Quarterly Review: Geezer, Spaceslug, Expo Seventy, Boss Keloid, Bong-Ra, Zebu, Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel, LáGoon, Maha Sohona, The Bad Sugar Rush

Posted in Reviews on July 13th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

Oh my breaking heart as we move into day seven of the Summer 2021 Quarterly Review and I am reminded that the wages of hubris are feeling like a dumbass later. I was loading up my laptop on Saturday — so pleased with how ahead-of-the-game I was able to stay all last week — when the thing decided it was gonna give itself some time off one way or the other.

I dropped it for repair about 20 minutes before the guy I’ve come to trust was closing shop. He said he’d be in touch on Monday. Needless to say, I’m on my backup cheapie Chromebook, reviewing off Bandcamp streams, eagerly awaiting that call which I can only hope has come in by the time this is posted. I’ll keep you in the loop, of course, but putting together the reviews for yesterday? That was not pretty.

I expressly thank The Patient Mrs., through whom all things are possible.

Onward.

Quarterly Review #61-70:

Geezer, Solstice

Geezer Solstice

Geezer‘s ambition could hardly be clearer in their 17-minute “Solstice” jam. It was the Solstice — Winter 2020, to be specific — and the Kingston, New York, trio jammed. Guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington (who doesn’t sing on the track) added some dreamy synth after the fact, and the affect is all the more hypnotic for it. Harrington, bassist Richie Touseull and drummer Steve Markota are no strangers to exploratory fare, as they showed on 2020’s righteous Groovy (review here), and as a Bandcamp Friday-era stopgap offering, “Solstice” brings a sampling of who they are in the rehearsal space, willing to be heavy, willing to not, ready to go where the music leads them. If Geezer wanted to do a whole full-length like this, I wouldn’t fight them, so you most definitely will not find me arguing against a digital single either. With jams this tasty, you take what you can get.

Geezer on Facebook

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Spaceslug, The Event Horizon

spaceslug the event horizon

Issued less as a stopgap, which a digital-only single might normally be, than as a response to the band having lost gear in a practice space flood, the 8:52 single-song outing The Event Horizon was recorded at the same time as Spaceslug‘s late 2020 EP The Leftovers (review here) and in a way acts to bridge the melancholy beyond-genre push of that release with the more weighted, spacious roll that has typified the Polish outfit’s work to-date — their latest full-length was 2019’s Reign of the Orion (review here), and they recently finished a new one. So perhaps “The Event Horizon,” with its hypnotically languid rhythm and concluding drift, is a stopgap after all, but between helping the band recoup their losses and thinking of what might be coming next, it’s an exciting if not-unalloyed listening experience, and the three-piece move deeper into a signature sound even as they continue to bring the definition of what that means to new places.

Spaceslug on Thee Facebooks

Spaceslug on Bandcamp

 

Expo Seventy, Evolution

Expo Seventy Evolution

Creating sometimes-scorching, droning psychedelic soundtracks to all your favorite classic sci-fi films that never existed, Kansas City’s Expo Seventy offer a call to worship for freaks and converted heads on their new album, Evolution. Still headed by guitarist James Wright as on late-2016’s America Here and Now Sessions (review here), the band offer new glories celestial and terrestrial instrumental chemistry throughout the six tracks (seven on the CD) of Evolution, lumbering away on “Echoes of Ether” only after floating in brass-section antigrav conditions on “The Slow Death of Tomorrow.” Can you hang? You’ll know one way or the other as the culminating duo “Second Vision, First Sight” and “First Vision, Second Sight” are done with you, having altered dimensions so thoroughly that the ethereal will either come to feel like home or you will simply have melted. In any case, lash yourself to it. Own that shit.

Expo Seventy on Facebook

Essence Music on Bandcamp

 

Boss Keloid, Family the Smiling Thrush

boss kelod family the smiling thrush

Peak-era Faith No More reborn in progressive heavy fuzz? What stoner rock might’ve been if it went to college instead of spending all that time hanging around talking about old cars? I don’t know where UK four-piece Boss Keloid ultimately stand on their admirable fifth LP, Family the Smiling Thrush — the follow-up to 2018’s also-well-received Melted on the Inch (review here) — but they most certainly stand on their own. Across seven tracks, the band careen, crash, lumber, rush and ponder — lyrics no less worth a close read than any other component — and from opener/longest track (immediate points) “Orang of Noyn” on, they make it abundantly clear that their style’s unpredictability is an asset, and that just because you might not know where they’re going next doesn’t mean they don’t. Melodic, complex and cerebral, there’s still a human presence here, a sense of a plan unfolding, that makes the album seem all the more masterful.

