audiObelisk Transmission 048

Posted in Podcasts on May 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

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Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

The second hour starts a little early this time around, and what I mean by that is when you’re like five minutes into hour two and trying to figure out on the tracklisting below what improv-sounding brilliant cut you’re hearing, pay careful attention to when hour one ended. Just 11 seconds from the start of the second half of the podcast. So yeah, that 18-minute wonder gets filed under hour one instead, but it comes with a wink and a nod. I just couldn’t bring myself to file something under hour two without a one at the front of the time stamp, which shows you how sad and compulsive I am because I’ve only been time-stamping these podcasts for two months now. What a dork.

It’s good stuff this time around though. Always is, I suppose, but starting out with Goatsnake into The Machine and then on from there, it builds a flow that makes some sense one into the next in a way that, listening back to it after I put it together, was especially satisfying. Hopefully you agree as you make your way though.

As always, hope you enjoy:

First Hour:
0:00:00 Goatsnake, “Grandpa Jones” from Black Age Blues
0:04:36 The Machine, “Coda Sun” from Offblast!
0:09:55 Galley Beggar, “Pay My Body Home” from Silence and Tears
0:18:51 Steve Von Till, “Night of the Moon” from A Life Unto Itself
0:25:48 Venomous Maximus, “Through the Black” from Firewalker
0:29:42 Black Pyramid, “Open the Gates” from Dead Star 7”
0:34:59 Ape Skull, “A is for Ape” from Fly Camel Fly
0:39:54 Sunder, “Deadly Flower” from Demo
0:43:53 Eternal Fuzz, “Sea Change” from Nostalgia
0:47:37 Geezer, “Long Dull Knife” from Long Dull Knife
0:53:31 Fogg, “Joy of Home” from High Testament
0:59:49 Shiggajon, “Sela” from Sela

Second Hour:
1:18:07 Blown Out, “Thousand Years in the Sunshine” from Planetary Engineering
1:34:01 Les Lekin, “Loom” from All Black Rainbow Moon
1:47:14 Undersmile, “Knucklesucker” from Anhedonia

Total running time: 1:59:00


Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 048


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Sun Blood Stories to Release Twilight Midnight Morning on June 23

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

sun blood stories (Photo by Kate Grosswiler)

I gotta be honest with you. I don’t know much about Sun Blood Stories other than they’re from Boise, Idaho, and the upcoming Twilight Midnight Morning is their third album, but god damn, the vibe is absolutely slaughtering me right now. Headphones in, the 10-tracker is a gorgeous wash that careens between minimalist openness, dual vocals that capture folkish intent with zero folkish pretense and psychedelic guitar howl, all the while swirling with experimental undercurrents and ambient heft — a weight that doesn’t force itself on you but has enough presence to pull you along for sure.

Hey all you labels who pick up bands and put their stuff out on vinyl: If you’re reading this, you might want to pay attention. Meantime, I’m gonna go email Sun Blood Stories back and ask them if I can stream the whole record because that’s how much of it I think you should hear.


sun blood stories twilight midnight morning

Sun Blood Stories to Release New Album, Twilight Midnight Morning

Sun Blood Stories (BOI), will release their new album, Twilight Midnight Morning on June 23, 2015. The new album will be the first full length released since the band’s 2013 vinyl release, The Electric Years – and they promise it will destroy the previous album in terms of overall awesomeness and heartfelt sonic cacophony. Over the past two years, Sun Blood Stories has kept busy performing locally, touring, and writing music for Ballet Idaho.

Over the past year, the band has been busy writing and recording new music for Twilight Midnight Morning in their basement. The lead single, Palace Mountain Mirage, has been spinning on Radio Boise, and other community radio stations across the country, since March 2015.

This summer they’re keeping busy on the road with 5 music festivals booked and a 2 week California tour.

