Caskets Open to Release Concrete Realms of Pain on Wise Blood & Seeing Red Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 24th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

caskets open (Photo by Perttu Salo)

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PR wire has it like this:

caskets open concrete realms of pain

Caskets Open – Concrete Realms of Pain – Wise Blood & Seeing Red

For 14 years, Finnish doom trio Caskets Open have written songs rife with strife and dark-souled riffs. Their fourth LP “Concrete Realms of Pain” emerged from the wasteland of a pandemic summer as the band’s brooding masterwork. Caskets Open’s evocative compositions conjure the frailty of the crestfallen ballads of Type O Negative and Danzig. Meanwhile, there’s also a simmering snarl of hardcore punk that raises a chalice to Peter Steele’s Carnivore. Throughout the years, Caskets Open has warmed up the stage for bands as awesomely diverse as Church of Misery, Wolves in the Throne Room, and Primitive Man. Bonded by a mutual love for this album, Seeing Red Records and Wise Blood Records have brought the songs stateside to celebrate this stunning doom achievement.

Originally released in March 2020 when COVID struck worldwide, Finnish misfits CASKETS OPEN released the album Concrete Realms of Pain quietly on Nine Records (Poland) via CD/Digital. When listening to this record you may recall the dirge of Type O Negative, the vibe & aesthetic of early Danzig, and the melancholic emptiness of country-mates In Solitude. There is probably a bunch more you will pick out as they seem to flirt with post punk and there are certainly moments that lean heavy into the hardcore punk realm, but with that said, it’s along the same lines as Type O’s harder moments or even Peter’s previous work in Carnivore. CASKETS OPEN not only blend all of these influences brilliantly, but in such authentic fashion I’d swear these songs were written between ’89-’91!

Recorded and mixed 2019 at Tonehaven Recording Studio by Tom Brooke. Mastered 2019 by James Plotkin. Front cover and band photo by Perttu Salo.

PREORDER Vinyl / Cassette:
Seeing Red Records (U.S. & Canada): https://casketsopen-fi.bandcamp.com/album/concrete-realms-of-pain
OR shop.seeingredrecords.com
Wise Blood Records (Cassette): https://wisebloodrecords.bandcamp.com/

Track Listing:
1. Four Shrines
2. Riding on a Rotting Horse
3. Homecoming
4. Tunnel Guard
5. White Animal
6. Tadens Tolthe
7. Blossom
8. Soul Stained Glass
9. Pale Hunter

Line-up
Timo Ketola – bass, vocals
Antti Ronkainen – guitars
Pyry Ojala – drums

Caskets Open, “Tunnel Guard” official video

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Quarterly Review: Fuzz, Crippled Black Phoenix, Bethmoora, Khan, The Acid Guide Service, Vexing Hex, KVLL, Mugstar, Wolftooth, Starmonger

Posted in Reviews on December 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Day III of the Inexplicably Roman Numeralized Winter 2020 Quarterly Review, commence! I may never go back to actual numbers, you should know. There’s something very validating about doing Day I, Day II, Day III — and tomorrow I get to add a V for Day IV! Stoked on that, let me tell you.

You have to make your own entertainment these days, lest your brain melt like wax and drip from your nostrils.

Plurp.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Fuzz, III

fuzz iii

Plenty of heavy rockers can come across sounding fresh. Most of the time all it takes is being young. In the case of III, the third long-player from Looking for authentic and reliable http://www.svrz.ch/uploads/tx_ttnews/?1840 and assignment help online? We offer plagiarism free, detailed solution of all finance problems at Fuzz Looking for professional Buycollegeessays Coms? CDP offers high quality SEO content and article writing services at affordable prices with unlimited Charles Moothart, short essay on my daily routine recommended you read cheap dissertation writing help DO MY ASSIGNMENT write my papers Ty Segall and Chad Ubovich — they sound like they just invented it. Dig the hard-Bowie of “Time Collapse” or the made-for-the-stage opener “Returning,” or the surf-cacophony of “Mirror.” Or hell, any of it. The combination of this band and producer Steve Albini — aka the guy you go to when you want your album to sound like your live show — is correct. That’s all you can say about it. From the ’70s snarl in “Nothing People” to the triumphant melody in the second half of “Blind to Vines” and the back and forth between gritty roll and fragile prog of “End Returning,” it’s an energy that simply won’t be denied. If Fuzz wanted to go ahead and do three or four more albums with Albini at the helm in the next five years, that’d be just fine.

