While I’m not sure I agree with the initial assertion of the product copy below — I’d argue otherwise at very least on a level of exclusivity that metal is no more about hate than it is love, pumpkin pie or any other single thing — the ultimate mission going on here is one to support. Earlier this year, former Roareth guitarist and friend of the site Aaron Edge was diagnosed with MS and has been fighting the disease since, accumulating medical bills and all the other expenses that arise when your body betrays you.
To help offset some of these costs, Edge‘s Invisible Hour design company has put together the goat-tastic “Metalheads Against MS” shirt you see below, followed by a link to the shirt pre-order:
Metal is about hatred. It’s about disgust and distrust. It’s about the release of energy and rage. Metal has (and will always be) about aggression via heavy riffs and lyrics. Metal contains a strong disdain for the sheep that follow blindly, for those that lack of their own opinion, for all who give up without a fight. That said, some hands dealt to us require true strength to persevere. Some are forced to fight harder. This shirt is dedicated to them, specifically those that struggle to control the terrible disease that is Multiple Sclerosis. Channel your hate, the hatred for MS.
This two-color, American Apparel fine jersey shirt is 100% cotton and printed in the United States. The beautifully illustrated goat was done by Invisible Hour. This pre-order is only up for two weeks!
Having done work for the likes of Penance, Place of Skulls, Sixty Watt Shaman, Züül and a host of others over the last 20-plus years, artist Brad Moore is known for a signature, definitively-metal style that nonetheless largely defies the black and white and mostly black convention of metal in favor of rich colors and textures. His work on Pennsylvania classic doomers Argus‘ two albums to date — 2009′s Argus and 2011′s Boldly Stride the Doomed — has proven particularly distinct.
As such, when Argus unveiled the art yesterday for the forthcoming third full-length, Beyond the Martyrs, I hit up Moore on the quick to see if he could give some insight on what went into painting it and what inspired the tone and complexity of the piece, which you can see below.
Click the image to enlarge, and special thanks to Moore for his input:
Argus, Beyond the Martyrs front cover
When Argus approached me about painting the artwork for their debut LP, we all agreed we wanted to sidestep the “warriors with swords” thing, and that gory art wouldn’t adequately complement the style of music and subject matter the band were striving to create. We all felt a “Lovecraftian” approach was best, to framework doomy metal that has a mystery to its feel. I created the creature that adorns the Argus covers (at least, the ones I had a hand in) to be the mascot, and though you’ll see it does not utilize any of Lovecraft‘s personal motifs (tentacles, amorphous blob-like gods, etc.), the whole effect is like those Lovecraft paperbacks. I deliberately use unusual color schemes for Argus, as I feel that way too many doom/death metal bands use a grey/black monotone approach that gives the scene, as a whole, a generic feel. I did paint their second LP, Boldly Stride the Doomed, in a very monochromatic style, to completely separate the two recordings, as Boldly is a much darker album than the self titled debut.
Getting to the newest Argus effort, Beyond the Martyrs, the cover painting is titled “Alien Gateway to the Gallery of the Martyrs” precisely because the band wanted to have an “otherworldly” atmosphere to the proceedings, and to have the artwork reflect a dark-but-with-colors feel. In essence; not the near over-the-top colors of the first one, but having toned-down colors to maintain the doom, but suggest a correlation of the two albums that signifies the forward growth of the band. This Argus outing will be their most aggressive! I, for one, am happiest with this new artwork the most, both in mood, and technical achievement.
Argus will release Beyond the Martyrson Oct. 1 in the US and Oct. 4 in Europe on Cruz Del Sur. More on the album to come.
This Thursday, San Diego mega-jammers Earthless are set to launch a European tour alongside The Atomic Bitchwax and Mirror Queen at Stoned from the Underground in Germany. On their way out, Earthless have unveiled the cover art that will adorn their upcoming Tee Pee Records release, From the Ages, due Oct. 8, which will be the trio’s first studio album since 2007′s Rhythms from a Cosmic Sky, though they’ve released two live albums — 2008′s Live at Roadburnand 2012′s Sonic Prayer Jam — since.
Those, as well as splits with Witch and White Hills, have kept Earthless in the (expanding) consciousness of their audience, and guitarist Isaiah Mitchell introduced his heavy psych project Golden Void with a self-titled debut (review here) last year while drummer Mario Rubalcaba has enjoyed a stint in the raw hardcore punk outfit OFF!, fronted by Keith Morris formerly of Black Flag, so they’ve been plenty busy as well. Still, a new Earthless record feels like an event worth marking, so check out the Alan Forbes album art below and stay tuned for more news and info on the release to come:
Earthless, From the Ages cover by Alan Forbes
Friends- The time has finally come! We have ended our hibernation from the recording studio & are very excited to say that we have a new record coming out soon on Tee Pee Records! Just take a look at the sneak peak cover by the Wizzard Alan Forbes
Stay tuned & if you are in Europe or London, come out & shake yr brains! This tour starts next week!!!
