Live Review: Psycho Las Vegas Friday, 08.17.18

Posted in Features, Reviews on August 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

psycho las vegas

08.18.18 – 5:00AM – Saturday – Hotel room

Gluttons for punishment, unite! Cast off the chains of your dayjobs and journey to a druggy boozy place where you can smoke indoors and piss away your head-earned on, well, potentially, someone else’s hard-earned. You never liked those brain cells anyway, and what good have they done?

Me, I prefer my brains melted or otherwise obliterated with fatigue. Dripping out my ears, either way. But I see some folks around here going nuclear, and hey, I get it. Safe environment, plenty of support, nothing to lose. It’s self-directed cruelty more than anything else that keeps me sober. I don’t deserve the good time everyone else is having. Kablooey.

It was an early start for a busy day. 12:30PM. I’d imagine there were people who hadn’t gone to bed yet. But DVNE were not to be missed, so, I didn’t miss them. A lot of back and forth early and not really much staying-put later makes for a hell of a time, but everything is right there around the corner and everyone here is very nice. At least the people who’ve said hi to me. I’m sure just by simple population-sample math there are one or two jerks running around, but none I’ve run into.

Witchcraft didn’t make it. That’s a band I’ve dug on some level or other for more than a decade, but wasn’t gonna cry over it. Plenty to see besides with three stages open: The Joint, Vinyl and the Pool.

And like I said, early start. Went like this:

DVNE

dvne (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Good band. That’s what I wrote in my notes. Direct quote: Good band. Pro shop. For DVNE‘s first appearance on a US stage — and sizable US stage at that, in The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino — they hit it like absolute professionals. Crisp in their sound, intense in delivery, every bit in command of the room, from “go” onward. With full lighting and production behind them, CO2 canisters firing and lasers behind and their logo blasted on massive stage-side screens, the Edinburgh progressive post-metal four-piece certainly seemed to be made to feel welcome on what to them was foreign shores. Killed. Just nailed it. They have a new record out next year following up on last year’s righteous Asheran, and playing beneath oranges and reds that echoed that album’s cover art, they delivered a set that quite frankly, unless they break up tomorrow, I sincerely doubt will be their last time on an American stage. In other words, they seem ready to hit the road in a we’re-a-full-time-band-now kind of way, and more power to them. It’ll be worth keeping an eye out in 2019 for when they come through supporting their next full-length, but in the meantime, this set was basically serving early notice of a significant arrival.

Night Horse

Night Horse (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Sure, it’s been eight years since L.A.’s Night Horse released their second album, Perdition Hymns (review here), but what the hell? The double-guitar five-piece — one of those guitarists happens to be Justin Maranga from Ancestors — took the stage and quickly warmed up their classic your-dad’s-rock-was-better vibe that, with added charm from vocalist Sam James Velde introducing them by saying, “We’re Integrity from Cleveland, Ohio,” was a total blast. I’ll admit it’s been a while since the last time I had Perdition Hymns or their 2008 debut, The Dark Won’t Hide You, on for a spin, but even though Maranga forgot his slide and no one seemed to have a beer bottle to use instead, they definitely made it work. With guitarist Greg Buensuceso and bassist Nick D’Itri holding down the other side of the stage and drummer Norm Block swinging away in the middle, they were way more locked in than one might think for a band who haven’t really kicked around all that much in at least a half-decade. Velde stepped over the barricade and into the crowd during the last song and asked everyone to sit with him on the floor — a proposition that I’d imagine would be way stickier later in the day — while he told the story of the song, and it made for a special moment, as almost everyone actually did it. He got back up and they rocked to a finish, but if you ever needed to know how much Night Horse owned that room, they literally sat it down to give some background on their material. He could do that at every show for all I know, but it was something special here anyway and I felt lucky to see it.

The Munsens

The Munsens (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Denver trio The Munsens posted a new single earlier this week called “Dirge (For Those to Come)” as a preview of their upcoming full-length, Unhanded, and with it, gave a first look at a notable change in direction, pushing more into the territory of extreme sludge than even two years ago found them on their Abbey Rose EP (review here). With guitarist/vocalist Shaun Goodwin and bassist/vocalist Michael Goodwin welcoming drummer Graham Wesselhoff, the shift is easy enough to place, but a corresponding turn to harsher vocals and more grueling fare would seem to be at hand. Most, if not all, of what they played in Vinyl was also from Unhanded, and they unfurled an onslaught of tone and noise that seemed to bounce right off the back of the room and make a wall of death with the next riff cycle. It was brutal, and not as given to crust as Dopethrone, but seemed to be somewhat of that spirit. Delivered with a likewise visual assault of strobe, their time went quick — unless I passed out from all the flashing lights — but was well enough to get the point of the evolution they’ve undergone. I don’t know if I’ll be ready when Unhanded, hits, but at least I’ll see it coming.

Temple of Void

Temple of Void (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I don’t know whether Temple of Void are the doom of death or the death of doom, but fucking hell they’re heavy. The Detroit five-piece released their second LP, Lords of Death, last year on Shadow Kingdom, and they’d only dip back once to 2014’s Of Terror and the Supernatural (review here) for “Examinate Gaze,” while everything else was from the new album. Fair enough for the significant assault factor of their death metal plunge. They took the stage to the Lords of Death intro “The Charnel Unearthing” — which given the intensity of what followed, I almost found unnecessary; they hit it so hard, why give people the chance to get ready? — and from there proffered an extremity that went beyond even the death metal to the atmospheric weight of what they were doing. Vocalist Mike Erdody had a soulful, tortured aspect to his headbanging and while behind him drummer Jason Pearce slammed into his kit with palpable resentment thereof and guitarists Alex Awn and Eric Blanchard tore into searing riffs and leads given all the more weight by Brent Satterly‘s bass, the sense of emotionalism Erdody brought to his growls was something rare on either side of the genre. It was another level on which Temple of Void make their impact felt, and a distinguishing factor that resonated throughout their time.

