Veuve Sign to Argonauta Records; Second Album Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Granted, there are still four days left in the year, so technically, there’s time, but I think we might actually be looking at the final band Argonauta Records will announce as having signed in 2017. The Italian label went on whatever is the next level up from a spree this past year and has built a momentum of impending releases that will carry them into the early months of 2018 and likely beyond that as well, working in a range of styles and geographies within and outside of Europe. Veuve, also from Italy, seem to have the honor of rounding things out.

Their debut full-length, Yard, surfaced in 2016, and next year, the Spilimbergo trio will follow it with a yet-unnamed new long-player to be delivered via Argonauta and possibly someone else for vinyl. Stylistically they reside in a semi-psychedelic sphere, bringing together thick grooves and spacious effects wash so that by the time Yard gets down to closer “Pryp’jat’,” it recalls Sigiriya‘s first record, Abrahma, or even New Zealand’s Arc of Ascent in its blend. As for where the new one’s headed, I don’t even know if it’s recorded yet, so mark it as TBA. As ever, we’ll find out when we get there.

The PR wire has narrative:


Heavy Psych Rockers VEUVE signs to ARGONAUTA RECORDS

Heavy Psych Rockers VEUVE joined Argonauta family! VEUVE are a power trio formed in Italy. While messing around since 2014, they released two albums: a self-produced EP (February 2015) and a full-length album “Yard” (via The Smoking Goat Records & Acid Cosmonaut Records, February 2016).

VEUVE hang between the fuzzy “seventies-fashioned” riffs of mother Sabbath & father Kyuss, infinite kraut drifts with a strong taste of Hawkwind and clean, watery post-metal trails, like true delay-lovers.

“We are thrilled of becoming part of the Argonauta Records orbit” the band says “we have been following their releases from almost the beginning and having their mark on our work will be astonishing. We are already working on our next full-length album, heading to craft something cool”.

More details on the new album will be revealed soon, in the meantime you can have a taste of the band here:

Andrea Carlin – Drums
Felice di Paolo – Guitar
Riccardo Quattrin – Bass

Veuve, Yard (2016)

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Naxatras Set Feb. 16 Release for III; Teaser Clip Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Naxatras have announced a Feb. 16 release date for their new album, III, and I could be wrong — it’s certainly happened once or twice before — but I get the feeling I’m not the only one who’s going to be particularly interested to hear from Greek heavy psych trio have come up with for it. The Thessaloniki-based three-piece would seem to have put themselves in a perfect position to make a splash across the greater European underground even more than they already have, and this could well be the outing that takes them from “upstarts” to “forerunners” in terms of their impact.

To wit, their 2015 self-titled debut (discussed here) won ears, hearts and minds with its ultra-organic approach, lightly-funked approach to what might be space rock were it not so wonderfully earthy, and subsequent outings in 2016, the shorter EP (discussed here) and the full-length II (review here) affirmed not only a commitment to and expertise with analog recording methods, but also that the character and chemistry that seemed so resonant in their first outing was no fluke.

They’ve toured pretty hard since putting out that second long-player, so as we prepare for the third, I can’t help but wonder in what ways the band will step forward with III. Any huge changes in arrangement flourish seem like a lot to ask from a group who keeps their focus so attuned to recording and playing live as a guitar, bass and drums trio, but one never knows. The minute-long teaser clip they posted via the social medias does pretty well in piquing my interest in the sound of the record overall, so I guess mission accomplished there, and hopefully there will be more to come to let us know where Naxatras are at before the album actually arrives. Until then, anticipation and whatnot.

Their post about it was short and sweet:

naxatras photo marko devcic

X-Mas Special!
Naxatras “III” will be released the 16th of February (mark the day)!
Recorded on reel-to-reel tape at Magnetic Fidelity!
This will be a 7-track album guaranteed to blow your mind…
Get ready space cadets! ^^

Naxatras is:
John Delias – Guitar
Kostas Harizanis – Drums
John Vagenas – Bass & Vocals

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audiObelisk Transmission 064

Posted in Podcasts on December 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

audiobelisk transmission 064

So this is something I’ve never done before. I’m not exactly what you’d call an early adopter when it comes to new technology, but this weekend I finally signed up for Spotify and decided to give a shot at putting together a year-end playlist through that rather than doing the standard podcast. Aside from a kind of ongoing latent concern about essentially giving away downloads of music that doesn’t belong to me via the old mp3 files — no one’s ever said anything and I always figured it was okay since songs were bundled together as one file — this just seemed more useful in allowing people to explore different artists, albums, etc. If you disagree, I’m sorry.

