Quarterly Review: Trippy Wicked, Dunbarrow, The Vintage Caravan, Zatokrev & Minsk, Owl Maker, Orbital Junction, Bourbon, Birnam Wood, Wytch Hazel, The Soulbreaker Company

Posted in Reviews on December 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

You know how this goes by now, right? Well, okay, except that because I skipped the Quarterly Review that I otherwise would’ve done in September (or, more likely, October), I’m doubling-up this time. 100 reviews instead of 50. Two full weeks of 10 albums per day. Will I survive? Yeah, probably. Will it be completely overwhelming? Already is. Thanks for asking.

I’ll save the summaries of the year that was for list-time, which is fast approaching, but consider the fact that there are well more than 100 albums I could include in this roundup emblematic of just how vibrant heavy rock and doom are in the US, EU, UK, Australia and elsewhere. It’s a universal thing, and accordingly, there’s a whole universe of it to explore. This is just a sampling.

But yeah, time’s a wastin’, so let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight, Stakes n Scale

trippy wicked stakes n scale

An acoustic EP from Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight — who, let’s face it, were way ahead of the curve when it comes to the UK scene’s thing for long and ridiculous band names — is a considerable departure from where they were two years ago on their split/collaboration with GurT (review here), but those familiar with the band might recall their past penchant for the occasional unplugged cover recorded for YouTube. Chris West (also Crawling for Carrion, Glanville, etc.), who engineered the recording and plays guitar, and vocalist Peter Holland (also Elephant Tree) revamp Trippy Wicked‘s “Up the Stakes” from 2012’s Going Home (review here), and cover “Scale the Mountain” by Stubb, of which both were members when the song was written. Together, they make for a nine-minute showcase for the character in Holland‘s voice and the melodies and craft at root in both tracks, and while its arrival feels like kind of a one-off, it’s certainly no less welcome for that.

Trippy Wicked on Thee Facebooks

Trippy Wicked on Bandcamp

 

Dunbarrow, II

dunbarrow ii

The novelty of new bands playing through vintage gear in order to capture a heavy ’70s sound may have faded, but like all subgenres, as time goes on, the retro-ist style continues to shift and change as bands like Dunbarrow bring new character to established tenets. Their second LP for RidingEasy is aptly-titled II and sways between honoring the likes of Pentagram and acts like Witchcraft who’ve helped craft that band’s hindsight-founded legacy. Dunbarrow‘s noodly style, restrained rhythmic shove and ride-the-riff melody on “Weary Lady” and the foresty creep of “The Demon Within” capture the vibe well, the latter occurring in a second half of II populated with “The Wolf” and “Witches of the Woods Pt. II,” a sequel to the closer of their 2016 self-titled debut (review here) that here leads to the more severe roll of the finale, “On this Night,” emblematic of the changing character of the band even as it reaffirms in its tense midsection the roots from which they sprung.

Dunbarrow on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records on Bandcamp

 

The Vintage Caravan, Gateways

the vintage caravan gateways

With their third record and second for Nuclear Blast, Icelandic trio The Vintage Caravan affirm not only their passion for the boogie of old on cuts like “The Way” and the strutting “Hidden Streams,” but secure a place as being worthy of the consideration they’ve been given to a degree by the wider Continental European heavy underground. They are strikingly mature in their approach for still being a relatively young band, and their albums have worked quickly to develop a character that is becoming more and more their own. They do the fests and they tour, and so on, but they seem to be engaged in building their listenership one pair of ears at a time. Having a metal-major label behind them hasn’t hurt their promotional cause, but frankly, they’re not as big as they should be for the level of work they’re doing, and even with songs like “Reset” and “Reflections” and the composed-strictly-for-vinyl-sounding closer “Tune Out” to their credit, they’re still largely a word of mouth band, especially in the US. Well, consider this your word of mouth. If you haven’t heard Gateways yet, you should get on that.

The Vintage Caravan on Thee Facebooks

The Vintage Caravan at Nuclear Blast

 

Minsk & Zatokrev, Bigod

zatokrev minsk bigod

Post-metallic powerhouses Minsk and Zatokrev — both of whom hit their 15th anniversary last year — teamed up for a European tour this Fall. To mark the occasion, Consouling Sounds and Czar of Crickets celebrated with Bigod, a split with two tracks from each band arranged in alternating order — Minsk, then Zatokrev, etc. — intended to highlight the symmetry between them not just of circumstance and root influence in the Neurosis school of atmospheric sludge, but the fact that they share these commonalities despite their origins in Illinois and Switzerland, respectively. Each band opens with a longer track (double points) in Minsk‘s “Invoke/Revive” and Zatokrev‘s “Silent Gods,” each of which push past 13 minutes as likely at any moment to be pummeling as ambient, and follows with two shorter cuts, Minsk‘s “Salvatore” swelling theatrically from its minimalist beginnings while Zatokrev‘s “The Chalice and the Dagger” seems to explode from the foundation the prior band laid out. It must have been a hell of a tour, but whether you saw it or not, the split is a welcome conglomeration from two of post-metal’s strongest acts.

