Kowloon Walled City and Batillus to Release Split 7″ on Dec. 10

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 25th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Trading singers and covering industrial pioneers, Kowloon Walled City and Batillus have united in a bi-coastal split 7″ that will be the third in a series put out by Brutal Panda Records. Fade Kainer of Batillus joins Kowloon Walled City for a rendition of “Anthem” by Godflesh – no word on whether it will synch up with Jesus Christ Superstar as well as the original, but one can hope — and Scott Evans will join Batillus to take on Ministry‘s “Lava.” Sound like a neat idea? It is.

The PR wire has more info, band links and the goods on where a pre-order for the 7″, due out on Dec. 10, can be placed, so get up if you wanna get down:


San Francisco’s KOWLOON WALLED CITY and Brooklyn’s BATILLUS have teamed up for a split 7″ of cover songs as part of the the third release in Brutal Panda Records’ split 7″ series.  Recorded at Sharkbite Studios in Oakland, CA and mixed by Scott Evans at Antisleep, the split features KWC playing a cover of the Godflesh classic “Anthem” with Fade Kainer of BATILLUS on vocals.  Side B features BATILLUS covering Ministry’s “Lava” with Scott Evans of KWC on vocals.

The split will be officially released on December 10th and is available for pre-order here.  Also released in the 7″ series were splits from BLACK TUSK / FIGHT AMP and HELMS ALEE / LADDER DEVILS.  The fourth and final release will be a split between WHORES and RABBITS with details to emerge soon.

Kowloon Walled City on Facebook
Kowloon Walled City on Bandcamp

Batillus on Facebook
Batillus on Bandcamp

Kowloon Walled City, Container Ships (2012)

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On Wax: Blackout, We are Here

Posted in On Wax on November 22nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I think I finally figured out what I like so darn much about We are Here, the six-song debut from Brooklyn heavy plodders Blackout. It often happens early into a stoner rock band’s career that they have one riff to rule them all. There’s one song that everyone in their scene knows them for and at least for a while, that’s their hit. With Blackout, almost every riff is that riff, so by the time you get around to the end of side B and the we’ll-just-go-right-over-these-skulls march of “Seven,” the scale of judgment is completely thrown off. I’m not saying it’s revolutionary — the three-piece seem purposefully bent on not fucking with what the Melvins got right the first time around — just that, while formative, it’s done remarkably well.

The vinyl edition of We are Here arrives, with a download card, pressed on 180g wax, but rather than the pressing info (one can only imagine it’s limited to some number or other), the highlight of the album is the crushing weight of it. There’s an almost garage sense of dirty echo to Christian Gordy‘s guitar, Justin Sherrell‘s bass and Taryn Waldman‘s drums, and that gives the recording, which was helmed by Rob Laasko and mastered by Kyle Spence of Harvey Milk, a raw feel, but it lacks nothing for heft in part because of that space created in the audio and how well the three-piece fills it with nodding, unashamedly heavy groove, at least partially derived from Sleep, but already en route to an individual push.

Part of the reason I say that comes down to Gordy‘s vocals, which have a compressed effect on them on each of the tracks. In another context, this might get redundant, but as We are Here doesn’t overstay its welcome and as so much more of the focus to songs like “Indian” and the side A closer “Smoker” is on the riffs, the compression gives the songs just a touch of something to distinguish them, just something to make them weird, and both in theory and in the actual finished product of the album, the effect is to make Blackout stand out. They’re not trying too hard to be unique, they’re not trying too hard to fit into a genre. They’re being themselves and writing songs, and what came out of that on their debut is all the stronger for it.

Things get pretty blown out as “Seven” heads toward its inevitable collapse and the needle makes its return, but in the context of the heft thrown around on “Amnesia” and the ensuing creeper progression in “Smoker” — which, the more I hear the record the more it replaces “Seven” as my pick of the bunch — it works, and if it’s an added level of quirk in line the vocals and garage stomp, that’s fine too. Included with the record and download is an insert with the lyrics on one side and Blackout‘s should-be-iconic band photo on the other, so any way you want to look at it, We are Here is as complete a document of the band’s arrival as one could ask.

Blackout, We are Here (2013)

Blackout on Thee Facebooks

Blackout on Bandcamp

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Duuude, Tapes! The Golden Grass, 456th Div.

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on November 21st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

If you’ve got the time, The Golden Grass have the vibe. Their 456th Div. tape is available now on In for the Kill Records in a limited edition of 50. I don’t know what of that number are left — the Brooklyn trio were taking Paypal orders on their Thee Facebooks — but considering there weren’t that many to start with, it’s likely there aren’t that many remaining, but even though the audio is fairly rough, 456th Div. offers listeners something different even from the band’s more official debut, the One More Time b/w Tornado 7″ single. That release has clean studio versions of two songs, and the A-side appears here as well, but it arrives coupled with two April 2013 demos — one for “Please Man” and one for “One More Time” — and the live track “Stuck on a Mountain” that, to date, I haven’t come across anywhere else. Between that and the Boy Scout-esque patch with which the cassette arrives, it proves a fitting curio both for collectors or someone interested in the development of the band in their early going.

“One More Time” is almost maddeningly catchy. With lead vocals from drummer Adam Kriney (La Otracina) and backing tracks from guitarist Michael Rafalowich (Strange Haze), it’s a smooth summertime roll that comes on friendly and stays crisp front to back. In its finished, studio form, it’s a classic rocker all the way, comfortably paced and worthy of the sing-alongs for which the chorus seems to be asking. The demo version that closes here, as expected, is more bare-bones, without the vocal interplay. Fortunately, throughout all the material but most especially the live track “Stuck on a Mountain,” which was recorded at Brooklyn’s St. Vitus bar on Sept. 6, bassist Joe Noval comes through at the fore, where all too often with tape compression the low end suffers most. Of course a lot depends on your system and equalizer, but he’s there. This being my first exposure to “Stuck on a Mountain” and “Please Man” — both of which may or may not show up on The Golden Grass‘ full-length debut, reportedly tracked last week with Jeff Berner (Naam) — the songs didn’t have the immediate familiarity of “One More Time” (there’s nothing to make you feel like you know a song like listening to it a bunch of times), but were immediately engaging nonetheless and fitting with the positive spirit and classic rock warmth that seems to typify all of The Golden Grass‘ material that I’ve encountered thus far.

