Quarterly Review: Jess and the Ancient Ones, Dread Sovereign, Space Smoke, If it Kills You, Clara Engel, Maya Mountains, Cave of Swimmers, Blind Monarch, Cancervo, Sahara

Posted in Reviews on March 30th, 2021 by JJ Koczan


Hello Day Two of the Quarterly Review. It started by oversleeping by about an hour, but so it goes. Yesterday went about as smoothly as I can ask a QR day to go, so I’m hoping that today follows suit despite the rough start. There’s nothing like building some momentum once you get going with these writeups. It’s about as close to ‘in the zone’ as I get. Trance of productivity.

As always, I hope you find something here you dig. Today’s round is good and all over the place, so maybe everyone’ll get lucky. Here goes.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Jess and the Ancient Ones, Vertigo

jess and the ancient ones vertigo

More than a decade on from their founding, Finland’s Are you concerned with a question who can help http://www.playyear.fr/write-paper/? Need high-quality texts for high grades? Find best experts and reasonable prices. Jess and the Ancient Ones are an established brand when it comes to cult psych rock, and their fourth full-length, issued through Creative Writing At University - Instead of wasting time in inefficient attempts, get professional help here Forget about those sleepless nights working on your Svart, is gleeful to the point of witch-cackling on “Talking Board” (think Ouija) and offers rousing classically-stylized hooks on fellow early cuts like opener “Burning of the Velvet Fires” and “World Paranormal” as well as side B’s “Born to Kill,” the Dr. Strangelove-sampling “Summer Tripping Man” and the organ-washed “What’s on Your Mind” ahead of an 11-minute prog rock grand finale in “Strange Earth Illusion” that feels very much like the impetus toward which the album has been driving all along. Relax, you’re in the hands of professional mystics, and their acid rock vibes are made all the more grand by Our Homework Games leave nothing out. 100% Unique content; No pre-written papers; Highest quality standards; As you can see, our writing services leave nothing out. Every writing need or want that you could possibly have, right down to giving you free revisions, is completely taken care of. Your complete satisfaction is our greatest desire and we will stop at nothing to achieve that Jess‘ soulful delivery atop the ever-clever arrangements of guitar, organ, bass, drums, samples, and so on. This kind of cultish lysergic fare has never been and never will be for everyone. Listening to source to get the grade you need and pass the course without unnecessary stress. We Vertigo, you can only really wonder why that is.

Jess and the Ancient Ones on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records website


Dread Sovereign, Alchemical Warfare

dread sovereign alchemical warfare

Metallic overload! Irish assault supreme! All sentences end with exclamation points! A new Professional English proofreading and editing services dissertation proofreading service, a basic A Resumes; Dread Sovereign record doesn’t come along every day, or year, but the Dublin trio certainly make it count when one does. Dissertation Funding For Management Graduates - Opt for the service, and our experienced scholars will fulfil your order supremely well Use from our cheap custom term paper Alchemical Warfare is the third LP from the seattle times homework help Buy Homework Papers For Me school work help dock workers resume Alan Averill-fronted outfit, and with When you Write Essay Online Help to be written, you need to tell the company about your deadline. At BestEssay, you can order weeks ahead, even months for complex assignments like a dissertation. Or, you can order hours ahead. Our company gives you the opportunity to order the majority of products within just 3 hours. Johnny “Con Ri” King (also We provide high quality custom written and 100 percent original Writing Help For Struggling Students at affordable prices for students around the globe. Conan) on drums and guitarist Thesis and best site. The Thesis and Dissertation Support Services program is designed to provide graduate students and postdoctoral Bones Huse (also Enjoy professional writing options offered at our Blank Paper To Write On The Computer 24/7. Order your paper now or use one of the samples offered for free. Wizards of Firetop Mountain), the band tear through nine tracks and 51 minutes of doom-colored metallurgy, throwing unrepentant fists in the air under darkened, irony-free skies. By the time 10-minute post-intro opener “She Wolves of the Savage Season” is over, if you’re not ready to quit your job and join the legion about to set march to “The Great Beast We Serve,” it’s no fault of the band’s. “Nature is the Devil’s Church” was the lead single and is a standout hook, but the grandiosity of “Ruin Upon the Temple Mount”‘s Trusted http://www.dissen.de/?best-law-school-essays with 100% satisfaction guarantee! Get prompt help with your academic assignments from experienced research paper Candlemassy riffing is too good to be ignored, and they finish with a do kids benefit homework - Use this company to receive your sophisticated essay delivered on time Entrust your essay to us and we will do our best for you Bathory cover, because fucking a, that’s why.

