Posted in Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
I don’t think I knew Conan had signed to Napalm Records, but it makes sense. As Napalm continues to fortify its roster — see also Vista Chino, Alunah, Monster Magnet, My Sleeping Karma, etc. — the UK trio are a mighty battle axe to wield. However it gets released, I’m very much looking forward to seeing how Conan‘s next record comes together.
My understanding is it’ll be their first recording at the studio being built by guitarist/vocalist Jon Davis, and so more than ever, they’ll be doing things on their own terms. Expectations are heavy after Monnos and Horseback Battle Hammer, but I’ve little doubt Conan will deliver in suitably pummeling form. They certainly did at Desertfest this year.
The PR wire takes it from here:
After recently signing to Napalm Records / Spinning Goblin, we have today announced details of our October 2013 headline UK tour, the dates are as follows:
October 2nd -Sheffield -The Harley October 3rd – Leeds – Santiagos October 4th – Colchester – The Hole October 5th – London – The Black Heart October 6th – Birmingham – Asylum 2 (Fear Fest) October 8th -Manchester – Roadhouse
Support is still to be confirmed.
We also added a white on black logo patch to our Big Cartel store the other week, there selling fast so if you still want one, be quick and we also still have copies of “Mount Wrath: Live at Roadburn 2012” on CD and both can be purchasedHERE.
As I type this, I’m getting ready to head out to Days of the Doomed III in Wisconsin, and I can’t get on Route 80 and head out past Pennsylvania without at least tipping my hat — note: I never wear hats; ask me about it sometime — to Youngstown, Ohio, which played host to the glory days of the Emissions from the Monolith festival. Held at the Nyabinghi and masterminded by Greg Barratt (also at the time of Tone Deaf Touring), it was for many a Memorial Day weekend unlike any other.
I only had the opportunity to go once, in 2006, where as well as humbly introducing myself to Johnny Arzgarth and handing him a demo from my band, I was “voted off the island” by a buddy of mine who I’m pretty sure was on shrooms at the time. Can’t lie, that still hurts a little, but I guess I had it coming.
But Emissions was the place to be, and as I anticipate driving past Youngstown and maybe making it my stopping point as I divide up the trip to Days of the Doomed III (which has its own atmosphere; less weed, more beer), it seemed only prudent to dig up some Emissions footage for Wino Wednesday. There isn’t much out there, but The Hidden Hand played in 2004 — I actually posted another clip from the set for the second Wino Wednesday post ever — and though the quality isn’t great, I’m sure there are attendees whose memories are even fuzzier. It went like that sometimes.
Spirit Caravan also were supposed to play in 2001, but no dice there. In any case, whether you ever got to Emissions or not — there are some who speak of it as a religious experience; a Hajj of riffs — I hope you enjoy “The Last Tree,” which appeared on the first Hidden Hand album, Divine Propaganda, in 2003, and I hope you have a great Wino Wednesday:
The Hidden Hand, “The Last Tree” live at Emissions from the Monolith VI, 2004
Posted in Features on June 18th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
This is always fun, and because the year’s only (just about) half over, you always know there’s more to come. The last six months have brought a host of really stellar releases, and the whole time, it’s felt like just when you’ve dug your heels into something and really feel content to rest with it for a while, there’s something else to grab your ears. So it’s been for the last six months, bouncing from one record to the next.
Even now, I’ve got a list of albums, singles, EPs, tapes, demos, whatever, waiting for attention — some of which I’m viciously behind on — but it’s time to stop and take a look back at some of what the best of the first half of 2013 has been. Please note, I’m only counting full-lengths here. While I’ve heard a few killer EPs this year — looking at you, Mars Red Sky — it doesn’t seem fair to rate everything all together like that. Maybe a separate list.
If you’ve got a list of your own or some quibbling on the numbers, please leave a comment and be heard. From where I sit, that’s always the best part of this kind of thing.
The third Endless Boogie album on No Quarter was basically the soundtrack to the end of my winter, with smooth grooving cuts like “The Artemus Ward” and the classic rock shake of “On Cryology” providing a soundtrack as cool as the air in my lungs. It was my first experience with the longform-jamming improv-heavy foursome, and a CD I’m still stoked to put on and get lost in, having found that it works just as well in summer’s humidity as winter’s freeze, the off-the-cuff narrations of Paul Major (interview here) carrying a vibe unmistakably belonging to the rock history of the band’s native New York City. Was a sleeper, but not one to miss for its organic and exploratory feel.
Proffering righteous traditional doom and misery-drenched atmospherics, the debut full-length from Massachusetts-based Magic Circle hit hard and showed there’s life yet to the old ways. It never quite veered into the cultish posturing that comprises so much of the trad doom aesthetic these days, and from the grandiose riffing of guitarists Dan Ducas and Chris Corry and the blown-out vocals of frontman Brendan Radigan, it found the band carving a memorable identity for themselves with clear sonic ideas of what they wanted to accomplish. Out of all the bands on this list, I’m most interested to hear what Magic Circle do next to build on their debut.
Berlin trio Kadavar had a tough task ahead of them in releasing a sophomore answer to their self-titled, which I thought was the best first album of 2012, but when Abra Kadavar surfaced as their debut on Nuclear Blast, it was quickly apparent that the retro heavy rockers had put together a worthy follow-up. Cuts like “Come Back Life” and “Doomsday Machine” underscored the straightforward triumphs of the prior outing, while late-album arrivals “Liquid Dream,” “Rhythm for Endless Minds” and “Abra Kadabra” gave a sense that Kadavar were beginning a journey into psychedelia the results of which could be just as rewarding as even the most potent of their choruses. Their potential remains one of their biggest appeals.
