Roadburn Redux Announces 55 New Additions to Virtual Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 1st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

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What, you thought because Roadburn was going virtual this year it wouldn’t find a way to be completely overwhelming? Behold 55 new additions to The Right Service to Doctoral Thesis In Physics. If you need several more proofs why we are the right service for you, here they are: Your paper will be made from scratch and to the specific requirements you provide us with. It doesn’t matter how many or how difficult they are, our writers are well-equipped at fulfilling students’ most demanding needs. We’d like to make your paper exactly the way Roadburn Redux, set for just over two weeks from now — shit I need to get on WCD copy — and staggering in its scope as Cover http://www.estcadeaux.com/?best-custom-essay-site from CV Writers. We also provide professional CV writing services and LinkedIn profile writing. Roadburn consistently manages to be. Find me checking out Get the best academic writing services UK with beeresearcher, from custom writing to assignment help. We have got the best Career Service Mnster Essay in affordable Steve Von Till, Our Zuckerberg Ghostwriters also ensure that every single completed paper is of great quality and delivered on time. Our experts will also offer you a bit of advice to help with your work or any other type of paper. Body Void, How To Write A Speech Proposals from just .50 per page. 24/7 online proofreaders and native English editors with full money-back guarantee. Astrosoniq, Where news - Instead of having trouble about research paper writing get the needed help here Benefit from our cheap custom Doctors of Space, pay it forward essay ideas Recommended Site annual fundsforwriters essay contest college application essay writing service by george ehrenhaft Nadja, BestCustomPaper.com offers you its Custom Essays Usa writing services to let you seize an opportunity to be confident about bright success at the end of the school year! You have studied enough already. It's time to rely on professionals and spend the rest of your student years as you want. Custom Dissertation Writing You Deserve . There is a vast number of platforms that offer students any Year of No Light, A reliable, professional and persuasive team of article writers and website copywriters. See what our http://www.documentahalle.de/?mba-admission-essay-buy-questionss team can do for you... SÂVER and a ton of others, and yeah, fucking a. You know it’s see url starting at per page Most digitally astute students have become online or internet savvy based off a plethora of available information, especially pertaining to dissertations. Crafting a dissertation is a tedious job, and most students get stuck even before reaching the middle. Roadburn when all you can really do is throw your hands up and give in to it.

The full announcement follows here. I don’t even know what to say anymore.

From the PR wire:

roadburn redux steve von till

ROADBURN REDUX: Steve Von Till, Aaron Turner and 53 more names confirmed

Redefining heaviness with exclusive performances and premieres – wherever you are in the world.

Roadburn Redux has confirmed an enormous 55 new names that will be participating in the online event taking place between April 16-18. They will be joining the already-announced line up that includes Hexvessel, Die Wilde Jagd, Inter Arma, Mizmor, Primitive Man, Wolvennest and many, many more.

Artistic Director Walter Hoeijmakers comments: “Roadburn has always been a gathering of kindred spirits; shining a light on varying creative corners of our beloved underground and beyond. This year is no different. We’re beyond elated to announce that a vast number of inspiring bands and artists – from Roadburn luminaries such as Steve Von Till and Aaron Turner to young, to upcoming hopefuls like Knoll – have been added to our final, virtual lineup. We’re honoured to provide a platform in these trying times, whether they will bring you exclusive sets or present their debut albums. Together they will give us hope, inspiration, and most of all, the opportunity to reconnect with each other and keep our thriving community going for bands and fans alike. Despite the fact that Jo Quail and several musicians working with her on ‘The Cartographer’ can’t make it to Tilburg due to the travel restrictions – she’ll still be a part of the festival this year, whilst the commissioned performance will take place in 2022. Such is the communal vibe of Roadburn, and we can’t wait to welcome you to Roadburn Redux – wherever you are in the world.”

Roadburn Redux will take place online between April 16-18. Roadburnredux.com for more information.

New Additions

STEVE VON TILL presents A Remote Wilderness
Steve Von Till has performed at Roadburn as part of Neurosis, as a curator, as a solo artist, and a guest musician – and now he will be performing for us within a digital realm as part of Roadburn Redux.

Filmed and recorded live at the legendary Robert Lang Studios in Seattle, we’re delighted to be able to present to you a Steve Von Till performance titled A Remote Wilderness. Joined by a dynamic group of Seattle based musicians Von Till will perform his latest album, No Wilderness Deep Enough, in its entirety – with a few older songs woven throughout.

PERFORMANCES
As well as Steve Von Till’s amazing contribution to Roadburn Redux, we’re thrilled to bring a huge swathe of exclusive, specially recorded performances to Roadburn audiences, including a special solo set from Aaron Turner, a short set from Jo Quail to tide us over until The Cartographer performance next year, the unveiling of two new Dawn Ray’d songs via an exclusive performance video, a very special improv set from Blanck Mass, a psychedelic freakout courtesy of Doctors of Space and much more. Click the artist names below to find out more about each of their performances.

Aaron Turner
Amulets
Svart Sessions: Doodswens
Blanck Mass
Body Void
Dawn Ray’d
Doctors of Space
Drowse
Jo Quail
Jonathan Hulten
Knoll
Nadja
Nero Di Marte
Sula Bassana
Wesenwille

COMMISSIONED:
Also performing for us will be two further artists commissioned specifically by Roadburn for the occasion.

BADA
BADA was created in 2019 by Anna Von Hausswolff and fellow Gothenburg musicians David Sabel, Gianluca Grasselli, Filip Leyman and Hannes Nilsson – some of whom also perform as part of Von Hausswolff’s solo project. Through cinematic drone, tribal rhythms, heavy distortions and a shared desire to “reunite the essential bonds between music and physical worlds”, BADA is a captivating and constantly evolving force of creativity that demands to be witnessed.

TAU PRESENTS DREAM AWAKE
Tau are bringing their transcendental visions to Roadburn Redux, with an exclusive two-part set entitled Dream Awake, that will include a special guest appearance from Clannad’s PĂłl Brennan. Led by Dubliner SeĂĄn Mulrooney, Tau’s hypnotic neo-folk transports listeners on a meditative voyage, taking in shamanic chants, psychedelic flourishes and traditional folk elements, from Irish to Mongolian.

PELAGIC PRESENTS
We’ve joined forces with Germany’s Pelagic Records to showcase artists on the label’s roster under the banner ‘Pelagic Presents’. With no indication of slowing down, this positively prolific label is churning out stellar release after stellar release, even during the last twelve challenging months. Join us as we team up to bring you an exciting collection of premiers, exclusive performances and we’ll even be unveiling some brand new signings to the label over the Redux weekend.

The following artists will be participating in the Pelagic Presents showcase:

Blessings
Briqueville
Crown
Johan G. Winther
LLNN
Lustmord & Karin Park
Oslo Tapes
Psychonaut
SĂąver
SOM
The Ocean performing Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic
Year of No Light

ALBUM PREMIERES
In addition to already announced full album premieres, we’re delighted to confirm three more – including Spill Gold performing their album Highway Hypnosis, broadcast live from the 013 venue.
Might performing Might
Spill Gold performing Highway Hypnosis
Trialogos performing Stroh Zu Gold

THE SONGS OF TOWNES VAN ZANDT
The installment of The Songs of Townes Van Zandt is on the horizon during Roadburn Redux the artists involved with the latest album will be unveiled. With previous participants including John Baizley, Scott Kelly and Mike Scheidt, the pedigree of the artists is in no doubt. To find out more click here – and tune in April 16-18 for the big reveal. Click here for more info.

AUDIO/VIDEO PREMIERES:
Roadburn Redux will also be the proud host of a number of audio and visual premieres over the festival weekend. Ranging from previously recordings from previous editions of the festival through to brand new a material from upcoming albums, there’s a feast for both the eyes and ears planned this April courtesy of the following artists:

Acid Rooster
Algiers
Alora Crucible
An Autumn For Crippled Children
Astrosoniq
Blodet
Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou
Hand Model
Hante
Kayo Dot
Midwife
Noctule
Obsidian Kingdom
Of Wolves
Sunrot
Talea Jacta Meets Electric Moon
Tesa
Thy Catafalque
Witch Mountain
Wolf King
Wolves In The Condo

VIRTUAL PIT STOP
We are partnering up with a brand new as yet un-released to public virtual social gathering platform called Bramble to bring you a daily place to hang out with fellow Roadburners virtually – just like the real life Pit Stop in Tilburg.

Anyone who has ever played video games will feel right at home in Bramble, where conversations happen inside of a psychedelic venue. Guests walk around a trippy world as an avatar – connecting with your long lost community. As you move your avatar around, the people you see and hear change depending on who you’re close to, like moving around a physical space.
There will be four separate spaces – The Grass Company, 8.6 Bar, The Weirdo Canyon, and The Skate Hall – open from 5pm CET til 3am CET each day of Roadburn Redux.

Bramble was invented by Artery, a global community for intimate culture and social infrastructure. Its unique gathering platform has been used for everything from open-mics to an album listening party celebration, as well as birthday parties, family gatherings and dozens of companies establishing virtual spaces for their remote workforce.

TICKETS & INFO
Roadburn Redux will be available to access between April 16-18 with a full programme of content online for free (or pay what you like).

Already announced is commissioned projects from Mizmor, Primitive Man Die Wilde Jagd, Dirk Serries, GOLD, Jo Quail, Neptunian Maximalism, Of Blood And Mercury, Radar Men From The Moon, Solar Temple, TDC Inc, and The Nest, plus album premieres from Autarkh, Die Wilde Jagd, Emptiness, Plague Organ and Wolvennest, and a series of sets recorded under the banner of The Svart Sessions – highlighting the best of the Finnish label’s roster.

Roadburn Redux has been made possible due to the support from Brabant C, Gemeente Tilburg, Fonds Podiumkunsten, Provincie Noord-Brabant, Bavaria 8.6, Ticket to Tilburg.

https://www.roadburnredux.com/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1081424195382564/
https://www.facebook.com/roadburnfestival/
http://www.instagram.com/roadburnfest
http://www.roadburn.com

Steve Von Till, A Deep Voiceless Wilderness (2021)

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Roadburn Redux: Primitive Man, Mizmor, Inter Arma, Maggot Heart and More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 4th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

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In some ways, it’s comforting to see an announcement coming from the camp of PhD Thesis Editors in UK offer unmatched PhD http://www.jjrousseau.ch/?write-a-term-papers. Our editing service in UK includes Grammar check, Structure and Sentence Flow and Roadburn Festival — this year putting forth the virtual Thesis Proofreading. You have worked hard, and now you’re ready to have your thesis or dissertation edited. At Thesisproofreading.com, our goal is to help you to deliver a polished, grammatically correct thesis or dissertation. Our Essay Writing Services Canada includes fixing all grammar, revising wording, and fixing punctuation and capitalization. In addition, we will work to ensure your thesis or dissertation meets all academic standards. We can work in any number of reference styles Roadburn Redux owing to circumstances that need not be recounted here for the thousandth time — and to find it completely overwhelming. EssayOnTime.com.au: Can I Medicine Personal Statement in Australia? Read further to find the answer and really smart solution to academic problems and Roadburn, in years past, has meant hard choices. You can only be in one place at one time. Do you leave in the middle of one set to catch the beginning of another? Do you REALLY need to take a break for dinner? Certainly not. Such human weaknesses.

I don’t know how Have Term Papers On The Cold War. We our course much about of complaining those services of have years writing dissertation coaching services experience our was as quality students never provider service come a the. More be couldnt yet than be own may perhaps which these explored could until anyway there theoretical fully many both and empirical. Journal of Journal move and through articles Roadburn Redux will be organized/presented. Is it an artsy-looking website with a bunch of streaming embeds or links? A sort of choose-your-own-adventure excursion into a weekend of mindbending screentime? I am deeply curious to find out, and I suspect I’m not alone in that. My ignorance, however, isn’t preventing me from looking forward to the thing, which in festival tradition is set for next month. There will be a Weirdo Canyon Dispatch, the daily ‘zine. I was instructed to work on a new name for it. Might go with ‘Dispatch Redux,’ we’ll see.

Here’s the announcement from the PR wire:

roadburn redux lineup poster

ROADBURN REDUX: New additions for 2021 edition

Redefining heaviness with exclusive performances and premieres – wherever you are in the world.

Following on from last month’s announcement launching Roadburn Redux, this month sees another line up of exclusive performances and commissioned music. Always seeking to redefine heaviness and champion bands from a multitude of interconnecting underground scenes, Roadburn Redux will deliver cutting edge content available to be experienced digitally from anywhere around the world.

Artistic Director, Walter Hoeijmakers, comments: “I’m delighted to be able to continue our relatively new tradition of commissioned music this year. Having already heard some of what’s in store – I can confidently say that there are going to be many reasons to tune in for Roadburn this year, with unmissable performances and exclusive new music premiering across the weekend. We may be apart this year, but the spirit of Roadburn is alive and well!”
Roadburn Redux will take place online between April 16-18. Roadburnredux.com for more information.
New Additions

COMMISSIONED MUSIC: Mizmor presents Wit’s End
We were due to welcome Mizmor back to Roadburn in 2020 – a reunion and a celebration of this wonderful and ever-evolving creative outlet for one of our favourite, forward thinking musicians. But life had other plans and that got put on ice. However, we’re delighted to announce that A.L.N agreed to work on a specially commissioned piece of music that will premiere during Roadburn Redux.
Titled Wit’s End, this brand new, fifteen minute track will make its debut accompanied by an original video made specially for the release by Zev Deans. The track will make an appearance on an upcoming Mizmor release via Gilead Media later this year, but for now details of that remain under wraps.

COMMISSIONED MUSIC: Primitive Man
We’re thrilled to announce that we commissioned Primitive Man to compose and record all-new, original material to make its debut during Roadburn this April. Having made their mark in such an unforgettable way with each release so far, we have no doubt that the material we have the honour of presenting this April will follow suit.

Primitive Man’s Ethan Lee McCarthy comments:

“We have spent the last year writing these songs in spite of everything that has been going on. We have no other choice but to be tougher than the darkness that surrounds us. And these songs reflect not only times of extreme darkness but the need to persevere. Long live extreme music, long live friendship and long live Roadburn.”

COMMISSIONED MUSIC: Many Blessings
As well as fronting the formidable Primitive Man, Ethan Lee McCarthy has another outlet for his creativity in the form of Many Blessings. Understandably sharing much of the same DNA as Primitive Man, Many Blessings offers a goosebump-inducing ominous atmosphere.Always hungry for more of those foundation-shattering creations, we commissioned Ethan to create new Many Blessings material that will premiere during Roadburn Redux.

PARADOX PRESENTS: AUTARKH III
Having already announced an Autarkh performance for Roadburn Redux, we’re thrilled to announce a second, very different performance from this up and coming Tilburg-based band, under a slightly different guise: Autarkh III. The trio consists of Autarkh-members David Luiten (vocals / guitars), Michel Nienhuis (vocals / guitars) and Tijnn Verbruggen (live electronics) and aims to represent an alternative timeline of Autarkh’s debut album Form In Motion.

Gallops
Back in 2018, Gallops made their debut at Roadburn Festival – the Welsh trio brought the party to Het Patronaat with a late-night showcase of pulsating electronica and sweeping experimental rock. Now they’re back for Roadburn Redux, and will be beaming their out-there beats to wherever you are in the world with a virtual live performance.

SVART SESSIONS: Haunted Plasma
Teased last month we can now reveal the secret project that will be part of the Svart Sessions at Roadburn REDUX. The phantoms at the beating nucleus of this unearthly machine are Juho Vanhanen (Oranssi Pazuzu, Grave Pleasures), Timo Kaukolampi (K-X-P, Op:l Bastards) and Tomi LeppÀnen (Circle, Aavikko, K-X-P), transmitting a music form evolved from a life of redefining sonic boundaries in their respective projects. Also featuring guest vocals from Mat McNerney (Hexvessel, Carpenter Brut, Beastmilk) and Ringa Manner (Ruusut, The Hearing) Haunted Plasma promises an extraterrestrial experience from some of the foremost contemporary musicians at the heart of the Finnish heavy and avant-garde musical underworld.

Inter Arma Covered in the Compound: Live at Chesterfield East
Being fans of Inter Arma in any and every guise, we’d booked them to perform Sulphur English in full for the ill-fated Roadburn 2020 – and now we’ve asked them to perform a covers set at Roadburn Redux. Although we’ll not be able to experience it up close and personal, if anyone can communicate an after-party vibe through the airwaves and in pixel form, it’s these guys.

Maggot Heart
Maggot Heart made their Roadburn debut back in 2018, and despite only having one EP, 2017’s City Girls, to their name at the time, they drew in the masses who were eager to see what this exciting new project had in store. Maggot Heart didn’t disappoint – getting the packed-out Green Room grooving to their raucous late-night show. Latest album, Mercy Machine, will provide the material for their Roadburn Redux set, filmed at Urban Spree in Berlin; we can’t wait to welcome Maggot Heart back to Roadburn in this digital format.

Offermose
Craving tidal waves of shape shifting sounds that open wide the hidden portal of the mind and the twisted trails to the distant light within thyself? Look no further – from the bottomless depths of murky forest lakes to the unfathomable reaches of primordial cosmos, Offermose will rise with yet another dark ritual of sacrifice, this time exclusively for Roadburn Redux.

ALBUM PREMIERE: Regarde Les Hommes Tomber performing Ascension
There’s no denying that Regarde Les Hommes Tomber’s Ascension left a mark on us and the wider Roadburn community. We’re thrilled that they’ll be performing the whole thing for us in its entirety, their intoxicating amalgam of genres brought to life especially for Roadburn Redux.

ALBUM PREMIERE: The Devil’s Trade performing The Call of the Iron Peak
A little way outside of Budapest you’ll find the TĂĄrnok Quarry – a place that has been the source of many fruitful and historic endeavours over many centuries. Now this magical location will host The Devil’s Trade – for a very special performance of The Call of The Iron Peak recorded specially for Roadburn Redux. We’re thrilled to be the conduit for such an evocative and unusual performance.

Wayfarer
Wayfarer will be making an appearance at Roadburn this year with a virtual live set, where the Denver-based quartet will perform tracks from their latest album A Romance With Violence for the very first time. Wayfarer’s Shane McCarthy comments:
“We are honored to be invited by Roadburn to take part in this event. We’ve been eager to bring material from ‘A Romance With Violence’ to the stage, and as the insanity of the world rolls on there is no better place to do so than here. Roadburn have always set a high water mark for creativity, innovation and connection through music – and it is great to see them continue to do so even as this whole industry is in tumult. We look forward to kicking off the performing cycle for ‘Romance’ on your screens this April.”

TICKETS & INFO
Roadburn Redux will be available to access between April 16-18 with a full programme of content online for free (or pay what you like).

Already announced is commissioned projects from Die Wilde Jagd, Dirk Serries, GOLD, Jo Quail, Neptunian Maximalism, Of Blood And Mercury, Radar Men From The Moon, Solar Temple, TDC Inc, and The Nest, plus album premieres from Autarkh, Die Wilde Jagd, Emptiness, Plague Organ and Wolvennest, and a series of sets recorded under the banner of The Svart Sessions – highlighting the best of the Finnish label’s roster.

Roadburn Redux has been made possible due to the support from Brabant C, Gemeente Tilburg, Fonds Podiumkunsten, Provincie Noord-Brabant, Bavaria 8.6, Ticket to Tilburg.

https://www.roadburnredux.com/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1081424195382564/
https://www.facebook.com/roadburnfestival/
http://www.instagram.com/roadburnfest
http://www.roadburn.com

Inter Arma, Garber Days Revisited (2020)

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Jasper Hesselink of No Man’s Valley

Posted in Questionnaire on February 18th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

jasper hesselink no mans valley

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Jasper Hesselink of No Man’s Valley

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I am a singer, a writer of lyrics, a writer of reviews, a teacher of English, and a father of two girls (age 8 and 11). I have always wanted to play in bands so I made it happen from the moment it was possible. I even studied English to be able to write better lyrics ;) So far I have played over 200 shows, made three EPs and two full-length albums. At the moment The Netherlands has quite a severe lockdown so we have not able to practice normally for months. I have started my own music blog Weirdo Shrine to kill some time and because I love to discover new music and practice my writing: https://weirdoshrine.wordpress.com/

Describe your first musical memory.

Well, I am well in my thirties, so my first experiences discovering bands were all through tape trading, borrowing CDs from my friends’ bigger brothers and so on. Getting into heavier rock music for me started with Iron Maiden’s first 10 albums. I don’t think I ever played any other band as much as them. I sometimes miss those days when you really had to hunt music down and it wasn’t so easily available as these days. Finding an album and buying it was a completely different experience than it is today.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

My best musical memories probably stem from playing live with No Man’s Valley. Our best gigs were probably supporting The Stranglers and meeting them backstage was a dream come true too. My best memory however was playing Freak Valley Festival in 2018. We had some bad luck because the generator supporting the stage broke down in the middle of our set, but it turned out pretty great because the whole crowd started singing along to the song even while they didn’t know the lyrics. It so heartwarming when a crowd is there for you, even when you strike bad luck like that. I shook a lot of hands afterwards at the merch stands, that made me feel like a million bucks.

This is what that looked like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sr3wI6z3AMo&ab_channel=NoMan%27sValley

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

Well I believe The Netherlands where I live is a safe place, and that you should be able to go wherever you want to at any time. I used to ride my bike everywhere and at any time, but this one night I was hit by a motorbike which skidded to the ground. I was unharmed, and I got up to check on the people on the motorbike but when I got there this guy started attacking me. I was so stunned I didn’t even move while this guy just kept hitting me with his fists. That’s when I saw the gun. Apparently he dropped it when his motorbike hit me. He picked up the gun and I started running, he shot at me seven times and somehow missed. That was a huge test for my belief in safe and dull Holland to be honest. Much later I wrote the song “7 Blows” about that experience.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Who cares really haha, I have learned that it doesn’t really matter where your artistic progression leads you, as long as it still takes you places. For me and my band music has always been such an incredibly important outlet. It’s like an ongoing therapy session sometimes haha. As long as it still means that for us it’s worth doing and it doesn’t really matter what the outcome is.

How do you define success?

Just being able to live in the moment, creating something out of nothing, and really enjoying what you doing while doing it is a success to me. Another level of success for me is to be able to juggle all the different parts of my life without compromising too much, I’m still working on that ;)

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

The Blair Witch Project. I don’t think I ever walked comfortably in a forest after seeing that.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I still really like to write and record a mega jam. We are bad at that, we mostly write song-songs. We are working on it at the moment but Corona is slowing us down unfortunately. The working title is “Flight of the Sloths” so perhaps you can imagine what it will sound like!

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Practicing the magic of creating something out of nothing.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Hugging a bunch of people once this shit show is over. I am pretty introverted so I don’t really miss it all that much, but it’s been a year since I hugged my mom and dad and my sister so I am very much looking forward doing that again.

www.nomansvalley.com
https://www.facebook.com/nomansvalley
https://twitter.com/nomansvalley
https://instagram.com/nomansvalley/
nomansvalley.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/Tonzonen/
https://www.instagram.com/tonzonenrecords/
https://www.tonzonen.de

No Man’s Valley, Outside the Dream (2019)

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Roadburn Announces ‘Roadburn Redux’ 2021 Programming Series

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 4th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

roadburn redux banner resized

Well, here we are. You knew Roadburn Festival wasn’t going to let 2021 pass without cooking up something special, and you knew that something special wasn’t going to be an actual four-or-five-day, go-to-it-in-person fest. So here comes Roadburn Redux, which kind of sounds to me like they’re inventing the Roadburn Channel with a ton of exclusive performances, streams, full-albums and the like. It of course seems like a massive undertaking, and though you’re watching it from your couch instead of from in front of the stage at the 013 in Tilburg, somehow Roadburn has still managed to be completely overwhelming. Heartfelt kudos on that.

This is the first I’m seeing of this lineup, so don’t think I have any insider information on this at all. I don’t know what the status of the Roadburn ‘zine, the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch, might be. I had heard they wanted to do one, but that was a while back and I think before this actually started to come together. When/if I hear something in that regard, I’ll let you know, but frankly, it looks like they have enough on their plate without. Call me crazy.

Me? Looking forward to all the Svart stuff. New band Dust Mountain, Hexvessel doing Dawnbreaker, Polymoon. Sounds good to me. Otherwise it’s Roadburn being Roadburn: delightfully weird, loaded with exclusives, forward-thinking and on a level of its own.

Here’s the info from the PR wire:

ROADBURN REDUX: Redefining heaviness with exclusive performances and premieres – wherever you are in the world.

Roadburn 2021 will be taking place in an unfamiliar format, but will retain the hallmarks of what makes the usual editions a must-attend event for fans of heavy music around the globe. This online version of the festival, titled Roadburn Redux, will feature performances broadcast live from the 013 venue in Tilburg, as well as pre-recorded and exclusive content, and will take place between April 16-18. Despite these new obstacles, Roadburn will showcase the very best of cutting edge performances, and highlight the most innovative and engaging artists in the Roadburn universe; everything available to access as part of Roadburn Redux will be exclusive – either a commissioned project or a premiere. The poster artwork for Roadburn Redux is by Lucile Lejoly.

A series of performances due to take place at the 013 venue have been confirmed – see below for more information – which will be broadcast live via a specially designed website featuring a live blog with a continuous stream of content. Alongside those transmissions from Tilburg, Roadburn will host exclusive content from a variety of artists, including further commissioned work and exclusive performances.

Roadburn’s artistic director, Walter Hoeijmakers, comments: “The last year has been incredibly difficult for everybody to navigate; keeping safe is paramount, but it often came at the expense of the ‘normal’ life we’d come to enjoy. For us, that meant a halt to Roadburn as we knew it. However, Roadburn Redux gives us the opportunity to reconnect with the artists and community that are at the heart of Roadburn; to bring a bit of joy, friendship, inspiration, and most of all hope in these difficult times. I’m thrilled by the performances we’ve already secured – the format might be different, but the spirit of Roadburn remains strong.”

Roadburn Redux has been made possible due to the support from Brabant C, Gemeente Tilburg, Fonds Podiumkunsten, Provincie Noord-Brabant, Bavaria 8.6, Ticket to Tilburg.

BROADCAST LIVE FROM THE 013 – COMMISSIONED PROJECTS

DEAD NEANDERTHALS PERFORMING IXXO
With the irrepressible duo bursting at the seams with creative ideas, we knew they’d be perfect candidates for one of the all new commissioned projects for Roadburn 2021. At the time of writing this, the project is still being developed but already has us hooked, keen to find out exactly what’s in store come April. Otto and RenĂ© have teamed up with Dutch singer/songwriter Aafke Romeijn, and Jonge Woudloper, one of the musicians in Aafke’s band, to create IXXO.

DIE WILDE JAGD PERFORMING ATEM
Injecting some much needed freshness into what can sometimes be a stagnant scene, Die Wilde Jagd can reasonably be described as experimental at any given time – their heady blend of psychedelic electronic-rock futurism is intoxicating – but under the banner of a Roadburn commissioned project christened Atem, experimentation has truly run wild.

DIRK SERRIES PERFORMING EPITAPH
For this special Roadburn performance, Roadburn regular, Dirk Serries will be creating and improvising alongside Tom Malmendier on drums and Rutger Zuydervelt on electronics. Having already collaborated with both previously, but never in this exact configuration, we’re sure to be in for a treat.

GOLD PERFORMING THIS SHAME SHOULD NOT BE MINE
Having long been fans of their output, and knowing that they were the sort of artists that could take an idea and run with it, we were also convinced that they would relish the task of creating a commissioned piece for Roadburn Festival. Due to social restrictions, the core writing duo of Thomas and Milena commenced the writing for this project at home; the performance will feature the full GOLD line up as the debut this cathartic and bold creation.

JO QUAIL PERFORMING THE CARTOGRAPHER
Jo Quail performing The Cartographer is the only commissioned piece from 2020’s Roadburn line up to be carried over into 2021. Jo’s intention is to explore heaviness and to focus on exploring the juxtaposition between classical and more contemporary music, in this case post-metal. Jo will join forces with Rotterdam’s highly regarded New Trombone Collective – a group of trombonists who pride themselves on innovation, creativity and collaboration – to work towards communicating specific feelings through their combined output.

NEPTUNIAN MAXIMALISM PERFORMING SET CHAOS TO THE HEART OF THE MOON
If you’ve already experienced something of Neptunian Maximalism, you’ll already know that the best way to listen to them is to give yourself over completely. For the uninitiated it’s time to shake off your inhibitions and let loose! For this performance commissioned by Roadburn, they will explore their 2020 album, Éons, in a completely new way.

OF BLOOD AND MERCURY PERFORMING THE OTHER SIDE OF DEATH
Of Blood and Mercury will perform a commissioned piece called The Other Side of Death, a soundtrack that will move us through the first moments of after-life. They promise that our earthly perception of time, space, sound, and feeling will fall apart. Not fully here, nor there, nowhere and everywhere; the lie about death is the beginning of the lie about life.

RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON PERFORMING THUS SPOKE THE BEHOLDER
They say that good things come in threes – and 2021 will mark the third Roadburn appearance for Dutch experimentalists, Radar Men From The Moon. The Eindhoven-based space-travellers will descend on Tilburg for a special performance of a commissioned piece they have titled Thus Spoke The Beholder. Having always embraced evolution within the fuzzed-out confines of RMFTM, this six-piece have taken on the task with relish.

SOLAR TEMPLE PERFORMING THE GREAT STAR ABOVE PROVIDES
Lurking in some of the darkest corners of the Dutch black metal scene we found Solar Temple – an entirely studio-focussed duo featuring members of Fluisteraars and Turia – and couldn’t resist tempting them out into the bright lights for this very special edition of Roadburn. Marking their first ever live performance, this commissioned project is the next step in the band’s evolution.

TDC INC. PERFORMING CORPORATE
With time it was inevitable that both PRSPCT and Roadburn would come together, as we share a kindred anti-authoritarian spirit while defying musical borders as well. Most of us will have to wait for another time for a face to face experience of their head on collision of old school drum and bass, electronic violence and black metal. However, as their asphyxiating maelstrom of bludgeoning beats, guitars and imagery is still very urgent, it prompted us to make sure that both the label and The Dead Cvlt are part of Roadburn Redux commissioned music projects, as we’re beyond intrigued to see and hear how the confinement of the pandemic has influenced their artistry.

THE NEST PERFORMING HER TRUE NATURE
The Nest is a collaboration between members of Wolvennest and some special – as yet unannounced – guests. Each individual participating retains their own signature sound and identity, but comes together to create something unified. This entirely original, commissioned performance will combine meditative, ritualistic elements with psychedelic sounds and blackened doom metal, as well as uniting a group of long-time friends on stage for the first time together in this constellation.

BROADCAST LIVE FROM THE 013 – ALBUM PREMIERES

AUTARKH PERFORMING FORM IN MOTION
Tilburg has cemented its importance for underground heavy bands with a steady trickle of innovative and compelling bands making their ways out into the wider world. The latest such band is Autarkh, who – we are delighted to announce – will be performing their debut album in full for us this April. Founding member of Dodecahedron, Michel Nienhuis, teamed up with producer Joris Bonis (Dodecahedron, Ulsect), guitarist David Luiten and electronic composer / producer Tijnn Verbruggen to create the oppressive, claustrophobic and totally exhilarating wild ride that is Form In Motion.

DIE WILDE JAGD PERFORMING HAUT
Having spent most of 2020 familiarising ourselves with the spacious, meditative, and yet still distinctly experimental beauty of Haut, we asked the mastermind behind Die Wilde Jagd, Sebastian Lee Philipp, who is joined on stage by Ran Levari on drums, if they’d consider playing the whole thing in full for us at Roadburn 2021. Fortunately for us – and for you – they agreed.

EMPTINESS PERFORMING VIDE
Back in 2017 Emptiness shrouded Het Patronaat with their tenebrous black metal atmospherics in such a way that a return visit was always going to be on the cards – just the when and where were in question. We’re delighted to announce that Emptiness will perform their sixth studio offering in its entirety at Roadburn in April, and no doubt leave us all questioning our version of reality. To listen to Vide on record is to let the rolling fog pin us down and envelop us, to witness it live may just consume us entirely.

PLAGUE ORGAN PERFORMING ORPHAN
The duo comprising of René Aquarius (Cryptae, Imperial Cult, Horrid Apparition, Imperial Cult, Dead Neanderthals, etc) and recording engineer Marlon Wolterink (White Noise Studio and one half of the band Meglamancha) is a black/death/noise amalgam that will give you nightmares for weeks to come. Their live debut was originally due to happen at Le Guess Who? Festival in 2020 so the legendary festival is collaborating with us to present this show as part of Roadburn Redux.

WOLVENNEST PERFORMING TEMPLE
Having conquered the main stage at Roadburn once, Wolvennest are returning to do the same this April, as they perform their brand new album, Temple, in full. Due for release in March, you’ll have just enough time to get acquainted with their latest missive before we’re well and truly sucked into their dark but strangely alluring netherworld.

ONLINE
The full online programme for Roadburn Redux will be announced in due course, but as a statement of intent and an indicator of the high quality performances that will be presented, we’re thrilled to confirm that as part of our pre-recorded exclusive content we’ll have…

THE SVART SESSIONS
Think The Old Grey Whistle Test on acid; imagine a Jools Holland psychedelic special and you’ll be heading in the right direction. The Svart Sessions will feature brand new signings and established artists side by side, all connected to the notoriously fertile psych rock scene in Tampere. These six performances truly encapsulate the very best of the Finnish heavy, psych and freak-folk underground scene – delivered right into your home this April. Read more about Roadburn and Svart here.

The Svart Sessions will feature:

DUST MOUNTAIN
(feat. members of Oranssi Pazuzu, Dark Buddha Rising, Death Hawks)
International live debut, performing songs from their forthcoming Svart Records debut.

HEXVESSEL PERFORMING DAWNBEARER
Hexvessel celebrate the 10 year anniversary of their debut record Dawnbearer, by performing the album in full, exclusively for Roadburn Festival 2021!

ITERUM NATA
Personal psychedelic occult folk created by Hexvessel lead guitarist Jesse Heikkinen, plays an intimate acoustic show of songs from his 2020 album Bardo Disorder, in his first live stream ever.

KAIRON; IRSE!
Kosmische post-rock prog-freaks Kairon; IRSE!’s first ever live stream video, as they play tracks from their critically acclaimed new album Polysomn in full.

POLYMOON
Young rising stars, present their six track psych prog explosion Caterpillars of Creation in its entirety exclusively for Roadburn Festival 2021!

A SECRET COLLABORATION…
A special and exciting collaboration between some highly revered members of the Finnish psych rock underground, with more details to be divulged at a later date!

TICKETS & INFO
Roadburn Redux is available to attend on a ‘pay what you like’ basis, from anywhere in the world. Head to RoadburnRedux.com to RSVP and bookmark the page.

https://www.roadburnredux.com/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1081424195382564/
https://www.facebook.com/roadburnfestival/
http://www.instagram.com/roadburnfest
http://www.roadburn.com

Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation (2020)

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The Obelisk Presents: THE BEST OF 2020

Posted in Features on December 31st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

london-news-etching-1854-newcastle-upon-tyne

[PLEASE NOTE: These are not the results of the year-end poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t contributed your list to the cause yet, please do so here.]

Invariably, the ultimate measure of 2020 will be in lives and livelihoods lost around the world. I have nothing to add to the discourse of the COVID-19 pandemic that others haven’t said in more articulate and precise language. Suffice it to note that 2020 was the year that the very concept of “unprecedented” itself became trite.

One does not have to look far to find positives amid the devastation. Creativity continues to flourish. Art cannot be killed. Even locked away from each other in quarantine, artists will continue to reach out, to collaborate, to fulfill the human need for expression that has driven the species since cave drawings and will no doubt be the ruins we leave behind us when we’re gone.

In underground music, it was simply overwhelming. And though I’ll admit it was hard at times to listen to music and divorce it from the larger context of what was happening in the world — it was there like a background buzz — this year reinforced how necessary music is, not only as an escape or a source of income for those who make/promote it, but as an integral component of life and community. Absences have been keenly felt.

I won’t try to sate you with platitudes, to say “things will get better.” Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. One year turning to the next does not fix broken systems and it does not cure raging plagues. It’s just a number. Arbitrary except as a convenient marker for things like this, births, deaths, and so on. Bookkeeping.

Before I turn you over to the lists: Please be kind in the comments if you choose to leave one. To me. To other people. To yourself. These lists are culled from my listening preference and what I consider of critical importance. But I’m one person. If there’s something you feel has been left out, say so. I ask you only to do so in a spirit of friendship rather than argument. Thank you in advance.

ukmedsnorx.com/zopiclone
ukmedsnorx.com/zolpidem

Okay:

The Top 50 Albums of 2020

#50-31

50. Sun Crow, Quest for Oblivion
49. Atramentus, Stygian
48. Arcadian Child, Protopsycho
47. Fuzz, III
46. Jointhugger, I Am No One
45. Dirt Woman, The Glass Cliff
44. Switchblade Jesus, Death Hymns
43. Foot, The Balance of Nature Shifted
42. Hymn, Breach Us
41. IAH, III
40. Lord Fowl, Glorious Babylon
39. Acid Mess, Sangre de Otros Mundos
38. 1000mods, Youth of Dissent
37. Deathwhite, Grave Image
36. Soldati, Doom Nacional
35. Cortez, Sell the Future
34. Kadavar, The Isolation Tapes
33. Black Rainbows, Cosmic Ritual Supertrip
32. Shadow Witch, Under the Shadow of a Witch
31. Insect Ark, The Vanishing

Notes: To say nothing of the honorable mentions that follow the rest of the list below, immediately we see the problem of so-many-albums-not-enough-space. People talk about a top 50 as ridiculous, like there’s no way you can like that much music. Bullshit. I agonized over how to fit Sun Crow on this list because their Quest for Oblivion felt like it deserved to be here. Ditto that for Arcadian Child. And the achievements of bands like Kadavar, 1000mods and Switchblade Jesus and Insect Ark in breaking the boundaries of their own aesthetics deserve every accolade they can get, and likewise those who progressed in their sound like Cortez, Shadow Witch, Lord Fowl, Hymn, Foot, Black Rainbows, Deathwhite and IAH. Add to that the debuts from Atramentus, Dirt Woman, Jointhugger, Acid Mess and Sergio Ch.’s Soldati, and you’ve got a batch of 20 records — some born of this year’s malaise, some working in spite of it — that vary in sound but are working to push their respective styles to new places one way or the other.

30. High Priestess, Casting the Circle

high priestess casting the circle

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed May 5.

There was no shortage of anticipation for what L.A. cultists High Priestess would do to follow their 2018 self-titled debut (review here), and the three-piece did not disappoint, instead gave a ritual mass that included the 17-minute concept piece “Invocation” alongside infectious and ethereal melodies like “The Hourglass.” And now that the circle’s been cast? Seems like they can do anything.

29. Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation

Polymoon Caterpillars of Creation

Released by Svart Records. Reviewed Oct. 12.

High-powered cosmic metal from Finland pulling apart heavy psychedelia on an atomic level with an urgency that speaks of youth, progress and an ingrained need for exploration? Sign me up. A lot of bands on this list put out their first album this year. There are few for whom my hopes are as high as they are for Polymoon. If you haven’t yet heard Caterpillars of Creation, do.

28. Sons of Otis, Isolation

Sons of Otis Isolation

Released by Totem Cat Records. Reviewed Sept. 30.

Of the sundry horrors 2020 wrought, a new album from long-running Toronto three-piece Sons of Otis was an unexpected positive, and their ultra-spaced, murky riffs on their first studio album since 2012’s Seismic (review here, also here) launched like a slow-motion escape pod of righteous doom (s)tonality. There will never be another Sons of Otis. Be thankful for everything you get from them.

27. Lamp of the Universe, Dead Shrine

Lamp of the Universe Dead Shrine

Released by Projection Records. Reviewed May 25.

Organ, Mellotron, sitar, acoustic and electric guitars, various percussion elements, and of course the inimitable fragility in Craig Williamson‘s voice itself — the ingredients for Lamp of the Universe‘s Dead Shrine were familiar enough for those familiar with the one-man outfit running more than two decades, but the lush acid folk created remains a standout the world over. Dead Shrine was a much-needed gift of peace and meditation.

26. BleakHeart, Dream Griever

bleakheart dream griever

Released by Sailor Records. Reviewed Nov. 18.

The debut album from Colorado’s BleakHeart collected pieces united by melody and overarching atmosphere, positioned stylistically somewhere around heavygaze or heavy post-rock, but feeling less limited to genre bounds than some others working in a similar sphere. As a first outing, it brought a promise of things to come even as the depths of its mix seemed to swallow the listener entirely, equal parts serving claustrophobia and escapism.

25. Pale Divine, Consequence of Time

Pale Divine Consequence of Time

Released by Cruz Del Sur Music. Reviewed June 3.

There is not enough space here to properly commend Pale Divine founding guitarist/vocalist Greg Diener on how much he opened up the band by bringing in his and drummer Darin McCloskey‘s former Beelzefuzz bandmate Dana Ortt on shared guitar, vocal and songwriting duties. Completed by Ron “Fezz” McGinnis on bass/vocals, Pale Divine are a refreshed and ready powerhouse of American traditional doom.

24. Uncle Woe, Phantomescence

uncle woe phantomescence

Released by Packard Black Productions. Reviewed Oct. 21.

One is going to have to get used to the idea of Uncle Woe residing in the places between, I think. An inward-looking cosmic doom that’s likewise morose and reaching, opaque and translucent, Phantomescence could be almost troubling in its feeling of off-kilter expression. Yet that’s exactly what multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Rain Fice was going for. Thriving on contradiction, exploratory, and individualized. Start from doom, move outward.

23. REZN, Chaotic Divine

rezn chaotic divine

Released by Off the Record Label. Reviewed Oct. 15.

I don’t feel like I’m cool enough to offer any substantive comment on what Chicago’s REZN do, but their sax-laced heavy psychedelia comes across warm and is invitingly languid while still delivered with a sense of energy and purpose. It rolls and you want to roll with it, so you do. They were clearly hurt by not being able to tour this year, as were audiences for not seeing them. Call them neo-stoner metal or whatever you want, these songs deserve to be played live.

22. Ruff Majik, The Devil’s Cattle

ruff majik the devils cattle

Released by Mongrel Records. Reviewed Oct. 29.

A revamped lineup for South African desert-ish heavy rockers Ruff Majik brought producer Evert Snyman in as co-conspirator with frontman/principal songwriter Johni Holiday, and found the former trio working as a five-piece with a broader sound underscored by an electric sense of purpose and willingness to push themselves to places they hadn’t gone before. Their third record, it seemed as well to be a new beginning, and they met the challenge head-on.

21. Curse the Son, Excruciation

Curse The Son Excruciation

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed June 8.

The underheralded children of rolling fuzz riffage, Connecticut’s Curse the Son found new depths of emotion to bring to Excruciation — and I do mean “depths.” Dark times for dark times. Fueled by personal hardship, turmoil, motorcycle accidents and a pervasive sense of struggle, the LP was nonetheless a triumph of their songwriting and brought new melodic character to their established largesse of tone. Your loss if you missed it.

20. The Atomic Bitchwax, Scorpio

The Atomic Bitchwax Scorpio

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed Aug. 26.

Business as usual in ferocious heavy/speed rock from The Atomic Bitchwax on Scorpio — and that was only reassuring since the band’s eighth full-length marked the first since the departure of guitarist/vocalist Finn Ryan and his replacing with Garrett Sweeny, a bandmate of founding bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik and drummer Bob Pantella in Monster Magnet. They barely stopped to cool their heels and yet still managed to be catchy as hell. How do they do it? Jersey Magic.

19. Cinder Well, No Summer

cinder well no summer

Released by Free Dirt Records. Reviewed July 21.

Such pervasive melancholy could only be derived from Irish folk, and so it was on Cinder Well‘s No Summer, which managed to move between singer-songwriter minimalism from Amelia Baker and arrangements of deceptive and purposeful intricacy. Wherever it went, from traditional songs “Wandering Boy” and “The Cuckoo” to originals like “Fallen” and the nine-minute “Our Lady’s,” it was equal parts gorgeous and sad and resonant. It remains so, despite the fleeting season.

18. Pallbearer, Forgotten Days

pallbearer forgotten days

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Dec. 24.

Their fourth album and first since crossing the decade-mark since their inception, Pallbearer‘s Forgotten Days wasn’t just heavy, emotional or big-sounding; it was the most their-own of anything they’ve done. It felt exactly like the record they wanted it to be, and reconfirmed that the generation of listeners being introduced to doom by their music is going to be just fine if they follow the cues laid out for them here.

17. Slift, Ummon

slift ummon

Released by Stolen Body and Vicious Circle Records. Reviewed March 26.

Less a reinvention of space rock than a kick in its ass, Slift‘s Ummon pushed well past the line of manageability at 72 minutes and reveled in that. The French outfit were greeted as liberators when they released the album, and with the way the respect has been maintained in the months since they’ve given themselves a high standard to meet, but there’s only promise to be heard as you get lost in the nebular wash of this sprawling 2LP. They’ll have two more records out before this one’s fully digested.

16. My Dying Bride, The Ghost of Orion

my dying bride the ghost of orion

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Feb. 25.

The first album in half a decade from long-established UK death-doom forebears My Dying Bride found vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe coping with his daughter’s cancer diagnosis and translating that into the morose poetry for which the band is so well known and with which they’ve been so influential. My Dying Bride has never wanted for sincerity, but to call them affecting here would be underselling the quality of their craft and the heart they put into it. Follow-up EP is already out with extra non-album tracks.

15. Causa Sui, Szabodelico

causa sui Szabodelico

Released by El Paraiso Records. Reviewed Nov. 11.

Denmark’s Causa Sui may be on a mission to unite jazz and heavy psychedelia — and blessings on them for that — but the mellow jammy vibes they conjured on Szabodelico only emphasized how much it’s the character of what they do and the chemistry they’ve brought as bandmates that has allowed them to branch thusly in terms of aesthetic. It was the kind of album you wanted to put on again even before it was over, and its sweet instrumentals felt born to a greater timeline than a single year can encompass.

14. All Souls, Songs for the End of the World

All Souls Songs for the End of the World

Self-released. Reviewed Sept. 21.

I’m not a punk rocker, but All Souls make me wish I was. Their emotive and engaged heavy rock looks out as much as in on Songs for the End of the World — their second LP behind a 2018 self-titled debut (review here) — but it’s undeniably punk in its foundation, and what the four-piece of Antonio Aguilar and Meg Castellanos (both ex-Totimoshi), Erik Trammell (Black Elk) and Tony Tornay (Fatso Jetson) have put together builds on that in exciting, inventive and individualized ways, while staying nonetheless true to its roots.

13. Kind, Mental Nudge

kind mental nudge

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Oct. 20.

Five years after their debut album, Rocket Science (review here), Boston four-piece Kind return with Mental Nudge. And despite the different situations in which it finds the band’s members — bassist Tom Corino is now ex-Rozamov, drummer Matt Couto now ex-Elder — the group’s focus remains on carving memorable, mostly structured tracks out of ethereal heavy psychedelia, guitarist Darryl Shepard (Milligram, etc.) and vocalist Craig Riggs (Roadsaw, Sasquatch, etc.) adding space and melody to the crunching, driving grooves.

12. Molassess, Through the Hollow

Molassess Through the Hollow

Released by Season of Mist. Featured Aug. 17.

Founded by vocalist Farida Lemouchi (ex-The Devil’s Blood) and guitarist Oeds Beydals (ex-Death Alley, also ex-The Devil’s Blood) and commissioned as a project for Roadburn Festival 2019 (review here), Molassess are inextricably tied to Lemouchi‘s groundbreaking former outfit and its tragic ending, but the musical branching out into darkened progressive textures on Through the Hollow isn’t to be understated. It was an album that pushed past the past, not overlooking it, but finding new ways of moving forward in life and sound.

11. Tony Reed, Funeral Suit

tony reed funeral suit

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Sept. 28.

While of course the Mos Generator frontman is no stranger to writing or recording on his own, Funeral Suit was Tony Reed‘s debut as a solo artist and it carried his progressive stamp in melody and arrangement. It was not just a guitarist playing acoustic instead of electric, and it was not a manifestation of self-indulgence. Whether it was reworking a Mos Generator song like “Lonely One Kenobi” or pursuing a new piece like the title-track or “Waterbirth,” Reed found balance between personal and audience, evoking traditional songsmithing even as he reminded listeners of his dual role as a producer.

10. Geezer, Groovy

Geezer Groovy

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed May 18.

Spectacular showing from Kingston kingpins Geezer with Groovy as their first offering for Heavy Psych Sounds. Led by guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington, the three-piece brought material that flowed with the organic feel of jams despite being structured and catchy songs. In pieces like “Dead Soul Scroll” and “Drowning on Empty,” they melded stonerized groove with what felt like genuine emotional expression, and “Dig” and “Groovy” still managed to be a heavy fuzz-blues party. And they still had room at the end to jam out on “Slide Mountain” and “Black Owl.” It was nothing but a win, rising to the occasion on every level.

9. Big Scenic Nowhere, Vision Beyond Horizon

big scenic nowhere vision beyond horizon

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Jan. 29.

So Bob Balch from Fu Manchu and Gary Arce from Yawning Man have a band. They get Tony Reed from Mos Generator on board. Mario Lalli from Yawning Man/Fatso Jetson comes and goes. Nick Oliveri comes and goes. Bill Stinson from Yawning Man plays drums. Alain Johannes sits in on vocals. Reed does a bunch of vocals; his kid does a track too. Per Wiberg from Spiritual Beggars, Opeth, Candlemass, etc., lends some keys. What do you call such a thing? Who cares? You call yourself lucky it exists. They called the record Vision Beyond Horizon. Can’t wait to find out what they call the next one.

8. Elder, Omens

elder omens

Released by Armageddon Shop and Stickman Records. Reviewed April 27.

Omens marked a new beginning for Elder as the band pushed deeper into the realm of progressive rock and beyond their weightier beginnings. The arrival of Georg Edert (also Gaffa Ghandi) on drums in place of Matt Couto shifted the band’s dynamic in a number of ways, providing not a swinging anchor for the rhythm section necessarily, but another avenue of prog fluidity. Bassist Jack Donovan brought a steady presence in the low end as guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo and guitarist/keyboardist Mike Risberg embarked on new melodic explorations while staying loyal to the band’s established penchant for sweeping changes. Omens may live up to its name as a sign of things to come, but either way, it was a strong display of the band’s will to pursue new ideas and methods.

7. Forming the Void, Reverie

forming the void reverie

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed April 15.

First words that come to mind here: “eminently listenable.” With seven tracks and 36 minutes, Reverie may not have taken up much of your afternoon… once. But by the time you gave it its proper respect and listened through three times in a row, the situation was somewhat different. The Lafayette, Louisiana, four-piece gracefully brought together structured songwriting with proggier leanings and were able to bring together rampaging hooks like “Trace the Omen” and “Manifest,” casting a sense of sonic hugeness without forgetting to add either melody or personality along with that. The band — who here welcomed bassist Thorn Letulle alongside guitarist/vocalist James Marshall, guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa and drummer Thomas Colley — have worked quickly and evolved with a sense of urgency. Is Reverie the goal or another step on that path?

6. Grayceon, MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES

grayceon mothers weavers vultures

Released by Translation Loss Records. Reviewed Nov. 18.

Vocalist/cellist Jackie Perez Gratz (interview here), guitarist Max Doyle and drummer Zack Farwell comprise Grayceon, and with their fifth record, the band looks around thematically at environmental devastation through the lens of record-breaking California wildfires from their vantage point in the Bay Area. Even as the world shifted priorities (at least most of it did) to yet another global crisis in the COVID-19 pandemic, genre-melting-pot songs like “Diablo Wind,” “The Lucky Ones,” and “This Bed” reminded of the horrors humanity has wrought on its battered home, and still managed to find hope and serenity in “And Shine On” and “Rock Steady,” a closing duo that shifted to a more personal discussion of family and one’s hope for a better future for and by the next generation. 2020 had plenty of horror. At least we got a new Grayceon record out of it.

5. Brant Bjork, Brant Bjork

brant bjork brant bjork

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed April 28.

When Sho’Nuff asked Bruce Leroy “who’s the master?,” dude should’ve said Brant Bjork. It would’ve been a confusing end to Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon, but ultimately more accurate, as Brant Bjork‘s homegrown kung fu was unfuckwithable as ever on the album that shares his name. After two decades of solo releases in one form or another, Bjork is not just a pivotal figurehead for desert rock, he’s a defining presence, as well as one of its most treasured practitioners. Brant Bjork, the album, brought initial waves of funk in “Jungle in the Sound,” explored weedy worship in “Mary (You’re Such a Lady)” and toyed with religious dogma in offsetting that with “Jesus Was a Bluesman” while still tossing primo hooks in “Duke of Dynamite” and “Shitkickin’ Now” ahead of the more open “Stardust and Diamond Eyes” and the acoustic closer “Been So Long.” With Bjork recording all the instruments himself, a due feeling of intimacy resulted, and yet he still found a way to make it rock. How could it be otherwise?

4. Enslaved, Utgard

enslaved utgard

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Sept. 29.

Why do I feel the immediate need to defend this pick? I’m not sure. Norway’s Enslaved are an institution, not just of black metal, but of bringing an ideology of creative growth to that style that often willfully resists it. They are iconoclastic even unto their own work. Utgard was released as the band stood on the precipice of 30 years together and yet it stood as their most forward-looking offering yet, as co-founders Grutle Kjellson (bass/vocals) and Ivar BjĂžrnson (guitar/sometimes vocals), as well as longtime lead guitarist Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal backed up the change from 2017’s E (review here) that brought in new keyboardist/vocalist Hakon Vinje with the incorporation of drummer Iver SandĂžy, who doubles as a vocalist (and triples as a producer). The “new blood” made all the difference on Utgard, allowing Enslaved to piece together new ranges of melody in their work and offset instrumental shifts into and out of krautrock-derived progressions. Simply the work of a band outdoing itself from a band who does so at nearly every opportunity.

3a. Colour Haze, We Are

colour haze we are

Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten and Ripple Music. Reviewed Dec. 3, 2019.

Every year I allow myself one addendum pick, and this is it. We Are was on last year’s list because it was digitally released, but the vinyl came out this year and it received its North American release this year as well, so it seemed only right to acknowledge that. So here it is in its proper place.

3. All Them Witches, Nothing as the Ideal

All-Them-Witches-Nothing-as-the-Ideal

Released by New West Records. Reviewed Sept. 3.

This is a band controlling their own narrative. Instead of Nothing as the Ideal being ‘the one they made as a three-piece,’ the Nashville outfit decided to make it ‘the one they recorded at Abbey Road.’ Were they thinking of it on those terms? Yeah, likely not, but it goes to demonstrate all the same just how much of themselves All Them Witches put into what they do musically, since not only are they continuing to refine and define and undefine their approach, but they’re setting the terms on which they do it. Each of their records has been a response to the one prior, but that conversation has never been so direct as to make them predictable. So what are they chasing? Apparently nothing. I’m not entirely sure I buy that as a complete answer, but I am sure I love these songs and the experiments with tape loops and other sounds that fill these spaces. Whatever they do next — or even if nothing — their run has been incredible and exciting and one only hopes their influence continues to spread over the next however many years.

2. Elephant Tree, Habits

elephant tree habits

Released by Deathwish Inc.. Reviewed April 13.

There was a high standard set by Elephant Tree‘s 2016 self-titled debut (review here), but their second LP, Habits, surpassed even the loftiest of expectations. With vocals centered around harmonies from guitarist Jack Townley and bassist Peter Holland, the former trio completed by drummer Sam Hart brought in guitarist/keyboardist John Slattery (also sometimes vocals), and the resultant breadth gave the material on Habits spaciousness beyond even what the first album promised. Drifting, rolling, unflinchingly melodic and somehow present even in its own escapism, Habits was not just an early highlight for a rough 2020, but a comforting presence throughout, and the further one dug into tracks like “Sails,” “Exit the Soul,” “Faceless,” “Wasted” and the acoustic “The Fall Chorus,” the more there was to find — let alone “Bird,” which I’ll happily put against anything else one might propose for song of the year. As their former UK label crumbled, Habits emerged unscathed and Elephant Tree‘s future continues to shine with ever more hope for things to come. Being able to say that about anything feels like a relief.

2020 Album of the Year

1. Lowrider, Refractions

Lowrider Refractions

Released by Blues Funeral Recordings. Reviewed Jan. 24.

Twenty years ago, Sweden’s Lowrider put out what would become a heavy rock landmark in their 2000 debut, Ode to Io (reissue review here). A follow-up years in the making even after the band got back together to play Desertfest in London (review here) and Berlin in 2013, Refractions first saw limited release in 2019 as part of Blues Funeral‘s PostWax series (discussed here), but its proper arrival was in early 2020, and there was really no looking back after that. It wasn’t just the novelty of a new Lowrider album that made Refractions such a joy, but the manner in which the band went about its work. There was no pretending that 20 years didn’t happen. There was no attempt to recapture the bottled lightning that was the first record, and Lowrider did not sound like a band “making a comeback” rife with expectations and fan-service. Refractions acknowledged the legacy of Ode to Io, sure enough, but as a step toward adding to it in meaningful and engaging ways. The songs — “Red River,” “Ode to Ganymede,” “Sernanders Krog,” “Ol’ Mule Pepe,” “Sun Devil/M87” and the 11-minute finale “Pipe Rider” — were fashioned without pretense and came across as the organic output of a band with nothing to prove to anyone but themselves. They made it their own. In a wretched year, Lowrider shined.

The Top 50 Albums of 2020: Honorable Mention

Yeah, okay. There are a lot of these, so buckle in. Last year I just threw out a list of bands. This year I’m a little more organized, so here are bands and records alphabetically.

Across Tundras, LOESS ~ LÖSS
Across Tundras, The Last Days of a Silver Rush
Alain Johannes, Hum
Arboretum, Let it All In
Bell Witch & Aerial Ruin, Stygian Bough Vol. 1
Black Helium, The Wholly Other
Boris, No
Brimstone Coven, The Woes of a Mortal Earth
CB3, Aeons
Celestial Season, The Secret Teachings
Crippled Black Phoenix, EllengĂŠst
Cruthu, AthrĂș Crutha
Domo, Domonautas Vol. 2
DOOL, Summerland
Dopelord, Sign of the Devil
Dwaal, Gospel of the Vile
Elder Druid, Golgotha
Ellis Munk Ensemble, San Diego Sessions
Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou, May Our Chambers Be Full
EMBR, 1823
Familiars, All in Good Time
Forlesen, Hierophant Violent
Galactic Cross, Galactic Cross
The Heavy Eyes, Love Like Machines
Hum, Inlet
Human Impact, Human Impact
Humulus, The Deep
Jupiterian, Protosapien
Kariti, Covered Mirrors
Khan, Monsoons
Kingnomad, Sagan Om Ryden
King Witch, Body of Light
Kryptograf, Kryptograf
Light Pillars, Light Pillars
Lord Buffalo, Tohu Wa Bohu
Lord Loud, Timid Beast
Lotus Thief, Oresteia
Malsten, The Haunting of SilvÄkra Mill
Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter
Motorpsycho, The All is One
Mountain Tamer, Psychosis Ritual
Mr. Bison, Seaward
Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery
Mugstar, GRAFT
Murcielago, Casualties
Oranssi Pazuzu, Mestarin Kynsi
Paradise Lost, Obsidian
Parahelio, Surge Evelia Surge
The Pilgrim, …From the Earth to the Sky and Back
Pretty Lightning, Jangle Bowls
Psychlona, Venus Skytrip
Puta Volcano, AMMA
Ritual King, Ritual King
River Cult, Chilling Effect
Rrrags, High Protein
Shores of Null, Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying)
Sigiriya, Maiden – Mother – Crone
Six Organs of Admittance, Companion Rises
16, Dream Squasher
Slomosa, Slomosa
Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne
Steve Von Till, No Wilderness Deep Enough
Stone Machine Electric, The Inexplicable Vibrations of Frequencies Within the Cosmic Netherworld
Sumac, May You Be Held
Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Red Tide
Temple of Void, The World That Was
The Kings of Frog Island, VI
Tia Carrera, Tried and True
Turtle Skull, Monoliths
Uffe Lorenzen, Magisk Realisme
Ulcerate, Stare Into Death and Be Still
Vessel of Light, Last Ride
Vestal Claret, Vestal Claret
Vinnum Sabbathi, Of Dimensions and Theories
Wight, Spank the World
Wino, Forever Gone
Yatra, All is Lost
Yuri Gagarin, The Outskirts of Reality

By no means is that list exhaustive. And to look at stuff like Psychlona, Oranssi Pazuzu, Wight, Wino, Puta Volcano, Kingnomad, Ellis Munk Ensemble, Paradise Lost, Alain Johannes, Arbouretum, Uffe Lorenzen, Tia Carrera — on and on and on — I can definitely see where arguments are to be made for records that should’ve been in the list proper. I can only go with what feels right to me at the time.

Together with the top 50, this makes over 110 albums in the best of 2020. If you find yourself needing something to hang your hat on, be glad you’re alive to witness this much excellent music coming out.

Debut Album of the Year

Molassess, Through the Hollow

Molassess Through the Hollow

Other notable debuts (alphabetically):

Atramentus, Stygian
Bethmoora, Thresholds
BleakHeart, Dream Griever
Crystal Spiders, Molt
Dirt Woman, The Glass Cliff
Dwaal, Gospel of the Vile
Electric Feat, Electric Feat
Familiars, All in Good Time
Galactic Cross, Galactic Cross
Human Impact, Human Impact
Jointhugger, I Am No One
Light Pillars, Light Pillars
Love Gang, Dead Man’s Game
Malsten, The Haunting of SilvÄkra Mill
Might, Might
Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter
Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery
Parahelio, Surge Evelia Surge
Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation
Ritual King, Ritual King
SEA, Impermanence
Slomosa, Slomosa
Soldati, Doom Nacional
Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne
SpellBook, Magick & Mischief
Spirit Mother, Cadets
Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Red Tide
The Crooked Whispers, Satanic Melodies
White Dog, White Dog

Notes: I sparred with myself every step of the way here. The last couple years I’ve tried to give the top-debut spot to not just a new band, but a new presence. Green Lung, King Buffalo, etc. Molassess, with members from The Devil’s Blood, Death Alley and Astrosoniq, isn’t exactly that. So what do I do? Do I go with something newer like Polymoon, Dirt Woman, BleakHeart, SEA, White Dog or The Crooked Whispers, or something with more established players like Molassess, Soldati, or even Light Pillars?

In the end, what made the difference was not just how brilliant the songs on Molassess’ Through the Hollow, but how honestly the band confronted the legacy they were up against. The songs had a familiar haunting presence, but they were also moving ahead to somewhere new. It was that blend of old and new ideas, and the resonant feeling of emotional catharsis — as well as the sheer immersion that took place while listening — that ultimately made the decision. Turns out I just couldn’t escape it.

And why not a list? Because this feels woefully inadequate as it is. I reviewed over 250 records this year one way or another — and that’s a conservative estimate — but a lot gets lost in the shuffle and somehow it just seemed wrong this time around to call something the 13th best first record of the year. I wanted to highlight the special achievement that was the Molassess album, but really, all of these records kicked my ass one way or the other.

Short Release of the Year 2020

King Buffalo, Dead Star

King Buffalo Dead Star

Other notable EPs, Splits, Demos, etc.:

Big Scenic Nowhere, Lavender Blues
Coma Wall, Ursa Minor
Conan/Deadsmoke, Doom Sessions Vol. 1
Fu Manchu, Fu30 Pt. 1
Grandpa Jack, Trash Can Boogie
Howling Giant/Sergeant Thunderhoof, Masamune/Muramasa (split)
Oginalii, Pendulum
Kings Destroy, Floods
Lament Cityscape, The Old Wet
Limousine Beach, Stealin’ Wine +2
Merlock, That Which Speaks
Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast
Mos Generator/Di’Aul, Split
Pimmit Hills, Heathens & Prophets
Rito Verdugo, Post-Primatus
Rocky Mtn Roller, Rocky Mtn Roller
Spaceslug, Leftovers
10,000 Years, 10,000 Years
The White Swan, Nocturnal Transmission
Thunderbird Divine, The Hand of Man
Witchcraft, Black Metal

Notes: If you were wondering why King Buffalo’s Dead Star (review here) wasn’t on the big list, this is why. It was pitched to me as an EP and that’s how I’m classifying it. I’m taking the out. Is it an EP? Not really, but neither is it a full-length album, given its experimental nature and focus around its extended two-part title-track. Whatever it was, it was the best that-thing, and this is the category where such things go.

Again, tough choices after King Buffalo. Thunderbird Divine’s EP was wonderfully funk-blasted and woefully short (new album, please). The newly-issued Spaceslug EP branches out their sound in fascinating ways as a result of the lockdown. Witchcraft’s acoustic EP, Coma Wall’s EP and Big Scenic Nowhere’s EP all signaled good things to come, and Howling Giant’s split with Sergeant Thunderhoof was a highlight of the most recent Quarterly Review. There really isn’t a bummer on the list there, from the bitter psych of Oginalii to the industrial metal of Lament Cityscape, the unadulterated riffery of Merlock to the live-captured rawness of Monte Luna.

So again, why no list? Same answer. I want to highlight the progression King Buffalo made in their sound and leave room open elsewhere for things I missed. Please let me know what in the comments. Cordially.

Live Album of the Year 2020

Yawning Man, Live at Giant Rock

yawning man live at giant rock

Other notable live releases:

Ahab, Live Prey
Amenra, Mass VI Live
Arcadian Child, From Far, for the Wild (Live in Linz)
Author and Punisher, Live 2020 B.C.
Cherry Choke, Raising Salzburg Rockhouse
Dead Meadow, Live at Roadburn 2011
Dirty Streets, Rough and Tumble
Electric Moon, Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019
Kadavar, Studio Live Session Vol. 1
King Buffalo, Live at Freak Valley
Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast
Orange Goblin, Rough & Ready: Live and Loud
Øresund Space Collective, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019
Pelican, Live at the Grog Shop
SEA, Live at ONCE
Sumac, St Vitus 09/07/2018
Sun Blood Stories, (a)Live and Alone at Visual Arts Collective
Temple Fang, Live at Merleyn
YOB, Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn

Notes: In this wretched year (mostly) void of live music, marked by canceled tours and festivals, the live album arguably played a more central role than it ever has, whether it was a band trying to keep momentum up following or leading into a studio release, taking advantage of the emergence of the Bandcamp Friday phenomenon or just trying to maintain some connection to their fans and the process of taking a stage. Or even playing in a room together. Or not a room. Anything. What was once a tossoff, maybe an afterthought companion piece became an essential worker of the listening experience.

You might accuse desert rock progenitors Yawning Man of playing to their base with Live at Giant Rock (featured here), and if so, fine. At no point in the last 50 years has that base more needed playing-to. And in the absence of shows, being able to hear (and watch, in the case of the accompanying video) Yawning Man go out to the landscape that spawned them and engage with their music was a beautiful moment of reconciliation. An exhale for the converted that didn’t fill one with empty promises of better tomorrows or tours to come, but served to remind what’s so worth preserving about the spirit of live music in the first place. The fact that anything can happen. A replaced note here, a tuning change there — these things can make not just an evening, but memories that go beyond shows, tours, to touch our lives.

There were a ton of live records this year. Some were benefits for worthy causes between saving venues, Black Lives Matter, voting rights organizations, and so on. And whether these were new performances from captured livestreams (Monte Luna, Kadavar) or older gigs that had been sitting around waiting for release at some point (Sumac, Dead Meadow), this, very much, was that point, and these live offerings kept burning a fire that felt at times very much in danger of being extinguished.

Looking Ahead to 2021

A list of bands. Some confirmed releases, some not. Here goes:

Dread Sovereign, Sasquatch, Year of Taurus, Apostle of Solitude, Weedpecker, Borracho, Love Gang, Jointhugger, Demon Head, Iron Man, Greenleaf, Samsara Blues Experiment, The Mammathus, Evert Snyman, Wo Fat, Conclave, Here Lies Man, Kabbalah, Komatsu, Hour of 13, Wedge, Amenra, La Chinga, Spidergawd, Wolves in the Throne Room, Vokonis, Freedom Hawk, Masters of Reality, ZOM, Eyehategod, Sanhedrin, Green Lung, The Mountain King, Albatross Overdrive, Elder, King Buffalo, Sunnata, Howling Giant, SAVER, Conan, Slomatics, Ruff Majik, Kind, Mos Generator, Yawning Sons, LantlĂŽs, Brant Bjork, Spiral Grave, Crystal Spiders, Lightning Born, Samavayo, Wovenhand, Merlock, Comet Control, The Age of Truth, Eight Bells, BlackWater Holylight, DVNE, Monte Luna.

Thank You

You’ve read enough, so I will do my best to keep this mercifully short. Thank you so much for reading — whether you still are or not — and thank you for being a part of the ongoing project that is The Obelisk. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have such incredible support throughout not just this year, but all the years of the site’s existence. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you most of all to The Patient Mrs. for her indulgence in letting me get this done. I’m am amazed forever.

More to come.

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Quarterly Review: Celestial Season, Wren, Sumokem, Oginalii, Völur, Wedge, SpellBook, Old Blood, Jahbulong, Heavy Trip

Posted in Reviews on December 25th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

The end of the week for the Quarterly Review is a special time, even if this particular QR will continue into next Monday and Tuesday. Also apparently today is Xmas? Okay. Whatever, I’ve got writing to do. I hope you’re safe and not, say, traveling out of state to see family against the urging of the CDC. That would be incredibly irresponsible, etc. etc. that’s what I’m doing. Don’t get me started.

However you celebrate or don’t, be safe. Music will help.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Celestial Season, The Secret Teachings

celestial season the secret teachings

Like many of the original death-doom set, Dutch masters Celestial Season gave up the style during their original run, departing toward heavy rock after 1995’s Solar Lovers. At an hour’s run spread across 13 tracks including ambient guitar and violin/cello interludes, The Secret Teachings has no time for such flighty fare. Reunited with original vocalist Stefan Ruiters and bassist Lucas van Slegtenhorst, the band return in grand fashion for their first full-length in 20 years, and songs like “Long Forlorn Tears” and “Salt of the Earth” conjure all the expert-grade morose plod one could possibly ask, as each side of the 2LP begins with its own intro and sets its own mood, from the almost-hopeful wistfulness of opener/longest track (immediate points) “The Secret Teachings of All Ages” at the start to the birdsong-laced “Beneath the Temple Mount” that leads the way into “A Veil of Silence” and “Red Water” at the finish, the latter a Type O Negative cover that fits well after the crescendo of the song before it.

Celestial Season on Thee Facebooks

Burning World Records website

 

Wren, Groundswells

wren groundswells

The gift Wren make to post-metal is that even in their quietest stretches, they maintain tension. And sure, the Londoners’ second LP, Groundswells — also stylized all-caps: GROUNDSWELLS — has in “Murmur” its “Stones From the Sky” moment as all works of the genre seemingly must, but the six-cut/44-minute follow-up to 2017’s Auburn Rule (discussed here) casts a scope less about pretense or ambition than largesse and heft, and that serves it well, be it in the shorter “Crossed Out Species” or longer pieces like the opener “Chrome” and the penultimate “Subterranean Messiah,” which injects some melodic vocals into the proceedings and airy string-inclusive prog amid all the surrounding crush. All well and good, but it’s hard to deny the sheer assault of the doomed apex in closer “The Throes,” and you’ll pardon me if I don’t try. Ambience through volume, catharsis through volume, volume all things.

Wren on Thee Facebooks

Gizeh Records website

 

Sumokem, Prajnaparadha

sumokem prajnaparadha

With strength of performance to fall back on and progressive realization in their songwriting, Little Rock, Arkansas’ Sumokem would seem to come of age on their third long-player, Prajnaparadha, answering the flourish of 2017’s The Guardian of Yosemite (discussed here) with an even more confident stylistic sprawl and an abiding patience that extends even to the album’s most intense moments. Not at all a minor undertaking in dynamic or its run of five long songs following the intro “Prologue,” Prajnaparadha manages not to be dizzying mostly because of the grace with which it’s crafted, tied together by ace guitar work and a propensity for soaring in order to complement and sometimes willfully contrast the tonal weight. When the growls show up in “Fakir” and carry into “Khizer,” Sumokem seem to push the record to its final level, and making that journey with them is richly satisfying.

