Sons of Alpha Centauri Post “Solar Storm” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Sons of Alpha Centauri

So there’s this submarine. And it’s in a lake. And it’s huge. And the video starts out and there’s all this movement and driving and going through different scenes and where are we going I don’t know but it works really well with the riff so just roll with it and so on. Eventually, we get up to the lake. Maybe a pond? A relatively small-ish body of water. We get there and Sons of Alpha Centauri arrive and there’s no way they all came in the same car because there isn’t enough room for all their gear but whatever that’s not the point. All the while “Solar Storm” is playing and it’s got this crazy kind of tension to it and the band walk out to a spot by the water on what seems to be some pretty nice farmland.

It’s all in black and white until they start playing. And then like purple and orange lasers come out of their guitars and whatnot and start to hit the submarine like they’re rerouting power from the auxiliary systems to feed through the dilithium core — am I right? — and then the submarine shoots into space at what looks an awful lot like warp six. If I had to guess. And then the submarine careens through outer space like it’s the dude in 2001: A Space Odyssey for a while, it breaks through water and then the clip cuts back to the band, who pack up their gear — I still think it’s studio magic to think they fit two guitars, a bass, a full drum kit and themselves in that car, but maybe they’re Tetris pros — and split. The end.

Video of the year? Maybe.

“Solar Storm” comes from Sons of Alpha Centauri‘s new album, Continuum (review here), on H42 Records and Cobraside Distribution and it’s produced by Aaron Harris, who was in Isis when they were a band. Sons of Alpha Centauri recently shared stages with Yawning Man in the UK and have other stuff going on, but quite frankly I’ve delayed enough. You should just dig in here and enjoy:

Sons of Alpha Centauri, “Solar Storm” official video

The journey into instrumental progressive rockers SONS OF ALPHA CENTAURI’s new album “Continuum” progresses, as the video for “Solar Storm” lands today on all channels.
“Solar Storm is the cumulative blend of fast, slow, heavy, progressive styles of SOAC all encapsulated within a five minute adrenaline shot. Working with Simon Risbridger on this video was awesome as he completely understands our visual aesthetic and secluded introspective approach. We wanted the video to represent the different segments and styles within the track as part of the journey – it has been highly stylised with multiple references and subliminal messages. Embark the journey and embrace the storm!’ states SOAC bassist Nick Hannon.

The video starts a black and white fine art epic shot in and around the spiritual home of SOAC, Swale and the Isle of Sheppey and the story progresses into a cinematic visual feast of intergalactic travel through space and time. The introspective journey of ‘Solar Storm’ has been directed by long term collaborator Simon Risbridger who worked with Sons of Alpha Centauri on visuals including live performances with A Storm of Light.

SOAC IS
Marlon King – Guitars
Nick Hannon – Bass
Stevie B. – Drums
Blake – Textures

Sons of Alpha Centauri on Thee Facebooks

Sons of Alpha Centauri on Twitter

Sons of Alpha Centauri on Bandcamp

Sons of Alpha Centauri website

H42 Records website

Cobraside Distribution website

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OHHMS Finish New Album; Announce Fall UK Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

ohhms (Photo by Jake Owens)

Kent-based progressive heavy rockers OHHMS have a new album in the can following-up 2017’s sprawling six-tracker The Fool, and they’ll hit the road alongside Holy Roar Records labelmates Boss Keloid in October to celebrate the upcoming release. As it’s newly recorded and I’m not even sure it’s been mixed or mastered yet, I’d assume the new OHHMS won’t get here until 2019 at some point, but the post-whatnot five-piece will have new material to play on stage, so they’ll be giving an early preview on the five-date stint followed by a weekender in November.

If you didn’t hear The Fool, as somehow I didn’t, it’s streaming at the bottom of this post. It represents a pretty significant change in approach from the release before it, which was 2015’s Cold (review here).

Info follows from the PR wire:

ohhms tour

OHHMS join forces with Boss Keloid for their UK fall tour

Kent-based progressive heavy quintet OHHMS are set to hit the UK roads this fall with a 7-show run alongside fellow heavy heroes Boss Keloid.

The band comments: “We are incredibly excited for the upcoming October/November tour of the UK. As we have finished recording our album and have been hitting the rehearsal room hard we are ready to play our fresh material in front of you. The itch is about to be scratched and our new guitarist Stuart has brought a fresh dynamic to all we do – We know our fans are going to love it. On top of this we have invited Boss Keloid to join us on every date and this will be the first time they have toured their latest album, ‘Melted on the Inch’ since it’s release earlier this year. Join us.”
OHHMS UK fall tour with Boss Keloid

23.10.18 – BRISTOL – Exchange
24.10.18 – NOTTINGHAM – The Maze
25.10.18 – BIRMINGHAM – The Victoria
26.10.18 – LEICESTER – Vault
27.10.18 – GLASGOW – Classic Grand Lounge
09.11.18 – LONDON – Macbeth
10.11.18 – MANCHESTER – Satan’s Hollow

Artwork by Steven Myles

True to themselves, OHHMS continue their boundary-free ascension to even more transcending sonic peaks, while making a point at raising awareness about animal rights and social matters with a unique, cathartic approach.

https://www.facebook.com/OHHMStheband/
https://twitter.com/ohhmstheband
https://ohhms.bandcamp.com/
http://www.holyroarrecords.com/

OHHMS, The Fool (2017)

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DVNE to Release New Album in 2019; Playing Psycho Las Vegas

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I’m not saying you’ll be telling your grandkids about it however many years from now — though one never knows — but DVNE‘s onstage debut in the US seems to me the kind of thing that you want to see if you can help it. They’ve got two — count ’em: one, two — dates booked Stateside. One is Psycho Las Vegas, which comes first, and second is a Psycho-affiliated San Diego gig at Brick by Brick with Elder and Red Fang. Nothing like being made to feel welcome in a new place.

