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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The Myrrors to Release Burning Circles in the Sky on Jan. 1

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 26th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

True, 2013’s just about over, but as we start to look ahead to 2014, there’s a ton of cool stuff coming and this reissue of Arizona outfit The Myrrors‘ 2008 debut, Burning Circles in the Sky, seems to be first in line. I’ll admit to not knowing much about the desert-psych wanderers prior to getting word of the impending Rewolfed Gloom Records vinyl, but the album has the kind of open-spaced vibe that’s perfect for imagining vast sands and the arm of the Milky Way dividing a night sky. Goes without saying, but I dig it.

Here’s word of the release with the Bandcamp stream. Check out the record and see if you dig it. Interesting that it’s half a decade old, since if you told me it was recorded in September I’d probably still call it forward thinking:

The Myrrors – Burning Circles In The Sky (LP)

File Under: Heavy Psych / Desert Rock

We proudly present the first release on “Rewolfed Gloom Records”; THE MYRRORS! Merlins Nose’ new sublabel Rewolfed Gloom Records is dedicated to Heavy Psychedelia / Desert Rock / Stoner / Space Rock / Jam / Experimental etc.

The official releasedate is 01.01.2014. Coloured copies (limited to 100) are almost gone, but a handfull is still available for dealers. First come, first served! Orders will be processed on 01.01.2014!

Comes in a 350gsm Gatefold and on 180g vinyl! The desert lives and within it a few wild creatures, some of them are rock-musicians if it happens to work out geographically just as it does with the Phoenix / Arizona based outfit THE MYRRORS. And the desert with it’s supernatural, magical atmosphere was a huge influence on the four teenagers along with all kinds of psychedelic rock, Arabian, Latin American, Turkish and Indian folk music and mind bending free-jazz. And therefore the music sounds like a journey into the deep solitude of the desert in peace with oneself but still boiling and simmering hot, engrossedly floating fraught with visions and ghostly hallucinations from a strange world., even sometimes like taking a stroll in the garden of Eden.

The stereoscopic, vivid and sometimes washy sound brings a trance like mood. Desert sounds like a cricket’s chirring and spiritual chants, as to be found in the long track „Mother of all living“ intensify the hypnotic effect further on. The band formed by high school friends in 2005 recorded it’s only album in 2008 with rather elementary equipment and prepared the privately released Cdr in manual labour not long before falling apart due to the usual reasons such as work and studies. The incredible success of their peace anthem „War paintings“ as Youtube clip came after the break and posthumously brought the band well deserved publicity and appreciation, what conserves their music for all fans of psychedelic desert rock and smoothes the way for a reissue in an adequate sound carrier format.

http://themyrrors.bandcamp.com/
http://rewolfed-gloom-records.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Myrrors/143463825723725

The Myrrors, Burning Circles in the Sky (2008/2014)

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TOAD Set to Tour US with Agrimonia

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 24th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Yeah, I guess it’s cool that Arizona-based TOAD — an acronym for Take Over and Destroy — are sharing the stage tomorrow with Ghost as that band comes through on their latest tour, but the real news here is that the band (who I believe have a new bass player since the picture above was taken), are heading out on a full US tour with Agrimonia, playing in the West, in the East and in the Middle over the course of November into December in support of their Endless Night vinyl, which was released this summer. Pretty badass. Go get ‘em, dudes.

The PR wire tells it like it is:

TOAD: Arizona Blackened Death Rock Ringleaders Announce Tour With Agrimonia; Band To Open For Ghost B.C. Tomorrow

Arizona blackened death rock ringleaders will join forces with post-crust horde Agrimonia next month for a US run of live assaults. Set to commence November 12th in Glendale, California, The Nights Of Rites Tour will trample its way clockwise through the entire country until their final riff crushes Phoenix, Arizona on December 4th. As precursor to the expedition, team TOAD will be opening for occult rockers, Ghost B.C. in Phoenix tomorrow. The performance marks the band’s first show with new bassist, Dylan Thomas.

