Quarterly Review: Carlton Melton, Crown, Noêta, Polymerase, Lucid Sins, Hekate, Abel Blood, Suffer Yourself, Green Dragon, Age Total

Posted in Reviews on July 5th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

This will be a two-week Quarterly Review. That means this Monday to Friday and next Monday to Friday, 10 releases per day, totaling 100 by the time it’s done.

Me? I’m taking it one week, one day, one album at a time. It’s the only way to go and not have it seem completely insurmountable. But we’ll get through it all. I started out with the usual five days, and then I went to seven, then eight, and at that point I felt like I had a pretty good idea where things were headed. The last two days I filled up just at the end of last week. Some of it is I think a result of quarantine productivity, but there’s a glut of relevant stuff out now and some of it I’m catching up on, true, but some of it isn’t out yet either, so it’s a balance as ever. I keep telling myself I’m done with 2020 releases, but there’s one in here today. You know how it goes.

And since you do, I won’t delay further. Thanks in advance for reading if you do.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Carlton Melton, Night Pillers

carlton melton night pillers

Rangey mellow psych collected together with the natural shimmer of a Phil Manley (Trans Am) recording and a John McBain master, the new mini-LP from Mendocino medicine makers Carlton Melton is a 31-minute, five-song meditative joy. To wit, “Safe Place?” Is. “Morning Warmth?” Is, even with the foreboding march of drums behind it. And “Striatum,” which closes with interplay of keys and fuzzy leads and effects, giving a culminating seven-minute wash that doesn’t feel like it’s pushing far out so much as already gone upon arrival, indeed seems like a reward for any head or brain that’s managed to make it so far. Opener “Resemblance” brings four minutes of gentle drone to set the mood ahead of “Morning Warmth” — it might be sunrise, if we’re thinking of it that way — and centerpiece “High Noon Thirty” bridges krauty electronic beats and organic ceremony that feels both familiar and like the band’s own. They may pill at night, but Carlton Melton have a hell of a day here.

Carlton Melton on Facebook

Agitated Records website

 

Crown, The End of All Things

Crown The End of All Things

Weaving in and around genres with fluidity that’s tied together through dark industrial foundations, Crown are as much black metal as they are post-heavy, cinematic or danceable. “Gallow” or the earlier “Neverland” call to mind mid-period, electronica-fascinated Katatonia, but “Extinction” pairs this with a more experimental feel, opening in its midsection to more unsettling spaces ahead of the dance-ready finish. There’s nothing cartoonish or vamp about The End of All Things, which is the French outfit’s fourth album in 10 years, and it’s as likely to embrace pop (closer “Utopia”) as extremity (“Firebearer” just before), grim atmospherics (“Nails”) or textured acoustics (“Fleuve”), feeling remarkably unconcerned with genre across its 45 entrancing minutes, and remarkably even in its approach for a sound that’s still so varied. It’s not an easy listen front to back, but the challenge feels intentional and is emotional as much as cerebral in the craft and performance.

Crown on Facebook

Pelagic Records on Bandcamp

 

Noêta, Elm

Noêta elm

Swedish duo Noêta offer their second record for Prophecy Productions in Elm, comprising a deceptively efficient eight songs and 38 minutes that work in atmospheres of darker but not grim or cultish folk. Vocalist Êlea is very much a focal point in terms of performance, with Andris‘ instrumentals forming a backdrop that’s mournful on “Above and Below” while shimmering enough to bring affirmation to “As We Are Gone” a short while later ahead of the electrified layering in “Elm” and the particularly haunted-feeling closer “Elm II.” “As I Fall Silent” is a singularly spacious moment, but not the only one, as “Fade” complements with strings and outward-sounding guitar, and some of Elm‘s most affecting moments are its quietest stretches, as “Dawn Falls” proves at the outset and the whispers of “Elm” reaffirm on side B. Subdued but not lacking complexity, Noêta‘s songs make an instrument of mood itself and are pointedly graceful in doing so.

Noêta on Facebook

Prophecy Productions website

 

Polymerase, Unostentatious

Polymerase Unostentatious

Unostentatious, which is presumably not to say “humble,” may or may not be Polymerase‘s debut release, but it follows on from several years of inactivity on the part of the Philippines-based mostly-instrumentalist heavy psych trio. The band present four duly engaging and somewhat raw feeling jams, with a jump in volume as “Lightbringer//Lightgiver” picks up from “A Night with a Succubus” and opener “The Traveler” and a final touch of thickened, fuzzy sludge in the rolling “Green is the Color of Evil,” which closes at a lurch that comes across at significant remove from the title-hinted brightness of the song just before it. Uneven? Maybe, but not egregiously so, and if Polymerase are looking to give listeners an impression of their having a multifaceted sound, they most assuredly do. My question is over what span of time these tracks were recorded and what the group will do in moving forward from them, but I take the fact that I’m curious to find out at all as a positive sign of having interest piqued. Will hope for more.

Polymerase on Facebook

Polymerase on Bandcamp

 

Lucid Sins, Cursed!

lucid sins cursed

Lucid indeed. The band’s self-applied genre tag of “adult AOR” is more efficient a descriptor of their sound than anything I might come up with. Glasgow’s Lucid Sins released their acclaimed debut, Occultation, in 2014, and Cursed! is the exclamatory seven-years-later follow-up, bringing together classic progressive rock and modern cult heavy sensibilities with a focus on songwriting that’s the undercurrent from “Joker’s Dance” onward and which, as deep as “The Serpentine Path” or the title-track or “The Forest” might go, is never forgotten. To wit, the penultimate “By Your Hand” is a proto-everything highlight, stomping compared to the organ-prog “Sun and the Moon” earlier, but ultimately just as melodic and of enviable tonal warmth. Seven years is a long time between records, and maybe this material just took that long to put together, I don’t know, but I had no idea “cult xylophone” was a possibility until “The Devil’s Sign” came along, and now I’m not sure how I ever lived without it.

