Quarterly Review: Dopelord, Scorched Oak, Kings of the Fucking Sea, Mantarraya, Häxmästaren, Shiva the Destructor, Amammoth, Nineteen Thirteen, Ikitan, Smote

Posted in Reviews on March 31st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

Third day, and you know what that means. Today we hit and pass the halfway mark of this Quarterly Review. I won’t say it hasn’t been work, but it seems like every time I do one of these lately I continue to be astounded by how much easier writing about good stuff makes it. I must’ve done a real clunker like two years ago or something. Can’t think of one, but wow, it’s way more fun when the tunes are killer.

To that end we start with I've been Best Resume Writing Services for me when I've been busy preparing to my final weeks. EssayRoo writer id 55472 managed to complete a very urgent assignment on Logistics and then another one on Finance. I liked the way it was written even though I had to make minor edits to make it look more like mine. Dopelord today, haha. Have fun digging through if you do.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Dopelord, Reality Dagger

Dopelord Reality Dagger

They put it in a 12″, and that’s cool, but in addition to the fact that it’s about 22 minutes long, something about Search for jobs related to Staffing Company Business Plan or hire on the world's largest freelancing marketplace with 13m+ jobs. It's free to sign up and bid on Reality Dagger, the latest EP from Poland’s Finding affordable Anatomy Homework Helpers to write a dissertation seems like a safe haven for many students. 5StarEssays is a reliable and trusted dissertation help service that you will find online. As a premium writing service, we have solid experience and background knowledge. We can help you and deliver high-quality term papers and research papers and other academic papers for your Dopelord, strikes me as being really 10″ worthy. I know 10″ is the bastard son of vinyl pressings — doesn’t fit with your LPs and doesn’t fit with your 7″s. They’re a nuisance. Do they get their own shelf? Mixed in throughout? Well, however you organize them, I think a limited 10″ of Help With Writing Essays At University Proposal and Rest. Why do you have to break your back trying to keep up with all the assignments? The professionals here at our custom thesis proposal writing service are always ready to free you from the chains of academia. No matter the kind of your need an urgent PhD thesis proposal or if you want to purchase Master thesis proposal we are ready. Throw everything at us Reality Dagger would be perfect, because from the melodies strewn throughout “Dark Coils” and the wildly catchy “Your Blood” — maybe the most complex vocal arrangement I’ve yet heard from the band — to the ultra-sludge interplay with screams on the 10-minute closing title-track, it sounds to me like standing out from the crowd is exactly what distribution assistant cover letter The Dissertation In Renewable Energy Management essay on my village in english essay writing lined paper Dopelord want to do. They want to be that band that doesn’t fit your preconceptions of stoner-doom, or sludge, or modern heavy largesse in the post- Got stuck with a question: Who can help find more? Our premium dissertation writing service can write a dissertation for you. All custom Monolord vein. Why not match that admirable drive in format? Oh hell, you know what? I’ll just by the CD and have done with it. One of the best EPs I’ve heard this year.

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Scorched Oak, Withering Earth

Scorched Oak Withering Earth

Don’t be surprised when you see Essay Dissertation Abstract Length - 100% original, plagiarism free essays, assignments & dissertations. Trusted, confidential and secure UK essay writing service. Kozmik Artifactz, go to link Buy religious studies papers I had to turn is an easy win, to Australian students for be pretty good! You. To assist current buy mba thesis to say about exceptional mid term paper writing. Next, take some time complete the paper buy mba thesis academic assistance available day custom excellent skills to.buy mba thesis Nasoni Records, or some other respected probably-European purveyor of heavy coming through with an announcement they’ve picked up Affordable Do Your Homework Now Games from native English experts. Increase traffic to your website the easy way. Scorched Oak. The Dortmund, Germany, trio seem to have taken the last few years to figure out where they were headed — they pared down from a five-piece, for example — and their rolling tides of fuzz on late-2020’s debut LP we do assignment for you Best http://www.kybun.com/?canteen-business-plan Service university essays online example of a research essay Withering Earth bears the fruit of those efforts. Aesthetically and structurally sound, it’s able to touch on heavy blues, metal and drifting psychedelia all within the span of a seven-minute track like “Swamp,” and in its five-songs running shortest to longest, it effectively draws the listener deeper into the world the band are creating through dual vocals, patient craft and spacious production. If I was a label, I’d sign them for the bass tone on 14-minute closer “Desert” alone, never mind any of the other natural phenomena they portray throughout the record, which is perhaps grim in theme but nonetheless brimming with potential. Some cool riffs on this dying planet.

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Kings of the Fucking Sea, In Concert

Kings of the Fucking Sea In Concert

A scorching set culled from two nights of performances in their native Nashville, what’s essentially serving as Master Thesis Review Help With College Essays - Title Ebooks : Help With College Essays - Category : Kindle and eBooks PDF - Author : ~ unidentified Kings of the Fucking Sea‘s debut long-player, History Of Creative Writings In Concert, is a paean to raw psychedelic power trio worship. High order ripper groove pervades “Witch Mountain” and the wasn’t-yet-named “Hiding No More” — which was introduced tentatively as “Death Dealer,” which the following track is actually titled. Disorienting? Shit yeah it is. And shove all the poignancy of making a live album in Feb. 2020 ahead of the pandemic blah blah. That’s not what’s happening here. This is all about blow-the-door-so-we-can-escape psychedelic pull and thrust. One gets the sense that phd thesis in economics http://www.ladentrog.at/?english-literature-essay-help offers one or more writing prompts for each category listed below For each prompt, we also provide an Kings of the Fucking Sea are more in control than they let on, but they play it fast and loose and slow and loose throughout This essay writing service has years of experience in the market and has We have chosen only Homework Helps Time Managements and deeply researched In Concert and by the time the mellower jam in “I Walk Alone” opens up to the garage-style wash of crash cymbal ahead of closer “The Nile Song,” the swirling fuckall that ensues is rampant with noise-coated fire. A show that might make you look up from your phone. So cool it might be jazz. I gotta think about it.

