Live Review: Høstsabbat 2016 Night Two in Oslo, Norway, 09.17.16

Posted in Features, Reviews on September 18th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

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I slept. I slept and slept and slept. Then I wrote. Then I slept more. Then I wrote more, and by the time I was done with all that writing and sleeping, it was almost the start of Høstsabbat‘s second night. An earlier launch and more bands, but still a lineup of unmistakable quality, I didn’t want to miss any of it.

I’d hardly call myself an expert on the place, but Oslo seems like a really cool town if you like bands. On the 10-minute walk from the hotel to the Arena Vulkan I passed no fewer than three places that looked like they might host a rock show on any given night. Maybe that doesn’t sound like that many, depending on where you live, but it’s an embrace of culture that doesn’t exist in the place I’m from. Again, no expert, but that’s the initial impression.

Before I jump into the wrap of the day, I want to extend a personal thanks to Ole Helstad, Jens Storaker and all involved with the festival for having me over. The chance to see Oslo at all and to see these bands in this place is something very special and they clearly believe in what they’re doing. Rightly so. The vibe throughout the weekend was fantastic and I went almost the whole show without having beer thrown on me, so mark it a win for sure. Skål.

Here’s how night two went down at Høstsabbat 2016:

Reptile Master

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Post-sludge played through three guitars (plus bass) geared toward general tonal push, Reptile Master were an aggressive start to the day. I remembered the band from the release of their 2015 debut, In the Light of a Sinking Sun (track stream here), on Blues for the Red Sun Records, but live, the Tromsø five-piece made much more of an impression, bassist Rolf Ole Rydeng Jenssen and guitarist Nicolay Tufte Østvold set up facing each other with their mic stands crossed so as to accentuate the dual screams that permeated their set. They also had a split with Black Moon Circle out earlier this year, but their sound is much more crushing in its atmosphere, holding a tension even in its quiet moments without coming across as a post-metallic Neurosis clone. In that, the general pissed off nature of the material served them well as a distinguishing factor that changed the context even of those quiet moments, and the nod factor only became more prevalent as they went on. They’ve clearly started to make a mark in Norway, if the early crowd was anything to judge by.

Wild Rocket

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It was my first exposure to Dublin’s Wild Rocket, whose debut album, Geomagnetic Hallucinations, came out in 2014. Much as the night before at Høstsabbat had shifted vibe almost on a per-band basis, they were a significant jump in style from what Reptile Master had on offer, trading off between driving heavy rock and more spaced impulses, like that moment when the song “Motorhead” became the band Motörhead. About 25 minutes into their set opening the Vulkan stage upstairs, they announced it was time for their last song, warning, “It’s kind of a long one.” Fair enough. More people came up as their time went on — it was early yet — and they very clearly turned a few heads, including mine, with that final space jam, seeming to push further out in a way that recalled to my mind some of Death Alley‘s post-Hawkwind cosmic triumphs, though in the case of Wild Rocket, the interstellar was even more of a factor with the inclusion of keys. Their set still wound up short at roughly 35 minutes, but it was a welcome sampling of what they’re about, and their energy was infectious.

Mammoth Storm

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Arguably the most impressive headbanging I saw all weekend came from Mammoth Storm bassist/vocalist Daniel Arvidsson, and there was some stiff competition. The Swedish four-piece rolled out huge, clunky riffs on the Pokalen stage in a spirit that found them aptly named. They weren’t far off from what Reptile Master were doing tonally, but ultimately less angry, less atmospheric, and more about the heft itself than the cathartic expression derived therefrom. Still, they were way into it. Formerly a trio, they were on tour earlier this summer with High Fighter and Earthship, and the Høstsabbat crowd seemed to be the beneficiary of that experience. Their first album, Fornjot, was issued late last year by Napalm Records, and while they seemed to be figuring out some elements of presentation, no question they had their direction sorted, all skull-pummel and unrelenting push. Heavy band playing heavy music, is the bottom line. It was an easy set to enjoy and another jump to a different style from the band before them; that once again would become something of a running theme throughout the night.

