Posted in Reviews on October 12th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
It was only about an hour and a half to the Casino Ballroom in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, from my office, which felt like something of a miracle. Maryland heavy rock kingpins Clutch last played the venue about two years ago, but between it being the beginning of what will no doubt be a comprehensive touring cycle in support of their newly-released 11th album, Psychic Warfare (review here), and their partnering with the reunited four-piece incarnation of Corrosion of Conformity with SoCal heavy skaters The Shrine opening, it was an easy sell as far as I was concerned. Clearly I wasn’t the only one. I walked into the venue a little before The Shrine went on, and the place was already fairly packed. A large room, the prevailing mood was celebratory and ready to blow off steam. I think people were just looking for a good time.
And in kicking off the evening with a classic-rocking-but-somehow-still-punker boot to the ass, The Shrine seemed only too ready to get that good time moving. I had wondered how their very-Californian sound would translate to a chilly autumn night in New Hampshire — even one right across the street from a beach — but the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Josh Landau, bassist Courtland Murphy and drummer Jeff Murray have busted their collective ass on the road the last couple years, and if they were out of their element, you never would’ve known it watching them on stage. Last I saw them was in early-2013 with Graveyard (review here) in Philly, and it was plain to see at the Casino Ballroom how much they’ve come into their own since. Their second album, Bless Off, was released by Tee Pee last year (I didn’t review it, but should have), following up their aptly-titled 2012 debut, Primitive Blast (review here), and their new one, Rare Breed, is out at the end of this month in Europe and in Jan. here in the States as their first in Century Media.
Their set felt quick, but it was enough to give a sense of the new album in songs like “The Vulture,” “Savage Skulls and Nomads,” which Landau told the crowd was about 1970s street gangs in New York, “Coming Down Quick” and “Death to Invaders” (don’t quote me on that last one, but I think that was it), running from the initial uproariousness of their first record to the thicker grooves of the second. This was the fifth night of the tour, which will run through Oct. 23 with the same three bands, and The Shrine were duly locked in, Murray keeping some bounce in the drums while also adding gallop to some of the more Motörheady riffing from the guitar while Murphy added backing vocals and a steady foundation in the low end. They finished with “Nothing Forever,” the longest cut from Bless Off, which emphasized some of the complexity in their approach — not t0 mention the tightness of their execution — that I think gets lost sometimes in how they present the band. Not that they should be stoic prog rockers, what they’re doing clearly works, but they’re tough to ignore after you watch them play. I’ll hope to get the chance to hear Rare Breed.
I was trying to think of the last time I saw the Pepper Keenan-fronted incarnation of Corrosion of Conformity, and I think it was in 2005. They would have been out supporting that year’s In the Arms of God, which got a mixed reception on its arrival but in my estimation remains underrated, and I believe it was Irving Plaza in New York.Weedeater and Alabama Thunderpussy may or may not have also played. Either way, it’s been a while. With the lineup of Keenan plus bassist/vocalist Mike Dean, guitarist/vocalist Woodroe Weatherman and drummer Reed Mullin — who’ve been playing as the “Animosity-era” trio the last several years and released an EP and two also-underrated albums in 2014’s IX (review here) and 2012’s declarative Corrosion of Conformity (review here) through Candlelight — C.O.C.have been playing shows throughout Europe and the UK since earlier this year, but to my knowledge this marks their first US run, at least on the East Coast, and it will preface a headlining tour set to start next month. A practice run? Maybe, but they hardly seemed rusty.
Set-wise, they dipped as far back as “Vote with a Bullet” from 1991’s Blind — which was Keenan‘s introduction to the band as vocalist/guitarist — and as far forward as the uptempo “Paranoid Opioid” from In the Arms of God, but the focus was on their two ’90s landmarks, Deliverance (1994) and Wiseblood (1996), and as someone who’s been rooting for the trio lineup the last several years sort of as underdogs working against the expectations of that portion of their audience dug deep into the heavy Southern Sabbathisms of those records, I had forgotten just how special that material actually is — songs like “Long Whip/Big America,” “Heaven’s Not Overflowing,” with which they opened, “Wiseblood” and “Seven Angels.” Hearing Dean and Mullin and Weatherman all switching off in backing vocal roles, or better, leading a sing-along all at once, was exhilarating, and Keenan, who’s spent the last several years in Down‘s descent into post-Kirk Windstein caricature machismo, is a frontman of undeniable charisma. There were some sound issues — a chirp of feedback when everyone got on mic during “Albatross,” etc. — but there was very little that would’ve been able to hold C.O.C. back, and even in the slower “13 Angels,” which was the sole representation from 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, their last album as this four-piece (Stanton Moore of Nola jammers Galactic played drums on In the Arms of God), they were dead on in serving a refresher of just what a substantial portion of their fanbase has been clamoring for pretty much since they stopped playing circa 2006.
Keenan thanked Clutch from the stage for bringing them out and letting them, “Get their shit back together,” but the bigger news was when he announced that C.O.C. were in the process of signing to Nuclear Blast and that they’d have a new album out with this lineup in 2016. I had no official word, but I’d assume John Custer, who’s helmed all their records since Blind, will produce. Once he said it, which was I believe before “Vote with a Bullet” preceded “Albatross” and “Clean My Wounds” at the end of the set, my mind immediately flashed to the possibilities for what it might sound like, the balance of songwriting, who does vocals where — does the hardcore punk track still get relegated to the end of the tracklist? — and so on. Two months out from the New Year, a landmark for 2016 may have just been revealed.
Finding that out alone would’ve made my night. Even without a show. I mean, if I read that on Facebook or some shit, I’d have been like, “Well, my evening can end now, I feel like I’ve hit a satisfactory quota of awesome.” But there was still a gig going on, and Clutch were headlining! Similar to what they did after releasing Earth Rocker (review here) in 2013, and really going back further than that as well, the set was highly focused on the new album. Their stated method of one band member between vocalist Neil Fallon, guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster picking an evening’s setlist always leaves me guessing who’s responsible for what show, but in any case, between “X-Ray Visions” opening, “Firebirds,” “A Quick Death in Texas,” “Sucker for the Witch,” “Your Love is Incarceration,” “Our Lady of Electric Light,” “Noble Savage,” “Behold the Colossus” and “Son of Virginia,” the only song from Psychic Warfare unrepresented was the penultimate “Decapitation Blues.” Otherwise, they played the whole record, which coming from them is just what the crowd both expected and wanted.
“Son of Virginia,” which closed the regular set before a three-song encore, got a particularly vehement response, but “The Face” from Earth Rocker had me pulling my earplugs out to sing along, and “Elephant Riders” from 1998’s The Elephant Riders and “Dragonfly” from that same album felt like something special tossed in for longer-term fans, particularly the latter, which is a rarer inclusion. Their presence and delivery something of a given, Clutch seemed in likewise good spirits to the crowd, Fallon picking up the guitar more than he did when they were out for Earth Rocker to join Sult even on a faster cut like “Your Love is Incarceration.” They’re still tightening up some of the new material — other songs have been around for more than a year already and included in sets — but one assumes that by the time they get around to the inevitable live album sometime in 2016 or 2017, it will be no less second nature (or first, I guess) than “Cypress Grove” from 2004’s Blast Tyrant, which has become a perennial favorite and was clearly known to the packed Casino Ballroom, readily aware of that black plastic bag in the back of a jacked-up Ford.
Who could argue with an encore launched by “The Wolfman Kindly Requests…” from Earth Rocker? From its “Party’s over you all got to go” chorus to the bigger nod of its ending, the song feels hand-constructed to appear near the finish of a set, and joined by the more raucous “The Mob Goes Wild” from Blast Tyrant, for which Bryan “Uzi”Hinkley from Never Got Caught and formerly of Tree joined in on guitar, Clutch seemed geared to cap the night in high-octane fashion, but they cut back and let the more spacious “Electric Worry,” the highlight of 2007’s From Beale St. to Oblivion and an unmistakable precursor to a song like “Son of Virginia,” finish, with the uptempo kick of “One Eye Dollar” tacked on, which is nothing new but still feels like a bonus each time. One felt as though the entire venue, which was built and originally opened in 1899, was caught in the around-the-horn swirling rhythm.
By the time I managed to make my way out, the sidewalk was already flooded with weirdos, working-types and the other such and sundry who’d attended, the off-season windchill not drawing much of a shoreline crowd. I had about another 90 minutes to get home still ahead of me, so didn’t hang around long, but got to see a couple old friends and that’s always restorative, even if brief. Same could be said of the show as a whole, I suppose.
Posted in Reviews on October 6th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Every Clutch record is different. Over the course of the Maryland four-piece’s nearly-25 years it has become a stready reasoning that each time out, they’re going to offer something distinct from what preceded. Often, it has felt in listening like one album was trying purposefully not to do what the one before it did, which is how one might account for the shifts between 1993’s Transnational Speedway League debut and their landmark 1995 self-titled sophomore outing, or that album and its follow-up, 1998’s The Elephant Riders, or that album and 1999’s Jam Room and 2001’s Pure Rock Fury, and so on.
Their sound has constantly evolved around a reliable-as-sunrise foundation of songwriting, and with their 11th studio offering and third to be released via their own Weathermaker Music imprint, Psychic Warfare, they manage to expand on the ideas that they brought to 2013’s Earth Rocker (review here) — which itself was another broad turn from 2009’s Strange Cousins from the West — without completely departing the same sphere. In this culture of sequels and reboots, for Clutch to linger a bit longer in a place (sonically; they never actually rest too long in one spot geographically) that suited them so well two years ago feels justified, and for someone who’d perhaps never heard them prior to this record the experience would invariably be otherwise, but as a fan of the band, Psychic Warfare feels defined at least in part by Earth Rocker in a way that, as far as Clutch records go, is the biggest change of all this time around.
Most of that is attributable to the circumstances of Psychic Warfare‘s arrival. True, it putsClutch — the steady lineup of vocalist Neil Fallon, guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster — back on the every-other-year schedule they maintained up until the surprising four years between Strange Cousins from the West and Earth Rocker, but the reception for the last outing was such that this one seems to have materialized especially quick. Couple that with a return to producer Machine, who helmed Earth Rocker after first collaborating with the band on 2004’s Blast Tyrant, and there is plenty in common between the two outings sound-wise, in the tonal largesse of Sult‘s guitar on cuts like “Firebirds” and “Behold the Colossus,” in the arrangements and treatments on Fallon‘s vocals for “A Quick Death in Texas,” post-intro opener “X-Ray Visions,” and so on, and it becomes even easier to put Earth Rocker and Psychic Warfare side-by-side.
