Sunnata Announce Summer Live Dates in Poland

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 2nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Those of you who might be seeing this in Poland, good news in that Sunnata will be hitting up a few cities later this summer to support their Feb. 2021 release, Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth (review here). It’s shows more than a tour for the by-now veteran progressive/ritualistic heavy rockers, scheduled around festival shows at Egodrop and Soundrive, and of course they’re giving the caveat that like anything, they might not happen, but a return to playing at all is noteworthy at this point, so here’s me noting it.

Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth is, to say the very least of it, an album that deserves to be played live. I was fortunate enough to see Sunnata play in Oslo at Høstsabbat 2019 (review here) — which feels simultaneously like yesterday and forever ago; the photo with the live dates is from that show as well — and after years of following their studio work, they were a thrill to behold, no less immersive than they are on record and no less entranced by the music than their audience. While we’re doing understatement, they’re a band I’d be happy to watch again if the opportunity presented itself. Not this run, but you know, universe of infinite possibility and all that.

Their social media announcement went thusly:

sunnata poland dates

IT LOOKS LIKE WE’RE GONNA PLAY A COUPLE OF LIVE SHOWS THIS SUMMER*. Mostly in major polish cities. Wanna hear “Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth” live? Then come & visit the following events:

16.07 Egodrop Festival 2021
30.07 Lato w Plenerze | SUNNATA / Plener P23, Katowice
31.07 Lato w Plenerze | SUNNATA / Rejs, Warszawa
10.08 Soundrive Festival 2021
12.08 Road To Soulstone Gathering: Sunnata + ARRM, Inverted Mind / 12 VIII / Kraków
21.08 Lato w Plenerze | SUNNATA / Dziedziniec Tama, Pozna?

We missed it a lot.

*) Hopefully.

Szymon Ewertowski – guitar, vocals
Adrian Gadomski – guitar, vocals
Michal Dobrzanski – bass guitar
Robert Ruszczyk – drums, percussion

Sunnata, Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth (2021)

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Quarterly Review: Dopelord, Scorched Oak, Kings of the Fucking Sea, Mantarraya, Häxmästaren, Shiva the Destructor, Amammoth, Nineteen Thirteen, Ikitan, Smote

Posted in Reviews on March 31st, 2021 by JJ Koczan


Third day, and you know what that means. Today we hit and pass the halfway mark of this Quarterly Review. I won’t say it hasn’t been work, but it seems like every time I do one of these lately I continue to be astounded by how much easier writing about good stuff makes it. I must’ve done a real clunker like two years ago or something. Can’t think of one, but wow, it’s way more fun when the tunes are killer.

To that end we start with Dopelord today, haha. Have fun digging through if you do.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Dopelord, Reality Dagger

Dopelord Reality Dagger

They put it in a 12″, and that’s cool, but in addition to the fact that it’s about 22 minutes long, something about Reality Dagger, the latest EP from Poland’s Dopelord, strikes me as being really 10″ worthy. I know 10″ is the bastard son of vinyl pressings — doesn’t fit with your LPs and doesn’t fit with your 7″s. They’re a nuisance. Do they get their own shelf? Mixed in throughout? Well, however you organize them, I think a limited 10″ of Reality Dagger would be perfect, because from the melodies strewn throughout “Dark Coils” and the wildly catchy “Your Blood” — maybe the most complex vocal arrangement I’ve yet heard from the band — to the ultra-sludge interplay with screams on the 10-minute closing title-track, it sounds to me like standing out from the crowd is exactly what Dopelord want to do. They want to be that band that doesn’t fit your preconceptions of stoner-doom, or sludge, or modern heavy largesse in the post-Monolord vein. Why not match that admirable drive in format? Oh hell, you know what? I’ll just by the CD and have done with it. One of the best EPs I’ve heard this year.

Dopelord on Thee Facebooks

Dopelord on Bandcamp


Scorched Oak, Withering Earth

Scorched Oak Withering Earth

Don’t be surprised when you see Kozmik Artifactz, Nasoni Records, or some other respected probably-European purveyor of heavy coming through with an announcement they’ve picked up Scorched Oak. The Dortmund, Germany, trio seem to have taken the last few years to figure out where they were headed — they pared down from a five-piece, for example — and their rolling tides of fuzz on late-2020’s debut LP Withering Earth bears the fruit of those efforts. Aesthetically and structurally sound, it’s able to touch on heavy blues, metal and drifting psychedelia all within the span of a seven-minute track like “Swamp,” and in its five-songs running shortest to longest, it effectively draws the listener deeper into the world the band are creating through dual vocals, patient craft and spacious production. If I was a label, I’d sign them for the bass tone on 14-minute closer “Desert” alone, never mind any of the other natural phenomena they portray throughout the record, which is perhaps grim in theme but nonetheless brimming with potential. Some cool riffs on this dying planet.

