Monday, April 30, 2012

Coma Stereo - 1000 Mest (2012)

I have no idea what is the weather situation in the place where my readers live, but here it is so hot all of a sudden that I can barely think straight. Pity for all of those who have to go out today, so instead  that I recommend that you check out this review and hopefully you decide to enjoy a ride to the far corners of the galaxy with this band, definitely colder there than here.

Once again we meet with "Kapa Records", a label from Slovenia which was already indirectly mentioned on this blog. Namely, this record label has previously released "The Canyon Observer" album which was reviewed in November last year. In case you missed that write-up you can check it out here. What we have here in front of us now is the newest material coming from the four piece space rock band named "Coma Stereo". Yet another project coming from Slovenia, though this one has a fair bit of history behind it. The guys started playing way back in 2004 and, counting "1000 Mest", this is their third album. I have been really surprised by this band when the promoter contacted me about a review, mostly because they already have eight years behind them and I wasn't aware of their existence and then being surprised even further once I heard how amazing this band is. The band also has a really great number of shows in its resume, so how they eluded me is beyond my comprehension.
"1000 Mest" came out on February 18 this year in vinyl and download format. Andraž, promoter at "Kapa Records", was kind enough to send me the actual record copy of this album even before the material was released and I really have to apologize for my slow response, since I obviously took my time a bit too long. When he mentioned this project to me I immediately took a listen and was very much intrigued by what I heard. This release brings us ten songs and from start to finish it's just plain enjoyment and a really great ride. The opening track called "Črna jutra" manages to set your mood perfectly and opens the door to a superb space rock jam. "Coma Stereo" makes good use of electronic sound effects for that mood-setting, swinging between being eerie and grim to something highly epic and wonderful. While listening to this record, most of my time was spent analyzing the synthesizer sections which, although seeming same in tone, have a nice array of diversity in sound, ranging from sounding like heavy industrial machinery to tunes reminding me of old Nintendo or arcade games. The song composition also has a sort of duality, some parts are really cheery while others sound like there is nothing but dread and despair around the listener. There is one thing that I really have to praise about song structure and that is the band's ability to make a superb use of buildups. All songs have something that sounds like there is some growth in sound, either in the form of the pace being increased or slight changes of mood or even the very melodies becoming more and more complex each second. This is really hard to explain properly, but I presume that you will figure out what I wanted to say when you take a listen. Personally, this album made me sit on the edge of my chair nonstop and sensing that tension in music was excellent.
An interesting feature of "1000 Mest" is also the fact that there is a nice number of both instrumental tracks and those with vocals. It is worth noting that the songs, in general, have quite a deep tone with bass playing being in the spotlight a lot and everything has a sort of crackly, crude sound. In contrast to that, the vocal adds a completely new layer to a particular song since it is very gentle, melodic and almost sounding as if the singer is weeping. This really makes the entire album quite intriguing and you can listen to it multiple times in a row and continually discover new aspects of it.
As I said before, this band and this release in particular came to me as a huge surprise and I am extremely happy that I discovered their work. I am yet to take a listen to their work prior to "1000 Mest", but I am certain that talent and creativity is not lacking on those. As much as I saw on the band's website, located here, they have a couple of shows lined up and they are pretty much alive. Once again I would like to thank Andraž for both introducing me to "Coma Stereo" and for having loads of patience for me to finish this review. Definitely check out the page of "Kapa Records" found here, this is a label supporting some excellent projects. Hope you liked the review and enjoy the tunes!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Vultures Become Eagles" Euro Tour 2012

Cool news coming from a couple of friends of mine who happen to play in the bands which will tour! Two bands from the Balkans will join forces and storm over Europe this September, those two being "Expectations" from Bulgaria and a new, up and coming band project from Serbia called "Eaglehaslanded". The tour plan looks something like this:

