Quarterly Review: Wolvennest, Lammping, Lykantropi, Mainliner, DayGlo Mourning, Chamán, Sonic Demon, Sow Discord, Cerbère, Dali’s Llama

Posted in Reviews on March 29th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

The Spring 2021 Quarterly Review begins here, and as our long winter of plague-addled discontent is made glorious spring by this son of York Beach, I can hardly wait to dig in. You know the drill. 50 records between now and Friday, 10 per day. It’s a lot. It’s always a lot. That’s the point.

Words on the page. If I have a writing philosophy, that’s it. Head down, keep working. And that’s the challenge here. Can you get over your own crap and say what you need to say about 10 records every day for five days straight out? I’ll be exhausted by the end of the week for sure. I’ll let you know when we get there if it feels any different. Till then, let’s roll.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Wolvennest, Temple

Wolvennest Temple

The second full-length offering — and I mean that: ‘offering’ — from Belgium’s Wolvennest is an expansive and immersive follow-up to their 2018 debut, Void, as the Brussels six-piece offers next-stage extreme cult rock. Across 77 willfully-unmanageable and mind-altering minutes, the troupe caroms between (actual) psychedelic black metal and sheer sonic ritualism, and the intent is made plain from 12:26 opener/longest track (immediate points) “Mantra” onward. Wolvennest are enacting a ceremony and it’s up to the listener to be willing to engage with the material on that level. Their command is unwavering as the the heft and wash of “Alecto” and the ethereal swirl and dual vocal arrangement of “All that Black” show, but while King Dude himself shows up on “Succubus,” and that’s fun, especially followed by the penultimate downward march of “Disappear,” the greatest consumption is saved for “Souffle de Mort” (“breath of death,” in English; it’s not about eggs). In that 10-minute finale, marked out by the French-language declarations of Shazzula Vultura, Wolvennest not only make it plain just how far they’ve brought you, but that they intend to leave you there as well.

Wolvennest on Thee Facebooks

Ván Records website

 

Lammping, New Jaws EP

lammping new jaws

A 15-minute playful jaunt into the funk-grooving max-fuzzed whatever-works garage headtrip if Toronto’s Lammping is right on the money. The four-piece start channel-spanning and mellow with “Jaws of Life” — which is a righteous preach, even though I don’t know the lyrics — and follow with the complementary vibe of “The Funkiest,” which would seem to be titled in honor of its bassline and conjures out-there’est Masters of Reality in its face-painted BlueBoy lysergics over roughly traditional songwriting. Is “Neverbeen” weirder? You know it. Dreamily so, and it’s followed by the genuinely-experimental 40 seconds of “Big Time the Big Boss” and the closer “Other Shoe,” which if it doesn’t make you look forward to the next Lammping album, I’m sorry to say it, but you might be dead. Sorry for your loss. Of you. This shit is killer and deserves all the ears it can get with its early ’90s weirdness that’s somehow also from the late ’60s and still the future too because what is time anyway and screw it we’re all lost let’s ride.

Lammping on Instagram

Nasoni Records website

 

Lykantropi, Tales to Be Told

Lykantropi Tales To Be Told

Tales to Be Told is the late-2020 third long-player from Swedish classicists Lykantropi, following 2019’s Spirituosa (review here) with a warmth of tone that’s derived from ’70s folk rock and vaguely retro in its tones and drum sounds, but remains modern in its hookmaking and it’s not exactly like they’re trying to hide where they’re coming from when they break out the flute sounds. Harmonies in “Mother of Envy” make that song a passionate highlight, while the respective side-endings in “Kom Ta Mig Ut” and “Världen Går Vidare” add to the exploratory and roots-proggy listening experience, the album’s finale dropping its drums before the three-minute mark to allow for a drifting midsection en route to a class finish that answers the choruses of “Spell of Me” and “Axis of Margaret” earlier with due spaciousness. Clean and clear and wanting nothing aesthetically or emotionally, Tales to Be Told is very much a third album in how realized it feels.

Lykantropi on Thee Facebooks

Despotz Records website

 

Mainliner, Dual Myths

Mainliner Dual Myths

Japanese trio Mainliner — comprised of guitarist Kawabata Makoto (Acid Mothers Temple), bassist/vocalist Kawabe Taigen (Bo Ningen) and drummer Koji Shimura (Acid Mothers Temple) — are gentle at the outset of Dual Myths but don’t wait all that long before unveiling their true freak-psych intention in the obliterating 20 minutes of “Blasphemy Hunter,” the opener/longest track (immediate points) that’s followed by the likewise side-consuming left-the-air-lock-behind-and-found-antimatter-was-made-of-feedback “Hibernator’s Dream” (18:38), the noisier, harsher fuckall spread of “Silver Guck” (19:28) and the gut-riffed/duly scorched jazz shredder “Dunamist Zero” (20:08), which culminates the 2LP beast about as well as anything could, earning the gatefold with sheer force of intent to be and to harness the far-out into some loosely tangible thing. Stare into the face of the void and the void doesn’t so much stare back as turn your lungs into party balloons.

Mainliner on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records website

 

DayGlo Mourning, Dead Star

DayGlo Mourning Dead Star

On a certain level, what you see is what you get with the Orion slavegirl warriors, alien mushrooms and caithan beast that adorn DayGlo Mourning‘s debut album, the six-song/35-minute Dead Star, in that they’re suitably nestled into the sonic paraphernalia of stoner-doom as well as the visual. With bassist Jerimy McNeil and guitarist Joseph Mills sharing vocal duties over Ray Miner‘s drums, variety of melody and throatier shouts are added to the deep-toned largesse of riff, and the Atlanta trio most assuredly have their heads on when it comes to knowing what they want to do sound-wise. The hard-hit hi-hat of “Faithful Demise” comes with some open spaces after the fuzzy lumber that caps “Bloodghast,” and as “Ashwhore” and “Witch’s Ladder” remind a bit of the misogyny inherent in witchy folklore — at the end of the day it was all about killing pretty girls — the grooves remain fervent and the forward potential on the part of the band likewise. It’s a sound big enough that there isn’t really any room left for bullshit.

