Quarterly Review: Sandrider, Witchkiss, Satta Caveira, Apollo80, The Great Unwilling, Grusom, Träden, Orthodox, Disrule, Ozymandias

Posted in Reviews on December 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan


Good morning from the kitchen table. It’s a couple minutes before 4AM as I get this post started. I’ve got my coffee, my iced tea in the same cup I’ve been using for the last three days, and I’m ready to roll through the next 10 records in this massive, frankly silly, Quarterly Review. Yesterday went well enough and I’m three days into the total 10 and I don’t feel like my head is going to explode, so I’ll just say so far so good.

As ever, there’s a lot to get through, so I won’t delay. I hope you find something here you dig. I certainly have.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Sandrider, Armada

sandrider armada

Armada is the third full-length from Seattle noiseblasters Sandrider, and at this point I’m starting to wonder what it’s going to take for this band to get their due. Produced by Matt Bayles and released through Good to Die Records, the album is an absolute monster front to back. Scathing. Beastly. And yet the songs have character. It’s the trio’s first outing since 2015’s split with Kinski (review here) and follows 2013’s Godhead (review here) and 2011’s self-titled debut (review here) in melding the band’s West Coast noise superiority with a sense of melody and depth as the trio of guitarist/vocalist Jon Weisnewski, bassist/vocalist Jesse Roberts, and omegadrummer Nat Damm course and wind their way through intense but varied material. “Banger” has been tapped for its grunge influence. Eh. Maybe in the riff, but who cares when there’s so much more going on with it? “Brambles” is out and out brutal but still has a hook, and cuts like “Industry” and the closing “Dogwater” remind of just how skilled Sandrider are at making that brutality fun. If the record was six minutes long and just had “Hollowed” on it, you’d still call it a win.

Sandrider on Thee Facebooks

Good to Die Records website


Witchkiss, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes

witchkiss the austere curtains of our eyes

Goodness gracious. Cavernous echo accompanies the roars of guitarist Scott Prater that are offset by the more subdued melodies of drummer Amber Burns, but even in the most spacious reaches of 11-minute second cut “Blind Faith,” Witchkiss are fucking massive-sounding. Their debut album, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes, presents an especially crushing take on ritualistic volume, sounding its catharsis in a song like “Spirits of the Dirt” and sounding natural as it trades between a rolling assault and the atmospheres of its quieter moments. With the departure since the recording of bassist Anthony DiBlasi, the New York-based outfit will invariably shift in dynamic somewhat coming out of this record, but with such an obvious clarity of mission, I honestly doubt their core approach will change all that much. A band doesn’t make a record like this without direct intention. They may evolve, and one hopes they do just because one always hopes for that, but this isn’t a band feeling their way through their first record. This is a band who know exactly the kind of ferocity they want to conjure, and who conjure it without regret.

Witchkiss on Thee Facebooks

Witchkiss on Bandcamp


Satta Caveira, MMI

Satta Caveira MMI

Argentinian instrumentalist trio Satta Caveira make a point of saying they recorded MMI, their second or third album depending on what you count, live in their home studio without edits or overdubs, click tracks or anything else. Clearly the intention then is to capture the raw spirit of the material as it’s happening. The eight songs that make up the unmanageable 62-minute listen of MMI — to be fair, 14 of those minutes are opener “Kundalini” and 23 are the sludge-into-jam-into-sludge riffer “T.H.C.” — are accordingly raw, but that in itself becomes a component of their aesthetic. Whether it’s the volume swell that seems to consume “Don Santos” in its second half, the funk of closer “Afrovoid” or the drift in “Kalifornia,” Satta Caveira manage to hone a sense of range amid all the naturalism, and with the gritty and more aggressive riffing of the title-track and the rush of the penultimate “Router,” their sound might actually work with a more elaborate production, but they’ve got a thing, it works well, and I’m not inclined to argue.

