The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 82

Posted in Radio on April 15th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

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A tribute to Roadburn Festival is about as close as I can come to an absolute no-brainer. My life is a Roadburn tribute. Nonetheless, to look directly at the 2022 lineup and consider everything the Netherlands-based festival has been through over the last three years — everything everyone has been through — it seemed like the least I could do. I’ve been to every Roadburn since 2009. This will be the first I miss in all that stretch.

In 2021 when they did the virtual Roadburn Redux, I didn’t watch most of it. It was cool, I saw the whole setup they had with the virtual meeting room and I watched some of the streams, but yeah, I just kind of felt sad about the whole thing. And I saw the writing on the wall this year with the daily festival ‘zine I’ve been editing for the last seven or however many years even before I was told it wasn’t happening. Roadburn never needed me, but knowing that it’s happening next week and not being able to be there is sad. This isn’t really a consolation prize so much as a short love letter to the fest and best wishes to anyone who finds themselves in that space. I will miss it.

Thanks if you listen, thanks if you’re reading. Thanks in general.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at:

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 04.15.22

Year of No Light Interdit aux Vivants, aux Morts et aux Chiens Consolamentum
Sum of R Lust Lahbryce
Alcest Spiritual Instinct Spiritual Instinct
Sólstafir Ljós Í Stormi Svartir Sandar
Lingua Ignota Katie Cruel Katie Cruel (single)
Mizmor Wit’s End Wit’s End
Cloud Rat Mouse Trap Cloud Rat
Warhorse Black Acid Prophecy As Heaven Turns to Ash
Emma Ruth Rundle Blooms of Oblivion Engine of Hell
Årabrot Feel it On Norwegian Gothic
Kanaan Return to the Tundrasphere Earthbound
Smote Moninna Bodkin
40 Watt Sun Until Perfect Light
Messa Pilgrim Close

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is April 29 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Metal website

The Obelisk on Facebook

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Roadburn 2022 Makes Second Lineup Announcement

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 30th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Roadburn 2022 redefining heaviness

A lot to dig into here, and I suppose that’s not really a surprise when it comes to Roadburn announcements. Likewise, not a shock to see Emma Ruth Rundle and Lingua Ignota here, as both are album-of-the-year candidates among the underground critical literati and Rundle was supposed to curate 2020’s fest. Cool to see Messa make a return as well, and that new Mizmor is sitting on my desktop waiting to be dug into. The new 40 Watt Sun will make some resonant listening live, as it does on record, and I’m curious to dig into Hangman’s Chair, as my impression of them is they sound like Type O Negative but from Paris, which I guess is nothing to complain about. Jammers Kungens Män will be a joy for all who behold them, and Kanaan‘s heavy turn on their new album will bring Roadburn back to its stoner rock roots — if indeed that’s what they play — in a way that no one yet on the bill will do.

Oh, and Smote. If you haven’t checked out Drommon (review here), do that.

Like I said, a lot to dig into. That’s not even all of it, so don’t let me keep you:

New additions to Roadburn 2022

The second group of artists to be added to the Roadburn 2022 line up has today been announced.

Artistic director, Walter Hoeijmakers, comments:

“Roadburn 2022 will be a festival of hope; a celebration of underground music by Roadburn alumni and young and upcoming bands alike. It feels so great to offer them a platform and it’s equally great to offer our community their much missed home away from home. Despite the difficult circumstances with live music we remain optimistic and move forward with caution. It’s not easy but we’re really hopeful to be able to welcome you to Roadburn 2022. The idea of celebrating together makes everything worthwhile.”

Lingua Ignota will return to Roadburn in 2022, following two explosive performances at the 2019 edition of the festival. Having released SINNER GET READY earlier this year to widespread critical acclaim, the return to Roadburn is well timed to showcase her new material.

Emma Ruth Rundle will take to the main stage to present her groundbreaking new album, Engine of Hell. Due to be our curator in 2020, we’re delighted to welcome Emma back to Roadburn and to have her step into an even bigger spotlight this time around.

Following on from the recent announcement of a new album, Perfect Light, 40 Watt Sun will also perform on the main stage in April. Mizmor will return to perform Cairn in full, as was originally intended as part of Rundle’s curated event, which due to the pandemic didn’t come to fruition.

After performing alongside Dylan Carlson and as part of Zonal in previous years, The Bug will return – this time with MCs Flowdan and Logan to accompany him. Milena Eva & Thomas Sciarone’s curated event gains a new name: Sordide will be performing their most recent album Les idées blanches in full.

A rejuvenated Sum Of R will perform their upcoming new album, Lahbryce, in full on the main stage. Messa’s recently announced album, Close, will be performed, as will A Loner – the new album from Hangman’s Chair.

Cloud Rat will perform two sets, including a special Do Not Let Me Off The Cliff electronic-based performance. Uniform will perform their album Shame in full. HEALTH, Kælan Mikla and KANGA will provide some end-of-the-world dance party vibes. Meanwhile, Smote will perform their new album, Drommon in full.

Also announced is Fågelle, Kanaan, Kollaps, Kungens Män, Pinkish Black, and Wyatt E.

These names join previously announced artists including Ulver, Sólstafir, Alcest, Backxwash, Russian Circles, artist in residence – Full of Hell and many others. Roadburn Festival will take place between April 21-24 in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Tickets for Roadburn 2022 are on sale now. Friday and Saturday day tickets are sold out. Thursday and Sunday day tickets, 3-day and 4-day tickets remain in limited numbers. Tickets and accommodation options are available to view via

Smote, Drommon (2021)

Hangman’s Chair, “Loner” official video

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Quarterly Review: Hour of 13, Skepticism, Count Raven, Owl Cave, Zeup, Dark Bird, Hope Hole, Smote, Gristmill, Ivory Primarch

Posted in Reviews on October 4th, 2021 by JJ Koczan


Hope you had a good weekend. Hope your bank account survived Bandcamp Friday. I gotta admit, I hit it a little hard, made four $10-plus purchases. A certain rainforest-named mega-corporate everything-distro site has me out of the habit of thinking of paying for shipping, but that comes back to bite you. And if there’s a tape or a CD and the download costs $7 and the tape costs $10 and comes with the download too, what would you have me do? Throw another five or six bucks in there for shipping and that adds up. Still, for a good cause, which is of course supporting bands nd labels who make and promote killer stuff. I don’t mind that.

We’ve arrived at the next to last day of the Fall 2021 Quarterly Review. It’s a cool one, I hope you’ll agree. If not, maybe tomorrow.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Hour of 13, Black Magick Rites

hour of 13 black magick rites

The history of Hour of 13, 14 years on from their self-titled debut (discussed here) is complex and full of comings and goings. With Black Magick Rites — which was posted for a day in Nov. 2020 and then removed from the public sphere until this Shadow Kingdom release — founding multi-instrumentalist Chad Davis takes over vocal duties as well, charting the way forward for the band as a complete solo-project with seven songs and 43 minutes of lower-fi classic-style doom that bears in its title track some semblance of garage mentality but avoids most of the modern trappings such a designation implies. Satan features heavily, as one would expect. “House of Death” leans on its chorus hard, but opener “His Majesty of the Wood” and the eight-minute “Within the Pentagram,” as well as the payoff of closer “The Mystical Hall of Dreams” seem to show where the long-tumultuous outfit could be headed melodically and in grimly grandiose style if Davis — also of The Crooked Whispers, The Sabbathian, countless others in a variety of styles — wills it. Here’s hoping.

Hour of 13 on Bandcamp

Shadow Kingdom Records website


Skepticism, Companion

skepticism companion

Graceful death. 30 years later, one might expect no less from Finnish funeral doom progenitors than that, and it’s exactly what they bring to the six-song/48-minute Companion. “Calla” sets the tempo for what follows at a dirge march with keyboard adding melodies to the procession as “The Intertwined” continues the slow roll, with drums and piano taking over in the midsection before the full brunt is borne again. “The March of the Four” follows with church organ running alongside the drawn-out guitar movement, each hit of the kick drum somehow forlorn beneath the overlaid growls. At least superficially, this is the Skepticism one imagines: slow, mournful, beauty-in-darkness, making dirty sounds but emerging without a stain on their formalwear. Closer “The Swan and the Raven” is a triumph in this, a revelry-that-isn’t, and “Passage” and even gives the tempo a relative kick, but that and the consuming drama of “The Inevitable” feel within the band’s aesthetic wheelhouse. Or their mortuary, anyhow. Honestly, they know what they’re doing, they’ve done it for a long time, and they don’t release records that often, so there’s an element of novelty just to the fact that the album exists, but if you put on Companion and listen to it, they also sound like they’re taking an entire genre to school. A genre they helped define, no less.

Skepticism on Facebook

Svart Records website


Count Raven, The Sixth Storm

Count Raven The Sixth Storm

Long-running Swedish doom traditionalists Count Raven are in immediate conversation with their own classic era with the album title The Sixth Storm serving as a reference to their 1990 debut, Storm Warning. Indeed, it is their sixth full-length, and it makes up for the decade-plus it’s been since they were last heard from with a 73-minute, all-in nine-track assemblage of oldschool Sabbathian doom metal, tinged with classic heavy rock and a broader vision that picks up where 2009’s Mammons War left off in epics like “The Nephilims” and “Oden,” the latter the album’s apex ahead of the Ozzy-ish piano/keyboard ballad “Goodbye” following on from the earlier “Heaven’s Door.” Some contemplation of mortality perhaps from founding guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Dan “Fodde” Fondelius to go with the more socially themed “The Giver and the Taker,” “Baltic Storm,” opener “Blood Pope” or even “Oden,” which bases itself around Christianity’s destruction of pagan culture. Fair enough. Classic doom spearheaded by a guy who’s been at it for more than three decades. No revolution in style, but if you’d begrudge Count Raven their first album in 12 years, why?

Count Raven on Facebook

I Hate Records website


Owl Cave, Broken Speech

owl cave Broken Speech

Something for everyone in Owl Cave‘s Broken Speech, at least so long as your vision of “everyone” just includes fans of various extreme metallic styles. The Parisian one-man outfit’s debut release arrives as a single 43-minute track, led off by the sample “your silence speaks volumes.” What unfolds from there is a linear progression of movements through which S. — the lone party responsible for the guitar, bass, drum programming and other sampling, as there are obscure bits that might be manipulated voices and so on — weaves progressive black metal, doom, industrial churn, noise rock and other genre elements together with a willful sense of experimentalism and uniting heft. Some stretches are abrasive, some are nearly empty, some guitar-led, some more percussive, but even at its most raging, “Broken Speech” holds to its overarching atmosphere, grim as it is, and that allows it to ponder with scorn and melancholy alike before finishing out with a cacophony of blasts and wash leading to a last residual drone.

Owl Cave on Facebook

Time Tombs Production webstore


Zeup, Blind

Zeup Blind

Sharply executed, uptempo heavy/desert-style rock in the Californian tradition as filtered through a European legacy of bands that spans no less an amount of time, Zeup‘s second EP, Blind, is an in-and-out kind of affair. Four songs, 17 minutes. They’re not looking to take up too much of your day. But the energy they bring to that time, whether it’s the swinging bassline in “Belief” or the initial jolt of “Illusions,” the rolling catchiness of “Who You Are” or the closing title-track’s more Sabbath-spirited stomp, is organic, full, and sincere. In terms of style, the Copenhagen three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Jakob Bach, bassist/backing vocalist Morten Rold and drummer Morten Barth aren’t trying to get away with convincing anybody they invented heavy rock and roll, but the stamp they put on their own songs is welcome right up to the capper solo on “Blind” itself. Familiar, but crisp and refreshing like cold beer on a hot day, if that’s your thing.