Oh, and speaking of Psycho-affiliated, DVNE are also the first client for the fest-promoter’s new management wing. They’ll have a new album out in 2019 to follow-up last year’s much-lauded Asheran, which was released by Wasted State Records.

The PR wire brings tales of things to come:

dvne

DVNE: Progressive Metal/Sludge Collective To Make First-Ever US Appearance At Psycho Las Vegas; New Album In The Works

In just a few short weeks, Edinburgh-based progressive metal/sludge behemoths DVNE will make their way stateside to play Psycho Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada, followed by a special show at Brick By Brick in San Diego, California with Elder and Red Fang. The two shows will mark DVNE’s first-ever US live performances!

Comments guitarist/vocalist Victor Vicart, “We’re gearing up for the US and couldn’t be more excited to play our first shows over there. Psycho is going to be mental; loads of bands we love and it looks like we’re going to have a three-day non-stop party too. We also have a show in San Diego with Elder and Red Fang the following Monday so our post festival blues are sorted!

“Following those shows,” he continues, “we’ll be back home in Edinburgh and the plan is to lock ourselves in the practice room and finish our next album. We’re really excited to enter the studio again and explore with new sounds and instruments; it’s going to be a blast!”

DVNE recently completed a UK tour supporting New Orleans icons Eyehategod. Lauded The Moshville Times of their performance in Glasgow, “I’ve seen [DVNE] a handful of times now, they’ve always impressed me live, and tonight they were at their best, flying through an absolutely blistering set focused on the Mastodonian Asheran. On yet another uncharacteristically hot Glasgow evening, Audio was stiflingly clammy so as the mellow segue music from Asheran filled the short gaps between songs the guys caught their breath and wiped sweat from their gear. On occasion, vocalist/guitarist Victor Vicart used these pauses to switch between his nine-string and six-string guitars. During the likes of ‘Thirst’ Victor’s vocals and guitar parts acted as lighter, emotive counters to Dudley Tait’s growled hollers and chunkier riffs. All the while Dan Barter’s swift fills and Allan Paterson’s rolling basslines kept the songs driving forward. The local(ish) boys done great!”

DVNE:
8/17/2018 Psycho Las Vegas @ The Hard Rock Hotel And Casino – Las Vegas, NV
8/20/2018 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA w/ Elder, Red Fang

DVNE (pronounced dune) released the critically-lauded debut full-length, Asheran, last year via Wasted State Records. A sixty-minute epic narrative following the tale of the rise and fall of civilizations, the return of an empire thought millennia lost, and the world-spanning events that consequently unfold, Asheran is steeped in themes of science fiction, environmental issues, and both dystopic and utopic visions for the future of mankind. Asheran was captured at Chambers Studio in Edinburgh, and mixed and mastered by Tom Dring of Vagrant Studios (Dragged Into Sunlight, Venom Prison).

A special orange clear 2xLP edition of Asheran is currently available at THIS LOCATION where the record can be streamed in its stunning entirety.

DVNE features Victor Vicart (guitar, vocals, keys), Daniel Barter (guitar, vocals), Dudley Tait (drums), and Allan Paterson (bass). Forged in 2013, DVNE’s Scottish roots lie with Tait and Paterson, with Vicart hailing from France and Barter from England. DVNE’s debut EP Progenitor was released in December 2013 and was followed the next year by a second EP entitled Aurora Majesty. Both offerings were released via Wasted State Records. Thanks to the excellent critical reception, DVNE quickly began to tour the UK and around Europe sharing stages with the likes of such scene household names as Crowbar, Eyehategod, Inter Arma, Dragged Into Sunlight, and Black Tusk. DVNE unleashed their most ambitious album to date in August 2017. Titled Asheran, the offering was released on 2xLP vinyl, CD, and digitally again via Wasted State Records. Since Asheran’s release, DVNE took on a month-long European headlining tour and recently partnered with Psycho Entertainment, curators of the esteemed Psycho Las Vegas festivals, for management. The union marks Psycho Entertainment’s first ever management venture. DVNE will release their follow-up to Asheran next year with details to be announced in the coming weeks.

https://www.facebook.com/DvneUK
https://www.instagram.com/dvne_uk/
https://twitter.com/SongsOfArrakis
https://songs-of-arrakis.bandcamp.com/album/asheran
http://www.wastedstate.com/

DVNE, Asheran (2017)

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Friday Full-Length: Electric Wizard, We Live

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

Electric Wizard, We Live (2004)

A turning point, but a remarkably heavy one at that. Electric Wizard‘s fifth full-length, We Live, came out via Rise Above Records in 2004 and was the first album they produced without the original lineup. In the two years since ’02’s Let Us Prey, guitarist/vocalist Jus Oborn oversaw the departure of bassist Tim Bagshaw and drummer Mark Greening, who would go on almost immediately to found Ramesses and make their debut offering in a split with Negative Reaction in 2003. In their place, Oborn brought in bassist Rob Al-Issa and drummer Justin Greaves, and for the first time, a second guitarist in American expat Liz Buckingham, who’d released a couple splits with the New York-based 13 — including one with Grief — during a run from 1990-1996 before joining sludgesters Sourvein for their first two albums and split with Rabies Caste. Personal relationships were involved as well, but bringing Buckingham into Electric Wizard was no less dramatic a shift than seeing the original rhythm section leave, and the sound of We Live bears that out across its seven-song/60-minute run.

Before Let Us Prey, Electric Wizard had issued an unholy trinity in their first three records: their 1995 self-titled debut (discussed here), 1997’s Come My Fanatics… and 2000’s Dopethrone (loosely discussed here). These are the kinds of LPs from which legacies are made, and Electric Wizard‘s is, at least in part, made from them. Let Us Prey, in hindsight, brought a shift in vibe that made it less of a landmark that’s now often overlooked when considering the band’s work, but is nonetheless the last thing they did as the original trio. In bringing aboard Buckingham, Al-Issa and Greaves — the latter of whom also played in UK sludge forerunners Iron MonkeyOborn demonstrated in no uncertain terms his ownership and defining presence in the band. More than ever, Electric Wizard was his and clearly ready to move forward to exploring new ideas and new interpretations of their misanthropic Sabbath and horror worship.

