The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 64

Posted in Radio on July 23rd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

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If you’re paying attention at all — and fair enough if you’re not — you had to see this one coming, right? No way I wasn’t going to follow up that massive Quarterly Review with a playlist for The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal. Had to happen. Honestly, I covered enough stuff in that 110-record span that I might do two shows out of it. Have to see what I can pull together for next time.

To answer your next imginary question, yes, it is somewhat bittersweet after two all-Neurosis episodes to be playing anything else. It was bound to happen eventually, some return to normalcy. Such as it is. Fortunately the selections here are killer if I do say so myself, and if you think it’s a coincidence that I reviewed so many albums and this playlist is starting with a cut from the Maha Sohona record, I promise you it is not. That one might’ve been my pick of the whole thing. Also took the excuse to play the Spaceslug track here again, just because it rules and fits that vibe too.

Thanks for listening and/or reading. I hope you enjoy.

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

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 07.23.21

Maha Sohona Leaves Endless Searcher
The Crooked Whispers Hail Darkness Dead Moon Night
Filthy Hippies I’m Bugging Out Departures
Paralyzed Golden Days Paralyzed
VT
Alastor The Killer in My Skull Onwards and Downwards
Spelljammer Bellwether Abyssal Trip
Spaceslug The Event Horizon The Event Horizon
Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel Horizon Polaris
VT
Hellish Form Shadows with Teeth Remains
Vouna Grey Sky Atropos
Rose City Band World is Turning Earth Trip
Moanhand The Boomerang of Serpents Present Serpent
VT
Methadone Skies Retrofuture Caveman Retrofuture Caveman

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is Aug. 6 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Metal website

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Quarterly Review: Geezer, Spaceslug, Expo Seventy, Boss Keloid, Bong-Ra, Zebu, Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel, LáGoon, Maha Sohona, The Bad Sugar Rush

Posted in Reviews on July 13th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

Oh my breaking heart as we move into day seven of the Summer 2021 Quarterly Review and I am reminded that the wages of hubris are feeling like a dumbass later. I was loading up my laptop on Saturday — so pleased with how ahead-of-the-game I was able to stay all last week — when the thing decided it was gonna give itself some time off one way or the other.

I dropped it for repair about 20 minutes before the guy I’ve come to trust was closing shop. He said he’d be in touch on Monday. Needless to say, I’m on my backup cheapie Chromebook, reviewing off Bandcamp streams, eagerly awaiting that call which I can only hope has come in by the time this is posted. I’ll keep you in the loop, of course, but putting together the reviews for yesterday? That was not pretty.

I expressly thank The Patient Mrs., through whom all things are possible.

Onward.

Quarterly Review #61-70:

Geezer, Solstice

Geezer Solstice

Geezer‘s ambition could hardly be clearer in their 17-minute “Solstice” jam. It was the Solstice — Winter 2020, to be specific — and the Kingston, New York, trio jammed. Guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington (who doesn’t sing on the track) added some dreamy synth after the fact, and the affect is all the more hypnotic for it. Harrington, bassist Richie Touseull and drummer Steve Markota are no strangers to exploratory fare, as they showed on 2020’s righteous Groovy (review here), and as a Bandcamp Friday-era stopgap offering, “Solstice” brings a sampling of who they are in the rehearsal space, willing to be heavy, willing to not, ready to go where the music leads them. If Geezer wanted to do a whole full-length like this, I wouldn’t fight them, so you most definitely will not find me arguing against a digital single either. With jams this tasty, you take what you can get.

Geezer on Facebook

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Spaceslug, The Event Horizon

spaceslug the event horizon

Issued less as a stopgap, which a digital-only single might normally be, than as a response to the band having lost gear in a practice space flood, the 8:52 single-song outing The Event Horizon was recorded at the same time as Spaceslug‘s late 2020 EP The Leftovers (review here) and in a way acts to bridge the melancholy beyond-genre push of that release with the more weighted, spacious roll that has typified the Polish outfit’s work to-date — their latest full-length was 2019’s Reign of the Orion (review here), and they recently finished a new one. So perhaps “The Event Horizon,” with its hypnotically languid rhythm and concluding drift, is a stopgap after all, but between helping the band recoup their losses and thinking of what might be coming next, it’s an exciting if not-unalloyed listening experience, and the three-piece move deeper into a signature sound even as they continue to bring the definition of what that means to new places.