It wasn’t without its rough edges, but at the core of Indianapolis heavy rockers Devil to Pay‘s fourth record was an unflinching songwriting quality that quickly established it among my go-to regulars, whether it was the quirky doom hook of “Ten Lizardmen and One Pocketknife,” the darkly progressive riffing of “Black Black Heart” or the suitably propulsive rush of “This Train Won’t Stop.” The double-guitar four-piece didn’t have much time for frills in terms of arrangement or structure, but by building on the developments over the course of their three prior releases, Devil to Pay delivered a slab of deceptively intricate standouts that made hard turns sound easy and demanded the attention it deserved.
6. Beast in the Field, The Sacred Above, the Sacred Below
Unfuckwithable tone set to destructive purpose. Immediately upon hearing the unsung Michigan drum/guitar duo’s fourth album, the impact of The Sacred Above, the Sacred Below — overwhelming though it is at times throughout the album; hello, “Oncoming Avalanche” — refused to be denied. Beast in the Field haven’t gotten anything remotely close to the attention they should for this devastating collection, but it’s one I absolutely can’t put down, cohesive in theme and full of skull-caving riffs as dynamic as they are brutally delivered by the instrumental twosome. If it’s one you missed on CD when Saw Her Ghost put it out in March (as I did), keep your eyes open for a vinyl release coming on Emetic in the next couple months. Really. Do it.
Massachusetts trio Black Pyramid quickly dispatched any doubts of their ability to continue on after the departure of their previous guitarist/vocalist, bassist Dave Gein and drummer Clay Neely joined forces with Darryl Shepard (Hackman, Blackwolfgoat, Roadsaw, etc.) to reinvigorate their battle-ready doom, and whether it was the extended jamming on “Swing the Scimitar” or the surprisingly smooth riffing on “Aphelion,” the results did not disappoint. Regardless of personnel, I’ve yet to hear a Black Pyramid album I didn’t want to hear again, and though I’ll freely admit they’re a sentimental favorite for me at this point, Adversarial is a suitable dawn for their next era. Long may they reign.
True, I will argue tooth and nail that Boston four-piece Gozu should get rid of their goofball, sitcom-referential song titles, but that’s only because I believe the band’s lack of pretense speaks for itself through the music and their tracks are too good to give listeners a chance not to take them seriously. When it comes to The Fury of a Patient Man — their second full-length behind the impressive 2010 debut, Locust Season (review here) — I knew the first time I heard it toward the end of last year that it was going to be one of 2013′s best, and while I’ve heard quibbles in favor of the debut, nothing has dissuaded me from thinking the sophomore installment outclasses it on almost every level. Expect a return appearance when the year-end list hits in December.
There’s a big part of me that feels like a sucker for digging …Like Clockwork, the first Queens of the Stone Age full-length since 2007′s relatively lackluster Era Vulgaris, but when it comes right down to it, I hit the point in listening to the album that I came around to its sheen, its up-and-down moodiness and its unabashed self-importance. I hit the point where I was able to separate …Like Clockwork from its “viral marketing” and just enjoy Josh Homme‘s all-growed-up songwriting for what it is. Would I have loved a second self-titled album? Probably, but it wasn’t realistic to think that’s what …Like Clockwork would be, and as much as I’ve tried out other spots for it, I’d be lying if I put this record anywhere else on this list but here. So there you go. I understand the arguments against it, but reason doesn’t always apply when it comes to what gets repeat spins.
I was late to the party on the second Uncle Acid offering, 2011′s Blood Lust, as I often am on records where the hype gets to din levels, but by the time the subsequent Mind Control was announced, I knew it was going to be one to watch out for. Aligned to Rise Above/Metal Blade, the UK outfit began to unravel till-then mystery of itself, playing live and developing the brazen psychedelic pop influences hinted at in the horrors of Blood Lust so that the swing of “Mt. Abraxas” and the acid-coated psych of “Valley of the Dolls” could exist within the same cohesive sphere. Between the death-boogie of “Mind Crawler” and mid-period Beatlesian exploration of “Follow the Leader,” Mind Control continues to be an album I hear as much on the mental jukebox rotation as one I actually put on to listen to again. Either way, there’s no getting away from it — the eerie melodies of guitarist/vocalists Kevin “Uncle Acid” Starrs and Yotam Rubinger are hauntingly ever-present.
Obvious? Probably, but that doesn’t make it any less genuine. To set the scene, here’s me on the Masspike a couple weeks ago in the Volvo of Doom™ with the little dog Dio, 90 miles an hour shouting along to “Crucial Velocity” at the top of my never-on-key lungs. I couldn’t and wouldn’t endeavor to tell you how many times I’ve listened to Earth Rocker since I first got a taste, but from the title-track on through the surging groove at the end of “The Wolfman Kindly Requests…,” front to back, the 10th Clutch album still does not fail to roil the blood with not a dud in the bunch. The Maryland road dogs of course shine best on a stage, and Earth Rocker‘s polished, layered production is a studio affair in the truest sense, but all that does is make me hopeful they’ll complement it with a live record soon. Clutch could easily have phoned in a follow-up to 2009′s Strange Cousins from the West and their fanbase probably would’ve still salivated over it, myself included, but by boldly pushing themselves to write faster, more concise material, they’ve reenergized one of heavy rock’s best sounds. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a brand new listener, Earth Rocker is utterly essential.
