Vinter Records: New Norwegian Label Forms & Signs First Act MoE

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 29th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

vinter records staff

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From the PR wire:

moe norway


Our inexpensive book report service is by far the best book my link. We use only qualified writers who are native English speakers. New record label founded by Indie Recordings, Høstsabbat Festival professionals

Vinter Records is a tight-knit group of four, consisting of musicians, enthusiasts, a label-head and a festival organizer, booker and promoter — all closely connected to the heavy underground scene in Oslo, Norway.

“Our motivation is simple: We want to help highlight the scene and culture we love, and is a big part of ourselves. Our scene in Scandinavia, and in Oslo in particular, is thriving. We will offer new perspectives and showcase this special scene to a broader audience,” says Ole Helstad, co-founder of Høstsabbat, head of booking at Revolver Oslo, bassist in SÂVER and Kite and now co-founder of Vinter Records.

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Vinter Records announces the first band on its roster is Norwegian avantgarde sludgers MoE – one of the most prolific and interesting heavy bands Norway has to offer.

“We’ve been huge fans of MoE for a very long time, so we’re very honored by their trust in us. To have MoE as a Vinter Records debut release is a hell of a start,” says Markus Støle, drummer in SÂVER and HYMN and co-founder of Vinter Records.

MoE comments: “There’s a new kind of energy in the Oslo underground. There’s a sense of will, and the power to execute this very will. When we met up with Vinter there was a sense of immediate chemistry. They have a different background, other perspectives, different acquaintances and an energy matching our own. We look forward to moving forward with our most ambitious album to date in partnership with Vinter.”

Vinter Records Background:

Vinter Records consists of Ole Helstad, Christer Kaupang, Linda Melsom and Markus Støle, whose combined experience, years of touring and numerous album releases, have led to valuable understanding of the industry’s do’s and don’ts, in terms of what makes a fruitful label relation as well as how to pinpoint a band’s next logical step.

With various backgrounds from booking, as musicians, and as promoters, combined with Melsom’s decade-long involvement in the record industry; Vinter Records begins with an extensive international network.

“All of us have been active contributors in the underground for years. Vinter Records is a natural extension of this devotion. It feels great to start something new and fresh, grounded in and made for the scene we love and part take in,” comments Melsom.

Høstsabbat Live Series

Vinter is closely knit to the annual Høstsabbat Festival and will offer physical, exclusive live recordings from their promoted shows, titled Høstsabbat Live Series.

“It feels natural to work within our own scene, though we don’t seek to be a genre-specific label. We will take one step at a time. Our concept is organic growth,” says Melsom.

MoE, La Bufa (2020)

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Psychonaut and SÂVER Team for Emerald Split LP

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 23rd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Two bands, two sides, two songs. Don’t mind me, but I’m just kind of over here wondering if we’re seeing Pelagic Records chart the way forward for post-metal? The German label founded by The Ocean‘s Robin Staps seems to be doing an awful lot of pivotal work these days, including releases by both Psychonaut and SÂVER, who are the two bands sharing a side apiece on this Emerald split LP. The Belgian troupe lead off with the 16-minute “The Great Realisation,” bringing progressive textures and patient melodic build en route to a satisfying onslaught, volume trades not necessarily unpredictable but welcome nonetheless, as Norway’s SÂVER follow with the 19-minute “Dimensions Lost, Obscured by Aeons,” dedicating its opening stretch to surprising drone atmospherics before making its way into their sludgy-but-not-dumb crunch and a confident increase in melodic reach.

All told, it’s a 35-minute LP sampler platter of two deeply creative acts in stylistic bloom. There’s no audio public yet ahead of the May 14 release date (fair, since it’s two songs), but if you’ve not yet dug into Psychonaut‘s Unfold the God Man or SÂVER‘s rightly-ballyhooed 2019 debut, They Came with Sunlight (review here), both are at the bottom of this post. You’ll not regret taking the time.

Split info comes from the PR wire, of course:

Psychonaut SAVER Emerald Split LP

Announcing: PSYCHONAUT / SÂVER ‘Emerald’ (Split Release)

‘Emerald’ will be released on May 14 and is available for pre-order on April 6!

PSYCHONAUT and SÂVER are akin in many ways: both artists embody and explore corporal, physical heaviness in their sound as much as spirituality and philosophy, both artists often stretch their compositions close to the 20 minutes mark, and both artists redefine the concept of the classic power trio within a context of genre-bending, modern heavy music: where SÂVER plea for calculated minimalism, PSYCHONAUT employ an arsenal of percussion instruments on their recordings, and it is even more so astonishing how well they manage to reduce the polyphonic assault to the trio in a live setting.

PSYCHONAUT literally came from out of nowhere, Mechelen, Belgium, to be precise. Their 2020 album Unfold The God Man showcases excellent musicianship and songwriting abilities, heavily influenced by 70’s bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, but also drawing inspiration from contemporary heavy artists like Tool or Amenra.

“This release is by far the most elaborate production we have ever done. We let go of all boundaries and gave ourselves complete freedom in terms of songwriting and arranging. This massive track represents a process of both personal and collective change that is conveyed through five chapters which are based on a psychedelic experience.”