Spaceslug on Thee Facebooks

Spaceslug on Bandcamp

 

Expo Seventy, Evolution

Expo Seventy Evolution

Creating sometimes-scorching, droning psychedelic soundtracks to all your favorite classic sci-fi films that never existed, Kansas City’s Expo Seventy offer a call to worship for freaks and converted heads on their new album, Evolution. Still headed by guitarist James Wright as on late-2016’s America Here and Now Sessions (review here), the band offer new glories celestial and terrestrial instrumental chemistry throughout the six tracks (seven on the CD) of Evolution, lumbering away on “Echoes of Ether” only after floating in brass-section antigrav conditions on “The Slow Death of Tomorrow.” Can you hang? You’ll know one way or the other as the culminating duo “Second Vision, First Sight” and “First Vision, Second Sight” are done with you, having altered dimensions so thoroughly that the ethereal will either come to feel like home or you will simply have melted. In any case, lash yourself to it. Own that shit.

Expo Seventy on Facebook

Essence Music on Bandcamp

 

Boss Keloid, Family the Smiling Thrush

boss kelod family the smiling thrush

Peak-era Faith No More reborn in progressive heavy fuzz? What stoner rock might’ve been if it went to college instead of spending all that time hanging around talking about old cars? I don’t know where UK four-piece Boss Keloid ultimately stand on their admirable fifth LP, Family the Smiling Thrush — the follow-up to 2018’s also-well-received Melted on the Inch (review here) — but they most certainly stand on their own. Across seven tracks, the band careen, crash, lumber, rush and ponder — lyrics no less worth a close read than any other component — and from opener/longest track (immediate points) “Orang of Noyn” on, they make it abundantly clear that their style’s unpredictability is an asset, and that just because you might not know where they’re going next doesn’t mean they don’t. Melodic, complex and cerebral, there’s still a human presence here, a sense of a plan unfolding, that makes the album seem all the more masterful.

Boss Keloid on Facebook

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Bong-Ra, Antediluvian

BONG-RA Antediluvian

Though it’s ultimately less electric-kool-aid than endless-churning-abyss-with-psychdelic-saxophone-screaming-up-at-you-like-free-jazz-trapped-in-the-downward-tonal-spiral, Bong-Ra‘s four-tracker Antediluvian is duly experimentalist in being born out of the mind of Jason Köhnen, whose work on this project not only extends more than 20 years, but who has been a part of landmark Dutch outfits like Celestial Season, The Kilmanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble and The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation, among scores of others. The procession on this full-length, originally released in 2018 through Svart Lava, is wild times indeed, but immersive despite feeling at times like a litmus for how much you can take, with Köhnen‘s bass/keys/etc. and Balazs Pandi‘s drums meeting with Colin Webster‘s saxophone and Chloe Herrington‘s bassoon, willfully plodding through long-ish form improv-seeming movements of atmospheric heft creation.

Jason Köhnen website

Tartarus Records store

 

Zebu, Reek of the Parvenu

zebu reek of the parvenu

A coherent and forceful debut full-length, Reek of the Parvenu quickly shows the metallic undercurrent from Athens-based four-piece Zebu on opener “The Setting Dust,” and pushes from there in groove metal fashion, taking some impulses from heavy rock but holding largely to a central aggressive stance and tension in the rhythm that is a backdrop even as the later “Nature of Failure” breaks from its chugging shove for a quieter stretch. That is to say, the next punch is always coming, and Zebu‘s blows are effectively delivered — looking at you, “Burden” — though some of the slower, sludgier cuts like “Our Shame” or the doomier finale “The City” bring a welcome atmosphere to go with the coinciding burl. I’m not sure if “People Under the Stairs” wants to kick my ass or crack a beer, but the songwriting is air tight and the thrashy threat only contributes to the immediacy of the release on the whole. They’re not screwing around.

Zebu on Facebook

Zebu on Bandcamp

 

Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel, Polaris

Los Disidentes Del Sucio Motel Polaris

It’s been 11 years since France’s Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel debuted with Soundtrack From the Motion Picture (review here), an engaging, kind of silly play on stoner rock and B-movie tropes. Beneath that, however, it was also a concept album, and the band — who now seem to prefer LDDSM for a moniker — still work from that foundation on their fourth full-length, Polaris. The difference scope and sonic maturity. Rife with vocal harmonies and progressive flourish, the 10-track answer to 2016’s Human Collapse (review here) smoothly shifts between the patient and the urgent, the intimate and the grand — and that’s in the first two minutes of “Blue Giant” alone — finding their way into a proggy post-heavy rock that’s too clearheaded to be psychedelic, but that balances the crunch of “Horizon” with a sense of the otherworldly just the same.

Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel on Facebook

Klonosphere Records website

 

LáGoon, Skullactic Visions

LáGoon skullactic visions

With their fourth long-player, guitarist/vocalist Anthony Gaglia and drummer Brady Maurer of Portland, Oregon’s LáGoon welcome bassist Kenny Combs to the fold and dive as a trio — their first three-piece outing was last year’s Father of Death EP — headfirst into murky riffing and heady heavy rock, made all the more spacious through cavern echo and the garage doom vocals Gaglia brings on the title-track, as well as the synth that surfaces on the subsequent interlude “Buried” and elsewhere throughout. The earlier “Beyond the Trees” is particularly bleak and otherworldly, but I won’t take away from the further-down procession of “Hill Bomb” and “The Slow Down” into “Final Ride,” the last of which closes out with scummer doom that’s familiar but distinct enough to be their own. There are moments on Skullactic Visions where, for as much as they could sound like Electric Wizard given the ingredients, I’m all the gladder they don’t.

LaGoon on Facebook

Interstellar Smoke Records webstore

Forbidden Place Records on Bandcamp

 

Maha Sohona, Endless Searcher

Maha Sohona endless searcher

Maha Sohona‘s second album comes some seven years after their self-titled debut, but who cares about time when you’ve got your headphones on and you’re surrounded by the richness of tone on offer throughout Endless Searcher‘s five rolling tracks? Heavy and laid back, the trio of guitarist/vocalist Johan Bernhardtson, bassist Thomas Hedlund and drummer David Lundsten finding some kinship with Polish three-piece Spaceslug in their post-Sungrazer blend of weight and flow, a jam like “Luftslot” nodding and conjuring depth even as it soars. Can’t argue with the quicker push of “A Black Star” or the purposefully straightforward “Scavengers” (where the title-line is delivered) but some of the mellow moments in opener “Leaves” and especially the building instrumental finisher “Orbit X” are even more satisfying for how effectively they move you place to place almost without your realizing it. I’ve got nothing for you if you can’t dig this vibe.

Maha Sohona on Facebook

Made of Stone Recordings on Bandcamp

 

The Bad Sugar Rush, Liar/Push Me

The Bad Sugar Rush Liar Push Me

Keen observers will recognize The Bad Sugar Rush vocalist René Hofmann from his work with Wight, but the work here alongside guitarist Josko Joke-Tovic, bassist Minyeong Fischer and drummer Peter Zettl is distinct from that other unit here, even as the Humble Pie-esque “Push Me” and semi-sleeze “Liar” both have some shade of funk to their procession. Both cuts circa four minutes makes for a suitable debut 7″ with respected purveyor H42 Records doing the honors, and the results are an encouragingly catchy display of what a first full-length might accomplish when and however such a thing emerges. There’s classic heavy rock as the foundation, but more than outright ’70s worship — though some of that too — it’s the organic feel of the songs that leaves an impression on the listener, though the background singers on “Push Me” don’t hurt in that regard, certainly. An auspicious and intriguind first showing.

The Bad Sugar Rush on Facebook

H42 Records website

 

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Spaceslug Complete Work on New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 14th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Decidedly better news this time around from Polish heavy psychedelic rockers Spaceslug, who have now finished work on their next full-length to be released presumably sometime before the end of the year. The band were last heard from early in May, having suffered the misfortune of a flooded practice space and, as a result, posted the single “The Event Horizon” which was recorded in 2020. One imagines some level of catharsis following that in simply moving forward with new ideas and sounds, let alone compiling an entire long-player.

Spaceslug‘s last album was 2019’s Reign of the Orion (review here), which was followed by 2020’s Leftovers EP (review here), exploring different sounds and textures of keys and melody and so on. The age-old question is how or if that excursion will play into the trio’s established, tonally-rich methodology, but until the record arrives the best one can do is speculation one way or the other. For what it’s worth, Spaceslug have worked at a prolific clip since their 2016 debut, Lemanis (review here), and in addition to being well received in aesthetic and craft, they’ve never yet failed to push themselves creatively. Whether their fifth album draws from Leftovers or not, it is fair to expect at this point that they will continue to progress as they have up to now. At least, nothing I’ve heard from them to-date has made me think they won’t.

