Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
As I’ve tried not to do since I started making podcasts again, I kept away from a consistent theme this time around, but I wanted to at least get a blend of bands you’ve probably heard and bands maybe you haven’t. Of course the new Sleep was a given, and new cuts from Electric Wizard and Karma to Burn felt like they needed to be there as well, so they are. But there are a few corresponding inclusions of stuff I’ve been digging that I haven’t had the chance to write about yet — looking at you, USA out of Vietnam, Lewis and the Strange Magics and Deamon’s Child — and while I’ve no doubt you’re already down with those and the rest of what’s included here because you’re on it like that, putting them in here seemed a good way to feature them for anyone not yet exposed who might be interested in checking them out.
If that’s you, please enjoy. The second hour, as usual, is consumed by longer songs, but there are a few in the first hour as well (that Electric Wizard track is over 10 minutes, and the Sleep is close to it), but of the podcasts I’ve put together in the last few months, this one easily flows the best. It was pretty late as I was putting it together last night, so I had the headphones on and was working totally without distraction. I know it’s an unrealistic expectation to think anyone will be able to listen in that manner, but if you get the chance or if you don’t, I hope you have a good time.
Sleep, “The Clarity” from Adult Swim Singles Series (2014)
Electric Wizard, “I am Nothing” from Time to Die (2014)
Lewis and the Strange Magics, “Cloudy Grey Cube” from Demo (2014)
USA Out of Vietnam, “You are a Comet, You are on Fire” from Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes (2014)
Serpent Venom, “Lord of Life” from Of Things Seen and Unseen (2014)
Deamon’s Child, “Lutscher!” from Deamon’s Child (2014)
Rabbits, “Reek and Ye Shall Find” from Untoward (2014)
Karma to Burn, “Fifty Seven” from Arch Stanton (2014)
The Heavy Co., “One Big Drag” from Uno Dose (2014)
Wolf Blood, “Dancing on Your Grave” from Wolf Blood (2014)
Frown, “Harpocrates Unborn” from The Greatest Gift to Give (2014)
Merlin, “Lucifer’s Revenge” from Christ Killer (2014)
Causa Sui, “Incipiency Suite” from Pewt’r Sessions 3 (2014)
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s been seven long years since Virginian rockers Valkyrie issued their second album, Man of Two Visions, and wow that’s a long time. MeteorCity did a reissue in 2010, and they’ve continued to play shows every now and again, brotherly guitar duo Jake and Pete Adams (the latter of Baroness and now also guesting with the Samhain reunion) coordinating around family lives, member flux, Pete‘s tour schedule, etc., more or less gigging when able, but yeah, the years have gone quick. Valkyrie were always a killer band, and I frickin’ loved Man of Two Visions when that came out, so I’ll be interested to hear what they’ve got in store for their third long-player, which Relapse has picked up for an early 2015 release following a recording session with Sanford Parker.
The PR wire puts it like this:
VALKYRIE Sign to Relapse Records; Complete Recording New Album
Relapse Records is proud to announce the signing of Virginia hard rock riff worshippers VALKYRIE. Formed in 2002, VALKYRIE consists of brothers Jake and Pete Adams (Baroness, Samhain) on guitar and vocals, Alan Fary (Earthling) on bass and Warren Hawkins on drums. Drawing heavily from the classic eras of hard rock and heavy metal, VALKYRIE play guitar driven rock n’ roll replete with infectious solos and catchy, powerful vocals. The band has drawn numerous comparisons to greats like Thin Lizzy, Scorpions, Black Sabbath, early Iron Maiden, and Deep Purple.
The quartet has released two full-lengths along with a series of EPs and singles. VALKYRIE recently recorded their first full-length in over 7 years at Earth Analog Studios in Champaign, IL with producer Sanford Parker (Nachtmystium, Pelican) earlier this month. The eight song album will see an early 2015 release via Relapse.
Guitarist / vocalist Jake Adams commented on the signing and new material:
“We are really excited about this new record. Some of these songs we have been working on for many years and we are glad to see them have a proper release on an excellent label. This new record will be a step up in terms of song dynamics and musicianship from the previous albums. We think our fans will dig the fresh approach to the classic Valkyrie sound.”
A couple weeks ago, when The Patient Mrs. was in Athens, Greece, on one of her I’m-brilliant-so-I-get-to-do-awesome-things field trips, she mentioned over Skype that she has passed by a record store. If there’s one thing I like, it’s record shopping on foreign soil, even vicariously, so I got the name from her – Sound Effect Records – and proceeded to look them up. The second I saw that owner Yiannis Andriopoulos had the nickname “Kaleidosmoker” I knew she had stumbled onto the right place.
Turns out Andriopoulos was a former ‘zine head with a long history in Greece’s heavy rock scene. Sound Effect also runs a label out of the store and has distributed cool stuff from Montibus Communitas and others, so I immersed myself in the thousands of selections on the Discogs page and started putting together a wishlist. I kept it to CDs — traveling with vinyl yourself is bad enough, let alone asking your wife to do it — and passed it on to her, with links, and told her when she went to the shop to ask for Yiannis, figuring that he’d be able to help her out with the stuff if she couldn’t find it.
Had to get a few Greek acts in there, and Planet of Zeus were on my mind for having recently checked out their Vigilantealbum (review here), so their first album, 2008′s Eleven the Hard Way, made the cut, as did Brotherhood of Sleep‘s 2009 self-titled debut. Both bands are native to Athens, and since I already had a copy of the new 1000mods, I was glad to dip back to some older, less available releases. There was also a ready stock of Nasoni Records stuff — not the first Weltramstaunen, unfortunately — but I asked her to grab Baby Woodrose‘s Dropout!collection of covers and a reissue of The Rising Sun‘s 1969 LP, Born to be Wild, as well as the 2CD Entering into the Space Country/Phaze Your Fearscollection from Øresund Space Collective.
