Review & Track Premiere: Vessel of Light, Thy Serpent Rise

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

vessel of light thy serpent rise

[Click play above to stream Vessel of Light’s cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘Wasp.’ Their third album, Thy Serpent Rise, is out now.]

With that title and that artwork, is there any way it’s at all possible, even in the remotest of distant universes, that the “serpent” in question in Vessel of Light‘s Thy Serpent Rise isn’t a cock? Not in this genre, folks. The lines from “Rush of Blood” — you’ll never guess where the blood is going — read, “You make my serpent rise/When you stare into my eyes” before transitioning into the chorus, “I feel a rush of blood/And a rush of drugs/Coursing through my veins/The fire and the flood,” and indeed: cock. By then, the New Jersey/Ohio outfit founded by guitarist Dan Lorenzo (Hades, Non-Fiction) and vocalist Nathan Opposition (né Jochum) and now featuring Jimmy Schulman (also Hades and Dan Lorenzo‘s solo band) on bass and Ron Lipnicki (ex-Overkill) on drums have run through a tight trio of songs for a post-intro opening salvo to Thy Serpent Rise, finding a sound on an aggressive end of the spectrum of traditional doom and heavy rock and roll, Opposition‘s sometimes guttural vocals upping the metallic quotient amid mostly AA/BB rhyme scheme murder and death poetry lyrics. “Rush of Blood” is something of an aberration, if a still-kinda-violent one.

The band’s second long-player behind last year’s Woodshed (review here) and a 2017 self-titled EP (review here) — both released by Argonauta Records — Thy Serpent Rise is comprised of 12 tracks with the title-track intro at the outset and two other guitar-based interludes, titled “Skin in the Game” and “Hello Darkness” interspersed throughout, the latter appearing just before the finale duo of “Decomposing Mental Health” and “After Death.” Ending with “After Death” of course seems fair enough after opening with “Abandon Life,” as the death fetish comes to define the point of view from which the songs stem, and as Opposition leans back and forth between suicide on “After Death” and “Decomposing Mental Health” and murder on “Meet and Bone” and “Bleed into the Night” — the latter of which boasts some ’90s-era Marilyn Manson-style “hey!” shouts in its later moments — the territory should be familiar to anyone who’s followed Vessel of Light at all, walking the fine line as it does between cultish and silly-cultish.

But though the words are the kinds of things that would’ve gotten you suspended from your junior year of high school for furiously scribbling in your notebook during class — picture Vice Principal Ludwig, horrified — there’s no question that Thy Serpent Rise is a figuring-it-out point for Vessel of Light. As the band expands beyond just Lorenzo and Opposition, their songwriting seems to tighten, such that the cuts in that initial push, “Abandon Life,” Meet and Bone” and “Urge to Kill,” barely top three minutes in the longest of them, but are strikingly efficient in getting the message across and still conveying a sense of darkness in the atmosphere. As with Woodshed, hooks about, and even if Opposition is consistent in rhyme scheme, he is a singer of marked presence whose voice is a distinguishing factor here and across his entire discography.

vessel of light

As “Save My Soul” emerges in bluesy swinging fashion from “Skin in the Game,” he adjusts his approach subtly to ride the groove behind him in order to enhance it rather than contradict, working with the band and not against them with what might be the album’s most uptempo vibe, though oddly enough “After Death” might give it some competition in that regard. Contrast that either way with the slamming weight of “Eternal Sleep,” the stomping force of which is a highlight unto itself as the band drive home the more metal side of their sound in a way that feels natural and intended for the stage. Following “Hello Darkness,” “Decomposing Mental Health” has more of a rolling nod and is a welcome arrival for that, as Lorenzo‘s riff changes are telegraphed around a chorus that would seem to be a point at which Vessel of Light come into their own and establish their identity in this grim mood, a kind of exploration of troubled self lyrically accompanied by choice, straightforward motion, clear, full production and structures that are tight to a point of feeling like they’re about to snap, which as it happens only suits the lyrics all the more, since that’s basically what Opposition would seem to be shooting for as well. Nice when things work out like that.