Zeup website

Zeup on Bandcamp


Dark Bird, Out of Line

Dark Bird Out of Line

A drift calls you forward as Dark Bird‘s fourth album (amid many short releases and experimentalist whathaveyous), Out of Line, begins with “And it All Ends Well” and its title-track, the Toronto-based Roan Bateman pushing outward melodically before adding more fuzz to the shroom-folk of “Stranger,” an underlying sense of march telling of the made-in-dark-times spirit that so much of the record seems to actively work against. “Down With Love” is a dream given shimmer in its strum and no less ethereal when the maybe-programmed drums start, and “Undone” is the bummed-out-with-self ’90s-lysergic harmony that you never heard at the time but should have. So it goes en route to the buzzing finale “This is It,” with “Minefied” echoing “Out of Line” with a vibe like Masters of Reality at their most ethereal, “With You” making a late highlight of its underlying organ drone and the vocals that top it in the second half, and “The Ghost” somehow turning Western blues despite, no, not at all doing that thing. 43 minutes of a world I’d rather live in.

Dark Bird on Facebook

NoiseAgonyMayhem website

Cardinal Fuzz webstore


Hope Hole, Death Can Change

hope hole death can change

I’m not saying they don’t still have growing to do or work ahead of them in carving out their own approach from the elements their self-released debut album, Death Can Change, puts to work across its nine songs, but I am definitely saying that the Toledo, Ohio, duo of M.A. Snyder and Mike Mullholand, who’ve dubbed their project Hope Hole, are starting out in an admirable place. Throughout a vinyl-ready 37 minutes that makes a centerpiece of the roughed up The Cure cover “Kyoto Song,” the two-piece bridge sludged nod, classic heavy rock, progressive doom ambience, stonerly awareness — see “Cisneros’ Lament” — and a healthy dose of organ to result in a genre-blender sound that both chases individuality and manifests it in rudimentary form, perhaps arriving at some more melodic cohesion in the of-its-era closer “Burning Lungs” after rougher-edged processions, but even there not necessarily accounting for the full scope of the rest of the songs enough to be a full summary. The songs are there, though, and as Hope Hole continue to chase these demons, that will be the foundation of their progress.

Hope Hole on Facebook

Hope Hole on Bandcamp


Smote, Drommon

smote drommon

Newcastle, UK, weirdo solo-outfit Smote released the two-part Drommon concurrent to March 2021’s Bodkin (review here), with tapes sold out from Base Materialism, and Rocket Recordings now steps in for a vinyl issue with two additional tracks splitting up the two-part title-cut, each piece of which runs just on either side of 16 minutes long. Drones and acid folk instrumentation, acoustics, sitars, electrified swirl — all of these come together in purposeful passion to create the textures of “Dommon (Part 1)” and “Drommon (Part 2),” and though it feels more directed with the complementary “Hauberk” and “Poleyn” included, the album’s experimental heart is well intact. Smote will make a stage debut next month, apparently as a four-piece around founder Daniel Foggin, so how that might play into the future of Smote as a full band in the studio remains to be seen. Drommon serves as argument heavily in favor of finding out.

Smote on Instagram

Rocket Recordings on Bandcamp


Gristmill, Heavy Everything

Gristmill Heavy Everything

East Coast dudes playing West Coast noise, it may well be that Gristmill deserve points right off the bat on their debut long-player, Heavy Everything, both for the title and for avoiding the trap of sounding like Unsane that defines so, so, so much of Atlantic Seaboard noise rock. They’re too aggro in their delivery to be straight-up doom, but the slower crawl of guitar in “Remains Nameless” and “Glass Door” adds depth to the pounding delivered by the initial salvo of “Mitch,” “Mute” and “Irony,” but the punch of the bass throughout is unmistakable, and though I can’t help be reminded in listening about that time Seattle’s Akimbo went and wrote a record based in my beloved Garden State, the drawn-out roll of “Stone Rodeo” and final nod-into-chug in “Loon” show readiness to encompass something beyond the raw scathe in their work. Yeah, if they wanted to put out like six or seven albums that sound just like this over the next 15 or so years, I’d probably be on board for that for the meanness and more of this debut.

