The Slow Death Premiere “Tyranny” Siege out Aug. 27

Posted in audiObelisk on June 28th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the slow death art by Mandy Andresen

Australian extreme doom five-piece The Slow Death release their fourth full-length, Siege, on Aug. 27 in a range of editions through Transcending Obscurity Records. It is the band’s first studio work in six years since 2015’s Ark, which was the final performance of then-vocalist Gregg Williamson, who passed away in 2014 after completing the recording, and in a style known for being morose, might be all the more so for that, but the arc of their storytelling looks seems more to look outward across the release.

And while one might balk at accusing an album comprised of four songs that runs a total of 63 minutes of being subtle, Siege nonetheless is that in the way it weaves guitar and keys and vocal arrangements within and between its extended cuts, keyboardist Mandy Andresen (also graphics) handling a cleaner singing style while Gamaliel complements with growls, and vice versa atop the tension-and-release riffing of guitarist/keyboardist Stuart Prickett, as well as Dan Garcia‘s bass and Yonn McLaughlin‘s drums, which drive the tempo changes that make 19-minute opener “Tyranny” feel like an album unto itself, with a complete flow and a progression that feels nigh on literary in its poise, however fast it may or may not be moving at a given point.

Each half of the record — that is to say, each platter of the 2LP — brings a 19-minute track the slow death siegeand shorter one in “Famine” (13:44) and closer “Ascent of the Flames” (10:28), respectively. And make no mistake, by the time you get down to “Ascent of the Flames,” having just followed The Slow Death on their ultra-willful slog through “Pestilence,” you might be numb to the changes happening, but the shifts there and across Siege are worth paying attention to, as they make the entirety of the release all the more satisfying to hear.

Even within “Tyranny,” the break to keys and soft guitar and vocals after the growling stretch circa 13 minutes in is executed with such fluidity and depressive grace that it’s nothing less than a triumph as the heft surges back in behind Andresen a short time later. Siege is full of these moments, whether it’s “Famine” unveiling a folk melody in its tenth minute before dirge-marching to its piano-laced finish — having bludgeoned so forcefully earlier in its procession — or the sudden cutout from lead guitar five-plus minutes into the buildup of “Pestilence,” which Gamaliel starts on vocals, mirroring Andresen on the album’s leadoff, setting up back and forth movements that play out across the rest of the song.

An ability to convey beauty in darkness is a tenet of the style, but The Slow Death do so well, while still keeping an overarching rawness to their presentation that helps them blur the line between where goth ends and death-doom begins. The orchestral elements, even synthesized, bolster the drama of the material and could easily fall flat, but don’t, largely because of the human performances behind them, the dynamic setup between Andresen and Gamaliel essential to the outing and its thoughtful shifts from one part or one song to the next, landing with emotional weight as well as tonal — again, an essential factor in making the sound what it is.

“Famine” was previously streamed, and you’ll find that near the bottom of this post. Between that and “Tyranny” premiering below, you’ve got about 33 of the 63 minutes of Siege to give you an idea of what The Slow Death are all about, if the moniker didn’t already tell you. PR wire info follows the player. Seems cruel to say “enjoy” at this point, so yes, I will.

Enjoy:

The Slow Death, “Tyranny” official premiere

The Slow Death are an exceptional band that straddles the emotive as well as heavier aspect of atmospheric death/doom metal. There are eerie, haunting female vocals alternated with abysmally low growls to go with similarly undulating music, encompassing a terrific range of heart-rending expression. Members of veteran bands such as Illimitable Dolor, Horrisonous, ex-Mournful Congregation ensure that the music remains engaging, even during the sparser, atmospheric parts, which invariably give way to soul-piercing solos or dread-inducing chugging parts.

This is a staggering interpretation of the double-edged style with everything remaining all too palpable, as it hurtles you through a harrowing, emotional roller-coaster ride through four epochal tracks averaging over 15 minutes, at the end of which you’ll emerge cleansed, purged, feeling exhausted but somehow lighter. It’s a microcosm of the events that are bound to unfold in everyone’s life, and The Slow Death couldn’t express the inevitable moments of grief and triumph any better through their emotionally-charged music. Six years in the making, ‘Siege’ is sure to be remembered as one of the best albums in the style.

Artworks by Mandy Andresen

Track listing:
1. Tyranny
2. Famine
3. Pestilence
4. Ascent of the Flames

Line up –
Mandy Andresen (ex-Murkrat, Crone) – Vocals and Keyboards
Stuart Prickett (Horrisonous, Illimitable Dolor) – Guitars and Keyboards
Yonn McLaughlin (Temple Nightside, Horrisonous, Illimitable Dolor, Nazxul) – Drums
Dan Garcia (Horrisonous, Illimitable Dolor) – Bass
Gamaliel (ex-Oracle of the Void) – Vocals

The Slow Death, “Famine”

The Slow Death on Facebook

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Transcending Obscurity website

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Subterraen Premiere “Blood for the Blood Gods”; Rotten Human Kingdom out Nov. 20

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 10th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

subterraen (Photo by William Lacalmontie)

Set to release Nov. 20, Subterraen‘s debut album, Rotten Human Kingdom, is furious in atmosphere and execution alike. The French three-piece, releasing through Transcending Obscurity Records, are ostensibly death-doom, but only as much as that tag applies to anything crawling and miserable. In truth, their four-song/48-minute offering brings richer stylization incorporating elements from skin-peeler sludge and black metal, and is shy neither about blasts nor feedback to go along with its extended sections of nod and excruciating wretchedness. Whatever genre tag one might want to apply to Rotten Human Kingdom — I even hear some of YOB‘s “Quantum Mystic” shortly past the middle of “For a Fistful of Silver” — the album sounds as though it is trying to claw its way beyond such designations into a purer form of extremity.

