Torche Announce US Tour with Kvelertak and Headlining Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 11th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

torche

Miami four-piece Torche and Norwegian noise-rock troublemakers Kvelertak have teamed up for a North American tour starting April 8 in Nashville. Kvelertak will headline (which, to be honest, surprised the hell out of me), but Torche also have additional dates on the itinerary on which they’ll headline as they continue to support last year’s Restarter (review here), their fourth album and first to be issued through Relapse Records. They’ve already toured in the US and Europe for it, and since they’ll head to France in June for Hellfest, more European appearances don’t seem all that unlikely, barring exclusivity or anything like that.

Either way, Torche are touring, and that’s never been bad news. The PR wire fills us in:

kvelertak torche tour

TORCHE Announces Headlining US Dates, Tour With Kvelertak

TORCHE has announced a slew of new North American dates beginning this coming April and May. The Miami stoner/sludge rockers will be directly supporting Norway’s Kvelertak on a nearly month-long tour throughout the US and Canada. On either end of the tour, TORCHE will also be playing two weeks of headlining dates in the US East and Southwest. Up-and-comers Wild Throne will support on the majority of the dates. Check out a full itinerary below.

TORCHE recently released Restarter, the band’s debut for Relapse Records and its best-selling album to date. The ten-song collection landed on multiple worldwide charts and was universally lauded by press outlets worldwide. Pitchfork called Restarter TORCHE’s “most compelling record since Meanderthal,” and Entertainment Weekly dubbing the band “loud rock’s most adroit genre-benders.”

Restarter is available on CD/LP/2xLP/Digital and can be purchased via Relapse at THIS LOCATION or streamed & purchased digitally via TORCHE’s Bandcamp page HERE.

TORCHE Live:
***All Dates with Kvelertak & Wild Throne unless noted***

Apr 8 Nashville, TN The End*
Apr 9 Louisville, KY Haymarket Whiskey Bar*
Apr 10 Columbus, OH Skully’s^
Apr 11 Buffalo, NY The Studio @ Waiting Room*
Apr 12 Portland, ME Port City Music Hall
Apr 13 New York, NY Irving Plaza
Apr 14 Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts
Apr 15 Pittsburgh, PA Altar Bar
Apr 16 Washington, DC DC Brau (Festival)
Apr 17 Cambridge, MA Middle East
Apr 18 Quebec City, QC L’Anti*
Apr 19 Montreal, QC L’Astral
Apr 20 Toronto, ON Opera House
Apr 23 Chicago, IL Bottom Lounge
Apr 24 Minneapolis, MN Mill City Nights
Apr 25 St Louis, MO The Ready Room
Apr 26 Lawrence, KS Granada Theatre
Apr 28 Denver, CO Bluebird Theatre
Apr 29 Salt Lake City, UT In The Venue
Apr 30 Boise, ID Neurolux
May 1 Seattle, WA El Corazon
May 2 Vancouver, BC Rickshaw Theatre
May 3 Portland, Or Hawthorne Theatre
May 5 San Francisco, CA The Independent
May 6 Los Angeles, CA Fonda Theater
May 7 San Diego, CA The Hideout*
May 8 Phoenix, AZ Crescent Bar*
May 10 Austin, TX Barracuda*
May 11 Dallas, TX Three Links*
May 12 Houston, TX Rudyard’s^
May 13 New Orleans, LA Siberia^

* = with Wild throne ^ = Torche only

June 18 Clisson, FR Hellfest

http://torche.bandcamp.com/
http://www.torchemusic.com/
http://facebook.com/torcheofficial
https://twitter.com/torcheband
http://instagram.com/torche_band

Torche, Restarter (2015)

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Mondo Drag, The Occultation of Light: Incendiary Procession

Posted in Reviews on February 11th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

mondo drag the occultation of light

Before we get to any question of whether Mondo Drag‘s third album, The Occultation of Light (also their second release on RidingEasy), is the band’s best work, or how it shows them progressing or any of this or that, the first thing to say about it is that it is easily their most accurate LP to-date. What the hell does that mean? Well, their 2009 debut, New Rituals (review here), had no shortage of neo-psych charm, but was formative and didn’t really portray the full breadth of what their sound has become. That’s not taking away from it; the band’s circumstances changed. Recorded in 2012, their 2015 sophomore outing, Mondo Drag (review here), was captured prior to a move from Davenport, Iowa, to Oakland, California, and featured a short-lived incarnation of the band which, by the time the record came out, already had traded its rhythm section for the current one with bassist Andrew O’Neil and drummer Ventura Garcia.

