New England Stoner & Doom Fest 3 Adds Churchburn, Yatra, Summoner, Curse the Son, Irata, Red Mesa & HeWolf

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

new england stoner and doom fest 2019 banner

Alright everybody, back to real after the holiday. Maybe you scammed a four-day weekend out of Thanksgiving. If so, good work. If not, you’ll get ’em next time. One way or the other, today’s the day reality sets back in. Sucks, right? Usually that’s how it goes.

But if you’re looking for a bit of post-turkey escapism, mark your calendar for New England Stoner & Doom Fest 3 in Jewett City, Connecticut. Being held next May 15-17 at Altone’s Music Hall, the annual gathering has already made its first lineup announcement with resurgent doom mystics Orodruin leading a pack that also included Kingsnake, Clamfight, Worshipper and others, and to that significant heft, it now adds Churchburn — who are bound to be just about the heaviest band on any bill they play anytime they play anywhere — Baltimore’s Yatra, whose second LP will most likely be out by then, Boston progressive heavyweights Summoner, Connecticut’s own Curse the Son, hopefully also with a new record out, Irata from North Carolina, HeWolf from Virginia, and Red Mesa from way out in New Mexico.

Interesting to see the festival increasing its reach. How far it will go in the end of course remains to be seen as there are more than 40 acts promised and nowhere near that yet unveiled. So, as I say around here from time to time (and by that I mean pretty much daily), more to come.

For now, the following:

New England stoner and doom fest 2020 poster

New England Stoner & Doom Fest 3 – Second Lineup Annoucement

The New England Stoner and Doom Fest 3 (NESDF3) is taking place at Altone’s Music Hall in Jewett City, CT on the weekend of May 15-17 of 2020. The first roster announcement made a short time ago included Orodruin, Worshipper, Wolftooth, Lotek Cruiser, Red Stone Chapel, Bone Church, Shadow Witch (Blacklight Encore), Kingsnake, and Clamfight. Already looking like it’s going to be a great time, we add the announcement of the following bands (With many to come) 40+ total over 3 days.

Weekend passes go on sale Jan 3, 2020 www.Newenglandstoneranddoomfest.com

All band, vendor, and sponsor submissions and inquiries: Newenglandstoneranddoomfest@gmail.com

Churchburn (RI)

Churchburn is the musical collaboration between two of the undergrounds masters of misery. Dave Suzuki, best known for his mesmerizing guitar work and brutal drumming in Vital Remains and Ray McCaffrey, who carved out sonic drum patterns for Sin Of Angels and Grief. The two have set out to share with the world their love of the riff. Not only the heaviest but also the most haunting. Each song is crafted with the most sinister of intent. Churchburn want the listener to feel a true sense of dread as each song progresses.

Yatra (MD)

YATRA’s eclectic sound includes elements of doom and heavy metal mixed with explorations into sonic territories that provide a unique sound.

HeWolf (VA)

Grunge! Ear polluting power-trio, former members of Iron Reagan, Darkest Hour, Alabama Thunderpussy, HRM, Crackhead, the Medusa.

Irata (VA)

Irata is loud, heavy rock from Greensboro, NC on Small Stone Records and they deliver every time live!!

Curse the Son (CT)

Emerging from the untimely demise of stoner rockers Sufferghost, Curse the Son is a plodding distorted sonic wall of Sabbathian riffage. A power trio in the truest sense…..screaming amps…tons of fuzz…fat bass..thick riffin…lots of smokin! Get high, tune low & play slow.

Red Mesa (NM)

Out of New Mexico on Desert Records, Red Mesa will have you cruising through the desert full throttle.

Summoner (MA)

Summoner, the band formerly known as Riff Cannon. Same dudes, same music, different name. Summoner are a heavy rock band from Boston, MA. They sling riffs so you don’t have to……

Already announced:
Orodruin
Worshipper
Wolftooth
RED STONE CHAPEL (Germany)
Lotek Cruiser (Canada)
Shadow Witch (Blacklight Encore)
Kingsnake
Clamfight
Bone Church

http://www.Newenglandstoneranddoomfest.com
https://www.facebook.com/NewEnglandStonerAndDoomFest/
https://www.facebook.com/events/467948910731582/

Churchurn, None Shall Live… The Hymns of Misery (2018)

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Quarterly Review: Total Fucking Destruction, Hippie Death Cult, The Cosmic Dead, Greenthumb, Elepharmers, Nothing is Real, Warish, Mourn the Light & Oxblood Forge, Those Furious Flames, Mantra Machine

Posted in Reviews on October 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

I’d like to find the jerk who decided that the week I fly to Norway was a good time for the Quarterly Review. That, obviously, was a tactical error on my part. Nonetheless, we press on with day four, which I post from Oslo on CET. Whatever time zone you may find yourself in this Thursday, I hope you have managed to find something so far in this onslaught of whatnot to sink your chompers into. That’s ultimately, why we’re here. Also because there are so many folders with albums in them on my desktop that I can’t stand it anymore. Happens about every three months.

But anyhoozle, we press on with Day Four of the Fall 2019 Quarterly Review, dutiful and diligent and a couple other words that start with ‘d.’ Mixed bag stylistically this time — trying to throw myself off a bit — so should be fun. Let’s dive in.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Total Fucking Destruction, #USA4TFD

Total Fucking Destruction USA4TFD

Who the hell am I to be writing about a band like Total Fucking Destruction? I don’t know. Who the hell am I to be writing about anything. Fuck you. As the Rich Hoak (Brutal Truth)-led Philly natives grind their way through 23 tracks in a 27-minute barrage of deceptively thoughtful sonic extremity, they efficiently chronicle the confusion, tumult and disaffection of our age both in their maddening energy and in the poetry — yeah, I said it — of their lyrics. To it, from “Is Your Love a Rainbow”: “Are you growing? Is everything okay? Are you growing in the garden of I don’t know?” Lines like this are hardly decipherable without a lyric sheet, of course, but still, they’re there for those ready to look beyond the surface assault of the material, though, frankly, that assault alone would be enough to carry the band — Hoak on drums/vocals, Dan O’Hare on guitar/vocals and Ryan Moll on bass/vocals — along their willfully destructive course. For their fourth LP in 20 years — most of that time given to splits and shorter releases, as one might expect — Total Fucking Destruction make their case for an end of the world that, frankly, can’t get here fast enough.

