Hey Zeus Post “Richard the Elder” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

hey zeus

“Richard the Elder” is the second single that Boston heavy rockers Hey Zeus have issued this year behind “Caveman” (premiered here), which came out in May. The hard-driving New England traditionalists have yet to disappoint in either their hooks or the force with which they’re delivered, and “Richard the Elder” is no exception. It’s a right-on rush, in and out in just over three minutes of sans-frills heavy rock and roll, recorded live and engineered by vocalist Bice Nathan at New Alliance Audio in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Nathan is joined in the band by bassist Ken Cmar (also of Wonderdrug Records), guitarist Pete Knipfing and drummer Todd Bowman (both ex-Lamont), and recording live suits them remarkably well. For a style so lacking in pretense and so heated in its intensity, the setting could hardly be more perfect, and though Hey Zeus don’t have a record out or even an EP — they did release a split 7″ with White Dynomite in 2014 (review here) and seem to be working their way toward one sort of larger offering or another with this ongoing series of single tracks — they’ve clearly found a method that works for them, and that’s obviously a significant start.

The video is somewhat manic — GoPros hooked up to instruments in motion and so on — but that only suits the song itself, which you’ll almost have to hear twice before you can really feel like it’s begun to sink in even vaguely. Clip was directed by Michael Cimpher and follows here along with a couple live dates Hey Zeus have this month.

Enjoy:

Hey Zeus, “Richard the Elder” official video

Richard the Elder by Hey Zeus
Recorded live in studio.
Tracked and Mixed by Bice at New Alliance Audio-Cambridge, MA
Mastered by Dean Baltulonis at Wild Arctic-Portsmouth, NH
Directed by Michael Cimpher
Edited by Michael Cimpher and Bice

Hey Zeus live:
7/15 O’Brien’s Allston MA w/ Black Helicopters and Wolfsmyth
7/22 Higher Ground Burlington VT w/ Scissorfight, Murcielago and The Road Trash Band

Hey Zeus on Bandcamp

Hey Zeus on Thee Facebooks

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Sea Debut “Return” Video; Euro Tour Announced

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 11th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

sea (Photo by Erin Gennett)

“Return” is the first audio to come from Boston post-metallers Sea since their initial demo (review here) arrived early last year, and it brings with it the news that the four-piece will tour Europe next month alongside German trio Weedwolf, with whom Sea will also release a new split LP. It’s Sea‘s first tour, and it runs two and a half weeks through Northern Europe — Germany, Scandinavia, Finland, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania — and like their demo was, it’s an ambitious run for a still relatively-new band, but particularly with the split due, it seems like it’ll be a fitting introduction to the band for the continent. While I don’t know what their plans are for the longer term, it doesn’t seem like this will be their last incursion abroad.

But it is their first, and that’s something special. A new video comprised of public-domain psychedelic footage brings the premiere of “Return,” and with recording by Chris Johnson (one can hear the crisp fullness he brought to Summoner ringing true in this track as well), the new song brims with vitality and stylistic purpose, shifting from Isis-style churn into blackened push as propelled by drummer Andrew Muro as vocalist/bassist Stephen LoVerme (Olde Growth) adjusts his vocals to a scream to match the more furious riffing of guitarists Liz Walshak (ex-Rozamov) and Mike Blasi. Most importantly, they make it make sense, and by that I mean Sea don’t simply juxtapose different aesthetics. They create a flow across “Return”‘s eight-plus minutes that builds gracefully in intensity and speaks to an emerging patience within their sound.

And the aforementioned archive video does fit the vibe well. Please find the video for “Return” below, followed by the credits and Sea‘s tour dates with Weedwolf, which kick off on Aug. 17.