Scorched Oak on Thee Facebooks

Scorched Oak on Bandcamp


Kings of the Fucking Sea, In Concert

Kings of the Fucking Sea In Concert

A scorching set culled from two nights of performances in their native Nashville, what’s essentially serving as Kings of the Fucking Sea‘s debut long-player, In Concert, is a paean to raw psychedelic power trio worship. High order ripper groove pervades “Witch Mountain” and the wasn’t-yet-named “Hiding No More” — which was introduced tentatively as “Death Dealer,” which the following track is actually titled. Disorienting? Shit yeah it is. And shove all the poignancy of making a live album in Feb. 2020 ahead of the pandemic blah blah. That’s not what’s happening here. This is all about blow-the-door-so-we-can-escape psychedelic pull and thrust. One gets the sense that Kings of the Fucking Sea are more in control than they let on, but they play it fast and loose and slow and loose throughout In Concert and by the time the mellower jam in “I Walk Alone” opens up to the garage-style wash of crash cymbal ahead of closer “The Nile Song,” the swirling fuckall that ensues is rampant with noise-coated fire. A show that might make you look up from your phone. So cool it might be jazz. I gotta think about it.

Kings of the Fucking Sea on Thee Facebooks

Agitated Records on Bandcamp


Mantarraya, Mantarraya

mantarraya mantarraya

They bill themselves as ‘Mantarraya – power trío,’ and guitarist/vocalist Herman Robles Montero, drummer/maybe-harmonica-ist Kelvin Sifuentes Pérez and bassist/vocalist Enzo Silva Agurto certainly live up to that standard on their late-2020 self-titled debut full-length. The vibe is classic heavy ’70s through and through, and the Peruvian three-piece roll and boogie through the 11 assembled tracks with fervent bluesy swing on “En el Fondo” and no shortage of shuffle throughout the nine-minute “120 Años (Color),” which comes paired with the trippier “Almendrados” in what seems like a purposeful nod to the more out-there among the out there, bringing things back around to finish swinging and bouncing on the eponymous closer. I’ll take the classic boogie as it comes, and Mantarraya do it well, basking in a natural but not too purposefully so sense of underproduction while getting their point across in encouraging-first-record fashion. At over an hour long, it’s too much for a single LP, but plenty of time for them to get their bearings as they begin their creative journey.

Mantarraya on Thee Facebooks

Mantarraya on Bandcamp


Häxmästaren, Sol i Exil

Häxmästaren sol i exil

At the risk of repeating myself, someone’s gonna sign Häxmästaren. You can just tell. The Swedish five-piece’s second album, Sol i Exil (“sun in exile,” in English), is a mélange of heavy rock and classic doom influences, blurring the lines between microgenres en route to an individual approach that’s still accessible enough in a riffer like “Millennium Phenomenon” or “Dödskult Ritual” to be immediately familiar and telegraph to the converted where the band are coming from. Vocalist Niklas Ekwall — any relation to Magnus from The Quill? — mixes in some screams and growls to his melodic style, further broadening the palette and adding an edge of extremity to “Children of the Mountain,” while “Growing Horns” and the capper title-track vibe out with with a more classic feel, whatever gutturalisms happen along the way, the latter feeling like a bonus for being in Swedish. In the ever-fertile creative ground that is Gothenburg, it should be no surprise to find a band like this flourishing, but fortunately Sol i Exil doesn’t have to be a surprise to kick ass.

Häxmästaren on Thee Facebooks

Häxmästaren on Bandcamp


Shiva the Destructor, Find the Others


Launching with the nine-minute instrumental “Benares” is a telling way for Kyiv’s Shiva the Destructor to begin their debut LP, since it immediately sets listener immersion as their priority. The five-track/44-minute album isn’t short on it, either, and with the band’s progressive, meditative psychedelic style, each song unfolds in its own way and in its own time, drawn together through warmth of tone and periods of heft and spaciousness on “Hydronaut” and a bit of playful bounce on “Summer of Love” (someone in this band likes reggae) and a Middle Eastern turn on “Ishtar” before “Nirvana Beach” seems to use the lyrics to describe what’s happening in the music itself before cutting off suddenly at the end. Vocals stand alone or in harmony and the double-guitar four-piece bask in a sunshine-coated sound that’s inviting and hypnotic in kind, offering turns enough to keep their audience following along and undulations that are duly a clarion to the ‘others’ referenced in the title. It’s like a call to prayer for weirdo psych heads. I’ll take that and hope for more to come.