Total Fucking Destruction on Thee Facebooks

Give Praise Records website

 

Hippie Death Cult, 111

Hippie-Death-Cult-111

Issued first by the band digitally and on CD and then by Cursed Tongue Records on vinyl, 111 is the impressively toned debut full-length from Portland, Oregon’s Hippie Death Cult, who cull together heavy rock and post-grunge riffing with flourish of organ and a densely-weighted groove that serves as an overarching and uniting factor throughout. With the bluesy, classic feeling vocals of Ben Jackson cutting through the wall of fuzz from Eddie Brnabic‘s guitar and Laura Phillips‘ bass set to roll by Ryan Moore‘s drumming, there’s never any doubt as to where Hippie Death Cult are coming from throughout the seven-track/42-minute offering, but longer, side-ending pieces “Unborn” (8:24) and “Black Snake” (9:06) touch respectively on psychedelia and heavy blues in a way that emphasizes the subtle turns that have been happening all along, not just in shifts like the acoustic “Mrtyu,” but in the pastoral bridge and ensuing sweep of “Pigs” as well. “Sanctimonious” and “Breeder’s Curse” provide even ground at the outset, and from there, Hippie Death Cult only grow richer in sound along their way.

Hippie Death Cult on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records BigCartel store

 

The Cosmic Dead, Scottish Space Race

The Cosmic Dead Scottish Space Race

Heavyweight Glaswegian space jammers The Cosmic Dead present four massive slabs of lysergic intensity with their eighth long-player, Scottish Space Race (on Riot Season Records), working quickly to pull the listener into their gravity well and holding them there for the 2LP’s 75-minute duration. As hypnotic as it is challenging, the initial churn that emerges in the aptly-named 20-minute opener “Portal” clenches the stomach brutally, and it’s not until after about 12 minutes that the band finally lets it loose. “Ursa Major,” somewhat thankfully, is more serene, but still carries a sense of movement and build in its second half, while the 12-minute title-track is noisier and has the surprising inclusion of vocals from the generally instrumental outfit. They cap with the 24-minute kosmiche throb of “The Grizzard,” and there are vocals there too, but they’re too obscured to be really discernible in any meaningful way, and of course the end of the record itself is a huge wash of fuckall noise. Eight records deep, The Cosmic Dead know what they’re doing in this regard, and they do it among the best of anyone out there.

The Cosmic Dead on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records website

 

Greenthumb, There are More Things

greenthumb there are more things

With just three tracks across a 20-minute span, There are More Things (on Acid Cosmonaut) feels like not much more than a sampler of things to come from Italian post-sludgers Greenthumb, who take their name from a Bongzilla track they also covered on their 2018 debut EP, West. The three-songer feels like a decided step forward from that offering, and though they maintain their screamier side well enough, they might be on the verge of needing a new name, as the rawness conveyed by the current moniker hardly does justice to the echoing atmospherics the band in their current incarnation bring. Launching with the two seven-minute cuts “The Field” and “Ogigia’s Tree,” they unfurl a breadth of roll so as to ensnare the listener, and though “The Black Court” is shorter at 5:37 and a bit more straight-ahead in its structure, it still holds to the ambient sensibility of its surroundings well, the band obviously doing likewise in transposing a natural feel into their sound born of landscape real or imagined.

Greenthumb on Thee Facebooks

Acid Cosmonaut Records on Bandcamp

 

Elepharmers, Lords of Galaxia

Elepharmers Lords Of Galaxia Artwork

Riffy Sardinians Elepharmers set themselves to roll with “Ancient Astronauts” and do not stop from there on Lords of Galaxia, their third LP and debut through Electric Valley Records. There are some details of arrangement between the guitars of El Chino (also bass, vocals and harmonica) and Andrea “Fox” Cadeddu and the drums of Maurizio Mura, but as Marduk heralds his age on second cut “Ziqqurat,” the central uniting factor is g-r-o-o-v-e, and Elepharmers have it down through “The Flood” and into side B’s classic stoner rocking “Foundation” and the driving “The Mule,” which shifts into laser-effects ahead of the fade that brings in closer “Stars Like Dust” for the last 10 minutes of the 47-minute offering. And yes, there’s some psychedelia there, but Elepharmers stay pretty clearheaded on the whole in such a way as to highlight the sci-fi theme that seems to draw the songs together as much as the riffage. More focus on narrative can only help bring that out more, but I’m not sure I’d want that at the expense of the basic songwriting, which isn’t at all broken and thus requires no fixing.

Elepharmers on Thee Facebooks

Electric Valley Records website

 

Nothing is Real, Only the Wicked are Pure

nothing is real only the wicked are pure

How do you recognize true misanthropy when you come across it? It doesn’t wear a special kind of facepaint, though it can. It doesn’t announce itself as such. It is a frame. Something genuinely antisocial and perhaps even hateful is a worldview. It’s not raise-a-claw-in-the-woods. It’s he-was-a-quiet-loner. And so, coming across the debut album from Los Angeles experimentalist doom outfit, one gets that lurking, creeping feeling of danger even though the music itself isn’t overly abrasive. But across the 2CD debut album, a sprawl of darkened, viciously un-produced fare that seems to be built around programmed drums at the behest of Craig Osbourne — who may or may not be the only person in the band and isn’t willing to say otherwise — plays out over the course of more than two hours like a manifesto found after the fact. Imagine chapters called “Hope is Weakness,” “Fingered by the Hand of God,” and “Uplift the Worthy (Destroy the Weak).” The last of those appears on both discs — as do several of the songs in different incarnations — as the track marries acoustic and eventual harder-edged guitar around murderous themes, sounding something like Godflesh might have if they’d pursued a darker path. Scary.