Lucid Sins on Facebook

Totem Cat Records store

 

Hekate, Sermons to the Black Owl

Hekate Sermons to the Black Owl

Australia’s history in heavy rock and roll is as long as that of heavy rock and roll itself and need not be recounted here, except to say that Hekate, from Canberra and Sydney, draw from multiple eras of it with their debut long-player, Sermons to the Black Owl, pushing ’70s boogie over the top with solos on “Carpathian Eagle” only after “Winter Void” and “Child of Black Magick” have seen the double-guitar-and-let’s-use-both four-piece update nascent doom vibes and “Burning Mask” has brought a more severe chug to the increasingly intense procession. A full production sound refuses to let the quick eight-tracker be anything other than modern, and though it’s only 28 minutes long, the aptly-titled “Acoustic Outro” feels earned atmospherically, even down to the early-feeling cold finish of “Cassowary Dreaming.” The balance may be then, then, then, and now, but the sense of shove that Hekate foster in their songs gives fresh urgency to the tenets of genre they seem to have adopted at will.

Hekate on Facebook

Black Farm Records store

 

Abel Blood, Keeping Pace with the Elephants

Abel Blood Keeping Pace with the Elephants

One does not evoke elephantine images on a heavy record, even on a debut release, if aural largesse isn’t a factor. New Hampshire trio Abel Blood — guitarist/vocalist Adam Joslyn, bassist Ben Cook, drummer Jim DeLuca — are raw in sound on their first EP, Keeping Pace with the Elephants, but the impact with which they land “The Day that Moby Died” at the outset is only encouraging, and to be sure, it’s not the thickest of their wares either. “Enemies” already pushes further, and as centerpiece “UnKnown Variant” would seem to date the effort in advance, it also serves the vital function of moving the EP in a different, more jangly, grungier direction, which is a valuable move with the title cut following behind, its massive cymbals and distorted wash building to a head in time for the nine-minute finale “Fire on the Hillside” to draw together both sides of the approach shown throughout into a parabolically structured jam the middle-placed surge of which passes quickly enough to leave the listener unsure whether it ever happened. They’re messing with you. Dig that.

Abel Blood on Facebook

Abel Blood on Bandcamp

 

Suffer Yourself, Rip Tide

Suffer Yourself Rip Tide

Begun in 2011 by guitarist/vocalist Stanislav Govorukha and based in Sweden by way of Poland and the Ukraine, death-doom lurchbringers Suffer Yourself are not strangers to longer-form material, but to my knowledge, “Spit in the Chasm” — the opening and longest track (immediate points) on their third record, Rip Tide — is the first time they’ve crossed the 20-minute mark. Time well spent, and by that I mean “brutally spent,” whether its the speedier chug that emerges from the willful slog of the extended piece’s first half or the viciously progressive lead work that tops the precise, cold end of the song that brings final ambience. Side B offers two shorter pieces in “Désir de Trépas Maritime (Au Bord de la Mer Je Veux Mourir),” laced with suitably mournful strings and a fair enough maritime sense of gothic drama emphasized by later spoken word and piano, and the brief, mostly-drone “Submerging,” which one assumes is the end of that plotline playing out. The main consumption though is in “Spit in the Chasm,” and the dimensions of that fissure are significant, figuratively and literally.

Suffer Yourself on Facebook

Aesthetic Death website

 

Green Dragon, Dead of the Night

Green Dragon Dead of the Night

High order Sabbathian doom rock from my own beloved Garden State, there’s very little chance I’m not going to dig Green Dragon‘s Dead of the Night, and true to type, I do. Presented by the band on limited vinyl after digital release late in 2020, the four-song, 24-minute outing brings guitarist/vocalists Zach Kurland and Ryan Lipynsky (the latter also adding keys and known for his work in Unearthly Trance, etc.), bassist Jennifer Klein and drummer Herbert Wiley to a place so dug into its groove it almost feels inappropriate to think of it as a peak in terms of their work to-date. They go high by going low, then. Fair enough. “Altered States” opens with a rollout of fuzz that miraculously avoids the trap sounding like Electric Wizard, while “Burning Bridges” murks out, “The Sad King” pushes speed a bit will still holding firm to nod and echo alike, and “Book of Shadows” plunges into effects-drenched noise like it was one of the two waterslides at the Maplewood community pool in summertime.

Green Dragon on Facebook

Green Dragon on Bandcamp

 

ÂGE TOTAL, ÂGE TOTAL

ÂGE ? TOTAL

The kind of record that probably won’t be heard by enough people but will inspire visceral loyalty in many of those who encounter it, the self-titled debut from French collaborative outfit Age Total — bringing together members from Endless Floods out of Bordeaux and Rouen’s Greyfell — is a grand and engrossing work that pushes the outer limits of doom and post-metal. Bookending opener “Amure” (14:28) and closer “The Songbird” (16:45) around the experimentalist “Carré” (4:06) and rumbling melodic death-doom of “Metal,” the album harnesses grandiosity and nuance to spare, with each piece feeling independently conceived and enlightening to musician and audience alike. It sounds like the kind of material they didn’t know they were going to come up with until they actually got together — whatever the circumstances of “together” might’ve looked like at the time — and the bridges they build between progressive metal and sheer weight of intention are staggering. However much hype it does or doesn’t have behind it, Age Total‘s Age Total is one of 2021’s best debut albums.

