Posted in Whathaveyou on March 6th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Hard to argue with the lineup for the Portland-based Ceremony of Sludge IV. Not the least because it’s eight bands over two nights, which is killer. I wonder how long each band gets to play, if it’s full sets or like half an hour or what, but either way, it’s a manageable Friday and Saturday night, and it doesn’t look like there’s a clunker in the bunch in terms of who’s playing. Cool to see Ancient Warlocks making the trip from Seattle to play the first night and Serial Hawk doing the same for the second. Two cities with such vibrant rock traditions that are only about two hours apart, sometimes it feels like you hear way more about Portland and Seattle separately than you do the Pacific Northwest as a whole. I guess you could say the same of New York and Philadelphia, though. Fair enough.
Either way, some familiar faces in the likes of Diesto and Holy Grove and Disenchanter, and a newcomer or two like Old Lie, who’ve just recently finished tracking their debut EP.
Details and many, many links follow:
Ceremony of Sludge IV Comes to Tonic Lounge, Portland
CEREMONY OF SLUDGE IV
MARCH 20 and MARCH 21 at TONIC LOUNGE | Portland, OR
Portland Heavy Seen and Soundcontrol PDX present Ceremony of Sludge IV, to be held March 20th and 21st at Tonic Lounge in Portland, Oregon. The annual mini-festival showcases some of the most crushing bands emerging from the heavy-music community here in the Pacific Northwest. The shows are 21+ and $7 at the door.
Ceremony of Sludge lineup:
March 20th Holy Grove Ancient Warlocks Disenchanter Old Lie
March 21st Diesto Serial Hawk A Volcano Tsepesch
Limited edition “Ceremony” prints by Epochal Void will be available for purchase, as well as T-shirts from Mr. Black. The bands’ performances will once again be filmed for the Portland Heavy Seen project, with audio recorded by Penumbra Sound Arts.
Posted in On Wax on May 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
If stoner rock was as uptight about authenticity as black metal, Ancient Warlocks might prove standard bearers for the “truest” form of the genre. The double-guitar Seattle foursome’s self-titled debut sold out its original pressing on Lay Bare Recordings, and my beloved Garden State’s own STB Records has stepped in to release another 300 copies. Of those, 75 are the “Die Hard Edition” with clear vinyl, gold inside and a “bone chip” splatter, another 100 come with the same kind of vinyl an an Obi strip with the Adam Burke warlock artwork that also appears vertically in the gatefold — fucking gorgeous — and the remaining 125 are the “Standard” edition has bone-colored vinyl with gold and black splatter. All come with a download. It’s a thing of beauty any way you want to go, and if you didn’t get the chance to check out Ancient Warlocks‘ Ancient Warlockswhen it initially arrived, what makes for the first official US release is a perfect way to get caught up, the front and back cover art and the platter itself reversed in black and white from the European version.
The distinction is no less than the album deserves. Guitarists Darren Chase and Aaron Krause (the latter also vocals) don’t let you get one riff into opener “Into the Night” without laying out a fat, rolling, fuzzed-out groove, and that sets the course for the bulk of Ancient Warlocks‘ concise, well-constructed 34 minute runtime. Its eight songs divide evenly into side A and side B and sound like they were made to do so. “Into the Night” and the side B leadoff “Super Wizard” also served as the A and B sides for Ancient Warlocks‘ debut single (review here), so they’re leading with their most established jams and then expanding from there. Likewise, both “Lion Storm” on the first half and “White Dwarf” on the second make imperatives out of riffy nod, the latter pushed ahead at the album’s speediest clip by drummer Steve Jones, who also produced, and maintaining its thickness via Anthony “Oni” Timm‘s bass. Here and there they fluctuate in tempo or approach — third cut “Sweet’s too Slow” is almost singularly indebted to the 1998 Queens of the Stone Age self-titled debut — but the core of what Ancient Warlocks do is in unabashed construction of stoner rock. Its thick feel, weighted vibe and lyrics to songs like “Super Wizard” and the closer “Sorcerer’s Magician” hit every mark one might ask in an interpretation of the genre’s tenets.
