Quarterly Review: Amenra, Liquid Sound Company, Iceburn, Gods and Punks, Vouna, Heathen Rites, Unimother 27, Oxblood Forge, Wall, Boozewa

Posted in Reviews on July 14th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

You’ll have to forgive me, what the hell day is it? The url says this is day eight, so I guess that’s Wednesday. Fine. That’s as good as any. It’s all just 10 more records to my brain at this point, and that’s fine. I’ve got it all lined up. As of me writing this, I still haven’t heard about my busted-ass laptop that went in for repair last Saturday, and that’s a bummer, but I’m hoping that any minute now the phone is going to show the call coming in and I’ll just keep staring at it until that happens and I’m sure that will be awesome for my already brutalized productivity.

My backup laptop — because yes, I have one and will gladly argue with you that it’s necessary citing this week as an example — is a cheapie Chromebook. The nicest thing I can say about it is it’s red. The meanest thing I can say about it is that I had to change the search button to a caps lock and even that doesn’t respond fast enough to my typing, so I’m constantly capitalizing the wrong letters. If you don’t think that’s infuriating, congratulations on whatever existence has allowed you to live this long without ever needing to use a keyboard. “Hello computer,” and all that.

Enough kvetching. Too much to do.

Quarterly Review #71-80:

Amenra, De Doorn

Amenra De Doorn

I’ve made no secret over the last however long of not being the biggest Amenra fan in the universe. Honestly, it’s not even about the Belgian band themseves — live, they’re undeniable — but the plaudits around them are no less suffocating than their crushing riffs at their heaviest moments. Still, as De Doorn marks their first offering through Relapse Records, finds them departing from their Mass numbered series of albums and working in their native Flemish for the first time, and brings Caro Tanghe of Oathbreaker into the songs to offer melodic counterpoint to Colin H. van Eeckhout‘s nothing-if-not-identifiable screams, the invitations to get on board are manifold. This is a band with rules. They have set their own rules, and even in pushing outside them as they do here, much of their ideology and sonic persona is maintained. Part of that identity is being forward thinking, and that surfaces on De Doorn in parts ambient and quiet, but there’s always a part of me that feels like Amenra are playing it safe, even as they’re working within parameters they’ve helped define for a generation of European post-metal working directly in their wake. The post-apocalyptic breadth they harness in these tracks will only continue to win them converts. Maybe I’ll be one of them. That would be fun. It’s nice to belong, you know?

Amenra on Facebook

Relapse Records website

 

Liquid Sound Company, Psychoactive Songs for the Psoul

Liquid sound company psychoactive songs for the psoul

A quarter-century after their founding, Arlington, Texas, heavy psych rockers Liquid Sound Company still burn and melt along the lysergic path of classic ’60s acid rock, beefier in tone but no less purposeful in their drift on Psychoactive Songs for the Psoul. They’re turning into custard on “Blacklight Corridor” and they can tell you don’t understand on “Who Put All of Those Things in Your Hair?,” and all the while their psych rock digs deeper into the cosmic pulse, founding guitarist John Perez (also Solitude Aeturnus) unable to resist bringing a bit of shred to “And to Your Left… Neptune” — unless that’s Mark Cook‘s warr guitar — even as “Mahayuga” answers back to the Middle Eastern inflection of “Blacklight Corridor” earlier on. Capping with the mellow jam “Laila Was Here,” Psychoactive Songs for the Psoul is a loving paean to the resonant energies of expanded minds and flowing effects, but “Cosmic Liquid Love” is still a heavy rollout, and even the shimmering “I Feel You” is informed by that underlying sense of heft. Nonetheless, it’s an acid invitation worth the RSVP.

Liquid Sound Company on Facebook

Liquid Sound Company on Bandcamp

 

Iceburn, Asclepius

iceburn asclepius

Flying snakes, crawling birds, two tracks each over 17 minutes long, the first Iceburn release in 20 years is an all-in affair from the outset. As someone coming to the band via Gentry Densley‘s work in Eagle Twin, there are recognizable elements in tone, themes and vocals, but with fellow founders Joseph “Chubba” Smith on drums and James Holder on guitar, as well as bassist Cache Tolman (who’s Johnny Comelately since he originally joined in 1991, I guess), the atmosphere conjured by the four-piece is consuming and spacious in its own way, and their willingness to go where the song guides them on side A’s “Healing the Ouroboros,” right up to the long-fading drone end after so much lumbering skronk and incantations before, and side B’s “Dahlia Rides the Firebird,” with its pervasive soloing, gallop and veer into earth-as-cosmos terradelia, the return of Iceburn — if in fact that’s what this is — makes its own ceremony across Asclepius, sounding newly inspired rather than like a rehash.

Iceburn on Facebook

Southern Lord Recordings website

 

Gods & Punks, The Sounds of the Universe

gods and punks the sounds of the universe

As regards ambition, Gods & Punks‘ fourth LP, The Sounds of the Universe, wants for nothing. The Rio De Janeiro heavy psych rockers herein wrap what they’ve dubbed their ‘Voyager’ series, culminating the work they’ve done since their first EP — album opener “Eye in the Sky” is a remake — while tying together the progressive, heavy and cosmic aspects of their sound in a single collection of songs. In context, it’s a fair amount to take in, but a track like “Black Apples” has a riffy standout appeal regardless of its place in the band’s canon, and whether it’s the classic punch of “The TUSK” or the suitably patient expansion of “Universe,” the five-piece don’t neglect songwriting for narrative purpose. That is to say, whether or not you’ve heard 2019’s And the Celestial Ascension (discussed here) or any of their other prior material, you’re still likely to be pulled in by “Gravity” and “Dimensionaut” and the rest of what surrounds. The only question is where do they go from here? What’s outside the universe?

