Tour of the Doomed Launches this Weekend with The Skull, Sheavy, Apostle of Solitude and More

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on August 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

This coming Saturday, Aug. 12, sees the launch of the Obelisk-presented Tour of the Doomed at a special nine-band kickoff in Milwaukee with The Skull, Sheavy, Beelzefuzz, Castle, Spillage, Apostle of Solitude, Red Desert, Attalla and Son of the Morning. Mercyful Mike Smith, who put the shindig together, has stopped short of calling it an incarnation of the Days of the Doomed fest he formerly ran out of The Blue Pig/The Metal Grill in Cudahy, WI, which I was fortunate enough to attend a couple times, but needless to say, the spirit is there one way or the other for the all-day event that will send Sheavy, Beelzefuzz and Spillage on their way for a week-long run culminating at the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn on Aug. 19.

Ticket links and such are below as a refresher, and take special note as you peruse the dates of the locals added to each gig. From Apostle of Solitude to Argus to Reign of Zaius, each night of Tour of the Doomed brings a local or local-ish act on board that genuinely adds something to the bill. Looks like it’s going to be an awesome tour, and though I know I said so before, I’m thrilled to be able to have a hand in presenting it.

Here’s the info:

For the first time EVER, Canadian stoner/doom legends Sheavy land in the US, and Milwaukee gets to host the kick off of the Tour Of The Doomed! In true Days Of The Doomed Fest style, we present a full day of monumental riffs by the greatest heavy bands going today! Just look at this line up:

The Skull (ONLY midwest show of the summer!)
sHeavy (first time ever in the US!)
Castle (very special fly in show!)
Apostle of Solitude
Red Desert
Son Of The Morning

This monstrous marathon of molten doom metal starts at 2:00!

Tickets for this show can be purchased here:
$20 Adv / $25 DoS!

Set times are as follows:
2:30 – 3:15 Son Of The Morning
3:35 – 4:20 Attalla
4:40 – 5:25 Red Desert
5:45 – 6:30 Apostle Of Solitude
6:50 – 7:35 Spillage
7:55 – 8:40 Castle
9:00 – 9:45 Beelzefuzz
10:10 – 11:10 Sheavy
11:30 – Close The Skull

TOUR OF THE DOOMED: sHeavy, Spillage & Beelzefuzz
08/12 Club Garibaldi’s Milwaukee WI w/ Apostle of Solitude, The Skull, Castle, Red Desert, Attala & Son of the Morning
08/13 Reggies Chicago IL w/ Apostle of Solitude
08/14 The Melody Inn Indianapolis IN w/ Apostle of Solitude
08/15 New Dodge Lounge Detroit MI w/ Karmic Lava & Marjorie’s Cane
08/16 The Foundry Cleveland OH w/ Argus, Sparrowmilk & Dead East Garden
08/17 Howlers Pittsburgh PA w/ Argus
08/18 The Depot York PA w/ WitchHazel
08/19 Saint Vitus Bar Brooklyn NY w/ Pale Divine & Reign of Zaius (no Spillage)

Brought to you by Mercyful Mike Management & Productions and Days Of The Doomed Fest!

Sheavy, “1111111111”

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Maryland Doom Fest 2017: Set Times Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 14th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

So I guess we’re pretty much ready to roll on Maryland Doom Fest 2017, right? We’ve had the lineup announced, we’ve got the schedule now. Might be another couple weeks getting t-shirts together — and hoodies; should’ve gotten a hoodie this year, which admittedly is something that occurs to one way less at the end of June than in mid-November — but then I’d say we’re about good to go. No need to wait until next summer on it. Let’s do this thing.

Maybe that’s just me being excited at the prospect of that Friday night lineup, which seems particularly strong front to back — not to take away from any of the other days, but you know I dig me some Lo-Pan — but either way, if Maryland Doom Fest‘s now-three-year tenure has been marked by anything it’s a lack of bullshit. A fervent get-down-to-business-and-kick-as-doing-it mentality. It’s perhaps the most “Maryland doom” aspect to the whole event. Maryland Doom Fest 2017 is clearly no different. Here we are more than half a year from the event kicking off and I know what time I need to be there on Thursday to watch Spillage start the pre-party. This is information I’m glad to have.