Comments TOAD, “We’re stoked to be playing our first show with our good buddy Dylan on bass. We’re equally as excited that this is happening on the night we share the stage with Ghost B.C.! This is their first time playing Phoenix and we’re happy to be a part of it. As if that wasn’t enough, we’re thrilled to be touring with Agrimonia, at a point when our lineup is stronger and tighter than it’s ever been. We really dig their new record and can already tell we’re gonna have a blast together. This tour came together so naturally and we know it will be unforgettable. See all of you very soon…”

TOAD
w/ Ghost B.C.:
10/25/2013 The Press Room – Phoenix, AZ
w/ Agrimonia:
11/12/2013 The Complex – Glendale, CA w/ Ancestors
11/13/2013 Oakland Metro – Oakland, CA w/ Embers, Femacoffin
11/14/2013 Alibi – Arcata, CA
11/15/2013 Branx – Portland, OR w/ Eight Bells
11/16/2013 Highline – Seattle, WA w/ Tragedy, Death Raid
11/17/2013 Shredder – Boise, ID w/ Exmortus, Hatchet
11/18/2013 Bar Deluxe – Salt Lake City, UT w/ SubRosa
11/19/2013 3 Kings – Denver, CO w/ Wayfarer, Weaponizer
11/20/2013 Duffy’s – Lincoln, NE
11/21/2013 Fubar – St. Louis, MO w/ Enabler
11/22/2013 Cobra Lounge – Chicago, IL w/ Enabler
11/23/2013 Now That’s Class – Cleveland, OH
11/24/2013 Howler’s – Pittsburgh, PA
11/25/2013 Saint Vitus Bar – Brooklyn, NY w/ Sannhet
11/26/2013 Black Cat – Washington DC
11/27/2013 Pinhook – Durham, NC
11/29/2013 Siberia – New Orleans, LA
11/30/2013 Mango’s – Houston, TX
12/01/2013 Red 7 – Austin, TX
12/03/2013 Launch Pad – Albuquerque, NM
12/04/2013 Rhythm Room – Phoenix, AZ w/ True Cross, Cave Dweller

Endless Night is available in 180 gram vinyl with a gatefold layout HERE.
https://www.facebook.com/TakeOverAndDestroy
http://takeoveranddestroy.bandcamp.com

Take Over and Destroy, Endless Night (2013)

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Southwest Terror Fest Co-Organizer Comments on 2013 Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 5th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

This year’s Southwest Terror Fest is set to take place Oct. 10-13 at The Rock in Tucson, Arizona. The lineup — 65 band’s strong — is a huge jump from last year’s already-impressive inaugural edition, and with the likes of Kylesa, Red Fang, Sacred Reich and Early Graves booked to headline, they’re quickly moving into another echelon of event. Four full days and packed, thematic bills, the Year of the Snake is going to be a landmark one for the still nascent but clearly ascendent fest.

Godhunter guitarist/vocalist David Rodgers – whose band also has a debut full-length called City of Dust in the works for an early 2014 release — is among the organizers putting Southwest Terror Fest together and he was kind enough to give his take on the 2013 lineup. Find that and the full press release below:

David Rodgers, Southwest Terror Fest Co-Organizer:

After the death of the Los Angeles Murder Fest a few years ago, we noticed there was a pretty big void for festivals in the Southwest, so myself, Dave Carroll from Diseased Reason, Larry Horvath from Great American Tragedy and Ryan Avery from Pigeonwing decided it was time for someone to step up make a festival-type event happen. There are just too many good bands in the Southwest to be ignored, in our opinion. We worked pretty hard this year to expand upon last year’s successful inaugural run. Terror Fest has been expanded to a full four days this year, along with the number of bands ballooning to 65 in total.

We have bands from 11 states across the US and our first international band this year with Sierra coming from Canada. As such, we have a much more diverse lineup this year. We were able to focus each night to match bands with the headliners. For instance, on Thursday we have Kylesa headlining and we have a nice variety of sludge and psych bands to go with them. On Friday, we built the day around Sacred Reich, so it features the heavier genres like death and thrash and black metal. Saturday brings us Red Fang with a lineup stocked with stoner rock and doom bands. We wrap the thing up on Sunday with a punk/crust day centered around Early Graves. I know it may sound a bit trite, but we really did try to be as diverse as possible this year. We feel that if you listen to heavy music, one or more of these days should appeal to you.

SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST 2013: Year Of The Snake; Killer Lineup For 2nd Annual Tucson-Based Fest Announced

Following its crushingly triumphant debut maiden occurrence last year, the second Tucson, Arizona-based SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST 2013: Year Of The Snake has been confirmed and the full lineup for the massive gala announced!

This fully DIY undertaking, booked by musicians, for musicians, is a low-cost event for all ages. Once again organized and hosted by Tucson sludgetroopers GODHUNTER, the now annual SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST brings a one-of-a-kind extreme underground music festival to the Southwestern quadrant of America. This year, the experience has been expanded into an immense four-day event, now confirmed to invade Tucson venue The Rock from Thursday, October, 10th through Sunday, October 13th. The SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST 2013: Year Of The Snake lineup features even more national headlining acts than last year, including legends like Sacred Reich and Vehemence, along with Kylesa, Red Fang, Demon Lung, Ancestors, Subrosa, Landmine Marathon, Early Graves and others, and a long line of newer underground acts, totaling more than sixty bands! Whether you like punk, sludge, black metal, thrash, grindcore, post-metal, etc., something for all fans of extreme music is to be found at this event.

SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST 2013: Year Of The Snake is sponsored by Earsplit PR, Moon Smoke Shops, Lace Pickups, Cvlt Nation, Zombie Effects Lab, Ear/Splitters, Axe Of Contrition, Acid Reflux Records, Violent Resonance.com, Lindy’s on 4th, Black Rose Tattoo and Sticks N’ Strings Music Center

View the full SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST 2013 lineup below, and check out the event flyer by Plagued Visual Designs, snag four day discounted passes, t-shirts, pass/shirt combos and more at the official event site HERE, or single day tickets HERE.

SOUTHWEST TERROR FEST 2013: Year Of The Snake:
10/10-13/2013 The Rock – Tucson, AZ

Thursday, October 10th: Kylesa, Pinkish Black, Sierra, Ancestors, Demon Lung, Godhunter, Anakim, Vanish Twin, Goatroper

Friday, October 11th: Sacred Reich, Landmine Marathon, Vehemence, Transient, Magguts, Cave Dweller, Angelic To Ashes, Necrambulant, Sovereign, Our Daily Trespasses, Lethal Dosage, Casket Birth, Kvasura, Evasion, Eight Legged Horse, Napalm Strike

Saturday, October 12th: Red Fang, Helms Alee, Dog Shredder, Subrosa, Deathkings, Crankbait, Aseethe, Thorncaster, North, Sorxe, Goya, Ladybird, Oryx, Skulldron, Bhorelord, Acidalia, Funerary, Methra, Conqueror Worm, Destroy Her

Sunday, October 13th: Early Graves, Children Of God, Theories, ACxDC, Lost Lands, GAT ROT, Territory, Inoculara, Magnum Force, Sex Prisoner, Seas Will Rise, Sorrower, American Standards, Biocidio, Berith, Freedom Assault, Swamp Wolf, Wookiee Rage, Get A Grip, SLUG.

http://southwestterrorfest.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/southwestterrorfest

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Powered Wig Machine Go Pro in Video for “At the Helm of Hades”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 1st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I could’ve sworn I’d written about these guys before. Arizona-based rockers Powered Wig Machine have been in touch a couple times over the last two years, first with their EP, Bearded Goddess, and then about the recording of the forthcoming LP, Supa-Collider, but I can’t seem to find anything on the site, even in the unpublished drafts. There was one mention of them in a press release for Southwest Terror Fest last year, but that’s it.

