The Obelisk Radio Adds: Mugstar & The Cosmic Dead, Goya, Gangrened, Attalla and TarLung

Posted in Radio on December 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk radio

I’ve been listening to The Obelisk Radio a lot this week, particularly while starting to put together my top albums of 2014 list, so it seemed only appropriate to get a new round of adds up to the server. As we come to the end of the year, there’s always a slowdown in terms of releases, but if I had to put a number to it, I’d call it a 10, maybe 20 percent drop at most. If it was running water and you were looking at it, you’d notice no difference. A flood is still a flood.

As such, 14 records joined the server today. Some are recently reviewed, some aren’t out yet, some have been out for a little bit. It’s a solid batch of stuff, and if you haven’t yet had enough of lists — more to come, believe me — it’s worth a look at the Playlist and Updates Page. The amount of stuff on there is staggering. It’s a wonder the radio stream manages to fit in so much Clutch at all.

Let’s get to it.

The Obelisk Radio Adds for Dec. 19, 2014:

Mugstar & The Cosmic Dead, Split LP

Mugstar & Cosmic Dead Split LP

Two sides, one song from each band, each a massive slab of a jam. Glasgow’s The Cosmic Dead and Liverpool’s Mugstar make a solid pairing, and by solid I definitely mean liquid, and by liquid I mean that’s what your brains will be by the time Mugstar‘s “Breathing Mirror” (18:42) and The Cosmic Dead‘s “Fukahyoocastulah” (25:51) are done. Instrumental in their entirety and jammed out on a subspace frequency that I only imagine they can already hear in the Delta Quadrant — and no doubt they’re wondering what the title of The Cosmic Dead‘s contribution means exactly — both cuts share an affinity for progressive heavy psych exploration, kosmiche and krautrock alike, but with a fresh take on the classic idea of we’re-gonna-get-in-a-room-and-this-is-what-happens that runs through, whether it’s in the drone midsection of “Breathing Mirror” after the jam has died down and before its resurgence, or the later reaches of “Fukayoocastulah,” which rest on the nigh-eternal bassline that’s steady enough to hold the course despite the various effects freakouts, slow swirls and experiments happening around it. About 45 minutes solid of primo heavy jamming? Sign me up. Mugstar’s website, on Bandcamp, The Cosmic Dead on Thee Faceboks, on Bandcamp.

Goya, Satan’s Fire

Goya Satan's Fire

Eleven-minute opener “Malediction and Death” makes its primary impression in its consuming tonality — a harsh but encompassing low end that emerges out of the initial cavalcade of feedback starting the song. The first three minutes of “Malediction and Death” are noise before Phoenix’s Goya kick in their riff, drums and vocals, sounding as huge on the Satan’s Fire EP as on their preceding split with Wounded Giant (review here) but perhaps even more malevolent as they continue to find their place within wizard doom, marked out by the two-at-once solo shredding of guitarist/vocalist Jeff Owens, the lurching rhythm behind him and the swing of drummer Nick Lose, whose snare punctuates “Malediction and Death” like a life-preserver tossed into the abyss. Unsurprisingly, they end noisy. “Symbols” picks up with two minutes of sparse, atmospheric drumming, and the title-track (5:58) finishes with a tale of antichristianity, dropping out of life, and watching the world fall apart. Doom? Yes. Perhaps not as patient as “Malediction and Death,” “Satan’s Fire” itself offers suitable heat, and delivered through amps that likewise sound about ready to melt, provides a memorable impression even beyond its Oborn-style hook. Goya on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Attalla, Attalla

Attalla Attalla

Somewhere between classic doom and more aggressive, hardcore punk-derived noise, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, four-piece Attalla are the kind of band who could probably release nothing but 7″ singles for the next five years and still make a go of it. As it stands, their self-titled debut offers a stirring rawness in the dual guitars that reminds there’s more ways to make an impact tonally than just with volume or fuzz. Their roots are in punk, and that’s plain enough to hear in lead guitarist Cody Stieg‘s vocals on songs like “Light” and “Lust,” but “Haze” nestles into a stoner groove late that suits Attalla well, and the later “Veil” offers charged propulsion in the drums of Aaron Kunde, whose snare sound is tinny but fitting with the sans-frills stylings of Stieg, rhythm guitarist Brian Hinckley and bassist Bryan Kunde. Some variation in tempo throughout changes things up, but a particularly triumphant moment comes with the raw Slayer-esque foreboding (think slow Slayer) that begins “Doom,” a fitting closer to Attalla‘s Attalla with its subtly complex stylistic blend and relatively barebones presentation. I’m not sure where Attalla go from here in terms of developing their sound, but the debut offers reason enough to want to find out. Attalla on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

TarLung, TarLung

TarLung TarLung

If you played me TarLung‘s TarLung debut full-length and told me the trio were from North Carolina, I’d undoubtedly believe you. In fact, they hail from Vienna, Austria, but just so happen to have the Southern sludge ideology nailed down on their first offering. Roots in Crowbar and Eyehategod and Sourvein can be heard throughout, big nod, harsh vocals, weighted plod. The guitars of Rotten and Phillipp “Five“ Seiler (the latter also vocals) brings in some of that Pepper Keenan-style Southern riffing, on “Last Breath” particularly, but the bulk of what they and drummer Marian Waibl get up to on these seven tracks is rawer and nastier, the album’s last three cuts — “Apeplanet,” “Black Forest” and “Space Caravan” — providing the best glimpse at TarLung‘s effective aesthetic interpretation. Tonally and methodologically sound, what remains for them to do is hone a more individualized approach, but particularly for a self-released first album, the crisp harshness they convey on the centerpiece “C2″ — a kind of maddening high pitch running throughout — satisfies when taken on its own level, and among the three-piece’s assets, their lack of pretense will no doubt serve them well moving forward. TarLung on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Gangrened, We are Nothing

Gangrened We are Nothing

Proffering lurching, aggressive sludge over three tracks arranged longest to shortest, Finnish trio Gangrened conjure sweeping chaos on We are Nothing, blatantly contradicting the title of the release despite whatever riff-laden nihilism might be at work philosophically. Among the most telling moments on the release — which follows a split tape from the four piece of  vocalist Ollijuhani Kujansivu, guitarist/bassist Andreas Österlund, guitarist Jon Imbernon and drummer Owe Inborr, who’ve since traded out their rhythm section — is the opening sample of “Them” in which a man in a Southern US accent rants in paranoid rage about helicopters flying over his property, indicative of some conspiracy or other. In both their influence and their execution, that fits Gangrened‘s overall portrayal well, but both the 12-minute opener “Lung Remover” and closing semi-Black Flag cover “Kontti” (translated “24 Pack” and a feedback-soaked, sludged-up play on “Six Pack”) are pissed off enough to warrant the attention they seem to be demanding in their noisy charge, snail-paced and malevolent as it is. Gangrened on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

