Quarterly Review: Pelican, My Dying Bride, Masonic Wave, Bismarck, Sun Moon Holy Cult, Daily Thompson, Mooch, The Pleasure Dome, Slump, Green Hog Band

Posted in Reviews on May 20th, 2024 by JJ Koczan


Welcome back to the Quarterly Review. Good weekend? Restful? Did you get out and see some stuff? Did you loaf and hang out on the couch? There are advantages to either, to be sure. Friday night I watched my daughter (and a literal 40 other performers, no fewer than four of whom sang and/or danced to the same Taylor Swift song) do stand-up comedy telling math jokes at her elementary school variety show. She’s in kindergarten, she likes math, and she killed. Nice little moment for her, if one that came as part of a long evening generally.

The idea this week is the same as last week: 50 releases covered across five days. Put the two weeks together and the Spring 2024 Quarterly Review — which I’m pretty sure is what I called the one in March as well; who cares? — runs 100 strong. I’ll be traveling, some with family, some on my own, for a bit in the coming months, so this is a little bit my way of clearing my slate before that all happens, but it’s always satisfying to dig into so much and get a feel for what different acts are doing, try and convey some of that as directly as I can. If you’re reading, thanks. If this is the first you’re seeing of it and you want to see more, you can either scroll down or click here.

Either way, off we go.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Pelican, Adrift/Tending the Embers

pelican adrift tending the embers

Chicago (mostly-)instrumentalist stalwarts Pelican haven’t necessarily been silent since 2019’s Nighttime Stories (review here), with a digital live release in Spring 2020, catalog reissues on Thrill Jockey, a couple in-the-know covers posted and shows hither and yon, but the stated reason for the two-songer EP Adrift/Tending the Embers is to raise funds ahead of recording what will be their seventh album in a career now spanning more than 20 years. In addition to that being a cause worth supporting — they’re on the second pressing; 200 blue tapes — the two new original tracks “Adrift” (5:48) and “Tending the Embers” (4:26) reintroduce guitarist Laurent Schroeder-Lebec as a studio presence alongside guitarist Trevor Shelley de Brauw, bassist Bryan Herweg and drummer Larry Herweg. Recorded by the esteemed Sanford Parker, neither cut ranges too far conceptually from the band’s central modus bringing together heavy groove with lighter/brighter reach of guitar, but come across like a tight, more concise encapsulation of earlier accomplishments. There’s a certain amount of comfort in that as they surf the crunching, somehow-noise-rock-inspired riff of “Adrift,” sounding refreshed in their purpose in a way that one hopes they can carry into making the intended LP.

Pelican website

Pelican on Bandcamp

My Dying Bride, A Mortal Binding

My Dying Bride A Mortal Binding

Something of a harsher take on A Mortal Binding, which is the 15th full-length from UK death-doom forebears My Dying Bride, as well as their second for Nuclear Blast behind 2020’s lush The Ghost of Orion (review here. The seven-song/55-minute offering from the masters of misery derives its character in no small part from the front-mixed vocals of Aaron Stainthorpe, who from opener “Her Dominion” onward, switches between his morose semi-spoken approach, woeful as ever, and dry-throated harsher barks. And that the leadoff is all-screams feels like a purposeful choice as that rasp returns in the second half of “The 2nd of Three Bells,” the 11-minute “The Apocalyptist,” “A Starving Heart” and the ending section of closer “Crushed Embers.” I don’t know when the last time a My Dying Bride LP sounded so roiling, but it’s been a minute. The duly morose riffing of founding guitarist Andrew Craighan unites this outwardly nastier aspect with the more melodic “Thornwyck Hymn,” “Unthroned Creed” and the rest that isn’t throatripper-topped, but with returning producer Mark Mynett, the band has clearly honed in on a more stripped-down, still-room-for-violin approach, and it works in just about everything but the drums, which sound triggered/programmed in the way of modern metal. It remains easy to get caught in the band’s wretched sweep, and I’ll note that it’s a rare act who can surprise you 15 records later.

My Dying Bride website

Nuclear Blast webstore

Masonic Wave, Masonic Wave

Masonic Wave Masonic Wave

Masonic Wave‘s self-titled debut is the first public offering from the Chicago-based five-piece with Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Corrections House, Led Zeppelin II, etc.) on vocals, and though “Justify the Cling” has a kind of darker intensity in its brooding first-half ambience, what that build and much besides throughout the eight-song offering leads to is a weighted take on post-hardcore that earlier pieces “Bully” and “Tent City” present in duly confrontational style before “Idle Hands” (the longest inclusion at just under eight minutes) digs into a similar explore-till-we-find-the-payoff ideology and “Julia” gnashes through noise-rock teethkicking. Some of the edge-of-the-next-outburst restlessness cast by Lamont, guitarists Scott Spidale and Sean Hulet, bassist Fritz Doreza and drummer Clayton DeMuth reminds of Chat Pile‘s arthouse disillusion, but “Nuzzle Up” has a cyclical crunch given breadth through the vocal melody and the sax amid the multiple angles and sharp corners of the penultimate “Mountains of Labor” are a clue to further weirdness to come before “Bamboozler” closes with heads-down urgency before subtly branching into a more spacious if still pointedly unrelaxed culmination. No clue where it might all be headed, but that’s part of the appeal as Masonic Wave‘s Sanford Parker-produced 39 minutes play out, the songs engaging almost in spite of themselves.

Masonic Wave on Bandcamp

Masonic Wave on Bandcamp

Bismarck, Vourukasha


There are shades of latter-day Conan (whose producer/former bassist Chris Fielding mixed here) in the vocal trades and mega-toned gallop of opening track “Sky Father,” which Bismarck expand upon with the more pointedly post-metallic “Echoes,” shifting from the lurching ultracrush into a mellower midsection before the blastbeaten crescendo gives over to rumble and the hand-percussion-backed whispers of the intro to “Kigal.” Their first for Dark Essence, the six-song/35-minute Vourukasha follows 2020’s Oneiromancer (review here) and feels poised in its various transitions between consuming aural heft and leaving that same space in the mix open for comparatively minimal exploration. “Kigal” takes on a Middle Eastern lean and stays unshouted/growled for its five-plus minutes — a choice that both works and feels purposeful — but the foreboding drone of interlude “The Tree of All Seeds” comes to a noisy head as if to warn of the drop about to take place in the title-track, which flows through its initial movement with an emergent float of guitar that leads into its own ambient middle ahead of an engrossing, duly massive slowdown/payoff worthy of as much volume as it can be given. Wrapping with the nine-minute “Ocean Dweller,” they summarize what precedes on Vourukasha while shifting the structure as an extended, vocal-inclusive-at-the-front soundscape bookends around one more huge, slow-marching, consciousness-flattening procession. Extremity refined.

Bismarck on Facebook

Dark Essence Records website

Sun Moon Holy Cult, Sun Moon Holy Cult

Sun Moon Holy Cult Sun Moon Holy Cult

That fact that Sun Moon Holy Cult exist on paper as a band based in Tokyo playing a Sabbath-boogie-worshiping, riff-led take on heavy rock with a song like “I Cut Your Throat” leading off their self-titled debut makes a Church of Misery comparison somewhat inevitable, but the psych jamming around the wah-bass shuffle of “Out of the Dark,” longer-form structures, the vocal melodies and the Sleep-style march of “Savoordoom” that grows trippier as it delves further into its 13 minutes distinguish the newcomer four-piece of vocalist Hakuka, guitarist Ryu, bassist Ame and drummer Bato across the four-song LP’s 40 minutes. Issued through Captured Records and SloomWeep Productions, Sun Moon Holy Cult brings due bombast amid the roll of “Mystic River” as well, hitting its marks stylistically while showcasing the promise of a band with a clear idea of what they want their songs to do and perhaps how they want to grow over time. If this is to be the foundation of that growth, watch out.

Sun Moon Holy Cult on Instagram

Captured Records website

SloomWeep Productions on Bandcamp

Daily Thompson, Chuparosa

Daily Thompson Chuparosa

Dortmund, Germany’s Daily Thompson made their way to Port Orchard, Washington, to record Chuparosa with Mos Generator‘s Tony Reed at the helm, and the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Danny Zaremba, bassist/vocalist Mercedes Lalakakis and drummer/vocalist Thorsten Stratmann bring a duly West Coast spirit to “I’m Free Tonight” and the grunge-informed roll of “Diamond Waves” and the verses of “Raindancer.” The former launches the 36-minute outing with a pointedly Fu Manchuian vibe, but the start-stops, fluid roll and interplay of vocals from Zaremba and Lalakakis lets “Pizza Boy” move in its own direction, and the brooding acoustic start of “Diamond Waves” and more languid wash of riff in the chorus look elsewhere in ’90s alternativism for their basis. The penultimate “Ghost Bird” brings in cigar-box guitar and dares some twang amid all the fuzz, but as “Raindancer” has already branched out with its quieter bassy midsection build and final desert-hued thrust, the album can accommodate such a shift without any trouble. The title-track trades between wistful grunge verses and a fuller-nodding hook, from which the three-piece take off for the bridge, thankfully returning to the chorus in Chuparosa‘s big finish. The manner in which the whole thing brims with purpose makes it seem like Daily Thompson knew exactly what they were going for in terms of sound, so I guess you could say it was probably worth the trip.

