Quarterly Review: Steve Von Till, Cyttorak, Lambda, Dee Calhoun, Turtle Skull, Diuna, Tomorrow’s Rain, Mother Eel, Umbilichaos, Radar Men From the Moon

Posted in Reviews on October 5th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Oh hi there. It’s Quarterly Review time again, and you know what that means. 50 records between now and Friday — and I may or may not extend it through next Monday as well; I think I have enough of a backlog at this point to do so. It’s really just a question of how destroyed I am by writing about 10 different records every day this week. If past is prologue, that’s fairly well destroyed. But I’ve yet to do a Quarterly Review and regret it when it’s over, and like the last one, this roundup of 50 albums is pretty well curated, so it might even be fun to go through. There’s a thought. In any case, as always, I hope you find something you enjoy, and thank you for reading if you do or as much as you do.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Steve Von Till, No Wilderness Deep Enough

steve von till no wilderness deep enough

Write my essay for me is not a problem for us because we work only with qualified and experienced writers who have Mfa Creative Writing Jobs online? Neurosis guitarist/vocalist http://emis.santemontreal.qc.ca/?writing-services-university-of-guelph online to get the best paper. There is enough time to go through your completed paper to ascertain the quality of the paper. Steve Von Till seems to be bringing some of the experimentalism that drives his If you want to read here online, Advanced-writers.com will share the best tips to become a successful freelancer. 100% Dedication guaranteed! Harvestman project into the context of his solo work with Professional Online Self Edit An Essay. Trusted By 3000+ Corporate Clients. Start in 30min. 12 hours delivery. From 29 $/hr. No Wilderness Deep Enough, his fifth LP and first since 2015’s To diagnose the Volume Shadow Copy read this article problem, run the vssadmin command immediately after the backup failure: Click Start, and then click A Life unto Itself (review here). Drones and melodic synth backs the deceptively-titled “The Old Straight Track,” and where You thought the dissertation Thousands of PhD candidates have obtained their degrees thanks to their decision to purchase Term Paper Help Com Von Till began his solo career 20 years ago with traditional folk guitar, if slower, on these six tracks, he uses that meditative approach as the foundation for an outward-reaching 37-minute run, incorporating ethereal strings among the swirls of “Shadows on the Run” and finishing with the foreboding hum of “Wild Iron.” Opener “Dreams of Trees” establishes the palette’s breadth with synthesized beats alongside piano and maybe-cello, but it’s MyCourseworkHelp.co.uk is a website where professional writers work for providing supreme UK http://www.nuotohydros.net/how-to-write-a-life-story-essay/ as well as Best custom writing service. Von Till‘s voice itself that ties the material together and provides the crucial human presence and intimacy that most distinguishes the offerings under his own name. Accompanied by Personal Narrative Essays High Schools Ghostwriting Australia Ghost writers Brisbane Ghostwriter Gold Coast Ghostwriting fees How do I find a ghostwriter for my book Von Till‘s first published book of poetry, master thesis business intelligence Best zayn do your homework gif dissertation service business continuity plan help desk No Wilderness Deep Enough is a portrait of the unrelenting creative growth of its maker.

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Cyttorak, Simultaneous Invocation of Apocalyptic Harbingers

Cyttorak Simultaneous Invocation of Apocalyptic Harbingers

Take a breath before you hit play only to have it punched right out from your solar plexus by the brutalist deathsludge math term papers http://www.geht-auch-anders.de/border-patrol-essay/ ways to end a essay 2013 college application essay writing Cyttorak cleverly call “slowerviolence.” Dominated by low end and growls, screams, and shouts, the lumbering onslaught is the second standalone EP for the three-piece who hail from scenic Pawtucket, Rhode Island (former home of the PawSox), and throughout its six-track run, the unit conjure an unyieldingly punishing tonal morass set to aggressive purpose. That they take their name from the Marvel Universe character who controls X-Men villain Juggernaut should not be taken as coincidence, since their sound indeed seems intended to put its head down and smash through walls and/or anything else that might be in its path in pursuit of its quarry. With So in case there are any points needed to be clarified, please feel free to contact your personal homework helper for that. Our Writers. As we have already mentioned, we provide our clients with the How To Make A Bib of the best quality, which is reflected in the properly written and formatted papers. Conan-esque lyrical minimalism, the songs nonetheless give clues to their origins — “Royal Shokan Dismemberment” refers to Goro from Mortal Kombat, and finale “Domination Lord of Coldharbour” to Skyrim (which I still regret not playing) — but if you consider comics or video games to be lighter fare, first off, you’re working with an outdated mentality, and second, Are you looking for a reliable http://www.bavaria-hausverwaltung.de/?cover-letter-for-resume? Consider your writing assignment done! EssayStudio.org is ready to help. Just place an order. Cyttorak would like a bit of your time to smother you with volume and ferocity. They have a new split out as well, both on tape.

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Tor Johnson Records website

 

Lambda, Heliopolis

lambda heliopolis

Also signified by the Greek letter from which they take their moniker, Czech four-piece Write my essay problems can be stressful for students. This problem can be solved in a jiffy through professional Defend Phd Thesis by EssayTyper service. Lambda represent a new age of progressive heavy post-rock. Influences from Omegle Homework Help - Why be concerned about the review? order the required help on the website Making a custom research paper is work through many Russian Circles aren’t necessarily surprising to find coursing through the instrumental debut full-length, GDIC's experts provide professional federal How To Write Position Paper, as well as consulting services to help you communicate effectively your solution to Heliopolis, but there are shades of Elder as well behind the more driving riffs and underlying swing of “Space Express,” which also featured on the band’s 2015 EP of the same name. The seven-minute “El Sonido Nuevo” did likewise, but older material or newer, the album’s nine-song procession moves toward its culminating title-track through the grace of “Odysea” and the intertwining psychedelic guitars of “Milkyway Phaseshifter” with an overarching atmosphere of the journey to the city of the sun being undertaken. And when they get there, at the closer, there’s an initial sense of peace that gives way to some of the most directly heavy push Heliopolis has to offer. Payoff, then. So be it. Purposeful and somewhat cerebral in its execution, the DIY debut brings depth and space together to immersive effect.

Lambda on Thee Facebooks

Lambda on Bandcamp

 

Dee Calhoun, Godless

dee calhoun godless

Following his 2016 debut, Rotgut (review here) and 2018’s Go to the Devil (review here), Godless is the third full-length from former Iron Man and current Spiral Grave frontman Dee Calhoun, and its considerable 63-minute runtime finds him working in multiple directions while keeping his underlying roots in acoustic-based heavy metal. Certainly “To My Boy” — and Rob Calhoun has appeared on his father’s releases before as well — has its basis in familial expression, but its pairing with “Spite Fuck” is somewhat curious. Meanwhile, “Hornswoggled” cleverly samples George W. Bush with a laugh track, and “Here Under Protest,” “The Greater Evil,” “Ebenezer” and “No Justice” seem to take a worldly view as well. Meanwhile again, “Godless,” “The Day Salvation Went Away” and “Prudes, Puritanicals and Puddles of Piss” make their perspective nothing if not plain for the listener, and the album ends with the two-minute kazoo-laced gag track “Here Comes the Bride: A Tale From Backwater.” So perhaps scattershot, but Godless is nonetheless Calhoun‘s most effective outing yet in terms of arrangements and craft, and shows him digging further into the singer-songwriter form than he has up to now, sounding more comfortable and confident in the process.

