A Storm of Light Announce New Album Anthroscene

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Hard to believe it’s been five years since the last album from A Storm of Light came out. That record was Nations to Flames on Southern Lord and their new one, dubbed Anthroscene in a clever play on the you-are-here era of planetary extinction in which we currently live, will be out via Consouling Sounds in Europe and Translation Loss in the States this Fall as the band get ready to tour overseas with Mono. It’s a pretty significant run that starts in the UK and ends in Russia, but of course A Storm of Light will be up to the task. In addition to frontman Josh Graham‘s work on graphics for Neurosis, Soundgarden, and a host of others, they’ve always kept plenty busy on the road.

Info and dates follow from the PR wire:

a storm of light

A STORM OF LIGHT ARE BACK WITH A NEW ALBUM TO BE RELEASED IN TIME FOR LIVE DATES WITH MONO THIS OCTOBER

A Storm of Light return with news of a new record. Five years after their last studio album (Nation To Flames, Southern Lord), Josh Graham and his companions Chris Common, Dan Hawkins and Domenic Seita have been working on their fifth full length Anthroscene which shall be released via Consouling Sounds (EU and UK) and Translation Loss (US) this Autumn.

A Storm Of Light will be presenting their new album across Europe in October, performing alongside Mono – see the list of dates below.

A STORM OF LIGHT LIVE WITH MONO
01/10 – UK Bristol, The Fleece
02/10 – UK Norwich, Arts Centre
03/10 – UK Glasgow, Classic Grand
04/10 – UK Newcastle, The Cluny
05/10 – UK Leeds, Left Bank
06/10 – BE Ghent, De Central
07/10 – NL Utrecht, Tivoli De Helling
08/10 – DE Bremen, Tower
09/10 – DE Dresden, Beatpol
10/10 – DE Wiesbaden, Schlacthof
11/10 – CH Aarau, Kiff
12/10 – FR Lyon, CCO
13/10 – ES Barcelona, AMFest
14/10 – FR Toulouse, Le Rex
15/10 – FR Bordeaux, Iboat
16/10 – FR Orleans, Astrolabe
17/10 – NL Heerlen, Nieuwe Nor
18/10 – DE Oberhausen, Drucklufthaus
19/10 – NL Leeuwarden, Into The Void
20/10 – GR Athens, Fuzz Club
22/10 – RU Moscow, Zil
23/10 – RU St. Petersburg, Zal

https://www.facebook.com/astormoflight
https://astormoflight.com/
https://astormoflightsl.bandcamp.com/
https://consouling.be/
https://www.translationloss.com/

A Storm of Light, Nations to Flames (2013)

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Review & Video Premiere: Black Elephant, Cosmic Blues

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on June 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

black elephant cosmic blues

[Click play above to stream the video premiere for ‘Walking Dead’ by Black Elephant. Their album, Cosmic Blues, is out July 20 on Small Stone Records.]

Though they stay pretty much within the sphere of heavy rock throughout, the actual sound of Italian four-piece Black Elephant is much more nuanced in its refusal to simply do or be one thing. Within the first three tracks of Cosmic Blues, their second album and debut on the ultra-respected purveyor Small Stone Records, the band bounce around between hard-hitting riffs, psychedelic spaciousness, noisy crunch and meandering jams. Only then do they break into the three-minute riff-winding boogie and straight-ahead drive of “Walking Dead.” And yet, as the opening semi-title-track “Cosmic Soul,” the not-at-all-a-cover “Helter Skelter” and the 1:44 instrumental “Chase Me” play out, there’s nothing particularly jarring in the transitions wrought by guitarist/vocalist Caravelli Alessio, guitarist Giacosa Massimiliano, bassist De Stefanis Marcello, and drummer Brunzu Simone.

Particularly with Alessio belting out the vocals as he does on the swinging “Baby Eroina” later, or in the more subdued verses of “Cosmic Soul,” for that matter, there are elements of classic Swedish heavy rock at play in terms of style — that foundation in classic heavy rock melded with a post-’90s grunge groove — but Cosmic Blues is quick to establish its own identity in the sonic meld and thorough in its expansion thereof. The outing totals a relatively quick seven tracks/34 minutes, but that’s more than enough time for Black Elephant to convey their variety of influence, and it’s worth noting that while they seem to make a point of changing up their take throughout, doing so never seems to come at the expense of an individual song itself. From “Cosmic Soul” onward, they go pretty far out, and yet by maintaining a firm commitment to underlying structure, their feet never seem to leave the ground.

