Mountain God Stream Forest of the Lost EP in its Entirety

Posted in audiObelisk on February 17th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

mountain-god

The single-song Forest of the Lost EP from Brooklyn four-piece Mountain God first came to my attention when the band played part of it at a late-2013 gig at The Grand Victory in their native borough. Mountain God had a different lineup at that point, but it was easy enough to see that their noise-infused post-sludge was coming together quickly in the wake of earlier-that-year’s Experimentation on the Unwilling demo tape (review here). Resonant in both its crushing tones and bleak atmospherics, Forest of the Lost is set to be released this Friday as a limited cassette at a show held at Brooklyn’s The Acheron after more than a year in the pipeline.

For many, the 19-minute single-song narrative will be their first encounter with Mountain God, who also made the trip west last year to play Hoverfest in Portland, Oregon. Recorded as the four-piece of guitarist/vocalist Ben Ianuzzi, bassist Nikhil Kamineni, keyboardist Jonathan Powell (since replaced by vocalist/noisemaker Chris “Dickler” Dialogue) mountain god forest of the lostand drummer Ian Murray (since replaced by Ryan Smith, also of Thera Roya), “Forest of the Lost” works in two parts, both of which offer resolute churn as they make their way toward a noisy apex. One can see in the waveform that the split comes past the halfway point in the 19:19 sprawl — or what would be a sprawl but for the claustrophobic feel of the track — and the first part devolves from fervent chugging into a wash of noise only to have the second movement pick up with a near-psychedelic feel in the guitar, airy like post-rock gone awry and abducted along some desolate highway.

Prior to that divide, Mountain God (as they were) take doom’s tonal lurch and post-hardcore sludge’s bombast to someplace entirely more malevolent, never losing sight of atmosphere as Ianuzzi snarls out echo-soaked vocal misanthropy. Past the five-minute mark, they set about pulling the song to pieces, Murray‘s drums grounding an otherwise untenable onslaught of drone, and during minute 11, the guitar steps forward to introduce the central riff of the second half, an intensity that jams en route to a head that, by the time it gets there, is more slammed than played, the last hits of “Forest of the Lost” also proving some of the hardest hitting. The consuming force of the EP — recorded and mixed by Kamineni at Archaic Audio — isn’t to be understated, but it’s worth letting you find that out for yourself, so I’ll get the hell out of the song’s way and do that.

Stream “Forest of the Lost” on the player below and dig into the release/show info, which follows:

On February 20th, 2015, Mountain God will release its sophomore record, “Forest of the Lost”. The EP is a concept record, consisting of a single song broken down into different movements.

The diverse track twists and turns over the course of 20 minutes, focusing on the plight of a medieval village, located somewhere in the deepest recesses of mankind’s history. The village children, left to their own devices, disappear into the night searching for proof of a local witch, all the while their parents engage in acts of depravity and debauchery.

As the story reaches a climax, the listener is challenged into thinking about the cast of characters, and the true nature of good, evil, neutrality, and indifference. Musically, the record is a melding of 60s and 70s psychedelics and aesthetics with the heaviness, crunch, and shattering riffs of traditional doom and metal.

Mountain God, in conjunction with the acclaimed booking/promotion agency Signature Riff (New Jersey), is proud to announce the “Forest of the Lost” record release show, to be held at the Acheron (Brooklyn, NY) on February 20th, 2015. “Forest of the Lost” will be available to download through Mountain God’s bandcamp page, as well as physically through a limited run of 50 cassettes.

MOUNTAIN GOD (NYC) Record Release Show (Archaic Revival Records) w/ IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT (NYC), HERCYN (NJ) and DREADLORDS (PA)
When: Feb 20th, 2015
Where: The Acheron, 57 Waterbury Street in Brooklyn
Cost: $5 advance/$8 day of
Doors: 8pm

Mountain God on Thee Facebooks

Mountain God on Bandcamp

Release Show Event Page

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The Golden Grass Announce European Tour with Hypnos

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 13th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Brooklyn trio The Golden Grass are headed overseas next month in support of their 2014 self-titled Svart Records debut (review here) and subsequent short releases. This will be the three-piece’s second trip to Europe following a stint last fall, but their first with new bassist Morgan McDaniel, who was announced as having joined the band at the start of the year in place of Joe Noval. Upon their return, The Golden Grass will also take part in the Eye of the Stoned Goat 5 in Amityville, Long Island, early in June, alongside Mos GeneratorWounded Giant and many more.

Joining them on the European trek will be Hypnos, from Sweden, whose self-titled debut came out in September. Of special note is the show on April 10, at which point The Golden Grass and Hypnos meet up with Lo-Pan and Abrahma en route to the last stop of the tour, which is Roadburn in the Netherlands.

Swamp Booking sent this down the PR wire:

the golden grass
hypnos

American and Swedish Psychedelic Boogie Tour all over Europe, March/April 2015!

Presented by Swamp (Born to promote)!

Swamp Booking is proud to announce the the return to Europe by one of the most exciting new groups of the global underground Heavy Rock scene, THE GOLDEN GRASS! Feel-good heavy boogie rock music, complete with soaring soulful harmony-laden vocals, epic psychedelic/prog passages, southern/country vibrations and top-notch musicality!

They will on tour with another great band from Sweden on Crusher Records: HYPNOS. They play heavy action boogie rock and is at this moment one of the fastest growing bands on the Swedish heavy rock scene. Never before in the history of Crusher Records has a band been signed to the label this quickly!!

