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

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Amenra on Facebook

Relapse Records website

 

Liquid Sound Company, Psychoactive Songs for the Psoul

Liquid sound company psychoactive songs for the psoul

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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

 

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Wall Set July 30 Release for Wall Vol. 2

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

wall

Immediate and well-deserved points to the Brothers Cole for not calling the second Wall release Wallume 2. That temptation could not have been easy to resist, but that they managed to do so makes the world a better place. New song, preorders, all that stuff. Note that the band, who made a debut with their self-titled EP (review here) last year through APF remain refreshingly honest in acknowledging their influences, with Elliot and Ryan Cole this time paying homage to Will Mecum of Karma to Burn in “Nineteen” whereas last time out it was Black Sabbath‘s “Electric Funeral.” If you can find argument with either, you’ve probably stumbled onto this site by accident. Welcome. Try the riffs. Hope you like run-on sentences.

Wall have UK tour dates up for August, which it looks like just might happen. How about that? Wall Vol. 2 will be out before then, arriving July 30, again through APF Records.

The following came down the PR wire:

wall vol 2

Wall – Vol. 2 – July 30, 2021

APF Records is delighted to announce the release of WALL’s sophomore EP Vol. 2 on 30th July 2021. First single The Tusk hits Spotify on 1st June.

Pre-orders commence 1st June. Links:
https://apfrecords.co.uk/bands/wall
https://wallbandrocks.bandcamp.com

Elliot and Ryan Cole have been stalwarts of the international stoner doom scene since they formed Desert Storm almost 15 years ago in their home town of Oxford, releasing five albums with that band and touring Europe like dogs ever since. They are two parts of the quintet which is The Grand Mal, also signed to APF Records, whose self-titled debut was released in 2019.

Their latest project Wall was conceived during lockdown. Frustrated at not being able to tour, and stuck at home together, Elliot and Ryan found themselves seeking a substantially creative way to kill the boredom. The debut eponymous five track EP was released by APF Records on 15th January 2021, chock full of Iommi-worshipping instrumental sludge doom. The homage to Black Sabbath was manifest in an electrifying cover of Electric Funeral, featuring vocals by The Grand Mal’s Dave-O. Wall entered the Doom Charts at number 10, and was met with acclaim in the stoner doom underground.

Now, a mere six months later, Wall unleash Vol 2. Once again recorded with Jimmy Hetherington at Shonk Studios, this second effort leans more towards the classic US rock the lads grew up on. It features a cover of Karma To Burn’s Nineteen, released as a tribute to Elliot and Ryan’s friend Will Mecum who sadly passed away in May. The Cole twins other band Desert Storm and Karma To Burn had toured the UK together on several occasion, becoming firm buddies on the road.

About Nineteen, the Cole Brothers say “We recorded it a few months ago in lockdown as a way of saying thanks, and showing our appreciation for one of our favourite bands – true pioneers of the genre and an inspiration to many. It feels right to share it now with the sad news of his passing. It’s been an honour knowing you, Will. Rest in peace”.

Tracklisting:
1. Avalanche
2. The Tusk
3. Speed Freak
4. Nineteen
5. Falling From the Edge of Nowhere

Wall tour the UK with The Grand Mal in August:
12.8.21 : Banbury – The Wheatsheaf
13.8.21 : Glasgow – Ivory Blacks
14.8.21 : Bolton – The Alma Inn
15.8.21 : Blackpool – Waterloo Music Bar
16.8.21 : Hull – Gorilla Studios
17.8.21 : Bradford – Al’s Juke Bar
18.8.21 : London – The Black Heart
19.8.21 : Gloucester – The Dick Whittington
20.8.21 : Swansea – The Bunkhouse
21.8.21 : Oxford – The Wheatsheaf

Wall is:
Ryan Cole – guitar / bass
Elliot Cole – drums

https://www.facebook.com/wallukrock/
https://www.instagram.com/wall.band_rocks/
https://wallbandrocks.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/apfrecords
https://www.instagram.com/apfrecords/
https://apfrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.apfrecords.co.uk/

Wall, “Nineteen” (Will Mecum tribute)

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The Grand Mal Announce Tour Dates with Wall

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

the grand mal

Of course, this tour announcement — like just about anything these days — comes with a big ol’ asterisk that leads to a reminder saying ‘we sure hope this actually happens.’ But to look at the list of dates, it seems like this might be how tours need to happen for a while. Two bands touring their own country, hardly seems like minimalizing exposure, but even these two bands share members. Wall is Ryan Cole and Elliot Cole, who also happen to play in The Grand Mal (also Desert Storm, but let’s stick to one story at a time) as part of what’s apparently now a five-piece.