Two more records I have to mention: Kings Destroy‘s A Time of Hunting and Clamfight‘s I vs. the Glacier. I wasn’t involved in releasing the Kings Destroy, but felt close to it nonetheless, and since the Clamfight came out on The Maple Forum, it wouldn’t be appropriate to include it in the list proper, but hands down, these are my two favorite records of the year so far and made by some of the best people I’ve had the pleasure to know over the course of my years nerding out to heavy music.
Some other honorable mentions go to Toner Low, Cathedral, Church of Misery, Serpent Throne, Naam, The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic and All Them Witches. Like I said, it’s been a hell of a year so far.
You may note some glaring absences in the list above — Black Sabbath, ASG, Orchid, Ghost, Kvelertak and Voivod come to mind immediately. Some of that is a result of my disdain for digital promos, and some of that is just a matter of what I listened to most. Please understand that although release profile is not something discounted, at the heart of what’s included here is one individual’s personal preferences and listening habits.
Thanks for reading. Here’s to your own lists and to the next six months to come!
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 18th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s been a while since the LP came out, but after adding them to The Obelisk Radio, I’ve been looking for an excuse to review Known Flood, the debut from Brooklyn-based post-metallers Sannhet, I guess I’ve just found one. Sannhet will release Known Flood on CD through Consouling Sounds (the vinyl was on Sacrament Music) on July 8 in Europe and July 9 in North America.
Details, audio and pre-order links follow, courtesy of the PR wire:
SANNHET: Debut LP From Brooklyn Trio To See CD Release
Following is successful vinyl/digital release in February — the maiden release from Brooklyn-based Sacrament Music — Known Flood, the debut album from trio SANNHET, is now confirmed for release on CD via Consouling Sounds.
With nearly forty-five minutes of electrified post-metal, fueled with domineering riff-building movements and intense percussive hostility, Known Flood unifies SANNHET’s lightly blackened atmospheric style, captured by Colin Marston (Krallice, Behold… The Arctopus, Dysrhythmia) and mastered by Carl Saff. The album and the band’s live performances across the NYC region supporting it have captivated fans and media alike, the band’s unique approach standing out in heavy contrast in an otherwise massively oversaturated genre. SANNHET bends genres effortlessly, and blends it together in a coherent monster of an album. 45 minutes of adventurous aural bliss pass in the blink of an eye.
Licensed directly from Sacrament Music, the CD version of Known Flood will be made available through Belgium-based Consouling Sounds, the label’s aim to put extraordinary music in the post, doom and ambient niche and sub niches into the spotlight. Set for European release on July 8th, and North American release a day later,preorders for the disc are available HERE. The album is also still available on LP and digitally via Sacrament MusicRIGHT HERE.
Locals can catch them on June 28th supporting Locrian at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, home to Sacrament Music. Stay tuned for more SANNHET live/tour dates to be announced in the coming weeks.
SANNHET live: 6/28/2013 Saint Vitus Bar – Brooklyn, NY w/ Locrian
Unsurprisingly, the My Sleeping Karma 20-minute tour documentary My Sleeping Karma: A Tour Video really makes me want to see My Sleeping Karma. Maybe that’s not fair, since I wanted to see the German heavy psych instrumentalists already, but let’s just say that after watching the footage chronicling their tour last fall supporting Monster Magnet – also supporting their fourth album, Soma (review here), which was their first for Napalm Records – my wanting to see them hasn’t diminished. Quite the contrary.
Maybe one of these days they’ll come to the States or I’ll be lucky enough to get back to Europe at a time when we can cross paths, but in the meantime, My Sleeping Karma: A Tour Video — compiled and edited by Tim Bohnenstingl of StonerRock.eu — does an excellent job of conveying the atmosphere on the road with the band and what they’re able to deliver in a live setting, which looks to be plenty.
Check out the full documentary below, followed by some more info on its creation, courtesy of Bohnenstingl himself:
My Sleeping Karma: A Tour Video
This 20 minute tour documentary was filmed over six days on tour, following My Sleeping Karma non stop. Hamburg, Paris, London, Manchester, Stuttgart. It focuses on the live shows, but also allows the audience to experience one day of a normal band on the road : Driving long distances, soundchecks, press interviews, photoshootings, load outs, jamming and just being yourself. All this is combined with interviews by the band commenting on the tour life and the “Flow” which My Sleeping Karma are kind of famous for in the underground scene.
“It was not only a pleasure and honour to be on tour with Monster Magnet, the band which brought me to the so called Stoner Rock, but much more so: My Sleeping Karma, one of the bands which still keeps me so interested in this flourishing genre. I had a lot of fun with the nicest people, I hope you will too while watching the movie.”. Tim, stonerrock.eu
Posted in Reviews on June 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
I can no more pretend to be impartial about a new Black Sabbath album than I can about a member of my own family. Further, I don’t think any critic who can claim otherwise has any business reviewing 13, the first studio full-length by Black Sabbath proper since 1995’s Forbidden ended a lackluster streak with vocalist Tony Martin prior to a 1997 reunion with Ozzy Osbourne, the successor in many ways to guitarist Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler’s 2007 reunion with Ronnie James Dio that resulted in Heaven and Hell’s 2009 outing, The Devil You Know (review here), and an album which – had Dio survived his bout with stomach cancer – probably wouldn’t exist. Prior to Dio’s passing, Iommi – whose band Sabbath has always been – showed roughly no interest in getting back together with Osbourne at the fore and seemed content to let Black Sabbath’s original frontman languish on his path of a declining solo career. Sabbath had done live stints between 1997 and 2006, and in 1998 released the “Psycho Man” single to promote their aptly-titled Reunion double-live album, but another studio full-length with Iommi, Osbourne, Butler and drummer Bill Ward seemed like a daydream. Of course, it still is. In 2011, when the band announced they were together with the completion of an album in sight, the shockwave resonated far and wide, but a contract dispute with Ward resulted in Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk joining in his place for the recording of the Rick Rubin-produced 13. This would be narrative context enough were it not for 13’s being touted as an attempt to recapture the feel of the original Sabbath – untouchable records like 1970’s self-titled debut, the same year’s follow-up, Paranoid, the stonerly perfection of 1971’s Master of Reality and 1972’s Vol. 4 – and were it not for Iommi’s own cancer battle, which it’s easy to read 13 tracks like “End of the Beginning,” “Live Forever,” “God is Dead?” and “Damaged Soul” as reaction toward, regardless of whether or not they actually are.