Gods & Punks on Facebok

Abraxas on Facebook

Forbidden Place Records website

 

Vouna, Atropos

vouna atropos

Released (appropriately) by Profound Lore, Vouna‘s second full-length Atropos is a work of marked depth and unforced grandeur. After nine-minute opener “Highest Mountain” establishes to emotional/aural tone, Atropos is comprised mostly of three extended pieces in “Vanish” (15:34), “Grey Sky” (14:08) and closer “What Once Was” (15:11) with the two-minute “What Once Was (Reprise)” leading into the final duo. “Vanish” finds Vouna — aka Olympia, Washington-based Yianna Bekris — bringing in textures of harp and violin to answer the lap steel and harp on “Highest Mountain,” and features a harsh guest vocal from Wolves in the Throne Room‘s Nathan Weaver, but it’s in the consuming wash at the finish of “Grey Sky” and in the melodic vocal layers cutting through as the first half of “What Once Was” culminates ahead of the break into mournful doom and synth that Vouna most shines, bridging styles in a way so organic as to be utterly consuming and keeping resonance as the most sought target, right unto the piano line that tops the last crescend, answering back the very beginning of “Highest Mountain.” Not a record that comes along every day.

Vouna on Facebook

Profound Lore website

 

Heathen Rites, Heritage

heathen rites heritage

One gets the sense in listening that for Mikael Monks, the Burning Saviours founder working under the moniker of Heathen Rites for the first time, the idea of Heritage for which the album is titled is as much about doom itself as the Scandinavian folk elements that surface in “Gleipner” or in the brief, bird-song and mountain-echo-laced finish “Kulning,” not to mention the Judas Priest-style triumphalism of the penultimate “The Sons of the North” just before. Classic doom is writ large across Heritage, from the bassline of “Autumn” tapping into “Heaven and Hell” to the flowing culmination of “Midnight Sun” and the soaring guitar apex in “Here Comes the Night.” In the US, many of these ideas of “northern” heritage, runes, or even heathenism have been coopted as expressions of white supremacy. It’s worth remembering that for some people it’s actually culture. Monks pairs that with his chosen culture — i.e. doom — in intriguing ways here that one hopes he’ll continue to explore.

Heathen Rites on Facebook

Svart Records website

 

Unimother 27, Presente Incoerente

Unimother 27 Presente Incoerente

Some things in life you just have to accept that you’re never going to fully understand. The mostly-solo-project Unimother 27 from Italy’s Piero Ranalli is one of those things. Ranalli has been riding his own wavelength in krautrock and classic progressive stylizations mixed with psychedelic freakout weirdness going on 15 years now, experimenting all the while, and you don’t have to fully comprehend the hey-man-is-this-jazz bass bouncing under “L’incontro tra Phallos e Mater Coelestis” to just roll with it, so just roll with it and know that wherever you’re heading, there’s a plan at work, even if the plan is to not have a plan. Mr. Fist‘s drums tether the synth and drifting initial guitar of “Abraxas…il Dio Difficile da Conoscere” and serve a function as much necessary as grooving, but one way or the other, you’re headed to “Systema Munditotius,” where forward and backward are the same thing and the only trajectory discernible is “out there.” So go. Just go. You won’t regret it.

Unimother 27 on Facebook

Pineal Gland Lab website

 

Oxblood Forge, Decimator

Oxblood Forge Decimator

Not, not, not a coincidence that Massachusetts four-piece Oxblood Forge — vocalist Ken Mackay, guitarist Robb Lioy, bassist Greg Dellaria and drummer/keyboardist Erik Fraünfeltër — include an Angel Witch cover on their third long-player, Decimator, as even before they get around to the penultimate “Sorcerers,” the NWOBHM is a defining influence throughout the proceedings, be it the “hey hey hey!” chanting of “Mortal Salience” or the death riders owning the night on opener “Into the Abyss” or the sheer Maidenry met with doom tinge on “Screams From Silence.” Mackay‘s voice, high in the mix, adds a tinge of grit, but Decimator isn’t trying to get one over on anyone. This blue collar worship for classic metal presented in a manner that could only be as full-on as it is for it to work at all. No irony, no khakis, no bullshit.

Oxblood Forge on Facebook

Oxblood Forge on Bandcamp

 

Wall, Vol. 2

wall vol 2

They keep this up, they’re going to have a real band on their hands. Desert Storm/The Grand Mal bandmates and twin brothers Ryan Cole (guitar/bass) and Elliot Cole (drums) began Wall as a largely-instrumental quarantine project in 2020, issuing a self-titled EP (review here) on APF Records. Vol. 2 follows on the quick with five more cuts of unbridled groove, including a take on Karma to Burn‘s “Nineteen” that, if it needs to be said, serves as homage to Will Mecum, who passed away earlier this year. That song fits right in with a cruncher like “Avalanche” or “Speed Freak,” or even “The Tusk,” which also boasts a bit of layered guitar harmonies, feeling out new ground there and in the acousti-handclap-blues of “Falling From the Edge of Nowhere.” The fact that Wall have live dates booked — alongside The Grand Mal, no less — speaks further to their real-bandness, but Vol. 2 hardly leaves any doubt as it is.