Shiva the Destructor on Thee Facebooks

Robustfellow Productions on Bandcamp


Amammoth, The Fire Above

amammoth the fire above

The first and only lyric in “Heal” — the opening track of Sydney, Australia, trio Amammoth‘s debut album, The Fire Above — is the word “marijuana.” It doesn’t get any less stoned from there. Riffs come in massive waves, and even as “The Sun” digs into a bit of sludge, the largesse and crash remains thoroughly weedian, with the lumbering “Shadows” closing out the first half of the LP with particularly Sleep-y nod. Rawer shouted vocals also recall earlier Sleep, but something in Amammoth‘s sound hints toward a more metallic background than just pure Sabbath worship, and “Rise” brings that forward even as it pushes into slow-wah psychedelics, letting “Blade Runner” mirror “The Sun” in its sludgy push before closer “Walk Towards What Blinds You (Blood Bong)” introduces some backing vocals that fit surprisingly well even they kind of feel like a goof on the part of the band. Amammoth, as a word, would seem to be something not-mammoth. In sound, Amammoth are the opposite.

Amammoth on Thee Facebooks

Electric Valley Records website


Nineteen Thirteen, MCMXIII

nineteen thirteen mcmxiii

With emotional stakes sufficiently high throughout, MCMXIII is urgent enough to be post-hardcore, but there’s an underpinning of progressive heavy rock even in the mellower stretch of the eight-minute “Dogfight” that complements the noisier and more angular aspects on display elsewhere. Opener “Post Blue Collar Blues” sets the plotline for the newcomer Dayton, Ohio, four-piece, with thoughtful lyrics and a cerebral-but-not-dead-of-spirit instrumental style made full and spacious through the production. Melodies flesh out in “Cripple John” and “Old Face on the Wall,” brooding and surging in children-of-the-’90s fashion, but I hear a bit of Wovenhand in that finale as well — though maybe the one doesn’t exclude the other — so clearly Nineteen Thirteen are just beginning this obviously-passion-fueled exploration of sound aesthetic with these songs, but the debut EP they comprise cuts a wide swath with marked confidence and deceptive memorability. A new turn on Rust Belt heavy.

Nineteen Thirteen on Thee Facebooks

Nineteen Thirteen on Bandcamp


Ikitan, Twenty-Twenty

ikitan twenty-twenty

Hey, you process trauma from living through the last year your way and Genova, Italy’s Ikitan will process it theirs. In their case, that means the writing, recording and self-release of their 20-minute single-song EP, Twenty-Twenty, a sprawling work of instrumentalist heavy post-rock rife with spacious, airy lead guitar and a solid rhythmic foundation. Movements occur in waves and layers, but there is a definite thread being woven throughout the outing from one part to the next, held together alternately by the bass or drums or even guitar, though it’s the latter that seems to be leading those changes as well. The shifts are fluid in any case, and Ikitan grow Twenty-Twenty‘s lone, titular piece to a satisfyingly heft as they move through, harnessing atmosphere as well as weight even before they lower volume for stretches in the second half. There’s a quick surge at the end, but “Twenty-Twenty” is more about journey than destination, and Ikitan make the voyage enticing.

Ikitan on Thee Facebooks

Ikitan on Bandcamp


Smote, Bodkin

smote bodkin

Loops, far-out spaces and a generally experimentalist feel ooze outward like Icelandic lava from Bodkin, the five-song debut LP from UK-based solo-outfit Smote. The gentleman behind the flow is Newcastle upon Tyne’s Daniel Foggin, and this is one of three releases he has out so far in 2021, along with a prior drone collaboration tape with Forest Mourning and a subsequent EP made of two tracks at around 15 minutes each. Clearly a project that can be done indoors during pandemic lockdown, Smote‘s material is wide-ranging just the same, bringing Eastern multi-instrumentalism and traditionalist UK psych together on “Fohrt” and “Moninna,” which would border on folk but for all that buzz in the background. The 11-minute “Motte” is a highlight of acid ritualizing, but the droning title-track that rounds out makes each crash count all the more for the spaces that separate them. I dig this a lot, between you and me. I get vibes like Lamp of the Universe here in terms of sonic ambition and resultant presence. That’s not a comparison I make lightly, and this is a project I will be following.