Kollwitz

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To wit, Kollwitz. Quite simply a band I’d probably never get the chance to see anywhere else, the Bodø six-piece proffered vicious post-metal with a hardcore edge, the intensity of Converge met with the strict chug and strobe lighting of Amenra. They had the most crowded stage of the festival, but still plenty of room upstairs at the Arena Vulkan to thrash around, and they took advantage of it, their motion tied to the undulating lumber of their songs. They were another band I’d never heard before, which was by design — that is, I knew they were playing and could’ve checked them out, but sometimes it’s fun to go into these things blind — but they hit the decade mark in 2016 and came across with the command of an experienced act. Rarer for acts of their ilk, their material had a kind of direct thrust, and even when they did drone out an ambient section, quieting down all that push, percussion, screams, keys, and so on, it was plain enough that it was a temporary situation before the assault began anew. In accordance with the tenets of the style, they were cerebral and bludgeoning in kind. There’s nothing else I would’ve asked of them.

Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus

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Shit they were good. Come over from Stockholm, Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus were among the bands I was most looking forward to seeing this weekend, and they were quick to justify that anticipation. Most of what they played came from 2014’s Spirit Knife (review here), and that was zero reason to complain as they nestled into the classic groove and modern energy of “Wind Seized” after the opening cut “Andra,” which may or may not have been new. They’d get more tripped out as they went on, vocalist/guitarist Karl Apelmo — whose voice sounds even better live — leading the charge with guitarist Micke Pettersson, bassist Viktor Källgren and drummer Henke Persson all on the same page, fluid and vibrant. They tapped into four decades’ worth of Swedish heavy rock without losing sight of their own personality, and their play between the boogie of ages and a modern soulfulness was exceedingly well met, especially with the psychedelic range that emerged later on with “Fog by the Steep” and “Point Growth” closing out. How they’re not playing every single festival this fall, or, you know, all the time, I have no idea. Excellent band, and clearly still growing as well. Put them on the road with Radio Moscow immediately.

Siena Root

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Sweden’s Siena Root have been making the festival rounds across Europe over the last several months while working on a follow-up to their 2014 album, Pioneers. Next month, they’ll play Smoke the Fuzz in Athens, and they’re veterans of the likes of Freak Valley, Dome of Rock and so on. I said on the social medias that seeing Siena Root took some of the sting out of knowing I’d never get to watch peak-era Deep Purple play live, and while that’s perhaps simplifying their appeal, I think the comparison holds up, with the classic ’70s vibe Siena Root bring to life in their songs, costumes and delivery, the focus on interplay between the organ of Erik “Errka” Petersson (the only full organ setup on either stage at Høstsabbat) and the guitar of Matte Gustavsson, and the powerhouse vocals of Samuel Björö, the robe-clad guru bass from Sam Riffer and the swing-ready drumming of Love Forsberg. They were unabashed fun, all-in, and a pro execution that wasn’t at all staid. So genuine were they in their performance that it made me think it might be time to start considering Siena Root in the same league as Spiritual Beggars when it comes to crafting their songs and representing a natural lineage to the birth of heavy.

Slomatics

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They were the one. Slomatics. The headliners for the Pokalen stage were the band I was most dying to see all weekend, and the disappointment factor was zero. The Belfast trio of guitarists David Majury and Chris Couzens and drummer/vocalist/noisemaker Marty Harvey rolled out some of Høstsabbat‘s most satisfying riffs, and with a set spanning back to 2012’s A Hocht for “Tramontane,” “Return to Kraken” and closer “Beyond Acid Canyon,” and included “Electric Breath” and “Supernothing” from this year’s stellar Future Echo Returns (review here) as well as a host of cuts from 2014’s Estron (review here), they crashed, bashed and rumbled so loudly and so righteously that when it came to it, I just couldn’t remove myself from the front of the stage. Not only that, I did something I hadn’t done the entire time at the Arena Vulkan, which was to remove my earplugs part-way and let the full brunt of the volume hit my eardrums directly. That, I soon enough realized, was a mistake, but even so, the fact that the impulse was there should say something. Slomatics don’t get out of Ireland much, so to have them in Oslo was something special, and their performance showed it. A joy of ultra-heavy revelry. It was reportedly their first time playing “Supernothing” live, and I felt ridiculously lucky to be there to witness it. They’re the reason my neck is sore today. Don’t even care.