As always, this is just a fraction of what was added to The Obelisk Radio today. If you get the chance to check any of this stuff out, I hope you dig it, and if you decide to launch the player, I hope whatever’s playing is awesome.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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Goya & Wounded Giant, Split: No Place in the Sky

Posted in Reviews on December 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

goya wounded giant split

Phoenix duo Goya and Seattle’s Wounded Giant make fitting partners. Their new split 12″ on STB Records finds them distinct enough to be immediately distinguished one from the other, but still with enough in common in their proliferation of plus-sized riffery not to be mismatched. In the case of Goya, the split follows their late-2013 full-length debut, 777, and the preceding 2012 demo (review here), and the (now) duo of guitarist/bassist/vocalist Jeff Owens and drummer Nick Lose have already seen fit to issue a follow-up EP, released Dec. 9, called Satan’s Fire. Their inclusion is the 14-minute plodder “No Place in the Sky,” where Wounded Giant deliver two tracks, “The Room of the Torch” and “Dystheist,” totaling a minute less. The Seattle three-piece of bassist Dylan A. Rogers, guitarist/vocalist Bobby James and drummer Alex Bytnar put out their debut full-length, Lightning Medicine, last year and supported it with an appearance at this year’s Hoverfest in Portland, Oregon. All told, the split is a 27-minute showcase for two up-and-coming acts who by all accounts have their sounds together and who’ve been met with no shortage of “whoa no shit heavy riffs bro!”-type hyperbole. Fair enough.

STB‘s endorsement is noteworthy in itself. The label has rightfully earned a reputation over the last two years for both its ear and the quality of its vinyl product. I don’t think they’ve put anything out that hasn’t been gone shortly thereafter, and releases from Ancient WarlocksGeezerCurse the Son and Druglord have put them on the map as a considerable presence in American underground heavy proffering a new wave of stoner rock in which it seems only right to count Goya and Wounded Giant as participants. The former are granted side A of the split, and they use their time wisely, “No Place in the Sky” building from a fade-in of feedback fuzz to a languid march that takes hold in full tone at 1:40. Their album and new EP are less so, but Goya‘s demo was almost singly indebted sonically to Electric Wizard, bringing a rawer feel to the Witchcult Today style, and “No Place in the Sky” works in a similar vein, its rhythmic swing and Owens‘ buried-under-a-wall-of-distortion echoing vocals both seem to be culled from Jus Oborn‘s book of spells. They’re hardly the only band out there at this point working under that influence, and they bring more to the presentation than many on “No Place in the Sky,” which lumbers through verse and chorus hooks en route to a bridge of Iommic layered soloing that very subtly hints at the level of construction at work in their sound. Their songwriting, likewise, finds a sense of accomplishment in returning after that jam to the verse and chorus — the lines “It doesn’t really matter/Nothing fucking matters” standing out — before jamming its way into oblivion and a finish of over a minute solid of sustained amp hum and feedback. Take that, ears.

goya wounded giant (Photo by Zack Bishop)

Classic metal is the first vibe Wounded Giant give off on “The Room of the Torch” (7:07), James‘ guitar riffing out a declaration reminiscent of Iron Maiden, but that’s really only part of the story. Half-time drums give the beginnings of Wounded Giant‘s first inclusion a nod of its own with a punchy bassline and an emergent, airy lead that adds to the languid feel. A slowdown before two minutes in marks the transition into a doomier verse — not quite as Wizardly as Goya, but that’s still a factor — with shouts echoing over downer riffs that pick up to a more upbeat thrust of a chorus. The back and forth plays out until shortly before five minutes in, Bytnar‘s kick, double-kick only seconds before, provides the shift to the faster progression serving as the apex of the track. Like Goya, they rein it back in to finish out, albeit more subtly with just a slowdown instrumental reference to the verse riff that gives way to fading feedback and start of “Dystheist” (6:08), which sounds like a crowd shout but is gone soon enough into neo-burly chugging and more restrained vocals, compressed and following the riff. A more open chorus arrives underscored by more double-kick and a metallic feel met head-on with heavy rock tonality, the flourish of the preceding cut stripped away in favor of a more forward attack, which Wounded Giant handle well. A rawer shout, almost a scream, finishes the chorus and that will be the endpoint of “Dystheist” as well on the second cycle through — the structure no less frill-less than the sound, capping the split in strong, commanding form.

As the goal of the release, already noted, is to highlight what Goya and Wounded Giant have going sonically and to keep their momentum in motion, I see no way in which the split doesn’t meet that target. Both Goya‘s track and Wounded Giant‘s tracks deliver heavy-hitting, solid genre-minded executions and, paired up, they offer each band’s quickly-massing audience to encounter the other, which, you know, is the whole idea. The temptation with splits is always to pit one act against the other, to determine a “winner” like they’re in competition. Fine. That’s a lot of fun, but truth be told, nobody here loses, and it doesn’t seem like Goya or Wounded Giant have any interest in duking it out so much as allying themselves to further their individual causes. Score one for riff diplomacy.

Goya & Wounded Giant, Split (2015)

Goya on Thee Facebooks

Goya on Bandcamp

Wounded Giant on Thee Facebooks

Wounded Giant on Bandcamp

STB Records on Bandcamp

STB Records store

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Fuzz Evil and Chiefs Stream New Split 7″ in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on October 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

fuzz evil chiefs split

Pressed in a grey/white splatter edition of 300 copies from Battleground Records, the new split 7″ between Arizona’s Fuzz Evil and fellow Southwesterners Chiefs is available as of today. With just over five minutes of music from each band — Fuzz Evil presenting “Glitterbones” and Chiefs “Stone Bull” — it’s a platter rife with easily-dug vibes and riff-heavy groove broken into sides F and G for a bit of alphabetical fun to coincide with the laid back, steady roll throughout. Chiefs have some demos under their belt, but for Fuzz Evil, which features guitarist/vocalist Wayne Rudell and bassist/vocalist Joey Rudell of Powered Wig Machine along fuzz evilwith drummer Marlin Tuttle, it’s their recorded debut, and they’re off to a solid start.

Of course, for the Rudells, who with Powered Wig Machine released the Supa-Collider full-length (review here) earlier this year, it’s not really a start at all, but as Fuzz Evil and with Tuttle, they do explore different ground within the overarching sphere of heavy rock. “Glitterbones” as a swagger and hook reminiscent of early Queens of the Stone Age, played up with some falsetto vocals, and true to their name, some vicious fuzz. Less bluesy overall than Powered Wig Machine, they still find room as Fuzz Evil to reference Clutch in the lyrics — asking what the dollar’s for — and enact a stonerly nod in the track as they march toward the solo-topped apex given further breadth and classic feel from some deeply mixed organ following the central bruiser of a riff.

