Quarterly Review: Ufomammut, Horehound, Lingua Ignota, Valborg, Sageness, Glacier, MNRVA, Coroza, Noosed, zhOra

Posted in Reviews on October 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Oh hi, I didn’t see you there. Earlier this week — Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and yes, even Wednesday — the alarm went off at 4AM as usual and I got up, got coffee going and a protein bar and sat down to write, starting basically around quarter-after with a quick email check and whatnot. In terms of basic timing, this last morning of the Fall 2019 Quarterly Review is no different. I even have the baby monitor streaming on my phone as I would most mornings, so I can keep an eye on when The Pecan gets up. What’s changed is I’m sitting in a hotel lobby in Oslo, Norway, having just arrived on an overnight flight from Newark. Managed to sleep some on the plane and I’m hopeful adrenaline will pick up the rest of the slack as regards getting through the day. That and caffeine, anyhow.

Although, speaking of, my debit card doesn’t work and I’ll need to sort that out.

First thing’s first, and that’s reviews. Last batch of 10 for the week. We made it. Thanks as always for reading and being a part of this thing. Let’s wrap it up in style, and because I like working on a theme, three Irish bands in a row close out. Hey, I went to Ireland this year.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Ufomammut, XX

UFOMAMMUT XX

Five years ago, Roman cosmic doom masters Ufomammut took a reflective look back at their career for its 15th anniversary with the documentary/live-performance DVD XV (review here). And since one might define the arc of their tenure as constantly trying to top themselves, for their 20th anniversary, they’ve issued a 12LP boxed set, titled simply XX, that compiles their nine albums to-date and tops them off with the mostly-subdued-style XX itself, which reimagines past cacophonies like “Mars” and “Plouton” in a quieter context. That part of the mega-offering issued through their own Supernatural Cat imprint comprises six songs recorded live and makes highlights out of the hypnotic strum and incantations of “Satan” as well as the rumbling drone of “Lacrimosa,” which takes on new emotional resonance for the shoegazy treatment it receives. I’ve said on multiple occasions throughout the years that Ufomammut are a band to be treasured, and I stand by that 100 percent. The XX box should be perceived by fans as an opportunity to do likewise.

Ufomammut on Thee Facebooks

Supernatural Cat website

 

Horehound, Weight

horehound weight

Less than a year after issuing their second long-player in the form of Holocene (review here) through Blackseed and Doom Stew Records, Pittsburgh atmosludgers Horehound align with DHU Records for the two-song 8″ EP Weight, which brings “Unbind” and “The Heavy,” two new cuts that, while I’m not sure they weren’t recorded at the same time as the last album — that is, they may have been — they nonetheless showcase the emergent melodic breadth and instrumental ambience that is developing in their sound. Even as “Unbind” rolls toward its low-end tempo kick, it does so with marked patience and a willingness to stay slow until just the right moment, which is not something every band cane effectively do. “The Heavy,” meanwhile, builds itself around a Crowbar-style dirge riff before Shy Kennedy‘s verse arrives as a standalone element, all the instruments around her dropping out from behind. That moment alone, frankly, is worth the price of admission, as whether it’s through that extra inch in diameter of the platter itself or through the audio of the tracks in question, Horehound continue to distinguish themselves.

Horehound on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records BigCartel store

 

Lingua Ignota, CALIGULA

LINGUA IGNOTA CALIGULA

I’m not sure I’m qualified to write about Lingua Ignota‘s CALIGULA (on Profound Lore), but I’m not sure anyone else is either. Like a self-harmonizing mega-Jarboe turning existential horror into epic proclamations of “I don’t eat/I don’t sleep” on “DO YOU DOUBT ME TRAITOR?” amid bass throb and terrifying melodic layering before making bedroom black metal sound like the lightweight self-indulgence it’s always been on the subsequent check-out-the-real-shit “BUTCHER OF THE WORLD,” Kristin Hayter‘s work is little short of experimentalist brilliance. She is minimal and yet over-the-top, open in creative terms but unwaveringly dark and rife with melody but severe to the point now and again of true aural abrasion. She weaves a context of her own into “FUCKING DEATHDEALER” as she recalls the lyrics to the aforementioned “BUTCHER OF THE WORLD,” while the outright brutality of “SPITE ALONE HOLDS ME ALOFT” is married to a piano-led meditation that, even without the noise wash from whence it comes, is enough to recast visions of what heavy is and can be in musical terms. I won’t pretend to get all the references like “kyrie eleison” (“lord have mercy”) worked into “IF THE POISON WON’T TAKE YOU MY DOGS WILL” and the violent strains surrounding, but it’s impossible not to realize the power of what you’re hearing when you listen.