I already alluded to it, but the actual sound of 456th Div. is raw. If it’s going to be your first exposure to the band, the 7″ is probably the way to go, but as a further precursor to the LP and a complement to the single, it makes sense. The four-song program repeats on sides one and two of the plain white tape, and at louder volumes, there’s a considerable hiss. This would seem to be less in the interest of the songs themselves, though particularly for the demo cuts and the live track it makes sense in that, “Dude, my buddy just dubbed this for me” kind of way, and if the options are no physical pressing of this material or 456th Div., I’d certainly rather have the than not, hiss or no. As The Golden Grass move quickly into the making of their debut, one might think of 456th Div. in combination with the 7″ as a document of their beginnings, and on that level as well as getting a whatever-the-aural-version-of-a-sneak-peak-is at two yet-unheard songs, I’m glad to have gotten a copy.

The Golden Grass, One More Time b/w Tornado (2013)

The Golden Grass on Thee Facebooks

In for the Kill Records

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Tombs Enter Studio to Record New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 11th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Working with Hate Eternal‘s Erik Rutan as producer, Brooklyn’s Tombs have entered the studio to record a follow-up to their massively lauded 2011 sophomore outing, Path of Totality. No word yet on a release date for the third Tombs record, but one could reasonably expect a Summer 2014 release on Relapse, unless somehow it takes them eight months to get it put to tape. Anything’s possible, I guess, but certainly anticipation will be high for the new album when it arrives.

The PR wire has confirmation and comment from guitarist/vocalist Mike Hill:

TOMBS Begin Recording New Album

Brooklyn, NY’s Tombs have announced that they will be entering the studio today to begin recording their follow-up to 2011′s critically acclaimed Path of Totality. The band will be working with famed producer Erik Rutan (Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Hate Eternal) over the next two weeks at his Mana Recording Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida. Stay tuned for updates from the studio!

Tombs vocalist / guitarist Mike Hill commented on what to expect from the highly anticipated new album: “The new material is darker and more extreme than the last record. The addition of [bassist] Ben Brand and [guitarist] Garett Bussanick have really stepped up the playing and musicianship to a new level.”

Tombs have released two full-lengths and one singles / rarities collection via Relapse Records, all of which are available for streaming via Bandcamp here.


Tombs, Path of Totality (2011)

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Duuude, Tapes! Mountain God, Experimentation on the Unwilling

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on November 6th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

What I like most about Mountain God‘s debut demo tape, Experimentation on the Unwilling (released on Archaic Revival Records), is that it gets more and more fucked the further into it you go. Based in Brooklyn, the four-piece band incorporate a dreary kind of psychedelia, and come across partially indebted to Electric Wizard on the nodding “Fields of Life” or side two closer “Maarrat al-Nu’man,” but seem less fixated on the darker aspects of pop, and so are less generally anchored and all the more chaotic for it. The five tracks included on the tape would sound blown-out no matter what media they appeared on, but Mountain God – which features Alkahest members Nikhil Kamineni and Jonathan Powell on bass/vocals/engineering and keys/vocals, respectively, as well as guitarist/vocalist Jared Fishman and drummer Ian Murray — make their atmospheric intentions clear on their first outing, and the format on which they’ve chosen to present it plays a role in that as well.

So do the keys, actually. And the multiple vocalists. And the overbearing buzz of the guitar distortion. Really the whole thing is feeding into an overarching sense of mood — foggy, vaguely demented, generally but not necessarily outwardly threatening — but it’s Powell‘s keys that make the most striking impression, and they do so most of all on “Prophet,” which rounds out side one. With just a few single notes that reach up from the chaotic, swirling morass, Powell pushes the song into a different league of individuality and memorability — somebody had The Downward Spiral when they were in high school – and elsewhere on Experimentation on the Unwilling, as on the preceding “Fields of Life,” the keys lend a horrific ambience to what would otherwise be almost expected churn. The sheer nastiness that comes across on the opening title cut and spacious chug of “Fallout” would likely be enough to distinguish Mountain God anyway, but the listening experience is that much richer for the creeping melodies that ensue from the keyboard.

Particularly from a demo, I wouldn’t ask much more than that kind of rudimentary show of personality, but Mountain God‘s songs have more to offer than nascent aesthetic and generalized potential. For the consuming tones of “Fallout” alone or the lyrical narrative of the lysergically-riffed “Prophet,” Experimentation on the Unwilling gives more to dig into than it might initially seem, and taken as two whole sides on the tape, it’s immersive and hypnotic in keeping with its atmosphere. I hope these guys have a fog machine. They might need two or three by the time they get around to writing their next batch of material. In the meantime, their debut is available currently in a physical edition of 100 cassettes that seem to just be waiting for vinyl companionship.

Mountain God, Experimentation on the Unwilling (2013)

Mountain God on Thee Facebooks

Mountain God on Bandcamp

Archaic Revival Records

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Live Review: Orange Goblin, Holy Grail, Lazer/Wulf and Polygamyst in Brooklyn, 11.02.13

Posted in Reviews on November 4th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Odd matchups seemed to be the running theme of the night, whether it was UK doomers Orange Goblin doing a six-week tour with the thrash outfit Holy Grail and Atlanta tech metallers Lazer/Wulf or the show also serving as St. Vitus bar’s Halloween party and more than a handful of patrons arriving in costume throughout the night. For what it’s worth, I didn’t dress up — I mean, at least not any more than the public identities we create for ourselves counts as “dressing up,” anyway. Existentially speaking, we’re all in costume, man. So dig that for your pagan ceremony.

