Desertfest Belgium 2018: High on Fire Headlining, The Devil and the Almighty Blues, The Well, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, The Oscillation, Dead Quiet and Frayle Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

The story here is pretty short: ‘Really good lineup gets better.’ The end.

I’m not sure what more one could reasonably as of Desertfest Belgium 2018 that it isn’t already delivering. I mean, seriously. Just look at the names. Festivals happen all the time in Europe — hell, for the last couple years there’s been one through just about each successive week in October, somewhere, in some country, usually with a lot of the same bands. But even with that factored in, how could you look at the names below and not know it’ll be something special?

Even just the circumstances of timing. So many of these bands will have or already have new records out, from High on Fire themselves to YOB, AncestorsThe SkullEagle Twin, CastleSonic WolvesDopethrone, on and on. To have all these groups come together at the same time can only be a win. You know they’ll be fired up, and even those who aren’t directly plying their wares on new records still have stuff recent enough or coming — or, like Acid King, a new lineup — so yeah. It looks absolutely unreal. If you get to go, I’m jealous.

Here’s the latest announcement:

desertfest belgium 2018 poster

HIGH ON FIRE HEADLINES DESERTFEST 2018

The Devil & The Almighty Blues, Oscillation & 4 more

And so the cat’s out of the bag, so to speak… High On Fire is headlining Desertfest 2018 and we couldn’t be more thrilled. In fact, you might call it a fever dream come true! Especially since the band recently announced their new album cum Lemmy tribute ‘Electric Messiah’ to be released just 1 week before the Fest, so we can expect a freshly hot live set.

But of course, the good news doesn’t stop there. We still have a hefty load of names to drop unto you, and we start with The Devil And The Almighty Blues. The Norsemen have made it their mission to follow all the strains of blues that run through the history of rock’n’roll, and we’re totally on board for their killer blues trip.

Replace the blues by the psych, and you could end up with The Oscillation. For ten years Demian Castellanos and his cohorts have made their mark with their unique brand of psychedelic rock that points to everything from krautrock to new wave disco, all drenched in that sweet sweet echo chamber feedback that you love.

Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell are on board once more with their time machine into a mythical past when hardrock was only just turning to doom, and denim bell-bottoms were not frowned upon in society. From that time they bring along The Well, another keeper of the flame that sparked many a toke in the bonehead freak era.

If you can take a slightly more epic take on the genre, Dead Quiet will fit the bill. Their ‘Grand Rites’ album from end of last year was certainly a trip in many exciting directions. And finally, make sure you don’t miss the unique sounds of Frayle, occult blues with a female lead that draws comparison to anything from Sleep to Portishead.

We’re nearing the finishing line, so all you casual Festers screaming for day tickets will soon get their fill. But of course, there’s nothing like getting the full 3-day fix! So if you can make it, there’s still some combi tickets left at a reduced price – although how long they’ll last, we can’t tell for sure!

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/364607267372737/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

High on Fire, “Electric Messiah” lyric video

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Desertfest Belgium 2018 Adds Dead Meadow, Ancestors, Wiegedood, Messa, and Heads.

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 24th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

desertfest belgium 2018 banner

So, uh, there’s a band called Heads. playing Desertfest Belgium 2018. They’re from Germany and not at all to be confused with The Heads from the UK. I guess the punctuation makes some different there, but isn’t it a little like calling your band Beatles. and expecting not to get sued? Question of scale there, I know, but you get my point. Heads. are a different band from The Heads. Okay.

I’m kind of surprised that Dead Meadow, in joining the lineup for Desertfest Belgium 2018, aren’t among the headliner, who are still TBA. I’ve got some names I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised to see signed on to play, but no question the lineup is ridiculously strong in the interim, what with Dead Meadow, Heads., Ancestors, Wiegedood and Messa all newly confirmed. I guess we’ll just have to wait on those headliner announcements.

From the PR wire:

desertfest belgium 2018 dead meadow

DEAD MEADOW PLAYS DF ANTWERP ’18

WIEGEDOOD, ANCESTORS and more

Well, we promised a worthy replacement for John Garcia, and we think this one will delight all you fans of delicious stoner grooves.