I won’t take away from that album either — it was among my favorites of last year — but as the eight tracks of The Occultation of Light were recorded last year, by Phil Manley (Trans Am, Wooden Shjips), as they were recorded live to tape, and as they were tracked just after the band got off tour, their current lineup of Garcia, O’Neal, guitarists Jake Sheley and Nolan Girard (also synth) and keyboardist/vocalist John Gamino intact, there can be little question that the band’s third offering is their most accurate portrayal yet of where they actually are in their growth, their songwriting and their collective performance.

I won’t say that makes it like a debut, since they’re definitely benefiting here from the several years this lineup has played together and the experience from the two prior LPs, but for what it’s worth, they seem to be in a good place, and their sound is fresh even as it plays off classic ideas throughout the winding opener “Initiation” and the transprogrified “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”-style roll of “Out of Sight.” More even than the self-titled, vintage progressive rock plays a role in Mondo Drag‘s sound here, whether that comes in the twists, underlying shuffle and key solo of the opener or the synth flourish in the subsequent track and the organ/drum lead-in for “Rising Omen,” which should be a highlight for anyone who has missed underrated King Crimson disciples Hypnos 69 as it unfurls a groove languid enough to make it totally natural when Gamino enters for the first verse and half the song is already over.

As much about atmosphere as its later energetic uptick, “Rising Omen” builds as it goes, but remains patient enough so that the immediacy of Garcia‘s bouncing snare at the start of “Incendiary Procession” is a direct contradiction, and one clearly enacted on purpose. Met by keys/synth for a lead in the first half and a noteworthy stretch of chases and stops in the second, it’s an instrumental finish to The Occultation of Light‘s first half that shows diversity in songwriting for exactly how plotted it is in comparison to the cut preceding, which seemed intended as more of a showcase for the band’s psychedelic side and foundation in a natural writing process.

mondo drag (Photo by Catalina Havlena)

That side will come up again throughout “The Eye” and “In Your Head (Part I & II)” and the near-eight-minute “Dying Light” on side B before “Ride the Sky” (not a Lucifer’s Friend cover) wraps the album, but what’s even more striking about The Occultation of Light‘s back end is how fluidly one piece transitions into the next. Particularly among the first three tracks — “Dying Light” ends cold and “Ride the Sky” picks up from there; not lacking flow, but not shifting immediately one into the other — there are no discernible seams. Also instrumental save for some Hawkwindy spoken word later on, “The Eye” starts with “Moonchild”-style minimalism and from there looses a rich, not-at-all-haphazard psychedelic push, organ and guitar intertwining late en route to the crashing start of “In Your Head (Part I & II),” which starts intense but mellows presumably as it shifts between its two component parts (there’s a stop beat and then all is chill), allowing space for some ethereal verses as it moves toward the end, which “Dying Light” meets quickly with a tense measure of amp noise before exploding into its full vibrancy.

The longest track included at 7:52, it’s also rife with movement throughout, shifting smoothly between its parts early on, riding a choice bassline as it moves toward its middle and building to a full-on prog freakout by about five minutes in, only to end on a line of guitars, keys, bass and drums, the band hitting into a swing riff and bringing it to a quick end before “Ride the Sky” takes hold. Probably not fair to call the shorter piece an afterthought, as its boogieing blend of organ and guitar helps reground The Occultation of Light in its final moments, but it’s obviously not at all geared toward the same kind of expanse as the rest of the side before it.

