Live Review: Blackwolfgoat Album Release with Bedroom Rehab Corporation, Sea and Shutup!! in Allston, 09.12.14

Posted in Reviews on September 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

blackwolfgoat

It was just over a month ago I last saw Blackwolfgoat, in Portland, Maine, opening for We’re all Gonna Die‘s final reunion gig, so I’d say the stuff was pretty fresh in my brain, even aside from listening to the new album, Drone Maintenance, for an I’ll-get-there-I-swear-I-will review, but this was the release show for that record and sometimes you feel like maybe you need to show up. Another chance to scope out Connecticut duo Bedroom Rehab Corporation was added appeal, and it was the live debut from Sea, which boasts bassist/vocalist Stephen LoVerme of Olde Growth and guitarist Liz Walshak, formerly of Rozamov, so put that together with noise-riff duo Shutup!! opening, and yeah, it’s a night. A Friday, in Allston, in September. College kids, hip youngsters, and me, rolling down Harvard Ave. like a forest troll looking for parking. Around and around and around Allston’s designed-for-the-crowded-populace-of-1700 blocks I went, ducking drunk undergrads and Bruins fans. There were other shows around town. I knew where I wanted to be.

O’Brien’s was much as I left it whenever the last time I was there was. Low, red lights, equipment along the wall. They played Floor between bands, which was a nice touch, and people shuffled in and out over the course of the evening in various degrees of stupor. It wasn’t a rock show entirely, but there was a bit of that going on. Here’s how it all went down:

Shutup!!

Shut Up (Photo by JJ Koczan)

One of the issues with going to see drone live is that the crowd, especially after a couple minutes in, invariably starts to chatter, and you hear it over the performance, still very much in progress. The guitar/bass two-piece Shutup!! avoided this issue neatly by being so fucking loud you could barely hear yourself think, let alone transmit those thoughts verbally to another human being. Clever. Bassist Aarne Victorine is set to debut with another band, UXO (featuring Steve Austin of Today is the Day and Chris Spencer of Unsane), next year, but paired with guitarist Jon Christopher in Shutup!! the modus was forceful low-end rumble all the way. They were on as I was walking into O’Brien’s and clearly audible from outside, tossing in a few lumbering riffs to go with the massive wash of amp noise, feedback and effects that seemed to bite right past one’s earplugs — the cheap foam kind, but still. It was a short set, less than 20 minutes, but I doubt anyone there would argue they didn’t get their point across. Exploratory but vicious, heavy drone not for the faint of heart or the weak of tolerance.

Sea

sea (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It is a cruelty to judge a new band or anything they do by their first show, so I won’t, but don’t take that to mean newcomer four-piece Sea didn’t come across well or like they knew what they were going for. With a blend of flowing doom and some post-metal churning inflection, as well as a strobing desk lanp on top of guitarist Mike Blasi‘s amplifier timed to be’chopped drummer Andrew Muro‘s kit, Sea seemed to be on their way toward solid construction and an aesthetic in the making. LoVerme varied his vocals between post-Mastodon shouts and more subdued melodies, and Walshak and Blasi added ambient sprawl to quieter sections to contrast and complement the heavier push. Their songs, as I understand, are as yet untitled, but one could hear an oceanic theme at work, and while the project is nascent, there seemed to be potential at work as well. They were the fullest band of the night with twice as many members as anyone else, but received a warm welcome that, especially for a debut gig, didn’t seem like it could’ve left them disappointed. Will be interesting to see where they go as they continue to hammer out their sound (and light show).

Bedroom Rehab Corporation

Speaking of good bands getting better, the night also re-confirmed for me how far ahead of their 2013 debut, Red over Red (review here), are bassist/vocalist Adam Wujtewicz and drummer Meghan Killimade of Bedroom Rehab Corporation. After seeing them for the first time earlier this summer, this was already apparent, but no less so in Allston, the New London, CT, twosome engaging in varying doomly methods, Melvins-style crunch and a bit of noise punk to boot, the gruff shouts of Wujtewicz adding a sense of burl to the set. He announced their intention to record with Justin Pizzoferrato, who also helmed Red over Red as well as past and upcoming efforts from Elder and many others, in the coming months, and though they’ve worked together before, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next Bedroom Rehab Corporation is a much different affair than was the first. They seem to be in the process of discovering their sound and that only makes watching them play, even the older material with its seafaring thematic — New London is on the no-less-ambitiously-named Thames River, and is a town with a port history — more enjoyable.

Blackwolfgoat

blackwolfgoat

After stints in recent years in HackmanBlack PyramidThe Scimitar and most recently KindBlackwolfgoat seems all the more like the vehicle through which guitarist Darryl Shepard can express unmitigated joy in his craft. He’s all alone up there — wasn’t at this show, but we’ll get there in a second — looping guitar pieces on top of each other and feeling out the spaces his tones create. The project has proved more progressive over time. His first album on Small Stone, 2010’s Dragonwizardsleeve (review here), was rife with darkened noise, while the subsequent 2012 outing, Dronolith (CD released by The Obelisk’s in-house label, The Maple Forum), branched out to more varied atmospherics. With the new Drone Maintenance, the release this show was celebrating and a record I was fortunate enough to see in the makingShepard again pushes himself toward traditional songwriting ideology, but maintains a full-headed sense of purpose to each piece, each one accomplishing a goal of its own feeding into the larger whole of the album. At O’Brien’s, new works like “Axxtrokk” and “White Hole” led to Shepard bringing up his Kind bandmate Matthew Couto (also Elder) for an entirely improvised jam that ended the set in a chaotic swirl of effects noise that refused to be grounded, either by Couto‘s drumming or the crowd’s expectation. Having seen Kind recently, I had some sense of what to expect from the collaboration, but the results were still the highlight of the evening and something special that hadn’t been done before. If that jam foretells a direction Blackwolfgoat might take, it’s one of any number possible for the wide open creativity on display.

Turns out Allston hadn’t gotten any less fucked up while I was inside O’Brien’s, but I mowed down zombies with video-game accuracy and grooved out to the Masspike without further incident. A couple close calls here and there, but easily a trip worth the risk.

Few more pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Ice Dragon , Loaf of Head: Playing on Contrast

Posted in Reviews on September 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

ice dragon loaf of head

It hasn’t yet been a full month since Boston’s Ice Dragon issued their Seeds from a Dying Garden (review here) album, more or less dropping it on the heads of listeners in their customary Bandcamp/YouTube fashion, and this weekend the admirably prolific foursome followed it up with Loaf of Head. The new release starts off like the aural equivalent of showing up at a fancy dinner party, pulling down your pants and slapping your balls on the coffee table. It swaggers and swings and drunkenly pushes you out of the way with opener “Yes I Am,” working quick to proffer shouted-across-the-room dudely burl while the subsequent “Walking Tall” stomps its feelings away in a stupor of slide guitar and blown-out proclamations. Maybe after Seeds from a Dying Garden was out Ice Dragon decided they had to let loose a little — though one imagines the two were written concurrently — and Loaf of Head certainly follows suit with that. It is raucous and mean, and even when the guitar gets a little psychedelic at the end of “Walking Tall,” one would hardly call it a peaceful moment.

Yet there’s more to it than the initial boasting and riffbeating as well — not that I have a problem with either, particularly in the context of Ice Dragon‘s multifaceted sound — and Loaf of Head shifts with “The Question Unanswered” into a more style more psychedelic in its garage doom roll. The lead guitar is still over-the-top grandiose, and it’s still plenty heavy, but it’s a more languid unfurling, less immediately aggressive, and more of a nod. The band, comprised of vocalist Ron Rochondo (some drums), guitarist Carter (some bass), bassist Joe (some guitar) and drummer Brad, continue down this path with “A Song by Hildegarde Hawthorne,” a slower garage rocker more peaceful than either in the opening duo, but still with movement underscoring its warm distortion, layers of lead and rhythm guitar, rounding out with “aah” sweetness in a way that almost telegraphs how much it’s setting you up how-about-a-Hawaiian-punch-style for “I’m Sorry to all the Girls,” which returns to the knuckleheaded butt rock thrust of “Yes I Am” and “Walking Tall.” And just so there’s no mistaking, indeed, “knuckleheaded” is a compliment.