SÂVER from Oslo, Norway delivered an equally astounding debut album of sublime heaviness, shimmering moogs, abrasive vocals and a devastating, gnarly bass tone. Their jaw-dropping performance at the renowned Oya Festival in Oslo in the summer before the pandemic, accompanied by mesmerizing visuals on a huge screen, was a foreboding of what to expect from this band in the future.

“As a band , we try to write music we would love to listen to ourself and we believe this 20-ish minute song really sets the path for what we want SÂVER to sound like. Atmospheric, brutal, yet beautiful and heavy as the sun itself. We love the way this release turned out and we hope you will too.”

Psychonaut, Unfold the God Man (2020)

SÂVER, They Came with Sunlight (2019)

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Draken Premiere “Way Down Low” from Self-Titled Debut

Posted in audiObelisk on February 3rd, 2021 by JJ Koczan


Oslo, Norway’s Draken make their self-titled debut March 26 through Majestic Mountain Records, and if you’re the kind of person who likes easy categorization, it’s probably not a record for you. Bands who do one thing? That ain’t what’s happening here. Comprised of seven tracks across a sometimes-dizzying 45 minutes, Draken‘s Draken pulsates with energy through and through, but that performance element from bassist/vocalist Hallvard Gaardløs (also Orango and Spidergawd), guitarist Even Helte Hermansen (also Bushman’s Revenge) and drummer Andre Drage carries the heavy load when it comes to uniting the songs. That is to say, the purposes throughout Draken, especially as the adrenaline of opener “Realm of Silence” and “Way Down Low” — both of which ride the line between classic metal and heavy rock — gives way to the chunkier riffing of “Grand General,” and the full breadth of the record begins to show itself.

“Way Down Low,” at 5:54, is the longest of the three early cuts, and it brings the first surprising turn when it shifts into gruff, shouted vocals in its second half, revealing a current of heavy, modern noise rock that immediately throws the listener for a loop and pulls the rug out from under expectation. The stomp of “Grand General” offers some security, like it’s post-Mastodon with a classic edge, then the lead guitar starts in on this ’80s Don Henley thing before scorching out full-on and chug-whamming a finish (plus more growls) in under four minutes’ time, and, well, it doesn’t get any less complex from there.

Far from it, as Draken are really just getting started. Of the remaining four songs, none is under six minutes long. “(We Walk In) Circles,” the centerpiece, is seven and a half, and introduces an airy guitar atop fuzzy lumber leading to an open, subdued verse that draken drakengives way to a chorus that, were it not from Norway I might think of as being inspired by Akimbo (not that Norway is short on its own sphere of heavy noise), a blend of patience and electricity that’s telling in terms of Draken not being any of the members’ first time in the studio. The back and forth gives way to a rousing, worthy-of-being-the-centerpiece finish, and the 10-minute prog-metal “The Master” arrives. A highlight in style and substance alike, by the time it shows up, Draken have summarily blown the doors down in terms of genre and the fact that they’ve done so with such casual aplomb means that there’s little else the listener can do but try to keep up with the changes as they arrive. Might take a couple listens, honestly, as one song moves into the next and the purposes seem disparate, but that also has the effect of engaging with the album more satisfying.

So obviously things even out in the last two tracks, the band settle into some kind of middle ground, and the notion of challenging their audience — while still remaining basically accessible — fades away in favor of, I don’t know, willful mediocrity? Right? That sounds likely given how Draken‘s played out to this point, doesn’t it?

Of course not. “Strange Love” brings classic-speed boogie and hints at some of Spidergawd‘s swagger, while “Mountain in an Endless Ocean” is the most aggressively grooved inclusion on the outing, and that’s counting anything with the rougher vocals. A band like this, it can go one of three ways. One, they break up. Always possible. Two, they find one thing they want to do and do that. Three, they stay weird. Right now, Draken are downright gleeful in how all-over-the-place this debut is. They sound like they’re having a blast playing by no rules other than turn-the-amps-on-first, and it suits them. That’s a difficult strategy to maintain over the long term, and maybe they will, maybe they won’t, but right now, Draken is blindsiding and enjoyable in equal parts for its utter refusal to commit to a singular intent. If you can get on board with it — and again, it might take a couple listens to do so — you could have a lot of fun.

No single track represents Draken‘s Draken as a whole. Sorry. “Way Down Low” gives the album’s first hints that there’s more going on here that it might initially seem, so I hope you’ll listen to it in that context here too.

Please enjoy:

Hallvard Gaardløs on “Way Down Low”:

“‘Way Down Low’ was one of the last tracks to be written for our debut album and the inspiration for the song came after I went to the movies to see Us by Jordan Peele. I thought it was pretty fucking scary, so when I went home, I couldn’t really sleep so I stayed up and wrote that song. It was one of the last tracks to be written for our debut album, and also a very important one. The characters and overall theme of the lyrics tie together with the album cover, so this could well be a title-track of some sort. It goes to show that sometimes, a good scare can have unexpected results.”

