Quarterly Review: DANG!!!, Stew, Nothing is Real, Jerky Dirt, Space Coke, Black Solstice, Dome Runner, Moonlit, The Spacelords, Scrying Stone

Posted in Reviews on December 16th, 2021 by JJ Koczan


Day four. Fancy pants. Yesterday was the most effective writing day I’ve had in recent memory, which makes today kind of a harrowing prospect since the only real way to go after that is down. I’ve done the try-to-get-a-jump-on-it stuff, but you never really know how things are going to turn out until your head’s in it and you’re dug into two or three records. We’ll see how it goes. There’s a lot to dig into today though, in a pretty wide range of sounds, so that helps. I’ll admit there are times when it’s like, “What’s another way to say ‘dudes like to riff?'”

As if I’d need another way.

Anyhoozle, hope you find something you dig, as always. If not, still one more day tomorrow. We’ll get there. Thanks for reading.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Dang!!!, Sociopathfinder

dang sociopathfinder

It would take all the space I’ve allotted for this review to recount the full lineup involved in making DANG!!!‘s debut album, Sociopathfinder, but the powerhouse Norwegian seven-piece has former members of The Cosmic Dropouts, Gluecifer, Nashville Pussy, and Motorpsycho, among others, and Kvelertak drummer Håvard Takle Ohr, so maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise they get down to serious business on the record. With influences spanning decades from the ’60s-gone’90s organ-laced electro-rock of “Long Gone Misery” and the Halloween-y “Degenerate,” to the rampaging heavy rock hooks of “Manic Possessive” and “Good Intentions” and the “In the Hall of the Mountain King”-referencing closer “Eight Minutes Till Doomsday,” the 12-song/46-minute outing is a lockdown-defiant explosion of creative songwriting and collaboration, and though it features no fewer than six guitarists throughout (that includes guests), it all flows together thanks to the strength of craft, urgency of rhythm, and Geir Nilsen‘s stellar work on organ. It’s a lot to take on, but pays off any effort put in. Unless you’re a sociopath, I guess. Then you probably don’t feel it at all.

DANG!!! on Facebook

Apollon Records website


Stew, Taste

stew taste

Following up their 2019 debut, People (review here), Swedish classic-heavy trio Stew offer an efficient nine-song/38-minute excursion into ’70s/’10s-inspired boogie rock and heavy blues with Taste, balancing modern production and its own yore-born aesthetic in sharp but not overly-clean fashion. The vocal layering in the back half of opener “Heavy Wings” is a clue to the clarity underlying the band’s organic sound, and while Taste sounds fuller than did People, the bounce of “All That I Need,” the blues hooks in “Keep on Praying” and “Still Got the Time,” subtle proto-metallurgy of “New Moon” (one almost hears barking at it) and the wistful closing duo of “When the Lights Go Out” and “You Don’t Need Me” aren’t so far removed from the preceding outing as to be unrecognizable. This was a band who knew what they wanted to sound like on their first album who’ve set about refining their processes. Taste checks in nicely on that progress and shows it well underway.

Stew on Facebook

Uprising! Records website


Nothing is Real, Transmissions of the Unearthly

nothing is real transmissions of the unearthly

Are the crows I hear cawing on “Tyrant of the Unreal” actually in the song or outside my window? Does it matter? I don’t know anymore. Los Angeles-based psychological terror rock unit Nothing is Real reportedly conjured the root tracks for the 87-minute 2CD Transmissions of the Unearthly with guest drummer Jeremy Lauria over the course of two days and the subsequent Halloween release has been broken into two parts: ‘Chaos’ and ‘Order.’ Screaming blackened psychedelia haunts the former, while the latter creeps in dark, raw sludge realization, but one way or the other, the prevailing sensory onslaught is intentionally overwhelming. The slow march of “King of the Wastelands” might actually be enough to serve as proclamation, and where in another context “Sickened Samsara” would be hailed as arthouse black-metal-meets-filthy–psych-jazz, the delivery from Nothing is Real is so sincere and untamed that the horrors being explored do in fact feel real and are duly disconcerting and wickedly affecting. Bleak in a way almost entirely its own.