That’s not to say the new record feels like it is meant to be be a carbon-copy of the last. It’s true that “Noble Savage” boasts largely the same thesis and a similarly speedy means of expressing it as “Earth Rocker” itself, but Psychic Warfare has its own personality, even if it has to work harder to put that across in the shadow of the magic Clutch were able to craft two years ago. The 12-track/40-minute offering is loosely tied to a narrative thread in the lyrics, which is something that Blast Tyrant also did, but is clarified here and brought further toward realization with the spoken intro “The Affidavit,” in which someone is told to tell the whole story, start at the beginning. Thus, the album front-to-back becomes the sworn statement. It’s not a concept record in the prog-rock sense, but it’s drawing a line between the songs in a way that the band never has before, concluding likewise in the theme after the hooky, brooding blues of closer “Son of Virginia” has wrapped.
A given arc isn’t really enough to wholly distinguish Psychic Warfare on its own, but that is where the songwriting, as ever, does the work for the band. From “X-Ray Visions” through “Firebirds,” “A Quick Death in Texas,” “Sucker for the Witch” and “Your Love is Incarceration,” Clutch tear into a side A that demonstrates not only a good portion of the breadth of their sound, but the craftsmanship that has made them the influential outfit they are. With Fallon‘s trademarked place-naming lyrical quirk (one could, and should, teach a college class around same) coiling around Sult‘s funked-up riffage and rested on the smooth basslines of Maines or, particularly in the case of “Firebirds” and “Sucker for the Witch,” propelled full-throttle by Gaster‘s drumming, Clutch seem to have added onto their wheelhouse at some point in the last several years, so that they seem equally comfortable belting out “Firebirds” as the immediately-following swing-laden “A Quick Death in Texas,” which veers into call and response cues that it’s hard to imagine their audience not picking up on any one of their nigh-on-constant tours and makes for a dudely high point of the first half.
More subtle is the bounce Maines brings to “Your Love is Incarceration,” a song nearly steamrolled by the momentum Psychic Warfare has built by that point, but which stands out amid all the Clutch-being-Clutch of “Sucker for the Witch” and the paired “Doom Saloon” and “Our Lady of Electric Light,” which follow. “Doom Saloon” is namedropped in “A Quick Death in Texas” as well — it may or may not be the name of their rehearsal spot; something like that — but Sult layers (or it could be Fallon and Sult both) echoing washes of guitar as an extended intro to the slowed-down “The Regulator”-style twang of “Our Lady of Electric Light,” Clutch once again finding that mysterious ground that they seem to have all to themselves somewhere between Southern heavy rock and blues that, miraculously, continues not to sound like a cliché though it’s a mode of working that, between songs like the semi-cover “Gravel Road” from 2005’s Robot Hive/Exodus, “Electric Worry” from 2007’s From Beale St. to Oblivion and “Son of Virginia” still to come here, has been well-established for them. Can’t argue with results.
Can’t stop progress either, as Fallon himself once noted, and it’s true that both “Our Lady of Electric Light” and the closer expand the approach of a song like “The Regulator” such that the Blast Tyrant track is much more ancestor than blueprint these 11 years after the fact. After the quieter moment on “Our Lady of Electric Light,” they return to speedier fare with the fifth-gear “Noble Savage,” the shortest track on Psychic Warfare that’s not an intro at 2:49 and similar as noted in its no-nonsense anthemery to “Earth Rocker,” marked by the motoring riff and Fallon‘s standout chorus line, “Unapologetic lifer for rock and roll.” The subsequent “Behold the Colossus” feels similarly geared to the stage and is a highlight performance from Gaster as well as another infectious hook and arguably the smoothest transition between tracks (where one isn’t an interlude leading to the other, anyhow) as it gives way to “Decapitation Blues,” which began to surface at live shows about a year ago and, like “Your Love is Incarceration,” feels positioned to be somewhat lost but actually finds a distinct ground that’s neither repeating the moves of Earth Rocker nor purposely avoiding them — a genuine moment of progress.
As “Son of Virginia” makes ready to leave one of Psychic Warfare‘s most memorable impressions in its build-to-a-head blues rollout and highlight chorus, one can’t help but be reminded that when the aforementioned Robot Hive/Exodus landed in ’05, its sound also informed by Blast Tyrant before it — though expanded on as well with the inclusion of a full-time organist — it felt very soon between records in a way that seemed to favor the earlier outing. Psychic Warfare doesn’t have the benefit of years of feverish anticipation preceding its release, but still, against seemingly impossible odds, it holds up to its predecessor. Its ultimate place in Clutch‘s discography? Not a thing we’ll know for years. Doesn’t matter. It’s a batch of top-grade tunes from a band whose drive to deliver them is bled across its span, and it answers the question of how the band could ever possibly follow what came before it. Now the question becomes where they go from here.
Posted in Features on September 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
This weekend, Maryland heavy rock institution Clutch launch their latest US tour. That would be business as usual for the stalwart four-piece, but it also coincides with their new album, Psychic Warfare, arriving a short two years behind 2013’s landmark Earth Rocker (review here). It is their 11th full-length overall, and it I seem to link it immediately to its predecessor, that’s not entirely an accident.
To record Psychic Warfare, Clutch — as ever, vocalist Neil Fallon, guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster — returned to producer Machine, who also helmed the last outing, and they continue to meld their jam-blues approach with faster, heavier push on cuts like the leadoff single “X-Ray Visions” and “Noble Savage,” which seems a direct sequel to “Earth Rocker” in both its declarative theme and the uptempo manner in which it states and stakes its claim. That’s not to say Psychic Warfare doesn’t have its own personality. It’s not the first Clutch to draw a narrative thread between its tracks — 2004’s Blast Tyrant, which was the band’s first collaboration with Machine, touched on doing so — but it is the first to make that connection explicit, which it does in the intro “The Affidavit” and the final moments of blues-laden closer “Son of Virginia,” which continues a thread of its own of up-jumpers like “Electric Worry” off 2007’s From Beale Street to Oblivion and the Mississippi Fred McDowell lyric cover “Gravel Road” from 2005’s Robot Hive/Exodus, both of which have become signature pieces in live shows.
And as to live shows, Fallon gets right to the heart of it when he says in the interview that follows here, “We put out records to support our tours, not the other way around.” Here are Clutch‘s upcoming tour dates:
Clutch live: Sat/Oct-03 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Revolution** Sun/Oct-04 St. Petersburg , FL Jannus Live** Tue/Oct-06 Nashville, TN Marathon Music Works** Wed/Oct-07 Charlotte, NC Amos’ Southend** Fri/Oct-09 Hampton Beach, NH Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom** Sat/Oct-10 Clifton Park, NY Upstate Concert Hall** Sun/Oct-11 New Haven, CT Toad’s Place** Tue/Oct-13 Indianapolis, IN The Vogue** Wed/Oct-14 Chicago, IL House Of Blues** Thu/Oct-15 Grand Rapids, MI Orbit Room** Fri/Oct-16 Sauget, IL Pop’s Nightclub** Sat/Oct-17 Lincoln, NE Bourbon Theatre** Sun/Oct-18 Fargo, ND Scheels Arena** – “Roughrider Ink & Iron” Tue/Oct-20 Billings, MT Shrine Auditorium** Thu/Oct-22 Spokane, WA Knitting Factory Concert House** Fri/Oct-23 Boise, ID Knitting Factory Concert House** Sat/Oct-24 Elverta, CA Gibson Ranch Park* – Aftershock Festival Sun/Oct-25 San Bernardino, CA San Manuel Amphitheater* – Knotfest Mon/Oct-26 Tucson, AZ Rialto Theatre*** w Mastodon (Clutch closes show) Wed/Oct-28 Austin, TX Austin Music Hall*** w Mastodon (Mastodon closes show) Thu/Oct-29 Dallas, TX Gas Monkey Live*** w Mastodon (Clutch closes show) Fri/Oct-30 Houston, TX Bayou Music Center*** w Mastodon (Mastodon closes show) Sat/Oct-31 New Orleans, LA Voodoo Experience* * = Festival date ** = Clutch headline show, support: COC / The Shrine *** = Clutch co-headline show w/ Mastodon, special guest: COC
2015 Europe Dates: November 20 Dublin, Ireland November 21 Belfast , N.Ireland(SOLD OUT) November 23 Glasgow, Scotland November 24 Nottingham, England November 25 Bristol, England November 27 Paris, France(SOLD OUT) November 28 Cologne, Germany November 29 Hamburg, Germany December 01 Aarhus, Denmark December 02 Goteborg, Sweden December 03 Stockholm, Sweden December 04 Copenhagen, Denmark December 05 Berlin, Germany December 06 Frankfurt, Germany December 08 Amsterdam, Netherlands December 10 Manchester, England December 11 Wolverhampton, England December 12 London, England
Psychic Warfare Australian Tour 2016 Thursday 3rd March 2016 The Triffid QLD Friday 4th March 2016 The Metro NSW Saturday 5th March 2016 The Forum Theatre VIC
They’ve yet to announce the lineup for their annual holiday run, but one assumes they’ll sneak a few East Coast dates in upon returning from the UK at the end of their European tour in December. That too is business as usual for Clutch, who’ve earned so much respect over their 20-plus years not just because they preach a classic rock-and-roll-as-a-way-of-life gospel, but because they’ve been so willing to get out and actually live by such tenets. If the list of dates above wasn’t enough of a clue, they’ll continue to do so for the foreseeable future, and much to the benefit of everyone who gets off their ass and shows up to see them.
In the interview here — actually it’s his third (see here and here), not counting an Obelisk Questionnaire — Fallon talks about making the record and preparing to hit the road behind it, as well as doubling as a partner in a record label for the third time with the band’s Weathermaker Music handling the release, capturing the recording process with a video documentary series and much more.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 25th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
If someone were to come up to you and ask you what is best in life, I’m relatively sure the answer would be, “Clutch talking behind-the-scenes about making records.” The band has unveiled the first three installments of a series of videos about the processes at work for their upcoming 11th album, Psychic Warfare. The full-length is out Oct. 2 on Weathermaker Music and in the videos, the band talks about writing — they jam like they play — working with producer Machine again after doing so for Blast Tyrant and Earth Rocker and the work that goes into the tracks.
