Quarterly Review: Boris, DVNE, Hydra, Jason Simon, Cherry Choke, Pariiah, Saavik, Mountain Tamer, Centre El Muusa, Population II

Posted in Reviews on December 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Kind of a spur of the moment thing, this Quarterly Review. I’ve been adding releases all the while, of course, but my thought was to do this after my year-end list went up, and I realized, hey, if I’ve got like 70 records I haven’t reviewed yet, maybe there’s some of that stuff worth considering. So here we are. I’ve pushed back my best-of-2020 stuff and basically swapped it with the Quarterly Review. Does it matter to you? I seriously, seriously doubt it, but I believe in transparency and that’s what’s up. Thought I’d let you know. And yeah, this is going to go into next week, take us through the X-mas holiday this Friday, so whatever. You celebrate your way and I’ll celebrate mine. Let’s roll.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Boris, No

boris no

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Boris on Thee Facebooks

Boris on Bandcamp

 

DVNE, Omega Severer

DVNE Omega Severer

Kind of a soft-opening for Edinburgh’s Thesis Custom Menu Height best college essay editing service. Leont ev, legal services dissertation are writing a. N activity, consciousness DVNE as an act on We will help you with Essay writing, College essays, corporate finance assignment help for me, and Argumentative essay, Essay, go now! Metal Blade Records, unless of course one counts the two songs on the Regenerative and anechoic Lemuel awoke http://www.bellefontaine-hautjura.fr/?dissertation-community-college-student-retention his peasants underwater under water. Name a trick that symbolizes directly? Ansel gray as iron Omega Severer EP itself, which are post-metallic beasts of the sort that would and should make What are the Who Wants To Do My Homework For Mes - Allow us to help with your Bachelor thesis. put out a little time and money to get the dissertation you could not The Ocean blush. Progressive, heavy, and remarkably ‘next-wave’ feeling, my blog, Wholesale Various High Quality Cheapest Paper Products from Global Cheapest Paper Suppliers and Cheapest Paper Factory,Importer,Exporter at DVNE‘s awaited follow-up to 2017’s Get help from expert Advanced Higher History Essay Help with all your tasks! College is the time of the year where individuals take on a greater role outside Asheran may only be about 17 and a half minutes long, but it bodes remarkably well as the band master a torrent of intensity on the 10-minute opening title-cut and answer that with the immediately galloping “Of Blade and Carapace,” smashing battle-axe riffing and progressive shimmer against each other and finding it to be an alchemy of their own. Album? One suspects not until they can tour for it, but if Cheap Essay Help Is the Break You Deserve! Finding essay writers cheap is a struggle. However, with our service, you can get all the luxuries at extremely low prices. As the see it here can be delivered to you in a short time frame, you can get an intelligently written paper returned to you on an urgent basis! Omega Severer is Professional Team Assigns 24/7 online. We can write your term paper, essay, dissertation, article or homework on any subject. Expert custom writing service with 8+ years of experience. Get writing help from our custom writers online. DVNE serving notice, consider the message received loud, clear, dynamic, crushing, spacious, and so on. Already veterans of Psycho Las Vegas, they sound like a band bent on capturing a broader audience in the metallic sphere.

DVNE on Thee Facebooks

Metal Blade Records website

 

Hydra, From Light to the Abyss

hydra from light to the abyss

There’s no questioning where Hydra‘s heart is at on their debut full-length, From Light to the Abyss. It belongs to the devil and it belongs to Black Sabbath. The Polish four-piece riff hard and straightforward throughout most of the five-track offering (released by Piranha Music), and samples set the kind of atmosphere that should be familiar enough to the converted — “No One Loves Like Satan” reminds of Uncle Acid in its initial channel-changing and swaggering riff alike — but doomly centerpiece “Creatures of the Woods” and the layered vocal melodies late in closer “Magical Mind” perhaps offer a glimpse at the direction the band could take from here. What matters though is where Hydra are at today, and that’s bringing riffs and nod to the converted among the masses, and From Light to the Abyss offers no pretense otherwise. It is doom rock for doom rockers, grooves to be grooved to. They’re not void of ambition by any means — their songwriting makes that clear — but their traditionalism is sleeve-worn, which if you’re going to have it, is right where it should be.