Wall on Facebook

APF Records website

 

Boozewa, Deb

Boozewa Deb

The second self-recorded outing from Pennsylvania trio Boozewa, Deb, offers two songs to follow-up on Feb. 2021’s First Contact (review here) demo, keeping an abidingly raw, we-did-this-at-home feel — this time they sent the results to Tad Doyle for mastering — while pushing their sound demonstrably forward with “Deb” bringing bassist Jessica Baker to the fore vocally alongside drummer Mike Cummings. Guitarist Rylan Caspar contributes in that regard as well, and the results are admirably grunge-coated heavy rock and roll that let enough clarity through to establish a hook, while the shorter “Now. Stop.” edges toward a bit more lumber in its groove, at least until they punk it out with some shouts at the finish. Splitting hairs? You betcha. Maybe they’re just writing songs. The results are there waiting to be dug either way.

Boozewa on Instagram

Boozewa on Bandcamp

 

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

Heathen Rites: Debut LP Heritage Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 1st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

heathen rites

Not too long ago I was thinking about Burning Saviours as kind of the unsung heroes of Swedish retro doom. For nearly 20 years, the Örebro-based outfit have in one form or another have paid homage to the riffage of yore, and as founding guitarist/vocalist Michael Monks steps out to make a debut with the solo-project Heathen Rites, the thread of doom is modernized some in sound but no less resonant. The album runs a tidy seven tracks and 35 minutes, and must’ve been announced a few weeks back and maybe I missed it, but the promo caught my eye ahead of the Aug. 27 release, and as an update for the doom metal of yore, Heritage works on multiple levels, digging into Scandinavian-ism — the Doom in the North! — and elder metal in kind. Those already among the converted will find “Midnight Sun” — streaming below — easy to dig on, and I’m not hearing anything elsewhere in the offering to contradict. Even the birdsong, ringing voice of the concluding “Kulning” is consistent in intent if not actual doomly lumber.

Info and song follow here for your perusal:

heathen-rites-heritage

Heathen Rites – Heritage

Svart Records

Release: 27 August 2021

Preorder: https://svartrecords.com/product/heathen-rites-heritage-lp-yellow/

Burning Saviours doom-monger spreads his wings into the northern darkness with his new project Heathen Rites. Heaving earthy Doom, inspired by nordic folklore and ancient landscapes, Heritage is an epic and melodic hymn to northern nature and history. Formed in Sweden in 2018 by Mikael Monks, Heathen Rites create A-level, brooding, lingering, godless doom perfection, that swells from ornamental euphony to rousing, up-tempo doom rock with a Scandinavian flair.

Lovers of nostalgic proto-metal, funeral doom and blues Americana will revel in the dark folk setting of Heritage, where tone-full riffs echo across the hoof-thundering wilderness. Beautiful droning passages and punishing sermons to please fans of classics like Candlemass and Pentagram but with a decidedly modern nordic folk-horror flavour. Dig into Heritage and discover your dark and gloomy roots.

01 Eternal Sleep
02 Midnight Sun
03 Autumn
04 Gleipner
05 Here Comes The Night
06 The Sons Of The North
07 Kulning

https://www.facebook.com/heathenrites
https://www.instagram.com/heathenritesswe/
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
www.youtube.com/svartrecords

Heathen Rites, “Midnight Sun”

Tags: , , , , , ,

Truckfighters Announce Spring 2022 Live Dates in UK & Northern Ireland

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

Don’t ask who’s playing drums.

In addition to the recently-confirmed appearance among the multitudes at Desertfest London 2022, Swedish fuzzbringers Truckfighters have announced two subsequent shows in Ireland and Northern Ireland to take place immediately after. Is this a prelude to bigger touring? I don’t know. Who knows anything at this point? The good news is that unless something happens, these dates seem more likely than not to actually come to fruition, and isn’t that a wonderful feeling?

The sub-headline here is that Truckfighters‘ second Fuzz Festival in Stockholm, which was of course postponed from last year, looks like it might also be happening this November. Wouldn’t that be something? LowriderAsteroidFirestoneSwan Valley HeightsKings Destroy on the bill? Seems pretty ambitious in terms of, well, anything happening ever, but if it does, what a party.

Truckfighters announced in 2019 their return from a brief hiatus and set about touring as they had done for long stretches prior. They’re some five years removed now from their most recent studio offering, 2016’s V (review here), and are due for a great record. While we’re exploring the universe of infinite possibilities, to have such a thing manifest by the time they took to the road even with these first steps next Spring would only be a boon.

Info came in the Fuzzorama Records newsletter thusly:

truckfighters

Truckfighters announce shows for 2022!

Finally some good news. Bands and organizers look forward to going back to normality and 2022 seems a safe bet so here we go:

29/4 2022 Desertfest London, England
30/4 2022 Grand Social, Dublin, Ireland
1/5 2022 Voodoo, Belfast, North Ireland

PS: We have good hopes of being able to do the ‘Truckfighters Fuzz Festival’ in Stockholm, Sweden on Nov 19-20 in the year of 2021. This very much nice event will have bands like Lowrider, Asteroid, Swan Valley Heights and many more, and of course also Truckfighters!