DayGlo Mourning on Thee Facebooks

Black Doomba Records webstore

 

Chamán, Maleza

Chamán maleza

Issued in the waning hours of Dec. 2020, Chamán‘s 70-minute, six-song debut album, Maleza, is a psicodelico cornucopia of organic-toned delights, from the more forward-fuzz of “Poliforme” — which is a mere six and a half minutes long but squeezes in a drum solo — to the 13-plus-minute out-there salvo that is “Malezo,” “Concreto” and “Temazcal,” gorgeously trippy and drifting and building on what the Mendozza, Argentina, three-piece conjure early in the proceedings with “Despierta” and “Ganesh,” each over 10 minutes as well. Even in Maleza‘s most lucid moments, the spirit of improv and live recording remains vibrant, and however these songs were built out to their current form, I’m just glad they were. Whether you put it on headphones and bliss out for 70 minutes or you end up using it as a backdrop for whatever your day might bring, Chamán‘s sprawling and melted soundscapes are ready to embrace and enfold you.

Chamán on The Facebooks

Chamán on Bandcamp

 

Sonic Demon, Vendetta

sonic demon vendetta

Italian duo Sonic Demon bring a lethal dose of post-Electric Wizard grit fuzz and druggy echoed snarl to their debut full-length, Vendetta, hitting a particularly nasty low end vibe early on “Black Smoke” and proving willing to ride that out for the duration with bouts of spacier fare in “Fire Meteorite” and side A capper “Cosmic Eyes” before the second half of the 40-minute outing renews the buzz with “FreakTrip.” Deep-mixed drums make the guitar and bass sound even bigger, and such is the morass Sonic Demon make that even their faster material seems slow; that means “Hxxxn” must be extra crawling to feel as nodded-out as it does. Closing duo “Blood and Fire” and “Serpent Witch” don’t have much to say that hasn’t already been said, style-wise, but they feel no less purposeful in sealing the hypnosis cast by the songs before them. If you can’t hang with repetition, you can’t hang, and the filth in the speedier-ish last section of “Serpent Witch” isn’t enough to stop it from being catchy.

Sonic Demon on Thee Facebooks

The Swamp Records on Bandcamp

Forbidden Place Records website

 

Sow Discord, Quiet Earth

sow discord quiet earth

Sow Discord is the solo industrial doom/experimentalist project of David Coen, also known for his work in Whitehorse, and the bleak feel that pervades his debut full-length under the moniker, Quiet Earth, is resonant and affecting. Channeling blowout beats and speaker-throbbing crush on “Ruler,” Coen elsewhere welcomes Many Blessings (aka Ethan Lee McCarthy, also of Primitive Man) and The Body as guests for purposefully disturbing conjurations. Cuts like “Desalination” and “Functionally Extinct” churn with an atmosphere that feels born of a modern real-world apocalypse, and it’s hard to tell ultimately whether closer “The World Looks on with Pity and Scorn” is offering condolence or condemnation, but either way you go, the bitter harshness that carries over is the thread that weaves all this punishment together, and as industrial music pushes toward new extremes, even “Everything Has Been Exhausted” manages to feel fresh in its pummel.

David Coen on Instagram

AR53 Productions on Bandcamp

Tartarus Records on Bandcamp

 

Cerbère, Cerbère

cerbere cerbere

Formed by members of Lord Humungus, Frank Sabbath and Carpet Burns, Cerbère offer three tracks of buried-alive extreme sludge on their self-titled debut EP, recorded live in the band’s native Paris during a pandemic summer when it was illegal to leave the house. Someone left the house, anyhow, and the resultant three cuts are absolutely unabashed in their grating approach, enough so to warrant in-league status with masters of misanthropy like Grief or Khanate, even if Cerbère move more throughout the 15-minute closing title-track, and dare to add some trippy guitar later on. The two prior cuts, “Julia” — the sample at the beginning feels especially relevant in light of the ongoing Notre Dame rebuild — and “Aliéné” are no less brutal if perhaps more compact. I can’t be sure, because I just can’t, but it’s entirely possible “Aliéné” is the only word in the song that bears its name. That wouldn’t work in every context. Here it feels earned, along with the doomier lead that follows.

Cerbère on Thee Facebooks

Cerbère on Bandcamp

 

Dali’s Llama, Dune Lung

dalis llama dune lung

They’ve cooled down a bit from the tear they were on for a few years there, but Dali’s Llama‘s new Dune Lung EP is no less welcome for that. The desert-dwelling four-piece founded by guitarist/vocalist Zach and bassist Erica Huskey bring a laid back roll to the nonetheless palpably heavy “Nothing Special,” backing the opener with the fuzzy sneer of “Complete Animal,” the broader-soundscape soloing of “Merricat Blackwood,” and the more severe groove of “STD (Suits),” all of which hit with a fullness of sound that feels natural while giving the band their due as a studio unit. Dali’s Llama have been and continue to be significantly undervalued when it comes to desert rock, and Dune Lung is another example of why that is and how characteristic they are in sound and execution. Good band, and they’re edging ever closer to the 30-year mark. Seems like as good a time as any to be appreciated for the work they’ve done and do.

