The Obelisk Presents: Mars Red Sky First US Shows Since 2016

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on January 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

mars red sky

Before they return to the US for the first time in four years, when among other shows they appeared at Psycho Las Vegas and The Obelisk All-Dayer in Brooklyn, French heavy psychedelic progressives Mars Red Sky will continue to support their 2019 album, The Task Eternal (review here), with dates mostly in France but also touching into Germany. They did a full round of European touring last year and no doubt will be on the road again before 2020 is done, because that’s pretty much how they roll.

Given that I’ve been lucky enough to see them a couple times at this point, and that I’m already looking forward to doing so again in Norway this October at Høstsabbat, for which they were recently confirmed, I’m all the more thrilled to have The Obelisk on board with presenting their upcoming run through the West Coast. Starting in Chicago on May 28, they’ll head toward the Pacific and make their way through California up to Portland and Seattle before crossing into Canada to close out in Vancouver on June 7. It’s an efficient run that only seems like more of a gotta-show-up-style no-brainer with Colorado’s Dreadnought supporting.

My standard for presenting shows is this: Is it worth leaving the comforts of home to go out and be among other human beings for a span of hours? Would I go to that show?

The answer here is a clear yes, I would. I hope you will.

Dates and info follow, as just announced by the band:

mars red sky tour poster

MARS RED SKY – THE TASK ETERNAL – AMERICAN TOUR

We’re thrilled to announce a new tour in North America this spring that will take us from Chicago to Vancouver with the great Dreadnought, past a number of cities we’ve never visited before (Denver, Santa Fe, Mesa) and other hot spots we’re excited to go back to!! Artwork done by the one, the only, Carlos Olmo Art.

“Four years have past since our last visit, time well spent touring and composing material for our newly released fourth album, The Task Eternal. This upcoming tour will be the opportunity for us to perform these new songs in America after extensively touring Europe. Stay tuned and see you out there!!”

MARS RED SKY 2020 US TOUR
SUPPORT: Dreadnought
5/28 Chicago, IL @ Reggies *
5/29 Denver, CO @ Hi Dive
5/30 Taos, NM @ Monolith on the Mesa *
5/31 Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
6/01 San Diego, CA @ The Space
6/02 Los Angeles, CA @ Viper Room
6/03 Costa Mesa, CA @ The Wayfarer
6/04 San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel
6/05 Portland, OR @ The High Water Mark
6/06 Seattle, WA @ The Highline
6/07 Vancouver, BC @ Astoria
* without Dreadnought

Beyond a highly recognizable sound imprint, Mars Red Sky craft their own otherworldly atmospheres. The trio has been entrancing crowds for a decade now, with their eponymous debut coming out in 2011, following a recording session in Spain’s mystic Bardenas desert. Whether you listen to the albums or experience their music on stage, their hulking yet trippy brand of stoner rock will take you on an infinite journey. From the beginning, the Bordelais trio becomes a major live act, leading them to play the biggest rock and metal stages (SXSW, Hellfest 2014 and 2017, Desertfest London and Berlin, Roadburn, Eurockéennes). After another two years spent on the road, 2019 felt like the right time to return with their brand new album “The Task Eternal” on Listenable Records, which is set to be followed by a couple of extensive European tours.

http://www.facebook.com/marsredskyband/
https://www.instagram.com/marsredsky/
https://marsredsky.bigcartel.com
http://www.marsredsky.net
http://www.listenable.net
http://www.facebook.com/listenablerecs

Mars Red Sky, The Task Eternal (2019)

Tags: , , , , ,

SEA, Impermanence: Awaited Cascade

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

SEA Impermanence (cover by Nathaniel Parker Raymond)

In the nearly five years since they released their 2015 self-titled debut EP (review here), Boston-based four-piece Sea — generally stylized all-caps: SEA — have toured Europe, and released two splits, one in 2016 with Weedwolf (discussed here) and one in 2017 with KYOTY (discussed here) — all the while working toward their inevitable debut full-length. Self-released and running five tracks and a surprisingly tidy 42 minutes considering the expansiveness involved, Impermanence is that album. Recorded in 2018 with Keith Gentile at Labyrinth Audio, mastered by Nick Twohig and topped off with suitably colorful and deep-toned artwork by Nathaniel Parker Raymond, its songs bring together elements of SubRosa-style emotive post-metal with bursts of blackened intensity, a wistfulness that seems to fight against itself emerging in the flow of tracks that show a striking amount of patience for being a debut that speaks to the conscious sense of purpose behind the music being created.

