Quarterly Review: High on Fire, Spaceslug, Lie Heavy, Burning Realm, Kalac, Alkuräjähdys, Magick Brother & Mystic Sister, Amigo, The Hazytones, All Are to Return

Posted in Reviews on May 14th, 2024 by JJ Koczan


Alright, back at it. Putting together yesterday over the weekend was more scattershot than I’d prefer, but one might say the same of parenting in general, so I’ll leave it at that. Still, as happens with Quarterly Reviews, we got there. That my wife gave me an extra 40 minutes to bang out the Wizzerd video premiere was appreciated. As always, she makes everything possible.

Compared to some QRs, there are a few ‘bigger’ releases here. You’ll note High on Fire leading off today. That trend will continue over this and next week with the likes of Pallbearer, Uncle Acid, Bongripper, Harvestman (Steve Von Till, ex-Neurosis), Inter Arma, Saturnalia Temple spread throughout. The Pelican two-songer and My Dying Bride back to back a week from today. That’ll be a fun one. As always, it’s about the time crunch for me for what goes in the Quarterly Review. Things I want to cover before it’s too late that I can fit here. Ain’t nobody holding their breath for my opinion on any of it, or on anything generally for that matter, but I’m not trying to slight well known bands by stuffing them into what when it started over a decade ago I thought would be a catchall for demos and EPs. Sometimes I like the challenge of a shorter word count, too.

And I remind myself here again nobody really cares. Fine, let’s go.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

High on Fire, Cometh the Storm

high on fire cometh the storm

What seems at first to be business as usual for High on Fire‘s fourth album produced by Kurt Ballou, fifth for MNRK Heavy (formerly E1), and ninth overall, gradually reveals itself to be the band’s tonally heaviest work in at least the last 15 years. What’s actually new is drummer Coady Willis (Big Business, Melvins) making his first studio appearance alongside founding guitarist/vocalist Matt Pike (Sleep, Pike vs. the Automaton) and long-tenured bassist/backing vocalist Jeff Matz (also saz on the instrumental interlude-plus “Karanlik Yol”), and for sure Willis‘ thud in “Trismegistus,” galloping intensity in the thrashy and angular “The Beating” and declarative stomp beneath the big slowdown of 10-minute closer “Darker Fleece” is part of it, but from the way Pike and Matz bring “Cometh the Storm’ and “Sol’s Golden Curse” in the record’s middle to such cacophonous ends, the three-and-a-half-minute face-kick that is “Lightning Beard” and the suckerpunch that starts off with “Lambsbread,” to how even the more vocally melodic “Hunting Shadows” is carried on a wave of filthy, hard-landing distortion, their ferocity is reaffirmed in thicker grooves and unmitigated pummel. While in some ways this is what one would expect, it’s also everything for which one might hope from High on Fire a quarter-century on from their first demo. Triumph.

High on Fire on Facebook

MNRK Heavy website

Spaceslug, Out of Water

spaceslug out of water

A release concurrent to a remastered edition of their 2016 debut, Lemanis (review here), only puts into emphasis how much Spaceslug have come into their own over eight productive years. Recorded by drummer/vocalist Kamil Ziółkowski (also Mountain of Misery), with guitarist/vocalist Bartosz Janik and bassist/vocalist Jan Rutka dug into familiar tonal textures throughout five tracks and a quick but inevitably full-length-flowing 32 minutes, Out of Water is both otherworldly and emotionally evocative in the rollout of “Arise the Sun” following the intertwined shouts of opener “Tears of Antimatter,” and in keeping with their progression, they nudge toward metallic aggression as a way to solidify their heavy psychedelic aspects. “Out of Water” is duly mournful to encapsulate such a tragic notion, and the nod of “Delusions” only grows more forcefully applied after the return from that song’s atmospheric break, and while they depart with “In Serenity” to what feels like the escapism of sunnier riffing, even that becomes more urgent toward the album’s finish. The reason it works is they’re bending genre to their songs, not the other way around, and as Spaceslug mature as a group, they’ve become one of Poland’s most essential heavy acts.

Spaceslug on Facebook

Spaceslug on Bandcamp

Lie Heavy, Burn to the Moon

lie heavy burn to the moon

First issued on CD through JM Records in 2023, Lie Heavy‘s debut album, Burn to the Moon, sees broader release through Heavy Psych Sounds with revamped art to complement the Raleigh, North Carolina, four-piece’s tonal heft and classic reach in pieces like “In the Shadow” and “The Long March,” respectively. The band is fronted by Karl Agell (vocalist for C.O.C.‘s 1991 Blind album and now also in The Skull-offshoot Legions of Doom), and across the 12-song/51-minute run, and whether it’s the crunch of the ripper “When the Universe Cries” or the Clutch-style heavy funk of “Chunkadelic” pushing further from the start-stops of “In the Shadow” or the layered crescendo of “Unbeliever” a short time later, he and bassist/vocalist TR Gwynne, guitarist/vocalist Graham Fry and drummer/vocalist Jeff “JD” Dennis deliver sans-pretense riff-led fare. They’re not trying to fix what wasn’t broken in the ’90s, to be sure, but you can’t really call it a retread either as they swing through “Drag the World” and its capstone counterpart “End the World”; it all goes back to Black Sabbath anyway. The converted will get it no problem.

Lie Heavy on Facebook

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Burning Realm, Face the Fire

Burning Realm Face the Fire

Dublin, Ireland, trio Burning Realm mark their first release with the four-song Face the Fire EP, taking the cosmic-tinged restlessness of Wild Rocket and setting it alongside more grounded riffing, hinting at thrash in the ping ride on “From Beyond” but careening in the modern mode either way. Lead cut “Homosapien” gives Hawkwindian vibes early — the trap, which is sounding like Slift, is largely avoided, though King Gizzard may still be relevant as an influence — but smoothly gives over to acoustics and vocal drone once its urgency has bene vaporized, and spacious as the vocal echo is, “Face the Fire” is classic stoner roll even into its speedier ending, the momentum of which is continued in closer “Warped One (Arise),” which is more charged on the whole in a way that feels linear and intended in relation to what’s put before it. A 16-minute self-released introduction to who Burning Realm are now, it holds promise for how they might develop stylistically and grow in terms of range. Whatever comes or doesn’t, it’s easy enough to dig as it is. If you were at a show and someone handed you the tape, you’d be stoked once you put it on in the car. Also it’s like 1995 in that scenario, apparently.