Nothing is Real on Thee Facebooks

Nothing is Real on Bandcamp

 

Warish, Down in Flames

warish down in flames

The fact that Warish are blasting hard punk through heavy blowout tones isn’t what everyone wants to talk about when it comes to the band. They want to talk about the fact that it’s Riley Hawk — of royal stock, as regards pro skateboarding — fronting the band. Well, that’s probably good for a built-in social media following — name recognition never hurts, and I don’t see a need to pretend otherwise — but it doesn’t do shit for the album itself. What matters about the album is that bit about the blasting blowout. With Down in Flames (on RidingEasy), the Oceanside three-piece follow-up their earlier-2019 debut EP with 11 tracks that touch on horror punk with “Bones” and imagine grunge-unhinged with “Fight” and “You’ll Abide,” but are essentially a display of tonal fuckall presented not to add to a brand, but to add the soundtrack to somebody’s blackout. It’s a good time and the drunkest, gnarliest, most-possibly-shirtless dude in the room is having it. Also he probably smells. And he just hugged you. Down in Flames gets high with that dude. That matters more than who anyone’s dad is.

Warish on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Mourn the Light & Oxblood Forge, Split

It’s a double-dose of New England doom as Connecticut’s Mourn the Light and Boston’s Oxblood Forge pair up for a split release. The former bring more material than the latter, particularly when one counts the digital-only bonus cover of Candlemass‘ “Bewitched,” but with both groups, it’s a case of what-you-see-is-what-you-get. Both groups share a clear affinity for classic metal — and yes, that absolutely extends to the piano-led drama of Mourn the Light‘s mournful “Carry the Flame” — but Oxblood Forge‘s take thereupon is rougher edged, harder in its tone and meaner in the output. Their “Screams From Silence” feels like something from a dubbed-and-mailed tape circa ’92. Mourn the Light’s “Drags Me Down” is cleaner-sounding, but no less weighted. I don’t think either band is out to change the world, or even to change doom, but they’re doing what they’re doing well and without even an ounce of pretense — well, maybe a little bit in that piano track; but it’s very metal pretense — and clearly from the heart. That might be the most classic-metal aspect of all.


Mourn the Light on Thee Facebooks

Oxblood Forge on Thee Facebooks

 

Those Furious Flames, HeartH

those furious flames hearth

Swiss heavy rockers Those Furious Flames push the boundaries of psychedelia, but ultimately remain coherent in their approach. Likewise, they very, very obviously are into some classic heavy rock and roll, but their take on it is nothing if not modern. And more, they thrive in these contradictions and don’t at all sound like their songs are in conflict with themselves. I guess that’s the kind of thing one can pull off after 15 years together on a fifth full-length, which HeartH (on Vincebus Eruptum) is for them. Perhaps it’s the fact that they let the energy of pieces like “VooDoo” and the boogie-laced “HPPD” carry them rather than try to carry it, but either way, it’s clearly about the songs first, and it works. With added flash of organ amid the full-sounding riffs, Those Furious Flames round out with the spacey “Visions” and earn every bit of the drift therein with a still-resonant vocal harmony. You might not get it all the first time, but listening twice won’t be at all painful.

Those Furious Flames on Thee Facebooks

Vincebus Eruptum Recordings BigCartel store

 

Mantra Machine, Heliosphere

mantra machine heliosphere

This is what it’s all about. Four longer-form instrumentalist heavy psych jams that are warm in tone and want nothing so much as to go out wandering and see what they can find. Through “Hydrogen,” “Atmos,” “Delta-V” and “Heliosphere,” Amsterdam-based three-piece Mantra Machine want nothing for gig-style vitality, but their purpose isn’t so much to electrify as to find that perfect moment of chill and let it go, see where it ends up, and they get there to be sure. Warm guitar and bass tones call to mind something that might’ve come out of the Netherlands at the start of this decade, when bands like Sungrazer and The Machine were unfolding such fluidity as seemed to herald a new generation of heavy psychedelia across Europe. That generation took a different shape — several different shapes, in the end — but Mantra Machine‘s Heliosphere makes it easy to remember what was so exciting about that in the first place. Total immersion. Total sense of welcoming. Totally human presence without speaking a word. So much vibe. So much right on.

Mantra Machine on Thee Facebooks

Mantra Machine on Bandcamp

 

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Mourn the Light & Oxblood Forge Streaming Tracks From Split CD

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Pretty easy to imagine the conversation between Connecticut’s Mourn the Light and Massachusetts’ Oxblood Forge went something like, “Yo dudes, split?” and “Yeah,” in that order, before the decision was made. Both bands have songs streaming now, and their wares are likewise straightforward, but at the same time, you can hear the edge each group brings to the proceedings, whether it’s Mourn the Light‘s foundation in bruising metal throughout “Lost all Control” or Oxblood Forge‘s classic doom and harsher bite in the screaming chorus of “Forged in Fire.” The two bands are veterans of the New England Stoner and Doom Festival, but on successive years, though I’d imagine they’ve shared a stage or two just through sheer proximity. Next time that happens they’ll have something new for the merch table.

Info for the split is copious and follows here, as per the PR wire:

oxblood forge screams from silence

mourn the light death is lurking

U.S. Doom Outfit MOURN THE LIGHT Releasing Split Album with OXBLOOD FORGE on September 13

U.S. Doom outfit MOURN THE LIGHT will release a self-titled split album with Massachusetts Trad-Metal/Doom crew OXBLOOD FORGE September 13 on CD and digital formats. The split album comes in two versions, each with a different cover. The MOURN THE LIGHT version also includes a bonus digital download of Candlemass cover “Bewitched.”

