Besvärjelsen Premiere “Under en Svart Himmel” Video; Vallmo out March 27

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

besvarjelsen

It makes a lot of sense that so much of the new Besvärjelsen video happens in split screen, since the band seems to spend so much time inhabiting multiple worlds. The Stockholm five-piece will issue their debut album, Vallmo, on March 27 via Suicide Records in conjunction with DalaPop (again, multiple worlds), and its sound is a deeply varied wash of progressive heavy post-rock atmospherics, moody soul-searching melodicism and weighted groove. Lyrics switch back and forth between Swedish and English depending on the song — prior single “Return of No Return” (video premiere here) was in English, the latest sampling premiering below, “Under en Svart Himmel,” is in Swedish — and with vocal duties shared among multiple members between frontwoman Lea Amling Alazam and guitarists Andreas Baier and Staffan Winroth, there’s an obvious commitment to a varied approach that comes through on Vallmo‘s eight tracks/51 minutes and, in kind with the depth of the mix and the richness of tones and melodies, makes the album an all-the-more-satisfying listening experience.

Of course, being driven by the rhythm section of bassist Johan Rockner and drummer Erik Bäckwall doesn’t hurt either. Both players have roots in Dozer, but Rockner played in Greenleaf as well, and one can find a touch of influence from that band’s more dramatic latter-day output on Vallmo in songs like “Öken,” which blends heavy rock Besvarjelsen Vallmogroove with a spacious sensibility thanks to a healthy dose of reverb on Alazam‘s vocals and the weight in the guitars and drive of the rhythm overall, and the penultimate “Falsarium,” which builds toward a linear peak topped by righteous soloing and push from the bass and drums. Ultimately though, Besvärjelsen are on their own wavelength, as the doom-meets-prog rollout of “Röda Rummet” and the organ-laced graces in the second half of ‘I Skuggen Av Ditt Morker” so readily demonstrate. Conceptually and in practice, the album is an undertaking, and it requires active participation on the part of its audience, but the reward for fuller engagement is a memorable release that, especially as a debut, is striking in its cohesion and sense of purpose. Besvärjelsen are a relatively new band, started in 2014, but there’s never a wavering moment throughout Vallmo where they seem to be in anything less than complete control of where their songs are heading and what they’re seeking to express.

And again, since the record is so varied between pieces like the swaying opener “Mara” residing in a kind of minor-key proggy riffism somewhat reminiscent in its breadth of sound to the later work of Parisians Abrahma and the patient sprawl that ensues across 10-minute finale “Alone,” the midsection of which veers into a stretch of psychedelic minimalism one hopes the band takes as a model to employ again in future composition, the accomplishment on Besvärjelsen‘s part in keeping it all together as fluidly and decisively as they do, and with such a clear conveying of intent, is not a feat to be understated. If nothing else, they’ve set a high standard from which to progress as they move forward, but thinking in the shorter term — i.e. of Vallmo itself, rather than the potential it signifies — there’s little doubt that the Swedes have culled together what will serve as one of the finer debut long-players of 2018. As “Alone” jumps from that quiet midsection back through its chorus en route to the album’s final crescendo and payoff, the emotional and aural resonance of what Besvärjelsen do could hardly be clearer, and it’s something that both demands and well earns the attention it’s due.

Below you’ll find the video for the melancholy and soulful “Under en Svart Himmel” (“under a black cloud,” in English), followed by a quote from the band about its making and more info on Besvärjelsen‘s Vallmo, courtesy of the PR wire:

Besvärjelsen, “Under en Svart Himmel” video premiere

Besvärjelsen on “Under en Svart Himmel”:

It was the last song that was written for Vallmo. We had discussed that we needed one more song for the album and luckily Andreas had been sitting on this one for a while. He had almost the whole song ready, both guitars and vocals. So the rest of the band just added some spices. Like Leas vocals, the small guitar flourishes on the second verse and the drum beat on the second part of the verses which came to be after listening to The Doors on the car stereo.

The vibe of the song was inspired by the song ”Vintersaga” (“A winters tale”) performed by the Swedish singer Monica Törnell. The lyrics can be interpreted in many ways but the main theme was the metamorphosis that takes place after a forest fire. In particularly the great forest fire that swept over middle of Sweden in 2014 came to mind.

The video was shot the morning of February 17th in Andreas’ home village of Nås, and edited in the afternoon by Erik Bäckwall.

BESVÄRJELSEN – Swedish for “conjuring” – was forged in 2014. The band released their debut EP Villfarelser in 2015 which was followed by 2016’s Exil EP. Much of 2017 found BESVÄRJELSEN composing the the audio alchemy found on their ?rst full-length studio offering Vallmo (Swedish for “poppy”). Vallmo more than ever showcases the band’s enormous potential, the eight-track offering seamlessly wandering from crushing doom riffs to catchy vocals and melodies, deep lyrical content, and storming drum work, all topped by stunning guitar solos and, for the first time since the band’s formation, songs in English as well as their native Swedish.