Minsk on Thee Facebooks

Zatokrev on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds website

Czar of Crickets Productions website

 

Owl Maker, Sky Road

owl maker sky road

Self-recording guitarist/vocalist Simon Tuozzoli (Vestal Claret, ex-Guerra, etc.) leads Connecticut-based three-piece Owl Maker through a complex thematic of Native American folklore and heavy metal classicism. The NWOBHM plays a strong role in his riffing style, but one of the two tracks included on the two-songer single Sky Road, “Owl City,” also veers into more extreme territory with a departure from clean vocals to harsher screaming. All told, it’s about eight minutes of music, but Sky Road nonetheless follows Owl Maker‘s earlier-2018 EP, Paths of the Slain (review here), with an uptick in melodic presence in the vocals of Tuozzoli and bassist Jessie May and progression in the chemistry between the two of them and drummer Chris Anderson, and with the fluidity of their transitions between various styles of heavy, their scope seems only to be growing. To wit, “Sky Road” itself is only 3:42, but still demonstrates a clear-headed compositional method based around storytelling and a subtly encompassing range. Whether it’s early warning for what they do next or a conceptual one-off, its quick run seems just to be begging for a 7″ pressing.

Owl Maker on Thee Facebooks

Owl Maker on Bandcamp

 

Orbital Junction, Orbital Junction

Orbital Junction orbital junction

The Londonderground continues to produce acts ready and willing to worship at the altar of riffs. Orbital Junction‘s self-release debut EP makes an impression not only because of the markedly pro-shop production by Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studios and the cover art by SoloMacello, but the hooks to live up to those high standards. “6 ft. 2” follows opener “Space Highway” with a bit of dudely chestbeating — note: I don’t know how tall any of them actually are — but the swing of EP centerpiece “Devil’s Double” and the bounce of “Gypsy Queen” speak for the four-piece’s roots and appreciation of straightforward heavy, void of pretense and tapping into an easy mid-paced fluidity that slows up somewhat on closer “Pagan” without really losing the central groove of the offering overall. They’ll have their work cut out for them in distinguishing themselves over the longer term amongst London’s burl-fueled hordes, but their first outing shows their instincts headed in the right direction in terms of songwriting, performance and presentation.

Orbital Junction on Thee Facebooks

Orbital Junction on Bandcamp

 

Bourbon, Fuente Vieja

Bourbon Fuente Vieja

Crisp but warm in its tone and presentation, rife with melody and carrying a laid back spirit despite a fervent underlying groove — the bass on “El Sendero” rests well within gotta-hear-it territory — Spanish purveyors Bourbon emobody some of the best of post-Viaje a 800 Andalusian heavy rock and roll on their third LP, Fuente Vieja (on Spinda). Their fuzz makes its presence known early on “Si Véis La Luz, Corred” and continues as a running theme as tracks like “A Punto de Arder” and the side-A-capping title-cut grow increasingly progressive. There’s room for some shuffle, of course, as side B begins with “La Triste Realidad,” and the slower “Hacia el Sol” gracefully blends electrified wah and acoustic guitars beneath a well-timed standout vocal performance, but the highlight might be eight-minute closer “Destierro,” which seems to bring everything else under one roof while tapping into a poppier structure early — acoustics and electrics aligning effectively circa two minutes in — while providing the album with a graceful and fittingly organic-sounding finale.

Bourbon on Thee Facebooks

Spinda Records webstore

 

Birnam Wood, Wicked Worlds

birnam wood wicked worlds

Birnam Wood don’t have time for bullshit, but they do have time for a bit of shenanigans. Thus the 1:44 surge of opener “Time of Purification” leads into the sample-laden roller groove of “Richard Dreyfuss” on their as-of-now-self-released Wicked Worlds, and the “Hole in the Sky”-style “Dunsinane” shifts into the more blown-out “Early Warning,” which, by the time its tectonic low end kicks in, is indeed something of a clarion. At seven-tracks/34-minutes, Wicked Worlds is somewhere between an EP and an LP, but I’d argue it as the latter with the flow from “Greenseer” into the massive “A Song for Jorklum” and the seven-minute finale “Return to Samarkand” making for a righteous side B, but either way, it’s a Boston-crafted assault of grit-tone and aggro doom that finds the band not overwhelmed by the heft of their own tones but able to move and manipulate them to serve the purposes of their songs. Those purposes, incidentally, are mostly about kicking ass. Which they do. Copiously.

