ROADBURN 2017 Day One: Wound of the Warden

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 20th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

roadburn banner (Photo JJ Koczan)

04.21.17 – 00.14 — Thursday night — Hotel room

The process of getting up and going to finalize and print out the first issue of the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch (download it here) probably couldn’t have been much easier than it was. I credit this entirely to Lee Edwards (of The Sleeping Shaman) and the 013 staff, all of whom expose me for the sulky amateur-hour schlub I am with their sheer professionalism. I continue to be astounded at how lucky I am to work with these people.

coven soundcheck (JJ Koczan)Whilst schlubbing and prior to folding my portion of the 1,000 copies of WCD, I caught a couple seconds of Coven‘s soundcheck, and so knew that was going to be a good time later in the day — not that Roadburn 2017 Day One was light on anticipation. Today actually was my busiest day here. It started intense and ended intense, with a fair bit of back and forth between, and I feel like I’m only being honest when I say I dragged ass for a decent portion of it, despite my best efforts to hyper-caffeinate and pound vitamins, but Roadburn only comes once a year. You stick it out as much as you can.

As such, I was over to Het Patronaat early to catch the start of Wretch. I’d rode in from the airport with the Indianapolis trio just by happenstance, and I knew it would be a quick stop through just to check out part of their set ahead of hoisting myself over to the Main Stage for the start of Crippled Black Phoenix, but the doom called me to the church and it was not to be missed. Before they got going, guitarist/vocalist Karl Simon recalled on stage when The Gates of Slumber played (they had canceled in 2010 owing to that goddamn volcano, only to make the trip a couple years later in 2012), only reinforcing how linked the two bands are, but that’s Wretch (Photo by JJ Koczan)not to take anything away from the presence bassist Bryce Clarke and drummer Chris Gordon bring to the rhythm section or what the new three-piece accomplished on last year’s self-titled debut (review here). Even if it’s grown out of another, it’s a new band.

They made that clear in cuts like “Icebound,” “Running out of Days,” “R.I.P.” and “Drown” from the record, and even managed to sneak in the Judas Priest cover “Winter,” as well as their take on Motörhead‘s “Sweet Revenge.” The hook of “R.I.P.” made it a personal highlight, and The Gates of Slumber‘s “The Wretch” was certainly a fit. I hear tell Wretch are recording a new single while touring the UK with Iron Void on this trip, so hopefully it’s not too long before we hear from them again. In the meantime, I rushed over to catch Crippled Black Phoenix on the Main Stage.

Call it an early headlining set from the by-now-long-ish-running UK avant rock outfit, whose blend of heavy indie, goth, melancholic rock and generally progressive undertone makes them a standout not only on this bill but also generally this planet. Crippled Black Phoenix (Photo by JJ Koczan)They’re simply like no one else. Supporting their latest album, Bronze (review here), they brought in a considerable crowd for it being so light out and managed to cast a balance between life-affirming and crushingly-depressive throughout. To wit, “No Fun” and “Scared and Alone” from Bronze were high points, the latter teased as being their last song without actually being it. They’ve become such an astoundingly different band than they were when they released their debut album, A Love of Shared Disasters, a decade ago, but have manage to lose neither their edge nor their will to push themselves forward. After being a dork for their work for so long, I felt lucky to finally see them play live.

I also knew that I was cool to stay put for the duration of Crippled Black Phoenix, because while much of Roadburn 2017 and indeed every single Roadburn involves bouncing around between stages, Salt Lake City’s SubRosa were hitting the Main Stage next, so I wasn’t going fucking anywhere. The string-laden outfit played the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn last month and they’ll play here again tomorrow at Het Patronaat for a special “SubDued” mostly-acoustic set, but today was a front-to-back performance of 2016’s For this We Fought the Battle of Ages (review here), and as that was my pick for Album of the Year last year when it came out on Profound Lore, they were my most anticipated band of the entire festival. I didn’t cry to miss them in New York because I knew I’d see them in Tilburg.

However, I kind of did cry when they played “Troubled Cells.” At least teared up at the end when they SubRosa (Photo by JJ Koczan)brought out the backing chorus which, if I’m not mistaken, counted Nathan Carson of Witch Mountain among its ranks. Could be wrong, but the Magma shirt was a dead giveaway. Earlier in the set, I’d gone up after taking pictures to the side of the stage to watch from there for a couple minutes, which is something I let myself do only once per Roadburn. Like Crippled Black Phoenix before them, SubRosa carried the air of being early headliners, and at least for me, they most definitely were. If you’d told me I had to go back to the hotel, pack up my gear and get on a plane home when they were done, I’d have been bummed to leave the rest of the fest behind, but I wouldn’t be able to say I didn’t get my fest’s worth out of Roadburn 2017 after watching SubRosa. Yes, they were that unbelievable. “Black Majesty.” Holy shit. I scurried to the merch area when they were done like the beaten fool I was. Gladly.

There was something of a break for me when they were done. My next stop was Cul de Sac around the corner for Harsh Toke. I’d been fortunate enough to catch the San Diego jammers when they played Roadburn in 2014 (review here), and I’d taken due advantage of the lesson of watching them then, which was “Don’t Harsh Toke (sort of) (Photo by JJ Koczan)miss Harsh Toke,” and so I didn’t want to. Apparently I wasn’t the only one, however. I’d made a quick stop at the hotel to drop off my newly-acquired SubRosa merch, my laptop, coffee thermos, Weirdo Canyon Dispatch issues and other detritus from the early part of the day, and though I got to the smaller venue with 20 minutes to spare, it was still too late to get up front and get a spot where I could see. I bought a patch for five euros, took what wound up being the last open spot at the bar — a seat, no less! — and tried to let my head get into the flow. Given their propensity for groove, it wasn’t much of a challenge to catch my breath and chill out for a few minutes at least until the why-haven’t-you-ordered-a-beer stares of the staff got the better of me. I tried and failed to snap a decent picture of the band on my phone and once more sent myself packing back over to the 013, where Wolves in the Throne Room were on the Main Stage.