Festival website: https://www.truckfighters.com/festival/

http://www.truckfighters.com
https://www.facebook.com/truckfighters
https://www.instagram.com/truckfighters/
https://twitter.com/truckfighters
https://www.youtube.com/user/TruckfightersTV
https://www.fuzzoramarecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Fuzzorama/
https://www.instagram.com/fuzzoramarecords/
https://fuzzoramarecords1.bandcamp.com/

Truckfighters, Live in London (2016)

Tags: , , ,

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

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

enigma exprience (Photo by Philip Saxin)

Sweden’s Enigma Experience make their full-length debut this Friday with Question Mark. Being released through Fuzzorama Records, one doesn’t have to go far into the record to recognize the tone of guitarist Niklas Källgren, best known for his work as a founding member of Truckfighters. Källgren serves as songwriter, engineer, bassist, guitarist and backing vocalist on Question Mark, and though he’s no stranger to any of those roles from his work in his main outfit, Enigma Experience is a distinct engity, even as it reunites Källgren with drummer Oskar “Pezo” Johansson, who after his time in Truckfighters ended, went on to join fellow Örebro natives Witchcraft. Together with vocalist Maurice Adams (who also edited the video premiering below), the trio emerge as a studio project at the least — granted that’s true of nearly everything right now — but based around a coherent vision of expressive, progressive, and yes, fuzzed songcraft and performance.

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

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

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

Please enjoy:

Enigma Experience, “The Zone” official lyric video premiere

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enigma Experience website

Enigma Experience on Thee Facebooks

Enigma Experience on Instagram

Fuzzorama Records website

Fuzzorama Records on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , , ,

Enigma Experience to Release Debut LP Question Mark Nov. 13; Song Streaming

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

enigma experience

You’re going to hear some shades of Truckfighters in Enigma Experience, which feels somewhat inevitable given that it’s Niklas “Dango” Källgren on guitar (and bass), but despite that recognizable tone, it’s also fair enough for Question Mark to be the work of another, new band. For one thing, it’s a different band, and as much as Källgren contributes to the songwriting of his main outfit, he seems very much to be in the lead here creatively, playing guitar, bass, doing backing vocals and handling everything on the production side. While offering plenty of fuzz — enough that Fuzzorama‘s putting it out, which I guess is to be expected — the record unfolds in a few unexpected ways, from the grand flow of the 10:56 opener/longest track “Realityline” through the jammy closing pair “The Z” and “The Zone” finish with both an open sensibility and a worthy payoff.

One might recognize Oskar “Pezo” Johansson from his own tenure in Truckfighters — he was in the documentary, making him all the more recognizable, and since leaving the band did a stint with Witchcraft as well — and the trio is completed by Norwegian vocalist Maurice Adams.

Release date is Nov. 13, preorders are up, and you’ll find the stream of second track “Lonewolf” on the player at the bottom of this post, via the PR wire:

cover Enigma Experience Question Mark

ENIGMA EXPERIENCE ANNOUNCES DEBUT ALBUM QUESTION MARK

Truckfighters guitarist Niklas Mr. Dango Källgren has teamed up with ex-Truckfighters/Witchcraft drummer Oskar Pezo Johansson and Maurice Adams from Breed/Motorfinger on vocals!

PRE-ORDER – http://www.fuzzoramastore.com/

The Enigma Experience have announced the release of their debut album, Question Mark, which is coming out November 13th via Fuzzorama Records.

The band have also unveiled the brand-new single ‘Lonewolf’, which opens with a funky and psychedelically charged Primus-esque melody before dropping into a driving groove amid crunching riffs with soaring vocal melodies.

https://songwhip.com/enigmaexperience/lonewolf

The track is one of few on the album that has a ‘normal’ structure when it comes to ‘verse – chorus – verse’ thinking. It’s a song that has a raw energy and groove that immediately takes control and want you to move your head in rhythm with the music. Heavy rock at its best!

On the track, guitarist Niklas ‘Mr. Dango’ Källgren comments, ”The lyrics are about suffering from and handling the pressure of the world, and the expectations from society that push you into a corner when feel different. It’s about daring you to be yourself, to let your creativity loose and to live like you want to live – it’s your life”

The band sees Sweden and Norway joins forces, as Truckfighters guitarist Niklas ‘Mr.Dango’ Källgren has teamed up with ex-Truckfighters/Witchcraft drummer Oskar ‘Pezo’ Johansson and Maurice Adams from Breed/Motorfinger on vocals.
The brainchild of Källgren, he also produced, engineered, mixed and mastered the album as well as playing bass and singing backing vocals.

The album comes on LP, CD and will also be available on a limited-edition vinyl in a very exclusive boxset with double vinyls with silkscreen printing, double gatefold, double posters and of course a nice box.

Question Mark is a very diverse rock record that opens with the ten-minute odyssey ‘Realityline,’ with vocal harmonies reminiscent of early 90s grunge heroes such as Soundgarden and Alice In Chains whilst elevating guitar lines weave over a pulsating backdrop of rhythm.

Elsewhere ‘In My Mind My Secret Place’ sees them slow things up with an ethereal acoustic atmosphere building into a hypnotically heavy and devastating end, whilst album closer ‘The Zone’ is a furiously catchy anthem with Kallgren’s trademark fuzz-fuelled sound piercing through.