For Chiefs‘ part, the Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Diego-based trio start out “Stone Bull” with slower riffery but open up to a chugging verse and well-placed clean vocals buried Goatsnake-style under the mountainous tones of guitarist Paul Valle  and bassist Jeff Podeszwik, both of whom sing while Kevin Michel holds down the drums. Big riffs get bigger as “Stone Bull” plays out, and though an overblown solo is teased in peppered lead lines, one never materializes, and Chiefs continue their forward push with a turn past the four-minute mark that marks the beginning of the song’s final movement, ending with a riffout that, were it not for the physical limitation of the medium on which it’s pressed, could probably keep going for considerably longer. Perhaps live it does.

Speaking of live shows, Fuzz Evil have a couple release gigs planned for the 7″, the first of which is tonight. That info is included under the player below, on which you can stream the split with Chiefs in its entirety.

Please enjoy:

The Battleground Records roster continues to rapidly expand, with another new release on the horizon for October, in the form of a split 7? from FUZZ EVIL and CHIEFS.

Battleground will release the FUZZ EVIL / CHIEFS split 7? on October 21st. Limited to 300 copies, the heavy grey vinyl with white splatters is cut at 45 RPM and features artwork by David Paul Seymour. For a limited time, every preorder via Battleground receives an entry to win a test pressing of the 7? – place orders HERE.

With new live shows expected to be confirmed from both FUZZ EVIL and CHIEFS over the coming weeks, FUZZ EVIL has already confirmed several new Fall gigs including release shows for the 7? in both their hometown of Sierra Vista as well as Tucson.

FUZZ EVIL shows:
10/21/2014 JR’s – Sierra Vista, AZ – 7? release show
11/07/2014 Flycatcher – Tucson, AZ – 7? release show
11/08/2014 Superbrawler – Benson, AZ

Fuzz Evil on Thee Facebooks

Chiefs on Thee Facebooks

Battleground 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:

Print

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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Take Over and Destroy Touring the West Coast with Year of No Light

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

take over and destroy

This summer, Arizona six-piece Take Over and Destroy released their second full-length, Vacant Face, and at the end of the month, they’ll head out in support of the new album alongside French doomers Year of No Light. The tour runs from Oct. 30 in L.A. to Nov. 9 in Oakland, and will be certain to harsh all kinds of mellows up and down that side of the nation. It’s a pretty interesting mix of bands, but both share an affinity for darkness that should serve well to tie one set into the next. Take Over and Destroy also play the Southwest Terror Fest in Tucson, AZ, sharing the stage with The Atlas MothBlackqueen and Spiritual Shepherd at the Friday night after-show.

For those of us on the Eastern Seaboard, we won’t get to see TOAD, but Year of No Light have two shows booked at Brooklyn’s St. Vitus bar for Nov. 13 and 14. They are excellent live and will be joined by Sannhet and Gnaw and others.

This from the PR wire:

take over and destroy year of no light dates

Arizona Black Acid Trippers TAKE OVER AND DESTROY Announce West Coast Tour w/ French Doom Monolith YEAR OF NO LIGHT

Phoenix, Arizona’s Take Over And Destroy will soon be invade the Pacific Northwest and its surrounding territories with their memorable, mysterious, and powerful music, joining French doom behemoths YEAR OF NO LIGHT for a string of dates that includes shows with the likes of LESBIAN, EIGHT BELLS, and more. The tour poster was designed and executed by esteemed illustrator Bryan Proteau (Navres Mortes) with text by Nanotear.

Check out the dates below!

YEAR OF NO LIGHT + TAKE OVER AND DESTROY TOURDATES
10/30 Los Angeles, CA – Complex
11/01 Salt Lake City, UT – Bar Deluxe
11/02 Boise, ID – Crazy Horse
11/03 Spokane, WA – TBA
11/04 Seattle, WA – Highline
11/05 Bellingham, WA – Shakedown w/Lesbian
11/06 Olympia, WA – Obsidian
11/07 Portland, OR – Rotture w/Eight Bells
11/08 Sacramento, CA – Café Colonial
11/09 Oakland, CA – Uptown

https://www.facebook.com/TakeOverAndDestroy
http://takeoveranddestroy.bandcamp.com/
http://takeoveranddestroy.bigcartel.com

Take Over and Destroy, Vacant Face (2014)

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Fuzz Evil and Chiefs Split 7″ Due Oct. 21

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Battleground Records will release a split seven-inch between Fuzz Evil and Chiefs on Oct. 21. The 300-copies-only vinyl features one song from each band, and is pressed to gray/white splatter 7″, with preorders also serving as a contest entry to win a test pressing. It will mark the first physical release from Chiefs and I think for Fuzz Evil as well, who are an offshoot of Arizona heavy rockers Powered Wig Machine. No audio yet — with two songs there’s not much to give away — but info on the split came down the PR wire along with some Fuzz Evil live dates.

It goes like this:

fuzz evil chiefs split

FUZZ EVIL & CHIEFS Split 7-Inch EP To See October Release Via Battleground Records

The Battleground Records roster continues to rapidly expand, with another new release on the horizon for October, in the form of a split 7″ from FUZZ EVIL and CHIEFS.

On the A-side, the FUZZ EVIL trio delivers a nearly five-and-a-half minute, solid, groove-laden, heavy psych rock track, “Glitterbones.” Hailing from Sierra Vista, Arizona, the band is comprised of Wayne and Joey Rudell of Powered Wig Machine on vocals/guitar and vocals/bass, respectively, and drummer Marlin Tuttle. Flip to the B-side, and the more than five-and-a-half minute big time jam of CHIEFS’ fiery “Stone Bull” lets loose. The California-based outfit, on this recording consisting of Paul Valle on vocals/guitar and Stephen Varns on drums, delivers prime, hard-hitting desert rock, as declared from the opening riff of their side of the shared release.

Battleground will release the FUZZ EVIL / CHIEFS split 7″ on October 21st. Limited to 300 copies, the heavy grey vinyl with white splatters is cut at 45 RPM and features artwork by David Paul Seymour. For a limited time, every preorder via Battleground receives an entry to win a test pressing of the 7″ – place orders HERE.

With new live shows expected to be confirmed from both FUZZ EVIL and CHIEFS over the coming weeks, FUZZ EVIL has already confirmed several new Fall gigs including release shows for the 7″ in both their hometown of Sierra Vista as well as Tucson.