I can’t say I won’t ever go back to the other way, or that I’ll actively enjoy having a Spotify account enough to keep it, and so on, but it’s something new to try, so I’m giving it a shot. The playlist turned out to be nine hours and 12 minutes long, and once I got going, I couldn’t really resist making it 65 tracks, what with it being the 64th podcast and all. One to grow on.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for listening:

Track details:

• Artist, Track, Album, Runtime
• Elder, Sanctuary, Reflections of a Floating World, 00:11:13
• All Them Witches, Am I Going Up?, Sleeping Through the War, 00:05:33
• Lo-Pan, Pathfinder, In Tensions, 00:06:22
• MOON RATS, Heroic Dose, Highway Lord, 00:04:27
• Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree, Medicine, Medicine, 00:06:38
• Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream, Lucifer’s Dream, 00:09:06
• Brume, Reckon, Rooster, 00:09:12
• Riff Fist, King Tide, King Tide, 00:11:20
• Monolord, Dear Lucifer, Rust, 00:08:41
• Hymn, Serpent, Perish, 00:07:32
• Vinnum Sabbathi, Gravity Waves, Gravity Works, 00:08:26
• Electric Wizard, Wicked Caresses, Wizard Bloody Wizard, 00:06:43
• Ruby the Hatchet, Symphony of the Night, Planetary Space Child, 00:07:08
• Telekinetic Yeti, Colossus, Abominable, 00:08:56
• Bong Wish, My Luv, Bong Wish, 00:02:31
• Radio Moscow, New Skin, New Beginnings, 00:03:02
• Cloud Catcher, Celestial Empress, Trails of Kozmic Dust, 00:05:41
• The Atomic Bitchwax, Humble Brag, Force Field, 00:02:52
• Sasquatch, Just Couldn’t Stand the Weather, Maneuvers, 00:06:27
• Kadavar, Die Baby Die, Rough Times, 00:04:18
• Cities of Mars, Children of the Red Sea, Temporal Rifts, 00:08:27
• Argus, You Are the Curse, From Fields of Fire, 00:06:23
• Comacozer, Hylonomus, Kalos Eidos Skopeo, 00:13:43
• Samsara Blues Experiment, One with the Universe, One with the Universe, 00:15:02
• Orango, Heirs, The Mules of Nana, 00:04:46
• Siena Root, Tales of Independence, A Dream of Lasting Peace, 00:03:39
• Demon Head, Older Now, Thunder on the Fields, 00:04:17
• Sun Blood Stories, Great Destroyer, It Runs Around the Room with Us, 00:06:11
• Spaceslug, Time Travel Dilemma, Time Travel Dilemma, 00:10:07
• Arc of Ascent, Hexagram, Realms of the Metaphysical, 00:07:34
• Causa Sui, Seven Hills, Vibraciones Doradas, 00:07:24
• Alunah, Fire of Thornborough Henge, Solennial, 00:05:32
• Vokonis, Calling From The Core, The Sunken Djinn, 00:06:03
• Enslaved, Sacred Horse, E, 00:08:12
• Dvne, Edenfall, Asheran, 00:07:04
• The Midnight Ghost Train, Break My Love, Cypress Ave., 00:03:33
• The Obsessed, It’s Only Money, Sacred, 00:02:35
• Mothership, Crown of Lies, High Strangeness, 00:05:41
• Geezer, Red Hook, Psychoriffadelia, 00:06:02
• Uffe Lorenzen, Flippertøs, Galmandsværk, 00:02:46
• Youngblood Supercult, Master of None, The Great American Death Rattle, 00:04:01
• Beastmaker, Nature of the Damned, Inside the Skull, 00:03:26
• Pallbearer, I Saw the End, Heartless, 00:06:21
• Paradise Lost, Blood and Chaos, Medusa, 00:03:51
• Rozamov, Wind Scorpion, This Mortal Road, 00:08:49
• Eternal Black, Sea of Graves, Bleed the Days, 00:06:33
• Demon Eye, Politic Divine, Prophecies and Lies, 00:03:40
• Snowy Dunes, Ritual of Voices, Atlantis, 00:07:17
• The Devil and the Almighty Blues, Low, II, 00:08:49
• Abronia, Glass Butte Retribution, Obsidian Visions / Shadowed Lands, 00:06:09
• John Garcia, Kylie, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues, 00:04:58
• Tuna de Tierra, Raise of the Lights, Tuna de Tierra, 00:07:09
• Colour Haze, Lotus, In Her Garden, 00:07:05
• IAH, Stolas, IAH, 00:08:39
• Fungus Hill, Are You Dead, Creatures, 00:08:54
• Atavismo, El Sueño, Inerte, 00:11:18
• Tuber, Noman, Out of the Blue, 00:08:14
• Spidergawd, What You Have Become, Spidergawd IV, 00:03:44
• Puta Volcano, Bird, Harmony of Spheres, 00:05:07
• Ufomammut, Core, 8, 00:05:15
• Kings Destroy, None More, None More, 00:14:03
• PH, Looking Back at Mr. Peter Hayden, Eternal Hayden, 00:16:44
• Mt. Mountain, Dust, Dust, 00:17:15
• Electric Moon, Live Forever Now (You Will), Stardust Rituals, 00:22:41
• Bell Witch, Mirror Reaper, Mirror Reaper, 01:23:15

