The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Playlist: Episode 37

Posted in Radio on June 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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So I guess this is the episode where I play Free Reliable Sources For Research Papers, Software and Services Sleep‘s Thinking to get services from a highly professional writing services that not provide you with Royale Business Club Compensation Plan but also impart their clients with Dopesmoker in its entirety. I’ve wanted to play a full record for a while now, mostly because that’s how I like listening to stuff at home, so I figured if I’m going to do a thing, I might as well go completely over the top with it, which I’m pretty sure is also what Finding it difficult to correct your dissertation as per the feedback? Contact us today to avail our How To Write Research Proposal to get the correction Sleep said when they recorded that album in the first place. Works for me.

Some good new stuff in there too. I like  Looking for someone to help you with bibliography? Check out our service and find more info today! Get awesome results without spending much Orsak:Oslo‘s new EP a lot, and that  Choose the Home Page writing services that will help you to complete you MIT PhD thesis, or any other PhD thesis. Get PhD thesis online help here Empress track that premiered here kind of stuck with me. The  First paragraph of an argumentative essay on a rose describe a great time you. The Associated Press delivers in-depth http://www.noemarch.cz/?an-outline-for-a-book-report coverage on today's Big Kairon: IRSE! is weird and I find that delightful, especially coming out of  I provide sees so that you can publish your eBook under your own name. I will research, structure, write and edit your eBook. Slift and  We provide http://www.sampans.fr/?philosophy-writing-experts services by professional editors who are trained for editing academic documents including thesis and dissertations. Order our Rrrags, both of which have gotten far less coverage around here than they deserve. Kind of a fucked Spring/early Summer. Sorry. Doing my best. And I figured new-ish  Custom Writing Service Org.Write my philosophy education paper.Paper Writer Services.Write my paper for school. http://kubsafety.ru/?do-my-homework-for-money a research Goatsnake and new  Nedbank Business Plan - Allow us to take care of your essay or dissertation. Essays & researches written by high class writers. professional writers Brimstone Coven were good to lead off. Can’t really miss, right?

But anyway, “Dopesmoker.” It’s fucking “Dopesmoker.” I don’t know if I’ll play other full albums, make it a thing I do on the show, but it was fun this time and that’s good enough for one episode.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at http://gimmeradio.com

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 06.26.20

Goatsnake Breakfast with the King Breakfast with the King b/w Deathwish* 0:04:57
Brimstone Coven The Inferno The Woes of a Mortal World* 0:04:29
Orsak:Oslo 057 Passage Skimmer EP* 0:05:16
Empress Lion’s Blood Premonition* 0:09:39
VOICE TRACK
Rrrags Dark is the Day High Protein* 0:08:01
Slift Lions, Tigers & Bears Ummon* 0:13:18
Kairon: IRSE! An Bat None Polysomn* 0:06:04
VOICE TRACK
Sleep Dopesmoker Dopesmoker 1:03:31

The Obelisk Show on find this - Get started with essay writing and compose greatest dissertation ever get a 100% original, plagiarism-free essay you Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is July 9 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

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POLL: The Top 20 Albums of the 2010s — RESULTS!

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

top-20-of-2010s-poll-results

A few lessons were learned undertaking The Obelisk’s first end-of-decade poll. Primarily what people’s picks were, but more than that, just how broad the definition of ‘heavy’ has become and how encompassing these ideas are that some of what features on these lists is situated next to each other.

Like any decade, it had its movements and its landmarks, its triumphs and its flameouts, but standing on the other end of it, all I can say is, “Holy shit, that was a lot of riffs.”

And so it was.

I don’t even remember how long this poll ran, but it was a while. It and the top 20 of 2019 poll kind of cannibalized each other in terms of participation, I think, so I wanted to keep it open for a long time in case someone had more to say. One way or the other, considering 10 years of releases is a significant effort. I probably should’ve had it up for the entirety of 2019.

Maybe in 2029. I’m sure by then the site will be run by a much more efficient artificial intelligence anyway and I will have long since uploaded my brainwaves to the cloud, where I’ll live forever as a disembodied wisp.

You know what’s up, so I won’t delay, except to thank everyone who took part in this — and to remind of the rules: At the end, there are two lists, one of the raw votes, and one in which a 1-4 ranking is worth five points, 5-8 worth four, 9-12 worth three, 13-16 worth two and 17-20 worth one.

Here are the lists:

Top 20 of the 2010s — Weighted Results

sleep the sciences

1. Sleep, The Sciences (295 points)
2. Elder, Lore (254)
3. Elder, Dead Roots Stirring (223)
4. Elder, Reflections of a Floating World (201)
5. Graveyard, Hisingen Blues (181)
6. YOB, Clearing the Path to Ascend (161)
7. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Blood Lust (155)
7. Om, Advaitic Songs (150)
8. Clutch, Earth Rocker (131)
9. Red Fang, Murder the Mountains (107)
10. Colour Haze, She Said (96)
11. Earthless, From the Ages (92)
12. All Them Witches, Lightning at the Door (91)
13. All Them Witches, Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (87)
14. YOB, Our Raw Heart (85)
15. Baroness, Yellow & Green (79)
16. Clutch, Psychic Warfare (78)
17. Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree (72)
18. Baroness, Purple (70)
18. High on Fire, Snakes for the Divine (70)
19. King Buffalo, Longing to be the Mountain (66)
20. The Sword, Warp Riders (63)