I’d tell you more, but Clutch do it better anyway. Here’s this off the PR wire:
CLUTCH: THE MAKING OF “PSYCHIC WARFARE” BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO SERIES POSTED
NEIL FALLON LYRIC INSIGHT SERIES CONTINUES
Clutch, the influential heavy rock band from Maryland, have posted “The Making of Psychic Warfare” Segment 1: Creation, Production, and Speculation via their Facebook page,facebook.com/Clutchband.
These video clips shot by David Brodsky and his company My Good Eye: Music Visuals, will give fans an unprecedented view into the studios, as well as insight into the thoughts and ideas behind the making of the new Clutch album “Psychic Warfare”. The footage in Segment 1 consists of interviews taken as the band started pre-production with Machine, who recorded, mixed and produced the record. Band members and Machine talk about the pre-production process while the album was being developed in Frederick MD.
The series will have 3 segments. The 2 upcoming segments, Segment 2: Austin Calling (September 14th) and Segment 3: Doom Saloon (September 28th) will continue to document with behind the scenes footage, the recording process as the band moves to Austin,Texas to record at the Machine Shop, to the last segment ending up with the band back in Frederick, MD putting the finishing touches to the record.
In addition to posting “The Making of Psychic Warfare” video series on the recording process, on alternating weeks, vocalist Neil Fallon will be posting his comments on the lyrical content and explain the meaning behind several songs off “Psychic Warfare” on Clutch’s facebook page.
Neil Fallon lyric commentary series: The Affidavit & X-Ray Visions A Quick Death In Texas Firebirds Sucker For The Witch Decapitation Blues Noble Savage
“Psychic Warfare” is the band’s eleventh studio album and will be released worldwide October 2nd via their own label Weathermaker Music. The album was produced by longtime producer Machine (Lamb Of God, Every Time I Die) and consists of 12 new tracks. Pre-order is available at Clutch’s official website pro-rock.com now. “The title ‘Psychic Warfare’ is taken from the first track, and first video we did for the record ‘X-Ray Visions” states singer Neil Fallon. “It’s a tale about an unnamed protagonist who is forced to seek refuge in a flop house motel. He is hiding from several nefarious psychic forces, the worst of which is his own sleep deprived paranoia.” The album cover was designed by renowned photographer Dan Winters.
“Psychic Warfare” track listing: 01 The Affidavit 02 X-Ray Visions 03 Firebirds 04 A Quick Death in Texas 05 Sucker For The Witch 06 Your Love is Incarceration 07 Doom Saloon 08 Our Lady of Electric Light 09 Noble Savage 10 Behold the Colossus 11 Decapitation Blues 12 Son Of Virginia
CLUTCH: Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar Tim Sult – Guitar Dan Maines – Bass Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 9th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
News about some new Clutch? Why, yes please, and thank you. This is the first solid word I’ve seen about the next full-length from the Maryland stalwarts, whose 2013 outing, Earth Rocker (review here), was far and away that year’s best album. Titled Psychic Warfare and featuring cover art by photographer Dan Winters that has an oldschool, confrontational feel, the new outing will be released Oct 2. through the band’s Weathermaker Music imprint. Songs like “Son of Virginia,” “Sucker for the Witch” and “Our Lady of Electric Light” have been played live for some time now, but it’s always great to hear what Clutch come up with in the studio as well, the production method they take any time around — like Earth Rocker, Psychic Warfare was produced by Machine — being such a huge factor in their sound.
Here’s looking forward:
CLUTCH TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM “PSYCHIC WARFARE” OCTOBER 2ND 2015
Clutch, the influential heavy rock band from Maryland, will release its eleventh studio album “Psychic Warfare” October 2nd via their own label Weathermaker Music. The album was produced by longtime producer Machine (Lamb Of God, Every Time I Die) and consists of 12 new tracks. “The title ‘Psychic Warfare’ is taken from the track, ‘X-Ray Visions” states singer Neil Fallon. “It’s a tale about an unnamed protagonist who is forced to seek refuge in a flop house motel. He is hiding from several nefarious psychic forces, the worst of which is his own sleep deprived paranoia.” The album cover was designed by renowned photographer Dan Winters.
Clutch is comprised of vocalist/guitarist Neil Fallon, drummer Jean-Paul Gaster, guitarist Tim Sult, and bassist Dan Maines.
“Psychic Warfare” track listing: 01 The Affidavit 02 X-Ray Visions 03 Firebirds 04 A Quick Death in Texas 05 Sucker For The Witch 06 Your Love is Incarceration 07 Doom Saloon 08 Our Lady of Electric Light 09 Noble Savage 10 Behold the Colossus 11 Decapitation Blues 12 Son Of Virginia
Clutch have been pushing the boundaries that define heavy rock music since the four original members got together in high school. Clutch is an unmatched musical force that has been best described as “the quintessential American Rock Band”. They released their tenth studio album Earth Rocker via their own label Weathermaker Music on March 16, 2013. The album entered the Billboard Top 200 chart at #15 giving the band their highest chart position to date.
Clutch will be touring extensively in 2015 to support the effort. A string of shows, including festival dates have been announced leading up to the release.
08/15 – GwarBQ @ Hadad’s Lake – Richmond, VA 09/04 – The Joint @ The Hard Rock Hotel – Las Vegas, NV – special guest for Primus 09/19 – The Shindig @ Carrol Park – Baltimore, MD 09/20 – The Rock Carnival @ Oak Ridge Park – Clark, NJ 10/24 – Aftershock Festival – Sacramento, CA 10/25 – Knotfest @ San Manuel Amphitheater – San Bernardino, CA 10/31 – Voodoo Festival – New Orleans, LA
Posted in Reviews on May 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
A mixed bag of a crowd at House of Blues in Boston, and between Mastodon, Clutch and Graveyard on the three-band bill, it’s not much of a surprise. One can draw a thread easily enough from one to the other to the other, but the reality of watching them on stage makes plain the differences between them, emphasizing Graveyard‘s ’70s boogie, Clutch‘s bluesy groove and the noodly progressive overload of Mastodon, who were the evening’s headliners. Accordingly, there were those who were there to see one or the other. Kids for Mastodon, dudes who look like me for Clutch and/or Graveyard, metal heads, rockers, whatever. I wouldn’t call it diverse exactly, but not everybody had a beard.
“The Missing Link Tour,” as it’s been dubbed, started just over a month earlier, mid-April in Minnesota, and it will end in Columbus, Ohio, on May 24. With a week to go, maybe the three bands were thinking “home stretch” or “last throes,” but if so, it wasn’t evident from the crowd. Big Business did the initial couple weeks, but Graveyard stepped in on April 29 for the rest of the run, and they were a major draw for me. I hadn’t seen them since the beginning of 2013 and knew they had a new album in the works, so was hoping for some yet-unreleased material in the set from Swedish retroist forerunners, and got what I came for in a driving, one-int0-the-next mix with tracks culled from 2012’s Lights Out (review here), their landmark 2011 sophomore outing, Hisingen Blues (review here) and even their 2007 self-titled debut.
It was “As the Years Pass by, the Hours Bend” as the sole inclusion from the latter, and while Lights Out cuts “Seven Seven,” “Hard Times Lovin'” and “The Suits, the Law and the Uniforms” represented the latest outing, and “Hisingen Blues,” “The Siren,” “Buying Truth” and finale “Uncomfortably Numb” the second album. A full set, maybe, an opening one nonetheless, and as much of an impact as the Gothenburg four-piece of guitarist/vocalist Joakim Nilsson guitarist Jonathan Ramm bassist Truls Mörck (who played guitar on the self-titled and is returned to the band handling low end) and drummer Axel Sjöberg have had on the course of European heavy rock — Sweden abounds in ’70s riffing and much of it is Graveyard‘s fault — they stood almost in a horizontal line on stage with Clutch and Mastodon‘s gear behind them. For what it’s worth, from that opener’s position, they also put on the best show I’ve seen play and I’ve seen them four or five times now.
Their new album, yet untitled, is due in the fall, and the new song they played from it was called “Shunken.” A big question as regards their sound is whether they’ll stick to the tonal warmth of their output thus far or, à la their Nuclear Blast labelmates and countrymen in Witchcraft — whose roots also trace back to the mid-’90s nexus outfit Norrsken, whose demos and compilation tracks beg immediate reissue — if they’ll attempt to modernize their style, sacrificing aesthetic to center on songwriting. Hard to tell live, but “Shunken” had an evening’s worth of shuffle packed into its relatively brief course, so I’d say Graveyard‘s Graveyardery is alive and well at least as far as that song goes. Lights Out was a moodier offering, and “Hard Times Lovin'” brought that to bear on stage between “Buying Truth” and “The Suits, the Law and the Uniforms,” but Nilsson‘s growth as a vocalist was evident in how thoroughly and soulfully the material was nailed, and their set provided a reminder that one of the joys of watching them play is how much it seems at any moment like the songs are going to come flying apart and how tight the band shows itself to be when they never actually do and everyone comes back together on the next measure.
As I’m sure they have all along their time on tour, Graveyard won over the crowd at House of Blues. Clutch, on the other hand, had the room from the word go. They’ve also got a new record coming this fall, in September, specifically, and they’ve been brandying around new songs either from it or not for a while now, titles on YouTube clips like “ZZ,” “Energy Weapons,” “Motörhead,” “Sucker for the Witch,” and so on, popping up whether or not that’s how they’ll actually be titled when the recording hits. Their last outing, Earth Rocker (review here), was hands-down the best release of 2013, and the rock-solid, semper-professional four-piece of frontman Neil Fallon (interview here), guitarist Tim Sult (interview here), bassist Dan Maines (interview here) and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster (interview here) have obviously taken steps to ensure the follow-up arrives sooner than the four years it took for Earth Rocker to answer 2009’s Strange Cousins from the West.