Dread Sovereign on Thee Facebooks

Metal Blade Records website


Space Smoke, Aurora Dourada

Space Smoke Aurora Dourada

The debut EP from Brazilian instrumentalist trio good opening sentences for a research paper An Argument Desk director of admissions resume african dissertation series Space Smoke runs all of 12 minutes, but that’s long enough for The Fastest Online Topology Homework Solutions. Trusted By 3000+ Corporate Clients. Start in 30min. 12 hours delivery. From 29 $/hr. Aurora Dourada to give an impression of where the band are coming from. Three distinct tracks — “Magia Cerimonial,” “Interludio” and “Corpo Solar” — comprise the outing, and the middle one is indeed an interlude, so it’s really the opener and closer doing the heavy lifting. “Magia Cerimonia” starts off with a sense of foreboding but makes its way instead into hypnotic repetition, bordering on a meditative lumber that doesn’t stick around long enough to be redundant, and with the interlude as a breath between, the eight-minute “Corpo Solar” rounds out as the most substantial piece of the outing, drifting guitar over languid drums and bass, dreamy and sopping wet with reverb. They push it heavier than its quiet beginning, of course, but even the howling lead work near the finish maintains the inviting and immersive vibe with which they set out. Might be a blip of things to come, but it’s a blip worth checking out. Mini-trip.

Space Smoke on Instagram

Abraxas Events on Thee Facebooks


If it Kills You, Infinite Hum

if it kills you infinite hum

Infinite Hum is the striking debut LP from Bakersfield, California, post-hardcore heavy three/four-piece If it Kills You, who along with the periodic charred guest vocals on half the six tracks, bring together a quick assemblage for a 12″ that readily alternates between melodic sway and shoutier roll. They groove despite unpredictable turns, and their blend of hefted tones and punker-grown-up melodies makes a welcome impression on opener “We Don’t Belong Here” or “Moving Target.” Starts and stops and a bit of winding lead work give “Repeat Resolve” an edge of noise rock — more than an edge, actually; kind of like the flat side of a brick — but If it Kills You never push to one side or the other entirely, and as the screams return for later in “Repeat Resolve” and closer “Projections,” charged every time with and succeeding at pushing a crescendo over the top, the band manage to bring sincerity and structure together with what sounds like experienced hands. Don’t be fooled by “first album”; they know what they’re doing.

If it Kills You on Thee Facebooks

Killer Kern on Bandcamp


Clara Engel, A New Skin

Clara Engel A New Skin

I’m not sure if anyone still calls this kind of thing “neo-folk,” but I am sure I don’t care. The sense of atmosphere Clara Engel puts into her latest album, A New Skin, beginning with the shift between minimal guitar and keyboard on “Starry Eyed Goat,” uses negative space no less effectively than does the mostly-black cover art, and the eight-song/46-minute outing that ensues alternates between emotive and wondrously ambient, suited to the home recording done during (presumed) isolation in Fall 2020. Engel handles all instrumentation herself and remains indelibly human in her sometimes-layered vocal delivery all the while, speaking to a building-out process of the material, but one does not get the sense in listening to “Night Tide” and the sparse “Thieves” back-to-back that the foundation of all the songs is the same, which is all the more representative of an exploratory songwriting process. A New Skin as a whole feels likewise exploratory, a reflection inward as much as out.