Church of Misery

Church of Misery (Photo by JJ Koczan)

There was something of a crunch at this point in the schedule. Church of Misery were going on in the Joint while Temple of Void finished up in Vinyl, and then by the time the serial-killer-crazed Japanese riff lords were done, Yakuza would have already started, also in Vinyl. Still, history said “go see Church of Misery,” and history wasn’t wrong. Bassist/founder Tatsu Mikami is nothing less than doom royalty, and while I’ve seen him perform with several different lineups over the years, it always seems like he’s ready to deliver no matter who’s joined him on stage at the time. Psycho was no exception as he, vocalist/thereminist Hiroyuki Takano, guitarist Yasuto Muraki and drummer Junichi Yamamura ran through a selection of the hits: “Shotgun Boogie,” “I, Motherfucker,” “Born to Raise Hell” and so on. I’m not huge on the whole serial killer thing — by coincidence, I wound up in an elevator today with one of Charles Manson’s descendants who was telling his friends it’s way less cool when it’s your family — but regardless, Church of Misery did plenty of slaying on their own and made it easy to hope they record with this lineup, as it seemed like they were more than ready to get down to business at the Sabbathian core of what the band has always been about. I did end up poking my head in to see Yakuza for a moment — and Bruce Lamont is still way ahead of his time — but Church of Misery weren’t taking no for an answer. I was back in the Joint before long as they blew out the rest of their set and any number of eardrums in the process.

Tinariwen

Tinariwen (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Absolutely stunning. I knew next to nothing about the Tuareg group Tinariwen going into the announcement they’d play Psycho Las Vegas, but the schedule cut off both the pool and Vinyl stages while they played, so clearly they were an act Psycho wanted people to see. Rightly so. Dressed in robes and traditional garb and backed by hand percussion, the band led by guitarist/vocalist Ibrahim Ag Alhabib brought a desert blues that tied to Psycho better than one might’ve ever expected. With acoustic and electric guitars, bass and deep-running vocal arrangements, dancing on stage — some dancing in the crowd too — and video of them on huge screens on either side, it was no less of a production in terms of lighting and staging than Church of Misery or DVNE had been, but the soothing vibe and ebbs and flows in the music made it a total standout. They were another one I was going to stay for a bit and then wander off and find some more coffee, but I was hooked. They could’ve played twice as long and I don’t think I would’ve moved. Their set felt like a gift and on a day that wasn’t exactly hurting for highlights anyhow, they were something truly special to behold. Their 2017 album, Elwan, was recorded in the California desert and has quickly made its way to the front of my must-purchase line.

Boris

Boris (Photo by JJ Koczan)

In their 25-plus years, enough wax poetry has been written in honor of Japanese noise and heavy rock innovators, droners, experimentalists, J-poppers and anything-else-they-want-to-be-that-day Boris that even attempting to talk about their set feels superfluous. I’d only be echoing a chorus of praise that’s resounded for the last two decades. Suffice it to say, they’re masters at what they do. Individually and collectively, guitarist Wata, drummer Atsuo and guitarist/bassist Takeshi are relentless in their forward progression, and though most of what they played after a drifting, slower opening came from the Heavy Rocks and Pink-style, the wash of noise and over-the-top push were never far off. Their 2017 album, Dear (review here), was a stunning glimpse at where they’ve been in their time and where they might still go, and bathed in fog on the Joint stage, they captured much the same feel in celebrating their past while continuing to move ahead toward something new. I don’t know if it’s possible for Boris to be underrated, but the chemistry between them on stage — whether it’s Atsuo shouting into his headset mic to raise the energy level or Wata scorching out another solo or Takeshi switching from his rhythm guitar neck to his bass neck and hurling out blistering low end runs — is among the most pivotal aspects of what they do, and as much as they’ve done to push heavy rock to multiple avenues over their tenure, they’ve only gotten to be a more potent force live.

High on Fire

High on Fire (Photo by JJ Koczan)

If a single person could embody what Psycho Las Vegas is, it might be Matt Pike. The High on Fire frontman and Sleep guitarist has played all three editions of this festival in some form or other — time for a Kalas reunion? — and he, bassist Jeff Matz and drummer Des Kensel came out like the statesmen they are; one of the most crucial bands not just in underground heavy, but in the wider sphere of metal. Hugely influential, with a maddening signature gallop and tales of war and bludgeonry to delight the downtrodden of spirit. Their upcoming LP, Electric Messiah, marks the third collaboration between the trio and producer Kurt Ballou, and while they didn’t play anything from it, they did give due representation to 2015’s Luminiferous (review here) in “The Black Plot,” “Carcosa” and “Slave the Hive,”  and 2012’s De Vermiis Mysteriis (review here) with “Fertile Green” and “Serums of Laio,” while older works like 2007’s Death is This Communion (discussed here) and 2005’s Blessed Black Wings (discussed here) made their presence felt with cuts like “Rumors of War” and “Sons of Thunder.” I’d argue they were the night’s headliners even before Witchcraft dropped off, but either way, High on Fire were more than up to the occasion, and with “Blood from Zion” from 2000’s The Art of Self-Defense late in the set, they brought together past and present in a way that was every bit the culmination of the evening. There was still plenty more Psycho after them, but no doubt High on Fire left their mark on the night and all who assembled to see them.

I don’t know if you saw it, but on the social medias I posted a picture of The Pecan and asked if anyone could turn it into the cover of Vol. 4 by Black Sabbath. Several came in, which was hugely appreciated, and among them was this one from Slevin, which I subsequently spent the rest of the night staring at because it’s so friggin’ awesome. If you need me, I’ll be meme-ing my baby. Next up, his head on Jean-Luc Picard’s body. It will happen.