Nothing is Real on Facebook

Nothing is Real on Bandcamp


Jerky Dirt, Orse

Jerky Dirt Orse

After immersing the listener with the keyboard-laced opening instrumental “Alektorophobia” (fear of chickens), the third album from UK outfit Jerky Dirt, Orse, unfolds the starts and stops of “Ygor’s Lament” with a sensibility like earlier Queens of the Stone Age gone prog before moving into the melodic highlight “Orse, Part 1” and the acoustic “Eh-Iss.” By the time the centerpiece shuffler “Ozma of Oz” begins, you’re either on board or you’re not, and I am. Despite a relatively spare production, Jerky Dirt convey tonal depth effectively between the fuzz of “Ygor’s Lament” and the more spacious parts of “In Mind” that give way to larger-sounding roll, and some vocal harmonies in “The Beast” add variety in the record’s second half before the aptly-named “Smoogie Boogie” — what else to call it, really? — and progressive melody of “Orse, Part 2” close out. A minimal online presence means info on the band is sparse, it may just be one person, but the work holds up across Orse on multiple listens, complex in craft but accessible in execution.

Jerky Dirt on Bandcamp


Space Coke, Lunacy

Space Coke Lunacy

A scouring effort of weirdo horror heavy, the five-track Lunacy from South Carolina’s Space Coke isn’t short on accuracy, seemingly on any level. The swirl of nine-minute opener “Bride of Satan” is cosmic but laced with organ, underlying rumble, far-back vocals and sundry other elements that are somehow menacing. The subsequent “Alice Lilitu” is thicker-toned for at least stretches of its 13 minutes, and its organ feels goth-born as it moves past the midpoint, but the madness of a solo that ensues from there feels well cast off (or perhaps on, given the band’s moniker) the rails. Shit gets strange, people. “Frozen World” is positively reachable by comparison, though it too has its organ drama, and the ensuing “Lightmare” starts with an extended horror sample before fuzzing and humming out six minutes of obscure incantation and jamming itself into oblivion. Oh, and there’s a cover of Danzig‘s “Twist of Cain” at the end. Because obviously. Doom filtered through goth kitsch-horror VHS tape and somewhere behind you something is lurking and you don’t see it coming until it’s too late.

Space Coke on Facebook

Space Coke on Bandcamp


Black Solstice, Ember

Black Solstice Ember

Broken into two halves each given its own intro in “Intervention” and “Celestial Convoy,” respectively, the debut full-length from Stockholm’s Black Solstice brings back some familiar faces in guitarist Anders Martinsgård and drummer Peter Eklund, both formerly of Ponamero Sundown. Ember, with flourish of percussion in “Signs of Wisdom,” grunge-style harmonies in “Burned by the Sun” and just a hint of winding thrashy threat in “Firespawn,” is deeply rooted in doom metal. They count Sabbath as primary, but the 10-track/42-minute offering is more metal than stonerized riff worship, and with vocalist “Mad Magnus” Lindmark and bassist Lelle B. Falheim completing the lineup, the four-piece boast an aggressive edge and hit harder than one might initially think going in. That is no complaint, mind you. Perhaps they’re not giving themselves enough credit for the depth of their sound, but as their first long-player (following a few demos), Ember finds a niche that hints toward the familiar without going overboard in tropes. I don’t know who, but someone in this band likes Megadeth.

Black Solstice on Facebook

Ozium Records webstore


Dome Runner, Conflict State Design

Dome Runner Conflict State Design

Begun as Paleskin before a probably-for-the-best name change, Tampere, Finland’s Dome Runner offer a hard-industrial bridge between Godflesh at their angriest and earliest Fear Factory‘s mechanized chugging assault. Conflict State Design is the trio’s first full-length, and along with the stated influences, there’s some pull from sludge and noise as well, shades of Fudge Tunnel in “Unfollow” met with harsh screaming or the churning riff underscoring the explosions of synth in “The Undemonizing Process,” like roughed-up Souls at Zero-era Neurosis. With the seven-minute extreme wash of “Impure Utility of Authoritarian Power Structure” at its center, Conflict State Design harkens back to the dreary industrialism of two decades ago — it very pointedly doesn’t sound like Nine Inch Nails — but is given a forward-thinking heft and brutality to match. Amid something of an industrial revival in the heavy underground, Dome Runner‘s debut stands out. More to the point, it’s fucking awesome.

