Quarterly Review: Glanville, Destroyer of Light, The Re-Stoned, Ruff Majik, Soldat Hans, High Priestess, Weed Demon, Desert Storm, Ancient Altar, Black Box Warning

Posted in Reviews on July 17th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

So Day 1’s done and it’s time to move on to Day 2. Feeling stressed and totally overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff still to be done? Why yes, I am. Thanks for asking. In the past, I used to handle the Quarterly Review well ahead of time. It’s always a lot to get through, but the week before, I’d be setting up back ends, chasing down links and Bandcamp players, starting reviews, etc., so that when it came time, all I had to do was the writing and plug it all into a post and I was set.

There was some prep-work done this past weekend, but especially this time, with my old laptop having been stolen in May, it’s all been way more jazz-improv. I was still adding releases as of last Friday, and writing beforehand? Shit. With the baby having just figured out how to climb? Not bloody likely. Accordingly, here we are, with much to do.

It’ll get done. I haven’t flubbed a Quarterly Review yet, and if I took an extra day to get there, I’m under no delusion that anyone else would care. So there you go. Let’s hit it for Day 2:

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Glanville, First Blood

glanville first blood

First Blood is the aptly-titled five-song debut EP from Glanville, a newcomer dual-guitar outfit with established players Philip Michel (The Earwix) on lead and Christopher West (Named by the Sun, ex-Stubb, etc.) on rhythm, Wight’s Peter-Philipp Schierhorn on bass and René Hofmann on vocals, and Thomas Hoffman (ex-Bushfire) on drums. Based in Germany and the UK, the group present 23 minutes of material on their first outing, drawing from the guitar-led likes of Thin Lizzy and Judas Priest to capture early metal and present it with a heavy rocking soulfulness and modern production. The most raucous of the cuts might be centerpiece “Durga the Great,” but neither “God is Dead” nor “Dancing on Fire” before nor “Demons” and “Time to Go” after want for action, and especially the latter builds to a furious head to close out the release. Hofmann as a standalone singer wants for nothing in range or approach, and the band behind him obviously build on their collective experience to dig into a stylistic nuance rarely executed with such confidence. They’ve found a place willfully between and are working to make it theirs. Can’t ask for more than that.

Glanville on Thee Facebooks

Glanville on Bandcamp

 

Destroyer of Light, Hopeless

destroyer of light hopeless

Having just recently signed to Argonauta Records for a new album in 2019, Austin doomers Destroyer of Light follow their 2017 long-player, Chamber of Horrors (review here), with a further auditory assault in the lumbering Hopeless. Psychedelic and yet still somehow traditional doom lingers in the brain after “Nyx” and “Drowned” have finished – the latter with an Alan Watts sample discussing alcoholism – and the band moves into demos for Chamber of Horrors cuts “Into the Smoke,” “Lux Crusher” and “Buried Alive.” Between the two previously unreleased songs and those three demos, Hopeless pushes to 39 minutes, but it’s probably still fair to call it an EP because of the makeup. Either way, from the miserable plod of “Nyx,” in which each chug in the riff cycle seems to count another woe, to the rolling nod early and surprising melody late in “Drowned,” Hopeless is anything but. Anticipation was already pretty high for Destroyer of Light’s next record after the last one, but all Hopeless does is show further depth of approach and more cleverly-wielded atmospheric murk. And the more it sounds like there’s no escape, the more Destroyer of Light seem to be in their element.

Destroyer of Light on Thee Facebooks

Destroyer of Light on Bandcamp

 

The Re-Stoned, Stories of the Astral Lizard

the re-stonEd stories of the astral lizard

The inevitable question is “Why a lizard?” and if you make it four minutes into 11-minute opener “Fractal Panorama” and don’t have your answer, go back ad start over. Moscow heavy psych instrumentalists The Re-Stoned intend the reptile as a spirit guide for their new outing Stories of the Astral Lizard (on Oak Island Records), which follows quickly behind their late-2017 offering, Chronoclasm (review here), and given the ultra-patient desert vibes in the opener, the acoustic-laced folk-prog of “Mental Print for Free,” the languid meander of “A Companion from the Outside,” the swirling sprawl of the 16-minute “Two Astral Projections” and the final cowpoke drift of “The Heather Carnival,” one might indeed just find a lizard sunning its belly amid all the atmospheric evocations and hallucinatory vibes. I’ll take “Two Astral Projections” as the highlight, but mostly because the extra length allows the band to really dig in, but really the whole album feeds together gorgeously and is a new level of achievement when it comes to atmosphere for The Re-Stoned, who were already underappreciated and find themselves only more so now.

