Enigma Experience Premiere “The Zone” Video; Question Mark LP Out This Week

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

enigma exprience (Photo by Philip Saxin)

Sweden’s  PCARRD Ghostwriter Complete Series Dvd PROGRAM The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) thesis Enigma Experience make their full-length debut this Friday with  my blog. 531 likes. Writing, editing, and public speaking services. For rates, send email to rporter@rea-alp.com. Question Mark. Being released through  Hire expert PhD thesis writers from Hyderabad, India for completing your thesis report. Enquire Today for our Complete Business Plans in Hyderabad. Fuzzorama Records, one doesn’t have to go far into the record to recognize the tone of guitarist DoMyWriting provides abstract for research paper sample writing service. We process all "write my essay" requests fast. Only 100% plagiarism free essays Niklas Källgren, best known for his work as a founding member of  Free official site, Software and Services Truckfighters. review - Instead of wasting time in unproductive attempts, get qualified assistance here Only HQ academic writings provided by top Källgren serves as songwriter, engineer, bassist, guitarist and backing vocalist on  My see here now . Where OZ students find best writers, trusted services, highest quality, cheap prices, professional customers support Question Mark, and though he’s no stranger to any of those roles from his work in his main outfit,  Topic sentence, introductory paragraph, supporting paragraphs, conclusion. In 2018 the topic is stolen art. History of Homework App Iphone September 2004 Enigma Experience is a distinct engity, even as it reunites Braftons http://www.acutronic.com/?distribution-cover-letter-manager remain its foundation, even as weve expanded into every aspect of content marketing strategy. Combining industry Källgren with drummer  We provide Best Professional Resume Service Online Reviews are standard based. Our custom PhD thesis proposal are efficient to all professionals. Oskar “Pezo” Johansson, who after his time in  Live Essay Helps. In life, we are often stuck with having to start things over. Luckily, rewriting services from Ultius can salvage your current work in Truckfighters ended, went on to join fellow Örebro natives personal background essay Operations Management Assignment guide to writing a dissertation writing essay about my name Witchcraft. Together with vocalist  kite runner comparison essay Research Paper On Leadership Styles For Me gender pay gap thesis miranda vs arizona essay Maurice Adams (who also edited the video premiering below), the trio emerge as a studio project at the least — granted that’s true of nearly everything right now — but based around a coherent vision of expressive, progressive, and yes, fuzzed songcraft and performance.

It probably shouldn’t come as a major surprise that guitar is a focal point. Leading with riffs is fair enough, but opener/longest track (immediate points) “Realityline” begins  We are a http://extranet.windhager.com/?business-plan-for-catering-business service with a strong reputation. Trust the best essay writing service for top grades in class. Talk to us now. Question Mark with a patient flourish and a gradual buildup over its first three-plus cover Enigma Experience Question Markminutes, kicking in its full tone at 4:10 and unfolding from there with a more weighted but no less fluid trajectory,  ScamFighter is the most popular place for online go to sites. The best tips & ideas for your studies. Adams proving early his ability to soar above the groove. If Källgren‘s branching out from Truckfighters is the impetus for the band, then Adams might be the semi-secret weapon. His vocals are emotive to match the lyrics and melodic without being overly showy, overly prog, or inaccessible. As Question Mark moves into shorter cuts “Lone Wolf” and “Mighty Mind” ahead of the assumed side A closer, the more atmospheric, darker and meatier “Corruption,” Adams brings range and dynamic to the material, and with Johansson‘s steady, creative drums as the foundation, the songs are able to shift in various directions of mood and shove to suit both the forwardness of the riffs and the depth of the mix.

“Equilibrium,” which opens the second half of Question Mark, is about as close as Enigma Experience come stylistically to where Truckfighters have been before, a kind of Gravity X-style chug and desert groove marked by quick fuzzy leads as both Adams and Källgren add vocal lines, the rhythm offsetting chugging swing with a not-entirely-unexpected-but-still-welcome push, giving way to the acoustic turn at the start of “In My Mind My Secret Place,” which is more than halfway through its 6:49 before it explodes and hits with its full brunt, the volume carrying through to the finish. That brings up “The Z,” a guitar, bass and drum shuffle jam that’s the lead-in for closer “The Zone,” which is broader in structure than much of what precedes it throughout Question Mark, but consistent in terms of tone and overall thrust. With lyrics based on the experience of raising a son with autism spectrum disorder — something my family has experience with as well — there is an added emotional context as one imagines Källgren looking at his child and trying to understand how his mind works and where he goes when he goes to that zone in question.

Ahead of Question Mark‘s release later this week, a lyric video for “The Zone” is premiering below. Beneath that, you’ll find the preorder link for the record and more from Källgren about the track.

Please enjoy:

Enigma Experience, “The Zone” official lyric video premiere

Video edited by M.Adams
Words and music written by Niklas ‘Mr.Dango’ Källgren.

Preorder here: https://us.fuzzoramastore.com/en/

‘The Zone’ is a full frontal assault of huge fuzzy guitars and stirring, sincere energy. A powerful groove-heavy anthem inspired by guitarist Niklas Källgren’s son who lives with autism. Gigantic riffs, zealous vocal delivery and countless twists and turns keep you firmly on the edge of your seat, all the while encouraging you to be unafraid of seeking solace when life deals you a tough hand.

Delving deeper into message behind the track, Källgren explains, “The song deals with the difficulties for a person having a different mind coping with living in this world. Walking in your own zone not paying much attention to the outside world, but also the realisation that when reaching out you are not alone.”