More to come, of course. Their announcement was brief:

spaceslug recording

Our new longplay is fully finished and ready to roll. Recorded, mixed and mastered by one and only Mr. Perla from Perlazza Studio.

Over 46 minutes of nostalgia, heavy riffs and beauty of the dark void.

We will let you know as soon as schedule of release will be done.

Bartosz Janik – guitar
Kamil Ziólkowski – drums, vocals
Jan Rutka – bass, vocals

https://www.facebook.com/spaceslugband/
https://www.instagram.com/spaceslug_pl/
https://spaceslug.bandcamp.com/music
https://www.facebook.com/BSFD-records-247816545273558/
https://bsfdrecords.blogspot.co.uk/

Spaceslug, “The Event Horizon”

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 59

Posted in Radio on May 14th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

Don’t tell anyone — or better yet, do! — but this show turned out pretty solid. I kind of put it together following a couple whims, things I’ve wanted to put in my own head, plus some of the recent Bandcamp Friday stuff — hello Spaceslug and Geezer — and things I’ve covered here recently in Tuna de Tierra and Worshipper and Carlton Melton, etc. Then I just wanted to hear the Shogun and LáGoon tracks for myself, and I’ve been meaning to cover that White Powder record more for weeks, and then I started thinking about songs that have “mountain” in the title and decided to do a whole block of those just for the hell of it, so that’s where we wound up. Mountain climbing.

But in addition to starting off with the maddeningly catchy “It’s Already Written” by Tau and the Drones of Praise — whose Roadburn Redux stream was posted here first thing this week — this one makes a few cool turns and flows and kind of breaks up nicely from one thing to the next, even as “Mountain” gets into “Mountain” into “Longing to Be the Mountain” and “Holy Mountain” and “I’m the Mountain.” This is the sort of thing I think is fun. That’s me. That’s who I am.

Anyway, thanks for listening and/or reading. As always, I hope you enjoy.

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

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 05.14.21

Tau and the Drones of Praise It’s Already Written Tau and the Drones of Praise
Carlton Melton Waylay Where This Leads
Spaceslug The Event Horizon The Event Horizon
VT
Worshipper Pictures of Home VA – Bow to Your Masters Vol. 2: Deep Purple
LáGoon Hill Bomb Skullactic Visions
White Powder Rula Jabreal Blue Dream
Shogun Delta Tetra
VT
Tuna de Tierra Mountain Tuna de Tierra
Colour Haze Mountain Colour Haze
King Buffalo Longing to Be the Mountain Longing to Be the Mountain
Sleep Holy Mountain Sleep’s Holy Mountain
Stoned Jesus I’m the Mountain Seven Thunders Roar
VT
Geezer Solstice Solstice

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is May 28 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Metal website

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Spaceslug Post New Single “The Event Horizon”

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 7th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Polish heavy psych rockers Spaceslug recorded their new single last year in May, which is also when they did what became late-2020’s The Leftovers EP (review here). I’m not sure if it was part of the same process — “The Event Horizon” is more in line with their traditional weighted fuzz and the EP was something of a departure — but it’s concurrent anyhow, and as the nearly-nine-minute piece is being unveiled today, it comes with a classic dose of good and bad news.

Bad news first. Always. Their practice space flooded. As of this post, they don’t even know how much they’ve lost, but clearly that’s not the kind of thing anyone wants to deal with. Fucking bummer.

Good news. They put up “The Event Horizon” as a single release that will help them get funds to replace whatever it is that’s too damaged to salvage. Also good news? The song rules.

Also good news? They’re still pushing ahead with the recording of their next long-player, which one assumes will see release later this year. So if you look at it the right way, the good outweighs the bad, and all the more if you’ve got three dollars to toss the band’s way and help them out in a tough time. Even if it’s a morale boost, support matters.

The following is culled from a couple days of social media posts and the Bandcamp info. Song stream is at the bottom of the post:

spaceslug the event horizon

Spaceslug – The Event Horizon

Today should be the day of a good news. We wanted to announce works of our new LP and the studio recording time that is scheduled at the end of May.

But the universe and reality kicked us hard this time and bring flood to our practice space last weekend. Yes, we are devastated as you can see in the pictures. We can’t estimate the losses yet as much of our equipment is still drying and needs to be checked. Two percussion sets, a guitar amplifier, two cabinets for guitar and bass + some smaller things were flooded. We are crushed by the loss but still we are marching forward to finish and record our new album with all energy we have.