When she got home this weekend, she surprised me by bringing not only those, but the 2LP version of Los Natas‘ El Universo Perdido de Los Natas, filling both the Nasoni and the vinyl quotas in one fell I’m-the-luckiest-dude-ever swoop. I have the corresponding CD version that Oui Oui/MeteorCity released in 2007, but both the thought and the gatefold were beautiful, and if it’s another excuse to spend some time listening to Los Natas, I’m not going to lose. Apparently at some point in her trip to Sound Effect, The Patient Mrs. also let it slip that she was buying for her husband, explained who I was, and Andriopoulos gave her a copy of one of Sound Effect Records‘ releases, a joint issue with Nowhere Street Music from the band Drug Free Youth called A Message fromNow.
And I’m glad he did, because apart from the Los Natas vinyl, the Drug Free Youth CD might be the find of the trip. A modded-out late-’60s-style psych rocker, it’s got plenty of garage organ and guitar jangle. It’s actually a message from eight years ago, having been released in 2006, but the sound and production date back way further than that. It’s got 15 tracks in about 45 minutes, and they keep things pretty simple structurally, otherwise, but the 7:47 closer “Visions of a Gypsy Queen” — Eastern European influence in the organ and all — the buzzsaw leads in “Time is Iced in an Instant,” and the steady wash of effects and echo overall provide plenty of nuance for those who’d dig below the raw retro veneer. It’s a cool vibe and I’m glad I got to hear it.
I probably won’t get to Athens anytime soon, but I hugely appreciated The Patient Mrs. keeping an eye out for some records on my behalf, and thanks to Yiannis from Sound Effect for steering her in the right direction on the stuff I’d checked out on his Discogs. There’s a ton of vinyl as well, and between that and the store’s website itself, plenty of fodder for perusal. Obviously no complaints from my end.
Drug Free Youth, Selections from A Message from Now (2006)
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The command of Wild Eyes‘ debut, Get intoIt!(review here), was easily enough heeded. A thoroughly kickass West Coast heavy four-piece native to San Francisco and boasting a connection to Saviours in bassist Carson Binks but on their own trip sonically, they partied hard, partied drunk and in the end, Get into It!stomped its way into the heart like the kind of happening you’d like to imagine you’d have now if you were still in your 20s, even though you — and by you, rest assured, I mean me — would still just be sitting around watching Star Trek waiting for your ship to come in. Have I gotten away from the point? Yeah, I guess so.
Fuck it. Wild Eyes – and good on them — have inked a deal with respectable Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds to release their next album. Even better, the label’s booking arm will take Wild Eyes overseas this November for their inaugural European tour. West Coast and Europe for tours. I feel like the only reason a band from anywhere else would want to tour the East Coast at this point is to be able to say they played the St. Vitus bar, should they actually be lucky enough to do so. Nonetheless, Wild Eyes will fly over on their way to the Continent for what I’m sure won’t be their last trip. The way I understand it, once you get a taste, you can’t have just one.
Heavy Psych Sounds makes the good news official:
HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records is Proud to announce the signing of ***WILD EYES***
(Acid Rock n’Rollers from San Francisco-California)
for their upcoming LP called “Above Becomes Below” out in late October..
in Vinyl and Digipack
Heavy Psych Sounds Booking is also taking care of the European Tour of the band from November 14 to December 6
..the band will rock countries as Italy,Switzerland,Austria,Germany,Netherland,France,Belgium
Posted in Radio on July 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I guess this is the part where I complain about lack of time, blah blah blah. Last week was a mess, it’s true, as were the last couple days, but what it comes down to is I do what I can when I can. That’s been my policy all along. A couple of these discs – Cruthu, Deamon’s Child — are my own rips as well from discs that were sent in, and as ever, there’s more that went up than just what is listed here. So one way or another, activity abounds. I need to find out how close I am to filling the three terabytes of the hard drive used for the server, but until then, the additions will continue unabated. It’s good to keep busy.
The Obelisk Radio adds for July 31, 2014:
Sleep, “The Clarity”
To call the first new Sleep track since Dopesmokeran “event” would be underselling it. “The Clarity” arrives via the Adult Swim Singles Series not only as the Iommian legends’ first outing since that landmark release, but also their debut recording with drummer Jason Roeder and their first studio work since guitarist Matt Pike and bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros went on to destroy/expand minds in High on Fire and Om, respectively, for the last decade-plus. A near-10-minute stonerly sprawl finds Sleep‘s central methodology intact. Grown up some from what it was 20 years ago, expectedly, but loyal to what they were without trying to recapture a magic that’s gone with that time. Cisneros has taken some flack for not roughing up his vocals à la Sleep’s Holy Mountain, but from where I sit, his cadence and cleaner style only makes “The Clarity” more honest, and if lyrics like “Iommic life complete” and “The dealer is my refuge” are easier to understand, you won’t find me complaining. They jam out most of the song’s second half, and ultimately “The Clarity” collapses in a sudden cut, leaving you to wonder if it ever happened at all — until of course you go back to the start for another glorious hit. If this portends more to come, I’m even more excited about the prospect of new Sleep than I was before the single arrived. Sleep on Thee Facebooks, Adult Swim Singles.