Are Vessel of Light going to be universally appealing? Nope. Their style finds them in a place between larger genre scopes, hard to pin to one thing or the other, and their report-this-post lyrics are anything but friendly to the listener. But of course, neither are they intended to be universal. It’s now what they’re going for now and not what they’ve been going for over the last two years as they’ve worked quickly to establish themselves and develop this aesthetic. At just 34 minutes — compared to Woodshed‘s 41 — the brevity suits Thy Serpent Rise, and the down-to-business intensity toward which Lorenzo and Opposition steer the material is effective and feels hammered out on a professional level.

What’s the endgame? Who the hell knows. But as Vessel of Light explore the elements that make up their sound, they seem to have with Thy Serpent Rise to have found the balance they were looking for their last time out, which sets them up for a third album should they get there that’s all the more sure of where it stands. At least that’s the narrative I’m going with. That’s not to say the record isn’t without its drawbacks — I’ll come out and say it if it’s not already clear; the lyrics aren’t really my thing, though they’re well performed and carried through with conviction; I just have a hard time believing anyone that into murder isn’t either in jail or too busy killing people to make records about it — but the “Skin in the Game” is as much the band’s own as it is whoever’s face they’re wearing like a mask, and in putting it all on the line, they at very least offer an alternative interpretation to the sense of “rising” in the title on a meta-level, if not one directly in the song itself, which, well, yeah, is about cock.

Vessel of Light, “Meet and Bone” official video

Vessel of Light on Thee Facebooks

Vessel of Light on Instagram

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Cybernetic Witch Cult Post “Cromagnonaut” Video; Absurdum ad Nauseam out Dec. 6

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

cybernetic witch cult

UK sludge rockers Cybernetic Witch Cult are edging closer to the Dec. 6 self-release of their new album, Absurdum ad Nauseam, and in the new video for the cleverly-titled “Cromagnonaut,” they would seem to be asking the question of whether humanity is moving at too quick a pace in its self-driven evolution. I gotta say, dudes. Look around. The planet? It’s fucking on fire. And evolution ain’t the problem. The problem is morons. Too many morons, not enough evolution. Hell, throw in a little natural selection while you’re at it and let some of the relocated climate change polar bears start eating a few of these overlord dumbasses — even though they wouldn’t. The dumbasses live behind gates. The bears would do the exact opposite of what we need and eat the poor and we all know it. That’s no use to anyone.

Polar bears as a means to inciting a Marxist socialist paradise? Fucking if only.

But anyway, “Might we be evolving too fast for our own good?” is a question bound to provoke an answer one way or the other. I know that while I listened in the background to impeachment hearings and as I think about Boris Johnson dismantling the UK government because… …. … hang on… nope… uh…

So anyway, I don’t think we’re evolving too fast. Maybe ask the coral reef how it feels about human evolution and our warped idea of what it means. I agree we are an infant species. With nuclear weapons.

Phew, I’m exhausted.

Cybernetic Witch Cult‘s actual video for the song chronicles one of the many UK back-and-forths they’ve done over the last couple years, and it looks like the band are a good time live. Everybody nods and has fun and stops thinking for five minutes about how the world is collapsing. Seems nice.

Enjoy:

Cybernetic Witch Cult, “Cromagnonaut” official video

Taken from the upcoming album: ‘Absurdum ad Nauseam’ (Self release, 6th December 2019)

‘Cromagnonaut’ is examining the human race as being an infant species, and how stone age humans are now essentially piloting spaceships. Might we be evolving too fast for our own good? Can we spread life amongst the stars and preserve the 4.5 billions years worth of evolution before it gets wiped out?

