The Top 20 of 2018 Year-End Poll is Now Open!

Posted in Features on November 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Working Title/Artist: Landscape with a Double Spruce in the ForegroundDepartment: Drawings & PrintsCulture/Period/Location: HB/TOA Date Code: Working Date: 1520-22.

This is my favorite post of the year, every year. Welcome to the year-end poll. Cast your votes now for your favorite releases from 2018.

If you don’t have 20 albums to list? Doesn’t matter. Have 40? Awesome. Pick 20 of them. Want to list your own band 20 times? That’s cool too. Glad you dig your own stuff.

You probably know the system by now, but here it is: Raw votes are counted and as always, there’s a weighted tally whereby 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. Results from both are posted New Year’s Day, along with all the lists.

Last year’s participation was awesome, and with so many excellent records out in 2018, I’m dying to see what comes out first. There are picks that seem obvious to me, but it’s always fascinating to see what albums different people are super-passionate about, where people connect and where they differ.

To that end, please note one more time that all the lists are posted when the results go up. We’re talking hundreds of entries. If you’ve missed anything throughout the year, it’s great resource, and I know I’ve used it before not only in constructing my own lists, but just in checking out records I may not have had the chance to hear at the time. I continue to go back to past years and find new stuff.

Posterity aside, however, the point here is to have fun, so please do that first and foremost. I know sometimes lists come in with bands spelled wrong and albums all wonky. It’s fine. Yeah, everything is culled together, but the point here is to stand up for music you’re into, so the rest will work out. Enjoyment is the thing, so enjoy it. No stress.

Thanks as always to Slevin, without whose patience, time and technical expertise this site would simply not exist.

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Friday Full-Length: Monster Magnet, Superjudge

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Monster Magnet, Superjudge (1993)

Lest we forget that as the West Coast was laying the groundwork for what would become the signature desert style over the next several years, back east, Monster Magnet were kissing the mouth of the scorpion with some of the finest drug rock ever created. Superjudge, released 25 years ago in 1993, was the New Jersey-based band’s second full-length, arriving behind Spine of God (discussed here; reissue review here), which saw its US release the previous year. That album is a classic and I’m not about to take anything away from it, or the Tab…25 EP (reissue review here) that came out after, but Superjudge was a moment of several milestones and pivotal moves for the group, who by then were already working distinctly under the direction of frontman and principle songwriter Dave Wyndorf.

First, it was their debut outing for A&M Records, a major label. Their earliest non-demo releases came out through Glitterhouse in Europe and Caroline in the US, but signing to a major would not only bring them to a wider sphere of listeners, but turned attention to a heavy underground boom taking shape in Central Jersey at the time. Second, it was the band’s first album with Ed Mundell on lead guitar, which was a position he would hold until 2010. Mundell took the spot previously held by John McBain (also brilliant), and his arrival would help solidify Monster Magnet‘s burgeoning approach to songcraft and his playing became an essential facet in not only the absolutely molten feel of Superjudge tracks like “Dinosaur Vacume,” “Twin Earth,” “Superjudge” and the effects-soaked Hawkwind cover “Brainstorm,” but in the developing persona of the band on subsequent offerings Dopes to Infinity (discussed here) in 1995, Powertrip in 1998, God Says No in 2001, 2004’s Monolithic Baby!, 2007’s 4-Way Diablo and 2010’s Mastermind (review here). During this era, his presence in the group would be second only to that of Wyndorf in terms of defining who Monster Magnet were and what they were about.

In 1993, they were about freaking the fuck out. They broke out some sitar on closer “Black Balloon,” and backed by the rhythm section of bassist Joe Calandra and drummer Jon Kleiman, captured fuzzy forward drive on “Twin Earth” with a swing that even a quarter-century after the fact bleeds its swagger from the speakers. The power of Superjudge isn’t just in its atmosphere — though there’s plenty of that in the layers of effects and kitchen-sink instrumentation used — it’s in the band. With Spine of God, the record’s brilliant. Utterly brilliant. For the title-track alone, it should be taught in middle schools across the planet as to how you rock and roll in order to expand minds. What Superjudge did was to take that studio vibe and show how it could be sustainable, monster magnet superjudgeshow how it could be done on stage, and begin to solidify it as a developing creative process. As much of a haze seemed to surround the title-track, or the watery acoustics in “Cage Around the Sun,” which followed, with its percussion, Eastern inflection and sitar drone, there was a straightforward, structured undercurrent to the material. That was true on some of Spine of God as well, but Superjudge moved the balance ever so slightly. In its aforementioned cover of Hawkwind and take on Howlin’ Wolf-via-Cactus in “Evil,” it drew a line directly to ’70s vibes in a way that was an aberration for the era, and even in the subsequent blowout “Stadium” or the ultra-hairy “Face Down,” it demonstrated the songwriting modus that would become Monster Magnet‘s own all the more over time.

But Superjudge is more than a bridge from Spine of God to Dopes to Infinity, and its 11 tracks hold up brilliantly to the passage of time. The backbeat of “Brainstorm.” The swirl and cosmic declarations of “Elephant Bell.” The raw tonality of “Twin Earth.” Superjudge continues to read like a blueprint for how to do heavy psychedelia and make it rock. Like if The MC5 and The Stooges decided they wanted to go Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Maybe the cover art tells the whole story. If you look at the background, it’s trippy and colorful and the logo and title are all “I’m gonna eat a mountain of pills,” but then you look at that picture of the band’s kinda-mascot, the Bullgod. He’s pissed. There’s an aggression there. It’s mean. Superjudge has that intense side to it. It’s not always what’s up front, because the record is still dynamic and it goes any number of places in its songs, but that clenched-teeth, ring-through-the-septum immediacy can’t be faked. It’s either in there or not, and one of the most powerful aspects of Superjudge is that at any given moment, it might absolutely explode in your face. I don’t care how laid back “Cyclops Revolution” sounds at the outset, it still caps with the line, “I’ve got mine, fuck you.”