Number of student asks us, can I pay you to like it for me? Our experts always say yes that we do your dissertation efficiently at cheap. Honorable Mention:
Pallbearer, Foundations of Burden (62)
Monolord, Empress Rising (60)
YOB, Atma (59)
Greenleaf, Rise Above the Meadow (54)
Stoned Jesus, Seven Thunders Roar (54)
Bell Witch, Mirror Reaper (53)

Top 20 of the 2010s — Raw Votes

sleep the sciences

1. Sleep, The Sciences (81 votes)
2. Elder, Lore (64)
3. Elder, Reflections of a Floating World (57)
4. Elder, Dead Roots Stirring (56)
5. Graveyard, Hisingen Blues (49)
6. YOB, Clearing the Path to Ascend (45)
7. Om, Advaitic Songs (43)
7. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Blood Lust (43)
8. Clutch, Earth Rocker (37)
9. Red Fang, Murder the Mountains (31)
10. Earthless, From the Ages (28)
11. Baroness, Yellow & Green (25)
11. YOB, Our Raw Heart (25)
12. All Them Witches, Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (24)
12. All Them Witches, Lightning at the Door (24)
12. Colour Haze, She Said (24)
13. Clutch, Psychic Warfare (23)
13. Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree (23)
14. Baroness, Purple (22)
15. High on Fire, Snakes for the Divine (19)
16. King Buffalo, Longing to Be the Mountain (18)
16. Monolord, Empress Rising (18)
17. Monolord, Rust (18)
17. 1000mods, Super Van Vacation (17)
17. Green Lung, Woodland Rites (17)
17. Stoned Jesus, Seven Thunders Roar (17)
17. The Sword, Warp Riders (17)
18. Bell Witch, Mirror Reaper (16)
18. Greenleaf, Rise Above the Meadow (16)
18. High on Fire, Luminiferous (16)
18. King Buffalo, Orion (16)
18. Monolord, No Comfort (16)
18. Truckfighters, Universe (16)
18. Wo Fat, The Black Code (16)
19. Earthless, Black Heaven (15)
20. Kadavar, Abra Kadavar (14)
20. Vista Chino, Peace (14)

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Causa Sui, Euporie Tide (13)
Wo Fat, The Conjuring (13)

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I’m quite sure there were more on the lists with 13 votes than those two in the Honorable Mentions for the raw votes, but for a Top 20 that already features 37 entries, you’ll pardon me if maybe I’m a little less inclined to go hunting. In any case, both lists ultimately paint a similar picture: Sleep and Elder dominated. It’s interesting because if you think about it, one are the established masters and the other represent the next generation. Elder are veterans by now, but it’s in this decade, the 2020s, that their influence is really going to flesh out as bands working in their wake continue to develop, whereas I think it’s fair to say Sleep have already had a monstrous impact on capital-‘h’ Heavy. That dichotomy is fun, but it’s of course just the beginning of the story that unfolds here when one considers the span of years encompassed and the swath of heavy offerings. Note Green Lung getting some love for their 2019 debut. No pressure, chaps. And I don’t think it’s arguable that groups like Earthless, All Them Witches, Graveyard, YOB, Elephant Tree and King Buffalo well earned places on the list. I was glad to see Bell Witch made it too, and some of the repeat offenders like Monoord and High on Fire were of course going to be present and accounted for. It’s a list of the decade’s best records. Of course it’s good.

Thank You

Massive thanks to the nearly 300 — I think the final tally was 293 — people who participated in this poll. It was a lot to consider and I genuinely appreciate the thought and effort people put into making their picks. This was a special one and your being a part of it if you were is incredibly meaningful. If you spent a decade listening to awesome music, I hope you feel excellent about that, because you should.

And of course, thanks for reading as always.

All submitted lists follow here after the jump. Have fun.

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Sleep Announce ‘Hypersleep’ Indefinite Hiatus Starting in January

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Sleep (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Sleep‘s Nostromo-software social media check-in method has provided the update that after their coming three-night stint at Thalia Hall in Chicago, they’ll go into an indefinite ‘hypersleep,’ which is basically being interpreted as a hiatus. Hey, fair enough. I mean, it’s been a decade, and for a band who were done, who lost their original drummer and whose bassist and guitarist had moved on to other, interesting, groundbreaking projects, to ask Sleep to get back together to even do a couple gigs a year was a lot, let alone the kind of touring they wound up doing over the course of the 2010s, headlining festivals and eventually releasing new material, first in the 2014 single “The Clarity” (review here) and then in last year’s holy-shit-there’s-a-new-Sleep-album The Sciences (review here) as well as its companion single “Leagues Beneath” (discussed here) and the follow-up 2019 3LP live album, Live at Third Man Records (review here), so it doesn’t seem unreasonable if they want to step away from it all for a bit. Matt Pike has continued with High on Fire and Al Cisneros has kept Om kind of in his pocket for a while now. Maybe they’ll get those revved up to full-time status — High on Fire kind of already are (they’re about to tour again), but still — while Jason Roeder works on other stuff, including Neurosis, who’ve also been touring more over the last several years.

The point is that listeners were lucky to get as much as they got from Sleep over the last 10 years, because it was never supposed to be like that. And to listeners’ credit, I think it was audience that kept the band going. People kept showing up, and that kept the material vital. Few and far between are the acts who’ve had as much of an influence on the heavy underground worldwide, from the crustiest doom to the stonedest of the stoned, and though they’ll be missed while they’re gone, it seems worth it to appreciate the fact that they came back at all rather than be like, “Oh this is bullshit because Sleep aren’t playing my house,” or whatever. These guys don’t owe anyone anything. Just the opposite.

