Quarterly Review: Horsehunter, Church, Corpse Light, Sunder, T-Tops, The Space Merchants, Etiolated, Blown Out, Les Discrets, Beast Modulus

Posted in Reviews on June 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk summer quarterly review

Day one down and feeling good so far. Day two continues the thread of mixing more known quantities with bands either self-releasing or putting out demos, etc., and I like that. More than last time around — last quarter, if you want to use the business-y sounding language for it — I tried to really get a balance across this batch of reviews, posted yesterday and coming up over the next couple days. We’ll see how it works out when it’s over. It remains a ton of stuff, and I hope you dig it. Day two starts right now.

Quarterly review #11-20:

Horsehunter, Caged in Flesh

horsehunter caged in flesh

Pushing their way to the fore of Melbourne’s heavy surge, double-guitar four-piece Horsehunter proffer oppressive tonal crush on the four tracks of their 2LP Magnetic Eye Records debut, Caged in Flesh. The story goes that, unsatisfied the initial recordings weren’t heavy enough, the band – guitarists Michael Harutyanyan (also vocals) and Dan McDonald, bassist/vocalist Himi Stringer and drummer Nick Cron – went back into the studio and redid the entire thing. Mission accomplished. By the time 16-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Stoned to Death” is done, lungs are suitably deflated, spines are cracked, skulls cleaved, and so on. They’re hardly the only ones in the world to conjure formidable tonal heft, but it’s the deft changes in vocals – clean here, shouts there, more abrasive at the start of the title-track – and the sense of atmosphere in the three-minute penultimate interlude that really distinguish Horsehunter, as well as how smoothly that atmosphere integrates with the pummel in the second half of closer “Witchery,” attention to detail and awareness of the need for more than just sonic weight boding well for future progression.

Horsehunter on Thee Facebooks

Magnetic Eye Records on Bandcamp

Church, Unanswered Hymns

church unanswered hymns

A staggeringly heavy debut full-length from Sacramento, CA, five-piece Church, Unanswered Hymns was initially released digitally by the band and quickly picked up for a cassette issue by Transylvanian Tapes and forthcoming LP through Battleground Records. One gets the sense listening to the three extended tracks – 19-minute opener “Dawning” being the longest of the bunch (immediate points) – that those won’t be the last versions to come. Psychedelic doom blends seamlessly with vicious sludge extremity, creating a morass engulfing in its tones, spacious in its breadth and unrepentantly heavy, making it one of 2015’s best debut releases, hands down, and a glorious revelry in bleak tectonics that challenges the listener to match its level of melancholy without giving into an impulse for post-Pallbearer emotive theatrics. As thrilling as they are plodding, expect the echoes of “Dawning,” “Stargazer” and “Offering” to resonate for some time to come, and should Church show any predilection for touring in the next couple years, they have the potential to make a genuine impact on American doom. Yes, I mean it.

Church on Thee Facebooks

Transylvanian Tapes

Battleground Records

Corpse Light, Without Form

corpse light without form

Recorded in a day and released by Grimoire Records, the four-track Without Form is slated as the debut from Baltimore atmospheric doomers Corpse Light, but the band have had tracks come out in drips and drabs since getting their start as Ophidian in mid-2012, even if this is their first proper release. Either way, “The Fool” sets up an immediate and grim ambience, the churning lurch from guitarists Keiran Holmes and Don Selner and bassist Aurora Raiten set to roll by Lawrence Grimes (The Osedax) and given earthy aggression by the vocals of Jim Webb. “Lying in State” fleshes out these morose aggro vibes, but it’s with the drop-everything-and-kill peak of the subsequent “R Complex” that Corpse Light hit their angriest mark. If Without Form was just about that, it would be the highlight, but the album’s 29 minutes have more to offer than pissed off tonally-weighted post-hardcore, as closer “Kenophobia”’s clever turns and deceptive forward momentum demonstrate, though a touch of that kind of thing never hurts either.

Corpse Light on Thee Facebooks

Grimoire Records on Bandcamp

Sunder, Demo

sunder demo

Heavy psych four-piece Sunder will make their debut this summer through Tee Pee and Crusher Records with a 7” for “Cursed Wolf,” so consider this notice of the tracks on their not-for-public-consumption demo a heads up on things to come. Their “Deadly Flower” was streamed here this past April, and the band’s previous incarnation, The Socks, released their self-titled debut (review here) on Small Stone in 2014, but with songs like the key-laced stomper “Bleeding Trees,” the ‘70s rusher “Against the Grain,” and the Uncle Acid-style swinging “Daughter of the Snows,” the Lyon, France, outfit continue to refine a style drawing together different vibes of the psychedelic era. “Deadly Flower” was also distinguished by its key work, and as for “Cursed Wolf” itself, the melody reminds of proto-psych Beatles singles (thinking “Rain” specifically), but the groove still holds firm to a sense of weight that’s thoroughly modern, and by that I mean it sounds like 1972. Keep an eye out.

Sunder on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records

T-Tops, T-Tops

t-tops t-tops

Granted not everyone is going to make this immediate association, but when I first saw the moniker T-Tops, I couldn’t help think of like C-grade generic stonerisms, songs about beer and pretending to be from the South and all that. If you experienced something similar in seeing the name, rest easy. The Pittsburgh trio of guitarist/vocalist Pat Waters (ex-The Fitt, Wormrigg), bassist Jason Orr (Wormrigg) and drummer Jason Jouver (ex-Don Caballero) are down with far more sinister punk and noise on their self-titled, self-released debut full-length, riding, shooting straight and speaking truth on cuts like “Wipe Down” and the catchy “Pretty on a Girl” after the tense sampling of “A Certain Cordial Exhilaration” turns over the power-push to “Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’.” “Ralphie” is probably an inside-joke if not a Christmas Story reference, but point is these guys are way less about-to-sing-about-muscle-cars than the name implies and their tight, crisp rhythmic turns come accompanied by vicious tonal force and an utter lack of bullshit, which is a scenario far preferable to that which one might otherwise expect.