Birnam Wood on Thee Facebooks

Birnam Wood on Bandcamp

 

Wytch Hazel, II: Sojourn

Wytch Hazel II Soujorn

It would not seem to be a coincidence that UK self-aware four-piece Wytch Hazel — guitarists Conlin Hendra (also vocals) and Alex Haslam, bassist Matt Gatley and drummer Jack Spencer nod to Wishbone Ash‘s Argus with the cover of their second LP, II: Sojourn (on Bad Omen). They do a lot of that kind of nodding, with a sound culled from a valiant blend of classic progressive and early NWOBHM styles that makes the point of how closely related the two have always been. “The Devil is Here” starts out at a fervent gallop with just an underpinning of Thin Lizzy, while the later “See My Demons” shifts from its steady roll and rousing hook into an acoustic/electric break that seems to pull from Jethro Tull as much as Scorpions. At 10 tracks/45 minutes, they have plenty of time to flesh out their ideas, and they do precisely that, whether it’s the careful unfolding around the keys and acoustics of closer “Angel Take Me” or the over-the-top instrumental push of “Chorale” or the moodier “Wait on the Wind,” the wah solo of which is a highlight on its own. There are some burgeoning harmonies in Hendra‘s vocals, which is an impulse he should follow as it would only enhance the material, but after making their debut with 2016’s Prelude, II: Sojourn finds Wytch Hazel sounding comfortable and well established in their niche.

Wytch Hazel on Thee Facebooks

Bad Omen Records on Bandcamp

 

The Soulbreaker Company, Sewed with Light

the soulbreaker company sewed with light

Progressive, expansive and engaging, the sixth album from Spanish sextet The Soulbreaker Company, Sewed with Light (on Underground Legends), taps into classically Floydian influences on songs like “The Word, the Blade” while still keeping a foot in heavy rock on the prior “Together,” and setting a quick course into a varied sonic persona via the seven-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Inner Dark.” Hypnotizing not necessarily with drift but with sheer willful exploration, The Soulbreaker Company work with a variety of key sounds and craft-minded ranging guitar in order to effect an atmosphere of thoughtful songwriting even in their most outwardly trippy moments. The sneering semi-psychedelic rock of “Avoid the Crash” and the more stripped-down roll of “Arrhythmia” (video premiere here) lead the way into closer “In the Beginning,” which marks yet another departure with its grandeur of string sounds and electronic beats leading to a chugging big finale. As with the bulk of The Soulbreaker Company‘s work, it requires an active ear, but Sewed with Light both encourages and well earns consideration as more than background noise.

The Soulbreaker Company on Thee Facebooks

Underground Legends on Bandcamp

 

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New England Stoner and Doom Fest II Makes First Lineup Announcement; Earthride, Brimstone Coven, Youngblood Supercult & More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

new england stoner and doom fest ii

Welp, I guess I know what I’m doin’ on May 3 and 4 next year. Calendar is marked. I was otherwise occupied during the first New England Stoner and Doom Fest earlier this year, but with the usual caveat that a piano might fall on my head between now and then, my plan is to hit New England Stoner and Doom Fest II as a priority, and the first lineup announcement has done nothing to dissuade me from that intention. Shadow Witch, Earthride, and Brimstone Coven are all vets of Maryland Doom FestEarthride are of course kingpins of that scene though release through NESDF-related Salt of the Earth Records — but Vessel of Light, Youngblood Supercult, Black Road, Set Fire and others it will be my first time seeing, so all the more reason to look forward to getting to Altones, which I hear kicks ass anyway.

And yes, I’m among the presenting media for the festival, but I don’t have the inside track or anything on who’s playing, so as the announcements come through for the bill, I’ll be just as surprised as everyone else. I’m looking forward to that too. There’s a good bit of diversity of sound already in the lineup, and any chance you get to see Brimstone Coven‘s harmonies in-person, you should do that. Bottom line is there’s a lot to like here so far, so dig in, and when I see the next round come through, that’ll get the same treatment.

For now, here’s the first poster and the list as posted on the fest event page on Thee Facebooks:

new england stoner and doom fest ii first poster

The New England Stoner and Doom Festival will make its return in 2019 on May 3 & 4 at Altones in Jewett City, CT.