Endless Floods on Facebook

Greyfell on Facebook

Soza Label on Bandcamp

 

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

DVNE Announce Fall European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 1st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

dvne (Photo by Alan Swan)

Check out DVNE with a full Fall of touring. Europe and UK and Damnation Festival to boot. I kind of feel like everybody’s waiting to see what’s going to happen with that pesky Delta Variant — which is SUCH a cooler name than either “coronavirus” or “COVID-19”; I’m not glad the pandemic is ongoing, I am glad it finally hired someone to handle branding — playing havoc in various places around the world, but even if the Edinburgh five-piece can squeeze in a little road time to support this year’s Etemen Ænka (review here), that’s a worthy cause. The release was a highlight of early 2021 and while some of the hype has subsided, the stylistic reach of the album itself has not dulled in the slightest. Getting out and pressing more vinyl, as they are, would be a boon toward forward momentum.

And forward momentum is itself a novelty at this point.

The PR wire has this:

dvne tour

Dvne announces European tour with labelmates Déluge; new Bandcamp exclusive vinyl for ‘Etemen Ænka’ now available!

After releasing their sophomore album, Etemen Ænka, earlier this year – and landing on the worldwide charts for their efforts (#43 in Germany, #65 on the UK Indie Charts!) – Dvne has now announced a European co-headlining tour with labelmates Déluge. Kicking off in September, this will be the first run of shows in support of Etemen Ænka, before the band heads to the UK for an appearance at Damnation Fest, followed by a trek with Bossk in the winter.

See below for all dates! Purchase your tickets now at: https://www.songsofarrakis.com/tour/

Dvne + Déluge 2021 tour dates
Presented by The Link Productions
Sept. 15 – Nijmegen, Netherlands – Merleyn
Sept. 16 – Brussels, Belgium – La Botanique
Sept. 17 – Paris, France – Petit Bain
Sept. 19 – Nantes, France – Le Ferrailleur
Sept. 22 – Toulouse, France – Le Rex
Sept. 23 – Madrid, Spain – Caracol
Sept. 24 – Barcelona, Spain – Razz3
Sept. 25 – Bilbao, Spain – Groove
Sept. 26 – Black Sheep, France – Montepellier
Sept. 28 – Lyon, France – Rock N Eat
Sept. 29 – Strasbourg, France – La Maison Bleue
Sept. 30 – Martigny, Switzerland – Les Caves Du Manoir
Oct. 1 – Berlin, Germany – Zukunft am Ostkreuz
Oct. 2 – Poznan, Poland – Pod Minoga
Oct. 3 – Leipzig, Germany – Bandhaus

Dvne live 2021
Nov. 6 – Leeds, UK – Damnation Festival @ Leeds University Union

Dvne 2021 tour dates
w/ Bossk
Dec. 12 – Nottingham, UK – Bodega
https://www.alttickets.com/bossk-tickets
Dec. 13 – Bristol, UK – The Exchange
https://www.seetickets.com/event/bossk/exchange/1816003
Dec. 14 – Birmingham, UK – Mama Roux’s
https://www.seetickets.com/event/bossk/mama-roux-s/1817854
Dec. 15 – London, UK – The Garage
https://formpresents.seetickets.com/event/bossk/the-garage/1817728
Dec. 16 – Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club
https://brudenellsocialclub.seetickets.com/event/bossk/brudenell-social-club/1815299
Dec. 17 – Manchester, UK – Deaf Institute
https://formpresents.seetickets.com/event/bossk/the-deaf-institute/1817729
Dec. 18 – Glasgow, UK – Ivory Blacks
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bossk-dvne-glasgow-tickets-148572489315

A new Bandcamp exclusive vinyl edition of Etemen Ænka – white with black dust (featuring a gatefold jacket, 2-sided insert, and poster) – can be pre-ordered now at: https://songs-of-arrakis.bandcamp.com. Limited to 200 copies, this vinyl will be released on August 13th, 2021 – reserve your copy now!

Dvne line-up:
Victor Vicart – guitar, vocals, keys
Dudley Tait – drums
Daniel Barter – guitar, vocals
Allan Paterson – bass
Evelyn May – keys

https://www.facebook.com/DvneUK
https://twitter.com/SongsOfArrakis
https://www.instagram.com/dvne_uk/
https://songs-of-arrakis.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/metalbladerecords
https://www.instagram.com/metalbladerecords/
https://www.metalblade.com/

DVNE, “Sì-XIV” official video

Tags: , , , , ,

King Witch Post Video for “Children of the Sea” Black Sabbath Cover

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 14th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

king witch (Photo by Alan Swan)

There aren’t a lot of singers out there I’d be interested to hear take on a track originally vocalized by Ronnie James Dio, but Laura Donnelly of King Witch — whose voice contains enough power and classic metal righteousness at any given moment to reactivate the volcano under Castle Rock — is one of them. King Witch released their second album, Body of Light (review here), last year through Listenable Records, and thereby built upon the epic foundations laid forth on 2018’s Under the Mountain (review here), striking into purposefully grandiose territory with the brashness of true heavy metal. Some would call covering Dio-era Black Sabbath heresy on its face. What could possibly be more metal than that?

The results are admirable, as the video below demonstrates. Donnelly, guitarist/producer Jamie Gilchrist, bassist Rory Lee and drummer Lyle Brown begin by pulling Sabbath‘s Heaven and Hell off the LP shelf — I spy a copy of Alice in ChainsDirt on there as well; another all-time personal favorite — and then set to unfurling their own version of the track, nailing the deceptively speedy tempo that creates the tension ultimately paid off in the song’s final section. Hitting the notes as required, Donnelly puts her own spin on the delivery just the same, as one would hope, and comes across as trained, professional, and up to the significant task before her. Among the number of pandemic-era cover clips — can’t do shows, gotta do something, could do much worse than recording yourself playing music you like and sharing — King Witch stand out in production quality as well as sheer audacity.

Both are well worthy of respect. So, respect.

Enjoy:

King Witch, “Children of the Sea” official video

Black Sabbath’s Children of the Sea is the first track in King Witch’s forthcoming two part digital covers EP “Worship the Riffs” which was recorded in December 2020 during lockdown.

