Nebula Interview & Full Album Stream Pt. 1: Let it Burn

Posted in audiObelisk, Features on January 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

nebula

[Click play above to stream the new reissue of Nebula’s Let it Burn in its entirety. Album is out Jan. 26 via Heavy Psych Sounds.]

Later this week, Heavy Psych Sounds begins an exploration of Nebula‘s early works by reissuing the California fuzz-psych innovators’ 1998 debut EP, Let it Burn. It is the first of a three-part series of bonus-track-inclusive versions the label will put out from Nebula on CD and LP, and will be followed in the coming weeks by their 1999 debut full-length, To the Center (previously discussed here) and the 2002 compilation Dos EPs, covering the sum total of the output the trio released with its original lineup of guitarist/vocalist Eddie Glass, bassist Mark Abshire and drummer Ruben Romano.

Accordingly, as each new offering arrives, I’ll be hosting a full stream of the new version and a corresponding three-part interview with Romano about the making of that given release, what life was like in Nebula at the time, the band’s enduring legacy, what he recalls from the recording sessions, and much more. Today the discussion begins with recollections from the Let it Burn era.

Nebula‘s origin story is fairly well known, with Romano and Abshire departing Fu Manchu and joining on with Glass in the then-new power trio, thereby setting in motion the beginnings of a legacy that, 20 years later, is nothing if not worthy of the attention these reissues are paying it. From the rolling nod of “Down the Highway” to the already-gone-far-out shift from “Raga in the Bloodshot Pyramid” into the scorching, later-added “Sonic Titan,” Let it Burn remains the nexus point of Nebula‘s enduring and international influence.

The new version’s bonus tracks come in the form of a performance of the title-cut from Roskilde Festival in 2000 and a 1997 Glass-recorded home demo of “Devil’s Liquid” that’s as effective in capturing the urgency of the three-piece in their nascence as it is raw sounding. The Stooges would hear it and be jealous. Together, they emphasize different aspects of the force that Nebula were from their outset, and I could not be more thrilled to have Romano telling that story across this and the other two interview chapters to follow. Really. Keep an eye out for the others on Feb. 13 and Feb. 27, respectively, because this is whole thing awesome.

Please enjoy:

nebula let it burn

Let it Burn Q&A with Ruben Romano

Tell me about being in the band at this point. What was the vibe like in Nebula when you first got going?

The vibe was exciting, it was a no-holds-barred, in-your-face-type vibe with a lot of energy. We were free and ready to roll with nothing holding us back and there was nothing getting in our way. At least that was how I was feeling at the time. My ears were open, my eyes were open and my mind was open. I yelled bring it on at the top of my lungs and Eddie was right there beside me. Charge, Blitz, Attack and Kick Ass! Elevate! That was the vibe I wanted to exhibit and include everybody into. That’s the kind of record Let it Burn was and why “Elevation” was a great track to start it off with!

What do you remember about the recording process? These years later, what most stands out about the experience, and how does it feel to revisit these songs now?

We spent three days if I recall up at Rancho de la Luna with Fred Drake. It was a typical recording session in a not so typical place. Man, listening to them again brings it all back. We tracked drums with guitars together live then overdubbed all the spice on top. Eddie played his ripping leads, I played the sitar. When we did percussions, Eddie and I did it all together and live. We totally collaborated on this record.

Eddie wrote the tunes and I wrote a lot of the lyrics on that one. “Let it Burn,” “Down the Highway,” “Dragon Eye” were all majority my words and Eddie throwing in on a verse and chorus here and there. “Dragon Eye” was my favorite as it was about my hunt for the elusive Quaalude or Mandrax in the UK that disappeared around 1985. It had all the references in there like “When you hear the lion RORER, pass the 714″ — Rorer 714 was the inscription on the pill — “the sky is
lemon” (methaqualone), “yellow” (L.S.D.), “got a rainbow outside my door” (barbituates). Like I said, I opened my mind plenty at that time in my life and always had a pad of paper with a pencil in my pocket. It was cool having older cousins who told me stories about the good ones, ya know.

Back to recording, Eddie played bass on it. That’s how the Tee Pee Records version is, (the tracklisting on that version is also wrong, got “Dragon Eye” and “Vulcan Bomber” mixed up). Mark joined the band after we recorded it and then later we recorded “Sonic Titan” and “Devil’s Liquid” with him and that got added to the Relapse version of Let it Burn. At first, It was initially just a six-song demo and we actually duped about 50/100 cassettes, I cant remember how many, maybe even as little as 25, as we were broke. I drew up a silly logo and xeroxed it to make a cover for it and passed it to people looking for a label to release it.

