Bill Fisher of Church of the Cosmic Skull Announces Solo Album out Aug. 21

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 31st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Today, Thinking, A?aE?I need expert writers to provide me Art essay writing helpA?aa? then strain no more as our will someone write my paper for me Church of the Cosmic Skull founder It is hard to confess to yourself that you have no understanding of CPM, let alone confessing to somebody else. Even with, you will spend a lot of time on it. The easiest option is to use an online service that will do your Do Online Homework for you. It means that you save time, your pride will not suffer, and you will get a good grade for your homework. Bill Fisher announces the release of his first solo album under his own name. Set to arrive on Aug. 21, the title isn’t being revealed yet, though presumably that will come with subsequent announcements of things like the tracklisting, preorders and so on. In the interim, Article Writing Hub is your go-to source for Phd Thesis On Power Quality Improvement, article rewrites, as well as proofreading and editing of existing content. Check us out. Fisher is offering a link where one can sign up for updates and details on all of the above. He calls it the “Billuminati,” which is adorable and you know it.

Though a solo record in name, it is very much a rock album in the main, and those curious as to just how much of essay help come in three flavors. Learn the differences and how to choose the right one. Learn about revision-shock and how to avoid it. Church of the Cosmic Skull bears the hallmark of Order online and enjoy fast service, top my link quality and reasonable prices.net - Learn How to Write and Deliver a Memorable Fisher‘s songwriting — he’s also a former member of Amaranthine and Order College Papers Online cape and sword Tarrant stylizes his Aymara joke or intends to impart. Lefty, a baculiform type and lighter than Mammothwing — will find the answer to be plenty, but while there are melodies a-plenty, the upcoming collection is a marked turn from, say, Master Thesis Communication For Development - Dissertations and essays at most attractive prices. Top reliable and trustworthy academic writing service. professional Church of the Cosmic Skull‘s most recent offering, late-2019’s examples of essays How To Buy A College Paper writing a good college admissions essay intro distribution patterns in business plan Everybody’s Going to Die (review here). Let’s hope the solo album is less prescient.

Here’s his announcement:

billfisher.net/joinBILL FISHER CHURCH OF THE COSMIC SKULL

Church of the Cosmic Skull Founder Bill Fisher to Release Solo Album

Your urgent solution to the essay maker in Australia request. Hand over your assignments to essay experts who have experience writing for Australian graduates Album Release Date: Friday 21st August 2020

As an aside to the musical works realised by Church of the Cosmic Skull, I have decided to release some other material under my own name via Septaphonic Records and a new website: billfisher.net

Rest assured that the Church has never been stronger, and will continue to spread the light of the Cosmic Rainbow with full and unstoppable force, with new songs and other announcements soon to follow.

The works to be sent forth from this new platform will be myriad and multiform, varied in genre but of high standard and rich with heart.

The first will take the form of a full studio album, an exploration into heavier realms but still very much melody driven; prog with elements of proto-metal and stoner rock.

Super-deluxe limited edition vinyl, CD, and other merch will on preorder soon via Septaphonic Records and billfisher.net

Listeners can get an exclusive pre-listen of the whole album before public release via a sequence of emails and secret web pages about the concepts behind the album and how we can stop sociopathy taking over the universe.

To get access to this and avoid missing out on the other mind-blowing surprises to come, you are invited to join the suitably-titled ‘Billuminati’ here: billfisher.net/join

Yours in peace and harmony,

BF

billfisher.net
churchofthecosmicskull.com
cosmicskull.org
facebook.com/churchofthecosmicskull
churchofthecosmicskull.bandcamp.com
instagram.com/churchofthecosmicskull

Church of the Cosmic Skull, Everybody’s Going to Die (2019)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Modern Witchcraft Sign to DHU Records for Self-Titled LP

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 8th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

modern witchcraft

I’ve been playing catch-up with the news all week. Am I caught up? No. Not at all. But, among the things I didn’t want to let slip through the cracks is this latest pickup from No matter how close it is to the end of the term, we can provide Go Here around the clock. We excel in working under strict deadlines DHU Records of Nottingham, UK, merchants Graduation Essays High School - All sorts of writing services & custom essays. Top affordable and professional academic writing aid. Instead of Modern Witchcraft. The five-piece’s self-titled debut was posted last year as a demo/here’s-a-thing-on-Bandcamp, and as the Netherlands-based imprint will, it snatched up the offering for an LP release as part of its ongoing mission to support the transition for emerging bands from digital to physical media, specifically that of the vinyl variety. If you can’t dig that, well, with all due respect, I think you should rethink your position.

The album, such as it is now, once again came out last year, so yes, it’s streaming. At the bottom of this post, as it happens. Feel free to dig in.

From the PR wire:

modern witchcraft modern witchcraft

New signing to DHU Records: Modern Witchcraft

DHU Records is excited to announce the signing of Nottingham, UK Heavies Modern Witchcraft!

“5 disparate east-midlanders who came together to create something dark, beautiful, and groovy”

Incorporating the crushing elements of all that is Heavy, and influenced by the likes of Neurosis, Iron Monkey, Charger, Johnny Truant among others, Modern Witchcraft wade through 5 filthy Doom Soaked Sludge Hymns on their debut self titled record. Initially released in 2019 as a ‘Demo’, this, was an absolute no brainer that 100% needed the DHU wax treatment.

Modern Witchcraft is re-released as of Thursday April 30th 2020, digitally with new artwork by Andrej Bartulovi? at modernwitchcraft.bandcamp.com

DHU Records is honored to release Modern Witchcraft (DHU048) on Limited Edition vinyl this Summer.

Go forth and listen to this thunderous 30min wall of noise & Hail the Serpent!

More info & details coming soon…

Side A:
A1. Daylight Suffers 4:59
A2. Holiday For Heathens 6:32
A3. Last Breath 3:14

Side B:
B1. Oh Apollo! 7:10
B2. Hydra 7:03

Recorded, mixed, mastered, and re-mastered by Ian Boult at Stuck On A Name Studio October 2018.
Artwork by Andrej Bartulovi?

Modern Witchcraft are:
Craig: guitar
Daisy: Vocals
Daniel: Bass
Maddie: Guitar, Flute
Jake: Drums

https://www.facebook.com/modernwitchcraftuk/
https://modernwitchcraft.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://www.instagram.com/dhu_records/
https://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bandcamp.com/
darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/

Modern Witchcraft, Modern Witchcraft (2019)

Tags: , , , , ,

The Obelisk Presents: THE BEST OF 2019

Posted in Features on December 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk best of 2019

[PLEASE NOTE: These are not the results of the year-end poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t contributed your list to the cause yet, please do so here.]

Make no mistake, my friends. 2019 was the year it went off the rails.

Every 12-month period brings a lot of records, and they all seem overwhelming, but this was the first year I’ve ever felt quite so helpless when it came time to sit down and actually make my list. Of course, I keep running notes all year long, but even so, ordering everything, bringing it all together? What a mess.

I almost thought of breaking it down into smaller lists in addition to the big one, subgrouped by style. But then, where does doom end and sludge begin? What about psych and heavy rock? Should prog get its own list? And what the hell counts as prog?

In the end, that didn’t seem like it would be doing me any favors, so we’ll stick with the one big list and then others for debut releases and another for EPs, splits, demos and so on. You know, the usual.

Pretty sure I say this every year too, but it bears repeating: if you read any of the below — and thanks if you do — and have a response, be nice. If I’ve forgotten something — and yes, I have; I’m sure of it — that you think needs to be included, and you want to leave a comment that says so, please, by all means. But keep it civil. I know people are passionate about this stuff and so am I, but consider there are probably over 200 offerings covered here by the time you get through all the lists and honorable mentions, and I’m one person. I’m doing my best, and though I try not to, I tend to take being called a dumbass personally. So yeah, chill out and please be constructive in calling me a dumbass. Words matter.

A few hard choices here, most especially for album of the year. I was back and forth with each of the top three in the top spot for a good long while, and it might change again between now and when this post goes up. But it’s been that kind of year. In 2018, there was no question. It was Sleep all the way. The question was what came after that. This year has been different without that kind of duh, punch-in-the-face obvious pick. Relative parity isn’t a bad thing though.

Enough delay. The usual parameters apply. These are a combo of my personal listening habits and what I think are the most important records/achievements of the year, critical importance, etc.

Here we go:

The Top 50 Albums of 2019

#50-31

50. Hazemaze, Hymns of the Damned
49. Lightning Born, Lightning Born
48. Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree, Grandmother
47. PH, Osiris Hayden
46. Thunderbird Divine, Magnasonic
45. Abrahma, In Time for the Last Rays of Light
44. Uffe Lorenzen, Triprapport
43. Swallow the Sun, When a Shadow is Forced into the Light
42. Caustic Casanova, God How I Envy the Deaf
41. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, Tre
40. SÂVER, They Came With Sunlight
39. Ogre, Thrice as Strong
38. Lamp of the Universe, Align in the Fourth Dimension
37. Vokonis, Grasping Time
36. Sacri Monti, Waiting Room for the Magic Hour
35. Across Tundras, The Rugged Ranges of Curbs and Broken Minds
34. Duel, Valley of Shadows
33. Orodruin, Ruins of Eternity
32. Zaum, Divination
31. Inter Arma, Sulphur English

customer retention in e commerce research papers Pay http://www.bavaria-hausverwaltung.de/?custom-writing-legit as creative writing coursework personal statement medical school application Notes http://www.samavayo.com/essays-on-american-writers/ - Professionally crafted and custom academic writings. experienced scholars working in the company will accomplish your : Honestly, if this had been the top 20 of the year, I’d still call 2019 a win. Aside from the fact that I somehow thought Caustic Casanova would enjoy coming in a number 42, the sheer quality of this stuff should tell you what kind of year 2019 was. Inter Arma’s Sulphur English was a significant achievement in genre melding, and Orodruin’s return after more than a decade since their last LP was a masterclass in doom worship. Debut albums from SÂVER and Thunderbird Divine and Lightning Born showed marked promise of things to come — and there’s more on them below as well — while Zaum’s, Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree’s and Lamp of the Universe’s meditations, Vokonis’ noise, Abrahma’s emotive progressivisim, Swallow the Sun’s melodic melancholy, Sacri Monti’s boogie, and whatever the hell PH were doing on Osiris Hayden remind just how much the word “heavy” can encompass. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, Duel and Uffe Lorenzen and Hazemaze were musts here, and Ogre are perennial favorites whose work always brings a doomly grin. Don’t sleep on any of it.