I can only imagine those who did dress up were hot as hell for having made the effort. The show was sold out and more or less packed by the time Polygamyst went on as openers and local support for three touring acts. I had seen them over the summer with Mirror Queen and The Atomic Bitchwax at a boat show, so I knew their wares were metal, but apparently the ensuing months had vocalist George Souleidis, guitarist Phi Moon (also Mirror Queen) and drummer Chadius Broccolius of their second guitarist and bassist, the latter of whom was replaced by James Corallo, also of Mirror Queen. Hammering out a lineup is inevitable as a band continues to get settled, but Polygamyst were nothing if not in the spirit of the show. Broccolius played most of the set with a mask on, his beard poking through the bottom, Moon had a wig, war paint and bandanna — Uli Jon Roth? — and Souleidis seemed to be a sultan of some sort or other, robes and all.

Their set was no less ready to party, running through classic metal wails enough to justify closing out with a cover of Judas Priest‘s “Breaking the Law,” which got some early moshing going as a sign of things to come. Corallo fit well with Moon‘s amorphous lead style, and though he shed the wig as time wore on, Souleidis seemed even more confident as a frontman than he had just five months prior. That could be an effect of having more shows under his belt, or it could be the fact that St. Vitus wasn’t being tossed around the East River while Polygamyst were playing. Either way. When jazzy quirk-prog trio Lazer/Wulf took the stage, a tone was set for sonic diversity that would only continue as the night wore on.

Guitarist Bryan Aiken had a mic set up mostly to thank the crowd and let out various maniacal laughs, “let’s go!” exclamations and periodic melodic vocal lines, but the crux of Lazer/Wulf‘s approach was instrumental. As one might expect five weeks into a six-week tour, Aiken, bassist Sean Peiffer and drummer Brad Rice were ridiculously tight, and it’s a good thing, since their kind of technical, progressive metal completely falls flat when the situation is otherwise. Theirs didn’t. They were well received by a Vitus crowd that seemed to know little about them, myself included, and they had stretches of thrash-style groove that went along well with what I’m told the kids call “djent” but a decade ago just used to be a Meshuggah influence. Not really my thing, but they won over the room and their enjoyment of what they were doing was infectious, even if it was as different from Polygamyst as Holy Grail would be from them when they took the stage.

Studded armbands, uniform black stage garb, a record each out on Prosthetic and Nuclear Blast, plus Kirk Hammett bangs on vocalist James-Paul Luna, Holy Grail had their thrash credentials well in order. I’ve never been huge on revivalist thrash, and though the band traces their roots back to White Wizzard and Bonded by Blood, they weren’t really going for the hightops and Alcoholica thing. “Call of Valhalla” showed some metalcore influence — a surefire generational tell — and one could hear shades of Shadows Fall in the dual-guitar harmonies, but whatever they were doing, they were obviously doing it right. Fists were pumped, moshing was had, axes were shredded, blahs were blah blahed. Holy Grail didn’t have to win the room; the room was already with them. The title-track from their 2013 outing, Ride the Void, went over particularly well, and one of the other dudes up front sang along so hard to “My Last Attack” that I thought his face was going to explode. Fair enough.

So there you go. Sold out night, three bands deep. Temperature up. Things had been moving at a decent clip up to Holy Grail, who played a long set, and Orange Goblin didn’t wind up going on until after 11:30PM. Didn’t really matter. After driving four hours south from Massachusetts a couple days before, that trip was far enough out of mind for the next day that I wasn’t stressing about it like I had been at Truckfighters last time I was at the Vitus bar; the late night was no threat. All the better for stargazing en route back to the humble river valley I used to call home and where I’d be staying for the evening. In any case, when Orange Goblin stormed their way into “Scorpionica” to open their set, it was well worth being awake to see. They came out to AC/DC‘s “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock & Roll),” and a more fitting theme for the band — now coming up on their 20th year if you count from their getting together as Our Haunted Kingdom in 1994 — would be hard to find.

Returned guitarist Joe Hoare, who’d sat out a not insignificant amount of road time in Europe on account of an injury to his Achilles tendon, looked to be in good spirits despite what had already been a long slog back on the road alongside bassist Martyn Millard, drummer Chris Turner and vocalist Ben Ward, still supporting the 2012 studio release, A Eulogy for the Damned (review here), and subsequent live album, A Eulogy for the Fans (review here), and Ward — his fists raised in what seems to be a permanent conquest — was as engaging as I’ve seen him. He is a mountainous walking advertisement for whiskey, and among underground metal’s best frontmen, but his performance is also about more than the show. “Acid Trial” from A Eulogy for the Damned and “Rage of Angels” from 2002′s Coup de Grace followed “Scorpionica” in succession and showed how little the foursome’s potency has diminished in the last decade, even though one could argue they’re just getting their due recognition now in the States thanks to tours like this one and their earlier-2013 run with Clutch.

I don’t think they were through “Rage of Angels” before I realized I had brown liquor running down my back. Who threw or spilled what remains a mystery, but yeah. That happened. Hazards of the trade. It was fairly rowdy up front for the duration — I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to seeing people moshing to doom — but I stuck it out for a while before dropping back to the other side of the pit around the time “Shine” from 1998′s sophomore outing, Time Travelling Blues, made its appearance. They’d later include the title cut from that album as well, which was a welcome addition, though I’d hoped for “Blue Snow” as well. Some you win, some you lose.