Tracklisting
1. Realityline
2. Lonewolf
3. Mighty Mind
4. Corruption
5. Equilibrium
6. In my mind my secret place
7. The Z
8. The Zone

https://www.enigma-experience.com/
https://www.facebook.com/EnigmaExperienceBand/
https://twitter.com/enigmaexperien1
https://www.instagram.com/EnigmaExperienceBand/
http://www.fuzzoramarecords.com/
http://www.facebook.com/Fuzzorama

Enigma Experience, “Lonewolf”

Tags: , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Witchcraft, The Wizar’d, Sail, Frank Sabbath, Scream of the Butterfly, Slow Draw, Baleful Creed, Surya Kris Peters, Slow Phase, Rocky Mtn Roller

Posted in Reviews on July 8th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-qr-summer-2020

Day Three is always special when it comes to Quarterly Reviews because it’s where we hit and pass the halfway point on the way to covering 50 albums by Friday. This edition hasn’t been unpleasant at all — I’ve screened this stuff pretty hard, so I feel well prepared — but it still requires some doing to make it all come together. Basically a week’s worth. Ha.

If you haven’t found anything yet that speaks to you, I hope that changes either today, tomorrow or Friday.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Witchcraft, Black Metal

witchcraft black metal

Four years ago, Witchcraft frontman/founder Magnus Pelander released a solo album under his own name called Time (review here) as a quick complement to the band’s own 2016 offering, Nucleus (review here). Pelander‘s Time was his first solo outing since a 2010 four-song EP that, for a long time, seemed like a one-off. Now, with Black Metal, Witchcraft strips down to its barest essentials — Pelander‘s voice and guitar — and he is the only performer on the seven-track/33-minute LP. Style-wise, it’s mostly sad, intimate folk, as Pelander begins with “Elegantly Expressed Depression” and tells the stories of “A Boy and a Girl,” “Sad People,” and even the key-inclusive “Sad Dog” before “Take Him Away” closes out with a bluesy guitar figure that features twice but is surrounded by a space that seems to use silence as much as music as a tool of its downer presentation. The title, obviously tongue-in-cheek, is clearly nonetheless a reference to depression, and while Pelander‘s performance is gorgeous and honest, it’s also very clearly held down by a massive emotional weight. So too, then, is the album.

Witchcraft on Thee Facebooks

Nuclear Blast webstore

 

The Wizar’d, Subterranean Exile

the wizar'd subterranean exile

Making their debut on Cruz Del Sur Music, Australia’s The Wizar’d return from the doomliest of gutters with Subterranean Exile, opening the album with the title-track’s take on capital-‘c’ Classic doom and the pre-NWOBHM-ism of Pagan Altar, Witchfinder General, and, duh, Black Sabbath. In just 35 minutes, the four-piece make the most of their raw but epic vibes, using the means of the masters to showcase their own songwriting. This is doom metal at its most traditional, with two guitars intertwining riffs and leads on “Master of the Night” and the catchy “Long Live the Dead,” but there’s a dungeon-style spirit to the solo in that track — or maybe that’s just build off of the prior interlude “Ecstatic Visions Held Within the Monastic Tower” — that sets up the speedier run of “Evil in My Heart” ahead of the seven-minute finale “Dark Fortress.” As one might hope, they cap with due lumber and ceremony befitting an LP so thoroughly, so entirely doomed, and while perhaps it will be seven years before they do another full-length, it doesn’t matter. The Wizar’d stopped time a long time ago.

The Wizar’d on Thee Facebooks

Cruz Del Sur Music website

 

Sail, Mannequin

Sail Mannequin

A follow-up to their later-2019 single “Starve,” the three-song Mannequin release from UK progressive metallers Sail is essentially a single as well. It begins with the ‘regular’ version of the track, which careens through its sub-five minutes with a standout hook and the dual melodic vocals of guitarists Tim Kazer and Charlie Dowzell. This is followed by “Mannequin [Synthwave Remix],” which lives up to its name, and brings bassist Kynan Scott to the fore on synth, replacing the drums of Tom Coles with electronic beats and the guitars with keyboards. The chorus works remarkably well. As fluidly as “Mannequin” fed into the subsequent remix, so too does “Mannequin [Synthwave Remix]” move directly into “Mannequin [Director’s Cut],” which ranges past the seven-minute mark and comes across rawer than the opening version. Clearly Sail knew they could get some mileage out of “Mannequin,” and they weren’t wrong. They make the most of the 16-minute occasion and keep listeners guessing where they might be headed coming off of 2017’s Slumbersong LP. Easy win.

Sail on Thee Facebooks

Sail on Bandcamp

 

Frank Sabbath, Compendium

Frank Sabbath Compendium

They’re not kidding with that title. Frank Sabbath‘s Compendium covers four years of studio work — basic improvisations done in 2016 plus overdubs over time — and the resulting freakout is over an hour and a half long. Its 14 component pieces run a gamut of psychedelic meandering, loud, quiet, fast, slow, spacey, earthy, whatever you’re looking for, there’s time for it all. The French trio were plenty weird already on 2017’s Are You Waiting? (review here), but the scales are tipped here in the extended “La Petite Course à Vélo” (11:16) and “Bermuda Cruise” (17:21) alone, never mind on the Middle Eastern surf of “Le Coucous” or the hopping bass and wah of “Gallus Crackus” and “L’Oeufou.” The band has issued live material in the past, and whatever they do, it’s pretty jammy, but Compendium specifically highlights this aspect of their sound, shoving it in front of the listener and daring them to take it on. If you’re mind’s not open, it might be by the time you’re done.