Hey Sleep — thanks for everything. Hope to see you again soon.

Here’s their post and dates:

sleep hiatus

Sleep live:
Dec. 29 Thalia Hall Chicago IL
Dec. 30 Thalia Hall Chicago IL
Dec. 31 Thalia Hall Chicago IL

Sleep are:
Al Cisneros
Matt Pike
Jason Roeder

Sleep on Thee Facebooks

Sleep website

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Sleep, Live at Third Man Records: The Botanist Goes to Nashville

Posted in Reviews on May 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

sleep live at third man records

‘The Vault’ is a quarterly subscription service from Third Man Records, the Nashville-based imprint, record store, studio and apparently live venue owned by Jack White, formerly of The White Stripes and currently of Jack White doing whatever the hell he wants, which would seem to include putting out Sleep records. The subscription fee is $60 per quarter, so not nothing, but the pull is that the releases are exclusive and limited, and at least in the case of Sleep‘s Live at Third Man Records, that $60 breaks down to $15 per each different-colored LP of a quadruple-LP box set release. It almost sounds sensible at that rate. I don’t know what releasing Sleep did for subscriptions, but the package in which Live at Third Man Records arrives is equal parts gorgeous and heavy — that is, you feel like you’re carrying records when you hold it, because you are — and with this kind of release, that’s definitely a piece of the experience, like the poster and patch also included.

The other part is a two-hour live set from Sleep — vocalist/bassist Al Cisneros, guitarist Matt Pike, drummer Jason Roeder — recorded in Dec. 2018, months after the release of their awaited album, The Sciences (review here), and its companion single “Leagues Beneath” (review here), that finds the landmark trio playing much of the record to a duly salivating audience, as well as classics from 2003’s Dopesmoker (discussed here) and the mega-influential 1993 sophomore outing, Sleep’s Holy Mountain (reissue review here). It is, essentially, a fan piece, special in hindsight for those who were there to see it and a work for the rest of us plebs to chase down however possible. For what it’s worth, I don’t imagine anyone who is a more than casual Sleep fan doing so would regret it. The sound throughout the 11-song set is raw in live-set-recorded-to-acetate fashion, but that does no disservice to the material, and the band of course sound spot on. If they didn’t, Live at Third Man Records probably wouldn’t exist. It’s about as close to a sure thing as you can get, again, if you’re a fan.

They open with “Leagues Beneath” and then go directly into the trimmed down version of “Dopesmoker” they’ve been playing live for however long. It’s broken up into “Dopesmoker Pt. 1” and a much-shorter “Dopesmoker Pt. 2” and when one factors in the subsequent “Holy Mountain,” that already covers sides A, B and C in basically three songs. Welcome to the Sleep show. It’s as though they knew their audience showed up wanting to get pummeled by riffs so they got it out of the way quickly so they could get down to the business of… more pummeling with riffs, I guess. But what a way to go. Cisneros‘ vocals sound right on in a way that demonstrates how much he’s found a way to meld the newer, less guttural vocal style of the more recent songs with his throatier past, and his vocal patterning in “Dopesmoker” only adds to that meisterwerk’s unique appeal.

sleep

Of The Sciences, only “Antarcticans Thawed” isn’t aired (or the title-track intro, if you want to be technical about it), and a slowed down version of “Sonic Titan,” particularly in following “The Clarity” (review here), which was released in 2014 as a standalone single and the band’s first studio work in more than a decade, which also hits the brakes on tempo to some degree, is a righteous highlight, with Roeder‘s march setting the pace via snare taps that do justice to original drummer Chris Hakius while adding his own sense of purpose to each crash that accompanies. Likewise, Pike‘s solo shred is a fitting reminder of his near-unmatched stage force. “Sonic Titan” accounts for side E all on its own after “The Clarity” and “Aquarian” on side D, and from there, the three-piece dig even deeper into The Sciences, with “Marijuanaut’s Theme,” “Giza Butler” and “The Botanist” one into the next.

The difference is a live version of “Sonic Titan” had appeared on the 2003 Tee Pee release of Dopesmoker, but the other three were exclusive to the new record. The band break into the manic groove of “Marijuanaut’s Theme” after “Sonic Titan,” and then follow with “Giza Butler”‘s mellow intro and omega-riff later. With the languid, solo-topped “The Botanist” as a comedown after that, it’s as dynamic as Sleep have ever sounded on a recording, and absolutely representative of what they do on stage, whether it’s Cisneros announcing “The pterodactyl flies again over emerald fields” as part of the weedian storytelling of “Giza Butler” or Roeder‘s final tom fill in “The Botanist.” Closing out with “Dragonaut” is essentially a victory lap.

One more full dose of fuzz overload is applied, and Sleep ride the dragon on Mars all the way to unmatched stoner supremacy. The recording ends with Pike‘s guitar feeding back while the crowd cheers, which is a pretty efficient way of saying it all. I don’t think Live at Third Man Records is a release for a novice Sleep fan, and I also think that if one hasn’t seen Sleep since The Sciences came out, something of the context here will be lost. However, I also don’t really think Sleep have casual fans. This isn’t a band you maybe put on every now and again because, eh, whatever. This is a band that incites worship, as the increasingly rabid response to their post-reunion run has shown.

