Posted in Whathaveyou on April 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Ahead of a forthcoming EP release that will be pressed to CD and include a comic book to coincide with the tracks, Indiana heavy rocking five-piece The Mound Builders have announced a limited split with the cleverly-named Bo Jackson 5 (you see what they did there? They took a reference to a famous person and made two references out of it!) that will be released this weekend in honor of Record Store Day on tape through Failure Records and Tapes in a pressing of just 100 copies.
The striking cover art for the tape can be seen below, and while it festers into your consciousness to haunt your dreams, be sure to peruse the PR wire info that follows. The Mound Builders‘ last offering was 2011′s Strangers in a Strange Land(review here):
The Mound Builders and Bo Jackson 5 cassette tape split to be released on Record Store day!
After two and a half years The Mound Builders are set to release new material on Record Store Day, Saturday April 19th.
The new tunes were recorded over a 3 day period last July at Sonic Iguana Studios by Dan Precision (88 Finger Louie, Rise Against, Set Fire to Reason). 4 songs were completed of which 2, Sport of Crows and Barroom Queen, will be appearing on the split.
This limited edition tape (only 100 copies printed) is being released courtesy of Failure Records and Tapes. Anyone buying a tape will also receive a download card which will allow for a digital download of the songs. Only people buying the tape will have access to the digital download.
After the release of the tape The Mound Builders plan to release all for songs as an EP later this summer. The EP will first be available as a CD release accompanied by a comic book which will visually tell the story of each song on the CD!
Follow The Mound Builders on Facebook for more details on future releases!
Posted in Reviews on April 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
From an American standpoint, a lot of what riff-rocking Danish trio Pet the Preacher get up to on their second album and Napalm Records debut, The Cave and the Sunlight, will probably seem familiar. On the 11-track/51-minute offering, the Copenhagen-based three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Christian Hede Madsen, bassist/backing vocalist Torben Wæver Pedersen and drummer Christian Von Larsen proffer a brash, bruiser sort of heavy rock, indebted at times directly to Pepper Keenan-era C.O.C., as on “Remains,” but elsewhere deriving an emotional push that to US ears, could sound just as easily culled from commercial hard rock, as on “Marching Earth Pt. 2″ and the penultimate “I’m Not Gonna.” A modern clarity and fullness of production backs that read, though I think ultimately it’s a skewed interpretation. In context of geography, Pet the Preacher offer a split from Europe’s current heavy psych and classic rock proliferation — if there’s one thing The Cave and the Sunlightdoesn’t sound like, it’s Graveyard — and whereas in the UK, that alternative seems to come either in vicious sludge or Orange Goblin-inspired booziness, the Danes have taken a different direction, based more on songwriting than tonal impact but still landing plenty heavy when they choose to do so, the initial rush of “Let Your Dragon Fly” following the blown-out bluesy intro “The Cave” and not quite setting up everything the album has to offer, but at least give it a riotous beginning and letting listeners know that in addition to dragons, there be stoner riffs ahead.
We never quite make it from “The Cave” to “the sunlight,” but I suppose the ending of the eight-and-a-half-minute closer and longest track “The Web” offers some brightness of mood compared to Pet the Preacher‘s more downtrodden moments. Between the two, songs play out with varied personalities but consistency of tone and overall feel, and while with an album that tops 50 minutes that can make a song like “The Pig and the Haunted” or even the longer “What Now” (7:45) — the standout lines from which are “What now?/Fuck it” — seem to have to work harder to justify their inclusion, The Cave and the Sunlightgets there sooner or later in each case. Earlier pieces like the drum-led “Kamikaze Night,” which plays tense tom-work against payoff riffing and Madsen‘s throaty, low-in-the-mouth vocal style, and subsequent “Remains,” which follows furthering the hints of slide guitar of the prior track with a verse that seems to singularly call back to C.O.C.‘s 1996 landmark, Wiseblood (not a complaint), have it somewhat easier in distinguishing themselves, resulting in an overarching linear feel for The Cave and the Sunlight — a CD structure that, like the band’s sound itself, runs somewhat counter to trend. Neither their 2012 debut, The Banjo, nor subsequent 2013 compilation, Papa Zen and Meet the Creature(Papa Zen being new or at least unreleased material and Meet the Creature being their 2011 debut EP), stretched beyond the bounds of vinyl-readiness in terms of timing, and here, the two chapters of “Marching Earth Pt. 1″ and “Marching Earth Pt. 2″ are arranged right in the middle, as if to underscore the trio’s intent toward a classic CD flow.
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Hard to tell if I’m happier to see this news because it means Electric Wizard will be able to take advantage of Spinefarm‘s worldwide distribution network, or just because it’s solid proof of a forthcoming album, but either way, the Dorset doom legends aligning themselves to Spinefarm via their own Witchfinder Records imprint isn’t a bad thing if it allows them to keep more control over what they do. The title of their next album hasn’t been unveiled yet, but the four-piece have a number of festival appearances coming up, including headlining slots at Hellfest in France and Reverence in Portugal.
Here’s the update, fresh off the PR wire:
ELECTRIC WIZARD FORGE WORLDWIDE ALLIANCE WITH SPINEFARM RECORDS
NEW LP SET FOR RELEASE VIA SPINEFARM, IN LEAGUE WITH THE BAND’S ‘WITCHFINDER RECORDS’ IMPRINT
Visually intoxicating, uncompromisingly heavy and revered for making music and lifestyle one, Electric Wizard have completed work on their new studio album, title to be confirmed; the album will be the band’s first release through Spinefarm Records.
Formed by vocalist / guitarist Jus Oborn in 1993, Electric Wizard (based in the UK’s South-West) have thus far released seven studio albums – an increasingly influential body of work recorded on vintage analogue gear with as little technology as possible intruding on the signal (“Protools is for pussies!”).
Result: some of the heaviest, dirtiest, most evil-sounding audio ever put to tape, and more importantly to vinyl, with both Come My Fanatics (1997) and Dopethrone (2000) being lauded as landmark releases.
A cultural as well as a musical force, Electric Wizard have left an indelible mark on a host of different genres, the likes of doom, stoner and sludge; at heart, however, they stand as an iconic British metal band, cast in the great tradition, with lyrics and artwork reflecting the hypnotic weight of the music, and subject to the same intelligence and detail.
Wreathed in occult ritual and drug-culture references, with classic ’70s horror an inspirational seam, Electric Wizard are poised to turn a page; there’s the new deal with Spinefarm Records, plus – after a nine-year hiatus – the return of Mark Greening (the drummer on Dopethrone), who completes the line-up of Oborn, US guitarist Liz Buckingham, a key member since 2003, and new bassist Clayton Burgess (Satan’s Satyrs).
Fueled by strong emotion and the harder sounds of late-’60s Detroit, the remodeled line-up – isolated by choice, giant stacks glowing red – set about crafting an eighth studio album to both rival and exceed the milestone recordings of the past, with Buckingham keeping things suitably monolithic and the band generally looking back to some of their earliest influences.
Toerag Studios in London was once again charged with capturing ‘The Sound’, and (encouragingly) words like “raw”, “hateful” and “sickeningly heavy” are being traded.