Daily Thompson on Facebook

Noisolution website

Mooch, Visions

mooch visions

Kicking off with the markedly Graveyardian “Hangtime,” Mooch ultimately aren’t content to dwell solely in a heavy-blues-boogie sphere on Visions, their third LP and quick follow-up to 2023’s Hounds. Bluesy as the vibe is from which the Montreal trio set out, the subsequent “Morning Prayer” meanders through wah-strum open spaces early onto to delve into jangly classic-prog strum later, while “Intention” backs its drawling vocal melody with nylon-stringed acoustic guitar and hand percussion. Divergence continues to be the order of the day throughout the 41-minute eight-songer, with “New Door” shifting from its sleepy initial movement into an even quieter stretch of Doors-meets-Stones-y melody before the bass leads into its livelier solo section with just a tinge of Latin rhythm and “Together” giving more push behind a feel harkening back to the opener but that grows quiet and melodically expansive in its second half. This sets up the moodier vibe of “Vision” and gives the roll of “You Wouldn’t Know” an effective backdrop for its acoustic/electric blend and harmonized vocals, delivered patiently enough to let the lap steel slide into the arrangement easily before the brighter-toned “Reflections” caps with a tinge of modern heavy post-rock. What’s tying it together? Something intangible. Momentum. Flow. Maybe just the confidence to do it? I don’t know, but as subdued as they get, they never lose their momentum, and as much movement as their is, they never seem to lose their balance. Visions might not reveal its full scope the first time through, but subsequent listens bring due reward.

Mooch on Facebook

Mooch on Bandcamp

The Pleasure Dome, Liminal Space

The Pleasure Dome Liminal Space EP

The narrative — blessings and peace upon it — has it that guitarist/vocalist Bobby Spender recruited bassist Loz Fancourt and drummer Harry Flowers after The Pleasure Dome‘s prior rhythm section left, ahead of putting together the varied 16 minutes of the Liminal Space EP. For what it’s worth, the revamped Bristol, UK, trio don’t sound any more haphazard than they want to in the loose-swinging sections of “Shoulder to Cry On” that offset the fuller shove of the chorus, or the punk-rooted alt-rock brashness of “The Duke Part II (Friends & Enemies),” and the blastbeat-inclusive tension of “Your Fucking Smile” that precedes the folk-blues finger-plucking of “Sugar.” Disjointed? Kind of, but that also feels like the point. Closer “Suicide” works around acoustic guitar and feels sincere in the lines, “Suicide, suicide/I’ve been there before/I’ve been there before/On your own/So hold on,” and the profession of love that resolves it, and while that’s at some remove from the bitter spirit of the first two post-intro tracks, Liminal Space makes its own kind of sense with the sans-effects voice of Spender at its core.

The Pleasure Dome on Facebook

Hound Gawd! Records website

Slump, Dust

Slump Dust EP

A solid four-songer from Birmingham’s Slump, who are fronted by guitarist Matt Noble (also Alunah), with drummer David Kabbouri Lara and bassist Ben Myles backing the riff-led material with punch in “Buried” after the careening hook of “Dust” opens with classic scorch in its solo and before the slower and more sludged “Kneel” gets down to its own screamier business and “Vultures” rounds out with a midtempo stomp early but nods to what seems like it’s going to be a more morose finish until the drum solo takes off toward the big-crash finish. As was the case on Slump‘s 2023 split with At War With the Sun, the feel across Dust is that of a nascent band — Slump got together in 2018, but this is their most substantial standalone release to-date — figuring out what they want to do. The ideas are there, and the volatility at which “Kneel” hints will hopefully continue to serve them well as they explore spaces between metal and heavy rock, classic and modern styles. A progression underway toward any number of potential avenues.

Slump on Facebook

Slump on Bandcamp

Green Hog Band, Fuzz Realm

Green Hog Band Fuzz Realm

What dwells in Green Hog Band‘s Fuzz Realm? If you said “fuzz,” go ahead and get yourself a cookie (the judges also would’ve accepted “riffs” and “heavy vibes, dude”), but for those unfamiliar with the New Yorker trio’s methodology, there’s more to it than tone as guitarist/producer Mike Vivisector, bassist/vocalist Ivan Antipov and drummer Ronan Berry continue to carve out their niche of lo-fi stoner buzz marked by harsh, gurgly vocals in the vein of Attila Csihar, various samples, organ sounds and dug-in fuckall. “Escape on the Wheels” swings and chugs instrumentally, and “In the Mist of the Bong” has lyrics in English, so there’s no lack of variety despite the overarching pervasiveness of misanthropy. That mood is further cast in the closing salvo of the low-slung “Morning Dew” and left-open “Phantom,” both of which are instrumental save for some spoken lines in the latter, as the prevailing sense is that they were going to maybe put some verses on there but decided screw it and went back to their cave (presumably somewhere in Queens) instead, because up yours anyhow. 46 minutes of crust-stoned “up yours anyhow,” then.

Green Hog Band on Facebook

The Swamp Records on Bandcamp

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Quarterly Review: ISAAK, Iron Void, Dread Witch, Tidal Wave, Guided Meditation Doomjazz, Cancervo, Dirge, Witch Ripper, Pelegrin, Black Sky Giant

Posted in Reviews on April 10th, 2023 by JJ Koczan


Welcome to the Spring 2023 Quarterly Review. Between today and next Tuesday, a total of 70 records will be covered with a follow-up week slated for May bringing that to 120. Rest assured, it’ll be plenty. If you’re reading this, I feel safe assuming you know the deal: 10 albums per day from front to back, ranging in style, geography, type of release — album, EP, singles even, etc. — and the level of hype and profile surrounding. The Quarterly Review is always a massive undertaking, but I’ve never done one and regretted it later, and looking at what’s coming up across the next seven days, there are more than few records featured that are already on my ongoing best of 2023 list. So please, keep an eye and ear out, and hopefully you’ll also find something new that speaks to you.

We begin.

Quarterly Review #1-10:


isaak hey

Last heard from as regards LPs with 2015’s Serominize (review here) and marking 10 years since their 2013 debut under the name, The Longer the Beard the Harder the Sound (review here), Genoa-based heavy rockers ISAAK return with the simply-titled Hey and encapsulate the heads-up fuzz energy that’s always been at the core of their approach. Vocalist Giacomo H. Boeddu has hints of Danzig in “OBG” and the swing-shoving “Sleepwalker” later on, but whether it’s the centerpiece Wipers cover “Over the Edge,” the rolling “Dormhouse” that follows, or the melodic highlight “Rotten” that precedes, the entire band feel cohesive and mature in their purposeful songwriting. They’re labelmates and sonic kin to Texas’ Duel, but less bombastic, with a knife infomercial opening their awaited third record before the title-track and “OBG” begin to build the momentum that carries the band through their varied material, spacious on “Except,” consuming in the apex of “Fake it Till You Make It,” but engaging throughout in groove and structure.

ISAAK on Facebook

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp


Iron Void, IV


With doom in their collective heart and riffs to spare, UK doom metal traditionalists Iron Void roll out a weighted 44 minutes across the nine songs of their fourth full-length, IV, seeming to rail against pandemic-era restrictions in “Grave Dance” and tech culture in “Slave One” while “Pandora’s Box” rocks out Sabbathian amid the sundry anxieties of our age. Iron Void have been around for 25 years as of 2023 — like a British Orodruin or trad-doom more generally, they’ve been undervalued for most of that time — and their songwriting earns the judgmental crankiness of its perspective, but each half of the LP gets a rousing closer in “Blind Dead” and “Last Rites,” and Iron Void doom out like there’s no tomorrow even on the airier “She” because, as we’ve seen in the varying apocalypses since the band put out 2018’s Excalibur (review here), there might not be. So much the better to dive into the hook of “Living on the Earth” or the grittier “Lords of the Wasteland,” the metal-of-yore sensibility tapping into early NWOBHM without going full-Maiden. Kind of a mixed bag, it might take a few listens to sink in, but IV shows the enduring strengths of Iron Void and is clearly meant more for those repeat visits than some kind of cloying immediacy. An album to be lived with and doomed with.

Iron Void on Facebook

Shadow Kingdom Records website


Dread Witch, Tower of the Severed Serpent

Dread Witch Tower of the Severed Serpent

An offering of thickened, massive lava-flow sludge, plodding doom and atmospheric severity, Dread Witch‘s self-released (not for long, one suspects) first long-player, Tower of the Severed Serpent, announces a significant arrival on the part of the onslaught-prone Danish outfit, who recorded as a trio, play live as a five-piece and likely need at least that many people to convey the density of a song like the opener/longest track (immediate points) “The Tower,” the eight minutes of which are emblematic of the force of execution with which the band delivers the rest of what follows, runtimes situated longest to shortest across the near-caustic chug of “Serpent God,” the Celtic Frost-y declarations and mega-riff ethos of “Leech,” the play between key-led minimalism and all-out stomp on “Wormtongue” and the earlier-feeling noise intensity of “Into the Crypt” before the more purely ambient but still heavy instrumental “Severed” wraps, conveying weight of emotion to complement the tonal tectonics prior. Bordering on the extreme and clearly enjoying the crush that doing so affords them, Dread Witch make more of a crater than an impression and would be outright barbaric were their sound not so methodical in immersing the audience. Pro sound, loaded with potential, heavy as shit; these are the makings of a welcome debut.

