The Top 20 of 2019 Year-End Poll is Now Open!

Posted in Features on November 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-top-20-of-2019-year-end-poll-header

[PLEASE NOTE: This is not the same thing as the Top 20 of the 2010s Poll, which is ongoing. This is 2019 only. Participation in both or either is welcome and encouraged.]

I was waffling on the idea of doing a year-end poll, since I didn’t want it to take away from the above-linked decade-end one. But when that went up, I said I might not do one for 2019 and the response here and on thee social medias was resoundingly in favor of having both. So…

Okay folks, here it is. Don’t let the opportunity slip. Get your list of 20 of the best of 2019 together and put it in the form below and we’ll do it up like always. Honestly, these polls and these lists are a tremendous resource to me, so I’m glad it’s happening, but especially with two polls going, maximum participation is all the more important.

Really. Get involved. Please share the link. Tell two friends and tell them to tell two friends. Buy a billboard on the side of I-95 in Stamford. Skywriting. Write your congressional or parliamentary representative. Whatever you can do to help spread the word, it’s appreciated.

Same rules as ever: You submit your list of up to 20 favorites on the form below. Anything from Jan. 2019 to whatever’s coming out between now and Dec. 31 is eligible. At the end, there are two lists, one of the raw votes, and one in which a 1-4 ranking is worth five points, 5-8 worth four, 9-12 worth three, 13-16 worth two and 17-20 worth one.

A sentient robot trapped in a bunker somewhere tabulates the results (with paper backups, of course; we’re not unaware of threats to cybersecurity), and they go up Jan. 1, along with everybody’s list.

Time to make it happen:

Extra special thanks to The Obelisk’s Much-Loved Technical Coordinator Supreme Slevin this time around, who has gone above in beyond in setting up a second app this time so the two polls can run at once. My deep gratitude and respect for his efforts knows no bounds.

Please note, no emails are kept or stored. The whole thing gets wiped after the lists are posted so we can do it all again next year. Thanks.

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POLL: The Top 20 Albums of the 2010s — VOTE NOW!

Posted in Features on November 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

top 20 of 2010s poll header

A year-end poll is nothing new around here. A decade-end poll, however, feels more like a special occasion. Here we are, on the cusp of entering the 2020s, and it’s time to take a look back at the decade that was. The landmarks. The albums that helped paint toward a brighter (or darker) future of heavy. The innovators, the purists, everything.

The same rules as the year-end polls apply. Here they are in the same cut-and-paste I’ve been using for years because I still don’t really understand it but it’s all set up by Slevin so I just roll with it: You submit your list of up to 20 favorites on the form below. Anything from 2010 to whatever’s coming out this and next month is eligible. At the end, there are two lists, one of the raw votes, and one in which a 1-4 ranking is worth five points, 5-8 worth four, 9-12 worth three, 13-16 worth two and 17-20 worth one.

And while we’re here, eternal gratitude to Slevin for setting up and running this poll.

We’ll do it for two months, from now until Jan. 1, and I’ll post the results on New Year’s Day. I don’t think I’ll do a separate year-end poll for 2019 unless the demand for it is significant, but of course anything released this year is eligible for that as well.

Maximum participation is sincerely appreciated. Here’s the form:

Everyone’s individual poll lists will be posted as well with the results.

Since 10 years is a long time, I thought I’d link to the past lists. You’re stuck with my list for 2010, since there wasn’t a poll that year. All the others are the poll results from 2011-2018, and I’ve never found a better resource than that for assessing what came out in a given 12 months.

The Obelisk Top 20 of 2010

Top 20 of 2011 Year-End Poll

Top 20 of 2012 Year-End Poll

Top 20 of 2013 Year-End Poll

Top 20 of 2014 Year-End Poll

Top 20 of 2015 Year-End Poll

Top 20 of 2016 Year-End Poll

Top 20 of 2017 Year-End Poll

Top 20 of 2018 Year-End Poll

Thank you in advance for taking part, sharing the link, etc. I can’t tell you how much I’ve been looking forward to seeing how it all comes out. Please note your email is neither stored nor used. Only asking for it to prove you’re not a bot. Much appreciated.

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Friday Full-Length: Clutch, Strange Cousins from the West

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Clutch, Strange Cousins from the West (2009)

It’s been 10 years since Clutch released Strange Cousins from the West (also discussed here), which for a few reasons represents a pivotal moment in their catalog, despite being what some might consider a “lesser” Clutch album compared to some of their other genre-defining work. Their ninth studio full-length, it was the second release through their own Weathermaker Music imprint after their 2008 Full Fathom Five live record and DVD, and it followed a stint on DRT Entertainment that resulted in arguably the most successful three-album stretch of the Maryland outfit’s career to-date, bringing forth 2004’s Blast Tyrant, 2005’s Robot Hive/Exodus and 2007’s From Beale Street to Oblivion (reissues reviewed here) making for a groove triumvirate that found the band successfully and increasingly dipping into blues influences and incorporating them with their well established funk-infused heavy rock and roll, rooted in punk and even at that point already long since distinctly their own.