In the Red Records on Thee Facebooks

In the Red Records on Bandcamp

 

Crippled Black Phoenix, Ellengæst

crippled black phoenix ellengaest

The narrative (blessings and peace upon it) goes that when after lineup shifts left Crippled Black Phoenix without any singers, founder Justin Greaves (ex-Iron Monkey, Earthtone9, Electric Wizard, etc.) decided to call old mates. Look. I don’t care how it happened, but Ellengæst, which is the likewise-brilliant follow-up to the band’s widely-lauded 2018 outing, Great Escape, leads off with Anathema‘s Vincent Cavanagh singing lead on “House of Fools,” and, well, there’s your new lead singer. Anathema‘s on hiatus and a more natural fit would be hard to come by. Ryan Patterson (The National Acrobat, a dozen others), Gaahl (Gaahls Wyrd, ex-Gorgoroth), solo artist Suzie Stapleton and Jonathan Hultén (Tribulation) would also seem to audition — Patterson and Stapleton pair well on the heavy-Cure-style “Cry of Love” — and there are songs without any guests at all, but there’s a reason “House of Fools” starts the record. Make it happen, Crippled Black Phoenix. For the good of us all.

Crippled Black Phoenix on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist website

 

Bethmoora, Thresholds

Bethmoora Thresholds

Copenhagen’s Bethmoora served notice in a 2016 split with Dorre (review here) and their debut full-length, Thresholds hone destructive lumber across four low-toned tracks that begin with “And for Eternity They Will Devour His Flesh” and only get nastier from there. One imagines being in a room with this kind of rumbling, maddeningly repetitive, slow-motion-violence noise wash and being put into a flight-or-fight panic by it, deer in doomed headlights, and all that, but even on record, Bethmoora manage to cull, and when their songs explode in tempo, as the opener does late in its run, or “Painted Man” does, that spirit is maintained. Each side of the LP is two tracks, and all four are beastly, pile-driver-to-the-core-of-the-earth heavy. “Keeper”‘s wash of noise has willful-turnoff appeal all its own, but the empty space in the middle of “Lamentation” is where they go in for ultimate consumption. And yeah. Yeah.

Bethmoora on Thee Facebooks

Sludgelord Records on Bandcamp

 

Khan, Monsoons

khan monsoons

Khan‘s second album, Monsoons is a departure in form from 2018’s Vale, if not necessarily in substance. Heavy, psychedelic-infused post-rock is the order of business for the Melbourne trio either way, but as guitarist Josh Bills gives up playing synth and doing vocals to embark on an instrumental approach with bassist Mitchell Kerr (also KVLL) and drummer Beau Heffernan on this four-track/31-minute offering, the spirit is inescapably different. Probably easier to play live, if that’s a thing that might happen. Monsoons still has the benefit, however, of learning from the debut in terms of the dynamic among the three players, and Bills‘ guitar reaches for atmospheric float in “Orb” and attains it easily, as the midsection rhythm of the closing title-track nods at My Sleeping Karma and the back end of the prior “Harbinger” manages to shine and not sound like Earthless in the process, and quite simply, Khan make it work. The vocals/synth might be worth missing — and they may or may not be back — but to ignore the breadth Khan harness in little over half an hour would be a mistake.