Dread Witch on Facebook

Dread Witch on Bandcamp


Tidal Wave, The Lord Knows

Tidal Wave the lord knows

Next-generation heavy fuzz purveyed with particular glee, Tidal Wave seem to explore the very reaches they conjure through verses and choruses on their eight-song Ripple Music label debut (second LP overall behind 2019’s Blueberry Muffin), The Lord Knows, and they make the going fun throughout the 41-minute outing, finding the shuffle in the shove of “Robbero Bobbero” while honing classic desert idolatry on “Lizard King” and “End of the Line” at the outset. What a relief it is to know that heavy rock and roll won’t die with the aging-out of so many of its Gen-X and Millennial purveyors, and as Tidal Wave step forward with the low-end semi-metal roll of “Pentagram” and the grander spaces of “By Order of the King” before “Purple Bird” returns to the sands and “Thorsakir” meets that on an open field of battle, it seems the last word has not been said on Tidal Wave in terms of aesthetic. They’ve got time to continue to push deeper into their craft — and maybe that will or won’t result in their settling on one path or another — but the range of moods on The Lord Knows suits them well, and without pretense or overblown ceremony the Sundsvall four-piece bring together elements of classic heavy rock and metal while claiming a persona that can move back and forth between them. Kind of the ideal for a younger band.

Tidal Wave on Facebook

Ripple Music on Bandcamp


Guided Meditation Doomjazz, Expect

Guided Meditation Doomjazz Expect

Persistently weird in the mold of Arthur Brown with unpredictability as a defining feature, Guided Meditation Doomjazz may mostly be a cathartic salve for founding bassist, vocalist, experimentalist, etc.-ist Blaise the Seeker, but that hardly makes the expression any less valid. Expect arrives as a five-song EP, ready to meander in the take-the-moniker-literally “Collapse in Dignity” and the fuzz-drenched slow-plod finisher “Sit in Surrender” — watery psychedelic guitar weaving overhead like a cloud you can reshape with your mind — that devolves into drone and noise, but not unstructured and not without intention behind even its most out-there moments. The bluesy sway of “The Mind is Divided” follows the howling scene-setting of the titular opener, while “Stream of Crystal Water” narrates its verse over crunchier riffing before the sung chorus-of-sorts, the overarching dug-in sensibility conveying some essence of what seems despite a prolific spate of releases to be an experience intended for a live setting, with all the one-on-one mind-expansion and arthouse performance that inevitably coincides with it. Still, with a rough-feeling production, Expect carries a breadth that makes communing with it that much easier. Go on, dare to get lost for a little while. See where you end up.

Guided Meditation Doomjazz on Facebook

The Swamp Records on Bandcamp


Cancervo, II

Cancervo II

II is the vocalized follow-up to Cancervo‘s 2021 debut, 1 (review here), and finds the formerly-instrumental Lombardy, Italy, three-piece delving further into the doomed aspects of the initial offering with a greater clarity on “Arera,” “Herdsman of Grem” and “The Cult of Armentarga,” letting some of the psychedelia of the first record go while maintaining enough of an atmosphere to be hypnotic as the vocals follow the marching rhythm as the latter track moves into its midsection or the rhythmic chains in the subsequent “Devil’s Coffin” (an instrumental) lock step with the snare in a floating, loosely-Eastern-scaled break before the bigger-sounding end. Between “Devil’s Coffin” and the feedback-prone also-instrumental “Zambla” ahead of 8:43 closer “Zambel’s Goat” — on which the vocals return in a first-half of subdued guitar-led doomjamming prior to the burst moment at 4:49 — II goes deeper as it plays through and is made whole by its meditative feel, some semblance of head-trip cult doom running alongside, but if it’s a cult it’s one with its own mythology. Not where one expected them to go after 1, but that’s what makes it exciting, and that they lay claim to arrangement flourish, chanting vocals and slogging tempos as they do bodes well for future exploration.

Cancervo on Facebook

Electric Valley Records website


Dirge, Dirge

Dirge Dirge

So heavy it crashed my laptop. Twice. The second full-length from Mumbai post-metallers Dirge is a self-titled four-songer that culls psychedelia from tonal tectonics, not contrasting the two but finding depth in the ways they can interact. Mixed by Sanford Parker, the longer-form pieces comprise a single entirety without seeming to have been written as one long track, the harsh vocals of Tabish Khidir adding urgency to the guitar work of Ashish Dharkar and Varun Patil (the latter also backing vocals) as bassist Harshad Bhagwat and drummer Aryaman Chatterji underscore and punctuate the chugging procession of opener “Condemned” that’s offset if not countermanded by its quieter stretch. If you’re looking for your “Stones From the Sky”-moment as regards riffing, it’s in the 12-minute second cut, “Malignant,” the bleak triumph of which spills over in scream-topped angularity into “Grief” (despite a stop) while the latter feels all the more massive for its comedown moments. In another context, closer “Hollow” might be funeral doom, but it’s gorgeous either way, and it fits with the other three tracks in terms of its interior claustrophobia and thoughtful aggression. They’re largely playing toward genre tenets, but Dirge‘s gravity in doing so is undeniable, and the space they create is likewise dark and inviting, if not for my own tech.

Dirge on Facebook

Dirge store


Witch Ripper, The Flight After the Fall

Witch Ripper The Flight after the Fall

Witch Ripper‘s sophomore LP and Magnetic Eye label-debut, The Flight After the Fall, touches on anthemic prog rock and metal with heavy-toned flourish and plenty of righteous burl in cuts like “Madness and Ritual Solitude” and the early verses of “The Obsidian Forge,” though the can-sing vocals of guitarists Chad Fox and Curtis Parker and bassist Brian Kim — drummer Joe Eck doesn’t get a mic but has plenty to do anyhow — are able to push that centerpiece and the rest of what surrounds over into the epic at a measure’s notice. Or not, which only makes Witch Ripper more dynamic en route to the 16:45 sprawling finish of “Everlasting in Retrograde Parts 1 and 2,” picking up from the lyrics of the leadoff “Enter the Loop” to put emphasis on the considered nature of the release as a whole, which is a showcase of ambition in songwriting as much as performance of said songs, conceptual reach and moments of sheer pummel. It’s been well hyped, and by the time “Icarus Equation” soars into its last chorus without its wings melting, it’s easy to hear why in the fullness of its progressive heft and melodic theatricality. It’s not a minor undertaking at 47 minutes, but it wouldn’t be a minor undertaking if it was half that, given the vastness of Witch Ripper‘s sound. Be ready to travel with it.

Witch Ripper on Facebook

Magnetic Eye Records store


Pelegrin, Ways of Avicenna

Pelegrin Ways of Avicenna

In stated narrative conversation with the Arabic influence on Spanish and greater Western European (read: white) culture, specifically in this case as regards the work of Persian philosopher Ibn Sina, Parisian self-releasing three-piece Pelegrin follow-up 2019’s Al-Mahruqa (review here) with the expansive six songs of Ways of Avicenna, with guitarist/vocalist François Roze de Gracia, bassist/backing vocalist Jason Recoing and drummer/percussionist Antoine Ebel working decisively to create a feeling of space not so much in terms of the actual band in the room, but of an ancient night sky on songs like “Madrassa” and the rolling heavy prog solo drama of the later “Mystical Appear,” shades of doom and psychedelia pervasive around the central riff-led constructions, the folkish middles of “Thunderstorm” and “Reach for the Sun” and the acoustic two-minute “Disgrace” a preface to the patient manner in which the trio feel their way into the final build of closer “Forsaken Land.” I’m neither a historical scholar nor a philosopher, and thankfully the album doesn’t require you to be, but Pelegrin could so easily tip over into the kind of cartoonish cultural appropriation that one finds among certain other sects of European psychedelia, and they simply don’t. Whether the music speaks to you or not, appreciate that.

Pelegrin on Facebook

Pelegrin on Bandcamp


Black Sky Giant, Primigenian

Black Sky Giant Primigenian

Lush but not overblown, Argentinian instrumentalists Black Sky Giant fluidly and gorgeously bring together psychedelia and post-rock on their third album, Primigenian, distinguishing their six-song/31-minute brevity with an overarching progressive style that brings an evocative feel whether it’s to the guitar solos in “At the Gates” or the subsequent kick propulsion of “Stardust” — which does seem to have singing, though one can barely make out what if anything is actually being said — as from the denser tonality of the opening title-track, they go on to unfurl the spiritual-uplift of “The Great Hall,” fading into a cosmic boogie on the relatively brief “Sonic Thoughts” as they, like so many, would seem to have encountered SLIFT‘s Ummon sometime in the last two years. Doesn’t matter; it’s just a piece of the puzzle here and the shortest track, sitting as it does on the precipice of capper “The Foundational Found Tapes,” which plays out like amalgamated parts of what might’ve been other works, intermittently drummed and universally ambient, as though to point out the inherently incomplete nature of human-written histories. They fade out that last piece after seeming to put said tapes into a player of some sort (vague samples surrounding) and ending with an especially dream-toned movement. I wouldn’t dare speculate what it all means, but I think we might be the ancient progenitors in question. Fair enough. If this is what’s found by whatever species is next dominant on this planet — I hope they do better at it than humans have — we could do far worse for representation.

Black Sky Giant on Facebook

Black Sky Giant on Bandcamp


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Quarterly Review: Motorpsycho, Abrams, All India Radio, Nighdrator, Seven Rivers of Fire, Motherslug, Cheater Pipe, Old Million Eye, Zoltar, Ascia

Posted in Reviews on September 29th, 2022 by JJ Koczan


Welcome to the penultimate day of the Fall 2022 Quarterly Review, and yes, I will make just about any excuse to use the word “penultimate.” Sometimes you have a favorite thing, okay? The journey continues today, down, out, up and around, through and across 10 records from various styles and backgrounds. I hope you dig it and check back tomorrow for the last day. Here we go.