That component in Monster Magnet would help them for years be wrongly classified as so many were as a metal band. True enough they were heavy — still are — but metal? Come on. Even Mastermind, which was about as big-of-tone as they’ve been interested in getting to-date, wasn’t really metal. On Superjudge, they’re a psychedelic heavy rock band. They’d move on from the lysergic elements over the course of Powertrip and God Says No, but in the change from Mastermind to 2013’s Last Patrol (review here), they brought back some of those weirdo impulses, and pushed them further in the screw-around-with-past-work of 2014 and 2015’s Milking the Stars (review here) and Cobras and Fire (review here) — redux versions of Last Patrol and Mastermind, respectively, that only emphasized Monster Magnet‘s ability and willingness to do whatever the hell they wanted at any given time. See also 2018’s Mindfucker (review here), which, in case you missed it, was called Mindfucker. Take that.

Aside from their hailing from my beloved Garden State and being the stewards of the Mid-Atlantic heavy underground in a way that New York — nifty though it is — was always too punk rock to be, Monster Magnet went a long way toward defining themselves on Superjudge, and it remains an album that shows just how on their own plane they were at the time. Fortunately, that is something that has continued to be the case throughout their career.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Okay. We’re there. Next week my top 30 of the year goes up. Blamo. This weekend on Gimme Radio, ‘The Obelisk Show’ also has a kind-of-sort-of-some-of-the-best-of-2018 thing going. Really, that’s what it’s called. Monster Magnet are on it. You should listen. Sunday, 7PM Eastern. On the internet.

Also next week, a review of the Mansion album, which rules. I guess that’s the short version. Stay tuned for the long one. Also Deep Space Destructors, a couple snazzy video premieres, a bunch of news I need to catch up on, and all that good stuff.

Thanks for reading that 100-album Quarterly Review if you did. My desktop still has a bunch of records on it, but it was good to get through that stuff. Some of it had been waiting a while. I hope you found something you dug. I did.

I’d love to stick around and bum everyone out by bitching about whatever, but the truth is I’ve got a fucking ton of writing to do — a lineup announcement for Freak Valley that will have already been posted by the time this is and liner notes for the Elder PostWax release — so you’ll pardon me if I check out and get to it. I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please don’t forget the forum and radio stream and merch and year-end poll.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk shirts & hoodies

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Shadow Witch Sign to Argonauta; Under the Shadow of a Witch Due in 2019

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

It has not been all that long since Shadow Witch put out word their drummer search had ended with the acquisition of Connecticut-based Scott Wadowski. Actually, it was about a week and a half ago. In the time since, the Kingston, New York, dark heavy rockers have made public their alliance with Argonauta Records for the release of their next album, the more-than-self-titled Under the Shadow of a Witch, which will be issued next year. There hasn’t been a release date set that I’ve seen, but the band already has slots booked at Maryland Doom Fest, New England Stoner and Doom Fest and SX Stoner Jam at SXSW. On their own, that’d probably be enough to call it a good year, but no doubt there’s more to come as well.

Looking forward to the brew Shadow Witch cook up for their next record, and to seeing them again, first in Connecticut, then hopefully in Maryland as well if they’ll have me. They were awesome at MDDF this year.

From the PR wire:

shadow witch

SHADOW WITCH SIGNS WITH ARGONAUTA RECORDS!

New album coming in 2019!

In 2015, a crew of veteran musicians in Kingston, New York started to share the passion to create powerfully original music. SHADOW WITCH drew their musical influences from various directions, but their goals were simple: harness decades of experience into a cohesive, monstrous sound. While the velocity by which those goals were met is no surprise, the band has now signed a worldwide deal with Italy’s powerhouse label ARGONAUTA RECORDS!

“We are incredibly excited about the next album, and feel that the move to Argonauta Records is the great step forward SHADOW WITCH have been waiting for“, comments vocalist Earl Walker Lundy on the signing. “The music for our upcoming album UNDER THE SHADOW OF A WITCH pushes the band in new directions, that folks may be surprised by. It’s our bluesiest so far, and it’s also a deeply personal album for me. We’re proud of what we’ve written, and honored to be sharing it with the world through Gero and the Argonauta family!”

In August 2016, SHADOW WITCH released their first full-length album ‘Sun Killer’, to excellent reviews from the international heavy music community. The album is a diverse assemblage of songs pulling in doom, thrash, psychedelic and stoner metal, and they back it up with intense, explosive live shows to annihilate any listener hesitation.

While member resumes may have eased their footing inside the door of many venues, their future is unquestionably solid. SHADOW WITCH began a new chapter in their music history with the official release of their second full-length album ‘Disciples Of The Crow’ in December 2017.

Followed by the recent signing with Argonauta Records, SHADOW WITCH will make their return with an amazing new release filled with the band’s special mood, atmosphere, killer riffs and vocals. The songs are all that’s needed to raise you above the light, surround you in darkness, and bind your ears, hearts and mind as one. SHADOW WITCH will be coming for you in 2019, so stay tuned for more album news and first tunes to be unveiled soon!

