Album Review: Sunnata, Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth

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

sunnata burning in heaven melting on earth

my link Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth is the fourth full-length from Warsaw-based post-heavy rockers Our professional Essay About Love are designed to relieve some of the pressure and provide expert support from a specialist team of PhD writer. They will guide you through the process of writing your PhD thesis, from the title and initial proposal, right through to the conclusion. Sunnata. Comprised of six songs, it runs a substantial-but-manageable 49 minutes and culls influences from a broad range of spheres, perhaps none more so than its own. The band began its journey circa 2008 under a different, less-prone-to-sonic-enlightenment moniker, and has gradually been engaging self-realization since, more effectively so each time out. Between their 2014 debut, http://www.gamlitz.eu/?boston-homeworks-helps USA - Hire best Physics Homework writers for completing your Physics Homework writing. More than 10 years of experience with 98% Climbing the Colossus, 2016’s recommended you read. Essay and Resume Service provides professional writing services for students, executive, management and entry level Zorya (review here), and 2018’s crucial  Need a http://www.otthonszerviz.com/?help-write-a-business-plan? We use two expert editors on every document. We offer fast and high quality proofreading at an affordable flat rate. Outlands (review here), they have marched a path forward of exciting sonic progression and individuality, finding a space where the crush of  Professional Writer.com - Review of One of the Most Popular and Highly-Rated Academic Writing Services Neurosis, the melodic downerism of How good is it for you to http://www.icvbc.cnr.it/Itinerari_petrografici/?phd-thesis-transportation only after you are fully satisfied with it? Our professionals will in addition teach you how to write a Alice in Chains and the tantric repetitions of  Home > Dissertation English Paper Up Board Editing Overview. The secret to successful writing is editing. Of course you should edit your own work to the Om can coexist in flowing, coherent form. Their material has never been so complex or so well composed as it is on  http://www.nexusinstitut.de/literature-review-introduction-examples/: Your key to hassle-free study The Internet is flooded with various writing services, and everyone is inviting you to buy a dissertation paper. But when buying dissertations online, you should be sure of its quality while dissertation writing is not a good reason for experiments. Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth, and the songs come across as a multifaceted intellectual experience. It’s an album, to be sure, but it also feels in listening like the start of a conversation.

The stated purpose on the part of the band was to examine “different angles on the theme of religious fanaticism… [the] general sense of trusting your life to a crystal ethereal being represented by humans of flesh, bones and sins, and discusses consequences of doing so,” and fair enough. Their native Poland has, like many nations including my own, witnessed a swing to far-right populism and conservative demagoguery, and that’s before one actually takes the idea literally as a theme based on religious dogma. Any angle of approach, then, there’s plenty subject matter for http://www.sparkassenstiftungen.de/?where-to-buy-essay-papers - Dissertations and resumes at most attractive prices. Stop getting unsatisfactory marks with these custom dissertation advice Sunnata to work with, and in cuts like “A Million Lives,” “Black Serpent” and the closing “Way Out” — American listeners should be aware that this is the equivalent in British English to “exit” — they translate ideological depiction into deep-mix heavy immersion. They are writing about rituals and a ritual mindset, and the songs themselves feel ritualistic, from the beginning in “Crows” as the lyrics set listeners before a field of dead bodies, the first but not last reference to Rome falling made.

“Crows” is the shortest track on  How To Write A Resource Paper - Stop getting unsatisfactory marks with these custom term paper recommendations leave behind those sleepless nights writing Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth at 5:57, and something of a stage-setting through its linear build, but effective in drawing the listener into the midst. Brooding voices and tense rhythms find guitarist/vocalists  write my essay for me free online http://filmlexikon.uni-kiel.de/contentimages/?write-on-a-paper Number cover letter for admissions counselor position online english essay writing Szymon Ewertowski and Learn how we can provide you with all the help that you need to http://www.frachtrasch.com/?the-birthmark-essay to the highest of standards. Adrian Gadomski, bassist Here, we offer Persuade Writing writing service in the UK to support you in completing your dissertation when; You find it difficult to select the appropriate methodology or data analysis part of your dissertation. You may need help with writing an in-depth literature review or any other part of your dissertation. We bring you exactly what you are looking for comparatively low prices. We Michal Dobrzanski and drummer http://www.abatec.cz/?essay-about-is-college-admission-too-competitiveS DELIVERING PROFESSIONAL DISSERTATION WRITING SERVICES AND EXPERT HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT. Since 2008, we have strived to offer the very best dissertation writing services in our field, we never settle for second best and always have your satisfaction as our top priority. Its who we are, what we do and we are proud of it. Robert Ruszczyk moving toward the solo-topped payoff that arrives in the second half of the song, a cascading turn that leads to a final chorus with both singers telling the audience something else it needs to know about the record that follows, which is that while  Sunnata are working on a theme and the lyrics and mindset of the composition is geared toward that, they are not forsaking songcraft for the sake of narrative. I don’t know that this is the case, but I would not be surprised if the instrumental foundation of the record was set before the lyrics came together — each song has its own structure and is built toward the overarching flow, the assemblage front-to-back just happens to work exceptionally well enough to be tied together through the fanaticism theme.

sunnata

As the shortest song, “Crows” is followed immediately by the longest, “God Emperor of Dune,” at 8:47, which is the basis of any Om comparison one might want to make, though here too the vocals distinguish Sunnata through call and response chants over soft toms, cymbals and tambourine, gradually moving toward a proggy rush and wash alike that swirls like the fog over a follower’s eyes. That is ably drawn back to a comparatively minimal and droning finish, but the patience and clear intent with which “God Emperor of Dune” is executed pushes the atmosphere laid out by the opener deeper, such that the push of the subsequent “A Million Lives” is like the constant barrage of living in a post-truth world. One never completely has footing in a world with no ground. The difference with Sunnata‘s portrayal, however, is that the songs themselves are structured and their movement tells this push-pull in shifts of tempo, rhythm and melody. For all the scope and purpose, again, they are songwriters. “A Million Lives” is catchy as all hell.

It would be the landmark hook of Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth were it not for the side B opener “Black Serpent,” with its more aggressive crux and gang-shout call and response chorus. In the back and forth pairings of shorter songs with longer ones, “A Million Lives” and “Black Serpent” are the centerpieces, but they do not give ground atmospherically, and the mood of the album is maintained, even if perhaps taken to a more severe place. “Black Serpent” seems to crash to its finish, a winding line of effects echoing out when the vocals recede, but “Völva (The Seeress)” — and while we’re here, let’s note that “serpent” and “völva” (which in Germanic mythology is a woman shaman) seem purposefully paired to subtly nod to male and female genitalia; sex is a big part of any dogma — arrives and sets itself to willfully repetitive invocations of its titular mystic, blurring the line that felt so stark only a few songs ago between “God Emperor of Dune” and “Crows” or “A Million Lives” on either side of it. Growing blurry is the intent, of course.

The title line of “Way Out” arrives as, yes, a way out of this fog, and it brings the album’s title line with it for further clarity, giving an encapsulation over its first two and a half minutes before dropping back to near-silence and rebuilding. This time, when it goes, it doesn’t come back. They end ethereal in vocals, but grounded in groove, and the feeling is very much that of an arrival from just before the five-minute mark when everything but the bass drops out to the rest of the song’s total 8:37. It’s closure, not epilogue, and duly exciting, underscoring the layered purposes to which Sunnata have set themselves on this fourth long-player. It is the work of a mature band — we’ve come a long way since Satellite Beaver — who refuse to stop growing, and whose refining of processes seems based not so much on retreading what they’ve done before, but deriving new modes of expression as they continue to explore who they are as a group. There are bands who base entire careers off less depth than any single track offers on Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth, and whatever else Sunnata do throughout, they make the entire project feel like the beginning of a conversation waiting to be had.

Sunnata, Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth (2021)

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 54

Posted in Radio on March 5th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

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Back to normal, such as it is, for The Obelisk Show. I did two songs in two hours last time and though it seemed to go over decently well in the chat, it was less welcomed by the station itself. Fair. I’ll readily admit that two hours of psychedelic improv is not going to be everybody’s cup of tea, even in a setting that supports extreme fare as a central ethic. I’m lucky they decided to air it. I’m lucky they let me do another episode.

In here you’ll find some more rocky stuff like Greenleaf and Formula 400. I’ve yet to really dig into the new Domkraft, so I wanted to give that a roll, and then the show gets into some heavier industrial stuff. Godflesh were talked about here last week, and Trace Amount, but some Sanford Parker and Author & Punisher too. I’ve had an itch lately that stuff has helped scratch. After that and Yawning Sons is my little homage to the Live in the Mojave Desert stream series. Mountain Tamer are on that this weekend and it’s well worth your time to search out. Of course, Earthless started that series so they’ll end the show here. Only fitting.

Thanks for listening and/or reading.

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

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 03.05.21

Greenleaf Love Undone Echoes From a Mass
Genghis Tron Ritual Circle Dream Weapon
Sunnata A Million Lives Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth
VT
Sonic Demon Black Smoke Vendetta
Formula 400 Messenger Heathens
Domkraft Dawn of Man Seeds
Kauan Raivo Ice Fleet
VT
Godflesh Avalanche Master Song Godflesh
Author & Punisher Ode to Bedlam Beastland
Trace Amount ft. Body Stuff Concrete Catacomb Concrete Catacomb
Sanford Parker Knuckle Crossing Lash Back
VT
Yawning Sons Cigarette Footsteps Sky Island
Spirit Mother Space Cadets Cadets
Nebula Let’s Get Lost Holy Shit
Mountain Tamer Black Noise Psychosis Ritual
Brant Bjork Stardust & Diamond Eyes Brant Bjork
VT
Earthless Violence of the Red Sea From the Ages

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is March 19 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

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Sunnata Set Feb. 26 Release for Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth; New Single Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

sunnata

I’ve got a good feeling about this one, even aside from listening to the first single below. I was looking forward to catching Polish progressive doomers Sunnata for the second time earlier this year at Freak Valley Festival in Germany, but, well, a lot of people were looking forward to a lot of things this year. Like being alive. They’re booked for 2021 in Siegen, and maybe if circumstances allow, I’ll be lucky enough to go and catch the robed four-piece as they support what will be their new album, Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth.

Their fourth long-player provides and opportunity for Sunnata to affirm what 2018’s Outlands (review here) posited — that their progression will not be a staid thing, but an ongoing commitment undertaken by the band. How that will bear out in the songs — “Crows” aside, naturally — I’m not yet sure, as I haven’t had the pleasure of hearing it, but again, I’ve got a good feeling. I know early 2021 is packed with woulda-been-2020 offerings already, but keep an ear out here.

From the PR wire:

sunnata burning in heaven melting on earth

Polish shamanic doom band SUNNATA announce new album Burning In Heaven, Melting On Earth

Hypnotic first single ‘Crows’ is streaming now

Burning In Heaven, Melting On Earth to be released on 26th February

Feral wilderness prophets SUNNATA (sanskr. noun emptiness, voidness), a four-piece Warsaw-based shamanic doom metal band are set to release their fourth full-length album Burning In Heaven, Melting On Earth on 26th February. Ahead of this the band have also unveiled a visualiser for their hypnotic first single ‘Crows’.

Watch the lyric video for ‘Crows’ here: https://youtu.be/FnPly6P1Xv8
Stream ‘Crows’ and add to your playlists here: https://spoti.fi/2JBgBe2
Pre-order Burning In Heaven, Melting On Earth here: https://linktr.ee/sunnata

SUNNATA comments: “The song tells the story of people giving their life for faith. Convinced they are fighting the blind, they are all equal when the death comes. Crows are observers aware of change – the only constant in the universe. Ravens and crows were frequently found on battlefields, feeding from corpses. That’s why crows in various mythologies are considered harbingers of doom. But they also bring the power of foresight to those who work with them. Diviners, seers and sages alike believed that the crow spirit could see through time and past the veils into spaces and places often hidden to humans. The crow as an animal spirit guide does not fear change. Does not fear the new.”

A ritualistic, meditatively uplifting, doom soundscape, Burning In Heaven, Melting On Earth is a sensuous, ever-mutating musical experience. SUNNATA produce a pulsating mystic dirge which shimmers with odd beauty and uplifting melodies. The result is an atmosphere of sacred submission immersed in huge dynamics for the duration of the album’s 46-minute expanse.

Thematically the album explores different angles of religious fanaticism. Burning in Heaven, Melting On Earth questions the sacrifice of individual-self and the general sense of trusting your life to a crystal ethereal being represented by humans of flesh, bones and sins, and discusses consequences of doing so.

SUNNATA comments: “The new album can be perceived as a journey of consciousness. We pass through our lives driven by blind faith and false leaders, keeping our goals outside the reach until we die convinced that the time has come, while in reality it is long gone. An individual who follows this path will never fully contribute to society and will never be able to share his love in a healthy way.”

SUNNATA have been paving their own way to higher metal skies since their 2014 debut Climbing The Colossus. Their spellbinding sophomore album Zorya (2016) made the band gather even more momentum with regard to the European alternative heavy scene. Third album Outlands (2018) brilliantly brought out even more ritual in the heavy, confidently crossing the frontier of progressive doom to land in even more melancholic and mind-expanding alleys.

Known from their expressive and atmospheric live performances, SUNNATA has already taken part in various international festivals and been invited to open for Mastodon, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, The Sword, Sleep, Kylesa, Ufomammut and Rotting Christ.

Returning in 2021 with Burning In Heaven, Melting On Earth, SUNNATA are at their most transcendent, melding together all the heaviness, intensity and tenderness into a graceful, cross pollinating form to create something incredible that demands attention and respect. From here SUNNATA are free to roam wherever.

SUNNATA will appear at Freak Valley Festival (Germany) and Grom Festival (Estonia) in 2021. More dates to follow.

Tracklisting
1: Crows
2: God Emperor of Dune
3: A Million Lives
4: Black Serpent
5: Völva (The Seeress)
6: Way Out

SUNNATA ARE:
Szymon Ewertowski – guitar, vocals
Adrian Gadomski – guitar, vocals
Michal Dobrzanski – bass guitar
Robert Ruszczyk – drums, percussion

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Sunnata, “Crows” official lyric video

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Days of Rona: Robert Ruszczyk of Sunnata

Posted in Features on April 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

sunnata Robert Ruszczyk

Days of Rona: Robert Ruszczyk of Sunnata (Warsaw, Poland)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

It’s the third week of home quarantine. Fortunately we are all safe and healthy. However, I would be lying if I said it didn’t affect our plans. We are currently working with Sunnata on our fourth album, that is planned to be recorded in the second half of 2020, so this lockdown definitely slows overall progress, but we are not giving up. Good thing is, that most of instrumentals were done already, so we can move on with vocals and lyrics. It also forced us to create and learn new ways of remote cooperation, but I miss regular rehearsal really, really bad.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

Believe me or not, but Polish government implemented additional restrictions on April’s Fools. They have their cynical sense of humour for sure.

Going out is limited to an absolute minimum with exceptions for people that have to go to work, help as volunteers in fighting COVID-19, do necessary groceries or take care of relatives. Generally, when out you have to keep 2-meters distance also between relatives, which doesn’t make any sense due to a fact they don’t keep it when together at home. There is a limit of people being in store at once, two hours a day for senior shopping only (no one below 65 yo can buy anything), requirement of gloves and masks. Fun fact, some restrictions don’t apply to our government’s pupils – priests and hunters, but it doesn’t surprise me anymore.

I’m about to start my fourth week of lockdown, when I literally go out maybe once or twice a week. It drives me crazy.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

It hit the community really hard. I have a privilege to work remotely from home, but many of my friends don’t. Some of them lost their source of income almost overnight! I also own a booking agency and we had to cancel or move at least a dozen of events we worked on for months in advance. Obviously, everyone are trying to live their lives, but what’s really touching is an incredible solidarity among people. People help each other the best they can, helping survive smaller, local businesses or others in need. I think that such ability to cooperate and support ourselves is what makes us humans.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

We will go through it. I hope everyone will find their balance in those uncertain times.

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Freak Valley 2020 Adds Elder, Beastwars, Sunnata & More; Official Poster Art Unveiled

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 10th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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Freak Valley 2020 has revealed its official poster art, once again contributed by Sebastian Jerke who has done the past I-don’t-know-how-many-years. It’s a kind of deer-fox-wolf-dragon-warthog beast that, well, if you look to long at it might just haunt your dreams, but is unquestionably exquisite in its detail and creativity. From the forked tongue to the fact that it’s holding a tattered black flag and the logo of the festival like a trophy it just won for Most Horrifying Thing With Feathers, it’s every bit the hoodie-worthy level of work one has come to expect from Jerke, who is no stranger to killing it.

Speaking of killing it — FUCKING BEASTWARS ARE PLAYING FREAK VALLEY. I’m thrilled to say I’ve got my flight booked, and no, I have no clue how to get from the airport in Frankfurt to Siegen, and no, I have no clue where I’m staying when I get there, but hot damn, I’m going to Freak Valley 2020. Thanks so much to the festival for inviting me. This is a trip that has been years in the making and I could not possibly be more stoked on it, not the least because it means I’ll see Beastwars, whose work I’ve spent the last decade being pummeled by. Elder ain’t bad either. Ha.

All kidding aside — of course Elder are amazing blah blah blah — this is a pretty killer round of adds. I wrote the announcement, as I’ve done all the Freak Valley 2020 announcements, and I didn’t know Hank Davison at all, but his stuff is pretty right on, and I felt like having seen Sunnata in Norway last October gave me a distinct advantage in understanding where the band was coming from. Revvnant‘s recently-unveiled single bodes well for that set’s experimentalist bent, and while I won’t give The Great Machine too many points for the title of their most recent album, their stuff is pretty off-the-wall heavy in that kind of what-you-wish-QueensoftheStoneAge-became kind of way. I’ll take that.

So here you go. If you’re going, I’ll see you there:

Freaks, The Countdown Is On!

Every one of these announcements brings us closer to Freak Valley Festival 2020 and we can’t wait to welcome you all. There are some huge names coming to the lineup this time, so let’s get down to business!

Join us in welcoming Elder, Beastwars, Sunnata, The Great Machine, Hank Davison & Friends, and Revvnant!

ELDER

Do they need an introduction? We certainly don’t think so. They stand among the next generation’s most crucial and most progressive heavy acts to be found anywhere. With guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo and new drummer Georg Edert based in Berlin, the four-piece are half German at this point, so maybe we’ll think of them coming to FVF as something like a hometown show! Why not? Their upcoming album, Omens, is out in April and paints a proggy wonderland of heavy riffs and lush melodies like never before, with DiSalvo and Mike Risberg’s guitars and keys fleshing ever further out and Jack Donovan’s bass holding down the band’s inimitable groove. They are one-of-a-kind and stand among the upper echelon of modern heavy. There. How’s that for an introduction?

BEASTWARS

You asked, we answered. Let’s face it, Beastwars coming from New Zealand to play at Freak Valley is a gift we’re giving ourselves as much as we’re presenting them to you. For years, we’ve watched and admired from afar as their crushing riffs resonated from Aus/NZ tour after Aus/NZ tour and when the band broke up following 2016’s ‘The Death of All Things,’ we thought we’d never get the chance to witness them in-person. It was facing mortality that brought them back together for 2019’s ‘IV,’ but their sound was as much a physical sonic force as ever, and their sludge will be even more epic coming from the stage. If you know their albums, you already know why we’re so excited. If not, there’s still time to get yourself educated.

SUNNATA

Those who’ve paid heed to the weighted prog rock/metal of Poland’s Sunnata — whose style is like a plant grown from roots of grunge that reaches out to the stratosphere — can attest to the sense of poise and presence they bring live. Their studio work is melodic and forward thinking, to be sure, and on stage, the band transform themselves as a part of the ritual of playing. It’s not just about headbanging or throwing themselves into the songs, it’s about watching their communion with the material as the play, and thus having your own experience with their work. While avoiding all cult rock cliche, they actually bring a ceremonial feel to each performance, and we know you’ll agree as we bring them to Freak Valley 2020.

THE GREAT MACHINE

From the raging speed-punk of “Bitch Too” to the sprawling nod and crash of “DM II,” Israeli three-piece The Great Machine made one hell of an impression with their 2019 album, ‘Greatestits,’ and we knew there was no way we could let 2020 pass without inviting them back to play Freak Valley Festival for the second time. Maybe you caught them in 2017 as they were supporting their ‘Love’ album — “South West Sugar Rush,” anyone? — but you can still expect something new and off the wall for their return. And anyone else who didn’t see them last time? Yeah, you’re in for a treat.

HANK DAVISON & FRIENDS

You Freaks outside of Germany might not be as familiar, but Hank Davison is an institution when it comes to biker blues. From his days leading the Hank Davison Band to his solo acoustic work and more recently finding a middle ground performing unplugged with Hank Davison & Friends, the man himself brings a sense of outlaw country danger and classic blues to everything he does. At the tender age of 63, Davison sets the standard for badassery everywhere he goes, and you know we love our blues here at Freak Valley, so get ready to get down as the “Face of a Wanted Man” itself comes to our stage for the first time. We promise it’ll be something you’ll be talking about long after the weekend is over.

REVVNANT

Back in 2018, it was with bittersweet joy that we played host to the final gig from Baltimore-based blues rockers The Flying Eyes, whom we loved dearly. Revvnant is a new project spearheaded by Elias Schutzmann (also of Black Lung) that brings him out from behind the drumkit to front the band based around psychedelic and progressive experimentation, analog synth, washes of effects noise, soulful vocals, the occasional bit of death-whistle and more. Joined by keyboardist Trevor Shipley and Burnpilot’s Sidney Yendis on drums, Revvnant seem poised to blow open the doors of perception, and we can’t wait to watch them walk through as they forge their own path forward.

Still more to come!

FREAK VALLEY 2020
No Fillers – Just Killers

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Elder, “Omens”

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Live Review: HØSTSABBAT 2019 Night One in Oslo, Norway, 10.04.19

Posted in Reviews on October 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hostsabbat 2019 poster square

Before Show

Well, the church is still beautiful, not that there was any doubt. The Kulturkirken Jakob, secularized — because in Norway, state might occasionally trump church — with its high-ceiling grandeur and broad wood floor and walls lined with benches that at some point were pews. I’d been holed up in the hotel since yesterday afternoon, mostly sleeping, stumbling through the last of the Quarterly Review and reading about baseball, the news, Star Trek, and so on. Trying to be, essentially, as quiet as possible as though if I weren’t, I’d be politely asked to leave the country. The next two days would assure any quota for volume was met, anyhow.

Skraeckoedlan, which is now a word I’ve typed often enough that my phone knows it, were soundchecking on the altar stage when I walked in. The stage itself was higher and the fest added another bar down toward the front of the big room, which seems like a prudent move. Downstairs in the crypt, Suma were prepping to kick off the first night of Høstsabbat 2019 with a noise soaked basement gig in what’s been also transformed into an art gallery. More visual art this year as well, and there’s a live painting event scheduled for tomorrow early that I’m going to see if I can make.

The only variable in that is finishing this review in time, to be honest.

But it’s only moments now until doors, then about an hour till the first band. People running around looking anxious, nervous, excited. Maybe it’s just me. That will I’m sure smooth out to a good energy as things get rolling and everyone ends up where they’re supposed to be. On the couch in back of the crypt, typing on my phone, that’s kind of where I feel like I am.

After Show

Wow. Well then. That was, uh, something special that I just saw. I feel like I was trying to pry open my jaw from the clenched position it’s been in for the last I don’t even know how long, and tonight was the prybar that finally did the job. Even the last 15 minutes or so of Ufomammut, that last shot of adrenaline. Wow.

The answer of course is obvious — the start — but I feel like I’m not even sure where to start on this one, or how I could hope to convey exactly what went down this evening and tonight in any meaningful way. Holy shit. You think you have a pretty good idea what you’re getting and then it just gets trampled on. I am lucky to be here.

I don’t know what else to tell you that doesn’t come down to that. Here’s a little bit of how it went:

SUMA

SUMA (Photo by JJ Koczan)

You know the thing about post-metal? It’s got rules. You have to headbang a certain way. You have to riff a certain way. You have to take it so seriously all the time. One of the many reasons to like Sweden’s SUMA is they very much seem to recognize that for the bullshit it is. Yeah, they’re post-metal, I guess, but with an inflection straight out of noise rock that makes them so much less strictly adherent to the tenets of the genre — any genre, really — and they’re all the more satisfying to watch because of it. I stood in back in the basement, closed my eyes and just let wave after crushing wave of riffs absolutely bury me in volume. What a start to the weekend. It was like scrubbing away all the bullshit of your existence, your work, your school, the petty dramas that make up your every day, and entering communion with something else. Something loud. Call it catharsis. Call it detox. I don’t really care. SUMA set the tone and vibe immediately for Høstsabbat while also giving everyone who followed the challenge of living up to their standard. I am lucky to be here.

Skraeckoedlan

Skraeckoedlan (Photo by JJ Koczan)

When Swedish melo-prog-fuzz four-piece Skraeckoedlan got added to this festival earlier this year, I didn’t dare hope to think I’d see them. They’re a band I’ve dug since the first time I heard their 2011 debut, Äppelträdet (review here), and their approach has only grown richer with time, as 2015’s Sagor (review here) and 2019’s Eorþe (review here) demonstrate so plainly. But I never expected to catch a live set. Never mind the band standing on a frickin’ altar in a cathedral blazing through their material like it’s another day down at the Office of Kickass, I didn’t imagine a scenario when they and I would be in the same place. I’m glad to have been so wrong about that, because standing there watching them only confirmed the fandom I’ve had for their work over the course of this decade, and really, they’ve only gotten better as they’ve gone on. I may never get the chance to see them again, but after watching them tonight at Høstsabbat, I feel like asking to would be greedy anyhow. I am lucky to be here.

Yatra

Yatra (Photo by JJ Koczan)

This is Yatra‘s first European tour. Something tells me it will not be their last. The Baltimorean trio hit the road hard domestically in the US following the January release of their debut album, Death Ritual (review here), through Grimoire Records, and they reportedly began recording the follow-up to that over the summer. Well, that’s nifty, but in the meantime, here they are pairing with Sunnata on a tour this site is co-presenting and for all the stops they’ve made in New York this year — I can think a couple — Høstsabbat 2019 is my first time seeing them. I feel late to that party, but I’m late to most parties, so I’ll get over it. Nonetheless, as I had suspected, they’re a killer live act, and at least the debut album only tells part of that tale. On stage — or in basement, as it were — they tap into a primal energy, like they’re excavating the very roots of sludge metal. Oh yeah, and Dana Helmuth‘s vocals sound like Jeff fucking Walker from peak-era Carcass, so that ain’t exactly hurting their cause either. Yatra have the potential to lead a revival nastier, more brutal sludge in the US. This tour is only going to make them stronger, as they all will. I am lucky to be here.

Electric Eye

Electric Eye (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Hail the rock på Norska! Across the street (right out the door), at the Verkstedet bar, the entire bill was Norwegian, but Electric Eye would be the lone Norge representatives on the altar, and for what it’s worth — plenty — they brought a sonic spirit that reached far beyond international borders. Also beyond the borders of the atmosphere. I don’t know if it would be appropriate to call their take on space rock entirely mellow, but it was subtle in a way that allowed other influences to creep in almost before you realized they were there. It was a stark contrast, energy-wise, to the rawness Yatra had wrought downstairs, but Electric Eye made the most of their engaging style and gave Høstsabbat a cosmic push that was more than welcome. I had wanted to check out Kosmos Brenner, who last-minute took the spot of Superlynx after a death in the family assured they wouldn’t make it, but after I popped out for a second, I found myself strangely drawn back to the ethereal mysteries being pondered on the big stage. I’ll admit they’ve been around for more than six years and I’d never heard them before. Lesson learned. That lesson? I’m lucky to be here.

Stuck in Motion

Stuck in Motion (Photo by JJ Koczan)

This past April, when I was fortunate enough to see Enköping, Sweden, trio Stuck in Motion at Roadburn (review here), they played as a four-piece, with keys in addition to the guitar, bass and drums. At Høstsabbat, they added percussion as well to their hippie-vibing jams, so there were five of them crammed into the basement stage area — it’s not a stage, as such, but it’s where the gear goes — but if they felt packed in, that did nothing to slow their good times. Retro-fied psychedelic blues, all pastoral and dreamy, but still earthbound enough to tear into a Hendrixian solo every now and again (and again), their stuff made for easy-to-listen vibes, and a soothing bit of respite from some of the day’s more crushing contributors — a complement to Electric Eye in that, but less motorik and more flow. Before they played “Are You Ready to Fly” from their 2018 self-titled debut (review here), they indeed checked in with the crowd to see if the room was ready to fly, and I heard no murmurings to the contrary. That self-released LP has been a little under-radar as yet, but given how full the crypt was for their set, I can’t help but wonder what the reception for their next one will be when it arrives, hopefully sooner than later. I am lucky to be here.

Sunnata

sunnata (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It was hard not to feel like the church was built specifically for Sunnata. The Polish meditative heavy psych ritualists came out with incense and harem pants (respect) and were clear in their concept from the outset, tapping into the spirit of acts like Om and My Sleeping Karma, while still retaining a harder edge to their sound beneath the harmonized vocals of guitarists Szymon Ewertowski and Adrian Gadomski. Special mention should be given as well to bassist Michal Dobrzanski and drummer Robert Ruszczyk, whose ability to build tension was readily apparent in the band’s latest album, Outlands (review here), which came out last year, but whose doing so on stage was nothing short of physically affecting. You felt the churn in your stomach, and when they hit into a payoff, the relief was genuine. Exhale. They’re on tour with Yatra, as noted, but I put Sunnata in the same category of bands I never imagined being able to see live but was absurdly to do so. One recalls their days rocking out fuzzy as Satellite Beaver, and the ongoing evolution they set to roll with the transition they made becoming Sunnata. Their spaciousness, looking inward and outward simultaneously, was an immersive joy to behold. Again, exhale. I am lucky to be here.

Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin (Photo by JJ Koczan)

In the words of Bernie Sanders: “Look.” I stood in front of two of the three of this festival’s stages all day, and at no point was there a crowd press like there was for Yuri Gagarin. I got to the crypt 20 minutes before they were slated to go on and already people were packed in. Very clearly a band whose reputation was preceding them. It’s been four years since the Gothenburg cosmonauts issued their second long-player, At the Center of All Infinity, through Kommun2 and Sulatron, but their out-the-airlock-into-the-void vibes were quick to remind that time is a human construct and space rock is not. Reaching into the great cosmic throb, they launched with “Sonic Invasion 2910” from their 2013 self-titled and proceeded into oblivion — though I’m not sure it was actually “Oblivion”; that’s on the second record — with the sheer delight of not-entirely-peaceful exploration. About two songs into their set, before I stood up from taking pictures and rolled my numb-ass ankle, I had the thought that I’ll never be able to see Hawkwind in their prime, but now I’ve seen Yuri Gagarin as up close as I could ever hope to see any band. I think some of what they played was new, but don’t quote me on that. Either way, as noted: time, irrelevant. They ruled. I am lucky to be here.

Ufomammut

Ufomammut (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Holy fucking shit, Ufomammut. I’ve had the pleasure a few times over the years, but this was hands-down the best I’ve ever seen the Italian cosmic doom masters play. They began with a few renditions in the style of their recent XX (review here) offering of revamped older material in quieter form — “Satan,” “Mars,” etc. — but what they did with that was gradually use it to build into the heavier portion of the set, so that each successive piece pushed a little further. First it was Urlo and Poia on stage, the former on keys/noise/vocals, the latter on guitar, then Poia joined in for cymbal washes, then drums, then the guitars got louder, then the drums got harder, then the vocals got shoutier until it seemed like the crowd was going to fucking riot if someone didn’t launch into a riff. But 20 years on, Ufomammut know exactly how to put people where they want them, so when they did get heavy, it was glorious. All the more so for the tension they’d built leading up to it. With a projector going on the high church stage, they absolutely laid waste to the room, like a consuming sonic burst of interstellar force. It was impossible to stand there and not be swept up by it. I kept telling myself it was time to go back to the room and start writing, but I couldn’t leave. How many times in your life do you get to see shows like this? They ended, of course, with “God,” and there was nowhere to go after that anyway, so what the hell. It was amazing. Like the entirety of day one at Høstsabbat, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect going into Ufomammut‘s set, and my expectations were thoroughly squashed. I am lucky to be here.

The Next Morning

Achy, but up for it. Took me a while to let myself go to sleep, but I got there eventually, was only up a couple times overnight, which is pretty good for me at this point. Hotel breakfast downstairs had free coffee, so I indulged in two triple-doubles — three double espressos, times two — and feel reasonably conscious. Could stand and will have a shower and that will help as well.

Though it seems inevitable that at some point Høstsabbat will add a third day to the proceedings, be it a pre-show Thursday or a full day Sunday, whatever, the quality-over-quantity at this festival makes it all the more unreal. Every band has something to offer, and though this year with the third stage there are inevitably things you won’t get to see all of if you see at all, the sense of curation and purpose that’s gone into its making is nothing if not palpable. My conclusion remains that I’m lucky to be here.

Some more pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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The Obelisk Presents: Sunnata & Yatra European Tour

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on July 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

sunnata yatra tour banner

The response this year to Yatra‘s debut album, Death Ritual (discussed here), has been stunning, but no less has been the amount of work the Maryland band have put in to support it. They’ve reportedly got a follow-up recorded now, and with Poland’s Sunnata getting ready to issue a new record of their own next year, the two make an excellent complement to each other, Sunnata‘s lush melodicism and spaciousness and Yatra‘s crush-your-head riffs coming together for a tour that hits hard and expands your mind at the same time. Cool bill, and I’m honored to have been asked to be among the presenters for it along with Blackskull Services and STB Records. Obviously that was an easy “yes.”

Beginning Oct. 2 in Dresden, the tour will make stops in Oslo, Norway, for Høstsabbat (see you there) as well as at Setalight FestivalDesertfest Belgium and Into the Void as part of an efficient 12-show run that’s over on Oct. 19. There are a few off-days in there, and I don’t know if they’ll be filled in or what, but as Yatra‘s debut European tour and Sunnata‘s kiss-goodbye to their third album, last year’s Outlands (review here), it seems like just the right tour at just the right time. Hard to ask for anything more than that, except perhaps to see it.

So go see it.

Here’s the info:

sunnata yatra tour poster

Doom units Sunnata and Yatra announce fall European tour

It’s a doom takeover! Blackskull Services are happy to present the European fall dates for heavier-than-heavy purveyors SUNNATA and YATRA, to kick off October 2nd in Germany.

SUNNATA declare: “We are writing new material for an upcoming, 4th full length album. We hope to release this in 2020. We want to merge the primal vibe of our latest album ‘Outlands’ with heavier riffage, being an essential part of yet another tribute to void. Feel invited for a journey with us.”

Sunnata performs ritual heavy music. A soulful, trance-inducing journey deep into self. Known from expressive and atmospheric live performances, the Warsaw foursome already took part in various international festivals and been invited to support the likes of Mastodon, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, The Sword, Kylesa or Conan, just to name a few. Sunnata explores impermanent nature of sound, full of rapid changes and distortion overdose.

Meanwhile, YATRA add: “We have just completed the recording of a new eight-song album at Developing Nations Recording Studio (of Skeletonwitch, Full of Hell, Pig Destroyer fame) to be released worldwide on STB Records on all formats this year.”

Yatra is a journey into mountainous sound, transcending into the deep forests of primeval times. Born of the ashes of doom band Blood Raven, Yatra emerged to create sound is “darkly spiritual” and includes elements of doom and sludgy riffs, guitar explorations, a heavy rhythm section and black metal style vocals.

SUNNATA & YATRA European tour:
02.10 – Dresden (DE) HD
03.10 – Copenhagen (DK) Stengade
04.10 – Oslo (NO) Hostsabbat Festival
06.10 – Uppsala (SE) Ungdomens Hus
09.10 – Cologne (DE) MTC
10.10 – Colmar (FR) Grillen
11.10 – Ilmenau (DE) Baracke 5
12.10 – Berlin (DE) Setalight Festival
16.10 – Munich (DE) Backstage
17.10 – Paris (FR) L’International
18.10 – Antwerp (BE) Desertfest Belgium
19.10 – Leeuwarden (NL) Into The Void

SUNNATA is:
Szymon Ewertowski – vocals, guitar
Adrian Gadomski – vocals, guitar
Michal Dobrzanski – bass
Robert Ruszczyk – drums, percussion

YATRA:
Dana Helmuth – guitars/vocals
Maria Geisbert – bass
Mike Tull – drums

https://www.facebook.com/sunnataofficial
http://sunnataofficial.bandcamp.com/

http://www.facebook.com/yatradoom
https://yatradoom.bandcamp.com

Yatra, Death Ritual (2019)

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Desertfest Belgium 2019 Adds Ty Segall & The Freedom Band, The Obsessed, ASG, Toundra, Yatra, and Sunnata

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I know people’s schedules can be weird and sometimes you have to work on a weekend or you have a family thing or whatever it might be, but I don’t really get the day-ticket thing. If you’re going to go to a festival, don’t you want to be there for the entire event if you absolutely can? I mean, if monetarily it’s one day or nothing, that’s one thing, but if you have your choice between one day or three, who would just choose one? Isn’t part of the appeal of the thing that there’s so much going on? Again, if that’s how it has to be and there’s one band you absolutely need to see or something like that, fine, but would you really choose to only see one day of a fest like Desertfest Belgium 2019 if you could see all three?

The autumnal edition of Desertfest has a few new lineup announcements, including the surprise headliner of Ty Segall & the Freedom Band. They’re right. I didn’t see that one coming:

desertfest belgium 2019 banner

DFBE19 NEW HEADLINER: TY SEGALL & THE FREEDOM BAND! Day Tickets available 15/05

Guess you didn’t see this one coming! And yet here it is: Ty Segall & The Freedom Band will perform a highly exclusive set of European shows this fall, and we are honoured to host one of these as a headliner at this year’s Desertfest. More details are forthcoming, but Ty’s performance has never been anything less than blistering – and The Freedom Band sees him in his most ambitious setup yet.

A completely different strand of melodic heavy rock will be brought in as ASG hits the stage. The North Carolina riff-rockers certainly need no introduction to our crowd and have become a perennial fan favorite, and with good reason. Coming in from Madrid, Toundra is an experimental instrumental post-rock outfit with a vibe that is entirely in its own plane of existence.

As far as stoner doom legends go, you can’t get much more legendary than Wino. His most beloved outfit The Obsessed has been back with a vengeance since 2016, so it’s high time they make an appearance on our festival! And finally, we present you with two highly original doom bands to complete this batch of names. Yatra offers up a spiritual blend of doom, sludge and blackened vocals, straight from the Maryland forests. Sunnata hails from Poland, working towards a highly acclaimed sound that incorporates psychedelia with grungey harmonies and severe riffing.

DAY TICKETS ARE IMMINENT

If for some reason you don’t want to go the entire length, and would prefer to limit your DF intake to 1 day – we have just the ticket for you!

Or rather: we soon will have. On Wednesday 15/05 at 1pm sharp we will start selling day tickets for this year’s festival. From that point, we will also publish the line-up per day so far on our website. These tickets will be highly limited, so get them while you can!

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/2260579413999993/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Ty Segall & the Freedom Band, Deforming Lobes (2019)

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