First, whoever decided to bill 13 as a return to Sabbath’s heyday was a fool. 13 neither picks up where the band’s last Osbourne-fronted outing, 1978’s Never Say Die, left off, nor harkens back to the band’s earliest glories in any way other than periodically recycling a riff. As regards the production, it is stale in the modern commercial metal sense, and if Rubin’s stamp is anywhere on it, it holds about as much meaning in terms of authenticity as the “organic” produce at WalMart. Drums are triggered – for the most part, Wilk is a nonentity here, personality-wise, injecting simple fills and keeping a beat when called upon to do so (good work if you can get it) – guitars and bass are “corrected” and if there was any thought that Osbourne’s vocals were going to be presented in anything close to their natural state, let it be corrected by the ending apex of 13 opener “End of the Beginning,” on which he goes from his half-spoken drawl suddenly to suddenly pitch-perfect high notes for the line, “I don’t want to see you, yeah, yeah,” and then does it again – the irony being that in the prior verse come the lyrics, “You don’t want to be a robot ghost/Occupied inside a human host.” Granted, Dio’s vocals on The Devil You Know had pitch correction as well, and he sang to backup tracks on Heaven and Hell’s final tours, but he could sing! Osbourne could never hit the kinds of notes in “End of the Beginning.” In Sabbath, he had maybe three years where one would be right on a technical level to call him a singer and not only a frontman – 1974-1976 – and even then he knew better than to attempt such theatrics. It’s the first of many instances throughout of Black Sabbath playing it safe on 13, creating a sterile and in some cases cynical collection of self-aware heavy metal that only in the work of Iommi and Butler does any justice whatsoever to the band’s legacy. It’s an album they’ll be able to go out and tour on, but for fans of Sabbath who had some hope that 13 might come along and revitalize the career of one of the acts singularly responsible for the creation of heavy metal and its many subgenres – most particularly doom – all these eight tracks do is realize how foolish and unrealistic those hopes were in the first place.
All this I know, and then that utter lack of impartiality kicks in and I think of 13 as being Black Sabbath’s final album. I think of how closer “Dear Father” ends with the same sampled thunderstorm that starts their eponymous song at the beginning of Black Sabbath, the sheer foreboding meaning of that bookend in light of Iommi’s cancer – that this is it, that he’s dying – and even the lame, watered-down revisit of that atmosphere on “End of the Beginning” and the hackneyed lyrics of the following “God is Dead?” and “Loner” seem excusable as pathways to one last collection of Iommi riffs and solos, best accompanied as they’ve always been by Butler’s trailblazing bass work (the easy argument is that he’s the most vital member of the band, and 13 bears that out), and though it’s a shame Ward isn’t a part of it, shouldn’t I just take what I can get and as someone who’s had his life changed by Sabbath’s work be happy? Isn’t it enough that Sabbath have another record? Does it really need to be good, too?
Yes and no. As I said, 13 is an album that Black Sabbath – Iommi, Butler, Osbourne and Wilk or whoever they get – will be able to go out and tour arenas. They’ll put a couple new songs in the set along with the hits they’ve played on and off for over a decade, and if it’s to be Iommi’s last hurrah, no one will ever be able to say he didn’t earn it. Fans who saw them in their first run will go, younger fans will go, headbangers of all kinds of all generations, everywhere they go, the venues will be full. It will be successful. Even being panned by critics won’t matter – Sabbath have the armor of never having been a “critic’s band,” so that even though the critics now may be two generations’ worth of Sabbath fans critiquing a hollow representation of what made them legends, they’re protected by the number of people who show up, the sheer scale of their profile. Fine. Records like Master of Reality, Black Sabbath and 1973’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath will belong to the underground no matter how many copies they sell, and for every one oldschool Sabbath fan who refuses to see what he or she alleges is a false version of the original band, two more are willing to buy that ticket. Neither side of the argument needs the other at this point, and history is on the band’s side – with over 20 people in and out of the lineup over the years, who’s to say what’s genuine? Sabbath will do what they will do to reach as broad an audience as possible – reuniting with Osbourne instead of, say, Ian Gillan of Deep Purple, with whom Iommi recently collaborated for the Whocares benefit single, speaks to wanting to gather maximum interest – and those unable to reconcile themselves to what the band has become don’t need to have a part in it if they choose to not. If Sabbath know the difference at this point, I certainly can’t imagine they give a rat’s ass. Ward was their tie to the authenticity they purported to be tapping into for the recording of 13, and they were quick enough to let him go. Does the album need to be good? Well, it needs a logo.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Ripple Music has done a few benefit auctions along the way, building goodwill and community as well as giving diehard fans a chance to have a special item from their bands. This time around it’s a Devil to Pay test pressing for their new album, Fate is Your Muse, and the cause is a dear one. All proceeds will go directly to Doommantia.com founder Ed Barnard, who continues to struggle with health problems and the resulting medical bills.