Satta Caveira on Thee Facebooks

Satta Caveira on Bandcamp


Apollo80, Lizard! Lizard! Lizard!

apollo 80 lizard lizard lizard

Vocalized only by spoken samples of astronauts, the thrice-exclamatory Lizard! Lizard! Lizard! is the debut EP from Perth, Australia, three-piece Apollo80, who are given mostly to exploring an outpouring of heavy molten vibes but still able to hone a bit of cacophony following the “godspeed, John Glenn” sample in second cut “FFH.” There are four songs on the 26-minute offering, and its spaciousness is brought to earth somewhat by the dirt in which the guitar and bass tones are caked, but it’s more the red dust of Mars than anything one might find kicking around a Terran desert. Unsurprisingly, the high point of the outing is the 10:46 title-track, where guitarist Luke, bassist Brano and drummer Shane push farthest into the cosmos — though that’s debatable with the interstellar drone of closer “Good Night” — but even in the impact of “Apollo” at the outset, there’s a feeling of low-oxygen in the atmosphere, and if you get lightheaded, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

Apollo80 on Thee Facebooks

Apollo80 on Bandcamp


The Great Unwilling, EP

the great unwilling ep

The prevailing influence throughout the untitled debut EP from Minnesota’s The Great Unwilling is Queens of the Stone Age, but listening to the layer of wah intertwine with the solo on “Sanguine,” there’s more to their approach than just that, however dreamy the vocal melodies from guitarist Jesse Hoheisel might be. Hoheisel, bassist Joe Ulvi and Mark Messina present a clean four tracks and 20 minutes on their first outing, and for having been together for about 18 months, their songwriting seems to have a firm grasp on what they want to do. “If 3 was 7” rolls along at a heavy clip into an effectively drifting midsection and second half jam before returning to the initial riff, while “Current” leads off with a particularly Hommeian construction, and soon gives way to the flowing pace and apparent lyrical references of the aforementioned “Sanguine.” They finish with the dirtier tonality of “Apostasy” and cap with no more pretense than they started, bringing the short release to a close with a chorus that seems to finish with more to say. No doubt they’ll get there.

The Great Unwilling on Thee Facebooks

The Great Unwilling on Bandcamp


Grusom, II

grusom ii

A prominent current of organ alongside the guitars gives Grusom‘s aptly-titled second album on Kozmik Artifactz, II, a willfully classic feel, and even the lyrics of “Peace of Mind” play into that with the opening lines, “I always said I was born too late/This future is not for me,” but the presentation from the Svendborg six-piece isn’t actually all that retro-fied. Rather, the two guitars and organ work in tandem to showcase a modern take on those classic ideas, as the back and forth conversation between them in the extended jam of “Skeletons” demonstrates, and with a steady rhythmic foundation and soulful vocals overtop, Grusom‘s craft doesn’t need the superficial trappings of a ’70s influence to convey those roots in their sound. Songs like “Dead End Valley” and “Embers” have a bloozy swing as they head toward the melancholy closer “Cursed from Birth,” but even there, the proceedings are light on pretense and the atmosphere is more concerned with a natural vibe rather than pretending it’s half a century ago.

Grusom on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website


Träden, Träden

traden traden

Having originated as Träd Gräs och Stenar, the group now known as Träden is the product of a psychedelic legacy spanning generations. Founder Jakob Sjöholm has joined forces with Hanna Östergren of Hills, Reine Fiske of Dungen and Sigge Krantz of Archimedes Badkar to create a kind of supergroup of serenity, and their self-titled is blissful enough not only to life up to Träd Gräs och Stenar‘s cult status, but to capture one of its own. It’s gorgeous. Presumably the painting used on the cover is the cabin where it was recorded, and its eight tracks — sometimes mellow, sometimes more weighted, always hypnotic — are a naturalist blueprint that only make the world a better place. That sounds ridiculous, I know. But the truth is that for all the terrible, horrifying shit humanity does on a daily basis, to know that there are people on the planet making music like this with such a genuine spirit behind it is enough to instill a bit of hope for the species. This is what it’s all about. I couldn’t even make it through the Bandcamp stream without buying the CD. That never happens.