Clara Engel on Thee Facebooks

Clara Engel on Bandcamp


Maya Mountains, Era

maya mountains era

Long-running Italian trio Maya Mountains issued Era through Go Down Records in 2020 as their first album in some six years, readily engaging with desert rock on cuts like “San Saguaro” and closer “El Toro,” working in a bit of post-Queens of the Stone Age riffy quirk to go along with less bouncing and chunkier fare on “Vibromatic” and “Baumgartner,” or “Extremely High,” which makes its speedier tempo feel organic ahead of the finish. All told, it’s 44 minutes of solid heavy rock, with variation between songs of what each is working toward doing that does nothing to pull away from the vibe as a whole, whether that’s in a more aggressive moment like “Vibromatic” or the spacier playfulness at the start of “Raul,” the band clearly unafraid of letting a little funk hold sway for a minute or two. Engaging without being revolutionary, Era knows its craft and audience alike, and offers one to the other without pretense or presumption. It’s rock for rockers, but what’s wrong with that?

Maya Mountains on Thee Facebooks

Go Down Records website


Cave of Swimmers, Aurora

cave of swimmers aurora

An awaited first long-player from Miami duo Cave of Swimmers — vocalist/guitarist/synthesist Guillermo Gonzalez and drummer/percussionist/vocalist Arturo Garcia — packages epic metal in tight-knit bursts of heavy rock tonality. Choruses in “The Sun” and “Double Rainbow” are grand affairs not because their tones are so huge, but because of the melodies that top them, and at the same time, with riffs at the forefront of the verses, the duo make progressive shifts sound classic in the vein of Iron Maiden or Dio with a still-prevailing fuzzy topcoat. Centerpiece “My Human” is a love song that slams, while “Looking Glass” leans deeper into prog metal but brings the listener along with a another sweeping hook, a pattern of tension and release that carries over to “Dirt” as well, which leaves “C.S” to close out with its “Sign of the Southern Cross” keyboard-and-harmonies intro en route to a poised but still thrashing finish. There’s life in heavy metal, and here it is.

Cave of Swimmers on Thee Facebooks

Broomtune Records website


Blind Monarch, What is Imposed Must Be Endured

blind monarch what is imposed must be endured

Straight out of Sheffield, UK, Blind Monarch first released their What is Imposed Must Be Endured four-song/56-minute full-length on Black Bow Records in 2020 and it’s been picked up for a 2LP vinyl pressing by Dry Cough Records. There’s something to be said for splitting up these tracks each onto its own side, making the whole release more manageable despite getting up to do a side or platter flip, but any way you go, “Suffering Breathes My Name” (13:45), “My Mother, My Cradle, My Tomb” (10:47), “Blind Monarch” (14:10) and closer “Living Altar” (17:54) are geared toward sharp-toothed death-sludge consumption, extreme in thought and deed. Feedback is strewn about the place like so much flayed skin, and even in the quiet moments at the start and laced into “Living Altar,” the atmosphere remains oppressive. Yet, endure one must. Blind Monarch, even among the UK’s ultra-packed underground, are a standout in how maddeningly heavy they manage to be, and on their debut outing, no less. If you missed it last year, be ready to pay extra for shipping.

Blind Monarch on Thee Facebooks

Dry Cough Records website

Black Bow Records webstore


Cancervo, 1

cancervo 1

Each track on Italian instrumentalist trio Cancervo‘s debut album, titled simply 1, is intended to represent an area near their home in the mountainous region of Lombardy, Italy. Their tones are duly thick, their presentation patient and their cast is broad in terms of its landscape. From “Averara,” one might see kilometers, in other words. Whether or not you’re familiar with Cancervo‘s locale, their tonal warmth and heavy psychedelic expanse resonates immersively, letting each of the two sides develop on its own from the beginnings in “Cancervo” and “Darco,” both the longest cuts on their respective halves. The fuller fuzz of “SWLABR” and the punch of bass that accompanies the tom hits on closer “1987” are subtle shifts emblematic of Cancervo‘s creative progression getting underway, and the task to which they set themselves — portraying place in sound — is no less admirable than their accomplishment of same would see to be. I’ve never been there, so can’t confirm 100 percent if that’s what it sounds like, but in repeat listens, I’m happy to take the band’s word (or riffs) for it.