Aside from the fact that Fate is Your Muserules, I have a hard time thinking of a better way to support one of doom’s longest running and most respect-worthy champions. Here’s the info:
Ripple Music and Devil to Pay Auction Extremely Rare Test Pressing of Fate is Your Muse to Benefit the Medical Needs of Doommantia Founder, Ed Barnard
Ripple Music is proud to announce the latest in their ongoing series of rare test pressing auctions for charity, this time benefiting the medical needs of Doommantia founder, Ed Barnard. The long-running site, Doommantia (www.doommantia.com) is one of the leading forces bringing CD Reviews, Interviews, Authorized free downloads and Promotion for bands in the Doom, Stoner, Psychedelic, Drone, Sludge Metal genres. The site also has an active forum (www.doommantiaforum.com) for heavy rock maniacs to share ideas and views, creating a solid doom rock community.
For those unaware, Ed had been forced into homeless by a medical condition but still manages to keep the Doommantia site viable online. Ed suffered a series of heart attacks that forced Ed to become unemployed. Those events, plus the exorbitant cost of cardiac medications made paying the rent an impossibility and he was evicted from his place in Aberdeen, Washington. Now homeless, the doom and metal community has been rallying around his cause with benefit concerts and a compilation of 39 heavy bands that all donated their music to help Ed’s cause. The compilation, Doommantia Vol. 1, is available at: doommantiavol1.bandcamp.com
Now Ripple Music offers their assistance to help a musical brother in need. After establishing an ongoing company policy of giving back to the community, Ripple Music has auctioned off some of their rarest test pressings to help the BP Spill Gulf Clean Up, Wounded Warriors, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Research, and Joplin Missouri Tornado Relief, amongst others. The auction of the extremely rare test press for Devil To Pay’s Fate is Your Muse will continue that tradition, offering heavy rock/doom fans a chance to get one of only two test-pressings ever to be released to the public.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Wow. So this is a thing that happened. I knew Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats were kind of a big deal, but I guess I had no idea just how big. Apparently they’re a “Main Support to Black Sabbath” kind of big deal. Congrats to the band. Here’s the info off the PR wire:
UNCLE ACID ANNOUNCED AS MAIN SUPPORT SUPPORT TO BLACK SABBATH ON UK EUROPEAN TOUR. FULL PRESS RELEASE THIS TIME!!
Through the flickering flames of a pyre built from a thousand emaciated hipsters leap Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, black tongues distended and hair blown backwards…
The UK’s best new rock band are pleased to announce they have been invited by the legendary rock band Black Sabbath as the main support for their EU & UK arena tour in November and December 2013. The quartet have also been confirmed to play this year’s Reading / Leeds festival.
FULL DATES: 23-25-Aug UK Reading/ Leeds Reading/ Leeds Festival 20-Nov Finland Helsinki Hartwall Arena 22-Nov Sweden Stockholm Friends Arena 24-Nov Norway Oslo Telenor Arena 26-Nov Denmark Copenhagen Forum 28-Nov Netherlands Amsterdam Ziggo Dome 30-Nov Germany Dortmund Westfalenhalle 02-Dec France Paris Bercy 04-Dec Germany Frankfurt Festhalle 07-Dec Czech Republic Prague O2 Arena 10-Dec UK London O2 Arena 12-Dec UK Belfast Odyssey Arena 14-Dec UK Sheffield Motorpoint Arena 16-Dec UK Glasgow Hydro 18-Dec UK Manchester Arena Manchester Arena 20-Dec UK Birmingham LG Arena 22-Dec UK Birmingham National Indoor Arena
Formed in Cambridge by media-shy frontman K.R. Stars, in an era of profile building, brand-expanding and over-exposure Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats are a cult genuine phenomena. The dictionary definition of cult, in fact: “a system of religious worship, with reference to its rites and ceremonies. A group or sect bound together by veneration of the same ideal.” In this case: taking rock music back to its ritualistic beginnings when pagan heathens would stomp out a dirt-rhythm and howl at the moon. When music was the carnal catalyst for orgiastic midnight reckonings.
** New single Mind Crawler, with accompanying video to be released late August.
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, “Mind Crawler” from Mind Control (2013)
Posted in audiObelisk on June 14th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Earthen Grave, “Death is Another Word” from Earthen Grave LP
I’m still not sure about these new Bandcamp players, and by that I mean I hate them because I’m not used to them, but here we are. What was I gonna do, not end the week with “Death is Another Word,” the bonus track from the forthcoming Ripple Music reissue of Earthen Grave‘s Earthen Grave? Obviously that’s not an option.
So while what has become the standard purveyor of streaming music and direct-to-or-from-band commerce departs its earlier unintrusiveness in favor of the page-consuming behemoth you see above (ah, but you could choose one of the smaller players that oh wait no one can fucking see them because they’re terrible), I hope you’ll know I take consolation for the lost screen real estate in the form of Earthen Grave‘s melodic semi-traditional doom, which is brought all the more into focus approaching “Death is Another Word…” as a single. I don’t know when this was recorded in relation to the album, but it’s a cool sound and it’s interesting to think how Earthen Grave might’ve grown by the time their next album — which will presumably also show up on Ripple – surfaces. A million possibilities.
