Ruff Majik Tease New Single “What a Time to Be a Knife”; European Tour Starts Next Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 10th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

With just a bit less than a month to go before it’s released, no one will be able to say they weren’t warned about the new Ruff Majik single, “What a Time to Be a Knife.” The South African heavy rockers will release the new track on June 7 — it’s available now to pre-save through the usual-suspect digital outlets — and no, there isn’t even a snippet of audio to go on yet, but one assumes that will follow.

Why put word out early? Maybe it’s because the band are gearing up to travel from South Africa to Europe for a second tour supporting their most righteous 2023 long-player, Elektrik Ram (review here), and wanted to be sure they got the news out before the run started May 16, not the least since they’re on the continent until the song actually arrives. One more thing to tick off your to-do list ahead of getting on the plane. There’s a lot to be said for that.

And a lot to be said about “What a Time to Be a Knife” as well. I’ll skip playing coy and tell you outright I’ve had the chance to hear the song, and if the middle-fingery vibe of “Hillbilly Fight Song” from Elektrik Ram or the charge of “All You Need is Speed” from 2020’s The Devil’s Cattle (review here) did you right, you’ll probably want to keep an eye out. As one would both expect and hope, attitude abounds in the song, which also features a guest spot from Reegan du Buisson (Facing the Gallows, Evergloom), and by the time you feel like you can keep up with the first listen, it’s already over.

The European dates (yeah, I already posted them; bite me) follow here, as well as the knife-emoji-heavy save-the-date note and link they put out on socials. Have at it:

ruff majik what a time to be a knife

RUFF MAJIK – 🔪What A Time To Be A Knife🔪

⚔️07.06.2024⚔️

feat. Reegan du Buisson

Pre-save: https://orcd.co/xqy6d0b

Illustration by Llewellyn Van Eeden
Design by Johni Holiday
Mix and master by Justin Bernardo
via Sound of Liberation

Ruff Majik :

16.5 – Cottbus (DE) @comicaze_cb , HEADLINE
17.5 – Dresden (DE) Gockelscream Festival
18.5 – Cologne (DE) @clubvolta_cologne , Siena Root + Dirty Sound Magnet
19.5 – Den Bosch (NL) W2, Monkey3
20.5 – Ede (NL) @astrant_ede , HEADLINE
21.5 – TBA
22.5 – Luxembourg (LUX) @mkbarbelval , with @uncle.leaf.band
23.5 – Aarau, @kiffaarau (CH), Brant Bjork
24.5 – München (DE), @feierwerk_ , Brant Bjork
25.5 – Erfurt (DE), VEB Kultur , Brant Bjork
26.5 – @desertfest_berlin (DE)
28.5 – Prague (CZ), @underdogsprague , Headline
29.5 – Nürnberg (DE), @musikzentrale_nuernberg , Headline
30.5 – TBA
31.5 – Esbjerg (DK), @esbjerg_fuzztival
1.6 – TBA
2.6 – Düsseldorf (DE), @pitcherrocknrollhq , Headline
4.6 – Lille (FR), @labullecafe
5.6 – Würzburg (DE), @immerhin.wuerzburg , Monkey3
6.6 – Biberach (DE), @abdera.bc , Monkey3
7.6 – Münster (DE), @rare_guitar , Headline
8.6 – TBA

Ruff Majik are:
Johni Holiday (vocals & guitar)
Cowboy Bez (guitar & vocals)
Jimmy Glass (bass)
Steven Bosman (drums)

http://www.ruffmajik.com
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100089579216305&mibextid=ZbWKwL
http://www.instagram.com/ruffmajik
https://www.tiktok.com/@ruffmajik

Ruff Majik, Elektrik Ram (2023)

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Album Review: Lucid Void, Lucid Void

Posted in Reviews on July 7th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

lucid void

There’s something unassuming about the way Lucid Void jazz into “Himmelheber,” the seven-minute opening track on their self-titled debut full-length, released through Sound of Liberation Records. But the first two minutes of that song, before it moves to the more grounded but still intricate series of jabs and bass flourishes, building like classic heavy prog jams, are emblematic of the subtleties on display throughout the record. Based in Darmstadt, Germany, and produced by René Hofmann (also of Wight) with mixing by Josko Joketovic Jole Joka (Willi Dammeier at Institut für Wohlklangforschung mastered), Lucid Void offer six tracks of krautrock-informed sans-vox heavy prog and psych.