Environmental themes persist, but one finds an element of social comment to Rotten Human Kingdom as well. Of course, most of the lyrics are indecipherable in their rasping screams, the name of the record and titles like the opener “Blood for the Blood subterraen rotten human kingdomGods” and “For a Fistful of Silver” can be read as critique of the capitalist order, specifically tying to the subsequent ambient breather “Oceans are Rising” and the 18-minute finale “Wrath of a Downtrodden Planet” in the way industry, agriculture, and humanity in general harms the planet in pursuit of profit. Whatever one reads in Subterraen‘s lurching punishment through the first 14 minutes of that closer, there’s no question as to the severity of the band’s approach. They are steeped in ambient murk and coated in a filth of their own making, and as each extended piece works from shorter to longer, they seem only to dig further and further downward into it.

With the unveiling below of the 13:28 “Blood for the Blood Gods,” a crucial piece of Rotten Human Kingdom comes to light, and not just because it’s the first track on the record. It’s also the rawest look Subterraen give throughout. Not entirely without melody, it doesn’t touch on the mournfulness to come in the finisher or the charge of “For a Fistful of Silver” or even the subdued instrumental creep of “Oceans are Rising,” but instead, its harshness presents a brutality that transcends tempo, and its wash of noise and low distortion becomes the trap that the rest of what follows holds you within.

Call it punishment as much as portrayal, but Rotten Human Kingdom‘s indictment comes through clearly either way.

Enjoy:

Subterraen, “Blood for the Blood Gods” official track premiere

French sludge/doom metal band Subterraen carry the torch of the style on the label, following the ponderous steps of the giants Eremit and Jupiterian. In comparison however, they add their own blackened grit and weighed down heaviness to the proceedings, crafting 10+ minute songs narrating epic, anguish-ridden tales of the slow destruction of the planet and sowing seeds of the inexorable vengeance of mother nature. The emotions are palpable not only in the harrowing cries of the vocalist but also from the palpitating, heaving music that functions as the body of this ancient beast. There is an honest rawness to it all and a dank, earthly vibe that resonates with the sandalwood fragrance emanating from the physical products, with a wooden, coffin-shaped box to go with it. From ashes to ashes, from dust to dust.

Artwork by Adam Burke (Lurk, Coexistence, Atræ Bilis)

Track listing –
1. Blood for the Blood Gods (13:28)
2. For a Fistful of Silver (14:31)
3. Oceans are Rising (2:35)
4. Wrath of a Downtrodden Planet (18:22)

Line up –
Clem Helvete – Guitar and Vocals
Chris KKP – Guitar
Milvus – Drums

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Subterraen on Bandcamp

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Quarterly Review: Molasses Barge, Slow Green Thing, Haze Mage & Tombtoker, White Dog, Jupiterian, Experiencia Tibetana, Yanomamo, Mos Eisley Spaceport, Of Wolves, Pimmit Hills

Posted in Reviews on October 6th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

We roll on with day two of the Fall 2020 Quarterly Review featuring another batch of 10 records en route to 50 by Friday — and actually, I just put together the list for a sixth day, so it’ll be 60 by next Monday. As much as things have been delayed from the pandemic, there’s been plenty to catch up on in the meantime and I find I’m doing a bit of that with some of this stuff today and yesterday. So tacking on another day to the end feels fair enough, and it was way easy to pick 10 more folders off my far-too-crowded desktop and slate them for review. So yeah, 60 records by Monday. I bet I could get to 70 if I wanted. Probably better for my sanity if I don’t. Anyhoozle, more to come. For now…

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Molasses Barge, A Grayer Dawn

molasses barge a grayer dawn

Following up their 2017 self-titled debut issued through Blackseed Records, Pittsburgh-based rockers Molasses Barge present A Grayer Dawn through Argonauta, and indeed, in songs like “Holding Patterns” or the melancholy “Control Letting Go,” it is a somewhat moodier offering than its predecessor. But also more focused. Molasses Barge, in songs like stomping opener “The Snake” and its swing-happy successor “Desert Discord,” and in the later lumber of “Black Wings Unfurl” and push of the title-track, reside at an intersection of microgenres, with classic heavy rock and doom and modern tonality and production giving them an edge in terms of overarching heft in their low end. Riffs are choice throughout from guitarists Justin Gizzi and Barry Mull, vocalist Brian “Butch” Balich (Argus, ex-Penance, etc.) sounds powerful as ever, and the rhythm section of bassist Amy Bianco and drummer Wayne Massey lock in a succession of grooves that find welcome one after the other until the final “Reprise” fades to close the album. Its individuality is deceptive, but try to fit Molasses Barge neatly in one category or the other and they’ll stand out more than it might at first seem.