Smote on Bandcamp

Weird Beard Records store


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Album Review: Sunnata, Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth

Posted in Reviews on March 16th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

sunnata burning in heaven melting on earth

Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth is the fourth full-length from Warsaw-based post-heavy rockers Sunnata. Comprised of six songs, it runs a substantial-but-manageable 49 minutes and culls influences from a broad range of spheres, perhaps none more so than its own. The band began its journey circa 2008 under a different, less-prone-to-sonic-enlightenment moniker, and has gradually been engaging self-realization since, more effectively so each time out. Between their 2014 debut, Climbing the Colossus, 2016’s Zorya (review here), and 2018’s crucial Outlands (review here), they have marched a path forward of exciting sonic progression and individuality, finding a space where the crush of Neurosis, the melodic downerism of Alice in Chains and the tantric repetitions of Om can coexist in flowing, coherent form. Their material has never been so complex or so well composed as it is on Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth, and the songs come across as a multifaceted intellectual experience. It’s an album, to be sure, but it also feels in listening like the start of a conversation.

The stated purpose on the part of the band was to examine “different angles on the theme of religious fanaticism… [the] general sense of trusting your life to a crystal ethereal being represented by humans of flesh, bones and sins, and discusses consequences of doing so,” and fair enough. Their native Poland has, like many nations including my own, witnessed a swing to far-right populism and conservative demagoguery, and that’s before one actually takes the idea literally as a theme based on religious dogma. Any angle of approach, then, there’s plenty subject matter for Sunnata to work with, and in cuts like “A Million Lives,” “Black Serpent” and the closing “Way Out” — American listeners should be aware that this is the equivalent in British English to “exit” — they translate ideological depiction into deep-mix heavy immersion. They are writing about rituals and a ritual mindset, and the songs themselves feel ritualistic, from the beginning in “Crows” as the lyrics set listeners before a field of dead bodies, the first but not last reference to Rome falling made.

“Crows” is the shortest track on Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth at 5:57, and something of a stage-setting through its linear build, but effective in drawing the listener into the midst. Brooding voices and tense rhythms find guitarist/vocalists Szymon Ewertowski and Adrian Gadomski, bassist Michal Dobrzanski and drummer Robert Ruszczyk moving toward the solo-topped payoff that arrives in the second half of the song, a cascading turn that leads to a final chorus with both singers telling the audience something else it needs to know about the record that follows, which is that while Sunnata are working on a theme and the lyrics and mindset of the composition is geared toward that, they are not forsaking songcraft for the sake of narrative. I don’t know that this is the case, but I would not be surprised if the instrumental foundation of the record was set before the lyrics came together — each song has its own structure and is built toward the overarching flow, the assemblage front-to-back just happens to work exceptionally well enough to be tied together through the fanaticism theme.


As the shortest song, “Crows” is followed immediately by the longest, “God Emperor of Dune,” at 8:47, which is the basis of any Om comparison one might want to make, though here too the vocals distinguish Sunnata through call and response chants over soft toms, cymbals and tambourine, gradually moving toward a proggy rush and wash alike that swirls like the fog over a follower’s eyes. That is ably drawn back to a comparatively minimal and droning finish, but the patience and clear intent with which “God Emperor of Dune” is executed pushes the atmosphere laid out by the opener deeper, such that the push of the subsequent “A Million Lives” is like the constant barrage of living in a post-truth world. One never completely has footing in a world with no ground. The difference with Sunnata‘s portrayal, however, is that the songs themselves are structured and their movement tells this push-pull in shifts of tempo, rhythm and melody. For all the scope and purpose, again, they are songwriters. “A Million Lives” is catchy as all hell.

It would be the landmark hook of Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth were it not for the side B opener “Black Serpent,” with its more aggressive crux and gang-shout call and response chorus. In the back and forth pairings of shorter songs with longer ones, “A Million Lives” and “Black Serpent” are the centerpieces, but they do not give ground atmospherically, and the mood of the album is maintained, even if perhaps taken to a more severe place. “Black Serpent” seems to crash to its finish, a winding line of effects echoing out when the vocals recede, but “Völva (The Seeress)” — and while we’re here, let’s note that “serpent” and “völva” (which in Germanic mythology is a woman shaman) seem purposefully paired to subtly nod to male and female genitalia; sex is a big part of any dogma — arrives and sets itself to willfully repetitive invocations of its titular mystic, blurring the line that felt so stark only a few songs ago between “God Emperor of Dune” and “Crows” or “A Million Lives” on either side of it. Growing blurry is the intent, of course.

