Roadburn 2012: YOB Will Play The Unreal Never Lived, Voivod Will Play Dimension Hatröss; Black Cobra, Celeste, Red Fang and More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 31st, 2011 by JJ Koczan

At this point, I don’t even know what to say. Two YOB sets — one of The Unreal Never Lived, one of CatharsisVoivod doing Dimension Hatröss, plus Black Cobra, Red Fang and of course Sleep, The Obsessed and everyone else already announced. I don’t know how they do it. Kudos to Walter and Roadburn for putting together what looks like it’ll be the biggest and best festival yet.

Here’s the announcement:

As curator for the 17th edition of the Roadburn festival, Voivod will transport you into Dimension Hatröss as part of their special headline show during the Au-delà du Réel event on Friday, April 13, 2012 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland. As if the promise of the band’s classic fourth album in its entirety performed live for the first time ever wasn’t enough, the set will conclude with a not-to-be-missed surprise.

Psychedelic doom metal giants YOB will return to Roadburn Festival 2012 for two one-off performances, each time performing an album in its entirety. YOB has been personally invited by Voivod for Roadburn 2012. For their first show, they will be playing their seminal album, The Unreal Never Lived, on Friday, April 13th at Au-delà du Réel, and then in order to reach the greatest of heights (and doom depths), they will follow up by performing Catharsis in full at the additional Afterburner event on Sunday, April 15.

We’re also very pleased to announce that Black Breath and Celeste are the latest confirmed acts for Voivod‘s Au-delà du Réel at Roadburn 2012. They will join Anekdoten, Aun, Dopethrone and YOB on Friday, April 13.

Beer-driven, groove-heavy hard rock are what Portland’s finest, Red Fang, deliver on their latest opus, Murder the Mountains. Catchy, fun, cool, and downright awesome, Red Fang bring a welcome return to great rock that still has a sense of humor. Roadburn is really pleased to welcome Red Fang to Midi Theatre on Thursday, April 12.

Black Cobra will be playing a one-off show at Roadburn Festival Afterburner in support of their new album, Invernal.

Tickets for Roadburn 2012 will go on sale Saturday, November 26, 10:00 Central European Time. There will be a two ticket limit (per order) for 3-day and 4-day passes and Afterburner tickets – the same goes for the Campsite Tickets.

Please visit for more info.

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My Sleeping Karma Have a New Song; Band Signs to Napalm Records

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 31st, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Apparently my karma is the one that’s been sleeping, because while my head was turned, German psych-rockers My Sleeping Karma signed to Napalm Records for the release of their next album. No word on when that’s out yet, but congratulations to the band either way. They’re currently on the road for the “Up in Smoke Vol. 3” tour with Lonely Kamel, The Machine and Samsara Blues Experiment.

This clip (followed by the label’s press release) has been making the rounds on Thee Facebooks, and it’s just the right kind of groove for a sleepy Monday afternoon. It’s a new song, filmed on the opening night of the tour in Siegen, Germany. Enjoy:

The German instrumental psychedelic rock band, My Sleeping Karma, is the latest addition to the Napalm Records roster. Fans should have their lava lamps and incense sticks ready to go, as something big is coming our way!

My Sleeping Karma are very thankful and excited for the opportunity to work with one of the most important record labels in the independent heavy/rock scene. During several meetings, Napalm´s representatives always gave us the feeling of real understanding in My Sleeping Karma´s musical journey. We were impressed by their open-minded thinking, as it is surely not usual to give an instrumental psychedelic rock band a chance. The band wants to extend a big THANK YOU to all the people supporting us over the years. This step would not have been possible for us without you!”

