Quarterly Review: Fuzz, Crippled Black Phoenix, Bethmoora, Khan, The Acid Guide Service, Vexing Hex, KVLL, Mugstar, Wolftooth, Starmonger

Posted in Reviews on December 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Day III of the Inexplicably Roman Numeralized Winter 2020 Quarterly Review, commence! I may never go back to actual numbers, you should know. There’s something very validating about doing Day I, Day II, Day III — and tomorrow I get to add a V for Day IV! Stoked on that, let me tell you.

You have to make your own entertainment these days, lest your brain melt like wax and drip from your nostrils.

Plurp.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Fuzz, III

fuzz iii

Plenty of heavy rockers can come across sounding fresh. Most of the time all it takes is being young. In the case of III, the third long-player from FuzzCharles Moothart, Ty Segall and Chad Ubovich — they sound like they just invented it. Dig the hard-Bowie of “Time Collapse” or the made-for-the-stage opener “Returning,” or the surf-cacophony of “Mirror.” Or hell, any of it. The combination of this band and producer Steve Albini — aka the guy you go to when you want your album to sound like your live show — is correct. That’s all you can say about it. From the ’70s snarl in “Nothing People” to the triumphant melody in the second half of “Blind to Vines” and the back and forth between gritty roll and fragile prog of “End Returning,” it’s an energy that simply won’t be denied. If Fuzz wanted to go ahead and do three or four more albums with Albini at the helm in the next five years, that’d be just fine.

In the Red Records on Thee Facebooks

In the Red Records on Bandcamp

 

Crippled Black Phoenix, Ellengæst

crippled black phoenix ellengaest

The narrative (blessings and peace upon it) goes that when after lineup shifts left Crippled Black Phoenix without any singers, founder Justin Greaves (ex-Iron Monkey, Earthtone9, Electric Wizard, etc.) decided to call old mates. Look. I don’t care how it happened, but Ellengæst, which is the likewise-brilliant follow-up to the band’s widely-lauded 2018 outing, Great Escape, leads off with Anathema‘s Vincent Cavanagh singing lead on “House of Fools,” and, well, there’s your new lead singer. Anathema‘s on hiatus and a more natural fit would be hard to come by. Ryan Patterson (The National Acrobat, a dozen others), Gaahl (Gaahls Wyrd, ex-Gorgoroth), solo artist Suzie Stapleton and Jonathan Hultén (Tribulation) would also seem to audition — Patterson and Stapleton pair well on the heavy-Cure-style “Cry of Love” — and there are songs without any guests at all, but there’s a reason “House of Fools” starts the record. Make it happen, Crippled Black Phoenix. For the good of us all.

Crippled Black Phoenix on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist website

 

Bethmoora, Thresholds

Bethmoora Thresholds

Copenhagen’s Bethmoora served notice in a 2016 split with Dorre (review here) and their debut full-length, Thresholds hone destructive lumber across four low-toned tracks that begin with “And for Eternity They Will Devour His Flesh” and only get nastier from there. One imagines being in a room with this kind of rumbling, maddeningly repetitive, slow-motion-violence noise wash and being put into a flight-or-fight panic by it, deer in doomed headlights, and all that, but even on record, Bethmoora manage to cull, and when their songs explode in tempo, as the opener does late in its run, or “Painted Man” does, that spirit is maintained. Each side of the LP is two tracks, and all four are beastly, pile-driver-to-the-core-of-the-earth heavy. “Keeper”‘s wash of noise has willful-turnoff appeal all its own, but the empty space in the middle of “Lamentation” is where they go in for ultimate consumption. And yeah. Yeah.

Bethmoora on Thee Facebooks

Sludgelord Records on Bandcamp

 

Khan, Monsoons

khan monsoons

Khan‘s second album, Monsoons is a departure in form from 2018’s Vale, if not necessarily in substance. Heavy, psychedelic-infused post-rock is the order of business for the Melbourne trio either way, but as guitarist Josh Bills gives up playing synth and doing vocals to embark on an instrumental approach with bassist Mitchell Kerr (also KVLL) and drummer Beau Heffernan on this four-track/31-minute offering, the spirit is inescapably different. Probably easier to play live, if that’s a thing that might happen. Monsoons still has the benefit, however, of learning from the debut in terms of the dynamic among the three players, and Bills‘ guitar reaches for atmospheric float in “Orb” and attains it easily, as the midsection rhythm of the closing title-track nods at My Sleeping Karma and the back end of the prior “Harbinger” manages to shine and not sound like Earthless in the process, and quite simply, Khan make it work. The vocals/synth might be worth missing — and they may or may not be back — but to ignore the breadth Khan harness in little over half an hour would be a mistake.

Khan on Thee Facebooks

Khan on Bandcamp

 

The Acid Guide Service, Denim Vipers

the acid guide service denim vipers

Jammy, psychedelic in parts, Sabbathian in “Peavey Marshall (and the Legendary Acoustic Sunn Band)” and good fun from the doomly rollout of 11-minute opener and longest cut (immediate points) “In the Cemetery” onward, the second full-length from Idaho’s The Acid Guide Service, Denim Vipers, brings considerable rumble and nod, but these guys don’t want to hurt nobody. They’ve come here to chew bubblegum and follow the riff, and they’re all out of bubblegum. Comprised on average of longer songs than 2017’s debut, Vol. 11 (review here), the four-tracker gives the trio room to branch out their sound a bit, highlighting the bass in the long middle stretch of the title-track while the subsequent “Electro-Galactic Discharge” puts its guitar solo front and center before sludge-rocking into oblivion, letting “Peavey Marshall (and the Legendary Acoustic Sunn Band)” pick up from there, which is as fine a place as any to begin a gallop to the end. Genre-based shenanigans ensue. One would hope for no less.

