Posted in Label Stuff on March 25th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
21 10 Copies Left.
Once again, if you’ve managed to pick up a copy of Clamfight‘s new CD, I Versus the Glacier, either using the Paypal button above or through the Maple Forum BigCartel store, you have my sincere thanks as well as that of the band.
We’re in the home stretch — a scant 21 copies remain in my possession and they’re going at a steady pace. If you’ve been on the fence, it’s a get-it-now-or-regret-it-later kind of deal. The Maple Forum doesn’t do second runs. It’s in the charter. Okay, there isn’t a charter, but seriously, the discs are moving, so thank you for that and they won’t be around for much longer. I guess that’s the point.
If you’re in Philly this coming weekend, as I know I’ll be, catch them Saturday, March 30 at Kung Fu Necktie with Borracho, Been Obscene and Supervoid. Friday, they’re at Cafe 611 in Frederick, MD, with Ichabod, War Injun, Beelzefuzz and Hollow Leg, and the band has sent along word of more shows to come, including confirmation that they’re looking to hit the West Coast this summer and news about new material in progress!
Anyone can bring you a Clamfight update with show news. Here’s one from drummer/vocalist Andy Martin that has a unicorn:
Forgive me for the bullet points folks, but I’m bashing this out on a borrowed laptop in a hotel somewhere deep in the wilds of Pennslytucky, and time is of the essence…
We’ve got two great shows this weekend, we’re at Cafe 611 in Fredrick Maryland with Ichabod, War Injun, Beelzefuzz, and Hollow Leg on Friday the 29th, and we’ll be hooking up with Supervoid, Been Obscene, and Borracho at Kung Fu Necktie in Philly on Saturday, March 30.
April 6th we’re atThe Depot in York PA with Crobot, Kingsnake, and Witch Hazel.
April 25th we’re back at Kung Fu Necktie with Holly Hunt, Sunburster, and the mighty Shroud Eater, in a show that’s sure to start our great southern weekender off with aching heads and rumbly tummies.
April 26th-29th with our bosom chums/band-I-am-also-in, Heavy Temple, we’ll be rampaging through the southeast. Friday the 26th sees us both at the Oasis in Charleston, South Carolina, with Compel, Greenseer and possibly one more TBA, Saturday will likely see us in Virginia (details still getting ironed out on that one), and Sunday the 29th we’ll be wrapping it up with the Akris at Lallo’s in Knoxville Maryland.
The other massive (for us anyway) show news is that we will be slipping the surly bonds of the east coast this summer. We can’t say when or with who but trust us, Clamfight will be heading west this summer.
The final bit of big news is that we are actively writing the next record. We’ve demoed about 25 minutes of material and have rolled out one new song, “Block Ship” live. Obviously things are very premature at the moment but we’re aiming to be in the studio by next winter. Saying much more would almost feel like cursing a process that’s been going really, really well for us, so we’ll just say this, we aim to be studio bound not long after hitting Richmond, Virginia, for Stoner Hands of Doom XIII this November.
Speaking of SHOD and “Block Ship,” we’ll be heading back to Gradwell House as soon as our schedules allow to record both “Block Ship” and a reworked version of a tune that shall remain nameless (for the time being) from our first record for our special SHOD-only split with Wizard Eye and Allthing.
Finally we’d just like to say one last thanks to Thump Box, Brain Candle, The Workhorse 3, Black Hand, and the many, many friends who came out to see us in Delaware last week. Delaware’s somehow always been incredibly cool to us and due to our show/my digging schedule last week’s show may have been our last in Delaware till the fall. Fear not first staters… We shall return.
The only thing I don’t get about the new video for the title-track of Dead Rock Commandos — the 2012 Small Stone debut from long-running Greek rockers Nightstalker — is the kidnapping. Okay, so Nightstalker are getting chased through the woods by mysterious gasmasked paramilitary forces. I got that. But then they get kidnapped, the hoods over their heads and the whole bit, and marched single-file to an also-mysterious white room with instruments… and they start rocking out.
So the part I don’t get is, weren’t Nightstalker going to rock out anyway? Why would these commandos need to bring them into this room? And what is the room? Could it be that the volume from their heavy riffing output is being harvested to power some kind of sinister death ray? Or worse, that Nightstalker are being set up as some kind of exhibit in a terrible post-apocalyptic rock and roll zoo? Truly, there are many questions still to be answered.
What’s way clearer in watching “Dead Rock Commandos” is that Nightstalker have the stoner thing on lockdown. The video premiered today, and Nightstalker will bring the rock directly to the people starting May 31 with Ape Machine supporting. Dates follow the clip below:
Nightstalker, “Dead Rock Commandos” official video
Including an appearance at the 2013 Freak Valley Festival, Nightstalker will be heading out on a European tour in support of 2012′s Dead Rock Commandos. The ultra-catchy riff-fest was released by Small Stone last year and found the long-running Athens outfit right at home in classic heavy fuzz ‘n’ roll.