May 29 The Sickhouse Idaho Falls, ID w/ Snoozy Moon, Lea…
May 30 Camp Daze Music Fest Missoula, MT
Jun 05 Deadbeat Records Olympia, WA
Jun 06 Big Bldg Bash Seattle, WA w/ Kithkin, Charms,…
Jun 12 Hogan’s Clarkston, WA w/ Snoozy Moon
Jun 13 Neato Burrito Spokane, WA w/ Stucco, Space Mo…

Sun Blood Stories, “Palace Mountain Mirage”

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The Machine, Offblast!: Coming to Light

Posted in Reviews on May 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


In the works on one level or another since the second half of 2013, The Machine‘s fifth album arrives in the form of the 50-minute Offblast! via Elektrohasch Schallplatten, and marks a distinct turn for the band. The delay? A mix of technical trouble during mixing and personal life, and while that could easily mean the jam-prone Dutch trio have another batch of songs in the works to follow it up, Offblast! nonetheless resonates with a maturity that even 2012’s Calmer than You Are (review here) or their 2013 split with likeminded countrymen Sungrazer (review here) couldn’t claim, their songwriting process proving more cohesive as they explore the roots of stoner and desert riffing on songs like “Dry End” or “Gamma” and keeping the instrumental chemistry that even their early work — 2007’s debut, Shadow of the Machine, 2009’s Solar Corona (on Nasoni) or their first for Elektrohasch, 2011’s 80-minute jamfest Drie (review here) — housed, the lead guitar work of David Eering (also vocals and recording) as much of a calling card as the band has amid the fleshed out roll and bounce provided by bassist Hans van Heemst — whose tone has always been The Machine‘s secret weapon and is most of all on Offblast! — and drummer Davy Boogaard, who shows himself again malleable to whatever the changes in the six included tracks might require of him, be it the quick stops early in “Off Course” or the jazzy ride work in the spacious midsection of “Chrysalis (J.A.M.),” the sprawling, 16:25 opener that acts as the record’s immersive and in some ways defining statement.

With six tracks, it would just about have to be the longest of the bunch, and it is (immediate points to them for starting with their longest cut), living up to its spelled-out parenthetical with a breadth to match its runtime, shifting between its raucous first half and more swinging second fluidly, launching its later movement with a quiet break with some choice, naturally-toned wah from Eering. His affinity for Hendrix shows itself early and often on Offblast! as it has throughout The Machine‘s five LPs, but the influence seems more like an afterthought to the band’s identity here than it ever has. By the time “Chrysalis (J.A.M.)” is over, one feels as though they’ve listened to an entire album, and in a way, it’s true, but that’s only the beginning of the tale, and before the Rotterdam natives bookend their latest with the similarly-directed but noisier-finishing 12-minute closer “Come to Light” (the name of the song submitted by yours truly), they dance with sandy demons on “Dry End,” “Coda Sun,” “Gamma” and “Off Course,” which don’t add up to the two extended pieces time-wise, but still provide some of Offblast!‘s most lasting impressions in their hooks, fuzzy drive, and flourishes like sitar in “Dry End” and Boogaard‘s snare work in “Coda Sun” — not to mention vocals, which neither the opener nor the closer has. It’s not so outlandish a scope for a band to have, with two bigger jams and more straightforward material to complement each other, but it’s much to The Machine‘s credit in how they’ve structured the album that it not only flows front-to-back, but is so hypnotic at the start and still so memorable by the end. If you’re looking for evidence of the band’s maturity, it’s right there.


“Dry End” (3:06) and the winding “Coda Sun” (5:34), Eering‘s vocals compressed and watery for use as another element in the psychedelic overtones, are met by “Gamma” and “Off Course,” both over six minutes, and while one comes to feel by the end of the latter that The Machine are setting the listener up for a return to heady reaches in “Come to Light” — and they are, make no mistake — both retain a distinctive feel. “Gamma” is marked out by van Heemst‘s bassline, which emerges in the second half of the song and seems to pay direct homage to Queens of the Stone Age‘s “You Can’t Quit Me Baby” from their 1998 self-titled. That album makes a solid comparison point for the tonal impression of Offblast! overall, as it happens, so the feel is purposeful and The Machine take the familiar line and work in layers of guitar building in volume en route back to a last measure of the chorus. While it has a longer solo from Eering, “Off Course” follows a similar structure, but its vibe carries some of the punkish undertone the band held aloft on their 2013 split thanks to the sharp starts and stops and an added layer in the chorus either of piano or keys (or something that sounds like them) deep in the mix, giving further urgency to the already forward progression. And when they get there, “Come to Light” is a more gradual unfolding than was “Chrysalis (J.A.M.),” but the end result carries no less vitality, the dynamic between Eeringvan Heemst and Boogaard writ large over its organic and laid back but still engaging course. Perhaps most satisfying of all is that while it works on varying levels between its songcraft and its jams, Offblast! comes across with no lack of cohesion or choppy shifts. As “Come to Light” inevitably descends to effects noise and feedback to end the album, it seems to do little more than highlight the level of execution that The Machine have brought to their fifth outing and the satisfying path down which their development has led them and those who’ve been fortunate enough to follow along the way. If you’ll pardon the cliché, it was worth the wait.

