Alms to Release Act One Later This Year on Shadow Kingdom

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 1st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

alms

With a logo made for vest patches and an organ-laced classic doom rollout, Baltimore’s Alms bring a a modern take to the established tenets of Maryland doom. After impressing with their first demo (review here) in 2017, the band not only bring those two tracks — “Dead Water” and the garage-doom-stomping “The Offering” — to the new record, but four others as well, to the new outing, which has been given a release date of “later this year.” I don’t want to start throwing darts, but maybe September? I don’t know. Their sound would suit autumn well. I know that much.

Whenever it shows up, Act One will bring with it a new edge to Maryland’s long-running arc of doom. Could it be that the sound is branching out from its ultra-straightforward riff-led methodology? I wouldn’t guess the trajectory of an entire region’s output, but Alms make an encouraging case either way.

From the PR wire:

alms act one

ALMS reveal first track from forthcoming SHADOW KINGDOM debut

Shadow Kingdom Records reveals the first track from Alms’ highly anticipated debut album, Act One. Titled “Dead Water,” you can hear the track HERE. Shadow Kingdom will be releasing Alms’ Act One on CD, vinyl LP, and cassette tape formats later this year.

Hailing from Baltimore, Alms honors Maryland’s rich heritage of doom metal with a swaggering, soulful sound that unselfconsciously spans decades and idioms. They made their first, grand steps with a two-song demo released at the beginning of 2017. Having already made waves in their local scene, this demo would soon spread like wildfire amongst doom fanatics, and soon the Alms name was on many a tongue. But alas, with the full-length Act One, that name will be on tongues worldwide.

Stomping forward across six BIG songs in a judiciously concise 34 minutes, Alms quickly establish a mood of both merriment and portent. Theirs is a sound which culls the bluesy ruminations of classic Deep Purple, the wild excursions of equally classic Uriah Heep, and the dark thunder of Maryland forebears The Obsessed. And yet, that aforementioned soul and swagger soon take center stage, both allowing the doom chunder to loosely lumber whilst putting a particularly pleading-for-deliverance aspect upon proceedings. It’s that eternal fire of the greatest rock music, especially in that pre-metal era of the 1970s, where fire and brimstone often coursed through rock ‘n’ roll, but near-equally pays homage to the heavy developments at the turn of the ’80s. But all of this would be for naught if Alms didn’t have the songs to back it up, and indeed does Act One have SONGS.

Head to the void or to the pub, or both: Alms will take you there (and back) with Act One! Hear for yourself with the new track “Dead Water” HERE at Shadow Kingdom’s Bandcamp. Release date and preorder info to be announced shortly. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Alms’ Act One
1. Dead Water
2. The Toll
3. For Shame
4. The Offering
5. Deuces Low
6. Hollowed

Alms is:
Andrew Harris: Bass
Bob Sweeney: Guitar, Vocals
Derrick Hans: Drums
Jess Kamen: Keyboard, Vocals
Danny McDonald: Guitar

https://www.facebook.com/almsbaltimore/
https://almsbaltimore.bandcamp.com/releases
http://www.shadowkingdomrecords.com
http://www.facebook.com/shadowkingdomrecords

Alms, Act One (2018)

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Thought Eater Premiere “Bones in the Fire Pt. 1”; Album out May 18 on Grimoire Records

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on April 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

thought eater

One has to wonder if when Baltimore’s Thought Eater chose their moniker they imagined they’d ever write material so evocative as that on their debut album, Bones in the Fire. Set for digital issue on May 18 via respected purveyor Grimoire Records, the new release runs an instrumentalist gamut from modern progressive metal to folk-tinged classic Zeppelinist whathaveyou, and with six tracks and a 40-minute playthrough, songs like “Speak Through Dreams,” “Covenant” and the two-part title-track — the first piece of which opens the record, the second is penultimate to closer “Umwelt” — there’s plenty of room for both sonic exploration and a current of noise rock to show themselves amid the central weavings of guitar and bass, reminiscent in their winding course of Leviathan-era and given added crunch of underlying aggression that staves off proggy self-indulgence entirely.

That’s not to say Bones in the Fire isn’t a progressive work. It’s just not a dick about it. The synth on “Umwelt” holds court in underscoring how far the three-piece of guitarist Douglas Griffith, 12-string bassist Darin Tambascio and drummer Bobby Murray have journeyed from “Bones in the Fire Pt. 1” and the blasting at the start of “Pantomimic Dances,” which follows, but there’s nothing overly showy about Thought Eater‘s presentation. They’re writing songs, not putting on a clinic.