They said at some point over the last couple weeks that their next one was gonna be a rocker, and they were right. Continually, Ice Dragon show an awareness of what they’re bringing to each release sonically. Even down to Loaf of Head‘s artwork, which is manic and psychedelic but rawer than the Beach Boys-style sunshine of Seeds from a Dying Garden, the album reaffirms their consciousness of the scope they’re creating. They can come across as nihilistic, particularly on songs like “Yes I Am” or “I’m Sorry to all the Girls,” which delights in its scuzzy blues, but Ice Dragon know what they’re doing here, and every song, every album they make is a result of thought-out decisions, even if the decision involved is, “Okay, we’re gonna get loaded and hit record.” If you’re wondering why they might be sorry to all the girls, it’s because they need “a savory older lady.” That song sort of disintegrates behind Rochondo‘s vocals, and the sleaze continues on “Living in the Goddamn City,” though with a more socially-conscious turn in lines like, “There’s a rich woman yellin’ on her telephone/She’s never had a job she’s got a beautiful home.”

ice dragon

A punk ethic and accordingly a punk riff, though slowed down in a stonerly tradition. After a bridge and tripped-out solo, they repeat the chorus in what feels like surprisingly traditional fashion, and Loaf of Head rounds out with “The Rising Moon, the Setting Sun.” I thought they might try to tie the two sides of the offering together, or maybe begin a turn to the easy psych flow of “The Question Unanswered” and “A Song by Hidegarde Hawthorne” and just cut it short, and they seem to lean more to the former idea. A highlight bassline and swinging drum march meet with airy guitar and a chorus that satisfies in the tradition of big ’70s rockers — when Ice Dragon decides to do “their ELO record,” shit is going to hit the fan — and whatever it may be doing to tie the leave-‘em-loose ends of Loaf of Head together, “The Rising Moon, the Setting Sun” is the album’s best track, crafted fluidly and engagingly around a simple, central chug but opening in that chorus part to a glorious wash that’s as accomplished as anything I’ve yet heard from Ice Dragon on one of their many outings. A signature moment, and a fitting close.

Their progression, walking down several different avenues at the same time, continues unabated. I wouldn’t hazard a guess at what they might break out next — a metallic single? a drone-folk collection of peaceful resonance? — but whatever it might be, the underlying processes by which Ice Dragon are able to concoct all this diverse material move forward. They’re a lot to keep up with, but the catalog they’ve created — now upwards of 10 albums deep, plus other singles, splits, etc., all DIY — is unlike anything else out there. And in the case of Loaf of Head, I mean way out there.

Ice Dragon, Loaf of Head (2014)

Ice Dragon on Thee Facebooks

Ice Dragon on Bandcamp

Ice Dragon on YouTube

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Bong, Space Mushroom Fuzz, Desert Lord, Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds, and Plunger

Posted in Radio on September 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk radio

It’s been a couple weeks since the last time I was able to get together a proper round of adds to The Obelisk Radio, and the list as a result is accordingly huge. I’d have to go back and compare the last 18-plus months to be sure, but I think 40 albums is up there with what I might have uploaded during the initial buildup of the playlist, just basically getting everything I could think of and a bunch of stuff I couldn’t to expand on what was on the hard drive when I got it. We’ll be at two years since the Radio stream went live before I know it. Time goes quick, and seems to all the more when each post has a timestamp.

I say this every time, but there’s a lot of killer stuff included this week, so I hope you find something you enjoy.

The Obelisk Radio Adds for Sept. 13, 2014:

Bong, Bong Presents Haikai No Ku Ultra High Dimensionality LP

bong haikai no ku

I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to try to ascertain what plane of being Bong are residing on these days, but suffice it to say, they’ve evolved beyond corporeal form and merged with the all-consuming distortion of the universe. At least that’s how it sounds. The maddeningly prolific UK drone-doomers present this release but aren’t actually on it, save for guitarist Mike Vest, who leads the side-project Haikai No Ku through five tracks of blissful psychout on Ultra High Dimensionality. If you’re looking for differences between the two outfits, Haikai No Ku lean less toward grim droning than Bong, and songs like “Dead in the Temple” and “Blue at Noon” roll out huge psychedelic grooves — the band is completed by bassist Jerome Smith and drummer Sam Booth – but there’s consistency to be found in the wash of noise and the complete hypnosis of their repetitions anyway, and as high as the dimensionality might be, the volume should be higher. One to get lost in for sure, and there’s enough space for everyone. Bong on Twitter, on Bandcamp.

Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds, The Shining One

lucifer in the sky with diamonds the shining one

The pun in the moniker of Moscow double-guitar four-piece Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds probably doesn’t need to be pointed out. Featuring The Grand Astoria collaborator Igor SuvorovLucifer in the Sky with Diamonds pull together touches of psychedelic impulsiveness and classic heavy rock structures with the production clarity and catchy songwriting of mid-era Queens of the Stone Age. There’s a danger underscoring the boogie of “How to Fix Things” from the band’s self-released debut LP, The Shining One, that seems to find payoff later in the big-groove hook of “Highlow World,” which provides one of the album’s most satisfying listens before shifting into an airier dreamspace and fading into the noisier “Lords of the Damned,” reviving the largesse of riff prior to the closing title-track. An intriguing debut for an outfit loaded with potential, the fullness of their sound boding particularly well for their confidence in their sound and the precision of their execution. One not to be missed. Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Desert Lord, To the Unknown

desert lord to the unknown

Finnish stoner-doom foursome Desert Lord get into some Sabbath-worship on their debut long-player, To the Unknown, but manage to avoid both the trap of retro ’70s-ism that has much of Europe so firmly in its grasp and the trap of sounding like Reverend Bizarre, whose legacy in their native land isn’t to be understated. Of particular note is that Desert Lord cite The Cult as an influence. One can hear shades of that in the guitars on opener “Forlorn Caravan,” but Desert Lord quickly move into doomier fare on the subsequent nine-minute “Wonderland,” which distinguished by weeded-out wah on Roni‘s bass. Middle-ground is sought and found on “New Dimensions,” with vocalist Sampo Riihimäki reminding of Earthride‘s Dave Sherman in his movement between rougher delivery, spoken word, and accentuated screaming, also hinting at roots in more traditional metal, though “Manic Survivor’s Song” gives way to more stoner territory in the guitar, reminding of some of Eggnogg‘s stylistic turns, though with less of a mind toward tonal thickness. They’re still figuring out where they want to be, but Desert Lord‘s To the Unknown has more than a few moments worth the effort of a listen. Desert Lord on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Space Mushroom Fuzz, Onward, to the Future

space mushroom fuzz onward to the future

Perpetually progressive and perpetually prolific bizarro psych rockers Space Mushroom Fuzz return with another new release, dubbed Onward, to the Future. The Boston outfit, led by Adam Abrams of Blue Aside, include two tracks this time out, “Onward, to the Future,” a laid back space rocker made strange in its midsection with some theremin-style keys, and the waltzing “Half the Way Down,” which shows off some classical guitar work over a subtly oompah backing rhythm with soft, brooding vocals. Is it possible to have a shoegazing waltz? Space Mushroom Fuzz never lack character in they do, Abrams periodically leading the way through jams that could and sometimes do run into indulgent (if satisfying) noodlefests, but particularly with “Half the Way Down,” there’s something more grounded and sadder at the root. “Onward, to the Future” tells a tale of alien invasion — short version: they win — and showcases the band’s exploratory side, but even that ends contemplative and relatively minimal, sort of dropping instruments one at a time by its finish on a long fade. A lesson in taming expectation, perhaps, and a fascinating, quick journey from this inventive outfit. Space Mushroom Fuzz on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Plunger, Space Plumber