Pre-order Draken via Majestic Mountain Records –

Draken’s self-titled debut album will be released worldwide on 26th March 2021 through Majestic Mountain Records. 

Hallvard Gaardløs – Bass, Vocals
Even Hermansen – Guitar
Andre Drage – Drums

Draken on Thee Facebooks

Draken on Instagram

Draken on Twitter

Majestic Mountain Records webstore

Majestic Mountain Records on Thee Facebooks

Majestic Mountain Records on Instagram

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Superlynx Premiere Video for Title-Track of New Album Electric Temple

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 2nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan


Oslo, Norway’s Superlynx will issue their third album, Electric Temple, through Dark Essence Records on April 16. The title-track is the first single and is premiering in the video below ahead of a Feb. 4 standalone release. It arrives early on the record, with just opener/longest track (immediate points) “Rising Flame” in front of it, and reinforces the commitment to atmosphere and mood that song puts forth, as well as the accompanying threat of push, the morose, airy vocals of bassist Pia Isaksen and the Earth-style guitar lumber of Daniel Bakken largely holding firm as Ole Teigen‘s drumming take off into a second half freakout. Compared to that, “Electric Temple” comes across as more straightforward — do I need to say “ritualistic?” — with repetitions of its title line and a linear build of tension that plays out in post-psych fashion, the payoff that arrives swirling but still primarily dark in tone.

“Apocalypse,” shorter at just 2:37, quickly proves this brooding nod isn’t all Superlynx have to offer this time around, switching between tempos from its beginning drone and melodic ambience to a march into blastbeats before a proggy mesh of drums and guitar raises the stakes further only to recede and bookend with the initial quiet verse. Blink and you’ll miss it, but “Apocalypse” is one of several shorter pieces peppered throughout — along with the instrumental “Sonic Sacrament” that one assumes closes side A, and the penultimate “Siren Sing,” which brings Teigen to the fore on vocals — and it and its compatriots do much to enrich Electric Temple‘s overall impression. Sandwiched between “Apocalypse” and “Sonic Sacrament,” “Moonbather” feels like a culmination for superlynx electric templethe first half of the album, with Isaksen and Teigen singing together almost like a cultish chant by its end.

The second half of the 10-track/43-minute outing starts with “Returning Light,” which in the span of four minutes shifts from relative minimalism to an engrossing progression that shifts smoothly into the guitar and bass intro to “Laws of Nature,” the underlying rumble gradually coming forward as the drums hold back, a tension Superlynx have toyed with before, but one that continues to work in their favor. A particularly soulful guitar solo brings “Laws of Nature” to its apex, and struck piano notes in “Then You Move” show that the context for the record has not yet finished expanding. Teigen takes lead vocals with Isaksen holding off until the second half, and the between the keys and his delivery, and subsequently hers, there’s a particularly goth vibe to “Then You Move,” the late solo and understated, long-fade finish making “Siren Sing” a complement to the song before it.

I’m not sure if it’s strings or chamber-feedback or keys or what’s droning out behind Teigen in “Siren Sing,” but the room it adds to the atmosphere works well, and the silence that moves into the renewed march of closer “May” — almost bluesy as it is — feels like it’s being given its due for it. A spoken verse from Teigen sets up an arrival from Isaksen as the track unfurls a patient forward progression, rising to a head and receding softer to finish, it’s a reminder of how much of what makes Electric Temple work, from the initial, ambience-setting rollout of “Rising Flame” and “Electric Temple” onward, is about the mood, patience and the combination of space and depth in the procession of songs. Make no mistake, there’s plenty of heft to go around, as you’ll hear in the video premiere below, but Electric Temple is as much about the creation of the reaches in which that happens as it is about the happening itself.

Enjoy the video:

Superlynx, “Electric Temple” official video

Video by Joan Pope / Temple ov Saturn.

Band footage and photo by Carl Eek Torgersen.

From the upcoming album Electric Temple.


Superlynx is:
Pia Isaksen – Bass/Vocals
Daniel Bakken – Guitar
Ole Teigen – Drums/Vocals

Superlynx on Thee Facebooks

Superlynx on Instagram

Superlynx on Bandcamp

Dark Essence Records on Thee Facebooks

Dark Essence Records on Bandcamp

Dark Essence Records website

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Needlepoint Stream Walking up That Valley in Full; Album out Friday

Posted in audiObelisk on January 26th, 2021 by JJ Koczan


The fifth full-length from Oslo’s NeedlepointWalking up That Valley, is set to release this Friday, Jan. 29, through Stickman Records. It is a graceful offering and finds the central four-piece not only indulging their own multi-instrumentalism, with vocalist/guitarist Bjørn Klakegg taking on flute, violin and cello, bassist/producer Nikolai Hængsle adding guitar, and David Wallumrød adding an entire piano-store’s worth of keys and synth to go with Olaf Olsen‘s drums, but branching out with guest percussion and backing choral vocals as well. Classically progressive — or is that progressively classical? — the album comprises eight songs and runs 43 minutes of mostly serene, jazzy and richly melodic fare, consciously drawing elements from British folk and Scandinavia’s own broad history of nature-worshiping creation. Songs like “So Far Away” or the midsection of “I Offered You the Moon” bring a gentle touch, but there’s almost always subtle movement happening underneath, be it in bass, drums, keys or guitar behind the softly-delivered vocals, and Walking up That Valley isn’t without its moments of push, it’s really just a question of how hard the band is willing to shove the listener in those stretches.

