The Obelisk Presents: THE BEST OF 2019

Posted in Features on December 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk best of 2019

[PLEASE NOTE: These are not the results of the year-end poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t contributed your list to the cause yet, please do so here.]

Make no mistake, my friends. 2019 was the year it went off the rails.

Every 12-month period brings a lot of records, and they all seem overwhelming, but this was the first year I’ve ever felt quite so helpless when it came time to sit down and actually make my list. Of course, I keep running notes all year long, but even so, ordering everything, bringing it all together? What a mess.

I almost thought of breaking it down into smaller lists in addition to the big one, subgrouped by style. But then, where does doom end and sludge begin? What about psych and heavy rock? Should prog get its own list? And what the hell counts as prog?

In the end, that didn’t seem like it would be doing me any favors, so we’ll stick with the one big list and then others for debut releases and another for EPs, splits, demos and so on. You know, the usual.

Pretty sure I say this every year too, but it bears repeating: if you read any of the below — and thanks if you do — and have a response, be nice. If I’ve forgotten something — and yes, I have; I’m sure of it — that you think needs to be included, and you want to leave a comment that says so, please, by all means. But keep it civil. I know people are passionate about this stuff and so am I, but consider there are probably over 200 offerings covered here by the time you get through all the lists and honorable mentions, and I’m one person. I’m doing my best, and though I try not to, I tend to take being called a dumbass personally. So yeah, chill out and please be constructive in calling me a dumbass. Words matter.

A few hard choices here, most especially for album of the year. I was back and forth with each of the top three in the top spot for a good long while, and it might change again between now and when this post goes up. But it’s been that kind of year. In 2018, there was no question. It was Sleep all the way. The question was what came after that. This year has been different without that kind of duh, punch-in-the-face obvious pick. Relative parity isn’t a bad thing though.

Enough delay. The usual parameters apply. These are a combo of my personal listening habits and what I think are the most important records/achievements of the year, critical importance, etc.

Here we go:

The Top 50 Albums of 2019

#50-31

50. Hazemaze, Hymns of the Damned
49. Lightning Born, Lightning Born
48. Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree, Grandmother
47. PH, Osiris Hayden
46. Thunderbird Divine, Magnasonic
45. Abrahma, In Time for the Last Rays of Light
44. Uffe Lorenzen, Triprapport
43. Swallow the Sun, When a Shadow is Forced into the Light
42. Caustic Casanova, God How I Envy the Deaf
41. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, Tre
40. SÂVER, They Came With Sunlight
39. Ogre, Thrice as Strong
38. Lamp of the Universe, Align in the Fourth Dimension
37. Vokonis, Grasping Time
36. Sacri Monti, Waiting Room for the Magic Hour
35. Across Tundras, The Rugged Ranges of Curbs and Broken Minds
34. Duel, Valley of Shadows
33. Orodruin, Ruins of Eternity
32. Zaum, Divination
31. Inter Arma, Sulphur English

http://www.zacapaonline.com/?custom-writeng. admission college essay help Succeeding in college starts with your application package and asking for college admission essay help is a step in the and with our admissions essay help,personal statement, admission essay, application essay. Notes Best Site To Do Online Assignments services from writers who know how to annotate sources | Now you can live your life as you want, and we will do the rest! : Honestly, if this had been the top 20 of the year, I’d still call 2019 a win. Aside from the fact that I somehow thought Caustic Casanova would enjoy coming in a number 42, the sheer quality of this stuff should tell you what kind of year 2019 was. Inter Arma’s Sulphur English was a significant achievement in genre melding, and Orodruin’s return after more than a decade since their last LP was a masterclass in doom worship. Debut albums from SÂVER and Thunderbird Divine and Lightning Born showed marked promise of things to come — and there’s more on them below as well — while Zaum’s, Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree’s and Lamp of the Universe’s meditations, Vokonis’ noise, Abrahma’s emotive progressivisim, Swallow the Sun’s melodic melancholy, Sacri Monti’s boogie, and whatever the hell PH were doing on Osiris Hayden remind just how much the word “heavy” can encompass. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, Duel and Uffe Lorenzen and Hazemaze were musts here, and Ogre are perennial favorites whose work always brings a doomly grin. Don’t sleep on any of it.

30. Sun Blood Stories, Haunt Yourself

sun blood stories haunt yourself

Self-released. Reviewed Sept. 6.

Until they put out a complementary follow-up record of such fare, one might’ve accused Idaho three-piece Sun Blood Stories of becoming less experimentalist/droned-out/noisy on Haunt Yourself, but they seem to have met their quota one way or the other with the Oct. 2019 advent of Static Sessions Vol. 1. Still, it’s melody, heavy post-rock/psychedelic drift and emotive soul that rule the day on the crushing and enriching Haunt Yourself, and no complaints from me on that.

29. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Everybody’s Going to Die

Church of the Cosmic Skull Everybodys Going to Die

Released by Septaphonic Records. Reviewed Dec. 10.

I don’t have to do anything more than read the name of the album to have the chorus of the title-track stuck in my head, and it’s a reminder that although the Nottingham troupe put so much into their progressive style and vocal harmonies and arrangements, and a more conceptual theme in the case of Everybody’s Going to Die — their answer to 2018’s excellent Science Fiction (review here) — their roots are in songcraft, and it’s the foundation of songcraft that lets them soar. Would be higher on the list if it weren’t so new.

28. Devil to Pay, Forever, Never or Whenever

devil to pay forever never or whenever

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Nov. 4.

With their sixth album, Indianapolis’ Devil to Pay collect 10 tracks of unpretentious-almost-to-a-fault of straightforward heavy rock songwriting that continues to be woefully underappreciated. They have become utterly reliable in that regard — you know, to a certain extent, what’s coming — but the vocals of guitarist Steve Janiak (also Apostle of Solitude) and some more metallic turns to the riffing give Forever, Never or Whenever a subtlety that holds up all the more on repeat visits. I don’t know if Devil to Pay will ever get their due, but suffice it to say, they’re due.

27. Howling Giant, The Space Between Worlds

howling giant the space between worlds

Released by Blues Funeral Recordings. Reviewed Oct. 11.

If you’re of a certain age, you remember when the first Playstation came out and everyone looked around at their Nintendos and Segas like, “What the hell am I messing around with Mario Golf for? I could be playing Resident Evil!” That’s kind of what Howling Giant are as compared to “regular” rock bands. They’re the Playstation of heavy: that next progressive step forward carrying an inhuman amount of swagger and personality while still delivering a stepped-up product from their would-be peers. The scariest thing about The Space Between Worlds is it’s their first LP. One looks forward to the next generation.

26. Saint Vitus, Saint Vitus

saint vitus saint vitus

Released by Season of Mist. Reviewed March 19.

I know for a fact that bassist Pat Bruders and drummer Henry Vasquez had a hand in writing some of the material on Saint Vitus’ second self-titled LP, and yet the album so much bears the indelible mark of guitarist Dave Chandler that it’s hard not to think of it all as his. The album marked their first release with original singer Scott Reagers since 1995’s Die Healing (discussed here) and featured among their trademark low-tuned slog, an actual punk song, which showed the grinning glee that underlies all they do. Four decades on, Saint Vitus sound like they’re having fun. How is that not a win?

25. Ealdor Bealu, Spirit of the Lonely Places

ealdor bealu spirit of the lonely places

Self-released. Reviewed July 10.

Woodsy Rocky Mountain psychedelia abounded on Boise foursome Ealdor Bealu’s second full-length, and their blend of landscape meditations and grounded heavy progressive melodicism made Spirit of the Lonely Places as much about impact as about space, though of course the real joy was the experience of the entirety. Very much a sophomore album, it learned lessons from 2017’s Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain (review here) that one only hopes the band will continue to push forward in scope as they so gracefully did here.

24. Yatra, Death Ritual

yatra death ritual

Released through Grimoire Records. Discussed Nov. 13, 2018..

Though hard- and to-date quick-working Maryland trio Yatra have already moved on and are looking ahead to releasing their second album, Blood of the Night (review here), their Grimoire-delivered debut, Death Ritual, is impossible to ignore for the impact it had on reminding listeners of the impact that primeval extreme sludge can have. Another couple tours and some bigger label — Relapse, Prosthetic, eOne, Season of Mist, whoever — will decide they’re “ready,” whatever that means, and then sign them and I won’t be cool enough to do track premieres for them anymore, but as far as accolades go, Yatra earn whatever they get and Death Ritual stands among 2019’s most landmark debuts. They’ve already outdone it, but it’s a stunner just the same.

23. Ecstatic Vision, For the Masses

ecstatic vision for the masses

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Sept. 17.