Deamon’s Child, Deamon’s Child
Even before you get to the dolphin sample in “Delfine,” and the garage thrashiness of the subsequent “Alles Bio, Immer Bio,” German trio Deamon’s Child give some hints that there’s more to what they do than the standard heavy noise rock. Comprised of guitarist Sven “Missu” Missulis (aka John Reebo of Reebosound, also ex-Psychedelic Avengers), bassist/vocalist Ana Maija Muhi (who also contributed to Reebosound‘s 2010 outing, This is Reebosound) and drummer Tim Mohr (also WhiteBuzz), Deamon’s Child debuted last year with an engaging demo and follow it with a self-titled debut of increased complexity and a sound that’s varied without the pretense, culling together punk, grunge, heavy rock and noise to create songs that feel like they could turn in any direction at once. The production plays up the frayed edges, and Muhi‘s layered vocals on a chugger like “Lutscher!” sound all the more Melvins-esque. Deamon’s Childis loaded with surprises, but doesn’t feel any more haphazard than it’s meant to, and while it may take a couple listens to catch up to it, the songs are consistent in their invitation for repeat visits. Deamon’s Child on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Red Fang, TeamRock.com Presents an Absolute Music Bunker Session with Red Fang
A free Red Fang acoustic EP — who’s going to argue with that? Not me, though the cumbersome and corporate-style title leaves something to be desired. Nonetheless, once you get through all the namebrandery, what you come out with are acoustic renditions from Red Fang of “Failure” from late 2013′s Whales and Leechesand “Malverde” and “Human Herd” from the preceding 2011 outing, Murder the Mountains(review here). Hearing guitarist Bryan Giles soften up his usually-rough vocal approach on “Malverde” is interesting, given how much of the album version of that track is about the impact of the thing, but “Failure” becomes a brooding plea rather than the threat it is at full thrust, and “Human Herd” a kind of meditation that makes for the highlight of the whole release. One tries not to read too much into what was clearly a one-off thing, but it would be cool to hear what an acoustic album track from Red Fang might sound like. Their songwriting clearly translates, and between Giles and bassist/vocalist Aaron Beam – let’s not forget guitarist David Sullivan or drummer John Sherman – they prove here they can pull it off sounding confident and comfortable. Kind of an unexpected turn from the chicanery-fueled rock we’re used to from Red Fang, but they’re as easy to dig as ever on (deep breath) TeamRock.com Presents an Absolute Music Bunker Session with Red Fang. Red Fang on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
The Jackpine Snag, The Fire Tower EP
Tonally, Michigan’s The Jackpine Snag seem rooted in punk, but a strong undercurrent of the weirdo runs throughout the songs on their new EP, The Fire Tower, and whether it’s the shouting on “With Wings” or “The Missaukee Strut” or the motoring noise of closer “Gonna Wreck My Life,” the trio present an individualized approach to bruiser expression. The Fire Toweris their longest outing yet at seven songs following a four-track 2013 debut 7″, but they have no trouble changing up their take enough to hold interest, while also keeping the tracks themselves relatively lean and concise. Maybe what the EP does best is balance that efficiency with a loose, tossoff-punker vibe, but The Jackpine Snag – guitarist/vocalist Joe Hart, bassist Jason Roedel and drummer Todd Karinen – show a keen awareness of how far out they want to go and how oddball they want to get in their ragged, grungy craftsmanship. No doubt that will serve them well should they decide next to tackle a debut full-length. The Jackpine Snag on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Cruthu, Creation Demo
The debut release from Lansing, Michigan’s Cruthu, the Creation Democulls together an initial three tracks that sound somewhat raw but hold significant stylistic promise, blending a heavy ’70s psych-blues mentality with drearier rock tendencies and analog worship. Frontwoman Teri Brown provides a soulful lift to “S.O.S.,” as guitarist Dan McCormick leads bassist Scott Lehman and drummer Matt Fry through a subtly doomed murk, but pushes into rawer, strained-throat vocalizing on “Walk with Me” that immediately stands the Creation Demoapart from much of what claims to have been recorded live in terms of sheer honesty. And to Cruthu‘s further credit, I don’t think the tracks were recorded live. Particularly in “Separated from the Herd” and “Walk with Me,” which closes, Cruthu find some room for instrumental exploration along with Brown‘s vocals, and the path they’re on suits them well as the demo plays out. I’d be interested to hear them branch out further instrumentally, get weird with some percussion or strings or psychedelics, but there’s time for such things, and they’re off to an evocative start. Cruthu on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Presumably this is the tour during which High on Fire will shake off the stage rust from writing their new album. I’m not sure if they’ve recorded yet, but 2012′s De Vermis Mysteriis (review here) was tracked with Kurt Ballou, and he’s in Salem, MA, so starting off in Cambridge coming out of the studio would make sense. Either way, it seems fair to expect a new song or two will work its way into the set as they make their run across the country with stops off at the Hopscotch Music Festival and Motörhead’s Motörboat cruise, which one can only assume they will promptly sink.
Whether they’re road-testing new material or taking it out for a victory lap, High on Fire are an unremitting stage act, so anytime they’re coming through town, that’s where you want to be. But you already know that.
Fresh off the PR wire:
HIGH ON FIRE Announces North American Tour Dates
Uber-Power Trio to Headline First-Ever Converse Rubber Tracks Live Tour; Locked in to Perform at Both 2014 Hopscotch Music Festival and Motörhead’s Motörboat Rock Cruise
Herculean hard rock heavyweights HIGH ON FIRE have announced summer tour dates. The globally celebrated heavy metal pioneers will kick off the must-see live performances on August 12 in Cambridge, MA as headliners of the inaugural Converse Rubber Tracks Live Tour. The just-announced run will continue with stops in Toronto (Aug. 14), Brooklyn (Aug. 15), Los Angeles (Aug. 19) and San Francisco (Aug. 20). Tickets for the Converse Rubber Tracks Live Tour are free (see below for ticketing links) and the jaunt will coincide with Converse Rubber Tracks “pop-up” recording studios in each city, providing opportunities for emerging artists to unleash their creative spirit.
Additionally, HIGH ON FIRE will appear among the featured acts at the 2014 Hopscotch Music Festival, set to take place September 4-6 in Raleigh, NC. HIGH ON FIRE, who feature guitarist/vocalist Matt Pike, drummer Des Kensel and bassist Jeff Matz, will headline the Lincoln Theater on Saturday, Sept. 6 as part of the festival, with Witch Mountain, Subrosa and Demon Eye opening the evening’s festivities. HIGH ON FIRE will showcase at Hopscotch alongside fellow headliners Mastodon, St. Vincent, Sun Kil Moon, The War on Drugs and more. For full details, visit HopscotchMusicFest.com.
