Vorare & Earthflesh Premiere “Seepage” Video; Rope Tower Collaborative LP Out May 31

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on May 3rd, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Vorare Earthflesh Rope Tower

Finnish extreme industrial two-piece Vorare are releasing two albums this month, and the Rope Tower collaboration LP pairing them with Geneva, Switzerland, experimentalist noisemaker Earthflesh is the latter of them, set to issue on May 31. That puts it just one week after the standalone Atelier lands May 24 as the follow-up to 2022’s Voyeur (review here), and that record too is a barrage of death-stench machine cruelty. The concurrent offerings began their respective recording processes about two years ago, but where Atelier was finished in May 2022, the five-track/30-minute so-dark-it’s-like-you-read-the-news Rope Tower started toward the end of that summer and seems to have been longer in its poisonous steeping.

Earthflesh earlier this year released the 39-minute single-tracker Light-Matter-Spirit — also stylized all-caps — and amid the panicked pulsations of “Seepage” premiering in the ropes-and-hoods-themed video below, the effectively noise-on-noise blend feels particularly harsh, even in the context of what Vorare have done before. It all seems to decay in the middle of the six-minute piece, with indecipherable blown-out growling to offer no real comfort and a later drag of beat offset by various electronic hums before it ends with distorted drone. That’s also how “Ovigerous” leads off Rope Tower, but the opener hits less immediately with its beat, instead using that drone and various piercing high frequencies to set the backdrop for the cruelty about to unfold.

I’ll note that “Seepage” isn’t the first reference to bodily discharge from Vorare, whose debut EP was 2022’s The Drainage Rituals (review here), but together with Earthflesh, the foreboding ambience wrought in Rope Tower is its own thing. Listening front-to-back as “Haswell” slowly fades-in its threat with howls like distant mechanized beasts or war horns echoing over devastated landscapes, the feeling is like when you stand somewhere you know that a murder or something else awful happened. That lingering aura of the reality of violent death. Certainly the suicidal/executionary imagery bolsters this impression, but as “Haswell” cymbal-washes out circa 2:50 and everything but the guttural vocals goes away for about 20 seconds before slamming back with a grueling thud, rising to a speaker-blowing (seriously, watch out) low-end static unto its gradual wash of funereal sounds, the confrontation is consuming.

“Sopite” doesn’t blink in staring into this overarching void, evolving its infected cinematic tension with non-beat rhythmic back-and-forth and elements appearing and disappearing as they go. Without the onslaught of the vocals, the penultimate piece of Rope Tower feels like a respite, but the keyboard lines in its second half and the rumble underscoring them are consistent in their horrific manifestations and more than just a setup for the eight-minute finale “Turpentine Falls,” which begins with its own flatline drone and far-back growling over the course of its first two minutes. You could call it minimal in everything but how it makes your skin crawl. It’s not until 3:47 that the beat and harsh screaming kick in, and from there, the next several minutes embark on a vicious build-up so that by the time they hit the six-minute mark, “Turpentine Falls” has grown to the LP’s most ferocious cacophony.

It’s anyone’s guess who’s meting out which aspects of the punishing entirety — most of the vocals seem to come from the Vorare side, so that’s something — but as “Turpentine Falls” shifts from its payoff to the fading residual drone that ends, it underscores the way Rope Tower works on multiple levels at once in a mix that’s deep enough to hold the monsters it does. United perhaps most of all in their readiness to push the limits of extremity in music through their way-gone-and-way-dark approaches, the alignment of Earthflesh and Vorare results in an aurally caustic and immersive nightmare. Words like ‘heavy’ don’t begin to cut it.

Rope Tower is out May 31. “Seepage” premieres below. It’s NSFW unless you never want anyone in your office or other place of employment to talk to you again. Which maybe you do, and fair enough.

Good luck:

Vorare & Earthflesh, “Seepage” video premiere

VORARE, the Finnish avant-garde drone-doom/death industrial duo comes together with the Swiss one-man drone/noise outfit EARTHFLESH to bring you the five-track, 30-minute collaboration album Rope Tower. The albums is the second of the two VORARE albums coming out in May, scheduled to be released on May 31. Pre-orders available here: https://vorare.bandcamp.com/album/rope-tower

Having crossed paths first elsewhere, the idea for the two projects to collaborate came into fruition after each noticed they’re on similar wavelengths when it comes to hallucinatory aesthetics in both aural and visual worlds. The work begun in late summer ’22 and took its own time to morph and refine over the ensuing year and a half, involving multiple recording sessions across countries, and meticulous attention to detail above all. The end result is a perfect amalgamation of the two entities, presenting familiar corners from both worlds yet discovering brand new nooks along the way.

Rope Tower is an immensely dark but pervasive journey throughout various sonic fields ranging from structured bursts of industrial and doom to seeping, slowly evolving droning ambiances, that melt together seamlessly as a single tapestry free of dashed lines and silent spaces. The narratives detail real life events from the personal to the more broad instances, more often than not brushed in monochromatic colours and vile mien. You can only match the abyss by becoming one.

1. Ovigerous (4:33)
2. Seepage (5:59)
3. Haswell (7:12)
4. Sopite (5:01)
5. Turpentine Falls (8:02)

Vorare on Facebook

Vorare on Instagram

Vorare on Bandcamp

Earthflesh on Facebook

Earthflesh on Instagram

Earthflesh on Bandcamp

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Hexvessel to Release Polar Veil Sept. 22; “Older Than the Gods” Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 29th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

hexvessel band

Maybe Polar Veil will be the moment where Hexvessel and principal songwriter Mat McNerney tie it all (or at least mostly) together. 2019’s All Tree (review here) and 2020’s Kindred stepped back into forest folk atmospheres after 2016’s When We Are Death (review here) blew the doors off what had been their established modus, McNerney by then having already begun a journey through side-projects like Beastmilk and Grave Pleasures, all three bands (and a swath of other influences) seeming to intermingle over the longer term as regards style. I get post-black metal vibes off Polar Veil‘s first single “Older Than the Gods,” with the wash of pretty but stark electric guitar at the forefront and the melodic vocals that accompany, but that’s a pretty superficial classification on my part and most of all it sounds like Hexvessel.