There’s no arguing that Connecticut doom outfit MOURN THE LIGHT has hit the ground running since its inception in early 2018. Focusing on catchy sing-a-long hooks to deliver tales of hopelessness and despair, MOURN THE LIGHT released their debut EP Weight of the World that year, followed by the CD single “Carry The Flame.” Both were incredibly well-received by the underground metal community, but the MOURN THE LIGHT boys were not ones to rest on their riff-hurling asses. The band embarked on a U.S. tour throughout March of 2018, taking them on a 4,500 mile trek with stops including SWSX Stoner Jam ’19 and New England Stoner and Doom Fest 2.

Now on the eve of MOURN THE LIGHT’s much-anticipated split with NWOTHM force OXBLOOD FORGE, excitement is also building for their first Canadian tour this October with power metal juggernaut Firstbourne (featuring 6-string wunderkind Mike Kerr, who played a guest solo on Weight of the World). Along with the upcoming split and tour plans, MTL has released a cover of the Candlemass classic “Bewitched,” featuring a guest solo by Joey Concepcion (The Absence, Sanctuary), available as a bonus download for the MTL version of the split. A special treat is the album’s inclusion of the piano version of 2018 single “Carry The Flame,” featuring Sean OrcAdams (Orcumentary, Virus of Ideals).

Clearly, MOURN THE LIGHT shows no signs of stopping their hostile audio takeover. With a distinctive sound and indomitable work ethic, this band will continue to deliver a unique mark upon the metal landscape for years to come.

OXBLOOD FORGE started in 2016 with the idea of playing heavy music their way, and not following the trends. Their first release, 2016’s self titled EP dabbled in everything from 70’s rock to the Melvins, putting out many fan favorite songs. While their second full length, 2018’s Deal Dealer’s Lament presenting a more unified heavier sound. It’s dark and brooding riffs provided a more doom direction, but still heavily focused on hooks and songwriting.

During this time, OXBLOOD FORGE played in front of audiences all over New England, opening for national acts from Unearthly Trance, to Conan and Mothership, and was also invited to play Doom Over Toronto II festival, in addition to the first annual New England Stoner Doom Festival.

Now, with a revamped lineup, OXBLOOD FORGE is shifting gears stylistically and pushing themselves further with the split with MOURN THE LIGHT, embracing the metal of their youth, and bring about a more NWOBHM onslaught to the songs while keeping to their doom roots. In the coming months, they will be working on branching out even further to metal audiences, pushing beyond the New England area, and working on an upcoming full length release.

With the collaboration of MOURN THE LIGHT and OXBLOOD FORGE, the split release is a grand introduction into the musical excellence of these two talented, passionate bands.

Track Listing:
1 Lost All Control – Mourn the Light
2 Drags Me Down – Mourn the Light 3
3 Carry The Flame (Piano version feat. Sean OrcAdams) – Mourn the Light
4 Bewitched (Candlemass Cover) – Mourn The Light*
5 Screams From Silence – Oxblood Forge
6 Forged In Fire – Oxblood Forge

*Bonus Digital Download on MTL Version Only

Mourn The Light Credits:
Recorded at Up Recording Studio Seymour, CT in May 2019
Recorded and Mixed by Simon Tuozzoli
Mastered by Rob Birkbeck at Project 7:06 Sound Services Griswold, CT
Songs written by Dwayne Eldredge
Piano/Strings on “Carry the Flame” performed by Sean OrcAdams
Additional backing vocals on “Carry The Flame” by Simon Tuozzoli
Cover art by Jim Clegg
Inside art by Eryka Fir
Layout by Charlie Platteborze

Oxblood Forge Credits:
Recorded Spring 2019 at Red Devil Studios with Joel Hopkins
Mixed by Glenn Smith at Amps vs Ohms Studio
Mastered at New Alliance East by Nick Zampiello

MOURN THE LIGHT is
Andrew Stachelek – Vocals
Dwayne Eldredge – Guitars and vocals
Kyle Hebner – Drums
Daniel Jackson – Bass

OXBLOOD FORGE is
Ken MacKay: vox
Robb Lioy: Guitar
Greg Dellaria: Bass
Erik Fraünfeltër: drums

mournthelight.com/
mournthelight.bandcamp.com/
facebook.com/MournTheLight/
instagram.com/mourn_the_light/

facebook.com/oxbloodforge/
oxbloodforge.bandcamp.com/
instagram.com/oxbloodforge/

Mourn the Light, “Lost all Control”

Oxblood Forge, “Forged in Fire”

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Sentinel Hill Premiere Video for “Uninvited” from Demo 2019

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

sentinel hill

On Aug. 25, Connecticut-based heavy rockers Sentinel Hill will take the stage at Fete Music Hall in Providence, Rhode Island, to open the final night of the Corrosion of Conformity, Crowbar and Lo-Pan tour. Good gig. They also appeared at New England Stoner & Doom Fest — or, Nessy” — this past May on the strength of their aptly-titled Demo 2019, which marks their first release since getting together last year. They’re not signed to Salt of the Earth Records (yet), but bassist Aaron Lewis‘ other band, Buzzard Canyon are, and Sentinel Hill will feature on a label compilation with the track “Uninvited,” for which they’re also premiering a new video below.

There. I think we’re all caught up.