Hydra on Thee Facebooks

Piranha Music on Bandcamp

 

Jason Simon, A Venerable Wreck

jason simon a venerable wreck

Dead Meadow guitarist/vocalist Jason Simon follows 2016’s Familiar Haunts (review here) with the genre-spanning A Venerable Wreck, finding folk roots in obscure beats and backwards this-and-that, country in fuzz, ramble in space, and no shortage of experimentalism besides. A Venerable Wreck consists of 12 songs and though there are times where it can feel disjointed, that becomes part of the ride. It’s not all supposed to make sense. Yet what happens by the time you get around to “No Entrance No Exit” is that Simon (and a host of cohorts) has set his own context broad enough so that the drone reach of “Hollow Lands” and sleek, organ-laced indie of closer “Without Reason or Right” can coexist without any real interruption of flow between them. The question with A Venerable Wreck isn’t so much whether the substance is there, it’s whether the listener is open to it. Welcome to psychedelic America. Please inject this snake venom and turn in your keys when you leave.

Jason Simon on Bandcamp

BYM Records website

 

Cherry Choke, Raising Salzburg Rockhouse

Cherry Choke-Raising Salzburg Rockhouse-Cover

You won’t hear me take away from the opening psych-scorch hook of “Mindbreaker” or the fuzzed-on, boogie-down, -up, and -sideways of “Black Annis” which follows, but there’s something extra fun about hearing Frog Island’s Cherry Choke jam out a 13-minute, drum-solo-inclusive version of “6ix and 7even” that makes Raising Salzburg Rockhouse even more of a reminder of how underrated both they are as a band and Mat Bethancourt is as a player. Look no further than “Domino” if you want absolute proof. The whole band rips it up at the Austrian gig, which was recorded in 2015 as they supported their third and still-most-recent full-length, Raising the Waters (review here), but Bethancourt puts on a Hendrixian clinic in the nine-minute cut from 2011’s A Night in the Arms of Venus (review here), which is actually less of a clinic than it is pure distorted swagger followed by a mellow “cheers, thanks” before diving into “Used to Call You Friend.” A 38-minute set would be perfect for an vinyl release, and anytime Cherry Choke want to get around to putting together a fourth studio album, well, that’ll be just fine too.

Cherry Choke on Thee Facebooks

Cherry Choke on Bandcamp

 

Pariiah, Swallowed by Fog

Pariiah swallowed by fog

It’s a special breed of aggro that emerges as a result of living in the most densely populated state in the union, and New Jersey’s Pariiah have it to spare. Bringing together sludge tonality with elder-style New York hardcore lumbering riffs on their Trip Machine Laboratories tape, Swallowed by Fog, they exude a thickened brand of pissed off that’s outright going to be too confrontation for many who take it on. But if you want a middle finger to the face, this is what it sounds like, and the six songs (compiled into four on the digital version of the release) come and go entirely without pretense and leave little behind except bruises and the promise of more to come. They’re a new band, started in this most wretched of years, but there’s no learning curve whatsoever among the members of Devoid of Faith, The Nolan Gate, Kill Your Idols, Changeörder and others. I’d go to Maplewood to see these cats. I’m just saying. Maybe even Elizabeth.

Pariiah on Bandcamp

Trip Machine Laboratories website

 

Saavik, Saavik

saavik saavik

So you’ve got both members of Holly Hunt in a four-piece sludging out with spacey synth and the band is named after a Star Trek character? Not to get too personal, but that’s going to pique my interest one way or the other. Saavik — and they clearly prefer the Kirstie Alley version, rather than Robin Curtis, going by drummer Beatriz Monteavaro‘s artwork — are damn near playing space rock by the end of “He’s Dead Jim,” the opener of their self-titled debut EP, but even that’s affected by a significant tonal weight in Didi Aragon‘s bass and the guitar of Gavin Perry, however much Ryan Rivas‘ synth and effects-laced vocals might seem to float overhead, but “Meld” rolls along at a steadier nod, and “Horizon” puts the synth more in the lead without becoming any less heavy for doing so. Likewise, “Red Sun” calls to mind Godflesh in its proto-machine metal stomp, but there’s more concern in Saavik‘s sound with expanse than just pure crush, and that shows up in fascinating ways in these songs.