And I think the difference is audible even just in the sampling you can find at the bottom of this post of the album’s wares in the form of the track premiere of “Bones in the Fire Pt. 1.” It doesn’t speak for the whole of the record stylistically, but it certainly gives a sense of the Noel Mueller-recorded impact that Thought Eater make in terms of tone and rhythmic intensity.

One more time, release date is May 18. Here’s info off the PR wire and that track premiere for your streaming enjoyment:

thought eater bones in the fire

I’m glad to report that we’ve finished work on Thought Eater’s first proper full-length album, titled “Bones in the Fire.” This is the follow up to their first release, a split with Iron Jawed Guru called Vortex 6.

A brand new three-piece instrumental band from Baltimore, MD, featuring a 12-string bass through a big muff. This monstrosity is a standard bass with three of everything, producing a bizarre double-vision effect on every note. Uniquely hypnotic riffs reminiscent of High On Fire and Mastodon along with Black Sabbath-esque tempo changes are woven into angular, odd-time compositions. Prior to forming Though Eater, bassist Darin Tambascio was a founding member of the prog metal two-piece National Sunday Law and Graviton, which featured both members of NSL and Sacha Dunable from Intronaut.”

The crazy sounding 12 string bass is actually more prominent than ever, as is a more significant sprinkling of shimmery 12 string acoustic guitar, and occasional synths for added texture. However, on this album, you will find more a sprawling, almost meditative atmosphere, more proggy riffs, more weird harmonies, just.. more everything. They still sound like High on Fire, early Mastodon, and Zebulon Pike, but have managed to grow a couple of mutant appendages to their sound.

Here’s the pre-order page: https://grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com/album/bones-in-the-fire

“Bones in the Fire” is released on 5/18/18 world wide as a digital download via Grimoire Records. Will be available on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon mp3, and direct download through Bandcamp. No physical release for this one!

Thought Eater is Darin Tambascio (12 string bass), Douglas Griffith (guitar), and Bobby Murray (drums). “Bones in the Fire” was recorded by Noel Mueller in November of 2017 and January of 2018. Mixed and Mastered by Noel Mueller. Artwork by Andrew Notsch. © 2018 Grimoire Records.

https://www.facebook.com/thoughteaterband
https://grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com/album/bones-in-the-fire

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Quarterly Review: Avon, The Discussion, Alms, Vessel of Light, Enojado, Mother Mars, Southfork, Gypsy Sun Revival, Valhalla Lights, L.O.W.

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

Quarterly-Review-Spring-2018

This is the part of each Quarterly Review when I begin to question my life choices. Otherwise known as ‘the beginning.’ I still haven’t decided if this is going to be a five-dayer or a six-dayer, but one way or another, between now and whenever it ends, at least 50 records will be reviewed in batches of 10 per day. It’s completely insane. Completely. Every three months or so I remind myself of this by doing it again, and every time it ends up being worth the insanity. I’ve no doubt that will be the case here as well, but looking across the next five days at placeholders where reviews need to be, well, yeah. It’s pretty insane.

So let’s go.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Avon, Dave’s Dungeon

avon daves dungeon

Dave’s Dungeon is the second full-length from Californian desert rockers Avon, and with it they make their debut on Heavy Psych Sounds. Peppered with varied songwriting across alternately garage rocking cuts like “Yello,” “On Fire” and “Red Barn” (video premiere here), languid psychedelic excursions in “Space Native” and the subtly proggy “Hero with a Gun,” and the classic desert crunch of “Dungeon Dave,” “Mace Face” and “Terraformations,” the three-piece of vocalist/guitarist James Childs, bassist Charles Pasarell (also Waxy) and drummer Alfredo Hernández (ex-Kyuss, Yawning Man, etc.) have no doubt garnered attention due to the participation of the latter, but all three manage to leave their mark across the 10 tracks, particularly Childs. His English-accented vocals become a defining element in “Hero with a Gun” and “Yello,” and whether fast or slow, the rhythm section offers air-tight accompaniment. Straightforward in their approach but not without some flourish, Avon bring their own touch to the classic desert style and offer memorable songs in the process. Nobody loses.