This video was filmed entirely on our October 2019 tour. Special thanks to Mother Vulture, Morass of Molasses and Victus for filming our sets and the venues: Underground (Plymouth), Firehouse (Southampton), Cavern (Exeter), Jacobs Ladder (Falmouth), Wheatsheaf (Banbury), Edge of the Wedge (Portsmouth), The Ship (Weymouth).
Hope you enjoy!

Credits:
Editor / Production | Alex Wyld
Camera Assistant | Bones, Georgi, Brodie, Klayton, Sam.
Musicians | Alex Wyld, Doug MacKinnon, Lewis May
Music Production | Cro’s Nest, Sam Thredder
Artwork| Aimee Wyld

Cybernetic Witch Cult are:
Alex Wyld – Vocals & Guitar
Doug MacKinnon – Bass Guitar
Lewis May – Drums & Percussion

Cybernetic Witch Cult website

Cybernetic Witch Cult on Thee Facebooks

Cybernetic Witch Cult on Instagram

Cybernetic Witch Cult on Bandcamp

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Elder Druid Post “Golgotha” Video; Announce Jan. 17 Album Release Date

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

elder druid golgotha video

I don’t mind telling you that I’ve seen at this point in my life a fair amount of videos that feature a band walking around, either playing or doing something spooky, in the woods. Like, a lot of them. In the era of the-technology-is-so-cheap-that-every-band-is-basically-expected-to-make-at-least-one-per-LP, it’s only fair there would be some overlap in subject matter in a genre — that’s what genre is, essentially — and in any case, it’s certainly not something to hold against anyone. I like walking in the woods sometimes too, as long as it’s dry. Actually, who the hell am I kidding? I like sitting on my ass on the couch and watching Star Trek. Going grocery shopping for me is like a major effort these days.

Before I get any further off-track here, Elder Druid‘s new clip for the title-track of their impending album, Golgotha — confirmed for a Jan. 17, 2020, release — is indeed one of the off-to-the-forest-type clips, and yet, having seen a number of them as I have, I’m still struck by the woods in question. They’re beautiful. The band apparently filmed in Woodburn Forest, in Carrickfergus, about 35 minutes southeast from their home in Ballymena toward the Northern Irish eastern coastline, and yeah, the scenery is just gorgeous. There’s some shaky-cam stuff in the video — fair enough considering the sludge-doom assault happening at concurrently in the music — but the video is otherwise shot in a kind of sepia filter that plays up the visual impact of the place, and having been in Northern Ireland for a few days earlier this year and felt like I saw any number of righteous sights, I clearly also missed one along the way. Guess my trip’s itinerary was too focused on politically-driven murder to go spend any time dicking around among the trees. So it goes.

Oh, and kudos to the band on finding a sunny day to shoot. That couldn’t have been easy either.

Elder Druid play this week in Bangor (not Maine) and then head across to England for four dates with Barbarian Hermit next week. They’ll do Crypt of the Riff, which they’re involved in organizing, and then it’s on to the album release party — a two-parter party, no less — and more festivals later in 2020 that one assumes will be supplemented by tour dates to come. Nothing like keeping busy.

Or sitting on ass, enjoying the view:

Elder Druid, “Golgotha” official video

Official music video for ‘Golgotha’, the title track from our upcoming album ‘Golgotha’ due for release in January 2020.

Filming and editing: Exposing Shadows Photography.
Performances: Patrycja Dziedzic, April Morgan & Elder Druid.
Special thanks: Fresh Garbage for providing costumes and Peter Clarke for his assistance in shooting the video.

Music:
Written and performed by Elder Druid.
Produced by Dale Hughes in Blackstaff Mill, Belfast.