The Acid Guide Service on Thee Facebooks

The Acid Guide Service on Bandcamp

 

Vexing Hex, Haunt

vexing hex haunt

Based in Illinois, Vexing Hex make their debut on Wise Blood Records with Haunt, and yes, playing catchy, semi-doomed, organ-laced cult rock with creative and melodic vocal arrangements, you’re going to inevitably run into some Ghost comparisons. The newcomer three-piece are distinguished by a harder edge to their impact, a theremin on “Planet Horror” and a rawer production sensibility, and that serves them well in “Build Your Wall” and the buildup of “Living Room,” both of which play off the fun-with-dogma mood cast by “Revenant” following the intro “Hymn” at the outset of Haunt. Not quite as progressive as, say, Old Man Wizard, there’s nonetheless some melodic similarity happening as bell sounds ensue on “Rise From Your Grave,” the title of which which may or may not be purposefully cribbed from the Sega Genesis classic Altered Beast. There’s a big part of me that hopes it is, and if Vexing Hex are writing songs about retro videogames, they sound ready to embark on a Castlevania concept album.

Vexing Hex on Thee Facebooks

Wise Blood Records on Bandcamp

 

KVLL, Death//Sacrifice

kvll death sacrifice

Proffering grueling deathsludge as though it were going out of style — it isn’t — the Melbourne duo KVLL is comprised of bassist/vocalist/guitarist Mitchell Kerr (also Khan) and drummer Braydon Becher. It’s not without ambient stretches, as the centerpiece “Sacrifice” shows, but the primary impression KVLL‘s debut album, Death//Sacrifice makes is in the extremity of crash and heavy landing of “The Death of All That is Crushing” and “Slow Death,” such that by the time “Sacrifice” ‘mellows out,’ as it were, the listener is punchdrunk from what’s taken place on the prior two and a half songs. There’s little doubt that’s precisely KVLL‘s intention here, as the cavernous screams, mega-lurch and tense undercurrent are more than ably wielded. If “Sacrifice” is the moment at which Death//Sacrifice swaps out one theme for another, the subsequent “Blood to the Altar” and nine-minute closer “Beneath the Throne” hammer the point home, the latter with an abrasive noise-caked finale worthy of standard-bearers Primitive Man.

KVLL on Thee Facebooks

KVLL on Bandcamp

 

Mugstar, GRAFT

mugstar graft

Not that the initial droning wash of “Deep is the Air” or the off-blasted “Zeta Potential” and warp-drive freneticism in “Cato” don’t have their appeal — oh, they do — but when it comes to UK lords-o’-space Mugstar‘s latest holodeck-worthy full-length, GRAFT, it’s the mellow drift-jazz of the 12-minute “Ghost of a Ghost” that feels most like matter dematerialization to me. Side B’s “Low, Slow Horizon” answers back later on ahead of the motorik linear build in the finale “Star Cage,” but the 12-minute vibe-fest that is “Ghost of a Ghost” gives GRAFT a vastness to match its thrust, which becomes essential to the space-borne feel. It’s 41 minutes, still ripe for an LP, but the kind of album that has a genuine affect on mood and mindset, breaking down on a molecular level both and remolding them into something hopefully more evolved on some level through cosmic meditation. Fast or slow, up or down, in or out, it doesn’t ultimately matter. Nothing does. But there’s a moment in GRAFT where the one-skin-on-another thing becomes apparent and all the masks drop away. What’s left after that?

Mugstar on Thee Facebooks

Centripetal Force Records website

Cardinal Fuzz Records BigCartel store

 

Wolftooth, Valhalla

Wolftooth Valhalla

Hooks abound in power-stoner fashion throughout Indiana four-piece Wolftooth‘s second album, Valhalla, which roughs up NWOBHM clarity in early-Ozzy fashion without going overboard to one side or the other, riffs winding and rhythms charging in a way not entirely unlike some of Freedom Hawk‘s more recent fare, but with a melodic reach of its own and a dynamism of purpose that comes through in the songwriting. Grand Magus‘ metallic traditionalism might be an influence on a song like “Fear for Eternity,” but “Crying of the Wolfs” has a more rocking swagger, and likewise post-intro opener “Possession.” With tightly constructed songs in the four-to-five-minute range, Valhalla never feels stretched out more than it wants to, but “Molon Labe” pushes the vocals deeper into the mix for a bigger, more atmospheric sound, and subtle shifts like that become effective in distinguishing the songs and making them all the more memorable. Recently signed to Napalm after working with Ripple, Ice Fall, Cursed Tongue and Blackseed, they seem to be poised to pay off the potential here and in their 2018 self-titled debut (review here). So be it.