That is, on progressive terms, SEA come across as having control of what they want their sound to be, and their songwriting is built accordingly, with headphone-ready lushness of tone from guitarists Mike Blasi (also theremin) and Liz Walshak (also vocals) and bassist Stephen LoVerme (also vocals) and further texture of synth added by drummer Andrew Muro, since out of the band and replaced by the same Keith Gentile who produced. That reorganization of lineup may be part of the delay between the recording process and actually releasing the digipak CD and righteously snazzy, limited-to-100 gold-painted cassette, but there may have been other factors or delays as well, whether it was a question of a label search or a simple holdup in manufacturing.

In any case, the adage “good food takes time” would seem to apply, and one could hardly call SEA‘s efforts and the time they’ve put into crafting this material anything but correctly spent, however long it took to actually put it out. Their clarity of intent is realized in the breadth and resonant scope of their shifts, and in stretches aggressive or pastoral, they retain a balance of urgency and atmosphere that makes Impermanence all the more engrossing.

To return briefly to one point above, one generally thinks of “headphone-worthy” as a designation reserved for trans-dimensional psychedelia, and there are few clichés in any form of rock and roll more trite than “louder is better,” but the more attention to detail a listener can put into Impermanence, the more that listener is going to be rewarded for the effort, and if that takes headphones and volume to properly tune the focus, so be it. Whether it’s the interplay between LoVerme (ex-Olde Growth) and Walshak (ex-Rozamov) on vocals, throughout the love song that is second cut “Shrine” or Walshak‘s screams early in opener “Penumbra,” the placement of which at the outset of the record proves a brilliant move in terms of quickly broadening expectation on the part of the audience and setting a vast context for the rest of what follows.

The melodic arrangements have no less depth than their harsher counterparts though, and both exude a proggy reach that, in “Penumbra,” resolve in a wistful guitar line that’s familiar but not easy to place — is it Neurosis? Something more metal? It’s hard to be sure, and that ends up part of the appeal, because while one is sitting and trying to figure it out, SEA are fluidly moving into the reverence of “Shrine,” which brings LoVerme to the fore vocally backed by whispers and presents a heavy ambience not unlike the aforementioned SubRosa‘s 2016 apparent-swansong, For This We Fought the Battle of Ages. Yes, that is a compliment, and not one given lightly. The procession of “Shrine” brings duet-style melodies from Walshak and LoVerme over the steady punch of snare from Muro, a growl deep in the background circa the halfway point positioned effectively for ambience.

sea

Ending with feedback on a fade, it’s the drums that start centerpiece “Ashes,” which brings further layered lyrical poetry over its subdued beginning and gradually unfolds to a weighted post-rock before the blastbeats kick in and Blasi and Walshak‘s guitars present a run of Alcest-worthy echoing squigglies, soon enough hitting a point of receding as the mellow cycle would seem to begin anew. Spoken and sung lines are woven together as “Ashes” works toward its shout-topped apex, giving ground to the four-minute interlude “Ascend” ahead of closer “Dust.”

The final movement of Impermanence is crucial. On the tape — and presumably the case would be the same on vinyl — “Ascend” and “Dust” stand alone on side two, and as the latter runs 13:32 and is far and away the longest inclusion on the record, with the instrumental, noisy experimentalism of “Ascend” leading directly into it, that’s fair enough. Of course, the interlude is just that — a shift putting the listener from one place to another on the longer course of the album — but its hypnotic aspects aren’t to be discounted, and it does fall back to silence before the steady lead-in from Muro begins “Dust” in earnest, soon joined by LoVerme‘s bass, and, eventually, the guitar. A full heft is brought to bear soon enough as the guitars arrive, and they’re not two minutes in before they’ve built up to a point of blasting away.

A key difference is in how those typically black metal elements are brought into the fold of SEA‘s post-metal style. As guttural shouts echo out over the still-early-going of “Dust” ahead of a turn to quiet guitar and more folkish melodies, setting in motion a build that the second half of the song will pay off in a wash of doom riffing, outward-directed guitar leads, and richly-conceptualized progression unfurling, the notion of the closer acting as a summary of the record on which it appears is very much a factor, but SEA are still pushing toward new ground as well, rhythmically and melodically.