25.03 – Copenhagen (dk) – KB18
26.03 – Berlin (de) – DUSTOWN
27.03 – Ostrava (cz) – TBA
28.03 – Budapest (hu) – Trafik
29.03 – Bratislava (slo) – U O?ka
30-03 – Wien (at) – Arena
31-03 – Münich (de) – Backstage
01-04 – Graz (at) – Sub
02-04 – Zagreb (cro)- Vintage Bar
03-04 – Vicenza (ita)- CS Arcadia
04-04 – Castel D´ Ario – Mantova (ita) – L´Hostaria
05-04 – Olten (swi)- Coq dór
07-04 – Köln(de)- Yard Club
09-04 – Hamburg (de)- Kleiner Donner
10-04 – Lichtnefels (de)- Punchy Cats
11-04 – Den Haag (nl) – De Besturing
12.04 – Tillburg (nl) – Roadburn Festival

Hypnos ( Crusher Records) – Sweden
https://www.facebook.com/hypnosboogie
http://www.crusherrecords.com/?page_id=1537
https://soundcloud.com/crusherrecords/hypnos-the-mountain

The Golden Grass (Svart Records) – US
https://www.facebook.com/thegoldengrass
http://svartrecords.com/bands/golden-grass
https://thegoldengrass.bandcamp.com/

The Golden Grass, “One More Time” official video

Hypnos, Hypnos album teaser

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Blackout Self-Titled Due in March on RidingEasy

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 29th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

blackout

I’m not sure where I got the idea, but for some reason I was thinking that Blackout‘s forthcoming debut on RidingEasy Records was a reissue of their 2013 EP, We are Here (review here). It’s not. It’s a new album, a full-length. I’ll be damned. Had I been correct to start with, there’s no way I wouldn’t have included Blackout‘s first LP in my 2015 most anticipated list, having so thoroughly dug that EP and the Converse-sponsored EP (review here) that followed it in 2014. Sometimes it takes me a minute to catch up on stuff, though, so better late than never.

Following the album’s release on March 31, Blackout will head west in May for a slot as part of the Psycho California fest’s dream-team lineup (info here). They’ll be in good company.

The PR wire makes sure we’re all on the same page:

blackout blackout

Blackout announce release of new album via RidingEasy Records in March

This March Brooklyn’s self-proclaimed “pillars of rock and roll righteousness” will release their new, self-titled album through Los Angeles’ equally badass record label RidingEasy Records.

Blackout was initially formed by guitar player/vocalist Christian Gordy and drummer Taryn Waldman at Gordy’s July 4th cookout in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York back in 2011. Waldman, a former Hooter’s waitress turned big time commercial film editor and Gordy; a one-legged bartender/artist/BBQ enthusiast were (by their own admission) something of an oddball couple for NY’s rigid metal scene. Yet with no direction and zero discussion both connected instantly and instinctively began banging out massive caveman jams against a patriotic backdrop of food, alcohol and the stars and stripes.

In fact as far as names go, choosing Blackout – suggesting a power crash, sudden and temporary loss of consciousness or a mob hit on an entire family – was a total no brainer.

In the months that followed the pair recruited close friend Justin Sherrell on bass duties, and as things began to get louder and considerably heavier in November 2012 the trio entered Vacation Island Studio with engineer and producer Rob Laakso (Diamond Nights, Swirlies, Kurt Vile) to record their debut release We Are Here. Choosing to self-release the album on vinyl in early 2013 it garnered plenty of acclaim from some of the hottest blogs du jour and was praised for its Melvins-esque ferocity and pounding Sleep-like groves.

Following an extensive gigging regime in, around and way beyond New York’s city limits with acts like Acid King, Weedeater and Trouble the band took to the studio once again in the summer of 2013 to record a body of new songs. Songs that strictly worked off the riffs spontaneously summoned during practice sessions where old material was revived, ideas hashed out and sounds reworked into the record you will soon hear in full. Songs that make up Blackout, the band’s eagerly awaited follow up and soon to be released revelation on RidingEasy Records.

Blackout by Blackout will be released worldwide on RidingEasy Records on 31st March 2015.

blackout666.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/BlackoutNYC
instagram.com/blackoutband
ridingeasyrecords.com

Blackout, “Cross”

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Hull Announce Final Show Feb. 21

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 16th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

hull (Photo by Cameron Whitman)

Though they’ll end their career as a four-piece with the lineup of Nicholas PalmirottoSeanbryant DunnCarmine Laietta and Jeff Stieber, when it came time to find a picture of the band to go with this post, I had to roll with the fivesome that included Drew Mack. Not that Brooklyn’s Hull couldn’t knock you on your ass with four members on stage, but it was the five-piece who in 2011 released the should-have-been-a-landmark full-length Beyond the Lightless Sky (review here), their second album for The End Records following their 2009 debut, Sole Lord, and 2007’s Viking Funeral demo, which the band later self-released on vinyl.

That album solidified what seemed a nebulous debut into one of the most innovative takes on post-metal to come from the East Coast — and yes, that counts Isis as a Boston band. Beyond the Lightless Sky was dynamic, ambitious and gorgeous even at its most brutal moments. Hull were in utter command of their sound and their songwriting. Peaks rose out of deep valleys, ambient stretches led to wave after crushing wave of furious riffing. They crossed genres the way most people step on slabs of sidewalk, and were perhaps underappreciated in a native borough drawn to sonically friendlier forms of psychedelia, heavy rock and doom, but when they got on stage and launched into “False Priest” or “Fire Vein,” there was no fucking with the world they created in their volume. They’re the kind of band who, people who saw them, will talk about having seen them.

