Live Review: Faces of Bayon, Clamfight, Wizard Eye, Bedroom Rehab Corporation and Conclave in Massachusetts, 10.18.14

Posted in Reviews on October 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

clamfight 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It was madness, I tell you. Utter madness. Madness from which there was no escape, unless you went outside, which if you were me you didn’t want to do. A five-band Saturday night bill at Ralph’s Rock Diner in Worcester with Faces of Bayon — who as I understand it don’t literally run the place, but show up there often enough that one might get that impression — Clamfight and Wizard Eye up from Philly and Conclave, who as they put it were a “new band with the same old guys” opening, it was an evening to settle in and just let the steamroller run you down because, quite frankly, it was going to whether you wanted or not. GwarLife of Agony and a bunch of other bands were playing at The Palladium down the way, and that probably had some impact on the overall draw, but people came upstairs and milled about the venue throughout the night, a birthday party downstairs and balloons with “Over The Hill” on them getting a chuckle out of me on my way by.

Ralph’s at this point I consider to be a pretty well kept secret. I’ve yet to see a band there and not have the sound hold up. The room is open, the ceiling high enough to let amps breathe, the stage is the right height for it. There are stools at the bar if you want to take a load off for a minute, and the lighting — though it can change from band to band — is better than every room I’ve been to in Boston save perhaps for the Middle East Downstairs, which is also a venue that holds at least three times as many people. Were Worcester a more major urban center, Ralph’s is probably the kind of place people from elsewhere would’ve heard of, a spot that could be in league with Brooklyn’s The Acheron if not the Vitus bar, or someplace like Johnny Brenda‘s in Philly, minus the balcony. I dig it, in other words, and enjoy seeing bands there. For being maybe 75 minutes from me where Boston is about an hour and Providence about 45 minutes, I’ve so far found it’s worth the trip.

The flyer said five bucks for five bands. I paid seven as the door and it should’ve cost more than twice that. Here’s how this one went down:

Conclave

conclave 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

As I understand it, it was Conclave‘s second show, but true to their “same old guys” declaration, the members of the band have been around. Bassist/vocalist Jerry Orne counts the due-for-a-reunion Warhorse in his pedigree, and guitarist Jeremy Kibort is his bandmate in once-and-again death metallers Desolate. Completed by drummer Dan BlomquistConclave played doom like death metallers often do. Even before you get to harsh vocals or anything like that, you can hear it in the precision of the changes, in some of the angularity of their approach. Blomquist‘s kit and Kibort‘s guitar were a dead giveaway, but for being a new band, they clearly knew their way around a doom riff, and it was easy to get a sense of the balance of harshness and groove they were shooting for, the lack of pretense at the heart of their presentation, and their penchant for periodically working in faster tempo shifts, as on “Walk the Earth (No Longer)” or the set closer “Black Lines,” which seems likely to also feature on their forthcoming debut EP, Breaking Ground. And so they were.

Bedroom Rehab Corporation

bedroom rehab corporation 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I wondered if it had been a month since the last time I saw Connecticut’s Bedroom Rehab Corporation while bassist/vocalist Adam Wujtewicz and drummer Meghan Killimade set up their gear. Yes, it had — just over a month, in fact. Still close enough that they were fresh on the brain, though. Their set had a couple new songs to go with “Basilosaurus” from their Red over Red debut long-player (review here). They’ll record in January, and I’ll look forward to what comes out of that for 2015, but the primary impression in watching them at Ralph’s, which is also where I first saw them over the summer, was much the same, in how completely their live show outclasses their studio material. They’ve got their work cut out for them in translating the energy they bring to the stage — the consuming, noisy sensibility in both of their approaches, the variety of tone and gruff vocals of Wujtewicz — but Justin Pizzoferrato, who also helmed the debut, should be able to capture it with the right balance of rawness and clarity. At Ralph’s, they were playing the second night of an NY/MA weekender with Clamfight and Wizard Eye, and it was clear the company they were keeping was pushing them to give it their all on stage.

Wizard Eye

wizard eye 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)
Sometimes there’s a band — and I’m talking about Wizard Eye here — and they’re the right band for their time and place. They fit right in there. That was Wizard Eye as the centerpiece act in the lineup of five in Worcester. Their grooves smoother than Bedroom Rehab Corporation, more stoned out than even the newer Clamfight material — give me a minute, I’ll get there — the Philly trio rolled out fuzz and heavy with the assured vibe of seasoned veterans. They’re not a new band, formed in 2007, but with one record out it would be easy to walk into a Wizard Eye set and be surprised at how much they have their shit together on stage. I knew what was coming, but new songs “Flying/Falling,” “Phase Return” and “Drowning Day” set in well with the promise of a follow-up to 2010’s Orbital Rites, from which “C.O.C.,” “Psychonaut” and “Gravebreath” were aired, guitarist/vocalist Erik Caplan trading out guitar solos for theremin, which added noisy edge to the Iommic groove and stoner-because-stoner vibe the three-piece got across. That second album may yet be a little ways off, but from what I’ve heard it’ll be worth the wait.

Clamfight

clamfight 2 (Photo by JJ Koczan)
There are few things I’ll argue with less than watching Clamfight play. Up from Philly and sharing what I’m sure was a mightily dudely van with the Wizard Eye cats, Clamfight were primed to destroy as always, but opening and closing with new songs, they pulled away from the riffy thrash with which I tend to associate them, driving toward a more classic-rocking — and, pivotally, more dynamic — take. I knew they were growing, but they brought into relief just how far their progression was pushing them, or vice versa, and as satisfying as it was to see them tear into the title-track from their second record, I vs. the Glacier, with drummer Andy Martin roaring while lead guitarist Sean McKee tried to shake his cranium loose by headbanging it off while alternately facing and not facing the crowd, guitarist Joel Harris locked into a swaggering kind of waltz and bassist Louis Koble nestled into foundational grooves behind, it was even better to watch them come out from behind all that assault and volume and still have both the performance and songwriting hold up as they branched out. I anxiously await the chance to hear their new stuff properly recorded.

Faces of Bayon

faces of bayon 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)
It did not seem to me that Faces of Bayon had a particularly easy task in following Clamfight, but ultimately the Fitchburg trio were on such a different wavelength that by the time they were about 30 seconds into their set, it was apples and oranges. It’s been over two years since the last (and first) time I saw guitarist/vocalist Matt Smith, bassist Ron Miles and drummer Mike Lenihan. Smith threatened a second album that night to follow-up 2011’s debut, Heart of the Fire (review here), but one has yet to surface. It wasn’t mentioned at Ralph’s that I heard, but Faces of Bayon‘s blend of stoner and death-doom impulses was a stirring reminder of why I’d been looking forward to such a thing. Riffs came slow and patient, Miles subdued on the right side of the stage while Lenihan throttled his skull-covered drums and Smith – also a former member of Warhorse – gurgled out tales of woe. Some clean singing added Euro-style drama to the proceedings, and they finished with a deathly cover of Pentagram‘s “All Your Sins,” which was shouted out to photographer Hillarie Jason, who had rolled in presumably after the Gwar show ended. By then, it was well past 1AM, but some riffs get better the later they come.