Stay tuned for details!

www.newenglandstoneranddoomfest.com

Featuring:
Brimstone Coven
Earthride
Black Road
Vessel Of Light
Shadow Witch
Youngblood Supercult
Set Fire
Mourn The Light
Entierro

Many many more to be announced.

www.newenglandstoneranddoomfest.com
https://www.facebook.com/events/1613285008788252/
https://www.facebook.com/NewEnglandStonerAndDoomFest/
https://www.saltoftheearthrecords.com/

Earthride, Live in Los Angeles, June 13, 2018

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When the Deadbolt Breaks Premiere “Centering Through Isolation” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 24th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

when the deadbolt breaks

In the great annals of the underrated, there has to be a special place reserved for When the Deadbolt Breaks. True, the Connecticut-based doomers haven’t exactly toured the pants off the Eastern Seaboard, but even so, the simple fact that they’ll so willingly move from grueling, lurching riffs into what’s essentially grindcore before dropping to a minimalism crawl of guitar and maybe some drum thud is astounding in itself, let alone the smoothness with which they execute those turns and the mangled grace with which they build back up afterward. I’ve been listening to this band for over a decade, and I still can’t think of anyone else who conjures the same kind of atmospheric malevolence, live or on record. Yeah, they’re kind of underproduced, but this is doom — everybody’s underproduced! This site is underproduced. Seriously. I’ve had the same theme since 2009! The point I’m making is that for a band whose first album dropped in 2006 and whose guitarist, vocalist and principal songwriter Aaron Lewis (also a noted fetish photographer) has seen lineups come and go — currently working with Mike Parkyn and Randy Dumas as he has for a couple years — they don’t even have a proper bio on their Thee Facebooks page.

Well, I’m gonna fix that.

I don’t know if Deadbolt will use it or not, but it’s here and at least I can say I tried. Lewis, with whom I’ve been in touch a long, long time, and I have not talked about this prior, but it’s something I’m doing and if he wants it, fine, and if not, fine. Not gonna hurt my feelings either way.

The original point of this post was 13-minute album opener and longest track (immediate points) “Centering Through Isolation,” the legit-disturbing video for which you can see premiering below. It’s made in honor of the vinyl release of their ellipse-laden latest album, Angels are Weeping… God Has Abandoned…, through Desert Records. A CD version is also available through Sliptrick Records. Okay, here we go with the bio:

For more than a decade, When the Deadbolt Breaks have carved a niche for themselves within the interplay of extreme genres. They are no less at home in grind than they are in pummeling sludge or ambient soundscaping, casting forth triumphant riffs or proffering murder-dirge nods at a volume level that can only be considered violent. Led by guitarist/vocalist Aaron Lewis, their four to-date full-lengths read as a chronicle of threat that even unto the Connecticut-based outfit’s moniker tells of some lurking danger in the dark. Whether spanning a massive sprawl on 2016’s 2CD, Drifting Towards the Edge of the Earth, or casting a grim psychedelia on album number four, Angels are Weeping… God Has Abandoned…, When the Deadbolt Breaks are immediately recognizable in style and malice, and they continue to push forward into a filth and emotional disaffection of their own making.

Joined on Angels are Weeping… God Has Abandoned… by bassist/backing vocalist Mike Parkyn and drummer Randall Dumas, Lewis brings the three-piece through a cacophony of wretched cinematography. In the dug-in growls of “Sky Will Fall” or the victorious push of “Bloodborn,” Deadbolt make their home in a bleak, murky space that is as much atmosphere as it is impact. In the stretches of “Floyd’s Machine” or the deranged epilogue of closer “Color the Sun,” they expand on the scope set out at the beginning of the record on “Centering Through Isolation,” and the question isn’t so much how are you going to listen, but whether or not your turntable is going to survive the vibrating low end when you do.

As the latest installment of When the Deadbolt Breaks’ ongoing narrative, Angels are Weeping… God Has Abandoned… takes them to new depths and new heights, but by no means does it sound like they’re finished or relying on past laurels. Instead, expect them to keep growing and changing, because like that threat somewhere out in the woods at night, their shape is only ever what serves to terrify most at the moment.

Or something like that. Enjoy the video:

When the Deadbolt Breaks, “Centering Through Isolation” official video premiere

Aaron Lewis on “Centering Through Isolation”:

The song was inspired by some old school horror flicks I was watching. It’s pretty much a song about horror. A story about being chased down, not knowing what’s gonna come next, being trapped in the woods in the middle of the night with somebody stalking you. That’s why the pulsing bass is there. Like the old-school movies, where somebody’s trapped in the woods, it’s too dark to see, but as the viewer, all you hear is that pulsing bass and you can just sense their panic. writing the video part it was easy. The ideas seem to fit perfectly together with the song and the actors were spot on. It’s the third video that I’ve written and directed. But this is the first time that I did most of the cinematography as well as editing myself. Charlie Sad-Eyes filmed all of the live shots, and I filmed the story part of it.

When the Deadbolt Breaks live:
Nov 17 33 Golden New London CT
Dec 1 The Rough Draft Hamden CT

When The Deadbolt Breaks are:
Aaron Lewis – Guitars/Vocals | Mike Parkyn – Bass/Backing vocals | Randall Dumas – Drums

When the Deadbolt Breaks, Angels are Weeping… God Has Abandoned… (2018)

When the Deadbolt Breaks on Thee Facebooks

When the Deadbolt Breaks on Bandcamp

When the Deadbolt Breaks on YouTube

Desert Records on Thee Facebooks

Sliptrick Records on Thee Facebooks

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When the Deadbolt Breaks Sign to Desert Records for Angels are Weeping… God Has Abandoned… LP Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

After hooking up with Sliptrick Records earlier this year in order to issue their latest album, the well-ellipsed Angels are Weeping… God Has Abandoned…, on ye olde compact(e) disc, Connecticut-based dark-psych doomers When the Deadbolt Breaks have inked a deal with Desert Records to press the outing to vinyl. It’s the first LP release in a 14-year tenure for When the Deadbolt Breaks, so by no means a minor occasion to consider. Founding guitarist/vocalist Aaron Lewis — who also toured this past Spring playing bass for Earthride — mentions the CD as being imminent, and I don’t have an exact release date for the vinyl, which I expect will also drop one of the five 10-plus-minute tracks that comprise the record (though anything’s possible in this horrifying age of wonders), but Desert Records says it’ll be the soundtrack to your winter, so I’ll assume it’s not that far off.

Good news in bleak sounds, whenever it arrives. The album is also streaming in full at the bottom of this post. If you’re up for a little twist of your psyche, have at it:

when the deadbolt breaks

When the Deadbolt Breaks – Desert Records

Desert Records would like to welcome When The Deadbolt Breaks to the family. This album brings you Psychedelic at its most beautiful, with Doom at its most darkest and crushing. Angels are Weeping will be your soundtrack for the coming winter.

Says the band, “We are very excited to sign with Desert Records for the vinyl release of our new album, “Angels are weeping… God has abandoned…”. We feel that this is going to be a great partnership and look forward to what the future will bring.

“The album is currently available digitally (and CD as soon as customs releases them to us) through our bandcamp, and is scheduled to be released on CD and digital worldwide via SlipTrick Records this month.

“We have wanted to do a vinyl release for some time, and feel that this is the perfect release to do that with. Thanks to Desert Records, it will happen.”

When The Deadbolt Breaks are:
Aaron Lewis – Guitars/Vocals | Mike Parkyn – Bass/Backing vocals | Randall Dumas – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/WhentheDeadboltBreaks/
https://whenthedeadboltbreaks.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/Deadbolt6669
https://www.facebook.com/desertrecordlabel/
https://www.facebook.com/sliptrickrecords/

When the Deadbolt Breaks, Angels are Weeping… God Has Abandoned… (2018)

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Stone Titan Premiere “Whale Bone”; New EP Coming Soon

Posted in audiObelisk on September 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

stone titan

You’ve got two minutes, right? For the sake of feedback-drenched fuckall sludge? Of course you do. It’s easy to imagine the trio Stone Titan destroying any number of punk rock basements and/or houses in their native New Haven, the shocked faces of Yale freshmen looking on as they tear into a cut like “Whale Bones” from their forthcoming self-titled EP, which unloads a barrage of screams, riffs, noise and crash, and then is gone as quickly as it arrived. Dudes would be sure to blow a fuse, at very least, blinking out the inevitable Xmas lights strung up around the place to give it that you’re-definitely-at-a-house-show feel. I’ve had the privilege of running into Stone Titan a couple times over the years — once in Connecticut in 2011 (review here) and again in Massachusetts in 2014 (review here) and they were remarkably brash then. “Whale Bone” would seem to indicate that not much has changed in that regard. So be it.

Their new EP was tracked in MA by Will Killingsworth at Dead Air Studios, and the punishment “Whale Bone” exudes is in every punkish bark and bite the brief track has on offer. I would imagine it’s not the only assault on the upcoming short release, but I haven’t heard the full thing to comment on it. In any case, Stone Titan‘s debut long-player, 2013’s Scratch ‘n’ Sniff, had its share of sans-frills barrages as well, but they were only a part of the overall scope of the outing, which also realized its mesmerizing tones and maddening sludge push in songs like “A Brief History of Overweight Men” and the pretty-much-says-it-all opener “I Wish I was Fucking Dead,” and 2015’s Moonshine followed suit. Stone Titan have been around for a while at this point — a decade as of this year — but their attack has only become more vicious for that, and “Whale Bone” poaches hard-hitting aural beatings with a purpose that underscores their collective experience.

The EP will be out… at some point. Whenever they get to it, I guess. The artwork is being finalized now, so extrapolate from there. In the meantime, you can stream the premiere of “Whale Bone” below and dig into its harsh and all-too-real aspects.

Please enjoy:

Stone Titan, “Whale Bone” official track premiere

This is “Whale Bone” from the new Stone Titan EP out Fall 2018

Limited to 50 pro pressed cassettes with digital downloads.

Stone Titan on Thee Facebooks

Stone Titan on Bandcamp

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Live Review: Backwoods Payback, Set Fire and Owl Maker in New London, CT, 07.21.18

Posted in Reviews on July 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Backwoods Payback (Photo JJ Koczan)

Right down the block from where the El ‘n’ Gee used to be — the space is still there, with a new name and a line outside waiting to get in — is 33 Golden St., a classic rock and roll basement bar that feels immediately like home. It’s not dirty in that hey-it’s-rock-and-roll-so-we-never-need-to-sweep kind of way, and the room is warm and welcoming and they play Sabbath over the P.A., so somebody clearly has their head on straight. My guess is that would be the owner, Craig, though I didn’t get to meet him to tell him so.

The occasion for the trip to New London was to see Backwoods Payback, who’d so recently laid waste to Maryland Doom Fest 2018 in Frederick, MD, as part of heralding their new album, Future Slum, and the purpose for the long weekender was much the same. Joining them on the intended bill were Set Fire from Boston and Southern Connecticut’s Owl Maker, as well as Witchkiss, who dropped off at the last minute owing to a family emergency. Without the fourth band, it was an easy atmosphere to the evening. Three bands, cool vibe, stage tucked into the corner at the end of the bar. The place reminded me of what O’Brien’s in Boston might be with a little upkeep.

Owl Maker led off and were not entirely unknown to me, having checked out their March 2018 EP, Paths of the Slain (review here), Owl Maker (Photo JJ Koczan)from which they played a couple songs including “Freya’s Chariot” and “99.” Led by guitarist/vocalist Simon Tuozzoli, also of Vestal Claret and UP Recording Studio, the trio was completed by the punch of Jessie May‘s bass and the metallic-style drumming of Chris Anderson.

Deadpan humor and NWOBHM-inspired riffing — also a more direct line, with a cover of Iron Maiden‘s “Wrathchild” — ensued, and he had a few good ones, but I think my favorite song intro from Tuozzoli might’ve been, in full metal voice, “This song is one less than 100. This is ’99’!” Good fun. Formed in 2016, they’re still feeling out where they want to be sonically, but their pursuit of that is well-directed and they played 33 Golden with a solid idea of who they are as a band and how they want to get where they’re going. They have a new collection on Bandcamp called Summer Singles and I’ll look forward to hearing what they do next.

A couple familiar faces in the trio Set Fire, who played next. Three, actually. Drummer Rob Davol was a bandmate of guitarist/vocalist Jim Healey‘s in the trio Shatner and used to play in drunken rockers Cocked ‘n’ LoadedHealey of course featured in Black Thai and We’re all Gonna Die in addition to Shatner and various others along with his resonant singer-songwriter solo work. And keyboardist/synthesist Jess Collins used to play in Mellow Bravo, so all three members have significant roots in Boston’s fertile if insular rock underground. Along with the bands, Healey also helps put together the Grub, Sweat and Beers festival, which was held this weekend, and which Set Fire and Backwoods Payback would both play the night after this show.

Got all that? Despite their incendiary moniker, which to my mind

Set Fire (Photo JJ Koczan)

seems to foretell harsher noise rock, Set Fire‘s style is dug deep into classic straightforward heavy, shades of Soundgarden — the second cover of the night there, in homage to Chris Cornell — and other ’90s acts coming through as filtered through the distinctive vocals of Healey and Collins, either of whom could easily front a band on their own. Together, they make Set Fire a melodic powerhouse, and Collins‘ keys and Korg and Healey‘s double-neck guitar filled out the space a bassist might otherwise occupy such that there was no loss of presence either in the low end or on stage in general. They were encouraging to watch and clearly enjoyed the collaboration between the three of them. I did likewise.

I’ve all but stopped wearing a watch, so my sense of time isn’t what it used to be, but I know it definitely wasn’t early when Backwoods Payback took the stage. Maybe 12:30? Something like that. The West Chester, Pennsylvania, three-piece are absolutely locked in. Brutally locked in. More locked in than they know, and they know they’re locked in. And a band like that, you want to see as much as you can. So while it’s been mere weeks, I knew I wanted to catch them at this gig. They’d had van trouble leaving Long Island after the show the night Backwoods Payback (Photo JJ Koczan)before and managed to catch the last ferry across the Long Island Sound to New London, so perhaps guitarist/vocalist Mike Cummings, bassist Jessica Baker and drummer Erik Larson were a bit harried, but though they brought the culprit component on stage with them and at one point hoisted it like a slain beast to show the room, tubes flailing this way and that, their actual performance didn’t suffer in the slightest.

The highlight was the short, grunge-derived roll of “Big Enough” from Future Slum, but anytime Backwoods Payback want to show up and play “You Don’t Move” from 2016’s Fire Not Reason (review here), you won’t hear me complain. Air tight and still dangerous, their dirt rock aesthetic has matured but is especially propulsive with Larson behind the kit, each player challenging the others to play better, be stronger on stage. The result is a kind of torrent that’s weighted emotionally as well as tonally. When it moves fast it absolutely burns, as on “Generals” from the new record, or “Snakes,” which closed out, and when it grooves, as on “Day to Day” or the ultra-catchy “Dirge” from the last album, it holds a tension and a nod that seems ready to break out at any second. They’re in utter control, however, and as much as Fire Not Reason showed the force of this Backwoods Payback (Photo JJ Koczan)lineup, Future Slum shows how remarkably well they can wield that force.

They didn’t start early, so they didn’t finish early either — funny how that works — but the ride home wasn’t nearly as bad as some I’ve had in my time, and the show was easily worth giving up a bit of my otherwise rigid schedule to see. I didn’t even wake up the baby when I got in, so bonus. Great night all the way around, from arriving at the venue for the (overdue) first time to hanging out after, and one all the more worth appreciating for the infrequency of its caliber.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Entierro Premiere “Cyclonic Winds” Lyric Video; Self-Titled LP Due in September

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

entierro

A little heavy metal now and then never killed anybody, unless we’re talking about a pipe falling on your head or something. Fortunately, we’re not, and instead we’re talking about thrash-inspired Connecticut four-piece Entierro, who will issue their self-titled debut full-length this coming September. They’ve given a first look and listen to the long-player’s wares in a new lyric video for “Cyclonic Winds,” and its darkened, thrashy gallop feels indicative of the band’s style overall. That’s not to say the album won’t have anything else going on, just that when it does, it’ll probably still bear the razor-sharp tones and tight delivery that “Cyclonic Winds” foretells. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing two other tracks from the record in the more straightforward rocker “Dybbuk” and the slower, forward-building momentum bringer “Turn out the Lights,” and while both of those have something distinct from “Cyclonic Winds” to offer, both also hold true to the metallic tonality and aggressive execution of this lead single.

As for “Cyclonic Winds,” it tells a tale of an apocalyptic weather event ravaging a shoreline, and somehow in my head I can’t seem to divorce that from the fact that the band hails mostly from New Haven, which sure enough is on the shoreline of Connecticut. Whether they were thinking specifically of the destruction of their hometown owing to climate change or not, they present the hook of “Cyclonic Winds” in more general terms, with clean and shouted vocals and a mounting sense of urgency that leads them into a slowdown in the song’s second half and a redux of the chorus to suit the new tempo. No less catchy, it bridges a gap between “Cyclonic Winds” and the earlier going of “Turn out the Lights,” and no doubt ties in with other material on Entierro‘s Entierro as well.

And by the way, if you’re saying to yourself, “but dude, didn’t you already review a self-titled Entierro tape in 2014?,” first of all, that’s eerily specific of you to remember, and second, yes, I did. It was an EP. This one is a full-length. Different beast. Also, in addition to being the band’s first album, it’s also the lineup debut with guitarist Victor Arduini (also of Arduini/Balich and Fates Warning) alongside Christopher Beaudette, Dave Parmelee and Christopher Begnal, whose progressive style fits well with the heads-down grooves proffered by the others.