T-Tops on Thee Facebooks

T-Tops on Bandcamp

The Space Merchants, The Space Merchants

the space merchants the space merchants

Issued by Aqulamb in the imprint’s standard 100-page art book/download format, the self-titled debut from fellow Brooklynites The Space Merchants seeks to draw a line between psychedelic rock and country. And not pretend country like people with a Johnny Cash fetish because he covered that Nine Inch Nails song one time – actual, bright, pastoral, classic country. Call the results psychtwang and applaud the effort, which works oddly well in a thoroughly vintage context to come across on “Mainline the Sun” like something from a lost ‘60s variety show. Parts of “One Cut Like the Moon” and the later fuzz of “One Thousand Years of Boredom” give away their modernity, but The Space Merchants’ push toward a stylistic niche suits them well, and the intertwined vocal arrangements from guitarist Michael Guggino, bassist Aileen Brophy and keyboardist Ani MonteleoneCarter Logan drums to round out the four-piece – add to the rich, welcoming feel that remains prevalent even as the eight-minute “Where’s the Rest of Life” slips into wah-soaked noise to finish out.

The Space Merchants on Thee Facebooks

Aqualamb on Bandcamp

Etiolated, Grey Limbs, Grey Skies

etoliated grey limbs grey skies

The undercurrent of black metal coursing beneath the surface of Etiolated’s debut full-length, Grey Limbs, Grey Skies, eventually comes to the surface in 10-minute opener “Internal Abyss” and 16-minute eponymous closer, which bookends, but in part it’s the tension of waiting for those rampaging surges that keeps one hooked to the Armus Productions release. Guttural death growls echo up from dense tonal reaches, and tempo shifts, whether in those longer tracks or three-minute lumbering slice “Futility” are fluid, the North Carolina five-piece executing a slow-grinding chug in centerpiece “Exsanguinate,” which seems like a murk without end until the 1:47 “For Your Hell” kicks into a speedier, more blackened rush, guest vocalist Ryan McCarthy joining guitarist/vocalists James Storelli and Walls, bassist Cody Rogers and drummer Elliot Thompson in furthering the already prevalent sense of extremism before “Etiolated,” after a surprisingly peaceful if brooding midsection, plods the album to a close. To say “not for the faint of heart” would be putting it lightly, but if I had a vest and if Etiolated had patches, the two parties would definitely meet up at some point in the near future.

Etiolated on Thee Facebooks

Armus Productions on Bandcamp

Blown Out, Planetary Engineering

blown out planetary engineering

It has not taken long for the discography of UK psych jammers Blown Out to become a populated murky cosmos of its own. Planetary Engineering is released on Oaken Palace Records and finds the three-piece of guitarist Mike Vest (also Bong, etc.), bassist John-Michael Hedley (also Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs) and drummer Matt Baty (also the head of Box Records) exploring two mesmeric and sprawling instrumentals – one per side – that bend and flourish and hypnotize in organically-concocted swirl. Side A’s “Transcending Deep Infinity” tops 20 minutes and shifts from its spacey build to a low key groove at about 7:30 in, pulsing forward once more amid head-turning repetition, deep echoes and longform nod, culminating in a two-minute fadeout that brings forward “Thousand Years in the Sunshine,” an immediate bass groove and interstellar swirl no less trance-inducing than its predecessor. Cyclical drum fills morph over time behind the guitar and bass, and Planetary Engineering seems to push continually further out until, of course, it disintegrates, presumably as it crosses the galactic barrier.

Blown Out on Thee Facebooks

Oaken Palace Records on Bandcamp

Les Discrets, Live at Roadburn

les discrets live at roadburn

I was fortunate enough to have been in attendance at Het Patronaat in Tilburg when French post-black metallers Les Discrets took the stage at Roadburn 2013. As such, it’s with some trepidation I approach their Live at Roadburn recording on Prophecy Productions – the impression they made live wasn’t something I’d want potentially spoiled or brought to earth by a document proving it was just another set. With Neige of Alcest on bass with guitarist/vocalist Fursy Teyssier, Les Discrets proved to be something really special to those who, like me, were there to catch them, and the eight-track Live at Roadburn – fortunately – captures both the majestic lushness they brought with them and the underlying weight that seemed to add impact to the material. What might sound like post-production mixing on “L’Echappée” or the wash of “Chanson D’Automne” isn’t – it really was that beautiful and that perfectly balanced coming from the stage. A vastly underrated act and a document that reminds of how stellar they were without sullying the memory in the slightest.

Les Discrets on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions

Beast Modulus, Beast Modulus

beast-modulus-beast-modulus

Brooklynite foursome Beast Modulus seem to care less about meshing with ideas of genre than sticking them in a meatgrinder and seeing what comes out. To wit the riotous chugging of “Cowboy Caligula,” and the blackened thrust of “WaSaBi!” on their self-released, self-titled outing, which leads to dueling growls and screams on the tonally weighted post-hardcore “Fabulous,” and the appropriately mathy turns of the thrashing “Tyranny of Numbers.” Inventive in their stylizations and in where the six songs included on the release actually go – hint: they go to “heavy” – the lineup of vocalist Kurt Applegate, guitarist Owen Burley, bassist Jesse Adelson and drummer Jody Smith have some post-Dillinger Escape Plan vibe in the calculated chaos of “Kalashnikov,” but closer “Killing Champion” is too impatient to even be held by that, the prevailing manic angularity of Beast Modulus ultimately crafting its own identity from the physical assault the music seems intent on perpetrating upon the listener.