I mention all of this not just to be like, “Oh, these guys have a lot going on.” It’s a fair amount for a band whose demo arrived less than five months ago, sure enough, but more importantly, it speaks to the underlying importance of the song. If you’ve got songs, you’ve got everything, and listening to Demo 2019, with “Already Broken” leading into “Uninvited” and the highlight “Stones Unturned” giving way to the acoustic “The Silence at Last,” it’s abundantly clear that songcraft is where Sentinel Hill‘s collective heart lies. It’s a demo, so I wouldn’t necessarily expect it to be the final word on production method or overall tonality — though neither is lacking — but the roots are in quality, structured material, and while Lewis, drummer Rob Birkbeck and guitarist/vocalist Charlie Sad Eyes (both ex-Holding on to Nothing) might expand on what they do, Demo 2019 shows the foundation of whatever they’ll subsequently build, and it’s righteously solid.

As to what might be next for Sentinel Hill, well, they’re a band, so I’m gonna hazard the guess of, “writing songs?” Seems like a safe bet. But like a first album, second album, etc., the demo stage for a band only comes once, so they’re only right to make the most of it while they’re here with the video and hopefully turn some more heads onto what they’re doing with “Uninvited” and its three companion tracks on Demo 2019. To that end, I’m happy to host the clip below.

Please enjoy:

Sentinel Hill, “Uninvited” official video premiere

Connecticut based dirt rock band, SENTINEL HILL, release their brand new video, “Uninvited”, today… Off of their recently released 4 Song Demo, (available on CD and Digital Platforms)

The band also announces that they will be supporting CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, Crowbar, And Lo-Pan @ Fete Music Hall (Providence RI) on August 25th!

The track “Uninvited” also appears on the upcoming Salt Of The Earth Records CD Compilation “BLUE COLLAR HEAVY”.

The only unsigned band on the collection, SENTINEL HILL deliver BIG alongside seasoned heavy hitters like EARTHRIDE, ATALA, and CORTEZ.

Sentinel Hill, Demo 2019

Sentinel Hill on Bandcamp

Sentinel Hill on Thee Facebooks

Sentinel Hill on Instagram

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Owl Maker Post New Single “Clouds”

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

owl maker (Photo by Anthony Frisketti)

The Connecticut-based trio Owl Maker have posted a new song that brings them into an entirely new realm of sound. Well, at least in terms of arrangement. The unplugged track is called “Clouds” and it follows behind the 2018 two-songer Sky Road (review here), which affirmed their dual-allegiance to classic metal and heavy rock. The band have continued to play regionally throughout the Nutmeg State and thereabouts, and they recently featured at the New England Stoner & Doom Fest pre-party. I don’t know whether “Clouds” is intended as a precursor to a longer release following their debut full-length, earlier 2018’s Paths of the Slain (review here), but even as a standalone, it throws a wrench into the expectation of what they might do on a given outing, and that’s rarely a bad thing — certainly not in this case.

The PR wire speculates similarly on what’s to come, which I guess means no one really knows or is telling at this point. Fair enough to keep ’em guessing. Curious though that the artwork for “Clouds” is so vertical. Cassingle in the future maybe?

Here’s the release announcement:

owl maker clouds art

Owl Maker release new single “Clouds”

Connecticut heavy metal trio OWL MAKER unexpectedly released the acoustic single “Clouds” on their bandcamp page earlier this week. Giving the amps and the skins a break, Simon Tuozzoli dusted off a couple acoustic guitars, Jessie May broke out the cello, and Chris Anderson added tasteful hand percussion to this deeply personal track. “Clouds” is narrative in structure, a story of missed connections and unmet hopes. It’s a stark departure from the band’s usual lyrical fare of literature and pagan goddesses… Perhaps signaling a creative turning point? Or perhaps not. Owl Maker will be taking a break from performing this fall as band members attend to personal matters. What materializes after that is up to fate.

Stream and download “Clouds” here: https://owlmaker.bandcamp.com/album/clouds

Simon Tuozzoli — Guitar/Vocals/Recording/Mixing
Jessie May — Bass (Cello)
Chris Anderson — Drums/Percussion

https://www.facebook.com/owlmakermetal/
https://www.instagram.com/owlmakermetal/
https://owlmaker.bandcamp.com

Owl Maker, “Clouds”

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Quarterly Review: Pelican, Swan Valley Heights, Mark Deutrom, Greenbeard, Mount Soma, Nibiru, Cable, Reino Ermitaño, Cardinals Folly & Lucifer’s Fall, Temple of the Fuzz Witch

Posted in Reviews on July 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

More computer bullshit this morning. I lost about 45 minutes because my graphics driver and Windows 10 apparently hate each other and before I could disable the former, the machine decided the best it could do for me was to load a blank screen. Hard to find the Pelican record on my desktop when I can’t see my desktop. The Patient Mrs. woke up while I was trying to fix it and suggested HDMIing it to the tv. When I did that, it didn’t project as was hoped, but the display came on — because go figure — and I was able to shut off the driver, the only real advantage of which is it lets me use the night light feature so it’s easier on my eyes. That’s nice, but I’d rather have the laptop function. Not really working on a level of “give me soft red light or give me death!” at this point. I may yet get there in my life.

Today’s the last day of this beast, wrapping up the last of the 60 reviews, and I’m already in the hole for the better part of an hour thanks to this technical issue, the second of the week. Been an adventure, this one. Let’s close it out.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Pelican, Nighttime Stories

pelican nighttime stories

Split into two LPs each with its own three-minute mood-setter — those being “WST” and “It Stared at Me,” respectively — Pelican‘s Nighttime Stories (on Southern Lord) carries the foreboding sensibility of its title into an aggressive push throughout the album, which deals from the outset with the pain of loss. The lead single “Midnight and Mescaline” represents this well in directly following “WST,” with shades of more extreme sounds in the sharp-turning guitar interplay and tense drums, but it carries through the blastbeats of “Abyssal Plain” and the bombastic crashes of presumed side B closer “Cold Hope” as well, which flow via a last tonal wash toward the melancholy “It Stared at Me” and the even-more-aggro title-track, the consuming “Arteries of Blacktop” and the eight-minute “Full Moon, Black Water,” which offers a build of maddening chug — a Pelican hallmark — before resolving in melodic serenity, moving, perhaps, forward with and through its grief. It’s been six years since Pelican‘s last LP, Forever Becoming (review here), and they’ve responded to that time differential with the hardest-hitting record they’ve ever done.

