The Return of Iron Man

Posted in Reviews on May 29th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Looks like both of them have returned...“Iron” Al Morris III is a doomer’s doomer; an original in of the congregation of The Riff. His band Iron Man, in the ranks of the original Hellhound Records greats, has seen ups, downs, further downs and expanses of time where the question, “Hey, what the hell ever happened to Iron Man?” wasn’t necessarily out of line. With just the self-released Submission EP to show for studio material (though there have been a host of live albums since 2006) in the time between 1999’s Generation Void (Brainticket) and today, Morris and Iron Man have been through lineup changes, periods of inactivity and damn near every other obstacle you can put in front of a band, remaining in spite of everything in the top names of traditional Maryland doom, which, to be fair, is a scene forgiving of intermittence among its own.

In 2009, Iron Man signed up with Pittsburgh‘s Shadow Kingdom Records to release their new album, the aptly-titled I Have Returned. Anyone who knows the band knows they got their start chopping out live sets mostly comprised of Sabbath covers, but on I Have Returned, originality takes center stage, with vocalist Joe Donnelly (once an Ozzy impersonator) providing unique companionship for Morris‘ riffing. The rhythm section of bassist Louis Strachan and drummer Dex Dexter makes this an entirely new lineup surrounding the guitarist since Generation Void, but Iron Man more than meet the tightness required by the music, sounding cohesive and natural throughout the album’s 10 tracks.

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Technical Difficulties

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Whathaveyou on May 29th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

I’ve been trying to upload images for a review for about half an hour now and every time I give it another shot, stupid Firefox crashes. So, failing that, I’m doing the most stoner rock thing I can think of to solve the issue and going to lunch. If the problem can’t fix itself, well, I’ve got nothing.

Please enjoy this Reverend Bizarre video in the meantime, and thanks for your patience.

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SunnO))) Set to Work Eating the Universe on Monoliths and Dimensions

Posted in Reviews on May 28th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

This also looks way cooler in person.Normally They should do a show here and release it on DVD. (Photo by Gisele Vienne)I don’t buy into the whole vinyl-sounds-better thing. I agree there’s something to the experience of purchasing a record and certainly the artwork is bigger, but in terms of the actual sound, while I’ll grant that analog and digital sound different, since most turntables run through a digital amplifier before they reach the speakers anyway and even if not, the disparity is negligible, usually I chalk it up to marketing bullshit or a reactionary hipster trend flying in the face of the rise of digital media. Take that, Apple.

That said, there’s a feeling of self-infliction you get when putting the needle to any of the four sides of the 2LP version of SunnO)))‘s Monoliths and Dimensions (as ever, on Southern Lord) that I genuinely don’t believe would carry over with a CD, mp3 or whatever other format you choose. Aside from each of the four tracks demanding you to make sure you’re on the right speed (it goes 33, 45, 45, 33rpm) — if nothing else a clever way to make sure the listener is paying attention to what they’re hearing — the ritualistic feeling of quietly changing sides after each song makes you feel more of a part of it, like you’re in your very own grimmrobe, or at very least in a room filled with smoke-machine fog.

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Bloodhorse Really Want You to Hear Their New Record

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 28th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

I like how well this album's color scheme matches that of this site. I'll have to cover it more, you know, for the sake of coordinating fashions and all that.Damn thing just came out on Tuesday and the Boston/Brooklyn trio are already giving it away for free. I’m talking about Bloodhorse‘s first Translation Loss full-length, Horizoner, which follows up their impressive 2007 self-titled EP. The album is available in CD and 2LP form, with a fancy etching on the second vinyl disc for any hard core collectors out there. I’m listening to it for the first time now and so far so good. If you dig Torche, it might be a good way to spend some time.

Stream Horizoner here.

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Lords of Bukkake: Fuel for Misanthropy

Posted in Reviews on May 27th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Just looking at this makes me lonely.An album on which everything right down to the artwork reeks of desolation and loneliness, the self-titled debut from Barcelona‘s Lords of Bukkake (Odio Sonoro/Gaia Records) is the ideal companion for those evenings when, Band, brick wall, classic.left to your own devices in a world of infinite possibilities, you choose to sit around in your underwear, drink by yourself and hate at a major league level. Full of visceral anger directed whichever way the speakers are facing, it is slicing and grating, painful, hurtful doom lashing out irredeemable remorse and churning violence. It is the kind of music that makes you feel like there are bugs crawling on you.