If you want to follow me on Spotify, apparently that’s something you can do here.

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Black Road Self-Titled Debut EP out Now; Vinyl Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

black road

Chicago-based four-piece Black Road have their self-titled debut EP available now. Actually, there seems to be some question as to whether or not it’s an EP or a full-length, but either way, it’s self-titled and it follows behind a couple live tracks and digital whatnots peppered out to entice listeners and — apparently — labels. The proof is in the doomly pudding of a tape issue through DHU Records and a CD through Italian purveyor BloodRock Records, as well as an impending vinyl issue also through DHU that’s set to arrive reportedly sometime early in 2018.

In the meantime, of course the six-tracker is streaming in its entirety via Bandcamp — see below — where the band is also selling the currently available formats. I haven’t heard anything about vinyl preorders, but presumably they’re coming sooner than later. It’ll be early 2018 next week, technically speaking.

From the PR wire:

black road black road ep

Chicago’s Black Road Unleashes Self-Titled EP Unto the Masses!

Brought together by a common passion for music, Chicago, Illinois’ Black Road began their musical journey in 2015. Black Road is a DIY labor of love that pulls from metal, rock, heavy blues, psychedelic rock, doom metal, jazz, funk, and folk as influences and inspiration.

Formed by guitarist Tim Morano and vocalist/lyricist Suzi Uzi, Black Road became a vehicle for this magnetic couple to capture a specific feeling or emotion and to convey them through the songs. Black Road signed with Netherlands based label DHU Records in August 2016. Within a month, the couple had to replace the former drummer and bassist for creative differences. In October 2016, Black Road’s line-up was solidified with the addition of Robert Gonzales (drums) and Casey Papp (bass). Together, Black Road creates a heavy and harmonious foundation of music that is dynamic and full of many layers.

After just months of being a band, Black Road recorded their debut album together. BloodRock Records (Italy) later signed Black Road for a limited-edition CD run, which was officially released on October 6, 2017. The self-titled debut EP was released on limited-edition cassette with DHU Records in mid-October. Since the album release, Black Road has had talks to sign a second CD deal with BloodRock Records, and is still awaiting the vinyl to be released very soon via DHU Records sometime in early 2018.

Suzi Uzi (vox/lyrics/piano)
Tim M. (guitar)
Casey Papp (bass)
Robert Gonzales (drums)

Black Road, Black Road EP (2017)

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Nebula Announce Bonus Material for Let it Burn, To the Center and Dos EPs Reissues

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

I mean, don’t get me wrong, you had me at ‘Nebula reissues,’ but it looks like the impending Heavy Psych Sounds pressings for the Cali fuzz troupe’s early works — Let it Burn, To the Center and Dos EPs — will arrive with the added ceremony of some pretty cool bonus stuff. The thought of hearing the classic trio lineup playing the Let it Burn title-track at the 2000 Roskilde Festival is pretty rad, plus a home demo there, and a couple live cuts on To the Center from that era are cool too. No complaints. I think it’s Dos EPs that really comes out the winner though, with two brand new remixes by original producer Jack Endino done just this past Fall for “Anything from You” and “Rollin’ My Way to Freedom.” That’s what I’m talking about.