Ecstatic Vision frontman Doug Sabolik has cast himself in the mold of Arthur Brown or Dave Wyndorf or probably seven or eight dudes who were in Hawkwind at some point as a manic-but-stoned space rock preacher with as he and his band behind him plunge headfirst-or-feetfirst-it-doesn’t-matter-because-your-body-is-an-illusion-man into the molten multicolor void. For the Masses. The ‘masses,’ such as they are, should be so lucky, but the double-meaning is the real tell for where the Philly unit are coming from. Their shows are the masses — gatherings of spirit and song to give praise to the willful expansion of mind. If you can’t get behind that, you might as well go get a job or something. This ain’t no lightweight party for squares and dabblers. This is a high-potency happening for werewolves on motorcycles and freaks of all stripes. Get weird stay weird. Ecstatic Vision are one mostly-mellow 15-minute “Spine of God”-style psych-epic away from perfection.

22. Beastwars, IV

beastwars iv

Released by Destroy Records. Reviewed June 27.

But for the circumstances that brought it about — i.e. Beastwars vocalist Matt Hyde’s cancer — the unexpected fourth installment in the Beastwars trilogy was nothing if not welcome. An grand-feeling sense of largesse was nothing new to the New Zealand four-piece, but after breaking up and getting back together to make the album, the grim sincerity with which they presented this exploration of mortality and betrayal by one’s own body was no less palpable than the undulating riffs that threatened, as ever, to consume all in their path. I don’t know their future plans in terms of continuing to write and/or record, but there are reports of touring beyond Aus/NZ for 2020, so one way or another, stay tuned for more from them. Whether or not they do anything else, IV was a triumph in spirit and execution.

21. Eternal Black, Slow Burn Suicide

eternal black slow burn suicide

Self-released. Reviewed June 7.

With the nine songs of Slow Burn Suicide, Brooklyn’s Eternal Black began to unveil the true depth of their project. Their 2017 debut, Bleed the Days (review here), was well received, and rightly so, but operated more in a straight-ahead doom sphere. The second outing, by contrast, delved into a particular vision of the style informed by the crunch of peak-era New York noise and crossover hardcore, and it succeeded not just because it did this, but because it did so around a conjuration of memorable riffs and tracks building on accomplishments carried over from its predecessor. Is this an awaited arrival of next-generation ‘New York doom’? Will theirs be a blueprint others will follow? It’s impossible to know now, and their next album will be telling either way, but the course they’ve set is significant.

20. Candlemass, The Door to Doom

candlemass the door to doom

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Feb. 22.

It may have been the Tony Iommi guest appearance that got Swedish doom legends Candlemass — the world’s earliest and foremost purveyors of doom both classic and epic — their recent Grammy nomination, but it was the long-overdue reunion with original vocalist Johan Längquist that made the album as a whole as powerful as it was. Pairing Längquist’s theatrical and vital approach with founding bassist Leif Edling’s second-to-none doomcraft, The Door to Doom was a catapult not to the bygone days of the band’s landmark debut, 1986’s Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, but an inspired look at not just what might’ve been had Längquist remained with the band longer, but what might still be if he does this time around. Candlemass have been through their share of singers, but as fresh as The Door to Doom sounded, it’s hard not to hope for something more than a one-off with he who got there first. The songs, the spirit, the sheer heart poured into Candlemass’ doom some 35 years past the band’s start only emphasizes how special they have always been.

19. Nebula, Holy Shit

nebula holy shit

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed June 13.

Anyone who might’ve predicted Nebula getting into the studio and making a new album was either in the room when it happened or talking out their ass. And speaking of, was Nebula’s Holy Shit named for the shock one might’ve felt at its existence, or the surprise at how good it actually sounded when you put it on? I don’t know. I probably won’t ever know. It was the best title I saw all year, but more than that, it was a Nebula record, fueled by the classic riffing and unmitigated desert punk soul of founding/guitarist Eddie Glass, whose absence from the heavy underground for the last decade left a void only too many others whiffed on filling. Holy Shit showed just how singular a player Glass was and is, and how much character there is in his style, particularly in solos, but also in rhythmic changes, and so on. I won’t discount the work of bassist Tom Davies and drummer Mike Amster in making Nebula what they are in this incarnation — they’re essential, obviously — but there’s simply no denying that presence at the band’s core.

18. Valley of the Sun, Old Gods

valley of the sun old gods

Released by Fuzzorama Records. Reviewed May 21.

This was a heavy rock record that had everything. Everything. It had songs, style, ups, down, purples, greens, ins, outs, all kinds of whathaveyou. Riffs forever. Valley of the Sun should keep their eyes on Sasquatch, because if they want it, that path is theirs. I know the Cincinnati outfit have had trouble keeping lineups together, but if they can hold onto one, and maybe after their next record start touring more, domestically and abroad — not at all a minor ask, I know — then people will catch on. Old Gods is evidence of the fact that they genuinely have something to offer, and frankly, it’s not at all the first such effective case they’ve made in their career. But they’ve never put anything out that wasn’t a step forward, and yet they’ve never lost sight of the roots of their initial inspiration. And they’ve never sacrificed the song for the riff, which so many do. They’ve only ever gotten better. Let Old Gods be a step toward them getting attention they’ve long since deserved.

17. Kadavar, For the Dead Travel Fast

Kadavar For the Dead Travel Fast

Released by Nuclear Blast. Reviewed Oct. 28.

In style and production, For the Dead Travel Fast is the most vintage-sounding offering Berlin trio Kadavar have made in over a half decade, yet neither is it looking backward wistfully toward 2013’s Abra Kadavar (review here) or giving up the modern clarity of 2017’s Rough Times (review here) or 2015’s Berlin (review here). Instead, it strikes a balance with a more sinister edge à la Uncle Acid in songs like “Children of the Night” and “Demons in My Mind” — both singles — and makes a home for itself between proto-metal and garage doom. Whatever genre tag you want to give it — and that might vary from track to track, mind you — it’s unmistakably Kadavar, with the signature hooks and memorable craftsmanship that have made them one of the decade’s most pivotal heavy bands. The real challenge at this point in their career is not to take for granted that Kadavar will produce material of such quality, because, frankly, that’s all they’ve ever done.

16. Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Yn Ol I Annwn

mammoth weed wizard bastard yn ol i annwn

Released by New Heavy Sounds. Reviewed Feb. 7.

Welsh sci-fi cosmic doomers Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard billed Yn Ol I Annwn as the final installment of a trilogy that includes their two prior LPs, 2015’s Noeth Ac Anoeth (review here) and 2016’s Y Proffwyd Dwyll (review here), and while that may be true thematically, there’s also no question the third is a marked step forward from anything they’ve done before. They’re one foot out of the airlock and into space as their synth-laden longform riffing and melodies take them to places they’ve not yet gone, explorations of sight as much as sound, aural translation of colors humans aren’t gifted to see. Their songs across the 65-minute span unfold with the grace of a gravity spiral, pulling the listener deeper into the proceedings with each new phase that emerges until, what, obliteration? Stellar genesis? I’m not sure. They’ve reportedly got one more record to make and then they’re done. If that’s true, they’ll be missed then they’re gone.

15. Magic Circle, Departed Souls

magic circle departed souls

Released by 20 Buck Spin. Reviewed April 3.

They’ve found their way to die, and it’s upon an altar of classic metal and doom. And honestly, they make a pretty good case for it. Departed Souls is the third full-length from the Boston unit and their most stylistically realized work yet, with vocalist Brendan Radigan giving a standout performance alongside the guitars of Chris Corry and Renato Montenegro, the bass of Justin DeTore and Michael “Q” Quartulli’s drums, as the entire band taps into vibes from mid-’70s Black Sabbath and brings them to bear with an energy that is unlike anything in Magic Circle’s history. 2015’s Journey Blind (review here) brought in NWOBHM flash in the guitar work, sure enough, but Departed Souls doesn’t so much carry the torch of classic metal as it does use it to burn down the whole village and rebuild it in the five-piece’s image. From their doomed beginnings on their 2013 self-titled debut (review here) to now, they’re an act who’ve genuinely earned cult status. If you can find a backpatch, buy it.

14. Spaceslug, Reign of the Orion

Spaceslug Reign of the Orion cover

Released by BSFD Records. Reviewed Nov. 22.

Controversy! Drama! Well, probably not, but at very least some respectful disagreement on my part. You see, Poland’s Spaceslug have stated publicly that their latest release, the late-2019 surprise Reign of the Orion is an EP. Their albums regularly top 50 minutes, and at 36 minutes, I guess relative to that, you can see where they’re coming from. However, with the flow of these five songs and the ease with which they carry the listener from front-to-back through the listening experience, I’m sticking to my guns and calling Reign of the Orion an album. Sorry guys. True, it’s shorter than the other full-lengths, but it’s got everything you could ask an album to have in terms of how tracks like “Spacerunner” and the shouty “Half-Moon Burns” play into each other, and the fluidity of the outing on the whole is inarguable. An LP by any other name? Whatever you or they want to call it, there’s no question in my mind Reign of the Orion is one of 2019’s best records. If they insist on it being an EP, then it’s the best one of the year, but I still say it belongs in another category altogether, so here it is.