Wolftooth on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Cursed Tongue Records BigCartel store

Ice Fall Records BigCartel store

 

Starmonger, Revelations

starmonger revelations

Parisian riff-blaster trio Starmonger have been piecemealing tracks out for the last five years as a series of EPs titled Revelation, and the full-length debut, Revelations, brings these nine songs together for a 49-minute long-player that even in re-recorded versions of the earliest cuts like “Tell Me” and “Wanderer” show how far the band has come. It’s telling that those two close the record out while “Rise of the Fishlords” and “Léthé” from 2019’s Revelation IV open sides A and B, respectively, but older or newer, the band end up with a swath of stylistic ground covered from the more straightforward and uptempo kick of the elder tracks to the more progressive take of the newer, with plenty of ground in between. Uniting the various sides are strong performances and strong choruses, the latter of which would seem to be the thread that draws everything together. Whether or not it takes Starmonger half a decade to put out their next LP, one can hardly call their time misspent while listening to Revelations.

Starmonger on Thee Facebooks

Starmonger on Bandcamp

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wolftooth Sign to Napalm Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 15th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Though it came out earlier this year on Ripple Music and Cursed Tongue, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Wolftooth‘s second long-player, Valhalla, be reissued on Napalm Records as well, though there’s no mention of it in the announcement below that the label has picked up the Richmond, Indiana-based outfit. Quality band and they do good work, but though Napalm has a few heavy rock acts on its roster, with Stoned Jesus, Greenleaf, Villagers of Ionnina City, and so on, the last time I can recall them picking up an American heavy rock-ish act was The Midnight Ghost Train, and that was six years ago. If I’m leaving someone out, I hope somebody will correct me.

All the more honor to Wolftooth, then, and clearly the metallic appeal of Valhalla is just the start of the band’s forward potential at this point. I’d expect a European tour if and when such things become possible.

Until then, kudos and congrats to the band. Here’s this from the PR wire:

wolftooth

WOLFTOOTH Signs Worldwide Record Deal with Napalm Records

After hustling in the underground scene for the better part of three years, Richmond, Indiana-based metal outfit WOLFTOOTH snagged the attention of Napalm Records with their multifaceted blend of classic NWOBHM and doom influences lifted by heavy stoner rock riffage. Closing out a bleak year with something very bright, the band is pleased to announce that they’ve signed worldwide contract with the premier rock and metal label!

Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Chris Sullivan, guitarist Jeff Cole, bassist Terry McDaniel and drummer Johnny Harrod, WOLFTOOTH launched in 2017 with the release of their debut EP, grabbing the attention of fans and industry alike. In early 2018, the band followed up by dropping their self-titled album, Wolftooth, to rave reviews. Immediately hitting the road in support of the album, WOLFTOOTH harvested countless new fans, building a reputation as a hard-hitting live act by supporting metal icons like Iced Earth, Sanctuary, Black Label Society, The Atomic Bitchwax, EYEHATEGOD and The Obsessed. In 2019, the band returned to the studio to record their sophomore release, Valhalla. WOLFTOOTH expanded on their already potent sound with cleaner production, hooky choruses and colossal riffs, all while harking back to the golden age of heavy metal. The record hit the underground in mid-2020.

WOLFTOOTH says about the signing:
“In the three short years that we’ve been a band, we’ve made great strides to be heard and bring the almighty riff back into the forefront of heavy music. We are very thankful for our fans and the support they have given us on this journey. The band is also very excited for the future and about our partnership with Napalm Records – now anything is possible. We are currently writing our third album and look forward to getting on the road in 2021.”

Wolftooth is:
Chris Sullivan Guitar/ Vocals
Terry McDaniel Bass
Jeff Cole Guitar
Johnny Harrod Drums/Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/wolftoothmetal/
https://www.instagram.com/wolftooth_metal/
www.napalmrecords.com

Wolftooth, Valhalla (2020)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Wolftooth and Psychlona Vinyl Represses Coming Soon from Cursed Tongue Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 25th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

There was some drama or some shit this week on the social medias about Cursed Tongue Records. Someone on the label — I honestly don’t even remember who it was; it was the kind of thing where I rolled over in the middle of the night and dicked around on my phone for probably longer than I needed to before falling asleep again — was unsatisfied with the level of promotion or whatever. Whatever it was. I don’t think you can do what any record label does and not have someone gripe along the way, that’s the nature of the business and you’re never, ever, ever going to meet everyone’s expectations, but as someone who’s watched this imprint grow from its inception to where now they’re sharing releases with Ripple Music and selling out quality vinyl pressings on preorders, I’ll throw in my two cents to say I respect their work.

Obviously my dealings with them aren’t the same as someone putting out music through them, but for what it’s worth, I’ve never heard of them ripping anyone off, and they’ve always seemed like passionate, forward-looking individuals to me. Whoever that was might have a legit argument to make, again, I don’t remember and don’t really care enough to go back and search out that post from the depressing miasma of misinformation that is my Facebook feed at this time — once it’s gone, it’s lost — but if I was putting 0ut a record, I’d be stoked to work with them.

I’m not putting out a record, but you know what I mean.

Couple represses coming up for Wolftooth and Psychlona, and I’ll have a new signing announcement from Cursed Tongue next week too, so keep an eye out for that:

psychlona venus skytrip lp

wolftooth valhalla lp

WOLFTOOH – ‘VALHALLA’ AND PSYCHLONA – ‘VENUS SKYTRIP’ VINYL REPRESSES ON CURSED TONGUE RECORDS RELEASES WORLDWIDE NOVEMBER 27, 2020

Cursed Tongue Records is super pleased to announce the repressing of two of 2020’s best performing releases, name Richmond, IN based riff-welding behemoth Wolftooth and Bradford, UK kebab-slinging, fuzz-riff, space-traveling stoner desert rockers Psychlona.