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Southern Lord Recordings website

 

Swan Valley Heights, The Heavy Seed

swan valley heights the heavy seed

Though the peaceful beginning of 13-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “The Heavy Seed,” for which the five-song album is named, reminds of Swan Valley Heights‘ Munich compatriots in Colour Haze, the ultimate impression the band make on their Fuzzorama Records debut and second album overall behind a 2016 self-titled (review here) is more varied in its execution, with cuts like “Vaporizer Woman” and the centerpiece “Take a Swim in God’s Washing Machine” manifesting ebbs and flows and rolling out a fuzzy largesse to lead into dream-toned ethereality and layered vocals that immediately call to mind Elephant Tree. There’s a propensity for jamming, but they’re not a jam band, and seem always to have a direction in mind. That’s true even on the three-minute instrumental “My First Knife Fight,” which unfurls around a nod riff and simple drum progression to bridge into closer “Teeth and Waves,” a bookend to The Heavy Seed‘s title-track that revives that initial grace and uses it as a stepping stone for the crunch to come. It’s a balance that works and should be well received.

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Fuzzorama Records on Bandcamp

 

Mark Deutrom, The Blue Bird

Mark Deutrom The Blue Bird

Released in the wee hours of 2019, Mark Deutrom‘s The Blue Bird marks the first new solo release from the prolific Austin-based songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist through Season of Mist, and it’s a 50-minute run of genre-spanning outsider art, bringing ’70s folk vibes to the weepy guitar echoes of “Radiant Gravity” right before “O Ye of Little Faith” dooms out for six of its seven minutes and “Our Revels Now Are Ended” basks in 77 seconds of experimentalist winding guitar. It goes like that. Vocals are intermittent enough to not necessarily be expected, but not entirely absent through the midsection of “Hell is a City,” “Somnambulist” and “Maximum Hemingway,” and if there’s traditionalism at play anywhere, it might be in “They Have Won” and “The Happiness Machine,” which, toward the back end of the album, bring a sax-laden melancholy vibe and a straightforward heavy rock feel, respectively, ahead of the closer “Nothing out There,” which ties them together, somehow accounting for the 1:34 “On Fathers Day” as well in its sweetness. Don’t go into The Blue Bird asking it to make sense on any level other than its own and you should be fine. It’s not a minor undertaking at 50 minutes, and not without its indulgences, but even the briefest of pieces helps develop the character of the whole, which of course is essential to any good story.

Mark Deutrom website

Season of Mist website

 

Greenbeard, Onward, Pillager

greenbeard onward pillager

Austin bringers of hard-boogie Greenbeard reportedly issued the three-song Onward, Pillager as a precursor to their next full-length — even the name hints toward it being something of a stopgap — but its tracks stand well on their own, whether it’s the keyboard-laced “Contact High II,” which is presumably a sequel to another track on the forthcoming record, or the chunkier roll of “WCCQ” and the catchy finisher “Kill to Love Yourself,” with its overlaid guitar solo adding to a dramatic ending. It hasn’t been that long since 2017’s Lödarödböl (review here), but clearly these guys are committed to moving forward in neo-stoner rock fashion, and their emergence as songwriters is highlighted particularly throughout “WCCQ” and “Kill to Love Yourself,” while “Contact High II” is more of an intro or a would-be interlude on the full-length. It may only be pieces of a larger, to-be-revealed picture, but Onward, Pillager shows three different sides of what Greenbeard have on offer, and the promise of more to come is one that will hopefully be kept sooner rather than later.

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Sailor Records on Bandcamp

 

Mount Soma, Nirodha

mount_soma_nirodha

Each of the three songs on Mount Soma‘s densely-weighted, live-recorded self-released Nirodha EP makes some mention of suffering in its lyrics, and indeed, that seems to be the theme drawing together “Dark Sun Destroyer” (7:40), “Emerge the Wolf” (5:50) and “Resurfacing” (9:14): a quest for transcendence perhaps in part due to the volume of the music and the act itself of creating it. Whatever gets them there, the trajectory of Nirodha is such that by the time they hit into the YOB-style galloping toward the end of “Resurfacing,” the gruff shouts of “rebirth!” feel more celebratory than ambitious. Based in Dublin, the four-piece bring a fair sense of space to their otherwise crush-minded approach, and though the EP is rough — it is their second short release following 2016’s Origins — they seem to have found a way to tie together outer and inner cosmos with an earthbound sense of gravity and heft, and with the more intense shove of “Emerge the Wolf” between the two longer tracks, they prove themselves capable of bringing a noisy charge amid all that roar and crash. They did the first EP live as well. I wonder if they’d do the same for a full-length.

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Mount Soma on Bandcamp

 

Nibiru, Salbrox

nibiru salbrox

One might get lost in the unmanageable 64-minute wash of Nibiru‘s fifth full-length (first for Ritual Productions), Salbrox, but the opaque nature of the proceedings is part of the point. The Italian ritualists bring forth a chaotic depth of noise and harsh semi-spoken rasps of vocals reportedly in the Enochian language, and from 14-minute opener “EHNB” — also the longest track (immediate points) — through the morass that follows in “Exarp,” “Hcoma,” “Nanta” and so on, the album is a willful slog that challenges the listener on nearly every level. This is par for the course for Nibiru, whose last outing was 2017’s Qaal Babalon (review here), and they seem to revel in the slow-churning gruel of their distortion, turning from it only to break to minimalism in the second half of the album with “Abalpt” and “Bitom” before 13-minute closer “Rziorn” storms in like a tsunami of spiritually desolate plunge. It is vicious and difficult to hear, and again, that is exactly what it’s intended to be.

