Black Road Post “Blood on the Blade” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 6th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

black road live

It starts with a slow-mo Wes Anderson-style walk off an elevator, and soon enough, Black Road‘s new video and single unfold with attitude-laced bluesy vibes and an underpinning of heavy rock grit. And of course, by the end of the video, there is indeed “Blood on the Blade.” There was a moment there where I thought frontwoman Suzi Uzi was carving up the rest of the band, but that’s not the way it goes. Maybe next time. The Chicago outfit will, like the rest of the universe, head to SXSW this month to play the SX Stoner Jam, and they’ve also got shows booked around that with Wisconsin’s Attalla that you can see presented in the at-sign language of Instagram under the video itself below. If you’re headed that way, consider yourself lucky. That’s going to be a special time, and cheers to Black Road for taking part.

Uzi and cohorts Tim M. (guitar), Casey Papp (bass) and Robert Gonzales (drums) are teasing the impending prospect of their first full-length with the new song. You might recall they also issued the single “Witch of the Future” (posted here) way back in November, and of course that may or may not wind up on the same record. Their eagerness to get their songs out to the public is justifiable beyond even the band-releasing-their-debut-album standard antsy-ness. Set for issue through DHU Records and BloodRock Records, whenever it arrives and whatever it’s called will see the band having already worked to build considerable momentum, not only with the show at SXSW, but also at New England Stoner and Doom Fest II in Connecticut this May, among others, and having already garnered much hyperbole around their 2017 self-titled EP (discussed here), which was fairly enough earned.

“Blood on the Blade” does little to make me think the pattern won’t hold when the album eventually shows up, and of course that’s the whole point of an advance single. I won’t predict how the whole record is going to play out based on one song, but the rolling groove here, the on-the-couch guitar solo, and the brooding overall vibe suit the band well.

PR wire info follows, as well as those live dates.

Please enjoy:

Black Road, “Blood on the Blade” official video

Chicago, Illinois Doom rock outfit Black Road surprised everyone Saturday with a release of a brand new video and song titled “Blood on the Blade” of the upcoming, as of yet untitled, debut full length.

“Blood on the Blade” is the first track taken from the new Black Road album and is a sassy Blues Rock anthem which trudges in a half tempo blues beat while being told a short story of ‘who can you trust’. The video was filmed/edited and directed on location by Don Corthier and Liza Moon

The debut album will feature 7 brand new heavy hitting rock anthems and will be nothing short of an instant classic!

Watch out for the Limited Edition vinyl and cassette through DHU Records and CD on BloodRock Records in 2019.

Black Road live:
Wed March 13 @rudyards_htx with @mtntmr @salemsbend @attallawi
Thurs March 14 @spiderhouseatx for #sxstonerjam19
Fri March 15 @89thstreetokc with @croboneband @kingcaravan @attallawi
Sat March 16 @dgstaphouse with @sonofthemorningband @attallawi .

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

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Deville Post “Pigs with Gods” Video; On Tour this Month

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan


Later this week, Swedish heavy rockers Deville will head out on tour supporting their 2018 album, Pigs with Gods (review here). Released this past Fall through Fuzzorama Records, it continues the four-piece’s thread of straightforward, songwriting-based material, using classic forms and modern tones to bring an immediate familiarity to material that, while aggressive, never loses sight of its purpose. Deville, perennially, are songwriters first and foremost. That’s not to say they can’t add a bit of flash here between their two guitars or lock in a killer groove when they’re so inclined, but that even in doing so, they’re serving the greater good of the output itself. And though there are never a shortage of them, it’s not just about hooks either.

The band’s last video was for “Cut it Loose,” which was premiered here, and though they were in it, it followed a whole narrative arc. This time around, in giving visual representation to the Pigs with Gods title-track, it’s dudes in a room rockin’. And fair enough, honestly, since that’s what Deville are all about. It’s not some overblown thing, it’s unpretentious, well-crafted, dead-ahead rock and roll. Watch out for some shaky-cam stuff from director Henrik Christoffersson, but beyond that, it’s a fittingly sans frills showcase for the track, which not only showcases Deville in their element — i.e., playing — but brings the atmosphere of the album to the fore in a way that portrays it as the strength it is. You can see the character of the band as they are live, which, hey wouldn’t you know it, is just how they’ll be on tour later this week. Isn’t it amazing how that timing works out?

Live dates follow the video on the player below.