FUZZ EVIL / CHIEFS Split 7″ Track Listing:
A. FUZZ EVIL “Glitterbones
B. CHIEFS “Stone Bull”

FUZZ EVIL shows:
10/02/2014 Flycatcher – Tucson, AZ
10/21/2014 JR’s – Sierra Vista, AZ – 7″ release show
11/07/2014 Flycatcher – Tucson, AZ – 7″ release show
11/08/2014 Superbrawler – Benson, AZ

https://www.facebook.com/FuzzEvil
https://www.facebook.com/wearechiefs
https://www.facebook.com/battlegroundrecords
http://battlegroundrecords.bigcartel.com

Fuzz Evil, Live at the Yucca Tap Room

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Duuude, Tapes! Godhunter & Secrets of the Sky, Split

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on September 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

They kind of had to stretch to make the title work, but they got there in the end. For each respective side of the Battleground Records split tape between Arizona polisci sludgecore bashers Godhunter and Oakland atmospheric blackened doomers Secrets of the Sky, there are two songs. Godhunter present “Pursuit/Predator” and “Gh/0st:s” and Secrets of the Sky have “The Star” and “Gh/0st:s (Part II),” the latter cut for both deriving its title from an acronym of the bands’ names, the second one altered so that if written out it would appear as “Of the Sky: Secrets” and stylized with a zero where the ‘o’ in “of” would otherwise be. Again, it’s a stretch, but they make it work, and tie the two pieces together musically well. The two acts toured together earlier this summer around slots at the Doom in June festival in Las Vegas and they’ll partner again — with many others as well — for the Southwest Terror Fest as part of a booming lineup headed by NeurosisSunnO))), Goatsnake, et al. On the earlier tour, the tape was sold in an edition of 100 copies with godhunter secrets of the sky split tapeartwork by Nate Burns. Vinyl is due at the end of this month in cooperation between Battleground and The Compound.

What the two bands mostly have in common is that they’re heavy, and yes, I recognize that says next to nothing about them. Godhunter derive a big part of their sound from hardcore, and as the “Pursuit/running you down” call and response gang-style vocals over acoustic guitar round out “Pursuit/Predator” — which begins and ends with the Zodiac Killer, sampled — that’s all the more prevalent. To contrast, Secrets of the Sky take a Euro-style approach to blackened doom, a clearer production than one thinks of to fit the phrase “American black metal” adding a lush sensibility to their doomed progression on “The Star.” I suppose the two bands share an affinity for experimentation as well, however, since both 10-plus-minute installments of “Gh/0st:s” depart widely from the sphere of what one might expect from the band. In Godhunter‘s case, they bring in vocalist Julia DeConcini of Young Hunter and Burning Palms to top a moody, ambient tension with layers of otherworldly melody. There’s a spoken word break somewhere around the middle, and a guitar chug emerges later on, but at no point does “Gh/0st:s” explode with the kind of aggression shown in “Pursuit/Predator,” and that’s obviously the idea.

Immediately, Secrets of the Sky are on a different wavelength. Side two starts out with guitars slowly building up, and when “The Star” kicks in full brunt, the Oakland five-piece include a roaring death metal growl for good measure. A current of synth throughout provides further distinction, but even withoutgodhunter secrets of the sky tapeSecrets of the Sky have a more metallic root. Blackened vocals over a rolling doom verse give way to atmospheric guitar and spoken whispers, and it’s not until the final moments a cleaner-sung approach is revealed. By then, Secrets of the Sky have taken “The Star” up and down and around and beaten the hell out of it, a clear, full production ensuring that nothing is lost in the process. A more plotted feel presides over “Gh/0st:s (Part II)” as well, which is instrumental save for the endearingly blasphemous Exorcist sample at the end, as it too builds and recedes with crisply mixed toms, synth, acoustic guitar and plugged-in rumble. The sample is what pushes the track past 10 minutes, and I’d call it superfluous, but Secrets of the Sky and Godhunter pretty clearly had in mind that the pieces would complement each other and be of similar length, and they are.

Despite the sonic differences, there’s an apparent affinity between the two bands for each other’s work, and that comes across as they meet in the middle (it’s a very far out “middle”) on the two “Gh/0st:s” pieces. Still, each side of the tape has something different to offer underscoring the idea that, let’s say, if you’re showing up to a gig where both acts will be taking the stage, there’s really any number of angles from which your ass might be kicked.

Godhunter & Secrets of the Sky, Split (2014)

Godhunter on Thee Facebooks

Secrets of the Sky on Thee Facebooks

Battleground Records

The Compound

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Sorxe Premiere “The Mountain Man” from Surrounded by Shadows

Posted in audiObelisk on August 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

“The Mountain Man,” the rhythmically-centered, viciously lumbering finale of Sorxe‘s self-released debut album, Surrounded by Shadows, is led directly into by the title-track, a five-minute alteration of consciousness via ambience, some touches of brooding Neurosis drone emerging amid the Phoenix-based four-piece’s own exploratory sensibility. The pummel that emerges from the drum intro is all the more devastating for the extended break beforehand. As such, before you click play below, take a deep breath.

Sorxe‘s Surrounded by Shadows draws on the best elements left from the largely washed out post-metal movement. They tradeoff atmospherics and churning, crushing riffs, vary their approach widely, and toy with structures and builds to create a full-album sensibility that each individual song feeds into. The lineup of bassists Christopher Coons and Roger Williams (the latter a founding member of Graves at Sea), guitarist/vocalist/recording engineer Tanner Crace (also synth) and drummer Shane Ocell made their debut in 2013 with an EP called Realms, and all three of those tracks reappear on Surrounded by Shadows, including the 10-minute “Make it So,” which on the full-length functions as the centerpiece around which the rest of the album swirls, darkly hued and rife with multi-directional aggression.

For having two bassists, the guitar isn’t lost in the mix — one always imagines a consuming wave of low end, as if the extra four strings preclude being able to hear anything else — but when Sorxe lock into a full-brunt weighted stretch, you can feel the impact of that extra heft. Even their quieter reflections seem to have a moody feel, and as Crace layers and alternates his vocals between cleaner singing, growls and screams, the band fluidly transcends the bounds of post-hardcore, doom, sludge and post-metal, while effectively maintaining an identity of their own that never seems content to commit to one or the other. No doubt that’s a big part of what makes Surrounded by Shadows such a satisfying front-to-back listen.

But that closer. “The Mountain Man” has its stomp and plod in rounding out the nine-track/55-minute offering, and its initial explosion in chaotic, crushing noise is high among Surrounded by Shadows‘ most satisfying moments, but there’s consciousness at work behind all that bludgeoning. It would be hard for any individual piece to completely sum up everything Sorxe have on offer with their debut, but in providing the album with its apex, “The Mountain Man” also provides a showcase for Sorxe‘s burgeoning dynamic. It is encompassing in its heaviness.

