Released: February 2011 (HS021)
Format: CD EP
To coincide with Monarch’s first Japanese tour and their 3rd tour of Australia, Heathen Skulls have issued a very limited tour EP entitled ‘Sortilege’. Sortilege is one 11 minute doom drone / industrial noise track recorded during the Sabbat Noir sessions in late December 2009 at Amanita Studios with Stephen Kreiger. Packaged in a 6-panel digi pak with similar silver layered blackened artwork at their Sabbat Noir album, these two releases make for companion pieces. They’re best played back to back.
Released: February 2011 (HS020)
What we have here is the CD version of Monarchs fifth album Sabbat Noir!
Sabbat Noir is one long piece of music which was initially split into two pieces spread across both sides of the Sabbat Noir LP, here it can be heard in it’s entirety, the way it was recorded and how it’s played live. It was recorded at Amanita Studios, France, in late December 2009 by Stephen Kreiger. Sabbat. Sabbat Noir is packaged in a deluxe 6-panel digi pack with glorious silver reflective artwork with high gloss coating, the idea of the silver packaging for the CD version is exactly the same as the LP version, though the layout of the artwork is a little different, the CD version has extra photos and liner notes.
Released: 26 May 2010 (HS019)
Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, Brian Chase and Seth Misterka are a freethinking sonic duo content on bring back the vigor and spontaneity of experimental free jazz whilst taking a modern approach that’s entirely their own.
Coming together in 2005 at one of Seth’s regular Brooklyn improvised free jazz nights, Brian and Seth immediately connected and began recording their debut self titled album, only months after their first collaboration.
Brian is best know for his impressive work as drummer in New York based rock trio Yeah Yeah Yeahs, his companion in sound Seth Misterka is a highly regarded, well established session saxophonist who’s most notable for his work with Anthony Braxton’s ensemble. Together they create a unique form of minimalist free jazz that’s akin to the likes of Albert Ayler, Sun Ra and Sonic Youth’s SYR series of releases.
Recorded in April 2010 in Brooklyn, NYC, The Shape of Sound is Brian and Seth’s 2nd album.
Released: 29 March 2010 (HS018)
Format: 12 inch
Hailing from Bayonne, a small town located in the dark reaches of the south of France, better known as Basque Country, lies a slow as hell, dark as death blackened doom metal band like no other, they call them selves Monarch and they ascended to this earth in the year of 2004 via their previous fast-core power violence incarnation Tetsuo.
Drawing comparisons to the likes of Khanate, Burzum, Corrupted, Melvins and Burning Witch, Monarch are a feedback drenched funeral doom quartet fronted by the very beautiful and devilishly evil screaming banshee Emily Bresson. On bass we have MicHell Hammer on Bass, on guitar Shiran Fabrice and now on drums Robert MacManus, formally of Grey Daturas.
Sabbat Noir is Monrch’s latest long player, it’s one one long piece of music split into two pieces spread across both sides of the Sabbat Noir LP. It was recorded at Amanita Studios, France, in late December 2009 by Stephen Kreiger. Sabbat Noir is strictly limited to 400 180-gram LP’s.
Released: October 2009 (HS017)
Format: 7 inch
After two CD albums together and handful of shows in and around Melbourne, Blarke Bayer / Black Widow (Ben Andrews of My Disco / Agents of Abhorrence & Robert MacManus of Black Widow & Grey Daturas) released their first vinyl release, and what better way to do than to coincide with their first Australian Tour. Limited to 300 copies of thick wax, this 7″ features two out takes from their soon to be released 3rd album, due out early 2010
Released: June 2009 (HS016)
Format: 12 inch
After Dirk of Fears Falls burning joined Grey Daturas on stage at ZXZW festival in the netherlands, it was inevitable a collaboration would happen at some point.
The Black Fire is Dirt of Fears Falls Burning and Robert MacManus of Black Widow & Grey Daturas, Anthems is an industrial drone LP featuring four tracks of harsh noise and low end rumble.
It was mastered by Scott Hull of Pig Destroyer and the artwork was done by Eric Olofsson of Cult of Luna.
Released: June 2009 (HS015)
Format: 7 inch
To coincide with their 2nd European Tour Grey Daturas issued this ultra rare tour 7″, hand numbered and limited to 300, this sucker is awesome.