The title line of “Way Out” arrives as, yes, a way out of this fog, and it brings the album’s title line with it for further clarity, giving an encapsulation over its first two and a half minutes before dropping back to near-silence and rebuilding. This time, when it goes, it doesn’t come back. They end ethereal in vocals, but grounded in groove, and the feeling is very much that of an arrival from just before the five-minute mark when everything but the bass drops out to the rest of the song’s total 8:37. It’s closure, not epilogue, and duly exciting, underscoring the layered purposes to which Sunnata have set themselves on this fourth long-player. It is the work of a mature band — we’ve come a long way since Satellite Beaver — who refuse to stop growing, and whose refining of processes seems based not so much on retreading what they’ve done before, but deriving new modes of expression as they continue to explore who they are as a group. There are bands who base entire careers off less depth than any single track offers on Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth, and whatever else Sunnata do throughout, they make the entire project feel like the beginning of a conversation waiting to be had.

Sunnata, Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth (2021)

Sunnata on Thee Facebooks

Sunnata on Instagram

Sunnata on Twitter

Sunnata on Bandcamp

Sunnata on YouTube

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Dopelord Announce Rescheduled 2021 and 2022 Tours; New EP Out Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 25th, 2021 by JJ Koczan


Dopelord‘s new EP, Reality Dagger, has a sound that makes me, as Marvin, want to call up my cousin Chuck and tell him that that sound he’s looking for, well listen to this. Maybe Back to the Future is all the wrong kind of cinema — certainly if the Suspiria-style cover is anything to go by it is — but I think you get my point. Not at all far removed from 2020’s Sign of the Devil (review here), the band continue a hot-streak in the new three-tracker and they’ve announced a pair of rescheduled tours for Western and Eastern Europe, respectively, in 2021 and 2022.

As with any tour announcement made after March of last year, these of course come with a big ol’ CONDITIONS PERMITTING caveat, but here’s hoping they come together and the greater European sphere is ready to rejoice in heavy worship and nod the fuck out to primo groove, because that’s precisely the fare in which Dopelord traffic.

Dates follow courtesy of Doomstar Bookings. Make travel plans accordingly:

The polish stoner doom legends, Dopelord are now revealing the rescheduled dates for both European tours! Check the confirmed dates below!

As a cherry on top, today is the release date of Dopelord’s “Reality Dagger” EP! Check it out here;

Dopelord Western European Fall tour 2021 confirmed dates:
11.09.2021 – Cottbus (DE) – Zum Faulen
12.09.2021 – Rostock (DE) – JAZ Rostock
13.09.2021 – Hamburg (DE) – Hafenklang
16.09.2021 – Hannover (DE) – Chez Heinz
17.09.2021 – Nijmegen (NL) – Merleyn
19.09.2021 – London (UK) – Boston Music Rooms
20.09.2021 – Sheffield (UK) – Record Junkee
21.09.2021 – Bristol (UK) – The Fleece
22.09.2021 – Gent (BE) – Trefpunt
24.09.2021 – Dijon (FR) – Les Tanneries
25.09.2021 – Weinheim (DE) – Café Central
26.09.2021 – Marburg (DE) – Trauma
27.09.2021 – Jena (DE) – KUBA Jena
28.09.2021 – Berlin (DE) – Cassiopeia
29.09.2021 – Dresden (DE) – Chemiefabrik

Dopelord Eastern European Winter tour 2022 confirmed dates:
11.02.2022 – Krakow (PL) – Klub Za?cianek*
12.02.2022 – Kosice (SK) – Collosseum*
13.02.2022 – Cluj (RO) Form Space*
14.02.2022 – Budapest (HU) – Robot*
15.02.2022 – Zagreb (HR) – Vintage Industrial*
16.02.2022 – Belgrad (RS) – Imago Club*
17.02.2022 – Thessaloniki (GR) – Eightball Club
18.02.2022 – Athens (GR) – Temple
19.02.2022 – Volos (GR) – Café Santan
20.02.2022 – Kavala (GR) – TBA
21.02.2022 – Sofia (BG) – Mixtape 5
22.02.2022 – Bucharest (RO) – Quantic
23.02.2022 – Szeged (HU) – Grand Café
24.02.2022 – Bratislava (SK) – Kulturak Klub
25.02.2022 – Wroclaw (PL) – Liverpool*
26.02.2022 – Lodz (PL) – Magnetofon*
27.02.2022 – Warsaw (PL) – Klub Pog?os*
* With Taraban

Dopelord, Reality Dagger (2021)

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Sunnata Set Feb. 26 Release for Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth; New Single Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan


I’ve got a good feeling about this one, even aside from listening to the first single below. I was looking forward to catching Polish progressive doomers Sunnata for the second time earlier this year at Freak Valley Festival in Germany, but, well, a lot of people were looking forward to a lot of things this year. Like being alive. They’re booked for 2021 in Siegen, and maybe if circumstances allow, I’ll be lucky enough to go and catch the robed four-piece as they support what will be their new album, Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth.