And at least for myself, I seem to enjoy this band most when they’re screwing with their own norms a bit. I wouldn’t expect one track ever to speak for the entirety of a Hexvessel LP, but if it’s representative even on a basic tonal level of the sphere they’re working in this time out, well, maybe the norms are getting what for.

From the PR wire:

hexvessel polar veil

Forest Folk Rockers HEXVESSEL Announce New Album, ‘POLAR VEIL’, Out September 22nd

Share New Single “Older Than the Gods” + Music Video

Preorder link: https://www.svartrecords.com/en/bestsearch/hexvessel?q=hexvessel

Finland’s HEXVESSEL return with their sixth album, ‘Polar Veil’, a cold, metallic hymn to the Sub Arctic North. Haunted by primal forest spirits, Mat “Kvohst” McNerney summons the ghosts of his past in a jaw-dropping, unheard-of rebirth of style and sound. At once unmistakably HEXVESSEL, ‘Polar Veil’ is also steeped in the nocturnal atmosphere of McNerney’s past, churned in the cauldron of black metal, ritual folk psychedelia and doom rock, and echoing with shivering gothic undertones.

From their inception in 2009, HEXVESSEL, created by Mat McNerney as what he described as “a free spiritual journey and a musical odyssey with no boundaries”, have captivated audiences and listeners with their evolution.

Holed up in a home-made studio in his log cabin during the winter of 2022, McNerney drew on all the fundamental elements of his music career as a shamanic shapeshifter, with only the isolation of nature’s solitude as inspiration. Painting an aura with ‘Polar Veil’ which resonates with solitary reflection and themes of personal spiritual transcendence, HEXVESSEL’s new album is a bold statement from an artist who continues to reinvent and explore nature mysticism through music.

When the components of the medicine are familiar but brewed in a completely novel concoction, the resulting side effects can be deliriously intoxicating. Peer behind this ‘Polar Veil’ for a breath of fresh tundra air with HEXVESSEL’s new single “Older Than The Gods” now.

“Nature represents freedom, darkness and the call of the wild. Black metal has always been at the borders of my sound and playing, at the heart of everything I do. Tradition, nature, ritual, mythology, mysticism and philosophy, along with clashing and jarring chords have always been synonymous with HEXVESSEL. It was natural with ‘Polar Veil’, finally now as we reach the zenith of the journey, that these influences surface to the human ear, and with the freezing cold guitar sound that the climate here demands.”

A track such as “Crepuscular Creatures”, with unhinged, discordant guitar chords, as bassist Ville Hakonen’s hand snakes up and down the frets, is at the more avant-garde end of the album. Long term drummer Jukka Rämänen thundering the toms like never before, as McNerney croons Scott Walker-esque lyrics, somewhere between Edith Södergran and Ted Hughes.

Whereas “Listen To The River” with its ominous M.R James/Folk Horror lyrics of perilous environmental warning, featuring Ben Chisholm main collaborator and multi-instrumentalist with Chelsea Wolfe on lush, haunting keys and strings, could have appeared on HEXVESSEL’s sophomore album ‘No Holier Temple’, albeit with a sound of that era, progressing out of folk.

‘Polar Veil’ features Nameless Void from Negative Plane, performing the guitar solo on the song “Ring” and on “Older Than The Gods”, Okoi from Bølzer provides guest vocals. At first an unlikely partnership but one that makes total sense as the album deepens, and threads can be drawn that reveal the place ‘Polar Veil’ is coming from.

On the process of recording ‘Polar Veil’, McNerney explains:

“I built a studio at home in the log hut on our field, surrounded by large trees, called Pine Hill, to escape from everything and everyone. ‘Polar Veil’ is what a spiritual home sounds like.”



Hexvessel, “Older Than the Gods” official video

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Album Review: Polymoon, Chrysalis

Posted in Reviews on February 7th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Polymoon Chrysalis

The immediate implication of Chrysalis, the second full-length from Tampere, Finland, progressive space resonators Polymoon, is metamorphosis. Major change. Progression. One thing growing into another, and perhaps, having unveiled their debut in 2020’s Caterpillars of Creation (review here), the band are talking about themselves somewhat, setting themselves in a position of being something malleable, able to grow and assume a different form than they had in a more ‘larval’ stage.

Issued through Robotor Records — the label headed by Berlin heavy rock magnates Kadavar, whose drummer Tiger Bartelt produced and mixed Polymoon at Kadavar Studio; Janne Hakanen mastered — Chrysalis comprises six songs and stretches vast distances across 44 minutes of cosmic bursts, galloping, twisting proggy thrust and a psychedelia that, while heavy in its underpinnings and accessible through melody and the bright, sometimes blinding timbre of the guitar and synth, is nonetheless flying from the moment opener “Crown of the Universe” sweeps in on a lead guitar hook from its initial two-and-a-half-minute quiet intro of synth, guitar and vocals, with precious little letup in its push from there. It’s not until side A closer “Instar,” really, two songs later, that the tension that begins in “Crown of the Universe” is released. And that is not the last time that happens.

Polymoon leave no doubt this is on purpose, and among Chrysalis‘ great triumphs is that the returning five-piece of vocalist/synthesist Kalle-Erik Kosonen, guitarists Jesse Jaksola and Otto Kontio, bassist Juuso Valli and drummer Tuomas Heikura never lose control — and their own growth as a band is writ large across the album as one of its major themes. As alluded above, they have become another thing. They have moved forward. It’s everywhere on Chrysalis. Atmospheric as they are, Kosonen‘s vocals are both higher in the mix generally and more confident in their delivery.