13. Green Lung, Woodland Rites

green lung woodland rites

Released by Kozmik Artifactz. Reviewed Jan. 28.

As hyper-crowded as London is with bands at this moment in history, there continue to be acts who sneak through with an individualized and intriguing perspective on doom and heavy rock, and Green Lung are a perfect example, learning from fellow Brits like Alunah and Elephant Tree and incorporating folk and forest goth vibes to their debut album, Woodland Rites. Laced with organ and stuck-in-the-head choruses like “Let the Devil In” and the creeper “Templar Dawn,” the record also pushed into drifting verses on “Into the Wild,” setting up future experimentation with atmospheric variety and genre manipulation. If part of any first album’s appeal is the potential it represents, Green Lung’s offers plenty, but wherever their subsequent course may or may not take them, their accomplishments here shouldn’t be overlooked. Woodland Rites is nothing less than the heavy rock debut album of the year, and though they emerge from a packed field, the work they do to stand themselves out already carries their mark and an apparent will toward progression. They’re on their way.

12. Lo-Pan, Subtle

lo-pan subtle

Released by Aqualamb Records. Reviewed May 9.

My head immediately goes to the hooks of “Ten Days” and “Ascension Day” and “Savage Heart,” but the up-down surges of guitar in “Old News/New Fire” and the midtempo soulfulness in “A Thousand Miles” are no less resonant when it comes to the actual listening experience of the fifth Lo-Pan LP. Subtle, when it came to living up to its name, as much wasn’t as it was. Flourishes of harmony in the vocals of Jeff Martin, the pops in Jesse Bartz’s snare punctuating and propelling in kind, turns in Scott Thompson’s bass work twisting around the guitar of Chris Thompson, a relative newcomer to the fold making his debut with the band and showing no apparent trouble fitting in. I don’t imagine Lo-Pan is an easy band to join, especially at this point. They thrive on personality clash and, through years of touring, have a chemistry they’ve built between them that comes through even on their recordings. Nonetheless, Subtle is their clearest, sharpest-edged work yet, and as tight as their songwriting has become, they still groove and groove mightily. They are a treasure of American heavy rock and roll. Believe it.

11. Roadsaw, Tinnitus the Night

roadsaw tinnitus the night

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed June 12.

While members of Roadsaw have spent the intervening years in projects like Kind, White Dynomite, Sasquatch and Murcielago, the Boston heavy rock kingpins have indeed been missed, and Tinnitus the Night works quickly to show why. It’s been well over 20 years since their first LP — hell, it’s been eight since they put out their 2011 self-titled (review here) — but their craft is at its own level, and Tinnitus the Night comes barreling through with “Shake” and “Along for the Ride” and “Final Phase” before opening up to broader fare on side B with “Find What You Need,” “Under the Devil’s Thumb” and “Midazolam” ahead of the subdued finale “Silence,” and the result is nothing less than a classic heavy rock LP structure as befitting what is itself a classic heavy rock LP. What’s Roadsaw’s future? I don’t know. It took them the better part of a decade to make this one happen, so take from that what you will, but to me, all it says is there’s even more reason to be grateful they got it done and out. To say the songs deserve that is putting it mildly.

10. Worshipper, Light in the Wire

worshipper light in the wire

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed April 24.

I’m not doing a ‘song of the year’ post, but if I was, Worshipper’s “Coming Through” might be it. The opening track from the Boston four-piece’s second album, Light in the Wire, marries classic pop drama in its melody with careening progressive riffing, and sets the tone for a record that is of both future and past, twistingly complex and yet immediately accessible, immersive as an entirety and still comprised of standout moments. These aren’t contradictions in Worshipper’s skillful hands, but the stuff of what’s already becoming their own take on rock. Tied together through melody, skillful rhythmic intricacy and solid structural foundations, “Light in the Wires,” “Visions from Beyond,” “Wither on the Vine” and others throughout post their own triumphs en route to enhancing the album as a whole, while “Nobody Else” and closer “Arise” underscore the emotive basis from which the perspective of the whole LP emanates. There are a lot of “next-gen” heavy rock bands out there weaving prog elements and traditional riffing together to some degree or other. Few, if any, can write a song like Worshipper can. I mean it. This band is something special.

9. Solace, The Brink

solace the brink

Released by Blues Funeral Recordings. Reviewed Nov. 21.

What is there to say about Solace? A band who, nine years after revealing the expectation-slaughtering masterpiece A.D. (review here), return with three-fifths of a swapped-out lineup and simply do it again? This band is explosive. Really. Like, they might explode at any minute. It’s a miracle The Brink ever happened. I’ll be honest, I had my doubts. But Solace are a force like nothing else I’ve ever encountered in music. They take metallic aggression, hardcore’s sense of self-righteousness and heavy rock’s groove, set it all to a doomly swing and they play it in such a way as to leave you utterly dumbfounded by what you just experienced. Here’s a challenge though, for the band personally. From me to them. Do another one. Go ahead. Put out another album. You don’t even have to do it in 2020. Do it 2021. Write the songs and give me a no-holds-barred 45-minute LP of the tightest, meanest shit you’ve ever written. Because massive as the accomplishments are on The Brink, it’s the potential to build from them that resonates most here. So do it, guys. Step up and take advantage of the moment. Call me greedy if you want, I don’t care. Give me another Solace record. I dare you.

8. Brume, Rabbits

brume rabbits

Released by Doom Stew Records & DHU Records. Reviewed Nov. 6.

Simply a case of a band wildly outdoing themselves. Easy story, yeah? In some ways, maybe, but the truth of what Brume achieve on Rabbits. Their second long-player behind 2017’s Rooster (review here), the five-track offering sees the San Francisco three-piece of vocalist/bassist Susie McMullan, guitarist/vocalist Jamie McCathie and drummer Jordan Perkins-Lewis working with producer Billy Anderson to bring theatricality and emotionalism together in a flowing post-heavy context that’s neither derivative nor working at cross purposes. Instead, it is a gorgeous and blooming undertaking across its 43-minute span, working in its own light/dark spectrum and bringing not just the sense of trapped fragility evoked by the cover art, but a corresponding sureness of intent to its ascendant heavy surges. Like Rooster before it, it is loaded with potential, but in “Scurry” and “Lament” and “Despondence” and “Blue Jay and “Autocrat’s Fool,” there’s a patience and command that absolutely does not waver. So yes, a band outdoing themselves. But so much more too.

7. Mars Red Sky, The Task Eternal

mars red sky the task eternal

Released by Listenable Records. Reviewed Sept. 20.

This may forever be known as the Mars Red Sky album they wrote in a cave, but the Bordeaux three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Julien Pras and bassist/vocalist Jimmy Kinast and drummer Matieu “Matgaz” Gazeau nonetheless plunged forward along the progressive course they charted back on 2014’s sophomore outing, Stranded in Arcadia (review here), and continued to manifest in 2016’s Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here). Their blend of melody and tonal heft has become a hallmark of their work to this stage in their career, but The Task Eternal continues to add a sense of breadth to the proceedings, giving their sound a full three-dimensional pull that feels tailor-made for headphones and is consuming in its entirety. With experiments in structure like the pairing of “Recast” and “Reacts,” and the rushing sweep of melody in “Hollow King,” Mars Red Sky’s latest is, as ever, their finest. Outdoing themselves would seem to be the task from which the record derives its title. Fine. Just keep going. Please.

6. Kings Destroy, Fantasma Nera

Kings Destroy Fantasma Nera

Released by Svart Records. Reviewed March 15.

Every time I think I understand where Kings Destroy want to go as a band, they pull the rug out. That’s what Fantasma Nera is. After their 2015 self-titled (review here) third LP seemed to declare them once and for all in a space between doom and noise rooted in their respective hardcore pasts, the Brooklynite five-piece hooked up with producer David Bottrill (Tool, etc.) and composed a rock album. A real live rock album! With progressive undertones in the guitar work and the most accomplished melodicism of their career, Kings Destroy put everything they had into making Fantasma Nera and one need look no further than the title-track to hear the result of that monumental effort. It is the realization of a band challenging themselves to go so far out of their comfort zone as to be only recognizable in the most rudimentary of ways, and to say it as plainly as I can, “Dead Before” on its own is enough of an accomplishment — and enough of a full-length, at all of 4:25 — to make this list on its own, whatever surrounds it. Song of the year. I’ll say every time I’m a Kings Destroy fan, but I’ve never been gladder to say it than I am in talking about Fantasma Nera.

5. Colour Haze, We Are

colour haze we are

Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten. Reviewed Dec. 3.