Lingua Ignota on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records on Bandcamp

 

Valborg, Zentrum

valborg zentrum

With an intensity born out of a history of industrial music and focus on tight rhythms making an impact in even-tighter songwriting, Valborg are neither beholden to death metal nor entirely separate from it, but their style has taken on a life of its own over the course of the last 10 years, and their latest offering, Zentrum (on Prophecy Productions), is the German trio’s most individualized take yet, whether that’s shown in the unbridled melodicism of “Anomalie,” the sludgy riff that drives the barking “Ultragrab” or the seemingly unrelenting snare pops of “Kreuzer” that, even when they finally release that tension, still make it only a temporary reprieve. Valborg‘s sense of control through the epic “Nonnenstern” should not be understated, and though the track is under four minutes long, yes, “epic” very much applies. Suitably enough, they close with “Vakuum” and throw everything at the listener at once before resolving in relatively peaceful atmospherics that could just as easily serve as an introduction to the next round of malice to come, whenever it shows up.

Valborg on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions webstore

 

Sageness, Akmé

sageness akme

Spanish trio Sageness — also written SageNESS — conjure smooth Electric Moon-style soundscapes on their second album, Akmé, and yes, that is a compliment. The record brings forth six tracks of easy-rolling instrumentalist jam-based heavy psychedelia that offer much and take little in return, the richness of the guitar tone from Dawyz and Michi‘s bass given jazzy fluidity by Fran‘s drumming. “Ephemeral” touches most directly on a Colour Haze, as it would almost have to, but even there, the feeling of spaciousness that Sageness present in the recording is a factor that helps them come across as more individual. Earlier, “The Thought” is a little more directly space rock, but opener “Andromeda” seems to be charting the course with its liquefied effects and somehow-even-more-liquefied groove, and if you can’t get down with that, I’ve got nothing for you and neither does the rest of the universe.

Sageness on Thee Facebooks

Spinda Records website

 

Glacier, No Light Ever

glacier no light ever

It’s not exactly true, about their being no light ever on Boston post-metallers Glacier‘s latest full-length, No Light Ever. Sure, it’s plenty dark and heavy and brooding and all that fun stuff, and the riffs get loud and the drums break stuff and all that, but it’s certainly colorful in its way as well, and more than just shades of black on black. Comprised of four tracks cumbersomely titled in keeping with the traditions of the likes of Red Sparowes and the band’s own past work, cuts like “O World! I Remain No Longer Here.” and “The Bugles Blow, Fanned by Hysteria.” stretch themselves out along a scope as massive as the tonality the band emits, and as the wash of “We Glut Our Souls on the Accursed,” — the comma is part of the title there — gives way to feedback and the onset of “And We Are Damned Amid Noble Sound.” the sense of immersion is complete and clear as the priority under which they’re working. It’s about the whole album, or at least the two sides, as a unified work, and about crafting a world through the atmosphere evoked in the material. It works. If they say there’s no light in that world, so be it. It’s whatever they want it to be.

Glacier on Thee Facebooks

Wolves and Vibrancy Records webstore

 

MNRVA, Black Sky

mnrva black sky

Not-entirely-bereft-of-vowels South Carolina heavy trio MNRVA make their debut with the three-song EP Black Sky, a beast of a short release led by the riffs of guitarist Byron Hark on a stretch of ’90s-style crunch and sludge, with bassist/vocalist Kevin Jennings and drummer Gina Ercolini adding to the weight and shove of the proceedings, respectively. “Not the One” has the hook, “No Solution” has the impact and the title-track has both, and though I’m by no means saying the issue of their sound is settled 100 percent and they won’t grow or find their way from this — again, their debut — EP, they do prove to be well in charge of where their songs head in terms of mood and the atmosphere that comes through elements like the blown-out vocals and the rumbling bass beneath the lead guitar in the second half of “Black Sky” itself. Indeed, it’s those harsher aspects that help MNRVA immediately establish their individuality, and the vibe across these 18-plus minutes is that the punishment is only getting started.

MNRVA on Thee Facebooks

MNRVA on Bandcamp

 

Coroza, Chaliceburner

coroza chaliceburner

Just because Irish four-piece Coroza — guitarist/vocalists Ciaran Coghlan and Jack O’Neill, bassist/vocalist Jonny Canning and drummer Ollie Cunningham — might write a song that’s 18 minutes long, that doesn’t mean they forgot to actually make it a song as well. Thus it is that extended cuts like “The Plutonian Drug” (18:24) and closer “Iron from the Sky” (19:30) have plenty of room to flesh out their more progressive aspects amid the other three also-kind-of-extended pieces on Chaliceburner, the group’s ambitious hour-plus/five-track debut full-length. Each song essentially becomes a front-to-back movement on its own, with shifts between singers arranged thoughtfully from one part to the next and hooks along the way to serve as landmarks for those traversing, as in the opening “Chaliceburner” or the gruff winding moments of “Mountain Jaw,” which follows the nine-minute sax-inclusive centerpiece “Scaltheen,” because of course there’s a saxophone in there somewhere. All of this is a recipe for a band biting off more than they can chew stylistically, but Coroza manage pretty well the various twists and turns of their own making, particularly considering it’s their first album.

