphere coming through in tectonically-dense riffs as well as the piano that offsets them. France would seem to have a post-Type O Negative standard-bearer in Hangman’s Chair, but to discount Intraveineuse on that basis is to miss out on the flowing, immersive progression the band emit on this already-sold-out tape, working in three distinct movements to find their own place within the style, building momentum gradually until the last payoff cuts itself short, as if to emphasize there’s more to come. Hopefully, anyhow. EP or LP, debuts with this kind of scope are rare and not to be overlooked, and though there are stretches where one can hear where vocals might go, Intraveineuse ably steer “Chronicles of an Inevitable Outcome” through its various parts with natural-sounding fluidity.

Intraveineuse website

Intraveineuse on Bandcamp

 

Void Tripper, Dopefiend

Void Tripper Dopefiend

Grim, gritty and ghastly, Void Tripper is the debut full-length from Brazil’s Void Tripper, comprised of five tracks marked by the shared/alternating vocals of guitarists Mário Fonteles and Anastácio Júnior. The former gurlges on opener “Devil’s Reject” while the latter complements with a cleaner take on the subsequent “Burning Woods,” setting up the back and forth that plays out in the remaining three tracks, “Hollow,” “Satan & Drugs” and “Comatose.” With the lumbering bass and drums of Jonatas Monte and Gabriel Mota, respectively, as the thickened foundation beneath the riffs, there are shades throughout of Electric Wizard and other acts to be heard, but it’s Sabbath-worshiping sludge one way or the other, and Void Tripper willingly head into that void with a dense fog preceding them and a bleak mood that does nothing if it doesn’t feel suited to our times. Riffy disaffection writ large. You wouldn’t call it groundbreaking, but you’d nod the fuck out.

Void Tripper on Facebook

Abraxas on Facebook

 

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

Kal-El Announce Dark Majesty out Aug. 27; Stream Title-Track

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 17th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Can’t say you weren’t warned. When Norwegian riffers Kal-El signed to Majestic Mountain Records last May, that news came coupled with the announcement that the band’s next album, Dark Majesty, would be out this year. Kudos to the band on keeping their promises. The first single from the record is its title-track and it’s an eight-minute lumbering beast of tonal largesse and spaciousness, vocals echoing likewise cosmic and cavernous over readily familiar nod that’s Sabbath in its root but reaching outward in its own direction as the band has developed over their now-four long-players.

Preorders, of course, are up.

The video for “Dark Majesty” brings classic sci-fi alien invasion and that’s a lot of fun, but the highlight is the song itself, which is impeccably mixed and hooky in kind. You’ll find it streaming at the bottom of this post.

Info came from Majestic Mountain:

kal-el

KAL-EL – Dark Majesty – Aug. 27, 2021

Originally formed in 2012, Kal-El’s star has been firmly in the ascension since the release of three highly sought-after albums; Pakal(2012), Astrodoomeda(2017) and 2020’s critically acclaimed, Witches of Mars.

Signed to Sweden’s rising underground rock institution, Majestic Mountain Records, the Norwegian fuzz-finders are finally poised to release their heaviest and most complex record to date this August with the scheduled arrival of new album, Dark Majesty.

“It’s been quite a journey to get to this point,” explains Kal-El’s vocalist, Captain. “We’ve listened to the record fully mastered; we’ve seen the artwork come together, now all we want is for the fans to sink their teeth into it. We’re proud oft his record. This is something we’ve forged from interstellar witchcraft and it’s ready to collect your souls.

”As a brace of mass-shifting singles(‘Spiral’ and‘Comêta’) have already showcased, the band’s glorious universe of sound is comprised of bass-heavy grooves, detuned guitars, and mind-warping lyrics. And with Dark Majesty we’re invited to witness the adventures of five rocketeers packing an entire career’s worth of ideas and sonic echoes into one, stellar mission. A mission to soundtrack the collision of passing worlds.

Dark Majesty, the brand-new LP by Kal-El will be released on 27th August 2021 on Majestic Mountain Records!

DARK MAJESTY SIGNED POSTER EDITION
-Gatefold. 10mm spine.
– 2xLP 180g heavyweight vinyl
– 2x Black polylined inner sleeve
– Glow-in-the-dark vinyl
– 1x band poster. SIGNED BY THE BAND!
– Slipmat with Kal-El insignia!
Strictly Limited to 50 signed posters/copies!
ONLY AVAILABLE AT MAJESTIC MOUNTAIN MAILORDER!