Not very, is the answer, and for Needlepoint — whose very moniker evokes images of precise, hand-crafted work — that’s clearly the intention. “Rules of a Mad Man” starts the record at a decent clip, though, and is one of the more active inclusions. Even so, what’s more striking is the level of detail in the song itself. The changes from one keyboard to another, the intricacy of the rhythmic patterning and the melody that seems to rest so naturally on top of it. Maybe this isn’t too much to ask for a band on their fifth LP, but that doesn’t make it any less engaging. “I Offered You the Moon” puts the drums forward at first for a bit of jazz-poetry and adds flourish of keys and bass, dropping to a field of flowing folk before picking up gradually again, keys and drums and percussion gaining volume and intensity over the next couple minutes until the vocals return, the bass beneath doing jabs to dare the guitar to join, which it does. It’s a freakout by the end, and it leads to the relatively subdued “Web of Worry,” with acoustic guitar and flute needlepoint walking up that valleyand keys, handclaps and ghost-note snare popping behind, sweetly melodic and a step en route to “So Far Away,” which is about as close as Walking up That Valley gets to ’60s folk, with violin joining in the second half to bolster the already organic spirit.

I’m not sure if “Where the Ocean Meets the Sky” is the start of side B, but it would make sense either way, and honestly, by then, the fluidity of Needlepoint‘s craft is such that if you’re in, you’re in for the duration. In any case, the song leads with vocals in a kind of purposeful semi-contrast from the end of “So Far Away” before it and works around a solidified drum line that takes off into a short solo with some more rhythmic urgency as it moves toward its midpoint, keys assuring the melody isn’t lost before things calm down again. Walking up That Valley never quite goes full-bebop, but one can see where Needlepoint might have in the jams these songs are built from. Vocals again begin “Carry Me Away,” free of effects but not at all dry, over a deceptively quick drum tempo building to an entry of organ and a wah-laced electric guitar solo in the second half — a bit of Hendrix to run alongside the keys. It works well and is no less classy than anything that surrounds as it leads to the arrival of the choral vocals, which feels like an arrival indeed, the lyrics depicting the scenario from the album’s cover in singalong-ready fashion. That burst of energy gives over to the penultimate “Another Day” which starts out stripped down and works its way up but never quite reaches for the same heights as the song before it, and fair enough for that, since there’s still the 10-minute closing title-track to come.

“Walking up That Valley” begins to take shape around vocal lines and spare guitar, with keys farther back in the mix and drums making their way in patiently behind the story being told, only to take a more forward role after four minutes in. An all-go jam ensues, with flute, and percussion and drums, guitar, bass, keys, and so on building to a fervent head until, a little past the nine-minute mark, the vocals return. The vitality of that jam isn’t totally gone — the drums are still there, the keys, the vocals are layered, etc. — but the final showcase of symmetry underscores the purposefulness writ large throughout Walking up That Valley, as Needlepoint cap with an electric solo on a somewhat surprisingly quick fade as though one is waking up from a dream when it’s over. I don’t doubt that there are “happy accidents” that came up during the recording process as they inevitably do, but every change/movement here feels, if not directed, then at very least considered. In its most lush and minimal stretches, Walking up That Valley shows itself to be the output of a group well aware of who they are and what they want to do, who are nonetheless not at all restrained by that self-consciousness. There is an escapist element, to be sure, but met consciously, the songs are all the more gorgeous.

You’ll find Walking up That Valley streaming in full below, followed by more from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Needlepoint is a Norwegian group based in Oslo that straddles the border between jazz and prog in a unique and timeless way. Based around the renowned guitarist Bjørn Klakegg, the band is rounded out by a veritable who’s-who of the Nordic jazz and rock scene, including members of Elephant9, Møster!, Bigbang and others.

Their first album The Woods Are Not What They Seem was released in 2010, followed by Outside the Screen (2012), Aimless Mary (2015) and The Diary of Robert Reverie (2018). Their upcoming album entitled Walking Up That Valley is slated for release in fall 2020.

The band says the following about their new record:
Nikolai and Bjørn have cooperated in the making of all the albums, from Bjørn’s ideas being captured on his phone up until their journey’s conclusion up on the record’s grooves. Bjørn considered himself a jazz musician when he first met Nikolai, but his old British heroes from the 70s such as ELP stepped out of the fog in the musical company of the now Needlepoint bassist. Olaf Olsen and David Wallumrød were Nikolai’s unconditional choices to fulfill the lineup.

Needlepoint started as an instrumental band, but when the second album was almost finished, Bjørn and Nikolai had a talk that lead to Bjørn’s first steps towards an identity as a singer. That talk also changed the identity of the band.

