The Obelisk Presents: THE BEST OF 2020

Posted in Features on December 31st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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[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.]

Invariably, the ultimate measure of 2020 will be in lives and livelihoods lost around the world. I have nothing to add to the discourse of the COVID-19 pandemic that others haven’t said in more articulate and precise language. Suffice it to note that 2020 was the year that the very concept of “unprecedented” itself became trite.

One does not have to look far to find positives amid the devastation. Creativity continues to flourish. Art cannot be killed. Even locked away from each other in quarantine, artists will continue to reach out, to collaborate, to fulfill the human need for expression that has driven the species since cave drawings and will no doubt be the ruins we leave behind us when we’re gone.

In underground music, it was simply overwhelming. And though I’ll admit it was hard at times to listen to music and divorce it from the larger context of what was happening in the world — it was there like a background buzz — this year reinforced how necessary music is, not only as an escape or a source of income for those who make/promote it, but as an integral component of life and community. Absences have been keenly felt.

I won’t try to sate you with platitudes, to say “things will get better.” Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. One year turning to the next does not fix broken systems and it does not cure raging plagues. It’s just a number. Arbitrary except as a convenient marker for things like this, births, deaths, and so on. Bookkeeping.

Before I turn you over to the lists: Please be kind in the comments if you choose to leave one. To me. To other people. To yourself. These lists are culled from my listening preference and what I consider of critical importance. But I’m one person. If there’s something you feel has been left out, say so. I ask you only to do so in a spirit of friendship rather than argument. Thank you in advance.

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Okay:

The Top 50 Albums of 2020

#50-31

50. Sun Crow, Quest for Oblivion
49. Atramentus, Stygian
48. Arcadian Child, Protopsycho
47. Fuzz, III
46. Jointhugger, I Am No One
45. Dirt Woman, The Glass Cliff
44. Switchblade Jesus, Death Hymns
43. Foot, The Balance of Nature Shifted
42. Hymn, Breach Us
41. IAH, III
40. Lord Fowl, Glorious Babylon
39. Acid Mess, Sangre de Otros Mundos
38. 1000mods, Youth of Dissent
37. Deathwhite, Grave Image
36. Soldati, Doom Nacional
35. Cortez, Sell the Future
34. Kadavar, The Isolation Tapes
33. Black Rainbows, Cosmic Ritual Supertrip
32. Shadow Witch, Under the Shadow of a Witch
31. Insect Ark, The Vanishing

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30. High Priestess, Casting the Circle

high priestess casting the circle

Released by http://para-sun.com/dissertation-of-english-pronunciation-problems/ - Visit us today to get more advantageous deals. Safe payments and guaranteed satisfaction when you buy drugs. Affordable and safe Ripple Music. Reviewed May 5.

There was no shortage of anticipation for what L.A. cultists Your half nothing years write an essay about my self then old and best site but while a. So it's the number of pellets may do my homework High Priestess would do to follow their 2018 self-titled debut (review here), and the three-piece did not disappoint, instead gave a ritual mass that included the 17-minute concept piece “Invocation” alongside infectious and ethereal melodies like “The Hourglass.” And now that the circle’s been cast? Seems like they can do anything.

29. Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation

Polymoon Caterpillars of Creation

Released by Recommendation For Admission degree for life experience and job promotion. Degree Shortcut has strong linkage with worldwide university for buy degree service for better life. Svart Records. Reviewed Oct. 12.

High-powered cosmic metal from Finland pulling apart heavy psychedelia on an atomic level with an urgency that speaks of youth, progress and an ingrained need for exploration? Sign me up. A lot of bands on this list put out their first album this year. There are few for whom my hopes are as high as they are for pay someone to write my thesis Www.essay music to help me focus on homework application essay prompts Polymoon. If you haven’t yet heard Search How To Start An Assignment jobs with company reviews & ratings. 7,141 open jobs for Service Writer. Average Salary: ,952. Caterpillars of Creation, do.

28. Sons of Otis, Isolation

Sons of Otis Isolation

Released by Essays On Ancient Romes - Premium Quality Whether you're writing your master's thesis or PhD dissertation, take advantage of our thesis editing services. We have the right editor for your subject. Whether you're writing your master's thesis or PhD dissertation, take advantage of our thesis editing services. Totem Cat Records. Reviewed Sept. 30.

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27. Lamp of the Universe, Dead Shrine

Lamp of the Universe Dead Shrine

Released by There are many essay http://www.albergoeden.net/phd-thesis-latex/s that think they are on top, so don't be cheated and check out this true list of the best paper writing services in 2018! Projection Records. Reviewed May 25.

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26. BleakHeart, Dream Griever

bleakheart dream griever

Released by Sailor Records. Reviewed Nov. 18.

The debut album from Colorado’s BleakHeart collected pieces united by melody and overarching atmosphere, positioned stylistically somewhere around heavygaze or heavy post-rock, but feeling less limited to genre bounds than some others working in a similar sphere. As a first outing, it brought a promise of things to come even as the depths of its mix seemed to swallow the listener entirely, equal parts serving claustrophobia and escapism.

25. Pale Divine, Consequence of Time

Pale Divine Consequence of Time

Released by Cruz Del Sur Music. Reviewed June 3.

There is not enough space here to properly commend Pale Divine founding guitarist/vocalist Greg Diener on how much he opened up the band by bringing in his and drummer Darin McCloskey‘s former Beelzefuzz bandmate Dana Ortt on shared guitar, vocal and songwriting duties. Completed by Ron “Fezz” McGinnis on bass/vocals, Pale Divine are a refreshed and ready powerhouse of American traditional doom.

24. Uncle Woe, Phantomescence

uncle woe phantomescence

Released by Packard Black Productions. Reviewed Oct. 21.

One is going to have to get used to the idea of Uncle Woe residing in the places between, I think. An inward-looking cosmic doom that’s likewise morose and reaching, opaque and translucent, Phantomescence could be almost troubling in its feeling of off-kilter expression. Yet that’s exactly what multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Rain Fice was going for. Thriving on contradiction, exploratory, and individualized. Start from doom, move outward.

23. REZN, Chaotic Divine

rezn chaotic divine

Released by Off the Record Label. Reviewed Oct. 15.

I don’t feel like I’m cool enough to offer any substantive comment on what Chicago’s REZN do, but their sax-laced heavy psychedelia comes across warm and is invitingly languid while still delivered with a sense of energy and purpose. It rolls and you want to roll with it, so you do. They were clearly hurt by not being able to tour this year, as were audiences for not seeing them. Call them neo-stoner metal or whatever you want, these songs deserve to be played live.

22. Ruff Majik, The Devil’s Cattle

ruff majik the devils cattle

Released by Mongrel Records. Reviewed Oct. 29.

A revamped lineup for South African desert-ish heavy rockers Ruff Majik brought producer Evert Snyman in as co-conspirator with frontman/principal songwriter Johni Holiday, and found the former trio working as a five-piece with a broader sound underscored by an electric sense of purpose and willingness to push themselves to places they hadn’t gone before. Their third record, it seemed as well to be a new beginning, and they met the challenge head-on.

21. Curse the Son, Excruciation

Curse The Son Excruciation

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed June 8.

The underheralded children of rolling fuzz riffage, Connecticut’s Curse the Son found new depths of emotion to bring to Excruciation — and I do mean “depths.” Dark times for dark times. Fueled by personal hardship, turmoil, motorcycle accidents and a pervasive sense of struggle, the LP was nonetheless a triumph of their songwriting and brought new melodic character to their established largesse of tone. Your loss if you missed it.

20. The Atomic Bitchwax, Scorpio

The Atomic Bitchwax Scorpio

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed Aug. 26.

Business as usual in ferocious heavy/speed rock from The Atomic Bitchwax on Scorpio — and that was only reassuring since the band’s eighth full-length marked the first since the departure of guitarist/vocalist Finn Ryan and his replacing with Garrett Sweeny, a bandmate of founding bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik and drummer Bob Pantella in Monster Magnet. They barely stopped to cool their heels and yet still managed to be catchy as hell. How do they do it? Jersey Magic.

19. Cinder Well, No Summer

cinder well no summer

Released by Free Dirt Records. Reviewed July 21.

Such pervasive melancholy could only be derived from Irish folk, and so it was on Cinder Well‘s No Summer, which managed to move between singer-songwriter minimalism from Amelia Baker and arrangements of deceptive and purposeful intricacy. Wherever it went, from traditional songs “Wandering Boy” and “The Cuckoo” to originals like “Fallen” and the nine-minute “Our Lady’s,” it was equal parts gorgeous and sad and resonant. It remains so, despite the fleeting season.

18. Pallbearer, Forgotten Days

pallbearer forgotten days

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Dec. 24.

Their fourth album and first since crossing the decade-mark since their inception, Pallbearer‘s Forgotten Days wasn’t just heavy, emotional or big-sounding; it was the most their-own of anything they’ve done. It felt exactly like the record they wanted it to be, and reconfirmed that the generation of listeners being introduced to doom by their music is going to be just fine if they follow the cues laid out for them here.

17. Slift, Ummon

slift ummon

Released by Stolen Body and Vicious Circle Records. Reviewed March 26.

Less a reinvention of space rock than a kick in its ass, Slift‘s Ummon pushed well past the line of manageability at 72 minutes and reveled in that. The French outfit were greeted as liberators when they released the album, and with the way the respect has been maintained in the months since they’ve given themselves a high standard to meet, but there’s only promise to be heard as you get lost in the nebular wash of this sprawling 2LP. They’ll have two more records out before this one’s fully digested.