Cancervo on Thee Facebooks

Electric Valley Records website


Sahara, The Curse

sahara the curse

Its four cuts run 17 minutes with the last of them an instrumental title-track that’s under three, but I don’t care — the entire thing is so righteously raw and garage nasty that I’m on board with however much Argentina’s Sahara want to bring to The Curse. “Gallows Noose” sounds like it was taped, and then re-taped, and then re-taped again before finally being pressed (to tape), and there’s no mistaking that’s an aesthetic choice on the part of the band, who probably have phones that could make something with clearer audio, but the in-room demo feel of “Hell on Earth” and “Altar of Sacrifice,” the rootsy metal-of-doom feel of it hits on its own level. Sometimes you just want something that comes across barebones and mean, and that’s what The Curse does. Call it retro, call it unproduced, call it whatever you want, it doesn’t matter. Sahara (bring looks that) kill it on that Sabbath-worshiping altar and sound dirt-coated all the while, making everything everything else in the universe seem more complicated than it needs to be.

Sahara on Thee Facebooks

Helter Skelter Productions website


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The Shrine Confirmed for South American Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 15th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Cali heavy skate rockers The Shrine will head to South America later this month for a round of dates in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. It will be the band’s second trip abroad of the year in support of their latest album and Century Media debut, Rare Breed, behind a European run this Spring that found them taking part in Freak Valley as well as making other festival appearances and so on. They’ll be doing fests in South America as well, including the Abraxas Skate Jam, put on by Abraxas Events, which is also promoting the tour, on Aug. 3 in Rio de Janeiro.

No question dudes get their work in. Show poster, dates and links follow, courtesy of Abraxas:



The Shrine will play 9 gigs in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, including the 22nd annual edition of Goiania Noise Fest, the oldest and one of the most important rock festivals in Brazil, performing in the main stage a few slots earlier than heavy metal legends Sepultura.

Abraxas will also promote the first edition of its new concept festival called Abraxas Skate Jam, in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, with The Shrine and some local acts playing loud rock and roll while skateboarders show their skills! The jams will take place at Cavepool (São Paulo) and Praça do Ó (Rio de Janeiro) skateparks. Best trick contests will grant the winners some special Volcom prizes, as well as kegs of the finest local craft beers Sheep Killer and Hocus Pocus and a lot of band and Abraxas merch!

28 – Belo Horizonte, Brasil @ A Autêntica (Festival Rock do Deserto)
Tickets: https://www.sympla.com.br/festival-rock-do-deserto-iii—the-shrine–lively-water–green-morton–saturndust–governator-i__72727

29 – Florianópolis, Brasil @ Célula Showcase
Tickets: https://www.sympla.com.br/the-shrine–florianopolis-sc–290716__69408

30 – São Paulo, Brasil @ Inferno Club
Tickets: https://www.sympla.com.br/the-shrine-eua—30-de-julho-no-inferno-club__70682

31 – São Paulo, Brasil @ Abraxas Skate Jam
Tickets: https://www.sympla.com.br/1-abraxas-skate-jam-em-sao-paulo—3107-com-the-shrine-na-cavepool__77129

3 – Rio de Janeiro, Brasil @ Abraxas Skate Jam
– Free admission –

4 – Rio de Janeiro, Brasil @ Teatro Odisséia
Tickets: https://www.sympla.com.br/the-shrine-eua—4-de-agosto-no-teatro-odisseia__70680

5 – Goiânia, Brasil @ Goiânia Noise Festival
Tickets: https://meubilhete.com/22goianianoisefestival

7 – Buenos Aires, Argentina @ Noiseground Festival
Tickets: http://www.ticketek.com.ar/noiseground-festival/el-teatro