Truckfighters

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Very much the headliners for the fest as a whole. Immediately. No warmup. All go. The Swedish fuzzdudes left nothing to mystery as to why they were atop the bill. No place else to put them, frankly. They played in front of a banner so huge that it didn’t fit the Vulkan stage and all you could see from the crowd was the word “TRUCK,” but that was enough to get the point across. I’d had the good fortune earlier in the evening to sit and interview bassist/vocalist Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm about the band’s new album, V (review pending), and some of the growth the group has undertaken over their last couple records, the push past straightforward desert-style groove into more progressive territory, and something I wondered about was how they would continue to strike that balance onstage when it comes to songs like “Calm Before the Storm” from the latest record. The answer is basically they just do. Cedermalm still headbangs, guitarist Niklas “Dango” Källgren is as kinetic as ever, jumping in circles, running from one side to the other of the stage, generally playing the madman role and doing it well. They had a new drummer — Marcus was the name I got, if he has a last name or a Truckfighters-style nickname, I don’t know it — who will reportedly be one of two joining them on their Euro tour this fall, and from what I hear they’ll be back in the US in spring, but the gist of watching a Truckfighters set is the excitement of how much they put into playing their songs, and whether they’re fast or slow, upbeat or melancholy, that continues to be the case. I stuck around to the finish because not only were they killing it, but the setlist didn’t have “Desert Cruiser” written on it — though they did include “Mexico,” which was a nice touch — and I was curious to see if they could actually get away with not playing that song, ending instead with “The Chairman” from 2014’s Universe (review here). They wound up using it for an encore, closing out the evening and the Høstsabbat as a whole with a sing-along of the chorus that continued even after they left the stage. I’m not sure a more suitable ending would’ve been possible.

It was right after they finished that some dick behind me decided to launch the rest of his beer into the crowd. Jerk move, but a great set, and I wasn’t exactly fresh and clean as it was by that point. I’d been watching the end of the show with the Slomatics guys, and said a few goodnights before making my way out. Always sad to walk out of an even like this for the last time, knowing that it’s over, but this was a special time and a special event, and those things have a tendency to be fleeting. All the more reason to treasure the memories of them.

Thanks again to everyone involved for having me over. I am humbled by the experience and deeply, deeply grateful for the opportunity. I wouldn’t presume to think I would be, but if I was invited again, I’d be here in a flash.

Flight takes off bound for JFK Airport via Copenhagen in about two hours. I very much appreciate you reading and know full well that if you didn’t, I wouldn’t get to do awesome stuff like fly to a festival in Oslo for a weekend, so thank you, thank you, thank you.

More pics after the jump.

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Live Review: Høstsabbat 2016 Night One in Oslo, Norway, 09.16.16

Posted in Features, Reviews on September 17th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

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As much as that kind of thing can be, the flight over had been a joy. By that I mean I slept. Driving past awesome trees and Euro-looking buildings en route, I got into Oslo and to the hotel in time to crash for a couple more hours before the first night of Høstsabbat kicked off at the Arena Vulkan. My first time here, my first time there, but the impression was immediately positive.

Høstsabbat is held across two stages in the Arena Vulkan, which is the Norwegian word for “volcano.” The Vulkan itself is upstairs. A sizable spot. High-ceiling, well lit (when Bong weren’t playing), great sound, bar off to the side. Downstairs is the Pokalen; a smaller performance space but with bar seating, tvs playing the fest schedule on a loop and a mellow vibe. Also great sound. The whole venue is tucked away on a side-street with an international market across the way filled with fish, meat, cheeses, bread, beer, coffee, tea, restaurants, and there are tables outside for smokers or those who might just want to catch a breath. All is immaculately clean — until beer is spilled on it, of course — and welcoming.