If you’re saying to yourself, “Ah come on, Colour Haze are always on the list when they put out records,” I have two answers. One, you’re right, and two, if you have a problem with that, blow it out your ass. The Munich forefathers of the European heavy psychedelic underground — yup — marked their 25th anniversary this year, and did so not just by putting out an album, but by putting out We Are, which introduces a full-fledged fourth member to what’s been a three-piece since 1998. Granted, it’s not the first time guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek, bassist Philipp Rasthofer and drummer Manfred Merwald have worked with organist/keyboardist/synthesist Jan Faszbender, but never has the presence of keys been so integral to their work, and never has the dynamic between players shifted in the way it does on tracks like “The Real” and “Life” and “I’m With You,” with keys fleshing out melodies and enriching the bass and guitar. Add to that the Spanish-style guitar on centerpiece “Material Drive” or the operatic flash in the penultimate “Be With Me,” and it’s one more example of one of the best bands on earth refusing to rest on their laurels. Which, as it happens, is why they’re one of the best bands on earth. So hell yes, they’re on all my lists. Fact is my lists are lucky to have them.

4. Blackwater Holylight, Veils of Winter

blackwater holylight veils of winter

Released by RidingEasy Records. Reviewed Sept. 26.

Like nothing else I heard in 2019, Veils of Winter had repeat listenability. It was the album that, most often, when I was choosing something I actually wanted to hear, I went back to time and again. Its dark, moody psychedelic and heavy vibe stands alone among the year’s releases, and is a stylistic milestone that one only hopes other artists will pick up on. Toying with pop melodies on tracks like “Death Realms” and bringing hypnosis and clarity in kind to the subtly traditionalist winding riff of “Moonlit” — would it have been out of place on the first Witchcraft LP? — the Portland, Oregon, five-piece worked on a speedy turnaround and squashed even the significant expectations I had after their self-titled debut (review here) last year. They’ve begun to tour, so I don’t know if another full-length is in the works for 2020, but their craft is enviable in its flow and their songs are shimmering in tone and cohesion alike. Given how bold a step forward Veils of Winter is, I hear nothing in their material to this point to make me think their momentum won’t continue to carry them forward. But, you know, if not, I’d also take about six or seven records just like this one. That’d be fine too. Whatever they want, really.

3. Slomatics, Canyons

Slomatics Canyons

Released by Black Bow Records. Reviewed May 15.

Belfast, Northern Ireland, three-piece Slomatics — guitarists David Marjury and Chris Couzens and drummer/vocalist/synthesist Marty Harvey — finished a narrative trilogy with 2016’s Future Echo Returns (review here), and though the storyline was always vague throughout that and the preceding two offerings, the question of how they would proceed nonetheless hung over Canyons prior to its release. The answer is in the songs themselves. From the sci-fi majesty of lumbering, rolling groove in opener and longest track “Gears of Despair” — oh, they grind — through the mega-stomp of “Telemachus, My Son” and the righteously synth-laden wash that consumes “Mind Fortresses on Theia,” Slomatics bring together concept and execution with a readiness that highlights the fact of their 15th anniversary. They are mature in their approach, yes, but the fact is their approach is so much their own and so given to their particular mode of progression that it almost can’t help but feel fresh. How could something so utterly crushing also feel rejuvenating? As they plod through finale “Organic Caverns II” ending with more waves of synth and tectonic guitar — no bass, remember — they are as restorative as they are punishing, and they stand astride that duality with neither mercy nor pretense. Canyons, whether it’s setting up a new story, building from the old, or doing something completely different, stands on its own.

2. Year of the Cobra, Ash and Dust

year of the cobra ash and dust

Released by Prophecy Productions. Reviewed Oct. 24.

My anticipation for and expectations of Year of the Cobra’s second long-player were high most especially after 2017’s Burn Your Dead EP (review here), which along with the dead, set alight the notion that the Seattle duo of bassist/vocalist Amy Tung Barrysmith and drummer Jon Barrysmith were simply a heavy/doom band. With elements of post-punk, psych wash, minimalist stretches and propulsive gallop, Ash and Dust cast itself out over an aesthetic range that set a new standard not just for Year of the Cobra, but for anyone who’d dare match them at their own game — and that list will grow with time, absolutely. As their first outing through Prophecy Productions, Ash and Dust threw itself into the very melting pot of its own ambition and emerged with songs that didn’t just bring together disparate ideas, but made them flourish and engage and challenge the listener while still proving consistent in tone and underlying groove. For a two-person, two-instrument outfit (not counting voice, though I should), they proved more malleable than many with more than twice the number of hands on deck, and pushed the notion of what heavy rock is and does forward without stopping to look back or ask for permission. They just did it, and maybe Ash and Dust is the aftermath of all that burning.

2019 Album of the Year

1. Monolord, No Comfort

monolord no comfort

Released by Relapse Records. Reviewed Sept. 12.

Look back over the course of this list, and you will find no shortage of bands and releases that surpassed the group in question’s past work. With Gothenburg, Sweden’s Monolord, it wasn’t just about No Comfort — their debut on Relapse, fourth full-length overall — being better than 2017’s Rust (review here), because that was pretty jolly gosh darn enjoyable, but about the band reaching a moment of transcendence to which Rust and all their prior work across 2015’s Vænir (review here) and 2014’s Empress Rising has been leading. With the six tracks of No Comfort, guitarist/vocalist Thomas Jäger, bassist Mika Häkki and drummer Esben Willems not only overcome the influences that launched them — taking full ownership of their sound and defending that claim with the sheer quality of their songwriting — and they not only become as identifiable as those influences themselves, but they overcome themselves. No Comfort means no comfort. Monolord take the simplicity that once fueled their riffing, the willful primitivism of their earliest work, and with songs like “Larvae” and “The Bastard Son” and the closing title-track use it as the foundation it was apparently always intended to be. Monolord have toured plenty and certainly their studio output has shown an increasing complexity from one LP to the next, so progression isn’t unexpected, but the manner in which Monolord have executed that progression has been. Even on “The Last Leaf,” which is arguably the most straightforward fare on the album, one hears it as them rather than the manifestation of the acts that inspired them. The same holds for “Skywards” later on, and for the immersion that takes hold as the mournful “Alone Together” plays into “No Comfort” itself. Monolord take their place among the best bands on the planet, and deliver an Album of the Year for 2019 that, like the absolute best, will have an impact lasting much longer than any period of 12 months might convey.

The Top 50 Albums of 2019: Honorable Mention

You didn’t think we’d stop at 50, did you? Come on. You know me better than that. The fact is that the list itself, humongous as it is, is just the start of the tip of an iceberg attached to a glacier that’s somewhere on an entire planet constructed of ice.

Honorable mentions, you say? Yeah, a few. Here they are in no order whatsoever:

Lord Vicar, Goatess, The Lord Weird Slough Feg, Zone Six, Lykantropi, Earth, White Manna, Atala, Tia Carrera, Merlin, WEEED, Híbrido, Cities of Mars, Stone Machine Electric, Bretus, Blackwolfgoat, The Black Wizards, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, Alunah, V, Pale Grey Lore, Leeds Point, Sons of Alpha Centauri, Spidergawd, Bus, Death Hawks, BBF, Vessel of Light, Crypt Trip, The Pilgrim, Uffe Lorenzen, Brant Bjork, Doomstress, Black Lung, Kandodo3, Monkey3, Bask, Horseburner, Zed, Bright Curse, Spillage, Sigils, Papir, Dune Sea, Destroyer of Light, Mastiff, Warp, Centrum, Varego, Lord Dying, Volcano, Saint Karloff, Firebreather, High Reeper, Bible of the Devil, Obsidian Sea, Torche, Motorpsycho, Sunn O))), Deadbird, Russian Circles, El Supremo, Pyramidal, Holy Serpent, Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Demon Head, Red Beard Wall, Onhou, Kamchatka, Iguana, Arrowhead, The Whims of the Great Magnet, Serial Hawk, Scissorfight, Monte Luna, Lingua Ignota, Valborg, Sageness, Ruff Majik, The Giraffes, High Fighter, Comacozer, Burning Gloom, Swan Valley Heights, Mark Deutrom, Cable, AVER, Superlynx, The Munsens, No Man’s Valley, Old Mexico, Skraeckoedlan, Godsleep, Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle.

Seems cruel to leave it to you to sort through those, but I’m tempted to do just that. You might notice some bigger names there in bands like Earth, Russian Circles, Torche and Sunn O))). Nothing against those bands, but I think we’re seeing a moment where a different group of artists are taking point in terms of innovating heavy styles across an entire swath of microgenres. Either way it’s not a slight that something is here instead of above. And of course, there are plenty of up and coming groups here as well, with Ruff Majik, Elizabeth Colour Wheel — who I’m sure would be a top 30 if I knew the record better than I do — Pale Grey Lore, Monte Luna, Papir, Destroyer of Light, The Munsens, No Man’s Valley, Skraeckoedlan, and so on, but hell’s bells, there’s already a list of 50 and I’m only one man. How high is the list supposed to go and still be a list?