Nothing like the present to make up for lost time, I guess. It helps too that the clip for “At the Helm of Hades” is a pro job all the way through, with a narrative, special effects and of course, some quality heavy rock and roll. The four-piece ride a Clutch-style groove pretty hard in the clip, but as you can see, they come out of it with plenty of personality of their own. Video and PR wire info follow. Enjoy:

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

POWERED WIG MACHINE RELEASE NEW MUSIC VIDEO

“At The Helm Hades” Filmed As Movie Short

Arizona borderland fuzz-slingers Powered Wig Machine have released a new music video for the song “At The Helm of Hades” off their upcoming album release “Supa-Collider.” The video, filmed in the legendary old western town of Tombstone, Az, is a high flying hat nod to 70’s car chases and sci-fi westerns. The storyboard in the video is based off the outline of the
unfinished graphic novel written by frontman Wayne Rudell. “I really wanted to do something different for this video. I wanted to make short film more than a video.” The video was edited and directed by the aspiring ASU film student Greg Scott Daniel Rubner.

The video’s production and casting were done by PWM’s bass player Joey Rudell. “To get some of the great shots we needed for the video we needed some serious help.” Nathan Nazeck with Prodigy Video was the man for the job, So we flew long-time friend of the band in from Ohio to handle all the videography. “It was awesome to watch Nathan and Greg work. The outcome of the video was more than I could have ever expected.”

So if you got a spare 5 mins and you are partial to fuzz, muscle cars, worm-holes, or westerns then “At The Helm of Hades” is sure to be right up your alley. Oh and remember the best things about videos…if you like them share the shit out of them!

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

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The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Twingiant, Sin Nombre

Posted in Radio on May 22nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Caked in dudely burl and post-Church of Misery riffage, Phoenix, Arizona, sludge rockers Twingiant follow their 2012 full-length, Mass Driver, with the brash dual-guitarisms of the Sin Nombre EP. The five-track collection is self-released and built on cement-solid riffs from guitarists Dave Natkin and Nikos Mixas and the beard-filtered growls of bassist Jarrod LeBlanc, who takes a cut like the shorter “La Haine” and pushes it beyond riff rocking into territory more aggressive, yes, but also more engaging in its stomp, duly punctuated by drummer Jeff Ramon.

Modern stoner metal has produced a number of acts working in a similar vein, but Twingiant prove able to navigate the EP without sounding redundant or losing the listener’s attention, the seven-minute “Cloaked in Black” taking Alabama Thunderpussy-style riffs out of the heartland and into a beating with a later slowdown and Ramon‘s fervent crash, answering back the thud of the opening “Pelisneros,” somewhat friendlier in its initial fuzz and early Down (think “Stone the Crow” in a different, less whiteboy-soul context), with Twingiant‘s angriest blows. I realize there are a couple Southern metal comparison points, but Sin Nombre doesn’t operate entirely in that sphere and it’s the contrast the vocals bring to a cut like “Pelisneros” that makes it harder to classify — the sweet leads and brutal growls playing off each other as the groove takes off and the ensuing “Fossilized” actually winds up working in a similarly creeping atmosphere to some of what New Zealand’s Beastwars were able to bring to their latest work, Blood Becomes Fire, with LeBlanc‘s bass playing an especially prevalent role in the second half of the song amid rasping, guttural growls and swirling leads.

But any way you slice it, Sin Nombre is heavy as hell and it knows it. It was made to be heavy and it turned out to be exactly that. A sample of serial killer/hitman Richard Kuklinski – that’s him talking about hate in the break of “Pelisneros” — only furthers the Church of Misery feel, but closer “Ricky X R.I.P.,” which seems to be a recording of someone (presumably the titlular Ricky X, in whose memory the track is dedicated) doing a radio show — and pretty recently, going by some of what he played — gives a surprisingly poignant end to a release full of ballsy riffs and brash grooving.

You can hear Sin Nombre now as part of the regular rotation on The Obelisk Radio, as well as check it out on the player below, snatched viciously from the Twingiant Bandcamp.