Frank Sabbath on Thee Facebooks

Frank Sabbath on Bandcamp

 

Scream of the Butterfly, Birth Death Repeat

scream of the butterfly birth death repeat

Scream of the Butterfly made a raucous debut in with 2017’s Ignition (review here), and Birth Death Repeat stays the course of bringing Hammond organ to the proceedings of melodically arranged ’90s-style heavy rock, resulting in a cross-decade feel marked by sharp tones and consistency of craft that’s evident in the taut executions of “The Devil is by My Side” and “Higher Place” before the more moderately-paced “Desert Song” takes hold and thickens out the tones accordingly. ‘Desert,’ as it were, is certainly an influence throughout, as the opener’s main riff feels Kyuss-derived and the later “Driven” has a fervent energy behind it as well. The latter is well-placed following the ballad “Soul Giver,” the mellower title-track interlude, and the funky but not nearly as propulsive “Turned to Stone.” They’ll soon close out with the bluesy “I’ve Seen it Coming,” but before they do, “Room Without Walls” brings some marked solo shred and a grungier riff that scuffs up the band’s collective boot nicely, emphasizing that the record itself is less mundane than it might at first appear or the title might lead one to believe.

Scream of the Butterfly on Thee Facebooks

Scream of the Butterfly on Bandcamp

 

Slow Draw, Gallo

Slow Draw Gallo

From minimalist drone to experimental folk, Slow Draw‘s Gallo sets a wide-open context for itself from the outset, a quick voice clip and the churning drone of “Phase 2” leading into the relatively straightforward “No Words” — to which there are, naturally, lyrics. Comprised solely of Mark Kitchens, also known for drumming in the duo Stone Machine Electric, Slow Draw might be called an experimentalist vehicle, but that doesn’t make Gallo any less satisfying. “No Words” and “Falling Far” and the just-acoustic-and-voice closer “End to That” serve as landmarks along the way, touching ground periodically as pieces like the strumming “Harvey’s Chair” and the droned-out “Industrial Aged” play off each other and “Angelo” — homage to Badalamenti, perhaps — the minimal “A Conflict” and “Tumoil” [sic] and “Playground” tip the balance to one side or another, the penultimate krautdrone of “Phase 1” unveiling perhaps what further manipulation turned into “Phase 2” earlier in the proceedings. At 33 minutes, Gallo feels careful not to overstay its welcome, and it doesn’t.

Slow Draw on Thee Facebooks

Slow Draw on Bandcamp

 

Baleful Creed, The Lowdown

baleful creed the lowdown

Belfast’s Baleful Creed present a crisp 10 tracks of well-composed, straightforward, doom-tinged heavy rock and roll — they call it ‘doom blues boogie,’ and fair enough — with their third long-player, The Lowdown. They’re not pretending to be anything they’re not and offering their sounds to the listener not in some grand statement of aesthetic accomplishment, and not as a showcase of whatever amps they purchased to make their sound, but instead simply for what they are: songs. Crafted, honed, thought-out and brought to bear with vitality and purpose to give the band the best representation possible. Front-to-back, The Lowdown sounds not necessarily overthought, but professional enough to be called “cared about,” and whether it’s the memorable opening with “Mr. Grim” or the ’90s C.O.C. idolatry of “Tramalamapam” or the strong ending salvo of “End Game,” with its inclusion of piano, the mostly-subdued but swaggering “Line of Trouble” and the organ-topped closer “Southgate of Heaven,” Baleful Creed never veer too far from the central purpose of their priority on songwriting, and neither do they need to.

Baleful Creed on Thee Facebooks

Baleful Creed on Bandcamp

 

Surya Kris Peters, O Jardim Sagrado

Surya Kris Peters O Jardim Sagrado

Though he’s still best known as the frontman of Samsara Blues Experiment, Christian Peters — aka Surya Kris Peters — has become a prolific solo artist as well. The vinyl-ready eight songs/37 minutes of O Jardim Sagrado meet him in his element, bringing together psychedelia, drone and synthesizer/keyboard effects to convey various moods and ideas. As with most of the work done under the Surya Kris moniker, he doesn’t add vocals, but the album wants nothing for expression just the same, whether it’s the Bouzouki on “Endless Green” or the guest contribution of voice from Monika Saint-Oktobre on the encompassing 11-minute title-track, which would be perfect for a dance hall if dance halls were also religious ceremonies. Experiments and explorations like “Celestial Bolero” and “Saudade” bring electric guitar leads and Mellotron-laced wistfulness, respectively, while after the title-cut, the proggy techno of “Blue Nebula” gives way to what might otherwise be a boogie riff on closer “Southern Sunrise.” Peters always seems to find a way to catch the listener off guard. Maybe himself too.