Hull‘s final release was last year’s Legend of the Swamp Goat 7″ (review here), a reworked and expanded early recording issued to coincide with a European tour alongside Elder that included a stop at Roadburn in Tilburg, the Netherlands. I did not imagine last April as I showed up early to watch them soundcheck that would be the last time I’d get to see them play, but the earplug-melting heaviness they brought to bear was only further evidence of their broad reach, and it was no less lethal coming from Stage01 than it might’ve been at the Saint Vitus Bar. I always kind of felt like I took Hull for granted when I lived in the New York area. Beyond the Lightless Sky showed me the jackassery of that position, and at least I can say that the last time I watched them, I appreciated the hell out of being able to do so.

A follow-up to that record had been discussed for some time, and it’s unfortunate we won’t get to hear the next stage of Hull‘s development. On Saturday, Feb. 21, they will play their last show — never say never, of course, but one approaches a disbanding with some finality — with Wizard Rifle, their former tourmates in Elder and Cleanteeth, in whose lineup Mack currently resides, at CoCo 66.

Palmirotto announced the gig and thanked those who’ve supported the band over the years:

hull last show

So, after 11 years with my brothers, Seanbryant, Carmine, Jeff, and Drew, It is with bittersweet sentiment to announce the “final” (what does final mean anyway?) HULL show on February, 21 at Coco SixtySix. This is the longest relationship I’ve ever been in, and although we all love each other like family, there are so many other things going on in our lives now that we decided it was best to throw a rager in celebration of the blood, sweat, tears, hardships, good times, etc. spent over the last decade, and go out with dignity.

A huge shout out to The Acheron and Bill, Denis, Carmen, Adrienne and Saint Vitus Bar and David, George, Arthur and Justin for the constant support and inimitable dedication to the scene. We figured that there was no way to choose between the two venues, so we decided to have the show elsewhere. Immense love to our manager, Luis with Necromono Mgmt for dealing with our bullshit over the years, our label, The End Records and Andreas Katsambas for putting up with our demands. Never ending love to Liz Ciavarella-Brenner and Dave from Earsplit Compound for the great PR, Kim Kelly for being the fucking awesome human she is, Atsuhiro Saisho for our logo and dear friendship, Jorden Haley, Tamara Waite-Santibanez, Nathan Overstrom, Josh Graham, Seldon Hunt, John Cook and David Cook for believing in us enough to grace us with your superb artwork, Brett Romnes for being our first drummer and brother in arms from the beginning and the I Am the Avalanche crew, Vinnie Carijuana, Mike Ireland, Kellen Thomas, Brandon Swanson for always being bros. caltrop and Sam, Adam, Murat and John for being the best tour buddies a band could ever ask for.

Mike , Travis, and Aaron from Yob for always being awesome to us. Billy Anderson for the skillz and the good times. Walter and Jurgen from Roadburn Festival for believing in us. Cameron Whitman for the amazing photographs and shoulder to lean on. David Jacobs for his lawful consulting and smiles and Ben Ritter for your images and laughs. Jason Flanell for the stupid tattoos and weird conversations. Tuck Pendelton for shredding the bass in the beginning. Markus Shaffer from Old Scratch Fabrications for his unbelievable craftsmanship and friendship. Joshua Lozano for always being there. Fade Kainer for always helping out. Of course my family, Gary, Carla, Lindsay and Stuart for always loving and never giving up on me. This list could go on forever. If I forgot anyone, I’m truly sorry. Please join us. XO

February 21st
HULL (The final show)
Elder
Wizard Rifle
Cleanteeth

At Coco SixtySix
66 Greenpoint Ave
Brooklyn, NY

Doors at 8
$13 adv / $15 day of
21+

https://www.facebook.com/events/314229055439458/
https://www.facebook.com/HULLsounds
https://soundcloud.com/hull666

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Last Licks 2014: Brain Pyramid, Zaum, Fire Faithful, Pendejo, Heavy Glow, Bibilic Blood, Thera Roya & Hercyn, The Spacelords, The Good Hand and Byzanthian Neckbeard

Posted in Reviews on December 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Yesterday was kind of crazy, but I don’t mind telling you I think today might be the most all-over-the-place of the week each of the five piles on my desk — now three, soon two — offers something different from the others, but it’s a wide spectrum being covered here, and there’s a couple abrupt turns from one to the next that I didn’t really do on purpose but I think will make for an interesting challenge anyway. In case you’ve been wondering, that’s what kind of nerd I am. Also the Star Trek kind.

I’m feeling really good about this series so far. Really good. I reserve the right to, by Friday, be so completely done with it that I never want to even think of the idea again, but I can only begin to tell you how satisfying it is to me to be able to write about some of these records after staring at them for so long sitting on my desk. Today’s batch is reviews 21-30 of the total 50, so we’ll pass the halfway point in this pile. If you’ve been keeping count since Monday or checking in, thanks, and if not, thanks anyway. Ha.