That’s largely what We Live is. But it also pushes Electric Wizard to places they hadn’t yet gone. The first album had plenty of shuffle, but the thrust of “Another Perfect Day?” and “The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue” are on their own level. And the sense of ritual is palpable in 10-minute opener “Eko Eko Azarak,” which is broken into two parts, ‘Invocation’ and indeed ‘Ritual,’ demonstrating not only the power to harness these different atmospheres on the part of Electric Wizard, but also the awareness of what they’re doing with sound. Even the title-track’s use of cult horror as a metaphor is relevant to what the band would go on to do on subsequent records, and it’s not necessarily the first time Oborn went that route with the lyrics — “Devil’s Bride,” anyone? — electric wizard we livebut it’s in bringing these ideas to such a level of focus that We Live shows how far Electric Wizard had come.

And that’s all well and good, right? Blah blah blah, band grows over time. Standard narrative. Band goes through big lineup change. Super-duper. That shit happens. Constantly. In fact, it’s now been like 15 years since the Bagshaw/Greening days of Electric Wizard came to a close and Oborn and Buckingham are still plowing through rhythm sections on the regular. All of this stuff would be the makings of a perfectly fine album. You know what separates We Live, even from the rest of the Electric Wizard catalog?

It’s fucked.

Totally fucked.

More than anything the band produced before or since, We Live strikes the deadliest balance between rawness and fullness. The addition of Buckingham‘s guitar alongside Oborn‘s plunged the band to entirely new depths of mire. Listen to the tonal filth of the 15-minute “Saturn’s Children” and you’ll find a mega-doom imprint of what Electric Wizard would go on to become. Except the presentation is meaner. With recording by Mathias Schneeberger (The Obsessed, Goatsnake, Fatso Jetson, etc.) and co-production by Oborn, songs like “Flower of Evil AKA Malfiore” and “The Sun Has Turned to Black” — which brilliantly follows “Another Perfect Day?” with a mess of initial feedback and signature lumbering groove — embody the misanthropy the band later espoused as such a crucial part of their aesthetic. The rhythms are grueling, the vibe is stoned to death and the doom rides out so thick that it barely seems to move, regardless of actual tempo. By the time they got around to We Live, Electric Wizard had already had a couple classics under their collective belt, but We Live was the beginning point of an expansion that would take them to new levels in sound and profile alike.

The lineup, naturally, didn’t last. While Oborn and Buckingham would continue to define the core of the band, a series of drummers came and went. Greaves went on to found Crippled Black Phoenix, where he remains to this day, while Al-Issa would serve the Wizard once more on 2007’s ultra-pivotal Witchcult Today (discussed here) before likewise departing for parts unknown. That album, as noted here on multiple occasions, was a reset for Electric Wizard that has in no small way affected everything they’ve done in the 11 years since across three full-lengths: 2010’s Black Masses (review here), 2014’s Time to Die (review here), and last year’s Wizard Bloody Wizard (review here), but it’s important to consider that the shifts Witchcult Today brought about didn’t come out of nowhere, and in We Live one can hear the band beginning to reach out for new ground like the proverbial hand of the undead reaching up from a lonely grave. They’d always been heavy. They’d already become spiteful. This was where they took those things to new levels of punishment and made ready to transcend to their most miserable territories yet.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

I’m not going to give notes for next week. I have a bunch of stuff planned, but screw it. I’m keeping secrets this time around. Tonight I’m going to see Sleep in Brooklyn. I’ll tell you that much.

The rest you’ll have to stay tuned for. It’s gonna be cool.

Thanks for reading. Have a great and safe weekend and don’t forget to check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Psychlona to Release Mojo Rising on Ripple Music & Cursed Tongue Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

psychlona

Cooperation! Spanning continents! Cursed Tongue Records and Ripple Music align to stand behind Mojo Rising, the debut album from Bradford, UK, four-piece Psychlona, and they leave little question as to why. The album — nine songs/50 minutes running from “Stone” to “Beakfoot” with a riffy, desert-stretched-out but still weighted course worthy of the band’s moniker — hits with a bit of Clutchy blues in “Big River” and a whole lot of early Fu Manchu-style roll in “Juju,” but it’s ultimately the psychedelic thread that ties it all together, whether it’s the brash pub-style riffage of “Down in the Valley” or jam-into-shove-into-jam-into-slowdown groove in “Burning Cave,” a spacious lead guitar tone that conjures impossible reaches no matter how much crunch seems to be surrounding. And make no mistake, here’s plenty of crunch to go around.

The album seems to have been taken down from Bandcamp, which will happen with this kind of thing when a previously-issued record gets picked up, but if you’ve got Spotify you can stream it for the time being at the bottom of this post. Otherwise, the release date for the well-supported offering is Nov. 30, so you can mark your calendars, make your preorders or whatever it is you need to do. Plenty of time.

Copious kebab-centered info follows here, courtesy as ever of the PR wire:

PSYCHLONA SIGNS TO CURSED TONGUE RECORDS AND RIPPLE MUSIC FOR WORLD WIDE RELEASE OF THEIR DEBUT ALBUM ‘MOJO RISING’ IN NOVEMBER 2018.

Cursed Tongue Records and Ripple Music have teamed up for a joint release of City of Bradford, UK stoner rockers Psychlona’s heavy grooving debut album ‘Mojo Rising’. The four brads or ‘dirty desert rock kebab eating mofos’, as they prefer to introduce themselves, impressed both labels on an immense level when their debut album hit the online web-spheres back in the spring of 2018. A hard-hitting, heavy-driving, fuzz-drenched foundation forms the basis on which flares and outbursts of guitar-swirls spirals to another dimension in time and space.