“We are all huge fans of Black Sabbath and this song is just so epic. It was a great way for us as a band to connect and have a bit of fun during lockdown. We very much hope we do it justice and we hope you enjoy it.”

Keep it heavy – Keep it loud!

Originally performed by Black Sabbath.
Composer/Author: Butler Terrence, Padavona Ronald, Iommi Anthony Frank, Ward W T.
Published by Essex Music International Inc, Niji Music

Produced, mixed & mastered by Jamie Gilchrist (https://www.facebook.com/namelesscitysound?)

Video creation & Artwork by Laura Donnelly (https://www.facebook.com/lauradonnellyart?)

King Witch are :
Laura Donnelly – Vocals
Jamie Gilchrist – Guitar
Rory Lee – Bass
Lyle Brown – Drums

King Witch, Body of Light (2021)

King Witch on Thee Facebooks

King Witch on Instagram

King Witch on Bandcamp

Listenable Records website

Listenable Records on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: DVNE, Wowod, Trace Amount, Fuzzcrafter, Pine Ridge, Watchman, Bomg, White Void, Day of the Jackal, Green Druid

Posted in Reviews on April 1st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

Oh, hello there. Don’t mind me. I’m just here, reviewing another 10 records today. I did it yesterday too. I’ll do it again tomorrow. No big deal. It’s Quarterly Review time. You know how it goes.

Crazy day yesterday, crazy day today, but I’m in that mode where I kind of feel like I can make this go as long as I want. Next Monday? Why not? Other than the fact that I have something else slated, I can’t think of a reason. Fortunately, having something else slated is enough of one. Ha. Let’s go.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

DVNE, Etemen Ænka

dvne Etemen Ænka

It’s like Scotland’s DVNE threw all of modern heavy metal into a blender and hit “cohesive.” Etemen Ænka‘s lofty ambitions are matched indeed by the cohesion of the band’s craft, the professionalism of their presentation, and the scope of their second album’s 10 component tracks, whether that’s in the use of synth throughout “Towers” or the dreamy post-rock aside in “Omega Severer,” the massive riffing used as a tool not a crutch in “Court of the Matriarch,” closer “Satuya” and elsewhere, and even the interlude-y pieces “Weighing of the Heart,” “Adraeden” and the folkish “Asphodel” that leads into the finale. DVNE have made themselves into the band you wish Isis became. Also the band you wish Mastodon became. And probably six or seven others. And while Etemen Ænka is certainly not without prog-styled indulgence, there is no taking away from the significant accomplishment these songs represent for them as a group putting out their first release on Metal Blade. It’ll be too clean for some ears, but the tradeoff for that is the abiding sense of poise with which DVNE deliver the songs. This will be on my year-end list, and I won’t be the only one.

DVNE on Thee Facebooks

Metal Blade Records website

 

Wowod, Yarost’ I Proshchenie

Wowod Yarost I Proshchenie

Beginning with its longest track (immediate points) in the 11-minute “Rekviem,” Yarost’ I Proshchenie is the third full-length from St. Petersburg’s Wowod, and its sudden surge from ‘unfold’ to ‘onslaught’ is a legitimate blindside. They hypnotize you then push you down a flight of stairs as death growls, echoing guitar lines and steady post-metallic drum and bass hold the line rhythmically. This sense of disconnect, ultimately, leads to a place of soaring melody and wash, but that feeling of moving from one place to another is very much the core of what Wowod do throughout the rest of the album that follows. “Tanec Yarosti” is a sub-three-minute blaster, while “Proshschenie” lumbers and crashes through its first half en route to a lush soundscape in its second, rounding out side A. I don’t care what genre “Zhazhda” is, it rules, and launches side B with rampaging momentum, leading to the slow, semi-industrial drag of “Chornaya Zemlya,” the harsh thrust of “Zov Tysyachi Nozhey” and, finally, dizzyingly, the six-minute closer “Top’,” which echoes cavernous and could just as easily have been called “Bottom.” Beautiful brutality.

Wowod on Thee Facebooks

Church Road Records on Bandcamp

 

Trace Amount, Endless Render

trace amount endless render

The chaos of last year is writ large in the late-2020 Endless Render EP from Brooklyn-based solo industrial outfit Trace Amount. The project headed by Brandon Gallagher (ex-Old Wounds) engages with harsh noise and heavy beatmaking, injecting short pieces like “Pop Up Morgues” with a duly dystopian atmosphere. Billy Rymer (The Dillinger Escape Plan, etc.) guests on drums for opener “Processed Violence (in 480P)” and the mminute-long “Seance Stimulant,” but it’s in the procession of the final three tracks — the aforementioned “Pop Up Morgues,” as well as “S.U.R.V.I.V.A.L.” and “Easter Sunday” — that Gallagher makes his most vivid portrayals. His work is evocative and resonant in its isolated feel, opaque like staring into an uncertain future but not without some semblance of hope in its resolution. Or maybe that’s the dream and the dance-party decay of “Dreaming in Displacement” is the reality. One way or the other, I’m looking forward to what Trace Amount does when it comes to a debut album.

Trace Amount on Thee Facebooks

Trace Amount on Bandcamp

 

Fuzzcrafter, C-D

Fuzzcrafter C D

French instrumentalists Fuzzcrafter issued C-D in October 2020 as a clear answer/complement to 2016’s A-B, even unto its Jo Riou cover art, which replaces the desert-and-fuzz-pedal of the first offering with a forest-and-pedal here. The six works that make up the 41-minute affair are likewise grown, able to affect a sense of lushness around the leading-the-way riffage in extended cuts “C2” (13:13) and the psychedelic back half of “D2” (13:18), working in funk-via-prog basslines (see also the wah guitar starting “D1” for more funk) over solid drums without getting any more lost than they want to be in any particular movement. In those songs and elsewhere, Fuzzcrafter make no attempt to hide the fact that they’re a riff-based band, but the acoustic side-finales in “C3” (which also features Rhodes piano) and “D3,” though shorter, reinforce both the structural symmetry of the mirrored sides as a whole and a feeling of breadth that is injected elsewhere in likewise organic fashion. They’re not changing the world and they’re not trying to, but there’s a mark being left here sound-wise and it’s enough to wonder what might be in store for the inevitable E-F.