If your calendar isn’t marked yet, you might want to get on that:


The Maryland Doom Fest 2017

June 23, 2017 – June 25, 2017

Cafe 611
611 N Market St, Frederick, Maryland 21701


• Valkyrie 1150 – 1250
• Beastmaker 1055 – 1140
• Pilgrim 1000 – 1045
• Borracho 915 – 950
• Weed Is Weed 830 – 905
• Sweet Heat 745 – 820
• Spillage 700 -735

• Captain Beyond 1240 – 150
• Lo-Pan 1140 – 1230
• Apostle of Solitude 1050 – 1130
• Earthride 1000 – 1040
• Beelzefuzz 910 – 950
• Wretch 820 – 900
• Demon Eye 735 –810
• Brimstone Coven 650 – 725
• Black Manta 605 – 640
• Sierra 515 – 555

• The Skull 1245 – 150
• Bang! 1140 – 1235
• Wo Fat 1050 – 1130
• The Well 1000 – 1040
• The Watchers 910 – 950
• Hollow Leg 825 – 900
• Iron Man 740 – 815
• Dark Music Theory 655 – 730
• War Injun 610 – 645
• Thonian Horde 525 – 600
• Witches of God 440 – 515
• Black Tar Prophet 355 – 430
• Conclave 305 – 345

• Headliner 1140 – 1245
• The Atomic Bitchwax 1045 -1130
• Serpents of Secrecy 955 – 1035
• Lightning Born 905 – 945
• Lifetime Shitlist 815 – 855
• Akris 730 – 805
• Burn Thee Insects 645 – 720
• Faith In Jane 600 – 635
• Cavern 515 – 550
• Old Blood 430 – 505
• Horehound 345 – 420


Earthride, Live at Jason McCash Benefit, 2014

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Apostle of Solitude Announce European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 14th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

apostle of solitude

Happy to host the announcement today bringing word that Indianapolis doomers Apostle of Solitude will head abroad shortly to tour Europe. The week-long run will be their first time going over, and they go supporting their excellent third album, Of Woe and Wounds (review here), released on Cruz del Sur Music in 2014 — so all the better for them to be getting out.

There are two festival appearances to be had. The run begins with a stop at Doom over Vienna XI on Nov. 12 where they’ll join Mourning Beloveth and others and cap with one at Hammer of Doom XI in Würzburg, Germany, where they’ll be part of a lineup on Nov. 19 that also includes The Skull, Antimatter, Witch Mountain, Universe217 and Cauchemar.

They’ll also be playing with The Skull and Witch Mountain — oh, and a little band called Saint Vitus — on Oct. 9 at the 5th Quarter Lounge in Indianapolis. Hell of a going away party.

I haven’t heard much from them about a follow-up to Of Woe and Wounds, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that if they haven’t started writing for one yet, they likely would in the New Year, hopefully with a 2017 release in mind. In the meantime, I’ve yet to put that record on and not get a return on that investment, so it’s not like there’s any rush.

Poster and announcement come courtesy of the band:


Apostle of Solitude Announce European Tour dates

Apostle of Solitude have announced details for a European Tour this November.

The tour begins on Saturday November 12th, and is bookended with performances at both the DOOM OVER VIENNA festival in Vienna, Austria, as well as the HAMMER OF DOOM festival in

Wurzburg, Germany. Complete tour dates are as follows:

Apostle of Solitude live:
09/24 5th Quarter Lounge Indianapolis IN w/ Destroyer of Light, Gorgantherron & Archarus
10/09 5th Quarter Lounge Indianapolis IN w/ Saint Vitus, The Skull & Witch Mountain
Saturday Nov. 12th: DOOM OVER VIENNA festival – Vienna, Austria @ Viper Room Vienna
Sunday Nov. 13th: Marburg, Germany (with Barabbas) @ Szenario
Monday Nov. 14th: Lille, France (with Barabbas) @ El Diablo – Live Rock Club
Tuesday Nov. 15th: Roeselare, Belgium (with Barabbas) @ De Verlichte Geest
Wednesday Nov. 16th: Tilburg, Netherlands (with Treurwilg) @ Little Devil Bar
Friday Nov. 18th: Szczecin, Poland @ Szczecinski Loft Kultury
Saturday Nov. 19th: HAMMER OF DOOM festival – Wurzburg, Germany @ Posthalle Wurzburg

The band’s last US performance prior to the tour will be Sunday October 9th in Indianapolis, IN at the 5th Quarter Lounge with Saint Vitus, The Skull, and Witch Mountain.

