Quarterly Review: The Pilgrim, Polymoon, Doctors of Space, Merlock, Sun Dial, Saturn’s Husk, Diggeth, Horizon, Limousine Beach, The Crooked Whispers

Posted in Reviews on October 12th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Well, the weekend’s over and it’s time to wrap up the Quarterly Review. Rest assured, I wrote the following during my copious weekend leisure time, resting on the side of a heated Olympic-size pool with a beverage nearby. It definitely wasn’t four in the morning on a Sunday or anything. If I haven’t gotten the point across yet, I hope you’ve found something amid this massive swath of records that has resonated with you. By way of a cheap plug, I’ll be featuring audio from a lot of these bands on the Gimme Metal show this Friday, 5PM Eastern, if you’re up for tuning in.

Either way, thanks for reading and for being a part of the whole thing. Let’s wrap it up.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

The Pilgrim, …From the Earth to the Sky and Back

the pilgrim from the earth to the sky and back

Lest he be accused of laziness, What are the http://rebor.md/?ghostwriter-film-wikipedias - Allow us to help with your Bachelor thesis. put out a little time and money to get the dissertation you could not Gabriele Fiori — also of pay someone to do your school project Where To Best Dissertation Writing Doctoral writing a dissertation evaluation need help with essay writing Black Rainbows, OzEssay is the Calinon Phd Thesis. Hire professional essay writer and get help with any type of assignment online. Killer Boogie and the head of the Professional business plan writer - We've written hundreds of business plans. Try our http://www.naur-sir.dk/?homework-help-with-figuring-percentages and get started with a free consultation Heavy Psych Sounds label, booking agency and festival series — made his solo debut as Online http://www.sluncevdome.cz/?thesis-custom-page by the leading experts of universities of Instant Assignment help. Our college assignment helper offers best quality College The Pilgrim with Spring 2019’s Don't risk your academic track record: source link online from respectable companies only! It's 100% legal and often beneficial for you education! Walking into the Forest (review here). Joined by Best professional online essay writer company is at your service. . Buy essay Essay About Homework online at professional essay writing service. Black Rainbows drummer UKs Top Essay On Medical Marijuana Service to get Help with Dissertation by Best Dissertation Writers. Best Dissertation Help Services in UK. Filippo Ragazzoni, Finding a source link service that will write a great essay for you is harder than it may seem. Write My Essay Cheap will help you to survive in Fiori ups the scale of the journey with the second Looking for an essay helper? With Grademiners, We do all, so your do my mission statement in business plan experience will be nothing less than great! The Pilgrim LP, Freelance article writing services at Copify. Hundreds of approved UK Defending A Dissertation Proposals, SEO & website friendly, 48 hour turnaround! …From the Earth to the Sky and Back. Richer in arrangement, bolder in craft and more confident in performance, the album runs 14 songs and 50 minutes still largely based around an acoustic acid rock foundation, but with a song like “Riding the Horse” tapping ’70s singer-songwriter vibes while “Cuba” touches on Latin percussion and guitar and “Space and Time” journeying out near the record’s end with waves of synthesizer, it seems Alpha check provides you the best in class, plagiarism free and value for money Custom Writing at your convenient time from experts. The Pilgrim isn’t so willing to be pigeonholed. So much the better.

The Pilgrim on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation

Polymoon Caterpillars of Creation

There is an undercurrent of extremity to the debut release from The Schatz Group offers professional Get Paid For Doing Homework to individuals, businesses, nonprofit associations, law firms, marketing and public Polymoon, who hail from the psychedelic hotbed that is Tampere, Finland. The six-song/42-minute Since 2006, Copy Army has been the trusted Cpm Algebra 2 Homework Help for hundreds of organizations around the globe. Caterpillars of Creation turns in opener “Silver Mt.” to fervent guitar push or from freaked-out cosmic prog into drifting post-universe exploration, setting the stage for the dynamic that unfolds throughout. The wash early in the second half of “Lazaward” is glorious, and it’s not the first or the last time A great post to read will provide these important steps Polymoon go to that adrenaline-pumping well, but the serenity that caps that song and seems to continue into “Malamalama” in closing side A is no less effective. “Helicaling” mounts tension in its early drumming but finally releases it later, and “Neitherworld” gives Caterpillars of Creation‘s most fervent thrust while closer “Metempsychosis” rounds out with a fitting sense of dissipation. As a first album/first release, it is particularly stunning, and to make it as plain as possible, I will think less of any list of 2020’s best debut albums that leaves out Polymoon.

Polymoon on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records website

 

Doctors of Space, First Treatment

doctors of space first treatment

The two-piece comprised of Martin Weaver (ex-Wicked Lady) and synthesist Scott “Dr. Space” Heller (Øresund Space Collective, Black Moon Circle, etc.) position First Treatment as their proper studio debut, and it certainly hits its marks in galaxial adventuring well enough to qualify as such, but the duo have been on a creative splurge throughout this year — even in lockdown — and so the six songs here are also born out of the work they’ve been doing since releasing their debut single “Ghouls ‘n’ Shit” (video premiere here) late last year. The album launches with “Journey to Enceladus,” which boasts drum programming by Weaver and though one of the movements in the 21-minute “Into the Oort Cloud” is based around beats, the bulk of First Treatment is purely a work of guitar and synth, and it basks in the freedom that being so untethered inherently brings. Running an hour long, it’s improvisational nature isn’t going to be for everyone, but Heller and Weaver make a strong argument that maybe it should be.

