Wino Wednesday: Shrinebuilder, Full Set Live in Baltimore, 11.13.09

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 26th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

If time has taught us anything at all about rock and roll, it’s never say never. Shrinebuilder put out its self-titled debut in 2009 on Neurot Recordings with the staggering lineup of bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros, guitarist/vocalists Scott Kelly and Scott “Wino” Weinrich and drummer/vocalist Dale Crover, played here and there, followed-up with a single and a live record, played some more shows, and then receded. It was never intended to be a full-time project, and when they were done, everyone went back to their own bands, whether it was Sleep and Om for CisnerosSaint Vitus for WinoNeurosis and solo work for Kelly or the Melvins for Crover. Rumors of a second album persisted for a while and then similarly receded.

We may never get another Shrinebuilder record. Hell, we might not even get another Shrinebuilder tour, or a single show, but it seems just as likely that at some point and in some form — whether with all four of the same players or not — they’ll get together again for some purpose or other. The full set snagged for this week’s Wino Wednesday revelry was filmed by TubeVision, a long-running East Coast taper, and captures Shrinebuilder on their inaugural run from Nov. 2009, not yet a month after the release of the self-titled, live in full force at the Sonar in Baltimore, Maryland. I was fortunate enough two nights later to see Shrinebuilder take the stage in Manhattan with Rwake (review here), and while it was just over five years ago now, I can still readily recall the powerful presence they had as a band on stage and the weight the performance carried because of who it was standing up there.

They might or they might not ever do another album, but whatever winds up happening, we were lucky enough to get it once. Hope you enjoy the video:

Shrinebuilder, Live at The Sonar, Baltimore, MD, 11.13.09

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The Midnight Ghost Train Post Cold was the Ground Teaser

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 25th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the midnight ghost train

Seems unfair to call the video put out today by Topeka blues bashers The Midnight Ghost Train a “teaser,” since it’s longer and less promo-speaky than a lot of album teasers wind up being — plus it has a plot and production value — despite its function being roughly the same in giving fans of the trio a glimpse at the new record’s sound and atmosphere. Their slammed-home boogie seems to be in good standing, and as for atmosphere, well, all you really have to do is look at the big sky country and the expanses of land featured in the clip to see where The Midnight Ghost Train are coming from on Cold was the Ground, their new album, which is out March 2015 on Napalm Records.

I’m looking forward to hearing what they’ve come up with this time out, so even just a sneak peak at some of the riffing here is welcome as far as I’m concerned. The story of the video seems to center around the overall-clad guy who resists and then finally succumbs to the band’s riffy wiles after pretty much the whole world around him has already done the same. The last holdout. That same gentleman also features on the album cover for Cold was the Ground, which presumably was put together around the same time as this short film, and does well in the form of silent expression. No doubt his experience in the clip mirrors that of many who’ve discovered The Midnight Ghost Train these last couple years, so much awareness of them having come from word of mouth from those who’ve caught them killing it live on stages throughout the US and Europe.

They’ll likely keep doing that as well, unhindered by blizzards or barbecue sauce on the face or whatever it might be. Preorders for the album reportedly start Dec. 2. Enjoy the video:

The Midnight Ghost Train, Cold was the Ground short film

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you… The Midnight Ghost Train’s very own short film for the new album “Cold Was The Ground”. We created this film to give you a listen, (and a look) at the new record. A bit of a tease. This is for the fans. Enjoy.

The Midnight Ghost Train on Thee Facebooks

Napalm Records

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Friday Full-Length: Cactus, One Way… or Another

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Cactus, One Way… or Another (1971)

“I know some of you people like to dance
And I know some of you people just like to roll and rock
And roll and rock
So come on honey, it’s alright
We’ll do whatever YOU feel like…”
— Cactus, “Whatever You Feel Like”

The exact recording dates, I’m not sure, but Cactus‘ second album, 1971’s One Way… or Another, was put to tape at Electric Lady Studios in Manhattan sometime after the release of their 1970 debut, and listening to Tim Bogert swagger out the second “roll and rock” in “Whatever You Feel Like,” no question Jimi Hendrix was a presence in mind at the time. All that’s missing is a little “uh huh” after “rock.” Considering the studio opened in Aug. 1970 and Hendrix was dead less than a month later, it seems only fair to think Cactus would’ve been working with some of his influence in following up their first record, their fluid tempo shifts on “Rock and Roll Children” and the wah/acoustic layering on “Song for Aries” are easy enough to see in that light as well, though of course Cactus were foremost indebted to blues rock, and there’s plenty of that to be had on One Way… or Another as well.

Immediately, as it happens. One Way… or Another opens with the Little Richard cover “Long Tall Sally,” also done by Elvis and The Beatles and many, many others. But Cactus take the original and slow it down to a vicious, sleazy groove, guitarist Jim McCarty basically giving bassist Tim Bogert — who usually handled backup vocals to Rusty Day‘s leads, but took the fore on “Whatever You Feel Like” (Day got his moment in a harmonica solo) — and drummer Carmine Appice all the room they could ever ask for to swing through and then some. Cactus‘ Cactus was a little more unhinged, a little more dangerous overall, but the fullness of sound and tonal satisfaction that One Way… or Another provides isn’t to be understated. That’s not to say “Big Bad Mother Boogie” doesn’t have its edge, just that if you listen back to their take on “Parchman Farm” from the first record it sounds like the song is about to fly out from under them.