Bottom line: Music is as endless as space and has as much beauty in it for those willing to hear. Do more digging.

The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2019

green lung woodland rites

1. Green Lung, Woodland Rites
2. Yatra, Death Ritual
3. Howling Giant, The Space Between Worlds
4. Thunderbird Divine, Magnasonic
5. SÂVER, They Came with Sunlight
6. Lightning Born, Lightning Born
7. Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Nocebo
8. The Pilgrim, Walking into the Forest
9. Sigils, You Build the Altar You Lit the Leaves
10. E-L-R, Maenad
11. Hey Zeus, X
12. Bellrope, You Must Relax
13. Asthma Castle, Mount Crushmore
14. Thronehammer, Usurper of Oaken Throne
15. Inner Altar, Vol. III
16. Infinity Forms of Yellow Remember, Infinity Forms of Yellow Remember
17. Hippie Death Cult, 111
18. Faerie Ring, The Clearing
19. Gone Cosmic, Sideways in Time
20. Haze Mage, Chronicles

Quick, Affordable, High-Quality Essay Editing Service. Try Best done homework Now! 100% Risk Free Guarantee, The safest & fastest academic pain Honorable Mention: Warp, Pelegrin, Lucy in Blue, Volcano, The Sabbathian, Red Eye Tales, Dune Sea, Dury Dava, Pharlee, Giant Dwarf, Ghost:Hello, Surya, Workshed, Children of the Sün, Burning Gloom, Temple of the Fuzz Witch.

article source - Allow the specialists to do your homework for you. Find out everything you have always wanted to know about custom writing Entrust Notes: As ever, I consider a band’s debut album something unique and separate from everything else they’ll ever do, and so worthy of highlighting in its own category. It’s a different standard in my mind, one that takes into account what a group might accomplish going forward as well as what they do on the record itself. Plus, putting out an album is hard. Getting two, three, four, five or more people to agree on anything is an accomplishment. Making a cohesive album? Come on. So yes. We see some crossover from the main list above, but I want to draw attention to Howling Giant, Thunderbird Divine and SÂVER particularly here. There’s a swath of genres represented and I feel like a couple of these releases — Sigils, Bellrope, Thronehammer, Inner Altar, Faerie Ring, Infinity Forms of Yellow Remember — didn’t get their due attention. It’s a busy year, I get it. But if you’re skimming through looking for stuff to check out, DON’T IGNORE THIS LIST. Aside from whatever line about the best of tomorrow you want to trot out, there’s important work being done by these acts today. As somebody who’s constantly behind the times, I urge you not to

The Top 20 Short Releases of 2019

geezer spiral fires

1. Geezer, Spiral Fires
2. Ufomammut, XX
3. All Them Witches, 1×1
4. Mount Saturn, Mount Saturn
5. Dopelord, Weedpecker, Major Kong & Spaceslug, 4-Way Split
6. Horehound, Weight
7. Molasses, Mourning Haze
8. Saint Karloff & Devil’s Witches, Split
9. Here Lies Man, No Ground to Walk Upon
10. The Golden Grass, 100 Arrows
11. Mount Atlas, Mistress
12. Midas, Solid Gold Heavy Metal
13. Glory in the Shadows, Glory in the Shadows
14. Hot Breath, Hot Breath
15. Crystal Spiders, Demo
16. Red Wizard, Ogami
17. Thermic Boogie, Fracture
18. Pinto Graham, Dos
19. High Priest, Sanctum
20. Set Fire, Traya
21. Seedium, Awake

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cambridge essay editing service http://crsad.qc.ca/?1880 Typing help writing essay college application matts masters thesis Notes: This is probably the least complete of the lists, because it’s the hardest category for me to keep up with. EPs, singles, demos, splits and basically anything else that isn’t an album, all lumped together. Still, I stand by the picks here, and I don’t think anyone who takes on any of them will regret doing so, whether it’s All Them Witches’ surprisingly weighted first single as a trio, Mount Saturn’s debut release, or Geezer’s cosmic jams. Felt a little like cheating putting Ufomammut on there, since technically XX wasn’t new material so much as reworked stuff captured live, but if you want to call me out on it, my own listening habits also factor in, and I’ve spent plenty of time with those reimagined tracks. But anyway, I’m sure there’s a ton of stuff that hasn’t been included here, so please feel free to let me know in the comments and I’ll work accordingly.

Postwax

I haven’t felt comfortable with the idea of writing about it editorially, since I’ve been involved in discussions about it since before it came together and since I did the liner notes for each of the six releases (plus one to come), but I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the incredible work done on the Postwax vinyl subscription series by Blues Funeral Recordings. Label head Jadd Shickler and design specialist Peder Bergstrand (also of Lowrider) put together six offerings that came out in the span of this year and when you hold the LPs in your hand, you can feel the passion that went into making them, from the artists in question to those curating the series in the first place. I hear tell there’s going to be a Postwax Year Two, and I don’t know if I’ll be involved or not, but I’m proud of my miniscule part in the work that went into making these and wanted to bring them to your particular attention. They are something special for those who got to partake:

  • Elder, The Gold and Silver Sessions
  • Daxma, Ruins Upon Ruins
  • Besvärjelsen, Frost
  • Big Scenic Nowhere, Dying on the Mountain
  • Domkraft, Slow Fidelity
  • Lowrider, Refractions

And while we’re talking about projects I was proud to be involved with, I also did liner notes for Acrimony’s The Chronicles of Wode box set from Burning World Records and was honored to do so. Thanks to any and everyone in question for having me involved and dealing with me blowing past deadlines one after the next. It is humbling.

Looking Ahead to 2020

A few names and nothing more about what definitely is and/or might be in the works for next year. Woefully incomplete, so feel free to add to it:

1000mods, Wolves in the Throne Room, Deathwhite, Mondo Drag, Drug Cult, Ocean Chief, Soldati, Sergio Ch., Mitochondrial Sun, Geezer, Mirror Queen, Mondo Generator, The Otolith, Asteroid, Yatra, Vestal Claret, Farer, Ryte, Shadow Witch, Six Organs of Admittance, Naxatras, Wolftooth, Snail, Elder, Pale Divine, Grey Skies Fallen, Ruby the Hatchet, Yuri Gagarin, Sasquatch, Godthrymm, Wo Fat, Red Mesa, CB3, Onsegen Ensemble, Insect Ark, Acid Mammoth, Ritual King, Ulls, Om.

Thank You

Thank you for reading, and please, if you have a thought or something you want to share in the comments, please remember to be kind to each other. We are all human beings behind our phones and keyboards, and while we’ll disagree, often in some ways and some cases, a basic level of respect is always appreciated. At least by me.

I am not so deluded as to think anyone might still be reading, but I want it on record how much I appreciate you being a part of this site and a part of my experience in making it. I’ve been ruminating all year since marking the 10th anniversary back in January about how much The Obelisk has become a part of who I am, and it’s utterly essential to my every day. The way I continue to think about it — and myself, as it happens — is a work in progress, and that would not be possible without you. One more time. Thank you. Always. Always thank you. Thank you.

More to come.

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Spaceslug Post “Half-Moon Burns” Video; Reign of the Orion out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 9th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

spaceslug

This past Friday, Polish three-piece  follow urls.Write my paper apa style.2co Comeducators 877 294 0273 Oh.Write my paper for.Buy literary analysis essay Spaceslug offered up their latest release,  Highly Experienced http://www.museum-vilsbiburg.de/?complete-masters-thesis in Los Angeles At Bargain Business Plan, we pride ourselves with being the leading Business Plan Company Reign of the Orion (review here), through  Professional Speech Writers Prepare to the success of the writers production and your speech presentation. Common Core Assignmentss and Kozmik Artifactz and  - Put aside your concerns, place your task here and get your quality essay in a few days work with our scholars to get the quality BSFD Records as their second outing of the year behind participating earlier in 2019 in a four-way split with all-Polish acts. They present  Creative Writing Workshops London - Instead of worrying about essay writing get the needed assistance here Essays & researches written by professional writers. Use this Reign of the Orion as an EP, and where I’ll argue all day long that it’s in fact an album — if a shorter one than the one they put out before it, 2018’s Seeking a professional Student Assignment service? You've found the best online solution! Hire a thesis proofreading expert at a reasonable cost. Eye the Tide (review here) — in my most honest assessment I’m just an old dingus sitting at a laptop clacky-clackying away in the middle of the night and I don’t know shit about shit, man. Leave that shit to the shit-knowers.