BESVÄRJELSEN’s Vallmo was captured at Studio Glashuset and Midlake Studios by guitarist/vocalist Andreas Baier and comes sheathed in the cover art of Blodpest with design by drummer Erik Bäckwall.

Vallmo will see release on vinyl and digital formats via by Suicide Records in cooperation with DalaPop on March 27th.

BESVÄRJELSEN:
Lea Amling Alazam – vocals
Andreas Baier – guitar, vocals
Staffan Winroth – guitar, vocals
Erik Bäckwall – drums
Johan Rockner – bass

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Review & Video Premiere: Blackwülf, Sinister Sides

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on February 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Blackwülf sinister sides

[Click play above to view the premiere of Blackwülf’s video for the title-track of their new LP, Sinister Sides. Album is out Feb. 26 on Ripple Music.]

Indeed, it is a darker, moodier and perhaps even more sinister aspect of themselves demonstrated by Oakland heavy rockers Blackwülf on their second album for Ripple Music and third overall, Sinister Sides. The four-piece — who may or may not have ditched the umlaut since their last outing, 2015’s Oblivion Cycle (review here) — refine their periodically aggressive take on heavy rock with punker and classically metallic roots throughout the neatly-executed eight tracks and 40 minutes of Sinister Sides and one can find songwriting growth in the employment of a diverse set of vibes, whether that comes in the early Alice in Chains snarl of opener “Gate of Sorrow,” its side B companion “Blind to Fate” and the subsequent Blind-era C.O.C. groove of “The Tempest,” the semi-acoustic “Waiting on Tomorrow,” which seems to owe part of its aesthetic to Down‘s “Landing on the Mountains of Meggido” and part to Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath balladry, or the subsequent “Dead to the World,” which reignites a doomly focus in transposing the central riff of Sabbath‘s “Children of the Grave” to suit the band’s own political purposes.

Those include, one is obliged to note, a guest appearance from Geof O’Keefe, whose presence — and tone — hangs heavily throughout Sinister Sides, giving it all the more of that sinister feel. The founding member of Pentagram and Bedemon shows up on three cuts in total: the post-opener title-track, as well as “Sinister Sides” and the album’s penultimate inclusion, which is a beefed-up take on Cream‘s “Sunshine of Your Love,” and while I’m not sure the latter’s heavy hippie blues is really suited to the crunch with which it’s delivered, it obviously puts to rest any doubt about the band’s roots in classic heavy rock and sounds like they had a blast in the studio putting it together.

If, say, you’ve had a miserable cold for the last week and continue to feel resoundingly shitty — just as a happenstance — you’ll no doubt want to aim your sneezes elsewhere from O’Keefe‘s guest spots. That is to say, among those who know enough to know, dude is kind of a big deal. And having him in for one song would be a considerable coup on the band’s part, but his playing on three separate tracks spread throughout the record — two on side A, one on side B, assuming the vinyl splits the tracklisting in half, which works timing-wise — also puts Sinister Sides at considerable risk as regards the work done by frontman Alex Cunningham, guitarist Peter Holmes, bassist Scott Peterson, and drummer Dave Pankenier being outshined by the pedigree of O’Keefe. It’s a credit to the band that they’re not, and not only that, but it’s a credit to the band that O’Keefe‘s showcase tracks — yes, even that Cream cover — are fluidly integrated with the rest of the material.

blackwulf

Part of that success stems from the work done by the opening salvo of “Gate of Sorrow,” “Sinister Sides” and “Waiting on Tomorrow,” which offer three distinct and seemingly disparate styles between them while nonetheless maintaining a fluidity of their approach. Songwriting? Confidence? Sheer performance? Whatever lets the band do it, they move from aggro grunge-infused heavy rock to spirited traditional doom and into acoustic-minded ’80 metallurgy in a manner that more or less allows the remaining five tracks to go where they please. A scope has been set. It’s not as off-the-wall genre-bending or experimentalist as some other might be, but nor is it intended as such. Blackwülf‘s interest with Sinister Sides isn’t so much to reshape heavy rock and/or doom in their own image, but to draw elements from those sounds and others like the NWOBHM and punk and ’90s alternative to create something of their ow from them.

I’d argue that as their third full-length — reasonable to expect as a moment of arrival for any band who are going to have one — Sinister Sides comes out a winner in that effort. By the same token, I don’t think Blackwülf are finished with the process of refinement clearly at work in these tracks. “Gate of Sorrow,” the more dramatic vibe of closer “Battle Line” — which doesn’t seem to come out of nowhere in part because of the work “Waiting on Tomorrow” does earlier on the record — and even “Sinister Sides” itself belong thoroughly to them, and the fact that Blackwülf step so boldly forward to claim this array of styles as their own, informing their listeners one track at a time that this is who they are as a band some six years on from their founding, speaks indeed to Sinister Sides being that stated moment of arrival for them.