The highways were basically clear on the way home, a couple cops pulling over a couple out-of-state-plate types as I streamed past with “Oh yeah I’ve been there” empathy. Got in a little before 3AM and called it a night on the quick, once again reveling in how overjustified the trip had been.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Jakob Skøtt’s Taurus Rising LP Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

jakob-skott

Causa Sui drummer and experimental solo artist Jakob Skøtt will issue his third full-length, Taurus Rising, in December through El Paraiso Records. The Copenhagen-based Skøtt issued his previous album, Amor Fati, earlier this year, and El Paraiso has unveiled the song “Pleiades” on the occasion of Taurus Rising being available to preorder as if to ensure listeners that the Krautrock-style progressivism of the last outing will indeed push even further this time out. Causa Sui reportedly have some new stuff in the works as well as they continue their ascent to the fore of European heavy psychedelia, but in the meantime, Skøtt demonstrates that even one-fourth of the band can still provide a rich and engaging listen.

Go anywhere progressive psychedelia; the motorik lives:

jakob skott taurus rising

Jakob Skøtt: Taurus Rising LP PREORDER

3rd album from Causa Sui drummer Jakob Skøtt expands his one-man-band experiments into vast new territories.

Taurus Rising is built from motoric synthesizer arpeggios and heavy duty live drumming. But rather than simply worshipping endless repetition, Skøtt reaches an impressive array of expressions on each of these five mini epics – each song is ALIVE – frequently whirling off track like the wind direction in a sand storm, leading to some mind-altering melodies and rhythms that’ll keep you on your toes. Washed currents of pulsating analogue synthesizer scores, pre-fusion jazz-sensibility and fuzz’ed out electronics all tied together by fevered rhythms.

Jakob Skøtt is the drummer in revered danish experimental psych act Causa Sui and has previously collaborated with artists from Tortoise and Sunburned Hand of the Man. In a number of different outfits he has also released thru esteemed labels such as Morr Music, Ghostly International, Darla Records. Furthermore Jakob has done exclusive live visuals and artworks for Amon Düül II, Earthless, Manual, cult actress Asia Argento as well as The Roadburn Festival.

Also available as a 2xCD package also containing Jakob’s previous album Amor Fati.

http://elparaisorecords.com/releases/jakob-sktt-taurus-rising
https://www.facebook.com/elparaisorecords

Jakob Skøtt, “Pleiades”

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The Skull Premiere “The Touch of Reality” from For Those Which are Asleep

Posted in audiObelisk on October 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the skull

November 4 marks the release date for For Those Which are Asleep, the debut full-length from Chicago doom five-piece The SkullTee Pee Records, known more these days for psychedelic rock (NaamWeird OwlEarthless) than the sort of traditional Sabbathry in which The Skull traffic, will be handling the CD/LP, and if The Skull are something of an odd fit, one can certainly say extenuating circumstances apply.

With three-fifths of the band’s lineup — bassist Ron Holzner, drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson and vocalist Eric Wagner – culled directly from US doom legends Trouble, no doubt many of those who approach The Skull‘s first long-player will do so with a firm expectation of what’s in store. In some ways, those expectations will be right, but with guitarists Lothar Keller and Matt Goldsborough (ex-Pentagram) each playing a significant tonal role, For Those Which are Asleep sets its own course through doomly traditions.the skull for those which are asleep Wagner‘s inimitable vocal style, semi-spoken and subdued on “Send Judas Down” and “The Touch of Reality” and pushing into higher-register theatrics on the title-track and “Sometime Yesterday Mourning” — which, coupled with a cover of Trouble‘s “The Last Judgment,” was released earlier this year as a single (streamed here) to herald the album’s coming — to further the band’s utterly classic sound, modern and crisp in its production in a way that coincides with some of the album’s more forward-thinking moments, The Skull not just interested in paying homage to Trouble‘s legacy, which is how they started, but in moving ahead and building on it as well.

Today I have the extreme pleasure of debuting the track “The Touch of Reality.” It’s the second cut on For Those Which are Asleep behind “Trapped Inside My Mind” and it slips easily into one of the record’s most satisfying grooves, Olson smoothly riding the rhythm in Keller and Goldsborough‘s riffing, given heft by the breadth and ever-dynamic bass-work of Holzner while Wagner holds court over top. With The Skull, one of doom’s most enduring legacies breathes new life, and For Those Which are Asleep is as resounding a wake up call as one could ask. Heads and headbangers alike will be pleased.

Please find “The Touch of Reality” on the player below, followed by some info off the PR wire, and enjoy:

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THE SKULL — the new band featuring original members Eric Wagner (vocals) and Jeff “Oly” Olson (drums) of American doom metal legends TROUBLE alongside longtime TROUBLE bassist Ron Holzner, guitarist Lothar Keller (SACRED DAWN) and former PENTAGRAM guitarist Matt Goldsborough will release their debut album For Those Which Are Asleep on November 4 via Tee Pee Records, the NYC independent record label known for releasing landmark albums from acts such as High on Fire, Graveyard, Earthless and Sleep.

Written and recorded this past spring, For Those Which Are Asleep features ten tracks of elemental Heavy Metal and is the first full length album to feature Wagner, Holzner and Olson since the 1995 release of TROUBLE’s critically acclaimed LP Plastic Green Head. The new record’s greatest strength is how well it captures the apocalyptic trudge that Trouble delivered from the first downbeat of their 1984 debut, but now unequivocally propelled by the hallmarks of a hungry new band fueled by new blood. The mighty voice of Wagner is on full display; the vocalist proving on For Those Which Are Asleep that he still wields an eerie power at the mic. Titanic riffs abound as Keller and Goldsborough weave ominous atmospheres over the molten, crushing core of Holzner and Olson’s sinister strut. Make no mistake, THE SKULL are in complete command of their craft and have capably created a modern classic; a recording where atmosphere is established as drums crash, guitars blare and stories are told.

For Those Which are Asleep on iTunes

The Skull on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records

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Heavy Glow on Tour Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

heavy glow

San Diego three-piece Heavy Glow have been on tour for the better part of a week now, supporting their new album, Pearls and Swine and Everything Fine. That is, of course, unless you count their previous tour, which ended just three days before this one began. How that even splits up tours, I have no idea. Pretty much, when it’s all over, Heavy Glow will have been on the road for a stretch running from September into mid-November. The current run ends Nov. 14. I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point they announced a tour starting Nov. 17 and going into December.

Because touring!

Here are the remaining dates and some whathaveyou off the PR wire:

heavy glow tour

HEAVY GLOW Announces North American Headlining Tour

San Diego Rock Trio Heading Out to the Highway in Support of Celebrated New LP

Electric San Diego rock band HEAVY GLOW has announced a North American headlining tour in support of its new LP Pearls & Swine and Everything Fine. Set to kick off on September 18 in Fort Worth, Texas, the 18 city jaunt will showcase the trio’s unhinged explosiveness, which blends post-millennial blues-rock and haunting, Mowtown-esque hard soul, calling for comparison to The Dead Weather, The Black Keys, Afghan Whigs and Cream.