As they’ve shifted back to being a working band promoting a new album, touring, headlining festivals, etc., they’ve not only harnessed a new generation of followers, but they’ve managed to give those who would pay homage a fitting altar to do so. They’re as much a community as a band at this point, and Live at Third Man Records is more than just a companion to The Sciences. It’s a document for and of that community at a pivotal moment, just months after the surprise release of that studio album, capturing the band as they set about that work. Not everyone’s going to get it, but isn’t that part of the appeal too?

Sleep, “Dopesmoker” live at Third Man Records

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Sleep website

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Desertfest Belgium 2019: Sleep, Truckfighters, Temple Fang, Monomyth and 30,000 Monkies to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

desertfest belgium 2019 banner

Even as the first-ever Desertfest New York gets ready to roll out next week and Desertfest London and Berlin prepare to follow soon thereafter, the autumnal incarnation, Desertfest Belgium 2019, has begun to unveil its lineup for this October. They had their work cut out for them in topping the 2018 lineup, but let’s face it, if you’re going to do that, announcing Sleep as a headliner right out of the gate is probably the way to go. It’s like, “Oh, well, that settles that, then. This’ll rule.” Not that the reunited Truckfighters, Monomyth, Temple Fang or even 30,000 Monkies are anything to sneeze at, but let’s face it, you don’t announce Sleep first unless you’re trying to make an impression. Mission accomplished. Impression made.

This of course will be the first of many Desertfest Belgium 2019 announcements, and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if by the time October gets here, Desertfest London and Berlin are back revealing their respective lineups for 2020. The cycle is ongoing. Cyclical, you might say.

Here’s word from Antwerp:

desertfest belgium 2019 first poster

The moment you have all been waiting for! The first thing we can tell you about DFBE ’19 is that YES, your prayers have been answered. The Mighty Sleep will be headlining our Fest this year!

Of course, that’s just the first of many names. We are equally delighted to welcome back Truckfighters and the cosmic Monomyth to our stage. For more Northern heavy pysch grooves, look no further than Temple Fang. And finally, we want to introduce you to the first Belgian homebrew act for this year’s Fest: 30,000 Monkies.

And with that, the ticket sale is ON! Reduced Combi Tickets are available for a limited time only for €100, all costs included. We have also brought back the Hotel Accommodation deal, find the details on our website. Be swift to avoid disappointment, go get them tickets!

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/2260579413999993/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Sleep, “Sonic Titan” live at Roadburn 2019

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Live Review: ROADBURN 2019 Day Four, 04.14.19

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2019 banner day four

04.14.19 – 01.17 CET – Sunday night – Hotel

Just now, before I sat down to write this post, I went to the tap in the bathroom to refill my water bottle. You can drink the tap water here — it’s really something. Anyhow, I stick the bottle under the cold water and look down about two seconds later to see I’ve left the cap on. Water running down the side of bottle. That’s about where one’s head is at on this last day of Roadburn 2019. You ever been nostalgic about something while it’s still going on? Yeah, emotions are running high in Tilburg. Many hugs, many slaps on the back, many see-you-next-years from one denizen of this temporary planet to another. Lucy in Blue (Photo by JJ Koczan)Indeed, even strung out on caffeine and obliterated by volume, it’s difficult to say goodbye to Roadburn, always.

Still somewhat reminiscent of when it was the Afterburner, Roadburn‘s Day Four has fewer stages, but I mean, it’s still four. Five if you count the Ladybird Skatepark, which I was at twice today. So yeah, not a laid back affair. And while the shows ended earlier — Imperial Triumphant and Cave both ended at 00.30, in Patronaat and the Green Room, respectively — the day also started early, with Lucy in Blue going on in the Green Room at 14.00 presenting their new album, In Flight, in its entirety. Based in Iceland, their sound is a classically progressive kind of rock with notable use of keys and vocal harmonies to go with the kraut-ish riffing and repetitive progressions.

They were young, but had both a firm grip on their aesthetic intentions and many aspects of their performance. Maybe some kinks to work out in terms of songwriting efficiency and their onstage persona, but the elements were there in a way that you couldn’t call anything other than encouraging. They were a mellow start to the day for those not watching Have a Nice Life on the Main Stage next door, and as far as I’m concerned, that was welcome. I did pop over to check out some of the Connecticut-based unit, Supersonic Blues (Photo by JJ Koczan)but only after Lucy in Blue were well in flight and had left the ground behind. It was a palpable contrast.

Didn’t watch Daughters. I know. But, well, Supersonic Blues were added last-minute to play at the skatepark, and well, they ruled last year, so it seemed like an easy-enough pick to head up and see them again. There were more skaters than yesterday, but they cleared out so the Dutch three-piece could play. Like Lucy in Blue, Supersonic Blues are probably under 30 — unless I’m just old enough now that 30 year olds look like kids; possible — but they command a warmth of tone and a sense of appreciation for classic boogie rock that comes complemented by an easy-rolling sense of craft and a sans-pretense approach to what they’re doing. I’ll take that any, any, any day of the week. I heard they got added yesterday and was only stoked that I’d get to see them again. They’ve had two singles out but sound like they’re about ready for a first LP, or at very least an EP.

A little bit of continuity to the start of the day between Lucy in Blue and Supersonic Blues, and though that coolest of colors wouldn’t factor into the moniker of Stuck in Motion, there was plenty of blues in their sound, and a fervent ’70s stylization as well. They fit with what I was looking for, is the short version of theStuck in Motion (Photo by JJ Koczan) story, and I stood and watched from the Green Room balcony as they classic-heavied their way into the hearts and heads of the assembled, easing out sleek grooves and keyboards/organ that only added to the depth of the melody. Cool band, and I felt justified in not fighting my way to the front to take photos by how chill their sound was. As if to say, “It’s cool man, you go ahead and take this one easy. We will too.” It was a winning decision all the way around, I think.

