Quarterly Review: Harvestman, Beastmaker, Endless Boogie, Troubled Horse, Come to Grief, Holy Rivals, Mountain God, Dr. Space, Dirty Grave, Summoned by Giants

Posted in Reviews on July 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-summer-2017

Bonus round! I don’t know if you’re stoked on having a sixth Quarterly Review day, but I sure am. Basically this is me doing myself favors. In terms of what’s being covered and how I’m covering it, today might be the high point for me personally of the entire Summer 2017 Quarterly Review. Some of this stuff I’m more behind on than others, but it’s all releases that I’ve wanted desperately to write about that I haven’t been able to make happen so far and I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be able to do so at last. It’s a load off my mind in the best way possible, and as this is the final day of the Quarterly Review, before I dig in I’ll just say one more time thank you for reading and I hope you found something in the past week that really speaks to you, because that’s what makes it all worthwhile in the first place. One more go.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Harvestman, Music for Megaliths

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A new Harvestman album, like a harvest itself, is an occasion. Distinct entirely from the solo output released by Neurosis guitarist/vocalist Steve Von Till under his own name, Harvestman’s guitar-led experimentalism and ritualized psychedelia don’t happen every day – the last album was 2009’s In a Dark Tongue (review here) – and with the resonance of “Oak Drone” and the layered, drummed and vocalized textures of “Levitation,” the new collection, Music for Megaliths (on Neurot, of course), lives up to the project’s high standards of the unexpected. Pulsations beneath opener and longest track (immediate points) “The Forest is Our Temple” offer some initial threat, but the electronic beat behind the howling notes of “Ring of Sentinels” and the Vangelis-esque centerpiece “Cromlech” find more soothing ground, and though “Sundown” seems to be speaking to Neurosis “Bleeding the Pigs” from 2012’s Honor Found in Decay (review here) in its atmosphere, the spoken word that tops closer “White Horse” provides a last-minute human connection before all is brought to a quick fadeout. If you told me Music for Megaliths was assembled over a period of years, I’d believe you given its breadth, but whether it was or not, Harvestman’s latest should provide a worthy feast for a long time to come.

Harvestman on Thee Facebooks

Neurot Recordings webstore

 

Beastmaker, Inside the Skull

beastmaker-inside-the-skull

Los Angeles three-piece Beastmaker continue their ascent with their second album for Rise Above Records, the unflinchingly cohesive Inside the Skull. Like its predecessor, 2016’s Lusus Naturae (review here), the quick-turnaround sophomore outing executes a modern garage doom aesthetic and unfuckwithably tight songwriting, this time bringing 10 new tracks that reimagine classic vibes – witness the Witchcraft “No Angel or Demon”-style riff of opener “Evil One” (video posted here) – and touch on some of the same ground pioneered by Uncle Acid without actually sounding like that UK band or sounding like anyone for that matter so much as themselves. They make darkened highlights of “Now Howls the Beast,” “Of Gods Creation,” the crashing “Psychic Visions,” closer “Sick Sick Demon” and the preceding “Night Bird,” which offers some welcome departure into drift prior to the solo in its final minute – all impeccably crisp in structure despite a dirt-caked production – but resonant, memorable hooks abound, and the trio affirm the potential their debut showed and offer a quick step forward that one can only imagine will find them turning more heads toward their growing cult following. They’re still growing, but Inside the Skull is confirmation Beastmaker on a path to becoming something really special.

Beastmaker on Thee Facebooks

Beastmaker at Rise Above Records

 

Endless Boogie, Vibe Killer

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One can’t help but think there’s a bit of tongue-in-cheekery at play in the inaccuracy of Endless Boogie titling their latest album Vibe Killer. The seven-track/51-minute No Quarter release follows 2013’s Long Island (review here) and is, of course, doing everything but killing the vibe, as the New York-based outfit proffer their nestled-in raw songs crafted out of and on top of improvised jams, the semi-spoken gutturalisms of guitarist Paul “Top Dollar” Major a defining element from the laid back opening title-track onward. Moody rock classicism persists through “High Drag, Hard Doin’” and the more active “Back in ’74,” but the true peak of Vibe Killer comes in the 11-minute “Jefferson Country,” which unfolds hypnotic drone experimentation that’s as willfully ungraceful as it winds up being flowing. Bottom line: dudes know what’s up. Endless Boogie’s languid roll is second to nobody and Vibe Killer is a vision of cool jazz reinvented to feel as much at home in rock clubs of the basement and of the chic see-and-be-seen variety. Very New York, in that, but not at all given to elitism. Everyone’s invited to dig, and dig they should.