Mojo Rising is the premiere sonic excursion to a heady generation looking for a new mode of transportation to mindful salvation (oh, ok back it up). You got the point made here. So, if spacy, psyched out stoner rock is the thing that float your boat, look no further as Psychlona got you plenty covered. Mojo Rising ought to hit an audible solar plexus on any fan of Spaceslug, Kyuss, Dozer, Fu Manchu and Monster Magnet.

Psychlona is a fairly new band, but already stands out as a strong, unified entity with many years under the belt. However it was in summer 2015 when Phil (guitar/vocals) walked into a scruffy bar to watch an equally scruffy band knock out a few scruffy tunes. Scanning the immediate vicinity to see who else was out tonight, a shabby drunken figure barely able to stand but fully able to hold his beer glass leered out of the dark shadows. Enter Dave (guitars). Dave and Phil had shared various stages on the same bill over the preceding few years as members of The Drastics and Threshold Shift. It was the obvious thing to do – form a new band. The fact they were both guitarists and didn’t have a bass player or drummer around wasn’t a problem. Both were aware of a local four stringer called Martyn who had played previously in other bands with Phil. Rehearsals began soon with no agenda but more importantly no drummer. Various percussionists came and went. After some time passed finally a solid contendor (Scott) to the drum stool entered. Initial sessions went well but the guys knew they needed to ask Scott a very important question – how do you like your kebabs? With extra chilis was the response from the bearded one. A match made in heaven then and he joined the family. Rehearsals, gigs, more rehearsals, new material brings us to the present day – the impending release of Mojo Rising on both CD, digital and vinyl.

Despite the band’s young age, Psychlona has already played with and shared stage with 1968, Barbarian Hermit, Loomer, Morass of Molasses as well as their good mates Ironrat and Lizard Tongue. The band also organise and promote their own festival twice a year (Idlefest), which is growing bigger each time. On the signing with Danish based label Cursed Tongue Records and US-label Ripple Music, Psychlona comments: “We’re proud to be joining the Ripple and Cursed Tongue families. Two of the most proactive labels with a genuine passion for the bands and music both from within their own rosters but also from the whole scene in general with genuine love and support going out to everyone involved. They’ve also tolerated our shit jokes and English sense of humour so far… time will tell… second album guys?”

Regardless what the future holds the here and now is glowing hot. Psychlona came from space to grace our earthly souls and make our mojo rise. It’s soon time to groove along to one of this year’s best desert stoner rock albums. Get psyched!

Mojo Rising will be out on CD and digital via Ripple Music and vinyl via Cursed Tongue Records in November.

CTR-014 Psychlona – ‘Mojo Rising’, vinyl official release date: November 30th, 2018

Psychlona is:
Phil Hey – Guitar & Vocals
Dave Wainfor – Guitar
Martyn Birchall – Bass
Scott Frankling – Drums

All tracks written and performed by Psychlona
Engineered and mixed by Dave Wainfor
Mastered by James Grover
Artwork by Kyrre Bjurling
Inner photo by Jez Sheard
Layout & Design by Michael Andresakis

Track listing:

Side A
1. Stone
2. Ride
3. Down In The Valley
4. Big River

Side B
5. Your God
6. Juju
7. Black Dog
8. Beakfoot

psychlona.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/Psychlona/
http://instagram.com/psychlona
http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CursedTongueRecords
https://www.instagram.com/cursedtonguerecords
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

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The Heads Announce UK Live Shows in Nov. & Dec.

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Is it a full tour? Nope. Week of UK dates? Nope. One might in Manchester and one night in London? Yuppers. Still, it’s The Heads, so when they announce a weekender like the one below, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, two nights only, it’s news as far as I’m concerned. Anytime The Heads do just about anything, it’s good for the universe in general, so while I won’t get to see them, I’m still glad they’re getting out. They’re touring in support of the 2CD/3LP compilation RKT! on their own Rooster Rock imprint and are promising more reissues to come, which is fine by me. I wouldn’t mind a new album either, but sometimes people have real lives and that’s a thing that happens instead of recording sessions. For anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure, The Heads are easily among the best live psychedelic acts I’ve ever seen, and should you happen to be in their path for either of these shows, consider yourself lucky.

Dates follow from the PR wire:

THE HEADS

THE HEADS announce two new UK shows!!

Bristol’s Heads set up a brace of UK shows at the end of the year… following on from well received appearances at this years Roadburn, Bristol Psych Fest and others already this year, its time to do a couple of club shows, a first time at the 100 Club and a welcome return to Manchester.

This year also saw the release of the 3LP/2CD set RKT!, which compiled the band’s late 90’s / early 2000 releases for the then fledgling label Rocket Recordings, many of which now fetch ridiculous amounts on various record trading sites.
The Heads are a mainstay of outsider psychedelic rock, they have been together since the early 90s, and constantly buck trends by ploughing their own path.. Britpop tried to thwart them, Stoner rock tried to adopt them.. they just kept turning up their amps and digging deep into a library of obscure kraut rock and early 70’s heavy rock to inspire their riffs and playing.

The four members, Paul Allen, Wayne Maskell, H O Morgan, Simon Price continue playing as the Heads alongside their day jobs, and other band commitments (Anthroprophh, Loop, Kandodo, Karen, etc ). They have taken back control of all of their catalogue and have been working to remaster it all and reissue it on their own label Rooster. In their 25th year together with this line up, it seems the Heads will keep rolling……

The Deaf Institute, Manchester. Friday, 30 Nov 2018
Doors Open: 7:00 PM
Starts: 7:30 PM
£16.50
Buylink: https://www.seetickets.com/event/the-heads/the-deaf-institute/1250899

100 Club, London. Saturday, 01 Dec 2018
Doors Open: 7:00 PM
Starts: 7:30 PM
£16.50
Buylink: https://www.seetickets.com/event/the-heads/100-club/1251017

https://www.facebook.com/The-Heads-282801075465/
https://theheads1.bandcamp.com/

The Heads, “Longest Gone”

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Quarterly Review: Worshipper, Dopethrone, The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices, Omen Stones, Capra, Universo Rojo, Sergeant Thunderhoof, Fire Down Below, Stone Deaf, Cracked Machine

Posted in Reviews on July 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

Well, we made it to the end of another Quarterly Review. One more batch and then it’s off to planning the next one for late September/early October. I hope you have found something this week that you’ve really dug. I have. A few, to be honest. Not everything is going to stick with every listener, of course, and that includes me, but for as much as putting this one together has been, there’s been some really good, year-end-list-type stuff included. At least as far as my own list goes. I sincerely hope you agree.

