audiObelisk: Stream Roadburn 2013 Sets from The Pretty Things, Cough, Pilgrim, Goat, The Atlas Moth, Zodiac, My Brother the Wind, Amenra, Satan’s Satyrs, Raketkanon

Posted in audiObelisk on June 10th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

A couple things you’ll want to note as you make your way through the latest batch of audio streams from Roadburn 2013. First, the Satan’s Satyrs set is a Blue Cheer tribute, and that’s frickin’ awesome, and second, I’m pretty sure that Pilgrim photo below (from the same set as the one above) is one of mine. So, you know, it’s nice to be included.

Thanks as always to Walter and the Roadburn crew for letting me host these streams, and to Marcel van de Vondervoort for continuing to boldly helm the recordings year after year. Posterity owes you a gratitude.

Enjoy:

The Pretty Things – Live at Roadburn 2013

Goat – Live at Roadburn 2013

Amenra – Live at Roadburn 2013

Cough – Live at Roadburn 2013

The Atlas Moth – Live at Roadburn 2013

My Brother The Wind – Live at Roadburn 2013

Satan’s Satyrs Tribute To Blue Cheer – Live at Roadburn 2013

Pilgrim – Live at Roadburn 2013

Zodiac – Live at Roadburn 2013

Raketkanon – Live at Roadburn 2013

If you missed them, check out the first batch of Roadburn 2013 audio streams here and the second batch of Roadburn 2013 audio streams here.

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If You Only Buy 24 Records Between Now and May 1…

Posted in Features on March 12th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

…Yeah, I know, 24 is a buttload of records to buy in the span of about a month and a half. To do the division, it would mean buying a new album every 2.04 days. Probably not feasible in terms of time, let alone budget, but hell, it’s a nice thought and seeing the onslaught of new stuff coming between now and the end of April, I thought maybe a list would help keep it all straight. Even if I’m only helping myself, I could probably spend my time in worse ways.

Worth noting that even with 24 albums, presented below in order of release, I feel like there’s stuff I’m forgetting. Frankly, it’s an overwhelming amount of material, so if I’ve missed something or there’s something you’d like to see added to the list, as always, that’s why there’s a comments feature.

Okay. These are numbered just for fun, but listed by date:

1. Orange Goblin, A Eulogy for the Fans (March 12)

My understanding is that London’s foremost doom scoundrels, none other than Orange Goblin, have been selling copies of A Eulogy for the Fans since starting their US tour with Clutch on March 8 in Cincinnati, Ohio, but today is the official release date, and I can think of no better place to start than with the four-piece’s ferocious performance at the 2012 Bloodstock festival, captured audio and video in all its bloodsoaked glory. Not to be missed or taken lightly because it’s a live record. Album review here.

2. Borracho, Mob Gathering 7″ (March 13)


Even though it’s comprised of older tracks, the new Mob Gathering 7″ from Borracho is welcome by me for two reasons: I’ve never heard the songs before and Borracho rocks. The Washington D.C.-based riffers recorded “Mob Gathering” and “Short Ride (When it’s Over)” in 2009 and are set to release the cuts on a limited platter in black and orange swirl through Spain’s Ghost Highway Recordings and Germany’s No Balls Records. They’ve been playing live as a mostly-instrumental outfit while guitarist/vocalist Noah is out of the country on what I can only assume is an awesome spy mission, so if you need a Borracho fix — and it’s obvious from the way your hands are shaking that you do — this might be the way to go. More info here.

3. Inter Arma, Sky Burial (March 15)


Like Windhand below, Inter Arma are recent Relapse Records signees from Richmond, Virginia, and Sky Burial will serve as their first release for the label. Literally and figuratively, the album is expansive, topping 69 minutes and pummeling the whole way through with a genre-transcending concoction of bleakness that’s not so much aligned to any particular heavy aesthetic so much as it is set to its own atmospheric purposes. Through this, Inter Arma emerge terrifyingly cohesive where many others would falter, and their second LP behind 2010’s Sundown (review here) leaves a progressive impression despite an almost complete lack of sonic pretense. Mostly, it’s fucking heavy. Track stream and info here.

4. Clutch, Earth Rocker (March 19)


If 2013 ended tomorrow, Clutch‘s Earth Rocker would be my album of the year. That’s not saying the situation will be the same nine months from now when I actually start putting that list together (already dreading it), but as of March 12, it’s the cat’s pajamas and no foolin’. The long-running Marylanders outdid themselves and put together a surprisingly fast, energetic collection of songs that don’t forsake the bluesy tendencies of their last album, 2009’s Strange Cousins from the West, so much as they put some of the jamming on lockdown in favor of all-out pro-grade heavy rock and roll. The velocity is crucial and the wolfman is out, but it feels like the party’s just starting. Look for them on tour sometime between now and forever. Album review here.

5. Black Mare, Field of the Host (March 20)


Black Math Horseman and Ides of Gemini frontwoman Sera Timms (who’s also recently collaborated with Yawning Man‘s Gary Arce in the new outfit Zun) steps further out on her own with the solo-project Black Mare, from whom Field of the Host is the first album. Due March 20 on LP through The Crossing and on cassette through Breathe Plastic, limited in both cases and sure to be gone shortly after release if they’re not already taken through pre-orders. Fans of Timms‘ past works will be glad to hear the misty wash of melody and dreamy, somehow sad, languid roll of “Blind One,” for starters. Audio and info on the forum.

6. Kvelertak, Meir (March 26)


Short of setting themselves on fire, Norwegian triple-guitar six-piece Kvelertak did just about everything they could to get noticed in support of their 2010 self-titled debut LP (review here), and sure enough, their work paid off in getting signed to Roadrunner Records for all territories outside their native Scandinavia (where Indie Recordings holds sway) and trumpeting up a wave of anticipation for their second full-length, Meir. Their energetic, genre-crossing approach might not be for everybody, but the band have turned a lot of heads and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to find them on bigger tours this year with Roadrunner behind them. More info on the forum.

7. Black Pyramid, Adversarial (April 2)


This is actually the first time the Eli Wood cover art for Black Pyramid‘s Adversarial has been seen in full, so you know. The Hydro-Phonic Records release of the third Black Pyramid album and first to be fronted by guitarist/vocalist Darryl Shepard along with bassist David Gein and drummer Clay Neely punctuates the beginning of a new era for the Massachusetts trio. If the advance listen to closing track “Onyx and Obsidian” is anything to go by, they could very well be at their most potent yet, and though I’d hardly consider myself an impartial observer, as a fan of the band, this is one I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. More to come. Track stream here.

8. Moss, Horrible Night (April 2)


I’ve yet to hear the complete album, but UK trio Moss seem poised to surprise with a cleaner vocal approach on Horrible Night, their first offering since 2008’s impressive Sub Templum LP and two EPs in 2009, so in addition to wondering how they’ll pull it off, the level of the shift remains to be seen. That is, how big a deal is it? Should I call my mom? Is this something grandma needs to know about? Time will tell, but for it having been five years since the last time a Moss record reared its doomly head, it seems only fair to give the band a little breathing room on their evolution. More info and video here.

9. Mars Red Sky, Be My Guide EP (April 8)


How glad am I that French fuzz rockers Mars Red Sky have a new EP coming? Well, I’m not as happy that it’s coming as I am that it’s frickin’ awesome. The trio keep the weighted bass tones that gave so much depth to their 2011 self-titled debut (review here), but they’ve also clearly set to work expanding the formula as well, adding stomp to second track “Seen a Ghost” and an eerie repetitive sense to side B closer “Stranger,” while also broadening their melodic reach and taking claim of whichever side of the line they want between fuzz rock and heavy psychedelia while remaining so much more to the ears than either genre descriptor can offer to the eyes. At half an hour, my only complaint with it is it’s not a full-length album. Video trailer and info here.

10. Blaak Heat Shujaa, The Edge of an Era (April 9)


A sample of the poet Ron Whitehead — who also featured on Blaak Heat Shujaa‘s late-2012 debut EP for Tee Pee Records, The Storm Generation (review here) — comes to clarity just in time for the gonzo Boomer poet to let us all know that, “America is an illusion” (that may be, but it’s an illusion with an army of flying killer robots), and from there, the youngin’ desert transplants embark on a low-end-heavy freakout topped with sweet surf rock guitars and set to use in intricate, sometimes surprisingly jagged, rhythmic dances. Mario Lalli of Fatso Jetson guests, Scott Reeder produced. Review is forthcoming, but till then, there’s more info here.

11. Devil to Pay, Fate is Your Muse (April 9)


Fate is Your Muse serves not only as Indianapolis rockers Devil to Pay‘s Ripple Music debut, but also as the double-guitar foursome’s first outing since 2009’s Heavily Ever After. With tales of lizardmen attacks and the alleged end of the world, it’s got its fair share of personality, and set to the chugging riffs, melodic vocals and straightforward heavy grooves, that personality still goes a long way. I’ll have a review up before this week is out (I hope), but still, I wanted to make sure to include Devil to Pay here too, since their songs command both attention and respect. To wit, I just can’t seem to get “This Train Won’t Stop” out of my head. Video and info here.

12. Cough & Windhand, Reflection of the Negative Split (April 15)


Virginian doomers Cough and Windhand share a hometown in Richmond, a love of volume, a bassist in Parker Chandler and now a label in Relapse Records, so yeah, a split makes sense. Reflection of the Negative will be Windhand‘s first release through Relapse ahead of their sophomore full-length, scheduled for later this year (info here). For Cough, this split marks their first outing since 2010’s An Introduction to the Black Arts split with UK masters The Wounded Kings (review here), and they’ll present the 18-minute “Athame,” while Windhand bring forth “Amaranth” and “Shepherd’s Crook.” More info here.

13. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Mind Control (April 15)


What the last Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats album, 2011’s Blood Lust (semi-review here), did so well was capture the atmosphere and the grainy imagery of late ’60s/early ’70s psychedelic horror and put it into audio form. For that, Blood Lust earned massive praise, but I still think that without the central core of songwriting underneath the genre trappings, it would’ve fallen flat. When it comes to Mind Control, the question waiting to be answered is if the band wants to stick to the blueprint they’ve established or go brazenly into uncharted weirdness. I’m not really sure they can lose, either way. Info and music here.

14. Kadavar, Abra Kadavar (April 16)


Their debut on new label Nuclear Blast and the quick-arriving answer to my pick for 2012 debut of the year, Abra Kadavar arrives with plenty of anticipation leading the way. The retro-rocking German trio have their work cut out for them in following that self-titled, but however it turns out in the comparison, it will be fascinating to learn how Kadavar develops the band’s sound and whether or not they prove able to push the boundaries of their aesthetic while simultaneously setting a new standard for promo photos. New video here.

15. Spiritual Beggars, Earth Blues (April 16)


I guess when it comes to these long-running Swedes, everybody’s got their favorite lineup, their favorite tunes, etc., but for me, I’m just impressed that Michael Amott — now more than 20 years on from starting Spiritual Beggars as a side-project while still in grindcore pioneers Carcass — still has any interest in keeping the classic rock Hammond-loving outfit grooving. Their last outing, 2010’s Return to Zero (review here), was the first to feature vocalist Apollo Papathanasio, formerly of Firewind, and though those songs were solid, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re more settled in on Earth Blues when it drops via InsideOut Music on April 16. More info on the forum.

16. Beastwars, Blood Becomes Fire (April 19)


Alternating between periods of brooding intensity and all-out crushing heaviness, the second full-length from New Zealand’s Beastwars, Blood Becomes Fire, is nasty, nasty, nasty. It’s nasty when it’s quiet and it’s nasty when it’s loud. It’s the kind of record you put on and you’re like, “Damn that’s nasty.” And you’re not wrong. The four-piece — touring shortly with Unida — upped their game even from 2011’s self-titled debut (review here), and for anyone who heard that record, you know that’s saying something. I’m still in the “getting to know it” phase, but so far all that nasty feels pretty right on. More info here.

17. Ghost, Infestissumam (April 19)


Man, this one just kind of happened, huh? I suck — and I mean S-U-C-K suck — at keeping up with band hype. I’m the dude who hears the record three months later and goes, “Yeah, I guess that’s cool,” as countless reviews here can attest, including the one for Ghost‘s 2010 debut, Opus Eponymous, but with the Swedish cult heavyweights, all of a sudden I turned around and blamo, major label deal, semi-name change to Ghost B.C., and enough slathering over the impending Infestissumam to make the first album seem like less than the hyperbole it was treated to initially. Funny how that happens. Out in April? I’m sure I’ll review in June and go, “Yeah, I guess that’s cool.” More info on the forum.

18. One Inch Giant, The Great White Beyond (April 19)


Now signed to Soulseller Records, Swedish heavy rockers One Inch Giant will unveil their debut full-length on April 19 and as three of my favorite words in the English language are “Swedish heavy rockers,” I’m excited to find out how this Gothenburg four-piece follow-up their Malva EP, and if they can capture some of the extreme dynamic they brought to their live show when they toured the US last summer — a run of shows that included a stop at SHoD. Hard not to pull for a band after they come over to play club dates. More info and music here.

19. The Heavy Co., Midwest Electric (April 20)


It was actually the other day writing about The Heavy Co.‘s Midwest Electric that I had the idea for this feature, so however high the profile might be for some of these albums — Ghost walks by on their way to cash a check — it was these unpretentious Hoosier rockers and their new outing, Midwest Electric, that started me off. From what I’ve heard so far, the new collection sounds a little more confident in exploring psychedelia than did the trio’s 2011 debut EP, The Heavy (Please Tune In…) (review here), so I’m looking forward to hearing if and how that plays out over the course of the whole thing. Video trailer here.

20. Gozu, The Fury of a Patient Man (April 23)


I have an interview slated for later this week with Gozu guitarist/vocalist Marc Gaffney, and I’m even more excited for this time than I was when we last spoke, around their 2009 Small Stone debut, Locust Season (review here), since in everything but its goofball song titles, the sophomore outing marks a huge developmental step in the band’s melodic reach and songwriting chemistry. Stay tuned for that interview and check out the Bandcamp stream included with the album review here.

21. Yawning Man & Fatso Jetson, European Tour Split 7″ (April 26)


Note: I don’t actually know that April 26 is the day that what’s sure to be 2013’s most desert-rocking split is due to arrive, I just know that it’s Fatso Jetson and Yawning Man‘s European tour split, and that’s the day the Euro dates start — with performances at Desertfests London and Berlin, to be more specific. Given both the greatness of Fatso Jetson‘s last record, 2010’s Archaic Volumes (review here), and of Yawning Man‘s own 2010 outing, Nomadic Pursuits (review here), the bands’ shared lineage and the relative infrequency of their touring, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to hope that, even for a single, they pull out all the stops. And starts. And riffs. More info on the forum.

22. Serpent Throne, Brother Lucifer (April 29)


Philly-based instrumental heavy rockers Serpent Throne will follow-up 2010’s White Summer/Black Winter (review here) with Brother Lucifer, and while no one can ever really know what to expect, it’s a safe bet that the dual-guitar outfit will have the solos front and center once again. Having seen them do a couple new songs back in December, I can’t blame them in the slightest. Looking forward to letting these songs sink in for a while and having those solos stuck in my head. Track stream here.

23. Melvins, Everybody Loves Sausages (April 30)


Hey wow, a Melvins covers album. Finally, an opportunity for the band to let their hair down and go wild a bit, right? I mean, at long last, they can really feel free to indulge a little and explore their musical roots in a free and creative way. Okay, you get the point. In all seriousness, it’s a pretty cool idea and anything that teams the Melvins with Scott Kelly to do a Venom song is probably going to be a worthy cause. The most amazing part of it is they haven’t already done a version of “Black Betty.” More info on the forum.

24. Revelation, Inner Harbor (April 30)


Their most progressive outing yet and their first album since 2009, Revelation‘s Inner Harbor (review here) is bound to surprise some who thought they knew what to expect from the Maryland doom stalwarts who double as the classically rocking Against Nature. Good thing Inner Harbor had a digital release last year through the band’s Bland Hand Records to act as a precursor to this Shadow Kingdom CD issue. Rumor has it vinyl’s on the way as well, so keep an eye out, since John Brenner‘s guitar tone should be heard on as natural-sounding an apparatus as possible. More info here.

Okay, so you’re saying to yourself, “Golly, that’s a lot of stuff.” You’re absolutely right. But even as I was typing up this feature, I got word of a new Queen Elephantine full-length coming in April, so even as much as this is, it’s not everything. And that’s not even to mention May, which will bring a new Shroud Eater EP, a new Kylesa record and a new Mark Lanegan collaboration, among however much else. Tons of stuff to keep your ears out for, and like I said way back at the top of this thing, if you have something to add, a comment’s always appreciated.

Thanks for reading.

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Cough and Windhand to Release Reflection of the Negative Split Album on Relapse

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 13th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Three tracks, 40 minutes. Yes please. Word just came down the PR wire of the forthcoming Reflection of the Negative split between Virginian powerhouses Cough and Windhand. The release is due out April 16, and from the goatly artwork and the visual trailer posted to go with, it looks like it’s gonna be a monster. Dig:

COUGH / WINDHAND Split Album To See Spring Release Via Relapse

Relapse Records this week unveils a pummeling upcoming split between two prime acts in the contemporary doom/sludge circuit, COUGH and WINDHAND.

With both COUGH and WINDHAND hailing from the unrestrained Richmond, Virginia underground, the choice to team the two of them up for the brutal Reflection Of The Negative split album was a simple one, and the results are, as expected, thunderous and immense. COUGH leads off, delivering a characteristically electrifying down-tuned epic track, while their brethren in WINDHAND serve up two brand new epic songs for their half of the dirge. While the track listing bears merely three tracks, this monstrous split bears nearly forty minutes of premier doom at its absolute gloomiest. The album acts as a precursor for both bands’ upcoming full-lengths, which are both currently being conceived.

Reflection Of The Negative will see official release on April 16th in North America, preceded by international street dates of April 12th (Germany/Benelux) and April 15th (UK/World). Today Relapse has released a visual trailer for the LP, as well as preorders for the album including digital and CD formats, as well as a super-limited mailorder-only black/white vinyl combo.

In conjunction with the release of the split, COUGH will embark on a brutal month-long European tour. The majority of the dates will see the band joined by Witch Mountain, while several later dates will instead be with Grime, the entire trek leading up to Heavy Days in Doomtown. The festival, an international DIY doom/stoner/sludge festival in Copenhagen, Denmark, runs from May 2nd through the 5th, and will see COUGH sharing the stage alongside Graves At Sea, Pagan Altar, Samothrace, Moss, Bell Witch, Dark Buddah Rising, Lecherous Gaze, Mournful Congregation and many others.

COUGH European Tour 2013:
4/08/2013 Fonobar – Warsaw, Poland w/ Witch Mountain
4/11/2013 Nuclear Nightclub – Oulu, Finland w/ Witch Mountain
4/12/2013 Klubi – Turku, Finland w/ Witch Mountain
4/13/2013 Studioravintola Paksu – Helsinki, Finland w/ Witch Mountain
4/15/2013 Klub Püssy A Go Go – Stockholm, Sweden w/ Witch Mountain
4/16/2013 Truck Stop Alaska – Gothenburg, Sweden w/ Witch Mountain
4/18/2013 Schaubude – Kiel, Germany w/ Witch Mountain
4/19/2013 O13 @ Roadburn Festival – Tilburg, Netherlands w/ Witch Mountain
4/20/2013 DNA – Brussels, Belgium w/ Witch Mountain
4/21/2013 Raymond City – Clermont-Ferrand, France w/ Witch Mountain
4/22/2013 Saint Des Seins – Toulouse, France w/ Witch Mountain
4/23/2013 Combustibles – Paris, France w/ Witch Mountain
4/24/2013 Bastard Club – Osnabrück, Germany w/ Witch Mountain
4/26/2013 Desertfest – Berlin, Germany w/ Witch Mountain
4/27/2013 De Pit – Terneuzen, Netherlands w/ Witch Mountain
4/28/2013 Desertfest – London, England w/ Witch Mountain
4/29/2013 Péniche Inside Out – Liege, Belgium w/ Grime
4/30/2013 Halle 14. – Karlsruhe, Germany w/ Grime
5/04/2013 Ungdomshuset – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Heavy Days in Doomtown

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Witch Mountain and Cough Added to Desertfest Berlin 2013

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 18th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

More good news out of the Desertfest Berlin camp in that Witch Mountain and Cough will be hitting up the Austra Kulturhaus on their European run as a part of the fest. The two forward-thinking American acts will also play Desertfest London and Roadburn, representing some of the best doom the opposite US coasts have to offer. Desertfest sent over the following announcements:

WITCH MOUNTAIN (USA)

On tour from April with COUGH, we are thrilled to announce that WITCH MOUNTAIN is added to the DESERFEST 2013 line-up !! WITCH MOUNTAIN is classic doom metal band delivering a magic potion of massive and rumbling riffs that bore you skull, and bluesy, ballsy, and sensual vocals that attract everything with their seductive wildness.

From Portland, Oregon, WITCH MOUNTAIN was formed in 1997. The band self-released a demo “Homegrown Doom” in 1999, and their first full-length album “Come the Mountain” in 2001. But after a 2002 tour with Eternal Elysium, the band slowed activity for several years…

A July 2009 show opening for Pentagram, with guest singer Uta Plotkin, marked a revival of the band. Uta brought the necessary ingredient that Witch Mountain founders Rob Wrong and Nate Carson had been seeking since they initially formed the group.

She was asked to join the band as main vocalist, and Witch Mountain recorded their second full-length album, “South of Salem” six months later. Produced by master “engine-ear” Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, Melvins), it was unleashed in April 2011 through their own label Mountastic Recrods. In November 2011, WITCH MOUNTAIN was signed with Profound Lore Records and released their third full-length album, “Cauldron of the Wild”, in June 2012.

Just after, an invitation to play the main stage at Scion Rock Fest 2012 along with Sleep, Saint Vitus, and Down gave the band an opportunity to return to US stages, successfully headlining in the US and Canada for most of June. This fall, Scion sponsored the band’s most extensive tour to date — a 5-week headlining trek around the US and Canada with witchy friends Castle in support.

They will be in Europe from April, with COUGH, for their first European shows ever!! The DesertFest couldn’t miss this occasion, and you either!!

COUGH (USA)

On tour from April with WITCH MOUNTAIN, we are thrilled to announce that COUGH is added to the DESERFEST 2013 line-up !!

Formed in Richmond, Virginia, in 2005, COUGH is a sludge/doom metal band delivering thoroughly massive, epic and impenetrable walls of sound and volume, at points suffocating and claustrophobic, at others warped and hallucinogenic.

The band self-released an EP, “The Kingdom”, in 2007, and followed it quickly with their first proper full-length “Sigillum Luciferi” in 2008, recorded with acclaimed producer Sanford Parker (Minsk, Rwake, Pelican, Nachtmystium). Sporadic gigging followed the release before the band holed up in a Richmond warehouse to write the follow up, but the band slowly laboured forward with the writing. By winter 2009/2010, the band had signed to Relapse Records and returned to Chicago, Illinois, enlisting Parker once again to record the long awaited “Ritual Abuse”, released in October 2010.

Upon its release the band embarked on two epic North American and European tours lasting almost four months ! In 2012, COUGH performed another US headline run, and their first ever Australian and New Zealand tours. They will be back in Europe in 2013 for a seven-week tour starting from April, stopping at the DESERTFEST Berlin to deliver their impressive monolith of sound !

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Desertfest London 2013 Update: Ufomammut, Cough, Witch Mountain, Abrahma, Planet of Zeus & Whoremoan Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 8th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Bit of a roundup here of adds to the 2013 London Desertfest lineup. Since the New Year hit, Desertfest has announced a slew of bands for its second incarnation, among them American acts Cough and Witch Mountain, Greek rockers Planet of Zeus, Italian cosmic doomers Ufomammut and local slingers Whoremoan. Info follows culled from the Desertfest website:

Ufomammut

Taking their cues from the Jedi knights of Sleep, Electric Wizard, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and King Crimson, the ‘Mammut are heavier than a thousand Hubble telescopes, each lined with the mass of its own internal black hole. They’re also the masters of the long-player format; recent voyage Oro opus was so vast that it could not be confined to a single LP, and its two disks bolt together to form one glorious 94-minute riff labyrinth. Past conquests ‘Eve’, ‘Idolum’, ‘Lucifer’s Songs’, ‘Godlike Snake’ and ‘Snailking’ all spawned marauding, psychedelic orgies of aggressive, yet graceful and pace-varied prog-doom which set these Tortona natives up as one of Europe’s premier heavy music acts. Backed by the Malleus Rock Lab, their one-of-a-kind art-visuals project, Signors Vito, Urlo and Poia have set the controls for the heart of Camden and are preparing their battery of equipment to hurl you into another dimension this coming April at DesertFest 2013.

Cough

Cough smashed into worldwide acclaim within doom / sludge circles with the crushing 2008 début album Sigillum Luciferi, followed in 2010 with the fully engulfing psyche-sludge of Ritual Abuse (available on Relapse Records) and a split with the UK’s own doom titans The Wounded Kings. Encompassing monolithically pounding, horror-raising, weed-tuned riffs and vocals stylings ranging from classic occult doom to downright demonic, blackened screams of desperation, the band have proven they are a force to be reckoned with both in this realm and beyond. Having played across the U.S. in the last few years with the likes of Buzzov-en / Weedeater / Eyehategod, as well as even reaching to play a 2011 tour in Australia, Cough will most definitely be a must for any devotees of the heaviest tone with their appearance at The Underworld at DesertFest 2013″

Witch Mountain

The time is upon us for the arrival on our shores of the magnificent Doom beasts that are ‘Witch Mountain’. Hailing form Portland Oregon, these masters of their art blend crushing sludge riffs with the female classic rock vocal stylings of Uta Plotkin. Its a match made in heaven and one that should not be missed as they have been very hard at work producing not 1 but 2 EPs last year that have been amazingly received and its their first visit to the UK so expect walls to shake and foundations to crumble at the h_d_p/WPC stage!

Abrahma

Parisians set to romance Desertfesters with riffs, licks and pounding grooves. Abrahma was formed in Paris, back in 2005 under the original moniker Alchosonic. The French 4-piece are made up by Seb Bismuth:on Guitar/Vox, Nicolas Heller on Guitar and they are joined by the Colin brothers Guillaume on Bass and Benjamin on Drums. Signed to Small Stone Records, the Psych Rockers have recently released ‘Through the dusty paths of our lives’ which features a guest appearance by the legend that is Ed Mundell (Monster Magnet/Atomic Bitchwax). Very Heavy Rock is very much on the menu, with large amounts of psychdelia running throughout their music, so don’t miss out on the French invasion at Desertfest 2013.

Planet of Zeus

The Greek Stoners were formed way back in the year of 2000 in Athens, and are made up by four demigods, Babis/Vox & Guitars, Yog/Guitars, JayVee/Bass and Syke/Drums. It was 8 years until the they released their debut album ‘Eleven the Hard Way’ this was followed up in 2011 with ‘Macho Libre’. If you haven’t already experienced Planet of Zeus then expect plenty of stoner fuzz riding heavy on plenty of riff. They have shared the stage with many of the biggest bands on the scene like Monster Magnet, Karma to Burn, Hermano and not forgetting their apperance at Stoned from The Underground in Germany. By the power of Zeus do not miss your chance to see these heavy rock gods!

Whoremoan

Veterans of 20 years by now, Canvey Island’s Whoremoan have been kicking out the jams since 1992 and working hard at it ever since. Having released a series of EPs and LPs, they keep the DIY punk ethic alive and stick it to the man by recording, producing and selling it all themselves. If you dig the relentless concrete-block barrage of bands like Helmet, a side-order of stoner groove and even a shot of Clutch-lovin’ southern rock, these guys will be just the ticket to a sore neck, a few whoremoans no doubt, and a delierously good time at Desertfest 2013!

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Cough, Witch Mountain, Hexvessel, Sabbath Assembly, Tombstoned & Crown Join Roadburn 2013 Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 4th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Richmond-based cult sludgers Cough will play Jus Oborn of Electric Wizard‘s curated event at Roadburn 2013. The Virginian outfit have been at the fore of the post-Electric Wizard pack, reveling in horrific atmospheres and massive, droning riffs, so they’re a good fit on what’s quickly becoming an eclectic bill. Their last release was an ultra-badass 2010 split vinyl on Forcefield Records with like-minded British purveyors The Wounded Kings (review here), and I don’t know if maybe they’ll have new material on hand by April, but it’s worth hoping for.

In addition to Cough, Witch Mountain will play Roadburn and Sabbath Assembly, Hexvessel, Crown and Tombstoned have joined the lineup as well.

This came courtesy of the fest’s website:

“Firstly, raise your withered stumps and welcome ye brothers of the bong, Richmond, Virginia bruisers and losers…(cue intro to Sweet Leaf)… Cough… rising through the fog like resin-zombies the appropriately named band are the epitome of evil stoned doom”, says Electric Wizard‘s Jus Oborn. “Violent, bleak and wasted… Ritual Abuse was genius… burnout and clogged with resin. We loved it!! Since then we have had many late night smokeouts with these kindred spirits and hopefully many, many more. The Acid Orgy will be heavily laced with Smoke…Hail Cough!!!”

“Once there was a legend of black cloaked cultists that haunted 1960s London, ominous and dark wearing strange occult symbols”, Jus continues, “They handed out bizarre literature linking Satan, Lucifer and ChristHells Angels were our saviours working for God and Lucifer to cleanse our world. They became linked to the Manson Killings and eventually disappeared in infamy to only be remembered by a chosen few …now Dave Nuss and Sabbath Assembly recreate the rituals and liturgies of this infamous group. We can now see and hear the true vision of this paradoxical acid consciousness cult. Hail Satan, Amen?!”

“Also we have young blood for the growing acid cult… a new power trio of Finnish maniacs that deal in real heavy doom: Tombstoned“, says Jus, “We witnessed them live only a few weeks ago and were blown away (yes…they defiantly had feel of our favourite Finnish band). Heavy and cool as the grave, absolutely no pretense or hipster styling, just solid and real doom music played by people who don’t care what you think. You will fuckin love em!!!! Hail Tombstoned!”

Even More Incredible bands to be announced SOON !!!

Roadburn Festival 2013 will run for four days from Thursday, April 18th to Sunday, April 21st, 2013 (the traditional Afterburner event) at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland. Tickets for the Afterburner are still available!

Portland, OR’s Witch Mountain will bring their crushing doom to Roadburn Festival 2013 on Friday, April 19th at Het Patronaat in Tilburg, Holland.

Founded by guitarist Rob Wrong and drummer Nate Carson in 1997, this was not yet the Witch Mountain that would come to fruition. In 2009, the addition of vocalist Uta Plotkin transformed the band into something extraordinary with her bluesy, sensual and commanding voice as captured on both South of Salem (2011) and Cauldron of the Wild (2012).

Plotkin’s powerful and soulful pipes sound almost out of place, but this is exactly what makes Witch Mountain so special. She belts out the band’s massive, doomy, bluesy tunes like a metallized Janis Joplin or the lost sister of Heart‘s Ann and Nancy Wilson who chose the left-hand path.

Distilled from thick churning down-tuned guitars and dense drumming infused with Plotkin’s sad and sweet vocals, Witch Mountain lumbers without plodding and soars without drifting off. The epic sound and unique take on doom metal has earned them both a highly acclaimed reputation and a rightful place among the current crop of wickedly talented female-fronted bands. We are super stoked to welcome Witch Mountain to the Roadburn Festival during their first-ever European tour.

“2012 has been the biggest and best of Witch Mountain’s 15 year history”, says Nate Carson, “Two successful headlining American tours, two albums on Profound Lore, a new single, Scion Rock Fest (with Sleep and Saint Vitus), and now this.”

“It is truly an honor to end this year with the official announcement that we will finally tour Europe. Many thanks go out from us to Roadburn for this fantastic invitation. My only concern is that Cauldron of the Wild LP pre-orders are coming in so quickly that we may run out of vinyl before we get over there! Cheers!”

Roadburn Festival 2013 will run for four days from Thursday, April 18th to Sunday, April 21st, 2013 (the traditional Afterburner event) at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland. Tickets for the Afterburner are still available!

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Live Review: YOB, Cough and Mike Scheidt Solo in Brooklyn, 05.23.12

Posted in Reviews on May 24th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

When I admit that I spent much of the day waffling back and forth on whether or not to trek from my office in Jersey into Brooklyn to catch the London and Maryland Deathfest-bound YOB, Virginian cult doomers Cough and Mike Scheidt‘s opening solo set, I hope you’ll take it more as a sign of what the day was like than any wavering of affection for the doom involved. Perhaps too my experience the other night played some role in my ambivalence, but as soon as I parked right around the corner and strolled into The Bell House, I knew I’d made the right decision in showing up. Stuck in traffic on my way, I wound up right on time to watch YOB‘s own Scheidt get the night started with an acoustic set.

It was my first time at The Bell House, which was mostly empty when I got there. The room was wider than it was long — the bar up a few steps and off to the left side of the stage serving, among other things, Brooklyn Lager on draft for $6 — but though at times throughout the night it seemed like the sound had nowhere to go, Scheidt‘s acoustic material was subdued enough that it came through crisply and clearly, tracks from his forthcoming Thrill Jockey debut, Stay Awake, showing their freshness amid another that the guitarist/vocalist said was, “barely a song.”

Having seen Scheidt‘s solo set at Roadburn Day Three, I was relatively familiar with his onstage approach — calm, collected, sincere — and my chief observation remains the same now as it was just over a month ago: that Scheidt is really new to the acoustic form. A video was released this week for one of the album tracks and met with strong opinions on either side, but what some complained about is exactly what I find most exciting about the endeavor, which maintains some of YOB‘s psychedelic elements but obviously redrafts them into a new context. Where YOB has a well-established modus — most importantly so for Scheidt as the principle songwriter; a clear idea in his head of what the band sounds like — this doesn’t. Songs vary widely from one to the next, and it’s the exploratory nature of it that I’m most intrigued by.

Think of it like hearing a band’s first demo. There’s a rawness and an energy there that can never be duplicated again, and as cool and engaging as the tracks themselves might be, it’s almost as much about the potential as it is about their starting point. It’s the same with Scheidt‘s acoustic material. YOB‘s development is ongoing and they legitimately change from album to album, they’re doing so within a framework. Here, that framework isn’t set, and as long as Scheidt keeps an open mind with his songwriting methods — which I’d argue Stay Awake already shows he is — I think there’s a basic foundation there for something unique among the current bumper crop of doomer solo acoustic projects.

Cough followed not long after Scheidt left the stage to a much larger crowd than was present when he started. I’d seen them at SHoD last year, but it was especially interesting to watch them again having recently watched British doomers The Wounded Kings. The two acts shared space on the 2010 An Introduction to the Black Arts split on Forcefield Records, and it was surprising to hear in context just how much they actually have in common tonally. They take those tones in different directions within the overall context of doom — or if you want to be more specific, “post-Electric Wizard cult doom” — but it seemed an odd pairing to me when I reviewed the split, and actually it makes a lot of sense. Made me want to break out that vinyl.

The last Cough album, 2010’s Ritual Abuse (review here), was a broad reinterpretation of Electric Wizard‘s earlier abrasion, but watching Cough in Brooklyn, they seemed to be developing more of their own take. Maybe that’s just me trying to put a narrative to their progression — we’ll find out when they release their next album — but guitarist David Cisco‘s clean vocals behind bassist Parker Chandler‘s low-mixed screams added a budding sense of dynamics to their set that worked heavily in their favor. And if you have to take one word away from that last sentence, let it be “heavily,” because Cough are a fucking lurching beast. The formula is pretty simple — play slow, play loud and play through killer amps — but drummer Joseph Arcaro makes it, swinging his arms way above his head and crashing them down for each hit like he’s trying to puncture his drum heads and crack his cymbals. No doubt he often succeeds in doing just that.

They closed with “The Gates of Madness” from the Wounded Kings split, Cisco noting that they’d never played it live before. It was a 20-minute cut on that recording and probably the nastiest portion of their set, emphasizing sludge alongside the constant darkness of mood and tone, but they reveled suitably in the song’s horror-minded filth and ended with a mash of noise and feedback before cutting out and making way for YOB to unleash what turned out to be nearly two hours’ worth of material, ranging as far back as 2003’s Catharsis and finishing with a slew of tracks from last year’s monolithic Atma.

Should say something, though, that in that time YOB didn’t wear out their welcome in the slightest. Running through Hull‘s amps, it was almost like they played two sets, starting with (someone please correct me if I’m wrong) “Burning the Altar” from 2009’s The Great Cessation and sorting out some technical issues before harkening back to Catharsis for the highlight “Ether.” Part of me was hoping for the title-track of that album as well — I’ll be honest, part of me is always hoping for the title-track of that album — but instead, Scheidt, who was using Kevin Hufnagel of Dysrhythmia‘s guitar, bassist Aaron Reiseberg (also of Norska) and drummer Travis Foster gave the best rendition of “The Mental Tyrant” that I’ve ever seen. The galloping culmination was beyond epic, and of the several times I’ve seen them play the closer of 2005’s The Unreal Never Lived, this was the most raging and adrenaline-fueled. Maybe that sounds strange for a song that is at times painfully, unbelievably slow, but it’s true nonetheless.

“The Mental Tyrant” made for an appropriate break point between what I’ve been thinking of since as two sets. Scheidt announced they wouldn’t be doing an encore but were going to keep playing anyway. “How late do you want to be out?” he asked the crowd, who responded with cheers instead of numbers. Meshuggah and Baroness were also playing in Manhattan, and though I’m sure many would also be making the trek to Deathfest, the effect seemed to fill the room with those who really wanted to be there rather than diminish the draw. It thinned out some as the second portion of YOB‘s set progressed, but there was a genuine moshpit for Atma opener “Prepare the Ground,” and it was a thrill to see that kind of response as the music cut out and Scheidt held out his “Prepare!” just a little longer than on the record.

A thrill, but not really all that shocking. “Prepare the Ground” is probably the catchiest song YOB have ever written — at least up there with other strong album openers like “Quantum Mystic” from The Unreal Never Lived and “Ball of Molten Lead” from 2004’s The Illusion of Motion — and as the band’s profile has increased over the last couple years, that the audience would feel more kinship to the newer material is reasonable. I’d had a chuckle earlier in the set when Scheidt said something about playing old songs before starting “The Mental Tyrant,” realizing it’s been seven years now since that album came out. People were shouting requests all night, mostly for “Quantum Mystic” or “Ball of Molten Lead” from what I could hear, but the band made Atma the theme for their “encore,” running through “Upon the Sight of the Other Shore” and “Adrift in the Ocean,” which made for a fitting conclusion to a show no one was quite sure of when it would end, despite the two-song warning before “Upon the Sight of the Other Shore.”

Whether it’s true or not, it seemed like they extended the “Adrift in the Ocean” intro for some extra noodling, which made the percussive force that much more potent once the drums kicked in with more than cymbal washes. Scott Kelly adds percussion to the album version, but Foster did an excellent job filling out that space, and it was a dramatic finish to the night, the band looking genuinely exhausted by the time they were done. Perfectly understandable that they would be. I was, and all I did was stand there and bang my head.

Even with the extended set, it wasn’t especially late, but by the time I got back to Jersey, it was well after two and by the time I took out the recycling (there was a lot of it), past three, so I crashed out as soon as I could, well aware of the fatigue that would and has bled into today. Worth it. If you’re getting to see YOB as part of either I’ll be Your Mirror in London or the Maryland Deathfest this weekend, kudos. As I have every time I’ve seen them to date, I felt lucky to catch them in Brooklyn.

Extra pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Notes From SHoD XI Pt. 3: Sunday

Posted in Features on August 15th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

It was early when I pulled into the parking lot of the strip mall that houses Krug’s — around 1PM for a show that wouldn’t start for another hour. I nonetheless made my way inside, mostly to see if there had been any obvious schedule changes or anything like that, and on the way, passed the front door of the Baptist church next door, only to hear the songs and testimony happening inside. I stood there for a minute and listened. Seemed pretty exciting. Since stuff like SHoD is about as close as I get to religion, I felt like I could relate to all the yelling and singing. I’m pretty sure what I witnessed the crowd doing during Earthride‘s set last night counts as “testifying.”

Being early today, I decided rather than sit there by myself for the extra hour, I was going CD shopping. On my way to CD and Game Exchange in downtown Frederick — which is charming in the way that white people find expensive boutiques and wine bars charming — I passed a sign that read “Rock and Roll Graveyard” on E. Patrick St., and immediately parked my car in the next spot I could find. More to come on that later, but I’ll spill it now that it was a pleasurable way to pass that time. Here are the notes from when I got back to Krug’s Place:

Heavy Burner: I don’t know if the 2PM start time was to allow church to get out or what, but the last day of SHoD XI got off to a strong start with this Virginian trio. They were definitely of the scene, but the bass had thick fuzz to it that approached — especially in a couple jammed out parts which were complemented by subdued vocals — the Colour Haze-style low end I’ve been bemoaning the complete lack of in the American scene. Of course, the fact that Chris Kozlowski of Polar Bear Lair Studio had been handling sound for the whole weekend might have had something to do with it too. Everyone’s bass sounded good. The guy recorded the last Blue Cheer album! Of course the bass sounds good. Nonetheless, Heavy Burner had a good balance between jams and structure, and though I’m not sure it would be on a recording what it was live, I was disappointed they didn’t have CDs yet. In progress, reportedly.

Fire Faithful: First heard these guys when I reviewed their split with the revitalized Lord, and they were heavy Southern riff metal both then and now. More doom than stoner hands, but still definitely a Maryland band. Some harsh vocals from Brandon Malone reminded me of Alabama Thunderpussy‘s more metallic moments, set to some Pepper Keenan riffs, and it was a good fit. They brought their female companions (two of them, anyway) on stage to provide backing vocals on a song called “A Devil in London” that I had to strain to hear, but the song was catchy anyway, and they were clearly looking to impress whoever showed up early, even going so far as to break out their Orange cabinets instead of using the house Mesas. Growth to be had, but they fit right in.

Acid Queen: Were not at all what I expected. Totally thought they were going to be a super-fuzzed out stoner doom band, you know, like friggin’ Acid King. No dice. A four-piece hailing right from Frederick, they were entirely instrumental and played a thrash/NWOBHM hybrid that’s bound to go over well at the Defenders of the Old fest the bassist — who seemed to be in charge, or at very least was the one who had a mic for saying thanks — said they were playing with their original lineup. SHoD was also their last show with their current drummer, so there seemed to be a bit of upheaval in the band. On the most basic song level, their material sounded like it would benefit from a singer, so it wasn’t necessarily a surprise to find out they had one at some point. Whatever else happens, I hope they hold onto their young lead guitarist. Kid was a ripper.

Earthling: Following Jake from Valkyrie‘s recommendation yesterday, I was legitimately excited to check these guys out. They played a crusty Virginian blackthrash that sounded like their dads locked them in a closet with nothing for sustenance but what they could get from Motörhead, Darkthrone and Venom records — and if that’s the case, kudos to pops for raising them up right. They too were young, and pummeling. They had a couple slower parts and enough groove to keep the doom heads into it, but were coming from somewhere else entirely. Super heavy, and with the kind of urgency that can only come from a total lack of self-consciousness. Punk rock arrogance as filtered through thrashing fuckall and tectonic tonality. If they lived in Brooklyn, they’d be playing museums.

Demonaut: It was about time someone covered “Supernaut.” If you think about it, it was bound to happen. Demonaut stepped up to the plate for all of us, and with their two basses and lead guitar cutting through, they did the massive low-end heaviness of Master of Reality justice. Not a compliment easily earned: it did take them two bassists to do it. Between the two four strings and the three vocals (both bassists and the guitarist), Demonaut had a lot going on, but none of that was enough to distract me from the fact that drummer Dwayne had the deepest snare of the weekend, which he bought from a Texan high school marching band on eBay. Thing sounded huge, and where the lone guitar might have otherwise had a hard time standing up to the noise surrounding, a White Matamp and Rectifier labeled “Boogie” did the job quite nicely.

Wrath of Typhon: I was getting tired by the time they went on, and they had some radio-voice DJ from a Pennsylvanian metal show in a Fear Factory hat introduce them. The guy thanked everyone for coming out for the whole weekend, and yet I hadn’t seen him either Friday or Saturday, or even earlier this afternoon. Yeah, thanks for coming out. Anyway, soured though I was, Wrath of Typhon‘s upbeat semi-trad metal pulled a good response as the afternoon began to transition to the evening, but Cough had just shown up and a bunch of people went outside to hang out by their van, so that cut attendance inside somewhat. I went to my car and placed a call to The Patient Mrs. before going back in to catch the end of their set. They brought up a hooded Sickie Wifebeater, who’d been sitting behind the cabinets the whole time, for a song, and then the SHoDmaster himself, Rob Levey, took the stage for the second time of the weekend to lead vocal for an “Electric Funeral” cover. Two Sabbath covers right in a row. Someone really should’ve put in dibs beforehand. All the same, it was a rousing rendition of the song.

Nagato: Probably the most pleasant surprise of the day. They had also played SHoD X back in 2009, but I missed them then. More the fool I, because the West Virginian two-guitar four-piece played an unassuming kind of rock that was a reminder of how much a band can accomplish when they set out to be heavy in mood and not just volume. Nagato were easily the most subdued act of the day, and since Against Nature played Friday night, but there was no dip in heaviness or power in terms of the effect on the crowd. Their dark fuzz blues seemed an odd fit at first, ultimately showing what a guitarist can do when making the most of the mystic side of Orange reverb, and the songs were psychedelic not so much in swirls or overarching echo, but if you closed your eyes, the music wanted to take you somewhere. Exhausted as I was, I hadn’t expected to be blown away, but I was. They were a joy to watch, and it was a letdown that they didn’t have any music for sale. I’d have bought everything.

Cough: Death by volume. Quite a contrast coming off Nagato, and even before they went on, I was counting down the minutes until I could justify to myself getting in the car and starting the drive back to Jersey. They also looked like they were counting the minutes, and in the case of drummer Joseph Arcaro — who was the hardest-hitting percussionist of the weekend, hands down — it felt like minutes between each slamming of the toms toward the end of “Ritual Abuse.” Cough played two songs that I could discern, and I was surprised they didn’t have more of a crowd than they did, as they seem sonically to have transcended this scene and moved onto the touring market, but they were loud as fuck and doomed likewise, and they thanked Rob and Cheryl for doing another SHoD and plugged Lord‘s upcoming set, so rockstar assholes they weren’t. That’s more than you get from some returning heroes. Part of me had been hoping that, in the wake of Hour of 13‘s last-minute cancellation, that Cough would move into the headliner spot and Lord would play earlier, so I could leave sooner and start the trip north, but I was glad to have seen Cough without the hipster audience baggage they might otherwise be surrounded by.

Lord: And then it happened. The first song they played was typified by the chorus line “The wait is over,” and when Lord finally got going, that’s exactly how I felt. I basically stuck around today and tonight as long as I did just to see Lord. Everything else was gravy. I’ve been a fan of this band since 2005/2006, and I was stoked to learn they had gotten back together and started going again in the wake of Ol’ Scratch‘s demise. They were ridiculous in how heavy they were. I dug the hell out of it, I really did. I wish we could get bands like this up here. I wish people up here gave a shit. Fuck ‘em. I’ve driven four hours for a set like that before and I’m sure I’ll do it again. I didn’t stay the whole time, though — that was never the plan — but I did score a copy of their new record, which I’ll be reviewing in the coming weeks, once I manage to get my head around it. If the songs I saw them play at SHoD were any indicator, that might take a while. Heavier, louder, meaner. Lord is righteousness personified. I was ready to raise my hand up like the Baptists next door and give praise.

The ride back up, I nailed. I missed Backwoods Payback and Weed is Weed, but got back here just before 2AM (right around when I’d probably get to the hotel if I’d stayed at the show), and it’s 3:30 now. I listened to Tin House and Weed and then did a Sabbath trio of Sabotage, Heaven and Hell and Master of Reality, and by the time that was done, I’d arrived. I love driving when no one else is on the road. It was raining, and I don’t know how many 18 wheelers saw me pumping my fist to “Lady Evil” or “Children of the Grave,” but who gives a shit? I live for days like today, for weekends like this one. Much thanks to Rob and Cheryl Levey and Krug’s Place for their hospitality, to Ken-E Bones, Joe Wood and Andrew Jude Riotto, George Pierro, Jason Clemins, Kyle from Rochester, Tim Otis, Jake Adams, Fez McGinnis and everyone else down there for making Stoner Hands of Doom XI such a special experience for me and everyone else who was lucky enough to see it. Here’s to keeping doom doomed.

