The Obelisk Presents: Godmaker, Hyborian & Migrator at Saint Vitus Bar (Matinee) Nov. 17

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on October 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

godmaker hyborian migrator ghouls

Alright, let’s face facts. Nov. 17, you weren’t going to be anywhere other than the Saint Vitus Bar. That’s the night Monolord and Blackwater Holylight are playing. Obviously you’re going. Obviously I’m going. Obviously we’re all going and we’re all looking very much forward to that.

What I’m saying to you is, get there early. Super-early. 2PM early. Because there’s an opportunity here to turn a pretty heavy night into an all-day extravaganza, and there’s even a convenient break in between for you to, I don’t know, get some food or coffee-up or do whatever you need to do.

In conjunction with Ode to Doom, The Obelisk (you are here) is presenting Godmaker with (Kenny Appell of Cleanteeth, Goes Cube, etc., filling in on drums), Hyborian and Migrator on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 17, ahead of the evening’s festivities. Is it going to be absolutely insane? Yes. Should you take Monday off from school, work, or whatever of life’s duties might otherwise occupy your time? Totally. Why? Because chances like this don’t come along every day, and years from now, you’re still going to remember that time you told the rest of the universe to buzz off and did it up proper in Brooklyn, whereas otherwise, it’s just gonna be another Monday of the same old crap that, barring disaster, will be another in a series of forgettable such Mondays. Even if you have a good day doing whatever it is you do, I submit it won’t compete with plowing your brains into oblivion with riffs by hitting these two shows back-to-back.

And hey, if you need to, need to, need to go to work or whatever on Monday, a Sunday matinee still gives you plenty of time to get home and get yourself ready for the morning. Either way, you don’t lose.

Godmaker‘s got the show info as follows:

godmaker hyborian migrator new poster

MATINEE SHOW- Godmaker, Hyborian, Migrator.

Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 2 PM – 5:30 PM

Buy tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/matinee-godmaker-hyborian-migrator-tickets-77034092043

Brought to you by our friends at Ode to Doom and The Obelisk.

Godmaker (Brooklyn, Aqualamb / The Company / godmaker.bandcamp.com) returns to bringing the loud, for one last 2019 show, with their midwestern brothers in:

Hyborian (Kansas City, MO / Season of Mist / Company Crüe alumni / hyborianrock.bandcamp.com), and your soon to be favorite Heavy / Sad / Crushing thing from Lawrence, KS —

Migrator / (mem. of Young Bull, Amenaza, The Cast Pattern / migrator.bandcamp.com),

for a special Sunday Matinee at Saint Vitus Bar, ahead of the Monolord / Blackwater Holylight show.

Godmaker, “An Excerpt”

Nov. 17 Matinee Show Event Page on Thee Facebooks

Tickets at Eventbrite

Saint Vitus Bar website

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Quarterly Review: High on Fire, Ruff Majik, Merlin, Workshed, E-L-R, Sibyl, Golden Legacy, Saint Karloff & Devil’s Witches, Burden Limbs, El Supremo

Posted in Reviews on October 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Another day, another batch of 10 reviews on the march to 50 by the end of the week. Will we make it? Yeah, probably. I mean, I think there was once when I had to skip a day or something but even then I made up for it and there’s never been an instance where the Quarterly Review fell apart. The one quarter I decided to nix it (was it last year?) I made up for it by doing 100 reviews instead of 50 the next time out, so we got there eventually. It being Tuesday, the end of the week looks far off, but indeed we’ll ge there eventually, and there’s a lot of good music between now and then, so let’s hit it.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

High on Fire, Bat Salad

high on fire bat salad

A limited vinyl EP released as part of Record Store Day 2019, High on Fire‘s Bat Salad comprises three songs: an original instrumental and two covers, one of Celtic Frost and one of Bad Brains. And I won’t take away from the “Rat Salad” Sabbath-does-blues-jazz-jam-except-it’s-HighonFire-so-it-sounds-nasty-as-hell spirit of “Bat Salad” at all, but the real highlight here is hearing Matt Pike‘s gravel-throated vocals take on “Into Crypts of Rays.” Celtic Frost have always been a central factor in what High on Fire were doing stylistically, so to have the band take them on directly seems long in the making. They approach Bad Brains‘ “Don’t Bother Me” with due reverence as well, careening through an intense three-minute burst of energy with the grit and underlying precision one has come to expect from these singular masters. Soon enough, bands will be covering High on Fire with the same spirit of fan homage. Doubly notable for being founding drummer Des Kensel‘s last recorded appearance alongside Pike and bassist Jeff Matz in the band.