Sept. 4 - Sofia, Bulgaria
Sept. 5 - Brasov, Romania
Sept. 6 - Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Sept. 7 - Budapest, Hungary - TBC
Sept. 8 - Krakow/Katowice, Poland - TBC
Sept. 9 - Warsaw/Area, Poland - TBC
Sept. 10 - Wroclaw/Area, Poland - TBC
Sept. 11 - Prague, Czech - TBC
Sept. 12 - Vienna, Austria - NEED HELP !!!
Sept. 13 - Bratislava, Slovakia or Brno, Czech - NEED HELP !!!
Sept. 14 - Pecs, Hungary
Sept. 15 - Novi Sad, Serbia - TBC

In addition to these dates, the bands have expressed their wishes for promoters to get in touch, in case there is a wish for a show which is outside of these areas. Get in touch, either in the comment section bellow, or on the following facebook page found here.
My readers have already heard about "Expectations" in one of my show reviews and in a couple of days I will be posting a write-up about their newly released recordings, just as soon as I post some way overdue reviews first. Until then, check them out on their bandcamp page here.
"Eaglehaslanded" is still a really young band playing neocrust and is currently recording an album, this tour being a way to promote their work. You can check them out on their facebook page here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Todos Caerán - Euro Summer Tour 2012

Very happy and excited to announce the tour of "Todos Caerán", a band I'm quite fond of due to the fact that they are one of the bands which were present at the early stages of this blog. This hard working screamo quintet from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, plans to hit the road and conquer Europe this June, but they still need some help! Here is their tour plan:

1.6. – Nijmegen, NL @ De Onderbroek
2.6. – Lübeck, DE @ VeB Lübeck
3.6. – HELP – Berlin?
4.6. – HELP – Prague?
5.6. – HELP – Vienna?
6.6. – Eger, HU @ Venue TBA
7.6. – Novi Sad, RS @ Venue TBA
8.6. – Banja Luka, BA @ Venue TBA
9.6. – Zagreb, HR @ Venue TBA
10.6. – HELP – Ljubljana/Graz/Salzburg?
11.6. – HELP – Munich/Ulm/Stuttgart?
12.6. – Oetinger Villa, Darmstadt DE
13.6. – Köln, DE @ Venue TBA

Also planned are several dates in the UK, but those are already fixed and will be announced soon. If you think you can help them out with any of the above posted dates get in touch by leaving a comment here or through the band's facebook profile found here. You can also send them an e-mail via the following address:
jternovo AT gmail DOT com
In case you are not familiar with "Todos Caerán", you can check out the reviews I wrote about them, one for their EP found here and one about their 10'' split with "Bears" found here. Don't miss out on this cool band and see you on the road!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gig review: Russian Circles, Deafheaven

When I first heard about this tour I was completely mind blown by the lineup and I was hoping that I can catch a show. As it turned out, my visit to the Netherlands was not well adjusted and there was no way for me to grab the performance. Yet, by some extremely unexpected and lucky circumstances, my stay was prolonged and one more amazing gig has been added to my seen live list. 