We hooked up with Steve Kutcher and Rob Gill, whom we met at a CMJ conference while we were still in Fu Manchu, and sent them the tape. They were the only ones who would even talk to us, They wanted to manage us so we agreed and then we met Tony Presedo. I was asked to pick him up at the airport in L.A. and when I did, he had no real place to stay so I invited him to crash at our pad and that’s how it happened. Eddie and I were roommates then, subleasing a sweet condo off Alan Glass, Eddie‘s brother. We had some killer times at that place. When the leasing office found out we were evicted so fast!!

How was the response when it was first released, and what do you think has allowed Let it Burn to stay relevant 20 years later?

Our immediate friends either loved it or didn’t know how to tell us that it sucked. People weren’t fully ready for it I guess. We got that “Well, um yeah,” reaction by some and, “F’Yeah! This is INSANE!” reactions by others. As I said before, it was an in-your-face record that took a lot of chances. I mean, we had a sitar instrumental on it!!

Funny story about that: My old high school friend Tommy, who I bought the sitar from, was hanging around a lot at that time, just drifting in L.A. He’s the only one who caught the naive notion that the tune’s title was so geographically wrong! He said, “Funny that you call it a raga, from India, but include a pyramid from Egypt — that’s two totally different continents.” I responded, “Well, its got the sitar and I’ve been reading a lot of Robert Anton Wilson books about the Illuminatus, so for me it fits.” At least I had a response, right?

Anything else you’d like to say about Let it Burn in particular?

With Let it Burn we knew we had to come out of the gate kicking ass with something. The Fu thing kind of beat us down, at least it tried to, as it taught me that typical chewed up and spat out music industry thing. However, mentally we were in full motion still with so much pent up energy that Fu Manchu did not allow us to emit. We, at least I was, “C’mon already!” and when we freed up from all that, we really came on with it! It was definitely an exciting moment in my life! Definitely proud of my involvement with Eddie and this release, no doubt.

Nebula on Thee Facebooks

Nebula at Heavy Psych Sounds webstore

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Instagram

Heavy Psych Sounds on Twitter

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds website

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Hazemaze Sign to Kozmik Artifactz for Self-Titled Debut; New Video Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

While no question that, as the PR wire asserts, there’s a core element of ’70s vibing in the initial impression from Hazemaze, I’m getting some pretty strong post-Fu Manchu fuzz from their new video, which if you’re so inclined you can view below. It’s for the track “Beast and Prey” from the Swedish three-piece’s impending self-titled debut, which will be out on Kozmik Artifactz later this year, and as I haven’t heard the full record yet, I guess the question is just how much interaction those two pivotal-to-heavy-rock decades will have in the band’s sound ultimately.

In any case, I give Hazemaze immediate points for spelling “volume” with a ‘y’ as they do in the quote that follows here. Something I’ve legitimately never seen before in a press release, and I don’t know if you knew this about me, but I read a lot of press releases.

To wit:

hazemaze

Kozmik Artifactz Welcome New Signing – Hazemaze

It is with great pleasure that we introduce you to Hazemaze, the newest band to join the Kozmik Family.

Hazemaze are a 70’s infused stoner-rock band hailing from the middle of Sweden, surrounded by lakes and forest. In the depth of Mälardalen, the three piece summoned the forces of fuzz and heavy riffing in the spring of 2016. A combination of early doom-rock and psychedelic elements with a modern touch is what creates the bands heavy fuzz sound.
In the fall of 2017 they went up north to the city of Falun to record their first full length album. The self-titled studio album will be released in 2018 through Kozmik Artifactz.

Speaking of the signing with Kozmik, Bass player, Stefan Carillo said:

“We are super stoked to announce that we have signed to Kozmik Artifactz for the release of our self-titled debut album!

It’s been a dream of our to release a vinyl record since we started playing together, and the Kozmik crew made it happen! Our hopes for the future is that with the help of Kozmik Artifactz we can reach a broader audience and spread the gospel of Fuzz, Volym and Riffs!”