As the doomly swing of “Dead to the World” and the darker-hued shuffle in the rhythm of “The Tempest” show, there’s no shortage of commitment to definition that’s been made by Blackwülf here, but it’s hard to see where the band are beholden to anything other than their penchant for memorable structures and crisp, precise execution of their material. Sinister Sides finds Blackwülf not only keeping good company, but working diligently to push themselves forward as well, and while that may not be what the ultimate narrative of the album centers around — even I have to admit “Geof O’Keefe plays on this record” makes for a catchy lead — anyone who actually takes the time to dig into these songs will discover that it’s Blackwülf themselves who come out on the other side of the proceedings sounding stronger than ever before. A touch of villainy suits them. One hopes they continue down such a multifaceted yet cohesive path.

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Friday Full-Length: Orange Sunshine, Homo Erectus

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

You wanna hear something wild? Go ahead and click play on Orange Sunshine‘s 2001 debut, Homo Erectus. That’ll qualify for sure. Something else, demonstrably less wild: I was all set to close out thweek with their second album, 2003’s Love = Acid Space = Hell, but as I started putting the post together, it turned out I already did, like two years ago. Hell, at least I’m consistent.

When it comes to boogie and/or fuzz rock, they don’t come much more undervalued than the Den Haag-based power trio. They were there early — Homo Erectus lit a fire under the ass of anyone who heard it upon its release in 2001 as the band — now comprised of Arthur van Berkel (guitar), Mehdi Rouchiche (bass), Guy Tavares (drums/vocals) — dove headfirst into the fuzzed-out heavy blies of “Catfish” — coated in ’60s whiteboy soul like a slightly less frantic Radio Moscow — ad the unmitigated swing of… well, just about all of it. In its original form, the album’s got six tracks. Take your pick and insert namedrop here.

Of course, Blue Cheer are a influence in sound and style, but one can hear plenty of bluesier-minded Hendrix throughout Homo Erectus, as well as The Kinks on album-closer “Free” and some shades of Sabbath on the otherwise Leaf Hound-referential “Girl, You…” or the Stoogesy vibe in opener “Hush Hush” serve as distinctive moments, driven by powerhouse basslines and the loose-feeling vocals of Tavares, who also mans the helm of Motorwolf Studios where the album was recorded for release on — wait for it — Motorwolf Records. These sonic references would become even more of a theme on Love = Acid Space = Hell, when Orange Sunshine dug deeper into specifics on Thin Lizzy and MC5, but “Magic Ship” here does a damn good job of getting the point across of proto-heavy swing, and the immediate shuffle of “Hush Hush” and stoned bluesy stomp of “Catfish” do pretty well too. If you’ve never heard Orange Sunshine before, you’re not going to come out of Homo Erectus with any mistake about where they’re coming from, is what I’m trying to say.

A few different versions of Homo Erectus have been released over the years, by Motorwolf as noted and then subsequent reissues in 2004 through Leaf Hound Records and Headspin Records. Leaf Hound would also do versions of Love = Acid Space = Hell and the third Orange Sunshine LP, Bullseye of Being, which saw initial release in 2006 under the title Ruler of the Universe before a revamp made the collection of covers what it wound up being. The band put out a couple live records this decade — both Live at Roadburn 2007 (released in 2011) and 2014’s Live at Freak Valley (review here) — but there hasn’t been much activity on the studio front. Still, I recall fondly seeing them at Roadburn 2010 (review here) and watching them play three Blue Cheer covers. In fact, it was regaling The Patient Mrs. with that story a couple days ago for probably the 80th time that made me want to close out the week with them. So there you go.

When I was a lad. Just a wee college boy doing wee college radio playing heavy rock and roll even as I was still in the process of discovering what it was, I wrote an email to Guy Tavares as representative of Motorwolf. I sent out a lot of that kind of note in those days to bands and labels I discovered mostly by perusing SoulSeek and the All That is Heavy store : “Hey, send me CDs and I’ll play them on the radio in the NY market.” It wasn’t a bad pitch, to be honest. Tavares not only sent me Homo Erectus and Love = Acid Space = Hell, but also the Den Haag Motor Rock compilation and a few other odds and ends. This was maybe in 2003. I still have those copies of those records, and there continue to be times when nothing else quite seems like enough of a party.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

I made this pot of coffee yesterday, it was so good you would not have fucking believed it. It was a medium roast custom blend I’ve put together through Dean’s Beans, and I don’t know if it was the grind, the water temperature, the amount of water or what, but wow. It was smooth and delicious and so god damned good that I actually stopped drinking my first cup of it so that it could come to room temp and I could make The Patient Mrs. — who prefers colder coffee to hotter — give it a shot, even though she’s supposed to take it easy on caffeine while breastfeeding. If our son got some second hand, I feel like it can only go toward developing his palette for the better. Or make him poop, which he was going to do sooner or later anyway.