Endless Boogie on Thee Facebooks

No Quarter Records webstore

 

Troubled Horse, Revolution on Repeat

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There were a few minutes there where one probably wouldn’t have been wrong to wonder if Örebro, Sweden’s Troubled Horse would have a follow-up at all to back 2012’s Step Inside (review here), but with Revolution on Repeat (out via Rise Above), the four-piece led by dynamic vocalist Martin Heppich prove among the most vital of the many heavy rock acts to emerge from their hometown, known for the likes of Witchcraft, Graveyard, Truckfighters and countless others. Heppich, lead guitarist Mikael Linder (also bass on the recording), guitarist Tom and drummer Jonas start with the boogie-fied opening salvo “Hurricane” (video premiere here) and “The Filthy Ones,” and run madcap through the memorable hooks of “Which Way to the Mob” and “Peasants” en route to the mid-paced “The Haunted” and into a second half marked by the semi-balladry of “Desperation” and “My Shit’s Fucked Up.” Soon, the standout chorus of “Track 7” (yup, that’s the title) and the penultimate funk of “Let Bastards Know” lead to a nine-minute epic finish in “Bleeding” – and all the while Troubled Horse hold firm to groove, momentum, poise, crisp production and songwriting as they tie varied landmarks together with an overarching sense of motion, Heppich’s charismatic soulfulness and deceptively subtle flourishes of arrangement to make an absolutely welcome return.

Troubled Horse on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

 

Come to Grief, The Worst of Times

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Sometimes you just have to toss up your hands and say, “Well, that’s some of the nastiest shit I’ve ever heard.” To step back and consider them at some distance, Come to Grief aren’t near the most abrasive band on the planet, but when you’re actually listening to their debut EP, The Worst of Times, that’s much harder to believe. Launching with “Killed by Life,” the four-tracker finds the Boston outfit led by former Grief guitarist Terry Savastano – here joined by drummer Chuck Conlon, bassist Justin Christian and vocalist/guitarist Jonathan Hebert – plodding out scream-topped filth that’s actually fuller-sounding than anything Grief did back in their day and all the more devastating for its thickness. The seven-minute “No Savior” is excruciating, and though shorter, “Futility of Humanity” and even the slightly-faster closer “Junklove” bring no letup whatsoever from the onslaught. Think accessible, then go the complete other way, then bludgeon yourself. It’s kind of like that. Absolute brutality delivered by expert and unkind hands.

Come to Grief on Thee Facebooks

Come to Grief on Bandcamp

 

Holy Rivals, Holy Rivals

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The question of whether noise rock and sludge can coexist is largely one of tempo and tone, and recently-signed-to-BlackseedRecords Pittsburgh trio Holy Rivals’ self-titled debut answers in forceful fashion. Amid more aggro punch of opener “Locked Inn” comes the crust-laden grunge of “Voices,” and whether they’re rolling out the more spacious “Sleep” or sprinting through the post-Bleach raw punkery of “Dead Ender” on their way to the more ambient and patient seven-minute finale “Into Dust,” guitarist/vocalist Jason Orr (also T-Tops), bassist Aaron Orr (whose tone features well on the closer) and drummer Matt Langille – whose adaptability is essential to the Helmet-style starts and stops of “Loathe” that emerge from the preceding roll of “Sleep” – Holy Rivals put a superficial harshness to use as a cover for what’s actually a diverse songwriting process. They’ll reportedly have a new record out in Fall 2017, so this 2016 self-release may soon be in hindsight, but in setting the foundation for growth, it offers exciting prospects caked in an abidingly raw presentation.