Enjoy:

Sea, “Return” official video

The lyrical content of the song is sort of about the cyclical natural of the universe, rebirth, intrinsic knowledge, etc. So it’s kind of appropriate that the source footage was culled from a 1969 psychedelic film about Zen Buddhism. On to the production credits…

Recorded and mixed by Chris Johnson (Summoner, Sand Reckoner)
Mastered by James Plotkin

From a forthcoming split LP with Weedwolf from Leipzig, Germany
Due out in August

Original source material: The Flow of Zen 1969
https://archive.org/details/theflowofzen

Footage re-purposed by Stephen LoVerme

Tour dates:

sea euro tourWed 8.17 – Halle, Germany
Thu 8.18 – Leipzig, Germany
Fri 8.19 – Potsdam, Germany
Sat 8.20 – Kopenhagen, Denmark
Sun 8.21 – Helsingborg, Sweden
Mon 8.22 – Oslo, Norway
Tue 8.23 – Trondheim, Norway
Wed 8.24 – Lulea, Sweden
Thu 8.25 – Oulu, Finland
Fri 8.26 – Tampere, Finland
Sat 8.27 – Turku, Finland
Sun 8.28 – Helsinki, Finland
Mon 8.29 – Riga, Latvia
Tue 8.30 – Kaunas, Lithaunia
Wed 8.31 – Vilnius, Lithaunia
Thu 9.1 – Gdynia, Poland
Fri 9.2 – Stettin, Poland
Sat 9.3 – Dresden, Germany

Full tour details here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1301633346518022/

Sea on Thee Facebooks

Sea on Bandcamp

Sea on YouTube

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Gozu and Holy Grove Announce European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 8th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Gozu go supporting their new album, Revival (review here) and Holy Grove go supporting their also-new self-titled debut (review here), but I feel like the part that really makes it isn’t just that they’re both going to Europe, but that they’re doing it together. The Boston and Portland, Oregon, acts will make an exceedingly complementary pairing, I think with a thread of soul influence running between them and each still pushing out heavy grooves, Holy Grove with a nod toward doomly roll, Gozu with an uptick in intensity particularly on some of their newer material. If I had the money and could get the time off, I’d ask to tag along, but turns out I’m broke and not that pleasant company to keep anyway, so maybe for the best I don’t make the trip.

In any case, the full run is presented by Heavy Psych Sounds, which also released Holy Grove‘s album — Gozu‘s is on Ripple Music — and I reached out to Gaff da Rula, aka Gozu guitarist/vocalist Marc Gaffney, and Holy Grove vocalist Andrea Vidal, for quotes about the tour to go with the dates, and both were kind enough to oblige.

Have at you:

gozu holy grove tour

“I heard they wanted to schedule the World Cup around it but they were worried people would be too hopped up on the boogie,” says Gaffney. “God damn. Wanna thank Gabe from Heavy Psych Sounds for hooking it up and lathering the clubs because without that angel, none of this would have happened. Also thanks to Ripple for putting out the album. Taking two bands that love each other’s music and setting them on fire together, I don’t know about you, but I like it hot, perfect blend of heat and auditory cuddling, woooo! I feel like Rick Flair, baby!”

Offers Vidal: “As far as heading abroad, we couldn’t be more thrilled to have this opportunity to tour Europe with our brothers in Gozu and with the support of Heavy Psych Sounds. We’re really looking to forward to playing in places where much of our earliest support was from — and leaving it all on the stage night after night.”

Gozu & Holy Grove on tour:
28.09.2016 IT Rome
29.09.2016 IT Erba-Centrale Rock
30.09.2016 IT Ravenna-Bronson
01.10.2016 AT Feldkirch-Villa K
02.10.2016 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse
03.10.2016 IT Trieste-Tetris
04.10.2016 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando
05.10.2016 CH Basel-Terrorsamba
06.10.2016 DE Mannheim-7er Club
07.10.2016 DE Munster-Rare Guitar Shop
08.10.2016 BE Liege-La Zone
09.10.2016 DE Dresden-Chemiefabrik
10.10.2016 DE Koln-Lime
11.10.2016 DE Leipzieg
12.10.2016 DE Berlin-Urban Spree
13.10.2016 DE Stuttgard-KellerClub
14.10.2016 CH Olten-Coq D’or
15.10.2016 CH Frauenfeld-Kaff

https://www.facebook.com/GOZU666/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/revival
https://www.facebook.com/holygroveband/
http://holygrove.bandcamp.com/album/holy-grove
http://www.ripple-music.com/
www.heavypsychsounds.com