30. Sun Blood Stories, Haunt Yourself

sun blood stories haunt yourself

Self-released. Reviewed Sept. 6.

Until they put out a complementary follow-up record of such fare, one might’ve accused Idaho three-piece Sun Blood Stories of becoming less experimentalist/droned-out/noisy on Haunt Yourself, but they seem to have met their quota one way or the other with the Oct. 2019 advent of Static Sessions Vol. 1. Still, it’s melody, heavy post-rock/psychedelic drift and emotive soul that rule the day on the crushing and enriching Haunt Yourself, and no complaints from me on that.

29. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Everybody’s Going to Die

Church of the Cosmic Skull Everybodys Going to Die

Released by Septaphonic Records. Reviewed Dec. 10.

I don’t have to do anything more than read the name of the album to have the chorus of the title-track stuck in my head, and it’s a reminder that although the Nottingham troupe put so much into their progressive style and vocal harmonies and arrangements, and a more conceptual theme in the case of Everybody’s Going to Die — their answer to 2018’s excellent Science Fiction (review here) — their roots are in songcraft, and it’s the foundation of songcraft that lets them soar. Would be higher on the list if it weren’t so new.

28. Devil to Pay, Forever, Never or Whenever

devil to pay forever never or whenever

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Nov. 4.

With their sixth album, Indianapolis’ Devil to Pay collect 10 tracks of unpretentious-almost-to-a-fault of straightforward heavy rock songwriting that continues to be woefully underappreciated. They have become utterly reliable in that regard — you know, to a certain extent, what’s coming — but the vocals of guitarist Steve Janiak (also Apostle of Solitude) and some more metallic turns to the riffing give Forever, Never or Whenever a subtlety that holds up all the more on repeat visits. I don’t know if Devil to Pay will ever get their due, but suffice it to say, they’re due.

27. Howling Giant, The Space Between Worlds

howling giant the space between worlds

Released by Blues Funeral Recordings. Reviewed Oct. 11.

If you’re of a certain age, you remember when the first Playstation came out and everyone looked around at their Nintendos and Segas like, “What the hell am I messing around with Mario Golf for? I could be playing Resident Evil!” That’s kind of what Howling Giant are as compared to “regular” rock bands. They’re the Playstation of heavy: that next progressive step forward carrying an inhuman amount of swagger and personality while still delivering a stepped-up product from their would-be peers. The scariest thing about The Space Between Worlds is it’s their first LP. One looks forward to the next generation.

26. Saint Vitus, Saint Vitus

saint vitus saint vitus

Released by Season of Mist. Reviewed March 19.

I know for a fact that bassist Pat Bruders and drummer Henry Vasquez had a hand in writing some of the material on Saint Vitus’ second self-titled LP, and yet the album so much bears the indelible mark of guitarist Dave Chandler that it’s hard not to think of it all as his. The album marked their first release with original singer Scott Reagers since 1995’s Die Healing (discussed here) and featured among their trademark low-tuned slog, an actual punk song, which showed the grinning glee that underlies all they do. Four decades on, Saint Vitus sound like they’re having fun. How is that not a win?

25. Ealdor Bealu, Spirit of the Lonely Places

ealdor bealu spirit of the lonely places

Self-released. Reviewed July 10.

Woodsy Rocky Mountain psychedelia abounded on Boise foursome Ealdor Bealu’s second full-length, and their blend of landscape meditations and grounded heavy progressive melodicism made Spirit of the Lonely Places as much about impact as about space, though of course the real joy was the experience of the entirety. Very much a sophomore album, it learned lessons from 2017’s Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain (review here) that one only hopes the band will continue to push forward in scope as they so gracefully did here.

24. Yatra, Death Ritual

yatra death ritual

Released through Grimoire Records. Discussed Nov. 13, 2018..

Though hard- and to-date quick-working Maryland trio Yatra have already moved on and are looking ahead to releasing their second album, Blood of the Night (review here), their Grimoire-delivered debut, Death Ritual, is impossible to ignore for the impact it had on reminding listeners of the impact that primeval extreme sludge can have. Another couple tours and some bigger label — Relapse, Prosthetic, eOne, Season of Mist, whoever — will decide they’re “ready,” whatever that means, and then sign them and I won’t be cool enough to do track premieres for them anymore, but as far as accolades go, Yatra earn whatever they get and Death Ritual stands among 2019’s most landmark debuts. They’ve already outdone it, but it’s a stunner just the same.

23. Ecstatic Vision, For the Masses

ecstatic vision for the masses

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Sept. 17.

Ecstatic Vision frontman Doug Sabolik has cast himself in the mold of Arthur Brown or Dave Wyndorf or probably seven or eight dudes who were in Hawkwind at some point as a manic-but-stoned space rock preacher with as he and his band behind him plunge headfirst-or-feetfirst-it-doesn’t-matter-because-your-body-is-an-illusion-man into the molten multicolor void. For the Masses. The ‘masses,’ such as they are, should be so lucky, but the double-meaning is the real tell for where the Philly unit are coming from. Their shows are the masses — gatherings of spirit and song to give praise to the willful expansion of mind. If you can’t get behind that, you might as well go get a job or something. This ain’t no lightweight party for squares and dabblers. This is a high-potency happening for werewolves on motorcycles and freaks of all stripes. Get weird stay weird. Ecstatic Vision are one mostly-mellow 15-minute “Spine of God”-style psych-epic away from perfection.

22. Beastwars, IV

beastwars iv

Released by Destroy Records. Reviewed June 27.

But for the circumstances that brought it about — i.e. Beastwars vocalist Matt Hyde’s cancer — the unexpected fourth installment in the Beastwars trilogy was nothing if not welcome. An grand-feeling sense of largesse was nothing new to the New Zealand four-piece, but after breaking up and getting back together to make the album, the grim sincerity with which they presented this exploration of mortality and betrayal by one’s own body was no less palpable than the undulating riffs that threatened, as ever, to consume all in their path. I don’t know their future plans in terms of continuing to write and/or record, but there are reports of touring beyond Aus/NZ for 2020, so one way or another, stay tuned for more from them. Whether or not they do anything else, IV was a triumph in spirit and execution.

21. Eternal Black, Slow Burn Suicide

eternal black slow burn suicide

Self-released. Reviewed June 7.

With the nine songs of Slow Burn Suicide, Brooklyn’s Eternal Black began to unveil the true depth of their project. Their 2017 debut, Bleed the Days (review here), was well received, and rightly so, but operated more in a straight-ahead doom sphere. The second outing, by contrast, delved into a particular vision of the style informed by the crunch of peak-era New York noise and crossover hardcore, and it succeeded not just because it did this, but because it did so around a conjuration of memorable riffs and tracks building on accomplishments carried over from its predecessor. Is this an awaited arrival of next-generation ‘New York doom’? Will theirs be a blueprint others will follow? It’s impossible to know now, and their next album will be telling either way, but the course they’ve set is significant.

20. Candlemass, The Door to Doom

candlemass the door to doom

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Feb. 22.

It may have been the Tony Iommi guest appearance that got Swedish doom legends Candlemass — the world’s earliest and foremost purveyors of doom both classic and epic — their recent Grammy nomination, but it was the long-overdue reunion with original vocalist Johan Längquist that made the album as a whole as powerful as it was. Pairing Längquist’s theatrical and vital approach with founding bassist Leif Edling’s second-to-none doomcraft, The Door to Doom was a catapult not to the bygone days of the band’s landmark debut, 1986’s Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, but an inspired look at not just what might’ve been had Längquist remained with the band longer, but what might still be if he does this time around. Candlemass have been through their share of singers, but as fresh as The Door to Doom sounded, it’s hard not to hope for something more than a one-off with he who got there first. The songs, the spirit, the sheer heart poured into Candlemass’ doom some 35 years past the band’s start only emphasizes how special they have always been.

19. Nebula, Holy Shit

nebula holy shit

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed June 13.

Anyone who might’ve predicted Nebula getting into the studio and making a new album was either in the room when it happened or talking out their ass. And speaking of, was Nebula’s Holy Shit named for the shock one might’ve felt at its existence, or the surprise at how good it actually sounded when you put it on? I don’t know. I probably won’t ever know. It was the best title I saw all year, but more than that, it was a Nebula record, fueled by the classic riffing and unmitigated desert punk soul of founding/guitarist Eddie Glass, whose absence from the heavy underground for the last decade left a void only too many others whiffed on filling. Holy Shit showed just how singular a player Glass was and is, and how much character there is in his style, particularly in solos, but also in rhythmic changes, and so on. I won’t discount the work of bassist Tom Davies and drummer Mike Amster in making Nebula what they are in this incarnation — they’re essential, obviously — but there’s simply no denying that presence at the band’s core.

18. Valley of the Sun, Old Gods

valley of the sun old gods

Released by Fuzzorama Records. Reviewed May 21.

This was a heavy rock record that had everything. Everything. It had songs, style, ups, down, purples, greens, ins, outs, all kinds of whathaveyou. Riffs forever. Valley of the Sun should keep their eyes on Sasquatch, because if they want it, that path is theirs. I know the Cincinnati outfit have had trouble keeping lineups together, but if they can hold onto one, and maybe after their next record start touring more, domestically and abroad — not at all a minor ask, I know — then people will catch on. Old Gods is evidence of the fact that they genuinely have something to offer, and frankly, it’s not at all the first such effective case they’ve made in their career. But they’ve never put anything out that wasn’t a step forward, and yet they’ve never lost sight of the roots of their initial inspiration. And they’ve never sacrificed the song for the riff, which so many do. They’ve only ever gotten better. Let Old Gods be a step toward them getting attention they’ve long since deserved.

17. Kadavar, For the Dead Travel Fast

Kadavar For the Dead Travel Fast

Released by Nuclear Blast. Reviewed Oct. 28.