Again, I was already on board, but I’m especially eager to hear what Endino circa 2017 brings to the work of Endino circa ’99. What a great idea. Sign me up.

The PR wire has all the details:

nebula reissues

unveilng the previously unreleased bonus tracks of the upcoming 3 Nebula reissues !!!

We are really stoked to announce the previously unreleased bonus tracks of the upcoming NEBULA reissues: Let It Burn, To The Center and Dos EPs !!!

Let It Burn
Live at Roskilde Festival 30 June, 2000

Devil’s Liquid (Demo Version)
Recorded by Eddie Glass 1997, on 8 Track Portastudio

So Low
(Live at Knaack, Berlin, Germany May 17, 1999)

To The Center
(Live at The Empty Bottle, Chicago IL, June 9, 2000)

Anything From You
(Recorded October 20, 1999 by Jack Endino, Crocodile Seattle – Mixed November 11, 2017 By Jack Endino)

Rollin’ My Way To Freedom
(Recorded October 20, 1999 by Jack Endino, Crocodile Seattle – Mixed November 11, 2017 By Jack Endino)

LET IT BURN – 26.01.2018
TO THE CENTER – 16.02.2018
DOS EP’S – 02.03.2018

All the albums will be available in:

CD (3 Panels Digipack)
LP (Black Single Vinyl-Gatefold Sleeve)
LTD LP (Coloured Splatter Single Vinyl-Gatefold Sleeve)
(Digital available the release date of each title)

Grab your copy here:

Nebula, To the Center (1999)

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Friday Full-Length: Apostle of Solitude, Sincerest Misery

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Apostle of Solitude, Sincerest Misery (2008)

Sure enough, doom has rarely offered miseries that seem so sincere. Part of what makes Apostle of Solitude so resonant on that level, I think, is the utter lack of drama in their sound. That’s something that was true of them on their 2008 full-length debut, Sincerest Misery — which was released by underrated and now-defunct imprint Eyes Like Snow — and it’s remained true of them ever since. Somehow, coming from the Indianapolis outfit, it seems particularly American, and in the case of their first record, that’s a spirit emphasized by the everyday-rural-woes spoken sample included in “This Dustbowl Earth” in the album’s back half, but even more than that, it’s the point that Apostle of Solitude right away seemed to spurn any sort of morose posturing or poetic theatricalities. “A Slow Suicide” tells a story about substance abuse. “The Dark Tower” references Stephen King in its title. But with guitarist/vocalist Chuck Brown‘s sorrowful delivery, the emotional crux of Sincerest Misery comes across as being on a perpetual fade. It’s not about scribbling lines to Horus by moonlight — nothing against that, mind you; when it works it’s brilliant — but about the doom can infect one’s day-to-day experience of life. It doesn’t need that added drama to get its point across.

Comprised of eight core tracks plus a hidden cover of Black Sabbath‘s “Electric Funeral,” Sincerest Misery begins with a snare count-in on “The Messenger” from founding drummer Corey Webb that sets in motion the key dynamic that will play out throughout the course of the record — namely that between himself and Brown. As the guitar on “The Messenger” and the subsequent “Confess” sways between chugging and drawn out lumber, Webb demonstrates a core tactic that the band has continued to utilize on their three-to-date LPs in switching between forward propulsion and a half-time swing that seems to make everything slower despite no tempo change from Brown — joined on guitar here by Justin Avery, while Brent McLellen handled bass and backing vocal duties — drawing back and lurching ahead with a change that’s both subtle and beaning the listener in the head. Together, “The Messenger” and “Confess” make up a pivotal opening salvo that I’d argue helped establish Apostle of Solitude immediately among the stronger US-based purveyors of traditional doom metal, showcasing them quickly as more than just an offshoot of The Gates of Slumber, in which Brown had previously served as drummer, and setting the stage for the slower crawl to come on “A Slow Suicide,” the 14-minute closer “Sincerest Misery (1,000 Days)” or the penultimate “Warbird,” which at nine minutes is perhaps Sincerest Misery‘s most dynamic track in its melody and the patience of its execution, starting with a hypnotic undulation of bass and slowly doling out its riff before exploding into nodding crash en route first to a fistpump-ready midsection, then through another slowdown that builds toward a payoff in the last minute that, even on its own, outside the context of the rest of the outing around it, shows the potential that existed in this band at what was more or less their outset, the first full-length having been preceded by the 2006 Embraced by the Black EP and an eponymous demo in 2005.