So let’s do this last one, then go sleep for a couple hours. Alright? Here we go:

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Worshipper, Mirage Daze

worshipper mirage daze

I don’t know if Worshipper knew they’d be embarking on their first West Coast tour in Summer 2018 when they hit Mad Oak Studios in Oct. 2016 to record the four cover tracks for their Mirage Daze EP on Tee Pee Records, but it certainly worked out in the Boston four-piece’s favor. Following-up their 2016 debut, Shadow Hymns (review here), Worshipper present four cover tracks in Uriah Heep’s “Easy Livin’,” The Oath’s “Night Child,” Pink Floyd’s “Julia Dream” and The Who’s “Heaven and Hell,” and while I’m a little sad that “Heaven and Hell” isn’t the Black Sabbath song, which I think they’d nail if they tried it, and I’m glad to have a studio version of their take on Floyd’s “Julia Dream,” which from the first time I saw them live was always a pleasure to watch live, I think the highlight of Mirage Daze might be “Night Child.” I never bought that The Oath record, and Worshipper’s take on its lead single is about the best argument I’ve seen for doing so. It may or may not be a stopgap issued to coincide with the tour, but Mirage Daze is a welcome arrival anyway. It’s a fan piece? Well, I’m a fan, so right on.

Worshipper on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records website

 

Dopethrone, Transcanadian Anger

dopethrone transcanadian anger

Montreal scumsludgers Dopethrone return with Transcanadian Anger, an eight-track blister-fest of crunch riffing and misanthropic vibes. Delivered through Totem Cat Records, the 36-minute Weedeater-gone-bad-drugs sludge assault seems to invite superlatives front to back, even in the slamming instrumental “Killdozer” – a tribute to the band? – and the swinging penultimate cut “Kingbilly Kush.” Elsewhere, opener “Planet Meth,” “Snort Dagger,” “Tweak Jabber” and “Scuzzgasm” celebrate addiction and violence unto oneself and others, making a spectacle of decay set to voluminous sludge riffs and abrasive vocals. This is Dopethrone’s aesthetic territory, and they’ve done well over the last decade to make it their own. As they answer 2015’s full-length, Hochelaga (review here), and the next year’s 1312 EP with yet another filth-caked collection, they seem all the more in their own league of aural and narcotic self-punishment. They could be straightedge vegans for all I know, but they sure sound high as fuck, and I guess that’s the point. So, well done.

Dopethrone on Thee Facebooks

Totem Cat Records webstore

 

The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices, BooCheeMish

the mystery of the bulgarian voices boocheemish

Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance would seem to be trying to solve The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices, a choral group from Bulgaria who, seemingly until teaming with Gerrard for the Prophecy Productions release BooCheeMish was known by the French name Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares. Whatever you call them, their history dates back nearly seven decades and their harmonies are utterly timeless. BooCheeMish is comprised of gorgeous folk renditions for 45 minutes of world-building perfection. Percussion of various sorts provides backing and on pieces like “Rano Ranila” they speed through at a pace and arrangement that’s head-spinning, while the later “Zableyalo Agne” finds them joined by flute for a nigh-religious experience and the subsequent “Tropanitsa” has a bounce worthy of any good times one might to envision from its evocative pulse. One can’t help but feel a bit of the cultural voyeur in taking it on – as well as feeling totally outclassed in reviewing it – but these songs were clearly meant to be enjoyed, and as their ambassadors, The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices genuinely serve a public best interest.

The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions website

 

Omen Stones, Omen Stones

omen stones omen stones

Virginia duo Omen Stones have no online presence as yet. No songs streaming. No cheeky logos-on-photos social media posts that new bands do when they’re sitting on their hands waiting to get material out there. What they – and by “they,” I mean guitarist/vocalist Tommy Hamilton of Druglord and drummer Erik Larson of Backwoods Payback, The Might Could, Alabama Thunderpussy, etc. – have is a four-song self-titled EP collecting about 13 minutes of material in demo fashion, bringing forth the Southern-shuffle-gets-weird-then-explodes opener “Secrete” as a first impression of a deceptive approach. You think it’s all good and then you get punched. Go figure. “Secrete” is also the longest track (immediate points) at 4:06, and the forward charge and harsher vocal of “Fertile Blight” follows, catchy as it is mean, and more indicative of what’s to follow in the maddening tension of “Sympathy Scars” and the fuckall sludgepunk of “Purity Tones.” Immediately against-trend, Omen StonesOmen Stones is a bird of prey unto itself. Hopefully at some point soon they make it publicly available.

Druglord on Bandcamp

Erik Larson on Bandcamp

 

Capra, Unholy Gallows

Capra Unholy Gallows

Taking influence from hardcore punk, post-hardcore and sludge, Lafayette, Louisiana’s Capra seem to fit in a Midwestern style of semi-metallic aggression that has flourished in the wake of the likes of The National Acrobat and Coliseum. The foursome’s Unholy Gallows single follows their also-two-song self-titled 2016 EP, and finds Tyler Harper (also of the recently-defunct The Midnight Ghost Train), Jeremy Randazzo, Ben Paramore and Lee Hooper aligned in their purposes of riff-led bludgeoning. Unholy Gallows is two songs/six minutes long – not by any means an afternoon commitment in terms of listening – but its furies are unveiled in far less time than that, and both “Red Guillotine” and “Hot Lips” waste no time in doling out their beatings. A sense of heft stems from tonal thickness, but they make it move to a propulsive degree, and aside from a quick feedback intro to “Red Guillotine,” there’s no letup; even as “Hot Lips” slows the pace some initially, it maintains geared toward foreshadowing the next fist to fly.