This is shown quickly in “Crown of the Universe” as well, which once it kicks in sees the band rocketlaunching Songs for the Deaf-desert sprint with the lyrics urging a kind of personal/galaxial rebirth, some falsetto included from Kosonen along with guest Moog from Finnish synth-wizard Esa Kotilainen (Wigwam, Tasavallan Presidentti, etc.). Accordingly, Heikura‘s drumming would be manic in its shove behind the two guitars and bass were it not so masterfully executed, lending urgency and immediacy to “Crown of the Universe” and the subsequent, even shinier “Wave Back to Confusion” early on before the glorious nine-minute “Instar” pauses at its outset, works itself into a frenzy, and, just when you think your head is about to explode because even the quiet part is interweaving angular lines of guitar, after seven minutes in, the band finally lets it go and supernova-blasts into a rolling movement slowdown, guitar solo pulled out over interstellar plod to serve as the apex for the album’s first half. Like much of Chrysalis, it is lush and gorgeous and the band know it and built it that way on purpose.

The linear quality of the three songs working together — not linear in terms of a build within the first two tracks, necessarily, though neither wants for “get loud” at its finish — pushing and carrying the listener toward that crescendo in “Instar” is further argument for Polymoon‘s evolution as being part of the story the album is telling, and in all the tumult of their conveyance, one finds especially on repeat listens a kind of overarching pulse of life to follow in and between the songs, everything feeling connected whether it’s a synthy intro to “Instar” or the consuming swirl of “Wave Back to Confusion” just before.

polymoon (Photo by Paulie Moore)

And the material on side B: the outright party that is “Set the Sun”; “A Day in the Air,” which picks up from its doomed intro for a full-speed tear that’s reminiscent of nothing so much as latter-day Enslaved (and every bit worthy of the compliment in that comparison); and the corresponding nine-minute Floyd-referencing capstone “Viper at the Gates of Dawn,” is likewise communicative. Continuing on with the next stage from “Instar” — because it’s a whole-album narrative and not just something that applies to one side and then the other –the album genuinely becomes a tale of becoming, and as much for the band as anything else. It is united by Polymoon‘s apparent ability to dizzy their audience without losing their own balance in either the writing or performance, which is something that Caterpillars of Creation hinted toward but was more focused on lumber where Chrysalis genuinely seems to be breaking free of containment and running (or flying, if we’re keeping to the metaphor) loose. But “loose” doesn’t mean sloppy, just unencumbered.

They convey this while the individual members simultaneously put on a clinic in their respective crafts, whether it’s the classy fluidity with which Kontio and Jaksola interact on guitar and the attention to detail of their work there, the nuance of that interplay — not to mention whatever the hell is happening with the solos at the start of “A Day in the Air,” or Valli saving some but by no means all of the tastiest basslines for “Viper at the Gates of Dawn,” or Heikura‘s stunning performance throughout, the drums challenging every other instrument to keep up, which is a game that, thankfully, the band as a whole is prepared to play.

Together with Kosonen‘s noted progression on vocals and the abiding melody of the keys, the delicate manner in which atmospheres are concocted, the sheer wash they create at times, Polymoon are able to affect a run like that in “A Day in the Air,” building dreamily with delightful, playful misdirection toward a huge, encompassing doomly stride that’s outright heavier than they’ve been on record to-date. They rightly ride that groove to the end of the song and crash it out — you’ll note it wasn’t until track three on side A that they hit the slowdown; they’re changing up structure and how the songs function on their sides, again adding to the richness of the overall listening experience —  ahead of the snare-to-start non-intro to “Viper at the Gates of Dawn,” which is soon ringing out petals of lead guitar through deceptively grounded verses in rushing-but-unrushed antimatter-fueled krautmetal fashion.

“Viper at the Gates of Dawn” summarizes well the strengths to be found throughout Chrysalis, including the flow that brings it methodically to its heavier push, echoing vocals after the two-minute mark as Kosonen recalls the falsetto he unveiled in “Crown of the Universe” and uses it in such a way as to set up a self-call-and-response before gliding over the subsequent verse. Oh, and then they start to mean business. Guitar surges forward as the vocals fade back, the solo lining up with the rhythm line, moving around it, drums and bass running alongside. The vocals come back before six minutes in, joining the build for a last chorus, a note held like they didn’t want to let it go, and then the quiet drift that might be flight moves further and further out, peaceful as it goes, offers one last moment of grace to appreciate on a record that’s already given much in that regard.

Of course, they’ve set themselves up for the third installment in the trilogy. The caterpillar crawled. The chrysalis brought change. The butterfly would seem to be the next logical step. Or maybe this story is done. I don’t know, and while speculation is fun, that’s all it is. If this an ending or a beginning — a bit of both — it is the accomplishments throughout Chrysalis in realizing an evolved vision of what Polymoon‘s debut was that are most striking, whatever potential there may also be for the band to take it a step further still. This is the kind of album that’s able to take notions and tropes of genre to places they do not often go, and to meld stylistic elements that in less capable hands would be too disparate to connect. And to do it with class, and distinction, and passion. Beautiful.

Polymoon, Chrysalis (2023)

Polymoon, “Set the Sun” official video

Polymoon, “Wave Back to Confusion” official video

Polymoon on Facebook

Polymoon on Instagram

Polymoon on Bandcamp

Polymoon on Soundcloud

Robotor Records on Facebook

Robotor Records on Instagram

Robotor Records on Bandcamp

Robotor Records website

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Polymoon Post “Set the Sun”; Chrysalis Release Nears

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 25th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Polymoon smack of brilliance. Like, right upside your head. The Finnish not-upstart-for-much-longer prog-psych troupe have unveiled their video for “Set the Sun,” the second single from their upcoming sophomore long-player, Chrysalis, and it’s a beautiful bit of aural wash krautmetal, feverish in its affect but controlled in terms of performance even as it pushes toward its dramatic apex, conveying the sense of transition happening across the record in a surge of volume that, well, whatever space you can give it, give it and know that by the time the near-seven minutes are up, you won’t regret having done so.