Apostle of Solitude is:
Corey Webb (drums)
Chuck Brown (guitar/vox)
Steve Janiak (guitar/vox)
Mike Naish (bass)

Apostle of Solitude, “Luna” official video

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The Midwest Day of Wreckoning Set for Aug. 13

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 21st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

From what I hear, there’s still one band to be announced for the inuagural The Midwest Day of Wreckoning. The real question is whether or not it’s Brimstone Coven, but we’ll have to wait to find out, and either way, the lineup is already pretty impressive, with the likes of Apostle of Solitude, Droids Attack, Thorr-Axe and Superchief taking part, along with Cold Black River, Subatomic, Shogun and Heavycraft. It’s all presented by Riff Reaper Records and Mercyful Mike Productions and is set to take place Aug. 13 at The Metal Grill in Cudahy, Wisconsin.

If some of the non-band names ring familiar there, Mike Smith was the creative honcho behind the Days of the Doomed fest a few years ago. It would seem that after a couple years “off” — as much as running a management and promotion company is “off” — from larger event planning, he’s getting back in the game, and with an immediately broader stylistic reach than Days of the Doomed was prone to showing. Plus, where that fest was two days, this one is one, so probably less stress all the way around, at least somewhat.

I’ll keep an eye out for that last group TBA, and in the meantime, you can check out the fest announcement below:

the midwest day of wreckoning

Riff Reaper Records and Mercyful Mike Management & Productions bring you… The Midwest Day Of Wreckoning!

Featuring 8 of the Midwest’s very best in stoner/doom/riff-rock, Day Of Wreckoning will have something for everyone!

Bands include:
Apostle of Solitude
Droids Attack
Cold Black River

The Metal Grill
5036 S Packard Ave, Cudahy, Wisconsin 53110

$10 gets in in the door for an all day event! Merch galore! Riffs galore! Grab some grub and a brew! This gig is for YOU!

Come on out and see what heaviness the Midwest is conjuring!
18+ (21 to drink with ID)

Apostle of Solitude, “Luna” official video

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Apostle of Solitude Premiere “Luna” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 19th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

apostle of solitude

Just before the band starts playing, as he and fellow guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak are turning their guitars, Apostle of Solitude‘s Chuck Brown clues in the crowd as to what the song “Luna” is all about. He says, “This song goes out to a friend who you guys do not know and really it does not matter. Stay away from those drugs, kids.” BrownJaniak, then-bassist Dan Davidson (since replaced by Mike Naish, also of Astral Mass) and drummer Corey Webb then ease their way into the memorable, eight-minute penultimate cut from 2014’s righteous Of Woe and Wounds (review here), a song that establishes its progression and then lurches forth with resonant melancholy and heft in kind, Brown and Janiak providing highlight vocal harmonies in soulful verses and choruses.

On a record that had no shortage of quality cuts, it’s hard to find a better example of the particular downerism at which Apostle of Solitude excel so very much. You’d still call their style straightforward in that it’s two guitars, bass, drums, vocals, but though the advent of two singers (something the band’s first two records didn’t have) has added new dimension to their approach, it’s that feeling of drudgery that most distinguishes a song like “Luna,” the struggle that the pacing and delivery seem to convey. There are a lot of acts in doom who shoot for something similar, but it’s not just about playing slow or being bummed out. I know that’s vague, but you can hear it when you listen to Apostle of Solitude — and it’s something true regardless of the tempo of a given track; “Luna” happens to be slower — and it has become a defining feature of their sound. Multi-tiered doom, brought out with as much feeling as tonal density.

Apostle of Solitude previously premiered two videos from Of Woe and Wounds on this site — for “Push Mortal Coil” (posted here) and “Lamentations of a Broken Man” (posted here) — and I’m glad to host the third one for “Luna,” not just because it’s one of my favorites, but because like all the others, it’s given me an excuse to put the record on again and make my way through its lumbering moodiness. Thanks to the band for giving me permission.

