JOVM’s William Ruben Helms celebrates Angus Young’s 67th birthday.
With the release of 2019’s sophomore album Under a Blood Moon, the Gothenburg, Sweden-based doom metal trio Firebreather — currently, Mattias Nööjd (vocals, guitar), Axel Wittbeck (drums) and the band’s newest member Nicklas Hellqvist (bass) — found the band quickly establishing a raw, in-your-face and incendiary sound.
The Swedish doom metal trio’s third album Dwell in the Fog is slated for a February 25, 2022 release through RidingEasy Records. Much like their preceding two albums, Dwell in the Fog was recorded and mixed by engineer Oskar Karlsson at Gothenburg-based Elementstudion. The album’s material features a streamlined focus on driving, symphonic riffs in the vein of acts like High On Fire, Inter Arma and labelmates Monolord among others, while rumbling and raging with a fury that the band has only hinted at on their previously released material.
“The album is a cathartic journey inwards and a musical continuation from Under A Blood Moon, but with more emphasis on groove and feel,” the band’s Matthias Nööjd says in press notes.
Dwell in the Fog‘s third and latest single “Sorrow” is a furious and sludgy dirge centered around thunderous drumming, scorching riffs and tweeter and woofer rattling low-end paired with Nöörd’s guttural yet melodic howling. While arguably being among the hardest and most forceful songs I’ve written about so far this year, “Sorrow” evokes the frustration, heartache and despair of sorrow — and in turn, loss — with a simmering yet visceral fury.
Acclaimed and prolific Umeå, Sweden-based post-metal outfit Cult of Luna — currently, Johannes Persson (guitar, vocals), Andreas Johansson (bass), Thomas Hedlund (drums, percussion), Fredrik Kihlberg (guitar, vocals), Krisitian Karlsson (keys, vocals) and Magus Lindberg (production) — formed back in 1998 and can trace their origins to the breakup of a local hardcore punk band by the name of Eclipse. The Swedish band’s first two albums — 2001’s self titled debut and 2003’s The Beyond — slowly gained attention in underground circles and among the press.
Beginning with their breakthrough, third album 2004’s Salvation, the members of Cult of Luna, released a string of critically applauded albums that included 2006’s Somewhere Along The Highway, 2008’s Eternal Kingdom and 2013’s Vertikal. The band capped off a busy year, which included extensive European touring and the release of the Vertikal II EP, a companion effort that featured three songs recorded during the Vertikal sessions and dropped from the album and a remix of album single “Vicarious Redemption” by Justin Broadrick.
Shortly after the release of the Vertikal II EP, the band went on hiatus. Although they didn’t publicly announce it until 2016, during the recording sessions and tours to support Vertikal, the band went through two major lineup changes: The band’s original keyboardist Anders Teglund left the band during the Vertikal sessions and was replaced by the pg.lost’s Krisitian Karlsson. Founding member Erik Olofsson (guitar) left the band after their Beyond the Redshift Festival appearance in 2014. Olofsson was released by Kongh‘s David Johansson.
2016 saw the release of the Swedish post-metal outfit Mariner, an effort that found the band collaborating with Made Out of Babies‘ and Battle of Mice‘s Julie Christmas. While Vertikal thematically was city and industrial-based, Mariner, explored themes related to outer space and space travel.
Before the release of Mariner, the members of the Swedish post-metal outfit had begun writing material for what would be their eighth album. The end result was 2019’s critically applauded A Dawn to Fear an album that landed on Loudwires’ 50 Best metal albums of that year.
Over the course of their two decade run, Cult of Luna’s sound has moved from being heavily doom metal-influenced to a sound centered around lush orchestration — and more towards post-metal, progressive metal and even sludge metal. Sonically, they’re best known for crafting long. slow-burning songs featuring crushingly heavy and distorted guitar-driven sections, interspersed with with orchestral interludes and extended post-rock-like forays.
They’ve long eschewed conventional song structures, opting for a sound that tends to evolve throghout a song, sometimes towards a climatic crescendo, instead of say, a verse-chorus-verse pattern. And as a result, their work has been compared to Isis, Callisto, Pelican and even Neurosis.