DARK MAJESTY REGULAR EDITION
– Gatefold. 10mm spine.
– 2xLP 180g heavyweight vinyl
– 2x Black polylined inner sleeve
– Glow-in-the-dark vinyl!
– Slipmat with Kal-El insignia!
Strictly Limited to 150 copies!
ONLY AVAILABLE AT MAJESTIC MOUNTAIN MAILORDER!

SPIRAL EDITION
– Gatefold. 10mm spine.
– 2xLP 180g heavyweight vinyl
– 2x Black polylined inner sleeve
– Black/orange swirl vinyl
Limited to 300 copies! (Will also be available thru distro)

MICA EDITION
– Gatefold. 10mm spine.
– 2xLP 180g heavyweight vinyl
– 2x Black polylined inner sleeve
– Black/red pinwheel vinyl
Limited to 300 copies!

TEST PRESSING
– 2xLP 180g heavyweight vinyl
– 2x Black polylined inner sleeve
– Hand numbered and with alternative artwork ny Negative Cryptart!
– 10 of 20 on sale.
Ships immediately if not ordered with any other pre-order.

Tracklisting:
Temple
Spiral
Mica
Hyperion
Dark Majesty
Comêta
Kala Misha
Vimana

Kal-El is:
Captain – Vocals
Josh – Guitar
Doffy – Guitar
Bjudas – Drums
Johnsen – Bass

Produced by Kal-El
Recorded in Studio Valhalla 2020
Engineered by Ragge
Mixed by mastered by Ruben Willem
Front Artwork by Steven Yoyada
Design, logo and layout by ShaneHorror

http://kal-el.no
http://kal-el.bandcamp.com
http://facebook.com/kalelproject
http://instagram.com/kalelband
http://majesticmountainrecords.bigcartel.com
http://facebook.com/majesticmountainrecords
http://instagram.com/majesticmountainrecords

Kal-El, “Dark Majesty” official video

Tags: , , , , ,

Vestamaran Releasing Bungalow Rex June 18; Stream “Risky Pigeon”

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 7th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Vestamaran

In my immediate defense, I’d like to say that no, I’m not just posting about the impending June 18 release of Vestamaran‘s debut album, Bungalow Rex, because the lead single is called “Risky Pigeon.” Surely that title would be enough motivation on its own, masterful as it is, but if we’re being honest with each other — and I hope we are — it’s the swaying classic melody underscoring the band’s songs throughout the 10-track offering that’s doing the trick. They capture a summery vibe without being overly ’70s-retro-prog, rather like some ’90s indie that forgot to be miserable or at least fake it. An abiding organic sensibility is highlighted by piano and flourish of psychedelic guitar shimmer, and the tracks are engaging on their face with enough ramble and depth to hold fickle attention spans.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that Apollon Records was the same label that unveiled Slomosa‘s well-received debut last year. The Bergen-native label would seem to have found a niche in highlighting up and coming acts from Norway. Noble purpose, especially with results like these.

You can stream “Risky Pigeon” under the PR wire info below. Preorders and all that are on Bandcamp as well:

Vestamaran Bungalow Rex

Vestamaran – Bungalow Rex – Apollon Records

Release: 18 June 2021

This is low-octane rock music from the Norwegian happy campers Vestamaran, the answer of the questions you didn’t raise? Or is it just another musical loveless pandemic hug? While the habitants of the world got together and pointed out the word bongalow to be everybody’s favorite word, Vestamaran quickly adapted this award winning letters to their title. You might say that this word is the only trending element of this release, but suddenly you also notice the lovely purple colored vinyl. The word rex is also included as a contrast. Life is not just bungalow all day long, it also includes a lot of rex in the evenings.

From the fjordy west coast of Norway appears the best friends, and melody makers in Vestamaran. Their only intention is to make high quality rock without gibberish. It’s not masculine. Rather genderless, but their music still has a fair amount of sex. Like the sexyness which gets you up in the morning. Not the one that gets you horny. It’s saxophone rock without the saxophone. A strip club without the strippers. Their debut album, Bungalow Rex, has now been launched through the channels of Apollon records. Its a fair chance that this album can function as a small replacement for the woman you never kissed, for the child you never gave birth to, or the trauma you never dealt with. It can also function as just another futile time waster.