Of Woe and Wounds is out on Cruz del Sur. Enjoy “Luna,” followed by the video credits, below:

Apostle of Solitude, “Luna” official video

Apostle of Solitude’s video clip for “Luna” from the album “Of Woe and Wounds” available from Cruz Del Sur Music.

Cameras: Jay Rich
Edits: S. Janiak
Performances filmed in 2015: 5/2/15 at Jabber Jaws, Allentown, PA, and 5/9/15 at Goodfellas, McMechen, WV

Recorded by Mike Bridavsky at Russian Recording, Bloomington, IN
Mixed by Mike Bridavsky
Mastered by T. Dallas Reed @ HeavyHead Studios, Port Orchard, WA

Chuck Brown – Guitar, Vocals
Corey Webb – Drums
Steve Janiak – Guitar, Vocals
Dan Davidson – Bass

Apostle of Solitude on Thee Facebooks

Cruz del Sur Music

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Apostle of Solitude Premiere “Push Mortal Coil” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 16th, 2015 by JJ Koczan


Indianapolis doomers Apostle of Solitude toured this Spring and Fall in support of last year’s excellent Of Woe and Wounds (review here), and I don’t the least bit mind saying that the show they played on May 5 at the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn (review here) on the first of those two tours was the best non-fest show I saw all year. Hands down. It was the record release show for Kings Destroy‘s latest outing, and Apostle of Solitude came to town with Elder from Massachusetts and Clamfight from Philly, and it was the kind of bill that damn near led me to believe the universe was doing me personal favors. For Apostle of Solitude‘s part, they absolutely destroyed the place. They’d been on the road just shy of a week at that point and they were so clearly locked in that all they had to do was get onstage and they automatically went into kill mode. I was very, very glad to have been there to see it.

Hope you’ll pardon the seven-months-later nostalgia. It’s relevant because Apostle of Solitude have a brand new video for “Push Mortal Coil,” and the footage they used to put it together was captured on that first tour. There are even a couple shots from the Vitus Bar in there (I’m there briefly), so having been in the room or at least one of the rooms, the clip takes me back to what was truly an exceptionally good night. Even if you don’t have that association, “Push Mortal Coil” is one of the most immediately catchy tracks from Of Woe and Wounds, and isn’t shy in letting its riffy appeal, melodic hook and righteous heaviness speak on its and the album’s behalf. That record wasn’t exactly light on appeal, but “Push Mortal Coil” still stands out from its surroundings. I can basically guarantee it’ll be in my own head for the next week, just from watching the video.

This is the second video premiere I’ve done from Of Woe and Wounds behind the clip for “Lamentations of a Broken Man” (posted here) — third if you count the earlier premiere of a performance clip for “Blackest of Times” (posted here) — but the simple fact is if they keep making ’em, I’ll keep posting ’em. Dark as the music is, Apostle of Solitude are one of the brightest spots out there for American doom, and the more heads they turn their way, the better. I have to wonder if the video for “Push Mortal Coil,” in wrapping up a busy 2015, might also put the cap on the album as the band gets ready to move forward. Either way, really. I know damn well that if they wound up doing a video for “Die Vicar Die” on a lark, I’d post it.


Apostle of Solitude, “Push Mortal Coil” official video

Apostle of Solitude’s video clip for “Push Mortal Coil” from the album “Of Woe and Wounds” available from Cruz Del Sur Music.

Cameras: Jay Rich, Michael Lindenaur
Edits: S. Janiak
Performances filmed in 2015: Brooklyn, NY, Allentown, PA, Portland, ME, Boston, MA, Pittsburgh, PA, Rochester, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Cleveland, OH & Frederick, MD.

Recorded by Mike Bridavsky at Russian Recording, Bloomington, IN
Mixed by Mike Bridavsky
Mastered by T. Dallas Reed @ HeavyHead Studios, Port Orchard, WA

Chuck Brown – Guitar, Vocals
Corey Webb – Drums
Steve Janiak – Guitar, Vocals
Dan Davidson – Bass

Apostle of Solitude on Thee Facebooks

Apostle of Solitude website

Cruz del Sur Music on Bandcamp

Cruz del Sur Music

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Apostle of Solitude Announce Fall Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 8th, 2015 by JJ Koczan


While a certain part of me frowny-faces looking at the Apostle of Solitude tour dates listed below because the Indianapolis doomers won’t be heading east this time around — or at least not northeast — I kind of have to say I get it too. Supporting their excellent 2014 third album, Of Woe and Wounds (review here), the four-piece did a corresponding tour this past Spring, and in case you don’t want to click that link to the show review, I’ll tell you flat out they killed. So yeah, I get it. Gotta spread the doom around a little bit.

