Sigiriya Announce New Album Maiden Mother Crone; Premiere “Cwn Annwn”

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

SIGIRIYA

Welsh rockers of time and space Read and Download Free Ebooks in PDF format - CALIFORNIA ALGEBRA 1 WORKBOOK ANSWERS JUMBLED SENTENCES WITH ANSWERS ICS 100 ANSWERS FINAL Sigiriya will release their third full-length, Writing Service Dissertation Live Chat Pay Pal and Answers Popular Algebra 2 Textbooks See all Algebra 2 textbooks Algebra 2 Common Core Maiden Mother Crone, this Spring through Vertex Edge Graphs Homework Help Online, Compare And Contrast Art Essay About how to write a business plan.Free sample business plan with template interesting to Burning World Records. By the time it arrives, it will be their first offering of any sort in six years, and in addition to introducing drummer my review here - Why worry about the dissertation? Receive the required guidance on the website If you want to find out how to compose a top-notch Rhys Miles to the fold, the album collects eight tracks for a 45-minute run of of-the-earth-but-nonetheless-ethereal rolling grooves that seem to draw as much from the mythological as from the world around them in presence and theme alike. Early cuts like “Cwn Annwn,” “Tau Ceti” and “Peace of My Mind” establish Essay Writing Ts Sigiriya circa 2020 as a band afraid neither to touch ground nor sky, and the spaciousness in the echoing vocals of online essay critique http://www.bovec-sc.si/?distracts-you-homework Binding essay crime doesnt pay bonamy dobree english essayists Matt “Pipes” Williams (also Trusted Custom Essays Services with 100% satisfaction guarantee! Get prompt help with your academic assignments from experienced research paper Suns of Thunder) only adds breadth to the fluid distortion and heft of This industrial directory contains a broad range of http://republicasdobrasil.com/morar/homework-help-on-finding-nth-roots-and-rational-exponents/ companies serving all industries. This premier and trusted vertical Stu O’Hara‘s guitar and http://maidstone-magazine.co.uk/resume-writing-services-kitchener-waterloo/ - Let us take care of your Bachelor thesis. witness the advantages of professional writing help available here Receive an Paul Bidmead‘s bass.

The latter two, of course, are alumni of Swansea-based troupe Phishing Research Paper. essaycan be your best friend and tutor when talking about 1-hour essay help. If you have 24 hours or less to your deadline, you can count on us. We understand such short period of time is a real challenge even for qualified writers. Acrimony — the bulk of whose studio work Literature Review On Malaria: Polished Paper is a trusted provider of Essay editing services online. Our essay editors & proofreader provide 24/7 service. Burning World recently remastered and issued as the boxed set You can avoid all the difficulties of writing Research Paper On Birth Order And Personalitys. Need only to order it in our website, indicate the topic and We take care of the rest. Chronicles of Wode (review here) — and though when Nc Homework Help is the only U.S. based professional Custom Essay writing service that only uses trained academic essay writers and is truly open 24/7. Sigiriya started out with their 2011 debut,  essay writing mistakes by Expert Business Writers. For High Quality, Result Oriented Proposals, Marketing Material, Sales Letters, Press Releases, White Return to Earth (review here), their mission seemed to further that band’s rather significant legacy, subsequent years have found them pulling in a new direction, and  corrig dissertation bac 2006 http://rebor.md/?thinklink-login write my essay quotes writing an admission essay university Maiden Mother Crone continues that thread. Part of it is sheer lineup.  Matt Williams — who also did some recording on the new album, while Richard Whittaker mixed and mastered — took the frontman spot from Dorian Walters, who also had been in Acrimony, and sure enough, Rhys Miles comes to Sigiriya in place of Darren Ivey, who’d also been in the prior outfit. Some change of dynamic, then, seems inevitable as half the makeup of the band has changed from the first album to the third, but O’Hara‘s guitar tone is a signature element and recognizable throughout Maiden Mother Crone, whether it’s the crunching riff in opener “Mantis” or the shorter “Dark Call” later on, which seems to get swallowed up by the sheer overload of dense, hairy fuzz.

Whatever familiar elements persist, and however welcome they may be — because, frankly, I’ll take that guitar sound anytime it wants to show up — Sigiriya‘s sonic identity has never sounded more their own and more distinct than it does Sigiriya Maiden Mother Cronethroughout Maiden Mother Crone. After the resonant cast and grit of “Seeking Eden” and “Dark Call”‘s push, the record’s two longest tracks take hold in succession, with “Arise (Darkness Died Today)” referencing the band’s second album, 2014’s Darkness Died Today (review here, also discussed here) as it digs into suitably moodier vibes and touches on some vocal harmonies from Williams along with a fullness of sound that extends even to Miles‘ crash cymbals, the song still relatively straightforward in structure and, at 6:21, not much longer than “Cwn Annwn” or “Peace of My Mind” back on side A, but just an extra touch more atmospheric as to justify its position as the penultimate cut ahead of 8:21 closer “Crushed by the Weight of the Sky.”

It is a particular credit to Miles and Bidmead as the rhythm section that Maiden Mother Crone rolls with such a nodding flow across its span the drums and bass allow for the psychedelic, airier flourish in the guitar as well as the dead-ahead shove when that comes up, but they show a steadiness of pace that isn’t to be overlooked when it comes to how immersive the record ends up being. That’s true even in the up-front rockers “Mantis,” “Cwn Annwn” and “Tau Ceti” — the latter of which should be enough to sate anyone’s Acrimony fix if the box set didn’t do it — but comes to the forefront starkly at the halfway point of “Crushed by the Weight of the Sky” as well as Miles switches to timekeeping with his crash cymbal. It seems like such a simple moment, such an easy thing for a drummer to do, but it is just right in serving the purpose of the song’s overarching groove, and though Williams soon enough begins the next verse/hook and O’Hara‘s guitar will after six minutes in take the reins and lead the band through a tempo kick as they build to the organ-or-at-least-organ-sound-laced last crescendo, of which the band take full advantage, not letting the opportunity pass to pay off both the track in question and the album as a whole.

Six years between records is a long time. That’s double the stretch between their first and second albums. And it’s not in their nature stylistically to sound “refreshed,” but Sigiriya do come across as vital throughout Maiden Mother Crone, and as they craft their folkloric place within the greater sphere of the UK heavy underground, they do so by stepping further out of the rather significant shadow of O’Hara and Bidmead‘s former outfit and into their own light. Will it be six years before another Sigiriya album surfaces? Maybe. Hell if I know. But if it is, Maiden Mother Crone shows clearly that Sigiriya are able to translate all that time into sonic growth on the part of the band. Like the songs themselves, that is not to be taken lightly.

You can stream the premiere of “Cwn Annwn” on the player below. More PR wire details from Burning World Records follow. Preorders and all that coming soon.

Please enjoy:

Shine on…

Welsh mountain men and valley crawlers Sigiriya are the first to admit to their faults – and yes, they got it wrong. The darkness hadn’t died. The eternal turn is undeniable. After the light of every day comes a veil of night, throwing real-world shadows into the soul of the Light Seeker.

Personal trauma, mental and physical health issues, and even new drummer Rhys Miles (who replaced Darren “TDB” Ivey before the writing of ‘Maiden…’) staring down the grim Reaper directly, have taken their toll on Sigiriya – ‘Maiden Mother Crone’ has been a tough album to harness.

Recorded with Adam Howell at UWTSD Studios in Swansea (with additional work by Matt Williams at Sunnyvale Studios), and mixed and mastered at The Bridge Studios & FX London by the lord of heaviness Richard Whittaker, it’s a monolith of light at the end of the tunnel, a rage against the system, a modern myth and a call to atavism.

‘Maiden Mother Crone’ is undeniably heavier, slower and darker in places, yet in others it soars and roars higher and brighter than ever. More mature in its focus, sound and integration of lyrics and influences than previous releases, with ‘Maiden Mother Crone’, Sigiriya shine onwards through this eternally turning cosmos.

Tracklisting:
1. Mantis
2. Cwn Annwn
3. Tau Ceti
4. Peace of My Mind
5. Seeking Eden
6. Dark Call
7. Arise (Darkness Died Today)
8. Crushed by the Weight of the Sky

Sigiriya are:
Matt ‘Pipes’ Williams (vocals)
Rhys Miles (drums)
Stu O’Hara (guitar)
Paul ‘Mead’ Bidmead (bass)

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Review & Track Premiere: Acrimony, Chronicles of Wode

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

acrimony chronicles of wode

[Click play above to stream ‘Million Year Summer’ from Acrimony’s new remaster box set, Chronicles of Wode. It starts streaming Dec. 7, preorders are here starting today and ship out in mid-Jan. In the interest of full disclosure, I wrote the liner notes for the box set and was compensated for that work. I have not been compensated for this review, and frankly, given the chance to premiere a remastered Acrimony track and an excuse to write about these albums, there was no chance I wasn’t going to jump on it.]

Chronicles of Wode is a 3CD box set from Burning World Records that brings together the bulk of the discography of Welsh heavy rockers Acrimony. It includes their two full-lengths, 1994’s Hymns to the Stone (discussed here) and 1997’s Tumuli Shroomaroom (discussed here), both with new artwork by Jimbob Isaac (also of Taint and Hark)”, as well as a third disc of off-album tracks, some of which were previously collected on 2007’s Bong On – Live Long! compilation and some which were not, including a yet-unheard Doom cover, and so on. Bringing these offerings together is something noteworthy in itself — the band’s influence over UK heavy rock was and is formidable, and they were genuinely ahead of their time when it came to using repetition and jammy vibes as a means to hone a heavy psychedelic feel while retaining a metallic energy beneath — but crucially, Chronicles of Wode gives all of these Acrimony tracks a much-needed remastering, and they’ve never sounded so vibrant. That’s particularly true of Tumuli Shroomaroom, but while Hymns to the Stone is more dated in terms of its basic production, that’s more of a fact of how the record was originally made, and it seems no less integral to preserve that than it does to give Acrimony‘s catalog the detailing it has long since earned.

There’s a balance to be struck between the two sides, of course, and Chronicles of Wode seems to find it in the crunch of “Leaves of Mellow Grace,” the opener of Hymns to the Stone, which rolls out its nod like a clarion, finding Acrimony — the five-piece of vocalist Dorian Walters, guitarists Stu O’Hara and Lee Davies, bassist Paul Bidmead and drummer Darren Ivey — immediately putting the groove first in a way that few acts at the time had understood how to do. Their influences were varied, from ’70s rock to trance techno, but their riffs were undeniably heavy, with lyrics exploring the isolation of their hometown and the same kind of disaffection that once launched Black Sabbath to the outer reaches of doom from a blues rock beginning. Acrimony started out more as death metal or at least death-doom, but Hymns to the Stone was a point of discovery for them in terms of claiming their identity, and whether it’s the nodding pub-homage “The Inn” or the myth-creation they engaged with “Urabalaboom,” the sonic drawl and spacey push of “Spaced Cat #6” or the glorious noise-wash jam of “Whatever” ahead of brash closer “Cosmic AWOL,” Hymns to the Stone is a record that has been persistently undervalued, not just for what it set in motion in terms of Acrimony‘s all-too-short tenure as a band, but on the sheer merits of its material.

Rest assured, part of the reason Hymns to the Stone is undervalued is because it exists largely in the shadow of its follow-up. Clocking in at a whopping 65 minutes — prime CD era in 1997 — and originally released through Peaceville RecordsTumuli Shroomaroom is a legitimate heavy rock classic. Its production was clearer, its purpose was clearer and it took the blow-the-doors-down promise shown throughout Hymns to the Stone and brought it to a point of full realization throughout extended pieces like “Motherslug (The Mother of All Slugs),” “Heavy Feather” and “Firedance,” not to mention the nine-minute opener, “Hymns to the Stone,” a title-track for the release before. Go figure. By ’97, Acrimony‘s sense of world-creation was becoming clearer, and their songs — not all of them, but definitely some — had started telling a story beyond the riffs and nods. Of course, Tumuli Shroomaroom had and still has plenty of that too in “Million Year Summer,” “Vy,” “Find the Path” and “The Bud Song” — the arguable “meat” of the album in its post-opener beginning and the middle of the nine-song tracklist — but even amid “The Bud Song”‘s ultra-stoner janga-janga shuffle there’s psychedelic flourish building on that shown at the outset of the song, and Acrimony‘s adventurous sensibility never really dissipates. It’s just presented in dynamic fashion, and they use it to various ends throughout.

And that shows up not just in the odds and ends of percussion and didgeridoo and guitar effects, echo, etc., but in the various structures of of the tracks themselves. The same was true of Hymns to the Stone, if nascent, but Tumuli Shroomaroom realized these impulses in a new way that, even as a stoner rock underground was flourishing in the UK, was pretty rare. Some of the roots of that aural diversity are shown on the disc of extra tracks included in the box — unlike the two album, it’s not available separately to my knowledge — with the aforementioned take on Doom‘s “Exploitation” and the Status Quo cover of “O Baby” that was featured on Bong On – Live Long! alongside raw pieces like “Tumuli” and “100 New Gods” and “Timebomb!!!” and “Earthchild Inferno,” here pushed to the opening position as some of the cuts from the original compilation were cut, presumably for time. These songs have also been remastered and are worth hearing on both an academic level as further context for the band and just on their own merits — I don’t know what Burning World is charging, but “O Baby” alone is a worthy argument in favor of it — fitting well as a complement to the two albums that are obviously the showcase pieces of Chronicles of Wode and giving fans something more to dig into even as the records themselves invite rediscovery.

One also can’t ignore the fact that since Tumuli Shroomaroom was last reissued in 2007 by Leaf Hound Records — to the best of my knowledge and a bit to my surprise, Hymns to the Stone has never been reissued — an entire generation of heavy rockers has emerged and thrived on the ground that Acrimony helped break during their time. That may have been part of the motivation for four-fifths of the original band to come back together in 2010 as SigiriyaDavies was in Lifer and has since moved on to Woven Man — but either way, the important point here is that there’s no level on which these two full-lengths don’t deserve the care and treatment they’re given through the presentation of Chronicles of Wode, and anyone previously unfamiliar with Acrimony‘s work who takes it on is only going to get a more complete picture of from where modern heavy rock stems, especially in the UK, but also across the broader international underground. For prior fans? Well, it’s just a delight, pure and simple. Like visiting old friends.

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Friday Full-Length: Acrimony, Hymns to the Stone

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Acrimony, Hymns to the Stone (1994)

If you weren’t sure about Acrimony‘s roots in more deathly/doomly fare, look no further than the gracefully morose logo that’s on front of their debut CD, Hymns to the Stone. Released through Godhead Recordings — don’t worry, they’d sign to Peaceville soon enough — Acrimony‘s first outing arrived and helped jumpstart a pivotal moment in UK heavy. And their departure from the melancholic vibes proffered by their serif-logo forebears in Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Anathema, etc., came at just the right time. As those bands also sought out different sonic territory and in some cases more than flirted with gothic vibes, Acrimony went in another direction entirely. They got high and they rocked out.

1994: When stoner rock was stoned.

I don’t know if it’s Dorian Walters‘ vocals or the fact that they’ve got songs like “Leaves of Mellow Grace,” “Herb” and “Cosmic AWOL,” but something about Acrimony just always seemed that much more under the influence. The overarching sound of Hymns to the Stone shows some of its age these 25 years after the fact, but that hardly makes it less righteous. The guitars of Stu O’Hara and Lee Davies, Paul Bidmead‘s bass and Darren Ivey‘s drums managed to take some influence from the grunge that was saturating the US at the time, meld it with their own history in metal, and add more than a flourish of Sabbathian undertones — looking at you, “Spaced Cat #6” — and create something new from it. And they were legitimately right there at the start. Cathedral had embraced something of a rocking side with their 1993 sophomore outing, The Ethereal Mirror, but Acrimony took even that to a new level entirely. Consider that Orange Goblin were just getting together at the time, and Electric Wizard as well. Consider that Hymns to the Stone came out the same year as Welcome to Sky Valley. Acrimony were a nexus band. They helped craft the direction the UK heavy underground would take as it moved into the mid ’90s and beyond, and their impact can still be felt today in swaths of bands in the UK and out.

While it is a mystery how there hasn’t been a band who’s named themselves after the song “Urabalaboom,” that centerpiece track remains ACRIMONY HYMNS TO THE STONEessential to Hymns to the Stone as Acrimony conveyed a jammier sensibility ahead of the acoustic start to “Herb” — also duly Iommic in its riff — and “Magical Mystery Man,” which follows and brings back some of the earlier catchiness of “Leaves of Mellow Grace,” “The Inn” and “Second Wind” at the outset. The vibe of the album is set largely by the tonal largesse of the opener and the looseness of its swing, taking a heavy crunch and making it roll with two guitars working in tandem to shove it along the path laid out with bass and drums. When Walters‘ vocals arrive, they’re lower in the mix than on some of the later tracks, and the riff-comes-first ethic is as plain to hear as the weed-worship of the lyrics. “The Inn” makes the most of some swirling wah as it marches forth, as well as some late-arriving shuffle, and “Second Wind” plays with tempo shifts effectively to convey a doom rocking feel with a nod in its midsection leading to more butt-boogie chicanery as they round out.

The fluidity there serves them well moving into the ultra-compressed start of “Space Cat #6” and the ensuing touch of psychedelic rock fervor brought to its arrangement that will be even further fleshed out soon enough on the penultimate “Whatever.” That song, which is the only one on Hymns to the Stone to hit the seven-minute mark, is little short of a revelation, playing out across a molten linear build that’s all the more about the journey than the payoff, taking the message of the prior “Urabalaboom,” “Herb” and “Magical Mystery Man” and bringing it to life in sound. Stretching out in this way suited Acrimony well, and it was a lesson they’d take to heart by the time they got around to their second full-length, Tumuli Shroomaroom (discussed here), in 1997, which even in its opening track, “Hymns to the Stone” (but wait! that’s the name of this album!), topped nine minutes en route to a total 65, as opposed to Hymns to the Stone‘s manageable 44-minute run. Likewise, the pairing of “Magical Mystery Man” and “Whatever” right next to each other hardly feels accidental, with the shortest and longest tracks offering direct contrast. “Magical Mystery Man” has a punkish feel, and “Whatever” is more spaced than “Spaced Cat #6,” so yeah. “Cosmic AWOL” finishes out by returning that massive cannabinoid sprawl somewhat to ground, still loading in plenty of wah to its just-over-4:20 push, ending with a languid percussion-laced jam on a long fade as it moves farther into the great far out.

Acrimony‘s legend, like that of a lot of heavy rock from their era — see also the aforementioned Kyuss — would grow in their absence. They put out Tumuli Shroomaroom in ’97 and had done The Acid Elephant EP before that in 1995 and a split with Iron Rainbow in 1996, but their last recording session was in 1999 for tracks that would later see release in 2003 on a split with Church of Misery and they were long since done by then. Lee Davies would go on to play in Lifer, but the rest of the lineup was quiet until coming together in 2009 as Sigiriya, a four-piece with Walters, O’Hara, Bidmead and Ivey. They released their debut, Return to Earth (review here), in 2011 and would lose Walters afterward, bringing in Matt Williams from Suns of Thunder for 2014’s Darkness Died Today (review here; also discussed here). Ivey would also depart in 2015 and the band brought in Rhys David Miles on drums and they’ve continued to play locally in Swansea and around the UK, doing fests and support slots as well as the occasional short run of tour dates — they were out with the reformed Iron Monkey twice last year.

According to their social media, Sigiriya, now with O’Hara and Bidmead as the connection to Acrimony have a third album they’re putting the finishing touches on, so it may well be that they’re heard from later in 2019. Here’s hoping. However that might come together, Acrimony‘s stoner-is-as-stoner-does heavy rock legacy continues to be a standout from the United Kingdom, and though in current music culture it’s almost too easy to neglect anything that isn’t punching you in the face with streaming videos capturing every fart at every rehearsal, Hymns to the Stone is a reminder of the roots from which what we think of modern heavy has grown out from over the last two and a half decades.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Yesterday was amazing, thank you. Incredibly heartening and reinforcing. It felt like what I imagine birthdays probably feel like to most people. Thank you.

If you didn’t catch it, Shy Kennedy from Blackseed Design’s t-shirt for The Obelisk went up earlier this week at Dropout Merch. It’s awesome and I call it ‘Doom on the Moon,’ which is fun because I enjoy a slant rhyme as much as the next guy.

See it here: https://www.dropoutmerch.com/the-obelisk

Next week is busy. They’re all busy. Did you know I’ve got the Quarterly Review for March booked already? I might push it up and do five this year. I’m not sure I’d be able to call it Quarterly so much as Everynowandagainly at that point, or Bimonthly or whatever, but yeah. I’m thinking about it. For all the planning out ahead of time I do, I don’t do much planning out ahead of time. Ha.

Did you catch the slant rhyme above? Good.

Let’s do some quick notes for next week. Honestly, my head’s been so deep in everything for yesterday I’ve kind of slacked on mapping it out, but there’s still some cool stuff slated. As such:

MON: Static Tension video premiere; News catchup.
TUE: The Asound album review/video premiere.
WED: BLACKWVS track premiere; Soldati video premiere.
THU: Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard review.
FRI: Open right now. Maybe Old Mexico review unless something else grabs me.

It’ll be fun either way.

This Sunday at 7PM Eastern is also the ninth episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio. I need to go cut the voice breaks for it, so I’m going to wrap this up on the quick and plug in the mic and pretend to be interesting for 20 minutes or so. If you get the chance to listen: http://gimmeradio.com.

And again, thanks for all the kind words yesterday.

Please have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and the radio stream and the merch at Dropout. Like such:

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Estuary Blacks to Release Self-Titled Debut on Kozmik Artifactz

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

ESTUARY BLACKS

Something of a gem here in the recently-released self-titled debut offering from Welsh heavy psychedelic progressives Estuary Blacks. The members of the three-piece have ties going back years and that shows itself in album tracks like the 10-minute “Trawlers” and the rolling groove of the subsequent “Fat Jason,” but perhaps most of all in the balance of heft and serenity they’re able to maintain throughout the six cuts on the whole, setting up a ranging sound that never seems to lose track of itself anymore than it wants to while giving a persistent, wandering vibe.

Kozmik Artifactz will have the record out as a CD and LP later this year, but the band released it on Bandcamp last week, and you can stream it in full below. Take the time to do so and I can only imagine you’ll find your day improved.

Dig:

ESTUARY BLACKS ESTUARY BLACKS

Welsh psych-rockers Estuary Blacks sign with Kozmik for debut Vinyl release!

Having formerly worked with these Welsh rockers on their previous project, Bomb the Sun, we were super excited to offer Estuary Blacks a deal to release their stunning debut on vinyl via Kozmik Artifactz. Their debut has been gaining rave reviews, and rightly so, this is an incredibly deep and intensely atmospheric record which you are sure to dig!

Hailing from The Gower Peninsula, South Wales, Estuary Blacks are a 3 piece band who play progressive, dynamic, heavy psych. For fans of Kyuss, Mogwai, GY!BE and Elder. Recorded in the depths of West Wales in 2017, their debut album is equally gentle and soothing as it is powerful and heavy.

Containing former members of Bomb The Sun and Tabularasa, Estuary Blacks have been quietly going about their business since 2014, and have been playing music together in various outfits since 1998. After releasing a well received 2 track E.P. in 2016 they have now released their self-titled debut album on Bandcamp. German label Kozmik Artifactz will release the album on vinyl and CD later this year.

“Having worked with Kozmik Artifactz with the Bomb The Sun record a number of years ago we were keen work with them again. Our band is a real labour of love and we know that the guys at Kozmik have the same attitude to their work – plus they did one hell of a job on the BTS vinyl! Hopefully people dig it as much as we do. We haven’t played outside of Wales yet so we’re hoping to get out and play some shows around the UK and Europe if the opportunity arises. After 2 years of writing and recording this record we’re happy to finally get it out there for people to listen to.”

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Estuary Blacks, Estuary Blacks (2018)

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Last Licks 2014: Sigiriya, Handsome Jack, Octopus Syng, Serpent Venom, Purple Hill Witch, Sandveiss, Sun Shepherd, Giant Sleep, Owl Glitters and Acid Elephant

Posted in Reviews on December 29th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

This is it. New Year’s is this week and by Friday we’ll be into 2015. A new year always brings new hopes, concerns, records and so on, but to be completely honest, I’m just not quite done with 2014 yet. So here we are. I’ve had stacks of CDs on my desk and folders on my computer from the last couple months of stuff I have been trying to fit in, and it doesn’t seem right to me to let the year go without cramming in as much music as I possibly can.

Gotta call it something, so I went with “Last Licks,” since that’s basically what it will be. The plan is that between today and Friday, each day I’ll have another batch of 10 reviews. I’m not going to promise they’ll be the most comprehensive ever, but the idea is to do as much as I can and this seems to me the best way to turn my brains into goo. When that ball drops in Times Square, there’s a good chance I’ll be typing.

No sense in delaying. You get the idea, so let’s jump in:

Sigiriya, Darkness Died Today

sigiriya darkness died today

Recorded live as their debut on Candlelight Records and the follow-up to 2011’s debut, Return to Earth (review here), the sophomore outing from Welsh heavy rockers SigiriyaDarkness Died Today, is distinguished by a vocalist swap bringing in Matt Williams of Suns of ThunderWilliams has a tough job in replacing Dorian Walters, who like guitarist Stuart O’Hara, bassist Paul Bidmead and drummer Darren Ivey, is a former member of Acrimony. There are times when it works and times when it doesn’t. Along with a more barebones tonality in the guitar than appeared on the debut, Williams brings a more straightforward style in his voice, and it changes the personality of the band on songs like “Freedom Engines” and the first-album-title-track “Return to Earth.” “Tribe of the Old Oak” is a catchy highlight and I’ll almost never argue with a song called “Obelisk,” but it seems like they’re still searching for the footing here that seemed so firmly planted their last time out.

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Candlelight Records

Handsome Jack, Do What Comes Naturally

handsome jack do what comes naturally

Upstate New York blues rockers Handsome Jack waste little time living up to the title Do What Comes Naturally. The name of their third album, released by Alive Naturalsound, is both mission-statement aand suggestion, and on songs like the soul-inflected “Creepin’” and the rolling “You and Me,” they make it sound like a good idea. Blues and classic soul meet garage rock across cuts like the relatively brief “Leave it all Behind,” but the tones are warm throughout the record, and guest spots on harmonica and Hammond help keep a sense of variety in the material, well-constructed but still loose in its vibe. The twang might recall The Brought Low for heavy rock heads, but one doubts Handsome Jack groove on much that came out after Psychedelic Mud. Even the CD splits into sides, and as easy as it would be for something like this to sound like a put-on, Handsome Jack prevail with closer “Wasted Time” in making an outing that’s anything but.

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Alive Naturalsound

Serpent Venom, Of Things Seen and Unseen

serpent venom of things seen and unseen

London doomers Serpent Venom sound like experts in the form on Of Things Seen and Unseen, their second album for The Church Within following 2011’s Carnal Altar and their initial 2010 demo (review here), a righteous 48-minute lumbering slab of heavy riffs, downerism and nod. It’s not every band who could put “Death Throes at Dawn” and “Lord of Life” next to each other, but the four-piece of vocalist Garry Ricketts, guitarist Roland Scriver, bassist Nick Davies and drummer Paul Sutherland keep their focus so utterly doomed that even the quiet, minimalist acoustic interlude “I Awake” – ostensibly a breather — comes across as trodden as the earlier “Sorrow’s Bastard,” or the Reverend Bizarre-worthy “Let Them Starve,” which follows. For those who long for trad doom that has an identity outside its Vitus and Sabbath influences, Serpent Venom prove more than ready to enter that conversation on the wah-soaked soloing in the second half of “Pilgrims of the Sun.” Right fucking on.

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The Church Within Records

Owl Glitters, Alchemical Tones

owl glitters alchemical tones

The artwork tells the story. Owl GlittersAlchemical Tones (on Heart and Crossbone Records) is a wash of color. Taking tribal rhythms and repetitions and pairing them with organic low-end, chanted vocals and periodic excursions of psych rock guitar, Arkia Jahani (who seems to be the lone creative force behind the project, though Mell Dettmer mastered) brings a ritualistic sensibility to the eight included pieces, and the flow is molten from the start of “Dervishes.” Less purposefully weird than Master Musicians of Bukkake, but farther into the cosmos than Om, there’s a folkish identity at the heart of Alchemical Tones that keeps the proceedings human even on the near-throat-singing of “Hakim Sanai” or “Poets of Shiras” and “Khalifa’s Visions” an immersive pair preceding the droning closer “By the Candlelight Our Eyes Welcome Glimmers of Eternity.” Beautifully experimental – and in the case of “Mindful of Gems,” fuzzed to the gills – Owl Glitters’ second outing engages sonic spiritualism with dogmatic command and stares back at you from the space within yourself.

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Heart and Crossbone Records

Sandveiss, Scream Queen

sandveiss scream queen

Sandveiss released Scream Queen, their first full-length, late in 2013, reveling in a modern sound crisply produced and more than ably executed to feature the vocals of guitarist Luc Bourgeois, who provides frontman presence even on disc alongside guitarist Shawn Rice, bassist Daniel Girard and drummer Dzemal Trtak. Cohesiveness isn’t in question as opener and longest cut (immediate points) “Blindsided” rounds out its 6:26, leading the way into “Do You Really Know” and setting the tone for big-riffed Euro-style heavy from the Quebecois foursome, who slow down on “Bottomless Lies,” on which Trtak backs Bourgeois in you-guys-should-do-this-more fashion, and ultimately hold firm to the focus on songwriting that establishes itself early. They fuzz out on closer “Green or Gold,” but by then it’s another element of variety among the organ, guest vocals on “Scar” and tempo shifts on Sandveiss’ ambitious debut, distinguished even unto the six-panel gatefold digi-sleeve in which it arrives, the art and design by Alexandre Goulet one more standout factor on an album demanding attention.

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Octopus Syng, Reverberating Garden Number 7

octopus syng reverberating garden number 7

Probably the most clearly Beatlesian moment on Octopus Syng’s Reverberating Garden Number 7 is a slight “Hey Bulldog”-style cadence on side A’s “Very Strange Trip,” and that in itself is an accomplishment (one I’m apparently not the first to observe). The Helsinki four-piece in their 15th year are led by guitarist/vocalist Jaire Pätäri and emit an oozing, serene psychedelia, peaceful and lysergic in late ‘60s exploratory fashion. Reverberating Garden Number 7 (on Mega Dodo Records) echoes out vibe to spare and is deceptively lush while keeping a humble vibe thanks in no small part to Pätäri’s restrained vocal approach and curios like “Cuckoo Clock Mystery,” which boasts an actual cuckoo clock to add bounce to its arrangement. Nine-minute closer “Listen to the Moths” is the single biggest surprise, and an album unto itself, but its unfolding is only the capstone on a collection of psychedelic wonder sincere in its stylistic intent and execution. It fills the ears like warm air in the lungs.

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Mega Dodo Records

Sun Shepherd, Procession of Trampling Hoof

sun shepherd procession of trampling hoof

Destructive Australian trio Sun Shepherd put the bulk of Procession of Trampling Hoof to tape in 2011. Closing bonus track “Exploding Sun” is a demo from 2006, but it fits with their extended tracks and big riffs piled onto each other in densely-weighted fashion, if rougher in presentation. More Ramesses than High on Fire, who prove otherwise to be a key influence tonally for guitarist/vocalist Anson Antriasian, must-hear bassist Leigh Fischer and drummer Michael Barson, though their approach is decidedly less thrash-based. The first five of the six songs find Sun Shepherd’s first full-length a pummel-minded blend of sludge and doom. Antriasian’s vocals are semi-spoken, but fitting theatrically on “Goat-Head Awakening” with the grueling riff-led nod, the tension released as they pass the halfway point of the 10-minute run, a raw atmosphere bolstering the chaos of their slower-motion marauding. With the welcome flourish of stonerly soloing on “Engulfed by Ocean of Time,” one can’t help but wonder what the Melbourne natives are up to three years later.

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Purple Hill Witch, Purple Hill Witch

purple hill witch purple hill witch

Fuzz-toned elements of Sleep and Sabbath pervade the stoner-doomy self-titled The Church Within debut from Oslo three-piece Purple Hill Witch, who carry the bounce well in immediately familiar riffs and groove. Swinging drums from Øyvind and the inventive basslines of Andreas underscore Kristian’s purely Iommic riffage and blown-out vocals, somewhere between Witchcraft’s earliest going and Witch’s self-titled. If that gives Purple Hill Witch an even witchier feel, “Final Procession” sounds just fine with that, as do shorter tracks like the later “Aldebaranian Voyage (Into the Sun)” and centerpiece “Karmanjaka” on which the stoner side comes out in force. They finish by using all 11 minutes of the eponymous “Purple Hill Witch”’s runtime, breaking in the midsection for a murky exploration that’s creepily atmospheric without veering into cult rock cliché. They bounce resumes and slows to a crawl to close out, but the jam serves Purple Hill Witch well in expanding the band’s sonic reach and the album’s weedian sensibility. Not that they were keeping it a secret.

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The Church Within Records

Giant Sleep, Giant Sleep

giant sleep giant sleep

A burly dual-guitar five-piece with roots in Germany and Switzerland, Giant Sleep start out their self-titled, self-released first LP with a brief intro titled “Argos” before getting to the question, “Why am I angry all the time?” as the central, recurring line of “Angry Man.” That song, like “Henu” and “Reproduce,” gets its point across quick in heavy rock fashion and develops its argument from there, a progressive metal vibe pervading especially the latter, which is penultimate in the 10-song/52-minute effort, and underscores the high-grade craftsmanship accomplished throughout. “Dreamless Sleep” is probably my pick of the bunch for its airier tone and resonant minor-key hook in the guitars of Markus Ruf and Patrick Hagmann, vocalist Thomas Rosenmerkel belting out the chorus before making way for plotted solos atop Radek Stecki’s bass and Manuel Spänhauer’s drums, but it’s not so far removed from its surroundings. As a whole, the album could be more efficient, but it wants nothing for songwriting, and especially as a debut, Giant Sleep hits its marks readily.

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Acid Elephant, Star Collider

acid elephant star collider

Opener “Las Noches del Desierto” is the only one of Star Collider’s five tracks under 10 minutes. Flux seems to be the norm for Finnish post-stoners Acid Elephant, who recently brought in vocalist Martin Ahlö but here revolve around the core of bassist/guitarist/vocalist Miksa Väliverho, guitarist/vocalist Ilpo Kauppinen and drummer Roope Vähä-Aho, employing a host of others on obscure vocals, percussion and djembe throughout the 64-minute sophomore outing, recorded in 2012 and released late in 2013. Whoever they are now, Acid Elephant on Star Collider call out heavy psych, drone/jam and riff-based impulses in their extended cuts, gradually getting longer from “Red Carpet Lane” (10:46) until closer “Bog” hits 18:29. To their credit, their songs leave impressions to match their length, and even as it’s finishing its instrumental run, “Godmason” (15:58) is highlighting its resonant central riff, having emerged from a wash of feedback and amp noise at its beginning, preceded by the droning centerpiece “7th Stone.” Satisfying and unpredictable, Star Collider balances experimentation and engagement smoothly without losing its focus on individualism.

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The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Reclvse, Reclvse Demo

Posted in Radio on May 9th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

With a persistent murk and pervasively foggy sensibility, Welsh four-piece Reclvse make their debut with their self-titled three-song demo. The doubly-bassed Swansea doomers craft an aesthetic of sonic obscurity throughout “Temptress!,” “Of Many Names” and “Bewitch the Sky,” broiling themselves in molten garage demos of old while offering glimpses of ideas more complex, be it the nascent battle-metal melody in the chorus of the opener or the acoustic finale that closes out. Their name (which they often use stylized in all-caps, though that’s somewhat less reclusive) speaks to a cult mentality, but there’s little of that mindset in their actual songs, which are stripped to the bone stylistically and rounded off with medieval cruelty, turning otherwise simplistic trad doom grooves into something more cavernous and malevolent.

“Temptress!” resides deep in the mix, and Reclvse stay there for the duration, varying some in tempo while keeping an otherwise consistent sound no more telling than the single initials by which they identify themselves — J. (guitar/vocals), P. and B. (bass) and C. (drums) — but which should be relatable enough to experienced ears. The opener is the most rolling of the three tracks, though “Of Many Names” follows suit somewhat while keeping a less finished feel and spacing out in its midsection, while “Bewitch the Sky,” which stretches past the seven-minute mark as the longest cut here, moves at a crawl for most of its duration. Reclvse‘s middle piece, though shorter, varies some from the doomly atmospheres of “Temptress!” or “Bewitch the Sky.” “Of Many Names” was previously released in December 2013 as the band’s first recorded audio, and while the entire release this time around has some of that rehearsal-room air to it, the songs are cohesive and ably executed. Hard to know how they might hold up under a more elaborate production, but that’s not a concern for the time being.

As it stands, the raw feel only adds to the ambience — a phenomenon more commonly associated with black metal — and Reclvse‘s Reclvse ends up a cassette-ready demo that announces the band’s arrival well while giving a sense of where they might be headed creatively as they plunge deeper into ancient metals and altered-consciousness doom. You can hear the tracks now as part of The Obelisk Radio‘s 24/7 stream, and grab yourself a name-your-price download courtesy of the Bandcamp player below.

Reclvse, Reclvse Demo (2014)

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Reclvse on Bandcamp

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