And while bringing a new bandmate along is one more person breathing air in the van, certainly having one band sprung off from the other mitigates that somewhat. The Grand Mal released their self-titled debut (review here) on APF Records in Oct. 2019, and Wall did the same (review here) just last month. They’re labelmates as well as bandmates. So there you go.

And hey, maybe in the UK in August these shows can be outdoors somehow? Seems impossible at The Black Heart, unless they take over that alley, but that’d be kind of fun too. In any case, I hope the gigs happen, and it’s easy to imagine the bands do too.

The Grand Mal posted the following on the social medias:

the grand mal tour

The Grand Mal w/ Wall – UK Tour 2021

Pleased to announce, (providing Covid doesn’t stop things) we will finally be touring the UK to promote our debut album, which is out now on APF Records.

Support from WALL.

TOUR DATES
———————
12.08.21 | Banbury | Wheatsheaf Banbury
13.08.21 | Glasgow | Ivory Blacks
14.08.21 | Bolton | The Alma Inn
15.08.21 | Blackpool | Waterloo Music Bar Blackpool
16.08.21 | Hull | Gorilla Studio
17.08.21 | Bradford | Al’s Juke Bar
18.08.21 | London | The Black Heart
19.08.21 | Gloucester | The Dick Whittington
20.08.21 | Swansea | The Bunkhouse Swansea
21.08.21 | Oxford | The Wheatsheaf Oxford

Poster by Tom Instone

Buried In Smoke Promotions

https://www.facebook.com/thegrandmal/
https://thegrandmal.bigcartel.com/
https://thegrandmal.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/apfrecords
https://www.instagram.com/apfrecords/
https://apfrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://apfrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.apfrecords.co.uk/

The Grand Mal, The Grand Mal (2020)

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Indica Blues Premiere “We Are Doomed” Video; Album Out Feb. 12

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

indica blues

Oxford, UK, heavy rockers Indica Blues will issue their second album, We Are Doomed, on Feb. 12, 2021, through APF Records. And amid the righteous rumble of its prominent bassline, the core message of the title-track could hardly come through clearer? That message? We’re fucking doomed — duh. A fitting product of the year it was written and recorded, one can only wonder what kind of universe will greet We Are Doomed upon its release, the four-piece not exactly needing to look far for relevant subject matter, be it global political instability — that Brexit deadline looms and will be past by the time the record’s out, unless it gets pushed back again — environmental collapse, economic collapse, global pandemic, etc.

Hey, did you see that the second person who got the COVID-19 vaccine in Britain was named William Shakespeare? That was fun right? No dipshit, the world’s ending. Nothing is fun.

Well, not exactly nothing. To wit, the slow-motion-Nebula rolling groove of “We Are Doomed” is a darn good time,indica blues we are doomed and if you’re going to mark the coming of the apocalypse, you might as well make it catchy, which Indica Blues — guitarists Tom Pilsworth (also vocals) and John Slaymaker, bassist Andrew Haines-Villalta and drummer Rich Walker — do in fine fashion. Beginning with an air-raid siren of feedback the chunky-style riff-led plod of the verse stomps its way into the first chorus with little time to waste, a full mix only bolstering the feeling of the inexorable march forward into who the hell knows what — at least what after the next chorus and the echoing solo, anyhow.

I haven’t had the pleasure of hearing the full album yet — we’re still more than two months from the release, so fair enough — but it’s worth noting that the video below is for the “single edit” of the track in question, and given the teaser Indica Blues posted on their social media, it seems the LP version starts with what seems to be a sample of an English warning about the coming blitz. It’s not in the clip below, so I’m working off the assumption that that’s the difference between the single and album versions, but either way, that teaser is a stirring reminder that this feeling that things have never been quite as dire as they are now is nothing new, and as regards apocalypses, each generation seems to make its own, just as Indica Blues here channel the anxieties of our age into a World War III plot thread.

Comforting if not exactly optimistic, but hell’s bells, the record’s called We Are Doomed, so what do you want?