The cleverness of having the guitar count-in at the start of “Last Tears,” which on the vinyl version closes out side A in answer to “The Messenger,” is one example of nuance presented throughout, and certainly the instrumental rollout of “The Dark Tower” has its classically progressive elements, but again, what makes Sincerest Misery as a whole even more affecting to the listener is the overarching rawness that seems to be emanating from it at all times. One gets the sense in listening to the the turns and howls of “Confess,” the lurching chug of “Last Tears” and the ultra-dug-in plod of “Sincerest Misery (1,000 Days)” that the damage suffered is recent, and it sounds no less so more than nine years after the initial release — it turns a decade old in Oct. 2018 — than it did when the album first came out, because like the best of doom, Apostle of Solitude‘s Sincerest Misery has retained a sonic potency by seeming not to belong to its own era so much as an ongoing pantheon of style.

Crucial as well for what it set in motion in terms of Apostle of Solitude‘s sound in how they’d take the harmonies of “Sincerest Misery (1,000 Days)” and the “Electric Funeral” cover and make them a pivotal aspect of their approach — particularly after bringing in guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak (also of Devil to Pay) for their triumphant third full-length, 2014’s Of Woe and Wounds (review here), which followed the Profound Lore-released, got-a-bum-wrap-because-of-its-cover-art 2010 sophomore work, Last Sunrise (review here) — Sincerest Misery earns a place of distinction in that aesthetic pantheon not just by living up to its title, but through the unabashed emotionalism it presents. If you want to put it to scale, Pallbearer‘s first demo was still two years off, so it’s worth emphasizing that Apostle of Solitude were well ahead of the curve in a lot of what’s become taken for granted as modern doom.

That’s not to say Sincerest Misery is perfect. It’s not. Including the Sabbath track, it reaches an unmanageable 70-minute runtime and there are stretches where it’s clear the editorial impulse that would show itself in a tightening of songwriting by the time they got into Last Sunrise and Of Woe and Wounds was still in development. But especially as their debut, it shows the mindful approach to their craft they’d continue to progress as they moved forward and brings forth righteousness enough that, nine years after the fact, one is left thinking that it’s high time Apostle of Solitude were considered among the foremost purveyors of American doom throughout the last decade.

As one looks forward to the arrival of their fourth outing in 2018, revisiting their first offers a chance to be reminded of how much they have to offer in style and substance, and as always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

Yesterday was the solstice, the darkest day of the year. And it felt it perhaps even a little more than usual with the passing earlier this week of Rev. Jim Forrester, shot down outside his place of employment in Baltimore with no sense of motive yet uncovered and no suspect arrested last I heard. Shit is fucked. Fucked. Fucked. Fucked. Today is the memorial service down there, and next Friday in Frederick, Maryland, is the first of what one hopes will be a series of benefit shows (info here) in his honor and with proceeds going to his family.

I guess if there’s light at all to take away from that situation — which, it needs to be said again: fucked — it’s seeing the Maryland heavy underground rally together as it always does. Earlier this year when Jim had his health issues stemming from a blood clot in his liver (discussed here), the people in Maryland’s scene got together to offer their support and it’s always encouraging to see that community take care of its own. Brings out the idea that it’s the music tying everyone together, but it’s the people that really make it what it is down there, and Jim’s loss, I know I’ve already said this, is significant. He’s someone who will continue to be missed, and not just for the music he made or his riotous stage presence — but for who he was as a person.