Hazemaze are:
Vox/Guitar – Ludvig Andersson
Bass – Stefan Carrillo
Drums – Nils Einéus

https://hazemazeband.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/hazemazeband/
https://twitter.com/hazemazeband
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz/
https://twitter.com/kozmikartifactz
https://www.instagram.com/kozmikartifactz/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/

Hazemaze, “Beast and Prey” official video

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Monsternaut Set April Release Date for New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Finnish riff rock traditionalists Monsternaut debuted on Heavy Psych Sounds in 2016 with a self-titled comprised of two prior short releases, so I guess it’s debatable whether or not their impending, yet-to-be-titled full-length is their first or their second. Either way, expect fuzz and groove galore from the Kerava-based three-piece, who made no bones about their influences the first time out, from cuts like “Dog Town” to “Mexico” proffering fare speaking to classic Cali-style heavy as filtered through a Northern European execution. Their debut — as it were — reminded me of a lot of pre-social media Euro heavy in how it engaged in that creative conversation with its ’90s-style American counterparts. Sometimes it’s easy to miss that kind of stuff that doesn’t want to change the world, just wants to rock out, be loud and have a good time.

Well, more good times to come in April, as the PR wire informs:

monsternaut

Monsternaut – New Album April 2018

Heavy Psych Sounds Records & Booking is really proud to announce the coming back of the heavy stoner rockers Monsternaut !!!

Metal worker, garbage truck driver and a nerd. Three unwillingly fitting pieces blowing their horns to the style of their liking, heavy fuelled groovy stoner rock. Started in 2012 as the tear dropping brain fart of Tuomas Heiskanen and Perttu Härkönen, later to be joined by a garbage collecting angry man Jani Kuusela. Together they share a passion for the ‘90s heavy/stoner rock where Fu Manchu, Nebula, CoC and Down play an important part in. Wired to recreate the music of their teenage prime the band has released two albums through Heavy Psych Sounds. Their first release, a combination of two earlier recordings, was in 2016 which was followed by a maiden tour in Europe. The second album to be released sometime during the spring of 2018.

The band is coming back with the second album that will be released in april 2018. More info coming soon!

MONSTERNAUT are
Tuomas Heiskanen – Vocals/Guitars
Perttu Härkönen – Bass
Jani Kuusela – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/Monsternaut/
https://monsternaut.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/

Monsternaut, Monsternaut (2016)

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Against the Grain Release Cheated Death Feb. 9; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

against the grain

Should you be surprised when the new track Against the Grain are streaming tears ass out of your speakers like it just robbed the place? No, probably not. At least not if you heard 2015’s Road Warriors (review here) or have gotten down the with Detroit four-piece’s speed-minded fare before. What is distinct about the title-cut from their upcoming long-player, Cheated Death — out Feb. 9 on Ripple — is the underlying groove that accompanies that head-spinning presentation. Over time, Against the Grain have worked both on the road and in the studio to build a steady foundation of quality songwriting for their blazing craft, and it would seem those efforts are continuing to pay off.

You can stream “Cheated Death” at the bottom of this post because, you know, the future, and check out the wide swath of touring Against the Grain will be doing to support the record. That’s kind of their thing. Can pretty much guarantee this won’t be the last run they do this year, either. They go and go and go. And fast.

From the PR wire:

Against the Grain Cheated Death

AGAINST THE GRAIN: Motor City Mad Men Cheat Death Next Month with Ripple Music

Cheated Death is released worldwide on 9th February 2018 on Ripple Music

Living up to the title of their newest record, Against the Grain have proven themselves to be true road warriors. Blazing a trail across the US with their brand of gear-shifting, balls-to-the-wall rock, incorporating all things heavy they practically defy categorization, seamlessly blurring the lines of punk, rock, doom and thrash.

After playing fifty shows in 2009 across their home state of Michigan, their self-titled debut (released that same year) garnered a serious local fan base. Introduced to touring life by Hellmouth and The Meatmen, with their intense live show nailed and energized fan base following in support close behind, Against The Grain quickly transformed into a fully-functioning road act.

Playing seventy-five dates in 2011, they followed their debut with 2012’s Motor City Speed Rock and a further hundred fifty dates in support. Their efforts caught the attention of Self-Destructo Records, who in 2013 released their third full-length Surrounded By Snakes to such acclaim that they rereleased it soon afterward on 10” vinyl. Maintaining a DIY tour ethic, the band has since built a national fan base while quenching their thirst for fast and heavy rock and roll, right across the land. With a combined total of seven hundred and fifty dates under their belts since their formation in 2011, the band has toured alongside an impressive assemblage of notable acts that include Nashville Pussy, Valient Thorr, Bongzilla, Atomic Bitchwax, Mos Generator, Anvil, Night Demon, Church of Misery, The Hookers, Beast in the Field, Lo-Pan and many more.

Against The Grain’s heavily anticipated forth full-length, Road Warriors, was released in the summer of 2015 and pushed them even further into the electrifying realms of rock, metal and punk world. But it’s their soon-to-be released album Cheated Death that’s going to truly push them over the edge. Released this February on the California-based record label Ripple Music – widely regarded as one of the world’s leading record labels for Heavy Rock, Stoner, Doom and Heavy Psych – you can rest assured that the mad men of Michigan are going to blaze a trial across the US, the world and your mind in 2018.

Cheated Death is released worldwide on 9th February 2018 on Ripple Music

Against The Grain:
Chris Nowak – Bass, Vocals
Rob Nowak – Drums
Nick Bellomo – Guitar
Kyle Davis – Guitar
2018 Tour Dates:

2/2 – Saginaw (MI) – Hamilton St. Pub
2/3 – Indianapolis (IN) – The Melody Inn
2/4 – Grand Rapids (MI) – Tip Top Deluxe (Matinee)
3/22 – Westland (MI) – The Token Lounge
3/23 – Newport (KY) – The Southgate House Revival
3/24 – Nashville (TN) – Exit/In
3/25 – Lexington (KY) – Cosmic Charlies
3/26 – Louisville (KY) – Highlands Tap Room
3/27 – St Louis (MO) – FUBAR
3/28 – Springfield (MO) – Outland Ballroom
3/29 – Wichita (KS) – The Elbow Room
3/30 – Denver (CO) – The Gothic Theatre
3/31 – Grand Junction (CO) – The Mesa Theatre
4/1 – Salt Lake City (UT) – Metro Music Hall
4/3 – Las Vegas (NV) – The Divebar
4/4 – San Diego (CA) – The Soda Bar
4/5 – Santa Ana (CA) – The Observatory
4/6 – Bakersfield (CA) – Pyrenees Cafe and Saloon
4/7 – San Jose (CA) – The Ritz
4/8 – Santa Cruz (CA) – The Catalyst
4/10 – Sacramento (CA) – The Blue Lamp
4/12 – Grants Pass (OR) – Rogue Theatre
4/13 – Portland (OR) – Dantes
4/14 – Seattle (WA) – El Corazon
4/15 – Spokane (WA) – The Pin!
4/16 – Whitefish (MT) – Remington Bar and Casino
4/17 – Bozeman (MT) – Bozeman Eagles Club and Ballroom
4/18 – Billings (MT) – The Pub Station
4/20 – Minneapolis (MN) – Lees Liquor Lounge
4/21 – Green Bay (WI) – The Lyric Room
4/22 – Chicago (IL) – Reggies Rock Club

https://www.facebook.com/Againstthegraindetroit/
https://www.instagram.com/againstthegraindetroit/
https://againstthegrain-atg.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

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Primordial Post “Stolen Years” Video; Exile Amongst the Ruins out March 30

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

primordial

Many bands, one Primordial. Going on nine records deep into a career that in 2018 hits 25 years since the release of their first demo, the Dublin-based metallers are one of a kind. Over their time, they’ve transcended black metal, pagan metal, Celtic metal, doom and however many other subgenres on their way to defining and refining their sound, and with the forthcoming Exile Amongst the Ruins — out March 30 on Metal Blade — the five-piece will once again showcase the individualized take and particular dramatic bent that makes them who they are: not only distinct sonically, but one of heavy metal’s most affecting bands, capable of stirring the soul in a way few groups can.

To whatever degree a given listener is emotionally affected — that is to say, different people buy in at different levels; investment is subjective — I firmly believe that anyone who’s seen Primordial live can at very least appreciate the landmark-style presence they bring to the stage. That is the focus, rightly, of their new Costin Chioreanu-directed videoprimordial exile amongst the ruins for “Stolen Years,” which is the first track to be unveiled from Exile Amongst the Ruins. We see the band, led as ever by frontman Alan “Nemtheanga” Averill, essentially preparing for a show. The rest of the group — founding guitarist Ciáran MacUiliam and bassist Pól MacAmlaigh, guitarist Micheál O’Floinn and drummer Simon O’Laoghaire — laughs and drinks and checks gear as Averill ritualistically dons the stage makeup he’ll wear during the set. Shot in black and white and slow motion, the spirit of the clip portrays a sense of import, of meaning, to what becomes to the band and to fans clearly more than just another night at a gig.

