Quarterly Review: Sonic Flower, Demon Head, Rakta & Deafkids, Timo Ellis, Heavy Feather, Slow Draw, Pilot Voyager, The Ginger Faye Bakers, Neromega, Tung

Posted in Reviews on April 2nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

Friday morning and the Spring 2021 Quarterly Review draws to a close. It’s been a good one, and though there are probably enough albums on my desktop to make it go another few days, better to quit while I’m ahead in terms of not-being-so-tired-I’m-angry-at-everything-I’m-hearing. In any case, as always, I hope you found something here you enjoy. I have been pleasantly surprised on more than a few occasions, especially by debuts.

We wrap with more cool stuff today and since I’m on borrowed time as it is, let me not delay.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Sonic Flower, Rides Again

sonic flower rides again

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Sonic Flower on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

 

Demon Head, Viscera

demon head viscera

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Demon Head on Thee Facebooks

Metal Blade Records website

 

Rakta & Deafkids, Live at Sesc Pompeia

Rakta Deafkids Live at Sesc Pompeia

Next time someone asks you what the future sounds like, you’ll have a good answer for them. Combined into a six-piece band, Brazilian outfits Rakta and Deafkids harness ambience and space-punk thrust into a sound that is born of a past that hasn’t yet happened. Their Live at Sesc Pompeia LP follows on from a 2019 two-songer, but it’s in the live performance that the spirit of this unity really shines through, and from opener/longest track (immediate points) “Miragem” through the semi-industrialized effects swirl of “Templo do Caos,” into the blower-noise dance party “Sigilo,” the weirdo-chug-jam of “Forma” and the space rock breakout “Flor de Pele” and the percussed buzz and echoing howls of “Espirais,” they are equal parts encompassing and singular. It is not to be ignored, and though there are moments that border on unlistenable, you can hear from the wailing crowd at the end that to be in that room was to witness something special. As a document of that, Live at Sesc Pompeia feels like history in the making.

Rakta on Thee Facebooks

Deafkids on Thee Facebooks

Rapid Eye Records website

 

Timo Ellis, Death is Everywhere

Timo Ellis Death is Everywhere

A madcap, weighted-but-anti-genre sensibility comes to life in supernova-experimentalist fashion throughout the four songs of Timo EllisDeath is Everywhere. The lockdown-era EP from Ellis (Netherlands, Yoko Ono, Cibo Matto, on and on) makes post-modern shenanigans out of apocalypses inner and outer, and from lines like “this bridal shower is bumming me out” in the unabashedly hooky “Vampire Rodeo” to “the earth will still breathe fire without you!” in “Left Without an Answer,” the stakes are high despite the flittering-in-appreciation-of-the-absurd mood of the tracks themselves. The title-track and “Evolve or Die” blend sonic heft and the experimental pop movement that “Vampire Rodeo” sets forth — the third cut is positively manic and maniacally positive — while “Left Without an Answer” almost can’t help but be consuming as it rolls into a long fade leaving intertwining vocals lines as the last to go, telling the listener to “learn to say goodbye” without making it easy. Won’t be for everyone, doesn’t want to be. Is expression for itself. Feels genuine in that, and admirable.

Timo Ellis on Thee Facebooks

Timo Ellis on Bandcamp

 

Heavy Feather, Mountain of Sugar

heavy feather mountain of sugar

With not-at-all-subtle nods to Humble Pie and Ennio Morricone in its opening tracks, Heavy Feather‘s second LP, Mountain of Sugar, has boogie to spare. No time is wasted on the 38-minute/11-track follow-up to 2019’s D√©bris & Rubble (review here), and true to the record’s title, it’s pretty sweet. The collection pits retro mindset against modern fullness in its harmonica-laced, duly-fuzzed title-track, and goes full-Fleetwood on “Come We Can Go” heading into a side B that brings a highlight in the soft-touch-stomp of “Rubble and Debris” and an earned bit of Southern-styled turn in “Sometimes I Feel” that makes a fitting companion to all the bluesy vibes throughout, particularly those of the mellow “Let it Shine” earlier. The Stockholm outfit knew what they were doing last time out too, but you can hear their process being refined throughout Mountain of Sugar, and even its most purposefully familiar aspects come across with a sense of will and playfulness.