In style and production, For the Dead Travel Fast is the most vintage-sounding offering Berlin trio Kadavar have made in over a half decade, yet neither is it looking backward wistfully toward 2013’s Abra Kadavar (review here) or giving up the modern clarity of 2017’s Rough Times (review here) or 2015’s Berlin (review here). Instead, it strikes a balance with a more sinister edge à la Uncle Acid in songs like “Children of the Night” and “Demons in My Mind” — both singles — and makes a home for itself between proto-metal and garage doom. Whatever genre tag you want to give it — and that might vary from track to track, mind you — it’s unmistakably Kadavar, with the signature hooks and memorable craftsmanship that have made them one of the decade’s most pivotal heavy bands. The real challenge at this point in their career is not to take for granted that Kadavar will produce material of such quality, because, frankly, that’s all they’ve ever done.

16. Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Yn Ol I Annwn

mammoth weed wizard bastard yn ol i annwn

Released by New Heavy Sounds. Reviewed Feb. 7.

Welsh sci-fi cosmic doomers Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard billed Yn Ol I Annwn as the final installment of a trilogy that includes their two prior LPs, 2015’s Noeth Ac Anoeth (review here) and 2016’s Y Proffwyd Dwyll (review here), and while that may be true thematically, there’s also no question the third is a marked step forward from anything they’ve done before. They’re one foot out of the airlock and into space as their synth-laden longform riffing and melodies take them to places they’ve not yet gone, explorations of sight as much as sound, aural translation of colors humans aren’t gifted to see. Their songs across the 65-minute span unfold with the grace of a gravity spiral, pulling the listener deeper into the proceedings with each new phase that emerges until, what, obliteration? Stellar genesis? I’m not sure. They’ve reportedly got one more record to make and then they’re done. If that’s true, they’ll be missed then they’re gone.

15. Magic Circle, Departed Souls

magic circle departed souls

Released by 20 Buck Spin. Reviewed April 3.

They’ve found their way to die, and it’s upon an altar of classic metal and doom. And honestly, they make a pretty good case for it. Departed Souls is the third full-length from the Boston unit and their most stylistically realized work yet, with vocalist Brendan Radigan giving a standout performance alongside the guitars of Chris Corry and Renato Montenegro, the bass of Justin DeTore and Michael “Q” Quartulli’s drums, as the entire band taps into vibes from mid-’70s Black Sabbath and brings them to bear with an energy that is unlike anything in Magic Circle’s history. 2015’s Journey Blind (review here) brought in NWOBHM flash in the guitar work, sure enough, but Departed Souls doesn’t so much carry the torch of classic metal as it does use it to burn down the whole village and rebuild it in the five-piece’s image. From their doomed beginnings on their 2013 self-titled debut (review here) to now, they’re an act who’ve genuinely earned cult status. If you can find a backpatch, buy it.

14. Spaceslug, Reign of the Orion

Spaceslug Reign of the Orion cover

Released by BSFD Records. Reviewed Nov. 22.

Controversy! Drama! Well, probably not, but at very least some respectful disagreement on my part. You see, Poland’s Spaceslug have stated publicly that their latest release, the late-2019 surprise Reign of the Orion is an EP. Their albums regularly top 50 minutes, and at 36 minutes, I guess relative to that, you can see where they’re coming from. However, with the flow of these five songs and the ease with which they carry the listener from front-to-back through the listening experience, I’m sticking to my guns and calling Reign of the Orion an album. Sorry guys. True, it’s shorter than the other full-lengths, but it’s got everything you could ask an album to have in terms of how tracks like “Spacerunner” and the shouty “Half-Moon Burns” play into each other, and the fluidity of the outing on the whole is inarguable. An LP by any other name? Whatever you or they want to call it, there’s no question in my mind Reign of the Orion is one of 2019’s best records. If they insist on it being an EP, then it’s the best one of the year, but I still say it belongs in another category altogether, so here it is.

13. Green Lung, Woodland Rites

green lung woodland rites

Released by Kozmik Artifactz. Reviewed Jan. 28.

As hyper-crowded as London is with bands at this moment in history, there continue to be acts who sneak through with an individualized and intriguing perspective on doom and heavy rock, and Green Lung are a perfect example, learning from fellow Brits like Alunah and Elephant Tree and incorporating folk and forest goth vibes to their debut album, Woodland Rites. Laced with organ and stuck-in-the-head choruses like “Let the Devil In” and the creeper “Templar Dawn,” the record also pushed into drifting verses on “Into the Wild,” setting up future experimentation with atmospheric variety and genre manipulation. If part of any first album’s appeal is the potential it represents, Green Lung’s offers plenty, but wherever their subsequent course may or may not take them, their accomplishments here shouldn’t be overlooked. Woodland Rites is nothing less than the heavy rock debut album of the year, and though they emerge from a packed field, the work they do to stand themselves out already carries their mark and an apparent will toward progression. They’re on their way.

12. Lo-Pan, Subtle

lo-pan subtle

Released by Aqualamb Records. Reviewed May 9.

My head immediately goes to the hooks of “Ten Days” and “Ascension Day” and “Savage Heart,” but the up-down surges of guitar in “Old News/New Fire” and the midtempo soulfulness in “A Thousand Miles” are no less resonant when it comes to the actual listening experience of the fifth Lo-Pan LP. Subtle, when it came to living up to its name, as much wasn’t as it was. Flourishes of harmony in the vocals of Jeff Martin, the pops in Jesse Bartz’s snare punctuating and propelling in kind, turns in Scott Thompson’s bass work twisting around the guitar of Chris Thompson, a relative newcomer to the fold making his debut with the band and showing no apparent trouble fitting in. I don’t imagine Lo-Pan is an easy band to join, especially at this point. They thrive on personality clash and, through years of touring, have a chemistry they’ve built between them that comes through even on their recordings. Nonetheless, Subtle is their clearest, sharpest-edged work yet, and as tight as their songwriting has become, they still groove and groove mightily. They are a treasure of American heavy rock and roll. Believe it.

11. Roadsaw, Tinnitus the Night

roadsaw tinnitus the night

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed June 12.

While members of Roadsaw have spent the intervening years in projects like Kind, White Dynomite, Sasquatch and Murcielago, the Boston heavy rock kingpins have indeed been missed, and Tinnitus the Night works quickly to show why. It’s been well over 20 years since their first LP — hell, it’s been eight since they put out their 2011 self-titled (review here) — but their craft is at its own level, and Tinnitus the Night comes barreling through with “Shake” and “Along for the Ride” and “Final Phase” before opening up to broader fare on side B with “Find What You Need,” “Under the Devil’s Thumb” and “Midazolam” ahead of the subdued finale “Silence,” and the result is nothing less than a classic heavy rock LP structure as befitting what is itself a classic heavy rock LP. What’s Roadsaw’s future? I don’t know. It took them the better part of a decade to make this one happen, so take from that what you will, but to me, all it says is there’s even more reason to be grateful they got it done and out. To say the songs deserve that is putting it mildly.

10. Worshipper, Light in the Wire

worshipper light in the wire

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed April 24.

I’m not doing a ‘song of the year’ post, but if I was, Worshipper’s “Coming Through” might be it. The opening track from the Boston four-piece’s second album, Light in the Wire, marries classic pop drama in its melody with careening progressive riffing, and sets the tone for a record that is of both future and past, twistingly complex and yet immediately accessible, immersive as an entirety and still comprised of standout moments. These aren’t contradictions in Worshipper’s skillful hands, but the stuff of what’s already becoming their own take on rock. Tied together through melody, skillful rhythmic intricacy and solid structural foundations, “Light in the Wires,” “Visions from Beyond,” “Wither on the Vine” and others throughout post their own triumphs en route to enhancing the album as a whole, while “Nobody Else” and closer “Arise” underscore the emotive basis from which the perspective of the whole LP emanates. There are a lot of “next-gen” heavy rock bands out there weaving prog elements and traditional riffing together to some degree or other. Few, if any, can write a song like Worshipper can. I mean it. This band is something special.

9. Solace, The Brink

solace the brink

Released by Blues Funeral Recordings. Reviewed Nov. 21.

What is there to say about Solace? A band who, nine years after revealing the expectation-slaughtering masterpiece A.D. (review here), return with three-fifths of a swapped-out lineup and simply do it again? This band is explosive. Really. Like, they might explode at any minute. It’s a miracle The Brink ever happened. I’ll be honest, I had my doubts. But Solace are a force like nothing else I’ve ever encountered in music. They take metallic aggression, hardcore’s sense of self-righteousness and heavy rock’s groove, set it all to a doomly swing and they play it in such a way as to leave you utterly dumbfounded by what you just experienced. Here’s a challenge though, for the band personally. From me to them. Do another one. Go ahead. Put out another album. You don’t even have to do it in 2020. Do it 2021. Write the songs and give me a no-holds-barred 45-minute LP of the tightest, meanest shit you’ve ever written. Because massive as the accomplishments are on The Brink, it’s the potential to build from them that resonates most here. So do it, guys. Step up and take advantage of the moment. Call me greedy if you want, I don’t care. Give me another Solace record. I dare you.

8. Brume, Rabbits

brume rabbits

Released by Doom Stew Records & DHU Records. Reviewed Nov. 6.

Simply a case of a band wildly outdoing themselves. Easy story, yeah? In some ways, maybe, but the truth of what Brume achieve on Rabbits. Their second long-player behind 2017’s Rooster (review here), the five-track offering sees the San Francisco three-piece of vocalist/bassist Susie McMullan, guitarist/vocalist Jamie McCathie and drummer Jordan Perkins-Lewis working with producer Billy Anderson to bring theatricality and emotionalism together in a flowing post-heavy context that’s neither derivative nor working at cross purposes. Instead, it is a gorgeous and blooming undertaking across its 43-minute span, working in its own light/dark spectrum and bringing not just the sense of trapped fragility evoked by the cover art, but a corresponding sureness of intent to its ascendant heavy surges. Like Rooster before it, it is loaded with potential, but in “Scurry” and “Lament” and “Despondence” and “Blue Jay and “Autocrat’s Fool,” there’s a patience and command that absolutely does not waver. So yes, a band outdoing themselves. But so much more too.