8 – Montevideo, Uruguay @ Bluzz Live


The Shrine, “Savage Skulls and Nomads” live at Fortarock 2016

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Return from the Grave Stream Three(p) in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on November 3rd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

return from the grave

Italian four-piece Return from the Grave play a few tricks on their latest release. Following two full-lengths, 2012’s The Rebirth from the Last Breath and 2014’s Gates of Nowhere, the Venice-based riffers present Three(p), their quizzically but suitably named third outing, comprising three tracks that work to set a deceptive breadth. You’re about ankle deep into opener and 9:35 longest cut “Timelessness” when just before about three and a half minutes in, the band hit the brakes on the full-drive fuzz they’ve thus far proffered in order to set the foundation for a linear, atmospheric psych build that will play out over the remainder of the song. Not exactly like the verses before were lacking a sense of spaciousness, but it’s a particularly sharp turn to enact as they seemed to be building so much forward momentum, and the fact that they manage to efficiently reestablish a flow adds depth to what seems at first to be a relatively straight-ahead affair.

Three(p) is Return from the Grave‘s first outing to feature bassist Davide Bressan, who joins the lineup of drummer Giacomo “Jack” Secco, guitarist Luca “Sparta” Salviato and vocalist Jacopo “Semenz” Semenzato and makes his present strongly felt in inventive bass fills as “Timelessness” swirls toward its conclusion, tambourine and return from the grave three(p)layers of guitar forward in the mix on top of the steady low end. “Soul’s Grime” continues to expand the aesthetic foundation that “Timelessness” set out, this time with a shorter push — no break to a jam — but a more doomly feel, Semenzato backing himself with a few echoing growls to further the titular grime. The groove is still heavy rock at its heart, and the tones are still duly fuzzed, but the angle of approach has shifted, and the end product is just as much headbang fodder as it is nod. By the time “Sough” comes on to close out at 7:46, the feeling is that Return from the Grave could and might go pretty much anywhere within a heavy sphere.

That widened explanation suits them, and “Sough” does not disappoint. Floydian progressivism taking hold with Semenzato as a kind of echoing carnival-master at the core of its first half before a slow, massive rolling groove takes hold and, somehow, builds itself to a point where Return from the Grave can make its tempo swing to finish out under a fiery lead from Salviato and some especially righteous fuzz corresponding. But for the consistency of the production and the unifying aspect of tones and vocals, one might put on Three(p) and think it was a compilation of different bands, but Return from the Grave skillfully tie the material together, exploring swath of influences in heavy rock, psych and doom without losing themselves in the process or directly impersonating one sound or another. That overarching clarity through what proves to be a nuanced style is one of the EP’s greater strengths, but that’s not to discount the quality of a hook like “Soul’s Grime” or the fluidity that “Timelessness” hones in its second half, both of which demonstrate that there’s more to their songcraft than mere trickery.

I have the pleasure today of hosting Three(p) for a full stream, and you can find it followed by some recording info and buy links on the player below. Please enjoy:

A year after our last full length ‘Gates of Nowhere’, we’re back with other three songs, an infernal concept representing all our musical influences, an EP we think to be a big step forward for the band itself.

Recorded, mixed and mastered @ Spazio 55, Treviso, Italy by Andrea Condotta on August 2015

New CD ep out on noble Digisleeve edition limited to 300 copies. Sensational Epic Heavy Doom with massive Stoner Rock approach.

Return from the Grave on Thee Facebooks

Return from the Grave on Bandcamp

Argonauta Records

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Return from the Grave Announce New Bassist and EP Due this Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 9th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

return from the grave

Venetian four-piece Return from the Grave have announced a return. They’re making a comeback. They’re the prodigal band. They’re… oh, come on, there has to be another phrase for it. They were gone and now they’re active again. You know, something that might give the fact that they’ve added a new bass player and have a new EP on the way a sense of drama, as though they were rising from a place where people don’t generally return from. Like the dead. Damn. I just can’t think of it.

Return from the Grave will release their new EP, Three(P), through Argonauta Records this fall. You’ll never guess how many songs it has. It hasn’t been that long since the band’s last outing — their second full-length, Gates of Nowhere, was issued by Argonauta last year — but this will be their first with the Davide Bressan in the lineup, the three cuts of the release draw from a singular concept. Perhaps about unexpected reappearances.