Their fourth long-player provides and opportunity for Sunnata to affirm what 2018’s Outlands (review here) posited — that their progression will not be a staid thing, but an ongoing commitment undertaken by the band. How that will bear out in the songs — “Crows” aside, naturally — I’m not yet sure, as I haven’t had the pleasure of hearing it, but again, I’ve got a good feeling. I know early 2021 is packed with woulda-been-2020 offerings already, but keep an ear out here.

From the PR wire:

sunnata burning in heaven melting on earth

Polish shamanic doom band SUNNATA announce new album Burning In Heaven, Melting On Earth

Hypnotic first single ‘Crows’ is streaming now

Burning In Heaven, Melting On Earth to be released on 26th February

Feral wilderness prophets SUNNATA (sanskr. noun emptiness, voidness), a four-piece Warsaw-based shamanic doom metal band are set to release their fourth full-length album Burning In Heaven, Melting On Earth on 26th February. Ahead of this the band have also unveiled a visualiser for their hypnotic first single ‘Crows’.

Watch the lyric video for ‘Crows’ here:
Stream ‘Crows’ and add to your playlists here:
Pre-order Burning In Heaven, Melting On Earth here:

SUNNATA comments: “The song tells the story of people giving their life for faith. Convinced they are fighting the blind, they are all equal when the death comes. Crows are observers aware of change – the only constant in the universe. Ravens and crows were frequently found on battlefields, feeding from corpses. That’s why crows in various mythologies are considered harbingers of doom. But they also bring the power of foresight to those who work with them. Diviners, seers and sages alike believed that the crow spirit could see through time and past the veils into spaces and places often hidden to humans. The crow as an animal spirit guide does not fear change. Does not fear the new.”

A ritualistic, meditatively uplifting, doom soundscape, Burning In Heaven, Melting On Earth is a sensuous, ever-mutating musical experience. SUNNATA produce a pulsating mystic dirge which shimmers with odd beauty and uplifting melodies. The result is an atmosphere of sacred submission immersed in huge dynamics for the duration of the album’s 46-minute expanse.

Thematically the album explores different angles of religious fanaticism. Burning in Heaven, Melting On Earth questions the sacrifice of individual-self and the general sense of trusting your life to a crystal ethereal being represented by humans of flesh, bones and sins, and discusses consequences of doing so.

SUNNATA comments: “The new album can be perceived as a journey of consciousness. We pass through our lives driven by blind faith and false leaders, keeping our goals outside the reach until we die convinced that the time has come, while in reality it is long gone. An individual who follows this path will never fully contribute to society and will never be able to share his love in a healthy way.”

SUNNATA have been paving their own way to higher metal skies since their 2014 debut Climbing The Colossus. Their spellbinding sophomore album Zorya (2016) made the band gather even more momentum with regard to the European alternative heavy scene. Third album Outlands (2018) brilliantly brought out even more ritual in the heavy, confidently crossing the frontier of progressive doom to land in even more melancholic and mind-expanding alleys.

Known from their expressive and atmospheric live performances, SUNNATA has already taken part in various international festivals and been invited to open for Mastodon, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, The Sword, Sleep, Kylesa, Ufomammut and Rotting Christ.

Returning in 2021 with Burning In Heaven, Melting On Earth, SUNNATA are at their most transcendent, melding together all the heaviness, intensity and tenderness into a graceful, cross pollinating form to create something incredible that demands attention and respect. From here SUNNATA are free to roam wherever.

SUNNATA will appear at Freak Valley Festival (Germany) and Grom Festival (Estonia) in 2021. More dates to follow.