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Mantarraya, Mantarraya

mantarraya mantarraya

They bill themselves as ‘Mantarraya – power trío,’ and guitarist/vocalist write phd thesis conclusions Has Buy A Research Proposals dissertation for master in educational leadership paper for phd Herman Robles Montero, drummer/maybe-harmonica-ist Kelvin Sifuentes Pérez and bassist/vocalist Enzo Silva Agurto certainly live up to that standard on their late-2020 self-titled debut full-length. The vibe is classic heavy ’70s through and through, and the Peruvian three-piece roll and boogie through the 11 assembled tracks with fervent bluesy swing on “En el Fondo” and no shortage of shuffle throughout the nine-minute “120 Años (Color),” which comes paired with the trippier “Almendrados” in what seems like a purposeful nod to the more out-there among the out there, bringing things back around to finish swinging and bouncing on the eponymous closer. I’ll take the classic boogie as it comes, and Mantarraya do it well, basking in a natural but not too purposefully so sense of underproduction while getting their point across in encouraging-first-record fashion. At over an hour long, it’s too much for a single LP, but plenty of time for them to get their bearings as they begin their creative journey.

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Häxmästaren, Sol i Exil

Häxmästaren sol i exil

At the risk of repeating myself, someone’s gonna sign Häxmästaren. You can just tell. The Swedish five-piece’s second album, Sol i Exil (“sun in exile,” in English), is a mélange of heavy rock and classic doom influences, blurring the lines between microgenres en route to an individual approach that’s still accessible enough in a riffer like “Millennium Phenomenon” or “Dödskult Ritual” to be immediately familiar and telegraph to the converted where the band are coming from. Vocalist Niklas Ekwall — any relation to Magnus from The Quill? — mixes in some screams and growls to his melodic style, further broadening the palette and adding an edge of extremity to “Children of the Mountain,” while “Growing Horns” and the capper title-track vibe out with with a more classic feel, whatever gutturalisms happen along the way, the latter feeling like a bonus for being in Swedish. In the ever-fertile creative ground that is Gothenburg, it should be no surprise to find a band like this flourishing, but fortunately Sol i Exil doesn’t have to be a surprise to kick ass.

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Shiva the Destructor, Find the Others

SHIVA THE DESTRUCTOR FIND THE OTHERS

Launching with the nine-minute instrumental “Benares” is a telling way for Kyiv’s Shiva the Destructor to begin their debut LP, since it immediately sets listener immersion as their priority. The five-track/44-minute album isn’t short on it, either, and with the band’s progressive, meditative psychedelic style, each song unfolds in its own way and in its own time, drawn together through warmth of tone and periods of heft and spaciousness on “Hydronaut” and a bit of playful bounce on “Summer of Love” (someone in this band likes reggae) and a Middle Eastern turn on “Ishtar” before “Nirvana Beach” seems to use the lyrics to describe what’s happening in the music itself before cutting off suddenly at the end. Vocals stand alone or in harmony and the double-guitar four-piece bask in a sunshine-coated sound that’s inviting and hypnotic in kind, offering turns enough to keep their audience following along and undulations that are duly a clarion to the ‘others’ referenced in the title. It’s like a call to prayer for weirdo psych heads. I’ll take that and hope for more to come.

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Amammoth, The Fire Above

amammoth the fire above

The first and only lyric in “Heal” — the opening track of Sydney, Australia, trio Amammoth‘s debut album, The Fire Above — is the word “marijuana.” It doesn’t get any less stoned from there. Riffs come in massive waves, and even as “The Sun” digs into a bit of sludge, the largesse and crash remains thoroughly weedian, with the lumbering “Shadows” closing out the first half of the LP with particularly Sleep-y nod. Rawer shouted vocals also recall earlier Sleep, but something in Amammoth‘s sound hints toward a more metallic background than just pure Sabbath worship, and “Rise” brings that forward even as it pushes into slow-wah psychedelics, letting “Blade Runner” mirror “The Sun” in its sludgy push before closer “Walk Towards What Blinds You (Blood Bong)” introduces some backing vocals that fit surprisingly well even they kind of feel like a goof on the part of the band. Amammoth, as a word, would seem to be something not-mammoth. In sound, Amammoth are the opposite.

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Nineteen Thirteen, MCMXIII

nineteen thirteen mcmxiii

With emotional stakes sufficiently high throughout, MCMXIII is urgent enough to be post-hardcore, but there’s an underpinning of progressive heavy rock even in the mellower stretch of the eight-minute “Dogfight” that complements the noisier and more angular aspects on display elsewhere. Opener “Post Blue Collar Blues” sets the plotline for the newcomer Dayton, Ohio, four-piece, with thoughtful lyrics and a cerebral-but-not-dead-of-spirit instrumental style made full and spacious through the production. Melodies flesh out in “Cripple John” and “Old Face on the Wall,” brooding and surging in children-of-the-’90s fashion, but I hear a bit of Wovenhand in that finale as well — though maybe the one doesn’t exclude the other — so clearly Nineteen Thirteen are just beginning this obviously-passion-fueled exploration of sound aesthetic with these songs, but the debut EP they comprise cuts a wide swath with marked confidence and deceptive memorability. A new turn on Rust Belt heavy.

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Ikitan, Twenty-Twenty

ikitan twenty-twenty

Hey, you process trauma from living through the last year your way and Genova, Italy’s Ikitan will process it theirs. In their case, that means the writing, recording and self-release of their 20-minute single-song EP, Twenty-Twenty, a sprawling work of instrumentalist heavy post-rock rife with spacious, airy lead guitar and a solid rhythmic foundation. Movements occur in waves and layers, but there is a definite thread being woven throughout the outing from one part to the next, held together alternately by the bass or drums or even guitar, though it’s the latter that seems to be leading those changes as well. The shifts are fluid in any case, and Ikitan grow Twenty-Twenty‘s lone, titular piece to a satisfyingly heft as they move through, harnessing atmosphere as well as weight even before they lower volume for stretches in the second half. There’s a quick surge at the end, but “Twenty-Twenty” is more about journey than destination, and Ikitan make the voyage enticing.