The first of the two nights comprised a seemingly manageable six acts, each with an hour set allotted, alternating between the stages downstairs and upstairs, playing one at a time. I won’t lie: by the time Conan were going on to headline, I was falling asleep sitting on the barricade in the photo pit, but for seeing them and Bong, as well as bands I’ve never caught before in Day of the Jackalope, MaidaVale, Cult of Occult and Wobbler, the evening was a joy for its variety and for the level of performance each band brought to the stage, whichever stage they happened to be on.

I’m thankful to be here. Here’s how it went down:

Day of the Jackalope

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Earlier this year, Oslo natives Day of the Jackalope released their self-titled debut EP on 12″ vinyl. To open Høstsabbat on the Pokalen stage, they would play all five songs from it — “Waste,” “PTSD,” “Profiteer,” “Take it Back” and “New Lies” — as well as a cover of Jimi Hendrix‘s “Manic Depression” and several others that I’ll assume were new. Their sound was a heavy boogie blues rock, and depending on the moment one could hear a strong influence from self-titled-era Clutch with some of Orange Goblin‘s gruffness thrown in, particularly in the vocals of Anders Hellestveit, joined in the band by guitarist Jens Andreas Storaker (also one of the organizers of the fest), bassist Lars Brodal and drummer Bård Sigurdson. They made a highlight of “The Salvager,” broke out a shaker for “PTSD” — had to wonder if there was a comment there — and some cowbell for “Agitate (Vaskebrett)” and pulled in a solid early crowd to start the day off with a raucous and weighted groove.

Wobbler

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My first encounter with Wobbler came just last month when they were announced as the final addition to the lineup for the fest. However, upon checking them out, they were immediately one of the bands I was most looking forward to seeing. The Hønefoss five-piece dug immediately into lush classic-style prog, marked out by the keyboards and synth work of Lars Fredrik Frøislie. The risk with a style like theirs presented in a live setting is it can feel staid if the band doesn’t keep a focus on delivery — all of a sudden, you’re just watching dudes noodle — but Wobbler avoided the issue entirely and had a vibrant performance, with vocalist/guitarist Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo providing a frontman presence backed by the lead work of guitarist Geir Marius Bergom Halleland and given a dynamic foundation from bassist Kristian Karl Hultgren and drummer Martin Nordrum Kneppen. Their material — still largely unknown to me, though they made a compelling argument for purchasing both their albums downstairs in the merch section; if I had any krone, I would have — was fluid and at times gorgeous, but didn’t necessarily give up thrust for indulgence, thereby striking a rare balance between progressive and heavy rock.

Cult of Occult

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Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, French foursome Cult of Occult made ready to unleash a vision of sludge so extreme it bordered on the grotesque. Primal. Brutal. All that fun stuff. They’d have the biggest crowd of the night for the Pokalen stage, and they treated it to nothing less than a bludgeoning, like Bongripper taken to a place of vicious misanthropy. Yup, and they were heavy too. Deadlight Entertainment put out their third album, Five Degrees of Insanity, in 2015, and from it, “Alcoholic” was recognizable for its resounding “fuck you all” chorus during which the crowd did indeed get flipped off from the stage. They played pretty much in the dark, at least at the beginning, and that felt about right for the hate-laced filth on offer in their sound, the sole communication with the audience coming in raised beer cups and near the end when drummer Rudy was the only one left on stage — they deteriorated their set-finale, departing the stage one at a time, vocals, guitar, then bass, to leave the drums as last to go — and he waved the cheering crowd on, fists pumping in the air in slow motion to his crashes. There’s an element of spectacle there, even if they’d never admit it, but in their tones, screams, lumber and push, they were righteous and unrepentant in their delivery. Not really where my head is at, but hard not to respect what they were doing and the grueling intensity with which they were doing it.

Bong

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I know I’ve seen UK dronelords Bong before at Roadburn 2010, but that was six years and probably that many lineups ago for the band, whose prolific ritualizing continues to yield immersive fruit and whose live incarnation as a trio on the Vulkan stage at Høstsabbat had to be one of the most tonally claustrophobic performances I’ve ever witnessed. And that’s not a small room to make it feel like the walls are closing in. After trying to take pictures of them in the dark, I went and poured myself a cup of much-appreciated free water at the bar and watched as the ripples created by their sheer volume and low-end frequencies danced in a circle of geometric patterning that looked like the alien communication it truly was. With guitarist Mike Vest starting out the show by taking a violin bow to his guitar, bassist David Terry dramatically quoting Lovecraft or something like it and adding throat-singing chants and Conan drummer Rich Lewis filling in on drums, Bong were a litmus test for how much assault earplugs could actually take. Downstairs, between bands at the Pokalen, they played Parliament, which was an enjoyable irony, but after catching my breath and making sure my head wasn’t going to explode, I was back up to watch Bong again, their slogging sound just too much the soundtrack for my jetlag to be missed any more than medically necessary.