Nightstalker tour dates: May 31 Munster, DE Rare Guitar Jun 1 Netphen, DE Freak Valley Festival Jun 2 Antwerpen, BE Antwerpen Music City Jun 4 Paris, FR Les Combustibles Jun 5 Leuven, BE Rockbar Jun 6 Wild Rover Aachen, DE Jun 7 Hasselt, BE Carpe Diem Jun 8 Wurzburg, DE Immerhin Jun 9 Salzburg, AT Rockhouse Jun 11 St. Gallen, CH Rumpeltum Jun 12 Feldkirch, AT Graf Hugo Jun 13 Erfurt, DE Stadtgarten Jun 14 Berlin, DE White Trash
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 20th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
In addition to the launch of a new album, Across Tundras also mark the launch of a new label with the forthcoming/already-out Electric Relics. The Nashville harvest rockers have made the full-length available for streaming via their Bandcamp page (which is, as I recently discovered, something of a treasure trove) and will issue it on 180 gram vinyl next month as the first release on their new label, also called Electric Relics.
The last Across Tundras album was 2011′s Sage (review here), which was released by Neurot, and in March, the band also released a split with like-minded Illinois outfit Lark’s Tongue (streaming here). Here’s news and the stream of the latest:
ACROSS TUNDRAS To Release New LP On Band’s Own Label
Western U.S. Tour With Hellbender Confirmed
Following their lauded Sage album, released in 2011 by Neurot Recordings, the new LP from Nashville trio ACROSS TUNDRAS is set for harvest on the band’s newly founded D.I.Y. label.
On the new LP Electric Relics, ACROSS TUNDRAS take their ever-expanding style of modern Americana further into the same westerly direction they’ve been traversing for the past few years, organically fusing their swells of post-doom into Spaghetti Western soundtracks and meandering blues/rock jam sessions. A wide variety of sounds seamlessly mingle throughout the slow motion base founding guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Tanner Olson, percussionist Casey Perry and bassist/vocalist Mikey Allred (Hellbender) lay down, Allred also contributing pianos/organs, synthesizers, mellotron, trombone and more, and his brother Joey (Hellbender) contributing guest slide guitar and vocals. Additionally, Perry hand constructed the scale model landscape for the cover art, with Olson handling the graphic design and layout. ACROSS TUNDRAS recorded Electric Relics at their expansive Ramble Hill Farm in February, and is releasing it on their own label of the same name, making it a fully self-managed D.I.Y. release.
As the band states: “Electric Relics is our humble offering placed at the crossroads of past, present, and future tense. Age-old energies and three phase electric power intersect to reveal hidden truths of bygone times, modern mysticisms, and sound the alarm for uncertain days to come. We walk through this shadowy land in search of a spark to light the fire and illuminate the depths of consciousness.”
Electric Relics is available for free/name-your-price download now via Bandcamp, where orders for the deluxe vinyl edition — being pressed on 180-gram virgin vinyl and bearing gatefold jackets — can also be placed.
In support of the album, ACROSS TUNDRAS are hooking up with their cohorts in Hellbender for a Western U.S. tour, kicking off with a hometown show on June 6th and winding out through the West Coast and back through the Midwestern states.
ACROSS TUNDRAS Western USA Tour w/ Hellbender: 6/06 The Groove – Nashville, TN 6/07 3 Angels – Memphis, TN w/ Tanks 6/08 The Conservatory – Oklahoma, City, OK w/ We the Undead 6/09 Synchro Studios – Albuquerque, NM w/ Shiva 6/10 The District – Tucson, AZ w/ Psygoat 6/11 Palo Verde – Phoenix, AZ w/ Sorxe 6/12 Five Star Bar – Los Angeles, CA w/ The Withers, Arms of Tripoli 6/13 Thee Parkside – San Francisco, CA w/ Name 6/14 Casa Da Chaos – Sacramento, CA 6/15 Herb Stomp – Portland, OR w/ Rolling Through the Universe, Hungers 6/16 Highline – Seattle, WA w/ Lightning Kills Eagle, Scriptures 6/17 Tiny Tavern – Eugene, OR w/ Rivers of Mercury, Opossum Head 6/18 TBA/HELP – Northern CA 6/19 Jub Jubs – Reno, NV 6/20 Bar Deluxe – Salt Lake City, UT w/ Before the Eyewall, Dwellers 6/21 TBA/HELP – Denver, CO 6/22 The Lulu House – Wichita, KS w/ Serpent Overlord
Electric Relics Track Listing: 1. Pining for the Gravel Roads 2. Den of Poison Snakes 3. Kiln of the First Flame 4. Driftless Caravan 5. Seasick Serenade 6. Castaway 7. Solar Ark 8. Unfortunate Son
ACROSS TUNDRAS: Tanner Olson – guitars, vocals, drones, lyrics Casey Perry – drums, percussion Mikey Allred – bass, vocals, piano, organ, synthesizers, mellotron, trombone Joey Allred – slide guitar on “Solar Ark”, vocals on “Unfortunate Son”
With a CD pressing limited, I presume, to however many the band felt like spraypainting, Wizard Fight make their debut on the new The Beast Lives Demo. The Hastings, UK-based trio recorded the three tracks live on March 11 and initially put them on a cassette, but the CD followed not far behind as they’ve begun to play more shows, discs spraypainted green with stenciled pink logos as above in a sleeve with photocopied artwork — a bit of a classic touch to go with the band’s heavy-footed sludge stomp.