Hope you enjoy:

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Sorxe will release Surrounded by Shadows on Sept. 9 with Bandcamp streams beginning one week before. They’re also slated to appear at this year’s Southwest Terror Fest on Oct. 18 in Tucson, AZ, where they’ll share the stage with Neurosis and The Body. More info at the links below:

Sorxe on Thee Facebooks

Sorxe on Bandcamp

Southwest Terror Fest on Thee Facebooks

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Should’ve Been Sooner: Powered Wig Machine, Supa-Collider

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

I’m not sure if I’m going to make “Should’ve Been Sooner” reviews a series or not, but I’m backed up enough on records that I probably could. Either way, after Demon Eye yesterday, it seemed only fitting to follow-up with another long-standing pile dweller, so here goes:

Arizona heavy rock four-piece Powered Wig Machine have the fuzz, they have the riffs, they have the groove, and yet there’s something about them that still seems to be working against expectation. At least the expected expectation. I’ll explain. The Sierra Vista natives make a self-recorded, self-released debut with Supa-Collider, and while its methods are familiar enough — a Clutch-style sway in closing nod-maker “Brain of Hank Pym” and a classic stoner rock toss-off lyric in “Wizard of Orgy” — for actually being near desert if not in it (Sierra Vista seems to be dry, but a mountain town), their sound is much more derived from barroom blues than laid-back Yawning Man-style jams. Supa-Collider is a quick listen at a thoroughly unpretentious seven tracks/33 minutes, the band — guitarist/vocalist Wayne Rudell, guitarist/organist/engineer Brian Gold, guitarist Dusty Hinkle, bassist/backing vocalist Joseph Rudell and drummer Daniel Graves – starting off with a showing of classic heavy rock influence in “At the Helm of Hades,” which reminds of some of the grooves Deep Purple was apt to nestle into at their peak, with Gold‘s organ moving alongside his and Wayne‘s guitars and the bluesy vocals overtop. While it’s among the most resonant of them, “At the Helm of Hades” is hardly all Supa-Collider has to offer in terms of hooks, and both the shorter, bouncing “Led Masquerade” and subsequent “Here Come the Freaks” find their moments of distinction, the latter with a shuffle in its midsection that opens up to bigger grooving toward the finish as Graves gives his crash cymbals what for before stepping back into the start-stop progression of the verse.

I’d call the straightforward, un-Kyuss-ness of Supa-Collider jarring if Powered Wig Machine weren’t so solid in their performance and if the grooves weren’t so inviting. These aren’t dudes looking to change the world, or even to fix what isn’t broken about their genre, but neither should the quality of their output be written off nor should they be considered entirely unoriginal. Wayne comes across as an able frontman and vocalist, and the interplay throughout of guitar and organ — the latter appearing here and there in a flourish, then gone to make way for a solo or some other part — gives a sense of character and arrangement to these songs beyond what would seem to be the standard, “Led Masquerade” jamming itself to a finish as a lead-in for the starts and stops of “Here Come the Freaks,” the fuzz of which is all the beefier for the complement of keys. “Wizard of Orgy” follows, its “time-traveling pervert” chorus serving notice to anyone who might’ve through Powered Wig Machine were in danger of taking themselves too seriously, and “Mother Rocker” and the title-track deliver a one-two punch of heaviness — the latter is probably the band’s most singularly Clutch-derived groove — before the 6:18 “Brain of Hank Pym” rides in like a bluesy cavalry, putting the guitars even more in the lead as the vocals follow along, and encouraging the listener to fall in and do likewise. It’s the brain of Hank Pym — aka Ant-Man — as opposed to the body of John Wilkes Booth, at least going by the construction of the chorus, but as they’ve done throughout, Powered Wig Machine bring a spin of their own to established stylistic parameters. Keeping in mind that Supa-Collider is their debut even though they’ve been around since 2005/2006, it’s hard to ask more of the album than it delivers.

And Supa-Collider is all the more encouraging since not only is it a capable execution, but it’s self-made. Tony Reed mastered, but Gold recorded and mixed, the latter with Joey Rudell, who also designed cover and did the layout for the four-panel digipak pressing. Being self-contained on multiple levels has its ups and downs — see also: booking shows — but according to the liner, Gold built the studio in which Supa-Collider was tracked, so to think of them becoming more comfortable in a recording space as they continue to progress in terms of their writing and aesthetic only adds to the potential they show here. What matters most, however, are the songs themselves, and Powered Wig Machine already have the songs working in their favor on their debut.

Powered Wig Machine, Supa-Collider (2014)

Powered Wig Machine on Thee Facebooks

Powered Wig Machine on Bandcamp

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Duuude, Tapes! Methra, IV: Ronkonkoma EP

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on July 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

As the title hints, IV: Ronkonkoma is the fourth short release from Tucson, Arizona, duo Methra. After bustling their lineup over the course of the last few years and putting out material on 7″ and 10″, a split with Godhunter, and digital, they’ve arrived at the duo of guitarist/vocalist Nick Genitals and drummer Andy Kratzenburg and the latest five-track outing, which clocks in at just over 21 minutes, finds them exploring the line between deathly sludge and more traditionally riffed doom, Nick switching his vocals between low-register guttural growling, raw-throated screams and Sabbathian cleaner singing following opener “Breatharian (Supreme Master Ascending),” which unfolds the start of side one with a thickened lumber stood out all the more by the use of a sample talking about breatharianism, which has its roots in Hindu philosophy but is essentially the practice of staring at the sun for nourishment.

The subsequent “Blessings” showcases more of the variety in Nick‘s vocals, with a chorus that’s made almost sneaky in how catchy it is by the viscous tones surrounding. Particularly for a duo, the sound throughout IV: Ronkonkoma is full and demented more in the manner of Midwestern sludge — think Fistula and the many deeply troubled branches on their family tree, though I acknowledge the “meth” part of the duo’s moniker might be a factor there — than Methra‘s more metallized Tucson countrymen and drummer-sharers Godhunter, but particularly on tape a sense of rawness is maintained in “Honest Men” and perhaps most of all on side one finisher “Slumscraper,” which builds to a punkish noisy fuckall sudden stop leading to another sample, this one talking about slicing heads off with a cutlass. It’s a long way from charmingly dopey New Age spiritualism, but by then, Methra have indeed made it a journey.

Most curious about the tape is that “SBS” occupies side two all by itself. Listening first to the digital version, I wondered if maybe the one on the tape was extended somehow, if Nick and Kratzenburg just rode that chugging riff for 20 minutes to even it up, or if there was a long sample to make up for that time, or something to draw side two out to match side one, but nope, the cassette of IV: Ronkonkoma is the same as the mp3, and though “SBS” fakes its ending on both before crashing back in for a few more measures, the tape has a long silence following. If it was Methra‘s intent to single the song out — it’s not like you actually have to sit there and listen to all that nothing, what with this modern age of fast-forwarding and whatnot — they did it, and “SBS,” with its anti-having-a-job lyrics and air-pushing groove, earns its place well with a modus consistent with “Blessings” and “Honest Men,” only pushed further with a longer runtime and a sense of build added to by Kratzenburg‘s frantic snare work and Nick‘s vocal tradeoffs.

If the way they want to go is to keep belting out shorter offerings, then IV: Ronkonkoma seems to set them up well. Methra weren’t far off from putting the pieces together on 2012’s self-titled digital release, but the latest installment builds on that in a way that makes them sound even more solidified, and if Nick and Kratzenburg choose to continue as a duo, they’ve given themselves ground on which to progress while also establishing a style that smoothly bridges subgenre gaps and comes across as inherently their own. The edges are rough, but that’s the idea. Don’t be fooled. Methra know what they’re doing. And if they want to take on the task of a debut full-length, they’re ready for that too.