Capra on Thee Facebooks

Capra on Bandcamp

 

Universo Rojo, Impermanencia

Universo Rojo Impermanencia

Sprawl, sprawl, sprawl. Into space. Universo Rojo’s excellent four-track debut album, Impermanencia, makes you want to speak slowly enough to feel the words vibrate out of your mouth. The Chilean four-piece offer lengthy, jam-based excursions that echo out their feel across vast reaches of effects, progressive rhythm and melody-making unfurling all the while beneath an overarching swirl of effects, guitars and synth running atop the mix like competing currents of water. Opener “¿A Dónde Ir?” (8:13) gives way to the flute-laden krautrockism of “Visión Planetaria de los Tiempos” (8:40) as vocalist/guitarist/clarinetist Ferro Vargas-Larraguibel, drummer Naim Chamás, bassist Cristóbal Montenegro and synthesis Francisco Arellano conjure such molten possibilities. Though it’s just 34 minutes, Impermanencia is nonetheless expansive, with the 9:36 “Cinco (La Quinta Dimensión)” finding a place between drift and psych-jazz undulations while closer “Inmaterialización del Sentimiento Cósmico” (7:32) lets out a full-impulse burst of energy that’s blinding if you know just where to look. Not to be missed.

Universo Rojo on Thee Facebooks

Universo Rojo on Bandcamp

 

Sergeant Thunderhoof, Terra Solus

sergeant thunderhoof terra solus

Kudos to Bath, UK, four-piece Sergeant Thunderhoof on starting off their sophomore long-player, Terra Solus, with the album’s longest track in “Another Plane.” And likewise for the blend of psychedelia and burl that unfolds. In taking on the follow-up to their 2015 debut, Ride of the Hoof, they offer eight cuts and 51 minutes of spacious riffing charged with just an undercurrent of English boozer burl, Elephant Tree and Steak meeting head on for a raucous session of who knows what. “B Oscillation” taps nod and particularly satisfying fuzzy warmth in its lead section, while even a would-be bruiser like the subsequent “Diesel Breath” has a trip-out included. There is time for such things as every track but the penultimate and relatively minimalist soundscaper “Half a Man” tops six minutes, but Sergeant Thunderhoof make a much richer impression overall than their moniker might lead one to believe, and close out in particularly resonant fashion with “Om Shaantih,” emphasizing the breadth and post-rock elements that help make Terra Solus so engaging from the outset.

Sergeant Thunderhoof on Thee Facebooks

Sergeant Thunderhoof on Bandcamp

 

Fire Down Below, Hymn of the Cosmic Man

fire down below hymn of the cosmic man

The adaptation of Kyuss’ “Thumb” riff for Fire Down Below’s “Ignition/Space Cruiser” after the “Red Giant” intro on their second album, Hymn of the Cosmic Man (on Ripple), is nothing short of a clarion to the converted. The Belgian unit’s mission would seem to be to find that place on the horizon where the desert ground and space itself seem to meet and become one, and as side A closer “The Cosmic Pilgrim” turns from its initial crunch into more patient and drifting psych, they’d seem to get there. Atsmophere is certainly central to the record, as the aforementioned “Red Giant” and its side B counterpart “Nebula” demonstrate, never mind the other five tracks, and even as “Saviour of Man” runs through its janga-janga stoner-riffed hook there’s a flourish of effects to create a balance between the earthbound and the interstellar. Side B’s “Ascension” and especially 11-minute album-closer/highlight “Adrift in a Sea of Stars” seem to find the balance the four-piece is shooting for all along, and just before the nine-minute mark when the thick, fuzzed-out riff emerges from the jammy lead, the entire impetus for their journey seems to be laid bare. Well done.

Fire Down Below on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Stone Deaf, Royal Burnout

stone deaf royal burnout

Denver, Colorado’s Stone Deaf present a sans-frills desert rock vibe across the eight tightly structured tracks of their sophomore album, Royal Burnout (on Black Bow Records). Specifically, the compressed crunch in the guitar tone and some of the start-stop bounce riffing in cuts like “Room #240” and “Monochrome” seem to be drawn from the Songs for the Deaf methodology, and some of the vocals on opener “Spitshine” (video premiere here) remind of Queens of the Stone Age as well, but Stone Deaf – whose moniker, then, would be well sourced – have a deeper root in punk rock that underscores the “Go with the Flow” thrust of “Deathwish 62” as well as the chugging verses of “Boozy Spool” immediately preceding. It’s a sound that benefits greatly from the sharpness of its delivery and the craft Stone Deaf bring to it, and even when they seem to loosen up a bit on the midpaced pre-finale “That Lefty Request,” there’s a fervent sense of a plan unfolding. That plan would seem to be a success.

Stone Deaf on Thee Facebooks

Black Bow Records webstore

 

Cracked Machine, I, Cosmonaut

cracked machine i cosmonaut

Originally released last year, Cracked Machine’s debut, I, Cosmonaut, finds vinyl issue through PsyKA Records and earns it well with six tracks/45 minutes of mostly-instrumentalist and progressive space-psych. One assumes there’s a narrative thread at work across the span, as guitarist Bill Denton, bassist Chris Sutton, keyboardist/vocalist Clive Noyes and drummer Blazej Gradziel weave their way through “Twin Sons Rising” and “New Vostok” at the outset into the easy flow of “Baikonur Cosmodrome,” the harder-hitting title-track, the fuzzy declaration of “Svetlana” and the patiently executed 10-minute closer “Transorbital,” Denton’s guitar singing all the while. These places and, maybe, characters would seem to weave together to tell the story in impressions largely open to interpretation and correspondingly open in terms of their creativity, sounding spontaneous and maybe live-recorded if not entirely improvised, instead working to a plan for where each inclusion should go or end up. As Cracked Machine’s first album, it’s an ambitious work that does far more than get the band’s feet wet. It takes them out of the atmosphere and embarks on a journey beyond that one hopes is just beginning.