This too is clearly a purposeful move on the band’s part, since as they’re giving listeners this most accurate glimpse at who they are sonically, that persona they establish here is nothing if not cognizant of the choices it’s making. While it’s only hitting a year after their preceding album, The Occultation of Light is a long time coming from Mondo Drag, and while it builds on what they’ve done before and particularly the progressive stylizations were taking hold with the self-titled, it also finds a core part of their identity in that process of moving forward. It feels like an arrival, but I wouldn’t bet on the band staying put for too long, creatively-speaking.

Mondo Drag, The Occultation of Light (2016)

Mondo Drag on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records

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Egypt to Tour Europe Following Desertfest Appearances

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 11th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

egypt

You might recall North Dakotan fuzztoned trio Egypt spent a decent portion of last May on the road in Europe as well. Apparently they were how it went, because after appearing at Desertfest in London and Berlin — one into the other, boom boom — they’re heading out once again for a string of dates. This time, they go supporting their new album, Endless Flight (review here), which was released late in Dec. 2015, as their second long-player and the follow-up to a riff-drenched 2013 split with Wo Fat (review here).

I’m not sure it really needs to be said at this point about American bands skipping over touring in the US and going right to the UK and Europe, where it’s both financially feasible and a more supportive audience. But there. I guess I said it.

No word yet on with whom they’ll be touring, but the dates are posted now. Shows are presented by Total Volume Agency and Eclipse Productions, who announced the tour thusly:

egypt tour

In cooperation with Total Volume Agency we are thrilled to announce Egypt are coming back to Europe. Hailing from Fargo, North Dakota via the dusty plains of ancient Cairo, Eclipse Productions is pleased to introduce you to Egypt.

Fusing all the best parts of this scene we love, Egypt are a band with a lot of strings to their bow. Their acclaimed self-titled debut in particular shows this off but Egypt continue to add to that sound, cranking the noise up to a sludgier ceiling to add even more variety for their first full length ‘Become the Sun’.

As there are already some event posters going around the globe (a full tour poster is in the making), here´s the full tour announcement with all pleasure;

29-4 Desertfest London (UK)
30-4 Desertfest Berlin (DE)
01-5 Mohawk Mannheim (DE)
02-5 Klub 007 Prague (PL)
03-5 Rockhouse Salzburg (AT)
04-5 Vintage Industrial Bar Zagreb (CR)
06-5 An Club Athens (GR)
07-5 Kyttapo Thessaloniki (GR)
08-5 Mixtape5 Sofia (BU)
10-5 Arena Vienna (AT)
11-5 Backstage Munich (DE)
12-5 Coq D´Or Olten (CH)
13-5 Raymondbar Clermont-Ferrand (FR)
14-5 Le Glazart Paris (FR)

https://www.facebook.com/Egypt-Doom-220951734668136/
https://egypt1.bandcamp.com/

Egypt, Endless Flight (2015)

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Deville Touring Germany Next Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 11th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Swedish heavy rockers Deville head to Germany next week for nine dates to round out February as they continue to support last year’s Make it Belong to Us (review here), released by Fuzzorama Records. The four-piece have hooked up with some new booking representation for various European territories, so it seems likely they’ll be on the road this summer as well if not before, but a week-plus in Germany after heading south to Greece last month for what appears to have been a one-off makes sense.

Hell, they could probably take Europe one country at a time throughout the rest of the year and not get tired. That would certainly be making it belong to them, it nothing else.

If you haven’t heard that record — or if you have, I suppose — it’s streaming in full below, courtesy of the Fuzzorama Bandcamp. The band sent the following down the PR wire:

deville feb tour

Deville Germany Tour coming up next week!

We are proud to announce that we signed with two booking agencies for Scandinavia and G/A/S.

Subculture Hero will take of our bookings for Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Rodeostar Records for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. A lot of tours are in the making and we start with Germany next week! Prost!

02/18/16 KIEL GERMANY SCHAUBUDE
02/19/16 ITZEHOE GERMANY ATZEHOE
02/20/16 SCHWERIN GERMANY DR. K
02/22/16 HAMBURG GERMANY ASTRA
02/23/16 ESSEN GERMANY PANIC ROOM
02/24/16 MUNICH GERMANY BACKSTAGE
02/25/16 NURNBERG GERMANY Z-BAU
02/26/16 LICHTENFELS GERMANY PAUNCHY CATS
02/27/16 LUNEBURG GERMANY JEKYLL AND HYDE

Fuzzorama Records – home to the mighty Truckfighters, We Hunt Buffalo and more – is thrilled to release Make It Belong To Us, the fourth, and most explosive album yet from Malmö-based rockers Deville.