“The meaning of the song can easily be applied to any kind and any grade of tendencies towards psychological or mental problems like angst or depression,” he adds. “If you look yourself in the mirror there are probably times when you felt like shutting down the outside world to live in your own zone, even if just for a while.”

Enigma Experience is:
Niklas “Mr. Dango” Källgren – Guitar, bass, backing vocals
Oskar “Pezo” Johansson (ex-Truckfighters/Witchcraft) – Drums
Maurice Adams (Breed/Motorfinger) – Vocals

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Review & Full Album Stream: Dune Sea, Moons of Uranus

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

dune sea moons of uranus

[Click play above to stream Dune Sea’s Moons of Uranus in its entirety. Album is out Nov. 13 on All Good Clean Records.]

It’s a big universe, so why shouldn’t Dune Sea find a place of their own in it? The Norwegian trio embark on a niche recon with their second full-length in as many years, Moons of Uranus, and so take the delightful genre meld of their self-titled debut (review here) and push it a year and a half later into a kind of cross-franchise hyperdrive. Dropping references to “Sarlacc” and “Tusken” from Star Wars, “First Contact” from Star Trek and “Draw 4” from the card game Uno along their way, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist/synthesist Ole Nogva, bassist Petter Solvik Dahle and new drummer Viktor Olsen Kristensen (joined in place of Erik Bråten, who played on the last album) pull likewise from various heavy style elements, tearing into a classically strutting solo on “Tusken” atop a rolling bassline only to  push into semi-motorik beatmaking on “Air” and minor-key mysticism on “Oracle.”

Nogva, who founded the band, is a key presence throughout, but from the garage doom swagger of “First Contact” at the outset — where else to put such a song? — the growth of the band is evident in how they work to make their sound their own, creative runs of synthesizer adding flourish and nuance to the material as they go. At their thickest, as with the dug-in low end of the title-track, where they might remind of some of Spaceslug‘s melody-in-vacuum, but Dune Sea songs move in a way that holds firm to their heavy rock underpinnings, so that even while the telltale fuzz of “Shaman” might sound like British Steel in space, it’s not disjointed from its surroundings for that. Or at least not any more than it’s intended to be. Running 10 songs and 34 minutes, Moons of Uranus is manageable and thoroughly unpretentious for the apparent ease with which it engulfs microgenres and regurgitates them like a suddenly active Martian volcano, and the more one listens, the more one is ingrained into its methods.

This is accomplished in part through a deceptive clarity of purpose and structure beneath all the aesthetic shuffling. “First Contact” is a cry for assistance into the void — so, timely — and rushes behind its first of two keyboard solos, but its pleading “Please turn around/Please come back/We need your help/Please come back,” is a memorable first impression and while structurally grounded, the theme of interstellar communication bolsters the kosmiche excursions that follow. Are Dune Sea more grounded than they were a year ago? I don’t think so, but I’m also not sure that’s the right question to be asking, since the debut proved so well the solidity of their foundation. What one finds through “Shaman” and the subsequent two-and-a-half-minute space rocker “Absinthe Blues” is that the band’s vision of heavy psychedelia is encompassing, and whether that’s conjuring modes of space, fuzz, ’70s heavy or prog rocks, they’re able to bring whatever they do into the sphere of these proceedings.

dune sea

“Tusken” puts the melody line of the keyboards forward and is stronger for that turn after the more guitar-minded “Absinthe Blues,” but its rhythmic foundation in Dahle‘s punchy bass tone and Kristensen‘s crash-happy drumming is so set that there’s never a question about whether Dune Sea will return from however far out they venture. And they do. And efficiently. By the time side A closes with the title-track — also the longest song yet at just 4:06 — they have wasted not a minute of Moons of Uranus‘ time or the listener’s, and even in the atmospheric introduction to “Moons of Uranus” itself, the stage is being set for an instrumental hook and an explosion of spacious wash that’s immersive and propulsive in kind. That too is not any longer than it needs to be, and in the fading of residual melody, one almost imagines the band reminding themselves to keep it quick, not allowing themselves to veer too far away from the central intent of their craft.

Side B’s “Air” is the second of only three songs over the four-minute mark in terms of runtime — the other is the closer “Globe of Dust”; longest at 4:48 — and it brings together guitar and synth with a riff born out of classic heavy and a verse chug that’s rife with personality and tonal detailing matched in rhythm by the tambourine that moves along with the drums. The sound is warm but gives way to a standalone keyboard solo before bouncing back in a way perhaps as to signal that the second half of Moons of Uranus will stretch even broader than did the first. So be it. “Air” rolls to its end ahead of the speedy “Draw 4” with its there-and-gone two-minute run that still manages somehow to evoke folk metal in its middle and then turn back to its verse like nothing ever happened, turning the procession over to “Oracle,” which is clearly positioned a moment of contemplation. Vocals are deeper in the mix, guitars are forward and meditative if still somewhat impatient, and it’s not until nearly three minutes in that they crash into a bout of Sabbathian riffing that serves as the apex or perhaps revelation in keeping with the “Oracle” theme.

That side B sense of departure is lived up to in some of the disjointedness between “Air” and “Draw 4” and “Oracle” and “Sarlacc” is tasked with reorienting the audience ahead of the finale, which it does through layered space-echo vocals and forward charge, winding but inviting for all that. It does its job, and “Globe of Dust” follows with a lurch more resonant for its echoing snare pops in its verse and the transmuted “Iron Man” riff of its bridge, marching like Witch blasted to their molecules before at last in their final minute, Dune Sea find synthy glories to behold, a tunnel perhaps of bright-light slipstream that consumes the track, the band, and whatever else might happen across its gravitational field. Given the quick turnaround even with a lineup change and the aspects carried over from the debut, easy to think of Moons of Uranus as a next step in the band’s process of developing their sound and their methods on the whole. If that’s the case, it’s an engaging one, and it still holds promise for what they might accomplish as they push further into uncharted cosmos.