Didn’t take long to remember what was so easy to appreciate about them, what with their textured blackened approach, which sounded almost orchestral in that huge space. I hadn’t been in the Green Room yet, so I poked my head in to catch a couple seconds of Esben and the Witch — was bummed to see the miniature photo pit from last year was gone; that thing had been a godsend — ahead of Coven starting on the Main Stage. I didn’t know it until about 10 minutes before they went on, but apparently one needed a special photo pass to shoot Coven‘s set. Whoops. Just about everyone else and their cousin Coven (Photo by JJ Koczan)had one, but I guess I missed that memo. I went backstage to try my luck at getting one and was told in no uncertain terms in which direction to fuck (spoiler alert: “off”), so I went out to the front of the house and waited for Jinx Dawson to emerge in her sparkly mask from the coffin that had been placed in the middle of the stage. Not a hardship, but I felt like a dope. Not like I’m shooting pictures for a magazine or anything. It’s just me on here.

Once Coven got going, they dug wholesale into the classic heavy Satanic-ritual pop rock that’s made them the generational influence that they have been, and came across like the blueprint Ghost wish they could follow. Dawson was in complete command of the crowd and the sense of dark worship and drama was palpable. The biggest crowd of the day so far? I wasn’t counting heads in the Main Stage area, but it might’ve been, just by eyeballing it. i thought maybe I’d pop back over to the Green Room to watch Suma get going, but once again my timing was off and the place was packed out before I could get through the door. Would seem to have helped nothing in terms of timing that I left my watch at home this year. Speaking of amateur hour. Woof. One day I’ll have my shit together. Clearly that was not today.

Having thusly flubbed my shot at watching Suma, I lumbered over to Extase in plenty of time to await the start of The Devil and the Almighty Blues, whose second album, II (review here), was still pretty fresh in my mind. That helped — that always helps — but the truth of the matter is that in the energy of their delivery and their instrumental chemistry on-stage, the Norwegian outfit blew the record right out of the water. I looked around from in front of the stage and saw a lot of familiar faces from Roadburns past. Different genres here tend to attract niche portions of the overall crowd, and judging from how the temperature The Devil and the Almighty Blues (Photo by JJ Koczan)jumped in Extase shortly after The Devil and the Almighty Blues went on, the secret’s out. They came out to “O Death” and the mesh of blues and heavy rock they unleashed seemed in direct response to that fact. They were flat-out awesome, and the kind of act that, as an American, I simply don’t get to see anywhere but here. It wasn’t the first time in the day I felt lucky and it wasn’t the last, but the chance even to catch part of their set gave me a new appreciation for what they’re doing sound-wise, and for a band I already dug, the way they brought their material to life only added to their appeal.

My plan for ending the night would require better timing than I’d had all day, but I was relatively certain I’d be able to pull it off if I played my cards right. It meant skipping out earlier than I wanted to on The Devil and the Almighty Blues, but the basic fact of the matter is that particularly as someone who lives in New England, I’m way, way overdue for catching the reformed Scissorfight live on stage. In the back of my head, I’ve been able to justify not going to their local gigs in Massachusetts or their native New Hampshire by saying, “It’s okay; I’ll catch them at Roadburn,” so there was no way I was going to let myself not do that. Plus, it’s fucking Scissorfight. The band wrote “Granite State Destroyer.” “Blizzard Buzzards Bastards.” “New Hampshire’s Alright if You Like Fighting.” Not exactly like one needs to make excuses to show up.

To get to the bottom line of it, my ultimate opinion of the four-piece live wasScissorfight (Photo by JJ Koczan) pretty much the same as of their 2016 Salt of the Earth Records EP, Chaos County (review here), which is that if you miss this band, you’re only denying yourself an outlet of pure, crushingly heavy joy. I’m not saying that as someone who never saw Scissorfight in their original incarnation. In fact, I caught them multiple times with their original lineup, and whether they’re playing old material or new, Scissorfight in 2017 is no less a beast than they ever were. Guitarist Jay Fortin — of whom I remain embarrassed to take pictures, knowing him as an amazingly talented photographer — still has one of the finest tones in New England. Frontman Doug Aubin is absolutely insane on stage as well as off, as he showed by jumping into the crowd several times and starting a rare Roadburn mosh. Paul Jarvis‘ bass is still the source of heft behind their maddening impact, and newcomer drummer Rick Orcutt fits into those grooves with an ease and swing that makes the songs his own even as he does justice to their original incarnations. Shit was so right on. New songs or old, Scissorfight were a steamroller of riffs and growls that flattened the Green Room, and though the lesson that those who whine about this or that person not being in the band anymore are missing out was one I already knew, such fervent reinforcement of same was a pleasure to behold.

Scissorfight are touring with Backwoods Payback, and the latter Pennsylvania-based trio would be my final stop of the night, over in Extase once again. I got there early enough to get a spot up front and watched as Jeff and Kyle from Atala — labelmates all on Salt of the Earth — bonded over mutual desert connections, and kind of parked myself and made ready to round out the night, taking the last of my notes on Scissorfight — they read like, “Duh, they’re killer” — and asking and being shot done to take a photo with Jamie Cavanagh from Anathema, who was working sound at the venue. I’d already told him earlier that I thought their new record is great, which I do, so whatever. There you go. My nerd-out moment for Roadburn 2017 Day One.

Guitarist/vocalist Mike Cummings, bassist Jessica Baker and drummer Erik Larson compriseBackwoods Payback (Photo by JJ Koczan) Backwoods Payback at this point, and goodness gracious, what a band. What a band. Late last year, they snuck out the full-length Fire Not Reason (review here), but they were a different level of righteous on stage, and the balance of fury and melody in what they do remains underrated in US heavy rock. I get that they haven’t been the most active group in the States over the last, say, five years, but especially with Larson on drums, they were every bit as tight as that thrash band I saw last night at the Hard Rock Hideout and had a depth of character to offer in their songwriting that most acts just can’t compete with. Heavy, but emotionally resonant, punkish in their execution but with a touch of metallic aggression as well, they not only write a solid hook like that of “You Don’t Move,” but they give that hook a purpose and an underlying sense of humanity. I’ve missed seeing them play live, and though the last time I caught them — I don’t even know what year it was — was a while back and with a different lineup, what’s always worked at their core was exactly what made me so happy I was able to finish the first night of Roadburn 2017 by watching them play. Once again, the Extase was full. That little club has been a fantastic addition to this festival, and it’s where I plan to start my afternoon tomorrow, as it happens.

