One of the oddly satisfying things about doing Wino Wednesday for as long as I have at this point is the fact that whenever I think I’ve seen it all, I turn a corner and find something else I didn’t expect. I think it’s safe to say that because of the more widespread technology there are way more people taping shows now than in, just an example, 1994, when Wino was making a go of it with The Obsessed, so a lot of the majority of the live clips for Wino Wednesday are culled from the last five years, give or take. Even within that sphere, the supply might seem to dwindle, but it never runs dry.
I’ve been thinking of Wino‘s upcoming shows in Philly and New York right after the Xmas holiday for the Feast of Krampus two-nighter with Sixty Watt Shaman and about the recent announcement of a second Wino & Conny Ochs collaboration, dubbed Freedom Conspiracy, to be issued in 2015 probably through Exile on Mainstream, and I guess I’ve had acoustic stuff on the brain, so I’m looking through thinking I’ve done just about everything worthwhile from the Wino & Conny Ochs 2012 European tour, and then I find this video from Amsterdam of the two of them playing in what essentially looks like a box made of brick to a small, seated audience just one day before they’d hit Roadburn in Tilburg, and it proved once again that I’ve barely scratched the surface.
What makes this video special in my mind, apart from the intimacy of the setting at De Slang — bare lighting, bare stage, theatre-style seats — is the fact that there are no microphones. Both Wino and Ochs‘ voices are projected naturally to the crowd (I recognize a face or two from Roadburns past), and it gives a feel that’s just perfect for the raw nature of that material. They perform “Heavy Kingdom,” the title-track of their 2012 debut (review here) and cover “Nothing” by Townes van Zandt, and the results are gorgeous.
Hope you enjoy:
Wino & Conny Ochs, Live at De Slang, Amsterdam, April 11, 2012
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Though I’m always glad to have the chance to post a tour update from Mars Red Sky, and I seem to get enough opportunities to do so since they hit the road on the regular, if I’m completely honest, this time around I’m particularly pleased to see an update about the band because it’s given me an excuse to revisit their 2014 album, Stranded in Arcadia (review here), and to point out its staying power these last several months among the year’s best records.
Sure, it’s easy to be all about a release that came out in March when it’s June, but for something to hold up another six months after that as well as Stranded in Arcadia has is the exception rather than the rule. The Bordeaux trio will play their last show of 2014 tomorrow night in their hometown, and they’ve got shows booked through January, February and March, some sporadic dates and a couple weekenders while they continue to support Stranded in Arcadia, which is nothing if not a worthy cause.
They’ve tended to work pretty quick so far, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve got some new stuff in the works already (if anyone wants to record a show, that’d be awesome), but even if not, it’s still worth showing up if you happen to be in this part of the world. Note the March 9 date in Munich where they’ll share the stage with Colour Haze and Radio Moscow, who’ll be out together on the Up in Smoke V tour:
French rockers Mars Red Sky will play their last show of 2014 in their home town Bordeaux on Thursday, but already unveiled a few dates for early 2015! More will be announced in January, so stay tuned!
18.12 (FR) BORDEAUX – Le Krakatoa
21.01 (SP) ZARAGOZA – La Ley Seca 22.01 (SP) MADRID – Maravillas Club 23.01 (SP) BARCELONA – Rocksound 24.01 (FR) LE FARE – L’Humus 25.01 (FR) MONTPELLIER – Secret Place 20.02 (BEL) BRUSSELS – Magasin 4 21.02 (FR) GERARDMER – Gerardm’Electric Festival 22.02 (CH) GENEVA – Kalvingrad 27.02 (FR) NEVER – Le Café Charbon 09.03 (GER) MUNICH – Feierwerk (w/ Colour Haze & Radio Moscow) 25.03 (FR) DUNKERQUE – L’Entrepôt 26.03 (FR) VILLENEUVE D’ASCQ – La Ferme d’en Haut
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Since pretty much nothing is known about Ufomammut‘s new album at this point other than it’s done, you’ll pardon me if my eye wanders down in the press release to the part where it mentions their “first major tour of the continent,” meaning North America, which will take place in 2015 around their appearance at Maryland Deathfest. A US run for Ufomammut is probably overdue at this point, but better late than never. I’ll look forward to finding out with whom they’re hitting the road. I suppose it’s too much to think they could join forces with Conan and lay waste to everything in their path. Ah, to dream of that bill.
And while I’m looking forward, here’s that word about the album, snagged hastily from the PR wire:
UFOMAMMUT Completes Seventh Studio Full-Length For Spring Release Via Neurot Recordings
Italian power trio, UFOMAMMUT, is putting the final details on the band’s anticipated seventh studio full-length in order for the album to see an early Spring 2015 worldwide release, once again through Neurot Recordings. While virtually no specific details on the album are yet to be revealed to the public, the album is fully mixed, mastered and going into production now. The record’s title, release date and much more will be unveiled at the dawn of 2015, and mass album and tour updates will ensue through the rest of the year.
In October, UFOMAMMUT proudly released XV, a DVD documenting the band’s intense fifteen year lifespan to date, through their own Supernatural Cat label with support from Neurot. For nearly two years UFOMAMMUT has been working on this special video project delivered through XV’s more than three hours of footage documenting their vast discography and live accomplishments. The DVD features Magickal Mastery Live, a twelve-song live act, as well as interviews, outtakes, and extras, captured over the past decade and a half.