Holy Grove, Holy Grove (2016)

Gozu, Revival (2016)

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Quarterly Review: Atomikylä, Sunnata, White Dynomite, Horehound, Sulfur Giant, New Planet Trampoline, Hypnos, Honky, Cheap Wine, Gurt & Trippy Wicked

Posted in Reviews on June 24th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the-obelisk-summer-2016-quarterly-review

This one’s for all the marbles. Or at very least tiddlywinks. The last day of The Obelisk’s Summer 2016 Quarterly Review begins. I’ll admit that when I was planning this out — started soon after the last Quarterly Review was finished in early April; that one ran late, this one has run early — I decided to take it easy on myself the last day. Still 10 reviews, so not that easy, but in terms of what’s included today, a lot of is stuff I feel pretty comfortable talking about, whether it’s bands I’ve covered before (which a lot of it is, now that I look at the list) or whatever. If you’ve been keeping up this week, thanks. I hope you found some cool music.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Atomikylä, Keräily

atomikyla Keraily

From the Finnish hotbed of Tampere, Atomikylä made a striking impression with their 2014 Svart Records debut, Erkale (review here), giving a take on psychedelic black metal that was immediately and truly their own in its balance of elements. The band, featuring members of Dark Buddha Rising and Oranssi Pazuzu, return with doom-jazz fervor on sophomore full-length, Keräily, with three songs covering yet-unnamed stylistic reaches and offering a get-to-the-studio-and-see-what-happens experimentalism to go with their plotted course on 18-minute opener and longest track (bonus points) “Katkos,” which is followed by the building horn freakout “Risteily” (9:15), from which a space rock push takes hold on drums, resulting in maddening guitar swirl – because of course – and closer “Pakoputki” (6:55), which consumes with a darker thrust and more up-front blackened vibe that still holds onto some of the psychedelia in its layers of guitar. Keräily progresses effectively from Atomikylä’s debut and highlights just how individualized they are as a group. They continue to have the potential to do really special work, and the argument is easy to make they’re already doing it.

Atomikylä on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records

Sunnata, Zorya

sunnata zorya

As opener and longest track (bonus points) “Beasts of Prey” careens toward its apex finish near the 12-minute mark and the title-track begins is crashing, harmonized intro before moving into an Alice in Chains-via-stoner verse, the distance Poland’s Sunnata cover on their second full-length, Zorya, begins to really unveil itself. There doesn’t seem to be a genre within the heavy sphere that’s off limits. They never get into death metal, but heavy rock, doom, psychedelia, prog, sludge – it’s all in play at one point or another in Zorya’s five-track/50-minute run. The reason the album works and isn’t just a haphazard mash of styles is because Sunnata, who’ve been active in Warsaw since the last decade, make each one their own and thus bend genre to suit their purposes and not the other way around. They continue to impress through the rush of “Long Gone,” the airy expanse of “New Horizon” and the more brooding closer “Again and Against,” conjuring effective flow from what in less capable hands would be disparate components.

Sunnata on Thee Facebooks

Sunnata on Bandcamp

White Dynomite, Action O’Clock

white dynomite action oclock

I have kind of a hard time with White Dynomite. Not musically – the Boston five-piece’s new EP, Action O’Clock (on Ripple) typifies their accessible punk rock; a reminder of a time when the style used guitars – but conceptually. Their lineup features bassist Tim Catz and vocalist Craig Riggs (on drums) of Roadsaw, as well as guitarist Pete Knipfing (also Hey Zeus, Lamont), vocalist Dave Unger and guitarist John Darga, and while I can’t argue with the charm of a track like “Werewolf Underwear” or “Evil Ballerina” — the lyric “Tutu woman, too too much for me” alone makes Action O’Clock worth the price of admission, let alone “I got fangs in my pants” from “Werewolf Underwear” – but I haven’t yet been able to listen to the band in the context of it having been six years since the last time Roadsaw released an album, and thinking about years passing, priorities and whatnot. They sound they’re having a blast all the way through, and I won’t begrudge them exploring other influences, I guess I just miss that band.