Plenty to do before then, however. Including sleep, which as we press on past 3AM local time seems like an increasingly good idea.

Thanks for reading. More pics after the jump.

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Quarterly Review: Crippled Black Phoenix, Zed, Mark Deutrom & Dead, Ol’ Time Moonshine, Ufosonic Generator, Mother Mooch, The Asound, Book of Wyrms, Oxblood Forge, The Heavy Crawls

Posted in Reviews on January 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk winter quarterly review

Now having spanned multiple years since starting way back in 2016, this Quarterly Review ends today with writeups 51-60 of the total 60. I’ve said I don’t know how many times that I could go longer, but the fact of the matter is it would hit a point where it stopped being a pleasant experience on my end and I’d rather keep things fun as much as possible rather than just try to cram in every single release that ever came my way. Make sense? It might or it might not. I can’t really decide either. From the bottom of my heart though, as I stare down the final batch of records for this edition of the Quarterly Review, I thank you for reading. Let’s dive in.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Crippled Black Phoenix, Bronze

crippled black phoenix bronze

Nine albums and just about 10 years on from their 2007 debut, A Love of Shared Disasters, the UK’s Crippled Black Phoenix arrive on Season of Mist with the full-length Bronze and remain as complex, moody and sonically resolute as ever. If we’re lucky, they’ll be the band that teaches a generation of heavy tone purveyors how to express emotion in songwriting without giving up the impact of their material, but the truth is that “Champions of Disturbance (Pt. 1 & 2),” “Deviant Burials,” “Scared and Alone” and take-your-pick-from-the-others are about so much more depth than even the blend of “heavy and moody” conveys. To wit, the spacious post-rock gaze of “Goodbye Then” gives a glimpse of what Radiohead might’ve turned into had they managed to keep their collective head out of their collective ass, and the penultimate “Winning a Losing Battle” pushes through initial melancholia into gurgling, obtuse-but-hypnotic drone before making a miraculous return in its finish – then closer “We are the Darkeners” gets heavy. Multi-instrumentalist, founder and chief songwriter Justin Greaves is nothing shy of a visionary, and Bronze is the latest manifestation of that vision. One doubts it will be the last.

Crippled Black Phoenix on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist website

 

Zed, Trouble in Eden

zed trouble in eden

Nothing shy about Trouble in Eden, the third full-length from San Jose heavy rockers Zed and second for Ripple Music. From its hey-look-guys-it’s-a-naked-chick cover to the raw vocal push from Pete Sattari –which delves into more melodic fare early on “The Only True Thing” and in rolling closer “The Mountain,” but keeps mostly to gruff grown-up-punker delivery throughout – the 10-tracker makes its bones in cuts like “Blood of the Fallen” and the resonant hook of “Save You from Yourself,” which are straightforward in intent, brash in execution and which thrive on a purported “rock the way it should be” mentality. Well, I don’t know how rock should be, but ZedSattari, guitarist Greg Lopez, bassist Mark Aceves and drummer Rich Harris – play to classic structures and seem to bring innate groove with them wherever they go on the album, be it the one-two punch of “High Indeed” and “So Low” or the Clutch-style bounce in the first half of “Today Not Tomorrow,” which leaves one of Trouble in Eden’s most memorable impressions both as a song and as a summary of their apparent general point of view.

Zed on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

Mark Deutrom & Dead, Collective Fictions Split LP

mark deutrom dead collective fictions

Limited to just 200 copies on We Empty Rooms and Gotta Groove Records, the Collective Fictions split 180g LP between Melbourne noise duo Dead and Mark Deutrom (Bellringer, Clown Alley, ex-Melvins) is a genuine vinyl-only release. No digital version. That in itself gives it something of a brazen experimentalism, never mind the fact that one can barely tell where one track ends and the next track starts. Purposeful obscurity? Maybe. It’s reportedly one of a series of four LPs Dead are working on for the next year-plus, and they present two cuts in “Masonry” and “In the Car,” moving through percussion and mid-range drone to build a tense jazz on the former as drummer Jem and bassist Jace make room for the keys and noise of BJ Morriszonkle, which continue to play a prominent role in “In the Car” as well, which is also the only inclusion on Collective Fictions to feature vocals, shortly before it rumbles and long-fades snare hits to close out Dead’s side of the LP, leaving Deutrom – working here completely solo – thoroughly dared to get as weird as he’d like. An opportunity of which he takes full advantage. Over the course of four tracks, he unfurls instrumentalist drone of various stripes, from the nighttime soundscaping of “The Gargoyle Protocol,” which seems to answer the percussive beginning of Dead, through the spacier reverb loneliness of “Presence of an Absence,” like a most pastoral, less obtuse Earth, dreamy but sad in a way that denotes self-awareness on the part of the title, or at very least effective evocation thereof. Likewise, “Bring the Fatted Calf,” with its gong hits, Master Musicians of Bukkake-style jingling and minimalist volume swells, is duly ritualistic, which makes one wonder what the prog-style keys at the open of “View from the Threshold” are looking at. Deutrom moves through that side-closer patiently but fluidly and ends at a drone, tying up Collective Fictions as something of a curio in intent and execution. By that I mean what seems to have brought the two parties together was a “Hey, wanna get weird?” impulse, but each act makes their own level and then works on it, so hell yes, by all means, get weird.

Mark Deutrom website

Dead website

 

Ol’ Time Moonshine, The Apocalypse Trilogies

ol time moonshine the apocalypse trilogies

Any record that starts with a narration beginning, “In the not too distant future…” is going to find favor with my MST3K-loving heart. So begins The Apocalypse Trilogies: Spacewolf and Other Dark Tales, the cumbersomely-named but nonetheless engaging Salt of the Earth Records debut full-length from Toronto’s Ol’ Time Moonshine, whose 2013 The Demon Haunted World EP (review here) also found favor. The burl-coated outing is presented across three chapters, each beginning with its own narration and comprising three subsequent tracks – trilogies – tying into its theme as represented in the cover art by vocalist/guitarist Bill Kole, joined in the band by guitarist Chris Coleiro, bassist John Kendrick and drummer Brett Savory. They shift into some more complex fare on the instrumental “Lady of Light” before the final chapter, but at its core The Apocalypse Trilogies remains a (very) heavy rock album with an undercurrent of metal, and whatever else Ol’ Time Moonshine bring to it in plotline, they hold fast to songwriting as the most crucial element of their approach.