7. Mars Red Sky, The Task Eternal

mars red sky the task eternal

Released by Listenable Records. Reviewed Sept. 20.

This may forever be known as the Mars Red Sky album they wrote in a cave, but the Bordeaux three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Julien Pras and bassist/vocalist Jimmy Kinast and drummer Matieu “Matgaz” Gazeau nonetheless plunged forward along the progressive course they charted back on 2014’s sophomore outing, Stranded in Arcadia (review here), and continued to manifest in 2016’s Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here). Their blend of melody and tonal heft has become a hallmark of their work to this stage in their career, but The Task Eternal continues to add a sense of breadth to the proceedings, giving their sound a full three-dimensional pull that feels tailor-made for headphones and is consuming in its entirety. With experiments in structure like the pairing of “Recast” and “Reacts,” and the rushing sweep of melody in “Hollow King,” Mars Red Sky’s latest is, as ever, their finest. Outdoing themselves would seem to be the task from which the record derives its title. Fine. Just keep going. Please.

6. Kings Destroy, Fantasma Nera

Kings Destroy Fantasma Nera

Released by Svart Records. Reviewed March 15.

Every time I think I understand where Kings Destroy want to go as a band, they pull the rug out. That’s what Fantasma Nera is. After their 2015 self-titled (review here) third LP seemed to declare them once and for all in a space between doom and noise rooted in their respective hardcore pasts, the Brooklynite five-piece hooked up with producer David Bottrill (Tool, etc.) and composed a rock album. A real live rock album! With progressive undertones in the guitar work and the most accomplished melodicism of their career, Kings Destroy put everything they had into making Fantasma Nera and one need look no further than the title-track to hear the result of that monumental effort. It is the realization of a band challenging themselves to go so far out of their comfort zone as to be only recognizable in the most rudimentary of ways, and to say it as plainly as I can, “Dead Before” on its own is enough of an accomplishment — and enough of a full-length, at all of 4:25 — to make this list on its own, whatever surrounds it. Song of the year. I’ll say every time I’m a Kings Destroy fan, but I’ve never been gladder to say it than I am in talking about Fantasma Nera.

5. Colour Haze, We Are

colour haze we are

Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten. Reviewed Dec. 3.

If you’re saying to yourself, “Ah come on, Colour Haze are always on the list when they put out records,” I have two answers. One, you’re right, and two, if you have a problem with that, blow it out your ass. The Munich forefathers of the European heavy psychedelic underground — yup — marked their 25th anniversary this year, and did so not just by putting out an album, but by putting out We Are, which introduces a full-fledged fourth member to what’s been a three-piece since 1998. Granted, it’s not the first time guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek, bassist Philipp Rasthofer and drummer Manfred Merwald have worked with organist/keyboardist/synthesist Jan Faszbender, but never has the presence of keys been so integral to their work, and never has the dynamic between players shifted in the way it does on tracks like “The Real” and “Life” and “I’m With You,” with keys fleshing out melodies and enriching the bass and guitar. Add to that the Spanish-style guitar on centerpiece “Material Drive” or the operatic flash in the penultimate “Be With Me,” and it’s one more example of one of the best bands on earth refusing to rest on their laurels. Which, as it happens, is why they’re one of the best bands on earth. So hell yes, they’re on all my lists. Fact is my lists are lucky to have them.

4. Blackwater Holylight, Veils of Winter

blackwater holylight veils of winter

Released by RidingEasy Records. Reviewed Sept. 26.

Like nothing else I heard in 2019, Veils of Winter had repeat listenability. It was the album that, most often, when I was choosing something I actually wanted to hear, I went back to time and again. Its dark, moody psychedelic and heavy vibe stands alone among the year’s releases, and is a stylistic milestone that one only hopes other artists will pick up on. Toying with pop melodies on tracks like “Death Realms” and bringing hypnosis and clarity in kind to the subtly traditionalist winding riff of “Moonlit” — would it have been out of place on the first Witchcraft LP? — the Portland, Oregon, five-piece worked on a speedy turnaround and squashed even the significant expectations I had after their self-titled debut (review here) last year. They’ve begun to tour, so I don’t know if another full-length is in the works for 2020, but their craft is enviable in its flow and their songs are shimmering in tone and cohesion alike. Given how bold a step forward Veils of Winter is, I hear nothing in their material to this point to make me think their momentum won’t continue to carry them forward. But, you know, if not, I’d also take about six or seven records just like this one. That’d be fine too. Whatever they want, really.

3. Slomatics, Canyons

Slomatics Canyons

Released by Black Bow Records. Reviewed May 15.

Belfast, Northern Ireland, three-piece Slomatics — guitarists David Marjury and Chris Couzens and drummer/vocalist/synthesist Marty Harvey — finished a narrative trilogy with 2016’s Future Echo Returns (review here), and though the storyline was always vague throughout that and the preceding two offerings, the question of how they would proceed nonetheless hung over Canyons prior to its release. The answer is in the songs themselves. From the sci-fi majesty of lumbering, rolling groove in opener and longest track “Gears of Despair” — oh, they grind — through the mega-stomp of “Telemachus, My Son” and the righteously synth-laden wash that consumes “Mind Fortresses on Theia,” Slomatics bring together concept and execution with a readiness that highlights the fact of their 15th anniversary. They are mature in their approach, yes, but the fact is their approach is so much their own and so given to their particular mode of progression that it almost can’t help but feel fresh. How could something so utterly crushing also feel rejuvenating? As they plod through finale “Organic Caverns II” ending with more waves of synth and tectonic guitar — no bass, remember — they are as restorative as they are punishing, and they stand astride that duality with neither mercy nor pretense. Canyons, whether it’s setting up a new story, building from the old, or doing something completely different, stands on its own.

2. Year of the Cobra, Ash and Dust

year of the cobra ash and dust

Released by Prophecy Productions. Reviewed Oct. 24.

My anticipation for and expectations of Year of the Cobra’s second long-player were high most especially after 2017’s Burn Your Dead EP (review here), which along with the dead, set alight the notion that the Seattle duo of bassist/vocalist Amy Tung Barrysmith and drummer Jon Barrysmith were simply a heavy/doom band. With elements of post-punk, psych wash, minimalist stretches and propulsive gallop, Ash and Dust cast itself out over an aesthetic range that set a new standard not just for Year of the Cobra, but for anyone who’d dare match them at their own game — and that list will grow with time, absolutely. As their first outing through Prophecy Productions, Ash and Dust threw itself into the very melting pot of its own ambition and emerged with songs that didn’t just bring together disparate ideas, but made them flourish and engage and challenge the listener while still proving consistent in tone and underlying groove. For a two-person, two-instrument outfit (not counting voice, though I should), they proved more malleable than many with more than twice the number of hands on deck, and pushed the notion of what heavy rock is and does forward without stopping to look back or ask for permission. They just did it, and maybe Ash and Dust is the aftermath of all that burning.

2019 Album of the Year

1. Monolord, No Comfort

monolord no comfort

Released by Relapse Records. Reviewed Sept. 12.

Look back over the course of this list, and you will find no shortage of bands and releases that surpassed the group in question’s past work. With Gothenburg, Sweden’s Monolord, it wasn’t just about No Comfort — their debut on Relapse, fourth full-length overall — being better than 2017’s Rust (review here), because that was pretty jolly gosh darn enjoyable, but about the band reaching a moment of transcendence to which Rust and all their prior work across 2015’s Vænir (review here) and 2014’s Empress Rising has been leading. With the six tracks of No Comfort, guitarist/vocalist Thomas Jäger, bassist Mika Häkki and drummer Esben Willems not only overcome the influences that launched them — taking full ownership of their sound and defending that claim with the sheer quality of their songwriting — and they not only become as identifiable as those influences themselves, but they overcome themselves. No Comfort means no comfort. Monolord take the simplicity that once fueled their riffing, the willful primitivism of their earliest work, and with songs like “Larvae” and “The Bastard Son” and the closing title-track use it as the foundation it was apparently always intended to be. Monolord have toured plenty and certainly their studio output has shown an increasing complexity from one LP to the next, so progression isn’t unexpected, but the manner in which Monolord have executed that progression has been. Even on “The Last Leaf,” which is arguably the most straightforward fare on the album, one hears it as them rather than the manifestation of the acts that inspired them. The same holds for “Skywards” later on, and for the immersion that takes hold as the mournful “Alone Together” plays into “No Comfort” itself. Monolord take their place among the best bands on the planet, and deliver an Album of the Year for 2019 that, like the absolute best, will have an impact lasting much longer than any period of 12 months might convey.

The Top 50 Albums of 2019: Honorable Mention

You didn’t think we’d stop at 50, did you? Come on. You know me better than that. The fact is that the list itself, humongous as it is, is just the start of the tip of an iceberg attached to a glacier that’s somewhere on an entire planet constructed of ice.

Honorable mentions, you say? Yeah, a few. Here they are in no order whatsoever:

Lord Vicar, Goatess, The Lord Weird Slough Feg, Zone Six, Lykantropi, Earth, White Manna, Atala, Tia Carrera, Merlin, WEEED, Híbrido, Cities of Mars, Stone Machine Electric, Bretus, Blackwolfgoat, The Black Wizards, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, Alunah, V, Pale Grey Lore, Leeds Point, Sons of Alpha Centauri, Spidergawd, Bus, Death Hawks, BBF, Vessel of Light, Crypt Trip, The Pilgrim, Uffe Lorenzen, Brant Bjork, Doomstress, Black Lung, Kandodo3, Monkey3, Bask, Horseburner, Zed, Bright Curse, Spillage, Sigils, Papir, Dune Sea, Destroyer of Light, Mastiff, Warp, Centrum, Varego, Lord Dying, Volcano, Saint Karloff, Firebreather, High Reeper, Bible of the Devil, Obsidian Sea, Torche, Motorpsycho, Sunn O))), Deadbird, Russian Circles, El Supremo, Pyramidal, Holy Serpent, Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Demon Head, Red Beard Wall, Onhou, Kamchatka, Iguana, Arrowhead, The Whims of the Great Magnet, Serial Hawk, Scissorfight, Monte Luna, Lingua Ignota, Valborg, Sageness, Ruff Majik, The Giraffes, High Fighter, Comacozer, Burning Gloom, Swan Valley Heights, Mark Deutrom, Cable, AVER, Superlynx, The Munsens, No Man’s Valley, Old Mexico, Skraeckoedlan, Godsleep, Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle.