Surya Kris Peters on Thee Facebooks

Surya Kris Peters on Bandcamp

 

Slow Phase, Slow Phase

slow phase slow phase

A strong if raw debut from Oakland three-piece Slow Phase, this 39-minute eight-tracker presents straight-ahead classic American heavy rock and roll in the style of acts like a less garage The Brought Low, a looser-knit Sasquatch or any number of bands operating under the Ripple Music banner. Less burly than some, more punk than others, the power trio includes guitarist Dmitri Mavra of Skunk, as well as vocalist/bassist Anthony Pulsipher of Spidermeow and vocalist/drummer Richard Stuverud, the rhythm section adding to the blues spirit and spiraling manic jangle of “Blood Circle.” Opener “Starlight” was previously issued as a teaser single for the album, and stands up to its position here, with the eponymous “Slow Phase” backing its strength of hook. “Psychedelic Man” meanders in its lead section, as it should, and the catchy “Silver Fuzz” sets up the riotous “Midnight Sun” and “No Time” to lead into the electric piano of “Let’s Do it Again (For the First Time),” which I’d kind of take as a goof were it not for the righteous jam that finishes it, referencing “Highway Star” during its fadeout. Some organizing to do, but they obviously know what they’re shooting for.

Slow Phase on Thee Facebooks

Slow Phase on Bandcamp

 

Rocky Mtn Roller, Rocky Mtn Roller

rocky mtn roller rocky mtn roller

This band might actually be more cohesive than they want to be. A double-guitar four-piece from Asheville, North Carolina, with a connection to cult heroes Lecherous Gaze via six-stringer Zach Blackwell — joined in the band by guitarist Ruby Roberts, bassist Luke Whitlatch and drummer Alex Cabrera — they’re playing to a certain notion of brashness as an ideal, but while the vocals have a drunk-fuckall stoner edge, the construction of the songs underlying is unremittingly sound on this initial EP. “Monster” opens with a welcome hook and “When I’m a Pile” sounds classic-tinged enough to be a heavy ’70s nod, but isn’t so easily placed to a specific band as to be called derivative. The longest of the four cuts at 5:30, “Bald Faced Hornet” boasts some sting in its snare sound, but the Southern heavy push at its core makes those dueling solos in the second half all the more appropriate, and closing out, “She Ran Off with the Dealer” has both charm and Thin Lizzy groove, which would basically be enough on their own to get me on board. A brazen and blazing candidate for Tee Pee Records‘ digital annex, if someone else doesn’t snag them first.

Rocky Mtn Roller on Thee Facebooks

Rocky Mtn Roller on Bandcamp

 

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

Witchcraft Announce Acoustic Album Black Metal

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 16th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

witchcraft

True, it’s been four years since Witchcraft released 2016’s Nucleus (review here), which was the successful follow-up to their 2012 Nuclear Blast debut and modernization-pivot Legend (review here), following the pioneering vintage style of their first three albums, but in the meantime, the band’s founder and frontman Magnus Pelander offered up the later-2016 solo outing, Time (review here), and the band have been around for fests and such, so while perhaps somewhat more reclusive than they once were, they haven’t entirely disappeared.

Interesting that Pelander is also the only member of the band listed as performing on Black Metal, and yet, rather than release it under his own name, the apparently-fully-acoustic offering coming as a Witchcraft LP. The song “Elegantly Expressed Depression,” which opens Black Metal lives up to the weighty expectations its title sets, and brims with the sincere-sounding fragility of Pelander‘s immediately recognizable vocals. Seems like perhaps sadness is something of a theme — at least going by track names like “Sad People” and “Sad Dog” — but we’ll see on May 1 when Black Metal is released.

Behold:

witchcraft black metal

WITCHCRAFT To Release Acoustic Album! Black Metal Coming This May On Nuclear Blast!

Pre-order Black Metal here: www.nuclearblast.com/witchcraft-blackmetal

Magnus Pelander’s Witchcraft have existed at the forefront of occult tinged classic rock ever since their formation in the year 2000, when Magnus decided to form the band so that he could record a tribute to his idols Roky Erickson and Pentagram’s Bobby Liebling. The pioneering band has never made excuses for their inspirations, but went on to craft numerous genre-defining classics themselves. Witchcraft’s illustrious career from their self-titled debut in 2004 through to the 2012’s Legend album to the wondrous Nucleus in 2016, became cult classics and propelled the band to new levels of reverence within their scene. When it comes to blending doom with classic rock and flourishes of masterful ambience, nobody could touch them.

Now, Magnus takes WITCHCRAFT in a brave new direction, setting forth into entirely new territory! Exhibiting the pure emotion that has always lived at the core of the band’s work, by moving forward alone: The band’s first new album in four years, titled Black Metal, is an entirely acoustic affair. From opener and the just premiered, first single, “Elegantly Expressed Depression,” it’s clear that this new facet of the band’s sound allows the rawness and fragility to shine in an entirely new light. The minimalism of Bill Callaghan, the tenderness of Elliot Smith and the air of slight discomfort that could only be WITCHCRAFT combine to make this record a truly unique spectacle, not only in the band’s catalogue, but in the world of guitar music as it stands in 2020.

Below is Black Metal’s track list:

1. Elegantly Expressed Depression
2. A Boy And A Girl
3. Sad People
4. Grow
5. Free Country
6. Sad Dog
7. Take Him Away

Black Metal will be available as a CD, vinyl and in digital formats on May 1st 2020 via Nuclear Blast.
Pre-order your copy of Black Metal here: http://nblast.de/WitchcraftNucleusNB
Pre-save the album on Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer: https://nblast.de/WitchcraftPreSave

Witchcraft has also announced to play a few selected shows this year, such as at Desertfest Berlin and London.