The Re-Stoned on Thee Facebooks

Oak Island Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Ruff Majik, Seasons

Ruff Majik Seasons

Right on fuzz, right on groove, right on vibe – there isn’t much else one might say about Ruff Majik’s Seasons (on Rock Freaks Records and Forbidden Place Records) beyond “right on.” Heavy rock with twists of psychedelia, the Pretoria, South Africa, three-piece of Johni Holliday, Jimi Glass and Benni Manchino make their home on the lines of various subgenres, but wherever they go, the proceedings remain decisively heavy. To wit, a cut like “Breathing Ghosts” or the later “Birds Stole My Eyes” might dig into shuffle boogie or extreme-metal-derived thrust, but there’s a chemistry between the members and a resonant looseness that ties the material together, and as the last 14 of the total 66 minutes are dedicated to “Asleep in the Leaves,” there’s plenty of progressive weirdness in which to bask, one song moving through the next such that neither “Hanami Sakura (And the Ritual Suicide” nor the semi-doom-plodding “The Deep Blue” nor the funky twists of “Tar Black Blood” come across as predictable. Seasons might take a few listens to sink in, but it’s easily worth that effort.

Ruff Majik on Thee Facebooks

Ruff Majik at Rock Freaks Records webstore

Forbidden Place Records on Bandcamp

 

Soldat Hans, Es Taut

SOLDAT HANS ES TAUT-750

Hyperbole-worthy post-ism from Switzerland’s Soldat Hans makes their sophomore outing, Es Taut – on Wolves and Vibrancy Records as a 2LP – a forward thinking highlight. As rich in atmosphere as Crippled Black Phoenix and as lethal as Converge or Neurosis or anyone else you might dare to put next to them, the six-piece made their debut with 2014’s Dress Rehearsal (review here) and served notice of their cross-genre ambitiousness. Es Taut finds them four years later outclassing themselves and most of the rest of the planet across three extended tracks – “Story of the Flood” (26:15), “Schoner Zerbirst, Part I” (8:03) and “Schoner Zerbirst, Part II” (18:56) – that sprawl out with a confidence, poise and abrasion that is nothing short of masterful. Es Taut may be a case of a band outdoing their forebears, but whatever their legacy becomes and however many people take notice, Soldat Hans singlehandedly breathe life into the form of post-metal and prove utterly vital in so doing, not only making it their own, but pushing forward into something new in ambience and heft. This is what a band sounds like while making themselves indispensable.

Soldat Hans on Thee Facebooks

Wolves and Vibrancy Records website

 

High Priestess, High Priestess

high priestess high priestess

Calling to order a nod that’s immersive from the opening strains of leadoff/longest-track “Firefly” (still immediate points), Los Angeles trio High Priestess build out the psych-doom ritualizing of their 2017 demo (review here) to make their self-titled full-length debut through Ripple Music. The difference between the demo and the album in terms of what’s included comes down to artwork and the track “Take the Blame,” which adds its bell-of-the-ride swing between the atmosphere and melodic focus of “Banshee” and the spacious roller “Mother Forgive Me.” Potential is writ large throughout from guitarist/vocalist Katie Gilchrest, bassist/vocalist Mariana Fiel and drummer Megan Mullins, as it was on their demo, and even the harsh growls/screams on “Despise” seem to have found their place within the proceedings. As they wrap with the guitar-led jam of “Earth Dive,” High Priestess put the finishing touch on what’s hands-down one of 2018’s best debut albums and offer a reminder that as much potential as there is in their sound for future development, the accomplishments here are considerable unto themselves.

High Priestess on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

Weed Demon, Astrological Passages

weed demon astrological passages

Four tracks of gurgling riffy plunder pervade Astrological Passages, the 41-minute – longer if you get the digital version or the tape/CD, which includes the 7:24 “Dominion of Oblivion” – debut album from Columbus, Ohio’s Weed Demon. Delivered on vinyl through Electric Valley Records, the nodder/plodder carves out a cave for itself within a mountain of tonally thick stoner metal riffing, infusing a sense of sludge with shouted and growled vocals from guitarists Andy and Brian and bassist Jordan – only drummer Chris doesn’t get a mic – and an overarching sense of bludgeoning that’s Sleep-derived if not Sleep-adjacent in terms of its actual sound. Nasty? Why, yes it is, but as “Sigil of the Black Moon” heads toward the midpoint of its 10-minute run, the repetitive groove assault make the band’s intention plain: worship weed, worship riff. They get faster on “Primordial Genocide” and even sneak a bit of speed in amidst the crawl before the banjo takes hold in the second half of 12-minute closer “Jettisoned” – more Americana sludge please; thank you – but they never lose sight of their mission, and it’s the uniting factor that makes their debut hit like the brick to the head that it is.

Weed Demon on Thee Facebooks

Electric Valley Records website

 

Desert Storm, Sentinels

desert storm sentinels

With Sentinels, Oxford, UK, five-piece Desert Storm pass a decade since making their self-titled debut in 2008. They followed that with 2010’s Forked Tongues (review here), 2013’s Horizontal Life and 2014’s Omniscient (review here), and though they had a single out in 2014 on H42 Records as a split with Suns of Thunder (review here) in 2016, Sentinels is their first outing on APF Records and their first long-player in four years. Burl has always been an important factor in what they do, and the High on Fire-meets-Orange Goblin slamming of “The Brawl” backs that up, but Desert Storm have left much of the hyper-dudeliness behind in favor of a more complex approach, and while Sentinels isn’t a minor undertaking at 10 songs and 51 minutes, longer cuts like “Kingdom of Horns” and “Convulsion” demonstrate the maturity they’ve brought to bear, even as the one-two punch of “Drifter”  and “The Extrovert” offer swinging-fist hooks and beard-worthy chug that assures any and all testosterone quotas are met.