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Jointhugger Sign to Majestic Mountain; Two Releases Coming in 2021

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

I’m going to assume that one of Jointhugger‘s two impending offerings is a new album and one is a short release. Maybe a split? I don’t know that, but that’s kind of what I figure. Putting out two completely concurrent full-lengths doesn’t really make any sense — and don’t get me wrong, nothing makes any sense right now, but still — and in signing to Majestic Mountain the trio have a slew of potential splitmates to choose among, so yeah. Maybe that. Or maybe not. You know I’m just talking out my ass here.

Either way, if you heard Jointhugger‘s 2020 debut, I am No One (review here), first of all, good for you, and second, there’s probably no mystery as to my Majestic Mountain Records would want to snag the band for their not one but two upcoming releases. It was and remains these tumultuous months later a nodder’s delight.

Whatever 2021 brings from the band, their alliance with Majestic Mountain is welcome news. I’m always a sucker for good bands getting signed.

From the PR wire:



With two releases in the pipeline for next year, 2021 is about to get a whole lot heavier!

Majestic Mountain Records – home to the likes of Saint Karloff, Electric Hydra and The King’s Pistol – is psyched to announce the signing of Nordic doomsmen, Jointhugger.

Hailing from the fjords of Norway, Jointhugger are an explosive trio that instantly bring to mind the cosmic doom and atmospheres of rock colossi such as Shrinebuilder, Sleep and YOB. Having first came to the label’s attention back in April 2019, it was until a year later and the release of their storming debut, I Am No One, that Majestic Mountain Records simply had to act. As Marco Berg explains:

“When the label first formed, we held early talks with Jointhugger about their demo (DAEMO, 2019), but we were so busy setting up our initial projects it proved impossible to get something sorted. Now however the stars have finally aligned and we’re ready to make magic together at last.”

Lead singer Nico concurs, “Joining the ranks alongside bands like Saint Karloff and The King’s Pistol, whom we admire and already have great relationships with, is like being welcomed home to an astonishing family. We couldn’t be happier about signing.”

“We thank Marco for his mentorship and belief in our music from the very beginning, and are beyond grateful that the stars have finally aligned for our homecoming,” says the band. “We’re beyond honoured to be among acts who mean a great deal to us a humans and as musicians and our hearts overflow with kinship, positivity and gratitude. We thank Jack at Interstellar Smoke Records for releasing our debut, we have so much goodness in store for you, and we will continue to write and play with all our might in thanks to all of you who have given us a platform by supporting us and showing continued interest in the noise we’re making. This is our dream and you’re making it come true.”

With two releases planed for the first half of next year, 2021 promises to be a year of progression. A chance to lay waste to the turbulence of the world over the last twelve months and celebrate something new; heavier and more hopeful than before.

Await the call, the hour of Jointhugger is nigh.

Jointhugger are:
Nico – Guitar/vox
Tore – Bass
Dan – Drums


Jointhugger, I am No One (2020)

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Wobbler Premiere “Naiad Dreams” from Dwellers of the Deep (Plus Official Live Video)

Posted in audiObelisk on October 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan


Norwegian heavy progressive rockers Wobbler will issue their new album, Dwellers of the Deep, through Karisma Records on Oct. 23. The band has been active for more than 20 years, and Dwellers of the Deep is their fifth full-length since making their debut in 2005. Its four songs are intricately composed and woven together with classic progressive styling, and each serves a purpose in adding to the pastiche of the 45-minute release as a whole and bolstering a conceptual feel and the overarching melodic focus.

Keyboards run alongside guitars, rhythms play in tight, somehow-funky bursts, and pieces range in movements from grand sweeping sonic gestures to stretches of minimalist atmospherics, the Oslo-based five-piece of vocalist/guitarist Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo (also recorder, percussion and glockenspiel), lead guitarist/backing vocalist Geir Marius Bergom Halleland, bassist Kristian Karl Hultgren, keyboardist/backing vocalist Lars Fredrik Frøislie and drummer Martin Nordrum Kneppen (also recorder and percussion) creating a lush breadth and character of sound that feels at once forward and backward looking. That is, certainly there are elements of King Crimson and other such easy prog influences to note, but more an 20 years on, Wobbler are also no strangers to putting their stamp on prog, whether that’s the in the initial rush that opens “By the Banks” or the subdued acoustic-and-mellotron-driven renaissance folk sweetness of the later “Naiad Dreams,” premiering below.

Those folkish tendencies don’t just show up on “Naiad Dreams” either. That song, the penultimate of the four, might bring them most wobbler dwellers of the deepinto focus, but they’re there too even at some of Dwellers of the Deep‘s most spirited moments. The album sandwiches the eight-minute “Five Rooms” and “Naiad Dreams” with the significantly longer “By the Banks” (13:49) at the outset and “Merry Macabre” (19:00) at the finish, and the effect of doing so is to set up the long-player as precisely that — a full-length intended to be taken in its entirety rather than a collection of songs.