Doctors of Space on Thee Facebooks

Space Rock Productions website

 

Merlock, That Which Speaks

merlock that which speaks

Who’s ready for a New Wave of PNW Fuckery? That’s right folks, the NWOPNWF has arrived and it’s Spokane, Washington’s Merlock leading the sometimes-awfully-punk-sometimes-awfully-metal-but-somehow-also-always-sludge charge. Aggressive and damning in lyrics, swapping between raw screams, grows, shouts and cleaner vocals and unhinged in terms of its genre loyalties, That Which Speaks seems to find the “melt faces” setting wherever it goes, and though there’s a sense of the four-piece feeling out what works best for them stylistically, the sometimes frantic, sometimes willfully awkward transitions — as in second cut “Prolapse” — serve the overall purpose of undercutting predictability. Eight-minute opener/longest track (immediate points) “Idolon” stomps and shoves and gnashes and nasties its way through, and that’s the modus across what follows, though the scream-along headbanger “Vessel” somehow seems even rawer, and though it ends by floating into oblivion, the start of “Condemnation” heavy fuckin’ metal to me. You never know quite where Merlock are going to hit next, and that’s the joy of the thing. May they remain so cacophonous.

Merlock on Thee Facebooks

Merlock on Bandcamp

 

Sun Dial, Mind Control: The Ultimate Edition

sun dial mind control

Long-running UK psychedelic rockers Sun Dial — led by founding guitarist/vocalist Gary Ramon — released Mind Control in 2012. Sulatron Records picked it up in 2015, and now, five years after that, the same label presents Mind Control: The Ultimate Edition, a 2CD version of the original LP-plus-bonus-tracks reissue that brings the total runtime of the release to a well-beyond-manageable 98 minutes of lysergic experimentation. A full 20 tracks are included in the comprehensive-feeling offering, and from early mixes to alternative takes and lost tracks, and if this isn’t the ‘ultimate’ version of Mind Control, I’m not sure what could be, notwithstanding a complete-studio-sessions box set. Perhaps as a step toward that, Mind Control: The Ultimate Edition gives an in-depth look at a vastly underappreciated outfit and is obviously put together as much for the label as by it. That is to say, you don’t put out a reissue like this unless you really love the original record, and if Sulatron loving a record isn’t enough endorsement for you, please turn in your mushrooms on your way out the door.

Sun Dial on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Saturn’s Husk, The Conduit

Saturns Husk The Conduit

Immersion is the goal of Saturn’s Husk‘s third long-player, The Conduit, and the Riga, Latvia, instrumentalist trio accomplish it quickly with the fluid riffs that emerge from the drone-based intro “Death of Imaginary Lights” and the subsequent 10-minute opener “Black Nebula.” At nine songs and 63 minutes, the album is consuming through the welcome nodder “The Heavenly Ape,” the especially-doomed “The Ritual” and the more mellow-float centerpiece “Spectral Haze,” while “Mycelium Messiah” brings more straight-ahead fuzz (for a time) and drones on either side surround the 10:35 “Sand Barrows,” the latter serving as the finale “A Shattered Visage” quoting Percy Bysshe Shelley and the former “City of the Djinn” running just a minute-plus but still doing enough to reset the brain from where “Mycelium Messiah” left it. Almost functioning as two albums side-by-side with “Spectral Haze” as the dividing point, The Conduit indeed seems to join various sides together, with a depth to coincide that invites the listener to explore along with it.

Saturn’s Husk on Thee Facebooks

Saturn’s Husk on Bandcamp

 

Diggeth, Gringos Galacticos

diggeth gringos galacticos

Landing a punch of classic metal to go along with its heavy-bottomed groove, Diggeth‘s Gringos Galacticos — one supposes the title ‘Spacecrackers’ was taken — was released by the Dutch trio in 2019 and receives a US limited vinyl edition thanks to Qumran Records. One finds some similar guitar heroics to those of Astrosoniq‘s more straightforward moments, but Diggeth‘s focus remains on hookmaking for the duration, offering hints of twang and acoustics in “In the Wake of Giants” and tipping a hat southwestward in “Three Gringos,” but “Straight-Shooter” is willfully breaks out its inner Hetfield and even as the penultimate “Unshackled” departs for a quieter break, it makes its way back in time for the big finish chorus, adding just a touch of Candlemass grandiosity for good measure before the harmonica-laced closing title-track rounds out with its dynamic spacey weirdness, the name of the album repeating itself in an answer to the Stephen Hawking sample that started the voyage on its way.

Diggeth on Thee Facebooks

Qumran Records website

 

Horizon, The White Planet Patrol

horizon the white planet patrol

Cursed Tongue Records has the vinyl here, and Three Moons the tape, and the CD will arrive through Aladeriva Records, La Rubia Producciones, Aneurisma Records, Surnia Records and Violence in the Veins — so yes, Horizon‘s third album, The White Planet Patrol is well backed. Fair enough for the Kyuss-via-BlackRainbows vibes of “End of Utopia” or the initial charge and flow of “The Backyard” that sets the Alicante, Spain, trio on their way. “King Serpent” and “Death & Teddies” bring well-crafted fuzz to bear, and “Blind World” effectively layers vocals in its chorus to coincide, but the more laid back roll of the title-cut is an unmistakable highlight. Shades of mid-paced Nebula surface in “Meet the Forest” later on, but Horizon are part of a tradition of heavy bands in Alicante and they know it. The smoothness of their tone and delivery speaks volumes on its own in that regard, never mind the actual songwriting, which also leaves nothing to be desired.

