Quarterly Review: Per Wiberg, Body Void, Ghorot, Methadone Skies, Witchrot, Rat King, Taras Bulba, Opium Owl, Kvasir, Lurcher

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

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

In my hubris of adding an 11th day to this Summer 2021 Quarterly Review — why not just do the whole month of July, bro? what’s the matter? don’t like riffs? — I’ve rendered today somewhat less of a landmark, but I guess there’s still some accomplishment to be felt in completing two full weeks of writing about 10 records a day, hitting triple digits and all that. Not that I doubted I’d get here — it’s rare but it’s happened before — and not that I doubt I’ll have the last 10 done for Monday, but yeah. It’s been a trip so far.

Quarterly Review #91-100:

Per Wiberg, All Is Well In the Land of the Living But for the Rest of Us… Lights Out

per wiberg all is well in the land of the living but for the rest of us lights out

The cumbersome-seeming title of Per Wiberg‘s new solo EP derives from its four component tracks, “All is Well,” “In the Land of the Living,” “But for the Rest of Us…” and “Lights Out.” The flow between them is largely seamless, and when Wiberg (whose pedigree as an organist/keyboardist includes Opeth, Candlemass, Big Scenic Nowhere and more others than I can count) pauses between tracks two and three, it feels likewise purposeful. It’s a dark mood inflected through the melodies of the opener and the atmospheric piano lines of “But for the Rest of Us…,” but Wiberg offers a driving take on progressive heavy rock with “In the Land of the Living” and the build in the subsequent “Lights Out” is encompassing with the lead-in it’s given. Wiberg sounds more comfortable layering his voice than even on 2019’s Head Without Eyes, and his arrangements are likewise expressive and fluid. Dude is a professional. I think maybe that’s part of the reason everybody wants to work with him.

Per Wiberg on Facebook

Despotz Records website

 

Body Void, Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth

Body Void Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth

Massive, droning lurch, harsh, biting screams and lumbering, pummeling weight, Body Void‘s third album and first for Prosthetic, Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth, boasts feelgood hits like “Wound” and “Laying Down in a Forest Fire,” bringing cacophonous, Khanate-style extremity of atmosphere to willfully, punishingly brutal sludge. It is not friendly. It is devastating, and it is the kind of record that sounds loud even when you play it quietly — and that’s before you get to “Pale Man”‘s added layers of caustic noise. Front to back in the four songs — all of which top 12 minutes — there’s no letup, no moment at which the duo relent in order to let the listener breathe. This is intentional. A conjuring of aural concrete in the lungs coinciding with striking lines like “Your compromises are hollow monuments to your cowardice” and other bleak, throatripping poetry of dead things and our complicity in making them. Righteous and painful.

Body Void on Facebook

Prosthetic Records website

 

Ghorot, Loss of Light

ghorot loss of light

Ghorot is the three-piece of bassist/vocalist Carson Russell (also Ealdor Bealu), drummer/vocalist Brandon Walker and guitarist Chad Remains (ex-Uzala), and Loss of Light is a debut album no less gripping for its push into darkness, whether it’s the almost-toying-with-you Sabbath-style riff of “Harbinger” or the tortured atmospherics in the back end of “Charioteer of Fire,” which follows. Competing impulses result in a sense of grueling even through the barks and faster progression of “Woven Furnace,” while “Dead Gods” offers precious little mourning in its charred deathsludge, saving more ambience for the 12-minute closer “In Endless Grief,” which not only veers into acoustics, but nods toward post-metal later on, despite holding firm to cavernous growls and wails. Obscure? Opaque? There isn’t a way in which Loss of Light isn’t heavy. Everywhere they go, Ghorot carry that weight with them. It is existential.

Ghorot on Facebook

Transylvanian Recordings on Bandcamp

Inverse Records on Bandcamp

 

Methadone Skies, Retrofuture Caveman

methadone skies retrofuture caveman

Lush from the outset and growing richer in aural substance as it plays out, the 17:56 longest/opening (immediate points) title-track of Methadone Skies‘ latest work, Retrofuture Caveman, is an obviously intended focal point, and a worthy one at that. Last heard from with 2019’s Different Layers of Fear (review here), the Romanian four-piece break down walls across the bulk of this fifth full-length, with “Retrofuture Caveman” itself setting the standard early in moving instrumentally between warm heavy psychedelia, prog, drone, doom and darker black metal. It’s prog heavy that ultimately wins the day on the subsequent linear build of “Infected by Friendship” and centerpiece “The Enabler,” but there’s room for more lumber in the 11-mminute “Western Luv ’67” and closer “When the Sleeper Awakens” offers playful shove riffing in its midsection before a final stretch of quiet guitar leads to a last-minute volume burst, no less consuming or sprawling than anything before, even if it feels like it finishes too soon.