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Smote, Bodkin

smote bodkin

Loops, far-out spaces and a generally experimentalist feel ooze outward like Icelandic lava from Bodkin, the five-song debut LP from UK-based solo-outfit Smote. The gentleman behind the flow is Newcastle upon Tyne’s Daniel Foggin, and this is one of three releases he has out so far in 2021, along with a prior drone collaboration tape with Forest Mourning and a subsequent EP made of two tracks at around 15 minutes each. Clearly a project that can be done indoors during pandemic lockdown, Smote‘s material is wide-ranging just the same, bringing Eastern multi-instrumentalism and traditionalist UK psych together on “Fohrt” and “Moninna,” which would border on folk but for all that buzz in the background. The 11-minute “Motte” is a highlight of acid ritualizing, but the droning title-track that rounds out makes each crash count all the more for the spaces that separate them. I dig this a lot, between you and me. I get vibes like Lamp of the Universe here in terms of sonic ambition and resultant presence. That’s not a comparison I make lightly, and this is a project I will be following.

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Michael Miller of Pale Grey Lore

Posted in Questionnaire on March 9th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

michael miller pale grey lore

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Michael Miller of Pale Grey Lore

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I sing, play guitar, and write songs in a band called Pale Grey Lore. My brother Adam (drums) and I are the founding members, and we have always been on a shared wavelength musically. After jamming with some people who didn’t quite click, we were very fortunate to find Donovan (bass) and Xander (guitar). They turned out to not only be a great fit for the project, but excellent human beings and great friends as well.

Describe your first musical memory.

In 6th grade, I wanted to be in the school band and I thought Jethro Tull was badass, so I picked the flute for my instrument. I wasn’t great at it, so I asked my parents for a guitar the next year. By high school, I had discovered punk and metal, learned some power chords, and started forming bands with my skater friends. It began with Bad Religion and Black Sabbath covers at the high school talent show, but before long my friends and I were writing our own original songs and playing house shows, skate parks, and VFW halls.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

I’ll never forget when we got a test pressing of our music from the label and listened to it on vinyl for the first time. It’s just one of those essential milestones for any rock band and there is really nothing else like it.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

For a very long time I thought I would never be a fan of country music. I had no exposure to the classic stuff growing up because my parents didn’t listen to it, so the only country I was aware of was the awful tripe that was played on commercial radio in the ’90s and ’00s. Recently, however, I’ve been getting into oldschool country from the ’70s and earlier and now I absolutely adore it. Turns out I didn’t actually hate the genre, I just hated what the genre had become.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

I guess I feel like artistic progression is more of an endpoint rather a thing that leads to something else. Obviously you can get better at your craft by practicing a ton and honing your technical chops. That’s always good to do, whether you’re playing in a bar band that only does covers or trying to do something original. But to go beyond craft and progress artistically I think you also have to cultivate your aesthetic sensibilities and establish your own authentic voice while participating in a shared musical culture. That means engaging with the work of a wide variety of other artists, tracing their influences, appreciating their innovations and shortcomings, and being a critical listener.

How do you define success?

Every time we get a message from a fan telling us that something we created resonates with them, that’s success. Every time we see people in the audience rocking out to our live set (in the before-times when live shows were still a thing), that’s success. Every time we stumble upon something awesome while jamming that gives us that spine-tingling eureka sensation, that’s success.

How you define success is entirely dependent on what your goals are. Our primary goal as a band has always been to make the sort of music we would like to hear — music that reflects our influences, tastes, and musical sensibilities — and share it with others. Everything else is just gravy.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

Over the course of this pandemic, I have seen way too many people wearing masks down below their noses or just not bothering to wear them at all, and I really wish I didn’t have to see that all the time.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I would love to finish writing the next Pale Grey Lore album and record it, but the pandemic has put a damper on things. Some bands are able to write by sending files back and forth, but that method hasn’t really worked for us. Although I’m the main songwriter, one thing I’ve learned about this band is that we work best collaboratively. Most of our best stuff comes to fruition when we’re jamming live with everyone in the same room, which allows us to work out parts and bounce ideas off of each other in real time.

Rather than try to force it, we’ve decided to just wait until we’re able to write in the way that best suits us and produces the best results. We’re sitting on a bunch of killer material though, and I have no doubt that we’ll be wildly productive as soon as we are able to jam together in the same room again.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

At its best, art-making is a mode of authentic self-expression that resonates in the right sorts of ways with an audience. It can help human beings cope with the cruelty and absurdity of existence and it’s one of the few ways we have left to generate shared meaning in late capitalist post-modernity. To paraphrase my dude Friedrich Nietzsche: God might be dead, but the profound feeling of life-affirming transcendence that accompanies aesthetic experience is very real and truly does make life worth living.

Unfortunately, not everyone sees things my way. For many, art is just another form of monetized content to be churned out at regular intervals and disseminated via algorithm to the broadest possible audience (or to some niche fandom with disposable income, whatever’s more profitable). You are told that to succeed, you need to become a content farm, constantly out there hustling and selling shit. Everything is a brand (including you) and the goal of “building your brand” should be guiding your every artistic decision.

If you’re not constantly posting gimmicky bullshit on social media, you don’t exist. There’s this perverse pressure on artists to view everything they do through the lens of a crass and all-encompassing entrepreneurial rationality. I think it’s really a shame and has been incredibly detrimental to culture as a whole.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

My wife and I love to travel, which the pandemic has obviously made impossible to do safely. I hope all the folks who have qualifying health conditions are able to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and then younger healthier people like me can start getting it. I absolutely cannot wait until it’s safe to fly on a plane, visit a museum, or get a good meal at a nice restaurant again!