Finally, HIGH ON FIRE will take its audio annihilation to the sea as part of the inceptive Motörhead’s Motörboat. Described as “the ultimate music festival cruise vacation”, the seafaring soiree will set sail September 22-26 from Miami, FL aboard a Carnival Cruise ship, christened as “The Loudest Boat In The Wörld”. Joining HIGH ON FIRE will be Motörhead (natch), Megadeth, Anthrax, Zakk Wylde, DOWN, Testament and more. Visit MotorheadCruise.com for full details.
HIGH ON FIRE North American tour dates:
** = Converse Rubber Tracks Tour presents HIGH ON FIRE # = Blackest supports % = Arctic supports
August 12 Cambridge, MA The Sinclair ** # August 14 Toronto, ON Adelaide Hall ** # August 15 Brooklyn, NY Music Hall of Williamsburg ** # August 19 Los Angeles, CA Echoplex ** % August 20 San Francisco, CA The Chapel ** % September 6 Raleigh, NC Hopscotch Festival (w/ Mastodon, Sun Kil Moon, St. Vincent, Valient Thorr, etc.) September 19 Tampa, FL The Orpheum September 20 Miami, FL Grand Central September 21 Orlando, FL Will’s Pub ? September 22 THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN as part of Motörhead’s Motörboat (w/ Megadeth, Anthrax, DOWN, etc.) September 27 Portland, OR Dantes
HIGH ON FIRE have begun work on their new, as-yet-untitled studio album. The group has convened for strategic writing sessions in both New Orleans, LA and Oakland, CA, with early reports indicating the band’s new material to be both “epic” and “sonically huge”. A 2015 tentative release date via eOne Music is expected for the new LP, the follow-up to 2012′s De Vermis Mysteriis.
“Everyone is asking what the new High on Fire music sounds like,” says Des Kensel. “Chew on some mescaline and listen to side B of Sabbath’s “Master of Reality” backwards at 78 RPM and it might give you an idea.”
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s been a while since much of anything was heard from Illinois post-metallers Minsk. The Relapse troupe’s last full-length was 2009′s With Echoes in the Movement of Stone (review here) and after an appearance on the Hawkwind Triad (review here) tribute from Neurot alongside Harvestman and U.S. Christmas, they kind of faded out. They’d had a good run up to that point, working with producer-and-eventual-bassist Sanford Parker and touring the country several times over while on a seemingly relentless path of creative growth, but yeah. Then they were gone.
The PR wire informs they’re working on their first album in what by the time it arrives will have been six years. I’ve posted the Bandcamp stream for With Echoes in the Movement of Stonebelow, but I’d expect that anything Minsk put out at this point would be much different than that album was, with all the time that’s passed and whatnot. I guess we’ll find out for sure early next year when Relapse puts it out.
MINSK: Begin Recording New Album
Band’s First Record in Over 5 Years to See Early 2015 Release
Peoria, IL psychedelic metallers MINSK have begun work on their new full-length record and first in over 5 years. After a two-year hiatus, the band has been reinvigorated and has written their most ambitious material to date. The album is being recorded at Earth Analog studios outside of Champaign, IL throughout July/August and is being produced by long-time collaborator Sanford Parker. The as-of-yet titled album will see an early 2015 release via Relapse Records.
Founding member Timothy Mead commented on the group’s rebirth:
“So much attention and care have gone into this process, this renewal. We knew that in order to really move Minsk forward in a meaningful way we would need to raise the bar all over again. This realization lit a fire within us to transcend what was. So many things had to fall into place to make it what we knew it needed to be. A new rhythm section, a second guitar for the first time since the early days of the band, additional vocalists, Sanford’s contributions moving to the realm of synth/noise for this album. Lots of changes, to be sure, and yet the results will be unmistakably Minsk… just Minsk on a whole different level this time around. We cannot wait to share the fruits of these labors.”
Founding member Christopher Bennett further elaborated:
“With each album cycle, a multitude of experiences and influences unite to bring about the cultivation of a cohesive and representative grouping of sounds. This new album will present inroads to some of the musical archetypes we initially discussed when starting this band, but ones we have not yet touched on in the macrocosmic sense. It embodies the furtherance and expansion of Minsk in ways desired in the past, but not realized until these songs began to show themselves to us. The aggregate elements combining into a solid form. We hope to reveal this process to any and all who have the ears to hear.”
Minsk is: Aaron Austin Christopher Bennett Zachary Livingston Timothy Mead Kevin Rendleman
As an American, it’s hard for me to imagine the scale of an event like Hellfest, which takes place every June in Clisson, France, but certainly easy enough to admire it. The Valley stage seems to be here Hellfest hosts its Heavy, and from the likes of Black Pyramid to Neurosis to Unida, it’s a stage that’s been graced by some of the best bands the underground has to offer. This year, as part of their European reunion tour, Spirit Caravan — Wino on guitar/vocals, Dave Sherman on bass/vocals, Henry Vasquez on drums — made a stop at Hellfest as well, which seems only fitting. Wino had played there with The Obsessed a couple years back, and after appearances this spring at Desertfest and of course across the US, it’s a natural stop.
Perhaps it’s because I didn’t get to see them on their North American tour with Pilgrim that I’m so hung up on footage from the Spirit Caravan reunion gigs this year, or maybe it’s just that there’s so much video out there that I have a lot to choose from. Either way, the more the merrier as far as I’m concerned. The clip below of “Dove-Tongued Aggressor” finds the three-piece locked into one of their most satisfying rolling grooves, Vasquez killing it on drums as he will while Sherman tilts his head back for the ride and Wino stands poised at the microphone like he’s about to fight it. Very, very cool video.
The song was featured earlier this year around the time the US dates were announced and comes from Spirit Caravan‘s swansong 2003 compilation, The Last Embrace. It’s one of the last tracks they’d record before splitting up, and echoes some of the themes Wino would later explore in The Hidden Hand, but as they showcase here, is still definitively a Spirit Caravan nod.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
My impression was that San Antonio doomers Las Cruces were going to be releasing their fourth album on Brainticket, but I apparently had it wrong. Happens daily, if not hourly. Anyway, a partnership with Ripple Music is a good fit, and it makes Las Cruces labelmates with their fellow Texans Mothership, and if that even slightly increases the odds that the two bands will hit the road together, say, in a Northeasterly direction, then I’m ready to mark it a win sight-unseen. Las Cruces‘ last record, 2010′s Dusk(review here), was a mean slugger that as I recall sat in the can for a while before being released, so it’s good to see the next one coming along with Ripple behind it.
Here’s how it all looks according to the PR wire, which seems to be choosing its press quotes well these days:
LAS CRUCES: Texan doom crew ink new contract with RIPPLE MUSIC
Burly, Texan doom rockers Las Cruces have signed to California’s Ripple Music for a world-wide onslaught of heavy rock. The group, who just completed a standout performance at the infamous Doom in June Festival, have already started writing and making demos and will enter an undisclosed studio this summer to record their Ripple Music debut and follow up to 2010′s Dusk, which The Obelisk hailed as “something not to be missed by loyal doomers.”
Hailing from San Antonio, Texas, Las Cruces has spent the past several years bludgeoning audiences with their doom-driven, precision sound. Originated in 1994 by George Trevino, their influences range from Venom, Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Fates Warning to vintage Sabbath. Las Cruces has risen to the top of the South Texas metal heap and left its mark across the Lone Star State, with a resume that includes opening slots with such acts as Overkill, Nebula, Kyuss, Trouble, Spirit Caravan, Solitude Aeturnus, Cathedral, Monster Magnet, Rob Zombie, Bio-Hazard, Pissing Razors, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Eyehategod, Crowbar, Sixty Watt Shaman, Vader, Kreator., Atomic Bitchwax, Gates of Slumber, Lo Pan, Earthride, Pale Devine, Kamelot, Sour Vein, Weedeater and many others.
Shortly after forming, Las Cruces began touring the Texas scene, gaining widespread recognition and the interest of John Perez, guitarist of Solitude Aeturnus & owner of Brainticket Records, thus forging the Debut release, S.O.L. After a year of touring Texas and the Southern States, Las Cruces decided to re-enter the studio. Driven by the hunger and sharpness of old school metal along with the power melodies of 70s rock, Las Cruces released their skull-crushing follow-up, 1998′s Ringmaster. Las Cruces was invited to perform at the first-annual Stoner Hands of Doom Fest in August of 1999 and have been asked to perform regularly at many heavy rock festivals in North America ever since.
Over the years Las Cruces has gone through line-up changes and rumors of break-up. However, these things have not foiled the bands ideology. The band was honored to be featured in The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal by author Daniel Bukszpan in 2003 as well as in the publication Rockdetector Music Presents: Stoner, Doom and Gothic Metal series published in 2003.
Described as “a journey into a parallel sonic universe of all that is heavy,” their songs are sprinkled mighty, bludgeoning riffs; barn-burning guitar work, and apocalyptic vocals that melt listener’s brains. Las Cruces is poised to begin the metal onslaught for the masses as they prepare to record their fourth full-length album.
“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Ripple Music to unleash the fourth Las Cruces record upon the underground,” comments Trevino. “Many of our friends and contemporaries have passed through the ranks and we’re thrilled to march onward into the streets with them at our side.”
In addition to George Trevino on guitar, Las Cruces features Mando Tovar – Lead Guitar, Paul De Leon – Drums and vocals, and Jimmy Bell – Bass Guitar
Posted in Reviews on July 29th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
What’s really surprising about Arch Stanton, the new full-length from Karma to Burn, isn’t how the trio goes about its business. Led by West Virginian guitarist Will Mecum, the method is essentially the same as it’s been since 1999′s sophomore outing, Wild Wonderful Purgatory, in that the band cut a straight line, sans frills, to riff-led heavy rock and roll. Tracks are numerically titled, there are no vocals save for a bit of sampling on closer “Fifty Nine” (also as high as the numbers go this time around), and they stick so firmly to their approach that six of the album’s eight tracks are between four and five minutes long, and neither of the other two top six. For anyone who’s listened to them before, the ideas and the barebones feel with which they’re presented will be familiar. What’s really surprising about Arch Stantonis how much Karma to Burn can say without saying anything at all. Not counting a 2012 reworking of their famously vocalized 1997 self-titled debut (their label at the time, Roadrunner, forced them to take a on a singer; it didn’t last), dubbed Slight Reprise, the FABA and Deepdive Records-released Arch Stantonis Karma to Burn‘s sixth album, the follow-up to 2011′s V(review here) and their 2010 return, Appalachian Incantation(review here), as well as a slew of splits, EPs and singles. It is consistent with those two and with the output from Karma to Burn‘s first run on the aforementioned Wild Wonderful Purgatoryand 2002′s Almost Heathen, but it’s also their first long-player to feature bassist Rob Halkett and drummer Evan Devine alongside Mecum.