Speaking of, that song was aired, with Hoare and Millard stepping in for backing vocals in the call and response, and after “Cities of Frost,” Exodus and Generation Kill frontman Rob Dukes joined the band onstage for a raging take on “Your World will Hate This” from Coup de Grace. By then, Orange Goblin could’ve done little to derail their own momentum — following it with “Time Travelling Blues” was a risk, but it paid off — and the guest spot was met with due excitement, as was the Black Sabbath cover “Into the Void,” the rolling groove of which was expertly handled like the precious artifact it is. It should probably say something about Orange Goblin‘s recent surge that more recent songs like “They Come Back (Harvest of Skulls)” from 2007′s Healing through Fire and the Eulogy single “Red Tide Rising” would appear so late in the set along with the cover and “Quincy the Pigboy,” which like “Scorpionica” comes off 2000′s The Big Black, but the songs stood up, and “Red Tide Rising” made for a riotous closer.

There was karaoke slated for afterwards and the vibe seemed like it was going to stay lively for some time. That’s not my scene, but I can see the appeal. My car, which has a bent rim, 185,000 miles that I’ve put on over the last eight years, and shakes like a massage chair, was around the corner and I drove empty roads back through Jersey to crash out and hit the highway in the morning.

Extra pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

Read more »

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The Golden Grass Give a Taste of Debut Single in New Video Teaser

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 22nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

In addition to a Funkadelic t-shirt spotting — always an encouraging sign — on bassist Joe Noval, the expertly-edited video teaser below for The Golden Grass‘ debut 7″ has clips of both songs included, “One More Time” and “Tornado.” The Brooklyn trio, comprised of Noval as well as guitarist/vocalist Michael Rafalowich (Strange Haze) and drummer/vocalist Adam Kriney (La Otracina), will issue the single on Svart Records and Electric Assault Records next week, and preorders are available now.

They’ve also got a few tour dates lines up that will take them out to Cincinnati for the Cincy Pysch Fest, and they’ll be headed north to Maine for a gig at Geno‘s in Portland, Maine, on Nov. 8. Fingers crossed they add a Massachusetts date so I can finally see what I’ve been fussing about all this time and maybe pick up a copy of their 456th Div. tape if there are any left (they only made 50).

Until then, here’s the teaser for the single:

The Golden Grass, One More Time/Tornado 7″ Preview

Here is the 7″ Preview Video of the forthcoming The Golden Grass 7″ on Svart Records/Electric Assault Records! Shot and directed by Max Warmbrodt!

Please share this!

Pre-order the 7″ in the EU here: http://www.svartrecords.com/shoppe/en/home/2389-the-golden-grass-one-more-time-tornado-7.html


10/24 at Kung Fu Necktie/Philadelphia/PA w/ Mike Donovan (of SIC ALPS) - https://www.facebook.com/events/541193405967205/

10/25 at Howler’s/Pittsburg/PA w/ CAROUSEL + LOST REALMS - https://www.facebook.com/events/513423455411368/

10/26 at Cincy Psych Fest/Mayday Northside/Cincinnati/OH - https://www.facebook.com/events/211851458983369/

10/27 at Beachland Ballroom/Cleveland/OH w/ ELECTRIC LUCIFER + EXPLODING LIES - https://www.facebook.com/events/1426664174216502/

11/8 at Geno’s/Portland/ME w/ HESSIAN + MANIC ABRAXAS + IDIOT GENES - https://www.facebook.com/events/564778886902500/

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Sannhet Come to Ruin in New Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 14th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ve seen a few YuberToube clips in the last couple weeks that come with a warning for flashing lights and sharp cuts and such that might trigger epileptics to have a seizure. Seems fair enough. Sannhet‘s new clip for “Slow Ruin” from their 2013 Known Flood debut album on Sacrament Music doesn’t have one, but it easily could for its do-not-adjust-your-set intro or when the blastbeats kick in and our heroine, seemingly confined to a white-but-not-padded box, begins to make a clay version of herself to then cast into the ocean. Take that, constructed identities! Director AJ Annunziata, who also serves as bassist in the sample-prone Brooklyn instrumental post-metal trio, does well in aligning the visual to the audio of the track, which appears here somewhat edited from its seven-minute form on the album, much of the last two minutes of which was given to a wash of droning noise.

One of the highlight aspects of Known Flood (discussed here) is the efficiency with which Sannhet ebb and flow between black-metal-derived blasting and ambient explorations, and even abridged in terms of the latter, “Slow Ruin” brings that duality to light. Brutality and post-rock-style airiness persist in the guitars of Christopher Todd and drummer John Refano fluidly holds the song together in its torrential onslaught, the final product eliciting a feel of entranced worship as much as sonic punishment, calling later Godflesh to mind early but building up to something with an entirely different kind of seething at its center.

Word on the street is Sannhet will release a new digital single next month, and for those of you in that part of the world, they’ll be playing the St. Vitus bar in Brooklyn this Friday, Oct. 18, with Pelican, Phantom Glue, Kings Destroy, Pyrrhon and Wreck and Reference as part of the second night of Invisible Oranges’ showcase for CMJ. Quite an evening. Here’s the video:

Sannhet, “Slow Ruin” official video

Sannhet on Thee Facebooks

Sacrament Music

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audiObelisk: Blackout Premiere “Amnesia” from Debut Album We are Here

Posted in audiObelisk on October 2nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

They called the album We are Here, and who could argue? There they are. Marking their arrival by means of their self-released debut full-length on Oct. 25, Blackout — who hail from a small town on the Eastern Seaboard called Brooklyn (I think that’s how it’s spelled) — show up with big riffs, big stomp, and underpinnings of quirk that give their unabashed tonal weight a sense that’s both lighthearted in not taking itself too seriously and a huge part of what makes the album overall so effective. Copping influence from stoner heavyweights like the Melvins and Sleep — easy comparisons to make, but true all the same — Blackout might read on the surface like Riffy Brand X, but there’s more to We are Here than sonic redundancies and tonal largesse.