Beginning with “Himmelheber” as both leadoff and the longest individual piece (immediate points), they go on to inhabit a range of vibes across the three-per-side-makes-six songs and 36 minutes, with “Gala Ballada,” following and opening wider to psychedelic-ish fluidity, mellow space rock throwing itself a twist in the last of its own seven minutes (opening with the two longest tracks is double points; please note there are no actual points) in giving due accent to its patient but not still movement. Like the quiet section of a latter-day Elder song isolated and extracted to stand on its own, it sweeps into its more shimmering conclusion of thoughtful lead guitar and keys, resides there for a while and then fades out, not looking to wear out its welcome but, especially in combination with “Himmelheber” just before, engaging and maybe a little hypnotic but still clear in its purposes toward exploring classy/classic progressive rock.

The listener might not always know where the four-piece of Jakob Schuck (guitar), Samba Gueye (keyboards), Béla Nitsch (bass) and Max Hübner (drums/percussion) are going, but if Causa Sui had already known they wanted to be psych-jazz when they started out, their first record might’ve sounded like Lucid Void‘s self-titled, and as they move through the willfully bumpy early rhythm and warm heavy-psych-toned procession of “Dorian,” definitely plotted in its structure but still feeling open on its journey into the proto-New Wave keyboard and molten bass and the concluding acoustic reveal in its second half, the grace in the band’s sound isn’t to be ignored.

One can hear hints of Colour Haze, the aforementioned Causa Sui and Elder, maybe some loose influence from fellow European instrumentalists like My Sleeping Karma on “Dorian,” but while Lucid Void are obviously schooled in the works of generational forebears, they come across as wanting to take on an array of different sounds and sub-styles within the proggier end of heavy music, and that ambition is realized across Lucid Void in the varied but cohesive stretches of the songs that comprise it.

“Dorian” is shorter than either of its two side A companions, and no less thoughtful in wrapping the first half of the album than “Himmelheber” was in starting, the pastoral shimmer of its relatively quick guitar intro soon joined by toms seeming to preface some of the serenity of the is-that-running-water-I-hear ending. To be symmetrical and liquid in kind is not easy in any style, let alone on a first record, but a deceptively gentle delivery even at in the neo-space rock shuffle of “Gala Ballada” answers the insistence that emerges from the keys and chimes in the early going of “Himmelheber” in ways that make the album a deeper listening experience and give a more complex impression of the band on the whole.

lucid void (Photo by Josko Joketovic)

Further evidence of an underlying plan at work is the manner in which “Flatlanders” picks up with acoustic guitar where “Dorian” left off, taking its first minute for an introductory exploration before the organ-backed swing and strutting lead electric guitar kick in to unfold the ‘meat’ of the song itself. There’s character in “Flatlanders” beyond the organic tonality of the band itself and the bit of tambourine they toss in shortly before mellowing out at the halfway mark. The patience in that trade, in pulling back, is crucial to understanding the band, and that they don’t rush back into ‘the heavy part’ communicates their potential all the more. Instead, “Flatlanders” makes its way through a build of guitar and keys.

Yes, the tambourine returns at the end, but the four-piece do well to focus on getting there as much as where they’re going, where they’ve been. The penultimate “Galyxo” is the longest cut on side B at 6:29, and by then the course is set. Lucid Void lean a bit into the rhythmic urgency of Slift but not necessarily the sensory-overload of volume, and when they turn from the buzz-fuzz and sharp snare to the more open flow for the second time, the result in what you might call the song’s payoff if the whole thing wasn’t the payoff arrives at thicker distortion and riffier push only as part of its overarching purpose toward heavy psychedelia.

“Galyxo” is satisfying enough to be the crescendo of Lucid Void, and is all the more appropriate to think of in those terms because it doesn’t lose itself in the moment it creates, but the concluding “Suns,” which is the shortest inclusion at 5:08 seems to allow the listener space to daydream. There’s definite forward movement, a particularly post-Koglek rhythm to the riff that some of the song works around, but in the finale as well, Lucid Void show they’re up to the task of incorporating influences into their own approach rather than carbon-copying what came before. More than an epilogue as the closer, “Suns” is languid in its groove and the last guitar solo and standalone-piano ending feel placed in order to leave off with no less consciousness-of-self (as opposed to being self-conscious in an insecure sense) than they executed “Himmelheber,” “Dorian,” or “Flatlanders.”