A striking balance, and it speaks to the eight years Black Elephant have been a band that they should be able to roll out the languid solo-topped nod early in “Baby Eroina” and move into and through the boogieing midsection of the 7:31 track — that’s the longest on the record, with “Helter Skelter” pretty close at 7:04 — and back to the central riff with such smoothness. Sure, Cosmic Blues has its jarring moments. Following the penultimate also-semi-title-track “Cosmic Blues for Solitary Moose,” the opening push of closer “Inno” hits like a slap to the face, but that’s what it’s meant to do, and this too becomes part of Black Elephant‘s overarching purpose. There’s a strong commitment to vibe throughout, and to be sure, the record has a front-to-back flow that holds firm throughout, but as many wandering solos as there are — they include a particularly resonant one in “Inno,” as one might expect for the finale — the band seem to have an eye on the overarching impression they leave behind them.

black elephant

It’s a positive one, gaining from the different faces Black Elephant show throughout and the efforts they make toward consistency in line with that. Hard not to consider the two longer tracks as highlights. With the extra room in “Helter Skelter” and “Baby Eroina,” Black Elephant flesh out stylistically. In the earlier cut, that means knocking out a noise rock riff early and taking it into a heavier groove before shifting via wah-drenched lead work into its jammed-out midsection, gradually getting more and more minimalist as it goes, only to build excitingly back to the chorus and end with some added crunch. “Baby Eroina” — funny how I keep wanting to put an ‘h’ in front of the second word — is looser in its march overall, but saves its trippiest guitar work for its ending, instead putting out thick distortion and funky vibes in its early moments before launching into its mostly-instrumental second half.

Those are by no means the only highlights of Cosmic Blues — I’ll take nothing away from the effectiveness of “Walking Dead”‘s momentum-maximization at the album’s center or the effectiveness of the brief “Chase Me” before it in capitalizing on a will toward sonic adventure — but they’re striking as focal points just the same, and like “Inno,” they do well to summarize the most important aspect of Black Elephant‘s methodology, which is that rather than jump from one sound to the next, they bring this diversity of ideas into their own approach. The difference is ultimately one of coalescence. Black Elephant are able to shift into and out of parts of songs without losing either their forward momentum or, in the case of some of the jammier moments, themselves in the process. This is what makes the album flow instead of having it be disjointed the whole way through. The intent is writ large throughout Cosmic Blues, but in kind with the album’s variety is that strong sense of identity that feels crafted with such care, and that’s what makes the collection work so well and ties the songs together, longer or shorter.

While Black Elephant don’t necessarily go anywhere that heavy and/or psychedelic rock hasn’t gone before, they do an excellent job of finding their niche in the genre and do even better in tipping the balance in their aesthetic to one side or the other. Some will dig it for its variety. Some will dig it for its familiarity. And some will just dig it because riffs. There’s nothing wrong with any of that, and the varied appeal speaks to Black Elephant knowing their audience — as with many bands in the genre, they play with a fan’s love for it — and knowing how to communicate their ideas through sound. Eight years will no doubt help that effort, but Cosmic Blues stands on its own outside of the time it took the band to realize it, and instead, calls back to its influences and inspirations and invites them, and everyone else, to check out how it all came together in the end. It would be hard to argue against doing so, and I find I’m not inclined to try.

Black Elephant, “Cosmic Soul”

Black Elephant on Thee Facebooks

Black Elephant on Bandcamp

Small Stone Records website

Small Stone Records on Thee Facebooks

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VVitch Festival 2018 Confirms Lineup with Dopethrone, Celeste, Eagle Twin and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Set in Milan across four nights and three different venues taking place over the course of two months, the full VVitch Festival is a season-long experience. It draws bands from multiple regions in Europe, the US and Canada, and is no less eclectic in its sound than in the geography. Each show has a different theme that feeds into the larger entirety of the experience, and VVitch Festival proper will be held as the last night, with Frizzi 2 FulciCeleste, KENmodeBelzebong and The Necromancers (who are touring together and also making a stop in Austria at the Heavy Psych Sounds Fest), Birds in Row and Coilguns. Seems like a pretty sick night and all over the place, but again, it’s just the last of four in the series.