Boss Keloid on Facebook

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Bong-Ra, Antediluvian

BONG-RA Antediluvian

Though it’s ultimately less electric-kool-aid than endless-churning-abyss-with-psychdelic-saxophone-screaming-up-at-you-like-free-jazz-trapped-in-the-downward-tonal-spiral, Bong-Ra‘s four-tracker Antediluvian is duly experimentalist in being born out of the mind of Jason Köhnen, whose work on this project not only extends more than 20 years, but who has been a part of landmark Dutch outfits like Celestial Season, The Kilmanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble and The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation, among scores of others. The procession on this full-length, originally released in 2018 through Svart Lava, is wild times indeed, but immersive despite feeling at times like a litmus for how much you can take, with Köhnen‘s bass/keys/etc. and Balazs Pandi‘s drums meeting with Colin Webster‘s saxophone and Chloe Herrington‘s bassoon, willfully plodding through long-ish form improv-seeming movements of atmospheric heft creation.

Jason Köhnen website

Tartarus Records store

 

Zebu, Reek of the Parvenu

zebu reek of the parvenu

A coherent and forceful debut full-length, Reek of the Parvenu quickly shows the metallic undercurrent from Athens-based four-piece Zebu on opener “The Setting Dust,” and pushes from there in groove metal fashion, taking some impulses from heavy rock but holding largely to a central aggressive stance and tension in the rhythm that is a backdrop even as the later “Nature of Failure” breaks from its chugging shove for a quieter stretch. That is to say, the next punch is always coming, and Zebu‘s blows are effectively delivered — looking at you, “Burden” — though some of the slower, sludgier cuts like “Our Shame” or the doomier finale “The City” bring a welcome atmosphere to go with the coinciding burl. I’m not sure if “People Under the Stairs” wants to kick my ass or crack a beer, but the songwriting is air tight and the thrashy threat only contributes to the immediacy of the release on the whole. They’re not screwing around.

Zebu on Facebook

Zebu on Bandcamp

 

Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel, Polaris

Los Disidentes Del Sucio Motel Polaris

It’s been 11 years since France’s Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel debuted with Soundtrack From the Motion Picture (review here), an engaging, kind of silly play on stoner rock and B-movie tropes. Beneath that, however, it was also a concept album, and the band — who now seem to prefer LDDSM for a moniker — still work from that foundation on their fourth full-length, Polaris. The difference scope and sonic maturity. Rife with vocal harmonies and progressive flourish, the 10-track answer to 2016’s Human Collapse (review here) smoothly shifts between the patient and the urgent, the intimate and the grand — and that’s in the first two minutes of “Blue Giant” alone — finding their way into a proggy post-heavy rock that’s too clearheaded to be psychedelic, but that balances the crunch of “Horizon” with a sense of the otherworldly just the same.

Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel on Facebook

Klonosphere Records website

 

LáGoon, Skullactic Visions

LáGoon skullactic visions

With their fourth long-player, guitarist/vocalist Anthony Gaglia and drummer Brady Maurer of Portland, Oregon’s LáGoon welcome bassist Kenny Combs to the fold and dive as a trio — their first three-piece outing was last year’s Father of Death EP — headfirst into murky riffing and heady heavy rock, made all the more spacious through cavern echo and the garage doom vocals Gaglia brings on the title-track, as well as the synth that surfaces on the subsequent interlude “Buried” and elsewhere throughout. The earlier “Beyond the Trees” is particularly bleak and otherworldly, but I won’t take away from the further-down procession of “Hill Bomb” and “The Slow Down” into “Final Ride,” the last of which closes out with scummer doom that’s familiar but distinct enough to be their own. There are moments on Skullactic Visions where, for as much as they could sound like Electric Wizard given the ingredients, I’m all the gladder they don’t.

LaGoon on Facebook

Interstellar Smoke Records webstore

Forbidden Place Records on Bandcamp

 

Maha Sohona, Endless Searcher

Maha Sohona endless searcher

Maha Sohona‘s second album comes some seven years after their self-titled debut, but who cares about time when you’ve got your headphones on and you’re surrounded by the richness of tone on offer throughout Endless Searcher‘s five rolling tracks? Heavy and laid back, the trio of guitarist/vocalist Johan Bernhardtson, bassist Thomas Hedlund and drummer David Lundsten finding some kinship with Polish three-piece Spaceslug in their post-Sungrazer blend of weight and flow, a jam like “Luftslot” nodding and conjuring depth even as it soars. Can’t argue with the quicker push of “A Black Star” or the purposefully straightforward “Scavengers” (where the title-line is delivered) but some of the mellow moments in opener “Leaves” and especially the building instrumental finisher “Orbit X” are even more satisfying for how effectively they move you place to place almost without your realizing it. I’ve got nothing for you if you can’t dig this vibe.