1: Crows
2: God Emperor of Dune
3: A Million Lives
4: Black Serpent
5: Völva (The Seeress)
6: Way Out

Szymon Ewertowski – guitar, vocals
Adrian Gadomski – guitar, vocals
Michal Dobrzanski – bass guitar
Robert Ruszczyk – drums, percussion

Sunnata, “Crows” official lyric video

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Weird Tales Post “Got the Blues for Murder Only”; New EP out Jan. 15

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Some genuinely fascinating cultural interaction here. Weird Tales will release an EP of blues covers on Jan. 15 given the cumbersome title Y’all Motherfuckers Forgot ‘Bout Good Ol’ Son of a Bitchin’ Blues, and in so doing, the Polish heavy trio continue a tradition nearly 130 years old at this point of European interest in African-American culture. From France importing jazz in the early 1900s and thus granting it legitimacy in the eyes of the American white middle and upper class, to Eastern Europe’s flourishing hip-hop scene, to Weird Tales taking on Lonnie Johnson‘s “Got the Blues for Murder Only” and beefing up its 12-bar structure with weighted riffing and a rolling groove, it’s never been entirely without a shade of cultural appropriation, and it certainly isn’t now, but this is a conversation that’s been happening for a long time, if not always in this form.

Did we motherfuckers forget about the blues? I guess there’s a case to be made amid all the proggy whatnot flourishing in heavy rock these days, but as anyone over the age of 15 knows, these things are cyclical. If Weird Tales are gonna help strip it all back to basics, they’re not hurting anyone or anything by doing so.

From the PR wire:

weird tales got the blues for murder only

WEIRD TALES – Got the Blues for Murder Only

Polish doom trio WEIRD TALES are gearing up to release their latest EP “Y’all Motherfuckers Forgot ‘Bout Good Ol’ Son of a Bitchin’ Blues,” due out Jan. 15 via Interstellar Smoke Records.

The EP is a collection of four forgotten blues songs by the likes of Muddy Waters, Lonnie Johnson, Skip James and Blind Willie Johnson.

Here’s their first single, “Got The Blues For Murder Only,” the Lonnie Johnson cover:

“This is our version of ‘Got the Blues for Murder Only’ originally performed by mighty Lonnie Johnson,” says the band. “This is a single from our upcoming EP ‘Y’all Motherfuckers Forgot ‘Bout Good Ol’ Son of a Bitchin’ Blues’, so you may guess what it’s gonna be about. Blues. Dirty and desperate. Lonely and painful.”

Weird Tales are:
Dima (guitar, lead vocal)
Kriss (bass, vocal)
Matt (drums, vocal)

Weird Tales, “Got the Blues for Murder Only”

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Bantha Rider Stream Binary Sunset Massacre in Full; Album out Tomorrow

Posted in audiObelisk on December 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

bantha rider

Tomorrow is Bandcamp Friday, and among the packed slew of releases for that monthly waived-fee holiday born of the COVID-19 pandemic comes the debut album from Polish instrumentalist heavy rock trio Bantha Rider. The desert-minded three-piece from Warsaw offer a reminder of just how much of the Star Wars canon takes place amid the dunes with Binary Sunset Massacre, and songs like “Rancor’s Delight” and the prior-posted single “De Wanna Wanga” offer burly-toned riffs based around themes taken from the George Lucas/Disney ouevre, which only seems to grow stronger in its cultural presence as each new week brings an episode of The Mandalorian and ever-ubiquitous merchandising. My sister’s house has an inflatable Baby Yoda X-mas decoration in the yard. You can buy Star Wars Le Creuset that looks like Han Solo in carbonite, or a waffle maker that’s shaped like the Millennium Falcon. Should we really be surprised at a record taking place on Tatooine?

Probably not, but Bantha Rider‘s dug-in-deep fandom clearly goes beyond “hey check out Leia in a bikini” grade. The green-skinned pig-guard at Jabba’s palace gets his own song in “The Gamorrean” — just a couple tracks before “Rancor’s Delight,” as itbantha rider binary sunset massacre happens — and “Boonta Eve” refers to a holiday celebrated by the Hutts with a commemorative podrace. Yes, I had to look that one up. The fun of the release, however, extends beyond the references being made, as Bantha Rider careen and twist around one progression and another across the eight included tracks. I’m sure there are people who might come upon Binary Sunset Massacre and not be aware that Sand People always ride single file to hide their numbers or not have picked up on “Pazuzu” as a connection to the actor Max Von Sydow, who was in The Exorcist as well as Episode VII and sundry tie-in media.