I had gotten turned onto their 2018 self-titled debut (review here) by Walter on Facebook posting about them, so checking them out in the flesh only seemed fair. They were cool, but I felt like I owed it to myself to watch Thou close out their residency on the Main Stage. Given the set they played last night at the skatepark doing Misfits covers, somehow a straight-ahead performance seemed anticlimactic, but hell’s bells were they heavy. I mean, really. Spread out across the stage, they brought full-on volume to the kind of atmospheres they had in their almost-acoustic set the other night, something disquieting in the mood and challenging of themselves and their audience. They are a band people really like. A lot. I can’t say that I’m a Thou (Photo by JJ Koczan)huge Thou fan like the people I saw chasing down the vinyl over in the merch area, but they’re undeniably powerful on stage, whether screaming or melodic, loud or quiet, or, you know, playing Misfits tunes, as one apparently will. I know they played like 50 sets in the last four days, but how could they not be back at some point in the years to come?

That question gave me something to ponder as I plotzed up to the Ladybird Skatepark for the last time to see Bismuth, who played earlier in the fest but were given another chance to volume-pummel everything in their path. Loud? Shit. There were parts of that building vibrating that were not meant to vibrate. Bassist/vocalist Tanya Byrne won Roadburn 2019 as regards t-shirts with the selection of Khanate, and she and drummer Joe Rawlings doled out grueling nod and brutal tone with unmitigated intensity. Their 2018 album, The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef (discussed here), was some manner of preparation for seeing them live in terms of the basic air-from-lungs push of low-end — also tree-trunk drumsticks — but the volume factor made it all the more of a steamroller running atop the assembled masses Bismuth (Photo by JJ Koczan)in the skatepark, that big, high-ceilinged space seeming to fill up with sound no matter where you stood. Audio as a physical presence. It was righteous.

And then, of course, Sleep played. As far as culminations go, one could hardly ask for more than Sleep returning after so dutifully handing the 013 its ass last night to play their 2018 album, The Sciences (review here), front-to-back. But here’s the thing: Sleep played last night doing Sleep’s Holy Mountain in full. It was incredible. But The Sciences was better. The material sounded fresher, the band sounded more comfortable, and I’m not sure there’s hyperbole dramatic enough for how fucking loud they were. It was incredible. I’ve been lucky enough to see Sleep a few times. My go-to for the best I ever saw them was Roadburn 2012 (review here). After tonight, I might have to change my opinion. There was a technical glitch or two along the way — Matt Pike blew out one of his several guitar heads — but he, Al Cisneros and Jason Roeder Sleep (Photo by JJ Koczan)were utterly incredible. It was the kind of set that could make you believe in the magic of Christmas. A true Santa Claus of a set. They threw in “Holy Mountain” and “Dragonaut” as well, I guess just in case anyone in the room wasn’t there the night before. I heard no complaints for the repeaters, and registered none myself. Those songs too were better the second time around.

No clue how many times I’ve made this observation, but I think Jason Roeder might be the best drummer I’ve ever watched play. Yeah, Matt Pike just won a Grammy with High on Fire, and Al Cisneros deserves a Nobel for his work in Om, but between those two titans, Roeder — who, just to mention it so you don’t think I’m undercutting his own pedigree, was well established in fucking Neurosis before he joined Sleep in place of original drummer Chris Hakius — is crucial to the band Sleep have become. It was all the more emphasized in the The Sciences material, songs like “Sonic Titan” and “Giza Butler,” which unto itself was a highlight of the entire festival. If last night was a celebration of Sleep‘s earlier glories, then tonight was confirmation of the reason they’re the most influential riffers since Black Sabbath themselves. They were a joy to behold, and the perfect ending to my own personal Roadburn 2019.

There was a line outside Het Patronaat as I was leaving after aSleep (Photo by JJ Koczan) few quick goodbyes. Imperial Triumphant would be on shortly as the last Roadburn band ever to play the venue — there’s a bit of festival trivia for you — and I heard they were doing a whole thing with masks, but honestly, how could I ever hope to improve on the night I’d just had or what I’d just seen? Sad as it was to realize, it was time to go.

So I went. Roadburn 2019 ended on a higher note than I could’ve wished for, and I walked out of the 013 and down Weirdo Canyon to get back to the hotel sweaty, smelling like smoke, tired, hungry, thirsty and sore, but still feeling 100 percent refreshed. The only tragedy is it’s another year till the next one.

Thanks for reading. I’ll close out the Roadburn coverage tomorrow assuming I have time, but first and foremost thank you for reading. You’re pretty great.

More pics after the jump.

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Live Review: ROADBURN 2019 Day Three, 04.13.19

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Roadburn 2019 banner (Photo by JJ Koczan)

04.14.19 – 02.15 CET – Saturday night – Hotel

It snowed today. That was a first. Hail too. I wasn’t outside for it, but unless European snow bounces, it was hail, followed by snow. 11 Roadburns later, Tilburg still holds a few surprises. And no, I don’t just mean the secret Thou set where they did the Misfits covers and Emma Ruth Rundle got in on the action, though that too.