Ol’ Time Moonshine on Thee Facebooks

Salt of the Earth Records webstore

 

Ufosonic Generator, The Evil Smoke Possession

ufosonic generator the evil smoke possession

Italian four-piece Ufosonic Generator (also stylized as one word: UfosonicGenerator) make themselves at home straddling the line between doom and classic boogie rock on what seems to be their debut album, the eight-track The Evil Smoke Possession, released through Minotauro Records. Marked out by the soaring and adaptable vocals of Gojira – yup – the band offer proto-metal shuffle on shorter early cuts “A Sinful Portrait” and the rolling nod of “At Witches’ Bell,” but it’s the longer pairing of “Meridian Daemon” (7:47) and “Silver Bell Meadows” (6:53) on which one finds their brew at highest potency, sending an evil eye Cathedral’s way without forgetting the Sabbathian riffery that started it all or the Iron Maiden-gallop it inspired. They cap with the suitable lumber of their title-track and pick up toward the finish as if to underscore the dueling vibes with which they’ve been working all along. Ultimately, the meld isn’t necessarily revolutionary, but it does pay homage fluidly across The Evil Smoke Possession’s span, and as a debut, it sets Ufosonic Generator forward with a solid foundation on which to progress.

Ufosonic Generator on Thee Facebooks

Minotauro Records on Bandcamp

 

Mother Mooch, Nocturnes

mother mooch nocturnes

Issued digitally in late-2015 and subsequently snagged for a 2016 vinyl issue through Krauted Mind, Nocturnes is the debut full-length from Dublin five-piece Mother Mooch, and in its eight tracks, they set their footing in a genre-spanning aesthetic, pulling from slow-motion grunge, weighted heavy rock, psychedelic flourish and even a bit of punk on the shorter, upbeat “My Song 21” and “L.H.O.O.Q.” Those two tracks prove crucial departures in breaking up the proceedings and speak well of a penchant on the part of vocalist Chloë Ní Dhúada, guitarists Sid Daly (also backing vocals) and Farl, bassist Barry Hayden and drummer Danni Nolan toward sonic diversity. They bring a similar sensibility to the closing Lead Belly cover “Out on the Western Plain” as well, whereas cuts like opener “This Tempest,” “Into the Water” and “Misery Hill” work effectively to find a middle ground between the stylistic range at play. That impulse, seemingly innate to their songraft, is what will allow them to continue to develop their personality as a band and is not to be understated in how pivotal it is to this first LP.

Mother Mooch on Thee Facebooks

Krauted Mind Records website

 

The Asound, The Asound

the asound self titled

To my knowledge, this only-70-pressed five-song tape release is the second self-titled EP from off-kilter North Carolina heavy rockers The Asound following a three-songer back in 2011 (review here). Offered by Tsuguri Records, the new The Asound starts with its longest track (immediate points) in the 6:54 “Moss Man” and touches on earliest, most righteous High on Fire-style brash, but holds to its own notions about what that that blend of groove and gallop should do. Through splits with Flat Tires (review here), Magma Rise (review here), Lenoir Swingers Club (review here) and Mark Deutrom (review here), the trio of Guitarist/vocalist Chad Wyrick, bassist Jon Cox and drummer Michael Crump have always had an element of the unpredictable to their sound, and that’s true as centerpiece “Human for Human” revives the thrust of the opener coming off “Controller”’s less marauding rhythm, but the sludgy rollout and later airy lead-work of “Pseudo Vain” and chugging nod of closer “Throne of Compulsion” speaks to the consciousness at play beneath the unhinged vibes that’s been there all along. They’ve sounded ready for a while to make a full-length debut. They still sound that way.

The Asound on Thee Facebooks

Tsuguri Records website

 

Book of Wyrms, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

book of wyrms sci-fi fantasy

Immediate bonus points to Richmond, Virginia’s Book of Wyrms for titling a track on their full-length debut “Infinite Walrus,” but with the Garrett Morris-recorded tones they proffer with the seven-song/53-minute Sci-Fi/Fantasy (on Twin Earth Records), they don’t really need bonus points. The five-piece of vocalist Sarah Moore Lindsey, six-stringers Kyle Lewis and Ben Coudriet, bassist Jay Lindsey and drummer Chris DeHaven mostly avoid the sounding-like-Windhand trap through stretches of upbeat tempo, theremin and other noise flourish, and harmonies on guitar, but they’re never far from an undercurrent of doom, as opener “Leatherwing Bat” establishes and the long ambient midsection and subsequent nod of centerpiece “Nightbong” is only too happy to reinforce. “All Hallows Eve” gets a little cliché with its samples, but the dueling leads on 11-minute closer “Sourwolf” and included keyboard noise ensure proper distinction and mark Book of Wyrms as having come into their first long-player with a definite plan of action, which finds them doing well as a showcase of potential and plenty immersive in the here and now.

Book of Wyrms on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records on Bandcamp

 

Oxblood Forge, Oxblood Forge

oxblood forge self-titled

Despite the sort of cross-cultural ritualism of its cover art, Oxblood Forge’s self-titled debut EP has only the firmest of ideas where it’s coming from. The Whitman, Massachusetts-based five-piece boasts former Ichabod vocalist Ken MacKay as well as bassist Greg Dellaria from that band, and guitarist Robb Lioy (also in Four Speed Fury with MacKay) alongside guitarist Josh Howard and drummer Chris Capen, and in a coherent, vigilantly straightforward five-tracker they touch on aggressive fare in “Lashed to the Mast” as their Northeastern regionalism would warrant – we’re all very angry here; it’s the weather – and demonstrate a knack for hooks in “Inferno” and “Sister Midnight,” the latter blending screams and almost Torche-style melodies over clam chowder riffing before closer “Storm of Crows” opens foreboding with Dellaria’s bass and moves into the short release’s nastiest fare, MacKay sticking to harsher vocals as on the earlier “Night Crawler,” but in a darker instrumental context. They set a range here, and might be feeling things out in terms of working together as this band, but given the personnel involved and their prior familiarity with each other, it’s hard to imagine that if a follow-up is in the offing it’ll be all that long before it arrives. Consider notice served.