Elder Druid live:
22.11: Elder Druid & Nomadus | The Goat’s Toe, Bangor
28.11: Elder Druid / Barbarian Hermit / Satlan / Gandalf the Green | Temple of Boom, Leeds
29.11: Elder Druid / Barbarian Hermit / Satlan / Slowbro | The Phoenix, Coventry
30.11: Elder Druid / Barbarian Hermit / Bad Kush | The Lounge 666, London
01.12: Elder Druid / Barbarian Hermit / Satlan / Kong Lives | Fuel Rock Club, Cardiff
13.12: Crypt of the Riff Vol. 4
17.01: Elder Druid • ‘Golgotha’ Album Launch • Voodoo, Belfast
18.01: Elder Druid • ‘Golgotha’ Album Launch • Fibber Magees, Dublin
01.05: Iron Mountain Metal Festival 2020
06.06: Stonebaked Festival
31.07: Monolith 2020

Elder Druid is:
Gregg McDowell – Vocals
Jake Wallace – Lead Guitar
Mikey Scott – Rhythm Guitar
Dale Hughes – Bass Guitar
Brien Gillen – Drums

Elder Druid on Thee Facebooks

Elder Druid on Bandcamp

Elder Druid on Instagram

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Serial Hawk, Static Apnea: Depths and Passages

Posted in Reviews on November 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Serial Hawk Static Apnea

At its core, Static Apnea is an exploration of distance and weight. How much space can be conveyed in a song even as a full-on tonal crush is enacted? The second album from Seattle outfit Serial Hawk — the core trio of guitarist/vocalist Will Bassin, bassist Adam Holbrook and drummer Sean Bulkley (who would seem to have parted ways with the band in the interim, with Jason Bledsoe and Brock Bledsoe stepping in), here working with a swath of guests — is presented as a 49-minute self-released 2LP and spreads across six tracks that range from the megaplod of “Detatch” and the growling aggression of the subsequent “Depths and Passages” on side B to the sweet post-rocking pastoralia drift of “Surrender” at that I suspect is the outset of the second platter. Longer cuts “Resting Waters” (10:15) and “Diminished Return” (13:46) would seem to consume the first and last sides, and in immersive fashion, they help present and bolster the impressive scope with which Serial Hawk are working this time out, taking the largesse of their debut and focusing it on conveying a sense of atmosphere amid all the sheer sonic plunder.

Even as “Depths and Passages” seems to chug-march into trenchant low end and a post-Helmet vision of what West Coast noise rock could’ve become, the open space is as much responsible for the sense of heaviness as are the distorted vocals buried beneath the mountainous guitar and bass. And when they want to be, they are tectonically heavy, but from the post-Isis/Ancestors build in “Resting Waters” and the howling guitar solo that takes hold in the first half there to the final riff that leads the march outward in the final minute of “Diminished Return,” Serial Hawk maintain a poised presentation of their songs that not only emphasizes their dynamic, but the patience behind their composition and execution. As they come up on marking a decade together in 2020 and have numerous tours to their credit, they bring that dynamic to its most forward position yet in a recording, and use it as the foundation to craft a collection that is gorgeous, cohesive, and, on occasion, outright pummeling.

The album takes its title from the practice of holding one’s breath underwater without necessarily swimming anywhere; you put your face in the water (the cover art could be seen as interpreting this) and see how long you can go I guess before you either pass out or have to give up. Aside from the dopey-internet-challenge potential there, there’s a sense of meditative ritual to the notion of pushing oneself to physical extremes without really knowing what those extremes are, and through I don’t know whether or not that’s what Serial Hawk had in mind when they named Static Apnea as they did, the chasms and the sheer physical force with which the band bring a song like the penultimate “Summon” to bear, letting it devolve into noise in its second half before ultimately rescuing it from that void of their own making, is palpable and dramatic, and while much of what they do here might be traced to one style or another — a post-metal moment here, a doomed riff, some sludge groove, etc. — it is the way these personality aspects are combined that makes the album such an exciting and adventurous listen.

serial hawk

It is aware of its range, aware of its depths — hell, it has a song called “Depths and Passages” — but not at all hindered by that consciousness of self. Instead, it results in flashes like when “Resting Waters” seems to hint ever so slightly toward the melodies that will find their answer as “Surrender” opens LP2 in a striking turn that nonetheless flows smoothly into “Summon,” which in turn gives way directly to “Diminished Return,” as the band shows an obvious concern for the listening experience beyond structuring for vinyl and create a linear overarching progression that encompasses all the tracks in one way or the other. For a record that’s 11 minutes longer than its predecessor — and certainly longer than anything else they’ve done — that flow proves essential to the listening experience, as every step outward seems to bring them to a new place that they immediately make their own. The sense of identity here — of Serial Hawk as Serial Hawk — is among Static Apnea‘s greatest strengths.