They were touring hard at this point as well. They’ve never been shy, but the beginning of the Weathermaker era meant Clutch were all-in in terms of the band being their livelihood as well as their passion, so along with the aforementioned Full Fathom Five and 2010’s Live at the 9:30 (review here) live offerings, that meant they were on the road even more. At the same time, the makeup of the band itself was undergoing a rare change. It was something of a surprise when organist Mick Schauer joined the core four-piece of bassist Dan Maines, drummer Jean Paul Gaster, guitarist Tim Sult and vocalist/guitarist Neil Fallon, as the band had never shown much interest in fleshing out arrangements beyond the occasional flourish of percussion or whatever else, but the massive and enduring success of Robot Hive/Exodus and From Beale Street to Oblivion both on tour and in the spread of the songs — seems like “Electric Worry” still shows up in random places over a decade later — is testament to the reception Clutch‘s bluesier stylistic turn and the collaboration with Schauer, shortlived though it was on the grander scale of the band’s almost-30-year career.

Schauer passed away earlier this year, with the awkward timing of being roughly concurrent to Clutch releasing a re-recorded version of “Electric Worry” without keys as a single for their Weathermaker Vault series. He was out of the band by the time they set to putting together Strange Cousins from the West, and though momentum was on Clutch‘s side, there are times on the album where his absence is felt, even as Fallon stepped up the amount of time he was playing guitar and the sound went to arguably its bluesiest degree. Make no mistake, the songs are there. Opener “Motherless Child” puts them in immediate blues communication, and “Struck Down” follows suit while transitioning into the pure-Clutch mega-hook that is “50,000 Unstoppable Watts” — which even a decade later continues to duke it out with the later “Let a Poor Man Be” for the catchiest song on the record in my mind — to round out an initial salvo that plays to the band’s strengths without outright repeating what they’ve done in the past. “Abraham Lincoln” takes a moodier turn, bringing in some more subdued Americana and Southern heavy, and is perhaps the first point at which Schauer seems to be missing, as some of the spaces and crescendos have room for where the organ might’ve been just a couple years earlier. Though the subsequent “Minotaur” is funkier and more uptempo and would certainly host keys as well if they’d been there to be hosted, the mid-album pair of “The Amazing Kreskin” and “Witchdoctor” represent to my mind the place where Clutch‘s transitional state is most apparent.

It’s not that there’s something wrong with clutch strange cousins from the westeither song, structurally or in execution, but in “The Amazing Kreskin,” as Sult‘s guitar noodles through the verse atop Maines‘ always-crucial/always-reliable foundation of bass, one can almost hear how Schauer might’ve played off of it in complementing and filling out the sound, and all the more so in the jam and build in the track’s second half. “Witchdoctor,” no slouch either in the hook department, goes a step further and weaves a line of sustained guitar throughout different parts, actually filling that open space as the keys otherwise would. As a fan of the band, I have a hard time critiquing Clutch — I love seeing them live and though when Strange Cousins From the West came out I thought it didn’t necessarily have the same vibrancy as Robot Hive/Exodus, which was also produced by J. Robbins, I think this record holds up 10 years after the fact — but as much as every Clutch record is different from the one before it, sometimes in direct response to the one before it, as 2013’s landmark Earth Rocker (review here) would be to Strange Cousins, the change they were dealing with at the time seems to be audible here as they were feeling their way through writing out these blues influences without having the organ, electric piano, and so on, as a part of the process at whatever stage it was.

That said, you’ll never hear me take away from “Let a Poor Man Be” on any level except perhaps gender politics, and “Freakonomics,” the Pappo’s Blues cover “Algo Ha Cambiado” and “Sleestak Lightning” do fine in filling out the end of the album, the first of them undeniably the most memorable — “Only the freaks have all the answers!” — and the Spanish-language push of “Algo Ha Cambiado” a welcome uptempo twist ahead of the finale, on which Gaster breaks out a bit of cowbell but is otherwise somewhat understated. It’s a fair-enough ending to an album that has a deceptively broad dynamic and as-ever-rock-solid-rock songcraft and performance, and it was the point at which Clutch pushed the blues as far as they would on the trajectory they’d followed for the latter half of the aughts. It would be a long stretch for them, four years, before Earth Rocker showed up, and when it did, the reunion with producer Machine essentially reset their course along a more straight-ahead heavy rock path, not forgetting the lessons of Robot Hive, Beale Street or Strange Cousins, but laying claim with renewed vigor to the driving, ultra-grooving rock and roll that made them the absolutely essential band they were and are in the first place.

Of course, their forever-tour continues and their studio work continues. The aforementioned Weathermaker Vault series has resulted in four singles this year, they released Book of Bad Decisions (review here) in 2018 as a follow-up to 2015’s Psychic Warfare (review here), and just this week, they announced that as part of their annual holiday tour, they’ll play three special sets in Washington D.C., New Jersey and Philadelphia comprising a total of 54 songs and, on the latter night — also New Year’s Eve — they’ll also do Blast Tyrant in full for the first and hopefully not last time. Also, they’re calling it ClutchMas, which is adorable. One expects 2020 tour dates to be announced in January, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if they had new material in the works they’ll set to hammering out on the road soon enough (if they’re not yet). Train don’t stop.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Another week. The Patient Mrs.’ first semester teaching at William Paterson University ended yesterday — at least classes did — so congratulations to her on making it through what was a pretty rough schedule, and being one chunk closer to reclaiming the tenure she gave up in Massachusetts to move us back to New Jersey earlier this year. Last night, we talked about how we didn’t really miss being up there for the most part. She and I both had friends — her more than me, it should go without saying — but being so far from family and so on was hard. I’ve seen my two NJ-based nephews more in the last eight months than in the six years prior. You can’t replace that kind of time.