plunger space plumber

All seems to be on a course for weirdo noise punk as Los Angeles bass/drum duo Plunger get underway on their debut Space Plumber EP, some Melvins influence making itself felt on “Toxic Wrap,” and then they rumble and thump their way into the eight-minute centerpiece title-track, and it becomes apparent that there’s much more going on with twin brothers Mark (bass/vocals) and Kris Calabio (drums/vocals, also of Old Man Wizard) than it might at first seem. They quickly put their own minimalism to work for them on the faster opener “Blerg Rush,” but “Space Plumber” moves far off into sparseness, the drums barely there when they are and then gone ahead of the transition into “Sleep,” on which both Mark and Kris contribute vocals over a fuller rumble and steady roll, clearly enjoying the contrast. “Plunger” rounds out the release with a fuller take on some of the faster movement of the opener, starts and stops in the unpretentious 1;53 finale. One gets the feeling the (Super) Calabio Bros. are only going to get stranger from here, and that suits them well. Plunger on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Once again, these are five cool releases, but there were 35 other records that join the playlist today, including full-lengths from Orange Goblin, Electric Wizard, Apostle of Solitude and on and on. A couple of these will be on the year-end list, so if you get the chance to check out The Obelisk Radio playlist and updates page, I think it’s worth a look.

Thank you for reading and listening.

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Ice Dragon Release New Album Seeds from a Dying Garden

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 1st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

It was late Friday night when, in their usual fashion, Boston doom experimentalists Ice Dragon posted a link to their new album, Seeds from a Dying Garden, available to stream and download on their Bandcamp. This was surprising at first — not because it’s a new Ice Dragon; they’d said they were working on material and they’ve been almost maddeningly prolific over the last several years — but because it wasn’t free. A $7 download. Quite a jump from their usual “here, take it” name-your-price methodology.

I assumed at first there was something they were raising money to buy. Some piece of ancient and obscure recording or synth equipment, a Moog that George Harrison once looked at in a store or something like that, but nope, apparently they just ran out of free download credits on Bandcamp, which is apparently a thing. I’d never heard of it, but I don’t have a Bandcamp, so there you go. They’ve since lowered the price to a measly buck, and I think once you check out Seeds from a Dying Garden itself, you’ll find it worth the investment.

ice dragon seeds from a dying gardenFor their latest and umpteenth outing, Ice Dragon dive deep into classic psychedelic pop rock — as their Beach Boys-esque cover indicates — and emerge with Beatlesian characters like “Mr. Merry Melan Man” and the winking weed puns of “Mary Wants a Sunset” to craft a sound still characteristically their own, shades of doomed march working their way into languid progressions, an abidingly stoned sensibility arriving with the eight-minute dream-out “Your Beauty Measures More.” Front to back, it is a consuming journey into psych-ic expansion, but as ever, Ice Dragon maintain the penchant for songwriting that has made them forerunners among garage doom and the unflinching creative will that sees them so constantly broadening their style.

And while they often toy with biting metal tones and lunkheadedly badass riffing, Seeds from a Dying Garden feels more like it’s working to push the boundaries of last year’s Born a Heavy Morning (review here), and it does so even unto its ambient interludes “To Everything that Was” and “To Everything that Might Have Been,” which appear three tracks in and three tracks from the end to draw a linear thread through the album’s widely varied course. No doubt Ice Dragon will tackle their metal side again at some point, but for the boldness with which they approach psychedelia when they choose to do so — their sound also isn’t necessarily limited to one or the other — I tend to find this path even more engaging. The title may hint at some sense of loss or foreboding, but the general mood is more suited to the bright nostalgic wash of the cover photo, though of course if Ice Dragon only did one thing all the time, it just wouldn’t be them.

Seeds from a Dying Garden is available now for download and follows Ice Dragon‘s July 2014 split with Space Mushroom Fuzz (info here). Check it out on the player below.

Ice Dragon, Seeds from a Dying Garden (2014)

Ice Dragon on Bandcamp

Ice Dragon on Thee Facebooks

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Live Review: Sleep and Earthless Meets Heavy Blanket in Boston, 08.24.14

Posted in Reviews on August 27th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Sleep. (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I parked behind what used to be Boston’s legendary punk venue The Rat and made my way over a bridge across the Masspike, which cuts right through the city, and down a street behind Fenway Park to the House of Blues. It was Sunday night. The evening prior, I’d been in Pennsylvania watching All Them Witches, King Buffalo and King Dead (review here) win hearts and minds at The Living Room in Stroudsburg. I was beat from the drive, but this was Sleep, and some things you just don’t miss when you’re lucky enough to get the chance to see them.

Earthless Meets Heavy Blanket (Photo by JJ Koczan)House of Blues. Big. Corporate, but clearly run by professionals. Mezzanine tickets cost more, I think. The privilege of standing further away at a premium. Uh huh. I walked in and over to the crowded merch area — even Sleep‘s t-shirts seemed to cause a mosh pit to break out — and found Arik Roper selling vinyl, pillowcases, posters, etc. He seemed to be busy all night, and for good reason. Sleep‘s new single, “The Clarity” (review here), had just gotten a 12″ release, and legitimately it was sweet looking. Then, poof, it was gone.

Run down though I was — and, if I’m honest, still am — I’d have had a hard time pretending not to be excited for this show. Anytime Sleep comes around, it’s a special occasion, something to be celebrated, and the support slot being filled by a one-off Earthless Meets Heavy Blanket jam only added to the appeal, the influential San Diego trio — it seems fair to think of them at this point as a nexus for the current crop of heavy psych bands coming out of that area — teaming up with J. Mascis (Heavy Blanket, Witch, Dinosaur Jr.) for what if I’m not mistaken was the first time since their performance at Roadburn 2012 (Sleep also played that year), a staggering landmark of jammed heavy recently issued as the Earthless Meets Heavy BlanketIn a Dutch Haze vinyl and CD (review here). As far as nights go, I knew this was going to be a good one.

There was no grand introduction as Earthless – guitarist Isaiah Mitchell (also Golden Void), bassist Mike Egington and drummer Mario Rubalcaba – took the stage, no “Guess who this is!” posturing. They rolled in, turned on their amps, Rubalcaba took his seat behind the drums, in front of the riser that Sleep‘s Jason Roeder would soon occupy, and slammed into 45 minutes of straight jamming. The interplay between Mitchell and Mascis, who shared a side of the stage, was unbelievable, and as Egington and Rubalcaba locked a foundation down early, the guitarists set about tripping out solos and effects washes and riffs that would carry through for the entirety of the cosmic exploration. Whatever you might’ve called the piece — “In a Fenway Haze?”Sleep (Photo by JJ Koczan) — it moved up and down and sideways, was molten in its changes and overwhelming in its sprawl.

The thing to do was to lose yourself in it. That’s harder in a live space — at least sober — than when listening to a record, but if anyone was ever going to take you on a ride, it was these cats. And they did. Even the big rock finish of the set was about five minutes long, everything huge, swirling and terrifying in both cohesion and scale. I dug it, I dug it, I dug it, and I’m willing to bet six new bands formed in the crowd while Earthless Meets Heavy Blanket played. All the better. Sleep would be on a different rip when they came out, but were no less glorious, the kings of stoner riffing riding high both on the new single and on the promise of an inaugural Australian tour to come, and a couple more shows on this run as well. Bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros (also Om), guitarist Matt Pike (also High on Fire) and Roeder (also Neurosis) came out after a short break, and it was plain from the start of opener “Sonic Titan” that everyone was having a really good time on stage.