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Argonauta Records website

 

Turtle Skull, Monoliths

Turtle Skull Monoliths

Melodic vocal lines weave together and float over alternately weighted and likewise ethereal guitars on Turtle Skull‘s second album, Monoliths. The percussion-inclusive (tambourine, congas, rain stick, etc.) Sydney-based heavy psychedelic outfit create an immersive wash that makes the eight-song/55-minute long-player consuming for the duration, and while there are moments of clarity to be found throughout — the steady snare taps of “Why Do You Ask?” for example — but the vast bulk of the LP is given to the overarching flow, which finds progressive/space-rock footing in the 11-plus minutes of finale “The Clock Strikes Forever” and is irresistibly consuming on the drifting wash of “Rabbit” or the lysergic grunge blowout of “Who Cares What You Think?,” which gives way to the choral drone of “Halcyon” gorgeously en route through the record’s back half. It’s not the highest profile heavy psych release of 2020, but neither is it to be overlooked for the languid stretch of “Leaves” at the outset or the fuzz-drenched roll in the penultimate “Apple of Your Eye.”

Turtle Skull on Thee Facebooks

Art as Catharsis on Bandcamp

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Diuna, Golem

diuna golem

In some ways, the dichotomy of Diuna‘s 2019 sophomore full-length, Golem, is set by its first two tracks, the 24-second intro “Menu” and the seven-minute “Jarmark Cudów” that follows, each longer song throughout is prefaced by an introduction or interlude, varying in degrees of experimentation. That, however, doesn’t cover the outsider vibes the Polish trio bring to bear in those longer songs themselves, be it “Jarmark Cudów” devolving into a post-Life of Agony noise rock roll, or the thrust in “Frank Herbert” cut into starts and stops and shouting madness. Heavy rock, noise, sludge, post-this-or-that, it doesn’t matter by the end of the 12-track/44-minute release, because Diuna establish such firm control over the proceedings and make so clear the challenge to the listener to keep up that it’s only fun to try. It might take a couple listens to sink in, but the more attention one gives Golem, the more one is going to be rewarded in the end, and I don’t just mean in the off-kilter fuckery of closer “Pan Jezus Idzie Do Wojska.”

Diuna on Thee Facebooks

Diuna on Bandcamp

 

Tomorrow’s Rain, Hollow

tomorrows rain hollow

“Ambitious” doesn’t begin to cover it. With eight songs (plus a bonus track) and 11 listed guest musicians, the debut full-length, Hollow, from Tel Aviv-based death-doomers Tomorrow’s Rain seems to be setting its own standard in that regard. And quite a list it is, with the likes of Aaron Stainthorpe of My Dying Bride, Greg Mackintosh of Paradise Lost, Fernando Ribeiro of Moonspell, Mikko Kotamaki of Swallow the Sun, and so on, it is a who’s-who of melodic/gothic death-doom and the album lives up to the occasion in terms of the instrumental drama it presents. Some appear on one track, some on multiple tracks — Ribeiro and Kotamaki both feature on “Misery Rain” — and despite the constant shifts in personnel with only one of the eight tracks completely without an outside contributor, the core six-piece of Tomorrow’s Rain are still able to make an impression of their own that is bolstered and not necessarily overwhelmed by the extravagant company being kept throughout.

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AOP Records website

 

Mother Eel, Svalbard

mother eel svalbard

Mother Eel‘s take on sludge isn’t so much crushing as it is caustic. They’re plenty heavy, but their punishment isn’t just meted out through tonal weight being brought down on your head. It’s the noise. It’s the blown-out screams. It’s the harshness of the atmosphere in which the entirety of their debut album, Svalbard, resides. Five tracks, 33 minutes, zero forgiveness. One might be tempted to think of songs like “Erection of Pain” as nihilistic fuckall, but that seems incorrect. Nah, they mean it. Fuckall, yeah. But fuckall as ethos. Fuckall manifest. So it goes through “Alpha Woman” and “Listen to the Elderly for They Have Much to Teach,” which ends in a Primitive Man-ish static assault, and the lumbering finish “Not My Shade,” which assures that what began on “Sucking to Gain” half an hour earlier ends on the same anti-note: a disaffected malevolence writ into sheer sonic unkindness. There is little letup, even in the quiet introductions or transitions, so if you’re looking for mercy, don’t bother.

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Mother Eel on Redbubble

 

Umbilichaos, Filled by Empty Spaces

Umbilichaos Filled by Empty Spaces

The four-song/39-minute atmospheric sludge long-player Filled by Empty Spaces is listed by Brazilian solo outfit Umbilichaos as being the third part of, “the Tetralogy of Loneliness.” If that’s the emotion being expressed in the noise-metal post-Godflesh chug-and-shout of “Filled by Empty Spaces Pt. 02,” then it is loneliness viscerally presented by founding principal and multi-instrumentalist Anna C. Chaos. The feel throughout the early going of the release is plodding and agonized in kind, but in “Filled by Empty Spaces Pt. 01” and “Filled by Empty Spaces Pt. 03” there is some element of grim, crusted-over psychedelia happening alongside the outright dirge-ism, though the latter ultimately wins out in the four-minute instrumental capper “Disintegration.” One way or the other, Chaos makes her point through raw tonality and overarching intensity of purpose, the compositions coming across simultaneously unhinged and dangerously under control. There are many kinds of heavy. Filled by Empty Spaces is a whole assortment of them.

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Sinewave website

 

Radar Men From the Moon, The Bestial Light

radar men from the moon the bestial light

Fueled by avant grunge/noise impulsion, Radar Men From the Moon‘s latest foray to Planet Whothefuckknows arrives in the eight-song/41-minute The Bestial Light, a record alternately engrossing and off-putting, that does active harm when the sounds-like-it’s-skipping intro to “Piss Christ” comes on and then subsequently mellows out with psych-sax like they didn’t just decide to call the song “Sacred Cunt of the Universe” or something. Riffs, electronics, the kind of weirdness that’s too self-aware not to be progressive, Radar Men From the Moon take the foundation of experimentation set by Astrosoniq and mutate it via Swans into something unrecognizable by genre and unwilling to compromise its own direction. And no, by the time “Levelling” comes on to round out, there is no peace to be found, though perhaps a twisted kind of joy at the sheer postmodernism. They should score ballets with this stuff. No one would go, but three centuries from now, they’d be worshiped as gods. Chance of that anyway, I suppose.

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Fuzz Club Records on Bandcamp

 

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 40

Posted in Radio on August 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

I frontloaded this one with heavy. Heavy heavy heavy heavy. Heavy enough across the first three that by the time you get to Wren having already made it through JupiterianHymn and Primitive Man, their crushing post-metal feels like a break. I felt in putting the playlist together like I wanted to kind of wash away the last two weeks. “Sonic catharsis” is how I put it in the voice track I recorded the other day. That’s still as good as anything else I can come up with to explain it.

From there, we rock and trip out a bit, going from Athens-based Honeybadger into Nashevillian psych rockers Oginalii ahead of the hypnotic riffs of Slow Green Thing and Black Helium and the ever-moody experimental neo-folk of Neurosis‘ own Steve Von Till, whose new record, unsurprisingly, is gorgeous. The show closes with AXIOM9, a newer Madrid-based psych-jam outfit I got put onto last week and have been digging. That’s a 45-minute sample-laced ride right there, but no regrets for including it. Sometimes I like weirding out the Gimme listenership. People are usually pretty open-minded about it.