I’m exhausted, and it’s going to be a long winter of “WTF do we do with this kid?” since things like freezing temperatures, darkness and snow on the ground preclude hours-at-a-time of being outside. The Pecan is a goer. He goes. He’s taken to “flying,” whereby he basically throws his arms out to his sides and runs in circles around the living room. He wants The Patient Mrs. and I to join in, and we do, because he so clearly, clearly needs that running to keep him even. I feel like I should start investing in ritalin now, but I know damn well that if I had a stockpile going, I’d just end up taking it myself. Which might be fun, come to think of it.

This week… was a week. I’ve been in a deep-dive funk of don’t want to do anything, don’t want to move or leave the house, which is not conducive to the needs of a two year old. He keeps my ass in gear. Otherwise, I think it’d be way more couch time, which, while we’re talking about needs, is probably not conducive to my own. Being people is hard.

But hey, next week is a thing that’s happening. I’ll be putting the finishing touches on my top 30 — by which I mean actually making the list — and it’ll probably take me three days to actually write it, so that takes care of next weekend. This weekend I’m writing a new bio for Geezer and apparently trying to figure out how to get a newsletter going, since when I asked on social media yesterday, the response was pretty positive to the idea. Next week though has a review long overdue for Caustic Casanova and premieres for CB3 and (shhh… don’t tell anyone) Yatra, so it’s gonna be good. I was kind of overwhelmed this week at the responses to the news stories about Wino and Sasquatch. Nice to know people are out there and give a crap about this stuff. I know it’s not my writing drawing anyone to those news stories, it’s the music, but frankly, that’s how it should be.

I hope you’re getting through the holiday season. I hate the holidays. So much. Fuck Xmas. Fuck New Year’s. Fuck the faux ‘meaning’ of it all, the vulgar commerce, the weather, the elf, the shelf, the Jesus and the Santa Claus and the ball dropping and the lights. Even Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” isn’t worth that shit. I’d trade it happily. But I hope you’re coming through it okay, anyhow. It ain’t easy.

That should just about do it for me. It’s time for me to go try and bury my head and listen to music. Like, just for pleasure. There’s a thought. Friday’s usually my chance to do that. Maybe Thursday during nap too if I’m lucky, as I was yesterday. The real test this weekend will be if I can motivate my ass to do any work tomorrow or if I just sink back in bed after the alarm goes off and pile it all on Sunday, thereby wrecking my day entirely, stressing out myself and The Patient Mrs. and, by extension/osmosis, The Pecan, who invariably feeds off the emotions we give him.

Which is why I’m a bad parent. Because I have nothing good to give him.

I could go on, but I think you probably get the gist of how the next couple days are going to play out over here. Great and safe weekend. See you Monday for more good times.

FRM. Forum, Radio, Merch.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk merch

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Dozer to Reissue First Three Albums on Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

dozer

Even the press release can’t make it through the first sentence without speculating about a new Dozer record. It’s been more than a decade now since the Swedish heavy rock kingpins delivered Beyond Colossal (discussed here) on Small Stone as their swansong, but they’ve made sporadic live appearances since Desertfest in 2013, and they’re nothing if not due for a record. You won’t hear me complain in the slightest about the work guitarist Tommi Holappa has done with Greenleaf in the interim, of course, but still. Come on, dudes. Time to make it happen. I ain’t gettin’ any younger.

My hope here is that these reissues, of Dozer‘s rightly-heralded-as-classic first three albums, 2000’s In the Tail of a Comet (discussed here), 2001’s Madre de Dios and 2003’s Call it Conspiracy (discussed here), will do like Heavy Psych Sounds‘ Nebula reissue series did and result in a new studio release. And you know what? If Dozer wanted to call a new album Holy Shit too, they’d be entirely justified in doing so.

Dozer are touring Australia next November, and as much as I’ve ever wanted anything, I want to go.

These are up for preorder and out March 13 and March 20, as the PR wire informs in this handy graphic:

dozer admat

Swedish heavy rock pillars DOZER sign to Heavy Psych Sounds Records for the reissue of their first three albums ; preorder up now!

A first sign for a comeback? Definitely a news that will make every riff lovers and fuzz fan’s heart beat faster: legendary stoner rockers DOZER have signed a deal with Heavy Psych Sounds Records for the reissue of the their first three records in the beginning of 2020!

‘In The Tail Of A Comet’ (2000, Man’s Ruin Records), ‘Madre De Dios’ (2001) and ‘Call It Conspiracy’ (2003, both out via Molten Universe) are absolute stoner rock masterpieces. These three records elevated the European scene to a higher level, influencing heavy rock generations for decades with a songwriting that made them stand out them from any other band in the early 00’s. Not only DOZER have had a huge influence on European stoner bands, but one can definitely say they own the title of Godfathers of European Stoner Rock.