I think back to the first time I saw Sleep, four years ago in Brooklyn. They killed. God damn were they loud. But watching them play, you could see the differences in how they handled themselves on stage. Cisneros came across like he might’ve with Om, a very contemplative, subdued presence. Pike, in contrast, was battle-axe brazen, everything one might expect from watching a High on Fire gig. As the two founding members of the band with Roeder between them, the split in personality was evident, right there to be seen. At House of Blues, it was just the opposite. Not only in how Cisneros and Pike interacted, but in their individual presences and in how solid the three-piece was with RoederSleep weren’t so much a reunion act whose members went on to find success in other bands. That disparity was nonexistent. They were a vital trio, reveling in their classic material — Sleep’s Holy Mountain featured heavily with “From Beyond” and “Holy Mountain” early and “Aquarian” and “Dragonaut” after delving into “Dopesmoker” — but more than ever that I’ve seen them, very obviously ready to move forward as well.

Perhaps that was most evident in Cisneros‘ performance. He toyed with the rhythm of his vocal delivery for “Dopesmoker” and elsewhere — the clarion lines “Drop out of life with bong in hand/Follow Sleep (Photo by JJ Koczan)the smoke toward the riff-filled land” marked by a sustained, almost growling “drop” — and when the stoner caravan of “From Beyond” arrived, it did so with delighted emphasis on “stoner.” Predictably, at some point late in the set, someone tossed a joint on stage, and Pike, who had an electric cigarette on standby, gave it over to Cisneros, who lit up and earned a round of applause for it. He was far from the only one in the room.

“Dragonaut” got the biggest response of the night, which one would expect, but for me, seeing them play “The Clarity” complete with the sampled, compressed intro of its central riff, was a particular highlight, and the appeal of watching Sleep perform their first new recorded material in over a decade’s time wasn’t lost on the crowd either. They closed out with a wash of noise and riffs in “Antarcticans Thawed” and “Cultivator,” as if to further emphasize the vitality and relevance of their project and its ongoing nature. By then, House of Blues was a place of worship, and anywhere Sleep wanted to go, the place was ready to follow. Their utter command of their sound, the joy and chemistry they conveyed in delivering it, and the sheer volume with which they did were remarkable. Even before they were done I found myself asking what could’ve been better, any sense of impartiality I might posture having been reduced to a pummeled mush of fanboy glee.

Feedback carried over after they were done, but those who hadn’t left still showed appreciation after the amps were turned off — pretty sure that was Stoneburner‘s Damon Kelly I saw tech’ing, and if so, I wonder if he was in charge of the endearingly fake setlist at the front of the stage with some choice Montrose song titles like “Rock the Nation” and “Clown Woman” — and there was a short cry for one more song before the house lights came up. Soon enough, it was time to mill out and back across that highway-spanning bridge to the car, the bounce of “Dragonaut” still holding sway on my consciousness, though, admittedly, that seems to be a permanent condition.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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The Proselyte, Our Vessel’s in Need: The Water Keeps Rising

Posted in Reviews on August 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Art by William Crisafi.

Recorded in early 2013 as a blizzard pummeled the East Coast, The Proselyte‘s Our Vessel’s in Need EP hardly conveys any of the snowed-in claustrophobia or manic feel one might expect. Its five songs move, and have tones thick enough to fortify the walls of New Alliance Audio against the storm, but there’s little in the sound that seems to be trying to get away from itself. Maybe they finished tracking early on, or maybe that’s just a testament to the Cambridge, MA, outfit’s songwriting, which is all the more a highlight component of the new EP — released by Gypsyblood Records, an imprint helmed by Stavros Giannopoulos of Chicago’s The Atlas Moth – even than it was on The Proselyte‘s prior 2011 sophomore full-length, Sunshine (discussed here). In the interim, aside from completing several tours, The Proselyte have cut their lineup by one, leaving drummer/vocalist Alec Rodriguez (who also produced), guitarist/vocalist Nicholas Wolf (also of Phantom Glue) and bassist Brad Macomber (also “circuitry”) as a tight-knit power trio with a sound that confidently stands on either side of the border between heavy rock and metal and still focuses on blending melodic and growling vocal arrangements and keeping a sense of atmosphere. About a decade ago, Boston’s Cave In were picked up by RCA using similar elements, but while that band may or may not have had an influence on the rushing churn of Our Vessel’s in Need opener “End Regions,” The Proselyte are by and large a more bruising, heavier group, and even when they dip into upbeat, driving sounds, as on “End Regions” or the irresistibly catchy “Irish Goodbye,” and seem like they might be channeling some of Red Fang‘s crowdpleasing heaviness, they do so with the born-in intensity of the Seaboard they call home.

Our Vessel’s in Need is in and out in a brief 23 minutes, the time feeling that much shorter for the push in the songs themselves, and as with the prior full-length, Rodriguez‘s recording job is clean and professional. The sound overall, however, is bigger on these five tracks than the prior outing, and The Proselyte fill it with likewise sizable riffs and rhythmic movement. Each has a factor distinguishing it from the others, whether it’s “End Regions” with its stomping drumline and harmonized bridge, “Log Computer” with the catchiest chorus of the release — the lines, “Caveman committee/Prehistoric and sitting pretty/Unpolished stone/Built this city,” becoming a landmark hook — “Existential Risk” which seems to deconstruct as it hypnotically follows the guitar into oblivion, “Irish Goodbye,” which touches on classic Queens of the Stone Age-style thrust, or the slower, more open finale of “A Stubborn Hem,” but all manage to flow together smoothly as well, and while Our Vessel’s in Need is definitely an EP in the sense of not trying to come across as a single work but a collection of individual pieces, there’s no ignoring the tact with which The Proselyte execute their material. That’s particularly evident in the vocals, and the timing of the harsh/clean tradeoffs in “End Regions” and “Log Computer” and the times when both come together — “Log Computer” is about as close as they come to falling in the modern metal trap of the growled-verse/sung-chorus, but they avoid it successfully precisely because the arrangement is more complex — but no less true ultimately of the guitar, bass or drums. On the most general level, they sound more focused, but how that specifically manifests in the EP is with the impact each cut seems to have on its landing, even “Existential Risk,” which is the longer than all but the closer here at 4:44 and the moment at which they most depart from their structural base and build a near-abrasive wash of noise.

They are putting their HEADS TOGETHER. Get it?

Though, to be fair, that wash comes more or less after the song itself is done, and thinking in terms of the flow between one song and the next, feels as much about launching “Irish Goodbye” as closing “Existential Risk.” All the more, then, it’s a point at which The Proselyte branch out sonically but maintain their focus on the task at hand. “Irish Goodbye” has a compressed runthrough of the riff before Rodriguez kicks in on the drums and is soon joined by Wolf and Macomber for the progression that most rivals the memorability of “Log Computer,” a Songs for the Deaf vibe and dual-clean vocal interplay/layering taking hold in stark contrast to “Existential Risk” prior, which in terms of the vocals is as rough as Our Vessel’s in Need gets. Fitting that the two tracks should be next to each other and placed such that the latter slams into the feedback beginning of “A Stubborn Hem,” which rounds out the EP with its most doomed moment but shows off some of the progressive tendencies that had appeared on Sunshine in its second half, albeit only en route to the dual-vocal, slow-marching apex of the release which also serves as its leadout. At 6:36, it’s easily the longest track present — “End Regions,” “Log Computer” and “Irish Goodbye” hover at just under four minutes apiece — but its time is efficiently spent, and ultimately, the stylistic branching out it does in relation to the surrounding tracks makes Our Vessel’s in Need a much richer release. I wouldn’t speculate about how the band may have grown or come more into their own as a three-piece in the year and a half since the EP was recorded, but their progression since Sunshine is evident in every second of these songs and the force with which they’re delivered, and if Our Vessel’s in Need is a step en route to someplace even more definitive of where The Proselyte are as a band, it will be well worth seeing this potential further realized. Bring on the next blizzard.