Cracked Machine on Thee Facebooks

Cracked Machine at PsyKA Records webstore

 

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Quarterly Review: Khemmis, Morag Tong, Holy Mushroom, Naisian, Haunted, Pabst, L.M.I., Fuzz Forward, Onségen Ensemble, The Heavy Eyes

Posted in Reviews on July 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

I always say the same thing on the Wednesday of the Quarterly Review. Day 3. The halfway point. I say it every time. The fact is, doing these things kind of takes it out of me. All of it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy listening to all these records — well, I don’t enjoy all of them, but I’m talking more about the process — just that it’s a lot to take in and by the time I’m done each day, let alone at the end of the week, I’m fairly exhausted. So every time we hit the halfway point of a Quarterly Review, I feel somewhat compelled to note it. Cresting the hill, as it were. It’s satisfying to get to this point without my head falling off.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Khemmis, Desolation

khemmis desolation

Continuing their proclivity for one-word titles, Denver doom forerunners Khemmis take a decisive turn toward the metallic with their third album for 20 Buck Spin, the six-track/41-minute Desolation. Songs like opener “Bloodletting” and its side B counterpart “The Seer” are still tinged with doom, but the NWOBHM gallop in “Isolation” and “Maw of Time” – as well as the sheer force of the latter – is an unexpected twist. Khemmis showed classic metal elements on 2016’s was-a-very-big-deal Hunted (review here) and 2015’s debut, Absolution (review here), but it’s a question of balance, and as they’ve once again worked with producer Dave Otero, one can only read the shift as a conscious decision. The harder edge suits them – certainly suits the screams in “Maw of Time” and side A finale/album highlight “Flesh to Nothing” – and as Khemmis further refine their sound, they craft its most individualized manifestation to-date. There’s no hearing Desolation and mistaking Khemmis for another band. They’ve come into their own.

Khemmis on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin website

 

Morag Tong, Last Knell of Om

morag tong last knell of om

A rumbling entry into London’s Heavy Generation, the four-piece Morag Tong unfold voluminous ritual on their debut full-length, Last Knell of Om. Largely slow and largely toned, the work of guitarists Alex Clarke and Lewis Crane brings the low end to the forefront along with the bass of James Atha while drummer Adam Asquith pushes the lurch forward on cuts like “New Growth” and “To Soil,” the band seemingly most comfortable when engaged in crawling tempos and weighted pummel. Asquith also adds semi-shouted vocals to the mire, which, surrounded by distortion as they are, only make the proceedings sound even more massive. There’s an ambience to “We Answer” and near-13-minute closer “Ephemera: Stare Through the Deep,” which gives the record a suitably noisy finish, but much of what Morag Tong are going for in sound depends on the effectiveness of their tonality, and they’ve got that part down on their debut. Coupled with the meditative feel in some of this material, that shows marked potential on the band’s part for future growth.

Morag Tong on Thee Facebooks

Morag Tong on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mushroom, Blood and Soul

holy mushroom blood and soul

Working quickly to follow-up their earlier-2018 sophomore long-player, Moon (review here), Spain’s Holy Mushroom present Blood and Soul, an EP comprised of two songs recorded live in the studio. I’m not entirely sure why it’s split up at all, as the two-minute “Introito” – sure enough, a little introduction – feeds so smoothly into the 19-minute “Blood and Soul” itself, but fair enough either way as the trio shift between different instrumentation, incorporating sax, piano and organ among the guitar, bass, drums and vocals, and unfold a longform heavy psychedelic trip that not only builds on what they were doing with Moon but is every bit worthy of being released on its own. I don’t know if it was recorded at the same time as the record or later – both were done at Asturcon Studios – but it’s easy to see why the band would want to highlight “Blood and Moon.” Between the deep-running mix, the easy rhythmic flow into and out from drifting spaciousness, and the turn in the middle third toward more expansive arrangement elements, it’s an engaging motion that makes subtly difficult shifts seem utterly natural along the way. And even if you didn’t hear the latest full-length, Blood and Soul makes for a fitting introduction to who Holy Mushroom are as a band and what they can do.

Holy Mushroom on Thee Facebooks

Clostridium Records website

 

Naisian, Rejoinder

naisian rejoinder

Sludge-infused noise rock serves as the backdrop for lyrical shenanigans on the three-song Rejoinder EP from Sheffield, UK, trio Naisian. Running just 12 minutes, it’s a quick and thickened pummel enacted by the band, who work in shades of post-metal for “90 ft. Stone,” “Mantis Rising” and “Lefole,” most especially in the middle cut, but even there, the focus in on harsh vocals and lumbering sonic heft. It’s now been seven years since the band sort-of issued their debut album, Mammalian, and six since they followed with the Monocle EP, and the time seems to have stripped down their sound to a degree. “Lefole” is the longest track on Rejoinder at 5:18 and it’s still shorter than every other song Naisian have put out to-date. Their crunch lacks nothing for impact, however, and to go with the swing of “Lefole,” everybody seems to contribute to a vocal assault that only adds to the punishing but thoughtful vibe.

Naisian on Thee Facebooks

Naisian on Bandcamp

 

Haunted, Dayburner

haunted dayburner

The effects-laden vocal swirl at the outset of Haunted’s “Mourning Sun” and moments in the Italian act’s longer-form material, “Waterdawn” or “Orphic,” for example, will invariably lead some listeners to point to a Windhand influence, but the character of the band’s second album, Dayburner (on Twin Earth, DHU and Graven Earth all), follows their 2016 self-titled (review here) by holding steady to a developing identity of its own. To be sure, vocalist Christina Chimirri, guitarists Francesco Bauso and Francesco Orlando, bassist Frank Tudisco and drummer Dario Casabona make their way into a deep, murky swamp of modern doom in “Dayburner” (video posted here), but in the crush of their tones amid all that trance-inducing riffing, they cast themselves as an outfit seeking to express individuality within the set parameters of style. Their execution, then, is what it comes down to, and with “Orphic” (12:46) and “Vespertine” (13:19) back to back, there’s plenty of doom on the 66-minute 2LP to roll that out. And they do so in patient and successful form, with marked tonal vibrancy and a sense of controlling the storm they’re creating as they go.