Horizon on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

 

Limousine Beach, Stealin’ Wine + 2

Limousine Beach Stealin Wine

Debut EP from Limousine Beach out of Pittsburgh, and if the three guitars involved don’t push it over the top, certainly the vocal harmonies get that particular job done. You got six minutes for three songs? Yeah, obviously. They scorch through “Tiny Hunter” to close out, but it’s in the leadoff title-track that Stealin’ Wine + 2 sees the Dave Wheeler-fronted outfit land its most outrageous chorus, just before they go on to find a middle-ground between KISS and Thin Lizzy on “Hear You Calling.” The harmonies open and are striking from the outset, but it’s in how they’re arranged around the standalone parts from Wheeler (also Outsideinside, ex-Carousel) that the outfit’s truest potential is shown. Issued through Tee Pee Records, Stealin’ Wine + 2 is the kind of thing you’d pick up at a show in a normal year and then feel way ahead of everyone else when the LP finally hits. Not a normal year, obviously, but Limousine Beach are serving due notice just the same. In six minutes, no less.

Limousine Beach on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records website

 

The Crooked Whispers, Satanic Melodies

the crooked whispers satanic melodies

I’m sure a lot of records show up at Satan’s door with notes, like, “Dear sir, please find the enclosed submitted for your approval,” but it’s not hard to imagine Beelzebub himself getting down with the filth-coated sludge and rolling doom unfurled across The Crooked Whispers‘ debut offering, Satanic Melodies, marked by hateful, near-blackened screams from Anthony Gaglia and the plodding riffs of Chad Davis (Hour of 13, et al). The title-track is longest at 8:23 and in addition to featuring Ignacio De Tommaso‘s right-on bass tone in its midsection, it plays out early like Weedeater sold their collective soul, and drifts out where earlier pieces “Sacrifice” and “Evil Tribute” and “Profane Pleasure” held their roll for the duration. Stretches of clean-vocal cultistry add to the doomier aspects, but The Crooked Whispers seem to care way less about genre than they do about worshiping the devil, and that unshakable faith behind them, the rest seems to fall into place in accordingly biting fashion.

The Crooked Whispers on Thee Facebooks

The Crooked Whispers on Bandcamp

 

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Earth Drive Premiere “Axial View” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 11th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

earth drive

Given the context of what was going on in the world back in March, one might be forgiven for letting the release of Helix Nebula, the second album from Montijo, Portugal-based atmospheric heavy four-piece Earth Drive, slip through the cracks. Issued through Raging Planet, the record dropped on March 13, which was one day after the Portuguese government put the country into emergency lockdown because of the pandemic. So, granted, there would’ve been plenty of time for one to encounter the album and listen, but let’s say that maybe the terror of not being able to leave one’s home for fear of contracting firelung might have been a distraction. Fair enough.

All the better, then, that Earth Drive — fronted by the significant vocal presence of Sara Antunes, with Hermano Marques backing her and playing guitar, Luis Silva on bass and Sebastião Santos on drums — have a new video out for “Axial View” from the album, so that one might rectify the crack-slippery and get on board with Helix Nebula before it’s too late. A worthy endeavor it would be, as well, since the band so seamlessly bring together ambient drone, cosmic doom and a psychedelic range that is underscored and perhaps a bit grounded by post-grunge hooks like those in “Axial View,” as well as “Sience of Pranayama” (sic) and the early-arriving title-track, surrounded on either side by an interlude at the album’s outset in a way that sets up the pattern the rest of the record proceeds to following, weaving into and out of solidified structures and more fluid tonal excursion with apparent and resonant ease.

It’s not all so straightforward back-and-forth as the first couple cuts, but as the album proceeds, it plays heft and breadth off each other effectively to give Helix Nebula a duly spacious and immersive feel, something of a cosmic dive-in for the listener to experience that works best as a whole but is readily accessible in its individual parts. You’ll find “Axial View” a suitable entry point, appearing as it does between the airier “Spectra” and the heavy-post-rock vibing “Dharma Throne,” but definitely take it as one, and as Europe and much of the world continues to recover from the trauma that’s beset it, finding new ways to move forward, Earth Drive‘s tonality offers if not direct escapism, then at very least the comfort of a sure guiding hand in terms of crafting songs and an ensuing atmosphere.

The video for “Axial View” adopts a more terrestrial perspective, basically taking performance footage of the band and bleeding from one shot to the next, etc., as it does — though again, in context, it’s somehow a novelty to think of a band getting together in a rehearsal space to jam. Something precious to enjoy then.

So please enjoy:

Earth Drive, “Axial View” official video

Powered by Earth Drive & Hermano Marques
(Produced and Edited by Hermano Marques @ Earth Drive studios Aka A.R.M.A
Song AXIAL VIEW by Earth Drive (Mix and Master by Fernando Matias @ The pentagon audio manufacturers
Released by Raging Planet

Portuguese heavy psych rock unit EARTH DRIVE release their sophomore, stellar album titled Helix Nebula via Raging Planet. The four-piece, who is characterized by a dense, melodic, visceral, cathartic and heavy sound, has created their most ritualistic and meditative record to date. While the power of distortion and loud amps still lead you in front of a massive sound wall, EARTH DRIVE manage to combine all that is heavy with yet spatial effects, catchy hooklines by vocalist Sara Antunes and a hazy, mesmerizing atmosphere.