Seems cruel to leave it to you to sort through those, but I’m tempted to do just that. You might notice some bigger names there in bands like Earth, Russian Circles, Torche and Sunn O))). Nothing against those bands, but I think we’re seeing a moment where a different group of artists are taking point in terms of innovating heavy styles across an entire swath of microgenres. Either way it’s not a slight that something is here instead of above. And of course, there are plenty of up and coming groups here as well, with Ruff Majik, Elizabeth Colour Wheel — who I’m sure would be a top 30 if I knew the record better than I do — Pale Grey Lore, Monte Luna, Papir, Destroyer of Light, The Munsens, No Man’s Valley, Skraeckoedlan, and so on, but hell’s bells, there’s already a list of 50 and I’m only one man. How high is the list supposed to go and still be a list?

Bottom line: Music is as endless as space and has as much beauty in it for those willing to hear. Do more digging.

The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2019

green lung woodland rites

1. Green Lung, Woodland Rites
2. Yatra, Death Ritual
3. Howling Giant, The Space Between Worlds
4. Thunderbird Divine, Magnasonic
5. SÂVER, They Came with Sunlight
6. Lightning Born, Lightning Born
7. Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Nocebo
8. The Pilgrim, Walking into the Forest
9. Sigils, You Build the Altar You Lit the Leaves
10. E-L-R, Maenad
11. Hey Zeus, X
12. Bellrope, You Must Relax
13. Asthma Castle, Mount Crushmore
14. Thronehammer, Usurper of Oaken Throne
15. Inner Altar, Vol. III
16. Infinity Forms of Yellow Remember, Infinity Forms of Yellow Remember
17. Hippie Death Cult, 111
18. Faerie Ring, The Clearing
19. Gone Cosmic, Sideways in Time
20. Haze Mage, Chronicles

research methods qualitative common application essay help reasons transferrings order system thesis cotton dissertation Honorable Mention: Warp, Pelegrin, Lucy in Blue, Volcano, The Sabbathian, Red Eye Tales, Dune Sea, Dury Dava, Pharlee, Giant Dwarf, Ghost:Hello, Surya, Workshed, Children of the Sün, Burning Gloom, Temple of the Fuzz Witch.

Order your thesis or dissertation from the probability and statistics homework help on the market. And not only that you can now enjoy 20% OFF on first order! Notes: As ever, I consider a band’s debut album something unique and separate from everything else they’ll ever do, and so worthy of highlighting in its own category. It’s a different standard in my mind, one that takes into account what a group might accomplish going forward as well as what they do on the record itself. Plus, putting out an album is hard. Getting two, three, four, five or more people to agree on anything is an accomplishment. Making a cohesive album? Come on. So yes. We see some crossover from the main list above, but I want to draw attention to Howling Giant, Thunderbird Divine and SÂVER particularly here. There’s a swath of genres represented and I feel like a couple of these releases — Sigils, Bellrope, Thronehammer, Inner Altar, Faerie Ring, Infinity Forms of Yellow Remember — didn’t get their due attention. It’s a busy year, I get it. But if you’re skimming through looking for stuff to check out, DON’T IGNORE THIS LIST. Aside from whatever line about the best of tomorrow you want to trot out, there’s important work being done by these acts today. As somebody who’s constantly behind the times, I urge you not to

The Top 20 Short Releases of 2019

geezer spiral fires

1. Geezer, Spiral Fires
2. Ufomammut, XX
3. All Them Witches, 1×1
4. Mount Saturn, Mount Saturn
5. Dopelord, Weedpecker, Major Kong & Spaceslug, 4-Way Split
6. Horehound, Weight
7. Molasses, Mourning Haze
8. Saint Karloff & Devil’s Witches, Split
9. Here Lies Man, No Ground to Walk Upon
10. The Golden Grass, 100 Arrows
11. Mount Atlas, Mistress
12. Midas, Solid Gold Heavy Metal
13. Glory in the Shadows, Glory in the Shadows
14. Hot Breath, Hot Breath
15. Crystal Spiders, Demo
16. Red Wizard, Ogami
17. Thermic Boogie, Fracture
18. Pinto Graham, Dos
19. High Priest, Sanctum
20. Set Fire, Traya
21. Seedium, Awake

Honorable Mention: Love Gang & Smokey Mirror Split, Forebode, Land Mammal, Very Paranoia, Plague of Carcosa, Daal Dazed, Komodor, Mourn the Light & Oxblood Forge Split, High on Fire, Mount Soma.

Notes: This is probably the least complete of the lists, because it’s the hardest category for me to keep up with. EPs, singles, demos, splits and basically anything else that isn’t an album, all lumped together. Still, I stand by the picks here, and I don’t think anyone who takes on any of them will regret doing so, whether it’s All Them Witches’ surprisingly weighted first single as a trio, Mount Saturn’s debut release, or Geezer’s cosmic jams. Felt a little like cheating putting Ufomammut on there, since technically XX wasn’t new material so much as reworked stuff captured live, but if you want to call me out on it, my own listening habits also factor in, and I’ve spent plenty of time with those reimagined tracks. But anyway, I’m sure there’s a ton of stuff that hasn’t been included here, so please feel free to let me know in the comments and I’ll work accordingly.

Postwax

I haven’t felt comfortable with the idea of writing about it editorially, since I’ve been involved in discussions about it since before it came together and since I did the liner notes for each of the six releases (plus one to come), but I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the incredible work done on the Postwax vinyl subscription series by Blues Funeral Recordings. Label head Jadd Shickler and design specialist Peder Bergstrand (also of Lowrider) put together six offerings that came out in the span of this year and when you hold the LPs in your hand, you can feel the passion that went into making them, from the artists in question to those curating the series in the first place. I hear tell there’s going to be a Postwax Year Two, and I don’t know if I’ll be involved or not, but I’m proud of my miniscule part in the work that went into making these and wanted to bring them to your particular attention. They are something special for those who got to partake:

  • Elder, The Gold and Silver Sessions
  • Daxma, Ruins Upon Ruins
  • Besvärjelsen, Frost
  • Big Scenic Nowhere, Dying on the Mountain
  • Domkraft, Slow Fidelity
  • Lowrider, Refractions

And while we’re talking about projects I was proud to be involved with, I also did liner notes for Acrimony’s The Chronicles of Wode box set from Burning World Records and was honored to do so. Thanks to any and everyone in question for having me involved and dealing with me blowing past deadlines one after the next. It is humbling.

Looking Ahead to 2020

A few names and nothing more about what definitely is and/or might be in the works for next year. Woefully incomplete, so feel free to add to it:

1000mods, Wolves in the Throne Room, Deathwhite, Mondo Drag, Drug Cult, Ocean Chief, Soldati, Sergio Ch., Mitochondrial Sun, Geezer, Mirror Queen, Mondo Generator, The Otolith, Asteroid, Yatra, Vestal Claret, Farer, Ryte, Shadow Witch, Six Organs of Admittance, Naxatras, Wolftooth, Snail, Elder, Pale Divine, Grey Skies Fallen, Ruby the Hatchet, Yuri Gagarin, Sasquatch, Godthrymm, Wo Fat, Red Mesa, CB3, Onsegen Ensemble, Insect Ark, Acid Mammoth, Ritual King, Ulls, Om.

Thank You

Thank you for reading, and please, if you have a thought or something you want to share in the comments, please remember to be kind to each other. We are all human beings behind our phones and keyboards, and while we’ll disagree, often in some ways and some cases, a basic level of respect is always appreciated. At least by me.

I am not so deluded as to think anyone might still be reading, but I want it on record how much I appreciate you being a part of this site and a part of my experience in making it. I’ve been ruminating all year since marking the 10th anniversary back in January about how much The Obelisk has become a part of who I am, and it’s utterly essential to my every day. The way I continue to think about it — and myself, as it happens — is a work in progress, and that would not be possible without you. One more time. Thank you. Always. Always thank you. Thank you.

More to come.

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

Church of the Cosmic Skull, Everybody’s Going to Die: Down the Path

Posted in Reviews on December 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Church of the Cosmic Skull Everybodys Going to Die

Presentation has always been a central facet of Church of the Cosmic Skull‘s approach, arguably no less crucial to it than the lush vocal arrangements or tight-knit songcraft that have played out in such classically progressive fashion across their two prior albums, 2018’s Science Fiction (review here) and 2016’s Is Satan Real? (review here). With their third offering and first to be self-released through their own semi-real imprint Septaphonic RecordsEverybody’s Going to Die, they bring their delivery modus to a new level entirely on all fronts, from the writing and execution of the material to the artwork for the album by Zorad, to the release method, to the theme and narrative creating of a kind of journey through a dogma of cosmic self-realization, or, as they put it, “The Psychic Ascension to Humanity,” played out across what they call ‘The Seven Objects’:

– Recognise the hallucinatory nature of reality
– Investigate all aspects of the reality-hallucination
– Receive all phenomena with equanimity
– Celebrate and uphold the freedom of art, science and thought
– Meet mistakes with forgiveness and determination
– Do what you want, with love in your heart
– Maintain focus on the unity of all living beings

To lead the listener through these precepts, Church of the Cosmic Skull — guitarist/vocalist/principal songwriter/producer Brother Bill Fisher, vocalists Sister Caroline Cawley and Sister Joanne Joyce, legkick-prone key specialist/vocalist Brother Michael Wetherburn, bassist/vocalist Brother Samuel Lloyd, and the actual-brothers Brother Joseph Stone on viola and Brother Laurence Stone on drums — have put together a complex release method. Sure, there’s a vinyl release impending, with various special versions available to order from “night black” to “exploding crystal,” “nuclear meltdown” and “cosmic rainbow” — the latter seems the most aesthetically appropriate, given the band’s penchant for color despite their all-white stage costumes — but they’ve also found a means to add complexity to a digital release, often seen as a kind of dumping of tracks onto Bandcamp and other streaming outlets. In Church of the Cosmic Skull‘s hands, even this becomes a work of carefully crafted ideological and creative construction.

