Friday Full-Length: Graveyard, Graveyard

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Even though it came out three years later, Graveyard‘s 2007 self-titled debut was the album that showed retro heavy didn’t just belong to Witchcraft. Yeah, I know that’s an easy narrative and there were other bands out there at the time digging into the heavy ’70s sound for inspiration, but frankly, not at this level, and even Graveyard‘s fellow Swedes had begun by then to pull away from the proto-doom rock of their first outing by ’07. The two groups were further linked by a common lineage in Norrsken, with guitarist/vocalist Joakim Nilsson and then-bassist Rikard Edlund having played in that outfit alongside Witchcraft‘s Magnus Pelander from 1996-2000 and produced several demos and singles as well as appearing on the tributes Bastards Will Pay: A Tribute to Trouble (discussed here) and Blue Explosion: A Tribute to Blue Cheer (discussed here) in 1999. But not only were Graveyard on the earlier end of Sweden and greater Europe’s retroist movement, and not only did they play a significant role in putting it into motion, but they showed there was more to it than Pentagram worship.

I’ll readily admit that the first time I saw them, in 2010 at Roadburn Festival (review here), I didn’t get it. I’d heard the self-titled, then three years old after coming out in the States on Tee Pee and in Europe on Transubstans. They were too cool-looking for me. Everything just seemed too perfect, it felt like a put-on for cool kids that just didn’t sit nearly as well with me as falafel I went outside and ate instead of watching them through the open doorway of the old Green Room at the 013 in Tilburg. I was wrong, of course. Not that Graveyard weren’t fashion-conscious in a way that even Witchcraft would never be and that Germany’s Kadavar would raise to yet another level, but I just got a mistaken impression. It was the end of a long weekend. I was tired. So it goes. Those more clued in to what Nilsson, Edlund, drummer Axel Sjöberg, guitarist Jonatan Ramm and guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Truls Mörck were creating in terms of vibe dug it plenty. The problem, in short, was me. As ever.

By then, Graveyard were already due for a follow-up to Graveyard that wouldn’t arrive for another two years. That long stretch between a first album and a second one would crush a lesser band graveyard self titledlooking to capture some audience share, but with Graveyard, it seemed only to let the nine-song/39-minute long-player — crafted with a focus on vinyl, which was rare in 2007 — simmer as a burgeoning social media word-of-mouth spread its legend. Graveyard became a thing you knew if you were in the know, and their boogie blues rock was perfectly suited for building a cult following. Capping with the mega-hook of “Satan’s Finest,” the album was a clarion to the converted that wasn’t to be missed, and whether it was the shuffle in Sjöberg‘s snare on “Thin Line” or the swapping out of lead vocals for side A closer “Blue Soul” and side B’s “As the Years Pass by the Hours Bend” and the bass/percussion arrangement in the penultimate “Right is Wrong” that seemed so distant from the rush that began the album on “Evil Ways,” there was so much to dig about what Graveyard were doing that even if you got sucked in by the vintage-style production of the whole outing, you were still only getting part of the story. It was at least as much about the band’s songwriting and performance, if not more so, than the aesthetic they so purposefully donned to present it.

“Evil Ways” and “Satan’s Finest” — the start and the finish — were powerful enough in themselves, and managed to embrace cliché enough to be fun while other tracks took a more emotionalist direction that, in hindsight, foreshadowed some of Graveyard‘s and particularly Nilsson‘s delving into soul-driven fare on subsequent offerings. But the self-titled’s more raucous moments, on the short side B leadoff “Submarine Blues” or the bouncing-down-stairs rhythm of “Lost in Confusion,” as well as the fluidity in “Blue Soul,” were a new branch of heavy rock springing up right in front of the listener, and they were received accordingly. I don’t think it’s a hard argument to make that Graveyard became one of the most essential heavy rock bands of this decade in the wake of this debut, and what they’ve gone on to accomplish in the years since — signing to Nuclear Blast to finally release the landmark sophomore full-length Hisingen Blues (review here) in 2011, followed on a quick turnaround by 2012’s Lights Out (review here), touring the universe and then releasing 2015’s more mature Innocence and Decadence (review here) and 2018’s Peace (review here) — is matched by an elite few who might still be considered underground acts.

When Graveyard announced they were calling it quits in 2016, it seemed fair enough. After four records, they’d never hit a snag, and as they’d taken on a more modern production sound and toured hard for about half a decade, it was understandable they might have burnt themselves out. The breakup didn’t take, and when they got back together, with Oskar Bergenheim on drums in place of Sjöberg (since of Big Kizz) and Mörck back in the band on bass instead of guitar, with Ramm and Nilsson as the remaining founders, the revamped rhythm section changed the character of the band. That was evident on Peace, though the songwriting was consistent and arguably the broadest it had ever been. I don’t know what the future holds for Graveyard, except perhaps more touring — they announced last week they’ll be on the road with Clutch in Europe for a quick run this December — and headlining festival gigs if they want them, but listening back to their self-titled, it’s astounding how vital and assured this band was of what they were doing.

There are no shortage of acts out there who aim toward and eventually capture some sense of individuality. Who you put on and immediately know what you’re listening to. Graveyard would prove identifiable by the time the three and a half minutes of “Evil Ways” were done and wherever they’ve gone in terms of their sound, they’ve never lost that. While of course the context of their career since helps, I don’t think you can really look at their debut as anything other than a pivotal moment for this generation of heavy rock.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Gonna keep this quick if I can. A plug:

Today at 1PM Eastern is The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio. It’s the first time it’s airing in its new timeslot. I hope you get the chance to listen, and if you do, I hope you dig it. Please, if you can check it out, I’d very much appreciate it. I should be in the Gimme chat for it as well if you want to say hi.

Then later on tonight, The Patient Mrs., The Pecan and I are flying to Ireland. It’s been a hell of a week. We loaded and brought a truckload of stuff — including CDs, the packing of which was a task both mentally and physically — to the house in New Jersey where we’ll be living by the end of this summer, on Tuesday. We were there for Wednesday hanging out with family and whatnot, then came back north yesterday to Massachusetts so The Patient Mrs. could go to a farewell work party, and today we have a bunch of running around to do and packing to go on this trip, which is one of the last things she has going for Bridgewater State University: a study-abroad excursion to Ireland with another professor and 15 students. I’m going basically so she doesn’t have to be away from the baby for two weeks, though it means flying on a red-eye with an 19-month-old, stuffing him onto a bus multiple times and sleeping in the same room with him, which we haven’t done in a little over a year. It’s going to be… interesting. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about all of it.

Fortunately, we’re bringing his headphones. He has a little pair of blue wireless over-ears that The Patient Mrs. bought on Amazon. I loaded a micro-SD with the Beatles catalog and it’s an immediate calm-down for him. He can be in the midst of an absolute shit-fit and you put the headphones on him and it snaps him out of it. It’s astounding. Dude loves it. I just have to make sure he doesn’t get to “Revolution 9.” I don’t think children should be exposed to such horrors.

The plan though is to stop in and visit Slomatics though while we’re in Belfast, so I’m looking forward to that, and I may hit a record shop somewhere along the way. We’ll see. I don’t really know. I haven’t even looked at shows as compared to our itinerary or anything, mostly because I have no idea what our itinerary is. I’m really just along for the ride and the child-care on this one.

Because I love flying so much.

But it’s Ireland until June 6, then back to MA, then down to Jersey to see Solace with a bunch of other badass bands on June 8, then back to MA June 13 for more dental work — the saga continues! — then south to NJ, then further south for Maryland Doom Fest, then up to CT for a bit to cover babysitting my niece and nephew, and somewhere in there maybe we’re going to redo the kitchen in NJ before we actually move in? Oh yeah, and the place in Massachusetts goes on the market today, so if this place sells we’ll have to be out by some appointed closing date, then actually sort finances with buying the house in NJ and do that, finish packing — ugh, vinyl — and actually move. It’s a ton of shit, and completely overwhelming. That’s what it is.

All you can do is keep your head down and keep working.

But putting my head down, I notice on the baby monitor that The Pecan is up. Coming on 6AM, so that’s fair. Gonna go grab him and start the day. Laundry to do and whatnot.

Have a great and safe weekend. Forum, radio, merch at Dropout.

The Obelisk Forum

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The Obelisk shirts & hoodies

 

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Holy Grove Announce West Coast Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

holy grove

Portland, Oregon, four-piece Holy Grove will head out this summer on a West Coast run supporting their second album and first for Ripple Music, II (review here), a record that for its landmark rocking ways has earned the nickname “The Big Dos.” Actually, I just made that up, but even so, the album was fantastic when it was released last year and it remains very much that way now. And hey, it’s super-duper that Holy Grove are getting out again to bring the rock to the people like some kind of collective of riffy tentpreachers. Really, my only gripe here is the word “West” when describing the coastal location of the tour. Surely we could change that to “East” and be fine, right? Come on, guys. It’s just the other side of the continent. You can make that happen at the drop of a hat, for sure. That seems like a totally reasonable expectation to me.

But, uh, are you holy groved? Have you ever been Holy Groved? Well… I haven’t, but I hear good things.

Speaking of good things, stream the album below and just make your day a little bit better, because that’s what it’s all about here. Love and volume.

Dates via social media:

holy grove tour

We’re hitting the road this summer. Hope to see you there.

More details soon.

Art by Alex Matus.

Holy Grove live:
08/28 Tacoma WA Spanish Ballroom
08/29 Bellingham WA The Shakedown
08/30 Vancouver BC SBC
08/31 Seattle WA Substation
09/01 Boise ID The Shredder
09/02 Salt Lake City UT Kilby Court
09/03 Denver CO Tooey’s Off Colfax
09/04 Albuquerque NM Launchpad
09/05 Tempe AZ Yucca Tap Room
09/06 Los Angeles CA 5 Star Bar
09/07 Oakland CA Elbo Room Jack London
09/08 Cupertino CA X Bar
09/09 Sacramento CA Blue Lamp
09/21 Portland OR Dante’s

Holy Grove is:
Andrea Vidal – Vocals
Trent Jacobs – Guitar
Gregg Emley – Bass
Eben Travis – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/holygroveband/
https://twitter.com/holygroveband
http://holygrove.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/

Holy Grove, II (2018)

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Review & Track Premiere: The Lord Weird Slough Feg, New Organon

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the lord weird slough feg new organon

[Click play above to stream ‘Headhunter’ from The Lord Weird Slough Feg’s New Organon. Album is out June 14 on Cruz Del Sur Music.]

For nigh on 30 years, The Lord Weird Slough Feg have served the greater good as classic metal’s gift to heavy rock. Or are they classic rock’s gift to heavy metal? Or metal’s gift to heavy? Plus Celtic influences? Whatever. The point is, across 10 full-lengths and a swath of other singles and splits, etc., the band have become one-of-a-kind practitioners of the metallic arts. New Organon is the San Francisco-based outfit’s first long-player in the five years since 2014’s Digital Resistance (review here) came out on Metal Blade, and it finds them reunited with Cruz del Sur Music for the first since 2009’s Ape Uprising! and 2007’s Hardworlder. It’s a solid fit, considering Slough Feg‘s traditionalist approach, and New Organon feels like a purposeful stripping down of tones and general vibe. Perhaps unsurprisingly to those familiar with Slough Feg‘s work, that suits the material well.

Across 10 tracks and a LP-prime 37 minutes, the four-piece of founding guitarist/vocalist Mike Scalzi, fellow guitarist Angelo Tringali, bassist Adrian Maestas — who takes a lead vocal on side B’s “Uncanny” — and relatively-new drummer Jeff Griffin (John Dust also plays on the album), set about renewing the faith of the denim-clad faithful while at the same time mining the lecture notes of Scalzi, a philosophy professor, for lyrical themes. From the Rousseau through Sartre, Plato through Francis Bacon, from whose work the title derives, Scalzi turns cerebral and existential query into the stuff of fist-pumping proto-thrash and heavy rock and roll. It does not seem like a coincidence that they should re-don their full moniker for the effort, having gone simply by Slough Feg since 2005’s Atavism instead of the full The Lord Weird Slough Feg, since the atmosphere in the clear but sans-frills production and the basic structure of the songs is no less directed to the band’s own roots than those of heavy metal itself. They are among the most woefully underappreciated acts in metal, too bizarre it would seem even for the most brazen of self-declared nonconformists, but all the more righteous for standing alone.

“Headhunter,” which opens, is also the longest track at just over five minutes (immediate points), and the band waste no time whatsoever in letting the listener know the order of things. Guitars intertwine in tense riffing for an early verse over tom runs and the chorus bounds through not quite paying off that tension, but driving it forward nonetheless. A post-midsection movement of starts and stops offset by NWOBHM-style lead work — not the last of it to come — leads to a more ripping-style solo and back to the verse telling tales of piles of shrunken heads and so on. It’s a rousing start to New Organon, and it leads to the brooding and likewise tense “Discourse on Equality,” on which the drums time quick stop-start thuds behind matching guitar/bass chug with a lead line sprawled over with the vocals.

slough feg

It is stomach-tightening, and when they finally let go a little bit and blowout consecutive solos in the back half of the track, it’s a palpable relief as, the go-where-they-want mood set, Slough Feg move into “The Apology,” with a creeping verse and a more standout hook, which perhaps is rivaled only by the title-track still to come as the strongest of the record. “Being and Nothingness” follows, and as every Slough Feg review must at some point include a Thin Lizzy reference, there’s mine, but even more striking is the initial thrust of the song’s intro, which emphasizes how well the band ties together thrash and classic heavy rock. New Organon is a dirtier-sounding album than anything Slough Feg have done in some time, and it’s meant to be. They’re digging in and inviting those who can get on board to do the same, but “Being and Nothingness” isn’t about accessibility. Cut short in its solo and giving way directly to the start of the title-track, it’s a moment meant to dangerously careen near the edge of oblivion, and it does that successfully without losing itself in the process, perhaps finding its completion in “New Organon,” with Scalzi donning Bacon’s perspective for the chorus, “The sum of my knowledge will conquer the earth/And the sons of my college will rise/And give birth.” Take that, scientific method of old!

The title-cut rounds out side A with more fervent chug and ripping soloing, squeezing in a last verse effectively amongst the fray, and turns over the proceedings to “Sword of Machiavelli” and an immediate shift in vibe. Slower and more fluid in its groove, it finds Scalzi‘s vocals more laid back and an almost garage-style feel to the drums and tape-worthy guitar. The shortest inclusion at 2:17, it soon gives way to the sharp, early-metal-style “Uncanny,” which brings Maestas into the vocalist role, which is a change that further builds on the signal sent by “Sword of Machiavelli” that the second half of the album represents a shift from the first. That holds true for the swaying strangeness of “Coming of Age in the Milky Way,” taking its title from Timothy Ferris’ 1988 book of the same name.

Near as I can tell, that’s as modern as the philosophy gets on New Organon, which is fair enough, and the more laid back sensibility that accompanies feels like a massive change from the tightened-fist of “Discourse on Equality” and “Headhunter,” turning back to the Thin Lizzyism on “Exegesis/Tragic Hooligan” with acoustic and electric guitars woven together effectively in the chorus, ahead of the fitting summary that is closer “The Cynic,” with one last megadose of soloing amid a roll-credits melody and something of a return to where Slough Feg came from on the first half of the record. Of course they end on a fading guitar ringout — how could they not? — but as ever with the band’s material, there’s more at play throughout New Organon than riffs and leads, and it’s in the less-tangible nature of what they do that one finds their personality. The sound of struggle in Scalzi‘s vocals. The quick turns of bass and drums. The willful way in which they set their own rules and then play at breaking them. The Lord Weird Slough Feg are unique even among classic metal loyalists. I don’t know if they’ll ever get their due for the quality of the work they’ve done over their time, but they’re clearly engaged in a broader conversation.

The Lord Weird Slough Feg website

The Lord Weird Slough Feg on Thee Facebooks

The Lord Weird Slough Feg on Instagram

Cruz del Sur Music website

Cruz del Sur Music on Thee Facebooks

Cruz del Sur Music on Bandcamp

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Russian Circles Announce Blood Year Due Aug. 2; North American Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

russian circles

Holy crapola, you mean to tell me Russian Circles have seven albums? Way to make me feel old, PR wire. The latest of the bunch is called Blood Year, and it will be issued Aug. 2 through Sargent House, which makes the Chicagoan three-piece label-kin to Earth and Boris, and though one tends to think of those bands as icons of the heavy form, don’t Russian Circles kind of fit in that echelon at this point as well. All kidding and feeling-old (about which I was very much not kidding) aside, these guys are long-since-proven veterans and their influence has been widespread for at least the last decade, if not longer, so yeah, a release on Sargent House feels right. Shit is important to a lot of people.

The new song, called “Arluck,” has been making the rounds this week and you can hear it at the bottom of this post if you haven’t yet or if you’d like to again, and in addition to the album announcement, there’s the requisite slew of tour dates included in the PR wire info as well.

Have at it:

russian circles blood year

RUSSIAN CIRCLES ANNOUNCE THEIR NEW ALBUM, ‘BLOOD YEAR,’ & NORTH AMERICAN TOUR

The formidable trio’s seventh studio album will be released on August 2 via Sargent House. Check out the first single “Arluck” now.

There are few things one can be sure of these days, though one truism that remains is that Russian Circles will continue to reign as one of instrumental music’s supreme champions. These masters of sonic tension and release plan to deliver their seventh studio album August 2nd on Sargent House. Dubbed Blood Year, the LP is less a musical exploration and more a statement of authority, lest there be any doubt that Russian Circles remain a force to be reckoned with on the stage and in the studio.

The Chicago trio have always explored the dynamics of volume and timbre, with their albums often vacillating between caustic attacks and blissful respites. Russian Circles returned to the studio with Kurt Ballou to record Blood Year, but this time they tracked it in Chicago at Steve Albini’s world-famous Electrical Audio. From guitarist Mike Sullivan’s riff-fueled assaults, to Dave Turncrantz’s war machine rack and floor toms and Brian Cook’s meat grinding bass lines, the sound of Blood Year is that of a band unafraid to flaunt their hard-earned prowess.

Sullivan, Turncrantz, and Cook made a conscious effort to approach the songs on Blood Year with the same organic feel of a live show. In an age where rock records are often built on a computerized grid, Russian Circles chose to track the foundations of the songs together in one room as complete takes without click tracks. The human pulse and unmetered energy is woven throughout Blood Year, a presence that can be felt with each bone-rattling minute.

Blood Year will be released via Sargent House on August 2 and Russian Circles will be on tour in North America this September, October and November in support of it. FACS and Windhand will appear on select dates — check out all tour dates listed below.

Blood Year is available for pre-order here. Stay tuned for more news.

RUSSIAN CIRCLES LIVE:
May 31 Chicago, IL @ Do Division Fest

RUSSIAN CIRCLES IRELAND/UK DATES
AUG 08 Dublin, IRE @ Button Factory *
AUG 09 Galway IRE @ Roisin Dubh *
AUG 10 Belfast UK @ Limelight 2 *
AUG 12 Glasgow, UK @ G2 +
AUG 13 Manchester, UK @ Gorilla +
AUG 14 London, UK @ Earth +
AUG 16 Bristol, UK @ ArcTanGent Festival +

Support from
* No Spill Blood
+ A.A. Williams
With further European tour dates to be announced soon.

RUSSIAN CIRCLES NORTH AMERICAN DATES:
September 11 Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon *
September 12 Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Culture Center *
September 14 Bozeman, MT @ Rialto Bozeman *
September 16 Seattle, WA @ Neumos *
September 17 Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom *
September 19 San Francisco, CA @ August Hall *
September 20 Ventura, CA @ Discovery Ventura *
September 21 Los Angeles, CA @ The Teragram Ballroom *
September 23 Mesa, AZ @ The Nile *
September 24 Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf *
September 25 Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater *
September 28 Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall *
October 18 Grand Rapids, MI @ The Pyramid Scheme
October 19 Detroit, MI @ El Club
October 20 Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
October 21 Montreal, QC @ Theatre Fairmount
October 23 Portsmouth, NH @ 3S ArtSpace
October 24 Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
October 26 Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw
October 27 Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
October 29 Washington, DC @ Union Stage
October 30 Richmond, VA @ The Broadberry
November 1 Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall +
November 2 Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theatre +
November 3 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade +
November 4 New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jack’s +
November 6 Houston, TX @ The Secret Group +
November 8 Austin, TX @ Levitation
November 9 Dallas, TX @ Deep Ellum Art Company +
November 11 St. Louis, MO @ Delmar Hall +
w/ FACS *
w/ Windhand +

Blood Year — Track Listing:
1. Hunter Moon
2. Arluck
3. Milano
4. Kohokia
5. Ghost on High
6. Sinaia
7. Quartered

https://www.facebook.com/russiancirclesmusic/
https://www.instagram.com/russiancircles/
https://www.russiancirclesband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sargenthouse/
http://www.sargenthouse.com/

Russian Circles, “Arluck”

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Hazemaze Sign to Cursed Tongue Records & Ripple Music; Hymns of the Damned Due This Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Vinyl-loving platterheads should welcome the news that Cursed Tongue Records has picked up Sweden’s Hazemaze for a Fall 2019 release of their second full-length, Hymns of the Damned. The Danish imprint has proven its mettle time and again at this point when it comes to things plastic and turntable-spinny, and with a CD through Ripple Music, the children of the ’90s don’t have to feel left out either. It’s nice to have everyone included, isn’t it?

Hazemaze join an increasingly packed Cursed Tongue roster — let alone Ripple! — and Hymns of the Damned follows behind their 2018 self-titled debut, which was issued through Kozik Artifactz. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s two records with three rousing endorsements. There’s no audio from the new offering yet — Fall’s a ways off, so maybe check back in later? — but you can stream the self-titled at the bottom of this post if you need a refresher on why all these labels seem so keen to get behind these guys. I think it’ll be clear by the time they get to the opening riff of “Lord of Cubensis.”

Here’s news from Cursed Tongue via the PR wire:

hazemaze

HAZEMAZE SIGNS TO CURSED TONGUE RECORDS AND RIPPLE MUSIC FOR WORLD WIDE RELEASE OF THEIR SOPHOMORE ALBUM ‘HYMNS OF THE DAMNED’ FALL 2019.

Cursed Tongue Records and Ripple Music have teamed up for a joint release of Stockholm, SE 70’s stoner doom trio Hazemaze’s dark and menacing sophomore album ‘Hymns of the Damned’.

When the three Swedes released their debut album last year on German label Kozmik Artifactz it was to much applaud from the heavy underground community. Fans and critics alike acknowledge the sincerity and skill that Hazemaze exhibits on record and that has been further cemented by a string of live performances in their home country and beyond.

With the signing of Hazemaze to both Cursed Tongue Records (DK) and Ripple Music (US) the next phase in the Hazemaze evolution is ready to unfold as they will bring the power of their riffs to even further regions and new ears.

The band has just finished recording of the follow-up album to their successful self-titled debut LP. We have had a sneak-peak on the pre-production of the new album and we can ensure you that you are in for a thrilling, riff-heavy showcase of retro-tinged stoner doom from the top drawer. Brace yourself to hear Hazemaze at their darkest, most energetic and heaviest yet as they have truly upped the irons on ‘Hymns of the Damned’.

Hazemaze is ready to take on the big league and are bringing the riffs the size of mountains, so get ready to be washed over with heavy, fuzzy riffs and low-ends. It’s soon time to rip it up to one this year’s best heavy stoner doom albums, ‘Hymns of the Damned. We are all damnned, we are all cursed so let the ripple of riff-waves carry us away. Get psyched!

BAND BIO

Hazemaze is a stoner/doom power trio from Sweden that took form in the spring 2016. The band first began with the intention of becoming a garage-rock outfit, but that all changed when they come to realize that they all shared the same passion for seventies hard rock music. 6 months after, the band recorded their first EP “Wicked Ways” and began playing shows around Stockholm and other cities nearby. However, it did not take long before the band began writing more songs, which evolved into a more doom-oriented sound.

Two years later, their self-titled debut album was released through Kozmik Artifactz, and the overwhelmingly positive respond, from every corner of the stoner/doom scene, helped the band break new territories and gaining recognition in the local doom scene, as well as abroad. Now it’s time for the next chapter in the story of Hazemaze, a record that is far heavier, darker and doomier than its predecessor. “Hymns of the Damned” will see the light of day in the fall of 2019.

BAND STATEMENT

“We are extremely excited and humbled to announce that we have signed a record deal with Cursed Tongue Records and Ripple Music for the release of our second album entitled “Hymns of the Damned”. It´s an honor to collaborate with two amazing labels that really embraces the heavy underground scene in both Europe and US, and becoming a part of that family.”

‘Hymns of the Damned’ will be out on CD and digital via Ripple Music and vinyl via Cursed Tongue Records in Fall 2019.

Hazemaze is:
Ludvig – Guitar/Vocals
Nils – Drums
Estefan – Bass

All tracks written and performed by Hazemaze
Recorded & Produced at Studio Underjord together with producer Joona Hassinen
Track listing: TBA! 8 tracks of riff-worshipping songs

https://hazemazeband.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/hazemazeband/
https://instagram.com/hazemazeband
http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CursedTongueRecords
https://www.instagram.com/cursedtonguerecords
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Hazemaze, Hazemaze (2018)

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Weedeater Announce Tour Dates with Irata

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Weedeater (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Am I going to begrudge Weedeater doing more touring? No. No, I’m not. Is it time for the Cape Fear, North Carolina, sludge stalwarts to knuckle down and get to work on a new album? Yeah, it probably is. Four years removed from Goliathan (review here) and they’ve hardly gotten off the road at all. I don’t know if they have any new material sitting around or what, but even if they started writing now and took the next year to put it out, you’d have to say they were due. If nothing else, it would give them something else to sell at the merch stand, which I feel like as they come back around to cities time and again, has probably been visited by fans on more than one occasion. The thing though about Weedeater live? They’re pretty incredible. I mean it. Having just seen them a few weeks ago at Desertfest NYC (review here), I was reminded of their overall badassery and enduring wreck-all. They are one of a kind.

They’ll be out with Irata and they have a date with Pallbearer in Philly as well. So sayeth the PR wire:

weedeater irata dates

WEEDEATER Announce New U.S. Tour Dates

Cape Fear metal legends WEEDEATER have announced a new run of U.S. headliner tour dates in which they will be supported by IRATA. The trek will kick off on May 29 in Johnson City, TN and will conclude on June 3 in Charlottesville, VA. The run will also include a co-headliner with PALLBEARER on 5/31 in Philadelphia, PA. The full itinerary is as follows:

WEEDEATER U.S. TOUR DATES:
05/29: Johnson City TN @ The Hideaway
05/31: Philadelphia PA @ Union Transfer*
06/01: Dayton OH @ Turnbuckles and Brews
06/02: Washington DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
06/03: Charlottesville VA @ The Southern
*With PALLBEARER, No IRATA

All of WEEDEATER’s albums are now available at fine stores nationwide and online at the WEEDEATER Bandcamp page.

WEEDEATER was formed by front-man/bassist “Dixie” Dave Collins. Following the release of their 2001 debut ‘…And Justice For Y’All’, WEEDEATER immediately established themselves as a force in the U.S. tour circuit and quickly gained notoriety in the American metal scene. In the time since, the band have released three critically-acclaimed albums: ‘Sixteen Tons’ (2002), ‘God Luck And Good Speed’ (2007), and ‘Jason… The Dragon’ (2011), and toured around the world with the likes of DOWN, SAINT VITUS, HIGH ON FIRE, and THE MELVINS, HANK III, EARTH, SUNN O))) and more. The band has played prestigious festivals such as Maryland Deathfest, Hopscotch Festival, Stoned From The Underground, Asymmetry Festival, Roadburn Festival, Hellfest, and many more.

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Weedeater, Goliathan (2015)

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Mouth Premiere “Coffee” from Past Present Future

Posted in audiObelisk on May 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

MOUTH

Space freaks and prog heads, unite! Or, if not, at least chill out for a bit. This summer, Tonzonen will present Mouth‘s Past Present Future collection as a four-track 10″ EP, which in its digital form sets about compiling work that spans some 18 years of material — appropriately enough, the oldest track is the grunge-riffed closer “Youth,” from 2001 — for a 34-minute span that is, as one might expect, kind of all over the place. It’s a document of how far Mouth have come and, indeed, where they might be headed, as the 2018 track “Steamship Shambles” proves to be some of the band’s most experimentalist prog-jazz fusion to date while still managing as well to be drenched in melody. The live-sounding weird-out “Chase ’72” brings nine minutes of jammy exploration, and a new mix of “Into the Light” from 2017’s Vortex (review here) highlights the whirling synthesizer later in the track. From the opening organ line of “Coffee” onward, it’s an offering full of twists and turns that by its very nature is more EP than album, despite what might otherwise be a full-length runtime, jumping between different recording sessions and, occasionally, styles as it does.

The Cologne, Germany-based proggers have settled over time on a decidedly traditionalist approach, taking influence from the more winding aspects of heavy ’70s keyboard-infused adventurers, but Past Present Future unveils some of the roots of where that mouth past present futurecomes from, with “Coffee,” “Stillsad” and “Youth” adding complexity to the tale in shorter execution and more straightforward verse/chorus structuring. Especially considering those songs are the better part of 20 years old — “Stillsad” is from 2002 — they hold up remarkably well, though in the case of “Coffee,” it’s past and present coming together as guitarist/vocalist Christian Koller went back into the original recording and added keys. Mouth of course dealt with the passing of bassist Gerald Kirsch last year, and Koller and drummer Nick Mavridis have come back together with Thomas Johnen handling low end to begin playing shows in August around the time of Past Present Future‘s release, so it’s entirely possible the compilation is a way for the band to reconcile with their own history and begin to move forward from the tragedy of that loss — the potential “future” portion of the title.

Whatever the case, whether it’s the brief excursion of the almost-a-capella “March of the Cyclopes (A Capella Mix)” or the kitchen-sink, everything-is-music vibe that runs through “Steamship Shambles” — a 17-minute version of which is available in the digital edition — Mouth make their progressivism clear in these tracks even from their relatively rudimentary beginnings. There’s no question they’ve developed as a group over time, but in both “past” and “present,” and likely in “future” as well, their commitment to thoughtful songwriting and pushing themselves forward creatively is right there in the material waiting to be heard.

So hear it. Ahead of Past Present Future‘s slated August release on Tonzonen, I’m happy to host the premiere of “Coffee,” which again is a standout on the EP for its direct blend of old and new recordings. Koller gives some comment about the track below, and if you’d like to read more, the complete liner notes for the outing are posted here.

Please enjoy:

Mouth, “Coffee” official track premiere

Christian Koller on “Coffee”:

Well, I think that I can’t really add something new to the liner notes except that the song was a tiny bit influenced by System of Down’s “Chop Suey!” Haha… The song structure is very similar considering the pop bridge. New Metal was the thing in early 2002 and I hated it but I loved the structure of that song so I borrowed it. Just a youthful folly.

“Coffee” was actually covered by another band from Hagen (Nick’s hometown) back in the days. I saw the band performing it once. That was quite nice. I felt really honored.

MOUTH – Past-Present-Future
(Tonzonen 2019)
1. Coffee (2002/2018)
2. Chase‘72 (2017)
3. Into the Light (alternate mix)
4. Steamship Shambles (2018)
5. March of the Cyclopes (a cappella mix)
6. Stillsad (2002)
7. Youth (2001)

The Tonzonen EP version is going to be a vinyl only release but we will also purchase a digital version via Bandcamp.

The vinyl version consists of tracks 1-4. Furthermore the vinyl version of “Steamship Shambles” is edited to 6:11 minutes. [The digital version] is the super extended version.

Tracks 5-7 are only digital bonus tracks.

Mouth is:
Nick Mavridis: Drums
Thomas Johnen: Bass
Christian Koller: Guitar / Keyboards / Vocals

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Swan Valley Heights Sign to Fuzzorama Records; The Heavy Seed Due Sept. 6

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

swan valley heights (Photo by Agathe Riener)

Band puts out cool record, gets signed for the next one. Such is the order of things, and I can’t argue when it comes to Germany’s Swan Valley Heights inking a deal with Fuzzorama Records to release their second long-player, The Heavy Seed, this September through the venerable imprint helmed by Sweden’s Truckfighters. Their first outing, a 2016 self-titled (review here), had more than enough charm to grab attention, and the 10-minute showcase of tonal warmth and progressive bent they’re giving for the new LP in the streaming track “Teeth and Waves” — the closer of the album, to be heard at the bottom of this post — bodes well for what might accompany on the rest of the record without necessarily giving away every trick up the band’s collective sleeve.

I’ll take it, in other words. There are a couple different versions that will be available, as detailed in the PR wire info below:

swan valley heights the heavy seed

Fuzzorama records signs Swan Valley Heights (GER)

The fuzz is flowing and Fuzzorama records’ family is growing!

Fuzzorama records are happy to announce the signing of German psychedelic stoner rockers Swan Valley Heights and the upcoming release of their new album called ‘the Heavy Seed’. The album’s first single Teeth & Waves is out now on all streaming platforms, give it a ‘spin’ to hear what the fuzz is all about.

A fat baby is born in Germany: The Heavy Seed, the second album of Munich and Berlin-based three-piece Swan Valley Heights. Ranging from three-minute-long instrumental bangers with no other intention than smashing heads to massive psych journeys that almost reach the quarter-hour mark; from big, ugly dissonances to acoustic guitar-driven beach vibes – this eclectic piece of fuzz-rock found its right home on Fuzzorama Records, even being mixed and mastered by no other than Truckfighters’ Mr. Dango.

Releasing their debut album back in 2016, Swan Valley Heights quickly found their booth within the scene. Heavy, unique riffing and a semi-serious take on stoner rock’s clichés are fusing with a fascination for the psychedelic aesthetics and big spaces of the many branches the genre has to offer.

Swan Valley Heights has been labeled progressive stoner, psychedelic fuzz-rock and space grunge, birthing music that is far away from simply riding standard patterns into oblivion.

Five-track beast The Heavy Seed will see the light of day September 6th, 2019.

The album comes in CD Digipak, and three different vinyl versions:
LTD edition Aside/Bside twin colored vinyl RED / AQUA BLUE + poster + patch + pick
SEA BLUE LP
BLACK LP.

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Swan Valley Heights, The Heavy Seed (2019)

Swan Valley Heights, Swan Valley Heights (2016)

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