Oxblood Forge on Thee Facebooks

Oxblood Forge on Bandcamp

 

The Heavy Crawls, The Heavy Crawls

the heavy crawls self-titled

Ukrainian trio The Heavy Crawls set out as a duo called just The Crawls and released a self-titled debut in 2013 that was picked up in 2015 by ultra-respected German imprint Nasoni Records. Under the new moniker, they get another stab at a first album with the 10-track/42-minute classic rocker The Heavy Crawls, the three-piece of founding guitarist/bassist/keyboardist/vocalist Max Tovstyi, drummer Inessa Joger and keyboardist/vocalist/percussionist Iryna Malyshevska evoking spirited boogie and comfortable groove on “She Said I Had to Wait” and the handclap-stomping “Girl from America.” Elements of garage rock show up on “Too Much Rock ‘n’ Roll” and the soul-swinging “I Had to Get Away,” but The Heavy Crawls are more interested in establishing a flow than being showy or brash, and the payoff for that comes in eight-minute closer “Burns Me from Inside,” which stretches out the jamming sensibility that earlier pieces like the organ-laced “One of a Kind” and the staccato “Friday, 13th” seem to be driving toward. Some growing to undertake, but the pop aspect in The Heavy Crawls’ songcraft provides intrigue, and their (second) debut shows a righteous commitment to form without losing its identity to it.

The Heavy Crawls website

The Heavy Crawls on Bandcamp

 

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Crippled Black Phoenix Post “Scared and Alone” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 13th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

UK progressive atmospheric rockers Crippled Black Phoenix are currently embroiled in a European tour supporting their new album and Season of Mist full-length debut, Bronze. I’ll admit I’ve been somewhat hesitant to dig fully into the record, both because it’s been a while since I really engaged with the band — despite being way into their debut, A Love of Shared Disasters (now 10 years old), and subsequent offerings, 2009’s 200 Tons of Bad Luck (discussed here) and 2010’s I, Vigilante (discussed here), I’ve basically missed the boat on everything they’ve done since; something I hope to correct at the Roadburn 2017 merch table unless the dollar exchange tanks against the euro — and because Bronze has not at all seemed like it requires a significant emotional investment on the part of the listener.

To wit, the depression chronicle “Scared and Alone,” a nine-minute cut that appears later in the album and has a new video put together by respected Romanian animator/designer Costin Chioreanu. In its atmospheric depth and melodic current, the song works in direct defiance of any genre sensibility, for which it’s to be commended, but the overarching melancholic spirit is as affecting as it is sonically rich. This is not in itself a negative. One thinks of acts in the depressive tradition — labelmates Sólstafir, the middle-period work of Crippled Black Phoenix‘s UK countrymen Anathema, and so on — and the breadth that “Scared and Alone” conjures seems duly lush and patient, moody in all the right ways. That doesn’t mean, however, that the song isn’t perhaps putting the listener in a position to confront aspects of their self that, when not ignored, make the day harder to get through.

My own emotional cowardice notwithstanding, both song and video are gorgeous, the lyrics and vocals of Belinda Kordic and instrumental arrangement from Justin Greaves coming together to create a genuine sense of place over the course of the nine-minute run, which Chioreanu is bold enough to tackle head-on. If you’re also feeling so brave, you’ll find the clip followed by some comment from Greaves and the band’s tour dates below.

Enjoy:

Crippled Black Phoenix, “Scared and Alone” official video

International dark rock collective CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX have released an animated music video for the track “Scared and Alone”, off their recently released full-length, ‘Bronze’. The video was animated by Costin Chioreanu (GHOST, OPETH).

Regarding the video, CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX founder Justin Greaves comments, “Costin Chioreanu has created an amazing clip. His animation fits so very well that this can only come from someone, who truly understands the feeling behind this song. It is not an easy thing to connect with so I have nothing but respect and praise for Costin. ‘Scared and Alone’ speaks volumes about being cut off from the outside world and other people when the ‘Black Dog’ bites. Depression, anxiety and mental health are becoming bigger issues and when someone speaks up, it opens a door for other people to get things off their mind. Belinda wrote the lyrics as well as doing the vocals for ‘Scared and Alone’ and she did not need to be given any direction. As always, she took the title and the music and shaped the most real and heartfelt words into a very poetic form. I am deeply satisfied with the way everything turned out, both sonically and visually.”

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX
w/PUBLICIST UK, THE DEVIL’S TRADE
Dec. 13 Zürich (CH) @ Werk 21
Dec. 14 München (DE) @ Feierwerk, Kranhalle
Dec. 15 Budapest (HU) @ Dürer Kert
Dec. 16 Wien (AT) @ Arena
Dec. 17 Tübingen (DE) @ Sudhaus
Dec. 18 Dresden (DE) @ Scheune
Dec. 19 Warszawa (PL) @ Progresja
Dec. 20 Berlin (DE) @ Lido
Dec. 21 Köln (DE) @ Underground

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX at Roadburn
Apr. 20 Tilburg (NL) @ O13

Crippled Black Phoenix on Thee Facebooks

Crippled Black Phoenix on Bandcamp

Season of Mist website

Season of Mist on Thee Facebooks

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Roadburn 2017: Magma, Chelsea Wolfe, SubRosa, Slomatics, Wretch, Ahab, Mysticum, Crippled Black Phoenix, Deafheaven and More Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 18th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Roadburn 2017 banner

Great googly-moogly, Roadburn. If Roadburn 2017 didn’t already have your attention when it announced Coven as part of its first revelations for next year’s lineup — and it should have, make no mistake — then this should do the trick. The list is, frankly, overwhelming, and it speaks both to how immense the scale of Roadburn has become and how much the event continues to strive to push the boundaries of what it does. The first acts for the day curated by BaronessJohn Dyer Baizley? Magma and Chelsea Wolfe. SubRosa playing two sets, one of which is comprised of this year’s magnificent For this We Fought the Battle of Ages (review here) in full, the other a stripped-down, at least semi-acoustic version of the band. Leif Edling of Candlemass debuting his new project The Doomsday Kingdom. Slomatics, Dylan Carlson of Earth, Wretch, Inter Arma, Crippled Black Phoenix (hope they’re on the Main Stage; fingers crossed), Woe, Ahab, so many more it’s astounding.