The Proselyte, Our Vessel’s in Need teaser

The Proselyte on Thee Facebooks

The Proselyte on Bandcamp

Our Vessel’s in Need at Gypsyblood Records

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Old Man Gloom Post Trailer for Here is a Gift for You

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Exactly what kind of audio/visual project is Old Man Gloom‘s forthcoming Here is a Gift for You? Hell if I know. The Boston post-metal don’t-call-us-a-supergroup-even-though-we-are-most-definitely-a-supergroup four-piece keep it cryptic with their just-unveiled trailer, as one would have to expect, showing off documentary interview footage — seen looking comfortable on a balcony at the start, Thor Anderson is a visiting professor at the San Francisco Art Institute — as well as a burning Zozobra effigy and live performance from the band that, because there are lights on and they’re actually visible, I’m going to assume was not filmed in their hometown. Old Man Gloom toured Europe earlier this year, including a stop at Roadburn (review here) and it could easily have come from one of those shows or just about anywhere else. Could be Nate Newton‘s basement. Anything’s possible with these guys.

Old Man Gloom‘s last release was 2012’s No, which marked the return of the project and their first outing since 2004’s Christmas, the lineup of Newton (also of Converge) on guitar/vocals, guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner (ex-Isis), bassist/vocalist Caleb Schofield and drummer Santos Montano (Zozobra) refreshing the cerebral pummel that made their earlier work like 2001’s one-two punch of Seminar II: The Holy Rites of Primitivism Regressionism and Seminar III: Zozobra both so distinct in what was than a nascent post-metal movement and years ahead of their time. I intended to pick up a copy of No after their performance at Roadburn was so blistering and didn’t because I suck and I’m broke, but the clip here is another argument in favor of digging through the couch for change to put toward that cause.

Whatever Here is a Gift for You is, it’ll reportedly be out this fall, produced and directed by Kenneth Thomas with burning Zozobra and everything. Here’s the trailer:

Old Man Gloom, Here is a Gift for You trailer

Old Man Gloom on Thee Facebooks

Hydra Head Industries

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Ice Dragon and Space Mushroom Fuzz Release Crystal Future Split Single

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Ice Dragon and Space Mushroom Fuzz have more than a few things in common: They share geography in being based out of Boston. They’re both committed to self-releasing albums without charging for them, and they both do so at a prolific clip. Both bands have a varied and open sound, and while Ice Dragon lean more toward a doomed-out psychedelic nod, recorded raw with physical pressing a matter left to the ages — their Dream Dragon (tape review here) has a CD issue coming — and Space Mushroom Fuzz tend toward the progressive and space rocking side of the heavy spectrum while periodically gathering single tracks and other output for collected release — their 2013 double-tape, Back from the Past (review here), brought together four outings — I don’t think there’s anyone who’d argue they don’t make a solid pair.

To be perfectly honest, I was kind of hoping that Crystal Future would be a collaborative release from Ice Dragon. As Space Mushroom Fuzz is a one-man project — helmed by Adam Abrams, also known for Blue Aside – it would be easy enough to bring him into an Ice Dragon session, but the four-song release is a proper split, each act on their own. I’m not about to complain. Each band contributes a longer work and a shorter ambient piece, and as ever from both, the resulting EP is available as a free download.

Links, info, Samantha Allen‘s gorgeous cover art and Ice Dragon‘s announcement follow:

We have a new split out with Space Mushroom Fuzz. Their track is most excellent, and definitely gets stuck in your head. Little interlude action in there too, ours is from an old 4-track tape we did on the porch while recording a few Tome tracks.

Cover art from the painting “Shape of Things to Come” by Samantha Allen
samantha-allen.tumblr.com

Mastered at Ron’s Wrecker Service, with MAGNETOSONIC sound
www.facebook.com/ronswreckerservice

“A Peak Into the Future” and “A Timely Idea”
Written and produced by Space Mushroom Fuzz
Copyright 2014 BMI

“New Blue Horizon” and “Slowly We All (Into the Bottle) Fall”
Written and produced by Ice Dragon
Copyright 2014 ASCAP

http://icedragon.bandcamp.com/album/crystal-future
https://www.facebook.com/icedragonofficial
http://spacemushroomfuzz.bandcamp.com/album/crystal-future
https://www.facebook.com/SpaceMushroomFuzz

Ice Dragon and Space Mushroom Fuzz, Crystal Future (2014)

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Owlfood Announce Tour Dates Leading to Gilead Media Fest

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Based out of Boston, four-piece drone-folk magnates Owlfood, who released their fourth long-player last year in the form of the 27-minute single-track Destroyers of the Moon, have been confirmed for this year’s Gilead Media Fest in Wisconsin on July 19. Accordingly, they’ll head west next week and make four stops along the way with travel time in between, hitting Boston, Brooklyn, Columbus and Chicago before getting to Oshkosh, and sharing the stage with the likes of Windmills by the Ocean and Taiga.

I hadn’t heard Owlfood before the PR wire sent along the info and dates below, but the lineup for the Boston gig on Sunday looks right on, and unless a piano falls on my head between now and then, I’ll be there. More to come.

Until then, check out the Bandcamp stream of Destroyers of the Moon below for your fix of moody, dark psychedelics and minimalist, hopefully-no-one-talks-over-it-at-the-gig ambience:

OWLFOOD: Experimental Drone Folk Quartet To Kick Off US Tour En Route To Gilead Fest

Boston-based experimental drone folk quartet, OWLFOOD, will levy their bleached-out desert tones upon adventurous ears beginning next week. The short journey will begin on their home turf on July 13th and run through Brooklyn, Columbus and Chicago. The band will be joined by instrumental psyche rockers Windmills By The Ocean featuring members of Isis and Blacktail as well as the undulating and cinematic Taiga project featuring Bryant Clifford Meyer (Isis, Palms, Red Sparrows) on select dates. OWLFOOD will make their final descent in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on July 19th at Gilead Fest where they will share the stage with the likes of Thou, The Body, Inter Arma, Sea Of Bones and many more.

OWLFOOD will be journeying in support of their fourth LP, Destroyers Of The Moon, self-released last April. Featuring one twenty-seven-minute movement, the soundscape evoked in Destroyers Of The Moon began as a drawing; a graphic landscape. Conceiving the composition in a visual register in which, for example, barren plains give way to mountainous peaks, allowed OWLFOOD to develop a fuller tonality; a sonority richer and more differentiated than any of their previous recordings. Fans of OM and Scott Kelly pay heed. Dubbed “a glorious epic landscape of cinematic swirls,” by Aquarius Records and, “beautiful and exceptionally original,” by Anti-Gravity Bunny, Destroyers boasts a host of collaborators including Greg Moss (27), Meghan Mulhearn (Divine Circles, The Judas Horse, U.S. Christmas), David Bently and Nicholas Giadone Ward (both of Hallelujah The Hills).

