Shroud Eater Sign to The Path Less Traveled Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 31st, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Congratulations to Miami trio Shroud Eater, who have inked a deal with emergent imprint The Path Less Traveled Records for the release of a new EP. Shroud Eater were last heard from with the 2011 ThunderNoise full-length (review here) and have been busy kicking ass on stage with an impressive list of bands you can see below, including having their set supporting Corrections House streamed live this week. 2013 keeps getting bigger and better for new releases, and if you’re keeping a list of ones to watch for, here’s another to add.

Dig it:

Formed in Miami, Florida in 2009, Shroud Eater is a brooding three-piece juggernaut blending sludge, doom and stoner metal riffs with gruff howls and intense tribal drumming. Drawing comparisons to High on Fire and Helmet with a Kyuss groove, Shroud Eater have established themselves as a ferocious live act with a uniquely refreshing take on the stoner/sludge/doom metal genre. The trio have self-released a demo in 2009, a full length album in 2011, embarked on several east-coast and Florida-state tours, opened and run an underground music venue in South Florida, and are set to release a new EP in 2013 via The Path Less Traveled Records.

Shroud Eater has had the pleasure of opening for:
Corrosion of Conformity, Corrections House, Kylesa, Floor, Tombs, -16-, KEN Mode, The Atlas Moth, Weedeater, ASG, Cough and MonstrO.

Shroud Eater is: Jean Saiz (guitars/vocals), Janette Valentine (bass/back up vocals), and Felipe Torres (drums/percussion)

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Batillus to Release Concrete Sustain March 19

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 31st, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Meeting at the intersection of punishing modern doom and industrial experimentation, Brooklyn’s Batillus seem destined to always be an oddball musically. Their 2011 Seventh Rule debut full-length, Furnace (review here), reveled in its bleak weirdness, and I’d expect no less of the follow-up, Concrete Sustain, which is due out March 19 through the same label.

Also sprach the PR wire:

BATILLUS: Avant-Industrial Doom Conjurors To Unleash Concrete Sustain Via Seventh Rule Recordings Next Month

Artwork + Track Listing Revealed

Brooklyn, New York avant-industrial doom conjurors BATILLUS (buh-TILL-us) today confirm March 19, 2013 as the official North American release date of their forthcoming new full-length. Titled Concrete Sustain, the follow-up to 2011’s critically-lauded Furnace long player, was recorded and mixed by Sanford Parker and BATILLUS at Sound Generation in Manhattan and Hypercube in Chicago and mastered by Collin Jordan at the Boiler Room.

With songs that range from relentless mid-tempo churns to subterranean crawls, BATILLUS cohere the extremes of heavy music into a surge of massive riffing, rolling over and descending on the listener with the force and intensity of a sudden storm. Concrete Sustain delivers six unforgettable tracks of chilling industrial doom.

Concrete Sustain Track Listing:
1. Concrete
2. Cast
3. Beset
4. Mirrors
5. Rust
6. Thorns

Originally conceived in 2007 as an instrumental trio, the BATILLUS lineup expanded in 2009 to add vocals, synthesizer, and samples to the dynamic range of their music. The tight and focused songs on Concrete Sustain reflect this expanded palette, which has had a profound effect on the band’s writing process.

Concrete Sustain will be released via Seventh Rule Recordings. Stay tuned for further info on BATILLUS, including a stretch of live rituals, in the coming weeks.

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Radio Moscow’s “Rancho Tehama Airport” to See Volcom Vinyl Club Release

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on January 31st, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Even as Radio Moscow‘s current European tour gets underway, the news emerges that the single for “Rancho Tehama Airport’ b/w “Sweet Little Thing” will be released to the public as part of Volcom Entertainment‘s limited Vinyl Club subscription package. Past installments have included the likes of Wino, the Melvins and High on Fire, so Radio Moscow are in good company with the tracks, which represent their first new material since 2011’s The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz.

The band previously posted both songs for advance checking out via YouTube (link above), but here’s “Rancho Tehama Airport” as a refresher, courtesy of Volcom, and info about the 2013 subscription package for the Vinyl Club. Enjoy:

Volcom Announces Volcom Entertainment Vinyl Club’s 2013 Subscription

We are excited to announce the launch of the VEVC 2013 subscription, our 6th year running a limited edition 7″ singles club. For those unfamiliar with the Volcom Ent Vinyl Club (VEVC for short), a 1-year subscription to the Volcom Ent Vinyl Club, includes:

• Shipment of six 7″s throughout the year: VEVC0031, VEVC0032, VEVC0033, VEVC0034, VEVC0035, VEVC0036.
• Subscriber-only colored vinyl on some releases.
• Subscriptions are limited to 300.
• Subscribers get a 20% discount on the purchase of any other vinyl releases made in our subscriber store.