16. My Dying Bride, The Ghost of Orion

my dying bride the ghost of orion

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Feb. 25.

The first album in half a decade from long-established UK death-doom forebears My Dying Bride found vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe coping with his daughter’s cancer diagnosis and translating that into the morose poetry for which the band is so well known and with which they’ve been so influential. My Dying Bride has never wanted for sincerity, but to call them affecting here would be underselling the quality of their craft and the heart they put into it. Follow-up EP is already out with extra non-album tracks.

15. Causa Sui, Szabodelico

causa sui Szabodelico

Released by El Paraiso Records. Reviewed Nov. 11.

Denmark’s Causa Sui may be on a mission to unite jazz and heavy psychedelia — and blessings on them for that — but the mellow jammy vibes they conjured on Szabodelico only emphasized how much it’s the character of what they do and the chemistry they’ve brought as bandmates that has allowed them to branch thusly in terms of aesthetic. It was the kind of album you wanted to put on again even before it was over, and its sweet instrumentals felt born to a greater timeline than a single year can encompass.

14. All Souls, Songs for the End of the World

All Souls Songs for the End of the World

Self-released. Reviewed Sept. 21.

I’m not a punk rocker, but All Souls make me wish I was. Their emotive and engaged heavy rock looks out as much as in on Songs for the End of the World — their second LP behind a 2018 self-titled debut (review here) — but it’s undeniably punk in its foundation, and what the four-piece of Antonio Aguilar and Meg Castellanos (both ex-Totimoshi), Erik Trammell (Black Elk) and Tony Tornay (Fatso Jetson) have put together builds on that in exciting, inventive and individualized ways, while staying nonetheless true to its roots.

13. Kind, Mental Nudge

kind mental nudge

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Oct. 20.

Five years after their debut album, Rocket Science (review here), Boston four-piece Kind return with Mental Nudge. And despite the different situations in which it finds the band’s members — bassist Tom Corino is now ex-Rozamov, drummer Matt Couto now ex-Elder — the group’s focus remains on carving memorable, mostly structured tracks out of ethereal heavy psychedelia, guitarist Darryl Shepard (Milligram, etc.) and vocalist Craig Riggs (RoadsawSasquatch, etc.) adding space and melody to the crunching, driving grooves.

12. Molassess, Through the Hollow

Molassess Through the Hollow

Released by Season of Mist. Featured Aug. 17.

Founded by vocalist Farida Lemouchi (ex-The Devil’s Blood) and guitarist Oeds Beydals (ex-Death Alley, also ex-The Devil’s Blood) and commissioned as a project for Roadburn Festival 2019 (review here), Molassess are inextricably tied to Lemouchi‘s groundbreaking former outfit and its tragic ending, but the musical branching out into darkened progressive textures on Through the Hollow isn’t to be understated. It was an album that pushed past the past, not overlooking it, but finding new ways of moving forward in life and sound.

11. Tony Reed, Funeral Suit

tony reed funeral suit

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Sept. 28.

While of course the Mos Generator frontman is no stranger to writing or recording on his own, Funeral Suit was Tony Reed‘s debut as a solo artist and it carried his progressive stamp in melody and arrangement. It was not just a guitarist playing acoustic instead of electric, and it was not a manifestation of self-indulgence. Whether it was reworking a Mos Generator song like “Lonely One Kenobi” or pursuing a new piece like the title-track or “Waterbirth,” Reed found balance between personal and audience, evoking traditional songsmithing even as he reminded listeners of his dual role as a producer.

10. Geezer, Groovy

Geezer Groovy

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed May 18.

Spectacular showing from Kingston kingpins Geezer with Groovy as their first offering for Heavy Psych Sounds. Led by guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington, the three-piece brought material that flowed with the organic feel of jams despite being structured and catchy songs. In pieces like “Dead Soul Scroll” and “Drowning on Empty,” they melded stonerized groove with what felt like genuine emotional expression, and “Dig” and “Groovy” still managed to be a heavy fuzz-blues party. And they still had room at the end to jam out on “Slide Mountain” and “Black Owl.” It was nothing but a win, rising to the occasion on every level.

9. Big Scenic Nowhere, Vision Beyond Horizon

big scenic nowhere vision beyond horizon

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Jan. 29.

So Bob Balch from Fu Manchu and Gary Arce from Yawning Man have a band. They get Tony Reed from Mos Generator on board. Mario Lalli from Yawning Man/Fatso Jetson comes and goes. Nick Oliveri comes and goes. Bill Stinson from Yawning Man plays drums. Alain Johannes sits in on vocals. Reed does a bunch of vocals; his kid does a track too. Per Wiberg from Spiritual Beggars, Opeth, Candlemass, etc., lends some keys. What do you call such a thing? Who cares? You call yourself lucky it exists. They called the record Vision Beyond Horizon. Can’t wait to find out what they call the next one.

8. Elder, Omens

elder omens

Released by Armageddon Shop and Stickman Records. Reviewed April 27.

Omens marked a new beginning for Elder as the band pushed deeper into the realm of progressive rock and beyond their weightier beginnings. The arrival of Georg Edert (also Gaffa Ghandi) on drums in place of Matt Couto shifted the band’s dynamic in a number of ways, providing not a swinging anchor for the rhythm section necessarily, but another avenue of prog fluidity. Bassist Jack Donovan brought a steady presence in the low end as guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo and guitarist/keyboardist Mike Risberg embarked on new melodic explorations while staying loyal to the band’s established penchant for sweeping changes. Omens may live up to its name as a sign of things to come, but either way, it was a strong display of the band’s will to pursue new ideas and methods.

7. Forming the Void, Reverie

forming the void reverie

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed April 15.

First words that come to mind here: “eminently listenable.” With seven tracks and 36 minutes, Reverie may not have taken up much of your afternoon… once. But by the time you gave it its proper respect and listened through three times in a row, the situation was somewhat different. The Lafayette, Louisiana, four-piece gracefully brought together structured songwriting with proggier leanings and were able to bring together rampaging hooks like “Trace the Omen” and “Manifest,” casting a sense of sonic hugeness without forgetting to add either melody or personality along with that. The band — who here welcomed bassist Thorn Letulle alongside guitarist/vocalist James Marshall, guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa and drummer Thomas Colley — have worked quickly and evolved with a sense of urgency. Is Reverie the goal or another step on that path?

6. Grayceon, MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES

grayceon mothers weavers vultures

Released by Translation Loss Records. Reviewed Nov. 18.

Vocalist/cellist Jackie Perez Gratz (interview here), guitarist Max Doyle and drummer Zack Farwell comprise Grayceon, and with their fifth record, the band looks around thematically at environmental devastation through the lens of record-breaking California wildfires from their vantage point in the Bay Area. Even as the world shifted priorities (at least most of it did) to yet another global crisis in the COVID-19 pandemic, genre-melting-pot songs like “Diablo Wind,” “The Lucky Ones,” and “This Bed” reminded of the horrors humanity has wrought on its battered home, and still managed to find hope and serenity in “And Shine On” and “Rock Steady,” a closing duo that shifted to a more personal discussion of family and one’s hope for a better future for and by the next generation. 2020 had plenty of horror. At least we got a new Grayceon record out of it.

5. Brant Bjork, Brant Bjork

brant bjork brant bjork

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed April 28.

When Sho’Nuff asked Bruce Leroy “who’s the master?,” dude should’ve said Brant Bjork. It would’ve been a confusing end to Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon, but ultimately more accurate, as Brant Bjork‘s homegrown kung fu was unfuckwithable as ever on the album that shares his name. After two decades of solo releases in one form or another, Bjork is not just a pivotal figurehead for desert rock, he’s a defining presence, as well as one of its most treasured practitioners. Brant Bjork, the album, brought initial waves of funk in “Jungle in the Sound,” explored weedy worship in “Mary (You’re Such a Lady)” and toyed with religious dogma in offsetting that with “Jesus Was a Bluesman” while still tossing primo hooks in “Duke of Dynamite” and “Shitkickin’ Now” ahead of the more open “Stardust and Diamond Eyes” and the acoustic closer “Been So Long.” With Bjork recording all the instruments himself, a due feeling of intimacy resulted, and yet he still found a way to make it rock. How could it be otherwise?

4. Enslaved, Utgard

enslaved utgard

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Sept. 29.

Why do I feel the immediate need to defend this pick? I’m not sure. Norway’s Enslaved are an institution, not just of black metal, but of bringing an ideology of creative growth to that style that often willfully resists it. They are iconoclastic even unto their own work. Utgard was released as the band stood on the precipice of 30 years together and yet it stood as their most forward-looking offering yet, as co-founders Grutle Kjellson (bass/vocals) and Ivar Bjørnson (guitar/sometimes vocals), as well as longtime lead guitarist Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal backed up the change from 2017’s E (review here) that brought in new keyboardist/vocalist Hakon Vinje with the incorporation of drummer Iver Sandøy, who doubles as a vocalist (and triples as a producer). The “new blood” made all the difference on Utgard, allowing Enslaved to piece together new ranges of melody in their work and offset instrumental shifts into and out of krautrock-derived progressions. Simply the work of a band outdoing itself from a band who does so at nearly every opportunity.