It’s about that time:

Brain Pyramid, Chasma Hideout

brain pyramid chasma hideout

Although it was streamed here in full in September, the persistent stoner charm of French trio Brain Pyramid’s debut album, Chasma Hideout (released by Acid Cosmonaut Records), seemed to warrant further highlight. Whether it’s small touches like the organ underscoring centerpiece “Lucifer” or the wah-ready bass of Ronan Grall – joined in the band by guitarist/vocalist Gaston Lainé and drummer Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo – or the memorable if genre-familiar turns of “Into the Lightspeed,” the band’s first LP impresses with unpretentious heavy rock front to back. It’s not perfect. Lainé’s vocals come across high in the mix on opener “Living in the Outer Space” and there are points where the “familiar” runs stronger than others, but especially as their initial full-length offering, Chasma Hideout is one that one seems to continue to grow on the listener as time goes on, and one hopes that the heavy psych chicanery from which they launch the 11-minute closing title-track becomes the foundation from which they build going forward. Potential worth reiterating.

Brain Pyramid on Thee Facebooks

Acid Cosmonaut Records

Zaum, Oracles

zaum oracles

With the backing of venerable Swedish imprint I Hate Records, Canadian two-piece Zaum release their first LP in the four-song Oracles, a 48-minute work taking its central musical and atmospheric themes from Middle Eastern cues. Melodically and atmospherically, it relies on chants, slow, deep low end and minor key riffs to convey a dense ambience, reminding some of Om’s Mideast fixation on “Peasant of Parthia” – third and shortest here at 8:13 – but otherwise on a much heavier, darker trip entirely. Opener “Zealot” (12:55) and closer “Omen” (14:08) both offer plodding pace and a methodology not unlike Nile played at quarter-speed, but it would be a mistake to call the hand with which Kyle Alexander McDonald (vocals, bass, synth, sitar) and Christopher Lewis (drums) approach their aesthetic anything but commanding, and when McDonald switches to a semi-blackened rasp in the second half of “Omen,” Zaum demonstrate a desire to push even further into extremity’s reaches. I can’t help but wonder how far they’ll go.

Zaum on Thee Facebooks

I Hate Records

Fire Faithful, Organized Occult Love

fire faithful organized occult love

Some of the organ sounds on “Eye Opener,” the aptly-titled leadoff from Virginia four-piece Fire Faithful’s second LP, Organized Occult Love, remind of what Beelzefuzz conjured atmospherically, but an even more primary impression is the uptick in production value from Fire Faithful’s 2012 outing, Please Accept this Invocation (review here). Recorded by Windhand’s Garrett Morris, songs like “Last Fool on Earth” and “Organized Occult Love” brim with tonal resonance and a perfect balance the mix. Guitarist Shane Rippey handled the latter with Morris, and throughout, his tones and that of bassist Jon Bone shine, but whether it’s a more straightforward, Earthride-style groover like the title-track, or a more ranging doomer like “Combat,” vocalist Brandon Malone is well balanced to cut through the morass and drummer Joss Sallade’s crash resides comfortably behind the thick chugging. Melissa Malone and Gabrielle Bishop contribute backing vocals to “Last Fool on Earth” and only affirm how much Organized Occult Love brings Fire Faithful’s Southern doom to another level of presentation. An important forward step.

Fire Faithful on Thee Facebooks

Fire Faithful website

Pendejo, Atacames

pendejo atacames

Five years after debuting with 2009’s Cantos a Ma Vida, Amsterdam-based Pendejo return on Chancho Records with Atacames, a 10-track/44-minute wallop of classic heavy rock riffing and Latin American influence via the Spanish lyrics of vocalist El Pastuso and his readily-wielded-but-not-overused trumpet, which makes a surprising complement to Jaap “Monchito” Melman’s fuzz-heavy guitar, Stef “El Rojo” Gubbels’ bass and Jos “Pepellín” Roosen’s drums, but in context works well to bring personality and an individualized sensibility to a sound otherwise heavily indebted to the likes of Kyuss and Fu Manchu. Quality songwriting and variety in songs like the slower “Amiyano” and the building “Hermelinda” ensures Atacames offers more than novelty to those who’d gape at its other-ness, and when that trumpet does hit, it never falls flat. Closing out with a pair of big-riffers in “El Jardinero” and “La Chica del Super No Se Puede Callar,” Pendejo’s sophomore effort produces results as substantial as they are fun, and serve to remind that’s why we’re here in the first place.

Pendejo on Thee Facebooks

Chancho Records

Heavy Glow, Pearls and Swine and Everything Fine

heavy glow pearls and swine and everything fine

Cali trio Heavy Glow – guitarist/vocalist Jared Mullins, bassist Joe Brooks and drummer St. Judas – have spent a decent portion of the year on tour in support of their full-length, Pearls and Swine and Everything Fine. Understandable, and all the better to pick up your girlfriend in-person. Smooth, well-baked grooves permeate cuts like “Mine all Mine,” which also appeared on their prior 7” (review here), and the later “Nerve Endings,” a Queens of the Stone Age-style production giving about as much of a commercial vibe as a record can have and still be heavy rock, but the songwriting is paramount and definitely an element working in Heavy Glow’s favor, whether it’s the takeoff chorus of “Domino” or near-lounge vibe of “Fat Cat.” There’s an aspirational sensibility at the album’s core that’s going to make for an odd fit for some riff-heads who might be puzzled how something so nearly desert rock can still sound not at all like Brant Bjork, but hooks is hooks, and Heavy Glow use them well.