Methadone Skies on Facebook

Methadone Skies on Bandcamp

 

Witchrot, Hollow

witchrot hollow

Stood out by the gotta-hear bass tone of Cam Alford, the ethereal-or-shouting-and-sometimes-both vocals of Lea Reto, the crash of Nick Kervin‘s drums and the encompassing wah of Peter Turik‘s guitar, Toronto’s Witchrot offer a striking debut with their awaited first full-length, Hollow, oozing out through opener/longest track (immediate points) “Million Shattered Swords” before the stomping wash of “Colder Hands” sacrifices itself on an altar of noise, leading to the more directly-riffed “Spiral of Sorrow,” which nonetheless maintains the atmosphere. Things get noisier and harsher in the second half of Hollow, which is presaged in the plod of “Fog,” but as things grow more restless and angrier after “Devil in My Eyes” and move into the pair “Burn Me Down” and “I Know My Enemy,” both faster, like blown-out Year of the Cobra toying with punk rock and grunge, Witchrot grow stronger for the shift by becoming less predictable, setting up the atmospheric plunge of the closing title-track that finishes one of 2021’s most satisfying debut albums.

Witchrot on Facebook

Fuzzed and Buzzed Records website

DHU Records store

 

Rat King, Omen

Rat King Omen

Omen is the first long-player from Evansville, Indiana, four-piece Rat King, who use rawness to their advantage throughout the nine included tracks, at least one of which — “Supernova” — dates back to being released as a single in 2017. With manipulated horror samples and interludes like the acoustic “Queen Anne’s Revenge” and “Shackleton” and the concluding “Matryoshka” spliced throughout the otherwise deep-toned and weighted fare of “Capsizer” and the chugging, pushing, scream-laced “Druid Crusher,” Omen never quite settles on a single approach and is more enticing for that, though the eight-minute “Vagrant” could well be a sign of things to come in its melodic reach, but the band revel in the grittier elements at work here as well — the thunderplod of “Glacier,” the willful drag of “Nepenta Divinorum,” and so on — and the ambience they create is dreary and obscure in a way that comes across as purposeful. Is Omen a foreshadow or just the name of a movie they dig? I don’t know, but I hope it’s not too long before we find out.

Rat King on Facebook

Rat King store

 

Taras Bulba, Sometimes the Night

Taras Bulba Sometimes the Night

What was Earthling Society continues to evolve into Taras Bulba at the behest of Fleetwood, UK’s Fred Laird. Sometimes the Night (on Riot Season) is a mostly solo affair, and truth be told, Laird doesn’t need much more than his own impulses to conjure a full-sounding record, as he quickly shows on the acid lounge opener “The Green Eyes of Dragon,” but the guest vocals from Daisy Atkinson bring echoing presence to the subsequent “Orphee” and Mike Blatchford‘s late-arriving sax on “The Sound of Waves,” “The Big Duvall” and “House in the Snow” highlight the jazzy underpinnings of the organ-laced “Night Train to Drug Town” and the avant, anti-anything guitar strum and piano strikes of “One More Lonely Angel.” No harm done, in any case, unless we’re talking about the common conception of what a song is, and hey, if it didn’t need to happen, it wouldn’t have. An experiment in vibe, perhaps, in psychedelic brooding, but evocative for that. Laird‘s no stranger to following whims. Here they lead to moodier space.

Taras Bulba on Facebook

Riot Season Records website

 

Opium Owl, Live at Hodila Records

Opium Owl Live at Hodila Records

I’ll admit, there’s a part of me that, when “Intro” hits its sudden forward surge, kind of wishes Opium Owl had kept it mellow. Nonetheless, the Riga, Latvia-based double-guitar (mostly) instrumental heavy psych four-piece offer plenty of serenity throughout the four-song live set Live at Hodila Records, and the back and forth patterning of the subsequent “Echo Slam” is all the more effective at winning conversion, so fair enough. “Stone Gaze” dips into even bigger riffage, while “Tempest Double” dares vocals over its quieter noodling, dispensing with them as it pushes louder toward the finish. For a live recording, the sound is rich enough to convey what would seem to be the full warmth of Opium Owl‘s tonality, and in its breadth and its impact, there’s no lack of studio-fullness for the session-style presentation. Live at Hodila Records may be formative in terms of establishing the methods with which the band — who formed in 2019 — will continue to work, but showcases significant promise in that.