Their take on Chuck Willis‘ “Feel so Bad” gives a bluesy start to a side B that branches out soon with “Song for Aries” and hits possibly its most righteous note in “Hometown Bust,” a heavy return that’s as huge as anything that might’ve been called metal at a later point in the decade, McCarty wailing out a lead that, yeah, there’s Hendrix again, and killing it in the process while Day throws in some chops on harmonica. The closing title-track rests on an up-down nod of a riff not frantic but still maddening in its turns, Bogert and McCarty playing off each other brilliantly before the last chorus return, Day‘s vocals doubled for maximum effect en route to the last, all-too-quick fade.

Cactus had one more album, 1971’s Restrictions, with the same lineup, though the changes that would result in lineup shifts for 1972’s ‘Ot ‘n’ Sweaty – bringing in Leaf Hound‘s Peter French to replace Rusty Day — were already taking root. I’m not sure which I’d pick over the other, Cactus or One Way… or Another, but both are heavy rock classics and definitely the sophomore record makes some compelling arguments in its case, the upped Hendrixery among them.

Hope you enjoy.

In case you’re also wondering, no, I have no idea where November went. Next week is Thanksgiving, which is another one of those US holidays celebrating a fiction — this one about peace between European colonists and the native people being colonized — like Xmas or Columbus Day or Labor Day, and so on and so on, but screw it, a day off is hard to argue with. The Patient Mrs. and I are heading south for the occasion — I know you’re shocked — to New Jersey. I expect family time will consume the bulk of the week, but I’ll have some posts along the way where and when I am able as well, including a new podcast on Wednesday, so if you’re traveling for the holiday, or just sitting on your ass (it works either way), you might want to grab that when it’s up. I’m gonna shoot for Wednesday morning, but we’ll see how it goes.

Also look out for a Murcielago review hopefully on Monday and something or other on Tuesday to fill time while I pack to head to Jersey on Tuesday night. I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends and, if I’m honest, to not being in the house for a while but also knowing where I’m going, ever. After a year of where-the-hell-am-I-what’s-the-fastest-way-to-the-highway-and-which-highway-do-I-want-anyway, it’s starting to wear a little thin. Novelty fades. Inconvenience is forever.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. I’ll be mentally preparing myself for the onslaught of the holidays by sitting as quietly and as still as possible. It’s like meditation except it involves watching hours of Star Trek episodes at a time.

Be well, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Wino Wednesday: Get Well Soon, Wino

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

I’ve been kicking around the idea lately of ending Wino Wednesdays. I mean, it’s been over three years. We’ve covered an awful lot of the man’s career with The Obsessed, Saint Vitus, Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand, Shrinebuilder, Premonition 13, solo band, solo acoustic, guest spots, and so on, and aside from having run a decades-long gamut of the available videos, it’s starting to feel a little fanboyish. Don’t get me wrong, I dig Wino‘s work a lot, but I’m not trying to stalk the guy. 162 weeks later, I worry it’s getting to be a bit much.

Last week, Scott “Wino” Weinrich got arrested in Norway with what turned out to be 11 grams of of meth. Not an inconsiderable amount. He was deported back to the US, which left the remaining three members of Saint Vitus to finish out the last few shows of their 35th anniversary co-headlining European tour with Orange Goblin on their own. They did it, and from what I’ve heard they were pretty good, but no question it wasn’t the victory lap they had in mind. The whole situation was a bummer on just about every level, and it brought to mind a refresher of just how rampant addiction is in this community. Everything from meth to coke to prescription abuse to beer to vinyl, doom appeals to those who have a habit of forming habits. All the more reason to watch out for your friends and hope they do the same for you.

Wino issued a statement yesterday to Decibel saying he’s entered rehab for treatment and he’ll be back next year with a new Wino & Conny Ochs release, a new solo album, a new webshop and a biography. That’s all well and good — except perhaps for the biography, which much to my personal disappointment I didn’t get to write — but the important thing is that he gets himself well first. New records and projects are cool, but life needs to take precedence. On behalf of this dinky website, I wish Wino all the best in the challenge ahead of his recovery. We’ll be here, continuing to pull for him each week, for the foreseeable future.