Tracklisting:
1. Error Come Save Me
2. Risky Pigeon
3. Swag
4. Cutest Offender
5. My Finest Eye
6. Solitude
7. Grustak
8. Salt Chair
9. Follow Me
10. Only For You

Line-up: Endre Aasebø, Kjartan Ericsson, Kjell Arne Kjærgård, Jon Bolstad & Kristian Linz

https://www.facebook.com/Vestamaran-104479057619001/
https://vestamaran.bandcamp.com/
www.apollonrecords.no
www.facebook.com/bergenapollonrecords

Vestamaran, Bungalow Rex (2021)

Tags: , , , , ,

White Tundra Premiere “Honningfella” From New 7″

Posted in audiObelisk on June 3rd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

white tundra

Norwegian heavy rockers White Tundra release their new seven-inch single Honningfella on June 11 through All Good Clean Records. The Trondheim-based four-piece released their Graveyard Blues EP last March — the same week the world ended, more or less — and seem well within their rights to follow it up with a two-songer that stretches the limits of the 7″ format at a meaty 11 minutes in length. It’s an affair defined in no small part by its brashness, and as the title-track remains wildly catchy, propelled into imaginary entire-drunken-venue singalongs, fists in the air and the like by its non-lyric “whoa-whoa-whoooa” chorus following the plundering path of the coinciding riff, it’s still a bruiser, make no mistake. Some of those fists in the air are landing punches.

So it was on the EP as well, that four-song offering digging into vibes like earlier Clutch or Orange Goblin circa 2005. Heavy. Beery. Swaggering. White Tundra‘s rawness is accented by the vocals, but by no means limited to them. The guitar fuzz pushes out of both channels, and the cymbal crash behind cuts through with a punkish sense of straightforwardness. white tundra honningfellaThey’re a heavy rock band, but “Honningfella” delights in its rougher edge, and is all the more exciting for that, breaking in its midsection only to resume the circle-pit-but-nobody’s-a-dick-about-it shove to close out.

Thus ensues the more fuzz-forward “One More Place,” which tips over the six-minute line and makes a fitting B-side, following the immediacy of the prior cut with a groove that’s distinct but complementary. Stops in the verse let the lyrics pop out but they’re still willfully mumbled en route to the shoutier chorus and that’s just fine. The sort of inebriated primitivism on display remains good fun throughout, and they give it a little extra oomph at the end that feels bolstered by the mix and master from Truckfighters‘ own Niklas Källgren at the famed Studio Bombshelter, finishing with a solo on top of another duly electrified progression.

Thinking album? Yeah, they might be. And between what they show on Honningfella and Graveyard Blues they might have enough different looks to get there, but at this point, one of their assets is that they sound like a new band feeling out the stylistic ground they want to cover. White Tundra know their influences, sure enough, and they know what they’re going for, but the process of discovering how to manifest that is something precious, and it’s more important that they keep writing songs at this point than that they set themselves to some grander task. If a record happens or there’s some longer-form story they want to tell, bonus. But for a group so very clearly reveling in the pummel of these tracks, their best course would seem to be to keep going with what they’re doing and let the rest sort itself out naturally.

In any case, the single’s a blast. You’ll find it streaming on the player below, followed by a few words from the band.

Enjoy:

White Tundra on “Honingfella”:

‘Honningfella’ means ‘honey trap’ in Norwegian. The lyrics spins around the occult and undefined fear of the darkness and unseen but also obvious traps hidden behind beauty or gullibility. The theme in Honningfella is symbolised in the artwork of the single.

Active for the last four years, White Tundra have released one EP titled “Graveyard Blues” on All Good Clean Records last year and now are back with a new 7inch “Honningfella” to be released once again on All Good Clean Records.

Recorded in Trondheim, mixed and mastered by Niklas Källgren of Truckfighters and Enigma Experience at his studio Bombshelter, “Honningfella” is deeply rooted in the dirtier side of stoner rock, displaying a heavy riffage and uncompromising rhythms inspired by the likes of Monster Magnet, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats and Skraeckoedlan.