White Dynomite on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

Horehound, Horehound

horehound horehound

Pittsburgh newcomers Horehound formed just last year, so one might go into their self-titled debut full-length thinking it’s an early arrival, but in an unpretentious seven-track/33-minute collection of straightforward but engaging doom rockers, the five-piece demonstrate a clear idea of what they want to do sonically. While it may not represent where they’ll ultimately end up as a band, its songs sound fleshed out in terms of direction and the resultant feel on the release is much more album than demo. So be it. A particular highlight is “The Waters of Lethe,” on which a sweeter melody emerges in the guitar and vocals, but neither will I discount the low-end crunch and vocal call-and-response in closer “Waking Time” or the more uptempo thrust of second cut “Sangreal.” Not that Horehound don’t have room to grow, but their initial offering preaches well to the converted and should give them a solid foundation to work from in that process.

Horehound on Thee Facebooks

Horehound on Bandcamp

Sulfur Giant, Beyond the Hollow Mountain

sulfur giant beyond the hollow mountain

Beyond the Hollow Mountain is the first full-length from Portuguese mostly-instrumentalists Sulfur Giant, who bring together influences from classic progressive rock, psychedelia and heavy rock so that when they dip into Iommic riffing on “Vertigo,” it’s no stranger than the peaceful jamming of “Whisper at Dawn,” which follows. Friendly if not exactly innovative, Sulfur Giant’s debut makes its chief impression with the four-piece’s instrumental chemistry, which brings about an easy flow within and between the eight tracks, which having already been issued digitally will see vinyl release later this year on Pink Tank Records. It’s hard to ignore what organ adds to “Evermore,” but “Sea of Stone” sneaks in some vocals amid its thicker-riffing and Sungrazer-style exploration, and “Magnolia” and the galloping “Unleash Fears” follow suit, so Sulfur Giant have a few tricks up their collective sleeve they hold back from the initial roll and gallop of the opening title-track. All the better.

Sulfur Giant on Thee Facebooks

Pink Tank Records

New Planet Trampoline, Dark Rides and Grim Visions

new planet trampoline dark rides and grim visions

Never say never in rock and roll. From Cleveland, Ohio, the psych-rocking four-piece New Planet Trampoline called it quits in 2008, leaving behind an unfinished album. After coming back together for 2014’s The Wisconsin Witch House EP, the ‘60s-stylized outfit set themselves to the task of finishing what became Dark Rides and Grim Visions, basking in the glow of early Floyd, Beatles and others of the ilk while keeping a harder edge to songs like “Grim Visions” and a healthy cynicism to “We’ll Get What We Deserve” and the tongue-in-cheek keyboard-laced closer “Haunted as Fuck.” Of the several more extended tracks, the nine-minute “Acts of Mania” is the longest, and provides suitable patience and atmospherics to stand up to its scope. All told, Dark Rides and Grim Visions is a formidable journey at 13 songs/68 minutes, but after more than half a decade away, it’s hard to hold New Planet Trampoline having their say against them, particularly when that say is as lush and dreamy as “This is the Morning.”

New Planet Trampoline on Thee Facebooks

New Planet Trampoline on Bandcamp

Hypnos, Cold Winds

hypnos cold winds

With their second LP, Cold Winds (on Crusher Records), Gothenburg’s Hypnos seem to be betting that the next step in the retro game is NWOBHM. They make a convincing argument; it’s kind of how it went the first time around, and their songwriting offers a top-notch look at the moment where Thin Lizzy bounce became Iron Maiden gallop, as on second cut “I’m on the Run,” just minutes after opener “Start the Hunt” featured a flute solo. Broken into two sides, each one works its way toward a longer finale – “Det Kommer en Dag” (7:23) on side A and “1800” (8:32) on side B – but sonic diversity and changes in song structure throughout do much to keep Cold Winds from feeling overly plotted, and like their countrymen in Horisont, Hypnos offer a seamless melding of classic heavy rock and metal, soaring and scorching on “Descending Sun (Unrootables White)” and swinging and swaggering immediately thereafter on “Cold September,” both accomplished with unwavering command.