I’ve got another pot of the same roast brewed right now and I’m a little nervous to take it on, to be honest. What if it’s not as good? What if it was a fluke? A one-time deal? Guess I’ll never know until I give it a pour.

The Patient Mrs., The Pecan and I have shared a cold all week. Same cold, the three of us. Only the Little Dog Dio seems to be immune, and more power to her, because it’s been more than its fair share of terrible. Hurts to swallow my delicious coffee and all this food that medical professionals are obliging me to consume — I’ve put on so much weight in the last month-plus it makes me so sad; let’s not talk about it — plus my sinuses feel like they’re in one of those hand-crank vise grips, and I’m all coughy and swollen throat glands and all the rest. It has sucked and continues to suck. I’m hoping over the weekend to get better but I’ll be plenty busy this weekend too.

Because next week — actually through the end of the month — is totally and completely packed. Here’s notes subject to change:

Mon.: Blackwulf video premiere/album review; Supernaughty album stream/track-by-track.
Tue.: Apostle of Solitude album stream/review.
Wed.: All Souls Six Dumb Questions; maybe a Besvärjelsen track premiere.
Thu.: Deathwhite album stream/review.
Fri.: Strauss EP stream/review.

I’ve got a couple other projects I’m working on and so forth — somebody’s willing to pay me to write bios! — and the process of putting stuff together for the Roadburn Weirdo Canyon Dispatch has begun, so I’ll be dedicating some time to that as I continue to recover from this cold this weekend, but beyond that, I’ve got a good friend coming north tonight to spend some time with us and the baby, The Patient Mrs. plans to make lentils for dinner that I’ll have with brown rice and I’ll make homemade peanut butter granola sometime either today or tomorrow using my own mixed-nut butter and oats and cereal and whatever else I can get my hands on.

It’ll be a good time all around, even with the screaming baby who doesn’t understand why he feels so crapped out. Sorry kid.

Whatever you’re up to, I hope you have a great and safe time. Please enjoy yourself, check back Monday for more whatnottery, and in the meantime hit up the forum and the radio stream, which Slevin was kind enough to fix this week when it went offline. Much appreciated, sir, as always.

PS: The coffee is delicious.

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Apostle of Solitude Post “Keeping the Lighthouse” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

apostle of solitude keeping the lighthouse

It’s not really a ‘get to know you’ kind of video. You’re not going to recognize the dudes from Apostle of Solitude on the street after you watch it. It’s the kind of clip that has a little mystique to its presence.

It’s really fucking dark, is what I’m trying to say. Like, no-lights-on dark.

Well, there are some lights in the background, but the band are essentially silhouettes throughout the entirety of the seven-minute runtime of “Keeping the Lighthouse,” which is taken from their upcoming fourth album, From Gold to Ash, out next week on Cruz Del Sur. Come to think of it, it’s almost the exact opposite of the Indianapolis doomers’ video for “Lamentations of a Broken Man” (posted here) from 2014’s Of Woe and Wounds (review here). All the lights were on for that one.

And that was the first video from that record too, of several they’d ultimately wind up making, mostly collecting tour footage and putting it together to complement the tracks. “Keeping the Lighthouse” is moodier fare, as all that darkness would hint toward, but hey, maybe they made the one in answer to the other. Maybe it’s the same room, just with something covering the walls and the breakers shut off. Can’t say for sure. Kind of hard to see.

Ha.

More important things to talk about than the lighting design, though — like the fact that if 2018 ended today, From Gold to Ash might be my album of the year. And yes, I’ve heard some of the other candidates. I’m going to be reviewing it next week and hosting a full-album stream, which I can’t wait for, so I don’t want to get too deep into it here, but the whole thing is just on a completely different level, and for the record, I thought Of Woe and Wounds was fantastic, so it’s not like they’re suddenly blindsiding me with a good album. I think all their albums are good. This one’s just the best of them.

And “Keeping the Lighthouse” — when one counts the semi-introductory leadoff track “Overlord” — is the centerpiece of it, in actual placement and quality alike. A cornerstone hook, a choice groove among choice groove, and harmonies that emphasize the emotional foundations of Apostle of Solitude‘s songwriting. Words like “quintessential” come to mind, with emphasis on “essential.”

PR wire info follows the clip below.

Get doomed:

Apostle of Solitude, “Keeping the Lighthouse” official video

Cruz Del Sur Music has opened CD and vinyl pre-orders for From Gold to Ash. The album will be released February 23 on CD, vinyl LP, cassette, and digital formats.

CD Pre-order:
http://tinyurl.com/yaty2zet

Vinyl Pre-order:
http://tinyurl.com/ycjz3elg

Recorded in September 2017 at Russian Recording in Bloomington, IN with studio mastermind Mike Bridavsky, From Gold To Ash offers seven songs of ambitious, aching doom. Largely defined by the heartfelt and emotive dual vocals of Chuck Brown and Steve Janiak, From Gold To Ash covers a wide spectrum of heavy, from raging instrumentals to introspective guitar duos, monolithic doom riffs and reflective, melodic heartache. From Gold to Ash is also the first APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE album to feature bassist Mike Naish (Astral Mass, Shroud of Vulture).