Knowing a different member picks the setlist each night, I never see Clutch play that I don’t wonder whose choices they’re running through. I wouldn’t hazard a guess this time, but I’d like to send them a thank-you card for including “The Regulator,” a perennial favorite, and “Cypress Grove” from 2004’s Blast Tyrant, from which “The Mob Goes Wild” and “Profits of Doom” were also aired, the latter coming late in the set prior to “The Wolfman Kindly Requests…” from Earth Rocker and a finale of “Electric Worry/One Eye Dollar” from 2007’s From Beale Street to Oblivion. New cut “Son of Virginia” seemed directly in bluesy conversation with both “Electric Worry” and even more so “The Regulator,” but emerged into a heavier push from its subdued, twang-laden bounce, Fallon less the preacher than he is at times but no less imperative in telling the crowd, “You gotta know your history/Son of Virginia,” in the chorus. A faster new song, titled “Monsters” according to the setlist, boasted Earth Rocker-style thrust and shout-outs to the Cyclops and other creatures out of mythology, very much in Clutch‘s wheelhouse.
Something of a surprise to think it had been more than a year since I last saw them play, that show in New Hampshire Fall 2013 following Fallon‘s back surgery — gotta know your history — but they were, as ever, engaged in the delivery of a sound quintessentially their own and seemingly unbreakable. They are among the finest and most enduring live acts of their generation, and I didn’t envy Mastodon having to follow them. That said, there was a point at which I couldn’t go more than two weeks without having to put on Clutch, and after not seeing them for so long, I wondered if the spell had been broken. Nope. Still very much a Clutch fan, as it turns out, and can’t wait to hear the new record, from which “Our Lady of Electric Light” was the third and final song to be aired, quieter and moodier even than “Son of Virginia,” but easing well into “D.C. Sound Attack” and its extended jam driven by Gaster‘s well-established percussive brilliance and unflinching funk.
There’s been footage kicked around online of Fallon joining Mastodon during their set for “Blood and Thunder” as he did on the latter’s 2004 sophomore breakthrough, Leviathan, but it wasn’t to be. My evening was pretty much over when Clutch finished, but I’ll say that while I’ve seen Mastodon hit and miss live — back-to-back nights in Brooklyn with Neurosis in 2008 come to mind as examples for both — they were absolutely on fire at House of Blues, and while they lost me years ago as they traded in the visceral rhythmic push of 2002’s Remission and the subsequent Leviathan — what was, at the time, a genuinely new take on sonic heft — for the progged-out technical showcasing of Blood Mountainand Crack the Skye, I did my time as a Mastodon fan, had a nostalgic moment when I saw a dude walking through the crowd in the same Leviathan t-shirt I wore to my wedding reception, and it was fun to watch them kick ass across material new and old, be it “High Road” from last year’s Once More ‘Round the Sun or “Megalodon” from Leviathan.
And while I don’t really follow them at this point — obviously hasn’t hurt the band any, if their draw is something to go by — they put on a more than solid show, laser beams emanating from the stage and all as Bill Kelliher held his guitar aloft, drummer Brann Dailor held down the cleaner choruses of new songs, guitarist Brent Hinds tore into those or that solo and bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders skirted a line between cartoonish metal frontman and genius conceptualist in the middle of the stage. They didn’t become the band they were expected to, but they obviously became the band they wanted to be, which is more admirable in its way. When their sprawling encore of “The Czar” from Crack the Skye was done, Dailor got on mic and took a moment to profusely and sincerely thank the crowd before handing out his drumsticks and a drum head that had apparently been busted during the course of the set. One imagines he goes through them on the regular.
After that, there was nothing to do but shuffle slowly out of the venue and into the warm Sunday night and listen to the familiar chorus of drunken wildlings shouting epithets at passing cars; as much a cultural staple of Boston as anything that happens across the street from House of Blues at Fenway Park, I should think. Nothing quite like a town that loves its traditions.
Posted in Features on January 21st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
This is the longest list of anything I’ve ever done, and it might be the longest I ever do. The truth is, when I started keeping track of things coming out in 2015, back around October/November, I had no idea what I was getting into. More and more names just kept getting added to the list, and between solid release dates, bands entering the studio, writing sessions underway and the usual round of vague “they’re due”-type speculation, it kept growing. Even now, I’m quite sure that by the time I’m finished with this, I’ll add something else, and 90 will become 91, and then someone will point out something glaring I forgot and 91 will become 92, and so on.
I don’t think I could reasonably expect anyone to read 90 complete entries, so I’ve broken it down somewhat. There are 52 weeks in a year, so my thinking is that if you buy one record per week, I’ve got recommendations to carry through till December (with the acknowledgement that we’re already a couple weeks into 2015) and then more beyond that. Even asking you to skim 52 entries is a lot, but hell, we’ve got 12 months until 2016, so there’s plenty of time. We’ll do 52 entries and then list the others, both alphabetically.
Thank you in advance for reading.
1. Acid King, Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere
If this was my year-end list instead of my year-start list, Acid King‘s Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere would be my album of the year. Best album of 2015 about 20 days into it? Maybe. The Oakland trio’s first outing in nearly a decade is a joy of languid riffing and heavy spaceout, songs like “Coming down from Outer Space” and “Center of Everywhere” reminding of just what it is we’ve been missing about Acid King all these years. They’ve continued to play live all that time, of course, and Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere, which is due April 14 on Svart, plainly demonstrates that they’ve lost none of the potency for years absent from studio work. More to come. Acid King on Thee Facebooks, Svart Records.
2. All Them Witches, TBA
The Nashville four-piece blew up following the 2013 digital release of their second album, Lightning at the Door, which saw a physical pressing last year (review here), and with a growing public at their heels and a salivating underground press anxious to hear what they come up with next, All Them Witches hit the studio this month to put together their third full-length. They’re on tour in Feb., and it seems reasonable to expect they’ll be trying out new material on the road, but as free-flowing as Lightning at the Door was, it’s hard not to consider the follow-up one of 2015’s most anticipated records, whenever it arrives and whatever shape(s) it takes. All Them Witches on Thee Facebooks, official website.
3. Anthroprophh, U.F.O.
Guitarist/vocalist PaulAllen, formerlyof TheHeads,teamed up with Jesse Webb and Gareth Turner of the duo Big Naturals as his rhythm section for 2014’s Outside the Circle (review here), and for his new release under the Anthroprophh moniker for Cardinal Fuzz, Allen centers around different U.F.O. abduction reports from the UK between 1954 and 1978, each of the eight tracks taking its name from the date and location of a reported incident. Sound fucking awesome? Yeah, I agree. Expect raw psychedelic experimentation, heavy swing and interpretive instrumentalism galore on the two-sided release when it gets declassified on Feb. 2, pressed in an edition of 500 copies. Anthroprophh on Thee Facebooks, Cardinal Fuzz.
4. Arenna, TBA
Spanish heavy psych outfit Arenna will release the follow-up to their 2011 Nasoni Records debut, Beats of Olarizu (review here), and they just this week posted the 10-minute opener “Butes” from their sophomore outing (listen here). The first album earned them a hearty following, and it’s been four years since it came out, but somehow I doubt Arenna will have much trouble picking up where they left off in their wide-open, jam-heavy sound. They mark a decade together in 2015, and they seem to just be getting started, so I’m particularly interested to learn how the European heavy underground takes to their second LP, which is due to be mastered next month and released sometime thereafter. Arenna on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
5. The Atomic Bitchwax, Gravitron
New Bitchwax? Sold. The stalwart New Jersey three-piece — now featuring two members of Monster Magnet — will release Gravitron on April 21 via Tee Pee Records, just in time to make a stop a few days later at Desertfest London 2015. They toured Europe last summer as well, and I think the fact that they’ll be over that way when they put Gravitron out speaks volumes to their priorities at this point, but who can blame them? Perpetually underappreciated in the US, they’ll follow-up 2011’s The Local Fuzz (review here) in grand form at Desertfest (they play Berlin as well), finally getting their due even if they have to get on a plane to get it. The Atomic Bitchwax on Thee Facebooks, Tee Pee Records.
6. Black Cobra, TBA
Hints were dropped back in November that raging two-piece Black Cobra were working on material for a new album. Whenever it arrives, this year or next, it will be their sixth and first since 2011’s Invernal (review here), which I don’t think I’m alone in counting as their finest moment to-date. They’ll also be at Desertfest for a return appearance, and wherever they go, devastation follows. They posted this week that their tour van has passed the 300,000-mile mark, which is emblematic of the workout they’ve given it over the last decade-plus, and I’d expect no slowdown, tempo or itinerary-wise, from them in 2015, regular oil changes notwithstanding. Black Cobra on Thee Facebooks, Southern Lord Recordings.
7. Black Rainbows, Hawkdope
There are 90-someodd bands included in this feature, all told. Might be over 100. I’m not sure anybody beats Italian trio Black Rainbows in the album-title department, however. Hawkdope, man. Hard to mess with that. Guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori continues to keep his finger on the pulse of European heavy rock with his Heavy Psych Sounds imprint, and while I haven’t heard Hawkdope yet, it seems likely they’ll continue the push toward heavy psychedelia that 2013’s Holy Moon EP (discussed here) and their inclusions in last year’s four-way split (review here) spoke of, but of course, they can always throw down some top notch fuzz riffing as well. Black Rainbows on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
8. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth
Six years after the arrival of their demo (review here), Brothers of the Sonic Cloth will make their self-titled debut through Neurot Recordings on Feb. 17. Immediately notable for being the brainchild of guitarist/vocalist Tad Doyle (ex-TAD), bassist Peggy “Pegadeth” Doyle and drummer Dave French, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth pushes plodding heavy into seething aggression with a lumber only made more potent by Billy Anderson‘s production. It’s been a while in the making, true, but the album’s execution leaves no room for argument in its lung-deflating tonal density. Justifies the wait and then some. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth on Thee Facebooks, Neurot Recordings.
9. Chiefs, Tomorrow’s Over
With vinyl to follow in May on Battleground Records, Arizona/SoCal heavy rockers Chiefs will release their debut LP, Tomorrow’s Over, via Roosevelt Row on Feb. 24. Its striking cover art by David Paul Seymour offers immediate intrigue, as did Chiefs‘ inclusion on their 2014 split 7″ with Fuzz Evil (streamed here). The song from that, “Stone Bull,” won’t be featured on the album, but all four cuts from Chiefs‘ 2013 Buffalo Roam demo will, which should give you some indication as to how much the trio got it right the first time around. The title-track of the demo opens, and the album takes its name from one of the demo tracks as well, so it all ties together. Chiefs on Thee Facebooks, Battleground Records, Roosevelt Row Records.