The Machine, “Coda Sun” official video

The Machine on Thee Facebooks

The Machine’s BigCartel store

Elektrohasch Schallplatten

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Sacri Monti to Release Self-Titled Debut on Tee Pee Records in July

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

SACRI MONTI (Photo by Dana Trippe)

This one’s kind of a no-brainer. West Coast heavy psych on Tee Pee Records with Radio Moscow‘s bassist and Joy‘s drummer. Duh. I feel like the challenge for Sacri Monti isn’t going so much to be kicking ass — their Demo 2014, from which you can hear “Sitting Around in a Restless Dream” below, showed them as ready and willing to do that — but distinguishing themselves from the surrounding hordes from the San Diego area who also dip into some trippy, weighted sonics. Or, you know, if they wanted to not worry about it and just jam out, I’d probably take that too. If you feel like you wanna go space trucking, these guys sound like they do it every day.

To the PR wire:

sacri monti sacri monti

SACRI MONTI to Release Self-Titled Debut LP July 24

Smoking San Diego Quintet Signs to Tee Pee Records

Encinitas, CA psychedelic heavy rock champions SACRI MONTI have signed to NYC’s Tee Pee Records. The five-piece, which features drummer Thomas Dibenedetto of JOY and Radio Moscow bassist Anthony Meier in its ranks, will drop its self-titled debut on July 24. Boasting a sound best described as “a mix of early 70’s underground hard rock, with psychedelic and krautrock elements”, SACRI MONTI joins a blooming Tee Pee roster that includes fellow San Diego associates Harsh Toke, JOY and the genre’s founding fathers, Earthless.

Roughly translated as “Sacred Mountains”, SACRI MONTI blazes a scorching trail of superb shredding and smoldering riff-o-rama on their impending debut. The record is a searing smorgasbord of muscular rock that boils ’70s guitar rock down to its purest essence while simultaneously skyrocketing a pathway towards the future of molten heavy psych. Fingers bleed, eardrums implode and craniums collapse when SACRI MONTI cranks up its bitchin’, blistering buzz. Tune in, turn it up and BURN!!

Track listing:

1.) Staggered in Lies
2.) Glowing Grey
3.) Slipping from the Day
4.) Sitting Around in a Restless Dream
5.) Ancient Seas and Majesties
6.) Sacri Monti

SACRI MONTI is Brenden Dellar (Guitar), Dylan Donavon (Guitar), Anthony Meier (Bass), Evan Wenskay (Organ, Synth, Echoplex) and Thomas Dibenedetto (Drums).

Sacri Monti, “Sitting around in a Restless Dream” from Demo 2014

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GIVEAWAY: Enter to Win CDs from Minotauro Records!

Posted in Features on May 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]

Two albums available this time, free of charge, from Minotauro Records. New stuff from Italian classic-style doom metallers Strange Here, and Peruvian conjurers El Hijo de la Aurora, going out. Two very different albums, to be sure, but both standing on their own merits as well, the former with a foot solidly in in the canon of doom and the latter off on a more bizarre, ambient tangent. Either way you go, you can’t beat the price.