OWLFOOD Live Rituals 2014:
7/13/2014 Middle East – Boston, MA w/ Windmills By The Ocean, High Aura’d, Neptune
7/15/2014 Matchless – Brooklyn, NY w/ Windmills By The Ocean, 27, Thurn & Taxis
7/17/2014 The Fuse Factory – Columbus, OH w/ Taiga, DOT
7/18/2014 Burlington Bar – Chicago, IL w/ Taiga, Rare Animals
7/19/2014 Gilead Fest @ Oshkosh Masonic Temple – Oshkosh, WI

http://www.facebook.com/owlfood
http://www.owlfood.bandcamp.com

Owlfood, Destroyers of the Moon (2013

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We’re all Gonna Die Announce Reunion Shows and New Material

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s been six years since Boston’s We’re all Gonna Die released their third and to-date final outing, Kiss the Ground, Curse the Sky on Underdogma Records, and a half-decade since they last played a show. In the interim, drummer Scott Healey has played in the crusty sludge/thrash outfit Gut, bassist Jesse Sherman has moved onto Tired Old Bones and guitarist/vocalist Jim Healey has been fronting Black Thai and performing as a solo artist. Not like these dudes haven’t kept busy in the meantime, but after five years, We’re all Gonna Die are about due to book a gig or two.

Or three. They’ll play in Allston, Manchester, New Hampshire, and Portland, Maine, over the next month, a Saturday series that will be further marked by the release of new single “Pleurisy,” which was written during their initial run but never released. Among heavy rockers in the middle part of the last decade, We’re all Gonna Die was always a little darker, a little more aggressive than the stoner bunch, but still more melodic than outright sludge would warrant. They toed that line well, and it’ll be good to see them again after so long.

The PR wire brings confirmation:

AFTER FIVE-YEAR HIATUS, BOSTON FAVORITE HARD ROCK TRIO WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE REUNITES FOR THREE SUMMER SHOWS AND RELEASES NEW SONG “PLEURISY”

SPECIAL LIVE IN-STUDIO RADIO PERFORMANCE — BOSTON EMISSIONS, WZLX 100.7, SUNDAY, JULY 13, 11PM

Boston hard-rock favorite trio WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE reunites this summer for three shows at Great Scott (Allston, MA), The Shaskeen (Manchester, NH), and Geno’s (Portland, ME). To celebrate they will also release a new song, “Pleurisy,” recorded this spring and be a special guest performing live on WZLX’s Boston Emissions.

Saturday, July 19, 2014 Great Scott Allston, MA Doors @ 8:30pm $10 21+
with special guests Cocked N’ Loaded, Murcielago, The Humanoids, and Wolfsmyth

Saturday, August 2, 2014 The Shaskeen Manchester, NH Doors @ 9pm 21+
with special guests Thunderhawk and Hey Zeus

Saturday, August 9, 2014 Geno’s Portland, ME 21+
with Murcielago and special guests Blackwolfgoat

WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE formed in 1998, recorded three full-length albums on Underdogma Records: Kiss the Ground, Curse the Sky (2008), The Wreck of the Minot (2005), and Go to Hell (2004). They toured the U.S. and Ireland before going on hiatus after their September 2009 performance at the Stoner Hand of Doom festival in Frederick, MD. The trio’s current line-up features Jim Healey on vocals and guitars (also plays in Black Thai and the Jim Healey Band), Jesse Sherman on bass (also plays in Tired Old Bones), and Scott Healey on drums (also plays in Gut and Give Up!).

“We haven’t played in 5 years,” says WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE front-man Jim Healey. “I felt it was time to get together, play a few shows, and see where things went from there. The band will probably only ever play a few shows a year, but it’s great to play together, and see the fans.”

“We recorded a ‘new’ song (written in 2007, but never rerecorded) called “Pleurisy,” Healey says. “It will be available for download along with 5 other unreleased WAGD tracks, spanning the history of the band in all its member formations.”

For more WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE information:
http://www.wereallgonnadie.com/
https://www.facebook.com/wereallgonnadieboston
http://wereallgonnadieband.bandcamp.com/
http://wzlx.cbslocal.com/show/boston-emissions/

We’re all Gonna Die, Kiss the Ground, Curse the Sky (2008)

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On Wax: Gozu, The Fury of a Patient Man

Posted in On Wax on June 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I don’t want to come off like I’m tooting my own horn, but I feel like Gozu‘s The Fury of a Patient Man is a record I know pretty well by now. The Boston-based outfit’s 2013 sophomore outing was reviewed early last year, wound up on my Top 20 for the year, and was an album that I never strayed too far from as the months passed. As I got to see the band live more often, the material was fresh stayed fresh in my head and even more than their 2010 debut, Locust Season (review here), I considered The Fury of a Patient Man one I more or less had a handle of in terms of its perspective and where the band was coming from.

Listening back now to the Small Stone vinyl version of it — 500 copies pressed to 180g platters in a thick-stock sleeve with one transparent green LP and one solid purple LP — my impression of the songs themselves hasn’t changed all that much. It’s still a very, very good album, whether you listen to it linear on a CD or mp3s, or whether you get up after a couple songs to turn over between “Salty Thumb” and “Disco Related Injury.” When I first heard it, I remember thinking how much heavier it was than Locust Season, which already lacked nothing for sonic beef. Now, after seeing the band as much as I have since I first heard it (live reviews here, here, here, here, here, here and here), I’m likewise astounded by how much heavier they’ve become live.

Part of that has to be the lineup. In the time since The Fury of a Patient Man was recorded, Gozu guitarists Marc Gaffney and Doug Sherman have solidified their rhythm section with bassist Joe Grotto and drummer Mike Hubbard, but on the 2LP, Grotto is one of three bassists who appears — Jay Canava and Paul Dellaire are the other two — and he’s only on the three bonus tracks included on side D. Hubbard is an even more recent addition than that, and even on those bonus cuts, Barry Spillberg handles drums. The new players have had a significant impact on Gozu‘s sound, so although it’s only a little over a year old, The Fury of a Patient Man already marks a point in the band’s progression which they’ve already moved past.

“Moved past” is the wrong phrase. It’s not like Gozu have outgrown these songs — they still make up the majority of what they play live, and cuts like “Bald Bull,” “Ghost Wipe,” “Irish Dart Fight” and “Signed, Epstein’s Mom” are perennial highlights — but the circumstances have changed. They’re not the same band they were when this album was recorded. Nonetheless, The Fury of a Patient Man remains an unmistakable hallmark of the quality in what Gozu do, and they’ve always been a different act live anyway, putting aside some of the vocal harmonies and layering from Gaffney and opting for a more straightforward, at times pummeling, approach, blended with the thick grooves and a relentlessly forward thrust.

Both offer a rich listening experience, and I find in revisiting The Fury of a Patient Man that my appreciation for it hasn’t diminished. What was a driving opening salvo of “Bald Bull,” “Signed, Epstein’s Mom,” “Charles Bronson Pinchot” and “Irish Dart Fight” now makes up the majority of side A with “Salty Thumb” hinting at some of the sonic branching out side B will hold, and the unabashed pop catchiness of “Ghost Wipe” and “Traci Lords” stand out well with “Snake Plissken”‘s shuffle on the back half of the green record. I was curious prior to listening what they might do with the 23-minute “The Ceaseless Thunder of Surf,” but it appears here uninterrupted as the entirety of side C and preserves its claim as the album’s most get-lost-in-it moment.

The aforementioned bonus tracks, particularly “Break You,” which is the middle of the three, are of particular note for being the band’s most recent recordings. Teaming with Lo-Pan vocalist Jeff MartinGozu open side D with a cover of the title-track to D’Angelo‘s 1995 debut, Brown Sugar that incorporates parts of “Shit, Damn, Motherfucker” as well. If it’s a goof, it’s far from Gozu‘s first — see also almost all of their song titles — but they’ve always had a touch of soul in their approach anyway, so “Brown Sugar (Shit Damn Motherfucker)” speaks to that, offers a thick groove from Grotto‘s bass and takes on a classic funk-jam kind of feel, Gaffney and Martin working well enough alongside each other so that I hope it’s not their last collaboration.