Which is to say, if Lucid Void didn’t write these songs specifically to be put where they are on the record, they sound like they did, and that might actually be more of an accomplishment. That’s doubly true on a debut full-length, where the task is as much about making a first impression on new listeners as establishing at least some facets of the aesthetic scope the band will explore. Lucid Void sound fresh in their not-overwrought, semi-psychedelic prog, and are able to shape their material in order to evoke and emotional response without vocals. Wherever they ultimately end up in terms of sound, that ability can only be an asset, as it most certainly is here.

Lucid Void, Lucid Void (2023)

Lucid Void on Facebook

Lucid Void on Instagram

Lucid Void on Bandcamp

SOL Records website

Sound of Liberation on Facebook

Sound of Liberation on Instagram

Sound of Liberation website

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Lucid Void Announce Self-Titled Debut Out May 19; Preorders Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 4th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

lucid void (Photo by Josko Joketovic)

Just a couple weeks ago, Darmstadt’s Lucid Void were announced as having signed to SOL Records. The acronym there is for Sound of Liberation — if you were thinking “shit out of luck,” nope, though there may well be days where the European booking agency feels like it might apply — and the German four-piece join a nascent but already international roster of acts after already inking for tours. I suppose a big clue might’ve been when Lucid Void were invited to play the Sound of Liberation anniversary party last year, or 2022’s first edition of the Lazy Bones Festival in Hamburg, which the company also puts on.

In 2023, Lucid Void are already confirmed for Keep it Low in October — they’ll be at Stoned From the Underground as well this summer — and it only seems likely that will lead to more as they make ready to unveil their self-titled debut, produced like their 2020 SAAT EP by René Hofmann of Wight, on May 19. If that seems like a quick turnaround from signing to release, that might be a result of shellshock from the pressing delays of 2021-2022, which have reportedly abated to some degree this year, so take it as a good sign. And you could do far worse than, “my goodness we gottta get this record out asap,” as regards urgency.

Cover art and preorder link and other whathaveyou follow here, as per socials:

lucid void

LUCID VOID – Self-Titled LP preorder

Our LP “Lucid Void” will be out on May 19. Preorder it here: https://sol-records.com/collections/lucid-void

It’s official — Our self-titled album “Lucid Void” will be released on 19th of May via SOL Records

It will be available on limited coloured vinyl, black vinyl and cd. You can preorder your copy now on SOL Record’s website.

We’re also proud to finally present to you our magnificent album cover by the amazing artist Johanna Amberg from Darmstadt.

She took inspiration from our music and came up with a very cool idea. What you are seeing is actually a real miniature sculpture she manufactured herself.

The album was recorded by René Hofmann and mixed by Josko Joketovic Jole Joka. The mastering was done by Willi Dammeier at Institut für Wohlklangforschung.

TRACKLIST:
A 1 Himmelheber
A 2 Gala Ballada
A 3 Dorian
B 1 Flatlanders
B 2 Galyxo
B 3 Suns

Lucid Void are Jakob Schuck, Samba Gueye, Béla Nitsch and Max Hübner.

https://www.facebook.com/LucidVoidBand
https://www.instagram.com/lucidvoidband
https://lucidvoid.bandcamp.com/

http://www.sol-records.com
https://www.facebook.com/Soundofliberation/
https://www.instagram.com/soundofliberation/
https://www.soundofliberation.com/

Lucid Void, SAAT (2020)

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Lucid Void Sign to SOL Records; Debut Album Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 23rd, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Darmstadt, Germany’s Lucid Void are the second band to be picked up for the roster of SOL Records, the label wing of European booking agency Sound of Liberation. The imprint released Slip Through the Cracks (review here) by Athens’ Half Gramme of Soma last year and will follow sometime in the coming months with Lucid Void‘s yet-untitled debut. If you saw the word “Darmstadt” there and thought to yourself, “Gee, I wonder if they know Wight and/or Bushfire,” well, Wight‘s René Hofmann mixed and mastered their 2020 SAAT EP — streaming below; it’s pretty cool — so at least there’s that.