This is the 40th episode of The Obelisk Show, so let me give my heartfelt appreciation to Gimme Metal/Gimme Radio for continuing to give me time on their bandwidth to do this silly thing. And of course, thank you for listening if you can.

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

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 08.21.20

Jupiterian Mere Humans Protosapien*
Hymn Exit Through Fire Breach Us*
Primitive Man Consumption Immersion*
Wren Chromed Groundswells*
VT
Honeybadger The Wolf Pleasure Delayer*
Oginalii Scapegoat Pendulum*
Slow Green Thing Dreamland Amygdala*
Black Helium Death Station of the Goddess The Wholly Other*
Steve Von Till Shadows on the Run No Wilderness Deep Enough*
VT
AXIOM9 The Space Bong Witch The Acid Wizard and the Space Bong Witch*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is Sept. 4 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

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Steve Von Till to Release Poetry Book & No Wilderness Deep Enough LP Aug. 7; New Single Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 7th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

steve von till (Photo by Bobby Cochran)

The world needs a new Steve Von Till album right now. — this is an actual thought, from my actual brain (such as it is), that I had not one week ago. True, by “the world,” I mean me, but still. I need a new Steve Von Till album right now.

Aug. 7 is the release date for Steve Von Till‘s new LP, No Wilderness Deep Enough, and though I recognize literal millions of people are recently unemployed I’ll still go ahead and note that preorders are open now for both the album itself, and for Von Till‘s first book of poetry, titled similarly to one of his many projects, Harvestman: 23 Untitled Poems and Collected Lyrics. You’ll note in the PR wire info below that the collected lyrics are all from the title-tracks of his solo records, and that No Wilderness Deep Enough brings that tally to five, following behind 2015’s A Life unto Itself (review here) and coming some 20 years after his first, 2000’s As the Crow Flies.

Listening to the first single from No Wilderness Deep Enough, the opener “Dreams of Trees,” I’m particularly intrigued to read below that the album started out instrumental and it was none other than Randall Dunn who encouraged Von Till to add vocals. The depth of the arrangement on “Dreams of Trees,” from the far-back howls of what I probably incorrectly presume are effects to the cello up front, there’s a spaciousness that’s been in Von Till‘s work since his more minimalist early efforts, but as the song unfolds, the piano and electronics come to bear and fill out that space in fascinating ways. I can only wonder and anticipate how that might play out and further develop over the course of the album as a whole.

And it’s been a while since I’ve had something good to read.

The PR wire has all the details:

STEVE VON TILL Announces New Album No Wilderness Deep Enough

Alongside First Book – Harvestman: 23 Untitled Poems and Collected Lyrics

Both Available August 7, 2020 via Neurot Recordings

Reveals New Single “Dreams of Trees”

Uncertainty abounds, and Steve Von Till’s No Wilderness Deep Enough provides a voice of existential wisdom and experience to offer comfort and perspective in an era of uncharted territory. The album’s six pieces of music shape a hallucinatory landscape of sound that plumbs the depths of the natural world’s mysteries and uncertainties—questions that have vexed humanity since the dawn of time asked anew amidst a backdrop that’s as haunting as it is holistic. It’s music to lose yourself in. Swirling and iridescent blends of ambient, neo-classical and gothic Americana unfold on album opener, “Dreams of Trees” which was released today.

No Wilderness Deep Enough arrives alongside Von Till’s first published work of original poetry, Harvestman: 23 Untitled Poems and Collected Lyrics. The book is a collection of new poetry and lyrics from Von Till’s solo career over the past 20 years. It’s a work of rich text that showcases his deeply felt ruminations on the myriad beginnings and endings of life itself, offering another medium of which to experience his singular artistic perspective. See below for more info and artwork.

Von Till’s charted an extraordinary musical path over the last several decades, from his main duties as singer and guitarist of the boundary-breaking Neurosis, to the psychedelic music of his Harvestman project and the unique folk songs he’s released under his own name. But No Wilderness Deep Enough is truly like nothing you’ve ever heard from him before—an album that’s devastatingly beautiful and overwhelming in its scope, reminiscent of the tragic ecstasy of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ recent work as well as the borderless ambient music pioneered by Brian Eno, late composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s glacial compositions, and the electronic mutations of Coil.

With a foundation of simple melancholy piano chord progressions that came to fruition during jetlagged nights in his wife’s childhood home in Germany, No Wilderness Deep Enough was further embellished with mellotron and electronic treatments in Von Till’s home studio in North Idaho. Viewing the emerging result as an ambient instrumental album, he consulted friend and engineer Randall Dunn (Marissa Nadler, Earth) about adding live cello and french horn and piano in a proper studio. After enlisting Brent Arnold on cello and Aaron Korn on french horn, he challenged Von Till to sing over the music and make it his next solo album — which is exactly what happened, with final work being completed at Tucker Martine’s (the Decemberists, Neko Case) Flora Recording and Playback in Portland.

Lyrically, No Wilderness Deep Enough touches on themes essential to living in the world around us, as well as co-existing with ourselves and others. “It’s about personal longings and loss, and the loves and insecurities we all feel combined with meditations on humanity as a whole,” Von Till explains while discussing his main artistic aims behind the album, as well as his poetic expressions captured in Harvestman. “I’m exploring the great disconnect: from the natural world, from each other, and ultimately from ourselves—trying to find meaning and depth in re-establishing those connections, to find a resonance in purpose and acknowledging the past while looking towards the future and still being in the moment.”

With No Wilderness Deep Enough and Harvestman, Von Till has achieved a sense of mass resonance through his restless artistic exploration—providing art that journeys into the heart of fear and uncertainty in a world where we’ve often known little else. He swan-dives into the darkness of modern life, with the resulting emergence a sonic document of rural psychedelia that transcends the physical world—towards a greater spiritual acceptance that connects naturalism, spiritualism, and the corporeal form.

No Wilderness Deep Enough and Harvestman: 23 Untitled Poems and Collected Lyrics arrives August 7, 2020 via Neurot Recordings. Further information and pre-order details are available here.

No Wilderness Deep Enough Track Listing:

1 – Dreams of Trees
2 – The Old Straight Track
3 – Indifferent Eyes
4 – Trail the Silent Hours
5 – Shadows on the Run
6 – Wild Iron

Harvestman: 23 Untitled Poems and Collected Lyrics
by Steve Von Till

First printing: Limited hardback edition
Beautifully illustrated with linocuts by Mazatl
Published by Astrophil Press at the University of South Dakota

Table of Contents:
23 Untitled Poems
As The Crow Flies
If I Should Fall to the Field
A Grave is a Grim Horse
A Life Unto Itself
No Wilderness Deep Enough

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Steve Von Till, “Dreams of Trees”

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Steve Von Till’s Harvestman to Release Music for Megaliths May 19

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

It’s been seven years since last we heard from Harvestman, the could-go-anywhere, tripped-out experimentalist alter-ego of Neurosis guitarist/vocalist Steve Von Till. That outing was a Hawkwind tribute three-way split with U.S. Christmas and Minsk (review here), and the project’s last proper album was In a Dark Tongue (review here), which preceded in 2009. Of course, Von Till has been plenty busy in the interim, with two Neurosis albums in 2012’s Honor Found in Decay (review here) and last year’s Fires Within Fires (review here) — and perhaps even more crucially, that band’s return to prominence as a touring act — as well as his 2015 solo outing, A Life unto Itself (review here), but that’s all the more reason to think he wouldn’t be reviving Harvestman at all if there wasn’t something he specifically wanted to say with it as his vehicle.