Fuzzcrafter on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzcrafter on Bandcamp

 

Pine Ridge, Can’t Deny

Pine Ridge Can't Deny

Pine Ridge‘s second album, Can’t Deny, finds the Russian four/five-piece working in textures of keys and organ for a bluesier feel to tracks like the post-intro opening title-cut and the classic feeling later “Genesis.” Songwriting is straightforward, vocals gritty but well attended with backing arrangements, and the take on “Wayfaring Stranger” that ends the record’s first half conjures enough of a revivalist spirit to add to the atmosphere overall. The four tracks that follow — “Genesis,” “Runaway,” “Sons of Nothing” and “Those Days” — featured as well on 2019’s Sons of Nothing EP, but are consistent in groove and “Sons of Nothing” proves well placed to serve as an energetic apex of Can’t Deny ahead of “Those Days,” which starts quiet before bursting to life with last-minute electricity. A clear production emphasizes hooks and craft, and though I’ll grant I don’t know much about Siberia’s heavy rock scene, Pine Ridge ably work within the tenets of style while offering marked quality of songwriting and performance. That’s enough to ask from anywhere.

Pine Ridge on Thee Facebooks

Karma Conspiracy website

 

Watchman, Behold a Pale Horse

watchman behold a pale horse

Plain in its love for Sabbath-minded riffing and heavy Americana roll, “Bowls of Wrath” opens the three-song Dec. 2020 debut EP, Behold a Pale Horse, from Indiana-based solo-project Watchman, and the impression is immediate. With well-mixed cascades of organ and steadily nodding guitar, bass, drums and distorted, howling vocals, there is both a lack of pretense and an individualized take on genre happening at once. The EP works longest to shortest, with “Wormwood” building up from sparse guitar to far-back groove using negative space in the sound to bolster “Planet Caravan”-ish watery verses and emphasize the relative largesse of the track preceding as well as “The Second Death,” which follows. That closer is a quick four minutes that’s slow in tempo, but the lead-line cast overtop the mega-fuzzed central riff is effective in creating a current to carry the listener from one bank of the lake of fire to the other. In 15 minutes, multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/producer Roy Waterford serves notice of intention for a forthcoming debut LP to be titled Doom of Babylon, and it is notice worth heeding.

Watchman on Instagram

Watchman on Bandcamp

 

Bomg, Peregrination

bomg peregrination

Bomg‘s Peregrination isn’t necessarily extreme the way one thinks of death or black metal as extreme styles of heavy metal, but is extreme just the same in terms of pushing to the outer limits of the aesthetics involved. The album’s four track, “Electron” (38:12), “Perpetuum” (39:10), “Paradigm” (37:17) and “Emanation” (37:49), could each consume a full 12″ LP on their own, and presented digitally one into the next, they are a tremendous, willfully unmanageable two-and-a-half-hour deep-dive into raw blowout dark psychedelic doom. The harsh rumble and noise in “Perpetuum” some 28 minutes on sounds as though the Ukrainian outfit have climbed the mountains of madness, and there is precious little clarity to be found in “Paradigm” or “Emanation” subsequent as they continue to hammer the spike of their manifestations deeper into the consciousness of the listener. From “Electron” onward, the self-recording Kyiv trio embark on this overwhelming journey into the unknown, and they don’t so much invite you along as unveil the devastating consequences of having made the trip. Righteously off-putting.

Bomg on Thee Facebooks

Robustfellow Productions on Bandcamp

 

White Void, Anti

white void anti

As much as something can fly under the radar and be a Nuclear Blast release, I’m more surprised by the hype I haven’t heard surrounding White Void‘s debut album, Anti. Pulling together influences from progressive European-style heavy rock, classic metal, cult organ, New Wave melodies and a generally against-grain individualism, it is striking in its execution and the clear purpose behind what it’s doing. It’s metal and it’s not. It’s rock and it’s pop and it’s heavy and it’s light and floating. And its songs have substance as well as style. With Borknagar‘s Lars Nedland as the founding principal of the project, the potential in Anti‘s eight component tracks is huge, and if one winds up thinking of this as post-black metal, it’s a staggeringly complex iteration of it to which this and any other description I’ve seen does little justice. It’s going to get called “prog” a lot because of the considered nature of its composition, but that’s barely scratching the surface of what’s happening here.

White Void on Thee Facebooks

Nuclear Blast Records store

 

Day of the Jackal, Day Zero

Day of the Jackal Day Zero

Leeds, UK, four-piece Day of the Jackal bring straight-ahead hard rock songwriting and performance with an edge of classic heavy. There’s a Guns ‘n’ Roses reference in “Belief in a Lie” if you’re up for catching it, and later cuts like “Riskin’ it All” and “‘Til the Devil” have like-minded dudes-just-hit-on-your-girlfriend-and-you’re-standing-right-there vibes. They’re a rock band and they know it, and while I was a little bummed out “Rotten to the Core” wasn’t an Overkill cover, the 10 songs of love and death that pervade this debut long-player are notably hooky from “On Your Own” to “Deadfall” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Deathride,” which casually inhabits biker riffing with no less ease of movement than the band would seem to do anything else. Production by James “Atko” Atkinson of Gentlemans Pistols highlights the clarity of the performance rather than giving a rawer glimpse at who Day of the Jackal might be on stage, but there’s plenty of vitality to go around in any case, and it’s headed your way from the moment you start the record.