Earthless, The Atomic Bitchwax & Mirror Queen – Cosmic Sonic Rendezvous
11.07. (GER) ERFURT, Stoned from the Underground 12.07. (BEL) GENT, De Centrale 13.07. (UK) LONDON, The Garage 14.07. (NL) TILBURG, 013 15.07. (FR) PARIS, Nouveau Casino 16.07. (CH) ZURICH, Kinski KLUB 17.07. (AT) VIENNA, Arena 18.07. (ITA) ZEROBRANCO, Altroquando Summer Live Festival 19.07. (GER) MUNICH, Feierwerk 20.07. (GER) BERLIN, BI NUU
It was a really, really busy weekend. I’m glad to say I did actually get to stand still for a bit and watch each of the 19 acts performing at Days of the Doomed III at The Blue Pig in Cudahy, Wisconsin, but I was just as likely to be parking myself somewhere to pop open the laptop or back and forth in front of the stage taking pics.
At one point, one of the dudes working at the venue said to me while I had the computer open, “You’re supposed to be enjoying yourself, not working.”
And it occurred to me that this is how I enjoy myself.
A 20-minute break between each band didn’t leave much wriggle room to go searching for the perfect shot of each band and still give the actual set the clacky-clacky it deserved. As such, I wound up with a lot of photos, and since I wouldn’t have time to include them in the actual live-blog posts (day one and day two), it only seems fair to give them their own post.
Below — with setlists when I could get them — you’ll find pictures of Iron Man, Penance, Venomous Maximus, Kings Destroy, Lucertola, Moon Curse and Gravedirt from day one, and The Gates of Slumber, In~Graved, Dream Death, Pale Divine, Earthen Grave, Leather Nun America, King Giant, Spillage, Chowder, Beelzefuzz, Gorgantherron and Whaler from day two.
Under normal circumstances, I probably wouldn’t do two Visual Evidence posts on consecutive days, but this is obviously an exceptional case. As Lo-Pan continue to unveil their summer roadwork, more dates alongside Indianapolis’ Devil to Pay have emerged, and the poster for said trek is… well, it’s something special.
In fact, I haven’t seen a poster that hits quite so close to home in some time. First of all, it’s Spock — and not this newfangled reboot Spock either — we’re talking the real deal, Nimoy Spock. Second, it’s an octopus. Third, they’re combined. The portmanteau ‘Spocktopus’ pretty much writes itself.
Kudos to artist Trevor Patton for the Spocktopus itself and Devil to Pay‘s Steve Janiak for the layout. This thing is great:
Oh yeah, and the bands rule as well. I don’t think I could go a week at this point without posting Lo-Pan tour news even if I wanted to, and as they wrap up their run with Torche and KENmode, it’s cool to see they’ll shortly be reunited with their longtime buds in Devil to Pay, with whom I’ll be running an interview in the coming weeks.
Lo-Pan & Devil to Pay tour dates: Jul 4, 2013 Dayton, OH Blind Bob’s w/ Neon Warship Jul 5, 2013 Chicago, IL Cobra Lounge Jul 6, 2013. Madison, WI Mr. Roberts w/ The Garza Jul 7, 2013 Indianapolis, IN Indy’s Jukebox w/ Stealing Volume & Death Trap Jul 11, 2013 Detroit, MI PJ’s Lager House Jul 12, 2013 Cleveland, OH The Foundry w/ Venomin James Jul 13, 2013. Columbus, OH Kobo w/ Barely Eagle, the Girls!
In semi-related news, Small Stone (Lo-Pan‘s label) is having a 25 percent off sale at its online store, and I figured that’s worthy of a plug for anyone looking to pick up some quality rock on the cheap. Link in banner below:
Floridian outfits Hollow Leg and Orbweaver have teamed up for a long weekender from Aug. 2-5. Playing four nights in their native state, both bands will be supporting new releases — in the case of Hollow Leg, it’s their new full-length collection Abysmal, which is out on Last Anthem Records on July 30. For Orbweaver, the Strange Transmissions from the NeuralnomiconEP will mark their studio debut with a release on Primitive Violence.