If Roadburn 2017 was like, “Okay, that’s it. We’re done.,” could you really argue with what’s been put together already? The terrifying thing is they’re still just getting started.

Fresh off the PR wire:

roadburn-new-adds-poster

New names added to Roadburn Festival 2017 ahead of ticket onsale

• MYSTICUM to bring their incredible stage show to Roadburn 2017
• CHELSEA WOLFE and MAGMA are the first names confirmed for John Dyer Baizley’s curation
• THE BUG VS DYLAN CARLSON OF EARTH confirmed for a special Roadburn show
• DEAFHEAVEN finally make their Roadburn debut at the 2017 edition
• SUBROSA to play two exclusive sets
• …and more.

ROADBURN FESTIVAL is pleased to add new names to the bill for Roadburn 2017. The 22nd edition of Roadburn Festival will take place April 20-23, 2017 at the 013 Venue, Tilburg, The Netherlands.

MYSTICUM have been confirmed to play the main stage at Roadburn 2017, bringing their distinctive brand of black metal to Tilburg. Back in 1996, MYSTICUM wrote the rulebook, for what industrial black metal should be with their debut album, In The Streams of Inferno – and then swiftly torched it. Renowned for their incredible stage show, MYSTICUM have some clear intentions for Roadburn 2017: “We shall invade your minds and tear your souls apart.”

MYSTICUM will play the 013 venue on Saturday, April 22.

John Dyer Baizley has confirmed the first two names for his curated event: CHELSEA WOLFE and MAGMA.

Describing himself as “a loyal devotee of her songwriting, performance and recorded output”, John echoed many Roadburn attendees in calling for the return of CHELSEA WOLFE to the Roadburn stage. Having performed at the festival in 2012, and again this year as part of Converge’s Blood Moon Set, we’re thrilled to have CHELSEA WOLFE back in Tilburg.

Unequivocally one of the most talked about moments in the history of Roadburn was MAGMA’s overwhelming performance at the 2014 festival. These seminal progressive rock pioneers went down a storm, and to this day, we still hear so many attendees talking about MAGMA’s set, and craving their return for Roadburn.

Both acts will perform on Friday, April 21 at the 013 venue, as part of John Dyer Baizley’s curation.

Although they come from disparate sonic universes, THE BUG (electronic music wizard Kevin Martin) and DYLAN CARLSON (mastermind of the massively influential EARTH, who have graced Roadburn with their presence in 2009 and 2011) are nevertheless two of the more revered names in experimental music as a whole. Their paths crossed in 2014, when they surprisingly teamed up on a Record Store Day exclusive release. Americana meets industrial, minimalism meets pulsating dance beats, metal meets electronics… who knows what can happen when THE BUG meets DYLAN CARLSON OF EARTH? One thing is for sure, the walls will shake.

THE BUG VS DYLAN CARLSON OF EARTH will perform at the 013 venue on Saturday, April 22.

DEAFHEAVEN’s appearance at Roadburn has been a long time coming. As divisive as they are inclusive, DEAFHEAVEN have thrown the field wide open with regards to what it means to be a metal band. They have managed to bring extreme metal fans to the same room as shoegaze and post-rock/metal fans; their music doesn’t simply tick all those genre boxes, it plays join the dots with them – just as we like to do at Roadburn Festival.

DEAFHEAVEN will play at the 013 venue on Thursday, April 20.

SUBROSA’s For This We Fought The Battle Of Ages has been out less than two months, but at Roadburn HQ it not only hovers near the top of our album of the year lists, it is marked as a future classic. We are delighted to have the Salt Lake City five-piece perform the album in full at Roadburn 2017. Not only that, they will perform SubRosa – Subdued; a not-quite-acoustic set with all the passion at a fraction of the volume of a regular SUBROSA set.

SUBROSA will perform For This We Fought The Battle of Ages at the 013 venue on Thursday, April 20, and Subrosa – Subdued on Friday, April 21.

• CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX will fuse progressive rock, post-rock and righteous, guitar-driven heaviness. Prior to their Roadburn appearance, Crippled Black Phoenix will play Doornroosje, Nijmegen (NL) on December 10.
• DÄLEK will bring a different kind of heaviness to the Roadburn stage, and comment “Some people might wonder why a hip-hop act was added to the bill… we intend to show them why.”
• AHAB will play The Call of the Wretched Sea in full
• ZHRINE bring a slice of Icelandic darkness to Roadburn
• AUÐN join their Icelandic brothers, delivering windswept, atmospheric black metal
• ALUK TODOLO will perform latest album Voix in full
• ZU bring their frenzied experimentation to Roadburn 2017 again
• INTER ARMA will make a triumphant return to Roadburn, and no doubt deliver yet another stunning performance
• Leif Edling’s THE DOOMSDAY KINGDOM will make their live debut at Roadburn 2017
• Karl Simon brings his post-Gates of Slumber band WRETCH to Roadburn for their European debut
• Thick tones, soaring melodies, and bone-crunching rhythms will be the order of the day for SLOMATICS
• WOE bring their passionate and potent American black metal to Tilburg
• ULTHA will be making a bid for the heaviest set of the day when they perform
• EMPTINESS will blend black metal and power electronics

Tickets for Roadburn 2017 will go on sale from Thursday, 20 October 2016. They will be available to purchase in person from the 013 venue, Tilburg, The Netherlands from 6.30pm local time – and ticket buyers are invited to the pre-sale party at the venue featuring Ortega and Gomer Pyle. Tickets will go on general sale at 9pm (NL and mainland Europe)/ 8pm (UK)/ 3pm (East Coast USA)/ 12 noon (West Coast USA). Tickets can be purchased from this link.