Following the release of From Gold To Ash, APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE plan on hitting the road in the United States and returning to Europe.

APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE is:
Corey Webb – drums
Chuck Brown – guitars, vocals
Steve Janiak – guitars, vocals
Mike Naish – bass

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High Reeper Premiere “Chrome Hammer” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

high reeper

High Reeper mark their first release on Heavy Psych Sounds March 16. Their self-titled debut (review here) was given a sneaky self-release last year, but if you by any chance were feeling crazy and wanted to get a preview of what’s to come with the Heavy Psych Sounds version of the offering, it wouldn’t take anything more than checking out the five-piece’s previous video for “Die Slow” (posted here) and the one below for “Chrome Hammer,” because it just so happens that’s the one-two punch that starts off the album.

And a considerable punch it is. The Philly outfit made it clear with the record the first time around that they weren’t screwing around, and yeah, that very much continues to be the case. Even before they get to the drum-sol0-laden eponymous “High Reeper” or the later riff-worship of “Weed and Speed” and “Black Leather (Chose Us),” which would straddle the line between doom, classic metal and heavy rock were it not so busy using its legs to meter out the rhythmic stomp driving all of it, “Die Slow” and “Chrome Hammer” together set up the “Why’s it gotta be NWOBHM or thrash?” central question High Reeper is asking, backing up its argument with a firm reminder that, indeed, Black Sabbath still kicks everyone’s ass.

You can see their classic-minded aesthetic on display in the clip for “Chrome Hammer” below, which I’m thrilled to be able to premiere today. You’ll note the citrus hue of the amplification through which the guitars and bass come, and the occasional upside-down shot here and there as well. All good fun, and plenty of heavy boogie to go with it, so by all means, dive in.

Some comment from the band and PR wire info follows.

Please enjoy:

High Reeper, “Chrome Hammer” official video premiere

High Reeper on “Chrome Hammer”:

When we wrote Chrome Hammer we just had the title as the idea for the song and then we filled in the lyrics and music around the title. When we decided to make the video we wanted something that didn’t relate to the song in a literal way but still captured the idea and then feeling of not just the song but also the band. We gave the director (Dan Dome) free reign to do whatever he wanted and we feel like he fucking nailed it.

High Reeper’s self titled debut is an unapologetic punch to the face for fans of early ‘70s proto-metal. The sound and smell of leather, weed, boozing, gambling and death permeate the record from start to finish. Nine tracks that run from uptempo straight ahead rock, to slowed down, heavy, early doom. With a rhythm section throwing down grooves that are deeper than the darkest abyss and guitars big enough to put a hole in your chest, the record’s finale hits just as hard as its opening track. Vocals that soar above the guitars with laser like precision, while delivering a direct hit to your soul.

Produced, engineered and mixed by bass player Shane Trimble at TTR studios in Philadelphia and at his home studio Delwood sound in Delaware. The production is laced with old school elements while still maintaining the focus of a modern release.

Recorded in the fall of 2017, HIGH REEPER IS MEANT TO BE PLAYED LOUD AND TO BE PLAYED OFTEN.

High Reeper is:
Pat Daly
Zach Thomas
Andrew Price
Napz Mosley
Shane Trimble

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Death Alley Premiere “Murder Your Dreams” Video; Superbia Due March 23

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

death alley

Amsterdam-based heavy rockers Death Alley will release their second album, Superbia, March 23 as their debut on Century Media. The eight-track outing is rife with a progressive feel even beyond what the band brought to their 2015 Tee Pee Records first long-player, Black Magick Boogieland (review here), and no, I’m not just talking about the King Crimson-style chase scenes tucked into 11-minute closer “The Sewage.” It’s the whole record. Even as the opening push of “Daemon” seems to pick up where “Supernatural Predator” from the preceding full-length left off, it does so bringing together different sides of Death Alley‘s sound — the melody and the danger — the raw earth thrust and the outer space presence.

The four-piece have undergone a few changes death alley superbiasince Black Magick Boogieland, and even since they released Live at Roadburn (review here), vocalist Douwe Truijens and guitarist Oeds Beydals bringing in bassist Sander Bus and drummer Uno Bruniusson as their new rhythm section. No doubt that switch in personnel had a hand in the corresponding sonic shift, as it invariably would, but as the band’s new single and video “Murder Your Dreams” showcases, it’s still very much the art of crafting memorable songs that’s at the heart of what Death Alley does. With that as firmly established as it is in “Murder Your Dreams” and throughout Superbia from whence it comes, Death Alley can pretty much go wherever they like stylistically. And they do.

I’ll have more on the album closer to the release itself, but I’m thrilled today to be able to premiere the video for “Murder Your Dreams,” which you’ll find below, followed by quotes from the band and from director Luuk BouwmanDeath Alley also have tour dates booked throughout the coming months and Superbia is available to preorder at the portal in the links at the bottom of the post. Can’t miss it.

Please enjoy:

Death Alley, “Murder Your Dreams” official video premiere

DEATH ALLEY – Murder Your Dreams (OFFICIAL VIDEO). Taken from the album “Superbia”, out March 23rd, 2018.

Death Alley on “Murder Your Dreams”:

“Murder Your Dreams shows a side of our musicality that was always there but never revealed itself in our music before. Just when we needed it, The Wipers came knocking and we crushed them to bits. A bittersweet taste of Superbia in its most compact form.”

Director Luuk Bouwman on the video:

“The video is based on chase and falling dreams – which I felt would fit well with the song. I remembered a great scene in the ‘Nightmare on Elmstreet’ series in which the characters are stuck in a loop. So I wanted to create a nightmare-like slapstick in which the protagonist is condemned to keep falling, eternally. I was already joking that it was an autobiographical story and as if it was an ominous prophecy, a day after finishing the video I fell really hard on a bridge because of black ice. I broke my arm, cheekbone and eye sockey. So last week I was in surgery to reconstruct my face.”

Death Alley live:
23-03 (DE) Cologne – Jungle (release show)
24-03 (DE) Münster – Alterna Festival
30-03 (NL) Amsterdam – SkateCafe (release show)
31-03 (NL) Schijndel – Paaspop
13-04 (NL) Eindhoven – Stroomhuis
14-04 (NL) Groningen – LOLA
26-04 (NL) Den Haag – Life I Live
28-04 (NL) Rotterdam – V11
04-05 (DE) Berlin – Desertfest
06-05 (UK) London – Desertfest
08-05 (FR) Paris – Gibus*
09-05 (FR) Nantes – Feraullier*
10-05 (ES) San Sebastian – Dabadaba*
11-05 (ES) Barcelona – Upload*
12-05 (FR) Clermont Ferrand – Camille Claudel*
13-05 (CH) Olten – Coq D’Or*
15-05 (DE) Leipzig – NATO*
16-05 (DE) Nürnberg – Stereo*
17-05 (DE) Dortmund – FZW*
18-05 (DE) Lohr am Main – Umsonst und Drinnen Festival*
19-05 (DE) Lichtenfels – Paunchy Cats*
26-05 (NL) Raalte – Dauwpop
02-06 (NL) Nijmegen – Fortarock

Superbia preorder portal

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Dool Post Video for “The Alpha” from Here Now There Then

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

dool

The drama is palpable throughout Dool‘s debut album, Here Now There Then (review here), which came out last year via Prophecy Productions to due acclaim, and the five-piece from the Netherlands dwell within the atmosphere and proffer a fluidity of a much more experienced outfit. One might chalk that up to the pedigree of vocalist and guitarist Ryanne van Dorst (Elle Bandita and many more), guitarists Reinier Vermeulen (The New Media) and Nick Polak (Gold), and the rhythm section of bassist Job van de Zande and drummer Micha Haring, both ex-The Devil’s Blood, but if the end result is clarity of intent as regards aesthetic, they certainly made their sound their own. As demonstrated on cuts like 10-minute opener “Vantablack” and “The Alpha,” the latter of which serves as the vehicle for their new video, they blend that post-Devil’s Blood semi-goth theatricality with a strong undercurrent of hooks and memorable songcraft.

Atmosphere plays a strong role in the video for “The Alpha” as well, which introduces as its central figure a woods-dwelling girl with what look like self-imposed pagan forehead markings preparing for and undertaking various slow-motion rituals and rites. The song earns no less with its linear build and still prevalent chorus, and while it arrives late in the tracklist for Here Now There Then as opposed to songs like “Golden Serpents” and “Works on Paper,” it nonetheless proves worthy of focus as a single and the standout position that the video provides. That is to say, the track holds up. And where on the album it’s surrounded by the prior single “Oweynagat” and the penultimate spacious soloing of “The Death of Love,” its progressive riffing and boldness of execution represent some of what works best about Dool‘s first record overall, and so prove to be something of a subtle highlight all the more brought into focus by the new clip in its honor.

Dool have live dates booked for next month throughout Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Hungary and Poland, and a few shows announced further out, but I wouldn’t be surprised either if there are more summer fest confirmations to come in the next month or two, as the impression left by the debut was significant and the band bring the ethereal chemistry they foster on the album to the stage as well, as I was fortunate enough to see for myself at Roadburn 2016 (review here). The video for “The Alpha” was directed by van Dorst and can be seen below, followed by more info from the PR wire and the band’s upcoming live dates.

Please enjoy:

Dool, “The Alpha” official video

Actress: Demi Norah
Director: Ryanne van Dorst
Assistent Director: Ruben Broekhuis
D.O.P.: Robijn Voshol
D.O.P. Assistent: Jason Hornung
Gaffer: Raymond van der Bas
Best Boy: Francois Nell
Art Director: Angie Korst
Make up & Hair: Joyce Clerkx
Make Up Assistent: Jodie Geskus
Choreography: Marijke de Vos
Edit, VFX & Grading: Eelko Ferwerda & Thomas de Boer for Waanzee

Dool is the fast-rising hard rock band featuring former members of The Devil’s Blood and singer Ryanne van Dorst. The group has become a hotly-tipped buzz band in underground circles on the strength of its celebrated debut album, Here Now, There Then, and eye-opening live performances. Dool has just released a new video for the song “The Alpha”

The video for “The Alpha” is as well a celebration of will power as it is an ode to transformation, in parallel with the lyrics of the song,” comments Ryanne van Dorst. “It has been truly inspiring to work on this video, and we hope it empowers you as much as it empowers us”.

DOOL live:
Mar 02 Turock Essen, Germany
Mar 03 Biebob Vosselaar, Belgium
Mar 05 Le Ferrailleur Nantes, France
Mar 06 O’Sullivan’s Backstage by the Mill Paris, France
Mar 07 Le Grillen Colmar, France
Mar 08 Kiff, Foyer Aarau, Switzerland
Mar 09 Dagda Live Club Borgo Priolo, Italy
Mar 10 Revolver San Dona’ Di Piave, Italy
Mar 12 A38 Kulturális Közhasznú Nonprofit Kft. Budapest, Hungary
Mar 13 Klub Zascianek Krakow, Poland
Mar 14 Factory Magdeburg/ Dominion Club Magdeburg, Germany
Mar 15 Club From Hell Erfurt, Germany
Mar 16 Roadrunner’s Paradise Berlin, Germany
Mar 17 Ms Connexion Complex Mannheim, Germany
Mar 18 013 Tilburg, Netherlands
Apr 01 Backstage Munich, Germany
Apr 27 Fryshuset Stockholm, Sweden
May 12 Vienna Arena (Arena Wien) Vienna, Austria
Jun 14 Ferropolis – Stadt Aus Eisen Arena Gräfenhainichen, Germany

Dool on Thee Facebooks

Dool on Bandcamp

Dool at Prophecy Productions

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Friday Full-Length: Stubb, Stubb

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

It was brought to my attention this week that it’s been six years since Stubb‘s self-titled debut (review here) made its way to public ears via Superhot Records. Not an insurmountable amount of time; that is, it’s not like I don’t remember 2012, whereas other than war and being drunk and broke, 2005 is total mystery — but long enough to be a surprise when considering a release and its ultimate impact. With touring in and beyond the borders of their native UK scene — which six years ago was still also just getting going in comparison to bring one of the world’s most flourishing and rife with creative deep-divers — the London trio quickly put themselves at the forefront of a wave of fuzz riffs still just taking shape. Of course, having a fishing supply catalog’s worth of hooks didn’t hurt their cause, but I don’t think Stubb, which at the time was the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson, bassist/vocalist Peter Holland and drummer Chris West (the latter two culled from Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight), were looking to change the world. Not every group wants to, you know, but especially in terms of being the right record in the right place at the right time, Stubb‘s Stubb landed at a moment of generational shift in UK heavy rock.

And as landings go, it was an ace. Driven by songwriting, post-Hendrixian guitar fuzz and the dual vocals of Dickinson and Holland, even side B cuts like “Hard Hearted Woman” and “Crying River” proved memorable, and with “Road” and “Scale the Mountain” to serve s an immaculate one-two punch at the outset, there was just no letup from Stubb in this incarnation and with these songs. They took what I think even they would tell you were well-trodden methods and made them their own. On their first long-player, especially, this was a feat, but to have it happen at the same time as such a slew of other acts were coming together, Desertfest London was beginning to take hold, a scene developing at venues like The Unicorn and The Black Heart in Camden, and so on, made Stubb‘s eight tracks seem like all the more of an achievement, whether it’s the blues-rock finale of “Galloping Horses” or the purposeful opening that “The Road” gives: purposeful and effecient as it is, but still lighthearted and clearly enjoying itself. Stubb‘s Stubb hit a balance of structure and looseness of vibe that’s not only rare for debuts, but outright impossible for many bands who lean by their nature too much to one side or the other. Stubb knew what was up right from the start, and with Dickinson at the fore vocally to deliver those hooks, they came out of the gate with something special to offer even in comparison to their many compatriots emerging around the same time. Stubb stood out.