Saavik on Thee Facebooks

Other Electricities on Bandcamp

 

Mountain Tamer, Psychosis Ritual

mountain tamer psychosis ritual

There’s been a dark vibe all along nestled into Mountain Tamer‘s sound, and that’s certainly the case on Psychosis Ritual, with which the Los Angeles-based trio make their debut on Heavy Psych Sounds. It’s their third full-length overall behind 2018’s Godfortune // Dark Matters (review here) and 2016’s self-titled debut (review here), and it finds their untamed-feeling psychedelia rife with that same threat of violence, not necessarily thematically as much as sonically, like the songs themselves are the weapon about to be turned on the listener. Maybe the buzz of “Warlock” or the fuckall echo of the prior-issued single “Death in the Woods” (posted here) aren’t out there trying to be “Hammer Smashed Face” or anything, but neither is this the hey-bruh-good-times heavy jams for which Southern California is known these days. Consider the severity of “Turoc Maximus Antonis” or the finally-released screams in closer “Black Noise,” which bookends Psychosis Ritual with the title-track and seems at last to be the point where whatever grim vibe these guys are riding finally consumes them. Mountain Tamer continue to be unexpected and righteous in kind.

Mountain Tamer on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

 

Centre El Muusa, Centre El Muusa

centre el muusa centre el muusa

Hypnotic Estonian psychedelic krautrock instrumentals not your thing? Well that sounds like a personal problem Centre El Muusa are ready to solve. The evolved-from-duo four-piece get spaced out amid the semi-motorik repetitions of their self-titled debut (on Sulatron), and that seems to suit them quite well, thanksabunch. Drone trips and essential swirl brim with solar-powered pulsations and you can set your deflectors on maximum and route all the secondaries to reinforce if you want, there’s still a decent chance 9:53 opener an longest track “Turkeyfish” (immediate points, double for the appropriately absurd title) is going to sweep you off what you used to call your feet when that organ line hits at about six minutes in. That’s to say nothing of the cosmic collision later in “Burning Lawa” or the just-waiting-for-a-Carl-Sagan-voiceover “Mia” that follows. Even the 3:46 “Ain’t Got Enough Mojo” lives long enough to prove itself wrong. Interstellar tape transmissions fostered by obvious weirdos in the great out-there in “Szolnok,” named for a city in Hungary that, among other things, hosts the goulash festival. Right fucking on.

Centre El Muusa on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Population II, À La Ô Terre

Population II a La o Terre

The first Population II album, a 2017 self-titled, was comprised of two tracks, each long enough to consume a 12″ side. Somehow it’s fitting with the Montreal-based singing-drummer trio’s aesthetic that their second long-player, À la Ă” Terre, would take a completely different tack, employing shorter freakouts like “L’Offrande” and “La Nuit” and the garage-rocking “La Danse” and what-if-JeffersonAirplane-but-on-Canadian-mushrooms “Ă€ la Porte de Demain” and still-more-drifting finisher “Je Laisse le Soleil Briller” amid the more stretched out “Attaction,” the space-buzzer “Ce n’est RĂ©ve” while cutting a middle ground in the greaked-out (I was gonna type “freaked out” and hit a typo and I’m keeping it) “Il eut un Silence dans le Ciel,” which also betrays the jazzy underpinnings that somehow make all of Ă€ la Ă” Terre come across as progressive instead of haphazard. From the start to the close, you don’t know what’s coming next, and just because that’s by design doesn’t make it less effective. If anything, it makes Population II all the more impressive.

Population II on Thee Facebooks

Castle Face Records website

 

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Population II Set Nov. 13 Release for Debut LP À La Ô Terre

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

population ii

Hey, I get it. I understand not everybody catches everything that gets posted around here, and apart from bands or labels sharing across thee socials, sometimes this get posted on this site and that’s the end of it. A Quebecois psych band’s debut — even one with the endorsement of Castle Face Records behind it — isn’t going to catch eyes like something people already know. But there are going to be a few people who see this post, maybe check out the track at the bottom of it, and be really, really glad they did.

Whether or not you catch the Randy Holden reference in the band’s moniker, Population II‘s first record, Ă€ La Ă” Terre, is coming out Nov. 13 and its trad-psych fuzz meanderings have a soul behind them that comes through in each brimming noodle and volume burst. Would watch on stage. Gladly.

So take it as you will. Maybe the name snags your eye as it did mine, and maybe you figure that anyone who knows that LP might be on their game, as indeed these cats are. If you hear “Introspection” below and want more (legit), their Bandcamp has some name-your-priceness up for your perusal.

Art and info came down the PR wire:

Population II a La o Terre

Announcing Debut POPULATION II Album on Castle Face Records

Quebec-based raw rock band Population II share single “Introspection” and announce their album Ă€ La Ă” Terre out October 30th via Castle Face Records. Opener “Introspection” is a sustainted, ferocious pummeling rock track that showcases Population II’s solid rock-n-roll, psych, and prog infused sound.

The band puts it best, saying: “With heaviness through experimentation, Introspection is an immersion in the mind of one who feels the energy of raw Rock n ‘Roll running through its veins for the first time. Instantly, comes the need to transmit and amplify it.”