It was never really a conscious choice of style by the band, but Needlepoint is now considered a prog band by many listeners, and it’s a pleasure having such an addicted audience by their side. Many people mention the Canterbury Scene to describe the bands profile, and Robert Wyatt, Sid Barret, Caravan, Camel and even King Crimson and Yes are also mentioned to place our musical identity.

The last album is absolutely connected to the previous ones, but there are also new sounds to be heard. Bjørn has picked up his flute and violin, so there is a strange little orchestra appearing here and there in the album. Olaf is accompanied by Erik, who plays percussion on the album, and their fun together is audible on the album, while David treats his collection of beautiful vintage keyboard instruments like no one else. Everything is supervised by producer and bass player Nikolai Hængsle; his bass playing as powerful and brilliant as always, and Bjørn’s vocal are more present than ever in this production. In some of the tracks the band is touching new areas, but absolutely without losing its identity.

Needlepoint is:
Bjørn Klakegg : lead vocals, guitars, violin, flute, cello
David Wallumrød : hammond organ, clavinet, rhodes, harpsichord, upright piano, prophet-5, arp odyssey, arp solus, minimoog
Nikolai Hængsle : electric bass, backing vocals, guitars on «Rules of a mad man» and «So far away»
Olaf Olsen : drums

Special guests: Erik Nylander : percussion

The «Carry me away»choir: Indra Lorentzen, Camilla Brun, Maria Vatne, David, Nikolai, and Bjørn
Words and music by Bjørn Klakegg
Arranged by Bjørn Klakegg and Nikolai Hængsle
Produced by Nikolai Hængsle

Needlepoint on Thee Facebooks

Needlepoint on Bandcamp

Needlepoint website

Stickman Records on Thee Facebooks

Stickman Records website

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Draken Sign to Majestic Mountain Records; Debut Album Due in March

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 17th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Plenty of scorch in the teaser clip for Draken‘s upcoming debut album, and also kind of for their existence as well. It’s a new project headed by Hallvard Gaardløs (Spidergawd and Orango, which if you didn’t know are both really, really killer bands) operating in power trio fashion, and the PR wire brings word they’ve signed to Majestic Mountain Records for their long-player, which makes them kinfolk to fellow Norwegians Kal-El and Jointhugger, as well as Sweden’s Electric Hydra and The Hypnogogics, among others righteously riffing.

At this point, I’m pretty willing to check out something on Majestic Mountain just on its face given label-head Marco Berg‘s taste in output to-date, but even if I wasn’t, the teaser for this one — not to mention Gaardløs‘ pedigree — bodes remarkably. New stuff in the New Year. We can all just pretend 2020 didn’t happen right?

The aforementioned PR wire does it like this:


Introducing DRAKEN: Norwegian Hard Rock Trio Sign to MAJESTIC MOUNTAIN RECORDS /// Debut Album Released March 2021

Majestic Mountain Records is psyched to announce the signing of Norwegian trio Draken for the release of their debut album next year.

Formed in Oslo in 2018 by Spidergawd/Orango bassist Hallvard Gaardløs and close friend Andre Drage, Draken is a rock band with an appetite for reinvention. Recently becoming a fully-fledged power triumvirate with the addition of jazz/progressive virtuoso, Even Hermansen (Bushman’s Revenge) on guitar, the trio dig on the Metals and Hard Rocks of old, and in doing so channel the inspiration they unearth into something truly unique.

With the band currently holed up at Røffsound Studios with producer Vegard Liverød, with the final few touches still to be added to their debut, Majestic Mountain Records are already paving the way for its official release next year:

“From hearing the first riff on the demo we knew that we wanted to work with Draken!” says MMR’s Marco Berg. “Their mix of groove heavy riffs and catchy tunes will definitely make waves. We’re excited to share the first single with you once 2020 is over.”

Draken’s self-titled debut album will be officially released worldwide in March 2021 on Majestic Mountain Records.

Draken is
Hallvard Gaardløs (bass/vocals)
Even Hermansen (guitar)
Andre Drage (drums)

Draken, 2021 Album Teaser

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Wobbler Premiere “Naiad Dreams” from Dwellers of the Deep (Plus Official Live Video)

Posted in audiObelisk on October 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan


Norwegian heavy progressive rockers Wobbler will issue their new album, Dwellers of the Deep, through Karisma Records on Oct. 23. The band has been active for more than 20 years, and Dwellers of the Deep is their fifth full-length since making their debut in 2005. Its four songs are intricately composed and woven together with classic progressive styling, and each serves a purpose in adding to the pastiche of the 45-minute release as a whole and bolstering a conceptual feel and the overarching melodic focus.

Keyboards run alongside guitars, rhythms play in tight, somehow-funky bursts, and pieces range in movements from grand sweeping sonic gestures to stretches of minimalist atmospherics, the Oslo-based five-piece of vocalist/guitarist Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo (also recorder, percussion and glockenspiel), lead guitarist/backing vocalist Geir Marius Bergom Halleland, bassist Kristian Karl Hultgren, keyboardist/backing vocalist Lars Fredrik Frøislie and drummer Martin Nordrum Kneppen (also recorder and percussion) creating a lush breadth and character of sound that feels at once forward and backward looking. That is, certainly there are elements of King Crimson and other such easy prog influences to note, but more an 20 years on, Wobbler are also no strangers to putting their stamp on prog, whether that’s the in the initial rush that opens “By the Banks” or the subdued acoustic-and-mellotron-driven renaissance folk sweetness of the later “Naiad Dreams,” premiering below.