“THE EVENT HORIZON” was not scheduled for any kind of release in this period but this is our way to send gratitude for all you did yesterday. We recorded this particular song last year to release it some day in some special occasion. Ironic but this is the best time for it we think. Tomorrow we will put this special single on our bandcamp. Song is as long, heavy and melancholic as you can expect from us. You should be pleased. You can have fun with it and listen as much as you want but also you can support us and own it eternally in digital.

Recorded by Piotr Grzegorowski at Jupiter Ranch Studio (May 2020).
Mixed & Mastered by Haldor Grunberg (Satanic Audio)
Music & Lyrics by Spaceslug

Bartosz Janik – guitar
Kamil Ziólkowski – drums, vocals
Jan Rutka – bass, vocals

https://www.facebook.com/spaceslugband/
https://www.instagram.com/spaceslug_pl/
https://spaceslug.bandcamp.com/music
https://www.facebook.com/BSFD-records-247816545273558/
https://bsfdrecords.blogspot.co.uk/

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 50

Posted in Radio on January 8th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

Hey, look who’s got 50 episodes of his silly little show? Crazy, right? I’ll be honest, I was genuinely surprised when it lasted five. I expected and still kind of expect to get an email or a phone call from Program Director Brian Turner (also of WFMU fame; remind me to tell you sometime how badly I continue to dream of DJing on that station) or CEO Tyler Lenane saying, “Yeah, sorry but this just isn’t working for us.” I wouldn’t even be able to blame them. I play some pretty weird, not-at-all-metal shit for a station that nowadays calls itself Gimme Metal instead of Gimme Radio.

It goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway how deeply I appreciate Gimme giving me the outlet that the show has become. Heartfelt thanks to Lenane and Turner and to the regular crew of listeners who check in via the Gimme chat during the show. I know not everybody’s into everything that gets played (I mean, except me, ha) but the openness and willingness to try new things is humbling.

This stuff was all culled from the recent Quarterly Review. As I explain in the lone voice break, doing the show is enough celebration for me, so that’s how I wanted to mark 50 episodes.

Thanks for listening and/or reading. New art (still) coming soon.

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

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 01.08.20

Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou Killing Floor May Our Chambers Be Full
Spaceslug From Behind the Glass Leftovers
Crippled Black Phoenix House of Fools Ellengaest
Malsten Compunction The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill
VT
Domo Dolmen Domonautas Vol. 2
Howling Giant Masamune Masamune/Muramasa (Split)
Mountain Tamer Warlock Psychosis Ritual
Temple of the Fuzz Witch The Others Red Tide
Sumokem Parak-Dar Prajnaparadha
Völur Reverend Queen Death Cult
16 Sadlands Dream Squasher
Khan Monsoons Monsoons

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is Jan. 22 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Metal website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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Quarterly Review: Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou, Spaceslug, Malsten, Sun Crow, Honeybadger, Monte Luna, Hombrehumano, Veljet, Witchrider, Devil Worshipper

Posted in Reviews on December 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

New week, same Quarterly Review. Today is the next-to-last round for this time, though once again, I look at the folders of albums on my desktop and the CDs and LPs that have come in and I realize it could easily go longer. I never really caught up from the last QR. I guess it’s been that kind of year. In any case, more good stuff today, so sit tight and enjoy. If you didn’t find anything last week that stuck out to you, maybe today’s your day.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou, May Our Chambers Be Full

emma ruth rundle thou may our chambers be full

Sure, there’s poise and plunder amid torrents of emotion and weighted tonality, but what’s really astonishing about May Our Chambers Be Full, the first collaboration between Louisville’s Emma Ruth Rundle (Red Sparowes‘ third LP, the Nocturnes, Marriages, etc.) and New Orleans’ sludgers Thou is that it feels so much more substantial than its 36 minutes. That’s not to say it drags, though it does when it wants to in terms of tempo, but just that its impact both in songs where Rundle and Thou‘s Bryan Funck trade off like “Ancestral Recall” or when they come together as on opener “Killing Floor” is such that it feels longer. Atmosphere is certainly a factor, but May Our Chambers Be Full is so striking because of its blend of extremity and melody, emotion and sheer catharsis, and the breadth that seems to accompany its consuming crush. In a couple years, there are going to be an awful lot of bands putting out debut albums that sound very much like this. Follow-up EP out soon.