Arriving prior to a Simply Red cover “Holding back the Years,” “Break You” is the only one of the bonus tracks that’s a Gozu original, and it starts with Gaffney‘s voice with the guitars, bass and drums swelling up behind before moving into a dreamier verse in a linear kind of structure that’s still not devoid of a hook, the chorus, “I don’t want to break you/I only want to shake you,” etc., standing up to any of its counterparts on the album proper and still leaving room for Sherman to rip into a solo marking out the apex prior to a final slowdown and some well falsetto’ed last-minute crooning . Their take on “Holding back the Years” is decidedly more open, reinterpreting the cut from Simply Red‘s 1985 debut, Picture Book, with an airy, psychedelic sprawl, guitar and voice echoing alike over a solid but languid rhythmic foundation that spreads the four-minute original to nearly twice its original length.

It’s a more adventurous cover if less of a party than the D’Angelo track, but frankly, both have their appeal and show more than a little effort on Gozu‘s part to make them their own. Together with “Break You” and the rest of The Fury of a Patient Man itself, the 2LP edition of the album becomes not only a reminder of one of last year’s best outings, but a celebration of it as well and a look for fans at a band who continue to get more and more vibrant as they continually defy their comfort zone. As familiar as I’ve felt with these tracks, I’ve yet to make my way through them without hearing something new.

Gozu, The Fury of a Patient Man (2013)

Gozu on Thee Facebooks

The Fury of a Patient Man on Bandcamp

Small Stone Records

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The Scimitar’s Doomsayer Vinyl Now Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Doomsayer, the debut long-player from Black Pyramid-offshoot The Scimitar, is now available to preorder from Hydro-Phonic Records. The Michigan-based label, which has a penchant for creative packaging and dedication to vinyl, has the record coming in July in a number of limited pressings and editions, including one that also houses a CD with an alternate mix of the album. If you’d like to hear the regular mix so you have it to compare by when the time comes, the band has made it available for streaming and pay-what-you-will downloading on their newly-launched Bandcamp page.

These’ll probably go, so if you want one, a preorder probably isn’t a terrible idea.

Details follow, courtesy of Hydro-Phonic:

The Scimitar come swinging with their debut LP, “Doomsayer”. Featuring Gein and Darryl from Black Pyramid (along with new drummer Brian Banfield) turning out some Sabbath-Maiden-Motorhead influenced heavy riffs.

The Striped Deluxe Edition comes on white wax with a black stripe through the center. The jacket is printed on black cardstock, so the inside will be black instead of the normal white. The Deluxe Edition also comes with a CD featuring and alternate mix/master of the album. Will include other extra goodies as well!

The Clear/White Edition comes on Ultra Clear wax with a White blob in the center. The jacket is printed on black cardstock, so it will be black instead of the normal white inside the jacket.

By popular demand, we will release for the first time to the public a chance to own a test pressing of this release. This is limited to 20 copies in cool handmade covers by the HPRX staff. Limited to ONE COPY PER PERSON and will surely be extremely collectible as our test pressings often sell for $100 – $250 on ebay.

Also available now at the bands Bandcamp page that will go live very soon!

Visit the store here for your vinyl–>
http://hydro-phonicrecords.com/Hydro-Store2/index.php?main_page=product_music_info&cPath=1&products_id=127&zenid=he29b0skhagcebhsoe8771svl2

The Scimitar: Doomsayer
1. The Taker
2. World Unreal
3. Babylon
4. Metropolis (Motörhead Cover)
5. Attrition
6. Void Traveler
7. Crucifer

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Scimitar/152679768213655
http://thescimitar.bandcamp.com/album/doomsayer
http://hydro-phonicrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Hydrophonicrecords

The Scimitar, Doomsayer (2014)

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Elder to Record New Album in September

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Fresh off a European run that included both Desertfests and a stop at Freak Valley, Massachusetts heavy psych rockers Elder have announced they’ll make their return to US stages this September with a few regional Northeast shows and plans for more thanks to a new alliance with Tone Deaf Touring. I know a lot of the country has waited a long time to see Elder, and it looks like that opportunity will finally come about if the three-piece gets out on the road supporting their next record.

Speaking of, that third album and the follow-up to the most-excellent 2011 LP, Dead Roots Stirring (review here), and subsequent 2012 10″, Spires Burn/Release (review here), will be put to tape in September with Justin Pizzoferrato. I’ll be curious to see the timing of the release — one to watch for early in 2015, I’d think — and how that might play into the touring side of things for the band. Kind of a cool to imagine Elder really making a go of it next year. It’s been an unfortunately long time since I heard about MeteorCity putting anything out, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a new label announcement was to follow in the coming months — time to step up, Napalm Records – and all the better if that comes together at the same time as they kick it into gear touring. Exciting prospects for a band whose listeners have been itching to give them their due.

Dates and info culled from their Thee Facebooks, with the promise of more to come:

Some news from camp Elder:

We are stoked to announce our recent partnering with Tone Deaf Touring as our official US booking agency! It’s been a while since we’ve been around the States and we’re looking forward to getting back at it. US promoters – please contact jake@tonedeaftouring.com for booking inquiries.

We will also be entering Sonelab studios this September to record our third full length with Justin Pizzoferrato. If you want to get a preview, check out an upcoming show…

September 19th
Cambridge, MA @ the Middle East
W/ ROZAMOV, Summoner, SET

September 20th
NYC @ St. Vitus
w/ ROZAMOV

October 10th
Philadelphia, PA Boot & Saddle
W/ HIVELORDS, Bardus

October 11
Princeton, NJ @ Princeton Terrace Club

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elder/238458929529339

Elder, Live at Roadburn 2013

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Buried Treasure: Isis, Celestial Pre-Release Version

Posted in Buried Treasure on June 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ve done my absolute best these last six months or so to buy as little music as humanly possible. As I’ve lost jobs and seen my income go from what it was last year at this time to half that, to less than half that, to nothing, it’s felt like the very least I can do to stop scrolling through online shops or thumb my way through record bins trying just basically looking for one more thing to own. Just out of fairness to The Patient Mrs., if the actual financial concern isn’t enough. I won’t lie: I’ve missed it. And it hasn’t been easy. Between new stuff that’s come out in the last year — I’ve got a running list on a post-it note on my wall and it goes back a ways by now — and the joy of actually going to a store and finding something used I never expected to see and sometimes didn’t even remember I wanted, I’ve felt like something that I used to really enjoy, I can no longer do because I don’t have the money to spend.

At least I ever did, right? I’m not saying I’ve got it tougher than anyone — ever — because basically I don’t. My point is that when I ran into the pre-release version of Isis‘ 2000 full-length debut, Celestial, yesterday at Armageddon Shop in Boston, it was something I knew I shouldn’t buy. I knew it was there. They had three of them at one point — Celestial, 1998’s preceding Mosquito Control (it might’ve been The Red Sea) and 2001’s subsequent SGNL>05 EPs — and I had seen them a few months back last time I was in the store, in the case at the counter in a small box of oddly-shaped or rare CDs. You have to ask to look. Yesterday, after perusing the wall of discs and feeling positive about a three-dollar copy of Cavity‘s On the Lam, I decided to take another gander at the Isis discs. I knew what they were, I didn’t imagine they were gone, and I knew how much they cost: $29.99. Not cheap for anything at this point, let alone an album I’ve already owned for more than a decade.

I suppose I could say that it was the fact that Mosquito Control was gone from the box that called me to action in buying Celestial – getting both that and SGNL>05 would’ve been absolutely out of the question, and given the choice, I’ll take the full-length — and maybe that was a factor, but the root of it was more that I miss buying records. I miss going to a store, picking up something like this and delighting at the prospect of making it mine. I wanted it. It was overpriced, but the inside liner confirms that, indeed, there were only 40 of them made (mine is number 24), and put out by Escape Artist Records in advance of the album itself. Yeah, the cover art hijacked from the self-titled Godflesh EP was also a factor, my enjoyment of that blatant acknowledgement of influence made only more fervent by knowing they used the same cover for these versions of the other releases as well. All three sitting there, daring anyone who’d look at them to recognize that face.

That’s not to take away from the impact of Celestial sonically. I think we’re probably still a couple years too close to post-metal’s overexposure — bands taking no small measure of influence from Isis‘ largely unfuckwithable first three long-players; Celestial, 2002’s Oceanic and 2004’s Panopticon — and just hammering those ideas into the ground, but Celestial still remains about as close to “atmospheric sludge” as anyone has ever come, an aggression metered out across varied, lurching cuts like “Deconstructing Towers” and the later “Collapse and Crush” interspersed with ambient interludes titled to maximize a theme that would soon enough tie in with the follow-up EP. A breath-stealing undertaking at over 51 minutes, the pre-release version advises, “Listen to this goddamm (sic) thing the whole way through for best results,” but with a record as densely packed and, at times, vicious as Celestial was at the time, they weren’t by any means making it easy. Then based on the East Coast, Isis were a direct answer to the Bay Area’s Neurosis at their most unbridled, and while their musical paths would diverge, that influence, as well as that of Godflesh, would remain a typifying factor throughout much of Isis‘ career, for better or worse.

So yeah, Celestial crushes, and it still crushes, and between that and the added nerdout factor of the swiped artwork, the limited release and my own wistfulness at the thought of leaving it there again, I picked it up. I won’t say I don’t feel guilty, because money really is tighter than would allow for such things, but cash comes and goes and this is mine now.

Got that Cavity too, so right on.

Isis, Celestial (2000)

Armageddon Shop

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Wolves in the Throne Room’s Celestite, Milligram, A Sad Bada, Phant, Damo Suzuki Meets Øresund Space Collective

Posted in Radio on June 6th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Running a pretty wide gamut this week, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. This week is a pretty good example of one where there’s way more added than just what’s listed here, so make sure you check the updates page to see the full list of everything that went on the server. Next thing I knew, I turned around and there was a ton of awesome stuff waiting to go up. Tough times.

It’s been a few weeks doing the adds this way and I’m digging it so far, so I’m going to keep it up, at least until I think of something else or it gets to be a pain or whatever. Thanks for reading and checking out the radio stream.

Adds for June 6, 2014:

Wolves in the Throne Room, Celestite

The much-awaited follow-up to 2011’s Celestial Lineage finds Washington US black metal forerunners Wolves in the Throne Room not quite ready to let go of that album yet. Celestite is intended as a complement to its predecessor, and as the first release on the band’s own Artemesia Records imprint, it comes as a particularly bold move for a band clearly looking to shirk expectation. Its five included tracks are cinematic, ambient set-pieces — instrumental works that, when played at the same time as Celestial Lineage, enhance the atmospheres of those already dense songs. Of course, cuts like the 11-minute opener “Turning Ever Towards the Sun” and the centerpiece “Bridge of Leaves” have value on their own as well, but there’s little denying that the apex of Celestial Lineage in “Prayer of Transformation” is pushed further by Celestite closer “Sleeping Golden Storm” and vice versa. Anyone expecting forest screams or raging blastbeats is in for a surprise, but those who approach with an open mind will be rewarded, which has always been the case with Wolves in the Throne Room‘s work. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Milligram, Live on Pipeline (WMBR)


A band with a reach that has lasted much longer than their actual six-year run, Milligram retain a presence in heavy rock consciousness despite having really only gotten together to open for Kyuss Lives! in 2011 since calling it quits in 2002, prior to Small Stone‘s issue of their This is Class War full-length. Accordingly, the version of “Not Okay” included on this collection of live recordings from the radio station WMBR sounds like a blueprint for some of the soulful heavy vibes Lo-Pan would conjure in their early going. Also included are covers of the Misfits (“We are 138″) and Black Flag (“Jealous Again”), so in addition to hearing Milligram – which in 2000 when Live on Pipeline was recorded was comprised of vocalist Jonah Jenkins (see also Raw Radar War), guitarist Darryl Shepard (see also Hackman, Black Pyramid, Blackwolfgoat, The Scimitar, etc.), bassist Bob Maloney and drummer Zephan Courtney — tear into some of their own material, there’s also a look at their punkier roots. Shepard has begun a series of digital releases of his bands with this, so look out for more. All are available for name-your-price download through his Bandcamp. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Damo Suzuki Møder Øresund Space Collective, Damo Suzuki Møder Øresund Space Collective

Captured live and largely improvised on Valentine’s Day 2013, the 3LP Damo Suzuki Møder Øresund Space Collective indeed proves a match meant to be. The Danish/Swedish space jammers and the krautrock legend — Damo Suzuki has released decades’ worth of solo output and collaborations, but is still best known for his contributions to Can — offer no single piece under 14 minutes long, so I guess as jams go, these worked out. The six inclusions are immediately exploratory, and while at just over two hours, the meeting of these expanded-mind entities can feel a bit like traveling through a wormhole where you snap back to consciousness on the other side and wonder how you got there, each piece also takes on a life and movement of its own, propelled by ceaselessly creative guitar work, engaging rhythmic nod and, naturally, a near-constant swirl of effects. Suzuki‘s voice echoes through “Dit Glimtende Øje” as though beamed in from another galaxy, and his first contact with Øresund Space Collective results in vibrant, cosmic jams that push through the psychedelosphere. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

A Sad Bada, White Rivers and Coldest Chains


Chilean four-piece A Sad Bada specialize in post-sludge that is lurching and atmospheric in kind. White Rivers and Coldest Chains is their first full-length, with it they offer five extended tracks of crushing density and grueling nod. They skirt the post-metal line — guitarists Gastón Cariola and Fernando Figueroa, who founded the band in 2008, keep a steady supply of airy echoes on hand throughout — but as a cut like the 11-minute “Hide and Grieve” shows, they’re never quite looking to get away from the sludgy churn of their slower-than-thou progressions, bassist Roberto Toledo and drummer Alejandro Ossandon expertly holding together the songs as Figueroa offers vicious, throaty growls over top. White Rivers and Coldest Chains (out on Australis Records) is intended as a slog, and it is one, but the soundscape that A Sad Bada enact over the course of the album has more appeal than just its tonal weight or extremity. There’s a darkness at its heart that comes from more than just the music itself, and that bleeds from the speakers with every oozing riff. On Thee Facebooks, Australis Records.

Phant, The Octophant Pt. II


Newcomer Swedish trio Phant return with their second self-released, digital-only EP in less than a year’s time, bringing their eight-armed elephant mascot deeper into a heavy-riff melee over two more extended tracks and an outro with The Octophant Pt. II. Like their predecessors on The Octophant Pt. I (review here), “Nativitas/Hakaisha” (13:53) and “Magna Cael” (9:31) blend cosmic doom and heavy rock tendencies, finding a cohesive balance of aggression and groove along the way, subtly adding effects amid echoing vocal interplay from bassist Jesper Sundström and guitarist Anton Berglind while drummer Elias Sundberg taps into reaches no less spacious via a constant-seeming wash of cymbals. Found sounds, samples and other sundry weirdness caps The Octophant Pt. II in “Outro Pt. II,” with tales of UFOs and government coverups. How long Phant might continue this series of EPs, I don’t know — they can at least get a trilogy out of it if they want; I’d take another 26 minutes of this no problem — but the heft the three-piece bring to bear across “Nativitas/Hakaisha” and “Magna Cael” also shows they’re more than ready to tackle their debut full-length, should they decide to go that route next. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Other adds to The Obelisk Radio this week include Novembers Doom, the four-way split between Naam, White Hills, Black Rainbows and The Flying Eyes, as well as Recitation, Sunwolf, Godflesh, Dylan Carlson of Earth‘s solo-project, Drcarlsonalbion. For the full list, check the updates page.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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