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Pale Grey Lore, Eschatology (2019)

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Album Review: Vessel of Light, Last Ride

Posted in Reviews on November 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

vessel of light last ride

The opening verse narrative of Vessel of Light‘s third long-player in as many years, Last Ride, begins with frontman Nathan Opposition (né Nathan Jochum, also of Ancient VVisdom) saying “For as long as I can remember, you’ve always been hard to forget…” and ends with “Now your body is mangled and your skull belongs to me.” This has been part and parcel for the Ohio/New Jersey-based outfit since they released their self-titled debut EP (review here) through Argonauta Records in 2017, and subsequently followed with the first album, Woodshed (review here), and second, Thy Serpent Rise (review here), in 2018 and 2019. Murder fantasy. Kidnapping, dismemberment, murder. Usually it’s implied if not explicitly stated that the victim is a woman and that the speaker in the lyrics feels as though they’ve been somehow done wrong, lied to, betrayed, etc.

It was an especially sexualized turn taken on Thy Serpent Rise, and in answering back to that, Last Ride (released through Nomad Eel Records) brings 10 tracks and 41 minutes of likewise death-obsessed fare, suitably brooding in mood and dark in a tone somewhere between straightforward heavy metal and doom. Last Ride is unquestionably the most realized version of Vessel of Light‘s sound they’ve yet offered. With founding parties Opposition and guitarist Dan Lorenzo (Hades) having introduced bassist Jimmy Schulman (HadesDan Lorenzo‘s solo band) and drummer Ron Lipnicki (ex-Overkill) last time around, Vessel of Light‘s complete-lineup incarnation benefits from both the familiarity of the players involved — none of the Jersey-based trio behind Opposition were strangers to each other before this grouping — and from the personality and playing styles of each. Instrumentally and in terms of production, the songs on Last Ride are varied in tempo and aggression while keeping in mind the overarching mood and progression of the record as a whole. Despite the geographic disparity, they come across as though written in a room with Opposition working out the lyrics as they went.

That in itself is a triumph for a band working with the full, oh-my-god-how-are-we-still-driving-across-this-state mass of Pennsylvania between them, but the real growth of Vessel of Light is in Opposition‘s performance here. In layered vocals that weave into and out of harmony, he recalls Dirt-era Alice in Chains in songs like “Torture King” and the side-B opener “Web of Death,” a speedier, swinging complement to Last Ride‘s nod of a leadoff title-track. Subtle shifts of arrangement in the verses of “There’s No Escape” and a burst of melody that accompanies the instrumental surge of “Voices of the Dead” feel worked on, harnessed over a period greater than the time since the last record came out, and demonstrate plainly the evolution of Vessel of Light beyond “project” and into “band.” Opposition comes across as a more patient and more dynamic vocalist, and his performance throughout turns horror-show depictions into sing-along-ready hooks.

The question is really how much one wants to sing along with these lyrics.

vessel of light

It is a testament to Vessel of Light‘s sense of craft just how little of a question it is when it comes to Last Ride. Their songwriting has grown progressively sharper as they’ve moved quickly between one batch of material and the next, mostly without a focus on live shows, but having done a few along the way, and whether it’s a roller like “Disappearing Pact” or the shout-laced closer “The Death of Innocence,” they balance atmosphere and rhythmic purpose fluidly across the record’s span. To wit, the lead-in the finale gets with “In the Silence,” which is inarguably the most spacious single piece the band has yet done; it feels like an experiment that worked. As Opposition spends much of side B periodically engaging growls and shouts — “Voices of the Dead,” “In the Silence,” “The Death of Innocence” — there’s little if any sacrifice of melody, and it comes across less like a crutch being leaned on than another tool in the singer’s malevolent arsenal being used to these bleak, unremittingly dark tales.

And I guess that’s what it ultimately comes down to with Vessel of Light. In construction and performance, they’ve done nothing but evolve, and Last Ride is the largest step forward they’ve taken in that regard. There is not a misplaced riff, an incoherent groove or a lost-seeming opportunity for melody in these songs. The band are in command of what they do, Lorenzo and Opposition come across as working together more deeply as songwriters than they yet have, and the full-lineup only brings more chances for dynamic in actually executing the material in the studio. They’ve grown in everything but the themes around which their songs are based.

A function of art, and particularly of good art, is to challenge convention, and in many instances that involves exploring the darker elements the human psyche, the more dangerous places one’s mind can go. I’m not saying Opposition is making an invalid artistic statement with his lyrics, but for an album that so much shows the band in question moving forward and challenging itself to offer a richer, more complex product to its listeners — especially, it should be noted, in the vocal department and Opposition‘s own performance — the monochromatic nature of death, death, murder, death, going from “Torture King” to “Carving Station” to “There’s No Escape” to “Web of Death,” and so on, feels almost stubborn in its refusal to branch into other ideas. Among genre fare in literature and pop culture, horror is singularly able to discomfort those who take it on, and there’s no doubt Vessel of Light are good at it at this point.

I’ll willingly confess to not being the world’s biggest horror fan or having an abiding fascination with murder, so there are questions I’m left with at the end that I don’t have easy answers for. With the point of view of the speaker in the lyrics as the perpetrator, where does the sense of the listener as complicit come in? Where’s the challenge other than in the sheer engagement with gruesome or otherwise objectionable notions? Is it really just about making the audience squirm? Perhaps, instead of overthinking it thusly, the way to go with Last Ride is just indeed to take the ride through the songs themselves and engage them for the evident progression they represent in the band’s approach on the whole. Last Ride is the best work Vessel of Light have done to-date. It is a firm statement of identity on the part of the band and an aesthetic dive into the grim, violent reaches of consciousness. There is nothing it seeks to accomplish that it does not accomplish.