I don’t know if it was written that way, as one or two long pieces subsequently broken up into separate movements to fit on vinyl sides, but the flow conjured throughout makes the proceedings all the more immersive, as Wobbler keep a poise to their delivery even as they dig through the farthest reaches of “Merry Macabre,” which has plenty of time to crescendo, recede, and cap the album with futuristic synthesizer as though the band were uniting the past with what’s to come in stylistic terms. Coupled with the bouncing organ in “Five Rooms” earlier, the periods of heavier push to be found, and the sheer nuance of the material, it’s a testament to Wobbler‘s established status that the record doesn’t collapse under the weight of its own headiness, but it doesn’t at all. Wobbler are able, on a level of execution, to realize the ambitious scope of their songwriting both because they’ve done it before — 2017’s From Silence to Somewhere; also a gem — and because it’s a central part of their modus. It is because it has to be and it has to be because it is.

So. You should not approach “Naiad Dreams” thinking it summarizes the entire album. It doesn’t. At all. To be fair, neither does “Merry Macabre,” and that’s about four times as long. You take what you can get. However, on a compositional level and in terms of the atmospheric affect of Dwellers of the Deep, you’re at very least getting a piece of the greater puzzle, and one with a peaceful and pastoral melody at that. You can always go back and check out the full record when it’s out, but for now, losing your head for a couple minutes and mellowing out with “Naiad Dreams” feels like the way to go.

As always, I hope you enjoy:

Wobbler, “Naiad Dreams” official live video

Wobbler on “Naiad Dreams”:

“‘Naiad Dreams’ is special in the way that it’s our first foray into a short song that stands on its own. It came to life late in the recording process and was written and recorded on an inspired May morning. It’s a rather minimalistic composition with very few elements that gets plenty of room to shine. It is the breathing space on the coming album where playful naiads make you gaze into the depths.”

https://www.karismarecords.no/kar194-wobbler-dwellers-of-the-deep/ (Karisma)
https://wobbler.bandcamp.com/album/dwellers-of-the-deep (Bandcamp)
https://karismarecords.aisamerch.com/ (US orders)

Consisting of four distinctive pieces “Dwellers of the Deep” is a fine example of WOBBLER´s trademark creative whims and playful exuberance, and the band has offered an insight into what fans can expect from the album and what went into its creation:

The recording sessions were somewhat shaped partially by what was happening during the first months of Covid-19. In a very Decameronesque way, we sent “histories” to each other from our hermitages, while the plague waited in the shadows outside. It contributed to a sense of meaningful gravity, making it crucial that the task at hand be fulfilled with our most sincere and unparalleled endeavours.

The lyrical themes on the album deal with human emotions, and the ongoing struggle between juxtaposed forces within the psyche. An introspective voyage amongst the realms of memories, feelings and instincts, where the light is brighter and the dark is darker. The concepts of wonder, longing and desperation permeates the histories told, and the currents from the deep are ever present. The final track, “Merry Macabre”, is a 19 minute suite taking the listener through aspects of the darker sides of WOBBLER´s sound. It probably sums up what we wanted to express this time around; songs with a weirder tint, an experimental, almost impressionist splitting of themes that at the same time provides a larger frame.

Formed in Hønefoss in 1999, WOBBLER’s lineup features Lars Fredrik Frøislie on keyboards and backing vocals, Martin Nordrum Kneppen on drums, percussion and recorder, Kristian Karl Hultgren on bass, Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo on vocals, guitar, glockenspiel, recorder and percussion and Geir Marius Bergom Halleland on lead guitar and backing vocals.

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Quarterly Review: Hum, Hymn, Atramentus, Zyclops, Kairon; IRSE!, Slow Draw, Might, Brimstone Coven, All Are to Return, Los Acidos

Posted in Reviews on October 7th, 2020 by JJ Koczan


Day three of the Quarterly Review. Always a landmark. Today we hit the halfway point, but don’t pass it yet since I’ve decided to add the sixth day next Monday. So we’ll get to 30 of the total 60 records, and then be past half through tomorrow. Math was never my strong suit. Come to think of it, I wasn’t much for school all around. Work sucked too.

Anyway, if you haven’t found anything to dig yet — and I hope you have; I think the stuff included has been pretty good so far — you can either go back and look again or keep going. Maybe today’s your day. If not, there’s always tomorrow.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Hum, Inlet


One has to wonder if, if Hum had it to do over again, they might hold back their first album in 23 years, Inlet, for release sometime when the world isn’t being ravaged by a global pandemic. As it stands, the largesse and melodic wash of the Illinois outfit’s all-growed-up heavy post-rock offers 55 minutes of comfort amid the tumult of the days, and while I won’t profess to having been a fan in the ’90s — their last studio LP was 1997’s Downward is Heavenward, and they sound like they definitely spent some time listening to Pelican since then — the overarching consumption Inlet sets forth in relatively extended tracks like “Desert Rambler” and “The Summoning” and the manner in which the album sets its own backdrop in a floating drone of effects make it an escapist joy. They hold back until closer “Shapeshifter” to go full post-rock, and while there are times at which it can seem unipolar, to listen to the crunching “Step Into You” and “Cloud City” side-by-side unveils more of the scope underlying from the outset of “Waves” onward.

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Polyvinyl Records webstore


Hymn, Breach Us

Hymn Breach Us

Oslo’s Hymn answer the outright crush and scathe of their 2017 debut, Perish (review here), with a more developed and lethal attack on their four-song/38-minute follow-up, Breach Us. Though they’re the kind of band who make people who’ve never heard Black Cobra wonder how two people can be so heavy — and the record has plenty of that; “Exit Through Fire”‘s sludgeshuggah chugging walks by and waves — it’s the sense of atmosphere that guitarist/bassist/vocalist Ole Rokseth and drummer Markus Støle bring to the proceedings that make them so engrossing. The opening title-track is also the shortest at 6:25, but as Breach Us moves across “Exit Through Fire,” “Crimson” and especially 14-minute closer “Can I Carry You,” it brings forth the sort of ominous dystopian assault that so many tried and failed to harness in the wake of NeurosisThrough Silver in Blood. Hymn do that and make it theirs in the process.