With 20 years and 7 records on the counter, Dead Meadow can truly be considered venerable veterans of the scene. With their most recent album ‘The Nothing They Need’, the DC band has made a glorious return 5 years after the previous outing. By now the ingredients might be familiar – heavy proto-metal riffing and long psych workouts – but once again the band proves noone cooks up a stew quite like they do. A rock solid addition to this year’s line-up, we think you’ll agree!

We already have one Belgian heavyweight on the program, so how about another? Wiegedood got its infamy coming up with a disturbing band name that translates to “crib death” in Dutch. But soon we learned that this was no mere gimmick: their peculiar version of black metal is effectively as unsettling and grim as the name suggests.

If the album teasers are anything to go by, the next album by Ancestors is gonna be something truly special. A culmination of everything the band stands for, from the atmospheric post-rock passages to the chugging riffs. Six years is a long wait for a new album in these times, but it seems like this will truly be worth the wait.

Another singular voice at the festival comes from Messa, who merge seemingly disparate genres like doom metal and dark jazz into one sonic stew they describe as ‘Scarlet Doom’. And finally, the German HEADS. adds shades of shoegaze and post-rock in their noiserock, with equally unique results.

There you have it, a selection of new names that truly add a sense of adventure and experiment to the line-up. You know we still have some headliners in store for you, so stay tuned!

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/364607267372737/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

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Quarterly Review: Worshipper, Dopethrone, The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices, Omen Stones, Capra, Universo Rojo, Sergeant Thunderhoof, Fire Down Below, Stone Deaf, Cracked Machine

Posted in Reviews on July 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

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

Well, we made it to the end of another Quarterly Review. One more batch and then it’s off to planning the next one for late September/early October. I hope you have found something this week that you’ve really dug. I have. A few, to be honest. Not everything is going to stick with every listener, of course, and that includes me, but for as much as putting this one together has been, there’s been some really good, year-end-list-type stuff included. At least as far as my own list goes. I sincerely hope you agree.

So let’s do this last one, then go sleep for a couple hours. Alright? Here we go:

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Worshipper, Mirage Daze

worshipper mirage daze

I don’t know if Worshipper knew they’d be embarking on their first West Coast tour in Summer 2018 when they hit Mad Oak Studios in Oct. 2016 to record the four cover tracks for their Mirage Daze EP on Tee Pee Records, but it certainly worked out in the Boston four-piece’s favor. Following-up their 2016 debut, Shadow Hymns (review here), Worshipper present four cover tracks in Uriah Heep’s “Easy Livin’,” The Oath’s “Night Child,” Pink Floyd’s “Julia Dream” and The Who’s “Heaven and Hell,” and while I’m a little sad that “Heaven and Hell” isn’t the Black Sabbath song, which I think they’d nail if they tried it, and I’m glad to have a studio version of their take on Floyd’s “Julia Dream,” which from the first time I saw them live was always a pleasure to watch live, I think the highlight of Mirage Daze might be “Night Child.” I never bought that The Oath record, and Worshipper’s take on its lead single is about the best argument I’ve seen for doing so. It may or may not be a stopgap issued to coincide with the tour, but Mirage Daze is a welcome arrival anyway. It’s a fan piece? Well, I’m a fan, so right on.

Worshipper on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records website

 

Dopethrone, Transcanadian Anger

dopethrone transcanadian anger

Montreal scumsludgers Dopethrone return with Transcanadian Anger, an eight-track blister-fest of crunch riffing and misanthropic vibes. Delivered through Totem Cat Records, the 36-minute Weedeater-gone-bad-drugs sludge assault seems to invite superlatives front to back, even in the slamming instrumental “Killdozer” – a tribute to the band? – and the swinging penultimate cut “Kingbilly Kush.” Elsewhere, opener “Planet Meth,” “Snort Dagger,” “Tweak Jabber” and “Scuzzgasm” celebrate addiction and violence unto oneself and others, making a spectacle of decay set to voluminous sludge riffs and abrasive vocals. This is Dopethrone’s aesthetic territory, and they’ve done well over the last decade to make it their own. As they answer 2015’s full-length, Hochelaga (review here), and the next year’s 1312 EP with yet another filth-caked collection, they seem all the more in their own league of aural and narcotic self-punishment. They could be straightedge vegans for all I know, but they sure sound high as fuck, and I guess that’s the point. So, well done.