Dali’s Llama on Thee Facebooks

Dali’s Llama on Bandcamp

 

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Farer Premiere “Phanes” Video; Monad out Nov. 20

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

farer

About a year after announcing their name change from Menhir to Farer, the Dutch post-metallic noise trio will make their full-length debut Nov. 20 with Monad on Tartarus Records and Aesthetic Death Records. And for those who have followed them from that past incarnation to the new one, I’ll just note that we’re a long way away from “Mt. Aloha,” though even that song and video held a component of social commentary. Monad might too in its four-track/52-minute run, but one certainly would have to dig deeper in order to find it through the assault of sometimes caustic noise. Taking cues from vocally from the most biting moments of The Body and incorporating a bit of ritualism from European post-metal touchstones Amenra in the chants of the subsequen “Asulon” (14:19), “Phanes” opens Monad at 13:07 with as much crush of atmosphere as tone, duly bleak and draining.

The two songs together, “Phanes” and “Asulon” comprise a punishing side A, and while there’s some measure of letup within the tracks as Farer weave into and out of ambient stretches, even these are farer monadtense ahead of the explosion to come, an air of cerebral violence worked into the material that’s brutal in concept and patient in execution. To complement, “Moros” (12:10) and “Elpis” (13:04) flesh out their own blends of the harsh and sublime. In “Moros,” a line of keys or effects echoes horns atop a chugging low end, and as “Phanes” already brought Monad‘s “Stones From the Sky” moment — that most clarion of Neurosis riffs showing up transformed to suit Farer‘s needs — the band seems to relish in the subsequent freedom to explore beyond genre reaches. Tribal-esque drums cap “Moros” and bring the feedback-laced punishment of the first half of “Elpis,” as well as the crushing punishment of the second half — they play both kinds of music: punishing and punishing — the final march outward fading as it goes, leaving long echoes and a concluding dronescape.

It is a wonder how something with so much breadth can also feel claustrophobic, but such is anxiety and one need not look far to find it this week. “Phanes” has a formidable task in setting the tone of Monad, but in its patient sense of psychic break, there isn’t so much salvation as understanding to be had, and if you’ve ever felt like the bad voice is chasing you around the room, you already know that understanding has cathartic value.

PR wire info follows the video below.

Please enjoy:

Farer, “Phanes” official video premiere

The video for Phanes is a sprawling tryptic; A moving abstract brutalist painting showing corruption, atrophy and passing. It showcases an intricate relationship between creation and destruction, in which unnatural parasitic structures come into the inevitable collision with the sublunary.

Shots by Farer
Editing Arjan van Dalen
Special thanks to Dianne and Thijs

Shot at landartworks ‘RIFF, PD#18245’ & ‘Deltawerk’ , Flevoland / NL, and in nature reserve ‘Peazemerlannen’ , Friesland / NL

Dutch doom/noise trio Farer create an imposing discord of severe, caustic bass textures, harrowing vocals and winding drums. The band, featuring members of Ortega, was originally founded as MENHIR in 2013, but chose Farer as their new moniker mid 2019, after spending two and a half years of writing and recording their debut record Monad. By taking time to further explore the possibilities of being a band with two bass players and the absence of a guitar, the record exhibits the bands evolution into a new entity thoroughly. Meaning, carefully crafted, drawn-out, oppressive and compelling songs.

Out of nothing, nothing becomes.

Farer is:
Frank de Boer – Bass/Vocals
Arjan van Dalen – Bass/Vocals
Sven Jurgens – Drums/Percussion

Farer on Thee Facebooks

Farer on Instagram

Farer on Bandcamp

Tartarus Records webstore

Aesthetic Death Records webstore

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Quarterly Review: Hum, Hymn, Atramentus, Zyclops, Kairon; IRSE!, Slow Draw, Might, Brimstone Coven, All Are to Return, Los Acidos

Posted in Reviews on October 7th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Day three of the Quarterly Review. Always a landmark. Today we hit the halfway point, but don’t pass it yet since I’ve decided to add the sixth day next Monday. So we’ll get to 30 of the total 60 records, and then be past half through tomorrow. Math was never my strong suit. Come to think of it, I wasn’t much for school all around. Work sucked too.

Anyway, if you haven’t found anything to dig yet — and I hope you have; I think the stuff included has been pretty good so far — you can either go back and look again or keep going. Maybe today’s your day. If not, there’s always tomorrow.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Hum, Inlet

HUM INLET

One has to wonder if, if Hum had it to do over again, they might hold back their first album in 23 years, Inlet, for release sometime when the world isn’t being ravaged by a global pandemic. As it stands, the largesse and melodic wash of the Illinois outfit’s all-growed-up heavy post-rock offers 55 minutes of comfort amid the tumult of the days, and while I won’t profess to having been a fan in the ’90s — their last studio LP was 1997’s Downward is Heavenward, and they sound like they definitely spent some time listening to Pelican since then — the overarching consumption Inlet sets forth in relatively extended tracks like “Desert Rambler” and “The Summoning” and the manner in which the album sets its own backdrop in a floating drone of effects make it an escapist joy. They hold back until closer “Shapeshifter” to go full post-rock, and while there are times at which it can seem unipolar, to listen to the crunching “Step Into You” and “Cloud City” side-by-side unveils more of the scope underlying from the outset of “Waves” onward.

Hum on Thee Facebooks

Polyvinyl Records webstore

 

Hymn, Breach Us

Hymn Breach Us

Oslo’s Hymn answer the outright crush and scathe of their 2017 debut, Perish (review here), with a more developed and lethal attack on their four-song/38-minute follow-up, Breach Us. Though they’re the kind of band who make people who’ve never heard Black Cobra wonder how two people can be so heavy — and the record has plenty of that; “Exit Through Fire”‘s sludgeshuggah chugging walks by and waves — it’s the sense of atmosphere that guitarist/bassist/vocalist Ole Rokseth and drummer Markus Støle bring to the proceedings that make them so engrossing. The opening title-track is also the shortest at 6:25, but as Breach Us moves across “Exit Through Fire,” “Crimson” and especially 14-minute closer “Can I Carry You,” it brings forth the sort of ominous dystopian assault that so many tried and failed to harness in the wake of NeurosisThrough Silver in Blood. Hymn do that and make it theirs in the process.