Coroza on Thee Facebooks

Coroza on Bandcamp

 

Noosed, She of the Woods

noosed she of the woods demo

Encased front and back by witchy samples and creepy vibes, Sept. 2019’s She of the Woods is the second demo in two months to come from Cork, Ireland’s Noosed. And you know it when they get around to the closing seven-minute title-track because it’s just about the only thing other than “Intro” that isn’t raging with grind intensity, but that stuff can be fun too. I don’t know how much witch-grind-doom is out there, but Noosed‘s first, self-titled demo (released in August) had a sludgy edge that seems to have separated out to some degree here into a multifaceted personality. Can one possibly be certain of the direction the band will ultimately take? Shit no. It’s two demos with basically no time differential between them. But if they can effectively bridge the gap between “Fuck Up,” “Wretch” and “She of the Woods,” or even play directly with the contrast, they could be onto something with all this noise and fuckall.

Noosed on Thee Facebooks

Noosed on Bandcamp

 

zhOra, Ruthless Bastards

zhora ruthless bastards

The narrative — blessings and peace upon it — has it such that Irish four-piece zhOra wanted to do something less complicated than was their 2017 album, Ethos, Pathos, Logos (discussed here), so they went ahead and wrote a song that’s five minutes long and purposefully hops between subgenres, going from sludge to doom to a deathcore breakdown, with a snare-pop count-in, to blackened death metal and then back to a lumbering chug to finish out. Okay, zhOra, “Ruthless Bastards” is a an awful lot of metal and an awfully good time, but you missed the mark on “simple” by a considerable margin. If indeed the band had been plotting toward something, say, easier to play or to compose, “Ruthless Bastards” ain’t it. They’ll have to settle for being brutal as fuck instead. Something tells me they’ll survive having made that trade, as much as anything will.

zhOra on Thee Facebooks

zhOra on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Russian Circles, War Cloud, Here Lies Man, Book of Wyrms, Möyhy-Veikot, Darsombra, Set Fire, Jesus the Snake, Föllakzoid, Dresden Wolves

Posted in Reviews on October 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Had to take a second this morning to get my email back under 100 unread. It currently stands at 95. There’s just something about being in triple digits that I can’t stand. Press releases and stuff I can usually file right away since not everything’s relevant to the site, etc., but that’s all stuff that either wants follow-up or could be a factor here if there was time. I do my best to try to keep up. And I fail, consistently.

The tradeoff, of course, is I spend that time writing reviews and other stuff for the site. Today’s hump day when we pass the halfway mark of the Fall 2019 Quarterly Review, and we’re doing it in absolutely all-over-the-place style, so all the better. Some pretty familiar names today, but some that might not be as well, so whatever your poison, I hope you enjoy the picking.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Russian Circles, Blood Year

russian circles blood year

There’s simply no denying the force behind the depths and swell of a song like “Kohokia” on Russian Circles‘ latest offering, Blood Year (Sargent House), and though one knows what to expect to some degree from the Chicago heavy post-rockers at this point in their career, they seem to be doing all they can to deliver their instrumental progressions with energy to match the breadth of the spaces and the heft they conjure. Like 2016’s Guidance (review here), the seven-track/39-minute Blood Year — was recorded with Kurt Ballou, whom the trio imported to their hometown to work at Electrical Audio (aka Steve Albini‘s stomping ground) instead of traveling to Massachusetts to track at Ballou‘s Godcity. If it was the long-famed drum sound of Electrical Audio that they wanted and the live feel that so many of the recordings done there have, they got both, so mark it a success and another notch in the belt of one of the heavy underground’s most immersive and evocative outfits. Their building and releasing of tension is second to none and moves into the spiritual by the time they even get to side B, let alone through it.

Russian Circles on Thee Facebooks

Sargent House website

 

War Cloud, State of Shock

war cloud state of shock

Oh, the riffs you’ll gallop. Oakland, California’s War Cloud skirt the line between classic thrash and heavy rock and roll on their second album for Ripple Music, State of Shock, and from the sound of things, they have a good time doing it. The record’s not much over a half-hour long, which is as it should be for this kind of party, and they toy a bit with the balance between their two sides on a rocker like “Do Anything” or the subsequent “Means of Your Defeat” on side B, but the main crux of State of Shock and certainly the impression it makes off the bat with “Striker” and “White Lightning” up front ahead of the six-minute that-moment-when-ThinLizzy-turned-into-IronMaiden “Dangerous Game” is one of homage to the metal of yore, and in following-up the band’s 2017 self-titled debut (review here), it’s a showcase of energy and craft alike as two guitars shred, chug, groove and charge through the material. If they were from the Eastern Seaboard, I’d say something about getting caught in a mosh. As it stands, I’ll go with urging you to jump in the fire instead. Horns up, either way.