Day of the Jackal on Thee Facebooks

Day of the Jackal on Bandcamp

 

Green Druid, At the Maw of Ruin

green druid at the maw of ruin

Following their 2018 debut, Ashen Blood (review here), Denver heavy lifters Green Druid give due breadth to their closing take on Portishead‘s “Threads,” but the truth is that cover is set up by the prior five tracks of huge-sounding riffery, basking in the varying glories of stoner doom throughout opener “The Forest Dark” while keeping an eye toward atmospheric reach all the while. It is not just nod and crush, in other words, in Green Druid‘s arsenal throughout At the Maw of Ruin, and indeed, “End of Men” and “Haunted Memories” bridge sludge and black metal screaming as “A Throne Abandoned” offers surprising emotional urgency over its ready plod, and the long spoken section in “Desert of Fury/Ocean of Despair” eventually gives way not only to the most weighted slamming on offer, but a stretch of noise to lead into the closer. All along the way, Green Druid mark themselves out as a more complex outfit than their first record showed them to be, and their reach shows no sign of stopping here either.

Green Druid on Thee Facebooks

Earache Records website

 

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

Lucid Sins Announce Cursed LP out May 3; Stream “Joker’s Dance”

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 24th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

lucid sins

An awaited and exclamatory sophomore release from Glasgow two-piece Lucid Sins arrives May 3 in the form of Cursed! with the not-insignificant backing of Totem Cat Records. The label’s reputation for taste has earned it trust as far as I’m concerned, and if that’s what it takes to get you to click play on “Joker’s Dance,” which is the opening track and lead single from the album, then fine. Or maybe you just get excited about punctuated album titles. Really, whatever does the trick. The band released their first LP, Occultation, in late 2014, and they’re joined by a range of guests throughout the new one, which tells me that the classic ’70s proggy leanings of “Joker’s Dance” are perhaps just the beginning of what unfolds throughout the rest of what follows.

I remain a sucker for well executed retro heavy. Don’t care if you think it’s played out, don’t care if you think it sounds like Ghost. Whatever. Life is short. Take cool songs as they come.

From the PR wire:

lucid sins cursed

LUCID SINS to release new album ‘Cursed!’ this May 3rd on Totem Cat Records; first track streaming now

Seven years after their masterful debut album ‘Occultation’, Scottish 70s psychedelic and progressive rockers LUCID SINS are finally ready to deliver their new studio full-length ‘Cursed!’, due out May 3rd on Totem Cat Records. Stream their stomping first single “Joker’s Dance” now on Bandcamp!

From the riff-centric and silky 70s occult and psychedelic hymns of their impressive 2015 debut full-length ‘Occultation’, the Glasgow-based duo has morphed into a bigger and more ambitious beast to craft their sophomore album ‘Cursed!’. Inviting various musicians from their entourage to hop on the LUCID SINS train, the group delivers an organic and intrinsically more progressive 8-track, fueled by an intoxicating dose of keys and violins, liquid-fingered and at time jazz-tinged riffage and Andreas Jonsson’s overdubbed vocals, harking back to the likes of Wishbone Ash, Blue Öyster Cult or even The Doors in their more entrancing meanderings. With a surrealistic artwork from Britain’s early 20th century illustrator Alan Odle, ‘Cursed!’ makes for a must-have piece of 70s progressive rock.

‘Cursed!’ will be issued on May 3rd worldwide on vinyl, CD and digital through Totem Cat Records, with preorder starting on April 5th.

LUCID SINS New album ‘Cursed!’
Out May 3rd on Totem Cat Records
Preorder from April 5th at this location: https://totemcatrecords.bigcartel.com/

TRACK LISTING:
1. Joker’s Dance
2. The Serpentine Path
3. Sun and the Moon
4. The Devil’s Sign
5. Cursed
6. Snake Eyes
7. By Your Hand
8. The Forest

LUCID SINS ‘Cursed!’ Lineup
Andreas Jonsson — Vocals & Guitar
Joe Gallagher — Guitar
Martin « Eggy Beard » McKenna — Violin
Ruaraidh Sanachan — Guitar, Bass, Keys and Percussion
Sondre Berge Endegal — Bass
Stuart Coleman — Keys
Additional recording by Clark Neville

LUCID SINS is
Andreas Jonsson & Ruaraidh Sanachan

https://www.facebook.com/Lucid-Sins-101576834992445
https://www.instagram.com/lucid.sins/
https://lucidsins.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/totemcatrecords/
https://www.instagram.com/totemcatrecords/
http://totemcatrecords.bigcartel.com/

Lucid Sins, Cursed! (2021)

Tags: , , , , , ,

DVNE to Release Etemen Ænka March 19; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 21st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

DVNE have set March 19 as the release date for their new album, Etemen Ænka, which is to serve as their debut on Metal Blade Records. The arrival of the record would seem to have been a while in the making — the band had inked a deal with RidingEasy in 2019, shortly before they made a return appearance at Psycho Las Vegas, there they’d made their US live debut the prior year (review here) — but certainly the fact that it’s on Metal Blade that the full-length arrives is notable in itself. It’s not every day a band like this puts out a record on a label like this.

And when it comes to “a band like this,” DVNE stand largely apart despite pulling together familiar stylistic elements of progressive and post-metal. In their new single, “Sì-XIV,” their penchant for atmospherics does little to undercut the impact of harder-hitting stretches. This is actually the second audio to make its way to the public behind the issued-on-its-own Omega Severer (review here), which will also appear on Etemen Ænka when it arrives in March.