Heavy Feather on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Slow Draw, Yellow & Gray

slow draw yellow and gray

Don’t tell him I told you so, but Slow Draw is starting to sound an awful lot like a band. What began as a drone/soundscaping project from Stone Machine Electric drummer/noisemaker Mark Kitchens has sprouted percussive roots of its own on Yellow & Gray, and as Kitchens explores textures of psychedelic funk, mellow heavy and even a bit of ’70s proggy homage in “Sylvia” ahead of the readily Beck-ian jam “Turntable” and acousti-drone closer “A Slow Move,” the band-vibe is rampant. I’m going to call Yellow & Gray a full-length despite the fact that it’s 24 minutes long because its eight songs inhabit so many different spaces between them, but however you want to tag it, it demonstrates the burgeoning depth of Kitchens‘ project and how it’s grown in perhaps unanticipated ways. If this is what he’s been doing in isolation — as much as Texas ever shuttered for the pandemic — his time has not been wasted.

Slow Draw on Thee Facebooks

Slow Draw on Bandcamp

 

Pilot Voyager, Nuclear Candy Bar

plot voyager nuclear candy bar

Freak! Out! The 66-minute Nuclear Candy Bar from Hungarian psychedelicists Pilot Voyager might end mostly drifting with the 27-minute “23:61,” but much of the four tracks prior to that finale are fuzz-on-go-go-go-out-out-out heavy jams, full in tone and improv spirit however planned their course may or may not actually be. To say the least, “Fuzziness” lives up to its name, as guitarist/founder √Ākos Karancz — joined by bassist Bence Ambrus (who also mastered) and drummers Kriszti√°n Megyeri and Istv√°n Baumgartner (the latter only on the closer) — uses a relatively earthbound chug as a launchpad for further space/krautrocking bliss, culminating in a scorching cacophony that’s the shortest piece on the record at just under seven minutes. If you make it past the molten heat of the penultimate title-track, there’s no turning away from “23:61,” as the first minute of that next day pulls you in from the outset, a full-length flow all unto itself. More more more, yes yes yes. Alright you get the point.

Pilot Voyager on Thee Facebooks

Psychedelic Source Records on Bandcamp

 

The Ginger Faye Bakers, Camaro

the ginger faye bakers camaro

Sit with The Ginger Faye BakersCamaro EP for a little bit. Don’t just listen to the first track, or even the second, third or fourth, on their own, but take a few minutes to put it all together. Won’t take long, the thing’s only 17 minutes long, and in so doing you’ll emerge with a more complex picture of who they are as a band. Yeah, you hear the opening title-cut and think early-Queens of the Stone Age-style desert riffing, maybe with a touch of we’re-actually-from-the-Northeast tonal thickness, but the garage-heavy of “The Creeps” feels self-aware in its Uncle Acid-style swing, and as the trio move through the swinging “The Master” and “Satan’s Helpers,” the last song drawing effectively from all sides, the totality of the release becomes all the more sinister for the relatively straight-ahead beginning just a short time earlier. Might be a listen or two before it sinks in, but they’ve found a niche for themselves here and one hopes they continue to follow where their impulses lead them.

The Ginger Faye Bakers on Thee Facebooks

The Ginger Faye Bakers on Bandcamp

 

Neromega, Nero Omega

Neromega Nero Omega

If you’re not yet keeping an eye on Regain Records offshoot Helter Skelter Productions, Rome’s Neromega are a fervent argument for doing so. The initials-only cultish five-piece are Italian as much in their style of doom as they are in geography, and across their four-song Nero Omega debut EP, they run horror organ and classic heavy rock grooves alongside each other while nodding subtly at more extreme fare like the death ‘n’ roll rumble in closer “Un Posto” or the dirt-coated low end that caps “Pugnale Ardore,” the drifting psych only moments ago quickly forgotten in favor of renewed shuffle. Eight-minute opener “Solitudine,” might be the highlight as well as the longest inclusion on the 24-minute first-showing, but it’s by no means the sum total of what the band have on offer, as they saunter through giallo, psychedelia, doom, heavy riffs and who knows what else to come, they strike an immediately individual atmospheric presence even while actively toying with familiar sounds. The EP is cohesive enough to make me wonder what their initials are.

Neromega on Thee Facebooks

Helter Skelter Productions website

 

Tung, Bleak

TUNG BLEAK

Some of the made-even-bigger-by-echo vocals from guitarist Craig Kasamis might remind of Maurice Bryan Giles from Red Fang, but Ventura, California’s Tung are up chasing down a different kind of party on 2020’s Bleak, though Kasamis, guitarist David Briceno (since replaced by Bill Bensen), bassist Nick Minasian and drummer Rob Dean have a strong current of West Coast noise rock in what they’re doing as well in “Runaway,” a lurcher like “Spit” later on or the run-till-it-crashes finisher “Fallen Crown,” which the only song apart from the bookending opener “Succession Hand” to have a title longer than a single word. Still, Tung have their own, less pop-minded take on brashness, and this debut album leaves the bruises behind to demonstrate its born-from-hardcore lineage. Their according lack of frills makes Bleak all the more effective at getting its point across, and while they’d probably tell you their sound is nothing fancy, it’s fancy enough to stomp all over your ears for about half an hour, and that’s as fancy as it needs to be. Easy to dig even in its more aggressive moments.