War Cloud on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

Here Lies Man, No Ground to Walk Upon

here lies man no ground to walk upon

They should’ve just called it an album. Yeah, it would be short at 26 or so minutes, but it’s got everything you’d want from a full-length, and if they’d put a four-minute jam or something on it, they’d have been there anyhow. In any case, Los Angeles’ Afrobeat-infused heavy psych rockers Here Lies Man present seven tracks of dug-in glory with No Ground to Walk Upon (on RidingEasy), continuing to build on the potential shown across their first two LPs, 2017’s self-titled debut (review here) and last year’s You Will Know Nothing (review here), even as they swagger their way through a groove like “Long Legs (Look Away)” and show their continued forward potential. They continue to be a special band — the kind of band who doesn’t just come along every day and who shouldn’t be overlooked during their time, because maybe they’ll be around 30 years and maybe they won’t, but what they’re doing now is bringing something wholly individual to a heavy context. They’ve already proven influential to some degree, but listening to No Ground to Walk Upon cuts like the dream-keyed “Iron Rattles” and the opening strut-into-drone of “Clad in Silver,” one wonders if they wouldn’t be more so if people weren’t too afraid to try to pull this thing off. Hard to argue with that, since more likely than not most couldn’t.

Here Lies Man on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Book of Wyrms, Remythologizer

Book of Wyrms Remythologizer

I won’t take anything away from the eight-minute “Blacklight Warpriest” earlier in the offering, but the highlight of Book of Wyrms‘ second album, Remythologizer (on Twin Earth & Stoner Witch Records) has to be the closing “Dust Toad,” which at 9:25 is the longest track and the slowest crawl included. Led into by the synth-infused “Curse of the Werecop,” it takes the crunch that showed itself through opener “Autumnal Snow” and, later, the melody and swing of “Undead Pegasus” — as seen on the cover art — and brings them together in order to perfectly summarize the doom rocking ethic the Richmond, Virginia, four-piece are working from. Tonally righteous and more solvent in their songwriting than they were on their 2017 debut, Sci-Fi/Fantasy (review here), the band sound assured as they move in “Spirit Drifter” from a standout keyboard line to a likewise standout guitar solo, giving a feeling of progressive nuance that’s continuing to take hold in their sound, balanced by the underlying naturalism of their approach. That dynamic continues to duke it out on Remythologizer, much to the benefit of anyone who takes the record on.

Book of Wyrms on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records on Bandcamp

Stoner Witch Records BigCartel store

 

Möyhy-Veikot, Huume Jet Set Life

moyhy-veikot huume jet set life

Too weird for planet earth and, well, probably too weird for anywhere else too, Helsinki psych-space-kraut-whathaveyou experimentalists issue their third tape in the form of Huume Jet Set Life and whether it’s the cosmo-jamming on “MITÄ ON TULLUT VEDETTYÄ?” or the who-the-hell-knows-what-ism of “MEDIA-AJOJAHTI 2000,” the band at no point fail to make an impression of being out there in the far gone far out there reaches of the far out there. Talkin’ freaked out next level total, like the cassette just fell into the atmosphere to represent some other planet’s culture where things are both dangerous and interesting and you never really know if you’re going to get laid or eaten or both. Still, they may be doing math of the likes not yet conceived by humanity, but Möyhy-Veikot go about it in suitably friendly if totally over-the-top fashion, and it’s fun to play along while also being completely overwhelmed at the various pushes and pulls happening all at once, the media samples and the Windows 95 compatibility of it all. It’s one small step for man, one giant leap for disco.

Möyhy-Veikot on Thee Facebooks

Möyhy-Veikot on Bandcamp

 

Darsombra, Transmission

Darsombra Transmission

It’s just lovely. Really. In some ways it feels like the 41:20 single-track full-length Transmission — self-released, no less — is what Baltimore ambient exploratory two-piece Darsombra have been building toward all along, but I think the truth is they probably could’ve done this at any time if they’d chosen to do so. Still, the fluidity of “Transmission” itself is something special, with its cascades of manipulated voice, riffs that swell and recede, loops, synth and somehow-manifested light that are as much immersion for the spirit as the eardrum. One doesn’t want to dive too deep into hyperbole and oversell it to the point of dulling the listener’s own impression, but Transmission is the kind of record that even those who profess to never “get” drone or noise offerings can engage with. Part of that is owed to Brian Daniloski‘s guitar, which provides landmarks along the path of swirl conjured by his own effects and the synth from Ann Everton (both add vocals where applicable; don’t look for lyrics or verses) that allow those who’d take it on to do so more easily. But the real joy in Transmission is letting go and allowing the piece to carry you along its progressive course, genuine in its reaching for the unknown. Plus there’s a gong, and that’s always fun too. Go with it.

Darsombra on Thee Facebooks

Darsombra on Bandcamp

 

Set Fire, Traya

set fire traya

Traya is the third three-song full-length from Boston’s Set Fire, and it would seem that, and in addition to marking the last recording to feature drummer Rob Davol, who’s since been replaced by Josh Cronin, it would seem to show the three-piece nailing their sound of classic-tinged duet-fronted heavy rock and roll. With two powerhouse vocalists on board in guitarist Jim Healey (We’re all Gonna Die, Black Thai, etc.) and keyboardist Jess Collins (ex-Mellow Bravo), they work in varying arrangements across a meager 12-minute run that feels short mostly because it is short. Too short. “Any Place Left” puts Collins in the foreground, while “Sacred Song” is more Healey‘s, and unsurprisingly to anyone who’s experienced their past work either together or separate, they’re more than able to carry the material — only more so with the other party backing. “Waves” brings them together around theatrical layers of piano and keyboard and guitar, and that they manage to hold it steady at all, let alone take flight as it does, speaks to how ready they are to embark on a longer offering. Put out an album, already, would ya?