Not to understate the tonal largesse — both guitarist/vocalist Christian Gordy and bassist Justin Sherrell (also drums in Bezoar) proffer much viscosity in line with the swing of Taryn Waldman‘s drums – but with the weirdo compression on Gordy‘s vocals throughout the album, subtle melody and boogie of a song like “Seven,” as much as they’re setting up beach chairs in the pool of distortion they’ve crafted, Blackout haven’t neglected to give an individual spin to otherwise familiar elements. Rounding out with the heavy-hoofed march of “Seven,” We are Here gives the impression that Blackout are interested in and working at coming into their own sound-wise. Fortunately for all parties involved save perhaps eardrums, they save room for a noisy freakout at the end.

The early cut “Amnesia” may be short at 3:19 compared to some of what surrounds it, but the rush the trio creates across that span rings out like the echoes off a holy mountain, and it’s clear that whatever one might recognize in their approach, Blackout couple their unabashed stonerly crunch with idiosyncratic purpose. We are Here is an easy record to dig for the already converted, but its greatest strength lies in off-kilter moments like “Smoker” and “Indian,” which show this personality and burgeoning affinity for strangeness but never fail to serve the song and the album overall, striking a balance of indulgence and accessibility that’s a lot harder to nail than it might seem.

It’s a good ‘un, and both times I’ve had the chance to see Blackout live (reviews here and here), they’ve impressed, so I’m thrilled today to be hosting the premiere of “Amnesia” in advance of the release of We are Here later this month. Please find it on the player below and please enjoy:

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

Blackout‘s We are Here will be available on Oct. 25. More info and music at the links below.

Blackout on Thee Facebooks

Blackout on Bandcamp

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Roadburn 2014 Lineup: Hull, Morne and -(16)- Added

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

Straight out of the “Fucking A” file comes the news that Brooklyn post-sludgers Hull have joined the lineup for Roadburn 2014. One can only hope that by the time April rolls around the now-foursome will be supporting a follow-up to 2011′s triumphant sophomore outing, Beyond the Lightless Sky (review here) — they’ve been playing new material live for a while — but even if not, it’s awesome to see them on the bill for Roadburn, where they’re almost certain to lay waste to what and whomever should stand in their path at the 013.

News has also come out in the last couple days that Boston funeral doomers Morne and CA sludge mainstays 16 have been added to the fest. Updates follow, courtesy of the Roadburn site:

Hull: Brooklyn Sludge Rock Alchemists Added To Roadburn 2014 Lineup

Brooklyn, New York sludge rock alchemists, Hull have been confirmed for Roadburn Festival 2014 on Thursday, April 10th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Hull will be performing alongside a jaw-dropping lineup that already includes Opeth, Yob, Triptykon, A Storm Of Light, Crowbar, Graves at Sea, Lord Dying, and so many more.

Comments guitarist Nick Palmirotto, “Hull is absolutely elated to be a part of the vastly diverse lineup that will be gracing the stages of Roadburn 2014. Having had the tremendous experience of performing bass guitar duties for Jarboe in 2010, it is an honor for Hull to be a part of one of the most unique and unprecedented festivals in the world of heavy music. Our gratitude speaks no bounds, we shall forge onward through the barren lands, beyond the lightless sky.”

Hull released their monolithic Beyond The Lightless Sky full-length via The End Records in 2011. Commended by The Village Voice (NYC) its “motorcycle-revving D-beat, bog-trawling doom, sinister black metal, Neurosis drum-offs and hypnotic passages that gnash like a venom-dripping cousin to the final Isis album,” Beyond The Lightless Sky features guest appearances by vocalist Jarboe, keys/ambiance by Fade Kainer (Batillus / Jarboe / Inswarm) and has reaped critical acclaim internationally for its delicate balance of staggering heaviness and poetic grace.

Hull materializes as a massive entity storming stages and immersing their audiences in a blanket of grandiose down-tuned compositions. A shifting fault line of decibel heavy harmony, this collective force converges in a collision of thrash, doom, classic rock, and formal orchestral works.

Hull commands their listeners through each riff with incredible precision, as a seafarer guides vessels through ominous waters. Submerged in cosmic soundscapes, Hull challenges the mind with flowing, off-time fugues and powerful, dynamic movements.

Brace yourself for an onslaught of eruptive force as a new world of music is formed in the deafening clap of thunder that is Hull.

Roadburn Festival 2014 will run for four days from Thursday, April 10th to Sunday, April 13th 2014 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Boston’s Morne To Bring Outsider Funeral Doom To Roadburn 2014 Afterburner

Boston’s Morne has everything you could ever want in an outsider funeral doom band. Their sound, revolving around guitarist / singer Milosz Gassan, shifts from crushing bombast to dark psychedelia, from crumbling, downtuned riffage to lumbering drone and from post rock to gothic gloom and metallic crust. They traverse this wide range of sounds without dwelling in trendy post-metal circles or being part of the seemingly never ending enclave of Neurosis adepts.

On their latest album, Shadows (out on Profound Lore), Morne even delves into classic rock and 70s prog, which drives the band onwards though a darkened wasteland of melancholy and menace, fueled by bleakness, airily textural progressions, moody melodies and a fierce, riffy, but also straightforward chug.

Morne, huge favorites of Darkthrone’s Fenriz and Nocturno Culto –who incorporated the Morne logo into the artwork of Circle The Wagons, will bring their vulnerable slabs of despair to the 2014 Roadburn Afterburner on Sunday, April 13th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Roadburn Festival 2014 will run for four days from Thursday , April 10th to Sunday, April 13th 2014 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

-(16)- To Bring Jagged Blocks of Buzzing Sludge To Roadburn Festival 2014

Over the last two decades, Califorian veterans -(16)- have been pioneering heavy-as-hell, ill tempered sludge metal, alongside fellow luminaries Buzzov*en, Eyehategod and Crowbar (among others).