Molasses Barge on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

Slow Green Thing, Amygdala

slow-green-thing_amygdala-2000

Yes, this. Slow Green Thing‘s third album, Amygdala, is melodic without being overbearing and filled out with a consuming depth and warmth of tone. A less jammy, more solo-prone Sungrazer comes to mind; that kind of blend of laid back vocals and heavy psychedelic impulse. But the Dresden four-piece have their own solidified, nodding grooves to unveil as well, tapping into modern stoner with two guitars setting their fuzz to maximum density and Sven Weise‘s voice largely floating overtop, echo added to give even more a sense of largesse and space to the proceedings, which to be sure have plenty of both. The six-track/44-minute outing picks up some speed in “Dirty Thoughts” at the outset of side B, and brings a fair bit of crush to the title-track earlier and lead-laced finale “Love to My Enemy,” but in “Dreamland,” they mellow and stretch out the drift and the effect is welcome and not at all out of place beside the massive sprawl conjured in side A capper “All I Want.” And actually, that same phrase — “all I want” — covers a good portion of my opinion on the band’s sound.

Slow Green Thing on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzmatazz Records website

 

Haze Mage & Tombtoker, Split

Haze Mage Tombtoker Split

Anyone bemoaning the state of traditionalist doom metal would do well to get their pants kick’d by Haze Mage, and when that’s done, it’s time to let the stoned zombie sludge of Tombtoker rip your arms off and devour what’s left. The two Baltimorean five-pieces make a righteously odd pairing, but they’ve shared the stage at Grim Reefer Fest in Charm City, and what they have most in common is a conviction of approach that comes through on each half of the four-song/19-minute offering, with Haze Mage shooting forth with “Sleepers” and the semi-NWOBHM “Pit Fighter,” metal, classic prog and heavy rock coming together with a vital energy that is immediately and purposefully contradicted in Tombtoker‘s played-fast-but-is-so-heavy-it-still-sounds-slow “Braise the Dead” and “Botched Bastard,” both of which find a way to be a ton of fun while also being unspeakably brutal and pushing the line between sludge and death metal in a way that would do Six Feet Under proud. Horns and bongs all around, then.

Haze Mage on Thee Facebooks

Tombtoker on Thee Facebooks

 

White Dog, White Dog

white dog white dog

Oldschool newcomers White Dog earn an automatic look by releasing their self-titled debut through former Cathedral frontman Lee Dorrian‘s Rise Above Records, but it’s the band’s clearcut vintage aesthetic that holds the listener’s attention. With proto-metal established as an aesthetic of its own going on 20 years now, White Dog aren’t the first by any means to tread this ground, but especially for an American band, they bring a sincerity of swing and soul that speaks to the heart of the subgenre’s appeal. “The Lantern” leans back into the groove to tell its tale, while “Abandon Ship” is more upfront in its strut, and “Snapdragon” and opener “Sawtooth” underscore their boogie with subtle progressive nods. Closing duo “Pale Horse” and “Verus Cultus” might be enough to make one recall it was Rise Above that issued Witchcraft‘s self-titled, but in the shuffle of “Crystal Panther,” and really across the whole LP White Dog make the classic ideology theirs and offer material of eminent repeat listenability.

White Dog on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

 

Jupiterian, Protosapien

jupiterian protosapien

The only thing that might save you from being swallowed entirely by the deathly mire Brazil’s Jupiterian craft on their third full-length, Protosapien, is the fact that the album is only 35 minutes long. That’s about right for the robe-clad purveyors of tonal violence — 2017’s Terraforming (review here) and 2015’s Aphotic (review here) weren’t much longer — and rest assured, it’s plenty of time for the band to squeeze the juice out of your soul and make you watch while they drink it out of some need-two-hands-to-hold-it ceremonial goblet. Their approach has grown more methodical over the years, and all the deadlier for that, and the deeper one pushes into Protosapien — into “Capricorn,” “Starless” and “Earthling Bloodline” at the end of the record — the less likely any kind of cosmic salvation feels. I’d say you’ve been warned, but really, this is just scratching the surface of the trenches into which Jupiterian plunge.

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Transcending Obscurity Records on Bandcamp

 

Experiencia Tibetana, Vol. I

Experiencia Tibetana Vol I

It’s an archival release, recorded in 2014 and 2015 by the Buenos Aires-based band, but all that really does for the three-song/hour-long Vol. I is make me wonder what the hell Experiencia Tibetana have been up to since and why Vols. II and III are nowhere to be found. The heavy psych trio aren’t necessarily inventing anything on this debut full-length, but the way “Beirut” (18:36) is peppered with memorable guitar figures amid its echo-drifting vocals, and the meditation tucked into the last few minutes of the 26:56 centerpiece “Espalda de Elefante” and the shift in persona to subdued progressive psych on “Desatormentandonos” (14:16) with the bass seeming to take the improvisational lead as guitar lines hold the central progression together, all of it is a compelling argument for one to pester for a follow-up. It may be an unmanageable runtime, but for the come-with-us sense of voyage it carries, Vol. I adapts the listener’s mindset to its exploratory purposes, and proves to be well worth the trip.