Hymn on Thee Facebooks

Fysisk Format on Bandcamp

 

Atramentus, Stygian

Atramentus stygian

Carried across with excruciating grace, Atramentus‘ three-part/44-minute debut album, Stygian, probably belongs in a post-Bell Witch category of extreme, crawling death-doom, but from the script of their logo to the dramatic piano accompanying the lurching riffs, gurgles and choral wails of “Stygian I: From Tumultuous Heavens… (Descended Forth the Ceaseless Darkness)” through the five-minute interlude that is “Stygian II: In Ageless Slumber (As I Dream in the Doleful Embrace of the Howling Black Winds)” and into the 23-minute lurchfest that is “Stygian III: Perennial Voyage (Across the Perpetual Planes of Crying Frost and Steel-Eroding Blizzards)” their ultra-morose procession seems to dig further back for primary inspiration, to acts like Skepticism and even earliest Anathema (at least for that logo), and as guttural and tortured as it is as it devolves toward blackened char in its closer, Stygian‘s stretches of melody provide a contrast that gives some semblance of hope amid all the surrounding despair.

Atramentus on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin webstore

 

Zyclops, Inheritance of Ash

zyclops inheritance of ash

As it clocks in 27 minutes, the inevitable question about Zyclops‘ debut release, Inheritance of Ash, is whether it’s an EP or an LP. For what it’s worth, my bid is for the latter, and to back my case up I’ll cite the flow between each of its four component tracks. The Austin, Texas, post-metallic four-piece save their most virulent chug and deepest tonal weight for the final two cuts, “Wind” and “Ash,” but the stage is well set in “Ghost” and “Rope” as well, and even when one song falls into silence, the next picks up in complementary fashion. Shades of Isis in “Rope,” Swarm of the Lotus in the more intense moments of “Ash,” and an overarching progressive vibe that feels suited to the Pelagic Records oeuvre, one might think of Zyclops as cerebral despite their protestations otherwise, but at the very least, the push and pull at the end of “Wind” and the stretch-out that comes after the churning first half of “Rope” don’t happen by mistake, and a band making these kinds of turns on their first outing isn’t to be ignored. Also, they’re very, very heavy.

Zyclops on Thee Facebooks

Zyclops on Bandcamp

 

Kairon; IRSE!, Polysomn

Kairon IRSE Polysomn

It’s all peace and quiet until “Psionic Static” suddenly starts to speed up, and then like the rush into transwarp, Kairon; IRSE!‘s Polysomn finds its bliss by hooking up a cortical node to your left temple and turning your frontal lobe into so much floundering goo, effectively kitchen-sink kraut-ing you into oblivion while gleefully hopping from genre to cosmic genre like they’re being chased by the ghost of space rock past. They’re the ghost of space rock future. While never static, Polysomn does offer some serenity amid all its head-spinning and lobe-melting, be it the hee-hee-now-it’s-trip-hop wash of “An Bat None” or the cinematic vastness that arises in “Altaïr Descends.” Too intelligent to be random noise or just a freakout, the album is nonetheless experimental, and remains committed to that all the way through the shorter “White Flies” and “Polysomn” at the end of the record. You can take it on if you have your EV suit handy, but if you don’t check the intermix ratio, your face is going to blow up. Fair warning. LLAP.

Kairon; IRSE! on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records webstore

 

Slow Draw, Quiet Joy

slow draw quiet joy

The second 2020 offering from Hurst, Texas’ Slow Draw — the one-man outfit of Mark “Derwooka” Kitchens, also of Stone Machine Electric — the four-song Quiet Joy is obviously consciously named. “Tightropes in Tandem” and closer “Sometimes Experiments Fail” offer a sweet, minimal jazziness, building on the hypnotic backwards psych drone of opener “Unexpected Suspect.” In the two-minute penultimate title-track, Kitchens is barely there, and it is as much an emphasis on the quiet space as that in which the music — a late arriving guitar stands out — might otherwise be taking place. At 18 minutes, it is intended to be a breath taken before reimmersing oneself in the unrelenting chaos that surrounds and swirls, and while it’s short, each piece also has something of its own to offer — even when it’s actively nothing — and Slow Draw brims with purpose across this short release. Sometimes experiments fail, sure. Sometimes they work.

Slow Draw on Thee Facebooks

Slow Draw on Bandcamp

 

Might, Might

might might

It took all of a week for the married duo of Ana Muhi (vocals, bass) and Sven Missullis (guitars, vocals, drums) to announce Might as their new project following the dissolution of the long-ish-running and far-punkier Deamon’s Child. Might‘s self-titled debut arrives with the significant backing of Exile on Mainstream and earns its place on the label with an atmospheric approach to noise rock that, while it inevitably shares some elements with the preceding band, forays outward into the weight of “Possession” and the acoustic-into-crush “Warlight” and the crush-into-ambience “Flight of Fancy” and the ambience-into-ambience “Mrs. Poise” and so on. From the beginning in “Intoduce Yourself” and the rushing “Pollution of Mind,” it’s clear the recorded-in-quarantine 35-minute/nine-song outing is going to go where it wants to, Muhi and Missullis sharing vocals and urging the listener deeper into doesn’t-quite-sound-like-anything-else post-fuzz heavy rock and sludge. A fun game: try to predict where it’s going, and be wrong.