Khan on Thee Facebooks

Khan on Bandcamp

 

The Acid Guide Service, Denim Vipers

the acid guide service denim vipers

Jammy, psychedelic in parts, Sabbathian in “Peavey Marshall (and the Legendary Acoustic Sunn Band)” and good fun from the doomly rollout of 11-minute opener and longest cut (immediate points) “In the Cemetery” onward, the second full-length from Idaho’s The Acid Guide Service, Denim Vipers, brings considerable rumble and nod, but these guys don’t want to hurt nobody. They’ve come here to chew bubblegum and follow the riff, and they’re all out of bubblegum. Comprised on average of longer songs than 2017’s debut, Vol. 11 (review here), the four-tracker gives the trio room to branch out their sound a bit, highlighting the bass in the long middle stretch of the title-track while the subsequent “Electro-Galactic Discharge” puts its guitar solo front and center before sludge-rocking into oblivion, letting “Peavey Marshall (and the Legendary Acoustic Sunn Band)” pick up from there, which is as fine a place as any to begin a gallop to the end. Genre-based shenanigans ensue. One would hope for no less.

The Acid Guide Service on Thee Facebooks

The Acid Guide Service on Bandcamp

 

Vexing Hex, Haunt

vexing hex haunt

Based in Illinois, Vexing Hex make their debut on Wise Blood Records with Haunt, and yes, playing catchy, semi-doomed, organ-laced cult rock with creative and melodic vocal arrangements, you’re going to inevitably run into some Ghost comparisons. The newcomer three-piece are distinguished by a harder edge to their impact, a theremin on “Planet Horror” and a rawer production sensibility, and that serves them well in “Build Your Wall” and the buildup of “Living Room,” both of which play off the fun-with-dogma mood cast by “Revenant” following the intro “Hymn” at the outset of Haunt. Not quite as progressive as, say, Old Man Wizard, there’s nonetheless some melodic similarity happening as bell sounds ensue on “Rise From Your Grave,” the title of which which may or may not be purposefully cribbed from the Sega Genesis classic Altered Beast. There’s a big part of me that hopes it is, and if Vexing Hex are writing songs about retro videogames, they sound ready to embark on a Castlevania concept album.

Vexing Hex on Thee Facebooks

Wise Blood Records on Bandcamp

 

KVLL, Death//Sacrifice

kvll death sacrifice

Proffering grueling deathsludge as though it were going out of style — it isn’t — the Melbourne duo KVLL is comprised of bassist/vocalist/guitarist Mitchell Kerr (also Khan) and drummer Braydon Becher. It’s not without ambient stretches, as the centerpiece “Sacrifice” shows, but the primary impression KVLL‘s debut album, Death//Sacrifice makes is in the extremity of crash and heavy landing of “The Death of All That is Crushing” and “Slow Death,” such that by the time “Sacrifice” ‘mellows out,’ as it were, the listener is punchdrunk from what’s taken place on the prior two and a half songs. There’s little doubt that’s precisely KVLL‘s intention here, as the cavernous screams, mega-lurch and tense undercurrent are more than ably wielded. If “Sacrifice” is the moment at which Death//Sacrifice swaps out one theme for another, the subsequent “Blood to the Altar” and nine-minute closer “Beneath the Throne” hammer the point home, the latter with an abrasive noise-caked finale worthy of standard-bearers Primitive Man.

KVLL on Thee Facebooks

KVLL on Bandcamp

 

Mugstar, GRAFT

mugstar graft

Not that the initial droning wash of “Deep is the Air” or the off-blasted “Zeta Potential” and warp-drive freneticism in “Cato” don’t have their appeal — oh, they do — but when it comes to UK lords-o’-space Mugstar‘s latest holodeck-worthy full-length, GRAFT, it’s the mellow drift-jazz of the 12-minute “Ghost of a Ghost” that feels most like matter dematerialization to me. Side B’s “Low, Slow Horizon” answers back later on ahead of the motorik linear build in the finale “Star Cage,” but the 12-minute vibe-fest that is “Ghost of a Ghost” gives GRAFT a vastness to match its thrust, which becomes essential to the space-borne feel. It’s 41 minutes, still ripe for an LP, but the kind of album that has a genuine affect on mood and mindset, breaking down on a molecular level both and remolding them into something hopefully more evolved on some level through cosmic meditation. Fast or slow, up or down, in or out, it doesn’t ultimately matter. Nothing does. But there’s a moment in GRAFT where the one-skin-on-another thing becomes apparent and all the masks drop away. What’s left after that?