EARTH DRIVE, who burst into the underground scene in 2007, left their heavy stamp with a first EP, Planet Mantra, followed by their highly acclaimed debut album, Stellar Drone. In addition to the band’s traditional cosmic and psychedelic influences, their new album Helix Nebula explores the potential of raw and powerful tunes with a warm, saturated and ambient sound in a more refined way.

EARTH DRIVE is:
Luis Silva – Bass
Sebastião Santos – Drums
Sara Antunes – Vocals
Hermano Marques – Vocals and guitar

Earth Drive, Helix Nebula (2020)

Earth Drive on Thee Facebooks

Earth Drive on Bandcamp

Raging Planet website

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Days of Rona: Antonio Santos of Places Around the Sun

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

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

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

places around the sun antonio santos

Days of Rona: Antonio Santos of Places Around the Sun (Lisboa, Portugal)

How have you been you dealing with this crisis as a band? As an individual? What effect has it had on your plans or creative processes?

Besides the obvious bad financial side in all of this as a band we got a lot of time we wouldn’t get otherwise to really write our songs without any pressure of having to go to work the next day. And that is probably the best thing out of all of the things, our hobbies became a full-time job.

With the creative process it has also helped a lot since everything stopped and it left a lot of space for the creative mind to take place. I’ve seen a lot of new ideas, whether them being podcasts, Instagram lives or new music coming up in these last months and the best part is that everyone is attending to all of it because people want something to pass their time.

In a general view I think we’re making the best of it and still manage to finish the new album we’re currently working on.

How do you feel about the public response to the outbreak where you are? From the government response to the people around you, what have you seen and heard from others?

Here in Portugal, I feel like in a way we got very lucky comparing to a lot of other countries here in Europe. Our government reacted as fast as one would ever react with such a sudden threat.

Everybody at first shared the mind set of “The virus won’t ever get here”, foolishly enough since our country relies a lot on tourism, and thousands of tourists enter our country everyday. But when it came people actually reacted fast and a lot of people went into voluntary lockdown, but of course there were those people who felt like it was an overreaction. But now I think pretty much everyone is being aware and respectful of the rules.

There’s an uneasy feeling around everyone we know, since we all work in the film and music industry, we really depend on a lot of events that can’t happen right now and probably won’t happen in the next year.

But being all creative people I think we’ll all find some way or another to keep going and adapt to this new reality.

What do you think of how the music community specifically has responded? How do you feel during this time? Are you inspired? Discouraged? Bored? Any and all of it?

The music community took a big hit, every band we know had their shows canceled and we were all obligated to leave almost everything in stand by. But I think everyone is aware of how hard it is for all the artists and people are sharing everyone’s work on their social media. It’s amazing to see so many people coming together to help everybody in need during this time.

Although there’s a little bit of discouragement, because we know we can’t play live, being one of the most exciting parts of being in a band, and of course the best source of income. But some of the best songs and ideas came from boredom and the need to make something, I think everyone that has the creative side should use this time to let it come into fruition. Everyone is at home and now more than ever people need the entertainment industry to help them get through all of this a little bit easier.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything? What is your new normal? What have you learned from this experience, about yourself, your band, or anything?

Me personally, I was going through a really rough time mentally before all of this. And having to suddenly stop everything really made think and reflect on everything going in my mind and I got to value a lot of things that I always took for granted and I fortunately could channel everything through music, we were in the middle of recording an album, and luckily we stopped when we were about to record the vocals, which is something that can easily be done at home, so I brought my studio set up home and really took the time to record and write everything feeling like I had all the time in the world.

I recorded a vocal idea and sent it to everyone and we went back and forth a lot and I think that really allowed us to come up with stuff we would never had the time to do before.

We as band can’t wait to share what we’ve been working on as we feel like it has some of the best stuff we’ve ever wrote and hopefully sooner than later we’ll be able to play it live.

https://www.facebook.com/placesaroundthesun/
https://www.instagram.com/placesaroundthesun/
https://placesaroundthesun.bandcamp.com/
https://open.spotify.com/artist/6EtVFuD2ONPTRJ3rKnlUgi

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Days of Rona: Earth Drive (Montijo, Portugal)

Posted in Features on April 30th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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

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

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

earth drive

Days of Rona: Earth Drive (Montijo, Portugal)

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

So far everyone is healthy in the band and we are taking good care of ourselves and family the way is possible. Due to this COVID-19 complex situation in the world we had to cancel our new album kick of tour show´s and this had a huge impact in the band emotional and financial investments. But we are coping the best we can with this and for now we need to wait to see how long this will last and if we need to postpone more show´s and reschedule all things again. It’s hard all this uncertainty but we will get through this for sure.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

We are now in a state of emergency.

This more radical measure covers patients with COVID-19 and the rest of population who must remain in hospital or in a health facility or be closed at home. The measure will also cover those who are under active surveillance, determined by health authorities due to the risk of having contracted the disease.

For those who are in compulsory confinement, the violation of this rule constitutes a crime of disobedience. To prevent this, the authorities of the place of residence will have a list of people in these circumstances, provided by the health authorities. For the time being, a sanctioning framework has not been created, but this is expected to happen if it proves necessary.