Which, once again, is nothing. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post to be entered to win both CDs courtesy of Minotauro, which sent along the following background on both albums:

strange here ii


In 2006, Alexander Scardavian (Paul Chain, Steve Sylvester) met Domenico “Dom” Lotito, a 20 year-old guitarist from Milan who had played in a few local bands, including the renowned Error Amplifier. The two immediately developed a strong friendship, and started to lay down the foundation of a new version of Strange Here with Dom moving over to the bass. Soon the two started to develop more material with the help of a few studio musicians on keyboards and drums, and in 2013 the pair started to focus more intensely on their objective, notwithstanding a geographical distance that separated them.

In August 2014 they entered into the studio with three songs ready and many more ideas. This was the culmination of 12 years of soul-searching and existential uneasiness. And so the Strange Here II came to be, recorded and mixed in 20 hours at Atomic Studios in Longiano, Italy. Recorded live, with lots of improvised meanderings, Alexander’s and Dom’s anger, frustration and suffering over the years was conveyed through intense and obscure music.

el hijo de la aurora the enigma of evil

EL HIJO DE LA AURORA, The Enigma of Evil

EL HIJO DE LA AURORA (The Son of Dawn) is an experimental doom metal band formed in Lima, Peru in May, 2008 by the musician and writer Joaquin Cuadra and guitarist Manolo Garfias. Over the years the lineup has changed several times, leaving Joaquin as the only remaining original member. In their lyrics, the band explores elements of philosophy, occultism, witchcraft, esotericism and spirituality. The album explores new sonic territories, and is a balance between classic 70s doom and experimental sounds with unconventional instruments like Tibetan bowls and gongs.

“The Enigma of Evil” explores the origin of the cosmos, and how we establish our relationship with the spiritual world. The album recalls concepts covered by Copernicus and Helena Petrovna Blavatsky in her books Isis Unveiled, and The Secret Doctrine.

Again, how to enter:

Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form provided. Please note: I neither have the interest nor the capacity to save or sell any personal information given to me. You will not be added to any email lists as a result of entering. Frankly, I’m not that savvy.

Thanks to Minotauro Records for offering up the discs, and good luck to all who enter!

El Hijo de la Aurora on Thee Facbeooks

Strange Here on Thee Facebooks

Minotauro Records

Minotauro Records on Bandcamp

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Glowsun Premiere “Behind the Moon” Video; Beyond the Wall of Time Due Soon on Napalm

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


It starts out quiet and unassuming enough, but don’t be fooled. Lille, France, trio Glowsun will release their third full-length, Beyond the Wall of Time, this summer via Napalm Records, and the fuzz they proffer on “Behind the Moon” might begin softly, but the instrumental roll it soon undertakes is righteously grooved and fully toned. “Behind the Moon” is the first audio — also the first video — to come from Beyond the Wall of Time, so in addition to a visually creative look at the three-piece rocking out amid psychedelic imagery laced between and among the persons of guitarist/vocalist Johan Jaccob (also graphic art), bassist Ronan Chiron and drummer Fabrice Cornille, we’re also getting an early glimpse at what the album itself might, at least in part, have on offer.

And if the titles aren’t enough of a clue — Glowsun are “beyond” this, “behind” that — the song itself is all about movement. Turns are executed quickly and fluidly,glowsun beyond the wall of time but not without precision, and as the three-piece make their way over to the dark side, they do so fostering a balance between natural tones and a linear drive that takes them from their subdued beginning to a memorable stretch of chugging verses and chorus-style leads, sampling, and an open-structured creativity that seems to be focused on where “Behind the Moon” needs to go without coming off as forcing it to get there. They end louder and with more push than they started, but remain under control for the duration, and while it has its sense of space and remains entirely instrumental, the track never veers into all-out jamming. Glowsun seem to be on a different mission entirely.

All the better for signaling the promise the record holds. Beyond the Wall of Time is the follow-up to 2012’s Eternal Season (discussed here) and is out in North America on July 7. Please find the video for “Behind the Moon” on the player below, tailed by a few words from the PR wire, and enjoy:

Glowsun, “Behind the Moon” official video

French trio GLOWSUN are back with their third studio album and strongest record to date: Beyond The Wall Of Time! The sound and tone of the new album perfectly fits into Instrumental Psychedelic Rock realms. From the start the listener is kidnapped by the spherical sound, between enormous atmospheric compositions with pure rock riffs and psychedelic melodies that are perfectly intertwined.