A pretty devastating way to go into the holidays, but that’s where we’re headed. Monday is Xmas. I’ll be traveling, so probably not so much posting, but I’ll be working for the next four days as well on putting together the Top 30 of 2017, which if everything goes according to my plan will be posted next Wednesday. Everything’s tentative, with baby, and holidays, and what’s turned out to be a bevvy of doctor appointments — physical therapy for The Patient Mrs., check-up for The Pecan, dentist for me (was supposed to have a root canal yesterday that I postponed to next Friday) — but in addition to the top 30, I’d like to do a year-end podcast (those are always fun) and a song-of-the-year post as well, so keep an eye out. There’s still a lot of 2017 to squeeze in. Here are the notes:

Mon.: Nothing. Happy Xmas.
Tue.: Year-end podcast; news catchup.
Wed.: Top 30 of 2017; High Reeper video maybe.
Thu.: C.O.C. review if I can fit it in time-wise.
Fri.: Song of the Year.

Doesn’t look like much, I know, but it’s actually a pretty staggering amount of work to be done, and not a little daunting as a prospect, particularly with the wrap of the Year-End Poll and the Quarterly Review looming not far behind, and then, sometime in January, the list of 2018’s most anticipated albums to go up. I don’t even know how many I’ve got in my notes at this point. Has to be more than 100. Last year worked out to be more than 200 by the time I was done updating the thing. Woof.

But one thing at a time. I hope first and foremost that if you’re celebrating the holiday this coming Monday that you have a good one and that you’re spending it how you want to spend it. The Patient Mrs. and I (and The Pecan, naturally) will be indulging our annual Xmas Eve tradition of watching Die Hard and, hopefully, Die Hard 2, before traveling to CT to see family on the day itself, so should be good times all around. I’m looking forward to it.

Either way, have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2017

Posted in Features on December 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk top 20 short releases

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2017 to that, please do.

This is the hardest list to put together, no question. Don’t get me wrong, I put way too much thought into all of them, but this one is damn near impossible to keep up with. Every digital single, every demo, every EP, every 7″, 10″ one-sided 12″, whatever it is. There’s just too much. I’m not going to claim to have heard everything. Hell, that’s what the comments are for. Let me know what I missed. Invariably, something.

So while the headers might look similar, assuming I can ever remember which fonts I use from one to the next, this list has a much different personality than, say, the one that went up earlier this week with the top 20 debuts of 2017. Not that I heard everyone’s first record either, but we’re talking relative ratios here. The bottom line is please just understand I’ve done my best to hear as much as possible. I’m only one person, and there are only so many hours in the day. Eventually your brain turns into riffy mush.

With that caveat out of the way, I’m happy to present the following roundup of some of what I thought were 2017’s best short releases. That’s EPs, singles, demos, splits — pretty much anything that wasn’t a full-length album, and maybe one or two things that were right on the border of being one. As between genres, the lines are blurry these days. That’s part of what makes it fun.

Okay, enough dawdling. Here we go:


The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2017

1. Lo-Pan, In Tensions
2. Godhunter, Codex Narco
3. Year of the Cobra, Burn Your Dead
4. Shroud Eater, Three Curses
5. Stubb, Burning Moon
6. Canyon, Canyon
7. Solace, Bird of Ill Omen
8. Kings Destroy, None More
9. Tarpit Boogie, Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam
10. Supersonic Blues, Supersonic Blues Theme
11. Come to Grief, The Worst of Times EP
12. Rope Trick, Red Tape
13. Eternal Black, Live at WFMU
14. IAH, IAH
15. Bong Wish, Bong Wish EP
16. Rattlesnake, Outlaw Boogie Demo
17. Hollow Leg, Murder
18. Mars Red Sky, Myramyd
19. Avon, Six Wheeled Action Man Tank 7″
20. Wretch, Bastards Born

Honorable Mention

Across Tundras, Blood for the Sun / Hearts for the Rain
The Discussion, Tour EP
Fungus Hill, Creatures
Switchblade Jesus & Fuzz Evil, The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter Seven
The Grand Astoria, The Fuzz of Destiny
Test Meat, Demo
Blood Mist, Blood Mist
Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell
Dautha, Den Foerste
Scuzzy Yeti, Scuzzy Yeti
Howling Giant, Black Hole Space Wizard Part 2
Decasia, The Lord is Gone
Bible of the Devil/Leeches of Lore, Split 7″

I can’t imagine I won’t add a name or two or five to this section over the next few days as I think of other things and people remind me of stuff and so on, so keep an eye out, but the point is there’s way more than just what made the top 20. That Across Tundras single would probably be on the list proper just on principle, but I heard it like a week ago and it doesn’t seem fair. Speaking of unfair, The Discussion, Howling Giant, The Grand Astoria and the Bible of the Devil/Leeches of Lore split all deserve numbered placement easily. I might have to make this a top 30 in 2018, just to assuage my own guilt at not being able to include everything I want to include. For now though, yeah, this is just the tip of the doomberg.