Hypnos on Thee Facebooks

Hypnos at Crusher Records

Honky, Corduroy

honky corduroy

Texas boogie rockers Honky were last heard from with 2012’s 421 – which I’ll assume is the “going to 11” equivalent for getting high – and their eighth outing, Corduroy, finds bassist JD Pinkus (Butthole Surfers, Melvins) and guitarist Bobby Ed Landgraf (Down) hooked up with drummer Trinidad Leal of Dixie Witch and Housecore Records for the release. To call is business as usual for the underrated outfit in the classic swing and grit they hone would only be a compliment, songs like “Baby Don’t Slow Down,” “Bad Stones” and the harmonized “Double Fine” offering soul as much as push, ‘70s influences given a modern kick in the ass throughout as a swath of guests, including Melvins drummer Dale Crover, come and go, perhaps none making their presence felt as much as Rae Comeau, whose work on “Bad Stones” makes that song a highlight – not to take away from the a capella cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick,” here retitled as “Mopey Dick,” that closes. Chicanery ensues, booze flows, good times are had for those who’ll have them.

Honky website

Housecore Records website

Cheap Wine, Sad Queen

cheap wine sad queen

Distinguished as on centerpiece “The Rambler” by their use of organ amid a semi-retro heavy boogie style, French five-piece Cheap Wine recorded Sad Queen – as the cover art says – live for Celebration Days Records. It’s somewhere between an EP and album, and strips away some of the individual track length of their 2013 debut, Mystic Crow, in favor of maximizing the energy put into each piece, the subdued “Intro” and “Opening” that start sides A and B, respectively, aside, though as “Opening” feeds cleanly into the quiet, airy and soulful beginning of the title-track, even that seems to have a tension that builds toward its eventual release, different from the shuffling raucousness of the post-“Intro” opener “Cyclothymic” maybe, but palpable nonetheless. They close somewhat melancholy on “Yesterday’s Dream,” but the complementary guitar of Valentin Constestin and keys of Ahn Tuan aren’t to be missed, nor how well work in concert with vocalist Mathieu Devillers, bassist Valentin Lallart and drummer Louis Morati.

Cheap Wine on Thee Facebooks

Celebration Days Records website

Gurt & Trippy Wicked and teh Cosmic Children of the Knight, Guppy

gurt trippy wicked guppy

The UK heavy scene excels at not taking itself too seriously. To wit, Gurt and Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight get together for a split (on When Planets Collide for CD and HeviSike cassette) and, they call it Guppy and the first two songs are “Owlmegeddon” and “Super Fun Happy Slide.” It kind of goes from there. Recorded together, sharing a drummer and collaborating on the centerpiece, “Revolting Child,” it’s basically two outfits who are close friends coming together to have a good time, but that doesn’t take away from Gurt’s sludgy intensity on “I Regret Nothing” or the nodding heavy rock Trippy Wicked hold forth on closer “Reign.” Taking its title from the two band names put together, one can only wonder if this will be the last conjoined offering Gurt and Trippy Wicked will make, or if there might be a whole school of guppies in the future. Frankly, this sounds like too good a party to only throw it once.

Gurt on Thee Facebooks

Trippy Wicked on Thee Facebooks

When Planets Collide website

HeviSike Records

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Kind West Coast Tour Starts June 9

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 2nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Located on opposite coasts, both Boston’s Kind and Los Angeles’ Salem’s Bend made their full-length debuts late in 2015. Salem’s Bend‘s was a self-release that led to their being picked up by Ripple Music, while Kind‘s Rocket Science (review here) was put out on CD by the same label with vinyl that followed this Spring. Next week, Kind will head out West to join their labelmates for a run of shows supporting their respective outings, which is no minor feat in Kind‘s case considering the band shares its members with ElderWhite Dynamite (also on Ripple, with a new EP out), Rozamov and the plethora of guitarist Darryl Shepard‘s bands. There are more all the time. Dude is the Mayor of Boston’s Rock Underground.