Led by guitarist / vocalist Jared Mullins, HEAVY GLOW has been called “a bluesy slice of Free-meets-Grand Funk” and “an impressive Hendrix / ZZ Top hybrid that pays homage to other blues masters (Clapton, Cray) and modern-day fuzz tone titans.” Recorded with producers Michael Patterson (Nine Inch Nails, Puscifer) and Nic Jodoin (Spindrift, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club), Pearls & Swine and Everything Fine has been hailed as “blistering” and has yielded the crunching cuts “Headhunter” and “Look What You’re Doing to Me”; the latter track’s music video starring actress Mayra Leal of the Robert Rodriguez film “Machete.”

HEAVY GLOW on tour:
Oct. 20 Underbelly Jacksonville, FL
Oct. 24 Pegasus Lounge Tampa FL
Oct. 30 The Hi-Tone Memphis, TN
Oct. 31 Daisy Duke’s Nashville, TN
Nov. 1 Hangar Bar, Greenville, TX
Nov. 6 Tiki Bar Shreveport, LA
Nov. 7 Dan Electro’s Houston, TX
Nov. 10 Plush, St. Louis, MO
Nov. 13 Silver Dollar, Texarkana, AR
Nov. 14 Vino’s Brewpub Little Rock, AR

https://www.facebook.com/heavyglowband/
http://instagram.com/heavyglowmusic
https://twitter.com/heavyglowmusic
http://www.heavyglowmusic.com/

Heavy Glow, “Look What You’re Doing to Me” official video

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Friday Full-Length: Acid King, Busse Woods

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Acid King, Busse Woods (1999)

In terms of the sheer “fuck yeah!” factor, Acid King‘s Busse Woods is one of the best stoner rock records ever made. A monster of classic riffage, it was the San Francisco trio’s 1999 sophomore outing after 1995′ Zoroaster debut, recorded by Billy Anderson and released by Man’s Ruin Records. Small Stone rightly stepped in and did a reissue in 2004 prior to releasing the band’s third album, III, in 2005, and with cuts like “Carve the Five,” “Electric Machine,” “Silent Circle,” “Drive Fast, Take Chances” and their eerie take on “39 Lashes” from Jesus Chris Superstar, it remains a paragon of all that is riff-led and virtuous and heavy, rife with timeless nod, warm tone and a dropped-out-of-life atmosphere. My biggest surprise in closing out the week with it is that I haven’t already done so.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the album — now over five years ago — I did an interview with guitarist/vocalist Lori S. in which she talked about the Cook County, Illinois, preserve from which the full-length takes its name and its relation to her own growing up:

Thinking back at Busse Woods or Ned Brown Forest Preserve, it’s hard to believe we weren’t all in prison or dead. This place was where bored suburban teenagers hung out ’cause that’s what we did! Most of my memories are hanging out with my high school pal John Cesak. He was the big drug dealer back in the day and we would go there pull in open the trunk, crank Black Sabbath and sell nickel bags! It was like a flea market for drugs, lids, purple microdot, black beauties HELL YEAH! Hanging out, smoking and playin’ Frisbee. Total Dazed and Confused

Acid King are set to release a new LP in 2015 through Svart. Also recorded by Billy Anderson, it’ll be their first since III and to say it’s one of my most anticipated releases for next year would probably be short-selling the nerditude with which I’m looking forward to hearing their new songs, some of which they’ve been playing live now for a while. Still, whatever they may have in store, Busse Woods remains an unfuckwithable monument to Sabbath-worship that only gets richer with age.

I hope you enjoy.

No lie, part of my motivation in picking Acid King to end the week was because of the righteous manner in which the San Francisco Giants dispatched the Cardinals to advance to the World Series, but Busse Woods is an album I go back to pretty regularly. Plus, I’m cutting out a little early this afternoon, and as Lori explains above, it’s a great one for slacking off. The Patient Mrs. and I have some friends coming from out of town tonight, and tomorrow is ClamfightWizard EyeFaces of Bayon and Wizard Eye in Worcester, so it should be a pretty full weekend. One which, it would seem, I’m eager to get started.

On Monday, I’ll have a review of that show, and Tuesday a writeup for the new John Wilkes Booth record — and if the timing works out, I’ll have that Lowrider interview up sometime in there too — but Tuesday night, I’m headed out to meet up with the Kings Destroy guys. Their tour with Radio MoscowBang and Pentagram begins on Thursday in Chicago, and I’ll be along for the entirety of the trip once again. Very much looking forward to getting back out with those guys and seeing places I’ve never seen before, starting with Chicago, as it happens, which to date I’ve only driven through en route elsewhere.

Like this past Spring, I’ll have my camera and my laptop along for the trip, and writeups on the shows and the travel over the next week-plus as we make our way through the 10 shows in the Midwest and the East Coast. More to come.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend and that if you checked out the podcast that just went up, you enjoy that as well. Please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Desertfest London 2015 Adds Noothgrush, Black Cobra, Minsk and More to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

desertfest banner

Desertfest teased this announcement yesterday, and since Human Disease Promo/When Planets Collide have put together a stage at each of the past fests, that they’d do so again at Desertfest London 2015 isn’t a huge surprise, but still, they’ve acquired some killer acts to fill it out. The reactivated Minsk will apparently make a trip overseas next April, and Black Cobra will return to Desertfest after playing at the Underworld last year. Add Noothgrush on top as headliners and DopethroneAgrimonia and Walk through Fire to round it out and it’s safe to say Desertfest London won’t be lacking for sludge next year.

The PR wire put it like this:

desertfest

NOOTHGRUSH, MINSK, BLACK COBRA, DOPETHRONE, AGRIMONIA and WALK THOUGH FIRE confirmed for DESERTFEST LONDON 2015

Like every year, London promoters When Planet Collides and Human Disease Promo will be curating a stage at The Underworld, hosting some of the most crushing and bleak riffage on the whole festival. Let’s all welcome the mighty NOOTHGRUSH, MINSK, BLACK COBRA, DOPETHRONE, AGRIMONIA and WALK THROUGH FIRE at DESERTFEST LONDON 2015, taking place on April 24-26th in Camden.

Already confirmed:
SLEEP
RED FANG
ORANGE GOBLIN
MY SLEEPING KARMA

Human Disease Promo / When Planets Collide Stage
NOOTHGRUSH
MINSK
BLACK COBRA
DOPETHRONE
AGRIMONIA
WALK THROUGH FIRE

For the fourth year running, Camden will be hosting one of the most exciting stoner/doom/sludge/psyche gatherings in Europe, for a full weekend of fuzzed-out tunes, psychedelia and partying. As the first headliner of this 2015 edition, American stoner rock pioneers SLEEP will be treating the Desertfest crowd to the finest smoked-out odysseys, with an exclusive headlining set at London’s famous venue Koko. Also headlining, Portland’s heavy rock’n’rollers RED FANG are set to turn this fourth edition into a massive metal celebration. The ground is set to tremble once again this year, with UK metal heavyweights ORANGE GOBLIN delivering their fiery metal anthems for a one-off 20th anniversary performance. It’s very rightfully than German psych foursome MY SLEEPING KARMA will be perfectly embodying the cosmic side of the lineup.