Träden on Thee Facebooks

Träden on Bandcamp


Orthodox, Krèas

orthodox kreas

Last year, Spanish experimentalists Orthodox released Supreme and turned their free-jazz meets low-doom into a 36-minute fracas of happening-right-now creativity. Krèas, a lone, 27-minute track with the core duo of bassist Marco Serrato and drummer Borja Díaz joined by saxophonist Achilleas Polychronidis, was recorded in the same session but somehow seems even more freaked-out. I mean, it’s gone. Gone to a degree that even the hepcats who claim to appreciate free-jazz on anything more than a theoretical level (that is, those who actually listen to it) will have their hair blown back. The rest of the universe? Well, they’ll probably continue on, blissfully unaware that Orthodox are out there smashing comets together like they are, but wow. Challenging the listener is one thing. Krèas is the stuff of dissertations. One only hopes Orthodox aren’t holding their breath waiting for humanity to catch up to what they’re doing, because, yeah, it’s gonna be a while.

Orthodox on Thee Facebooks

Alone Records webstore


Disrule, Sleep in Your Honour

Disrule Sleep in Your Honour

Danish bruisers Disrule run a brash gamut with their second album, Sleep in Your Honour (on Seeing Red). Leading off with the earworm hook of the title-track (premiered here), the album puts a charge into C.O.C.-style riffing and classic heavy rock, but shades of Clutch-y funk in “Going Wrong” and a lumbering bottom end in “Occult Razor” assure there’s no single angle from which they strike. “(Gotta Get Me Some) Control” elicits a blues-via-Sabbath vibe, but the drums seem to make sure Disrule are never really at rest, and so there’s a strong sense of momentum throughout the eight-song/29-minute EP, perhaps best emphasized by two-minute second cut “Death on My Mind,” which seems to throw elbows as it sprints past, though even shouted-chorus closer “Enter the Void” has an infectious energy about it. If you think something can’t be heavy and move, Disrule have a shove with your name on it.

Disrule on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp


Ozymandias, Cake!

ozymandias cake

First clue that all is not what it seems? The artwork. Definitely not a picture of cake on the cover of Ozymandias‘ debut album, Cake!, and accordingly, things don’t take long before they get too weird. “Jelly Beans” hits on harshest Nirvana — before it goes into blastbeats. “Mason Jar” scathes out organ-laced doom and vicious screaming, before “Hangman” gets all danceable like “All Pigs Must Die” earlier in the record. The wacky quotient is high, and the keyboards do a lot to add to that, but one can’t really call “Doom I – The Daisies” or the later “Doom II – The Lilies” anything but progressive in the Devin Townsend-shenanigans-metal sense of the word, and as wild as some stretches of Cake! are, the trio from Linz, Austria, are never out of control, and they never give a sense that what they’re doing is an accident. They’re just working on their own stylistic level, and to a degree that’s almost scary considering it’s their first record. I won’t claim to know where they might be headed, but it seems likely they have a plan.

Ozymandias on Thee Facebooks

StoneFree Records website


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Orthodox: New Album Axis Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 26th, 2015 by JJ Koczan


Change has been one of very few constants in the career thus far of Spanish experimental doomers Orthodox. After releasing a 7″ this summer for the track “Crown for a Mole” that also marked their debut as a two-piece while coinciding with a handful of tour dates alongside High on Fire, the Sevilla outfit have made their new long-player available to preorder through Alone Records. It will be their first full-length release since Baal (review here) came out in 2011, the band having offered up a few demos and a B-sides collection in addition to the single in the interim.