Orders for the XV DVD can be placed in the USHEREand internationallyHERE, and the digital audio version of Magickal Mastery Live only can be orderedHERE.
Additional info on the upcoming album will be released in the coming weeks as UFOMAMMUT prepares to return to North America for their first major tour of the continent in 2015, including a performance at Maryland Deathfest 2015.
UFOMAMMUT Tour Dates: 5/21/2015 Maryland Deathfest – Baltimore, MD
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Yet another reason to like Enslaved: 13 albums deep, one of metal’s most brilliant progressions under their belt, and they’re still not going to shy away from throwing a “that’s what she said!” into a quote for a press release. Congratulations, you wonderful bastards. Truly a band for all seasons.
Particularly, as regards North American major markets, a band for early spring 2015. Enslaved will hit the road alongside the formidable ranks of YOB and Ecstatic Vision (wasn’t I just talking about those bands?) in support of their lucky 13th long-player, dubbed In Times. The tracklist and cover for the record have just been unveiled along with the tour dates, and you can find all of it courtesy of the PR wire below.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve already started marking the calendar for 2015. Might have to hit NYC for this one:
ENSLAVED Announces North American Headlining Tour!
The long ships will return to North America once again when Norwegian-progressive-extreme-metal-Vikings, ENSLAVED, embark on their headlining tour this upcoming March! “Some days are greater than others,” commented guitarist Ivar Bjørnson. “Announcing the release of our new album In Times at the same time as a North American tour, both in early March 2015, makes for one hell of an event horizon. We’ve had such great tours in the US and Canada the last years; we simply cannot wait to come back! Ah, this can’t get much better. Hey, wait – masters YOB has accepted our invitation to be special guests, and ECSTATIC VISION is supporting. Now, there’s an amazing package for you (that’s what she said)!”
ENSLAVED, YOB, ECSTATIC VISION 3/05/15 San Diego, CA – Brick By Brick 3/06/15 Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre 3/07/15 San Francisco, CA – Slim’s 3/09/15 Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theater 3/10/15 Vancouver BC – Rickshaw Theatre 3/11/15 Seattle, WA – El Corazon 3/13/15 Salt Lake City, UT – Bar Deluxe 3/14/15 Denver, CO – Summit Music Hall 3/16/15 Minneapolis, MN – Mill City Nights 3/17/15 Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall 3/19/15 Toronto, ON – Opera House 3/20/15 Montreal, QC – Les Foufounes Électriques 3/21/15 New York, NY – Gramercy Theatre 3/22/15 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer 3/23/15 Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage 3/24/15 Boston, MA – Sinclair
In Times, the thirteenth studio album by ENSLAVED will be released on March 6 (Europe) and March 10, 2015 (N. America). The album was produced by band members Ivar Bjørnson, Grutle Kjellson & Herbrand Larsen together with Iver Sandøy. Mixing was completed by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden. Hand-painted artwork was created by long-time collaborating artist and “sixth ENSLAVED member” Truls Espedal.
The track listing for In Times is:
01 – Thurisaz Dreaming 02 – Building With Fire 03 – One Thousand Years Of Rain 04 – Nauthir Bleeding 05 – In Times 06 – Daylight
Main recordings for In Times took place at Duper Studios to Solslottet Studio in Bergen, Norway with additional recordings sessions at Conclave & Earshot Studios (presided over by ENSLAVED members Larsen and Ice Dale), and Ivar Bjørnson’s Peersonal Sound Studios. Additional experimentation and sonic exploration was conducted deep in the woods of Valevåg south of Bergen where a mobile studio recorded additional sounds.
Posted in Reviews on December 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The Saint Vitus Bar stage is as tall as my leg just a little bit above the knee. This is a thing I know because when I returned to the by-now-infamous Brooklyn venue for the second of YOB‘s two nights this past Saturday and was once again pressed up against the stage by the packed-in crowd, I could feel the bruises from when the same thing happened the evening prior. Apart from a standard-operating-procedure stiff neck and maybe lingering road fatigue, I was unailing. I’d taken better care during the day to drink water, brought ibuprofen, ate some food of substance. Friday night’s amateur-hour shit was out the window. Like I’ve never done this before. Embarrassing.
Support acts were switched, Kings Destroy and Tombs tagging out and Occultation and Ecstatic Vision tagging in, the latter making their way up from Philadelphia to open with added intrigue because of their recent signing to Relapse Records, through which they’ll issue their debut full-length next year. I’d hit protest traffic on my way across Manhattan, a sign-carrying sea of humanity flanked and backed by police escort, but couldn’t even hold it against them. I’ve protested before and have found it ultimately a hollow reminder of how little voice a public can actually have, but I get the impulse to get in public and shout your cause into that unlistening, unconcerned abyss. When I got to the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, I saw a police staging area with cops decked out in riot gear, the shields, the plastic masks, the batons out and at the ready. It was not hard to identify one side’s position on the other.
Got to the venue early anyway. Ecstatic Vision went on a little before nine amid murmurings of the Vitus Bar‘s midnight karaoke start time and kicked smoothly into a heavy psych groove that, while formative, only became more engaging as their set went on. The trio recently-down-from-a-four-piece have been announced as openers for YOB‘s upcoming March 2015 major-market tour with Enslaved, so the two acts will feature on the same bill again soon enough, but their space-rock push propelled by rope-lit drummer Jordan Crouse meshed well with their flashing lightshow, colors bouncing off the black walls and curtains of the Vitus Bar stage, guitarist/vocalist Doug Sabolik (who, like Crouse, is a veteran of metal outliers A Life Once Lost) periodically running the headstock of his guitar through the chimes hanging off his mic stand, eventually hard enough to knock one or two off them off.