This tour features copious Texas dates, but New Orleans, St. Louis, two dates in Kentucky, and Huntsville, Alabama, as well, and starts out on Sept. 18. They’re also playing with some cool bands in the likes of Sanctus Bellum, Project Armageddon and Kin of Ettins — and I don’t know what Bong Threat sound like, but I may need to find out. Have to wonder if Apostle of Solitude might head west in the early part of next year or maybe over the winter, but nothing’s been announced and I haven’t heard either way. In the meantime, guitarist Steve Janiak was recently in the studio with his other band, Devil to Pay, which will presumably also be out in 2016.

Dates follow, as sent down the PR wire:

apostle of solitude southern tour

APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE Embarking on September Tour of Southern U.S.

U.S. Doomsters APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE will embark on a tour of the Southern U.S. this month. The upcoming gigs are as follows.

9/18 St. Louis, MO Fubar w/ Bong Threat & Planet Eater
9/19 Little Rock, AR Vino’s Pizza-Pub-Brewery w/ Sumokem & Enchiridion
9/20 Dallas, TX Liquid Lounge w/ Kin of Ettins & Dead Hawke
9/21 Austin, TX The Grand w/ Old and Ill & Project Armageddon
9/22 San Antonio, TX The Mix w/ Deguello, Cursus & Over the Top
9/23 Houston, TX Continental Club w/ Project Armageddon & Sanctus Bellum
9/24 New Orleans, LA Saturn Bar w/ Synapse Defect, Capsizer, Walpurgis
9/25 Huntsville, AL Maggie Meyers Irish Pub w/ tba
9/26 Danville, KY Massey’s Entertainment venue w/ Kentucky Ugly, Gods Below Us & Shi
9/27 Louisville, KY Highlands Taproom

The band is touring in support of Cruz Del Sur Music release Of Woe and Wounds, which is streaming in its entirety and available for digital and vinyl purchase here.

APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE’s Of Woe and Wounds will rank among the heaviest album of 2014. From the 7-minute opener “Blackest of Times” to the ending “Luna,” APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE deliver an incredible performance that gives full sense to the sometimes-abused term “DOOM”. Mastered by Tony Reed (producer of last SAINT VITUS’ album “Lillie: F-65”), this album confirms APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE as a versatile, multi-dimensional doom band that offers the most Sabbath-inspired sound around these days, blended with personal, oppressive yet dynamic atmospheres such as those found in “Push Mortal Coil” or “Whore’s Wings” (re-recorded hits from their 2012’s demo), or the long and haunting “Die Vicar Die”.

The album also features the extraordinary work of talented Artist David Csicsely known for his illustrations of Mournful Congregation, Solitude Aeternus, Wheel, Flight of Sleipnir releases.The album was recorded by Mike Bridavsky at Russian) in Bloomington, IN and later mastered by Tony Reed (SAINT VITUS’ “Lillie: F-65). DOOM has never been so HEAVY! The vinyl version will contain two bonus live tracks.

Apostle of Solitude, Of Woe and Wounds (2015)

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Live Review: Kings Destroy Record Release with Elder, Apostle of Solitude and Clamfight, Brooklyn, NY, 05.05.15

Posted in Reviews on May 6th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Elder (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It was a little more touch and go than I’d prefer as to whether or not I’d make this one. Car trouble, money trouble — the mundane bullshit that too regularly keeps us from the things we actually want in life — but ultimately, I found myself driving into Brooklyn from Connecticut to catch the Kings Destroy record release show for their third and what I think is their best album yet. Joined on the bill by Clamfight, Apostle of Solitude and Elder, even before I walked in, I had little doubt it would be one of the best nights of my year, and after ti was over my suspicions were only confirmed. I left the Saint Vitus Bar with more energy than I had when I walked in, having spent a night among great friends and great bands and enough volume to fill a month’s quota. There simply was no way to stop from smiling, and I had little interest in trying.