Earlier this year both Wolftooth and Psychlona released their sophomore album that both were immediate barnburners, and both vaporized from the record store shelves and online stores quite rapidly.

We thus look forward to the repressing of ‘Valhalla’ and ‘Venus Skytrip’ and to be able to bring both albums out again on premium, heavyweight 180 grams coloured vinyl and get it into the hands of the fans that missed out on the first pressing. Vinyl pre-orders start from the label’s webstore October 2nd at 6PM CET: https://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/

WOLFTOOTH – ‘VALHALLA’ REPRESS OUT NOVEMBER 27, 2020 [VINYL PRE-ORDER OCTOCER 2ND]

On their sophomore album Wolftooth has truly upped the ante, expanded on their already tested and tried formula, added more layers of sound and variation in the song writing and overall musical execution. The production has improved markedly and the tracks oozes of the much attention that has gotten into capturing both detail, feel and vibe during the recording. As the band members, they express it: “We started work on this album back in August 2019; it is our masterpiece haha”

‘Valhalla’ is everything you would come to expect from a follow-up album to Wolftooth’s über popular self-titled debut album – and then some! And even more! Seriously, we have been heavy-nodding, headbanging and fist pumping on a daily basis since these four hoosiers submitted their new stellar opus. God damn ‘Valhalla’ is great, oh yeah! As if there would ever be a more suiting set of rock hymns to accompany the Aesir Gods to their sacred halls at Asgard after having slain all giants (Jætter, ed.) at the battlefield it has to be ‘Valhalla.’

PSYCHLONA – ‘VENUS SKYTRIP’ REPRESS OUT NOVEMBER 27, 2020 [VINYL PRE-ORDER OCTOCER 2ND]

With ‘Venus Skytrip’ Psychlona has truly taking everything they have come to stand for and kicked it to a whole new level of fuzzy stoner rock space ecstacy. Standing on the pedigree the foursome gained with their critically acclaimed ‘Mojo Rising’ album they have build an entire new spaceship of might and power, but also of bloody coherent beauty and memorability. There’s no escaping from the hum-worthy refrains and hypnotic grooves.

Behold eight tracks of new Psychlona, and as the band expresses it themselves: “When the fog receded from our scorched minds it appeared we’d taken a year long ride through space taking in Venus and Mars before doing a quick lap of the Sun (Blast Off), encountered 27 club rock ‘n’ roll tragedy (Star), drifted around in a smoke fuelled beachside dream (Resin) before taking a lengthy acid trip courtesy of The Owl himself. We’re beyond proud of this album. Comments we hear regularly at live shows mention the power of the sound and the energy in the performance. We believe we’ve captured that power and energy in this record. Oh yeah – we’re still space truckin’ desert rockin’ kebab eating mofos so no change there.” So get your trip on and head for Venus…

http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CursedTongueRecords/
https://www.instagram.com/cursedtongue/

Psychlona, Venus Skytrip (2020)

Wolftooth, Valhalla (2020)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Sergio Ch., Dool, Return to Worm Mountain, Dopelord, Ancestro, Hellhookah, Daisychain, The Burning Brain Band, Slump, Canyon

Posted in Reviews on July 6th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-qr-summer-2020

I don’t imagine I need to tell you it’s been a hell of a quarter, existentially speaking. It’s like the world decided to play ’52 card pickup’ but with tragedy. Still, music marches on, and so the Quarterly Review marches on. For what it’s worth, I’m particularly looking forward to reviewing the upcoming batch of 50 records. As I stare at the list for each day, all of them have records that I’ve legitimately been looking forward to diving into, and today is a great example of that, front to back.

Will I still feel the same way on Friday? Maybe, maybe not. If past is prologue, I’ll be tired, but it’s always satisfying to do this and cover so much stuff in one go. Accordingly, let’s not delay any further. I hope you enjoy the week’s worth of writeups.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Sergio Ch., From Skulls Born Beyond

Sergio Ch From Skulls Born Beyond

Intertwining by sharing a few songs with the debut album from his trio Soldati, Doom Nacional (review here), the latest solo endeavor from former Los Natas/Ararat frontman Sergio Ch. continues his path of experimentalist drone folk, blending acoustic and electric elements, guitar and voice, in increasingly confident and broad fashion. The heart of a piece like “Sombra Keda” near the middle of the album is still the strum of the acoustic guitar, but the arrangement of electric and effects/synth surrounding, as well as the vocal echo, give a sense of space to the entirety of From Skulls Born Beyond that demonstrates to the listener just how much range Sergio Ch.‘s work has come to encompass. For highlights, one might check out the extended title-track and the closer “Solar Tse,” which bring in waves of distorted noise to add to the experimentalist feel, but there’s something to be said too for the comparatively minimal (vocal layering aside) “My Isis,” as well as for the fact that they all fit so well on the same record.