When it comes to Orthodox, one never really knows what to expect, so I won’t speculate as to whether or not “Crown for a Mole” speaks to the entirety of Axis, which will be the title of their fifth record, but the album is available to preorder now, so we’ll all find out sooner or later anyway. Info came down the PR wire thusly:

orthodox axis

ORTHODOX. New album ‘Axis’ – PRE-ORDER now!

Recently reformed as duo, with Marco Serrato (bass, vocals) and Borja Díaz (Drums), ORTHODOX are coming back with a new studio album.

The duo emerges now performing with different guests musicians on studio sessions, developing a new form of contemporary heavy metal meets extreme jazz meets doom, like no one. New tracks show more ‘straight forward’ concept on composing process. But this is just NOW, as ORTHODOX never compromises with certain sound or ‘song concept’ for so long.

So ‘Axis’ came from such different studio sessions, with a more straight and focus punch of avant-garde approach mixed through heavy metal as only Orthodox are re-doing in every new album.

‘Crown for a Mole’ is the first single, taken from the new album.

Orthodox is a duo from Seville, Spain playing experimental doom metal inspired by religious folklore and even jazz. A music based on hypnotic repetitions of quasi-mystical
intensity and slow, torpid rhythms befitting people from a city of crushing summer heat. Musical influences from Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd or Melvins mixed with their peculiar perception of Southern Spain folklore.


Orthodox, “Crown for a Mole”

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Orthodox to Release New 7″ in June; Tour Dates with High on Fire

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 30th, 2015 by JJ Koczan


Always fascinating, always experimental doomers Orthodox are now a duo and will release a new single, Crown for a Mole, in June via Alone Records as a herald for their upcoming full-length, Axis, which is due out later this year. Also in June, Orthodox will take the stage alongside High on Fire for three shows on the latter’s upcoming European run, which, if you’re going to put out a new 7″ is probably a good way to make sure copies of the thing go.

The PR wire tells the tale and has the preorder link for the single, of which you can also hear the titular cut below:

orthodox crown for a mole

ORTHODOX. New album & New 7″ available on pre-order.

Recently reformed as duo, with Marco Serrato (bass, vocals) and Borja Díaz (Drums), ORTHODOX are coming back.

The duo now emerges performing with different guests musicians on studio sessions, developing a new form of contemporary heavy metal meets extreme jazz meets doom, like no one. New tracks show more ‘straight forward’ concept on composing process. But this is just NOW, as ORTHODOX never compromises with certain sound or ‘song concept’ for so long.
‘Crown for a Mole’ is the first single, taken from the new album called ‘Axis’. Band is currently busy on recording sessions. A tentative release date for ‘Axis’ is planned for late September this year.

There´s a pre-order already available for the ‘Crown for a Mole’ 2-track 7″ (one time pressing of 300 units, 200 black and 100 colour vinyl), including bundle offers for an excellent price of 14,99 eur. Very limited bundle offer up to 50 pieces. Check out our mail order store for more info and direct purchase. This single will be officially released on June 29th, and available on the upcoming spanish tour with High on Fire. Visit Alone Records site for further info.

Alone Records is now celebrating 15 years of stoner, rock, doom… and whatever you want to call it which give us full pleasure now and then. Join us!

Orthodox Tour Dates:
25/6 – Málaga
26/6 – Alicante
27/6 – Jaén (TBC)
28/6 – Bilbao w/ High on Fire
29/6 – Madrid w/ High on Fire
30/6 – BCN w/ High on Fire


Orthodox, “Crown for a Mole”

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Orthodox and Dead Neanderthals Touring in January

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 30th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

orthodox (Photo by Javier Rosa)

Spanish avant doom duo Orthodox are preparing to start 2015 by hitting the road in their native country and Portugal with UK/Netherlands-based Dead Neanderthals, who’ve already followed up their 2014 single-song long-player, Prime, with an EP charmingly titled Random Acts of Nuclear Devastation. The two will kick off the five-date run on Jan. 27 and finish in Sevilla right before Feb. hits.