Despite all the anguish, pain and countless lineup changes that 20 years brought, -(16)- remained a dependable source of gutsy, misery infested, torturous sludge, captured on albums like Drop Out, Zoloft Smile and Deep Cuts from Dark Clouds (out on Relapse Records).

Whether its the band’s mid tempo, aggressive metal assault, their sludgy dissonance or aggro-punk-hardcore filth, -(16)- spits it out with hateful, jaw-punching glee – thriving on chugging guitars, grinding bass and growling vocals that drive home the point like a blast of scuzzed-up vitriol.

We’re looking forward to get punched in the gut, and smacked in the face as well by -(16)-‘s jagged blocks of buzzing sludge on Saturday, April 12th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands. Nope we won’t mind it abit, as we’ve been waiting for so many years for this to happen!

Turn up, tune down, give up…

Roadburn Festival 2014 will run for four days from Thursday, April 10th to Sunday, April 13th, 2014 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Hull, Live at St. Vitus Bar, Brooklyn, Feb. 10, 2013

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Naam Announce Winter European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 1st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Brooklyn space/psych rockers Naam are once again taking to European shores in support of their (inter)stellar 2013 album, Vow (review here). The hard-working four-piece already put in considerable road time in Europe this spring, and that run was followed by a complete six-week coast-to-coast slog through the US — they killed in Manhattan on the opening night — that ended in mid-August. Doubtless a little time out of the van has done them some good, but as excellent as the swirl they enacted at the start of the last tour was, I wouldn’t want to miss them for a much-needed injection of warmth this winter.

More dates are reportedly coming, but here’s what’s been announced so far — note the Winter Void fest in Germany (they’ll play with Camera and Fire Walk with Me, among others presumably to be announced) and dates alongside Mars Red Sky and Monkey3. It certainly looks like plenty and I’m sure will become even more considerable as the dates fill in.

NAAM European Winter Tour 2013

November 21 – December 20

More dates to be announced soon!

21.11 – BEL – Brussels – Salle Rogier w/ Mars Red Sky
23.11 – NL – Nijmegan- Merleyn
24.11 – GER – Wiesbaden – Schachthof w/ Monkey 3
25.11 – GER – Hamburg – Markthalle w/ Monkey 3
26.11 – GER – Cologne – Underground w/ Monkey 3
27.11 – GER – Wurzburg – Cairo
28.11 – GER – Berlin – Jaegerklause
29.11 – GER – Regensburg – Winter Void Festival
01.12 – GER – Munich – Orange House
02.12 – AUS – Vienna – Arena
03.12 – CH – Zurich – Mascotte
05.12 – ITA – Roma – Sinister Noise
06.12 – ITA – Bolonzo – Festival
07.12 – ITA – Vincenza – TBA
08.12 – CH – Lucerne – Sedel
09.12 – GER – Stuttgart – TBA
13.12 – GRC – Athens – Six D.O.G.S.
14.12 – GRC – Larissa – Stage Club


Naam, “Beyond” from Vow (2013)

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Blackout to Release We are Here in November

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 12th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ve happened into the path of Brooklyn trio Blackout on two separate occasions (reviews here and here) and both times come out of it glad to have done so. The three-piece unveiled a sonic largesse with their We are Here demo/sampler earlier this year, and today word came down the PR wire that they’ll follow it up with a full-length of the same name. If you haven’t yet had occasion to get introduced, dig into the marching Melvins groove of “Seven” below — it closed the demo and will close the album as well — prepare to be won over.

Not sure if this is going to be the final album art, but here’s the info anyway:

BLACKOUT: NYC Psychedelic Doom Trio To Release New Full-Length

NYC psychedelic doom trio, BLACKOUT, is pleased to announce the release of their We Are Here debut! Recorded at Vacation Island Studio with engineer/producer Rob Laakso (Diamond Nights, Swirlies, Kurt Vile), We Are Here offers up six gristly hymns of bottom heavy, head-throbbing, red-eyed awesomeness. Appropriately described as “thick, riff-led heavy psych that blends Sleep’s stoner heyday and classic Melvins stomp with a touch of Rob Crow’s vocal compression in Goblin Cock,” by The Obelisk who further commends their “riffy stoner traditionalism,” BLACKOUT is in it to win it and will undoubtedly be knocking on your door like a hairy, black clad Jehovah’s Witness who wants to smoke you out and listen to Sabbath records.

Comments the band in a collective statement: “We are really excited to get this record out. We’re not a methodical band and our biggest hope was that the record sounded like us in the jam room… heavy, slow, and drunk. So that’s exactly what we did… drank lots of beer and let Rob do his thing. The whole session was pretty blurry but we’re psyched with the results.”

We Are Here Track Listing:
1. Indian
2. Amnesia
3. Smoker
4. Columbus
5. Anchor
6. Seven

With food, beer and America at the forefront, it only makes sense guitar player/vocalist Christian Gordy and drummer Taryn Waldman would meet at Gordy’s 2011 July 4th cookout in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Waldman, a former Hooter’s waitress turned big time commercial film editor, and Gordy, a one-legged bartender/artist/BBQ enthusiast were an oddball couple for NY’s heavily-styled metal scene. The duo began rapidly banging out monolithic snail-paced riffs that could party as much as they could crush. BLACKOUT – referring to blackout drunk, the absence of light, or a mobster hit on an entire family – was the only appropriate title for the band.

With a three-song demo recorded at the now defunct Headgear Studios in the bag, Waldman set out on the task of stalking and acquiring drum wizard Justin Sherrel for the bass position. The sound filled out and quickly grew like Chuck Berry’s mustache. Now with Sherrel’s nitty-gritty, rhythm-heavy mud beneath an electrical tide of riffs and explosions, the mighty river of sludge was primed to lurch forward.