The first release, VEVC 0031, is a face melting two-sided slab of new material from psychedelic blues rockers Radio Moscow. This record is already in production and we hope to ship these by early March. VEVC 0032 is also in the pipeline and you can trust us when we say that it will be a rowdy split shared by two of Los Angeles’ grittiest bands, The Shrine and Zig Zags, each contributing new tunes. You will want to turn this one up!

We’re really excited about the rest of the 2013 roster that is coming together and for those of you who’ve subscribed before, hope that you can trust us when we say we have some cool releases up our sleeves!!

Also as a special gift to 2013 subscribers who act fast, we’ll be including a free copy of the Volcom x Yo Gabba Gabba 7” to the first 150 subscribers with the shipment of VEVC 0031. This record is super limited to 500 red vinyl and 500 green vinyl and the 150 copies that we can offer are the last remaining ones. In case you didn’t see this one fly by last year, the record features a collaboration between hip-hop legend Biz Markie and Wayne Coyne of Flaming Lips on one side and on the other side “He’s a Chef”, the first new Rocket From the Crypt recording in, like, 5 years… no big deal.

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TOAD, Endless Night: Giving a Taste of the Grave

Posted in Reviews on January 31st, 2013 by JJ Koczan

As much as extreme rock has ever been a thing, Tempe, Arizona, six-piece TOAD would seem to be engaged in the practice of it. The double-guitar, organ, bass, drums and standalone vocal outfit made their first showing in 2010 as a split with Drone Throne, then on their own in 2011 with Rotten Tide (review here) and are set to return in 2013 with Endless Night – five tracks of blackened melodic death rock that attempt to draw a line between At the Gates and the riffier terrain of heavy rock. No easy task. The five tracks of the vinyl-ready 27-minute Endless Night cast off a lot of the melodeath cliché that came in the wake of America’s turn-of-the-century metal revival – i.e. they don’t rush through a verse so as to blindside you with an out-of-place breakdown most part – but there is an intensity to some of their parts that feels derived from modern hardcore, so that even the dueling guitars on the otherwise organ-driven closing title-track seem to be in specifically that kind of rush. The band – comprised of guitarists Nate and Alex, bassist Trey, vocalist Andy, drummer Jason and organist Pete – balances its approach well, so that they never appear to be in the same place twice while also creating a full-album flow over the course of a brief span. Endless Night preserves continuity though in the echoing screams of Andy (who seems to be going by Chthon these days, unless I’ve got the lineup info wrong), which are largely unipolar in their shouting approach, at times scathing, but presented well in the mix all the same. Together with Jason’s drums, they announce the rolling groove of opener “Taste of the Grave,” which is also the shortest track on Endless Night at just under four minutes, centered around a heavy rock riff that in another context might bounce where here it pummels. TOAD, whose name is an acronym for Take Over and Destroy, have several immediate factors working toward their favor, and a pervasive knack for structure is one of them. It’s easy to get lost in Endless Night and some might accuse their songs of being samey, but TOAD are able to accomplish changes between otherwise standard verses and choruses that even with considered listening are less predictable than one might think. The harder you hear Endless Night, the heavier it gets.