Quarterly Review #81-90:

Motorpsycho, Ancient Astronauts

motorpsycho ancient astronauts

There is no denying Motorpsycho. I’ve tried. Can’t be done. I don’t know how many records the Norwegian progressive rockers have put out by now, and honestly I wonder if even the band members themselves could give an accurate count. And who would be able to fact check? Ancient Astronauts continues the strong streak that the Trondheim trio of Tomas Järmyr, Bent Sæther, and Hans “Snah” Ryan have had going for at least the last six years — 2021’s Kingdom of Oblivion (review here) was also part of it — comprising four songs across a single 43-minute LP, with side B consumed entirely by the 22-minute finale “Chariot of the Sun/To Phaeton on the Occasion of Sunrise (Theme From an Imaginary Movie).” After the 12-minute King Crimsony build from silence to sustained freakout in “Mona Lisa Azazel” — preceded by the soundscape “The Flower of Awareness” (2:14) and the relatively straightforward, welcome-bidding “The Ladder” (6:41) — the closer indeed unfurls in two discernible sections, the first a linear stretch increasing in volume and tension as it moves forward, loosely experimental in the background but for sure a prog jam by its 11th minute that ends groovy at about its 15th, and the second a synthesizer-led arrangement that, to no surprise, is duly cinematic. Motorpsycho have been a band for more than 30 years established their place in the fabric of the universe, and are there to dwell hopefully for a long(er) time to come. Not all of the hundred-plus releases they’ve done have been genius, but they are so reliably themselves in sound it feels silly to write about them. Just listen and be happy they’re there.

Motorpsycho on Facebook

Stickman Records store


Abrams, In the Dark

Abrams In the Dark

Did you think Abrams would somehow not deliver quality-crafted heavy rock, straightforward in structure, ’00s punk undercurrent, plus metal, plus melody? Their first offering through Small Stone is In the Dark, the follow-up to 2020’s Modern Ways (review here), and it finds guitarist/vocalist Zachary Amster joined by on guitar by Patrick Alberts (Call of the Void), making the band a four-piece for the first time with bassist/vocalist Taylor Iversen and drummer Ryan DeWitt completing the lineup. One can hear new textures and depth in songs like “Better Living” after the raucous opening salvo of “Like Hell” and “Death Tripper,” and longer pieces like “Body Pillow,” the title-track and the what-if-BlizzardofOzz-was-really-space-rock “Black Tar Mountain,” which reach for new spaces atmospherically and in terms of progressive melody — looking at you, “Fever Dreams” — while maintaining the level of songwriting one anticipates from Abrams four records in. They’ve been undervalued for a while now. Can their metal-heavy-rock-punk-prog-that’s-also-kind-of-pop gain some of the recognition it deserves? It only depends on getting ears to hear it.

Abrams on Facebook

Small Stone Records on Bandcamp


All India Radio, The Generator of All Infinity

All India Radio The Generator of All Infinity

Australia-based electronic prog outfit All India Radio — the solo ambient/atmospheric endeavor of composer and Martin Kennedy — has been releasing music for over 20 years, and is the kind of thing you may have heard without realizing it, soundtracking television and whatnot. The Generator of All Infinity is reportedly the final release in a trilogy cycle, completely instrumental and based largely on short ambient movements that move between each other like, well, a soundtrack, with some more band-minded ideas expressed in “The New Age” — never underestimate the value of live bass in electronic music — and an array of samples, differing organs, drones, psychedelic soundscapes, and a decent bit of ’80s sci-fi intensity on “Beginning Part 2,” which succeeds in making the wait for its underlying beat excruciating even though the whole piece is just four minutes long. There are live and sampled drums throughout, shades of New Wave, krautrock and a genuine feeling of culmination in the title-track’s organ-laced crescendo wash, but it’s a deep current of drone that ends on “Doomsday Machine” that makes me think whatever narrative Kennedy has been telling is somewhat grim in theme. Fair enough. The Generator of All Infinity will be too heady for some (most), but if you can go with it, it’s evocative enough to maybe be your own soundtrack.

All India Radio on Facebook

All India Radio on Bandcamp


Nighdrator, Nighdrator

Nighdrator Nighdrator

Mississippi-based heavygaze rockers Nighdrator released the single “The Mariner” as a standalone late in 2020 as just the duo of vocalist/producer Emma Fruit and multi-instrumentalist JS Curley. They’ve built out more of a band on their self-titled debut EP, put to tape through Sailing Stone Records and bringing back “Mariner” (dropped the ‘The’) between “Scarlet Tendons” and the more synth-heavy wash of “The Poet.” The last two minutes of the latter are given to noise, drone and silence, but what unfurls before that is an experimentalist-leaning take on heavier post-rock, taking the comparatively grounded exploratory jangle of “Scarlet Tendons” — which picks up from the brief intro “Crest/Trough” depending on which format you’re hearing — and turning its effects-laced atmosphere into a foundation in itself. Given the urgency that remains in the strum of “Mariner,” I wouldn’t expect Nighdrator to go completely in one direction or another after this, but the point is they set up multiple opportunities for creative growth while signaling an immediate intention toward individuality and doing more than the My-Bloody-Valentine-but-heavy that has become the standard for the style. There’s some of that here, but Nighdrator seem not to want to limit themselves, and that is admirable even in results that might turn out to be formative in the longer term.

Nighdrator on Bandcamp

Sailing Stone Records store


Seven Rivers of Fire, Sanctuary

Seven Rivers of Fire Sanctuary

William Graham Randles, who is the lone figure behind all the plucked acoustic guitar strings throughout Seven Rivers of Fire‘s three-song full-length, Sanctuary, makes it easy to believe the birdsong that occurs throughout “Union” (16:30 opener and longest track; immediate points), “Al Tirah” (9:00) and “Bloom” (7:30) was happening while the recording was taking place and that the footsteps at the end are actually going somewhere. This is not Randles‘ first full-length release of 2022 and not his last — he releases the new Way of the Pilgrim tomorrow, as it happens — but it does bring a graceful 33 minutes of guitar-based contemplation, conversing with the natural world via the aforementioned birdsong as well as its own strums and runs, swells and recessions of activity giving the feeling of his playing in the sunshine, if not under a tree then certainly near one or, at worst, someplace with an open window and decent ventilation; the air feels fresh. “Al Tirah” offers a long commencement drone and running water, while “Bloom” — which begins with footsteps out — is more playfully folkish, but the heart throughout Sanctuary is palpable and in celebration of the organic, perhaps of the surroundings but also in its own making. A moment of serenity, far-away escapism, and realization.

Seven Rivers of Fire on Facebook

Aural Canyon Music on Bandcamp


Motherslug, Blood Moon Blues

Motherslug Blood Moon Blues

Half a decade on from The Electric Dunes of Titan (review here), Melbourne sludge rock bruisers Motherslug return with Blood Moon Blues, a willfully unmanageable 58-minute, let’s-make-up-for-lost-time collection that’s got room enough for “Hordes” to put its harsh vocals way forward in the mix over a psychedelic doom sprawl while also coexisting with the druggy desert punkers “Crank” and “Push the Venom” and the crawling death in the culmination of “You (A Love Song)” — which it may well be — later on. With acoustic stretches bookending in “Misery” and the more fully a song “Misery (Slight Return),” there’s no want for cohesion, but from naked Kyussism of “Breathe” and the hard Southern-heavy-informed riffs of “Evil” — yes I’m hearing early Alabama Thunderpussy there — to the way in which “Deep in the Hole” uses similar ground as a launchpad for its spacious solo section, there’s an abiding brashness to their approach that feels consistent with their past work. Not every bands sees the ways in which microgenres intersect, let alone manages to set their course along the lines between, drawing from different sides in varied quantities as they go, but Motherslug do so while sounding almost casual about it for their lack of pretense. Accordingly, the lengthy runtime of Blood Moon Blues feels earned in a way that’s not always the case with records that pass the single-LP limit of circa 45 minutes, there’s blues a-plenty and Motherslug brought enough riffs for the whole class, so dig in, everybody.

Motherslug on Facebook

Motherslug on Bandcamp


Cheater Pipe, Planetarium Module

Cheater Pipe Planetarium Module

Keep an ear out because you’re going to be hearing more of this kind of thing in the next few years. On their third album, Planetarium Module, Cheater Pipe blend Oliveri-style punk with early-aughts sludge tones and sampling, and as we move to about 20 years beyond acts like Rebreather and -(16)- and a slew of others including a bunch from Cheater Pipe‘s home state of Louisiana, yeah, there will be more acts adapting this particular stoner sludge space. Much to their credit, Cheater Pipe not only execute that style ably — Emissions sludge — on “Fog Line Shuffle,” “Cookie Jar” or “White Freight Liner Blues” and the metal-as-punk “Hollow Leg Hobnobber,” they bring Floor-style melody to “Yaw” and expand the palette even further in the second half of the tracklist, with “Mansfield Bar” pushing the melody further, “Flight of the Buckmoth” and closer “Rare Sunday” turning to acoustic guitar and “The Sad Saga of Hans Cholo” between them lending atmospheric breadth to the whole. They succeed at this while packing 11 songs into 34 minutes and coming across generally like they long ago ran out of fucks to give about things like what style they’re playing to or what’s ‘their sound.’ Invariably they think of these things — nobody writes a song and then never thinks about it again, even when they tell you otherwise — but the spirit here is middle-fingers-up, and that suits their sound best anyway.