Those folkish tendencies don’t just show up on “Naiad Dreams” either. That song, the penultimate of the four, might bring them most wobbler dwellers of the deepinto focus, but they’re there too even at some of Dwellers of the Deep‘s most spirited moments. The album sandwiches the eight-minute “Five Rooms” and “Naiad Dreams” with the significantly longer “By the Banks” (13:49) at the outset and “Merry Macabre” (19:00) at the finish, and the effect of doing so is to set up the long-player as precisely that — a full-length intended to be taken in its entirety rather than a collection of songs.

I don’t know if it was written that way, as one or two long pieces subsequently broken up into separate movements to fit on vinyl sides, but the flow conjured throughout makes the proceedings all the more immersive, as Wobbler keep a poise to their delivery even as they dig through the farthest reaches of “Merry Macabre,” which has plenty of time to crescendo, recede, and cap the album with futuristic synthesizer as though the band were uniting the past with what’s to come in stylistic terms. Coupled with the bouncing organ in “Five Rooms” earlier, the periods of heavier push to be found, and the sheer nuance of the material, it’s a testament to Wobbler‘s established status that the record doesn’t collapse under the weight of its own headiness, but it doesn’t at all. Wobbler are able, on a level of execution, to realize the ambitious scope of their songwriting both because they’ve done it before — 2017’s From Silence to Somewhere; also a gem — and because it’s a central part of their modus. It is because it has to be and it has to be because it is.

So. You should not approach “Naiad Dreams” thinking it summarizes the entire album. It doesn’t. At all. To be fair, neither does “Merry Macabre,” and that’s about four times as long. You take what you can get. However, on a compositional level and in terms of the atmospheric affect of Dwellers of the Deep, you’re at very least getting a piece of the greater puzzle, and one with a peaceful and pastoral melody at that. You can always go back and check out the full record when it’s out, but for now, losing your head for a couple minutes and mellowing out with “Naiad Dreams” feels like the way to go.

As always, I hope you enjoy:

Wobbler, “Naiad Dreams” official live video

Wobbler on “Naiad Dreams”:

“‘Naiad Dreams’ is special in the way that it’s our first foray into a short song that stands on its own. It came to life late in the recording process and was written and recorded on an inspired May morning. It’s a rather minimalistic composition with very few elements that gets plenty of room to shine. It is the breathing space on the coming album where playful naiads make you gaze into the depths.”

Preorders: (Karisma) (Bandcamp) (US orders)

Consisting of four distinctive pieces “Dwellers of the Deep” is a fine example of WOBBLER´s trademark creative whims and playful exuberance, and the band has offered an insight into what fans can expect from the album and what went into its creation:

The recording sessions were somewhat shaped partially by what was happening during the first months of Covid-19. In a very Decameronesque way, we sent “histories” to each other from our hermitages, while the plague waited in the shadows outside. It contributed to a sense of meaningful gravity, making it crucial that the task at hand be fulfilled with our most sincere and unparalleled endeavours.

The lyrical themes on the album deal with human emotions, and the ongoing struggle between juxtaposed forces within the psyche. An introspective voyage amongst the realms of memories, feelings and instincts, where the light is brighter and the dark is darker. The concepts of wonder, longing and desperation permeates the histories told, and the currents from the deep are ever present. The final track, “Merry Macabre”, is a 19 minute suite taking the listener through aspects of the darker sides of WOBBLER´s sound. It probably sums up what we wanted to express this time around; songs with a weirder tint, an experimental, almost impressionist splitting of themes that at the same time provides a larger frame.

Formed in Hønefoss in 1999, WOBBLER’s lineup features Lars Fredrik Frøislie on keyboards and backing vocals, Martin Nordrum Kneppen on drums, percussion and recorder, Kristian Karl Hultgren on bass, Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo on vocals, guitar, glockenspiel, recorder and percussion and Geir Marius Bergom Halleland on lead guitar and backing vocals.

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Wobbler on Bandcamp

Wobbler website

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Karisma Records website

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Quarterly Review: Hum, Hymn, Atramentus, Zyclops, Kairon; IRSE!, Slow Draw, Might, Brimstone Coven, All Are to Return, Los Acidos

Posted in Reviews on October 7th, 2020 by JJ Koczan


Day three of the Quarterly Review. Always a landmark. Today we hit the halfway point, but don’t pass it yet since I’ve decided to add the sixth day next Monday. So we’ll get to 30 of the total 60 records, and then be past half through tomorrow. Math was never my strong suit. Come to think of it, I wasn’t much for school all around. Work sucked too.