Dopethrone on Thee Facebooks

Totem Cat Records webstore

 

The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices, BooCheeMish

the mystery of the bulgarian voices boocheemish

Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance would seem to be trying to solve The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices, a choral group from Bulgaria who, seemingly until teaming with Gerrard for the Prophecy Productions release BooCheeMish was known by the French name Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares. Whatever you call them, their history dates back nearly seven decades and their harmonies are utterly timeless. BooCheeMish is comprised of gorgeous folk renditions for 45 minutes of world-building perfection. Percussion of various sorts provides backing and on pieces like “Rano Ranila” they speed through at a pace and arrangement that’s head-spinning, while the later “Zableyalo Agne” finds them joined by flute for a nigh-religious experience and the subsequent “Tropanitsa” has a bounce worthy of any good times one might to envision from its evocative pulse. One can’t help but feel a bit of the cultural voyeur in taking it on – as well as feeling totally outclassed in reviewing it – but these songs were clearly meant to be enjoyed, and as their ambassadors, The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices genuinely serve a public best interest.

The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions website

 

Omen Stones, Omen Stones

omen stones omen stones

Virginia duo Omen Stones have no online presence as yet. No songs streaming. No cheeky logos-on-photos social media posts that new bands do when they’re sitting on their hands waiting to get material out there. What they – and by “they,” I mean guitarist/vocalist Tommy Hamilton of Druglord and drummer Erik Larson of Backwoods Payback, The Might Could, Alabama Thunderpussy, etc. – have is a four-song self-titled EP collecting about 13 minutes of material in demo fashion, bringing forth the Southern-shuffle-gets-weird-then-explodes opener “Secrete” as a first impression of a deceptive approach. You think it’s all good and then you get punched. Go figure. “Secrete” is also the longest track (immediate points) at 4:06, and the forward charge and harsher vocal of “Fertile Blight” follows, catchy as it is mean, and more indicative of what’s to follow in the maddening tension of “Sympathy Scars” and the fuckall sludgepunk of “Purity Tones.” Immediately against-trend, Omen StonesOmen Stones is a bird of prey unto itself. Hopefully at some point soon they make it publicly available.

Druglord on Bandcamp

Erik Larson on Bandcamp

 

Capra, Unholy Gallows

Capra Unholy Gallows

Taking influence from hardcore punk, post-hardcore and sludge, Lafayette, Louisiana’s Capra seem to fit in a Midwestern style of semi-metallic aggression that has flourished in the wake of the likes of The National Acrobat and Coliseum. The foursome’s Unholy Gallows single follows their also-two-song self-titled 2016 EP, and finds Tyler Harper (also of the recently-defunct The Midnight Ghost Train), Jeremy Randazzo, Ben Paramore and Lee Hooper aligned in their purposes of riff-led bludgeoning. Unholy Gallows is two songs/six minutes long – not by any means an afternoon commitment in terms of listening – but its furies are unveiled in far less time than that, and both “Red Guillotine” and “Hot Lips” waste no time in doling out their beatings. A sense of heft stems from tonal thickness, but they make it move to a propulsive degree, and aside from a quick feedback intro to “Red Guillotine,” there’s no letup; even as “Hot Lips” slows the pace some initially, it maintains geared toward foreshadowing the next fist to fly.

Capra on Thee Facebooks

Capra on Bandcamp

 

Universo Rojo, Impermanencia

Universo Rojo Impermanencia

Sprawl, sprawl, sprawl. Into space. Universo Rojo’s excellent four-track debut album, Impermanencia, makes you want to speak slowly enough to feel the words vibrate out of your mouth. The Chilean four-piece offer lengthy, jam-based excursions that echo out their feel across vast reaches of effects, progressive rhythm and melody-making unfurling all the while beneath an overarching swirl of effects, guitars and synth running atop the mix like competing currents of water. Opener “¿A Dónde Ir?” (8:13) gives way to the flute-laden krautrockism of “Visión Planetaria de los Tiempos” (8:40) as vocalist/guitarist/clarinetist Ferro Vargas-Larraguibel, drummer Naim Chamás, bassist Cristóbal Montenegro and synthesis Francisco Arellano conjure such molten possibilities. Though it’s just 34 minutes, Impermanencia is nonetheless expansive, with the 9:36 “Cinco (La Quinta Dimensión)” finding a place between drift and psych-jazz undulations while closer “Inmaterialización del Sentimiento Cósmico” (7:32) lets out a full-impulse burst of energy that’s blinding if you know just where to look. Not to be missed.