Sergio Ch. on Thee Facebooks

South American Sludge Records on Bandcamp

 

DOOL, Summerland

Dool Summerland

The follow-up to DOOL‘s 2017 debut, Here Now There Then (review here), does no less than to see the Netherlands-based outfit led by singer Ryanne van Dorst answer the potential of that album while pushing forward the particular vision of Dutch heavy progressive rock that emerged in the wake of The Devil’s Blood, acknowledging that past — Farida Lemouchi (now of Molassess) stops by for a guest spot — while presenting an immersive and richly arranged 54-minute sprawl of highly individualized craft. Issued through Prophecy Productions, it brings cuts like the memorable opener “Sulphur and Starlight” and the dynamic “A Glass Forest” as well as the classic metal chug of “Be Your Sins” and the reaches of its title-cut and acoustic-inclusive finale “Dust and Shadow.” DOOL are a band brazen enough to directly refuse genre, and it is to their benefit and the audience’s that they pull off doing so with such bravado and quality of output. For however long they go, they will not stop progressing. You can hear it.

DOOL on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions website

 

Return to Worm Mountain, Therianthropy

return to worm mountain Therianthropy

By the time Durban, South Africa’s Return to Worm Mountain are done with 10-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Gh?l” from their second album, Therianthropy, the multi-instrumentalist duo of Duncan Park (vocal, guitar, bass, banjo, jaw harp) and Cam Lofstrand (vocals, drums, synth, guitar, bass, percussion) have gone from High on Fire-meets-Entombed crunch to psychedelic Americana to bare-essential acoustic guitar, and unsurprisingly, the scope doesn’t stop there. “Mothman’s Lament” is folksy sweetness and it leads right into the semi-industrial grind of “Mongolian Death Worm” before “Olgoi-Khorkoi” sludge-lumbers into Echoplex oblivion — or at very least the unrepentantly pretty plucked strings of “Tatzelwurm.” The title refers to a human ability to become an animal — think werewolf — and if that’s a metaphor for the controlled chaos Return to Worm Mountain are letting loose here, one can hardly argue it doesn’t fit. Too strange to be anything but progressive, Therianthropy‘s avant garde feel will alienate as many as it delights, and that’s surely the point of the entire endeavor.

Return to Worm Mountain on Thee Facebooks

Return to Worm Mountain on Bandcamp

 

Dopelord, Sign of the Devil

dopelord sign of the devil

Primo weedian stoner sludge doom of precisely the proportion-of-riff one would expect from Polish bashers Dopelord, which is to say plenty huge and plenty grooving. “The Witching Hour Bell” sets the tone on Sign of the Devil, which is the fourth full-length from the Warsaw-based four-piece. They lumber, they plod, they crash, and yes, yes, yes, they riff, putting it all on the line with “Hail Satan” with synth flourish at the end before “Heathen” and the ultimately-more-aggro “Doom Bastards” reinforce the mission statement. You might know what you’re getting going into it, but that doesn’t make the delivery any less satisfying as Dopelord plod into “World Beneath Us” like a cross between Electric Wizard and Slomatics and of course stick-click in on a quick four-count for the 94-second punk blaster “Headless Decapitator” to cap the 36-minute vinyl-ready run. How could they not? Sure, Sign of the Devil preaches to the choir, but hell’s bells it makes one happy to have joined the choir in the first place.

Dopelord on Thee Facebooks

Dopelord on Bandcamp

 

Ancestro, Ancestro

ancestro self titled

Numbered instrumental progressions comprise this third and self-titled offering from Peruvian trio Ancestro (issued through Necio Records and Forbidden Place Records), and the effect of the album being arranged in such a fashion is that it plays through as one long piece, the cascading volume changes of “II” feeding back into the outset count-in of the speedier “III” and so on. Each piece of the whole has its own intention, and it seems plain enough that the band composed the sections individually, but they’ve been placed so as to highlight the full-album flow, and as Ancestro move from “IV” into “V” and “VI,” with songs getting longer as they go en route to that engrossing and proggy 13-minute closer, their success draws from their ability to harness the precision and maybe even a little of the aggression of heavy metal and incorporate it as part of an execution both thoughtful and no less able to be patient when called for by a given piece. Hard-hitting psychedelia is tough to pull off, but Ancestro‘s Ancestro is no less spacious than terrestrial.

Ancestro on Thee Facebooks

Necio Records on Bandcamp

Forbidden Place Records on Bandcamp

 

Hellhookah, The Curse

hellhookah the curse

In 2016, Lithuanian two-piece Hellhookah made it no challenge whatsoever to get into the traditionalist doom of their debut album, Endless Serpents (review here), and the seven songs of The Curse make for a welcome follow-up, with an uptick in production value and the fullness of the mix and a decided affinity for underground ’80s metal in cuts like “Supremacy” and “Dreams and Passions” to coincide with the Dio-era-Sabbath vibes of centerpiece “Flashes” and the nodding finisher “Greed and Power,” which follows and contrasts “Dreams and Passions” in a manner that feels multi-tiered in its purpose. Departing from some of the Vitus-ness of the first full-length, The Curse adopts a more complex tack across its 38 minutes, but its heart and its loyalties are still of doom, by doom, and for the doomed, and that suits them just fine. Crucially, their lack of pretense carries over, and their love of all things doomed translates into every riff and every stretch on offer. If you’d ask more than that of them, well, why?