They’ve dubbed it ‘The Path,” and essentially it’s a means of introducing the willing participant to the songs of Everybody’s Going to Die one at a time. Since the digital release Nov. 29, if one wants to listen to the 37-minute LP in full, it’s available, but they’ve also made it available through “The Path,” which is a process of signing up through their website and receiving a series of emails from Brother Bill that, with each one, bring an individual track stream and a new step along the purported ascension to humanity, tracing the voyage of a kind of inner-stellar pilgrim, The Protagonist (and eventually The Sorcerer), until at last the final manifestation, accompanying album-finale “Living in a Bubble,” is a stepped-outside view of the multiverse and reality as a series of subjective bubbles created by those living within them.

To call it “heady stuff” would perhaps be putting it mildly, and it’s a sizable ask of an audience that, by most accounts, has grown only more fickle over time, but that, perhaps, is why the album is also just available to stream outright or preorder on LP, CD, etc. “The Path” is there for those who want to find it, and though my own experience of it came with some technical glitch, from never getting a necessary confirmation notice when I signed up to not receiving all the installments thereafter — checked spam and all that; more likely than not the fault of my email system, but still — it’s still an impressive level of commitment on the part of the band to merging technology and aesthetic in a way that few would dare to try. And it does add dimension to the songs, which themselves are heavy pop joys from opener “Fantasy” — perhaps a direct genre answer to Science Fiction before it — through “Don’t You Believe in Magic?” and the hook of hooks in Everybody’s Going to Die‘s title-track.

Piano and guitar shred meet head on in “Do What You Want (With Love in Your Heart)” and with speedier and darker turns, “Into the Skull” encourages listeners to “Follow the path of the Sephiroth into the arms of the Behemoth” (my mind immediately goes to Final Fantasy VII, but I somehow doubt the references are intentional), with an effective shift in atmosphere past even the joyous soulfulness of the title-track or the careening “Don’t You Believe in Magic?” earlier, and though so much of the focus is put by “The Path” on the songs as individual entities — delivering them one-at-a-time on a one-per-day basis will do that — the overarching flow of Everybody’s Going to Die continues through the end of side A and into the in medias res launch of “Seven” on side B of the vinyl, which leads to the longest inclusion on the record at 5:40, “The Hunt,” a slower-tempo organ-laced gospel viber with undertones of doom-blues lumber and a long fade processional that brings about “The Great Black Hole” after a moment of silence like a snap back to the shimmer that still maintains some of the additional heft of tone and atmosphere.

Perhaps it’s fair that “The Great Black Hole” caps with a purposeful cacophony and leads into the bouncing “Sorcery and Sabotage” ahead of “Living in a Bubble.” The closing duo are positioned to represent a final stage after some of the branching out and tumult of “Seven,” “The Hunt” and “The Great Black Hole,” so the transition seems appropriate. And as it plays into the theme, there is a palpable sense of clarity in both “Sorcery and Sabotage” and the subsequent capper that speak once again to the multifaceted, multi-tiered vision Church of the Cosmic Skull are executing. One has come to expect from the band that performances and arrangements will be at least as close to flawless as the band wants them to be — which can be rather close, as their history has shown — and Everybody’s Going to Die bears that out, to be sure. What one didn’t necessarily expect was just how much they would extend that “arrangement” ethic to the theme and circumstance of the album itself.

So is “The Path” a help or a hindrance? Does it represent a new level of interaction between artist and audience, or simply a band extending proggy indulgence to clever HTML storytelling? The answers will depend entirely on the individual’s choice of how they take on Everybody’s Going to Die. From my own view, depth never hurts, and Church of the Cosmic Skull wisely cover all their bases in having “The Path” there for those who would walk it and more mundane release methods there for those who would not or who simply don’t have the time. One way or the other, with their third full-length, Church of the Cosmic Skull extend the care and precision that has marked their execution since their outset to the manner in which they unveil the record itself, and even if one just listens to the songs without any of the context surrounding, there’s little arguing with the fact that they earn that degree of engagement. If it’s a simple case of Church of the Cosmic Skull doing what they want with love in their collective heart, then it seems only correct to be grateful for that.

Church of the Cosmic Skull, Everybody’s Going to Die (2019)

Church of the Cosmic Skull, “Sorcery and Sabotage” official video

Church of the Cosmic Skull website

Church of the Cosmic Skull on Thee Facebooks

Church of the Cosmic Skull on Soundcloud

Church of the Cosmic Skull on Bandcamp

Church of the Cosmic Skull on YouTube

Church of the Cosmic Skull on Instagram

Tags: , , , , ,

Bismuth Announce The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef Due Nov. 2; Premiere Album Trailer

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Whathaveyou on September 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

bismuth

You only get a taste of it in the album trailer by Chariot of Black Moth streaming at the bottom of this post, but the 32-minute title-track of Bismuth‘s upcoming second full-length, The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef, is heavy enough that you’ll be mopping your melted brain cells off the floor after they leak out your damaged ears. Provided you still have enough coordination to do so after the onslaught of noise and tonal weight. The Nottingham-based bass/drum duo will release the album Nov. 2 through no fewer than four labels — Dry Cough Records, Tartarus Records, Medusa Crush Recordings and Rope or Guillotine — and hearing it leaves little mystery as to why they’d garner such populous backing. Comprised just of the title-track and the subsequent six-minute scathe of noise-doom in “Weltschmerz,” it works around the theme of climate change and human impact on the planet, so yes, it is quite fucking grim. Quite fucking grim indeed. Just like our prospects for making it out of the next two centuries with a civilization intact. Good work, my fellow fuckwads.

Bassist/vocalist Tanya Byrne, when she’s not rumbling out the extreme-sludge chaos of Bismuth‘s low end alongside drummer Joe Rawlings in a bevvy of splits with the likes of UndersmileGnaw Their Tongues and Legion of Andromeda — significant company to keep, all of them — works as a volcanologist, and wrote the lyrics for The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef in consideration of exactly what the title describes. Not subtle, but certainly a devastating aural interpretation of a continually devastated ecosystem. You”ll find some comment from her below relating to the album, followed by the release info, followed by the trailer premiere.

All thanks to the mighty and seemingly-carbon-free-but-still-probably-somehow-toxic PR wire. Remember, kids. We’re all complicit:

Bismuth The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef

Tanya Byrne on The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef:

Last year I’d been reading a lot about climate change and the impacts it has been having on various parts of the world. There are particular habitats that act as warning flags for other ecosystems, because they are more sensitive to subtle changes. The Great Barrier Reef is one such area: It has been experiencing drastic changes due to a rise in global sea temperatures. In recent years, up to 70 percent of the reef has experiencing bleaching. The corals die, and as less survive every year, the extent of the reef decreases.

My hope is that through listening to this album, listeners will be prompted to do their own research into the effects that our species are having on this planet, and to rely less on the over-simplification of this issue that is so often presented by media outlets or political parties. Their soundbites are good for quotes, but not for explaining this complex and interconnected problem. As an environmental scientist, I try to be hopeful for the future, but I feel optimism can only be gained if all countries and political parties stop blaming each other and start working together to prevent further degradation of our planet.

The current political discourse on how to reduce our impact on ecosystems is stuck in semantics, all while these systems degrade. I believe we can reduce our impact, and I am hopeful that solutions will be found. However, many of these solutions are halted, while governments argue over who is to blame. The album title makes reference to the fact that climate change is affecting this habitat extremely, and inaction is one of the biggest causes of its decline.

Heavy/ slow duo, BISMUTH’s upcoming album, titled The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef, will be released on November 2 via a collaboration between four independent labels; Dry Cough (UK), Rope or Guillotine (NL), Medusa Crush (CA), and Tartarus Records (NL) who will jointly share release duties.

The two piece are based in Nottingham, featuring Joe Rawlings on drums and Tanya Byrne on bass/vocals. The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef is their second full length release, and is in many ways a continuation of earlier work; a strong focus on multiple layers and frequencies coming together to create an enveloping and often oppressive sound is very much BISMUTH’s MO.

The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef is a two song opus with quite self explanatory subject matter, lyric-wise. Outside of the band, Byrne, is a volcanologist with a passion for environmental science.

The title track is a 32 minute behemoth, which stays true to BISMUTH’s own description – heavy with a core of fragility. The second track, Weltschmerz is – musically and thematically – a continuation of the first. Whilst their songs lean towards being lengthy, the message and passion behind them never diminishes.

BISMUTH UK tour dates:
23.11 – Nottingham
24.11 – Manchester
25.11 – Glasgow
26.11 – Edinburgh
27.11 – Liverpool
28.11 – Leeds
29.11 – Birmingham
30.11 – Cardiff
01.12 – London
02.12 – Bristol
03.12 – Brighton

All dates are with VILE CREATURE.

The Slow Dying of The Great Barrier Reef is released on November 2nd via Dry Cough (UK), Rope or Guillotine (NL), Medusa Crush (CA), and Tartarus Records (NL).

https://www.facebook.com/bismuthslow/
https://bismuthslow.bandcamp.com
www.drycoughrecords.com/product/bismuth-slow-dying-pre-order
https://ropeorguillotine.bandcamp.com/album/the-slow-dying-of-the-great-barrier-reef
https://medusacrushrecordings.bandcamp.com
https://tartarusrecords.com

Bismuth, The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef album trailer

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Church of the Cosmic Skull, Science Fiction: By the River, by the Road

Posted in Reviews on May 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

church of the cosmic skull science fiction

‘Come, Worship!’ says the sign outside the Church of the Cosmic Skull. Or at least it would if they were a building and not a band. Still, the invitation is there, and the Nottingham, UK, seven-piece — who made their debut in 2016 with the excellent and continually striking Is Satan Real? (review here), could hardly make the prospect sound more exciting than they do on their second LP for Kozmik Artifactz (tape out on Septaphonic Records), the nine-track/41-minute Science Fiction. From the hat-tip to Queen in the opening title-track and the hymnal vibe in second cut “Go by the River” to the unbridled gospel bliss of “Revolution Comes with an Act of Love” and the later bluesy stretch of “The Cards that You’re Playing,” Church of the Cosmic Skull evoke a fitting sense of worship through their harmonies, classically progressive tones, synths, etc., and when it comes down to what exactly is being worshiped, as close as I can tell, it’s joy. Pure joy worship.