Those over 70 years of age have a special duty of protection, which means that they will only be able to leave home in the cases provided by law: go shopping; the doctor or the pharmacy; the bank, post office, or insurance company; going to the street to walk the dog or for some physical exercise, and collective activities are prohibited. The same rules apply to immunocompromised patients and those with chronic disease who should be considered at risk: hypertensive patients, diabetics, cardiovascular patients, patients with chronic respiratory disease and cancer patients.

This special duty of protection does not cover anyone, who is not on leave, maintains his professional activity; health professionals and civil protection agents; and also the politicians, magistrates and leaders of the social partners.
To citizens in general who, despite everything, have a wide range of exceptions that allow them to travel on the public road, namely: go shopping; moving to work or responding to a job offer; go to the pharmacy, the doctor or give blood; giving help to parents, children, people with disabilities or in some way vulnerable; to go to school (only for the children of health personnel or security forces); social volunteering; for a brief individual physical activity; to walk the dog or any animal to the vet; or for any case of force majeure. Journalists can also travel, in the exercise of freedom of the press.

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

We feel that this is affecting in a deep way the community. We feel some anxiety and fear and this grows along the bad news that TV constantly shows to the people. There is a lot of hope thou that this will bring a huge transformation for the humanity and for the world if people understand this as an opportunity to change and to push governments to start making the right decisions for the planet. There are a lot of professionals working hard to save lives and a lot of other people working hard to transmute people fears into light and hope to balance the world energy. We feel that artists are dealing with a lot of frustration right now but there are a lot of us doing things to comfort people doing stream shows and other initiatives in order to not lose their purpose and to keep fighting to prevent that humanity lose their identity. The humanity without culture is a humanity without identity. So let’s rock even harder together!

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

Well we just want people to know that we are all in this together and in this moment is the perfect situation to start to let our egos out of the way and work as ONE to save humanity and to reconnect us to mother nature. She will always prevail and we are the ones who need to learn how to get along with her. We just want people to know that we will be here in the music scene to honor the privilege to do this and try to respect all of you and nature with our honest music, art and attitude. We are in a very delicate situation like a lot of people, bands, promoters, PR agencies, sound engineers, labels, specialized press and a lot of other music agents working on music but together we will learn and get through this rocking.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to express our feelings and thoughts about this crisis.

A big hug for everyone and please be safe! The best version of ourselves is yet to come. Peace!

www.facebook.com/earthdrivesound
www.earthdrive.bandcamp.com
www.ragingplanet.pt

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Days of Rona: Luis Simões of Saturnia

Posted in Features on April 30th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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

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

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

Luis Simões of Saturnia

Days of Rona: (Lisboa, Portugal)

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

I was already editing and pre-mixing the new Saturnia album for a couple of months, so, as that is something I do on my own from home and there were no plans to play live at all, Saturnia’s daily routine hasn’t really changed radically.

There is a certain irony as this new record is an outdoors album, I recorded most of it in the countryside earlier on; actually some of it was recorded outside under the trees, but i’m now working in lockdown regime.

I’ve been in contact with André Silva (drums) and everyone else involved with Saturnia and so far everyone is okay.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

Over here, in Portugal, the state of emergency has been officially declared; social isolation is the rule, you can go to the supermarket, bank, post office, pharmacy and walk the dog in the immediate area where you live in but you can’t move about in groups and if you are making a more serious movement you have to be ready to justify it.

The authorities aren’t being over aggressive with people but are acting firmly.

The paranoia meter is in the red, and although i haven’t seen them myself, there are places with drones warning people to stay home, a pure dystopian vibe that reminds me of Hawkwind’s Sonic attack, just disturbingly real.

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

This is a nasty blow for everybody in general, obviously from the health perspective; this is the kind of history book stuff you heard of of the influenza pandemic in the WWI period, but now it is immediate reality; everything is closed so the economy is suffering on all levels.

Music is moving even more online but sadly, there isn’t any life-supporting revenue in online music, so this whole situation is very negative and it’s going to knock a lot of people’s lives down, for sure.

Music and art in general are frequently seen as a luxury item, although it’s what is keeping people sane at home…

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

Basically that Saturnia carries on doing its thing with the present time limitations, and so should everybody.

I want to urge everyone to be extremely careful, follow sanitary safety procedures and act with common sense, respect and responsibility so that we can all be here next year to listen to Saturnia’s new album and all albums old and new.

https://www.facebook.com/saturniamusic/
http://www.saturniamusic.com/
https://www.elektrohasch.de/

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Days of Rona: Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective

Posted in Features on April 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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

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

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

scott dr space heller

Days of Rona: Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective, Aural Hallucinations, Space Rock Productions, etc. (Portugal)

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

Well, at the moment our concerts in May are in doubt and we might have to postpone them till late summer or fall. Looks like Høstsabbat for Oct 1st will still happen though so that might be one of the few shows we do. As far as I know all the members of the band are healthy and staying at home, probably making or mixing music!!!

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

Portugal has taken this very seriously as has Denmark, where a lot of the members live. Schools are closed, bars, restaurants, pretty much everything except small local businesses, grocery stores, gas stations… Where we live there are still no cases reported yet. Denmark is shut down for three;, months. Oddly, where some of the members are in Sweden, it is business as usual. They have not shut down anything much. They also have the most cases of all of Scandinavia. We will see how it goes.