Full lineups follow here, along with event links as per the PR wire:

vvitch festival lineup

-VVITCH-

Inspired by witchcraft and horror movies themes, between doom, sludge, black, grind, death and post metal, it?s coming soon in Milano, Italy, a new event for metal maniacs called “VVITCH FESTIVAL”. A trilogy of events plus a fourth one, the festival. Three different venues in Milano, 17 bands, some of them for the first time in Italy, some for exclusive Italian shows.

“..dark forces are going to cross the walls of the city, after the Sacrifice and the Ritual, the Evocation..”

VVITCH I – Sacrifice
September 19th 2018, Spazio Ligera, Milano
DEMILICH (FIN) exclusive Italian show
SPECTRAL VOICE (USA) exclusive Italian show
CARDIAC ARREST (USA) exclusive Italian show
FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1568544103256273

VVITCH II – Ritual
October 11th 2018, Kraken Pub, Milano
DOPETHRONE (CAN)
EAGLE TWIN (USA)
MESSA (IT)
FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1979301145733544

VVITCH III – Evocation
November 3rd 2018, Spazio Ligera, Milano
BOLOGNA VIOLENTA (IT) “Uno Bianca” full album set
FISTULA (USA) exclusive Italian show
GRIME (IT)
DEATH HAS GONE (IT)
FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2063352060550129

VVITCH FESTIVAL
November 25th 2018, Circolo Magnolia, Milano
FRIZZI 2 FULCI (IT)
(live soundtracks by Fabio Frizzi, of Lucio Fulci’s horror cult movies, for the
first time in Milano)
CELESTE (FR) exclusive Italian show
KEN MODE (CAN) exclusive Italian show
BELZEBONG (PL)
BIRDS IN ROW (FR)
COILGUNS (CH)
THE NECROMANCERS (FR)
FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/172227866788138

https://www.facebook.com/vvitchfestival

Eagle Twin, The Thundering Heard (2018)

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King Chiefs to Release Blue Sonnet on Cursed Tongue Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

king chiefs

After making their full-length debut under their original moniker of Chiefs with Tomorrow’s Over (review here) in 2015, the redubbed King Chiefs (a promotion!) issued their second album, Blue Sonnet, in February of this year. With it, the now-four-piece reaffirmed their Southwest-born commitment to the tenets of classic desert rock as well as to their own songwriting. A collection of memorable tracks resulted and today word has come down from Cursed Tongue Records that it will press Blue Sonnet to vinyl with the usual deluxe-style treatment headed toward a release this coming October. While the cover art should certainly make for a gorgeous 12″ sleeve, it’s of course the songs themselves that will be the highlight of the LP edition, as King Chiefs plainly show their desert affiliations in 10 tracks and 39 minutes of high-grade vibe and hooks a-plenty.

The album, since it’s already released, is streaming in full at the bottom of this post, and also available on CD through Roosevelt Row Records. Info follows courtesy of the PR wire:

king chiefs blue sonnet

KING CHIEFS SIGNS TO CURSED TONGUE RECORDS FOR WORLD WIDE RELEASE OF THEIR SECOND ALBUM ‘BLUE SONNET’ IN OCTOBER 2018.

Cursed Tongue Records is thrilled to announce the signing of Phoenix, AZ based King Chiefs for a release of their sophomore full length album entitled ‘Blue Sonnet’ in October 2018.

Any journey begins with a single, small step and as such, the newly renamed King Chiefs’ journey began as a compact but powerful two-piece band in the Phoenix, Arizona area in 2012. Originally known as simply Chiefs, they play that type of blazing desert rock that can only be forged under the harsh gaze of the Sonoran sun. After releasing a couple early demos and playing numerous show around the Phoenix valley, the band expended it’s reach with a series of small regional tours that eventually led to the band relocating to California. Shortly after settling down in San Diego, the band self-released a four song demo titled Buffalo Roam, which found them embarking on numerous tours around the Southwest and West Coast.