What started out as a good crowd only got more packed in as the night went on. I turned out to be just a couple minutes late to catch the start of Clamfight, but if my evening was to start in medias res, somehow it seemed even more fitting that I should walk in and immediately feel like I was coming home. To that end, I’ll say that I’m probably the exact wrong person to be reviewing this show — there wasn’t one band of the four playing of which I’m not at least a fan, let alone decade-long friendships, working together on prior record releases and things of that sort — but what the hell. Impartiality is a myth. Let’s have some fun.

Went a little bit like this:


Clamfight (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Three songs from the Philly heavy thrashers — who just a couple months ago were said to have slaughtered the same venue supporting Eyehategod — two of them newer than their second album, the Maple Forum-released I vs. the Glacier. The four-piece were in the midst of “Stealing the Ghost Horse,” the closer from that riffy rampage of an outing, when I walked in, and after finding out it was their first song, I immediately wondered where they’d go from there. I mean, that song finishes the record for a reason and it’s closed live sets for a while now, but Clamfight — guitarists Sean McKee and Joel Harris, bassist Louis Koble and drummer/vocalist Andy Martin — are in a transitional period and have been for about the last two years, pushing back against stylistic convention and growing musically in line with a corresponding uptick both in stage presence and volume. Growing up? Maybe, as much as one might realistically ask of a band called Clamfight, but it’s produced some fascinating sonic turns. To wit, “Taco Bees,” which followed “Ghost Horse,” is a more straight-ahead rocker and they finished out with a sprawler — Martin introduced it as a “doozy,” which was accurate — called “The History of the Earls of Orkney,” which could probably just as easily open their next record as close it. McKee‘s guitar leading the way through initial verses en route to a multi-movement, multi-build instrumental push, it boasted groove, blastbeats, and ambition in kind, and was exciting to watch both because of how well the band pulled it off and because it was as though they’d said, “Well, now we have this sound and what the hell do we do with it?” and as the answer to that question, it bodes exceptionally well. They’re recording more this summer, and I hope to have updates on their progress soon.

Apostle of Solitude

Apostle of Solitude (Photo by JJ Koczan)

The Apostle of Soli-dudes released one-third of an unfuckwithable triumvirate of US doom albums last year in the form of their third outing and Cruz del Sur debut, Of Woe and Wounds (review here) — the other two were from Blood Farmers and The Skull, if you’re wondering — and it had been way, way too long since I last got to see the Indianapolis outfit to start with, so I was excited for their set to say the least. It had been since Days of the Doomed II (review here), nearly three full years, and that would prove to be too much. To undersell it, they did not disappoint. With guitarists Chuck Brown and Steve Janiak sharing vocals, bassist Dan Davidson in center stage with drummer Corey Lee behind, they ran through some of the new record’s most intense tracks, beginning with the opening salvo of their intro, “Distance and the Cold Heart” and moving into the first three from Of Woe and Wounds in order, “Blackest of Times” a particularly righteous launch backed by “Whore’s Wings” and “Lamentations of a Broken Man,” with Janiak in the darker corner of the Saint Vitus Bar stage taking the lead vocally for the verses only to be joined by Brown for a chorus both hair-raising in its effect and of headbang-worthy sonic heft. “The Messenger” from 2008’s debut, Sincerest Misery, was on the setlist but got cut for time, which meant everything they played came from Of Woe and Wounds. Fine by me. Their set was a quick lesson that they’ve only gotten better over the last few years, Janiak and Brown nailing harmonies onstage as fluidly as on the record throughout “Lamentations of a Broken Man” and the galloping “Push Mortal Coil,” which led into a driving take on “This Mania” for a finisher, and I’ll say honestly it gave me a whole new appreciation for that track. I revisited Of Woe and Wounds today just because the songs were still stuck in my head and it was enough to make me want to drive to Philly tonight to see them again with Clamfight, but I sated myself with the knowledge that I’ll hopefully be able to catch them among the headliners at the impending Maryland Doom Fest next month. In any case, it won’t be another three years before Apostle of Solitude and I cross paths.