And as for the song itself, “Stolen Years” is something of a surprise. When one thinks of “lead single,” it’s hardly the kind of fare imagined. With a subdued melancholy and a structure that pulls away from the hooks the band often proffers, it feels more meditative than a lot of what Primordial does, but it’s still undeniably theirs. As it appears late in the tracklisting for Exile Amongst the Ruins, which you can see in the album announcement that follows the video here, it leads one to wonder what sort of atmospheres Primordial might dig into as side B of their latest offering plays through. For the time being, I can only look forward to finding out.

Check out Primordial‘s “Stolen Years” on the player below, followed by the aforementioned details courtesy of the PR wire, and please enjoy:

Primordial, “Stolen Years” official video

Primordial announces new album “Exile Amongst The Ruins” for March 30th!

Irish pagan metal gods PRIMORDIAL announces their new album Exile Amongst The Ruins for a March 30th release through Metal Blade Records. The band teamed with producer Ola Ersfjord, who worked on their 2016 live album Gods to the Godless. The record was tracked at Dublin’s Camelot Studios, located adjacent to PRIMORDIAL’s rehearsal room.

Visit metalblade.com/primordial to check out the video for the first single “Stolen Years.” At the same location, fans can pre-order Exile Amongst The Ruins in the following formats:

–ltd. 1st ed. Digibook-CD with bonus-CD
–jewelcase-CD
–ltd. ed. Artbook (incl. 5 x 10″ in golden vinyl)
–180g black vinyl
–clear gray-brown marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 700 copies)
–violet red purple marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 300 copies)
–clear pale pink/white splattered vinyl (EU eBay exclusive – limited to 100 copies)
–purple red marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
–transparent green vinyl (Blast exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
–dead gold marbled vinyl (Napalm exclusive – limited to 300 copies)
–rosy brown/purple marbled vinyl (US exclusive – limited to 400 copies)
–tan clear vinyl (US exclusive – limited to 200 copies)

Once again building upon their signature sound, the follow up to 2014’s Where Greater Men Have Fallen is a more raw, “old school sounding” record than its predecessor. Hitting home with what vocalist A.A. Nemtheanga describes as “a direct energy” and wielding an urgency that is undeniable, the Irish quintet once again effortlessly blend elements of tragedy and might like no one else. Likewise, the evolution in their sound continues to be organic and unforced, ensuring that Exile Amongst The Ruins is essential listening for both their long term faithful and those only now drawn into their world.

Commenting about the album’s first single, ‘Stolen Years’, A.A. Nemtheanga added: “‘Stolen Years’ may seem like a strange choice as our lead single, and on the face of if I guess it is. It’s not a blood and thunder epic about tragedy and might and the ruin of nations, nor is it 9 minute epistle of doom. Have no fear, the album does contain those also but to open this time we chose something different. This album has some surprises and this is one of them, a short and painfully simple song which almost didn’t make the final cut if you can believe so. The video, cut by Costin Chioreanu, is about the journey involved in finally getting to that moment where you walk on stage, the song itself about that last night on earth that comes to us all, sometimes we never know when that might be, hold your loved ones tight tonight, this could be it…”

Exile Amongst The Ruins track listing:
1. Nail Their Tongues
2. To Hell or the Hangman
3. Where Lie the Gods
4. Exile Amongst the Ruins
5. Upon Our Spiritual Deathbed
6. Stolen Years
7. Sunken Lungs
8. Last Call

To coincide with the album release the Irishmen have just announced two special and rather intimate album-release shows in Germany as well as their appearance on the Heathen Crusade European tour with Finnish MOONSORROW as co-headliners and German DER WEG EINER FREIHEIT as support act!

PRIMORDIAL Exile Amongst The Ruins release shows:
30/03/18 DE Berlin Cassiopeia
31/03/18 DE Köln Jungle Club

Heathen Crusade 2018
PRIMORDIAL
+ MOONSORROW
+ DER WEG EINER FREIHEIT
12/04/18 NL Leeuwarden Neushoorn
13/04/18 NL Tilburg 013
14/04/18 FR Paris Trabendo
15/04/18 BE Brugge Entrepot
16/04/18 UK London Islington Assembly Hall
17/04/18 LU Esch-sur-Alzette Kulturfabrik
18/04/18 CH Pratteln Z7
19/04/18 DE Ludwigsburg Rockfabrik
20/04/18 DE Leipzig Hellraiser
21/04/18 CZ Prague Akropolis
22/04/18 SK Kosice Colloseum
23/04/18 HU Budapest Barba Negra
24/04/18 AT Wien Szene
25/04/18 DE München Backstage
26/04/18 DE Aschaffenburg Colos-Saal
27/04/18 DE Bochum Matrix
28/04/18 DE Hamburg Markthalle