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Cough Interview with Parker Chandler: Suffering at the Gates of Madness, or: What to Do When Evil Fuzz Gets More Evil

Posted in Features on December 2nd, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

With the release of their second album, Ritual Abuse, through Relapse at the end of October, Virginian four-piece Cough made it known that they’re not here to fuck around. The band, who released their Sigillum Luciferi debut through Forcefield Records in 2008, have been touring hard ever since, and returning to their formidable recording partner in the form of Sanford Parker, Cough crafted one of the bleakest and most weighted sludge atmospheres to come from the American scene in a long time. If Eyehategod and Electric Wizard had a baby and left it down by the river…

But it’s the touring that always does it. It’s hard to grow in a practice space. You grow on stage. And that’s just what Cough has done. They’ve gotten out on the road — they’re currently on a month-long US tour and they’re headed to Europe next year around Roadburn time — and the maturation they’ve undertaken is evident on Ritual Abuse, when deformed psychedelia hits head first into sonic pummel and all you can do is embrace it because they’re taking you whether or not you want to go. The sounds on songs like “A Year in Suffering” and “Mind Collapse” (good for 24 of the album’s 53 minutes between them) are grotesque, and for a very specific kind of listener, essential.

I spoke to bassist/vocalist Parker Chandler as Cough was just beginning the tour in Florida, and aside from the weather, we discussed working with Relapse, the band’s sonic development, touring, more touring, recording, and just how he, guitarist/vocalist David Cisco and drummer Joseph Arcaro — second guitarist Brandon Marcey hadn’t yet joined the band — came up with the 19-minute track “The Gates of Madness” that serves as their half of the An Introduction to the Black Arts split with venerable UK doomers The Wounded Kings. That’s a pretty good story in itself.

Uncut Q&A is after the jump. Please enjoy.

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Cough and The Wounded Kings: The Black Rituals of Atlantis

Posted in Reviews on November 16th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

Culled together on the aptly titled Forcefield Records split release, An Introduction to the Black Arts, two of next-gen occult doom’s brightest (bleakest?) team up for more than 34 minutes of torturous musical sprawl. Dartmoor’s The Wounded Kings and Richmond, Virginia’s Cough reportedly got in touch with each other before any label got involved; drawn, no doubt, by their mutual predilection for riff-led worship and affection for the genre’s forebears. If the UK and US outfits have anything in common other than riffs, feedback and plod, it’s probably an affection for Electric Wizard, though that comes out more on Cough’s 18:36 “The Gates of Madness” than The Wounded Kings’ 15:03 “Curse of Chains,” which takes a less blatantly Oborn-ian approach and shares more in concept than strict execution with the band’s Dorset countrymen and adds more traditional doom to the mix.

“The Gates of Madness” was recorded by Sanford Parker at the same time Cough put to tape their recently-released Relapse Records debut, Ritual Abuse. They showed their love of Electric Wizard there, and follow suit on this extended cut, blending in screamed vocals as well to add notes of aggressive individuality, more in line with their 2008 Forcefield debut, Sigillum Luciferi. The difference, though, isn’t so great that anyone who heard and/or dug Ritual Abuse is going to be particularly surprised by “The Gates of Madness,” and rather, I’d argue that Cough’s Side A contribution to An Introduction to the Black Arts is an opportunity for those who couldn’t get enough of their sound on the sophomore outing to once more sample their heavier, more abrasive side. With droning, ultra-low tones and lumber sufficient enough to build a house, Cough easily justify the buzz they’ve been getting lately.

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Cough: Invoke the Devil, Worship the Wizard

Posted in Reviews on October 22nd, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s fitting, in a way. Electric Wizard more or less refuses to tour in the US, so the US gets its own Electric Wizard. That’ll show ‘em! Not that I seriously believe being a Stateside Electric Wizard was the goal or intent of Richmond, Virginia, outfit Cough when they formed in 2005 (though if it was, who could blame them for having such noble aims?), but with their second full-length album and Relapse Records debut, Ritual Abuse, it’s kind of where they’ve ended up. Opening with two massive 12-plus minute tracks — they also close with one — the record is a dirge-laden take on excessively drugged doom, in parts sounding like dark psychedelia that broke into the pharmacy after it was closed and at times so seethingly hateful it’s nearly black metal in its ambience.

In following their 2008 first offering, Sigillum Luciferi, Cough do much of the work growing into their sound through a riffing, crashing and wailing approach that will be welcome and familiar to experienced doomers. Again, Electric Wizard is the central point of reference for the four-piece, with the guitars of David Cisco offering similar plod. Cisco and bassist Parker Chandler split the vocal duties, and as much as the screams on “A Year in Suffering” set them apart, the cleaner approach that shows up throughout Ritual Abuse is so much in line with what Jus Oborn has done on the last couple Electric Wizard discs that it’s uncanny. And don’t for one second think that’s a complaint. Far from it, it sounds awesome to my ears, and the bass tone that comes out of “Crooked Spine” later in the record is so righteously doomed that I’m hard pressed to think of another American band better at this kind of musical lumbering, but original it ain’t.

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audiObelisk EXCLUSIVE: Cough Premiere New Track Off Their Relapse Debut, Ritual Abuse

Posted in audiObelisk on September 24th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

Dude. As someone who’s listened to Ritual Abuse, the Relapse debut from Richmond‘s Cough, believe me, this shit is heavy. It’s like the omega-doom. They’re the Electric Wizard of the Virginia Colony. Very heavy, very riffy, very doom. Visceral. And the best part? Relapse has allowed The Obelisk to exclusively premiere the new track, “Crippled Wizard,” and I don’t mean “exclusive” like you can also go find it on a bunch of other sites. Hoist a doom claw; this one’s all ours.

Use the player below to bear witness. Cough‘s Ritual Abuse is out Oct. 26 on Relapse.

Cough, Crippled Wizard

Ritual Abuse will be on CD and in 2LP gatefold vinyl in an edition of 556 ashen gray marble and 108 clear records which aren’t for public consumption. Artwork comes courtesy of Glyn Smyth. Here’s what the label has to say about it:

Richmond‘s Cough delivers thoroughly massive, psychedelic doom on their aptly-titled Relapse debut Ritual Abuse. The album’s five epic tracks are impenetrable walls of sludge; at points suffocating and claustrophobic, at others warped and hallucinogenic. Ritual Abuse is an impressive monolith of sound and volume, and one of the finest moments yet of 21st Century doom.

Tour Dates:
Sept. 24 Harrisonburg, VA Crayola House
Sept. 25 Wilmington, DE Barcode (w/Might Could, Pagan Wolf Ritual)
Sept. 26 Philadelphia, PA Mill Creek Tavern (w/Gholas)
Nov. 7 Gainesville, FL Common Grounds
Nov. 8 Orlando, FL Will’s Pub
Nov. 9 Jacksonville, FL The Warehouse
Nov. 10 Miami, FL Churchill’s
Nov. 14 Tallahassee, FL The Farside Collective
Nov. 16 Athens, GA Caledonia Lounge
Nov. 17 Nashville, TN Little Hamilton
Nov. 19 Little Rock, AR Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom
Nov. 20 Vicksburg, MS The Doom Room
Nov. 21 New Orleans, LA Siberia
Nov. 23 Dallas, TX Nightmare
Nov. 24 Oklahoma City, OK The Conservatory
Nov. 27 Las Vegas, NV Meathead’s Bar
Nov. 29 San Francisco, CA The Elbo Room
Nov. 30 Chico, CA Monstro’s Pizza
Dec. 2 Seattle, WA The Highline
Dec. 9 Columbus, OH Carabar

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