Slated for a February 11, 2022 release through Metal Blade Records, Cult of Luna’s ninth album The Long Road North continues a run of material centered around shifting dynamics and sonic density — but perhaps even more so with The Long Road, an effort that featured guest spots from composer Colin Stetson, Pheonix‘s Christian Mazzalai and Laurent Brancowitz and Wildbirds And Peacedrums’ Mariam Wallentin. “It’s a big and cinematic sounding album,.” Cult of Luna’s Johannes Persson says in press notes. “I think one of the reasons why we have been able to be so productive the last couple of years is that we have been consistently writing from the heart. We have let our instincts guide us, and I think it’s getting clearer where we are heading.”
“The long road north is a long road home. A direction dictated by a call that penetrates rock and echoes through the forest,” Persson continues. “It flows over every lake, accelerated by the wind. When it reaches you, you know it’s time. Time to move forward. You don’t know where it will lead but you put the trust in it. With eyes raised towards the midnight sun it pulls you closer. The road is long and the end is uncertain.”
Clocking in at a little under seven minutes The Long Road‘s latest single “Into the Night” is a slow-burning and dreamy song that begins with a lengthy strummed, reverb-drenched guitar and vocal-based introduction before the addition of glistening keys that lead into an extended shoegazer-like section with swirling guitars and thunderous drumming before ending with howling feedback. The seemingly disparate yet hauntingly gorgeous parts are held together by Frederik Kihlberg’s plaintive yet sonorous baritone, which kind of sounds a bit like JOVM mainstay Mark Lanegan to me. But at it’s core is the yearning and desperate search for something — or someone — that’s been lost, perhaps forever.
“‘Into the Night’ is about the search for something or someone that’s been lost. It’s about being in the state between conscious and unconscious, awake and dreaming,” the band’s Frederik Kihlberg explains. “Seeing, hearing and experiencing things and not knowing if it’s real or imagination.”
As it turns out, the first couple of weeks of this month are rather auspicious in music history: John Paul Jones’ birthday was on the third, Michael Stipe‘s birthday was on the fourth David Bowie‘s […]
Chafouin is a Brest, France-based outfit with a rotating cast of collaborators. Clocking in at a little under two-and-a-half minutes, “Tout Casser,” the French outfit’s latest single is a slow-burning and bruising bit of doom metal centered around sludgy power chords, thunderous drumming and vocals delivered with a menacing yet child-like sing-song delivery.
The recently released video for “Tout Casser” features home video of the band’s members shot in 1995. It’s sweetly nostalgic — and a reminder of how the time has flown by.
JOVM celebrates John Paul Jones’ 76th birthday.
JOVM celebrates what would have been Lemmy Kilmister’s 76th birthday. Motörhead forever!
Levitation Festival (initially founded as Austin Psych Fest) can trace its beginnings to a simple idea devised by the members of JOVM mainstay act The Black Angels in the back of a tour van back in 2007: “Let’s invite all of our favorite bands and all of our friends for our version of a music festival.”
The inaugural Austin Psych Fest was in March 2008 — and by popular demand, the festival expanded to a three-day event the following year. Within a relatively short period of time, Austin Psych Fest became an international destination for psych fans across the globe, with the festival featuring lineups that included up-and-comers, cult favorites, legendary and influential acts and a headlining set from the festival’s founders, The Black Angels. A few years ago, the festival was renamed Levitation in honor of Austin psych rock pioneers The 13th Floor Elevators, but in in its almost 15 year run, the festival has helped spark a new, international psych rock movement while inspiring the creation of similar events across the globe, including Levitation Festival events in Chicago, Vancouver, France and a SXSW showcase, as well as other special events in Europe and Latin America.
Late last year, Levitation Festival’s record label, The Reverberation Appreciation Society announced the launch of a new live album series, Live at LEVITATION. Comprised of material played and recorded throughout the festival’s history, the live album series specifically captures and documents key artists in the contemporary psych rock scene. Of course, many of these moments were also important moments of Austin’s live music scene.
- The live series’ first album Kikagaku Moyo — Live at LEVITATION featured two different Kikagaku Moyo sets — their 2014 Levitation Festival set, which was one of the Japanese psych rock act’s first Stateside shows and their return to Levitation back in 2019, during a sold-out Stateside tour, which included a stop at Warsaw that year with Japanese krautrockers Minami Deutsch.