Universo Rojo on Thee Facebooks

Universo Rojo on Bandcamp

 

Sergeant Thunderhoof, Terra Solus

sergeant thunderhoof terra solus

Kudos to Bath, UK, four-piece Sergeant Thunderhoof on starting off their sophomore long-player, Terra Solus, with the album’s longest track in “Another Plane.” And likewise for the blend of psychedelia and burl that unfolds. In taking on the follow-up to their 2015 debut, Ride of the Hoof, they offer eight cuts and 51 minutes of spacious riffing charged with just an undercurrent of English boozer burl, Elephant Tree and Steak meeting head on for a raucous session of who knows what. “B Oscillation” taps nod and particularly satisfying fuzzy warmth in its lead section, while even a would-be bruiser like the subsequent “Diesel Breath” has a trip-out included. There is time for such things as every track but the penultimate and relatively minimalist soundscaper “Half a Man” tops six minutes, but Sergeant Thunderhoof make a much richer impression overall than their moniker might lead one to believe, and close out in particularly resonant fashion with “Om Shaantih,” emphasizing the breadth and post-rock elements that help make Terra Solus so engaging from the outset.

Sergeant Thunderhoof on Thee Facebooks

Sergeant Thunderhoof on Bandcamp

 

Fire Down Below, Hymn of the Cosmic Man

fire down below hymn of the cosmic man

The adaptation of Kyuss’ “Thumb” riff for Fire Down Below’s “Ignition/Space Cruiser” after the “Red Giant” intro on their second album, Hymn of the Cosmic Man (on Ripple), is nothing short of a clarion to the converted. The Belgian unit’s mission would seem to be to find that place on the horizon where the desert ground and space itself seem to meet and become one, and as side A closer “The Cosmic Pilgrim” turns from its initial crunch into more patient and drifting psych, they’d seem to get there. Atsmophere is certainly central to the record, as the aforementioned “Red Giant” and its side B counterpart “Nebula” demonstrate, never mind the other five tracks, and even as “Saviour of Man” runs through its janga-janga stoner-riffed hook there’s a flourish of effects to create a balance between the earthbound and the interstellar. Side B’s “Ascension” and especially 11-minute album-closer/highlight “Adrift in a Sea of Stars” seem to find the balance the four-piece is shooting for all along, and just before the nine-minute mark when the thick, fuzzed-out riff emerges from the jammy lead, the entire impetus for their journey seems to be laid bare. Well done.

Fire Down Below on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Stone Deaf, Royal Burnout

stone deaf royal burnout

Denver, Colorado’s Stone Deaf present a sans-frills desert rock vibe across the eight tightly structured tracks of their sophomore album, Royal Burnout (on Black Bow Records). Specifically, the compressed crunch in the guitar tone and some of the start-stop bounce riffing in cuts like “Room #240” and “Monochrome” seem to be drawn from the Songs for the Deaf methodology, and some of the vocals on opener “Spitshine” (video premiere here) remind of Queens of the Stone Age as well, but Stone Deaf – whose moniker, then, would be well sourced – have a deeper root in punk rock that underscores the “Go with the Flow” thrust of “Deathwish 62” as well as the chugging verses of “Boozy Spool” immediately preceding. It’s a sound that benefits greatly from the sharpness of its delivery and the craft Stone Deaf bring to it, and even when they seem to loosen up a bit on the midpaced pre-finale “That Lefty Request,” there’s a fervent sense of a plan unfolding. That plan would seem to be a success.

Stone Deaf on Thee Facebooks

Black Bow Records webstore

 

Cracked Machine, I, Cosmonaut

cracked machine i cosmonaut

Originally released last year, Cracked Machine’s debut, I, Cosmonaut, finds vinyl issue through PsyKA Records and earns it well with six tracks/45 minutes of mostly-instrumentalist and progressive space-psych. One assumes there’s a narrative thread at work across the span, as guitarist Bill Denton, bassist Chris Sutton, keyboardist/vocalist Clive Noyes and drummer Blazej Gradziel weave their way through “Twin Sons Rising” and “New Vostok” at the outset into the easy flow of “Baikonur Cosmodrome,” the harder-hitting title-track, the fuzzy declaration of “Svetlana” and the patiently executed 10-minute closer “Transorbital,” Denton’s guitar singing all the while. These places and, maybe, characters would seem to weave together to tell the story in impressions largely open to interpretation and correspondingly open in terms of their creativity, sounding spontaneous and maybe live-recorded if not entirely improvised, instead working to a plan for where each inclusion should go or end up. As Cracked Machine’s first album, it’s an ambitious work that does far more than get the band’s feet wet. It takes them out of the atmosphere and embarks on a journey beyond that one hopes is just beginning.

Cracked Machine on Thee Facebooks

Cracked Machine at PsyKA Records webstore

 

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Desertfest Belgium 2018 Adds Enslaved, Lucifer, Blood of the Sun, Child & Sonic Wolves to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

desertfest belgium 2018 banner

Desertfest Belgium 2018 is set for Oct. 12-14 in Antwerp, and the bill gets a little more packed with the latest lineup announcements, bringing in Norwegian progressive black metal forerunners Enslaved, as well as Berlin traditionalists Lucifer, Texas rockers Blood of the Sun, Aussie blues specialists Child and Italian doomers Sonic Wolves. Pretty smart batch, if you ask me. Desertfest Belgium has grown — much like the Desertfest brand in general; still waiting for a US one to surface so I can be sad when I’m not at all involved in its making and/or presentation — into one of the most essential European festivals for the autumn season, and this year’s is unquestionably the biggest and most diverse yet. This announcement highlights that without even saying it. All these groups? Yeah, I’d call them a fit. But doesn’t that just show how broad the sphere of Desertfest in general has become? Of course it does. I don’t think Desertfest Belgium could’ve come out of the gate in 2015 with Enslaved taking part, but now it makes sense to the point of not even being a question. Of course Enslaved are playing. Of course Child are coming from Australia to play. I mean, duh.

Here’s what the fest has to say about it:

desertfest belgium 2018 enslaved

DESERTFEST ANTWERP 2018 welcomes ENSLAVED, LUCIFER and more!

We continue the onslaught with another roundup of heaviness, and this one’s top heavy!

Desertfest has always been about expanding the idea of what is truly mindbending heavy music. Some of you may think the progressive black metal of Enslaved is a leftfield choice for the fest, but there you have it – it feels like a natural fit for us.

For those of you who still crave the boogie, don’t fret! The rest of our new additions will give you that heavy blues fix many times over, in all forms and shapes! First up we have the Berlin-based witchery of LUCIFER, paying glorious homage to ’70s hard rock while building on it with some impressive song craftmanship. CHILD is another take on the same era, with a psychedelic heavy blues infusion that belies the band’s Australian origin. They came to shred the ‘Fest in 2015, and they will return to shred once more!

In a more loose caboose vein, Blood Of The Sun will offer up no-frills Texan boogie that is all about ridin’ that muscle car down the desert road, beer and reefer in hand. Oh yeah: and lots of organ, oh that glorious organ! Finally, for those of you who want it nasty and just a little bit dangerous, there’s Sonic Wolves, a sideproject featuring Vita from Ufomammut and the most awesome DoomQueen Kayt Vigil – and that is all you need to know really.

We have been warning you about those Reduced Combi Tickets, right? Well, one day they’re just… there. But the next minute, they may be gone. Don’t stick around until they’re gone. Get them while they are still here. It’s better for everyone.

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/364607267372737/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Enslaved, “The River’s Mouth” official video

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Desertfest Belgium 2018 Announces Amenra to Headline; Naxatras, Whores., Timestone and Swedish Death Candy Added to Lineup

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

Five new lineup additions for Desertfest Belgium 2018 this time around, and with countrymen headliners Amenra as part of it, the festival immediately expands its overall context like the other Desertfests before it. And while Amenra will top the bill — they won’t be the only ones — also joining the roster for the weekend are Greek jam-psych forerunners Naxatras, woefully-monikered noise rockers Whores., as well as Timestone and Swedish Death Candy. It’s a bit all over the place this time around, but with a lineup that already includes the likes of Crowbar and Elder alongside not only each other, but YOB, John Garcia, Acid King and others, the Antwerp-based fest seems to be in the process of putting together its most varied edition yet. I’m not sure how much more they’ll add to what’s already been announced, but even if they called it quits here, it’d still be well worth the trip.

Info came down the PR wire as follows:

desertfest belgium 2018 amenra

DESERTFEST ANTWERP 2018: Amenra, Whores & more confirmed

Although you have all given us much love for the line-up so far, we know that a lot of you have been waiting with bated breath for the announcement of our first headliner…

…and here it is. At Desertfest Belgium, we’ve always taken pride in the best of the heaviest our country has to offer. And so it is with the greatest of pleasures that we finally have the absolute heaviest of heaviest in the land to ravish our stage: AMENRA will headline DF Antwerp 2018.

A band that has pummeled crowds all over Europe and The States, and released on the Neurot label of kindred spirits Neurosis. A band that transcends the genre as none other, a band fit to rule Desertfest!

But let it be known that our other new arrivals broaden the spectrum of sounds at the Fest even further. Naxatras is a Greek band that has grown increasingly more ambitious with each release, now incorporating prog, funk and jazz in their psychedelic jam-based stew. In contrast, Whores is as monolithic as they come, providing the perfect soundtrack to a blunt object repeatedly hitting you hard in the face.

Let’s also not forget the name of our festival, and where it comes from. Timestone may hail from Austria, but their pure brand of desert stoner will transport you to the desert for sure! And finally, we’d like to make a prediction here: sometime very soon, Swedish Death Candy will be a name to be reckoned with. They have it all: insanely fuzzy riffs, smart songwriting, catchy vocal harmonies, and just the right amount of unhinged feedback. Consider this a band to discover at the Fest!

Now about those Reduced Combi Tickets. You know we still have hem on offer at €95 right? We just don’t know how long they will last… so don’t be that guy or gal crying over lost opportunities, get yours today!

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/364607267372737/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Amenra, Mass VI (2017)

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Review & Album Premiere: King Heavy, Guardian Demons

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

king heavy guardian demons

[Click play above to stream King Heavy’s Guardian Demons in full. Album is out June 22 on Cruz Del Sur Music.]

From the first strains of opener ‘Guardian Demon,’ King Heavy make plain their intentions for their second album, Guardian Demons. The Cruz Del Sur-delivered six-tracker runs 43 minutes and follows the model of classic, traditionalist doom metal. More to the point, not just doom, but doom for doomers, by doomers, and of doomers. With bassist Daniel Pérez Saa, guitarist Matias Aguirre and drummer Miguel Canessa based in Chile and vocalist Luther Veldmark making his home in Belgium, they may not be a band who gets together every week for rehearsal in the practice space — or they may be, at least instrumentally — but they’re certainly schooled in the ways of the genre.

Candlemass are arguably the biggest single influence on cuts like “Guardian Demon” and “(Death is But an Extreme Form of) Narcosis,” which follows, but it’s not the only one. Saint Vitus, Black Sabbath, Reverend Bizarre and probably dozens of their acolytes all have a role to play in King Heavy‘s sound, which makes no attempt to hide or mask its base of inspiration. Still, it seems to be a Leif Edling-esque style of riffing that holds the day, given encouraging sweeps of double kick in the drums and lumbering marches alike. They never crawl, exactly, but there’s plenty of stomp throughout anyhow, and the communication from band to audience is clear and without pretense. They’re a doom band. That’s where their heart lies. They present their sound without pretense otherwise, and as such, feel particularly sincere in their sonic homage and will to carry forward the mission of their forebears.