Beast Modulus on Thee Facebooks

Beast Modulus on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Foehammer, Holy Serpent, Wicked Inquisition, AVER, Galley Beggar, Demon Lung, Spirit Division, Space Mushroom Fuzz, Mountain Tamer, Ohhms

Posted in Reviews on June 29th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk summer quarterly review

I said back in March that I was going to try to make the Quarterly Review a regular feature around here, and once it was put out there, the only thing to do was to live up to it. Over the last several — like, five — weeks, I’ve been compiling lists of albums to be included, and throughout the next five days, we’re going to make our way through that list. From bigger names to first demos and across a wide swath of heavy styles, there’s a lot of stuff to come, and I hope within all of it you’re able to find something that hits home or speaks to you in a special way.

No sense in delaying. Hold nose, dive in.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Foehammer, Foehammer

foehammer foehammer

Relatively newcomer trio Foehammer specialize in grueling, slow-motion punishment. Their self-titled debut EP follows a well-received 2014 demo and is three tracks/34 minutes released by Grimoire and Australopithecus Records of doomed extremity, the Virginian three-piece of guitarist Joe Cox (ex-Gradius), bassist/vocalist Jay Cardinell (ex-Gradius, ex-Durga Temple) and drummer Ben “Vang” Blanton (ex-Vog, also of The Oracle) not new to the Doom Capitol-area underground by any stretch and seeming to pool all their experience to maximize the impact of this extended material. Neither “Final Grail,” “Stormcrow” nor 14-minute closer “Jotnar” is without a sense of looming atmosphere, but Foehammer at this point are light only on drama, and the lower, sludgier and more crushing they go, the more righteous the EP is for it. Stunningly heavy and landing with a suitable shockwave, it is hopefully the beginning of a long, feedback-drenched tenure in death-doom, and if the EP is over half an hour, the prospect of a follow-up debut full-length seems overwhelming. Easily one of the year’s best short releases.

Foehammer on Thee Facebooks

Grimoire Records on Bandcamp

Australopithecus Records

Holy Serpent, Holy Serpent

holy serpent holy serpent

It’s not like they were lying when they decided to call a song “Shroom Doom.” Melbourne double-guitar four-piece made their self-titled debut as Holy Serpent last year, and the five-track full-length was picked up for release on RidingEasy Records no doubt for its two-front worship of Uncle Acid’s slither and jangle – especially prevalent on the eponymous opener and closer “The Wind” – and the now-classic stonerism of Sleep. That blend comes together best of all on the aforementioned finale, but neither will I take away from the north-of-10-minute righteousness of “The Plague” preceding, with its slow roll and malevolent vibe that, somehow, still sounds like a party. Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Scott Penberthy, guitarist Nick Donoughue, bassist Michael Macfie and drummer Keith Ratnan, the real test for Holy Serpent will be their second or third album – i.e., how they develop the psychedelic nodes of centerpiece “Fools Gold” along with the rest of their sound – but listening to these tracks, it’s easy to let the future worry about itself.

Holy Serpent on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records

Wicked Inquisition, Wicked Inquisition

wicked inquisition wicked inquisition

There are a variety of influences at work across Wicked Inquisition’s self-titled debut long-player, from the Sabbath references of its eponymous closer to the earlier thrashery of “In Shackles” and “Sun Flight,” but the core of the Minneapolis four-piece resides in a guitar-led brand of metal, whatever else they decide to build around it. Guitarist/vocalist Nate Towle, guitarist Ben Stevens, bassist Jordan Anderson and drummer Jack McKoskey align tightly around the riffs of “M.A.D.” in all-business fashion. Shades of Candlemass show up in some of the slower material, “M.A.D.” included as well as with “Crimson Odyssey,” but the start-stops of “Tomorrow Always Knows” ensure the audience is clued in that there’s more going on than just classic doom, though a Trouble influence seems to hover over the proceedings as well, waiting to be more fully explored as the band moves forward.

Wicked Inquisition on Thee Facebooks

Wicked Inquisition on Bandcamp

AVER, Nadir

aver nadir

Clocking in at an hour flat, Sydney all-caps riffers AVER construct their second album, Nadir, largely out of familiar elements, but wind up with a blend of their own. Fuzz is prevalent in the extended nod of opener “The Devil’s Medicine” (9:46) which bookends with the longest track, finisher “Waves” (9:48), though it’s not exactly like the four-piece are shy about writing longer songs in between. The production, while clear enough, lends its focus more toward the low end, which could be pulling in another direction from the impact of some of Nadir’s psychedelia on “Rising Sun” second half solo, but neither will I take anything away from Jed’s bass tone, which could carry this hour of material were it asked. The vocals of guitarist Burdt have a distinct Acid Bathian feel, post-grunge, and that contrasts a more laid back vibe even on the acoustic-centered “Promised Lands,” but neither he, Jed, guitarist Luke or drummer Chris feel out of place here, and I’m not inclined to complain.

AVER on Thee Facebooks

AVER on Bandcamp

Galley Beggar, Silence and Tears

galley-beggar-silence-and-tears

Sweet, classic and very, very British folk pervades the gorgeously melodic and meticulously arranged Silence and Tears by London six-piece Galley Beggar, released on Rise Above. The eight-track/40-minute album packs neatly onto a vinyl release and has near-immediate psychedelic underpinnings in the wah of opener “Adam and Eve,” and side B’s “Geordie” has some heavier-derived groove, but it’s the beauty and lushness of the harmonies throughout (finding satisfying culmination in closer “Deliver Him”) that stand Galley Beggar’s third offering out from worshipers of a ‘60s and ‘70s era aesthetic. The highlight of Silence and Tears arrives early in nine-minute second cut “Pay My Body,” a wonderfully swaying, patient excursion that gives equal time to instrumental exploration and vocal accomplishment, but to a select few who let themselves be truly hypnotized and carried along its winding course, the album’s entire span will prove a treasure to be revisited for years to come and whose sunshiny imprint will remain vivid.

Galley Beggar on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records

Demon Lung, A Dracula

demon-lung-a-dracula

With inspiration reportedly from the 1977 demon-possession horror flick Alucarda, Las Vegas doomers Demon Lung return with A Dracula, their second offering via Candlelight Records after 2013’s The Hundredth Name, and as the movie begins with a birth, so too do we get “Behold, the Daughter” following the intro “Rursumque Alucarda,” later mirrored by a penultimate interlude of the same name. Billy Anderson produced, so it’s not exactly a surprise that the slow, undulating riffs and the periodic bouts of more upbeat chug, as on “Gypsy Curse,” come through nice and viscous, but vocalist Shanda brings an ethereal melodic sensibility, not quite cult rock, but on “Mark of Jubilee” presenting momentarily some similarly bleak atmospherics to those of the UK’s Undersmile, her voice seeming to command the guitars to solidify from their initial airiness and churn out an eerie apex, which closer “Raped by the Serpent” pushes further for a raging finale.

Demon Lung on Thee Facebooks

Candlelight USA’s Bandcamp

Spirit Division, Spirit Division

spirit division spirit division

Spirit Division’s self-titled debut full-length follows a 2014 demo that also hosted three of the tracks – opener “Spirit Division,” “Through the Rounds” and “Mountain of Lies” – but is fuller-sounding in its post-grunge tonality and doomly chug than the earlier offering, guitarist/vocalist Stephen Hoffman, bassist/vocalist Chris Latta and drummer/vocalist David Glass finding a straightforward route through moody metallurgy and weighted riffage. Some Wino-style swing shows up on “Bloodletting,” and “Cloud of Souls” has a decidedly militaristic march to its progression, while the later “Red Sky” revels in classic doom that seems to want to be just a touch slower than it is, but what ultimately unites the material is the strong sense of purpose across the album’s span and Spirit Division’s care in the vocal arrangements. The production is somewhat dry, but Spirit Division walk the line between sludge rock and doom and seem comfortable in that sphere while also sparking a creative progression that seems well worth further pursuit.

Spirit Division on Thee Facebooks

Spirit Division on Bandcamp

Space Mushroom Fuzz, Until Next Time

space mushroom fuzz until next time

I was all set to include a different Space Mushroom Fuzz album in this roundup, but then I saw that the project was coming to an end and Until Next Time was issued as the band’s final release. The deal all along with the band headed by guitarist/vocalist Adam Abrams (also Blue Aside) has been that you never really know what he’s going to do next. Fair enough. Abrams brings it down in suitably bizarre fashion, a keyboard and guitar line backing “Class Onion” in direct mockery of Beatlesian bounce, where “The DeLorean Takes Off!” before compiles five-plus minutes of experimental noise and “Follow that DeLorean” answers with another round after. Elsewhere, opener and longest cut (immediate points) “Here Comes Trouble” resonates with its central guitar line and unfolds to further oddity with a quiet but gruff vocal, while “The Rescue” vibes like something Ween would’ve conjured after huffing roach spray (or whatever was handy) and closer “Back in ‘55” moves from progressive soloing to froggy singing and weirdo jangle. All in all a strange and fitting end to the band.

Space Mushroom Fuzz on Thee Facebooks

Space Mushroom Fuzz on Bandcamp

Mountain Tamer, MTN TMR DEMO

mountain tamer mtn tmr demo

Santa Cruz trio Mountain Tamer have been kicking around the West Coast for the last several years, and since they released a full-length, Liquid Metal, in 2013, and a prior EP in 2012’s The Glad, it’s tempting to try to read some larger shift sonically into their MTN TMR Demo, as though having completely revamped their sound, the trio of guitarist/vocalist Andru, bassist/vocalist Dave Teget and drummer/vocalist Casey Garcia trying out new ideas as they redirect their approach. That may well be the case, with “Satan’s Waitin’,” “Sum People” and “Dunes of the Mind” each standing at over five-minutes of neo-stoner roll, more psychedelic than some in the growing fuck-it-let’s-skate oeuvre, but still plainly born after, or at least during, grunge. The finisher comes to a thrilling, noisy head as it rounds out the short release, and if Mountain Tamer are taking on a new path, it’s one well set to meander and I hope they continue to follow those impulses.

Mountain Tamer on Thee Facebooks

Mountain Tamer on Bandcamp

OHHMS, Cold

ohhms cold

Like their late-2014 debut, Bloom, OHHMS’ sophomore outing, Cold, is comprised of two extended tracks. Here the Canterbury five-piece bring “The Anchor” (18:30) and “Dawn of the Swarm” (14:27), blending modern prog, sludge and post-metallic vibes to suit a melodic, ambitious purpose. Atmosphere is central from the quiet drone starting “The Anchor” and remains so as they lumber through a linear build and into an apex at about 13 minutes in, dropping out to quiet only to build back up to a striking melodic push that ends on a long fade. Side B, “Dawn of the Swarm” is more immediately post-rock in the guitar, the lineup of vocalist Paul Waller, guitarists Daniel Sargent and Marc George, bassist Chainy Chainy and drummer Max Newton moving through hypnotic sprawl into angular Isis-ism before finding their own way, the second cut pushing structurally against the first with loud/quiet tradeoffs in a well-timed back half. Clearly a band who arrived knowing their purpose, but not so cerebral as to detract from the heavy landing of the material itself.

OHHMS on Thee Facebooks

OHHMS on Bandcamp

 

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Nick Oliveri Announces Acoustic European Tour Dates

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

nick oliveri

As he continues to support the solo album Leave Me Alone (streamed here) released under the moniker of Nick Oliveri and the Uncontrollable, the persistently raucous Oliveri is set to embark in July on a month-plus of European touring, acoustic style. This incarnation of the former Kyuss/Queens of the Stone Age bassist — whose resumé also includes The Dwarves, his own Mondo Generator and a slew of contributions to others, up to and including Vista Chino — is dubbed Death Acoustic after a 2009 album of the same name (review here), and Oliveri will begin the tour with a slot at the Stoned from the Underground festival in Erfurt, Germany.

Still not sure what’s up with Oliveri‘s rumored collaboration with Wino in Royale Daemons, but when and if I hear of anything in that regard I’ll let you know. In the meantime, the PR wire brought this announcement:

nick oliveri leave me alone

Nick Oliveri embark on summer acoustic tour across Europe in support of his new album Leave Me Alone, dates and festival appearances announced.

Nick Oliveri is one of the most dexterous and versatile journeyman musicians in the underground rock scene. His work with such bands as Kyuss, Queens Of The Stone Age and Mondo Generator has made him an iconic figure in the heavy music scene while his persona as long time Dwarves bassist Rex Everything and current bass playing duties with newly reformed hardcore act Bl’ast have anchored him as a force to be reckoned with in the punk/hardcore realm. His songwriting has appeared in landmark albums such as Wretch and Blues For The Red Sun (Kyuss) and Rated R and Songs For The Deaf (Queens Of The Stone Age).

His body of work and catalog is vast and respectable with contributions to such artists as Turbonegro, Eagles Of Death Metal, Mark Lanegan Band, Winnebago Deal, Rollins Band, Masters of Reality and the legendary Desert Sessions recordings.

From July till mid August, Nick will be travelling across the Old World on a special acoustic tour in support of his latest release entitled Leave Me Alone that was recorded by his new project and debut solo effort (he literally played every instrument on the album, minus some guest appearances) called Nick Oliveri’s Uncontrollable. The tour kicks off in Erfurt (Germany) at the long running Stoned From The Underground festival alongside the likes of Electric Wizard, his old friend John Garcia, Radio Moscow and Danava and concludes August 16th at Leperfest (Belgium) where he’ll share the stage with hardcore icons Sick Of It All, doom pioneers Pentagram, and cult-like Brujeria.

He’s coined the name of his acoustic tours as “Death Acoustic” tours and they’ve always been an intimate experience with him and his fans, where he ‘s known to interact with the audience directly in the middle and between songs throughout the his sets, take requests and invite the whole audiences to get involved with the set, rowdy or not!

Full list of dates:

July 10th: Stoned From The Underground Festival (Erfurt, GER)
July 11th: Panic Room (Essen, GER)
July 12th: Fleece (Bristol, UK)
July 13th: Gypsy Rose (Dublin, UK)
July 14th: Voodoo (Bellfast, UK)
July 15th: Audio (Glasgow, UK)
July 16th: Portland Arms (Cambridge, UK)
July 17th: The Corporation (Sheffield, UK)
July 18th: The Boston Music Room (London, UK)
July 19th: Moon Club (Cardiff, UK)
July 20th: Glazart (Paris, France)
July 21st: Le Ferrailleur (Nantes, France)
July 22nd: TBC
July 23rd: Raindogs (Savona, Italy)
July 24th: Sunride Festival (Pesaro, Italy)
July 25th: Zara Spiaggia Bar (Pescara, Italy)
July 26th: Nano Verde (Follonica, Italy)
July 27th: Festa Dell’ Unita (Canonica, Italy)
July 28th: Freak Out Club (Bologna, Italy)
July 29th: Parco Della Musica (Padova, Italy)
July 30th: Vintage Industrial Bar (Zagreb, Croatia)
August 1st: Viper Room (Vienna, Austria)
August 3rd: Backstage (Munich, GER)
August 4th: Rockhouse (Salzburg, Austria)
August 5th: Jagerklause (Berlin, GER)
August 6th: Ostpol (Dresden, GER)
August 7th: La Casa (Cottbus, GER)
August 8th: TBA (Bucarest, Romania)
August 9th: Chez Heinz (Hannover, GER)
August 10th: Hafenklang (Hamburg, GER)
August 11th: DB’s (Utrecht, NL)
August 12th: Gebr De Nobel (Leiden, NL)
August 13th: De Pul (Uden, NL)
August 14th: The Lane (Oostburg, NL)
August 15th: De Hip (Deventer, NL)
August 16th: Leperfest (Leper, Belgium)

Leave Me Alone by Nick Oliveri’s Uncontrollable is out now on both regular LP/CD and collectible leather sleeve LP through Schnitzel Records and is available for streaming at the link here.

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Schnitzel Records

Nick Oliveri, “Green Machine/Another Love Song/Outlaw Scumfuc/Won’t Let Go” Acoustic

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Mondo Drag Summer Tour Starts July 4; Dates Booked with Electric Citizen and Slow Season

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 25th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

mondo drag

I’m sorry — note: I’m not actually sorry — but this tour is awesome. Electric CitizenMondo Drag and Slow Season headed out together? It’s like a missionary effort from RidingEasy Records, and should you happen to be in its path, which is to say if you don’t live in the Boston area, it seems like it would be worthwhile to show up and hear the preaching. Mondo Drag head out a couple nights before the tour-proper starts, and they’re supporting the right-on-ness of their self-titled LP (review here), released earlier this year on Kozmik Artifactz and subsequently picked up by RidingEasy, while Slow Season are out heralding their own debut for the label and Electric Citizen should be teasing their second offering ahead of a release either later this year or hopefully in the earlier portion of 2016.