3a. Colour Haze, We Are

colour haze we are

Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten and Ripple Music. Reviewed Dec. 3, 2019.

Every year I allow myself one addendum pick, and this is it. We Are was on last year’s list because it was digitally released, but the vinyl came out this year and it received its North American release this year as well, so it seemed only right to acknowledge that. So here it is in its proper place.

3. All Them Witches, Nothing as the Ideal

All-Them-Witches-Nothing-as-the-Ideal

Released by New West Records. Reviewed Sept. 3.

This is a band controlling their own narrative. Instead of Nothing as the Ideal being ‘the one they made as a three-piece,’ the Nashville outfit decided to make it ‘the one they recorded at Abbey Road.’ Were they thinking of it on those terms? Yeah, likely not, but it goes to demonstrate all the same just how much of themselves All Them Witches put into what they do musically, since not only are they continuing to refine and define and undefine their approach, but they’re setting the terms on which they do it. Each of their records has been a response to the one prior, but that conversation has never been so direct as to make them predictable. So what are they chasing? Apparently nothing. I’m not entirely sure I buy that as a complete answer, but I am sure I love these songs and the experiments with tape loops and other sounds that fill these spaces. Whatever they do next — or even if nothing — their run has been incredible and exciting and one only hopes their influence continues to spread over the next however many years.

2. Elephant Tree, Habits

elephant tree habits

Released by Deathwish Inc.. Reviewed April 13.

There was a high standard set by Elephant Tree‘s 2016 self-titled debut (review here), but their second LP, Habits, surpassed even the loftiest of expectations. With vocals centered around harmonies from guitarist Jack Townley and bassist Peter Holland, the former trio completed by drummer Sam Hart brought in guitarist/keyboardist John Slattery (also sometimes vocals), and the resultant breadth gave the material on Habits spaciousness beyond even what the first album promised. Drifting, rolling, unflinchingly melodic and somehow present even in its own escapism, Habits was not just an early highlight for a rough 2020, but a comforting presence throughout, and the further one dug into tracks like “Sails,” “Exit the Soul,” “Faceless,” “Wasted” and the acoustic “The Fall Chorus,” the more there was to find — let alone “Bird,” which I’ll happily put against anything else one might propose for song of the year. As their former UK label crumbled, Habits emerged unscathed and Elephant Tree‘s future continues to shine with ever more hope for things to come. Being able to say that about anything feels like a relief.

2020 Album of the Year

1. Lowrider, Refractions

Lowrider Refractions

Released by Blues Funeral Recordings. Reviewed Jan. 24.

Twenty years ago, Sweden’s Lowrider put out what would become a heavy rock landmark in their 2000 debut, Ode to Io (reissue review here). A follow-up years in the making even after the band got back together to play Desertfest in London (review here) and Berlin in 2013, Refractions first saw limited release in 2019 as part of Blues Funeral‘s PostWax series (discussed here), but its proper arrival was in early 2020, and there was really no looking back after that. It wasn’t just the novelty of a new Lowrider album that made Refractions such a joy, but the manner in which the band went about its work. There was no pretending that 20 years didn’t happen. There was no attempt to recapture the bottled lightning that was the first record, and Lowrider did not sound like a band “making a comeback” rife with expectations and fan-service. Refractions acknowledged the legacy of Ode to Io, sure enough, but as a step toward adding to it in meaningful and engaging ways. The songs — “Red River,” “Ode to Ganymede,” “Sernanders Krog,” “Ol’ Mule Pepe,” “Sun Devil/M87” and the 11-minute finale “Pipe Rider” — were fashioned without pretense and came across as the organic output of a band with nothing to prove to anyone but themselves. They made it their own. In a wretched year, Lowrider shined.

The Top 50 Albums of 2020: Honorable Mention

Yeah, okay. There are a lot of these, so buckle in. Last year I just threw out a list of bands. This year I’m a little more organized, so here are bands and records alphabetically.

Across Tundras, LOESS ~ LÖSS
Across Tundras, The Last Days of a Silver Rush
Alain Johannes, Hum
Arboretum, Let it All In
Bell Witch & Aerial Ruin, Stygian Bough Vol. 1
Black Helium, The Wholly Other
Boris, No
Brimstone Coven, The Woes of a Mortal Earth
CB3, Aeons
Celestial Season, The Secret Teachings
Crippled Black Phoenix, Ellengæst
Cruthu, Athrú Crutha
Domo, Domonautas Vol. 2
DOOL, Summerland
Dopelord, Sign of the Devil
Dwaal, Gospel of the Vile
Elder Druid, Golgotha
Ellis Munk Ensemble, San Diego Sessions
Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou, May Our Chambers Be Full
EMBR, 1823
Familiars, All in Good Time
Forlesen, Hierophant Violent
Galactic Cross, Galactic Cross
The Heavy Eyes, Love Like Machines
Hum, Inlet
Human Impact, Human Impact
Humulus, The Deep
Jupiterian, Protosapien
Kariti, Covered Mirrors
Khan, Monsoons
Kingnomad, Sagan Om Ryden
King Witch, Body of Light
Kryptograf, Kryptograf
Light Pillars, Light Pillars
Lord Buffalo, Tohu Wa Bohu
Lord Loud, Timid Beast
Lotus Thief, Oresteia
Malsten, The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill
Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter
Motorpsycho, The All is One
Mountain Tamer, Psychosis Ritual
Mr. Bison, Seaward
Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery
Mugstar, GRAFT
Murcielago, Casualties
Oranssi Pazuzu, Mestarin Kynsi
Paradise Lost, Obsidian
Parahelio, Surge Evelia Surge
The Pilgrim, …From the Earth to the Sky and Back
Pretty Lightning, Jangle Bowls
Psychlona, Venus Skytrip
Puta Volcano, AMMA
Ritual King, Ritual King
River Cult, Chilling Effect
Rrrags, High Protein
Shores of Null, Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying)
Sigiriya, Maiden – Mother – Crone
Six Organs of Admittance, Companion Rises
16, Dream Squasher
Slomosa, Slomosa
Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne
Steve Von Till, No Wilderness Deep Enough
Stone Machine Electric, The Inexplicable Vibrations of Frequencies Within the Cosmic Netherworld
Sumac, May You Be Held
Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Red Tide
Temple of Void, The World That Was
The Kings of Frog Island, VI
Tia Carrera, Tried and True
Turtle Skull, Monoliths
Uffe Lorenzen, Magisk Realisme
Ulcerate, Stare Into Death and Be Still
Vessel of Light, Last Ride
Vestal Claret, Vestal Claret
Vinnum Sabbathi, Of Dimensions and Theories
Wight, Spank the World
Wino, Forever Gone
Yatra, All is Lost
Yuri Gagarin, The Outskirts of Reality

By no means is that list exhaustive. And to look at stuff like Psychlona, Oranssi Pazuzu, Wight, Wino, Puta Volcano, Kingnomad, Ellis Munk Ensemble, Paradise Lost, Alain Johannes, Arbouretum, Uffe Lorenzen, Tia Carrera — on and on and on — I can definitely see where arguments are to be made for records that should’ve been in the list proper. I can only go with what feels right to me at the time.

Together with the top 50, this makes over 110 albums in the best of 2020. If you find yourself needing something to hang your hat on, be glad you’re alive to witness this much excellent music coming out.

Debut Album of the Year

Molassess, Through the Hollow

Molassess Through the Hollow

Other notable debuts (alphabetically):

Atramentus, Stygian
Bethmoora, Thresholds
BleakHeart, Dream Griever
Crystal Spiders, Molt
Dirt Woman, The Glass Cliff
Dwaal, Gospel of the Vile
Electric Feat, Electric Feat
Familiars, All in Good Time
Galactic Cross, Galactic Cross
Human Impact, Human Impact
Jointhugger, I Am No One
Light Pillars, Light Pillars
Love Gang, Dead Man’s Game
Malsten, The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill
Might, Might
Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter
Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery
Parahelio, Surge Evelia Surge
Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation
Ritual King, Ritual King
SEA, Impermanence
Slomosa, Slomosa
Soldati, Doom Nacional
Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne
SpellBook, Magick & Mischief
Spirit Mother, Cadets
Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Red Tide
The Crooked Whispers, Satanic Melodies
White Dog, White Dog

Notes: I sparred with myself every step of the way here. The last couple years I’ve tried to give the top-debut spot to not just a new band, but a new presence. Green Lung, King Buffalo, etc. Molassess, with members from The Devil’s Blood, Death Alley and Astrosoniq, isn’t exactly that. So what do I do? Do I go with something newer like Polymoon, Dirt Woman, BleakHeart, SEA, White Dog or The Crooked Whispers, or something with more established players like Molassess, Soldati, or even Light Pillars?

In the end, what made the difference was not just how brilliant the songs on Molassess’ Through the Hollow, but how honestly the band confronted the legacy they were up against. The songs had a familiar haunting presence, but they were also moving ahead to somewhere new. It was that blend of old and new ideas, and the resonant feeling of emotional catharsis — as well as the sheer immersion that took place while listening — that ultimately made the decision. Turns out I just couldn’t escape it.

And why not a list? Because this feels woefully inadequate as it is. I reviewed over 250 records this year one way or another — and that’s a conservative estimate — but a lot gets lost in the shuffle and somehow it just seemed wrong this time around to call something the 13th best first record of the year. I wanted to highlight the special achievement that was the Molassess album, but really, all of these records kicked my ass one way or the other.