Opium Owl on Facebook

Hodila Records on Facebook

 

Kvasir, 4

kvasir 4

Doled out with chops to spare and the swagger to show them off, Kvasir‘s eight-song debut LP, 4, puts modern heavy rock riffing in blender and sets it on high. Classic, epic heavy in “Where Gods to to Pray” and a more nodding groove in “Authenticity & the Illusion of Enough” meet with the funkier starts-stops of “Slow Death of Life” and the languid Sabbathism of “Earthly Algorithms.” “Chill for a Church” opens side B with trashier urgency and suitable rhythmic twist, and “The Brink” sets its depressive lyric to a ’70s boogie swing, not quite masking it, but working as a flowing companion piece for “The Black Mailbox,” which follows in like-minded fashion, letting closer “Alchemy of Identity” underscore the point with a rawer take on what once made The Sword so undeniable in their groove. There’s growing to do, patience to learn, etc., but Kvasir make it easy to get on board with 4 and their arguments for doing so brook little contradiction. Onto the list of 2021’s best debut albums it goes.

Kvasir on Facebook

Glory or Death Records on Bandcamp

 

Lurcher, Coma

lurcher coma

Lurcher might go full-prog before they’re done, but they’re not their yet on their four-song debut EP, Coma, and the songs only benefit from the band’s focus on impact and lack of self-indulgence. The leadoff title-track has an immediate hook that brings to mind an updated, tonally-heavier version of what Cave In innovated for melodic post-hardcore, and the subsequent “Remove the Myth From the Mountain” follows with a broader-sounding reach in its later solo that builds on the heavy rock foundation the first half of the song put forth. Vocalist/guitarist Joe Harvatt — backed by the rhythm section of bassist Tom Shortt and drummer Simon Bonwick — is prone, then, to a bit of shred. No argument as that’s answered with the Hendrix fuzz at the outset of “All Now is Here,” which both gets way-loud and drones way-out in its seven minutes, in turn setting up the lush-and-still-hard-hitting capper “Cross to Bear,” which rounds off the 26-minute release with all the more encouraging shifts in tempo, flowing melody, and mellotron sounds to add to the sweeping drama. I know the UK underground is hyper-crowded at this point, but consider notice served. These cats are onto something.

Lurcher on Instagram

Trepanation Recordings on Bandcamp

 

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 58

Posted in Radio on April 30th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

I’m trying to break my own rules a little bit. Every now and again, it’s a decent exercise to try to change things up. I kind of did the same last ep, by starting out with a bunch of classic doom. There’s still a lot of new music here — the Snail is out today, and that and The Black Heart Death Cult and Howling Giant are all new too, as well as the Conclave, PapirWitchrot and, relatively speaking, Dopelord. So yeah, plenty of new stuff there.

But there were a couple other things I wanted to talk about — PostWax is one, Maryland Doom Fest is another. So you get Dopelord for that, as they were recently announced for PostWax, and SubRosa, whose offshoot The Otolith will also feature in the vinyl subscription service. And in addition to Howling Giant, there’s the block that starts with Conclave you can see in the playlist — YatraMolasses BargeHorseburner and Sasquatch — all of whom have been confirmed for MDDF this Halloween weekend. Sadly not Papir, though that would also rule.

And between those, I guess I just had Goatsnake and Truckfighters on my mind and decided to throw them in. Who’s gonna argue? I suppose I’ll find out in the Gimme chat later on.

Thanks for listening and/or reading. As always, I hope you enjoy.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at http://gimmemetal.com

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 04.30.21

Snail Draining White Fractal Altar
The Black Heart Death Cult Goodbye Gatwick Blues Sonic Mantras
Howling Giant Understudy Alteration
VT
Dopelord Dark Coils Reality Dagger
Goatsnake What Love Remains 1
Truckfighters Con of Man Mania
Witchrot Million Shattered Swords Hollow
SubRosa Despair is a Siren For This We Fought the Battle of Ages
VT
Conclave Haggard Dawn of Days
Yatra Blood Will Flow Blood of the Night
Molasses Barge Holding Patterns A Grayer Dawn
Horseburner The Oak The Thief
Sasquatch Just Couldn’t Stand the Weather Maneuvers
VT
Papir 01.20.2020 #3 Jams

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is May 14 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Metal website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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Witchrot: Debut Album Hollow Preorders May 1; Album Teaser Premieres

