Friday Full-Length: Wo Fat, Psychedelonaut

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 15th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Wo Fat, Psychedelonaut (2009)

[Please note: For consistency’s sake, I’m using a YouTube embed above. The album is available direct from the band on Bandcamp here.]

I distinctly recall getting and reviewing Wo Fat‘s sophomore outing, Psychedelonaut, in 2009. It was an easy record to dig, so full in tone, so unabashed in its groove, but I don’t think it was possible to appreciate at the time just how pivotal the Dallas trio would become, not just to Texas fuzz, but to the breadth of US heavy in general. Seven years later, they stand tall among the finest and most accomplished heavy rock acts the nation has to offer — and does offer; they have a couple Euro tours to their credit and more to come — and on many levels, Psychedelonaut was the nexus point for what they’d go on to accomplish, blending swamp blues, ultra-stony fuzz tone and heavy psychedelic jazz-jamming into a sound that’s only become more their own as they’ve gone on. Granted, that’s a lot of context to expect to be able to pull out of one record seven years before any of it has started to unfold, but listening back to Psychedelonaut now, whether it’s the riff-chanting of “The Slow Blade,” the vicious, still-infectious hook of “Analog Man,” the slide on “Shake ’em on Down” or the ranging jam in closer “The Spheres Beyond,” which pushes the album past the hour and 70-minute marks with complete abandon, a lot of what the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump, bassist Tim Wilson and drummer/backing vocalist Michael Walter would go on to accomplish sonically got its start here.

That’s not to take anything away from the underlying sense of blues-monster threat in 2006’s debut, The Gathering Dark, but there’s a self-awareness that bleeds through Psychedelonaut — the idea that Wo Fat knew who their audience was and how to reach them — that particularly in hindsight only makes it seem more masterful. It was an essential step in an ongoing development that would see them sign to ultra-respected German purveyor Nasoni Records for 2011’s Noche del Chupacabra (review here), and then Small Stone for the subsequent two outings, 2012’s The Black Code (review here) and 2014’s The Conjuring (review here), before linking up with Ripple Music for the forthcoming Midnight Cometh, but even taken on its own level, its songs deliver an already-shaped identity and lyrical wit — references to Hendrix and Parliament in “Enter the Riffian,” lines like “Vacuum tube voodoo” in “Analog Man,” the entirety of “Two the Hard Way” (also another Funkadelic reference there for good measure) — as well as an instrumental chemistry demonstrated across “Not of this Earth” and “The Spheres Beyond” that was the true point of potential. Even seven years ago, Wo Fat could jam. Some bands have to grow into that. These cats came in ready to roll.

And again, it’s easy to know that now, but as Wo Fat get ready this spring to unleash the next stage of their progression — the aforementioned Midnight Cometh — it’s worth taking the time to fuzz out on how what they’ve done in the years since really started to take shape, or at very least to get lost in the percussive hypnosis of “The Spheres Beyond.” If that’s how you want to go with it, that’s cool too.

Either way, I hope you enjoy.

My original plan for this weekend was to put together my Most Anticipated Albums of 2016 list to go up early next week. Gotta push that back. My living room is full of t-shirt boxes, and those things need to get gone as soon as humanly possible. So instead of writing tomorrow and Sunday (well, I’ll still be writing on Sunday), I’ll be filling out address forms and packing up hoodies to ship out across the planet. This is all happening as quickly as it can possibly happen. Please be aware I work full-time, so it’s not like I’m sitting on my ass with your money not fulfilling orders. I’m doing the best I can.

Next week, reviews of Mammoth GroveConan and Mars Red Sky (their new EP). This week was in-fucking-sane for news. Six posts a day. Seven posts a day. And more coming in all the time. I have news stories slated for Tuesday, never mind Monday, and Monday’s already a seven-post day. Today was six. Yesterday was seven. Apparently everyone decided this was the week to send out their press release. Fair enough, but give me a minute to catch my breath or, I don’t know, earn a living. Have been feeling way, way overwhelmed by everything.

That said, I appreciate all the kind words and support upon hitting 7,000 posts earlier this week (for example: that was Wednesday and this is post #7,016). There’s an anniversary coming up in a couple weeks that has occupied a goodly portion of my consciousness of late, but I guess we’ll talk about that when we get there. Announcements coming through for the Obelisk All-Dayer at the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn on Aug. 20 as well in the next week or two. So, so much to do.

For now though, that’s taking Sharpies to envelopes. Please have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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audiObelisk: Elliott’s Keep Unveil “Gates Beyond” from New Album Nascentes Morimur

Posted in audiObelisk on November 26th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

For over half a decade, Dallas, Texas, doom metal trio Elliott’s Keep have paid homage to fallen comrade Glenn Riley Elliott, the three-piece of Kenneth Greene (bass/vocals), Jonathan Bates (guitar) and Joel Bates (drums) having made their debut with 2008’s In Medias Res (review here). In some ways, that album has proven to be the blueprint for everything Elliott’s Keep have done since. Released on Brainticket, it established Elliott’s Keep as a powerfully metallic act running an electric current of Solitude Aeturnus-style traditional American doom metal through their songs. The ensuing follow-up on the same label, Sine Qua Non (review here), was more cohesive and more metal, but crucially, more confident in establishing its darkened course.

Elliott’s Keep‘s third album, the forthcoming Nascentes Morimur, holds to some of the band’s established traditions. It has a Latin title (meaning, “From the moment we’re born, we die”), as well as artwork with a castle keep on the front cover, and it sure enough taps into trad doom and metallic elements from what I’ve heard of it, but like last time around, there’s also progression on the part of the band. And since they returned to record with J.T. Longoria (Solitude Aeturnus, Absu, Mercyful Fate), that progression comes through with clarity and a professionally crisp presentation that’s still heavy as all hell. For example, take the closing track of the CD’s total nine, “Gates Beyond.”

