LLNN & WOVOKA ‘Marks/Traces’ Split Review & Full Stream

LLNN/WOVOKA
Split – CD//Vinyl
Pelagic Records – Relase Date: June 16th, 2017
Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

LLNN’s and WOVOK’s Marks/Traces split will see release June 16th via Pelagic Records on CD, LP, and digital formats. It remains to be seen if the planet’s fans of atmospherically dense, crushing doom heaviness are able to withstand this bleakly oppressive effort. The seven song Split sees Copenhagen, Denmark’s LLNN contributing six of those selections while Los Angeles, California’s WOVOKA add one rather lengthy number themselves. But it is the results that matter here I suppose and in this case, those are impressive…perhaps depressive too for some but either way, this is textural doom in all of it’s glorious greatness.

The beginning of the Split does so with the superb LLNN track ‘The Guardian‘, a melding of post-hardcore and noise rock with obvious doom and metallic overtones. The track’s rhythmic, pattern-like pulses act like a slow-grooving juggernaut rendering all before it asunder. Tribal drumming and intermittent walls of sound host the acidic vocalizations that permeate the song. Subsequent cuts like ‘Swarms’ and the blast furnace ferociousness of ‘Engineer Of Ire‘ only drag you further downward into the mire of this sludgened bog. The stand-out content provided by LLNN definitely is delivered in the back-to-backs tracks ‘Nostromo Falls‘, ‘Eye Of The Covenant‘ and ‘Gravitated‘. The latter one an instrumental delivering a slow deluge of electronica, rumbling undercurrents of bottom-end heaviness and shadowy, eerie vibes altogether. There are haunting vocal chants that remain ethereal and quite ghostly as well.

Traces‘ is WOVOKA‘s one lone, long-playing selections at over seventeen minutes playing time. After a brief intro piece, a barrage of molasses-molded riffs, skull crushing rhythms and drums driven by what sounds like axehandle-hewn strikes arrive. Hellish, anguished vocals cascade from within the cacophony, flowing across turbulent tempos and resting harshly upon your soul. Everything feels as if it is gradually increasing, building ever so subtly like a slow rising tide that will eventually overcome you..and it does. Aggressive transmittances ebb and flow, rise and crash within this swirl of tidal tonality until a break point is reached. From it, things settle into a less chaotic state as some massive bass lines and tightly wound drums take the reigns. Eventually they are accompanied by some intriguing, emotionally-enhanced clean vocals as the cut takes on a more definitive alternative, almost showgaze-y styling of post-rock content.

The pairing of these two bands on this Split from Pelagic Records is an ideally intelligent move. Both LLNN and WOVOKA work well in complimenting each others’ contribution. While there’s currently just a track from each band above (a press promo copy of the album was used for this review), it is more than enough for you to fathom exactly what we are dealing with here. ‘Marks/Traces‘ is a volatile offering that is simultaneously dangerous and daring for all the parties involved..them, you, me, us..everyone. See all ordering links below.

For Fans Of: Cult Of Luna, Neurosis, ISIS, Amenra

North America:
CD: http://pelagicrecords.indiemerch.com/item/45849
Vinyl: http://pelagicrecords.indiemerch.com/item/45848

EU:
CD: http://www.pelagic-records.com/?p=11628
Vinyl: http://www.pelagic-records.com/?p=11621

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker


THAL & HASHISHIAN ‘Taurean’ Split EP Review, Stream & NYP Item

THAL & HASHISHIAN
Taurean: Split EP – CD//DD
Self-Release
Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

After a string of singles, multi-track EPs and the critically acclaimed 2016 full-length ‘Glitter‘, Columbus, Ohio’s one man abomination that is THAL (The Heathens Are Loose) is back! But the wizard-like maestro behind the project, Vince Green, has brought some friends along with him on this latest offering. Not only is his wytCHord bandmate Kevin Hartnell stepping in to contribute drums and guitars to this new material but hell, there’s a whole other band connected to this release. That band, Malaysia’s Hashishian, contributed three tracks along with THAL‘s three here for this six song, two band recording: the ‘Taurean‘ split EP.

THAL are the first to rumble out of the gate with their bass line-introduced first song, ‘Bloodglutton‘. Things quickly escalate into a full on aural discharge of wailing guitars and crushing drums before the lyrical lull of the first verse draws us into things. Before you know it, a vicious, throat searing scream fully unleashes the track loose upon us all. Things soon settle into a rhythmic patterning while spoken word inserts, in this case news reports, describe sightings of what sounds to be Chupacabra. Next on deck is the southern doom-infused grooves of ‘Flood The River‘, a song driven by thick, chugging riffs and splintering drum work. Hazy tones ripple across the air as Vince’s distinct vocals weave the tale to be told within the track. The last track from the Buckeye State boys is ‘Feast For The Wicked‘ which begins with some seriously Iron Maiden-ish-toned guitars before kicking in. Once fully engaged, the song takes on a bit more airy overtones as its uptempo, energized delivery powers through. You can hear a much different vocal approach here than what we are used to with THAL too but it suits the more European-flared power metal sound of the music well.

Hashishian are a quite bit different than their predecessors, at least style-wise as these guys play more downtuned, slower-paced sludge. Seth Nazgul (Bass/Vocals), Jiesus (Guitar/Vocals) and Sur Gondrong (Drums) are clearly students of the Black Sabbath-meets-Sleep school of sonics. Once the wispy, sedate intro of ‘Carving The Void‘ melts away, things explode into a deluge of fuzzened guitars, shuddering rhythms and acidic, volatile vocals. The thick-ass tones in the track periodically yield to frenzies of furious, punk-ish musicality. However, ‘Journal Of A White Crow‘ unfolds with some bluesy guitars wailing out as the cleaner delivered vocals present themselves. After a moment or two, things abruptly hit a wall of slowly rendered psychedelic flavors before reprising the frenetic intensities once again. Last track, ‘Magic Of Kenna‘, delves into a dizzying den of southern sludge and relentless rivets of drumming before hitting the brakes and turning headlong into some doom. It all escalates into squealing guitars, spiraling bass, and solid drumming before it finds its end and leaves you nearly breathless from what you’ve just experienced.

The unexpected pairing of THAL and Hashishian for the ‘Taurean‘ split EP was a nice surprise and in THAL‘s case, a nice holdover item while the work continues on the follow-up to Glitter. He probably won’t mind me telling you this but Vince recently let me hear a brand new THAL demo track, a work-in-progress if you will. Even in that raw state I can tell you the song is bad ass and definitely displayed some experimentation going on with the band’s overall sound, and vocals too. Anyway, ‘Taurean‘ is streaming in the Bandcamp embed below so check it out but wait, it gets better! Once there, the 6-song EP is available as a NYP (Name Your Price) item so you can snag it for notta if you must go that route.