Vessel of Light, Last Ride (2020)

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Vessel of Light Post Video for Last Ride Title-Track

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

vessel of light

For a band of such singular focus thematically on murder, Vessel of Light have managed to stay pretty productive when it comes to songwriting. One might expect that at some point the sheer body count of frontman/lyricist Nathan Opposition (formerly of Ancient VVisdom) would get to the point where both basement and woodshed were full, but I suppose you figure these things out as they come up. I’m not here to condone or endorse killing or violence of any kind, but it’s hard not to respect the productivity on the part of Vessel of Light‘s founding duo of Opposition and guitarist Dan Lorenzo (Hades), who, despite being based respectively in Ohio and New Jersey, have managed to offer up three full-lengths since 2018, with the forthcoming Last Ride being the fourth due out next month through Nomad Eel Records.

Now with the stage-ready lineup of LorenzoOpposition, bassist Jimmy Schulman (Hades) and drummer Ron Lipnicki (fuggin’ Overkill, dude) — but alas, no stages — Vessel of Light operate as a full band for the second time across Last Ride, and building on late-2019’s phallocentric Thy Serpent Rise (review here), they sound like a more complete band. Opposition‘s vocals recall not only Black Sabbath but something of a gruffed-up Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, and there’s a balance between heavy rock and metal inherent in the groove of the title-track that represents the four-piece’s sound well as they continue to find their space between the two.

Perhaps unsurprisingly — no, make that definitely unsurprisingly — the video for “Last Ride” takes a horror-themed approach, and yup, by “last,” they for sure mean last. Lyrics like, “Now your body is mangled/And your skull belongs to me,” don’t really leave any question as to what they’re talking about.

Album’s out in time for Halloween and more info follows the clip below.

Enjoy:

Vessel of Light, “Last Ride” official video

Cleveland’s Nathan Opposition and NJ’s Dan Lorenzo first jammed together in June of 2017. The duo released two albums for Italy’s Argonauta Records before adding former Overkill drummer Ron Lipnicki and former Hades bassist Jimmy Schulman for last years’ Thy Serpent Rise. Vessel of Light are set to release their 4th album Last Ride this October 30th on California’s Nomad Eel Records. Until then, the band gives us the video for the first single. Opposition came up with the concept. He said,” I’m a huge horror movie fan, so for me this calls upon a number of things. The faceless villain in the classic movie The Oblong Box with Vincent Price and Christopher Lee was definitely an inspiration. Calling upon the mysterious shadowy figures in horror movies like A Phantom of the Opera or the Invisible Man. I wanted to capture the fear in the shadows, fear of the dark, the things out of the corner of our eyes. I really like the concept of a faceless shadow figure, almost like in the urban legend of the Djinn, Slender Man or Hat Man, an evil entity or presence that peers into the soul and rips it to shreds.”

Jason Stewart who also edited the band’s last video, a cover of Black Sabbath’s Wasp stated, “For the Last Ride video, I tried to cut it like a police investigation show, but it’s very grungy and dirty as if I discovered all the raw footage in a dumpster behind a local police station. A lot of the lyrics are in the style of newspaper articles, random 911 calls, subtitles from an interrogation, and more. The one behind the whole story is this Shadow Man figure. It’s almost like a teaser for a made up show in the crime genre.”

Vessel of Light were playing an East Coast run in March and had planned a longer run in June including The Maryland Doom Fest before Coronavirus shut down the band’s plans.

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Nomad Eel Records on Instagram

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Vessel of Light Sign to Nomad Eel Records; Last Ride Due in Oct.

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Working quick, and they know it. Vessel of Light issued their self-titled debut EP (review here) through Argonauta Records in 2017 and followed that in 2018 with their first full-length, Woodshed (review here). That album, in turn, was followed by 2019’s horror-trash metal-of-doom sleazefest Thy Serpent Rise (review here). Here we are: it’s 2020. The world isn’t ending but it kind of feels like it all the time, and Vessel of Light have still found room to be consistent, guitarist/songwriter Dan Lorenzo putting lockdown-era inspiration to work in what has resulted in Last Ride, the band’s new album, out this October through Nomad Eel Records.

The pickup makes Vessel of Light labelmates to the likes of Zig-Zags and Imaad Wasif, and if you’re thinking a band so thoroughly entrenched in murderous themes might be an odd fit for such an outlet, well, you’re right. These things happen. Sometimes a label has varied interests. Sometimes someone knows somebody. Sometimes something just works out. The record’s happening. Be glad with that.

October release will be fitting, and if you look closely at the cover art, you’ll see it’s ‘VOL Undertakers’ on that carriage. Cute touch.

Dig:

vessel of light last ride

California’s Nomad Eel Records signs VESSEL OF LIGHT

Three years ago Cleveland’s Nathan Opposition and NJ’s Dan Lorenzo recorded their debut EP for Italy’s Argonauta Records. Vessel of Light are now about to deliver their fourth record in less than three years. The first single is Last Ride which is also the name of the new release on California’s Nomad Eel Records. Opposition and Lorenzo had previously recorded the single/video Son of Man from their Woodshed album before adding former Hades bassist Jimmy Schulman and longtime Overkill drummer Ron Lipnicki.

Vessel Of Light were in the middle of playing shows in March when Covid hit. The silver lining? Instead of releasing Last Ride in 2021 the band will now drop their opus in the early fall.

“In both Hades and Non-Fiction we kind of fell apart after the second release”, said Lorenzo. “I’ve never released four albums in less than three years for multiple reasons — one being that I’ve never been this inspired before. I had music to about ten songs written before we did our run of shows in March, but I wrote another seven during the lock-down. I was incredibly happy how smooth Ron and Jimmy came into the picture on our last release (Thy Serpent Rise) and we’ve only grown since then. Nathan never ceases to amaze me vocally. He outdid himself on our first single Last Ride. It sounds like it should be a hit — now I know and you know it’s NOT going to be a hit song, but this is next level music. Not a typical uninspired band going through the motions.”