Taking from the titles of both, the Abysmal Transmissions tour runs from Orbweaver‘s home in Miami to Hollow Leg‘s in Jacksonville. The poster below has specifics:
Hollow Leg & Orbweaver – Abysmal Transmissions Tour 2013
Hollow Leg & Orbweaver tour dates:
Aug. 2 Churchills Pub, Miami, FL
Aug. 3 Will’s Pub, Orlando, FL
Aug. 4 Bowman Motorcycles, St. Petersburg, FL
Aug. 5 Burro Bar, Jacksonville, FL
My only issue with the limited edition tape of their new Dead Ends EPthat Shroud Eater put out through Primitive Violence Records is that so far I haven’t been able to bring myself to open the damn thing. Oh, I’ve heard the EP itself (review here), so I know it kicks plenty of ass, but looking at the limited packaging — which just seems like it should have a little cutout space near the top so it can hang on a peg in some record and or head shop 20 years ago — I just can’t pull those staples out and open it up.
Primitive Violence is the band’s own imprint — there’s a CD of Dead Endscoming later this month on The Path Less Traveled Records as well — and so I take this tape as kind of the definitive version of the album, what a certain British label seems consistently to refer to as the “diehard edition.” Only 22 were made, they sold out just this past Tuesday (there are more regular tapes left), and here’s what’s included:
No, Pinhead from Hellraiser doesn’t come with it, but everything else in the bottom part of that collage does. It’s one-stop shopping for anyone who’d want to show off their Shroud Eater affiliation, with a sticker, patch and pin, and that rules in and of itself, but there’s also the full-color lyric sheet, transparent red tape and — as you can see in the top right corner of the pic above — also a limited edition figurine made in Peru that actually seems to have been the impetus behind there only being 22 of these made, since the people who made the “Death charms” in turn died and these are the last ones ever. Dead Endsindeed.
All this adds up not only to something really special for collector nerds like me and those converted to the cassette nostalgia cultism, but a complete, every-level experience for what in a lot of band’s minds would probably be a toss-off EP release. Cheers to Shroud Eater for going all out in putting the tape of Dead Ends together (even the regular one looks pretty sweet) and continuing to highlight the appeal of physical media in an age regarded by squares as digital. Awesome.
During the coverage of the first day of Roadburn 2013, in talking about my general sucktitude at existence, I said that the first meal I’d eaten in a couple days made me feel, “like someone had just given me a piece of particleboard with macaroni glued onto it in the shape of the cover to Volume 4, and by that I mean ready to take on the world.”
Well, I got off the airplane yesterday, and The Patient Mrs. presented me with this:
That’s right. It’s the cover of Black Sabbath‘s Vol. 4, made of dried pasta. She glued the pieces to a slab of slate — so much more doom than particleboard — and gave it to me as a homecoming present upon my return from the Netherlands and the UK last night. Rare are the times when I’ve felt more like someone in the universe truly understands who I am as a human being.
I’ve engaged in no shortage of The Patient Mrs.-worship in this space over the years, but seriously, in the days to come when I need an example of how fucking awesome my wife is — when perhaps I’m explaining to somebody about the dynamic of our relationship — I feel like I have a new milestone to work from. It’ll go like this: “I’m a self-absorbed jerk who does nothing that isn’t completely about me, and she made me Macaroni Sabbath. I’m the luckiest man in the world.”
My only hope is that as Backwoods Payback, Supermachine, Lord Fowl and Sun Gods in Exile head out for these four shows, they bring the poster with them. Seems the Small Stone Records bannerfolk have united under the flag of their label and are hitting the Northeast for a bill they’re dubbing “4 Bands, 4 States, 4 Shows, 1 Label.” Call it a tour by the numbers.
Since Supermachine, Lord Fowl and Sun Gods in Exile all live in New England, so with Backwoods Payback tagged on from Pennsylvania, you can pretty well imagine this one’s going to be a debauched-type good time. A long weekend that no one involved will recall by the time it’s over. Nonetheless, if you’ve gotta have something to remember it by, the following Alexander von Wieding poster is a gorgeous reminder.
Octopus reigns supreme among green-lady headwear:
4 bands. 4 states. 4 shows. 1 label.
SMALL STONE RECORDS NORTH EAST US TOUR
featuring: BACKWOODS PAYBACK SUPER MACHINE LORD FOWL SUN GODS IN EXILE
04.25.13 – The Dover Brickhouse, Dover NH 04.26.13 – KCs Tap, Pawtucket RI 04.27.13 – The Winchester, Woodbridge CT 04.28.13 – Leftfield NYC, Manhattan NY
They only made 50, and when I was in the process of writing up Romero‘s new album, Take the Potion(review here), I stumbled on the band’s prior cassette single — yes, a cassingle — dubbed Couch Lock/In the Heather. Released through Triceratrax Records last year, the limited pressing comes complete with red tape, a 7″ x 14″ foldout (the kind that would normally house a 7″ record) with 3D graphics and 3D glasses to see them. Sorry, but that’s frickin’ awesome.