Avon on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

The Discussion, European Tour EP

The Discussion European Tour Ep 2017

Issued to coincide with an initial string of Fall 2017 European shows, the aptly-titled Tour EP serves as the debut offering from The Discussion, and its five tracks mark the return of guitarist/vocalist Laura Pleasants, not heard from since the end of her prior outfit, Kylesa. With “A Gesture/Other Side,” Pleasants and company commune with post-rock and atmospheric stretch, where “Like Rain” and “Surf Jesus” channel New Wave and Blondie pop with an underlying heft of low end to add presence. Through it all, Pleasants’ vocals prove a patient and melodic element, and as “Before We’re Gone” brings in a moody krautrock sensibility and finale “Cuts Like a Knife” engages louder and more forward riffing in its final minute payoff, the message that The Discussion has only begun comes through loud and clear. Tour EP sounds like the beginning stages of a larger process of experimentation and creative growth, and one hopes it proves to be precisely that.

The Discussion on Thee Facebooks

The Discussion on Bandcamp

 

Alms, Demo Vol. 1

alms demo vol 1

Modern heavy rock groove meets classic metal guitar on AlmsDemo Vol. 1, which, as it turns out, is more of a sampler than an actual demo, comprised as it is of two rough mixes from the band’s forthcoming debut album. The result of this mesh on “The Offering” and “Dead Water” is somewhere between Uncle Acid swing and Iron Maiden twin lead work, and the five-piece do well immediately to own the combination and make it cohesive sonically. Traditional doom play more of a role in “Dead Water,” and the keys of vocalist Jess Kamen – joined by guitarist/vocalist Bob Sweeney, guitarist Danny McDonald, bassist Andrew Harris and drummer Derrick Hans – and while I don’t know what label it is that’s going to pick them up (I’d believe anyone from Ripple to Shadow Kingdom to Season of Mist, depending on how much they want to tour), but if these two songs are anything to go by, they’ll be lucky to get them.

Alms on Thee Facebooks

Alms on Bandcamp

 

Vessel of Light, Vessel of Light

vessel of light vessel of light

Collaborating between Ohio and New Jersey, Vessel of Light brings together vocalist Nathan Opposition of Ancient VVisdom and guitarist Dan Lorenzo of Hades. Their self-titled five-tracker EP (on Argonauta) melds bluesy metallic riffing with tales of murder and drugs on cuts like “Dead Flesh and Bones” (video premiere here) and its eponymous closer, which emphasizes a hook based around the lines, “LSD has got a hold on me/I wanna show you all the things that I’ve seen.” It goes like that. For Lorenzo, parts recall the groove he brought to short-lived heavy rock outfit The Cursed, but with Opposition’s lyrics and the periodic delving into harsher vocals, there’s a moodier and more aggressive edge to the songs that helps define the personality of the duo as a band. How often they’ll work together remains to be seen, they make a murderous introduction with this EP and there’s plenty of fodder here for further exploration should they get there.

Vessel of Light on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

Enojado, Mist and Thunder

enojado mist and thunder

German trio Enojado was founded by guitarist/vocalist Stephan Kieserling circa 2002, and though he’s been through numerous lineups since, with bassist/vocalist Thomas Schnaube and drummer Till Junker, he’s put together the band’s first release since their 2014 The Chain is Loose LP was issued by Setalight. At under half an hour and six tracks plus an intro, late 2017’s Mist and Thunder offers solid heavy rock songwriting with a straightforward approach bordering on the metallic in its tone but never quite departing a heavy rock context in rhythm, even in the starts and stops of “Notorious.” The obvious standout in heft is the seven-minute “Coma,” which seems to add weight to everything around it, from “The Truth About Gold” earlier to “I Saw the Sun,” which follows, and the finale in “Queen of Heaven,” which brings a quick payoff to the release and leaves a residual echo and drone/guitar minimalism for its last two minutes. Less derivative than it at first seems, Mist and Thunder might take multiple rounds to sink in, but proves worth the effort of a dedicated listen.