Cheater Pipe on Facebook

Cheater Pipe on Bandcamp


Old Million Eye, The Air’s Chrysalis Chime

Old Million Eye The Air's Chrysalis Chime

The largely solo endeavor of Brian Lucas of Dire Wolves and a merry slew of others, Old Million Eye‘s latest full-length work arrives via Cardinal Fuzz and Feeding Tube with mellow psychedelic experimentalism and folk at its core. The Air’s Chrysalis Chime boasts seven pieces in 43 minutes and each one establishes its own world to some degree based around an underlying drone; the fluidity in “Louthian Wood” reminiscent of windchimes and accordion without actually being either of those things — think George Harrison at the end of “Long Long Long,” but it keeps going — and “Tanglier Mirror” casts out a wash of synthesizer melody that would threaten to swallow the vocals entirely would they not floating up so high. It’s a vibe based around patience in craft, but not at all staid, and “White Toads” throws some distorted volume the listener’s way not so much as a lifeline for rockers as another tool to be used when called for. The last cosmic synthesizer on “Ruby River,” the album’s nine-minute finale, holds as residual at the end, which feels fair as Lucas‘ voice — the human element of its presence is not to be understated as songs resonate like an even-farther-out, keyboard-leaning mid-period Ben Chasny — has disappeared into the ether of his own making. We should all be so lucky.

Old Million Eye on Bandcamp

Cardinal Fuzz Records store

Feeding Tube Records store


Zoltar, Bury

Zoltar Bury

“Bury” is the newest single from Swedish heavy rockers Zoltar, who, yes, take their moniker from the genie machine in the movie Big (they’re not the only ones either). It follows behind two songs released last year in “Asphalt Alpha” and “Dirt Vortex.” Those tracks were rawer in overall production sound, but there’s still plenty of edge in “Bury,” up to and including in the vocals, which are throatier here than on either of the two prior singles, though still melodic enough so that when the electric piano-style keys start up at about two and a half minutes into the song, the goth-punk nod isn’t out of place. It’s a relatively straight-ahead hook with riffing made that much meatier through the tones on the recording, and a subtle wink in the direction of Slayer‘s “Dead Skin Mask” in its chorus. Nothing to complain about there or more generally about the track, as the three-piece seem to be working toward some kind of proper release — they did press up a CD of Bury as a standalone, so kudos to them on the physicality — be it an EP or album. Wherever they end up, if these songs make the trip or are dropped on the way, it’s a look at a band’s earliest moves as a group and how quickly that collaboration can change and find its footing. Zoltar — who did not have feet in the movie — may just be doing that here.

Zoltar on Facebook

Zoltar store


Ascia, III

Ascia III

Sardinia’s Fabrizio Monni (also of Black Capricorn) has unleashed a beast in Ascia, and with III, he knows it more than ever. The follow-up to Volume II (review here) and Volume I (review here) — both released late last year — is more realized in terms of songcraft, and it would seem Monni‘s resigned himself to being a frontman of his own solo-project, which is probably the way to go since he’s obviously the most qualified, and in songs like “The Last Ride,” he expands on the post-High on Fire crash-and-bash with more of a nodding central groove, while “Samothrace” finds a place for itself between marauder shove and more direct heavy rock riffery. Each time out, Monni seems to have more of an idea of what he wants Ascia to be, and whether there’s a IV to come after this or he’s ready to move onto something else in terms of release structure — i.e., a debut album — the progression he’s undertaken over the last year-plus is plain to hear in these songs and how far they’ve come in so short a time.

Ascia on Bandcamp

The Swamp Records on Bandcamp


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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Geoff Saavedra of Titanosaur

Posted in Questionnaire on July 11th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

Geoff Saavedra of Titanosaur

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: Geoff Saavedra of Titanosaur

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

I make loud catchy music. Great music to drive really fast with the windows down on a sunny afternoon.

How did I come to it? Well… there’s a picture of me when I was about one year old, sitting on a carpet with a giant bass across my lap. Maybe that was when I “came to do it”? Or, when I was 6, 7, 8 and listening to my uncles’ record collection and I would play Queen’s “Brighton Rock” and be amazed at Brian May’s use of the stereo field. I would stand in the middle of the living room and pretend to play the guitar as each strum came out of a different speaker… or, maybe it was when, from the same collection, I heard the Ramones song “Commando” and its simplicity, its humor and I wanted to do that… or maybe it was when I would go to my friend’s house and we would play Kiss Alive and jump off his couches playing air guitar (I was always Gene, he was Paul).

My mother got me an acoustic guitar when I was about 12. I took lessons and learned the pre-requisite “Stairway to Heaven” and some Simon & Garfunkel, but it wasn’t the same. When I received my Fender Strat (which I still play) at about 16, and I learned how to play a bar chord, that is when I knew I would be able to make music… That I had to make music. The first couple of songs that I learned – Ramones “Blitzkrieg Bop” and Black Sabbath “Children of the Grave”.

Describe your first musical memory.

As described above- I vividly remember being mesmerized by Queen’s “Brighton Rock”, during the guitar break around the 2:45 mark. And then the two guitars playing off each other at the 3:20 mark. I was about 6 years old.
I remember driving around Long Island with my uncle (only 14 years older than me) driving, as he blasted WLIR, Long Island’s Alternative radio station, playing The Clash, Depeche Mode, The Cure, and me loving that music.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Best musical memory… garsh… If we’re talking about best performance musical memory, it would have to be when I was in a Punk band called The Orgasmabots (Obots for short). Our last show was a Porn Festival At Acme Underground in NYC. They played Debbie Does Dallas before we performed. We did a cover of Joan Jett’s version of “Do You Wanna Touch.” We had an amazing crowd and lots of fun that night.

Best musical memory watching a performance? Would be the first time I went to a thrash concert. It was Suicidal Tendencies, on tour with Exodus and Pantera opening. It was my first true mosh pit. I’m 6’9”, and I was headbanging to Suicidal with a tiny woman behind me creating her own pit. She grabbed the back of my jacket and threw me around… it was amazing!

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

Way too deep for me to even find an answer for this one.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Depends on who you are. Sometimes it leads to insanity. For me, it leads to happiness. I’m constantly striving to be able to get the sounds out of my head and into the world. I get better every song I write, but I’m still not completely there.

How do you define success?

Success is satisfaction, reaching set goals. I have a few goals – be happy making music; get more people to hear my music; be able to survive off the income of making music.

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

I guess, I wish I hadn’t seen my mom going through the surgeries that she had to go through when I was younger. My mom was a young single mother, and we lived in a house with my grandmother and two uncles. My uncles saw me as a younger brother, and my grandmother was like a second mother to me. Also, I was always taller than my age, so people thought I was older. I was let into parts of hospitals I shouldn’t have been.

So, sometimes, when I’m dealing with my own hospital journeys, I flashback to those days in the early ’80s and my anxiety goes through the roof. A lot of things have changed with medicine, luckily…

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

A tree house? Or a true recording studio… hmmm…

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

Most essential function is to evoke emotion – whether that’s serenity, anger, sadness, excitement. I guess boredom is also an emotion, but we don’t like that kind of art.

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

Looking forward to the day that I get my heart transplant and everything goes smoothly.



Titanosaur, Eater of Death b/w

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Quarterly Review: Church of the Sea, Gu Vo, Witchfinder, Centre el Muusa, 0N0, Faeries, Cult of Dom Keller, Supplemental Pills, Green Hog Band, Circle of Sighs

Posted in Reviews on June 30th, 2022 by JJ Koczan


I’ll find out for sure in a bit, but I think this might be one of those supremely weird Quarterly Review days where it’s a total mash of styles and it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever from one release to the next so that by the time the batch of 10 records is done we’ve ended up covering a pretty significant swath of heavy music’s spectrum. I ain’t out here trying to be comprehensive, you understand. I’m just doing my best to keep up. And in that, sometimes you hit a weird day.

In fact, I think “weird” might be the operative word for the Quarterly Review so far. I think about this music, who it’s for, why, and it’s weird and it’s for weirdos in my head. Both of those things are meant in a spirit of reverence for weirdness. Weird is interesting. Weird stands out. Weird is… also how I feel basically any time I’m out of the house among other adults unless I’m at a show. Weird is that beautiful thing that unites those people who don’t seem to fit anywhere else but in this.

So yeah, today’s weird. Strap in, kids.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Church of the Sea, Odalisque


Electronic beats, live guitar, and a resonant human voice make for a fascinating blend on Church of the Sea‘s richly atmospheric Odalisque. The Athenian trio of vocalist Irene, guitarist Vangelis (a different Vangelis) and synthesist/sampler Alex conjure a deep sense of mood in songs like “Mirror” and the closer “Me as the Water, Me as a Tree,” operating from the weighted beginning of opener “No One Deserves” onward in a slow-moving, open-spaced take on heavy post-rock that staves off the shimmering guitar in favor of adding the rumble of distortion often as a backing drone to fill out the sound alongside the synth behind Irene‘s voice. There are shades of Author & Punisher‘s latest — but Odalisque is less about slamming impact than spreading out the landscape of its title-track and the personal examinations of its lyrics, though “Raindrops” doesn’t seem fully ready to commit to one or the other and it’s easy to appreciate that. A striking debut from a band whose individualized purpose sets them apart even within Greece’s crowded and wildly creative underground.

Church of the Sea on Facebook

Church of the Sea links


Gu Vo, Gu Vo

gu vo gu vo

Drummer Edu Escobar, bassist Raúl Burrueco and vocalist/synthesist Alejandro Ruiz are Gu Vo, and given their lack of guitar, it should come as little surprise that their Sentencia Records self-titled debut is a markedly rhythmic experience. Taking some example perhaps from Slift‘s uptempo space/krautrockism, the Spanish three-piece bring an avant garde vibe even to the ultra-smooth build of “Crab Ball Gate,” hypnotizing through repetition in the low end and drums while the keys weave in and out of prominence, “Little Lizard” arriving with storybook fanfare before toying with willful-sounding low- and high-end frequency imbalance — you go this way and I’ll go that, etc. — and vocals that are duly spaced. The nine-song/49-minute outing is ambitious, droning large in “USG Ishimura” and actually maybe-actually-sampling Altered Beast for the chiptunery of “Rise From Your Grave.” “TuunBaq” brings some of these impulses together at the end, but Gu Vo‘s Gu Vo is more about the trip you take than where you end up, and that’s much to its advantage.

