Roadburn 2020: David Eugene Edwards to Play Solo Acoustic Set; PH, Elizabeth Colour Wheel, The Flenser Showase & Much More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2020 new banner

David Eugene Edwards. Solo. Acoustic. Every year I’ve been fortunate enough to go, there’s been one keeps-you-alive-until-April Roadburn set, from Saint Vitus with Wino in 2009 and Garcia Plays Kyuss in 2010 to Sleep playing Sleep’s Holy Mountain this year. There’s always one. At least. In 2020, for me, that’s David Eugene Edwards of Wovenhand and 16 Horsepower playing by himself on stage. Whatever else gets added, whoever else is playing, hell, even if Wovenhand end up playing, this is the one that got me. Well done, Roadburn 2020.

Also featured in this massive lineup addition are PH (whose announcement I wrote), Elizabeth Colour Wheel, familiar faces Primitive Man and a host of other, of course widely varied, incarnations of badassery. I’m not trying to take away from anyone else or anything like that, or anything that might still come by saying the above, you understand. Roadburn 2020’s already primed to push well beyond the common bounds of heavy. It was before this announcement, frankly. But from here on in, my schedule already has its circle, and whether we do the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch or not (every year I kind of wait for the shoe to drop on that like it’s something we’ve been getting away with for the last six editions), I’m there, and I don’t care who he’s up against or who’s on next on what stage. If I have to sleep in the gutter of Weirdo Canyon in order to be there, I’m not missing a minute of David Eugene Edwards‘ set. Period.

From the fest:

roadburn 2020 david eugene edwards

Roadburn 2020: new announcements, more curator picks, and a showcase!

– Less than 10% of 4 day tickets remain
– David Eugene Edwards joins Emma Ruth Rundle’s curated event
– James Kent picks a special collaboration for his curation
– The Flenser will present a label showcase

Less than 10% of 4-day tickets remain for Roadburn 2020, and single-day tickets will go on sale on December 10.

Artistic Director, Walter Hoeijmakers comments: “As we edge closer towards selling out Roadburn 2020, I am excited that we still have so much more to announce. This year we are putting an emphasis on the context and creativity of the artists we’re announcing and knowing that we have still more up our sleeves means I am delighted to see where Roadburn 2020 is heading.”

EMMA RUTH RUNDLE’S THE GILDED CAGE:

DAVID EUGENE EDWARDS
At Roadburn, David Eugene Edwards has graced us with his presence on two occasions as part of Wovenhand. Each performance pulsated with energy and elevated the sets to be highlights of each respective edition of the festival – in no small part due to David’s electrifying presence. We’re delighted to bring him back to Roadburn, this time as part of Emma Ruth Rundle’s curation, The Gilded Cage. David will perform an acoustic, solo set that promises to showcase the diversity of his delivery and the nuances of his craft. Emma comments:

“It’s been a secret wish to see DEE playing solo and delivering his songs in their most bare forms. This was the very first thing that came to mind when I was asked to co-curate Roadburn and it’s going to be a rare and precious jewel of a performance.”

JAMES KENT’S CURATION:
REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER
A product of the burgeoning French underground scene that has produced so much incredible music in the past few years, over the course of two records so far, Regarde Les Hommes Tomber have used scraps from the most sinister subgenres, from black metal to sludge to build up truly frightening epics. Always apocalyptic in feeling, emotional and ruthless in equal measures, drenched in religious imagery and references, and creating a sonic depiction of the fall of mankind… and its subsequent rising to replace the cruelty of the established gods. Not only will we be expecting all of this maelstrom of fiery feelings, but also a healthy measure of the unexpected as well, since Regarde Les Hommes Tomber will be playing their new not-quite-announced-yet album in its entirety.

HANGMAN’S CHAIR X REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER
Regarde Les Hommes Tomber will join forces with Hangman’s Chair for a collaboration at Roadburn 2020. Hellish, sludgy black metal will clash horns-first with cold, despondent doom, and the result will surely transcend even the most delirious of descriptions that we can come up with at this point. Originally commissioned by Red Bull, this unholy collaboration has occurred just once previously, in Paris. That performance lasted 45 minutes, but for Roadburn an additional 15 minutes of material will be debuted just for us.

PLEBEIAN GRANDSTAND
Plebeian Grandstand are a band that have morphed from a core of quite technical, hardcore charged metal to be the hulking beast of black metal fury we see before us today. The creative journey they have been on has led to an infusion of influences from outside the black metal sphere, resulting in nuance and depth that can sometimes be hard to find within the genre. On top of that, they eschew the cartoonish elements of extreme black metal – you’ll find no burning churches here – in favour of something rooted more firmly in reality. After all, what’s more nightmarish than the real world?

TRUE BODY
With a calculated sense of tension and just enough human touch to cut through their own cold post-punk atmospheres, Virginia’s True Body has built a following with their urgent and impassioned music. Instead of falling into melodramatic excess or disconnected affectations, the band manages to bring the best of each realm for something that leaves audiences rapt and thrilled. With this masterful take on such a beloved sound, we’re honored to announce that True Body will be performing at Roadburn 2020 as part of James Kent’s curation.

THE FLENSER SHOWCASE
In 2020, The Flenser will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the label’s first release. The San Francisco based label has been committed to releasing experimental, avant-garde music for a whole decade – which – naturally – has not escaped our notice here at Roadburn HQ. To celebrate this milestone and to acknowledge the impact that The Flenser has had on our record collections and the broader musical landscape we have invited several of the label’s current artists to perform at Roadburn 2020.

The Flenser label manager, Jonathan Tuite comments: “Roadburn is my absolute favorite festival in the world. The lineup is always diverse, the audience enthusiastic, and the curation is second to none. I can’t think of a more appropriate place for The Flenser to celebrate our ten years of existence.”

GILES COREY
For over ten years Dan Barrett has been cementing his role as a visionary in dark music history.Perhaps none of this work has resonated with more intimacy than Giles Corey, his acoustic guitar led, ghost noise-soaked songwriting vessel. While on paper an acoustic led-project sounds like a potentially low-key affair, Giles Corey is bursting with electric energy–recordings are awash in swirling organs, reverberating choirs, striking horns, and blown out drums. While Giles Corey has performed as a solo-act, Roadburn 2020 will mark the project’s first appearance as a full-band. Members of Have a Nice Life, including central figure Tim Macuga, will help bring the album’s haunted sounds to life: expect the stage and audience to be left in a scorched earth state of desolation.

ELIZABETH COLOUR WHEEL
“Otherworldly” is a description often applied to artists that evoke the ethereal, and whilst that is occasionally applicable to Elizabeth Colour Wheel, the otherworldliness they invoke is more to do with the fact that it’s not always clear if they really inhabit the same world as we do. Their debut album, Nocebo, laughs in the face of genre descriptors, forging a new path that may be tricky to describe but that offers a wildly enticing prospect.

DROWSE
Drowse is an outlet for Kyle Bates to explore his place in the world; his music echoes what he experiences on the varied paths of this internal-reflection. Sometimes those paths lead to extraordinary places – this year’s Light Mirror LP was inspired by an isolated trip to northern Iceland where he took up an artistic residency in 2018. The melancholic results are the sonic equivalent of a sliver of sunlight permeating an otherwise bleak and drizzly morning. The weight of Bates’ reflections is mighty, but it never quite succeeds in suffocating the shards of harmonious hope that glint in the winter sun.

MAMALEEK
Mamaleek have been unearthing truly uncategorizable sounds from the catacombs of black metal since 2008. Founded by two anonymous brothers, the Bay Area project has become known for both its wild experimentation and aesthetic cohesion. The use of left-field samples threads their discography together, with sound sources growing more bizarre with each release. The current lineup mixes childhood friends and total strangers. Their participation is an outgrowth of the core duo, an experiment in a live setting, using instruments and sounds that highlight experimentation and flout genre conventions. Who knows how long this iteration will last before the next metamorphosis.

MIDWIFE
As a multi-instrumentalist, Madeline Johnson AKA Midwife has sculpted a fuzzy take on experimental dream pop, drenched in melody and punctuated with distortion. Despite a central theme of “devastation” Midwife makes for nuanced and evocative easy listening that can’t help but feel like something of an audio honey trap. We’ll have to wait until April to find out exactly what lurks beneath the surface…

ALSO ANNOUNCED…

PRIMITIVE MAN
It is with great anticipation that we’re delighted to announce that Primitive Man will be playing twice at Roadburn. One set will be a business-as-usual, throat-ripping, bone crushing display of what makes them a must-watch band. And one set will be a run through of their 2017 album, Caustic. This is the kind of endurance test we relish – an audio pummelling so intense that there’s no way to come out the other side without a shift in our worldview.

LANKUM
When The Livelong Day – the latest offering from Dublin four piece, Lankum – passed over our desks, our ears pricked up and we knew we had to invite them to Roadburn next year. It’s not uncommon to find us feeling effusive about noise, drone and ambient projects in the Roadburn world, but it’s a much rarer prospect to find such tonal qualities on what is undoubtedly, most definitely a folk album. Uilleann pipes and harmonium come together to create a cinematic soundscape that many Roadburners will feel right at home with. The album makes for an appropriate gateway for those attending Roadburn, regardless of which side you’re approaching from – a folk fan heading towards darker territories, or a heavy music fan lured by the promise of a genre steeped in history and countless traditional flourishes.