Burning Realm on Facebook

Burning Realm on Bandcamp

Kalac, Odyss​é​e


Offered through an international consortium of record labels that includes Crême Brûlée Records in the band’s native France, Echodelick in the US, Clostridium in Germany and Weird Beard in the UK, French heavy psych thrusters Kalac‘s inaugural full-length, Odyss​é​e — also stylized all-caps — doesn’t leave much to wonder why so many imprints might want some for the distro. With a focus on rhythmic movement in the we-gotta-get-to-space-like-five-minutes-ago modus of current-day heavy neo-space-rock, the mostly instrumental procession hypnotizes even as it peppers its expanses with verses here or there. That might be most effectively wrought in the payoff noiseblaster wash of “II,” which I’m just going to assume opens side B, but the boogie quotient is strong from “Arguenon” to “Beautiful Night,” and while might ring familiar to others operating in the aesthetic galaxial quadrant, the energy of Kalac‘s delivery and the not-haphazard-but-not-always-in-the-same-spot-either placement of the vocals are enough to distinguish them and make the six-tracker as exciting to hear as it sounds like it probably was to record.

Kalac on Facebook

Crême Brûlée Records on Bandcamp

Clostridium Records store

Weird Beard Records store

Echodelick Records on Bandcamp

Alkuräjähdys, Ehdot.

Alkurajahdys ehdot

The live-tracked fourth outing from Helsinki psych improvisationalists Alkuräjähdys, the lowercase-stylized ehdot. blends mechanical and electronic sounds with more organic psychedelic jamming, the synth and bassier punchthrough in the midsection of opening piece “.matriisi” indeed evocative of the dot-matrix printer to which its title is in reference, while “központ,” which follows, meanders into a broader swath of guitar-based noise atop a languidly graceful roll of drums. That let’s-try-it-slower ideology is manifest in the first half of the duly two-sided “a-b” as well, as the 12-minute finale begins by lurching through the denser distortion of a central riff en route to a skronk-jazz transition to a tighter midtempo groove that I’ll compare to Endless Boogie and very much intend that as a compliment. I don’t think they’re out to change the world so much as get in a room, hit it and see where the whole thing ends up, but those are noble creative aims in concept and practice, and between the two guitars, effects, synth and whathaveyou, there’s plenty of weird to go around.

Alkuräjähdys on Instagram

Alkuräjähdys on Bandcamp

Magick Brother & Mystic Sister, Tarot Pt. 1

Magick Brother & Mystic Sister tarot pt. 1

Already a significant undertaking as a 95-minute 2LP running 11 tracks themed — as the title(s) would hint — around tarot cards, the mostly serene sprawl of Magick Brother & Mystic Sister‘s Tarot Pt. 1 is still just the first of two companion albums to be issued as the follow-up to the Barcelona outfit’s 2020 self-titled debut (discussed here). Offered through respected Greek purveyor Sound Effect Records, Tarot Pt. 1 gives breadth beyond just the runtime in the sitar-laced psych-funk of “The Hierophant” (swap sitar for organ, synth and flute on “The Chariot”) and the classic-prog pastoralia of closer “The Wheel of Fortune,” and as with the plague-era debut, at the heart of the material is a soothing acid folk, and while the keys in the first half of “The Emperor” grow insistent and there’s some foreboding in the early Mellotron and key lines of “The Lovers,” Tarot Pt. 1 resonates comfort and care in its arrangements as well as ambition in its scope. Maybe another hour and a half on the way? Sign me up.

Magick Brother & Mystic Sister on Facebook

Sound Effect Records store

Amigo, Good Time Island

Amigo Good Time Island

The eight-year distance from their 2016 debut long-player, Little Cliffs, seems to have smoothed out some (not all, which isn’t a complaint) of the rough edges in Amigo‘s sound, as the seemingly reinvigorated San Diego four-piece of lead guitarist/vocalist Jeff Podeszwik (King Chiefs), guitarist Anthony Mattos, bassist Sufi Karalen and drummer Anthony Alley offer five song across an accessible, straightforward 17 minutes united beneath the fair-enough title of Good Time Island. Without losing the weight of their tones, a Weezery pop sensibility comes through in “Dope Den” while “Frog Face” is even more specifically indebted to The Cars. Neither “Telescope Boy” nor “Banana Phone” lacks punch, but Amigo hold some in reserve for “Me and Soof,” which rounds out the proceedings, and they put it to solid use for an approach that’s ’90s-informed without that necessarily meaning stoner, grunge or alt, and envision a commercially relevant, songwriting-based heavy rock and roll for an alternate universe that, by all accounts here, sounds like a decent place to be.

Amigo on Facebook

Roosevelt Row Records store

The Hazytones, Wild Fever

The Hazytones Wild Fever

Culminating in the Sabbathian shuffle of “Eye for an Eye,” Wild Fever is the hook-drenched third full-length from Montreal fuzzbringers The Hazytones, and while they’ve still got the ‘tones’ part down pat, it’s easy to argue the eight included tracks are the least ‘hazy’ they’ve been to-date. Following on from the direction of 2018’s II: Monarchs of Oblivion (review here), the Esben Willems-mixed/Kent Stump-mastered 40-minute long-player isn’t shy about leaning into the grittier side of what they do as the opening title-track rolls out a chorus that reminds of C.O.C. circa In the Arms of God while retaining some of the melody between the vocals of Mick Martel (also guitar and keys) and Gabriel Prieur (also drums and bass), and with the correspondingly thick bass of Caleb Sanders for accompaniment and lead guitarist John Choffel‘s solo rising out of the murk on “Disease,” honing in on the brashness suits them well. Not where one might have expected them to end up six years later, but no less enjoyable for that, either.

The Hazytones on Facebook

Black Throne Productions store

All Are to Return, III

All Are To Return III

God damn that’s harsh. Mostly anonymous industrialists — you get F and N for names and that’s it — All Are to Return are all the more punishing in the horrific recesses and engulfing blasts of static that populate III than they were in 2022’s II (review here), and the fact that the eight-songer is only 32 minutes long is about as close as they come to any concept of mercy for the psyche of their audience. Beyond that, “Moratorium,” “Colony Collapse,” the eats-you-dead “Archive of the Sky” and even the droning “Legacy” cast a willfully wretched extremity, and what might be a humanizing presence of vocals elsewhere is screams channeled through so much distortion as to be barely recognizable as coming from a human throat here. If the question being posed is, “how much can you take?,” the answer for most of those brave enough to even give III a shot will be, “markedly less than this.” A cry from the depths realizing a brutal vision.

All Are to Return on Bandcamp

Tartarus Records store

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Friday Full-Length: Corrosion of Conformity, Blind

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 5th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

I heard “Dance of the Dead” on the radio this week — that’s right, FM radio; thanks WSOU — and it prompted this revisit. Corrosion of Conformity‘s Blind came out in 1991 on Relativity Records with a follow-up release in 1995 through Columbia during the Raleigh, North Carolina-based outfit’s major label era, and to this day, it occupies a singular place in their history and discography. Running a ’90s-style 52 minutes and 13 songs, it was the first time they worked with producer John Custer, who has helmed everything they’ve done since, the only album they’ve ever done as a five-piece, the first that featured guitarist Pepper Keenan, who after this record would take over as their primary singer, and to my knowledge the only studio release they’ve had without founding bassist/sometimes-vocalist Mike Dean in the lineup.