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Drone Throne, Everybody Dies Alone: Fatal Rips From the Southwest

Posted in Reviews on October 31st, 2011 by JJ Koczan

The morbidly-titled third release and first full-length from Gilbert, Arizona, natives Drone Throne shows the band having undergone some distinct stylistic growth. Everybody Dies Alone is a self-released 12-track collection of sludge that, at times, is primitive to the point of regression. The most notable physical change in Drone Throne is the addition of the rhythm section of Andrew Leemont on bass/vocals and Taylor Kienzle on drums. Former drummer Alex Bank Rollins now joins Garrett Ranous on vocals and guitar, and the shift in personnel shows itself both in the interaction of the two guitars and in the heft of the rhythms and grooves supporting. Everybody Dies Alone manages to weave influences from latter day Darkthrone and Sleep’s Holy Mountain-era Sleep into its primal stew, balancing the simplistic nature of its forebears with the difficulties in making a cohesive singularity from them. Songs like “Bud Clot” and “Stone Dome” quickly mark out an ugly, crusty territory, while “Black Lung” relies more on rolling riffs and fog-headed groove to convey its stonerly vibes. Rollins and Ranous toy with some classic metal melodicism on “Dead Weight” (they seem to be feeling their way through several different styles throughout), but the bulk of Everybody Dies Alone is dedicated to short and abrasive bursts of sludge-punk chicanery.

A rough self-production job (also in the spirit of Darkthrone) doesn’t hurt the songs, but vocals high in the mix early in the album takes some getting used to, especially because of the distorted-shouty nature of the approach. “Black Lung” gets Everybody Dies Alone under way following the “Iron Man”-esque beginnings of aptly-named intro, “Intro.” Joining Ranous and Rollins (and Leemont ) in mix-prominence is Kienzle’s snare, which dominates more than best serves “Bud Clot” and “Greens.” The inclination, though, is to let that kind of thing go. Drone Throne clearly haven’t set out to make a shining production of a record, and while it’s important nonetheless to keep things in balance with each other, however harsh you might want them to sound, it almost becomes a contributing factor to Everybody Dies Alone’s ridiculous charm. The first four tracks’ punk-ish thrust slams head-first into the Sleep-y groove of “Dead Weight,” which cops the riff of “Dragonaut” into a lead line that forms the crux of the song. Drone Throne make it work, and “Dead Weight,” though immediately familiar, introduces the strongest stretch of the album. Gang chants in the chorus maintain the punk spirit, and as “Dead Weight” gives way to “Fatal Rips From the North,” Drone Throne pull off their most impressive shift from stoner rock to black metal. One has to wonder what exactly the band knows about “the North” being from the sandy Southwest in Arizona, but I’ll definitely give them the “Fatal Rips” part, and their Darkthrone-styled simplicity takes a complex idea and makes it sound effortless. The multiple layers of vocals (screams, shouts, etc.) underscore the song’s extremity, and the guitar work shows surprising versatility. Perhaps what makes the track, though, is when Leemont’s bass comes to the fore for a break and clean vocals result in a nod to Om before the final chorus.

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Frydee Motörhead

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 28th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

I know Motörhead doesn’t get mentioned much around here. In a way, I feel like it’s not necessary. They’re Motörhead. They do Motörhead stuff. They’re louder than everyone, Lemmy is the king of the badasses, etc. It’s all been said. If Motörhead was going to put out a flamenco album or something, I’d probably talk about it, but otherwise, aren’t they kind of a given?

“(I Won’t) Pay Your Price” might seem like a random pick. It’s not “Stay Clean” or “Ace of Spades,” or whatever, but as I shelled out just over two grand this morning for sundry car repairs, I feel like it’s a pretty decent summation of how I was doing while signing that check, “Fast” Eddie Clarke solo and all. Some things you just feel in your gut.

Despite those auspicious beginnings, as far as an end to a chaotic week, today wasn’t so bad. I wanted terribly to transcribe the Black Cobra interview, and I just didn’t have time to do it. Doubtful that anyone else gives a crap, but I’d said I was going to do it, and it matters to me. I tried. The last three days, I tried. And it just didn’t happen.

What that means is this coming week, I’ll double up and have both that and my interview with Scott Hill from Fu Manchu about their recent reissues and tours playing In Search Of in its entirety. Stay tuned for those, and I’ll also have a track premiere from the new Esoteric record on Tuesday — weird as ever, but ultra-doomed — and reviews of Drone Throne, Samsara Blues Experiment, Electric Moon and Obrero.

Assuming I survive the Octobersnowpocalypse that all weather reports seem to be crapping their pants over in sensationalist panic, we’ll also wrap up the month of October and do the numbers and the rundown of what’s to come, and I can only imagine there’ll be Roadburn news and much more as well.