High on Fire on Thee Facebooks

eOne Heavy on Thee Facebooks

 

Ruff Majik, Tårn

ruff majik tarn

Guitarist/vocalist Johni Holiday, bassist Jimmy Glass and drummer Ben Manchino return with Tårn, Ruff Majik‘s second album on a quick turnaround from their 2018 debut, Seasons (review here). Aligned with Lay Bare Recordings for the vinyl release, the deceptively quick and even more deceptively complex seven-track/36-minute offering finds Ruff Majik digging into dirt-caked tonality and classically punkish sneer in Holiday‘s vocals. There are moments where they sound like Queens of the Stone Age (“Speed Hippie”) and moments where they sound like Black Flag (parts of opener “Schizophrenic”), but as a roller like “Heretically Happy” or the earlier post-Zeppelin stoner sneak of “Gloom & Tomb” show, Ruff Majik are perhaps most interested in sounding like themselves. They’re gleeful as they toy with doomed vibes on closer “Seasoning the Witch,” and the seven-minute “I’ll Dig the Grave” earlier thrills with changes drawn together by a pervasive and righteous groove. With Tårn, Ruff Majik have found their wavelength, and it suits them.

Ruff Majik on Thee Facebooks

Lay Bare Recordings website

 

Merlin, The Mortal

merlin the mortal

Be it heretofore established that sax-laced Kansas City psych-doomers Merlin don’t give a fuck. They don’t give a fuck what you expect, they don’t give a fuck what everyone else is doing, they don’t give a fuck if they meme the crap out of their own band. They’ve got their thing and they’re doing it. And you know what? They’re right. The Mortal is their fifth full-length in six years, following as a sequel to early-2018’s The Wizard (review here), and with flourish galore in arrangements of organ, sax, flute, percussion, accordion, trumpet, etc., alongside the foundation of songcraft that comes through the guitar, bass, drums and always-theatrical vocals of Jordan Knorr, the band recount tales along a dark-magical mystery tour of gorgeously flowing and still-weighted psychedelic plunder. They have become a buried treasure of weirdo/geek rock, and whether it’s the peaceful drift of “Ashen Lake” or the cacophonous heavy riffing of “Basilisk,” the stage-setting prog of “Towerfall” or the consuming swell that carries out the apex of closer “The Mortal Suite” — King Crimson chase and all — Merlin‘s work has never sounded so masterful. Will there be a third installment in the tale? Nothing quite like a trilogy.

Merlin on Thee Facebooks

The Company BigCartel store

 

Workshed, Workshed

workshed workshed

They’ve since added a third party in bassist Helen Storer (Fireball Ministry, among others), but Workshed‘s self-titled Rise Above Records debut LP was recorded as the duo of guitarist/vocalist Adam Lehan and drummer Mark Wharton. More than a quarter-century ago, both Lehan and Wharton played on Cathedral‘s pivotal first two albums, but in Workshed, and certainly there are some shades of doom on a stomper like “Anthropophobic” here, but the bulk of Workshed‘s nine-song/47-minute first offering is given to post-Entombed buzzsaw noise sludge, riffs crunched one into the next in an aggro, punk-rooted fashion that rife with a sense of willful punishment that comes through in sheer impact from front to back. Vocals call to mind Tom G. Warrior immediately and are suited to the social commentary of “If This is How it Is” and “This City Has Fallen,” while the grueling march of “A Spirit in Exile” leaves room for some atmosphere to eek through, which it does. They trash out in centerpiece “On Sticks of Wood” and chug their into a last fade on closer “It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way,” but by then they’ve long since made their statement and left a trail of destruction behind them. Would they have been signed to Rise Above without the Cathedral connection? Probably not. Does the album earn their place? Absolutely.

Workshed on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

 

E-L-R, Mænad

e-l-r maenad

With their first full-length, Mænad, Swiss post-metallers E-L-R cart a gorgeous and textured course through patient and progressive songweaving that lends itself to hypnosis through its churning rhythm as much as its overarching melodies seem to evoke other worlds. It is not without its sense of challenge and certainly plenty heavy in its tone and groove — at least where it wants to be — but it’s also rich and provides a level of depth to its mix that should have others in the genre asking how they did it. A transitional drone at the end of “Devotee” brings about the 10-minute “Above the Mountains There is Light” and a long contemplation begins, working from the ground up on a pilgrim’s path to the eventual payoff. The resonance there is something unto itself, but even as “Ambrosia,” “Lunar Nights” and “The Wild Shore” find the stylistic footing that opener “Glancing Limbs” and “Devotee” seemed to hint at earlier, E-L-R maintain both an ambient sprawl and a consuming sense of passion that makes their work here all the more thrilling. This is a debut, following only a single 2018 demo that had two of the same tracks. What that tells me is look out for this band, because this kind of potential doesn’t come along every day and when it does, you want to be there for the follow-up. The impeccable taste of Prophecy Productions pays dividends once again.

E-L-R on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions website

 

Sibyl, The Magic Isn’t Real

sibyl the magic isn't real

Otherworldly doom rock marked by echoing vocals oozing out from deep in the mix and gotta-hear-it bass tone complemented by choice riffage and a fervent thud in the drums, even if the aesthetic of Richmond’s Sibyl is familiar enough, there’s plenty to dig about their debut EP — what one might’ve called a “demo” in eras past — The Magic Isn’t Real. The stylistic elephant in the room is RVA’s own Windhand, but Sibyl take a more psychedelic path to heavy oblivion, and with four tracks in the range of four to five minutes, The Magic Isn’t Real comes across as well focused in its songwriting despite the ethereal touches in the actual sound. Cool vibe, and as they work some noisy shuffle into “Spinning Webs,” they show themselves as being less restricted than otherwise might be the case if they were purely committed to doomed drudgery. I’ll give bonus points as well for naming the penultimate track “Sexpionage,” just on principle, but it’s in stretches like the subdued creeper opening of “Blood Moon” and the engrossing, still-somehow-moving wash of “Pendulums” that Sibyl really showcase their intention.

Sibyl on Thee Facebooks

Sibyl on Bandcamp

 

Golden Legacy, Golden Legacy II

golden legacy golden legacy ii

London heavy noise duo Golden Legacy offer five tracks and 23 minutes of anti-genre, adrenaline rock to follow-up their 2016 self-titled EP. There’s a strong undercurrent of modern punk and indie to their sound, which is what gets them the “anti-genre” consideration, but it’s the energy of their delivery carrying them one way or the other as they drive through the harsh snare of “Cut and Crash” following the chunkier tone of opener “Moon” and just before centerpiece “Dirty Mouth” finds its way into grunge-style howling beastliness. Comprised of drummer/vocalist Lorena Cachito and guitarist Yanni Georgiou, the two-piece find winning momentum in “Salvation,” while closer “Thirsty” opens with a mellow drum progression gradually joined by the guitar and builds into more progressive and dramatic movement, casting off some of the rawness of the songs before it in favor of more complex fare. It still manages to soar at the end, though, and that seems to be what counts. They might be rawer now than they’ll eventually turn out, but that suits most of what they’re doing in adding to the emotionality on display in Cachito‘s vocals.

Golden Legacy on Thee Facebooks

Golden Legacy on Bandcamp

 

Saint Karloff & Devil’s Witches, Coven of the Ultra-Riff

saint karloff devils witches coven of the ultra-riff

Alright, look. I don’t even think I have the full thing, but whatever. Saint Karloff and Devil’s Witches came together to release the Coven of the Ultra-Riff split — it can be so hard to find the right coven for your family; have you considered the Ultra-Riff? — and they each play an original track and then they cover each other’s songs and then Saint Karloff introduce the progression of “Supervixen (Electric Return)” and Devil’s Witches take up the mantle and run with it on “Supervixen (Acoustic Return),” so yeah, it’s pretty awesome and kind of all over the place but whatever. Get your head around it and get on board with whatever version you can grab. Vinyl came out through Majestic Mountain Records and tapes were through Stoner Witch Records and I’m fairly certain it’s all sold out already and probably stupid expensive on Discogs, but do what you need to do, because this is what Sabbath worship in the year 2019 is supposed to sound like. It’s bombed out of its gourd and has long since dropped out of life. It’s exactly where and what it wants to be.

Saint Karloff on Thee Facebooks

Devil’s Witches on Thee Facebooks

Majestic Mountain Records BigCartel store

Stoner Witch Records BigCartel store

 

Burden Limbs, There is No Escape

burden limbs there is no escape

I’m not going to pretend to have the grounding in post-hardcore to toss off the influences under which Burden Limbs are working, but to listen to the blast of noise in “How Many Times Must I Reset” and the near-industrial wash of noise they conjure in the subsequent “Hypochondriac,” it’s clear they’re working under one influence anyway. There is No Escape (released through Glasshouse Records) runs 24 minutes and carries four songs, but in that time the band around founding figurehead and guitarist/vocalist Chad Murray manage to challenge themselves and the listener alike to keep up with their turns and emotional resonance. Murray is joined by two bassists, another guitarist, keyboards/synth and drums, so yes, there’s something of a busy feel to it, but even echoing cavernous as they are, the vocals seem to draw the songs together around a central presence and add a human core to the proceedings that only makes them all the more affecting as would seem to be the intent.

Burden Limbs on Thee Facebooks

Glasshouse Records on Bandcamp

 

El Supremo, Clarity Through Distortion

El Supremo Clarity Through Distortion

Sometimes these things take a while, but El Supremo was formed by now-ex-Egypt bassist Chad Heille has a solo-project and released a self-titled demo in 2008, to which Clarity Through Distortion is the follow-up full-length. Now joined by guitarist Neil Stein (also ex-Egypt, and who also played some on the demo) and organist Chris Gould as well as bassist Cam Dewald who came aboard after the album’s completion, the instrumentalist full-band incarnation of El Supremo waste no time diving into dead-on tonal and riffy righteousness, taking classic heavy cues and running with them in modern production richness, sounding clear but natural as a jam like “Moanin’ & Groanin'” turns into a shuffler as it moves into its second half, or the mellow sway of the 14-minute “Supercell” at last runs head-on into the lumbering motion that will carry it through to the end. I don’t know how much clarity — at least of the existential sort I think they mean in the title — they might’ve found by the time the bluesy “Lotus Throne” rolls over into the shreddy “Outro” that caps, but if the method is distortion, they’ve certainly got that part down.

El Supremo on Thee Facebooks

El Supremo on Bandcamp

 

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Merlin Post “Mindflayer” Lyric Video; The Mortal Due Aug. 23

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Kansas City psych-doom-whatever outfit Merlin have a lyric video posted for the track “Mindflayer” from their upcoming LP, The Mortal. A late-summer blockbuster sequel to last year’s The Wizard (review here) the eight-track outing was made available to preorder on vinyl through The Company last week and sold through just about all the various editions that were available. I think there might still be some if you go quick, but they memed the crap out of the process on the social medias, and there the platters went. Bye-eee.

Aug. 23 is the official release, and as these cats have a flair for the theatrical, I’d expect there to be plenty of shenanigans involved when the time comes, but as The Wizard made plain, their heads are screwed on straight when it comes to songwriting as well, and the pursuit of their aesthetic concept — somewhere between Playstation, real-life D&D and Black Sax-bath — does not come at the expense of basic craft. If it did, their entire project probably would’ve fallen apart by now, whereas they only seem to get stronger as they go on.

Some details and links cobbled together for your perusal:

merlin the mortal

Thank you all so much for your time, dedication and support for this release. You truly are the greatest fans alive and we promise you, you will have in your hands one Incredible album.

Buying this record guarantees you something alot of fans sadly wont get. The Mortal on Vinyl. The Wizard, a fan favorite long out of stock, is a testament to how fast these will go.

Don’t sleep on buying this Record today… Good luck.

Long Live the Wizard of Nothing.

PREORDER NOW!!!!
https://thecompanykc.bigcartel.com/product/merlinthemortal

Side A:
Prologue
Tower Fall
Chaos Blade
Ashen Lake

Side B:
Mindflayer
Basilisk
Metamorphosis
The Mortal Suite

Releases August 23, 2019

Cast:
Carter Lewis – Guitar/ Keys/ Organ
Stu Kersting – Guitar/ Saxophone/ Flute
Chase Thayer – Guitar/ Additonal Percussion
Joey Hamm – Bass Guitar
Jordan Knorr – Vocals/ Storytelling/ Omnichord
Randall Tripps- Drums/ Dark Magic

Guest Musicians:
Jeremy Mcclain – Accordian
Garrett Holm – Accordian
Bretstradamus – Trumpet

https://www.facebook.com/MERLIN666/
http://merlin666.bandcamp.com/
http://thecompanykc.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thecompanykc

Merlin, “Mindflayer” lyric video

Merlin, The Mortal (2019)

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Inner Altar Premiere “Pagan Rays | Numbered Days”; Debut LP Vol. III out Jan. 18

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

inner altar

Kansas City doom rockers Inner Altar will release their deceptively numbered debut album, Vol. III, through The Company later this month. It is the third release from the five-piece outfit, preceded by two demo/EP outings similarly titled in succession. The full-length taps into a cave-echoed classic doom vibe, not such distant kin from some of what’s come in recent years from Scandinavian acts like Dunbarrow and Demon Head, or even some US practitioners like Magic Circle, but with elements of garage doom roughness to their riffing as well that help to push them into their own territory. To wit, the grueling rollout of “Pagan Rays | Numbered Days” and the chants of the near-seven-minute eponymous closer cast a particularly darkened aspect to the atmosphere that adds depth to the acoustic/electric ’70s doom-folk shuffle of “Undine’s Kiss” earlier. Wailing vocals add a distinctly proro-metallic vibe to the lyrical declarations, and an overriding naturalism to the production — not necessarily worshiping the vintage, but shooting at least for a live feel — only make that vibe more believable.

The touchstone in terms of aesthetics is of course Pentagram‘s First Daze Here material, but neither are the lessons of formative acolytes like Witchcraft lost on Inner Altar, and while we’re talking about Altars, there might be a bit of Pagan Altar‘s pre-NWOBHM style of heavy happening in the crunch and atmosphere of “Castle Storm” as well, the centerpiece pulling back from some of the immediacy of the post-intro opener “For the Gods to Swear By,” which kicks off Vol. III at a relative rush while prefacing some more of the progressive sensibilities of the band in a departure to minimal classic guitar in its second half — the two sides of its personality both proving as crucial to setting up the rest of what follows as the bass tone that leads back into the thrust. That’s not to take away from the impact either of the serenely-strummed “Intro” itself, the quiet and somewhat understated feel of which informs even the straight-ahead thickened-tone roll of the penultimate “Dethroned and Fugitive,” another sub-four-minute rocker that instead of progging out as does “For the Gods to Swear By,” goes the opposite way and kicks into another level of push.

That would seem to leave cuts like “Lives of Fire” and “Mother Eternity” with the task of establishing some middle ground, and the former, which is particularly memorable and which served as a pre-release single (with a video you can see at the bottom of this post), does just that while “Mother Eternity” takes notable command of the more doomed persona with fluid shifts in volume and room for a bit of Witchcraftian flute-ish sounds, though it could just as easily be keys at work there. All told, the record is a clean nine tracks (with intro) and 38 minutes that culminates in suitably dug-in fashion with “Inner Altar” itself, the band drawing together multiple sides of their sound to finish with a fitting representation of their overarching atmospheric intent. Along with the clarity of their stylistic vision — that is, the fact that they know what they want to sound like — the subtly progressive aspects of Vol. III represent Inner Altar well in terms of potential avenues for future growth, but as in the best of cases, that shouldn’t discount what they already bring in terms of songwriting, which only seems to grow in esteem with subsequent listens.

I’m thrilled today to be able to host the premiere of “Pagan Rays | Numbered Days” ahead of the album’s release. You can listen to the track below, followed by some words from the band and more info from the PR wire, including the preorder link for Vol. III. Please enjoy:

Lord Rewcifer on “Pagan Rays | Numbered Days”:

“Pagan Rays. This track is like when the pagan gods plotted the destruction of the human race for giving birth to judeo-christian thought which in turn destroyed them. Suicide is no longer a sin, it is your rite! And they will take us any way they can. Your prayers can’t save you and don’t bother running. Alright! Cheers and Hails!”

Inner Altar hails from very near the center of the US, in Kansas City, MO. Middle of the map. Consisting of friends who came up in the underground midwest punk/hc community who’ve always had an affinity for the classic doom sounds of the early 70’s, Inner Altar was born in 2015. With 2 demo Volumes completed and a some push from Kansas City based record label, The Company, Inner Altar began work on self recording and producing their first LP, Vol III, at the beginning of 2018.

Fast forward to the end of the year and Inner Altar is ready to release their hard work. 9 stand apart tracks of classic doom love with their midwestern land locked twist. Lives Of Fire, the first single from Vol III, has been released Dec 21st and vinyl be preordered through The Company’s website starting Dec 22nd. The official release for the album is January 18th, 2019. The album will be available on black, gold, and blood/bone.

Side A:
Prelude
For the Gods to Swear By
Lives of Fire
Undine’s Kiss
Castle Storm

Side B:
Pagan Rays | Numbered Days
Mother Eternity
Dethroned & Fugitive
Inner Altar

Inner Altar is:
Seasnake
Tunx
SSDB
Rewchild
Long Feather

Inner Altar, “Lives of Fire” official video

Inner Altar on Thee Facebooks

Inner Altar on Bandcamp

The Company webstore

The Company on Instagram

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Godmaker & Somnuri, Split LP: Excerpts and Edges

Posted in Reviews on November 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

godmaker somnuri split

Madness ensues. Some splits seem like a nightmare to set up. Bands are on opposite sides of the planet, have disparate sounds, there are different labels involved, all this extra whatnot before anyone actually gets to the process of writing songs. I’d imagine Godmaker and Somnuri getting together for a split LP released through The Company was easier. Like sending a text: “So, split?” “Sure.” Followed by the booking of studio time. The two bands, both of whom are based in Brooklyn, tap into a progressive take on New York’s long-established concrete-crunch noise rock, and both bands showcase considerable forward-forward-forward aesthetic ambition in their two included songs on this 30-minute offering. But even more than whatever commonalities exist in terms of geography, sound and intent, these dudes know each other. They’re not strangers assembled together haphazardly.

Check the lineups. Godmaker is guitarist/vocalists Pete Ross (ex-Cleanteeth) and Carmine Laietta (ex-Hull), bassist/keyboardist/vocalist Andrew Archey (Fashion Week) and drummer Jon Lane (ex-Bröhammer), and their 13-minute “An Excerpt” features guest vocals from Kurt Applegate (Family). Meantime, Somnuri are guitarist/vocalist Justin Sherrell (ex-Bezoar, Blackout), bassist Drew Mack (ex-Hull) and drummer Phil SanGiacomo (ex-Family). If you took everyone’s bands and put them all on a bill together you could have a festival at the Saint Vitus Bar. Granted you’d have to get a couple reunions going, but I think the point stands; it isn’t exactly anyone’s first time at the dance. And frankly, both Godmaker and Somnuri sound like it.