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

We have a huge view of the valley where we live and you just don’t see many people out or cars, so I think people around here are being vigilant. I go to the post office every week to mail packages and they only let two people in at a time and you can’t get close to the workers, they have a large plastic window with a gap. As for music, there is no live music at the moment but I am making a lot of music and improving my skills, mixing new tracks, recording for new collaborations (a secret at the moment). My fourth Dr Space’s Alien Planet Trip LP –  Space with Bass is still coming out in May. My collaboration with Matt (Ex-Elder, Kind, Queen Elephantine) called Aural Hallucinations will be out on LP, CD and tape around May 1st. A new subscriber-only release of Øresund Space Collective is supposed to arrive this week… So lots still happening..

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

We are pretty safe and unlikely to get this virus if we just stay at home since we live so isolated and all my music projects will continue but live concerts will be fewer this year for sure. I wish everyone the best and hope you all ride this crazy virus wave to a safe place and we can all be together again later this year. Thanks to everyone who has bought our music. Peace…

http://oresundspacecollective.com
http://oresundspacecollective.bandcamp.com
http://doctorsofspace.bandcamp.com
http://writingaboutmusic.blogspot.com
http://www.spacerockproductions.com
http://blackmooncircle.bandcamp.com
http://auralhallucinations.bandcamp.com

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Aural Hallucinations Stream Debut LP Alucinações Auditivas in Full; Preorders up Now

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 1st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

aural hallucinations

Aural Hallucinations will release their debut album, Alucinações Auditivas, through Space Rock Productions on May 1. The ocean-spanning experimentalist duo brings together Massachusetts-based Matt Couto — best known as the now-former drummer for Elder, and also currently of Kind — with Scott “Dr. Space” Heller, who, though currently residing in Portugal, nonetheless continues to work as the prolific synthesist and bandleader of Øresund Space Collective and also, so far as I know, still hold a place in the otherwise-Norwegian Black Moon Circle and a few other projects as well.

The semi-self-titled Alucinações Auditivas is their first release of any sort as well as being their first album — though they led up to it by unveiling “Brain Stimulator” and “Fly Free, Furry Friend” as singles — and in its vinyl-ready form it runs seven tracks and 41 minutes of way-far-gone mostly-instrumental collaboration. Pieces like “Hills White, House Blue” become a kind of miasma of synthesizer sounds, and from the leadoff cut “Formigas,” on which the applied “vocals” would seem to be recorded and manipulated breathing, onward, the prevailing sentiment is that anything is welcome noise-wise so far as the vibe is maintained.

To wit, the underlying low end synth progression behind the penultimate “Don’t Take the Granite Acid” follows an eerily similar rhythm to that of my basement washing machine when heard through the floor of my living room. There are eerie whispers there as well (not in my basement, fortunately), and “Spore Cloud Dispersion” offers a drum progression and bassline that echoes the space rock at its most frenetic, while closer “Surreal InhiVisions” finds its anchor in acoustic guitar almost in a manner reminiscent of Lamp of the Universe were that outfit more given to conjuring a total wash AURAL HALLUCINATIONS ALUCINACOES AUDITIVASof effects rather than sticking to some semblance of structural traditionalism.

Despite all the far-out-itude of Alucinações Auditivas and the piercing high-pitched frequency that makes its way into “Brain Stimulator,” the project is consistent with elements of both Couto‘s and Heller‘s past work. Certainly the latter has been no stranger to improvised-seeming experimentation — that’s Øresund Space Collective‘s wheelhouse — and the former has handled modular synth and other noisemaking whatnots in Kind as well, so it’s not that Aural Hallucinations comes out of nowhere in terms of their approach, just that the two parties involved have very clearly made a conscious decision to highlight this aspect of their creativity together.

The mission and resulting LP are likewise admirable though both by their very nature are not necessarily widely accessible. Still, the wide open range that Alucinações Auditivas establishes nearly immediately and only continues to push into broader spaces is a closed-eyes-headphones-on escape that one can easily imagine as a ready foundation for future such expeditions. With their driving principle seeming to be just building pieces from the ground up and seeing what works, they show an awareness of that and a corresponding awareness of when a piece is done or might not need anything else going on in it.

This makes Aural Hallucinations dynamic as well as varied in their approach, and from minimal to maximal, Alucinações Auditivas demonstrates a dimensionality that goes beyond the depth of its mix. Actually, its dimensionality kind of goes outside of this dimension altogether, but I suppose that’s a different matter.

Also it’s not made of matter.

You get the point.

With preorders open as of today ahead of the release next month, Aural Hallucinations have opened the floodgates and are letting the noise drift through with a full album stream of Alucinações Auditivas below. Should you choose to plunge in, I most certainly hope you enjoy:

This is the debut album by Matt Couto (Kind, ex-Elder) and Dr Space (Øresund Space Collective, Black Moon Circle). It features a number of tracks to have Aural Hallucinations to. Luis Antero has kindly provided us with several field recordings that have been mixed into a few of the tracks.

Matthew Couto- Moog Opus III, Moog Werkstatt, VRL Modular Synthesizer, Drums, Bass, Acoustic guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocal

Dr Space- Yamaha CS10, Custom Modular Synthesizer, KORG SQ-10, Nord Lead 2, ARP Odessey, Vocal

Artwork by Matt. Logo and cassette/CD layouts by Josh Yelle.

Mixing and mastering at Éstudio Paraíso nas Nuvems, Central Portugal by Dr Space.