SHADOW WITCH is:
Scott Wadowski – drums
David Pannullo – bass
Earl Lundy – voice / mellotron / loops
Jeremy Hall – guitars

LIVE:
3/14 2019 (US) SX Stoner Jam 2019 / Spiderhouse, Austin, TX
5/3-5 2019 (US) – New England Stoner And Doom Fest 2 / Altone’s Music Hall, Jewett City, CT
6/20-23 2019 (US) – Maryland Doom Fest 2019 / Cafe 611, Frederick, MD
with many more dates to follow soon!

www.facebook.com/shadowwitch.band
www.shadowwitch.bandcamp.com
www.argonautarecords.com

Shadow Witch, Disciples of the Crow (2017)

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Quarterly Review: Surya Kris Peters, Lewis and the Strange Magics, Lair of the Minotaur, Sonic Wolves, Spacelord, Nauticus, Yuxa, Forktie, Ohhms, Blue Dream

Posted in Reviews on December 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

I had a terrible thought yesterday: What if this one… went to 11? That is, what if, after 10 days of Quarterly Review ending today with a grand total of 100 records reviewed since last Monday, I did another batch of 10? Like a bonus round? Like I said, terrible thought.

Pretty sure it won’t happen. I’ve already got a review and a video premiere booked for next Monday, but I definitely had the thought. It was easy, of course, to fill out another 10 slots, and who knows, maybe this weekend for the first time ever I wind up with some extra time and energy on my hands? Could happen, right?

Again, I’m fairly certain it won’t. Let’s proceed with the assumption today’s the last day. Thank you for reading. I hope you have found something cool in all of this that has really hit home. I certainly have. We cap very much in last-but-not-least fashion, and if nothing’s resonated with you yet, don’t count yourself completely out. You might just get there after all. Thanks again.

Quarterly Review #91-100:

Surya Kris Peters, Ego Therapy

Surya Kris Peters Ego Therapy

Those feeling technical will note the full title of the album is Surya Kris Peters’ Ego Therapy, but the point gets across either way. And even as Christian Peters — also guitarist/vocalist for Samsara Blues Experiment — acknowledges the inherent self-indulgence of the proverbial “solo-project” that his exploration of synth and classically progressive textures under the moniker of Surya Kris Peters has become, with Ego Therapy as his second full-length of 2018, he branches out in including drums from former Terraplane bandmate Jens Vogel. The 10-song/53-minute outing opens with its longest cut (immediate points) in the 15-minute “Angels in Bad Places,” a spaced-out and vibrant atmosphere more cohesive than psychedelia but still trippy as all hell, and moves through a bluesy key/guitar interplay in “Wizard’s Dream” following the dancey thriller soundtrack “Beyond the Sun” and into the Blade Runner-style grandeur of “Sleeping Willow” and the video game-esque “A Fading Spark” before bookending with the sci-fi “Atomic Clock” at the close. I don’t know how ultimately therapeutic Peters‘ solo offerings might be, but he only seems to grow bolder each time out, and that certainly applies here.

Surya Kris Peters on Thee Facebooks

Electric Magic Records on Bandcamp

 

Lewis and the Strange Magics, The Ginger Sessions

lewis and the strange magics the ginger sessions

How are you not gonna love a release that starts with a song called “Sexadelic Galactic Voyage?” Barcelona vamp rockers Lewis and the Strange Magics embrace their inner funk on the 23-minute self-released EP, The Ginger Sessions, finding the place where their uptempo ’70s fusion meets oldschool The Meters-style rhythm, digging into the repetitions of “Candied Ginger” after the aforementioned instrumental opening burst and then holding the momentum through “Her Vintage Earrings.” Some departure happens on what might be side B of the 10″, with “The Shadow of Your Smile” turning toward pastoral psychedelia, still rhythmic thanks to some prominent wood block and xylophone sounds, but much calmer despite a consistency of wah and keys. “Suzy’s Room II” follows in fuzzy fashion, bridging the earlier cologne-soaked, chest-hair-out vibes with garage buzz and a heavier low end beneath the synthesized experimentation. Mellotron shows up and continues to hold sway in closer “Witch’s Brew,” playing the band outward along with layers of drifting guitar for about two and a half minutes of bluesy serenity that feel cut short, as does the release on the whole. One hopes they don’t lose that funky edge going into their next album.

Lewis and the Strange Magics on Thee Facebooks

Lewis and the Strange Magics on Bandcamp

 

Lair of the Minotaur, Dragon Eagle of Chaos

Lair of the Minotaur Dragon Eagle of Chaos

Once upon the mid-aughts, Chicago’s Lair of the Minotaur roamed the land as the long-prophesied American answer to Entombed, as much classic, dirt-covered death metal as they were laden with heavy groove. Their tones filthy, their assault brutal all the while, war metal, ultimate destroyers. The whole nine. They released their last album, Evil Power (review here), in 2010. The two-songer Dragon Eagle of Chaos follows a 2013 single, and was released to mark the occasion of perhaps a return to some measure of greater activity. I don’t know if that’ll happen, but as both “Dragon Eagle of Chaos” and “Kunsult the Bones” affirm in about seven minutes between them, Lair of the Minotaur remain a wrecking ball made of raw meat when it comes to their sound. The madness that seemed to always underline their material at its most effective is present and accounted for in “Dragon Eagle of Chaos,” and the stripped-down production of the single actually helps its violent cause. Will they do another record? Could go either way, but if they decide to go that route, they clearly still have the evil power within.

Lair of the Minotaur website

Lair of the Minotaur on Bandcamp

 

Sonic Wolves, Sonic Wolves

sonic wolves sonic wolves

Eight tracks/34 minutes of smoothly-arranged and well-executed doom rock brought to bear with an abiding lack of pretense and a developing sense of songcraft and dynamic — there’s very little not to dig about Sonic Wolves‘ self-titled LP (on Future Noise and DHU), from the Sabbathian stretch of “Ascension” down through the bouncing low-key-psych-turns-to-full-on-wah-overdose-swirl in the penultimate “Heavy Light.” Along the way, bassist/vocalist Kayt Vigil (ex-Pentagram, etc.) — joined by guitarists Jason Nealy and Enrico “Ico” Aniasi and drummer Gianni “Vita” Vitarelli (also Ufomammut) — gallop through the traditional metal of “Red Temple” and ride a fuzzy roll in “Tide of Chaos,” leaving the uptempo shuffle of “You’ll Climb the Walls” to close out by tapping into a “Wicked World”-style vision of heavy blues that casts off many of the tropes of what’s become the subgenre in favor of a darker approach. If their self-titled is Sonic Wolves declaring who they are as a band after making their debut in 2016, the results are only encouraging.