It is yet unsure if the band will ever return with a new release, however fans can enjoy this very special trinity. All three reissues will come out this March on Heavy Psych Sounds and as special colored vinyl editions; a bonus for all fans: ‘In The Tail Of A Comet’ will be also released on single vinyl for the first time ever!

Guitarist Tommi Holappa comments: “Our first three albums were recorded a long long time ago when we were still young and dumb! But don’t you worry, we are still dumb, just old and dumb! Finally our first babies will be reissued on vinyl again after being sold out for years! Enjoy!“

Says Rajko Dolhar of Heavy Psych Sounds:”We are so stoked to present a big comeback, a dream come true! Heavy Psych Sounds Records is reissuing the first three albums of the Swedish legendary band Dozer: In The Tail Of A Comet, Madre De Dios and Call It Conspiracy! It’s an honor for us having this incredible band in our growing HPS fuzz family!”

PREORDER Dozer’s timeless classics ‘In The Tail Of A Comet’, ‘Madre de Dios’ and ‘Call It Conspiracy’ at THIS LOCATION.

DOZER is:
Tommi Holappa – Guitar
Fredrik Nordin – Guitar/Vox
Johan Rockner – Bass
Olle Mårthans – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/dozerband
heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com
www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/

Dozer, Live at Duna Jam 2009

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Postvorta Set Feb. 20 Release for Porrima; Single Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

postvorta

Italy’s Postvorta earlier this year unveiled the 11-minute single “Hollow” that was taken from the sessions for their new album, Porrima. If you haven’t listened to it — and I’m sure you have, because you’re way up on Italian post-metal, and kudos to you on that — it’s a crusher in atmosphere and growl alike, and the band, who, yup, there’s six of ’em, complement all that stomp with an atmospheric breadth no less ranging than the impact is weighted. As much as the US foundation of post-metal was set by Neurosis and Isis, in Europe it was bands like Cult of Luna and Amenra who established the patterns, but Postvorta seem to draw influence from all sides and work to bring an emotionalism of their own to the bleak sonic tectonics. Haven’t heard Porrima — their new LP — yet, but neither have I heard a reason not to look forward to it.

That’s right. I went to that rhyme. Bite me. It’s my site. I get to do what I want.

Admittedly, I’m late to the party on posting the release date and the album news, but I figure better that than not at all, so here it is, courtesy of the PR wire. Porrima release is slated for Feb. 20 through 22 Dicembre Records and Sludgelord Records:

postvorta porrima

POSTVORTA: cinematic post/doom metal outfit reveal details of new album “Porrima”!

Italian post/doom metal stalwarts POSTVORTA release details of their upcoming new album “Porrima” – due out on February 20th, 2020 via Sludgelord Records and 22 Dicembre Records on 2CD and MC (strictly limited to 50 copies) format.

Produced by Riccardo Pasini (The Secret, Nero Di Marte, Ephel Duath), mastered by Magnus Lindberg (Cult Of Luna) and featuring artwork by Andrea Fioravanti and Nicola Donà, “Porrima” features musical textures and contributions by Francesco Bucci (Ottone Pesante), Francesca Grol and Alberto Casadei (Solaris).

“Porrima” tracklist:
01. Epithelium Copia (feat. Francesco Bucci from Ottone Pesante on trombone)
02. Vasa Praevia Dispassion
03. Decidua Trauma Catharsis (feat. Francesca Grol as female entity)
04. March Dysthymia (feat. Alberto Casadei from Solaris on spoken words)
05. Aldehyde Framework

POSTVORTA have always been hard to classify. Since 2009, they have played music that’s heavy and progressive, cinematic and intimate, dense and sometimes minimal. You could call them “post” metal, as thunderous elements of pure doom often contrast with moments of introspection. Their entire musical trajectory seems like a gradual disclosure of intimate secrets.

The album’s five tracks showcase the band facing life’s pain and wonder with their eyes wide open. The collection’s emotional landscape is one of existential dread, melancholy and loss. Despite these existential conundrums, “Porrima” at times also displays some uplifting, euphoric vibes.

Postvorta are:
Andrea Fioravanti [ Guitars – Synth ]
Nicola Dona’ [Vocals – Sometime Guitars ]
Raffaele Marra [ Bass ]
Dario Foschini [Guitars ]
Mohammed Ashraf [ Synth – Guitars ]
Matteo Borzini [ Drums ]

https://www.facebook.com/POSTVORTA
https://postvorta.org/
https://www.facebook.com/SludgelordRecords/
http://instagram.com/sludgelordrecords
https://thesludgelord.bandcamp.com/

Postvorta, “Hollow”

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Review & Full Album Stream: Domo, Domonautas Vol. 1

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on December 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

domo domonautas vol 1

[Click play above to stream Domonautas Vol. 1 by Domo in its entirety. Album is out Dec. 15 on Clostridium Records.]

With psychedelia itself so often given to ideas of fluidity, being molten and/or in some way liquid, it only seems fair that Domo‘s Domonautas Vol. 1 should be such a melting pot. Issued on limited LP in an edition of 400 copies by Clostridium Records — 250 black, 150 red/black transparent splatter for a die-hard edition — the four-track/37-minute offering is the first offering of any kind from the Alicante, Spain, four-piece since 2015’s split with Pyramidal, Jams from the Sun (review here), which also followed some four years after their 2011 self-titled debut (review here).