There are, as noted, a host of others contributing besides BassinHolbrook and Bulkley. The names listed are Robert Cheek, Paurl Walsh, Jessica Kitzman, Aaron Krause, Evan Ferro and Michael Sparks Jr., but as to who does what, I don’t have that information and the choice on the band’s part to keep that nebulous seems purposeful. Instead, their focus seems to be on the wash of noise itself. Static Apnea is noisy, it is aggressive, it is at times downright nasty — as in, “Oh, that’s nasty” — but if one takes a step back from the band voluminous slow-ish motion plunder, a fuller picture of what they’re doing emerges. That is, it’s a record that needs to be appreciated as a whole statement. There is no neat summary of aesthetic, though in the 13 minutes of “Diminished Return,” one could argue they come close. Still, the spirit of the offering they make is one that requires a complete engagement. I usually recommend headphones for something much more psychedelic, but they can only bolster the feeling of being surrounded by the richness of Serial Hawk‘s sound, and that richness is writ large across these songs, be it the rawer riff-led nod of “Detach” or the ultra-slow culmination circa seven minutes into “Summon.”

The band’s utter mastery of their approach comes through in either context and all across Static Apnea, and though the record would seem to be the result of careful plotting or at very least willful experimentation subject to scrutiny afterward in the recording process, it maintains an exciting feeling that goes beyond pace not just for the energy in its execution, but for the forward-thinking nature of the work itself. Serial Hawk are actively working against genre pigeonholing. They’re not looking to be classified. Their project, instead, is to search for the individualism that their influences can bring to bear, and they succeed purely because they let nothing, including their own awareness of what they’re doing, hold them back. Four years between first and second LPs is a pretty significant stretch. Serial Hawk‘s time has obviously not been misspent.

Serial Hawk, Static Apnea (2019)

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Galactic Cross Announce Self-Titled Debut LP Release Show for Jan. 31

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

galactic cross

I’m not actually sure how far back the roots of Galactic Cross stretch, but I could’ve sworn I saw somewhere on the social medias that their first live appearance was like 30 years in the making? If that’s the case, then I have no doubt it will have proven more than enough time to get a setlist together. The three-piece with none other than Dave Sherman (EarthrideWeed is Weed, etc.) on vocals and bass will make this live debut on Jan. 31, 2020, at Atlas Brew House in Washington, D.C., on what seems to be an evening of Frederick, Maryland, exports, with Mangog (featuring Bert Hall, Jr., of Revelation, and of an always masterful hat) and Spiral Grave, which is the new band from former members of Iron Man and Virginia’s Lord.

And though Spiral Grave‘s debut is also expected out sometime next year, it’s Galactic Cross for whom the show will serve as the release gig, as their self-titled debut long-player sees its vinyl issue, also awaited. I’m interested to hear it, as some of the studio clips have been intriguing to say the least.

Here’s the info from the event page:

galactic cross show poster.jp

Galactic Cross Vinyl Release Party

Friday, January 31, 2020 at Atlas Brew Works
2052 West Virginia Avenue North East, Washington, D.C.

Please come out and help celebrate Galactic Cross, as they release their debut, self titled album, and take the stage with friends, and local doom favorites Spiral Grave and Mangog.

Galactic Cross put their own blood, sweat, and tears into the making of this vinyl, and the proof can be heard in the finished product. Special thanks goes out to Brad Divens for mastering the material, and giving his special twist, that allowed it to be become the gem it transformed into.