Deville, “Pigs with Gods” official video

“Pigs with Gods” taken from the album “Pigs with Gods” out 2018 on Fuzzorrama Records.
Buy your physical CD or LP from

Filmed and directed by: Henrik Christoffersson

European tour coming up!

Deville live:
March 8th @ Peter Weiss Haus, Rostock (DE)
March 9th @ Bastard Club, Osnabruck (DE)
March 10th @ Zauberberg, Passau (DE)
March 11th @ FUGA, Bratislava (SV)
March 12th @ Rockhaus, Salzburg (AU)
March 14th @ Rock n´Eat, Lyon (FR)
March 15th @ KUFA, Lyss (CH)
March 16th @ Café Albatross, Pisa (IT)
March 17th @ Scumm, Pescara (IT)
March 19th @ Stadtwerkstatt, Linz (AU)
March 20th @ The Tube, Dusseldorf (DE)
March 21st @ Sonic Ball Room, Cologne (DE)
March 22nd @ Innocent, Hengelo (NL)
March 23rd @ De Engel, Den Helder (NL)
April 13th @ Plan B, Tranås (SWE)

Deville lineup:
Andreas Bengtsson: guitar/vocals
Andreas Wulkan: guitar
Martin Nobel: bass
Martin Fässberg: drums

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Friday Full-Length: The Claypool Lennon Delirium, South of Reality

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

The Claypool Lennon Delirium, South of Reality (2019)

As the second album from the headliner collaboration of Sean Ono Lennon and Les Claypool begins, after some yes-this-is-gonna-be-weird backward voices, there’s a sweet-toned guitar shimmer that lends a peaceful vibe to the unfolding opener “Little Fishes.” That serenity is subversive. The song continues a thread of real-world cynicism that was laid out on their 2016 debut, Monolith of Phobos, and which this more realized sophomore effort updates with references to mercury leaking into the water supply, the Pilsbury dough boy, trans issues and Obi-Wan Kenobi — the latter of whose mention is followed by the signature swish-swish of a lightsaber, which is already not the first of the many creative arrangement elements put to use on the nine-track/47-minute outing. Ono Lennon and Claypool worked exceptionally well together the first time out, and South of Reality finds them all the more driven, not just in social commentary — though the record does seem to touch in with the ground regularly; it opens with “Little Fishes,” makes a centerpiece of “Easily Charmed by Fools” and closes with “Like Fleas” — but in storytelling as well. Second track and album highlight “Blood and Rockets: Movement I, Saga of Jack Parsons / Movement II, Too the Moon” recounts the saga of rocket scientist and Aleister Crowley follower Jack Parsons and his time spent bridging the gap between outer space and the outer limits of ritualism, orgies and the like. The later “Toady Man’s Hour” almost certainly has its basis in real-world subject matter, though it leaves to interpretation who the toady man in question is, but “Blood and Rockets,” “Amethyst Realm,” and even “Boriska,” though it’s also named after a single person and tells their narrative in linear fashion, pull back from a direct social commentary and highlight the fact that there are multiple songwriters at work.

Those songwriters just happen to be Les Claypool and Sean Ono Lennon.

The latter, as the son of Yoko Ono and John Lennon, finds an outlet in The Claypool Lennon Delirium for experimentalism and melodic songcraft alike. There are, almost inevitably, a cacheThe-Claypool-Lennon-Delirium south of reality of Beatlesian moments, as though this project — as opposed to his work in The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, Cibo Matto, Action Figure Party, etc. — is a place where those various sides can be reconciled. And for his part, Claypool is right in there. The Primus frontman and iconic jammer not only seems to drive a good portion of the songwriting on “South of Reality (Path of Totality),” “Little Fishes,” “Toady Man’s Hour,” “Easily Charmed by Fools,” and “Like Fleas,” but he brings vocal harmonies and a trademark bounce to Ono Lennon‘s material that only furthers the spirit of collaboration between the two. And more, that line of “whose song is this?” is blurrier on South of Reality than it was on Monolith of Phobos, and as the two mix instrumentation — Paulo Baldi plays drums and Adam Gates adds “voices,” but beyond that, guitar, bass, keys, vocals, and so on are all Claypool (who also engineered and mixed) and Ono Lennon (who also produced) — they seem all the more at home in this manner of working. There’s still a resonant sense of variety in the material, and definitely two personalities at play, but the mutual affection for classic progressive rock and psychedelia they showed in covering King CrimsonFlower Travellin’ BandThe Who and Pink Floyd on 2017’s Lime and Limpid Green EP serves them well in these songs and is a uniting factor. In their more lush moments, as on “Blood and Rockets” or “Amethyst Realm” or the penultimate “Cricket Chronicles Revisited: Pt. 1, Ask Your Doctor/Pt. 2, Psyde Effects,” with its rampant percussion and vocal tradeoffs, they not only pay tribute to this lineage, but add to it with a tonal presence and open creative spirit. This is not without some level of self-indulgence, but prog never was.