HILARY WOODS
Hilary Woods wrote her debut full length, Colt, alone – before before taking her recordings to Berlin to work with James Kelly (Wife, Altar of Plagues). The solitude is palpable, and listening to what she has made feels like a cautious invitation into a quiet place that she has created. Imagine a soft cocoon of sound, enveloping you as you step through into the netherworld of her making.

FÖLLAKZOID AND ATOM TM
Spearheading Chile’s vibrant psych scene, Föllakzoid will transport Roadburn 2020 on an all-encompassing voyage. Joined once again by German electronic artist and producer, Atom TM, the band will make their Roadburn debut, aiming to, “modulate the gravitational waves in order to alter the temporality perception and get sucked into the timeless space continuum,” as guitarist/singer Domingæ Garcia-Huidobro aptly puts it.

TORPOR
Rhetoric Of The Image showcases Torpor’s confidence; lengthy post-metal tracks smoulder whilst shorter, more experimental cuts punctuate the album. The three piece will expand a little for Roadburn in order to do justice to the full fifty one minutes that make up Rhetoric Of The Image as they perform it in full for us at Roadburn.

SUM OF R
The current incarnation of Sum of R already sees Reto teamed up with Jukka Rämänen (Dark Buddha Rising, Hexvessel, Waste Of Space Orchestra), which has allowed them to forge even more adventurous paths from their dark ambient/drone of yore, but now yet another figure from that particular Finnish scene will be adding his own very particular twist to the proceedings and giving them a new voice, quite literally, as it is none other than vocalist Marko Neuman (Dark Buddha Rising, Waste Of Space Orchestra, Convocation, Ural Umbo).

PH
Earlier this year, PH released Osiris Hayden, their second offering through Svart Records and fifth overall in their prolific decade together. Their latest work finds them embracing new reaches of the cosmic infinite, taking on electronic charge as they never have before and exploring the connection between organic and inorganic audio experiences.

MANY BLESSINGS
Those of you familiar with Ethan McCarthy will know him as the formidable frontman for Primitive Man. Under the banner of Many Blessings, Ethan performs a much less frenzied kind of music – and yet somehow it manages to be no less disturbing and spine-chilling. Many Blessings has seeped into our consciousness – a slow, creeping threat of sonic menace. Whilst the ferocity we are are perhaps more accustomed to is not present, the wordless missives are brooding and visceral.

EYE FLYS
After listening to their blistering debut album Context, and considering the fact that guitarist Spencer Hazard was already roped in for Roadburn 2020 as a member of one of our artists in residence, the wonderful Full Of Hell, how could we ever pass on Eye Flys? The Backslider rhythm section of Jake Smith – here on guitar and vocals – and Patrick Forrest plus Triac’s Kevin Bernsten complete the line-up.

ROADBURN 2020 TICKETS

Weekend tickets for Roadburn are on sale now (3-day tickets are sold out, 4-day tickets remain on sale). Single day tickets will be on sale on December 10. More information about tickets and accommodation options can be found HERE.

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

EUROPEAN FESTIVAL AWARD NOMINATION

Roadburn has been nominated in the best small festival category (less than 10,000 visitors) at the European Festival Awards 2019. Votes can be cast HERE. Votes and spreading the word are appreciated as it would be a huge honour for us to win such recognition.

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

David Eugene Edwards, “Straw Foot”

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PH Post “Origo” Artwork Video; Osiris Hayden Due Nov. 1

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ph

Peel open your brain and embrace the Hayden. An artwork-based video is the most appropriate outlet for PH at this stage in their seemingly ongoing evolution. As the Finnish atmospheric heavy experimentalists prepare the ground for the Nov. 1 Svart Records release of their new album, Osiris Hayden (review here), rife with cinematic soul-stirring synth, electronic soundscaping and a vague sense of futurism that’s neither u- nor dystopian, they’ve got a duly purple clip up for “Origo,” the nine-minute highlight/focal point of the offering and arguably its deepest plummet into the depths of weighted ambience. PH — also known as Mr. Peter Hayden at their outset — have never been a group to compromise their creative impulses, and their path has led them continually outward into climes (and climbs) both weirder and more gloriously spaced. In that regard, Osiris Hayden fits right in with the bunch.

So is this the part where I warn you about flashing lights and stuff like that? Oh, most definitely. “Origo” isn’t the most visually abrasive, by any means, but if you’re particularly sensitive to such things, you’re going to want to watch out. Still, it’s hard to imagine a song like this presented another way. It wouldn’t work as a band-in-rehearsal-space video, or even live unless it was done with some kind of visual twist maybe, but what the artwork clip allows PH to do is remove the human element from the creation itself and focus instead on the sound and atmosphere of the track, letting that shine through as what really matters and give their audience in some way a purer glimpse at the work than they might otherwise get. With the sense of immersion that “Origo” brings, it becomes all the more visually hypnotic as the pink/purple and black swap in rapid succession around the logo that has also become the band’s moniker, PH, as seen in the photo above. These guys have spent the last decade out on their own wavelength. With Osiris Hayden, they sound more at home there than ever before.

Dig into “Origo” on the player below. Preorder links for the record, live dates in suitably reverse-future order and further PR wire whatnot follow.

Please enjoy:

PH, “Origo” official video

Visual video for ‘Origo’ on Svart Records’ Youtube channel. Audio available on Spotify and other digital platforms. ‘Osiris Hayden’ album to be released on November 1st on LP/CD via Svart Records.

Pre-orders available at:
Svart Records: https://bit.ly/2kqyRdN
Levykauppa Äx: https://bit.ly/2lZ2Qdi
Shiny Beast: https://bit.ly/2m534PX
Bandcamp: https://bit.ly/2m0GeJz

Upcoming live shows:
December 13th, On the Rocks, Helsinki
December 6th, Bar 15, Seinäjoki
December 5th, Suistoklubi, Hämeenlinna
November 21st, Henry’s Pub Kuopio, Kuopio

PH on Thee Facebooks

PH on Instagram

Svart Records website

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

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Review & Track Premiere: PH, Osiris Hayden

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ph osiris hayden

[Click play above to stream ‘Justified’ from PH’s new album, Osiris Hayden. It’s out Nov. 1 on Svart Records.]

Say hello to sonic infinity. Experimentalist-prone Finnish outfit PH bring expanse to bear throughout their new album, Osiris Hayden, with a cohesion of purpose that borders on the frightening. Their second release for Svart Records behind 2017’s Eternal Hayden (review here), the album comprises a nine-song/47-minute run that uses drone soundscaping and massive industrial churn, electronic beats and synthesized sprawl, in order create an atmosphere all its own. Each of PH‘s records has played off the one before it, going back to before they re-branded themselves PH after their stage-light logo and were Mr. Peter Hayden across their initial trilogy of full-lengths, 2010’s Faster than Speed (review here), 2012’s Born a Trip (review here) and 2014’s Archdimension Now (review here). It may well be that Osiris Hayden is the second installment of a new trilogy that began two years ago and will conclude with their next album — and if so, watch out — but whether or not whatever story PH are telling is self-contained or too big to be told front-to-back in one batch of material, this collection remains no less blinding.

And I do mean that in the sense of light. Although the artwork digs into deep purple hues and a series of interconnected circles — a use of color that feels all the more conscious after the yellow and blue of the last outing — much of the album’s sound is a flash of brightness surged directly in the face of the listener. There are plenty of ambient experiments like in “Justified” or the subsequent “Uhrilahja,” and a progressive culmination that turns into an evil disco on the nine-minute “Origo,” but as Osiris Hayden essentially functions as one linear entirety, indeed these pieces intertwine and play out one into the next with a marked fluidity and, again, distinctive sense of purpose behind them. Not to harp on it, but the wash PH create here is absolutely stunning, whether it’s the synthesized drone of “Sun Sets for One” or the rhythmic consumption of “Tachophonia,” with the album’s title repeated in effects-coated vocoder as yet another inhuman aspect at play, vague spoken whispers somewhere in back of the mix — is that a sample? does it matter? — as an apex that feels as much philosophical as aural. What was once the band known as Mr. Peter Hayden has, as the four-piece PH, emerged as a stirring cosmic entity unto itself. Get your headphones, get your mind blown.

The scope begins in earnest on opener “Thr33 of Wands,” with a six-and-a-half minute unfolding that will no doubt remind some listeners of Jesu in its melodic/electronic blend, but quickly sets out on its own path. A similarly-titled complement arrives in the penultimate “M47eria Prima,” the numbers obviously intended to appear as letters. Their use of those particular numbers is somewhat opaque — 33 is the sum of three cubes and 47 is prime — but whatever the case, to call what unfolds across Osiris Hayden cinematic feels lazy and apt in kind, since it’s true but it’s kind of like calling the globe a circle in its leaving entire dimensions unaccounted for. “Thr33 of Wands” works toward a linear progression of its own, as does the later “Ad Coronam,” while the shorter stretches of “Emergence” and “Uhrilahja” or even “M47eria Prima” operate on their own wavelength, but what matters more is that everything PH do on Osiris Hayden is intended and is successful in feeding the overarching impression of the whole. The arrival of the title-line in “Justified” is a standout moment, as is the post-psychedelic explosion of sound that ensues, and as PH make their way deeper into the proceedings en route to “Origo,” the sense of pushing further into some vast interstellar reach is palpable in their use of elements organic and electronic.

ph

As to what might be happening to the universe as “Origo” resolves itself in dance beats and swirling chaos, I don’t know, but if it’s alternate-reality space rock or alien tribalism, it’s no less righteous for its blend of influences and impulses. Ultimately, it’s one more manner in which Osiris Hayden engages in an act of world-creation, the album essentially casting its own setting through its atmosphere, bringing the listener into its breadth and shimmer at a full submersion, not to induce a claustrophobia, but to in some ways demolish the expectation not just of what they might do as a band, but of what the effect of music on the person interacting with it should be. If that sounds like hyperbole, fair enough. The whole album sounds like hyperbole — an idea taken to its extreme, simply the most of the most of its own thing, the drama coming to a head in “Tachophonia” as the band wind their way toward the finish leaving a trail of light-years behind them.