Mugstar on Thee Facebooks

Centripetal Force Records website

Cardinal Fuzz Records BigCartel store

 

Wolftooth, Valhalla

Wolftooth Valhalla

Hooks abound in power-stoner fashion throughout Indiana four-piece Wolftooth‘s second album, Valhalla, which roughs up NWOBHM clarity in early-Ozzy fashion without going overboard to one side or the other, riffs winding and rhythms charging in a way not entirely unlike some of Freedom Hawk‘s more recent fare, but with a melodic reach of its own and a dynamism of purpose that comes through in the songwriting. Grand Magus‘ metallic traditionalism might be an influence on a song like “Fear for Eternity,” but “Crying of the Wolfs” has a more rocking swagger, and likewise post-intro opener “Possession.” With tightly constructed songs in the four-to-five-minute range, Valhalla never feels stretched out more than it wants to, but “Molon Labe” pushes the vocals deeper into the mix for a bigger, more atmospheric sound, and subtle shifts like that become effective in distinguishing the songs and making them all the more memorable. Recently signed to Napalm after working with Ripple, Ice Fall, Cursed Tongue and Blackseed, they seem to be poised to pay off the potential here and in their 2018 self-titled debut (review here). So be it.

Wolftooth on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Cursed Tongue Records BigCartel store

Ice Fall Records BigCartel store

 

Starmonger, Revelations

starmonger revelations

Parisian riff-blaster trio Starmonger have been piecemealing tracks out for the last five years as a series of EPs titled Revelation, and the full-length debut, Revelations, brings these nine songs together for a 49-minute long-player that even in re-recorded versions of the earliest cuts like “Tell Me” and “Wanderer” show how far the band has come. It’s telling that those two close the record out while “Rise of the Fishlords” and “Léthé” from 2019’s Revelation IV open sides A and B, respectively, but older or newer, the band end up with a swath of stylistic ground covered from the more straightforward and uptempo kick of the elder tracks to the more progressive take of the newer, with plenty of ground in between. Uniting the various sides are strong performances and strong choruses, the latter of which would seem to be the thread that draws everything together. Whether or not it takes Starmonger half a decade to put out their next LP, one can hardly call their time misspent while listening to Revelations.

Starmonger on Thee Facebooks

Starmonger on Bandcamp

 

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Mother of Graves Stream “The Urn”; In Somber Dreams Preorder Available Tomorrow

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 5th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

This has been a really awful year for a lot of things and a really good year for death-doom. Tomorrow, preorders go live for the debut EP from Mother of Graves, titled In Somber Dreams, and even though it’s set to release in January, the four-song offering is prefaced by the streaming track “The Urn” that you can hear now at the bottom of this post, and, well, it’s a pretty efficient mood-capture when it comes to the general state of restless melancholia that has complemented the enduring, teeth-grind of anxiety that has me so badly needing to go to the dentist. Also I have a headache.

Anyone wanna talk about politics? The pandemic? The politics of the pandemic? No? Me neither.

Anyone want to check out some cool new tunes? That’s more like it.

Wise Blood Records sent the following down the PR wire, but before I turn it over to the blue text, I just want to say I remember fondly guitarist Chris Morrison‘s former outfit, Bulletwolf, and still have the pint glass they were kind enough to send me with their logo on it. R.I.P. Worm. He was a nice guy in all my dealings with him.