Set Fire on Thee Facebooks

Set Fire on Bandcamp

 

Jesus the Snake, Black Acid, Pink Rain

Jesus the Snake Black Acid Pink Rain

For those feeling adventurous, Portugal’s Jesus the Snake follow-up their 2017 self-titled EP (review here) with the unmitigated warmth of Black Acid, Pink Rain, their live-recorded full-length debut. And for the sort of heavy psych-jazz-prog meandering, one would almost expect the organ-laced instrumentalist four-piece to track the record as they perform it, if not front-to-back then certainly one song at a time across multiple takes. Not one piece of the five total on the 49-minute offering is under eight minutes long, and sandwiched between opener “Karma” (10:28) and the closing title-track (10:55) are three cuts circa nine that prove no less hypnotic. The beginning of “Floyds I” is so fluid with the interplay of organ and guitar that one almost expects a gentle Portuguese spoken word verse to start, but of course one never does. Instead, Jesus the Snake complement mindful drift with flashes of more weighted or active fare, all the while holding to a central vibe that is peaceful even as “Duna” finds its chill before the halfway point, with no loss of spirit in the process.

Jesus the Snake on Thee Facebooks

Jesus the Snake on Bandcamp

 

Föllakzoid, I

follakzoid i

As with any kind of sonic minimalism or release based around trance induction — see Darsombra above — there’s a certain amount of buy-in that needs to happen on the listener’s side. Accordingly, those going into the fourth LP from Chilean duo Föllakzoid, titled I and issued through Sacred Bones Records as a double-vinyl, should be aware that it’s requires that kind of interaction from one side to the other. It’s not especially loud or abrasive, or even demanding in terms of the basic sonics of the thing, but as “I” becomes “II” becomes “III” becomes “IIII” and the songs such as they are alternate between 17- and 13-minute runtimes and the blend of effects and electro beats tips to one side or the other — “II” with a fervent ‘ump-tis’ in its early going while “III” brings a more Vangelis-style cinematic wash — of course there’s an ask in terms of indulgence happening on the part of the two-piece to their audience. Whether an individual is willing to make that jump is obviously going to be up to their headspace and where they’re at, but Föllakzoid‘s work here is more than worth the investment, even for those less familiar with their methods.

Föllakzoid on Thee Facebooks

Sacred Bones Records website

 

Dresden Wolves, Hiedra – Sencillo

dresden wolves Hiedra Sencillo

The sub-three-minute “Hiedra – Sencillo” is the latest in an ongoing series of digital offerings from Mexico City’s Dresden Wolves, and though the two-piece band bill themselves as post-punk and they may actually have a history in playing punk rock — stranger things have happened, certainly — the song finds them working in a taut heavy rock context, brash in delivery but not overly so as to lose the overarching swagger they seem intent on conveying. Particularly as it follows behind two EPs and a swath of other single tracks, and is offered name-your-price through their Bandcamp, “Hiedra – Sencillo” feels like its most nefarious aim is to hook anyone who’d click play on first listen and try and keep them intrigued for next time out. Fair enough. I won’t profess to know what Dresden Wolves‘ plans are, but they’ve got songwriting in their pocket and the production on “Hiedra – Sencillo” is crisp and clear enough to convey the heft of the guitar but not so much so as to dull its rawer aspects. They’ve got the balance ready to go, whatever they might choose to do with it from here.

Dresden Wolves on Thee Facebooks

Dresden Wolves on Bandcamp

 

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Summoner Part Ways with Drummer Scott Smith; Announce Replacement as Dave Jarvis of Worshipper

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Having seen Boston’s Summoner play a couple of truly kickass sets over the last decade, I can safely say that drummer Scott Smith was a big part of what made them work so well on stage. Smith, a founding member, has left the band and will be replaced by Dave Jarvis, who’ll sit in for his first show with them this weekend in New Bedford, MA. Jarvis of course is best known as the kit-basher and swing-provider in Worshipper, and whatever else you can say about the lineup change, there’s little doubt Summoner picked the right replacement. That’s going to be a fierce lineup.

Summoner have also been sharing bassist/vocalist Chris Johnson with Deafheaven since 2017, as well as with a burgeoning career as a producer, for Worshipper among others.

In addition to the show this weekend, the band will also travel to Brooklyn on Nov. 2 for Magnetic Eye Records‘ showcase The Day of Doom at the Saint Vitus Bar. They’ll play there alongside Horsehunter, Domkraft, Elephant Tree and many others (info here).