Whether or not Osiris Hayden is meant to be a part of a longer cycle of offerings from PH, one is definitely left after “Tachophonia” with the question of what happens next. Where have they gone, what have they found there? Are we inside or outside, up or down? Does it matter? Are we matter? One could go on, but consider the questions as evidence of the effectiveness of Osiris Hayden in removing one from the ground and putting their audience in this position of dimensional disorientation. That, too, is purposeful as they push themselves outward along this unknown trajectory through sonic territory that is yet unclaimed by genre. One can listen to Osiris Hayden and hear krautrock, prog, post-metal, drone, doom, EDM and whatever else one wants to hear, but the potency with which PH combine these and whatever else they seem to have found along their path is what makes the album so rich and fulfilling on a galaxial scale. They have become a band unto themselves, and likewise, Osiris Hayden feels like a landmark of the sonic growth to which they remain committed. That is to say, whatever they do next — and I wouldn’t be so silly as to attempt a prediction — the only expectation is that PH will continue to move forward. Across five full-lengths to-date, they’ve never done it any other way.

Now, which way was forward again?

PH on Thee Facebooks

PH on Instagram

Svart Records website

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

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PH Set Nov. 1 Release for Osiris Hayden

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ph

I’m pretty sure I’ve heard everything PH have put out at one point or another, going back to their beginnings as Mr. Peter Hayden, and I still have no idea what to expect from their new album, Osiris Hayden, which is out Nov. 1 on Svart Records. Furthermore, that’s one of my favorite things about the band. There is no shortage of artists and groups out there who toy with the conventions of genre, but fewer and farther between as those for whom such lines are genuinely meaningless. There’s not much that’s beyond the reach of PH, and their most recent work, 2017’s Eternal Hayden (review here) rewarded those ears adventurous enough to take it on with a listening experience that genuinely stood alone. If you could dig it, you dug it. I’d expect no less of a challenge and payoff this time around, but as to what the thing might actually sound like, beats the crap out of me.

So, yes, I’m very much looking forward to it, thank you.

The PR wire brings enticingly descriptive language:

ph osiris hayden

PH set release date for new SVART album

Svart Records sets November 1st as the international release date for PH’s highly anticipated fifth album, Osiris Hayden, on CD, vinyl LP, and digital formats.

Frank Herbert once said, “Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens.” On their new album, PH (formerly Mr. Peter Hayden) have shed their blistering, snake-like skin and wound their unusual path into a new garden of unearthly delights. Still referring to themselves simply by the PH monogram, their fifth full-length release, Osiris Hayden, embraces a deep symbolic form of rebirth and regeneration.

Lauri Kivelä from PH explains their motivations best when he says, “Each album of ours has always been a step forward, and that is the only way we can do this. We are keen on going forward, a bit further than anybody else, and we do not need to stick to any genre on scene just to feel safe – quite the opposite. We are, and have always been, all about on moving on, forging our own paths.”

Recorded in their home country of Finland by Vesa Vatanen, Kimmo Nyssonen (who has worked with Dark Buddha Rising), Tom Brooke (NYOS, and who has previously worked with Domovoyd and Oranssi Pazuzu), Osiris Hayden is zenith of masterful music production, created by some of Finland’s foremost heavy psychedelic pioneers.

Like an Ostrobothnian Föllakzoid, experimental electronic soundscapes pulverize with panache and a pop-like sensibility. Osiris Hayden is contemporary Finno-Ugric Krautrock, in keeping with the band’s earlier work but much more cinematic in scope than ever before. Vangelis-inducing, distorted Blade Runner landscapes give way to the march of slick Terminator machines crushing human bones under foot. Psychonaut futurism from a band fusing genres ahead of their own time, and in a strange but logical evolution of the PH journey.

There is a jazz-like affection for the alchemy of sound-craft at play on this record. As Hesse said, “Who would be born must first destroy a world,” and worlds of sound are destroyed and recreated again and again. From the emerging resonance of pulsing drones to euphoric dying synths, we’re taken through a cascading, continual resurrection of the principle of sound and rhythm, emphasizing the PH mission statement. Punishing industrial Nine Inch Nails beats and abyssic static-laced Gary Numan-esque chants beat a white-noise pulse into your subconscious. On tracks like “Sun Sets For One” and single track “Justified,” there’s an almost anthemic ecstasy to the way the evolving song structures coil and unwind themselves.

There’s no surprise why festivals like Roadburn, Roskilde, Flow, and Tuska have championed this group to represent one of the finest examples of the modern Finnish experimental rock scene. Referring to PH, Julian Cope urged people to “get this stunning quintet out of the cold weather and into the charts.” Osiris Hayden feels like the album that will now propel them out of the smoke-filled sub-basement venues that birthed them, on to the à la mode coffee tables and dancefloors of even the most discerning and cutting-edge audio savant.

PH’s 20 years of psychedelic space-travel lend them a gargantuan understanding of the roots of music, towards the core meaning and power of transcendental sound. Fine-art museum-level workmanship for apocalyptic illegal factory raves and lysergic come-downs. Look no further for a sound beyond the limits of modern psychedelia. These Finns are way out there.

First track premiere to be revealed shortly. Preorder info can be found HERE. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for PH’s Osiris Hayden
1. Thr33 Of Wands
2. Emergence
3. Justified
4. Uhrilahja
5. Sun Sets For One
6. Origo
7. Ad Coronam
8. M47eria Prima
9. Tachophonia

www.mrph.net
www.facebook.com/mrpeterhayden
www.instagram.com/mrpeterhayden
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
www.youtube.com/svartrecords

PH, Eternal Hayden (2017)

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The Obelisk Presents: THE TOP 30 ALBUMS OF 2017

Posted in Features on December 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

top-30-of-2017

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2017 to that, please do.

We’re almost at the finish line for 2017, and if I’m honest, it’s not a minute too soon. I think if one more record comes out this year my head is going to explode.

A perpetual onslaught of cool music is, of course, nothing to complain about. It just seemed like every time I thought I had a handle on where the year was going, some other announcement came through and knocked me on my ass. What’s that? The Obsessed are putting out their first album in more than two decades? Oh and Monolord have a new one coming? Radio Moscow just signed to Century Media? Arc of Ascent are back? Samsara Blues Experiment are back? Causa Sui are putting out a live album and a studio album? Sasquatch are going to Europe and sneaking a record along with them? All of a sudden I’m out of breath feeling like I just ran a lap.

It’s been madness this year. Between an emergent neo-psych movement in the wake of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and others, and the ongoing and constant reshaping of doom and heavy rock from practitioners new and old, I don’t know how anyone could ever claim to keep up with any of it.

You know I do the best I can, so when you look through this list, please keep in mind that these are my picks and the result of applying my own standard, which if you’ve ever seen a list on this site before you probably already know is a combination of things like what I view as being important on a critical level and things like what kept me coming back as a listener. What were the year’s biggest releases and what couldn’t I get enough of? Sometimes those two things come together around one record and it’s beautiful. That’s usually your album of the year, or close to, anyhow.

No sense in delaying further. I hope if you haven’t heard some of this stuff you’ll give it a shot, and if you have something you felt strongly about it, you’ll let me know in the comments. Thanks in advance for keeping it civil, and of course for reading.

Here goes:

30. Geezer, Psychoriffadelia
geezer psychoriffadelia

Released by Kozmik Artifactz and STB Records. Reviewed May 16.

Coming off of what was their strongest album to-date in their 2016 self-titled (review here), New York heavy psych blues trio Geezer decided it was time to take the groove for a walk. And so they did. Psychoriffadelia is the result — a looser collection of jams and willfully unrefined heavy blues, reveling in the politically incorrect on “Dirty Penny” only after basking in the post-Monster Magnet hypnosis of “Red Hook” and the earlier roll of the more straightforward “Hair of the Dog” and “Stressknots.” Everything Geezer has done to this point has pushed their sound to new places. Psychoriffadelia is no exception.

29. Orango, The Mules of Nana

orango the mules of nana

Released by Stickman Records. Reviewed March 27.

More than a touch of twang on opener “Heartland” sets a tone of Americana-infusion for Orango‘s sixth LP, The Mules of Nana, but the 10-tracker is ultimately much more about harmony-laced classic heavy smoothness than playing to prairie-minded sensibilities, though roots spread wide through a natural, dirty blues just the same. However they get there, “Hazy Chain of Mountains,” the softshoe-ready funk of “Head on Down” and the peacefully progressive finish of “Ghost Rider” bring ’70s-style thrills in songwriting and their precise, gorgeous execution. Underrated record from an underappreciated band.

28. Radio Moscow, New Beginnings

radio moscow new beginnings

Released by Century Media. Reviewed Oct. 6.

Cali boogie kingpins and all-around marvelous frenetic bastards Radio Moscow were in top form on their Century Media debut, and if it was a new beginning they were searching for, they met it head on with a sound as classic and organic as ever. Arguably the most powerful power trio in their game, they tore through cuts like “No One Knows Where They’ve Been” and “Deceiver” while offering flourish in the trip-out “Woodrose Morning” and subdued blues-psych on the penultimate “Pick up the Pieces.” Very much to form, but cast of a form that still manages to outclass all challengers.

27. Spaceslug, Time Travel Dilemma

spaceslug time travel dilemma

Released by Southcave Records, BSFD Records and Oak Island Records. Reviewed Feb. 10.

And so here we have the first of what will no doubt be several records about which I’m going to say they should be higher on the list. Poland’s Spaceslug have emerged from the moist ground created by their own tonality and on their sophomore full-length, they proffered warm depth of fuzz and a corresponding melodic and psychedelic reach that was resonant even before they brought in ex-Sungrazer bassist Sander Haagmans for a guest spot on the title-track. It’s been out for 10 months and still delivers every time I put it on, which is often.

26. Mothership, High Strangeness

mothership high strangeness
Released by Ripple Music and Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed March 7.

Three albums into a tenure marked by hard-driving riffs, scorching solos and relentless road work, there’s little Texas trio Mothership need to do at this point to prove themselves to their audience. At the same time, High Strangeness brought considerable expansion to their range overall, whether it was the exploratory “Eternal Trip” or the semi-metallic insistence behind “Midnight Express,” while staying tied together with lyrical and instrumental hooks. High Strangeness set a new standard for Mothership, plain and simple, and easily surpassed the considerable accomplishments of their 2012 self-titled debut (review here) and 2014’s Mothership II (review here).

25. Eternal Black, Bleed the Days

eternal black bleed the days

Released by Obsidian Sky Records. Reviewed Aug. 1.

There was a lot about Eternal Black‘s Bleed the Days that chugged its way into the post-Wino oeuvre of US-style trad doom, but the gruff, lumbering and impeccably riffed outing was nonetheless one of 2017’s best debut full-lengths, and it was the songwriting that got it there. Already sounding sure in the vibe captured, cuts like the plodding brooder “Sea of Graves” and “Stained Eyes on a Setting Sun” showed potential in mood and atmosphere as much as sheer sonic heft — though of course there was plenty of that to go around as well. Doomers missed it at their peril.

24. Kadavar, Rough Times

kadavar rough times

Released by Nuclear Blast. Reviewed Sept. 6.

It kind of feels like a slight to have Berlin trio Kadavar appear anywhere outside of at least a top 10 on any kind of list whatsoever, ever, but that’s not my intention at all. Rather, their fourth album and third for Nuclear Blast found them at an important stage in their progression — past the novelty of the vintage feel in their early work, after having proven their songwriting could translate to a modern context, and embarking on a process of expanding their sound. Rough Times, which was as current as current could be, met that goal and beat it easily with a barrage of memorable choruses and a dark streak one could only consider suitable for our age.

23. Shroud Eater, Strike the Sun

shroud eater strike the sun

Released by STB Records. Reviewed June 28.

The biggest surprise about Shroud Eater‘s long-awaited sophomore long-player was also its most encouraging aspect — namely how it found the Miami trio bringing together various impulses shown on a number of shorter releases over the course of the six years since their debut, ThunderNoise (review here), came out in 2011, and still managed to utterly crush when it so chose. With a swath from sludge to drone and back again, this was no minor feat, and that the songs they brought to bear were so memorable at their heart as well makes me hope all the more it’s not 2023 before their third album arrives.

22. Enslaved, E

enslaved e

Released by Nuclear Blast. Reviewed Oct. 4.

What’s left to say about Norwegian progressive black metal innovators Enslaved 14 records into their career? Plenty as it turns out. The introduction of new keyboardist/vocalist Håkon Vinje in place of Herbrand Larsen brought a new twist on a signature element of Enslaved‘s approach. Vinje utterly owned his role, and his performance alongside guitarist Ivar Bjørnson, bassist/vocalist Grutle Kjellson, guitarist Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal and drummer Cato Bekkevold resulted in a fresh urgency that made the band’s sound even more potent and set their ongoing creative evolution on a new branch of its self-directed path.

21. Arc of Ascent, Realms of the Metaphysical

arc-of-ascent-realms-of-the-metaphysical

Released by Astral Projection and Clostridium Records. Reviewed April 6.

Some five years on from 2012’s The Higher Key (review here) and seven out from their debut, Circle of the Sun (review here), and with bassist/vocalist Craig Williamson firmly entrenched in his always excellent Lamp of the Universe psych-drone-folk solo-project, I wasn’t sure there would be another offering from New Zealand heavy psych-rock trio Arc of Ascent, but Realms of the Metaphysical took shape from an ether of riffs and echoes atop resilient underlying structures and revitalized the group with new drummer Mark McGeady in the lineup with Williamson and guitarist Matt Cole-Baker. Remains to be seen if this marks a priority shift for Williamson or it’s a one-off, but its arrival was welcome either way.

20. Causa Sui, Vibraciones Doradas

causa sui vibraciones doradas

Released by El Paraiso Records. Reviewed Oct. 20.

With the various glories already offered in 2017 on the Live in Copenhagen (review here) 3LP, one didn’t necessarily expect a new studio outing from Danish instrumental psych masters Causa Sui, but Vibraciones Doradas found them as vibrant as ever, bringing forth a surprising amount of tonal weight on songs like “El Fuego,” warm fuzz for the basking on opener “The Drop” and spaciousness on the closing title-track. Somewhat more straight-ahead in its rocking groove than 2016’s Return to Sky (review here), the five-track/38-minute long-player showed yet again why Causa Sui are always welcome and that any news of a new release from them, live, studio, whatever, is good news. This was the kind of record that could make your day if you let it.

19. Telekinetic Yeti, Abominable

telekinetic yeti abominable

Released by Sump Pump Records. Reviewed April 10.

The Iowa-based duo of guitarist/vocalist Alex Baumann and drummer Anthony Dreyer, operating as Telekinetic Yeti, released what I considered to be the debut of the year, both for the fullness of its tonality and the accomplishment in songcraft it already showed. Powered by cuts like its lumbering title-track and the gloriously fuzzed runner “Stoned and Feathered,” it could’ve been another band’s second or third record for the level of cohesion on display and the obvious awareness on the part of the band of what they wanted to do with their sound and the just-as-obvious result of their bringing it to life.

18. Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kozmic Dust

cloud catcher trails of kozmic dust

Released by Totem Cat Records. Reviewed Dec. 9, 2016.

While I admit I’m still not 100 percent certain on whether to spell “kozmic” in the title with a ‘k’ or with a ‘c’ on the end, that question did nothing ultimately to diminish enjoyment of Denver emergents Cloud Catcher‘s sophomore outing. Topped off by one of the best album covers of the year, the follow-up to their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here), took the progressive casting of that record to a place entirely more raw and rock-driven, willfully roughing up the edges even as it showed marked creative growth on a relatively quick turnaround. The must-hear bass tone of “Beyond the Electric Sun” and “Super Acid Magick” was icing on a cake of choice riffing and Hendrixian lead swirl, and the shuffle they elicited was enough to make even the most stubborn of asses (i.e. mine) think about moving.

17. Ruby the Hatchet, Planetary Space Child

ruby the hatchet planetary space child

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed Aug. 29.

After the neo-garage manifestations of their 2015 sophomore outing, Valley of the Snake (review here), it was clear Philly psych rockers Ruby the Hatchet were a force when it came to songwriting. What was less obvious was what they’d do with that going forward. On Planetary Space Child, at least, the answer is they’ll take it to Freaktown. The melody-happy, organ-laced swirlmasters conjured presence kosmiche enough to justify the album’s title, and around the cast-in-moon-rock structures of the swinging “Pagan Ritual” and the playfully doomed “Symphony of the Night,” Ruby the Hatchet built a multifaceted weirdoist triumph the likes of which simply doesn’t come along every year, establishing themselves as more reliable and less predictable than ever: an absolute win.

16. Alunah, Solennial

alunah solennial

Released by Svart Records. Reviewed March 1.

It’s been the case more or less all along with UK forest rockers Alunah that their nature-minded material and heavy rolling grooves have had their haunting aspects, but with the production of Conan‘s Chris Fielding behind it, Solennial — their fourth LP and first on Svart — brought this to new levels entirely. The songs, memorable like footprints in the woods, are somewhat bittersweet in context now, since founding guitarist/vocalist Sophie Day announced in September she was leaving the band, but as the group will move forward led by guitarist Dave Day and recently acquired new singer Siân Greenaway, intrigue remains high at what the future might bring and the impact of Solennial is undiminished.

15. Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream

mindkult-lucifers-dream

Released by Transcending Obscurity Records and Caligari Records.

Virginia-based doomgazing garage cult solo-project Mindkult has thus far managed to keep some of the mystique around its sole inhabitant, Fowst, which is admirable in a way. As the multi-instrmentalist, vocalist and producer this year answered the promise of last year’s Witch’s Oath (review here) debut, he did so around a swath of purposeful miseries, loose devil worship and other dark thematics, casting an atmospheric darkness matched head-on by the tonal murk of his riffs. Through this, however, the songwriting was no less memorable than on the first offering, and as the project moves forward, one can only hope that Fowst will continue to use that as the core aspect buried six feet under his other, formidable stylistic achievements. That certainly was how it worked out on Lucifer’s Dream.

14. Argus, From Fields of Fire

argus from fields of fire
Released by Cruz del Sur Music. Reviewed Sept. 1.

Behold ye perhaps the most underrated band in heavy metal. Regardless of subgenre, style, strata, whatever, it’s hard to listen to From Fields of Fire and think of Pittsburgh’s Argus as anything else. The five-piece’s fourth album continued to owe part of its sound to doom, but was much more encompassing than simply that, touching on aspects of classic metal with a command that left one wondering how they hadn’t yet been tapped to open for Judas Priest on that band’s next tour. Victory abounds on a per-song basis throughout the nine-tracker, and whether it was the emotional crux of “Hour of Longing” or the catchy fistpump righteousness of “Devils of Your Time” or the 11-minute progressive reach of “Infinite Lives/Infinite Doors,” Argus once again crafted a work nigh-unmatched in poise and class.

13. Uffe Lorenzen, Galmandsværk

Uffe-Lorenzen-Galmandsvaerk

Released by Bad Afro Records. Reviewed Nov. 6.

For the first outing ever to be issued under his real name, Denmark’s Uffe Lorenzen — aka Lorenzo Woodrose of garage-psych pioneers Baby Woodrose — danced between acid folk singer-songwriterisms like “Flippertøs” and more expansive jamming on “På Kanten Af Verden,” all the while retaining his distinct structural and arrangement sensibilities and creating a flowing vibe that was nothing less than a pure joy of classic-form psychedelia. The most serene and pastoral freakout one was likely to witness in 2017, easily, Galmandsværk resounded in the Mellotron-laced “Høj Som Et Højhus” and was no less at home in the acoustic spaciousness of the earlier “Remits Tyranni,” able to wander where it pleased and find steady ground in molten surroundings.

12. The Flying Eyes, Burning of the Season

the flying eyes burning of the season

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Oct. 11.

A welcome return from a viciously underappreciated band, The Flying EyesBurning of the Season marked the Baltimore four-piece’s first offering for Ripple Music and first since 2013’s Lowlands (review here), a four-year stretch during which the band kept busy touring Europe and South America, the latter also being where they recorded these songs with Gabriel Zander at Estudio Superfuzz in Brazil. The tonal depth resulting from that process was enough to make the collection a highlight, but it was the songs themselves that most stood out, benefiting from the band’s expanded reach and legitimate, hard-won maturity. Especially for a group who’ve done so much work on the road over their years — to be fair, the US has been pretty low priority in that regard — they remain a secret kept too well.

11. Bell Witch, Mirror Reaper

bell witch mirror reaper

Released by Profound Lore. Reviewed Dec. 27.

Doomed extremity simply unmatched in its scope. The song of the year for 2017. An accomplishment the likes of which is prone to happen maybe once or twice in a generation. None of this seems to really speak to the entirety of the achievement that is Bell Witch‘s Mirror Reaper — the single-song, 83-minute full-length issued by the Seattle duo like a challenge in the face of mortality itself. Beautiful, devastating and weighted like the grave, its sprawl utterly consumed the listener, and I firmly believe it will be years before its depths are fully processed. Some offerings are bigger than the year in which they’re released. Mirror Reaper would seem to function on a scale of its own, and though it could easily be read as a litmus test for audience punishment, the truth of the listening experience is both more emotionally complex and more fulfilling than simple hyperbole can capture.

10. Monolord, Rust

monolord rust

Released by RidingEasy Records. Reviewed Oct. 26.

The story all along with Gothenburg’s Monolord has been tone. Tone tone tone. Crush crush crush. Riffs riffs riffs. Nothing wrong with any of that, but their third album, Rust, proves once and for all that there’s more to the trio than “cool riffs bro” and post-Electric Wizard nod. Catchy cuts like “Dear Lucifer” and rolling opener “Where Death Meets the Sea” brought a sense of space leading to the later sprawl of “Forgotten Lands” and “At Niceae,” and the band settled into an individualized, lumbering psychedelia that moved forward from 2015’s Vænir (review here), not leaving behind the heft that earned them their reputation, but not at all being limited by it either in scope or overall approach. Three records in, Rust brought forth Monolord‘s greatest sonic expansion yet and gave rise to the feeling that their true potential was just starting to come to fruition. Also, crush crush crush. Cool riffs, bro.

9. Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn

vokonis-the-sunken-djinn

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed June 5.

The Sunken Djinn is Vokonis‘ second full-length in as many years, and in addition to serving as their Ripple debut where 2016’s Olde One Ascending (review here) landed via Ozium Records, it was a feast for hungry riff hounds. In defiance of its quick turnaround, it showed a firm evolution taking place within the upstart Swedish trio of guitarist/vocalist Simon Ohlsson, bassist/backing vocalist Jonte Johansson and drummer Emil Larsson, whose range overall was greater in tracks like “Rapturous” and the torrential “Blood Vortex” while nonetheless controlled in its delivery. Their Sleep-y origins still a factor sound-wise, Vokonis were able just the same to push themselves ahead into new sonic ground in fittingly lumbering fashion, and the character they brought to “The Sunken Djinn,” “Calling from the Core” and the noise-caked “Maelstroem” seemed to speak to a burgeoning sense of atmospheric focus taking hold as well. Still so much potential here.

8. Electric Moon, Stardust Rituals

electric moon stardust rituals

Released by Sulatron Records. Reviewed April 7.

Do I even need to remotely justify having Electric Moon‘s first studio album in six years on this list? Was it not just like a love-letter issued by the cosmos itself? What more explanation could possibly be necessary? Not that the German trio haven’t dropped copious, glorious live outings all the while, but to have Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt, “Komet Lulu” Neudeck and Marcus Schnitzler follow-up 2011’s The Doomsday Machine (review here) with four cuts culminating in the 22-minute sprawl of “(You Will) Live Forever Now” was high on the list of the year’s most satisfying psychedelic journeys. Constantly exploring, their methods always seem geared toward finding the molten essence of space rock itself, and though the songs on Stardust Rituals were a little more crafted than some of their straight-up improv jams, they nonetheless showed there are many avenues one might take to get to the heart of the sun.

7. Sun Blood Stories, It Runs Around the Room with Us

sun-blood-stories-it-runs-around-the-room-with-us

Self-released. Reviewed May 1.

This one is personal, and by that I mean I love this fucking band. Similar to my experience with their 2015 sophomore outing, Twilight Midnight Morning (review here), the third record by Boise-based trio of Ben Kirby (vocals, guitar, synth, percussion), Amber Pollard (vocals, guitar, theremin, percussion) and Jon Fust (drums, keys, percussion, noise) was one that I simply could not put down. Even now, seeing the name of the record is all I need to have songs like “The Great Destroyer” and the immersive midsection in “Come Like Rain” and “Time Like Smoke” stuck in my head, let alone the ultra-brazen, searingly-pissed “Burn” noise assault that finished the album and in the span of 90 seconds turned all the psychedelic warmth and serenity on its face with a visceral anger completely unforeseen and jarring, turning it from a depth-laden execution of adventurous neo-psych and indie into a project of conceptual artistry with all the efficiency of the chemical reaction it sought to portray. If you missed it, your loss.

6. The Atomic Bitchwax, Force Field

the-atomic-bitchwax-force-field

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed Dec. 7.

Songs like “Alaskan Thunder Fuck,” “Humble Brag” and “Earth Shaker (Which Doobie U Be?)” assured that the defining character of Force Field, the sixth album from New Jersey’s The Atomic Bitchwax, was pure scorch. That made the 12-cut outing a more than worthy follow-up for 2015’s  Gravitron (review here), which introduced this more speed-rock-minded, aggressive delivery from the tight-as-nails trio, and while they proved they could still lock in a slower groove on the organ-topped finisher “Liv a Little,” head-spinners like the instrumental “Fried, Dyed and Layin’ to the Side” and “Houndstooth” came across like the fruit of the band pushing themselves to the limits of their physical ability in terms of tempo, and their ride along the edge of that line brought thrills at every turn. And make no mistake, there were a lot of turns. Fortunately, bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik, guitarist/vocalist Finn Ryan and drummer Bob Pantella seemingly had a corresponding hook in their pocket for each one of them. This band is a national treasure.

5. Atavismo, Inerte

atavismo inerte

Released by Temple of Torturous. Reviewed Feb. 21.

Warm, fuzzy tones, rhythmic shifts right out of classic progressive rock, melodic intricacy and periodic excursions into glorious psychedelic drift: I’m not sure what wasn’t to like about Inerte, Atavismo‘s second full-length behind 2014’s Desintegración (review here). Comprising five tracks of unmistakable flow and jam-laden fluidity, it was immersive with landmarks along the way to keep the listener from getting too lost, and whether or not one spoke Spanish, the three-piece of Jose “Poti” Moreno (ex-Viaje a 800Mind!), bassist/vocalist Mateo and drummer/vocalist Sandri Pow (also ex-Mind!) made it easy to follow along their purposefully meandering path, offering guidance no less skillful on the 11-minute fuzz-freaker “El Sueño” than the dream-toned linear build of “Belleza Cuatro.” There were very, very few albums I listened to more this year than this one, which is precisely why it is where it is on this list.

4. Samsara Blues Experiment, One with the Universe

samsara-blues-experiment-one-with-the-universe

Released by Electric Magic Records and Abraxas Records. Reviewed May 4.

Four years between records isn’t at all an unheard of stretch. It’s not the longest on this list by any means. But with Berlin heavy psych rockers Samsara Blues Experiment, it really seemed like the band was done, so to have them come back with such force on One with the Universe was, as I know I said at several points throughout the last 12 months, one of the year’s total highlights. Tracked by former bassist Richard Behrens, the group’s fourth album answered the extended-track spread of 2013’s Waiting for the Flood (review here) with a deeper sense of sonic variety, and while the 15-minute title-cut and opener “Vispassana” still had plenty of room for jamming out and even six-minute centerpiece “Glorious Daze” found room for some flourish of organ and sitar, guitarist/vocalist Christian Peters, drummer Thomas Vedder and bassist Hans Eiselt rightly featured the chemistry they’ve built as a trio live and brought to the songs a renewed sense of vigor, sounding — and hopefully being — truly inspired. Waiting for the Flood capped a period of marked productivity across several years. Fingers crossed One with the Universe begins that cycle anew.

3. Elder, Reflections of a Floating World

Elder-Reflections-of-a-Floating-World

Released by Armageddon Shop and Stickman Records. Reviewed May 23.

You just can’t consider Elder‘s Reflections of a Floating World outside the context of the progressive achievement that was their prior outing, 2015’s Lore (review here). Where the trio — based now between Massachusetts and Berlin, Germany — took their first two outings, 2008’s self-titled debut (discussed here) and 2011’s Dead Roots Stirring (review here), to find their sound, which they began to showcase on the 2012 Spires Burn/Release EP (review here), it was Lore that brought to fruition the potential that had always been waiting to be unleashed by the trio of guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo, bassist Jack Donovan and drummer Matt Couto, and Reflections of a Floating World had the daunting task of being the next further step from that landmark moment. To say the band rose to the occasion is perhaps to undersell the cohesion at work in consuming-but-cohesive pieces like opener “Sanctuary” or “Blind” or “Staving off the Truth,” which brought together clear-headed psychedelia around a wash that seemed to stem as much from rhythm as melody. As they’ve matured stylistically and become a major touring presence, Elder have made themselves perhaps the most pivotal American heavy rock act going, and Reflections of a Floating World brings them to the discovery of yet another apex while at the same time giving zero indication it will be the last one they find.

2. Colour Haze, In Her Garden

colour haze in her garden

Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten. Reviewed March 9.

Of course, the bonus of writing about Colour Haze in just about any context is that you get to put Colour Haze on while you’re doing it, and in the case of the 12th LP from these Munich heavy psych forebears, that’s an even more appealing prospect. After stripping down some of the arrangement flourish with 2014’s To the Highest Gods We Know (review here), the 13-track/73-minute 2LP In Her Garden brought a revitalized sonic expansion, but as ever, it wasn’t just the horns or the strings or the blend of keys and acoustics that made In Her Garden the unbridled joy that it was and continues to be — it was the underlying performance from guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek, bassist Philipp Rasthofer and drummer Manfred Merwald that gave the album the stem on which its garden grew. That’s not to say Jan Faszbender‘s work on modular synth, Rhodes, and Hammond or the arrangements of strings, tuba, bass-clarinet and trombone throughout hurt anything, just that as Colour Haze have grown into incorporating these elements into their groundbreaking aesthetic, they haven’t left behind the organic chemistry and necessary live feel that has helped them influence a generation of followers over their more than 20-year career. One came through as much as the other on In Her Garden, and that balance gave the overarching warmth of their self-recorded tonality yet another level on which to engage their audience. I’ll be a sucker for Colour Haze for as long as I live, and I have absolutely no problem admitting to and owning that.

1. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War

all them witches sleeping through the war

Released by New West Records. Reviewed Jan. 27.

It was clear early on that Nashville four-piece All Them Witches were contending hard for Album of the Year with Sleeping Through the War, their fourth long-player and second for New West following the mellow vibes of 2015’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here). What finally sealed it? The songs. Working with producer Dave Cobb, the each-member-essential lineup of bassist/vocalist Michael Parks, Jr., guitarist Ben McLeod, key-specialist Allan van Cleave (Rhodes, Mellotron, piano, organ, etc.) and drummer/graphic artist Robby Staebler solidified their approach in exciting new ways on early cuts like the grunge-crunching “Don’t Bring Me Coffee” and the shuffling “Bruce Lee,” which hit in succession following the fluid lead-in of opener “Bulls,” an introduction of the organic psychedelia and heavy blues that the loose-swinging of “3-5-7″‘s nigh-on-gospel chorus and subsequent, almost maddeningly catchy “Am I Going Up?” would continue to push outward, thereby setting a linear course into a consciousness-capturing side B with “Alabaster” and the jammier “Cowboy Kirk” and “Internet” playing between melodic nuance and mindful, go-with-it drift. The unflinching strength of the material was matched perhaps only by the understatement of its delivery, which was the more staggering considering how easily the arrangements of background vocals on “Am I Going Up?” or  “3-5-7” could have come through as overblown or self-indulgent, and by the time they got down to the light weirdo-bluesy stomp of “Internet” — the key lyric and hook being, “Guess I’ll go live on the internet” — there was no doubting the genuine nature of the realization Sleeping Through the War represented for All Them Witches. Coupling that feeling of achievement with the sheer repeatability of the listening experience itself left no doubt that 2017 belonged to these tracks and the marvelous way the band wove between them, and that whatever other sounds All Them Witches may go on to explore and whatever else they may accomplish as a result, Sleeping Through the War was a truly special moment in their evolution that, as with the best of offerings in any year, will continue to resonate long after the calendar page has turned.

The Next 20

You know, I used to feel like once you got past a top 20, the numbers were arbitrary. Then I felt that way about the top 30. This year, I think I agonized more about what to include in numbers 31-50 than I did between 30 and the album of the year. Put that in your “go figure” file while you chew on these picks:

31. Cities of Mars, Temporal Rifts
32. The Midnight Ghost Train, Cypress Ave.
33. Snowy Dunes, Atlantis
34. Rozamov, This Mortal Road
35. PH, Eternal Hayden
36. Sasquatch, Maneuvers
37. Young Hunter, Dayhiker
38. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II
39. Ufomammut, 8
40. John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues
41. Paradise Lost, Medusa
42. Beastmaker, Inside the Skull
43. Arduini / Balich, Dawn of Ages
44. Primitive Man, Caustic
45. Motorpsycho, The Tower
46. Arbouretum, Song of the Rose
47. Hymn, Perish
48. Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle
49. Pallbearer, Heartless
50. Dool, Here Now There Then

There’s so, so much good stuff here. So much. The Cities of Mars debut was a treasure and the only reason it wasn’t on my top debuts list was because I haven’t had the chance to go back in and put it on. The Young Hunter record? Some of their best work yet. Hell, that Arduini / Balich album alone! Then you’ve got huge releases by Pallbearer, Ufomammut, Paradise Lost, Primitive Man, on and on. Like I said at the outset, one more album and my head was gonna explode this year. Way too much to ever hope to keep up with. One thing though I felt like I really wanted to emphasize including was Dool. They’re in the last spot, but make no mistake, in atmosphere and songwriting that album was something really special and loaded with potential. It’s not there because it came in last. It’s there to highlight the point of how much it should be on this list.

What’s that? More records? Okay…

Honorable Mentions

In case you also weren’t completely overwhelmed this year, maybe another batch of records will do the trick. Here’s some presented alphabetically:

Anathema, The Optimist
Blackfinger, When Colors Fade Away
Child, Blueside
Cortez, The Depths Below
Demon Eye, Prophecies and Lies
Elbrus, Elbrus
Electric Wizard, Wizard Bloody Wizard
Ecstatic Vision, Raw Rock Fury
Five Horse Johnson, Jake Leg Boogie
Mirror Queen, Verdigris
The Obsessed, Sacred
T.G. Olson, Foothills Before the Mountain
Outsideinside, Sniff a Hot Rock
Queens of the Stone Age, Villains
Siena Root, A Dream of Lasting Peace
Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold
Steak, No God to Save
Summoner, Beyond the Realm of Light
Valborg, Endstrand
With the Dead, Love from With the Dead

Plus: Abronia, Lewis and the Strange Magics, Iron Monkey, Band of Spice, Puta Volcano, Galley Beggar, Heavy Traffic, Coltsblood, REZN, Green Meteor, Demon Head, Lord, Grigax, The Raynbow, Carpet, Norska, Les Lekin, Slow, Ixion, and I’m sure more that I’ll add as the names continue to pop into my head.

I did this back in June as well, but I also want to draw attention to a swath of quality live albums that came out this year. The top pick should be no surprise if you’ve been hanging around the site of late:

Live Albums:
1. SubRosa, Subdued Live at Roadburn
2. Causa Sui, Live in Copenhagen
3. Slomatics, Futurians Live at Roadburn
4. My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live
5. Wight, Fusion Rock Invasion
5. Death Alley, Live at Roadburn

Thank You

It’s been a hell of a year, obviously. Musically and otherwise. As always, I cannot possibly come close to thanking you enough for your incredible and ongoing support of The Obelisk, of what this site is, what it’s become over its nearly nine-year run, what it will continue to become going forward from here. It is astounding to me and deeply humbling that you would possibly take time out of your busy day and your busy life to check out what’s going on here, and words fail me continually when it comes to feeling like I can properly convey my appreciation for that. Thank you for reading. Thank you for reading. Thank you for reading. Tattoo it on my forehead.

Thank you to The Patient Mrs. for understanding how much I need to be doing this, to Slevin for keeping the site running on the technical end, to Behrang Alavi for taking over hosting earlier this year, to my family for their ongoing support, to The Pecan for sleeping late some mornings and giving me time to write, and to everyone who ever shared a link on social media or made a comment on a post or anything like that. To long-time readers and to newcomers alike — thank you so much. This year has seen a fair share of ups and downs, but the support this site gets sustains me in ways I never expected it could, and that would be impossible without you. Please know how crucial that is to me.

Well, that should do it. I know there are probably disagreements about where things landed on the list, what was included, what was left out, etc., as there always are. All comments are of course welcome — only thing I’d ask is you please keep it civil and respectful of the opinions of others. Otherwise, have at it. Please.

And one more time, thank you for reading.

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audiObelisk Transmission 064

Posted in Podcasts on December 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

audiobelisk transmission 064

So this is something I’ve never done before. I’m not exactly what you’d call an early adopter when it comes to new technology, but this weekend I finally signed up for Spotify and decided to give a shot at putting together a year-end playlist through that rather than doing the standard podcast. Aside from a kind of ongoing latent concern about essentially giving away downloads of music that doesn’t belong to me via the old mp3 files — no one’s ever said anything and I always figured it was okay since songs were bundled together as one file — this just seemed more useful in allowing people to explore different artists, albums, etc. If you disagree, I’m sorry.

I can’t say I won’t ever go back to the other way, or that I’ll actively enjoy having a Spotify account enough to keep it, and so on, but it’s something new to try, so I’m giving it a shot. The playlist turned out to be nine hours and 12 minutes long, and once I got going, I couldn’t really resist making it 65 tracks, what with it being the 64th podcast and all. One to grow on.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for listening:

Track details:

• Artist, Track, Album, Runtime
• Elder, Sanctuary, Reflections of a Floating World, 00:11:13
• All Them Witches, Am I Going Up?, Sleeping Through the War, 00:05:33
• Lo-Pan, Pathfinder, In Tensions, 00:06:22
• MOON RATS, Heroic Dose, Highway Lord, 00:04:27
• Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree, Medicine, Medicine, 00:06:38
• Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream, Lucifer’s Dream, 00:09:06
• Brume, Reckon, Rooster, 00:09:12
• Riff Fist, King Tide, King Tide, 00:11:20
• Monolord, Dear Lucifer, Rust, 00:08:41
• Hymn, Serpent, Perish, 00:07:32
• Vinnum Sabbathi, Gravity Waves, Gravity Works, 00:08:26
• Electric Wizard, Wicked Caresses, Wizard Bloody Wizard, 00:06:43
• Ruby the Hatchet, Symphony of the Night, Planetary Space Child, 00:07:08
• Telekinetic Yeti, Colossus, Abominable, 00:08:56
• Bong Wish, My Luv, Bong Wish, 00:02:31
• Radio Moscow, New Skin, New Beginnings, 00:03:02
• Cloud Catcher, Celestial Empress, Trails of Kozmic Dust, 00:05:41
• The Atomic Bitchwax, Humble Brag, Force Field, 00:02:52
• Sasquatch, Just Couldn’t Stand the Weather, Maneuvers, 00:06:27
• Kadavar, Die Baby Die, Rough Times, 00:04:18
• Cities of Mars, Children of the Red Sea, Temporal Rifts, 00:08:27
• Argus, You Are the Curse, From Fields of Fire, 00:06:23
• Comacozer, Hylonomus, Kalos Eidos Skopeo, 00:13:43
• Samsara Blues Experiment, One with the Universe, One with the Universe, 00:15:02
• Orango, Heirs, The Mules of Nana, 00:04:46
• Siena Root, Tales of Independence, A Dream of Lasting Peace, 00:03:39
• Demon Head, Older Now, Thunder on the Fields, 00:04:17
• Sun Blood Stories, Great Destroyer, It Runs Around the Room with Us, 00:06:11
• Spaceslug, Time Travel Dilemma, Time Travel Dilemma, 00:10:07
• Arc of Ascent, Hexagram, Realms of the Metaphysical, 00:07:34
• Causa Sui, Seven Hills, Vibraciones Doradas, 00:07:24
• Alunah, Fire of Thornborough Henge, Solennial, 00:05:32
• Vokonis, Calling From The Core, The Sunken Djinn, 00:06:03
• Enslaved, Sacred Horse, E, 00:08:12
• Dvne, Edenfall, Asheran, 00:07:04
• The Midnight Ghost Train, Break My Love, Cypress Ave., 00:03:33
• The Obsessed, It’s Only Money, Sacred, 00:02:35
• Mothership, Crown of Lies, High Strangeness, 00:05:41
• Geezer, Red Hook, Psychoriffadelia, 00:06:02
• Uffe Lorenzen, Flippertøs, Galmandsværk, 00:02:46
• Youngblood Supercult, Master of None, The Great American Death Rattle, 00:04:01
• Beastmaker, Nature of the Damned, Inside the Skull, 00:03:26
• Pallbearer, I Saw the End, Heartless, 00:06:21
• Paradise Lost, Blood and Chaos, Medusa, 00:03:51
• Rozamov, Wind Scorpion, This Mortal Road, 00:08:49
• Eternal Black, Sea of Graves, Bleed the Days, 00:06:33
• Demon Eye, Politic Divine, Prophecies and Lies, 00:03:40
• Snowy Dunes, Ritual of Voices, Atlantis, 00:07:17
• The Devil and the Almighty Blues, Low, II, 00:08:49
• Abronia, Glass Butte Retribution, Obsidian Visions / Shadowed Lands, 00:06:09
• John Garcia, Kylie, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues, 00:04:58
• Tuna de Tierra, Raise of the Lights, Tuna de Tierra, 00:07:09
• Colour Haze, Lotus, In Her Garden, 00:07:05
• IAH, Stolas, IAH, 00:08:39
• Fungus Hill, Are You Dead, Creatures, 00:08:54
• Atavismo, El Sueño, Inerte, 00:11:18
• Tuber, Noman, Out of the Blue, 00:08:14
• Spidergawd, What You Have Become, Spidergawd IV, 00:03:44
• Puta Volcano, Bird, Harmony of Spheres, 00:05:07
• Ufomammut, Core, 8, 00:05:15
• Kings Destroy, None More, None More, 00:14:03
• PH, Looking Back at Mr. Peter Hayden, Eternal Hayden, 00:16:44
• Mt. Mountain, Dust, Dust, 00:17:15
• Electric Moon, Live Forever Now (You Will), Stardust Rituals, 00:22:41
• Bell Witch, Mirror Reaper, Mirror Reaper, 01:23:15

If you want to follow me on Spotify, apparently that’s something you can do here.

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 of 2017 So Far

Posted in Features on June 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk top-20-2017-so-far

The time has come to take a look at some of the best albums of 2017 so far. I hardly know where to start. In some ways, this list is harder to put together than the end-of-year one that comes out in December, because by then not only do you have the full year to draw on, but it’s easier to sort of put a narrative to the course of events of 12 months, whereas in this case, obviously, the story is half told. So I guess if the list feels incomplete, that might be part of why.

Even with just six months to work from, the list has become fairly immense. I’ve been keeping track of 2017 releases since about September of last year, and the amount of stuff that’s come through has been staggering. Every year brings good music, and the basic fact of the matter is that if you don’t think so it’s because you’re either unwilling to find it or unwilling to let yourself hear it, but 2017 has been a multi-tiered assault of sounds from all over the world, and it seems like whatever you might be into, the universe stands ready to accommodate.

There’s a lot to say about that — is the market flooded? — but it’s a topic for a different post. I’ll keep it short here and just say that as always, it’s an honor to be covering the stuff that I cover and that I deeply appreciate you taking the time to read. I hope if there’s a release you feel deeply passionate about that you don’t see on my list below that you’ll please let me know about it in the comments.

Also, please note that in order to qualify for this list, a record had to come out on or before June 9. That’s the cutoff.

Okay, here goes:

The Top 20 of 2017 So Far

elder reflections of a floating world

1. Elder, Reflections of a Floating World
2. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War
3. Samsara Blues Experiment, One with the Universe
4. Colour Haze, In Her Garden
5. Atavismo, Inerte
6. Sun Blood Stories, It Runs Around the Room with Us
7. Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kozmic Dust
8. Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn
9. The Obsessed, Sacred
10. Mothership, High Strangeness
11. Spaceslug, Time Travel Dilemma
12. Electric Moon, Stardust Rituals
13. Alunah, Solennial
14. Arc of Ascent, Realms of the Metaphysical
13. Rozamov, This Mortal Road
14. Siena Root, A Dream of Lasting Peace
15. PH, Eternal Hayden
16. Geezer, Psychoriffadelia
17. T.G. Olson, Foothills Before the Mountain
18. Telekinetic Yeti, Abominable
19. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II
20. Lord, Blacklisted

Notes

If you keep up with this site at all, there probably aren’t a lot of surprises in there. These are all records that have been discussed at great length over the last six months, reviewed, streamed, analyzed, whathaveyou’d all the way. If you don’t believe me, search any of the names. Still, as far as my personal picks go and who I think has crafted something special over the last six months, this feels pretty representative to me. I managed to live for a full week with the list as you see it above, without making changes. That’s usually my standard.

And as always, it’s a combination of what I’ve listened to most and what I feel has had the greatest impact thus far into the year. Between the two, there was little doubt Elder would take the top spot. I’ve probably listened to the All Them Witches record more than anything else this year, including Elder’s Reflections of a Floating World, but the truth is the Massachusetts trio are working at a level of their own making in terms of their sonic progression, and that they’ve emerged as one of if not the most pivotal American underground heavy rock bands going. The situation was much the same when they put out Lore in 2015 and claimed that year’s top-album spot, but even since then their sound has expanded and they continue to demand ultimate respect.

As for the All Them Witches album — absolute stunner. The increased depth of their arrangements on Sleeping Through the War came at no expense of songwriting, resulting in ultra-memorable material that could either wash over you with melody or shove you out of your seat with the force of its rhythm, and that band continues to be a treasure. No other way to put it.

From there, we move into what I think are the four best heavy psych offerings of 2017 so far, with Samsara Blues Experiment, Colour Haze, Atavismo and Sun Blood Stories, in that order. Samsara Blues Experiment’s return has been a joy to witness and their first album in four years lived up to the occasion. Colour Haze expanded the palette from their last album with In Her Garden and proved as immersive as always. I’m still getting to know that record. Atavismo’s second full-length upped the progressive influences without losing fluidity or cohesion in songwriting, and Sun Blood Stories’ hypnotic shoegaze offered expansive thrills and a sense of varied, beautifully crafted exploration.

A pair of exciting young bands thereafter in Colorado’s Cloud Catcher, whose boogie is right-on-right-on and whose development continues to hold much potential, and Vokonis, whose crushing riffs on The Sunken Djinn were met with an increased focus on structure and tightening of approach that maximized overall impact. The Obsessed’s unexpected return could only be called a triumphant one, and Mothership’s third long-player found them working in a richer sense of mood than previous outings, adding yet more character to what was still a blast of good-time rock and roll. They round out the top 10 in full command of who they are as players.

Granted, the next 10 releases are kind of all over the place, but I think that just shows the overarching quality of work being done across the board. From Spaceslug’s melodic stoner-psych to Electric Moon’s studio return — so, so, so good — to Alunah’s continued growth in nature-worshiping heavy and Arc of Ascent’s comebacker of rolling heavy riffs and metaphysical themes, there’s been so much to take in. I especially like the pairing of Rozamov and Siena Root as a sense of scope for 2017 so far; the former being so dark and crushing and the latter who lived up to calling their record A Dream of Lasting Peace. You want to know both ends of the spectrum? There they are.

PH’s Eternal Hayden gets a nod for its effective reset of the context of that band following the completion of their trilogy of albums, and Geezer’s Psychoriffadelia might have been something of a tossoff in the making, but the level at which the New York trio jams nonetheless assures it a spot here. Plus, a Nazareth cover. So duh.

I couldn’t help but include T.G. Olson’s Foothills Before the Mountain on the list as the Across Tundras frontman creeps closer to a full-band sound for his solo work, adding to his acoustic singer-songwriter foundations, and the crush of Telekinetic Yeti’s post-Sleep riffing evoked so many nods I thought they deserved one here as well. Placing The Devil and the Almighty Blues was difficult, but especially after seeing them live, I felt like I had a better idea of where they were coming from on II, so knew they belonged somewhere, even if it was tucked in at the end. And of course, Lord. Always killer, always experimenting, always chaotic. Never have grind and sludge sounded more cohesive together. They’re the band I wish Soilent Green had become, and yes, I mean that.

Honorable Mention

Let’s do another 10 releases, shall we?

21. Beastmaker, Inside the Skull
22. Arduini/Balich, Dawn of Ages
23. Brume, Rooster
24. John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues
25. Six Sigma, Tuxedo Brown
26. Demon Head, Thunder on the Fields
27. Summoner, Beyond the Realm of Light
28. Steak, No God to Save
29. Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold
30. Dool, Here Now There Then

And just to make the point, here are even more worthy of note in this space:

Elbrus, Elbrus
Cortez, The Depths Below
Ecstatic Vision, Raw Rock Fury
Child, Blueside (a December 2016 release, maybe, but I think the vinyl was this year, so whatever)
Pallbearer, Heartless
Spidergawd, IV
Green Meteor, Consumed by a Dying Sun
Loss, Horizonless

There are of course other names as well that come to mind. Like I said at the outset, it’s a crowded field: Hymn, Arbouretum, Green Meteor, REZN, Demon Head, Galley Beggar, Devil’s Witches, Orango, Heavy Traffic, Coltsblood, Mt. Mountain, Vokonis, Solstafir, High Plains, on and on.

Also worth highlighting several really, really quality live records that have surfaced so far this year. I didn’t really know where to place them among the other studio offerings, but they deserve note for sure:

Causa Sui, Live in Copenhagen
Death Alley, Live at Roadburn
My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live
Enslaved, Roadburn Live

More to Come

Of course, we’re still just barely halfway through the year, so keep on the lookout for more to follow. If you didn’t see my massive 200+ albums to watch for list in January, it has many that have come out and many more still to surface, but here are a few highlight names as well that you’re going to want to keep an eye on in the months ahead:

Queens of the Stone Age
Radio Moscow
The Atomic Bitchwax
Kadavar
Ufomammut
The Midnight Ghost Train
Moon Rats
Clamfight
Egypt
the Melvins
Bison Machine
Seedy Jeezus
High on Fire
Monster Magnet

Thanks for Reading

Before I check out, I’d like to give special mention to Lo-Pan’s In Tensions EP as the best short release of the year thus far. Along with EPs from Godhunter, Kings Destroy, Solace and Shroud Eater, it has assured those seeking a quick fix are handed their ass in return for asking.

Well, that’s about where I’m at with it. As per usual, I’m sure there are things I forgot and/or left off here, because I’m human and whatnot, so please if you have something to add, feel free to do so in the comments so long as you can keep it cordial. No name calling. I’m sensitive and you’ll ruin my whole day. I mean that.

Thanks again for being a part of this and here’s to an excellent rest of 2017.

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PH Post “We Fly High” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ph photo Elias Jokiranta

It’s hardly a we’re-a-band-in-our-rehearsal-space-with-a-GoPro-or-two kind of video, but if that’s what you’d expect from Finnish post-everything experimentalists PH — formerly Mr. Peter Hayden — then you probably haven’t been paying attention. After swapping out their moniker for the simple two letters that have served as their luminescent on-stage logo for their years together, the group aligned with respected purveyor Svart Records for a somewhat unexpected fourth outing, Eternal Hayden (review here), earlier this year, moving themselves beyond a stated trilogy of full-lengths and essentially beginning a new era for the band.

Some of that, I think even they would admit, is bookkeeping. Mr. Peter Hayden offered a thematic stretch across 2010’s Faster than Speed (review here), 2012’s Born a Trip (review here) and 2014’s Archdimension Now (review here), to be sure, and no shortage of sprawl in their drone-laden process, and as they look back at what they’ve accomplished — to wit, the 16-minute opener of Eternal Hayden is called “Looking back at Mr. Peter Hayden” — they’re conscious as well of the need for sonic progression. Hence the corresponding later cuts “Reach,” “Higher,” and “Rock and Roll Future.” These songs are aspirational, looking forward, and that puts second track “We Fly High” right where it belongs: in the present tense.

At a seven-minute lumber, “We Fly High” makes an excellent representation for where PH are in this moment of transition that Eternal Hayden captures. They’ve already gotten some mileage out of the piece, having previously released it as a single in 2014 (streamed here), but as well as it suits their purposes one can hardly argue against its inclusion on the record as well. It earns its spot, in other words. As for the video, it’s much more of an ambient visualization than the standard fare, put together by Jonne Pitkänen as the kind of thing that might appear on a screen behind the group as they play live, mostly in the dark from my experience, with light flashing from the aforementioned logo. If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing them, it’s quite a trip.

In any case, a couple months now removed from the release of Eternal Hayden, I’m happy to have this excuse to sit again and fill my brain to the point of explosion with its atmospheric intensity, and if you’d like to do the same — and I know you would — you can check out “We Fly High” below. Come on, you’ve got seven minutes in your day to give over to mind expansion. You know you do.

PR wire info follows the video. Please enjoy:

PH, “We Fly High” visualization

From album Eternal Hayden.

Visual magick performed by Jonne Pitkänen with his all-analog self-crafted gear.

Finnish meta-rocking freebirds Mr. Peter Hayden, now referring to themselves just by their PH-insignia, are back with a new album. Their fourth full-length Eternal Hayden is released through Svart Records on March 10th 2017.

“This album is all about letting go and achieving, reaching something more after giving up everything. It is a guide to spiritual growth, ascension and overall progression towards freedom. At the same time it is a pre-written vision coming true aptly depicting our journey as a band and a spiritual entity.”

Eternal Hayden is the capstone, not only for their discography so far, but also for their whole existence. Their return from the voyage through trilogy of albums exploring the depths of mind, time and dimensions finally to reveal what it was all about. This album is everything they have ever done before and fair share of what they are going towards in the future, but performed in a manner none of the earlier albums were. It’s as much a return to the time before the trilogy as it is a brand new start, the future and the past.

PH on Thee Facebooks

PH on Instagram

PH on Twitter

Svart Records website

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

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