Over time the band grew, first to a three-piece, then finally adding a permanent bass player and lead guitar player to morph into the four-piece form they are in today. These additions to the band raised the impact of the music, elevating it to the powerful live animal they are now. It was this iteration of the band that released it’s first full length album “Tomorrow’s Over” on west coast underground record label Battleground Records in February of 2015. The album garnered many favorable reviews and positive responses from fans and writers alike, further cementing King Chiefs as a band that simply must be caught live.

The band turned this momentum into a series of US tours, where they dazzled audiences across the country with their incendiary live set. People have compared their live act to such notable bands form the past as Helmet, Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Dozer and more. This was enough hype for Ripple Music to step in and ask them to be part of their Second Coming Of Heavy series, which saw them releasing a split LP with Desert Suns as Vol. V of the long running LP series.

Fast forward to February 2018 and King Chiefs release their sophomore album Blue Sonnet digitally on their bandcamp page and on CD via Roosevelt Row Records. It didn’t take Cursed Tongue Records much time to realize that this album demands our full attention and as being the most coherrent, accomplished and mature sounding release from King Chiefs to date it was really a no-brainer.

Blue Sonnet sees King Chiefs further deepening their signature sound of fuzzy riffs, catchy hooks and tightly knit interplay overlayed with Valle’s über melodic vocals. This is King Chiefs at their prime and Cursed Tongue Records is extremely happy to be able to roll out the red carpet for the Blue Sonnet this October. Expect the usual trademark setup of high quality heavy wight vinyl tasty packaging and sweet extras sure to please the distinguished vinyl collector.

Looking to the future, King Chiefs is dedicated and devoted to the almighty riff and will continue making music and who knows what the future brings…

CTR-012 KING CHIEFS – ‘BLUE SONNET’, official release date: October 19th, 2018

King Chiefs is:
Paul Valle – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Drums
Jeff Podeszwik – Vocals, Guitar
Anthony Alley – Drums
Anthony Mattos – Bass

Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Ryan Butler at Arcane Digital Recording Studios in Chandler, Arizona.
All music written by King Chiefs (Paul Valle/Jeff Podeszwik)
Lyrics by Paul Valle (City That You Sleep, Surely Never, Drifter, Soul Sleeve, Slug, Walk The Plank, Blue Sonnet)
Lyrics by Jeff Podeszwik (Fossils, Yellow Jacket, Shrine Of Your Beholder)
Photography/Artwork by Michael Ruggiero
Layout & Design: Matt Martinez & Michael Andresakis

Track listing:

Side A
1. City That You Sleep
2. Surely Never
3. Drifter
4. Fossils
5. Soul Sleeve

Side B
6. Slug
7. Walk The Plank
8. Yellow Jacket
9. Blue Sonnet
10. Shrine Of Your Beholder

http://www.wearechiefs.com/
https://wearechiefs.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/wearechiefs
http://www.instagram.com/kingchiefsband
http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CursedTongueRecords
https://www.instagram.com/cursedtonguerecords

King Chiefs, Blue Sonnet (2018)

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Shadow Witch Post “Disciples of the Crow” Video; Vinyl out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

shadow witch

Shadow Witch are one of those bands who are just about totally out there on their own wavelength, and as a result either get lumped into places they don’t belong — called metal, for example, which they’re not — or underrated entirely for the work they’re doing. Sure, metal is a part of what they do, but so is heavy rock, so is goth rock, so is doom, so is punk, grunge, and so on. The band’s second album, Disciples of the Crow (review here), was released at the end of last year by Salt of the Earth Records, and is available now on vinyl either directly through the band or via Kozmik Artifactz in Europe. The timing couldn’t be better, since the platter just so happens to coincide with a new video for the title-track and the band’s appearance this coming weekend at Maryland Doom Fest 2018. Amazing how these things work out sometimes.

And like much of the record that shares its name, “Disciples of the Crow” isn’t overblown tonally or in terms of aggression. It finds a place for itself in between varying stylistic elements, sharing aspects here and there with elements of the styles noted above, but creating one whole sound from them rather than simply jumping from one part to the next, one genre to the next. What that means when it comes to the album is a more cohesive listening experience, since the material ties together in terms of vibe and actual production alike, and keeps a steady foundation of songwriting beneath from the melodic opener “Love Could Be Like This” to the hook in the finale of “Dead Heroes.” As far as representing the record, the title-track does it well — duh — and showcases the aesthetic nuance at play in what Shadow Witch do as well as the lack of pretense with which they do it. For all their melding, Shadow Witch could still rightly be called straightforward.