Where Ancient Warlocks find their greatest success is in distinguishing themselves within that sphere. Their sound on their first full-length is the equivalent of showing up at Fort Knox, finding all the guards have gotten bored of the idea of gold and taking it all for themselves. In an age of specialization and per-band-subgenre intricacy, Ancient Warlocks do right by their material in keeping it simple, allowing the personality in Krause‘s vocals to flow through naturally without forcing something individualized to the sacrifice of memorable songs. “Cactus Wine” slows down classic Fu Manchu starts and stops in the verse and bridges a gap in its sway between that band and self-titled-era Clutch‘s storytelling, and by the time side A is done,Ancient Warlocks have well established themselves as expert practitioners of what, in an age of boozy, caricature masculinity, indie hype, pseudo-cult worship, etc., has become a lost art. Full fuzz alchemy. Yes, it absolutely has its moments of silliness — of course the “Super Wizard” is from outer space, duh — but the four-pieceown those moments so completely and with such an utter lack of irony and pretense that the self-titled is all the more of a good time for their being there. Why wouldn’t “Killer’s Moon” boogie so hard? How could it not?
I had the fortune of seeing Ancient Warlocks in their hometown earlier this year (review here) and found them to be no less engaging on stage than on the record. No doubt they’ll grow and progress as a band with whatever they might take on next in following-up this album, but like the first Sasquatch record, or the first The Atomic Bitchwax, Ancient Warlocks‘ Ancient Warlocks hits all the right spots in just the right way to let you know these guys know what they’re doing and where they want to be sonically. With the added appeal of the STB version’s physical presentation — so far as I know there isn’t a CD version pressed to date — it’s a heavy rock record made to be enjoyed by those who share the band’s obvious love for riffs, heavy grooves, and fuzz you could get lost in for days. If you’d count yourself among that number, it’s one you won’t want to miss, and given how quickly the European pressing went without the band even setting foot on that continent, I wouldn’t expect these to last long either.
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
An update from Portland, Oregon’s Stumpfest 2014: The lineup still kicks ass. In fact, it kicks even more ass than it already did because Seattle’s Ancient Warlocks have been added to the bill. The fest is set for April 24-26 at Mississippi Studios in Portland, and there’s still one band left to announce. Could be anybody. Are you curious? I am.
Ancient Warlocks released their self-titled album on Lay Bare Recordings last November, and they’ll also be playing Feb. 22 in their native Seattle with Pentagram, Radio Moscow and Kings Destroy, which is where barring disaster between now and then I’ll be fortunate enough to see them and pick up a copy of the record. Not to get off topic from Stumpfest, but I’m excited.
Here’s the announcement:
ANCIENT WARLOCKS confirmed for STUMPFEST 2014
We are ecstatic to announce that Seattle’s heavy, fuzzy-riff astronauts and Pacific Northwest rock-and-roll staple ANCIENT WARLOCKS have been confirmed to play STUMPFEST 2014! Ancient Warlocks’ unique mix of undeniable Fu Manchu influences and grungy, hook-filled Seattle roots creates a sound which you might call “flannel in the desert.” Their impeccable self-titled debut album on Lay Bare Recordings sold out before it even hit the streets in November, and the band recently revealed a deal inked with STB Records for their follow-up. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for this brilliant rock band and can’t wait to head bang along with them in April.
Aside from one BIG SURPRISE to announce in March, this concludes the booking for 2014. Keep an eye out this Friday, February 14th, for individual day lineups and pricing info.
STUMPFEST 2014 LINEUP SO FAR:
*TBA SPECIAL GUEST* YOB TRANS AM BLACK COBRA LORD DYING FEDERATION X LIFE COACH (feat. Phil Manley from TRANS AM & Jon Theodore from QOTSA and ex-THE MARS VOLTA) BLACK PUSSY NORSKA DIESTO ANCIENT WARLOCKS DRUNK DAD DRAB MAJESTY CHRON GOBLIN HONDURAN HOT VICTORY
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 2nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
In just a few short hours, Seattle rockers Ancient Warlocks will kick off a West Coast tour at the Highline in Seattle in support of their forthcoming self-titled debut, set to see LP/CD release through Lay Bare Recordings. The fuzzy outfit will be joined in a week’s time by Mars Red Sky, so if there wasn’t already enough impetus to see them to get you off your ass should you happen to be in that part of the world, there’s a little more. A lot more, actually. That’s a damn good show.
Ancient Warlocks sent over word of the dates and the album via the PR wire, and as you peruse that and sneak a peak at the LP, make sure you check out the video at the bottom as well, because it’s frickin’ fuzztastic.