The three tracks themselves keep the formula pretty simple. Riffs, screams and growls, a few tempo changes and a consistent level of aggression keep The Beast Lives Demowell within the realm of the straightforward, and the trio — guitarist/vocalist Luke Bolton (Rise of the Simians), bassist Dave Sage and drummer Daniel Kinsey (ex-Steak) — seem just fine with that. Across “The Devil Rides,” “Wizard of Black” and “Thine Enemies,” the three-piece settle into a solid groove that ebbs and flows while also keeping a strong sense of momentum moving within and between the songs.
Frills are slim to none — a sample at the beginning of “The Devil Rides” — but especially for a first demo recorded live, that winds up being part of the appeal, and though it’s abundantly clear throughout all three of the tracks at Wizard Fight are getting their bearings in terms of writing songs as a unit, their sense of structure works well on “Wizard of Black” as they move fluidly from the chorus to the instrumental ending, wherein they lock in the demo’s best groove as a precursor to the burly riffing that takes hold on “Thine Enemies,” closing out with a semi-metallic chorus that Bolton tops in post-Superjoint Ritual fashion.
They’ve got some work ahead of them, but considering The Beast Livesis as rudimentary as a release can get — a live demo — Wizard Fight sound tight and like they have a good idea of where they want to be in terms of sound. I wouldn’t ask anything more of a release like The Beast Livesthan that, and hopefully it sets the band up for something to grow on the next time out. Until then, in true demo spirit, they’ve made the songs available as a free download:
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 20th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Taking the well-honed darkness of Atriarch‘s 2011 debut, Forever the End(review here), to someplace entirely more goth and dramatic, the 2012 sophomore outing, Ritual of Passing, intrigued both in concept and execution, and found the Portland act discovering their niche within not only their own severely crowded scene, but also the wider sphere of the heavy underground. Released on CD by Profound Lore last October, Ritual of Passing is also out now in vinyl issue through Seventh Rule Recordings, which is the impetus behind the tour. See how everything ties together?
Here’s the info:
ATRIARCH West Coast shows…
5/22 Thee Parkside San Francisco, CA W/ Wild Hunt, Lycus, Caffa 5/23 The Catalyst Atrium Santa Cruz, CA W/ Gloam 5/24 Five Star Bar Los Angeles, CA W/ Lightning Swords of Death, Usnea, Deathkings 5/25 924 Gilman Berkeley, CA W/ Worm Ouroboros, Sutekh Hexen, Gloam 6/5 White Owl Portland, OR
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 20th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Richmond doom cultists Windhand made their debut on Relapse Records earlier this year in the form of the Reflection of the Negative split with fellow Virginians Cough, with whom they now share bassist Parker Chandler. Their 2011 self-titled debut came out on Forcefield Records (was streamed here) and they’ve now announced that the follow-up sophomore outing, also their solo debut on Relapse, is finished and will be out this fall.
They previously announced a round of dates for June that I suspect is the first of many to come, and all that info, plus the tour poster, can be found right below this very line. No, seriously, it’s there. Just scroll down. Hell, you probably don’t even need to. Just look. I promise it’s there:
WINDHAND: Complete New Album
Map Out Summer Tour
In 2012, backwoods psychedelic doom band Windhand released their self-titled LP & it was met with critical acclaim.The band is putting the finishing touches on their second LP for Relapse, due out this fall, which was recorded & mixed by the band’s own Garrett Morris at The Darkroom & mastered by James Plotkin, in their hometown of Richmond, VA. The band will trek across North America this summer ushering their audiences into their menacing grooves & showcasing songs from their upcoming album.
About Windhand Formed in 2009, Richmond, VA’s Windhand (Asechiah Bogdan – Guitar, Parker Chandler – Bass, Dorthia Cottrell – Vocals, Garrett Morris – Guitar, and Ryan Wolfe – Drums) play what has been described as a tinnitus inducing mix of eerie psychedelia and haunting ambient doom. 2012 saw the release of their critically acclaimed, self-titled debut LP via Forcefield Records. A subsequent heavy dose of East Coast touring followed, culminating with a four week U.S. tour in August of that year.
Tour 06/05 – Baltimore, MD – Ottobar 06/06 – Philadelphia, PA – Golden Tea House 06/07 – Brooklyn, NY – St. Vitus Bar 06/08 – Providence, RI – AS220 ! 06/09 – Boston, MA – O’Brien’s 06/10 – Cherry Valley, NY – Steve’s Koi Pond 06/11 – Buffalo, NY – Vault Art Space 06/12 – Pittsburgh, PA – Gooski’s 06/13 – Columbus, OH – Ace of Cups 06/14 – Chicago, IL – Ultra Lounge 06/15 – St. Paul, MN – The Turf Club 06/16 – Milwaukee, WI – Quarter’s Rock n Roll 06/17 – Indianapolis, IN – The Sinking Ship # 06/18 – Newport, KY – South Gate Revival House 06/19 -Nashville, TN – The End % 06/20 – Knoxville, TN – The Pilot Light % 06/21 – Raleigh, NC – Slim’s $ 06/22 – Richmond, VA – Strange Matter $
! = w/ Elder and Morne # = w/ Skeletonwitch % = w/ Generation of Vipers $ = w/ Inter Arma
Windhand & Cough, Reflection of the Negative Split (2013)
All fucking week. All week I was behind. On everything. Behind on work. Behind on work for my second job. Certainly behind on this shit. I never got caught up, either. It hit 4:30 this afternoon and I just had to say fuck it and leave the office. If I’m not going to get anything done, I might as well not be there. Been a while since I split out of work at rush hour. Did you know there’s traffic at 5 o’clock?