Sabolik‘s effects and pile of amps were impressive enough, but as with most heavy psych, it’s the low end holding it all together, and bassist Michael Connor did so fluidly, his lines providing the foundation of Ecstatic Vision‘s Hawkwindian-style jams while still finding room for righteous fills. It was my first time seeing the band. It won’t be my last. They played a somewhat abbreviated opening set, but it was a prime sampling of an emergent sound and stage presence that seems likely to continue to grow in all the right directions as their instrumental dynamic takes shape. No doubt by the time they get off that March tour, they’ll be even more on their way. Occultation, who followed, would boast a significantly less colorful aesthetic.
Native to Brooklyn, Occultation released their second album, Silence in the Ancestral House, this year on Profound Lore. A cult-rocking studio trio, live they play as a four-piece with Viveca Butler (ex-Aquila) on vocals and keys, Annu Lilja on bass, Edward “Nameless Void” Miller on guitar, and M.D.V. on drums, and much of what they hit into seemed to come from the new record. Fair enough. They’re a name that has been tossed about more and more as the year has started to wind down, and they brought a significant sense of atmosphere to their live presentation, their sound somewhere between Ghost‘s clean riffingand more extreme metallic forms. It was a leap in aesthetic from where Ecstatic Vision had started things off, but clearly that was the intent, and no stretch to hear why they’ve gotten the critical response they have.
They played longer than had the openers, and the Vitus Bar crowd knew them and welcomed them, and what they had in common with Ecstatic Vision was a current of potential. I was on the fence for most of the set, but eventually their hoods-up cultistry and hooks won me over, as well as the variety they brought to their songs. Whatever it was they closed with, they picked the right tune. Their style is in a tough spot and it can be hard for a group with similar influences to really distinguish itself from the pack, I saw nothing to make me think Occultation couldn’t get to that point. The room was packed by the time they finished, and they gave a solid local lead-in to YOB, who took the stage greeted as returning heroes.
I don’t know how many people in the crowd had also been there on Friday night, but I imagine it was a decent portion. Last time YOB were in Brooklyn, early in 2013, they did a similar two-show stint (review here), and I know from that they got a lot of return business. Provided one doesn’t have any pressing real-life obligation, who wouldn’t want to see YOB two nights in a row? Or 15? They changed the setlist some from the evening prior, pulling back from playing this year’s Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here) in full by switching out “Unmask the Spectre” for churning The Great Cessation opener “Burning the Altar,” which, following “Marrow,” felt like the beginning of a second set more than the continuation of one already in progress. “Prepare the Ground,” which opened 2011’s Atma, led the way into the newer cuts — “In Our Blood,” “Nothing to Win” and the aforementioned “Marrow” — and “Burning the Altar” was itself backed by Atma‘s “Adrift in the Ocean” and set-closer “Quantum Mystic,” from 2005’s The Unreal Never Lived.
If nothing else, the set emphasized YOB‘s propensity for badass opening tracks. Between “Prepare the Ground,” “In Our Blood” (which is more stylistically ranging than some of their bigger-riff-focused hooks of the past, but still fits the bill), “Burning the Altar” and “Quantum Mystic,” four out of the seven songs guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt, bassist Aaron Rieseberg and drummer Travis Foster played were album leadoffs. That material has always been some of the band’s most immediate and, in their way, accessible, so it’s exceedingly satisfying live. I’d argue “Nothing to Win” works in a similar vein, albeit more angrily and with Foster‘s drums and Scheidt‘s misconception-shattering screams as its primary modes of impact.
Positioned with the contrast of “Marrow” and “Adrift in the Ocean” — two longer pieces marked out by sections of quiet, finger-plucked guitar exploration and a sense of linear build — it was as dynamic a YOB set as I’ve seen, showcasing both their sonic individuality and their presence on stage as one of the foremost American heavy acts of their generation, relentlessly forward moving with aural heft and passion to match, whether it’s Scheidt throwing two fists in the air to share in the audience’s excitement, Rieseberg sharing a between-song chuckle with the front row before his face once again disappeared into his hair or Foster raising his arms high over his head for the next crash. Whatever else they may be — and on the heels of Clearing the Path to Ascend, they’ve been met with a swell of critical and fan acclaim, with more to come I’m sure — YOB are a special band. You could hear it in how quiet the Saint Vitus Bar crowd got after cheering each song, waiting to hear the first note of what was coming next.
This time, I managed to stay up front the whole set, and I’m glad I did. They made the trip down to Brooklyn and back to Massachusetts easily worthwhile, and since there’s a good chance the Saturday show was the last gig I’ll see in 2014, I couldn’t think of a better way for the year to go out, so thoroughly consumed by YOB as it has been.
More pics after the jump. Thank you (again) for reading.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Now a trio after parting ways this year with guitarist Matt Cave – his brother, Mark, still handles bass — Virginia Beach heavy rockers Freedom Hawk have been announced as the latest addition to the 2015 Freak Valley festival in Germany. Their appearance at Freak Valley 2015 follows a quick run through parts of Europe this past spring that included a stop at the Roadburn festival in the Netherlands. Freedom Hawk also recently were in the studio recording for the follow-up to their 2011 Small Stone label debut, Holding On (review here). No word on a release date yet or whether the Freak Valley gig will be part of another round of European tour dates, but there’s time yet for such things to align and be revealed. In any case, if you’re keeping a running list of stuff to look forward to in 2015, Freedom Hawk isn’t a name to be left out.