And repeat listens may pull back the curtain on a horror influence that shows through in Pete’s organ work on “Howling House” and elsewhere, but even so, TOAD don’t necessarily telegraph where they’re headed next, as Entombed-style guitars in the verse of “Taste of the Grave” give way to a nuanced bridge. In some ways, this sets the tone for the whole of the album, which is similarly minded in its bludgeoning, but there’s no chorus to speak of in “Taste of the Grave,” and gang vocals, layers of backing singing and lead guitar throw one off as much as they bring you along with them. That makes Endless Night an immediately fascinating listen, and there’s still a core element of songwriting that brings back the verse riff to end the track, giving way to the creepy guitar opening of the 6:26 “Cosmophobia,” the longest cut of the five but right in line with the closing duo “Boundaries of the Flesh” and “Endless Night.” The intro gradually builds as drums are added before taking off to a thickened stomp at 1:18 that sets up the jagged verse and the more obvious chorus. It’s still largely the guitars responsible for the hook, but the vocals do well in following where the music leads in terms of rhythm, and though stops before the three-minute mark are jarring until the organ begins to fill that space (I kept wondering if one of my channels had dropped out), TOAD once more show an ability to wander from and return to the core figure of the song, reigniting the interchange between the verse and chorus and then cycling through once again with more bombast as an outro, Jason’s blown out cymbals setting up the drum-led thud of the intro to “Howling House,” soon joined by the guitar and an opening “argh!” from Andy that’s straight out of black metal. The Sunlight Studios-esque crunch of “Taste of the Grave” returns on “Howling House” and proves adaptable to the tempo shift into the slower, more open, noisier second half of the track, which picks up following a dual solo into blastbeats and stops to round out once more with a last verse and cold end. If it’s a sample of a tape winding up or the actual tape onto which Endless Night was recorded, I don’t know (TOAD had made a point of analog recording for Rotten Tide), but “Boundaries of Flesh” launches soon after into a frill-less brutality that’s perhaps the most abrasive they’ve been yet.

Read more »

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The Obelisk is Four Years Old Today

Posted in The Numbers on January 31st, 2013 by JJ Koczan

I just wanted to take a minute out today to note the fourth anniversary of launching The Obelisk. The time has gone fast. I started this site because I had just gotten semi-laid-off — I’d be fully laid off within days of it going live — and when I put up the first post, I had no idea what it would become or how much of my everyday it would consume. I was like, “Oh, I’ll just put one thing up a day or every other day. Whatever. No big deal.” The fool.

And as I’m noting The Obelisk’s birthday, it seems only fair to single out Slevin and thank him for the last four years of diligent, mostly thankless, certainly without compensation work that he’s put into the site. From helping me that first weekend with registering the domain name and installing WordPress, to designing, putting up and managing the forum, to securing the box that houses the hard drive for The Obelisk Radio and dealing with the flurry of technical issues that have cropped up in the wake of that, Slevin has been dedicated to this site from day negative-one, and I feel lucky to be able to rely on him with issues that otherwise would’ve sunk me before I even started. I wouldn’t be typing this right now without him. Thanks dude.

On a level far less related to CSS customization but still ultimately vital, thanks to The Patient Mrs. for putting up with me talking for the last four years about “having work to do” and then going to post some band’s new video at 10 at night, or being anxious because some review I wanted to write I didn’t get time to write, or having to transcribe an interview, always wanting to listen to someone’s new album at midnight and so forth. I’m not an easy person to be with, and for the life of me I don’t know why she’d bother, but she does and I appreciate it.

Before I started, I said to myself to keep this short, so I’ll end off by thanking you, as always, for reading. I say it a lot, but I’m constantly astounded and humbled by the fact that I can type something up, put it online and someone — even if it’s only one person — gives a crap for what I’m talking about. If you’ve been along for the whole ride (as I know a few of you have), or if you’ve only come aboard recently, I hope you feel welcome here, because you are, and I hope that you continue to find this site useful or entertaining, that you continue to point it out when I screw up, and that you continue to share this passion for music.

I’ve never known what’s coming next with The Obelisk, and I still don’t, but four years later I’m still excited to find out. Thank you for that.

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audiObelisk: Stream YOB’s Catharsis Live Set from Roadburn 2012

Posted in audiObelisk on January 30th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Every year at Roadburn since 2010, I’ve allowed myself to watch one set from the side of the stage in the main room at the 013. I attended in 2009 too, but too chickenshit to actually get up there and make it happen. In 2010, it was Garcia Plays Kyuss. In 2011, Acid King. Last year, it was YOB playing Catharsis in its entirety at the Afterburner — one of the last sets of the whole weekend. I held out for it, and when they started up with “Aeons,” took to the photo pit with the bevvy of far-more-professional Euro photographers, but knew that by the time they hit into the title-track (the third of three songs on the album), I wanted to be up there watching.

So I went. Catharsis is a landmark for me, an album that expanded my definition of what heavy could be, and from the opening guitar lines to the massive, earth-cracking apex and Mike Scheidt‘s deathly roar and desperate space ethereality, the song “Catharsis” is a doomed masterpiece. I got to the side of the stage by the time the band was through “Ether” and didn’t move from that spot for the rest of the hour. They’d already done 2005’s The Unreal Never Lived — the swan song of their original run — earlier in the fest (streaming here), but this one was something special. It was one of those things I couldn’t miss, had to see, was so glad to be there to see. Everything else revolved around this set. I can’t imagine anyone in the room felt differently about it.