Short Release of the Year 2020

King Buffalo, Dead Star

King Buffalo Dead Star

Other notable EPs, Splits, Demos, etc.:

Big Scenic Nowhere, Lavender Blues
Coma Wall, Ursa Minor
Conan/Deadsmoke, Doom Sessions Vol. 1
Fu Manchu, Fu30 Pt. 1
Grandpa Jack, Trash Can Boogie
Howling Giant/Sergeant Thunderhoof, Masamune/Muramasa (split)
Oginalii, Pendulum
Kings Destroy, Floods
Lament Cityscape, The Old Wet
Limousine Beach, Stealin’ Wine +2
Merlock, That Which Speaks
Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast
Mos Generator/Di’Aul, Split
Pimmit Hills, Heathens & Prophets
Rito Verdugo, Post-Primatus
Rocky Mtn Roller, Rocky Mtn Roller
Spaceslug, Leftovers
10,000 Years, 10,000 Years
The White Swan, Nocturnal Transmission
Thunderbird Divine, The Hand of Man
Witchcraft, Black Metal

Notes: If you were wondering why King Buffalo’s Dead Star (review here) wasn’t on the big list, this is why. It was pitched to me as an EP and that’s how I’m classifying it. I’m taking the out. Is it an EP? Not really, but neither is it a full-length album, given its experimental nature and focus around its extended two-part title-track. Whatever it was, it was the best that-thing, and this is the category where such things go.

Again, tough choices after King Buffalo. Thunderbird Divine’s EP was wonderfully funk-blasted and woefully short (new album, please). The newly-issued Spaceslug EP branches out their sound in fascinating ways as a result of the lockdown. Witchcraft’s acoustic EP, Coma Wall’s EP and Big Scenic Nowhere’s EP all signaled good things to come, and Howling Giant’s split with Sergeant Thunderhoof was a highlight of the most recent Quarterly Review. There really isn’t a bummer on the list there, from the bitter psych of Oginalii to the industrial metal of Lament Cityscape, the unadulterated riffery of Merlock to the live-captured rawness of Monte Luna.

So again, why no list? Same answer. I want to highlight the progression King Buffalo made in their sound and leave room open elsewhere for things I missed. Please let me know what in the comments. Cordially.

Live Album of the Year 2020

Yawning Man, Live at Giant Rock

yawning man live at giant rock

Other notable live releases:

Ahab, Live Prey
Amenra, Mass VI Live
Arcadian Child, From Far, for the Wild (Live in Linz)
Author and Punisher, Live 2020 B.C.
Cherry Choke, Raising Salzburg Rockhouse
Dead Meadow, Live at Roadburn 2011
Dirty Streets, Rough and Tumble
Electric Moon, Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019
Kadavar, Studio Live Session Vol. 1
King Buffalo, Live at Freak Valley
Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast
Orange Goblin, Rough & Ready: Live and Loud
Øresund Space Collective, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019
Pelican, Live at the Grog Shop
SEA, Live at ONCE
Sumac, St Vitus 09/07/2018
Sun Blood Stories, (a)Live and Alone at Visual Arts Collective
Temple Fang, Live at Merleyn
YOB, Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn

Notes: In this wretched year (mostly) void of live music, marked by canceled tours and festivals, the live album arguably played a more central role than it ever has, whether it was a band trying to keep momentum up following or leading into a studio release, taking advantage of the emergence of the Bandcamp Friday phenomenon or just trying to maintain some connection to their fans and the process of taking a stage. Or even playing in a room together. Or not a room. Anything. What was once a tossoff, maybe an afterthought companion piece became an essential worker of the listening experience.

You might accuse desert rock progenitors Yawning Man of playing to their base with Live at Giant Rock (featured here), and if so, fine. At no point in the last 50 years has that base more needed playing-to. And in the absence of shows, being able to hear (and watch, in the case of the accompanying video) Yawning Man go out to the landscape that spawned them and engage with their music was a beautiful moment of reconciliation. An exhale for the converted that didn’t fill one with empty promises of better tomorrows or tours to come, but served to remind what’s so worth preserving about the spirit of live music in the first place. The fact that anything can happen. A replaced note here, a tuning change there — these things can make not just an evening, but memories that go beyond shows, tours, to touch our lives.

There were a ton of live records this year. Some were benefits for worthy causes between saving venues, Black Lives Matter, voting rights organizations, and so on. And whether these were new performances from captured livestreams (Monte Luna, Kadavar) or older gigs that had been sitting around waiting for release at some point (Sumac, Dead Meadow), this, very much, was that point, and these live offerings kept burning a fire that felt at times very much in danger of being extinguished.

Looking Ahead to 2021

A list of bands. Some confirmed releases, some not. Here goes:

Dread Sovereign, Sasquatch, Year of Taurus, Apostle of Solitude, Weedpecker, Borracho, Love Gang, Jointhugger, Demon Head, Iron Man, Greenleaf, Samsara Blues Experiment, The Mammathus, Evert Snyman, Wo Fat, Conclave, Here Lies Man, Kabbalah, Komatsu, Hour of 13, Wedge, Amenra, La Chinga, Spidergawd, Wolves in the Throne Room, Vokonis, Freedom Hawk, Masters of Reality, ZOM, Eyehategod, Sanhedrin, Green Lung, The Mountain King, Albatross Overdrive, Elder, King Buffalo, Sunnata, Howling Giant, SAVER, Conan, Slomatics, Ruff Majik, Kind, Mos Generator, Yawning Sons, Lantlôs, Brant Bjork, Spiral Grave, Crystal Spiders, Lightning Born, Samavayo, Wovenhand, Merlock, Comet Control, The Age of Truth, Eight Bells, BlackWater Holylight, DVNE, Monte Luna.

Thank You

You’ve read enough, so I will do my best to keep this mercifully short. Thank you so much for reading — whether you still are or not — and thank you for being a part of the ongoing project that is The Obelisk. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have such incredible support throughout not just this year, but all the years of the site’s existence. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you most of all to The Patient Mrs. for her indulgence in letting me get this done. I’m am amazed forever.

More to come.

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Oranssi Pazuzu: New Album Mestarin Kynsi Available to Preorder; Trailer Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 11th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Finnish experimentalist black metallers Oranssi Pazuzu are preparing to unleash their label debut for Nuclear Blast, titled Mestarin Kynsi. Preorders are up for the LP in several editions, all of which are due April 17. That weekend, as it happens, is Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands, where the spearheads of the varied creative underground in their own hometown of Tampere (see also Dark Buddha Rising, Hexvessel, Death Hawks, The Fërtility Cült, etc.) will hold something of a release show presenting the new album. That’s a return appearance for them after playing there both on their own and as part of the Waste of Space Orchestra commissioned collaboration with Dark Buddha Rising, but as they follow-up 2016’s Värähtelijä (review here), their set is nothing if not anticipated, not the least with a new record in tow.

The PR wire brings an album trailer and more info:

oranssi pazuzu mestarin kynsi

ORANSSI PAZUZU ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM, “MESTARIN KYNSI,” OUT ON APRIL 17TH

Uncovering the intensity and the metal inherent in non-metal, the avant-garde and anti-traditionalist inclinations of Finland’s ORANSSI PAZUZU have always had transcendental goals at heart.

Through the rabbit hole and out the other side to 2020 with the release of their fifth album “Mestarin kynsi”, (“The Master’s Claw”). Inking a deal with German-based industry giants Nuclear Blast, ORANSSI PAZUZU subvert the idea of world domination to open a conceptual discourse on indoctrination and propaganda itself. Their psychological nightmare evolves a philosophical and earnest tone, where occult future meets troubled reality.

Preorder “Mestarin kynsi” here:
https://nblast.de/OP-MestarinKynsi

“Mestarin kynsi” will be available as CD, 2LP Black Vinyl and 2LP Gold Vinyl.

As “Oranssi”, meaning “orange” in their native Finnish language, is the colour of cosmic energy and “Pazuzu” is the ancient Mesopotamian demon of the wind, their swirling kaleidoscope of psychedelia has blown through the underground to redefine boundaries ever since their inception in 2007.

Jun-His: “We definitely wanted to look for new horizons, but on the other hand continue something we began building already on “Värähtelijä”. Some big influences were electro albums that inspired an idea about having a song that would travel through different kinds of portals whilst being mutilated and mutated by the new environment.”

On “Mestarin kynsi” the doors of perception are not only evoked but off their hinges. Working again with their co-producer Julius Mauranen, who also helped craft their acclaimed 2018 Roadburn Festival commissioned, WASTE OF SPACE ORCHESTRA collaboration live show/album “Syntheosis”, in their home-city of Tampere, Finland, the familiarity served a greater purpose towards the evolution of the album. As singer/guitarist Jun-His puts it, “there is a city heart pumping on this album somewhere”.