I can’t really say if not being familiar with the thematic “source material,” as it were, would affect the listening experience or not, except to speculate that, as with any themed offering, you can put as much into it as you want, and if you want to ignore the Star Wars and just dig on some riffs, well, it’s not like there are lyrics here to rub it in your face, so whatever. While I’d advocate for as complete a listening experience as possible in any situation, it’s not much different than people who listen to political music without concentrating on the politics. Ultimately, you get out from it what you want. I’ll take Binary Sunset Massacre on its own level though and hope for continued exploration of this particular galaxy and its oh-so-blowuppable planets.

Album is streaming in full ahead of its release tomorrow. You’ll find it premiering-ish below, along with some more info, etc.

Enjoy as you will:

Bantha Rider, Binary Sunset Massacre official album premiere

Chris (guitar/visuals) on Binary Sunset Massacre:

“Took us three years to record this album since releasing our EP in 2017. It was a tough ride ’cause our drummer lives 1300km from the rest of the crew for 2 years, so the big issue was to play once in 1-2 month, with heavy logistics to play any show during that period. But after like 5 days, 4-5 hours per day rehearsing new tracks before entering the studio, with great help of Jacek Stasiak we finally recorded our first LP at lovely Kongo Studio January 2020 just before the pandemic outbreak. After mixing, mastering everything by Jacek, making the whole artwork by myself, montaging video by our friend Tomek and big help with the whole publishing and promotion job by Patrick of Piranha Music, it’s done! We are coming back with 54 minutes of instrumental journey from doomy riffing, impros, stoner trips, to dynamic metal punches. This album gathers up our music inspirations mixed with the dusty vibe of Tatooine and other movie mythologies. We’re getting ready to play some shows next year as we hope this Covid fucker dies – so see ya soon Booyooss!!!

“PS. and YES we still have no singer…”

Bantha Rider was formed in Warsaw in 2016. The band consists of Chris (guitar), Art (drums) and Bart (bass). They released amazing self-titled EP in 2017 with 4 instrumental stoner metal killers. EP release was followed by mini-tour with mexican bands Terror Cosmico and Weedsnake.

In 2020 they signed to independent label Piranha Music, to release their full length debut album “Binary Sunset Massacre”. The album, with amazing artwork by band’s guitarist Krzysiek Lesi?ski, sounds like a perfect soundtrack to cruising in the desert, but in a galaxy far, far away.

Bantha Rider is:
Art – Drums
Chris – Guitar
Bart – Bass

Bantha Rider, “De Wanna Wanga” official video

Bantha Rider on Thee Facebooks

Bantha Rider on Instagram

Bantha Rider on Bandcamp

Piranha Music on Thee Facebooks

Piranha Music on Instagram

Piranha Music on Bandcamp

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Bantha Rider Releasing Binary Sunset Massacre Dec. 4; “De Wanna Wanga” Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Hey there, Star Wars fans. I haven’t seen The Mandalorian at all, but my understanding is it’s a good time to be on board with what’s unquestionably the coolest of the major science-fiction franchises — unless we’re counting Alien, and then there’s no question that’s the coolest — and though each installment of the last trilogy and those side movies seemed to have its share of detractors, the fandom itself persists unabated and across generations. My nephews and their father watch Star Wars together, play the video games and so on. It’s a thing they share. That’s nice.

Set to be added to the non-canon mythology of that particular Galaxy Far, Far Away is the debut album from Polish instrumentalists Bantha Rider. Titled Binary Sunset Massacre, it’s pretty clearly referencing the planet Tatooine with its iconic twin suns, and the title of the new single “De Wanna Wanga,” is what Bib Fortuna says to Luke Skywalker when the latter shows up at Jabba’s palace. You may recall the Bib Fortuna action figure came with the playset. I do.

I wonder if writing an instrumental album about Star Wars counts as fan-fic. I wonder what the message boards would say if they saw this album cover. I wonder if the whole record sounds as cool as the track below.

So many questions:

bantha rider binary sunset massacre

BANTHA RIDER – Binary Sunset Massacre

Polish trio Bantha Rider’s debut album will be out 4th of December, via independent label Piranha Music. “Binary Sunset Massacre” is an instrumental stoner doom trip across the desert planet with riffs heavy as Jabba the Hutt and rhythm section “too accurate for sand people”.

Band’ve just released their first single called “De Wanna Wanga”.

1. Binary Sunset Massacre
2. De Wanna Wanga
3. The Gamorrean
4. Boonta Eve
5. Sagittarius
6. Rancor’s Delight
7. March of the Banthas
8. Pazuzu

Bantha Rider is:
Art – Drums
Chris – Guitar
Bart – Bass

Bantha Rider, “De Wanna Wanga” official video

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