In the meantime, congratulations to any fans of the St. Louis Cardinals on that whole World Series thing, and I hope wherever you are, you have a great and safe weekend. See you on the forum and back here Monday. Huzzah.

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Buried Treasure and Redscroll in Autumn, Pt. 2

Posted in Buried Treasure on October 28th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Moments ago, as I was trying to think of a headline for this post, I recalled that I’d visited Redscroll Records in Wallingford, Connecticut, last year around this time. Creature of habit that I am, the date on that post is Oct. 25, 2010. Here we are, a year and three days later and I’m chronicling pretty much the same trip. Surprisingly, there was no band overlap. Small favors, I guess.

It had been or at least felt like a while since I did a good round of caution-and-common-sense-to-the-wind record shopping, which I find is good for the soul, and especially since my prior visit to the store had come up empty, I was stoked to make out pretty good this time. You can probably see the stack in the picture above, but in case you don’t feel like clicking to enlarge it, here’s the rundown:

Aldebaran, Buried Beneath Aeons
Cable, Cable
Desert Sessions, Vol. I/Vol. II
Desert Sessions, Vol. III/Vol. IV
Dove, Dove
Grayceon, All We Destroy
Orange Goblin, Time Travelling Blues
Patton Oswalt, Finest Hour
Reverend Bizarre, Death is Glory… Now!
Sunride, Magnetizer
VA, Judge Not…
Wooden Shjips, Dos
Wolves in the Throne Room, Celestial Lineage

Of those, I already own the Desert Sessions, Dove and Orange Goblin records — but I still have my reasons for buying each. The Orange Goblin was used, and as I looked at it on the shelf, I discovered it was the Japanese version of the record, with their cover of Trouble‘s “Black Shapes of Doom” for a bonus track. That cover originally appeared on the Bastards Will Pay tribute, and since I’ve never had any luck tracking down a copy of that (it’s in my canon of daily eBay searches), I figured all the more excuse to get the import on the cheap.

The Dove, on the other hand, is probably the least reasonable of the repeat offenses. Where the Desert Sessions stuff was priced new, it was also like $12 a pop, and screw it, if I’m already spending money, I’ll hit that up. I looked so hard for those CDs the first time around, I don’t mind having doubles. For the Dove disc, though, there really is no argument. It was there, it was used, and I bought it. It’s out of print, and I might use it in a trade or something at some point — hey, if anyone wants to switch it for that Trouble tribute, drop a line — but beyond that, it was an impulse and an excuse to revisit the album from the Floor offshoot, which I hadn’t heard in years.

Grayceon was one of two discs I knew I wanted to pick up going into the trip — the other was Rwake, which Redscroll was out of — and since I’ve had those songs stuck in my head for the last month, I was glad to have the full version of the album to sate that. That wasn’t used, but it is now. The Wolves in the Throne Room is also their latest record, which I had every intent of reviewing but never got around to, but only had a disc and top liner for. There’s always one or two tracks on their albums that justifies a purchase, and now I can take my time finding out which ones those are on Celestial Lineage. I don’t feel as bad for not reviewing it if I go out and buy the record.

I bought Sunride‘s Magnetizer (1998, Boundless Records) because of a discussion on the forum of the worst stoner rock albums ever. Not that it’s mentioned in there, but Sea of Green is, and I got the names mixed up in my head. I had wanted to buy it just to hear what the worst stoner rock ever sounded like. As Magnetizer isn’t even close to the worst stoner rock I’ve ever heard, I can’t help but feel like I inadvertently won out.

The Wooden Shjips I got because I need to review their new album, West, for work and wanted something to compare it to. It was used, as was the Underdogma Records compilation, Judge Not…, which proved yet again that I don’t like comps until they’re out of print and desirable for their obscurity. I don’t remember the last time I heard Ironboss (guns don’t kill people, they do), so I’ll take it, and with Gammera, Pale Divine, early The Quill and Puny Human on there, all the better. Two discs of heavy rock I didn’t own prior. Six bucks.