So just how doomed is it? Quite doomed. Doomed enough that its third track, “Doom Shall Rise,” is written in apparent tribute to the festival in Germany that ran between 2003 and 2013 — which also happens to reportedly be where Veldmark and Saa first met in 2005 and they decided to form a band. Sadly, they’d never get to play there. That track contains references to Mirror of Deception, The Well of Souls — presumably the band, but it’s also a Candlemass song — Procession, Shepherd, etc., and if you ever needed a clear line of a group communicating on the same level as their listener, that’s it. It’s not only King Heavy sharing their own work, but sharing their love of the stylistic terrain in which it resides. After the opening provided by “Guardian Demon” and “(Death is But an Extreme Form of) Narcosis,” it’s as though the band finally comes out and says what they’ve been insinuating all along in terms of their passion for doom and their sense of belonging in and to it.

As ever for the genre, there’s a bit of an us-vs.-the-world sensibility to it, but that’s as traditional as the Veldmark‘s Chritus Linderson-esque vocal on “(Death is But an Extreme Form of) Narcosis,” switching between gruffer shouts and smoother, mournful crooning, even as the riff and rhythmic push signal a triumph in progress. Likewise, lines like “Doom shall rise, and rise again,” and “Tonight, doom shall rise,” make the point firmly and without question, and the band leave little to mystery as Veldmark moves into Cathedral-esque layering in the second half of that song, which rounds out side A with a burst of energy that only continues on the especially catchy “Cult of the Cloven Hoof,” which the shortest inclusion at 5:19, but which underscores the point of the tightness and self-awareness in the band’s approach. That is to say, even with just one record behind them in their 2015 self-titled debut (also on Cruz Del Sur), they present themselves as having a clear idea of the doom they want to make and the knowledge of just the right shifts in tempo, melody and groove to make it a reality.

king heavy

A grim reality at that. After tracking on separate continents last time around, King Heavy brought Veldmark to Chile to record his vocals this time around, and the difference would seem to be palpable in the chemistry of the band. One would expect an uptick there going from a debut to a sophomore effort no matter the circumstance, but their feeling more like a band rather than a project is evident in the cohesion here, and with the context of the studio circumstances in consideration, it makes sense as to why. “Cult of the Cloven Hoof” is a fitting example of their execution. It’s tight, grueling in its slower stretches, righteous in its quicker parts, and it unfolds a sound that’s as timeless as one could ask. It leads to the more unhinged, 10-minute-topping “Come My Disciples,” which one might expect to be an Electric Wizard reference, but goes elsewhere sonically essentially by not departing the place it already is, but slowing it down.

“Come My Disciples” feels more open than much of Guardian Demons, with a drawn out solo in its second half that’s glorious in its miseries, particularly with the rumbling low end beneath holding down the central riff. Dead-on doom. Their closer, “As in a Nightmare,” brings them back to ground with a shorter runtime, resumed trod and Veldmark‘s command of his voice. As they have all along, they offset slower and quicker stretches in “As in a Nightmare,” and do so with a sharpness of attack that leads them to the big rock finish that closes out, a wash of cymbals and guitar and bass noise fading into oblivion at the close.

Guardian Demons isn’t a record made for everybody, and King Heavy isn’t a band for everybody. Their doom is like a scratch test to see who will get it and who won’t, and for sure, some won’t. But more likely than not, they couldn’t care less, since the audience they’re speaking to is bound to embrace them all the more for the feeling of exclusion of the outside. True doom? One hesitates to believe in any kind of authenticity enough to call something “true,” but there’s no doubting the sincerity behind the murky havoc King Heavy wreak on their second album.

King Heavy on Thee Facebooks

King Heavy on Bandcamp

King Heavy at Cruz Del Sur webstore

Cruz Del Sur Music on Thee Facebooks

Cruz Del Sur Music on Bandcamp

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Desertfest Belgium 2018: Crowbar, The Skull, Castle, Yuri Gargarin, and Sofy Major Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Who’s going to argue with this? Sludge, doom, psych, noise, and metal? It’s like Desertfest Belgium 2018 decided its third announcement was when it would encompass the scope of underground heavy in one go. It’s got oldschool and newschool vibes, American and European bands next to each other, and fucking Castle, who just never stop touring ever. Never ever. I’m pretty sure they made their new record in the back of their van.