Here’s what they had to say about Smith‘s departure:

summoner

It is with great reluctance that we are announcing the departure of one of the most integral parts of Summoner since its inception many years ago. The heavy hitting, driving force behind the band, Scott Smith, has decided to move on and pursue other passions. While this departure is saddening to say the least, the split was amicable and Scott will forever remain one our best friends and biggest influences. As a founding member of Riff Cannon/Summoner and the catalyst that brought us all together Scott’s mark on the band cannot be understated. Over the past 10+ years we’ve had some great times and created music we are all very proud of. Scott, we wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors…..rock on brother!!

While we close this chapter in the Summoner story we are happy to say that we plan to push on. Our good buddy, and honestly the only guy who could come close to filling the hole left by Scott’s departure, Dave Jarvis of the mighty Worshipper has stepped up and agreed to carry the torch forward. We are excited to play our first show with Dave this weekend at The Vault Music Hall & Pub at Greasy Luck in New Bedford!!

Thanks to everyone who has listened and followed us over the years and of course…..

Hail Scott!!

Summoner live:
Sep 07 The Vault Hall @ Greasy Luck New Bedford, MA
Nov 02 Saint Vitus Brooklyn, NY (Magnetic Eye Day of Doom)

https://www.facebook.com/Summonerband/
https://summonerboston.bandcamp.com/
http://store.merhq.com/

Summoner, Beyond the Realm of Light (2017)

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Worshipper Announce West Coast Touring with Horseburner & Zed

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

worshipper (Photo by Tim Bugbee)

Boston heavy rockers Worshipper will head out in November to the West Coast for a tour alongside West Virginia’s Horseburner. The bands go as ambassadors for some of the more progressive lineage of East Coast heavy, and they’ll meet up with the formidable likes of Zed and Holy Grove while making their way south more or less along the Pacific Coast, so all the better. Worshipper issued their second album, Light in the Wire (review here), this Spring via Tee Pee Records and toured in Europe already to herald its arrival, going over with Tee Pee Records labelmates The Skull and making a stop at Desertfest Berlin. They also played the inaugural Desertfest New York at the end of April, so yeah, pretty big year for these cats, who earn every bit of acclaim they get, even when it’s my own hyperbole-laden praise.

They’re sneaking in two East Coast dates with Horseburner as well before the two groups point their wagons west, and one’s at Ralph’s in Worcester, MA, and one’s at The Well in Brooklyn, where they played for Desertfest. See them wherever and whenever you can.

Here you go:

WORSHIPPER POSTER title=

WORSHIPPER – TOUR ALERT

We will be hitting the West coast again soon with our good buddies Horseburner and (sometimes) ZED. (Plus a couple bonus East coast dates!) STOKED.
————-
WORSHIPPER / HORSEBURNER
DESCEND ON THE WEST 2019

Sat, Nov 9 – Substation, Seattle, WA
Sun, Nov 10 – High Water Mark, Portland, OR (w/ Holy Grove)
Mon, Nov 11 – Luckey’s Club, Eugene, OR
Wed, Nov 13 – Elbo Room Jack London, Oakland, CA (w/ ZED)
Thurs, Nov 14 – Count’s Vamp’d, Las Vegas, NV (w/ Zed)
Fri, Nov 15 – The Lexington, Los Angeles, CA (w/ Zed & Goliathan)
Sat, November 16 – Pour House, Oceanside, CA (w/ Zed)

ADDITIONAL EAST COAST SHOWS w/ HORSEBURNER & Godmaker:
Thu, Oct 10 – Ralph’s Diner, Worcester, MA (w/ the Turbos)
Fri, Oct 11 – The Well, Brooklyn, NY

Worshipper features Alejandro Necochea (lead guitar / synth), John Brookhouse (vocals / guitar), Dave Jarvis (drums) and Bob Maloney (vocals, bass).

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

Worshipper, Light in the Wire (2019)

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Hey Zeus Post “I Don’t Want It” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hey zeus i dont want it

Hey, look. It’s never happened to me, but yeah, I totally understand where sometimes you wake up in the alleyway around the side from ONCE Ballroom in Somerville, Mass., and go inside the venue to have a kind of acid-laced virtual reality religious experience. I mean, who hasn’t been there, right? Hello?

Fine.

This coming weekend, Boston heavy rockers Hey Zeus bid safe travels to guitarist Pete Knipfing, who’ll relocate to Tennessee, presumably for the relative proximity to the Stax Museum. They’re playing Great Scott with Cocked ‘n’ Loaded and Scissorfight to mark the occasion — event page here — and while it seems that Knipfing will continue to work remotely to stay involved with the band, even just the geographic loss of the former Lamont axeman is significant. Makes it way harder to book a weekender or pop over to O’Brien’s for a show. The change comes just about seven months after the release of their awaited debut album, X (review here), which was issued through Argonauta Records, and they’re a four-piece. It’s not like they have an extra guitarist just hanging around to pick up the slack.

Come what may, “I Don’t Want It” is indicative of the kind of infectious songwriting and energy that is writ large throughout X. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Hey Zeus a couple of times — the lineup of Knipfing, vocalist Bice Nathan (also production and percussion), bassist Ken Cmar and drummer Todd Bowman — and the feeling of righteousness-in-riotousness that the studio versions of “I Don’t Want It” or the peelout-ready “Save Your” brought to beat had its foundations in what the band did together in a live setting. Was it Radio Bar where they covered Deep Purple twice in the same set? The entire room, hammered. What the hell ever happened to that place?

But maybe it makes all the more sense then that as the band says goodbye to Knipfing, they’re having a blowout. That’s kind of been their thing all along. If you’re in the area and reading this, you’re probably already planning to go, but if not, and if you haven’t given X its fair shot yet, the hook-driven energy of “I Don’t Want It” is a compelling argument in favor of doing so. And, of course, all the best to Knipfing on the big move.

Enjoy:

Hey Zeus, “I Don’t Want It” official video

“I don’t want it” by Hey Zeus
Featuring Victoria Norton

Argonauta Records

Produced by Bice
Directed by Michael Cimpher
https://www.cimpher.com

Hey Zeus on Bandcamp

Hey Zeus on Thee Facebooks

Hey Zeus on Instagram

Argonauta Records website

Argonauta Records on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records on Instagram

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Cortez Enter Studio to Record New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I’m not trying to be a smartass or anything here, but three years between Cortez releases would be pretty good. The Boston heavy rockers issued The Depths Below (review here), in 2017, some five years after their 2012 self-titled debut (review here), and that followed five years after their 2007 first EP, Thunder in a Forgotten Town. Especially as they also had the split out last year with the now-defunct Wasted Theory (review here) as part of Ripple Music‘s The Second Coming of Heavy series, trimming that divide between full-lengths down to the three years from 2017-2020 is right on. It’ll be interesting to hear how momentum plays into what they do with the record.

Actually, scratch that. It’ll just be interesting to hear the record — period. Cortez‘s Boston-born heavy rock methodology is time-tested and headbang-secure, and The Depths Below was as solid as the bricks of Faneuil Hall. Not broken, not in needing of fixing: what Windows 95 once referred to as “plug and play.” Dudes do not screw around.

Accordingly, they’re working with Benny Grotto at Mad Oak. Because that’s what you do.

Here’s their announcement:

cortez

Boston Heavy Rockers Cortez Begin Recording New Album

Boston heavy rockers CORTEZ have entered Mad Oak Studios in Allston, MA to begin recording the follow up to their 2017 album “The Depths Below.” The band is once again recording with Benny Grotto (WORSHIPPER, SCISSORFIGHT, GOZU) manning the board. This will be the first recording to feature the current lineup:

Matt Harrington – vocals
Scott O’Dowd – guitar
Alasdair Swan – guitar
Jay Furlo – bass
Alexei Rodriguez – drums

Speaking about the material the band states, “We couldn’t be more excited; our new material is at once different and yet quintessentially Cortez. We are thrilled to be working with Benny Grotto again, as he totally gets what we are trying to achieve sonically. We can’t wait for everyone hear the songs.”

Cortez are laying low on the live front to concentrate on recording, but currently have one show scheduled:

Friday, September 27 at Lucky 13 in Brooklyn, NY with Vessel Of Light, Eternal Black, and Clothesline.

http://www.cortezboston.com
http://www.instagram.com/cortezboston
http://www.facebook.com/cortezboston
http://cortezboston.bandcamp.com

Cortez, The Depths Below (2017)

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Gozu Welcome New Drummer Patrick Queenan; Touring Europe This Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gozu

Boston heavy rock purveyors Gozu bid welcome to new drummer Patrick Queenan. The band — once again a four-piece with bassist Joe Grotto and founding guitarists Marc Gaffney (vocals) and Doug Sherman (backing vocals) — toured last month headed westward and took part in the Electric Funeral Fest in Denver. This November, they’ll make a return to European shores to play the Heavy Psych Sounds Fest in Austria and more besides, hitting Germany, Italy, Slovenia, the UK, Belgium, France and Switzerland on a 15-day stretch that will serve as Queenan‘s inaugural stint with them. Trial by Old World fire and all that.

Also known for playing in Sundrifter, Queenan comes to Gozu as at least their third ‘permanent’ drummer, taking the role after a split with Mike Hubbard (now of the reactivated Warhorse). Gozu aren’t far removed from 2018’s Equilibrium (review here), but it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that the shift in personnel might get them moving quicker on new material, getting a fresh take and all that with Queenan in the rhythm section.

Beyond the November tour, I won’t profess to know what the future holds for them, but Gozu always deliver live and in the studio, so whatever it is, I’ll happily take it as it comes. I look forward to seeing the new lineup.

They had some comment on bringing in Queenan:

gozu november tour

“Pat is an incredible musician with extraordinary feel. He brings a lot of skills to the table and we are very excited to have him in the fold. We look forward to writing and playing shows with him ASAP. Bottom line: He rules.” – Doug Sherman.