This new announcement with cult North-American outfits NOOTHGRUSH, MINSK, BLACK COBRA and DOPETHRONE, as well as Sweden based AGRIMONIA and WALK THROUGH FIRE is giving our 2015 lineup the blackened twist that is expected by all sludge and doom worshippers each year. Impending earthquake in Camden…

http://www.thedesertfest.com/london/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://twitter.com/DesertFest
http://instagram.com/desertfest

Noothgrush, Live at Maryland Deathfest 2014

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Craang, To the Estimated Size of the Universe: Looking Outward

Posted in Reviews on October 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

craang to the estimated size of the universe

Greek heavy psych trio Craang seem to tip their hat to improvisation early into their four-track debut full-length, To the Estimated Size of the Universe (to be released on vinyl early next year by Pink Tank Records), when six minutes into opener “Slo Forward Jam,” the song seems to come to an end with a wash of cymbals. There are still two more minutes to go, and the deceptively thick guitar tone soon kicks back in and continues to carry a progression out, but there still seems to be something off the cuff, even if some moments are clearly planned or if the Thessaloniki three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Manos, bassist Theano and drummer Nick are working from a basic schematic or a loosely-plotted course. Perhaps it’s part of the nature of the material itself and the fact that it was recorded live that it would seem so. The opener is, but not all four of the extended tracks — “Slo Forward Jam” (8:08), “Butterfly” (9:19), “Magnolia” (9:53) and “The Meteorian” (15:48) — are instrumental, but the focus is quickly put on the jam, and even as keys enter on “Butterfly,” the prevailing impression is still of looser-knit heavy psychedelia, a laid back groove pervading and holding firm throughout, even as heavy as the guitars and bass can get. And they do get fairly heavy, crunchier in their tone than one might expect, and even if where they go stylistically holds to some manner of restraint — that is, even as “The Meteorian” reaches its apex, Craang never thrash out — To the Estimated Size of the Universe showcases a burgeoning dynamic and progressive feel rife with subtle builds, effects-laden spaciousness and groove in steady supply.

Aside from that balance between improvisational and composed movements, the opener being the most leaned toward the former — working considerably in the album’s favor is Craang‘s patient sensibility. By the end of its nine minutes, “Butterfly” has pulled off a remarkable build, but the band’s roll is patient enough that it’s easy to get lost in and be carried along with it. On first listen, the arrival of Manos‘ vocals is surprising, since after “Slo Forward Jam,” it seems just as likely the entire album will go without, but more striking is the subtle way late in the track the guitar and keys push “Butterfly” toward and through its payoff, the final minute slowing to an absolute crawl in a rumbling and, finally, droning finish, luring an audience further from consciousness only to smack it in the head with the thick and immediate intro of “Magnolia,” which were it not for the more dynamic approach of the closer, would be the highlight of the record. It’s prime, fuzzed-out Euro-style heavy psych, feeding in its languid chug on a Colour Haze-via-Elder sensibility of how the genre is accomplished, and more than “Butterfly,” it does push and pull, the initial thrust giving way momentarily to an airier section of lead guitar and open vibe. The tradeoff is effective and shows Craang have more in their structural arsenal than a straight-upward build, the song seeming to come to a head after six minutes in only to space out on sustained guitar feedback, and an air-moving bassline that subtly sets the bed for a finishing jam. In both its ain’t-over-yet methodology and instrumental approach, “Magnolia” recalls “Slo Forward Jam,” but what they do with that changes, and the layered guitar work at the end of “Magnolia” makes a strong argument for the band’s potential future stylistic evolution.

craang

Still, it’s hard to overlook a 15-minute heavy psych excursion like “The Meteorian,” which finds a steady foundation in Theano‘s bass as it begins to unfold in languid fashion, the guitar slowly coming to life alongside the low end and a quiet but tense drum progression from Nick. Here too Craang‘s patience shows itself, but the pace increases just before three minutes in and what becomes the bed for the verse starts to take shape. Vocals are far back, almost consumed by the tones surrounding, and a space-rock push emerges in the bass and drums as the guitars once again give way to keys — if they even are keys and not guitar effects; nobody is credited with keyboards (the digipak, the liner for which is printed backwards, is cagey in giving any lineup information) and Craang‘s live setup doesn’t seem to have any, but it’s a distinct sound separate from the guitar fuzz, so if it was overdubbed later or whatever, I don’t know — and more airy guitar. This would seem to be the final build, but it peaks about halfway through the song with a riff that reminds directly of Elder‘s “Dead Roots Stirring” and shifts into a lull before picking up again with the push that gradually devolves into the finish of the album, some ambient vocals — or guitar, or keys — holding out over a final round of hits as “The Meteorian” crashes to its end. For its broader range, the closer makes for the highlight, but really it’s across the full span of To the Estimated Size of the Universe that Craang show their ambition and their allegiance to the tenets of heavy psychedelia, their desire to find a place within the genre. That progress is underway on this debut, peppered and given breadth by hints of sonic expansion to come.

Craang, To the Estimated Size of the Universe (2014/2015)

Craang on Thee Facebooks

Craang on Bandcamp

Pink Tank Records

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audiObelisk Transmission 041

Posted in Podcasts on October 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Click Here to Download

 

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

I didn’t realize, but it’s been over a year now since I started putting together podcasts regularly again. Almost 14 months, actually. Goes quick. I’m still having a good time doing them though. It’s become kind of a late-night ritual for me, assembling the audio and putting the tracklisting together and uploading everything the night before it goes live. It’s heading toward one in the morning as I type this. Long since asleep, The Patient Mrs. calls it “JJ time.” Fair enough.

A few twists and turns in this one, so watch out. I was all getting on some rocking vibes with Brant Bjork and that He Whose Ox is Gored, but after The Golden Grass things took a pretty wild turn. You may not have heard Atomikylä yet, but it’s players from Dark Buddha Rising and Oranssi Pazuzu, so it gets pretty bleak pretty quick. From there, it’s just further into doom with MossApostle of Solitude and The Sabbathian before Godflesh – as only they can — provide a slap back to reality. The second hour, as habit dictates, is a full-on freakout. That Olson/Shively/Barry track is members of Across Tundras and the album was just released, so if you get the chance to check it out, I’d say go for it. In the meantime, enjoy:

First Hour:
Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk, “Stokely up Now” from Black Power Flower (2014)
He Whose Ox is Gored, “Buried Twice” from Rumors 7” (2014)
Weed is Weed, “Eat Cookies” from Blunt Force Trauma (2014)
The Golden Grass, “The Robin Song” from Realisations (2014)
Atomikylä, “Ihmiskallo” from Erkale (2014)
Moss, “Carmilla (Marcilla)” from Carmilla (2014)
Apostle of Solitude, “Luna” from Of Woe and Wounds (2014)
The Sabbathian, “Nightshade Eternal” from Ritual Rites (2014)
Godflesh, “Life Giver Life Taker” from A World Lit Only by Fire (2014)
Lords of Beacon House, “Cool Water Blues” from Lords of Beacon House (2014)

Second Hour:
Geezer, “Tales of Murder and Unkindness” from Gage (2014)
Olson/Shively/Barry, “Jagged Cliffs” from Tierra del Fuego Blues (2014)
Dead Sea Apes, “Threads” from High Evolutionary (2014)
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, “Psychopomp” from Psychopomp (2014)

Total running time: 1:59:36

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 041

 

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Leeches of Lore to Record New Album with Toshi Kasai

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

leeches of lore

I felt incredibly fortunate earlier this year when I got to see Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Leeches of Lore in their native habitat, opening for the Pentagram/Radio Moscow/Kings Destroy tour. They killed it that night, and my appreciation for their set has only grown in the months since. The news that they’ll record their next album with Toshi Kasai – see also the MelvinsTool, and so on — is intriguing because that dude knows how to make a weird band sound weird, and it’s another one I’ll look forward to in 2015 without daring to speculate on what to expect from Leeches of Lore, who could break out a horn section or a second drummer at a moment’s notice.