And for as far as they range, either on “Cricket Chronicles Revisited” — indeed, it’s a sequel to the two-part “Cricket and the Genie” from Monolith of Phobos — or in “Amethyst Realm,” which is the longest cut at 7:47, they always seem to find themselves out in that psychedelic fray. Having a Les Claypool bassline to work around certainly never hurts in that regard, though Baldi might be unsung hero of South of Reality as well, as the drums are not only malleable to the angular push and bounce of the title-track but able as well to keep up with the percussion in “Cricket Chronicles Revisited” and the languid unfolding of verses and chorus in “Amethyst Realm.” Both of those jam well into the dimensional planes of the far-out, where “Blood and Rockets” holds its form a bit more in the wash of gorgeous vocal melody of its second movement, but they’re never lacking direction either, and that helps tie them to some of the shorter songs, like “Toady Man’s Hour” or “Like Fleas,” which caps South of Reality with probably the “realest” bit of perspective of all via an image of the living planet conjuring earthquakes to shake humanity from its surface, “Like fleas on the back of a dog.” At least it would be well earned, and if anything was left standing, we’d probably leave some nice ruins for the sentient dolphins or space archaeologists to check out later.

A record of this profile — name brand, to say the least — playing to such influences doesn’t happen often. The Claypool Lennon Delirium make toys of the outwardly bizarre and seem to have a good time playing with those toys, which, honestly, is probably how a second record happened in the first place. And like the compass-bearing cockroach looking out over a desolate, alien landscape (plus a nifty use of Star Trek‘s font!) on its cover, South of Reality paints its own world and teaches listeners the rules of that world as it goes, which have grown all the more expansive as the last couple years have played out and this collaboration has progressed. We may all be doomed in the end, but it’s fun ride getting there.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

So, because I’m Mr. Goestoshows now, I’m hitting up the Middle East Upstairs tonight for Test Meat, Forming the Void, Kings Destroy and Gozu. And then tomorrow, I think I’m traveling with Gozu to New York to see the same show but with Clamfight opening instead of Test Meat. Gonna be good. Both nights. After I posted a thing whining about daydreaming about it on social media, I was invited to go guest vocals with Clamfight for the track “Echoes in Stone” from their last album. I don’t know if I’m going to yet or not, but it might be fun. We’ll see.

But look for those reviews early next week. I’ve also got slated a Mount Atlas EP stream for Monday, which I have no idea how I’ll put together other than to say I will because I said I would. That’ll be that.

It was busy week. Not as much onslaught as last week in terms of posts, which was purposeful on my part — I think I had seven posts one day this week, maybe? — as I can handle a six-post day if I feel like I need to, but anything more than that gets incrementally more consuming of my general well-being and I start to lose perspective. That little Gollum voice in my head steps in to remind me, “Nobody gives a crap,” which actually kind of turns out to be helpful in its way, since it means I can write that news story tomorrow and it won’t matter. I forget that sometimes. Then Gollum goes, “You don’t have any friends! Nobody likes you!” and I shame-eat more peanut butter.

At least it’s good. The baby likes it too, so we share.

This weekend is a new episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio. Sunday, 7PM Eastern. Listen at:

Please tune in. I’m having fun doing that and I don’t want to get canceled because nobody listens. I don’t have any numbers to indicate that’s the case either way, but you know, I’m kind of a weirdo on that station, and way less metal generally than a lot of what they play, so yeah.

I’ll also have a wrap of the show on Monday. You know what? I wasn’t gonna, but let’s just do notes:

MON: Live review; Gimme wrap; Mount Atlas EP stream.
TUE: Live review.
WED: Cowboys & Aliens review/full album stream.
THU: No Man’s Valley video premiere/album review.
FRI: Weeed review.

There. Now it’s all out there and I can stop talking about it piecemeal. I’m a little concerned about how it’ll all get done, but screw it, I always am.