Freak Valley put it thusly:
We are stoked to announce that Virginia Riff-Wranglers FREEDOM HAWK will play Freak Valley Festival 2015 !!
Hailing from the barrier dunes of Virginia, this quartet blends heavy riffs, a rolling groove, and soulful guitar melodies to produce the sound that is Freedom Hawk. Their brand of heavy rock coupled with a high energy live show, leaves many wondering if they’ve stepped through a time warp that has taken them to rock’s heyday of the 70’s by the power of their dark music fueled by the sun.
FREEDOM HAWK’s sound is large, like trying to force an elephant to fit in a closet. It’s also melodic for such heavy-handed playing. Walls of guitar riffs were pushed out heavy, soaring and moving like swells and waves at the same time.
Mindblowing cover art by Antoine Defarges // Headbang Design
FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL – 4th-5th-6th June 2015
FVF tickets are selling like Blues Pills vinyls already – get yours in time – the first 3 editions have been sold out early!! We are selling tix to all parts of this planet!!
Goatsnake – Earthless – Crippled Black Phoenix – The Vintage Caravan – Electric Moon – Gas Giant – Monkey3 – Danava – Egypt – Siena Root – Bröselmaschine – Sigiryia – Kamchatka – Purson – Dead Man – Freedom Hawk – Mountain Witch – Tuber – Valley of the Sun – Tombstones – more tba soon!!
You could ask me exactly just what the gosh darn heck is going on in Dutch four-piece Tank86‘s new video for the song “Vault” — taken from their Obey album, which is out on Jan. 30 — and if it came to it, I could probably make up something plausible, but the underlying truth is that, yeah, I pretty much have no idea. There are two characters, and they fight, and it’s in stop-motion, and one of them is wearing one of those weird Eyes Wide Shut plague masks, and there’s heavy riffs and they fall down and some of it kind of reminds me of Street Fighter 2 and then they’re both on the ground and then the one guy gets up and leaves. Okay.
Why were they fighting, and what’s up with that mask? I don’t know. Probably better to just roll with the riffs and not worry about the rest. The video was shot and directed by Jelle van Dun of Animate the World, and if you’re epileptic or get a headache from watching quick, jerky movement, you might just want to put the song on in the background and let it play out, but otherwise, there is something hypnotic about it, and though the clip like the track itself is wordless, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the strange narrative of this nighttime battle somewhere, in some city, at some time. I guess that’s probably the whole idea.
Obey will be out next year. More info on the album and the clip follows the player below. Enjoy:
Tank86, “Vault” official video
Dutch instrumental heavyweights TANK86 have released a music video for the track “Vault” from their new Album “OBEY”, scheduled for release on Lighttown Fidelity / Rising Magma records in January 2015. The band just completed a successful kickstarter campaign to raise funds fo the follow up of 2011’s critically acclaimed “Rise”.
The video depicts an atmospheric battle between two grim figures shot in full stop-motion.
TANK86 has been creating its own particular brand of heavy instrumentalism since 2005. Two guitars, bass and drums are all the tools this band needs to get their heavy point across. A high dosage of riffs, harmonized layers and unconventional song structures effectively dismiss any need for vocals. No time for singing when you are pounded into oblivion…
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Prior to checking out for the holidays, Desertfest London 2015 has decided to give its public something to chew on over the next couple weeks. Six bands have joined the lineup for the UK festival. American acts Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band and Acid King, Italy’s Ufomammut, Iceland’s The Vintage Caravan, Sweden’s Galvano and Australia’s Don Fernando broaden an already international assemblage to be headlined by Sleep and Red Fang, and featuring Floor, My SleepingKarma, Black Pyramid, Lo-Panand an impressive host of others listed below.
A lot of festival news around here lately, I know — and more still to come. It’s the season for it. As we move into the New Year and these lineups start to really solidify, it seems like the culture for heavy rock fests just keeps growing. Certainly it’s Desertfest‘s biggest year yet.
Here’s their latest announcement:
Brant Bjork, Ufomammut, Acid King, The Vintage Caravan, Galvano and Don Fernando to play DESERTFEST LONDON in 2015
On the eve of Christmas holidays, the DESERTFEST LONDON promoters wanted to leave you with a sweet stoner rock taste, by adding a new batch of high-end outfits to the 2015 edition of the festival. Desert rock standard-bearer BRANT BJORK will take the stage this April along with Italy’s heaviest trio UFOMAMMUT, the legendary ACID KING, Iceland’s cosmos travellers THE VINTAGE CARAVAN, Swedish sludge mongers GALVANO and Australia’s DON FERNANDO.
Bands already confirmed are:
SLEEP RED FANG BRANT BJORK’S LOW DESERT PUNK ORANGE GOBLIN FLOOR MINSK UFOMAMMUT ACID KING KARMA TO BURN THE VINTAGE CARAVAN MY SLEEPING KARMA BLACK PYRAMID NOOTHGRUSH LO-PAN THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX BLACK COBRA DOPETHRONE DESERT STORM THE WOUNDED KINGS DON FERNANDO GALVANO AGRIMONIA AMULET WALK THROUGH FIRE
DESERTFEST LONDON 24-26th April 2015 in Camden Town Koko Electric Ballroom The Underworld The Black Heart
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The tones are warm, the vibe is free and the vinyl is limited. Oakland heavy psych outfit Mondo Drag‘s forthcoming self-titled sophomore outing is set to release in January on Bilocation Records. The cover is a triptych, but the album itself seems to break up nicely into two sides of the LP, which will arrive in gatefold form in an edition of 500 copies as the follow-up to 2010’s New Rituals (review here) debut, recorded in 2011/2012 with Blues Pills‘ Cory Berry and Zack Anderson as the rhythm section. A pretty special moment to bring to light, even if that’s not the current lineup of the band, which features vocalist/keyboardist John Gamino, guitarists Jake Sheley and Nolan Girard (also synth), bassist Andrew O’Neil and drummer Ventura Garcia.