Gristmill on Instagram

Gristmill on Bandcamp


Ivory Primarch, As All Life Burns

Ivory Primarch As All Life Burns

This is a satisfying meat grinder in which to plunge one’s face for about an hour. A Buschemi-chipper. A powdering-of-bone that begins with the lurching of longest track (immediate points) “The Masque” — beginning with an acid-test sample, no less — and moving through “Gleancrawler” and the faster-for-a-while-but-still-probably-slower-than-you’re-thinking title-track, having just consumed half an hour of your life and a little of your soul. Hyperbole? Of course. But these are extreme sounds and extreme times, so fuck it. Melbourne duo Ivory Primarch, throughout As All Life Burns, demonstrate precious little regard for whatever standard of decency one might apply, and the deathly, fetid “Keeper of Secrets” and the keyboard-laced “Aetherbeast” — seeming to answer back to the opener — are self-aware enough to be willful in that, not to mention the fact that they top off with the noise-drone of “Aftermath,” as if to survey the devastation they just wrought, mangled and duly bludgeoned. Nothing sounds cruel enough? Try this.

Ivory Primarch on Facebook

Cursed Monk Records on Bandcamp


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Quarterly Review: Dopelord, Scorched Oak, Kings of the Fucking Sea, Mantarraya, Häxmästaren, Shiva the Destructor, Amammoth, Nineteen Thirteen, Ikitan, Smote

Posted in Reviews on March 31st, 2021 by JJ Koczan


Third day, and you know what that means. Today we hit and pass the halfway mark of this Quarterly Review. I won’t say it hasn’t been work, but it seems like every time I do one of these lately I continue to be astounded by how much easier writing about good stuff makes it. I must’ve done a real clunker like two years ago or something. Can’t think of one, but wow, it’s way more fun when the tunes are killer.

To that end we start with Dopelord today, haha. Have fun digging through if you do.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Dopelord, Reality Dagger

Dopelord Reality Dagger

They put it in a 12″, and that’s cool, but in addition to the fact that it’s about 22 minutes long, something about Reality Dagger, the latest EP from Poland’s Dopelord, strikes me as being really 10″ worthy. I know 10″ is the bastard son of vinyl pressings — doesn’t fit with your LPs and doesn’t fit with your 7″s. They’re a nuisance. Do they get their own shelf? Mixed in throughout? Well, however you organize them, I think a limited 10″ of Reality Dagger would be perfect, because from the melodies strewn throughout “Dark Coils” and the wildly catchy “Your Blood” — maybe the most complex vocal arrangement I’ve yet heard from the band — to the ultra-sludge interplay with screams on the 10-minute closing title-track, it sounds to me like standing out from the crowd is exactly what Dopelord want to do. They want to be that band that doesn’t fit your preconceptions of stoner-doom, or sludge, or modern heavy largesse in the post-Monolord vein. Why not match that admirable drive in format? Oh hell, you know what? I’ll just by the CD and have done with it. One of the best EPs I’ve heard this year.

Dopelord on Facebook

Dopelord on Bandcamp


Scorched Oak, Withering Earth

Scorched Oak Withering Earth

Don’t be surprised when you see Kozmik Artifactz, Nasoni Records, or some other respected probably-European purveyor of heavy coming through with an announcement they’ve picked up Scorched Oak. The Dortmund, Germany, trio seem to have taken the last few years to figure out where they were headed — they pared down from a five-piece, for example — and their rolling tides of fuzz on late-2020’s debut LP Withering Earth bears the fruit of those efforts. Aesthetically and structurally sound, it’s able to touch on heavy blues, metal and drifting psychedelia all within the span of a seven-minute track like “Swamp,” and in its five-songs running shortest to longest, it effectively draws the listener deeper into the world the band are creating through dual vocals, patient craft and spacious production. If I was a label, I’d sign them for the bass tone on 14-minute closer “Desert” alone, never mind any of the other natural phenomena they portray throughout the record, which is perhaps grim in theme but nonetheless brimming with potential. Some cool riffs on this dying planet.