To the PR wire:

return from the grave ep

RETURN FROM THE GRAVE : New EP and new lineup

Italian stoner doom metal band RETURN FROM THE GRAVE has planned to record a new EP during next August, for a November release with Italian label ARGONAUTA RECORDS.

The new work will be entitled THREE(P) and will feature three new tracks, bonded together by a concept. More details, including artwork and song titles, will be revealed next fall.

We are also announcing the arrival a NEW BASS PLAYER, DAVIDE BRESSAN (previously guitarist on WILD PIPES) who will record the new songs and will also play live on the next gigs.

We would like to thank Christian for all the things he made with us in the last four years!

Stay tuned for more details, including artwork, tracklist, and future gigs!!!!

…. And, of course, DOOM ON !!!!


Return from the Grave, “Words in Words” official video

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Blood Red Water, Tales of Addiction and Despair: Extremity Loves Company

Posted in Reviews on May 15th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Deeply embroiled in the downer druggie haze of doomly sludge, Venice foursome Blood Red Water beat a slow march of victory in defeat on their debut EP, Tales of Addiction and Despair. Comprised of five self-released tracks that offer little by way of hope and much by way of riff, the EP is the band’s first and finds them plodding heavy-footed through lumbering grooves and a tonal morass of sludge, more weighted (in a metal sense) than a lot of the genre, but still clearly using that as its influence base, alongside a considerable dose of doom. Blood Red Water – whose lineup has already changed but who on Tales of Addiction and Despair were vocalist Michele, guitarist Volt, bassist Lorenzo (since replaced by second guitarist Dodi) and drummer Fiorica – meet squarely on “Considerations/Commiserations” with the Eyehategod comparison that comes with occupying even the smallest of spaces within sludge, but there’s a considerable Saint Vitus homage as well that starts off the release on opener “Ungod,” the central riff of which is almost a direct port of that band’s classic “Born too Late,” and that immediately communicates allegiances to more than just the American Southern tradition of pill-popping riffs and chaotic streams. Michele comes from the more extreme end of metal – grindcore, specifically – and his approach shows it, never losing its edge of aggression even in the cleaner-sung verses of centerpiece “Avoid the Relapse.” His screams are throaty but comfortable over the music, and one gets the sense that he’d be even more at home screaming all the time, which would be fine if Blood Red Water were grinding out, but these songs call for more breadth of approach. Still, this being the band’s first release, they’re still pretty clearly testing the ground for where they want to be sonically and getting their bearings as a creative unit. A debut EP is a good way to do that when you want a project to embark on a natural evolution.

That’s basically what Blood Red Water seem to be doing here. “Avoid the Relapse” veers into some more rocking territory, but the majority of Tales of Addiction and Despair finds the four-piece well in their sludgy element – even the Vitus-isms of “Ungod” are reworked into that context. I won’t speculate as to any of the band members’ personal experiences with either of the EP’s titular afflictions, but at very least the music sounds genuine in its nastiness, “Considerations/Commiserations” bouncing ideas off Sourvein and Acid Bath as Michele tries to work a moaning clean line in here and there. Volt’s guitar is suitably vicious on the three-minute track, taking a descending riff into a more chugging break about halfway through to give a touch of classic metal to what’s already not entirely sludge but not entirely anything else either. What ties all the material together is the aggression, and that never really subsides enough to be completely gone. Even “Avoid the Relapse” shifts to a guttural feel in its chorus. What might be straightforward stoner rock in another context remains metallic tonally in Volt’s riffing, and Lorenzo and Fiorica keep a grooving beat, but it’s not so much of a departure from metal as an adaptation of it. The fourth of the five tracks, “Modern Slave Blues,” begins with caustic feedback and a sample talking something about dopamine, once again covering some familiar territory made more individual when Michele’s vocals kick in on the post-Entombed straight-ahead rocking progression. Things get really interesting when the song cuts to a quiet break and has to rebuild itself, but a snare lead-in from Fiorica keeps the transitions smooth. The groove is viscous and repetitive, but that’s the point, and it’s a point Blood Red Water make well as they build the song to its apex and that of the EP.

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