Says Oborn: “Our master plan is this. Real metal!! We stand for rebellion, we are with the kids; we fight, puke, smoke weed, etc… Electric Wizard is an entity, with its own history, its own symbols, its own iconography, and with this new album, we wanted to return to basic values. It’s primitive. We needed to claw it back down to the evil core – sex, drugs, violence, revolution… to go back to being a band that hung out and jammed hard. No teaching songs, just feeling them out. If you jam enough and you are on the same level – artistically, musically, whatever, you gotta be committed – then good music will happen. I totally believe that…”
Electric Wizard will make the following festival appearances in 2014, with more shows to be added:
May 2 Temples Festival, Bristol, UK (headline) June 20 Hellfest, Clisson, France (Valley Stage headline) July 3 Roskilde Festival, Roskilde, Denmark (Arena Stage) July 4 Sonisphere, Knebworth Park, UK (stage headline) August 16 Jabberwocky, The Excel Centre, London, UK September 12 Reverence Valada, Portugal (headline with Hawkwind)
ELECTRIC WIZARD are: Jus Oborn – lead vocals, guitars | Liz Buckingham – guitars | Mark Greening – drums, percussion | Clayton Burgess – bass
Established in 1990, Spinefarm Records is an international rock and metal label with dedicated offices around the globe. Working with Caroline under the Universal banner, Spinefarm marries the ethos of the independent to the clout of the major, developing signature artists worldwide.
There are some albums that I review and never listen to again. I hate to say that — and I try to avoid making that the case whenever possible — but some stuff, I write it up and it sits on the shelf and that’s basically how it goes. Far fewer are the cases where sitting down to review something makes me want to hear it more, and that’s how it’s gone thus far with Ararat‘s new album, Cabalgata Hacia la Luz (review here). The Buenos Aires trio’s third outing is one for which I’ve only gained more appreciation after digging further into the tracks, and what’s more, the more I’ve listened, the more I’ve found in them to keep me coming back.
“Nicotina y Destrucción” is the brand new video from Cabalgata Hacia la Luz. All things considered, it’s an easy pick to do a clip for, being relatively short as compared to some of the album and having one of the strongest hooks of any of the tracks in its chorus, bassist/vocalist/etc.-ist Sergio Ch. stepping forward in the mix to deliver what serves as a landmark in a widely varied and textured full-album flow — one of several such standout moments throughout Ararat‘s immersive, often hypnotic long-player held down by the driving drum-work of Alfredo Felitte. If you haven’t heard the song yet, also keep your ear out for the compression on the guitar solo from Tito Fargo, who also produced the video.
Ararat‘s Cabalgata Hacia la Luzis out on CD through Oui Oui Records, who also put the whole thing up on Bandcamp at the end of last week, so if you like what you hear in the video, you can check out the rest of the record before you realize how worth your time and money it is and say you knew it all along. I know how it goes.
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I dug Chicago’s Mount Salem pretty well when I saw them last fall with Uzala and Mike Scheidt at the gotta-get-back-there-soon Dusk in Providence, RI (review here), and have since enjoyed getting the vibe of their debut EP, Endless, which seems to touch on a lot of the tenets of modern heavy — vintage this and that, cultish this and that, doomly heres and theres — without giving over to one side or the other completely. That only makes Mount Salem a harder act to trace and thus, all the more interesting. We all like a good puzzle every now and again, and the nascent Windy City troupe came with an already steady hold on an aesthetic that one hopes only becomes even more their own over time.
Touring will help in that regard, and Mount Salem have just announced they’ll head west out of Chicago next month for two weeks-plus on the road that include a couple of dates alongside Saint Vitus‘ on the legendary doomers’ 35th anniversary tour. If you want to get yourself schooled in doom, that’s an efficient way to do it. Pretty much a Masters class.
The PR boils forth from its cauldron:
MOUNT SALEM: Chicago Psychedelic Doom Conjurors Announce Headlining Tour
Chicago psychedelic doom rock conjurors and recent Metal Blade signees, MOUNT SALEM, will embark on a full headlining tour this May! The trek will pillage its way through select cities between Chicago and Los Angeles, and includes one-off shows in New Mexico and Arizona opening up for doom legends, Saint Vitus! MOUNT SALEM will be touring in support of their Endless EP.
MOUNT SALEM 5/01/2014 Township – Chicago, IL 5/02/2014 Dragonfly Lounge – Madison, WI 5/03/2014 JB’s Speakeasy – La Crosse, WI 5/04/2014 Chesterfield – Sioux City, IA 5/05/2014 The Bourbon – Lincoln, NE 5/06/2014 Larimer Lounge – Denver, CO w/ Speedwolf 5/08/2014 Launch Pad – Albuquerque, NM w/ Saint Vitus, Sons Of Huns 5/09/2014 Club Red – Tempe, AZ w/ Saint Vitus, Sons Of Huns 5/10/2014 TBA – Los Angeles, CA 5/11/2014 The Makeout Room – San Francisco, CA 5/12/2014 Witch Room – Sacramento, CA 5/13/2014 Slabtown – Portland, OR 5/15/2014 The Shred Shed – Salt Lake City, UT 5/16/2014 Future Shock – Frisco, CO 5/17/2014 Kung Fu Tap And Taco – Des Moines, IA
MOUNT SALEM is a four-piece psychedelic rock/doom metal band. They started writing music together in the summer of 2012 and released their first debut EP, Endless, in the Spring of 2013. Taking influence from the likes of Black Sabbath and Pentagram, MOUNT SALEM play loud, heavy rock ‘n’ roll using all vintage gear. Throwing their own twist of dark, mysterious doom into their summonings, MOUNT SALEM systematically pull listeners into their sinister realm of sound; their lyrical imagery serving as a ride all its own. Metal Blade Records signed the band in the Summer of 2013 and recently released an extended version of Endless containing two additional, brand-new tracks.
Posted in audiObelisk on April 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s a busy few months ahead for Canadian guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Al “The Yeti” Bones. His main outfit, Gypsy Chief Goliath, are doing shows throughout the beginning and course of the summer in their homebase of Windsor as well as Montreal and London, Ontario. In addition to this, Bones has a debut solo release in the works dubbed Audio-Biography from which the first audio is available now.
For anyone who may know Bones‘ work through Gypsy Chief Goliath, The Mighty Nimbus, The Georgian Skull or even his past outfit, Mister Bones, the new song “Heavy is the Name of My Soul” will carry with it a familiar sense of burl. That comes through all the more on the solo offering thanks in part to a guest vocal appearance by Gideon Smith of Gideon Smith and the Dixie Damned. What most distinguishes the new cut, however, is a clear classic rock feel in the guitar. You’d have a pretty easy time making the argument that some of Bones‘ other bands have covered that ground before, but where Gypsy Chief Goliath is thicker in its tone, The Mighty Nimbus was always more aggressive, and Mister Bones more purely stoner-rocking, “Heavy is the Name of My Soul” has stretches where it runs a Thin Lizzy influence through a grinder of clenched teeth, and that coupled with the hook on which Bones is backed by Smith and vice versa, the song as a way of working into your head while keeping to a classic structure, shirking off indulgence, and not overstaying its welcome.