Among my own possibilities is that this weekend The Patient Mrs. and I buy a house. Got an offer accepted on a place and an inspection tomorrow, so pending what that turns up and yet another round of mortgage haranguing, I may yet wind up with somewhere to live by the time summer’s over. However that winds up, I’ll be up in Massachusetts, and barring disaster will head out to catch It’s Not Night: It’sSpace, Queen Elephantineand Elder side-project Gold and Silver at P.A.’s Lounge in Boston, so whether I’m drowning my sorrows in riffs or celebrating the glorious future to come [NOTE:Actually, I had to turn around and head back home, so I drowned in I-95 traffic], I’ll at least be making the most of the drive from Jersey. A drive which is becoming a familiar staple of my weekends at this point and a drain on my overall energy level — in short a drive I look forward to not needing to make anymore.
I’ll let you know how it works out.
Next week, reviews of that show and the new Sabbath – we’ll doom like bastards — and a countdown of the Top 10 Albums of the Year so far, plus whatever videos, news, audio, etc. I can dig up. My plan is to head out Wednesday for Days of the Doomed III in Wisconsin next weekend. I’ve put in for the time off work(s), so we’ll see if both I and my car make there in one piece. I wouldn’t be reviewing that until the week after this one coming, obviously, but if I get the chance, I might throw up a picture or something. Or, since I’m not drinking, maybe I’ll just live-blog the whole thing. Again, a million possibilities. Let me get through tomorrow afternoon before I decide anything about anything.
Keep your fingers crossed for me and please have a great and safe weekend.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 14th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
There’s little I find more inspiring than someone putting in the time and effort to coordinate and execute a festival. It’s something I’ve thought of doing more times than I can count but have yet to be able to muster the backing or the location to get it done, so when I see the news below about the upcoming Høstsabbat in Norway, it makes me want to take to the north even more than I usually do. Which is plenty, I guess.
Norway’s heavy rock scene is widely varied and from the roster of acts playing the upcoming Høstsabbat in Oslo on Sept. 13 and 14, it seems the intent is to capture a bit of that variety in a weekend and present it to the masses. An admirable goal no matter how you look at it.
Best wishes. I hope they pull it off without a hitch. The PR wire has lineups and links:
HØSTSABBAT – NEW NORWEGIAN FESTIVAL
HØSTSABBAT is a newborn initiative, brought to life by people involved in the underground scene in Norway.
It’s a DIY-festival, in collaboration with the student-organisation at Betong in Oslo, focusing on presenting the best underground bands Norway has to offer.
Over two days you can experience slow doom, heavy bluesrock, proto-heavy metal, psychedelic spacerock and prog. The concerts will be held on two different stages, located in the same venue. In addition to this, you’ll find stands, food, beverages and diverse stimulation for your ears and mind. Dj’s from the norwegian scene will accompany your days with the right soundtrack.
HØSTSABBAT takes place on friday 13th, and saturday 14th of September.
Cheap accomodations are located nearby the venue, and the damage for a two-day ticket is about 50 euros.
Complete lineup HØSTSABBAT 2013:
Friday 13th: Lonely Kamel Devil Tusmørke High Priest of Saturn Spectral Haze Hymn
Saturday 14th: Lamented Souls Brutus Tombstones Resonaut Dunbarrow Purple Hill Witch The Devil and the Almighty Blues
Posted in Reviews on June 14th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Venezuelan sludge metallers Cultura Tres have their thing pretty much down at this point. The band made their debut with 2008′s La Cura and followed it in 2011 with El Mal del Bien(review here), an album that opened doors thanks in no small part to their touring throughout both South America and Europe and helped establish Cultura Tres among the stronger and most resonant acts blending metallic aggression and weighted sludge-fueled grooves. In 2013, the Maracay four-piece return with Rezando al Miedo(Devouter Records), a 55-minute, eight-track collection that furthers the band’s anti-imperialist/anti-colonial thematic and moody atmosphere even as it affirms what El Mal del Bienestablished as the chosen Cultura Tres aesthetic. Tonally and sonically consistent owing to production by vocalist Alejandro Londoño — who also helmed the two prior outings and shares the credit here with guitarist Juan de Ferrari – Rezando al Miedogradually unfolds an identity of its own over the course of repeat listens, and though even unto its morose artwork (though admittedly the cover to the third album, taken from the painting Day of Judgement by Damian Michaels, is far more haunting) it may seem to fall in line with what Cultura Tres brought to the table stylistically in their last effort, there are nuances to be had throughout Rezando al Miedothat speak to growth within the band’s approach, whether it’s the sense of space Londoño brings to his echoing vocals in the closing “Forget I’m Here” or the surprising classic rock influence that shows up in some of de Ferrari‘s solos, filtering a wide sonic heritage through Jerry Cantrell-style wah theatrics that blend remarkably well with the lower, chugging-riff layers of rhythm on “Es Mi Sangre” and other cuts throughout.
The guitar work on Rezando al Miedois a standout factor across the board, de Ferrari proving fluid and able to drive the atmosphere of a needling insistence on “Hole in Your Head,” one of the highlights of the album. Cultura Tres – the foursome rounded out in the rhythm section by bassist Alonso Milano and imported Dutch drummer David Abbink (ex-Cheesy), who returns from the second LP — don’t necessarily rely just on the guitars to convey their moody sensibilities, however. Londoño plays a huge role as well, and though he knows to step aside and let de Ferrari hold sway toward the end of a cut like “En Esta Tierra,” his half-in-Spanish/half-in-English lyrics are a force unto themselves, his monotone drawl immediately lending drama to opener “La Selva se Muere” that stays with Cultura Tres through closer “Forget I’m Here” no matter what musical moves the band is making behind him, a summary of a decent portion of his lyrical perspective provided by the only two lines of the title-track, “Rezando al miedo/El miedo es dios” — translated to,” “Praying to fear/Fear is god.” An anti-Christian lyrical take is nothing new for metal — make no mistake, Cultura Tres are a metal band, whatever elements of doom or sludge they may incorporate; they are well at home within the churning thrash that emerges in “1492,” including Abbink — but the specifically anti-colonial edge Londoño brings to the lyrics of “Hole in Your Head” speaks to an individuality of voice and critique that the cluster of heavy metal faux-satanists is sorely missing. Coupled with the band’s ability to turn fluid rhythm changes into dynamic songwriting shifts — again, see “1492″ as it rises from a droning opening to rage and then descends again to a slower, hypnotic pulse — this perspective is a key element in what sets Rezando al Miedoapart from the output of Cultura Tres‘ peers the world over. When was the last time you heard anti-colonial sludge?
Posted in audiObelisk on June 14th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Come July 9, Memphis heavy rockers The Dirty Streets will make their debut on Alive Naturalsound with the full-length Blades of Grass. Their follow-up to the impressive 2011 outing, Movements (review here), it’s an album with a lot to live up to in terms of the smooth, blues and classic rock vibes the trio was able to capture their last time out, writing memorable songs rife with laid-back atmospheres that remained consistent even when tracks like “What Do You Know” were at their most driving. The band announced the record by unveiling the song “Stay Thirsty” — which added keys courtesy of Lucero‘s Rick Steff to their already potent brew of wide-pastured sunny summer blues — and today I have the pleasure of hosting the premiere of the Blades of Grasstitle-track.
The Dirty Streets, “Blades of Grass” from Blades of Grass
Recorded by Adam Hill at Ardent Studio in Memphis, Blades of Grassdoesn’t so much clean up the sound the band presented on Movementsas it does clarify it. The Dirty Streets – guitarist/vocalist Justin Toland, bassist Thomas Storz and drummer Andrew Denham – still come off as organic and prone to a touch of grit on “Blades of Grass,” which begins with a tension building guitar line of starts and stops that unfolds into an easy groove once Storz and Denham join Toland‘s progression. Ideas are clear, structures are unabashedly traditional, and they waste no time getting to the hook, which answers quickly any doubt about The Dirty Streets being able to follow what they delivered their last time out.
Toland‘s voice, still owing some of its cadence to Blue Cheer‘s Dickie Peterson, is more his own as, after the second chorus, Denham leads the way to a stop from which they emerge with the building lines, “I can’t move/I can’t walk/Blades of grass,” giving way to a solo that never goes over-the-top but feeds into the momentum built anyway and rounding out with heavy funk start-stops that finish the song with an undeniable groove. In setting anticipation high for the album to come, “Blades of Grass” does an excellent job of giving a sense of just where The Dirty Streets are coming from this time around — unless the rest of the record is polka or something. You never know.
The Dirty Streets will release Blades of Grass on July 9 through Alive Naturalsound. Limited colored vinyl is available for pre-order at the Bomp-mailorder store.
Philly trio The Cloth started kicking around last summer to hear their Thee Facebooks page tell it, but the wretched truth is that these three dudes have been around for a while in acts like Count von Count, Holy Dirt and Pagan Wolf Ritual, and I’ve taken that to be the reason why, when I first popped in Side Turtle of their five-song self-titled demo, it seemed The Cloth had an immediate idea of what they wanted to sound like. The three-piece is comprised of guitarist Nate Jaffe, bassist Tom von Count and drummer Jake van der Linde — von Count and Jaffe both contribute vocals — and their first release is made up of five short, crisp noise rockers that, on songs like “Touched” and “Leech Farmer,” call to mind some of later Akimbo‘s flirtations with melody and mid-period Kylesa‘s thicker-toned sludge grooves along with a grown-up-hardcore raucousness.
The band included a CD, and the tracks “Touched” and “Landsickness”‘ have made their way onto Bandcamp, but I didn’t want to listen to those first because it felt like cheating. When I popped the yellow cassette in my car’s player, the gnarl was immediate. I don’t know how much of the material was recorded live, but the instruments certainly feel that way, and raw as the production is — one imagines if you’re capturing an aggressive sound, Philly in February is a good place and time to do it — the demo’s punkier roots come through even in slower moments like von Count‘s bass starting up “Landsickness.” There’s no shying away from creating a tension and even less from answering it back with thrashing fuckall. The pure 90-seconds of punk on “I Smell a Rat” make no pretense of dynamics, but even then, Jaffe finds room for some surprisingly airy post-rock notes to float over. Round it out with the grunge churn of “Skinless” (the longest cut at a sprawling 3:43), and the tonality proves even more complex.
Both Side Turtle (pictured above) and Side Not Marked repeat the same program, and I have to agree with the advice of the inside liner, which devotes an entire panel to the words “Play Loud.” At the risk of spoiling it for anyone who might chase down a copy, The Cloth end each side of the tape with a sampled clip of Bill Hicks talking about the Kennedy assassination and American Gladiators. Not exactly timely, but the context applies as much as anything Hicks ever said did, and by that I mean here’s a white dude in a culturally privileged position with no critique of how that culturally privileged position allows him to critique the culture and patriarchy that put him in that privileged position in the first place; not that he should be appreciative, just that he’s all anger and no concrete challenge to or expressed awareness of his own place within the establishment he’s angry at. Still, I’ll take it over Dennis Leary, though if it was between Hicks and Kurt Vonnegut, who the band quote elsewhere, I fail to see the need for a choice at all.
But that’s on Hicks and not The Cloth. Point was that The Cloth set themselves up on their debut tape (hopefully the first of many releases on a variety of formats) with not necessarily a wide sonic scope, but a rawness and a natural sounding dynamic from which to build on subsequent outings. I wouldn’t ask more of a demo than that, and the more I go back to these five tracks, the more I hear in them. I don’t know how many copies they’re making, but if you can hunt one down, it might prove worth your while.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 13th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
German purveyor of swamp-psych-blues Larman Clamor – aka Alexander von Wieding – has announced a Sept. 10 release for its fourth full-length, Alligator Heart. Like last year’s Frogs (review here), it’ll be released by Small Stone, and today the tracklisting and cover art were officially unveiled, and I was lucky enough to get an advanced listen to write the bio to go with the album.
Here’s that bio — in blue even though I wrote it — plus the cover, of course by von Wieding himself, and the tracklisting:
Larman Clamor, Alligator Heart bio
Larman Clamor is throwing a carnival. More of a street fair, really. You’ll find the sky is tinted a greenish yellow watercolor, the air is tepid and wet with humidity, bugs come in swarms, and later, a parade of children on the backs of reptiles will come out of the swamp and march down the crossroad.
Welcome to Alligator Heart.
The third Larman Clamor full-length, Alligator Heart follows on the heels of 2012’s Frogs, 2011’s Altars to Turn Blood and that same year’s debut self-titled EP. It is the most accomplished release to date from the solo-project of Alexander von Wieding – also illustrator for Karma to Burn, Wo Fat, Monster Magnet, Freedom Hawk, Infernal Overdrive and countless others – and like its predecessors, it masterfully captures a swamp-boogie atmosphere, updating blues and rock traditions with a down-home psychedelia that’s alternately creeping and malevolent and raising its hands in upbeat testimony. Based in Hamburg and begun in 2008, Larman Clamor pays a heavy debt to Delta blues (John Lee Hooker, Robert Johnson, Mississippi Fred MacDowell), but has never sounded so much like itself as on Alligator Heart.
Where Frogs reveled in its post-Tom Waits weirdness and von Wieding’s gravelly vocals, Alligator Heart strips away some of the extras to get at Larman Clamor’s muddy, folkish heart. Short ditties like “Banshee w’Me,” “Done No Good” and “I’m Buildin’ Ruins” stomp and clang as ever, but with surprisingly ripe hooks, and atmospheric pieces like “Sambucus Nigra” and the 16 Horsepower-style banjo echo of “Crow on a Wagon Wheel” show a side of Larman Clamor that’s able to make a case as much with minimalism as with an onslaught of varied elements. Rounding out with “Aether Bound I – Scorched Earth” and “Aether Bound II – Dust & Ghost,” Alligator Heart ultimately shows von Wieding’s most accomplished songwriting to date, and that as he pushes further away from the shore to get swept up in that river’s current, the results are all the more rewarding.
Blending acoustic and electric guitar, simple drums and throaty vocals, Larman Clamor presents an alternate view of tradition and a new take on its own approach. More and more, there’s nothing else that sounds quite like it.
So while you wait on the corner of that crossroad for the parade to go by, just make sure you keep a count of all your fingers. Alligator Heart has a bite with some mean teeth.
Tracklisting: 1. Alligator Heart 2. Banshee W’Me 3. Perdition At Dawn 4. Done No Good 5. Vines Of Yggdrasil 6. Been Cookin’ 7. Sambucus Nigra 8. She Sent Her Hounds 9. I’m Buildin’ Ruins 10. Crow On A Wagon Wheel 11. Aether Bound I – Scorched Earth 12. Aether Bound II – Dust & Ghost
Under normal circumstances, I probably wouldn’t do two Visual Evidence posts on consecutive days, but this is obviously an exceptional case. As Lo-Pan continue to unveil their summer roadwork, more dates alongside Indianapolis’ Devil to Pay have emerged, and the poster for said trek is… well, it’s something special.
In fact, I haven’t seen a poster that hits quite so close to home in some time. First of all, it’s Spock — and not this newfangled reboot Spock either — we’re talking the real deal, Nimoy Spock. Second, it’s an octopus. Third, they’re combined. The portmanteau ‘Spocktopus’ pretty much writes itself.
Kudos to artist Trevor Patton for the Spocktopus itself and Devil to Pay‘s Steve Janiak for the layout. This thing is great:
Oh yeah, and the bands rule as well. I don’t think I could go a week at this point without posting Lo-Pan tour news even if I wanted to, and as they wrap up their run with Torche and KENmode, it’s cool to see they’ll shortly be reunited with their longtime buds in Devil to Pay, with whom I’ll be running an interview in the coming weeks.
Lo-Pan & Devil to Pay tour dates: Jul 4, 2013 Dayton, OH Blind Bob’s w/ Neon Warship Jul 5, 2013 Chicago, IL Cobra Lounge Jul 6, 2013. Madison, WI Mr. Roberts w/ The Garza Jul 7, 2013 Indianapolis, IN Indy’s Jukebox w/ Stealing Volume & Death Trap Jul 11, 2013 Detroit, MI PJ’s Lager House Jul 12, 2013 Cleveland, OH The Foundry w/ Venomin James Jul 13, 2013. Columbus, OH Kobo w/ Barely Eagle, the Girls!
In semi-related news, Small Stone (Lo-Pan‘s label) is having a 25 percent off sale at its online store, and I figured that’s worthy of a plug for anyone looking to pick up some quality rock on the cheap. Link in banner below: