Psycho Las Vegas 2018 Reveals Lineup; Dimmo Borgir, Hellacopters, Godflesh, Witchcraft and More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Psycho Las Vegas 2018 logo

It’s only taken a few years for Psycho Las Vegas to establish itself as the premier underground festival in the US. All well and good. With 2018’s lineup, though, it’s time to start thinking of Psycho among the best in the world.

Sounds like too much? Consider Godflesh and Dimmu Borgir sharing a stage, both for exclusive West Coast appearances. Think of Sweden’s Witchcraft playing one of the two shows they’ll do in the US at Psycho, and ditto that for Japanese riff-madmen Church of Misery. Think of US exclusives from Lee Dorrian’s With the Dead, or Lucifer, whose Johanna Sadonis will also DJ the Center Bar. The commitment to up and coming underground acts local, domestic and foreign like Temple of Void, King Buffalo, Dreadnought, The Munsens and DVNE. Picture yourself watching Wolves in the Throne Room headline a pre-fest pool party with Elder, Young and in the Way, Dengue Fever, Fireball Ministry and Toke.

2018 is the year Psycho Las Vegas outclasses even itself and pushes further than it ever has in terms of stylistic reach (Integrity walks by and waves… at Boris) and the sheer power of its construction. If you’re looking for the future, you’ll find it in scumbag paradise.

Here’s the lineup:

Psycho Las Vegas 2018 poster

Psycho Las Vegas 2018

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas
4455 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, Nevada 89169

Tickets: https://www.vivapsycho.com/pages/tickets

PSYCHO LAS VEGAS 2018 lineup:
DIMMU BORGIR (west of chicago exclusive)
HELLACOPTERS (one of two shows to be played in the USA in 2018)
SUNN 0)))
GODFLESH (west of chicago exclusive)
WITCHCRAFT (one of two shows to be played in the USA in 2018)
ENSLAVED
AMERICAN NIGHTMARE
HIGH ON FIRE
ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT
RED FANG
ZAKK SABBATH
CHURCH OF MISERY (usa exclusive 2018 with exception to one other show in San Diego)
TINARIWEN
GOBLIN
CKY
VENOM INC
EYEHATEGOD
VOIVOD
BORIS
COVEN
INTEGRITY
PALLBEARER
WITH THE DEAD (USA exclusive 2018)
MONOLORD
LUCIFER (USA exclusive 2018)
ACID WITCH
SURVIVE
DOPETHRONE
BIG BUSINESS
UNEARTHLY TRANCE
MUTOID MAN
TODAY IS THE DAY
HELMS ALEE
SPIRIT ADRIFT
BATUSHKA
PRIMITIVE MAN
DVNE
ALL PIGS MUST DIE
EIGHT BELLS
WORMWITCH
INDIAN
NECROT
HOMEWRECKER
BRAIN TENTACLES
CLOAK
BLACK MARE
MAGIC SWORD
UADA
TEMPLE OF VOID
DREADNOUGHT
WOLVHAMMER
ASEETHE
DISASTROID
FORMING THE VOID
VENOMOUS MAXIMUS
GHASTLY SOUND
HOWLING GIANT
KING BUFFALO
NIGHT HORSE
THE MUNSENS
GLAARE

Paradise Pool Pre Party
August 16th

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM
ELDER
YOUNG AND IN THE WAY
DENGUE FEVER
FIREBALL MINISTRY
TOKE

Center Bar DJ’s
Andrew W.K.
Nicke Andersson (Entombed/Hellacopters)
Johanna Sadonis (Lucifer)

https://www.facebook.com/psychoLasVegas/
https://www.facebook.com/events/125340824913552/
http://vivapsycho.com

High on Fire, Live at Psycho Las Vegas 2016

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Desertfest London 2018 Adds High on Fire, Church of Misery, The Obsessed, Black Rainbows, Death Alley, Akercocke and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Bit of a stunner announcement from Desertfest London 2018, whose third headliner arrives in the form of High on Fire celebrating their 20th anniversary, and who’ll be joined at the Camden Town festival by doom legends The Obsessed, Japan’s number one riff export Church of Misery, plus Italian forerunners Black Rainbows, UK devil worshiping extremists Akercocke, Dutch proto-specialists Death Alley and more.

Look. I post a lot of fest updates. I mean, a lot. This is one of three slated for today, for example. Rarely does an announcement immediately up the game of a given event like this one does for Desertfest London 2018. With High on Fire completing the triumvirate of headliners alongside Monster Magnet and Graveyard, and The Obsessed and Church of Misery joining EyehategodNapalm DeathWeedeaterElderNebula and Warning on the next tier, the festival’s seventh edition moves into nigh-unfuckwithable terrain. Kudos to Desertfest on outdoing itself once again in 2018.

From the PR wire:

desertfest london 2018 square banner

DESERTFEST LONDON announce final headliner High On Fire and more acts to join the 2018 edition!

DESERTFEST LONDON announce High On Fire as final headliner and further acts to join the likes of Monster Magnet, Graveyard, Napalm Death, Eyehategod and many more to set the riff party in Camden on May 4-6th, 2018.

The final headliner for Desertfest London 2018 is an act fronted by a man who is no stranger to the DF family and all it encompasses, having headlined last year’s proceedings with one of his many musical outlets Sleep: living legend Matt Pike returns to Camden with the mighty HIGH ON FIRE. Formed in Oakland, California in 1998, the heavy metal trio have perfected their feel-good, balls-out and take-no-prisoner sound. HOF’s sludgy-thrash vibrations are an unstoppable wrecking force, with seven seminal albums under their belt; we are more than ready for the HOF tidal wave to hit.

Doom-rock trailblazers THE OBSESSED will make their first UK appearance next May after their two-decade long hiatus. Having recently reformed and playing shows met with critical acclaim, this will truly be a set to remember, and it is an honour to finally play host to one of the most iconic bands of our time.

Also returning to UK shores are Japanese overlords CHURCH OF MISERY, always delivering staggering live performances, the trio are a constant welcome addition to Desertfest. Their riff-filled, horror inspired sound has risen to fresh heights with new singer Hiroyuki Takano at the helm.

Space leaders BLACK RAINBOWS are crashing into town, fuelled by the power of hard rock and insanely good riffs. The Italian psych-fuzz trio have been storming through the cosmos for the last 10 years, their expert fusion of slick 70’s swagger with a 90’s stoner-grunge tint make them one of the most talked about and respected acts of their kind across Europe. Straight up, fuzzing good times. Speaking of heavy, London extreme metal masters AKERCOCKE are heading to familiar grounds to bring their perfected devilry to eager ears!

Dutch destroyers and feel good heroes DEATH ALLEY will bring their rock’n’roll, punked up party to Desertfest 2018. A nod to times gone past, the band plays proto-metal psychedelic music with a slab of heavy metal chucked in for good measure – if you want energy, look no further. Acclaimed newcomers PUPPY, who have been on hot on the lips of the London scene for some time now, is another welcome addition. They are hard to label but a true must-watch!

Also making up the bill are Bay Area fuzz-lovers THE WATCHERS, UK favourite psych demons OLD MAN LIZARD, Oakland’s stoner rock stalwarts BLACKWÜLF, Mancunian groove leaders PIST and heavy doom harbourers MORASS OF MOLASSES.

Desertfest London 2018
4th-6th May in Camden Town, London
3-day pass (£115) now on sale AT THIS LOCATION

Our special split payment plan is available until December 12th!
Pay half of your ticket now and the other half in January. Find more info HERE.

http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/
https://twitter.com/DesertFest
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/

High on Fire, “Devilution” Live at Roskilde 2017

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Desertfest Berlin 2018: Church of Misery, Elder, Graveyard, The Black Wizards, Maidavale and Vonavibe Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Desertfest Berlin 2018 welcomes its second round of bands, including the likes of Graveyard, Elder, The Black Wizards, Church of Misery, MaidaVale and Vonavibe. As is tradition, some of the bigger acts named here are shared with the London-based edition of the fest — Graveyard and Elder — though there’s usually some staggering, so while I don’t believe Church of Miseryhave joined the UK lineup, they may yet. As for the other three, to the best of my knowledge, they’re all Berlin’s as of now, so in keeping with the usual modus of the two Springtime Desertfests, they’re gradually beginning to distinguish themselves from each other even as they share groups between them in common cause. It’s always fun to see this happen over the few months that the lineups take shape.

To wit, this from the PR wire:

desertfest berlin 2018 poster

DESERTFEST BERLIN ANNOUNCES GRAVEYARD, ELDER, CHURCH OF MISERY & MANY MORE FOR 2018!

Today, a third announcement for DESERTFEST BERLIN 2018 has been revealed! Six new kick-ass bands have been added to next year’s line-up, including GRAVEYARD as second headliner! The Desertfest Berlin crew wanted the Swedes for many years, and it’s now finally happening! On top ELDER, CHURCH OF MISERY as well as many more exciting acts have been added to the 2018-festival edition, which will take place between May 4th – 6th 2018 at the Arena in the heart of Berlin:

GRAVEYARD (SWE)
ELDER (USA)
CHURCH OF MISERY (JP)
THE BLACK WIZARDS (POR)
MAIDAVALE (SWE)
VONAVIBE (GR)

But make no mistake: not even half of the entire line up is announced yet and way more great bands will be announced soon. DESERTFEST BERLIN 2018 will be outstanding, so better make sure to join the capital of the almighty Riff! Early bird tickets are already sold out, regular weekend tickets for the 7th DESERTFEST BERLIN can be purchased here: https://www.desertfest-tickets.de/produkte

DESERTFEST BERLIN @ Arena // 4th, 5th & 6th May 2018 – 2 STAGES in 1 MAIN HALL – No overlapping sets!

MONSTER MAGNET – GRAVEYARD – EYEHATEGOD – CHURCH OF MISERY – ELDER – PLANET OF ZEUS –
NEBULA – DOPELORD – YURI GAGARIN – DEATH ALLEY – JEX THOTH – THE BLACK WIZARDS – MAIDAVALE
THE NECROMANCERS – VONAVIBE – AND MANY MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED!

www.desertfest.de
www.facebook.com/desertfestberlin
www.facebook.com/events/128298847822160

Church of Misery, Live at Blowup Vol. 3, Oct. 13, 2017

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Up in Smoke 2017: Lowrider, Church of Misery, My Home on Trees, Jack Slamer & The Necromancers Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Up in Smoke 2017 continues to make a compelling case for travel plans by adding the likes of LowriderChurch of MiseryMy Home on TreesJack Slamer and The Necromancers to its was-already-formidable bill featuring GraveyardSaint VitusBrant BjorkOrange GoblinToner LowStoned JesusBeastmaker, on and on. Seriously, I don’t even know why I feel like I need to write an intro for this post. Just look at the list of names in the poster. Isn’t that really all you need to know about the entire thing? What more is there to say? If you can get there, get there. Duh.

Honestly, just look at this thing. Can you believe this shit happens like every weekend in Europe this Fall, going from country to country, badass lineup to badass lineup? It’s wild. Fucking Lowrider are showing up.

Check it out and be jealous:

up in smoke 2017 poster

Here we go! We are thrilled to add 5 more bands to this year’s UP in SMOKE indoor festival in Z7 line-up!

Lowrider (Exclusive CH show)
Church of Misery Official (Exclusive CH show)
MY HOME ON TREES
Jack Slamer
The Necromancers

This 5th edition of the festival features now 20 bands!

Get your tickets on https://www.upinsmoke.de/tickets as soon as you can (they are selling fast) or share this post (public) to try to win another 2-day pass (probably the last for this year)!

IMPORTANT: the daily split of bands, the daytickets and the address to reserve your sleep-over/breakfast will be announced on August 1. Stay Tuned!

Located Pratteln, in Switzerland’s best rock venue, Z7 Konzertfabrik, only a few kilometres from the German and French borders, Up In Smoke is an indoor festival for fans of Heavy Rock – Doom – Psych – Stoner… easily reachable by plane via the Euro-Airport (Basel/Muhouse) or by public transportations (train, bus) via Basel Main Station. There are plenty of affordable Hotels and Hostels located in Basel and for “budget savers” we are also offering to sleep over + breakfast (Coffee and bread rolls) in the venue for a small fee!

How does this work? After the last concert of the day, we ask everybody to step out of the venue for a few minutes. During that time, the venue and toilets are cleaned and the floor covered with a plastic sheet. (people have to bring their sleeping bags and air mattresses)

https://www.upinsmoke.de/tickets
http://www.z-7.ch/event.php?eventid=1306
https://www.facebook.com/UpInSmokeIndoorFestivalInZ7
https://www.facebook.com/events/466424317082118/
https://www.upinsmoke.de/

Lowrider, Ode to Io Deluxe Edition (2017)

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Desertfest Athens 2017 Announces Church of Misery, Stoned Jesus & Mahakala for Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

desertfest-athens-2017-banner

Desertfest Athens 2017 continues to take shape on its own terms, adding to its quality-plus-quantity lineup with Japanese/American doomers Church of Misery, Ukrainian trio Stoned Jesus and hometown metallers Mahakala. The three acts vary pretty widely between them, as does the bill of the second Desertfest Athens overall, with the legendary doom of Saint Vitus, the boogie-thrust of Radio Moscow (who’ll have a new album out, remember), the groundbreaking heavy psych of Colour Haze, the hooch-swilling pummel of Orange Goblin and the revamped soul of Graveyard at the top of the lineup, but one could hardly accuse it of not making sense. The more the merrier, and with Greek outfits like Puta Volcano, Sadhus and Allochiria already included, it seems like the fest as a whole is only getting bigger this time around.

Which, if you’ve been paying attention for the last half-decade or so, you already know is how it goes with Desertfests. That’s been the tale of Berlin and London all along, and Belgium too. As the youngest incarnation of the festival, Athens has its work cut out for it in getting to the point where the others find themselves, but Greece has one of the most active heavy undergrounds in Europe right now and I’ve no doubt that with a lineup as strong as this one already is, they’ll absolutely get there.

Fest is set for Oct. 6 and 7. Here’s the latest:

desertfest-athens-2017-new-poster

2ND DESERTFEST ATHENS

ACRO
06-07.10.2017

Graveyard
Colour Haze
Orange Goblin
Radio Moscow
Saint Vitus
Church of Misery
Stoned Jesus
Mahakala
Sadhus: The Smoking Community
Allochiria
Puta Volcano

Stoned Jesus are back in Greece!!!! They will join this year’s edition of Desertfest Athens!! Here come the Robots!!

Mahakala, Satan’s finest, will deliver their sophomore album, “The Second Fall”, in front of the Desertfest Army!!! Beware!!

Church of Misery Official live at Desertfest Athens!!! The Japanese Doomsters are the last announcement for today, but at the same time one of the most exciting additions to this year’s line up!!!

Early-bird tickets are exhausted. Now only two-day tickets are sold for 50 euros.

https://www.viva.gr/tickets/music/acro/desertfest-athens-2017/
https://www.facebook.com/events/141861139680368/
https://www.facebook.com/Desertfest-Athens-189161564797514/

Stoned Jesus, “Here Come the Robots” official video

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Desertfest Belgium 2017: Kadavar, Church of Misery, Monolord and Church of the Cosmic Skull Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

desertfest belgium 2017 banner

The plot thickens as regards Desertfest Belgium 2017, set for this October in Antwerp. A quick turnaround from the last announcement brings the news that Kadavar, Church of Misery, Monolord and Church of the Cosmic Skull will take part in this year’s fest, and while this latest round of additions keeps with the four-at-a-time theme that the festival has worked with thus far in unveiling its acts, it departs from the prior two updates in not including an actual Belgian band.

You’ll recall that Hidden Trails and Hemelbestormer had previously been added. One doubts those are the last Belgian outfits who’ll take the stage at Desertfest Belgium 2017 in any case, but it’s just something different this time around. I don’t think anyone could look a the roster of talent thus far assembled and say the organizational effort has been misspent.

To wit, this from the PR wire:

desertfest-belgium-2017-poster

Desertfest Belgium 2017 – NEW NAMES! Kadavar, Church of Misery and more!

Hot on the trails of our last announcement, we’re back already with a quadruple punch of heavy rocking goodness that will get the blood rushing for October to come, for sure!

We realize that for some of you internet-savvy Festers, the addition of the mighty Kadavar to the DF Antwerp line-up is a known fact already. So how about we turn it up even more, and drop Church of Misery as a headliner as well? And if that’s still not enough, would the announcement of Monolord do the trick?
Yep, that’s what we thought! So as a cherry on the cake, let’s round it off with the Nottingham supergroup Church of the Cosmic Skull, who dropped one of the more memorable rock albums from last year.