Not sure when Audio-Biography will see release betweenBones‘ work in Gypsy Chief Goliath, and when it does surface, also not sure how representative “Heavy is the Name of My Soul” is of the record in full, but it’s catchy, well-written and — fittingly — heavy, so you won’t hear me complain. With the caveat of more to come on Audio-Biography, please enjoy “Heavy is the Name of My Soul” on the player below:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Last I heard, Maryland groove forerunners Clutch had started pre-production on a new album, but apparently that’s not all they’ve had in the works. In addition to headlining at Desertfest Berlin, the four-piece have slated a deluxe reissue for 2013′s album of the year, Earth Rocker(review here), as well as one for Robot Hive/Exodus. They’ve also got a split 7″ with Lionize in time for Record Store Day, a new claymation video for “The Wolfman Kindly Requests…,” which closed out Earth Rocker, and as ever, they’re going to be hitting the road pretty hard the next few months. Just when you thought it had been a while since you heard anything from the Clutch camp, here they come with a roundhouse to the face of news.
A considerable undertaking for the PR wire:
CLUTCH – RENOWNED AMERICAN ROCK GROUP TO RELEASE RECORD STORE DAY SPLIT 7” FEATURING NEW CLUTCH SONG “RUN, JOHN BARLEYCORN, RUN” AND “ETHER MADNESS” FROM LIONIZE
DUE OUT APRIL 19
‘EARTH ROCKER’ SET FOR TRIPLE DELUXE (2xCD/DVD) RELEASE ON JUNE 10, 2014 VIA WEATHERMAKER MUSIC
‘ROBOT HIVE/EXODUS’ CLASSIC CLUTCH ALBUM TO RECEIVE COLLECTOR’S EDITION DOUBLE VINYL RELEASE ON JUNE 10
CLUTCH, the acclaimed Maryland-based rock group, have teamed with producer J. Robbins (The Sword, Coliseum) to record the new song “Run, John Barleycorn, Run.” The track will be released on Tuesday, April 19 via Weathermaker Music as a special split 7” single with labelmates Lionize as part of Record Store Day.
On June 10, 2014, CLUTCH will release a triple deluxe version of their acclaimed EARTH ROCKER album via Weathermaker Music. Released in 2013, EARTH ROCKER was tagged by Rolling Stone on the “Top 20 Metal Albums” list and hailed by the magazine for its fusion of “seething admixtures of jam-band chops, careening blues-punk riffs” (December 2013). The EARTH ROCKER triple deluxe album package will include: 1) the full record and brand new songs “Night Hag” and “Scavengers,” 2) “Earth Rocker Live,” a CD audio version of the album performed live; and 3) on DVD “Live In Denver” recorded with seven cameras in 1080i on Nov. 14 at the sold-out Ogden Theatre show in Denver, two videos shot, directed and edited by actress Aisha Tyler: “Gone Cold” (unreleased) and “Crucial Velocity.” To pre-order EARTH ROCKER, visit: www.clutchmerch.com.
Produced, engineered and mixed by Machine (King Crimson, Lamb Of God), EARTH ROCKER’s triple deluxe cover artwork was created by long time CLUTCH art director Nick Lakiotis (see below). EARTH ROCKER continues to garner the group some of the best reviews of their career.
The group have announced their classic 2005 album Robot Hive/Exodus will receive a collector’s edition double vinyl release on Tuesday, June 10. The beautiful double LP is re-mastered and comes in a re-designed gatefold package boasting some of CLUTCH’s best tracks.
CLUTCH–NEIL FALLON (vocals, rhythm guitar), TIM SULT (lead guitar), DAN MAINES (bass,), JEAN-PAUL GASTER (drums and percussion)—will launch an overseas tour starting Tuesday, April 22 in Newcastle, UK at the O2 Academy taking them through the European festival circuit through June 29. In July, they’ll return to the U.S. for a handful of shows before joining Jane’s Addiction, Rise Against, Gogol Bordello and Halestorm at the Shindig Festival in Baltimore, MD on Saturday, September 27. Expect the group to announce additional U.S. festival dates and headlining shows in the coming months.
UK/GER/IRE 2014 Tue 4/22 Newcastle O2 Academy Wed 4/23 Leeds Metropolitan Thu 4/24 Manchester Academy Sat 4/26 Berlin, Germany Desertfest at Astra Sun 4/27 Antwerpen, Belgium Trix Muziekcentrum Tue 4/29 Birmingham O2 Academy Wed 4/30 Brighton Concorde 2 Thu 5/1 London Forum Fri 5/2 Norwich The Waterfront Sat 5/3 Nottingham Rock City Sun 5/4 Bristol Temples Festival at Motion Tue 5/6 Edinburgh Liquid Room Wed 5/7 Glasgow O2 ABC Thu 5/8 Belfast Limelight 2 Fri 5/9 Dublin Dublin Academy
EUROPE SUMMER 2014 Fri 6/8 Vienna, Austria Arena Sat 6/9 Munich, Germany Backstage Werk Weds 6/11 Hamburg, Germany Gruenspan Thu 6/12 Copenhagen, Denmark Copenhell Festival Fri 6/13 Cologne, Germany Essigfabrik Sat 6/14 Switzerland Greenfield Festival Sun 6/15 Stuttgart, Germany LKA Longhorn Tue 6/17 Haarlem, Netherlands Patronaat Wed 6/18 Nijmegen, Netherlands Doornroosje Thu 6/19 Frankfurt, Germany Batschkapp Fri 6/20 Paris, France Nouveau Casino Sat 6/21 Clisson, France Hellfest Sun 6/22 Switzerland Fete de la Musique Tue 6/24 Thessaloniki, Greece Fuzz Club Wed 6/25 Athens, Greece Fix Factory of Sound Fri 6/27 Norrkoping, Sweden Bravalla Festival Sat 6/28 Finowfurt, Germany Roadrunner’s Paradise Race 61 Festival Sun 6/29 Roeser, Luxembourg Rock A Field Festival
US TOUR Thu 7/24 Syracuse, NY Westcott Theater Fri 7/25 Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE Sun 7/27 Winston-Salem, NC Ziggy’s The Shindig Music Festival with Jane’s Addiction, Rise Against, Gogol Bordello, and Halestorm Sat 9/27 Baltimore, MD The Shindig Music Festival
The Spirit Caravan reunion US tour is over as of last night, but I expect we’ll be seeing videos still coming out from it for a while. One of the best I’ve seen, or at least the most heartening, is this one from Tennessee. Playing The Hideaway in Johnson City just last week, Spirit Caravan bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman took the time to shout out fallen The Gates of Slumber bass player Jason McCash and say a few words about him and the underground doom community as a whole — subjects about which he knows no small amount, to be sure. Though Spirit Caravan won’t have had the chance, Sherman‘s own outfit, Earthride shared gigs and festival bills numerous times with the Indianapolis trad doomers, and The Gates of Slumber were always embraced by Maryland’s passionate scene — a haven of believers if ever there was one.