Dome Runner on Facebook

Dome Runner on Bandcamp


Moonlit, So Bless Us Now…

Moonlit So Bless us now

Varese, Italy, instrumentalist heavy post-rockers Moonlit almost can’t help but bring to mind Red Sparowes with their debut album, So Bless Us Now…, though the marching cymbals early in the 17-minute finale “And We Stood Still Until We Became, Invisible” seem to be in conversation with Om‘s meditative practice as well, and the violin on the earlier “Empty Sky/Cold Lights…” (11:25) is a distinguishing element. Still, it is a melding of heft and float across “For We Have Seen” (12:29) at the beginning of the record, more straight-ahead riffing met with a focus on atmospherics beyond conventional sense of aural weight. Each piece has its own persona, some linear, the penultimate “Shine in the Darkest Night” more experimentalist in structure and its use of samples, but the whole 55-minute listening experience is consuming, minimal in its droning finish only after creating a full wash of mindful, resonant psychedelic reach. With titles drawn from Nietzsche quotes from Thus Spake Zarathustra, there are suitably lonely stretches throughout, but even at its maddest, So Bless Us Now… holds to its stylistic purpose.

Moonlit on Instagram

Moonlit on Bandcamp


The Spacelords, Unknown Species

The Spacelords Unknown Species

Not to be confused with New York outfit Spacelord, the now-decade-plus-runnin German instrumental kosmiche-harvesters The Spacelords present Unknown Species across three — and I’m just being honest here — wonderful extended works, arranged from shortest to longest as “F.K.B.D.F.” (8:10), “Unknown Species” (14:53) and the initially-unplugged “Time Tunnel” (20:26) unfurl a thoughtful outbound progression that finds beauty in dark times and jams with intent that’s progressive without pretense — and, when it wants to be, substantially heavy. That’s true more of the end in “Time Tunnel” than the initial synth-laced drift of “F.K.B.D.F.,” but the solo-topped punch of the title-track/centerpiece isn’t to be understated either. In 2020, the trio released their Spaceflowers (review here) LP, as well as a documentary about their recording/writing processes, and Unknown Species pushes even further into defining just how special a band they are, gorgeously constructed and impeccably mixed as it is. Can’t and wouldn’t ask for more.

The Spacelords on Facebook

Tonzonen Records website


Scrying Stone, Scrublands

Scrying Stone Scrublands

A debut outing from Michigan-based newcomers Scrying Stone, the 29-minute Scrublands flows like an album so I’m going to consider it one until I hear otherwise. And as a first album, it sets melody and tonal density not so much against each other, but toward like purposes, and even in the instrumental “Ballad of the Hyena,” it finds cohesive ground for the two sides to exist together without contradiction and without sounding overly derivative of its modern influences. “At Our Heels” makes an engaging hello for first-time listeners, and the faster “The Marauder” later on adds a sense of dynamic at just the right moment before the fuzzy overload of “Desert Thirst” dives into deeper weedian idolatry. There’s some boogie underneath the title-track too, and as a companion to the willing-to-soar closer “Dromedary,” that unrushed rush feels purposeful, making Scrublands come across as formative in its reach — one can definitely hear where they might branch out — but righteously complete in its production and songwriting; a strong opening statement of potential for the band to make en route to what might come next.

Scrying Stone on Facebook

Scrying Stone on Bandcamp


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

Space Coke Releasing Lunacy in January

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

I said when Space Coke released their most recent album, L’Appel du Vide (review here), in 2018 that that record would surely get picked up for a vinyl issue sometime in 2019. Money in the bank, I said. Didn’t happen, but that hardly seems to have held back Space Coke at all, as they’ve moved forward despite the world stopping and will on Jan. 14 release their next full-length, titled simply Lunacy. I haven’t heard it yet or I’d tell you what it sounds like, but I know damn well that whenever and whatever I end up writing about it — beyond this, anyhow — I won’t be trying to predict anybody’s future.