Beyond The Wall Of Time will be released June 29th in the UK & July 7 in the US on Napalm Records! Get ready for this journey with Psychedelic Rockers GLOWSUN!

Glowsun’s website

Glowsun on Thee Facebooks

Napalm Records

Napalm Records on Thee Facebooks

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Anathema Reissues & Box Set Due in June

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


As discussed before and after their set at Roadburn 2015, this is actually my favorite period of Anathema‘s work: the middle stage where the near-gothic death-doom dramas of their early days gave way to melodic Floydian spaciousness without letting go of its melancholic sensibility or emotional rawness that seemed all the more laid bare on songs like “One Last Goodbye,” “Temporary Peace” and “Flying” without waves of distortion to cover them up. Wider regard for their catalog before and after will be what it is — the ability to conjure opinions has always been a strong point for the Liverpool outfit — but this stuff is where my heart lies when it comes to Anathema.

As such, it’s with a somewhat wistful eye I look at the info below for 180g vinyl remasters and a box set compiling all of what I consider to be their best stuff, The End Records continuing to do well after having picked up the Music for Nations catalog however many years ago it was. Exclusive bundle, 3CD box, 180g vinyl, this one’s got all the keywords.

From the PR wire:

anathema bundle




British rock group Anathema announces the remastered reissues of Judgement, A Fine Day To Exit, and A Natural Disaster on 180-gram vinyl and CD via The End Records/ADA. All three albums are also available as a 3-CD collector’s boxset, which includes the 38-song DVD mediabook, Were You There?.

This reissue makes available the first ever Anathema collector’s set, including an exclusive album bundle configuration of all three titles, boxset, and screenprinted slipmat.
All Titles Limited Edition


Remastered 180-gram LP + CD
01 Deep
02 Pitiless
03 Forgotten Hope
04 Destiny Is Dead
05 Make It Right (F.F.S)
06 One Last Goodbye
07 Parisienne Moonlight
08 Judgement
09 Don’t Look Too Far
10 Emotional Winter
11 Wings of God
12 Anyone, Anywhere
13 2000 & Gone

CLICK HERE To Order Judgment

A Fine Day To Exit
Remastered 180-gram LP + CD
01 Pressure
02 Release
03 Looking Outside Inside
04 Leave No Trace
05 Underworld
06 Barrier
07 Panic
08 Fine Day To Exit
09 Temporary Peace

CLICK HERE To Order A Fine Day To Exit

A Natural Disaster
Remastered 180-gram LP + CD
01 Harmonium
02 Balance
03 Closer
04 Are You There?
05 Childhood Dream
06 Pulled Under at 2000 Metres a Second
07 A Natural Disaster
08 Flying
09 Electricity
10 Violence

CLICK HERE To Order A Natural Disaster

Fine Days: 1999-2004
3 Remastered CDs & DVD Mediabook
Disc 1: Judgement (13 Songs)
Disc 2: A Fine Day to Exit (10 Songs)
Disc 3: A Natural Disaster (9 Songs)
Disc 4: Were you There? (38 Songs – DVD)

CLICK HERE To Order Fine Days: 1999-2004

Exclusive Reissue Bundle
Screenprinted slipmat
Judgement (LP + CD)
A Fine Day To Exit (LP + CD)
A Natural Disaster (LP + CD)
Fine Days 1999 – 2004 (3CD + DVD)

CLICK HERE To Order The Exclusive Reissue Bundle

Anathema, A Natural Disaster (2003)

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Wino Wednesday: Saint Vitus, “Mystic Lady” Live at Hellfest 2009

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

For as long as I have a brain with which to remember it, I will consider myself fortunate to have been at Roadburn 2009 to witness the beginning — barring a warm-up show or two they played before leaving the US — of Saint Vitus‘ reunion. They hadn’t put out a record in 14 years by that point, and you’d have to add five more to that to get back to 1990’s V, their last studio outing to be fronted by Scott “Wino” Weinrich. Even though that Vitus reunion continued for the next half-decade, produced a righteous comeback in the form of 2012’s Lillie: F-65 (review here) and introduced a new generation to some of the finest American doom ever riffed through a Marshall, the beginning moments were a landmark. The start of a band getting its long over-due.