That remains the case, actually, since Baltimore’s The Sidebar will host a benefit for McCash‘s family on July 12 with Earthride headlining and Pale Divine, Argus and Beelzefuzz on the bill. It’s one of several tributes to McCash set for the coming months with the money going to his widow and children. More info on that here.
Spirit Caravan head to Desertfest next week and continue their reunion in London and Berlin. After that, it’s something of a mystery. Saint Vitus are set to begin their 35th anniversary tour on May 8 (dates here) and that will run through most of the rest of the month, and beyond that, I’d presume either Europe or recording with one band or another. The Obsessed are still ostensibly “active” too, though at this point that’s the reunion that has resulted in the fewest shows, sticking mostly to festivals in the US and abroad.
Whatever comes, I’ll do my best to keep up with it, and in the meantime, enjoy Sherman, Wino and drummer Henry Vasquez as they honor Jason McCash with “Fang,” which comes off their 1999 debut, Jug Fulla Sun. Have a great Wino Wednesday:
Spirit Caravan, “Fang” Live in Tennessee, April 6, 2014
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I don’t care who you are, a five-week tour is commendable, and for a band like Portland trio Prizehog — whose new, delightfully weird album Re-Unvent the Whool(streamed here), is available now on vinyl through Eolian Empire – all the more so. It’s not like these dudes and lady are hitting the road on the back of a hot new radio single, you know what I mean? They’re basically kicking ass with friends’ bands and bringing their strange sounds to as many heads as they possibly can. It’s not something a lot of people are willing to do, but it’s something I can respect the hell out of, and fortunate that Prizehog can make it work.
They’re playing with some killer acts along the way — Towers, Vaz, The Great Sabatini — in case you’d like to do some more digging while you’re digging this:
PRIZEHOG: Portland Celestial Space Sludge Outfit Announces Five-Week US Tour
Still riding a fresh wave of killer reactions to their walloping third LP, Re-Unvent the Whool, Portland, Oregon-based, PRIZEHOG, has announced the routing for their upcoming Spring US tour.
Embarking off of their home turf on May 2nd, the counter-clockwise path this tour makes will find PRIZEHOG winding through the entire continental US for five full weeks before closing down with the final gig in Seattle on June 8th and returning to their daily habitat. See true celestial space sludge for yourself on this massive endeavor including a short run with friends and faves, Vaz, as well as killer acts like Burnt Books, hepa/Titus, Tinsel Teeth, arbogast, The Great Sabatini, labelmates Towers and Big Black Cloud, and more throughout the itinerary.
Amidst the closing-in of this confirmed run, PRIZEHOG will be announcing their next tour lining up for this July alongside labelmates, Hot Victory.
PRIZEHOG US Spring Tour: 5/02/2014 Slabtown – Portland, OR w/ Towers, Big Black Cloud 5/07/2014 Lobot Gallery – Oakland, CA w/ Mansion 5/08/2014 The Eagle – San Francisco, CA w/ hepa/Titus, Peace Creep 5/09/2014 Redwood Bar – Los Angeles, CA w/ hepa/Titus 5/10/2014 The Tin Can – San Diego, CA w/ Ghetto Blaster 5/11/2014 C St – Flagstaff, AZ w/ New Gods 5/12/2014 Sister Bar – Albuquerque, NM w/ Fando 5/13/2014 Three Links – Dallas, TX w/ Bludded Head, Spacebeach 5/14/2014 Vinos – Little Rock, AR 5/15/2014 Springwater – Nashville, TN w/ Tijuana Goat Ride 5/16/2014 TBA – Birmingham, AL 5/17/2014 The Highlander – Atlanta, GA 5/18/2014 The Foxfield – Columbia, SC w/ Burnt Books 5/19/2014 TBA – Richmond, VA 5/20/2014 Gold Bar – Baltimore, MD w/ Vaz, Multicult 5/21/2014 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA w/ Vaz 5/22/2014 Cake Shop – Manhattan, NY w/ Insect Ark, Columboid 5/23/2014 Saint Vitus Bar – Brooklyn, NY w/ Vaz, Mossenek, Collapsible Baton 5/24/2014 AS220 – Providence, RI w/ Vaz, Tinsel Teeth 5/25/2014 O’Brien’s – Boston, MA w/ Vaz 5/26/2014 The Lair – Buffalo, NY w/ Fox 45, Tainted, Jerry Grind 5/27/2014 TBA – Pittsburgh, PA/Cleveland, OH 5/28/2014 Beat Kitchen – Chicago, IL w/ arbogast 5/29/2014 Quarters – Milwaukee, WI w/ Soup Moat 5/30/2014 The Hexagon Bar – Minneapolis, MN w/ The Funeral and the Twilight 5/31/2014 Trumpet Blossom – Iowa City, IA w/ Acoustic Guillotine 6/01/2014 TBA – Omaha, NE/Kansas 6/02/2014 Bar Bar – Denver, CO w/ Echo Beds 6/03/2014 The Parlor Bar – Laramie, WY w/ Unpaid Butlers 6/04/2014 Burts Tiki Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT w/ Cornered By Zombies, The Great Sabatini 6/05/2014 Filling Station – Bozeman, MT w/ Acheron Thodol 6/06/2014 Zootown Arts Community Center – Missoula, MT 6/07/2014 TBA – Spokane, WA w/ Hooves 6/08/2014 Black Lodge – Seattle, WA w/ Don Peyote, Same Sex Dictator
Orders for Re-Unvent the Whool are live at the Eolian Empire fortHERE, available in a digital package as well as 180-gram vinyl LP including a 24″ x 24″ poster of the Chris Jehly cover art and download of the album.
Fact: Every time Mighty High guitarist/vocalist Chris “Woody High” MacDermott turns in a new Spine of Overkill column, it makes my damn day. It’s the last remnant in an experiment a couple years back with having outside contributors turn in specialized columns based on things they’re passionate about — in Woody‘s case, classic rock and metal — and it never fails to entertain. This time around, Woody makes the most of the season and recounts celebrating 4/20 30 years ago in Brooklyn by watching Twisted Sister at the renowned L’Amours club while on mescaline because, as he puts it, “We wanted to make it extra special.”
Spine of Overkill – 4/20/84
This is gonna be a hazy one. 30 years ago on 4/20/84 I got my face melted at close range by Twisted Sister at L’Amour in Brooklyn. Back then 4/20 wasn’t an official day to celebrate marijuana, but I’ve always been ahead of the pack. On this particular 4/20, however, I got a lot more than I bargained for.
I made my first pilgrimage to L’Amour in July of 1983 to see Motörhead and returned in November with my friend Wayne to see Twisted Sister. The show was on a Friday and we went space truckin’ to Brooklyn from Pelham right after school let out. We got to the club around 4:30 in the afternoon. For some reason we felt it was important to be the very first on line so we could grab primo spots right in front of the stage. As we were sitting on the wall smoking a joint this dude that looked just like Damon, the ticket scalper from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, magically appeared and helped himself to our supply. He informed us the club wouldn’t be opening their doors for about five hours and that Twisted Sister would be going on around 1:30 or 2 in the morning. Not knowing what to do in a desolate, industrial wasteland we went searching for food but found only a Carvel.