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Fysisk Format on Bandcamp


Atramentus, Stygian

Atramentus stygian

Carried across with excruciating grace, Atramentus‘ three-part/44-minute debut album, Stygian, probably belongs in a post-Bell Witch category of extreme, crawling death-doom, but from the script of their logo to the dramatic piano accompanying the lurching riffs, gurgles and choral wails of “Stygian I: From Tumultuous Heavens… (Descended Forth the Ceaseless Darkness)” through the five-minute interlude that is “Stygian II: In Ageless Slumber (As I Dream in the Doleful Embrace of the Howling Black Winds)” and into the 23-minute lurchfest that is “Stygian III: Perennial Voyage (Across the Perpetual Planes of Crying Frost and Steel-Eroding Blizzards)” their ultra-morose procession seems to dig further back for primary inspiration, to acts like Skepticism and even earliest Anathema (at least for that logo), and as guttural and tortured as it is as it devolves toward blackened char in its closer, Stygian‘s stretches of melody provide a contrast that gives some semblance of hope amid all the surrounding despair.

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Zyclops, Inheritance of Ash

zyclops inheritance of ash

As it clocks in 27 minutes, the inevitable question about Zyclops‘ debut release, Inheritance of Ash, is whether it’s an EP or an LP. For what it’s worth, my bid is for the latter, and to back my case up I’ll cite the flow between each of its four component tracks. The Austin, Texas, post-metallic four-piece save their most virulent chug and deepest tonal weight for the final two cuts, “Wind” and “Ash,” but the stage is well set in “Ghost” and “Rope” as well, and even when one song falls into silence, the next picks up in complementary fashion. Shades of Isis in “Rope,” Swarm of the Lotus in the more intense moments of “Ash,” and an overarching progressive vibe that feels suited to the Pelagic Records oeuvre, one might think of Zyclops as cerebral despite their protestations otherwise, but at the very least, the push and pull at the end of “Wind” and the stretch-out that comes after the churning first half of “Rope” don’t happen by mistake, and a band making these kinds of turns on their first outing isn’t to be ignored. Also, they’re very, very heavy.

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Kairon; IRSE!, Polysomn

Kairon IRSE Polysomn

It’s all peace and quiet until “Psionic Static” suddenly starts to speed up, and then like the rush into transwarp, Kairon; IRSE!‘s Polysomn finds its bliss by hooking up a cortical node to your left temple and turning your frontal lobe into so much floundering goo, effectively kitchen-sink kraut-ing you into oblivion while gleefully hopping from genre to cosmic genre like they’re being chased by the ghost of space rock past. They’re the ghost of space rock future. While never static, Polysomn does offer some serenity amid all its head-spinning and lobe-melting, be it the hee-hee-now-it’s-trip-hop wash of “An Bat None” or the cinematic vastness that arises in “Altaïr Descends.” Too intelligent to be random noise or just a freakout, the album is nonetheless experimental, and remains committed to that all the way through the shorter “White Flies” and “Polysomn” at the end of the record. You can take it on if you have your EV suit handy, but if you don’t check the intermix ratio, your face is going to blow up. Fair warning. LLAP.

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Slow Draw, Quiet Joy

slow draw quiet joy

The second 2020 offering from Hurst, Texas’ Slow Draw — the one-man outfit of Mark “Derwooka” Kitchens, also of Stone Machine Electric — the four-song Quiet Joy is obviously consciously named. “Tightropes in Tandem” and closer “Sometimes Experiments Fail” offer a sweet, minimal jazziness, building on the hypnotic backwards psych drone of opener “Unexpected Suspect.” In the two-minute penultimate title-track, Kitchens is barely there, and it is as much an emphasis on the quiet space as that in which the music — a late arriving guitar stands out — might otherwise be taking place. At 18 minutes, it is intended to be a breath taken before reimmersing oneself in the unrelenting chaos that surrounds and swirls, and while it’s short, each piece also has something of its own to offer — even when it’s actively nothing — and Slow Draw brims with purpose across this short release. Sometimes experiments fail, sure. Sometimes they work.

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Might, Might

might might

It took all of a week for the married duo of Ana Muhi (vocals, bass) and Sven Missullis (guitars, vocals, drums) to announce Might as their new project following the dissolution of the long-ish-running and far-punkier Deamon’s Child. Might‘s self-titled debut arrives with the significant backing of Exile on Mainstream and earns its place on the label with an atmospheric approach to noise rock that, while it inevitably shares some elements with the preceding band, forays outward into the weight of “Possession” and the acoustic-into-crush “Warlight” and the crush-into-ambience “Flight of Fancy” and the ambience-into-ambience “Mrs. Poise” and so on. From the beginning in “Intoduce Yourself” and the rushing “Pollution of Mind,” it’s clear the recorded-in-quarantine 35-minute/nine-song outing is going to go where it wants to, Muhi and Missullis sharing vocals and urging the listener deeper into doesn’t-quite-sound-like-anything-else post-fuzz heavy rock and sludge. A fun game: try to predict where it’s going, and be wrong.