The show occurred a few days ago, namely on 21 April 2012, in a venue called "Tivoli De Helling" located in Utrecht, the fourth largest city in the Netherlands. Generally speaking, this venue reminded me of "Doornroosje" in Nijmegen, the place where the "Kylesa" show was held in February and about which you can read in my gig review here. Unlike "Sleeping Beauty", "Tivoli De Helling" has a really minimalist exterior and is basically just a big, dark, neat building with not much outside decoration. There is a wide entry door at the front and a small ticket window on its right side, numerous windows on the upper floor and that is pretty much all that grabs your eyesight while you are walking toward the place. The interior remains somewhat dark as well, but at the same time it is very lively. First thing that you notice is a nice bar just across the room and several small tables for enjoying your drinks.  On the left side of the place there is a secluded smoking room, while on the right there is a big drop counter for leaving jackets and bags. Also, near the very entrance, a small band merch table is located, the place where my better half and me fell to the temptation of buying the amazing silk-screened tour poster. Soon upon arriving we moved to the actual show space to which you enter through a double door near the smoking room. The gig room is the thing that really reminded me of "Doornroosje", as far as both the design and the technical features go. A wide, spacey location capable of supporting a great number of attendants, decorated with dim light, occasional clouds of smoke and a big stage that dominates the sight. As you will realize by the end of this review, the sound capabilities were very powerful and satisfying as well.
Doors of the venue opened at 7:30 PM, the show being scheduled to start at 8:15 PM. A short delay followed, but soon enough "Deafheaven" took the stage and kicked off the night. Seeing the band in February this year absolutely blew my mind away and left me stunned, so I was really looking forward to checking them out a second time and compare the two performances. In case you missed my review of their show in Amsterdam you can check it out here. By now all of my readers know how big my infatuation for this band is and I presume that this black metal band already crawled into the hearts of many who visit the blog. Ever since their first recordings surfaced on the light of day they have just kept grabbing more and more of my liking, this show being yet another step down that same path. Much like as on their previous gig which I attended, songs from "Roads to Judah" were played and this time we heard the album in its entirety, all four songs wrapped into a magnificent 45 minute performance. Already the beginning of "Violet" signaled that the sound will definitely not disappoint and in fact it managed to grow stronger. I was standing there in front of the stage in awe as wave after wave of the audio ocean kept hitting the senses nonstop, the very floor trembling under the onslaught of "Deafheaven". Movement on stage was also quite lively, with one of the guitarists constantly swinging himself as he played and, of course, the dancing of the singer did not go unnoticed. I have to admit though, that his act wasn't as nearly as provocative and taunting as in Amsterdam, which I presume is much more appealing for the majority of the crowd. Yet, as before, he managed to spice up the whole spectacle with his body movement. At this point I will stop with giving compliments to "Deafheaven", simply because I would end up repeating my words from the other review. The only bad thing that occurred on this particular show was the extremely low volume of the vocal... or well, the high volume of the instruments. The vocal was barely noticeable, despite Clarke screaming his lungs out and putting maximum effort. The only instances where he could be properly heard were moments when the guitar playing would be toned down a bit, like in some instances in "Unrequited". I have no idea whether the band noticed this imbalance of sound, but it definitely made their performance lower in intensity. Overall, their act was impressive, but I think it would be on a much better scale if the vocals were in proper order, possibly overshadowing the previous show I saw. Either way, this flaw wasn't actually their fault, so I am still pretty much far from even considering being disappointed.
About twenty or so minutes after "Deafheaven" went off stage, "Russian Circles" began. What is there to say about this brilliant post rock/post metal trio? If you haven't heard about them yet, you were probably living under a stone for the past eight years. In the said period, the band has kept lashing out astounding releases, constantly growing and expanding their sound, being stronger and more impressive every step of the way. I have been in love with their music ever since "Enter" came out back in 2006 and now it was finally time to witness them live. Prior to the show I was told that they were amazing in concert and during this show those claims came to be utterly true. The unstoppable force created by these three men on stage broke loose with the tones of the song "Carpe" and from that point on I was completely amazed, watching and listening for the next hour totally stunned. It was absolutely amazing to witness the gigantic wall of sound created by only three band members. Everything was shaking with intensity, then in another moment gentle melodies make the audience relax a bit only to be smashed again by an audio explosion. If one would just listen to their performance with closed eyes, the band would definitely be mistaken for an entire orchestra. The first song continued into "Harper Lewis", later followed by songs such as "309", "Youngblood" and "Death Rides A Horse". There was a perfect mixture of older songs and the tracks from their latest album "Empros", so I really feel like they managed to satisfy everyone who attended. Each song was performed in a perfect manner, sounding literally as on the recordings with the great clash of calm and aggressive for which they are famous for. With the addition of the above mentioned monstrously epic sound they really managed to create an impressive audio landscape and absolutely impress.
It is really tough to make a closing word for this concert. Maybe it is because this year has been extremely fruitful for me, as far as seeing amazing shows goes, so I always end up being mind blown. Either way, the night on April 21 will definitely be in the basket for running toward the best show of 2012. I sincerely hope that I will have a chance to see these bands again, despite seeing one of them twice already, and that they don't stop doing what they do for a very, very long time.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Wow, almost an entire month without a single update. Most of you probably think that both me and this blog are dead, but rest assured that it is not the case. Still pretty much alive, but without a lot of time to write and in fact this month I have been lacking hours spent on the internet in general. Starting somewhere next week you can count on more regular updates in the future due to my wish to try and be as creative as possible.