That Wino/Vitus reunion may continue, it may not. Following the former’s arrest last fall in Norway, the band linked up again with original vocalist Scott Reagers, and the future remains uncertain. But even if it is over, Saint Vitus have left behind a mark on their genre that will continue to be felt for years to come — not just for that full-length they were able to put together after so long away, but for the force with which they got on stage and delivered their classic material. It’s toward that classic material we turn for this week’s Wino Wednesday, finding Saint Vitus at Hellfest 2009 in Clisson, France, for “Mystic Lady,” which originally appeared on their 1985 sophomore outing, Hallow’s Victim (on which Reagers sang). Drummer Armando Acosta had already by then left the band prior to his death in 2010 and Henry Vasquez joined guitarist Dave Chandler, Wino and bassist Mark Adams, so even as they kept moving forward, the character of the band changed.

Still, these moments remain something special within doom, proving the timelessness of this band and their work. I hope you enjoy:

Saint Vitus, “Mystic Lady” Live at Hellfest 2009

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Live Review: Gozu, Thunderhawk, American Burn and Shatner in New Hampshire, 05.23.15

Posted in Reviews on May 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Gozu (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Somehow, this one felt like it was for all the marbles. Over the course of the six nights prior, I’d been to three shows — Clutch (review here), Ufomammut (review here) and Conan (review here) — and with the addition of this one, it would be four shows in three different states. I don’t mind telling you I was dragging ass after driving from Brooklyn to Connecticut after the Conan show the night before, and tacking a drive home to Massachusetts onto that and then another 90 minutes north to Manchester, New Hampshire’s The Shaskeen Pub had some pretty stiff competition from, well, the couch, but ultimately the “gotta go” impulse won out. It had been an obscenely long time since I last caught Gozu — one full year and three days, to be exact — and I was likewise eager to check out newcomers Shatner, who feature two-thirds of We’re all Gonna Die in their lineup, as if the moniker wasn’t enough of a sell.

Put together with New Hampshire’s own Thunderhawk and American Burn, it was a four-band Saturday at the Shaskeen that easily warranted attendance. My first time at the Irish-style pub, I found it inviting for more than its lack of a cover charge. Bands played on a stage in the back room, which had its own bar for those inclined to imbibe — there were plenty of them around — and stools strewn about the place even aside from a dedicated merch area. Up front played hits from the ’90s and I guess in the back it was the metal version of the same idea, with your Panteras, Sepulturas, Megadeths, and so on. It was after 9:30 when the show got going, so I knew it would be a late one, but screw it. This was the final stage of my week-long blowout before starting a new job after Memorial Day, and if you can’t get up for that, you might as well already be at the office in your business casual.

Here’s how it went down:


Shatner (Photo by JJ Koczan)

My first time seeing the Boston trio felt overdue, though as guitarist/vocalist Jim Healey pointed out from the stage, it was only their third show, so I guess not that overdue. It will be a sad day for Beantown heavy rock and roll if Healey ever loses that chip on his shoulder — the aggressive edge he brings to his songwriting and delivery is a typifying staple of the city’s specific style. He and bassist/backing vocalist Jesse Sherman are veterans of We’re all Gonna Die, but Shatner are less metal on the whole, such that when they broke into a cover of Thin Lizzy‘s “Bad Reputation” amid a slew of yet-unfamiliar originals — their first recording session took place this past Feb. at Amps vs. Ohms in Cambridge, but the results have yet to hit public ears — the transition was natural and unforced. Their time was relatively brief and the set offered some symmetry in opening with “Dead in Your Eyes” and closing with “Death Reheated,” perhaps working on a theme, but the latter made a particularly resonant impression, Healey out front in a catchy, building chorus propelled forward by Cocked ‘n’ Loaded drummer Rob Davol. They’re experienced players searching out a new dynamic, but the songwriting seemed to be there, and the first impression was a positive one. I’m sure it won’t be the last time I see them and that’s completely cool by me.