Although it doesn’t manifest sonically in any massive stylistic shift – Mecum seems to be calling the shots either way — his guitar is certainly the defining presence in the band at this point if it wasn’t before, and it probably was — it’s still a big change. Former bassist Rich Mullins and ex-drummer Rob Oswald, aside from being there during the first run prior to their split after Almost Heathen, were a considerable presence in the band’s creative growth. Mullins having taken part in the band Year Long Disaster particularly led to the two groups essentially combining forces for a time, but that’s gone on Arch Stantonas well. Those days, it would seem, are over, and Karma to Burn have returned to the core of what they’re all about, which is Mecum‘s riffs and a straightforward instrumental heavy rock drive. They dip as far back as “Twenty Three” — which by the numbers comes from the Wild Wonderful Purgatory-era — but the rest of Arch Stantonis between “Fifty Three” and “Fifty Nine,” arranged over the album’s 37 minutes to maximize overarching flow over what I imagine breaks cleanly in half to form two vinyl sides, and “Fifty Seven” leads off with Devine‘s drums and winding feedback leading to a classic motoring boogie, thick, groovy and in heavy motion. As ever, Karma to Burn waste no time in reminding their listeners who they are and what they do, even if they’re introducing some new faces in the process. “Fifty Six” has a metallic feel in the initial guitar line, and “Fifty Three” slows the proceedings down for a time, but they cap the first half with a return to the swagger in “Fifty Four” that shows off some airy layering at first before the central riff emerges to mark the nod-ready progression, building efficiently before a somewhat understated payoff rounds out.
The grooves get larger on “Fifty Five” and “Fifty Eight” on side B, but the mood and overall vibe keep steady, though the fact that the chugging “Twenty Three” seems to have a simpler spirit than what surrounds could be taken as indicative of the creative growth of the band or at very least Mecum‘s songwriting. Karma to Burn have long been haunted by the specter of vocals, partially because of their debut, partially because, in collaborations with John Garcia and Dan Davies, they’ve flirted with the idea, and partially because the songs are so straightforward it seems there’s room for a singer. I don’t know if that feels less true on Arch Stantonbecause something has changed in Karma to Burn musically or if it’s interpretation based on how otherwise uncompromising the album feels, but it remains the case either way. True to the album’s title which also references the film, some snipped dialog from the closing moments of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – famous Morricone score included — is worked into “Fifty Nine,” and that seems particularly fitting, though somewhat ironic since that was a European film set in the American west and Karma to Burn are an American band who at this point have found greater success touring in Europe. Nonetheless, they end with a big push, and bring Arch Stantonto a finish sounding refreshed in their purpose and clearheaded about what it is Karma to Burn should be some 20 years on from the band’s founding. Whether or not Mecum‘s bringing in Halkett and Devine will signal a new period of productivity — two live albums, an EP and a split with Sons of Alpha Centauri all being released since the start of 2013 would hint that perhaps it will — it’s hard to say for sure, but if Arch Stantonproves anything, it’s that like their goat mascot on the Alexander von Wieding cover art, they ride tall and destructive through whatever battle may be raging around them.
Presented with their usual fuckall, Electric Wizard‘s new video for “I am Nothing” simply takes the song from their upcoming Spinefarm Records debut — eighth LP overall – Time to Dieand puts it to a psychedelic oil lightshow. The band doesn’t appear, there’s no discernible budget, but it’s a way of getting the song out and no matter what the UK stoner doom kings do at this point, people are going to find it and pay attention. So if nothing else, the fuckall is well justified.
Time to Dieis out Sept. 30 on Spinefarm and marks a new stage in Electric Wizard‘s development, departing some of the smoothed out, psychedelic cultisms of 2010′s Black Masses(review here) and the preceding 2007 return, Witchcult Todayin favor of something dirtier and more wretched sounding. It’s not really a return to the raw druggery of their early work, but something different blending that side of the band with their more recent era. Bottom line, it sounds like Electric Wizard, which try though they might, is something no one else seems to be able to pull off.
Wake up, baby. It’s time to die:
Electric Wizard, “I am Nothing” official video
TIME TO DIE, THE NEW ALBUM FROM ELECTRIC WIZARD, TO BE RELEASED SEPT. 30
OFFICIAL “I AM NOTHING” VIDEO CLIP UNLEASHED
ALBUM/BUNDLE PRE-ORDERS AVAILABLE
Electric Wizard have revealed that their forthcoming studio album, Time To Die, will be released on Sept. 30 via Spinefarm Records; Time To Die is the eighth full-length offering from the masters of aural punishment, and is testament to the fact that Electric Wizard continue to be the most uncompromisingly heavy, genuinely twisted and evil band in the world.
This will be their first album release since signing a worldwide deal with Spinefarm Records.
EW guitarist/vocalist Jus Oborn has said if the track, which harnesses the dark underground death metal spirit of 1984:
“It was the year I became a metal-head. It was heavy shit for real – there was no way you were ever going to get a decent job. So I became a Satanist, I dug up a grave, I got into tape-trading, I had a one-man noise/black/death metal band called Regurgitated Guts, and there were loads of documentaries on TV warning us not to listen to the devil’s music…”
All official Electric Wizard pre-order bundles are now live on www.ElectricFuckinWizard.com, featuring limited numbers of vinyl, CD, T-shirt, back-patch and pin badge packages.
Electric Wizard, who have just played headline slots at a number of European festivals, including Hellfest (France), Roskilde (Denmark) and Sonisphere (UK), have the following appearances lined up for 2014, with more shows to be added:
August 16 London, UK Jabberwocky (The Excel Centre) September 12 Portugal Reverence Valada (headline with Hawkwind) October 10 Antwerp, Belgium Desertfest
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
A lot has happened in the three years since NJ’s The Atomic Bitchwax made their triumphantly riffed return to Tee Pee Records with The Local Fuzz (review here), what with bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik joining drummer Bob Pantella in Monster Magnet, sundry tours in Europe and so on, but they’re still (shit-)kicking, and this Thursday, they’ll start yet another European run in Berlin. The modus this time around seems to be fest appearances, and right on since the Bitchwax kill no matter what the setting might be. If you’re over there, look for them at Void Fest, Lake on Fire, Yellowstock and the others listed below.
No word on a new release from my beloved Garden State’s most powerful power trio, but the tour is presented by Sound of Liberation and if there’s a chance of a new song or two in the set, all the more reason to show up.
The Atomic Bitchwax’s summer tour : Kick-off on Thursday!! 23 dates in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal & England! Do not miss them!