Tour poster by Dirty Needle and dates follow, scoured from various Thee Facebooks sources:

electric citizen mondo drag slow season tour

Check out all the date for our US Tour next month! We’re kicking it off on July 4 and we’ve got dates with Medusa1975, JOY, Feral Ohms, Slow Season, Electric Citizen, Ruby the Hatchet, Blackout, and more!!!

Tour brought to you by RidingEasy Records & KR3W Denim

7/4 San Francisco, CA at Amnesia
7/5 Long Beach, CA at Alex’s Bar
7/7 Denver, CO at The Moon Room*
7/8 Kansas, MO at Riot Room*
7/9 Rock Island, IL at RIBCO*
7/10 Chicago, IL at Reggie’s Side Room^*
7/11 Detroit, MI at Loving Touch^*
7/12 Cleveland, OH at Grog Shop^*
7/13 Rochester, NY at Bug Jar^*
7/14 Pittsburgh, PA at Club Cafe^*
7/15 Columbus, OH at Ace Of Cups^*
7/17 Philadelphia, PA at Underground Arts Black Box^*
7/18 Brooklyn, NY at Saint Vitus^*
7/20 Richmond, VA at Strange Matter^*
7/22 Asheville, NC at Grey Eagle^*
7/23 Atlanta, GA at Masquerade Purgatory^*
7/24 Orlando, FL at BackBooth^*
7/26 New Orleans, LA at Siberia^*
7/28 Houston, TX at Rudyards^*
7/29 Austin, TX at Red 7^*
7/30 Dallas, TX at Club Dada^*
8/1 Tempe, AZ at Yucca Tap Room*
8/2 San Diego, CA at The Tower Bar*
8/3 Fullerton, CA at The Continental Room
8/7 Oakland, CA at Leo’s Music Club
^w/ Electric Citizen
*w/ Slow Season

https://www.facebook.com/events/738190312974777/
https://www.facebook.com/mondodrag
http://www.mondodrag.com/
http://mondodrag.bandcamp.com/album/mondo-drag
http://ridingeasyrecords.com/

Mondo Drag, Mondo Drag (2015)

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The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic Announce New Vocalist Brigitte Roka

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

the ultra electric mega galactic

After posting some rehearsal-room pictures over the last couple weeks, Los Angeles-based The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic have made the official announcement that Brigitte Roka has joined the band as their full-time vocalist. Formerly the trio of bassist Collyn McCoy (also Sugarfly), drummer Rick Ferrante (also Sasquatch) and guitarist Ed Mundell (ex-Monster Magnet/The Atomic Bitchwax), The UEMG — as they’re mercifully abbreviated — released their Through the Dark Matter EP (review here) as the follow-up to their 2013 self-titled debut (review here), and while McCoy stepped to the mic on a cover of Willie Dixon‘s “Spoonful” on that shorter release, Roka marks the first standalone singer the band has had.

They have a couple shows coming up for the summer — I know I wouldn’t mind seeing them with Sun and Sail Club and The Freeks — and I’d expect some video or live audio to surface to give a sense of how their sound will have shifted with Roka on vocals, whether their space/acid rocking jams will solidify or stay as molten as they were on the self-titled, but as Mundell states in the announcement below, it won’t be until later this year that they hit the studio as a four-piece. It’s already on my most-anticipated-for-2016 list.

Word came in as follows:

the ultra electric mega galactic brigitte

The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic welcomes vocalist Brigitte Roka to the fold

Instrumental power trio The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic is instrumental (and a power trio) no more.

After releasing a full length CD in 2013, an EP in 2014 and performing the main stages of both DesertFests London and Berlin sans vocals, UEMG – comprised of Ed Mundell on guitar (Monster Magnet, the Atomic Bitchwax), Rick Ferrante on drums (Sasquatch) and Collyn McCoy on bass (Trash Titan, Sugar Fly) — has decided to change it up in 2015 with the addition of a permanent vocalist: Brigitte Roka of Los Angeles.

“My intention when leaving Monster Magnet after eighteen years was to work with new musicians, singers, producers and engineers,” says guitarist Ed Mundell. “In this quest, we have found an incredible singer in 19-year-old Brigitte Roka. She brings a fresh yet bluesy 70’s vibe to our sound. We are playing a few shows in Southern California debuting a few of our new songs and plan to go into the studio later in the year.”

The year is 1969,” enthuses bassist Collyn McCoy. “Robert Plant and Janis Joplin have a one-off fling backstage at the Texas International Pop Festival, producing a love child. Only the embryo is frozen and thawed out 27 years later, in Moscow, Russia of all places. Said embryo immigrates to Los Angeles where she’s raised on a steady diet of Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Atomic Rooster and of course, the musical stylings of her biological parents. That’s Brigitte. I mean, perhaps I’ve mythologized her origin story a bit, but really it’s the only plausible explanation for how awesome she is.”

Upcoming shows:
June 20th, 2015 – Yucca Man Shakedown, Yucca Valley, CA (private event)
August 29th, 2015 – Alex’s Bar, Long Beach, CA (with Sun and Sail Club and The Freeks)

https://www.facebook.com/TheUEMG
https://twitter.com/EDMUNDELL
https://theuemg.bandcamp.com
http://www.theultraelectricmegagalactic.com/

The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, Through the Dark Matter (2014)

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High on Fire, Luminiferous: Flying Above the Rift

Posted in Reviews on June 15th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

high on fire luminiferous

It is a fun coincidence of timing that High on Fire‘s seventh album, Luminiferous (released by eOne Metal), should arrive — a summer blockbuster in its own right — just one month after George Miller‘s film Mad Max: Fury Road, since the two works would seem to share so much in common. Not merely in their thrust or in the pummel and whirlwind they’re able to conjure when reaching a similar maximum velocity, but in the ability to balance the real and the unreal while doing so. Luminiferous is High on Fire‘s second collaboration with producer Kurt Ballou, and like the movie, its nine tracks/54 minutes are executed with minimal trickery. Real stunts. Sure, Des Kensel‘s toms and snare on second cut “Carcosa” or the second half of closer “The Lethal Chamber,” or that of “The Sunless Years,” or in the midsection of “The Dark Side of the Compass” have a war-drum sound to them, huge, thudding, but it’s not inorganic in its construction.

And while both movie and album can seem superficially at times to be sacrificing all else for the sake of the sheer badassery of their impact, High on Fire‘s latest is actually among their more progressive works, following 2012’s adrenaline-pumped stunner De Vermis Mysteriis (review here) — their first with Ballou — with more of a flow from one song into the next and likewise fluid shifts between tempos and flourishes of melody and emotion on “The Falconist” or “The Cave” to go along with all-out thrashfests like “Slave the Hive” or the penultimate title-track, which is sandwiched between the two longest tracks here, “The Cave” and “The Lethal Chamber,” both of which stand as evidence of the desire from High on Fire — guitarist/vocalist Matt Pike (also Sleep) and bassist Jeff Matz, in addition to Kensel — to continue the creative development that’s been there to hear all along throughout their 17-year run for anyone willing to look under the sometimes-masking layer of raw brutality.

Even if Luminiferous is better constructed and more dynamic overall than was De Vermis Mysteriis, its opening salvo is still geared toward finding out how big of a crater it can make. Opener “The Black Plot” has its hook but is among the record’s nastier thrashers, Pike following his guitar and taking a somewhat surprising melodic turn in the chorus vocally as Kensel and Matz hold together a gallop that’s as much of a signature move as High on Fire has. The subsequent “Carcosa,” which tops seven minutes and sets up the aforementioned later epics, dials back its pacing somewhat, but seems to use its extra time to make every forceful blow count. Vicious tonally but ultimately propelled by its drums, it finds Pike as the snarling conjurer atop the storm, a swinging progression well locked in by the two-minute mark carrying into a bigger groove that’s bound to test the tensile strength of many necks in its presence and which returns shortly as the bed for another a mix-consuming, about-to-fly-off-the-rails solo, though its ultimately Kensel‘s war drums that hold the day.

Matz, who joined the band in 2006 before they made what has become something of a defining statement with 2007’s Death is this Communion and is by now their longest-tenured bassist, has his moment in the midsection of “The Sunless Years,” stepping forward to match a guitar solo from Pike and continuing to hold attention even as the track moves back to its verse, offset earlier by a hook that recalls the marauding “Serums of Laio” from the last album before a slowdown once more brings Kensel‘s plodding drums to the front — though Matz gets his fills in there as well. Three tracks in, already High on Fire have given three different looks, but “Slave the Hive” (also released as a Scion-sponsored single in 2013) and “The Falconist” show there’s more to be delivered, the former their shortest inclusion at 3:50 and offering a thrashing viciousness rivaled only by “Luminiferous” itself on the second LP, and the latter an inevitably slower roll with the album’s strongest chorus, more choice low end, and Pike‘s boldest vocal in the chorus, “You can see my fly above the rift/And watch me dive and play the risks/You can see me flying/Watch me diving/From the wrist of the falconist,” as gorgeous and apt a metaphor as any I could imagine for the course of his career and stage presence both, though whether or not that’s what he’s going for, I couldn’t say.

high on fire (Photo by Jimmy Hubbard)

The centerpiece of the offering for good reason, “The Falconist” is as bold a step in the direction of accessibility as High on Fire have taken, and the emotion driving it feels genuine even as its harder-hitting edge is maintained toward an ending solo that seems to want to move back into one last chorus but cuts short in the end and makes way for “The Dark Side of the Compass,” the apocalyptic tension of which finds release in a chorus of lockstep lead guitar and vocals, the execution no less tight than anything before or after it, but memorable and all the more so for not being an immediate afterthought to “The Falconist” preceding. Feedback fades quickly to end “The Dark Side of the Compass” and makes way to the subdued opening of “The Cave,” a meandering guitar line topping Matz‘s bass and opening quick to an almost-psychedelic vibe, watery vocals and all. High on Fire‘s “Planet Caravan?” Maybe, but if they’re doing it, they’re doing it in their own style, the track exploding into a rolling, lumbering hook before receding again.

That tradeoff moves back and forth through the first half of its 7:40 run, the third verse and weightier chorus moving into a longer section playing off the latter before a cut to the bass and vocal line sets up the final, solo-topped push, the bass and guitar bookending with a last quiet measure, seemingly as much to lead into “Luminiferous” as out of “The Cave” itself, the immediate punch of the titular cut not to be understated even if it takes a about a minute for the verse to be revealed in its full, whipping fury. One could only accuse “Luminiferous” of being in High on Fire‘s wheelhouse, but as they have on many occasions before, they burn that wheelhouse to the ground, and where prior title-tracks have had more sprawl à la “The Cave” or subsequent closer “The Lethal Chamber” — thinking of 2010’s Snakes for the Divine (review here), the aforementioned Death is this Communion, or 2005’s Blessed Black Wings — “Luminiferous” is a turn in itself, being shorter and more outwardly intense in the tradition of “Surrounded by Thieves” from their 2002 sophomore outing of the same name. Fitting somehow for a band subtly, continuously pushing their own boundaries that they should round out with one of their longest songs.