Emma Ruth Rundle on Thee Facebooks

Thou on Instagram

Sacred Bones Records website

 

Spaceslug, Leftovers

spaceslug leftovers

Produced by the band and Piotr Grzegorowski — who also guests on synth and guitar — during the plague-addled Spring of 2020, Spaceslug‘s Leftovers EP represents a branching out in terms of style to incorporate a sense of melancholy alongside their established sprawling psychedelics. The 21-minute five-tracker is less a follow-up to 2019’s Reign of the Orion (review here) than a standalone sidestep, but in the acoustic/synth rollout of “From Behind the Glass” and in the especially-stripped-down-feeling centerpiece “The Birds are Loudest in May” it lives up to the challenge of blending an organic atmosphere with the otherworldly sensibilities Spaceslug have honed so well throughout their tenure. Having started with its longest and synthiest track in “Wasted Illusion,” Leftovers caps with the shorter and more active “Place to Turn” and its title-track, which adds a spindly layer of electric guitar (or something that sounds like it) for an experimentalist vibe. Very 2020, but no less welcome for that. The question is whether these impulses show up in Spaceslug‘s work from here on out, and if so, how.

Spaceslug on Thee Facebooks

Spaceslug on Bandcamp

 

Malsten, The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill

malsten The Haunting of Silvakra Mill

Malmö-based four-piece Malsten make their full-length debut on Interstellar Smoke Records with the four-song/44-minute The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill, and in so doing show an immediate command of post-Pallbearer spaciousness and melodic-doom traditionalism. Their lumber is prevalent and engrossing tonally on opener “Torsion” (10:36), uses silence effectively on “Immolation” (10:24), and seems to find a place between Warning and Lord Vicar on “Grinder” (9:02) ahead of the epic-on-top-of-epics summary in closer “Compunction” (13:54), which finds Malsten having reserved another level of heavy to keep as their final statement. So be it. Very heavy and worthy of as much volume as you can give it, The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill is an accomplished beginning and heralds significant potential on the part of what’s to come from Malsten. I’d watch this band do a live stream playing this record front-to-back. Just saying.

Malsten on Thee Facebooks

Interstellar Smoke Records webstore

 

Sun Crow, Quest for Oblivion

Sun Crow Quest for Oblivion

A significant undertaking of progressive heavy and noise rock, Sun Crow‘s Quest for Oblivion is among the most ambitious debut albums I’ve heard in 2020, but there’s nothing it sets for itself in terms of goals that it doesn’t accomplish, as vocalist Charles Wilson flips between clean melodies and effective screams atop the riffs of guitarist Ben Nechanicky, the bass of Brian Steel and Keith Hastreiter‘s drums. Somebody’s gonna sign these guys. Even at 70 minutes, Quest for Oblivion, from its post-apocalyptic standpoint, aesthetic cohesion, fluid songcraft and accomplished performance, is simply too good to leave without a proper 2LP release. Individualized in atmosphere though working with familiar-enough elements, it is an album that makes it joyously difficult to pick apart influences, unleashing an initial burst of four longer tracks before giving way (albeit momentarily) to “Fear” and the outlying, brazenly Motörheady “Nothing Behind” before returning to cosmic heavy in “Hypersonic” and the 11-minute “Titans,” which uses its time just as well as everything else that surrounds. Ironic that a record that seems to be about a wasteland should bring so much hope for the future.

Sun Crow on Thee Facebooks

Sun Crow on Bandcamp

 

Honeybadger, Pleasure Delayer

honeybadger pleasure delayer

It doesn’t take Honeybadger long to land their first effective punch on their debut LP, Pleasure Delayer, as the hook of opener/longest track (immediate points) “The Wolf” hits square on the jaw and precedes an atmospheric guitar outro that leads into the rest of the album as a closer might otherwise lead the way out. A product of Athens’ heavy rock boom, the four-piece distinguish themselves in fuzzy tones and an approach that comes right to the edge of burl and doesn’t quite tip over, thankfully and gracefully staving off chestbeating in favor of quality songcraft on “The Well” and the engagingly bass-led “Crazy Ride,” from which the initially slower, bluesier “Good for Nothing” picks up with some Truckfighters, some 1000mods and a whole lot of fun. Side B’s hooks are no less satisfyingly straightforward. “That Feel” feels born for the stage, while “Laura Palmer” makes a memorable chorus out of that Twin Peaks character’s slaying, the penultimate “Holler” feels indeed like the work of a band trying to stand themselves out from a crowded pack and “Truth in the Lie” caps mirroring the energy of “Good for Nothing” but resounding in a cold finish. Efficient, hooky, smoothly executed. There’s nothing one might reasonably ask of Pleasure Delayer that it doesn’t deliver.