Lesson learned? Probably not, but, you know, a bit of humbling every now and again is good for the soul.

Info came down the PR wire:

space coke

SPACE COKE To Release New Album Lunacy

On January 14 2022 psychedelic rockers SPACE COKE will release their new album Lunacy.

The band comments: “We have an origin theme that a trip to space is a breakaway from a society gone mad. A planet that has built up civilizations based on power and oppression. Also mix that with the SPACE COKE scene from Cheech and Chong’s movie. Reno grew up in a diverse multicultural household and likes his music and musical companions to reflect that. SPACE COKE is aural magic to ground us in how small our planet and its affectations are in an immeasurable existence.”

Lunacy is a Twilight Zone-like journey and will be both darker and more occult themed than previous albums. Each musician’s influences add to the complexity of the album and lend to something far beyond the traditional hallmarks of fuzz and bass. Reno Gooch pulls from his childhood of listening to Indian classical, as well as contemporary artists such as SUN RA, SONIC YOUTH and ANTHONY BRAXTON, plus some of rocks most well known godfathers: BLACK SABBATH, MOTHERS OF INVENTION and JIMI HENDRIX.

If you’re ready to embark on a journey from which you may not return, SPACE COKE will be your guide. As they say: If the amp don’t smoke, it ain’t SPACE COKE.

More information will be available soon.


Space Coke, L’Appel du Vide (2018)

Tags: , , , , ,

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 07

Posted in Radio on January 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gimme radio logo

I wanted to get a little weird. You know, the last episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio was some of the best tracks from 2018, but in addition to some new stuff, some 2019 stuff — cuts from Skraeckoedlan and Thunderbird Divine — I wanted to make sure I included some songs that people might’ve missed in 2018. In fact, with Melody Fields early on in the playlist, that was a record I missed completely until I put up one or the other of the year-end lists and someone pointed it out to me on Thee Facebooks. It’s an awesome record. On the show, I mistakenly said it was released through World in Sound. The LP was on Kommun 2 and the CD was on Sound Effect. Credit where it’s due, because that record rules.

Likewise, “it rules” was also a running theme. Black Helium was a standout from that 100-album Quarterly Review that I did in December, and being able to stand out among 99 other releases certainly seems worth highlighting to me. I was digging the Horehound record as I was getting ready to review it, and Skraeckoedlan I’m also getting ready to cover (maybe later this week?), while Faith in Jane I haven’t had the chance to review yet but those guys are great. Also from the Quarterly Review was Child, Space Coke and Carpet, while Goblinsmoker belong to the UK’s ever-growing swath of bands with silly names and a destructive bent. And then at the end I wanted to space out like I used to do with the podcasts — just have it hit a point and go far out and not come back. Jam into the reaches. Plus it gave me an excuse to talk about Øresund Space Collective’s AR/VR artwork for Kybalion, which it awesome in its own right.

The odd-track-out I suppose is Witchcraft, but I talk about that on the show. It’s kind of a new-classic in my mind and something I wanted to focus on this episode. We’re moving into a new year and Witchcraft’s self-titled came out 15 years ago. I think the only reason it’s not already considered classic heavy is because it’s still so relevant, it hasn’t even allowed for that kind of distance yet. But make no mistake, that’s a classic album.

Anyway, considering I had to record the voice breaks on my phone because my internet was so craptastic at the time that I couldn’t go directly into Gimme’s back end software like I’m supposed to, I thought the show came out pretty well. If you listened, I hope you agree. And if you missed it, I hope you can catch the replay.