Desert Storm on Thee Facebooks

APF Records on Bandcamp

 

Ancient Altar, Cosmic Purge/Foie Gras

ancient altar cosmic purge foie gras

Based in Los Angeles, Ancient AltarScott Carlson (bass/vocals), Barry Kavener (guitar/vocals), Jesse Boldt (guitar) and Etay Levy (drums) – were last heard from on 2015’s dug-in atmosludger Dead Earth (review here), and they return lo these several years later with the two-tracker Cosmic Purge/Foie Gras, pushing into more extreme crush-of-riff with an abandon that’s anything but reckless. On the contrary, there’s some clear development in the 10-minute “Cosmic Purge” and 13-minute “Foie Gras,” rolling out oppressive grooves with blended screams/shouts and cleaner vocals. As with the last album, a drive toward individuality is central here, and Ancient Altar get there in tone while bringing forth a sense of scope to a sound so regularly thought of as closed off or off-putting in general. In its early going, “Foie Gras” hypnotizes with echoing melody and spaciousness only to resolve itself in a deeply weighted dirge march, furthering the pummel of “Cosmic Purge” itself. I don’t know if the EP – on vinyl through Black Voodoo Records, CD on Transcendental Void Records – will lead toward another album or not, but the sense of progression in Ancient Altar’s style is right there waiting to be heard, so here’s hoping.

Ancient Altar on Thee Facebooks

Black Voodoo Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Black Box Warning, Attendre la Mort

black box warning attendre la mort

Listen to it on headphones and the kickdrum on Black Box Warning’s Attendre la Mort is downright painful. Next-level blown-out aggro pulsations. Brutal in a physical sense. The rest of the band doesn’t follow far behind in that regard. Riffs are viscous and violent in noise rock tradition, but denser in their tone despite some underlying punkishness, and the vocals are likewise distorted and abrasive. The five-song/23-minute EP’s title translates to “Waiting for Death,” and each of the tracks is a dose: Opener “5 mg” is followed by “4 mg,” “1 mg,” “2 mg” and “3 mg.” Unsurprisingly, pills are a theme, particularly on “4 mg,” and the sense of violent threat is clear in “2 mg” and 3 mg,” which boast lines like, “Watch them all scream/Watch your enemy bleeded,” and “You are the pig/I am the butcher,” respectively. Between the lyrical and the general aural cruelty, the dis-ease is consuming and unmitigated, sludge becoming a slow-motion grindcore, and that’s clearly the point. Not stabbing, but gouging.

Black Box Warning on Thee Facebooks

Black Box Warning on Bandcamp

 

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Destroyer of Light Sign to Argonauta Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Austin doomers Destroyer of Light will release their next full-length in 2019 through Argonauta Records. The four-piece outdid themselves with last year’s Chamber of Horrors (review here), and more than ever, it’s easy to look forward to whatever they have coming next. Their 2018 EP, Hopeless, is streaming at the bottom of this post and will be the impetus for a run to Bad Reputation Fest in Houston later this month. This Fall, they’ll also head out on a tour of the East Coast and Midwest, hitting Shadow Woods IV in Maryland and venerable rooms up, down and all around the Atlantic Seaboard and the middle of the country. Hardly their first run, and presumably the tour will allow them to finalize new material before they actually get down to the business of making their upcoming record.

Argonauta announces the signing thusly:

destroyer of light

DESTROYER OF LIGHT join ARGONAUTA Records

Stoked to announce that DESTROYER OF LIGHT (Austin, TX) are now part of ARGONAUTA Records!

Formed in 2012 from constantly boiling musical cauldron that is Austin, TX, Destroyer of Light has taken a straight forward approach to tempering the disparate and harmonious parts of their influences into a total sum of slow motion tidal heaviness that bows to no altar but that of the riff. With the smoky flavors of hazed out doom and the stomping cadence of rock’s heyday, the band both tickles and deafens the ears with the theatrical flashes of Mercyful Fate, the ominous tones of Electric Wizard, and the ferociously feral feedback of a Sleep dirge.

The band says: “We are excited to announce our collaboration with Argonauta Records for our next LP. As a band, we have continued to evolve and mature, while maintaining the core sound of what is Destroyer of Light. So, after finishing the writing process and doing pre-production on these new songs, it is rewarding to have a record label that feels enthusiasm for these songs just as much as we do.”

New album to be released in 2019, more details to follow soon.