Haunted on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records website

DHU Records webstore

Graven Earth Records webstore

 

Pabst, Chlorine

pabst chlorine

So, the aesthetic is different. Pabst play a blend of noise, post-punk, heavy rock and grunge, but with the ready pop influence — to wit, the outright danceability of “Shits,” reminiscent in its bounce of later Queens of the Stone Age – and persistent melodicism, there’s just a twinge of what Mars Red Sky did for heavy rolling riffs happening on Chlorine, their Crazysane Records debut. It’s in that blend of dense low-end fuzz and brighter vocal melodies, but again, Pabst, hailing from Berlin, are on their own trip. Weird but almost more enjoyable than it seems to want to be, the 12-track/35-minute outing indulges little and offers singalong-ready vibes in “Catching Feelings” and “Waterslide” while “Waiting Loop” chills out before the push of “Accelerate” and the angularity of “Cheapskate” take hold. Chrlorine careens and (blue) ribbons its way to the drive-fast-windows-open stylization of “Summer Never Came” and the finale “Under Water,” a vocal effect on the latter doing nothing to take away from its ultra-catchy hook. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a record someone with just the right kind of open mind can come to love.

Pabst on Thee Facebooks

Crazysane Records webstore

 

L.M.I., IV

lmi iv

If you’ve got a dank basement full of skinny college kids, chances are Lansdale, Pennsylvania’s L.M.I. are ready to tear their faces off. The sludge-thickened riff punkers run abut 11 minutes with their five-song release, L.M.I. IV, and that’s well enough time to get their message across. Actually, by the end of “Neck of Tension” and “Weaning Youth,” roughly four and half minutes in, the statement of intent is pretty clear. L.M.I. present furious but grooving hardcore punk more given to scathe than pummel, and their inclusions on L.M.I. IV bring that to life with due sense of controlled chaos. Centerpiece “Lurking Breath” gives way to “First to Dark” – the longest cut at a sprawling 2:55 – and they save a bit of grunge guitar scorch and lower-register growling for closer “June was a Test,” there isn’t really time in general for any redundancy to take hold. That suits the feeling of assault well, as L.M.I. get in and get out on the quick and once they’re gone, all that’s left to do is clean the blood off the walls.

L.M.I. on Thee Facebooks

L.M.I. on Bandcamp

 

Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere

fuzz forward out of nowhere

Released one way or another through Discos Macarras, Odio Sonoro, Spinda Records and Red Sun Records, the eight-song/43-minute debut album from Barcelona’s Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere, has earned acclaim from multiple corners for its interpretation of grunge-era melodies through a varied heavy rock filter. Indeed, the vocals of Juan Gil – joined in the band by guitarist Edko Fuzz, bassist Jordi Vaquero and drummer Marc Rockenberg – pull the mind directly to a young Layne Staley, and forces one to realize it’s been a while since that low-in-the-mouth approach was so ubiquitous. It works well for Gil in the laid back “Summertime Somersaults” as well as the swinging, cowbell-infused later cut “Drained,” and as the band seems to foreshadow richer atmospheric exploration on “Thorns in Tongue” and “Torches,” they nonetheless maintain a focus on songwriting that grounds the proceedings and will hopefully continue to serve as their foundation as they move forward. No argument with the plaudits they’ve thus far received. Seems doubtful they’ll be the last.

Fuzz Forward on Thee Facebooks

Fuzz Forward on Bandcamp

 

Onségen Ensemble, Duel

Onsegen ensemble duel

The kind of record you’re doing yourself a favor by hearing – a visionary cast of progressive psychedelia that teems with creative energy and is an inspiration even in the listening. Frankly, the only thing I’m not sure about when it comes to Oulu, Finland, outfit Onségen Enseble’s second album, Duel, is why it isn’t being released through Svart Records. It seems like such a natural fit, with the adventurous woodwinds on opener “Think Neither Good Nor Evil,” the meditative sprawl of the title-track (video posted here), the jazz-jam in the middle of “Dogma MMXVII,” the tribalist percussion anchoring the 12-minute “Three Calls of the Emperor’s Teacher,” which surely would otherwise float away under its own antigravity power, and the free-psych build of closer “Zodiacal Lights of Onségen,” which shimmers in otherworldly fashion and improvised-sounding spark. On Svart or not, Duel is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, and one the creativity of which puts it in a class of its own, even in the vast reaches of psychedelic rock. Whether it means to or not, it tells a story with sound, and that story should be heard.

Onségen Ensemble on Thee Facebooks

Onsegen Ensemble on Bandcamp

 

The Heavy Eyes, Live in Memphis

the heavy eyes live in memphis

Since so much of The Heavy Eyes’ studio presentation has consistently been about crispness of sound and structured songwriting, it’s kind of a relief to hear them knock into some feedback at the start of “Mannish Boy” at the outset of Live in Memphis (on Kozmik Artifactz). The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Tripp Shumake, bassist Wally Anderson and drummer Eric Garcia are still tight as hell, of course, and their material – drawn here from the band’s LPs, 2015’s He Dreams of Lions (review here), 2012’s Maera, 2011’s self-titled, as well as sundry shorter offerings – is likewise. They’ve never been an overly dangerous band, nor have they wanted to be, but the stage performance does add a bit of edge to “Iron Giants” from the debut, which is followed by singing “Happy Birthday” to a friend in the crowd. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Live in Memphis is hearing The Heavy Eyes loosen up a bit on stage, and hearing them sound like they’re having as good a time playing as the crowd is watching and hearing them do so. That sense of fun suits them well.

The Heavy Eyes on Thee Facebooks

The Heavy Eyes at Kozmik Artifactz

 

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