To be totally honest with you, that Lo-Pan EP came out Jan. 13 and pretty much had the year wrapped up in my head from that point on. It was going to be hard for anything to top In Tensions, and the Godhunter swansong EP came close for the sense of stylistic adventurousness it wrought alone, and ditto that for Year of the Cobra’s bold aesthetic expansions on Burn Your Dead and Shroud Eater’s droning Three Cvrses, but every time I heard Jeff Martin singing “Pathfinder,” I knew it was Lo-Pan’s year and all doubt left my mind. Of course, for the Ohio four-piece, In Tensions is something of a one-off with the departure already of guitarist Adrian Zambrano, but I still have high hopes for their next record. It would be hard not to.

The top five is rounded out by Stubb’s extended jam/single “Burning Moon,” which was a spacey delight and new ground for them to cover. The self-titled debut EP from Philly psych rockers Canyon, which they’ve already followed up, is next. I haven’t had the chance to hear the new one yet, but Canyon hit a sweet spot of psychedelia and heavy garage that made me look forward to how they might develop, so I’ll get there sooner or later. Solace’s return was nothing to balk at with their cassingle “Bird of Ill Omen” and the Sabbath cover with which they paired it, and though Kings Destroy weirded out suitably on the 14-minute single-song EP None More, I hear even greater departures are in store with their impending fourth LP, currently in progress.

A couple former bandmates of mine feature in Tarpit Boogie in guitarist George Pierro and bassist John Eager, and both are top dudes to be sure, but even if we didn’t have that history, it would be hard to ignore the tonal statement they made on their Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam EP. If you didn’t hear it, go chase it down on Bandcamp. Speaking of statements, Supersonic Blues’ Supersonic Blues Theme 7″ was a hell of an opening salvo of classic boogie that I considered to be one of the most potential-laden offerings of the year. Really. Such warmth to their sound, but still brimming with energy in the most encouraging of ways. Another one that has to be heard to be believed.

The dudes are hardly newcomers, but Grief offshoot Come to Grief sounded pretty fresh — and raw — on their The Worst of Times EP, and the Massachusetts extremists check in right ahead of fellow New Englangers Rope Trick, who are an offshoot themselves of drone experimentalists Queen Elephantine. Red Tape was a demo in the demo tradition, and pretty formative sounding, but seemed to give them plenty of ground on which to develop their aesthetic going forward, and I wouldn’t ask more of it than that.

Eternal Black gave a much-appreciated preview of their Bleed the Days debut long-player with Live at WFMU and earned bonus points for recording it at my favorite radio station, while Argentine trio IAH probably went under a lot of people’s radar with their self-titled EP but sent a fervent reminder that that country’s heavy scene is as vibrant as ever. Boston-based psych/indie folk outfit Bong Wish were just the right combination of strange, melodic and acid-washed to keep me coming back to their self-titled EP on Beyond Beyond is Beyond, and as Adam Kriney of The Golden Grass debuted his new project Rattlesnake with the Outlaw Boogie demo, the consistency of his songcraft continued to deliver a classic feel. Another one to watch out for going into the New Year.

I wasn’t sure if it was fair to include Hollow Leg’s Murder or not since it wound up getting paired with a special release of their latest album, but figured screw it, dudes do good work and no one’s likely to yell about their inclusion here. If you want to quibble, shoot me a comment and quibble away. Mars Red Sky only released Myramyd on vinyl — no CD, no digital — and I never got one, but heard a private stream at one point and dug that enough to include them here anyway. They remain perennial favorites.

Avon, who have a new record out early in 2018 on Heavy Psych Sounds, delivered one of the year’s catchiest tracks with the “Six Wheeled Action Man Tank” single. I feel like I’ve had that song stuck in my head for the last two months, mostly because I have. And Wretch may or may not be defunct at this point — I saw word that drummer Chris Gordon was leaving the band but post that seems to have disappeared now, so the situation may be in flux — but their three-songer Bastards Born EP was a welcome arrival either way. They round out the top 20 because, well, doom. Would be awesome to get another LP out of them, but we’ll see I guess.