Dave Davidson will be running sound for the event, and we hope to see you there.

Set Times:
Mangog – 8:00 – 8:45
Spiral Grave – 9:00 – 10:00
Galactic Cross – 10:15 – 11:45

https://www.facebook.com/MangogOfficial/

https://www.facebook.com/SpiralGrave/

https://www.facebook.com/galacticcross/

There will be a $10 cover at the door, and Galactic Cross will have vinyl, and logo tees onhand at the event.

Galactic Cross is:
Tony Saunders – Drums
Brian Virts – Guitar
Dave Sherman – Bass/vocals

https://www.facebook.com/events/2227404090890196/
https://www.facebook.com/galacticcross/

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Canyon of the Skull Stream New Album Sins of the Past in Full

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

canyon of the skull

Founded in Austin and now located in Chicago, Canyon of the Skull release their third album, Sins of the Past, on Nov. 20. It’s only been two years since founding guitarist Erik Ogershok — who then also handled bass duty — stood astride the band’s second full-length, the 37-minute single-tracker The Desert Winter, and yet clearly much has changed. For one, what had for a time been a duo with Ogershok and drummer Adrian Voorhies is now a trio with a full rhythm section in bassist Todd Haug and drummer Mike Miczek (also The Atlas Moth, etc.), and the latest work is produced and mixed by Sanford Parker with mastering by Collin Jordan, so yes, very much embracing the Windy City and its various resources. The changes go beyond that, however, as Sins of the Past brings forth two massive instrumentalist riff-slabs, lumbering and metallic in their root in kind, with “The Ghost Dance” hitting 25 minutes long as “The Sun Dance” on its own nearly matches the entirety of The Desert Winter at 34:12. The simple math has it at 59 minutes of plodding, sans-vocal sprawl, atmospheric but not overly ethereal or psychedelic while still managing to bring together elements out of post-metal, sludge, doom and traditional heavy metal.

Most impressively, Sins of the Past — which takes its thematic from Native American issues and stories from the Southwest — does not simply shift between styles. Throughout “The Ghost Dance” and “The Sun Dance” alike, it isn’t a case of “a doom part” and “a Canyon of the Skull Sins of the Pastmetal part,” or some such. Rather, OgershokHaug and Miczek bring these various sides together into one cohesive sound that is fluid in tipping its balance from one genre to another. This would almost have to be truer of “The Sun Dance,” which is even more extended than the leadoff track, but the ethos is the same across both, and it comes to fruition in thoughtful but not overthought progressions of patient, guitar-led rollout and sections of alternately tense and open-feeling movement. It’s not exploratory in the sense of jamming and seeing what happens — there’s a definite plan being followed here — but there’s still something about Sins of the Past that seems to draw the listener deeper into this complexity. It’s a heady release, to be sure, and a challenge in the sense of asking its audience to keep up with changes across 25- and 34-minute pieces that offer no vocals, much substance and purposefully little by way of an instrumental hook, but that only means there is more to dig into, and even in its later reaches, “The Sun Dance” in particular is immersive while holding to the relatively straightforward, grounded tones of its predecessor and the general spirit of the release overall, which doesn’t stray too far from the central, earthy atmosphere that “The Ghost Dance” incites early on — an immediacy underlying all the sprawl and end-to-end distance of the material.

It probably goes without saying (and yet, here I am, saying it) that a record comprised of two so drawn-out instrumental movements and makes so little play toward general accessibility probably isn’t going to be for everybody, but for more adventurous metallurgists and those craving depth and breadth alike, there’s plenty in Sins of the Past to inspire deep-dive listening, tracking each movement of the guitar, bass and drums as you go. I won’t say a negative word about that approach — it certainly has its advantages — but when it comes to Canyon of the Skull, it seems no less important to consider the overarching ambience that comes through the material even as the material itself isn’t all that ambient. That is, if one thinks of the record as a single work, then what’s the mood of that work? What is the work as a whole saying? In some ways, I wish Ogershok was more open in discussing the specific themes he’s working with in his songwriting — sometimes instrumentalists are surprisingly verbose on such matters, but apparently less so in this case — but his approach of “letting the listener decide” has arguable merits of its own as well. I’ll take it either way, I guess.