More details below, and more great bands to come in the near future!

KADAVAR

Whether in front of 3,000 sweating Mexican souls, in a remote pub in the Macedonian mountains or facing huge European festival crowds – every single night, KADAVAR performs as furiously as a tremendous tempest hailing down on earth! Now returning to the city where they recorded their eponymous live album in 2013, Kadavar will make sure to meet high expectations, and exceed them if possible!

CHURCH OF MISERY

The Church rises again! Now back on the stage with an entirely new line-up formed around founding bassist Tatsu Mikami, we can’t wait to hear what this most legendary of doom bands has in store for us. Whether it’s bonafide classics from the vaults, tracks from last year’s ‘And Then There Were None’, or entirely new material – be sure to find us in the front row!

MONOLORD

No flash and no frills, since their formation in 2013 Monolord has been a trusted staple for the stoner rock community for one reason: they’re a damn hard working band delivering the goods night after night. Finding themselves before ever growing crowds, their straightup workingman’s doom’n’sludge is certainly at its most effective when mainlined in a live setting.

CHURCH OF THE COSMIC SKULL

Church of the Cosmic Skull is a twofold entity: a new religious movement who seek to free mankind from their material possessions and unify all living beings into a singular cosmic whole… and a 7-piece supergroup from Nottingham playing seventies psychrock with six-part Queen-esque vocal harmonies and a touch of Thin Lizzy. Fans of Black Mountain, King Gizzard and Uncle Acid should get psyched for this.

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/264364590656095/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Kadavar, “Last Living Dinosaur” live in France 2017

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The Top 20 of 2016 Year-End Poll — RESULTS!

Posted in Features on January 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

top 20 year end poll results

The poll is closed, the results are counted and the top 20 albums of 2016 have been chosen. Hard to argue with the list as it’s shown up over the course of the past month, so I won’t try. Instead, let me just say thanks to incredible amount of participants who contributed this year.

All told, between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31, 612 people added their picks to the proceedings, compared to 388 in last year’s poll. Considering how much that number blew my mind on Jan. 1, 2016, I’m sure you can imagine how I feel about adding another 200-plus lists to the pot. In short, I’m astounded, deeply humbled and so, so, so grateful. I feel like we got enough of a sampling this year to give a genuinely representative showing for where people’s heads have been at, so thank you if you were a part of it.

Thank you as well as always to Slevin for running the poll’s back end and tabulating the results. As ever, the weighting system is one in which a 1-4 ranking is worth five points, 5-8 worth four, 9-12 worth three, 13-16 worth two and 17-20 worth one. You’ll find that list (plus some honorable mentions) below, followed by the raw-vote tally.

And after the jump, as has become the tradition, are the full lists of everyone who submitted, alphabetized by name. I’m in there too. It’s a huge amount to wade through, and even if you thought you heard everything in 2016, it should be more than enough to keep you busy for the next year.

One last note: I’m no statistician. Please allow for these numbers to change over the next couple days on some small level.

Let’s go:

Top 20 of 2016 — Weighted Results

wo fat midnight cometh

1. Wo Fat, Midnight Cometh (375 points)
2. Greenleaf, Rise Above the Meadow (368)
3. Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree (324)
4. Asteroid, III (302)
5. Brant Bjork, Tao of the Devil (295)
6. Gozu, Revival (274)
7. Neurosis, Fires Within Fires (253)
8. King Buffalo, Orion (244)
9. Mars Red Sky, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (238)
10. Conan, Revengeance (232)
11. Cough, Still They Pray (228)
12. Holy Grove, Holy Grove (218)
13. SubRosa, For this We Fought the Battle of Ages (213)
14. Truckfighters, V (206)
15. Blood Ceremony, Lord of Misrule (200)
16. Khemmis, Hunted (192)
16. Red Fang, Only Ghosts (192)
17. Inter Arma, Paradise Gallows (181)
18. Witchcraft, Nucleus (174)
19. Opeth, Sorceress (173)
20. Church of Misery, And then there Were None (159)