I don’t know what they call this generation in Europe. Is it still Gen-Z? I think we’re really starting to see a generational turnover in bands. Some are aging out, some new ones are coming in, it’s great. If I was the listicle type, I’d put together a ’30 under 30′ or some such, but I’ve got neither the time, the inclination, nor the will to fact-check the age of a bunch of dudes when it’s secondary to the point of the band’s existence anyhow. I wouldn’t count someone out because they’re 32, is what I’m saying, and the whole thing suddenly becomes an overthought pain in the ass because that’s how I do.

Whatever. I asked the AI robot what Gen-Z is called in Europe and it’s Gen-Z, mostly. See? Fact-checking matters. Though I’m not sure I’d call that robot a reputable source at this point. In any case, congrats to Lucid Void on the signing and here’s looking forward to the record. I’m kind of assuming it’ll be out this Fall since after playing Stoned From the Underground this summer, the band will also play Keep it Low in Munich this October. Would be a hell of a release party, but I guess we’ll see how the timing works.

Sound of Liberation sent the following in their newsletter:

LUCID VOID

SOL RECORDS: LUCID VOID SIGNED

We are proud to announce the signing of the super talented psychedelic krautrock band Lucid Void from Darmstadt, Germany.

Some of you might know them already from performances with My Sleeping Karma, Colour Haze and Greenleaf at some of our festivals.

We are stoked to have them on board. Their first full length album will be released soon via our new SOL Records Label.

Stay tuned about what’s coming next. A lot of good music cooking in our label pot. We are sure you will love it!

https://www.facebook.com/LucidVoidBand
https://www.instagram.com/lucidvoidband
https://lucidvoid.bandcamp.com/

http://www.sol-records.com
https://www.facebook.com/Soundofliberation/
https://www.instagram.com/soundofliberation/
https://www.soundofliberation.com/

Lucid Void, SAAT (2020)

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Quarterly Review: Antimatter, Mick’s Jaguar, Sammal, Cassius King, Seven Rivers of Fire, Amon Acid, Iron & Stone, DRÖÖG, Grales, Half Gramme of Soma

Posted in Reviews on January 3rd, 2023 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-winter 2023

We roll on in this new-year-smelling 2023 with day two of the Quarterly Review. Yesterday was pretty easy, but the first day almost always is. Usually by Thursday I’m feeling it. Or the second Tuesday. It varies. In any case, as you know, this QR is a double, which means it’s going to include 100 albums total, written about between yesterday and next Friday. Ton of stuff, and most of it is 2022, but generally later in the year, so at least I’m only a couple months behind your no doubt on-the-ball listening schedule.

Look. I can’t pretend to keep up with a Spotify algorithm, I’m sorry. I do my best, but that’s essentially a program to throw bands in your face (while selling your data and not paying artists). My hope is that being able to offer a bit of context when I throw 100 bands in your face is enough of a difference to help you find something you dig. Some semblance of curation. Maybe I’m flattering myself. I’m pretty sure Spotify can inflate its own ego now too.

Winter 2023 Quarterly Review #11-20:

Antimatter, A Profusion of Thought

ANTIMATTER A PROFUSION OF THOUGHT

Project founder, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Mick Moss isn’t through opener “No Contact” — one of the 10 inclusions on Antimatter‘s 54-minute eighth LP, A Profusion of Thought — before he readily demonstrates he can carry the entire album himself if need be. Irish Cuyos offers vocals on the subsequent “Paranoid Carbon” and Liam Edwards plays live drums where applicable, but with a realigned focus on programmed elements, his own voice the constant that surrounds various changes in mood and purpose, and stretches of insularity even on the full-band-sounding “Fools Gold” later on, the self-released outing comes across as more inward than the bulk of 2018’s Black Market Enlightenment, though elements like the acoustic-led approach of “Breaking the Machine,” well-produced flourishes of layering and an almost progressive-goth (proggoth?) atmosphere carry over. “Redshift” balances these sides well, as does fold before it, and “Templates” before that, and “Fools Gold” after, as Antimatter thankfully continues to exist in a place of its own between melancholic heavy, synthesized singer-songwriterism and darker, doom-born-but-not-doom metal, all of which seem to be summarized in the closing salvo of “Entheogen,” “Breaking the Machine” and “Kick the Dog.” Moss is a master of his craft long-established, and a period of isolation has perhaps led to some of the shifting balance here, but neither the album nor its songs are done a disservice by that.