So in looking for something to end this miserable, frustrating, son of a bitch week, I went with The Atomic Bitchwax, not only because they’re from New Jersey like me, but because they’re pretty much the opposite. Not miserable or frustrated. Even the “Shit Kicker” is alright according to these guys. Probably I’d have gone with something more recent by them — 2005′s 3 was what I was going for — but their 1999 self-titled was the only full studio album I could find. Not at all a hardship. The trio of Chris Kosnik, Ed Mundell and Keith Ackerman had a good thing going right from the start, and Kosnik has always kept a piece of that original spirit in everything the band does, even with the lineup and aesthetic changes that the years since the debut have brought.
I’m a sucker for the Bitchwax, always, and since I was thinking just the other day about how it had been too long since I’d seen them live, here we are.
Because I have been so behind, my plan is to have a couple posts up this weekend. Some news about the new Windhand and Across Tundras records being done and coming out, maybe some other stuff. It might be Sunday before I get anything up though, as The Patient Mrs. is graduating and there are inevitable celebrations stemming from that. She’ll have her Ph.D. in hand, which since it’s seven years in the making strikes me as something worth celebrating. She’s brilliant. I’m a lucky dolt.
But anyway, when I can find a couple minutes I’ll get those posts up, if only because I don’t want to start next week as deep in the red as I’ve spent the last several days. And next week, the Kylesa and Cathedral reviews, an interview with Black Black Black, a look at a new tape by Purple Knights that just came in today’s mail, probably something about that new Queens of the Stone Age album if I can nail down who’s in the lineup on any given track, and so on and so forth. Rest assured, there will be posts, and probably more words than you’d ever have interest in reading.
Also, if you’ve emailed me in the last, well, month and I haven’t responded, I’ll be working on that this weekend as well. I’ve been in email transfer hell all week going from Thunderbird to Outlook. I don’t want to say it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, because one time I cut my leg open and had to have 140 stitches, but it has certainly made the fucking list.
Until Monday then, if you’ve got a question you should ask it, from the cradle to the casket. Womb to the tomb. Birth to the earth.
Have a great and safe weekend. Check out these things that are also on this site and formatted like the links at the ends of reviews:
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
In my ongoing and inevitably-doomed-to-failure quest to be somewhat less than 100 percent behind on absolutely everything, this news about Venomous Maximus touring that I now present to you came down the PR wire yesterday. The Texas metallers, signed as of March to Napalm Records, have announced a round of dates to herald a July 2 reissue of their 2012 full-length, Beg upon the Light (review here), and included is a stop at Days of the Doomed III on June 21 in Wisconsin, where they’ll join the likes of Dream Death and In~Graved in riffly demolition at The Blue Pig outside Milwaukee. Good fun.
So sayeth the PR wire:
VENOMOUS MAXIMUS Announce North American Tour Dates
Debut Album Beg Upon the Light Out July 2nd on Napalm Records
The Texan Dark Occult Metal outfit VENOMOUS MAXIMUS has already risen to the status of a heavy hitter in the depths of the underground. Now, the band is ready to finally unleash their album debut Beg Upon The Light. The album will be released in North America on July 2nd via Napalm Records. Today the band has unveiled the tracklisting, which includes three bonus tracks.
In support of the new release, VENOMOUS MAXIMUS will be hitting the road this May and June. The tour sees the band playing select shows with Royal Thunder, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Valient Thorr amongst others. A complete list of dates can be found below.
Singer Gregg Higgins has a message for fans coming out to the shows: “Hide your daughters and bring a crucifix!”
Beg Upon the Light is full of heavy riffs and driving drums, which create the perfect foundation for the musical and lyrical direction of the songs, which bring the enthralled listener into the realm of the Occult! The Texans turn the mix of Stoner and Doom Metal into a deadly blend that goes right into your blood. Pounding and powerful songs filled with energy set the stage for the glorious vocals of frontman Gregg Higgins, the grand marshal who leads through these occult hymns Beg Upon the Light combines occultism, heavy riffs and the perfect Stoner attitude to create a pitch-black and irresistible album.