I’ll give credit there to West and to Holland as well. Though one and subsequently the other would eventually part ways with Dickinson‘s company, one only has to hear Holland take the fore in the chorus of “Scale the Mountain” to realize how special the dynamic between the guitarist and the bassist truly was, and with West‘s snare bringing punctuation to the shuffle of “Flame” and setting the uptempo clip for the verses and transitions of “Hard Hearted Woman,” in style and impact he’s no less purposefully looking to the style of heavy ’70s riff rock than Holland or Dickinson, as the jam at the end of that song further demonstrates on its way to the cool blues melancholy of the penultimate “Crying River,” a duet between Dickinson and guest vocalist Malin Dahlgren of Swedish folk duo Polly Tones. Even there, West plays it subtle but effective, giving the melody the room to properly shine as opposed to a “Road,” where the building of forward momentum was so utterly pivotal to the success of the song. So much fuzz. So much groove. So many landmark-feeling choruses. And yet none of it is overdone. Even the initial bluster of seven-minute closer “Galloping Horses” evens itself out to a right-on, baked-just-right balance of structure and fluidity.

In April 2012, I was fortunate enough to see this lineup on stage in Eindhoven, the Netherlands (review here), and it confirmed just how remarkable a dynamic the trio had between them. Following the album, that would show itself one last time on the ultra-catchy Under a Spell 7″ (review here), after which West was replaced by drummer Tom Fyfe. Stubb‘s second full-length, 2014’s Cry of the Ocean (review here) served as a different kind of triumph as it engaged not just rock traditionalism, but also that of soul and funk to a greater degree than its predecessor while still holding to much of the tonal warmth of the debut. The subsequent The Theory of Light and Matter (review here) split with Mos Generator — whose spearhead Tony Reed had been involved in mixing/mastering Stubb releases all along — again brought more change, showing a jammier face on songs like “Witch’s Kiss” that would continue to expand on last year’s conceptual Burning Moon (review here) single-song EP, Dickinson and Fyfe having replaced Holland with bassist/vocalist Tom Hobson in the meantime.

That latest 24-minute single was delivered with the stated intention of being the first part of a series of three EPs working in similar theme and form. Not really enough time has passed for one to reasonably expect the next anytime soon, but if it showed up in the earlier going of 2018 sometime, you certainly wouldn’t find me complaining as though Dickinson has taken Stubb in a much different direction than when they started out, they continue to offer multi-tiered engagement and an expanding creative breadth. At this point, if they said they were going to do a third record in the next year or so, I wouldn’t even be able to guess what it might sound like. That’s a feeling I very much enjoy.

Speaking of enjoyment, I hope you enjoy the revisit to Stubb‘s self-titled. As much as the band has changed in personnel and concept since, and as much as the scene in which they dwell has done likewise, it remains an important and central document of a generational switch, as well as a kickass collection of awesome tunes.

Thanks for reading.

Crazy week. Not much sleep. Monday was nutritionist and therapy, plus I had the baby for a bit in the morning while The Patient Mrs. was out at a work meeting. Tuesday I had the baby all day while The Patient Mrs. was teaching, Wednesday was nutritionist and then baby in the evening while The Patient Mrs. taught a night class, yesterday was a doctor’s appointment an hour away — because as I’ve said multiple times, everything is an hour from where I live in Massachusetts — and that was between having the baby in the morning and again in the early evening, after which was a quick trip to the grocery store, dinner and chores before going to bed (dishes done, iced tea made, etc.), and today I’ve got the baby again for a couple hours this afternoon because The Patient Mrs. has to go to a meeting.

Add to that the fact that there wasn’t one day this week I slept later than 2:30AM, and yeah, it was a bit of an adventure. This morning I went back to bed for a little bit though, and I fell asleep for a while at the keyboard, so I don’t know if that counts or not because I’m not counting because the meds I’m on make me care less about that shit and to be perfectly honest with you, sleep is about the least of my concerns. Since I started this eating disorder treatment my body has gone into what’s known as “refeeding syndrome” and I’m retaining so much water that I literally look like I’m pregnant. Plus I have edema so bad in my feet and they’re so swollen and red that it hurts to stand on them. Good thing I don’t have crazy body issues and/or haven’t had to do much running around. Ha.

I’m eating well, though. And despite a stated risk of congestive heart failure (fingers crossed for adventure!), they tell me I’m getting healthy. Personally I don’t think anyone has a fucking clue what that means, myself certainly included. I just keep doing what I’m told because I love my wife. The end.

Next week is less busy on a personal/medical level — at least I hope — but there’s still plenty going on around here. The notes, subject to change, look like this:

Mon.: Green Lung EP stream.
Tue.: The second installment of the Nebula stream/interview series.
Wed. Naxatras review; High Reeper video premiere
Thu.: Fu Manchu review.
Fri.: Something in the works, but unconfirmed as yet.

So there you go. I’m continuing, even with the baby on my lap grabbing his foot in what is a marker of a next stage of brain development for him and fodder for sending pics to his grandmother for me, to fall asleep at the keyboard, so I think I’ll probably leave it there for the time being. I feel like there’s something else I wanted to say here but can’t get my brain around to whatever it was. You’ll get ’em next time, tiger.

As always, I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please don’t forget to check out the forum and the radio stream.

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