Enojado on Thee Facebooks

Enojado on Bandcamp

 

Mother Mars, On Lunar Highlands

mother mars on lunar highlands

It’s kind of rare for a band to sound like they’re making fun of their own music as they play it, and yet, “Lost Planet Airmen” from Mother Mars’ fourth full-length, On Lunar Highlands, does precisely that. The Aussie trio led by multi-instrumentalists Frank (drums, synth, Clavinet) and Paul (guitar, bass, synth, banjo-mandolin, keys) Attard – who also produced together – and featuring the bluesy stylings of vocalist Dave Schembri, did not make the 11-tracker a minor undertaking. Rather, at 69 minutes, it pushes through stoner boogie on “Thought it Best to Cut You Loose” and still has room for heady jams on extended pieces like “The Stalwarts of Stalwart Castle” (9:31), “Woodhollow Green” (12:55) and the penultimate title-track (8:35), which leads to the far-out banjo shenanigans of closer “The Heavy Hand of the Destroyer.” Needless to say, madness ensues. Interludes like “Bean Stalkin’” and “Bean Stalkin’ Again” and the experimental “The Working Mind of the Creator” add anything-can-happen flair, and the weirder On Lunar Highlands gets, the more it satisfies. It gets very, very weird.

Mother Mars on Thee Facebooks

Mother Mars on Bandcamp

 

Southfork, Through a Dark Lens

southfork through a dark lens
Two decades after their founding in 1997, Stockholm’s Southfork returned late last year with their first album since 2001’s Straight Ahead, the seven-track Through a Dark Lens, which itself is nearly five years in the making. Opening with its longest cut (immediate points) in the 7:59 “Already Gone,” the bass-heavy approach the band takes is indeed emblematic of an era now easily thought of as classic, but one could hardly call it dated for that. Rather, tracks like “Into the Deep” and “Tomb of the Mirror Men” flow easily from one to the next and the record reveals in the strut of “Seventosix” and the answer-back closer “Nowhere Gone” just why someone might put almost half a decade of effort into realizing it. Whether you remember Southfork’s original run or not, Through a Dark Lens offers immersive tone and songwriting and as Southfork have already followed it up with what seems to be a compilation release, it may signal a return to fuller activity on their part.

Southfork on Thee Facebooks

Southfork on Bandcamp

 

Gypsy Sun Revival, Journey Outside of Time

Gypsy Sun Revival Journey Outside Of Time

Production by Kent Stump (Wo Fat). Mastering by John McBain (ex-Monster Magnet). Released through Nasoni Records. Sure enough, the second album from Texas heavy psych rockers Gypsy Sun Revival, Journey Outside of Time, wants nothing for the quality of its associations and with the Hendrixian guitar work of Will Weise and the bluesy classic frontman approach of vocalist Mario Rodriguez, they earn that pedigree through and through. Tyler Gene Davis’ contributions on organ only further the ‘70s vibes on “To the Sky” before Weise takes a wah-soaked solo backed by Lee Ryan on bass and drummer Ben H., and the later two-part “Pisces” combines with closer “Departure” to create a thrilling jammed-out side B that takes the more structured craft of “Indigo” and catchy opener “Cadillac to Mexico” earlier and pulls them through an interdimensional haze that only does more to evoke the album’s title. Between Journey Outside of Time and Gypsy Sun Revival’s 2016 self-titled debut (review here), one is left wondering how long we’ll be able to think of them as a well-kept secret of Texas’ fertile heavy underground.

Gypsy Sun Revival on Thee Facebooks

Nasoni Records website

 

Valhalla Lights, My Gracious Highway

valhalla lights my gracious highway

There’s a commercial sense of clarity to Valhalla LightsMy Gracious Highway, which seems to have been originally issued by the band in 2016 but is being given a renewed international push. It’s a crisp 13-track/45-minute long-player, marked by solid songcraft and the forward performance of vocalist Ange Saul, who takes the place of departed original singer Phoebe Black, who passed away in 2015 just prior to guitarist George Christie, bassist Brent “Badger” Crysell and drummer Deon Driver – all formerly of heavy rockers FORT – entered the studio to record their debut release. Songs veer toward Queens of the Stone Age-style groove on “Hammer the Witch” and closer “Punk,” and there’s enough variety of mood between the brooding “Beautiful,” showcase centerpiece “The One” and “Darker Side of Love” and the all-go rockers “Rise Above,” “Crucify” and “Someday” to carry the listener through smoothly with an abiding sense of professionalism. Will be too clean for some listeners, but is largely inarguable in its execution.