Honeybadger on Thee Facebooks

Honeybadger on Bandcamp

 

Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast

monte luna mind control broadcast

Released name-your-price as a benefit for the venue The Lost Well in Monte Luna‘s hometown of Austin and derived from a CvltNation-sponsored livestream, the three-song Mind Control Broadcast follows 2019’s Drowners’ Wives (review here) and is intended as a glimpse at their impending third LP, likely due in 2021. That record will be one to look forward to, but it’ll be hard to trade out the raw bludgeon of “Blackstar” — the leadoff here — for another, maybe-not-live-recorded version. True, the setting doesn’t necessarily allow for the band to bring in guests like they did last time around or to flesh out melodies in the same way, but the sound is brash and thrilling and lets “Rust Goliath” live up to its name in largesse, while saving its nastiest for last in “Fear the Sun,” the glorious bassline of which it feels like a spoiler even mentioning for someone who hasn’t heard it yet. 22 of the sludgiest minutes you’re likely to spend today.

Monte Luna on Thee Facebooks

Monte Luna BigCartel store

 

Hombrehumano, Crepuscular

hombrehumano crepuscular

As satisfying as the laid-back-heavy desert rock flow of “Rolito” is, and as well done as what surrounds on Hombrehumano‘s 2019 debut album, Crepuscular, turns out to be in its 53-minute run, it’s in the longer pieces like the Western “Puerto Gris” or the post-Brant Bjork “Metamorfosis” that they really shine. That’s not to take away from the opening instrumental “Nomada” that establishes the tones and sets the atmosphere in which the rest of the record takes place, or the nod of “Primaveras de Olvido,” and certainly the fuzz-boogie and percussion of “Ouroboro” shine in a manner worthy of being depicted on the cover, but the Argentinian four-piece do well with the extra time to flesh out their material. But, either way you go, you go. Hombrehumano craft sweet fuzz and spaciousness on “Puerto Gris” and answer it back later in “Zombakice” and add twists of percussion and acoustics and vocal effects — never mind the birdsong — on closer “Del Ensueño.” Es un ejemplo más de lo que le falta a la cultura gringo al no adorar fuertemente a los sudamericanos.

Hombrehumano on Thee Facebooks

Hombrehumano on Bandcamp

 

Veljet, Viva El Diablo

veljet viva el diablo

Even my non-Spanish-speaking ass can translate Viva el Diablo, the title of Mexican instrumentalist three-piece Veljet‘s debut album. Initially released by the band in March 2020, it was subsequently reissued for physical pressing with a seventh track, “Leviatan,” added, bringing the runtime to a vinyl-ready 37 minutes. The apparently-devil-worshiping title-cut is still the longest at a doomly eight minutes, but though the production is fairly raw, Veljet‘s material taps into a few different impulses within the heavy rock sphere, offsetting willfully repetitive riffing in “El Día de las Manos” with scorching solo work while “Jay Adams” — presumably named in homage to the Dogtown skater — pulls some trad-metal riffing into its second half. “Cutlass” is short at 2:36, but makes the record as a whole feel less predictable for that, and the add-on “Leviatan” embodies its great sea beast with a nod up front that opens to later cacophony. The vibe throughout is you’re-in-the-room live jams, and Veljet have well enough chemistry to carry the songs across in that setting.

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The Swamp Records website

 

Witchrider, Electrical Storm

witchrider electrical storm

Smoothly produced and executed, not lacking energy but produced for a very studio-style fullness, Witchrider‘s second LP arrives via Fuzzorama Records in answer to 2014’s Unmountable Stairs with a pro-shop feel for its 50-minute duration. Songs are sharply hooked and energetic, beefing up Queens of the Stone Age-style desert rock early on “Shadows” and “You Lied” before the guitars introduce a broader palette with the title-track. The chorus of “Mess Creator” and the big finish in closer “The Weatherman” are highlights, but songs like “Keep Me out of It” and “Come Back” feel built for a commercial infrastructure that — at least in radio-free America — doesn’t exist anymore. I’m not sure what it takes to attract the attention of picky algorithms, but if it’s grounded songwriting, varied material and crisp performance like it was when there was a cable channel playing music videos, then Witchrider are ready to roll. As it stands, the Austrian outfit seem underserved by the inability to even get on a festival stage and play this material live to win converts in that manner. They’re hardly alone in that, but with material that seems so poised specifically toward audience engagement, it comes through all the more, which of course is a testament to the quality of the work itself.