Methra, IV: Ronkonkoma EP (2014)

Methra on Thee Facebooks

Methra on Bandcamp

Acid Reflux Records

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Duuude, Tapes! Young Hunter / Ohioan, Split

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on March 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Some part of me feels like I just need to finally have it out with these songs. Late last fall, when Tucson, Arizona’s Young Hunter issued the three tracks “Welcome to Nothing,” “Trail of Tears” and “Dreamer” online as the Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain EP, there was no doubt in my mind that it was one of 2013’s best short releases. The 18-minute collection has become a staple in the months since its release, perfect for killing late night silences, and in Ohioan‘s Tetralogía Lavaplatos, it has a match. The two recordings share personnel, a spirit born of the land from whence they come and some lyrical themes — albeit manifested differently in texture — so it’s only fitting they’d wind up together, Ohioan‘s four songs, “Madrugada Sonora,” “Fat Children (with Privilege),” “Herida de Llorona” and “Dogshit in Plastic Bags” showcasing American drone-folk of varied intent and poetic critique to complement Young Hunter‘s emotionally-resonant spiritual weight.

The tape arrives in a hand-made package, the cover on front, a quote from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road on back that reads, “People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn’t believe in that. Tomorrow wasn’t getting ready for them. It didn’t even know they were there.” A piece of black tape seals the cardboard, which unfolds to various stamped symbols and the tape itself, black with gold paint, accompanied by a download card and folded sheet with lyrics for Young Hunter‘s songs and the two of Ohioan‘s that have them. The sides on the outside have “YH & OH” stamped on them, and it’s a fitting answer to Young Hunter‘s 2012 CD outing, Stone Tools, which showed similar depth in presentation. For a format as maligned as tapes often are, this split (limited to 200 copies) is one more argument for the validity of them as an outlet for creativity. Still, once one puts the thing on and presses play, there’s very little else that matters.

Droning at the start, “Welcome to Nothing” bursts Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain to life with terrifying lucidity. Young Hunter frontman Benjamin Blake intones at the start, “Abandon those around you/Do not be afraid…” beginning a verse that plays out a subtle build over the song’s first minute-plus before the drums and full-breadth guitars kick in. Even on tape, the sound is huge, the pulse vital, the mood darkened by the continued drone that becomes the out-front riff of the verse. A chaos swirl is given push by pounding drums — both Adan Martinez-Kee and Matthew Baquet are credited on the three tracks, I don’t know who plays where — and “Welcome to Nothing” is at a running pace the tension and drama of which is contrasted by the subdued delivery of the vocals. Crashing drums and a lead line from the guitar provide a sort of instrumental chorus while the hook resides in the refrain of the verse, the line “Welcome back to the void,” serving as an anchor up to the cacophony that rounds the track out and cuts echoing into the beginning of “Trail of Tears,” a single, spacious guitar introducing the line that will be the song’s central figure as a series of drum hits slam home punctuation.

I do not mind saying that there are several “holy shit” chill-up-the-spine moments on the Young Hunter side of the tape, and the unfolding of “Trail of Tears” is one of them. The band reels back and then lets loose a staggering nighttime landscape, guitars doing coyote howls to set up the first verse, Julia DeConcini joining Blake atop the complex wash from guitarist Mike Barnett, guitarist/keyboardist Samuel Christopher (who, like DeConcini, also appears with Ohioan) and bassist Michael Huerta, all of them and the drums coming together to create this rumbling, presence that both consumes and grooves, “hey-heys” and “ooh-oohs” showing up for an understated chorus before the keys and guitars duke it out in multilayered solos. The stomp from the beginning of the track reemerges in the second half as the foundation for a build the culmination of which is the tape’s most singularly devastating moment of tonal largesse and impact — Neurosis worthy — the drums pulling back to half-time at just the right moment and immediately afterwards starting in on the beat that is the foundation for “Dreamer,” the shortest of Young Hunter‘s three inclusions on the split.

By this time, Young Hunter have crafted a dense atmosphere, dark but not cultish or silly and earning its heaviness through control and presence. “Dreamer” essentially breaks into three parts. Guitars match the drum beat step for step and develop from there in a tense push that opens wide for an airy verse before trading back. The major change comes with the line “See the bones left where the spirit wakes up,” which marks the beginning of a build that will lead to the split’s most driving payoff, Blake coming to the fore over the maddening drive to ask, “When you gonna wake up?/Are you gonna wake up when you die?” ending the apex in screams not black metal-influenced like some of those on Stone Tools, but rawer, more primal. And just to show that even as they’ve gone so far out, Young Hunter aren’t so out of control as to snap back with a hit of the snare, return to the original guitar rhythm/drum beat and cap “Dreamer” with a bookend to underscore the accomplishment of its songwriting. The several minutes of silence that follow offer well-appreciated opportunity for recovery.

Ohioan‘s take comes from another angle. Both “Madrugada Sonora” and “Herida de Llorona” are instrumental, the first launching the dark-folk/Americana outfit’s side with a bed of drone. More even than Young Hunter, whose songs prove distinct almost in spite of themselves, Ohioan‘s material gives the impression of being meant to be experienced as a whole. Extended waves of guitar notes make for a minimalist beginning, layers weaving in throughout “Madrugada Sonora” in a subtle and cautious build that comprises the first five minutes of Tetralogía Lavaplatos — something I’ll readily admit I only know because of the digital version of the EP. On the tape, it blends together seamlessly, and even when more distinct feedback arrives, it’s hard to know exactly where “Fat Children (with Privilege)” starts, though there’s little obscurity once the vocals begin. O Ryne Warner (who also appears with Young Hunter and has contributed bass to Ghost to Falco, from Portland, Oregon) is credited with co-engineering and mixing, as well as “other shit” in the studio, and listed first among a host of others as “faculty” — all info online; no personnel info with the tape liner — so I’m relatively comfortable presuming its his voice recounting the tale in the lyrics of “Fat Children (with Privilege),” but don’t quote me.

He’s joined throughout Ohioan‘s four songs by the aforementioned Christopher and DeConcini, as well as Connor Gallaher, Andrew Collberg, Jeff Lownsbury, Jeff Grubic, Sasha, Geoff Saba, Ryen Egglestein, Jim Colby, Isadora Moreno-Frisby, Alexandra Cer and Benjamin Ford-Sala (who also did the art for foldout), though who’s doing what is a mystery and to delve into speculation seems like overkill. The lyrics of “Fat Children (with Privilege)” are less about the titular youths themselves than the cultural excesses of wealth and hubris they’re meant to represent. It’s Howl meets service-industry blues:

 

“I cleansed every dish
That the rich tooth missed
I fed their fat children
With privilege
On skin
On organs
And flesh
With the skin
Of my friends,”

And isn’t long in going on to talk about a “life, ever spent, paying rent” — something Young Hunter touched on as well in “Dreamer” with “Another life spent chasing paychecks” — the disillusion with adult consumerist life indicative both of creative restlessness and the core of resentment that bleeds through the remainder of the track. Where Young Hunter crashed and slammed, Ohioan seethe, though in Angels of Light-esque form, there’s a swell of volume and lurching heft as well near the end of the track, topped by strings (real or inorganic) and multiple vocals as it is. The song breaks back down to its root frustration and silence precedes the instrumental “Herida de Llorona,” a twanging, guitar of country’ed sweetness offering some contrast to the gnashing teeth in the prior cut’s finish.