After chowing down on some flying saucers we just went back to L’Amour and sat on the wall for a few hours. We did get to see Jay Jay French show up and go through the backstage door. I think we might have seen Mark “The Animal” Mendoza’s arrival, too. Eventually the club opened up, we got in with our fake ID’s (we were 16 at the time) and ordered some Jack & Cokes from a hot waitress named Dizzy. Being inside L’Amour was so awesome. Killer metal was blasting over the P.A. and the place was filling up with rowdy headbangers. We were easily the youngest there but no one bothered us. The show itself was incredible. Twisted Sister in 1983 was completely ferocious and really, really loud. The Animal’s bass was so loud it felt like I was going to puke. Dee would get right in our faces and scream the lyrics at us. It was close to 4AM when we finally left the club and had to figure out what to do next. I had told my mother I was sleeping over at someone’s house so she wasn’t expecting me home for hours. We took a slow ride on the B train back into Manhattan and killed time in a hotel lobby before Grand Central opened up. Arriving back in Pelham around 6AM we snoozed for a bit in the laundry room of an apartment building before heading home. The trip was such a success we couldn’t wait to do it all over again.
It wasn’t until Good Friday April 20, 1984, that we were able to repeat the process. We took a later train into the city but knew we would still get to the club really early. Sitting on a wall in Brooklyn was better than doing anything in Pelham. We also came up with the brilliant idea of taking mescaline for the show. Weed, Bud talls and Jack Daniels were standard issue party supplies but we wanted to make it extra special. Mesc was loaded with speed back then so we figured it would help keep us jacked up all night for maximum headbanging.
Here’s where things get a little hazy. I really have no recollection of what we did before getting inside the club. We probably went to the same Carvel for dinner. I’m not sure if we took the mescaline outside or inside the club. Either way I’m sure it was washed down with Jack & Coke. Once inside we saw Eddie “Fingers” Ojeda hanging out at one of the bars. We couldn’t believe it! Wayne had made a Twisted Sister vest and he went up and got him to sign it. The whole band was hanging out, except for Dee. Jay Jay was preoccupied with playing Pac Man but everyone signed the vest and either Eddie or AJ brought it backstage for Dee to sign. We were fuckin’ stoked.
The only snag in my plan was that my mother said I could go out but I couldn’t stay overnight at my friend’s. She was expecting me home around midnight. At some point I went out to a pay phone in the lobby and had the unpleasant task of calling her to tell her I wasn’t going to be home anytime soon. She freaked. It probably helped that I was tripping because I just kept repeating slowly and calmly that I was fine and I would see her around 6AM. It didn’t go over well but I had come too far and retreat was not an option.
At some point during the long wait for Twisted’s set I realized that I wasn’t really enjoying my trip. I felt super uneasy and paranoid. They were showing this horror film called Mother’s Day on the screen while they were blasting Mercyful Fate, Accept and Iron Maiden over the P.A. I was getting pretty freaked. Later on I calmed down when they were playing “Symptom of the Universe” by Black Sabbath. Right when the acoustic part of the song kicked in the video screen started showing a clip of a Tom & Jerry cartoon with them playing acoustic guitars. I laughed about that for a very long time that night.
The opening act was a band called Takashi. I had bought their debut EP, Kamikaze Killers, at the New Rochelle mall. They never carried much heavy stuff so I would buy anything remotely metal that they had in stock. Takashi also got a lot of airplay on Long Island college radio station WCWP during their “Rock ‘N’ Roll Weekend” programming. I wasn’t that impressed with the EP but was hoping they’d be heavier in concert. At one point early in the evening Wayne and I went into the mens room to find lead singer Danny Stanton blow-drying his hair. Never a good sign. Takashi’s set was pretty lame, very Ratt/Crüe. For their big finale they played their song “Kamikaze” and had a big Japanese guy come out and wave around a Japanese flag. A bunch of headbangers in the front row ripped it out of his hands and wouldn’t give it back. Even if I wasn’t tripping, the entire situation would have been totally bizarre.
As always, AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top” signaled that Twisted was about to take it to the stage. Immediately there was a surge of people towards the front. We had a big joint and a little joint left. We debated which one to light up and some huge biker guy ordered us to go for the big one. We respected our metal elders and did as told. When Twisted hit the stage with their usual opener “What You Don’t Know (Sure Can Hurt You)” we noticed they had on brand new costumes. After the first few songs Dee told us they were about to release a new album and wanted to try out some of the new songs in front of a raunchy club crowd. It was very cool hearing songs like “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “I Wanna Rock” and “Burn in Hell” for the first time blasting through triple stacks and with Dee in full force. Towards the end of the set Dee said that he had a special song for us called “S.M.F.” Back then S.M.F. was a phrase known only amongst rabid metal maniacs. The place went nuts singing “sick mother fucker” on the chorus. The rest of the show was typical Twisted insanity — “Under the Blade,” “Shoot ‘tm Down,” “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll,” their frenzied version of “It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll,” and many more. As it turns out this was a really important show in Twisted history. Not long after, they would become a huge band via MTV and leave the Tri-State bar scene. Also not long after, the drinking age was raised to 21 and the entire nightclub landscape changed.
I kept my word and got home promptly at 6AM to face the wrath of my wide-awake mother. She was beyond pissed. My poor grandmother was already up and toiling in the kitchen, preparing the Easter feast for the following day, and had to sit through all that screaming while trying to fry meatballs. I was still tripping. I went up to my room and tried to sleep for an hour before leaving for work. It was a long day. I’ve had a lot of fun playing shows on 4/20 the past decade but nothing will come close to topping that night from 30 years ago.
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Having recently had the pleasure of seeing Florida’s Holly Hunt live, their upcoming EP, Prometheus, will arrive all the more anticipated. The Miami-based duo of guitarist Gavin Perry and drummer Beatriz Monteavaro made their intent clear on their Year Onedebut, embroiled in a sonic demolition of big riffs and big stomp that hopefully continues its tide of destruction on the new release. I’m looking forward to checking it out.
Time and the PR wire shall tell:
Holly Hunt – Prometheus (Other Electricities/Sonic TITAN) Out April 29, 2014
Following their highly lauded full-length album Year One, Holly Hunt returns with a 3-song, 12’’ EP, Prometheus. Recorded by Jonathan Nuñez of Torche and mastered by New Alliance East, the record builds on the two-piece’s reputation for metal that’s crafted with the heaviest alloys, and a most magisterial patterning – the type that drones vehemently and drowns in the blues.
Drummer Beatriz Monteavaro (Floor, Cavity) and guitarist Gavin Perry have demonstrated themselves as a loud and lumbering giant of the Miami music scene. The visceral impact of sound – the raising heart rate, neck chills, the warmth spreading throughout your torso – this is Holly Hunt’s raison d’être. Prometheus manages to transmit an almost perfect rendering, delivering listeners to a heightened physical (and mental and spiritual) state. The record conjures the image of an approaching behemoth, striking paranoia and fear until the final, exhilarating sweep of humanity’s total destruction.