Featuring one new track on Side A (the last studio recording Grey Daturas made) and the bands logo etched into Side B, this is surely going to be collectable someday, hopefully.
Released: June 2009 (HS014)
Format: 12 inch
After a year of failed releases and set backs, Grey Daturas final album is finally released on LP!
Pressed onto 170 gram vinyl with mastering by Scott Hull of Pig Destroyer, this is heavy sounding sonic release with artwork that looks far better than the CD version, it’s bigger!
Released: February 2009 (HS013)
Format: 7 inch
To coincide with their first Australian Tour, French funeral doom merchants Monarch released this ultra rare tour 7″, it’s hand numbered and limited to 300.
Side A features two Disclose and Discharge covers and on Side B, an etching of the bands logo!
This is one for the collectors, two crust covers and an etching, enough said really.
Released: 2nd June 2008 (HS012)
Slag Welter is the debut album from Embers!
Embers is a brutal, free-jazz/grind-noise quartet from Melbourne, Australia. Their music is freely improvised jazz-noise with echoes of blasting grind and heavy, free rock. The group is made up of bucketrider members, Adam Simmons (various saxophones), Dave Brown (electric microtonal bass) and Sean Baxter (drum kit and junk) with Globe Unity Orchestra alumni, Kris Wanders (tenor saxophone). Presented in a deluxe cardboard gate fold wallet with artwork that’ll make your mind melt, Slag Welter is the ideal shopping gift this Christmas!
Released: 22 April 2008 (HS011)
US / European customers – available thru Neurot Recordings)
Review by Aquarius Records USA:
Huzzah! Our favorite instrumental down-under doom-bringers return (to disruption) with this new full-length, the prolific Melbourne trio’s debut for Neurosis’ Neurot label. It’s a good fit, of course, this should go over well with the whole post-rock/metal crowd, this album often grindingly hypnotic, the Grey Daturas’ lumbering sheets of distorto-drone skullflowering forth over a roiling bed of precision percussive clangor right from the get-go! Their threatening waves of pure heaviness, sharpened into a drill-drone of an attack, also occasionally take detours into areas of abstract ambience, the guitars of Bonnie Mercer and Rob MacManus carving psychedelic feedback sculptures, then tightening again back into full metallic impact, driven by the skittering drums of Robert Manson. As heavy as they are (which is HEAVY) you can’t really call the Grey Dats a metal band. They’re in that quasi-metal realm with the likes of SUNNO))), Boris, Harvey Milk, and Nadja, perhaps, with a certain amount of experimental lo-fi fuckery going on that reminds us of many of their freenoise comrades over in nearby New Zealand… The title track itself is a clattering, pottering about, like something the Dead C would come up with, while the track called “Undisturbed” is anything but, sounding like a violin or creaking door hinge dying a slow and dismal death. And the high-end scraping skree of “Balance Of Convenience” should peel some paint. And then, as already mentioned, there’s all the juggernaut, trance-inducing, spaced-out, instrumental doom rock post rock surging through tracks like “Beyond And Into The Ulimate” and “Neuralgia”. The Grey Daturas definitely like all the varieties of drone! And fans of, what should we call it, avant-doom, or drone-doom, or whatever, should like all varieties of the Grey Daturas, starting with this disc if you haven’t already made their acquaintance, covering all the bases as it does!
Released: 2 August 2007 (HS010)
Black Widow, not to be mistaken with the 70â€™s British psych rock band, is the solo side project of Robert MacManus of Melbourneâ€™s Grey Daturas, Robert also runs Heathen Skulls. Actually the person writing this blurb right now is Black Widow, hi how are you? I also dabble in freelance writing and stuff like that. So anyway, devised as an outlet to explore more striped back guitar improvisations, Black Widow has slowly but surely morphed into an improvised really that has now expanded far beyond the limitations of my mind, or my guitar to be more precise. Recent recordings, like Night of the Raven, has seen me experimenting with percussion and effected voice whilst other recordings, like the 2 collaborations albums I did with Blarke Bayer, have seen me noodling with prepared piano and various forms of wind instruments.
If you like Wolf Eyes, Sunn O)), Throbbing Gristle, Drone, ambient and minimal noise stuff you might like this release. Good luckâ€¦
Released: July 2007 (HS009)
Audible Delusions Ensemble is an improvisational music collective organized by Steve Touchston of Oakland, California, via Mobile, Alabama. It serves to bring together different combinations of his favorite contemporary players for recording sessions of pieces based on everything from composed scores to verbal instructions to total free playing. AudibleDelusionsEnsemble will hopefully illuminate the much too often overlooked thread which connects different schools of music such as noise, free jazz, punk, hardcore, electronica, process music, and various other anarchic avant-garde forms. “Winter’s Weapons” is a document of some of the cuts from the first recording session, which took place in December of 2006. The players were Jorge Behringer (Caroliner, Core of the Coalman), Robert MacManus (Grey Daturas), Matthew Grothman (Vholtz, Woman’s Worth), Yasi Perera (Breezy Days) Band, Syrinx), and of course Steve Touchston (xbxrx, snowsuit*, Kit). Percussion, guitar, piano, viola, saxophone, synthesizer, processed vocals, and various electronics abound. With the exception of “People’s Park”, no tracks on this album contain any overdubs or post-production trickery beyond basic mixing methods like compression and EQ.
Released: July 2007 (HS008)
Review by Ben Gook of Mess & Noise:
Australia / 2007 Just in time for Fatherâ€™s Day comes a slab of barbeque-rattling doom metal set to spark Sunday lunchtime conversation in all new directions/dimensions. Agonhymn are a Melbourne two-piece with an interest in aural density and, as they put it, â€˜superiority through volumeâ€™. Doom Jazz is a slab of largesse with intimations of a mud-slide â€“ a viscous deluge of heavy-and-thick detuned chords and stump-rumbling bass. The natural world is one the band themselves reach for: one track here â€“ theyâ€™re all unnamed â€“ fades with the tranquil sound of sea-gulls and lapping sea-water, coming only after the primeval pummelling of the song which precedes it. An appeal to nature is often associated with this type of slowcore metal, its overwhelming scale reaching for a kind of natural sublimity. With other bands, this can easily trip over into mysticism, but remaining largely instrumental (and inscrutable when singing), Agonhymn avoid the embarrassing New Age lyrical realms of their brethren. Even in the ear-bruising sections, the band has a sense of dynamics which keep things moving and interesting. A faster-paced stoner-rock interlude on track four and a few sections of post-rock style guitar ambiance provide different shadings. So with the old man already rocking the latest Neurosis disc, mum sick of the Isis remix stocking-filler and your baby brother spending winter with Jesu, Agonhymnâ€™s Doom Jazz is the perfect family gift this year. Agonhymn: not just for Fatherâ€™s Day, for damned eternit
Released: July 2007 (HS007)
NYC avant-garde Free Jazz, featuring Brian Chase of Yeah Yeah Yeahs!
Seth Misterka and Brian Chase (of Yeah Yeah Yeahs!) are a sax and drums duo based out of Brooklyn, New York. The composition of the material on this recording is improvised and performed with an emphasis on clarity, lyricism, and easiness. Motifs unfurl gradually with nudges that could easily push them in one direction as another with the joy of where they are at the moment always paramount. Trace the thread of the themes as they slowly wind their way through memory and free-associaitons. Hypnotic textures swirl and kaleidoscopic patterns form, the music becoming alternately cool and abstract, melodic and mind-expanding. It is a Mystical, Minimal Music.
FOR FANS OF: TOMMY JAMES AND THE SHONDELLS, ALBERT AYLER, SUN RA, SONIC YOUTH’S SYR RELEASES, IKUE MORI’S ONE HUNDRED ASPECTS OF THE MOON
Released: July 2007 (HS006)
Review by Aquarius Records USA:
For a band who supposedly broke up, Monarch sure have managed to put out a whole bunch of music, post mortem. And while this is funeral doom and everything, we’re not talking some Biggie Smalls / Tupac Shakur music from beyond the grave thing (although you never know!), it seems the announced breakup was premature, and lucky for all the doomongers among you, the Monarch is alive and (un)well. Avid readers of the AQ list should need no introduction to French downtuned slow motion sludge doom trio Monarch. A band truly worthy of many multiples of ‘o’s (dooooooooooooooooooooom), whose plod and crawl is so slow it often veers near static drone territory, and who also manage to deftly mix in a bit of subtle loveliness into their harsh metallic trudge, AND whose peculiar sense of humor, and album art, and unlikely front woman, definitely make them stand out in an increasingly crowded field… For those new to Monarch let’s recap shall we? Quite possibly the world’s only female fronted deathdoomdronedirge outfit. An unholy mix of Khanate, Corrupted, Bunkur and Moss, but with a petite young French woman on lead vocals, usually clad in Converse hightops, a skirt and a sweater, hair in a pony tail, no tattoos or spikes or leather, but when she opens her mouth, out comes the foulest demonic shrieks and hellish gurgles you have EVER heard. Certainly from a woman, maybe from ANY one, man, woman or beast. Then there are the record covers, always covered in grade school like doodles of cute big eyed skulls, puffy ghosts, burning churches, and hearts all over the place. They’re like a Sanrio doom band. And not surprisingly are obsessed with Hello Kitty (their email address is sanriosabbath!!). But eyes closed, and these guys and gal can most definitely hold their own amongst the slow motion elite. With the added bonus of a singer who can actually sing and does occasionally, adding a definite creepy melodic moodiness to the music. So this double disc collects two ultra limited lps (the band seem to lean toward lps, AND double cds, with songs clocking in at 10, 20, sometimes 30 minutes), one that we carried a while back and sold out in the blink of an eye, the massive and amazing Speak Of The Sea, and weirdly enough, another 2 song lp, that’s not really out yet entitled appropriately enough Die Tonight. So what has us so smitten with Monarch? Besides the above that is? Let’s start with Speak Of The Sea, a massive pummeling wall of headsplitting ultra doom, an impossibly glacial plodding thud wrapped in ear shredding sheets of corrosive feedback that will tear your insides out and fill your ears with black tar. A gorgeously dense. ultra caustic and corrosive funereal doom that manages to be dreamy and darn near pretty while it’s pummeling you to death. Easily one of the slowest heaviest dooooooooom records ever, three looooong tracks. Each so slow it’s almost ambient. It’s a bit like listening to SUNNO))) or Earth 2 when some caveman drummer decides to crash the party and start drumming slowly along. Riffs stretched out into huge droning smears of black rumble, ringing and reverberating, pulsing and wavering unsteadily before the next ten ton riff drops. Each track is a slow plodding ultradoomscape, like the ultimate doom metal intro stretched into actual songs, smeared across nearly an hour. The vocals don’t even come in until the first song is almost over, a shrieking black coda, after twenty minutes of slow burning doom drone tension. The second track features some distant Ozzy-like crooning way off in the distance before the scowling growl kicks in. So slow and heavy. On the AQ doooooomscale, this ranks more O’s than we could possibly include in this review! And for the cd release, they’ve tacked on a whole ‘nother song to the first disc (album), a creepy, pretty near ambient crawl, nothing but the sound of the surf crashing on the shore, a thick hissy staticky sound, slowly swelling and drifting, very meditative, with hushed urgently whispered vocals hovering above the crashing sea, very strange, but quite nice. Then we get to Die Tonight, a record most of us (if not all of us) have not heard until now. And if anything it’s everything Speak Of The Sea was and MORE. Heavier (as if that were even possible), slower (ditto) and more blurred out, buzzy and dronelike, with bits of the song so blissed out, the drum hits and chaotic crashes are so far apart, you can almost forget you’re listening to a doom band, wallowing in the glorious shimmering drones of the drawn out chords, before a howled shriek and a massive crunch knocks you near out of your seat. There’s also more singing, with gorgeous drifting vocals that hover alongside long stretches of buzzing guitar making for haunting harmonies, giving the proceedings brief moments of surprising tranquility. And the vocals continue to twist and turn, from hushed and whispery, to girlish and sing songy to inhuman demonic screech, all the while, the band trudging along dronelike, weaving impossibly pretty soundscapes from downtuned crunch and skull cracking thud. This is absolutely essential doom. If you like Esoteric, Boris, Moss, Bunkur, SUNNO))), Earth, Esoteric, Skepticism, Eyehategod, Marzuraan, Atavist, Catacombs, Khanate, Pale Horse, Monument Of Urns and you NEED this! And the drifting drone element is in full effect, so those who have yet to dabble in the doom pool, might check this out, the long drawn out shimmers and Niblock like layers of guitar rumble might hit the spot and have you digging deeper for more and more dooooom. Gorgeously packaged in a black gatefold, printed in silver ink, decorated with big eyed ghosts, a sailing ship with upside down crosses and a heart on the sail, lots of stars, some cute birdies, and an anchor with a heart on it. Inside are two silver on black printed inserts, with all the lyrics, the liner notes and a thanks list that says it all: Moss, Noothgrush, Otesanek, Corrupted, Bastard Noise, Rainbow Of Death, Nuit Noire and of course “our lucky stars”!
Released: March 2007 (HS005)
Massive and gorgeous glacial drone exploration from these two Australian one man bands, combined to form, well… a two man band. Black Widow is Rob MacManus from AQ faves the Grey Daturas, and he teams up with Ben Andrews aka Blarke Bayer who spends most of his time in Aussie grinders Agents of Abhorrence. But if you just think Grey Daturas plus AoA, you definitely won’t have imagined this. Some glorious bastardized blend of Taj Mahal Travellers organic drift and Lustmordian black ambience. Three long tracks, the first a slow burning sprawl, guitars grinding out long whorls of low end buzz, slowwly undulating, a sort of more subdued SUNNO))) sort of sound, streaked with bits of smeared feedback, and random bits of muted percussion, a gorgeously expansive bit of minimal whir that has everyone in the store totally entranced every time it plays. The second sounds like the guys exploring the inside of a piano, buzzing strings and struck tones, with those distinctly guts-of-a-keyboard overtones, shimmering clouds of tonal drift that occasionally coalesce into fleeting melodies, while elsewhere, the actual keys of the keyboard are struck to add a slightly out of tune counter point, making the whole thing trippy and slightly off kilter. The final track is downright pretty, and almost Dirty Three style minor key dirge, strummed reverbed guitars shifting and drifting in an expanse of distant rumbles and bits of fuzz and tape hiss. Moody, minor key, melancholy and simply gorgeous.
Released: November 2006 (HS004)
Price: SOLD OUT!
Review by Aquarius Records USA:
Australia’s Grey Daturas are like our very own noise rock Santa Claus. They come about once a year, and every time they show up, they have a huge bag of sonic goodies. And while Santa probably doesn’t come to punish our ear drums and pummel us to within an inch of our lives, crammed into some smokey sweaty little club, we’d probably have to take the Daturas over Santa any day!!! Unless this year is the year we finally get that pony… This time, the band brought with them a brand new record, technically an EP, but at nearly 40 minutes it’s plenty long enough to be a record proper. And as always it’s a corker. Somehow, it seems to be their most structured and least chaotic, which in no way is a bad thing, nor does it mean that it still isn’t packed freaked out noise rock or vast expanses of abstract psych guitar because it is. And then some. The opener is definitely the Daturas at their most rock. Simple driving drums beneath an impossible dense swirl of HEAVY guitars, drenched in FX and churning wildly. It’s like the blown out psych rock endless jam outro of every Hawkwind song jacked up and compressed into seven minutes. The rest of the record is a bit less rock, returning to their abstract noise rock ambience, like a heaver, more psychedelic Dead C, from abstract guitar jangle drift wrapped around random bits of drum flutter to an explosive noisrockmindfuck halfway through the disc, thick peals of distorted guitar that crash and crush but are almost immediately turned inside out and become a strange backwards guitar squall, all warped and warbly My Bloody Valentine / Teenage Filmstars blowout, with strange rhythms created from the ssssshhhhhht sound of the guitars being sucked through time in reverse. After that it gets a bit more minimal for a stretch, with some dark rumbling dronescapes, more snippets of backward guitar, distant swirling FX, some angular Sonic Youth style guitar rock until the final track, a massive and ultra dense guitarscape, rife with acidic riffs and distorted melodies, thick clouds of clang and rrrooooaaar, each guitar piled atop one another, layer after layer of rumbling, reverberating, shrieking, shimmering, coruscating steel string skree, a bit like Skullflower at their riffiest mashed up with Acid Mothers Temple at their least. Amazing.
Released: June 2006 (HS003)
Price: SOLD OUT!
Review by Aquarius Records USA:
They may be thousands of miles apart, but it would take more than something like distance to keep these two forces of musical darkness from meeting and unleashing this Black Plague. AQ faves, Australian noise rockers the Grey Daturas, were visited recently by the US ambassadors of noise, Wolf Eyes. Never one to squander an opportunity to get together and kick up a ruckus, the Daturas dragged the Eyes into the studio, and both bands spent a few hours cooking up their own unique vision of sonic decay. Wolf Eyes came up with the 5 part “Post Civilization Muzak”, 24 minutes of grrrrrrrrrrrinding post industrial brutality. Huge sheets of coruscating electronics, super distorted guitar, and wild streaks of white hot feedback, all tangled up into a blazing blood red supernova of sound. The Grey Daturas counter with some musical density of their own. A bit more lo-fi, three long tracks, one a tangled freejazz grind psychnoise splatter, a blurred cloud of stuttery staggering freakout, another a slow plodding glacial sludge, with thick washes of abstract doom and simple tribal drumming and finally a full on far out post rock post punk instrumental epic, heavy and droney and massive. Pretty killer stuff. Packaged in a glossy digipak and released on the Daturas’ Heathen Skulls label. Includes a bonus Wolf Eyes track NOT included on the upcoming domestic lp version!!
Released: March 2006 (HS002)
Price: SOLD OUT!
Review by Aquarius Records USA:
The more we listen to the Grey Daturas, the more we see them play live, the more times we hear and their records and the more they perform and interact with other musicians and performers, the more we realize the Daturas aren’t really a band. Or more specifically aren’t -just- a band. They are music makers certainly, but they seem to approach music from a distinctly non rock band perspective. There are drums and synths and bass and guitars, oh! are there guitars, but the sounds they make and the ‘songs’ they craft have as much in common with the Dead C or SUNNO))) as they do with the drone of Sunroof! or Jonathan Coleclough or the abstract minimalism of Morton Feldman or Steve Reich. This two song live ep demonstrates that yet again. The first track is a swirling snarling tangle of slowly shifting guitar feedback, distorted waves of sonic rumble and squeal unfurl and just sort of drift and sway, slipping under and over and around each other, dense and active, but subtly so, almost tranquil, a dreamy drift of electric guitar thrum. The drums begin as just some sort of sonic garnish, a little splash here or there, before kicking into a fully rocking, totally propulsive pounding spacerock groove, the guitar and bass following suit, the track now a distorted prickly static throb, wrapped in squalls of Hendrixian guitar freakout and huge slabs of bass, lumbering skyward like a more minimal and more metal Hawkwind. The second track follows a similar path, but this time the drums are more of a chaotic presence, spitting fills in every direction, cymbal sizzle drenching everything within earshot, the guitars whipped into an impossible frenzy, so loud and recorded so hot, that the sound itself begins to crumble, a blown out blast of space rock psych fuzz sludge. Two 14 minute tracks. Hand numbered and limited to 150 copies (of which we took almost 1/3 of the pressing!). Packaged in a cool hand painted faux blood splattered digipak.
Released: November 2005 (HS001)
Price: SOLD OUT!
Review by Aquarius Records USA:
To head matchup between Australia’s Grey Daturas (whose most recent record Dead In The Woods was an AQ record of the week a while back) and Bay Area free noise duo the Yellow Swans, who just returned from a month on the road with their pals in the Daturas. This ep was only on sale at their shows in Australia and New Zealand, but we managed to get the last of their left over copies. The first track is the Yellow Swans along with their pal White Rainbow, and together they stir up a static expanse of white noise and amp buzz and pink fuzz, a swirling ambient shhhhhhhhhhhhhhrrrrrr with various melodies and bits of guitar feedback and little snippets of noise and shards of sound drifting above and below and within the muted skree. Darn near tranquil in the Yellow Swans’ universe, but by any one else’s standards this is still a blast of white noise. The Daturas take track two and they offer up a dual guitar dronefest, that sounds quite a bit like that weird tuning fork interdimensional transport thingie in the movie Phantasm. The sound of that thing was so appealing even when we were kids, maybe that’s why we grew up to enjoy thick slabs of distorted guitar droning endlessly. But that’s only the first half of the track, the second 8 minutes or so is a throbbing pummeling downtuned dirge with guitars squealing and churning and chugging and shrieking like two wild beats in a battle to the death over a fiercely pounding beat. An amazing slab of dreamy droney minimal stoner psych rock, for sure. Packaged in a cool oversize cardboard sleeve.