Destroyer of Light – Dates 2018
July Dates
July 13th – San Marcos, TX @ The Morgue Bar
July 18th – Austin, TX @ The Lost Well
July 19th – San Antonio, TX @ The Mix
July 20th – Harlingen, TX @ The Hop Shop
July 21st – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall (Bad Reputation Fest)

Sept./Oct. Dates
9/1 – Denton, TX @ Dan’s Silver Leaf
9/2 – Oklahoma City, OK @ The Blue Note
9/3 – Wichita, KS @ The Elbow Room
9/4 – Lawrence, KS @ Replay Lounge
9/5 – Omaha, NE @ Lookout Lounge
9/6 – St. Paul, MN @ Caydence Records & Coffee
9/7 – Sioux Falls, SD @ Big’s Bar
9/8 – Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
9/9 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
9/10 – Chicago, IL @ Reggies
9/11 – Cleveland, OH @ 5 O’Clock Lounge
9/12 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
9/13 – Camp Hidden Valley, MD (Shadow Woods Music Fest)
9/16 – Brooklyn, NY @ Lucky 13 Saloon
9/17 – Allston, MA @ O’Briens Pub
9/18 – Buffalo, NY @ Sugar City
9/19 – Montreal, ON @ Piranha Bar
9/20 – Ottawa, ON @ Maverick’s Bar
9/21 – Toronto, ON @ Coalition
9/22 – Detroit, MI @ Sanctuary
9/23 – Lansing, MI @ Mac’s Bar
9/25 – Kalamazoo, MI @ Shakespeare’s Pub
9/26 – Canton, OH @ Buzzbin Art and Music Shop
9/27 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Howlers (Pre-Gala of Descendants of Crom)
9/28 – Columbus, OH @ Tree Bar
9/29 – Indianapolis, IN @ Black Circle Brewery
9/30 – Cincinnati, OH @ Junker’s Tavern
10/1 – Louisville, KY @ Highlands Tap Room
10/2 – Nashville, TN @ Springwater
10/3 – Birmingham, AL @ The Nick
10/4 – Memphis, TN @ Growler’s
10/5 – Little Rock, AR @ White Water Tavern
10/6 – Dallas, TX @ Ruins

Destroyer of Light is:
Steve Colca – Guitar, Vocals
Nick Coffman – Bass
Keegan Kjeldsen – Guitar, Synth
Penny Turner – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/destroyeroflight/
http://www.instagram.com/destroyeroflightofficial/
http://www.twitter.com/DoLAustinDoom
http://destroyeroflight.bandcamp.com/
www.argonautarecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
https://twitter.com/argonautarex
https://www.instagram.com/argonautarecords/

Destroyer of Light, Hopeless EP (2018)

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Destroyer of Light Announce Fall Tour Dates; Playing Shadow Woods Metal Fest & Descendants of Crom 2018

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

destroyer of light

No secret at this point that Destroyer of Light get around. The Texan doomers were out earlier this year on a West Coast run heralding the then-soon release of their latest EP, Hopeless (review pending), and come September they’ll be back on the road for a month-plus touring the Midwest and East Coast, making stops for a return appearance at Shadow Woods Metal Fest in the forests of Maryland, and hitting Pittsburgh for the Descendants of Crom 2018 pre-show. They’ll even get up into Canada for gigs in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. I’ve seen far less substantial lists of shows called “North American tours,” so fair enough.

Hopeless is out now on Heavy Friends Records as the follow-up to last year’s Chamber of Horrors (review here) long-player, which again, if you haven’t heard, you should hear. Like, get on it. Today would be good. Tomorrow works too.

Happy to host the announcement of this tour. Destroyer of Light are at this point a better band than people know — they also kill it live, which always helps — and hopefully they continue to turn heads their direction this time around.

From the PR wire:

destroyer of light new poster

Destroyer of Light – Fall Tour 2018

This will be the first East Coast tour in two years since the last Shadow Woods appearance with the exception of a few cities, it’ll be over a year. And to add this also be our first time hitting these cities since the releases of Chamber of Horrors (2017) and Hopeless (2018).

9/1 – Denton, TX @ Dan’s Silver Leaf
9/2 – Oklahoma City, OK @ The Blue Note
9/3 – Wichita, KS @ The Elbow Room
9/4 – Lawrence, KS @ Replay Lounge
9/5 – Omaha, NE @ Lookout Lounge
9/6 – St. Paul, MN @ Caydence Records & Coffee
9/7 – Sioux Falls, SD @ Big’s Bar
9/8 – Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
9/9 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
9/10 – Chicago, IL @ Reggies
9/11 – Cleveland, OH @ 5 O’Clock Lounge
9/12 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
9/13 – Camp Hidden Valley, MD for Shadow Woods Music Fest
9/16 – Brooklyn, NY @ Lucky 13 Saloon
9/17 – Allston, MA @ O’Brien’s Pub
9/18 – Buffalo, NY @ Sugar City
9/19 – Montreal, ON @ Piranha Bar
9/20 – Ottawa, ON @ Maverick’s Bar
9/21 – Toronto, ON @ Coalition
9/22 – Detroit, MI @ Sanctuary
9/23 – Lansing, MI @ Mac’s Bar
9/25 – Kalamazoo, MI @ Shakespeare’s Pub
9/26 – Canton, OH @ Buzzbin Art and Music Shop
9/27 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Howlers (Pre-Gala of Descendants of Crom)
9/28 – Columbus, OH @ Tree Bar
9/29 – Indianapolis, IN @ Black Circle Brewery
9/30 – Cincinnati, OH @ Junker’s Tavern
10/1 – Louisville, KY @ Highlands Tap Room
10/2 – Nashville, TN @ Springwater
10/3 – Birmingham, AL @ The Nick
10/4 – Memphis, TN @ Growler’s
10/5 – Little Rock, AR @ White Water Tavern