Experiencia Tibetana on Thee Facebooks

Experiencia Tibetana on Bandcamp

 

Yanomamo, No Sympathy for a Rat

yanomamo no sympathy for a rat

Filth-encrusted and lumbering, Yanomamo‘s sludge takes Church of Misery-style groove and pummels it outright on the opening title-track of their four-song No Sympathy for a Rat EP. Like distilled disillusion, the scream-laced answer to the Sydney four-piece’s 2017 debut, Neither Man Nor Beast, arrives throwing elbows at your temples and through “The Offering,” the wait-is-this-grindcore-well-kinda-in-this-part “Miasma” and the suitably destructive “Iron Crown,” the only letup they allow is topped with feedback. Get in, kill, get out. They have more bounce than Bongzilla but still dig into some of Thou‘s more extreme vibe, but whatever you might want to compare them to, it doesn’t matter: Yanomamo‘s unleashed assault leaves bruises all its own, and the harsher it gets, the nastier it gets, the better. Can’t take it? Can’t hang? Fine. Stand there and be run over — I don’t think it makes a difference to the band one way or the other.

Yanomamo on Thee Facebooks

Iommium Records on Bandcamp

 

Mos Eisley Spaceport, The Best of Their Early Year

mos eisley spaceport the best of their early year

They mean the title literally — “early year.” Bremen, Germany’s Mos Eisley Spaceport — who so smoothly shift between space rock and classic boogie on “Further When I’m Far” and brash tempo changes en route to a final jam-out on “Mojo Filter,” finally unveiling the Star Wars sample at the head of organ-inclusive centerpiece “Space Shift” only to bring early Fu Manchu-style raw fuzz on “Drop Out” and finish with the twanging acoustic and pedal steel of “My Bicycle Won’t Fly” — have been a band for less than a full 12 months. Thus, The Best of Their Early Year signals some of its own progressive mindset and more playful aspects, but it is nonetheless a formidable accomplishment for a new band finding their way. They lay out numerous paths, if you couldn’t tell by the run-on sentence above, and I won’t hazard a guess as to where they’ll end up sound-wise, but they have a fervent sense of creative will that comes through in this material and one only hopes they hold onto whatever impulse it is that causes them to break out the gong on “Space Shift,” because it’s that sense of anything-as-long-as-it-works that’s going to continue to distinguish them.

Mos Eisley Spaceport on Thee Facebooks

Mos Eisley Spaceport on Bandcamp

 

Of Wolves, Balance

of wolves balance

One doesn’t often hear “the Wolfowitz Doctrine” brought out in lyrics these days, but Chicago heavy noise metallers Of Wolves aren’t shy about… well, anything. With volume inherent in the sound no matter how loud you’re actually hearing it, conveyed through weighted tones, shouts of progressions unified in intensity but varied in aggression and actual approach, the three-piece take an unashamed stance on a range of issues from the last two decades of war to trying to put themselves into the head of a mass shooter. The lyrics across their sophomore outing, Balance, are worth digging into for someone willing to take them on, but even without, the aggro mosh-stomp of “Maker” makes its point ahead of the 17-second “Flavor of the Weak” before Of Wolves dive into more progressively-structured fare on the title-track and “Clear Cutting/Bloodshed/Heart to Hand.” After “Killing Spree” and the aural-WTF that is “Inside (Steve’s Head),” they finish with a sludgecore take on the Misfits‘ “Die, Die My Darling,” which as it turns out was exactly what was missing up to that point.

Of Wolves on Thee Facebooks

Trepanation Recordings on Bandcamp

 

Pimmit Hills, Heathens & Prophets

Pimmit Hills Heathens Prophets

Comprised of four-fifths of what was Virginian outfit King Giant, it’s hard to know whether to consider Pimmit Hills a new band or a name-change, or what, but the first offering from vocalist David Hammerly, guitarist Todd “TI” Ingram, bassist Floyd Lee Walters III and drummer Brooks, titled Heathens & Prophets and self-released, hits with a bit of a bluesier feel than did the prior outfit, leaving plenty of room for jamming in each track and even going so far as to bring producer J. Robbins in on keys throughout the four-song/29-minute release. I suppose you could call it an EP or an LP — or a demo? — if so inclined, but any way you cut it, Heathens & Prophets plainly benefits from the band’s experience playing together, and they find a more rocking, less moody vibe in “Baby Blue Eyes” and the harmonica-laced “Beautiful Sadness” that has a feel as classic in substance as it is modern in sound and that is both Southern but refusing to bow entirely to cliché.