Chrysalis is out Feb. 17. I’ve booked out Feb. 7 to review it and no, I don’t think there’s going to be a premiere with that or anything, but it’s a deep record and I want to try to give it its due anyhow, since it’s very clear to me in listening that a lot of love went into making it. I think you can hear some of that in “Set the Sun,” about which you can read more in the blue text off the PR wire, and for which you can find the video at the bottom of this post. Note that Marco Menestrina of Kaleidobolt helped make it. Figures Polymoon and Kaleidobolt would be buds. I’m sure there’s a ‘New Wave of…’ joke to be made there, but frankly even those two groups are too distinct to really be part of a wave. I’m just glad they exist.

Good shit awaits, go go go:

Polymoon set the Sun single

Polymoon’s 2nd single ‘SET THE SUN’ out now

Stream Link: https://polymoon.lnk.to/SetTheSun

Pre-Order Chrysalis LP: https://www.robotorrecords.com/polymoon

Take a step into the unknown and dive into the second single from Polymoon’s highly anticipated sophomore album “Chrysalis”. “Set The Sun” takes a heavier turn both sonically and visually and spirals into the world of figure skating.

The second appetizer from Polymoon’s sophomore album “Chrysalis” will be available in visual form this Friday. The second single “Set The Sun” will be available on all streaming platforms on the 20th of January. “Chrysalis” will be released by Berlin-based and Kadavar driven label Robotor Records on the 17th of February, 2023.

“Set The Sun” is the second single from the forthcoming album “Chrysalis” and is accompanied by a music video directed, filmed and edited by Polymoon members Kalle-Erik Kosonen, Jesse Jaksola and Marco Menestrina. In the music video, Polymoon guitarist Jesse Jaksola wanders around an eerie wintery forest on a bicycle before seeing his life flash before his eyes. However, the ephemeral vision takes him to a whole another world. Check it out below.

“‘In this song, the second phase of metamorphosis has begun and the golden chrysalis starts to form around the character. The song is a depiction of depression and closing into the shell. There is a party for one in a golden room inside one’s mind.

Set The Sun is musically the heaviest song of the album. It goes hand in hand with the lyrics, from sanity to insanity. It is dark and majestic. You’ll find yourself singing the lyrics with a smile on your face and you have no idea why. We wanted to create a beautiful and dreamy music video that has contrast to the heaviness of the song.

The progressive and heavy rock genre we represent has maintained a rather traditional and one-dimensional image of what kind of art and for what kind of audience is made within the genre. Through our visual expression, we want to break the structures of a genre perceived as strongly masculine and with our own contribution make the scene safe and easily approachable for all listeners.”

“Chrysalis” – out February 17 – follows Polymoon’s critically acclaimed debut album “Caterpillars Of Creation” that was released in 2020. The new album is set to be released while the band is on tour, performing alongside the Finnish psychedelic rock group Death Hawks with announced dates in early 2023.

Tuomas Heikura / Drums
Jesse Jaksola / Guitar
Otto Kontio / Guitar
Kalle-Erik Kosonen / Vocals, Synthesizer
Juuso Valli / Bass



Polymoon, “Set the Sun” official video

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Polymoon Post “Wave Back to Confusion” Video; Chrysalis Due Feb. 17

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 30th, 2022 by JJ Koczan


The video at the bottom of this post for the new Polymoon single “Wave Back to Confusion” — because surely confusion is waving at us — carries with it the first audio from the band’s upcoming second album, Chrysalis. To be released Feb. 17, 2023 — the future! — it is the follow-up to Caterpillars of Creation (review here), the Tampere, Finland, outfit’s wildly impressive debut full-length, and a record they seem intent on blowing out the airlock with the cosmic and progressive heavy rock on display throughout its progeny.

In five minutes, Polymoon assure of progressive intent and craft through the purposefulness with which they approach space rock, setting alight the psychedelia that defined the already-multifaceted Caterpillars of Creation with shimmering tonality and a gonna-just-spread-this-sound-out-all-over-right-here mindset that speaks to both their ongoing search for new ground and their mastery over the terrain they currently occupy. Feels needless to say, but I look forward to more.

February is a whole season away, but especially since Polymoon are touring in October, one somehow doubts this will be the last time they’re heard from before Chrysalis arrives as their first offering through Robotor Records.

Said label was kind enough to shoo this down the PR wire:

polymoon chrysalis

Polymoon – Chrysalis

Berlin-based label Robotor Records to release Polymoon’s first single Wave Back To Confusion on the Friday 30th of September.

Preorder: https://www.robotorshop.com/robde/polymoon.html

The first appetizer from Polymoon’s sophomore album Chrysalis will soon be available in visual form. The first single from the forthcoming album called Wave Back To Confusion will be available on all platforms on the 30th of September. Chrysalis will be released by Robotor Records on the 17th of February, 2023.

Polymoon have since their inception strived to encapsulate their psychedelic vision into a concrete form, the first result of which was their critically acclaimed debut album Caterpillars of Creation released via Svart Records in the fall of 2020. Polymoon have since then honed their vision and signed a pact with Robotor Records. Polymoon’s second musical manifestation will be released through Robotor Records on the 17th of February, 2023.

“Wave Back To Confusion is a song about drowning and letting things go. Through purifying drowning, all vanities disappear and the purpose of life is revealed. Listen to the song and you will find yourself swimming among sparkling lakes made of stars and blissful nuclear explosions full of colors.”

Polymoon is a rock band from Tampere, Finland where it was formed in the autumn of 2018. Polymoon’s unique sound draws from various influences, including psychedelic rock, progressive rock and shoegaze. Since its formation, Polymoon has aimed to lift the listener to a higher level of existence through the aural combination of euphoria and melancholia. On their debut album, Polymoon strived to lure their listeners towards them, to join them behind their secretive veil.

But Polymoon is this formless entity no more. On their second album the clandestine curtains have been opened: embrace the second phase of Polymoon’s metamorphosis where everything is exposed and nothing is hidden anymore. The chrysalis is opening and the newly-formed wings are slowly unfolding. Old conventions have been blown to pieces and the shell is cracking. The rays of light are shining through more brightly than ever before. Be prepared to dance.