Might on Thee Facebooks

Exile on Mainstream website

 

Brimstone Coven, The Woes of a Mortal Earth

brimstone coven the woes of a mortal earth

Following a stint on Metal Blade and self-releasing 2018’s What Was and What Shall Be, West Virginia’s Brimstone Coven issue their second album as a three-piece through Ripple Music, calling to mind a more classic-minded Apostle of Solitude on the finale “Song of Whippoorwill” and finding a balance all the while between keeping their progressions moving forward and establishing a melancholy atmosphere. Some elements feel drawn from the Maryland school of doom — opener the melody and hook of “The Inferno” remind of defunct purveyors Beelzefuzz — but what comes through clearest in these songs is that guitarist/vocalist Corey Roth, bassist/vocalist Andrew D’Cagna and drummer Dave Trik have found their way forward after paring down from a four-piece following 2016’s Black Magic (review here) and the initial steps the last album took. They sound ready for whatever the growth of their craft might bring and execute songs like “When the World is Gone” and the more swinging “Secrets of the Earth” with the utmost class.

Brimstone Coven on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

All Are to Return, All Are to Return

all are to return all are to return

Take the brutal industrial doom of Author and Punisher and smash it together — presumably in some kind of stainless-steel semi-automated contraption — with the skin-peeling atmosphere and grueling tension of Khanate and you may begin to understand where All Are to Return are coming from on their debut self-titled EP. How they make a song like four-minute centerpiece “Bare Life” feel so consuming is beyond me, but I think being so utterly demolishing helps. It’s not just about the plodding electronic beat, either. There’s some of that in opener “Untrusted” and certainly “The Lie of Fellow Men” has a lumber to go with its bass rumble and NIN-sounding-hopeful guitar, but it’s the overwhelming sense of everything being tainted and cruel that comes through in the space the only-19-minutes-long release creates. Even as closer “Bellum Omnium” chips away at the last remaining vestiges of color, it casts a coherent vision of not only aesthetic purpose for the duo, but of the terrible, all-gone-wrong future in which we seem at times to live.

All Are to Return on Bandcamp

Tartarus Records website

 

Los Acidos, Los Acidos

Los Acidos Los Acidos

I saved this one for last today as a favor to myself. Originally released in 2016, Los Acidos‘ self-titled debut receives a well-deserved second look on vinyl courtesy of Necio Records, and with it comes 40 minutes of full immersion in glorious Argentinian psicodelia, spacious and ’60s-style on “Al Otro Lado” and full of freaky swing on “Blusas” ahead of the almost-shoegaze-until-it-explodes-in-sunshine float of “Perfume Fantasma.” “Paseo” and the penultimate “Espejos” careen with greater intensity, but from the folksy feel that arrives to coincide with the cymbal-crashing roll of “Excentricidad” in its second half to the final boogie payoff in “Empatía de Cristal,” the 10-song outing is a joy waiting to be experienced. You’re experienced, right? Have you ever been? Either way, the important thing is that the voyage that, indeed, begins with “Viaje” is worth your time in melody, in craft, in its arrangements, in presence and in the soul that comes through from front to back. The four-piece had a single out in late 2019, but anytime they want to get to work on a follow-up LP, I’ll be waiting.

Los Acidos on Thee Facebooks

Necio Records on Bandcamp

 

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Onhou Stream Endling LP in Full; Album out Nov. 30 on Lay Bare Recordings & Tartarus Records

Posted in audiObelisk on November 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

onhou

Tucked away up north in the Netherlands is the churning, grueling four-piece unit Onhou, whose tenet of bringing atmosludge to a shining-black level of extremity results in an ambience as punishing as their sheer tonal crush. Their debut album is titled Endling — which sounds harmless enough as a title until you attempt to define the word; is it ‘child of the end,’ as in what comes after, or the nascent ending itself? — and is seeing release Nov. 30 through Lay Bare Recordings and Tartarus Records on LP and tape, respectively, and it collects three extended pieces for a vinyl-ready 38-minute run that, to its credit, feels longer. As Onhou follow their 2018 self-titled EP, which was comprised of two 10-minute tracks, they plunge deep into brutalist lurch, conjuring a trench of tone seemingly in order the cast the listener into it. At 17 minutes, “Dire” is the opener and longest track (immediate points), and while its most skull-cavingly heavy moments are offset with minimalist droning — plenty of time for such things, certainly — it still seems to push Onhou further into cavernous reaches, setting up not just the dynamic of the subsequent “March/Retreat” (10:50), but the cavernous and blackened aspects of “Silence” (10:44) as well.

I suppose if one wanted to work hard enough, Onhou might be shoehorned into being considered a post-metal band, but that’s hardly the entirety of what’s happening across Endling on aesthetic terms. onhou endlingThere’s doom, sludge, black metal, post-metal, drone and a cold, harsh delivery to it all that seems only to highlight the cruelty behind its purposes. It’s not a stretch to imagine the “end” they’re depicting in these songs is the age through which we’re living, and while humanity has struggled and survived before — World War I was the end of the world in Europe and that was 100 years ago, so really we’re just all in the aftermath of that — it’s hard to see a way forward from things like the accelerating death of the planet on which we live and the greed of our corporate and political overlords that seems to rape the way fish swim. One could go on in making a case for Endling as a news report from the Netherlands bureau, but Onhou don’t seem overtly sociopolitical in the sense of making a commentary. Lyrics are delivered in guttural shouts or screams across the three songs, when they’re there at all, so it’s hard to say for sure, but their argument seems more impressionist than statistical, and their presentation is well suited to making it, underscoring the idea that it doesn’t matter if we go out fighting, we’re still going out. Like a candle goes out.

This, coupled with a volume-as-ritual sensibility and a nod that offers little route for escape from its hypnotic undulation, makes Endling a deceptively multifaceted affair. I don’t actually know the themes with which Onhou are working. I could be way off in my interpretation — everything is politics to me these days — but even if I am, it doesn’t really matter, since the point stands all the more that Endling is open to and stands up to various readings from the listener. That in itself is a strength of the work and while I won’t discount the importance of clarity when clarity is warranted, the murk in which these songs dwell feels very much like a natural habitat for their consuming and devastating/devastated sonic manifestation.