Gu Vo on Facebook

Sentencia Records on Bandcamp


Witchfinder, Endless Garden

Witchfinder Endless Garden EP

Watch out for the slowdown in about the last minute and a half of “The Maze” (6:28) which is the first of two songs on Witchfinder‘s Endless Garden EP. Things are rolling along, some Acid King nod in that main riff, and then, wham, screams and meaner sludge pushes into the proceedings without so much as a s’il vous plaît from the Clermont-Ferrand-based four-piece. The keyboard later in the subsequent “Eternal Sunset” (10:41) running alongside the slower movement there calls to mind Type O Negative — though I understand it’s Hangman’s Chair holding down such vibes in France these days, so maybe or maybe not an influence — plays a similar function in distinguishing the ending from what’s come before, but it’s the overarching heft of Endless Garden that makes it such a fulfilling answer to 2019’s Hazy Rites (review here), the band perhaps pushing back against some of the more cultish tendencies of current heavy in favor of a more individual statement of fuzz and psych-doomer spaciousness. It’s been a hell of a three years since the album. A reminder of Witchfinder‘s growth in progress is welcome.

Witchfinder on Facebook

Mrs Red Sound on Bandcamp


Centre El Muusa, Purple Stones

Centre el Muusa Purple Stones

Imagine yourself having a dream about surfing and you might be on your way to Centre El Muusa‘s sound. The Estonian instrumentalist four-piece debuted on Sulatron with their 2020 self-titled (review here), and they cohesively explore various realms here, dream-beach among them, but also some twangy slide guitar in opener “Pony Road” and “Desert Song,” the band using the titles seemingly to drop hints of the vibes being captured. Sure enough, the dirty fuzz in “Boomerang” comes back around, “Keila Train” — it’s about a 15-mile trip from Talinn, where the band are from, to Keila — has a distracted line of keys over mellow jazz drumming and meandering guitar, and “Pilot on Board” brings a subtle kosmiche push with an undulating waveform drone that’s like the wind passing under and over the wings of an airplane. Each of these moments of (assisted) evocation can be experienced or not depending on how far in a given listener wants to plunge — or how high they want to float, in the case of “Pilot on Board” — but the abiding sense of exploration in sound remains vital just the same. Wherever it may want to take you at a given moment, it wants to take you. Let it.

Centre El Muusa on Facebook

Sulatron Records webstore


0N0, Unwavering Resonance

0N0 Unwavering Resonance

I’ll admit that Unwavering Resonance is my first exposure to Slovakia’s 0N0, but it won’t be the last. Their third full-length following 2016’s Reconstruction and Synthesis with an EP and a split between, the new outing collects four cuts across a manageable 36 minutes and begins with its longest track (immediate points) in the 12-minute declaration of purpose “Clay Weight.” Though reputed for more industrialized fare in the past — and still definitely utilizing programming for the ‘drums’ and other synthy sounds — one cannot ignore the chug that rises to prominence in the leadoff, or the malevolence of purpose in the deathly use to which it’s put. Post-metal and death-doom come together fluidly enough in “Clay Weight” and the subsequent “Shattering” (5:12) with a balance tipped to one side or another — the second track, shortest, blasts furiously — and one wouldn’t call what happens in the nine-minutes-each pair of “Unwavering Resonance” and closer “Wander the Vacant Twilight” an evening out, since they continue to lean to particular aspects of their crushing sound in a given stretch, but hell’s bells it’s heavy, and its catharsis is less about making your skin crawl than turning bones into powder. Methodical, not chaotic, but ready to bask in the chaos surrounding. More brutalism than brutal.

0N0 on Facebook

0N0 on Bandcamp


Faeries, Faeries

Faeries Faeries

Shit, that’s heavy. Released on cassette and download, the 2021 self-titled debut long-player from Savannah, Georgia’s Faeries is a beast working under suitably beastly traditions. Tapping into a tonal density and an and-yet-it-moves crush of riff that reminds of the earliest days of fellow Peach Staters Mastodon, there’s a more straight-ahead, heads-down, push-through-with-the-shoulder sensibility to David Rapp‘s solo outfit, an underlying sense of riff worship in “March March,” “Megadrone,” and the rest of the nine-song/45-minute outing that — much to Rapp‘s credit — are set for destructive purposes rather than self-indulgent progressivism. That’s not to say Faeries, the album, is dumbed down. It’s not, and even in the vocal gruel of “Fresh Laces” and “The Pain of Days” or the chug-‘n’-swing instrumental “The Volcano,” that can be heard in the structure of the songs — “Slurricane” deviates to somewhat lighter tone and also-instrumental closer “Traces” echoes that — but Rapp‘s clear intention here is to base his songwriting around the heaviest sounds possible, and while it’s exciting to think maybe he got there on this first outing, it’s even more exciting to think maybe he didn’t and is going to try again sometime soon. Either way, happy bludgeoning/being bludgeoned.

Faeries on Instagram

The Silver Box on Bandcamp


The Cult of Dom Keller, Raiders of the Lost Archives: Demos & Rarities 2007-2020

Cult of Dom Keller Raiders of the Lost Archives Demos & Rarities 2007-2020

Somewhat inevitable that a 100-minute collection of lost tracks, demos, alternate versions and live takes from UK psych adventurers Cult of Dom Keller would be something of a fan-piece. Still, as Raiders of the Lost Archives: Demos & Rarities 2007-2020 spans its 20-song run and multiple lineups of the band, its moving between years and methodologies has plenty of flow if you’re willing to open yourself to the essential fact that the band can do whatever. the. fuck. they. want. To wit, “Monarch” with its relatively forward verses and choruses and the lo-fi howling feedback of “QWERTYUIOP,” or 2020’s creep-into-wash “Dead Don’t Dream” and the garage-psych urgency of 2007’s “We Left This World Behind for a Place in the Sun.” Those who’ve followed Cult of Dom Keller on their merry path will dig the (again, relatively) efficient look at how far they’ve come and in how many different directions, while those unfamiliar with the band might want to find something less inherently uneven to dig on (start with 2020’s Ascend! (review here), then work back), but cuts like “Broken Arm of God” and “Jupiter’s Beard” are ready to catch ears either way, and if it takes time to digest, well heck, you’ll have all the time in the world if you quit your day job, so why not just go ahead and do that?

Cult of Dom Keller on Facebook

Cult of Dom Keller on Bandcamp


Supplemental Pills, Volume 1

Supplemental Pills Volume 1

The narrative — blessings and peace upon it — holds that Supplemental Pills got together at the behest of vocalist/guitarist Ezra Meredith when his main outfit, Hearts of Oak stepped back for pandemic lockdown. Fair enough. With Joel Meredith on guitar, bassist/synthesist Aron Christensen (also Hearts of Oak) and drummer/vocalist Mark Folkrod, these seven songs feel carved out of jams as the reportedly were, with “Feel It” blinking momentarily into Endless Boogie-sounding improv preach while mellower and more spacious pieces like opener “Run On,” the nine-minute drone-drawler “Floating Mountains Over Rivers” and the 11-minute fuzz-go repetitions of “Gonna Be Alright” — a decent mantra if e’er there was one — ooze deeper into vibe rock far-outreach. “Freedom March” is fairly active, with Ezra‘s vocals there and in “Run On” seeming to nod at the departed Mark Lanegan, and “The Wizard Was Right” has a sense of movement as well that suits its overlaid verses. If it feels right, it is right. Drone what thou wilt. And if this is what they’re coming up with essentially by accident, one shudders to think what might happen if they actually tried to write a song. It’s just crazy enough to work.

Supplemental Pills on Facebook

In Music We Trust Records on Bandcamp


Green Hog Band, Crypt of Doom

Green Hog Band Crypt of Doom

Some sonic coincidence brings Amorphis‘ “Forever More” to mind in hearing the winding guitar figure featured in Green Hog Band‘s instrumental-but-for-the-sample “Iron Horses,” but that’s not a direct influence. The Brooklynite trio’s third full-length, Crypt of Doom, follows last year’s Devil’s Luck (review here) and sees the self-recording trio of vocalist/bassist Ivan Antipov, guitarist Mike Vivisector (also lyrics) and drummer Ronan Berry weaving into and out of Russian-language lyrics on top of their thick-toned sludge rock, which they shove resolutely on “Sweet Tea, Banana Bread” and even give a little shuffle on the penultimate “New Year Massacre,” but which is invariably more suited to the doomly lurch of opener “Dragon” or its later giant-lizard-thing counterpart “Leviathan.” Still, that these guys can make that bubbling cauldron of sludge and are even vaguely interested in doing anything else is admirable, and as raw as Crypt of Doom is, even the air seems to be stale, never mind the bare walls of rock and dirt surrounding. Dig a hole, reside therein, riff.