Twingiant, Sin Nombre EP (2013)


Twingiant on Thee Facebooks

Twingiant on Bandcamp

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TOAD, Endless Night: Giving a Taste of the Grave

Posted in Reviews on January 31st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

As much as extreme rock has ever been a thing, Tempe, Arizona, six-piece TOAD would seem to be engaged in the practice of it. The double-guitar, organ, bass, drums and standalone vocal outfit made their first showing in 2010 as a split with Drone Throne, then on their own in 2011 with Rotten Tide (review here) and are set to return in 2013 with Endless Night – five tracks of blackened melodic death rock that attempt to draw a line between At the Gates and the riffier terrain of heavy rock. No easy task. The five tracks of the vinyl-ready 27-minute Endless Night cast off a lot of the melodeath cliché that came in the wake of America’s turn-of-the-century metal revival – i.e. they don’t rush through a verse so as to blindside you with an out-of-place breakdown most part – but there is an intensity to some of their parts that feels derived from modern hardcore, so that even the dueling guitars on the otherwise organ-driven closing title-track seem to be in specifically that kind of rush. The band – comprised of guitarists Nate and Alex, bassist Trey, vocalist Andy, drummer Jason and organist Pete – balances its approach well, so that they never appear to be in the same place twice while also creating a full-album flow over the course of a brief span. Endless Night preserves continuity though in the echoing screams of Andy (who seems to be going by Chthon these days, unless I’ve got the lineup info wrong), which are largely unipolar in their shouting approach, at times scathing, but presented well in the mix all the same. Together with Jason’s drums, they announce the rolling groove of opener “Taste of the Grave,” which is also the shortest track on Endless Night at just under four minutes, centered around a heavy rock riff that in another context might bounce where here it pummels. TOAD, whose name is an acronym for Take Over and Destroy, have several immediate factors working toward their favor, and a pervasive knack for structure is one of them. It’s easy to get lost in Endless Night and some might accuse their songs of being samey, but TOAD are able to accomplish changes between otherwise standard verses and choruses that even with considered listening are less predictable than one might think. The harder you hear Endless Night, the heavier it gets.

And repeat listens may pull back the curtain on a horror influence that shows through in Pete’s organ work on “Howling House” and elsewhere, but even so, TOAD don’t necessarily telegraph where they’re headed next, as Entombed-style guitars in the verse of “Taste of the Grave” give way to a nuanced bridge. In some ways, this sets the tone for the whole of the album, which is similarly minded in its bludgeoning, but there’s no chorus to speak of in “Taste of the Grave,” and gang vocals, layers of backing singing and lead guitar throw one off as much as they bring you along with them. That makes Endless Night an immediately fascinating listen, and there’s still a core element of songwriting that brings back the verse riff to end the track, giving way to the creepy guitar opening of the 6:26 “Cosmophobia,” the longest cut of the five but right in line with the closing duo “Boundaries of the Flesh” and “Endless Night.” The intro gradually builds as drums are added before taking off to a thickened stomp at 1:18 that sets up the jagged verse and the more obvious chorus. It’s still largely the guitars responsible for the hook, but the vocals do well in following where the music leads in terms of rhythm, and though stops before the three-minute mark are jarring until the organ begins to fill that space (I kept wondering if one of my channels had dropped out), TOAD once more show an ability to wander from and return to the core figure of the song, reigniting the interchange between the verse and chorus and then cycling through once again with more bombast as an outro, Jason’s blown out cymbals setting up the drum-led thud of the intro to “Howling House,” soon joined by the guitar and an opening “argh!” from Andy that’s straight out of black metal. The Sunlight Studios-esque crunch of “Taste of the Grave” returns on “Howling House” and proves adaptable to the tempo shift into the slower, more open, noisier second half of the track, which picks up following a dual solo into blastbeats and stops to round out once more with a last verse and cold end. If it’s a sample of a tape winding up or the actual tape onto which Endless Night was recorded, I don’t know (TOAD had made a point of analog recording for Rotten Tide), but “Boundaries of Flesh” launches soon after into a frill-less brutality that’s perhaps the most abrasive they’ve been yet.

Read more »

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