Upcoming Polymoon gigs:
30.9. Lost In Music Festival / G Livelab, Tampere
7.10. Lepakkomies, Helsinki
8.10. Vastavirta, Tampere
12.10. Schaubude, Kiel
13.10. Café Mukkes, Leeuwarden
14.10. TBA
15.10. De Onderbroek, Nijmegen
16.10. Desertfest Antwerp
18.10. C.Keller & Galerie Markt 21, Weimar
19.10. Zukunft Am Ostkreuz, Berlin
20.10. Warsztat, Kraków
21.10. Lemmy, Kaunas
22.10. Depo, Riika
23.10. Sveta Baar, Tallinna

Tuomas Heikura / Drums
Jesse Jaksola / Guitar
Otto Kontio / Guitar
Kalle-Erik Kosonen / Vocals, Synthesizer
Juuso Valli / Bass



Polymoon, “Wave Back to Confusion” official video

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Quarterly Review: Yatra, Sula Bassana, Garden of Worm, Orthodox, Matus, Shrooms Circle, Goatriders, Arthur Brown, Green Sky Accident, Pure Land Stars

Posted in Reviews on September 19th, 2022 by JJ Koczan


Oh hello. I didn’t see you there. What, this? Oh, this is just me hanging out about to review 100 records in 10 days’ time. Yup, it’s another double-wide Quarterly Review, and I’m telling myself that no, this isn’t just how life is now, that two full weeks of 10 reviews per day isn’t business as usual, but there’s an exceptional amount of music out there right now, and no, this isn’t even close to all of it. But I’m doing my best to keep up and this is what that looks like.

The bottom line is the same as always and I’ll give it to you up front and waste no more time: I hope you enjoy the music here and find something to love.

So let’s go.

Quarterly Review #01-10:

Yatra, Born into Chaos

yatra born into chaos

The partnership between Chesapeake extremists Yatra and producer Noel Mueller continues to bear fruit on the band’s fourth album and first for Prosthetic Records. Their descent from thick, nasty sludge into death metal is complete, and songs like “Terminate by the Sword” and “Terrorizer” have enough force behind them to become signature pieces. The trio of Dana Helmuth (guitar/vocals), Maria Geisbert (bass) and Sean Lafferty (drums, also Grave Bathers) have yet to sound so utterly ferocious, and as each of their offerings has pushed further into the tearing-flesh-like-paper and rot-stenched realms of metal, Born into Chaos brings the maddening intensity of “Wrath of the Warmaster” and the Incantation-worthy chug of closer “Tormentation,” with massive chug, twisting angularity and brain-melting blasts amid the unipolar throatripper screams from Helmuth (reminds at times of Grutle Kjellson from Enslaved), by now a familiar rasp that underscores the various violences taking place within the eight included tracks. I bet they get even meaner next time,. That’s just how Yatra do. But it’ll be a challenge.

Yatra on Facebook

Prosthetic Records store


Sula Bassana, Nostalgia

Sula Bassana Nostalgia

Part of the fun of a new Sula Bassana release is not knowing what you’re going to get, and Nostalgia, which is built from material recorded between 2013-’18 and finished between 2019-’21, is full of surprises. The heavy space grunge of lead cut “Real Life,” which along with its side A companion “We Will Make It” actually features vocals from Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt himself (!), is the first here but not the last. That song beefs up early Radiohead drudgery, and “We Will Make It” is like what happens when space rock actually gets to space, dark in a way but expansive and gorgeous. Side B is instrumental, but the mellotron in “Nostalgia” — how could a track called “Nostalgia” not have mellotron? — goes a long way in terms of atmosphere, and the 10-minute “Wurmloch” puts its well-schooled krautrockism to use amid melodic drone before the one-man-jam turns into a freakout rager (again: !), and the outright beautiful finisher “Mellotraum” turns modern heavy post-rock on its head, stays cohesive despite all the noise and haze and underscores the mastery Schmidt has developed in his last two decades of aural exploration. One wonders to what this sonic turn might lead timed so close to his departure from Electric Moon and building a Sula live band, but either way, more of this, please. Please.

Sula Bassana on Facebook

Sulatron Records store


Garden of Worm, Endless Garden

Garden of Worm Endless Garden

Continuing a streak of working with highly-respected imprints, Finland’s Garden of Worm release their third album, the eight-song/43-minute Endless Garden, through Nasoni Records after two prior LPs through Shadow Kingdom and Svart, respectively. There have been lineup changes since 2015’s Idle Stones (review here), but the band’s classically progressive aspects have never shone through more. The patient unfolding of “White Ship” alone is evidence for this, never mind everything else that surrounds, and though the earlier “Name of Lost Love” and the closer “In the Absence of Memory” nod to vintage doom and the nine-minute penultimate “Sleepy Trees” basks in a raw, mellow Floydian melody, the core of the Tampere outfit remains their unpredictability and the fact that you never quite know where you’re going until you’re there. Looking at you, “Autumn Song,” with that extended flute-or-what-ever-it-is intro before the multi-layered folk-doom vocal kicks in. For over a decade now, Garden of Worm have been a well kept secret, and honestly, that kind of works for the vibe they cast here; like you were walking through the forest and stumbled into another world. Good luck getting back.