Aural Hallucinations on Bandcamp

Space Rock Productions website

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Quarterly Review: Slift, IIVII, Coogans Bluff, Rough Spells, Goblinsmoker, Homecoming, Lemurian Folk Songs, Ritual King, Sunflowers, Maya Mountains

Posted in Reviews on March 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Thursday. Everyone doing well? Healthy? Kicking ass? Working from home? There seems to be a lot of that going around, at least among the lucky. New Jersey, where I live, is on lockdown with non-essential businesses shuttered, roads largely empty and all that. It can be grim and apocalyptic feeling, but I’m finding this Quarterly Review to be pretty therapeutic or at least helpfully distracting at a moment when I very much need something to be that. I hope that if you’re reading this, whether you’ve been following along or not, it’s done or can do the same for you if that’s what you need. I’ll leave it at that.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Slift, Ummon

slift ummon

The second album from French space/psych trio Slift is a 72-minute blowout echoshred epic — too aware not to be prog but too cosmic not to be space rock. Delivered through Stolen Body Records and Vicious Circle, Ummon is not only long, it speaks to a longer term. It’s not an album for this year, or for this decade, or for any other decade, for that matter. It’s for the ongoing fluid now. You want to lose yourself in the depths of buzz and dreamy synth? Yeah, you can do that. You want to dig into the underlying punk and maybe a bit of Elder influence in the vocal bark and lead guitar shimmer of “Thousand Helmets of Gold?” Well hell’s bells, do that. The mega-sprawling 2LP is a gorgeous blast of distortion, backed by jazzy, organic drum wud-dum-tap and the bass, oh, the bass; the stuff of low end sensory displacement. Amid swirls and casts of melodic light in “Dark Was Space, Cold Were the Stars,” Slift dilate universal energy and push beyond the noise wash reaches of “Son Dong’s Cavern” and through the final build, liftoff and roll of 13-minute closer “Lions, Tigers and Bears” with the deft touch of those dancing on prior conceptions. We’d be lucky to have Ummon as the shape of space rock to come.

Slift on Thee Facebooks

Stolen Body Records store

Vicious Circle Records store

 

IIVII, Grinding Teeth/Zero Sleep

Two LPs telling two different stories released at the same time, Grinding Teeth/Zero Sleep (on Consouling Sounds) brings Josh Graham‘s aural storytelling to new cinematic reaches. The composer, guitarist, synthesist, programmer, visual artist, etc., is joined along the way by the likes of Jo Quail, Ben Weinman (ex-The Dillinger Escape Plan), Dana Schecter (Insect Ark), Sarah Pendleton (ex-SubRosa) and Kim Thayil (Soundgarden) — among others — but across about 90 minutes of fluidity, Graham/IIVII soundtracks two narratives through alternatingly vast and crushing drone. The latter work is actually an adaptation from a short sci-fi film about, yes, humanity losing its ability to sleep — I feel you on that one — but the former, which tells a kind of meth-fueled story of love and death, brings due chaos and heft to go with its massive synthesized scope. Josh Graham wants to score your movie. You should let him. And you should pay him well. And you should let him design the poster. And you should pay him well for that too. End of story.

IIVII on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds store

 

Coogans Bluff, Metronopolis

coogans bluff metronopolis

Following the initial sax-laden prog-rock burst and chase that is opener “Gadfly,” Berlin’s Coogans Bluff bring a ’70s pastoralia to “Sincerely Yours,” and that atmosphere ends up staying with Metronopolis — their fifth album — for the duration, no matter where else they might steer the sound. And they do steer the sound. Sax returns (as it will) in the jabbing “Zephyr,” a manic shred taking hold in the second half accompanied by no-less-manic bass, and “Creature of the Light” reimagines pop rock of the original vinyl era in the image of its own weirdness, undeniably rock but also something more. Organ-inclusive highlight “Soft Focus” doesn’t so much touch on psychedelics as dunk its head under their warm waters, and “The Turn I” brings an almost Beatlesian horn arrangement to fruition ahead of the closer “The Turn II.” But in that finale, and in “Hit and Run,” and way back in “Sincerely Yours,” Coogans Bluff hold that Southern-style in their back pocket as one of several of Metronopolis‘ recurring themes, and it becomes one more element among the many at their disposal.

Coogans Bluff on Thee Facebooks

Noisolution store

 

Rough Spells, Ruins at Midday

rough spells ruins at midday

An underlying current of social commentary comes coated in Rough Spells‘ mysticism on Ruins at Midday, the Toronto unit’s second LP. Recorded by Ian Blurton and presented by Fuzzed and Buzzed and DHU Records, the eight-track LP has, as the lyrics of “Chance Magic” say, “No bad intentions.” Indeed, it seems geared only toward eliciting your participation in its ceremony of classic groove, hooks and melodies, even the mellow “Die Before You Die” presenting an atmosphere that’s heavy but still melodic and accessible. “Grise Fiord” addresses Canada’s history of mistreating its native population, while “Pay Your Dues” pits guitar and vocal harmonics against each other in a shove of proto-metallic energy to rush momentum through side B and into the closing pair of the swaggering “Nothing Left” and the title-track, which is the longest single cut at five minutes, but still keeps its songwriting taut with no time to spare for indulgences. In this, and on several fronts, Ruins at Midday basks in multifaceted righteousness.