Buying Cable in Connecticut had some oddball novelty to me, and the 1997 comp of their early tracks was used and is raw as hell, so that was a yes, and I didn’t even know Patton Oswalt had a new record, but there it was. Since on his last special, he was talking all about his wife being pregnant, I figured this would be his “I have a kid now” material (every comic has it), and sure enough, it is. Still good. The Reverend Bizarre and Aldebaran discs were impulse buys — I grabbed the Aldebaran with all the forethought of snatching a pack of Reese’s on the way out of the grocery store — but reckless abandon is no fun if it’s not actually reckless, so there you go.

The Patient Mrs. — bless her heart — had come in a few moments prior to collect me so we could make our way back south to Jersey, but as we were leaving, the dudes behind the counter informed that they’ll be doing a special Black Friday sale post-Thanksgiving, opening at 6AM with markdowns on new and used CDs and vinyl — which, at this point, takes up a good deal of the room they have. Turns out I’ll be up that way for the holiday, so if I’m not all drowned out in vino and tryptophan, I may just make that happen for myself. Seems like it could be fun, anyway.

More info on that and the store is here, if you’re interested. I’ll spare you the lecture on preserving independent record-buying culture, because I think you probably know it by now, but anyway, they do good work.

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The House of Capricorn, In the Devil’s Days: Carrying the Lantern

Posted in Reviews on October 28th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Like last their debut in last year’s Sign of the Cloven Hoof (review here), the second album from New Zealander doom foursome The House of Capricorn – titled In the Devil’s Days – is cumbersome. Surpassing that record’s 59 minutes with a full 72-plus, they stretch the limits of what the CD format will hold. Where the two efforts differ, however, is in what The House of Capricorn do with that time. The first album adhered far more strictly to a traditional doom aesthetic than does In the Devil’s Days (released via Swamps of One Tree Hill), which from its very beginnings in “All Hail to the Netherworld” couples cultish or semi-Satanic lyrical themes with a mid-to-late-‘90s Roadrunner Records influence (think Life of Agony and maybe even some groove-metal-era Machine Head, tonally) primarily showing up in the shades of Type O Negative green permeating that song and others like “To Carry the Lantern,” “Veils” and, to a lesser extent, the closing title cut. The House of Capricorn still get down with more genre-minded doom – 10-minute second track “Les Innocents” is almost a direct port of the progression behind Black Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath” – but even that is filtered through a style more the band’s own than what came through on the first record (it’s irrelevant to note, but Type O Negative covered that Sabbath track as well on the first Nativity in Black tribute and redid the lyrics for their The Least Worst of Type O Negative compilation).

Perhaps expectedly, In the Devil’s Days finds its greatest triumphs in the stretches most unique to the band. There’s a Euro-doom drama blended into “Veils” and a Misfits punk bass line from Ami Holifield on “Coffins & Cloven Hooves” that create an expectation of diversity in the material that the band well lives up to. The third cut behind the morose march of “Les Innocents,” “Coffins & Cloven Hooves” especially changes the atmosphere of the album with its up-tempo groove and a guitar line from six-stringer Scott Blomfield in the verse that calls to mind Marilyn Manson’s take on “Sweet Dreams” while also echoing the faster pacing of the opener, which, by this time, feels a world away. It works because the band makes it their own, and because vocalist Marko Pavlovic has no interest in doing impersonations. His singing on these tracks follows suit with the music behind him in being more assured. Perhaps the most effective blend of the sounds overall, though, is on “Arcane Delve,” which takes the faster push – drummer Michael Rothwell’s snare is high in the mix, but his performance remains crisp and classy – of “Coffins & Cloven Hooves” and the memorable chorus to “All Hail to the Netherworld” and ties it directly to a slower-than-mid-tempo doomed stomp. It’s not nearly as bleak as “Les Innocents” or “Horns” still to come, but of the whole of In the Devil’s Days, it’s where the band seems most comfortable, even going to far as to bring in a slower Slayer-esque lead riff at about 4:45. The two-minute acoustic interlude “Canto IV” (actually V, if we’re going by Roman numerals) is quiet enough to pass unnoticed at low volumes, especially followed by the doomed sensibilities of “Veils.”

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On the Radar: The Moss

Posted in On the Radar on October 27th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Not to be confused with the British ultra-sludge outfit on Rise Above — that’s Moss —  The Moss hail from Portland, Oregon, and play a self-aware brand of pre-prog ’70s heavy rock. One could sit for days and rattle off a list of bands to cite, but the names are mostly interchangeable as they manifest here, and it would be more about indulgence on my part than saying the four-piece give a more than respectably-riffed showing on Wulfram, their first and full-length demo, balancing two guitars and hooky vocals well alongside solid grooves and modern approaches against classic influence.