Maha Sohona on Facebook

Made of Stone Recordings on Bandcamp

 

The Bad Sugar Rush, Liar/Push Me

The Bad Sugar Rush Liar Push Me

Keen observers will recognize The Bad Sugar Rush vocalist René Hofmann from his work with Wight, but the work here alongside guitarist Josko Joke-Tovic, bassist Minyeong Fischer and drummer Peter Zettl is distinct from that other unit here, even as the Humble Pie-esque “Push Me” and semi-sleeze “Liar” both have some shade of funk to their procession. Both cuts circa four minutes makes for a suitable debut 7″ with respected purveyor H42 Records doing the honors, and the results are an encouragingly catchy display of what a first full-length might accomplish when and however such a thing emerges. There’s classic heavy rock as the foundation, but more than outright ’70s worship — though some of that too — it’s the organic feel of the songs that leaves an impression on the listener, though the background singers on “Push Me” don’t hurt in that regard, certainly. An auspicious and intriguind first showing.

The Bad Sugar Rush on Facebook

H42 Records website

 

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Spaceslug Complete Work on New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 14th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Decidedly better news this time around from Polish heavy psychedelic rockers Spaceslug, who have now finished work on their next full-length to be released presumably sometime before the end of the year. The band were last heard from early in May, having suffered the misfortune of a flooded practice space and, as a result, posted the single “The Event Horizon” which was recorded in 2020. One imagines some level of catharsis following that in simply moving forward with new ideas and sounds, let alone compiling an entire long-player.

Spaceslug‘s last album was 2019’s Reign of the Orion (review here), which was followed by 2020’s Leftovers EP (review here), exploring different sounds and textures of keys and melody and so on. The age-old question is how or if that excursion will play into the trio’s established, tonally-rich methodology, but until the record arrives the best one can do is speculation one way or the other. For what it’s worth, Spaceslug have worked at a prolific clip since their 2016 debut, Lemanis (review here), and in addition to being well received in aesthetic and craft, they’ve never yet failed to push themselves creatively. Whether their fifth album draws from Leftovers or not, it is fair to expect at this point that they will continue to progress as they have up to now. At least, nothing I’ve heard from them to-date has made me think they won’t.

More to come, of course. Their announcement was brief:

spaceslug recording

Our new longplay is fully finished and ready to roll. Recorded, mixed and mastered by one and only Mr. Perla from Perlazza Studio.

Over 46 minutes of nostalgia, heavy riffs and beauty of the dark void.

We will let you know as soon as schedule of release will be done.

Bartosz Janik – guitar
Kamil Ziólkowski – drums, vocals
Jan Rutka – bass, vocals

https://www.facebook.com/spaceslugband/
https://www.instagram.com/spaceslug_pl/
https://spaceslug.bandcamp.com/music
https://www.facebook.com/BSFD-records-247816545273558/
https://bsfdrecords.blogspot.co.uk/

Spaceslug, “The Event Horizon”

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Belzebong Releasing De Mysteriis Dope Sathanas – Live in Oslo LP; Streaming Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 8th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Belzebong at Hostsabbat (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I saw this set. It was fucking filthy. Belzebong‘s De Mysteriis Dope Sathanas – Live in Oslo was recorded at the Kulturkirken Jakob as part of Høstsabbat 2019 (review here), where the Polish four-piece took the stage and offered a bevvy of crustily riffed fuckall delights, unspeakably heavy and undeniably stoned. If you can’t hang with that, well, then you probably can’t hang.

That the collection is titled De Mysteriis Dope Sathanas – Live in Oslo speaks even more to the band’s middle-fingers-up righteousness, the name of the thing referring of course to Mayhem‘s 1994 debut, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, which is about as landmark as Norwegian black metal records get and, as narratives go, one of the most loaded metal albums of all time, what with the murder and all. The only thing that got killed when Belzebong played Høstsabbat was the riffs.

The digital version is streaming now through Belzebong‘s Bandcamp, so feel free to listen to that here. The Høstsabbat-associated Vinter Records will release the LP this Fall in what’s to be the first installment of an ongoing series of live recordings. Cool by me. This is a hell of a way to kick that off.

Social media had it like this:

belzebong de mysteriis dope sathanas live in oslo

Belzebong – De Mysteriis Dope Sathanas – Live in Oslo

VINTER RECORDS Presents: Høstsabbat Live Series Vol 1.
Recorded Live @ Kulturkirken Jakob, Oslo 05/10/2019.