Their stated intention is that Domonautas Vol. 1 is to be the first of a two-part continuity of albums with Maarten Donders cover art, and that Domonautas Vol. 2 will follow next year, essentially completing the single work across two LPs. I don’t know if Vol. 2 is written, let alone recorded — it could very well be both or either — but it’s an ambitious undertaking for the jam-based psych outfit, and however it works out over the next 12 months, it’s worth noting that Domonautas Vol. 1 in no way sounds incomplete. Its four included tracks are arranged for maximum immersion, with “Oxímoron” (5:15) at the outset giving way to “Astródomo” (12:28) on side A, and “Ritual del Sol” (12:04) and closer “Planisferio” (7:56) finishing the thread on side B.

This shorter-longer-longer-shorter construction, parabolic in its way, creates an arc that brings the listener deeper into the proceedings from the start of “Oxímoron,” which sets off in grandiose fashion, with effects-laced synth severity, like something out of a lysergic Ben-Hur, for almost its full initial two minutes, acting more as an intro to the album(s). From there, a drift of wah with a still-vaguely Middle Eastern vibe takes hold, echoing trumpet in the distance playing out alongside quiet drums from Paco and melodic guitar lines. Sam and Pablo (the latter also trumpet) handle six-string duties with due attention to effects sprawl.

Perhaps some of that Moorish architecture in the arrangement comes from a Viaje a 800 influence from further south in Algeciras on the coast, but, one way or the other, Domo use the final build to introduce bassist Óscar‘s first vocals of the record and with just a beat of a pause between, go from the end of “Oxímoron” to the full-on fuzz roll verse riff of “Astródomo,” thick and righteous, with vocals echoing up to further a sense of space, subtle layering of shouts and acoustic guitar flourish (or what sounds like it, anyhow) for further breadth. “Astródomo” is the longest cut on Domonautas Vol. 1 — not by a lot, but still — and it uses its time to affect multiple changes in movement, beginning a more winding transitional course at about three and a half minutes in as a bed for an emergent lead over a more forward rhythm before crashing into another verse, this one with a stomping march behind, and an extended ring-out and feedback course around the seven-minute mark, underscored and held together by the bassline.

domo (Photo by Rafa Perdomo)

It is a moment of hypnosis led by Óscar that the band will soon enough pay off with a return of vocals, guitar and drums, but that bassline — which seems to draw a bit from Clutch‘s “Spacegrass” in its construction; not a complaint — is a quiet moment that does much to showcase the range that seems to be at play across Domonautas Vol. 1, as the band are perfectly capable of moving between loud and quiet stretches, either creating a wash of effects and riffs or leaving open space for the unsuspecting audience to lose itself within. This serves them well during the instrumental passages of “Astródomo” and “Ritual del Sol,” the latter of which is arguably the most patient of the inclusions on the record.

It unfolds gradually across a multi-stage linear build, led by the guitar with effects/horn backing for atmosphere, and kicks in its fuzz at 3:45, still maintaining a post-rock kind of spirit, which will tie into “Planisferio” as well soon enough. A surge of low end accompanies the entry of vocals, and a new stage of nod is entered, but it’s short-lived as the bass and drums drop out to leave the guitar to set up a more forward riff that becomes the central adrenaline charge of the progression. They shift smoothly into a solo that carries them to and through the halfway point, turn back to a quick couple lines, then blast out even more desert-cosmic, eventually bringing the proceedings downward in energy level to a stretch of effects and subdued guitar float, tension holding in the bass as a tell that they’re not actually done yet.

Sure enough, after 10 minutes, they’re off and running again on the jam, and that leads them out in full party fashion. It would seem to be the apex of Domonautas Vol. 1 were it not for the instrumentalist work “Planisferio” does in setting up its grand finale, working from the ground up on a larger riff, receding again and gracefully executing a heavy psychedelic interpretation of what post-metal has taken on as a signature element: the “Stones from the Sky” moment, wherein that ultra-landmark Neurosis riff provides the foundation of a crescendo, usually manipulated in some way.

Domo join it to a melodic flourish of guitar and keep the central rhythm in focus all the while, pushing forward through that key progression and — most importantly — making it their own as the wind and twist toward the finish of the record, which comes in last crashes and residual guitars. I don’t know when Domonautas Vol. 2 might surface, and if there’s more to the story than Domo are telling here, I’ll be curious to find out just what that is, but it bears repeating that Domonautas Vol. 1 comes through as a coherent, complete statement, and doesn’t seem at its conclusion to be missing anything. That is, it doesn’t sound like you’re listening to half of a record, which is only a positive. Whatever Domo‘s future plans might be, after some years’ delay, they’ve given listeners plenty to explore with these tracks and the scope that seems to come so naturally from them.

Domo on Thee Facebooks

Domo on Instagram

Domo on Bandcamp

Domo website

Clostridium Records on Thee Facebooks

Clostridium Records website

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Høstsabbat 2020: Novarupta Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Gonna be crowded up on that Chapel stage with a 12-piece band at Kulturkirken Jakob, but the addition of Novarupta to Oslo’s Høstsabbat Festival is awesome news all the way around. It’s the second lineup unveiling from the Norwegian festival, set for next October, which already brought out Mars Red Sky, Gösta Berlings Saga, Obliteration and Superlynx in its first go. You can read a bit about who and what Novarupta is, but it’s way more of a project than a band. The 2019 debut album, Disillusioned Fire, on Suicide Records, is ambitious enough to round up seven different vocalists to take part, and the live incarnation of the band would seem to match that outright. No wonder there’s only been one show to-date where they’ve done it.

I won’t claim to know what Novarupta‘s up to between now and then, but if there’s nothing else, I guess Høstsabbat 2020 will be the second gig. Pretty awesome.

Check it out:

hostsabbat 2020 novarupta

Our next band announcement is much more than a band.

Novarupta is the highly ambitious project of Alex Stjernfeldt (Let Them Hang, ex-The Moth Gatherer), where his mission was, and still is, to cleanse his soul and mind with post metal soundscapes, crushing riffs and oppressive heft, while gathering an elite of Swedish vocalist, each one of them performing on their own song. How the hell is this even manageable?

The crown of the cake for Høstsabbat, is that we have this non-live band performing the whole thing, with all vocalists present. This happened once, at HUS 7 in Stockholm, and lucky for us, Alex is bringing the whole circus to Oslo next October.

Guest vocalists star from Tomas Liljedahl (Breach, The Old Wind), Martin Wegeland (Domkraft), Jonas A. Holmberg (This Gift is a Curse), Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquility), Jørgen Sandstrøm (ex-Entombed, ex-Grave) and the list goes on.

The album “Disillusioned Fire” have made some serious waves in the post-rock/metal community as one of the absolute highlights of 2019, and the future for Novarupta looks more than bright.

It’s with humble gratitude we are able to welcome this 12-piece (!!) to the Chapel stage at Høstsabbat 2020.

https://www.facebook.com/events/431138574088425/
https://www.facebook.com/hostsabbat/
http://hostsabbat.no/

Novarupta, Disillusioned Fire (2019)

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Godthrymm to Release Debut Album Reflections Feb. 14 on Profound Lore

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

godthrymm (Photo by Frank Ralph)

I have just about zero insight to offer here, except to say something along the lines of ‘duh, this sounds good.’ Godthrymm play classic British-style doom led by guitarist/vocalist Hamish Glencross, who is exactly the kind of person you’d want out in front of such a project, taking back the reins of the Peaceville era and the deathly ways of Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride. Initial single “Among the Exalted” plays to the darker and more extreme end of the sound, and that leaves me wondering what kind of dramas might play out elsewhere on the debut album, Reflections — if the album art is anything to go by, it might just stay bleak throughout — but hell’s bells that’s heavy and it’s more than enough to turn my head in the direction of the release announcement.

Good to know early 2020 won’t be hurting for doom, and as we come up on 30 years since that era of Peaceville really got going, it’s proof of continuing relevance that bands are still picking up on that style and doing new things with it.

At last. A reason to look forward to Valentine’s Day:

godthrymm reflections

GODTHRYMM: UK Doom Metal Trio Featuring Former Members Of My Dying Bride, Anathema, And More To Release Reflections Debut Via Profound Lore This February; New Track Streaming

UK doom metal trio GODTHRYMM — featuring vocalist/guitarist Hamish Glencross (ex-My Dying Bride, Vallenfyre, Solstice), drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels (ex-My Dying Bride, Anathema), and bassist Bob Crolla — will unleash their debut album Reflections February 14th, 2020 via Profound Lore.

GODTHRYMM was forged in 2017 by Glencross and sees the respected UK metal luminary return to his doom metal roots, creating the music he was known to help forge with Solstice on the legendary New Dark Age album and especially with the heralded My Dying Bride from the 2000 – 2014 time period. Further adding to the GODTHRYMM pedigree is drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels who, after some lineup refining following the band’s A Grand Reclamation debut EP, became the core of GODTHRYMM. In the months to follow, the pair recorded the colossal Reflections full-length. Upon its completion, Glencross and Taylor-Steels added bassist Bob Crolla to the fold making GODTHRYMM a true power trio of doom.

Recorded and mixed by Nathan Bailey and featuring artwork and design by Brian D’Agosta of Gostworks Art (Vallenfyre, War//Plague), with Reflections, GODTHRYMM has unleashed a mammoth slab of heavy, mournful, yet pounding traditional doom that harks back to the classic era of ’90s UK doom/Peaceville Records. A massive step up from their debut EP, Reflections is the result of Glencross taking GODTHRYMM into darker, more melancholic, and towering realms. Through Glencross’ soaring passionate vocals complimenting his powerful riffs along with Taylor-Steels’ thunderous percussion giving the rhythm section that immense and glorious tone, Reflections is a testament to the glory days of the genre while simultaneously making its statement as a new force of modern day doom metal to behold.

GODTHRYMM’s Reflections will be released on CD, 2xLP, and digital formats with preorders to be unveiled in January.

In the meantime, the band has issued the stunning first single “Among The Exalted.” Notes Glencross, “Lyrically, ‘Among The Exalted’ is about desire becoming all-encompassing obsession, manifesting in such a way that yearning and devotion can become a manic and destructive force. Musically, we feel this song is very direct and represents us as musicians and who we are now, whilst also echoing our own history and also the glorious history of the celebrated UK doom scene. Thank you for listening.”

Stream GODTHRYMM’s “Among The Exalted” below.

Reflections Track Listing:
1. Monsters Lurk Herein
2. Among The Exalted
3. The Sea As My Grave
4. We Are The Dead
5. The Light Of You
6. The Grand Reclamation
7. Cursed Are The Many
8. Chasmic Sorrows

http://godthrymm.com/
http://www.facebook.com/godthrymm/
http://www.instagram.com/godthrymm/
http://www.profoundlorerecords.com
http://www.facebook.com/profoundlorerecords
http://www.instagram.com/profoundlorerecords
http://www.profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com

Godthrymm, “Among the Exalted”

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Tombs Sign to Season of Mist; New LP Monarchy of Shadows Available to Preorder; Title-Track Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

tombs

Quite a metallic CV that Brooklyn’s Tombs have put together over the course of the last decade plus, having worked first with Relapse, then Metal Blade and now Season of Mist for their latest long-player, Monarchy of Shadows. The new record is out Feb. 28 and up for preorder now with the title-track streaming at the bottom of the post — that’s the crucial info here, though the artwork, below, is also pretty crucial as far as I’m concerned — and as Tombs have always resided between worlds stylistically in terms of their aggro roots — frontman Mike Hill‘s background in hardcore is well documented — and their thrust of raw black metal melded together with more spacious atmospheres than the genre’s if-it-doesn’t-sound-shitty-it-don’t-count nonsensical purist ethic might allow.

So maybe too much this for one crowd, too much that for another, but just right to actually be an interesting band, which I think is why the press has been all over them since their first album and why RelapseMetal Blade and Season of Mist have all taken a shot at giving them a push. For Tombs‘ part, they’ve never stopped pushing themselves creatively and on the level of sheer intensity of their craft and output, and hell, if you don’t admire them for anything else, admire them for that, because it’s a pretty high standard to live up to at this point.

That’s my two cents. I haven’t heard the whole album yet, but I will, and though my general feeling is that Tombs needs coverage from me like they need a hole in the head, I’ll probably try to give a crack at a proper album review as well. Nothing like a challenge sometimes.

Anyway, here’s PR wire info on the record:

Tombs Monarchy of Shadows

TOMBS Sign to Season of Mist, Reveal New Song and Details of Forthcoming Release

Season of Mist are proud to announce the signing of Brooklyn, NY metal formation TOMBS! The band will make their official debut to the label on February 28 with the release of their brand new EP, ‘Monarchy of Shadows.’ The eponymous first single from the offering can be heard at THIS LOCATION.

TOMBS mastermind Mike Hill comments: “I’ve been a huge fan of Season of Mist for years, so I feel honored for TOMBS to be joining the label. The rest of the guys share the same sentiments. ‘Monarchy of Shadows’ is a full on display of the new era of the band. Ferocious, brutal, but with an intense introspection. This is the best work that we’ve done to date.”

‘Monarchy of Shadows’ can be pre-ordered HERE.

Studio: Frightbox Recording (Passaic, NJ, U.S.A.)
Producer/Sound Engineer/Mixing Studio Engineer: Bobby Torres
Mastering studio engineer: Alan Douches @ West West Side Music

The cover artwork for ‘Monarchy of Shadows,’ which was created by Valnoir, can be found here along with the tracklist.

Tracklist
1. Monarchy of Shadows (07:32)
2. Once Falls the Guillotine (04:44)
3. Necro Alchemy (05:47)
4. Man Behind the Sun (06:02)
5. The Dark Rift (05:58)
6. Path of Totality (Midnight Sun) (04:44)
Total: 0:34:47

Line-Up:
Mike Hill – guitar / vocals
Justin Spaeth – drums /electronics
Drew Murphy – bass / vocals
Matt Medieiros – guitar / vocals

Guest Musicians:
Mike Goncalves – guest vocals on “Path of Totality (Midnight Sun)”
Ben Karas – strings on “The Dark Rift”
Terence Hannum – synth on “Monarchy of Shadows”

https://www.facebook.com/TombsBklyn
https://www.instagram.com/tombscult
https://www.youtube.com/tombscult
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Tombs, “Monarchy of Shadows”

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Doomraiser Premiere “Chimera” Video; The Dark Side of Old Europa out Jan. 24

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

doomraiser

Not to give too much away, but the final resolve of The Dark Side of Old Europa — the fifth full-length from Roman five-piece Doomraiser out Jan. 24 on Time to Kill Records — comes amid thudding drums and plodding riffs as “Loathsome Explorer Interpolation” ends on vocalist Nicola Rossi‘s repeated line, “We are all doomed.” That would very much seem to be the underlying — and often not-at-all-underlying — message of The Dark Side of Old Europa‘s plunge through Europe’s dark, violent and plague-addled history, which Doomraiser lead while also taking on the history of doom metal itself, from (of course) Black Sabbath on the intro “Passage” to shades of Celtic Frost that show themselves in the title-track and the later “Häxan” and the closer, theremin-laced dark psych on “Tauroctony (The Secret Cult of Mithras),” elements of Cathedral on “Chimera” and elsewhere, Trouble throughout, and Scott Reagers-era Saint Vitus most especially on the nine-and-a-half-minute highlight “Terminal Dusk” and also the aforementioned finale. Following the intro, “Chimera” opens the The Dark Side of Old Europa like a gateway to the abyss, with a swinging rhythm from bassist Andrea Caminiti and drummer Daniele Amatori, and riffs from Marco Montagna and Giuseppe Nantini to lead the way down into the void.

They talk about themselves as playing “heavy drunken doom” in the bio info, and, okay, fair enough, but if they’ve been downing beers or whatever, they seem to be able to hold their liquor. The songs are coherent in their structure, and offer nuance in drum changes that end up driving doomraiser the dark side of old europarighteousness like the ending lead of “Chimera” or the finish of “Tauroctony (The Secret Cult of Mithras)” to an all the more effective level even as the crunch in “The Dark Side of Old Europa” or the synth-laced instrumental build of the penultimate “Continuum Pt. 1 (Suspended in Darkness)” set a pretty broad range of influence within the sphere of doom. And Doomraiser, rest assured, are doom. They’re practically dooom, they’re so doom. And they know it.

The Dark Side of Old Europa is their first full-length in some five years since 2015’s Reverse (Passagio Inverso), but they’ve been at it steadily since 2003 and very clearly know who they are and what their mission is as a band. Their mission is doom metal, and their songs serve that end. Intoxicated as they may or may not be at any given moment, they remain lucid in that purpose and the eight tracks and 51 minutes of The Dark Side of Old Europa bear that out from front to back on a deceptively engaging linear path that is broader than it first appears. “Passage” and “Chimera,” and even the 6:28 title-track thereafter, are the lead-in salvo for the longer pieces that follow beginning with “Tauroctony (The Secret Cult of Mithras)” (8:30), and the flow of the album is all the more immersive for the crucial setup they provide — evidence of the band’s experience in terms of knowing how to put the listener where they want them to be.

The video premiering below for “Chimera” was directed by Pietro Tamaro and is rife with forest ceremony that according to the band represents human decline. I’m not disposed to argue. Good news for the species seems to be hard to come by these days, but if we’re on our way out, it’s hard to say we didn’t earn what we get. Nonetheless, it’ll probably be 10,000 years at least before the last of us burns, freezes, or plagues our way off the face of the earth, so we might as well doom out in the meantime.

Therefore, please enjoy:

Doomraiser, “Chimera” official video premiere

Doomraiser on “Chimera”

Chimera is a legendary monster from the Greek, Roman and Etruscan mythology, a horrible hybrid with divine origins portrayed with a mixed lion and goat body, and a venomous serpent as tail. The characteristic and surreal shape of the creature, a clear product of fantasy, has become through the years the symbol of illusion, of what is unreal, vain and elusive.

A stratification of meanings and languages that comes directly from an ancient imagery, which probably reflects an attempt of recreating, in the past, the hideous and hybrid forces of nature. Chimera represents a dark concept, based on a bizarre and unsteady basis, caused by its grotesque and shapeless character, and by its “versus nature” aspect, which represents the “non form.”

The song itself speaks of the Chimera as a concept of illusion, the indefinite and the chaotic; it describes the theme of precariousness of human life, as an extremely fragile dimension compared to the vastness of eternity.

The idea of growth and progress in this historical phase are just illusions, Man walks more and more away from Knowledge, has no more awareness, has lost direction, so he tries to exceed Nature itself, but nonetheless everything has its birth and death, beginning and end, Alpha and Omega. Empires have fallen over time, entire populations and cultures are gone forever. The video represents this human decline, the fragility of an ever delicate balance, the materialization of the “fathers of illusions” and “mothers of void.”

“The Dark Side of Old Europa” will be released on January 24th 2020 via Time To Kill Records.

The album was produced by Danilo Silvestri and by the band. Renowned artist Roberto Toderico is responsible for the impressive cover artwork that’s now available along with the album’s tracklist.

“Exploring Europa’s darkest events, we conceived an obscure sound relying on the Doomraiser ‘heavy drunken doom’ trademarks: heavy metal played at a monolithic pace, where fast and slower, gloomy introspective parts often collide. The final result is very ‘live sounding’, every instrument breathes with vicious abandon while building a tight wall of sound. This time around the songs’ length has also been reduced in order to strengthen their impact and intensity”.

Pre-order: https://doomraiser-thedarkside.bandcamp.com/

“The Dark Side of Old Europa” tracklist:

01. Passage
02. Chimera
03. The Dark Side of Old Europa
04. Tauroctony (The Secret Cult of Mithras)
05. Terminal Dusk
06. Haxan
07. Continuum Pt. 1 (Suspended in Darkness)
08. Loathsome Explorer Interpolation

Line-up:
Nicola Rossi – Vocals/Synth
Marco Montagna – Guitars
Giuseppe Nantini – Guitars
Andrea Caminiti – Bass
Daniele Amatori – Drums

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Time to Kill Records website

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