Both the included tracks on the tape, “Couch Lock” and “In the Heather,” were re-recorded for Take the Potion, but neither is wanting for production on the single either, even if they’re somewhat rawer than they’d wind up. I’ll admit when I shelled out the cash for the tape (I think it was five bucks), it was the packaging that drew me in — the art is by Miranda Martin and guitarist/vocalist Jeffrey Mundt – but it’s not like the Wisconsin trio put all this effort and detail into a practice tape.
And speaking of detail, even the inside of the tape liner — the J-card, as I learned this week that they’re called because of their bend — has a 3D design:
But the righteousness of the design goes further than just the 3D stuff. The layout of the lyric sheet on the inside of the foldout poster (designed by drummer Ben Brooks) is also well thought out and stylized, not to mention hand-numbered:
Of course, there’s good news and bad news. Taking latter first, the pressing of 50 is sold out. I bought the last tape even before I was done with the album review. So unless Romero decide to do another round somewhere down the line, it’s a goner. The good news, however, is that Couch Lock/In the Heather is still up for a pay-what-you-want download, so if you’re thinking of hitting it up, there’s still some opportunity. They’ve even got the 3D images up in case you have a spare pair of glasses around.
Unless you work at The Onion or are on-set editing new episodes of Arrested Development, this is probably the cleverest thing you’re going to see today. Portland, Oregon’s Rabbits last year made a release called Flexihead in honor of Record Store Day. It’s a postcard on one side and on the other is a playable record with two opposing covers — Minor Threat‘s “Straight Edge” and Black Flag‘s “Wasted.”
As if the pairing of those two tracks wasn’t enough — notice “Wasted” comes after “Straight Edge” — the manner of presentation for Flexihead is what makes it. They even went so far as to include a Dorothy Parker quote on the back. The cleverness is pervasive. Check it out:
They only made 250 copies of the 5″ x 7″ postcard, so I felt lucky to get one, and I’ll honestly say that in the whole of my music connection — by no means the world’s largest archive of riffs, but by no means inconsiderable at this point — Flexihead is a one of a kind. Here’s a closer look at the Coke vs. Coors Light art by Kevin Abell:
Now for the big question: Does it play? Not on my turntable it sure doesn’t. I gave it a couple shots and after that decided I didn’t want to either break the arm on my record player or damage the postcard anymore than shipping already had, bent corners and such. Fortunately others had better luck, and the tracks can be heard below, or at the Rabbits Bandcamp, if you’d prefer something even less of the physical realm:
Five bands, five states. Well, NYC has never been anything if it hasn’t been a melting pot, so when Black Thai (from Massachusetts), Infernal Overdrive (New Jersey), When the Deadbolt Breaks (Connecticut), John Wilkes Booth (Long Island, NY) and Wasted Theory (Delaware) converge on Tobacco Road in Manhattan on April 6, at least it’ll be in the borough’s long-standing tradition. If you’re on Thee Facebooks, the event page is here, and I thought I’d share the poster for the show, since it’s awesome.
Five bands for $7 is a pretty heavy deal, if you’re into bargain-hunting.
…And it looks like they’re not coming back. Can’t say I blame them, what with the social safety net, centuries of cultural richness, and Scandinavian riffing, but even so, wow, this is the longest list of tour dates I’ve seen in a while.
Good for Red Fang and all, but with so many cities and countries being stormed, one has to wonder how on earth they’re going to have time to get a follow-up out to 2011′s excellent Murder the Mountains. Guess we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, there isn’t one part of this that doesn’t bleed its excellence:
Red Fang European Summer 2013 Tour Dates Announced!