Where Year One established the bedrock of Holly Hunt’s punishing sound, Prometheus thunders with the clarity of a crack of lighting. It establishes a supremely balanced, critical distance between amp worship and riff devotion, rising and falling with ecstatic highs and sublime lows. And while Year One represented the genesis of the band’s existence; Prometheus stands as a churning, threatening hint of things to come.
Posted in Reviews on April 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The 2012 debut from Rhode Island’s Pilgrim, Misery Wizard, seemed to come out of nowhere and “happen” very fast. A young trio from Providence, they released a demo in 2011, a split with Boston’s Ice Dragon, and were signed to Alan Averill of Primordial‘s Poison Tongue Records, an imprint of Metal Blade. With that considerable endorsement and a collection of churning melancholies rife with doomly atmospheres and ambient space, Misery Wizardmade a splash and Pilgrim did right in setting about almost immediately justifying it with extensive touring work. The hype abated as it does when new releases aren’t new anymore, but Pilgrim never strayed too far from public consciousness, jumping from Poison Tongue to Metal Blade proper as a result of their success for the release of their sophomore outing, II: Void Worship, an album that continues the band’s penchant for AD&D-worthy dark tales (see “In the Presence of Evil,” “The Paladin”), huge tones and pounding, slow grooves. From the beginning of the post-”Intro” opener “Master’s Chamber” (also the longest track at 10:36; semi-immediate points), guitarist/vocalist Jon “The Wizard” Rossi proves a conjuror worthy of any classic cave metal comparison you might want to put him against, successor to some of Karl Simon‘s woefulness as heard on the last The Gates of Slumber album, but bringing his own emotionality to it as well, particularly on the highlight and closer “Away from Here,” which seems to depart some from the epic-stories metaphor methodology that has become lyrical modus operandi for Pilgrim in favor of a more down-to-earth, straightforward take.
A major difference between II: Void Worshipand its predecessor is that in the interim the band has parted ways with bassist Eric “Count Elric” Dittrich. Ice Dragon‘s Brad Richardson has been taking on the role live, but I’m not sure who’s on the albumwith Rossi and drummer Cave “Krolg Splinterfist, Slayer of Men” Johnson. If a marked personnel shift as it is anytime a trio loses a member, Pilgrim‘s sound remains large and encompassing on the eight songs/44 minutes of the new record. They recorded in (scenic) Jersey City, NJ, with Mike Moebius at Moonlight Mile Recording, and even on “The Paladin” — which is among the faster riffs II: Void Worshiphas on offer — a sense of physical space is maintained in the songs and the guitar and bass both come through with more crunch than on Misery Wizard, closer to the band’s live sound. Not much of a surprise there given the road time Pilgrim has put in since their debut, the increase in confidence of the vocals on “The Paladin” likewise makes sense in the context of their development as a stage presence. Backing the longer “Master’s Chamber,” “The Paladin” and the subsequent “Arcane Sanctum” show a still-burgeoning dynamic at work, the latter starting a gradual linear build that’s as effective in its nod as it is running counter to the song before, while still flowing easily from it, capping side A with a melancholy, somewhat exploratory feel. Side B opens with the gloriously churning, extra-huge “In the Presence of Evil,” setting up two extended pieces — the title-track (8:52) and “Away from Here” (9:39) — and though like “Arcane Sanctum,” “In the Presence of Evil” is also instrumental, the energy infused into the plod makes it a standout all the same.
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
French psych rockers Aqua Nebula Oscillator will spend three weeks on the road in the US starting April 23 and including slots at Austin Psych Fest and Scion Rock Fest. A run that’s the better part of a month long and apparently the precursor to more touring on the West Coast is a bold undertaking for the spacey outfit, who released their fourth album, Spiritus Mundi, late last year on Tee Pee Records, but as you can see in the list of dates below, they’re playing with some killer acts along the way, including King Buffalo, The Golden Grass and Electric Citizen. Keeping good company always helps.
The PR wire puts it like this:
French Psych Rockers AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR Announce U.S. Tour Dates
Major Market Trek to Include High Profile Performances as Part of Austin Pysch Fest and Scion Rock Fest
Celebrated French underground psych rock trio AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR has announced a U.S. tour in support of its new album Spiritus Mundi. Now, with a head of steam and an established name in the U.S., AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR will perform the first-ever U.S. live shows of its storied career. The tour will kick off on April 23 in NYC and include A-level performances as part of both the Austin Psych Fest (May 2) and Scion Rock Fest (May 17).
AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR — formed in 2000 by David Sphaèr’os — creates utterly unique and fantastically tripped out occult psych rock inspired by parallel dimensions, voodoo, ethnic trance, horror and cult movies (from the 1920′s to the 60′s), painters like Hieronymus Bosch and Salvador Dali, dark underground literature (H. P. Lovecraft, Isidore Ducasse, Antonin Artaud), aliens and UFOs! A modern mix of Krautrock / motorik with Hawkwind-style psychedelia, Hendrix-styled, ultra tripped out guitar action and an apocalyptic, Raw Power energy, AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR’s mind-burning, dark and dirty “chaos-sound” is a cauldron full of seething, psychedelic rock. ANO looks and sounds like it was buried in a tomb in the late 60′s / 70′s and has just been dug up, ready to resume its wild sound-making once again.
AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR tour dates: April 23 Manhattan, NY Pianos (Free, Midnight show) April 24 Brooklyn, NY Saint Vitus Bar (w/ WHITE HILLS) April 25 Philadelphia, PA Dobbs April 26 York, PA The Depot (w/ The Golden Grass ) April 27 Baltimore, MD Holy Frijoles (* FREE show w/ The Golden Grass) April 28 Richmond, VA Strange Matter (w/ ZOMBIE ZOMBIE) April 29 Asheville, NC Double Crown April 30 Atlanta, GA 529 (w/ Abby Gogo) May 1 Mobile, AL Music Box (w/ Electric Sheep) May 2 Austin, TX As part of Austin Psych Fest May 5 Little Rock, AR Vino’s May 6 Nashville, TN The Other Basement May 7 Cincinnati, OH MOTR Pub (w/ Electric Citizen) May 8 Pittsburgh, PA Brillo Box (w/ Shaky Shrines) May 9 Rochester, NY Bug Jar (w/ Roz and the Rice Cakes) May 10 Providence, RI Firehouse 13 (w/ Nervous Virgins) May 12 Manhattan, NY Pianos May 17 Pomona, CA * As part of Scion Rock Fest
AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR is: David Sphaèr’os (Guitar, Vox, Sithar and Organ, Master Of Ceremony), Adrian Bang (Drums, Orchestra Conductor), Andreas Carrere (oscillation, organ, flute, backing vocals) and Alexis Raphaeloff (Bass, EarthQuaker). Follow the group on Facebook.
I stood for a couple seconds last night in the air outside the 013, trying to inhale it, thinking if I kept my wristband on maybe Roadburn could just keep going.