MaidaVale

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As time has gone on and the heavy rock underground has kind of moved past the hey-let’s-pretend-it’s-1972 ethic of vintage worship — at least for the most part — the impetus has been toward blending the classic and the modern, so that clarity of sound and tone don’t need to be sacrificed to tap into an essential swing. Swedish four-piece MaidaVale arrive at this moment and make themselves right at home. Their debut album, Tales of the Wicked West, came out last month on The Sign Records, and from it they plucked the tracks “(If You Want the Smoke) Be the Fire,” “Dirty War” and “Standby Swing,” among others. The swing, by the way, was not at all on standby. It was front and center and thrust forward by the bass and drums as vocalist Matilda Roth met it head-on, dancing and soulfully pushing her voice to its limits as the lineup of Linn Johannesson, Sofia Ström and Johanna Hansson behind her left no question as to how a group who just released their first album might come to headline the night on the Pokalen stage. The songs were fluid, the bounce in the drums refreshing, and the tones warm and classic-feeling, again, without tapping directly into retroism. As they belted out “Dirty War” late in the set, they sounded very much like a group at the beginning of a growth process, but their stage presence was formidable all the same and the sense one got was that their progression will only make it more so as time goes on. Need to check out that album, is the bottom line.

Conan

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Five bands and five distinct looks at different kinds of heavy at Høstsabbat, and then suddenly it was time for Conan to come on and — as they will — destroy everything in their path. By the time they went on at midnight, I was hours past dead on my feet, but to see “Thunderhoof” into “Battle in the Swamp?” Oh yes, easily worth it. You can sleep anytime. Conan don’t just happen every day — or at least not in the same city. That was actually the most striking impression. It’s been a little more than a year since I last saw them, they’ve gotten even tighter with the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Jon Davis, bassist/vocalist Chris Fielding and the aforementioned Rich Lewis on drums. The stage dynamic between the three has been (war)hammered out and they were absolutely on fire, Lewis adding some of his own flourish to the gallop of “Gravity Chasm.” As a unit, all pro. I was also struck by what seemed to be an emergent YOB influence from Davis in his vocals. As Fielding has come to handle lower-register growling parts, Davis‘ exploration of cleaner singing has a tinge of Mike Scheidt to it that’s somewhat unexpected, but fits well repurposed into the shouting context of “Hawk as Weapon.” They were locked in in such a way as to make me think that their next album will be something really special. I won’t say a bad word about early 2016’s Revengeance (review here), but Conan made it plain to see they’re more than ready to move forward to their next vista of smoldering landscapes during this earned-through-devastation headlining set, and I’ll look forward to when they get there. Until then, “Total Conquest” never sounded more apt a title.

Night Two kicks off in a couple hours, so I gotta get ready. Thanks for reading. More pics after the jump.

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Giveaway: Enter to Win a 3-Day Pass to Northwest Hesh Fest 2016!

Posted in Features on September 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

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[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]

Sorry, but the lineup here pretty much sells itself. Over three nights, Sept. 22-24, at Dante’s in Portland, Oregon, Northwest Hesh Fest 2016 will host:

Night 1:
Red Fang
American Sharks
Witch Mountain

Night 2:
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats
Danava
Banquet

Night 3:
Deafheaven
The Blood Royale
Diesto
Greenbeard

If you enter now by leaving a comment on this post, you can win a three-day pass to see all of the above and get a limited, signed screenprint of the poster shown here, of which only 100 are being made. Obviously, you need to get your ass to Portland — if I could afford to fly you in, I would, believe me — but barring for anyone in that part of the world who’s maybe been on the fence about going or just hasn’t managed to buy tickets yet, yeah, entering seems like it would be kind of a no-brainer. High “duh” factor and whatnot.