Here’s the playlist:

The Obelisk Show Ep. 07 – 01.06.19

Greenbeard Kill to Love Yourself Onward, Pillager
Skraeckoedlan Kung Mammut Eorþe
Melody Fields Trädgränsen Melody Fields
Faith in Jane Mountain Lore Countryside
Horehound Sloth Holocene
Foot Sweet Stuff Buffalo
Child The Other Song I
Witchcraft No Angel or Demon Witchcraft
Black Helium Summer Spells Primitive Fuck
Space Coke Kali Ma L’Appel du Vide
Rifflord The Other Side 7 Cremation Ground/Meditation
Goblinsmoker Toad King Toad King
Thunderbird Divine Qualified Magnasonic
Øresund Space Collective Smooth Future Kybalion
Carpet Selene About Rooms and Elephants
Deep Space Destructors Floating Visions from the Void

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Sunday night at 7PM Eastern, with replays the following Tuesday at 9AM. Next show is Jan. 20. Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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

Quarterly Review: Blood of the Sun, Evoken, IAH, Asylum, Merlin, The Hazytones, Daily Thompson, Old Man Lizard, Tuskar, Space Coke

Posted in Reviews on December 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan


I had to think long and hard just now about what day it is. It’s Tuesday. — See how confident I was in saying that? A mask for insecurity, as always.

Anyway, the QR continues today with 10 more records and a pretty solid mix of whatnot. Some of this I’ve written about before here, but basically want to have another shot at the records themselves, so as we wind down 2018, it seems like the time to do that is now. As always, I hope you find something you dig. Seems pretty likely, frankly. If you go the entire 100 records with nothing but a “meh” to show for it, the problem isn’t likely to be the records. Not trying to insinuate anything, I’m just saying. 100 records is a lot. 10 records is a lot. And that’s what we’re doing today, so let’s get going.

Quarterly Review #61-70:

Blood of the Sun, Blood’s Thicker than Love

blood of the sun bloods thicker than love

Drummer Henry Vasquez (also Saint Vitus) returns to his ultra-Texan heavy rock roots with Blood of the Sun‘s first album in six years, Blood’s Thicker than Love (on Listenable). Driven by his own fervent rhythmic push, the six-song collection is given further classic heavy vibe through the prominent organ/keyboard work of Dave Gryder. Oh, and also the riffs from newcomer guitarists Wyatt Burton and Alex Johnson. Oh, and also bassist Roger “Kip” Yma‘s quick turns on bass. Oh, and also Sean Vargas‘ vocals. So yeah, pretty much the whole damn thing is classic uptempo heavy boogie, produced modern but making no mistake about where its heart lies. Vargas‘ voice has a pre-metal swagger that helps define tracks like “Livin’ for the Night” and the capper “Blood of the Road,” and while the follow-up to 2012’s Burning on the Wings of Desire (review here) is enough to make one wistful for the days when their contemporaries in Dixie Witch once also roamed the land, Blood of the Sun make classic rock their own and give it a vibrancy that’s nothing if not a show of love, regardless of how thick that may be.

Blood of the Sun on Thee Facebooks

Listenable Records on Bandcamp


Evoken, Hypnagogia

evoken hypnogogia

Unremitting. Unrelenting. Unforgiving. Whatever else one might say about New Jersey death/doombringers Evoken, it better start with the prefix “un-.” The negativity runs through the 60 minutes of their latest work, Hypnagogia (on Profound Lore), and one would expect no less than the ultra-mournful crush of “To Feign Ebullience” or the buzzing, resonant disdain of “Valorous Consternation,” the string sounds playing such a large role in crafting both the melodies and the relentless nature of their lung-deflating atmosphere. They may only break into speedier sections on rare occasion, but there’s no way to listen to Hypnagogia and call it anything other than extreme metal. It’s so cast down and so grinding that it not only conveys mood but affects it. Evoken are masters of the form, of course, and while Hypnagogia is their first full-length since 2012’s Atra Mors (review here), their history spans more than a quarter-century and time seems only to have made their miseries plunge even deeper.