We Are Here will be released independently on October 25, 2013. Live shows and preorder details to be announced in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.


Blackout, We are Here sampler

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The Golden Grass First Show Video Footage Surfaces

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 10th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

The boogie runs strong with The Golden Grass. I’d suspected as much when the announcement came through of the Brooklynite trio (featuring members of Strange Haze and La Otracina) releasing their debut single in October as a co-release between Svart and Electric Assault, but confirmation was provided last week at their first gig. Held at Brooklyn’s venerable St. Vitus bar and captured on film by the admirably dedicated Frank Huang, the 12-minute jammer “Wheels” provides sunshiny classic rock that seems only too willing to leave its cares behind.

Sharing vocal duties, guitarist Michael Rafalowich and drummer Adam Kriney lock in singalong-ready verses and choruses while bassist Joe Noval maintains low end flow. The cut definitely works in movements, and as this was their live debut, I’d guess they’re only going to get more fluid, but already you can see chemistry developing between the players as Rafalowich spaces out in a long, soulful jam — it sounds improvised, it may or may not be — before Kriney signals the change back to a simple but memorable hook of a chorus. At first it seems like they’ll let the jam finish the song, but they do right in reversing the structure — going from part one, part two, jam, to jam, part two, part one — adding much swing and intricacy in the fills along the way.

I continue to look forward to hearing that single, so expect to hear more about these guys in the weeks to come. In the meantime, if you’re in that part of the world, The Golden Grass are playing their second show this very evening at Death by Audio in Brooklyn. More info on that follows the clip below.


The Golden Grass, “Wheels” live at St. Vitus, Sept. 8, 2013

TONITE TUE SEPT 10 2013, get on DOWN to Death By Audio/Brooklyn tonite for a righteously delicious musical concert….


TGG plays 3rd, 1030-ish on the rock’o’clock.


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The Golden Grass Announce Debut 7″ on Svart

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 21st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

From the little bit I’ve heard, The Golden Grass seem to have it going on. What kind of “it” are we talking? Little funky, way classic, but upbeat with some psych touches. Sunny-type rock, but still swinging a substantial groove, albeit without pretense toward aggression or trying to be heavy. The newcomer Brooklynite trio — comprised not at all of newcomers — have announced their debut performances and apparently they’ve made enough of an impression on Finnish imprint Svart‘s varied but reliable tastes to earn a label-stamped release for their first 7″ single, which will reportedly be out in October in partnership with US-based Electric Assault Records.

Cool unit, loads of potential. Hoping for good things and sharing the news of their single with a spirit of welcome:

Loosen your eyeballs and fix your mind on freewheelin’ psychedelic freakbeat band The Golden Grass! Hailing from NYC, inspired by bands like Cactus and The Move, and featuring members of La Otracina, Zoned Out and Strange Haze. Svart Records going to let loose their debut 7″ in October, in partnership with Electric Assault Records in the US. Undeniably feel-good, earnest and authentic rock and roll, hand picked and personally recommended by Mat from Hexvessel, as he joins the Svart workforce this Autumn. Get back to the garden, and dig deep into The Golden Grass!

The band is comprised of:

*Adam Kriney-drums/vocals

*Michael Rafalowich-electric guitar/vocals

*Joe Noval-electric bass

The debut 7″ single is entitled “One More Time” b/w “Tornado”. It will be co-released by Electric Assault Records (US) and Svart Records (Finland) in October. The release will coincide with tour dates in the North East and Midwest US in late October/early November 2013, interested parties should contact the group.

These are the bands debut live performances:
Fri Sep 6 THE GOLDEN GRASS w/ WINDHAND + RAMMING SPEED at Saint Vitus, Brooklyn, NY


The Golden Grass promo video

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Live Review: Truckfighters, Kings Destroy, Iron Tides and Mirror Queen in Brooklyn, 08.19.13

Posted in Reviews on August 20th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

A four-band bill at Brooklyn’s St. Vitus bar after a full workday with a drive to Massachusetts afterwards lurking on the horizon, moving ever closer to reality — I will say immediately that attending the opening night of Truckfighters‘ latest US tour was probably the least responsible decision I’ll make all week. Well, maybe not, but still: Resoundingly irresponsible. Part of doing it was proving to myself that I could, and sure enough, I came out of it on the other end alive, despite the best efforts of I-95′s endless stretch to claim my heavy eyelids as part of its likewise endless stream of trophies. Behold, the living dope.

But if you have to be an eternal sucker, at least an act like Truckfighters put on a show to make it worth your while. The Swedish trio of bassist/vocalist Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm, guitarist Niklas “Dango” Källgren and drummer Andre “Poncho” Kvarnström were joined by NYC locals Kings Destroy, Iron Tides and Mirror Queen on a surprisingly diverse and at times surprisingly aggressive lineup at the Vitus, and the night proved quickly to have been worth the commute there and back again. Mirror Queen, who were fresh back from a European jaunt with Tee Pee labelmates Earthless and The Atomic Bitchwax that included a stop at Stoned from the Underground sounded crisp and tight, and since the last time I saw them was on the Rocks off Concert Cruise in June, part of the fun this time out was watching their set not get toppled by the choppy waters of the East River.

Not that that wasn’t its own kind of excitement, I’m just saying it’s a little easier to get a sense of the chemistry between lead guitarist Phi Moon and guitarist/vocalist Kenny Sehgal when they can stand up and play. That chemistry, as it happens, is formidable and was in top form at the Vitus bar, Moon tearing into technically and spiritually engaging press-me-to-8-track classic rock solos on the right side of the stage while Sehgal, bassist James Corallo and drummer Jeremy O’Brien jammed out on “Into the Nebula” from the band’s 2011 outing, From Earth Below. A contingent of (apparently Australian?) bros in the front of the stage wearing red Truckfighters tanktops quickly let it be known they were going to be the biggest douchebags in the room for the duration, and much sweaty man-on-man-but-supposedly-not-at-all-homoerotic moshing and grabassery did ensue.