Tracklisting: 1.Funeral Queen 2 Path of Doom 3. Give Up The Witch 4. Father Time 5. Dream Again 6. Moon Child 7. Battle for the Cross 8. Venomous Maximus 9. Mother Milk 10. Hell’s Heroes 11. The Mission (Bonus Track) 12. The Rider (Bonus Track) 13. The Gift (Bonus Track)
Venomous Maximus Live: 5/18 – College Station – Stanford Center – Loudfest! 5/24 – Austin, TX – Mohawk – w/ Dillinger Escape Plan, Royal Thunder, Ancient VVisdom 5/25 – San Antonio, TX – Fitzgeralds w/ deadhorse 6/18 – Little Rock, AR – Downtown Music 6/19 – Nashville, TN – The End w/ Windhand 6/20 – Indianapolis, IN – Indy Jukebox w/ Devil To Pay 6/21 – Milwaukee, WI – Blue Pig Bar – Days of Doomed Fest 6/22 – Chicago, IL – Reggies w/ Valient Thorr 6/24 – Cincinnati, OH – The Comet 6/25 – Johnson City, TN – The Mecca 6/26 – Atlanta, GA – Purgatory 6/27 – Birmingham, AL – The Bottle Tree w/ Stoned Cobra 6/28 – New Orleans, LA – Siberia w/ Holy Grail
Posted in Reviews on May 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Some harsher vocals from guitarist Jeff Maurer add a darker, metallic edge to the proceedings, but at its heart, French trio Surtr‘s second album, Pulvis et Umbra, is traditional doom all the way. Whether you run it back to Saint Vitus and The Obsessed or Count Raven and Reverend Bizarre, it rounds out to the same downward spiral of riffs and misery. That seems just fine by the Lorraine outfit, who release the album on Altsphere Production as the follow-up to 2011′s World of Doom debut, as the material shows no real ambition to transcend beyond the occasional flash of early Viking metal (read: Bathory) influence on a song like “Three Winters of War” in its reaching past genre, and the band are decently suited to their style. Production throughout is clear but largely flat and shifts in tempo offer little change from the mood, which is as dreary as one might expect across the seven-track/42-minute full-length, and while perhaps unremarkable in offering a groundbreaking take on doom, Pulvis et Umbra — the title translating from the Latin to “Ashes and Dust” — stands as an able execution of genre and a cohesive release nonetheless. It ain’t gonna change the world, but as doom for doomers, one could probably find bands with much less to offer than Surtr, depending on how deep into the mire one wanted to look.
The album begins with “Rise Again,” organ holding a melody line under Maurer‘s guitar, Julien Kuhn‘s bass and Régis Beck‘s drums initially but seeming to fade away once the slow crawl of the track’s central progression is introduced. Straightforward through and through, Maurer has a traditional metal inflection to his cleaner singing that’s instantly familiar as “Rise Again” plays out, Kuhn offering a few engaging fills in the open spaces left by the guitar. Gradually, they solidify to a forward thrust, but it’s not until the final minute that they really pick up the pace and Maurer reveals a screaming approach that’s soon layered with growls underneath to varying success, capping with barks of “Rise! Rise!” to act as an apex before the Viking-style drum thud of “Three Winters of War” sets the tone for the riff before dropping out to make way for it. This time it’s the verse that’s more active and the chorus that slows down. Fine. Maurer‘s voice reminds a bit of Slough Feg‘s latter day incantations, but without the Celt-folk idiosyncrasies, keeping the melody in line with Kuhn‘s able basslines, which actually wind up providing most of the character the band shows throughout. That’s not to take anything away from Beck or Maurer‘s performances, they’re just more straightforward, and even when “Three Winters of War” shifts into its Cathedral-style ending progression, there’s no sense of flourish to be found from either of them.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
If Lo-Pan do anything at all, they keep busy. The Ohio-based fuzz frontrunners — do I need to call them the best American heavy rock band going right now again what I do well okay they’re the best American heavy rock band going — will partner with Capital City riffers Borracho for what I’ve no doubt will be a long weekender of bro downs and fuzz outs. Pennsylvania seems to be the lucky state playing host to most of these shows, but fear not, rest of the country, as I seriously doubt this’ll be the last time Lo-Pan and Borracho pair up. They’re like stoner rock Superfriends.
I wrote this press release, so here’s me quoting myself:
LO-PAN: Ohio Rockers Announce Tour Dates With Borracho
They’re the hardest working band in fuzz, and on July 18, Columbus, Ohio’s LO-PAN will continue their mission to obliterate eardrums nationwide. Late in 2012, the foursome took to stages across the land with High on Fire and Goatwhore, and in June, they joined forces with Torche and KENmode.
As they prepare to headline the Eye of the Stoned Goat 3 fest in Brooklyn on July 27 at The Acheron, LO-PAN be taking Washington D.C. up-and-coming heavy trio Borracho along for a few dates along the Eastern Seaboard. Both bands have new material in the works and will be showcasing material from forthcoming releases.
LO-PAN will share the stage not only with Borracho, but also with Philly riff-slingers Kingsnake, Pittsburgh metallers Sistered and Supervoid and Virginia-based Southern metallers King Giant.
LO-PAN AND BORRACHO ON TOUR: Jul 18, 2013 Pittsburgh, PA Howler’s w/ Borracho, Sistered, Supervoid Jul 19, 2013 Washington D.C. Rock N Roll Hotel w/ Borracho, Kingsnake, King Giant Jul 20, 2013 Stroudsburgh, PA The Sherman Theater w/ Borracho, Kingsnake Jul 21, 2013 York, PA The Depot w/ Borracho
I just wanted to take a minute to mark out three full years since the passing of Ronnie James Dio. Short of thinking of every scumbag motherfucker still roaming the earth while he’s not and making myself angry, I’d rather not get lost in memorializing — everything’s been said and by people with better sentence structures than mine — but if heavy metal has a hall of immortals it’s only because Ronnie James Dio built it from the ground up. He remains, and will remain, much missed.
This clip of Dehumanizer-era Sabbath doing “Children of the Sea” is one of literally thousands out there, and if you find yourself lost among them and exploring one into the next into the next, I’m sure there are worse ways you could spend that time. Ronnie James Dio, 1942-2010.