Garden of Worm on Facebook

Nasoni Records site


Orthodox, Proceed

orthodox proceed

Untethered by genre and as unorthodox as ever, Sevilla, Spain, weirdo doom heroes Orthodox return with Proceed after four years in the ether, and the output is duly dug into its own reality of ritualism born more of creation than horror-worship across the six included songs. “Arendrot” carries some shade from past dronings, and certainly the opener before it is oddball enough, with its angular riffing and later, Iberian-folk-derived solo, but there’s a straigter-forward aspect to Proceed as well, the vocals lending a character of noise rock and less outwardly experimentalist fare. “Rabid God” brings that forward with due intensity before the hi-hat-shimmy-meets-cave-lumber-doom “Starve” and the lurching/ambient doomjazz “The Son, the Sword, the Bread” set up the 10-minute closer “The Long Defeat,” which assures the discomforted that at least at some point when they were kids Orthodox listened to metal. Righteously individual, their work isn’t for everyone, and it’s by no means free of indulgence, but in 42 minutes, Orthodox once again stretch the limits of what doom means in a way that most bands wouldn’t dare even if they wanted to, and if you can’t respect that, then I’ve got nothing for you.

Orthodox on Facebook

Alone Records store


Matus, Espejismos II

Matus Espejismos II

Fifty years from now, some brave archivalist soul is going to reissue the entire catalog of Lima, Peru’s Matus and blow minds far and wide. A follow-up to 2013’s Espejismos (review here), Espejismos II brings theremin-laced vintage Sabbath rock vibes across its early movements, going so far as to present “Umbral / Niebla de Neón” in mono, while the minute-and-a-half-long “Los Ojos de Vermargar (Early Version)” is pure fuzz and the organ-laced “Hada Morgana (Early Instrumental Mix)” — that and “Umbra; / Niebla de Neón” appeared in ‘finished versions on 2015’s Claroscuro (review here); “Summerland” dates back to 2010’s M​á​s Allá Del Sol Poniente (review here), so yes, time has lost all meaning — moves into the handclap-and-maybe-farfisa-organ “Canción para Nuada,” one of several remixes with rerecorded drums. “Rocky Black” is an experiment in sound collage, and “Misquamacus” blends acoustic intricacy and distorted threat, while capper “Adiós Afallenau (Version)” returns the theremin for a two-minute walk before letting go to a long stretch of silence and some secret-track-style closing cymbals. The best thing you can do with Matus is just listen. It’s its own thing, it always has been, and the experimental edge brought to classic heavy rock is best taken on with as open a mind as possible. Let it go where it wants to go and the rewards will be plenty. And maybe in another five decades everyone will get it.

Matus on Facebook

Espíritus Inmundos on Facebook


Shrooms Circle, The Constant Descent

Shrooms Circle The Constant Descent

Offset by interludes like the classical-minded “Aversion” or the bass-led “Reprobation,” or even the build-up intro “S.Z.,” the ritual doom nod of Swiss five-piece Shrooms Circle‘s The Constant Descent is made all the more vital through the various keys at work across its span, whether it’s organ or mellotron amid the lumbering weight of the riffs. “Perpetual Decay” and its companion interlude “Amorphous” dare a bit of beauty, and that goes far in adding context and scope to the already massive sounding “The Unreachable Spiral” and the subtle vocal layering in “The Constant Descent.” Someone in this band likes early Type O Negative, and that’s just fine. Perhaps most of all, the 11-song/48-minute The Constant Descent is dynamic enough so that no matter where a given song starts, the listener doesn’t immediately know where it’s going to end up, and taking that in combination with the command shown throughout “Demotion,” “Perpetual Decay,” the eight-minute “Core Breakdown” and the another-step-huger finale “Stagnant Tide,” Shrooms Circle‘s second album offers atmosphere and craft not geared toward hooking the audience with catchy songwriting so much as immersing them in the mood and murk in which the band seem to reside. If Coven happened for the first time today, they might sound like this.

Shrooms Circle on Facebook

DHU Records store


Goatriders, Traveler

Goatriders Traveler

I’m gonna tell you straight out: Don’t write this shit off because Goatriders is a goofy band name or because the cover art for their second album, Traveler, is #vanlife carrot gnomes listening to a tape player on a hillside (which is awesome, by the way). There’s more going on with the Linköping four-piece than the superficialities make it seem. “Unscathed” imagines what might have happened if Stubb and Hexvssel crossed paths on that same hill, and the album careens back and forth smoothly between longer and shorter pieces across 50 engrossing minutes; nature-worshiping, low-key dooming and subtly genre-melding all the while. Then they go garage on “The Garden,” the album seeming to get rawer in tone as it proceeds toward “Witches Walk” and the a capella finish in “Coven,” which even that they can’t resist blowing out at the end. With the hypnotic tom work and repeat riffing of the instrumental “Elephant Bird” at its center and the shouted culminations of “Goat Head Nebula” and “Unscathed,” the urgent ritualizing of “Snakemother” and the deceptive poise at the outset with “Atomic Sunlight,” Traveler finds truth in its off-kilter presentation. You don’t get Ozium, Majestic Mountain and Evil Noise on board by accident. Familiar as it is and drawing from multiple sides, I’m hard-pressed to think of someone doing exactly what Goatriders do, and that should be taken as a compliment.

Goatriders on Facebook

Majestic Mountain Records store

Evil Noise Recordings store

Ozium Records store


Arthur Brown, Long Long Road

Arthur Brown Long Long Road

At the tender age of 80, bizarrist legend Arthur Brown — the god of hellfire, as the cover art immediately reminds — presents Long Long Road to a new generation of listeners. His first album under his own name in a decade — The Crazy World of Arthur Brown released Gypsy Voodoo (can you still say that?) in 2019 — and written and performed in collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Rik Patten, songs like “Going Down” revisit classic pageantry in organ and horns and the righteous lyrical proclamations of the man himself, while “I Like Games” toys with blues vibes in slide acoustic, kick drum thud and harmonica sleazenanigans, while the organ-and-electric “The Blues and Messing Round” studs with class and “Long Long Road” reminds that “The future’s open/The past is due/In this moment/Where everything that comes is new,” a hopeful message before “Once I Had Illusions (Part 2)” picks up where its earlier companion-piece left off in a manner that’s both lush and contemplative, more than a showpiece for Brown‘s storytelling and still somehow that. His legacy will forever be tied to The Crazy World of Arthur Brown‘s late-1960s freakery, but Long Long Road is the work of an undimmed creative spirit and still bolder than 90 percent of rock bands will ever dare to be.