Heavy Glow on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Glow website

Bibilic Blood, Snakeweed

bibilic blood snakeweed

Bibilic Blood released three albums between 2009 and 2011, but the Eastlake, Ohio, duo haven’t been heard from since – their nightmarish, depraved psychedelic sludge vanishing in a smoky, somehow hateful wisp. Snakeweed marks their fourth album, and with it bassist/vocalist Suzy Psycho and drummer/guitarist Scott “Wizard” Stearns unfurl another demented collection of chaos snippets from an alternate, terrifying universe, the 11 songs totaling just 27 minutes with enough lumber and obscure freakout on two-minute mainliners like “Severed” and “Bloodnomicon” in the middle of the record to be a genre on itself — like a grainy horror flick made scarier by its rawness. Closer and longest cut at 4:10 “Bloody Rabbit” starts with Boris, Flood-style noodling from Stearns on guitar, but samples transition into Snakeweed’s most gruesome chapter, Suzy Psycho’s voice echoing, twisted, from out of an abyss that might as well be your own subconscious, referencing Jefferson Airplane along the way. Their particular brand of malevolence has been missed, and hopefully Snakeweed starts a new bout of activity.

Bibilic Blood on Bandcamp

Goat Skull Records

Thera Roya & Hercyn, All this Suffering is Not Enough

thera roya and hercyn all this suffering is not enough

Gloom prevails and takes multiple shapes on All this Suffering is Not Enough, the new jewel-case split between Brooklyn post-metallers Thera Roya and progressive New Jersey black metallers Hercyn. Each band includes one song, and for the trio Thera Roya, that’s “Gluttony,” which builds its churn from the ground up and intersperses spacious guitar and almost punkish clean singing en route to a wash of scream-topped distortion, trading off volume and ambience and ultimately delivering a lot of both in a densely-packed eight minutes. Hercyn, a four-piece, counter with the 14-minute “Dusk and Dawn,” which follows their also-longform Magda EP (review here) in grand and squibbly form, a gallop taking hold early topped with throaty screams and shifting between melodic and dissonant impulses, a midsection solo offering a standout moment before the bludgeoning resumes. Each act offers a quotient of noise not to be understated, and despite working in different styles, that’s enough to let them complement each other well on the searing 23-minute Ouro Preto Productions release.

Thera Roya on Thee Facebooks

Hercyn on Thee Facebooks

The Spacelords, Synapse

the spacelords synapse

Synapse, the third full-length from German trio The Spacelords, arrives like a gift from the bliss-jam gods. Four extended mostly-instrumental cuts arranged two per side on a Sulatron Records LP, crafting memorable impressions with washes of synth and guitar, intelligent jams that feel partially plotted and intelligent but still exploratory and natural in how they flesh out. Guitarist Matthias Wettstein is out front in the mix, but bassist Akee Kazmaier and drummer Marcus Schnitzler (also of Electric Moon) aren’t far behind, as much as a title like “Starguitar” might make you think otherwise. The chemistry between the three-piece remains tight across the album’s 41 minutes, and from the rich bass and chugging guitar of the opening title-track to the more laid-back groove of “No. 5” and voicebox strangeness of “Pyroclastic Master,” which has the record’s only vocals in robotically spoken lines, Synapse seems to make all of its connections along the way. Heavy psych heads previously unfamiliar will want to take note. The vinyl, of course, is limited.

The Spacelords on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records

The Good Hand, Atman

the good hand atman

A progressive heavy rock trio from the Netherlands, The Good Hand present Atman, their second album, on Minstrel Music, with an adventurous semi-desert sensibility given crisp production and a somewhat wistful feel in songs like “Greenwich Mean Time” and “Unity.” For a record that starts out with lead guitarist/vocalist Arjan Hoekstra (also tuba, trombone, bugle, keys, percussion) declaring “I am god,” Atman is surprisingly not-arrogant, owing probably as much to Radiohead as Kyuss and keeping an experimental feel to the stops and arrangement of “The Opposite,” bassist/vocalist Dennis Edelenbosch and drummer/vocalist Ingmar Regeling (both also Monotron) swinging out classic style but holding firm to a modern edge. Out of nowhere is the 19-minute closing title-track (nothing else hits six), on which The Good Hand unfold varied movements that push beyond the charm of “The Death of the Real”’s ‘60s affiliations and into spaces jazz-funky, or droning, or doomy, or all of them. No easy accomplishment, but The Good Hand manage to hold it all together fluidly.

The Good Hand on Thee Facebooks

Minstrel Music

Byzanthian Neckbeard, From the Clutches of Oblivion

byzanthian neckbeard from the clutches of oblivion

Okay, seriously. What the hell do you think a band who live on an island in the English Channel and call themselves Byzanthian Neckbeard sound like? Burly as hell? Well you’re right. The Guernsey foursome of guitarist/vocalist Phil Skyrme, guitarist Jon Langlois, bassist Dano Robilliard and drummer Paul Etasse get down on some dudely, dudely grooves on their 2014 debut, From the Clutches of Oblivion. “Doppelganger” nestles somewhere between death rock, stoner and sludge, and there’s a heaping crash of doom on “Plant of Doom” (duh) and “To Seek the Cyberdwarf” to go with the more swaggering take of “Hive Mind Overlord” as well. But primarily, you don’t put the word “Neckbeard” in your band’s name unless you’re on a pretty masculine trip, and Byzanthian Neckbeard do not fuck around in that regard or in the aggro boogie of “The Ganch.” CD is limited to 200 copies in a four-panel digipak to house the growl-laden, riff-led plunder that ensues across its brief but bloody 32-minute span.