Holy Rivals on Thee Facebooks

Holy Rivals on Bandcamp

 

Mountain God, Bread Solstice

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Around what would seem to be the core duo of guitarist/vocalist Ben Ianuzzi and bassist/keyboardist Nikhil Kamineni, Brooklyn psychedelic post-sludgers Mountain God have undergone numerous lineup shifts en route to and through the release of their debut album, Bread Solstice (on Artificial Head Records). To wit, drummer/vocalist Ryan Smith (also Thera Roya), who appears on the dark, unrelenting and abyss-crafting 40-minute six-tracker, has already been replaced by Gabriel Cruz, and there have been other changes in vocalist, keyboardist and drummer positions even since they offered their 2015 EP, Forest of the Lost (review here) to set the stage for this deeply-atmospheric, it’s-acid-rock-but-with-sulfuric-acid first long-player. In light of that tumult and the overarching commitment to abrasive noise Mountain God make in pieces like the 11-minute “Nazca Lines,” “Junglenaut” or even the brooding tension of airy instrumental “Unknown Ascent,” it’s all the more impressive that Bread Solstice is as cohesive in its cerebral horror as it is, constructing a harsh and churning vision of doom as something worthy of post-apocalyptic revelry. Far from easy listening, but of marked purpose. They should play exclusively in art galleries, no matter who winds up in the band.

Mountain God on Thee Facebooks

Artificial Head Records on Bandcamp

 

Dr. Space, Dr. Space’s Alien Planet Trip Vol. 1

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Perhaps best known for his work in spearheading the improvisational Denmark-based Øresund Space Collective, modular synth wizard Scott “Dr. Space” Heller weirds out across four cuts on the solo release Dr. Space’s Alien Planet Trip Vol. 1, which both underscores in its scope how essential he is to the aforementioned outfit and oozes beyond that group’s parameters into electronic beatmaking and waves of synthesizer drone. Pulling influence from classic progadelia, Heller unfurls longform tripping on 24-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “5 Dimensions of the Universe” and veers into and out of somewhat abrasive swirl on “Rising Sun on Mars” before landing in the more steady atmosphere of “In Search of Life on Io” and launching once more outward with the five-minute finale “Alien Improv 2.” Just how many alien planet trips the good doctor will be undertaking remains as yet a mystery, but the breadth of this first one makes it plain to the listener that Heller’s sonic universe is wide open and, seemingly, ever-expanding.

Øresund Space Collective on Thee Facebooks

Space Rock Productions website

 

Dirty Grave, So Fall and Crawl Away

dirty-grave-so-fall-and-crawl-away

Brazilian doomers Dirty Grave issue the three-song single/EP So Fall and Crawl Away (bonus points for the Alice in Chains reference) ahead of making their full-length debut reportedly any minute now with an album called Evil Desire. Comprised of two studio tracks in the eight-minute “The Black Cloud Comes” and the four-minute Howlin’ Wolf cover “Evil (Is Going On)” and with the live cut “Unholy Son – Live” as a kind of bonus track, it’s a sampling behind two similar short releases, 2014’s Vol. II and 2013’s Dirty Grave (which featured a studio version of “Unholy Son”), that sleeks through eerie doom loosely tinged with psychedelia and smoked-out vibing. “Evil (Is Going On)” is more uptempo, perhaps unsurprisingly, but is giving a likewise treatment all the same, its final solo shredding into oblivion with stoned abandon. “Unholy Son – Live” is rawer but still carries through its melody in the vocals amid a prevalent crash, and if it’s a portend of things to come on Evil Desire, then So Fall and Crawl Away serves as a warning worth heeding.

Dirty Grave on Thee Facebooks

Dirty Grave on Bandcamp

 

Summoned by Giants, Stone Wind

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If you have a convenient narrative for what West Coast heavy rock has become over the last decade, Summoned by Giants’ debut album, Stone Wind, is probably too aggressive on the whole to fit it neatly. Their cleaner parts, the rolling second cut “Diamond Head” and samples throughout have aspects of that post-Red Fang party vibe, but to listen to the rawness of the bass tone that starts “Return” or closer “I Hate it When You Breathe,” or even the slurring “come at me, bro”-style rant sampled at the seven-track/27-minute album’s launch, a will toward violence is never far off. Couple that with the thickened noise punk of “Saturn” and the Weedeater sludge of the penultimate “Dying Wish,” and Summoned by Giants – guitarist/vocalist Sean Delaney, guitarist Jordan Sattelmair, bassist/vocalist Patrick Moening and drummer Mel Burris – seem more interested in doling out punishment than kicking back, making a silly video and having a good time. Well, maybe they’re having a good time, but they’re doing so while kicking your ass.