Arthur Brown on Facebook

Magnetic Eye Records store

Prophecy Productions store


Green Sky Accident, Daytime TV

Green Sky Accident Daytime TV

Ultimately, whether one ends up calling Green Sky Accident‘s Daytime TV progressive psychedelia, heavier post-rock or some other carved-out microgenre, the reality of the 10-song/50-minute Apollon Records release is intricate enough to justify the designation. Richly melodic and unafraid to shimmer brightly, cuts like “Point of No Return” and the later dancer “Finding Failure” are sweet in mood and free largely of the pretense of indie rock, though “Insert Coin” and the penultimate piano interlude “Lid” are certainly well dug-in, but “Sensible Scenes,” opener “Faded Memories,” closer “While We Lasted” and the ending of “Screams at Night” aren’t lacking either for movement or tonal presence, and that results in an impression more about range underscored by songwriting and melody than any kind of tonal or stylistic showcase. The Bergen, Norway, four-piece are, in other words, on their own trip. And as much float as they bring forth, “In Vain” reimagines heavy metal as a brightly expressive terrestrial entity, a thing to be made and remade according to the band’s own purpose for it, and the title-track similarly balances intensity with a soothing affect. I guess this is what alt rock sounds like in 2022. Could be far worse, and indeed, it presents an ‘other’ vision from the bulk of what surrounds it even in an underground milieu. On a personal level, I can’t decide if I like it, and I kind of like that about it.

Green Sky Accident on Facebook

Apollon Records store


Pure Land Stars, Trembling Under the Spectral Bodies

Pure Land Stars Trembling Under the Spectral Bodies

With members of Cali psych-of-all explorers White Manna at their core, Pure Land Stars begin a series called ‘Altered States’ that’s a collaboration between Centripetal Force and Cardinal Fuzz Records, and if you’re thinking that that’s going to mean it’s way far out there, you’re probably not thinking far enough. Kosmiche drones and ambient foreboding in “Flotsam” and “3rd Grace” make the acoustic strum of “Mountains are Mountains” seem like a terrestrial touch-down, while “Chime the Kettle” portrays a semi-industrial nature-worship jazz, and “Jetsam” unfolds like a sunrise but if the sun suddenly came up one day and was blue. “Lavendar Crowd” (sic) turns the experimentalism percussive, but it’s that experimentalism at the project’s core, whether that’s manifest in the nigh-on-cinematic “Dr. Hillarious” (sic) or the engulf-you-now eight-minute closer “Eyes Like a Green Ceiling,” which is about as far from the keyboardy kratrock of “Flotsam” as the guitar effects and improvised sounding soloing of “Jetsam” a few tracks earlier. Cohesive? Sure. But in its own dimension. I don’t know if Pure Land Stars is a ‘band’ or a one-off, but they give ‘Altered States’ a rousing start that more than lives up to the name. Take a breath first. Maybe a drink of water. Then dive in.

Pure Land Stars on Bandcamp

Centripetal Force Records store

Cardinal Fuzz Records store


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Polymoon Announce October Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 25th, 2022 by JJ Koczan


Tampere, Finland, heavy psych proggers Polymoon have a slew of live dates set up in Europe for October around a slot at Desertfest Belgium in Antwerp. There are club dates and a couple TBAs, as will happen, but it’s a fitting answer to the tour the five-piece did this past Spring supporting their 2020 debut album, Caterpillars of Creation (review here), which came out on Svart and found the band last year getting picked up by Robotor Records, the label run by Kadavar.

In style and substance, that’s a good fit. And I’ve been kind of hoping that Polymoon would get down to business on a follow-up to Caterpillars of Creation sometime soon, but neither will I begrudge them giving the first record its due. Not their fault that’s happening two years later. Let the album come in 2023 if that’s when it comes. And maybe it’s not, mind you. I have no idea.

I’m just a caveman, and so on.

From the PR wire:



Polymoon, whose debut album Caterpillars of Creation garnered international recognition and praise, announces an European tour.

Polymoon released their debut album Caterpillars Of Creation in the fall of 2020 through Svart Records and later signed to the German Robotor Records. The European tour is called the Battling Snakes Tour and it is set to happen in October 2022. During the tour the band will perform at Desertfest Antwerp, among others!

Polymoon is a quintet based in Tampere, Finland. Since 2019, they’ve adventured in the blossoming psychedelic music scene of Finland where the band is known for its energetic and spectacular live performances. In the music of the band, both euphoria and melancholy are merged guiding the listener to a new level of being – to embrace the psychedelic monolith.

The band’s debut album Caterpillars Of Creation, released through Svart Records, saw the light of day in September 2020, gathering attention around the world. At the end of the year, Caterpillars Of Creation found its way to a dozen “Best of 2020” lists and received a vast array of excellent reviews. During the spring of 2022, Polymoon did its initial live experimentations outside of Finland. These included performances at Sonic Whip and Desertfest Berlin. During the pandemic, the band performed at the online version of the legendary Roadburn Festival (Redux).

The band, who quickly sold out the first edition of their debut album, signed a recording contract in the summer of 2021 with German Robotor Records, led by the band Kadavar.