Each song approaches it from a slightly different angle, from the slow serenity of centerpiece “The Others” through the quick but subtle enough to make it a highlight linear build of closer “The Devil Again,” but much as the distinct sonic elements of brazen vocal harmonies, electric cello and keys and synth run along with the standard guitar, bass and drums, so too does joy seem to be the underlying theme of Science Fiction, and its expression throughout is nothing short of revelry. Led by guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and producer “Brother” Bill Fisher, Church of the Cosmic Skull features the congregational lineup of vocalists Sister Caroline Cawley and Sister Joanne Joyce bassist/vocalist Brother Samuel Lloyd, cellist/vocalist Sister Amy Nicholson, keyboardist/vocalist Brother Michael Wetherburn and drummer Brother Laurence Stone, and while like any drug, joy can be dangerous in leading to a loss of control, the band keeps a firm control on the meter and direction of their output across the entire record.

They do so via songwriting, and under the direction of Fisher — whom one hesitates to call auteur when he’s surrounded by the contributions of so many others, but seems to be running the show in any case — they proffer memorable verses and choruses and while the organ-soaked “Paper Aeroplane and Silver Moon” ranges past the six-minute mark, it’s impossible to ignore how tight in performance and structure songs like “Go by the River” and “Timehole (Gonna Build a Rocket)” are. Church of the Cosmic Skull embraced a pop influence on their debut as well, but like the rest of their approach, that too has taken a step forward here, and with driving moments like the cultish galloping riff of the aforementioned longest track, there’s a diversity in sound enough not only to make Science Fiction flow from front to back, but to give each song an opportunity to stand out on its own as well. In that way, it’s all the more fair to think of it as a classic-style long-player in how it’s put together, since its ordering was clearly thought out to maximize both the whole listening experience and the impact of each piece. To be blunt, it worked, and Church of the Cosmic Skull sound all the more accomplished for it. Their arrangements are more complex and their harmonies all the more gorgeous, but there’s still the root of a verse/chorus approach beneath that does not lessen their accessibility factor at all.

church-of-the-cosmic-skull

Like I said at the outset, there’s an invitation being made here, and if the band presents a kind of manifesto anywhere on Science Fiction, I’d say the best summary of their perspective overall arrives in “Revolution Comes with an Act of Love,” which departs from the devilish cultism of the debut — it’s not by any means fully gone; see “The Devil Again” at the album’s finish — but this time through it’s more about the wholeness of spirit itself rather than how it comes about. At least that’s how it reads on listening. There are moments of unashamed fun — again, “Timehole (Gonna Build a Rocket Tonight)” — and more melancholy exercises like “The Cards that You’re Playing” and “The Devil Again,” and “Cold Sweat” is a highlight for taking a Thin Lizzy-style swaggering rhythm and pushing it into a choral realm, but apart from the gleefulness of the atmosphere throughout, what’s striking about Science Fiction is the increasing breadth of the band’s craft and the fact that they can make their songs do all these different things while still retaining a consistent and distinct sound.

With the conceit of religiosity as a factor, Church of the Cosmic Skull nonetheless allow themselves to push beyond novelty. They wear white on stage. They call themselves “Brother” and “Sister.” They’re just as likely to reference ’70s rock as timeless spirituals. Yet with the quality of their output, these things become less like a gimmick and more part of the overarching aesthetic statement. In a frenzied multimedia world, Church of the Cosmic Skull offer an experience about more than just the music, however central that still remains. And in that frenzied world, as with any church, they offer a chance to step outside of oneself and glimpse something grander, even if it’s a purely human realization, rather than one based on dogma or other arbitrary facets.

Ultimately, Science Fiction, while its name evokes images of space rock and visions of futures bright or dark, finds its tie to the genre more through the creation of its own world even than that rocket that it’s gonna build tonight. It finds Church of the Cosmic Skull thoughtful in their composition and delivery, patient in their expression but still exciting to hear, and boldly manifesting the joy they seem to be worshiping throughout. They have been and remain a special band, and with the forward drive they show here, it feels like their growth will only continue as their good word spreads. Rejoice — as in, be made joyful again and celebrate. The invite is right there waiting to be answered, and the congregation is ready to receive any wayward comers ready to bask in the new sunlight.

Church of the Cosmic Skull website

Church of the Cosmic Skull on Thee Facebooks

Church of the Cosmic Skull on Soundcloud

Church of the Cosmic Skull on Bandcamp

Church of the Cosmic Skull on YouTube

Church of the Cosmic Skull on Instagram

Church of the Cosmic Skull on Twitter

Kozmik Artifactz website

Kozmik Artifactz on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,

Church of the Cosmic Skull Announce New Album Science Fiction

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

church of the cosmic skull 1

There’s good news and then there’s the good news, and UK harmony-bringers Church of the Cosmic Skull specialize in the latter, with harmonized hymnals to soothe the troubled soul and a classically progressive aplomb that proved to be immediately fluid, gentle, kind and heavy all throughout their 2016 Kozmik Artifactz debut, Is Satan Real? (review here), and with a second album, Science Fiction, the seven-piece group only look to expand their palette sonically and emotionally, leaving their audience to wonder if their noise is actually so joyous or if the smiles they’re sharing are hiding pointed teeth and seeming to enjoy the ambiguity.

Much more on this one to come, I hope, but here is the preliminary announcement and info on Science Fiction as per the PR wire:

church of the cosmic skull science fiction

New Album ‘Science Fiction’ Out May

Church of the Cosmic Skull release their second studio album ‘Science Fiction’ this May on limited edition heavyweight vinyl, CD (Kozmik-Artifactz), and limited edition cassette (Septaphonic).

Described as ‘Occult Pop’ for fans of ELO, Deep Purple, Fleetwood Mac and Queen, the 9 track record from the Nottingham based ‘spiritual organisation’ sees an expansion on the prog / psych / retro stylings and hook-heavy songwriting of the critically acclaimed debut ‘Is Satan Real?’ (2016 Bilocation Records). Piano and vintage synths have been introduced alongside the Hammond organ, electric cello and six-part vocal harmonies, resulting in a sound that truly ‘puts the ABBA in Sabbath’.

The decision to self-produce the release is a reflection of both the changing landscape of the music industry, and the Church’s wholeheartedly DIY approach, having turned down major label offers in favour of maintaining independence. Quoting one of the ‘7 Objects’, Church founder Bill Fisher describes the record as a chance to ‘Celebrate and uphold the freedom of art, science and thought.’

‘Science Fiction’ will be supported by UK and European shows, including Desertfest Berlin and an elaborate live event on June 2nd. The group are contributing a track to Magnetic Eye Records’ Pink Floyd ‘The Wall Redux’ tribute album alongside the Melvins and Mark Lanegan, and continue their ‘Tele-Vision’ output with three new music videos, coming soon at cosmicskull.org.

Church of the Cosmic Skull is:
Michael Wetherburn – Hammond Organ & Vocals (Hellset Orchestra, Ulysses Storm)
Loz Stone – Drums (Iron Swan, Rescued by Wolves)
Sam Lloyd – Bass & Vocals (You Slut!, Pilgrim Fathers)
Jo Joyce – Vocals (Solo Artist)
Amy Nicholson – Electric Cello & Vocals (Hellset Orchestra, Polymath)
Caroline Cawley – Vocals (Dystopian Future Movies)
Bill Fisher – Guitar & Vocals (Mammothwing, Distillery Blues Band)

churchofthecosmicskull.com
cosmicskull.org
facebook.com/churchofthecosmicskull
soundcloud.com/churchofthecosmicskull
churchofthecosmicskull.bandcamp.com
youtube.com/c/churchofthecosmicskull
instagram.com/churchofthecosmicskull
twitter.com/thecosmicskull
play.spotify.com/artist/3KY6i8EJac9URU9OeC1n89
itunes.apple.com/us/artist/church-of-the-cosmic-skull/id1146826464#

Church of the Cosmic Skull, “Evil in Your Eye”

Tags: , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Iron Monkey, Deadsmoke, Somnuri, Daira, Kavrila, Ivan, Clara Engel, Alastor, Deadly Vipers, Storm of Void

Posted in Reviews on January 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Lodewijk de Vadder (1605-1655) - 17th Century Etching, Landscape with Two Farms

Day Four of the Quarterly Review! Welcome to the downswing. We’re past the halfway point and feeling continually groovy. Thus far it’s been a week of coffee and a vast musical swath that today only reaches even further out from the core notion of what may or may not make a release or a band “heavy.” Is it sound? Is it emotion? Is it concept? Fact is there’s no reason it can’t be all of those things and a ton more, so keep an open mind as you make your way through today’s batch and we’ll all come out of it better people on the other end. Alright? Alright. Here we go.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Iron Monkey, 9-13

iron monkey 9-13

I’ll admit to some level of skepticism at the prospect of an Iron Monkey reunion without frontman Johnny Morrow, who died in 2002, but as founding guitarist Jim Rushby (now also vocals), bassist Steve Watson (who originally played guitar) and new drummer Brigga revive the influential UK sludge outfit with the nine songs of 9-13 on Relapse, it somehow makes sense that the band’s fuckall and irreverence would extend inward as well. That is, why should Iron Monkey find Iron Monkey an any more sacred and untouchable property than they find anything else? Ultimately, the decision will be up to the listener as to acceptance, but the furies of “OmegaMangler,” “Mortarhex,” “Doomsday Impulse Multiplier” and the nine-minute lumber-into-torrent closer “Moreland St. Hammervortex” make a pretty resounding argument that if you can’t get down with Iron Monkey as they are today, it’s going to be your loss and that, as ever, they couldn’t care less to see you stick around or see you go. So welcome back.