MONDO DRAG to release new album on 16/01/15. Pre-sale started!
The highly anticipated second album by Oakland’s finest heavy-psych-rockers MONDO DRAG will see the light of day through Kozmik Artifactz on January 16th, 2015. It contains seven analogue recorded tracks. To be released on CD & high performance 180g vinyl!
Under the spiritual guidance of the forefathers of heavy psych, prog, and proto-metal, Mondo Drag has created an amalgamation of sounds the likes of which have not resounded through the atmosphere for decades. The band’s unique sound, and rare cohesion probably stem from the fact that core members John Gamino, Nolan Girard, and Jake Sheley actually grew up within a one mile radius from each other, attended the same schools, were a part of the same scene, and have played music with each other for 15 years.
Produced, engineered & mixed by Mondo Drag and Patrick Stolley. Mastered by Jim Brick. Artwork by Robert Beatty.
Available as CD & limited Vinyl
VINYL FACTZ – 100x marbled (EXCLUSIVE MAILORDER version) – 200x yellow – 200x black – Plated & pressed on high performance vinyl in Germany – Matt laquered 300gsm gatefold cover – Handnumbered – Mastered for vinyl
TRACKS A1. Zephyr 2:34 A2. Crystal Visions Open Eyes 4:36 A3. The Dawn 3:04 A4. Plumajilla 6:40
B1. Shifting Sands 5:24 B2. Pillars Of The Sky 6:45 B3. Snakeskin 6:10
Posted in Reviews on December 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
At around 11AM, I started to get antsy. By the time I left Massachusetts, it was 12:30PM, and it would be five and a half hours later that I rolled down Manhattan Ave. in Brooklyn to the Saint Vitus Bar for the first of YOB‘s two-night residency with support from Tombs and Kings Destroy. It would be the first time I’d see the Eugene, Oregon, trio since the release of their much-lauded 2014 Neurot Recordings debut, Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here), and I wasn’t going to miss it. I did not stop for food or drink on my way south.
YOB were soundchecking when I got in, and there’d be some time yet before the show actually started. I watched them bust through a couple fuses on the Sunn bass head on loan from Kings Destroy and get their sound dialed in through the Vitus Bar P.A., noticing that the shape of the venue’s stage had changed since last I was there. It’s been added to in the front, what used to be a jut-out in the middle is not even all the way across. Since the show was sold out, there were no seats on the side either. It looked like a pro shop, which of course it is whether the booths are there or not, and there were few people milling around, getting drinks and whatnot. It was a boon to me at that point not to be in the car anymore.
By my count this was the 20th time I watched Kings Destroy play a set in 2014. That is not an exaggeration. Possibly the only thing I can say about them at this point — and I mean it as a high compliment — is that if they were playing tonight somewhere near me, I’d go. They also had a soundcheck and got started shortly after 9PM, soon thereafter announcing from the stage that their third, self-titled album will be out on War Crime Recordings in April as they ran through a couple of its highlights, “Smokey Robinson,” “Mr. O.,” “Embers” and “Green Diamonds,” opening with “The Whittler” and rounding out with “Blood of Recompense” and “Turul,” a one-two punch culled from last year’s A Time of Hunting.
The latter was particularly charged and since it’s not one they play all the time, I was glad to see them break it out as a finale. Of all their material, it’s probably the oddest song they have, but the weirdness suits them and underscores the impressive amount of sonic ground they cover and the efficiency with which they cover it. They played mostly in the dark, with a projector screen behind, but after seeing them on the West Coast, the East Coast and in between, the home turf was a fun way to round out the year. I should be so lucky to go another 20 in 2015.
Somehow — and I’m not 100 percent sure this is true now that I’m saying it — I’ve never seen Tombs. At least not that I can remember. The Brooklynite outfit, led by guitarist/vocalist Mike Hill, released their third album, Savage Gold, this year on Relapse, and were duly in command of their genre-blending style, a potent, metallic-vibed stew of blackened squibblies, doomly atmospherics and thrashing intensity. His foot on the monitor or his guitar held out in front of him, Hill was every bit the frontman, but the whole band was air-tight, bassist Ben Brand and drummer Andrew Hernandez II, and recently-added guitarist Evan Void (also of Sadgiqacea) crisp in the delivery of cuts like “Edge of Darkness” and “Seance” from the new album en route to the closeout, “Path of Totality,” the title-track from Tombs‘ 2011 sophomore breakout full-length. They were a band I always figured I’d run into sooner or later. I wish it had been sooner.
I came into the show thinking of it as the first of two nights, so it was hard to consider Friday a standalone, but even if you take into account Saturday’s lineup, with Occultation and Ecstatic Vision opening, there was a varied but still cohesive spirit to both bills. It gave Friday a carefully curated vibe, and that carried over to Saturday too. These weren’t just bands who would draw, they were bands someone wanted you to see. It made a difference in the mood of the show, and by the time Tombs were wrapping up after Kings Destroy and before YOB, the Vitus Bar was so packed in that clearly the plan had worked.
Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to watch YOB play three-fourths of Clearing the Path to Ascend at Roadburn in The Netherlands, and doubly fortunate to have heard the record beforehand. But I didn’t know the songs at that point, hadn’t spent any significant amount of time listening to them, and absent from that set was the album-closer “Marrow,” which, if you’ve heard it, you know is a big difference. It’s my pick for song of the year, for whatever that’s worth, but there was no guarantee it would make an appearance either night. Still, was worth a shot. As it turned out, after opening with the unearthly rolling groove of “Ball of Molten Lead,” which continues to sound as weighted as its title, guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt, bassist Aaron Rieseberg and drummer Travis Foster played Clearing the Path to Ascend front to back, in its entirety, closing out with the scorchingly noisy “The Lie that is Sin” from 2009’s return, The Great Cessation, and the title cut from 2011’s Atma.
Whatever they played, I’m sure I’d have been into it, but having watched them play full-album sets previously for The Great Cessation, 2005’s The Unreal Never Lived and 2003’s Catharsis, I’m glad to be able to put Clearing the Path to Ascend in that category as well. The four songs, “In Our Blood,” the drum-led tempest “Nothing to Win” — which Foster made look easy, in defiance of both logic and physics — “Unmask the Spectre” and “Marrow” itself, were a worthy focal point, and the flow of the material was no less palpable live than it is listening to the album. Being faster and more aggressive, “Nothing to Win” got a particularly fervent response (myself included), but I don’t think I was the only one appreciating what it meant to be watching “Marrow” and seeing YOB‘s most progressive moment to date come to life right there on the stage. To call it powerful would be understatement.
I was, by then, a wreck. That whole not-eating-or-drinking-anything-all-day thing? Yeah, it caught up with me right around the time they hit into “Unmask the Spectre.” I couldn’t keep my head up without getting dizzy and pressed up against the stage up front, I was fiercely nauseous and feeling like I was going to pass out. I leaned over on the stage during “Marrow” and headed to the back of the venue thereafter, getting two rounds of two waters from the bar and putting my head down on my arm to recover. I heard a good-spirited “Man down!” from someone. I wasn’t even drunk, just dehydrated. It made me glad I was sticking around the area for the second show, since watching “The Lie that is Sin” and “Atma” from way in the back wasn’t how I was hoping it would go down, but even so, I can’t and won’t complain. I was lucky to be there at all.
And I’d be lucky to go back for more the next night. More on that tomorrow. For now, more pics after the jump and thanks for reading.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The list of bands, quite frankly, is astonishing, but even more astonishing is the fact that Thief Presents‘ Psycho California 2015 (formerly Psycho de Mayo) hasn’t announced its headliners yet, because these sure as shit look like headliners to me.
A three-day festival set to take place at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA, Psycho California will feature the following acts:
Here’s that list again: Kylesa, Om, Earth, Russian Circles, Orange Goblin, Bedemon, Conan, Indian, Pallbearer, Cave In, Old Man Gloom, Tombs, Earthless, Truckfighters, Bang, Eyehategod, Crowbar, SubRosa, Lord Dying, Acid Witch, Electric Citizen, Coffinworm, Eagle Twin, Stoned Jesus, Mammatus, True Widow, Bell Witch, Death by Stereo, Radio Moscow, Samsara Blues Experiment, Anciients, Elder, Mothership, Ancient Altar, The Well, Deathkings, Wo Fat, Rozamov, Destroyer of Light, Highlands, Bloodmoon, Slow Season, Crypt Trip, Lords of Beacon House, Tumbleweed Dealer, Sinister Haze, Blackout, Red Wizard, Banquet, Loom.
Plus interludes by Author and Punisher.
Not only does it cover both coasts, huge bands, legends and up and comers, but the reach is international. Take special note of Conan, since their appearance means that Maryland Deathfest won’t be their only US date, and also Samsara Blues Experiment and Stoned Jesus – two killer European bands that you don’t even go after unless you know what the fuck you’re doing. That also hugely extends the possibilities for headlining acts. It’s an assemblage that’s beyond impressive, and if you haven’t already looked up flights to Southern California, I don’t know what to tell you. As I write this it’s after one in the morning on Sunday night, and you know I wouldn’t be doing that if my mind wasn’t leaking out of my ears at the thought of experiencing this thing.
Stay tuned for more to come, since as the poster says, headliners will be announced on Jan. 15. I’ll be looking forward to finding out who else is in store.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The holidays. What a nightmare. Fortunately, for those who’d need one more fix before the New Year rings in a whole 365-day batch of nonsense, Feast of Krampus would seem to have you covered, at least if you’re in Philly or Brooklyn. What might otherwise have been a weekender with Wino and Sixty Watt Shaman, who once upon a 1999 shared a split release — Wino with Spirit Caravan, Sixty Watt during their original run — has become a two-night, two-city festival at Underground Arts on Dec. 27 and the St. Vitus bar on Dec. 28 with a host of killer support acts to round out the bill, including Philly natives Wizard Eye and Massachusetts’ own Birch Hill Dam, as well as Chimpgrinder and Buzzard Canyon and others with apparently more to come.