The PR wire affirms the stint and offers background:

orthodox dead neanderthals tour

ORTHODOX / DEAD NEANDERTHALS – Spain/Portugal Tour 2015

Orthodox was born as a trio in Seville (Spain) in 2004. Their music, initially framed in the so called “doom metal”, incorporates elements of drone, jazz or stoner rock. They’ve played at international festivals such as Hellfest, Roadburn, Supersonic or Primavera Sound and they have collaborated with artists such as the musician and writer Julian Cope or flamenco artists like Israel Galván, Terremoto or Inés Bacán.

Orthodox accumulate an extensive discography with four albums and other ep’s, cassettes, etc… Their last edition, “Conoce los caminos”, is a compilation of rare material from 2005 to 2010. They’re currently working as a duo open to all kinds of collaborations and experiments following the eclectic and unpredictable nature that has always been part of the band’s idiosyncrasy.

Orthodox music & merch at our store, click here!

Dead Neanderthals is a Dutch/UK based double sax & drums trio incorporating elements from jazz, grindcore, drone and noise culminating in a pummeling sound that has been described as Painkiller meets Brötzmann.

Dead Neanderthals just released their new album PRIME, heralded as their “ultimate statement” and “a wake-up call to anyone who thought free jazz was a dying art”. PRIME is a single, unrelenting 40-minute piece, with no “solos” or soothing interludes. Dead Neanderthals will perform the album in its entirety.

Dead Neanderthals’ music & merch at https://deadneanderthals.bandcamp.com

tues. 27/01 – Bilbao @ Sentinel Rockclub
wedn. 28/01 – Pontevedra @ Liceo Mutante
thursd. 29/01 – Porto @ Cave 45
frid. 30/01 – Madrid @ El Juglar
sat. 31/01 – Sevilla @ Fun Club


Dead Neanderthals, Random Acts of Nuclear Devastation (2014)

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Orthodox B-Sides Collection Due Out Jan. 28

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 13th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Card-carrying lifers in doom’s avant garde, Spanish outfit Orthodox will issue Conoce los Caminos on Jan. 28 through Alone Records. Orthodox already re-released their 2005 demo earlier this year on tape, but the pressing was limited to 152 copies and presumably they’ll make more than that of Conoce los Caminos. Hopefully, anyhow. Either way, the new collection is up for pre-order now, as the PR wire informs:

Orthodox is set to launch their new B-sides and rarities compilation “Conoce los Caminos: 2005-2010? [translation: Know the Paths] due on January 28th 2013.

For limited time and only through our website you can PRE-ORDER this 2CD + official release T-shirt. This compilation shows the band’s amazing ability to build bridges and overcome genre barriers from metal to post rock to avant garde with firm hand towards an “uber-doom” with the unmistakable stamp of Orthodox.

Songs composed over five years, from their beginnings to 2010, which include: four previously unreleased tracks, demos from Gran Poder and Sentencia, Venom and Black Sabbath covers released at the time by Southern Lord in the U.S. and two songs taken from their 7 ” released by Doomentia.

Borja, the drummer, states about this work “it´s a sample of topics and ideas that we have done in the past and keep haunting us for the future … all the stories are closed in themselves; with this 2CD we seek to give a little more meaning to ours and see if we can expand Orthodox´s circle of sound …”.