They have more dates following Maryland Doom Fest, and you’ll find those, as well as the link to pick up Disciples of the Crow on LP, after the video below, all of which comes courtesy of the social medias.

Please enjoy:

Shadow Witch, “Disciples of the Crow” official video

Limited Edition 180gram Cloudy Orange Vinyl. Now available through Kozmik Artifactz in Europe, and stateside at the Shadow Witch bandcamp site: https://shadowwitch.bandcamp.com/album/disciples-of-the-crow

Shadow Witch live:
JUN 22 The Maryland Doom Fest 2018 Frederick MD
JUN 22 Bar XIII Wilmington DE w/ Beelzefuzz, Witch Hazel, Season of Mourning
JUN 24 Pourhouse of Norfolk • La Fin Du Monde Norfolk, VA w/ Doomstress, Witchkiss, VRSA, That Which Sleeps
JUL 7 The Anchor Kingston NY w/ Wasted Theory, Sun Voyager
AUG 3 The Anchor Kingston NY w/ Brimstone Coven, Cat Skulls
SEP 7 13th Floor Music Lounge Florence MA w/ Toke, Curse the Son, Geezer

SHADOW WITCH is
David Pannullo ~ bass
Doug “dougy beans” Thompson ~ drums
Earl Walker Lundy ~ vocals, mellotron, samples
Jeremy H. Hall ~ guitars

Shadow Witch on Thee Facebooks

Shadow Witch on Instagram

Shadow Witch on Bandcamp

Shadow Witch at Salt of the Earth Records

Salt of the Earth Records on Thee Facebooks

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Clutch Announce North American Tour for Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

clutch 2 (Photo by Dan Winters)-1400

What, you didn’t think Clutch were going to tour to support their new album? Did they ever really stop touring to support the last one? Or the one before that? They barely take a break at this point to record, so yeah, obviously they’re announcing a new tour. They finished the last one. Time for the next one.

My only question is where Sevendust came from on this bill. Even when I think it, I’ll very rarely go all out and say a band sucks, but I’ve never been a Sevendust fan, even during their late-’90s commercial radio peak, and I liked some really shitty stuff when I was in high school. Some good stuff, but yeah, some really shitty stuff too. Never Sevendust though.

I guess Clutch are keeping it eclectic, which is admirable in a way, but I’ll be super-duper-curious to see the crowd for this one. Info comes from the PR wire:

clutch tour banner

CLUTCH ANNOUNCE BOOK OF BAD DECISIONS TOUR DATES WITH SEVENDUST AND TYLER BRYAN & THE SHAKEDOWN

Clutch has just announced US/Canada Fall tour dates for their “Book Of Bad Decisions Tour 2018.” Clutch is making the following special offer for this tour: The price of a ticket when purchased in advance online includes a physical CD copy of Clutch’s new album “Book of Bad Decisions.” Fans will receive information on how to redeem the album after purchasing the advance ticket online. Offer valid through 10/29/18, open to US residents only. Not valid on Resale tickets. Offer only valid for Clutch headline dates. Festivals, Canadian headline dates and the October 13th date with System of a Down are exempt from this offer. Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, June 22nd at 10AM local time and will be available at www.pro-rock.com and www.facebook.com/clutchband.

Supporting the tour will be Sevendust and Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown.

Book of Bad Decisions, CLUTCH’s 12th studio album is scheduled for a worldwide release on September 7th, 2018 via their own Weathermaker Music label. The album was recorded at Sputnik Sound in Nashville, TN by producer Vance Powell (Jack White, Chris Stapleton, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather) and consists of 15 new tracks.