The more crucial matter would seem to be the urgency of the music itself, so maybe it’s best to let that do the not-talking. Ogershok does offer some comment on the record’s making below, following the player on which one can find the entirety of Sins of the Past streaming ahead of its Nov. 20 release.

I hope you enjoy:

Erik Ogershok on Sins of the Past:

“I try to do different things with each record and this one is no exception. This record is visceral and immediate, like the self-titled, while being highly conceptual and dynamic like The Desert Winter. ‘The Ghost Dance’ is probably the best thing that I have written to date. ‘The Sun Dance’ is unlike anything that I have ever written before. It incorporates my basic philosophies of composition but applies them differently, one that I jokingly call prog-doom.

The main aesthetic and themes that Canyon of the Skull was founded on remain unchanged. This band has always been focused on telling the stories of Indigenous Americans and their environments, specifically those of the American Southwest. I am still surprised at how many people have never met an Indigenous American, but we are not extinct, and this band exists to tell our stories both past, present, and future. This record is a bit more broad with the subject matter since it involves the rituals of tribes far from the land of my people. Also, this record is more influenced by recent events that have an impact beyond Native communities. I don’t like to talk specifically about the deeper meaning of any of my compositions as I want people to discover their meaning in our music. These two pieces have very specific meanings to both me and the wider world and googling the titles is my recommendation for people that want to delve deeper for the literal meanings.”

Recorded at Decade Music Studios March 2019
Recorded and Mixed by Sanford Parker
Produced by Sanford Parker and Canyon of the Skull
Mastered by Collin Jordan at Boiler Room Mastering
Artwork Layout and design by Erik Bredthauer

Canyon of the Skull is:
Erik Ogershok- Guitars
Todd Haug- Bass Guitar
Mike Miczek- Drums

Canyon of the Skull on Bandcamp

Canyon of the Skull on Thee Facebooks

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Naxatras Bringing Live Rituals at Gagarin 205 to Spotify, Deezer, etc., on Nov. 22

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

naxatras (Photo by Dan Deutsch)

You about ready for some new Naxatras? Me too. They’ve reportedly started putting material together for their next album, which one assumes and at very least hopes will show up sometime in 2020, but in the meantime, they’re paying another visit to their 2018 offering, Live Rituals at Gagarin 205. Tracked in Athens last April, it found the Greek heavy psych forerunners celebrating the release of their aptly-titled third album,  III (review here), and yes, it’s been on Bandcamp for a while now, but it’ll now also be on Spotify and Deezer what whatever else, and if you pre-save it (Which, I guess… is a thing… you can do… on streaming services?), you get a chance to win the LP version of III. Nice bit of digital/analog interaction there.

If you haven’t heard Live Rituals at Gagarin 205 yet, the Bandcamp player is below. There was also a CD release that came out with Metal Hammer Greece. I don’t even think I dare looking how much that goes for on Discogs.

From the band:

naxatras live rituals at gagarin 205

Naxatras – Live Rituals at Gagarin 205

Back in April 2018 we performed a special show, at Gagarin 205, in Athens, Greece, for the presentation of “III”. We captured the vibe and the feelings of that night and released it in physical form through METAL HAMMER GREECE, back in June 2018.

The time has come to release it digitally as well, on all platforms!

Anyone that pre-saves the album will have a chance of winning our album “III”, in vinyl form. 3 winners will be announced on November 23rd.

Out on November 22nd!