ROADBURN 2019 WEATHERThe weather wasn’t a hardship or anything — the joke was that Sumac were so heavy they made it hail, and fair enough — since apart from a short walk here or there I spent very nearly the entire day inside. I was bumming hard after finding out about a brutal fuckup on my part with today’s issue of the daily ‘zine, the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch. Basically I left out an important piece and we’ll run it tomorrow anyway, but I still felt very, very much like shit about it. Like, “I don’t deserve to be here” beating myself up. I went and found the writer in question and damn near broke out into tears apologizing.

I know it’s a festival fanzine and all, but that shit is important to me, and it was squarely my mistake that dropped the article. It won’t be as timely tomorrow when it goes in the issue. I know it’s not the end of the world, ultimately, but this fest puts its faith in me not to screw up doing this one thing, and I screwed it up. I’d already seen Temple Fang and Wolvennest and a couple seconds of Confusion Master by then, and I thought long and hard about just coming back to the hotel and going to bed, but eventually got it together. It sucks being bad at, like, everything you do.

Like I said, I saw Temple Fang again. They opened up the pre-show on Wednesday (review here), and they opened up today in a kind of super-early showcase slot at 1:30PM in an especially foggy Hall of Fame, up by the Koepelhal and the Ladybird Skatepark, which is very quickly becoming another Roadburn venue. Launching with “Gemini,” Temple Fang were this time around a little less Temple Fang (Photo by JJ Koczan)tense — maybe just waking up — and a little more locked into an overarching groove that still highlighted their progressive take on space rock and psychedelia, but seemed to give the songs a little more space to breathe. I’m not sure I can speak to exactly what the difference was. It might’ve been just as simple as playing a little more relaxed. But both sets showed the serious potential on the part of the band and my only problem with seeing them play a second time was that it meant they did not immediately on Thursday morning enter the studio to record their debut album, which had been my hope after their first show. Oh well. Always tomorrow, guys.

Wolvennest opened the Main Stage, with theremin, incense and a few skulls here and there amid their darkened cult rock atmospherics. The Brussels-based outfit are celebrating the release this month of their new EP, Vortex, which came out last week through the ever-tasteful Ván Records, and I have no doubt they persuaded a few heads with their murky vibe and swirling, obscure but still progressive heaviness. Fronted by Sharon Shazzula, who’s done work over the years with Aqua Nebula Oscillator, Kadavar, Farflung and a host of others — in addition to having founded Swamp Booking — and she and the full band alongside her brought a consuming wash of noise to the big room at the 013, and once I got back from my Wolvennest (Photo by JJ Koczan)Beto-esque apology tour (except I meant it), I found I was even more into it near the finish. It was somewhere between black metal, psychedelia and lurch, and wherever that was, that seemed definitely like the place to be. I’m sure someone cleverer than me has already invented a genre tag for it. To me it just sounded awesome.

Today was Maalstroom — a massive celebration of Dutch black metal held at Het Patronaat and given the added poignancy of also serving as an ad hoc tribute to former Dodecahedron frontman Michiel Eikenaar, who passed away yesterday after a long illness. Malstroom itself is the third of Roadburn 2019’s commissioned projects, and like last year’s Vánagandr formed of Icelandic black metallers, Maalstroom drew/draws from various projects working together on a new piece as a new entity. The whole day at the church was dedicated to it, and though my own adventure would take me on a different path, it would be hard not to admire the vision in putting that kind of thing together with Witte Wieven, Turia, Laster, Terzij de Horde, the aforementioned Dodecahedron and then Maalstroom itself to close out. One way or the other, it was going to be a special day.

Sumac (Photo by JJ Koczan)There were also more acts today from Tomas Lindberg‘s curation, including UranThe Exorcist GBG, and Orchestra of Constant Distress, and it was the Exile on Mainstream Records 20th anniversary celebration. Oh, and Sleep played Sleep’s Holy Mountain (2009 reissue review here) in its entirety. You know, because why not. I wound up flitting back and forth between 013 and the Koepelhal complex for the day, as I think a lot of people did who didn’t otherwise camp out at the Patronaat. Sumac absolutely floored me playing the Main Stage. What’s been my hesitation with those guys? I have no idea. I’ve dug both their records — last year’s Love in Shadow (review here) and 2016’s What One Becomes (review here) — but I still never really considered myself a fan. It’s Aaron Turner (ex-Isis, etc.), Bryan Cook (Russian Circles) and Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists), and their tone was probably the heaviest I’d heard this weekend up to that point. I don’t know what my hangup was with that band, but yeah, I’ll go ahead and credit the universe with being right on that one. More records to buy: just what I need.

Mythic Sunship had added another set at the Skatepark — they wound up playing three times, so I’m extra glad I caught them at least once — so I made my way up there and stopped in Koepelhal first to see Boston’s Morne, who were casting death across that packed and massive space. Couldn’t help but notice guitarist/vocalist Milosz Gassan wearingMorne (Photo by JJ Koczan) a t-shirt for Armageddon Shop (or Armageddon Boston, to be more specific) on the stage. Today was apparently Record Store Day, so fair enough. Roadburn never seems to lack for commerce, as the merch area just outside the Koepelhal proper shows, but I’m sure plenty of people also made it over to Sounds, which is the local shop down the road a little ways. I went once. It was cool. This year, however, my feet were glued in place for Morne, who issued their To the Night Unknown LP through that same Armageddon Shop label last year. No regrets. Their sound has the classic emotional crux of death-doom but toys with that balance effectively and still holds a pervasive sense of atmosphere.