Dean would be back in the band in time for 1994’s Deliverance (discussed here) as part of the definitive lineup with Keenan and fellow founders Woody Weatherman (guitar) and Reed Mullin (drums; R.I.P. 2020), but for Blind, bass was handled by Phil Swisher, while Karl Agell served as standalone frontman. Those two would play together in Leadfoot afterward, and Agell currently sings for both Lie Heavy and Legions of Doom, the latter of which is the post-Eric Wagner offshoot of The Skull, but during their time in C.O.C., they were part of the transitional moment between the raw punk and hardcore that defined their first two LPs, 1984’s Eye for an Eye, 1985’s Animosity, as well as 1987’s Technocracy EP, etc., and the Southern heavy rock they would in no small part help to shape over the rest of the 1990s.

You should know this isn’t an album I can pretend to be impartial about, let alone the band or the fact that human objectivity is a myth to begin with. Blind was one of the first CDs I ever owned, having unceremoniously swiped my older sister’s copy along with Master of PuppetsRollins Band‘s WeightSuicidal Tendencies‘ The Art of RebellionAlice in Chains‘ Sap and a couple others at around 10 years old, probably sometime in 1992 if I had to guess. “Damned for All Time” and the aforementioned “Dance of the Dead” — the one-two punch of charged riffing and crunching groove that follows the creeper-feedback-into-march of the intro “These Shrouded Temples…” — were on just about every mixtape I made for probably the next three years, the metal band connecting the over-ear headphones of my off-brand Walkman from the Caldor on Rt. 10 pulling my disaffected pubescent sadboy hair out with every tiny adjustment. I remember plotzing through the neighborhood on long walks with nowhere to put myself, sitting by the pond down the road, doing what I’d already been warned was irreparable damage to my hearing.

I’ll admit it’s been years since I actively engaged with it, but it’s always been there. The sinewy delivery of Agell in the chorus of “Mine Are the Eyes of God,” or the swaggering riff in “Painted Smiling Face,” the MTV-ready Corrosion of Conformity Blindhooks and a sound that was in conversation with a classic heavy rock I’d yet to encounter; it was all new for me at that point, and I won’t say it’s the dragon of heavy I’ve been chasing all along for the last three-plus decades, but it spoke to me in a way that ‘regular’ rock and roll didn’t and helped me find my path into heavier and more metallic listening. Put simply, it changed my life.

Hearing it now, Blind is striking in its political theme. Even aside from “Vote with a Bullet,” which brought Keenan to lead vocals for the first time and is still a staple of C.O.C. live sets, its declarations of intended violence landing in something of a different context than when it first came out, cuts like the anti-white-supremacist “White Noise,” the envisioning a new world in “Great Purification” and more general anti-authority lines like “If the system had one neck/You know I’d gladly break it” in “Dance of the Dead,” and so on, land with a disaffection to coincide with the conversant-with-metal thrust behind the shred in “Painted Smiling Face,” and do so with a directness that one rarely if ever encounters in heavy rock now. It wasn’t the first or last time C.O.C. talked about social issues — lest we forget that the 2018 return LP from the KeenanDean, Weatherman and Mullin lineup was called No Cross No Crown (review here), or, you know, that the band’s name is Corrosion of Conformity — but while the language used and rhetoric have changed in the last 30 years, Blind taps American-style anti-governmentalism in a way that, coming off the Reagan years and as George Bush took the country to war in the Middle East in a preface to decades of moral and fiscal bankrupting, still resonates from its place in time.

Obviously, these weren’t cues I was picking up at 11 years old, but I understood wanting to break out, to not be told what to do, and internalized a lot of that from these songs, especially the singles. What I didn’t appreciate at the time was the connection via riffing to Black Sabbath in the starts and stops of “Buried” or the brooding, slower-rolling finale “Echoes in the Well” before the bookending outro “…Remain,” but that’s all over Blind in a way that not much I would’ve heard on the radio at the time would have captured. The idea of ‘heavy rock’ as something separate from metal didn’t really exist in the commercial sphere, but it’s inarguably here, and with the backdrop of what Corrosion of Conformity would accomplish in Deliverance, 1996’s Wiseblood (discussed here) and 2000’s more smoothly produced and undervalued America’s Volume Dealer, it feels both like the sore thumb standing out of their catalog and the root from which they grew into the band they wanted to be.

As noted, Agell is now in Lie Heavy and Legions of Doom, both of which one might consider actively active. Meanwhile, C.O.C. were last year beginning the process of putting together their next LP to follow No Cross No Crown, with DeanKeenan and Weatherman collaborating with Galactic drummer Stanton Moore, who’d previously appeared on 2005’s In the Arms of God. I don’t know if that’ll be out this year, next year, or ever, but here’s hoping. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy, and thanks for reading.

I don’t have much time here. It’s coming on eight in the morning and The Patient Mrs. and The Pecan will soon be finished playing games on the iPad and ready to start a morning that, whatever shape it takes, will require direct participation from me. Off-laptop, in other words.

This week was my daughter’s spring break from school. It started last Friday ahead of Easter, and she goes back Monday unless we decide to abscond to Pittsburgh to watch the solar eclipse. Depends on the weather, partially. It hasn’t been the easiest of weeks — it rained and was cold and miserable from Monday through yesterday morning — but she had a half-day camp thing and ice skating lessons to keep her busy. But stuck-in-the-house, tv-off boredom might be a piece of why there’s been an uptick in attitude and more punches thrown. The other day I ended up carrying her screaming and kicking from the rink after she unloaded on The Patient Mrs. for trying to stop her from skating through the next lesson taking place on the ice. I held her down to get her skates off because I didn’t think she was in control enough to stop herself from hurting either of us. It was an especially shitty moment to be alive.

I got hit last night too, for missing a button combo in Super Mario RPG and some other infraction I can’t remember. It’s a lot of “you can’t tell me what to do” and “you have to do what I say” from her as she, I guess, works on figuring out her place in the world. It has not been pleasant, but neither was the week unipolar in awfulness. We snuggled and watched Bluey yesterday evening as The Patient Mrs. was out at dinner with a friend. Last weekend we went to Connecticut with family to color eggs. She had a nice Easter, kept it together well at brunch, and we beat Link’s Awakening on the Switch. The lows are low, but the lows aren’t everything, is what I’m saying.

We’ll see how today goes. As regards the arguments, the opposition, the way I think of it is like this: It’s never everything, but it could be anything, and it’s almost always something. I just remembered that the other thing I got hit for last night was that I didn’t anticipate she’d want the Chromecast (which hadn’t been used in a year before The Patient Mrs. and I moved it to our bedroom) to watch the “Dad Baby” episode of Bluey, which isn’t on Disney-Plus. So yeah. I’ll be honest and say I’ve had a hard time looking forward to the last couple days. Another mantra, “things will not always be as they are now.”