10. Clutch, TBA
Clutch‘s Earth Rocker (review here) was the undisputed high point of 2013, and the long-running Maryland four-piece have returned to the Machine Shop studio (now located in Texas) to record the follow-up to it. They’ve been playing new material live for a while now, as they’ll do, and while they always manage to change things up from album to album, the fact that they’ve going back to work with Machine again makes in plain that they’re where they want to be at this point sound-wise. As if there was ever any doubt. Their forever-tour will continue, but it’s good to know they’re taking a little break from the road to put together another slab for their always-expanding, always-frothing fanbase. Clutch on Thee Facebooks, Weathermaker Music.
11. Conan, TBA
I’m not sure if it will be out before the end of 2015, but whenever it arrives, the next Conan should be a much different affair than we’ve yet heard from the UK thunderplodders, whose 2014 Napalm Records debut, Blood Eagle (review here), further established their dominance among the heaviest bands in doom. Since that album hit, guitarist/vocalist Jon Davis has traded out two-thirds of the trio, bringing in producer Chris Fielding on bass/vocals and new drummer Rich Lewis. Davis‘ riffs have always been at the core of what makes Conan the beast they are, so I wouldn’t expect much fixing of what isn’t broken, but don’t be surprised if some different personalities emerge in Fielding and Lewis as well. Conan on Thee Facebooks, Conan’s webstore.
12. Colour Haze, To the Highest Gods We Know
Yeah, I’m sneaking this one in here. Sorry, but frankly, I think Colour Haze deserve more than a toss-it-out-there mid-December album release date, so instead of the CD release, which was last month, I’m choosing to think of the impending Feb./March vinyl issue as the official one for To the Highest Gods We Know (review here), which is both a fascinating and fitting answer to Colour Haze‘s 2012 outing, She Said (review here). Feels strange so early in the year to start calling out end-of-year highlights, but between this and Acid King, I feel like two of my top five are already set in stone, and that’s a pretty good start to any year. Colour Haze are one of the most important heavy rock bands of their generation, and they continue to expand their form and the genre as a whole. Colour Haze’s website, Elektrohasch Schallplatten.
13. Corrections House, TBA
Their totalitarian fetishizing well intact, the it’s-a-supergroup-but-don’t-call-it-a-supergroup Corrections House announced back in November that they’d have a sophomore effort out this year to follow their 2013 debut, Last City Zero. The returning lineup of guitarist Scott Kelly (Neurosis), vocalist Mike Williams (Eyehategod), saxophonist Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) and keyboardist/programmer Sanford Parker (Buried at Sea, etc.) is enough to warrant attention in itself, and while their industrial tinged output isn’t really my thing sound-wise, they’re not an assemblage easily ignored. Hopefully a recently canceled round of tour dates doesn’t derail the new release plams. Corrections House on Thee Facebooks, at Neurot Recordings.
14. Corsair, One Eyed Horse
Virginian dual-guitar classic heavy rock/metallers Corsair are now three years removed from their Shadow Kingdom Records self-titled debut (review here), and their new album, One Eyed Horse, arrives with a striking-almost-disturbing cover and a refined progressive edge. Their melodic sensibility has never been in question, and guitarists Marie Landragin and Paul Sebring, bassist Jordan Brunk (who, like the guitarists, contributes vocals) and drummer Michael Taylor will look to expand their reach even further with the eight new vinyl-ready tracks. One looks forward to the album and hopes for a tour in equal measure. Corsair’s website, Shadow Kingdom Records.
15. Crypt Sermon, Out of the Garden
Classic doom bleeds through the cover of Philly five-piece Crypt Sermon‘s debut full-length, Out of the Garden. Set to release Feb. 24 on Dark Descent Records, I’d expect Out of the Garden to be an early highlight for the year in doom despite being Crypt Sermon‘s first outing. Their Demo MMXIII (review here) found them well schooled in the tenets of the downtrodden, and while the record may end up a sleeper, it’s one that no doubt will find its way to the right ears; namely those of the old school doomers tired of psychedelic idolatry, who want something dark, beaten and grueling without concern for genre-melding or novelty. So, doom on. Crypt Sermon on Thee Facebooks, Dark Descent Records.
16. Ecstatic Vision, TBA
Also based in Philadelphia, heavy psych troupe Ecstatic Vision signed to Relapse on the strength of a demo and an apparent willingness to hit the road — they’ll do so this spring alongside YOB and Enslaved — and as just about any band who’s ever sent that label a rough recording will likely tell you, that’s no small feat. I was fortunate enough to catch them in Brooklyn last month (opening for YOB, as it happened), and the appeal was easy to see in their space rock jamming, lighting effects and propensity for deceptively quick rhythmic turns. A debut offering is reportedly due this year, and as it will come after they spend a month on the road, I expect it will be something to behold. Ecstatic Vision on Thee Facebooks, Relapse Records.
17. Elder, Lore
What to say about Elder? They’re a bright spot in the hope for the next generation of heavy rock, but they were that already. What really distinguishes their third album, Lore, is the fiercely progressive bent of the tracks, songs like “Compendium” (streamed here) taking the hypnotic rhythms of 2012’s Dead Roots Stirring (review here) and refining what Elder — the trio of guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo, bassist Jack Donovan and drummer Matt Couto — do with a newfound clarity of purpose and precision execution. They make well-thought-out songs sound exciting front to back, and if you’ve ever dug anything they’ve done, you’re going to shit a brick when you hear the title-track of Lore. Elder on Thee Facebooks, Armageddon Shop, Stickman Records.
18. Enslaved, In Times
I make no bones or apologies about being an Enslaved fan. The Norwegian progressive black metallers strip down their presentation with In Times, the follow-up to 2012’s Riitiir (review here), solidifying some aspects of their approach while nodding at the brutality of yore in a still-somehow-forward-thinking manner. They never fail to deliver, and they’ve long since hit a stride where they can deliver album after album and come up with ways to advance their sound each time out. Recording themselves has only made them bolder over their last couple records, and In Times benefits from this in its brought-to-fruition experiments as well. It would take a lot for these guys to do wrong in my eyes. Enslaved on Thee Facebooks, Nuclear Blast Records.
19. Eye, TBA
They’re the Midwest’s inadvertent answer to the West Coast’s Moog-prog vibing, and Ohio’s Eye want for nothing in comparison to any of their coastal contemporaries. The photo above was taken recently in the studio — I’ll just assume the room is actually that color when they record and that that is not, in fact, an Instagram filter — tracking their third record and follow-up to 2013’s brilliant-yes-brilliant Second Sight (review here), which rightfully garnered attention far and wide. No release date yet for the new one from what I’ve seen, but the album is reportedly done, so hopefully it won’t be too long before it sees release, most likely on vinyl since that seems to be where the band’s heart lies. Eye on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
20. Freedom Hawk, TBA
After an appearance last year at Roadburn and confirmation of a return trip to Europe this spring for Freak Valley in Germany, Virginia’s Freedom Hawk would seem to have considerably expanded their reach. Last year saw them lose guitarist Matt Cave and transition from a four-piece to a trio, and they were in the studio in the fall to record their second album for Small Stone behind their 2011 label debut, Holding On (review here), and while I’m not sure if it’s finished or if it will be out in time for the band’s sojourn abroad, one assumes it will be out sooner or later. Their late-2013 Live at the Jewish Mother download makes a decent stopgap if you’ve got a hankering, but they’re due for a new one for sure. Freedom Hawk on Thee Facebooks, Small Stone Records.
21. Glowsun, Glowsun
In a recent discussion about finally picking up Glowsun‘s 2012 outing, Eternal Season, I said I wasn’t going to miss their next record, so I guess you could call this me holding myself to that task. The French heavy psych outfit have a new one, apparently self-titled — though of course I could be wrong; I’m just going by the album art — due out for release this Spring. I haven’t seen an official date from Napalm for when it’s due, but it’s not one I’m going to let slip by one way or another as I did for far too long with Eternal Season. Some mistakes don’t bear repeating, and Glowsun‘s output is of a quality that demands immediacy. At least now I know it. Ha. Glowsun on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.
22. Goatsnake, TBA
Rumors abound about a new Goatsnake. They’re in the studio, this is done, that isn’t done, they’re over here, over there. They’re headlining Freak Valley and playing Psycho California, and they headlined Southwest Terror Fest III last fall, but the last official word I saw about a new album — it would be their first since their 2004 Trampled Under Hoof EP — was last Sept., when word came down that it was happening at all and that Southern Lord would put it out. A timetable on when would be convenient, but maybe that’s asking too much and I should be grateful it’s even being discussed. They remain on my bucket list of bands to see before I die. One of these days I’ll get there. Southern Lord Recordings, Southern Lord on Thee Facebooks.
23. Gozu, TBA
Probably the biggest change for Boston’s Gozu since the 2013 release of their second album for Small Stone, The Fury of a Patient Man (review here), is the solidification of their lineup. As they enter into the process for their third Small Stone outing, they’ll do so with bassist Joe Grotto and drummer Mike Hubbard. Grotto played on part of Fury, but Hubbard (ex-Warhorse) is a new presence entirely in the band. They’ve also experimented with a third guitarist, so they might not be so solidified, but they’ve got a monster of a core four-piece to work with in Grotto, Hubbard, guitarist/vocalist Marc Gaffney and guitarist Doug Sherman, and they seem poised to get the most out of the chemistry they’ve busted their collective ass to develop. Gozu on Thee Facebooks, Small Stone Records.
24. High on Fire, TBA
I feel like a new High on Fire record isn’t even just an event for heavy rock at this point but for metal as a whole. The Matt Pike-fronted three-piece hit the studio this month (this week?) after a quick tour up the East Coast, returning to Massachusetts to work with Converge‘s Kurt Ballou at his Godcity Studios, where they also busted out 2012’s De Vermis Mysteriis (review here). For anyone who heard that record, it should be plain why they’d want to work with Ballou again — even enough to go to Massachusetts in January — and whenever their next one shows up, no doubt it will do so as one of 2015’s most anticipated offerings. I’m not sure what to expect other than “heavy,” but that’s enough to go on for now. High on Fire on Thee Facebooks, eOne Metal.