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Aphonic Threnody Premiere “Interrogation” Lyric Video; The Great Hatred out Oct. 16

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 15th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

aphonic threnody

Aphonic Threnody will release their third full-length, The Great Hatred, on Oct. 16 through Transcending Obscurity Records. It is a substantial offering of willful wretchedness, running six tracks and 56 minutes of death-doom malevolence, shifting between passages of beauty-in-darkness brooding and all-out pummeling assault. Recognizable ground for the style, to be sure, but the raw edge with which the UK/Chilean collaboration between multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Juan Esteban Escobar Campillay and guitarist Riccardo Veronese execute the material brings the songs to life in a way that death-doom is often too concerned with poise to encapsulate.

That’s not to say the album is haphazard. Far from it; from opener “Locura” through “Interrogation” and into “The Great Hatred” itself, the album flows on its downward path like blood down a drain, but the human core beneath those growls remains present in a particular way that offsets the angular noise or chug or even just the dirge-plod of the guitars, and in those moments where The Great Hatred pushes into a faster progression, as in the second half of the title-track, setting up a stretch of Katatonia-esque melody, they don’t lose sight of their expressive purpose. With “Locura” setting the stage for an airing of miseries, “Interrogation” follows and centers itself around the question “Does it even matter at all?” — the universe sucks so I’m going to say probably no — and is one of three aphonic threnody the great hatredtracks on the album to top 10 minutes. Make no mistake, however, it’s all a slog and that’s precisely how it’s intended.

For being aphonic — i.e., unable to make noise or be heard — the agonizing elements across The Great Hatred come through palpably, and that’s all the more true as the album plays out. The second half of the release, which is comprised of “Drowning,” “The Rise of the Phoenix” and “The Fall,” would seem to derive a narrative arc from its motive succession, and it’s telling that Aphonic Threnody end on “The Fall,” since that’s pretty emblematic of the level of hope on display across the record generally. “Drowning” plays up My Dying Bride/Paradise Lost-style ambience and “The Rise of the Phoenix” pushes even further (deeper?) into atmospheric murk while solidifying late around an emergent chug and dispersing gradually on a slow outward march.

As for “The Fall,” it’s made lush through both keys and a winding line of lead guitar, but if there’s a sense of hope to the thing, it’s well buried by the consuming weight of Aphonic Threnody‘s unmitigated downerism. Again, this is the point. It’s not like they set out to write pop tunes and wound up asking “What is kindness?/What is happiness?” like they’re encountering the ideas for the first time. The extremity throughout The Great Hatred isn’t just about the parts that are “more death metal.” It’s also the emotional crux on which the record is built, the sense of alienation even from oneself that comes through the material so expertly crafted, and the control with which Campillay and Veronese bring the songs to bear.

I still say death-doom is the perfect sound for 2020. If you disagree, I humbly submit the premiere of a lyric video for “Interrogation” below. Preorders for The Great Hatred are up now.

Enjoy:

Aphonic Threnody, “Interrogation” lyric video premiere

Members of Towards Atlantis Lights, Dea Marica, Arrant Saudade and more collaborate to conjure up the finest kind of death/doom metal that encompasses the best qualities this style has to offer – stirring melodies, heaving riffs, immersive atmosphere, and some of the lowest, most anguished vocals possible alternating with lucid, spoken passages. None of it is overbearing or lingers on for too long as the songs waft through the doom vacuum, making their presence felt and imperceptibly changing something inside the unsuspecting listener. Much happens during the course of the hour and Aphonic Threnody don’t follow a strict formula, leaving things open-ended and unpredictable as they keep changing things around without disrupting the emotional temperament. The Great Hatred makes for an engaging listen and will make you come back to unravel its richly layered and elegantly intertwined compositions. It’s akin to living life all over again. And again.

Line up –
Riccardo Veronese (Towards Atlantis Lights, Dea Marica) – Guitars
Juan Escobar C. (Arrant Saudade) – Vocals, Bass, Guitar & Keys

Artwork by Misanthropic Art (Xpus, Death Courier)

Track listing –
1. Locura
2. Interrogation
3. The Great Hatred
4. Drowning
5. The Rise of the Phoenix
6. The Fall

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Aphonic Threnody on Bandcamp

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Jupiterian Post “Starless”; Protosapien Preorders Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 11th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

jupiterian (Photo by Patricia Montrase)

Alright, so I don’t know much more here than you. At some point presumably later this year, Brazil’s Jupiterian will release a follow-up to their 2017 album, Terraforming (review here). That record, if you’ll recall, fucking crushed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the forthcoming Protosapien did likewise, melding extreme sludge and death-doom with murky atmospheres and a ritualized sensibility emphasized in the robes that accompany all that crackling-amp tonality. Transcending Obscurity will have the album out, but when the band first posted the tracklisting it was last Spring and they were talking about it for a 2019 release, so what the hell that might mean or what might’ve been behind the delay — if it was being pushed back now, it would be glaringly obvious — I wouldn’t want to guess.

Most important of all is the track slays. I know I already said once today that my head was locked in escapist peaceful psychedelia, but so help me robot jeebus, there’s always a spot reserved in my bitter, depressive heart for precisely this kind of oppressive, monolithic doom. So I guess it’s either space out or be buried alive these days. One extreme to the other. That in itself feels pretty appropriate.