Scorched Oak on Facebook

Scorched Oak on Bandcamp


Kings of the Fucking Sea, In Concert

Kings of the Fucking Sea In Concert

A scorching set culled from two nights of performances in their native Nashville, what’s essentially serving as Kings of the Fucking Sea‘s debut long-player, In Concert, is a paean to raw psychedelic power trio worship. High order ripper groove pervades “Witch Mountain” and the wasn’t-yet-named “Hiding No More” — which was introduced tentatively as “Death Dealer,” which the following track is actually titled. Disorienting? Shit yeah it is. And shove all the poignancy of making a live album in Feb. 2020 ahead of the pandemic blah blah. That’s not what’s happening here. This is all about blow-the-door-so-we-can-escape psychedelic pull and thrust. One gets the sense that Kings of the Fucking Sea are more in control than they let on, but they play it fast and loose and slow and loose throughout In Concert and by the time the mellower jam in “I Walk Alone” opens up to the garage-style wash of crash cymbal ahead of closer “The Nile Song,” the swirling fuckall that ensues is rampant with noise-coated fire. A show that might make you look up from your phone. So cool it might be jazz. I gotta think about it.

Kings of the Fucking Sea on Facebook

Agitated Records on Bandcamp


Mantarraya, Mantarraya

mantarraya mantarraya

They bill themselves as ‘Mantarraya – power trío,’ and guitarist/vocalist Herman Robles Montero, drummer/maybe-harmonica-ist Kelvin Sifuentes Pérez and bassist/vocalist Enzo Silva Agurto certainly live up to that standard on their late-2020 self-titled debut full-length. The vibe is classic heavy ’70s through and through, and the Peruvian three-piece roll and boogie through the 11 assembled tracks with fervent bluesy swing on “En el Fondo” and no shortage of shuffle throughout the nine-minute “120 Años (Color),” which comes paired with the trippier “Almendrados” in what seems like a purposeful nod to the more out-there among the out there, bringing things back around to finish swinging and bouncing on the eponymous closer. I’ll take the classic boogie as it comes, and Mantarraya do it well, basking in a natural but not too purposefully so sense of underproduction while getting their point across in encouraging-first-record fashion. At over an hour long, it’s too much for a single LP, but plenty of time for them to get their bearings as they begin their creative journey.

Mantarraya on Facebook

Mantarraya on Bandcamp


Häxmästaren, Sol i Exil

Häxmästaren sol i exil

At the risk of repeating myself, someone’s gonna sign Häxmästaren. You can just tell. The Swedish five-piece’s second album, Sol i Exil (“sun in exile,” in English), is a mélange of heavy rock and classic doom influences, blurring the lines between microgenres en route to an individual approach that’s still accessible enough in a riffer like “Millennium Phenomenon” or “Dödskult Ritual” to be immediately familiar and telegraph to the converted where the band are coming from. Vocalist Niklas Ekwall — any relation to Magnus from The Quill? — mixes in some screams and growls to his melodic style, further broadening the palette and adding an edge of extremity to “Children of the Mountain,” while “Growing Horns” and the capper title-track vibe out with with a more classic feel, whatever gutturalisms happen along the way, the latter feeling like a bonus for being in Swedish. In the ever-fertile creative ground that is Gothenburg, it should be no surprise to find a band like this flourishing, but fortunately Sol i Exil doesn’t have to be a surprise to kick ass.

Häxmästaren on Facebook

Häxmästaren on Bandcamp


Shiva the Destructor, Find the Others


Launching with the nine-minute instrumental “Benares” is a telling way for Kyiv’s Shiva the Destructor to begin their debut LP, since it immediately sets listener immersion as their priority. The five-track/44-minute album isn’t short on it, either, and with the band’s progressive, meditative psychedelic style, each song unfolds in its own way and in its own time, drawn together through warmth of tone and periods of heft and spaciousness on “Hydronaut” and a bit of playful bounce on “Summer of Love” (someone in this band likes reggae) and a Middle Eastern turn on “Ishtar” before “Nirvana Beach” seems to use the lyrics to describe what’s happening in the music itself before cutting off suddenly at the end. Vocals stand alone or in harmony and the double-guitar four-piece bask in a sunshine-coated sound that’s inviting and hypnotic in kind, offering turns enough to keep their audience following along and undulations that are duly a clarion to the ‘others’ referenced in the title. It’s like a call to prayer for weirdo psych heads. I’ll take that and hope for more to come.

Shiva the Destructor on Facebook

Robustfellow Productions on Bandcamp


Amammoth, The Fire Above

amammoth the fire above

The first and only lyric in “Heal” — the opening track of Sydney, Australia, trio Amammoth‘s debut album, The Fire Above — is the word “marijuana.” It doesn’t get any less stoned from there. Riffs come in massive waves, and even as “The Sun” digs into a bit of sludge, the largesse and crash remains thoroughly weedian, with the lumbering “Shadows” closing out the first half of the LP with particularly Sleep-y nod. Rawer shouted vocals also recall earlier Sleep, but something in Amammoth‘s sound hints toward a more metallic background than just pure Sabbath worship, and “Rise” brings that forward even as it pushes into slow-wah psychedelics, letting “Blade Runner” mirror “The Sun” in its sludgy push before closer “Walk Towards What Blinds You (Blood Bong)” introduces some backing vocals that fit surprisingly well even they kind of feel like a goof on the part of the band. Amammoth, as a word, would seem to be something not-mammoth. In sound, Amammoth are the opposite.

Amammoth on Facebook

Electric Valley Records website


Nineteen Thirteen, MCMXIII

nineteen thirteen mcmxiii

With emotional stakes sufficiently high throughout, MCMXIII is urgent enough to be post-hardcore, but there’s an underpinning of progressive heavy rock even in the mellower stretch of the eight-minute “Dogfight” that complements the noisier and more angular aspects on display elsewhere. Opener “Post Blue Collar Blues” sets the plotline for the newcomer Dayton, Ohio, four-piece, with thoughtful lyrics and a cerebral-but-not-dead-of-spirit instrumental style made full and spacious through the production. Melodies flesh out in “Cripple John” and “Old Face on the Wall,” brooding and surging in children-of-the-’90s fashion, but I hear a bit of Wovenhand in that finale as well — though maybe the one doesn’t exclude the other — so clearly Nineteen Thirteen are just beginning this obviously-passion-fueled exploration of sound aesthetic with these songs, but the debut EP they comprise cuts a wide swath with marked confidence and deceptive memorability. A new turn on Rust Belt heavy.

Nineteen Thirteen on Facebook

Nineteen Thirteen on Bandcamp


Ikitan, Twenty-Twenty

ikitan twenty-twenty

Hey, you process trauma from living through the last year your way and Genova, Italy’s Ikitan will process it theirs. In their case, that means the writing, recording and self-release of their 20-minute single-song EP, Twenty-Twenty, a sprawling work of instrumentalist heavy post-rock rife with spacious, airy lead guitar and a solid rhythmic foundation. Movements occur in waves and layers, but there is a definite thread being woven throughout the outing from one part to the next, held together alternately by the bass or drums or even guitar, though it’s the latter that seems to be leading those changes as well. The shifts are fluid in any case, and Ikitan grow Twenty-Twenty‘s lone, titular piece to a satisfyingly heft as they move through, harnessing atmosphere as well as weight even before they lower volume for stretches in the second half. There’s a quick surge at the end, but “Twenty-Twenty” is more about journey than destination, and Ikitan make the voyage enticing.

Ikitan on Facebook

Ikitan on Bandcamp


Smote, Bodkin

smote bodkin

Loops, far-out spaces and a generally experimentalist feel ooze outward like Icelandic lava from Bodkin, the five-song debut LP from UK-based solo-outfit Smote. The gentleman behind the flow is Newcastle upon Tyne’s Daniel Foggin, and this is one of three releases he has out so far in 2021, along with a prior drone collaboration tape with Forest Mourning and a subsequent EP made of two tracks at around 15 minutes each. Clearly a project that can be done indoors during pandemic lockdown, Smote‘s material is wide-ranging just the same, bringing Eastern multi-instrumentalism and traditionalist UK psych together on “Fohrt” and “Moninna,” which would border on folk but for all that buzz in the background. The 11-minute “Motte” is a highlight of acid ritualizing, but the droning title-track that rounds out makes each crash count all the more for the spaces that separate them. I dig this a lot, between you and me. I get vibes like Lamp of the Universe here in terms of sonic ambition and resultant presence. That’s not a comparison I make lightly, and this is a project I will be following.

Smote on Bandcamp

Weird Beard Records store


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