In another show I’d very much like to catch, Leeches of Lore will play this Halloween at the Sister Bar in Albuquerque covering Alice Cooper‘s Love it to Death album in full. They also recorded a live set this week — with the time difference, I fell asleep before it came on — at KUNM 89.9, which if my degree in Communications has taught me anything about call letters is the radio station of the University of New Mexico, or was once affiliated with the school. That set, which also features a take on “Second Coming/The Ballad of Dwight Fry” as a preview for the Halloween gig, has been made available for stream and download from the band’s Bandcamp. Very cool stuff.

They sent along the following update:

leeches of lore logo

Leeches of Lore News!

We are pleased to announce that our next album will be recorded by Toshi Kasai of (the) Melvins, Big Business, Prizehog, Tool, Shrinebuilder, etc, etc fame. Tracking begins in November.

We will also be recording an EP of completely different music soon after.

Last but not least, we will be playing Halloween night at Sister here in Albuquerque. We will be performing Alice Cooper’s “Love it to Death” in it’s entirety.

For a taste of the new album and the Alice Cooper show, here is a link to a live radio performance we just did on Albuquerque’s KUNM 98.9.

https://leechesoflore.bandcamp.com/album/live-on-kunm-899

Mike Day (Tenderizor, Fando, our favorite guitar player in New Mexico) will be playing second guitar on Halloween!

https://www.facebook.com/leechesoflore
http://flyingmidgetrecords.com/
http://leechesoflore.bandcamp.com/
http://flyingmidgetrecords.bandcamp.com/

Leeches of Lore, Live on KUNM 89.9

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Red Fang, Weedeater, Elder and More Confirmed for CA’s Day of the Shred on Nov. 1

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

day of the shred banner

A Day of the Dead-concurrent companion for earlier this year’s Psycho de Mayo fest, Santa Ana, California’s Day of the Shred has assembled an unfuckwithable lineup of East and West Coast acts — go ahead and picture Ancestors and Elder on the same show, or Red Fang and Weedeater headlining with Hot Lunch and All Them Witches jamming out prior — for an all-dayer that promises hearses, skating and volume in good measure. Oh yeah, and Bongripper‘s gonna be there. Fucking hell it’s a solid bill. I don’t know what time they’re getting started on Nov. 1 but there are enough acts included to fill two stages and then some, so if you’re fortunate enough to find yourself in that part of the world come the Dias de los Muertos, Day of the Shred seems like one to mark on the calendar. Assuming there are still tickets available by the time the day actually arrives.

All the more staggering is that Radio Moscow will be flying out West from being on tour with Pentagram, Bang and Kings Destroy (the latter of whom I’ll be accompanying on the road) and then coming back east afterwards. No stopping the boogie, it would seem.

Dig the lineup and info for the fest below, courtesy of the PR wire:

 

day of the shred poster

From the creators of Psycho De Mayo…THIEF brings to life the first annual DAY OF THE SHRED – an all-day music festival celebrating megalithic riffs, skateboarding, and the souls of the departed. Join us this Dia De Los Muertos as we gather the living and raise the dead.

The forces behind Thief are preparing a bountiful sacrifice for the extinguished souls at this year’s inaugural DAY OF THE SHRED. Paying tribute to the fallen, Earthquaker Devices has teamed up with Thief and Arik Roper to birth an exclusive festival edition fuzz pedal, entitled; “The Grim Reefer.” The cool ghouls over at KR3W are hosting an open air skate jam and giving concert goers the opportunity to shred the dead on their mini ramp. Screen printed textiles both wearable and collectible will be available on November 1st, including a 9-color design by David D’Andrea and additional prints by UK legend, Godmachine. Vintage hearses will consume the blacktop of the Observatory and vagabond moto maidens: Babes Ride Out will also be in attendance morphing into the “Babes Of The Shred.” Thrasher Magazine will serve as the festivals official media partner, while Midnite Collective completes the festival’s ouroboros with a panorama of genres and audiences. On November 1st, these leaders in ceremony will unite to gather the living and raise the dead.

The Observatory in Santa Ana
3503 S. Harbor Blvd
Santa Ana, CA

Red Fang
Weedeater
Windhand
Elder
Bongripper
ASG
Radio Moscow
The Shrine
Danava
Graves At Sea
Glitter Wizard
Ancestors
Hot Lunch
Arctic
Goya
All Them Witches
(16)
Trapped Within Burning Machinery
Greenbeard

http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?dispatch=loadSelectionData&eventId=5312945&pl=observatory
www.DayOfTheShred.com
https://www.facebook.com/events/1437936696479204/
www.instagram.com/thiefpresents
https://www.facebook.com/Thiefpresents

The Shrine, Live at Psycho de Mayo 2014

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On Wax: Lenoir Swingers Club & The Asound, Live at Dead Wax Records Split 12″

Posted in On Wax on October 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the-lenoir-swingers-club-the-asound-split-cover-and-vinyl

Capturing a Jan. 25, 2014, show that billed Lenoir, North Carolina, as “the fifth most miserable city in the US,” the new Live at Dead Wax Records split 12″ from Lenoir Swingers Club and The Asound delivers on its promise. Two sides of raw drive — the A side more punk-fueled, the B side thicker toned — but the uniting factor is the unbridled nature of the delivery. Dead Wax Records has the split out as the second in a series of two thus far, and with a clear recording from Brian Caudle and a mastering job from Chad Davis (of The Sabbathian, Tasha-Yar, Hour of 13, and so on), the record manages to capture the energy behind both bands’ sets and present some sense of dynamic between them. The only thing missing is a 15-minute breakdown between the two. Well, maybe not “missing,” but you know what I mean.

Live at Dead Wax Records is pressed in limited numbers — a manufacturing problem seems to have made those numbers even more limited than originally intended — and included with the platter itself, a black paper sleeve, the-lenoir-swingers-club-the-asound-split-vinyl-the-lenoir-swingers-club-coverand the two covers is a two-sided liner, one sheet per band. For Lenoir Swingers Club, the manic collage of show flyers and photocopied look mirrors the classic punk of the band itself. A trio unsurprisingly native to Lenoir, they present five songs in a short-seeming burst — “Personal Space Invaders,” “People Under the Stairs” and “Student Driver” pushing out all the attitude and brashness one could ask of a three-piece so apparently keen on irreverence. I’m sure I wouldn’t be the first person to compare them to Dead Kennedys, but “Summer of Bugs” slows down the proceedings somewhat to give a different edge, and the finale “Thing Sloth,” which was going out to Tom, in case you were wondering, wraps with an assault of feedback and noise its capstone thud. They’ve reportedly got a full-length in the works and I wouldn’t be surprised if they pulled it off with an undercurrent of diversity, since that seems to come through even in their bare-bones live sound.