Tracklisting:
01. Ilmestys
02. Tyhjyyden Sakramentti
03. Uusi Teknokratia
04. Oikeamielisten Sali
05. Kuulen Ääniä Maan Alta
06. Taivaan Portti

Oranssi Pazuzu:
Ontto (bass guitar)
Korjak (drums)
Evill (synthesizers, organ, effects)
Jun-His (the voice, guitar)
Ikon (guitar)

https://www.facebook.com/Oranssi-pazuzu-58437793552/
https://www.instagram.com/oranssipazuzu/
http://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa
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Oranssi Pazuzu, Mestarin Kynsi album trailer

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Roadburn 2020: Oranssi Pazuzu to Present New Album; Crypt Sermon, Blanck Mass, Hangman’s Chair & More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2020 new banner

So three-quarters of the tickets for Roadburn 2020 are gone. I have to wonder what the corresponding percentage of the lineup has been unveiled. Maybe a third? Maybe? I doubt half. There are still smaller rooms to fill out and other this and that-type happenings. It’s amazing the culture around this festival though. Just look at these adds. Lana Del Rabies and Crypt Sermon. How does that even happen? And somehow, Roadburn pulls it off, year after year after year. It’s because people want to add to that culture, to be a part of it. It’s like nothing else. Like this joint art project that everybody there becomes a piece of. And if that description sounds totally unbelievable, then good. It is unbelievable. And yet, here we are. Year after year after year, on Planet Roadburn, Tilburg, The Netherlands.

I don’t know what else to say except that, as always, I hope we do the ‘zine again. Seems like there’ll be a lot to talk about this time around.

From the PR wire:

roadburn 2020 oranssi pazuzu

Roadburn 2020: Further announcements; over three quarters of tickets sold

– Over 3/4 of weekend tickets are already sold
– Oranssi Pazuzu will present their new album as part of James Kent’s curation
– Further additions to both James Kent and Emma Ruth Rundle’s curated events.

With over three quarters of weekend tickets already sold (three-day tickets are completely sold out), and many more bands still to announce, Roadburn’s Walter Hoeijmakers comments:

“I am absolutely overwhelmed by the faith that people have put in us to deliver an exciting line up. We will honour that faith and Roadburn 2020 will be one for the history books. Sincere thanks to everybody who has picked up a ticket so far, it’s an incredible feeling..”

JAMES KENT’S CURATION:

ORANSSI PAZUZU
There are so many pieces of the puzzle that will fall into place between now and next April, and we’re sworn to secrecy on just about all of it. But what we can tell you is that Oranssi Pazuzu will be performing their as-yet unnamed new album in full at Roadburn 2020, as a part of James Kent’s curated event. It seems incomprehensible that Oranssi Pazuzu may have evaded your attention at this point. But we’re sure there’s a few of you out there – the uninitiated. Begin preparations immediately, as come April 2020, there will be dark forces at work here in Tilburg. A magical, mind-melting mangle of psychedelic avant-garde spirits will cast a spell over us all.

BLANCK MASS
Among the list of achievements that Blanck Mass can be proud of is soundtracking the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony in London – and come April 2020, Benjamin John Power will also be able to say he played Roadburn! Whilst we might not have an audience of 900 million watching what goes down in Tilburg that day, we can be sure to give Blanck Mass a customary Roadburn welcome. Soundtracking the emotions that accompany personal and societal loss, intimate and global grief – his latest album, Animated Violence Mild, is direct, honest and absolutely drenched in melody.

HANGMAN’S CHAIR
Making a return to Roadburn – this time under the curatorship of James Kent – is France’s Hangman’s Chair. The cathartic doom/post-punk combination will be familiar to Roadburners who witnessed them back in 2016, but the intervening years have only seen the four-piece pick up the pace. Their 2018 album Banlieue Triste (which featured James in his Perturbator guise, and Wolvennest’s Marc de Backer) will be played in full during their Roadburn performance. Sink into the melancholic explorations of some of the darkest places they have been.

EMMA RUTH RUNDLE’S THE GILDED CAGE:

MIZMOR
Mizmor’s latest album, Cairn, is a mesmerising piece of work. Back in 2016, we were bowled over by Yodh – Mizmor’s previous offering – and we invited multi-instrumentalist, A.L.N, to bring his project to the Roadburn stage in 2018. The set proved to be a defining element of Roadburn that year for all who witnessed it. Cairn is a continuation of Yodh – yet somehow more personal, more intense and more captivating. It’s not necessarily an easy journey, but it’s one we went on willingly. So, it is with enormous pleasure that we announce Mizmor’s return – performing Cairn in full at Roadburn 2020.

CLOUD RAT
We already announced that Cloud Rat would be playing Roadburn 2020, but we’re delighted to announce that they have agreed to a second show. There are dozens of reasons why their latest offering, Pollinator, stands head and shoulders above many other 2019 releases, and just one of them is the accompanying EP that was released at the same time. Performing tracks from this EP, as well as a couple of cuts from elsewhere in their catalogue, Cloud Rat will be showing off a different side to themselves. In order to do justice to the songs in a live setting, the band are enlisting the help of a familiar face and dear friend of Roadburn – Thou’s Andy Gibbs.

SRSQ
The haunting, sorrow-tinged melody that envelopes SRSQ’s debut album, Unreality, gives a big clue of what to expect when Kennedy Ashlyn takes to the Roadburn stage next April. Formed after her previous project, Them Are Us Too, ended due to the tragic death of Kennedy’s collaborator, Cash Askew, SRSQ (pronounced Seer-skew) retains much of the magic that made TAUT so compelling. The soaring synths and layers of swirling emotion are still present, as of course is her lullaby-esque dreamy vocals.

FVNERALS
Their 2016 album, Wounds, is a creeping, eerie voyage through some incredibly dark shadows. Dripping with lethargic menace and hazy atmospherics, Fvnerals paint a sonic landscape that feels devoid of sunlight, absolute desolation pervades. News has reached us that writing will soon commence for their next opus due out in late 2020. Whilst Fvnerals are not a cheery prospect, they are a strangely alluring one. We’re delighted to welcome them to Roadburn 2020.

ALSO ANNOUNCED…

BIG BRAVE & JESSICA MOSS
Big Brave are a modern wonder – a trio of musicians that have seemingly created their own little universe, with no need for our earthly categorisations, no need for our restrictive genres, and no need to stick to any kind of formula. A joy to witness live at any point, but especially so when they’re joined by a special guest. Jessica Moss featured on the Big Brave albums, Au De La and Ardor, performing violin, and on extremely infrequent occasions she has performed with the band live. We’re thrilled to announce that this unholy union will be sharing a stage at Roadburn 2020; the stars in the Roadburn universe have aligned and we’ve captured this most rare of beasts.

JESSICA MOSS
As well as performing alongside Big Brave, Jessica Moss will take to the stage a second time at Roadburn 2020 to perform her own set. Her captivating sonic experimentation and ethereal violin playing will be an all-consuming musical journey for Roadburners lucky enough to witness it live. For those who appreciate the intricacies of quiet moment found at Roadburn – Jessica Moss is the show for you.

CRYPT SERMON
Confidently lassoing all that is great about traditional heavy metal, straddling it and whipping it into shape for a contemporary audience, Crypt Sermon may just have concocted a magic formula that pays tribute to those who have paved the way, whilst simultaneously forging a new path. It’s time to break out your leather jacket – or if you’re feeling bold, the double denim – and get ready to rock out: Crypt Sermon are heading straight for Roadburn 2020 to play their new album The Ruins of Fading Light in full.

LANA DEL RABIES
The origins of Lana Del Rabies may have a connection to her namesake, but since those early days of paying a droney tribute to the pop star, Lana Del Rabies has taken a life of its own. The project and pseudonym of Phoenix, Arizona resident, Sam An, blends synthesized electronics, drone/noise elements and industrial heaviness into an atmosphere of existential abreaction and an exploration of the occult.

RED KITE
For Roadburn 2020, we will continue our quest to bring you some of the most exciting prog bands around. Championing the burgeoning Norwegian psych-prog-jazz scene is Red Kite. Their self-titled debut is a master class in progressive jams and hypnotic soundscapes, hence inviting them for Roadburn.

ROADBURN 2020 TICKETS

Weekend tickets for Roadburn are on sale now (3-day tickets are sold out, 4-day tickets remain on sale). More information about tickets and accommodation options can be found HERE.

Already announced for Roadburn 2020 is: Emma Ruth Rundle and James Kent as curators, commissioned projects from James Kent & Johannes Persson, Jo Quail, and Vile Creature & Bismuth, the return of Julie Christmas, Red Sparowes, Russian Circles, Torche, Brutus, Bada, Dool, Health, Hide, She Past Away, and two Artists In Residence: Full of Hell and Lingua Ignota. Check the full line up HERE.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1081424195382564/
https://www.facebook.com/roadburnfestival/
http://www.instagram.com/roadburnfest
http://www.roadburn.com

Oranssi Pazuzu, Live at Roadburn 2017

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Roadburn 2018 Announces Boris Playing Absolutego, Godflesh Playing Selfless, Hooded Menace Playing Fulfill the Curse, Commissioned Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising Collaboration, and Much More

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Well, here’s Roadburn 2018 wishing you happy holidays as pretty much only Roadburn can. With Boris and Stephen O’Malley playing Absolutego in full, a one-off collaboration between Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising kicking off the festival, additional whole-record performances from Godflesh and Hooded Menace, a European debut from Khemmis, plus the likes of Thou & The Body, Motorpsycho, Fuoco Fatuo, Forgotten Tomb, Wolfbrigade and of course a completely overwhelming ton of others. So yeah, happy holidays from Roadburn, I guess. Probably even happier if you already have your tickets for next April.

If you don’t, gadzooks, I hear it’s the holidays.