The PR wire has art and info to spare:

dvne Etemen Ænka

Dvne reveals details for new album, ‘Etemen Ænka’; launches video for new single, “Sì-XIV”

On March 19th, Dvne will release their sophomore album, Etemen Ænka, via Metal Blade Records. For a first preview of the record, a video for the new single “Si?-XIV” can be viewed at: metalblade.com/dvne – where Etemen Ænka can also be pre-ordered in the following formats:

– digisleeve-CD
– 180g black vinyl (EU exclusive)
– raisin rouge marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 400 copies)
– grey / yellow-green marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 300 copies)
– gold / black dust vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
– clear / black dust vinyl (Kings Road exclusive – limited to 100 copies)
– dark goldenrod marbled vinyl (US exclusive)
– clear ash gray marbled vinyl (US exclusive)

Dvne comments: “With the context of covid and the strong travel restrictions we’ve had in the UK and Europe, shooting ‘SI-XIV’ was a real challenge, but we’re glad we could make it happen.
The video was split between two shoots: we worked once again with our close friends Just-Aurèle Meissonnier, Louis Macéra, Gilles Garniers and Michel Jocaille for the creature part of the shoot (shot in Paris); the rest of the video footage was shot in Edinburgh by Calum McMillan and our light tech Sam Jones.

We’ve always loved prosthetic effects and wanted to use our own creations in the video, but the overall aesthetic takes no small amount of inspiration from some of our favourite 70/80s sci-fi horror films. We had this concept of a weird humanoid-type creature facing the overwhelming harshness and the hopeless nature of its existence.

The video symbolically follows the narrative theme of the track within the new album, with the creature attempting to escape its nature through metamorphosis throughout the video. It was an incredibly fun few days setting up and shooting all the creature parts in Paris.”

Dvne are a band of great contrasts, weaving titanic heaviness and intricate gentleness together, complex lyrical ideas with engaging storylines, and this has only been expanded upon and concentrated on second album Etemen Ænka. “It’s an album that has a narrative musically, and we hope that will encourage the listener to explore the universe we’ve created around it,” states guitarist/vocalist Victor Vicart. “It is a very dense and layered album which will reward multiple listens, and while this is becoming a recurring aspect of our music, we feel that we went further with it this time. It’s also a very polarizing album, emotionally speaking. The heavy sections are, well, very heavy, while the clean sections are much more intricate and delicate – and in a way wouldn’t be out of place in a Studio Ghibli anime soundtrack.” Exploring everything in greater depth in every way, it is a profound step forward from 2017’s Asheran, starting an exciting new chapter in the existence of one of the most thrilling and imaginative metal bands active today. “We knew we wanted to include keys and synths in the equation. We wanted to be able to add new textures and new sounds that weren’t on our previous releases, and we felt that this was something that will give us more options creatively. Looking back, that was a great decision because we’ve used synths for everything, with ambient sounds, heavy subs and actual leads, which really added a new dynamic to this album. We’ve also kept this balance between down-tuned heavy riffs and clean movements, which were already present in ‘Asheran’, but we really wanted to make sure we could capture more details and subtleties once recorded,” explains Vicart. Synths are in fact so present, and at times so unapologetically 80s, that they sound like the soundtrack to a classic sci-fi, which may well surprise fans, the band confident in every step they took musically.

Etemen Ænka is also Dvne’s second collaboration with producer Graeme Young in Edinburgh’s Chamber Studio, having developed a great working relationship with him on Asheran – “he acts like an extra member of the band and really pushes us to do better takes.” This made for a smooth and productive recording process, the challenging part coming before they entered the studio. “The composition was challenging because we second guess every riff that gets written. We want to keep things fresh, and we want to keep the energy high too, so the initial creative stage can become intense. Then, because our tracks are pretty big and dense with ideas and movements, we didn’t finalize each track structure until we started laying down the drums. But I think it’s what made the whole recording process so much fun too, because it allowed us to really think about the different options available without committing to a final structure too early in the process.” The record also features guest vocals courtesy of Lissa Robertson, who sings on “Omega Severer” and “Asphodel” and contributes spoken word on “Weighing Of The Heart” – her voice adding yet another depth to the heavily layered collection.

Tracklisting:
1. Enûma Eliš
2. Towers
3. Court of the Matriarch
4. Weighing of the Heart
5. Omega Severer
6. Adræden
7. Sì-XIV
8. Mleccha
9. Asphodel
10. Satuya

https://www.facebook.com/DvneUK
https://twitter.com/SongsOfArrakis
https://www.instagram.com/dvne_uk/
https://songs-of-arrakis.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/metalbladerecords
https://www.instagram.com/metalbladerecords/
https://www.metalblade.com/

DVNE, “Sì-XIV” official video

Tags: , , , , ,

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

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

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

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

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Boris, No

boris no

As a general project, reviewing Boris is damn near pointless. One might as well review the moon: “uh, it’s big and out there most of the time?” The only reason to do it is either to exercise one’s own need to hyperbolize or help the band sell records. Well, Boris doesn’t need my push and I don’t need to tell them how great they are. No is 40 minutes of the widely and wildly lauded Japanese heavy rock(s) experimentalists trying to riff away existing in 2020, delving high speed into hardcore here and there and playing off that with grueling sludge, punk, garage-metal and the penultimate “Loveless,” which is kind of Boris being their own genre. Much respect to the band, and I suppose one might critique Boris for, what?, being so Boris-y?, but there really isn’t a ton that hasn’t been said about them because such a ton has. I’m not trying to disparage their work at all — No is just what you’d expect as regards defying expectation — but after 20-plus years, there’s only so many ways one wants to call a band genius.