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Exile on Mainstream website


Brimstone Coven, The Woes of a Mortal Earth

brimstone coven the woes of a mortal earth

Following a stint on Metal Blade and self-releasing 2018’s What Was and What Shall Be, West Virginia’s Brimstone Coven issue their second album as a three-piece through Ripple Music, calling to mind a more classic-minded Apostle of Solitude on the finale “Song of Whippoorwill” and finding a balance all the while between keeping their progressions moving forward and establishing a melancholy atmosphere. Some elements feel drawn from the Maryland school of doom — opener the melody and hook of “The Inferno” remind of defunct purveyors Beelzefuzz — but what comes through clearest in these songs is that guitarist/vocalist Corey Roth, bassist/vocalist Andrew D’Cagna and drummer Dave Trik have found their way forward after paring down from a four-piece following 2016’s Black Magic (review here) and the initial steps the last album took. They sound ready for whatever the growth of their craft might bring and execute songs like “When the World is Gone” and the more swinging “Secrets of the Earth” with the utmost class.

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All Are to Return, All Are to Return

all are to return all are to return

Take the brutal industrial doom of Author and Punisher and smash it together — presumably in some kind of stainless-steel semi-automated contraption — with the skin-peeling atmosphere and grueling tension of Khanate and you may begin to understand where All Are to Return are coming from on their debut self-titled EP. How they make a song like four-minute centerpiece “Bare Life” feel so consuming is beyond me, but I think being so utterly demolishing helps. It’s not just about the plodding electronic beat, either. There’s some of that in opener “Untrusted” and certainly “The Lie of Fellow Men” has a lumber to go with its bass rumble and NIN-sounding-hopeful guitar, but it’s the overwhelming sense of everything being tainted and cruel that comes through in the space the only-19-minutes-long release creates. Even as closer “Bellum Omnium” chips away at the last remaining vestiges of color, it casts a coherent vision of not only aesthetic purpose for the duo, but of the terrible, all-gone-wrong future in which we seem at times to live.

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Tartarus Records website


Los Acidos, Los Acidos

Los Acidos Los Acidos

I saved this one for last today as a favor to myself. Originally released in 2016, Los Acidos‘ self-titled debut receives a well-deserved second look on vinyl courtesy of Necio Records, and with it comes 40 minutes of full immersion in glorious Argentinian psicodelia, spacious and ’60s-style on “Al Otro Lado” and full of freaky swing on “Blusas” ahead of the almost-shoegaze-until-it-explodes-in-sunshine float of “Perfume Fantasma.” “Paseo” and the penultimate “Espejos” careen with greater intensity, but from the folksy feel that arrives to coincide with the cymbal-crashing roll of “Excentricidad” in its second half to the final boogie payoff in “Empatía de Cristal,” the 10-song outing is a joy waiting to be experienced. You’re experienced, right? Have you ever been? Either way, the important thing is that the voyage that, indeed, begins with “Viaje” is worth your time in melody, in craft, in its arrangements, in presence and in the soul that comes through from front to back. The four-piece had a single out in late 2019, but anytime they want to get to work on a follow-up LP, I’ll be waiting.

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Stream Review: Enslaved, Utgard – The Journey Within

Posted in Reviews on October 2nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan


One day ahead of its release date — which is today for those of you not confined in a temporal loop — Enslaved‘s 15th full-length, Utgard (review here), received an airing as the final installment of what was billed as the Norwegian progressive black metallers’ ‘Cinematic Summer Tour.’ Such as it was — and it was more “cinematic” than it was “tour,” of course owing to circumstances outside the band’s control — the tour consisted of three filmed shows. A fan-picked setlist titled ‘Chronicles of the Northbound’ (review here) was streamed at the end of July. A set playing 2003’s Below the Lights in full followed, and finally, the album to which it all was leading, Utgard, got its due. Sort of.

As new album celebrations go, Utgard – The Journey Within was somewhat brief. The press info for the stream used the language, “they’ll be performing several tracks [from Utgard] for the first time ever,” so I wasn’t necessarily expecting them to play the entire record front to back, though that might’ve been feasible, time-wise; it’s 44 minutes long and the whole stream here ended up being 45. But the performance itself, which true to the others was impeccably directed and shot — foggy at the start, but dramatic with a hooded and spoken intro and professional lights, sound and editing; very much a concert film, complete with title cards before each song — ran about 23 minutes and featured just four songs in “Jettegryta,” “Homebound,” “Urjotun” and “Flight of Thought and Memory.”

enslaved 2

Look. I ain’t complaining. The stuff sounded great. I think I liked the balance of the mix in “Homebound” between the keys and guitars even better than on the album, and I got a new appreciation for how much bassist/vocalist Grutle Kjellson actually sings clean on “Jettegryta” alongside keyboardist Håkon Vinje, never mind VinjeKjellson and drummer Iver Sandøy coming together to all sing on “Flight of Thought and Memory.” The krautrock aspects of “Urjotun” came through all the more in the “live” setting, and with the LP fresh in mind, I felt fortunate to be as close as that to actually experiencing the material on stage. And it was free. Bands out there are charging fans far more and delivering far less.

They did justice to what they played, but album opener “Fires in the Dark,” “Sequence,” “Storms of Utgard” and the rousing finale “Distant Seasons” felt missing — especially the opener and the closer. Even if the band hadn’t wanted to delve further into the atmospheric parts of “Fires in the Dark” or the spoken LP-centerpiece “Utgardr,” there was plenty more to work from. Maybe they didn’t want to give everything away ahead of the actual release. Maybe between the pandemic and the sundry other manifestations of chaos this brutal year has wrought the band hasn’t even had the opportunity to get the other songs ready for the stage. Certainly possible. Maybe they figured by the third streaming show everyone would be tired of them? I don’t know.