From the PR wire:

roadburn 2018 new flyer

Further artists confirmed for 2018 edition of Roadburn Festival; including details of specially commissioned performance

– Dark Buddha Rising and Oranssi Pazuzu collaborate on commissioned project, Waste of Space Orchestra
– Boris join forces with Stephen O’Malley for Absolutego performance
– Jacob Bannon adds Godflesh, Motorpsycho, Thou x The Body and Forgotten Tomb to his curation
– Justin K Broadrick and Kevin Martin unite as Zonal, with Moor Mother
– Hooded Menace to play Fulfill The Curse in its entirety

COMMISSIONED PROJECT: WASTE OF SPACE ORCHESTRA

Artistic Director Walter Hoeijmakers commented:

“Roadburn has always been about bringing people together, creating a network where the line between friend, fan, performer and artist is blurred. The very foundation of Roadburn is the community that it is built upon, around, and within. Alongside this, Roadburn has always sought to push the boundaries of creativity and expression.

These two defining facets of Roadburn have been brought together for a brand new project – or rather, two brand new projects – for 2018. For the first time, we have commissioned a two groups of entirely separate musicians to create music to be performed specifically at Roadburn. Today we’re thrilled to announce the first of those groups of musicians.”

Familiar to most Roadburners, Dark Buddha Rising and Oranssi Pazuzu are combining their forces to write and perform a new concept piece especially for Roadburn 2018. The collaboration will be titled the Waste of Space Orchestra.

The performance will include ten musicians onstage plus an original video accompaniment, designed to tell a parallel story with the music. The ten-part, one hour piece is a dive into the consciousnesses of three beings – all of whom are on a search for deeper truths in comprehending reality.

The Waste of Space Orchestra performance will open the main stage on the first day of Roadburn 2018 – Thursday, April 19.

BORIS AND STEPHEN O’MALLEY PERFORMING ABSOLUTEGO

It was Absolutego that kickstarted everything for Boris in 1996 and put that strange little band from Tokyo named after a Melvins song on the map. If you further exercise your memory, you will surely recall that Absolutego was – above everything – a drone album, one single track that took the listener on a strange, intense and very dark trip.

We’ve invited Boris to come and perform that whole Absolutego giant of sound, and they said yes. Joining them for this exclusive, one off performance is none other than Stephen O’Malley.

Boris with Stephen O’Malley will play Absolutego on Saturday, April 21 at the 013 venue, Tilburg, The Netherlands.

JACOB BANNON’S CURATION

MOTORPSYCHO

“When discussing with Walter potential artists that fit the experimental spirit of Roadburn Festival, we both landed on the idea of Motorpsycho. I was first exposed to the band through their Demon Box album and have attempted to follow their unique twists and turns since. Their output is legendary and their need for experimentation has been inspiring to follow over the years. It is a true honor to help bring this diverse voice to the Roadburn audience.”

– Jacob Bannon.

GODFLESH

As part of Jacob Bannon’s curation, Godflesh will perform their groundbreaking album Selfless at Roadburn Festival 2018.

“I first experienced Godflesh when I picked up the Grindcrusher compilation from Earache Records as a teenager. The otherworldly power of Streetcleaner effected me in a way that I still find hard to describe. Since then I have been an avid follower of all music that Justin creates. Though I celebrate the expansive Broadrick catalog as a whole, it is his forays into melody under the Godflesh name I really connect with. Selfless as is an album that has everything for me. Punishing heaviness, incredible hooks, and limitless emotional depth. It is a true honor that they have agreed to play this album in its entirety at Roadburn 2018.”

– Jacob Bannon.

CURATION: THOU X THE BODY

“Since their inception I’ve been following Thou. Their restlessness and drive for experimentation has been inspiring to follow. The same goes for The Body. They’ve been such an incredible band to watch evolve from release to release. When they joined together on their Released From Love and You Whom I Have Always Hated collaborations I was floored. Together, they amplify the best parts of each band’s individual output. Making some of the heaviest and most intense music of the last few years. This collaboration is a must listen and perfect fit for Roadburn Festival.”

– Jacob Bannon

CURATION: FORGOTTEN TOMB

“I was first exposed to Forgotten Tomb through their incredible Springtime Depression album. To me, Herr Morbid’s vision was immediately appealing. Carrying a relatable sadness and inescapable darkness unequaled by other artists of the time. Since then I’ve been following his growth as an artist and the evolution of the band. I feel that artistically Forgotten Tomb are a perfect fit for the core Roadburn audience. They are a musical black hole that claims everything around it. I can’t wait to experience their set at Roadburn Festival 2018.”

– Jacob Bannon

ZONAL WITH MOOR MOTHER

Justin K. Broadrick is such an integral part of the Roadburn backbone by now that he needs little introduction. When it was announced that Justin and Kevin Martin, aka The Bug – who already made himself part of Roadburn with a staggering show alongside Dylan Carlson of Earth this year – would reunite under the name Zonal (a spiritual continuation from their iconic Techno Animal duo) it registered on our always-on radar. They will be joined by Camae Ayewa, the musician, activist and poet from Philadelphia who also goes by the name Moor Mother.

HOODED MENACE

Since their earliest rumblings, Finnish cult doomsters Hooded Menace have held an astonishingly high profile in the underground realms. Their uniquely energetic take on the classic hybrid of doom and death metal has been invigorating audience since the release of their 2008 classic, Fulfill the Curse. We’re thrilled to announce that the band will perform this classic album in full at Roadburn 2018.

ALSO CONFIRMED

Classic heavy doom from Khemmis

Move or be moved by Wolfbrigade 

Tribulation’s Jonathan Hultén will haunt Het Patronaat

Worship will perform Last Tape Before Doomsday in its entirety

Get sucked into a cold, dark void by Fuoco Fatuo 

Welcome the wild and unrestrained spirit of Alda

Zuriaake will be the first Chinese band to perform at Roadburn Festival.

Some nightmares take us towards Vampillia

VMO will prove they are more than “just” a side project

Head out on an exhilarating ride with Watter

Allow yourself to shape shift with Hail Spirit Noir

Watch Kairon; Irse! defy time and space

Dive headfirst into Hortes dreamy slumber

Old Tower make their live debut at Roadburn 2018.

TICKET ONSALE INFORMATION
Roadburn 2018 tickets are on sale now. 3 and 4 day tickets are currently available, with day tickets going on sale at a later date.

4-day-tickets €198,40 (including €3,40 service fees)
3-day-tickets €175,40 (including €3,40 service fees)

Camping tickets are also available to purchase, with additional options (such as Festipis and camper vans) also possible. This year the urban campsite will be in a new location – but still within walking distance to the 013 venue – providing a comfortable and affordable option for Roadburn attendees.

Click here for more information on tickets and the campsite

https://www.facebook.com/roadburnfestival/
http://www.twitter.com/Roadburnfest
http://www.instagram.com/roadburnfest
http://www.roadburn.com

Roadburn 2018 Fourth Announcement Video

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Roadburn 2017 First Announcements: Coven to Headline; John Dyer Baizley to Curate; Many More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 5th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2017

So, uh, 2017 over. Roadburn wins.

The Netherlands-based festival comes out of the gate with its first announcements for Roadburn 2017 and immediately proves why it’s like nothing else happening on this poor pitiful planet we happen to occupy. To bring Coven back to the stage for the first time in untold decades and for their first European show ever? Come on. I don’t care where you live, that’s worth getting on a plane for.

But of course, this is just the start of announcement season for Roadburn 2017. Over the next several months, in addition to these revelations that John Dyer Baizley of Baroness will curate and Baroness will perform as a part of that, that Warning will show up to play Watching from a Distance in full, that Gnod will be artists-in-residence and that Oranssi Pazuzu, Les Discrets, Pillorian, Perturbator, Schammasch and Zeal & Ardor will also play, Roadburn 2017 will spend the next several months unfolding its unparalleled creative progression as an event. Expect once-in-a-lifetime sets — see the ultra-pivotal cult rock progenitors named above — and an amazing and diverse roster of acts such that, by the time they’re done, the biggest complaint people will have is that there are too many incredible things to see that it’s impossible to do it all in the five days between the Hard Rock Hideout on Wednesday and the Afterburner on Sunday. Tough times, to be sure.

Enter Roadburn 2017. Mind already blown:

roadburn-festival-2017_first-announcment-700

Roadburn 2017: A Coven, a comeback, a curator and more

COVEN will play their first show in decades, and for the first time ever on European soil.

Jinx Dawson quote: “Roadburn Festival’s intrepid ring master, Walter, hath stirred us from our Coven lair. We shall be performing a musickal ritual for the first time in many ages. We are wickedly delighted to travel to the Netherlands for this very special festival concert, and to bring our musickal form of Witchcraft once again to the live stage.”

Coven play 013 venue on Thursday, 20 April 2017
http://wp.me/p1m0FP-aJW

JOHN DYER BAIZLEY will curate Roadburn 2017 – the main stage on Friday 21 April, and Het Patronaat on Saturday 22 April. BARONESS will perform on the Friday night as part of his curated event.

John said: “It is such a high honor to have even been considered for the role; I feel genuinely privileged to have fostered so many wonderful relationships within the microcosmic-world that surrounds this incredibly unique festival. Without revealing anything too specific concerning the lineup, I can confidently say that the groundwork that Walter and I have laid in the preceding months is staggering, both in it’s scope and it’s diversity. I could never have dreamed that I’d get to communicate with, let alone invite and present so many incredible bands during this one consolidated musical event. I am proud to have the opportunity to showcase so many of those artists, who have had an indelible impact on my own work, so many esteemed friends and tour-mates, and people/ bands with whom so many in our community share fundamental creative ideals.”
http://wp.me/p1m0FP-aKb

WARNING will perform Watching from a Distance in its entirety at Roadburn 2017. Please write the album title as here!