It was almost time for that Mythic Sunship show, and I was looking forward to it, but Treedeon in the Hall of Fame for the Exile on Mainstream 20th anniversary was too good to pass up. The German trio’s bizarre noise rock is so emblematic of that label, and while I don’t think my tastes and those of Andreas Kohl, who runs imprint, always line up — though we’re both big Wino fans — it’s a fair bet that something on Exile on Mainstream is going to at very least be interesting. In the case of Treedeon, it was interestingTreedeon (Photo by JJ Koczan) like a fucking boot to the throat. Even their recorded work — the latest LP was 2018’s Under the Manchineel (review here) — doesn’t quite capture the density of their approach to noise rock, and golly it was loud in the Hall of Fame. It’s a low ceiling, so the sound just feels like it’s collapsing on you, and that suited Treedeon well in portraying another vision of extremity after Morne.

Among other things, it was about the polar opposite of seeing Mythic Sunship in a skate park, so that was fun. Indeed, dudes were skating on the ramps and rails and whatnot and looking annoyed as people started filing in for the show. Sorry. The Copenhagen four-piece have been on tour since April 4 supporting their excellent 2018 offering, Another Shape of Psychedelic Music (review here), and though they didn’t have the sax with them today as they apparently did yesterday, they still tore it up ferociously, by which I mean they played a smoothly progressive jam-based kraut-psych-rock and their chemistry was out in full force. Their drummer ate a banana right before they went on, which I’m sure helped keep his energy up, and the Ladybird filled up well for them. They’re the kind of band I’d probably never get to see if I wasn’t here, let alone see in such a context, so I was stoked on the opportunity and the outcome of it. I don’t think they will, but if they played another set tomorrow, I doubt anyone would complain, Mythic Sunship (Photo by JJ Koczan)except maybe those skateboarders.

Dinner was chicken in peanut sauce. I had a few quick bites and then went back to the Main Stage to watch the end of Cave In‘s set. I gotta say, I haven’t listened to Cave In actively in a long time, and I still knew just about every word to everything they were playing. That band can write a song. They had Nate Newton (Converge) on bass in the place of Caleb Scofield, who passed away and was memorialized with an acoustic set last year by his bandmates Steve Brodsky and Adam McGrath that’s since been released by Roadburn Records, and while I didn’t see the full set, what I caught was dead on. They’ve always occupied a space between punk, metal and rock, but they’ve also always made that space their own, and to see them do that in front of a crowd so into it as that at Roadburn was affirming even if I only caught a couple songs.

It was time for Sleep. There was the requisite changeover after Cave In, and fair enough for the mighty stacks of amps and cabinets brought out, as well as Jason Roeder‘s drum riser. I mean, Sleep playing Sleep’s Holy Mountain. In full. Sleep (Photo by JJ Koczan)Front-to-back. As the first of two nights of sets. What the hell more could you want? If your answer was, “maybe a shortened version of ‘Dopesmoker’ and ‘The Clarity,'” they did those too, but obviously the highlight was seeing Al CisnerosMatt Pike and Roeder run through those Holy Mountain tracks. Pike even switched to an acoustic guitar for an extended take on “Some Grass” ahead of “Aquarian.” The Main Stage hall was packed to the point that the upstairs balcony looked like it was about to spill over, and the whole room just became a sea of nodding heads to each riff. Everyone kept up with the changes. Everyone knew where they were going. It was yet another of those Roadburn things that make you feel so stupid lucky to be here to see. Funny how those keep popping up all weekend. Every year. All weekend. They’re back tomorrow doing The Sciences in full. Again, Roadburn.

There was still plenty of Roadburn day three to go, but I was (un)fairly beat. Still, there was one more thing I had to, had to, had to see, and it was Bellrope. They were closing out the Exile on Mainstream celebration at Hall of Fame, and though the hike up there felt daunting to my riffed-out legs, I did it anyway and got up there before the two-bass-one-guitar-all-smash German foursome got started. Their debut album, You Must Relax (review here), is on my list of 2019’s best despite (because of?) its initial feedback assault to weed out the Bellrope (Photo by JJ Koczan)weak-hearted among its listenership. They did similar on stage, by the way, but shorter, and with a mammoth and punishing low end push to fill out that feedback, it was brutal in the best way possible. They brought up two members of Treedeon for a guest vocal spot and the sort of sludge ensued that you should need a prescription to get, which should explain the line that went out the door.

Despite the day’s rough start with my stupid, stupid, stupid, unprofessional bullshit error in the ‘zine, it was still a day that was as fantastic as it was busy. Tomorrow is the end of Roadburn 2019, and it’s always bittersweet, so while I’m plenty exhausted, like At the Gates before me, I’m going to try to drink from the night itself and let adrenaline carry me through as, hopefully, it will.

Thanks for reading. More pics after the jump.

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The Top 20 of 2018 Year-End Poll — RESULTS!

Posted in Features on January 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

derp

If you’re reading this, congratulations on making it all the way through the existential rollercoaster that was 2018.

I hope you celebrated that year’s end and this year’s beginning in riotous fashion if that’s your thing, and if you’re more the stay-at-home-and-don’t-break-stuff type, I hope that was fun too.

Over the last month, best-of lists have been collected from all around the world and as we move into 2019, it’s time to do the results of the Year-End Poll for 2018.