Honorable mention to:
Causa Sui, Return to Sky (157)
Goatess, II: Purgatory Under New Management (157)
Black Mountain, IV (148)
Mos Generator, Abyssinia (144)
Wretch, Wretch (140)

Look at those tallies for number one and two. That race was close all month. Wo Fat kept out front for the most part, but Greenleaf kept it interesting and Elephant Tree’s debut snuck in there at third, which I love to see, both because it’s their first album and because that record was indeed so great. King Buffalo, another debut, also made the top 10, underscoring those two as bands to watch, and though Brant Bjork, Conan, Asteroid, Neurosis, Gozu and Mars Red Sky might be more expected names, they still certainly delivered excellent records, so again, nothing to fight with here. Things flesh out a bit in the 10-20 range, but I don’t think there’s one album on this list you could call is “miss.”

Top 20 of 2016 — Raw Votes

wo fat midnight cometh

1. Wo Fat, Midnight Cometh (109)
2. Greenleaf, Rise Above the Meadow (92)
3. Brant Bjork, Tao of the Devil (87)
4. Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree (82)
5. Asteroid, III (80)
6. Gozu, Revival (76)
7. Conan, Revengeance (73)
8. Cough, Still They Pray (70)
9. Mars Red Sky, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (68)
10. King Buffalo, Orion (67)
11. Truckfighters, V (62)
12. Red Fang, Only Ghosts (61)
13. Khemmis, Hunted (60)
14. Blood Ceremony, Lord of Misrule (59)
14. SubRosa, For this We Fought the Battle of Ages (59)
15. Holy Grove, Holy Grove (58)
16. Church of Misery, And then there Were None (53)
17. Inter Arma, Paradise Gallows (49)
17. Witchcraft, Nucleus (49)
18. Opeth, Sorceress (47)
19. Mos Generator, Abyssinia (45)
20. Black Mountain, IV (44)
20. Causa Sui, Return to Sky (44)
20. Wretch, Wretch (44)

Honorable mention to:
Goatess, II: Purgatory Under New Management (43)
Mondo Drag, The Occultation of Light (43)
Geezer, Geezer (41)
Crowbar, The Serpent Only Lies (41)
Gojira, Magma (37)
Slomatics, Future Echo Returns (36)
Graves at Sea, The Curse that Is… (35)
Black Rainbows, Stellar Prophecy (33)
Beastmaker, Lusus Naturae (32)
Vokonis, Olde One Ascending (31)

Left a few more honorable mentions in the raw-vote count, just for fun and so you could get more of a feel beyond the top 20 itself, which you’ll notice has a couple ties in it as the raw votes usually do and reorganizes a bit from the weighted results. One and two remain the same, however, and in the same order, and you’ll see Wo Fat was the only album that scored more than 100 votes on its own. As a whole, there were over 2,400 separate entries for albums this year, which is by far the most spread out that the voting has ever been. Frankly, with so many people involved and such a variety of stuff being voted on, I’m amazed anyone managed to agree on anything at all, but of course they did and once again a stellar list is the result.

Well, Happy New Year.

Before I go, thanks again to Slevin for the work put into running the back end of this site and this poll particularly. I show up with the finish lists, but it’s his code that makes it happen, and his efforts are appreciated more than I can say. Dude has never asked me for anything in the nearly eight years I’ve been a constant pain in his ass.

After the jump, you’ll find everybody’s list, alphabetized by name. Please enjoy browsing. I hope you find something awesome, because there’s certainly plenty in there that qualifies, and if you see something that looks like it appears often enough that it should be included in one or both of the counts above, let me know in the comments.

Thanks.

Read more »

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Friday Full-Length: Church of Misery, Master of Brutality

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 6th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Church of Misery, Master of Brutality (2001)