For the headliners alone, never mind the chance to see locals like Witch Mountain, Danava and Diesto tear it up alongside imports from Austin, Texas, like American Sharks, The Blood Royale, Banquet and Greenbeard, essentially pairing two of the country’s strongest scenes — Portland and Austin — and topping it not only with the Pacific Northwest’s number one heavy rock export in Red Fang, but bringing up Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats on their tour with The Shrine, as well as Deafheaven, who seem to divide opinion everywhere they go while consistently drawing a crowd from both sides of the argument.

Killer lineups, killer shows, free pass and free poster. Like I said, it sells itself. One winner picked a week from today. Thanks to all who enter and to American Icon for letting me host the giveaway.

[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]

Northwest Hesh Fest on Thee Facebooks

Northwest Hesh Fest 2016 tickets at Eventbrite

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Asteroid Interview & Track Premiere: “Last Days” and First Ones Too

Posted in audiObelisk, Features on September 5th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

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Digital preorders for Asteroid‘s third full-length, III, will go live on Sept. 12. The proper release date in Europe is Nov. 11, while the US gets it on Dec. 9, but wherever you are, however you order it, the arrival of a new Asteroid record is indisputably good news. The fuzzhappy trio from Swedish heavy hotbed Örebro first made their reunion official here last November, so by the time Fuzzorama Records delivers the 36-minute long-player, it will have been a productive year for Asteroid, playing shows, writing, recording. You know, all that “we’re in a band” stuff.

Well, they weren’t for a while. It’s been six years since their last offering, II (review here), and while they never melted down or anything, it seemed for a long time like that record might be their swansong. III follows in the second album’s footsteps in several crucial ways — its organic tones, its balancing between heavy blues and psychedelia, the vocal tradeoffs between guitarist Robin Hirse and bassist Johannes Nilsson — now joined in the trio by Jimmi Kolscheen — the tendency to follow the spirit of a given track, and moments like the bassline of centerpiece “Wolf and Snake” are about as quintessentially Asteroid‘s own as anything they could’ve put to tape. There are atmospheric stretches, as on “Silver and Gold” — also the most accomplished vocal performance of the band’s career — and cuts like “Last Days” (which you can hear above) tip hat to classic rock while “Them Calling” delivers an album-defining mega-hook while looking toward a more heavy metallized progression on the whole. It’s the fuzz rock you can pump your fist to.

But if III is united by any single principle, it’s the chemistry at heart in Asteroid‘s approach; the way the band interacts sonically and what the results of that interaction do for their songwriting. I’ll be reviewing it as we get closer to the release date (one or the other of them), but as a preview, I wanted to talk to the band about making III and how things came together since they got back, played their first shows and undertook the work of really being a band again after their years apart, including bringing in Kolscheen on drums and hammering out a new dynamic there. Lots to discuss and I feel like the surface has barely been scratched on III, so look for much more to come as we move into the fall, which also finds Asteroid on tour with Limestone Whale. The dates:

Asteroid with Limestone Whale
This tour is booked in cooperation with MAGNIFICENT MUSIC!
10-09 (ESP) Madrid – Madrid Stoner Festival
17-09 (UK) BRISTOL Snuff’est All-Dayer*
22-09 (D) HAMBURG AstraStube
23-09 (D) BERLIN BassyClub
24-09 (D) SIEGEN Vortex * (w/ Yawning Man)
25-09 tba
26-09 (D) FREIBURG i.B WhiteRabbit
27-09 (CH) Winterthur – Helvti
29-09 (AT) WIEN ViperRoom
30-09 (AT) LINZ Stadtwerkstatt
01-10 (D) Munich – tba
03-10 (PL) WARSAW Chmury
04-10 (PL) GDYNIA Ucho
05-10 (PL) POZNAN u Bazyla
06-10 (D) HALLE Hühnermanhatten
07-10 (D) WÜRZBURG Immerhin
08-10 (D) JENA Kulturbahnhof
*ASTEROID only

Full Q&A with Hirse and Nilsson follows the jump. Please enjoy:

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The Obelisk All-Dayer Countdown: Afterparty with DJ Adzo & Walter Roadburn

Posted in Features, The Obelisk Presents on August 18th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

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The Obelisk All-Dayer tickets

It’s going to be a long day. I know it, you know it. That’s kind of the idea. Some all-dayer it would be if it was a three-hour gig. Nonetheless, I urge you to stick around when The Obelisk All-Dayer is done this Saturday at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, NYC, because the afterparty is going to be ridiculous in all the right ways.