You can hear “Starless” at the bottom of the post. No clue when Transcending Obscurity are starting Protosapien preorders, but I bet if you asked nice they’d tell you.

Here to decay:

jupiterian protosapien

Jupiterian – Protosapien

“Starless” taken from the upcoming album ‘Protosapien.’

Pre-orders for the massive new JUPITERIAN full length Protosapien are up next. Brace yourselves.

Artwork by Mariusz Lewandowski (EREMIT, ROGGA JOHANSSON)

Tracklist:
1. Homecoming
2. Mere Humans
3. Capricorn
4. Starless
5. Voidborn
6. Earthling Bloodline

New album coming soon via Transcending Obscurity Records

Cover artwork by Mariusz Lewandowski (Bell Witch, Eremit)

Recorded by Alan Lima (Mythological Cold Towers) and Otso Ukkonen

Mix and master: Otso Ukkonen (Krypts)

Jupiterian are:
V – G/V
R – B
P – D
A – G

https://www.facebook.com/jupiteriansect/
https://jupiterian.bandcamp.com/
https://tometal.com/
https://www.facebook.com/transcendingobscurityrecords
http://transcendingobscurity.bandcamp.com/

Jupiterian, “Starless”

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Esogenesi Premiere “Decadimento Astrale” from Self-Titled Debut out Oct. 4

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ESOGENESI

Milano death-doomers Esogenesi will release their self-titled debut album on Oct. 4 through Transcending Obscurity Records. The four-piece are a relatively new band, having formed in 2016, but as the five-track/39-minute full-length plays out, it becomes increasingly clear they’re doing more with the collection than just getting their feet wet in the style. They’re doing that too, to be sure, but if we’re sticking with the liquid idiom, they’re much more “up to neck” than “wet feet” when it comes to the particular grueling atmosphere that typifies the death-doom aesthetic — that ultra-dark churn marked out by a severe emotional conveyance, a mournfulness that gives the death metal aspects of the sound a that-much-truer resonance. Esogenesi‘s background as players varies, between black metal, hardcore, classical and, presumably, some doom as well, but even as album-closer “Incarnazione Della Conoscenza” hits its crescendo with blastbeating insistence, the commitment to the whole-album ambience remains firm. In other words, though they haven’t done it before, they know what they’re doing.

There’s comfort in that for the present and promise for the future, of course. Esogenesi show quickly what the crux of their first offering will be in the brooding guitar and bass intro of opener “Abominio,” one of three cuts to top nine minutes on the vinyl-ready outing. ESOGENESI ESOGENESISoon double-kick enters, but the tone of patience is already set, and that will prove crucial to both band and listener as “Abominio” unfolds into its morose riff and speedier chug en route to the subsequent “Decadimento Astrale,” which essentially flips the structure to fast-slow instead of slow-fast in terms of its buildup, establishing a fluidity that carries into the standalone guitar of “…Oltregenesi…” — which in another context I’d directly liken to Dylan Carlson — which is joined in its second half by understated drums before it kind of disintegrates into the start of “Esilio Nell’Extramondo,” the penultimate and longest inclusion on Esogenesi at 9:51 and perhaps also the darkest of processions the band here unfurls. A quiet beginning is mirrored in the ambient midsection, but on either side of that is a dirge procession that finds the band — guitarist Davide Roccato bassist Carlo Campanelli, vocalist Jacopo Marinelli and drummer Michele Adami — pushing toward a new level of extremity in aural gruel that, yes, will pick up some speed by the end, but still remains pummeling in its finish in a manner consistent with how they started out. It’s a gorgeous execution of style.

And taken in kind with “Incarnazione Della Conoscenza” as it would be on side B of a vinyl release, it further demonstrates where Esogenesi are coming from in their initial approach to death-doom, which is straightforward at least in the microgenre’s own terms. I wouldn’t be surprised to find them adding keyboard, or strings, or even just more guitar effects to flesh out arrangements as they move forward, but as a flag-planting endeavor, Esogenesi‘s self-titled lays claim to a chunk of space in death-doom and proceeds to make that space its own. The band’s trades between loud and quiet stretches, fast and slow stretches, the interlude vibe in “…Oltregenesi…” and the sharper-edged riffing that caps the pre-apex burst of “Incarnazione Della Conoscenza” — they end on their most extreme push, as noted — all feed together to make an overarching impression of bleakness that is consuming, but still not overwhelming or redundant simply because at under 40 minutes, it doesn’t stick around long enough to be. A certain amount of repetition is fair game, one might argue essential, to what they’re doing, but one of the things Esogenesi get right on their first LP is realizing that it doesn’t need to be 65 minutes long to get its point across, and whether that’s a conscious decision on their part or an instinct and how it worked out with the timing of recording or whatever else, it’s another impulse that will only serve the band well as they seek to follow-up this impressive debut.