Here’s that statement:

At this time I feel it is necessary to release an official statement of the facts in regard to my recent deportation from the country of Norway. First, I want to apologize to all Saint Vitus fans, and to my band members and crew for my lapse in judgment that ultimately resulted in me missing the last six shows on our Born Too Late 35th anniversary European tour. On November 9th before noon just over the Norwegian border, I was arrested for possession of an illegal substance. I take full responsibility for the consequences of my actions. The other members and crew were unaware of my substances use. I was truthful with the authorities, and initially sentenced to 16 days in jail minus the three initial days immediately following my arrest. On those days I was in solitary confinement, with no reading or writing material and fed solely bread water. Despite these conditions, I was treated respectfully and cordially by all Norwegian authorities. Initially, I believed I would be fined, allowed to continue the tour, and upon its end, I agreed to return to Norway to finish my sentence. I was disheartened to realize that I was to be deported straightaway back to the US, and not allowed to finish the tour. I sincerely regret the inconvenience and loss incurred by everyone involved with these gigs, the inspiring co-headlining Orange Goblin, our booking agent, promo folks and the venues, and of course fans and ticketholders. I want to salute the members of Saint Vitus for carrying on with these shows without me, and proving admirably the class of true road warriors they are. Again, my deepest apologies to all. After several productive years of sobriety, the rigors of almost nonstop touring and life’s circumstances led me to develop a dependency that has become detrimental to my health and now, my freedom. As of now, I am currently off the road, and actively engaged in treatment.

And THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES….

I will continue my course of creating music and art. Early next year you will see the release of “WINO AND CONNY OCHS” new full-length recording, “FREEDOM CONSPIRACY” on Exile on Mainstream records. Also on the near horizon: A full-length Wino solo acoustic recording, the launch of my art and music web store, and my no holds barred biography.

Thanks to all who Believe!
Wino, November 18th,2014

And to keep with Wino Wednesday tradition, here’s Saint Vitus doing “Saint Vitus” in Stockholm, Sweden, at Wino‘s most recent show with the band:

Saint Vitus, “Saint Vitus” Live at Debaser Strand, Stockholm, Nov. 8, 2014

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Here’s Kings Destroy Doing “Smokey Robinson” in Rhode Island

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

kings destroy (Photo by Tim Bugbee)

Here’s a fun fact: I fucking hate videos I’m in. Photos too. Really anything. If I can go without seeing, hearing, reading myself, seeing my name, feeling like I exist, escaping for 20 seconds from crippling neurotic self-awareness, whatever, that’s the way to go. The conundrum here is that even by saying that, I’m pointing out the fact that I’m in this video, but I think even if you didn’t know it was me and you watched it, you might be wondering to yourself, “Who’s the longhair dick up front taking pictures?” I’m that dick. That’s the guy. Get him.

I didn’t write about it in the tour report, but before the doors opened at The Met in Providence, I was sitting at the bar with The Patient Mrs., and one of the dudes who works there or owns the place or whatever came up and started asking where we got our passes all in an accusing tone of voice and shit, like we broke into the Pentagram show and stole them off the table or something. I was like, “The guy standing next to you gave them to us,” and then asked him if he wanted to fight about it. Got a winner of a look for that one — and rest assured, if he or the dude with him had wanted to fight, I’d have gotten my ass handed to me — but whatever. By then I’d been 12 nights out of 12 nights on that run and wasn’t ready to greet dickitude with anything other than the same.

Hope you enjoyed the digression. The mind makes these associations, event with place, place with time, song with season, and so on. To the best of my achingly limited understanding, this is the first video of Kings Destroy playing the song “Smokey Robinson.” It comes from that Providence show and was filmed by Pentagram drummer Sean Saley. I’m happy to report that even though I pollute the thing early on with my existence, the giant head that shows up right in front of the camera at the end belongs to someone else. We have to take our victories where we can get them.

Kings Destroy‘s next show is Dec. 12 at Brooklyn’s St. Vitus bar with YOB and Tombs. I am hoping to attend. “Smokey Robinson” will be featured on their third album, which will be out next year, and has been stuck in my head for the better part of the last three weeks even though I know about one-third of the words, and that’s being generous. It’s not something I’m posting because I feel obligated, or to fill space, or whatever. It’s a quality song and I had something to say about the video, so fucking there you go.

Dig:

Kings Destroy, “Smokey Robinson” Live at the Met, Providence, RI, Nov. 2, 2014

Kings Destroy on Thee Facebooks

Kings Destroy on Bandcamp

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Jakob Skøtt Posts New Video for “Escape from the Keep”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

jakob skott

I don’t really know much about the plot of the 1983 film The Keep – seems to be about Nazis unleashing demons and something or other — but the images work pretty well with “Escape from the Keep,” the opening track from Causa Sui drummer Jakob Skøtt‘s new solo album, Taurus Rising (review here). Whether the movie inspired the title of the instrumental cut is also a mystery, but I’d believe it given the feel of the drum/synth progression and the many pre-CGI lasers that seem to come out of nowhere in both the music and the video itself. Yeah, it all fits.

Taurus Rising is out Dec. 8  on El Paraiso Records as the second Skøtt solo offering of the year, following up earlier 2014’s Amor Fati. Video and info follow.

Enjoy:

Jakob Skøtt, “Escape from the Keep” official video

Jakob Skøtt: Taurus Rising coming december 8th, 2014 on El Paraiso Records.

Images from Michael Mann’s The Keep (1983)

3rd album from Causa Sui drummer Jakob Skøtt expands his one-man-band experiments into vast new territories.