What a year. As I look back on the lists submitted, of course I can’t help but think how absolutely incredible 2018 was for music. With the world crumbling around, creativity surged, and the quality of output was off the charts. I published my own list last week and was quickly inundated with stuff I forgot or that I missed owing to being robbed earlier this year — I guess I didn’t even realize until the post went up just how much that screwed me — and I’m sure there’s more still out there from what everyone turned in. It’s infinite. It keeps going. Trends change. Sounds change. People change. Creativity flourishes.

But I think if you’re reading this, you know why we’re here. We wound up with somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 discrete releases submitted. That’s more than five for every day of the year. And they came from 547 people, which is amazing. Accordingly, there should be plenty here to keep you busy for a while.

Not exactly suspenseful as to which was the album of the year, but it’s still interesting to see where stuff landed. Just to remind, there are two lists, one of the raw votes, and one in which a 1-4 ranking is worth five points, 5-8 worth four, 9-12 worth three, 13-16 worth two and 17-20 worth one. Thanks as always to Slevin for the help in setting up the back end functionality and compilation scripts.

Let’s go:

Top 20 of 2018 — Weighted Results

sleep the sciences

1. Sleep, The Sciences (1,087 points)
2. YOB, Our Raw Heart (721)
3. High on Fire, Electric Messiah (478)
4. Earthless, Black Heaven (413)
5. King Buffalo, Longing to Be the Mountain (408)
6. Windhand, Eternal Return (387)
7. All Them Witches, ATW (373)
8. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Wasteland (354)
9. Clutch, Book of Bad Decisions (323)
10. Fu Manchu, Clone of the Universe (315)
11. Greenleaf, Hear the Rivers (285)
12. Holy Grove, Holy Grove II (274)
13. Graveyard, Peace (225)
14. Brant Bjork, Mankind Woman (222)
15. Weedpecker, III (212)
16. Corrosion of Conformity, No Cross No Crown (197)
17. Monster Magnet, Mindfucker (189)
18. Conan, Existential Void Guardian (188)
19. The Skull, The Endless Road Turns Dark (167)
20. ASG, Survive Sunrise (164)

Honorable Mention:
Messa, Feast for Water (150)
Gozu, Equilibrium (148)
Judas Priest, Firepower (148)
Naxatras, III (148)
Forming the Void, Rift (146)

I’m not saying everyone had to love the Sleep record, but there’s no way it wasn’t the biggest underground heavy release of the year. That top spot was established the first day the poll went up and while YOB caught up as both neared 100 votes, there was no doubt how it would ultimately shake out. It was pretty clear early on what people were passionate about, but there are some interesting differences between the raw vote and the weighted results even high on the list, as you’ll see below.

Top 20 of 2018 — Raw Votes

sleep the sciences

1. Sleep, The Sciences (263 votes)
2. YOB, Our Raw Heart (185)
3. High on Fire, Electric Messiah (141)
4. Windhand, Eternal Return (115)
5. Earthless, Black Heaven (109)
6. King Buffalo, Longing to Be the Mountain (102)
7. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Wasteland (101)
8. All Them Witches, ATW (95)
8. Clutch, Book of Bad Decisions (95)
9. Fu Manchu, Clone of the Universe (93)
10. Greenleaf, Hear the Rivers (77)
10. Holy Grove, Holy Grove II (77)
11. Graveyard, Peace (69)
12. Brant Bjork, Mankind Woman (67)
13. Weedpecker, III (63)
14. Monster Magnet, Mindfucker (57)
14. Conan, Existential Void Guardian (57)
15. Corrosion of Conformity, No Cross No Crown (54)
16. The Skull, The Endless Road Turns Dark (50)
17. ASG, Survive Sunrise (48)
18. Gozu, Equilibrium (46)
19. Forming the Void, Rift (45)
20. Judas Priest, Firepower (43)
20. Khemmis, Bloodletting (43)
20. Mos Generator, Shadowlands (43)
20. Orange Goblin, The Wolf Bites Back (43)

Honorable Mention:
Messa, Feast for Water (41)
Domkraft, Flood (40)
Naxatras, III (40)
Thou, Magus (40)

Everything else got fewer than 40 raw votes. Why cap it at 40? I don’t know. Good a place as any. And when a top 20 has 26 releases on it, I don’t imagine there will be too many complaints about not enough stuff being included. One can hope, anyhow. You can see the difference between Sleep and everyone else here as well, a pretty precipitous drop after both them and YOB, and YOB and High on Fire — the top three being well ahead of everyone else in terms of general agreement.

The ‘Respect the Hustle’ Award

Somewhere around the middle of the month, I noticed a massive surge of votes for a band called Entropía and their debut album, Invisible. A bunch of people with lists of 20 just including Entropía. I’ve included them below, you can see them. I didn’t know what was up, whether it was the band spamming the vote or what, so I sent them a message. Turns out they had sent the link to their email list and asked for votes, and that’s how they all got in. Well, okay.

They wound up with well over 750 raw votes (to remind, Sleep got 263), and it didn’t feel representative to have them be album of the year, but hey, I respect the hustle, so they get the award accordingly. Nicely done, folks. I’ve been doing Year-End Polls since like 2010 and that’s never happened before. Their totals were 2,367 points and 777 votes.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading. Whether this is the only post you’ve seen this year or you click ‘Like’ on everything that comes across your Facebook feed, your support is tremendously appreciated. This is the only post that will go up today, but we’ll be back to business as usual tomorrow, and in the meantime, you’ll find everybody’s list included after the jump.

All the best for 2019.

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