Got up a bit before 3:30 this morning. It’s been mostly 4:15AM the last couple weeks, but The Patient Mrs. was up and I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I just decided to stay awake. I’ll nap this morning or this afternoon — or both! — when the baby naps and thereby not die driving home from the show tonight. Good times. It’s about quarter to six now, so I expect the baby up momentarily. He almost never makes it past 6AM. If I’m still alive when he’s a teenager and sleeps late, I’ll do my best to remember these days of early alarms and writing in the kitchen before the sun comes up. Yesterday it was snowing overnight. That wasn’t so bad. I turned on the outside light and watched the snow fall as I wrote the Hexvessel review that went up a bit ago. Not my best review, but the circumstances were nice.

Post is already too long, so I’ll leave it there. Please have a great and safe weekend. If you’re out in Boston or Brooklyn at either of those shows, I’ll see you there, and otherwise, please check out the forum, radio stream, and merch at Dropout. Thanks for reading.

Ah, baby’s up. Like clockwork, this Pecan.

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Arcadian Child Post “The March” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

arcadian child

Burgess Meredith, an actor known for his work in everything from the 1960s Batman show and The Twilight Zone to Rocky, only apparently ever directed one feature film on his own and it was the 1978 B-movie The Yin and Yang of Mr. Go. Needless to say, I’ve never seen it — and you probably haven’t either — but some footage from it appears in the new Arcadian Child video for “The March” from their late-2018 offering, Superfonica (review here), and at very least it does well there in helping set a mood. And mood is pretty crucial when it comes the Cyprus-based heavy psych rockers and their second full-length on Ripple-offshoot Rogue Wave Records, as the band conjures an overarching fluidity in their approach that draws songs together even as those like “The March” itself stand out with languid and engaging hooks.

Most records, I’m sad to say, get shelved once I review them, either figuratively or literally. I don’t listen to them again. No time. Tomorrow is another review (or two) and there’s just too much to go back, even to albums I dig. Superfonica came out on Nov. 23, at a time when most reviewer-types are either looking back on the year that was or looking ahead to the year that will be. Even so, Arcadian Child‘s work has continued to stand out, and I’ve got back to it more than a few times over the last couple months, even despite the ever-present onslaught of other offerings to be considered. It’s become one of those albums I reach for, and the wash that the band craft across its span makes it certainly welcome whenever I get the chance to put it on again. Which, incidentally now, and sure enough, the record’s holding up.

Enjoy “The March” below, then feel free to hit play on the Bandcamp embed at the bottom of the post with the whole record on it, because really, even if you know the record, I don’t think you’re going to regret spending the time.

Here’s to Burgess Meredith:

Arcadian Child, “The March” official video

From sophomore album “Superfonica,, Get it:
Out via Ripple Music and Rogue Wave Records

Produced by Andreas Trachonitis and Arcadian Child
Recorded and Mixed by Andreas Trachonitis
at studio eleven63 in Nicosia
Additional recordings by Mikaela Tsangari
Mastered by Yiannis Christodoulatos at sweetspot productions in Athens

Video edited by Iam Nothe
Features scenes from “The Yin and the Yang of Mr. Go”, a film by Burgess Meredith (1978), “Messiah of Evil”, a film by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz (1973) and various educational films.

Music by Arcadian Child
Lyrics by Panagiotis I.G

Arcadian Child, Superfonica (2018)

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Hair of the Dog Post Studio Diary Videos from Recording New Album Vol. IV

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hair of the dog

Edinburgh three-piece Hair of the Dog are currently in the process of making their fourth album and second for Kozmik Artifactz, tentatively titled Vol. IV, and they’ve been posting videos assembled from footage captured in the studio. Funny faces, snacks, dudes laughing, playing songs with headphones on — all that stuff. They have two episodes out so far, and beneath all that goofery, what you’re seeing in them is a group creative process at work, the dudes in the band and the crew at Chamber Studios coming together to work as a team toward common ends. In the second episode, as drummer Jon Holt listens back to something he just recorded, there’s a quick moment where he hears something in his playing that no one else thinks is a big deal. The inevitable question: Does he want to re-record it? I don’t know whether they’d punch him in or if the whole trio — Adam Holt on guitar/vocals and Iain Thomson on bass — would have to lay down the song again, or if he’d work with scratch tracks or what, but this experience is completely universal.