Pre-save link: https://orcd.co/naxatras_liveritualsatgagarin

Tracklisting:
1. You Won’t Be Left Alone 10:57
2. Downer 06:20
3. Machine 10:51
4. Waves 07:33
5. On the Silver Line 09:22
6. Garden of the Senses 10:29
7. I am the Beyonder 11:20
8. The Great Attractor 06:53

Recorded at Gagarin 205 and edited by George Giannikos.
Mixed at Ritual Sound Studios by Dimitris Metaxakis.
Mastered at Grindhouse Studios Athens by George Bokos.
Artwork and design by Christopher Toumazatos aka Chris RW.
Original photo used for the cover by Anastacia Papadaki.

This live album was recorded at our release show for “III” at Gagarin 205, Athens. It was first released as a CD with an issue of Metal Hammer (Greece), June 2018.

Naxatras is:
John Delias – Guitar
Kostas Harizanis – Drums
John Vagenas – Bass & Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/naxatras/
https://naxatras.bandcamp.com/

Naxatras, Live Rituals at Gagarin 205 (2018)

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The Osedax to Release Meridians Jan. 17

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 6th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the osedax

You get about three minutes into the second track before The Osedax break out the blastbeats, and that’s fine. By then the Virginian three-piece have churned their way through the post-metallic opener “Offen” and soon enough they’ll roll the track in question, the 14-minute “Beacon/Ox Eye,” to a suitably massive and thoughtful conclusion. They’re no strangers to longform work, as their 2015 outing, Titans Lament also showcased, but they wear the atmospherics well on the Meridians, which is their forthcoming third long-player, due out in January like the headline says.

There are a total of four cuts on the album, with “Beacon/Ox Eye” followed by the drone-first-then-all-the-pummel-followed-by-an-even-more-horrifying-moment-of-clarity “White Horse/Tempest” and the concluding “Ratlines,” which at a mere 7:22 is the only song under 11 minutes long and comprised totally of Twin Peaks-soundtrack-esque minimalist ambience, as it would almost have to be. I’ll take it, particularly after the sundry furies and feedback that lead up to its arrival.

The PR wire has release details and links. No audio yet, but it’s worth noting that The Osedax issued their debut album in 2010. The second record, as noted, followed in 2015. A third in 2020 puts them on an every-half-decade pace. If it’s not until 2025 that they do a fourth, at least they’ve given their listeners plenty to chew on in the prospective interim.

Cover art and whatnot:

The Osedax Meridians

The Osedax – Meridians

Release: 17 January 2020

Virginia is a hotspot for bands moving within sludgy circles, but one band who excel within the newer class are The Osedax. Named after a bone-burrowing deep sea worm, their music is similarly infectious as it worms its way into your system. Now on their third major release, Meridians, the group push their blend of atmospheric sludge/doom/post-metal to new heights, and the results are devastatingly effective.

Each track takes its sweet time to warm up, but once the drums kick it’s worth the wait. The Osedax perfectly capture the deep-water experience in all its forms, whether floating in a wash of guitar static, trudging through muddy riffs and melancholic synths, or – the pièce de résistance – when the band kick “Beacon / Ox Eye” and “White Horse / Tempest” in the guts with frantic blast beats akin to black metal like Downfall of Gaia. In addition, slimming down to a trio has had no ill effect on the band’s potency – the shared vocals flow between harrowing yells à la Neurosis and creature-like shrieks. The overall effect is cavernous, a sound that envelops and simultaneously destroys eardrums.

If you weren’t already familiar via Delayed Response or Titans Lament, then Meridians should be mandatory listening for fans of the above-mentioned genres, and who like floating at the bottom of the ocean.

Tracklisting:
1. Offen
2. Beacon/Ox Eye
3. White Horse / Tempest
3. Ratlines

The Osedax are:
Mike Horn (Bass/Vocals/Synth) – ex Psyopus / Mod Flanders Conspiracy
Scott Coldwell (Guitar/Vocals) – ex Mod Flanders Conspiracy
Kevin Grevey (Drums/Percussion) – Gloom

https://facebook.com/theosedax
https://theosedax.bandcamp.com/

The Osedax, Titans Lament (2015)

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