You can stream the album in its entirety below. I wish you luck on your journey.

Enjoy:

Releasing their first full-length ENDLING, ONHOU is expanding on the hopelessness of their arduous sound, fighting against the inevitable. ONHOU is a Dutch sludge/doom metal band formed in Groningen, consisting of (ex)members from Ortega, Grinding Halt and Wolvon. The four piece scrutinizes dark territories, devising an immense sound utilizing two vocalists, down-tuned guitars and pulsating electronic elements. These bleak atmospheres serve to shape a dismal and forsaken uneasiness.

After a well received EP released by Tartarus Records in 2018, ONHOU returned to the studio to record their first full-length titled ENDLING. Endling will find you dragged into discomfort with ONHOU’s bulking riffs, dark electronics and thundering rhythms. One can try to find reason or refuge, waging a war with all of your might while it burns the heart out of you. But one will only find loss, without a trace of existence.

There is no legacy. There will be no judgment.

This is ENDLING.

LBR 026
Release date 30 November
Pre-order open 15 November
150 copies on black – 100 copies on white vinyl

TAR145
Release date tba
Edition of 100 cassettes housed in a diecut cardstock case.

Tracklist:
1. Dire
2. March/Retreat
3. Silence

Onhou is:
Henk Wobbes – Bass
Alex Loots – Guitar/vocals
Arnold Havinga – Drums
Florian Studdel – Keys/vocals

Onhou on Thee Facebooks

Onhou on Bandcamp

Lay Bare Recordings on Thee Facebooks

Lay Bare Recordings on Instagram

Lay Bare Recordings website

Tartarus Records on Thee Facebooks

Tartarus Records on Instagram

Tartarus Records on Bandcamp

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Bismuth Announce The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef Due Nov. 2; Premiere Album Trailer

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Whathaveyou on September 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

bismuth

You only get a taste of it in the album trailer by Chariot of Black Moth streaming at the bottom of this post, but the 32-minute title-track of Bismuth‘s upcoming second full-length, The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef, is heavy enough that you’ll be mopping your melted brain cells off the floor after they leak out your damaged ears. Provided you still have enough coordination to do so after the onslaught of noise and tonal weight. The Nottingham-based bass/drum duo will release the album Nov. 2 through no fewer than four labels — Dry Cough Records, Tartarus Records, Medusa Crush Recordings and Rope or Guillotine — and hearing it leaves little mystery as to why they’d garner such populous backing. Comprised just of the title-track and the subsequent six-minute scathe of noise-doom in “Weltschmerz,” it works around the theme of climate change and human impact on the planet, so yes, it is quite fucking grim. Quite fucking grim indeed. Just like our prospects for making it out of the next two centuries with a civilization intact. Good work, my fellow fuckwads.

Bassist/vocalist Tanya Byrne, when she’s not rumbling out the extreme-sludge chaos of Bismuth‘s low end alongside drummer Joe Rawlings in a bevvy of splits with the likes of UndersmileGnaw Their Tongues and Legion of Andromeda — significant company to keep, all of them — works as a volcanologist, and wrote the lyrics for The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef in consideration of exactly what the title describes. Not subtle, but certainly a devastating aural interpretation of a continually devastated ecosystem. You”ll find some comment from her below relating to the album, followed by the release info, followed by the trailer premiere.

All thanks to the mighty and seemingly-carbon-free-but-still-probably-somehow-toxic PR wire. Remember, kids. We’re all complicit:

Bismuth The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef

Tanya Byrne on The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef:

Last year I’d been reading a lot about climate change and the impacts it has been having on various parts of the world. There are particular habitats that act as warning flags for other ecosystems, because they are more sensitive to subtle changes. The Great Barrier Reef is one such area: It has been experiencing drastic changes due to a rise in global sea temperatures. In recent years, up to 70 percent of the reef has experiencing bleaching. The corals die, and as less survive every year, the extent of the reef decreases.

My hope is that through listening to this album, listeners will be prompted to do their own research into the effects that our species are having on this planet, and to rely less on the over-simplification of this issue that is so often presented by media outlets or political parties. Their soundbites are good for quotes, but not for explaining this complex and interconnected problem. As an environmental scientist, I try to be hopeful for the future, but I feel optimism can only be gained if all countries and political parties stop blaming each other and start working together to prevent further degradation of our planet.

The current political discourse on how to reduce our impact on ecosystems is stuck in semantics, all while these systems degrade. I believe we can reduce our impact, and I am hopeful that solutions will be found. However, many of these solutions are halted, while governments argue over who is to blame. The album title makes reference to the fact that climate change is affecting this habitat extremely, and inaction is one of the biggest causes of its decline.

Heavy/ slow duo, BISMUTH’s upcoming album, titled The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef, will be released on November 2 via a collaboration between four independent labels; Dry Cough (UK), Rope or Guillotine (NL), Medusa Crush (CA), and Tartarus Records (NL) who will jointly share release duties.

The two piece are based in Nottingham, featuring Joe Rawlings on drums and Tanya Byrne on bass/vocals. The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef is their second full length release, and is in many ways a continuation of earlier work; a strong focus on multiple layers and frequencies coming together to create an enveloping and often oppressive sound is very much BISMUTH’s MO.

The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef is a two song opus with quite self explanatory subject matter, lyric-wise. Outside of the band, Byrne, is a volcanologist with a passion for environmental science.

The title track is a 32 minute behemoth, which stays true to BISMUTH’s own description – heavy with a core of fragility. The second track, Weltschmerz is – musically and thematically – a continuation of the first. Whilst their songs lean towards being lengthy, the message and passion behind them never diminishes.