Clutch Book Of Bad Decisions Tour with Sevendust and Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown:

Sun/Sep-16 Chicago IL Riotfest **
Tue/Sep-18 St Paul, MN Myth Live
Wed/Sep-19 Kansas City, MO Uptown Theater
Fri/Sep-21 Houston TX House of Blues
Sat/Sep-22 San Antonio TX River City Rock Fest **
Sun/Sep-23 Dallas, TX Gas Monkey Live
Tue/Sep-25 Orlando, FL House Of Blues
Thu/Sep-27 Norfolk, VA The NorVa
Fri/Sep-28 Raleigh, NC The Ritz
Sat/Sep-29 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade *
Sun/Sep-30 Louisville, KY Louder Than Life **
Tue/Oct-02 Denver, CO Ogden Theater
Wed/Oct-03 Salt Lake City, UT The Depot
Fri/Oct-05 Boise, ID Knitting Factory
Sat/Oct-06 Spokane, WA Knitting Factory
Sun/Oct-07 Seattle, WA Showbox SODO
Mon/Oct-08 Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom
Tue/Oct-09 Portland, OR Roseland Theater
Thu/Oct-11 San Francisco, CA The Regency Ballroom
Fri/Oct-12 Los Angeles, CA El Rey Theater
Sat/Oct-13 San Bernardino, CA Glen Helen Amphitheater w/SOAD ***
Sun/Oct-14 San Diego, CA North Park/Observatory
Mon/Oct-15 Tempe, AZ The Marquee
Wed/Oct-17 Tulsa, OK Cain’s Ballroom
Thu/Oct-18 Sauget, IL Pop’s Nightclub
Fri/Oct-19 Grand Rapids, MI 20 Monroe Live
Sat/Oct-20 Detroit, MI The Filmore Detroit
Sun/Oct-21 Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE
Tue/Oct-23 Toronto, ON Rebel
Thu/Oct-25 Worcester, MA The Palladium
Fri/Oct-26 New York, NY Irving Plaza
Sat/Oct-27 New York, NY Irving Plaza
Sun/Oct-28 Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory

*= no Sevendust
** = festival date / Clutch and festival bill only
*** = date w/ System of a Down/ no Sevendust

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion

www.facebook.com/clutchband
www.instagram.com/clutchofficial
www.twitter.com/clutchofficial
www.pro-rock.com
www.youtube.com/user/officialclutch

Clutch, “Gimme the Keys” lyric video

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Review & Track Premiere: Mountain of Smoke, Gods of Biomechanics

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

mountain of smoke gods of biomechanics

[Click play above to stream ‘Tyrell’ from Mountain of Smoke’s Gods of Biomechanics. Album is out July 7.]

Crush wins the day quickly on Mountain of Smoke‘s second album, Gods of Biomechanics. The Dallas-area duo of bassist/vocalist Brooks and drummer PJ bludgeon efficiently on the 10-track/33-minute outing, and expand their lineup through working with pedal steel guitarist Alex, filling out the bass/drum sound with an atmospheric breadth that can be heard on songs like “Caesium Beams,” making the material all the more memorable as well as being brutal and extreme. As with their 2014 self-titled debut, which was issued through Do for It Records, the theme that ties all the songs together is drawn from Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-noir classic Blade Runner. Songs are based around the story of Ray Batty (Rutger Hauer) and named after characters from the film — “Leon,” “Tyrell,” “Zhora” — and as the band already seem to have covered the main characters in their debut with “Decker,” “Rachel,” “Pris,” and so on, and they also begin to dig into ideas expressed in the movie, places or other elements.

Accordingly, we get “Tannhauser Gate” which is mentioned in a sample of Rutger Hauer at the end of the subsequent and pummeling “Orion’s Shoulder,” “Incept” referring to the concept of when a replicant is ‘born,’ and “Retirement” for when they’re killed. Samples from the film — which I’m just going to assume everyone reading this watched at least once when they were in their 20s — are sprinkled throughout, providing transitions and making sure that Mountain of Smoke stick with the plot, as it were. In addition to giving the audience something to latch onto for a record that, put to tape by Michael Briggs at Civil Audio in Denton, TX, both bludgeoning in its execution and largely indecipherable on first listen when it comes to the blown-out growls that serve for most of the vocals, the theme also lends aesthetic nuance to Mountain of Smoke‘s sound, which if the point hasn’t gotten across yet, is anything but subtle.