Valhalla Lights on Thee Facebooks

Valhalla Lights website

 

L.O.W., Bones EP

low bones ep

Located in the northwest of Poland, the acronymic four-piece L.o.W. debut with the Bones EP, which hurls forth three extended works of extreme sludge led into by an atmospheric intro. The band – the lineup of vocalist Adam, guitarist Marek, drummer Witold and bassist Micha? belong to the post-Primitive Man sphere of viciousness, but “Tear Me Open” offers some respite in its closing moments, pulling back on the massive plunder and switching from guttural growls to spoken vocals. With just a touch of Electric Wizard swirl, “Almost Like God’s,” renews the onslaught, offering a break in its middle from the Eyehategod-style sway while saving its most brutal growl for last, and at just under 10 minutes long, the title-track rounds out Bones with bass and drums unfolding a progression soon topped by guitar noise that lets the listener know they’ve just entered another level of punishment. There are moments of impulse toward stonerism that show themselves in Marek’s guitar work, but the primary mission on Bones seems to be assault, and the band has no problem living up to that intent.

L.o.W. on Bandcamp

L.o.W. on Thee Facebooks

 

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Days of Darkness II Announces Lineup for Oct. in Baltimore

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

So I guess playing Psycho Las Vegas worked out for Blue Öyster Cult, huh? As Days of Darkness II, the return autumnal installment from the crew behind the venerable Maryland Deathfest, unfurls its lineup for this October, we see the classic heavy rockers in the top spot — which, hey, is fair enough. A few surprises under them, however. One is thrilled to see logos for BangEarthEarthride and Alcest, but even more fascinating is the inclusion of groups like Front Line Assembly and Die Krupps, and I can’t help but wonder if another one of the headliners still to be announced — because presumably Blue Öyster Cult will close one of the two nights and someone else TBA will close the other — will fit a similar industrial mold, and if that’s one of hte ways in which Days of Darkness will look to expand its identity and stave off the year-after-year redundancies that fests can fall into if they’re not careful.

I know nothing, of course. I’ve never been in touch with the MDF crew, so have zero inside track whatsoever. Just speculating and musing, is all. Just intrigued.

The fest posted the following on social media:

days of darkness ii poster

12 more bands have been confirmed for Days of Darkness II, set to take place on October 27 and 28 at Rams Head Live and Baltimore Soundstage.

Earth
Front Line Assembly
Die Krupps
Controlled Bleeding
Earth Electric
Bang
Lazerpunk
Child Bite
Crazy Bull
Rougemarine
Electropathic
Crud

A third and final round of bands will be announced in the coming weeks! Once again, expect approximately 2 times more bands than last year. Early bird passes sold out a few weeks ago, but all ticket options will go on sale soon. We’ll keep you posted on an exact date and time.

Here is the full list of confirmed bands (in alphabetical order):

Acid Witch
Alcest
Anna von Hausswolff
Bang
Blue Öyster Cult
Child Bite
Controlled Bleeding
Crazy Bull
Crud
Die Krupps
Earth
Earth Electric
Earthride
Electropathic
Front Line Assembly
Lazerpunk
Rome
Rougemarine
Satan’s Satyrs

https://www.facebook.com/daysofdarknessfestival/
https://www.facebook.com/events/146652199417747/
https://www.facebook.com/MarylandDeathfest/

Neurosis, Live at Days of Darkness 2017

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Foghound Set Summer Release for Awaken to Destroy

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Awaken to Destroy is the name of the new Foghound album, and I don’t think there’s anyone who could argue it’s not arriving at a pivotal moment for the band. Their 2016 sophomore full-length, The World Unseen (review here) — also their debut on Ripple Music — was a big step in a more aggressive direction from their 2013 debut, Quick, Dirty and High (review here), marking, among other things, the first appearance of drummer Chuck Dukehart‘s former Sixty Watt Shaman bandmate, Rev. Jim Forrester, as Foghound‘s bassist.

Tracked by Frank “The Punisher” Marchand — who also helmed some of the recording for The World Unseen along with Mike Dean of C.O.C. — Awaken to Destroy will of course mark the final appearance from Forrester as a member of Foghound, as he was tragically gunned down in Fells Point, Baltimore, last December, owing to what last I heard was still an unknown motive. Foghound and Ripple released the benefit single “Keep on Shoveling” (posted here) to help his family with expenses, and no doubt they’ll continue to honor him this year as we move toward the late-summer release of Awaken to Destroy  and the band takes the stage at the inaugural New England Stoner and Doom Fest on April 21 and at Maryland Doom Fest in June.