Taurus Rising is built from motoric synthesizer arpeggios and heavy duty live drumming. But rather than simply worshipping endless repetition, Skøtt reaches an impressive array of expressions on each of these five mini epics – each song is ALIVE – frequently whirling off track like the wind direction in a sand storm, leading to some mind-altering melodies and rhythms that’ll keep you on your toes. Washed currents of pulsating analogue synthesizer scores, pre-fusion jazz-sensibility and fuzz’ed out electronics all tied together by fevered rhythms.

Jakob Skøtt is the drummer in revered danish experimental psych act Causa Sui and has previously collaborated with artists from Tortoise and Sunburned Hand of the Man. In a number of different outfits he has also released thru esteemed labels such as Morr Music, Ghostly International, Darla Records. Furthermore Jakob has done exclusive live visuals and artworks for Amon Düül II, Earthless, Manual, cult actress Asia Argento as well as The Roadburn Festival.

Taurus Rising is released as a single LP as well as a 2xCD package also containing his previous album Amor Fati. All drums for each albums were improvised in a single afternoon.

El Paraiso Records website

El Paraiso Records on Thee Facebooks

El Paraiso on YouTube

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Friday Full-Length: Floor, Floor

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Floor, Floor (2002)

The self-titled debut full-length from Floor is a monument to the gloriousness of weighted tonality. For me, particularly over the last couple years, it’s an album I’ve come to associate with motion, with going places. Reason being is that it was on an iPod I’d initially bought for The Patient Mrs. years back but wound up sort of appropriating after she more or less discarded it (this same iPod was also recently stolen out of my car by some jerk who remains at large), and with the relatively limited selection there as compared to my CD rack, I’d find it in the playlist usually while sitting in an airport and be all excited, pretty much each time out. So walking on airplanes, walking off airplanes, getting from here to somewhere else, Floor‘s Floor is the record for me by which that happens. It’s been my soundtrack for at least the last four trips to Roadburn.

It also seems fitting that it should be a travel album because the music itself is so compelling. Whether it’s “Scimitar,” or “Downed Star” or the one-two-three quick punch of “Twink,” “Sheech” and “Assassin,” which I still feel like I’m trying to catch up to, the album itself moves. The Miami trio of guitarist/vocalist Steve Brooks – who’d go on to found Torche following Floor‘s dissolution — guitarist Anthony Vialon and drummer Henry Wilson propelled themselves from one song to the next, sometimes in attention-deficit-disorder leaps that seemed to leave ideas incomplete in a punkish sort of tradition and sometimes just at the right time, but never with a moment wasted. To date, it remains one of heavy rock’s best examples of a lean record that still sounds mammoth and pummeling — that’s not to mention the upbeat tempos or pop influence — and its thrust and brash feel has had a considerable influence since the time of its release on No Idea Records in 2002. Probably too early to call it a classic just 12 years after the fact, but there’s nothing that seems like it’ll stop it from getting there as the years continue to progress.

All the more so because of Floor‘s reactivated status, and with this lineup. Earlier 2014’s Oblation (review here) was a worthy successor to Floor‘s original run, which came to an end with 2004’s sophomore outing, Dove. By then the lineup had changed and it was clear the dynamic in the band was shifted, but from the time Floor got back together following the welcome reception of their 10LP Below and Beyond box set through Robotic Empire (who also have a reissue of the self-titled for sale on their Bandcamp with outtakes), the question of a new album was always there, and they answered that question loudly and in progressive, still immensely heavy form. Brooks seems primed for a shift back to Torche in 2015 for their Relapse label debut, but Floor continue to play shows in support of Oblation as well, shifting from a “reunion” band to a working one. They’ll play Roadburn and Desertfest in 2015 and probably much more around Europe between. As a fan of the band, I hope they continue on and put out a follow-up fourth long-player, but the self-titled continues to hold a special place in my heart, even if that place seems to constantly be in motion.

Hope you enjoy.

Will keep it quick this time. Stay tuned next week. Hopefully I’ll have a review of the new Murcielago record, plus the Orange Goblin which I’m sure you’ve already heard, plus an interview one way or another, be it the Lowrider Q&A or one with Soph from Alunah. I’ve also got a track premiere and quickie Q&A with It’s Casual slated for Wednesday and maybe one or two audio-type tricks up my sleeve for the rest of the week as well. We’ll see how it shapes up.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

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Wino Wednesday: Saint Vitus Perform as Trio in Gothenburg

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

“Where’s Wino?” Well, it would seem he’s been deported. From Norway. Last night in Göteborg, Sweden, for what I believe might have been the first time in the band’s 35-year history, Saint Vitus performed their set as a three-piece. It was bassist Mark Adams, drummer Henry Vasquez and guitarist Dave Chandler on stage, and Chandler himself took up vocal duties, calling it, “the weirdest Saint Vitus show [the crowd] has ever fucking seen.” I don’t doubt it.

Martyn Millard of Orange Goblin, who are co-headlining the current Vitus tour in Europe, had posted a picture of the trio on Thee Facebooks but gave no comment as to the situation itself. I emailed Season of Mist this morning but hadn’t heard back, and then just a little bit ago, Vitus posted the following:

Saint Vitus would like to regretfully inform all of our European fans that our lead vocalist Wino was detained by the Norwegian police and immigrations officers for possession of illegal substances since Sunday November 9th. As of 4 pm yesterday evening (Nov. 11th) we were informed by his Norwegian defense attorney that he would more than likely be released that same day and be able to continue the remaining dates of our European tour. This morning we received notification that Wino was being deported today back to the U.S. with no hope to remain in Scandanavia or anywhere in the EU.

SAINT VITUS WILL CONTINUE THE REMAINING DATES OF THE TOUR!!!

Our sincere apologies to all of our fans, the promoters, booking agents and especially our Norwegian fans and promoter for the cancelled show. We will still deliver the HEAVY sound to all of our friends in Europe and it is our hope that everyone will understand our position to go forward with the remaining dates without Wino. David Chandler and Henry Vasquez along with a few surprise guests will take over vocal duties and this will be a rare opportunity to see Vitus with main songwriter David Chandler vocalizing his tormented tales of pain, heartache and DOOM. We hope to still see all of you on our remaining dates. FUCK THAT WEAK SHIT!!!!

So there you have it. Detained and deported back to the US, leaving the band to improvise who’s going to handle the vocals. I bet Orange Goblin‘s Ben Ward gets a turn if he wants one, and there’s bound to be someone in Germany — where the four remaining dates of the European tour will take place — who’s up for filling in for Wino. Booted out of the EU. That must have been one hell of an “illegal substance.” Like plutonium. As a testament to Vitus fucking the weak shit of their circumstances, here is ChandlerAdams and Vasquez doing an encore of “Born too Late” in Göteborg, for the first-ever Wino-less Wino Wednesday.

Enjoy:

Saint Vitus, “Born too Late” Live in Gothenburg, Sweden, Nov. 11, 2014

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Friday Full-Length: Blind Guardian, Nightfall in Middle-Earth

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Blind Guardian, Nightfall in Middle-Earth (1998)

I think Germany’s Blind Guardian are probably still a little too current to fall into the realm of “classic metal,” but if they were going to enter the discussion, I think 1998’s Nightfall in Middle-Earth would be grounds on its own for consideration. The album followed 1995’s Imaginations from the Other Side, which wasn’t exactly where they made the turn from thrash to power metal, but was just about where they perfected their approach to the latter. What makes Nightfall in Middle-Earth stand out from its predecessor is the complexity and execution of its theme, based around narratives culled from J.R.R. Tolkien‘s The Silmarillion.

If you’ve never read it — I’ll confess that I didn’t get the whole way through — The Silmarillion tells tales of the first age of Middle-Earth, before the coming of men and the decline of the immortal elves. It is essentially a Bible with many gods for the world in which the Lord of the Rings trilogy takes place, and as ever for Tolkien, it’s a world no less winding than it is complete. For Blind Guardian to tackle such a thing wasn’t necessarily new for them even then — as early as 1992’s Somewhere Far Beyond they were referencing Tolkien‘s The Hobbit – but for them to do so with such a narrative thread while still writing songs so stellar as to be highlights of their discography now 16 years later like “Mirror Mirror,” “Nightfall” (“…quietly it crept in and changed us all,” goes the chorus), “Blood Tears” and “Time Stands Still (At the Iron Hill)” feels like twice the achievement. Imaginations from the Other Side is a damn good record, but when it comes to Blind Guardian and everything they’ve embodied as a band ever since, Nightfall in Middle-Earth is a genuine masterpiece.

And though those tracks and others will mark themselves out on any listen, first or 50th, it remains an album best heard front to back, its many interludes and narrative components — some just spoken word over foreboding ambience — feeding into the overall listening experience. This version has a couple bonus tracks tacked onto the end, but even in its bare form, Nightfall in Middle-Earth tops 65 minutes and is no meager undertaking. Like The Silmarillion itself, it is a world to enter and be changed by, and one no less magical. The lineup of the band at that point was vocalist Hansi Kürsch, who as far as I’m concerned deserves mention among the greatest voices in metal regardless of genre, guitarist André Olbrich, rhythm guitarist Marcus Siepen, drummer Thomas Stauch, guest bassist Oliver Holzwarth, and a host of others including keyboardist, choir vocalists, flautist and pianist, and what they created was a sound larger than life that Blind Guardian — with Kürsch, Olbrich and Siepen still at the heart of the band — continues to refine to this day. It was announced today that in 2015, they’ll release a new album on Nuclear Blast called Beyond the Red Mirror, weaving an original fantasy tale set in the same universe as some of the tracks from Imaginations from the Other Side and employing no less than three full choirs and two 90-piece orchestras. They remain unafraid to go big.

Hope you enjoy.

Kind of a departure, right? That’s what I was hoping for. Something a little different, but it’s a record I’ve lived with and enjoyed since around the time it came out, so it seemed fair. If you feel like it’s not stoner rock enough, there’s always the radio stream. Plenty of that stuff in there, which I should know because (1:) I put it there and (2:) I listen to that friggin’ thing all the time because it’s badass.

Not my best week. I could elaborate. I’d rather not. Suffice it to say I’m still basically recovering from being on tour — though that ebola seems to have for the most part passed, and for that I’m thankful — and that my poor feeble brain hasn’t really managed to settle back down without feeling like it should be racing off somewhere else. I still have Bang and Pentagram and Radio Moscow and Kings Destroy songs stuck in my head, and it was a little disconcerting today when I scrolled down and realized all those posts were off the frontpage. Things go pretty quick around here, I guess.

Next week, I think I’ll have a stream of the new album by Rhode Island’s Balam at some point. I have a thing Monday — it’s like a job recruitment thing, I don’t really know — in the afternoon that will probably eat up a decent chunk of the day, but I’ll be reviewing the Ufomammut DVD sooner or later and the new Brant Bjork as well. Some vinyl to catch up on too, and a tape from The Heavy Company. I’m also still waiting to get that Lowrider interview back, but one of these days.

In the meantime, it’s down to Connecticut and subsequently New Jersey for family stuff and then back up on Sunday. We actually drove down to Connecticut tonight on I-95, the same route I had the van headed back from Rhode Island the other day. I kept thinking about how dazed I was on that trip, my head just completely somewhere else. It’s an adjustment being home, especially when — and I’ll just be honest here — I don’t have jack shit going on. Not like I went back to work, or went back to doing something with my day. Full speed to dead stop. Me and the dog on the couch, listening to records and reviewing them for nobody to read. Oh, and it’s nighttime at like 4PM now too. Awesome. Things are going really well. Definitely none of that broke-as-shit, 33-years-old-total-failure, what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-this-for stuff going on. Whatever.

Blech, as Woody might say.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Enjoy the Blind Guardian, have a good time, don’t break anything you don’t want broken and we’ll see you back here Monday for more of whatever you call this.

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Horisont Post Video for New Single “Break the Limit”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

horisont break the limit video

With classic metal riffs and enviable moustaches, Swedish retro rockers Horisont have unveiled a new video for the A-side of their Rise Above single, “Break the Limit.” The clip basks in classic VHS-style graininess, reminding of something Motörhead or Scorpions might have had out, and that suits the song itself well, with its immediately memorable hook and 8-track-ready sensibility. Horisont are on tour in Europe now, and the 7″ for Break the Limit is available in a handful of different varieties with amazing horisont break the limit covernot-Gimli cover art, all of which are sure to be gone by the time this post goes live. Because that’s how it goes, man. You snooze, you hope for a repress.

If Horisont‘s stage left guitarist looks familiar, it’s because it’s Tom Sutton, who took the place of Kristofer Möller this summer. Sutton is probably best known as the former boogie-bringer for Church of Misery, but also made a debut this year on Napalm with the new band The Order of Israfel. I guess you never know where he’ll show up next.

In case you’re looking to get down:

Horisont, “Break the Limit” official video

Directed, shot & edited by Magnus Delborg & Christian Hillén / B-TV Productions.

Swedish hard-rocking classic metallers return with Break the Limit, a stop-gap release between albums. Following the success of third album, Time Warriors, the titans do not hold back with this relentless, anthemic slab of full on heavy metal glory.

Backed with the synthesizer enhanced Yellow Blues, it’s a good indication of how far these guys have come and what a monstrous prosposition their fourth studio album is looking to be.

Track Listing
1. Break The Limit
2. Yellow Blues

Colours
100 x Crystal Clear
200 x White
200 x Trans. Green (200 of these should have gone direct to the band, we will have 25)
200 x Purple
500 x Black
200 x Red

See Horisont Live across Europe!

NOV 07 – AT, Neubichl, Baamhakke
NOV 08 – DE, Lichtenfels, Paunchy Cats
NOV 09 – SI, Nova Gorica, Mostovna
NOV 10 – IT, Milan, Lo Fi Club
NOV 11 – AT, Innsbruck, Weekender
NOV 12 – CH, Winterthur, Gaswerk
NOV 13 – FR, Paris, Glazart
NOV 14 – UK, Pwhelli, Hard Rock Hell
NOV 15 – UK, Glasgow, Classic Grand
NOV 16 – UK, London, Underworld
NOV 17 – UK, Manchester, Roadhouse
NOV 18 – UK, Birmingham, Oobleck
NOV 19 – BE, Gent, Decadance
NOV 20 – DE, Dusseldorf, Pitcher
NOV 21 – NL, Den Bosch, W 2
NOV 22 – DE, Kassel, Hellroom

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Rise Above Records

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Wino Wednesday: Saint Vitus, “Blessed Night,” Live in France, Oct. 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

The Saint Vitus 35th anniversary European tour with Orange Goblin — who started out as “special guests” and now seem to be co-headlining — is only a couple days away from passing a full month. While on the road celebrating one of doom’s widest legacies, Vitus are performing 1986’s classic Born too Late in its entirety, unquestionably their most influential record fronted by Scott “Wino” Weinrich. They did the same on the US West Coast earlier this year and I’m hoping they’ll bring the show east maybe in the New Year, but either way, anything Vitus does, someone’s at least gonna shoot it on their phone, so yeah, there’s plenty of footage out there if you know what you’re looking for.

I’ve yet to find a clip of a whole set, but I’ve seen a couple setlists where they haven’t broken up Born too Late to spread it throughout, which is what they did in the US, but instead are simply playing it backwards, so that they start with “The War Starter” and end with the anthem “Born too Late” itself. Fair enough. If you’re going to play that song, you want to play it last; it’s been their closer for years and makes an excellent encore. They haven’t forgotten their latest work, either, though. “Blessed Night,” which you can find below recorded from the first night of the tour, comes from 2012’s Lillie: F-65 and was the first song Vitus wrote after getting back together, solidifying its relatively speedy progression while on the road performing their classic material.

Though word came out a while ago they were writing, I have yet to hear any kind of official notice of a follow-up to Lillie: F-65, and they don’t seem to be playing anything new on this tour — clearly that’s not the focus of the 35th anniversary run — so “Blessed Nights” is about as recent as it gets. Hope you enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Saint Vitus, “Blessed Night,” Live in Colmar, France, Oct. 9, 2014

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Video Premiere: Disenchanter, “Green Queen” Live at Ceremony of Sludge 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 27th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

disenchanter

If you want a little extra thrill, plug in some headphones and turn the bass up as Disenchanter run through the below rendition of the song “Green Queen.” The track, which of course shares its name with a strain of weed — wasn’t that just a given? — makes a fantastic showcase for the low tone of four-stringer Joey DeMartini, and with Sabine Stangenberg‘s riffs and vocals leading the charge and Jay Erbe playing one tom against the other on drums, it’s halfway between boogie rock and all out heavy rager, and seems content to find a place somewhere not quite one or the other. This version was recorded earlier this year in Disenchanter‘s hometown of Portland, Oregon, at the Ceremony of Sludge festival, and is part of a series of clips I’ve been fortunate enough to premiere recorded over the course of that fest’s two days.

Disenchanter opened the second day of Ceremony of Sludge, which was held at Club 21, and while ceremony of sludge posterthey’ve showcased a penchant for epic metallurgy or at least an appreciation for the grandiose on their two three-song releases to date, 2013’s Back to Earth and this year’s On through Portals (review here), “Green Queen” hones in a more straight-ahead heavy rock sound built around a strong hook, a still driving riff and the melody in Stangenberg‘s voice. I don’t know if that’s meant to be emblematic of some shift in direction or if Disenchanter were pulling a one off or if the song might even be a cover — go Google “Green Queen” and you’re only gonna find pot info — but it’s a cool groove one way or another and the band carries it just as well as some of their more epic material.

You can click here to see the other clips thus far released in the Ceremony of Sludge 2014 video series, and check out Disenchanter‘s “Green Queen” on the player followed by video info below. Please enjoy:

Disenchanter, “Green Queen” Live at Ceremony of Sludge

Disenchanter perform “Green Queen” live at the third annual Ceremony of Sludge (Club 21, Portland, Oregon, 3/8/14).

Edited by Cole Boggess.
Cameras: Cole Boggess, Justin Anderson, Justin Brown, Eli Duke.
Audio: Tim Burke

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Friday Full-Length: Acid King, Busse Woods

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Acid King, Busse Woods (1999)

In terms of the sheer “fuck yeah!” factor, Acid King‘s Busse Woods is one of the best stoner rock records ever made. A monster of classic riffage, it was the San Francisco trio’s 1999 sophomore outing after 1995′ Zoroaster debut, recorded by Billy Anderson and released by Man’s Ruin Records. Small Stone rightly stepped in and did a reissue in 2004 prior to releasing the band’s third album, III, in 2005, and with cuts like “Carve the Five,” “Electric Machine,” “Silent Circle,” “Drive Fast, Take Chances” and their eerie take on “39 Lashes” from Jesus Chris Superstar, it remains a paragon of all that is riff-led and virtuous and heavy, rife with timeless nod, warm tone and a dropped-out-of-life atmosphere. My biggest surprise in closing out the week with it is that I haven’t already done so.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the album — now over five years ago — I did an interview with guitarist/vocalist Lori S. in which she talked about the Cook County, Illinois, preserve from which the full-length takes its name and its relation to her own growing up:

Thinking back at Busse Woods or Ned Brown Forest Preserve, it’s hard to believe we weren’t all in prison or dead. This place was where bored suburban teenagers hung out ’cause that’s what we did! Most of my memories are hanging out with my high school pal John Cesak. He was the big drug dealer back in the day and we would go there pull in open the trunk, crank Black Sabbath and sell nickel bags! It was like a flea market for drugs, lids, purple microdot, black beauties HELL YEAH! Hanging out, smoking and playin’ Frisbee. Total Dazed and Confused

Acid King are set to release a new LP in 2015 through Svart. Also recorded by Billy Anderson, it’ll be their first since III and to say it’s one of my most anticipated releases for next year would probably be short-selling the nerditude with which I’m looking forward to hearing their new songs, some of which they’ve been playing live now for a while. Still, whatever they may have in store, Busse Woods remains an unfuckwithable monument to Sabbath-worship that only gets richer with age.

I hope you enjoy.

No lie, part of my motivation in picking Acid King to end the week was because of the righteous manner in which the San Francisco Giants dispatched the Cardinals to advance to the World Series, but Busse Woods is an album I go back to pretty regularly. Plus, I’m cutting out a little early this afternoon, and as Lori explains above, it’s a great one for slacking off. The Patient Mrs. and I have some friends coming from out of town tonight, and tomorrow is ClamfightWizard EyeFaces of Bayon and Wizard Eye in Worcester, so it should be a pretty full weekend. One which, it would seem, I’m eager to get started.

On Monday, I’ll have a review of that show, and Tuesday a writeup for the new John Wilkes Booth record — and if the timing works out, I’ll have that Lowrider interview up sometime in there too — but Tuesday night, I’m headed out to meet up with the Kings Destroy guys. Their tour with Radio MoscowBang and Pentagram begins on Thursday in Chicago, and I’ll be along for the entirety of the trip once again. Very much looking forward to getting back out with those guys and seeing places I’ve never seen before, starting with Chicago, as it happens, which to date I’ve only driven through en route elsewhere.

Like this past Spring, I’ll have my camera and my laptop along for the trip, and writeups on the shows and the travel over the next week-plus as we make our way through the 10 shows in the Midwest and the East Coast. More to come.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend and that if you checked out the podcast that just went up, you enjoy that as well. Please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Wino Wednesday: Saint Vitus, “Blessed Night” Live in Colmar, France, Oct. 9, 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

It didn’t take long for video to surface of Saint Vitus‘ 35th anniversary European tour. The run, which includes Orange Goblin as the support act, kicked off Oct. 9 at Le Grillen in Colmar, France, and a day later, there were clips out of the band’s show. I’d say it has something to do with the special nature of the occasion, Vitus having begun one of doom’s most influential legacies when they formed as Tyrant in 1979 (and where, I ask you, is the band who will take up that moniker?), but really, even if it was just another show and just another tour for them, the situation would probably be the same. People want to see Saint Vitus. That’s a big part of the reason I’ve been able to go three-plus years with Wino Wednesdays.

The track “Blessed Night” comes off Saint Vitus‘ 2012 comebacker, Lillie: F-65 (review here). It was the first single from the album; a quick, three-minute shot of a song that was the first one they wrote since getting back together. Distinguished from the rest of Lillie: F-65 for having lyrics by Wino and not guitarist Dave Chandler — lines like “Her beauty is as timeless as dark forlorn galaxies” were a dead giveaway — it was also faster than a lot of what that record had to offer, songs like “Let Them Fall” and “The Bleeding Ground” more in league with the grueling doom one expects from Chandler‘s songwriting. But it’s a quality track nonetheless, and I recall the first time I saw them play it just being so happy there was new Vitus at all, let alone what it sounded like.

Vitus are performing all of 1986’s classic Born too Late album on this tour — they seem to be spacing it out in the set, rather than performing it front-to-back, so they can still close with the title-track — and I hope at some point to have a full-show, but until then, enjoy “Blessed Night” and have a killer Wino Wednesday:

Saint Vitus, “Blessed Night” Live in Colmar, France, Oct. 9, 2014

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Romero Go 8-Bit in “Take the Potion” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

romero take the potion video

This one hit me like a punch directly in the demographic. I remember well playing Zelda II: The Adventure of Link for NES, and having no idea of what was actually happening in the game. Back in the day, an RPG would just basically tell you “go here and get this thing and try not to die on the way” and that was the game. Turn-based battle was the shit, and Final Fantasy always had that over Zelda in my book, but no question the Zelda series has some of the best games ever made in it, between A Link to the Past for SNES and The Ocarina of Time for N64. Classic stuff.

Much to the credit of Wisconsin heavy rockers Romero, who released their debut LP, Take the Potion (review here), last year, the plotline of their 8-bit-style video for the title-track actually makes more sense than did the actual plotline of Zelda II. Drummer/vocalist Ben Brooks goes on an adventure with zombies and a stash of reefer and gradually builds an army of the undead — whose sole purpose, by the look of it, is to party — and eventually saves the Princess with a magic potion made of the last of his stash and whatever else, thus becoming “a real hero.” All the while we cut periodically back to the band — Brooks, guitarist/vocalist Jeffrey Mundt, bassist Patrick Hotlen and guitarist/organist Tim Consequence — who are rocking out “Take the Potion” in, what else?, a dungeon.

As videos go, “Take the Potion” is a lot more fun and a lot more creative than four dudes rocking out in a room, and it goes a long way in conveying Romero‘s unpretentious vibe, the band not taking themselves too seriously as they bust out what’s still a killer track from the album that shares its name. The clip comes with a promise of new music soon, so that’ll definitely be one to watch for. In the meantime, enjoy:

Romero, “Take the Potion” video

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