Enjoy the video:

Indica Blues, “We Are Doomed” official video premiere

Tom Pilsworth on “We Are Doomed”:

“This song is our vision of near future nuclear annihilation, written in response to the chaotic world events of the last four years. We spent six hours in pouring rain at an abandoned cold war missile facility with director Josh Horwood and his team, and he couldn’t have done a better job. We hope people enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it.”

Video by Josh Horwood
Recorded and mixed by Steve “Geezer” Watkins at Wormwood Studios
Mastered by Tim Turan at Turan Audio

As the world reels from a deadly pandemic and the U.S veers towards civil war, 13,890 nuclear weapons lie dormant. In their first single since signing to APF records, Indica Blues’ imagine a catastrophic very-near-future scenario in which current world events lead to all-out war and nuclear annihilation: We Are Doomed.

Indica Blues began life with the four track EP ‘Towers Rising,’ released by guitarist and vocalist Tom Pilsworth. Tom joined forces with John Slaymaker (previously of U.K stoner underground legends Caravan of Whores) and the pair recruited Andrew Haines-Vilalta and Ed Glenn on drums, releasing the ‘Ruins on the Shore’ EP in 2016, featuring eye popping art work from Brazilian graphic artist Cristiano Suarez.

Rich Walker replaced Ed Glenn on drums, and a debut album ‘Hymns for a Dying Realm,’ was released in 2018 to further underground acclaim. In 2020 the band announced they had signed to APF records and will release a second album, ‘We Are Doomed’ in 2021, with Cristiano Suarez once again lending his unique artwork.

We Are Doomed is released on 12th February (APF Records).

Indica Blues are:
Andrew Haines-Villalta – Bass
Tom Pilsworth – Guitar, Vocals
John Slaymaker – Guitar
Rich Walker – Drums

Indica Blues on Thee Facebooks

Indica Blues on Instagram

Indica Blues on Bandcamp

APF Records on Thee Facebooks

APF Records on Instagram

APF Records BigCartel store

APF Records on Bandcamp

APF Records website

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Wall Premiere Black Sabbath Cover “Electric Funeral”

Posted in audiObelisk on December 7th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

wall

Preorders are up now through APF Records for the self-titled debut EP from ungoogleable Oxford, UK, two-piece Wall. The instrumentalist duo is comprised of bassist/guitarist Ryan Cole and drummer Elliot Cole, and with these five songs set to release Jan. 15, the brothers — also known for their work in Desert Storm — make the most of quarantine-era restlessness and the inability to perform live. Idle hands put to better use pummeling with riffs and no doubt pissing off neighbors while practicing at home. A lot of bands will tell you to listen loud, and I’m not saying it’s all the way, 100-percent necessary, you-can’t-enjoy-Wall-otherwise, but it certainly doesn’t hurt the experience.

It’s a 20-minute run, and most of that time is spent engaging full-on aural crush. To what should be the surprise of no one, Mama Cole’s boys have the musical conversation down. Chemistry? They’re brothers. They’ve probably been playing music together since they realized they had ears to hear the noise they were making. And noise, as it happens, plays a decent-sized role in what’s happening throughout Wall‘s EP. They start off at a gallop with “Wrath of the Serpent,” but while brash, the opener is somewhat deceptive as well in terms of hinting at what follows. Under all that drive is a pretty significant tonal weight — only bolstered by Elliot‘s drums, which sound damn near perfect for this kind of style; kudos to engineer Jimmy Hetherington at Shonk Studios for going wall wallabove and beyond both in terms of capturing the sounds and recording during the plague — and that’s what comes to the fore on “Sonic Mass.”

There’s still some speed as Wall dig deeper into the proceedings, but “Sonic Mass” is more about the impact than shove as it builds up from its intro and proceeds on its turning course. The bass isn’t happenstance here though layered in by Ryan along with the guitar, and centerpiece “Obsidian” demonstrates that most plainly of all. It is the slowest of the four original inclusions on the offering, and even as the guitar brings out a few lead lines calling to mind some of Forming the Void‘s combo of rolling groove and Middle Eastern guitar inflection, there’s a current of low end beneath that comes out all the more in the subsequent chug and unfurled mega-nod. At 5:39, “Obsidian” is the longest piece on Wall, and it could easily be longer, fading as it does riding out that massive groove. Its doing so brings about the more rocking twist in the plot that is “Legion,” cowbell and all. Departing some of the early-Mastodon plod of the proceedings thus far, “Legion” still moves with plenty of force behind it, but is put to more of a classic-heavy vibe, and its Sabbathian stops in the first half ahead of the heads-down Karma to Burn shove in the second could hardly be more appropriate as a lead-in for the closing cover of “Electric Funeral.”

Stuck in your house during quarantine? I don’t Wall are the only ones who’ve sought comfort in something of a falling back to the root of it all, and if “Electric Funeral” isn’t that, I don’t know what is. The mega-classic is vocalist by Dave Oglesby of The Grand Mal, in which the Coles also feature, and while it’s plenty loyal, neither is it lacking in persona of its own. It’s a friggin’ Black Sabbath cover, tracked by family in a time of global crisis. I’m sorry, but if you don’t get where they’re coming from here, you might be sociopath.

Once again, the release date is Jan. 15, and all the preorder-type info is below if you’re the sort to handle things ahead of time. In the player that follows, you’ll find the premiere of “Electric Funeral” as well as more PR wire info and some comment from the band.

Enjoy:

Wall, “Electric Funeral” official track premiere

APF is delighted to present the debut, eponymous EP by Wall. It will be released on 15th January 2021. First single Wrath of the Serpent was released digitally on all platforms on 26th October.

Pre-order links:
https://apfrecords.co.uk/bands/wall
https://wallbandrocks.bandcamp.com

Elliot and Ryan Cole have been stalwarts of the international stoner doom scene since they formed Desert Storm a decade ago in their home town of Oxford, releasing five albums with that band and touring Europe like dogs ever since. They are two parts of the quintet which is The Grand Mal, also signed to APF Records, whose self-titled debut was released in 2019.

Their latest project Wall was conceived during lockdown. Frustrated at not being able to tour, and stuck at home together, Elliot and Ryan found themselves seeking a substantially creative way to kill the boredom. Over the course of a few weeks Ryan wrote the riffs whilst Elliot sat next to him slapping his hands on his knees to create the grooves. As soon as it was safe to do so, they entered Shonk Studios in Oxford with engineer Jimmy Hetherington and laid down the intoxicating mix of riff and groove with which we now present you.

Wall is a five track EP chock full of Iommi-worshipping instrumental sludge doom. The homage to Black Sabbath is manifest in an electrifying cover of Electric Funeral, featuring vocals by The Grand Mal’s Dave-O. The duo’s sludge roots are present and correct, particularly on the raging fourth track Legion, and there’s a nod to both their other band Desert Storm and Karma To Burn (with whom the lads have toured) on the mighty Obsidian.

Ryan Cole says of the EP:

‘We’re pretty happy with how the EP turned out. We went into the studio with 4 tracks and decided to do a Black Sabbath cover as well. We had never jammed them properly, as it was all written unplugged at home. Wall was initially started as a covid lockdown project, but we’re up for touring and writing more for sure…we’ll what happens!’

Wall is:
Ryan Cole – guitar / bass
Elliot Cole – drums
Dave Oglesby – vocals on Electric Funeral

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Indica Blues Announce We Are Doomed out This Winter

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 13th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The first Indica Blues full-length, Hymns for a Dying Realm, bleeds its affinity for doom through riff after riff, whether it’s the classic charge of “Knight’s Return” or the lumbering of “Scum River” or the searing at the end of “Psychedelic Haze,” and to expect anything less of We Are Doomed, which will be the Oxford, UK, four-piece’s follow-up to that debut, just seems silly. Particularly as the new record is being issued through APF Records, whose presence in the well-populated underground of the United Kingdom has only grown in recent years, with a consistency of quality maintained across a swath of styles. I could go on here, but you know the story. And if you don’t, the record’s streaming down below.

We Are Doomed — a sentiment it’s getting increasingly difficult to argue against — will be out this winter with APF‘s stamp of approval behind it.

The label’s announcement follows here:

indica blues

** Indica Blues sign to APF Records **

We’re no stranger to the heaviest and grooviest tones Oxford has to offer at APF Records – see Desert Storm and The Grand Mal – which is why we’re all the more eager to get better acquainted as we welcome the city’s heavy-psych doomsters Indica Blues to the APF family.