Anyway, I came back to the room after the show and sorted pictures and whatnot and then crashed out pretty soon thereafter to get up early and write. My alarm was set for six and I woke up a bit before five and decided to roll with it. Psycho starts an hour later today, but is another super-busy day, so I’m going to get some more rest in preparation for that. I may or may not check in again before that review goes up, depends on time, but there are more pics after the jump here and I appreciate you reading and taking time to have a look if you do.

Read more »

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Psycho Las Vegas 2018 Reveals Lineup; Dimmu Borgir, Hellacopters, Godflesh, Witchcraft and More to Play

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

Psycho Las Vegas 2018 logo

It’s only taken a few years for Psycho Las Vegas to establish itself as the premier underground festival in the US. All well and good. With 2018’s lineup, though, it’s time to start thinking of Psycho among the best in the world.

Sounds like too much? Consider Godflesh and Dimmu Borgir sharing a stage, both for exclusive West Coast appearances. Think of Sweden’s Witchcraft playing one of the two shows they’ll do in the US at Psycho, and ditto that for Japanese riff-madmen Church of Misery. Think of US exclusives from Lee Dorrian’s With the Dead, or Lucifer, whose Johanna Sadonis will also DJ the Center Bar. The commitment to up and coming underground acts local, domestic and foreign like Temple of Void, King Buffalo, Dreadnought, The Munsens and DVNE. Picture yourself watching Wolves in the Throne Room headline a pre-fest pool party with Elder, Young and in the Way, Dengue Fever, Fireball Ministry and Toke.

2018 is the year Psycho Las Vegas outclasses even itself and pushes further than it ever has in terms of stylistic reach (Integrity walks by and waves… at Boris) and the sheer power of its construction. If you’re looking for the future, you’ll find it in scumbag paradise.

Here’s the lineup:

Psycho Las Vegas 2018 poster

Psycho Las Vegas 2018

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas
4455 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, Nevada 89169

Tickets: https://www.vivapsycho.com/pages/tickets

PSYCHO LAS VEGAS 2018 lineup:
DIMMU BORGIR (west of chicago exclusive)
HELLACOPTERS (one of two shows to be played in the USA in 2018)
SUNN 0)))
GODFLESH (west of chicago exclusive)
WITCHCRAFT (one of two shows to be played in the USA in 2018)
ENSLAVED
AMERICAN NIGHTMARE
HIGH ON FIRE
ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT
RED FANG
ZAKK SABBATH
CHURCH OF MISERY (usa exclusive 2018 with exception to one other show in San Diego)
TINARIWEN
GOBLIN
CKY
VENOM INC
EYEHATEGOD
VOIVOD
BORIS
COVEN
INTEGRITY
PALLBEARER
WITH THE DEAD (USA exclusive 2018)
MONOLORD
LUCIFER (USA exclusive 2018)
ACID WITCH
SURVIVE
DOPETHRONE
BIG BUSINESS
UNEARTHLY TRANCE
MUTOID MAN
TODAY IS THE DAY
HELMS ALEE
SPIRIT ADRIFT
BATUSHKA
PRIMITIVE MAN
DVNE
ALL PIGS MUST DIE
EIGHT BELLS
WORMWITCH
INDIAN
NECROT
HOMEWRECKER
BRAIN TENTACLES
CLOAK
BLACK MARE
MAGIC SWORD
UADA
TEMPLE OF VOID
DREADNOUGHT
WOLVHAMMER
ASEETHE
DISASTROID
FORMING THE VOID
VENOMOUS MAXIMUS
GHASTLY SOUND
HOWLING GIANT
KING BUFFALO
NIGHT HORSE
THE MUNSENS
GLAARE

Paradise Pool Pre Party
August 16th

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM
ELDER
YOUNG AND IN THE WAY
DENGUE FEVER
FIREBALL MINISTRY
TOKE

Center Bar DJ’s
Andrew W.K.
Nicke Andersson (Entombed/Hellacopters)
Johanna Sadonis (Lucifer)

https://www.facebook.com/psychoLasVegas/
https://www.facebook.com/events/125340824913552/
http://vivapsycho.com

High on Fire, Live at Psycho Las Vegas 2016

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Roadburn 2018 Announces Boris Playing Absolutego, Godflesh Playing Selfless, Hooded Menace Playing Fulfill the Curse, Commissioned Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising Collaboration, and Much More

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Well, here’s Roadburn 2018 wishing you happy holidays as pretty much only Roadburn can. With Boris and Stephen O’Malley playing Absolutego in full, a one-off collaboration between Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising kicking off the festival, additional whole-record performances from Godflesh and Hooded Menace, a European debut from Khemmis, plus the likes of Thou & The Body, Motorpsycho, Fuoco Fatuo, Forgotten Tomb, Wolfbrigade and of course a completely overwhelming ton of others. So yeah, happy holidays from Roadburn, I guess. Probably even happier if you already have your tickets for next April.

If you don’t, gadzooks, I hear it’s the holidays.

From the PR wire:

roadburn 2018 new flyer

Further artists confirmed for 2018 edition of Roadburn Festival; including details of specially commissioned performance

– Dark Buddha Rising and Oranssi Pazuzu collaborate on commissioned project, Waste of Space Orchestra
– Boris join forces with Stephen O’Malley for Absolutego performance
– Jacob Bannon adds Godflesh, Motorpsycho, Thou x The Body and Forgotten Tomb to his curation
– Justin K Broadrick and Kevin Martin unite as Zonal, with Moor Mother
– Hooded Menace to play Fulfill The Curse in its entirety

COMMISSIONED PROJECT: WASTE OF SPACE ORCHESTRA

Artistic Director Walter Hoeijmakers commented:

“Roadburn has always been about bringing people together, creating a network where the line between friend, fan, performer and artist is blurred. The very foundation of Roadburn is the community that it is built upon, around, and within. Alongside this, Roadburn has always sought to push the boundaries of creativity and expression.

These two defining facets of Roadburn have been brought together for a brand new project – or rather, two brand new projects – for 2018. For the first time, we have commissioned a two groups of entirely separate musicians to create music to be performed specifically at Roadburn. Today we’re thrilled to announce the first of those groups of musicians.”