Okay, here goes:

mother of graves in somber dreams

MOTHER OF GRAVES – In Somber Dreams – Wise Blood Records

Pre-order Date: November 6th, 2020
Release date: January 8th, 2021
Pre-order Link: https://wisebloodrecords.bandcamp.com/album/in-somber-dreams

Melodic death/doom necromancers Mother of Graves conjure old school gloom from their haunting grounds in Indianapolis, IN. Fans of early Katatonia, Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Cloak, and Khemmis will make life-long blood-pacts with Mother of Graves’ bleak atmosphere and pitch-black Gothicism. Originally conceived in 2016 by founding guitarist Chris Morrison (Harakiri, Bulletwolf), Mother of Graves was spawned from tragedy as a cathartic outlet.

“The initial inspiration followed the passing of one of my best friends and bandmates in the spring of 2016,” Morrison shares. “I was just in a really dark place for a while after he died and there were certain bands and albums that really hit home at that time and musically captured the grief I was feeling. One album specifically was Katatonia’s Sounds of Decay EP. I always liked that EP, but the way I heard it changed after that. I knew my next musical project had to be something that had a similar vibe. I wanted Mother of Graves to sound like loss and despair.”

Named after a mythological Latvian protector of cemeteries (Kapu m?te), Mother of Graves honors the fallen with poignant heaviness. Morrison’s moving riffs are barbed with thorns and painted with dried blood. Vocalist Brandon Howe (Obscene, Summon the Destroyer) pens gripping lyrics delivered with some of the genre’s most evocative gutturals. Bassist/guitarist Ben Sandman (Harakiri) recorded the album with the deft hand of a mortician preserving beauty. While Morrison acknowledges aesthetic nods to the pioneering Peaceville Records sound, Mother of Graves are far from an easily-defined homage act.

“I basically just tell people we play sad, bleak, melodic, death/doom metal that probably doesn’t sound how you think it is going to sound if you haven’t heard us,” Morrison offers.

It was Mother of Graves’ authenticity and coffin-velvet melodies that first caught the ear of Wise Blood Records. The label eagerly signed the band to release their debut EP, In Somber Dreams. You can also add iconic Swedeath musician and engineer Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity, Bloodbath) to the litany of the band’s ever-growing supporters. Swanö mastered In Somber Dreams and was immediately entranced by their tomb-dwelling ambience and memorable songwriting. The band’s lyrical focus and vision elevates their stirring compositions even further.

“The most prevalent themes would be the human condition, grief, and loss—whether it be personal or just an overall feeling towards the state in which we exist amplified and twisted into wild fictions,” Howe reveals. “I like to paint really bleak pictures with words, almost like telling a short story,” Howe continues. “Something to invoke the feelings one would get when they’re really immersed in a well-written book. The instruments alone already paint such a monolithic picture of sorrow and despair, so the lyrics flow pretty naturally once I’ve settled into that zone.”

Mother of Graves crawled from sealed sepulchers to share their first songs during the global wreckage of a pandemic. But just like the bittersweet tone of their songs, Morrison offers a glimmer of hope beyond the bleak horizon: More songs are on the way, with a full-length record planned. Until then, enter the somber dreamscape of Mother of Graves and meet the new guardians of old school Melodic Death/Doom.

Tracklisting:
1. In Somber Dreams
2. Nameless Burial
3. The Urn
4. Deliverance

Mother of Graves is:
Brandon Howe – Vocals
Chris Morrison – Guitars
Ben Sandman – Guitars
TJ Hunt – Bass
Don Curtis – Drums

All music by Chris Morrison and Ben Sandman
All lyrics by Brandon Howe
Produced, recorded, and mixed by Ben Sandman
Mastered by Dan Swanö at Unisound
Album cover artwork, design, and layout by Magnus LeGrand

https://www.facebook.com/motherofgravesband
https://motherofgraves.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/wisebloodrecs/
https://www.instagram.com/wisebloodrecords
https://wisebloodrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://www.wisebloodrecords.com/

Mother of Graves, In Somber Dreams (2021)

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