Even after Mars Red Sky finish. After Death Alley, Snail, Kings Destroy, EYE, Funeral Horse, King Buffalo and Heavy Temple are done, the show will go on. The first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer (just buy your goddamn tickets already) is proud to welcome DJs Walter Roadburn and Adzo for a vinyl-spinning set after the last band to cap the night with a final reinforcement of the show’s party vibe.

All are welcome.

I am thrilled and honored to have Walter Roadburn coming over for the fest. Over the last seven-plus years, there is no single individual who has inspired me more through his passion and relentless work ethic. As the organizer of the Roadburn Festival held annually in Tilburg, the Netherlands, he’s helped shape European and worldwide underground heavy rock in ways I don’t think he’d ever admit to, and the creativity he puts into what he does is second to none. He is someone who has turned “putting on a show” into an art form, a genuine expression of love and reverence that only continues to grow and develop with each passing year. It will be humbling to have him there, let alone picking tracks.

He’ll be joined by DJ Adzo, aka Adam Kriney, drummer/vocalist of Brooklyn natives The Golden Grass. That outfit has been one of the highlights of a Brooklyn psych scene over the last couple years, tapping into a vein of proto-heavy that encompasses a positivity few bands would dare go near. Their unabashed joy for what they do comes through in their recorded output and live shows, and they’re the kind of group you just know has some killer taste. Kriney has made numerous DJ appearances around NYC over the last several years as DJ Adzo, and I can’t wait to hear what he spins as Saturday night creeps into Sunday morning at the Vitus Bar.

That’ll do it for the countdown. Show is the day after tomorrow, and quite frankly, you need to be there. I hope you’ll come. I’ve worked hard to make it a special day front to back, and while I know not everyone will be there from start to finish, my hope is that everyone who shows up gets something memorable out of the experience.

Thank you.

The Obelisk All-Dayer tickets

Saint Vitus Bar website

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The Obelisk All-Dayer Countdown: Heavy Temple, Chassit Teaser

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Features, The Obelisk Presents on August 17th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk all-dayer

The Obelisk All-Dayer tickets

I’m gonna need you to take my word for it on this one. Really. You don’t want to miss Heavy Temple as they kick off The Obelisk All-Dayer this Saturday at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. You just don’t. They start the show at 2:30PM, and whether or not you caught onto their first, self-titled EP (review here), it doesn’t even matter because their new stuff blows it out of the water. Bassist/vocalist High Priestess Nighthawk — who needs real names, anyway? — has assembled a lineup of righteous compatriots and as a hard-fuzz power trio, they’re absolutely scalding on stage. Heavy nod, psych flourish, rhythmic density, memorable hooks and the occasional soaring moment that is absolutely bound to leave an impression.

Part of the reason I ask you to take my word for it is that the teaser below doesn’t actually give much of a taste of their upcoming next release, Chassit. The Philly three-piece will have a tape out via Tridroid by November, and presumably some more audio will precede before then, but the bit of noise and feedback proffered by Nighthawk, guitarist Arch Bishop Barghest and Siren Tempestas — who leads the march kicking into the track “Ursa” shortly hereafter — is the first audio to come from Heavy Temple since the self-titled and at very least it lets you know the kind of filthy tonality they’re getting down with these days. Way down.

Rest assured, there will be more to come on Chassit as we get closer to and through the release of the tape, but in the meantime, catch Heavy Temple this Saturday at The Obelisk All-Dayer with Mars Red Sky, Death Alley, Snail, Kings Destroy, EYE, Funeral Horse and King Buffalo. If you haven’t gotten tickets yet, get them here.