Byzanthian Neckbeard on Thee Facebooks

Byzanthian Neckbeard on Bandcamp

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Wino Wednesday: Wino Live at Feast of Krampus, Brooklyn, NY, 12.28.14

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

Seems only fair to close out another year of Wino Wednesdays with the most recent clip possible. I guess it’s not really such a novelty anymore that a show can happen and video from it can surface almost immediately — instant gratification isn’t really anything new at this point, at least as regards digital media — but I still get a kick out of it when something like this clip of Wino at the St. Vitus bar in Brooklyn this past weekend comes up. Because, hey, this pretty much just happened. And I’m old. The latter probably has something to do with it as well.

The occasion was a two-night fest called Feast of Krampus held in Philly at Underground Arts and the aforementioned St. Vitus bar. Also on the bill with Wino were Sixty Watt ShamanGodmakerMoon ToothBirch Hill DamWizard Eye and Buzzard Canyon. A stacked lineup, to say the least, and plenty of volume to precede an acoustic set that probably would be a mystery to all but the converted who knew what and whom they were watching. Anyone else might wonder why six loud-as-hell bands might precede a guy playing (mostly) unplugged solo singer-songwriter material.

But you get it, so it doesn’t really need explaining. I’m happy to be able to round out 2014’s many Wino Wednesdays with this latest show from the man himself, and all the better that it was filmed by ubiquitous Brooklyn cameraman Frank Huang, whose work is as admirable as the ethic that so steadily produces it. Seems like it was a pretty cool show, and of course no matter the context, Wino always manages to pull off unmatched heavy vibes.

Hope you enjoy and hope you have a great New Year’s:

Wino, Live at Feast of Krampus, St. Vitus bar, Brooklyn, 12.28.14

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Mountain God Announce Forest of the Lost Release Show

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

mountain god

Brooklyn four-piece Mountain God are getting ready to release their Forest of the Lost EP in Feb. on Archaic Revival Records, and they’ve announced the release show Feb. 20 at The Acheron. Joining them on the bill for the night will be Imperial TriumphantHercyn and Dreadlords, so it should prove an evening of varied extremities, but some pretty steady pummel throughout. I’ll be interested to hear how Mountain God‘s lineup shifts since the release of their 2013 demo, Experimentation on the Unwilling (review here), and if you make your way through the info below, you’ll notice I’ll be streaming the EP a week before it’s officially out, so we’ll get an advance answer on that question when the time comes.

Info follows:

mountain god release show poster

Mountain God: “Forest of the Lost” Record Release Show Announced

Mountain God, in conjunction with the acclaimed booking/promotion agency Signature Riff (New Jersey), is proud to announce the “Forest of the Lost” record release show, to be held at the Acheron (Brooklyn, NY) on February 20th, 2015. “Forest of the Lost” will be available to download through Mountain God’s bandcamp page, as well as physically through a limited run of 50 cassettes. Additionally, the band is proud to announce that the Obelisk, noted blog for all things heavy, will stream the record beginning the week before the release date.

Mountain God arrived on the scene back in 2013 with their first record, “Experimentation on the Unwilling”. Since that time, the band has continued to explore and develop their own musical identity, melding guitars, bass, and various types of keyboards and synths to create what some concert attendees have described as a “wall of sound, emotion, and texture”. Live, Mountain God works toward making each individual show an experience unto itself, a non-stop, unrelenting barrage of riffing, melody, and noise.

The band is proud to share the stage with black metal juggernauts Imperial Triumphant, who have been hard at work on their sophomore release “Abyssal Gods”, and are no strangers to the Brooklyn scene. Also on the bill are New Jersey’s own Hercyn, who recently put out a split with Brooklyn act Thera Roya. They are known for their own trailblazing style of experimental, atmospheric black metal, complete with plenty of tremolo picked, intense passages. Rounding out the bill is Pennsylvania’s Dreadlords, who recently made CVLT’s Top 6 Avante Garde releases for their first full length, “Death Angel”.

Huge thanks to New Jersey’s Signature Riff, well known in the metal community for their work on such festivals as Martyrdoom, as well as countless other shows supporting bands from all over the world.

When: Feb 20th, 2015
Where: The Acheron, 57 Waterbury Street in Brooklyn
Cost: $5 advance/$8 day of
Doors: 8pm

https://www.facebook.com/events/887152854637043/887370227948639/
https://www.facebook.com/MountainGodBand
http://mountain-god.bandcamp.com/

Mountain God, Experimentation on the Unwilling (2013)

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Last Licks 2014: Nate Hall, Nocturnal Poisoning, Snailking, Godmaker, Void Generator, The Mound Builders, Mother Kasabian, Deep Space Destructors, Underdogs and Human Services

Posted in Reviews on December 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Happy to report that I survived the first day of this project. Spirits are good and I look at the stack of discs (plus one book; we’ll get there) in front of me and feel relatively confident that by the time I’m through it, my cerebral cortex will still manage to function in the limited way it usually does. If yesterday’s installment is anything to go by, however, I’ll be well out of adjectives by then. What’s another word for “heavy?”

There’s only one way to find out. These will be reviews 11-20 of the total 50. I don’t know if they say the first 10 are the hardest or the last, but I’ll be in the thick of it when this is posted and while I’m sure I probably could turn back and catch minimal if any flack for it — one “Hey wha happen?” on Thee Facebooks seems likely penance — better to just keep going. Another stack awaits tomorrow, after all.