American Burn

American Burn (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I was surprised to find out that American Burn, who seemed to be no strangers to The Shaskeen, had only formed in 2013. They’ve obviously made an impression in that time with their dudely dual-guitar groove, rooted in metal but grown to border on heavy rock — the transition in influence from Pantera to Down, if you want to trace it so specifically. Not really my thing, but they were tighter than their two years would lead one to believe, and they absolutely packed the room out with the biggest crowd of the night. I didn’t do a head count, but if you told me it was upwards of 100 people, I wouldn’t argue. There was barely space to move in that back room while they played, and those who came out not only showed up, but were legitimately into it, singing along, headbanging and so on. Credit to the locals for filling the place up. I don’t know how much touring they’ll do or how they’d pull outside Manchester at this point, but seems safe to say they’ve got their hometown conquered, or at least they did this night.


Thunderhawk (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Also native to Manchester, double-guitar four-piece Thunderhawk (also stylized with a capitalized second ‘h’) released their Do or Die debut full-length last October. Their style was less metal than American Burn‘s, more Easy Rider than Sons of Anarchy, and laced with a solid dose of modern stoner push, like The Sword if they’d binged on Motörhead or, if you prefer, High on Fire at their most rolling. Lead guitarist Logan Larocque was a quiet presence on the right side of the stage compared to guitarist/vocalist Bryan McCarthy, bassist/vocalist Christopher Shelton and drummer Jon Kirsch, but seemed content to let his leads to the talking, and that turned out to be fair enough. Shelton and McCarthy, the latter in an American flag t-shirt with the slogan “the best things in life are free,” kicked out weighted groove with punker’s abandon, and for a bonus round a the end of their set, they brought up Ichabod vocalist John Fadden — apparently local to the area — for a cover of Black Sabbath‘s “War Pigs.” It seemed they’d done it before, but either way, it was a bit of fun for the crowd to sing-along to (myself included), and did well to show Thunderhawk could both nail their own material while fostering swinging grooves and let loose and have a good time. I knew nothing about them going into the performance and came out on the other side feeling like I needed to check out that album.


Gozu (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Like I said, it had simply been too damn long since the last time I saw Gozu. The four-piece would be playing New Hampshire two weekends in a row, and the next week doing a tribute to Scissorfight on the occasion of Smuttynose Brewing‘s beer in homage to the Granite State Destroyers. That would’ve been cool to see, but even more than that, I was hoping to catch Gozu — the now-solidified lineup of guitarist/vocalist Marc Gaffney, guitarist/backing vocalist Doug Sherman, bassist Joe Grotto and drummer Mike Hubbard — playing something new, and along with the familiar swagger of “Disco Related Injury,” the thrust of “Meat Charger” and the mega-hook in “Ghost Wipe,” the band threw in two recent pieces. Titled “Bubble Time” and “Lorenzo Lamas” in their tradition of putting silly names onto killer tracks, both had a somewhat moodier vibe than, say, “Mr. Riddle” or the aforementioned “Ghost Wipe” — however grim the lyrical themes of either of those might be — but being the first to emerge from this incarnation of the band and more directly this rhythm section, they fit well in the set along with some of the faster, older songs. I know better than to try to suppose anything about the next Gozu record after one airing of two songs live, but nothing I heard sounded like a step backward. Informed they had 10 minutes left, they kicked into the eight-minute “Alone,” its peaks and valleys executed without any rush whatsoever, and then snuck in “Bald Bull” right after, giving the night a more raucous sendoff. How I let it go quite so long from one gig to the next, I’m not really sure, but as they continue to put ideas together for their next record, I’ll have my eye out to catch them again sooner than later. Maybe not this weekend, but soon.

I guess the Shaskeen had come pretty close to curfew by the time Gozu were done, because the lights came on quickly and those still hanging around were told in no uncertain terms to finish drinks, close tabs and get out. Fair enough. The ride back down south on I-93 was uneventful enough if one didn’t mind avoiding swerving drivers who’d started their holiday early, and I got home a couple minutes before 3AM, same as the night before, carried largely by the adrenaline at having pulled off this monumental week of travel and shows. I’d have called it a mini-tour if there were maybe one or two other gigs involved, but there was enough road-time even without, and I’m glad to say that in this case as in the others, it was well worth getting there and getting back.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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