Boris on Thee Facebooks

Boris on Bandcamp

 

DVNE, Omega Severer

DVNE Omega Severer

Kind of a soft-opening for Edinburgh’s DVNE as an act on Metal Blade Records, unless of course one counts the two songs on the Omega Severer EP itself, which are post-metallic beasts of the sort that would and should make The Ocean blush. Progressive, heavy, and remarkably ‘next-wave’ feeling, DVNE‘s awaited follow-up to 2017’s Asheran may only be about 17 and a half minutes long, but it bodes remarkably well as the band master a torrent of intensity on the 10-minute opening title-cut and answer that with the immediately galloping “Of Blade and Carapace,” smashing battle-axe riffing and progressive shimmer against each other and finding it to be an alchemy of their own. Album? One suspects not until they can tour for it, but if Omega Severer is DVNE serving notice, consider the message received loud, clear, dynamic, crushing, spacious, and so on. Already veterans of Psycho Las Vegas, they sound like a band bent on capturing a broader audience in the metallic sphere.

DVNE on Thee Facebooks

Metal Blade Records website

 

Hydra, From Light to the Abyss

hydra from light to the abyss

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

Hydra on Thee Facebooks

Piranha Music on Bandcamp

 

Jason Simon, A Venerable Wreck

jason simon a venerable wreck

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

Jason Simon on Bandcamp

BYM Records website

 

Cherry Choke, Raising Salzburg Rockhouse

Cherry Choke-Raising Salzburg Rockhouse-Cover

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

Cherry Choke on Thee Facebooks

Cherry Choke on Bandcamp

 

Pariiah, Swallowed by Fog

Pariiah swallowed by fog

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

Pariiah on Bandcamp

Trip Machine Laboratories website

 

Saavik, Saavik

saavik saavik

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

Saavik on Thee Facebooks

Other Electricities on Bandcamp

 

Mountain Tamer, Psychosis Ritual

mountain tamer psychosis ritual

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

Mountain Tamer on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

 

Centre El Muusa, Centre El Muusa

centre el muusa centre el muusa

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

Centre El Muusa on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Population II, À La Ô Terre

Population II a La o Terre

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

Population II on Thee Facebooks

Castle Face Records website

 

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

King Witch Post “Return to Dust” Video; Live Shows Announced

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 30th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

King Witch (photo by Alan Swan)

Shovels in the woods — never a good sign. I’ll take it though when it comes as part of a new King Witch video. As one has noted several times over at this point, 2020 feels particularly rough for good records that can’t get their due owing to a lack of live performances, and hell’s bells, that couldn’t possibly be truer of King Witch‘s second LP, Body of Light (review here). The thing happened to come out through Listenable Records on April 24, which was one of the busiest release dates of the year, and it ruled, but in addition to plenty of high-profile competition for the hard-earned cash and attention of the heavy underground listenership, it also happened to be in the middle of a friggin’ plague lockdown.

Let’s understate it for a change and call those circumstances “less than optimal.” So much metallic triumph throughout Body of Light and all anyone’s thinking about is how much groceries they need to buy in one trip so they can not leave the house for the next two weeks solid. Being in such a position has led bands to try all kinds of digitalia in order to self-promote. Streams, mostly, but also live and archival releases, all sorts of whatnot. Even just increased posting on social media, whatever shape that might take. Gotta work those algorithms. In the case of powerhouse vocalist Laura Donnelly, she went out to said woods with said shovel and a camera and made a video for the eight-minute epic-because-KingWitch-only-do-epic “Return to Dust” off of Body of Light, and you know what? It worked. Frankly, I’m just happy to have an excuse to put the record on again as a part of my day.

Live shows? Well, of course the list below should be taken with the now-usual caveats that everything depends on outbreaks and what public regulations are for the dates in question. As an American though, it’s hard to remember that everyone else on the planet seems to be handling the ol’ firelung so much better than my own country. I don’t know Scotland’s numbers, but I do know that if I were lucky enough to be in Edinburgh on Dec. 5, I’d get my ass to that show and hope for more in February.

Video and dates follow, as well as some comment from Donnelly via the PR wire.

Enjoy:

King Witch, “Return to Dust” official video

Critically acclaimed by the international press for their new album ‘Body of Light ‘ , King witch unveil today their new brand video ” Return to dust “

Laura Donnelly explains the making of this supernatural video: “I created the video during lockdown in our local forest and at home. I hope it conveys a sense of fragility whilst engulfed in heavy riffage. I think the colour and mood suits the song very well – helping to give a supernatural vibe. My neighbours however will totally think I’m a complete weirdo after hearing me almost drown in my bath several times and being caught in the woods digging a hole and burying myself. When Jamie first let me listen to the original ideas for ‘Return to Dust; I was immediately dropped into a Clint Eastwood/Ennio Morricone Spaghetti Western. The song however quickly changes to become something a lot darker. I had not long read the graphic novel Preacher and really liked the idea of mixing the supernatural with dusty desert tales. “Return to Dust” is basically about someone dying and crossing over to the other side. They are confused and frightened but the reality of the situation soon becomes clear, there is nothing to mourn. They know what they must do – return to dust.”

KING WITCH ’s ‘Body of Light’ was Recorded at Deep Storm Productions, produced and Mixed by Kevin Hare and Jamie Gilchrist and mastered by Tom Dring.

King Witch live:
5th DEC 2020 – EDINBURGH – LA BELLE ANGELE
4th FEB 2021 – EDINBURGH – THE HIVE
5th FEB 2021 – GLASGOW – IVORY BLACKS
6th FEB 2021- IPSWITCH – MUSIC ROOMS
7th FEB 2021 – BRADFORD – THE UNDERGROUND
12th FEB 2021 – SWANSEA – HANGER 18
13th FEB 2021 – LONDON – THE DEVONSHIRE ARMS
14th FEB 2021 – OXFORD – THE WHEATSHEAF

MORE TO BE CONFIRMED …

King Witch are :
Laura Donnelly – Vocals
Jamie Gilchrist – Guitar
Rory Lee – Bass
Lyle Brown – Drums

King Witch on Thee Facebooks

King Witch on Instagram

King Witch on Bandcamp

Listenable Records website

Listenable Records on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,