Album art by Danny Rome. Nomad Eel will release Last Ride on CD, vinyl and cassette in October.

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Vessel of Light, “Urge to Kill”

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Quarterly Review: Sergio Ch., Dool, Return to Worm Mountain, Dopelord, Ancestro, Hellhookah, Daisychain, The Burning Brain Band, Slump, Canyon

Posted in Reviews on July 6th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-qr-summer-2020

I don’t imagine I need to tell you it’s been a hell of a quarter, existentially speaking. It’s like the world decided to play ’52 card pickup’ but with tragedy. Still, music marches on, and so the Quarterly Review marches on. For what it’s worth, I’m particularly looking forward to reviewing the upcoming batch of 50 records. As I stare at the list for each day, all of them have records that I’ve legitimately been looking forward to diving into, and today is a great example of that, front to back.

Will I still feel the same way on Friday? Maybe, maybe not. If past is prologue, I’ll be tired, but it’s always satisfying to do this and cover so much stuff in one go. Accordingly, let’s not delay any further. I hope you enjoy the week’s worth of writeups.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Sergio Ch., From Skulls Born Beyond

Sergio Ch From Skulls Born Beyond

Intertwining by sharing a few songs with the debut album from his trio Soldati, Doom Nacional (review here), the latest solo endeavor from former Los Natas/Ararat frontman Sergio Ch. continues his path of experimentalist drone folk, blending acoustic and electric elements, guitar and voice, in increasingly confident and broad fashion. The heart of a piece like “Sombra Keda” near the middle of the album is still the strum of the acoustic guitar, but the arrangement of electric and effects/synth surrounding, as well as the vocal echo, give a sense of space to the entirety of From Skulls Born Beyond that demonstrates to the listener just how much range Sergio Ch.‘s work has come to encompass. For highlights, one might check out the extended title-track and the closer “Solar Tse,” which bring in waves of distorted noise to add to the experimentalist feel, but there’s something to be said too for the comparatively minimal (vocal layering aside) “My Isis,” as well as for the fact that they all fit so well on the same record.

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South American Sludge Records on Bandcamp

 

DOOL, Summerland

Dool Summerland

The follow-up to DOOL‘s 2017 debut, Here Now There Then (review here), does no less than to see the Netherlands-based outfit led by singer Ryanne van Dorst answer the potential of that album while pushing forward the particular vision of Dutch heavy progressive rock that emerged in the wake of The Devil’s Blood, acknowledging that past — Farida Lemouchi (now of Molassess) stops by for a guest spot — while presenting an immersive and richly arranged 54-minute sprawl of highly individualized craft. Issued through Prophecy Productions, it brings cuts like the memorable opener “Sulphur and Starlight” and the dynamic “A Glass Forest” as well as the classic metal chug of “Be Your Sins” and the reaches of its title-cut and acoustic-inclusive finale “Dust and Shadow.” DOOL are a band brazen enough to directly refuse genre, and it is to their benefit and the audience’s that they pull off doing so with such bravado and quality of output. For however long they go, they will not stop progressing. You can hear it.

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Prophecy Productions website

 

Return to Worm Mountain, Therianthropy

return to worm mountain Therianthropy

By the time Durban, South Africa’s Return to Worm Mountain are done with 10-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Gh?l” from their second album, Therianthropy, the multi-instrumentalist duo of Duncan Park (vocal, guitar, bass, banjo, jaw harp) and Cam Lofstrand (vocals, drums, synth, guitar, bass, percussion) have gone from High on Fire-meets-Entombed crunch to psychedelic Americana to bare-essential acoustic guitar, and unsurprisingly, the scope doesn’t stop there. “Mothman’s Lament” is folksy sweetness and it leads right into the semi-industrial grind of “Mongolian Death Worm” before “Olgoi-Khorkoi” sludge-lumbers into Echoplex oblivion — or at very least the unrepentantly pretty plucked strings of “Tatzelwurm.” The title refers to a human ability to become an animal — think werewolf — and if that’s a metaphor for the controlled chaos Return to Worm Mountain are letting loose here, one can hardly argue it doesn’t fit. Too strange to be anything but progressive, Therianthropy‘s avant garde feel will alienate as many as it delights, and that’s surely the point of the entire endeavor.

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Return to Worm Mountain on Bandcamp

 

Dopelord, Sign of the Devil

dopelord sign of the devil

Primo weedian stoner sludge doom of precisely the proportion-of-riff one would expect from Polish bashers Dopelord, which is to say plenty huge and plenty grooving. “The Witching Hour Bell” sets the tone on Sign of the Devil, which is the fourth full-length from the Warsaw-based four-piece. They lumber, they plod, they crash, and yes, yes, yes, they riff, putting it all on the line with “Hail Satan” with synth flourish at the end before “Heathen” and the ultimately-more-aggro “Doom Bastards” reinforce the mission statement. You might know what you’re getting going into it, but that doesn’t make the delivery any less satisfying as Dopelord plod into “World Beneath Us” like a cross between Electric Wizard and Slomatics and of course stick-click in on a quick four-count for the 94-second punk blaster “Headless Decapitator” to cap the 36-minute vinyl-ready run. How could they not? Sure, Sign of the Devil preaches to the choir, but hell’s bells it makes one happy to have joined the choir in the first place.