Destroyer of Light is:
Steve Colca – Guitar, Vocals
Nick Coffman – Bass
Keegan Kjeldsen – Guitar, Synth
Penny Turner – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/destroyeroflight/
http://www.instagram.com/destroyeroflightofficial/
http://www.twitter.com/DoLAustinDoom
http://destroyeroflight.bandcamp.com/

Destroyer of Light, Hopeless EP (2018)

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The Well Announce August European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

With reportedly more dates to come, Austin heavy rockers The Well have announced a European tour for this August presented by Heavy Psych Sounds. I haven’t heard anything about it, but I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised if they had a new album on the way either before or after this run, which as of now is set to start on Aug. 8 in Rome. Their last outing was 2016’s Pagan Science (review here) on RidingEasy Records, which was awesome and put them on the road in the US, and interestingly, in addition to the shows below, The Well have also been confirmed to take part in Keep it Low 2018 in Munich this October. I don’t necessarily imagine that the band will just be on tour in Europe for two months-plus in order to do it all in one trip, but in light of the whole “more to be announced” thing, I guess anything’s possible.

Heavy Psych Sounds sent word of the tour as follows:

the well photo Andy Ray Lemon

THE WELL – EUROPEAN SUMMER TOUR

Austin-based power trio The Well redefine heavy rock by merging massive riffs with sophisticated melodies. Their progressive sound stems from a nostalgic desire to blend different musical styles as diversified as Joy Division to Blue Cheer. The group blossomed when guitarist/vocalist Ian Graham was fired from his previous band. Determined to redirect his musical focus, Graham hooked up with bassist Lisa Alley and the two began picking out riffs in their east-side garage. Rounding out their sound, they stole drummer Jason Sullivan from Graham’s old band in a tale of vengeance and karma. His solid groove and reckless tribal beat gave the three-piece their ideal primal attack.

Due to their psychedelic doom edge, The Well reap comparisons to Black Sabbath, Sleep, Electric Wizard and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. As fans of cult horror films, they embrace the sinister, revel in dark themes and find inspiration in haunting echoes. The dual vocals of Graham and Alley evoke an ancient language that carries a mystic spell.

08.08.2018 IT Roma
09.08.2018 IT Parma
10.08.2018 AT Dornbiarch-Sauzipf Fest
13.08.2018 IT Brescia-Radio Onda D’Urto fest
15.08.2018 IT Alessandria-Cascina Bellaria
16.08.2018 DE Mannheim
17.08.2018 DE Nürnberg – Z Bau
18.08.2018 DE Münster – Rare Guitar
19.08.2018 CH Basel
20.08.2018 FR Chambery-Le BrinDu Zinc
21.08.2018 IT Mantova

with many more to be announced soon!

THE WELL ARE
Ian Graham – Guitars / Vocals
Lisa Alley – Bass / Vocals
Jason Sullivan – Drums

http://www.facebook.com/thewellband
http://thewellaustin.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ridingeasyrecords/
http://www.ridingeasyrecs.com/
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

The Well, Pagan Science (2016)

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Duel, Live at the Electric Church

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

duel live at the electric church

[Click play above to stream Duel’s Live at the Electric Church in full. Album is out May 18 on Heavy Psych Sounds.]

On Cesar Chavez St. in Austin, Texas, far enough from the 6th St. epicenter of the hype machine known as SXSW, the weirdos seem to have made a haven called The Electric Church. On a given night, one might see an open mic/psych jam played out while video games are projected on the wall outside — they call it “Triptendo,” and rightly so — or local acts like Greenbeard, Amplified Heat or Peyote Coyote. I don’t know when Duel recorded Live at the Electric Church there, and I kind of like that. I’m sure somewhere on the CD or LP package there’s the date (digital promo) or I’m sure if you asked the band when they played that particular set, they wouldn’t keep it a secret, but I kind of like the thought of not knowing. If you’ve never been to Austin, it has traditionally been an enclave in Texas for artists, musicians, hippies and others who don’t fit the norm.

It’s cool to think that one might head up to a kind of off-the-path locale on the other side of the highway and find creativity flourishing in all its constantly misunderstood glory. Maybe Duel are on stage. The four-piece outfit have made themselves ambassadors of classic stoner rock, delivering the goods with ’70s flair, modern fuzz, and abundant hooks as they bounce and careen through deceptively memorable tracks. They’ve got two full-lengths out via Heavy Psych Sounds in 2016’s Fears of the Dead (review here) and 2017’s Witchbanger (review here), and with Live at the Electric Church, they show off the energy and the clear delivery that typifies the approach they’ve developed on tours of the US and Europe.