Quote from Patrick Walker: “I am humbled that there is still an interest in Watching from a Distance all these years on, and I’m going to be very moved to be able to play it for an audience at Roadburn 2017.”

Warning play at the 013 venue on Saturday 22 April
http://wp.me/p1m0FP-aJM

GNOD will be Roadburn 2017’s artist in residence, which means they will perform four times throughout the festival. This will mark their tenth anniversary as a band.
http://wp.me/p1m0FP-aJH

ZEAL & ARDOR will perform on Friday, April 21 at Het Patronaat – http://wp.me/p1m0FP-aJQ
PERTURBATOR will perform Friday, April 21 at Het Patronaat – http://wp. me/p1m0FP-aK8
SCHAMMASCH will perform on Friday, April 21 at Het Patronaat – http://wp.me/p1m0FP-aJT
PILLORIAN will perform on Sunday, April 23 at the 013 venue – http://wp.me/p1m0FP-aK2
LES DISCRETS will perform on Sunday, April 23 at the 013 venue – http://wp.me/p1m0FP-aK4
ORANSSI PAZUZU will perform on Saturday, April 22 at the 013 venue – http://wp.me/p1m0FP-aK6 – OP played Roadburn 2016 but a lot of people missed out on them as they played at Het Patonaat and we were overwhelmed by the number of people who wanted to see them. So this time around they will play the MainStage so everybody gets to see them!

http://www.roadburn.com/
https://www.facebook.com/roadburnfestival
https://twitter.com/roadburnfest

Coven, Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls (1969)

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Blowup Vol. 2: Complete Lineup Confirmed

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 24th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

In October, just as an ultra-busy Fall festival season begins to wind down so everyone can go back and record new albums, Helsinki venue Korjaamo will play host to Blowup Vol. 2. With the likes of Conan, Monolord, Lucifer and native Finnish acts like Skepticism, Oranssi Pazuzu, Lord Vicar, Atomikylä, Albinö Rhino and Morbid Evils, the broad and often bizarre spectrum of the country’s heavy scene is well represented, and those selected from outside Finland’s borders show a keen curation process at work.

The fest is set for Oct. 14 and 15, and will also feature a live-scored cinematic showing of 1967’s banned documentary, Titicut Follies, about a patient in a mental hospital in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, which by amazing coincidence is the next town over from where I live. Go figure.

The final lineup and show info came down the PR wire:

blowup-vol-2-poster

Blowup Vol. 2

October 14-15
Korjaamo
Töölönkatu 51 a-b, 00250 Helsinki

BlowUp Vol. 2 is taking place 14 -15 October 2016 in Helsinki, Finland. The venue is Korjaamo Culture Factory, one of the largest independent art centres in the Nordic countries. Korjaamo was founded in an old tram depot in Töölö in 2004, and now hosts a concert venue as well as six smaller creative spaces for meetings and seminars plus movie theatre. The Vaunuhalli building is also home to Helsinki City Museum’s Tram Museum.

Blowup Vol. 2 also offers the cinematic art. Titicut Follies is directed by Frederick Wiseman documentary in 1967, which follows the lives of Massachusetts Bridgewater inmate in a mental hospital. Although the movie was awarded with freshly festivals in Germany and Italy, the United States, it crashed into censorship. Titicut Follies was shown to the public for the first time only in 1992. At Blowup Vol 2 it is presented in the early evening on Friday, 14 October.

Titicut Follies screen will be accompanied by Veli-Matti O. “Heap” Äijälän and Markku Leinonen, duo that made new music for the movie, which will necessarily be heard a second time.

Final line up for Blowup Vol. 2:

Friday 14.10.2016
Lucifer (UK)
Bastard Noise (US)
Oranssi Pazuzu (FIN)
Au-Dessus (LT)
Atomikylä (FIN)

Friday 14.10.2016
Film concert: Titicut Follies (Frederick Wiseman, 1967)
Score by Veli-Matti O. Äijälä & Markku Leinonen
http://www.zipporah.com/films/22
https://www.facebook.com/events/173514406381582/

Saturday 15.10.2016
Conan (UK)
Monolord (SWE)
Skepticism (FIN)
Lord Vicar (FIN)
Albinö Rhino & Morbid Evils (FIN) – Split Live Experience.

https://www.facebook.com/events/977786362259558/
https://www.tiketti.fi/Blowup-Festival-Vol-2-Korjaamo-Helsinki-lippuja/36753

Atomikylä, Keräily (2016)

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Quarterly Review: Spiritual Beggars, Øresund Space Collective, Goya, Black Shape of Nexus, Cough, Oranssi Pazuzu, Karma to Burn, Black Mood, Nebula Drag, Ommadon

Posted in Reviews on June 21st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-summer-2016-quarterly-review

Day Two of The Obelisk’s Summer 2016 Quarterly Review — that’s an awful lot of capital letters. I’m not sure if it’s quite such a formal occasion, but perhaps that’s just an effect of staring at some of the names in this particular batch, who from classic heavy rock to post-black metal to stoner riffs, drone, doom and beyond offer a pretty vast range and more than a small measure of profile throughout. It’s a substantial swath, is what I’m saying. If you can’t find something here to dig on, well, I’d say look again, but of course there’ll also be another 10 reviews tomorrow, Thursday and Friday, and there were 10 yesterday as well, so I’m sure something will turn up if it hasn’t yet. Here we go.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Spiritual Beggars, Sunrise to Sundown

spiritual beggars sunrise to sundown

More than 20 years on from their self-titled debut, Sweden’s Spiritual Beggars release their ninth LP, Sunrise to Sundown (on Inside Out Music). They seem to have set themselves to the sole task of making the records that one wishes Deep Purple were making, full of righteous organ-laced classic heavy thrust, driven by top tier songwriting and performance on every level. Founding guitarist Michael Amott (also Carcass) has assembled a lineup of masters, and since 2010’s Return to Zero (review here), frontman Apollo Papathanasio (also Firewind) has provided the soaring voice to add to the keyboard majesty of Per Wiberg (ex-Opeth, Candlemass) on songs like “I Turn to Stone.” The album’s 11 cuts are catchy, universally structured, and varied in their feel enough to carry the listener through fluidly, bassist Sharlee D’Angelo (Mercyful Fate) and drummer Ludwig Witt (ex-Firebird) locking in weighted grooves and underscoring the flow of what comes across like an increasingly collaborative songwriting process. Sunrise to Sundown is the sound of a band knowing what they want to do and how they want to do it and then doing precisely that.

Spiritual Beggars on Thee Facebooks

Inside Out Music website

 

Øresund Space Collective, Ode to a Black Hole

oresund space collective ode to a black hole

How many records does Ode to a Black Hole make it for Danish improve spacelords Øresund Space Collective? I honestly don’t know. Their Bandcamp lists 52 releases. Granted, not all of them are full-length studio LPs, but they jam whether they’re live or in the studio, so after a point it’s kind of moot. However many in the ultimate tally, Ode to a Black Hole is somewhat unique among them, exploring the darker side of the cosmic reaches in a bleaker, droning psychedelia spread across two instrumental tracks put to tape at the same time as 2015’s triple-LP Different Creatures (review here). Of course, it’s Øresund Space Collective, so there is still plenty of synth and effects swirl to be had, but it’s a slower galaxial movement as “Ode to a Black Hole Part 1” feeds directly into “Ode to a Black Hole Part 2.” Whatever their method of getting there, Øresund Space Collective prove once again how apparently boundless their scope has become with nuance of guitar and key flourish beneath the surface of the mix to let the listener know there’s life out in the expanse.

Øresund Space Collective on Thee Facebooks

Øresund Space Collective on Bandcamp

 

Goya, The Enemy

goya the enemy

Phoenix, Arizona’s Goya continue their forward march with The Enemy EP (on STB Records). Still fair to say Electric Wizard are a primary influence, but as shown on their last full-length, 2015’s charmingly-titled Obelisk (review here), the trio are increasingly able to put more of themselves into their sound. In “The Enemy,” “Last” and “Light Years,” that shows in tighter songwriting, some vocal harmonies on “Light Years,” and a harder overall tonal impact than the tenets of post-Witchcult Today doomery might lead one to expect, reminding in parts of the raw in-room feel that Egypt have come to proffer, burly but more about groove than attitude. The EP closes with a nine-minute take on “The Enemy” itself, adding more harmonies, some screams at the end, and a lengthy midsection jam to flesh out its extra four minutes. Goya have been and still are a bright spot (existentially, if not in mood) in up-and-coming US doom, and The Enemy might be a stopgap coming off of Obelisk, but it reminds listeners of their growth very much still in progress.

Goya on Thee Facebooks

STB Records

 

Black Shape of Nexus, Carrier

black shape of nexus carrier

In a universe full of pretenders to the throne of Eyehategod, German six-piece Black Shape of Nexus prove there’s room for genuine creativity in sludge. Their fourth offering, Carrier (on Exile on Mainstream), finds them past the 10-year mark and lumbering their way through five varied originals, from the cavernous opener “I Can’t Play It” through the droning “Lift Yourself” and the utter spacecrush that ensues in “Facepunch Transport Layer” before the villainous laughter at the end of “Sachsenheim” leads to a 12-minute take on Hellhammer’s “Triumph of Death,” which closes. It feels like no coincidence that of the Black Shape of Nexus-penned inclusions “Sand Mountain” is the centerpiece; the tortured screaming, claustrophobic riff and blend of rawness and lush depth speak to the originality at the core of their approach. There’s a firm sense of fuckall here, and my understanding is making Carrier was something of a trial, but the results are perhaps only more vicious for that, and thus stronger.