Perhaps that too is a summary of the mindset driving the album and indeed the band overall, since as well directed as they are in terms of the flow in and between their songs and the construction of the material here, they never stop showcasing that will to find some nuance or melody yet uncovered. In terms of forward potential, that ethos speaks volumes — and the fact that it was recorded two years ago would seem to hint toward growth that’s likely already taken place — but one shouldn’t take Impermanence as simply a look at what SEA might become at the expense of appreciating what they’ve already accomplished. In ways most first albums could never hope for, its spaciousness and density work in tandem, and even its most purposefully ugly moments are gorgeous.

SEA, Impermanence

SEA on Thee Facebooks

SEA on Instagram

SEA on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

The Gates of Slumber Announce European Tour Dates Around Hell Over Hammaburg Appearance

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Ever since The Gates of Slumber first announced their reunion last April, the questions over whether they’d tour and, if so, just how much, have loomed. When I asked founding guitarist/vocalist about it a few days later in our interview, his response was a succinct, “if there is a demand we’ll play.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s a demand, and accordingly, the reinvigorated three-piece of Simon, bassist Steve Janiak and drummer Chuck Brown (both of whom double as guitarist/vocalists in Apostle of Solitude, while the former now handles triple-duty fronting Devil to Pay) will do a round of EU shows around the slot at Hell Over Hammaburg that was the impetus behind the reunion in the first place. They’ll be in Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. And that’s news in itself, and awesome, but look at the god damn bands they’re playing with.

There are plenty of killer nights here, with Altar of Oblivion, Hazemaze, and other familiar names — let alone the fest itself in Hamburg — but look at that Berlin show. You mean I could see The Gates of Slumber playing a set of early material on a bill with Cardinals Folly and friggin’ Lord Vicar? Someone needs to fly my ass to Berlin. Come on. That’s too good. We should all go.

I’m gonna splash cold water on my broke-ass face. You check out the dates:

the gates of slumber eu tour 2020

The Gates of Slumber 2020 European Dates

Recently-reunited Indianapolis doom metal trio The Gates of Slumber have announced additional tour dates around their upcoming appearance at Hell over Hammaburg 8. Guitarist / vocalist Karl Simon (also of Wretch) is joined by early-era TGOS drummer Chuck Brown (Apostle of Solitude) and Steve Janiak (Apostle of Solitude, Devil to Pay) on bass.

The band’s set will focus on material from the debut album “The Awakening” (2004) and subsequent EP, “Like a Plague Upon the Land” (2005) both of which featured Chuck Brown on drums. The album and EP are also slated to be reissued via Church Within Records in 2020.

The Gates of Slumber will share the stage with Lord Vicar, Altar of Oblivion, Haunt, Bellrope, Visigoth and more.

THE GATES OF SLUMBER “The Re-Awakening” 2020
Presented by Vibra Agency & The Church Within Records
04.03.2020 BEL – Brussels, Magasin 4, w Nornes, Loose License
05.03.2020 GER – Dortmund, Junkyard, w Hexer
06.03.2020 GER – Berlin, Zukunft, Lord Vicar, Cardinals Folly
07.03.2020 GER – Hamburg, Markthalle, Hell Over Hamburg 2020 w Haunt, Bellrope, Visigoth & more
08.03.2020 DNK – Copenhagen, Stengade, w Altar of Oblivion
09.03.2020 SWE – Gothenburg, Musikens Hus
10.03.2020 NOR – Oslo, Roverstaden, w Tempelheks III
11.03.2020 SWE – Stockholm Hus 7 w Black Soil, Hazemaze
13.03.2020 FIN – Helsinki, Rocks

https://www.facebook.com/thegatesofslumber/
http://www.slumberingsouls.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ChurchWithinRecords/
http://www.doom-dealer.de/

The Gates of Slumber, “Iron Hammer” rehearsal footage

Tags: , , ,

Arcadian Child Premiere “Snake Charm” from New Live Album From Far, for the Wild out Tomorrow

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on January 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

arcadian child

Last Fall, Cypriot heavy psychedelic rockers Arcadian Child undertook a round of European touring in support of their second album, Superfonica (review here), which came out late in 2018 through Ripple imprint Rogue Wave Records. That tour found them hitting the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland as well as Germany and Austria, playing songs from the latest record as well as heralding new material. Doing the thing, in other words. Being a band.