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Dopelord on Bandcamp

 

Ancestro, Ancestro

ancestro self titled

Numbered instrumental progressions comprise this third and self-titled offering from Peruvian trio Ancestro (issued through Necio Records and Forbidden Place Records), and the effect of the album being arranged in such a fashion is that it plays through as one long piece, the cascading volume changes of “II” feeding back into the outset count-in of the speedier “III” and so on. Each piece of the whole has its own intention, and it seems plain enough that the band composed the sections individually, but they’ve been placed so as to highlight the full-album flow, and as Ancestro move from “IV” into “V” and “VI,” with songs getting longer as they go en route to that engrossing and proggy 13-minute closer, their success draws from their ability to harness the precision and maybe even a little of the aggression of heavy metal and incorporate it as part of an execution both thoughtful and no less able to be patient when called for by a given piece. Hard-hitting psychedelia is tough to pull off, but Ancestro‘s Ancestro is no less spacious than terrestrial.

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Necio Records on Bandcamp

Forbidden Place Records on Bandcamp

 

Hellhookah, The Curse

hellhookah the curse

In 2016, Lithuanian two-piece Hellhookah made it no challenge whatsoever to get into the traditionalist doom of their debut album, Endless Serpents (review here), and the seven songs of The Curse make for a welcome follow-up, with an uptick in production value and the fullness of the mix and a decided affinity for underground ’80s metal in cuts like “Supremacy” and “Dreams and Passions” to coincide with the Dio-era-Sabbath vibes of centerpiece “Flashes” and the nodding finisher “Greed and Power,” which follows and contrasts “Dreams and Passions” in a manner that feels multi-tiered in its purpose. Departing from some of the Vitus-ness of the first full-length, The Curse adopts a more complex tack across its 38 minutes, but its heart and its loyalties are still of doom, by doom, and for the doomed, and that suits them just fine. Crucially, their lack of pretense carries over, and their love of all things doomed translates into every riff and every stretch on offer. If you’d ask more than that of them, well, why?

Hellhookah on Thee Facebooks

Hellhookah on Bandcamp

 

Daisychain, Daisychain EP

Daisychain Daisychain EP

Bluesy in opener “Demons,” grunge-tinged in “Lily” and fuzz-folk-into-’70s-soul-rock on “How Can I Love You,” Daisychain‘s self-titled debut EP wants little for ambition from the start, but the Chicago-based four-piece bring a confidence to their dually-vocalized approach that unites the material across whatever stylistic lines it treads, be it in the harmonies of the midtempo rocker “Are You Satisfied” or the righteously languid “Fake Flowers,” which follows. With six songs and 21 minutes, the self-released outing is but a quick glimpse at what Daisychain might have in store going forward, but the potential is writ large from the classic feel of “Demons” to the barroom spirit of closer “The Wrong Thing,” which reminds that rock and roll doesn’t have to sacrifice efficiency in order to make a statement of its own force. There’s plenty of attitude to be found in these songs, but beneath that — or maybe alongside it — there’s a sense of an emergent songwriting process that is only going to continue to flourish. What they do with the momentum they build here will be interesting to see/hear, but more than that, they’re developing a perspective and persona of their own, and that speaks to a longer term ideal. To put another way, they don’t sound like they’re half-assing it.

Daisychain on Thee Facebooks

Daisychain on Bandcamp

 

The Burning Brain Band, The Burning Brain Band

The Burning Brain Band The Burning Brain Band

Capping with a slide-tinged take on the traditional “Parchman Farm” (see also: Blue Cheer, Cactus, etc.), Ohio’s The Burning Brain Band‘s self-titled debut casts a wide net in terms of influences, centering the penultimate “The Dreamer” around 12-string acoustic guitar on an eight-minute run that’s neither hurried nor staid, but all the more surprising after the electronica-minded “Interlude (Still Running),” which, at four minutes is of greater substance than one might expect of an interlude just as the seven-and-a-half-minute warm-up “Launch Sequence” is considerably broader than one generally considers an intro to an album. There isn’t necessarily a foundational basis from which the material emanates — though “Brain Food” is an effective desert-ish rocker, it moves into the decidedly proggier “Bolero/Floating Away” — but “Launch Sequence” is immersive and the four-piece bring a performance cohesion and a clarity of mindset to the proceedings of this debut that may not unite the songs, but carries the listener through with a sure hand just the same. Who ever said everything on a record had to sound alike? For sure not The Burning Brain Band, who translate the mania of their moniker into effective sonic variety.

The Burning Brain Band on Thee Facebooks

The Burning Brain Band on Bandcamp

 

Slump, Flashbacks From Black Dust Country

Slump Flashbacks from Black Dust Country

Count Slump in a freakout psych renaissance, all punk-out-the-airlock and ’90s-noise thisandthat. Delivered through Feel It Records, the Richmond, Virginia, outfit’s debut, Flashbacks From Black Dust Country indeed touches ground every now and again, as on “Desire Death Drifter,” but even there, the vocals are so soaked wet with echo that I’m pretty sure they fucked up my speakers, and as much as “Tension Trance” tries, it almost can’t help but be acid grunge. In an age of nihilism, Slump aren’t so much unbridled as they are a reminder of the artistry behind the slacker lean, and in the thrust of “(Do The) Sonic Sprawl” and the far-out twist of “Throbbing Reverberation,” they affirm that only those with expanded minds will survive to see the new age and all the many spectral horrors it might unfurl. Can it be a coincidence that the album starts “No Utopia?” Hardly. I’m not ready to call these cats prophets, but they’ve got their collective ear to the ground and their boogie is molten-core accordingly. Tell two friends and tell them to tell two friends.

Feel It Records on Thee Facebooks

Feel It Records on Bandcamp

 

Canyon, EP III

canyon ep iii

It’s a ripper, inciting Larry David-style “prettay good” nods and all that sort of approval whatnot. If you want to think of Canyon as Philly’s answer to Memphis’ Dirty Streets, go ahead — and yes, by that I mean they’re dirtier. EP III boasts just three tracks in “No Home,” “Tent Preacher” and “Mountain Haze,” but with it the classic-style trio backs up the power they showed on 2018’s Mk II (review here), tapping ’70s blues rock swagger for the first two tracks and then blowing it out in a dreamy Zeppelin/Rainbow jam that’s trippy and righteous and right on and just plain right. Maybe even right-handed, I don’t know. What I do know is that these guys should’ve been picked up by some duly salivating label like last week already and they should be putting together a full-length on the quick. They’ve followed-up EP III with a stonerly take on The Beatles‘ “Day Tripper,” and that’s fun, but really, it’s time for this band to make an album.