The set is a little over half an hour long and is comprised of six songs, four of which come from Fears of the Dead, with only “The Snake Queen” and the subsequent “Heart of the Sun” taken from Witchbanger. Likely that has more to do with the timing of when the show was taped than some aesthetic consideration or a preference for the band for their debut over their sophomore outing. That is, Witchbanger probably just hadn’t been out all that long when they played that gig, or the four/two split might just as easily be reversed. As it is, “The Snake Queen” and “Heart of the Sun” make up the middle third of the set, with the brash “This Old Crow” and the righteous hook of “Electricity” before and the Fears of the Dead title-track and longer closer “Locked Outside” after.

duel

Throughout, on new material and old, Duel‘s lineup of guitarist/vocalist Tom Frank, guitarist Jeff Henson, bassist/vocalist Shaun Avants and drummer JD Shadowz leave no question as to why they’d want to release this particular evening’s set as they not only sound dynamic in terms of speeding up or slowing down songs, but also in bringing different vibes through in their material, such as the transition from “Electricity” to the largely more subdued “Snake Queen,” which forsakes the all-go-all-destroy live ethic of some bands — nothing against it, especially for a shorter set — in favor of something richer on the whole. Captured by Crow Studios on a mobile recording unit, Live at the Electric Church is crisp and sharp sounding, but doesn’t lose its live edge in order to preserve its underlying melody or the aforementioned dynamic of approach. As with Duel on the whole, it finds a balance that works.

And if on this particular night they happened to play more cuts from the first album, so be it. I don’t think I’d trade the slow-roll-into-reignition of “Fears of the Dead” for much anyway. That song and the 8:49 “Locked Outside” are the longest two on Live at the Electric Church, and as on Fears of the Dead, much of the second half of the closer is given to a last instrumental push that after the shared vocals of Frank and Avants in the trippy midsection takes hold fluidly and moves with natural ease toward the eventual grand crescendo of the set as a whole. From the quick and straightforward bruiser “This Old Crow” at the start, it’s a pretty wide-ranging journey toward “Locked Outside,” but as Duel shuffle and boogie their way through, they leave a trail of hooks behind for the audience to follow, and from the whoops and shouts between the songs, it sounds like they succeeded in that.

I haven’t had the pleasure of watching Duel live and I’m quite sure that if I had I’d be speaking about Live at the Electric Church in a different way, but part of the purpose of live albums in the first place isn’t just to give ans something else to latch onto between studio releases, but to give those who haven’t seen the band yet a teaser of what they’ve been missing. As someone in the latter category, I can only say Live at the Electric Church succeeds there as well, showcasing both the songwriting prowess and the vitality of the band while holding to the brazen feel that the songs demand. Everything works. Band, songs, performance. If you’ve got experience with Duel‘s prior work or you want a 32-minute sampler of what they can do, Live at the Electric Church serves to inform and thrill in kind.

Duel on Thee Facebooks

Duel on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

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Destroyer of Light Announce Hopeless EP; New Track Posted; Touring West Coast

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

destroyer of light

Last year, Texas four-piece Destroyer of Light hit a new level of misery entirely with their third long-player, Chamber of Horrors (review here). Seriously. Did you hear it? Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of doom out there these days, and a fair amount of it comes from the Lone Star state, but fucking hell, you want to talk about a band outdoing themselves, that’s exactly what happened with that record. All these guys have done is tour and kick ass. They’re like specialists.

Destroyer of Light have a new track posted now called “Nyx” that comes from their upcoming EP, Hopeless, which is out May 11 on their affiliated imprint, Heavy Friends Records. It’s nine minutes long, and the video’s cool, but if you have to put it on and switch to another tab or something because your life is just that busy — and hey, it may well be; if so, thanks for taking the time to check in — the important thing obviously is that you listen to the song, which once again is dead-on in its crawl and atmosphere. I swear this band would be bigger if their name didn’t make you think they were grindcore.

They’re not, by the way. Not grindcore.

To the PR wire:

destroyer of light hopeless

DESTROYER OF LIGHT: Texan Harbingers of Doom Return with Hopeless EP | West Coast Tour Kicks Off Next Month

Hopeless EP by Destroyer of Light is released on 11th May 2018 on Heavy Friends Records

From deep within the belly of the beast, Texan harbingers of doom Destroyer of Light rise in 2018 with the release of a brand-new EP and string of West Coast tour dates throughout North America.

Hopeless EP is the latest in the Austin-based quartet’s devastating canon and will get an official release on 11th May through Heavy Friends Records. Containing two, practically feature-length tracks which set out to fill the silence between the praise of last year’s Chamber of Horrors and the promise of their follow up full-length next year, the EP charts an ominous course into the heart of darkness which deals directly with depression, suicide and drug addiction. Reworking the grim theatricality and crushing, heavy metal dirges of their earlier recordings, death and destruction is very much the order of service but with a new and somewhat progressively charged life-force.

“With Hopeless, I wanted to focus more on my clean singing, and our song writing has become more melodic while still maintaining the heavy riffs,” explains guitarist/vocalist Steve Colca. “We don’t limit ourselves to what we write, and the direction you’ll hear on this EP is a taste of what’s to come in the future.”