The PR wire brings the latest details:

foghound photo shane gardner

FOGHOUND FINISH RECORDING THEIR THIRD FULL-LENGTH ALBUM ‘AWAKEN TO DESTROY’; PREPARING FOR A LATE SUMMER 2018 RELEASE ON RIPPLE MUSIC.

Maryland Doom & Stoner Rock stalwarts Foghound have recently put the finishing touches on their third full-length offering, entitled “Awaken To Destroy”. Their new album is set for a September 2018 release via Ripple Music.

Work began on the album in November 2016, with producer Frank Marchand (The Obsessed / Borracho) at the helm. Numerous delays along the way sidelined production due to health issues, professional and personal commitments, and then the tragic murder of bassist Rev. Jim Forrester in December 2017, just days after completing recording of the basic tracking.

“After seeing Jim claw and fight his way back after a major health scare and being in a coma last summer, only to be senselessly taken away from us all in this way, it really hit everyone like a ton of bricks”, says drummer / vocalist Chuck Dukeheart.

“The outpouring of love and support from everyone, and especially our friends and family in the Maryland Doom scene, was overwhelming. We can’t thank everyone enough for helping us, Jim’s wife Tina, and family to get through this terrible time.”

Among the multiple benefit events and fundraisers for the family, Ripple Music released as a benefit single the new Foghound track “Keep On Shoveling” on January 1st, via Bandcamp as a “Name Your Price” download purchase.

Written with a theme of perseverance in the face of adversity, the song features a spoken word portion from Rev. Jim. The song has taken on a new meaning for the band after his untimely passing.

Another new track, “Return To Dragontooth”, will appear on an upcoming benefit compilation, due out from Salt Of the Earth Records.

Foghound emphasizes, “One thing that became apparent was that we all knew, and Jim said as much when he was laid up in the hospital last summer, was that he wouldn’t want us to stop. In his words – ‘We still have shit to do.'”

After taking time to regroup, this February saw Foghound back in the studio to wrap up tracking of vocals, guitars, and keyboards. They have finally been able to complete mixing to get it ready for release.

Along with wrapping up the album, the band got themselves back in their rehearsal space, and have recruited long time friend of the band, bassist Adam Heinzmann (Internal Void, Pentagram), into the fold.

The band stated, “It was a very heavy, emotional time for us, to be back in the jamroom without Jim, but Adam really stepped up in a big way. His enthusiasm, preparedness, and love for the music really helped us get back to why we all play music. We were able to have fun again.”

Foghound is set to return to the stage with notable upcoming appearances at the New England Stoner and Doom Fest at Altone’s in Jewett City, Connecticut on April 21st, and The Maryland Doom Fest at Cafe 611 in Frederick, Maryland on June 23rd.

“We are looking forward to being a part of these stellar lineups and to play these new songs live. We can’t wait for this monster of an album to be unleashed at the end of the summer!”

Foghound (left to right in photo):

Chuck Dukeheart, III – Drums, Voals
Dee Settar – Guitar, Vocals
Bob Sipes – Guitar, Vocals
Adam Heinzmann – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/foghoundbaltimore
https://twitter.com/Foghound2016
http://foghound.net/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/track/keep-on-shoveling-rev-jim-forrester-benefit
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Foghound, “Keep on Shoveling”

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Snakefeast to Release In Chaos, Solace March 2; Premiere New Track

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on January 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

snakefeast

Like a good challenge? Sweet, because if you think you’re up for it, Baltimorean guitar-eschewing foursome Snakefeast throw down a rampaging tumult of weirdness on their impending long-player, In Chaos, Solace. Their second album for Grimoire Records and set for release on March 2, it’s an eight-song, 31-minute excursion into brutalist angularism, noise and pummel, and if that sounds scary, rest assured, it is. But what’s truly terrifying? There’s a plan at work. It’s a plan like something out of a nightmare that would keep Mike Patton up in the wee hours, but a plan just the same.

To wit, the blends of jazzy runs between Aran Keating‘s tenor sax and the start-stop bass staccato of from Carson Korman on “Ruin” or the way the earlier “Shroud” screeches out before leaning into its groove coming out of the deceptively atmospheric opener “Pyre.” Whether it’s drummer Dave Cavalier (also of Black Lung) matching Keating‘s jumping notes with pops on his snare or providing a foundation of tom runs beneath the largely indecipherable growls of Grimoire‘s own Phil Doccolo in the second half of the penultimate “Era,” or the simple choice on the part of the band to cap the record with a take on Queen‘s “Ogre Battle” from Queen II — which would also seem to be the only track the band has recorded with a title more than one word long — Snakefeast‘s sophomore full-length may indeed be living up to its title for the group itself, but it offers precious little quarter to those who’d be bold enough to take it on front to back.