420 copies on color wax only
Ordering info will follow soon

Full album stream: https://bit.ly/355XXmd

Side 6:
1. Bong Thrower
2. Diabolical Dopenosis
Side 66:
1. Pot Fiend
2. Witch Rider
3. The Bong Of Eternal Stench

Says Vinter Records: “We are super stoked to release the first edition of many to come, of the Høstsabbat Live Series! None less than BelzebonG have the honour of premiering this collaboration with Vinter Records and Høstsabbat!”

https://www.facebook.com/belzebong420/
https://www.instagram.com/belzebong420/
https://belzebong.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/vinterrecords
https://www.instagram.com/vinter_records/
http://vinterrecords.com/

Belzebong, De Mysteriis Dope Sathanas – Live in Oslo (2019)

Belzebong, Light the Dankness (2018)

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Sunnata Announce Summer Live Dates in Poland

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 2nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Those of you who might be seeing this in Poland, good news in that Sunnata will be hitting up a few cities later this summer to support their Feb. 2021 release, Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth (review here). It’s shows more than a tour for the by-now veteran progressive/ritualistic heavy rockers, scheduled around festival shows at Egodrop and Soundrive, and of course they’re giving the caveat that like anything, they might not happen, but a return to playing at all is noteworthy at this point, so here’s me noting it.

Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth is, to say the very least of it, an album that deserves to be played live. I was fortunate enough to see Sunnata play in Oslo at Høstsabbat 2019 (review here) — which feels simultaneously like yesterday and forever ago; the photo with the live dates is from that show as well — and after years of following their studio work, they were a thrill to behold, no less immersive than they are on record and no less entranced by the music than their audience. While we’re doing understatement, they’re a band I’d be happy to watch again if the opportunity presented itself. Not this run, but you know, universe of infinite possibility and all that.

Their social media announcement went thusly:

sunnata poland dates

IT LOOKS LIKE WE’RE GONNA PLAY A COUPLE OF LIVE SHOWS THIS SUMMER*. Mostly in major polish cities. Wanna hear “Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth” live? Then come & visit the following events:

16.07 Egodrop Festival 2021
30.07 Lato w Plenerze | SUNNATA / Plener P23, Katowice
31.07 Lato w Plenerze | SUNNATA / Rejs, Warszawa
10.08 Soundrive Festival 2021
12.08 Road To Soulstone Gathering: Sunnata + ARRM, Inverted Mind / 12 VIII / Kraków
21.08 Lato w Plenerze | SUNNATA / Dziedziniec Tama, Pozna?

We missed it a lot.

*) Hopefully.

SUNNATA ARE:
Szymon Ewertowski – guitar, vocals
Adrian Gadomski – guitar, vocals
Michal Dobrzanski – bass guitar
Robert Ruszczyk – drums, percussion

https://www.facebook.com/sunnataofficial
https://twitter.com/followsunnata
http://sunnataofficial.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/sunnataofficial/videos

Sunnata, Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth (2021)

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Spaceslug Post New Single “The Event Horizon”

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 7th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Polish heavy psych rockers Spaceslug recorded their new single last year in May, which is also when they did what became late-2020’s The Leftovers EP (review here). I’m not sure if it was part of the same process — “The Event Horizon” is more in line with their traditional weighted fuzz and the EP was something of a departure — but it’s concurrent anyhow, and as the nearly-nine-minute piece is being unveiled today, it comes with a classic dose of good and bad news.

Bad news first. Always. Their practice space flooded. As of this post, they don’t even know how much they’ve lost, but clearly that’s not the kind of thing anyone wants to deal with. Fucking bummer.

Good news. They put up “The Event Horizon” as a single release that will help them get funds to replace whatever it is that’s too damaged to salvage. Also good news? The song rules.

Also good news? They’re still pushing ahead with the recording of their next long-player, which one assumes will see release later this year. So if you look at it the right way, the good outweighs the bad, and all the more if you’ve got three dollars to toss the band’s way and help them out in a tough time. Even if it’s a morale boost, support matters.

The following is culled from a couple days of social media posts and the Bandcamp info. Song stream is at the bottom of the post:

spaceslug the event horizon

Spaceslug – The Event Horizon

Today should be the day of a good news. We wanted to announce works of our new LP and the studio recording time that is scheduled at the end of May.

But the universe and reality kicked us hard this time and bring flood to our practice space last weekend. Yes, we are devastated as you can see in the pictures. We can’t estimate the losses yet as much of our equipment is still drying and needs to be checked. Two percussion sets, a guitar amplifier, two cabinets for guitar and bass + some smaller things were flooded. We are crushed by the loss but still we are marching forward to finish and record our new album with all energy we have.

“THE EVENT HORIZON” was not scheduled for any kind of release in this period but this is our way to send gratitude for all you did yesterday. We recorded this particular song last year to release it some day in some special occasion. Ironic but this is the best time for it we think. Tomorrow we will put this special single on our bandcamp. Song is as long, heavy and melancholic as you can expect from us. You should be pleased. You can have fun with it and listen as much as you want but also you can support us and own it eternally in digital.

Recorded by Piotr Grzegorowski at Jupiter Ranch Studio (May 2020).
Mixed & Mastered by Haldor Grunberg (Satanic Audio)
Music & Lyrics by Spaceslug

Bartosz Janik – guitar
Kamil Ziólkowski – drums, vocals
Jan Rutka – bass, vocals

https://www.facebook.com/spaceslugband/
https://www.instagram.com/spaceslug_pl/
https://spaceslug.bandcamp.com/music
https://www.facebook.com/BSFD-records-247816545273558/
https://bsfdrecords.blogspot.co.uk/

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The Otolith & Dopelord Announced for PostWax Vol. II

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

This brings us up to seven of the nine total inclusions for PostWax Vol. II, and if I tell you The Otolith‘s debut album is among the outings I’m most looking forward to in this series, I hope you’ll know I’m not exaggerating. Been waiting a couple years for that post-SubRosa outfit to release their first record, so yeah, I’ll take that as soon as humanly possible thank you very much. New Dopelord — their Reality Dagger EP (review here) — shows how far the reach of this project goes. They have a few albums out, of course, but like REZ and Vinnum Sabbathi, who’ll collaborate on a PostWax offering, they represent an up and coming generation of players. I like that they don’t seem to know what they’re going to do in the quote below. How about a film score? Really mess with people.

So, two more announcements to come, and then all will be revealed. I can’t wait to dig into these for the liner notes in the meantime:

postwax year two logo

DOPELORD and THE OTOLITH confirmed to release new albums as part of PostWax Vol. II vinyl series on Blues Funeral Recordings!

Blues Funeral Recordings announce the next bands to take part in the PostWax Vol. II vinyl subscription series. Polish stoner doom flag-bearers DOPELORD are set to crank their fuzz up to stratospheric levels, and Salt Lake City avant-garde doom unit THE OTOLITH (formed by SubRosa members) will issue their awaited debut album as part of the series.

Between Acid King, Lowrider, Mammoth Volume and Josiah, Blues Funeral Recordings has gathered a wealth of artists who have been hewing riffs from stone, sand and sky for decades, inviting them to bring their immense talents and peerless legacies to their ambitious PostWax series. But, as shown by the inclusions of REZN, Elephant Tree and Vinnum Sabbathi, they also put the spotlight on bands who represent stoner, doom and heavy scene’s present and future, ones with the benefit to peer across the generation of heavy rock greatness before them as they seek to forge enthusiastically forward.

Blues Funeral Recordings is happy to welcome Poland’s fuzz-doom emissaries DOPELORD on board today. These masters of monolithic normally follow a deeply DIY path, having self-released almost their entire catalog while still managing to secure worldwide adoration. Albums like ‘Children of the Haze’ and ‘Sign of the Devil’ are absolute monsters of granite-thick hallucinatory riff-tripping.

Dopelord’s Piotr Klusek declares: “We’ve been aware of the PostWax project for a few years now and thought it sounded interesting but wanted to see how it all came together, plus we were focusing on our new album. After releasing our latest record and seeing how the first PostWax series came out, we absolutely wanted to be involved if they did it again. Whatever we end up doing, look forward to something adventurous and fun but still massive and utterly Dopelord!”

As for THE OTOLITH, the new four-piece formed from the ashes of SubRosa, they will release their highly anticipated debut double LP as part of PostWax Vol. II. Those who’ve been following the aftermath of SubRosa’s dissolution know that Kim Cordray, Levi Hanna, Andy Patterson and Sarah Pendleton announced the formation of The Otolith in 2019, and tantalized acolytes of SubRosa’s avant-garde sonic palette with songs on Magnetic Eye Records’ one-off ‘Dirt [Redux]’ and ‘Women of Doom’ compilations.

THE OTOLITH hint: “Our debut album reveals the musical mutations and mystical wanderings of a soul, scanning the edges of the known universe through cracked glass. Ghostly symphonic strings interlace with crushing bass, guitar, and percussion; voices conducting signals across time and space to arrive through cosmic storms to a sea of liquid stars.”

The purpose of Postwax Vol. II is to create a curated series of releases that stand alone yet also connect, both through art elements and a musical throughline. Unearthing forgotten bands, unveiling new ones, and catching icons at the height of their powers, Blues Funeral Recordings are set to deliver yet another set of next level and highly collectible releases for all heavy rock, fuzz and doom fans out there.

=> Get more info & subscribe to PostWax Vol. II at this location: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bluesfuneral/postwax-vol-ii

https://www.facebook.com/bluesfuneral/
https://www.instagram.com/blues.funeral/
https://bluesfuneralrecordings.bandcamp.com/
bluesfuneral.com

The Otolith, “Bone Dust”

Dopelord, Reality Dagger (2021)

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Grieving to Release Debut Album Songs for the Weary in July

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 28th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Catchy song, definitely in a heavy rock vein, but with an undercurrent of more extreme fare in its tones, and yeah, dig a little bit and you’ll find that Polish trio Grieving, who are set to make their debut through Interstellar Smoke Records and Godz ov War Productions in July with Songs for the Weary — have played together in various combinations and in various other outfits like Mentor or Thaw or others in a more charred aesthetic, black metal, thrash, and so on. Vocalist Wojciech Kaluza, in addition to doubling as King of Nothing in Mentor is also known as Susel in long-running Polish Southern metal outfit J.D. Overdrive, and you can hear some of that too. But Grieving have their own approach, as “A Crow Funeral” demonstrates, and it reminds how fluid the line between what’s “metal” and what’s not can be when put on a foundation of solid songwriting.

The clip for “A Crow Funeral” is by Chariot of Black Moth — watch out if flashing lights are a thing for you — and can be seen at the bottom of the post, and Songs for the Weary is out July 26, no doubt with preorders coming sometime earlier.

Interstellar Smoke sent the following along the PR wire:

grieving (Photo by Marcin Pawlowski)

Grieving – Songs for the Weary – July 26

GRIEVING are following the footsteps of their forefathers, with sounds of doom accompanying them as they weave stories of devils, witches, ghouls and the endless capacity for evil in the heart of every human being. Singing songs for the weary, they grieve over this dying world.

“Songs for the Weary” tracklisting:
1. Crippled by the Weight of Powerlessness
2. This Godless Chapel
3. A Crow Funeral
4. Foreboding of a Great Ruin
5. Witch Hunt Eternal
6. Lucifer Wept

The album, recorded and mixed at Satanic Audio, will be released on July 26th, 2021 by:

Interstellar Smoke Records (vinyl)
Godz ov War Productions (CD/digital/t-shirt)

Human cruelty, unnecessary death, grieving witches, bloody revenge. Welcome to a crow funeral, courtesy of Chariot Of Black Moth.

Line-up:
Artur Ruminski – guitars/bass/synth
Bartosz Licholap – drums
Wojciech Kaluza – vocals

https://www.facebook.com/Grieving666
https://grieving666.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Interstellar-Smoke-Records-101687381255396/
https://interstellarsmokerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/godzovwar/
https://www.instagram.com/godz_ov_war_productions/
https://godzovwar.com/

Grieving, “A Crow Funeral” official video

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Quarterly Review: Dopelord, Scorched Oak, Kings of the Fucking Sea, Mantarraya, Häxmästaren, Shiva the Destructor, Amammoth, Nineteen Thirteen, Ikitan, Smote

Posted in Reviews on March 31st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

Third day, and you know what that means. Today we hit and pass the halfway mark of this Quarterly Review. I won’t say it hasn’t been work, but it seems like every time I do one of these lately I continue to be astounded by how much easier writing about good stuff makes it. I must’ve done a real clunker like two years ago or something. Can’t think of one, but wow, it’s way more fun when the tunes are killer.

To that end we start with Dopelord today, haha. Have fun digging through if you do.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Dopelord, Reality Dagger

Dopelord Reality Dagger

They put it in a 12″, and that’s cool, but in addition to the fact that it’s about 22 minutes long, something about Reality Dagger, the latest EP from Poland’s Dopelord, strikes me as being really 10″ worthy. I know 10″ is the bastard son of vinyl pressings — doesn’t fit with your LPs and doesn’t fit with your 7″s. They’re a nuisance. Do they get their own shelf? Mixed in throughout? Well, however you organize them, I think a limited 10″ of Reality Dagger would be perfect, because from the melodies strewn throughout “Dark Coils” and the wildly catchy “Your Blood” — maybe the most complex vocal arrangement I’ve yet heard from the band — to the ultra-sludge interplay with screams on the 10-minute closing title-track, it sounds to me like standing out from the crowd is exactly what Dopelord want to do. They want to be that band that doesn’t fit your preconceptions of stoner-doom, or sludge, or modern heavy largesse in the post-Monolord vein. Why not match that admirable drive in format? Oh hell, you know what? I’ll just by the CD and have done with it. One of the best EPs I’ve heard this year.