Check-out the dates right here :
31.07 (Ger) BERLIN – Jaegerklause 01.08 (Ger) BAD KOETZTING – Void Fest 02.08 (Ger) GOESSNITZ – Open Air Goessnitz 03.08 (Pol) WARSAW – Fonobar 04.08 (Pol) WROCLAW – Alive 05.08 (Ger) COTTBUS – La Casa 06.08 (Ger) KARLSRUHE – Alte Hackerei 07.08 (At) MILLSTATT – Bergwerk Sauzipf Warm Up 08.08 (At) WALDHAUSEN – Lake On Fire Festival 09.08 (Bel) GEEL – Yellowstock Festival 10.08 (Uk) LONDON – Borderline 11.08 (Fr) PARIS – Glazart 12.08 (Lux) LUXEMBOURG – Rorcas 13.08 (Ch) MARTIGNY – Palp Festival 14.08 (Ch) OLTEN – Coq d’Or 15.08 (Ger) HOHENSTEIN – Voice of Art Festival 16.08 (Por) MOLEDO – Sonic Blast Festival 18.08 (Ger) COLOGNE – Underground 19.08 (Nl) NIJMEGEN – Merleyn 20.08 (Ger) HAMBURG – Hafenklang 21.08 (Dk) COPENHAGEN – Loppen 22.08 (Ger) KIEL – Schaubude 23.08 (Ger) MANNHEIM – Psi Rock Festival
Posted in Reviews on July 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Beginning with the foreboding organ intro of “Overture,” there’s a lot more to Merlin‘s Christ Killer than it immediately seems. The self-releasing Kansas City, Missouri, double-guitar five-piece preceded their sophomore full-length by making a single out of second cut “Execution” (review here), but even that on its own doesn’t provide a context for what the album as a whole seems to be trying to accomplish, blending various genre elements together in a psychedelic brew that’s admirably individualized. A cinematic ramble of Western-style acoustics threads its way across the severely-titled CD’s five-track/39-minute run, guitarists Carter Lewis (also piano) and Benjamin Cornett leading a vinyl-ready march through the sundry peaks and valleys within the songs, building up in length shortest to longest until the final duo of “Lucifer’s Revenge” and the instrumental closer “The Christkiller” top 10 and 11 minutes, respectively. Comprised of Lewis, Cornett, bassist Evan Warren, drummer Caleb Wyels and standalone vocalist Jordan Knorr, Merlin reportedly based Christ Killeraround an unmade screenplay by Nick Cave for a sequel to the film Gladiator, and Knorr shows something of a Cave influence singing as well, a low-register sneer à la The Birthday Party working its way into the eight-minute centerpiece “Deal with the Devil,” topping a cresting wash of noise, building, consuming, and finally, receding.
As the single for “Execution” hinted, Merlin are a much different band on Christ Killerthan they were when they issued their self-titled debut digitally last year or any of the sundry other live outings, or demos that have popped up since their start in 2012. It could be that they’ve found their style with this album and will continue to work to refine it, or that from here, they’ll explore a completely new direction their next time out. Frankly, based on the audio here, I wouldn’t put myself on the hook for betting either way. Though the material — even on “Deal with the Devil” and “The Christkiller” — always has direction if not a distinct verse/chorus structure, Merlin conjure an abidingly open feel in the songs, and while the production is crisp and their performances nodding at the Melvins and Clutch and other heavyweights of that ilk, there’s a darkness at the sonic heart of what they do that matches the album’s theme. Cave‘s screenplay follows the tale of Russell Crowe‘s character, dead in the first movie, as he’s sent by the gods to kill Jesus and his followers on their behalf in order to live again with his wife, but is ultimately tricked into killing his own son and then becomes war through all time. Not a movie that would ever get made — certainly a far cry from Crowe playing Noah in a Biblical epic earlier this year — but decent fodder for the likes of Merlin to go exploring, the opening guitar/bass-drum sally of “Execution” reminding again of Clutch‘s “The Regulator” but unfolding with Knorr channeling his inner King Buzzo over the album’s most resonant hook. Liberal use of slide and wah ensues, but Merlin never lose control of the song, and that remains true of “Deal with the Devil” as well, as far out as that piece goes and as unwilling as it seems to step back from its atmospheric distances.
No doubt “Execution” is Christ Killer‘s catchiest moment and “Deal with the Devil” the most experimental, but “Lucifer’s Revenge” seems to be where they find the balance between the two impulses and even blend in some of their earlier (speaking relatively, we’re still talking about a band that’s been around for about two years) heavy psychedelic impulses in both guitar and keys. A classic doom feel emerges, presented with the same rich production but a garage-style simplicity, and as one part meshes into the next, Merlin make their way toward a post-jam apex that harkens directly back to “Execution”‘s chorus vocal patterning and simultaneously channels elder Pentagram in its deranged bluesy sway. It is Merlin‘s ability to make these things fluid and their sheer command of their own direction that makes Christ Killerso hard to pull your ears away from. I’m not sure they’re doing anything that’s never been done, even as “The Christkiller” begins its mournful roll with percussion and twanging acoustic and howling wind, gradually building over its 11 minutes to what might’ve been the end credit chaos — the film was said to cap with an extended montage of wars over the centuries — but their clearheaded execution is undeniable, and that Merlin would prove not only so ambitious, but so able to meet their ambition head on, makes Christ Killerimpressive beyond its titular silliness and forceful in ways more subtle even than the smoothness of its instrumental flow. Merlin are still growing, but they’ve constructed a work of relentless creativity here, and while it may prove a stepping stone along one or another path as they continue to progress, it’s worthy of attention in its own right as well.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I gotta say, of the several band bios I’ve been fortunate enough to be asked to write over the last couple years — for Neurosis, for Conan, for Wo Fat, etc. — the one below for Lo-Pan‘s upcoming fourth album, Colossus, was among the easiest. It required little flourish, as the band’s accomplishments since the release of 2011′s Salvador (review here) speak for themselves, and the record itself is so direct and driving, that to pepper the piece with a bunch of extra descriptors or grandiose language would immediately be overdoing it. And one doesn’t want to overdo it.