Rough Spells on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzed and Buzzed store

DHU Records store

 

Goblinsmoker, A Throne in Haze, A World Ablaze

goblinsmoker a throne in haze a world ablaze

Upside the head extreme sludgeoning! UK trio Goblinsmoker take on the more vicious and brutal end of sludge with the stench of death on A Throne in Haze, A World Ablaze (on Sludgelord Records), calling to mind the weedian punishment of Belzebong and others of their decrepit ilk. Offered as part two of a trilogy, A Throne in Haze, A World Ablaze is comprised of three tracks running a caustic 26 minutes thick enough such that even its faster parts feel slow, a churning volatility coming to the crash of “Smoked in Darkness” at the outset only to grow more menacing in the lurch of centerpiece “Let Them Rot” — which of course shifts into blastbeats later on — and falling apart into noise and echoing residual feedback after the last crashes of “The Forest Mourns” recede. Beautifully disgusting, the release reportedly furthers the story of the Toad King depicted on its cover and for which the band’s prior 2018 EP was named, and so be it. The lyrics, largely indecipherable in screams, are vague enough that if you’re not caught up, you’ll be fine. Except you won’t be fine. You’ll be dead. But it’ll be awesome.

Goblinsmoker on Thee Facebooks

Sludgelord Records on Bandcamp

 

Homecoming, LP01

homecoming lp01

Progressive metal underpins French trio Homecoming‘s aptly-titled first record, LP01, with the guitars of second cut “Rivers of Crystal” leading the way through a meandering quiet part and subsequent rhythmic figure that reminds of later Opeth, though there’s still a strong heavy rock presence in their tones and grooves generally. It’s an interesting combination, and all the more so because I think part of what’s giving off such a metal vibe is the snare sound. You don’t normally think of a snare drum determining that kind of thing, but here we are. Certainly the vocal arrangements between gruff melodies, backing screams and growls, etc., the odd bit of blastbeating here and there, bring it all into line as well — LP01 is very much the kind of album that would title its six-minute instrumental centerpiece “Interlude” — but the intricacy in how the nine-minute “Return” develops and the harmonies that emerge early in closer “Five” tell the tale clearly of Homecoming‘s ambitions as they move forward from this already-ambitious debut.

Homecoming on Thee Facebooks

Homecoming on Bandcamp

 

Lemurian Folk Songs, Logos

lemurian folk songs logos

Tracked in the same sessions as the Budapest outfit’s 2019 album, Ima (review here), it should not come as a major surprise that the six-track/49-minute Logos from Lemurian Folk Songs follows a not entirely dissimilar course, bringing together dream-drift of tones and melodies with subtle but coherent rhythmic motion in a fashion not necessarily revolutionary for heavy psych, but certainly well done and engaging across its tracks. The tones of guitar and bass offer a warmth rivaled only by the echoing vocals on opener/longest cut (immediate points) “Logos,” and the shimmering “Sierra Tejada” and progressively building “Calcination” follow that pattern while adding a drift that is both of heavy psych and outside of it in terms of the character of how it’s played. None of the last three tracks is less than eight minutes long — closer “Firelake” tops nine in a mirror to “Logos” at the outset, but if that’s the band pushing further out I hear, then yes, I want to go along for that trip.

Lemurian Folk Songs on Thee Facebooks

Para Hobo Records on Bandcamp

 

Ritual King, Ritual King

ritual king ritual king

Progressive heavy rockers Ritual King display a striking amount of grace and patience across their Ripple Music-issued self-titled long-player. Tapping modern influences like Elder and bringing their own sense of melodic nuance to the proceedings across a tightly-constructed seven songs and 42 minutes, the three-piece of vocalist/guitarist Jordan Leppitt, bassist Dan Godwin — whose tone is every bit worthy of gotta-hear-it classification — and drummer/backing vocalist Gareth Hodges string together linear movements in “Headspace” and “Dead Roads” that flow one into the next, return at unexpected moments or don’t, and follow a direction not so much to the next chorus but to the next statement the band want to make, whatever that might be. “Restrain” begins with a sweet proggy soundscape and unfolds two verses over a swaying riff, then is gone, where at the outset, “Valleys” offers grandeur the likes of which few bands would dare to embody on their third or fourth records, let alone their first. Easily one of 2020’s best debuts.

Ritual King on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Sunflowers, Endless Voyage

sunflowers endless voyage

You know what? Never mind. You ain’t weird enough for this shit. Nobody’s weird enough for this shit. I have a hard time believing the two souls from Portugal who made it are weird enough for this shit. Think I’m wrong? Think you’re up for it and you’re gonna put on SunflowersEndless Voyage and be like, “oh yeah, turns out mega-extreme krautrock blasted into outer space was my wavelength all along?” Cool. Bandcamp player’s right there. Have at it. I dare you.

Sunflowers on Thee Facebooks

Stolen Body Records store

 

Maya Mountains, Era

maya mountains era

Italian heavy rockers Maya Mountains formed in 2005 and issued their debut album, Hash and Pornography, through Go Down Records in 2008. Era, which follows a narrative about the title-character whose name is given in lead cut “Enrique Dominguez,” who apparently travels through space after being lost in the desert — as one does — and on that basis alone is clearly a more complex offering than its predecessor. As to where Maya Mountains have been all the time in between records — here and there, in other bands, etc. But Era, at 10 tracks and 44 minutes, is the summation of five years of work on their part and its blend of scope and straight-ahead heavy riffing is welcome in its more heads-down moments like “Vibromatic” or in the purposefully weirder finale “El Toro” later on. Something like a second debut for the band after being away for so long, Era at very least marks the beginning of a new one for them, and one hopes it continues in perhaps more productive fashion than the last.

Maya Mountains on Thee Facebooks

Go Down Records store

 

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