Get your tickets now: dragon-productions.eu
Further info here: facebook.com/HeathenCrusade

Further PRIMORDIAL festival appearances:
12/05/18 NO Haugesund Karmoygeddon
09/06/18 SE Sölvesborg Sweden Rock
14/07/18 DE Balingen Bang Your Head!!!
20/07/18 DE Bertingen Rock Unter Den Eichen
27/07/18 SI Tolmin Metaldays
11/08/18 ES Villena Leyendas Del Rock
12/08/18 BE Kortrijk Alcatraz Metal Festival
26/08/18 RO Suceava Bucovina Rock Castle

PRIMORDIAL line-up:
A.A. Nemtheanga – Vocals
Ciarán MacUilliam – Guitar
Michael O’Floinn – Guitar
Pól MacAmlaigh – Bass
Simon O’Laoghaire – Drums

Primordial website

Primordial on Thee Facebooks

Primordial on Bandcamp

Primordial on YouTube

Primordial at Metal Blade Records

Metal Blade Records on Thee Facebooks

Metal Blade Records on Twitter

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“Iron” Al Morris III Benefit Shows Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Two benefit shows have been announced in Maryland to honor the memory and help with the medical and memorial expenses for Iron Man founder and guitarist Alfred Morris III. The first is Jan. 27 at The Depot in Baltimore and the second is Feb. 17 at the Patriotic Club in Frederick. Neither city locale, in being centers of Maryland’s doom underground, would seem to be a coincidence, and in addition to acoustic performances by Wino and members of Iron Man — presumably that’s vocalist Dee Calhoun and bassist Louis Strachan taking the stage together — the shows will feature sets by Witch Hazel, Bound by the Grave, Mind’s Eye, Wrath of Typhon, and others.

Morris passed away Jan. 10 after a long fight with diabetes and along with the benefits, a crowdfunding campaign has been set up to accept donations in his memory. Info on all of the above follows the graphic below, which, if it wound up on a t-shirt, I would proudly wear:

iron man al morris memorial

“Iron” Alfred Morris III Benefit Shows

JAN 27 – Benefit Show For Alfred Morris III, doom metal legend

The Depot
1728 N Charles St, Baltimore, Maryland 21201

We have assembled a stellar lineup to honor Al Morris III which demonstrates how much he was loved by the music community of all genres. $10 at the door.
Electropathic
Witch Hazel
Thee Iron Hand
BOUND BY THE GRAVE
Members of the Iron Man Band performing an acoustic set
and Scott “Wino” Weinrich performing an acoustic set
We still seek raffle donations: Please contact Greg Serio or M A Spiro to arrange that. Spread the word!

Al was a great father, mentor, brother, and friend to many. As a guitarist and founding member of The Iron Man, his influence was legendary. This benefit is to help the family with the funeral expenses and also to honor a legend in The Doom Metal community..
https://www.gofundme.com/doom-metal-hero-al-morris-iii
We are seeking any donations for a raffle that will be held at midnight at the event on Saturday, January 27th at The Depot in Baltimore. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

https://www.facebook.com/events/177563542842460/

Feb. 17 – Al Morris III Benefit Concert

Patriotic Club
300 E 4th St, Frederick, Maryland 21701

We are hosting a benefit concert to celebrate the life of a local legend, and Doom genre icon Al Morris III (Iron Man). Al was recently taken from us after battling health issues, and being a loyal brother within the local scene, the local scene now has the opportunity to help with this worthy cause to provide some relief to Al’s already grieving family with funeral, and preexisiting medical bills.

I’ll be providing many details in the coming days, including band lineup with set times, raffle information, etc.We will be charging a $10 donation at the door, and drink/ food specials will be made available at this comfortable, family friendly environment. Would like to thank Jackie from the Patriotic Club for agreeing to host the event on short notice, and Dave Davidson for once again displaying his heart by donating his time to run sound for us.

Thank you to all the bands that contacted us with interest, and we are determined to incorporate acts that not only knew Al personally, but also shared the stage with him over his remarkably rewarding musical journey.

Will update as information becomes available. This second show is being requested so those who knew Al and can’t make the cold journey to Baltimore for the 1st benefit, can have a chance to show their support.

We want to treat this second show as a family friendly event, and less about the theatrical impact.

We hope you will join us….