Rather, it is a style built for volume. The litmus test for duo-violence used to be Black Cobra and I suppose now it’s probably Germany’s Mantar. For what it’s worth, Mountain of Smoke have more in common with the latter than the former in terms of their overall approach, though of course it varies. Less outwardly thrash, they’re nonetheless given to driving moments throughout Gods of Biomechanics, whether it’s the closing title-track, the rush of “Tannhauser Gate” or the stabbing verse of “Retirement.” Amid the thrust come massive rolling grooves. Massive, as in, of mass. From the moment “Incept” picks up from its leadoff sample at the album’s open, its huge low end plod becomes as much of a running theme as the film itself. That instrumental opener leads way via another sample — just of the score — into “Tannhauser Gate,” which revels in its thrust and brashness. Who could argue? Like much of the record, it’s a speaker-blower, and the pedal steel shows itself pivotal as well when it comes to adding a sense of space to the proceedings.

mountain of smoke

That too will become more and more apparent as the rest of Gods of Biomechancis plays out, through “Orion’s Shoulder” and “Caesium Beams” and the High on Fire-worthy bombast of “Zhora,” and into side B on “Retirement,” “Leon,” “Tyrell” and the title-track. So really just everywhere save perhaps “Incept” and its counterpart “Morphology” which gives the second half of the album its own instrumental launch. I don’t know how full-time a member of the band Alex will be, if the two-piece has become a trio, but his work winds up being crucial here just the same. As mentioned, the pedal steel adds breadth and a sense of space to the songs, but it also works in concert with the Blade Runner theme, since with the echo behind it and often played in sustained notes, it cuts a direct line to the kinds of otherworldly melodies Vangelis brought to the original film’s soundtrack. That was largely synthesized, but if one thinks of it on an interpretive level, the comparison holds up.

And the effect that has on making Gods of Biomechanics seem all the more complete in terms of concept and delivery isn’t to be understated. Mountain of Smoke‘s first offering was rawer and hit with plenty of force, but was more abrasive and not nearly so methodical. Gods of Biomechanics mounts its attack with some feeling of calculation behind it. The band aren’t simply crashing through the wall, they’re sneaking around it — though one hesitates to use a work like “sneaking” when it comes to something so obviously meant to be played as loudly as possible. Either way, not to be lost in all the holy-crap-this-is-heavy hyperbole that’s sure to be tossed the album’s way is the fact that Mountain of Smoke‘s sound isn’t just about bearing an inhuman amount of heft, or about describing scenes from a movie, but about entering a creative conversation with that work, and the pedal steel, siren-like at the start of “Retirement” or riding the fury of Brooks‘ riff on “Leon,” is a major part of what allows it to do so.

Its inclusion feels organic — as opposed to it feeling android, I guess — as an extension of the band’s overarching purpose, and as they slam into “Tyrell” and “Gods of Biomechanics” at the record’s back end, the statement they seem to be making not only engages with its subject matter, but brings it to life in a new, fascinating and oddly appropriate way. The risk with bands working on a single-theme as Mountain of Smoke are is that, at a certain point, they might run out of things to talk about once all the characters and ideas from the movie are covered. Would they write a song about the 2017 sequel? The sans-monologue directors cut version of the original? I don’t know, but they wouldn’t be the first group to come up against that issue, say screw it, and successfully move on to other thematic ground, so maybe I’m worrying about nothing. More important for the moment is the success throughout Gods of Biomechanics in putting their listeners in that always-dark, always-raining world where the threat always seems to be present and the danger always seems to be right there waiting. So too is the case here as Mountain of Smoke dream of electric sheep and awaken to be unbridled in their aural instensity.

Mountain of Smoke on Thee Facebooks

Mountain of Smoke on Twitter

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Brant Bjork to Reissue Tres Dias Sept. 21 on Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

brant bjork (Photo Aija Svensson)

Well, it’s been several minutes — upwards of eight! — since the last time I posted an update about the many doings of desert rock legend Brant Bjork, so it seems only fair that news should come down the PR wire heralding word that, one week after the release of his new album, Mankind Woman (info here), he’ll be reissuing 2007’s Tres Dias through Heavy Psych Sounds as the beginning point of a series that will see his entire catalog from 1999 through 2010 — that’s Jalamanta (discussed here) through Gods and Goddesses (review here), by my count — to the general benefit of humanity at large. Interesting that the series would start with Tres Dias, which is the largely-unplugged predecessor to 2007’s Somera Sól (discussed here), since it is arguably Brant ‘s most minimal and intimate record, but I guess it’s more fascinating than either starting at the beginning and working up or starting with the newest one and going back. Mix and match. Should be fun.