The info for the tour is below. Grayskull Booking put the shows together and they’ve got a goodly portion of the West Coast covered, as you can see:

kind west coast tour

KIND announce West Coast dates with Salem’s Bend

Boston riff dealers KIND and Los Angeles rock merchants Salem’s Bend, both on Ripple Music, are hitting the road together for a weeklong tour of the west coast, starting in Seattle on June 9 and working their way down to San Diego on June 15.

KIND, featuring members of Elder, Roadsaw, The Scimitar and Rozamov, is touring in support of their debut full length “Rocket Science”, which has been garnering critical praise far and wide for its combination of doom, psychedelic and straight-up heavy rock. Salem’s Bend has a cassette out on Burt Records but they have since been picked up by Ripple Music, who will be releasing the tape on vinyl and compact disc in the coming months.

Expect lots of high volume riffing and memorable songs from these two bands as they travel down the west coast delivering the goods. Tour booking was handled by Grayskull Booking out of Boston.

Dates are as follows:
June 7 – tba, Turlock, CA (Salem’s Bend only)
June 9 – The Funhouse, Seattle, WA
June 10 – High Water Mark, Portland, OR
June 12 – The Golden Bull, Oakland, CA
June 13 – Doll Hut, Anaheim, CA
June 14 – Complex, Los Angeles/Glendale, CA
June 15 – Brick By Brick, San Diego, CA

https://www.facebook.com/KINDtheband/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/rocket-science
https://www.facebook.com/salemsbend
https://salemsbend.bandcamp.com/releases
www.ripple-music.com

Kind, “Rabbit Astronaut”

Salem’s Bend, “Balshazzar” official video

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Hey Zeus Premiere New Single “Caveman”

Posted in audiObelisk on May 20th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

hey zeus

Boston heavy rockers Hey Zeus will reportedly feature the track “Caveman” on an upcoming Underdogma Records split seven-incher with The Humanoids sometime this summer. The four-piece of vocalist Bice Nathan, guitarist Pete Knipfing (ex-Lamont), bassist Ken Cmar (head of Wonderdrug Records) and drummer Todd Bowman (ex-Lamont) have trickled out digital singles over the last couple years, as well as a split 7″ with fellow Beantowners White Dynomite (review here), and it would seem the intent is to keep momentum going and build up a catalog of material en route to the eventual debut album. No word on the timing for that, but that’s he impression I get, anyway.

Their style is rife with the straightforward, classic delivery and harder edge that has been brought to fruition in Boston acts like Roadsaw and Cortez, but a quick listen hey zeus saves artto “Caveman” — and “Caveman” is a quick listen — and it’s readily apparent they have their own personality as well, defined through a blend of swaggering rhythms, party-ready vibe and an underlying punkishness in Nathan‘s vocals during its verses. The hook is essential and delivered with purpose, and though “Caveman” is done in under four minutes, it’s the kind of soon you loop back to the start and give another runthrough to better digest, only to find the chorus ringing in your head later, along with subtle flourishes like the layering in Knipfing‘s short solo or the double-kick and cowbell that Bowman works into the second half.

Admittedly, it’s been a while since I last caught them live, but their vibe at the time was much the same — ready to knock back a few beers and raise some hell but with more than chops enough underlying to give their delivery some force. They have a couple shows booked for this summer, presumably the single will show up at some point during the warm months as well, and more to come in terms of singles and a video to follow, so keep an eye out. In the meantime, you can find the stream of “Caveman” below.

Please enjoy:

Hey Zeus live:
07.15 Hey Zeus w/ Black Helicopter & Wolfsmyth @ Obrien’s, Allston
07.22 Hey Zeus w/ Scissorfight, Murcielago and The Road Trash Band @ Higher Ground, Burlington, VT

Hey Zeus on Thee Facebooks

Hey Zeus on Bandcamp

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Gozu, Revival: Acts of Vitality

Posted in Reviews on May 19th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

gozu revival

In some ways, Gozu‘s Revival is defined by its barnburners. There are a few of them, and the impression they create across the Boston four-piece’s third album — first for Ripple Music — is one of a more intense approach overall than was showed either on 2013’s The Fury of a Patient Man (review here) or 2010’s Locust Season (review here). Those records, both released by Small Stone, had their driving moments, but to listen to “Nature Boy,” “Oldie” or the penultimate “DD McCall” from Revival is to realize how much harder Gozu are pushing themselves across the album as a whole.