One more reason to look forward to Music for Megaliths, the new Harvestman full-length, which is due out May 19 on Neurot Recordings. Self-recorded and mixed with a guest appearance by Neurosis drummer Jason Roeder (also of Sleep), it may be a long while coming, but I’ve no doubt the album’s resonance will be something taking place far outside of time.

The PR wire brings the available details:

steve-von-till-photo-niela-von-till

HARVESTMAN: Neurosis Frontman Steve Von Till’s Exploratory Project Returns With Music For Megaliths

Neurot Recordings presents the fourth full-length recorded document from HARVESTMAN – one of Neurosis vocalist/guitarist Steve Von Till’s solo ventures – with the impending release of Music For Megaliths.

As with prior HARVESTMAN and other solo releases by Steve Von Till, Music For Megaliths sees the artist handling a wide array of instruments and approaches, including vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, synthesizers, hurdy gurdy, effects, and more, fully performed, recorded, and mixed at his own The Crow’s Nest studio in Northern Idaho. Neurosis’ Jason Roeder also provides drums to the album’s fifth track, “Levitation.” The seven sonically and mentally expansive tracks were mastered by James Plotkin, and the album completed with artwork by Thomas Hooper.

Confirming the album for release on May 19th, Neurot has unveiled the artwork, track listing, and more for the exploratory new album, with audio samples and more to be released in the coming weeks.

Music For Megaliths Track Listing:
1. The Forest Is Our Temple
2. Oak Drone
3. Ring Of Sentinels
4. Cromlech
5. Levitation
6. Sundown
7. White Horse

“Ruins, monuments, and ancient sites of worship are multi-sensory experiences – at once residues of the sacred, the parchment on which the passage of time has been inscribed and templates for imaginative reconstruction, spaces in which to invest and immerse, to trade your bearings for an inexhaustible state of transition.

Over the course of three albums, Steve Von Till has, under the guise of HARVESTMAN, provided the sonic analogue, casting his net for what might have been and yet still be. Both a personal meditation and a tuning fork for the most ancient and enduring of resonances, his latest album, Music For Megaliths, further expands his journeys along the sonic ley lines that run between folk, drone, psychedelia, the “kosmische” outposts of krautrock and noise: not as an act of eclecticism, but of divination, giving voice to an underlying continuity that binds them all.

Recorded over a period of several years in the dawn hours of creation, Music For Megaliths is an aggregation of moments and recordings that have allowed themselves to spell out a greater whole. Utilizing repetition, manipulation, and modulation, it’s a hallowed frequency dial that ranges across the pulse-regulated drone of “The Forest Is Our Temple,” revving up like a generator powered by arcane currents, the blissful gaze of “Ring Of Sentinels,” “Sundown”‘s ominous waves of interference and “White Horse”‘s rite of dissolution and regeneration, nomadic and devout. Music For Megaliths is a crossing over, whose multiple routes are testament to a singular and sensuously dilated vision.” – words by Jonathan Selzer, 2017

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Harvestman, In a Dark Tongue (2009)

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Friday Full-Length: Steve Von Till, If I Should Fall to the Field

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 2nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Steve Von Till, If I Should Fall to the Field (2002)

As we eagerly anticipate the arrival of Neurosis‘ new album, Fires Within Fires, later this month, it seems worthwhile to go back 14 years and revisit one of the best and most underrated Neurot releases. Steve Von Till‘s If I Should Fall to the Field was his second solo outing behind 2000’s As the Crow Flies, and found the Neurosis guitarist/vocalist boldly and honestly exploring textures within and without of what might commonly be thought of — particularly at the time — as his main outfit’s reach. With its roots in neofolk, dark country and experimental singer-songwriterism, If I Should Fall to the Field‘s tracks retained a sense of depth in no small part thanks to Von Till‘s gravely vocals and the varied, sometimes sparse arrangements that surrounded them. A song like “To the Field” definitely showed some of the sway one finds in Neurosis in its second half, but from the quiet “Breathe” onward, Von Till is by no means beholden to those ideas, and when the album does feature drums or electric guitars, it’s more of an accent role, as on the Germanic-themed “The Wild Hunt,” a cornerstone example of the intensity Von Till is able to bring to bear even in this relatively subdued context. From the minimalist take on the traditional “My Work is Done” to the brighter flourish in the guitar of “Hallowed Ground” — met head-on by a particularly grim chorus — and down through “Dawn” and the cover of Neil Young‘s “Am I Born to Die,” there isn’t a letup in mood, and so while not at all abrasive, If I Should Fall to the Field should still rightly be considered a challenging listen, but what Von Till channels in these songs is something really special, and I can’t think of another way to put it beyond that.

The year before, Neurosis had released A Sun that Never Sets, which while less a defining moment for the band itself after pivotal stylistic accomplishments in 1996’s Through Silver in Blood and 1999’s Times of Grace, was nonetheless a solidification of their processes and became the record that launched a thousand post-metal ships. Scott Kelly, also guitar/vocals for Neurosis, put out his solo debut, Spirit Bound Flesh, also in 2001, so this was a particularly vibrant creative period for the band, and it would lead to Neurosis‘ 2003 collaboration with former Swans vocalist Jarboe and their 2004 album, The Eye of Every Storm, which to my ears remains one of its kind within their catalog for its patience and atmospheric breadth. Their subsequent offerings, 2007’s Given to the Rising and 2012’s Honor Found in Decay (review here), would continue to expand outward even as they reignited a more furious churn. Likewise, Von Till‘s solo follow-ups, 2008’s A Grave is a Grim Horse and last year’s A Life unto Itself (review here), as well as his work with the dark, space-infused Harvestman project, seemed to build on a foundation that If I Should Fall to the Field dug by hand.

I don’t mind telling you this record and I have been through some shit together. It has yet to let me down on any level, and it is a work to which I continue to feel a strong emotional connection — to the point that I’ll rarely put it on these days for the vivid and sometimes exhausting feelings it stirs. Nonetheless, I’m happy to have put it on today as I continue to prepare the ground (and by “the ground” I mean “my skull”) for the arrival of Fires Within Fires on Sept. 23, and of course I hope you enjoy as well.

 

Heck of a week, Brownie. I told off two out of the three medical professionals I saw this week, ho-hummed my way through some of the slowest-moving work days since I took my new job and committed myself to driving to New Jersey this weekend to see family, which, since there’s the extra day with the Labor Day holiday, should actually be something of a pleasure to do in not-rushed fashion. Doesn’t make the traffic less draining, but at least I don’t have to hurry to get back in it and head north to go to work on Monday.

I’ve also got posts slated through Tuesday already, so look out for stuff like an Asteroid interview, an Akris video premiere, a review of the new Yawning Man, a new Kadavar video, a stream of the full Thermic Boogie record, which is being reissued, and a stream and review for the Hifiklub vs. Fatso Jetson & Gary Arce collaboration who had a video premiere earlier today. Kind of a quick follow-up on that, but whatever. It’s gonna be awesome.

Also, really starting to wonder if anything’s going to beat the SubRosa for album of the year. We’ve got a few good months ahead — Sept. 30 is the craziest release day I can remember — but yeah, that record is fucking fantastic. If I can find time this week, I’ll post their set from Psycho Las Vegas as well. I feel like it’s the kind of thing that should be shown in schools.