Black Sabbath,”Children of the Sea” Live in Rio de Janeiro, 1992
Posted in Reviews on May 16th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
To my knowledge, The Book of Knots hadn’t done a live show since July 2007, when they took the stage at Manhattan’s Gramercy Theatre with a slew of guests to support their then-new second album, Traineater. I was there and it was grand. From Jon Langford (The Mekons) to Carla Bozulich (Evangelista) to Aaron Lazar (The Giraffes), the stage was in constant flux around Book of Knots steady members Carla Kihlstedt (vocals, violin), Joel Hamilton (guitar), Tony Maimone (bass) and Matthias Bossi (drums), grounded only by the consistent brilliance of the woefully underdiscovered material, songs like “Midnight,” “Hands of Production” and “The Captain’s Cup” ringing out through the not-packed but thoroughly-appreciative room in what I to this day consider one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, hands down. And I’ve seen a few.
Joined by Faun Fables and Skeleton Key, what may indeed have been The Book of Knots‘ second gig in six years was a different kind of family affair. I walked into Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory – my first time there since it moved from its old location on Leonard St. in Manhattan — to find Faun Fables already on stage and a goodly portion through their set, the duo of Dawn McCarthy and NilsFrykdahl seamlessly blending mountain folk spirit with art rock theatricality — both wore gowns and McCarthy brought one of her young daughters on stage while the other slept in the audience — and a fittingly earthy vibe. I recognized Frykdahl‘s voice immediately from Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, of which Book of Knots‘ Kihlstedt and Bossi were also members, though other than his vocals, Faun Fables shares almost nothing in common with the sadly defunct, ultra-dark avant metal outfit.
Still, they were more than enjoyable in that look-at-those-very-talented-weirdos kind of way, McCarthy echoing her own yodels in the closer with striking believability, if not much setup for Skeleton Key, a long-running NY-native post-noise rock four-piece (with whom Bossi once played) with jagged riffs and a double-dose of percussion in a standard kit and secondary cymbals, canisters and other found items that were thoroughly banged on. Most of what they played came from their first LP in a decade, last year’s Gravity is the Enemy — the material striking a blend between New York City’s ’90s noise-punk lineage and the heavier end of indie, without fear of the occasional rockabilly twang or slide guitar interjection — but between percussionist Benjamin Clapp recruiting Kihlstedt and others to run through the crowd with big paper mache marshmallow heads on and returning later to take a French horn solo in a similar fashion — they were hardly short on the avant elements either. Actually, knowing almost nothing about the band going into their set, they were exciting to watch.
Bassist/vocalist/founder Erik Sanko announced toward the end of their time that his mother has passed away on Sunday, and that added further emotionality to the already-striking “Roses,” the closer from Gravity is the Enemyand penultimate inclusion before “Wide Open” from 1997′s Fantastic Spikes through Balloon. When they were finished and Sanko came back out to retrieve his bass, the crowd goaded them into one more song, so they did “Roost in Peace” from 2002′s Obtanium, clicking sticks to keep the rhythm under the folksy melody line and memorable chorus. They seemed glad for the chance to do the encore, even if somewhat surprised to have been asked.
In 2011, The Book of Knots made their debut on Ipecac with Garden of Fainting Stars(review here), their third album behind the aforementioned Traineateron Anti- and their 2004 self-titled debut, released by Texas imprint Arclight. It was the final installment in a vague thematic trilogy, the first record centering around the nautical, the second the rust belt, the third aerospace — sea, land and air, roughly — and whether or not they’ll follow it with further tales of industrial decay and cruelties both personal and at-large remains to be seen, but they hardly sounded finished at Knitting Factory. With guitarist/backing vocalist Jon Evans and keyboardist/backing vocalist Michael Jinno, Kihlstedt, Bossi, Maimone and Hamilton took the stage and bled before the audience even realized they were starting into the dreary moodiness of “All this Nothing” from Garden of Fainting Stars.
“We are purveyors of that type of music,” Bossi announced on mic from behind his kit, and sure enough, the remainder of the night proved him right, through from their very beginnings, The Book of Knots have been a richly dynamic band, moving from these ambient, still-melodic droning sections of sparse atmospherics to intense, crushing distortion and correspondingly weighted rhythmic thud. Rules are minimal and followed as whims dictate, but the songs are cohesive, and in the case of this set, flowed well together. It was late when they got going, and some of the setlist was cut out to make room, but “Tugboat” from the first album and the Traineatertitle-track showcased excellently the sonic variety in The Book of Knots‘ approach, Maimone‘s steady low end, Evans and Hamilton‘s guitars, Jinno‘s keys and evenBossi’s drums and vocals all coming into and out of focus along the way.
Kihlstedt, who also has an album forthcoming with Bossi under the duo guise of Rabbit Rabbit, did most of the singing, her voice smooth and bluesy over “Traineater” and no less suited to the more active Gardenopener “Microgravity,” which followed the spoken idiosyncrasies of “Hands of Production” and foreshadowed some of the heft to come in the latter half of the set. Frykdahl returned for a vocal/guitar spot on “Moondust Must” — he would be the only guest they’d bring out — which even the band acknowledged would be the most upbeat sounding thing they’d play. It was, and though I never got to see Sleepytime Gorilla Museum during their day, I was thankful to get a glimpse at some of their expanded roots in Frykdahl and Kihlstedt‘s combined singing.