If you’ve ever been in the studio with a band, this has happened. I don’t care if you were there recording, or if you were engineering the session, or if you were delivering a god damn pizza. If you were there for more than five minutes, you’ve seen this. There’s always one thing that somebody hears. Maybe no one else even hears it, but to them, it’s glaring. And I’m not going to invalidate that position either, by the way. I’ve been there too. Been that guy. But it’s inevitable that it happens. And usually it’s a not a big deal. What, the band plays the song again? Or even just the one person who heard the one thing plays that one part? Easy. But when a band is recording, these decisions feel huge. Maybe we should leave it because it’s a good mistake? Maybe we don’t want it to sound perfect. Maybe it was meant to be. All this stuff gets in your head while you’re recording and it’s really easy to lose perspective when you’re in the control room listening back to what’s about to become the definitive version of a song.

That kind of pressure is part of making a record, and that’s part of why you see Hair of the Dog laughing it off the rest of the time, because that levity helps alleviate some of the pressure they’re putting on themselves. So when they mug for the camera or make jokes about their shoes or whatever it is, understand there’s a current of purpose behind all that. It can be fun, and ideally it is, but it’s work too, and clearly what they’re doing matters to them enough to get the details just how they want them to be.

There are very likely more of these coming, but you can see the first two below. Hair of the Dog‘s last album, This World Turns (review here), was released in 2017.

Please enjoy:

Hair of the Dog, Making Vol.IV – Studio Diary – Day 1

Hair of the Dog, Making Vol.IV – Studio Diary – Day 2

Hair of the Dog return to Chamber Studios, Edinburgh, to record their fourth studio album on Kozmik Artifactz. The have just finished recording with Graeme Young of Chamber Studios, and have made the decision to mix and produce the album themselves, within lead guitarist/vocalist, Adam Holt’s, home studio.

Speaking of the album Adam said:

“We’re taking this one in a new and exciting direction. The HOTD sound is still very much a part of the mix, but we’re exploring heavier sounds and influences. We always try to hint within each album, where the next album might go in terms of sound, and we think This World Turns paved the way for us to introduce some of our metal roots. The world is so fucked up right now and this has definitely resonated with us, we’ll be addressing much of our opinions of life in 2019 on this new record.”

Whilst we are currently in hiding as we mix our new record, we are happy to announce that we will be headlining Red Crust Festival in Edinburgh on the 4th May alongside some killer bands from across the UK – including 1968 and our dear sisters Juniper Grave.

Attendees will be treated to some exclusive performances of our new material.

The currently un-named record, will be out later this year via German purveyors of killer sounds, Kozmik Artifactz.

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Snowy Dunes Premiere New Single “Let’s Save Dreams”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

snowy dunes

Maybe you’ve been wondering what Stockholm heavy blues-jammers Snowy Dunes have been up to since the release of their second album, Atlantis (review here), in 2017. Well, changes. As in, going through them. Their label folded in what by most reports I’ve seen was an unceremonious clusterfuck — as that kind of thing sometimes is — and they’ve not only swapped out drummers, but added a fifth member in keyboardist/guitarist Alex Gatica, so yeah, combined with playing shows all the while and writing new material, that’s probably enough to eat up a year or so.

2019, then, is the inevitable bounce-back. Snowy Dunes have a batch of new songs and more in the works with intentions toward a yet-unnamed third long-player, and their new single, “Let’s Save Dreams,” carriessnowy dunes lets save dreams just as much of a sense of self-reflection as it does an outward psychedelic shimmer. The underlying current of heavy tonal presence is still there, but “Let’s Save Dreams” tips the balance in Snowy Dunes‘ sound even more toward classic fare, the contributions of Gatica on organ alongside guitarist Christoffer Kingstedt, bassist Carl Oredson, new drummer Jonathan Wårdsäter and vocalist Niklas Eisen, do much to stand out the song from Atlantis and the band’s preceding 2015 self-titled debut (discussed here), expanding the scope of their sound even as Eisen‘s vocals keep it grounded in a hook that delivers the title line not only in imploring fashion, but in such a way as to excite one as to the possibilities of doing just that.

One could hardly ask more of what’s essentially a teaser single and a heads up to their audience that they’re on their way back from what, if it wasn’t the brink, probably looked a little bit like it for a while there. You can check out the suitably trippy and colorful video for “Let’s Save Dreams” below, followed by some comment from Oredson filling everyone in on what’s been happening in the land of Snowy Dunes.

Please enjoy:

Snowy Dunes, “Let’s Save Dreams” official video premiere

Carl Oredson on “Let’s Save Dreams”:

In October, 2017, our drummer, Stefan Jakobsson, left the band to pursue his own musical projects. We decided that we wanted to continue as Snowy Dunes and reached out to Jonathan Wårdsäter (Mamont, Bad Acid) to see if he was interested. Luckily for us, Bad Acid where beginning to fold and he immediately jumped on board.