Well-versed in the ways of brutal melody, for over a decade Deville have built a career out of tight, hard-hitting rock and roll. Brought together in 2004 out of a shared loved for stoner metal and hard fuzz, the band – made up of lead guitarist/vocalist Andreas Bengtsson, drummer Markus Nilsson, bass player Markus Åkesson and rhythm guitarist Andreas Wulkan – are no strangers to the power of the weighted riff.

As you will hear on new song ‘Life In Decay’, the chugging, hook-laden guitars, soaring vocal and ambitious progression in song writing has shaped Deville into a leaner, meaner, and ultimately heavier sounding machine. A band that while happy to hold court with the likes of Mastodon, High On Fire and Queens Of The Stone Age, plan to not only stand beside them shoulder to shoulder, but seize the throne from under their noses.

Deville:
Andreas Bengtsson – Vocals, Guitars
Markus Nilsson – Drums
Andreas Wulkan – Lead Guitar
Markus Åkesson – Bass

http://deville.nu/
https://www.facebook.com/devilleband
http://www.fuzzoramastore.com/en/

Deville, Make it Belong to Us (2015)

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Sourvein: Aquatic Occult Due April 8

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 10th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

sourvein (Photo by Randy Blythe)

Preorders are up now for Aquatic Occult, the upcoming fourth long-player from North Carolinian sludge mainstays Sourvein. It’s set for an April 8 release as the band’s debut on Metal Blade, and it arrives some five years after Sourvein‘s last album, 2011’s Black Fangs (review here). That might seem like a while — it certainly feels long enough — but Sourvein have put in significant road time in the US and Europe over the last several years, playing major fests abroad and slugging it out at home, and listening to leadoff single “Ocypuss,” which features C.O.C. bassist/vocalist Mike Dean (who also recorded) and drummer Reed Mullin, among others, it hardly seems Sourvein‘s time was misspent.

The record seems to feature a host of guest appearances, which the PR wire details below, but I’m somewhat curious as to the actual lineup of the band itself playing on the tracks. Of course, vocalist/founder T-Roy Medlin is the key component, but the band he’s had out with him of late was killer, so I’m wondering if they made it onto the recording. We’ll see in the liner notes.

For now, info and audio await:

sourvein aquatic occult

Sourvein reveals details for new album, ‘Aquatic Occult’; launches first single, “Ocypuss”

For over two decades, Sourvein front-man T-Roy has managed to keep the roving pirate ship that is his band afloat through sheer will alone. Pushing through poverty, the deaths of friends and family, bouts of severe depression, periods of alcohol abuse, and an absence of the stability provided by a consistent record label, T-Roy has over the course of two decades managed to build the band into a highly respected force in the metal, doom, sludge, and crust underground.

Over twenty long dues-paying years later, Sourvein has at long last found a proper home for their doom-laden Southern noise with Metal Blade Records. The band’s upcoming full-length and Metal Blade debut, Aquatic Occult, will reveal itself to the masses on April 8th.

Pre-orders for the album begin today at metalblade.com/sourvein. While there, stream track three from Aquatic Occult – “Ocypuss”. The track features guest vocals from long-time supporter, Lamb of God vocalist Randy Blythe, and a guest performance by Mike Dean (bass) and Reed Mullin (drums) of Corrosion of Conformity.

Aside from Blythe, Dean and Mullin, the album features additional guest performances from musicians Stig Miller (Amebix), Keith Kirkum (ex-Weedeater), Dean Berry (Iron Monkey), Dave Capps (All Tore Up), Chris Holcombe and Joel Martin (Subrig Destroyer), and Kevin Rochelle (Sea of Tyrants). Reed Mullin performs drums on all but four album tracks, as indicated below.