Today kind of wound up being a day where I never even checked in mentally to check out. Exhausted, mentally, physically, emotionally, etc. Just exhausted. Got home from work a bit ago and though I was going to head south immediately, I decided I didn’t have it in me. I’ll be curled up on the couch watching tv for the rest of the day/night. Cook something stupid for dinner. Don’t even care.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Back here next week for much more, and please check out the forum and the radio stream.

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ROADBURN 2016 DAY THREE: Times of Grace

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 16th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2016 day three (Photo by JJ Koczan)

04.17.17 – 01:26 – Hotel room, Tilburg

We were done with the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch folding ritual early this afternoon. Third time’s the charm. The issue was finished and printed and put online (you can read it here) by a little bit before one o’clock, so I decided to head back to the hotel to have a drink of water, get my head around the day, dick around on my phone, etc.

dool 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)En route, something caught my ear wafting out of the Cul de Sac. It was Rotterdam natives Dool soundchecking, and from outside, they sounded pretty damn good. Their name had come up in the office since they’re this year’s “Roadburn Introduces” pick, and I decided pretty quickly that I’d have to check them out even just going by what I heard on my way by, so I got back in time to get a spot up front and attended their arrival. They’ve got members of The Devil’s Blood in bassist Job van de Zande and drummer Micha Haring and Gold‘s Nick Polak on guitar along with Reinier Vermeulen, and guitarist/vocalist Ryanne van Dorst, and maybe since they’re not brand new players out of the gate it shouldn’t be a surprise they were in such command of their sound, but for a band who doesn’t have more than a single out, they were impressive in their presence on stage and in the cohesion of their aesthetic, copping elements of goth rock to darken up heavy grooves for an early crowd.

When they got to “Words on Paper,” van Dorst switched out her electric guitar for an acoustic one, and the effect of the added resonance to Polak‘s and Vermeulen‘s guitars was palpable. Every Roadburn brings a pleasant surprise. Dool were definitely mine this year. This morning, I knew nothing about them. Now I’ll be keeping an eye out for news about their debut album. They’d wrap up in time for Skepticism to start on the Main Stage. skepticism 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)The Finnish funeral doomers hit the quarter-century mark in 2016, and they marked the occasion with a special fan-selected set that focused heavily on their 1995 debut LP, Stormcrowfleet, with “Sign of a Storm,” “By Silent Wings” and “The Everdarkgreen,” as well as their 2003 third outing, Farmakon, with “Farmakon Process,” “The Raven and the Backward Funeral” and “Shred of Light, Pinch of Endless.” They had “The March and the Stream” from 1998’s Lead and Aether in there as well, but whatever they were playing, it all crawled, gruelingly, further into a deep, black abyss of church-organ-laced doom, heavy on drama and impassable in tone.

Frontman Matti Tilaeus added to the drama, the bowtie of his formalwear undone — as apparently it will be — and the white roses he carried out with him when he came on stage laid on the tops of the monitors for extra funereal effect. They played mostly in the dark, and were a reminder of just how much what we think of today as death-doom owes its crux to what Finland conjured in the mid-’90s. It was a surprise to walk out of the Main Stage room when they were done and find the sun was still up. How could daylight still even exist after such a thing? I’d ponder the question during an initial loop through the merch area while waiting as I have been for months, years, to see Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, also playing the Main Stage. The Tad Doyle-fronted outfit released their also-awaited self-titled debut (review here) on Neurot Recordings, and though they toured to support it — with Neurosis, no less — I didn’t get to go to that show and my soul has had a dent in it ever since.

brothers of the sonic cloth 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)Well, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth‘s sheer tectonic heaviness took that dent, bumped it out and polished it up real nice. And by that I mean that, while the video screen behind them showed suitably-themed images like the earth as a ball of fire, volcanoes, arcane rituals and so on, they played so furiously loud and with such heft of low end that the floor of the big room actually shook. They had a second guitarist on stage right with bassist Peggy Doyle, and drummer Dave French was in the back, but as a whole unit, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth came together to hone pure aural destruction for the duration of their set, Tad‘s seething rasp and screams placing him at the center of the churn, not nearly as morose as Skepticism had been, but viscerally angry and geared for maximum impact. When the asteroid hits planet earth in whatever year that is — could be tomorrow for all I care; I’m at fucking Roadburn — it will sound like Brothers of the Sonic Cloth. I own two of their t-shirts. When they were done I felt like maybe that’s not enough.

Aside from the fact that Astrosoniq drummer/producer Marcel van de Vondervoort is deeply involved with recording and mixing the audio streams of each Roadburn that so often become groups’ live albums, and aside from the fact that after I first dug into their last studio LP, 2010’s Quadrant (review here), I decided I needed to hear every record they’d ever put out — 2006’s Speeder People (review here), 2005’s Made in Oss EP (review here), 2002’s Soundgrenade (review here) and 2000’s Son of A.P. Lady (review here) — I have been waiting years to see Astrosoniq play Roadburn, and their set was made all the more special by the fact that fest organizer Walter was doing live visuals as he did for The Heads last year. The band hasn’t had much if any live activity over the last few years. It’s now been seven since Quadrant was first issued in Europe. I knew it was going to be something special. I knew I was lucky to see them. I don’t think I knew just how much that would be the case.

On record, they hop genres with attention-deficit regularity, but in the Green Room, tastrosoniq 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)he band were much more fluid. They jammed out with the best of anything I’ve seen at Roadburn 2016, and I’ve seen a few jams. Guitarist Ron van Herpen had guested the other night with Death Alley, but really stood out during “As Soon as They Got Airborne,” an extended take that was only part of the larger highlight that was the set as a whole. “You Lose” from Son of A.P. Lady was another standout, that album having just received a limited vinyl reissue that’s caught my eye in the merch area downstairs at the Patronaat. May or may not get to pick its deluxeness up to take home, but Astrosoniq made an easy case with what I’ll hope is a return to activity that results — eventually; doesn’t have to be this week; next week is fine — in a new full-length. Their native Oss is about 35 minutes from Tilburg by car, just on the other side of den Bosch, and they got the hometown greeting from a strong Dutch contingent represented in the crowd. I knew they would be a hard act to follow.

I watched a bit of Tau Cross — with Away from Voivod on drums and Rob Miller from Amebix on vocals — on the Main Stage before heading over to Het Patronaat to catch the start of Beastmaker, as Lee Dorrian‘s curation was continuing over there. I miss-timed it and didn’t actually get to see them apart from their soundcheck, blowing my chance at Carousel in Extase at the same time, and routed back to the 013 proper to watch Converge do their special ‘Blood Moon’ set comprised of their slower and more experimental material. After their Jane Doe set the other night, which I caught the tail end of, the vibe was almost completely different. Yeah, Jacob Bannon still writhed and paced back and forth and whatnot, but there were more clean vocals — giving Stephen Brodsky (Cave In) another chance to shine, which he did — and they brought out Steve Von Till of Neurosis and Chelsea Wolfe to add their voices to the mix, and Ben Chisholm fleshed out textures on keys, resulting in a rich sound that pushed away from hard/metalcore in favor of something less stylistically hinged. Even for being selections from past records, ‘Blood Moon’ set its own context, and even in the parts that converge 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)didn’t feature Von Till, one could hear a strong sense of influence from Neurosis in what they were doing.