What impresses most about the song isn’t necessarily that it expands the band’s sonic palette by incorporating violin alongside Greene‘s mournful vocals, but how well that expansion blends with the strength in the songwriting. Yeah, “Gates Beyond” is interesting, but it’s also quality doom, and I feel like all too often the one is sacrificed in service of the other (or the other to the one, as it were). Elliott’s Keep have been able to hold firm to the parts of their processes they want to maintain and at the same time bring in new ideas and ultimately change the output in a natural way. “Gates Beyond” proves that, five-years on from their first record, Elliott’s Keep are able to bend their sound to their will. They’re the masters of their own fate.

And that being the case, all the better that I have the opportunity to premiere “Gates Beyond” in advance of the album release. Check it out on the player below, and please enjoy:

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

Elliott’s Keep‘s Nascentes Morimur is due in December and will be available on CD/digital. More info at the following links.

Elliott’s Keep on Thee Facebooks

Brainticket Records

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Elliott’s Keep Finish Recording Nascentes Morimur

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 2nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

With their eyes on a Fall 2013 release, Dallas doomers Elliott’s Keep have finished recording their third album, Nascentes Morimur. Last we heard from the trio, they were starting to record in May, so as the record is being mixed, they’re on track to have it out as planned. J.T. Longoria (whose considerable credentials you can see below) will be handling the mix, and while it’s probably not up there with the highest profile outings he’s worked on, Elliott’s Keep‘s mission of honoring their fallen comrade with heavy-as-hell trad doom continues to impress with both its sincerity and its metallic heft.

The band sent an update down the PR wire:


ELLIOTT’S KEEP, the Dallas metal doom trio have completed the recording of their third full-length album, entitled Nascentes Morimur, which is scheduled for a fall 2013 release.

As with their first two releases, ELLIOTT’S KEEP recorded again with J.T. LONGORIA (Solitude Aeturnus, Candlemass, Absu, Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Volbeat). Primary recording was completed again at Nomad Studios in Carrollton, Texas. Drums were tracked at Empire Sound Studio in Carrollton, Texas.

Nascentes Morimur is currently being mixed by J.T. LONGORIA, with GARY LONG of Nomad Studios again mastering. In keeping with the band’s use of Latin titles, Nascentes Morimur means “from the moment we are born, we begin to die.”

Song titles for Nascentes Morimur are as follows:

Waves of Anguish
Days of Hell
Now Taken
Feanor’s Bane
Tale of Grief
Gates Beyond

In Medias Res was released in November 2008 on Brainticket Records. Sine Qua Non was released in September 2010 on Brainticket Records.

Elliott’s Keep, “Days of Hell” practice recording

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Elliott’s Keep Recording New Album for Fall Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 15th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Good news from Texas today in that Dallas trio Elliott’s Keep have a batch of new material they’re getting ready to record next month. According to the update below, which the band sent down the PR wire, they’ll be working again with engineer J.T. Longoria, who also manned their 2010 sophomore outing, Sine Qua Non (review here). A sampling of his credits, which are considerable, is listed below.

Look for more on the album, dubbed Nascentes Morimur in Elliott’s Keep‘s tradition of Latin titles, as we get closer to the Fall 2013 release, but for now here’s the announcement and the front cover of what’s to come:

As we did three years ago, we will begin recording the next Elliott’s Keep record over Memorial Day weekend. This one is entitled Nascentes Morimur, which translates to “From the moment we are born, we begin to die.” The cover art is attached. We will be working again with J.T. Longoria (Solitude Aeturnus, Candlemass, Concept of God, Absu, King Diamond).

Nine tracks this time. The record should be released in the fall.

Elliott’s Keep, “Fearless” from Sine Qua Non

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Las Cruces at Work on Fourth Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 3rd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Last heard from with 2010’s underrated slab of rockin’ doom, Dusk (review here), Texan burl-bringers Las Cruces are on the move as regards their fourth album. According to a comment left yesterday, the four-piece are currently writing tracks set to be recorded later this year and released on John Perez of Solitude Aeturnus‘ label, the venerable Brainticket Records. Obviously this is good news for lovers of trad or biker doom, and I can only hope they top Dusk by having the word “wizard” in the titles of three songs this time out.


Texas Doom-Metal Veterans LAS CRUCES To Enter Studio For New Album In 2013

Viva Las Cruces

Texas doom-metal veterans Las Cruces are currently writing new material and preparing to enter the studio for their 2013 as-yet-untitled fourth full-length album. The album will be a follow-up to 2010?s “Dusk” released worldwide via Brainticket Records. The band will also re-release their entire catalogue to include a vinyl edition of 1998?s “Ringmaster”, initially released via Brainticket Records.

In other news, Las Cruces will now be managed by Leigh Olson Management and Media Relations who is the wife and personal manager of Jeff “Oly” Olson, original drummer of doom-metal legends Trouble. Moreover, Las Cruces is currently entertaining new record labels as well as scheduling a summer 2013 U.S. tour. Tour dates will be announced soon.

Guitarist George Trevino founded Las Cruces back in 1994 in San Antonio, Texas and has since made his mark across The Lone Star State and the American doom-metal scene. It’s no wonder why Daniel Bukszpan, author of “The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal,” acknowledges Las Cruces as “one of the genre’s leading proponents.”

Las Cruces‘ current lineup is as follows:
George Trevino – Guitar
Mando Tovar – Guitar
Jimmy Bell – Bass
Paul DeLeon – Drums/Vocals

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