Familiar to most Roadburners, Dark Buddha Rising and Oranssi Pazuzu are combining their forces to write and perform a new concept piece especially for Roadburn 2018. The collaboration will be titled the Waste of Space Orchestra.

The performance will include ten musicians onstage plus an original video accompaniment, designed to tell a parallel story with the music. The ten-part, one hour piece is a dive into the consciousnesses of three beings – all of whom are on a search for deeper truths in comprehending reality.

The Waste of Space Orchestra performance will open the main stage on the first day of Roadburn 2018 – Thursday, April 19.

BORIS AND STEPHEN O’MALLEY PERFORMING ABSOLUTEGO

It was Absolutego that kickstarted everything for Boris in 1996 and put that strange little band from Tokyo named after a Melvins song on the map. If you further exercise your memory, you will surely recall that Absolutego was – above everything – a drone album, one single track that took the listener on a strange, intense and very dark trip.

We’ve invited Boris to come and perform that whole Absolutego giant of sound, and they said yes. Joining them for this exclusive, one off performance is none other than Stephen O’Malley.

Boris with Stephen O’Malley will play Absolutego on Saturday, April 21 at the 013 venue, Tilburg, The Netherlands.

JACOB BANNON’S CURATION

MOTORPSYCHO

“When discussing with Walter potential artists that fit the experimental spirit of Roadburn Festival, we both landed on the idea of Motorpsycho. I was first exposed to the band through their Demon Box album and have attempted to follow their unique twists and turns since. Their output is legendary and their need for experimentation has been inspiring to follow over the years. It is a true honor to help bring this diverse voice to the Roadburn audience.”

– Jacob Bannon.

GODFLESH

As part of Jacob Bannon’s curation, Godflesh will perform their groundbreaking album Selfless at Roadburn Festival 2018.

“I first experienced Godflesh when I picked up the Grindcrusher compilation from Earache Records as a teenager. The otherworldly power of Streetcleaner effected me in a way that I still find hard to describe. Since then I have been an avid follower of all music that Justin creates. Though I celebrate the expansive Broadrick catalog as a whole, it is his forays into melody under the Godflesh name I really connect with. Selfless as is an album that has everything for me. Punishing heaviness, incredible hooks, and limitless emotional depth. It is a true honor that they have agreed to play this album in its entirety at Roadburn 2018.”

– Jacob Bannon.

CURATION: THOU X THE BODY

“Since their inception I’ve been following Thou. Their restlessness and drive for experimentation has been inspiring to follow. The same goes for The Body. They’ve been such an incredible band to watch evolve from release to release. When they joined together on their Released From Love and You Whom I Have Always Hated collaborations I was floored. Together, they amplify the best parts of each band’s individual output. Making some of the heaviest and most intense music of the last few years. This collaboration is a must listen and perfect fit for Roadburn Festival.”

– Jacob Bannon

CURATION: FORGOTTEN TOMB

“I was first exposed to Forgotten Tomb through their incredible Springtime Depression album. To me, Herr Morbid’s vision was immediately appealing. Carrying a relatable sadness and inescapable darkness unequaled by other artists of the time. Since then I’ve been following his growth as an artist and the evolution of the band. I feel that artistically Forgotten Tomb are a perfect fit for the core Roadburn audience. They are a musical black hole that claims everything around it. I can’t wait to experience their set at Roadburn Festival 2018.”

– Jacob Bannon

ZONAL WITH MOOR MOTHER

Justin K. Broadrick is such an integral part of the Roadburn backbone by now that he needs little introduction. When it was announced that Justin and Kevin Martin, aka The Bug – who already made himself part of Roadburn with a staggering show alongside Dylan Carlson of Earth this year – would reunite under the name Zonal (a spiritual continuation from their iconic Techno Animal duo) it registered on our always-on radar. They will be joined by Camae Ayewa, the musician, activist and poet from Philadelphia who also goes by the name Moor Mother.

HOODED MENACE

Since their earliest rumblings, Finnish cult doomsters Hooded Menace have held an astonishingly high profile in the underground realms. Their uniquely energetic take on the classic hybrid of doom and death metal has been invigorating audience since the release of their 2008 classic, Fulfill the Curse. We’re thrilled to announce that the band will perform this classic album in full at Roadburn 2018.

ALSO CONFIRMED

Classic heavy doom from Khemmis

Move or be moved by Wolfbrigade 

Tribulation’s Jonathan Hultén will haunt Het Patronaat

Worship will perform Last Tape Before Doomsday in its entirety

Get sucked into a cold, dark void by Fuoco Fatuo 

Welcome the wild and unrestrained spirit of Alda

Zuriaake will be the first Chinese band to perform at Roadburn Festival.

Some nightmares take us towards Vampillia

VMO will prove they are more than “just” a side project

Head out on an exhilarating ride with Watter

Allow yourself to shape shift with Hail Spirit Noir

Watch Kairon; Irse! defy time and space

Dive headfirst into Hortes dreamy slumber

Old Tower make their live debut at Roadburn 2018.

TICKET ONSALE INFORMATION
Roadburn 2018 tickets are on sale now. 3 and 4 day tickets are currently available, with day tickets going on sale at a later date.

4-day-tickets €198,40 (including €3,40 service fees)
3-day-tickets €175,40 (including €3,40 service fees)

Camping tickets are also available to purchase, with additional options (such as Festipis and camper vans) also possible. This year the urban campsite will be in a new location – but still within walking distance to the 013 venue – providing a comfortable and affordable option for Roadburn attendees.

Click here for more information on tickets and the campsite

https://www.facebook.com/roadburnfestival/
http://www.twitter.com/Roadburnfest
http://www.instagram.com/roadburnfest
http://www.roadburn.com

Roadburn 2018 Fourth Announcement Video

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Amenra and Boris to Co-Headline Europe and UK Tour in January

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

I think at this point there are few who would challenge the supposition of Amenra‘s dominance when it comes to European post-metal. The strobe-prone Belgian outfit released their latest masterwork, Mass VI, last month through Neurot Recordings and Consouling Sounds, and in the New Year, they’ll team up with Japanese experimentalist heroes Boris for a full run of co-headlining dates in the UK and EU. Boris of course are out supporting their own 2017 offering, Dear (review here), which was issued to coincide with their 25th anniversary, as if they needed an excuse to be brilliant.

For whatever it’s worth — and by my estimate, not much — I’m not the hugest Amenra fan, but their live presentation is a spectacle to behold if you have the opportunity to do so. They’re not strangers to touring in Europe, but the pairing with Boris would seem to make this run all the more of an occasion.

From the PR wire:

amenra boris tour

AMENRA Announces Co-Headlining 2018 European/UK Tour With Boris

Heavy music luminaries AMENRA and Boris have announced co-headlining European and UK tour for early 2018. The two acts will tour from February 14th through March 4th, marking the first full UK tour for AMENRA.

Mass VI is out now on Neurot Recordings. The European version has a different mix and master, as well as different artwork and design than the US version, mixed and mastered by Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Oathbreaker) at the Atomic Garden, San Francisco. The deluxe edition 2xLP 45rpm 180-gram album is available in different limited colors. Order Mass VI in the US through Neurot Recordings and via Consouling Sounds in Europe.

AMENRA Tour Dates:
12/01/2017 De Leest – Izegem, BE (acoustic)
1/13/2018 Gaité Lyrique – Paris, FR
1/19/2018 Stevenskerk – Nijmegen NL
1/20/2018 Doornroosje – Nijmegen NL
1/28/2018 Festsaal Kreuzberg – Berlin, DE
1/29/2018 Colos-saal – Aschaffenburg, DE
2/14/2018 Thekla – Bristol, UK w/ Boris
2/15/2018 Heaven – London, UK w/ Boris
2/16/2018 Arts Centre – Norwich, UK w/ Boris
2/17/2018 Rescue Rooms – Nottingham, UK w/ Boris
2/18/2018 Gorilla – Manchester, UK w/ Boris
2/19/2018 St. Lukes – Glasgow, UK w/ Boris
2/20/2018 Brudenell Social Club – Leeds, UK w/ Boris
2/21/2018 Aeronef – Lille, FR w/ Boris
2/22/2018 Drucklufthaus – Oberhausen, DE
2/23/2018 Beatpol – Dresden, DE w/ Boris
2/24/2018 Progresja – Warsaw, PL w/ Boris
2/25/2018 Palac Akropolis – Prague, CZ w/ Boris
2/26/2018 A38 – Budapest, HU w/ Boris
2/27/2018 Kino Siska – Ljubljana, SL w/ Boris
2/28/2018 Locomotiv – Bologna, IT w/ Boris
3/01/2018 Monk – Rome, IT w/ Boris
3/02/2018 Santeria Social Club – Milan, IT w/ Boris
3/03/2018 Jubez – Karlsruhe, DE w/ Boris
3/04/2018 Patronaat – Haarlem, NL w/ Boris
4/06/2018 Depot – Leuven. BE
4/07/2018 Durbuy Rock Festival – Durbuy, BE
4/08/2018 Cactus Club – Brugge, BE
4/13/2018 Eden – Charleroi, BE
4/14/2018 MOD – Hasselt, BE

http://www.churchofra.com
http://www.ritualofra.com
http://www.facebook.com/churchofra
http://www.neurotrecordings.com
http://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings

Amenra, “A Solitary Reign” official video

Boris, “Absolutego” official video

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Boris, Sólstafir, Desert Suns & Chiefs, Elara, Fungus Hill

Posted in Radio on July 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk radio cavum

Some bigger releases going up to the playlist for The Obelisk Radio this time around, and that’s just fine by me. It’s five albums listed here, but there are a few others included as well that you can see listed on the updates page and it’s good stuff all the way around. It was all actually supposed to go up last week, but you know, life is chaos and all that. I hope as always that you manage to find something you enjoy, and if you haven’t heard some of this stuff as yet — I suspect you have, because you know what’s up and I’m perpetually behind on these things; more than just a week, on average — then all the better. Let’s dig in together.

The Obelisk Radio adds for July 31, 2017:

Boris, Dear

boris dear

If you were Boris and you were looking to celebrate a quarter-century of innovating heavy rock, noise, drone, J-pop, and genreless forays into bizarre sonic delights, how would you do it? If you said, “I’d release 69 heavy-as-hell minutes of rumbling tectonics and progressive scope making for one of the best albums of the year,” you’d seem to be on the money. The Japanese trio’s umpteenth full-length, Dear (on Sargent House in the US/EU and Daymare in Japan), begins with the appropriately-titled “D.O.W.N. – Domination of Waiting Noise,” setting forth a consuming six-minute onslaught of feedback and lumbering pummel before the SunnO)))-rivaling drone of “Deadsong” takes hold, shifting at its midpoint to a spaciousness all Boris‘ own. Then they chug out galloping riff triplets on “Absolutego” like it ain’t no thing. That’s Boris: the band who named themselves after a Melvins song and then utterly outdid their namesake on every creative level and have continued to do so throughout one of underground music’s most landmark tenures. Dear offers simultaneous melodic breadth and droning depth on its centerpiece duo of “Kagero” and “Biotope” after counteracting minimalist march with explosive crash on “Beyond,” but they’re still just getting started. The seven-minute “The Power” leads off the second of the two LPs and seems to stem upward from the same roots as YOB at their harshest, brutally feedbacking into the dronegaze of the shorter “Memento Mori” before the 12-minute “Dystopia – Vanishing Point” and the nine-minute title-track comprise a side D that’s nothing less than a triumphant lesson in how to meet your audience head-on right before you swallow them whole, setting its stage with keys and tribalist drums quickly before hypnotizing through five minutes of quiet stretch and bursting gloriously to life ahead of one last contrast of empty spaces and crushing tonality on “Dear” that gives way at last to the noise and feedback that’s always been so essential to their process. If Dear is a letter to Boris‘ fans, as they have said, it is also a willful embrace of the wide-open sensibilities that have made the last 25 years of their craft so uniquely their own. They can go anywhere stylistically and remain Boris precisely because they refuse to settle on a single idea that defines them.

Boris on Thee Facebooks

Boris at Sargent House’s website

 

Sólstafir, Berdreyminn

solstafir berdreyminn

Having now passed the 20-year mark since their founding in 1995, Iceland’s Sólstafir continue to reshape melancholy in their own image on their sixth album and third for Season of Mist, Berdreyminn. The Reykjavik-based four-piece keep the significant achievements of 2014’s Ótta (review here) close to the chest throughout the eight-track/57-minute offering, but songs like “Ísafold” have an upbeat push behind their emotional resonance, and even on a brooding piano piece like “Hvít Sæng,” the overarching sense of motion and the dynamic is maintained. The penultimate “Ambátt” — first of two eight-minute cuts in a finale duo — might be Berdreyminn‘s richest progressive achievement, with its lush opening vocal harmonies giving way to a patiently-delivered clinic on texture, build and payoff that borders on the orchestral. Of course, strings and horns to appear on the album, adding to already complex arrangements, but Sólstafir never lose their corresponding human center, and as “Bláfjall” closes with an intensity of thrust hinted at by the cymbal-crash wash of opener “Silfur-Refur” and the post-blackened push of “Nárós” but ultimately on its own level, they underline the realization and poise that is simply all their own. Berdreyminn is the sound of a band doing important work, and with it, Sólstafir only prove themselves more crucial on an aesthetic level, yet it might be their ability to somehow still feel in-progress that most defines what makes them so special. More than two decades on, they still come across like a group exploring their sound and finding new ways to develop their songwriting — which they are and which they do here. That in itself is an accomplishment worthy of every accolade they reap, and Berdreyminn lives up to that standard front to back across its engaging, encompassing span.

Sólstafir on Thee Facebooks

Sólstafir at Season of Mist’s website

 

Desert Suns & Chiefs, The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter 5

second-coming-of-heavy-chapter-5-desert-suns-chiefs

Ripple Music has made its The Second Coming of Heavy series of split LPs an essential showcase of the variety in underground rock. The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter 5 brings together San Diego heavy psych/blues rockers Desert Suns, who also reissued their debut long-player through Ripple in 2016 and followed it with the single “The Haunting” (review here) in conjunction with Ripple and HeviSike Records, and Phoenix, Arizona’s Chiefs, whose 2015 debut, Tomorrow’s Over (review here), arrived on vinyl via Battleground Records and whose five tracks included on side B here cast them among the best Ripple Music bands in the Southwest not currently signed to Ripple Music for their next album. More than some prior installments, The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter 5 finds its two featured purveyors complementing each other’s work excellently, as Desert Suns offer three seven-plus minute tracks running from the harmonica-inclusive “Night Train” and the rolling, long-fading “Solitude” with the push of “Heavy” in between and Chiefs — though their individual runtimes are shorter — holding straightforward heavy/desert rock methods at their core in unpretentious fashion across “The Rhino,” the standout “Baron to Chancellor,” “Low Tide,” “Caroline” and “My Last Stand,” nodding initially at ’90s noise rock à la Helmet in “The Rhino” but in the end keeping to their sandy, well-structured mission. As ever, The Second Coming of Heavy asks nothing more of its audience than a basic exploration of the groups included, and certainly both Desert Suns and Chiefs earn that. Whether one takes it on in the context of the prior chapters or as a standalone split release, it delivers a collection of cuts from two outfits with a shared core of quality songcraft and the underlying message that sometimes the straight-line route is the way to go. Right on, once again.

Desert Suns on Thee Facebooks

Chiefs on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Elara, Deli Bal

elara deli bal

Both sides of Elara‘s PsyKa Records-released debut full-length, Deli Bal, are comprised of one shorter track on either side of eight minutes and one longer one, 12 and 17 minutes, respectively. Between that and the cover art, it should come as no surprise that heavy psychedelic drift is central to what the Stuttgart, Germany, trio of bassist/vocalist Daniel Wieland, guitarist/noisemaker Felix Schmidt and drummer Martin Wieland — who also stylize their name as the bracketed [Elara Sunstreak Band] — get up to in their first offering, but there’s an underlying progressive melodic sensibility as well, and Schmidt‘s guitar seems to have picked up a few lessons from My Sleeping Karma‘s minor-key solo mysticism, so one can hear a sound beginning to take shape early as the leadoff title-track gives way to “Amida,” which swaps back and forth between organ-laden krautrock meandering and fuller-fuzz thrust, and as “Quarantania” reinforces that classic vibe with a warm bass tone from Daniel. Whether you’re listening to the platter itself and switching sides or digitally or on CD, Deli Bal is clearly intended to be consumed as a whole work, and one can hear the vocal melody of “Harmonia” tying back to that in the opener as another example of the underlying structure with which it plays out, despite the broad feel of the songs themselves and the expanses they both intend and actually do cover. The LP has just the four tracks, but the digital version comes with the 9:42 bonus cut “Trimenon,” which builds around a core post-rocking guitar line to come to a fervent apex before receding again to let the listener go gently from Deli Bal‘s total 56-minute runtime; no minor undertaking, but effectively executed and a pleasure in its wandering mind and spirit.