May 31 Madrid, ES Auditorio Miguel Rios, Sonisphere June 01 Barcelona ES Parc del forum,Sonisphere June 04 Athens, Greece Gagarin 205 June 05 Thessaloniki , Greece Eightball June 06 Istanbul , Turkey TBA June 08 Kiev, Ukraine Bingo June 09 St. Petersburg,Russia Zal Oghidania June 10 Moscow, Russia Plan B June 11 Krasnodar, Russia Arena June 12 Rostov, Russia Podzemka June 13 Murg-Oberhof , GER Cafe Verkehrt June 14 Interlaken,Switzerland Greenfield June 15 Sliedrecht,Netherlands Elektra Tuinfest June 16 Donnington, UK Download June 17 Belfast, Northern Ireland Limelight June 18. Ireland, Dublin Whelans June 19 Bristol, UK The Fleece June 20 Jaworzno, Poland Metalfest June 21 Geneve,Switzerland Fête De La Musique June 22 Clisson FR Hellfest June 23 Gigors et Lozeron FR Gigors Electric June 25 Rome , IT Traffic June 26 Milano , IT Solo Macello June 27 Salzburg , Austria Rock House Bar June 28 Roitschzjora, GER Full Force Festival June 29 Osnabrück, GER Bastard Club June 30 Dessel , Belgium Graspop Metal Meeting July 02 Eindhoven, Netherlands Effenaar July 03 Marburg GER KFZ July 04 Bochum GER Matrix July 05 Sulingen GER Relaod Festival July 06 Bingen GER Bingener Open Air July 09 Feldkirch, Austria Poolbar Feldkirch July 10 Esslingen, GER Komma July 13 Neskaupstadur, Iceland Eistnaflug Festival
Whatever else German retro heavy specialists Kadavar do, they take a good picture. Fortunately they also rock, so you can imagine that once Abra Kadavar, their Nuclear Blast label debut and second offering behind last year’s self-titled, drops, it’ll live up to the high standard set by their facial hair below. If such a thing is possible. The album cover was unveiled today, and it goes a little something like this:
Moscow-based heavy psych outfit The Re-Stoned have sandwiched the bulk of the material on their new album between two massive 11-minute tracks, opener “Faces of Earth” and closer “Alpha Rhythm,” but that’s really just the beginning of the story when it comes to how Plasma is put together. The instrumental band led by and mostly comprised of guitarist/bassist Ilya Lipkin released their last record, Analog(review here), through R.A.I.G. in 2010, and Plasma sees issue through the same label as well, but instead of a jewel case arrives bundled in a folded cardboard box — almost like a miniaturized vinyl mailer with the logo printed on the front and the album info on back. It may not prove the most durable packaging option when it comes to standing the test of time, but it certainly is creative.
Lipkin, who is joined by drummers Vasily Bartov, Pavel Voloshin and Evgeny Tkachev throughout Plasma‘s eight tracks/58 minutes, employs a host of effects on his guitar and bass to add flourish to the tradicionnyj stoner riffing that lies at the heart of the band’s sound, and while the cardboard packaging doesn’t seem to have any direct correlation to what’s happening musically or thematically with the album or its titles – though one does unfold the package and the flow of the album unfolds as well — it does grab the attention as only intricate physical media can. I’ve never thought of cardboard as particularly groovy, but maybe that’s what Lipkin is going for. I couldn’t really say.
The album boasts two covers — an extended jam on Jefferson Airplane’s “Today” in the first half and one on Pink Floyd‘s “Julia Dream” in the second — and with guest vocals from Veronika Martynova, they stand out in the tracklisting immediately and wind up as some of the record’s strongest material, incorporating elements of psychedelic folk with Lipkin layering acoustic and electric guitar. Elsewhere, the standout soloing of “Moon Dust” seems to be surfing with Joe Satriani‘s alien, while the riffs on the earlier “Grease” remind of some of the Karma to Burn-isms that showed up last time around. Fittingly titled, “Acoustic” is no less rich than any of the other material, given depth by Arkady Fedotov‘s synth and Tkachev‘s percussion, and as it occurs directly toward the middle of the album, it too seems to fall in line as another well-placed element at work to the benefit of Plasma.
Really, rather than be fed into by the music as part of an overarching theme, the uncommon packaging option for Plasmaserves as an example of how intricately the record as a whole is constructed, be it the space-rocking jam of “The Clay God” or the more open, airy musicality of “Alpha Rhythm,” slowly developing over the calming course of its 11:26. The Re-Stoned and in particular Lipkin as the driving force behind the band impress on all fronts, and if it’s the package housing the CD that gets you to notice the album first, it’s one more thing to be thankful for after you’ve heard it later.
I’ve spouted off plenty of times about what a difference physical media can make in giving someone an impression of a work, so I’ll spare it, but in a case like this, the artwork — Lipkin also designed the logo — and the presentation to the audience becomes a part of the experience, and every time I reach for Plasma, it will be a different feeling than anything else that might be situated on that shelf, including Analog. If the record wasn’t up to par as a listen, it would be gimmicky, but The Re-Stoned have even more tools with which to satisfy sonically than they do in terms of the aesthetic in their choice of casing, so in addition to being a nice package, Plasmais also a complete one.