Hellhookah on Thee Facebooks

Hellhookah on Bandcamp

 

Daisychain, Daisychain EP

Daisychain Daisychain EP

Bluesy in opener “Demons,” grunge-tinged in “Lily” and fuzz-folk-into-’70s-soul-rock on “How Can I Love You,” Daisychain‘s self-titled debut EP wants little for ambition from the start, but the Chicago-based four-piece bring a confidence to their dually-vocalized approach that unites the material across whatever stylistic lines it treads, be it in the harmonies of the midtempo rocker “Are You Satisfied” or the righteously languid “Fake Flowers,” which follows. With six songs and 21 minutes, the self-released outing is but a quick glimpse at what Daisychain might have in store going forward, but the potential is writ large from the classic feel of “Demons” to the barroom spirit of closer “The Wrong Thing,” which reminds that rock and roll doesn’t have to sacrifice efficiency in order to make a statement of its own force. There’s plenty of attitude to be found in these songs, but beneath that — or maybe alongside it — there’s a sense of an emergent songwriting process that is only going to continue to flourish. What they do with the momentum they build here will be interesting to see/hear, but more than that, they’re developing a perspective and persona of their own, and that speaks to a longer term ideal. To put another way, they don’t sound like they’re half-assing it.

Daisychain on Thee Facebooks

Daisychain on Bandcamp

 

The Burning Brain Band, The Burning Brain Band

The Burning Brain Band The Burning Brain Band

Capping with a slide-tinged take on the traditional “Parchman Farm” (see also: Blue Cheer, Cactus, etc.), Ohio’s The Burning Brain Band‘s self-titled debut casts a wide net in terms of influences, centering the penultimate “The Dreamer” around 12-string acoustic guitar on an eight-minute run that’s neither hurried nor staid, but all the more surprising after the electronica-minded “Interlude (Still Running),” which, at four minutes is of greater substance than one might expect of an interlude just as the seven-and-a-half-minute warm-up “Launch Sequence” is considerably broader than one generally considers an intro to an album. There isn’t necessarily a foundational basis from which the material emanates — though “Brain Food” is an effective desert-ish rocker, it moves into the decidedly proggier “Bolero/Floating Away” — but “Launch Sequence” is immersive and the four-piece bring a performance cohesion and a clarity of mindset to the proceedings of this debut that may not unite the songs, but carries the listener through with a sure hand just the same. Who ever said everything on a record had to sound alike? For sure not The Burning Brain Band, who translate the mania of their moniker into effective sonic variety.

The Burning Brain Band on Thee Facebooks

The Burning Brain Band on Bandcamp

 

Slump, Flashbacks From Black Dust Country

Slump Flashbacks from Black Dust Country

Count Slump in a freakout psych renaissance, all punk-out-the-airlock and ’90s-noise thisandthat. Delivered through Feel It Records, the Richmond, Virginia, outfit’s debut, Flashbacks From Black Dust Country indeed touches ground every now and again, as on “Desire Death Drifter,” but even there, the vocals are so soaked wet with echo that I’m pretty sure they fucked up my speakers, and as much as “Tension Trance” tries, it almost can’t help but be acid grunge. In an age of nihilism, Slump aren’t so much unbridled as they are a reminder of the artistry behind the slacker lean, and in the thrust of “(Do The) Sonic Sprawl” and the far-out twist of “Throbbing Reverberation,” they affirm that only those with expanded minds will survive to see the new age and all the many spectral horrors it might unfurl. Can it be a coincidence that the album starts “No Utopia?” Hardly. I’m not ready to call these cats prophets, but they’ve got their collective ear to the ground and their boogie is molten-core accordingly. Tell two friends and tell them to tell two friends.

Feel It Records on Thee Facebooks

Feel It Records on Bandcamp

 

Canyon, EP III

canyon ep iii

It’s a ripper, inciting Larry David-style “prettay good” nods and all that sort of approval whatnot. If you want to think of Canyon as Philly’s answer to Memphis’ Dirty Streets, go ahead — and yes, by that I mean they’re dirtier. EP III boasts just three tracks in “No Home,” “Tent Preacher” and “Mountain Haze,” but with it the classic-style trio backs up the power they showed on 2018’s Mk II (review here), tapping ’70s blues rock swagger for the first two tracks and then blowing it out in a dreamy Zeppelin/Rainbow jam that’s trippy and righteous and right on and just plain right. Maybe even right-handed, I don’t know. What I do know is that these guys should’ve been picked up by some duly salivating label like last week already and they should be putting together a full-length on the quick. They’ve followed-up EP III with a stonerly take on The Beatles‘ “Day Tripper,” and that’s fun, but really, it’s time for this band to make an album.

Canyon on Thee Facebooks

Canyon on Bandcamp

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Book of Wyrms Sign to Desert Records; Announce Occult/New Age LP

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The aptly-named desert-dwelling imprint Desert Records continues to build its roster with the addition of Richmond, Virginia, tonebringers Book of Wyrms. The four-piece currently have two full-lengths under their collective belt in last year’s Remythologizer (review here) and 2017’s preceding Sci-Fi/Fantasy (review here), and in addition to the signing, the band announce their intention to hit the studio for a third LP, to be titled Occult/New Age, presumably as soon as conditions allow. Here’s what they had to say:

“We are so stoked and honored to work with Bradley Frye and Desert Records on our upcoming third album, Occult/New Age, to be recorded hopefully this summer or fall!”

The two earlier releases came out through Twin Earth Records and Stoner With Records in the case of the latter, and the band also followed up Remythologizer with the single “Spirit Drifter” in 2019, which of course you can hear on the Bandcamp player below,, following more bio-type info from, of course, the PR wire.