I’ll defer to the PR wire for details, but it looks like a badass time either way. Dig it:
Some Pig Presents: Feast of Krampus
A Dark and Unholy Holiday Celebration
Saturday, 12/27 at Underground Arts (Philadelphia, PA)
Sunday, 12/28 at Saint Vitus (Brooklyn, NY)
A chill in the air, and a darkness in the night. It is the eve that the dark lord Krampus calls his disciples to the sacrificial altar…
Brooklyn-based booking/promotions agency Some Pig Presents is proud to announce the first annual music festival Feast of Krampus, with dates in Philadelphia and Brooklyn. Conceived as a dark, twisted holiday celebration, Feast of Krampus will feature the heavy metal legend Wino, along with a support bill comprising some of the best acts in heavy music. Save your holiday cheer for the department stores and cocktail parties; Feast of Krampus is a dark offering of blood, volume, and mayhem to the merciless lord of Yuletide terror.
Headlining the inaugural Feast of Krampus is metal legend Scott “Wino” Weinrich, frontman of quintes- sential heavy bands Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, and Spirit Caravan. Since forming the Obsessed in 1976, and later joining Saint Vitus for their definitive 1986 release Born Too Late, Wino has stood at the fore- front of the American underground metal scene, and his influence on doom and stoner rock cannot be measured. For over 30 years he has stood as a pillar of the genre, and his prolific studio output and con- stant touring reveal an unrivaled longevity. The Feast of Krampus finds Wino recently returned from a 6 week, 35th anniversary Saint Vitus tour through Europe, and marks a triumphant homecoming.
Also appearing at both dates will be heavy veterans Sixty Watt Shaman. Since 1996, Sixty Watt Shaman has been brewing a bluesy, psychedelic brand of heavy groove rock, releasing 3 classic albums between 1998 and 2002. While the years since contained a number of one-off reunion performances, 2014 has seen the Shaman more active than ever, with appearances at London’s DesertFest and Baltimore’s Moving The Earth Festival, as well as the release of their first new original material in over 10 years.
Filling out each bill are a number of noteworthy acts both local and regional. In Philly we’ll be joined by Wizard Eye, Skeleton Hands, and Chimpgrinder, while Brooklyn support includes Godmaker, Birch Hill Dam, Moon Tooth, and Buzzard Canyon.
FEAST OF KRAMPUS is more than a concert: it’s a dark, unholy holiday celebration like no other. You better watch out, and you better not cry, because Krampus is coming…
If you’ve ever had the chance to see The Midnight Ghost Train live, then you don’t need me to tell you tales of their on-stage fury. The hard-touring Topeka, Kansas, heavy blues trio are kinetic, a broiling chaos of riffs, headbanging and stomp. They’ve been at it for years at this point, back and forth across the country as well as in Europe, and in March, they’ll make their debut on Napalm Records with their third album, Cold was the Ground, for which preorders are now available. Of course, if you haven’t seen the band before, I’d be happy to tell you those tales, but probably the best thing to do would be wait 15 minutes or so for them to announce another round of shows that includes wherever it is you happen to live. They’ll get there sooner or later.
Cold was the Ground contains 11 tracks championing the three-piece’s thick-toned, high-energy cause. It’s a record that deals out quick blows and doesn’t stick around too long to watch the damage before starting the next bombardment. Guitarist/vocalist Steve Moss, drummer Brandon Burghart and bassist Mike Boyne have a road-honed dynamic, and one can hear the progression from where The Midnight Ghost Train were just a couple years ago on their 2012 second album, Buffalo (review here). They’ve never wanted for confidence or push, but Cold was the Ground puts them in new territory in both how hard it slams its point home and in the range of its songwriting. Fuzz tones meet head on with Moss gruff-bordering-on-growl vocals, and the raging shuffle that ensues throughout is a demonstration of the kind of madness only a band at the top of their game can produce. It’s the kind of record that dares you not to headbang.
Of course, The Midnight Ghost Train will hit the road (and hard) to support it. In fact, they’re already doing shows this week. The international release dates for the album and their current tour plans — lucky dogs are touring with Greenleaf — are underneath the player below, on which you’ll find the debut of their new video for “Gladstone,” an early kick in the ass from Cold was the Ground that’s just one of the many on hand.