Late last year, The Asound released a self-titled debut full-length on bassist Jon Cox‘s own Tsuguri Records imprint, and on Live at Dead Wax Records, they present four songs from it, beginning with the rush of album-closer “Slave to the Saints” and moving toward the furious percussive rush and mega-stoner riffing of “Joan,” with “Tater Hole Blues” and “The Baron” between. Both “Joan” and “The Baron” havethe-lenoir-swingers-club-the-asound-split-vinyl-the-asound-cover been around for a bit — the latter having been featured on a 2011 split with Magma Rise (streamed here) and the former on an earlier 2010 self-titled EP (review here) and a 2010 split with punkers Flat Tires (review here) — but were certainly at their most realized on the full-length, and they sit well here alongside the Melvins-style thrust of the instrumental “Tater Hole Blues”and the high-gear “Slave to the Saints,” guitarist/vocalist Chad Wyrick tearing into a solo while Cox and drummer Michael Crump hold together the furious groove behind, the whole crude than on the studio offering, which winds its way into an Olde Growth-sort of punkish stoner melodicism, but satisfying in its own right, their set, like Lenoir Swingers Club, finishing with a suitably noisy payoff.

Two underground acts with a penchant for mean groove and underlying — or in the case of Lenoir Swingers Club, overlaid — fuckall, they might not seem on first listen to make for the best pairing, The Asound geared much more toward heavy riffing than their compatriots, but with their foundation likewise in punk, it works. I’m not sure who might be next in Dead Wax Records‘ series, but at least for one probably-cold-ass night in January, Lenoir’s misery got a riotous soundtrack. A 12″ in the tradition of punk 7″s, no surprise there’s more on offer here than it at first seems.

Lenoir Swingers Club & The Asound, Live at Dead Wax Records teaser

Lenoir Swingers Club on Thee Facebooks

The Asound on Thee Facebooks

Dead Wax Records

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Southwest Terror Fest III Launches Tonight

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

southwest terror fest iii banner

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got some cool stuff going on this weekend, but neither would I mind if someone showed up with a last-minute plane ticket to Arizona that got me out in time for the start of Southwest Terror Fest III. The four-day beatdown starts tonight with the considerable likes of 16 and Oryx before NeurosisGoatsnakePelican and SunnO))) consume the rest of the weekend, bringing the festival to its biggest incarnation yet. Again, I’ll be glad to be where I’m at, but I wouldn’t argue.

If you’re headed that way, enjoy. The PR wire has a last-minute plug:

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SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST III: THE WESTERN FRONT Takes Over Tucson This Week

Today, the massive SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST III: THE WESTERN FRONT begins in Tucson, Arizona, taking over the town for four solid days of brutal musical acts from across the Western half of the country. With the main event shows this Friday, Saturday and Sunday night taking place at the historic Rialto Theatre, with tonight’s kickoff show and afterparty shows at the nearby The District Tavern, the third year of SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST is by far the most massive installment yet.

Today, Thursday, October 16th, the event kicks off at the District Tavern with Twingiant, Conqueror Worm, Oryx and -16-. Friday’s main event sees Godhunter, Eagle Twin, Pelican and Goatsnake together, and the afterparty with Spiritual Shepherd, Take Over And Destroy, Blackqueen and The Atlas Moth. On Saturday, The Rialto Theatre hosts Sorxe, Author & Punisher, The Body and Neurosis, and the District afterparty bringing Windmill of Corpses, Secrets of the Sky, North and Primitive Man. And the final night, sees Sex Prisoner, Obliterations, Baptists and Sunn O))) closing down the festival from the Rialto’s stage.

Official SWTFIII shirts and merch, all event and area info and more is available HERE.

Ticket packages for SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST are available RIGHT HERE.

SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST was founded in 2012 by members of Tucson-based underground acts Godhunter, Inoculara, Diseased Reason and Great American Tragedy in conjunction with local venues and businesses, in order to bring a full-bore event to underground music fans the Southwestern portion of the country. 2013’s event doubled in size from the maiden voyage, and now the third installment of the crushing event will bring an exceptional amount of additional new fans to the festival than ever before.

https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/575905
http://southwestterrorfest.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/southwestterrorfest
http://www.earsplitcompound.com

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Godflesh, Early Man, Temple of Void, Mage and Lamperjaw

Posted in Radio on October 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk radio

I wanted to make sure I did a round of radio adds for this week. Not just because they’re fun to do and it’s a bit like submerging my head in heaviness for an afternoon, but because I’ve already got one or two records in mind to join the playlist next week (or the week after, depending on time) and I don’t want to get too far behind. As always, these five are just picks out of the bunch. Over 20 records went up to the server today, so there’s much more than this to dig into. As well as all the rest of everything up there. I don’t even know how much stuff that is at this point. Last I heard from Slevin, it was “a lot.” Nothing like more, then.

The Obelisk Radio adds for Oct. 16, 2014:

Godflesh, A World Lit only by Fire

Godflesh A World Lit Only By Fire cover

It seems that after a decade-plus of moving further away from Godflesh‘s sound in Jesu, guitarist/vocalist Justin K. Broadrick has had no problem whatsoever slipping back into songwriting for the ultra-influential early-industrial outfit. Preceded by an EP called Decline and Fall (review here) that was also released through Broadrick‘s Avalanche Recordings imprint, the 10-track A World Lit Only by Fire harnesses a lot of the churn that was so prevalent in prime-era Godflesh and, more impressively, successfully channels the same aggression and frustration without sounding like a put-on. The chug in “Carrion” is visceral, and while “Life Giver Life Taker” recalls some of the melody that began to show itself on Godflesh‘s last album, 2001’s Hymns, and subsequently became the core of Jesu, songs like “Shut Me Down” and the gruelingly slow “Towers of Emptiness” find Broadrick and bassist G.C. Green enacting a familiar pummel that — and this is a compliment — sounds just like Godflesh. No doubt some of that is because so much of the duo’s elements are electronic, and while they might sound dated after a while, electronics don’t actually age in the same way people do, but even in the human core of the band, Godflesh are back in full, earth-shattering force. A World Lit Only by Fire is a triumphant return. I don’t know if it necessarily adds much to the Godflesh legacy that wasn’t already there, but as a new beginning point, a sort of second debut, its arrival is more than welcome. Godflesh on Bandcamp, Justin Broadrick on Thee Facebooks.