“Pat brings a whole new vibe of youth and groove that the old men needed. His playing and attitude is rather infectious, he describes his downbeat as, silky chicken.” – Marc Gaffney.

“First I just want to thank Gaff, Doug and Joe for allowing me to be apart of Gozu. They’ve been around and have been consistently crushing it and have done a lot of really great things as a band, things a lot of bands only dream of doing. I guess I feel real lucky to be playing drums in two badass rock bands (Gozu/Sundrifter) who both have really exciting futures ahead! As a musician I couldn’t have it any better right now!” – Patrick Queenan.

*** GOZU – EUROPEAN TOUR 2019 ***
01.11.2019 AT Innsbruck-PMK Heavy Psych Sounds Fest
02.11.2019 IT Udine-Backyardie
03.11.2019 SL Lubijana-Channel Zero
04.11.2019 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando
05.11.2019 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse
06.11.2019 DE Augsbrug-City Club
07.11.2019 DE Erfurt-Tiko
08.11.2019 DE Berlin-Heads Up Fest
09.11.2019 DE Oldenburg-MTS Record Shop
10.11.2019 DE Koln-MTC
11.11.2019 UK London tba
12.11.2019 BE Brugge-Jeugdhuis Comma
13.11.2019 FR Chambery-Le Brin du Zinc
14.11.2019 CH Martigny-Sunset Bar
15.11.2019 CH Zurich-Safari Bar
16.11.2019 CH Olten-Coq D’or

GOZU is:
Marc Gaffney – guitar and vocals
Joe Grotto – bass
Doug Sherman – lead guitar
Pat Queenan – drums

Photo was taken by Nicole Tammaro.

https://www.facebook.com/GOZU666
http://gozu.bandcamp.com
instagram.com/gozu666

Gozu, Equilibrium (2018)

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Gozu Announce Nov. 2019 European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gozu (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Having recently-enough seen Gozu in Boston (review here) and Brooklyn (review here), I don’t at all mind saying they’re locked in. I minded even less standing in front of the stage to see it. Their upcoming European run will be the second tour they’ve undertaken this year, having gone out west earlier this month in order to play Electric Funeral Fest in Colorado.

They’ll do Heavy Psych Sounds Fest‘s Austrian edition on Nov. 1 as the first date of the Euro run, and also play Heads Up Fest in Berlin a week later, kicking around in the interim between Austria, Italy, Slovenia and Germany, and after that, they’ll do dates in the UK, Belgium, France and Switzerland. As one has come to expect, there’s a fair amount of German ground covered, but three dates in Switzerland sounds pretty awesome too, just as a way to spend one’s time.

All the whatnot just came in off the PR wire:

gozu november tour

GOZU – EUROPEAN TOUR 2019

To deserve the term ‘timeless’, an album really does have to transcend the era in which it was created. Equilibrium unequivocally achieves this. With roots in 60s psychedelia and classic rock, the fuzzy stoner riffs of the 70s, the grit of 90s grunge and the winning dirty rock n’ roll that has in recent years made a resurgence, Boston, MA’s Gozu have been churning out killer records since 2009. With 2016’s Revival they took their sound in a somewhat new and more aggressive direction, and in doing so, dropped the most compulsive, exciting and downright badass release of their career – and Equilibrium has only raised the stakes. “We wanted these songs to hit a nerve, make people shake their ass and enjoy simply being alive,” says vocalist/guitarist Marc “Gaff” Gaffney, who founded the band with lead guitarist Doug Sherman.

Much of the record’s strength stems from the unit growing since Revival. “I would have to say that the band is sounding the best it ever has right now,” Gaffney states plainly. “It takes a bit of time to feel everything out. When you are serious about it, you have to work as a team, and we are four guys that dig the same kind of music and love to play, but we all bring in different elements that give us our sound. It is not just one person channeling, it’s the four of us bringing in the ingredients and together making it a delicious meal.”

*** GOZU – EUROPEAN TOUR 2019 ***
01.11.2019 AT Innsbruck-PMK Heavy Psych Sounds Fest
02.11.2019 IT Udine-Backyardie
03.11.2019 SL Lubijana-Channel Zero
04.11.2019 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando
05.11.2019 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse
06.11.2019 DE Augsbrug-City Club
07.11.2019 DE Erfurt-Tiko
08.11.2019 DE Berlin-Heads Up Fest
09.11.2019 DE Oldenburg-MTS Record Shop
10.11.2019 DE Koln-MTC
11.11.2019 UK London tba
12.11.2019 BE Brugge-Jeugdhuis Comma
13.11.2019 FR Chambery-Le Brin du Zinc
14.11.2019 CH Martigny-Sunset Bar
15.11.2019 CH Zurich-Safari Bar
16.11.2019 CH Olten-Coq D’or

GOZU is:
Marc Gaffney – guitar and vocals
Joe Grotto – bass
Doug Sherman – lead guitar

https://www.facebook.com/GOZU666
http://gozu.bandcamp.com
instagram.com/gozu666

Gozu, Live at Saint Vitus Bar, March 2, 2019

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