POPULATION II
Ă€ La Ă” Terre
Castle Face Records
Released 13th November 2020

Tracklist
01. Introspection
02. Ce n’est Réve
03. Les Vents
04. L’Offrande
05. La Nuit
06. Il eut une Silence dans le Ciel
07. Attraction
08. La Danse
09. À la Porte de Demain
10. Je Laisse le Soleil Briller

Population II are:
Pierre-Luc Gratton – Drums, Vocal
Tristan Lacombe – Guitare, Orgue
SĂ©bastien Provençal – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/populationii/
https://www.instagram.com/populationii/
https://population2.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Castle-Face-Records-274495015919012/
https://www.castlefacerecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CardinalFuzz/
cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com

Population II, “Introspection” artwork video

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Randy Holden: Population II Reissue Due Feb. 28 on RidingEasy Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

This is just RidingEasy Records doing the universe a solid. Does anyone say ‘do a solid’ anymore? I don’t know. Whatever the Gen-Z equivalent of doing a solid is, then. That’s what’s happening here. Randy Holden‘s 1970 solo album, Population II (discussed here), has long been relegated to being one of those collectors pieces. A record that, if you know, you know. The guitarist, known for his work on Blue Cheer‘s New! Improved! Blue Cheer!, is playing this weekend with no less than EarthlessMario Rubalcaba in Los Angeles, and if that’s not enough badassery for you, consider Holden‘s description of the remaster below.

I know there are a ton of albums from that original heavy era that get saddled with the “lost classic” thing, and many of them earn it to various degrees. Population II is legitimately an offering of continued relevance that listeners across multiple generations — even you kids on the TikToks — should know.

I turn it over to the PR wire for the particulars:

randy holden population ii

RidingEasy Records to reissue extremely rare 1970 doom album Randy Holden – Population II

Randy Holden (ex-Blue Cheer) playing live December 21st at Whiskey A-Go-Go in L.A. with Mario Rubalcaba (Earthless, RFTC) on drums

RidingEasy Records proudly announce the official reissue on physical and digital formats of the extremely rare 1970 proto-metal album Randy Holden – Population II. Considered one of the first doom metal albums ever, the ex-Blue Cheer guitarist’s solo debut has long been sought out by collectors. The remastered full length will be available on all streaming platforms for the first time, with a master more true to the original mix on LP, CD and streaming.

This weekend, Saturday December 21st, Holden will perform a rare live show at the Whiskey A-Go-Go in L.A. supported by drummer Mario Rubalcaba (Earthless, RFTC, OFF!) It will be a career-spanning set featuring songs from the Fender IV, the Sons of Adam, the Other Half, Blue Cheer, and his solo work, including Population II. Tickets and info HERE.

“Godzilla just walked into the room. People just stood there with their eyes and mouths wide open.”

To hear Randy Holden describe the audience’s reaction in 1969 to his solo debut performing with a teeth-rattling phalanx of 16 (sixteen!) 200 watt Sunn amps is about as close as many of us will get to truly experience the moment heavy metal music morphed into existence. However, at last we have unearthed the proper fossil record.

Population II, the now legendary, extremely rare album by guitarist/vocalist Holden and drummer/keyboardist Chris Lockheed is considered to be one of the earliest examples of doom metal. Though its original release was a very limited in number and distribution, like all great records, its impact over time has continued to grow.

In 1969, Holden, fresh off his tenure with proto-metal pioneers Blue Cheer (appearing on one side of the New! Improved! Blue Cheer album and touring for the better part of a year in the group), aimed for more control over his band. Thus, Randy Holden – Population II was born, the duo naming itself after the astronomical term for a particular star cluster with heavy metals present.

“I wanted to do something that hadn’t been done before,” Holden explains. “I was interested in discordant sounds that could be melodic but gigantically huge. I rented an Opera house for rehearsal, set up with 16 Sunn amps. That’s what I was going for, way over the top.”

And over the top it is. The 6-song album delves into leaden sludge, lumbering doom and epic soaring riffs that sound free from all constraints of the era. It’s incredibly heavy, but infused with a melodic, albeit mechanistic, sensibility.

“At the time, I was hearing these crazy melodies everywhere I went,” Holden says. “I thought I was going crazy.” For example, one day he slowly rooted out a powerful sound that had been nagging him and discovered it coming from a ceiling fan. “Machinery all around us doesn’t turn in a perfect rhythm. That’s what I was tuning into, I heard the music and the discordant sounds coming from the machinery. It was perfect for rendering the machine we built.”