Early Man, Thank God You’ve Got the Answers for us All

early man thank got you've got the answers for us all

After starting out in Ohio and making their way to New York around the middle of the last decade, the duo of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Mike Conte and guitarist Pete Macy – better known as Early Man – recorded their new album, Thank God You’ve Got the Answers for us All, as they put, “inside various closets, attics and basements within the greater Los Angeles area over the past year.” I recall seeing them in Manhattan and getting their demo in 2004/2005 and Early Man was the shit. They were gonna be huge. A contract with Matador Records brought their debut and then they went five years before their next album came out, and by then, retro metal and heavy rock has passed them by. Thank God You’ve Got the Answers for us All taps some of the same younger-Metallica vibing of their earliest work on “Black Rains are Falling” and closer “The Longer the Life,” but the current of Sabbathian heavy that was always there remains strong and “Always Had a Place in Hell to Call My Own” ups the ante with a more punkish take. The recording is raw in the new digital sense, but the tracks get their point across well enough, and Conte‘s songwriting has always produced some memorable results — the keyboard-soaked “Hold on to Nothing” stands out here — but it seems like the story of Early Man is still waiting to be told. Early Man on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Temple of Void, Of Terror and the Supernatural

Temple Of Void - of Terror and the Supernatural - cover

Any given song, it can be hard to tell where Detroit’s Temple of Void come down on the spectrum of doom/death and death/doom, but whatever genre tag you want to stick on it, their debut long-player, Of Terror and the Supernatural, is fucking grim. A roaring morass of thuds, low growls, bouts of extreme violence and bludgeonry, and horror — oh, the horror. Last year’s Demo MMXIII (review here) was fair enough warning, but what the double-guitar five-piece do across these eight tracks is a cruelty of atmosphere and lurch. Squibbles perpetrate “Invocation of Demise,” which also has some surprise key work that sounds like a flute, and a moment of respite arrives with the subsequent “To Carry this Corpse Evermore” in Opethian acoustics, but as the title would indicate, “Rot in Solitude” throws the listener right back into the filth and it’s there Temple of Void seem most in their element. Buried deep in “Exanimate Gaze” is a melodic undertone and 10-minute finale “Bargain in Death” shows a fairly dynamic approach, but the core of what they do is rooted in toying with a balance between death and doom metals, and already on their first outing they show significant stylistic command. If they tour, it’s hard to imagine one of the bigger metal labels –RelapseMetal Blade – wouldn’t want them somewhere down the line. Temple of Void on Thee Facebooks, Saw Her Ghost Records, Rain without End Records.

Mage, Last Orders

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UK fivesome Mage debuted in 2012 with Black Sands (review here) and showcased a burly blend of heavy rock and metal, and tonally and in the drums, their sophomore outing, Last Orders, follows suit in copping elements of thrash, Voivod-style otherwordliness and a penchant for shifting tempos effectively while keeping a seemingly downward path. Vocalist Tom has pulled back on the ultra-dudely vocals and it makes a big difference in the band’s sound for the better. He’s much better mixed and exploring some new ground on “The Fallen,” but he boldly takes on the task with the slower “Beyond” — the longest song here at six minutes flat — and comes out stronger for it. Guitarists Ben and Woody, bassist Mark and drummer Andy showcase some Electric Wizard influence in that song, but I wouldn’t tie Mage‘s sound to any one band, as “Lux Mentis” before offers huge-sounding stomp and “Violent Skies” after feeds an adrenaline surge of chugging and turns before opening to Last Orders‘ satisfying payoff, Tom tapping into mid-range Halford along the way and closer “One for the Road” reminding that there’s still a riffy side to the band as well. Mage on Thee Facebooks, Witch Hunter Records.

Lamperjaw, Demo EP 2014

LAMPERJAW - Demo EP 2014

Formed in 2011, Virginian trio Lamperjaw make their three-track debut with the descriptive Demo EP 2014, drunken-stomping the line between sludge and Southern heavy. One can’t help but be reminded of Alabama Thunderpussy‘s glory days listening to “Throw Me a Stone,” but with guitarist Dedrian, bassist Lane and drummer Codi all contributing vocals, Lamperjaw bring something immediately distinguishing to their approach. “Blood Dreams” aligns them with the burl-bringing Southern set, some screams and a metallic chug surprising after the opener’s booze-rocking vibe, but their real potential comes out on the seven-minute “Menace of a Cruel Earth,” which moves from low-in-the-mouth whoa-yeah-style grit across a successful linear build to a harmonized, well-arranged apex. It’s always hard to judge a band’s intent by their first release, and there’s a lot about their sound Lamperjaw are still figuring out, but they’ve given themselves some directional liquidity on their first demo, and it will be interesting to hear how they proceed from this point. Lamperjaw on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Like I said, this is just a fraction of the stuff that went up to the server this afternoon, so if you get a second, I hope you’ll peruse the The Obelisk Radio Updates and Playlist page, or whatever it is I’m calling it in my head this week. It’s the same page as always either way.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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Uzala Announce November Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

uzala

Boise ethereal doom trio Uzala will hit the road for two weeks starting Nov. 1. The impetus behind the trip in support of last year’s way-better-than-the-amount-of-coverage-I’ve-given-it Tales of Blood and Fire seems to be a stop at the No Thanks Fest in Texas on Nov. 8 with a varied host of badass acts, but just as well since they’re playing with some excellent company along the way there and back, including SorxeHe Whose Ox is Gored and Eagle Twin. After an initial pressing of Tales of Blood and Fire on tape in chrome red — I managed to pick one up at a gig in Rhode Island last year — they’ve also got a new version through Gypsyblood Records in a variety of colors, each limited to 100 and linked below.

The PR wire takes us there:

no thanks fest poster

UZALA: Boise Psych-Doom Coven Announce November Tour

Following the release of last year’s critically-acclaimed LP Tales of Blood & Fire and a triumphant appearance at this year’s Gilead Fest, Boise fuzz-doom peddlers UZALA will once again take their spellbinding show on the road, joined by a few very special guests. For the first leg of their upcoming NovemBer tour, the Northwestern trio will be joined by Oakland doom raiders CARDINAL WYRM before meeting up with PINKISH BLACK at No Thanks Fest and forging ahead towards home.

UZALA NOVEMBER TOUR
Nov. 1 Bay Area, CA TBA with Cardinal Wyrm
Nov. 2 San Bernadino,CA with Cardinal Wyrm and Ancient Altars
Nov. 3 Las Vegas, NV at Dive Bar with Cardinal Wyrm, Demon Lung, He Whose Ox is Gored
Nov. 4 Phoenix/Tempe, AZ at Yucca Tap Room (FREE SHOW) with SORXE, Cardinal Wyrm, Funerary, He Whose Ox Is Gored
Nov. 5 Albuquerque, NM at Launchpad with Cardinal Wyrm
Nov. 6 drive day/look at Texas out the van window/day off
Nov. 7 Austin, TX at The Lost Well with Pinkish Black, Old and Ill, Garrett T. Capps
Nov. 8 Emory, TX NO THANKS FEST with In the Company of Serpents, Sabbath Assembly, Pinkish Black, and many more!!!
Nov. 9 Little Rock, AR at The Rev Room with Iron Tongue and others
Nov. 10 Columbia, MO at TBA
Nov. 11 Kansas City, KS at Vandals
Nov. 12 Omaha, NB at The Hideout
Nov. 13 Denver, CO at Bar Bar
Nov. 14 SLC, UT at Bar Deluxe with Eagle Twin and Making Fuck
Nov. 15 Boise, ID at Crazy Horse with Eagle Twin and Black Cloud

The album is now available from King of the Monsters Records here: http://kingofthemonstersrecords.bigcartel.com/

Those who prefer a more lo-fi approach can preorder the cassette version from Gypsyblood Records here: http://www.gypsybloodrecords.bigcartel.com/product/uzala-tales-of-blood-and-fire-cassette-preorder

Stay tuned for more bewitching UZALA news in the new year!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/UZALA
http://uzala.bandcamp.com/

Uzala, Tales of Blood and Fire (2013)

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Ice Dragon, The Burl, the Earth, the Aether, The Sorrowful Sun and Tome of the Future Ancients: Devil in the Sandbox

Posted in Reviews on October 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

ice dragon

Especially listening to them one into the next, it’s hard not to try to string a narrative between Ice Dragon‘s albums The Burl, the Earth, the Aether (2010), The Sorrowful Sun (2011) and Tome of the Future Ancients (2012). All three — plus side-project Tentacle‘s 2013 sophomore offering, Ingot Eye – have been given a sturdy jewel case CD treatment from Canada’s PRC Music, each with a four-panel liner with the original covers plus lyrics, recording info and/or other art, and right away the intent feels archival, the label having stepped in to release these albums to give them some form outside the crowded nebula of their digital incarnations. To my knowledge, the only one of these three Ice Dragon records to have been pressed at all was The Sorrowful Sun, which Acid Punx released on tape alongside the Boston band’s 2007 self-titled debut (review here), but either way, these feel official and the ability to hold them and explore their art and liner notes gives each one that much more of its own personality. Ice Dragon have taken to putting out new music at such a prolific rate, sometimes it can be hard to keep up.