Aquatic Occult is produced by Mike Dean and mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, Yob).

Aquatic Occult track-listing:
*Reed Mullin on drums
1. Tempest (Of Desire) (feat. Stig Miller)*
2. Avian Dawn*
3. Ocypuss (feat. Randy Blythe, Mike Dean)*
4. Aquanaut (feat. Dean Berry)
5. Hymn to Poseidon*
6. Mermaids*
7. Urchins
8. In the Wind*
9. Cape Fearian*
10. Capsized (feat. Dave Capps)*
11. High Tide
12. Bermuda Sundown (feat. Keith Kirkum)
13. Coral Bones*
14. Oceanic Procession (feat. Stig Miller, Randy Blythe on organ)*

“Finally man, finally, my years of hard work have paid off,” says T-Roy, reflecting on the lengthy, gruelling trek that brought his band to Metal Blade’s roster. He adds, “‘Aquatic Occult’ is going to bring the truth. The lyrics are reality to me; I don’t write about cars or chicks or horror movies, I write about the sacrifice and struggle, all the stuff I saw growing up and what I see now. But I want it to be positive, to let people know that there is a way out of bad times and tough situations.”

https://www.facebook.com/SOURVEIN-238932972468/
http://www.metalblade.com/sourvein/
https://twitter.com/SOURVEINOFFICAL
https://sourvein.bandcamp.com/album/aquatic-occult
https://www.facebook.com/metalbladerecords
https://twitter.com/metalblade

Sourvein, “Ocypuss”

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Shadow Woods Metal Fest 2016: Initial Lineup Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 10th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

After a successful first installment last year, Shadow Woods Metal Fest 2016 bursts out of the gate with 20-plus bands for what’s still being touted as its initial lineup — i.e., there’s more to come. Seems reasonable. Now that they’ve shown it can happen without the universe collapsing or the ultra-oppressive Federal Forestry Service (note: I have no idea if that’s a real thing) clamping down hard on longhair campers, it seems only fair to expect the event to grow both in actual scope and reputation.

The first group of acts spans a range from extreme metal to psychedelic heavy rock, but a few highlights thus far include Maryland dronecasters Darsombra, Philly riff-rollers Wizard Eye, and MD heavy rockers Faith in Jane, who’ll team up with Scott “Wino” Weinrich himself for a special set. There have been murmurings of those two parties jamming for a little bit now, and you can see video of them doing just that from this past weekend below. It ain’t Wino Wednesday, exactly, but it’s cool to watch anyway.

Also included are Destroyer of Light from Austin, Temple of Void from Michigan and a whole bunch of others put together by fest-organizer Mary Spiro, who very clearly knows what she’s doing:

shadow woods metal fest 2016

SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST, the Mid-Atlantic’s open-air camping metal party, will once again terrorize the woodlands of central Maryland this fall with three days of more than thirty bands from diverse metal genres and regions. The 2016 festival runs from Thursday, September 15th through Sunday, September 18th at Camp Hidden Valley, in White Hall, Maryland, the same location where the maiden edition of the fest was held last year.

Organizers of SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST began announcing performers in mid-January and have been carefully curating this year’s lineup. “The response from performers and attendees to the 2015 event was overwhelmingly positive with many people telling me it was the best weekend of their lives!” says festival founder Mary Spiro of Metallomusikum.com/Shadow Woods Productions LLC. “We are humbled and frankly completely surprised by the outpouring of praise for the fest. There has been enormous interest from the metal community for certain bands to perform. Our team is taking its time to make sure the lineup matches our attendee’s expectations and sets us apart from other fests. We also want each day to have flow. It’s a balancing act.”

Spiro says that when all is said and done, the final lineup will surpass the ferocity of the inaugural installment. As of February 9th, twenty-one bands have been announced, including horror death mongers Acid Witch, death thrashers Coffin Dust, underground black metal kings Blood Storm, doom merchants Wizard Eye, psychedelic black metal gurus Helleborus, and Maryland doom trio Faith In Jane joins forces with the genre’s godfather Scott “Wino” Weinrich (The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan, Saint Vitus) for an exclusive SWMF performance, with much more to be announced.