For more information on the pre-sale party, click HERE.

http://www.roadburn.com/
https://www.facebook.com/roadburnfestival
https://twitter.com/roadburnfest

SubRosa, For this We Fought the Battle of Ages (2016)

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Crippled Black Phoenix Stream “No Fun”; New Album Bronze out Nov. 4

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 9th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

UK rock enigmas Crippled Black Phoenix made their debut on Season of Mist late last year with the New Dark Age EP, and they’ll return a year later with Bronze — another age — as the follow-up full-length. The group, led by multi-instrumentalist Justin Greaves, is currently streaming the track “No Fun,” taken from the album, and its vibe runs a gamut between dark folk, goth, deep-toned heavy and I don’t know, probably six or seven indie bands smarter critics than I will be able to pick up. Joy Division? Probably. It’s always fucking Joy Division. You get the point.

Nov. 4 is the release date. Preorders are up now, for those who don’t like to leave things to chance:

crippled-black-phoenix-bronze

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX announce new album, stream new track

International dark rock collective CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX have revealed new details, artwork, and the first new track from their forthcoming album. The album, titled ‘Bronze’, will be their first full-length with Season of Mist, and will be released worldwide on November 4. ‘Bronze’ is available for pre-order here now.

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX are streaming the first new track from ‘Bronze,’ an incredibly dynamic and driving piece titled “No Fun.”

Regarding the brooding track, CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX founder and vocalist comments, ” It is time to give the world a glimpse of our new album with the track ‘No Fun’. This song might raise an eyebrow or two amongst our amazing fans, but then again, CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX have always liked to lay musical traps to lure people into our orbit. ‘No Fun’ is far from giving it all away as regards our new album –and this riff has been on demo since 2004, but only now was given birth. Yet it fits the sound, which is our best yet in my opinion and I am extremely happy with how the new album turned out. Stand by for more, but enjoy having ‘No Fun’ for now.”

Track List:
1. Dead Imperial Bastard
2. Deviant Burials
3. No Fun
4. Rotten Memories
5. Champions Of Disturbance (Pt 1 & 2)
6. Goodbye Then
7. Turn To Stone
8. Scared And Alone
9. Winning A Losing Battle
10. We Are The Darkeners

Founded by multi-instrumentalist Justin Greaves, the inimitable CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX have earned a large cult following on the backs of their extensive catalog.

Line-up
Justin Greaves – Electric guitar, drums, saw, keyboard, acoustic guitar, banjo, effects, samples
Daniel Änghede – Vocals, electric guitar
Mark Furnevall – Synthesizer, keyboards, backing vocals
Daisy Chapman – Piano, Vocals
Ben Wilsker – Drums
Niall Hone – Bass
Jonas Stålhammar – Electric guitar
Belinda Kordic – Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/CBP444/
http://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/predefined-search?id_list=139

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audiObelisk Transmission 056

Posted in Podcasts on February 29th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Click Here to Download

 

I wanted this podcast to sound good in headphones, since in all likelihood that’s how I’ll be listening to it. That and keeping it under two hours long were my only standards, everything else was open. What we wound up with was some pretty massive tonality, and where it’s not massive, it’s at very least immersive. A lot of longer-form material. Maybe that’s me making up for missing last month in terms of putting one of these together, but either way, there’s a lot to dig into here, and it’s my hope you’ll do just that.

Some things to watch for: Causa Sui into Atavismo at the start is awesome. Also dig Seedship into Low Flying Hawks into Crippled Black Phoenix. There’s some real density going on during that stretch and I don’t want to say it’s my favorite part of the thing, because I also did the jumps in the middle and the second hour that gets darker as it goes, but it’s pretty solid either way. And by solid I mean fluid. Got it? Solid.

As always, I very much hope you enjoy.

Track details follow:

First Hour:

0:00:00 Causa Sui, “The Source” from Return to Sky
0:06:16 Atavismo, “Haribo” from Split with Grajo
0:11:48 Cultist, “Follow Me” from Three Candles
0:17:22 The Canadian Sweetmen, “New Cigarettes” from Intro b/w New Cigarettes
0:20:22 Beastmaker, “Burnt Offering” from Lusus Naturae
0:23:12 Seedship, “The Condemned Adrift” from Demo 2015
0:31:09 Low Flying Hawks, “Wolves Within Wolves” from Kofuku
0:36:47 Crippled Black Phoenix, “New Dark Age” from New Dark Age
0:50:50 Giobia, “Sun Spectre” from Magnifier

Second Hour:

1:05:44 Hijo de la Tormenta, “Un Mañana Aún Más Glorioso Nos Espera” from El Manto de la Especie
1:18:14 Eight Bells, “Landless” from Landless
1:30:57 Matriarch, “Moonburn” from The 44th Scribe and Lorde of the Hallucinauts

Total running time: 1:55:40

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 056

 

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Crippled Black Phoenix Stream New Dark Age EP in Full

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 10th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Crippled Black Phoenix, UK purveyors of things fine and melancholic in post-rock, are still about a month out from releasing their New Dark Age EP in North America as their first offering through Season of Mist, but the release in its four-song entirety is streaming now via Bandcamp (see below), including the 14-minute title-track “New Dark Age” which is a darkened joy to behold. Surrounded by “Spider Island” and the band’s take on Pink Floyd‘s “Echoes,” “New Dark Age” and the release that bears its name casts a pretty wide shadow for a short release.

They’ve been due to get their due for a while now. Will be interested to see what kind of response this EP and their inevitable next album get when they’re out. For now, an advance listen:

crippled black phoenix new dark age

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX stream new EP, ‘New Dark Age’

International dark rock collective CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX are streaming their Season of Mist debut EP titled ‘New Dark Age’. The band are streaming the EP in full here. ‘New Dark Age’ is available across CD and LP formats at the Season of Mist E-Shop, and will release on Jan. 8, 2016 in North America.