At that point, I decided to do something I hadn’t done since I got to Tilburg: I stopped and had a meal. I left Massachusetts on Tuesday evening. Today was Saturday. Since then, I hadn’t had time to actually sit down to a dinner, lunch, breakfast, anything. I bumped into Weirdo Canyon Dispatch photog extraordinaire Paul Verhagen and we grabbed a bite, with Exile on Mainstream‘s Andreas Kohl joining later, before Amenra went on the Main Stage. I had mixed veggies — broccoli, brussels sprouts, string beans, some other green thing chopped up — a boneless chicken thigh, a spicy chicken wing and a considerable amount of green salad, dry. It might as well have been birthday cake.

Amenra are something of a fixture around Roadburn. The Belgian atmospheric sludgers played in 2007, they played when Neurosis curated in 2009, they played in 2013 and they’ll play again at the Afterburner. That’s nothing to complain about, I’m just noting it because perhaps it was part of what drove them to do something different this time around, performing mostly acoustic with seven players seated arranged in a circle on the stage to stark lighting and deeply melancholic reinterpretations of their songs. Of course, they also have a new LP out, Alive, on Consouling Sounds working in similar forms — it features a faithful cover of Tool‘s “Parabol,” which they also played — but even in this different incarnation, it was plain to hear the impact of Neurosis on their methods and of Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till‘s solo works on their dark-folk and minimalist (if you can call something with seven people on stage minimalist) brooding.

Vocalist Colin H. van Eeckhout said from the stage they were nervous amenra 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)and doing their best, possibly after someone shouted “Slayer!” in the crowd. If they were uncomfortable, it was hard to tell from the harmonies. When they were done, they left one at a time until only a single guitarist remained, his back to the crowd. Then he got up and walked away and the part he was playing kept going. It was a loop, obviously — that’s not exactly a magic trick at this point — but it made for a striking visual all the same and said something about the resonance of their material, being brought down on a slow fade as the crowd erupted again. There would be a 40-minute break before Neurosis came on, which, to be completely honest, felt like an eternity.

From Brothers of the Sonic Cloth onward, everything on the Main Stage at Roadburn 2016 today was building toward the Neurosis 30th anniversary set. From Tad Doyle‘s grunge roots to Tau Cross‘ own in crust and progressive thrash, to Converge and Amenra having both — in very different ways, granted — found inspiration in their work, Neurosis was at the core of what the whole day was about, and the push forward was leading inextricably to their set as the culmination. Not to say it was seven-plus hours of setup and nothing more, just that the clearly purposeful flow of the day was designed with its direction in mind. It was not an accident.

neurosis 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)They opened with “Lost” from 1993’s Enemy of the Sun, and among the you-were-never-gonna-see-Neurosis-play-this highlights were “Pain of Mind” and “Self-Taught Infection” from 1988’s Pain of Mind debut, “To What End?” from 1990’s The Word as Law, a cover of Joy Division‘s “Day of the Lords,” and, gloriously, “Takeahnase” from 1992’s Souls at Zero, arguably the point at which they really started to branch beyond their beginnings in crust and hardcore punk and move into the various forms of aggression that they continue to develop now — the easy word for it is post-metal, but it’s post-metal because Neurosis made it that way. With more recent inclusions like “At the Well” from 2012’s Honor Found in Decay (review here) and “Water is Not Enough” from 2007’s Given to the Rising, along with “Times of Grace” from the 1999 album of the same name, “Left to Wander” from 2004’s The Eye of Every Storm, as well as the closing pair of “Through Silver in Blood,” from the 1996 LP of the same name, and “Stones from the Sky” from 2001’s A Sun that Never Sets.

Between all of that and “An Offering” from the Sovereign EP, there was not one record in their discography unrepresented. That made the event even more special — they’ll follow-up with a second installment for the Afterburner tomorrow — but the truth of the matter is that anytime Neurosis shows up, it’s special. I know they’ve done more touring in the last year than in the decade prior, but still, I don’t think there’s a band on the planet that captures the same measure of intensity, of raw passion, of volume-assault-as-spiritual-refuge that Neurosis does, and whether it’s Noah Landis using the entire universe for source material for samples and manipulated transitional drones for between songs, Steve Von Till and Scott Kelly complementing each other on guitar and vocals as one might expect for two guys who’ve been fronting a band together for 30 years, Dave Edwardson‘s continued ferocity on bass or Jason Roeder‘s cyclical drum patterning, everything they do is a lesson in the ethic of putting creativity first. They have a new record coming out at some point. I don’t know what it sounds like or what it’s called, but I feel comfortable in the knowledge that neurosis 2 (Photo by JJ Koczan)it will step forward from where they were with Honor Found in Decay, because they’re Neurosis, and that means no compromising.

I kind of lost my shit during that especially blistering rendition of “Takeahnase,” and I expect tomorrow and Monday I’ll be good and sore. Who cares? Not me. I’m back at it in the morning for the last issue of the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch and more bands for the Afterburner, which basically is just another day of Roadburn at this point. Fine by me. It’s gone quickly in 2016 — how do you pack a year’s worth of living into four days? — so I’ll take everything I can get.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Roadburn 2016: Scott Kelly, Steve Von Till, Midnight, Jakob, Ecstatic Vision, Black Moon Circle and More Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 16th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

What is this, the third, maybe fourth, announcement for the lineup of Roadburn 2016? As of this week we’re still half a year out from the launch of the festival next April in the Netherlands and I’m already starting to get that gosh-I-hope-I-get-to-go ache. Seems early for such things, but here we are, barely ankle-deep into the lineup and it’s only becoming a more and more severe issue. Steve Von Till and Scott Kelly from Neurosis added for solo sets? At the church, no less? That’s not even fair.

Never mind righteous space heavy of Black Moon Circle or the saw-it-coming-from-a-mile-away-but-it’s-still-right-on addition of Ecstatic Vision to the bill, the raw fuckery of Midnight? I feel like Roadburn 2016 could probably call it a day, maybe let Lee Dorrian add another couple of acts to his curated stage, and anyone who went would call the fest a win. As I say, it’s getting severe.

And it’s still just the beginning.

From the PR wire:

New additions to Roadburn 2016 including Scott Kelly, Steve Von Till, Midnight, and Jakob

  • SCOTT KELLY & STEVE VON TILL to play individual solo shows
  • Ambient post-rockers, JAKOB will perform
  • Heavy metal outlaws, MIDNIGHT, make their Roadburn debut
  • Plus more acts including Kenn Nardi and Ecstatic Vision

SCOTT KELLY & STEVE VON TILL

Neurosis are so much more than a band. At times, they seem to be at the heart of a sentient organism, fully functioning all by itself, with the activities of their members and of the entire Neurot family constituting the remaining organs and limbs of this fascinating creature. None of those activities are more deeply connected and enwrapped around that ever-beating heart than the solo careers of guitarists/vocalists SCOTT KELLY and STEVE VON TILL themselves. Therefore, it is but natural that the Neurosis 30th anniversary celebrations that will take place at Roadburn will also include a typically intimate and profoundly touching solo performance by each of the two musicians.

SCOTT KELLY and STEVE VON TILL will therefore complete the weekend-long Neurosis anniversary experience with both performances taking place at the Het Patronaat on Friday, April 15th. Each of them will be a life unto itself that must not be missed.