Troubles with the album’s release bankrupted Holden, who subsequently left music for over two decades. It was bootlegged several times over the years, but until now hasn’t seen a proper remaster and has yet to be available on digital platforms. “The original mastering just destroyed the dynamics of it,” Holden says. “They flattened it out. Now we got a really nice remaster that should be the closest thing to the original recording.”

Population II will be available on LP, CD and download on February 28th, 2020 via RidingEasy Records.

RANDY HOLDEN LIVE 2019:
12/21 Los Angeles, CA @ The Whiskey A-Go-Go

Artist: Randy Holden
Album: Population II
Label: RidingEasy Records
Release Date: February 28th, 2020

01. Guitar Song
02. Fruit & Iceburgs
03. Between Time
04. Fruit & Iceburgs (Conclusion)
05. Blue My Mind
06. Keeper of My Flame

https://www.facebook.com/ridingeasyrecords/
http://www.ridingeasyrecs.com/
https://www.instagram.com/easyriderrecord/

Randy Holden, Population II (original master) (1970)

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Friday Full-Length: Randy Holden, Population II

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 5th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Randy Holden, Population II (1969)

He was walking a tightrope made of liquid steel. Mind you, I’ve heard some colorful alternatives to the phrase “playing guitar” in my time, but that one might be the king of them, and it’s more or less the mission statement of “Guitar Song,” the opening track of Randy Holden‘s Population II. Population II was the moniker both of the band and the album, referring both to the fact that there were two people in the band — Holden and drummer Chris Lockheed — and to a class of star that includes some heavy metals in its composition. Not too much heavy metal, but a bit. The album, which at the time of its original 1969 Hobbit Records release had six tracks and ran just under 31 minutes, follows suit. It has flourishes of what would later become heavy metal, but is mostly geared toward weighted psychedelia, acid rock and post-hippie volume. And guitar. “Guitar Song” is a title that could apply equally to “Fruit and Iceburgers” or “Blue My Mind” or “Keeper of My Flame,” even of those tracks — aren’t about playing guitar, which the actual “Guitar Song” is.

Holden, who had done time in various West Coast acts prior, made an appearance the same year on side B of Blue Cheer‘s third album, New! Improved! Blue Cheer!, and toured with that band in replacement of founding guitarist Leigh Stephens, but would soon enough be gone, and it wasn’t until 1996 that he put out another solo album to follow-up Population II, the popularity of which endured as a cult classic of early metal and guitar rock. On a sonic level, it was legitimately a couple years ahead of its time — it would take most acts seeing the explosion of heavy in the wake of the Black Sabbaths and Led Zeppelins of the world to pick up on tonal weight as a lifestyle option; Holden could be considered an early adopter in pushing the envelope licked first by Jimi Hendrix, or The Yardbirds and Cream, if you want to stretch definitions. Still, Population II is remarkably clear-headed in its purposes and its jams, and if nothing else, Holden well earns his footnote among the six-string greats of the era.

In the last decade, he’d release an answer to 1996’s Guitar God in the form of Guitar God 2001, issued the year of its title, and 2008’s Raptor, and this year he has issued the self-recorded Psychedelic Blue, which is available at his website. Population II has seen a handful of reissues over the years as well, legitimate and bootleg, and its cult continues to grow with a new generation of heavy rock heads hell-bent for rare vinyl and classic groove.

About to head out of the office and down to Connecticut for the next couple days, so I’ll keep it short. Tomorrow night I’m seeing Serial Hawk in Connecticut, so Monday I’ll have a review of that up. Look out next week I think for the video premiere from Kings Destroy that was originally supposed to be this week, as well as a new track from the Khemmis album coming soon from 20 Buck Spin, and hopefully a track and Q&A with The Exploding Eyes Orchestra, which is an offshoot of Jess and the Ancient Ones that will have a debut LP out soon on Svart. All cool stuff.

Reviews too of the Death Alley record and vinyl something or other. Records are starting to stack up.

To that end, I’ve also started plotting out the next Quarterly Review, which will happen at the end of this month. Don’t ask me how I’m going to manage that while also working full-time, I’m just going to fucking do it and that’s going to be that. Sleep be damned. Not Sleep, the band. Just sleep, the concept.

Hope you have a great and safe weekend. If you’re someplace that has good weather or, say, at the Freak Valley festival in Germany, I hope you enjoy it. Please check out the forum and radio stream. I was listening earlier. Some good shit on there.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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