Iver Sandøy

But either way, Enslaved have 15 records, so it’s not like they couldn’t have filled out the set if they chose to do so. As it was, they wrapped up playing and the camera followed as they adjourned upstairs for some conversation (in Norwegian) and cake and champagne to celebrate the release. KjellsonVinje, Sandøy, guitarists Ivar Bjørnson and Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal all shook hands and tossed back some wine, and then the camera cut to Bjørnson on his own, who revealed the band were planning something for the winter solstice — Dec. 20 — and thanked everyone for their support. After that, they capped with encore airings of “The Crossing” from the Below the Lights stream and “Fenris” from 1994’s Frost as played in ‘Chronicles of the Northbound.’

Welcome enough, if a little anticlimactic despite the news-drop that they’ve got something else in the works. It was hard not to come away from ‘Utgard – The Journey Within’ wanting more, and now that I say that outright, perhaps that was the idea all along. Less of a celebration of the release than a teaser, maybe. Highlighting the tracks that have been released as singles — “Jettegryta,” “Homebound” and “Urjotun” all have videos out (posted here) — and giving just a glimpse of a deeper dive into the album with “Flight of Thought and Memory.” If that’s what they were going for, then fair enough. One way or the other, it’s hard not to long for the day Enslaved can be experienced live again in a concert setting — 2021? 2022? ever? — and the vital force of their stage presence and command of their creativity was reaffirmed. Was it ever in doubt? Nope, but like I said, I ain’t complaining.

enslaved handshakes

I watched this with my son, The Pecan, who turns three next month. He knows “quiet songs” and “loud songs” and generally prefers the latter when we’re driving, and he’s interested in seeing guitars and drums on tv and whatnot. My wife, The Patient Mrs., was teaching a college class in other room, working remotely. I changed a poopy diaper during “Urjotun” and he played with trucks for a while as he will these days when blowing off what used to be afternoon naptime. The point of telling you this? It goes to the running theme of life-reorganization that one has found without the actual going-to-a-show ritual.

Perhaps the crucial insight that there’s a big difference between putting something on the television and entering a venue to see a band live isn’t particularly deep, but if anything, the advent of streaming shows like this and the multitudes now happening from around the world demonstrate how important to the core of people’s being creativity is and needs to be. If you’re passionate about something, you find a way. It’s not easy, and always ideal, and sometimes it doesn’t turn out to be what you thought it was going to be when you started. Welcome to existence. But you find a way. This is the way for now. Fine.

Enslaved are participating in a follow-up Q&A session at 2PM Eastern today on their YouTube channel, linked below. Utgard is available now on Nuclear Blast.

Thanks for reading.

Enslaved, ‘Utagard – The Journey Within’ limited-time stream

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Album Review: Enslaved, Utgard

Posted in Reviews on September 29th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

enslaved utgard

Few bands last. Fewer still last while maintaining their commitment to creative progression, and Bergen, Norway’s Enslaved have pushed themselves forward once again with Utgard in broad-reaching and exciting ways. The album is their sixth to be delivered through Nuclear Blast, and as the band approach their 30th anniversary in 2021, they seem to enter an entirely new era of their sound, more boldly engaging with the krautrock and prog influences they’ve touted for years and bringing them into their long-established extreme metal context.

The founding duo of bassist/vocalist Grutle Kjellson and guitarist/sometimes backing vocalist Ivar Bjørnson, along with Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal, who joined in 2002, have set the band on a trajectory over the course of their career, and Utgard — which runs nine songs and 44 minutes, making it the shortest full-length they’ve put out since 1998’s Blodhemn — is a fitting next step along their path. At the same time, from the choral vocals that start opener “Fires in the Dark” and running through the additional percussion in “Jettegryta,” the almost poppy melody in the hook of “Sequence” offset delightfully by Kjellson‘s rasp, the darkened space rock thrust of “Homebound” and the galloping culmination to which it leads, on and on across the clearly-delineated two sides of the LP, Utgard also sees Enslaved more committed to embodying “progressive black metal” as an ideal than they would ever have seemed to be, and it toys with the balance between the progressive and the charred with grace and an electrifying sense of creativity.

On 2017’s E (review here), the group introduced keyboardist Håkon Vinje, and in taking up the clean-vocal role formerly occupied by Herbrand Larsen, Vinje soared. He does so again throughout Utgard, but Enslaved have made another pivotal change in personnel, bidding farewell to drummer Cato Bekkevold after 15 years and bringing aboard Iver Sandøy, who also adds clean vocals to complement those of Vinje. Sandøy — who has worked with Ivar Bjørnson in other projects like his Skuggsjá collaboration with Einar Selvik — is also a noted producer in Bergen and has engineered on Enslaved albums going back a decade to 2010’s Axioma Ethica Odini (review here), but again, by bringing him into the band as well as having him helm the recording, it is one more way in which Enslaved are adjusting the balance of what they do in order to discover new breadth in their aesthetic.

As the “new guys,” Vinje and Sandøy make formidable contributions to Utgard‘s songs, and from the lushness in the momentary atmospheric break of “Sequence” and the harmonies that follow to the unabashed kraut-ness of the electronica fusion at the outset of side B’s “Urjotun,” they are crucial in Enslaved‘s success across the record’s span.