Green Hog Band on Facebook

The Swamp Records on Bandcamp


Circle of Sighs, Alabaster

Circle of Sighs Alabaster

Most of all, one has to give kudos to Los Angeles experimentalist outfit for daring to cross the line between hard industrial music and the hip-hop it’s been summarily ripping off for the last quarter-century-plus. Alabaster is the third full-length from the unit not-so-secretly led by bassmaster/programmer/etc.-ist Collyn McCoy (also Night City, Aboleth, a bunch of others), and in addition to guest rappers A-F-R-O, Zombae and Kayee on cuts like “Anatomy Autonomy” (relevant) and the becomes-a-black-metal-onslaught “Copy Planet,” the nine-song/32-minute outing regurgitates genre expectations in a spew so willfully individual it can’t help but make its own kind of sense even unto the sound collage of “Segue-08” or “ec63294e-0dcf-4947-bb7c-965769967dbd,” which answers the freak-dance of “A Magical Journey of Love” with sentient-AI-knows-where-you-live moodsetting, which of course is an excellent precursor to the organ-laced cult extremity of “FLESHSELF: Abandon the Altars.” This is never going to be for everyone, but Alabaster‘s willingness to play with risk in sound makes just about everything that ‘fits in’ feel ridiculous. You think you’ve heard it all? Think you’re bored? Check this shit out and see how wrong you are.

Circle of Sighs on Facebook

Circle of Sighs on Bandcamp


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Quarterly Review: Crowbar, Eric Wagner, Ode and Elegy, Burn the Sun, Amon Acid, Mucho Mungo, Sum of R, Albatross Overdrive, Guided Meditation Doomjazz, Darsombra

Posted in Reviews on April 11th, 2022 by JJ Koczan


When we’re keying down after an invariably long day at my house and it’s getting close to The Pecan’s bedtime, we often watch a “bonus-extra” video. Sometimes it’s “Yellow Submarine,” sometimes a Peep and the Big Wide World on YouTube, whatever. Point is, think of today like a bonus-extra for the Quarterly Review after last week. Sometimes we do an extra-bonus-extra too. That will not be happening here.

So, we wrap up today with this bonus-extra batch of 10 records, and yes, as always, I took it easy on myself in backloading the last day of the QR with stuff I knew I’d dig. It’s called self-care, people. I practice it in my own way, usually incorrectly. Nonetheless, here’s 10 more records and thanks for tuning in to the Quarterly Review if you did. Next one is probably early July.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Crowbar, Zero and Below

crowbar zero and below

Six years after The Serpent Only Lies (review here), New Orleans sludge metal progenitors Crowbar deliver Zero and Below, a dutiful 10-song and 42-minute collection that emphasizes the strength of the current lineup of the band. It should go without saying that more than 30 years on from Crowbar‘s founding, guitarist/vocalist Kirk Windstein knows exactly what he wants the band to be and how to manifest that in the studio and live, and he does that here. The real question is whether “The Fear that Binds You” or maybe even the later “Bleeding From Every Hole” will make it into the touring set, but those are just two of the candidates on a record that feels like it was expressly written for Crowbar fans with a suitably masterful hand, which of course it was. There’s only one Crowbar. Treasure them while you can. And hell’s bells, go see them on stage if you never have. Buy a shirt.

Crowbar on Facebook

MNRK Heavy website


Eric Wagner, In the Lonely Light of Mourning

eric wagner in the lonely light of mourning

Joined by a litany of musicians and friends he at one point or another called bandmates in Blackfinger and Trouble, as well as Victor Griffin of Pentagram, Place of Skulls, etc., for a lead guitar spot, Eric Wagner‘s solo album, In the Lonely Light of Mourning, takes on an all-the-more-sorrowful context with Wagner‘s untimely death last year. And in many ways, the underlying message of In the Lonely Light of Mourning is the same message that Wagner‘s participation in The Skull for the better part of the last decade reinforced: he still had more to offer. He still had that voice, he still knew who he was as a singer and a songwriter. He still loved The Beatles and Black Sabbath and he was still one of the best frontmen after to do the job for a doom band. I don’t know what kind of archive exists of recordings he may have done before his death, but if In the Lonely Light of Mourning is the last release to bear his name, could there be a better note to close on than “Wish You Well” here?

Eric Wagner on Bandcamp

Cruz Del Sur Music website


Ode and Elegy, Ode and Elegy

Ode and Elegy ode and elegy

Recorded and seemingly layered together over a period of years between 2016 and 2020, Ode and Elegy‘s self-titled debut features only its 55-minute eponymous/title-track, and that’s more album conceptually and personnel-wise than most albums are anyway. There are guitar, bass, drums and vocals, and those recordings began in 2016 (vocals were done in 2018), but also a string quartet (recorded in Minneapolis, 2017), a brass section and full choir (recorded in Sofia, Bulgaria, 2020), flute (recorded in London, 2020) and harp (recorded in Manchester, UK, 2020). What the Parma, NY-based outfit make of all this is an organic, neoclassical and folk-informed complexity worthy of headphones for its texture and encompassing in both its heaviest and its most sweeping sections. There’s a vision at work across this span, and from the Behemoth-esque grandiosity of the horns about 33 minutes in to the final payoff and bookending subdued melody, the execution is no less impressive than the scope behind it. The years of effort in making it were not wasted. But how on earth do you write a follow-up for a debut like this?

Ode and Elegy on Instagram

Ode and Elegy website


Burn the Sun, Le Roi Soleil

Burn the Sun Le Roi Soleil

The thing about the jazzy break in the middle of second cut “A Fist for Crows” (as opposed to a feast?) is that it’s not at all out of place with the lumbering-but-moving heavy noise-rock-toned riffing or the big melodies that surround on Burn the Sun‘s first LP, Le Roi Soleil. After the relatively straightforward opener “Wolves Among Us,” it’s the beginning of the Athenian rockers showcasing their multi-tiered ambitions. “Fool’s Gold” is a short melodic heavy punk rocker, and those elements pop up again throughout, but “Severance” oozes into Deftones-y melody on vocals early and drifts out in psychedelia for much of its second half build, and there’s post-metal to be found in 12-minute closer “Torch the Skies,” but with ambient interludes in “Crawling Flame” and “The Calm Before,” even that’s not accounting for the whole breadth of the nine included pieces. Much to the band’s credit, they pull off their abrupt turns like that in “A Fist for Crows” and the later highlight “Tidal Waves,” while also keeping more charging aggression in their back pocket for the penultimate “Siren’s Call.” Some sorting out to do, but there’s a strong sense of identity in the songwriting.

Burn the Sun on Facebook

Burn the Sun on Bandcamp


Amon Acid, Demon Rider

AMON ACID Demon Rider single

A two-songer being offered up as a 7″ sacrifice presumably to the antigods of riffy lysergic doom, while, yes, also heralding the Leeds trio’s forthcoming second LP, Cosmology, Amon Acid‘s Demon Rider may be a bite-size slab, but it’s a slab nonetheless of tripped out doom, drawing on Cathedral in the title-track and bringing some of Orange Goblin’s burl to the still-spacious and freaked “Incredible Melting Man” in a whopping 3:43, as the founding UK-via-Greece duo of Sarantis Charvas (guitar, synth, vocals) and Briony Charvas (bass, synth) — as well as singly-named drummer Smith — follow-up their 2020 debut, Paradigm Shift, with a fuller and more realized shove. The synth does more work in their sound than it first seems, and together with the echoing vocals, it brings “Demon Rider” to a darkly psychedelic place. If that’s where Cosmology is headed as well, I guess it’s time to get on your possessed motorcycle and ride it into interstellar oblivion. You knew this day would come. Come on now. Off you go.

Amon Acid on Facebook

Helter Skelter Productions website


Mucho Mungo, Moth Bath

Mucho Mungo Moth Bath

Those ever-reliable climbers of Weird Mountain at Forbidden Place Records snagged Mucho Mungo‘s gem of a 2020 debut EP, and with an extra track added, made a first full-length from Moth Bath that shimmers like a reinvented moment where classic prog and garage rock met. For a record that opens with a song called “Bear Attack,” the Madrid three-piece of guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Marco González, bassist/vocalist Adrien Elbaz and drummer/vocalist/keyboardist Santiago Aguilera take a wholly unaggressive approach, digging into psychedelia only so much as it suits their movement-based purpose. That is to say, “Sandworm I” boogies down, and even though “Sandworm II” is comparatively mellow, there’s a space rock shuffle happening beneath those echoing space-out vocals. “Pocket Rocket” devolves in its sub-four-minute stretch but features some choice drumming and Galaga-esque keyboard sounds for atmosphere, while “Blue Nectar” captures a brighter jamminess and “The Moth” signals more cosmic intentions for what’s to come. Sign me up. Familiar sounds that don’t quite sound like anything else.

Mucho Mungo on Facebook

Forbidden Place Records website


Sum of R, Lahbryce

sum of r lahbryce

Bringing Swiss duo Sum of R into the realm of Finland’s weirdo-brilliant Waste of SpaceDark Buddha Rising, Atomikylä, Dust Mountain, a handful of other associated acts — by having founder Reto Mäder add vocalist Marko Neuman and drummer Jukka Rämänen from Dark Buddha Rising was not going to make Lahbryce any less devastating. And sure enough, “Sink as I” unfolds with a genuine sense of immersion-toward-drowning that the vague ambience of “Crown of Diseased” and the no-less-airy-for-being-crushing “Borderline” immediately expand. For its eight songs and 54 minutes, what was a tailor-made Roadburn lineup push deeper. Deeper than Sum of R‘s 2017 debut, Orga (review here), and deeper than many consciousnesses will want to go. The instrumental “The Problem” is actually less challenging, but “Hymn for the Formless” makes short work of the tropes of European post-metal while “Shimmering Sand” and the noise-laden “144th” once more spread out in terms of ambience, and closer “Lust” finally swallows us all and we die. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer species, and what a way to go.