Set Times:
Children of the Grave – 6:00 – 7:00
War Mask– 7:15 – 7:45
Mind’s Eye – 8:00 – 8:45
Wrath of Typhon – 9:00 – 9:45
Wino w/ Brian Costantino – 10:00 – 10:45
Members of Iron Man w/ Bill Miskowitz– 11:00 – 11:30

https://www.facebook.com/events/1277913502323853/

https://www.facebook.com/IronMan666MarylandDoom/
https://ironmanband.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ironmanband.com/

Iron Man, “Black Morning”

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Review & Track Premiere: Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard & Slomatics, Totems Split

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

mammoth weed wizard bastard slomatics totems

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, ‘Eagduru’ track premiere

[Stream Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard’s ‘Eagduru’ by clicking play above. The Totems split LP with Slomatics is out in March via Black Bow Records and available to preorder here.]

“Exceptional” can be a pretty lofty mark by its nature, but Totems, hits it on a number of levels. The split release between Welsh and Northern Irish crushers Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard and Slomatics — issued with the significant endorsement of founding Conan guitarist/vocalist Jon Davis through his Black Bow Records imprint — probably won’t offer an abundance of surprises to those familiar with the bands or their methods, but in coming together across the five tracks and two sides of this limited vinyl, they reach a degree of impact that not only few splits manage, but go even further convey a spirit of sonic kinship that the Samantha Muljat cover art would seem to recognize: a single figure standing with her back to the viewer, a sword raised to a surrounding landscape. We don’t know if it’s ritual, defiance or an attack, but there’s a sense of union between the woman and that weapon, and the same applies between Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard and Slomatics throughout Totems in a way that is genuinely rare.

Side A brings two tracks in the extended “The Master and His Emissary” (12:30) and “Eagduru” (11:03) from Wrexham’s Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, whose ethereal and melodically-focused brand of riff-rolling doom was last heard on their engaging sophomore long-player,Y Proffwyd Dwyll (review here), which came out via New Heavy Sounds in 2016 and lived up to the promise the band showed in the prior grimness of Noeth Ac Anoeth (review here), their 2015 debut. Comprised of vocalist/bassist Jessica Ball, guitarists Paul Michael Davies and Wez Leon, and drummer James “Carrat” Carrington — and perhaps as their moniker would indicate — Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard are no strangers to being willfully cumbersome.

Both of their full-lengths and the prior 2015 half-hour-long single-track EP, Nachthexen (review here), worked in longer forms, and so what they bring to Totems in “The Master and His Emissary” and “Eagduru” feels very much in their wheelhouse of grooving largesse and layers of otherworldly echoing vocals from Ball, whose harmonies lay out over top of the proceedings masterfully without dominating the mix, but there’s progression to be heard in their style as well. The elements they’re working with, from the deceptively active hook of “The Master and His Emissary” to the hypnotic tumble of “Eagduru,” which fades in with an intense build of chug before unfolding a sprawl that seems to ensnare the listener as it plays out, and, like some slow herbal poison, drain them of their consciousness — a compliment, mind you; this is precisely what the track is intended to do — are more recognizably their own, and while one can still draw a line from the likes of Windhand in terms of influence, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard set themselves up here to fully establish their style as individual, and thereby greatly raise expectations for the kind of achievement they might attain with their next album proper. They may not think of it this way, and in fact one hopes they don’t, but they’re throwing down a gauntlet for themselves with these tracks and setting a high standard to be surpassed.

mammoth weed wizard bastard slomatics totems 8-bit

What they’re not doing — and this is perhaps where Totems is at its most exceptional — is competing with the side B onslaught from Belfast three-piece Slomatics. In its info for the release, Black Bow calls Totems a “collaboration” rather than a “split” and while I’d generally take that to indicate the two groups were working together as one unit — which, to the best of my knowledge, they didn’t — they are exceedingly well paired to complement each other’s work. In addition, having both recorded at Skyhammer Studio with Conan bassist Chris Fielding at the helm — who’s a stranger to neither act, having produced both Y Proffwyd Dwyll and Slomatics‘ 2016 fifth LP, Future Echo Returns (review here) — there’s a consistency of sound and a blend of spacious atmosphere in “Ancient Architects” (8:29), the ambient instrumental/interlude “Silver Ships into the Future” (3:49) and “Master’s Descent” (8:30) that helps create the full-album-style flow that so much bolsters the front-to-back listening experience of Totems.