White Tundra on Facebook

White Tundra on Instagram

White Tundra on Bandcamp

All Good Clean Records on Facebook

All Good Clean Records website

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Psychonaut & SÂVER Post Emerald Studio Playthroughs From Roadburn Redux

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 24th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

saver stream

psychonaut stream

Psychonaut and SÂVER‘s Emerald split LP (review here) is out now on Pelagic Records. Both bands last month took part in their label’s showcase for Roadburn Redux, each one with a prior-filmed performance of their respective piece from the split. For Belgium’s Psychonaut, “The Great Realisation” broadened their reach in terms of sound, and “Dimensions Lost, Obscured by Aeons” did much the same for Norway’s SÂVER, the two bands alike in a forward-thinking mindset if not directly sharing a ton of elements sound-wise beyond perhaps falling under the catchall of “heavy.”

So be it. Various Roadburn Redux streams have started to surface and be made public — Tau‘s was posted here not so long ago — and the arrival of these two clips is another chance to revisit what was for me a highlight of the weekend’s viewing. So I’m doing that. If you’ve not yet caught wind of Emerald, consider this an opportunity to be engaged in a fully multimedia fashion, and if you’ve heard the two extended pieces that make up the LP and not yet seen these videos, well, the argument for watching makes itself. If you caught this during Roadburn Redux, same applies. You don’t need me to tell you this is worth hitting up.

The bands offer stories behind their works below. I hoisted it from the Pelagic YouTube posts just because I thought it makes interesting reading and six years from now I’ll probably want to refer back to it or something. I’m like that sometimes.

Enjoy:

SA?VER, “Dimensions Lost, Obscured by Aeons” studio playthrough

Psychonaut, “The Great Realisation” studio playthrough

PSYCHONAUT – The Great Realisation

The Great Realisation represents the start of both an individual and a collective awakening. As we slowly watch our world change to the point where it may actually become uninhabitable for our species, we start to question the story of the world and realise that it may be time for a new story. It continues where the concept of Unfold the God Man left off, which was mostly centered around the recognition of our higher potential as individuals. The Great Realisation is the next step in the transition towards a new collective experience. It functions as a bridge between UTGM and our next album.

The story is narrated in 5 chapters which are based on a psychedelic experience. The protagonist encounters an entity that feels like Mother Earth who reveals the secrets of the universe to him. He enters a euphoric state in which he deconstructs his notion of self, leading him into an unknown yet blissful state of consciousness. However, not knowing what to do with this experience and this information, he loses all connection and is sent into the void. With all his might, he tries to retrieve his anchor to reality, condemning the entity that gave him this experience.

This release is by far the most elaborate production we have ever done. We recorded tons of extra percussion overdubs in Motormusic studio, added additional layers using a Morin Khuur, a 12-string acoustic, violins, didgeridoos, timpani, throat singing, choir vocals etc. To us, this feels like the most creative piece of songwriting we’ve ever done. We knew this would be released as a single track but we still wanted to make it sound like it was a short album or an EP, creating the experience of a bigger story by using different chapters. Doing all of this during a global pandemic was definitely challenging but we are very happy that we managed to find a safe way to record this massive composition without any compromises.

SÂVER – Dimensions Lost, Obscured By Aeons

Needless to say, this piece of music is a result of the weird and uncertain condition we’ve all been living in for the last year. Following a sudden and chaotic journey back home from Hungary after everything got cancelled mid-tour in March 2020, we found ourselves back in our rehearsal space with clean sheets and a society on hold. This allowed us to dive deeper into the sonic landscapes we ?d been wanting to explore, with a strange and somewhat greater sense of calm.

As a natural continuation of «They Came With Sunlight», we were intrigued by cinematic and electronic soundscapes, leaning heavy on atmosphere and mood as much as our heartfelt desire for the more extreme. To always challenge ourselves as musicians, and push the boundaries for what we are capable of as a unit, is a direct consequence of trying to capture what resonates within ourselves.

The pandemic caused harm, but it also granted time.

Ole Rokseth took this time and translated it to magic, giving birth to the first half «Dimensions Lost» with his arsenal of synthesizers recorded in different studios around Oslo. The contrast to the latter half «Obscured by Aeons», the dissonance between the soft and eerie and the furious anger, is a reflection of the key element we want to incorporate in our sound. The void between darkness and light. Ole Rokseth’s extended use of clean vocals gives SÂVER the power to emphasize this even more on «Emerald».

Psychonaut on Facebook

Psychonaut on Instagram

Psychonaut on Bandcamp

SÂVER on Facebook

SÂVER on Instagram

SÂVER on Bandcamp

Pelagic Records website

Pelagic Records on Facebook

Pelagic Records on Instagram

Pelagic Records on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , , , , ,