Yuri Gagarin to Release The Outskirts of Reality Jan. 31; Preorders up This Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 9th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Blastoff is pretty immediate in the teaser for Swedish space rock demons Yuri Gagarin‘s new album, The Outskirts of Reality, which is due out Jan. 31 through Sound Effect Records in Greece and Kommun 2 in Sweden itself. Some teasers, they give you a minute of a single song, or maybe even less than that. Some have 30 seconds of ambient nothing and kind of leave you feeling like a sucker for hoping for some substance. Yuri Gagarin, on the other hand, present nearly five minutes of an album that as far as I’m concerned can go on as long as it likes given what I’m hearing so far.

The Outskirts of Reality will comprise five tracks — one fewer than its predecessor, 2015’s At the Center of All Infinity — and I don’t hear a bummer note at all in the teaser as it gives a sampling of each of those pieces. I’m assuming “Laboratory 1” is the drone-sounding piece, if only because its title sounds like something a band might call an experimental track like that, but otherwise, Yuri Gagarin sound like they’ve got their intermix chamber aligned to the proper matter/antimatter ratios and are ready to punch it to warp seven the second they leave drydock. You got a list of albums you’re looking forward to in 2020? I do. Yuri Gagarin are on it.

Info about the record is pretty minimal at this point, apart from the tracklisting, the audio in the teaser, and the righteous gatefold cover art by Påhl Sundström — so not nothing, I guess — but I’d keep an eye out for perhaps more details to come later this week as they launch preorders on Dec. 13. If I was gonna, say, put out a whole track and the full album details to follow-up the teaser, that’d probably be the day to do it. Not trying to tell anyone to run their publicity campaign or anything.

Here’s what’s out there so far:

yuri gagarin the outskirts of reality

Yuri Gagarin – The Outskirts of Reality

Here’s a teaser for our new full length album: The Outskirts Of Reality. The artwork is made by Swedish artist Påhl Sundström.

It will be available on LP and CD on Kommun 2 Records and Sound-Effect Records January 31.

Pre-sales will be available December 13. More info coming soon.

Tracks:
QSO
Oneironaut
Crystal Dunes
Laboratory 1
The Outskirts Of Reality

https://www.facebook.com/yurigagarinspacerock/
https://www.instagram.com/yurigagarinband/
https://yurigagarinswe.bandcamp.com/
http://yurigagarin.bigcartel.com/
http://www.motljud.com/
https://www.soundeffect-records.gr/

Yuri Gagarin, The Outskirts of Reality album teaser

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The Goners Premiere “World of Decay” from Debut LP Good Mourning

Posted in audiObelisk on December 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the goners

What do we know about The Goners? Well, what do we really know about anything? In an age of malleable truths, alternative facts and flat earths, suddenly not being 100 percent on the origins of a band seems only too appropriate, but in some measure — I believe at least in the case of Nate GoneThe Goners are born out of Swedish alt rockers Yvonne and the apparent demise of the riffly Salem’s Pot, and in relation to the semi-costumed witchy ’70s horror/sexploitation doom of that outfit, they present a marked turn of aesthetic. Not just in the lack of fancy dress — though while we’re generalizing, aren’t we all just wearing costumes all the time? are we all not impostors of ourselves? — but in terms of sound as well, The Goners cast off Salem’s Pot‘s lumbering riffage in favor of a rawer approach on their debut release, Good Mourning, out in March on RidingEasy Records.

Think ’60s more than ’70s, garage and surf more than doom, and reverb more than fuzz and you’re probably on your way to wherever it is The Goners are headed — the answer, seemingly, is to “gone.” Good Mourning comprisesthe goners good mourning 10 tracks, the last of which is the Dead Moon cover “Dead in the Saddle,” and though there’s a bit of residual Electric Wizardry in “Evil (Is Not Enough),” but “Good Ol’ Death” offers immediate counterargument, reminding of some of Kadavar‘s more recent wistful Western meanderings, and the bulk of Good Mourning in general is on a more stripped trip, with opener “Are You Gone Yet?” asking the essential question like some lost Death Alley demo reminding of a day when every single from an album was released as a 45RPM and played with a never-changed needle that seemed to be digging its own grooves because it was.

Cuts like the slower second inclusion “High, Low and in Between” and the subsequent Thin Lizzy swaggerer “World of Decay,” seem to find even footing in establishing some diversity of approach, but later on, The Goners seem to take extra delight in the brash two-minute squibbly-laced distortion blast that is “The Sickening,” and the subsequent “Down and Out” echoes out some maybe-horns at the start of its second half, just to throw a wrench into the gears of expectation. So it goes, goes, gone. “You Better Run” is noteworthy for its proto-riffly nod backing synth weirdness — too earthy to be space, but delightfully weird — and the last of the originals, “The Little Blue,” feels like a side B’er with a bit of flash in the guitar betraying Good Mourning‘s modern origins without necessarily contradicting the proceedings as a whole. And a reverby, handclap-inclusive Dead Moon cover on top of all that? Yeah, go ahead and count me in on the fun.

Good Mourning by The Goners is out in March through RidingEasy. It’s a standout on the record in terms of style, but “World of Decay” is a damn good time, and you can stream the premiere on the player below.

Have at it and enjoy:

Rock bottom. A place you have to throw yourself over the edge and burn all your bridges to reach. A place where the devil is laughing as a constant reminder of everything that went to shit. A place where you owe.

As the echoes of the past get louder and the forget-me-now’s no longer work, you have to pick up the remaining pieces and try to make them fit. You can only wake up in an unknown bed with aching intestines and a throbbing noise inside your skull, still craving more, so many times until you realize that your life didn’t quite turn out to be what you expected it to be. The killing floor is crowded and when the smoke starts to clear you start to notice just how bad you’ve been letting yourself go. It’s Monday. You are on your own now.

And even as you start to do the right, start paying your dues and bills, doing the 9 to 5 and saying your sorries, you’re still standing there like a sack of dead meat in a stinkin’ world of decay where nobody cares. Gone but still aware. Ain’t that something! Ain’t that grand!

There’s no remedy, no working cure but at least you got loud guitars, thumping bass and bashing cymbals to ease the pain. And as you stumble into your thirties, scorched earth policy-style, you can at least smile at the fact that you finished first. At last you succeeded in something. Now you can just lay back, back where the sun doesn’t shine and ask everybody else ”aren’t YOU gone yet?”.

Don’t worry, you soon will see that Gone is just a four-letter word. We’re all heading south and again, no one really gives a fuck.

It’s Sunday. Join us.

Tracklisting:
01. Are You Gone Yet?
02. High, Low and Never In Between
03. World of Decay
04. Evil (Is Not Enough)
05. Good Ol’ Death
06. The Sickening
07.. Down & Out
08. You Better Run
09. The Little Blue
10. Dead In The Saddle (Dead Moon)

The Goners are:
Mick Dagger
Nate Gone
Vic Odin
Timo Tinto
Grave Dave

The Goners on Thee Facebooks

The Goners on Bandcamp

RidingEasy Records website

RidingEasy Records on Instagram

RidingEasy Records on Bandcamp

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Elden Premiere “Anubis” Video from Nostromo out Jan. 24

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ELDEN

Swedish four-piece Elden will release their second album, Nostromo, as their label debut through Fuzzorama Records on Jan. 24. If you think you know what you’re getting just by the imprint involved, two things: One, kudos on your savvy and careful eye. Two, you’re wrong. While Fuzzorama, the aptly-named outlet helmed by Örebro fuzz kingpins Truckfighters, is known for doling out wonderfully hairy riffage and heavy rock groovies from the likes of Valley of the SunWe Hunt BuffaloTruckfighters themselves, AsteroidDeville and a host of others, Elden are on an entirely more pointed tack. On the nine-song/41-minute Nostromo, they show some flashes of Queens of the Stone Age influence in the post-intro leadoff cut “Sail and Savour,” the subsequent “Anubis” and maybe elsewhere here and there, but it’s filtered through a post-Mastodon modern progressive metal mindset, rife with winding riffs, a consuming largesse and persistent melody that holds regardless of how heavy the surroundings get. And by the time the title-track comes around on side B, following the particularly atmospheric “Heavy Rain” and leading into the lumber-unto-onslaught “Creatures Follows,” the surroundings get pretty gosh darn heavy.

That’s the surprise, I suppose, as Elden tap out Remission-style leads on “Creatures Follows” or find clarity in cacophony on the earlier “Fossilised” — just how “metal” Nostromo is. Elden NostromoCould it be a sign of an expanding aesthetic interest on the part of Fuzzorama? Your guess is as good as mine — probably better, if my history of guesses is anything to go by — but one way or the other, it makes Elden immediately distinct on the label’s roster, and much to their benefit, Nostromo has the personality and the songwriting to hold up to that distinction. The album is executed precisely but not without emotion behind it, and even as the penultimate interlude “The Passage” shifts into the nine-plus-minute riffer “Two-Faced Wizard” — a song that the band simply had to know would close the record when it was written — the sense of careening from one movement to another that makes the rest of Nostromo as exciting as it is doesn’t so much abate as find its destination and manifest. From its earlier hooks to this last blowout, the thoughtful nature of their songcraft and attention to detail in both the mix and performance come through in the listening experience, and whatever familiar elements are at play in the songs come tinged with enough feeling behind them to stave off redundancy. You’d have to catch them first, I suppose.

“Anubis,” premiering below, is the second video ahead of the January release of Nostromo behind the clip for “Sail and Savour,” which you can find at the bottom of this post, included just because one likes to keep up with these things. Preorders are up now through Fuzzorama should you be thusly inclined, and that link and more info follow here, courtesy, as ever, of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Elden, “Anubis” official video premiere

Second single from the upcoming album “Nostromo” due to be relased 24th of Jan 2020. Pre-order album – https://eu.fuzzoramastore.com/en/elden.html

Elden believes in the power of heavy metal riffs, melodic choruses and an all out head banging experience. Formed in 2012 in Karlstad, Sweden, the band started writing songs influenced by artists like Mastodon, Baroness, The Sword and classic bands from the 70s and 80s. They recorded and released their first demo one year later and performed on a regular basis at local venues. Come 2015, Elden released their first EP and started touring across the country. Having built a small following of both local and international fans the band started developing their sound, taking their songwriting in an interesting direction even heavier riffs, more distinct vocals and an overall more impressive production.

The future is very much exciting for fans of Elden. Having been picked up by critically acclaimed label Fuzzorama Records, Elden will release their new album “Nostromo” on the 24th of January 2020. Inspired by the cold darkness of time and space, these are by far the best songs the band have written.

Elden, “Sail & Savour” official video

Elden on Thee Facebooks

Elden on Instagram

Fuzzorama Records

Fuzzorama Records on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzorama on Bandcamp

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Candlemass Receive Grammy Nomination for “Astorolus – The Great Octopus”

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Uh… whatever it takes, I guess?

Some thoughts on this: Heavy music has a long and kinda-shitty relationship with the Grammy Awards and with mainstream notoriety. Even when glam was at its commercial peak in the 1980s, it was treated as a joke by “true” metalheads, and these notions of purity — always politically problematic, even today — are by no means gone. Being part of a subculture inherently involves thinking you know something others don’t, when really what you know is something appeals to you, even if you don’t choose to examine why.

So, it’s especially hilarious when someone like High on Fire gets nominated — and wins! — a Grammy, as happened last year, and the attitude of the underground that’s celebrated the band for the better part of the last 20 years stuck up its nose and said, “Well, they finally got one right.” This year, that nod to the fact that heavy music outside even metal’s own mainstream exists would seem to be Candlemass, whose excellent 2019 offering, The Door to Doom (review here), not only brought a long-due reunion with original vocalist Johan Langquist, but brought in one Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath for a guest solo guitar on “Astorolus – The Great Octopus.” Indeed, that’s the song that got the nod.

Fine. I kind of felt at the time that Iommi‘s mere presence on the record overshadowed the true narrative of the album, which was the return of Langquist, but if it gets more people to listen to Candlemass and maybe dig back into some of the landmark doom they’ve made since 1986, then all the better. If you know anything about the band, you know founder/songwriter Leif Edling (bass) was way into making that appearance happen, so yeah, it’s a win on that front anyway, and if the Grammy nomination turns more heads in their direction, then yeah, super. Maybe they can ask for more money to play a show (I think I said the same thing about High on Fire). Maybe they’ll tour the US again. I’d take that.

I guess they’re a long-shot to win — there would seem to be a big four-letter word hanging over the rest of the nominees — but whatever. I didn’t care about the Grammys yesterday and I don’t care today, but frankly, Candlemass already won by being nominated, so good for them. Go get ’em, and so on.

From the PR wire:

candlemass grammy

CANDLEMASS Nominated for “Best Metal Performance” Grammy Award!

Candlemass are truly the manifestation of pure doom metal! Early 2019 saw the release of their latest album, The Door To Doom, via Napalm Records – an offering that features an unforgettable pairing with legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi on the track “Astorolus – The Great Octopus.” The song has now been nominated for a 2020 Grammy Award in the “Best Metal Performance” category. This is the first nomination for the band and the first nomination for Napalm Records!

The Grammy Awards ceremony will be held on January 26th and broadcast on CBS.

Leif Edling of Candlemass says: “We are very proud and honored to be nominated for a Grammy! Actually, a couple years ago, we said that the previous album would be the last one, yet here we are with a new record out plus Grammy talk. Wow! Proves that you should never give up. I must also take my hat off to Tony Iommi, who was kind enough to perform an amazing guitar solo on “Astorolus – The Great Octopus”. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We’re happy, thrilled, excited… and a bit shocked!”

Sebastian Münch, A&R Napalm Records, comments: “We are thrilled that Candlemass has been nominated for a Grammy Award for their track “Astorolus – The Great Octopus”, featuring the iconic Tony Iommi. This is the first nomination for them and for Napalm Records, so we couldn’t be more excited. Congratulations, Candlemass!”

The Door To Doom unsurprisingly follows the plot line mastermind, songwriter and bass player Leif Edling established in the past years: epic world class doom metal that relies on slow mammoth riffing. With Johan Langquist`s highly dramatic vocal style and the love for details, the band made this an epic album. The Door To Doom was produced by Marcus Jidell.

Order The Door To Doom HERE: http://smarturl.it/TheDoorToDoom-NPR

Candlemass are:
Leif Edling: Bass
Mats “Mappe” Björkman: Guitars
Jan Lindh: Drums
Lars “Lasse” Johansson: Guitars
Johan Langquist: Vocals

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/CANDLEMASS
https://www.instagram.com/CANDLEMASS_SWEDEN/
http://www.candlemass.se/
WWW.NAPALMRECORDS.COM

Candlemass, “Astorolus – The Great Octopus” official video

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Kamchatka Premiere “Rainbow Ridge” from Hoodoo Lightning; Album out Nov. 29

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

kamchatka

Swedish trio Kamchatka release Hoodoo Lightning on Nov. 29, and they’ll celebrate by hitting the road in Europe alongside Clutch and Graveyard on a tour that will run some 19 gigs as the three-piece herald the arrival of their seventh long-player. Pick a lineage for heavy rock and roll and it’s easy enough to find the manner in which the duel-vocal Stockholm/Varberg outfit do it justice, whether it’s the towering, channel-panning leads of guitarist Thomas Juneor Andersson on the hook-laden “Rainbow Ridge” (premiering below) or the trades back and forth as Andersson and bassist/keyboardist Per Wiberg — he of Spiritual Beggars, Opeth, the even-bluesier Kamchatka-kinda-offshoot King Hobo, and so many others — run a call and response through the classic metal-tinged “Fool” (think Dio-era Sabbath early on). There’s no escaping the ’70s rock influence, and neither does one feel inclined to try throughout the nonetheless cleanly produced 40-minute 10-tracker, but among the histories by which Hoodoo Lightning‘s material does right is that of Sweden’s particular rock legacy itself. Of course, Kamchatka have been around since the turn of the century — their self-titled debut came out in 2005, but they formed earlier — and as noted this is their seventh record. So, even considering that the four years it’s been since they issued their sixth, 2015’s Long Road Made of Gold (review here) — they also had the Stone Cold Shaky Bones 7″ (discussed here) in 2018 — it doesn’t necessarily feel like a surprise that Andersson, Wiberg and drummer Tobias Strandvik know what they’re doing. Their style modernizes classic sounds and brings melodic consciousness and exciting arrangements together with a firm sense of structure and an energetic delivery. Their material is high quality and their presentation of that material is high energy. There’s nothing one could reasonably ask Hoodoo Lightning to be that it isn’t.

And man, is it Swedish. Not German. Not Norwegian. Certainly not Danish. Definitely Swedish. Think about Spice-era Spiritual Beggars or the early work of acts like Mustasch and The Quill and more modern Siena Root. Not nearly as retro as Kamchatka Hoodoo LightningGraveyard, or as definitively fuzzed as Dozer or Lowrider, but that mindset of heavy rock and roll that works so fluidly under the philosophy of straightforward craft and fullness of sound to find a place where Soundgarden circa ’93 and Sabbath circa ’73 exist at the same time. One hears a nod to “Hole in the Sky” as “Blues Science Pt. 1: Thunder Rise” launches Hoodoo Lightning, and the subsequent title-track sets up the bluesy underpinnings that will find bluesy complement on closer “A Drifter’s Tale.” That title-track, also billed as “Blues Science Pt. 2,” begins a string of memorable stompers that continues as “Fool” tells a classic temptation-of-boy-leads-to-his-downfall tale and “Rainbow Ridge” touts the power of love to stand up to the “hard times ahead.” Good to know Kamchatka have been keeping an eye on the rise of right-wing populism in Europe — keep those borders open, folks. Meanwhile, amid starts and stops and a chugging verse, “Supersonic Universe” recounts leaving behind one’s family/existence to tour, that moment of saying goodbye and heading off to do a thing one feels called to even if others don’t fully understand why. The parade of hooks continues there and through the more brash “Monster” and “Let it Roll” — both of which feel created if not specifically to be played on stage, then certainly like they should be as soon as possible (I guess that’d be Nov. 29, so fair enough), before “Stay in the Wind” brings Andersson and Wiberg together on vocals over a more subdued vibe, pulling back on some of the thrust of the two songs prior, though the penultimate “El Hombre Dorado” revives the electric charge with some extra swing from Strandvik and thereby leads smoothly into “A Drifter’s Tale” with its final showcase of traditionalist, blues-crunched heavy rock.

There’s flourish of keys and percussion and some layering in the vocals, but Kamchatka aren’t a band who need a lot of fancy tricks to get their point across, and among Hoodoo Lightning‘s many positive attributes is the fact that while the sound is crisp and modern, it’s not overly so to the point of losing the natural dynamic of the group beneath. Bottom line is, it is a rock album and should be treated accordingly: by rocking it.

Couldn’t be more thrilled to host the premiere of “Rainbow Ridge” below for your streaming pleasure. Hope you like having it stuck in your head, because you’re going to.

Tour dates and more PR wire background on Hoodoo Lightning follow.

Please enjoy:

Hoodoo Lightning, the 7th full length album by long running Swedish three-piece Kamchatka is due for release Nov 29 2019. 10 brand spanking new slabs of relentless blues infused riffage, soulful hooks and wild playing. Mixed and mastered by Black Lounge Studios head honcho Jonas Kjellgren in Sweden.

One step back but two steps forward might be an appropriate way of describing Hoodoo Lightning as all the signature ingredients we’ve come to know are there. The guitar wizardry and heartfelt vocals from Thomas Juneor Andersson as well as the rock solid swinging rhythm section of Tobias Strandvik & Per Wiberg are present as always and guides the listener through all the rock and roll twists and turns imaginable.

But, sonically it’s a grittier Kamchatka we hear this time and it’s evident that there’s a new level of energy shining through Hoodoo Lightning, a more confident take-no-prisoners kind of attitude and closer to the uncompromising experience of seeing the band live. Also introducing the shared lead vocals from Thomas & Per on many of the tracks gives the power trio format an extra punch and a wider dynamic range as well. Combined with the classy as ever songwriting and vigorous performances it’s the sound of a band who knows what they want and what they’re good at!

Produced by Kamchatka & Jonas Kjellgren
Mixed & mastered by Jonas Kjellgren at Black Lounge Studios
Recorded by Tobias Strandvik at Kamchatka Shelter

Hoodoo Lightning strikes!

Kamchatka supporting Clutch/Graveyard December 2019
*only Kamchatka
29.11 SE Borlänge, House Of Blues*
30.11 SE Varberg, Oscars*
02.12 DE Wiesbaden, Schlachthof
03.12 DE Oberhausen, Turbinenhalle
05.12 DE Bremen, Aladin
06.12 DE Nürnberg, Löwensaal
07.12 FR Strasbourg, La Laitere
08.12 FR Lyon, Le Transbordeur
10.12 ES Barcelona, Sala Apolo
11.12 ES Madrid, Sala But
12.12 ES Ourense, Café Cultural Auriense*
13.12 ES Madrid, Sala But Extra show on sale now!
14.12 ES Bilbao, Santana
15.12 FR Bordeaux, Le Rocher de Palmer
17.12 UK Southampton, O2 Guildhall
18.12 UK London, Roundhouse
19.12 UK Leeds, O2 Academy
20.12 UK Nottingham, Rock City
22.12 NL Arnhem, Luxor Live*

Kamchatka is:
Thomas Juneor Andersson – Vocals, Guitars & percussion
Tobias Strandvik – Drums & Percussion
Per Wiberg – Vocals, Bass & Keys

Kamchatka on Thee Facebooks

Kamchatka on Instagram

Kamchatka website

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Kungens Män Announce Hårt Som Ben out Nov. 29

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

kungens-man

Yeah, of course you do, because you’re hip like that, but if you don’t keep up with Swedish improv-based jammers Kungens Män to the extent that one can hope to do so, you probably should give it a shot. Their second long-player of the year, Hårt Som Ben, is set to release on Nov. 29 and in following up the already-plenty-right-on Chef (review here), the six-piece lock in across five tracks and 37 minutes of blissed-out vibing that’s so laid back it might as well be actually telling you to calm down — which I guess it kind of is, just instrumentally — and do what they do well, which is explore.

They went out to the woods to make it, they’ll tour the UK for the first time to support it. No audio yet, but all the news is good.

And here it is:

kungens man het som ben

KUNGENS MÄN – ‘Hårt Som Ben’ – November 29th 2019

Kungens Män hail from Stockholm, Sweden and have been around as a musical unit since 2012. Their inspiration comes from the drone, the rattle of the loose screw, the circuit failure of the effects, the phatness of the moog and from the very diverse wiring of a bunch of middle aged Swedish freaks. Kungens Män never plan the next musical move – it presents itself.

Nine months after their acclaimed album ‘Chef’ (also released on Riot Season) the band return with ‘Hårt Som Ben’, a stunning follow up with a debut UK tour to coincide. The LP is released in two variants, pink vinyl in pink sleeve, and black vinyl in black sleeve.

At the end of May 2019 Kungens Män packed a couple of cars full of instruments and life supporting essentials and drove into the woods of Värmland to spend three days in the legendary Silence Studio. It has hosted recordings by bands and musicians like Bo Hansson, Motorpsycho, The Hellacopters, Bob Hund and Union Carbide Productions, the presence felt and seen all over the place.

In between watching VHS tapes with Twin Peaks, Miles Davis and Roskilde Festival 92, cooking pasta, sleeping in bunk beds, Bruce Bannering shirts and chilling in the sun, Kungens Män managed to record about 13 hours of music. Some of it will never reach your ears, but here’s the first slab made public – Hårt Som Ben (translates to ‘Hard As Bone’) Not very hard, that is.

artist: KUNGENS MÄN
title: ‘Hårt Som Ben’
cat # REPOSELP086
Format: LP (Pink Or Black Vinyl)
release date: November 29th 2019

LP Tracklisting
A1. Hårt Som Ben
A2. Måttanpassad Minneslucka
A3. Evigetern
B1. Rose-Maries Bebis
B2. Patriarkivet

KUNGENS MÄN debut UK tour :
Dec 1: Glasgow, Nice ’n’ Sleazy
Dec 2: Newcastle, The Cluny 2
Dec 3: Todmorden, The Golden Lion
Dec 4: Manchester, The Peer Hat
Dec 5: Bristol, The Crofter’s Rights
Dec 6: Chelmsford, The Hot Box

KUNGENS MÄN are :
Mikael Tuominen – guitar & bass VI
Hans Hjelm – guitar
Gustav Nygren – guitar
Magnus Öhrn – bass
Peter Erikson – synthesizer
Mattias Indy Pettersson – drums & percussion

Plus guest appearance by:
Isak Sjöholm – drums & synthesizer

kungensman.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/bandetkungensman
instagram.com/kungensmanband
kungensman.tumblr.com
http://www.riotseason.com
https://www.facebook.com/riotseasonrecords

Kungens Män, Chef (2019)

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Friday Full-Length: Truckfighters, Mania

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

 

It was a put-up-or-shut-up moment for Sweden’s Truckfighters. Time to show who they really were going to be as a band and what their impact would be over the longer term. Their 2005 debut, Gravity X (discussed here), had certainly produced its share of memorable tracks, including “Gweedo-Weedo,” “Manhattan Project,” “Gargarismo” and its essential leadoff, “Desert Cruiser,” which over the years since would become the band’s signature piece. But 2007’s Phi seemed to be in an awkward place, with the Örebro three-piece adding a second guitarist in an experiment that ultimately wouldn’t last. It had been more than five years since they got their start on a split with bassist/vocalist Oskar Cedermalm‘s prior band, Firestone (discussed here), and as with so many third albums, it was time for Truckfighters to determine the direction they wanted their material to manifest.

On some level, conscious or not, they must have known it, because 2009’s Mania (review here) meets the formidable task before it in a way that’s nothing if not head-on. It’s the release by which I’ve judged every Truckfighters release since, and a significant standard to which a record might live up, taking the fuzz and memorable hooks of Gravity X and the somewhat moodier vibe of Phi and bringing them together is a way that showed heavy rock did not have to just be one thing. It didn’t just have to be out there, cruising in the desert. It could be progressive, heavy and energetic all at the same time. It could be richly melodic. It could be weighted and contemplative feeling. And in a quick turn, it could be fun, catchy, and nonetheless clear in its intention to engage the listener. With ManiaCedermalm, guitarist Niklas Källgren and then-drummer Oscar “Pezo” Johansson solidified Truckfighters‘ sound around something that could grow in multiple directions, and thereby helped set the stage for what’s come after, both from them and from a generation of heavy rockers who’ve worked to some degree or other under their influence.

It’s debatable whether Truckfighters‘ greater contribution to heavy rock has been on stage or in the studio. Largely self-recorded and self-released, their fuzzy tones have become a signature that’s recognizable in their work as well as in plenty of other acts, but what they do live is perhaps even more immediately striking. Cedermalm and Källgren, as the two founders and essential figures in the band, have a reputation for onstage physicality that is well earned, and I’ve seen them play sets that look as much like an aerobic workout as an artistic performance. Not every band can or wants to do that, of course, but Europe over the last decade has seen a boom of similarly-inclined heavy rock delivery, in the UK, in Germany, in Greece and elsewhere, and certainly Truckfighters have toured enough in that time — including in North America — to spread their influence across borders.

truckfighters mania

But Mania is also dynamic in a way that extends to being more than just a vehicle for a band to run back and forth and jump off drum risers while they play. Songs like the closer “Blackness,” the relatively mellow but still hooky leadoff “Last Curfew” and most especially the 13-minute “Majestic” and the later “Con of Man” actively, willfully push the Truckfighters sound and style to places it hadn’t yet been, reaching a new level of accomplishment as a result. This happened at the same time the early, drum-led “Monte Gargano” reconfirmed their desert rock mindset, and the subsequent “The New High” acted as a bridge from one side to another ahead of the arrival of “Majestic,” still relatively early in Mania‘s eight-song/50-minute run. The album sets up a back-and-forth dynamic, really from the start but especially from “Majestic” onward, that sees them push and pull between more straight-ahead fare and proggier impulses.

“Majestic” — which every bit lives up to its title via a sprawl the band has tried multiple times to recapture — and “Con of Man” are separated by the four-minute “Monster,” which emerges on revisit as a kind of lost standout. Surely overwhelmed by the sweep of what comes directly before and after, as nearly anything would be, its foundation in acoustic and electric guitar blend is itself a forward step for Truckfighters, and Cedermalm‘s laid back vocal there sets gives the song an all the more sunshiny vibe, only emphasizing the contrast in the severity of “Con of Man,” thereby enhancing the effect of both cuts on the audience. This, as well as the penultimate “Loose” — which seems like a direct answer stylistically and thematically to “Desert Cruiser” and is the shortest inclusion at 3:44 — bring a lightness to the end of Mania to keep it from taking itself too seriously. They remind that, hey, we’re all here to have a good time, and speak to a breadth in Truckfighters‘ songcraft that they’ve continued to develop in the years since.

It would be four years before they’d release anything else, but much of that time was spent touring. They came to America for the first time. They had a documentary made about them in 2012. They were on the road again and again in Europe, helping lead the charge of a booming underground heavy festival scene that continues to develop. An EP, The Chairman (discussed here), arrived in 2013, followed the next year by the Universe LP (review here) that seemed to pick up where Mania left off and present Truckfighters‘ growth as an ongoing process, and of course, more heavy road work. A licensing deal through their Fuzzorama Records imprint with Century Media resulted in wider distribution for 2016’s (review here), and they complemented that with the self-released Live in London (review here) that same year, courting controversy as well for their video for “Calm Before the Storm” (discussed here) from the V album. After weathering that and yet more touring, they announced a “long, long” hiatus in 2018 that lasted just about a year before they got back together and decided to hit the road playing Gravity X in full. “You can’t escape from what you are,” their statement said at the time, seeming almost resigned to the fact. Fair enough.

Whatever happens with, to or for them next, Mania 10 years later still holds up as a high point of their output to-date. I won’t take anything away from their other studio releases, but no question this was a special moment, and in a put-up-or-shut-up scenario, they every bit exceeded all expectations and helped reshape what fuzz rock could be.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

That it? Is the week done? Is it ever really over? Nah, not these days.

Whatever.

Life with The Toddlerian Pecan — this strange pain-in-the-ass alien who’s replaced the gorgeous chubby-cheeked baby who was my son mere months ago — continues to provide an assortment of thrills and spills. The Patient Mrs. has had to work all week, as one will when one has, you know, a job — she gotta bring home that bacon to support my ever-expanding blogger-ass — and so it’s been me and him. Me vs. him. I forfeit. He wins. I used to say that if I died in the house by myself, I was cool with The Little Dog Dio eating my face to survive. I don’t know in what scenario it ever would’ve happened like that, but you know, yeah. Well, I’m pretty sure The Pecan is getting ready to eat my face while I’m still alive and then cha-cha-cha stompy-foot dance on my exposed skull. Laughing his adorable laugh all the while.

I’ve never done heroin, but I imagine that laugh is what it’s like.

So it was that kind of week. Especially yesterday morning, which was h-a-r-d. I know I’m not exactly doing the world a favor by having a kid in the first place. Great. One more white dude. That’s bound to make everything better. But man, some days it sure feels like I’m doing him a favor by not opening the door and telling him to go live in the woods. You like squirrels so damn much? Off you go!

He’d go, too. Probably build himself a treehouse, the little fucker.

He’s not yet two. That’s next week.

So. So, so, so.

Speaking of next week, I think I’m gonna go see The Well at the Vitus Bar on Wednesday. Could stand to get out for a bit, and that’s probably just enough traffic to set me right. Also look for reviews of the new Om live LP, an interview with Colour Haze about their new LP (that’s on Monday), a premiere of The Lone Madman and a review of the new Year of the Cobra. That’s your week, right there. I’m sure there will be other stuff. I can’t seem to get through laying out a week on a Friday lately without something changing that day.

Today, for example, my initial plan was the Ogre stream. Then the Bible Black Tyrant premiere came together. Fine. Then last night, the Via Vengeance premiere came together last-minute. Well, okay. So yeah. One day, three premieres, six posts, one of which is this already-gone-on-too-long chicanery. Call it madness, because it is.

Ah shit, Pecan’s awake. 6:20, for the record. I got up at 4, as ever.

Real life.

Not that fake life.

Real life.

Great and safe weekend. Forum and radio. I swear there’s new merch coming soon.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk shirts & hoodies

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Lucifer Announce Southern Tour; Lucifer III Due in March

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

lucifer

You know, with the reception Lucifer have gotten over their time together, you’d think Nicke Andersson was in The Hellacopters or something. Or that vocalist Johanna Sadonis came out of hotly-tipped but ultimately shortlived cult duo The Oath or whatever. Oh wait. Okay, so maybe it’s not much of a mystery while the heavy underground has embraced them with open arms, but the work they’re doing speaks for itself. First and foremost, they’ve busted their collective ass touring in Europe and North America, and their records — the latest being last year’s Lucifer II (review here) — have only been met with increasing fervor. Gosh. Maybe they’re a good band or something.

New record, Lucifer III, will be out in March 2020 through Century Media, but somehow I’ll always think of them as a Rise Above band. Maybe that’s just me.

Info from the PR wire:

lucifer tour

LUCIFER ANNOUNCE NORTH AMERICA PART III HEADLINE TOUR

Heavy-rock band LUCIFER have just announced their third and final leg of their North American headline tour today. The band will hit the road starting on January 15th in Memphis, TN and ending on January 26th in Tampa, FL. For more information and to purchase tickets for the band’s upcoming tour dates, visit LUCIFER’s Facebook page.

LUCIFER has been touring nonstop in support of their recent full-length album Lucifer II. The band recently wrapped a tour with The Hellacopters for select European shows in May and their first two North American headline tours. Additionally, the band has performed at festivals like Metal Days, Bukta Festival, and Beyond The Gates. They have previously performed at KISS Cruise, Psycho Las Vegas, Desertfest, Hellfest, Muskelrock, Sweden Rock, and Freak Valley.

The group, led by Johanna Sadonis and Nicke Andersson, celebrated massive success in 2018 with the release of Lucifer II, turning heads with their addictive Sabbath-ian hard rock. The album charted at #40 on the German charts, #1 on the Swedish vinyl and hard rock charts, and #2 on the physical album charts. The record is available on vinyl, CD and digitally HERE.

“Oh my Lord! We are incredibly thrilled to announce that the mighty Philip Shouse (bass for Ace Frehley / guitar for Gene Simmons) will join LUCIFER on bass in the US on our upcoming Southern tour! What a legend! Don’t miss this! Tickets go on sale this Friday.”

LUCIFER have commenced work on Lucifer III, which is set for release March 2020. Stay tuned for more details on the forthcoming release.

LUCIFER NORTH AMERICA PART III TOUR 2019
January 15 – Memphis, TN – The Hi Tone
January 16 – Dallas, TX – Three Links
January 17 – Austin, TX – Come And Take It Live
January 18 – Houston, TX – Secret Group
January 19 – New Orleans, LA – Santos
January 21- Birmingham, AL – The Nick
January 22 – Atlanta, GA – 529
January 23 – Tampa, FL – Crowbar
January 24 – Jacksonville, FL – 1904 Music Hall
January 25 – Miami, FL – Churchill’s Pub
January 26 – Orlando, FL – Will’s Pub

LUCIFER is
Johanna Sadonis – vocals
Nicke Andersson – drums
Alexander Mayr – bass
Martin Nordin – guitar
Linus Björklund – guitar

https://www.facebook.com/luciferofficial/
https://www.instagram.com/lucifertheband/
https://kingsroadmerch.com/lucifer/
http://www.centurymedia.com/
https://www.facebook.com/centurymedia

Lucifer, “California Son” official video

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