We had, for some time, considered adding someone who could play keys and also handle some guitar work so we contacted Alex Gatica (Carubine, Rymddröm) and he gladly stepped into that position. Both Jonathan and Alex are amazing musicians who quickly learnt our back catalogue and withing a couple of weeks we did our first gig with the new lineup.

We dedicated a lot of rehearsal time to jamming and trying to come up with ideas for new songs and realized we suddenly had a plethora of new ideas. A couple of these ideas morphed into Let’s Save dreams, our first co-written song with the new members.

“Let’s Save Dreams” is a bit of a departure for us from the heavy, stoner riffage, as all of us draw a lot of inspiration from the late ’60s and early ’70s. The melodic psych vibes just came naturally to us. We also continued to work with the amazing graphical artist Robin Gnista for this single release. Robin has done our previous two album covers and did the cover for the latest Brant Bjork album.

We are currently working hard on writing for our as of yet untitled third album, which we plan on recording this fall. In the meantime we hope everyone enjoys our new single and video!

Snowy Dunes are:
Christoffer Kingstedt: Guitars
Carl Oredson: Bass
Niklas Eisen: Vocals, etc.
Alex Gatica: Keys, Guitars, Vocals, etc.
Jonathan Wårdsäter: Drums

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Codeia Premiere “Medallion (Part III)” Video; As He Turned Back Towards the Eye of the Storm out April 13

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan


German post-metallic trio Codeia are most likely aware the allusion they’re making in the rather lengthy title of their second album. Due out through Hand of Doom Records on April 13, As He Turned Back Towards the Eye of the Storm indeed has its moments that seem in conversation with the patient ambience that genre-godfathers Neurosis brought to their 2004 effort, The Eye of Every Storm, but at five songs and a consuming 73 minutes, the Karlsruhe/Stuttgart-based trio bring together a host of other elements that would seem to be crafted toward bridging that kind of open, atmospheric minimalism with the mathematical crunch of Isis at their most intense, or some of Cult of Luna‘s more lush phrases. These are not unfamiliar aspects of post-metal, but through manipulating the textures at play especially over longform pieces like 20-minute opener “Canon of Echoes” and the 21-minute finale “Mantra-Karma,” the band smoothly execute shifts in volume and intensity in a way that is able to play toward stark contrasts when it so desires but draws itself forward in thoughtful fashion, maintaining conscious presence in the midst of hypnotic suggestion.

All but one of the inclusions on As He Turned Back Towards the Eye of the Storm — which, like the band’s name itself, is also stylized all-lowercase — starts out quiet and progresses toward an inevitable build in volume with a fine sonic detailing that is codeia and he turned back towards the eye of the stormboth emblematic of the style and fluidly executed by Codeia as it was on their 2017 debut, “Don’t be Afraid,” She Whispered and Disappeared (review here), and across both releases there is a clear move toward evocation. Guitarist Markus Liebich, bassist/vocalist Denis Schneider and drummer Timo Langhof aren’t just employing the combination of airy guitar effects and massive roll that provides the early apex of “Emerald Deception” for their own ends. They’re using them to construct a moving entity that is the album as a whole. It’s about putting the listener into a specific mental and emotional place, and even in the five-minute noise-wash centerpiece “Mantra,” they’re able to accomplish what they set out to do, whether it’s through effects, tonal weight, bellowed shouts or a sense of sonic drift.

The outlier, which starts at relative full-bore is “Medallion,” which has been broken into three parts for the purposes of video-making and, presumably, ease of consumption. A blasting intensity gives way gradually to barely-there minimalism, and the three-piece build back up to a nodding, crushing heft that recedes again to set the foundation of a last crescendo leading into the closer with a final resonant wisp of guitar ahead of the arrival at the footsteps of “Mantra-Karma.” Of course, no 73-minute full-length is going to be a minor undertaking — nor is it intended to be, on any level — but As He Turned Back Towards the Eye of the Storm holds sway over its extended runtime with an immersive vibe that calls all to worship alongside it.