Where most bands will write usually write an initial batch of songs and cut a demo on the quick, Wulfram is more of an album than a sampler, with songs like “Widow Trakk” and “La Cantina” providing earnest boogie rock that’s both assured within its style and still immediate as one might expect with a unit’s early material. The guitars of Adam Burke and Tony Pacific work well together with Burke on vocals and Pacific handling leads, and bassist Beth Borland and drummer Ben Spencer make what might otherwise be standard fare motoring riffs sound fresh with interesting, upbeat rhythms and vibrant fills.

The songs and aesthetic are vinyl-ready in a way that’s more Graveyard than Witchcraft, despite the organ in “Un Vultur,” and several interludes break up Wulfram appropriately and allow for a decent flow between the tracks. Basically what it all rounds out to is another act emerging from one of the strongest American scenes who are worth checking out. What has yet to cease amazing me about Portland is that there isn’t just one style of heavy being played around the city. That is, it’s not just like everyone’s trying to hone in on one sound or style — there are as many takes on it as there are bands. The Moss indeed prove to have their own spin with Wulfram, and hopefully there’s more to come.

Check them out on Thee Facebooks here, and, if you’re so inclined, you can purchase a download of Wulfram via their Bandcamp for a mere $6.66. Here’s the stream of the record from that page:

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Roadburn 2012: Pelican, Tombs, Ancestors, Church of Misery and Others Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 27th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

I wish I could go back in time to some terrible point in my life and say to myself, “It’s okay, Past Me. Someday you’re gonna go to a Dutch festival and you’re going to see Sleep, The Obsessed and Church of Misery all in the same day.” The latest news from Roadburn proves no less staggering than the realization of that. Sometimes it’s like existence is doing you a personal favor.

Here’s the update from Roadburn off the PR wire:

We’re excited to announce that seminal instru-metal pioneers Pelican have been added to the lineup of Roadburn 2012. Pelican last played Roadburn in the Green Room back in 2007, and will now appear on our main stage as part of their first European tour in several years. Pelican will play on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland.

Brooklyn’s Tombs bears the mark of total devastation. On the latest album, Path of Totality, Tombs not only evoke the classic sound and feel of black metal in its finest hour they also explore their disparate UK post-punk influences. And keep things incredibly listenable. The band has marched ahead boldly with the sound of impending doom since their inception and Path is endowed with all of the primordial intensity that is a hallmark of the aforementioned genres.
However, Tombs reach far beyond the ritual sounds of the past with an abundance of tonal variation. The gut-wrenching vocals and furious blastbeasts are interwoven with a dark and brooding atmospheric moodiness, making Tombs one of the finest heavy bands in the world. Tombs will appear on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland.

Making their fourth appearance in five years at the festival, it looks like Japan’s serial-killer-obsessed seekers of the almighty riff Church of Misery are poised to become the official Roadburn house band. All joking aside, Church of Misery were among THE highlights of the previous Roadburn festivals (even the main stage almost proved way to small for them), and Roadburn 2012 will mark their triumphant return, on the main stage again (of course!), together with Sleep and The Obsessed on Saturday, April 14 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland.

Los Angeles based psychedelic rock quintet Ancestors will be making a highly anticipated return to Roadburn for the 2012 Festival. On their latest EP, Invisible White, Ancestors tamped down their surging stoner rock leanings in favour of a more cinematic approach with long moog/ modular synth workouts very much reminiscent of Pink Floyd circa Meddle and Live at Pompeii. Charting a new course for the band’s progressive, colourful sounds, Ancestors will get the chance to reprise their stunning 2010 Roadburn performance, this time supporting  the release of a new, much anticipated album. Ancestors will play on Thursday, April 12 at the Midi Theatre in Tilburg, Holland.

Dragged Into Sunlight, Christian Mistress, Horisont, La Otracina, Bob Wayne and the Outlaw Carnies and AUN have also been confirmed for Roadburn 2012, set to be held from April 12 to 15 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland.

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