It can be a fine line between experimentalism and progressivism when it comes to a given band’s style. As regards Snakefeast, I lean more toward the latter and think of In Chaos, Solace as a fusion of jazz, metal, weighted-groove grind and post-hardcore, but however many subgenres they may or may not be throwing into their scorching aesthetic melting pot, they’re unquestionably working on a wavelength of their own and seem only too proud to showcase that fact in their material. That plan that underlies all the outward bombast and torrential intensity? They pull it off.

You’ll find a track premiere for “Pyre” at the bottom of this post. More info on the album, including a quote from the band, follows:

snakefeast in chaos solace

Snakefeast – In Chaos, Solace

Snakefeast’s 2018 full-length “In Chaos, Solace” is the long awaited follow up to their 2015 album “The Pythoness,” which was their first proper album, following a short split they did with fellow Baltimore band Queenwolf in 2014.

Snakefeast is a 4 piece, totally guitar-free band, featuring blues-prog riffs galore on bass, groovy-yet-crisply-technical drumming, sprawling saxophone parts woven throughout, and Phil Doccolo on amorphous screams.

This is their first full-length that was written with a dedicated sax player in the band for the songwriting, as opposed to just adding sax during the recording process, which is what they had done on their previous releases. You may recognize their drummer, Dave Cavalier, from his role as guitarist and vocalist in Baltimore’s Black Lung.

Tracklisting:
1. Pyre
2. Shroud
3. Itch
4. Ruin
5. Tome
6. Coven
7. Era
8. Ogre Battle

Releases March 2, 2018.

Snakefeast on “Pyre”:

“We used to be a three-piece with intermittent saxophone, but now the saxophone is a key part of our sound and composition. We started treating the sax like a vocalist, and the vocals as more of a textural element. We’ve always sought to combine jazz and metal aesthetics and continue to explore new ways to achieve this through our choice of instruments and song structures.”

Snakefeast is:
Dave Cavalier – Drums
Carson Korman – Bass Guitar
Phil Doccolo – Vocals
Aran Keating – Tenor Saxophone

https://www.facebook.com/Snakefeast/
https://snakefeast.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/GrimoireRecords
https://grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com/

Snakefeast, “Pyre” track premiere

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“Iron” Al Morris III Benefit Shows Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Two benefit shows have been announced in Maryland to honor the memory and help with the medical and memorial expenses for Iron Man founder and guitarist Alfred Morris III. The first is Jan. 27 at The Depot in Baltimore and the second is Feb. 17 at the Patriotic Club in Frederick. Neither city locale, in being centers of Maryland’s doom underground, would seem to be a coincidence, and in addition to acoustic performances by Wino and members of Iron Man — presumably that’s vocalist Dee Calhoun and bassist Louis Strachan taking the stage together — the shows will feature sets by Witch Hazel, Bound by the Grave, Mind’s Eye, Wrath of Typhon, and others.

Morris passed away Jan. 10 after a long fight with diabetes and along with the benefits, a crowdfunding campaign has been set up to accept donations in his memory. Info on all of the above follows the graphic below, which, if it wound up on a t-shirt, I would proudly wear:

iron man al morris memorial

“Iron” Alfred Morris III Benefit Shows

JAN 27 – Benefit Show For Alfred Morris III, doom metal legend

The Depot
1728 N Charles St, Baltimore, Maryland 21201

We have assembled a stellar lineup to honor Al Morris III which demonstrates how much he was loved by the music community of all genres. $10 at the door.
Electropathic
Witch Hazel
Thee Iron Hand
BOUND BY THE GRAVE
Members of the Iron Man Band performing an acoustic set
and Scott “Wino” Weinrich performing an acoustic set
We still seek raffle donations: Please contact Greg Serio or M A Spiro to arrange that. Spread the word!