Nibiru on Thee Facebooks

Ritual Productions website

 

Cable, Take the Stairs to Hell

Cable Take the Stairs to Hell

The gift of Cable was to take typically raw Northeastern disaffection and channel it into a noise rock that wasn’t quite as post-this-or-that as Isis, but still had a cerebral edge that more primitive fare lacked. They were methodical, and 10 years after their last record, the Hartford, Connecticut, outfit return with the nine-song/30-minute Take the Stairs to Hell (on Translation Loss), which brings them back into the modern sphere with a sound that is no less relevant than it was bouncing between This Dark Reign, Hydra Head and Translation Loss between 2001 and 2004. They were underrated then and may continue to be now, but the combination of melody and bite in “Black Medicine” and the gutty crunch of “Eyes Rolled Back,” the post-Southern heavy of the title-track and the lumbering pummel of “Rivers of Old” before it remind of how much of a standout Cable was in the past, reinforcing that not only were they ahead of their time then, but that they still have plenty to offer going forward. They may continue to be underrated as they always were, but their return is significant and welcome.

Cable on Instagram

Translation Loss Records webstore

 

Reino Ermitaño, Reino Ermitaño

Reino Ermitano Reino Ermitano

Originally released in 2003, the self-titled debut from Lima, Peru’s Reino Ermitaño was a beacon and landmark in Latin American doom, with a sound derived from the genre’s traditions — Sabbath, Trouble, etc. — and melded with not only Spanish-language lyrics, but elements of South American folk and stylizations. Reissued on vinyl some 16 years later, it maintains its power through the outside-time level of its craft, sliding into that unplaceable realm of doom that could be from any point from about 1985 onward, while the melodies in the guitar of Henry Guevara and the vocals of Tania Duarte hold sway over the central groove of bassist Marcos Coifman and drummer Julio “Ñaka” Almeida. Those who were turned onto the band at the time will likely know they’ve released five LPs to-date, with the latest one from 2014, but the Necio Records version marks the first time the debut has been pressed to vinyl, and so is of extra interest apart from the standard putting-it-out-there-again reissue. Collectors and a new generation of doomers alike would be well advised on an educational level, and of course the appeal of the album itself far exceeds that.

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Necio Records on Bandcamp

 

Cardinals Folly & Lucifer’s Fall, Split

cardinals folly lucifers fall split

Though one hails from Helsinki, Finland, and the other from Adelaide, Australia, Cardinals Folly and Lucifer’s Fall could hardly be better suited to share the six-song Cruz Del Sur split LP that they do, which checks in at 35 minutes of trad doom riffing and dirtier fare. The former is provided by Cardinals Folly, who bring a Reverend Bizarre-style stateliness to “Spiritual North” and “Walvater Proclaimed!” before betraying their extreme metal roots on “Sworn Through Odin’s and Satan’s Blood,” while the Oz contingent throw down Saint Vitus-esque punk-born fuckall through “Die Witch Die,” the crawling “Call of the Wild” and the particularly brash and speedier “The Gates of Hell.” The uniting thread of course is homage to doom itself, but each band brings enough of their own take to complement each other without either contradicting or making one or the other of them feel redundant, and rather, the split works out to be a rampaging, deeply-drunk, pagan-feeling celebration of what doom is and how it has been internalized by each of these groups. Doom over the world? Yeah, something like that.

Cardinals Folly on Thee Facebooks

Lucifer’s Fall on Thee Facebooks

Cruz Del Sur Music website

 

Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Temple of the Fuzz Witch

Temple of the Fuzz Witch Temple of the Fuzz Witch

A strong current of Electric Wizard runs through the self-titled debut full-length from Detroit’s Temple of the Fuzz Witch (on Seeing Red Records), but even to that, the outfit led by guitarist/vocalist Noah Bruner bring a nascent measure of individuality, droning into and through “Death Hails” after opening with “Bathsheba” and ahead of unveiling a harmonized vocal on “The Glowing of Satan” that suits the low end distortion surprisingly well. They continue to offer surprises throughout, whether it’s the spaciousness of centerpiece “329” and “Infidel,” which follows, or the offsetting of minimalism and crush on “The Fuzz Witch” and the creeper noise in the ending of “Servants of the Sun,” and though there are certainly familiar elements at play, Temple of the Fuzz Witch come across with an intent to take what’s been done before and make it theirs. In that regard, they would seem to be on the right track, and in their 41 minutes, they find footing in a murky aesthetic and are able to convey a sense of songwriting without sounding heavy-handed. There’s nothing else I’d ask of their first album.

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Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

 

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Pinto Graham Premiere “Further” from Dos EP out July 12

Posted in audiObelisk on June 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

pinto graham

Connecticut power trio Pinto Graham release their Dos EP on July 12. Formed in 2016 in New Haven, the three-piece issued their first full-length, Uno, the next year, and the six tracks/24 minutes of the follow-up feel more like half an album than an EP for the flow they conjure and the obvious care put into their arrangements of and within the material itself, blending Southern heavy rock, bluesy vibes and a touch of the ethereal around largely straightforward songwriting in order to create a sound that’s at once familiar and still malleable enough for them to toy with pace and the balance of their influences. A bit of this, a bit of that, in other words, but it suits them as guitarist/vocalist Andre Roman, bassist/vocalist Ant Reckart and drummer Brian Harris roll through the changes in tempo of “Dreamcatcher,” Roman and Reckart and guest singer Kelly L’Heureux — who would seem as well to appear on the prior “Southern Superstitions” — in a blend of forward lines and far-off-mic backing voices almost in harmony. It’s semi-traditionalist heavy rock that benefits from the diversity of experience from its creators, but perhaps most of all so in being clear-headed in its intent and knowing what it wants to do in terms of sound and how.