Formed in Oxford in 2014, Indica Blues are a monolithic trip. On their previous releases – 2016’s Ruins On The Shore EP and debut full-length, 2018’s Hymns for a Dying Realm – a real love for the entire stoner-doom pantheon, from Kyuss to Electric Wizard, shines through, along with, unsurprisingly, a healthy respect for the blues. Deservedly, those early releases earned both praise from respected outlets of the scene as well as tasty support slots with some of our favourite acts around; notably Elder, Samsara Blues Experiment and Mars Red Sky.

But that is just the beginning.

APF are beyond stoked to be releasing Indica Blues’ upcoming sophomore full-length, currently expected to drop around the winter of 2020/21 – and let us tell you now, it’s huge. Recorded by Steve “Geezer” Watkins at Woodworm Studios and mastered by Tim Turan at Turan Audio, it delivers on the promise of being their most massive sounding release to date, with chunkier riffs, groovier hooks, wider ranging vocal stylings and more ethereal melodic deviations than have come before. So be sure to check out yet another member of the growing “Roxford” revolution and get the Indica Blues today.

Indica Blues are:
Andrew Haines-Villata – Bass
Tom Pilsworth – Vocals, Guitar
John Slaymaker – Guitar
Rich Walker – Drums

http://www.facebook.com/Indicabluesuk
https://indicablues.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/apfrecords
https://www.instagram.com/apfrecords/
https://apfrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://apfrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.apfrecords.co.uk/

Indica Blues, Hymns for a Dying Realm (2018)

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Days of Rona: Ryan Cole of Desert Storm

Posted in Features on April 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

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

Ryan Cole of Desert Storm

Days of Rona: Ryan Cole of Desert Storm (Oxford, England)

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

It’s proving very difficult and has affected us as a band like most others it seems. Our new album Omens is out May 1st and was also supposed to be the first date of our three-week UK/European tour to promote it, which included a slot at London’s Desertfest. All shows are cancelled and we’re working hard to reschedule the tour for October. The two shows in Netherlands will now be in January 2021.

I also feel that our PR could be slightly affected too, magazine’s like Kerrang! Have postponed their issues for three months, and I’d be surprised if more don’t follow. I do of course completely understand why they have taken those steps and measures, and Claire [Bernadet] at Purple Sage PR is working as hard as she can to secure reviews/features, etc., which we appreciate. The Covid-19 is crippling a lot of businesses, economies as well as people’s lives… but it is what it is. It’s very difficult as an underground band that has put in a lot of time, money and effort.

Luckily the five of us in the band are in good health as things stand, and we’ll just have to hope we can pick things back up again when it all blows over.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

In UK it’s all a bit odd… Many people have been furloughed and are isolating, but there are lot that are not taking it seriously, not complying with rules and advice. I think we’d benefit by more draconian measures and enforce a stricter lockdown. Hopefully the sooner that happens, the sooner we’ll be past the peak and see a fall in cases. I still think things won’t revert back to normal until August/September, but only time will tell.

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

Yeah it’s really bad. Some people have lost jobs, or had to deal with pay cuts. A lot of bands are out of pocket and promoters/festivals have cancelled many events/festivals. We are so lucky to have a great NHS here in UK though. Doctors and nurses that are working around the clock to help people. It’s also nice to see people volunteering and helping more vulnerable people like the sick and elderly. It’s bizarre to be alive during a pandemic like this. It feels something out of a movie like 12 Monkeys or Stephen King’s The Stand!

It’s strange how our new video for the track “Black Bile” depicts the Black Plague… another pandemic. Strange timing…

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

We’d just like people to know that we are working hard to be on the road again soon, and if people want to help us, they can check out our new music on YouTube, Spotify or Bandcamp and pre-order the album, which would be greatly appreciated in these tough times. It would also help support our label APF Records. One thing about isolation which is a positive, is that it gives people the opportunity to explore more music.

www.facebook.com/desertstormuk
www.desertstorm.bandcamp.com
www.instagram.com/desertstormuk
www.youtube.com/desertstormuk
www.desertstormband.com
www.desertstorm.bigcartel.com

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Desert Storm Premiere “Black Bile” Video from New Album Omens

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

desert storm

Just last night at the Waterloo Music Bar in Blackpool, UK sludge metallers Desert Storm wrapped up a tour with veterans of the form Raging Speedhorn that began on Jan. 25, and with their new video for “Black Bile,” they bring word of a follow-up to their 2018 third album, Sentinels (review here). The new LP is called Omens and will be out May 1 through respected Britriff purveyor APF Records.