Early Bird Weekend Passes for SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST go on sale at noon EST, February 12th for $115 on BrownPaperTickets.com.

Tent camping is included with the weekend pass. People who want to reserve cabin beds can do so for an additional $20 for the duration of the fest.

“It could be late Spring before we have the whole lineup in hand,” Spiro said. “It’s taking longer than we anticipated, but we think our patience will be rewarded, and festival goers will be really pleased with the bands yet to be announced.”

SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST 2016 Confirmed Lineup:
A SOUND OF THUNDER (DC) **traditional old-school heavy metal
ACID WITCH (Detroit) **horror death
BLOOD STORM (PA/TX) **black thrash
BOUND BY THE GRAVE (Baltimore) *death
CEMETERY PISS (Baltimore) **black
COFFIN DUST (Philadelphia) **death
CORPSE LIGHT (Baltimore) *doom
DARSOMBRA (MD) **metal drone
DESTROYER OF LIGHT (Austin, TX) **sludge
EMPYREUS(Chicago) **black
FAITH IN JANE FEATURING WINO (MD) ** doom trio joined by the godfather of the sound
GENEVIEVE (MD) **experimental black
GRAVE GNOSIS (St. Petersburg, FL) **black
HAXEN (Rhode Island) **black
HELLEBORUS (Manitou Springs, CO) **black
MYOPIC (DC) **death/doom
SAPREMIA (New Jersey) **death
TELOCH VOVIN (NY) **black
TEMPLE OF VOID (Detroit) **doom
WIZARD EYE (PA) **doom
XEUKATRE (Baltimore) **black
MANY MORE BANDS YET TO BE ANNOUNCED

http://www.shadowwoodsmetalfest.com
http://www.facebook.com/shadowwoodsmetalfest

Faith in Jane & Wino, Live at Cafe Nola, Frederick, Maryland, Feb. 7, 2016

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Clutch Announce Tour Dates with Corrosion of Conformity; Record Store Day Vinyl

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 10th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Not everyone will feel this way, but in my head, this is a Clutch and C.O.C. tour. Yeah, I hear so-and-so is a really nice guy and so-and-so didn’t really kill that dude, but I’ve never been even the slightest bit a fan of this tour’s headliner. Cool all around if it gets Clutch and Corrosion of Conformity into bigger rooms, but yeah, this is one you go and leave early.

Clutch have some Record Store Day vinyl coming out for April 16 that will feature two tracks that didn’t get onto their 2015 album, Psychic Warfare (review here). Glad to see “Mad Sidewinder” surfacing after all, since as I remember it, they played that live for a good long while and then it didn’t make the final cut of the record. It’ll be a gem for fans that I’m sure will be gone 30 seconds after the preorders go up.

The PR wire has it like this:

clutch coc tour

CLUTCH ANNOUNCE NEW NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES AS SPECIAL GUEST OF LAMB OF GOD

US FESTIVAL DATES AND AUSTRALIAN HEADLINE DATES ANNOUNCED

BAND CELEBRATES RECORD STORE DAY 2016 WITH LIMITED EDITION VINYL RELEASE

Clutch, the influential heavy rock band from Maryland has just announced new North American tour dates as “special guest of” Lamb Of God. The tour starts May 3rd in New Orleans at the Orpheum and will also feature Corrosion Of Conformity on all dates. Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday February 12th. Additional dates on the Lamb of God tour and Clutch headline tour dates in May and June will be announced shortly. In addition to the Lamb Of God dates, the band will be playing select US festival dates and have added an additional Melbourne show on their March 2016 Australian tour.

Clutch’s latest release “Psychic Warfare”, landed at #6 on the Billboard charts. Weathermaker Music, the band’s self owned label, sold over 26,000 copies of the new album in the first week of release. “Psychic Warfare” is the highest debut charting album for Clutch and Weathermaker Music to date. The album landed at #1 on Billboard’s Rock and Hard Rock charts respectively.

“Psychic Warfare” was produced by longtime producer Machine (Lamb Of God, Every Time I Die) and consists of 12 new tracks. The album cover was designed by renowned photographer Dan Winters.