Summoned by Giants on Thee Facebooks

Summoned by Giants on Bandcamp

 

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Keep it Low 2017: Colour Haze, Belzebong, The Necromancers and A Great River in the Sky Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

keep it low 2017 banner

I was kind of wondering if the Munich-based Keep it Low festival would add Colour Haze for Keep it Low 2017. The long-running German heavy psych progenitors have played multiple editions of the event and have kind of become a staple of the lineup, so to see them added as they support their new album, In Her Garden (review here), is definitely cool. Joining them in this round of adds are BelzebongThe Necromancers and A Great River in the Sky, and on a bill with Saint VitusBrant BjorkRadio MoscowMars Red SkyConanUfomammutStoned JesusMonolordMos Generator and so on — the list is fucking wild — they only make it stronger and richer.

Of all the Fall fests in Europe — there are many and I won’t take away from what any of them are doing — Keep it Low has been the one I’ve most wanted to see over the past few years. It’s grown into what really seems like a unique vibe between its stages, skatepark, biergarten, and so on, and though they’re promising heavier acts this year and delivering that already with the likes of Ufomammut and Vitus and Conan, etc. — see also Belzebong here — there’s still plenty of heavy psych and rock and roll to be had, and that blend, as we all know, is what it’s all about. Anyway, it looks awesome. It won’t be this year, but I’ll get there one of these days.

It’s presented, of course, by Sound of Liberation, who updated the lineup thusly:

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Keepers,
Today we have 4 new band announcements for Keep It Low Festival 2017! We’re happy to present you:

Colour Haze
BelzebonG
The Necromancers
A Great River In The Sky

It has become a kind of tradition that mighty Colour Haze headline Keep It Low’s Friday, so never change a winning team!

Get your 3-day tickets here: http://bit.ly/2lr4hzH and….keep it low!

Line Up:
BRANT BJORK (with Special Guest Sean Wheeler) | SAINT VITUS | RADIO MOSCOW | MARS RED SKY | UFOMAMMUT | STONED JESUS | CONAN | MONOLORD | NAXATRAS | HOUSE OF BROKEN PROMISES | BEASTMAKER | MOS GENERATOR | USNEA | ELEPHANT TREE | KALEIDOBOLT | MOUNT HUSH | GODSGROUND
+ many more TBA

Limited 3-day tickets available!

October 20 | 21 | 22 2017
Feierwerk München

After an amazing and once again sold out edition in 2016 you can expect 3 days, 27-30 bands, amazing people and good vibes at Keep It Low 2017! For the very first time we will have the “Doom-Frühschoppen” with some HEAVY bands on the last day of the Festival.

https://www.facebook.com/events/201489380309269/
https://www.facebook.com/keepitlowfestival/

Colour Haze, In Her Garden (2017)

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Desertfest Belgium 2017: The Melvins, Gozu, Beastmaker and Big Fat Lukum Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Okay, yeah, so the Melvins will be one of the headliners for Desertfest Belgium 2017 this October. Fair enough. That seems appropriate. They’ll have a new record out and will be touring like they do and, yeah, the stop makes sense. You’ll pardon me though if I think the real news here is a return trip to Europe for Gozu this fall. One has to wonder which of the other autumnal fests the Boston four-piece will be added as they go, but they’re certainly keeping good company with this first announcement. When and if I see the rest of the dates, I’ll let you know.

Beastmaker, who’ll be on the road with Stoned Jesus, and Belgium’s own Big Fat Lukum have also joined the Desertfest bill, as the PR wire confirms:

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THE MELVINS WILL PLAY DF ANTWERP 2017, HELL YES – Gozu, Beastmaker & others

Remember last week, when we were promising “very exciting headliners”?

We tend to keep our promise, and so it has begun.

We’re delirious with excitement to announce that THE MELVINS – yes, that’s THE. FUCKing. MELvins – will headline Desertfest Antwerp this year. We had ’em once, then we lost ’em, and now we’ve got them good. It’s on!

But let’s not forget you want to have a bloody hell of a good time the rest of the time as well, and for this we have added some more class acts to the line-up: we bring you GOZU for some good time stoner rock’n’roll. BEASTMAKER is touring with Stoned Jesus, so they’ll bring them along to the Fest. And finally, BIG FAT LUKUM will provide the obligatory touch of local Belgian stoner.