Happy today to host the premiere of “Decadimento Astrale” below, which you’ll find followed by more info from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Esogenesi, “Decadimento Astrale” official track premiere

Death/doom metal band Esogenesi have concocted a sublime blend that harnesses the power of death metal with the poignancy of doom metal, backed with an able, organic yet powerful sound that the band can call it their own. Even though this is only their debut, the quartet have outdone themselves in creating music with unfathomable depth and emotional poise. The five songs plod along with subtle but effective changes in mood, tempo and groove, and it often becomes imperative to revisit them to catch the brilliant nuances ensconced in the rumbling death metal-spiked parts. This is as good a debut as any to come out in the genre and it only solidifies the band’s place in the increasing death/doom roster of Transcending Obscurity.

Tracklisting –
1. Abominio
2. Decadimento Astrale
3. …Oltregenesi…
4. Esilio Nell’Extramondo
5. Incarnazione Della Conoscenza

Lineup –
Jacopo Marinelli – Vocals
Davide Roccato – Guitars
Carlo Campanelli – Bass
Michele Adami – Drums

Cover art by Korvo
Internal layout and graphics by Luca Brusa

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Warcrab Premiere “Unfurling Wings of Damnation” from Debut LP Damned in Endless Night

Posted in audiObelisk on August 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

warcrab

Hail death! Hail Warcrab. Yes, it’s a silly name, but even a cursory investigation on who they are will turn up the fact that the brutalist sludge six-pack come from the UK, where we all know that a silly name is by no means a barrier against awesomeness. Transcending Obscurity Records will issue the Plymouth-based troupe’s debut album, Damned in Endless Night, on Aug. 30, and thereby unfurl 10 tracks and 52 minutes of deathly churn and morose atmosphere, the guitars of Geoff HolmesPaul “Budgie” Garbett and Leigh Jones (not the same Leigh Jones who was in Groan; different guy) leading the way through the Heartwork-esque “Halo of Flies” and “In the Arms of Armageddon” after the intro “Perpetua” as an initial salvo that rounds out with “Blood for the Blood God,” a slower round of punishment that speaks to some of the record’s more doomed aspects but remains dynamic and malleable in its tempo, finishing with energetic chug. Vocalist Martyn Grant has an enviable rasp that is utterly vicious, and with bassist Dave “Guppy” Simmonds and drummer Rich Parker setting the rhythms he follows, Warcrab sound all the more lethal in their execution across the album’s universally nasty span. They’re not the first band in the world to blend death metal and sludge, but their take on the style feels particularly dug in and righteously heinous.

That’s perhaps most true of all on Damned in Endless Night‘s longer songs, the eight-minute “Abyssal Mausoleum” and the 7:34 “Unfurling Wings of Damnation.” Both make their way from grueling riffs to more straight-up death metal fare, but the path they take to do so emphasizes the harsh vision driving their work in the first place, “Abyssal Mausoleum” seeming to pull itself apart before the kick drum signals the shift that will define the song’s second half. The two pieces are divided by the rampaging “Magnetic Fields of Collapse” and the surprisingly swinging “Kraken Arise,” which are the two shortest inclusions on the record — intro “Perpetua” and outro “Damnati” notwithstanding — and are all the more immersive for that ahead of the chanting “Swords,” which rounds out ahead of that finishing solo that is “Damnati.” The underlying impression there is that Warcrab have arranged Damned in Endless Night as a two-sided LP with side A providing the initial burst and side B expanding the context from there — though one could easily argue that begins on side A as well if “Abyssal Mausoleum” closes that out, which I suspect it does.”

Either way, the prevailing sentiment is slow-motion ferocity and while Warcrab aren’t nearly so violent-feeling as some in the sludgy vein, their songs carry a melancholic feel emphasized by Holmes‘ lead guitar that speaks to the UK’s long legacy of emotive doom-making. That too only enriches the overall listening experience, and though Damned in Endless Night makes for a long LP with its 52-minute run, the slog is part of the aesthetic and feels entirely purposeful in that. One might say it’s not for the faint of heart just for its basic foundation in the extreme end of metal and sludge, but the truth is no matter how pummel-prone they might be, Warcrab never lose their expressive sensibility, and the atmosphere of Damned in Endless Night becomes consuming and nightmarish in kind. “Kraken Arise,” indeed.

Below, you can stream the premiere of “Unfurling Wings of Damnation” from Damned in Endless Night. Once again, the album is out Aug. 30. PR wire info follows.

Enjoy:

Monolithic UK death/sludge metal band WARCRAB return with a brand new release of unbelievable heaviness and groove. Carrying on where they last left with their unique blend of down-tuned sludge and ponderous death metal, ‘Damned in Endless Night’ is where they flesh it out and leave no room for doubt on the efficacy of this powerful and cohesive fusion of underground styles. Equipped with three guitarists emphasizing on mostly heaviness, the music is not only soul-crushing but also brilliantly composed and memorable. Each song adds its own value to the album and is irreplaceable and multiple listens, however devastating, will only attest to that fact. This long-awaited full length from the band is arguably the band’s best release to date. The juggernaut is in motion and unstoppable.

Releases August 30, 2019.