Elara on Thee Facebooks

PsyKA Records on Bandcamp

 

Fungus Hill, Creatures

fungus hill creatures

This early-2017 psychedelic curio from Umeå, Sweden’s Fungus Hill begins by asking “Are You Dead?” The just-under-nine-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) of the groovy outfit’s four-song, self-released, 28-minute debut Creatures EP doesn’t sound overly concerned with whether the answer is yes or no so much as enacting a serene flow by posing the question over a laid back bluesy vibe. Arrangement? Fluid. With dual vocals from guitarist Gustav Orvefors and percussionist Jenny Isaksson — the five-piece is completed by guitarist Erik Sköld, drummer Nils Mörtzell and bassist Tom Westerlund — Fungus Hill are able to bring variety as they turn to post-Ghost straightforward ’70s chorus-leaning in the first half of “Beware of Evil in the Sky,” prior to a midsection trip outward on subdued shimmy and deceptively complex melodicism. The flute (or keyboard flute sounds) of the jazzy “Evolution” brings Isaksson to the floor with a smoky, even-bluesier feel, and the guitar answers back with fuzzy lead flourish that only enhances the soul on display, while a seven-and-a-half-minute closing title-track delves deepest of all into thicker riffing, a “Na na na na” hook taking hold quickly just in case you weren’t sure it was going to be a highlight. It is. More tonally dense than most retro boogie — and less retro, for that matter — Fungus Hill‘s Creatures nonetheless has its traditionalist elements, but across its individual pieces each one points to a different side of the band’s personality, and from the Alan Watts sample at the beginning of “Are You Dead?” to when we meet the troll later in “Creatures,” each side of that personality utterly shines.

Fungus Hill on Thee Facebooks

Fungus Hill on Bandcamp

 

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Boris Touring Europe in August to Support New Album Dear

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

It begins. And by ‘it,’ I suppose I mean the touring cycle Boris will undertake to support their new album, Dear, which releases on July 14 via Sargent House and Daymare Recordings. This touring cycle — you know, as opposed to the general touring cycle that Boris never seem to leave, which in 2016 had them out performing Pink in full and which, in addition to heralding the arrival of Dear on this upcoming run, will see the Tokyo experimentalist trio celebrating their 25th anniversary. The run starts in Moscow on Aug. 3 and will include shows around Poland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Ireland and the UK before finishing in Finland on Aug. 25. Lots of travel, lots of volume. Boris don’t mess around when it comes to either.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, the band unveiled the first bit of audio from Dear in a video for “Absolutego” when they announced the album earlier this month. You’ll find that clip at the bottom of the post here, because it’s the internet and I can do that kind of thing.

From the PR wire:

boris dear euro tour

BORIS DEAR/25TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR ANNOUNCED, NEW ALBUM OUT VIA SARGENT HOUSE, 14 JULY

Legendary amplifier-worshipping trio Boris recently announced the release of their twenty-third studio album, Dear, which is due out July 14th on Sargent House. Today we’re pleased to share news of live shows on the horizon in support of the album and their 25th Anniversary, including festival appearances, all dates below:-

BORIS 25 ANNIVERSARY/DEAR TOUR DATES
03/08 – Moscow, Volta – RU
04/08 – St. Petersburg, ClubZal – RU
05/08 – Vienna, Szene – AT
06/08 – Katowice, OFF Festival – PL
07/08 – Leipzig, Naumans – DE
08/08 – Berlin, Lido – DE
09/08 – Jaromer, Brutal Assault – CZ
10/08 – Munich, Backstage – DE
11/08 – Frankfurt, Das Bett – DE
12/08 – Lausanne, Rock Altitude – CH
13/08 – Ieper, Ieperfest – BE
15/08 – Cologne, Underground – DE
16/08 – Hamburg, Hafenklang – DE
17/08 – Bielefeld, Forum – DE
18/08 – Amstelveen, P60 – NL
19/08 – Bristol, Arctangent Festival – UK
20/08 – Dublin, Whelans – IE
21/08 – Cork, Cyprus Avenue – IE
23/08 – Belfast – Limelight – UK
25/08 – Helsinki – Nosturi – FI

Read on for more information about the new album…

Dear marks the band’s 25th year of existence and while the 10-track album is chockfull of early-Boris calling cards, the avant-garde mavens aren’t learning on old tricks, describing the album as “heavenly—far beyond heavy.” Boris have shared the album’s first single and magnificent new music video “Absolutego”.

Though Boris have traversed a broad swath of sonic territories, they have always been consistently embraced the excess, pushing their myriad of approaches and stylistic forays to points of intoxicating absurdity. Eventually the band reached a crossroads in the early years of their third decade together, leaving them wondering if there were any new horizons left to explore. The renewed vitality yielded an album that fortifies their monolithic wall of sound while also allowing the individual band members to explore the nuances and intricacies of minimalist riffs played at maximum volume.

Songwriting for Dear initially yielded three albums’ worth of material by the end of 2015, but as the band was slated to spend a large chunk of 2016 on their “Performing Pink” worldwide tour, they decided to hold off on releasing any new material. The tour further rekindled their passion for the craft, spurring the band to return home to crank out even more new material while scaling down three records’ worth of sonic deluge down to one.

From the glacial pacing and earthquaking rumble of the album opener to the smouldering rock ’n roll-infused “Absolutego”, Boris have managed to find wildly thrilling work in the familiar trenches of metal. Never ones to shy away from a challenge, the trio carves even experiments with fuzz fuelled dream pop. “At the very first moment, this album began as some kind of potential farewell note of Boris,” the band said. “However, it became a sincere letter to fans and listeners… you know, like ‘Dear so-and-so, this is the new album from Boris’ or something like that. We feel so grateful we can release this album in our 25th anniversary year.”

Dear will be released to the world on July 14, 2017 on CD, 2xLP, and digital formats. Stay tuned for more news to come.

Dear Track Listing:
1. D.O.W.N. (Domination Of Waiting Noise)
2. DEADSONG
3. Absolutego
4. Beyond
5. Kagero
6. Biotope
7. The Power
8. Memento Mori
9. Dystopia -Vanishing Point-
10. Dear

http://www.facebook.com/borisheavyrocks/
http://borisheavyrocks.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sargenthouse/
http://www.sargenthouse.com/
https://www.facebook.com/daymarerecordings/

Boris, “Absolutego”

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Boris to Release New Album Dear to Celebrate 25th Anniversary

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

boris

25 years of Boris. How is the world not weirder than it is? The long-running Japanese genreproof experimentalists have been everywhere, seen everything, done just about everything, kicked more ass than one could’ve thought a human foot would endure and still come out of it with the creative drive to alienate entire segments of their audience at will. After a quarter-century, they remain nearly impossible to predict, and even now as I look at the cover below of their forthcoming album, Dear — which is out July 14 on Sargent House and Daymare Recordings — I have absolutely no idea what to expect from the record. How many bands can you sincerely say that about?

That’s not the only thing that’s made Boris so crucial for the last two and a half decades, but it’s definitely part of it. Info on the new record follows below from the PR wire, along with their new video for “Absolutego” from Dear, which, if it has you scratching your head and wondering, “Hey, wasn’t Absolutego the name of Boris‘ first album, released in 1996?,” yes, yes it was. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

Have at you:

boris dear

Boris celebrate 25 years together with new album Dear, watch a music video for their first single “Absolutego”

Legendary amplifier-worshipping trio Boris have announced the release of their twenty-third studio album, Dear, which is due out July 14th on Sargent House. Dear marks the band’s 25th year of existence and while the 10-track album is chockfull of early-Boris calling cards, the avant-garde mavens aren’t learning on old tricks, describing the album as “heavenly—far beyond heavy.” Boris share the album’s first single and magnificent new music video “Absolutego”.

Though Boris have traversed a broad swath of sonic territories, they have always been consistently embraced the excess, pushing their myriad of approaches and stylistic forays to points of intoxicating absurdity. Eventually the band reached a crossroads in the early years of their third decade together, leaving them wondering if there were any new horizons left to explore. The renewed vitality yielded an album that fortifies their monolithic wall of sound while also allowing the individual band members to explore the nuances and intricacies of minimalist riffs played at maximum volume.

Songwriting for Dear initially yielded three albums’ worth of material by the end of 2015, but as the band was slated to spend a large chunk of 2016 on their “Performing Pink” worldwide tour, they decided to hold off on releasing any new material. The tour further rekindled their passion for the craft, spurring the band to return home to crank out even more new material while scaling down three records’ worth of sonic deluge down to one.

From the glacial pacing and earthquaking rumble of the album opener to the smoldering rock ’n roll-infused “Absolutego”, Boris have managed to find wildly thrilling work in the familiar trenches of metal. Never ones to shy away from a challenge, the trio carves even experiments with fuzz fueled dream pop. “At the very first moment, this album began as some kind of potential farewell note of Boris,” the band said. “However, it became a sincere letter to fans and listeners… you know, like ‘Dear so-and-so, this is the new album from Boris’ or something like that. We feel so grateful we can release this album in our 25th anniversary year.”

Dear will be released to the world on July 14, 2017 on CD, 2xLP, and digital formats. Stay tuned for more news to come.

Dear Track Listing:
1. D.O.W.N. (Domination Of Waiting Noise)
2. DEADSONG
3. Absolutego
4. Beyond
5. Kagero
6. Biotope
7. The Power
8. Memento Mori
9. Distopia Vanishing Point
10. Dear

http://www.facebook.com/borisheavyrocks/
http://borisheavyrocks.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sargenthouse/
http://www.sargenthouse.com/
https://www.facebook.com/daymarerecordings/

Boris, “Absolutego”

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Days of Darkness Lineup Finalized: Om to Headline Second Night; Captain Beyond, Boris, Cavity, Crypt Sermon and More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

The first lineup announcement for the inaugural Days of Darkness festival came through last month and brought with it confirmation that the autumnal two-dayer presented by the crew behind the Maryland Deathfest wasn’t screwing around either on scale — Neurosis headlining — or in scope, bring on board multi-genre acts from across a swath of underground styles. Well, the lineup is now complete. Om join Neurosis as headliners, and Cirith Ungol act as classic metal counterpart to the previously-announced Manilla Road near the top of the bill. Sizable additions like Captain Beyond, and Boris join the likes of WarningDälek and Elder — whose new album will be out by then — and Bongripper and Unearthly Trance find further tonal-onslaught companionship with word that Cavity will take part. All in all it looks like a pretty fucking good show.

Tickets are on sale now, and though they might not go before Maryland Deathfest proper, held in May as ever, I would be surprised if there were any left by the time Oct. 28 and 29 gets here. I’d think Neurosis or Om could probably sell out Rams Head on their own, never mind with the stellar support cast they’re both given across the Saturday and Sunday event. Bringing in Om has me wondering if maybe they’ll have a new record release coming up — that’s a long trip to the East Coast — but that might just be wishful thinking on my part. Either way, they’ll of course find welcome once they hit the stage, because they’re Om, and only jerks don’t like Om. That’s science. It’s proven.

Here’s the poster and the lineup as posted by the fest, as well as the link to get tickets:

days-of-darkness-2017-final-poster

Maryland Deathfest presents: Days of Darkness Festival

October 28 & 29, 2017
@ Rams Head Live, Baltimore, MD

Saturday, October 28th:
Neurosis
Manilla Road
Captain Beyond
Perturbator
Elder
Cavity
Dance with the Dead
Dälek
Computer Magic
Crypt Sermon
Alms

Sunday, October 29th:
Om
Cirith Ungol
Warning
Boris
GosT
Unearthly Trance
Le Matos
Bongripper
Magic Sword
Night Demon
Asthma Castle

No refunds. All sales final!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/days-of-darkness-festival-tickets-31832083619
https://www.facebook.com/events/257886397969977/
http://www.facebook.com/daysofdarknessfestival
https://www.facebook.com/MarylandDeathfest/

Om, Live at Saint Vitus Bar 2015

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