Sum of R on Facebook

Consouling Sounds store


Albatross Overdrive, Eye See Red

Albatross Overdrive Eye See Red

Albatross Overdrive‘s third full-length, Eye See Red, opens with a hearty invitation to “Get Fucked,” and that is but the first of a slew of catchy, hard-edged, punk-informed heavy rock kissoffs. “Eye See Red” is duly frustrated as well, but as “Coming Down” suitably mellows out and “Been to Space” redirects the energy behind the earlier cuts’ delivery, there’s a feeling of the palette broadening on the part of the California-based five-piece, leading to the centerpiece “Bring Love,” the chorus of which sounds aspirational in light of the leadoff, and “Sagittarius” and “Fuente del Fuego” skirt the line between classic punk and biker rock, Albatross Overdrive continue the gritty and brash style of 2019’s Ascendant (review here) but find new reaches to explore. To wit, the nine-minute closer “Shattered” here reaches farther into melody and instrumental dynamic, bringing the different sides together in a way that’s genuinely new for the band while still having their core of songcraft underneath. They’ve well established themselves as a nothin’-too-fancy heavy rock act, but that doesn’t seem to be an aversion to forward progression either. Best of both worlds, then.

Albatross Overdrive on Facebook

Albatross Overdrive on Bandcamp


Guided Meditation Doomjazz, Summer Let Me Down

Guided Meditation Doomjazz Summer Let Me Down

To a certain extent, what you see is what you get with Guided Meditation Doomjazz. The Austin-based outfit led by six-string bassist J. Blaise Gans aka Blaise the Seeker conjure a half-hour session, recorded mostly if not entirely live, with a direct intention toward high-order chill and musical adventuring. Across “Warm Me Up,” “Summer,” “Let Me,” “Down” and “It’s Winter Again,” the band — working as the trio of Gans, Greg Perlman and drummer Mathew Doeckel — are fully switched-on and exploratory, and the pieces carved from their jams are hypnotic and engaging. A check-in from a prolific outfit, but with the backing of The Swamp Records, Summer Let Me Down comes across as something of a moment’s realization, placing the listener in the room — all the more with the photography included in the download — with the band as the music happens. Immersion, trance, digging in, vibing, all that stuff applies, but it’s the hiccups and the letting-them-go that feel even more instructive. If you can remember to breathe, it’s just crazy enough to work. Made to be heard more than once, and serves that well.

Guided Meditation Doomjazz on Instagram

The Swamp Records on Bandcamp


Darsombra, Fill Up the Glass


Everybody’s favorite drone freaks Darsombra — who just might play your house if you pay them, feed them, allow them enough electricity and/or maybe sex them up a little — released the 7:50 single “Fill Up the Glass” on the last Bandcamp Friday as a 24-hours-only offering that was there and gone before I could even grab the cover art to go with it. Rife with spacey, spicy sounds, their interweaving of synth and guitar sounds improvised if it isn’t, rumbling and oozing at the start and drifting joyously into the cosmos over its stretch. No clue whether the song will show up on their next album — as ever, Darsombra are on to the next thing, which is a tour that begins at Grim Reefer Fest in Baltimore and some kind of special offering, presumably a video, for April 20 — but like all their work, “Fill Up the Glass” is evocative and a revelry in creative spirit, and if seeing this gets you on board with checking out any of their more recent work, then I’ll consider it a win regardless of this song’s availability over the longer term. But it is a cool track.

Darsombra Linktree

Darsombra store


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Hot Ram Premiere “Conamara Chaos” Video; Electric Medicine Limited Vinyl Out Today

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 4th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

hot ram

Today, Feb. 4, Atlanta three-piece Hot Ram release a special vinyl edition of their 2021 album, Electric Medicine, through The Swamp Records. And for those unfamiliar, whatever you might be expecting of a group with a name like Hot Ram — which is to say, a grand thrusting of crotch — and its Led Zeppelin-meets-modern-stoner cover art, I’m glad to report that the record, which runs six songs and 39 minutes and was originally issued last May, works quickly to defy that anticipation. Founded by guitarist/vocalist Billy Konkel and here featuring bassist Dee Flores and drummer Gordon WhiteHot Ram‘s third long-player unfolds with a sense of patience in “The Hunter,” teasing aggression to come while loosing a headphone-ready spaciousness and melody that sounds more akin to Spaceslug than not. “Conamara Chaos” (video premiering below) is riffier and rougher around the proverbial edges, with an element of metal at play that works to set up the later take on Judas Priest‘s “Riding on the Wind,” and one might say the same of the chug that begins “Trans Am.”

But while Hot Ram are in familiar territory there in theme and riff, the twist brought by the gruff vocals is darker and more atmospheric, and White‘s drums hint at the nastier tempo kick to come as the song approaches its midsection, returning to the verse as though just to touch ground before freaking out once and for all and ending what I’ll assume is side A ahead of the aforementioned “Riding on the Wind” starting side B, channel-spanning guitar solos for that twin-lead effect, and harnessing that particular, classic sense of the badass that so much belongs to Priest for Hot Ram‘s own purposes. “The Grave of Arch Stanton” — and here’s a fun bit of trivia; in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Arch Stanton was buried Feb. 3, 1862, which was 160 years ago yesterday — follows and fuzzes like Egypt in an echo chamber around its central progression, shorter on the whole but with a reach of its own ahead of the 10-minute finale “Binary Sunset.”

For an extra sense of completion to the full-length as a whole, “Binary Sunset” caps with a mirroring of the kind of somehow-still-earthy psychedelia Hot Ram brought to the outset of Electric Medicine, earning bonus points along the way for weaving guitar solos into and out of its “Planet Caravan”-esque main line, gradually moving into a build underscored only by more rumble rather than some sudden burst of drums. Gorgeously fluid, it finishes Electric Medicine in unpredictable fashion and underscores the notion that, for those of us late to the party on the album as a whole (hi, that’s me, I know you’re way cooler) its ability to run against what one thinks is coming is an asset put to fervent use. With a new lineup in place around Konkel that includes bassist Dan Gianpieto and drummer Lionel Obriot, whatever Hot Ram does next is bound to be somewhat different, but the ambient finish in “Binary Sunset” seems to end this collection on as open a note (figuratively speaking) as possible.

Well kept secret? From me up to this point, at least. I feel fortunate, though, to have the chance to dig into Electric Medicine and find it very much a third-album’s realization on the part of Hot Ram, who present an awareness of style without succumbing to the tenets of genre outright. Their individuality shines through in tone and intent alike. And they’ll be at Maryland Doom Fest, so, bonus.

I’m glad they hit me up to premiere a video. Which, hey, you’ll find right down there, followed by more from the PR wire.


Hot Ram, “Conamara Chaos” video premiere

Limited Edition Vinyl out February 4th, 2022.

“Conamara Chaos” the second single and video from Atlanta’s HOT RAM 2021 album “Electric Medicine.”

Video by Pendleton Studios ATL.

To celebrate a short press of vinyl for this coming bandcamp Friday… HOT RAM dive into psychedelic biker satanic worship territory with the heavy narcotic video “Conamara Chaos” the follow up to the barn banging “The Grave of Arch Stanton” off of the third release from these Deep south gents.

After getting out of the house post pandemic, Konkel lost both original band mates but found kindred riffers Lionel Obriot (Four Hour Fogger) on drums and Dan Gianpieto (Sporelord) on bass to get in some choice gigs with Heavy Temple, Caustic Casanova, Formula 400, Blackjack Mountain, Day Glo Mourning, Empty Black and Drifter.

With the addition of being added to this year’s Maryland Doomfest, HOT RAM is beginning to work on demoing new jams to hit your ears by June 2022.

Hot Ram on ‘Electric Medicine’:
Billy Konkel – Guitar/Vocals
Gordon White – Drums
Dee Flores – Bass

Hot Ram are:
Billy Konkel – Guitar/Vocals
Lionel Obriot – Drums
Dan Gianpieto – Bass

Hot Ram, Electric Medicine (2021)

Hot Ram on Instagram

Hot Ram on Facebook

Hot Ram on Bandcamp

The Swamp Records website

The Swamp Records on Bandcamp

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Ricardo Siqueira of Brainscanner

Posted in Questionnaire on January 27th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

Ricardo Siqueira of Brainscanner

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: Ricardo Siqueira of Brainscanner

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

I play guitar and sing on a Stoner Rock band that I like to think it’s not “only” a Stoner Rock band. We try hard to not repeat ourselves and bring something new to the table every time we are writing a new song. I love Sabbath’s riffs just as much as the next guy, but honestly this is not the only thing I listen to, so I want my music to reflect it.

Describe your first musical memory.

My dad listening to The Rolling Stones. I remember him listening a lot to “Bridges To Babylon” when it came out, like he does every time they release something.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Having former Beaver guitarist Joszja Dibbes to play a kickass lead on our song “Phoneutria” in 2018. Beaver is one of my all time favorite bands and having him to play on my song really blew my mind! I’m really proud of how the song turned out.

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

A lot lately, but I can’t think in any in a musical context.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Being more satisfied with what you are doing. I like every song I recorded with every band I played, but the more I write and record, the better I like the outcome.

How do you define success?

Being proud of what you did. If my songs are sounding like I wanted or my band played a good gig, I believe it is success.

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

A lot in the last few years. Elections, the pandemic, relatives and idols dying…

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

We are finishing our first full-length album and we got a split [out now]. We are also writing some other songs, but I’d really love to record a live album. If I had to choose that would be it.

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

I believe art is the most subjective thing to ever exist, so I can’t think of “most essential function”. It can be the only place where you get to talk about something that is really important to you or something that ISN’T important, but you wanna talk about it anyway.

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

Finally getting to see my friends after the pandemic.


Brainscanner & Tromba, Split 2022

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