All the more reason to explore the releases individually, then, since they each have something different to offer, as has proven a big part of the appeal of Ice Dragon‘s work these last few years. We’ll start at, or at least near, the beginning:

The Burl, the Earth, the Aether (2010)

ice dragon the burl the earth the aether

Their second. Working as the trio of bassist Joe, guitarist Carter and drummer/vocalist RonIce Dragon began a run with The Burl, the Earth, the Aether that’s still going on. To date, they’ve released nine albums in the four years since, not to mention singles and splits and side-projects, but more than just the quantity of their output, the standout is the quality of it, and The Burl, the Earth, the Aether stands as a beginning point there as well. Comprised of eight tracks totaling in a 53-minute runtime, the album boasts the classic doom of “Squares inside Squares” and “The Watcher,” recorded with the raw and blown-out sensibilities of US black metal, but still riff-led in a stonerly tradition, and while Ron gets into some rougher shouts on “The Watcher” and “Alucard” — the Castlevania reference there fits with the record’s dark intent — far more prevalent are the echoing howls that resonate from the album’s overarching murk. In “Spellpouch,” “Meddoe” and “Winged Prophet,” Ice Dragon show their propensity for working with acoustics, and in the context of what they’ve done since, moving into psychedelic, psych-pop and folk influences, the ultra-quiet finish of “Winged Prophet” seems like a forebear of future adventurousness, while the ultra-distorted grandiosity of 11-minute closer “Aquageddon” and its blend of malevolent swirl and lumbering riffage with a slow descent into abrasive noise come across like a direct line to what Tome of the Future Ancients would have in store two years later.

The Sorrowful Sun (2011)

ice dragon the sorrowful sun

Both The Sorrowful Sun itself, which divides its concise 38 minutes into two roughly equal halves, and its Adam Burke artwork seem to be begging for a vinyl release, but no less on CD, what Ice Dragon achieves on their third album is a standout in their catalog. Aesthetically, there’s a cohesion and a confidence in the presentation of what just a year prior seemed to be experimentation, the swing of songs like “Interspecies Communication” and “Flowers” having solidified into the beer-soaked garage doom on which much of their current take remains based. Likewise, they begin to explore folkish material on “Light Years” — underscored by some righteous bass fuzz — and add several interludes in “Dusk,” and the intro “Sunrise” to give a more complete album-concept feel. The obscure psychedelia of “Poseidon’s Grasp,” with its mix-consuming leads, the drearier churn of “White Tusks” and the subdued exploration of “Near Sun, on Earth” make for as satisfying a three-track run as any Ice Dragon have yet conjured as they round out The Sorrowful Sun, the three-piece not only engaging a multitude of styles but successfully commanding all of them so that the songs flow well one into the next even as the sprawl grows wider. Particularly with a few years of hindsight, one can hear a lot being figured out on The Sorrowful Sun that seems like a foundation for where Ice Dragon would go creatively, but like its predecessor and even more than its predecessor, it stands on its own accomplishments as well and continues to resonate even three years later. If you needed a starting point for the band, The Sorrowful Sun might be it.

Tome of the Future Ancients (2012)

ice dragon tome of the future ancients

Including Tome of the Future AncientsIce Dragon released four full-length albums in 2012, and to date it was their most productive year, also resulting in Dream Dragon (tape review here), greyblackfalconhawk (discussed here) and the moody Dead Friends and Angry Lovers, initially released as a side-project called Slow Heart but later brought into the Ice Dragon fold. Of the bunch, Tome of the Future Ancients is by far the most expansive, and the intent of the 12-track/75-minute offering feels clearly bent toward the overwhelming. On CD, it is a beast. Half the songs top seven minutes, and whether it’s “The Black Book of Hours” or the opening “Manuscript 408,” Ice Dragon seem to be taking the drone lessons of Earth and applying them to their own brand of doom, thudding and struggling with various impulses along the way, be it the where-did-this-come-from boogie-to-noise onslaught of “Illuminations Foretold” or the excruciating plod of “Night” or the sitar-laced 10-minute blowout of “The Bearded Mage.” What unites the material is the fact that it’s all over the place, but “tome” is right as Ice Dragon prove that fuckall still rules the day on their fourth album. Relatively peaceful psychedelics on “Adoration of Ra” and non-abrasive experimental guitar sweetness on “Infinite Requiem” round out, but the campaign to get there is wearying, the trio merciless in crafting a path that seems to cut further and further into a clouded abyss of distortion and foreboding, where even the drone-noise of “Astronomical Union” pushes downward into a pervasive void of silence. It is lung-filling doom.

Tentacle, Ingot Eye (2013)

tentacle ingot eye

Like the manifestation of all of Ice Dragon‘s darkest tendencies, Tentacle ooze forth four tracks of abrasive, cavernous regression on their second outing, Ingot Eye. Originally released early in 2013, it’s another two-sider folded into a linear mass on the PRC CD — the back cover divides the songs, each “side” starting with a 10-plus-minute monster — and what it shares in common with Ice Dragon aside from the lineup and raw vibe is its immersiveness. As much as Ice Dragon push and pull in various directions, Tentacle swallows you whole, and Ingot Eye‘s four pieces — “The Blackness of My Soul will be so Great as to Make the Night Weep” (11:26), “Dull Ache (I Hate Myself Today)” (4:59), “(Revenge) Dust for Blood” (12:46) and “Our Serpent Mother’s Kiss” (9:53) — comprise a lumbering mass. The second cut, “Dull Ache (I Hate Myself Today),” is the only real point of letup, taking on a more shuffling groove and cleaner vocal, but “Our Serpent Mother’s Kiss” arrives at a downer moment of accessibility as well, the its vocals buried deep in gleefully farty low-end and preceded by devolved noise that’s emblematic of how unfriendly these guys can get when they feel like it. What distinguishes Ingot Eye most from Ice Dragon‘s output is how much Tentacle turns the band’s ambitions on their head. And then stomps that head into a muddy goo from which no light can escape.

Ice Dragon continue a multifaceted progression. This year, in addition to a split with Space Mushroom Fuzz (info here) and other singles, they’ve issued two full-lengths, Seeds from a Dying Garden (review here) and Loaf of Head (review here). PRC has a preorder available for a CD edition of Dream Dragon, so it seems safe to say that if the label and the band wish to continue their affiliation, there will be fodder for releases for years to come.

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