Ancient Warlocks Ready First Album for Release
After three years amongst the albumless, Seattle rockers Ancient Warlocks are finally dropping their first LP. And as one would expect, they’ll be spending the first half of October running up and down the West coast supporting it. Take a peek at the dates and then rock accordingly!
The album is a self titled affair and features previously unreleased recordings of eight of the songs they’ve been playing at shows over the past few years. Fledgling label Lay Bare Recordings went the extra mile by including the full album on CD in the package along with the record. Speaking of packaging the jacket is coarse matte paper and sports a front cover by Portland artist Eric Pruyn and a gatefold courtesy of the legendary Adam Burke.
Limited to a total pressing of 300, there will be 200 in black vinyl and 100 in black and white marble. They’ll be selling it on the table while on the road and of course those of us not on the West coast can preorder from Burning World Records with an official ship date of 11/11. The first 50 black and first 50 marble preorders will include the Ancient Warlocks/Mos Generator split single released earlier this year.
Ancient Warlocks on tour: 10/2 The Highline – Seattle, WA 10/4 Black Forest – Eugene, OR 10/5 The Alibi – Arcata, CA 10/6 The Hemlock – San Francisco, CA 10/7 DIY SLO – San Luis Obispo, CA 10/8 The Shakedown – San Diego, CA 10/9 The Saloon – Encinitas, CA 10/10 Five Star Bar – Los Angeles, CA 10/11 Arlene Francis Center – Santa Rosa, CA 10/12 Ash St Venue – Portland, OR 10/13 Chop Suey – Seattle, WA 10/18 McCoy’s Cavern – Olympia, WA
This poster was sent my way and it was too badass not to post. Not to mention the show is awesome. If you’re in Seattle, I don’t know what else might be going on Saturday, Nov. 24, but I do know that if anything’s going to knock you out of post-Thanksgiving MSG blues, it’s a gig with Mos Generator, VALIS and Seattle’s own Ancient Warlocks. Start making the excuses to your family now.
It’s the release show for VALIS‘ new album, Minds through Space and Time, and Mos Generator will have their new one, Nomads, on hand as well. Ancient Warlocks play third and so appear at the top of this killer poster, put together by Adam Burke of the band Fellwoods:
Posted in Reviews on November 22nd, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
Put to press less than a year after the band played its first show in 2010, the Superwizard 7” is the first official outing for Seattle fuzzsome foursome Ancient Warlocks. The band offer no excuses for their stonerly ways on the self-released Superwizard, instead riffing with Fu Manchu-esque abandon on the two included cuts, “Into the Night” and “Superwizard.” A smattering of demo tracks preceded that one can hear on the band’s ReverbNation page, and the song “Killer’s Moon” – very much in the same vein as the material on Superwizard – is streaming at their Bandcamp site, but the 7” marks a physical debut nonetheless and is limited to 300 copies, hand-silkscreened and numbered with righteous cover art by Eric Pruyn. The music of the band itself is rudimentary in its form enough to match Pruyn’s inked lines, and similarly minded when it comes to lyrics about space wizards and mysterious creatures. The single’s lack of pretense in being anything other than what it is makes up a big part of its charm, but if you’re into familiar riffs and grooves, Ancient Warlocks have plenty of accessibility and appeal for the converted.
That’s not to say the songs don’t have their own personality, just that it’s a personality that you – if you’ve found your way to reading this – already know. The band already knows it as well, and that works much to their credit. Bassist Aaron Krause (also vocals) and guitarists Dan Beloit and Darren Chase provide amply thickened fuzz, with Beloit veering into lead lines throughout the longer “Into the Night.” Krause‘s bass underscores the janga-janga shuffle of that song’s main riff, with drummer Steve Jones keeping the march straightforward on the hi-hat and snare, until after halfway through the song, there’s a slowdown and solo section from Beloit that brings a bluesy side not yet shown. Interestingly, that shift happens at about 2:50, and since Superwizard’s title-track is 2:54 and doesn’t have such a break, you could almost say the structures of the two songs on the single are the same, but with the extra piece added to Side A to bring it to about five minutes. It doesn’t offend, in any case. The release in total is about eight minutes long, so Ancient Warlocks would have to work pretty hard to come off as more redundant than they mean to be in that time, and they don’t.