One hopes that nothing too egregious was left off, but one again, if there’s something you feel like should be here that isn’t, please consider the invitation to leave a comment open and let me know about it. Hell, you know what? Give me your favorites either way, whether you agree with this list or not. It’s list season, do it up. I know there’s the Year-End Poll going, and you should definitely contribute to that if you haven’t, but what was your favorite EP of the year? The top five? Top 10? I’m genuinely curious. Let’s talk about it.

Whether you have a pick or not (and I hope you do), thanks as always for reading. May the assault of short releases continue unabated in 2018 and beyond.

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Iron Void Stream “The Coming of a King”: Excalibur Details Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

iron void

If the classic-style chug of the first audio to be made public from Iron Void‘s forthcoming Excalibur album doesn’t get you stoked on the idea of hearing the rest of the record, you might as well resign your doomly commission now. “The Coming of a King” is a beacon of doom for doomers, a brook-no-argument execution of style that feeds into a concept narrative based around the story of King Arthur that from where I sit has the potential to be one of 2018’s best traditional doom LPs. Yup, I know it’s gonna be a long year and like all of them, it’s going to be filled with quality riffing. But seriously, just listen to that track. Must-haves hardly ever seem so obvious.

Excalibur doesn’t have an exact release date yet, but will be out early in the New Year as Iron Void‘s third LP and debut release for Shadow Kingdom Records. The PR wire has art, track details and the stream of “The Coming of a King,” which you’ll find at the bottom of this post.

Have at it:

iron void excalibur

IRON VOID reveal first track, cover, tracklisting for new SHADOW KINGDOM album – due early next year

Doom titans Iron Void reveal the first track, cover art, and tracklisting to their highly anticipated third album, Excalibur, which will be released during the first quarter of 2018 by new label home Shadow Kingdom Records. A mainstay of the UK doom metal scene, Excalibur is the album by which Iron Void will truly be launched onto the world stage. “The Coming of a King,” the first track to be revealed from Excalibur, can be heard exclusively HERE.

Iron Void was originally formed by Jonathan “Sealey” Seale and Andy Whittaker (Solstice, The Lamp of Thoth) in 1998 in order to create an old-school doom metal band, worshiping at the altar of doom legends such as Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Pentagram, etc. The band reformed in 2008, with the current lineup consisting of Jonathan “Sealey” Seale (bass & vocals), Steve Wilson (guitars & vocals), and Richard Maw (drums).

Iron Void’s debut EP, Spell of Ruin, was originally released on CD in 2010 and re-released in 2012 via Doomanoid Records. Their self-titled debut full-length album was released on CD in 2014 via Barbarian Wrath and released on limited-edition vinyl by Fear Me! Music in 2015. The critically acclaimed second album, Doomsday – recorded & produced at Skyhammer Studio by Chris Fielding (Conan, Winterfylleth, Electric Wizard) and mastered by James Plotkin – was released on CD via Doomanoid Records in 2015 and released on limited gatefold vinyl via Fear Me! Music in 2016.

With considerable live action in the past few years as well, and encouraged by the critical acclaim heaped upon Doomsday, Iron Void patiently set to work on Excalibur. Arguably the band’s magnum opus, Excalibur is an epic behemoth of Arthurian legend, emitting an atmosphere that’s truly medieval whilst sacrificing whilst sacrificing none of their trademark DOOMED-OUT heaviness. Here, across the album’s massive yet strangely concise 48 minutes, Iron Void weave old-as-time tales of myth and magic, all set to rumbling, dramatically dynamic doom metal. The album is sequenced together with a subtle sort of mastery, taking the listener on a journey into centuries past, all concluding with the stark ‘n’ stirring acoustic closer “Avalon.” As the final notes ring out, you’ll be reaching for the calendar to check what year it is!

The first track to be revealed from Excalibur is “The Coming of a King,” which can be heard HERE at Shadow Kingdom’s Bandcamp, where the album can also be preordered. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Iron Void’s Excalibur
1. Dragon’s Breath
2. The Coming of a King
3. Lancelot of the Lake
4. Forbidden Love
5. Enemy Within
6. The Grail Quest
7. A Dream to Some, A Nightmare to Others
8. The Death of Arthur
9. Avalon

Iron Void, “The Coming of a King”

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