Kudos to the band and label, and here’s looking forward to new stuff to come:

book of wyrms

Book of Wyrms is a four-piece heavy metal band with extensive experience jamming in outer space. In 2014 they came together over their mutual adoration of Hawkwind and ZZ Top and then put out a demo in early 2015. It got some positive attention and helped them find their label, Twin Earth Records.

On New Year’s Day, 2017, Americans everywhere stumbled out of each other’s beds to the surprise release of Book of Wyrms’ first full-length, Sci-Fi/Fantasy. The record received even more positive attention and helped the band get shows around the East Coast, New England, the South, and the Midwest. Their second full-length, Remythologizer, came out in August 2019 on tape, cd, and vinyl.

Members:
Sarah Moore-Lindsey: Vocals and synthesizers
Kyle Lewis: Guitar
Chris DeHaven: Drums
Jay “Jake” Lindsey: Bass

https://www.facebook.com/Bookofwyrms/
https://instagram.com/bookofwyrms
https://bookofwyrms.bandcamp.com/

Book of Wyrms, “Spirit Drifter”

Tags: , , , , ,

Wolftooth Announce Valhalla Release on Cursed Tongue, Ripple & Ice Fall Records

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

They’re keeping some info close to their (battle) vest, but with the announcement of the May 22 LP release of Wolftooth‘s second album, Valhalla, comes word that not only will Cursed Tongue Records be handling that vinyl, but that tapes will be done through new imprint Ice Fall Records, and indeed Ripple Music, which reissued the band’s 2018 self-titled debut (review here), will be on board as well for the CD. The multi-format approach covering all flanks is only fitting for a release so concerned with battles among the gods, and though they’re a ways out from unveiling a single, the tracklisting, or even the cover art, rest assured that all of these things are duly epic. If you don’t want to take my word for it, consider the quality of the label endorsements they’ve earned.

Preorders May 1, as the PR wire informs. Please expect more to come on this one:

wolftooth

RICHMOND, IN RIFF-WELDERS WOLTOOTH RE-SIGNS TO CURSED TONGUE RECORDS FOR A GLOBAL VINYL RELEASE OF THEIR SOPHOMORE ALBUM MAY 22 2020

Cursed Tongue Records is super pleased to announce the re-signing of Richmond, IN based riff-welding behemoth Wolftooth and look forward to release their sophomore album entitled ‘Valhalla’ on premium vinyl come May 2020. This release will be a joint venture between a glorious trinity of Cursed Tongue Records (vinyl), Ripple Music (CD/digital) and Ice Fall Records (Cassette Tape) that all have joint forces to bring forth a tangible testament to ‘Valhalla’.

On their sophomore album Wolftooth has truly upped the ante, expanded on their already tested and tied formula, added more layers of sound and variation in the song writing and overall musical execution. The production has improved markedly and the tracks oozes of the much attention that has gotten into capturing both detail, feel and vibe during the recording. As the band members themselves express it: “We started work on this album back in August 2019; it is our masterpiece haha.”

‘Valhalla’ is everything you would come to expect from a follow-up album to Wolftooth’s über popular self-titled debut album – and then some! And even more! Seriously we have been heavy-nodding, head-banging and fist pumping on a daily bases since these four hoosiers submitted their new stellar opus. God damn ‘Valhalla’ is great, oh yeah! As if there would ever be a more suiting set of rock hymns to accompany the Aesir Gods to their sacred halls at Asgard after having slain all giants (Jætter, ed.) at the battlefield it has to be ‘Valhalla.’

Wolftooth’s Valhalla’ album is out May 22 2020 on premium vinyl (Cursed Tongue Records), CD/digital (Ripple Music) and Cassette Tape (Ice Fall Records). Vinyl pre-orders open May 1!!

It is with much joy, that Cursed Tongue Records can roll out the red carpet and give this utterly blatant head-banging, neck-snapping, skull-cracking, fist-pumping HM, riff-rock fest a well-deserved vinyl treatment. We open the doors for the vinyl pre-order on May 1 with official vinyl release May 22 2020.

Time of Victory Is Nigh, a Warrior on His Horse Ascending, the Throne of Valhalla to Claim

Wolftooth is:
Chris Sullivan Guitar/ Vocals
Terry McDaniel Bass
Jeff Cole Guitar
Johnny Harrod Drums/Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/wolftoothmetal/
https://www.instagram.com/wolftooth_metal/
http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CursedTongueRecords/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/
https://www.facebook.com/icefallrecords/
https://icefallrecords.bigcartel.com/

Wolftooth, Wolftooth (2019)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Sibyl Sign to DHU Records; The Magic Isn’t Real Vinyl Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

sibyl

I was put onto doomly four-piece Sibyl by a trustworthy source who’d seen them and would probably prefer to remain unnamed, and their 2019 demo/EP — fine line these days — hit the spot accordingly. That four-songer is called The Magic Isn’t Real (review here) and DHU Records has newly picked it up for a fresh look on vinyl due out this Spring, give or take. The band, meanwhile, have already put out a follow-up of sorts in the form of two new songs, “Rottweiler Smile” and “Love/Violence,” included on an issued-just-this-month split tape with fellow Richmond, Virginia, residents Mister Earthbound, out through Deckhead Records in an edition of 100 copies.

Whether or not DHU will do anything with those tracks, I’ve no idea, but if you listen to The Magic Isn’t Real and decide you’d like to dig further, the opportunity exists. Ah hell why don’t I just go ahead and include that Bandcamp player too, save you the trouble? They’ve both below.