Kings Destroy

Kings Destroy (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It was Kings Destroy‘s party, we just all happened to be invited. No joke, for a band I quite literally saw more than 20 times last year to get on stage and still offer something exciting, I felt it only underscored how special a group these guys actually are. From the solid low-end foundation of bassist Aaron Bumpus to Rob Sefcik‘s rolling grooves in plunderers like “W2” and the verses of “Smokey Robinson” from the album they were there to celebrate, their self-titled (review here) on War Crime Recordings, guitarist Carl Porcaro‘s malevolent smile as he tears into the leads of “Blood of Recompense” from 2013’s A Time of Hunting, vocalist Steve Murphy‘s stepping down from the stage for the ending of the same song, or guitarist Chris Skowronski seeming to address the whole of Yankee Stadium in singing along to “Mr. O,” which finished out the set, watching them play was the great time that I knew would justify the drive and they still exceeded my expectations. At this point, I’ve experienced both ends of the spectrum on Kings Destroy shows, but they were positively on fire and it was a thrill to behold. They’d prove to be the loudest band of the night amid stiff competition, and to hear them dig into a more upbeat song like “Green Diamonds” coming out of “Embers” from the new album was a killer turn, the two songs appearing in opposite order on record to what they were live, completely reversed in their function but no less effective. No “Mytho” or “Time for War,” but otherwise they played all of Kings Destroy on the day of its release, and added the oddity of “Turul” from A Time of Hunting, which is always a strange kind of delight on the Saint Vitus Bar stage, so brazenly weird and undefinable as to be the primary characteristic of the album from whence it comes. “Mr. O” followed, again, the closer, and was downright riotous, the five-piece pushing through at full speed and still shoving each other around on stage and piledriving the song as much as performing it, the primary takeaway remaining how much truer to their live experience the self-titled is than anything they’ve done before, and how much stronger it is across the board for that fact. They played a gig worthy of the record that served as its impetus.


Elder (Photo by JJ Koczan)

One could very easily make a case for Elder being among the most pivotal American heavy rock acts going. Their third and latest offering through Armageddon Shop and Stickman RecordsLore (review here), stands objectively with the best that 2015 has yet brought, and after recently spending a month on the road touring that material, they were tighter at the Saint Vitus Bar than one could have reasonably asked, the Boston/Providence/Brooklyn trio standing on the edge of a West Coast tour that will be followed next month by a return trip to Europe as their ascent continues. How essential is Lore? They opened their set with “Spires Burn” from the 2012 Spires Burn/Release EP (streamed here) and it seemed like a warmup before guitarist Nick DiSalvo launched into the initial leads that start “Compendium,” the opening track from the new album. Released just in February, the record’s progressive take, flowing movements and clear-headed tonality came through smoothly throughout the remainder of Elder‘s set, and they seemed to still be in tour-mode, less concerned with the evening’s event itself than the raw delivery of their own material, drummer Matt Couto seeming to stare down the drums borrowed from Kings Destroy as he used it to enact New England’s finest swing and bassist Jack Donovan stomping his foot to the march of “Compendium,” completely immersed in the track and the barrage of complex, engaging heavy that followed. To say they owned the room is understating their on-stage command at this point, but they did anyway, and it was the Lore material that most got the room going, something of a mosh breaking out later on. For a group who were playing this show ahead of getting on a plane the next morning to fly out west and go on tour with the likes of Electric Citizen and Stoned Jesus, it would’ve been understandable if Elder weren’t even there mentally, but while they had a bit of that touring-act thousand-yard-stare working, their delivery was every bit as passion-fueled as it had been at the Lore record release back in March, and one could only stand hypnotized as Elder reshaped the confines of genre to suit their creative progression. The most terrifying thing about them is they feel like they’re still only getting started, and maybe they are.

I had to stop for cash on my way out of Brooklyn since I think EZPass canceled my account owing to some unpaid tickets. “Your tag comes up as invalid,” the cop had told me at the toll on my way into the city. Whoops. If I wanted to get through the Midtown Tunnel, I’d have to do it the hard way, so I swung around to a gas station with my one functioning headlight, hit an ATM and sped down the familiar Routes 46 and 80 headed west to crash for the night in my former river valley, landing at around 1:30 and still taking some time to come down from the show, which I feel like I still haven’t really managed to do, my head a whirlwind of riffs, hugs from good friends and the most killer of times.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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