Thank you and enjoy:

Heavy Temple, Chassit teaser

The Obelisk All-Dayer tickets

Heavy Temple on Thee Facebooks

Saint Vitus Bar website

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The Obelisk All-Dayer Countdown: King Buffalo, “Goliath” Live

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Features, The Obelisk Presents on August 16th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk all-dayer

The Obelisk All-Dayer tickets

In today’s The Obelisk All-Dayer countdown post we see Rochester, New York’s King Buffalo laying blissful waste to the venue at which I was first fortunate enough to watch them play: The Living Room in Stroudsburg, PA. This clip is from this past April, and I wasn’t at this show, but having seen the band as recently as June, I can vouch for the righteousness of the textures they inhabit.

They’ll play second at the first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer, this Saturday at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, NYC (if you haven’t, get your tickets now), joining the bill with Mars Red Sky, Death Alley, Snail, Kings Destroy, EYE, Funeral Horse and Heavy Temple, as well as aftershow DJs Walter Roadburn and DJ Adzo (aka Adam from The Golden Grass).

The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds and drummer Scott Donaldson come to The Obelisk All-Dayer on the heels of releasing their first full-length, Orion (review here), which continues to unfold on repeat listens and has only come to stand taller among the finest of 2016’s many debut albums. Already they’re no strangers to touring, and this gig will wrap their latest stint directly supporting Orion coming out.

If you haven’t heard the band before, get to the Vitus Bar early. I mean it. Not only are you going to want to see Heavy Temple, but King Buffalo‘s blend of psychedelia and heavy blues is second to none, and they’re precisely the kind of tripped-out and welcoming vibe I want to emphasize with this show, proving that just because something is heavy and has a presence doesn’t mean it needs to be pissed off at nothing or full of testosterone chestbeating. Dig in and look forward to the live immersion.

Special thanks to Steve Truglio of PA’s My Show for the clip. To see the entire gig, click here.

Enjoy:

King Buffalo, “Goliath” live in PA, April 16, 2016

The Obelisk All-Dayer tickets

King Buffalo on Thee Facebooks

Saint Vitus Bar website

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The Obelisk All-Dayer Countdown: EYE, Vision and Ageless Light Album Trailer Premiere

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Features, The Obelisk Presents on August 15th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk all-dayer

The Obelisk All-Dayer tickets

My understanding is that the release date for EYE‘s long-awaited third album — actually not that long, it just feels that way — has been pushed back to November. When it arrives, Vision and Ageless Light will be the Ohio space-psych rockers’ first outing for new label home The Laser’s Edge, following 2013’s Second Sight (review here) and their 2011 debut, Center of the Sun (discussed here and here).

The trailer premiered below marks the first audio to be made public from Vision and Ageless Light, as well as the debut of the cover art, and it comes so far ahead of the release date in honor of the band’s appearance at The Obelisk All-Dayer, THIS SATURDAY, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. Five days from now. If you’re not excited for it yet, I double-dog-dare you to click play below and not buy a ticket immediately to witness this Moog-y majesty in person.

EYE were the final band to be added to the first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer, and what they bring to the lineup is something distinct from every other group involved. Their lush, melodically rich progressive psychedelia is utterly spaced in its atmosphere, but still maintains an emotional crux, as the swirling synth and guitar, vocal harmonies and contemplative rhythms display across their first two albums leading up to this one. If I wanted to, I don’t think I could be more thrilled to have EYE as a part of this show, and the fact that they come on the eve of issuing their new album with the prospect of playing new material only enhances that enthusiasm.

Joining EYE at The Obelisk All-Dayer are Mars Red SkyDeath AlleySnailKings DestroyFuneral HorseKing Buffalo and Heavy Temple, as well as DJs Adzo and Walter Roadburn, who’ll handle aftershow duties. It’s going to be incredible. Don’t miss it.

Enjoy this sample of Vision and Ageless Light and get your tickets for Aug. 20!

EYE, Vision and Ageless Light album trailer

The Obelisk All-Dayer tickets

EYE on Thee Facebooks

Saint Vitus Bar website

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