Lords of Bukkake opens with its longest track, “Black Lung” — by all accounts an affliction with which bassist/vocalist Toni L?pez is familiar. His biting rasp reminds of Alan Dubin fronting a less minimalist Khanate, while the occasional drawling stoner rock solo from guitarist Jaume L. Pantale?n (also of Cuzo) sets Lords of Bukkake apart from those drone magnates. Still, at 18:47, “Black Lung” is a fierce slab of darkened sludge, chopping up the corpse of a desperate riff and leaving the body up in the Torre de Collserola for the tourists to find.

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Spoils of Randomness: The Satellite Circle

Posted in Buried Treasure on May 27th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Actually, what I said was, "There's no way that's not a stoner CD, right?" I don't often not speak in double negatives.As last weekend’s New England adventures played out, I found myself Saturday afternoon in Providence, Rhode Island, tracing along the racks at Armageddon Shop. I’d never been there before, don’t know when I’ll get back, but found it on the Record Store Day website (which is pretty handy as a database of indie shops around the country) and after seeing the considerable catalog posted on their own site, decided it wouldn’t be such a terrible way to pass some time.

And it wasn’t. The racks of used CDs were horizontal so you looked at the spines of the discs, there was plenty of vinyl around and not much standing room, Hank Williams coming from the speakers in a store with one of the coolest Melvins posters I’d ever seen. Nothing to complain about. I picked up a couple odds and ends; some Grief, Roadsaw, a Blind Guardian live record, Mobile by Dutch rockers Beaver, the digipak version of the last Type O Negative (I don’t care what anyone says, those are stoner riffs Kenny Hickey is playing), a surprising find in the first Monolithe CD which is something I genuinely never thought I’d own, and solely based on the artwork, knowing nothing about it, for $6.99, the self-titled album from The Satellite Circle.

I stood at the counter and asked the good-humored guy on the other side, “That’s pretty much gotta be a stoner rock CD, right?” He took a look at the front, turned it over in his hand, said, “Yeah, that’d be my guess,” and continued ringing up my purchases. My wife rolled her eyes.

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Candlemass Interview with Robert Lowe: Doom Eternal, Eternal Doom

Posted in Features on May 27th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Best wine bar ever.The reputation of Swedish/Texan doom outfit Candlemass goes without saying. I know I’ve said it before, but bassist Leif Edling is in the top three great doom riff-writers, and his powers are as potent as ever on Candlemass‘ new album, Death Magic Doom (Nuclear Blast). I’ll spare the wax poetry and intellectualizing because the record has already been reviewed, but we all know they’re gods among mortals in the international doom scene.

He's got a sword in his hand like the lightsabers on the old Star Wars figures.Having interviewed Edling for his recent solo album, Songs of Torment, Songs of Joy (Candlelight), I thought it might be prudent to hit up vocalist Robert Lowe. Lowe being the Texan portion of the band as well as the singer for Solitude Aeturnus — one of the best traditional power doom bands in the US — his perspective was bound to be unique and informative about the inner workings of the band. Failing a phoner for scheduling reasons, I sent some questions via email.

The occasional trouble with email interviews is that (1:) you never get to ask a follow up and (2:) you sometimes fall into the trap of the one or two sentence answer. Particularly as the interview plays out, the subject, answering the whole thing at one, consciously or unconsciously gets bored of what they’re doing and the answers get progressively shorter. Lowe has a little bit of that going on, but there’s still plenty worthwhile in his answers, so please enjoy the Q&A after the jump.

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The Visible MeteorCity

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 27th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

MeteorCity sent out an update the other day with three new videos from Farflung (“Unborn Planet”), Black Pyramid (“And the Gods Made War/Visions of Gehenna”) and Freedom Hawk (“Stand Back”). As a public service to any and all interested parties, I’ve posted them here. Congrats to the label for having such visually inclined artists on its roster.

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