Antimatter on Facebook

Antimatter on Bandcamp

 

Mick’s Jaguar, Salvation

Mick's Jaguar Salvation

There was a point, maybe 15 years ago now give or take, when at least Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York City were awash in semi-retro, jangly-but-rough-edged-to-varying-degrees rock and roll bands. Some sounded like Joan Jett, some sounded like the Ramones, or The Strokes or whoever. On Salvation, their second LP, Mick’s Jaguar bring some chunky Judas Priest riffing, no shortage of attitude, and as the five-piece — they were six on 2018’s Fame and Fortune (review here) — rip into a proto-shredder like “Speed Dealer,” worship Thin Lizzy open string riffing on “Nothing to Lose” or bask in what would be sleaze were it not for the pandemic making any “Skin Contact” at all a serotonin spike, they effectively hop onto either side of the line where rock meets heavy. Also the longest track at 4:54, “Molotov Children” is a ’70s-burly highlight, and “Handshake Deals” is an early-arriving hook that seems to make everything after it all the more welcome. “Man Down” and “Free on the Street” likewise push their choruses toward anthemic barroom sing-alongs, and while I’m not sure those bars haven’t been priced out of the market and turned into unoccupied investment luxury condos by now, rock and roll’s been declared dead in New York at least 100,000 times and it obviously isn’t, so there.

Mick’s Jaguar on Facebook

Tee Pee Records store

Totem Cat Records store

 

Sammal, Aika laulaa

Sammal Aika laulaa

Long live Finnish weird. More vintage in their mindset than overall presentation, Sammal return via the ever-reliable Svart Records with Aika Laulaa, the follow-up to 2018’s Suuliekki (review here) and their fourth album total, with eight songs and 43 minutes that swap languages lyrically between Finnish, Swedish and English as fluidly as they take progressive retroism and proto-metal to a place of their own that is neither, both, and more. From the languid lead guitar in “Returning Rivers” to the extended side-enders “On Aika Laulaa” with its pastoralized textures and “Katse Vuotaa” with its heavy blues foundation, willfully brash surge, and long fade, the band gracefully skip rocks across aesthetic waters, opening playful and Scandi-folk-derived on “På knivan” before going full fuzz in “Sehr Kryptisch,” turning the three-minute meander of “Jos ei pelaa” into a tonal highlight and resolving the instrumental “(Lamda)” (sorry, the character won’t show up) with a jammy soundscape that at least sounds like it’s filled out by organ if it isn’t. A band who can go wherever they want and just might actually dare to do so, Sammal reinforce the notion of their perpetual growth and Aika laulaa is a win on paper for that almost as much as for the piano notes cutting through the distortion on “Grym maskin.” Almost.

Sammal on Facebook

Svart Records store

 

Cassius King, Dread the Dawn

Cassius King Dread the Dawn

Former Hades guitarist Dan Lorenzo continues a personal riffy renaissance with Cassius King‘s Dread the Dawn, one of several current outlets among Vessel of Light and Patriarchs in Black. On Dread the Dawn, the New Jersey-based Lorenzo, bassist Jimmy Schulman (ex-Attacker) and drummer Ron Lipnicki (ex-Overkill) — the rhythm section also carried over from Vessel of Light — and vocalist Jason McMaster offer 11 songs and 49 minutes of resoundingly oldschool heavy, Dio Sabbath-doomed rock. Individual tracks vary in intent, but some of the faster moments on “Royal Blooded” or even the galloping opener “Abandon Paradise” remind of Candlemass tonally and even rockers like “How the West Was Won,” “Bad Man Down” and “Back From the Dead” hold an undercurrent of classic metal, never mind the creeper riff of the title-track or its eight-minute companion-piece, the suitably swinging “Doomsday.” Capping with a bonus take on Judas Priest‘s “Troubleshooter,” Dread the Dawn has long since by then gotten its point across but never failed to deliver in either songwriting or performance. They strut, and earn it.

Cassius King on Facebook

MDD Records store

 

Seven Rivers of Fire, Way of the Pilgrim

Seven Rivers of Fire Way of the Pilgrim

Issued on tape through UK imprint Dub Cthonic, the four-extended-tracker Way of the Pilgrim is the second 2022 full-length from South African solo folk experimentalist Seven Rivers of Fire — aka William Randles — behind September’s Sanctuary (review here) and March’s Star Rise, and its mostly acoustic-based explorations are as immersive and hypnotic as ever as the journey from movement to movement in “They are Calling // Exodus” (11:16) sets up processions through the drone-minded “Awaken // The Passenger” (11:58), “From the Depths // Into the Woods” (12:00) and “Ascend // The Fall” (11:56), Randles continuing to dig into his own particular wavelength and daring to include some chanting and other vocalizations in the opener and “From the Depths // Into the Woods” and the piano-laced finale. Each piece has an aural theme of its own and sets out from there, feeling its way forward with what feels like a genuinely unplanned course. Way of the Pilgrim isn’t going to be for everybody, as with all of Seven Rivers of Fire‘s output, but those who can tune to its frequencies are going to find its resonance continual.

Seven Rivers of Fire on Facebook

Dub Cthonic on Bandcamp

 

Amon Acid, Cosmogony

Amon Acid Cosmogony

Leeds-based psychedelic doomers Amon Acid channel the grimmer reaches of the cosmic — and a bit of Cathedral in “Hyperion” — on their fifth full-length in four years, second of 2022, Cosmogony. The core duo of guitarist/vocalist/synthesist Sarantis Charvas and bassist/cellist Briony Charvas — joined on this nine-tracker by the singly-named Smith on drums — harness stately space presence and meditative vibes on “Death on the Altar,” the guitar ringing out vague Easternisms while the salvo that started with “Parallel Realm” seems only to plunge further and further into the lysergic unknown. Following the consuming culmination of “Demolition Wave” and the dissipation of the residual swirl there, the band embark on a series of shorter cuts with “Nag Hammandi,” the riff-roller “Mandragoras,” the gloriously-weird-but-still-somehow-accessible “Demon Rider” and the this-is-our-religion “Ethereal Mother” before the massive buildup of “The Purifier” begins, running 11 minutes, which isn’t that much longer than the likes of “Parallel Realm” or “Death on the Altar,” but rounds out the 63-minute procession with due galaxial churn just the same. Plodding and spacious, I can’t help but feel like if Amon Acid had a purposefully-dumber name they’d be more popular, but in the far, far out where they reside, these things matter less when there are dimensions to be warped.

Amon Acid on Facebook

Helter Skelter Productions website

 

Iron & Stone, Mountains and Waters

Iron and Stone Mountains and Waters

The original plan from Germany’s Iron & Stone was that the four-song Mountains and Waters was going to be the first in a sequence of three EP releases. As it was recorded in Fall 2020 — a time, if you’ll recall, when any number of plans were shot to hell — and only released this past June, I don’t know if the band are still planning to follow it with another two short offerings or not, but for the bass in “Loose the Day” alone, never mind the well-crafted heavy fuzz rock that surrounds on all sides, I’m glad they finally got this one out. Opener “Cosmic Eye” is catchy and comfortable in its tempo, and “Loose the Day” answers with fuzz a-plenty while “Vultures” metes out swing and chug en route to an airy final wash that immediately bleeds into “Unbroken,” which is somewhat more raucous and urgent of riff, but still has room for a break before its and the EP’s final push. Iron & Stone are proven in my mind when it comes to heavy rock songwriting, and they seem to prefer short releases to full-lengths — arguments to be made on either side, as ever — but whether or not it’s the beginning of a series, Mountains and Waters reaffirms the band’s strengths, pushes their craft to the forefront, and celebrates genre even as it inhabits it. There’s nothing more one might ask.

Iron & Stone on Facebook

Iron & Stone on Bandcamp

 

DR​Ö​Ö​G, DR​Ö​Ö​G

DR​Ö​Ö​G DR​Ö​Ö​G

To be sure, there shades of are discernible influences in DR​Ö​Ö​G‘s self-titled Majestic Mountain Records first long-player, from fellow Swedes Graveyard, Greenleaf, maybe even some of earlier Abramis Brama‘s ’70s vibes, but these are only shades. Thus it is immediately refreshing how unwilling the self-recording core duo of Magnus Vestling and Daniel Engberg are to follow the rules of style, pushing the drums far back into the mix and giving the entire recording a kind of far-off feel, their classic and almost hypnotic, quintessentially Swedish (and in Swedish, lyrically-speaking) heavy blues offered with hints of psychedelic flourish and ready emergence. The way “Stormhatt” seems to rise in the space of its own making. The fuller fuzz of “Blodörn.” The subtle tension of the riff in the second half of “Nattfjärilar.” In songs mostly between six and about eight minutes long, DR​Ö​Ö​G distinguish themselves in tone — bass and hard-strummed guitar out front in “Hamnskiftaren” along with the vocals — and melody, creating an earthy atmosphere that has elements of svensk folkmusik without sounding like a caricature of that or anything else. They’ve got me rewriting my list of 2022’s best debut albums, and already looking forward to how they grow this sound going on from here.

DR​Ö​Ö​G on Facebook

Majestic Mountain Records store

 

Grales, Remember the Earth but Never Come Back

Grales Remember the Earth but Never Come Back

Rare is a record so thoroughly screamed that is also so enhanced by its lyrics. Hello, Remember the Earth but Never Come Back. Based in Montreal — home to any number of disaffected sludgy noisemakers — Grales turn apocalyptic dystopian visions into poetry on the likes of “All Things are Temporary,” and anti-capitalist screed on “From Sea to Empty Sea” and “Wretched and Low,” tying together anthropocene planet death with the drive of human greed in concise, sharp, and duly harsh fashion. Laced with noise, sludged to the gills it’s fortunate enough to have so it can breathe in the rising ocean waters, and pointed in its lurch, the five-song/43-minute outing takes the directionless fuckall of so many practitioners of its genre and sets itself apart by knowing and naming exactly what it’s mad about. It’s mad about wage theft, climate change, the hopelessness that surrounds most while a miserly few continue to rape and pillage what should belong to everybody. The question asked in “Agony” answers itself: “What is the world without our misery? We’ll never know.” With this perspective in mind and a hint of melody in the finale “Sic Transit Mundus,” Grales offer a two-sided tape through From the Urn Records that is gripping in its onslaught and stirring despite its outward misanthropy. It’s not that they don’t care; it’s that they want you to pick up a molotov cocktail and toss it at your nearest corporate headquarters. Call it relatable.

Grales on Facebook

From the Urn Records on Bandcamp

 

Half Gramme of Soma, Slip Through the Cracks

half gramme of soma slip through the cracks 1

Energetic in its delivery and semi-progressive in its intentions, Half Gramme of Soma‘s second album, Slip Through the Cracks, arrives with the backing of Sound of Liberation Records, the label wing of one of Europe’s lead booking agencies for heavy rock. Not a minor endorsement, but it’s plain to hear in the eight-song/42-minute course the individualism and solidified craft that prompted the pickup: Half Gramme of Soma know what they’re doing, period. Working with producer George Leodis (1000mods, Godsleep, Last Rizla, etc.) in their native Athens, they’ve honed a sound that reaches deeper than the deceptively short runtimes of tracks like “Voyager” and “Sirens” or “Wounds” might lead you to believe, and the blend of patience and intensity on finale-and-longest-song “22:22” (actually 7:36) highlights their potential in both its languid overarching groove and the later guitar solos that cut through it en route to that long fade, without sacrificing the present for the sake of the future. That is, whatever Half Gramme of Soma might do on their third record, Slip Through the Cracks shouldn’t. Even in fest-ready riffers “High Heels” and “Mind Game,” they bleed personality and purpose.

Half Gramme of Soma on Facebook

Sound of Liberation Records store

 

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Half Gramme of Soma Releasing Slip Through the Cracks Sept. 30

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 13th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

half gramme of soma

Athenian progressive heavy rockers Half Gramme of Soma will release their third album, Slip Through the Cracks, on Sept. 30 through Fuzz Ink Records and SOL Records. The former imprint covers Greece, the latter greater EU (maybe North America? I honestly don’t know.) with distribution through The Orchard, and is a newly incarnated wing of Sound of Liberation, the booking agency responsible for, among others, a slew of festivals that Half Gramme of Soma are about to play while they tour with Naxatras to support this upcoming release.