The production of Dean Baltulonis at The Wild Arctic and Benny Grotto at Mad Oak brings that out even in a swinging track like “Big Casino” or the soul-fueled “By Mennen.” It’s not necessarily about tonal thickness — that’s not what they’re going for — so much as what kind of impact each instrument can have. Add to this the fact that for the first time on record, Gozu have a cohesive lineup in guitarist/vocalist Marc Gaffney, guitarist Doug Sherman, bassist Joe Grotto (brother to the aforementioned Benny) and drummer Mike Hubbard, and it becomes less of a wonder that these eight songs/41 minutes are the strongest the band has yet presented in their tenure. As Gozu enter relative maturity as a group — three LPs deep — they show clear growth in performance, craft and chemistry, while keeping many of elements of the prior work intact that helped push them to the fore of their home region’s crowded heavy rock sphere. To rephrase: They kick ass early and often.

I’ll note at this point that I’m hardly an impartial observer, having been a fan since Locust Season and grown to think of them as friends, but feel no compunction in offering critique, whether it’s of Gaffney‘s vocals dominating the mix in the crashing apex of “By Mennen” (as opposed to the end of it, where the vocals stand alone and would inherently dominate the mix, being the only thing in it), or of the continued use of gag/reference song titles. “Lorenzo Llamas” is clever, but hardly does justice to the spaciousness of the side A closer itself or the manner in which it complements and sets up “Tin Chicken” as the album’s finale. In any case, if you want to take my continued respect for Gozu‘s work with a grain of salt, feel free, but Revival also stands legitimately on its own as their finest hour to date. Whether it’s the blistering, immediate zero-to-100 that “Nature Boy” brings to lead off or the sleeker groove of “Bubble Time” that follows, there isn’t a level on which Gozu aren’t moving beyond what they’ve done before.

CAMBRIDGE, MA - Photo shoot with Gozu, at The Sinclair. Sunday, January 12, 2014.

Grotto, who played on part of The Fury of a Patient Man, and Hubbard, formerly of Warhorse, make for a rhythm section formidable enough to stand up to the melodies and layering in Gaffney‘s vocals and the crunch in his and Sherman‘s guitars alike, and though the attack here is more pointed than it has been in the past, that suits Gozu remarkably well as they lend each song a personality of its own while uniting the work as a whole through hooks, harmonies and a sense of abandon like that shown in the layered soloing that pushes “Bubble Time” over the top at the end. That song and “Nature Boy” before it build momentum into the more shuffling “Big Casino,” which rides a hypnotic chugging riff — something of a miniaturization of “The Ceaseless Thunder of Surf” from the last outing — in its middle and after one more chorus trips out a bit with far-back falsetto from Gaffney and consistent punctuation from Hubbard as it fades into the crashes that begin “Lorenzo Llamas,” which builds across its seven-minute span with semi-psychedelic patience as a vocal highlight, subtly insistent riff and fluid groove add to the otherworldly feel the ending of “Big Casino” put forth. Through soloing from Sherman, interplay of the two guitars, and more forceful delivery from Gaffney, “Lorenzo Llamas” gives a fitting cap to Revival‘s first half and sets up the continued expansion of reach that follows in the second.

That expansion comes in hand with a feeling that each of side B’s tracks is in conversation with a counterpart on side A, reversing the first three songs and aligning for the longer fourth so that “Oldie” opens with a chug and hook that could be playing off the sway of “Big Casino,” “By Mennen” answers the soul of “Bubble Time” with swaggering, heavy funk — the early bassline is a highlight — and “DD McCall” follows up on the all-out thrash style with which “Nature Boy” lead off, leaving “Tin Chicken” to build on what “Lorenzo Llamas” accomplished. One doubts that kind of symmetry was something that came to mind for Gozu as they were writing — it’s not like they’re making a concept record — but it does give Revival‘s presentation another level of cohesiveness, and whether it’s the fading-out guitar harmonies of “Oldie” or Gaffney pushing his voice to its limits in that standalone part at the end of “By Mennen,” Gozu manage to add to what they did earlier without sonic redundancy.