At a long-fading but fully-used 8:50, “The Lethal Chamber” is second only to “Master of Fists” from High on Fire‘s 2000 debut, The Art of Self-Defense, in runtime — that cut being the band’s only one to-date topping 10 minutes — but its impact is made more in how they use that time than that they use it at all. Lurching groove and drum stomp in a timing nod not entirely dissimilar from Sleep‘s “The Clarity” take hold early, but of course the vibe is entirely High on Fire‘s own. They carry that march to and through a solo at the halfway point, some churn providing quick transition amid a flurry of toms from Kensel, who after making his presence felt throughout the entire tracklist leaves yet more bruises following a quick stop at 5:45, his hard-hitting approach and Matz‘s bassline serving as the foundation from which Pike launches an airier finale solo, the fadeout arriving less like the band are finishing out and more like the listener is leaving the strange, dark, storming world in which the end of “The Lethal Chamber” will still be taking place after we’re gone.

More about its reach than its catchiness, as were the likes of “The Black Plot,” “The Sunless Years,” or “The Falconist,” “The Lethal Chamber” underscores the multifaceted approach that High on Fire are able to take as they push closer to their 20th year, and one of Luminiferous‘ most satisfying aspects proves to be how naturally they seem to be able to balance an ongoing creative progression with trademark thickened thrash that, here as ever, sounds like it’s sitting on top of 7,000 pounds of nitro-boosted war machine. Hands down one of the year’s best, for its blinding turns, the obvious chemistry of the trio who made it, its songwriting and the lingering sense of work still to be done when it’s over.

High on Fire, “The Falconist”

High on Fire on Thee Facebooks

High on Fire’s website

eOne Metal

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Wino Wednesday: Wino Covers Freddie King in Sacramento, CA, April 2015

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 10th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

The Texas Cannonball, bluesman Freddie King included “Going Down” on his Leon Russell-produced 1971 album, Getting Ready, and it’s a smokin’ number with of course King‘s stellar guitar work and a post-Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters meld of blues and heavy rock and roll. The song was written by Don Nix and is identifiable early by its repeating “down, down, down, down” hook and accompanying instrumental descent, and King is somewhat malleable to its sliding groove — less than a decade earlier, he’d touched on surf and bossa nova on separate albums, so maybe malleability wasn’t a problem for him. The song’s been covered plenty of times over the years, and even Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow touched on that hook with “Self Portrait” from their first album, but King‘s version remains the definitive.

We don’t get to see the entirety of the jam Wino plays off it, but a glimpse is better than nothing. The show was April 18, 2015, at Ace of Spades in Sacramento, California, and Wino was there solo, supporting Black Label Society. He has a bassist onstage with him, and one who matches him for quick turns in the solo, which makes it all the more exciting, but I’m not sure who it actually is. Either way, we get to hear some of Wino‘s “unplugged” fuzz, which is a pretty delicate balance for a hollow instrument to strike without going all to hell in noise and a mess of feedback. Not exactly Wino‘s first time at the dance, so it’s not a surprise he’d nail it, but ultimately all this video does is make me hope that sooner or later he comes back to the eastern seaboard and that “Going Down” makes its way into the set, because I wouldn’t mind seeing the whole thing for myself if given the chance.

Hope you enjoy, ignore the whistling goon and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Wino, “Going Down” live in Sacramento, CA, April 18, 2015

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Lords of Beacon House Announce West Coast Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 5th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Los Angeles classic heavy rock trio Lords of Beacon House are still pretty fresh off a slot at this year’s Psycho California fest last month, but they’ve also announced a tour for July that will take them around the western half of the US and into Tijuana, Mexico, which is a place whose reputation for shenanigans precedes it and seems fitting for the swaggering sort of groove these cats have on offer with their self-titled debut 12″, which came out on Homhomhom in April following an initial sampler platter (review here) that dropped late last year. Easy to imagine this’ll be a good time.

Not sure with whom they’re playing throughout, but the event page for the tour is below if you’d like to keep up, and the preliminaries are as follows:

lords of beacon house

Lords of Beacon House hit the road this summer!

“Up the high country, down the valleys low – spreading that ol’ funky thang we go”

1,000 WATTS OF UN-CUT TO THE GUT!
GUARANTEED TO MAKE YOU SHAKE YER BUTT!

Fresh off the stage from this years Psycho California and In lieu of their debut self-titled LP via homhomhom Records, LOBH will be tearing up many a stage with some of the raddest and baddest mutha’s on planet Earth.

*DISCLAIMER – NOT FOR THE FAINT AT HEART*

“GIMME MOISTURE” SUMMER TOUR
7/13 – The Whiskey A Go-Go – Hollywood, CA
7/14 – The 5 Star Bar – Los Angeles, CA
7/15 – Harold’s Place – San Pedro, CA
7/16 – The Legionnaire Saloon – Oakland, CA
7/17 – The Milk Bar – San Francisco, CA
7/18 – The Starlite – Sacramento, CA
7/20 – Siren’s Song Tavern – Eureka, CA
7/21 – Old Nick’s Pub – Eugene, OR
7/22 – The Kenton Club – Portland, OR
7/23 – The Highline – Seattle, WA
7/24 – The Bouquet Bar – Boise, ID
7/25 – The Dawg Pound – Salt Lake City, UT
7/27 – The Bar-Bar – Denver, CO
7/28 – Lost Lake – Denver, CO
7/30 – Taos Mesa Brewery – Taos, NM
8/1 – Blooze Bar – Phoenix, AZ
8/2 – Double Down Bar – Las Vegas, NV
8/3 – Doce Cincuenta – Tijuana, MX

YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WANT TO MISS OUT!!

https://www.facebook.com/events/703694173085732/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lords-of-Beacon-House/714064795308176
http://lordsofbeaconhouse.com/
http://homhomhom.com/

Lords of Beacon House, Live at Psycho CA, May 16, 2015

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