To find out more about Scott Kelly & Steve Von Till at Roadburn, click HERE

JAKOB

JAKOB will travel from far, far away to provide you with a moment of introversion – an hour of a special kind of beauty filtering through the weekend haze – all the way from their beautiful coastal hometown of Napier, New Zealand, but it will surely be as worthy for them as it will for us, when the connection is established between band and audience. JAKOB’s is a sharp beauty, good-natured but with a lingering, riff-ridden menace to it; soothing, but able to stay in your memory for a long time after you experience it. JAKOB will play Roadburn on Sunday April 17th.

To find out more about JAKOB click HERE

MIDNIGHT

The twisted, bastard offspring of a Venom, Motörhead and Sodom threesome of debauchery, complete with a devil-may-care attitude which GG Allin himself would surely have been proud of, Cleveland’s MIDNIGHT might just provide the most reckless amount of fun you can have at a concert without breaking the law, or at least too many of them. Pack your leather jackets, bulletbelts and facemasks, because you’ll surely need them when MIDNIGHT take you to hell (…on the wings of Satan!) on Friday, April 15th, at the 013 venue. Steel won’t be stopped!

To find out more about MIDNIGHT at Roadburn, click HERE

KENN NARDI

Former Anacrusis guitarist/vocalist KENN NARDI brings his forward-thinking metal to the stages of Roadburn on Saturday April 16th. Between 1988 and 1993, in an era when thrash was anything but dark or progressive, Anacrusis produced four critically-acclaimed albums that were heralded as cornerstones of dark, angular, progressive thrash. The band dissolved shortly after releasing their fourth and final album, Screams And Whisper and this performance will mark NARDI’s first show in Holland since Anacrusis’ final original-era performance in 1993. A singer/songwriter at heart, but with a background in metal, hardcore/punk and early gothic rock, Nardi is an innovator whose works still resonate to this day. He will be performing a wealth of material from the Anacrusis catalog along with selected solo tracks.

To find out more about KENN NARDI, click HERE.

FURTHER ADDITIONS TO THE BILL

Icelandic ambient post-metallers, KONTINUUM – read more HERE
Philadelphia heavy psych trio, ECSTATIC VISION – read more HERE
Norwegian Psychedelic space rockers, BLACK MOON CIRCLE – read more HERE

FURTHER TICKETING INFORMATION

Tickets to Roadburn Festival 2016 are now on sale! Ticket sales got off to an incredible start with many of the available weekend tickets being snapped up within the first few days. There are still 3-day, 4-day, and Sunday tickets on sale. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday day tickets will be released at a a later date.
It is also possible to book camping tickets via Ticketmaster.

Click HERE for all the details.

Roadburn Festival takes place at the recently upgraded, state of the art 013 venue, Tilburg, The Netherlands, between 14 – 17 April 2016. The line up this year includes Neurosis (30th anniversary), Paradise Lost (performing Gothic in full), curation by Lee Dorrian, Amenra, The Skull, La Muerte, Of The Wand And The Moon, and Green Carnation.

http://www.roadburn.com/
https://www.facebook.com/roadburnfestival
https://twitter.com/roadburnfest

Steve Von Till, A Life unto Itself (2015)

Scott Kelly and the Road Home, The Forgiven Ghost in Me (2012)

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Quarterly Review: Steve Von Till, Devil Worhsipper, Dr. Crazy, Linie, The Heavy Minds, Against the Grain, Angel Eyes, Baron, Creedsmen Arise, Deadly Sin (Sloth)

Posted in Reviews on September 28th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-quarterly-review-fall-2015

Truth be told, I’ve been looking forward to this Quarterly Review since the last one ended. Not necessarily since it clears the deck on reviews to be done — it doesn’t — but just because I feel like in any given week there’s so much more that I want to get to than I’m usually able to fit into posting that it’s been good to be able to say, “Well I’ll do another Quarterly Review and include it there.” Accordingly, there are some sizable releases here, today and over the next four days as well.

If you’re unfamiliar with the project, the idea is over the course of this week, I’ll be reviewing 50 different releases — full albums, EPs, demos, comps, splits, vinyl, tape, CD, digital, etc. Most of them have come out since the last Quarterly Review, which went up early in July, but some are still slated for Oct. or Nov. issue dates. Best to mix it up. My hope is that within this barrage of info, art and music, you’re able to find something that stands out to you and that you enjoy deeply. I know I’ll find a few by the time we’re done on Friday.

Fall 2015 Quarterly Review #1-10:

Steve Von Till, A Life unto Itself

steve von till a life unto itself

A new Steve Von Till solo outing isn’t a minor happening in any circumstances, but A Life unto Itself reads more like a life event than an album. As ever, the Neurosis guitarist/vocalist puts a full emotional breadth into his material, and as it’s his first record in seven years since 2008’s A Grave is a Grim Horse, there’s plenty to say. Sometimes minimal, sometimes arranged, sometimes both, the seven tracks feature little of the psychedelic influence Von Till brought to his Harvestman project, but use lap steel, strings, electrics, acoustics, keys and of course his meditative, gravelly voice to convey a broad spectrum nonetheless, and cuts like “Chasing Ghosts,” “In Your Wings” and the centerpiece “Night of the Moon” (which actually does veer into the ethereal, in its way) are all the more memorable for it. The richness of “A Language of Blood” and the spaciousness of the drone-meets-sea-shanty closer “Known but Not Named” only underscore how far Von Till is able to range, and how satisfying the results can be when he does.

Steve Von Till on Thee Facebooks

Steve Von Till at Neurot Recordings

Devil Worhsipper, Devil Worhsipper

devil worshipper devil worshipper

Bizarro vibes pervade Devil Worshipper’s debut LP, Devil Worshipper, what may or may not be a one-man project from Jeff Kahn (ex-Hideous Corpse, Skeleton of God; spelled here as Jevf Kon), mixed by Tad Doyle and released on Holy Mountain. Based in Seattle (that we do know), the project wields molten tones and slow groove to classic underground metal, heavy psych and bleary moods to hit into oddly cinematic moodiness on “Ash Brume” and even nod at Celtic Frost from a long ways away on closer “Lurker (Death).” Most of the drums are programmed, save for “New Spirit World Order,” “Ash Brume” and “Lurker,” but either way, they only add to the weirdness of the chanting layered vocals of “New Spirit World Order,” and just when it seems like eight-minute second track “Chemrails” will have been as far out as Devil Worshipper gets, side B’s “Desert Grave” takes hold for a five-minute dirge that turns out to be one of the record’s most satisfying rolls, reminiscent of something Rob Crow might’ve done with Goblin Cock on downers. Unexpected and living well in its own space, the album manages to be anchored by its lead guitar work without seeming anchored at all.

Devil Worshpper on Thee Facebooks

Devil Worshipper at Holy Mountain

Dr. Crazy, 1,000 Guitars

dr crazy 1000 guitars

So, how many guitars on London trio Dr. Crazy’s 13-minute/four-song EP, 1,000 Guitars? Two, I think. The side-project of Groan vocalist Andreas “Mazzereth” Maslen and Chris West, formerly the drummer of Trippy Wicked and Stubb who here plays guitar and bass while Groan’s former guitarist Mike Pilat handles drums, make a bid for the possibility of playing live in bringing in Pilat to fill the role formerly occupied remotely by Tony Reed of Mos Generator on their 2014 debut EP, Demon Lady. Whether that happens will remain to be seen, but they affirm their ‘80s glam leanings on “Bikini Woman” and keep the message simple on opener “Hands off My Rock and Roll” while “1,000 Guitars” makes the most of guest lead work from Stubb’s Jack Dickinson – he’s the second guitar, alongside West – and yet another infectious Mazzereth-led hook, and well, “Mistress of Business” starts out by asking the titular lady to pull down her pants, so, you know, genius-level satire ensues.