Tomorrow, Arcadian Child will issue From Far, for the Wild as a name-your-price download.arcadian child from far for the wild It is a live album recorded at a place called Schlot in Linz, Austria, on the third show of their run. It’s a relatively quick set at 38 minutes — let’s assume it was a 45-minute slot and has been edited down a bit — and for those of us who didn’t get to see the tour, it’s a chance to hear the four-piece bring their progressive psychedelic textures to life on stage. Not only does it serve as a thanks to their burgeoning fanbase, but its underlying duty is showcasing the fact that Arcadian Child bring it live, which, yeah, they do. It’s not necessarily surprising that the live record is energetic — third night of a tour, they’re getting in the groove of the thing, not bogged down yet by monotony, but over first and/or second night brambles and starting to really lock in — but it also highlights the folkish and grunge undertones of a song like “Irresistible,” as well as the emergent roll and funky turns, respectively, made by new songs “Raising Fire” and “Snake Charm.”

The full offering is eight tracks, so those who caught wind of Superfonica or the prior 2017 debut, Afterglow (review here), will find both represented here along with the new tracks, the latter of which it just so happens is premiering on the player below. Both “Snake Charm” and “Raising Fire” are longer in form than the bulk of the release’s inclusions, so along with the hints of what’s coming next from Arcadian Child, perhaps a willingness to let their material flesh out further should be considered as well. Guess we’ll see when we get there.

Till then, please enjoy:

Arcadian Child release “From Far, for the Wild”, a live album recorded at Schlot in Linz during their European tour in November 2019, which they are giving away for free (name your price in Bandcamp) as a thank you to their loyal fans.

“We are stoked to announce our spring tour in April 2020. We’ll be strolling through UK, France, Belgium and Netherlands. Give us a shout if you want us to pass through your town! Bookings: A map constellation. at a.mapconstellation@gmail.com”

Including “Snake Charm” and “Raising Fire”, two unreleased tracks which they’ll be part of their new album, “From far, for the Wild” showcases the band’s sonic continuum as a singular electric wave that resonates far and wide.

Recorded live by Armin Lehner at Schlot in Linz, Austria on 8 November 2019
Artwork by Julia Schimautz

Tracklist
1. Painting
2. Irresistible
3. She’s on my mind
4. She Flows
5. Raising Fire (new song)
6. Snake Charm (new song)
7. The March
8. Used

Arcadian Child on Thee Facebooks

Arcadian Child on Bandcamp

Arcadian Child on Spotify

Tags: , , , ,

Humulus Set Feb. 28 Release for The Deep

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

On about a daily basis, I run into promo copy about records that tries to, at least in some way, sell the product. That’s what it’s ultimately about, right? Even a name-your-price download is competing against an entire universe of distraction for someone’s limited attention, so yeah. One way or the other, we’re all complicit in the big capitalist slaughterhouse. So. That said, there are few things I see that I find as genuinely encouraging about a record than what you see in the quote below from drummer Massimiliano Boventi, who explains that Humulus set out to write shorter songs for their new album, The Deep, and wound up doing exactly the opposite.

To be clear, I’m all about bands consciously trying to bring new ideas and dynamics to their work. It’s how progression happens much of the time, and it keeps creative people interested in the creative process. What’s great about the below, however, is that when the material let the players know what it wanted to be, they went with it, took the songs in their more natural direction, and put the record together the way the record needed to be put together. They didn’t force it, in other words. A band being recognize that let the material develop as it will is pivotal.

The Deep is out Feb. 28 through Kozmik Artifactz. Preorders are up now:

humulus the deep

Italian Heavy-Stoner Rockers, Humulus, Return With New Record ‘The Deep’

It is with great pride that we can finally announce our first Kozmik release of 2020!

Beer-loving Italian rockers, Humulus, return with mighty new album “The Deep” out 28th of February on vinyl and CD on Kozmik Artifactz.