Album Line-Up:
Magnus Pelander | vocals, guitar

www.witchraftswe.com
www.facebook.com/witchcraft
http://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa
http://instagram.com/nuclearblastusa
https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html
https://www.nuclearblast.de/en/

Witchcraft, “Elegantly Expressed Depression”

Tags: , , , , ,

Blues Pills to Release Holy Moly! June 19; New Single “Proud Woman” Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 10th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

blues pills

Sweden’s Blues Pills will start the album cycle for their new record, Holy Moly!, well in advance of the actual June 19 release date. Nuclear Blast is behind the offering as they have been since they picked up their self-titled debut (review here), and the band begin playing shows this week in Uppsala. Sure, they took some time to record, but there’s a certain point at which the notion of a “cycle” becomes kind of irrelevant, i.e., a band just tours. Blues Pills have not been shy about hitting the road, I guess is what I’m saying.

“Proud Woman” is the first single from Holy Moly!, and though it’s tempting, I’m not going to sit here and mansplain to you how the idea of vocalist Elin Larsson feeling compelled to make such a declaration should be considered a quaint example of the band’s retro foundations rather than an urgent and relevant statement regarding current issues, but there you have it anyway. I’m also not going to sit here and mansplain how I just mansplained the thing I said I wasn’t going to mansplain. That’s what it’s like to be a dude. For what it’s worth, I’m not particularly proud. Ain’t like I earned any of this cultural privilege.

The PR wire has more interesting things to say:

blues pills proud woman

BLUES PILLS Announce New Album Holy Moly! + Release First Single “Proud Woman”

Often compared to a jam session between Aretha Franklin and LED ZEPPELIN, BLUES PILLS’ career took them from an American garage to international glory within a few years. Their self-titled debut album (2014) entered the German album charts at #4 and two years later they went straight to #1 with the successor Lady in Gold. Starting in the smallest clubs the band suddenly found themselves playing on some of the world’s biggest stages from Rock Am Ring, Download, Sweden Rock and even the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival where DEEP PURPLE famously saw smoke on the water during Frank Zappa’s performance.

With the band’s 3rd album, Holy Moly!, to be released on June 19th, 2020 via Nuclear Blast, BLUES PILLS plan their return to a number of major festival stages, playing Download, Hurricane and Southside among many others throughout the summer.

But fans need not wait until summer for their first taste of the action. To support International Women’s Day on March 8th BLUES PILLS have released their first single “Proud Woman”. The band describe their intentions with the song:
“With ‘Proud Woman’ we wanna give the fierce women and grrrls of the world a power anthem to turn on whenever they wanna feel empowered. Or just have fun. A song to everyone who stands behind the most obvious things of all. Equality and unity. Whoever you are, wherever you come from. Women will always be a driving force of change. And a change is gonna come.”

Get the single digitally here: https://nblast.de/BP-ProudWoman

In regards to the lyrics of “Proud Woman” vocalist, Elin Larsson, says: “I’m a proud woman came out from my inner self and the first thing I thought was: someone must have written this before. And if not, why? Hey! It’s about damn time then!

To be a woman or non-binary in the music industry seems to be more about the gender then the music sometimes. As a woman you’re being belittled, threatened, scrutinized, made fun of, targeted and harassed in a way that the men in the industry aren’t. And even so, there are so many women in the industry who made and are making their mark just as mighty as the men, and they do that despite all of the hardships they get for simply being a woman and that makes their triumphs even greater.”

“I’m a proud woman. And I’m not the only one!”

BLUES PILLS live:

13.03. S Uppsala – Katalin (w/ BROR GUNNAR JANSSON)
14.03. S Norrköping – Arbis Bar & Salonger (w/ BROR GUNNAR JANSSON)
19.03. PL Warsaw – Antyradio Award Party @ Stodola
27.03. RUS Moscow – Pravda Club
28.03. RUS St. Petersburg – Club Zal
03.04. GR Thessaloniki – Fix Factory of Sound
04.04. GR Athens – Fuzz Club

02.05. UK London – Desertfest

12.06. UK Donington – Download Festival
13.06. F Tourcoing – Le Grand Mix
15.06. LUX Esch-sur-Alzette – Kulturfabrik
16.06. F Strasbourg – La Laiterie
18./20.06. B Dessel – Graspop Metal Meeting
19.06. D Neuhausen ob Eck – Southside Festival
21.06. D Scheeßel – Hurricane Festival
27.06. N Ekeberg – Tons of Rock
28.06. I Verona – Rock The Castle
09. – 12.07. CZ Vizovice – Masters of Rock
11.07. N Kvinesdal – Norway Rock Festival
23. – 26.07. RO Brezoi – Open Air Blues Festival
14.08. E Barcelona – Keeping The Blues Alive

BLUES PILLS are:
Elin Larsson | Vocals
Zack Anderson | Guitar
André Kvarnström | Drums
Kristoffer Schander | Bass

www.BLUESPILLS.com
www.facebook.com/BLUESPILLS
https://www.instagram.com/bluespills/
http://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa
http://instagram.com/nuclearblastusa
https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html

Blues Pills, “Proud Woman” official video

Tags: , , , , ,