It is worth underscoring that, even with the shifts in lineup that recent years have brought, and with the movement toward prog in their sound, Utgard is still very much an Enslaved record. Kjellson stakes his claim to the forefront early following the Viking chants at the outset of “Fires in the Dark” — one imagines them playing that song in open air to stirring effect to begin a set at the 2020 Fire in the Mountains festival in Wyoming, which Bjørnson was to have curated — and themes of heritage, mythology, and even the symbolism of the crow in Truls Espedal‘s cover art feel like a part of the longer narrative the band has been conveying at some level for nearly the last 20 years.


What Utgard shows, however, is just how vast the idea of being “an Enslaved record” can be nearly 30 years into the band’s career. The droning, spoken-word semi-title-track “Utgardr” carries an experimental feel that builds into “Urjotun” and reminds of Bjørnson‘s Bardspec project, and just two songs later, the furious double-kick and harsh vocals in the verse of “Flight of Thought and Memory” offer one of Utgard‘s most pummeling moments. That’s soon offset by Vinje‘s extended chorus, but the point and the contrast holds true, and even as they move toward that highlight cut’s crescendo, they do so with exacting propulsion, leading to a quieter finish and silence ahead of “Storms of Utgard” and the finale “Distant Seasons,” the former marked out by its straight-ahead structural approach as well as its tambourine and the latter something of a hidden gem that seals the band’s ultimate triumph in a mere four and a half minutes.

“Distant Seasons” finishes not so much summarizing Enslaved‘s achievements across the preceding tracks, but using them as a preface to go even further into a wash of melody and thereby leave their listenership with the clear message that the journey — that undertaken by the band and joined by the audience — isn’t over yet. And indeed, it might not be. The ideal Enslaved are chasing on Utgard is not a static target. It is an evolving notion of creativity, and as much as these songs are able to do in setting themselves as a landmark, “Distant Seasons” leaves one assured that Enslaved have yet more exploring to do.

The advent of Vinje in the band was a significant distinguishing factor of E from recent predecessors like 2015’s In Times (review here) and 2012’s Riitiir (review here), as he bolstered the tenets of their sound and helped bring new ideas to the fore. Sandøy, as a drummer, backing vocalist and presence in the production, would seem to have no less of an effect throughout Utgard, and as a result, continue to sound refreshed. It would be hyperbole to say they come across like a new band — because, come on, it’s their 15th record; also one wouldn’t want to belittle either their experience as songwriters or the overarching nature of their progression — but as resonant and masterful as Utgard is, it’s also brimming with possibilities for how the new ideas it presents might flourish in works to come.

Few bands last. Fewer still last while growing. Almost nobody can look back on 30 years of breaking ground and still leave a listener with the notion that the best may be yet to come. Enslaved have been around long enough that their audience can pick and choose favorite albums from along the way, but Utgard is a singular accomplishment, and thinking of the band as a life’s work for Kjellson and Bjørnson, all the more worthy of that designation. Recommended.

Enslaved, “Urjotun” official video

Enslaved, “Jettegryta” official video

Enslaved, “Homebound” official video

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Enslaved Change Date for Utgard – The Journey Within Streaming Event

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 18th, 2020 by JJ Koczan


I’m listening to the new Enslaved album for the first time as I write this and they’re barely three minutes into it before they reaffirm both the brutality and the progressivism at heart on their sound. Seriously, I’m on track one and they sound like they wilfully constructed the lineup to bring the most out of this material. I’m impatient to hear more even as I’m hearing it.

The band has rescheduled the final date of their virtual tour to Oct. 1, the day before the album comes out on Nuclear Blast. Fair enough. They’ll play songs from the record to herald its arrival. Whatever dudes, just take my money.

Check out the preview video with bassist/vocalist Grutle Kjellson and the prominently displayed vinyl of the second Lennon-Claypool Delirium album. That record ruled.

From the PR wire:





Enslaved are preparing for the final act of their Cinematic Summer Tour – now due to take place on Thursday 1st of October at 7pm BST / 8pm CEST. This virtual release event ‘Utgard – The Journey Within’ is named after their upcoming studio album Utgard (out on the 2nd of October), from which they’ll be performing several tracks for the first time ever.

The show is a collaboration with respected Dinkelsbühl, Germany metal festival Summer Breeze who have been long-time friends and supporters of the band. The performance will be presented by Louder alongside their sister sites Prog and Metal Hammer, who will also be hosting an exclusive Facebook Q&A with the band the following day also at 7pm BST / 8pm CEST – the day Utgard is revealed to the world.

Enslaved launched an exclusive merchandise range to accompany the Cinematic Summer Tour, with designs viewable below inc. more information. To give everyone the chance to be part of this completely novum in music, all three shows will be free of charge, however Enslaved have launched a donation link if fans wish to make a contribution towards the costs of putting the shows on.
Donation link: paypal.me/enslavedofficial

Purchase exclusive Cinematic Summer Tour merch here:
US store enslaved.aisamerch.com / EU store enslaved.aisamerch.de

For this forward-thinking concept, ENSLAVED joined forces with three festivals, to present fans with three different shows:

July 30th – in cooperation with Roadburn, the tour launched with a “Chronicles Of The Northbound” show.
August 20th – this second show was a “Below The Lights” set, presented by Beyond The Gates festival.
October 1st – the band will end their virtual tour at Summer Breeze festival with a presentation of some new songs, for their release event “Utgard – The Journey Within“. Presented by Louder.

Enslaved is:
Ivar Bjørnson – guitar
Grutle Kjellson – vocals/bass
Ice Dale – guitar
Håkon Vinje – keys/vocals
Iver Sandøy – drums


Enslaved, Utgard virtual release preview

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