Evoken on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records website



iah ii

In part, the gift that Argentinian trio IAH give with their aptly-titled second outing, II — following their 2017 self-titled debut EP (review here) — is to allow their parts to flesh out naturally across the six-song/38-minute span, so that even as second cut “HH” turns to more weighted chug, that in turn evolves into something no less spacious than the drift brought to bear in the second half of the later “La Niña del Rayo,” which makes its way ultimately through similar interplay. This back and forth is exceptionally smooth throughout II, as the instrumental outfit blend heavy psychedelia and progressive metal with an unflinching cohesion of their songwriting. The longest inclusion is the penultimate “Pri” at 7:35, which caps with massive start-stops en route to closer “Sheut,” which serves as one last showcase of the cosmic doom dynamic burgeoning in the band’s sound, as much ready to depart the earth as leave impact craters on it.

IAH on Thee Facebooks

IAH on Bandcamp


Asylum, 3-3-88

asylum 3-3-88

The band who a short time later would evolve into Unorthodox, Asylum have long stood as a testament to the enduring power of Maryland doom. 3-3-88 is the second official issue of their material Shadow Kingdom has stood behind, following 2008’s reissue of 1985’s The Earth is the Insane Asylum of the Universe (review here), and it’s no less a document of the classic metal that’s still very much the foundation of what Maryland doom is. From the Sabbathian opening of “World in Trouble” and the later “Psyche World” to the kind of feeling-out-the-riff happening in “Funk 69” and the concluding instrumental “Unorthodox,” there’s a rawness to the sound that suits it well in the spirit of Pentagram‘s First Daze Here, but even in barebones form, Asylum‘s doomly vibes brook no bullshit and weed out the feint of heart. Straightforward working-class doom grit stripped to its essentials. Hard to ask for anything more when you actually hear it.

Unorthodox on Thee Facebooks

Shadow Kingdom Records website


Merlin, Dank Souls and Dark Weed: A Live Experience

merlin dank souls and dark weed

Kansas City doom rockers Merlin expanded to a six-piece early in 2018, and Dank Souls and Dark Weed: A Live Experience, as the title hints, captures this form of the band on stage. They’re playing a hometown gig at the Riot Room, and from the nodding groove that opens with “Abyss” from this year’s The Wizard (review here) to the extended reaches of a 19-minute take on “Tales of the Wasteland” that’s actually shorter than the studio version from 2016’s Electric Children (review here), the band explore reaches that are vast with a patience befitting their quickly-earned veteran status. The recording is remarkably clear and allows for the wash of “The Wizard Suite” to be discernible in its progressive rollout, and as they close with “Night Creep” from the 2016 LP, their energy comes through no less prevalent than the distortion driving it forward. The crowd are right to holler.

Merlin on Thee Facebooks

Merlin on Bandcamp


The Hazytones, II: Monarchs of Oblivion

the hazytones ii monarchs of oblivion

Touching on garage-doom influences, Montreal three-piece The Hazytones effectively sleek into the groove of “The Great Illusion” on their second Ripple LP, II: Monarchs of Oblivion, finding a balance between swing, melody and heft that pushes beyond the seemingly-requisite Uncle Acid influence to a place that isn’t shy about working in crisp tones or unabashed vocal harmonies. The title-track is a two-parter, and touches on theatrics-sans-pretense in the first piece while dedicating the second to following a central riff well worthy of the attention they give it toward a galloping solo finish. Opener “Empty Space” sets a creper vibe, and by the time they’re down to finishing out with the “Hole in the Sky”-style riff of “The Hand that Feeds,” that sensibility is reaffirmed as an essential component of The Hazytones‘ aesthetic. Whether it’s the chugging “Hell” or the way-blown-out “The Beast,” they hold firm to that central purpose and work with it to effect a sound that one can hear becoming their own all the more.

The Hazytones on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp


Daily Thompson, Thirsty

daily thompson thirsty

Three albums in, Dortmund’s Daily Thompson indeed sound Thirsty — or maybe it’s hungry, but either way, the Dortmund trio’s MIG Music offering captures a tight presentation based around nonetheless natural energy born of their time on tour, as the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Danny Zaremba, bassist Mercedes, and drummer Stefan Mengel touch on Spidergawd-style classic heavy rock strut with “Brown Mountain Lights” and make their way through the semi-acoustic drift of “Stone Rose” and toward the later roll of “River Haze” with a trail of hooks behind them. Songwriting is central to what they do, but while Thirsty isn’t a minor undertaking at a CD-era reminiscent 10 songs/53 minutes, the band offer a chemistry between them and a fullness of sound that allows them to play to different sides of their approach, be it the fuzz-blues of “Gone Child” or the final summation “Spit out the Crap” that seems to shove all the more to its cymbal-wash finish. The title Thirsty brings to mind connotations of need, but Daily Thompson sound like they’ve got it all taken care of.