Thanks in advance to anyone reading:

Nate Hall, Electric Vacuum Roar

nate hall electric vacuum roar

Electric Vacuum Roar is one of two Nate Hall physical releases from this fall. The U.S. Christmas frontman and solo performer also has a few digital odds and ends and Fear of Falling, on which he partners with a rhythm section. Released by Heart and Crossbone Records and Domestic Genocide, Electric Vacuum Roar is closer to a solo affair. Hall is joined by Caustic Resin’s Brett Netson on guitar/bass on two extended tracks: “Dance of the Prophet” (16:46) and “Long Howling Decline/People Fall Down” (11:57). The second part of the latter is a reinterpretation of a Caustic Resin song, though here it is droned out and put through a portal of drumless and inward-looking psychedelia, turned into the finale of a communicative and intimate affair. Amp noise and effects swirl around “Dance of the Prophet,” and it’s easy to get lost in it, but Hall maintains a steady presence of obscure vocals and the result is what tribal might be if tribes were comprised of one person.

Nate Hall on Thee Facebooks

Heart and Crossbone Records

Nocturnal Poisoning, Doomgrass

nocturnal poisoning doomgrass

I’ve never tried to break up a one-man band, but I can’t imagine Scott Conner – who helped pave the way for US black metal under the moniker Malefic in Xasthur – has had an easy time of it since he put that band to bed in 2010. Nocturnal Poisoning, whose Doomgass arrives via The End Records, is an entirely different beast. Centered around layers folkish acoustic guitar, cleanly produced backed by occasional bass and tambourine, Doomgrass is still depressive at its core – Robert N. contributes guest vocals, almost gothic in style, to songs like “Starstruck by Garbage” and “Illusion of Worth” – but if the name is a portmanteau of doom and bluegrass, it fits the style. If anything ties Nocturnal Poisoning to Xasthur aside from Conner’s involvement, it’s a focus on atmosphere, but the two ultimately have little in common otherwise, and Nocturnal Poisoning’s exploratory feel is refreshingly individualized and leaves one wondering if Conner will be able to resist the full-band-sound impulse going forward.

Nocturnal Poisoning on Thee Facebooks

Doomgrass at The End Records

Snailking, Storm

snailking storm

Though they’re decidedly post-metal in their influences – Neurosis, YOB, obviously Ufomammut for whose record they are named – Sweden’s Snailking keep to heavy rock tones on their Consouling Sounds debut full-length, Storm, and that greatly bolsters the album’s personality. Even as they lumber, the riffs of 11-minute opener “To Wander” are fuzzed-out, and that remains true throughout the five mostly-extended cuts the trio of drummer Olle Svahn, bassist Frans Levin and guitarist/vocalist Pontus Ottosson present on their first record, which follows the 2012 demo, Samsara (review here). Centerpiece “Slithering” is the shortest and most churning of the bunch at 6:32, but the particularly YOBian “Requiem” underscores another value greatly working in Storm’s favor – the patience with which Snailking present the ambience of their pieces. That will serve them well as they continue to distinguish themselves from their forebears, but for now, Storm makes a welcome opening salvo from the three-piece highlighting both their potential and how far they’ve come already since the release of their demo.

Snailking on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds

Godmaker, Godmaker

godmaker godmaker

The self-titled debut from thoroughly-bearded Brooklynite four-piece Godmaker arrives via Aqualamb as an art-book and download, a full 96 pages of designs, lyrics to the four included tracks of the vinyl-ready 32-minute long-player, live shots from a variety of sources, bizarre geometry and odd etchings feeding the atmosphere of the songs themselves, somewhere between sludge, thrash and aggressive noise with scream-topped moments of doom like “Shallow Points.” Comprised of guitarist/vocalists Pete Ross and Chris Strait, bassist Andrew Archey and drummer Jon Lane, Godmaker fluidly shifts between the various styles at work in their sound, whether it’s the explosion at the end of “Shallow Points” or that beginning the rush of opener “Megalith,” and while their self-titled is a dense listen, with the surprising post-hardcore take of “Desk Murder” and the check-out-this-badass-riff-now-we’re-going-to-smash-your-face-with-it 11-minute metallic closer “Faded Glory,” it efficiently satisfies. More so after a couple listens front to back. If Godmaker were breaking your bones, it would be a clean break, and yes, that’s a compliment to their attack.

Godmaker on Thee Facebooks

Aqualamb

Void Generator, Supersound

void generator supersound

Supersound is the first full-length from Italian heavy psych rockers Void Generator since 2010’s Phantom Hell and Soar Angelic (review here), and where that album held three extended pieces, the latest and third overall breaks into smaller pieces. Some of those are extended – opener “Behind My Door” is 8:09 and “Master of the Skies” tops nine minutes – but the bulk of Supersound’s seven tracks is shorter works somewhere between desert rock and classic psych, guitarist Gianmarco Iantaffi leading the four-piece with a  more subdued vocal approach than last time out, compressed even in the rowdier verses of “What are You Doin’” (written by Sandro Chiesa), on which the keys of Enrico Cosimi feature heavily and add to the sound too crisp to be totally retro but still vehemently organic. Bassist Sonia Caporossi (also acoustic guitar on penultimate interlude “Universal Winter”) and drummer Marco Cenci hold together the fluid grooves as Void Generator follows these varied impulses, and Supersound proves cohesive and no less broadly scoped than its predecessor.

Void Generator on Thee Facebooks

Phonosphera Records

The Mound Builders, Wabash War Machine

the mound builders wabash war machine

There’s a version of The Mound Builders’ 17-minute Wabash War Machine EP from Failure Records and Tapes that includes a comic book, but even the regular sleeve CD edition gives a glimpse at the Lafayette, Indiana, five-piece’s heavy Southern metal push. The middle two of the four inclusions, “Sport of Crows” and “Bar Room Queen,” surfaced earlier this year on a split tape with Bo Jackson 5 (review here), but opener “Wabash War Machine” and the sludged-up closer “The Mound” on which the guitars of Brian Boszor and “Ninja” Nate Malher phase between channels and vocalist Jim Voelz delivers his harshest performance to date, are brand new, albeit recorded at the same sessions in July 2013. “Wabash War Machine” highlights the band’s blend of southern metal and heavy groove, guitar intricacy and a gang-shout chorus meeting thick rollout from bassist Robert Ryan Strawsma and drummer Jason “Dinger” Brookhart, but it’s the finale that’s the EP’s most lasting impression, as pummeling as The Mound Builders have gotten to date.

The Mound Builders on Thee Facebooks

Failure Records and Tapes

Mother Kasabian, Mother Kasabian

mother kasabian mother kasabian

In Olof’s buzzsaw guitar tone, the thud of Karl’s drums and Gidon’s abiding vocal menace, “Strike of the Emperor” gives notice of some Celtic Frost influence, but that’s hardly the whole tale when it comes Stockholm trio Mother Kasabian’s self-titled, self-released debut EP, as “The Black Satanic Witch of Saturn” immediately calls to mind The Doors in its minimal, spacious verse and offsets this with a soulful classic heavy rock chorus en route to the seven-minute “Close of Kaddish,” which works in a similar pattern – hitting notes of Trouble-style doom in its crescendos – and offers Mother Kasabian’s widest ranging moment ahead of the swaggering closer “The Return of the Mighty King and His Cosmic Elephants.” Swinging drums and variety in Gidon’s The Crazy World of Arthur Brown-style approach give the EP a distinguished feel despite raw production and it being Mother Kasabian’s first outing, and with the psych touches in the finale and a generally unhinged vibe throughout, the trio showcase considerable potential at work.

Mother Kasabian on Thee Facebooks

Mother Kasabian on Bandcamp

Deep Space Destructors, III

deep space destructors iii

Active since 2011 and with two prior full-lengths – 2012’s I (review here) and 2013’s II (review here) – under their belt, Oulu, Finland, heavy psych trio Deep Space Destructors offer their definitive stylistic statement in the wash of III, a five-song/45-minute cosmic excursion with progressive krautrock edge (see “Spaceship Earth”) driven into heavier territory through dense fuzz in guitarist Petri Lassila’s tone and the chemistry between he, vocalist/bassist Jani Pitkänen and drummer Markus Pitkänen. Their extended but plotted jammy course finds culmination in the 15-minute penultimate cut “An Ode to Indifferent Universe,” – King Crimson and Floyd laced together by synth sounds – but the space-rock thrust of closer “Ikuinen Alku” highlights the multifaceted approach Deep Space Destructors have developed since their inception, consistently psychedelic but expansive. The sides gel effectively on “Cosmic Burial,” lending modern crash and tonal heft to classic ideals to craft something new from them in admirable form. As far out as they’ve gone, Deep Space Destructors still seem to be exploring new ground.

Deep Space Destructors on Thee Facebooks

Deep Space Destructors on Bandcamp

Underdogs, Underdogs

underdogs underdogs

Released as a cooperative production between Garage Records and Go Down Records, Italian trio Underdogs’ second, self-titled LP pushes further along the straight-lined course of heavy rock their 2007 debut, Ready to Burn, and 2011’s Revolution Love (review here) charted. Songs like “Nothing but the Best” strip away the Queens of the Stone Age-style fuzz of past outings in favor of a cleaner tone and overall feel, and while that spirit shows up later on side B’s “Called Play” and the rumbling grunge of “My Favourite Game” (a cover of The Cardigans), the prevailing vibe speaks to European commercial viability with clear hooks and straightforward structures. Acoustic finale “The Closing Song” offers a last-minute shift in style, calling to mind UnderdogsDogs without Plugs digital release, but even in more barebones form, the songwriting remains the focus on this mature third offering from a three-piece who’ve clearly figured out the direction in which they want to head and have set about developing an audience-friendly sound.

Underdogs on Thee Facebooks

Go Down Records

Human Services, Animal Fires

human services animal fires

Since they issued their self-titled debut (review here) in 2012, Virginia’s Human Services have brought aboard Steve Kerchner of Lord, and he brings as much a sense of chaos to Animal Fires as one might expect in teaming with Jeff Liscombe, Sean Sanford, Don Piffalo and Billy Kurilko, though the 59-minute full-length isn’t without its structure. Longer songs pair with concise noise experiments throughout the first 10 of the total 13 tracks, and each is different, so that even as the gap between songs is bridged, the stylistic basis for Animal Fires is branched out. The result is that by the time “Onyedinci Yil Sürüsü” closes out the album proper before the 17-minute live inclusion “No Structures in the Eye of the Jungle” hits, Human Services have reimagined the modus of Godflesh as an extremity of organic noisemaking, Southern heavy and eerie progressivism. Shades of Neurosis show up in centerpiece “Rats of a Feather,” but they too are twisted to suit the band’s creative purposes, threatening and engagingly bleak.

Human Services on Thee Facebooks

Human Services on Bandcamp

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