Last Friday evening, Lo-Pan announced they’d be supporting Black Cobra for a month on the road ahead of Colossus‘ Oct. 7 release on Small Stone, and you’ll find those dates under the bio below, which I’ll keep in PR wire blue even though it’s my byline, just for form’s sake:
Lo-Pan, Colossus bio:
Lo-Pan’s fourth album, Colossus, is named for the Colossus of Rhodes – a 96-foot statue constructed in 280 BC to mark a failed siege and the indomitable nature of the city of Rhodes itself. No surprise it’s the Columbus, Ohio, four-piece’s most personal album yet and a testament to their growth and survival, as a band and as human beings.
Three years on from their third record, Salvador, Lo-Pan have logged countless miles, crossing the country multiple times over on headlining tours and supporting the likes of Torche, High on Fire, KENmode, Whores, Fu Manchu and Weedeater. They’ve become one of the most ferocious live acts in American heavy rock, and Colossus stands tall to reap the rewards of their experience.
For the first time in nearly a decade together, Lo-Pan knew exactly what they wanted when they hit the studio. They’d road-tested songs like “Eastern Seas” and “Colossus” for over a year, and partnering with producer/engineer Andrew Schneider at his Translator Audio studio in Brooklyn just days after headlining Small Stone showcases in that city and Boston this March, they belted out songs that show just how much they’ve moved beyond their influences and arrived at their own sound – a style built on aggression without caricature, fuzz without cliché, melody without redundancy and their meanest groove to date.
Completed with a cover courtesy of Jason Alexander Byers (ex-Disengage, Black Black Black), Colossus will be supported by numerous tours including a full US stint this fall alongside fellow road dogs Black Cobra and much more to come. Like its namesake, Colossus was built in defiance of gods and men, and while Lo-Pan’s loudest statement has always been made on stage, the material they craft and the power with which they execute it on this album is bound to stand for years to come.
BLACK COBRA US Tour w/ Lo Pan: 8/28/2014 Club Red – Phoenix, AZ 8/29/2014 Sister – Albuquerque, NM 8/30/2014 Conservatory – Oklahoma City, OK 8/31/2014 Doublewide – Dallas, TX 9/02/2014 Red 7 – Austin, TX 9/03/2014 Fitzgeralds – Houston, TX 9/04/2014 Siberia – New Orleans, LA 9/05/2014 Handlebar – Pensacola, FL 9/06/2014 Orpheum – Tampa, FL 9/07/2014 Gramps – Miami, FL 9/08/2014 Back Booth – Orlando, FL 9/09/2014 529 – Atlanta, GA 9/10/2014 The Mothlight – Asheville, NC 9/11/2014 Chop Shop – Charlotte, NC 9/12/2014 Strange Matter – Richmond, VA 9/13/2014 The Pinch – Washington, DC 9/14/2014 Dusk – Providence, RI 9/15/2014 Nectars – Burlington, VT 9/16/2014 TT The Bears – Boston, MA 9/17/2014 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA 9/18/2014 Saint Vitus – New York, NY 9/19/2014 Lost Horizon – Syracuse, NY 9/20/2014 Bug Jar – Rochester, NY 9/22/2014 Howlers – Pittsburgh, PA 9/23/2014 Reggie’s – Chicago, IL 9/24/2014 7th St Entry – Minneapolis, MN 9/26/2014 Replay – Lawrence, KS 9/27/2014 Lost Lake Lounge – Denver, CO 9/28/2014 Burt’s Tiki Bar – Salt Lake City, UT 9/29/2014 Dive Bar – Las Vegas, NV 10/01/2014 The Garage – Ventura, CA 10/02/2014 New Parish – Oakland, CA
To the best of my knowledge, this is the only time that the bassists and drummers of Red Fang and Kunz (also ex-The Ocean) came together to perform in front of an audience as Red Kunz. Of course, their debut EP, Teeth, Hair and Skin, was tracked live, as we learned in the video premiere of the session two weeks ago, but this gig at Le Romandie in Lausanne, Switzerland, seems to be it for live shows for the time being, though the two component bands — Red Fang and Kunz — have several shows lined up for August, and I guess there’s a chance Red Kunzcould get some stage time in there as well.
The song in the video is “Four Good Reasons,” third of the four tracks on Teeth, Hair and Skin, which is out Aug. 15 through Hummus Records and Division Records. As you can see, Kunz‘s Louis Jucker and Red Fang‘s Aaron Beam share vocal duties while drummers Luc Hess and John Sherman tear up their drums behind. A catchy, upbeat heavy rock push ensues, interrupted only by a feedback-soaked, noisy bridge, and though the track is under four minutes long, its momentum is undeniable. And the crowd — which had never heard this or anything else Red Kunz played that night back in January — would seem to agree.
Teeth, Hair and Skin is out Aug. 15 through Hummus Records and Division Records. Special thanks to both labels for letting me host this second premiere, and even more thanks to you for checking it out. The only reason I’m able to do things like this is because you take the time to listen/watch. It is hugely appreciated.
Red Kunz, “Four Good Reasons” Live
Red Kunz is a project that gathers RED FANG (Aaron Beam and John Sherman) and KUNZ (Louis Jucker and Luc Hess – ex-THE OCEAN, COILGUNS).
Not sure whether RED KUNZ will be performing, but RED FANG and KUNZ will play the following shows together:
2014 Aug 1st — Le Ferrailleur, Nantes, France Aug 3rd — Le Grillen, Colmar, France Aug 12th — Les Caves du Manoir, Martigny, Suisse Aug 13th — Les Caves du Manoir, Martigny, Suisse Aug 15th — Rock Altitude Festival, Le Locle, Suisse