"Reservoir" is a four piece project hailing from Pennsylvania formed in late 2010. Ever since then the band has been playing some exquisite post-hardcore/emo music which is, thus far, packed into a demo, one seven inch release and a stand alone track. In short, if you are a fan of acts such as "Small Brown Bike", "Mineral", "Sunny Day Real Estate" or "Braid" then this band is worth your time. A while ago, I have been contacted by Justin from the band in hopes of me doing a review of their latest release and he was kind enough to also send me their demo recordings. It took me quite a lot of time to get to write about "Reservoir", for which I am sorry, but needless to say I fell in love with their music instantly and all of their output deserves to be talked about.
The demo saw the light of day in early 2011, namely second February is the official date of release. Twelve minutes of music are sculpted into four songs which really grow up to the older bands already mentioned above. The intro song called "Still" takes you on a one-breath ride and there is seriously no place to push pause or stop until the entire demo is over. All tracks are constantly flowing on fast pace with a lot of twists and turns along the way, being in the form of various bridges, slight tune drops and buildups of intensity. The diversity of sound was really interesting to behold, since there is always something unexpected going on. Repetitive song sections are minimal or almost nonexistent, which makes you just sit, absorb and analyze their sound. I particularly enjoyed the vocals on this release, since you get to hear a crude, raspy throat being intersected with a more clear, gentler voice, with various changes as far as dominance goes and multiple spots with pack singing/screaming. The same goes for instruments, since most of the times everything is just perfectly melded together and then you get to hear a certain band member being pushed up front under the spotlight for a few seconds. Melodies seem to be connected well and extremely precise, in my ears sometimes grabbing a few attributes from certain mathy genres.
"Forgetting and Trusting" is a song that came out in July 2011 and it represents a great transition and bridge between the demo and the band's latest release. As with all young bands it is really obvious to expect some kind of change in sound and this song is a good example of evolution. At first glance, the song is longer than previous output of the band and, once it starts, changes are apparent. Here the band experimented a lot when it comes to various paces of their tunes, which resulted in a much slower track. It floats from slow to medium tempo, with the sound itself also swinging between quiet and calm to occasionally bursting with volume and reaching toward fast pace. Overall, it is an interesting song, definitely paving the way toward the new material. "Into Endings" is the most recent creation of the band, coming out on 21 October 2011 as a 7'' release by "Upside Down Records". The three songs which are present on the record seem like the most solid form of output the band came to write, taking the best from their demo and just further bettering it. Once again, songs are really fast and this flow is the dominant one for the ten minutes featured on this seven inch. The very sound quality of the recordings has dramatically changed for the better and witnessing the already mentioned complexity and precision in songs is much more enjoyable now. Melodies remained raw and truly heartfelt, at times reminding me of a mix between "Merchant Ships" and "Title Fight". Bet you didn't see that one coming. Either way, the band really took a huge step forward and the transition is amazing.
Currently, "Reservoir" has a couple of gigs lined up, but as far as new material goes I have no idea what they are up to. All of you who have a facebook account can follow them on their page here and you can also visit the website of "Upside Down Records", found here. I sincerely hope that this band stays together and that they continue writing music, since they are all extremely talented. Definitely check them out, you'll love them for sure!