Someone told me yesterday that you project your negative energy, that people feed off it and respond to you based on it. That’s true in a sense, if New Agey, and I might quibble with the phrasing and put it up to unconscious cues of tone and body language more than energy, but the one is as valid a means of expressing the idea as another in the end – the point’s the same. Smile, stand up straight, like your mom told you.
That’s easier for me at Roadburn than just about any other place I’ve ever been. Words like “special,” “magical,” “vibe” get tossed around, but they’re pale shadows of the thing itself once you’ve managed to soak some of it in. A popular refrain for Roadburn 2014 was, “This one is special,” and it was to me too. The kindness and generosity shown to me by the Roadburn crew not only made me feel validated for the time I’ve put in covering the fest these last six years, but like I, as a person, mattered even in some small way. When I knew in my heart that I wasn’t going to be able to go, they reached out and not only made it happen, but brought me behind the scenes in a way I’ve never been before. There I sat in the office with Walter, Jurgen and Lee Shaman, putting together the fanzine with my tired eyes, talking about bands and who we saw the night before and so on. It seems greedy to hope I could have the good fortune to do it again, but I do.
First and foremost, thanks to Walter, Jurgen and Yvonne for bringing me in to even in some small way be a part of the Roadburn festival, editing that fanzine. My heart goes out in appreciation to Rianne, Sanne, Miranda, Brent, Gijs and the entire 013 crew, who were so welcoming and helping my clueless ass find where it should be, which printer to use, and how to operate Windows 7 in Dutch, which is a beautiful language that, six years later, still makes me happy every time I hear it spoken by a native.
In Lee Edwards of The Sleeping Shaman I felt like I found a kindred spirit, and not only his efforts for the ‘zine, but just the company was something I looked forward to each morning, swapping stories about shows, talking about reviewing and editing and the joys and trials of working with a staff of writers. I realized somewhere in the making of the third issue of the ‘zine that this could very well be the last time I ever do that. I hope it’s not, but there’s nothing guaranteed in life and I’m thankful for every opportunity I have. To Costin Chioreanu, Paul Verhagen, Walter (yes again), Adrien Begrand (who I wish I could’ve met), Kim Kelly, Paul Robertson, Saúl Do Caixão, Sarah Kitteringham and José Carlos Santos as well for their communication and the work they all put in. The Weirdo Canyon Dispatch was easily the best staff of writers I’ve ever had.
To my family for their continued and generous support, thank you. There are so few people who understand or give a shit about how much this means to me personally, especially this year, and it was incredible to just have it known.
Especially to The Patient Mrs. as well, who even when I lost my job said to me, and I quote, “I think you should still go to Roadburn.” I’m forever astounded at her tolerance, her acceptance of the wretched creature I am and her seemingly endless depth of understanding. She knew I needed this more than I did.
So many others. Stephen Flam, Mike Scheidt, Tom and Will from Rozamov, the Gozu dudes, the Hull dudes (how great it was to see those two bands back to back days and have tastes of home new and old), Vania, Désirée, Aris Tombul, Daan Toner Low, everyone I met and re-met over the course of the weekend who had heard of the site, as well as Claudio, Vanna, Susanne, Falk-Hagen, Iñaki, Christian and all the other familiar faces in the photo pit. I’m no photographer, but to even be around such talent is inspiring.
Anyone who read, liked, commented, posted, retweeted, or shared any part of this whole thing, consider yourself responsible. I am so grateful for every response, whatever it might be, and I am humbled endlessly by the support this site and I personally continue to receive as the years roll on. Thank you so much for being a part of it with me, for making it happen for me.
Each of the headers in this series with a quote comes from either song titles or lyrics. The references are as follows:
“…This heart of mine” is from the first verse of Fatso Jetson’s “Jet Black Boogie.”
“Descend to the place…” is from Young Hunter’s “Welcome to Nothing.”
“So much still lingers…” comes from Crowbar’s “All I Had I Gave.”
“Spirit of the Staircase” is the title of a track from Dwellers’ new album, Pagan Fruit. It was chosen in honor of the stairs up to the office at the 013.
“Death means just life” is taken from Candlemass’ classic “Solitude.”
“Clearing the path…” derives from the title of YOB’s next album, Clearing the Path to Ascend.
“I know where to go…” is from Gozu’s ultra-catchy “Jan-Michael Vincent.”
“Altar Made of Red Earth” is a song title from Beast in the Field’s 2013 album, The Sacred Above, The Sacred Below. Picked in honor of the red coffee cups in the 013 office.
“Walk in the Blue Light” is a Pentagram classic available on their First Daze Here collection.
All of the posts in this series can be found cataloged together under the tag Roadburn 2014 trip.
I keep thinking at some point the novelty will wear off, but it doesn’t. Six Roadburns later, I feel luckier to have been here than I ever have, and more fortunate and privileged than I ever have. It was an honor to stand in that building once again. I feel like these words don’t do justice to how much, deep in the core of what makes me me, this festival meant.
The plane that will take me first to Reykjavik and then home from there – named Hekla, which I can only assume is another volcano – just pulled up to the gate. It’s about two hours to Iceland and then another six and a half or seven to Boston from there, but I’m ready to go home, kiss my wife and sit down to dinner with her, crash out on the couch with the dog. Shower in my shower, sleep in my bed. It’s time.
I think I might have a job interview sometime either this week or early next. I’ll let you know how it goes.
04.13.14 — 22:38 — Sunday night — Hotel Mercure, Tilburg
I own one really nice pair of socks. They’re black, a name brand, and I don’t know when I picked them up, but they breathe, they’re comfortable, and most of all, they fit my silly clown feet. As someone who doesn’t usually wear shoes that require socks let alone the socks themselves if he can help it, these socks are where it’s at. I took them out of my luggage on Friday and went to put them on and I was like, “What the hell am I doing? I’ve still got three more days here! I can’t waste the good socks!”
Well, today I wore the good socks. The occasion was as fitting as any: the Roadburn 2014 Afterburner, a stripped down, laid back incarnation of Roadburn proper that closes out each year. Three stages. For me the big difference was in how I decided to approach the schedule. Apart from needing to be at the Main Stage in time to take pictures, I didn’t worry about getting up front, or getting somewhere 25 minutes beforehand. I let myself be a little freer to roam around. I don’t have up-close shots of everything I saw, but it was good to experience the fest like I think a lot of people do, just wandering back and forth between the rooms, enjoying the music in one, going back to the last, going back to the next and so on. In any case, I’ve no regrets.
After finishing the final issue of the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch, the day began with a moving tribute to former The Devil’s Blood guitarist, the late Selim Lemouchi from players who knew him, including his sister and ex-The Devil’s Blood frontwoman Farida Lemouchi, billed as Selim Lemouchi’s Enemies and playing the 2014 Earth Air Spirit Water Firealbum from Lemouchi‘s post-The Devil’s Blood project, Selim Lemouchi and His Enemies. There were 10 people on stage — two drummers, four guitars, bass, two keyboards, and Farida Lemouchi on vocals, honoring her brother by playing his songs. It was a powerful experience to be sure, in part because of the otherworldly feel of the music, but even more just on the emotional level of those involved, still clearly grieving the loss.