The first-released Church of Misery album, Master of Brutality, turns 15 this year. It arrived in 2001 via a then-nascent, riff-obsessed Southern Lord Recordings, kin to work by Electric Wizard, Warhorse, Sourvein and Earthride, but somehow more purely indebted to Black Sabbath than any of them. The album’s six component tracks would establish that and several other tenets that the Tokyo-based outfit would adhere to right up until their latest outing, this year’s And Then There Were None (review here), including the centering of bassist Tatsu Mikami‘s lyrics around serial killers — here it’s Ed Kemper, Peter Sutcliffe, Herbert Mullin, Gary Ridgeway and John Wayne Gacy, whose visage graces the original version of the cover — as well as the generally unhinged feel of the swing conjured by drummer Junji Narita, which would also be a factor for the band across multiple records, the inclusion of an instrumental and the inclusion of a cover. On Master of Brutality, it’s “Cities on Flame” by Blue Öyster Cult, and Church of Misery give it the treatment that, in years to follow, they’d also give songs by Cactus, Sir Lord Baltimore, Saint Vitus, Gun and Quatermass, roughing up the approach as few acts could or would dare to do while staying loyal to the ’70s style of the original.

Of course, one has to start out by mentioning Master of Brutality as the first-released Church of Misery album because of the prior-recorded Vol. 1, which wouldn’t surface until 2007, on Leaf Hound Records. Those songs were more formative than Master of Brutality, so in a way the band had the benefit of making their second offering their debut, and one doesn’t need to get much further into the record than the noisy, sample-laden start of “Killafornia (Ed Kemper)” and the rolling groove that ensues to hear that benefit playing out. Church of Misery would go on to refine that central nod to perfection in the next decade-plus across records like 2003’s blown-out The Second Coming, 2009’s Houses of the Unholy (review here), 2013’s Thy Kingdom Scum (review here) and the aforementioned And Then There Were None, as well as an insurmountable slew of short releases, splits, live outings, compilations and so on, but Master of Brutality remains a big part of the foundation for everything that’s come after it. Even the new record, though cover-less, tucks an instrumental onto side B in the spirit of “Green River (Gary Ridgeway)” here, and the boogie of “Megalomania (Herbert Mullin)” and the lurching span of 11-minute finale “Master of Brutality (John Wayne Gacy),” which only gets noisier as it goes, have stood as a blueprint for far more than Church of Misery‘s own post-Sabbath riffing. Their influence continues to be felt in a wide variety of acts the world over.

One can debate the merits of promoting serial killers endlessly. I’m not a huge fan of murder, as concepts go — nor do I feel that’s a particularly risky thing to say — but while Church of Misery‘s thematic may be questionable, the quality of their output never has been. With Mikami as the lone remaining founder of the band, their spirit continues to move forward into the depths of psychosis, bringing us all along for a ride that’s meant to be uncomfortable even as it grooves so irresistibly.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

I don’t know if it was outright the best decision I’ve ever made, but I took a personal day from work today, and it has to be pretty high on the list. Yesterday morning, in like the ninth consecutive day of rain, I looked around myself and said, “Golly, it sure would be nice not to do this tomorrow,” and so, being fortunate enough to have the kind of position that comes with allotted time for such things, I took the day off. When I was in school, my mother and I used to call them mental health days. Today has definitely fallen in that category.

Woke up leisurely, packed up leisurely, split out of the house in time to go to the post office and pick up a package, then grabbed coffee and headed south to Connecticut. Got a haircut, met up with Steve Murphy of Kings Destroy for lunch (he drove up) — up, up, up, all day. And that’s way better than what the alternative would’ve been, which would be down, down, down the course of a grueling Friday afternoon watching the clock.

Starting Monday I’m out of town. I’m not sure that really means anything in terms of what or how much will be posted on the site, but it’s worth mentioning. I’m going to New Jersey… for work. I’ll still have posts up. Someone reached out to me this week and asked if I still did reviews, said he heard The Obelisk was going on break. I’d like to know where he heard that. Granted, I’ve been way behind on emails and such — there are a lot of people the last couple weeks who’ve gotten in touch and not heard back — so maybe that’s the root. Interesting though. I certainly don’t feel like I’m taking a break.

Next week: Reviews of Naxatras and maybe Gozu or Goatess, as well as a video premiere on Monday from Messa and a track premiere on Thursday from Limestone Whale. Gonna get to work on my Greenleaf interview as well. Hopefully that’ll be up by Friday. We’ll see. Need to do a new podcast as well. Much to do, much to do.

But yeah, I sure as shit am glad I didn’t go to work today. In CT for the weekend, then to NJ on Monday, but for now, going to chill proper for a couple days, listen to music and hang around in my pajamas, because that’s where it’s at.

Have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

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