Track listing:
1. Spider Island
2. New Dark Age
3. Echoes PT. 1 (Pink Floyd cover)
4. Echoes PT. 2 (Pink Floyd cover)

Regarding ‘New Dark Age’, band founder Justin Greaves comments:

‘Our ‘New Dark Age’ tour EP represents a new chapter in the CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX history. I feel like it is time to be truly free of industry and personal bullshit. It also connects what we have gone through as a band with what is going on in the big wide world. It really feels as if we are living in a new ‘dark age’. Religious and political oppression, the population being fed constant untruths – all of this reminds me of the priests in the middle ages telling folk about dog-headed monsters living in the woods, but if you repent and join the church, they will protect you. “

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX have also recently embarked on an extensive European tour this fall. The “New Dark Age Winter Tour 2015 A.D.” tour sees the band are traveling across 13 different countries before concluding in mid-December. A full list of confirmed tour dates can be found below:

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX tour dates:
Dec. 9 München (DE) @ Strom
Dec. 10 Weinheim (DE) @ Cafe Central
Dec. 11 Uden (NL) @ De Pul
Dec. 12 Maastricht (NL) @ Muziekgieterij
Dec. 13 Hamburg (DE) @ Knust
Dec. 14 København (DK) @ Vega
Dec. 15 Göteborg (SE) @ Sticky Fingers
Dec. 16 Oslo (NO) @ John Dee
Dec. 17 Stockholm (SE) @ Debaser Strand

http://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/predefined-search?id_list=75
https://www.facebook.com/CBP444/
https://crippledblackphoenixsom.bandcamp.com/album/new-dark-age
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Crippled Black Phoenix, New Dark Age (2015)

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Crippled Black Phoenix Sign to Season of Mist; New EP Due Nov. 27

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 8th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

crippled black phoenix

UK (or mostly UK, anyhow) purveyors of perpetual intrigue Crippled Black Phoenix have signed to Season of Mist and will release a new EP, New Dark Age, on Nov. 27. Universally awesome news. Crippled Black Phoenix, whose early work remains the non-doom stuff of doomers’ daydreams, are an excellent fit for Season of Mist‘s varied roster — one can just as easily imagine them on a label-package tour with Kylesa as with Sólstafir — and the band are sure to be well-served by Season of Mist in terms of getting their music to the ears it should be in. Very cool pairing, very stoked to hear what Crippled Black Phoenix do with and after the forthcoming New Dark Age.

The PR wire has the art for the new EP, which rules, and word of a track premiere, the signing, and the release:

crippled black phoenix new dark age ep

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX sign to Season of Mist, stream new track “Spider Island”

Season of Mist are proud to announce the signing of the international dark rock collective CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX. Founded by multi-instrumentalist Justin Greaves, the inimitable CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX have earned a large cult following on the backs of their extensive catalog.

Regarding the signing, Greaves comments:

“CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX are lighting lanterns and scaling the highest peak in celebration of signing with Seasons of Mist. For too long we have been placed in situations where we did not quite fit, but now we feel like we found a more understanding home, a home where people care about the end result and do not compromise. This marks a bright, creative and equally dangerous future for the band and CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX are very happy with our new partnership.”

To celebrate the new signing and a newly announced European tour, CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX are releasing a new EP titled ‘New Dark Age EP.’. The EP will be released worldwide later this year on November 27. Pre-orders are available at the Season of Mist E-Shop.

The album artwork and track list for ‘New Dark Age EP.’ can be found below:

Track listing:
1. Spider Island
2. New Dark Age
3. Echoes PT. 1 (Pink Floyd cover)
4. Echoes PT. 2 (Pink Floyd cover)

Regarding the track, “Spider Island”, Greaves comments:

‘Our ‘New Dark Age’ tour EP represents a new chapter in the CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX history. I feel like it is time to be truly free of industry and personal bullshit. It also connects what we have gone through as a band with what is going on in the big wide world. It really feels as if we are living in a new ‘dark age’. Religious and political oppression, the population being fed constant untruths – all of this reminds me of the priests in the middle ages telling folk about dog-headed monsters living in the woods, but if you repent and join the church, they will protect you. The song ‘Spider Island’ is more personal. There I mentally put all the bad people… recently there have been a few people who need to go to Spider Island and live a life of torture along with all the other scumbags, who cling to power in the world.”

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX have also recently announced an extensive European tour this fall. The “New Dark Age Winter Tour 2015 A.D.” tour, which kicks off in Sheffield, UK on Nov. 23 sees the band travel across 13 different countries before concluding in mid-December. A full list of confirmed tour dates can be found below:

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX tour dates:
Nov. 23 Sheffield (UK) @ Corporation
Nov. 24 Glasgow (UK) @ Audio
Nov. 25 Bristol (UK) @ The Fleece
Nov. 26 London (UK) @ The Dome
Nov. 27 Dortmund (DE) @ Leafmeal Festival
Nov. 28 Dresden (DE) @ Beatpol
Nov. 29 Poznan (PL) @ Blue Note Club
Nov. 30 Warszawa (PL) @ Progresja
Dec. 1 Kosice (SK) @ Kasárne
Dec. 3 Bucharest (RO) @ Fabrica
Dec. 4 Timisoara (RO) @ Daos CLub
Dec. 5 Wien (AT) @ Chelsea
Dec. 6 Budapest (HU) @ Dürer Kert
Dec. 7 Ljubljana (SI) @ Kino Siska
Dec. 8 Pratteln (CH) @ MiniZ7
Dec. 9 München (DE) @ Strom
Dec. 10 Weinheim (DE) @ Cafe Central
Dec. 11 Uden (NL) @ De Pul
Dec. 12 Maastricht (NL) @ Muziekgieterij
Dec. 13 Hamburg (DE) @ Knust
Dec. 14 København (DK) @ Vega
Dec. 15 Göteborg (SE) @ Sticky Fingers
Dec. 16 Oslo (NO) @ John Dee
Dec. 17 Stockholm (SE) @ Debaser Strand

https://www.facebook.com/CRIPPLED-BLACK-PHOENIX-official-111441865546099
http://www.crippledblackphoenix.co.uk/
http://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/predefined-search?id_list=75
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial

Crippled Black Phoenix, “Hold On” live in Germany, 2015

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