That didn’t impede enjoyment of Mirror Queen, however, who round out as they did the last time I saw them with a jam on Captain Beyond‘s “Mesmerization Eclipse.” It’s a bouncing groove that’s always welcome in my cranium, but it did little in the end to foretell the aggression that would come with Brooklynites Iron Tides, who arrived with their own floodlites and an assortment of homemade-looking amps and cabinets — but for the Verellen heads behind bassist/vocalist Markus — to remind of the raw volume and power of earliest Zoroaster while keeping an underlying touch of New York noise in the jagged playing of guitarist Matt. They were loud, angry and, well, let’s go with “loud” again. Drummer Michele locked in impressive grooves throughout, and though Iron Tides had an EP for sale in the back (got it) that came out last year mixed and mastered by Hull drummer Jeff Stieber, most of what they played was reportedly new.

It was easy enough to guess that by Markus‘ remembering on stage who started what song, which gave their set a bit of humor and charm to go with its aggressive churning and tonal push. Their lights triggered by foot-switches, Iron Tides were nonetheless cohesive in their aesthetic and tight through the more angular aspects of their sound, which were complemented by stretches of ambience driven by Matt‘s guitar, sometimes seeming to nod at earlier Isis but never fully giving itself over to the heavy/atmospheric tradeoffs that have by now become post-metal cliche. Though their sound was obviously much different, I’d put Iron Tides in a similar category to Brooklyn heavy acts like Blackout and Polygamyst, who also take various familiar elements and seem to be making efforts to craft something of their own from them. Their effort in this regard and overall fervor were appreciated.

Kings Destroy hit probably the angriest set I’ve ever seen them play. Tossing in older cuts like “The Whittler” and “Dusty Mummy” alongside the newer “Blood of Recompense,” “The Toe” and “Turul” from this year’s A Time of Hunting (go buy it), they only seemed to get more pissed off after the aforementioned tanktop brigade — who, by the way, all matched — got into some hooliganry with vocalist Steve Murphy as he came down from the stage. I noted when one of them tried to pull him off again, the result was a fast as-he-was-jumping-to-the-floor kick square to the chest — no doubt a move leftover from Murphy‘s days in Uppercut. Laughed a bit at that.

Despite the shenanigans, Kings Destroy were tight and heavy as ever, made only more malevolent for the meanness that seemed to accompany their delivery. By the time they got around to “The Whittler,” it was like they were throwing the songs at you. They’re probably the single band I’ve seen most over the last two-plus years (live reviews here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here) and I already look forward to seeing them with Pelican in October if I don’t run into them between now and then — they’re playing Vitus again on Thursday with Caltrop, should you happen to be in town – so please take it as coming from the voice of experience (oh yeah, their first record also came out on The Maple Forum, so there’s that) when I say that it wasn’t a put-on, or “show-anger.” Whatever it was, they played like they were fucking pissed off and it came through in the songs. Even “Turul” at the end was nastier than I’ve ever heard it, and while it’s always had a certain undefinable sneer, with the quiet riffing from guitarists Carl Porcaro and Chris Skowronski and the everyone-together-now timed hits driven by bassist Aaron Bumpus and drummer Rob Sefcik there isn’t much room for all-out belligerence. They made room.

There seemed like a long break between Kings Destroy and Truckfighters, but once the latter got on stage, they were hard to miss. The crowd seemed to know the opening riff to “Desert Cruiser” was coming even before Källgren started playing it, and once Cedermalm and Kvarnström joined in, they locked in immediately from the start. I knew from seeing them at Desertfest in April that even with the new drummer addition they were as riotous as ever, and even though Kvarnström is a quieter presence behind the kit than was Oscar “Pezo” Johansson, now of Witchcraft, “Desert Cruiser” and longer jams like “Chameleon” from 2007′s Phi and “Last Curfew” from 2009′s Mania were as unbelievably tight as one could ask, the band stomping a sneaker print in the line between technical precision and showmanship as few can. I think Källgren alone put more energy into his performance than 90 percent of the entire bands I’ve seen this year, not including his own of course, jumping up and down, running back and forth, headbanging and all the rest.

And that’s the thing about Truckfighters. Because if they were just a band who got crazy on stage, you’d go, “Well okay, that’s cool,” and move onto the next thing. But not only are they out of their collective mind when they play, but over the years they’ve become increasingly progressive songwriters, so that a riff as epically memorable as that opening and comprising much of “Desert Cruiser” can exist next to a cut like “Majestic” from Mania, the sprawl of which outlasts even its 13-minute runtime, and they don’t miss a beat going from one to the next. Cedermalm tipped the mic into the crowd for the opening track, at one point Källgren jumped off the stage and made his way through to the bar in back of the Vitus, playing the whole time — I think it was during the jam on “Monte Gargano,” but don’t quote me on that — and when the set was over, Cedermalm also got off stage to add to his already considerable bass cacophony by running his strings on the torso of some kid in a Big Lebowski t-shirt. They’re fun to watch, but if they didn’t have the songs to back them up — which I’m glad to argue they do — they wouldn’t get beyond the novelty factor.

In the end, they obviously did, and I think they wore out the crowd in the process. I had competing impulses of exhaustion and dehydration fighting it out, but though I knew it was the wrong choice on a practical level, I didn’t at all regret inconveniencing later-me to see the show. Catching Truckfighters again as they started this tour was obviously the onus for my being there, but front-to-back it was a killer show. I didn’t make it all the way back to Massachusetts, but stopped in New Haven, CT, to crash for a few hours before resuming the trip this morning. I’ve felt like I got my ass kicked all day, but this one was well worth a beating.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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