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 16th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

witchrot 2

If you’re not already looking forward to Hollow, the debut album from Toronto’s Witchrot, then the 50-second teaser making its first airing at the bottom of this post should take care of that with all due efficiency. The four-piece outfit will have the Tony Reed-mastered record up for preorder on May 1, and from its moody-then-explosive opening in “A Million Shattered Swords” and the equal-parts massive and soaring “Burn Me Down” and the final closing statement in its title-track — the word “hollow,” incidentally, is how guitarist Peter Turik once described the voice of singer Leo Reto as making him feel — the band make spaces and fill them with drenched tones and post-grunge melody. They may have made their name by breaking up, but this album is nothing if not alive.

Vinyl release date is June 30, and there are the preorder links that you’ll find with that teaser clip below in shimmering PR wire blue:

witchrot hollow

Witchrot – Hollow

https://witchrot.bandcamp.com

Two years ago, Witchrot splattered across the internet with an infamous breakup post on Facebook. The notoriety from the breakup gave them renewed vigor and they soldiered on to fashion themselves into the seventh best band of all time (narrowly pushing the Beatles out of the top ten).

Now Witchrot are set to premiere their debut vinyl long player – Hollow. This killer mix of ethereal vocals, crushing riffs and bottom end dredged up from your local graveyard will be available on Fuzzed and Buzzed Records in North America and DHU in Europe.

The wax comes in three different colorways including the Band edition, the DHU edition and Fuzzed and Buzzed black. Artwork is by ZZ Corpse and each edition comes with a bonus poster from Shane Horror. The whole thing is mastered to vinyl by the heaviest of all heads, Tony Reed.

Celebrate the Beltane Festival with pre-orders on May 1 at Noon EST and 6pm CEST. Available from fuzzedandbuzzed.com in North America and darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com in Europe or straight from the band https://witchrot.bandcamp.com/.

Witchrot are:
Lea Reto
Peter Turik
Nick Kervin
Cam Alford

https://www.facebook.com/witchrot
https://www.instagram.com/witchrotband/
https://witchrot.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Fuzzedandbuzzed-631019733954614/
https://www.instagram.com/fuzzedandbuzzed/
https://www.fuzzedandbuzzed.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://www.instagram.com/dhu_records/
https://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bandcamp.com/
darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/

Witchrot, Hollow teaser video

Witchrot-Hollow_Promo(Pre-order_May_1).mov from Fuzzed and Buzzed on Vimeo.

Witchrot, Strega / Hey Hey My My (2020)

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Witchrot: Debut Album Hollow Coming Soon

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

witchrot

Right on. I dug the 2020 Strega / Hey Hey My My (review here) single from Toronto’s Witchrot, and the news of an impending full-length debut is only welcome as far as I’m concerned. The release — which will be out… ever — is unsurprisingly set to issue through the ongoing collaboration between Fuzzed and Buzzed and DHU Records that has wrought much cultishness of purpose and much fuzz of tone already and one hopes will only continue to do so throughout 2021. The more the merrier.

If you didn’t hear the single last year, it’s streaming below as there’s no audio as yet from the album, which is titled Hollow. One assumes that will come in time along with stuff like, oh, a release date and preorders and all that whatnot.

DHU sent the preliminaries along the PR wire:

witchrot hollow

New release by Fuzzed and Buzzed & DHU Records: Witchrot ~ Hollow

DHU Records is excited to announce we will be teaming up once again with that super stoned label of Canadian descent Fuzzed and Buzzed Records to bring you the debut full length LP Hollow by Toronto Doom Cult Witchrot!!

“After releasing 2 crushing 7″ & 8” singles in 2019 and 2020, the time has come for Canadian Doomers Witchrot to unleash their debut full length and they did not hold back to bring you earth shattering hymns of colossal proportions!

Ultra Heavy riffing, uncomfortable atmospheres coiled in overwhelming & mesmeric chants from singer Lea make Hollow a Doom Masterpiece!”

DHU Records & Fuzzed and Buzzed Records are proud to bring you Hollow on Limited Edition Vinyl in the second quarter of 2021. DHU, Fuzzed and Buzzed and Witchrot Editions will be available. All Editions will be available to order in EU and CAN/US

More info & details coming soon…

Side A:
A1. Million Shattered Swords 6:44
A2. Colder Hands 5:42
A3. Spiral Of Sorrow 5:58
A4. Fog 2:46

Side B:
B1. Devil In Your Eyes 5:10
B2. Burn Me Down 5:27
B3. I Know My Enemy 4:16
B4. Hollow 5:04

Engineered and mixed by Dylan Frankland
At Palace Sound // Candle Studio November 2019 and October 2020.
Assistant Engineer Simon Kou
Mastered by Tony Reed at HeavyHead Recording Co.
Album art & layout by ZZ Corpse
Executive Producer Lex Shuper

Witchrot are:
Lea Reto
Peter Turik
Nick Kervin
Cam Alford

https://www.facebook.com/witchrot
https://www.instagram.com/witchrotband/
https://witchrot.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Fuzzedandbuzzed-631019733954614/
https://www.instagram.com/fuzzedandbuzzed/
https://www.fuzzedandbuzzed.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://www.instagram.com/dhu_records/
https://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bandcamp.com/
darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/

Witchrot, Strega / Hey Hey My My (2020)

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Witchrot Premiere “Strega” From 8″ Single out June 12

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

witchrot

With the premiere of its title-track, the new two-songer Strega from Toronto doom-drifters Witchrot is streaming in its entirety. By that I mean the other song was already streaming.

The release, cartoon-boobs cover and all, will see issue as an 8″ single — that’s right: “it’s one more, innit?” — through the cross-ocean partnership between Toronto’s Fuzzed and Buzzed Records and the Netherlands’ DHU Records, and to be sure, it puts that extra inch above the standard to good use. With a total 13-minute runtime, “Strega” and “Hey Hey My My” dwell in a realm of hypnotic riffy largesse. With the guitar and bass of Peter Turik clearly attuned toward maximum density, drummer Shane Tyrer brings forth a slow march on the B side after conjuring a pointed thud on the leadoff, in both cases giving Lea Reto a not-at-all-missed opportunity to cut through the morass as only melody can.

For added intrigue, not only does Reto do this, but she plays into the hypnotic aspects of both tracks almost entirely, patterning lyrics around a few repeating lines rather than whole verses and choruses. “Strega” is just “La strega/Hit me with her evil eye” — though certainly there’s a story behind it, as you can see in the quote from Turik below — and even “Hey Hey My My,” which derives straight from Neil Young, chooses one of the most distinctive progressions of his long career and reinterprets it as almost a religious chant. The attempt isn’t to turn it into the stuff of cult rock cliché — despite the fact that the band have “witch” in their name, I don’t actually get much of that kind of “I’m a spooky supernatural being and I live in the woods” vibe, thankfully — and neither does it need to be. Witchrot are plainly able to conjure the ethereal without hyperperformance of genre tropes. All they need are the riffs, and clearly they have those.

One would be tempted to call Strega deceptively memorable if there were anything deceptive about it. Rather, Witchrot are up front about what they’re doing and ask little indulgence on the listener’s part other perhaps than a definitely-earned nod along. So get to it.

Enjoy “Strega” below, followed by a few words from Turik about the song, and “Hey Hey My My” under that, for completeness’ sake:

Peter Turik on “Strega”:

This song was recorded at Candle Studio by Dylan Frankland. He has become the ultimate behind-the-scenes man for our band. He always knows what works and what doesn’t. Of course Lea belted it all out on this track with minimal effort. There is never a time when she goes into the studio with something set, she is in a constant state of experimentation.

I wrote this song about an encounter my Nono had with a witch back in Italy. She asked him for a ride on his donkey and when he denied she cursed him with some sort of paralysis. Apparently he was bed ridden for weeks and nearly died. His family eventually had to get another witch to reverse the spell.

DHU Records is releasing the song on a special edition 8″ vinyl with our Neil Young cover as the B side. So heavy a 7″ wouldn’t cut it! We also had a tour planned for May which would have been our first time heading to the USA, as of now I can only imagine that will be postponed. Along with that, Fuzzed and Buzzed was going to help us finish recording our first full-length. Of course that will be put off as well.

The state of the world is completely fucked up right now and I can only hope that there is a way to reverse this curse laid upon us.

It seems we’re doomed. Time will tell.

Stay safe… stay heavy.

Witchrot are:
Lea Reto – Vox
Peter Turik – Guitar/Bass
Shane Tyrer – Drums

Witchrot, “Hey Hey My My”

Witchrot on Thee Facebooks

Witchrot on Instagram

Witchrot on Bandcamp

Fuzzed and Buzzed Records on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzed and Buzzed Records on Instagram

Fuzzed and Buzzed Records store

DHU Records on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records on Instagram

DHU Records on Bandcamp

DHU Records store

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