25. Hollow Leg, TBA
My interest was piqued early last year when Floridian sludgers Hollow Leg issued their God-Eater single and spoke of it as the beginning of a change in direction. The change? More melody, a less outright aggressive style, more of an emphasis on thickness rather than rawness. As a starting point, the song “God-Eater” seemed to bode well, and I’m hoping in 2015 that Hollow Leg follow through at least partially on its promise. Not that the viciousness of 2013’s second LP, Abysmal (review here), left me particularly wanting, just that they seemed to be following a fulfilling new-ish path, and I thought the sound was one worth pursuing. They’ve said their third will be out this year, so I’ll take it. Hollow Leg on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
26. Horsehunter, Caged in Flesh
Australian four-piece Horsehunter made an impression a few weeks back with the 16-minute “Stoned to Death,” the opening track from their Magnetic Eye Records debut LP, Caged in Flesh, and it stands to reason why. Crushing tones, brutal vibes and hints of psychedelic wash abounded on what was a gripping sample of the album, which the band had recorded, scapped because it wasn’t heavy enough and then recorded again. There are four songs on Caged in Flesh, so “Stoned to Death” is literally just the beginning for Horsehunter, whose foreboding atmospherics come across no less punishing than their most weighted of tones. Horsehunter on Thee Facebooks, Magnetic Eye Records.
27. Kind, TBA
I’ve been lucky enough to see Boston four-piece Kind play twice, the lineup of vocalist Craig Riggs (also Roadsaw), guitarist Darryl Shepard (also Black Pyramid, Blackwolfgoat, etc.), bassist Tom Corino (also Rozamov) and drummer Matt Couto (also Elder) taking shape visibly from one show to the next. Their debut full-length is in progress now at the Riggs-owned Mad Oak Studios in Allston, and while I don’t think I can say yet what label it’s coming out on (it’s not Small Stone), the latest word I’ve gotten is that a summer release is booked. Definitely interested to hear how the jams I’ve seen live translate to a studio recording, and how Corino‘s tone comes through Mad Oak‘s board. Kind on Thee Facebooks, on Soundcloud.
28. Kings Destroy, Kings Destroy
So, you’d think the pic of Kings Destroy bassist Aaron Bumpus above is from some recent studio shot while they’re tracking their third album, right? Nope. The self-titled’s been in the can for months. It’s out in April on War Crime Recordings. What Kings Destroy are doing now is working on album number four, and I bet before it comes out, they’ll be on number five. Fiercely creative. I’ve had the KD record for I don’t know how long at this point, and it’s the best thing they’ve done yet. I can’t even pretend to feign impartiality after being asked to tour with them twice last year — a fucking blessing both times — but it’s the closest they’ve come to their live sound so far and that progress suits them remarkably well. Kings Destroy on Thee Facebooks, War Crime Recordings.
29. Lamprey, TBA
The two-bass Portland trio Lamprey‘s recent stop-motion video for “Iron Awake” served due notice of their impending album, as yet untitled, and while it’s the shortest track on there by a considerable margin, it nonetheless represents the big-crash, big-impact severity of the outing as a whole. Not sure through what label it will surface if one at all or on what media it will be pressed — the word burning above, which I hope is the album cover, may or may not be — but the full-length seems poised to establish them as a force after 2012’s The Burden of Beasts EP (review here) brought their sometimes-plodding, sometimes-sprinting heavy rock into focus. Also, one of the songs is called “Lament of the Deathworm,” and that just rules. Lamprey on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
30. Lord Dying, Poisoned Altars
The hard-touring Portlanders teamed up with Dark Castle drummer Rob Shaffer for their sophomore outing for Relapse Records, Poisoned Altars (review here), and though he’s since out of the band, his presence bolsters the songs in Lord Dying‘s blend of High on Fire-style thrash and Crowbar-loyal sludge. A pervasive sense of simplicity helps the material achieve maximum force, but the hard-won nature of Lord Dying‘s cohesion isn’t to be understated or underappreciated — they did about 18 months of touring in support of their first effort, Summon the Faithless. At least they know their time wasn’t misspent. Seems likely they’ll continue to pound the pavement throughout 2015, so keep an eye open. Lord Dying on Thee Facebooks, Relapse Records.
31. Magic Circle, TBA
Rest assured, I’ve seen zero confirmation that a new Magic Circle album is under way. There’s been no word from the by-now-notoriously secretive Massachusetts-based band or their label, Armageddon Shop, on the subject of a follow-up to their 2013 self-titled debut (review here). This is rampant speculation. Their first 7″ was recently re-pressed, though, so there’s activity in their camp one way or another. They also made their way out to Seattle in October to open for Satan, which only emphasizes the fact that you never really know when they’re going to show up until they do. Ditto that their next album, I suppose. Hopefully this year it happens. Armageddom Shop website, on Thee Facebooks.
32. The Midnight Ghost Train, Cold was the Ground
Riotous Southern heavy rockers The Midnight Ghost Train have outdone themselves with their Napalm Records debut, Cold was the Ground, taking the rager blues of 2012’s Buffalo (review here) to new heights of manic push. After several years of steady touring, the Kansas-based trio of guitarist/vocalist Steve Moss, drummer Brandon Burghart and bassist Mike Boyne are an explosive live act, and as the recent video premiere for “Gladstone” showcased, their third album reaps the rewards of their labors. It’s due to release March 10 in North America, but I really don’t need to note the date, because you’ll hear it coming a mile away like the freight train that it is. The Midnight Ghost Train on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.
33. Minsk, TBA
A new Minsk full-length is an utterly fascinating thought. Sorry if that sounds cold or overly clinical, but it’s true. Consider that it’s been six years since the Chicago post-metallers last released an album. That record, 2009’s With Echoes in the Movement of Stone (review here), hit at what was arguably the pinnacle of post-metal’s stylistic movement, the waters having since receded in no small part because Minsk wasn’t around to push forward creatively. Now, with slots booked at Roadburn and Desertfest, they’ll make a return to the studio as well, and I have absolutely zero idea of what to expect from them. A partially-revamped, Sanford Parker-less lineup only adds further intrigue. Minsk on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
34. Mondo Drag, Mondo Drag
This is one of I think two or three releases on this list that’s already out. The self-titled Mondo Drag (review here) nonetheless warrants inclusion for its heavy psych boogie concoctions and natural-toned spirit, not full-on retro but still well-indebted to the heavy ’70s in its use of organ and guitar and the swing of its rhythm section. That rhythm section? Zack Anderson and Cory Berry, who, fresh out of Radio Moscow, stepped in to record with fellow Iowans Mondo Drag in 2012 before founding Blues Pills. A shortlived moment in Mondo Drag‘s history, perhaps, but they got a killer record out of it, and while the recordings are already three years old, they’re well worth the time to appreciate. Mondo Drag on Thee Facebooks, Bilocation Records.
35. Monolord, Vaenir
Swedish trio Monolord won over hearts and minds bigtime with their 2014 RidingEasy Records debut, Empress Rising, earning a spot on the 2014 Readers Poll right between Eyehategod and Mastodon. That’s rather significant company to keep — and all the more so for a band’s first record — and with Vaenir, we’ll get to hear how the intervening year has seen them progress. They’ve already proven a favorite among the converted, and they’ll tour in Feb./March with Salem’s Pot ahead of an appearance at Roadburn prior to Vaenir‘s April 28 arrival date, so it looks like they’ll keep their momentum moving forward through the release and most likely beyond. Monolord on Thee Facebooks, RidingEasy Records.
36. Neurosis, TBA
Okay. I don’t know that Neurosis‘ next album will be out in 2015. It’s just not a thing I know. What I know is that the ultra-seminal five-piece are getting together to write in Feb., and that they’re a no-bullshit band when it comes to writing and recording, so the timing works that, if they make new songs happen this winter, their record would probably be ready for release sometime in the summer or early fall. That’s what I’m going on. It might be that they write half the album now and half in 2016, but from what I hear they’re planning on doing some more significant touring this year, so it would stand to reason they’d want to do it with a follow-up to 2012’s Honor Found in Decay (review here) under their collective belt. We’ll see what we get. Neurosis on Thee Facebooks, Neurot Recordings.
37. Pentagram, TBA
I saw Pentagram play 20 shows last year. Believe me when I say the pairing of frontman Bobby Liebling and guitarist Victor Griffin has never seemed stronger musically, and with bassist Greg Turley and drummer Sean Saley, Pentagram head into the making of their next album firing on all proverbial cylinders. Metal Blade, who also issued their 2011 comeback album, Last Rites (review here), seems the likely outlet for the yet-untitled offering, which the band will herald with a headlining performance at Psycho California alongside Sleep and Cult of Luna on May 15-17, and which will no doubt dig deep into Pentagram‘s long history of doom for a trove of classic-style riffs. Pentagram on Thee Facebooks, Metal Blade Records.
38. Ruby the Hatchet, Valley of the Snake
A not-so-subtle Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats influence permeates Ruby the Hatchet‘s Tee Pee Records debut, Valley of the Snake, which is something the Philly-based band seems to acknowledge willfully on “Vast Acid,” frontwoman Jillian Taylor crooning “I’ll cut you down” toward the end of the song in a call-out of one of the UK outfit’s most resonant hooks. Otherwise, the organ-laced five-piece get down on more psychedelic vibes, though the heavy ’70s swing in the drums could be taken as another common factor, if you really wanted to stretch it. Either way, a laid back, less murderous atmosphere persists, and that suits me just fine. Out Feb. 24. Bonus points for the gorgeous Adam Burke cover art. Ruby the Hatchet on Thee Facebooks, Tee Pee Records.
39. Saturnalia Temple, To the Other
The entire meaning of being a “cult” band has changed since Sweden’s Saturnalia Temple released their UR demo in 2007, but after their 2011 debut, Aion of Drakon, hit with such a low-end wash of psychedelic obscurity, I’m intrigued to hear what they’ve come up with on To the Other, the cover’s foreboding darkness, consuming swirl and bizarre patterning seeming a fit for their sonic methodology. To the Other is out April 7 on The Ajna Offensive, and features Tim Call of The Howling Wind and Aldebaran on drums alongside Saturnalia Temple guitarist/vocalist Tommie Ericksson and bassist Peter. Saturnalia Temple on Thee Facebooks, The Ajna Offensive.
40. Six Organs of Admittance, Hexadic
I’ll make no claims toward understanding the theoretical basis driving the latest outing from the Ben Chasny-helmed project Six Organs of Admittance, which in its 17-year history has gone from bedroom folk and avant electronics to the far-ranging heavy psych jamming of 2012’s Ascent (review here). Chasny, joined by members of Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound and Deerhoof on the album — which is due out Feb. 17 on Drag City — seems to have developed a compositional method based around a system involving playing cards and varying tonal intensities. No idea what the hell any of it means, but it sounds like a freakout to me, so I’m in. Six Organs of Admittance website, Drag City Records.
41. Snail, Feral
Come on, Snail. Even if Feral‘s not coming out until later in the year, you can send it to me. I won’t tell anybody if you don’t want me to. I can keep it to myself. Hell, I won’t even review it until I get word that it’s cool to do so, I just want to hear the damn thing. Alright, Snail, have it your way. I’ll just sit here and remember how awesome Terminus (review here) was when that came out in 2012, and Blood (review here) before that in 2009 back when I did snarky headlines for reviews. That’s cool. I’ve waited this long for your Small Stone debut to make its way into my ears, I guess I’ll just keep waiting until it shows up. Which it would be awfully nice if it did as soon as possible. Today works. Now works. Snail on Thee Facebooks, Small Stone Records.
42. Sourvein, Aquatic Fanatic
At the risk of being sincere, I’ll say it warms my cold, doomed heart to know that Sourvein‘s next album is going to be released by Metal Blade Records. After trudging the Southern sludge underground for, what, 20 years?, the Cape Fear-based outfit led by T-Roy Medlin (whose lineage goes back to Buzzov*en, lest we forget their role in establishing the sound) are finally poised to get their due, and I think it’s fucking awesome. Mike Dean‘s producing the thing, and you know Sourvein are going to tour the hell out of it because that’s what they do whether they’ve got a new record or not. I’m calling it the feelgood story of the year, which is perfect since the music will most likely be utterly scathing. Sourvein on Thee Facebooks, Metal Blade Records.
43. Spidergawd, II
Just stop reading and go fucking listen to Spidergawd. Here, I did a track premiere a little bit ago for the song “Tourniquet.” It rules. Go listen to that. For the life of me I have no idea why this band’s name isn’t on the lips of every boogie-loving heavy rocker in the universe. Stickman has the new album, Spidergawd II, sold out in the special edition preorders, but there’s a regular version still available and apparently en route from the plant, and for the love of all things riffed, it’s glorious. So get on it. I implore you. And no, I don’t have any idea what’s going on with the album cover, so don’t ask. No time for questions anyway. Get listening. Spidergawd on Thee Facebooks, Stickman Records.
44. Stoned Jesus, The Harvest
Ukrainian heavy rockers Stoned Jesus posted the opening track from their third album, The Harvest, a while back on their Bandcamp page, and my goodness it does swing. They’ll make their way to the US for the first time in support of The Harvest, appearing at the Psycho California fest and hopefully elsewhere, and they do so having built up a steady following with their first two long-players, 2010’s First Communion (noted here) and 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), their most stonerly of names spread far and wide ahead of the latest offering’s early March arrival following 2013’s jams collection, The Seeds, Vol. 1. Stoned Jesus on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
45. Torche, Restarter
I haven’t heard it yet, but Torche‘s awaited Relapse Records debut, Restarter, is due out Feb. 24 and the band are kicking into gear once again to mark its coming. They’ve already announced US and European tours to carry them through June, and I don’t imagine there are many markets they’ll leave un-hit by the time they’re through. Their last album, 2012’s Harmonicraft (review here), was a solid showing of what’s come to be expected of them in terms of hooks, upbeat heaviness and melodies, but especially with the ambitious title, the new label and the energized-seeming schedule, I’m hoping that Restarter gives the band the same kind of boot to the ass they’ve been to delivering the heavy underground for the last decade. Torche on Thee Facebooks, Relapse Records.
46. Ufomammut, Ecate
Very, very much looking forward to hearing Ecate, the newest outing from Ufomammut and their “second” album for Neurot Recordings behind the 2012 two-parter Oro (reviews here and here). Why is kind of a silly question — new Ufomammut is its own excuse for anticipation — but truth be told, they’ve always managed to get bigger-sounding and more expansive with each LP, and after having to break their last album in half and release the two pieces months apart from each other, I’m dying to know where they go with Ecate, what shifts in their sound the last couple years — including last year, which was their 15th anniversary — have brought and where in the cosmos they might be headed now. Ufomammut on Thee Facebooks, Neurot Recordings.
47. Valkyrie, TBA
During what I guess we’ll call Valkyrie‘s original run, the Virginia two-guitar four-piece released a pair of albums, 2006’s Valkyrie and 2008’s Man of Two Visions — both of which were reissued through MeteorCity in 2010 — before guitarist Peter Adams, who founded the band with his brother, guitarist/vocalist Jake Adams, got signed to Relapse with his other group, Baroness. Now back with Earthling‘s Alan Fary on bass and drummer Warren Hawkins, they’ve got their new LP recorded with Sanford Parker and reportedly in the can for an early 2015 release, also through Relapse. They’ll no doubt be greeted as heroes when they play the Maryland Doom Fest in June, and understandably so. Valkyrie on Thee Facebooks, Relapse Records.
48. VA, Electric Ladyland Redux & The Best of James Marshall Hendrix
Magnetic Eye Records launched a Kickstarter campaign last fall with the ambitious aim of paying homage to Jimi Hendrix by having current heavy rock artists (Elder, Earthless, Wo Fat, Gozu and more; full list here) re-record Electric Ladyland in its entirety. The project, on track to be released this year to coincide with what would’ve been Hendrix‘s 73rd birthday in November, expanded to include a tribute best-of collection as well, and has grown in repute ahead of its actually being issued to stand as a gathering of some of the finest the underground has to offer playing some of the best rock and roll ever crafted. From the idea to the impending reality of it, there’s really no arguing with this one. Magnetic Eye Records on Thee Facebooks, Magnetic Eye webstore.
49. Wino & Conny Ochs, Freedom Conspiracy
When Scott “Wino” Weinrich entered rehab late last fall, he mentioned in a public statement several projects in the works. Spirit Caravan‘s reunion is ongoing. Saint Vitus are due for a next album, but he also noted the second release for his collaboration with German singer-songwriter Conny Ochs, Freedom Conspiracy, as being in early 2015. Particularly after the ultra-intimate, solo feel of Wino‘s 2010 acoustic debut, Adrift (review here), the first collaboration with Ochs, 2012’s Heavy Kingdom (review here), was an unexpected expansion of the form that paid sonic dividends in both the songwriting and performance of both players. A second installment should benefit from the chemistry they built on the road for the debut. Conny Ochs on Thee Facebooks, Exile on Mainstream.
50. Wizard Eye, TBA
Heard it. Slays. Actually, I’m not sure if the version of Wizard Eye‘s sophomore full-length I got was final, but the songs were killer either way, and the Philly stoner-toner three-piece will have the album out on vinyl later this year through a newcomer label that I don’t think I’m supposed to mention yet so I won’t. Either way, they’re included here because the more heads they reach the better, their blend of rolling grooves, sludged out vocals and the occasional bout of theremin is just right for the riff-loving purist in all of us. Their recent live outing, Riff Occult Live (review here) says it better than I could, so make a note to yourself to dig into that at your next convenience. It’s name-your-price on Bandcamp. Wizard Eye on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
51. Wretch, TBA
Listed as the “bastard spawn” of The Gates of Slumber, Wretch finds that band’s guitarist/vocalist Karl Simon teamed with bassist Bryce Clark and drummer Chris Gordon, the prior outfit having been laid to rest in 2013 after what seemed like an excellent return to form in 2011’s The Wretch (review here) and subsequent Scion-sponsored EP. I haven’t heard the new band yet, but some demos have made their way out thus far, and you’d have to figure it won’t be too long before Simon, Clark and Gordon make their proper debut as Wretch and start a new chapter in one of modern traditional doom’s most pivotal legacies. Wretch on Thee Facebooks, Tone Deaf Touring.
52. Zun, TBA
Early in 2013, a song called “Come through the Water” (review here) appeared as the first audio from a new project helmed by guitarist Gary Arce of Yawning Man called Zun. It was to be used as Zun‘s portion of a split with Fatso Jetson and while I’m not sure that ever materialized, it drew immediate attention for the collaboration between Arce and vocalist Sera Timms of Ides of Gemini and Black Mare, also formerly of Black Math Horseman. A significant duo for sure. With Bill Stinson (also Yawning Man) on drums, they’re set to debut later this year on Small Stone with their first album, and if Timms and Arce aren’t enough to draw your attention so late in the feature — the hazards of alphabetics — the one and only John Garcia is set for a guest appearance on the record. Dig that, desert rockers. Yawning Man on Thee Facebooks, Small Stone Records.
Going Into Overload…
So, okay. At this point, you could literally buy a different record each week of this year and hear something that, unless there’s some disaster between the idea of the album and the actual thing itself, is most likely worth your time. That’s not too bad. But we’re not at 88 yet, so with those 52 already set, I’ve got 36 more that you might want to keep on your radar.
Some of these are solidly lined up, some are slated to be recorded, etc., so the same rule of “things don’t always work out the way they’re supposed to” applies. With that caveat:
53. Abrahma, TBA — Their second album for Small Stone is due sometime this year.
54. Bedroom Rehab Corporation, Fortunate Some — From what I hear, the Connecticut twosome have their second record in the can.
55. Black Black Black, TBA — Brooklyn outfit featuring former members of Disengage should have a sophomore album out in 2015.
56. Black Pyramid, New 7″ — The trio will release a new single to coincide with their Euro tour that includes a stop at Desertfest.
57. Bright Curse, New 10″ EP — It was mentioned the new lineup would record an EP before taking on their next album.
58. Camel of Doom, TBA — Was announced in December there’d be a new Camel of Doom along with a vinyl of their last album.
59. Cherry Choke, Raising the Waters — Should be out this month on Elektrohasch.
60. La Chinga, TBA — Vancouver group’s Small Stone debut is reportedly being mixed.
61. Curse the Son, TBA — I’m hoping this one gets out by the end of the year. It will be the CT trio’s first with their new bassist.
62. Egypt, Endless Flight — North Dakota’s favored sons will return with a new full-length this summer. Album trailer posted with a clip of the new song “Tres Madres.”
63. Enos, TBA — Not sure where they’re at with it, but worth keeping an eye out.
64. Foghound, TBA — The Maryland rockers have finished tracking their new album with Mike Dean of Corrosion of Conformity at the helm.
65. Funeral Horse, TBA — They’ve been full of surprises on their first two releases and they work quick, so I wouldn’t be surprised if something new showed up.
66. Fuzz Evil, TBA — Interested to see where they go on an LP after their split with Chiefs.
67. The Glasspack, Moon Patrol — A snippet clip has been posted that bodes well. Supposed to be done recording in the spring. They’re currently sorting out label whatnots.
68. Graves at Sea, TBA — Yeah, it’s been more than a decade since their demo, but a split and an EP into their reunion, they just signed to Relapse, so now might be the time a debut album shows up.
69. House of Broken Promises, TBA — Should be a change from the first album after swapping out bassist/vocalists. They killed live last I saw.
70. Ice Dragon, TBA — No solid word of a new release from the Boston garage doom forerunners, but they’re always up to something.
71. Killer Boogie, Detroit — The debut from this Black Rainbows offshoot is out this month on Heavy Psych Sounds.
72. Krautzone, TBA — German synth-heavy prog-jammers have hit a groove and hopefully they continue to ride it as well as they have thus far.
73. Leeches of Lore, TBA — Wishful thinking on my part? Maybe. Got my fingers crossed, though.
74. Legion of Andromeda, Iron Scorn — They’re about as extreme as extreme doom gets. Album out next month.
75. Lord Fowl, TBA — I think they’re writing. Might be 2016 before it gets here, but I’ll take it whenever it comes. They’re worth a mention either way.
76. The Machine, TBA — Been a minute since we last heard from the Dutch heavy psych jammers. They were on this list last year as well.
77. Mirror Queen, Scaffolds of the Sky — Should be out in April on Tee Pee, and that suits me just fine. Choice grooves for springtime.
78. Mountain God, Forest of the Lost — A single-song EP from the Brooklyn post-sludgers is out in Feb. with a release show booked.
79. Om, TBA — I’ve yet to see solid evidence that a new Om is in the pipeline, but no one knew that Sleep single was coming last year either.
80. Planes of Satori, Planes of Satori — Dug their single, hope the full-length follows suit.
81. Pombagira, Flesh Throne Press— Their sixth album and Svart debut is due on March 23 as per this week’s announcement.
82. Righteous Bloom, TBA — My understanding was the Beelzefuzz offshoot are writing. Would be good if they can pick up where the prior act left off.
83. Royal Thunder, Crooked Doors— The Atlanta outfit’s second album for Relapse is due out April 7.
84. Sandrider/Kinski, Split — Don’t know much about Kinski, but new Sandrider is enough to sell me on it. Out Feb. 17 on Good to Die.
85. SardoniS, TBA — Expect big lumbering riffs from this Belgian duo, always. A new album is en route, last I heard.
86. Sun Voyager, TBA — Didn’t get to hear their last tape, but a five-song EP is due out sometime soon.
87. Sweat Lodge, Talismana — Not much word since they signed to Ripple, but they said this year, so until I hear otherwise…
88. Throttlerod, TBA — A teaser clip of new riffage came out over this past weekend. New Throttlerod is never something to complain about.
89. Venomous Maximus, Firewalker — When they signed to Shadow Kingdom in November, they gave it the ol’ “sometime in 2015.”
90. Weedeater, TBA — After a whole series of reissues, their Season of Mist debut is due.
91. Wight, Love is Not Only What You Know — Alphabetically last but not at all last in my heart, Germany’s Wight have their third record in progress. More in the comments.
92. Wo Fat, Live Juju at Freak Valley— Wo Fat‘s live set from the 2014 Freak Valley fest in Germany is due to release on vinyl March 17 in an edition of 500 copies.
Others to Keep an Eye On…
Guitarist Ian Gerber of Indianapolis’ The Heavy Co. has a couple side-projects going, but new stuff from his main band doesn’t seem unlikely either. New York’s Geezer might also have something new before December in addition to Ripple‘s CD version of their Gage release, and labelmates King Buffalo are continuing their relationship with STB Records via a new spit next month, so hopefully a debut LP follows that. Let it Breathe should make their debut on the label too in 2015.
Recently streamed trio Wake up Lucid release their EP on March 31. Last I heard The Body had a new one coming too in collaboration with Thou. Sixty Watt Shaman have plans to record tracks for a split due out later this year, and they’ll reissue their first album, 1998’s Ultra Electric, as well. Look out for Godhunter‘s split/collaboration with Amigo the Devil, and the second offering from Black Moon Circle is on the way. Balam‘s full-length should also be out sometime this year, and I anxiously await news of a solid release date for the third Clamfight record.
Murmurings abound also for new ones from Graveyard, Greenleaf, The Sword, Vhöl and others.
Plus, Sleep still exist and that simple fact probably makes them worth more of a mention than this quick aside. Their 2014 single The Clarity was an offering of pure Iommic idolatry. A sign of things to come? Who the hell knows.
If you don’t have enough to go by yet, labels like Sulatron, Tee Pee, El Paraiso, Ripple, Small Stone, STB, Napalm and so on are always worth a keen watch what’s next. There’s always something.
Which I guess is the point of this whole thing. I’m sure, even as huge as this list is, someone is going to drop a comment immediately that will make me slap my forehead and wonder how I ever forgot whatever it is. It’s always something. It looks like it’s going to be a tremendous year, so if you’ll pardon me, I’ll cut out quick and get started making my way through it.
No doubt I’ll add to this post over the next couple days, so if the numbers change, don’t be surprised. In any case, if you made it this far, thanks again for reading. May your 2015 be filled with excellent music and even better times.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
You’ve probably already seen this news everywhere, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t post about the fact that Mastodon and Clutch are touring together and that Big Business and Graveyard will switch off in the support role. Some things are just too badass not to post, no matter how ubiquitous they might be.
The tour starts April 16 in St. Paul, Minnesota, and all that’s really left to wonder is if Clutch‘s new album — which is being recorded this month — will be released by the time the run ends on May 24. Either way, it’s pretty astounding that these two have come together, so I’ll get out of the way and defer to the PR wire, which has dates and details:
MASTODON & CLUTCH JOIN FORCES TO PUMMEL THROUGH THE MISSING LINK TOUR
TICKETS ON SALE FRIDAY JANUARY 23RD FOR SPRING CO-HEADLINE TOUR
GRAVEYARD WILL SUPPORT / BIG BUSINESS TO SUPPORT WHERE NOTED
Two of the world’s most respected and influential hard rock bands Mastodon and Clutch are proud to announce THE MISSING LINK TOUR, which brings together both bands as they join forces along with special guests Graveyard and Big Business – each taking part of the tour as support.Together, this night of heavy rock will be one of the heaviest and most exciting concert events of the year.
THE MISSING LINK TOUR kicks off on April 16th in St. Paul, MN. with support provided by Big Business, who recently supported Mastodon throughout a sold-out European tour. Sweden’s Graveyard will then take over the main support slot starting in Los Angeles on April 29th for the remaining dates, closing out the tour in Columbus, OH on May 24th. Tickets are on sale now.
Mastodon and Clutch share a longtime friendship as fans will recall Clutch front man Neil Fallon contributed vocals to “Blood And Thunder” (from Mastodon’s 2004’s Leviathan) so fans can expect surprises in store for fans throughout the tour rumbling across North America. THE MISSING LINK TOUR will feature full sets from both Mastodon and Clutch. Clutch will close the show on April 24th in Vancouver, May 10th in Pittsburgh, May 15th in Bethlehem, May 16th in Baltimore and also the final night of the tour, May 24th in Columbus. Mastodon will close all other shows.
Clutch drummer Jean-Paul Gaster had this to say about the tour.”We are very much looking forward to our US tour with our friends in Mastodon. We always enjoy playing live but when we have the opportunity to share the stage with a band as inspiring as Mastodon we know each evening will be that much more special. See ya out there!”
Mark your calendars, as THE MISSING LINK TOUR will roll into Denver’s prestigious Red Rocks Amphitheatre on May 3rd, and joins the stellar line up for Atlanta’s Shaky Knee’s Festival on May 8th. The New York City show will take over the celebrated Central Park Summer Stage annual concert series on May 19th. General tickets on-sale Friday, January 23rd.
As previously announced, Mastodon have been nominated for a 2015 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance for “High Road,” from ONCE MORE ‘ROUND THE SUN. This is the band’s third Grammy nomination. The 57th Annual Grammy Awards will be held in Los Angeles on Feb 8th. Tune into CBS TV.
Revered Maryland rockers Clutch have been pushing the boundaries that define heavy rock music since the 4 original members got together in high school. Clutch is an unmatched musical force that has been best described as “the quintessential American Rock Band”. Clutch released their tenth and latest studio album Earth Rocker via their own label Weathermaker Music on March 16, 2013. The album entered the Billboard Top 200 chart at #15 giving the band their highest chart position to date.
Clutch is currently working on their follow up to Earth Rocker which will be released in 2015.
Do not miss THE MISSING LINK TOUR this spring. Confirmed dates are as follows:
*Mastodon Closes The Evening. **Clutch Closes The Evening
Apr 16 *St. Paul, MN Myth Apr 17 * Winnipeg, MB The Burton Cummings Theatre Apr 18 *Saskatoon, SK O’Brian’s Events Center Apr 19 * Edmonton, AB Expo Centre Apr 21 * Calgary, AB MacEwan Hall Apr 23 * Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom Apr 24 **Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom Apr 25 *Portland, OR Roseland Apr 26 *Seattle, WA Showbox SODO Apr 28 *Oakland, CA Fox Theater Apr 29 *Los Angeles, CA Palladium Apr 30 *Tempe, AZ Marquee Theater May 01 *Las Vegas, NV House of Blues May 02 *Salt Lake City, UT The Complex May 03 *Denver, CO Red Rock’s Amphitheatre May 05 *San Antonio, TX Kapone’s Ballroom May 06 *Oklahoma City, OK Diamond Ballroom May 08 Atlanta, GA Shaky Knees Festival May 09 *Raleigh, NC Lincoln Theatre Street Stage May 10 **Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE May 12 *Clive, IA (Des Moines) 7 Flags May 13 *Milwaukee, WI Eagles Ballroom Club Stage May 15 **Bethlehem, PA Sands Event Center May 16 **Baltimore, MD Pier Six Pavilion May 17 *Boston, MA House of Blues May 19 *New York, NY Central Park Summerstage May 20 *Niagara Falls, NY Rapids Theatre May 21 *London, ON London Music Hall May 24 **Columbus, OH LC Pavilion