Anyway, if you haven’t found anything to dig yet — and I hope you have; I think the stuff included has been pretty good so far — you can either go back and look again or keep going. Maybe today’s your day. If not, there’s always tomorrow.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Hum, Inlet


One has to wonder if, if Hum had it to do over again, they might hold back their first album in 23 years, Inlet, for release sometime when the world isn’t being ravaged by a global pandemic. As it stands, the largesse and melodic wash of the Illinois outfit’s all-growed-up heavy post-rock offers 55 minutes of comfort amid the tumult of the days, and while I won’t profess to having been a fan in the ’90s — their last studio LP was 1997’s Downward is Heavenward, and they sound like they definitely spent some time listening to Pelican since then — the overarching consumption Inlet sets forth in relatively extended tracks like “Desert Rambler” and “The Summoning” and the manner in which the album sets its own backdrop in a floating drone of effects make it an escapist joy. They hold back until closer “Shapeshifter” to go full post-rock, and while there are times at which it can seem unipolar, to listen to the crunching “Step Into You” and “Cloud City” side-by-side unveils more of the scope underlying from the outset of “Waves” onward.

Hum on Thee Facebooks

Polyvinyl Records webstore


Hymn, Breach Us

Hymn Breach Us

Oslo’s Hymn answer the outright crush and scathe of their 2017 debut, Perish (review here), with a more developed and lethal attack on their four-song/38-minute follow-up, Breach Us. Though they’re the kind of band who make people who’ve never heard Black Cobra wonder how two people can be so heavy — and the record has plenty of that; “Exit Through Fire”‘s sludgeshuggah chugging walks by and waves — it’s the sense of atmosphere that guitarist/bassist/vocalist Ole Rokseth and drummer Markus Støle bring to the proceedings that make them so engrossing. The opening title-track is also the shortest at 6:25, but as Breach Us moves across “Exit Through Fire,” “Crimson” and especially 14-minute closer “Can I Carry You,” it brings forth the sort of ominous dystopian assault that so many tried and failed to harness in the wake of NeurosisThrough Silver in Blood. Hymn do that and make it theirs in the process.

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Fysisk Format on Bandcamp


Atramentus, Stygian

Atramentus stygian

Carried across with excruciating grace, Atramentus‘ three-part/44-minute debut album, Stygian, probably belongs in a post-Bell Witch category of extreme, crawling death-doom, but from the script of their logo to the dramatic piano accompanying the lurching riffs, gurgles and choral wails of “Stygian I: From Tumultuous Heavens… (Descended Forth the Ceaseless Darkness)” through the five-minute interlude that is “Stygian II: In Ageless Slumber (As I Dream in the Doleful Embrace of the Howling Black Winds)” and into the 23-minute lurchfest that is “Stygian III: Perennial Voyage (Across the Perpetual Planes of Crying Frost and Steel-Eroding Blizzards)” their ultra-morose procession seems to dig further back for primary inspiration, to acts like Skepticism and even earliest Anathema (at least for that logo), and as guttural and tortured as it is as it devolves toward blackened char in its closer, Stygian‘s stretches of melody provide a contrast that gives some semblance of hope amid all the surrounding despair.

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20 Buck Spin webstore


Zyclops, Inheritance of Ash

zyclops inheritance of ash

As it clocks in 27 minutes, the inevitable question about Zyclops‘ debut release, Inheritance of Ash, is whether it’s an EP or an LP. For what it’s worth, my bid is for the latter, and to back my case up I’ll cite the flow between each of its four component tracks. The Austin, Texas, post-metallic four-piece save their most virulent chug and deepest tonal weight for the final two cuts, “Wind” and “Ash,” but the stage is well set in “Ghost” and “Rope” as well, and even when one song falls into silence, the next picks up in complementary fashion. Shades of Isis in “Rope,” Swarm of the Lotus in the more intense moments of “Ash,” and an overarching progressive vibe that feels suited to the Pelagic Records oeuvre, one might think of Zyclops as cerebral despite their protestations otherwise, but at the very least, the push and pull at the end of “Wind” and the stretch-out that comes after the churning first half of “Rope” don’t happen by mistake, and a band making these kinds of turns on their first outing isn’t to be ignored. Also, they’re very, very heavy.

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Zyclops on Bandcamp


Kairon; IRSE!, Polysomn

Kairon IRSE Polysomn

It’s all peace and quiet until “Psionic Static” suddenly starts to speed up, and then like the rush into transwarp, Kairon; IRSE!‘s Polysomn finds its bliss by hooking up a cortical node to your left temple and turning your frontal lobe into so much floundering goo, effectively kitchen-sink kraut-ing you into oblivion while gleefully hopping from genre to cosmic genre like they’re being chased by the ghost of space rock past. They’re the ghost of space rock future. While never static, Polysomn does offer some serenity amid all its head-spinning and lobe-melting, be it the hee-hee-now-it’s-trip-hop wash of “An Bat None” or the cinematic vastness that arises in “Altaïr Descends.” Too intelligent to be random noise or just a freakout, the album is nonetheless experimental, and remains committed to that all the way through the shorter “White Flies” and “Polysomn” at the end of the record. You can take it on if you have your EV suit handy, but if you don’t check the intermix ratio, your face is going to blow up. Fair warning. LLAP.