Two sides to that, of course. Like everything.

Next week is slammed front-to-back and I’m already behind on news, so whatever. I’ll do my best to write as much as I can and that’s that. I hope you have a great and safe weekend, whatever you’re up to. If you get to see the eclipse, don’t look at it. Otherwise, hydrate, move your body a bit, watch your head, and I’ll be back on Monday with more of whatever you call this at this point.


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Lie Heavy Premiere “Burn to the Moon” Video; Album Preorder Available

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

lie heavy

Lie Heavy will issue their debut album, Burn to the Moon, through Heavy Psych Sounds on April 19. The well-pedigreed North Carolinian outfit comprised of guitarist Graham Fry (ex-Confessor), vocalist Karl Agell (The Skull/Legions of Doom, Patriarchs in Black, Leadfoot, Blind-era Corrosion of Conformity), drummer Jeff “JD” Dennis (Hank Sinatra and the Backsliders) and bassist TR Gwynne self-released the 12-song bangerfest last year and will now see it issued through Europe’s foremost heavy purveyor in its first physical editions.

An interesting passage-of-time aspect to how Lie Heavy are presented, since around lie heavy burn to the moonthe time Agell was were in Leadfoot (you’ll know it’s them because they drink for free) there was little talk of “throwbacks to another era” or this kind of dudely, straight-hitting sound as primal, with the implication of course that more complex ideas have come along since. That happens to be true. You can’t deny that heavy music has developed in the last two decades and that Lie Heavy are intentional in sticking to their guns updating their own versions of ‘the classics’ while themselves being cast with a classic sound.

This is a good thing, distinguishing among generations. You and I will live to see the first generation who made rock and roll die out. It is uncharted territory for the art form, and the narratives of the history of heavy will be made not by those who were there when the first riff was strummed but those who look back after and decide what was ‘classic’ or otherwise worthwhile in terms of influence. If Lie Heavy are a voice from the past stylistically, fine — heavy’s all about speaking to its own beginnings — but let’s also keep in mind that two decades (-plus) will has happened to Agell and company as well, and Lie Heavy are a stronger, fresher band for that.

Their video for “Burn to the Moon” — not a terrible-sounding idea — premieres below to coincide with the opening of preorders for the album from Heavy Psych Sounds. Info below comes from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Lie Heavy, “Burn to the Moon” video premiere

US heavy rock supergroup LIE HEAVY: Debut album “Burn To The Moon” out April 19th on Heavy Psych Sounds

Raleigh, North Carolina’s Lie Heavy is one of the few, true throwbacks to another era. They feature the vocals of Karl Agell, best known for Corrosion of Conformity’s BLiND album and Leadfoot. Heavy, heavy-ass blues that would have fit on the Man’s Ruin label back in the 90s, around the time that Orange Goblin was making waves. This is primal stuff: not quite Stoner, not quite Metal, and not quite giving a shit.

1. Nothing To Steal
2. In The Shadow
3. Burn To The Moon
4. Drag The World
5. The Long March
6. Lie Heavy
7. When The Universe Cries
8. Chunkadelic
0. Pontius Pilate
10. Unbeliever
11. Diabolik
12. End the World

Karl Agell – Lead Vocals
Jeff JD Dennis – Drums & Percussions / Vocals
TR Gwynne – Bass / Vocals / Acoustic Guitar
Graham Fry – Guitars / Vocals

Lie Heavy, Burn to the Moon (2023)

Lie Heavy on Facebook

Lie Heavy on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds on Facebook

Heavy Psych Sounds on Instagram

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds website

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Jeff “JD” Dennis of Lie Heavy

Posted in Questionnaire on July 31st, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Jeff JD Dennis of Lie Heavy

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Jeff “JD” Dennis of Lie Heavy

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I create music w/ other people. I use my musical instincts and drums as a vehicle to do that.

Describe your first musical memory.

My Mom spinning records on our console stereo.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Signing my first record deal. Recording that first record & touring to support it.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

Becoming aware of the true nature of organized religion changed my whole worldview & understanding of what it means to be a good human. And, how that can be accomplished without the presence of religion in my life.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Artistic progression leads to a sense of accomplishment. And, a realization that there’s so much farther you can go.

How do you define success?

In younger years success meant something different than it does now. Now, success just means accomplishing a goal.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

The death of my Mom because of cancer.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I would like to create a drum-centric piece of music utilizing loops of live tracks in different time signatures.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

To push boundaries and make people think.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

I always look forward to my next fly fishing trip.


Lie Heavy, “Lie Heavy”

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Bryan Reed of Doomsday Profit

Posted in Questionnaire on October 25th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

Mr. Reed. Thank you for the individual picture.

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Bryan Reed of Doomsday Profit

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

In the context of Doomsday Profit, I’m a guitarist and vocalist. It still feels strange to use words like “guitarist,” “vocalist,” or “musician,” though, since I’ve spent the vast majority of my life interacting with music as a fan and critic rather than a performer.

I started writing about music for my college newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, in probably 2005 or so. By the time I graduated, I’d moved on to freelancing reviews and profiles as much as I could manage. But beyond dabbling with some friends in high school, I’d never really been in a band of my own.

I don’t buy into the notion that “those who can’t do, criticize.” Writing and criticism are their own skills, and don’t seem to be affected all that much by whether you have experience on the other side of the process. But for me, playing was something I’d always wanted to do, so as I approached my mid-30s, I decided to give it another shot. I picked up guitar with more focused intent than I ever had, took some online lessons and started jamming with Ryan Sweeney (Doomsday’s bassist). Soon enough, we’d come up with a few riff ideas that we wanted to try to build upon. That’s where Tradd Yancey (drummer) and Kevin See (lead guitarist) entered the picture.

The other guys are all more experienced and skilled than I am, but we found a chemistry that seems to work for us, and we all like hanging out and playing together, so that’s what we’ve been doing and what we plan to keep on doing.

Describe your first musical memory.

Apart from, like, Disney sing-along video tapes and the James Taylor and Carole King tapes my parents played in the car growing up, I came to music kind of late. I was well into high school before I started discovering the punk bands that would reshape my mind as it relates to music. All the usual suspects: Minor Threat, Misfits, Ramones, The Clash. That stuff opened a whole world of possibility, and I more or less disappeared into the music-nerd wormhole from there.