That atmosphere of sentiment for the impossible — something other countries rightly shake their heads at but is nonetheless a core element of American culture — continues into “Dogshit in Plastic Bags,” though neither the title of the song nor its lyrics would draw one to that notion. If it was Ohioan‘s intent to toy with contrast, they did a more than able job of it, the words barely spoken in sweet, patient melody as the lines, “Our legacy will be dicks drawn on bathroom walls, empty windows and dogshit in plastic bags outside the mall” provide the capstone for what would otherwise superficially appear as a dreamy, wistful country exploration, complete with pedal steel and slow, soft drumming. They do not linger after those lines are delivered with cadence that seems to playfully distract from the message itself, and the split concludes in a fashion rather unassuming considering the scope of what’s played out over the course of the prior 40-or-so minutes.

Last I heard, Blake had moved to Portland, Oregon, so if there’s a future for Young Hunter or what that might look like, I don’t know. Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain remains a substantial contribution either way. Ohioan, nebulous as they are, have several other releases to dig into available via their Bandcamp — 2011’s Balls Deep in Babylon catches the eye — in some alliance with Infinite Front, which seems to be an artist collective as much as a record label. Fair enough. What remains true for both acts is the essential nature of the work they’ve given here. I’m not sure if a tape does it justice. I’m not sure what format would — some form of audio tattoo? But a tape makes sense coming from two groups who’ve obviously stood under a huge desert sky and realized how little it matters one way or another, so a tape it is. Recommended.

Young Hunter, Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain

Ohioan, Tetralogía Lavaplatos

Young Hunter on Bandcamp

Young Hunter on Thee Facebooks

Ohioan on Bandcamp

Ohioan on Thee Facebooks

Infinite Front

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Godhunter Announce Tour with Secrets of the Sky; City of Dust Vinyl Due May 1

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

After releasing the CD last month through The Compound and their own Battleground Records, Tucson, Arizona, sludge freethinkers are set to have their debut full-length, City of Dust (streamed here), show up on vinyl May 1. The destructive six-piece will tour a week with Secrets of the Sky starting June 6 at this year’s Doom in June fest in Las Vegas, and the LP will be limited to 300 copies with a handy bunch of extras which the PR wire is happy to detail below.

This is also the first I’m seeing of the Doom in June lineup, which looks right on with Ides of Gemini, Novembers Doom, Demon Lung, Acid Witch, Godhunter, Secrets of the Sky and Christian Mistress. That’s a heavy goddamn show.

Specificity is key:

GODHUNTER: Tour With Secrets Of The Sky Confirmed

Preorders For Deluxe LP Version Of City Of Dust Available

Following the triumphant CD/digital release of GODHUNTER’s dynamic debut full-length, City Of Dust, today the deluxe vinyl edition of the album have been posted, in addition to the band’s next bout of widespread touring in support of the album.

Having been released through a union of Earsplit’s label, The Compound, and GODHUNTER’s Battleground Records, the two DIY factions will release City Of Dust in a deluxe vinyl run, which is currently being manufactured. The record will be available in a run of 300 copies on clear 180-gram vinyl with red splatters analogous with the desert rose cover artwork, all poly-bagged with a black sleeve and full-color 12×24 lyric/liner sheet and full-color jacket. Preorders for the impending vinyl adaptation of the album have been posted; all pre-street date orders placed via Earsplit Distro will see the LP shipped with a free copy of City Of Dust on CD and will ship by May 1st. Preorder placement for the vinyl as well as and an arsenal of additional GODHUNTER merch can all be located HERE.

Late this Spring, GODHUNTER will take off on a wild west US trek with Oakland’s progressive doom metal sextet, Secrets Of The Sky. On June 6th and 7th the bands will rendezvous at the annual Doom In June Fest in Las Vegas, both set to perform amidst the lineup including Novembers Doom, Christian Mistress, Acid Witch, Ides of Gemini, Demon Lung and more. From there they’ll co-headline a course through Oakland, San Luis Obispo, Glendale, Palm Desert, Tucson and Phoenix.

GODHUNTER & SECRETS OF THE SKY Spring Tour:
6/06/2014 Cheyenne Saloon – Las Vegas, NV @ Doom In June
6/07/2014 Cheyenne Saloon – Las Vegas, NV @ Doom In June
6/08/2014 Stork Club – Oakland, CA
6/09/2014 Frankie Teardrops – San Luis Obispo, CA
6/10/2014 Billy O’s – Ventura, CA
6/11/2014 The Complex – Glendale, CA
6/12/2014 The Palms – Palm Desert, CA
6/13/2014 The District Tavern – Tucson, AZ

Bearing the underlying subtitle, A Conversation Between Hope and Despair, the fifty-minute dust storm of groove-laden, resin-coated sludge metal intensity City Of Dust delivers the most concise, diverse, and infectious hymns from the politically-motivated Tucson, Arizona-based outfit to date. Through a brutally honest outcry the album boasts thought-provoking, thematic tirades against the governmental members and parties the residents who embody GODHUNTER feel are directly responsible for a wide array of vital societal issues affecting their home region, including equal rights, a widespread water shortage, immigration and more.

http://dirtweedmetal.com
http://godhunter.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/godhuntertucson666
https://www.facebook.com/battlegroundrecords
http://www.thecompoundrecs.com
https://www.facebook.com/TheCompoundRecs
http://www.earsplitdistro.com

Godhunter, City of Dust (2014)

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Pentagram, Radio Moscow and Kings Destroy West Coast Tour, Pt. 12: Communication Breakdown

Posted in Features on February 27th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

02.27.14 — 3:40PM Pacific — Thursday — Somewhere in Arizona

“Elevation 7,735″ — Sign on highway

Some wacky changes in the landscape on this ride, going from Nevada into Arizona. Coming out of Las Vegas was desert, then we got into snow-capped mountains, into some high-altitude forest, then back down into desert, both peopled and empty, and now just coming into these giant red rocks coming near the New Mexico border that look like eroded pyramids, these monolithic things that come up out of nowhere. You can see the layers. Millions of years.

The wind we’ve hit and been hit by has also been utter madness, delivering a beating to the makeshift windows. We’ve come through a couple sandstorms, and it’s been a slalom down the road, tossed from one side to another. There are other cars out here, trucks in the left lane moving slow. Last estimate I heard had us getting to Albuquerque by 6:30PM. I seem to recall that was the estimate last night and we were close enough to it. Just a matter of putting in the time to get there, covering the ground.