This is true in the heads-down thrust of “DD McCall” as well as the immediate contrast that “Tin Chicken” brings with its quiet, fluid guitars, subdued drums and soft vocals. The closer pushes through a louder part and quiets again momentarily before launching into the atmospheric payoff that “Lorenzo Llamas” teased, still heavy but swirling as well before cutting back to fade out after a few quiet lines bringing it back to the intro; the song seems to kind of wander off, but it works with the trance-inducing effects display preceding. And as it goes back to its start in a different way, “Tin Chicken” also summarizes some of what works best about Revival, which is the sense of how purposefully built the album is. While the performances are crisp, the natural chemistry Gozu have harnessed onstage remains intact, and the intensity with which they bring it to bear feels like something the band has been waiting for the opportunity to do. They make the most of that opportunity, and what results is some of the best American heavy rock you’re likely to hear in 2016 in composition and execution.

Gozu, “Nature Boy” official video

Gozu on Thee Facebooks

Gozu on Bandcamp

Ripple Music

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

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Worshipper Sign to Tee Pee Records; Shadow Hymns Due in August

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Congratulations to Boston heavy rockers Worshipper on signing to Tee Pee Records for the release of their debut album, Shadow Hymns, this August. The hard-driving four-piece have impressed over the course of two 2015 singles — Place Beyond the Light (discussed here) and the preceding Black Corridor (review here) — as well as in a live setting so much that they’ve already picked up a Boston Music Award and, more recently, won the Rock and Roll Rumble competition of local acts. Boston loves its own, to be sure, but even so, that’s a considerable response for a band who hasn’t yet put a record out.

I asked guitarist/vocalist John Brookhouse to comment on the signing and he had this to say:

“Holy shit! I listen to my copy of the first Graveyard record constantly and to flip it over and see ‘Tee Pee’ on the back, the label that is putting out OUR first record, blows my mind. We’re all really proud of how it came out, sonically and visually. Bob did an amazing job with the artwork, so we’re excited for people to see it in person as well as to hear it.”

Worshipper release Shadow Hymns on Tee Pee Records on Aug. 28. The PR wire makes it official:

worshipper

WORSHIPPER Sign With Tee Pee Records

Award-Winning Massachusetts Metal Band To Unleash Full-length Debut, ‘Shadow Hymns’, this Summer

Boston-based metal band WORSHIPPER has signed to NYC’s Tee Pee Records, the independent record label known for releasing landmark albums from acts such as High on Fire, Graveyard, Earthless and Sleep. With a sound described as “darkly epic”, WORSHIPPER has earned consistent accolades since its formation, being named the “Metal Artist of the Year” at the 2015 Boston Music Awards and, most recently, being chosen over 23 other participating bands as champions of the 2016 “Rock and Roll Rumble”, a competition hailed as “The World Series of Boston Rock” that has taken place annually since 1979.

WORSHIPPER will release its full-length debut, Shadow Hymns, on August 28. The record was recorded at Q Division, Mad Oak, and Converse Rubber Tracks Studios with producers Benny Grotto (Aerosmith, Orange Goblin) and David Minehan (The Replacements) and showcases WORSHIPPER’s melodically thunderous sound. Through its unique mix of contemporary and classic influences, WORSHIPPER prove that the horn-throwing soul of melodic heavy music’s past still burns brightly.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to be welcomed to the Tee Pee family,” comments guitarist Alejandro Necochea. “We think it’s a perfect fit and we are immensely proud to have our music released by the same label that put out some of our favorite records of the past couple decades.”

In addition to Necochea, WORSHIPPER features John Brookhouse (vocals / guitar), Dave Jarvis (drums) and Bob Maloney (vocals, bass).

https://www.facebook.com/worshipperband/
http://worshipper.bandcamp.com/
http://teepeerecords.com/products/

Worshipper, Place Beyond the Light / Step Behind (2015)

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