Battling Snakes Tour 2022:
Fri 7.10. Lepakkomies, Helsinki
Sat 8.10. Vastavirta, Tampere
Wed 12.10. Schaubude, Kiel
Thu 13.10. TBA
Fri 14.10. TBA
Sat 15.10. De Onderbroek, Nijmegen
Sun 16.10. Desertfest Antwerp
Tue 18.10. C.Keller, Weimar
Wed 19.10. Zukunft Am Ostkreuz, Berlin
Thu 20.10. Klub RE, Kraków
Fri 21.10. Lemmy, Kaunas
Sat 22.10. Depo, Riga
Sun 23.10. Sveta Baar, Tallinn

Tuomas Heikura / Drums
Jesse Jaksola / Guitar
Otto Kontio / Guitar
Kalle-Erik Kosonen / Vocals, Synthesizer
Juuso Valli / Bass



Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation (2020)

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Vorare Premiere “Floodmines”; Voyeur Out Aug. 30

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 12th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

vorare floodmines video

Resoundingly bleak Finnish experimentalists Vorare will release their debut album, Voyeur, on Aug. 30 through Total Dissonance Worship. The eight-song/41-minute here’s-a-carcass-style offering follows behind the Tampere two-piece of EV and EH‘s first EP, The Drainage Rituals (review here), and its willfully dreadful, abrasive sprawl codifies much of what the prior release had to offer, the band creating a sound that is as extreme as any of the most aggro heavy metals, but fits neatly alongside none of them. Crashes and punch of industrial beats meet with piercing high-pitched noise, the is-it-on ambient minimalism in the pre-swell moments of the title-track, the biting insect wash that ensues, and anywhere you try to find safe ground on Voyeur, the floor collapses from underneath. Punishing. At times genuine aural horror. Brutal in its worldmaking.

The video for “Floodmines” asks an important question that applies to the rest of Voyeur around it, which is what do you do when even the light won’t save you? Imagine yourself out for a hike on a gorgeous and sunny day. You come into a clearing from a forest of gorgeous evergreens into some tall grasses, and just as you’re thinking you’re glad you splurged for the good boots, you find two beige-cloaked figures standing completely still, staring directly at you as the wind blows by. There’s going to be a moment of panic and surprise, even before you get to fight or flight, as your brain processes what you’re seeing and interprets the utter terror of the possibilities derived from it. Take that moment, stretch it out across the entire droning four minutes of drum-backed noise and deep, deep-placed creeper keyboard or guitar — I’m not even sure what that is, but it’s there for a while in the middle of the song before it all collapses into the last drones — and then stretch it further across the rest of the record. That’s not to say it all sounds the same — there’s any number of places to start when flaying your listener’s illusions of security in this world — but “Floodmines” represents the ethic that seems to unite the material despite the different angles EV and EH (who between them have a pedigreeVorare Voyeur that includes MireplanerFargueFawn Limbs, Positiivinen Ongelma and probably more just in the last few years) use to approach their task.

Their purposeful use of empty space throughout is a strength. Beginning with the immersive two-song salvo of “This Body Aweigh” and the already noted title-track — two of only three songs to top six minutes long; the other is closer “Barren,” which stands testament to intentional sequencing — and across the would-be-primitive-were-it-not-so-progressive dancing-in-water-with-weights-on beat pulsations and various howling musical animalia of “A Mountain Hewed of Light” and the intermittently chaotic “Tarnished Nature,” which, like the subsequent “Floodmines” feels improvised in some of its synth layers, Voyeur might periodically just blank out to silence or near-silence, and the effect can be as jarring as the high-frequency stabs that ensue all the while and seem to come even more forward on “Orifice Carver,” “They Are Here” and “Barren” on side B. It’s one of the ways in which Vorare create this unsettling space, where one never quite understands where they are or what might be coming, but the feeling of threat is the universal, whether it’s the industrial collapse of “They Are Here” or the volume trades of “Tarnished Nature” or the overwhelming feeling of burning in “This Body Aweigh” for about a minute in the first half of the song before that too caves in on itself and moves elsewhere, vocals trading between higher and lower screams and growls in the meantime. These all come together and feed the violence of the atmosphere. Clearly the dead were lucky in whatever apocalypse just took place.

But there’s life in here as well, represented not so much in the vocals that may or may not be included/needed in a given piece — singles are decent for building anticipation and spreading the word about a release, but Voyeur very much deserves to be listened to in its entirety, by those who can make it through front-to-back, anyhow — but in some of the harshest stretches of noise, as beneath the blowout vocal layers on “Voyeur,” where the synth line changes subtly to represent the foundation of craft here. That is, it’s impossible to listen to Voyeur especially after The Drainage Rituals (which was recorded after but released first) earlier this year and call it coincidence or a one-off. There is a plan at work, a style being cultivated as though from the earth and shaped into what Vorare want it to be, these discomfiting sculptures of manipulated sound. EH and EV have already begun to refine — such as the word applies — their take, and I’m not sure there’s anything anyone can do to halt that process. I’d tell you to be forewarned, but if you can dig into it, you won’t need the warning, and if you can’t, you’ve already stopped reading. So there.


Vorare, “Floodmines” video premiere

“Floodmines” is the second single taken from our upcoming full-length “Voyeur”, out on August 30 in collaboration with Total Dissonance Worship. Preorder here: https://linktr.ee/vorare



VORARE is a fresh entity formed by two individuals destined to mold a spiritual and holistic aural and visual experience out of leanings falling to the spectrum of drone-doom, noise, industrial, and electronic music. The pair’s experimental tendencies first took shape in the form of Voyeur, that’s to be released on August 30 in collaboration with Total Dissonance Worship.

Voyeur was composed and recorded within the span of five days this January, at a snow-barred cabin in the woods, in the middle of nowhere. Due to logistics, VORARE postponed the release of the album, and compensated this delay with the release of The Drainage Rituals this May. While this later-conceived EP was deeply rooted in evolving ambiances and tonal control, Voyeur is a brutally primitive and exceedingly aggressive pathos to the point of surpassing caustic proportions.

VORARE’s leading motif is to enthrall the listener with delicate sound design and shroud them with brute force, keeping the listener’s emotions hostage while engulfing them fully with their abstract and abrasive noisescapes. Stylistically spanning from drone-doom to harsh noise and even industrial-tinged IDM, VORARE always leads with the experimentation and notion of avant-garde firmly on the forefront, from the initial instrumentation and compositions to the ultimate aesthetic.

1. This Body Aweigh
2. Voyeur
3. A Mountain Hewed of Light
4. Tarnished Nature
5. Floodmines
6. Orifice Carver
7. They Are Here
8. Barren


Vorare on Facebook

Vorare on Instagram

Vorare on Bandcamp

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