Witchrider on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzorama Records website

 

Devil Worshipper, 3

devil worshipper 3

Opening with its longest track (immediate points) in the 10-minute “Silver Dagger” and presented with the burning red eyes of Christopher Lee’s Dracula on the front, the 33-minute 3 tape from Seattle’s Devil Worshipper maintains the weirdo-experimental spirit of the outfit’s 2015 self-titled debut (review here), finding a kind of Butthole Surfers-into-a-cassette-recorder, anything-goes-until-it-sucks, dark ’90s psychedelia they call “garage metal.” Fair enough. Apparently more efficient than anything I can come up with for it, though what doesn’t necessarily account for is the way the 3 challenges the listener, the remastered versions of “Into Radiation Wave” and “Chem Rails” from the first album, or the horror atmospherics of “Drinking Blood.” It’s like it’s too weird for this planet so it finally made one for itself. Well earned.

Devil Worshipper on Thee Facebooks

Puppy Mill Recordings on Bandcamp

 

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Sonic Whip 2020 Completes Lineup; 1000mods, Causa Sui, Spaceslug, Samavayo & More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

sonic whip 2020 banner

This looks like fun, simple as that. Well, maybe not three two-headed, four-armed, knife-and-pill-wielding snake beast on the poster. Though obviously cool looking too, that just kind of looks like it would kill you after opening your third eye. But the event itself, Sonic Whip 2020. That looks like a good time. It’s important to be specific about these things.

The Netherlands-based Spring festival to be held May 1 and 2 has completed its lineup, adding seven more names to an already impressive initial batch. Newcomers include Spaceslug, Big Business, and Greek heavy rock forerunners 1000mods, the latter whose addition to the bill makes me wonder if they’ll be on tour at the time, and if so, if their new album might be out to coincide. If that’s so, an announcement would be coming shortly, I’d think. An exciting prospect, whether it pans out that way or not.

You can see the full list of new adds and the complete final lineup below. Dig:

sonic whip 2020 finished poster

SONIC WHIP 2020 – NEW NAMES – LINE-UP COMPLETE

1000MODS (gr), Causa Sui (dk), Big Business (usa), Somali Yacht Club (ukr), Samavayo (ger), Netherlands (usa) and Spaceslug (pol) have been added to the line-up of Sonic Whip 2020.

With these last seven names the line-up is complete. We are proud to have been able to book these twenty artists for the upcoming edition. In our opinion a nice cross section of what the sonic and psychedelic -heavy rock- genre has to offer at the moment. From old heroes and established names to new artists who know how to push the boundaries again. Next to that also a number of special acts that can rarely be admired live in the Netherlands like Masters of Reality, Pissed Jeans, Causa Sui and Rotor. Look for the daily schedule on the website or event of Sonic Whip.

Day tickets: http://bit.ly/SonicWhip2020
Combi-tickets: http://bit.ly/SonicWhip2020Combi

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Sonic Whip, the multi-headed rock monster that combines roaring guitars riffs with steaming bass lines, pounding drums and other sonic, psychedelic excesses, is preparing for the third edition. We kick off on May 1 with a pre-party deluxe in Doornroosje to completely unleash sonically on May 2 at the same location.

LINE-UP
MASTERS OF REALITY
KADAVAR
1000MODS
BRANT BJORK
CAUSA SUI
PISSED JEANS
BIG BUSINESS
ROTOR
SOMALI YACHT CLUB
MAIDAVALE
THE COSMIC DEAD
SAMAVAYO
SACRI MONTI
FORMING THE VOID
ACID ROOSTER
SPACESLUG
GUM TAKES TOOTH
NETHERLANDS
BONNACONS OF DOOM
DHIDALAH

https://www.facebook.com/events/427908701471605/
https://www.facebook.com/Sonicwhipfestival/
https://www.instagram.com/doornroosjenl/
https://www.doornroosje.nl/event/sonic-whip-2020/

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