Buried Treasure: The Johnny Arzgarth Haul

Posted in Buried Treasure on November 7th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

The loot was manifold. Priority Mail flat-rate boxes spread across a long table in a dining room, packed full of old promos from years past. Many of them were familiar to me — sleeves of this or that label release, jewel case demos from just a few years back when such a thing didn’t seem outlandish. Bent-corner digipaks, some of records I’ve known, enjoyed, reviewed, or put on an office shelf to languish, and many others unfamiliar, new names, or older releases from recognizable purveyors of the peculiar styles that were once lumped under the general banner of the old StonerRock.com.

Small Stone bands — Roadsaw, Lord Fowl, Freedom Hawk — played through computer speakers, which was appropriate, since it was the same night as the Boston Small Stone showcase at Radio. This, however, was earlier in the afternoon, and the boxes, the table, the computer speakers and the lovely house in Massachusetts in which they all resided belonged to one John Pegoraro, also known as Arzgarth. The promos were discs he’d accumulated over the years writing for the aforementioned and still-missed outlet, and I was more than happy to give them a good home.

There was some genuine treasure in the mix, and some albums John seemed loathe to part with — a feeling I can certainly understand, owning as I do many CDs that I’ll probably never want to listen to again and still others I never listened to in the first place and yet can’t seem to wrap my brain around getting rid of. Not to say anything against Mountain Mirrors or Whoremaon or Dark Fog or Lost Youth, whose discs I haven’t even had the chance to hear as of today, but it was probably harder to let go of older stuff like Bible of the Devil‘s 2002 sophomore outing, Firewater at My Command, Throttlerod‘s By the Horns 1999 demo, Freedom Hawk‘s Universal demo or Roadsaw‘s Takin’ Out the Trash. No joke, I was honored to be able to take these things and the rest with me when I left.

Along with stuff by Slomatics, Assrockers — from whence Borracho sprang — and Michigan devil worshipers Beast in the Field (their first and third), those were some of the highlights of the haul, but things like Mean Mother ‘s 2009 self-titled, the self-titled Telestrion and a promo-only copy of Yellow #5‘s Demon Crossing, which featured Brant Bjork on drums and Dave Catching on guitar and basked in Palm Desert weirdness, were a boon as well. I grabbed the first Mind Funk, which was recommended to me a long time ago, two records from Iron Giant, the self-titled Maligno, some Hawg Jaw, an L7 live record on Man’s Ruin, and stuff by Lords of Bastard, The Red Plastic BuddhaObskuria, Upwards of Endtime and The Valley as well.

Collector’s impulse, which I suppose is what had me there in the first place, led me to pick up the jewel case promo of the self-titled debut from Kalas, released on Tee Pee in 2006. The band was a side-project for Matt Pike at the time, and I already own it — I actually never got a full-artwork copy, so now I just have two of the promos — but it’s not something you see around, and again, I figured better to have it than not. You never know when a meteor will strike the ‘Ka-Ki’ shelf and you might need a replacement waiting in the wings.

It was an exceptional opportunity from an exceptionally good dude (you can read Arz‘s review of that night’s showcase here), and I look forward to continuing to dig through the box, pull out discs at random, and enjoy listening. I’ve got a ways to go, but if it’s a long haul, count me in. Thanks John for the chance.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bible of the Devil Interview with Mark Hoffmann: Swearing the Hijacked Oath to Always Know What is Right on Night Street

Posted in Features on May 25th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Primo makers of Midwestern mischief, it’s nonetheless been nearly four-friggin’ years since the last Bible of the Devil album came out, so the arrival of For the Love of Thugs and Fools is well received. The Chicago four-piece’s last album, 2008’s Freedom Metal, was a highlight of that year, crisply produced by Sanford Parker and maybe not capturing the band’s live sound — driven ever forward by their dual (also “duel” in the sense that they seem to be in an eternal battle against that which is neither awesome nor about the night) proto-NWOBHM guitars — but still presenting their best collection of songs to date. With For the Love of Thugs and Fools, though, the date just changed.

The album — which, much to my shame, hasn’t been reviewed yet (I said I was deprioritizing digital promos and I meant it); though I did premiere a track — is rawer than was its predecessor, but even so, it’s immediately clear that the foursome of guitarist/vocalists Mark Hoffmann and Nate Perry, bassist Darren Amaya and drummer Greg Spalding put whatever time they actually had apart between touring and releasing splits with ül, Blade of the Ripper and Winterhawk to good use. For the Love of Thugs and Fools not only matches Freedom Metal punch for punch in having two songs with the word “night” in the title, but it surpasses that album in its more natural feel, the band returning to producer Mike Lust, who helmed some of their earliest recordings.

What’s more, Bible of the Devil hold a special place in Obelisk lore and personally for me for being the first interview I ever posted on this site, so it was an extra pleasure to speak to Hoffmann again about For the Love of Thugs and Fools and what he and the rest of the band has done in the years since issuing Freedom Metal. Same as last time, he wasn’t as much of a talker as some others, but nonetheless friendly and especially open when it came to discussing the band’s ongoing friendship with San Francisco’s Slough Feg, with whom they’ve toured several times over and are planning to release a split 10″. The ongoing theme of the night in Bible of the Devil song titles — as witnessed on “I Know What is Right (In the Night)” and “Night Street” on this album and “Hijack the Night” and “Night Oath” on the last — comes from a running gag between the two acts, and when I brought it up, I could almost hear the smile through the phone along with the prevailing laughter.

So while the following discussion is relatively short, take that as an extension of Bible of the Devil‘s penchant for rock classicism mixed with their no-bullshit ethic — both equally admirable traits. We still found room to talk about the correlation between “Ol’ Girl” from Freedom Metal and “Yer Boy” from For the Love of Thugs and Fools, the band’s changing tour ethic, songwriting methods and ongoing affection for all things Thin and Lizzy.

Full Q&A can be found after the jump. Please enjoy.

Read more »

Tags: , , ,

audiObelisk: Bible of the Devil Stream Scorching New Track from For the Love of Thugs and Fools; Tour Dates Announced

Posted in audiObelisk on April 17th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Splits with Blade of the Ripper and Züül have somewhat filled the void since 2008’s Freedom Metal was unleashed on an unsuspecting underground, but what the world needs now is some new Bible of the Devil. The hard-rocking Chicago foursome further their love of all things Thin Lizzy and NWOBHM on their sixth album, For the Love of Thugs and Fools, which reunites them with producer Mike Lust (Tight Phantomz), who previously helmed 2003’s Tight Empire.

The record, out via Cruz Del Sur on May 8, roughens up some of the melodic grace of Freedom Metal, but as songs like “Out for Blood” and “Yer Boy” (“When did yer boy come back into town” being the opening line) prove, For the Love of Thugs and Fools continues Bible of the Devil‘s streak of exceptionally well-composed, memorable songs, two of which go so far feature the word “night” in the title. “I Know What is Right (In the Night)” and the closer, “Night Street.” “I Know What is Right (In the Night)” even has a sax solo. Awesome.

Their moments of twin-axe glory are manifold, as are stretches of somehow particularly Chicagoan grit, and as they were the first interview that ever went up on this site, they’ll always be a sentimental favorite. As such, I was thrilled when permission came through for me to host the killer side-B tune, “Anytime” for streaming. You’ll hear the lineup of vocalist/guitarist Mark Hoffman, guitarist/vocalist Nate Perry, bassist Darren Amaya and drummer Greg Spalding proffering their Phil Lynott worship during the verse but coming around to an infectious chorus that couldn’t possibly come from anyone other than Bible of the Devil. Naturally, badass guitar antics abound.

Stream “Anytime” on the player below, and check out the band’s latest tour dates following, courtesy of the PR wire:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

Veteran Chicago rock ‘n’ roll band Bible of the Devil are set to strike out on the 14-date “In Raw We Trust” tour in support of their forthcoming release, For the Love of Thugs and Fools, due out on May 8 via Cruz Del Sur Music. Tour dates are as follows:

05/04 Madison, WI The Frequency
05/05 Minneapolis, MN Hexagon Bar
05/06 Rapid City, SD Budd Ugly’s
05/08 Omaha, NE The Waiting Room
05/09 Kansas City, MO The Riot Room
05/10 Wichita, KS Barleycorn’s
05/11 Denver, CO 3 Kings Tavern
05/12 Albuquerque, NM Burt’s Tiki Lounge
05/13 Las Cruces, NM The Train Yard (house party)
05/15 San Antonio, TX Nightrocker Live
05/16 Austin, TX Red 7
05/17 New Orleans, LA Siberia
05/18 Memphis, TN Hi-Tone Cafe
05/19 Carbondale, IL PK’s

Tags: , , ,

Bible of the Devil: For the Love of Thugs and Fools Due May 8

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 20th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

It seems like just a few weeks ago that I was bemoaning the fact that Chicago dual-guitar madmen Bible of the Devil hadn’t had a new album in over three years. Because it was! Now, I don’t want to say that the members of Bible of the Devil read that post and were so struck by my plea for new material that they immediately wrote an album’s worth of songs and set to recording them, but I’m pretty sure we all know that’s exactly what went down. So, Bible of the Devil — thank you, and you’re welcome.

And on the off-chance Bible of the Devil didn’t put For the Love of Thugs and Fools to tape purely because I asked them too — impossible as it sounds, we should at least entertain the notion that they didn’t — we can still be glad the record has two songs with “night” in the title, as did its predecessor. Anything less would be unacceptable. For the Love of Thugs and Fools will be out May 8. The sooner the better.

Here’s the news off the PR wire:

Veteran Chicago rock ‘n’ roll band Bible of the Devil have announced the completion of their sixth full-length album and third for Rome, Italy-based label Cruz Del Sur Music. Entitled For the Love of Thugs and Fools, Bible of the Devil‘s eagerly anticipated follow-up to their 2008 release, Freedom Metal, is an assembly of raging rock ‘n’ roll songs that encapsulate the band’s saga musically and personally over the years since the last full-length. Returning to Phantom Manor studios in Chicago to work with engineer Mike Lust, who has engineered numerous BOTD recordings in the past, the band sought to emphasize their trademark bludgeoning two-guitar attack and mammoth hooks with an increased attention to soaring, anthemic vocals.

For the Love of Thugs and Fools is viewed by the band as a document of the many characters they have encountered through the life of the band, whether it be in love, loss, friendship, or hatred. Having toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe since the band’s inception in late 1999 and living in the volatile urban environment of Chicago, where encounters with crime, violence, and “street justice” are unavoidable, there has been much subject matter for the band to draw from. Embracing the philosophy that a bottle of whiskey and some loud guitar is often the best cure available for these challenges and ordeals, Bible of the Devil have chosen to document their grievances in the form of one devastating rock ‘n’ roll platter. Said singer/guitarist Mark Hoffmann, “The few years since the last full-length have been like a dare. A dare to create a soaring, punishing rock ‘n’ roll record of this magnitude. It is a dare that we have been forced to answer ourselves.” Fans of Bible of the Devil can expect yet another collection of fist-pumping heavy guitar classics-in-the-making, For the Love of Thugs and Fools.

Track Listing:
1. Sexual Overture/While You Were Away 6:02
2. Out for Blood 5:28
3. Anytime 4:20
4. The Parcher 5:28
5. (I Know What is Right) In the Night 5:16
6. Raw & Order 4:31
7. Can’t Turn off the Sun 5:14
8. Yer Boy 4:52
9. Night Street 5:07
Running Time 46:08

Tags: , , ,

Bible of the Devil Announce New Year’s Plans

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 29th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

We’re now on day 1,146 of this Bible of the Devil drought. It’s been more than three years since the Chicago asskicking specialists released their most excellent Freedom Metal album, and at the risk of being honest, I’m starting to feel it. The passage of time is wearing me down, and unlike those of you lucky enough to be situated somewhere in the proximity of Windy City venue Quenchers this New Year’s Eve, I won’t have the chance to get my fix anytime soon. Unless I buy their new 7″ split with Winterhawk that is. Maybe I’ll do that.

Here’s show and split-acquisition info. Go get you some:

Bible of the Devil will round out the 2011 year in style with one last show to take place at Quenchers. Details are as follows:

Quenchers 2401 N. Western
BOTD 12am
Tight Phantomz 11pm
$10 cover 9pm Doors 21+

The BOTD/Winterhawk split 7″ is now out and is going quickly.  There are a limited number of white and black copies available. Email Onslaught of Steel Records at zuulbooking@yahoo.com or botdmusic@gmail.com to get your copy while they last.

Tags: , ,

New Year’s Update from Bible of the Devil

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 29th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

Though they’re about half a day’s ride from me and I’m as able to go to one of their shows as I am to make an appearance in Georgia to catch Kylesa, it’s always good to hear from the dudes in Bible of the Devil and see what they’re up to, when their next gigs with Slough Feg are (April), and maybe get some news on when the follow-up to 2008’s spectacular Freedom Metal.

No word on the latter (though they do mention recording), but the band still has plenty of updates, so check it out:

There’s a few items of note from the Bible of the Devil camp as we approach 2011…

Looking for a rowdy, rad way to spend New Year’s Eve? Bible of the Devil will be playing Quenchers Saloon (Western & Fullerton) in Chicago with Tight Phantomz and Lovers. The cover on this one is $10 and is 21 and over.

Yes, you will actually have to pay a cover, but what are your other choices? Spend $100 to get in somewhere else? Who needs a crappy champagne toast when there’s plenty of PBR? BOTD will take the stage at the strike of 2011. Get there by 9pm or else you probably won’t get in! We also have our prized pint glasses now available for sale!

BOTD will be returning to Phantom Manor in two weeks to record new material for two forthcoming 7″ releases. Details to come.

Saturday, Jan. 29, sees Bible of the Devil‘s return to the Red Line Tap in Chicago for another edition of “Metal up Your Tap.” The lineup is absolutely ferocious and is not to be missed:

Bible of the Devil


High Spirits

Saturday, Jan. 29
Red Line Tap
(7006 N. Glenwood, Chicago)
9PM. 21 and over. $7 cover.

Tags: , , ,

Bible of the Devil to Play Brew Release Show Tomorrow Night

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 1st, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

I won’t be there to drink it, but for anyone in and around the Chicago area tomorrow, Obelisk favorites Bible of the Devil are playing a release show for their new microbrew, The Devil’s Handshake. Made in conjunction with the local 3 Floyds Brewery, I can only imagine it tastes like burnt rubber and guitar harmonics. In other words: delicious.

If you miss them there, they’ll also be at RADfest this weekend. Here’s the info direct from the band, courtesy of the PR wire:

As you know, Bible of the Devil joined forces a few weeks back with our allies at 3 Floyds Brewery in Munster, Indiana, to create what is believed to be the world’s first street metal ale, The Devil’s Handshake. This malicious and crucial brew will be available in limited quantities at selected worthy taverns and gin-joints around the Chicago area this month, most notably Map Room, Longman & Eagle, Small Bar, Piece and of course Quenchers. Tomorrow will be a most brewtal party to celebrate its release:

June 2nd, 2010, 9pm $5 donation
Quenchers Saloon

2401 N. Western Avenue, Chicago
The Devil’s Handshake
: 3 Floyds / Bible of the Devil
collaboration street metal ale release party with:

Bible of the Devil: 12am
Broken Teeth
(Austin, TX, feat. Jason McMaster of Dangerous Toys): 11pm
The Vibrolas
(Waynesburg, KY, ex-Hookers): 10pm

For those of you worried about getting in to the show, please show up at 8pm as Quenchers is limited in capacity. This event also marks Bible of the Devil‘s 600th show in its illustrious career. Come out and get parched!

Tags: , , ,

Bible of the Devil West Coast Tour Starts Tomorrow; Band’s Own Brew Forthcoming

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 31st, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

I know I’ve certainly hoisted a mug (or at least a party cup) in the direction of Chicago rockers Bible of the Devil on more than one occasion, and now, thanks to Three Floyds Brew Pub, the band will have their own beer with which to do the toasting. If you think about it, it’s a perfect fit. Rock and roll and beer! Who’d have thought?

Bible of the Devil‘s West Coast Parched in the Western World tour starts tomorrow, Thursday, April 1, in their hometown. Drummer Greg Spalding checked in with this update:

Bible of the Devil‘s mammoth West Coast tour kicks off this Thursday, April 1st @ Cobra Lounge in Chicago with Slough Feg. Joining the bill will be Chicago‘s own Hay Perro. Show starts at 10pm and there is no cover. Plenty of new merch and new songs for you all. We are in the midst of unseasonably warm weather here in Chicago so come on out and get demolished by this bill. After this the mayhem begins…

Parched in the Western World April US tour 2010:
April 1st Chicago, IL @ Cobra Lounge w/Slough Feg, Hay Perro
April 2nd Madison, WI @ The Frequency w/Slough Feg, Imperial Battlesnake
April 3rd Louisville, KY @ Third Street Dive w/Slough Feg, The Vibrolas
April 4th Carbondale, IL @ PK’s w/Slough Feg, Zuul
April 5th Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone Café w/Slough Feg, Dead-I-On
April 6th Austin, TX @ Emo’s w/Slough Feg, Radio Moscow, Naam
April 7th San Antonio, TX @ Nightrocker Live w/Slough Feg
April 8th Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad w/Slough Feg, Leeches of Lore
April 9th Scottsdale, AZ @ The Rogue w/Slough Feg, Vektor, Greenhaven
April 10th Los Angeles, CASpaceland w/Slough Feg, Professor
April 11th San Francisco, CA @ Thee Parkside w/Slough Feg, Orchid
April 12th Oakland, CA @ Oakland Metro w/Slough Feg, Elk, Cold Grave
April 13th Portland, OR @ Rotture w/Dark Black, Order of the Gash
April 14th Seattle, WA @ The Funhouse w/Witchburn, Hakai
April 15th Missoula, MT @ The Palace w/Rooster Sauce
April 16th Rapid City, SD @ Roman’s Pub w/Woman is the Earth
April 17th Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room w/Bloodcow, The Dinks, Desire to Destroy

Plenty more to come after this tour including news on BOTD‘s recording plans for its sixth album and who we are recording it with, plus our very own beer!! Yes, the fine folks at Three Floyd’s Brewery have agreed to make a beer in honor of BOTD. BOTD will even assist in the production of what is sure to be an absolutely punishing beer. A show will be dedicated for its release in June. More details to come.

Tags: , , ,