In terms of first, though, I’ll have to go with the first CD I ever bought for myself: Seal’s self-titled album — the one with “Kiss From A Rose.” I was in probably fourth grade, and loved Batman Forever. That song stuck with me so I had to hear more. I think I bought that album and the Space Jam soundtrack (which also ruled, and which also has a Seal song) at roughly the same time.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

So much of my life has been spent in the thrall of records and shows, it’s honestly hard to pinpoint any one memory. A lot of them blur together, and there are still too many standouts. Some moments stand out just for being amazing, intense shows, like seeing Pig Destroyer at Gwar-B-Q. Some are hazy in detail, but vivid in recalling the bonds forged between certain friends and myself, like the first few Hopscotch Music Festivals in Raleigh. Discovering bands like Boris as a student and having my mind reshaped, yet again, by experiencing new sounds. These are all cherished memories.
As a band member, though, it’s much clearer. The first taste of validation for what Doomsday Profit would become was after one of our first practice sessions. Tradd, Ryan and I stopped off at the local brewery, Hugger Mugger, for a couple pints after jamming, and Tradd introduced us as “musicians.” As I said before, it’s still a label that feels awkward to use, but to hear it come from the mouth of someone I respect so much was immensely flattering.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

I don’t know about a single incident, but I feel like my whole coming-of-age was hugely affected by disillusionment with all of the major social institutions and organizations that we’re all taught to believe in. In my lifetime, I’ve seen endless war under dubious pretenses, utterly vile abuse and cover-ups committed by churches and academic institutions, and the absolute failure of our leaders to do anything to address persistent issues like gun violence, policing, drugs, and the climate crisis. All of the “generally accepted” beliefs that I’d love to have have been broken by the many betrayals committed by those figures of power.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Hopefully artistic progression leads to some sort of self-improvement. I don’t mean that in an esoteric way. In the most literal sense, developing skills and techniques is artistic progression, so it should lead to more dexterity or a bigger arsenal of techniques to employ. For me, that’s a big part of it, but the skill is really in service of being able to articulate my ideas. I would imagine a lot of artists view their progression as a journey to better capture the sounds or visions that live in their heads.

How do you define success?

Success is having the freedom to operate on your own terms. There’s certainly a material component to that, but it’s a much broader concept for me. When I imagine what success looks like, it’s more about having the time to pursue my interests than in accumulating wealth. But, I mean, the bills still gotta get paid.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

On a road trip when I was 15, I was staring idly out of the backseat window when we passed the scene of either an accident or worse. Beyond the yellow tape and through the splashes of red and blue light, a dead and mangled body slumped against a tree on the side of the highway. It was only a moment as we passed, but I’ve never been able to forget it.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

We’ve been kicking around the idea of doing a goofy concept album, all based on a pun. It’s about beer, but because it’s Doomsday Profit, it’s also about the apocalypse. And now that I’ve put it in print, I guess we’re going to have to follow through on it.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Communication. And especially communication that transcends words. Whether it’s a political message, or an emotional expression, or even something designed purely for entertainment and escapism, when art is effective, it’s communicating something. Even the most escapist, superficial art is creating a shared fantasy with its audience. As artists, we’re trying to express ideas that we can’t otherwise express. And as fans, we’re always looking for art that resonates on a personal level. It’s a bit of alchemy that is absolutely one of the best things about being human.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

I recently started skateboarding again after about 15 years away from it, and it’s been very humbling trying to relearn everything. So I’m looking forward to getting my ollie back, hopefully.


Doomsday Profit, “Consume the Remains” video

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Quarterly Review: MWWB, Righteous Fool, Seven Nines and Tens, T.G. Olson, Freebase Hyperspace, Melt Motif, Tenebra, Doom Lab, White Fuzzy Bloodbath, Secret Iris

Posted in Reviews on July 6th, 2022 by JJ Koczan


I don’t know what day it is. The holiday here in the States has me all screwed up. I know it’s not the weekend anymore because I’m posting today, but really, if this is for Tuesday or Wednesday, I’m kind of at a loss. What I do know is that it’s 10 more records, and some quick math at the “71-80” below — which, yes, I put there ahead of time when I set up the back end of these posts so hopefully I don’t screw it up; it’s a whole fucking process; never ask me about it unless you want to be so bored at by the telling that your eyeballs explode — tells me today Wednesday, so I guess I figured it out. Hoo-ray.

Three quarters of the way through, which feels reasonably fancy. And today’s a good one, too. I hope as always that you find something you dig. Now that I know what day it is, I’m ready to start.

Quarterly Review #71-80:

MWWB, The Harvest

MWWB The Harvest

It’s difficult to separate MWWB‘s The Harvest from the fact that it might be the Welsh act’s final release, as frontwoman Jessica Ball explained here. Their synth-laced cosmic doom certainly deserves to keep going if it can, but on the chance not, The Harvest suitably reaps the fruit of the progression the band began to undertake with 2015’s Nachthexen (review here), their songs spacious despite the weight of their tones and atmospheric even at their most dense. Proggy instrumental explorations like “Let’s Send These Bastards Whence They Came” and “Interstellar Wrecking” and the semi-industrial, vocals-also-part-of-the-ambience “Betrayal” surround the largesse of the title-track, “Logic Bomb,” the especially lumbering “Strontium,” and so on, and “Moon Rise” caps with four and a half minutes of voice-over-guitar-and-keys atmospherics, managing to be heavy even without any of the usual trappings thereof. If this is it, what a run they had, both when they were Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard and with this as their potential swansong.

MWWB on Facebook

New Heavy Sounds website


Righteous Fool, Righteous Fool

Righteous Fool Righteous Fool

Look. Maybe it’s a fan-piece, but screw it, I’m a fan. And as someone who liked the second run of Corrosion of Conformity‘s Animosity-era lineup, this previously-unreleased LP from the three-piece that included C.O.C. bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and drummer/vocalist Reed Mullin (R.I.P.), as well as guitarist/vocalist Jason Browning, is only welcome. I remember when they put out the single on Southern Lord in 2010, you couldn’t really get a sense of what the band was about, but there’s so much groove in these songs — I’m looking right at you, “Hard Time Killing Floor” — that it’s that much more of a bummer the three-piece didn’t do anything else. Of course, Mullin rejoining Dean in C.O.C. wasn’t a hardship either, but especially in the aftermath of his death last year, it’s bittersweet to hear his performances on these songs and a collection of tracks that have lost none of their edge for the decade-plus they’ve sat on a shelf or hard drive somewhere. Call it a footnote if you want, but the songs stand on their own merits, and if you’re going to tell me you’ve never wanted to hear Dean sing “The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown),” then I think you and I are just done speaking for right now.