How do you like that! And remember: we are still not done. Join us soon for another round of awesome news!

THE MELVINS

It seems like nothing we can say about The Melvins will properly convey the profundity of their legend. For over 30 years now, King Buzzo and his cohorts have ruled the planet with a sound that has been all over the place and back, all the while remaining unmistakably and utterly Melvins. They’re releasing a new double album in July, so who knows what unholy sound will pummel your brain come October!

GOZU

Gozu’s sound is tailor-made for blasting out the car speakers via international radio airwaves. Over 3 albums, they’ve condensed their Bostonian no-bullshit stoner rock into something that feels like bigger than the sum of its parts. Live they’re no slouch either – in 2016 they managed to hit seven countries for 20 shows in 20 days. Now that’s the kind of attitude we love to welcome to the DF stage!

BEASTMAKER

Bands Beastmaker likes: Black Sabbath, Danzig. You like them too? Then you’ll love Beastmaker! But make no mistake: their brand new album ‘Inside The Skull’ expands beyond the riff worship to offer a venomous slab of wildly creative but spiritually pure doom devastation. Beastmaker is a band that proudly wears its bloody heart for the tradition on its sleeve, and it shows.

BIG FAT LUKUM

Big Fat Lukum hails from Namur, Belgium. The band has a history of playing extreme and loud from punk to metal in the past, but nowadays they’re on a steady diet of desert and stoner rock.

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/264364590656095/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Gozu, “Lorenzo Llamas” Live in Seattle, April 2017

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Keep it Low 2017: Saint Vitus, Brant Bjork, Radio Moscow, Ufomammut, Naxatras, Mos Generator and More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

keep-it-low-2017-generic-banner

Well, the bill for Keep it Low 2017 is packed. It would be packed if it was just Brant Bjork and Saint Vitus and Ufomammut in the lineup, but of course it goes well beyond that, with the likes of Radio Moscow, Naxatras, House of Broken Promises, Conan, Monolord, Mos Generator, Elephant Tree, Mars Red Sky and everyone else you can see below. If you can take a look at this roster of bands and not immediately start daydreaming about making the trip to the fifth installment of the Munich, Germany-based festival, you’re a better person than I am. Or you’re dead. One or the other, I guess.

One suspects that, as with last year, the Fall European fest season will have some overlap. You’ll note Beastmaker here as well as on Up in Smoke. Ditto that VitusBrant BjorkUfomammutRadio MoscowUsnea and Kaleidobolt. Aside from the hand of Sound of Liberation in putting these events together, weekend fests make great anchors for touring groups. Club shows all week, fests every weekend? I can’t imagine a touring act wouldn’t sign up for that, so yeah, probably some more familiar names will be making their way out between these, the Desertfests in Antwerp and Athens, and whatever else might come along. Keep an eye out.

From Keep it Low‘s social medias:

keep-it-low-2017-poster

KEEP IT LOW FESTIVAL 2017

Line Up:
BRANT BJORK (with Special Guest Sean Wheeler) | SAINT VITUS | RADIO MOSCOW | MARS RED SKY | UFOMAMMUT | STONED JESUS | CONAN | MONOLORD | NAXATRAS | HOUSE OF BROKEN PROMISES | BEASTMAKER | MOS GENERATOR | USNEA | ELEPHANT TREE | KALEIDOBOLT | MOUNT HUSH | GODSGROUND
+ many more TBA

Limited 3-day tickets available!

October 20 | 21 | 22 2017
Feierwerk München

After an amazing and once again sold out edition in 2016 you can expect 3 days, 27-30 bands, amazing people and good vibes at Keep It Low 2017! For the very first time we will have the “Doom-Frühschoppen” with some HEAVY bands on the last day of the Festival.

HEAVY!

3-day tickets are selling fast so don’t wait too long and get it here:
http://bit.ly/2lr4hzH

https://www.facebook.com/events/201489380309269/
https://www.facebook.com/keepitlowfestival/

Ufomammut, “Warsheep” official video

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Up in Smoke 2017 Adds Saint Vitus, Brant Bjork, Stoned Jesus, Beastmaker, Toner Low, Kaleidobolt and Usnea

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

up-in-smoke-2017-banner

I was fortunate enough to see Toner Low once in my life, and though it sounds greedy to even think I’d like to do so again, yeah, that would be pretty frickin’ awesome. At least that’s how it went last time around. Theirs is just one of the considerable names added to the Swiss-based Up in Smoke 2017 festival in this update, and one finds the Netherlands trio in the company of desert legend Brant Bjork, doom legends Saint Vitus, and YouTube legends Stoned Jesus, as well as Beastmaker — one assumes they’re soon to announce a full European tour for this fall — Usnea and Finland’s Kaleidobolt. All told it’s seven new bands for Up in Smoke 2017, which wasn’t exactly hurting before, with the likes of Orange Goblin and Graveyard, Ufommamut, Windhand and so on.

Bottom line? Awesome bill. Here’s the latest:

up-in-smoke-2017-poster

Up In Smoke 2017 – 7 New Bands : Brant Bjork (with Special Guest Sean Wheeler), Saint Vitus, Stoned Jesus & more added to the bill!

We are thrilled to announce 7 new bands confirmed for Up In Smoke 2017! BRANT BJORK (coming with Special Guest Sean Wheeler), SAINT VITUS, STONED JESUS, TONER LOW, BEASTMAKER, USNEA & KALEIDOBOLT! Our 5th edition will feature at least 20 bands on two stages with no overlapping set times, to guarantee you two days of Volume Worshipping!

BRANT BJORK (USA)
SAINT VITUS (USA)
STONED JESUS (UKR)
TONER LOW (NL)
BEASTMAKER (USA)
USNEA (USA)
KALEIDOBOLT (FIN)

Located Pratteln, in Switzerland’s best rock venue, Z7 Konzertfabrik, only a few kilometres from the German and French borders, Up In Smoke is an indoor festival for fans of Heavy Rock – Doom – Psych – Stoner… easily reachable by plane via the Euro-Airport (Basel/Muhouse) or by public transportations (train, bus) via Basel Main Station. There are plenty of affordable Hotels and Hostels located in Basel and for “budget savers” we are also offering to sleep over + breakfast (Coffee and bread rolls) in the venue for a small fee!

How does this work? After the last concert of the day, we ask everybody to step out of the venue for a few minutes. During that time, the venue and toilets are cleaned and the floor covered with a plastic sheet. (people have to bring their sleeping bags and air mattresses)

https://www.upinsmoke.de/tickets
http://www.z-7.ch/event.php?eventid=1306
https://www.facebook.com/UpInSmokeIndoorFestivalInZ7
https://www.facebook.com/events/466424317082118/
https://www.upinsmoke.de/

Brant Bjork, Live at Desert Generator 2017

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Beastmaker Post “Evil One” Video; Inside the Skull out this Week

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

beastmaker

This Friday, California’s Beastmaker release their second album, Inside the Skull, on Rise Above Records. By the time the end of the week gets here — it always seems so far away on Tuesdays, for some reason — the dark, metallically-tinged three-piece will have already had a couple nights on the road alongside Zakk Sabbath on a tour that will carry them from one end of the country to the other and well into June. I’d imagine it’s a pretty exciting week to be in Beastmaker. Maybe a little nerve-wracking, but exciting too. They’re about to step on some of the biggest stages they’ve yet played.

And they do so supporting a record of quality material enough to back them in their cause. “Evil One” is the second video to come from Inside the Skull behind one last month for presumed side B leadoff “Nature of the Damned” (posted here) — fair enough to double-up for an aesthetically inclined band like this — and it’s the opening cut of the album as a whole. As what’s essentially their final argument to their potential audience prior to the LP coming out, it’s utterly reasonable for them to have held the song back for this purpose as they have. Where they’re quick to show more progressive flair even on the subsequent thudder “Heaven to Hell” and the following “Now Howls the Beast,” “Evil One” is Inside the Skull‘s blown-out moment of first engagement with those who’d take it on.

Accordingly, it largely casts off frills in favor of a flawless execution of straightforward structure — a hook that sinks deep and is wielded with class — while also setting the atmospheric tone for much of what follows in a modernized proto-metal creep, part-doom but not beholden to genre to the sacrifice either of its craft or attitude. With it, Beastmaker make a convincing case to keep going through the next song and the next, and as we inch closer to the arrival of Inside the Skull, listeners will have the chance to do precisely that.