Unmistakably influenced by the likes of Electric Wizard, Mercyful Fate, EYEHATEGOD, Sleep and Autopsy, along with countless literary and horror anthologies, this new EP signals a massive shift in potential and a development that will see the band step out of cavernous, dank basements and into psychedelic realms hitherto unknown. What’s more, on their way to that strange place, over the coming months the band takes to the road for an extensive West Coast tour (see tour info below) in support of Hopeless, which will be released on 11th May 2018 on Heavy Friends Records.

TOUR DATES:
20th April – El Paso, TX – Neon Rose
21st April – Albuquerque, NM – Sister Bar
22nd April – Denver, CO – Streets of London
23rd April – Boise, ID – High Note Cafe
24th April – Richland, WA – Emerald
25th April – Tacoma, WA – The Valley
26th April – Portland, OR – High Water Mark
27th April – Sacramento, CA – The Blue Lamp
28th April – San Francisco, CA – Thee Parkside
29th April – Pacifica, CA – Winter’s Tavern East
30th April – Los Angeles, CA – Five Star Bar
1st May – San Diego, CA – Til Two Club
2nd May – Tempe, AZ – Yucca Tap Room
3rd May – El Paso, TX – Rockin’ Cigar Bar
4th May – Odessa, TX – The Gabby Doo Saloon
5th May – San Antonio, TX – Faust Tavern
DESTROYER OF LIGHT:

Steve Colca – Guitar, Vocals
Nick Coffman – Bass
Keegan Kjeldsen – Guitar, Synth
Penny Turner – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/destroyeroflight/
http://www.instagram.com/destroyeroflightofficial/
http://www.twitter.com/DoLAustinDoom
http://destroyeroflight.bandcamp.com/

Destroyer of Light, “Nyx” official video

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Monte Luna Announce April/May Tour Dates; Vinyl Due in June

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Preorders are up now for the double-vinyl edition of Monte Luna‘s 2017 self-titled debut (review here), which will be out at the end of June via Argonauta Records. The longform-working purveyors of sonic tectonics are set to hit the road before release day arrives however, and they’ll head out from their home base in Texas and mae their way up the East Coast and deep into Upstate New York — Ithaca, Rochester and Buffalo is a lot of ground to cover — before heading back to the Midwest to cap the run with gig at Black Circle Brewing in Indianapolis. Busy Spring, but cool to see these guys taking their riffs out to public ears. Something about their self-titled tells me it would be absolutely pummeling live.

Must be all that pummeling. Ha.

From the PR wire:

monte luna

MONTE LUNA – “Monte Luna” release date and U.S. tour

Austin Texas two-piece MONTE LUNA announce tour dates and vinyl release date of their highly acclaimed originally self produced album. It weaves the epic 72 minute concept album tale of a band of warriors trying to defeat Father Arbitor, a Necromancer who has destroyed their home.

Monte Luna “Monte Luna” will be re-released worldwide by ARGONAUTA Records and available from June 29th 2018 as a limited double vinyl, lilac opaque edition.

Mastered by Chris Fielding (CONAN), art by Eriko of MontDoom illustrations.

Preorders run now: http://bit.ly/2ERpZa1

MONTE LUNA US TOUR 2018:
Austin TX 4/6 – Worshiper Cabinet Showcase (At the Worshiper Shop)
San Antonio TX – 4/20 Limelight
Austin TX – 4/21 The Lost Well
Houston TX – 5/3 -Rudyards
Lafayette LA 5/4 -Freetown Boom Boom Room
Matiaire LA- 5/5 – Babylon
Birmingham AL 5/6 – The Nick Rocks
Athens GA 5/7 – Caledonia Lounge
Raleigh NC 5/8 – Slims
Richmond VA 5/9 – Wonderland
Baltimore MD – 5/10 – The Depot
Philadelphia PA 5/11 – Century
Danbury CT 5/12 – Billy Beans
Boston MA 5/13 – O’Briens
Ithaca NY 5/14 – Ithaca Ungerground
Rochester NY 5/15 – Rosen Krown
Buffalo NY 5/16 – Sugar City
Pittsburgh PA 5/17 – Gooski’s
Lafayette IN 5/18 – Jerilee’s Pub
Indianapolis IN 5/19 – Black Circle Brewing

Monte Luna is:
James Clark – Guitar, Vocals, Bass
Phil Hook – Drums, Noise, Groove

http://www.facebook.com/MonteLuna666/
https://monteluna666.bandcamp.com/
www.argonautarecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
https://twitter.com/argonautarex
https://www.instagram.com/argonautarecords/

Monte Luna, Monte Luna (2017)

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From Beyond Premiere “The Fall to Earth” from The Band From Beyond

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

from beyond

Safe to say that the debut full-length from Austin, Texas, heavy rockers From Beyond has been a while in the making. Six years at least. The four-piece, who signed to Candlelight/Spinefarm last summer with word of getting the album out in the Fall, have set an April 20 release for what’s been dubbed The Band From Beyond with a clever sense of deceptiveness in that they are both actually called From Beyond and throughout the album they show an affinity for classic horror and sci-fi, and so the title works on that level as well, like some grainy black and white horror flick you end up watching in the middle of the night on a tube television during your formative years after everyone else has gone to bed, forever warping your young mind and REM patterns as you fall asleep on the couch with the flashing lights and screams peppering their way into your subconscious.

By the way, any band that starts calling out Coffin Joe titles — see “At Midnght” — is cool by me.

All told, The Band From Beyond teems with vibrancy at a vinyl-ready 42-minutes and 14 tracks, and while the band has put an obvious focus on getting the most out of individual songs — there are times where the record reads like a choose-your-adventure book as it moves from track to track, especially early on through direct-standout cuts like “The Fall to Earth,” “Blooming Sun” and “The Slip.” But intro pieces like “11:59,” which precedes the particularly Uncle Acidic (though one also gets shades of fellow Texans From Beyond The Band From BeyondVenomous Maximus) “At Midnight,” the opening “Invocation” that leads into “The Fall to Earth,” the acoustic “White Marble” ahead of the pre-outro finale “Black Mirror” — as well, of course, as the JohnCarpenter-horror-cinema synth that follows and rounds out on “Synthetic Skin Pt. 1,” mirroring the earlier “The Color into Space,” which complements and flows into “The Color out of Space, — and so on, serve a critical function in not only tying together with whichever cut they happen to lead into or out of, but also adding complexity to the some more straightforward arrangements from Rob (guitar, vocals, synth), Dave (guitar), Brooks (bass, vocals, synth) and Anthony (drums, vocals) and giving The Band From Beyond a more resonant full-album flow.

As the record careens through the Queens of the Stone Age-plus-synth-style “The Slip” or the later “Machine Gun,” which adds gang shouts to the mix, From Beyond‘s intentions toward sonic individualism become all the more palpable, and though they again seem to reference Uncle Acid on “Blooming Sun” (the repeated lyric “I’ll cut you down” arrives amid further QOTSA elements), taken in context of the larger riffing of “The Color out of Space,” the Nine Inch Nails-with-better-melody-style brooding early on “Lost Way” that leads to a largesse of chug and synth drama that foreshadows some of the the lumbering roll and Alice in Chainsian low-in-the-mouth vocals of “Black Mirror” later on, the album is varied through straightforward hooks like that of the desert rocking “Laura Palmer” but no less memorable or based around quality songcraft in “The Slip” or “The Fall to Earth,” which culls together various impulses between grunge, heavy rock and progressive doom in order to make the first of The Band From Beyond‘s crater-worthy impacts.

Though arrangements prove complex and diverse throughout as From Beyond work in a range of moods, styles and tempos, ultimately their debut album holds itself together with a surprising fluidity considering the amount of ground actually being covered. It’s hard to get a full sense of that in one track, whether it’s the melancholy heft that emerges in “Lost Way” or the pure thrust of “Machine Gun” or the flourish that the interludes bring to the surrounding material. I’m thrilled today to be able to host the premiere of “The Fall to Earth” ahead of the album’s release in April, and you’ll find the track below, followed by a quote from the band and more info from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

From Beyond on “The Fall to Earth”:

I wrote “The Fall to Earth” on keys, with what was originally just the progression, and then the melody. I loved the way it felt to play, but when I plugged it into my Juno-106, it turned into something more than I could have expected. I wanted this song to be heavier than gravity. I think we achieved that in spades.

From Beyond are otherworldly and ominous. The music on their Candlelight debut lives up to the implications of the Texas band’s moniker. Sonically, the quartet-Rob [guitars, vocals, synthesizers], Dave [guitar, effects], Brooks [bass, synthesizers, vocals], and Anthony [drums, vocals]-gracefully resemble an orchestra of Kyuss, Soundgarden, and Rush, as if they were conducted by John Carpenter.

The band will release its full-length debut The Band From Beyond on April 20 via Candlelight Records.

On their debut, From Beyond wanted to do something that was steeped in psychedelic horror. They did so by fusing movie elements from the late ’60s and early ’70s. “Films like Simon King of the Witches, Psychomania, and the work of Coffin Joe come to mind. At the same time, I love the scores for Escape from New York and Halloween. I got really into that sparse and minimal approach to synthesis. I wanted to bring those elements to music inspired by Queens of the Stone Age, Sleep, and the writing of H.P. Lovecraft,” frontman Rob McCarthy explains.

In order to capture that combination, the band hunkered down in an Austin, Texas studio with The Sword bassist Bryan Richie in the producer’s chair. Over the course of seven days, they tracked the 14 songs comprising The Band From Beyond, utilizing everything from guitars to vintage analog synths and mellotron.

THE BAND FROM BEYOND TRACK LISTING:
1. Invocation
2. The Fall to Earth
3. Blooming Sun
4. The Slip
5. Lost Way
6. The Color Into Space
7. The Color Out of Space
8. 11:59
9. At Midnight
10. Laura
11. Machine Gun
12. White Marble
13. Black Mirror
14. Synthetic Skin Pt. 1

The Band From Beyond preorders

From Beyond on Thee Faceboks

From Beyond on Bandcamp

Spinefarm Records on The Facebooks

Spinefarm Records on Twitter

Spinefarm Records website

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