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Svart Records webstore


Slow Draw, Quiet Joy

slow draw quiet joy

The second 2020 offering from Hurst, Texas’ Slow Draw — the one-man outfit of Mark “Derwooka” Kitchens, also of Stone Machine Electric — the four-song Quiet Joy is obviously consciously named. “Tightropes in Tandem” and closer “Sometimes Experiments Fail” offer a sweet, minimal jazziness, building on the hypnotic backwards psych drone of opener “Unexpected Suspect.” In the two-minute penultimate title-track, Kitchens is barely there, and it is as much an emphasis on the quiet space as that in which the music — a late arriving guitar stands out — might otherwise be taking place. At 18 minutes, it is intended to be a breath taken before reimmersing oneself in the unrelenting chaos that surrounds and swirls, and while it’s short, each piece also has something of its own to offer — even when it’s actively nothing — and Slow Draw brims with purpose across this short release. Sometimes experiments fail, sure. Sometimes they work.

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Slow Draw on Bandcamp


Might, Might

might might

It took all of a week for the married duo of Ana Muhi (vocals, bass) and Sven Missullis (guitars, vocals, drums) to announce Might as their new project following the dissolution of the long-ish-running and far-punkier Deamon’s Child. Might‘s self-titled debut arrives with the significant backing of Exile on Mainstream and earns its place on the label with an atmospheric approach to noise rock that, while it inevitably shares some elements with the preceding band, forays outward into the weight of “Possession” and the acoustic-into-crush “Warlight” and the crush-into-ambience “Flight of Fancy” and the ambience-into-ambience “Mrs. Poise” and so on. From the beginning in “Intoduce Yourself” and the rushing “Pollution of Mind,” it’s clear the recorded-in-quarantine 35-minute/nine-song outing is going to go where it wants to, Muhi and Missullis sharing vocals and urging the listener deeper into doesn’t-quite-sound-like-anything-else post-fuzz heavy rock and sludge. A fun game: try to predict where it’s going, and be wrong.

Might on Thee Facebooks

Exile on Mainstream website


Brimstone Coven, The Woes of a Mortal Earth

brimstone coven the woes of a mortal earth

Following a stint on Metal Blade and self-releasing 2018’s What Was and What Shall Be, West Virginia’s Brimstone Coven issue their second album as a three-piece through Ripple Music, calling to mind a more classic-minded Apostle of Solitude on the finale “Song of Whippoorwill” and finding a balance all the while between keeping their progressions moving forward and establishing a melancholy atmosphere. Some elements feel drawn from the Maryland school of doom — opener the melody and hook of “The Inferno” remind of defunct purveyors Beelzefuzz — but what comes through clearest in these songs is that guitarist/vocalist Corey Roth, bassist/vocalist Andrew D’Cagna and drummer Dave Trik have found their way forward after paring down from a four-piece following 2016’s Black Magic (review here) and the initial steps the last album took. They sound ready for whatever the growth of their craft might bring and execute songs like “When the World is Gone” and the more swinging “Secrets of the Earth” with the utmost class.

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Ripple Music website


All Are to Return, All Are to Return

all are to return all are to return

Take the brutal industrial doom of Author and Punisher and smash it together — presumably in some kind of stainless-steel semi-automated contraption — with the skin-peeling atmosphere and grueling tension of Khanate and you may begin to understand where All Are to Return are coming from on their debut self-titled EP. How they make a song like four-minute centerpiece “Bare Life” feel so consuming is beyond me, but I think being so utterly demolishing helps. It’s not just about the plodding electronic beat, either. There’s some of that in opener “Untrusted” and certainly “The Lie of Fellow Men” has a lumber to go with its bass rumble and NIN-sounding-hopeful guitar, but it’s the overwhelming sense of everything being tainted and cruel that comes through in the space the only-19-minutes-long release creates. Even as closer “Bellum Omnium” chips away at the last remaining vestiges of color, it casts a coherent vision of not only aesthetic purpose for the duo, but of the terrible, all-gone-wrong future in which we seem at times to live.

All Are to Return on Bandcamp

Tartarus Records website


Los Acidos, Los Acidos

Los Acidos Los Acidos

I saved this one for last today as a favor to myself. Originally released in 2016, Los Acidos‘ self-titled debut receives a well-deserved second look on vinyl courtesy of Necio Records, and with it comes 40 minutes of full immersion in glorious Argentinian psicodelia, spacious and ’60s-style on “Al Otro Lado” and full of freaky swing on “Blusas” ahead of the almost-shoegaze-until-it-explodes-in-sunshine float of “Perfume Fantasma.” “Paseo” and the penultimate “Espejos” careen with greater intensity, but from the folksy feel that arrives to coincide with the cymbal-crashing roll of “Excentricidad” in its second half to the final boogie payoff in “Empatía de Cristal,” the 10-song outing is a joy waiting to be experienced. You’re experienced, right? Have you ever been? Either way, the important thing is that the voyage that, indeed, begins with “Viaje” is worth your time in melody, in craft, in its arrangements, in presence and in the soul that comes through from front to back. The four-piece had a single out in late 2019, but anytime they want to get to work on a follow-up LP, I’ll be waiting.

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Necio Records on Bandcamp


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