“Half-Moon Burns,” with a new video by  Stanford Course Work UK Offering Cheap Dissertation Writing Services. Get Cheap Dissertation Writing Services To Ensure Distinction Grades Guaranteed. Chariot of Black Moth, is an important moment on  Professional http://www.weihnachten-fulda.de/?free-essay-no-plagiarism-cheap that support your success with your academic, business, or creative project. Reign of the Orion — full-length or not.  Finding it difficult to correct your dissertation as per the feedback? Contact us today to avail our Excuses For Not Bringing In Homework to get the correction Eye the Tide was a crucial moment for  Spaceslug in that it saw them bring in more aggressive undertones to what had previously been a more laid back heavy psychedelic feel. Their first two albums were jammier, more languid, where Eye the Tide dared to touch on extreme metal in a way that didn’t necessarily let go entirely of the lysergic vibe either. The result was gorgeous and it’s precisely upon that foundation that “Half-Moon Burns.” The shouts that come through intertwined with the sort of droning cleaner vocals are emblematic of this approach, and it works in terms of the sheer sound as well as on an aesthetic level. It’s somewhat less distinctly blackened than were those moments on Eye the Tide, but “Half-Moon Burns” gets the point across that Spaceslug have no interest in ceasing their exploration on multiple fronts, and that their efforts are only growing more cohesive as time — and not that much of it, mind you; remember Eye the Tide came out last year — passes.

Look. I know that in a given week or even on a given day, sometimes I write about a lot of bands. They’re not all Spaceslug, and at this point I feel pretty confident in saying I know the difference when a band is onto something special in their craft, or sound, or general approach to the work. If you haven’t given these guys a shot yet because maybe you saw the name and you were like, “yeah, another stoner band” or whatever other reason, at this point you’re missing out, but it’s not at all too late. Just take a listen and see how this one hits you. If you’ve got time to leave a comment, I’d love to know what you think.

Please enjoy:

Spaceslug, “Half-Moon Burns” official video

We present “Half-Moon Burns” with music video by Chariot Of Black Moth. Taken from the EP “Reign Of The Orion” out December 6th, 2019.

“Reign Of The Orion” will be available as CD / LP and digital album.

Have fun with that and share that fun with others!

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Review & Track Premiere: Spaceslug, Reign of the Orion

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Spaceslug Reign of the Orion cover

Spaceslug, ‘Spacerunner’ official track premiere

[Click play above to stream ‘Spacerunner’ from Spaceslug’s Reign of the Orion. Album is out Dec. 6.]

Forward thinking atmospheric fuzz/psych rockers Spaceslug almost let 2019 get away without releasing an album. The Wroclaw-based three-piece have had at least one full-length out per year since the arrival in 2016 of their debut, Lemanis (review here). Time Travel Dilemma (review here) followed in 2017, along with an EP, Mountains and Reminiscence (review here), and in 2018 they marked a new stage of their progression with their third LP, Eye the Tide (review here), pushing themselves beyond the warm-toned bounds of heavy psychedelia to incorporate darker ambient shades and more extreme elements like screamed vocals and blackened squibblies on guitar and blastbeats to accompany.

Already this year, the trio of drummer/vocalist Kamil Ziólkowski, bassist/vocalist Jan Rutka and guitarist/backing vocalist Bartosz Janik took part in a four-way split with Polish countrymen DopelordMajor Kong and Weedpecker (review here), so it’s not like the year would’ve gone completely unaccounted for (perish the thought), but the landing of five-tracker Reign of the Orion is nothing if not welcome. With it, Spaceslug mark another step in their sound and offer their most hypnotic work to-date, entrancing through breadth of tone and a flow that extends even to the aggressive moments in centerpiece “Half Moon Burns,” which never gets quite as charred as the last album did, but nonetheless features some more aggressive shouting.

In that song’s 8:45 run and in the massive surge of nine-minute closer/longest track “Beneath the Haze,” Spaceslug seem to conjure shifts in volume and tempo alike as they move with deceptive structural clarity through open-feeling verses and choruses, but even in the calmer spaciousness of the shorter “Trees of Gold” between those two, there’s a sense both of expanse in atmosphere and of the band creatively grasping toward new ground. Given their prolific nature, one can only surmise that the progression they’ve undertaken is willful — i.e., they want to try something new each time they set down to write — and while their sound remains identifiable in the lush low end of Rutka‘s bass and the slow-churning effects wash of Janik‘s guitar, as well as the blend of laid-back post-grunge vocals and sometimes crushing tonality as heard on opener “Down to the Sun,” the dividends paid by their efforts are considerable throughout Reign of the Orion, which would seem to assure that, if it’s ever coming, creative stagnation is a long way off.

That’s reassuring, but more so are the songs themselves, which bolster the statements Spaceslug have made to-date while continuing a push into headphone-ready wash, a soothing immersive sensibility that has become an essential facet of the band’s approach in what’s still a relatively brief amount of time for it to do so. If one expects anything of them at this point in their career, it’s that space and a feeling of presence within it will meet in their songs, and as Reign of the Orion moves back and forth between longer and shorter songs, with “Down to the Sun” at seven and a half minutes and the subsequent “Space Runner” at 6:40 ahead of the already-noted more stark time contrast between “Half Moon Burns,” “Trees of Gold” and “Beneath the Haze,” there’s an overarching linear flow that’s all the more highlighted for the changes from one to the next and the general outbound feel of the entirety.

spaceslug at freak valley

That’s most emphasized on “Trees of Gold,” admittedly, which brings Spaceslug to a new place in terms of incorporating elements out of progressive rock and even pastoralist folk. A touch of Floyd vibe here and there doesn’t hurt either, but the drift on “Trees of Gold,” and especially the fact that the song doesn’t then depart to an earthmover riff feels significant. It adds to the context of Reign of the Orion as a whole, and while in itself it isn’t doing anything the band has never incorporated into its songs before, the shift in presentation still makes a difference.

Likewise the fact that that Reign of the Orion, at five songs and 36 minutes, is the shortest long-player Spaceslug have released. This could be a direct reaction to Eye the Tide, which was the longest at 54 minutes (the first two were in the circa-45 range), or it could be happenstance, or the result of a narrative intended to tie the songs together — though the attack-ships Blade Runner sample in “Half Moon Burns” and the prove-you-exist samples in “Beneath the Haze” would seem to contradict that notion — I don’t know. The effect it has, though, is to bring Reign of the Orion, both as a whole and in its individual component pieces, into clearer focus as a work. Whether it’s the linear front-to-back listening experience or a track-by-track journey through, the relative brevity here gives the listener more to grasp onto while maintaining the band’s signature elements and presenting them in next-stage-progression form.

It doesn’t hurt, is what I’m saying, and much to their credit as songwriters, it feels complete, as though to add more would only be superfluous, particularly given the manner in which “Beneath the Haze” builds to a nigh-on-overwhelming finish before dissipating in a consuming was of noise and residual effects leftovers, like the background radiation from the Big Bang echoing cosmic for as long as there’s a cosmos to echo in. That Spaceslug would set up and enact this fluidity with such obvious intent and pull it off sounding natural in a balance of highlight songs and overall movement speaks to the maturity that’s come about so quickly in their style.

In short, they’ve become one of Europe’s strongest progressive heavy psych bands, giving due acknowledgement of their roots in fuzz even as they take off toward broader reaches. New album in 2020? Given the timing of Reign of the Orion, that’s a maybe, but it seems likely we’ll hear from them one way or another, and given what they’ve done to this point in their career, that’s only something to anticipate. It was clear from the outset with Lemanis were onto something and could become a special band. As they continue to move forward at such a rapid pace, we’re seeing the realization of that potential in everything they do. If they can keep the momentum they have going now and stave off burnout, they’ll move into the vaunted realms of the influential.

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Spaceslug Set Oct. 26 Release for Eye the Tide on Oak Island Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

spaceslug

Polish trio Spaceslug took down a few genre barriers earlier this year when they issued their third album, Eye the Tide (review here), bringing in harsh vocals and extreme metal impulses to set against their warm-toned psychedelic wash. The album made these disparate influences not only coherent, but essential to each other, and ultimate brought Spaceslug‘s sound to its most thrilling realization to-date. It was also very, very, very heavy, and that never hurts either, but it was about more than just the weight of its riffs or the largesse in production value.

Oak Island Records has picked up the album — someone was bound to — for an LP release, and it’s set to come out Oct. 26, as the PR wire informs:

spaceslug eye the tide

SPACESLUG – EYE THE TIDE – OUT OCTOBER 26th

Poland’s mighty Spaceslug return with their third full-length studio album, “Eye The Tide”.

Fans of Spaceslug will not be disappointed, as the trio push forward into new territory, with perhaps their most aggressive and heavy record to date.

Each new song is expansive in both it’s sound and it’s progression. A conscious effort has been made here to lay all cards on the table and show exactly just how far this band can go in terms of song-craft and musicianship. It is a well thought out and beautifully delivered album that flows, capturing the listener and transporting them away from the noise of everyday life.

Eye The Tide will be released via Oak Island Records on the 26th of October and is available on heavyweight vinyl & CD.

VINYL FACTZ
– Plated & pressed on high performance vinyl at Pallas/Germany
– limited & coloured vinyl
– 300gsm gatefold cover
– special vinyl mastering

TRACKS
1. Obsolith
2. Spaced By One
3. Eternal Monuments
4. Words Like Stones
5. Vialys Part I
6. Vialys Part II
7. I, The Tide

Spaceslug are:
Bartosz Janik – Guitars/Voc
Jan Rutka – Bass/Voc
Kamil Zió?kowski – Drums/Voc

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Spaceslug, “Obsolith” official video

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Review & Track Premiere: Spaceslug, Eye the Tide

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

spaceslug eye the tide

[Click play above to stream ‘Vialys Pt. I & II’ from Spaceslug’s Eye the Tide. Album is out July 20 on BSFD Records.]

Comprised of drummer/vocalist Kamil Ziólkowski, bassist/vocalist Jan Rutka and guitarist/backing vocalist Bartosz Janik, Poland’s Spaceslug have worked quickly to become a significant presence in the European heavy underground. Their 2016 debut, Lemanis (review here) and its 2017 follow-up, Time Travel Dilemma (review here), were both among their respective years’ best releases, and they even found room last year to squeeze in an EP release in the form of Mountains and Reminiscence (review here) before embarking on their third full-length and the final installment in a stated trilogy, which arrives as the six-song/54-minute Eye the Tide on BSFD Records. Their advantage has always been a decisive grip on their aesthetic — from the first album on, they’ve had a definite idea what Spaceslug should sound like in terms of tone, rhythm and melody, and after earning comparisons to Sungrazer early for their heavy psychedelic drift and blend of thick guitar and bass with floating vocal melodicism, they’ve worked over their releases to make that sound even more their own. It has never been more so than it is on Eye the Tide.

The big difference this time around? An uptick in the level of aggression. Opener “Obsolith” still casts post-rocking lead guitar lines out into the ether, but in its nod under the chorus, there’s just something more pointed about their approach, and that manifests even further in the post-midpoint bassy chug of second cut “Spaced by One” before the mostly-chill, mostly-patient “Eternal Monuments,” but is most prevalent as side B begins with the slamming “Words Like Stones” and the first harsher vocals arrive. Screams. They run at first alongside the laid back, clean-sung vocals that have become one of the hallmarks of Spaceslug‘s style, but at 3:35 into the track’s total 8:28, there’s a sudden pivot and the guitar goes full-on black metal and those screams come more to the forefront. Likewise, the drums take a more intense pulse, and as they move toward the halfway mark, seemingly all of a sudden, Spaceslug have cast an extreme vision of charred heavy psychedelia. They turn to a long instrumental stretch soon enough, but the context has shifted, and when the vocals return after the seven-minute mark, it’s both the throat-rippers and the clean singing, but the screams are definitely in the top position, whereas even just at the beginning of the song, they were in the background.

That back-to-front movement itself is important in understanding the poise and class with which Spaceslug carry out their ideas, and especially that with which they introduce a jarring new element to their audience. After a stretch of threatening-in-context squibbly guitars in the penultimate “Vialys Pt. I & II,” the screams come again on Eye the Tide closer “I, the Tide” as background and preface to the mountainous chug that will snow-cap the album’s 11:16 longest cut. But the second time is more a part of a summary of what the album as a whole has accomplished, and it’s really that first assault that’s more striking.

spaceslug

To-date, Spaceslug have been a pretty easy-going listen. Maybe not heavy-hippies, but not by any means abrasive. “Words Like Stones” changes that, and adds an undeniably metallic flair to the proceedings. It makes one want to go back to Time Travel Dilemma and Lemanis? Has that influence always been there, lurking beneath the surface of their ultra-molten psychedelic flow? Maybe it has. More likely than not, but it’s still a surprise when the screams hit if only because it brings that new aspect of Spaceslug‘s sound so far forward amid the still-relatively-peaceful surroundings.

Is it enough to turn listeners off? Probably not, unless they’re completely averse to any screamed vocals at any time, in which case that’s more about a policy position than this actual album’s use of an element in Spaceslug‘s sound. In the full scope of Eye the Tide as a whole, it works well to jar the experience after the band has dropped subtle instrumental hints of what’s coming on “Obsolith,” “Spaced by One” and “Eternal Monuments,” the latter a nine-minute patient unfolding that turns from its extended intro serenity to a cyclical riff that’s positively crushed in its tone and an apex that, until its side B mirror in the closer, is the most satisfying on the record. In the spirit of heavy rock tradition, they save the experimentation for the album’s second half, but when the time comes, they deliver with boldness and confidence alike, just as they always have, and the screams serve to enhance and broaden “Words Like Stones” rather than detract from it. Ultimately, they make Spaceslug a richer, less predictable band, and that’s never a bad thing. The anti-scream crowd will either have to come around or not. Spaceslug could just be getting started on their most important stylistic work yet, and as they haven’t yet, I wouldn’t expect them to let anything get in the way of their steamroller of a sound.

And it’s important to remember that as striking as those moments are, that’s just it. They’re moments. Parts of the whole impression Eye the Tide makes, and whether it’s the calm initial stretch or the later linear build in “Vialys Pt. I & II” or the push of Ziólkowski‘s drums behind the unfolding second half of “Obsolith” or the consuming motion of the finale in “I, the Tide” which manages to be as hypnotic as it is pummeling as it moves through its midsection to the instrumental second half and the megastomper riffing that caps the album as a whole, there’s much more to Spaceslug‘s third outing than “the part where the dude screams.” That becomes a piece of the larger picture, and the band do well to integrate it into their overall sphere. Will there be more? Is it indicative of some shift toward a more extreme direction? Is this to be their longer-standing contribution to psychedelia? Hell if I know. It works here, and that’s enough for right now. If nothing else Spaceslug have earned a certain element of trust via the quality of their songwriting and aesthetic execution over their now-complete trilogy, and if they can pull off such a sharp turn as they do on this third-of-three, it seems all the more worth continuing to follow them and see where they go next.

Spaceslug, “Obsolith” official video

Spaceslug on Thee Facebooks

Spaceslug on Bandcamp

Spaceslug on Instagram

Oak Island Records on Thee Facebooks

Oak Island Records at Kozmik Artifactz

BSFD Records on Thee Facebooks

BSFD Records website

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Spaceslug Post “Obsolith” Video; Eye the Tide out July 20

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

spaceslug

Polish tonal-serenity bearers Spaceslug seem to work pretty quickly. Last year they had the Mountains and Reminiscence EP (review here) and their second LP, Time Travel Dilemma (review here), both out, and it was only in 2016 that their debut, Lemanis (review here), landed to such wide acclaim. A quick turnaround to their third long-player isn’t necessarily unexpected considering the thus-far track record, but in a year that’s already featured so much killer music, adding another one to the list certainly doesn’t seem like it’s going to hurt anything.

Spaceslug have a new video up now for “Obsolith” that you can see at the bottom of this post, and preorders for the album are coming soon. Here’s info from the PR wire:

spaceslug eye the tide

Prolific psychedelic metallers SPACESLUG return with new album | Premiere new video for ‘Obsolith’

Eye the Tide by Spaceslug is released worldwide on 20th July on BSFD Records

Pre-orders will be available soon at https://spaceslug.bandcamp.com/music

Formed in Wroc?aw, Poland in 2015 by guitarist Bartosz Janik and drummer Kamil Zió?kowski, Spaceslug was born a singularity; a rare and unusual discovery found deep amidst a cosmic multiverse of doom, stoner metal and progressive rock.

Completing their line-up shortly after that initial bang with the arrival of Jan Rutka on bass, the trio soon began their journey through space and time; writing, recording and releasing their debut album Lemanis in 2016 on BSFD Records/Oak Island Records to wide acclaim.

With the album enthusiastically received on terra firma, Spaceslug’s quite frankly supermassive sound served as a flawless introduction. A sound where moments of dark desolation sidled up neatly alongside light and hope, riffs and soar-away vocals, it opened a sonic gateway into the hard rock underground and pathed the way for their devastatingly brilliant follow-up, Time Travel Dilemma. Released just one year after their debut, the album kept the cosmic cannon firing on all cylinders and like their Mountains & Reminiscence EP (released later that same year) their ticket was deservedly stamped and valid beyond the stratosphere.

This July will see the official worldwide release of Eye the Tide, Spaceslug’s third full-length album and the closing entry in their personal trilogy:

“It took us just four months to create our first album, Lemanis, and we wanted it to be more than just a project. We wanted it to be a journey into another dimension,” explains guitarist Bartosz Janik. “With Eye the Tide, we want this third part of the cosmic journey to explore the deepest and darkest parts of that universe. The album itself is more progressive and post-rock than anything we’ve done before as we always want to turn that next corner when it comes to making music.”

Later this year, Spaceslug will also contribute their dark reimagining of Pink Floyd’s ‘Don’t Leave Me Now’ to THE WALL [Redux], Magnetic Eye Records’ end-to-end homage to the iconic Pink Floyd album, featuring heavy music luminaries including The Melvins, Pallbearer, Mark Lanegan, Scott Reeder and Ruby the Hatchet.

Eye the Tide by Spaceslug is released worldwide on 20th July via BSFD Records. Pre-orders will be available soon at https://spaceslug.bandcamp.com/music

TRACK LISTING:
1. Obsolith
2. Spaced By One
3. Eternal Monuments
4. Words Like Stones
5. Vialys Part I & II
6. I, The Tide

SPACESLUG:
Bartosz Janik – Guitar, Vocal
Jan Rutka – Bass, Vocal
Kamil Zió?kowski – Drums, Vocal

https://www.facebook.com/spaceslugband/
https://www.instagram.com/spaceslug_pl/
https://spaceslug.bandcamp.com/music
https://www.facebook.com/BSFD-records-247816545273558/
https://bsfdrecords.blogspot.co.uk/

Spaceslug, “Obsolith” official video

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Spaceslug, Mountains and Reminiscence: Drift and Consciousness

Posted in Reviews on November 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

spaceslug mountains and reminiscence

Sometimes a band puts out an EP and there’s an agenda behind it. They’re going on tour, or trying to make money for a subsequent recording, and a short release is something new and decent to put on a merch table or an webstore and draw people in. Sometimes it’s nothing more than a desire to keep momentum going after a successful full-length, and sometimes there are just extra tracks laying around a band wants to get out to the public.

I’m not sure which scenario it is in the end driving the release of Mountains and Reminiscence by Polish tonal adventurers Spaceslug, but frankly, I’ll take it any way it comes. The new five-songer from the Wroclaw three-piece of drummer/vocalist Kamil Ziólkowski, bassist/vocalist Jan Rutka and guitarist/backing vocalist Bartosz Janik arrives via BSFD Records and Oak Island Records, checks in at just over 27 minutes, and immediately makes itself comfortable in a deep-running mix of warm fuzz rendered spacious through echoing vocals and (mostly) languid grooves.

In method, it’s not so far removed from what Spaceslug accomplished on their second full-length, Time Travel Dilemma (review here), but nor should it be since three of its component pieces — “I am the Gravity,” “Elephemeral” and the 2001: A Space Odyssey-sampling “Space Sabbath” — were tracked during the same session this past January. Opener “Bemused and Gone” and closer “Opposite the Sun” are newer, recorded in July, and they effectively sandwich the middle tracks with two very different vibes that nonetheless remain consistent in their sound and headphone-worthy heavy psychedelic purposes.

With “Bemused and Gone,” it’s drift. Drift all the way. With an anchor of subtle tension in the running guitar line, Spaceslug ignite Mountains and Reminiscence on a particularly dreamy and hypnotic note. This is something they’ve been able to do well since their debut, Lemanis (review here), surfaced last year and distinguished itself among 2016’s best, but like much of their approach, it’s a take that solidified even further (as much as anything here isn’t molten) on Time Travel Dilemma and clearly something with which Spaceslug are signaling their intent to keep pursuing.

All the better, then, that “Opposite the Sun” should complement at the end. Fading-in drums from Ziólkowski are met with Rutka‘s rumbling low end, and Janik‘s fuzz-drenched guitar arrives as the final element before the band launches into a crashing verse that runs at a near-gallop. It’s not the most riotous song in the world — hell, it’s not even the most riotous song on Mountains and Reminiscence, which is “I am the Gravity” — but it is a stark contrast to “Bemused and Gone” and serves to emphasize the range that is emerging and has already emerged in Spaceslug‘s sound, which, while able to give the impression of being a trance-inducing monolith of amp-pushed heat, offers an underlying nuance that continues to demonstrate progressive potential.

spaceslug

As to what the group will do with that range ultimately, it’s difficult to say, but it meshes well with their loyalty to oozing riffs and vocals, and whether they’re playing fast or slow at any given point, their sense of command is obviously increasing. As a result, they’re all the more able to conjure atmospheric spaciousness and largess of tone without contradicting the openness of the one with the other’s risk of claustrophobia.

Between “Bemused and Gone” and “Opposite the Sun,” Mountains and Reminiscence tells a kind of mini-story of disintegration. To explain, they shift from the shortest inclusion in the 4:30 post-grunge banger “I am the Gravity” through the post-Sungrazer bounce and hook of centerpiece “Elephemeral” to the longest in the slow-rolling, darker-vibed, aptly-titled “Space Sabbath” (6:26), and in so doing push from one song into the next toward more ethereal ground. Guitar alone starts “I am the Gravity” and guitar alone ends “Space Sabbath” — but it does so respectively with the most straightforward riff of the EP and with barely-there minimalist warble retained in drift even after the accompanying bass has faded.

From one end to the other of those two moments, a linear transition is taking place that, while Mountains and Reminiscence is a short release, nonetheless makes for a quick album-style flow that seems distinct from the opener and closer surrounding and on its own wavelength in terms of how the songs relate to each other. The effect that has is to make Mountains and Reminiscence almost like two different offerings mashed together in a particle accelerator — a two-song single and a three-song EP drawn from two sessions and combined into one, which I suppose it is — but given Spaceslug‘s overarching consistency of sound, it seems only reasonable to expect Mountains and Reminiscence to set up a considerable fluidity over its span, and of course it does precisely that.

Spaceslug have worked quickly to get two full-lengths and this EP out, and one has no reason to believe they’ll look to slow the momentum they’ve been able to build thus far going into 2018, but more than the impressive rate at which they churn out digipaks, tapes, LP platters and t-shirts is the sonic growth to which they’ve clearly committed themselves. Of all the temporal threads they’ve established thus far into what one hopes will be a long career, that’s the most resonant, and that’s what would seem to be pushing them toward the forefront of the vibrant heavy underground in Poland and, of course, realms beyond.

Spaceslug, Mountains and Reminiscence (2017)

Spaceslug on Thee Facebooks

Spaceslug on Bandcamp

Oak Island Records on Thee Facebooks

Oak Island Records at Kozmik Artifactz

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Spaceslug Release New EP Mountains and Reminiscence

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

spaceslug-photo-Benjamin-Desr

Sometimes life brings surprises, and sometimes those surprises are awesome. To wit, a new EP called Mountains and Reminiscence from primo Polish fuzzrollers Spaceslug brings five previously-unheard tracks, two of which are brand new — that’s opener “Bemused and Gone” and closer “Opposite the Sun” — in digipak CD form delivered by BSFD Records and Oak Island Records, distributed through Kozmik Artifactz, to follow-up on earlier-2017’s righteous sophomore full-length, Time Travel Dilemma (review here). The other three cuts — “I am the Gravity,” centerpiece “Elephemeral” and the 2001: A Space Odyssey-sample-inclusive “Space Sabbath” — were recorded in the sessions for that album, so there’s a nice tie-in between where the three-piece have been and where they might be headed. As to that — you guessed it — space.

I’d be amazed, and frankly a little disappointed, if as we move into the Spring 2018 festival season Spaceslug‘s name doesn’t pop up across multiple bills. Looking at you Roadburn, the Desertfests and Freak Valley. Somebody if not multiple somebodies is going to have to step up and get these guys the exposure that at this point they’ve more than well earned with the quality of their studio output.

You can hear Mountains and Reminiscence in its entirety below if you want to understand what I’m talking about. I think you’ll only be able to agree the issue is urgent and needs to be addressed thoroughly:

spaceslug-mountains-and-reminiscence

Spaceslug – Mountains & Reminiscence

So here it is.

It is a very special release for us – 3 tracks were recorded during Time Travel Dilemma sessions and two are completely new.

This Ep connects both old and new. A little spin-off in our universe of infinite.

So behold the Mountains and feel the Reminiscence.

Listen loud and share with friends!

https://spaceslug.bandcamp.com/album/mountains-reminiscence

6 panel, pressed Digipack CD
BSFD Records/Oak Island Records
Number: CD024/OIR018

Tracklisting:
1. Bemused And Gone 05:06
2. I Am The Gravity 04:30
3. Elephemeral 05:23
4. Space Sabbath 06:26
5. Opposite The Sun 05:54

Track 2-4 recorded at MAQ Studio/Satanic Audio during TTD sessions by Haldor Grunberg & Jakub Radomski (12-15.01.2017)
Track 1 & 5 recorded at UNIQ Studio by Marek Dziedzic (29.07.2017)
Mixed & Mastered by Haldor Grunberg (Satanic Audio)

Cover Art & Layout by Maciej Kamuda

Spaceslug is:
Bartosz Janik – guitars/backing vocals
Jan Rutka – bass/vocals
Kamil Zió?kowski – drums/main vocals

Guest vocals in “Elephemeral” by Jakub Radomski

https://www.facebook.com/spaceslugband/
https://spaceslug.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/oakislandrecords/
http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/index.php?k=1072&lang=eng
https://www.facebook.com/BSFD-records-247816545273558/

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