They’ll celebrate, naturally, with more shows. They play Desertfest London that weekend — it wasn’t on their list of tour dates I think because the fest hasn’t announced its day-splits yet, but since they’re booked elsewhere for May 1 and 2, I surmised they’d be in London on the third; apologies if I’m in error — and they’ll also headline the first night of Southwest Heavyfest 2020 with Sail and a bunch of bands with markedly-less-readable logos. There’s also a European tour in May and June (dates below) and a Fall tour of Europe in the works and they won’t by any means be the first for the Oxford five-piece, who appeared at Keep it Low in Munich this past October and have brought their hard-burl riffing hither and yon for over a decade at this point. You’ll note I called Raging Speedhorn veterans in the paragraph above. Four LPs and going on 13 years deep into their tenure, one can only say the same about Desert Storm themselves. They’ve been around.

Omens was recorded by Steve Watkins at Woodworm Studios, who also did some work on Sentinels, specifically on that album’s opener “Journey’s End.” One can hear some of the same tonal sensibility emerge in “Black Bile” in the new video, and though Desert Storm aren’t strangers to incorporating melodic vocals alongside the more gruff approach of Matthew Ryan, they bring that to a different place in the new track, more fluid with the rest of what surrounds and naturally integrated into the songwriting. That bodes well for Omens as a whole, but they’ve ever been a band to just do one thing straight across the entirety of a release, so it’s a wait-and-see kind of thing for how it’ll all play out.

May 1 it is.

As for the video: Cinematic in its photography, directed by Josh Horwood. It’s plague beaks and ominous running through the woods, being taken over by evil, murder, and so on. You know how it goes. Apparently this kind of thing just happens all the time in the UK. Good thing they have the NHS.

Enjoy the clip:

Desert Storm, “Black Bile” official video premiere

Elliot Cole on “Black Bile”:

“Black Bile lyrically is based around the idea of the black plague. In the video the plague doctor is also represented as a grim reaper / Freddy Kruegger type menace…haunting the sick in their dreams. Musically the song is one of the heaviest, yet most progressive songs we have written.”

Taken from the album Omens, released by APF Records 1st May 2020.

Order the album from:
https://desertstorm.bandcamp.com/
https://apfrecords.co.uk/shop

Recorded & mixed by Steve ‘Geezer’ Watkins at Woodworm Studios between August – December 2019.
Mastered January 2020 by Tim Turan @ Turan Audio.

Video by Josh Horwood

Desert Storm have been making a name for themselves since they formed in late 2007. From the beginning the band have worked hard…with 3 albums and relentless touring of the UK & Europe with the likes of Karma To Burn, Nashville Pussy, Peter Pan Speedrock, Honky and Hang The Bastard as well as support slots to the likes of Orange Goblin, Red Fang, American Head Charge, Weedeater, Crowbar, Mondo Generator, The Atomic Bitchwax and festival appearances at Bloodstock Festival, Hammerfest, Hard Rock Hell, Giants of Rock, The Bulldog Bash, Desertfest (UK/DE) & Roadkill Festival.

In early 2018 Desert Storm released their fourth album, Sentinels, on APF Records and spent much of the next two years playing live in support of it – including tours with Karma To Burn, Boss Keloid and Raging Speedhorn and support slots to Corrosion of Conformity, Skindred and Komatsu.

The quintet entered the studio again in late 2019 and return on 1st May 2020 with their fifth album, Omens. To celebrate the release they play at Desertfest London before heading out on a European tour with UK dates to follow in November.

desert storm tour

Desert Storm release shows:
MAY 1 Firehouse, Southampton, UK w/ The Earl of Mars, Under, Grand Mal
MAY 2 Southwest Heavyfest 2020 The Cobblestones, Bridgwater, UK
MAY 3 Desertfest London, London, UK

Desert Storm is:
Matthew Ryan – Vocals
Ryan Cole – Guitar
Chris White – Guitar / Bass / Keyboards / Backing Vocals
Elliot Cole – Drums
Chris Benoist – Bass

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