It felt somewhat voyeuristic to be taking photos in front of the stage. I’d never flatter myself into thinking that being in the photo pit, particularly on a stage so high, effects the performance one way or another, I just mean that these were people in mourning. His sister especially. I cannot and would not imagine that loss, and to have it so soon after, when all people still just have nothing more than dogma and hollow epithets to offer for the sense of injustice you feel. In a way it was the heaviest set of the weekend, but it was also beautiful, the band playing to images of Selim projected behind the songs with which he was moving on from The Devil’s Blood and into unknown sonic territory. I’ve heard from several natives how much he’s missed, And you could tell watching the players on stage that Lemouchi was well loved, even by his Enemies.
There was what felt like a moment of exhale when they were done, a picture of Lemouchi left on the projector screen on the empty stage, and in the Green Room, extreme Swiss duo Bölzer went on seemingly with the intent to blast their way through the reverent spirit with a filth-caked maelstrom. To be fair, they would’ve blasted through any kind of atmosphere; hardly seemed like a personal thing. It was kind of a jump from one end of the spectrum to the other, and they were a standout on and otherwise psych-heavy Green Room lineup of Aqua Nebula Oscillator, who opened, The Papermoon Sessions, New Keepers of the Water Towers, Harsh Toke and Lumerians. Coming out of the Main Stage room still wowed by the raw human spirit of what I’d just seen, my head wasn’t in it for Bölzer, but I was in a clear minority. Not only was the Green Room full, but the hallway outside was full too. Couldn’t get near them.
That would be a kind of running theme soon enough, but Avatarium were next on the Main Stage. The Stockholm natives released their self-titled debut last fall on Nuclear Blast, and are notable also for boasting Candlemass bassist and principle songwriter Leif Edling in their lineup, but Edling was absent owing to illness so Avatarium played with a fill-in and treated the crowd to their progressive melodic metal, vocalist Jennie-Ann Smith borrowing cadences from Ronnie James Dio (a better source than most) and leading the five-piece into a set that sounded ready for any number of summer festivals over here. A little clean for my personal tastes, but well performed by the band, who were not long in distinguishing themselves from Candlemass. Pretty much immediate, actually.
Papermoon, the collaboration between Electric Moon and Papir, was happening in the Green Room, and I caught some of that while simultaneously wishing I had been in two places at once to see more of the Sula Bassana set the other night as well as Papir on their own, but every Roadburn requires hard choices. The Papermoon Sessions(review here) debut full-length from the combined unit was a jammer’s joy, and if what I caught of them tonight was anything to go by, it’s worth hoping they do another. YOB were getting ready to go on the Main Stage playing three out of the four cuts on their new album, Clearing the Path toAscend as well as others from the back catalog, and particularly after watching them nail The Great Cessationyesterday, it wasn’t something I could stand the thought of missing.
I debated even typing this, because it sounds like hyperbole, but it’s honest in terms of how I feel about them so I’m going with it. YOB are a once-in-a-generation band. Every generation you get a few landmark acts who not only distinguish themselves from their peers and become influential, but who take the creative lessons of their forebears to a genuinely new place. Sleep did it. Neurosis did it. YOB are doing it. I can’t think of another act from the US who’ve left such a mark in the last decade of heavy. Tonight, guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt, bassist Aaron Rieseberg and drummer Travis Foster greeted a crowd as much theirs as any they’re likely to encounter and treated them to essentially the next step in their ongoing progression, taking the lessons of 2011′s Atma(review here) and breaking their own rules with a languid, psychedelic opener and a classic rock finish the sprawl of which is worthy of the entire vinyl side it will no doubt receive upon its release.
Every Roadburn I allow myself to watch one band from the side of the stage. This year it was YOB, and not for the first time. Each of the new songs stood out for a different reason, whether it was the hook of the one that opened their set (track three on the album if I’ve got the order right), the maddening churn of Foster‘s drums leading the way through what I was later told is called “Nothing to Win,” or the patient unfolding of the album opener, played third, which brims with tension and meets a payoff no less rich. They backed the new material with “Adrift in the Ocean” and the title-track from Atmabefore closing out with “Quantum Mystic” from 2005′s classic-to-be, The Unreal Never Lived, which they also performed in full at Roadburn 2012 — that set, like the Candlemass Epicus Doomicus Metallicus set, is out on vinyl now — and giving everyone a moment to let their brains reconstitute. Two nights of YOB in a row. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish there was a third to be had.
Now. Triptykon would be starting their headlining set soon on the Main Stage, but Carlton Melton and Øresund Space Collective keyboardist/all-around aces human being Scott “Dr. Space” Heller were doing a collaborative jam at Cul de Sac that had been on for a couple minutes. I shot over to catch some of that hoping maybe for a place where I could see the band. No dice on that, but I stood in the back for a couple minutes and closed my eyes and grooved out to the ultracosmic vibes. I don’t know if it was all recorded, but Roadburn could do a series of releases just of the jams this year, between this one, Lenny Kaye and Harsh Toke, Niklas Barker and Reine Fiske, Oeds Beydals, Papermoon and so on. Maybe not the best marketing move. I’ve never had much of a nose for business.
Back in the reaches of the 013, the Tom G.Warrior-fronted Triptykon made ready to once again darken the skies of Planet Roadburn, now celebrating their new release, Melana Chasmata, as they celebrated their debut, Eparistera Daimones, by playing their first live performance at the Warrior-curated Roadburn 2010 event, “Only Death is Real.” Three cuts from Warrior‘s prior band, Celtic Frost, were aired — “Messiah” and “Circle of the Tyrants” — but with a brand new record and as the new band moves further away from the old, it only makes sense the focus would be on Triptykon. Joined on stage by guitarist/vocalist V. Santura, bassist Vanja Šlajh and drummer Norman Lonhard, Warrior (né Fischer) was statesmanlike and seething in kind, and while I’m sure they’d already gotten rid of plenty of copies of Melana Chasmata, set-opener “Black Snow,” “Tree of Suffocating Souls,” and “Altar of Deceit” made a compelling argument toward purchase. As release parties go, it was formidable.
About halfway into their set, San Diego’s Harsh Toke – whose jam with Lenny Kaye on Friday has already become a Roadburn 2014 landmark in my mind — hit it in the Green Room, and I decided a little more of the ol’ back and forth was warranted to see them play their own material. I think they made a lot of friends this weekend, and not just by passing out beer cans from the stage (though that never hurts). Their heavy push was right on with or without the psych legend accompanying, and when it came time for me to do so, I decided they were how I wanted to end the night. I stood for a few minutes inside, then a few minutes in the doorway, then I went back to the Main Stage, then back to the Green Room, then upstairs, then back down, then around the foyer of the 013, then back to the doorway of the Green Room, and that was when I got that sinking, nagging feeling that I couldn’t avoid it anymore and my Roadburn was over. Time to leave.
I have many, many people to thank and it’s hit the point where I’m starting to nod off, so I’ll save that for the travel tomorrow, but as an initial blanket statement that I hope provides some warmth: Thank you. So much.