Dr. Crazy on Thee Facebooks

Dr. Crazy on Bandcamp

Linie, What We Make Our Demons Do

linie what we make our demons do

An aggressive core lies beneath the progressivism of German five-piece Linie (actually written as ?inie) on their debut full-length, What We Make Our Demons Do, but the material holds a sense of atmosphere as well. Vocalist/guitarist Jörn is very much at the fore of post-intro opener “Blood on Your Arms,” but as the crux of the album plays out on the chug-happy “Lake of Fire” and “No Ideal,” Linie showcase a wider breadth and bring together elements of post-hardcore à la Fugazi, darker heavy rock and purposefully brooding metal. Comprised of Jörn, guitarist/vocalist Alex, bassist/vocalist Ralph, drummer/vocalist Alex and keyboardist Iggi, the band impress on their first offering with not only how assured they seem of their aesthetic, but the expansive manner in which they present it. Their songwriting is varied in approach but unified in mood and while I don’t know what has them so pissed off on a cut like “Inability,” there’s no question whether they’re putting that anger to good use.

Linie on Thee Facebooks

Linie on Bandcamp

The Heavy Minds, Treasure Coast

the heavy minds treasure coast

Austrian trio The Heavy Minds make their full-length debut on Stone Free with Treasure Coast, a seven-cut LP that fuzzes up ‘70s swing without going the full-Graveyard in retro vibe. “You’ve Seen it Coming” seems to nod at Radio Moscow, but a more overarching vibe seems to share ideology with Baltimore three-piece The Flying Eyes, the classic rock sensibilities given natural presentation through a nonetheless modern feel in the tracks. The bass tone of Tobias (who also plays guitar at points) alone makes Treasure Coast worth hunting down, but doesn’t prove to be the limit of what the young outfit have to offer, drummer Christoph swinging fluidly throughout “Diamonds of Love” in a manner that foreshadows the emergent roll of “Seven Remains.” That song is part of a closing duo with “Fire in My Veins,” which boasts a satisfying bluesy howl from guitarist Lukas, rounding out Treasure Coast with an organic openness that suits the band well.

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Stone Free

Against the Grain, Road Warriors

against the grain road warriors

Momentum is key when it comes to Road Warriors, the new full-length from Detroit four-piece Against the Grain. They amass plenty of it as they thrust into the 12-track/38-minute rager of an outing, but there are changes to be had in tempo if not necessarily intent. Comprised of bassist/vocalist Chris Nowak, guitarist/vocalist Kyle Davis, guitarist Nick Bellomo and drummer Rob Nowak, the band actually seems more comfortable on fifth-gear cuts like “’Til We Die,” “What Happened,” the first half of “Afraid of Nothing” or the furious “Run for Your Life” than they do in the middle-ground of “Guillotine” and “Night Time,” but slowing down on “Sirens” and “Eyes” allows them to flex a more melodic muscle, and that winds up enriching the album in subtle and interesting ways. If you want a clue as to the perspective from which they’re working, they start with “Here to Stay” and end with “Nothing Left to Lose.” Everything between feels suitably driven by that mission statement.

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Angel Eyes, Things Have Learnt to Walk that Ought to Crawl

angel-eyes-things-have-learnt-to-walk-that-ought-to-crawl

With the ‘t’ and the ‘ought’ in its title, Angel Eyes’ posthumous third full-length, Things Have Learnt to Walk that Ought to Crawl, brims with oddly rural threat. Like the things are people. The Chicago outfit unfold two gargantuan cascades of atmosludge on “Part I” (15:54) and “Part II” (19:18), pushing their final recording to toward and beyond recommended minimums and maximums as regards intensity. They called it quits in 2011, so to have the record surface four years later and be as blindsidingly cohesive as it is actually makes it kind of a bummer, since it won’t have a follow-up, but the work Angel Eyes are doing across these two tracks – “Part I” getting fully blown-out before shifting into the quiet opening of “Part II” – justifies the time it’s taken for it to be released. They were signed to The Mylene Sheath, but Things is an independent, digital-only outing for the time being, though its structure and cover feel ripe for vinyl. Who knows what the future might bring.

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Baron, Torpor

baron torpor

Textured, hypnotic and downright gorgeous in its psychedelic melancholy, Baron’s Torpor is a record that a select few will treasure deeply and fail to understand the problem as to why the rest of the planet isn’t just as hooked. A thoroughly British eight-track full-length – their second, I believe, but first for SvartTorpor creates and captures spaces simultaneously on organ-infused pieces like “Mark Maker,” executing complex transitions fluidly and feeding into an overarching ambience that, by the time they get around to the eight-minute “Stry,” is genuinely affecting in mood and beautifully engrossing. The Brighton/Nottingham four-piece fuzz out a bit on “Deeper Align,” but the truth is that Torpor has much more to offer than a single genre encapsulates and those that miss it do so to their own detriment. I mean that. Its patience, its poise and its scope make Torpor an utter joy of progressive flourish and atmosphere with a feel that is entirely its own. I could go on.

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Baron at Svart Records

Creedsmen Arise, Temple

creedsmen arise temple

So get this. For their first EP, Swedish trio Creedsmen Arise – guitarist Emil, drummer Simon and bassist Gustaf (since replaced by Jonte) – have taken it upon themselves to pen a sequel to Sleep’s Dopesmoker that, “tells the story about what happened centuries after the Dopesmoker Caravan and it’s [sic] Weedians reached their destination.” Admirably ballsy terrain for the three-piece to tread their first time out. It’s like, “Oh hey, here’s my first novel – it’s Moby Dick from the whale’s perspective.” The three tracks of the Temple EP are fittingly schooled in Iommic studies, but the band almost undercuts itself because they don’t just sound like Sleep. They have their own style. Yeah, it’s riffy stoner metal, but it’s not like they’re doing an Al Cisneros impression on vocals, so while the concept is derived directly, the sound doesn’t necessarily completely follow suit. Between the 10-minute opening title- and longest-track (immediate points), “Herbal Burial” and “Circle of Clergymen,” Creedsmen Arise make perhaps a more individualized statement than they intended, but it’s one that bodes well.

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Deadly Sin (Sloth), Demo Discography

deadly sin (sloth) demo discography

Nola’s cool and all, but when it comes to the nastiest, most misanthropic, fucked-up sludge, choosy moms choose Ohio, and Deadly Sin (Sloth) are a potent example of why. Their Demo Discography tape revels in its disconcerting extremity and seems to grind regardless of whether the Xenia, OH, trio are actually playing fast. Comprised of Jay Snyder, Wilhelm Princeton and Kyle Hughes, Deadly Sin (Sloth) cake themselves in mud that will be familiar to anyone who’s witnessed Fistula on a bender or Sloth at their most pill-popping, but do so with sub-lo-fi threat on the tape and are so clearly intentional in their effort to put the listener off that one could hardly call their demos anything but a victory. Will not be for everyone, but of course that’s the idea. This kind of viciousness is a litmus test that would do justice to any basement show, maddening in its nod and mean well beyond the point of reason.

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