That’s Up in SmokeKeep it Low and the SOL-friendly Desertfest Belgium in Antwerp, and those probably won’t be the last at which the band features. Their video streaming below for “Muck & Cheese” represents them well with a mind toward groove and rhythmic intricacy. It’s a little more of a rager than psychedelic, but I’m not going to argue with it either way, especially not having heard the rest of Slip Through the Cracks yet. I hope it doesn’t.

From the PR wire:

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Sound Of Liberation Launches SOL Records: Athens Rock Act HALF GRAMME OF SOMA To Release Brand New Album On September 30th!

On Tour With NAXATRAS This October!

Sound Of Liberation – the renowned, international live and booking institution for all that is heavy in the realms of stoner and heavy rock, psychedelic, doom and sludge metal, hosts of events such as Desertfest, Keep It Low, Up In Smoke and many more acclaimed festivals of the heavy music underground – has launched its own record label! Distributed by The Orchard, September 30, 2022 will see SOL Records proudly present their first record release, the new album by Athens-based rock act HALF GRAMME OF SOMA!

Formed in early 2011, HALF GRAMME OF SOMA unleashes an enthralling blend of heavy rock and a wide range of eclectic influences. 90’s-fueled, orgasmically monolithic and with a deep psychedelic soul, the band’s sound is groovy and trippy at the same time, based solely on successful teamwork rather than meaningless individual show-offs.

With their self-titled debut album in 2013, the Greek five-piece took the rock community by storm: In 2014, the band released their much acclaimed Marche au Noir EP, followed by extensive touring schedules and shows with bands such as Monster Magnet, Elder, Stoned Jesus, 1000mods, Mars Red Sky and many more. Groove Is Black, HALF GRAMME OF SOMA’s sophomore album, was released in 2017.

Just recently, the band has shared a first song taken of their upcoming, third studio album, Slip Through The Cracks, which will see the light of day on September 30, 2022 via SOL Records (PRE-ORDER HERE!). Their new album raises the bar even more, with memorable riffs, genuine heaviness, an increased use of 90’s influences, powerful driven vocals and a tight rhythm section that never ceases to impress with its precision and effectiveness. HALF GRAMME OF SOMA are once again not aiming for commercial success or innovations, but they revolutionize the modern approach to classic ingredients, creating an addictive yet effortless magma of straightforward heavy rock music and unpretentious punkery!

In support of their upcoming record release, the band will hit the road with NAXATRAS in October; make sure to catch this killer tour package of up-and-coming Greek rock gods live at the listed dates below! HALF GRAMME OF SOMA’s new video for first single and album opening track, “Muck & Cheese”, is streaming here.

HALF GRAMME OF SOMA & NAXATRAS LIVE:
02.10.2022 (CH) Pratteln / Up in Smoke
03.10.2022 (ITA) Bologna / Freak Out Club
04.10.2022 (AT) Innsbruck / PMK
05.10.2022 (AT) Salzburg / Rockhouse
06.10.2022 (DE) Passau / Zauberberg
07.10.2022 (DE) München / Keep It Low
08.10.2022 (CZ) Prague / Rock Café
10.10.2022 (PL) Warsaw / Hydrozagadka
11.10.2022 (DE) Berlin / Zukunft am Ostkreuz
12.10.2022 (DE) Wiesbaden / Schlachthof
14.10.2022 (DE) Oldenburg / Cadillac
15.10.2022 (BE) Antwerp / Desertfest
16.10.2022 (NL) Utrecht / DB´s

Slip Through The Cracks Album – Tracklist:
01. Muck & Cheese
02. Voyager
03. Magnetar
04. High Heels
05. Mind Game
06. Sirens
07. Wounds
08. 22:22

www.facebook.com/hgosband
www.instagram.com/half_gramme_of_soma
https://halfgrammeofsoma.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/fuzzinkrecords/
https://www.instagram.com/fuzzinkrecords/
https://fuzzinkrecords.bandcamp.com/

http://www.sol-records.com
https://www.facebook.com/Soundofliberation/
https://www.instagram.com/soundofliberation/
https://www.soundofliberation.com/

Half Gramme of Soma, “Muck & Cheese” official video

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