Daily Thompson on Thee Facebooks

MIG Music website


Old Man Lizard, True Misery

old man lizard true misery

A strong enough current of noise rock runs beneath Old Man Lizard‘s True Misery (on Wasted State) that leadoff track “Shark Attack” is enough to remind of Akimbo‘s Jersey Shores, and in under two minutes, the subsequent “Snakes” ties that into crawling-paced doom riffery such that the lumbering “Tree of Te?ne?re?” opens like the gaping jaws of some deep-sea trench. From there it unfolds a bit more uptempo than one might initially think, but it shows how fluidly Old Man Lizard shift from one impulse to the other. Accordingly, True Misery plays out with familiar-enough tones put to deceptively subtle and unpredictable purposes, making one-two highlights of the eight-minute back-to-backers “Cursed Ocean, Relentless Sea” and “Misery is Miserable” — which says it all, really — ahead of the finale, well titled “Return to Earth.” A better band than people know, Old Man Lizard bring a progressive touch to what from many others would just be sludge riffing — a bit of Elder on that closer — and manage to do so without losing touch with the righteousness of their groove. True Misery takes a couple listens to sink in, but well earns those and more besides.

Old Man Lizard on Thee Facebooks

Wasted State Records website


Tuskar, The Tide, Beneath, The Wall

tuskar the tide beneath the wall

Tuskar‘s second offering through Riff Rock Records arrives titled for its three songs, “The Tide,” “Beneath” and “The Wall,” and comprises three tracks of largesse-minded sludge, burying its shouted vocals beneath mountainous low end. The Tide, Beneath, The Wall sets itself up through noisy churn and a roll that’s somehow misanthropic at the same time it seems well geared to have an entire bar headbanging. Either way, the feedback-worship in “The Wall” — sure enough a massive thing to slam into — makes a fitting end to the 20-minute release that seems to run so much longer, as “The Tide” and “Beneath” each set forth a grueling sprawl of malevolence that touches on the chaos to come without ever fully giving away what’s in store for the finale. At the same time this assault is cast, there’s an atmosphere to the proceedings as well such that Tuskar aren’t simply bludgeoning for the sake of bludgeonry, but finding a place for themselves within that in order to develop their attack. They do that successfully here and sound well up to the inevitable task before them of a debut full-length.

Tuskar on Thee Facebooks

Riff Rock Records website


Space Coke, L’Appel du Vide

space coke lappel du vide

I just about never do this, but I’m gonna go ahead and make the call: Space Coke‘s L’Appel du Vide is going to get picked up for a vinyl release in 2019. I don’t know who, how or when, but it’s basically a lock. The Columbia, South Carolina, organ-laced four-piece play classic-as-now heavy rock with right-on songcraft and a hard-hitting presentation that’s begging for some label with ears to hear it and press it to the platter it deserves. Be it the molten unfolding of the title-track or the fuzz-swirl of “Thelemic Ritual” or the cosmic stretch of “Kali Ma,” they’re locked in to a degree that utterly defies the notion that this is their first record, and from the vocal-effects smash in “Lucid Dream” and the samples laid over-top of “Interlude,” there’s never really a sense of where Space Coke — extra kudos for the Cheech & Chong reference — might go next, and yet their sound is cohesive, directed, and well aware of exactly what it’s doing and what it wants to do. Never a guarantee of anything in this world, but with Space Coke‘s take on modern stoner sprawl, I’d be amazed if someone didn’t grab this in the New Year, if not before. Eyes peeled on the PR wire for the announcement.

Space Coke on Thee Facebooks

Space Coke on Bandcamp


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