Al was a great father, mentor, brother, and friend to many. As a guitarist and founding member of The Iron Man, his influence was legendary. This benefit is to help the family with the funeral expenses and also to honor a legend in The Doom Metal community..
https://www.gofundme.com/doom-metal-hero-al-morris-iii
We are seeking any donations for a raffle that will be held at midnight at the event on Saturday, January 27th at The Depot in Baltimore. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

https://www.facebook.com/events/177563542842460/

Feb. 17 – Al Morris III Benefit Concert

Patriotic Club
300 E 4th St, Frederick, Maryland 21701

We are hosting a benefit concert to celebrate the life of a local legend, and Doom genre icon Al Morris III (Iron Man). Al was recently taken from us after battling health issues, and being a loyal brother within the local scene, the local scene now has the opportunity to help with this worthy cause to provide some relief to Al’s already grieving family with funeral, and preexisiting medical bills.

I’ll be providing many details in the coming days, including band lineup with set times, raffle information, etc.We will be charging a $10 donation at the door, and drink/ food specials will be made available at this comfortable, family friendly environment. Would like to thank Jackie from the Patriotic Club for agreeing to host the event on short notice, and Dave Davidson for once again displaying his heart by donating his time to run sound for us.

Thank you to all the bands that contacted us with interest, and we are determined to incorporate acts that not only knew Al personally, but also shared the stage with him over his remarkably rewarding musical journey.

Will update as information becomes available. This second show is being requested so those who knew Al and can’t make the cold journey to Baltimore for the 1st benefit, can have a chance to show their support.

We want to treat this second show as a family friendly event, and less about the theatrical impact.

We hope you will join us….

Set Times:
Children of the Grave – 6:00 – 7:00
War Mask– 7:15 – 7:45
Mind’s Eye – 8:00 – 8:45
Wrath of Typhon – 9:00 – 9:45
Wino w/ Brian Costantino – 10:00 – 10:45
Members of Iron Man w/ Bill Miskowitz– 11:00 – 11:30

https://www.facebook.com/events/1277913502323853/

https://www.facebook.com/IronMan666MarylandDoom/
https://ironmanband.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ironmanband.com/

Iron Man, “Black Morning”

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R.I.P. “Iron” Alfred Morris III, 1957-2018

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

iron man (photo by JJ Koczan)

Devastating news out of a Maryland doom community already reeling this afternoon. The passing of Iron Man founder, songwriter and guitarist “Iron” Alfred Morris III has been confirmed by the band:

It is with profound and immeasurable sadness that we let you know that Alfred Morris III passed away this morning. There are no other words at this time.

Morris, who would have turned 61 on March 9, had been dealing with declining health effects from an ongoing battle with diabetes over the last several years, and reportedly had an extended hospital stay in 2017 following the amputation of his left leg. While it is unknown as of this writing if this directly contributed to his death, Morris’ issues had been a major contributing factor to a stretch of inactivity on the part of the band following the release of their last full-length, South of the Earth (review here), in 2013.

Issued by respected UK purveyor Rise Above Records, that album represented a pinnacle for the long-running and influential Maryland doom outfit. With Morris’ riffs and solos ever at the center of their approach, Iron Man — founded as a Black Sabbath tribute band following Morris’ time in proto-doomers Force — issued their first demo 30 years ago in 1988 and would follow it in the subsequent years with four LPs prior to their final one: 1993’s Black Night (discussed herereissue review here), 1994’s The Passage (discussed here; reissue review here), 1999’s Generation Void (reissue review here) and 2009’s comeback outing, I Have Returned (review here), as well as a slew of EPs and other limited offerings along the way.

In addition to bringing Iron Man to a new level of prestige in terms of its release, South of the Earth also gave the band their first opportunity to play internationally, at Rise Above’s 25th anniversary celebration in London in December 2013. The band continued to make regular appearances thereafter at Maryland Doom Fest and other regional events, but would never embark on wider touring in support of the album, and word of a follow-up through Rise Above or any other label never materialized.

What the loss of a figure of Morris’ status means to the Maryland doom community can hardly be overstated. One of the longest and most loyal practitioners of the Chesapeake region’s particular brand of downtrodden riffing, in his tone and construction, Morris has served for decades as a blueprint for others to follow. To watch his smooth-grooving presence on stage and bask in the warmth of his guitar tone was to know a singular joy of traditional doom in its finest Sabbathian spirit.

On behalf of myself and this site, I wish condolences to the family, friends, current and former bandmates and fans of Alfred Morris III. He brought something special to Maryland doom that, to put it simply, will never be replaced and will be deeply missed.

“Iron” Al Morris. 1957-2018. The Riff.

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