A sampling is provided in “Cyclonic Winds,” which you can stream and view on the player below, with more info from the PR wire beneath that. Please enjoy:

Entierro, “Cyclonic Winds” lyric video

Entierro adds former Fates Warning guitarist to line-up

Releases lyric video for Cyclonic Winds.

New album to be released September 2018

Connecticut Heavy Metal titans Entierro are proud to finally announce the addition of Victor Arduini (Fates Warning, Arduini/Balich, Freedom’s Reign) to its ranks. Arduini will be joining Christopher Beaudette (Jasta, Kingdom of Sorrow, Nightbitch), Christopher Begnal and Dave Parmelee (One Master, Nightbitch) to round out the group. While the newly cemented unit has been performing sporadically around Connecticut, the quartet have spent most of their time over the last year together hard at work on their first full length record to be released in September of 2018. The release illustrates a new chapter in the evolution of the band who, while pushing further into new sonic territory, still maintain a sound steeped in traditional heavy metal.

When asked what led to his joining up with the band in early 2017 Arduini stated “They were the one band from my area I was really digging. Their sound was true old school metal that just had some really cool heavy riffs and songwriting. Chris is a great frontman and after going to see them play a few shows I learned one of their guitarists was leaving and I was asked if I’d be interested in joining them. The timing was perfect. After finishing the Arduini/Balich album I pretty much needed a break from all that writing/producing I did and this allows me to just be a part of a band again without it all falling on my shoulders. With the great writing skills of the others I can focus on putting my style over what they come up with and occasionally add a riff or two when needed. It helped keep me actively playing and I’ve just been having a blast playing these songs with such awesome musicians.

The band has been working steadily over the last year at Dexter’s Lab Studios in Milford, CT with Nick Bellmore once again at the helm. The first single, “Cyclonic Winds,” shows some of the many facets of Entierro from the pummeling opening riff to the slow and low groove that closes the number. The lyric video was created by video production company YOD Multimedia.

Their first single Cyclonic Winds and album pre-order is currently available at entierro.bandcamp.com.

Entierro on Thee Facebooks

Entierro on Bandcamp

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When the Deadbolt Breaks Sign to Sliptrick Records; New Album Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Connecticut’s leading purveyors of lurching sonic malevolence When the Deadbolt Breaks have announced a deal to release their next album through Sliptrick Records sometime in 2018. The long-player has been given the ellipsis-inclusive title Angels are Weeping… God has Abandoned… and finds founding guitarist/vocalist/fetish photographer Aaron Lewis joined by bassist/backing vocalist Mike Parkyn and drummer Randall Dumas. The band’s last full-length was early 2015’s double-album Drifting Towards the Edge of the Earth (discussed here), which had been years in the making, and I’d assume the situation with Angels are Weeping… God has Abandoned…. Good nightmares take time.

I’ve been a Deadbolt fan for a long time and always think of them as being persistently underrated for their drone, atmosphere, tonal weight and intensity. Will this be the record that finally gets them their due recognition? I guess we’ll find out when we get there.

Sliptrick Records announced the signing thusly via the PR wire:

when the deadbolt breaks

Sliptrick Welcome Psychedelic Doom Rockers WHEN THE DEADBOLT BREAKS

Joining the ranks at Sliptrick Records this week are US group When The Deadbolt Breaks. Of special note, the band played The New England Stoner & Doom Festival this weekend which is an absolute must for fans of the genre.

Established in the winter of 2004, When The Deadbolt Breaks is a psychedelic doom band from the backwoods of eastern Connecticut. The music they produce invokes the feeling of fearful suspense brought on by an intense horror film… begging the question, what happens when the deadbolt breaks?? Aaron Lewis, Mike Parkyn, and Randall Dumas create a psychedelic, down-tuned, fuzzed-out wall of doom-laden riffs that transport the listener to another space.

14 years and 5 albums later, When The Deadbolt Breaks is set to release their 6th record on Sliptrick Records later in 2018.

Angels Are Weeping… God Has Abandoned… | Released TBA, 2018 on Sliptrick Records

When The Deadbolt Breaks are:
Aaron Lewis – Guitars/Vocals | Mike Parkyn – Bass/Backing vocals | Randall Dumas – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/WhentheDeadboltBreaks/
https://whenthedeadboltbreaks.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/Deadbolt6669
https://sliptrickrecords.com/when-the-deadbolt-breaks/
https://www.facebook.com/sliptrickrecords/
https://twitter.com/sliptrickrds
https://www.instagram.com/sliptrickrecords/

When the Deadbolt Breaks, Until it all Collides (2016)

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