Today Roadburn made YOB‘s Catharsis set available for streaming and you’ll find it embedded on the player below, with my gratitude as always to Walter, Marcel and the whole Roadburn crew. If I’m not mistaken, YOB are doing the album elsewhere this year, and if you can see it, consider yourself urged to do so. Until then, this:

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The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: The Gates of Slumber, Stormcrow EP

Posted in Radio on January 30th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Rife with unfuckwithable plod and thickened miseries, The Gates of Slumber this week unleashed five new tracks as a Scion A/V Metal-sponsored EP called Stormcrow. The collection, produced by Sanford Parker, feels even more weighted in the low end than did their last album, 2011’s excellent The Wretch (review here), and the Indianapolis-based trio have kept the ultra-despondent vibe of that record alive while expanding the scope a bit musically, crushing as much with tone as with emotionality.

“Death March” and “Dragon Caravan” retain the memorability of The Wretch, not so much relying on hooks to grab the listener’s attention as leaving an indent behind when they’re done. The louder the material on Stormcrow gets, the deeper that indent goes, but nothing The Gates of Slumber does feels excessive or wanting for authenticity. They have become the forerunners of classic American doom over the last several years, and while it’s easy to read Stormcrow as a victory lap, it’s also a next step in their ongoing development.

Even if the ultra-Vitusisms of The Wretch left you wanting (which, if you heard them, they likely didn’t), guitarist/vocalist Karl Simon, bassist Jason McCash and drummer “Iron” Bob Fouts do the hard work here of making them more their own, closer “Of that Which Can Never Be” reminding of some of Paul Chain‘s desolation as filtered through Orodruin‘s last demo. Scion A/V Metal has made the EP available as a free download, which you can find at the link below, and the five tracks have also been added to The Obelisk Radio as of today. Doom on.

Download The Gates of Slumber’s Stormcrow EP

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Spillage Announced as Final Band for Days of the Doomed III

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

And just like that, the lineup for Days of the Doomed III is complete. The fest, set for June 21-22 once more at The Blue Pig in Cudahy, Wisconsin, will boast performances from The Gates of Slumber, Victor Griffin‘s new In-Graved project, Kings Destroy, Orodruin, Dream Death, Chowder, Pale Divine and many more. The final act to join the lineup is Spillage, who will be making their live debut at DotD and whose lineup boasts Bruce Franklin of Trouble and Tony Spillman of Earthen Grave on guitar.

One more thing about this one to look forward to. Fest organizer Mercyful Mike Smith sent over the announcement:

Alright! It is truly an honor to announce that the final band for Days Of The Doomed Fest III will be none other than SPILLAGE- a brand new band consisting of Tony Spillman (Earthen Grave) – guitars, Bruce Franklin (Trouble) – guitars, Lothar Keller (The Skull/Sacred Dawn) – vocals, Willie Max (Shadoz Edge) – bass, Chris Martins (Band Of Brothers) – Drums, and Derrick Simpson on Keyboards.

Combing the metal elements of early Judas Priest and Scorpions, along with the bluesy feel of early Aerosmith and even Three Dog Night, SPILLAGE promise to deliver a unique sound experience like no other. With Bruce Franklin producing the record, SPILLAGE will be entering Chicago’s Farview Recording Studios this Spring, and are hoping for a late 2013 release of the debut album.

SPILLAGE will be making their debut performance as part of Days Of The Doomed Fest III, taking place in Milwaukee, WI on, June 21st and 22nd, 2013 and should not be missed!!! Further live dates will be revealed soon.

It is also a privilege for me to further announce that I will be working as SPILLAGE’s manager, so a big thank you to the band for allowing me this opportunity. This position has been the catalyst for me to move forward and form Mercyful Mike Productions and Management. I am currently working with several bands, and a full roster will be unveiled in the coming months.

So there you have it! Days Of The Doomed Fest III coming up fast, so if you don’t already have your tickets, I suggest you do so NOW!!! Head on over to for not only tickets, but travel and lodging options as well! And don’t forget! Reggie’s Rock Club in Chicago is offering a shuttle bus to and from Days Of The Doomed Fest III for only $10.00!!! Call today and reserve your seat before they’re gone!!!

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