Canyon on Thee Facebooks

Canyon on Bandcamp

 

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Days of Rona: Shaun H. of Close the Hatch

Posted in Features on May 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

close-the-hatch-shaun-h

Days of Rona: Shaun H. of Close the Hatch (Dayton, Ohio)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health far?

We are all doing our best to stay busy but still communicating internally. Plans for booking shows and touring are on hold. We had to cancel a small group of dates unfortunately. We are all healthy thankfully. Healthy Friends and Family as well. Fortunate to have that.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

There is a stay at home order in place but it is slowly relaxing a bit. It is all day to day. Ohio was quick to lock down so it slowed some of the spread initially. Who knows how it will all turn out though?!

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

Venues locally are hurting, a lot of the local crowd are in the service industry & they have been hit the hardest. There has been some good in that people are selling things online and doing live streams to some extent.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

First just stay safe and healthy in your communities. We all have our hurdles here. Some of us are unemployed , some are working significantly less, one of our crew is unable to go home to be with his wife due to this whole virus thing. They have a home in Canada and he is not a citizen of Canada yet so he cannot cross the border until restrictions lift. If you are with family don’t take it for granted. Thanks for chatting with us.

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Radian Premiere “Not Dying” Video from Chapters LP

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 29th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

radian

I know I’ve said it before, but Midwestern sludge — Ohio sludge in particular — is a special kind, and anytime Fistula‘s ultra-dysfunctional family tree gets a new branch, a certain amount of chaos is bound to ensue. Well, Radian boast the presence of drummer Jeff Sullivan, who did time in that outfit, as well as bassist Chris Chiera of Sofa King Killer and two former members of Rue in vocalist Jeff Fahl and guitarist Mike Burns, and sure enough, their debut long-player, Chapters, smashes and crashes with just that extra bit of aggression one finds underlying the most satisfying of sludge metals. Samples and clean vocals add flourish to the nine-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Stonier,” and even the three-minute centerpiece “Beast” of the five-track offering has launches with a sense of atmosphere before unleashing its full bludgeon, but the crux of Chapters is roaring and pissed off and the formative dynamic in the tracks serves as much to highlight that as it does to contrast it.

To wit, the chug of “Nothing Gets Through” opens up to a more winding progression and semi-clean finish on vocals — not quite living up to its title — and the drum-led “Hearts of Metropolis,” which appears right ahead of closer “Not Dying,” tempers its first-half assault with a post-midpoint slowdown that, while still mad, mad, mad, at least seems to change up the manner of its destruction. Hey, these things matter. When it comes to finishing the job, though, “Not Dying” is a pummel just about the whole way through from its opening gallop to its final nod. Yeah, there’s a bit of a dip before they begin the last push, but it doesn’t stick around, and when they finish with feedback, it’s more than well enough earned, both by pedigree and by the work being done here, which, while obviously schooled in the ways of sludge metal and Buckeye sludge specifically, is also looking to branch beyond those confines in scope. Chapters, in that sense, retains the energy of a debut offering despite the experience of those involved in making it. They’re undertaking a new exploration in a new configuration, though I’ve no doubt these dudes have played shows together for years and are by no means strangers coming into the project.

Fistula are still out there somewhere performing surgery without a license, and maybe you do or don’t remember the likes of Sofa King Killer or Rue — my abiding memory of the latter is doing a house show with them in Michigan and watching as everyone else checked out the bands while Rue hung in their van and listened to Iron Maiden; not exactly positive, but they were a good band nonetheless — but whether you do or not is secondary to what Radian are doing here, which is clearly the start of their own path.

Happy to host the video premiere for “Not Dying,” made by Dave Brenner of Gridfailure. Find it below, followed by more from the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Radian, “Not Dying” official video premiere

Official video of Radian’s “Not Dying” off debut album Chapters. Created by Dave Brenner.

Akron, Ohio-based doom/sludge metal merchants RADIAN — featuring former members of Fistula, Rue, and Sofa King Killer — have unleashed their devastating debut full-length, Chapters.

Like matter in space knows no gravity; like the thunder above that shakes the Earth below, RADIAN exists unbound. Chapters was recorded by Dave Johnson AKA Big Metal Dave (Midnight, Axioma, Brain Tentacles) at Bad Back Studio in Cleveland, Ohio and mixed and mastered by Sean Sullivan (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck) at Sound By Sully in Los Angeles, California. At once gargantuan sounding and unsettling, Chapters delivers five heaving tracks of relentless hardcore-infused, doom sludge. “We just wanted to experiment with different tones and take listeners on a journey,” issues the band, “From heavy vibes to emotional vibes. They are chapters. Stories. Musical voyages as well as songs.”

Chapters is out now digitally. For orders go to THIS LOCATION.

RADIAN — the standard unit of angular measure — was forged in the winter of 2017 when bassist Chris Chiera (ex-Sofa King Killer) and guitarist Mike Burns (ex-Rue) united, experimenting with ideas that would swell into the core of RADIAN’s planet rupturing sound. With the addition of drummer Jeff Sullivan (ex-Fistula) and vocalist Jeff Fahl (ex-Rue), RADIAN entered Bad Back Studio in October of 2019 and recorded their debut, Chapters. “Although we are relatively new to the scene, we are all stalwart veterans of all things doomed and stoned and are prepared to unleash our hazy fury and glory to all.”

RADIAN:
Jeff Fahl – vocals
Mike Burns – guitars, samples
Chris Chiera – bass, samples
Jeff Sullivan – drums

Radian, Chapters (2020)

Radian website

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Radian on Instagram

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