Iron Monkey on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records on Bandcamp

 

Deadsmoke, Mountain Legacy

deadsmoke mountain legacy

Mountain Legacy, which is the second Deadsmoke album for Heavy Psych Sounds, might be the heaviest release the label has put out to-date. For the band, it marks the arrival of keyboardist Claudio Rocchetti to the former trio, and from the lumbering space of aptly-titled post-intro opener “Endless Cave” to the later creeping lurch of “Wolfcurse,” it’s an outing worthy of comparison to the earlier work of Italian countrymen Ufomammut, but still rooted in the gritty, post-Sleep plod the band elicited on their 2016 self-titled debut (review here). The central difference seems to be an increase in atmospheric focus, which does well to enrich the listening experience overall, be it in the creepy penultimate interlude “Forest of the Damned” or side A finale “Emperor of Shame.” Whether this progression was driven by Rocchetti’s inclusion in the band or the other way around, it’s a marked showing of growth on a quick turnaround from Deadsmoke and shows them as having a much broader creative reach than expected. All the better because it’s still so devastatingly weighted.

Deadsmoke on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Somnuri, Somnuri

somnuri somnuri

To call Somnuri a formidable trio is underselling it. The Brooklynite three-piece is comprised of guitarist/vocalist Justin Sherrell (Blackout, ex-Bezoar, etc.), bassist Drew Mack (ex-Hull) and drummer Phil SanGiacomo (Family), and the noise they make on their Magnetic Eye-released self-titled debut is as progressive as it is intense. Recorded by Jeff Berner and mixed my SanGiacomo, cuts like “Kaizen” and “Same Skies” land with a doomed heft but move with the singular fury of the Northeastern US, and even as eight-minute closer “Through the Dead” balances more rock-minded impulses and seems to touch on a Soundgarden influence, it answers for the ultra-aggro tumult of “Pulling Teeth” just before. A flash of ambience in the drone interlude “Opaque” follows the plodding highlight “Slow Burn,” which speaks to yet another side of Somnuri’s potential – to create spaces as much as to crush them. With an interplay of cleaner vocals, screams, growls and shouts, there’s enough variety to throw off expectation, and where so much of New York’s noise-metal history is about angry single-mindedness, Somnuri’s Somnuri shows even in a vicious moment like “Inhabitant” that there’s more ground to cover than just being really, really, really pissed off.

Somnuri on Thee Facebooks

Magnetic Eye Records website

 

Daira, Vipreet Buddhi

daira vipreet buddhi

Time to get weird. No. Really weird. In the end, I’m not sure Mumbai semi-improvisationalist troupe Daira did themselves any favors by making their sophomore LP, Vipreet Buddhi, a single 93-minute/16-track outing instead of breaking it into the two halves over which its course is presented – the first being eight distinct songs, the second a flowing single jam broken up over multiple parts – but one way or another, it’s an album that genuinely presents a vibe of its own, taking cues from heavy psych, jazz, funk, classic prog, folk and more as it plays through its bizarre and ambient flow, toying with jarring stretches along the way like the eerie “Apna Ullu Seedha” but so dug in by the time it’s jammed its way into “Dekho Laal Gaya” that it seems like there’s no getting out. It’s an overwhelming and unmanageable offering, but whoever said the avant garde wasn’t supposed to be a challenge? Certainly not Daira, and they clearly have plenty to say. Whatever else you listen to today, I can safely guarantee it won’t sound like this. And that’s probably true of every day.

Daira on Thee Facebooks

Daira on Bandcamp

 

Kavrila, Blight

kavrila blight

Chest-compressing groove and drive will no doubt earn Hamburg four-piece Kavrila’s second album, Blight (on Backbite Records), some comparisons to Mantar, but to dig into tracks like “Gold” and “Each (Part Two)” is to find a surprising measure of atmospheric focus, and even a rage-roller like “Abandon” has a depth to its mix. Though it’s just 24 minutes long, I’d still consider Blight a full-length for the two-sided flow it sets up leading to the aforementioned “Gold” and “Each (Part Two),” both being the longest cut on their respective half of the record in addition to splitting the tracklisting, as well as for the grinding aspects of songs like “Apocalypse,” “Demolish” and “Golem” on side B, the latter of which takes the rhythmic churn of Godflesh to a point of extremity that even the earlier thrust of “Lungs” did little to foretell. There’s a balance of sludge and hardcore elements, to be sure, but it’s the anger that ultimately defines Blight, however coherent it might be (and is) in its violent intent.

Kavrila on Thee Facebooks

Backbite Records webstore

 

Ivan, Strewn Across Stars

ivan strewn across stars

Employing the session violin services of Jess Randall, the Melbourne-based two-piece of Brodric Wellington (drums/vocals) and Joseph Pap (guitar, bass, keys) – collectively known as Ivan – would seem to be drawing a specific line in the direction of My Dying Bride with their take on death-doom, but the emotionalist influence goes deeper than that on Strewn Across Stars, their second LP. Shades of Skepticism show themselves in opener and longest track (immediate points) “Cosmic Fear,” which demonstrates a raw production ready for the limited-cassette obscurism the band conjured for their 2016 debut, Aeons Collapse, but nonetheless fleshed out melodically in the guitar and already-noted, deeply prevalent string arrangement. The subsequent “Ethereal” (12:41), “Hidden Dimensions” (12:25) and “Outro” (8:18) dig even further into plodding shattered-self woefulness, with “Hidden Dimensions” providing a brief moment of tempo release before the violin and keys take complete hold in “Outro” to give listeners one last chance to bask in resonant melancholia. A genre-piece, to be sure, but able to stand on its own in terms of personality and patience alike.

Ivan on Thee Facebooks

Ivan on Bandcamp

 

Clara Engel, Songs for Leonora Carrington

clara-engel-songs-for-leona-carrington

Toronto singer-songwriter Clara Engel pays ambient folk homage to the Mexican surrealist painter/author with the five-tracks of Songs for Leonara Carrington, fleshing out creative and depth-filled arrangements that nonetheless hold fast to the intimate human core beneath. Engel’s voice is of singular character in its melding of gruff fragility, and whether it’s the psychedelic hypnosis of opener and longest track (immediate points) “Birdheaded Queen” or the seemingly minimalist drift of the penultimate “The Ancestor,” her confident melodies float atop gorgeous and sad instrumental progressions that cast an atmosphere of vast reaches. Even the more percussively active centerpiece “Microgods of all the Subatomic Worlds” feels informed by the gradual wash of guitar melody that takes hold on the prior “Sanctuary for Furies,” and as Engel brings in guest contributors for drums, bass, guitar, theremin and choir vocals alongside her own guitar, pump organ, flute and singing, there seems to be little out of her reach or scope. It is a joy to get lost within it.

Clara Engel on Thee Facebooks

Wist Records website

 

Alastor, Blood on Satan’s Claw

alastor-blood-on-satans-claw

I don’t know whether the title-cut of Blood on Satan’s Claw, the new two-songer EP from dirge-doomers Alastor, is leftover from the same sessions that bore their 2017 debut album for Twin Earth Records, Black Magic (review here), but as it’s keeping company with a near-11-minute take on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising,” the four-piece’s return is welcome either way. Unsurprisingly, not much has changed in their approach in the mere months since the full-length was issued, but that doesn’t mean the swing of “Blood on Satan’s Claw,” the central riff of which owes as much to Windhand as to Sleep as to C.O.C.‘s “Albatross” as to Sabbath, isn’t worth digging into all the same, and with psychedelic vocals reminiscent of newer Monolord and flourish of creeper-style organ, its doom resounds on multiple levels leading into the aforementioned cover, which drawls out the classic original arrangement with a wilfully wretched tack that well earns a nod and raised claw. Alastor remain backpatch-ready, seemingly just waiting for listeners to catch on. If these tracks are any indication, they’ll get there.

Alastor on Thee Facebooks

Alastor on Bandcamp

 

Deadly Vipers, Fueltronaut

deadly-vipers-fueltronaut

Give it a couple minutes to get going and Fueltronaut, the debut full-length from French four-piece Deadly Vipers, is more than happy to serve up energetic post-Kyuss desert rock loyalism that’s true to form in both spirit and production. Shades of earliest Dozer and the wider pre-social media older-school Euro heavy underground show themselves quickly in “Universe,” but in the later mid-paced reach of “Stalker,” there’s more modern bluesy vibing and as the mega-fuzzed “Meteor Valley,” the driving jam of “Supernova,” and the let’s-push-the-vocals-really-high-in-the-mix-for-some-reason “Dead Summer” shove the listener onward with righteous momentum toward pre-outro closer “River of Souls,” each track getting longer as it goes, the melody that emerges there indeed feels like a moment of arrival. My only real complaint? The intro “Fuel Prophecy” and (hidden) outro, “Watch the Road End.” Especially with the immediacy that strikes when “Universe” kicks in and the resonant finish of “River of Souls” at its six-minute mark, having anything before the one and after the other seems superfluous. A minor quibble on an impressive debut (one could also ramble about cartoon tits on the cover, but what’s the point?) and showcase of potential from an exciting newcomer outfit clearly assured of the style for which they’re aiming.

Deadly Vipers on Thee Facebooks

Deadly Vipers on Bandcamp

 

Storm of Void, War Inside You

storm-of-void-war-inside-you

Tokyo duo Storm of Void make their full-length debut with the nine-track/48-minute War Inside You, a full-length that might first snag attention owing to guest vocal spots from Napalm Death’s Mark “Barney” Greenway and Jawbox’s J. Robbins, but has no trouble holding that same attention with its progressive instrumental turns and taut execution. Released by Hostess Entertainment, it’s instrumental in bulk, with eight-string guitarist George Bodman (Bluebeard) and drummer Dairoku Seki (envy) coming together to deliver brisk and aggressive prog metal centered around chugging riffs and a tension that seems to take hold in “Into the Circle” and let up only for the momentary “Interlude” in the midsection before closer “Ghosts of Mt. Sleepwalker” finally allows for some exhalation. As for the guest spots, they’re nothing to complain about, and they break up the proceedings nicely placed as they are, but if Storm of Void are going to hook you, it’s going to be on their own merits, which are plentiful.

Storm of Void on Thee Facebooks

Hostess Entertainment website

 

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