Godmaker released their self-titled debut (review here) in 2014, and Somnuri had their own (review here) last year, but regardless of the timing, the two bands both inhabit the modern sphere of New York noise, informed not only by the likes of Unsane, but by sludge and post-metal, by sundry other genres and experiences. The result is a sense of atmosphere to complement the aggressive push in both acts that remains coherent from one to the next, and as Godmaker‘s cover of Portishead‘s “Over” gives way to Somnuri‘s “Over and Out,” the ties there seem to extend beyond the title similarities.

So okay, they fit well together. Fair enough. Actually makes a lot of sense they’d get together for a joint release. As for the madness noted at the outset, that’s really more down to the audio itself. The chief impression I carried out of Godmaker‘s self-titled four years ago was one of scathe. It was skin-peelingly abrasive, but their “An Excerpt” hones a more patient delivery, unfolding with a buzzing tension beneath a steady guitar line and nonetheless enacting a fluidity around this darker theme. Recorded and mixed by Tom Tierney at Spaceman Sound, when it kicks in with a full-toned nod at about 90 seconds, barking vocals over top for a first verse that soon shifts into a chorus that reminds of Meatjack taking on the Melvins — that’s pretty specific, so I’m going to guess it’s sonic coincidence — it makes a return to the verse and the chorus for a second runthrough before shifting into the more complex aspects of its structure, introducing cleaner vocals amid screams and a chugging instrumental surge that gives way to winding triumph and, right about at the halfway mark, a falling apart of the proceedings entirely.

They crash out to near-silence with quiet bass and guitar setting the stage for the build back up — one can’t help but be reminded of Hull‘s layered-vocal victories here — as they shove toward and through the apex and set themselves on the final outward march that consumes the last two minutes, dedicating the final of them to sustained crashes and noise. After that, I’d question the necessity of the Portishead cover, but it’s listed as a “bonus track,” and I guess if you’ve got the space on the record, use it. They bring a beefed-up arrangement to “Over,” which appeared on Portishead‘s 1997 self-titled full-length, and include samples and a current of foreboding that comes through the cleaner vocals early and the later screams the accompany. It’s a welcome enough touch and shows a breadth of influence on the part of Godmaker, which is no doubt part of the reason it’s there, but “An Excerpt” is the highlight without question.

Somnuri answer back with two originals of their own in “Over and Out” and “Edge of the Forest,” neither of which hits the runtime of Godmaker‘s “An Excerpt,” but both of which find the trio building on the promise of their first record and bringing together a dynamic that benefits from the chemistry burgeoning among the players. Sherrell, who drummed in Bezoar and plays bass in Blackout, seems to be the kind of player who can handle just about any task he might take on in a band. Vocallly he’s in easy command in switching between clean and harsh lines, and his tone and that of Mack are both righteously thick without being indistinguishable from each other — Jeff Berner recorded at Studio G, while SanGiacomo mixed. “Over and Out” moves in its second half to a tight chug and weaves a lead line overhead to give a tonal contrast, and concludes with a full-brunt crush that’s absolutely punishing.

“Edge of the Forest” is longer by nearly three full minutes at 7:21, and uses some of that time to set up a more patient buildup à la Godmaker earlier with the crash-in happening right around the two-minute mark with far-back clean vocals reminding of the last Akimbo (yes, I know: wrong coast, but they were writing about New Jersey, so eat me) before the slow roars and screams drop in the midsection to atmospheric guitar leading not to a build, but a sudden slam forward that is propelled by the drums through a fierce but still controlled crescendo given vicious screams before a final return to the chug that first enveloped after that midsection quiet part gives a last-minute sense of symmetry and the piece ends on a notably progressive assault. The temptation with a split is to think of the bands involved in competition with each other, and maybe that’s what’s happening with Godmaker and Somnuri here, but the fact of the matter is both offer an intricacy of style that adds depth to their raw and sometimes angular heaviness. They work better together than they do as adversaries, in other words, and the aim in this split seems not to be to find them pitted against each other, but acting in unison toward their shared goal of conveying some of the best aspects on New York’s modern noise movement. It’s a thoughtful madness.

Godmaker on Thee Facebooks

Godmaker on Instagram

Godmaker on Bandcamp

Somnuri on Thee Facebooks

Somnuri on Instagram

Somnuri on Bandcamp

The Company webstore

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