And of course, Bjork will head over to Europe for a sizable tour this Fall, the dates for which you can also see below, along with the revamped Tres Dias cover art.

Dig:

brant bjork tres dias

BRANT BJORK to reissue “Tres Dias” album on September 21st through Heavy Psych Sounds Records

Heavy Psych Sounds Records is proud to start the reissuing of BRANT BJORK’s solo back catalogue from 1999 to 2010! First reissue is “Tres Dias”, coming along a brand new artwork and special and limited vinyl editions.

“Tres Dias” is the fifth solo album released by the godfather of desert rock BRANT BJORK. The album was recorded in Joshua Tree, California, before Christmas 2006. This 8-track album is a mix of old and new tracks.

BRANT BJORK has spent over a quarter-century at the epicenter of Californian desert rock. From cutting his teeth alongside Fatso Jetson’s Mario Lalli in hardcore punkers De-Con to drumming and composing on Kyuss’ landmark early albums, to propelling the seminal fuzz of Fu Manchu from 1994-2001 while producing other bands, putting together offshoot projects like Ché, embarking on his solo career as a singer, guitarist and bandleader, founding his own record label and more, his history is a winding narrative of relentless, unflinching creativity.

For someone so outwardly laid back, he’s never really taken a break. And while BRANT BJORK has shown different sides of himself on an album like his 2007’s mostly-acoustic Tres Dias, when you’re listening to Brant Bjork, you know it, because there’s no one else who sounds quite like him. He comments: “Been a long time since i celebrated these recordings. Couldnt think of a better time to re-release. Fresh art to represent “brand new old times”. Enjoy!”

“Tres Dias” was produced, recorded, and mixed by Tony Mason at Back of the Moon Studios, Joshua Tree, CA in 2007. The original artwork has been designed by Bunker/Bjork, the re-issued artwork comes by Marcello “Rise Above” Crescenzi.

The “Tres Dias” reissue on HPS Records will be available as:
– 30 Test Press (only on HPS webstore)
– 250 LTD Vinyl in Green/Yellow Quad (only on HPS webstore)
– 500 LTD Vinyl in Gold
– Black Vinyl
– CD and digital

BRANT BJORK “Tres Dias” reissue
Out September 21st on Heavy Psych Sounds Records
– Vinyl and CD preorder start July 3rd here

TRACK LISTING:
1. Too Many Chiefs…
2. Love Is My Revolution
3. Chinarosa
4. The Native Tongue
5. Video
6. Right Time
7. The Messengers
8. The Knight Surrenders Today

Catch the BRANT BJORK live on the following dates in Europe this Fall, with very special guest Sean Wheeler:

EUROPEAN TOUR 2018
02.11.18 NO Drammen |Union Scene
03.11.18 SW Stockholm | Debaser Strand
04.11.18 SW Göteborg | Sticky Fingers
05.11.18 SW Malmö | Kulturbolaget
06.11.18 DE Hamburg | Fabrik
07.11.18 NL Amsterdam | Melkweg
08.11.18 BE Leuven | Het Depot
09.11.18 UK London | Garage
10.11.18 FR Paris | Petit Bain
11.11.18 NL Tilburg | O13
12.11.18 DE Wiesbaden | Schlachthof
13.11.18 CH Zürich | Rote Fabrik
14.11.18 CH Martigny | Caves Du Manoir
15.11.18 IT Turin | Spazio 211
16.11.18 AT Innsbruck | Hafen (Heavy Psych Sounds Festival)
17.11.18 DE Munich | Feierwerk
18.11.18 AT Vienna | Arena
19.11.18 DE Dresden | Beatpol
20.11.18 DE Berlin | Festsaal Kreuzberg

https://www.facebook.com/BrantBjorkOfficial
https://www.instagram.com/brant_bjork
https://twitter.com/brant_bjork
http://www.brantbjork.com
http://www.stonedanddusted.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Brant Bjork, Tres Dias

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