Sonic Wolves on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records webstore

Future Noise Recordings webstore

 

Spacelord, Indecipher

Spacelord Indecipher

There is an immediate sensibility drawn from classic heavy rock to the vocals on Spacelord‘s second record, Indecipher, like Shannon Hoon fronting Led Zeppelin, maybe? Something like that, definitely drawn from a ’70s/’90s blend. Produced, mixed and mastered by guitarist Rich Root, with Chris Cappiello on bass, Kevin Flynn on drums and Ed Grabianowski on vocals, the four-piece’s sophomore LP is comprised of a neatly-constructed eight songs working around sci-fi themes on bruiser cuts like “Super Starship Adventure” and the particularly righteous “Zero Hour,” as opener and longest track (immediate points) “For the Unloved Ones” sets forth the classic vibe amid the first of the record’s impressive solos and resonant hooks. Something about it makes me want them to go completely over the top in terms of production their next time out — layers on layers on layers, etc. — but the kind of false start Grabianowski brings to the ultra-Zepped “New Machine” has a charm that I’m not sure it would be worth sacrificing.

Spacelord on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Nauticus, Disappear in Blue

Nauticus Disappear in Blue

Six years after the release of their second album, The Wait (review here), Finnish atmospheric progressive metallers Nauticus effect a return with the 78-minute Disappear in Blue, which following the relatively straightforward opening with “Magma” casts out a vast sprawl in accordance with its oceanic theme. Longer tracks like “Claimed by the Sea,” “Strange Sequences/Lost Frequencies,” “Arrival” and “Hieronymus” are complex and varied but united through a deep instrumental dynamic that’s brought to light even in the three-minute ambient post-rocker “Desolation,” which is something of an interlude between “Strange Sequences/Lost Frequencies” and the tense build of “Singularity.” Other ambient spaces “Jesus of Lübeck” and the later “Whale Bones” complement and add reach to the longer-form works, but it’s hardly as though Nauticus‘ material lacks character one way or the other. Overwhelming in its length, Disappear in Blue might take some time to wade through, but what a way to go.

Nauticus on Thee Facebooks

Nauticus on Bandcamp

 

Yuxa, Yuxa

yuxa yuxa

As the greater part of anything related to post-metal invariably does, UK outfit Yuxa have their “Stones from the Sky” moment in “Founder in Light,” the opening cut from their self-titled debut EP, that most formative of progressions making itself known in modified form to suit the double-guitar four-piece’s intent with dramatic screams and shouts cutting through an ably-conjured surge of noisy adrenaline resolving in winding chug and crash en route to “Exiled Hand,” the seven-minute cut that follows and serves as centerpiece of the three-tracker. “Founder in Light,” “Exiled Hand” and nine-minute closer “Peer” are arranged shortest to longest, and the effect is to draw the listener in such that by the time the angular, purposeful lurch of the finale begins to unfold, Yuxa‘s rhythmic hypnosis is already well complete. Still, the straightforward arrangements of guitar, bass, drums and vocals give them a rawer edge than many synth- or sample-laden post-metallic cohorts, and that suits the atmospheric sludge with which they close out, harnessing chaos without giving themselves over to it. A quick sample of a creative development getting underway, though it’s telling as well that Yuxa ends with a sudden buzz of amp noise.

Yuxa on Thee Facebooks

Yuxa on Bandcamp

 

Forktie, EP

forktie forktie

The first EP release from Forktie — who stylize their moniker and titles all-lowercase: forktie — is untitled, but contains five tracks that tap into proto-emo post-hardcore and ’90s alt rock sensibilities, finding a place between heavy rock and grunge that allows for Aarone Victorine‘s bass to lead toward the hook of centerpiece “Decomposition Book” with a smooth presence that’s well complementary the vocals from guitarist Dom Mariano, their presence low in the mix only adding to the wistful feel of “Anywhere but Here” and “September Morning,” before the shorter “Spores” lets loose some more push from drummer Corey LeBlanc and closer “Ph.D. in Nothing” reinforces the underlying melancholy beneath the thicker exterior tones. It’s a new project, but Forktie have worked their way into a niche that suits their songwriting well, and given themselves a space to grow within their sound. Members experience in bands like UXO, Test Meat and textbookcopilot will serve them in that effort.

Forktie on Thee Facebooks

Forktie on Bandcamp

 

Ohhms, Exist

ohhms exist

As a fan generally of bands opening albums with the longest song included, I can get on board with UK heavy progressive metallers Ohhms opening Exist with the 22-minute “Subjects.” Immediate points and all that. Far more consequential, however, is the substance of that launch for the four-song/43-minute Holy Roar LP, which is the band’s fourth in four years. It’s a vast, broad and complex offering unto itself, consuming side A as vocalist Paul Waller embodies various entities, “I am wolf” (preceding a Duran Duran reference, perhaps inadvertent), “I am child,” and so on. Those proclamations are just the culmination of a progression that, frankly, is an album unto itself, let alone a side, and maybe should’ve been released as such, though the absolute post-metallic crush of “Shambles,” the seething of “Calves” and the heavy post-rock reach of “Lay Down Your Firearms” need no further justification than a simple listen provides, the last of them pummeling side B to a then-sudden stop. Ohhms are no strangers to longform work, and it suits them well enough to make one wonder if they couldn’t be headed toward a single-song LP in the near future.

Ohhms on Thee Facebooks

Holy Roar Records on Bandcamp

 

Blue Dream, Volume Blue

Blue Dream Volume Blue

Chicago four-piece Blue Dream issued their first LP, Volume Won, early in 2018 and follow with Volume Blue — as opposed to “two”; could ‘Volume Tree’ be in the works? ‘Volume Free?’ — which collects nine neo-psych-mit-der-funky-grooves cuts chic enough to be urbane but fuzzed out enough to make the freakouts more than just a come on. They open peaceful enough with “Delta,” before the hook of “9,000 lb. Machine” defines the course and cuts like “Thank You for Smoking” and the almost woefully catchy “She’s Hot” expand the parameters. I’ll take the dream-tone shimmer of “Kingsbury Goldmine” any day in a kind of self-aware reflection of British folk and/or the garage rock of “Shake the Shake,” but the dense roll of “Viper Venom” that immediately follows reimagines grunge as more than just an influence from three popular bands and something that could genuinely move forward from the perspective of a new generation. Hearing Blue Dream close out with the boogie of “The Glide,” one hopes they do precisely that, though I’d by no means limit them to one avenue of expression. They’re clearly able to harness multiple vibes here.

Blue Dream on Thee Facebooks

Blue Dream on Bandcamp

 

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Høstsabbat 2019: Belzebong Added to Lineup; Tickets on Sale Today

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

belzebong

Yeah, it’s been like three days since the last time I posted an update from Høstsabbat 2019. Maybe two days? Let me look… Oh shit, it was yesterday. Well, alright. Not my fault that as they come upon their ticket on-sale date, the Oslo-based fest is doling out bands at such a rate. And who the hell wants to risk falling behind? Certainly not me.

The latest to join next October’s shindig in the ol’ culturechurch is Belzebong, the Polish ultrastoner-sludge veterans whose new album, Light the Dankness (review here), has already seen them on tour in Europe. They’ll hit the US as well to participate in the Psycho Smokeout come April, and no doubt they’ll be on the road duly between the two events as well, giving the people what they want like you got to do when what the people want is dank riffing and crusty grooves.

At least we know from when Toner Low played this year that all the lights upstairs at the Kulturkirken Jakob can be turned green.

From the social medias:

hostsabbat 2019 belzebong

Please welcome BelzebonG back to Høstsabbat!

Since their last visit in 2015, the polish dudes have become a trademark of instrumental stoner doom in its purest form. Their recent album “Light The Dankness”, out October 2018 on Emetic Records, shows a band who is confident in their expression and at the top of their game, showing no sign of slowing down.. except for the actual tempo of the songs of course.

The sound of this amazing record is so rich, heavy and full of low end, it’s no surprise it went through the hands of Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio. It’s like joining Belzebong for a rehearsal, while your body is being encompassed by their riffs and you find yourself numb and lost in their hazy smoke. It’s glorious.

After touring Europe numerous times, playing Psycho Las Vegas, and even returning to the US for the first Psycho Smokeout next spring, we are stoked they’ll make a return to Høstsabbat.

We can’t wait for them to cast their green shadow over the Chapel stage at Høstsabbat 2019.

Hail the riff, hail Belzebong!

Tix for Høstsabbat Festival go live at 11:00 CET

MUSIC
Spotify: http://bit.ly/Belzespoti
Bandcamp: https://belzebong.bandcamp.com/

HØSTSABBAT 2019 SPOTIFY PLAYLIST
http://bit.ly/HS2019playlist

https://www.facebook.com/events/274561413173994/
https://www.facebook.com/hostsabbat/
http://hostsabbat.no/

Belzebong, Light the Dankness (2018)

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Rivers of Gore to Release Self-Titled LP on Cursed Tongue Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Mexico City riffbashers Rivers of Gore will release their 2018 self-titled debut through Cursed Tongue Records on vinyl next year. The album, originally comprised of three extended tracks for the digital version — which, hey, you can stream at the bottom of this post, and how about that — has been remastered for vinyl by ever-busy Mos Generator frontman Tony Reed, and with the middle track, “Glory and Punishment,” split into two parts, there’s still plenty of fuzzy ultra-heft to go around, while the guttural vocals of guitarist/vocalist Rolo Riemer echo out over top of the ensuing swirl. A depiction of harsh reality through harsh fantasy, Rivers of Gore‘s LP is not for the feint of heart among the converted. These are riffs for riffers.

The PR wire has the news of Cursed Tongue’s continual expansion. So to that:

rivers of gore (Photo by Ulises Reyes)

RIVERS OF GORE SIGNS TO CURSED TONGUE RECORDS FOR A WORLD WIDE RELEASE OF THEIR DEBUT ALBUM ‘RIVERS OF GORE’ DUE FOR SPRING 2019.

Cursed Tongue Records is happy to announce the signing of Mexican heavy psychedelic gore rockers Rivers Of Gore for a vinyl release of their critically acclaimed debut full length album spring 2019. On first laying ears to this Mexican outfit our faces instantly melted and our bones where grinded to dust. After the first shock of how terrifyingly great this fairly newly formed trio is, we soon gathered what was left of our shattered bodies and sat out to hook up with Rolo, Daniel and Samuel aka the three gringos behind Rivers Of Gore. Luckily the interest was mutual and a contractual basis in blood and bone powder was concocted.

Rivers of Gore, experienced veterans of the heavy underground music scene in Mexico City Samuel López (drums), Daniel García (bass) and Rolando Valseca (aka. Rolo Riemer, guitar/vocals), after being part of bands like Vinnum Sabbathi, Bloodwitch, Powertrip, respectively, now reunite with the purpose of making noises to reveal the images of the dark violent world we live and ‘describing reality through fantasy and epic sounds’.

The guys came together over a shared love of the almighty riff and soon discovered they had tapped into something a little special. Rivers Of Gore’s self titled album is a collection of truly memorable stoner flavored heavy rock with its roots sucking up nutrients from the pools of both doom and psych. Swirling guitar solo’s , growling bass and punishing percussion permeate each of the three songs that make up “Rivers of Gore”, with all three songs coated in low pitched and throaty vocal tones that tell evocative tales of anger, violence and bloodshed.

Only three songs but “River of Gore” will take you on an uncompromising, unswerving and unapologetic journey through the darker recesses of a world that we all try to deny is there but all have to deal with on a day to day basis.

Band statement:
“Reunited to enjoy some riffs and some jams, we started the concept of Rivers of Gore like trying to talk about the violence of life which is ineludible and so irony is the only way we have left to keep laughing in the face of death… so this is an album full of fantasy and perfect to listen to while you violently cut your enemies into little pieces with a heavy rotten axe… cheers all of you out there, thanx for listening… enjoy the trip…”

CTR-019: RIVERS OF GORE – ‘RIVERS OF GORE’, vinyl official release date: actual date TBA – March/April 2019

Rivers Of Gore is:
Samuel López – Drums
Daniel García – Bass
Rolando Valseca – Guitar and Vocals

All songs written and performed by Rivers Of Gore
Recorded and Mixed by Abraham Anell at Bong Records
Mastered for vinyl by Tony Reed at HeavyHead Rec.
Artwork by Zuriel Perikillo Lòpez, Dabitch and Valde Gutiérrez
Layout & design by Michael Andresakis

Track listing:

Side A
1. Abduction (The Message)
2. Glory and Punishment Pt. I

Side B
3. Glory and Punishment Pt. II
4. Shell Shock

https://www.facebook.com/riversofgoredoom
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https://riversofgore.bandcamp.com/releases
http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/
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Rivers of Gore, Rivers of Gore (2018)

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Roadburn 2019: Grails, Hexvessel, Uran, Lucy in Blue, Bismuth, Third Commissioned Project and More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2019 banner

I mean. Look. Hey. You know. It’s, uh. Yeah.

Roadburn and I kind of hit this point every year — at least we have for the last decade. The lineup announcements come through, and after a while, I just don’t even know what to say about it anymore. “Hey, so, look’s like Roadburn‘s gonna be all things to all people again” doesn’t really cut it as far as editorial content goes.

Here’s a point I’ll make: I think if you look at the Roadburn 2019 lineup, with its three commissioned projects — the third of which is newly announced — two career-spanning headline slots from Sleep, bands from multiple corners of the globe, a couple label showcases thrown in for good measure, and more still to come, it’s pretty safe to say it’s the biggest, farthest-reaching Roadburn yet. And even that. Is something I say. Every friggin’ year.

Doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply. It’ll be nice to see Grails again, and I was hoping Hexvessel would get added when their new video showed up earlier this week. A little more Aaron Turner doesn’t hurt either.

The PR wire has the lot of it, and you’ll see below the gorgeous individual day posters by Maarten Donders.

Dig:

More names announced for Roadburn 2019 including third commissioned project

– Tomas Lindberg adds more names to The Burning Darkness including GRAILS and URAN
– HEXVESSEL to perform All Tree in full
– Dutch black metal to be showcased in commissioned project MAALSTROOM
– Aaron Turner, Will Brooks and Dennis Tyfus to unite as DOOLHOF

Roadburn’s artistic director, Walter Hoeijmakers comments:

“We’re thrilled that 4-day tickets have sold out this side of Christmas – with still some of the line up to announce! Don’t delay on day tickets as we hope that they too will go quickly. We are nearing the end of our announcements, but there is still a handful of bands to present in the new year.”

TOMAS LINDBERG’S THE BURNING DARKNESS

GRAILS

GRAILS are set to return to Roadburn Festival exactly ten years after they performed at Neurosis’ curated event, Beyond The Pale back in 2009. We’re thrilled to announce that they’ll be making a return to join us in Tilburg – once again as a result of an invitation from our curator.

FONTÄN

“The whole vibe of FONTÄN reeks of folky, trippy melancholia, in the most unsentimental way. This is something that could easily have been produced by Brian Eno in his prime.” says Lindberg of his choice.

THE EXORCIST GBG

One of three Gothenburg based bands in this latest announcement, Lindberg describes THE EXORCIST GBG as: “a mind and time bending electronic psych experience, with a serious funk dance groove, like the legendary Goblin on dangerous cult-ritual-inducing drugs.”

URAN

When Tomas Lindberg describes a band as Sweden’s best kept secret, it’s time to start paying attention. He comments of URAN: “Imagine the heaviest psych, in a street fight with the most hypnotizing Stooges riffs, with an electronic Kraut edge and a monstrous Hawkwind presence.”

HEXVESSEL

HEXVESSEL’s new album, All Tree, will be released in February and the sole track released at the time of writing gives a tantalising glimpse of what to expect. It’s considered, haunting and – quite honestly – downright beautiful.
Prepare yourselves for some pin-drop moments amongst some soul shaking sonic shifts: Hexvessel are back!

DOOLHOF

The component parts of DOOLHOF are Aaron Turner, Will Brooks and Dennis Tyfus. Musically and artistically these three men appear to be worlds apart but look a little deeper and it’s obvious there’s a streak of experimental vigour and curiosity that runs through them all – and in this case, unites them.

When the idea of a collaborative project was floated, Turner singled out Will Brooks early on. Brooks made his Roadburn debut with Dälek in 2017; one of the most talked about performances of that edition, Dälek were instrumental in expanding the scope of the festival. Tyfus is a Belgian audio/visual artist whose Ultra Eczema label has served as the nucleus for a vast and eclectic array of creative endeavours.

That its participants have named it DOOLHOF (Dutch for ‘maze’) leads our minds to bubble over with possibilities.

MAALSTROOM

The third and final commissioned piece for Roadburn 2019 is a collaboration between a seething mass of up and coming – not to mention, vitally important – Dutch black metal bands. The project is titled MAALSTROOM and will unite over a dozen musicians from Laster, Verwoed, Witte Wieven, Turia, Fluisteraars, Grey Aura, Terzij de Horde, Folteraar, Nefast – and more.

Roadburn has showcased slivers of this innovative and burgeoning scene in previous years, but never before has such a heavy and accomplished array of Dutch musicians gathered together under one banner.

Exclusively for Roadburn Festival, MAALSTROOM will compose and perform a piece that spans five movements, with an evolving line-up of performers embellishing an ambient backdrop. This is not merely a show, nor a ritual; it is a current to be dragged along by.

MAALSTROOM is possible thanks to the continued support of the City of Tilburg and Brabant C.

As well as participating in MAALSTROOM the following bands will perform their own sets at Roadburn Festival 2019:
LASTER
TERZIJ DE HORDE
WITTE WIEVEN
DODECAHEDRON
TURIA
NUSQUAMA

ALSO ANNOUNCED TODAY:
BISMUTH bring ethereal doom to Roadburn
COILGUNS are primed to deliver an ear pummelling
CROWHURST will bring a world of pain
CROWHURST & GNAW THEIR TONGUES unite in harsh noise
FAUNA evoke manifestations of nature and wilderness through the lens of black metal
FOTOCRIME will shed light on a darkened room
LUCY IN BLUE set off on a psychedelic prog quest to Roadburn
PHARMAKON will summon disconnecting ambience and caustic crescendos of industrial noise
THOR & FRIENDS to bring their warm, hypnotic songs to Roadburn
TWIN TEMPLE’s Satanic doo-wop will reign supreme
WRONG will deliver angular melody and abrasiveness

TICKETS:
Single day tickets will go on sale on tonight – Thursday, December 13 at 8pm CET/7pm GMT/ 2pm EST. 4-day tickets are SOLD OUT, 3-day tickets are still available in limited numbers.

Tickets are be priced as follows:
3 days ticket (Thu-Sat) €181 + €4,50 service fee
Day ticket (Thu, Fri or Sat) €62 + €4,50 service fee
Sunday ticket €55,50 + €4,50 service fee

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http://www.roadburn.com

Hexvessel, “Old Tree” official video

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Mount Saturn Premiere “Salt”; Debut EP Kiss the Ring out Jan. 4

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on December 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

mount saturn (Photo by Tommy Calderon)

Bellingham, Washington, heavy rockers Mount Saturn will release their debut EP, Kiss the Ring, on Jan. 4. The 25-minute four-tracker comes preceded only by the digital single “Dwell,” which also shows up as the leadoff cut on the forthcoming release and makes for a right-on seven-minute leadoff, the echoing vocals of Violet Vasquez following the riffs of Ray Blum on an outwardly-directed astral plane of reverb and grooving heft. Got that bass punch tho from Cody Barton and the drums of Tanner Scinocco, whose snare cuts through the tonal density surrounding in order to give ground to what otherwise would surely take flight, some double-kick coinciding with second-half squibblies in “Dwell” that, in another context and from another WA -state band, would be black metal. Mount Saturn are up to a different kind of business.

The nod is pervasive throughout Kiss the Ring, as the 4:12 shortest cut “Idol Hands” demonstrates despite a somewhat faster tempo and more rocking swing ahead of the brash Mount Saturn Kiss the Ringgarage intro to the penultimate “Salt.” The overarching feel of the release is very much in the debut EP vein, as Mount Saturn began their exploration just last year, but a drive toward aesthetic can be heard in the tracks all the same, whether it’s the already-noted cavernousness of Vasquez‘s voice throughout or the depth of Blum‘s guitar tone, which lends immediate character to the songs and is suited to the feeling of space as well as that of the earthier groove supported by Barton and Scinocco. “Salt” echoes through a slowdown to cut out before the closing title-track, which again leads off with Blum‘s guitar as the focal point — a task to which it stands up well. Barton‘s bass kicks in at around 40 seconds and is a thick, distinct presence, while Scinocco holds town a straightforward beat still portentous of change to come. They drop back to a more spacious progression to give Vasquez room in the mix and find a new balance between molten and solidified impulses. An all-out psychedelic finish would be a decent enough fit, but Mount Saturn don’t quite get there, opting instead to stick to the hook in “Kiss the Ring” and trade back and forth from that to a solo, capping with both.

It’s the band’s first outing, so take “Salt” with the appropriate grain if you need to in order to dive into the premiere below — which I’m thrilled to host — but if you can’t hear the potential in its run, then you’re missing out. Tracks were recorded by Erik Wallace. Again, it’s out Jan. 4.

Please enjoy:

Mount Saturn rises from the damp soil of the Pacific Northwest to forge a heavy sound that worships riffs, dabbles in psychedelia and takes no shit. Formed in 2017, the heavy quartet has had the pleasure of sharing a stage with some of the West Coast’s best, including Holy Grove, Castle, and Mos Generator.

‘Kiss the Ring’ is their debut EP, recorded at The Unknown in Anacortes, and engineered and mastered by Erik Wallace of Shibusa Sounds, which the band will self-release on January 4th, 2019.

Mount Saturn is:
Cody Barton on Bass
Ray Blum on Guitar
Violet Vasquez on Vox; and on this recording,
Tanner Scinocco on Drums

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Thunderbird Divine Premiere “Qualified”; Magnasonic Preorders Available

Posted in audiObelisk on December 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Thunderbird Divine (Photo by Dante Torrieri)

Philadelphia’s Thunderbird Divine make a much-anticipated debut on Jan. 11 with Magnasonic through Salt of the Earth Records. All along the way since the band came into being in 2017, they’ve released material in drips and drabs, a rehearsal clip here, a video there. Songs like “Quaalude Thunder” (posted here), “Madras Blue” (posted here) and “Djinn au Jus” (posted here) have made their way to public ears and eyes, but every cut that’s come out so far has one thing in common: it’s not on the record. Less than a month to go before the release date and Thunderbird Divine haven’t put so much as a riff out there for mass consumption that features on Magnasonic.

You know where this is going.

Enter “Qualified.” The seven-point-five-minute opener of Magnasonic in all its funk-riffed, swaggering, oh-wait-did-we-just-get-to-outer-space-and-was-that-Thunderbird Divine Magnasonica-piano-oh-okay-I-guess-the-riff-is-back-wow-that-was-awesome glory. A song that sets its rhythm early and holds its welcome late, “Qualified” boasts a hook begging for a barroom singalong as guitarist/vocalist/etc.-ist Erik Caplan (ex-Wizard Eye) leads the nod with Skeleton Hands veterans Adam Scott (bass), Flynn Lawrence (guitar, more etc.) and Mike Stuart (drums) further the take-your-favorite-muscle-car-and-stick-it-in-orbit vibe. Think new-classic stoner riffage — Monster Magnet shortly before the commercial boom — and you might have the right timeframe, but Thunderbird Divine are for sure telling the squares to get their hats regardless of the decade to which you want to draw parallels. And “Qualified” is one of four slabs on the half-hour stack, so, you know, more to come, chief.

I’ll get a proper, way-too-wordy-but-probably-less-hyphenated review up sometime after the New Year, but I’m honor’d to host the first Thunderbird Divine track to actually come from Magnasonic, which you’ll find on the player below, followed by a few words from Caplan and the preorder link to get your copy of the album.

Please enjoy:

Thunderbird Divine, “Qualified” official premiere

Erik Caplan on “Qualified”:

“Qualified” is the first song we wrote together. The repeated riff in the beginning and at the chorus is based on something I found compelling during my home practice sessions before I joined the band. When I showed it to the other guys, we agreed it could be the basis of something cool. That riff set the stage for the rest of the song.

As an early collaboration, we were still feeling each other out as a band during the writing process, and, in particular, it was the first opportunity for Flynn (Lawrence, guitar) and I to figure out how our guitar sounds would mesh. Since neither of us had worked with another guitarist in a long time, it fortuitously happened that our styles were complementary. Flynn is an extremely accurate, concise player with a passion for riffs and a somewhat metallic tone, whereas I’m basically a fuzzy, guitar-soloing mess, so we don’t step on each other’s toes. You can hear him nailing down some massive chord sounds while I play a wonky fuzz melody in various parts of the song. Mike (Stuart, drums) and Adam (Scott, bass) have a very natural interplay after having played together for several years.

The basic structure came together fairly quickly, but, as with most collaborations, the devil was in the details, especially when it came to recording. We were ambitious. For example, the psychedelic section in the middle is usually a theremin and bass-feedback freakout in the live arena, but we wanted to do something with more class and refinement on the studio recording. We layered electric sitar, piano, theremin, water drum and other oddities on top of the usual band arrangement. We wanted it loose and trippy, but not random and sloppy, with interesting layers of sound to bear repeated plays and reveal more of itself to the listener each time.

The entire song was given that level of attention, with synth drones and percussion throughout. It’s truly a testament to the skills of Ted (Richardson, engineer, TedAudio) and Charles (Newman, mixing engineer, Cottage Sounds Unlimited) for cleanly tracking and mixing so many layers of sound together in such a cohesive way.

Vocally, this is a departure from my past efforts in that I used a clearer sound with less grime. It was different and a little daunting, but I was ready to try something new, so I just went for it. It’s a pretty clean take – the main vocal is single-tracked to keep it sounding natural. You’ll hear some lovely backing vocals from Brittany Marie (Mike’s partner) and Avy (my ex-wife) in the pre-chorus, with equally lovely gang vocals from our Mike, Andy Martin (Clamfight) and Kermit Lyman III (Sheena and Thee Nosebleeds) on the choruses.

The lyrical concept comes from Jamaican street slang. This kind of slang is ever-changing, and there was a recent time where folks referred to anything bad-ass or really excellent as “qualified.” It could apply to anything from mangoes to movies to beautiful women, and I thought it was an evocative way to write our own version of something like ZZ Top’s “Nationwide.” I would never claim to be as cool as the little band from Texas, but we did our thing with it. I’m proud of the result.

Philly’s psychedelic space hippy enclave, Thunderbird Divine, has set an official domestic release date of January 11, 2019 for its debut album, Magnasonic, with Salt of the Earth Records (https://www.saltoftheearthrecords.com/). The offering, a 30-plus-minute exploration of riffs and psychedelia, features custom art design by the band’s bassist, Adam Scott.

Produced by the band and recorded at both Ted Richardson at TedAudio in Philadelphia (www.facebook.com/TedAudio) and Charles Newman (who also mixed the album) at Cottage Sounds Unlimited in Brooklyn (https://www.facebook.com/cottagesounds/), Magnasonic shows the quartet, which coalesced in March of 2017, is not willing to be pigeonholed as a strictly stoner/doom rock band. Featuring Scott on bass and guitars, Flynn Lawrence on guitars and additional instrumentation, Mike Stuart on drums and percussion and Erik Caplan on guitars and various instruments,Thunderbird Divine went for an unexpectedly broad tonal variety with Magnasonic.

Preorder at: https://saltoftheearthrecords.com/product/295609

Thunderbird Divine on Thee Facebooks

Thunderbird Divine on Instagram

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Salt of the Earth Records website

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