The high points were still to come, however. I had been glad to “Pearl Harbor” on the setlist. I’ll confess it had been a while since I broke out the self-titled for a listen, so I didn’t remember precisely why I was glad to see it, but I knew that it being there was something to be happy about, and once they kicked into the slow, full-weight drudgery of the track’s second half, I immediately remembered the reason. Bossi pounded out a stomping but complex rhythm, Hamilton kept his I’m-a-producer’s cool while Evans punished his guitar with each strum on the other side of the stage, but it was Maimone‘s bass that left the greatest impression, each swell of the riff cycle resulting in a “voom” you could feel in your chest standing in front of the stage. It was even more satisfying for not having it so fresh in my memory, and a reminder of how much I lived with that self-titled when I first heard it, now nine years ago.
They followed and closed out with really the only song that possibly could have followed “Pearl Harbor,” “Salina” from Traineater, which never fails to send a shiver up my spine. It was a highlight in 2007 and remained one last night, and though it was late, I couldn’t help but hope for an encore of pretty much whatever they wanted to do — loud, quiet, whatever. No such luck on that, but “Salina” was more than one could ask for without being greedy, all six players locking into its build and noisy, deconstructed ending, Kihlstedt delivering one last highlight performance.
I already had a copy of Garden of Fainting Stars, and though I wanted to hit the merch table and see if there was anything to be had from the members of Book of Knots‘ other projects — be it Rabbit Rabbit, Two Foot Yard, Pere Ubu, etc. — it wasn’t to be, and I shuffled out of the Knitting Factory and back down the block to where I’d parked. It may not have been the same scale as six years ago, but for the chance to see this band as a band, almost entirely on their own, the show only confirmed for me how massively underappreciated The Book of Knots have been over the course of their time together. Not that I didn’t feel that way anyhow, but it’s nice to be proven right every now and again.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 16th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Hey, doom works slow. It’s been more than four years since Chicago doom legends Trouble first started tossing around word of their first album in the post-Eric Wagner era. Back then, the record was called The Dark Riff and Trouble was fronted by former Warrior Soul vocalist Kory Clarke. Neither of those panned out, it seems, and founding guitarists Bruce Franklin and Rick Wartell have (re)joined forces with singer Kyle Thomas, who previously worked with the band between 1997 and 2000, to release The Distortion Field through FRW Records on July 16, 2013.
Another full-length of Trouble riffs is nothing to complain about, and anyone who heard Alabama Thunderpussy‘s 2007 swan song, Open Fire, let alone Exhorder or Floodgate, knows Thomas is no slouch vocally. It’s hard to imagine Trouble without Wagner‘s Beatles-loving melodies up front (and I saw them with Clarke), but one hopes that in the years since Trouble‘s last record, Simple Mind Condition(originally out in 2007, then again I think in 2009 or 2010; it was complicated), Franklin and Wartell have used some of that time to meld their approach with that of their new lineup.
That’d be the ideal, anyway. We’ll find out soon enough. Here’s the info off the PR wire:
Chicago Metal Legends TROUBLE Return!
New Album The Distortion Field out via FRW Records
July 16th in North America | July 26th in Europe
Chicago metal legends TROUBLE return with their first album since ‘Simple Mind Condition’, released in 2007. The album entitled ‘The Distortion Field’ features 13 tracks and will be released by FRW Records in North America on July 16th 2013 and in Europe on July 26th, 2013.
‘The Distortion Field’ makes history in the TROUBLE camp through the band’s acquisition of a new lead vocalist, Kyle Thomas of Exhorder and Floodgate fame.
Commenting on new vocalist Thomas, TROUBLE founder and guitarist Rick Wartell says, “Kyle is one of the most impressive singers I’ve ever heard, and by far the most extraordinary singer I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. He’s got incredible range, incredible power, and an incredible knowledge of TROUBLE, as he’s been a fan for 20-something years. We’ve known him forever, and he innately understands what TROUBLE is about. He’s like the perfect guy to come in and do this job. It’s awesome.”
Veteran Music Producer Bill Metoyer is once again lending his expertise, having previously worked with the band on ‘The Skull’ and ‘Trouble’, both Metal Blade releases.
“Musically, I think this album is a true TROUBLE record.”, states Wartell. “In the early days, we used to just write what we felt and didn’t really care about what anyone said. We just wrote heavy riffs and played our music our way. But outside influences can kind of get a hold of you and start telling you what to do. When we were writing this album, the thinking was, we don’t care what anybody thinks. We’re going to write what we write. So this is basically a return to our roots, while combining some reflections of our band’s long history as well. With the two different music writers, Bruce and myself, we have a slight variation in our writing; Bruce has more of a ’70s groove to his writing, and I’m more the old school doomy metal thing. And when you put it together, you get TROUBLE.”
The band consists of Kyle Thomas – vocals, Rick Wartell – guitar, Bruce Franklin – guitars, and Mark “Marko” Lira – drums.
More details including song titles and album artwork are expected to be revealed in the coming weeks.
The band has planned a string of festival dates and will tour the album in both Europe and North America.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 15th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Ah, crusty youth. Like the riff itself, the crusty youth are everywhere you could look. Bazooka hail from Athens as part of Greece’s fertile heavy underground and will release their full-length debut on Slovenly Recordings next week. If you find yourself so inclined, the album is available for streaming courtesy of the label’s Bandcamp, and you can hear it below, following the info, taken fresh off the PR wire.
If it says anything, I’d never heard Bazooka before, but checked out the album on a whim and dug the ultra-fuzzy looseness enough to post about them, so there you go. Here’s the news:
GREEK PSYCHEDELIC GRUNGE PUNK BAND BAZOOKA SELF-TITLED ALBUM OUT MAY 21ST THROUGH SLOVENLY RECORDINGS!
DARK, HEAVY AND TWISTED ANTHEMIC SHAKERS FROM A GOD-LIKE MEDITERRANEAN ROCK ‘N’ ROLL SCENE!
It is with the filthiest of pleasures that Slovenly Recordings discharges the much anticipated full-length, self-titled LP from Greece’s BAZOOKA. A severely crusty unit from Volos, and now relocated to Athens, Bazooka, who is perhaps the most savage crew of an incredibly corrosive rock ‘n’ roll scene that includes Acid Baby Jesus and Gay Anniversary, has concocted an evil, grungy stomper of an album that Slovenly deems worthy of the grossly overused title of “epic”.
With just enough pop sensibility to keep it from being heavier than a death in the family, this surly, riff-heavy opus has been formulated for maximum distorto-crumble factor from a twin-guitar / double-drum onslaught with searing vocals as righteously delivered on their now classic “I Want To Fuck All The Girls In My School” single. But let it be known that the humor is null this time around – being the victims of a massive Greek financial crisis, there is no room for it.
From the fully pissed off screamer “Mr. George” to the smashing ‘”Koritsi Stin Akti” (sung entirely in Greek), “Bazooka” also resurrects the out-of-print and sought after single on France’s Inch Allah label, including the mentally tortured anthem “Shame Take My Brain”. Saturated with fuzzed out rumblers from a dark place we dare not glance at, this record somehow yields perfect melodies trying to claw their way out of Bazooka’s decimated destinies!
After wrapping a stint opening for Clutch, Mondo Generator and Saviours on the former’s annual holiday run, Wino and the other support acts headed out to ring in 2013 on their own, crossing the country on a nine-day trek from New York to L.A. The full Wino set from the Pittsburgh gig Jan. 4 at the 31st St. Pub was taped by the company Digitalive Productions and featured here back in January, but it turns out that Wino also sat in with Saviours for a Motörhead cover of the song “Limb from Limb” that Digitalive also caught on tape — or, more likely, SD card — in a multi-camera shoot.
Really, that’s about all I need to hear before I’m ready to climb on board. You’ve got Wino doing a guest spot with the California-based heavy thrashers on a cover tune? Yeah sure, I’ll check that out. What makes this clip even better — aside from the production value — is how tight the cover actually is. Considering they’d only been on tour three days at this point (maybe they’d done it while on the road with Clutch, but they didn’t do it in Allentown when I saw that tour), they’ve more or less got it down with the double-guitar treatment, and of course Wino‘s vocals bring that seething edge to the song that he’s been heralded for all these many years.
“Limb from Limb” originally appeared as the closer of Motörhead‘s 1979 sophomore outing, Overkill, and if nothing else, this version shows the universal nature of the Motörhead influence, since if you sat down to search out every rock song since that used that riff, by the time you finished there’d probably be 30 or 40 new ones to find. Usually how it goes with Motörhead, especially old Motörhead.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 15th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Portland metallers Lord Dying will debut on Relapse July 9 with the full-length Summon the Faithless. The record follows a 2011 demo and some hard touring alongside the likes of Witch Mountain and Down and is now available for preorder at the link below.
Today the band also unveiled the album’s tracklisting and Death-esque cover art (click to enlarge) and a video trailer, sent down the PR wire for all to see and be steamrolled by:
LORD DYING: Reveal Debut Album Details
Album Out July 9th on Relapse Records
LORD DYING come from Portland, Oregon, a place over abundant with purveyors of the heavy riff. A region where the inhabitants are plagued with nerve and joint damage due to lack of sunlight. In a time where everyone is trying to out-sludge or out-doom each other LORD DYING gives something less than a fuck. They are a metal band with members of Black Elk , Portals, Le Force, and Damn Your Eyes, who in their short, one year’s time as a band have shared the stage with Down, Unsane, Yob, Valient Thorr, Black Cobra and many others.
The band recently completed work on their debut Summon the Faithless. The album is set for release July 9th via Relapse Records. The album will be available in CD, LP and digital formats. The album is available for pre-orderHERE.
After releasing a self-titled EP in 7″ form, the dudes kicked it up a notch, heading out on national tours with Witch Mountain followed by a long trek with label-mates Red Fang and Black Tusk. Fast forward to 2013 and LORD DYING are poised to be the new heavyweight champions of metal. Smashing the riffs of High On Fire into the groove of Kylesa, LORD DYING have delivered one of the most impressive metal debuts in a long, long time. A young band that has matured well beyond their years into a fully developed titanic heavy metal machine, LORD DYING’s new album is poised to be one of the best debuts of 2013.
Look for a summer tour to be announced shortly.
Summon the Faithless Tracklisting: 1) In a Frightened State of Gnawed Dismemberment 2) Summoning the Faithless 3) Greed is Your Horse 4) Descend Into External 5) Dreams of Mercy 6) Perverse Osmosis 7) Water Under a Burning Bridge 8) What is Not…is
LORD DYING Live: May 23 Seattle, WA Chop Suey w/ Glose, Tacos!