Dudes wastes no time getting down in the opening track “Further,” and that sets the course with about four and a half winding minutes of go-go-go thrust that manages not to sacrifice melodyPinto Graham Dos even in its crunchiest pivots. The guitar solo hints at some of the more Southern vibing that will make itself known after the crashing roller “Sleeping Giant” when “Southern Superstitions” takes hold, the flow of the EP seeming to take it from more uptempo movements to slower ones, but even when the harmonica hits in “Southern Superstitions,” it does so over a riff that’s as much Seattle grunge as Texas ramble. “Further,” though, is clearly tasked with providing the momentum for the rest of what follows — another reason I’d consider Dos a short album rather than an EP; the way the songs interact with each other — and it succeeds in that and then some, having an effect even as the mid-tempo hook of “Southern Superstitions” feeds, vocals only, into the noisy beginning of “Dreamcatcher,” Echoes give the vocals a howling feel that suits the piece, but it’s clearly meant to be a standout and it is, letting “Old Man of the Mountain” straighten out and fly right with some classic-feeling boogie that’s still well in context for what surrounds.

That leaves only “The Weight” to close out, and it does so with, yes, a slower tempo, and the immediate roll of a southbound highway (and no, I don’t mean I-95 at the intersection with I-91 where all the food trucks are), melded with a bluesy solo and some righteously dirty bass beneath. The track runs 4:51, the solo comes in at about 2:42, and I’d be content if Pinto Graham wanted to just ride out that jam for the next three minutes or so — by then, there’s nothing reasonably asked of Dos that’s not been delivered, and as far as I’m concerned, they’ve demonstrated both progress since Uno and their songwriting acumen more generally — but they do turn back to the chorus to finish out, holding to the idea of structure that is an underpinning for the EP as a whole. It’s a clean break and a fitting end for the short set done up in a style that would seem poised to grab the ears and eyes of Ripple Music, fitting in along the likes of Wo FatFoghoundFreedom Hawk, etc., as well perhaps as Valley of the Sun and some other modern practitioners of noteworthy craft. For those seeking a bottom line, it’s that’s Pinto Graham are more than a clever name, and for anyone who perhaps missed the first album, Dos offers a brief opportunity to get caught up before they pass by on the way to the next one. I’d advise taking advantage.

Dig into the premiere of “Further” below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Hailing from New Haven, Connecticut, southern rock trio Pinto Graham serves up psychedelic riffage that pulls audiences to their feet. The diverse musical experiences of bassist/vocalist Ant Reckart, guitarist/vocalist Andre Roman, and drummer Brian Harris make for a perfect meeting of groove, grit, and melody. With influences ranging from Lynyrd Skynrd to Pentagram — both of whom they pay homage to with their band name — Pinto Graham will shake, rattle, and roll any stage they set foot on.

Formed in 2013 by Reckart and Harris, the band kicked into high gear with the addition of Roman in 2016. The three creative spirits came together from different paths, with Florida transplant Reckart drumming for industrial shock rockers Genitorturers for many years, Roman touring across the country on bass with punk outfit Murdervan, and Harris playing with Araca París and S26 in his native Argentina.

But this unusual combination of history and influences has become something greater than the sum of its parts. Pinto’s 2017 debut album Uno solidified their place in the underground music scene, with songs featured on many podcasts, blogs, and compilations including Alternative Control’s Volume Doom. The band has played live all over New England, and was especially proud to perform at a Florida benefit for St. Michael’s Soldiers alongside southern rock giants Molly Hatchet and Johnnie and Donnie Van Zant.

2019 promises to bring these “High Flyers” to new heights with the release of their second album, Dos. Recorded at Studio Wormwood in rural Connecticut with engineer Dave Kaminsky, Dos will be released on July 12, 2019 in CD and digital formats. Pinto will also return to Florida to perform at St. Michael’s Soldiers’ third annual benefit later this year, set to share the stage with .38 Special.

Photo by Rick Casados Photo.

Brian Harris – drums
Andre Roman – guitar and vocals
Ant Reckart – bass and vocals

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Pinto Graham on Bandcamp

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Sea of Bones Announce East Coast Tour with Fister

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

sea of bones

I was thinking the other day it had been a while since Sea of Bones released their last album, The Earth Wants Us Dead (review here), but jeez, having the excuse now to hit up their Bandcamp page and see it’s been six years since that record came out in 2013, I’m gonna just call it and say it’s time for some new Sea of Bones. No, not every band needs to put out a record every year, two years, or even three — good devastation takes time, I realize that — but six years on from that outing, they’re due. They did that their split with Ramlord (review here) out in 2016, but even so, time for a new one.

Maybe if we’re lucky — or, given the level of aural punishment these guys emit, unlucky — their upcoming week on the road with Fister as that band celebrates their 10th anniversary will put something new in motion in that regard, but of course I know nothing about nothing, which is pretty much the same as ever. They could have a record in the can for all I know, I’d just like to hear something new from them.

If you feel the same, maybe that’s all the more reason to make it out to the show when it comes through. Dates are as follows:

sea of bones tour

It’s an overcast miserable day, perfect for sharing this news. Remember that tour we were talking about earlier! Well here’s them dates, and even better, it’s with our besties Fister!! Brought to you by Heavy Talent, Listenable records, and Rigs of Doom!!! Oh, it’s on…

08/09 Brooklyn NY Saint Vitus Bar
08/10 Boston MA 0’Brien’s
08/11 Philadelphia PA Kung Fu Necktie
08/12 Pittsburgh PA Howler’s
08/13 Washington D.C. Atlas Brew Works
08/14 Richmond VA Wonderland
08/15 Atlanta GA The Bakery
08/16 Memphis TN Hi-Tone

Sea of Bones is:
Gary – Bass & Vocals
Tom – Guitar & Vocals
Kevin – Drums & Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/Sea-of-Bones-35253450819/
https://seaofbones.bandcamp.com/

Sea of Bones, “Hopelessness and Decay”

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