This would seem to be something of which the bands themselves were aware going into the split’s making, since we see in Slomatics‘ closing “Master’s Descent” a mirror or at least a nod toward Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard‘s opener, “The Master and His Emissary.” Whether that’s indicative of an overarching narrative between the bands across the five tracks, I can’t confirm, but it speaks to the coherence of the delivery throughout Totems, which is yet another element making it an outlier from the norm as regards split releases in a positive way. Further, as Slomatics — the returning trio of guitarists Chris Couzens and David Marjury and drummer/vocalist Marty Harvey — tumble out riffs like they’re pushing their grooves down flights of stairs in the second half of “Ancient Architects” and roll through “Master’s Descent” in a fashion that recalls some of Future Echo Returns‘ most triumphant moments while still feeling expanded outward from them — “epic” is the word, though one is generally loath to use it — they remind via the curveball cinematic keyboard of “Silver Ships into the Future” that their approach is as much about reach as it is about crush.

While it’s easy to write off superficially as “just an interlude,” “Silver Ships into the Future”  is effective as well in emphasizing the linear feel of Totems and precisely the sort of sonic detail for which the split will no doubt stand as one of the finest joint offerings of 2018. There are a lot of reasons two groups might pair up. Maybe they’re touring together and need something for a merch table. Maybe they’re friends and just want to work together on a project. Maybe they were directed to do so by a label or shared management or something of that sort. Totems, at least going by the impression left behind from the release itself — boot-shaped-and-on-skull as it is — is once again of a rarer breed here, in that it comes across more as a creative expression than a matter of convenience or logistics. One finds shared intent between Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard and Slomatics in aesthetic drive, and that proves to be the ultimate difference when it comes to Totems‘ exceptionality. From concept to production to execution to presentation, it works so as to make itself utterly essential. Recommended.

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The Skull Tour Launches this Week; Playing Trouble’s Self-Titled in Full

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the skull

Easiest sell ever. Chicago doomers The Skull head out this week on a major-market US tour playing Trouble‘s 1990 self-titled album in full. Seriously. What more could you ask of the universe than that? Who in their right mind doesn’t want to see Eric Wagner sing “The Wolf” on stage? Or “Black Shapes of Doom?” Or “At the End of My Daze?” Great googly-moogly, that record kicks ass. If you need to be told to show up to this one, you’re fucking up. Sorry, but there it is.

Oh yeah, and for a bonus? The Skull have finished recording their second album and the follow-up to 2014’s For Those Which are Asleep (review here), which was produced by no less than Sanford Goshdarn Parker and will be out this summer. I guess that’s what more you could ask of the universe. And there it is.

Awesome:

the skull tour

The Skull to Kick Off “The Skull Plays ‘Trouble'” North American Headlining Tour January 25

Doom Metal Legends to Perform Trouble’s Classic 1990 Self-Titled in its Entirety on Special Winter Trek

The Skull, featuring vocalist Eric Wagner and bassist Ron Holzner, formerly of metal legends Trouble, has announced a winter North American headlining tour. The 15 city jaunt, which will see The Skull performing Trouble’s classic 1990 Def American Recordings self-titled [label] debut, Trouble, in its entirety, will kick off on January 25 in Chicago, IL. The band, which also features longtime Cathedral drummer Brian Dixon, guitarist Lothar Keller (Sacred Dawn), and guitarist Rob Wrong (Witch Mountain) will also play The Skull songs at the special one-time-only shows.

In additional news, The Skull has completed work on its as-yet-untitled new album. Recorded in Chicago’s Decade Music Studios with engineer Sanford Parker (Yob, Secrets of the Moon), the record is the follow-up to The Skull’s heralded debut, For Those Which Are Asleep, which landed at or near the top of a host of 2014 year-end best of lists. A summer 2018 release date is projected for the new LP.

THE SKULL tour dates:
January 25 Chicago, IL Reggies
January 26 Rock Island, IL Ribco
January 27 Grand Rapids, MI Pyramid Scheme
January 28 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop
January 29 Pittsburgh, PA Howlers
January 30 Toronto, ON Hard Luck
January 31 Ottawa, ON Mavericks
February 1 Montreal, QC Bar Le Ritz
February 2 Cambridge, MA Middle East Upstairs
February 3 Brooklyn, NY Kingsland
February 4 Washington, DC Atlas Brew Works
February 5 Philadelphia, PA Kung Fu Necktie
February 6 Richmond, VA Strange Matter
February 7 Lexington, KY Cosmic Charlies
February 9 Detroit, MI Harpos

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Trouble, Trouble (1990)

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