From the PR wire:

sibyl the magic isn't real

New signing to DHU Records: SIBYL

DHU Records is excited to announce the signing of Richmond, VA Cult Rockers SIBYL!

Initially released in February of 2019, The Magic Isn’t Real became an increasingly addictive listen throughout the year and eventually could not deny it’s ‘magical’ effect. Heavy, Moody and Dark, The Magic Isn’t Real is one damn fine Psychedelic Fuzzed Out Doom trip that is aching to be experienced!

Honest and psychedelic in the truest sense of the word, Richmond, Virginia quartet Sibyl defies convention at every turn. Violet Sotomayor’s lyrics speak not of fictional tales of horror but of the very real demons of psychological trauma. An acceptance of past trauma while not necessarily a lament, the words of the Sibyl show one who stares forward clear eyed and with a mission to heal the psyche and break the chains that hold us back.

Tribal drums and a wall of crushing fuzz are punctuated by psychedelic guitar leads that cut the psyche like an eldritch wind. The Sibyl sound combines grungy desert rock grooves, psychedelic vibes, and stoner/doom riffs with undeniable pop sensibilities. Sibyl aims to write a new chapter into the tale that began the day the first blues man made his way down to the crossroads with his guitar under his arm and a dream in his soul. They do not aim or claim to be the heaviest band in the scene, but their live performance will show you that they refuse to hold anything back either.

With concise songwriting and more riffs than you can count, Sibyl stands out from the crowd as a raucous, riotous bacchanal in comparison to the contemporary stoner/doom bands’ somber ritual. With an explosive live show that will have more than just your head banging, and has been gaining attention worldwide. Currently playing shows in Richmond and touring up the east coast, Sibyl intends to bring their unique experience to all corners of the globe. Like a party at a funeral, Sibyl speaks to the duality of life and death and the cycles of nature that exist when one is granted a glimpse beyond the veil. Sibyl is enlightenment through rock and roll.

“No gods or devils exist except the ones inside your head. The Magick isn’t real unless you choose to believe it is.”

DHU Records will release The Magic Isn’t Real (DHU047) on Limited Edition vinyl around Spring 2020

More info & details to follow…

Tracklist:
Side A
A1. Blood Moon
A2. Pendulums

Side B
B1. Sexpionage
B2. Spinning Webs

SIBYL
Violet – vocals
Chris – guitar
Mike – bass
Ben – drums

http://www.facebook.com/sibylrva
http://instagram.com/sibylrva
https://sibylrva.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://www.instagram.com/dhu_records/
https://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bandcamp.com/
darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/

Sibyl, The Magic Isn’t Real (2019)

Sibyl & Mister Earthbound, Hypnotic Rhythm (2020

Tags: , , , , ,

Omen Stones Announce First Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Omen stones

Want to know something crucial about Omen Stones? At least as far as the sound on the Richmond, Virginia, three-piece’s 2019 self-titled, self-released debut (review here) is concerned, just have a look at their logo. Like the letters themselves, there’s just some aspect of Omen Stones‘ sound that’s a little bit twisted, a little bit working toward something darker and more sinister. You can hear it in the vocal sneer of guitarist Tommy Hamilton, also known for his work in filth-caked riffers Druglord, and in the tones that surround as the drums of Erik Larson (also Backwoods PaybackAvail, ex-ATP, etc.) punch through in the rush of “Purity Jones.” There’s a track on the record called “Fresh Hell.” That about sums it up.

But there isn’t the mire one might expect from what Hamilton brought to Druglord, and Omen Stones are a more intense band. With Ed Fierro (also Tel) on bass, there’s venom if not Venom in their veins and not that they don’t sleek out a rolling groove every now and then, as in “Secrete,” but there’s an undercurrent of threat that never seems to be far from the their attention. As they look to head out on their first tour dates beginning Jan. 31, hitting spots in North Carolina, Indianapolis, Kentucky, Ohio, Delaware, Maryland and indeed Virginia, I’m wondering what the 10-day jaunt might lead to. More tours? New songs? It’s their first tour, and where I had the info I’ve included with whom they’ll be doing the shows. There are some good ones in there. Baltimore looks like a killer night.

Here are the dates, followed by the self-titled album stream from Bandcamp:

omen stones tour

Omen Stones live:
01/31 Raleigh NC Slims w/ Crystal Spiders, Moryo
02/01 Asheville NC Odditorium
02/02 Indianapolis IN State Street Pub w/ Lavaborne, Drooler
02/03 Louisville KY Highlands Taproom w/ Problem with Dragons
02/04 Cincinnati OH Northside Yacht Club
02/05 Columbus OH Dirty Dungarees w/ Deprecator, False Teeth
02/06 Kent OH The Dome w/ Goosed, Ghost:Hello
02/07 Wilmington DE 1984 Arcade Bar
02/08 Baltimore MD Rituals Bar & Venue w/ Alms, Cavern, Almost Honest
02/09 Richmond VA Fuzzy Cactus w/ Hoboknife, Deathcrown

Omen Stones is:
Ed Fierro – bass
Tommy Hamilton – guitar/vocals
Erik Larson – drums

https://www.facebook.com/OmenStonesVA/
https://omenstones.bandcamp.com/

Omen Stones, Omen Stones (2019)

Tags: , , ,