“Medallion (Part III)” can be seen premiering below. When all three videos are out (“Part II” is yet forthcoming), they’ll be pieced together for the entirety of the song. Until then, please enjoy the clip below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

As He Turned Back Towards the Eye of the Storm is available to preorder now:

Codeia, “Medallion (Part III)” official video premiere

In comparison to their first record “don’t be afraid”, she whispered and disappeared, the new one as he turned back towards the eye of the storm feels more focused and determined than its predecessor. The band therefore likens their previous album to a prologue: “Our debut has introduced our characters, or influences. Now, the storyline unfolds and allows for a more complex character development.”

Spherical sound patterns, hypnotic repetitions, and progressive structures set the stage for facet-like lyrics. Some things, however, shouldn’t change – the band once more has made it their mission to capture a live-feel on the album, making sure to record all guitar loops live. A vinyl-only bonus track of 22 minutes as well as two contributions by N (Denovali Records, Midira Records) lend additional richness to the production.

Ultimately, the seamless transition between the two records gives an entirely new meaning to both, urging the listener to re-evaluate the known and unknown.

as he turned back towards the eye of the storm (produced by Tobias Stieler/Kokomo) is out on April 13th, 2019 (Record Store Day) via Hand Of Doom Records.

Codeia is:
Markus Liebich (Guitar)
Denis Schneider (Bass, Vocals)
Timo Langhof (Drums)

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Friday Full-Length: Dio, Master of the Moon

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Dio, Master of the Moon (2004)

In 2004, legendary vocalist Ronnie James Dio (Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio, also Elf) was already 21 years removed from his band’s legendary debut, Holy Diver (discussed here), released in ’83 after a stint fronting Black Sabbath that resulted in two landmark LPs in 1980’s Heaven and Hell (discussed here) and its 1981 follow-up, Mob Rules (discussed here). And what a 21 years it had been. Aside from another brief stint with Black Sabbath for 1992’s Dehumanizer (discussed here), the entirety of that time was devoted to the development and sustaining of the Dio band, which thrived across a holy trinity that Holy Diver began and 1984’s The Last in Line (discussed here) and 1985’s Sacred Heart completed, and survived both the rising of a generation fueled by the adrenaline of thrash and the grunge and nü-metal movements. They might not have been playing arenas across the US and selling millions of albums by the time 2004 came around and the band presented their final studio album, Master of the Moon, but there was no question they — and he — remained in righteous form and had enjoyed a sprawling influence that continues to spread even 15 years later.

Dio released three albums in the 2000s. The millennium was greeted by Magica, a narrative concept piece that reportedly had two more chapters in progress at the time of the singer’s death in 2010, 2002’s Killing the Dragon, and Master of the Moon. In hindsight, the 2002 offering was a landmark. It represented a shift in mindset that saw Dio understanding his place — and I say “his” instead of “their” because it was very much him guiding the direction of the band — in the sphere of heavy metal as a classic act. One might think that automatically obviates relevance, but to listen to Killing the Dragon, the singer and the band around him both sound liberated by it. After struggling in the ’90s to find his identity amid a shifting generational landscape and producing some great material in Lock up the Wolves (1990), Strange Highways (1993) and Angry Machines (1996), but not finding nearly the same audience response attained for his efforts in the mid-’80s, and getting Magica out of his system, Dio was able to be the heavy metal statesman his voice had always been so suited to being. Master of the Moon, a crisp 10-song/46-minute all-pro offering with Craig Goldy on guitar, Scott Warren on keys — mixed low in trad-metal fashion but filling out the sound nonetheless — Jeff Pilson on bass and Simon Wright on drums, may have been the last new studio record the Dio band put out, but it was also emblematic of the new era of the band that Killing the Dragon began. It built on that album and featured memorable songs crafted in a style that didn’t need to play anymore to ideas of modernity and found the singer and the band around him able to do what they did best. And they did exactly that.

dio master of the moonOpener “One More for the Road” is a barn-burner in the “Neon Knights” or “Stand up and Shout” tradition, and the signal it sends is both a dogwhistle to the converted that they should know the formula being put to use and a display of the enduring vitality of that approach. The subsequent title-track deals in feelings of isolation via the kind of epic imagery that was Dio‘s stock and trade. I was fortunate enough to interview him at the time and I asked him about the lyrics to “Master of the Moon” itself, thinking it was an allegory for a kind of post-9/11 political sphere, the booming (literally) War on Terror and all that, but no, he told me he liked that idea but he wrote it for a friend’s teenage son feeling alone and misunderstood. This ability to translate the mundane into grand imagery was an essential facet of what made Dio the larger-than-life persona he was, on record as well as on stage and in the history of heavy metal more generally. As a backdrop for his powerful vocal delivery, songs like “The Man Who Would be King” and “The End of the World” indeed touched on the prevailing mood of the time, but in a vague and roundabout way, so that the stories being told were allegories, personal and otherwise. The swagger in the verses “Shivers” set up a standout hook backed by a theatrically creepy keyboard line, while “The Eyes” tapped into the kind of chugging stomp that made Dehumanizer sound so mechanized, and all the while, images and settings and characters populated the songs to give listeners paying attention something to dig into more than just another hooky melody or another cool riff. That is to say, there may have been a formula at work, but the paint on that canvas was fresh.