BISMUTH UK tour dates:
23.11 – Nottingham
24.11 – Manchester
25.11 – Glasgow
26.11 – Edinburgh
27.11 – Liverpool
28.11 – Leeds
29.11 – Birmingham
30.11 – Cardiff
01.12 – London
02.12 – Bristol
03.12 – Brighton

All dates are with VILE CREATURE.

The Slow Dying of The Great Barrier Reef is released on November 2nd via Dry Cough (UK), Rope or Guillotine (NL), Medusa Crush (CA), and Tartarus Records (NL).

https://www.facebook.com/bismuthslow/
https://bismuthslow.bandcamp.com
www.drycoughrecords.com/product/bismuth-slow-dying-pre-order
https://ropeorguillotine.bandcamp.com/album/the-slow-dying-of-the-great-barrier-reef
https://medusacrushrecordings.bandcamp.com
https://tartarusrecords.com

Bismuth, The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef album trailer

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Queen Elephantine’s Kala Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 7th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Last I heard, Queen Elephantine were still located in Providence, Rhode Island. The info below about preorders for their new album, Kala (review here), being available lists them as having relocated to New York. Entirely possible. Guitarist/founder Indrayudh Shome has been as restless geographically as he has creatively over the years. Hong Kong, New York, Rhode Island. He could basically turn up anywhere and find a host of cohorts with which to express Queen Elephantine‘s always complex and ritualized drone-doom.

Kala has an Oct. 21 release date and some considerable backing from Argonauta Records, Cimmerian Share Recordings, Tartarus Records and Atypeek Music — each imprint releasing it on a different format. If you’ve ever heard the band’s as-yet underrated experimentalism, it’s little wonder so many parties would want to be involved.

From the PR wire:

queen elephantine kala

QUEEN ELEPHANTINE announce new album ‘Kala’ on multiple labels

Release Date – October 21st, 2016
Record Label – Cimmerian Shade Recordings (LP) / Argonauta Records (CD) / Tartarus Records (Cassette) / Atypeek Music (Digital)

Queen Elephantine, the exotic-flavoured doom/ambient band once operating out of Hong Kong (who have since moved to New York), are back with a brand new full length called Kala. They’ve always kept innovating and the new album is even more entrancing, atmospheric and mind-bending. They’ve honed their skills to offer music that’s near unparalleled – the delicate cacophony of the numerous instruments (spaced out, never overcrowding), the suspenseful atmosphere, the ever-lingering sense of intrigue, it’s all there, and better than ever before. Kala taps into your subconscious, creates swirling colourful patterns, a hypnotic effect that doesn’t wear off easily like a rare non-harmful drug. Succumb to the creeping, psychedelic madness that’s Queen Elephantine.

Mastered by Billy Anderson (Neurosis, Swans, Sleep, Eyehategod, High on Fire)

Artwork has been made by Adrian Dexter

Line up:
Indrayudh Shome – Guitar
Ian Sims – Drumset
Mat Becker – Bass
Srinivas Reddy – Guitar
Derek Fukumori – Percussion
Samer Ghadry – Guitar, Synth
Nathanael Totushek – Drumset + Percussion on 2,4,6
Nick DiSalvo – Mellotron on 1, 2, 3
Michael Scott Isley – Percussion on 2,4
Danny Quinn – Surgeon Pepper

Track list:
1. Quartered
2. Quartz
3. Ox
4. Onyx
5. Deep Blue
6. Throne of the Void in the Hundred Petal Lotus

https://www.facebook.com/queenelephantine/
https://queenelephantine.bandcamp.com/album/kala
http://cimmerianshaderecs.storenvy.com/products/17801057-queen-elephantine-kala
http://www.argonautarecords.com/shop/music-/143-queen-elephantine-kala-cd.html
http://tartarusrecords.com/
http://atypeekmusic.com/Atypeek_Music.html

Queen Elephantine, Kala (2016)

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Suma, The Order of Things: Chaos to Chaos (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 23rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

suma the order of things-700

[Stream Suma’s ‘Bait for Maggots’ by clicking play above. The Order of Things is out Oct. 11.]

A new Suma record doesn’t happen every day. Now in their 15th year, the Malmö, Sweden-based outfit have always stayed active through a variety of splits, compilations and EPs, and they even had a live tape out last year for a fortunate few who were able to grab one, but it’s been six years since their last proper studio full-length, Ashes, and that certainly feels like long enough. The four-piece of drummer Erik, bassist/vocalist Johan, guitarist Peter and noisemaker Rick traveled to Portland, Oregon, to track The Order of Things with Billy Anderson, who also helmed Ashes and the prior 2006 outing, Let the Churches Burn, and if that’s not enough to make the album an event — and it is, make no mistake — the fact that it arrives through no fewer than four different labels should say something about the level of support for Suma‘s churning, deeply atmospheric sludge.

Argonauta and Init Records have CDs, Throne Records the LP and Tartarus Records the cassette, so The Order of Things is nothing if not well represented, and Suma pay back the faith shown in them with 57 minutes of destructive post-metal spread across seven tracks. I’ve talked before about how something oppressively heavy can feel like it’s filling your lungs, and Suma do a better job of that than most. Their fourth album doesn’t necessarily reinvent their methods from what they conjured on Ashes, which Argonauta also reissued last year, but in the interim, they also parted ways with vocalist Jovan, moved Johan into that role and brought in Rick for samples, drones and other assorted ambient contributions, so some measure of sonic shift is inevitable.