The Midnight Ghost Train, “Gladstone” official video
Cold was the Ground Release Dates: 2.28.2015 – GSA / Europe / AUS 3.2.2015 – UK / NO / FR / DK / IT 3.04.2015 – SE / ESP 3.10.2015 – USA / CAN
The Midnight Ghost Train on Tour: Dec 17 Launchpad Albuquerque, NM Dec 18 The Blue Max Midland, TX Dec 19 The Lost Well Austin, TX w/ Sabbath Crow Dec 20 Vino’s Brew Pub Little Rock, AR Dec 21 Lizard’s Lounge Wichita, KS w/ Bridegeist Feb 24 Alte Malzerei Regensburg, Germany w/ Greenleaf Feb 25 Arena Vienna, Austria w/ Greenleaf Feb 26 Immerhin Wurzburg, Germany w/ Greenleaf Feb 27 Vortex Siegen, Germany w/ Greenleaf Feb 28 Gaswerk Winterthur, Switzerland w/ Greenleaf Mar 01 Lo-Fi Milano, Italy w/ Greenleaf Mar 03 White Rabbit Freiburg, Germany w/ Greenleaf Mar 05 Feierwerk Munich, Germany w/ Greenleaf Mar 06 Stahlfest Leipzig, Germany w/ Greenleaf Mar 07 Treibsand Lübeck, Germany w/ Greenleaf Mar 09 Hafenklang Hamburg, Germany Mar 11 DAS BETT Frankfurt, Germany Mar 12 Marlein Leuwaarden, Netherlands Mar 13 Hell Over Esslingen Esslingen, Germany Mar 14 Borom PomPom Oberentfelden, Switzerland Mar 15 Il Principe In Bicicletta Treviso, Italy Mar 16 No Cage Prato, Italy Mar 18 PMK Innsbruck, Austria Mar 19 kulturbahnhof Jena, Germany Mar 20 Le Brin De Zinc Chambery, France Mar 21 Mudd Club Strasbourg, France Mar 22 Glazart Paris, France w/ Black Rainbows Mar 24 Ostpol Dresden, Germany Mar 25 Paunchy Cats Lichtenfels, Germany Mar 26 Dustown Festival Berlin, Germany Mar 27 7er Club Mannheim, Germany Mar 29 dB’s Utrecht, Netherlands Jun 19 Hellfest Clisson, France
At the time, I was still so hung up on Los Angeles trio Sasquatch‘s 2004 self-titled debut that I don’t think I properly appreciated the classic-rock-is-ours-now feel and heaviness of “Let it In,” “The Judge,” the vinyl-style symmetry of “Nikki” and “Catalina” and the rawness of character on display. Where the first album is kind of an outlier now in terms of sound for them, made formative by hindsight where at the time it seemed nothing if not accomplished — their songwriting was always top notch — II became more of the model with which they’d work, their ’70s-meets-’90s vibe running a riffy current through the tracks. Both 2010’s III (review here) and 2013’s IV (review here) built off what they did here, and their craft has never wavered.
They played one of Small Stone‘s by-then-legendary SXSW showcases as well during this era, and it was the first time I got to see the band, which only solidified my fandom. They haven’t been out east much — though they hit the Uninvited festival this year in Brooklyn; from what I hear it was a “Pleasure to Burn” — but I’ve been fortunate enough to see them once or twice more over the years and they’ve always delivered. II is a work of straightforward, perpetually-underrated heavy rock, and it’s easy to look at a band like Sasquatch and think about “oh, if X and Y and Z, these guys would be huge,” and I wouldn’t begrudge them making a ton of money or anything, but these guys make for an excellent underground secret too, like a litmus for those who know.
Small Stone put this one out on vinyl not too long ago, but I’m pretty sure they’re gone by now. Not bad for a record eight years later to continue to inspire such devotion, and I’ve no doubt that II will continue to do so no matter how high Sasquatch‘s numbers end up going. Please enjoy.
So, why a day late? I left home yesterday at 12:30PM to go to Brooklyn and see the first of YOB‘s two nights at the St. Vitus bar. I got to the venue around 6PM. That’s usually a four-hour trip. I was utterly fried after the show — turns out that not eating or drinking anything all day was the wrong choice; I was dizzy and nauseous in the packed room and stayed up front through “Marrow” but had to move back after that and get some water — and then afterwards, there was a solid hour of traffic getting to the Lincoln Tunnel. Got in to Jersey at about two in the morning. It was far less thrilling than the show itself, which was fantastic. I’ll be going back for round two tonight.
More year-end stuff next week. Look out for a list of the year’s best debuts at some point, and maybe one of the best live gigs and some other stuff. I’ll also be reviewing these two nights at the Vitus bar, and anything else I might have time for. I feel like I say this all the time, but if you’re waiting on a review of something, I’m sorry. I’m one person. Most other sites have a staff of writers working on stuff, or at least a few people. I have me. If something takes me longer, or if I don’t get to it, I wholeheartedly and sincerely apologize. I’m doing the best I can to do as much as I can. If I had eight of me, it would be easier. As it is, I can barely answer email.
But anyway, I hope you dig the Sasquatch and I hope you have a great and safe weekend, wherever you’re at. Thanks for checking in, and please don’t forget to hit up the forum and radio stream.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Icelandic heavy rocking trio The Vintage Caravan are set to hit the studio on Jan. 8 to track the follow-up to their Nuclear Blast debut, Voyage, which was released by the label earlier this year. The album, as yet untitled, is due out sometime in 2015, and the songs seem to be held over from earlier writing sessions, so it should be interesting to hear how The Vintage Caravan move forward.
Details are pretty light at the moment, but the PR wire brings some comment from the band, and there’s more to come, I’m sure:
THE VINTAGE CARAVAN to Enter the Studio in January!
Icelandic classic rock trio THE VINTAGE CARAVAN, have announced that they will be entering the studio on January 8, 2015 to record their second album. The recording for the follow-up to 2014’s critically acclaimed Voyage, will take place in an isolated fjord, where they will set up a studio in an old ballroom and work again with producer Axel “Flexi” Árnason. Recording sessions will last 2 weeks, and a release is tentatively scheduled for the first half of 2015.
Commented the band: “The songwriting sessions have been going on since around October 2012 when our album Voyage had been out in Iceland for a month. We immediately started writing at that point so some of the songs are quite old for us. Because of that we have a bit too many songs but we intend to make this album around 10 tracks so we can put what we think are the best tracks on the album.
“Right now we are doing demos, polishing the stuff and thinking of ways to nicely add to the production of the songs.
“We are very excited to start recording this album. It’s going to be interesting to work on. The album is a bit different from our previous album – it’s a bit darker, a bit heavier, a bit more melodic but definitely all in a good way.”