On Saturday April 16th, the band will be releasing a special limited edition 12” vinyl release for Record Store Day. The album will contain two previously unreleased tracks from the Psychic Warfare sessions: “Mad Sidewinder” and “Outland Special Clearance”. These two tracks, specifically mastered for this vinyl configuration by Paul Logus, will be on side A. The reverse side will have a large scale etching taken from the Psychic Warfare CD booklet design created by Dan Winters. The jacket is hand numbered thick clear plastic showing the full art design, thus making this piece for Record Store Day 2016 a unique collectors’ item for all Clutch fans.

Lamb Of God With Special Guest Clutch
05-03-16 in New Orleans, LA at The Orpheum
05-04-16 in Memphis, TN at Minglewood Hall
05-05-16 in Tulsa, OK at Brady Theater
05-08-16 in Reading, PA at Reading Eagle Theatre
05-09-16 in Portland, ME at State Theatre
05-10-16 in Boston, MA at House Of Blues
05-12-16 in St Louis, MO at The Pageant
05-16-16 in Binghamton, NY at Magic City Music Hall
05-17-16 in Huntington, NY at The Paramount
05-19-16 in Toronto, ON at TD Echo Beach
05-23-16 in Wichita, KS at The Cotillion
05-24-16 in Morrison, CO at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
05-25-16 in St Lake City, UT at The Complex
05-27-16 in Phoenix, AZ at Comerica Theatre
05-28-16 in Pomona, CA at Fox Theater
05-29-16 in Oakland, CA at Fox Theater
05-31-16 in Seattle, WA at WaMu Theater
06-01-16 in Vancouver, BC at Queen Elizabeth Theatre
06-02-16 in Penticton, BC at South Okanagan Events Centre
06-04-16 in Calgary, AB at Calgary Stampede Corral
06-05-16 in Edmonton, AB at Shaw Conference Centre
06-06-16 in Saskatoon, SK at Saskatoon Praireland Exhibition Park Hall
06-07-16 in Winnepeg, MB at Burton Cummings Theatre

Festivals
05-01-16 in Jacksonville, FL at Welcome to Rockville (festival)
05-07-16 in Concord, NC at Carolina Rebellion (festival)
06-09-16 in Manchester, TN at Bonaroo
05-13-16 in Council Bluffs, IA at 89.7 The River’s Rockfest (festival)
05-14 -15-16 in Somerset, WI at Northern Invasion
05-20-16 in Schagticoke, NY at Rock N Derby (festival)
05-21-16 in Columbus, OH at Rock On The Range

Australian Dates
03-03-16 in Brisbane, AUS at The Triffid
03-04-16 in Sydney, AUS at The Metro NSW
03-05-16 in Melbourne, AUS at The Forum Theatre (Sold Out)
03-06-16 in Melbourne, AUS at The Corner (Just Added)

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion

www.facebook.com/clutchband
www.instagram.com/clutchofficial
www.twitter.com/clutchofficial
www.pro-rock.com

Clutch, Live at Terminal 5, NYC, Dec. 29, 2015

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Talmud Beach, Chief: Forest Blues

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 10th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

talmud-beach-chief

[Note: Click play above to hear the premiere of “Mountain Man” by Talmud Beach. Chief is out March 18 on Svart.]

There are several different kinds of blues that pop up throughout Chief, the second full-length and Svart Records debut from Finnish trio Talmud Beach. “Pharmacy Blues” is first, followed later by the somewhat less politically correct “Chinaman Blues” and “Born with the Blues,” but whatever the context, the band’s blues are delivered in ultra-mellow, laid back form. Talmud Beach find pastoral serenity the way most bands find their overdrive pedal. It is a humble nine-track/37-minute listen that is deceptively rich in its overall affect without coming close to overwhelming even in its moments of greatest arrangement depth, as on “Mountain Man” or the extended closing title-track.