Perhaps the most personal-seeming of inclusions on Master of the Moon was “Living the Lie,” in which the identifier “I” was only used once. The lyrics dealt with the cloying desperation surrounding fame, and seemed to be as much about those seeking to hold onto the past as those outside trying to get in. The first verse ended, “She was never in the circle, or the round would be a square/And the more she seemed to want it, oh the less they seemed to care,” and the culture of fame was taken into direct observation later on:

If you’re looking at tomorrow
To forget about today
Then the past will be your future
And it’s there you’ll always stay
What about the pictures that smile from magazines
The ultimate temptation, all our kings and our queens

This led to the conclusion: “Such heat and too much pressure, not worth the try/No more for them, now it’s I/And no more living the lie.” There are of course multiple ways to read it, but particularly as “Living the Lie” was backed by the declarative “I Am,” it seemed to be Dio finding strength in self-actualization and having the sing-along chorus to prove it. Its long fadeout probably should’ve been the end of the record, but the trademark woman-as-evil-temptress “Death by Love” and the more doomly closer “In Dreams” follow, the latter tapping some of the keyboard feel of The Last in Line, but not quite living up to the apex set by “I Am.”

I don’t think anyone is going to pitch Master of the Moon as being Dio‘s most essential work. Were he alive, I don’t think Dio himself would make that claim. But the course that Master of the Moon continued coming off of Killing the Dragon showed a way for Dio to move forward and be who they were as a band without cowing to the trend of the day. Of course, after the touring cycle for Master of the MoonRonnie James DioTony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice would have a by-any-other-name Black Sabbath reunion as Heaven and Hell, and Dio‘s final studio performance would be on their 2009 album, The Devil You Know (review here), and his final tours would be to support that release before he ultimately succumbed to stomach cancer, his legacy long since cemented and unmatched among heavy metal frontmen.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

I expect today to be tense. The Patient Mrs. has a phone interview for a professor job in New Jersey at one of her several alma maters, and that kind of thing always defines a day. Of course she’ll nail it — because that’s what she does and the school in question, like any fucking place that has any sense at all, would be lucky to have her, what with the utter brilliance and unparalleled dedication that I so much admire in her — but still, I think she’s nervous. There is no doubt in my mind of her greatness, and she shines in that kind of situation, talking to people about her work, because she’s driven as much by passion as by professionalism. She gets excited and that gets others excited. It’s fun to watch.

However, I won’t be there to watch it. I’ll take The Pecan and roll down to the mall like the old man I am and buy the new record from The Claypool Lennon Delirium at Newbury Comics, because I live in Massachusetts and that’s the place to buy records. Plus there are a lot of colorful things to show the baby and he likes that. I might treat myself to the new Candlemass as well. We’ll see.

Next week will end with shows in Boston and New York as I follow Kings Destroy down the I-95 corridor and maybe sit in with Clamfight for a guest vocal spot, but even before that, it’s a busy time. Here are the notes as they are today:

MON 02/25 Codeia video premiere; Snowy Dunes video premiere.
TUE 02/26 Mountain Tamer single premiere; Volcano review.
WED 02/27 Orbiter track premiere.
THU 02/28 Almost Honest track premiere.
FRI 03/01 Possible song premiere or Hexvessel review.

Some of that will change, obviously, but it’s a start. This week was absolutely slammed. I don’t know if you noticed and I won’t fool myself into thinking you did, but there wasn’t one day this week with anything less than six posts. I think it was Wednesday had eight! It was completely overwhelming and I was out of my mind for much of it, but we got here and it’s done now, so whatever. My inflated self-importance will get a couple hours to recover before I start in again on Monday’s stuff and maybe make a playlist for the next The Obelisk Show, which will air next weekend.

Always something to do. 10 years later.

As ever, I wish you a great and safe weekend. Forum, Radio, merch at Dropout:

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