Good luck to Beastmaker as they head out this week on tour. You can see the video for “Evil One” below, followed by their live dates, courtesy of the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Beastmaker, “Evil One” official video

Beastmaker’s new album Inside The Skull is set for release next Friday May 19th via Rise Above Records. Inside The Skull is not just a muscular hymn to the glory days of heavy metal’s genesis and early prosperity: this is a vital, virile and venomous slab of wildly creative but spiritually pure doom devastation, designed to rescue us from the drab harshness of present day reality and transport us somewhere cooler, somewhere better and, in the best way possible, somewhere much heavier. Recorded and produced by the band themselves, in their own self-built studio, it’s an album with great depths and a macabre heart.

While they may be reveling in Hitchcockian disquiet, Beastmaker will not be lurking anonymously in the shadows for long. Once Inside The Skull is released, the band will be hitting the road in the US with Zakk Wylde’s Black Sabbath tribute act, Zakk Sabbath, before the band’s campaign to draw the world into this unique maelstrom of pitch-black riffs and morbid tales begins in earnest. Erupting from the underground, this beast is alive and ready to howl.

BEASTMAKER W/ Zakk Sabbath:
5/17: Morgantown, WV @ 123 Pleasant St*
5/18: New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre
5/19: New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre
5/20: Philadelphia, PA @ Voltage Theatre*
5/21: Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter*
5/22: Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall*
5/23: Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
5/24: New Orleans, LA @ Siberia Nola*
5/25: Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live Studio
5/26: Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill
5/28: St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
5/30: Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
5/31: Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
6/2: Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
6/3: Indianapolis, IN @ Black Circle Brewing*
6/4: Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater
6/6: Spokane, WA @ The Pin
6/7: Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
6/8: Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
6/10: San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s
6/17: Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theater
*Denotes Headline Show

Beastmaker on Thee Facebooks

Beastmaker on Bandcamp

Rise Above Records website

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Beastmaker Post “Nature of the Damned” Video; Touring with Zakk Sabbath Next Month

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

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We’re less than a month out from the release of the second Beastmaker long-player for Rise AboveInside the Skull. Never ones for sitting still, the Fresno-based purveyors of cultish hooks have already been on the road to support the forthcoming offering, touring in March alongside Texas boogiejumpers Mothership and classic heavy rockers Slow Season on a three-band bill the likes of which would be enough to make one used a word like “stacked” in describing it. They’ll soon enough head out again to herald Inside the Skull, which is the follow-up to their 2016 debut, Lusus Naturae (review here), this time in the company of Zakk Sabbath, the Black Sabbath covers vehicle of Black Label Society founder/former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde.

Wylde‘s direct connections to heavy rock — as opposed to heavy metal — might be tenuous, but no question these gigs will be some of the biggest that Beastmaker will have played to-date. Listening to Inside the Skull — which starts with the immersive roll of “Evil One” and courses through the ghoulish drawl of “Give Me a Sign” and the rolling “Night Bird” en route to a rumbling finish in “Sick Sick Demon,” dropping righteous choruses along the way like they’re the Devil’s dry cleaning — there’s little question the three-piece are up to the task, and in giving a glimpse of the record’s overall mood and method in the new video for “Nature of the Damned,” they put emphasis on their blend of efficient traditional songwriting, modern doomly tonal heft and cult-rocker vibes.

I’ll hope to get a proper album review going at some point, but it’s the level of songcraft and execution that distinguishes Inside the Skull from its post-Uncle Acid, VHS-horror-flick-minded peers, and Beastmaker have only stepped up their game on the whole across its span. No doubt they’re going to turn some heads on the upcoming tour.

Video follows, along with tour dates courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Beastmaker, “Nature of the Damned” official video

Beastmaker will release their new album Inside The Skull May 19th on Rise Above Records. The band’s first video from the new album is for the track “Nature of the Damned”. Watch the video HERE. Pre-order the album on iTunes and check out the band’s upcoming North American tour dates with Zakk Sabbath HERE.

BEASTMAKER W/ Zakk Sabbath:
5/19: New York, NY @ The Gramercy Theatre
5/23: Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
5/25: Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live Studio
5/26: Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill
5/28: St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
5/30: Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
5/31: Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
6/2: Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
6/4: Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater
6/6: Spokane, WA @ The Pin
6/7: Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
6/8: Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
6/10: San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s

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Beastmaker Announce US Touring; New Album Inside the Skull Due May 26

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

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Cali sky-darkeners Beastmaker have set a May 26 release date for their second album, Inside the Skull, beyond ‘summer,’ and they’ve already booked two tours to herald the record’s arrival. This March, they’ll be out in the formidably rocking company of Texas forerunners Mothership and RidingEasy Records traditionalists Slow Season on a diverse-sounding-but-universally-righteous package tour, and following that, they’ll hit the road concurrent to Inside the Skull in May in the major markets alongside Zakk Wylde‘s Zakk Sabbath covers outfit, which is sure to expose them to an entirely different audience from that which they might otherwise engage on a given night. Pretty badass.

Well earned on the part of Beastmaker, who also toured last year with with the likes of Monolord and The Well in support of their 2016 debut, Lusus Naturae (review here), which was released — as Inside the Skull will be — through Rise Above Records. Glad to have the news about the new record and awesome to see Beastmaker are going to continue to kill it in 2017. I’ll hope to have more on the album as we get closer to the release.

For now, dates and particulars from the PR wire:

zakk sabbath beastmaker tour

BEASTMAKER Announce North American Tour Dates With Mothership and With Zakk Sabbath on Tap!

Sophomore Album Inside the Skull Out This Summer via Rise Above Records

BEASTMAKER hail from the unlikely locale of Fresno, California. Sweating profusely in a parched no man’s land about three and a half hours northeast of Los Angeles, the city isn’t exactly a cultural mecca-and yet it’s the birthplace of Hollywood outsiders and weirdos like Sid Haig, Slim Pickens and director Sam Peckinpah. Still, it suffers from an unsurprising dearth of musicians interested in heavy rock.

As the band prepares for the release of their sophomore album Inside the Skull this summer they are ready to hit the road again in North America! The first run of dates with Mothership and Slow Season begins March 10th in Costa Mesa, CA and runs through March 18th in Seattle, WA.

Following a quick break the band will return to the road supporting Zakk Sabbath (Zakk Wylde’s Black Sabbath Cover Band). These dates begin May 19th in New York, NY and run through June 10th in San Francisco, CA. A complete list of all dates can be found below.

Drummer Andrew Alejandro Saldate IV cannot wait to hit the road:

“We are pumped to go out a support our new record Inside The Skull with the rockin folk of Mothership & All star trio of Zakk Sabbath!! It’s gonna be a hell on wheels!!! Look out!!!”

BEASTMAKER released their debut Lusus Naturae earlier this year via Rise Above Records. Lusus Naturae is available to order HERE.

Though frontman Trevor Church had the concept for BEASTMAKER as far back as 2006, it wasn’t until he and drummer Andres Alejandro Saldate IV, a.k.a. Juan Bonham, hooked up with bassist John Tucker in 2014 that the band was fully realized.

BEASTMAKER’s lyrical landscape is awash in imagery from midnight movies and the dark arts, but that’s only part of the picture.

BEASTMAKER W/Mothership and Slow Season:
3/10: Costa Mesa, CA @ The Wayfarer
3/11: San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
3/12: Santa Cruz, CA @ Blue Lagoon
3/13: Oakland, CA @ The Golden Bull
3/14: Sacramento, CA @ Starlite Lounge
3/15: Bend, OR @ Volcanic Theatre Pub
3/16: Eugene, OR @ Old Nick’s
3/17: Portland, OR @ World Famous Kenton Club
3/18: Seattle, WA @ The Funhouse

BEASTMAKER W/ Zakk Sabbath:
5/19: New York, NY @ The Gramercy Theatre
5/23: Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
5/25: Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live Studio
5/26: Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill
5/28: St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
5/30: Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
5/31: Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
6/2: Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
6/4: Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater
6/6: Spokane, WA @ The Pin
6/7: Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
6/8: Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
6/10: San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s

https://www.facebook.com/Beastmaker
https://beastmaker.bandcamp.com/
http://www.riseaboverecords.com/

Beastmaker, Lusus Naturae (2016)

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