Mostly it sounds like progression. To wit, the 13-minute “Education for Death” late in the record. I’m not sure “highlight” is the word for something that seems to plunge so deep, but either way the thudding tension Suma create is gloriously excruciating, cave-echo vocals swirling in the background behind apocalyptic tone and stomp. Much of the album plays back and forth between longer-form material and three shorter atmospheric pieces, the first of which, “The Sick Present,” opens. I’d call it an intro but for the fact that it’s still over the four-minute mark, but it does the work of immersing the listener in the darkened space Suma will continue to build and tear down across the subsequent pair “Bait for Maggots” and “RPA.” The sense of discomfort is almost immediate, and as “Bait for Maggots” begins its chugging pulsation, Suma seem right at home in the midst of that tempest. Johan‘s shouts are commanding throughout but far back enough in the mix to be obscured by the paramount groove that emerges, led by Peter‘s guitar.

suma

Mercifully, “Bait for Maggots” gives due payoff to its onslaught, and in so doing sets up the key dynamic for the rest of The Order of Things, which is the play between foreboding, tension, and release. “RPA,” which follows directly, isn’t quite as linear as “Bait for Maggots” or the later, aforementioned “Education for Death,” but it too offers a thrust built on making the listener’s blood boil before finally letting go. Because it’s so inhuman(e)-sounding and because of the samples and effects wash, etc., there’s an almost industrial element to “RPA,” but the crux of Suma‘s effect on their audience still comes from the madness that seems to be at the root of their delivery and the weight and density with which their material lands.

While, again, that’s probably not new for anyone who’s dug into AshesLet the Churches Burn, their 2003 self-titled debut or any of their sundry shorter outings, it does still feel like the band has pushed forward, and the direct contrast of heft with atmospherics moving from “RPA” into the dream-haunting samples of “Being and/or Nothingness” shows that well leading into “Education for Death” itself, which is the longest inclusion at 13:36 and doesn’t even begin to think about releasing its grip around the listener’s throat until nine minutes in, and even then, it’s another minute-plus before they get there. Beautifully crafted, challenging in the hearing, but when they do finally roll out the apex, building to an all-grey swirl of noise, the result is fitting. The penultimate “Disorder of Things” continues to push forward at a faster clip from where “Education for Death” tore itself to shreds, the wash and crash becoming overwhelming. There might be vocals, and that’s the most honest assessment I can give you. Its ferocity is just about unmatched by anything else on The Order of Things, but “Disorder of Things” is also a lead-in for the quiet post-rocking guitar squibblies that give a spacious start to 12:37 closer “The Greater Dying.” Not a minor title and not a minor way to finish their record either.

That righteous space will continue to open up as Erik enters on drums, and Suma roll out a patient, masterful and consuming groove as they thrust ahead toward the crash-heavy peak of the song, bringing about something of a change in structure as they hit that crescendo closer to the middle third and dedicate about the last three minutes to a long fade of guitar, cymbals and other ambient noise. I wouldn’t speculate on how long they could actually keep that line going past the fade, but the impression is perpetual all the same, and the sheer fact that after all that bludgeoning, Suma would let their listeners go so gently, drifting, into the album’s finish can really only lead one to conclude that the overriding message of The Order of Things is death. I don’t know if that’s what they were going for, but it’s certainly the takeaway from the work itself, and Suma‘s contemplation thereof resonates in its intensity and breadth alike. They are a rare band, and woefully underappreciated.

Suma on Thee Facebooks

Suma on Bandcamp

Argonauta Records website

Init Records website

Tartarus Records website

Throne Records website

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Ortega Announce Sacred States Release; Stream New Track “Maelstrom”

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 5th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

“Maelstrom” sets a raw post-metal vibe for Ortega‘s impending second album, Sacred States, and as the first audio made public from the Netherlands-based outfit for the follow-up to their 2013 debut, The Serpent Stirs (review here) — they also released the 18-minute single “Crows” (review here) in 2014 — it shows progression in its rougher edges and less cerebral take overall — as though the Groningen four-piece decided to cut ties with their preconceptions and just go for being as expressive as possible. That’s a hard vibe not to dig, and guest appearances from Gnaw Their Tongues and Primitive Man‘s Ethan Lee McCarthy only add intrigue for the rest of the album.

Release date is Oct. 5, but preorders for the vinyl are available now from Narshardaa Records, and Sacred States will also be out on CD through Consouling Sounds and tape through Tartarus Records.

Details go like this:

ortega sacred states art

Ortega – Sacred States

New track ‘Maelstrom’ + vinyl pre-orders

It has been quiet for a long time.

We are thrilled we can finally announce the release of our second full length ‘Sacred States’.

Since 2007, Ortega have been exploring the murky depths of humanity’s longing for the horizon. Perilous courses which drag carcasses ashore, sojourns that tell of the bells that chime on the sands below, collisions of doom, sludge and noise that tell tales of abyssal mankind.

Now, Sacred States is the first glance upwards. But whereas the depths below are finite, the chasms above ridicule every human attempt to realise itself. Whether he looks above or inside, the void remains. The tentative grasps into the great unknown will never hold anything but pain, and Ortega recount every step into the understanding of this fate that we turn away from more often than not. The hollow is here:

Recorded by John Bart van der Wal and mastered by James Plotkin.

Featuring contributions by Gnaw Their Tongues and Ethan Lee McCarthy of Primitive Man fame.

Sacred States is a collaborative effort between Consouling Sounds (CD), Narshardaa Records (Vinyl) and Tartarus Records (Cassette).

Vinyl pressing info:
100 multicolored splatter vinyl
100 clear vinyl
300 black vinyl

Pre-orders for Sacred States vinyl have started at Narshardaa Records: http://narshardaa.bigcartel.com/product/ortega-sacred-states-2xlp-pre-order

Release date: October 5th

https://www.facebook.com/ortegadoom
https://ortegaband.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/ortegadoom/
http://consouling.be/
http://narshardaa.bigcartel.com/
http://tartarusrecords.com/

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