1 ‘Matse Avatar’
2 ‘YHVH’
3 ‘Genocide’
4 ‘Black Sabbath’
5 ‘Heritage’
6 ‘Apoc, 17.5’
7 ‘Different Envelopes’
8 ‘Japan Rush’

1 ‘Geryon´s Throne’ (demo 2005)
2 ‘El Lamento del Cabrón’ (demo 2005)
3 ‘Ascensión’ (demo 2008)

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Orthodox, Baal: The March Continues

Posted in Reviews on June 2nd, 2011 by JJ Koczan

With three massively varied full-lengths already under their collective belt, be-robed Andalusian doom trio Orthodox return with the follow-up to 2009’s Sentencia in the form of Baal. Baal, released like its predecessor through Spanish imprint Alone Records, is comprised of five tracks that follow the band’s charted course of morose exploration, but find them bringing some crunch into their dirges. Where Sentencia had a medieval, blackly-plagued vibe to it, Baal is more directly doomed, though you might not know it from the near-six-minute instrumental opener, “Alto Padre,” which sets a tone of the kind of free jazz ethic Orthodox has been incorporating into their sound since their 2006 debut, Gran Poder. What remains most consistent about Orthodox on Baal is the band’s ability to affect a mood and their truly open creative sensibility. As much as they’re within the doom genre, they’re almost never limited by it, and from bassist Marco Serrato Gallardo’s victorious vocal warble on “Taurus” to the recklessly rhythmic drive of “Hanin Ba’al,” it seems Orthodox could go anywhere at any moment and be able to pull something coherent out of it.

That’s no easy feat when you’re working with this kind of sonic breadth. With just three members in the band – Gallardo is joined as ever by guitarist Ricardo Jimenez Gómez and drummer Borja Diaz VeraOrthodox manage to completely set an atmosphere both expansive and encompassing, despite a traditionally doomed, spacious feel in the songs. Gómez’s layers of guitar on “Alto Padre” strum and ring freely while Vera rolls on his toms behind, leaving Gallardo to thicken and fill out the song on bass. It’s hard to tell from there where Orthodox might be going with Baal – at least hard to tell correctly – and it’s as though they’re leading from Sentencia directly into this newer material, leaving it up to the first track here to provide the transition from one to the next. If we take “Taurus,” then as the beginning of Baal proper, it’s a lumbering and thoroughly doom face that Orthodox are presenting on their latest work. Gallardo would seem to lead the charge with open bass notes ringing through the breaks and vocals that march as much as they do anything else, but Gómez soon injects one of Baal’s several killer solos and makes his presence known that way. Over time, the members of Orthodox have clearly gotten more comfortable with each other as players, and their interaction is the key to making Baal a success. They never sacrifice artistry or dumb down their playing style to highlight a riff, but neither do they fail to pay homage to the heaviness that was doubtless the impetus behind forming the band in the first place.

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Winning Converts with Orthodox

Posted in Reviews on March 25th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

It’s a well-known fact that when you begin a sentence with “When you think about it…” whatever you say afterwards is immediately lent credence. Someone out there is going to say, “You know, that’s right.” So:

When you think about it, doom and free jazz really aren’t all that different, are they?

That’s the question Sevilla trio Orthodox try to answer as they bridge the gap between the seemingly disparate sonics on their latest full-length, Sentencia (Alone Records). Comprised of a religiously-themed trinity of tracks — “Marcha de la Santa Sangre,” “Ascensión,” and “…Y la Muerte no Tendrá Dominio” — the record also runs a solid 33 minutes, so we see the theme of threes (threme?) works on multiple levels right from the start.

Of the three songs, “Marcha de la Santa Sangre” might be the most straightforward, as well as being the shortest at 2:41. Both it and “…Y la Muerte no Tendrá Dominio” are essentially frame pieces for the mammoth “Ascensión,” which towers above its companions at 26:28, but “Marcha de la Santa Sangre” has fuzz bass care of Marco Serrato Gallardo (who also handles vocals, but not yet) and Ricardo Jimenez Gómez’s guitar in addition to its trumpet and the funeral marching snare Borja Diaz Vera, and on that level isn’t so far off from the material on either of Orthodox’s last two albums, both of which had a marked jazz influence. What really separates Sentencia from 2006’s Gran Poder and 2007’s Amanecer en Puerta Oscura (both issued in the US via Southern Lord) is the atmosphere of “Ascensión,” which comes to represent that of the album as a whole.

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