Maybe not, but still.

Seriously, the list of bands says it all, and the roster of acts they join only makes Desertfest Belgium all the more significant in Europe’s massively-crowded Fall festival scene. I’m not going to tell you to buy tickets or travel if you’re not in a financially secure situation or something, but if you have to sell your car and become a curiously aged European street urchin, complete with backpack and dog, this one might be worth it.

Behold:

desertfest belgium 2018 crowbar

Since you all liked our last announcement so much, we’re already back with another one!

And oh boy… Another quintuple hit of doom, rock, metal, psychedelics and whatever strikes your fancy, here we go…

First up, the absolute heavyweights of Southern sludge will grace our stage for the first time. Yes, Crowbar will be charged up fresh from their upcoming Eastern Europe tour in the summer, so expect them to be sharp as a razor and hard as nails at Desertfest Antwerp 2018!

Another scene stalwart, this time in the traditional doom vein, we welcome former Trouble makers The Skull, who reportedly will come loaded with a fresh sophomore album, out on Tee Pee Records in the fall.

For some more traditional doom vibes with a nice dose of occult rock, San Fransiscan trio Castle – Metal Band will be back at our festival after their killer set in 2016. We are also most pleased that the Swedish spacerock shuttle Yuri Gagarin will land at DF Antwerp from whatever outer space voyage they’ve embarked on. They’ve got an interstellar live reputation, so expect this to be a highlight for sure! And finally, we close off this batch of goodness with something French and sleazy. SOFY MAJOR is a noiserock outfit that will hit you in the face like a solid steel beercan.

So rest assured, your precious Reduced Combi Tickets will be well worth… what’s that? You STILL haven’t bought your tickets you say? Even though they’re still a steal at €95 for three days? This will not stand! We’ll give you just a little more time to go get them, but next time we see each other, don’t give us any excuses you hear!

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/364607267372737/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Crowbar, Live in Flint, Michigan, March 2018

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Desertfest Belgium 2018 Adds Elder, Dopethrone, Sasquatch, Eagle Twin & Black Moth

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Desertfest Belgium 2018 has made its second round of lineup announcements, including a couple North American heavy hitters like Elder, Dopethrone, Sasquatch and Eagle Twin. These, along with UK outfit Black Moth make up the five bands who join the previously announced Acid King, YOB, John Garcia and Wo Fat, making it a thus-far American-leaning lineup to be sure, though I have little doubt that will even out over the coming months. Don’t forget, this fest isn’t until October, and that’s not exactly this weekend or anything like that.

Whatever the geography, anyplace that has YOB, Acid King, Elder and Sasquatch hanging around — let alone playing — is someplace you should want to be. Tickets are on sale, and on sale, now, as the PR wire affirms:

desertfest belgium 2018 elder

DESERTFEST ANTWERP 2018: Elder, Dopethrone & more confirmed

Are you ready for another lethal dose of Desertfestian awesomeness?

Good, ’cause that’s exactly what we’re here to deliver! Here’s five (count’em!) more bands that will absolutely slay come October, with no filler in sight.

We’re delighted to welcome back Elder to the DF stage after their blistering show in 2016. Next up, Dopethrone wants to show you why exactly their upcoming new album is called ‘Transcanadian Anger’. Rocking, pissed off and dope as fuck – exactly how we prefer our sludge.

In a more traditional stoner vein, we have Black Moth from Leeds (UK) and Sasquatch from LA. Both are known to deliver the grooves and riffs as well as the songs and melody, and both have more than a decade of solid live reputation behind them. Two quality picks for the real connoisseurs out there. Finally, from the depths of Salt Lake City comes Eagle Twin, whose new album ‘The Thundering Heard’ reaches new heights of shamanic delirium. A power duo if there ever was one!

All of this, and still no shortage of Reduced Combi Tickets at the price of €95. Are we crazy? Well, yes. So make sure you grab your ticket before we come to our senses – this high won’t last forever, but it’ll last you until the next announcement in a few weeks.

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/364607267372737/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Elder, Reflections of a Floating World (2017)

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