Tung on Thee Facebooks

Plain Disguise Records website

 

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Demon Head Post “The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony” Video; Viscera out Jan. 29

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 2nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

This is as crucial a moment as I can think of Demon Head as having in their career. Certainly since their first album, anyhow. With the details of their fourth long-player and label debut for Metal Blade Records, Viscera, the five-piece aren’t just sharing a track off the record like it’s nothing, business as usual. They’re basically introducing themselves to a new listenership thanks to their new home’s larger distribution and promotional footprint. Don’t get me wrong, it was a big deal when they put out Hellfire Ocean Void (review here) and set about moving deeper into the darkened reaches of their own sound, but “The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony” has a pivotal role to play as preorders launch for Viscera.

And Demon Head don’t shy away from it. For those who’ve followed the band, the new track/video shows immediately that they’ve continued to progress. It’s arguably the most atmospheric song they’ve done as a group, and they’ve never been shy about setting a mood. And for those new to the band, “The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony” serves as an exciting outside-genre look at a band come into their own sound. The fact that it’s the closer alone makes it a brave choice as a first single. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the LP.

From the PR wire:

demon head viscera

Demon Head reveals details for new album, ‘Viscera’; launches video for new single, “The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony”

On January 29th, Demon Head will release their new album, Viscera, via Metal Blade Records. For a first preview of the record, a video for the new single, “The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony” (created by Justine Morrow aka lathe.of.heaven), can be viewed at: metalblade.com/demonhead – where Viscera can be pre-ordered in the following formats:

– hardcover digisleeve-CD
– 180g clear deluxe edition vinyl w/ o-card, backpatch, and poster (Kings Road exclusive – limited to 300 copies)
– 180g black vinyl (EU exclusive)
– clear ash grey marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 250 copies)
– dark red / black marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 250 copies)
– clear / black dust vinyl (Kings Road exclusive – limited to 100 copies)
– clear brown marbled vinyl (US exclusive)

Demon Head is comprised of five internationally based and widely acclaimed musicians; Mikkel Sander Fuglsang, Birk Gjerlufsen Nielsen, Marcus Ferreira Larsen, Thor Gjerlufsen Nielsen and Jeppe Wittus. Though hesitant to compromise the description of the music they perform through generalizing terms of genre, they’ve coined the term “diabolic rock” as an appropriate presentation.

Their fourth full-length – Viscera – is a new beginning for Demon Head. Recorded during the first months of 2020 between the legendary Sweet Silence Studios by Flemming Rasmussen (Metallica, Morbid Angel, Rainbow) and a remote country house in Sweden, the album was mixed by Martin ‘Konie’ Ehrencrona (In Solitude, Tribulation, Nifelheim). The production shows the impeccable qualities of joined forces, where old techniques meet new aesthetics, and major label possibilities meet underground, uncompromising DIY dedication. The resulting 10 songs showcase acoustic instruments, flourishing mellotron strings, brass instruments, tape manipulation and church organ – displayed in equal measure to the sound of the crushing drums of J.W, cryptic guitars of brothers B.G.N and T.G.N, pounding bass lines of M.S.F, and the vocals of M.F.L combined with the eerily captivating falsetto and baryton of B.G.N.

Demon Head comments: “We are now ready to offer You ‘Viscera’. It contains more of us than any album we have made before, and we hope that You will welcome it as sincerely as it will welcome You.”

Viscera track-listing
1. Tooth and Nail
2. The Feline Smile
3. Arrows
4. Magical Death
5. The Lupine Choir
6. A Long, Groaning Descent
7. In Adamantine Chains
8. Black Torches
9. Wreath
10. The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony

Demon Head will play a release show on January 30th at Pumpehuset in Copenhagen. “A release ceremony will take place in Copenhagen when this year is newly dead. Tokens for the passage are available here: https://pumpehuset.dk/koncerter/demon-head-slaegt-shaam-larein/

Demon Head line up:
Mikkel Sander Fuglsang – bass
Birk Gjerlufsen Nielsen – guitars
Marcus Ferreira Larsen – vocals
Thor Gjerlufsen Nielsen – guitars
Jeppe Wittus – drums

https://www.facebook.com/Demoncoven/
http://www.instagram.com/demonhead_official/
http://demonhead.bandcamp.com/
https://demonhead.bigcartel.com/
http://www.demonhead.org
https://www.facebook.com/metalbladerecords
https://www.instagram.com/metalbladerecords/
https://www.metalblade.com/

Demon Head, “The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony” official video

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