Black Shape of Nexus on Thee Facebooks

Exile on Mainstream Records website

 

Cough, Still They Pray

cough still they pray

Six years and the ascent of an entire movement of similarly-minded acts later, Cough ooze back to activity with Still They Pray (on Relapse), their dirt-caked third full-length. That movement, by the way, includes fellow Richmonders Windhand, with whom Cough now share bassist Parker Chandler and whose Garrett Morris recorded here along with Jus Oborn of Electric Wizard, who remain a major influence in Cough’s grueling, nodding filth, brought to bear over eight tracks and a purposefully unmanageable 67-minute runtime. Stylistically it’s not so far from where Cough were on 2010’s Ritual Abuse (review here), the bleak anarchistic lurch and tonal immersion still very much at the fore of “Possession,” “Dead Among the Roses” and the organ-inclusive “The Wounding Hours,” but though they can play slow enough to make “Masters of Torture” seem positively thrashy by comparison, they never lose their sense of atmosphere, as the acoustic-led closing title-track makes plain in fashion no less heavy than the punishment meted out before it.

Cough on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records website

 

Oranssi Pazuzu, Värähtelijä

oranssi pazuzu varahtelija

It feels factually inaccurate to call something so wilfully charred “vibrant,” but Oranssi Pazuzu’s fourth long-player, Värähtelijä (on Svart and 20 Buck Spin), not only finds light in its overarching darkness, but makes it a pivotal aspect of the album’s 69-minute course. Open structures, an enviable depth of mix between far-off guitar, keys, organ, various layers of screams, etc., songs like 12-minute opener “Saturaatio” and the later 17-minute chaoswirl of “Vasemann Käden Hierarkia” offer stylistic breadth as much prog as they are psychedelia or black metal, perhaps the next phase of the latter’s cosmic wing come to fruition. Relatively speaking, the more straightforward “Havuluu” offers listeners a moment to catch their breadth, but the organ-led experimentalism of 10-minute closer “Valveavaruus” gurgles in an exploration of ambient downward plunge. One of the most adventurous black metal releases of 2016, if you can still even tag a genre to it, which I’m not sure you can. A band doing pivotal and forward-thinking work.

Oranssi Pazuzu on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin webshop

Svart Records webshop

 

Karma to Burn, Mountain Czar

karma to burn mountain czar

Though they just got off a lengthy US run, the fact that Karma to Burn’s webstore offers their new Mountain Czar EP in euro instead of dollars could easily be taken as a sign of where the band’s general priorities lie. I don’t know if founding guitarist Will Mecum is actually living abroad or remains in West Virginia, but their label, Rodeostar Records, is European, they maintain a close relationship with German artist Alexander Von Wieding, and their tour schedule keeps a definite continental focus. So be it. Mountain Czar brings five new cuts, three by-the-numbers Karma to Burn instrumentals, the highlight of which is patient, jangly-guitar closer “63,” and “Uccidendo un Sogno,” an Italian-language cover of Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ down a Dream” sung by guest vocalist Stefanie Savy and featuring Manuel Bissig of Switzerland’s Sons of Morpheus on guitar. Karma to Burn very much remain Karma to Burn throughout, Mecum joined by drummer Evan Devine and bassist Eric Clutter, but they’re changing what that means in interesting ways.

Karma to Burn website

Rodeostar Records

 

Black Mood, Squalid Garden

black mood squalid garden

Comprised solely of guitarist/vocalist Sleaze and drummer Izz, German Southern metallers Black Mood begin their seven-song sophomore outing, Squalid Garden (on Daredevil Records) with a sample of Cornelius from Planet of the Apes quoting the Lawgiver to “shun the beast man,” and so on. By the time they get around to the chugging and warbling “Ohh, save my soul” in second cut “IWNAR,” the Down/Crowbar vibe has been laid on so thick that it’s unmistakable. It’s been seven years since Black Mood made their self-titled debut in 2009 – they had an EP, Toxic Hippies, out in 2012 – but their chestbeating, dudely vibes are easily sourced, even in faster, more Pantera-style moments in “Reflected,” “100 Squalid Garden” or closer “Side,” making the album ultimately a matter of taste for anyone who’d take it on. For me, some aspects ring derivative, others show flashes of individualism, but it’s a very specific vision of Southern metal at work here, and it’s not going to be for everyone.

Black Mood on Bandcamp

Daredevil Records webshop

 

Nebula Drag, Nebula Drag

nebula-drag-nebula-drag

Newcomers Nebula Drag join the ranks of a crowded heavy psych scene in their native San Diego via their self-titled, self-released debut, but the trio distinguish themselves immediately with a solidified underpinning of punkish intent, so that the airy vocals of “Sano” float over an insistent, noisy crunch. That blend is toyed with in one direction or another throughout the release, the five-minute “So Low” finding some middle-ground in grunge push, but as the subsequent “Up and Down”’s Melvins-style roll and the hardcore-style drive of “Lost Time” play out, Nebula Drag seem far less tied to any single approach. It’s a dynamic that serves them well throughout the album’s 10-track/37-minute run, and they maintain a sense of rawness in the almost thrashy breakdown of “I Can Not Explain” that speaks to a lack of pretense to go along with their potential for development. Will be curious to hear if one side or the other wins out in their sound over the long-term, but in a town where so many bands are geared on being the most laid back, it’s refreshing to hear a group with a more forceful tack.

Nebula Drag on Thee Facebooks

Nebula Drag on Bandcamp

 

Ommadon, Ommadon

ommadon ommadon

After a series of numbered full-lengths, Glasgow consciousness-stompers Ommadon offer their self-titled sixth album through Dry Cough Records, Burning World Records and Medusa Crush Recordings. Doubtless the three labels were needed in order simply lift the 41-minute, single-song release, which is so unspeakably and ridiculously heavy as to warrant comparison to Buried at Sea’s Migration. Its retching lumber is superlative, and in giving it their name, Ommadon signal (and say outright) that it’s the work they’ve been driving toward all along. Fair enough. There is no moment of relenting from the abysmal intentions of “Ommadon” itself, and if this is to be the piece that ultimately defines the band, it’s one worthy of consideration for the outright extremity it brings to doom, sludge and drone, as well as the methodical nature in which it unfolds. Whatever its ultimate impact, Ommadon have pushed themselves forward and crafted an excruciating contribution that feels like a monolith bent to their will.

Ommadon on Thee Facebooks

Dry Cough Records webshop

Burning World Records

Medusa Crush Recordings on Bandcamp

 

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BlowUp Vol. 2 Adds Samothrace, Monolord and Skepticism

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 12th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

blowup vol 2 header

Set for this October in Helsinki, Finland, BlowUp Vol. 2 has added MonolordSkepticism and Samothrace to its lineup. They join the ranks of Bastard NoiseConan and Oranssi Pazuzu for the event, which will also have a film component showing a banned documentary apparently filmed about 10 minutes from where I live about the treatment of patients in a mental hospital. Go figure on that one. That’ll have a live soundtrack with it, naturally.

Not sure as to how many acts will comprise the final lineup for BlowUp Vol. 2, but the six they already have already show a solid international draw, and though Europe is silly with festivals this October — BlowUp Vol. 2 is the same weekend as Desertfest Belgium 2016, albeit 26 hours away by car — the Finnish event is clearly going for establishing its own vibe.

Semi-translated info follows:

blowup vol 2 poster

BlowUp Vol. 2 is taking place 14 -15 October 2016 in Helsinki, Finland. The venue is Korjaamo Culture Factory, one of the largest independent art centres in the Nordic countries. Korjaamo was founded in an old tram depot in Töölö in 2004, and now hosts a concert venue as well as six smaller creative spaces for meetings and seminars plus movie theatre. The Vaunuhalli building is also home to Helsinki City Museum’s Tram Museum.

The new names are Swedish doom band Monolord, despair alleys of the American free-moving genre Samothrace, as well as Finnish Skepticism, whose funeral doom is playing live this year only this time in Helsinki.

Blowup Vol. 2 also offers the cinematic art. Titicut Follies is directed by Frederick Wiseman documentary in 1967, which follows the lives of Massachusetts Bridgewater inmate in a mental hospital. Although the movie was awarded with freshly festivals in Germany and Italy, the United States, it crashed into censorship. Titicut Follies was shown to the public for the first time only in 1992. At Blowup Vol 2 it is presented in the early evening on Friday, 14 October.

Titicut Follies screen will be accompanied by Veli-Matti O. “Heap” Äijälän and Markku Leinonen, duo that made new music for the movie, which will necessarily be heard a second time.

Confirmed bands so far are:
Conan (UK)
Monolord (SWE)
Skepticism (FIN)
Samothrace (US)
Bastard Noise (US)
Oranssi Pazuzu (FIN)

https://www.facebook.com/blowupthatgramophone/
https://www.facebook.com/events/977786362259558/
https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/blowupfestival/
https://www.tiketti.fi/Blowup-Festival-Vol-2-Korjaamo-Helsinki-lippuja/36753

BlowUp Vol. 2 trailer

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