Sumokem on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

 

Oginalii, Pendulum

Oginalii Pendulum

Psychedelia comes poison-tipped with brooding post-grunge atmospheres as Oginalii‘s Pendulum swings this way and that between “Scapegoat” and “Black Hole” and “Pillars” and “Veils” across its too short 24 minutes. The Nashvillainous four-piece explore an inner darkness perfect for these long months of forced-introspection, and though calling something pandemic-appropriate has become a tired compliment to give, the underlying rhythmic restlessness of “Scapegoat” and the crying out overtop, the fuzzy burst of “Veils” and the interweaving drums and guitar noise behind the recited semi-sung poetry of “Pillars” serve the soundtrack cause nonetheless, to say nothing of the two-minute minimalist echoing stretch of “Black Hole” or the oh-okay-it’s-indie-post-rock-but-oh-wait-what-the-hell-now-it’s-furious closer “Stripped the Screw.” Anger suits Oginalii as it comes through here, not in tired chestbeating but in spacious craft that manages to sound intense even in its languid reach. Pretty fucking cool, if you ask me.

Oginalii on Thee Facebooks

Devil in the Woods on Bandcamp

 

Völur, Death Cult

Völur death cult

Toronto’s Völur offer their third album, Death Cult, in cooperation with Prophecy Productions, and it comes in four string-laced tracks that waste little time in pushing genre limits, bringing folk influences in among doom, blackened metallurgy and more ethereal touches. Arrangements of violin, viola, cello, double-bass, keys, and the shared vocals of Laura Bates and Lucas Gadke (the latter also of Blood Ceremony) give a suitably arthouse feel to the proceedings rounded out by the drums and percussion of Justin Ruppel, and it’s far from unearned as the four songs play out across 37 minutes, “Dead Moon” veering into lumbering death-doom in its apex ahead of the jazz-into-choral-into-drone-into-freer-jazz-into-progressive-black-metal of the 11-minute “Freyjan Death Cult,” subsequent closer “Reverend Queen” leaving behind the chaos in its last few minutes for an epilogue of mournful strings and drums; a dirge both unrepentantly beautiful and still in keeping with the atmospheric weight throughout. Bands like this — rare — make other bands better.

Volur on Thee Facebooks

Volur at Prophecy Productions

 

Wedge, Like No Tomorrow

wedge like no tomorrow

Bursting with enough energy to make one miss live music, Wedge‘s third album, Like No Tomorrow, transcends vintage-ism in its production if not its overall mindset, bringing clarity to Deep Purple organ-tics on opener “Computer” while keeping the lyrics purposefully modern. Bass leads the way in “Playing a Role” and the spirit is boogie fuzz until the jam hits and, yeah, they make it easy to go along for the ride. “Blood Red Wine” has arena-rock melody down pat while centerpiece and likely side A closer “Across the Water” at last lets itself go to that place, following the guitar until the surge that brings in “Queen of the Night” indulges purer proto-metal impulses, still accomplished in its harmonized chorus amid the charge. Is that the guitar solo in “U’n’I” panning left to right I hear? I certainly hope so. The shortest cut on Like No Tomorrow feels like it’s in a hurry to leave behind a verse, and sets up the surprisingly modestly paced “At the Speed of Life,” which is lent a cinematic feel by the organ and layered choral vocals that bolsters yet another strong hook, while the nine-minute “Soldier” is bluesier but still sounds like it could be the live incarnation of any of these tracks depending on where a given jam takes Wedge on any given night. Here’s hoping, anyhow.

Wedge on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

SpellBook, Magick and Mischief

SpellBook Magick and Mischief

About a year and a half after issuing Otherworldly (review here), their third album under the moniker Witch Hazel, the dukes of York, PA, are back with a new name and a refreshed sound. As SpellBook, vocalist Nate Tyson, guitarist Andy Craven, bassist Seibert Lowe and drummer Nicholas Zinn push through two vinyl sides of classic heavy f’n metal, less concerned with doom than they were but still saving a bit of roll for the longer centerpiece “Not Long for This World” and the airy, dramatic closer “Dead Detectives.” Elsewhere, “Black Shadow” brings a horns-at-the-ready chorus, “Motorcade” reminds that the power of Judas Priest was always in the basslines (that’s right, I said it), and “Ominous Skies” brims with the vitality of the new band that SpellBook are, even as it benefits from the confidence born of these players’ prior experience together.

SpellBook on Thee Facebooks

Cruz Del Sur Music website

 

Old Blood, Acid Doom

old blood acid doom

Kudos to L.A.’s Old Blood for at least making the classification part easy when it comes to their debut album, conveniently titled Acid Doom, though that category hardly accounts for, say, the piano stretch of second cut “Bridge to Nowhere,” or the heavy rock theatricality in “Heavy Water” or the horn sounds of “Slothgod” a few songs later, but I suppose one has to start somewhere, and ‘acid doom’ is fair enough when it comes to accounting for the sleekery in the vocals of Lynx, the weight of the riffs of C. Gunner, the roll of bassist Octopus and drummer Diesel and the classic-style organ work of J.F. Stone. But if Old Blood want to unfurl something deceptively complex and stylistically intricate on their debut, that’s certainly cool as far as I’m concerned. Production is a strong presence throughout in a way that pulls a bit from what the impact of the songs might be on stage (remember stages?), but the songwriting is there, and Lynx‘s voice is a noteworthy presence of its own. I’m not sure where they’ll end up sound-wise, but at the same time, Acid Doom comes across like nothing else in the batch of 70 records I’m doing for this Quarterly Review, and that in itself I find admirable.

Old Blood on Thee Facebooks

Metal Assault Records on Bandcamp

DHU Records webstore

 

Jahbulong, Eclectic Poison Tones

JAHBULONG ECLECTIC POISON TONES

Just because you know the big riff is going to kick in about a minute into opening track “Under the Influence of the Fool” on Jahbulong‘s tarot-inflected stoner doom four-songer Eclectic Poison Tones doesn’t make it any less satisfying when it happens. The deep-rolling three-piece from Verona make their full-length debut with the 45-minute offering through Go Down Records, and the lurching continues in “The Tower of the Broken Bones” and “The Eclipse of the Empress,” which is the only cut under 10 minutes long but still keeps the slow-motion Sabbath rolling into the 15-minute closer “The Eremite Tired Out (Sweed Dreams)” (sic), which plays off some loud/quiet changes fluidly without interrupting the nod that’s so central to the entirety of the album. Look. These guys know the gods they’re worshiping — Sleep, Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard maybe, etc. — and they’re not trying to get away with saying they invented any of this. If you can’t get down with 45 minutes of slower-than-slow grooves, maybe you’re in the wrong microgenre. For me, it’s the lack of pretense that makes it.

Jahbulong on Thee Facebooks

Go Down Records website

 

Heavy Trip, Heavy Trip

heavy trip heavy trip

Heavy Trip. Four songs. Two sides. Three dudes. Instrumental. Accurately named. Yeah, you’ve heard this story before, but screw it. They start out nice and spacious on “Hand of Shroom” and they finish with high-speed boogie in the 13-minute “Treespinner,” and all in between Heavy Trip make it nothing less than a joy to go along wherever it is they’re headed. The Vancouver three-piece make earlier Earthless something of an elephant in the room as regards influences, but the unhurried groove in second cut “Lunar Throne” is a distinguishing factor, and even as “Mind Leaf” incorporates a bit more shove, it does so with enough righteousness to carry through. As a debut, Heavy Trip‘s Heavy Trip might come across more San Diego than Vancouver, but screw it. Dudes got jams like Xmas hams, and the chemistry they bring in holding listener attention with tempo changes throughout here speaks to a progressive edge burgeoning in their sound.

Heavy Trip on Thee Facebooks

Burning World Records on Bandcamp

 

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Roadburn Festival Issues 2021 Update

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 16th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Most years, Roadburn probably would’ve revealed at least one of several headliners by now for next April, but in case you haven’t heard, this isn’t most years. It’s a question as to whether or not Roadburn will even take place — or, for that matter, what shape it will take when and if it does — but the festival is attempting to make it clear that they’re doing everything they can in order to bring something together for the fans. It’s not just about brand preservation at this point. This is a lifesblood working to be saved.

Creative Director Walter Hoeijmakers, who is the final word on all things Roadburn, has mentioned doing a scaled-down “COVID-proof” edition of the festival in Tilburg that, as noted below, “will be accessible whether you’re in Tilburg or somewhere else around the globe.” That says to me it’ll be streamed, which is something the fest probably should’ve been doing anyhow but of course requires its own complete infrastructure, never mind the fact that the photo pits are always crowded enough.

That said, it would be hard for me to articulate the sense of loss that accompanies the thought of not experiencing Roadburn for two years running. I prefer not to try.

There’s talk of ticket rollover to 2022, refunds going out in February for those who want them, and more below. Read carefully:

roadburn 2018 (Photo by Niels Vinck)

UPDATE ON ROADBURN 2021:

We’re aware that many people have been speculating about the practicalities around hosting Roadburn 2021 as we originally planned – with everything simply carried over from 2020. Despite encouraging news about vaccines we are just not in a position to assume that will be possible in four months from now.

We are currently planning a very much scaled down, COVID-proof version of Roadburn for April 2021, which will be accessible whether you’re in Tilburg or somewhere else around the globe. We’ll have more information on that in the new year…

What does this mean for people who still hold tickets for Roadburn 2020/21? We’re making this as simple as possible:

ROLLOVER – you’ve done it once, if you’d like to do it again and secure your ticket for Roadburn 2022 then you don’t need to do anything and your ticket will automatically rollover.

REFUNDS – if you would like a refund you can request one via Ticketmaster – ticket buyers will be receiving an email with all the links and info to do this.
Roadburn 2022 will take place between April 21-24.

You will have until February 10, 2021 to decide what you would like to do (if you do nothing, your ticket converts to a 2022 Roadburn ticket). Refunds – including those requested earlier this year – will take place on February 19, 2021.

If you booked a camping ticket of any sort or night bus ticket, this will be refunded at the same time in February, regardless of whether you roll over your festival ticket or not.

If you bought your ticket via Ticketswap you will need to reach out to them; we don’t have any arrangements with them directly.

Like many festivals, we are still facing tough decisions about how to progress in the face of an unpredictable, unprecedented pandemic. We have decided that we will not be rolling over the entire line up to 2022; it would be a huge risk and for many reasons it’s not practical to do so. However, we are in communication with bands, booking agents, labels etc to work out the best way to move forward. We have so many once-in-a-lifetime sets at Roadburn, and for some we’re going to have to wait a bit longer for those unique performances.

Thank you for your understanding and patience. Despite the silver lining of being able to connect with the Roadburn community this coming April, it is still with a sense of disbelief that we tackle each and every part of this endeavour. We hope you’re safe, well and finding solace in music, as we are.

– Walter, Becky & all at Roadburn.

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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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