Righteous Fool on Facebook

Ripple Music website


Seven Nines and Tens, Over Opiated in a Forest of Whispering Speakers

seven nines and tens over opiated in a forest of whispering speakers

I agree, it’s a very long album title. And the band name is kind of opaque in a kind of opaque way. Double-O-paque. And the art by Ahmed Emad Eldin (Pink Floyd, etc.) is weird. All of this is true. But I’m going to step outside the usual review language here, and instead of talking about how Vancouver post-noise rock trio Seven Nines and Tens explore new melodic and atmospheric reaches while still crushing your rib cage on their first record for the e’er tastemaking Willowtip label, I’m just going to tell you listen. Really. That’s it. If you consider yourself someone with an open mind for music that is progressive in its artistic substance without conforming necessarily to genre, or if you’re somebody who feels like heavy music is tired and can’t connect to the figurative soul, just press play on the Bandcamp embed and see where you end up on the other side of Over Opiated in a Forest of Whispering Speakers‘ 37 minutes. Even if it doesn’t change your life, shaking you to your very core and giving you a new appreciation for what can be done on a level of craft in music that’s still somehow extreme, just let it run and then take a breath afterward, maybe get a drink of water, and take a minute to process. I wrote some more about the album here if you want the flowery whathaveyou, but really, don’t bother clicking that link. Just listen to the music. That’s all you need.

Seven Nines & Tens on Facebook

Willowtip Records website


T.G. Olson, II

TG Olson II

In March 2021, T.G. Olson, best known as the founding guitarist/vocalist for Across Tundras, released a self-titled solo album (review here). He’s had a slew of offerings out since — as he will; Olson is impossible to keep up with but one does one’s best — but II would seem to be a direct follow-up to that full-length’s declarative purpose, continuing and refining the sometimes-experimentalist, sometimes purposefully traditional folk songwriting and self-recording exploration Olson began (publicly, at least) a decade ago. Several of II‘s cuts feature contributions from Caleb R.K. Williams, but Olson‘s ability to build a depth of mix — consider the far-back harmonica in “Twice Gone” and any number of other flourishes throughout — is there regardless, and his voice is as definitively human as ever, wrought with a spirit of Americana and a wistfulness for a West that was wild not for its guns but the buffalo herds you could see from space and an emotionalism that makes the lyrics of “Saddled” seem all the more personal, whether or not they are, or the lines in “Enough Rope” that go, “Always been a bit of a misanthrope/Never had a healthy way to cope,” and don’t seem to realize that the song itself is the coping.

Electric Relics Records on Bandcamp


Freebase Hyperspace, Planet High

Freebase Hyperspace Planet High

Issued on limited blue vinyl through StoneFly Records, Freebase Hyperspace‘s first full-length, Planet High, is much more clearheaded in its delivery than the band would seem to want you to think. Sure, it’s got its cosmic echo in the guitar and the vocals and so on, but beneath that are solidified grooves shuffling, boogieing and underscoring even the solo-fueled jam-outs on “Golden Path” and “Introversion” with a thick, don’t-worry-we-got-this vibe. The band is comprised of vocalist Ayrian Quick, guitarist Justin Acevedo, bassist Stephen Moore and drummer Peter Hurd, and they answer 2018’s Activation Immediate not quite immediately but with fervent hooks and a resonant sense of motion. It’s from Portland, and it’s a party, but Planet High upends expectation in its bluesy vocals, in its moments of drift and in the fact that “Cat Dabs” — whatever that means, I don’t even want to look it up — is an actual song rather than a mess of cult stoner idolatries, emphasizing the niche being explored. And just because it bears mentioning, heavy rock is really, really white. More BIPOC and diversity across the board only makes the genre richer. But even those more general concerns aside, this one’s a stomper.

Freebase Hyperspace on Facebook

StoneFly Records store


Melt Motif, A White Horse Will Take You Home

Melt Motif A White Horse Will Take You Home

Not calling out other reviews (they exist; I haven’t read any), but any writeup about Melt Motif‘s debut album, A White Horse Will Take You Home, that doesn’t include the word “sultry” is missing something. Deeply moody on “Sleep” and the experimental-sounding “Black Hole” and occasionally delving into that highly-processed ’90s guitar sound that’s still got people working off inspiration from Nine Inch NailsThe Downward Spiral even if they don’t know it — see the chugs of “Mine” and “Andalusian Dog” for clear examples — the nine-track/37-minute LP nonetheless oozes sex across its span, such that even the sci-fi finale “Random Access Memory” holds to the theme. The band span’s from São Paulo, Brazil, to Bergen, Norway, and is driven by Rakel‘s vocals, Kenneth Rasmus Greve‘s guitar, synth and programming, and Joe Irente‘s bass, guitar, more synth and more programming. Together, they are modern industrial/electrionica in scope, the record almost goth in its theatrical pruning, and there’s some of the focus on tonal heft that one finds in others of the trio’s ilk, but Melt Motif use slower pacing and harder impacts as just more toys to be played with, and thus the album is deeply, repeatedly listenable, the clever pop structures and the clarity of the production working as the bed on which the entirety lays in waiting repose for those who’d take it on.

Melt Motif on Facebook

Apollon Records on Bandcamp


Tenebra, Moongazer

tenebra moongazer

Moongazer is the second full-length from Bologna, Italy-based heavy psychedelic blues rockers Tenebra, and a strong current of vintage heavy rock runs through it that’s met head-on by the fullness of the production, by which I mean that “Cracked Path” both reminds of Rainbow — yeah that’s right — and doesn’t sound like it’s pretending it’s 1973. Or 1993, for that matter. Brash and raucous on its face, the nine-song outing proves schooled in both current and classic heavy, and though “Winds of Change” isn’t a Scorpions cover, its quieter take still offers a chance for the band to showcase the voice of Silvia, whose throaty, push-it-out delivery becomes a central focus of the songs, be it the Iommic roll of “Black Lace” or the shuffling closer “Moon Maiden,” which boasts a guest appearance from Screaming TreesGary Lee Conner, or the prior “Dark and Distant Sky,” which indeed brings the dark up front and the distance in its second, more psych-leaning second half. All of this rounds out to a sound more geared toward groove than innovation, but which satisfies in that regard from the opening guitar figure of “Heavy Crusher” onward, a quick nod to desert rock there en route to broader landscapes.

Tenebra on Facebook

New Heavy Sounds website

Seeing Red Records website


Doom Lab, IV: Ever Think You’re Smart​.​.​. And Then Find Out That You Aren’t?

doom lab iv

With a drum machine backing, Doom Lab strums out riffs over the 16 mostly instrumental tracks of the project’s fourth demo since February of this year, Doom Lab IV: Ever Think You’re Smart​.​.​. And Then Find Out That You Aren’t?, a raw, sometimes-overmodulated crunch of tone lending a garage vibe to the entire procession. On some planet this might be punk rock, and maybe tucked away up in Anchorage, Alaska, it’s not surprising that Doom Lab would have a strange edge to their craft. Which they definitely do. “Clockwork Home II (Double-Thick Big Bottom End Dub)” layers in bass beneath a droning guitar, and “Diabolical Strike (w/ False Start)” is a bonus track (with vocals) that’s got the line, “You’ll think that everything is cool but then I’ll crush your motherfucking soul,” so, you know, it’s like that. Some pieces are more developed than others, as “Deity Skin II” has some nuanced layering of instrumentation, but in the harsh high end of “Spiral Strum to Heaven II” and the mostly-soloing “Infernal Intellect II,” Doom Lab pair weirdo-individualism with an obvious creative will. Approach with caution, because some of Doom Lab‘s work is really strange, but that’s clearly the intention from the start.

Doom Lab on Bandcamp


White Fuzzy Bloodbath, Medicine

White Fuzzy Bloodbath Medicine

What you see is what you get in the sometimes manic, sometimes blissed-out, sometimes punk, sometimes fluid, always rocking Medicine by White Fuzzy Bloodbath, which hearkens to a day when the universe wasn’t defined by internet-ready subgenre designations and a band like this San Jose three-piece had a chance to be signed to Atlantic, tour the universe, and eventually influence other outcasts in their wake. Alas, props to White Fuzzy Bloodbath‘s Elise Tarens — joined in the band by Alex Bruno and Jeff Hurley — for the “Interlude” shout, “We’re White Fuzzy Bloodbath and the world has no fucking idea!” before the band launch into the duly raw “Chaos Creator.” Songs like “Monster,” “Beep-Bop Lives” and “Still” play fast and loose with deceptively technical angular heavy rock, and even the eight-minute title-track that rounds out before the cover of Beastie Boys‘ “Sabotage” refuses to give in and be just one thing. And about that cover? Well, not every experiment is going to lead to gold, but it’s representative on the whole of the band’s bravery to take on an iconic track like that and make their own. Not nearly everybody would be so bold.

White Fuzzy Bloodbath on Facebook

White Fuzzy Bloodbath on Bandcamp


Secret Iris, What Are You Waiting For

secret iris what are you waiting for

With the vocal melody in its resonant hook, the lead guitar line that runs alongside and the thickened verse progression that complements, Secret Iris almost touch on Euro-style melancholic doom with the title-track of their debut 7″, What Are You Waiting For, but the Phoenix, Arizona, three-piece are up to different shenanigans entirely on the subsequent “Extrasensory Rejection (Winter Sanctuary),” which is faster, more punk, and decisively places them in a sphere of heavy grunge. Both guitarist Jeffrey Owens (ex-Goya) and bassist Tanner Grace (Sorxe) contribute vocals, while drummer Matt Arrebollo (Gatecreeper) is additionally credited with “counseling,” and the nine-minutes of the mini-platter first digitally issued in 2021 beef up a hodgepodge of ’90s and ’00s rock and punk, from Nirvana grunge to Foo Fighters accessibility, Bad Religion‘s punk and rock and a slowdown march after the break in the midsection that, if these guys were from the Northeast, I’d shout as a Life of Agony influence. Either way, it moves, it’s heavy, it’s catchy, and just the same, it manages not to make a caricature of its downer lyrics. The word I’m looking for is “intriguing,” and the potential for further intrigue is high.

Secret Iris on Facebook

Crisis Tree Records store


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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Brenna Leath of Crystal Spiders & Lightning Born

Posted in Questionnaire on January 4th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

brenna leath crystal spiders (Photo by Jay Beadnell)

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Brenna Leath of Crystal Spiders & Lightning Born

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

These days, I sing and play the bass. I try to make music that some people want to listen to. But mostly I just make it because it’s like a pressure valve; if I wasn’t making something, I’d explode. I don’t think I really came to do it as much as it was just instinct. I have been singing and writing as long as I can remember. Most of my desire to play instruments comes from a need to force out the noise my brain is always generating. It’s how I imagine children must feel about adopting a language – it’s less about being interested in language, and more being desperate to figure out how to express all your thoughts so that you can just… get them out. And ideally, someone listens and responds. The quote “ideas are like slippery fish” has always stuck with me, because that’s how I feel about the way songs present themselves – like they emerge from some murky depth, thrash around near the surface for a few minutes, and I just desperately try to catch them before they escape and I never see them again. I assume it’s the whole id, ego, super-ego, iceberg kind of thing at work. Maybe it’s a creative urge that comes from an inner self entity coming out. Or maybe not. Anyway…

Describe your first musical memory.

My mom was always listening to “oldies” in the car (the irony being that “oldies” when I was little in the 1990s were not what are defined as “oldies” now). Stuff like Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Smokey Robinson. We spent a ton of time in the car; my parents were divorced and usually lived a couple of hours away from each other, so road trips were like an every weekend thing. I remember singing in the car and my mom being surprised that I had a knack for remembering the lyrics to a lot of the songs and being able to pitch match them. I also specifically remember I used to think those were the only songs that existed (besides Christmas songs and Happy Birthday) because the station she set the radio to would just play the same songs over and over in the same rotation. Not that the current radio situation is much different, sadly. At least there’s the internet!

Describe your best musical memory to date.

I have a handful of highlights; when The Hell No got to open for Ace Frehley and when Lightning Born was invited by Dennis McNett to play House of Vans Chicago for his HalloWolfBat show are two of the most notable ones. While I love to play festivals, I also have a fantastic time just going as a spectator – I’ve made some of my very best friends and memories watching bands and goofing off at music festivals. Motörhead’s Motörboat was one of my all-time favorite musical experiences, but I’ve also had some amazing times at Muddy Roots, Maryland Doom Fest, 70,000 Tons of Metal, Roadburn, Psycho Las Vegas, and Maryland Death Fest. I have a lot of other fests on my bucket list that I hope to attend (and play!)

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

At first read, I thought this was a difficult question and couldn’t think of an answer, but actually, I feel like my beliefs get tested all the time. I used to think that just because you had musical chemistry with someone, that meant you’d make good bandmates – or vice versa; if you had good interpersonal chemistry with someone and were both good musicians, that you could make good music together. But sometimes, the music is right and the relationship is wrong, or the relationship is right but the music is wrong, or maybe both things are right, but the timing is what kills it. Turns out, it’s pretty tough to find bandmates that you click with on a creative level and can also click on everything else (scheduling, priorities, goals, and the methods to achieve those goals). Making good music with other people takes team building, communication, dedication, commitment, practice, and more. I have heard a lot of analogies over the years – a band is like a gang, a band is like a marriage, a band is like a tribe. I think it boils down to while sometimes you catch lightning in a bottle, sometimes you gotta spend a lot of time together and agree on a lot of different elements to truly hone the kind of music and the kind of performance you want to evoke.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

I think my goal has always been “make the thing that comes out sound like the thing I heard in my head.” I get insanely frustrated when I can’t translate my vision into what I can actually emit… that’s when art is not fun, since usually, I feel like it’s because I’m just not good enough and I suck at art. Realistically, I know that it just takes a ton of time and practice to get synergy between the idea and the reality of the art… which gets back to what I was saying in my previous answer – art has to take enough priority (which means, hours and hours of time) to get there, which are hours and hours you’re taking away from something else… usually sleep, family, or friends, since I still gotta work to pay the bills. Someday I’d like to put out an album where I write and play everything myself, and when I listen at the end, I think to myself “yes – that sounds like exactly what I wanted to say.” It’d be cool to make that magnum opus artists chase. Sometimes I think I am getting closer; over the pandemic, I spent more time learning how to self record and self mix demos in Ableton at the house. But, I need to put a lot of time in (Hours!! Weeks!! Months!! Years!!) if I want to make something like that.

How do you define success?

That’s been a moving goalpost over the years. That said, I think if you’re setting goals and achieving them, you’re successful. Or if you just eschew goals altogether and find perfect peace and contentment… that’s pretty successful. If you can do that, teach me how. Or maybe that’s what Office Space was about. Clearly, I learned nothing.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

People being ugly to other people based on stupid bullshit. I see way too much of that and really wish I didn’t. I could dwell on some negative memories and spell out some sad stories… but don’t we see too much of that? I’d rather answer something like “what is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen” but that’d probably get too many American Beauty plastic bag jokes.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I want to make a darkwave record one of these days. Or maybe an extremely depressing country record. Whatever I make will probably end up in the “sad girl folk doom” category but I’m gonna try to keep it edgy and un-cliché. Keyword… try.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Gosh, that’s a tough one. My first instinctual answer was “escapism” but I think some of the best art forces the audience to confront some difficult truths about themselves, human nature, and society, and that’s probably more essential. I guess I’d probably try an umbrella answer like “taking the audience one step closer to levity or enlightenment, whichever the artist intends.” Is that a cop-out?

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

The end of the pandemic? Ha, but really. My grandmother (who is 92 in January – Happy Birthday, Queen Josephine!!!) has this awesome habit of saying “This is the best ___ I’ve ever had!” – and, insert whatever she’s having – lunch, dinner, etc. She has a very cute British accent, which really makes it pop (think Mary Poppins). Just this week she came over, had a glass of Prosecco, and said “What brand is this? This is the best Prosecco I’ve ever had!” She paused, thought for a second, and followed that up with, “Then again, every drink is the best drink I’ve ever had.” And you know what… I said, “If every drink and every meal is the best one you’ve ever had, then life is pretty (insert expletive I wouldn’t have said in front of my grandma) awesome.” So I’m trying to take a lesson from that. I’m looking forward to literally everything being the best thing I’ve ever had or the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m gonna live like it’s just getting better all the time.

[Photo above by Jay Beadnell]




Crystal Spiders, Morieris (2021)

Lightning Born, Lightning Born (2019)

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Doomsday Profit Premiere “Consume the Remains” Video From In Idle Orbit out Nov. 12

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on October 21st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

doomsday profit

North Carolina sludge metallers Doomsday Profit release In Idle Orbit on Nov. 12. Somewhere along the line, the idea got into my head that the six-song/35-minute offering was an EP. Listening to it, I don’t think it is. Just because it spends its last 10 minutes embroiled in dark ambience with “Bring Out Your Dead,” that’s no less a part of the entirety than the rub-dirt-in-your-eyes sludge-as-half-speed-grindcore that is “Crown of Flies” and “Scryers of the Smoke” earlier on. It breaks down into two 12″ sides, three tracks per, with choice leads interwoven amid the death-stench filth of the riffs and the Carcass-style slit-throat-snarl vocals.

Stoner? Yeah, there’s some of that, and one might accordingly be tempted to put Doomsday Profit in the Bongzilla/Dopethrone school of nihilist weedian sludge. And of course North Carolina hasn’t hurt for sludge since the days of Buzzov*enWeedeaterSourvein, etc. If that helps them sell records — CDs, tapes, DLs, whatever — then fine I guess, but to my ears the four-piece seem up to something grimmer in its purpose.

The lurch of “Cestoda” — named for a kind of tapeworm (thanks, internet) — and the echo accompanying the vocals, speaks to the more extreme-metal-borndoomsday profit in idle orbit style that marks Doomsday Profit out from the bunch. More Yatra than Toke. That song, as well as “Scryers of the Smoke” before it, appeared on the band’s 2020 Abandon Hope demo, and even compared to just a year ago, In Idle Orbit establishes a cross-release flow that finds an encouraging middle ground in the tempo of “Consume the Remains” to coincide with its largesse — a big, oozing, body-odor-smelling thing, that nonetheless nears psychedelia in its lead guitar sound — and sets “Destroy the Myths” to a march that seems militaristic at first but turns out to be bombed, not bombing.

They space out again toward the finish of “Destroy the Myths,” some slower Iommic solo idolatry serving as an endpoint as the song comes apart like a rotten limb falling off, and maybe it’s that touch of atmosphere throughout that makes the rumble and drone and far-back lead of “Bring Out Your Dead” feel so in-place. If so, all the more kudos to Doomsday Profit for working multiple angles, killing low, building high. Maybe killing high? I don’t know. Definitely those two things. High, and murderous.

Current mood: On a fucking slab. Fluorescent light overhead shines on methodically separated viscera, open eyes staring upward while Doomsday Profit — either in scrubs or not, because does it really matter? — give precious little concern for the mess they’ve made. No big deal, there’ll be plenty of bleach left over to wash it all out after my body’s been bubbled away and the bones turned white ahead of some inevitably ritualized powdering. Play in blood in the meantime.

Nothing means anything. Everything is permitted. Drink plague and piss riffs.


Doomsday Profit, “Consume the Remains” video premiere

Doomsday Profit unveil their music video for “Consume the Remains,” from the forthcoming album, “In Idle Orbit,” out November 12, 2021.

With “Consume the Remains,” Doomsday Profit merges desert-rock groove with death ‘n’ roll bile. Piling onto the song’s foundational riff and deep groove, the band cakes on with tar-thick sludge before launching it into a dark, psychedelic abyss.

Available on CD/Cassette/Digital @ https://doomsdayprofit.bandcamp.com/

Video by Dark Sprite Videos.

1. Crown of Flies
2. Scryers of the Smoke
3. Cestoda
4. Consume the Remains
5. Destroy the Myths
6. Bring Out Your Dead

Doomsday Profit live:
Friday, Nov. 12 – Duluth, GA at Sweetwater Bar & Grill
(with Cosmic Reaper, Dopegoat, Big Oaf)
Saturday, Nov. 13 – Asheville, NC at Static Age Records
(with Cosmic Reaper, TBD)
Sunday, Nov. 14 – Raleigh, NC at The Pour House
(with Cosmic Reaper, WitchTit, Kult Ikon, Nora Rogers, Makhnovist)

Doomsday Profit is:
Pestilence: guitar / vocals
War: lead guitar
Famine: bass / synth / samples
Death: drums / production

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Doomsday Profit website

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