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Dopelord on Bandcamp

 

Scorched Oak, Withering Earth

Scorched Oak Withering Earth

Don’t be surprised when you see Kozmik Artifactz, Nasoni Records, or some other respected probably-European purveyor of heavy coming through with an announcement they’ve picked up Scorched Oak. The Dortmund, Germany, trio seem to have taken the last few years to figure out where they were headed — they pared down from a five-piece, for example — and their rolling tides of fuzz on late-2020’s debut LP Withering Earth bears the fruit of those efforts. Aesthetically and structurally sound, it’s able to touch on heavy blues, metal and drifting psychedelia all within the span of a seven-minute track like “Swamp,” and in its five-songs running shortest to longest, it effectively draws the listener deeper into the world the band are creating through dual vocals, patient craft and spacious production. If I was a label, I’d sign them for the bass tone on 14-minute closer “Desert” alone, never mind any of the other natural phenomena they portray throughout the record, which is perhaps grim in theme but nonetheless brimming with potential. Some cool riffs on this dying planet.

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Scorched Oak on Bandcamp

 

Kings of the Fucking Sea, In Concert

Kings of the Fucking Sea In Concert

A scorching set culled from two nights of performances in their native Nashville, what’s essentially serving as Kings of the Fucking Sea‘s debut long-player, In Concert, is a paean to raw psychedelic power trio worship. High order ripper groove pervades “Witch Mountain” and the wasn’t-yet-named “Hiding No More” — which was introduced tentatively as “Death Dealer,” which the following track is actually titled. Disorienting? Shit yeah it is. And shove all the poignancy of making a live album in Feb. 2020 ahead of the pandemic blah blah. That’s not what’s happening here. This is all about blow-the-door-so-we-can-escape psychedelic pull and thrust. One gets the sense that Kings of the Fucking Sea are more in control than they let on, but they play it fast and loose and slow and loose throughout In Concert and by the time the mellower jam in “I Walk Alone” opens up to the garage-style wash of crash cymbal ahead of closer “The Nile Song,” the swirling fuckall that ensues is rampant with noise-coated fire. A show that might make you look up from your phone. So cool it might be jazz. I gotta think about it.

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Agitated Records on Bandcamp

 

Mantarraya, Mantarraya

mantarraya mantarraya

They bill themselves as ‘Mantarraya – power trío,’ and guitarist/vocalist Herman Robles Montero, drummer/maybe-harmonica-ist Kelvin Sifuentes Pérez and bassist/vocalist Enzo Silva Agurto certainly live up to that standard on their late-2020 self-titled debut full-length. The vibe is classic heavy ’70s through and through, and the Peruvian three-piece roll and boogie through the 11 assembled tracks with fervent bluesy swing on “En el Fondo” and no shortage of shuffle throughout the nine-minute “120 Años (Color),” which comes paired with the trippier “Almendrados” in what seems like a purposeful nod to the more out-there among the out there, bringing things back around to finish swinging and bouncing on the eponymous closer. I’ll take the classic boogie as it comes, and Mantarraya do it well, basking in a natural but not too purposefully so sense of underproduction while getting their point across in encouraging-first-record fashion. At over an hour long, it’s too much for a single LP, but plenty of time for them to get their bearings as they begin their creative journey.

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Mantarraya on Bandcamp

 

Häxmästaren, Sol i Exil

Häxmästaren sol i exil

At the risk of repeating myself, someone’s gonna sign Häxmästaren. You can just tell. The Swedish five-piece’s second album, Sol i Exil (“sun in exile,” in English), is a mélange of heavy rock and classic doom influences, blurring the lines between microgenres en route to an individual approach that’s still accessible enough in a riffer like “Millennium Phenomenon” or “Dödskult Ritual” to be immediately familiar and telegraph to the converted where the band are coming from. Vocalist Niklas Ekwall — any relation to Magnus from The Quill? — mixes in some screams and growls to his melodic style, further broadening the palette and adding an edge of extremity to “Children of the Mountain,” while “Growing Horns” and the capper title-track vibe out with with a more classic feel, whatever gutturalisms happen along the way, the latter feeling like a bonus for being in Swedish. In the ever-fertile creative ground that is Gothenburg, it should be no surprise to find a band like this flourishing, but fortunately Sol i Exil doesn’t have to be a surprise to kick ass.

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Häxmästaren on Bandcamp

 

Shiva the Destructor, Find the Others

SHIVA THE DESTRUCTOR FIND THE OTHERS

Launching with the nine-minute instrumental “Benares” is a telling way for Kyiv’s Shiva the Destructor to begin their debut LP, since it immediately sets listener immersion as their priority. The five-track/44-minute album isn’t short on it, either, and with the band’s progressive, meditative psychedelic style, each song unfolds in its own way and in its own time, drawn together through warmth of tone and periods of heft and spaciousness on “Hydronaut” and a bit of playful bounce on “Summer of Love” (someone in this band likes reggae) and a Middle Eastern turn on “Ishtar” before “Nirvana Beach” seems to use the lyrics to describe what’s happening in the music itself before cutting off suddenly at the end. Vocals stand alone or in harmony and the double-guitar four-piece bask in a sunshine-coated sound that’s inviting and hypnotic in kind, offering turns enough to keep their audience following along and undulations that are duly a clarion to the ‘others’ referenced in the title. It’s like a call to prayer for weirdo psych heads. I’ll take that and hope for more to come.

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Robustfellow Productions on Bandcamp

 

Amammoth, The Fire Above

amammoth the fire above

The first and only lyric in “Heal” — the opening track of Sydney, Australia, trio Amammoth‘s debut album, The Fire Above — is the word “marijuana.” It doesn’t get any less stoned from there. Riffs come in massive waves, and even as “The Sun” digs into a bit of sludge, the largesse and crash remains thoroughly weedian, with the lumbering “Shadows” closing out the first half of the LP with particularly Sleep-y nod. Rawer shouted vocals also recall earlier Sleep, but something in Amammoth‘s sound hints toward a more metallic background than just pure Sabbath worship, and “Rise” brings that forward even as it pushes into slow-wah psychedelics, letting “Blade Runner” mirror “The Sun” in its sludgy push before closer “Walk Towards What Blinds You (Blood Bong)” introduces some backing vocals that fit surprisingly well even they kind of feel like a goof on the part of the band. Amammoth, as a word, would seem to be something not-mammoth. In sound, Amammoth are the opposite.

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Electric Valley Records website

 

Nineteen Thirteen, MCMXIII

nineteen thirteen mcmxiii

With emotional stakes sufficiently high throughout, MCMXIII is urgent enough to be post-hardcore, but there’s an underpinning of progressive heavy rock even in the mellower stretch of the eight-minute “Dogfight” that complements the noisier and more angular aspects on display elsewhere. Opener “Post Blue Collar Blues” sets the plotline for the newcomer Dayton, Ohio, four-piece, with thoughtful lyrics and a cerebral-but-not-dead-of-spirit instrumental style made full and spacious through the production. Melodies flesh out in “Cripple John” and “Old Face on the Wall,” brooding and surging in children-of-the-’90s fashion, but I hear a bit of Wovenhand in that finale as well — though maybe the one doesn’t exclude the other — so clearly Nineteen Thirteen are just beginning this obviously-passion-fueled exploration of sound aesthetic with these songs, but the debut EP they comprise cuts a wide swath with marked confidence and deceptive memorability. A new turn on Rust Belt heavy.

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Nineteen Thirteen on Bandcamp

 

Ikitan, Twenty-Twenty

ikitan twenty-twenty

Hey, you process trauma from living through the last year your way and Genova, Italy’s Ikitan will process it theirs. In their case, that means the writing, recording and self-release of their 20-minute single-song EP, Twenty-Twenty, a sprawling work of instrumentalist heavy post-rock rife with spacious, airy lead guitar and a solid rhythmic foundation. Movements occur in waves and layers, but there is a definite thread being woven throughout the outing from one part to the next, held together alternately by the bass or drums or even guitar, though it’s the latter that seems to be leading those changes as well. The shifts are fluid in any case, and Ikitan grow Twenty-Twenty‘s lone, titular piece to a satisfyingly heft as they move through, harnessing atmosphere as well as weight even before they lower volume for stretches in the second half. There’s a quick surge at the end, but “Twenty-Twenty” is more about journey than destination, and Ikitan make the voyage enticing.

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Ikitan on Bandcamp

 

Smote, Bodkin

smote bodkin

Loops, far-out spaces and a generally experimentalist feel ooze outward like Icelandic lava from Bodkin, the five-song debut LP from UK-based solo-outfit Smote. The gentleman behind the flow is Newcastle upon Tyne’s Daniel Foggin, and this is one of three releases he has out so far in 2021, along with a prior drone collaboration tape with Forest Mourning and a subsequent EP made of two tracks at around 15 minutes each. Clearly a project that can be done indoors during pandemic lockdown, Smote‘s material is wide-ranging just the same, bringing Eastern multi-instrumentalism and traditionalist UK psych together on “Fohrt” and “Moninna,” which would border on folk but for all that buzz in the background. The 11-minute “Motte” is a highlight of acid ritualizing, but the droning title-track that rounds out makes each crash count all the more for the spaces that separate them. I dig this a lot, between you and me. I get vibes like Lamp of the Universe here in terms of sonic ambition and resultant presence. That’s not a comparison I make lightly, and this is a project I will be following.

Smote on Bandcamp

Weird Beard Records store

 

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