Elements of Finnish folk pop up in the sweet acoustic guitar strummed throughout and particularly on centerpiece “Kekkonen,” but even on the more electrified “Forest,” birdsong maintains a connection to the natural world, and that’s an atmosphere that is established on the brief boogie-blues opener “Ain’t So Young” and maintained as the album progresses from front to back, guitarist Aleksi Lukander leading a subdued shuffle as bassist/vocalist Mikko Siltanen unfolds a simple hook that needs nothing more than it presents, drummer Petri Alanko moving the proceedings along at what will become one of the record’s faster clips by the time it’s done. The mood is humble, but not still, and while Talmud Beach — whose name derives from members of the band having been accosted on an Eastern European beach by local anti-Semites — maintain that mood, they also set up a dynamic range sound-wise in which it plays out.

To wit, “Pharmacy Blues” is likewise upbeat, with a classic snare shuffle rhythm and an especially catchy chorus, but “Mountain Man” takes a turn toward a more folkish-style, interweaving layers of guitar as it fluidly moves through a verse and chorus, some light but still quick percussion underlying this peaceful, serene setting. A vocal highlight with Alanko taking the lead role, it’s one of the album’s most memorable impressions, building along a linear course after its second chorus with harmonized singing and an arrangement of increasing complexity until finally, it’s a chorus fading out as birdsong takes over as an interlude before the big chill-out of “Forest.”

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Quieter and based around a creeping blues bassline, “Forest” nonetheless basks in psychedelia in its background guitar work and trippy lyric about journeying into woods and finding — wait for it — mushrooms, leading to a host of visions in nature. Subtle fuzz emerges as “Forest” moves past its midsection, but Talmud Beach hold firm to the spirit of the record they’ve established, ending with a stretch of silence before “Kekkonen” kicks in with arguably Chief‘s most active arrangement, a sax (or sax sounds, if it’s keys) added to play up a humppa feel for the track about former Finnish President Urho Kekkonen, presented in the band’s native language and with a clap-along bounce. Still, if it’s a party, that means the drums are harder hit, the guitar is louder and the hook is vital in whatever language, and Talmud Beach do as well in the environment of “Kekkonen” as they did among the birds in “Forest,” the one-two punch of the tracks demonstrating a decent portion — not all — of the band’s range while keeping the album’s flow duly liquefied.

“Snow Snow Snow” manages to be individual despite a chorus that features the line “let it snow,” which is no minor feat, and plays harmonies off a bluesy verse in a kind of classic call and response, but its most resonant impression is in the layers of acoustic and electric guitar weaving through and the soft, wish-it-was-longer interlude in the track’s midsection before the last verse, chorus and acoustic leadout. It’s just 2:45, but “Snow Snow Snow” makes a fitting companion both for “Forest” and “Mountain Man” and captures a lot of Chief‘s overall mindset. The subsequent “Chinaman Blues” is another turn, the speaker in the song longing for an escape from everyday Finnish life and imagining being Chinese, apparently, as the farthest thing from it. Again, not exactly politically correct in its nomenclature, and almost unfortunately catchy, but its psych-blues blend finds a middle space between “Ain’t So Young” and “Pharmacy Blues” and songs like “Mountain Man,” and it finishes with a heavier push of fuzz guitar, keys and harmonized vocals that seems to payoff much of the album’s momentum while also leading smoothly into “Born with the Blues,” the lyrics of which trade off Finnish and English lines in the verses and choruses while keeping a steady bounce throughout.

That sets up nine-minute closer “Chief,” which uses its extended runtime for a spacious psychedelic sprawl after the ’70s folk chorus, “If you are the chief/Wear the rainbow hat,” keeping an exploratory feel to what’s probably a nonetheless plotted progression, incorporating more sunshine-soaked sounds to bookend with “Forest” and allowing Talmud Beach to play their way off the record on a proggy but still cohesive note, a melodic swirl of vocals and some still-earthbound guitar leading peacefully to silence. Even if the songwriting wasn’t so effective throughout, Chief would likely offer substance based on its atmosphere alone, but the memorable core of these tracks and the calmness with which they’re delivered makes the record belong equally to the ethereal and the terrestrial. Talmud Beach walk that balance throughout with confidence and an approach that doesn’t need to be loud to make itself heard.

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