And it’s significant ground to cover. I barely knew the routing when I was getting on the plane to Seattle, but to think of how far this trip has gone already, it’s wild. The equivalent of Boston to Georgia, probably, if not more than that. Most of it in the last two days, owing to the drive from Portland to San Francisco being split over two days. So it goes. Not much time for hanging out either in the cities or out in the middle of nowhere, but still cool to see all this stuff not from an airplane flying over, to be affected by the stretch of it. I don’t care how much paved road runs through it, the land is humbling.

New Mexico is a little more populated, at least the stretch we just came through, but we’re still neck deep in desert. Completely bizarre to think that tomorrow at this time, we’ll be headed back north to Denver for the second-to-last night of their tour. Rocky hillside dark with cloud cover. Debris on the road. It all looks very permanent. How on earth can you “just be passing through” a sandstorm? A torrential downpour of dirt? We stopped a bit ago and the wind blew the sunglasses out of my hand and halfway across the parking lot of the rest stop, which sold a bunch of Navajo Indian knick-knacks. There’s Navajo casinos out here too. Because that’s over, right? Sure thing.

Leeches of Lore are playing the show tonight. Four bands: Leeches of Lore, Kings Destroy, Radio Moscow, Pentagram. That’s a solid fucking show. I looked in my luggage this morning and saw I only had two clean t-shirts left after the one I’m wearing today, and for a second I was kicking myself because I thought I miscounted in packing to come out. Nope. A week of shows is just more than half over.

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audiObelisk: Godhunter Stream City of Dust in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on February 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

It should say something about the conceptual nature of Godhunter‘s approach that their lyric sheet comes with footnotes. Today, the Tuscon-based six-piece release their debut long-player, City of Dust, on CD via Battleground Records/The Compound. It’s an album that wears its aggression and political mentality likewise on its sleeve, and from the opening sample that, backed by feedback and effects, leads the way into the undulating, punishingly slow riff of “Despite All,” Godhunter show that they’re more than willing to manually drive these ideas into your brain if that’s what it’s going to take to get them there. Tackling issues within their native Arizona (“Rats in the Walls,” “Snake Oil Dealer”) and the Southwest in general (the closing “Plague Widow”), the eight component tracks of the 49-minute album come across with staggering intensity despite what’s usually a fairly grueling pace. It is as much a multi-chapter sludgecore manifesto as it is a collection of memorably-riffed songs.

Godhunter‘s hardcore roots shine through in their arrangements, and even with cellist/keyboardist/effects specialist Matthew Davis at work throughout, the riffs of “Despite All,” “Palace of Thorn” and the guitar-siren-infused “City of Dust” lumber in classic-if-thickened fashion. Elsewhere, guitarists David Rodgers (also vocals) and Jake Brazelton bring an almost Southern metal sensibility to the largesse of “Brushfires,” while bassist Ryan “Dick” Williamson and drummer Andy Kratzenberg lend further heft and punctuation to the steady roll, but the raw-throat of vocalist Charlie Touseull keeps City of Dust aligned to a tradition of socially conscious underground rage, lines like “No rescue for those already dead/Reason cast aside for myth instead,” from “Brushfires” showcasing the rhythmic push that accompanies such vitriol. If there’s an aberration from Godhunter‘s onslaught, it comes in “Shooting down the Sun” at the start of the second half of the tracklist, on which guest vocalist Carlos Arzate sings clean over mournful acoustic guitars and Davis‘ cello. It’s the shortest track on City of Dust at 4:44, but the gravitas it lends the surrounding material is put to solid and pummeling use.

The corresponding affirmation of Godhunter‘s brutality, then, would have to be the closer. “Plague Widow,” with gang-style backing vocals from Matt Martinez, Nate Garrett and Chthon Leemont, is a 10-minute sensory assault that compounds references to the Bible and The Tempest with keyboard atmospherics and an insistent repetitions over a marching riff that aren’t so much hypnotic as like being punched with music, cello and amp noise finally serving as City of Dust‘s leadout over the fading guitar, bass and drums. The line that Touseull and company leave on is “This is hell and all the devils are here,” and like the rest of City of Dust, it seems unlikely that’s happenstance. So thought-through is the album that it’s easy to forget it’s Godhunter‘s first — their prior release was late 2011’s Wolves EP (review here) — but if they’re to move forward from this as their starting point, they’ve presented a multifaceted and passionate foundation from which to progress. On any angle from which you might want to approach it, City of Dust is more than just a sludge record.

They’ve got it at their Bandcamp, but I’ve been given permission to stream the album here and I’m not about to say no. After the player, you’ll find the lyric sheet with track-by-track info on all the songs. Please enjoy.

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

Godhunter‘s City of Dust is available now digitally through their Bandcamp page and on CD via Earsplit Distro‘s website. Here are the lyric sheets:

Godhunter on Thee Facebooks

Godhunter on Bandcamp

Godhunter at Earsplit Distro

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Powered Wig Machine Announce Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Arizona four-piece Powered Wig Machine will release their Supa-Collider full-length at a hometown show in Sierra Vista on March 6, and from there begin a tour that will take them around the desert lands in Arizona, over to Vegas and end at Palm Desert in California. It’s hard to imagine a more perfect scenario for a heavy band putting out a record, honestly, so kudos to Powered Wig Machine. Their Supa-Collider has been a while coming (the video below for “At the Helm of Hades” premiered last summer), which I suppose will happen when you build the studio before you record in it. All the more reason to celebrate in style.

The PR wire sends dates and info:

POWERED WIG MACHINE – SPRING 2014 SUPA-COLLIDER TOUR AND NEW ALBUM

Powered Wig Machine has set a hard release date of March 6th, 2014 for their new album Supa-Collider. In support of the new album Powered Wig Machine has announced the “Spring 2014 Supa-Collider Tour” with the following dates:

3/6 – Sierra Vista, AZ – JR’s Bar w/Throw the Goat(CA), The Bastard Sons (UK)
3/8 – Tucson, AZ – The Plush w/Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show, The Risin Sun (Mexico), Mark Matos & OS Beaches.
3/12 – Phoenix, AZ – The Sail Inn w/Wolves of Winter, Enirva
3/13 – Las Vegas, NV – The Dive w/TBA
3/14 – Ventura, CA – Billy O’s w/TBA
3/15 – Palm Desert, CA – The Hood w/Fever Dog, The Hellions

Powered Wig Machine has put a lot of work into the Supa-Collider album including building a studio from the concrete foundation, up to the roof, along with everything inside of it. The album is now finished and off in the hands of Tony Reed (Stone Axe, Mos Generator) for mixing and mastering. The video of “At the Helm of Hades” was released last year in preparation for the Supa- Collider album release. the sci-fi video including cowboys, car chases, and wormholes can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K29E2mpWvE

https://www.facebook.com/Poweredwigmachine
http://poweredwigmachine.bandcamp.com/

Powered Wig Machine, “At the Helm of Hades” official video

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