Line up –
Martyn Grant – Vocals
Rich Parker – Drums
Paul “Budgie” Garbett – Guitar
Leigh Jones – Guitar
Geoff Holmes – Lead Guitar
Dave “Guppy” Simmonds – Bass

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Chalice of Suffering Premiere “Miss Me, but Let Me Go” from Lost Eternally out April 19

Posted in audiObelisk on March 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Chalice of Suffering

Chalice of Suffering release their second album, Lost Eternally, April 19 on Transcending Obscurity Records. Even before the bagpipes kick in on opening track “In the Mist of Once Was,” the morose spirit of the recording makes itself plain, and the ensuing seven-song/62-minute outing is a duly downerist plunge of Midwestern-style death-doom, rending its melancholy soul in thick tones, dramatic turns and a blend of spoken and growled vocals from frontman John McGovern. Keyboards play a large role, with guitarists Will Maravelas and Nikoley Velev providing, and the steady punctuation of Aaron Lanik‘s kick drum and the low-end murk from bassist Neal Pruett assure that the songs are a due slog to suit their atmosphere of misery. The core Minneapolis-based five-piece welcome a range of guests throughout on cuts like Danny Woe (Woebegone Obscured) on “Emancipation of Pain” and Sahil “The Demonstealer” Makhija of Mumbai’s Demonic Resurrection on the penultimate “Miss Me, But Let Me Go,” and all seem to contribute to the central sense of inward-looking wretchedness that marches outward in dirge form from the beginning of the record and doesn’t let up until the final payoff gallop in closer “Whispers of Madness.”

The gradual unfolding of “Forever Winter” shows some My Dying Bride-style theatricality, but by and large what Chalice of Suffering offer is less concerned with the loss of grace than the root of loss itself. There is something grittier inchalice of suffering lost eternally the guitar tones, rawer in McGovern‘s forward-in-the-mix vocals that even in his spoken parts comes through with a human presence, and especially on the songs where no one else joins in, “Forever Winter,” “In the Mist of Once Was” — Kevin Murphy‘s aforementioned bagpipes notwithstanding — and “Whispers of Madness,” that comes through in forward fashion with a production that seems to take part of its death metal influence from the production as well, not necessarily that it’s rudimentary, but it’s far from the grandiose indulgences one sometimes encounters in the style. Chalice of Suffering thrive in this dirt. The sweeping motion that leads into the centerpiece title-track, a highlight, and subsequent “The Hurt” is somewhat jarring as compared to the crashes of “Miss Me, But Let Me Go” and “Whispers of Madness” that follow, but the hopelessness that seems to endure across the hour-plus of the offering is much more the point of focus, an emotionalism brought to bear not only in McGovern‘s vocals, but the keys, guitar and lurching progressions as well. Slow death, in the tradition thereof.

“Miss Me, But Let Me Go” uses an especially prevalent keyboard line to convey its emotional state, and the raspy, guttural contribution from Demonstealer is a standout even from those of Giovanni Vigliotti on “Lost Eternally” or Justin Buller on “The Hurt.” Accordingly, there’s little letup in atmospheric heft even when the guitars seem to recede in favor of ambient melody, and that stands in well to represent the album as a whole, which as one would expect for a work in its style uses an expressive range while remaining united in its grim, burdened purpose.

I have the pleasure today of hosting the premiere of “Miss Me, But Let Me Go” ahead of the release of Lost Eternally next month. Please find it on the player below, followed by more info from the PR wire on who does what and where.

Enjoy:

Chalice of Suffering, “Miss Me, But Let Me Go” official track premiere

US band CHALICE OF SUFFERING put out a remarkable debut that was very well received the world over and they’ve followed it up with what’s possibly one of the best albums in the doom/death metal style. Where this kind of style goes, it’s more about the emotions than the heaviness, and that’s where this band excels. ‘Lost Eternally’ perfectly encapsulates the grief, the stinging loneliness and its bleak outlook. It’s a well-rounded album that exudes the right feelings and it’s something that’s perfect for this time of the year, while being strangely palpable. The album plods on powerfully despite the weight, showing moments of melodic respite and even contributions from several guest musicians and vocalists to further enhance the proceedings. This is as genuine as it gets right from the underground. Delve into this heart-wrenching slab of doleful, atmospheric death/doom metal music and experience life at its cruelest.

Album line up –
John McGovern – Vocals
Will Maravelas – Guitars/Keyboards
Aaron Lanik – Drums
Nikoley Velev – Guitars/Keys/Drums (on The Hurt, Lost Eternally, Emancipation of Pain)
Neal Pruett – Bass
Kevin Murphy – Bagpipes (on In the Mist of Once Was)

Guest vocals –
Danny Woe of WOEBEGONE OBSCURED (on Emancipation of Pain)
Demonstealer of DEMONIC RESURRECTION (on Miss Me, But Let Me Go with John)
Giovanni Antonio Vigliotti of SOMNENT (on Lost Eternally with John)
Justin Buller of WOLVENGUARD/IN OBLIVION (on The Hurt)

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Chalice of Suffering website

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Transcending Obscurity website

Transcending Obscurity Records on Bandcamp

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