- The series’ second album The Black Angels — Live at LEVITATION featured the festival’s founders The Black Angels. The Black Angels live album is comprised of material recorded at Austin Psych Fest 2010, 2011 and 2012, and captures a rare glimpse of the festival’s earlier, more humble days. And of course, for Black Angels fans, like myself, the album features live version of six songs from their first two albums — Passover and Directions to See a Ghost.
- The series third album Primal Scream — Live at LEVITATION features the legendary and influential British psych rockers — currently, Bobby Gillespie (vocals), Andrew Innes (guitar), Martin Duffy (keys), Simone Butler (bass) and Darrin Mooney (drums) — during their career spanning 2015 LEVITATION set. The set featured hits from landmark albums like Screamadelica, Give Out But Don’t Give Up, XTRMNTR and others
The Reverberation Appreciation Society surprised psych rock fans with the surprise release of the fourth installment of their Live at LEVITATION series — King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard — Live at LEVITATION. The double LP features the acclaimed JOVM mainstays’ 2014 and 2016 Levitation Festival appearances.
The Aussie JOVM mainstays’ 2014 appearance is presented in full on the first LP. That set is historic because it’s their first North American show, ever — and it includes a live performance of their then-unreleased “I’m in Your Mind Fuzz” suite. The rest of the set includes early versions of material loved by fans today while offering a look into the creative process of a band that was just about to explode into the global scene. After their 2014 North American tour, the band spent the summer in Brooklyn recording I’m Not Your Mind Fuzz and Quarters.
The second LP consists of King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard’s 2016 Levitation Festival appearance: The band returned to celebrate the release of that year’s critically applauded, mind-bending effort Nonagon Infinity. Unfortunately, that year’s festival was canceled because of severe weather; but the recording on the second LP is one of two shows Gizz played at Barracuda thats weekend. Sadly, Barracuda is no longer.
Both shows were recorded by Craig Lawrence and mixed by the band’s mastermind Stu Mackenzie at their Melbourne-based studio — and specifically mastered for vinyl. To celebrate the live album’s release, The Reverberation Appreciation Society and the band released some blistering live footage of the band playing Nonagon infinity rippers “Robot Stop” and “Hot Water.” Play loud and then rock out.
The vinyl release will feature four unique colorways, each limited to 2000 in a matte gatefold featuring unique gold foil embossed numbered jackets numbered 1-8000. The first run will be the only one with those features — and a special record for anyone who collects records.
The album is also bundled with a super limited edition of tees, tie dyes and screen printed foil prints featuring artwork by Alan Forbes from the 2016 show and the long lost 2014 poster by C.M Ruiz.
JOVM celebrates Ozzy Osbourne’s 73rd birthday.
Formed over six years ago, Antananarivo, Madagascar-based trio LohArano — Mahalia Ravoajanahary (vocals, guitar), Michael Raveloson (bass, vocals) and Natiana Randrianasoloson (drums, vocals) — have developed an incredibly unique, boundary pushing sound that meshes elements of popular and beloved Malagasy musical styles — in particular, Tsapiky and Salegy — with metal. The Madagascan trio’s sound and approach represents a bold generation of young people that are inspired by music from West, yet honors and respects the traditions of their elders, all while roaring with the fierce urgency of our moment.
Earlier this year, LohArano released their self-titled EP, which featured “Tandrroka,” a mosh pit friendly ripper, featuring rumbling, down-tuned bass lines, thunderous drumming, scorching guitar riffs and Ravoajanahary’s Karen O-like vocals, which alternate between feral howls, screeching and shouting.
The band released their full-length debut LohAmboto this past Friday through Libertalia Music. The album’s first single, album title track “LohAmboto” continues an incredible run of expansive forward-thinking, post rock/metal inspired material centered around scorching riffs, heavy bass lines, thunderous Malagasy polyrhythms and Ravoajanahary’s howls and shouts. It’s a face melting ripper, reminiscent of System of a Down and others.
The band will be playing Europe for the first time on December 3, 2021 — with an appearance at Trans Musicales in Rennes, France. They’ll embark on their first European tour during the Summer of 2022.