Speaking of the new record, drummer Massimiliano Boventi said:

“The title will be “The Deep”. We started working on this record less or more one year ago between tours and gigs around … one fun fact: when we met the first time for taking decisions about the direction of the new songs we said like “let’s try to compose shorter songs”, maybe just for make something easier to listen for more people … so not too much later the first 2 songs were ready, the first was 9 minutes long the second 15 minutes – so in a totally spontaneous and natural way we realized that this is our direction … we love to jam and make different atmosphere during our rehearsal and the result is that we can’t cut our songs. So I can say the one of the detail of the new record is that more than in the previous one songs are more and more a mix between doom and stoner rock riffs and psychedelic and trippy atmospheres.”

The Deep will be released on limited edition heavyweight vinyl 7 CD on the 28th of February on Kozmik Artifactz.

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

TRACKS
1. Devil’s Peak (We Eventually Eluded Death)
2. Gone Again
3. Hajra
4. Into The Heart
Of The Volcano Sun
5. Lunar Queen
6. Sanctuary III – The Deep

Humulus are:
Andrea Van Cleef – Guitar/Vocals
Giorgio – Bass
Massimiliano – Drums

www.facebook.com/humulusband
www.humulus.bandcamp.com
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz

Humulus, Reverently Heading into Nowhere (2017)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Bongzilla Reissuing Apogee on Vinyl Through New Label

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Wisconsin-based masters of the stoner crust riff Bongzilla announce they’re reissuing 2001’s Apogee on vinyl through their newly-formed label. The album has been remastered by Adam Gonsalves at Telegraph Mastering and features revamped artwork based on the original cover’s theme by gERM?. Info is pretty sparse on the label end at this point, but Crash Assailant Records and Flail Records are handling distribution and orders are being taken now.

Among Bongzilla‘s discography, it’s fair to consider Apogee a classic for “H.P. Keefmaker” alone, never mind “Grim Reefer” or the live tracks. The nastiness of Bongzilla‘s scorched-lung approach is on full display, to be sure, and as they celebrate the release with a slew of tour dates in March — there may be more in addition to what you see below; that’s around SXSW time, so keep an eye out — and herald an upcoming appearance at Muddy Roots this summer in Tennessee, a new visit to Apogee‘s weedian fields could hardly be more suitable. I don’t care how stoned you think you are. You ain’t more stoned than Bongzilla.

Art, info, links, and exclamation points came down the PR wire:

bongzilla apogee

Bongzilla – Apogee – Repress

For the first time in about 20 Years Apogee will be released on Vinyl!!! Remastered!!! New Album Art!!! Available now for pre-order in Clear, Opaque Green, Purple Kush, and Black Vinyl!!!

https://crashassailantrecords.com/product/bongzilla-apogee/

The members of Bongzilla are putting this one out independently as they start their own label. More to come about that soon! New Artwork by gERM?! Cascade Record Pressing is handling the pressing!!! Adam at Telegraph Mastering did the Mastering!!! And Crash Assailant Records and Flail Records are helping with the distribution!!!

BONGZILLA Live:
– Minneapolis!!! March 11th!!! Bongzilla w/ Lord Dying at First Avenue & 7th St Entry!!!
– Milwaukee!!! March 13th at Walker’s Point Music Hall!!! Bongzilla w/ Gravedirt and Cold Black River!!!
– Bongzilla in Omaha, NE!!! March 16th at Lookout Lounge!!!
– Bongzilla in St Louis on St Paddy’s!!! March 17th at Red Flag!!!
– March 18th!!! Bongzilla at the The Riot Room in Kansas City!!!
– March 20th!!! Houston, TX!!! Bongzilla at Secret Group!!!
– Bongzilla will be blazing up at Muddy Roots Music Festival 2020

Bongzilla are:
Mike “Muleboy” Makela – Guitar/Vocals
Jeff “Spanky” Schultz – Guitar
Cooter Brown – Bass
Mike “Magma” Henry – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/Bongzilla/
https://www.instagram.com/bongzillaband
https://bongzilla.bandcamp.com/
https://crawlspacebooking.com/

Bongzilla, Apogee (2001)

Tags: , , , , ,

Review: Spacetrucker & Mr. Bison, Turned to Stone Chapter 1 – Enter Galactic Wasteland Split

Posted in Reviews on January 22nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Turned to Stone Chapter 1 Spacetrucker Mr Bison

On a level of ambition, a series of split releases is second perhaps only to a series of compilations in terms of the massive amount of work that is involved in coordination. Most ‘Vol. 1’-type outings do not get to ‘Vol. 2.’ An exception to this rule was Ripple Music‘s The Second Coming of Heavy, which, though its title wanted for generational context (the heavy ’10s were at least the third coming), was a deeply admirable 10-installment series that brought bands into the Ripple fold who otherwise wouldn’t have gotten the exposure while staying tied together through artwork as well as the titular presentation. It allowed the label to expand its reach and had a curated, carefully-picked sensibility behind it.

Those 10 offerings were not haphazard. Ripple would hope to bring the same mindset to Turned to Stone, a new series that essentially picks up where The Second Coming of Heavy left off. I guess they’re gluttons for punishment when it comes to logistics? There’s no end-figure stated for Turned to Stone so far as I know — that is, they haven’t said “10 and done” as they did with the prior series — but however far it ends up going, its first installment, the full and somewhat cumbersome title of which is Ripple Music Presents: Turned to Stone Chapter 1 – Mr. Bison & Spacetrucker: Enter Galactic Wasteland, already crosses continental borders in bringing together its component acts.

From Pisa, Italy, come the trio Mr. Bison, whose moniker continues to immediately touch of Gen-X nostalgia for the lost hours of my youth playing Street Fighter II, and from St. Louis, Missouri, the three-piece Spacetrucker, whose three tracks run across side B in deceptively atmospheric fashion. The two bands are complementary in some ways, contrasting in others, but one suspects that’s the idea, and like most landscapes described as a wasteland, one finds the LP’s 38-minute run not at all void of life, but a vital ecosystem of heavy rock and roll that helps to demonstrate just how multifaceted the genre has become.

Mr. Bison don’t make it through the seven-minute “The Grace of Time” before they break out the organ and work in elements of psychedelia and classic prog — and that’s just fine. There are shades of Golden Void in the dramatic arrival of organ amid the guitar, bass and drums, but I wouldn’t call the all-Matteo lineup of guitarist/vocalists Matteo Barsacchi and Matteo Sciocchetto and drummer Matteo D’Ignazi overly derivative. Rather, the drift they inject into moments like the opening stretches of “The Stranger” and “Oracle Prophecy,” which builds as it moves forward, receding in the middle only to surge again at the conclusion in not-unforeseeable but still exciting and progressive fashion.

Their 2018 album, Holy Oak (review here), was like-minded in its somewhat deceptive approach, appearing simpler on the surface than it actually was, and as Barsacchi and Sciocchetto arrange vocals here, layering solos and effects all the while to create a sense of swirl as “Oracle Prophecy” comes to a head, the impression is that the band have obviously continued to solidify and become more assured of their approach. This creative next step is, of course, the ideal, though I don’t actually know how long ago the songs were recorded.

Either way, that Mr. Bison would leave one feeling like the band is making forward progress is, indeed, forward progress, and as their three inclusions are longer than those of Spacetrucker by about four minutes, running 21 minutes, their time only seems to be well-spent in setting up an atmosphere and flow. Listening digitally, this flow is immediately, strikingly contrasted by the shift in production value to Spacetrucker‘s three tracks, which are rawer and more directly fuzz-driven. Guitarist/vocalist Mike Owen, bassist/vocalist Rob Wagoner and drummer/multipadder Del Toro present a ready charge in the five-and-a-half-minute “Nosedive,” eschewing the proggier aspects of their side A counterparts in favor of a more direct attack.

That’s not to say that “Nosedive” or the subsequent instrumental “Distant Earth,” which is the longest track on the release at 7:56, don’t have a sense of atmosphere, just that said atmosphere is more based around the sheer punch of what they do. And when the low-end on “Distant Earth” kicks in there’s no shortage of punch to be had. “Distant Earth” resolves itself in some prog-metal-style chugging completed by a chiming bell, and then moves into a solo before rounding out in similar rhythmic terrain, an impressive more-than-jam that’s fluid if less sonically lush than some of what appeared on the split’s first half. Spacetrucker round out with the shorter “King Cheeto,” an early-Fu Manchu-style fuzz punker that revives some of the more aggressive thrust of “Nosedive” and finishes in a satisfying rush of noise and cut momentum. If that’s what being turned to stone sounds like, then so be it.

In terms of what ties the two bands together, aside from the basic umbrella of “heavy” that is horoscope-vague enough to be applicable on all counts, there’s an undercurrent of stylistic depth shared by Spacetrucker and Mr. Bison that comes through in different contexts, but is there just the same. Spacetrucker are not unaffected by Truckfighters-esque energy, but like Mr. Bison before them, they seem to be engaged in the project of internalizing their influences in order to craft their own sound from them.

In that case, the sheer thrust and rawness of production works for them, standing them out from Mr. Bison and adding to their own take, which doesn’t necessarily shy away from aggression. As Ripple Music stares down the prospect of this new series, one wonders just what will emerge from Turned to Stone. Standing astride The Second Coming of Heavy helped the label become among the foremost purveyors of American underground heavy rock and found them increasingly branching out in aesthetic. If Turned to Stone furthers that mission, it can only be considered a worthy cause.

[Clarification: The digital version of the release lists Mr. Bison as the first band, where on vinyl it’s Spacetrucker on side A. Apologies for any confusion this causes.]

Spacetrucker & Mr. Bison, Turned to Stone Chapter 1 – Enter Galactic Wasteland (2020)

Spacetrucker on Thee Facebooks

Spacetrucker on Bandcamp

Mr. Bison on Thee Facebooks

Mr. Bison on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Instagram

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Elephant Tree to Release Habits April 24; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Elephant Tree at Saint Vitus Bar (Photo by JJ Koczan)

If I can be honest for a second here, I don’t even want to start talking about Elephant Tree‘s new album, Habits, yet because I know that if I do I won’t be able to stop. Let me say this, I know we’re early in the year, but they’ve made their candidacy for the best album of 2020 known, and in following up their 2016 self-titled debut (review here), they’ve blown the doors down in terms of sonic expansion. The new record is more psychedelic, heavier in places, and more progressive on the whole in terms of its sense of craft and clarity of intention. If you are madly anticipating its arrival, you are correct.

I’ll stop there and of course there will be more to come as we get closer to the release, but as the London four-piece unveil the first album details, cover art, tracklisting and video — as well as the preorder link; just go ahead and get it done — I felt it necessary to chime in. All that potential they showed on their first record is starting to come to fruition. I’m your friend out here and I’m telling you: don’t miss out.

Fresh off the PR wire:

elephant tree habits

Prog-psych-doom rockers ELEPHANT TREE announce new album and stream new single

Habits released April 24th via Holy Roar Records

‘Sails’ streaming now

London-based prog-psych-doom artisans ELEPHANT TREE have announced their highly-anticipated third album Habits, after four years of honing their sound on the international live circuit.

Released April 24th via Holy Roar Records, you can pre-order Habits here: http://smarturl.it/elephanttree

The champions of the underground have delivered perhaps their most cohesive record yet, a scintillating blur of prog, stoner, psych, and melodic heavy rock. Opening on a hazy note of foreboding dread on ‘Wake.Repeat (Intro)’, the band explode into life soon after and rarely let up.

Every aspect of ELEPHANT TREE’s previously established sound has been amplified to 11 and fine-tuned to perfection. Their heavy, driving, grooves hold a more calculated rhythmic swing counterbalanced with leads that hold a soberingly clear gentleness. This is all tied together with vocals that possess a charming hedonism to their timbre, sure to win over legions more fans.

Elements of a heavy Pink Floyd, Melvins, and Deftones all combine with exhilarating effect, cementing the status of this group who have already sold tens of thousands of records and streams into the millions.

The union of sonic density and yearning is captured wonderfully, thanks in no small part to the band’s production choice of The Church Studios, famed for the sounds of U2, Nick Cave, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Adele amongst others.

If the sound of Kyuss and Smashing Pumpkins partying with Hunter S. Thompson and Cult Of Luna in an arena sounds like a good time, then this is the album for you. If there’s any justice, 2020 will be the year ELEPHANT TREE bloom out of best kept underground secret into a household name.

Tracklisting:
1. Wake.Repeat (Intro)
2. Sails
3. Faceless
4. Exit The Soul
5. The Fall Chorus
6. Bird
7. Wasted
8. Broken Nails

https://www.facebook.com/elephanttreeband
http://instagram.com/elephant_tree_band
https://elephanttree.band
http://www.holyroarrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/holyroarrecords/

Elephant Tree, “Sails” official video

Tags: , , , , ,