Live Review: ROADBURN 2019 Day One, 04.11.19

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ROADBURN DAY ONE BANNER (Photo by JJ Koczan)

04.12.19 – 02.31 CET – Thursday night – Hotel

It’s a different kind of Roadburn for me, or at least this morning I decided it would be one. I’m still working on precisely what that means, so bear with me. Some of it I alluded to the other day, and some of it is just procedural on my end. I took no notes today. None. Normally when I’m here (or most places), I’m scribbling between bands, writing down observations that most of the time I don’t even go back and look at. Today I dropped the pretense. It felt freeing, and today was a good day to feel free.

Such as there is a map, Roadburn 2019 is all over it. The day started in low-key shoegaze psych Sherpa (Photo by JJ Koczan)bliss with Sherpa in Het Patronaat. They were the first band of the festival proper after the Ignition three-band pre-show last night. I had come back to the hotel to sleep after finalizing the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch issue this morning, but it was a big no dice. So I was early to the church and sat in front of the stage for a bit while people filed in. There was a good crowd by the time the Italian four-piece took the stage to play their late-2018 joy of a record, Tigris & Euphrates (review here), and they were treated to lush tones and drifting melodies, a kind of easing into Roadburn that one doesn’t always get, but the fest very clearly made an effort to establish its vibe early.

Bismuth would soon rough up the Hall of Fame. It was Myrkur: Folksange on the Main Stage. In the Koepelhal, Crippled Black Phoenix played a two-hour-plus set. And in the Green Room, it was Thor Harris (Swans, etc.) leading the way with Thor & Friends with a set experimentalist enough that you might as well just call it jazz. I caught a couple minutes of Thor & Friends after popping up to see Crippled Black Phoenix as Sherpa were starting to wind down and was treated to a bit of sax and percussion, but it was ultimately Myrkur that held me in place for the duration with gorgeous Nordic folk harmonies accompanied by strings, piano, and a genuine sense of traditionalist homage. I’ve heard Myrkur‘s folk recordings before, but as will happenCrippled Black Phoenix (Photo by JJ Koczan) in Tilburg each Spring, something special was taking place while the afternoon clouds parted to let in a bit of sun outside.

But even Myrkur: Folksange was a part of something larger than itself, and it was that initial burst of diverse sounds that would so quickly establish the vibe for the day. I bounced around until finally landing at Myrkur and stayed put in order to see Molasses, the first of this year’s three commissioned projects, and — I won’t lie — the one to which I was most looking forward. In 2014, following the death of The Devil’s Blood guitarist and aesthetic mastermind Selim Lemouchi, his sister and that band’s vocalist, Farida Lemouchi, took the stage with guitarist Oeds Beydals, Ron van Herpen (Astrosoniq) and a host of others to pay her brother tribute, and it remains one of the most moving sets I’ve ever seen at any RoadburnMolasses, in bringing together Farida and Beydals — who has since brought his band Death Alley to an arguably premature end — as part of a new, complete band that may or may not be ongoing, continues some of the spirit of The Devil’s Blood, but seems bound to find its own path as well.

This was their first show, and as Farida swayed in time to the music ahead of harmonizing with Beydals, they made a Molasses (Photo by JJ Koczan)powerful impression. Roadburn‘s foray into basically making bands and/or happen is no less extensively curated than the festival at large, but there’s a deeply personal aspect to that as well, and one suspects that’s all the more true of Molasses given their Dutch heritage and the members’ history with the festival. It was the start of something special, and I hear tell there’s a vinyl they’ll be selling starting tomorrow. Every year I let myself buy one piece of wax. No question in my mind what it’ll be this time.

Back up at the Koepelhal — which, I don’t know how big it is in comparison to the Main Stage of the 013, but it’s plenty huge enough — the Full Bleed art exhibit looked awesome and was arranged differently this year so it kind of got its own gallery. I had a couple minutes before Thou went on, so walked around. I’d already been there to buy merch — a black t-shirt and a red hoodie, because apparently my midlife crisis involved wearing a color, ever, on my torso; also hippie pants — but it was still being set up. It was packed into its space, but still awesome, and one more example of Roadburn branching beyond the confines of the traditional festival. I think the panel talks start tomorrow at V39, so yeah, there will be more of that.

Thou Acoustic (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Thou took the stage shortly thereafter for what was billed as an acoustic set but was really more just quiet and loaded with harmonies from three vocalists up front and more added from the band behind. The New Orleans outfit have long since left expectation behind, so I wasn’t necessarily anticipating anything specific one way or the other, but as they played I kind of felt like I was intruding on something. It’s hard to explain. It wasn’t that the show was so intimate in that massive space — although I did find myself wishing they would just go ahead and cover Alice in ChainsSap EP in full — and it didn’t lack expressiveness, I just suddenly felt like I was somewhere I didn’t belong. I don’t think Thou were shooting to be particularly inviting, so it’s nothing against them in this incarnation, but yeah. After a few minutes, I galumphed back to the 013 to catch the start of Hexvessel.

The Finnish outfit are kind of regulars on Planet Roadburn. They played here in 2012 (review here), 2013 and 2016 (review here), and frontman Mat McNerney played with the short-lived Beastmilk in 2014 (review here). Not exactly strangers to the experience. Still, they came this time heralding their latest long-player and return to their nature-worshiping forest Hexvessel (Photo by JJ Koczan)folk roots, All Tree (review here), so I was not about to miss them. Highlights from that record translated well to the Main Stage, “A Sylvan Sign” and “Wildness Spirit” working no less fluidly one into the other live than they do on the studio versions. Sudden as the shift seemed to a more kitchen-sink aesthetic on 2016’s When We are Death (review here), All Tree‘s re-establishing of their foundation was no less striking, but they certainly sounded well at home on stage, McNerney well cast as the folk troubadour. I’m not sure why they’re not on the folk circuit, but I’ll take it.

From there on out, it was all about Heilung. I did see some of Emma Ruth Rundle at the Koepelhal, after more take-that-establishment jaywalking across whatever thoroughfare that is, and I was glad to have done so, but I knew what the crux of my night was going to be, and it was going to be wearing antlers and bones of sundry wildebeests and it was going to be percussive and throat-singy while also astoundingly melodic, and that was Heilung playing their Lifa (review here) performance in its entirety. I say without Emma Ruth Rundle (Photo by JJ Koczan)reservation that it’s easily among the most complete aesthetic experiences I’ve ever had in a live setting, from the circle they formed at the outset — bringing Roadburn‘s own Walter in their midst as a part of the ceremony — to the shield and spear-carrying soldiers in black bodypaint, to the later mimed beheading, to the off-the-rails, how-is-this-dance-music-but-it-totally-is fracas that ensued later in the set, it was simply incredible. I have seen as much spectacle in my time as the next guy, but this was really something else.

I’ve heard murmurings that Heilung, who are signed to Season of Mist and have a new album called Futha due in June, are planning to bring their show — and it is a show; a sight as much as a sound to behold — to the US. I have to wonder how that will go in terms of venue and  just where they can play to pull it off. Festivals, presumably. But more than that, it seems like Northern Europe would obviously have a different relationship to the depictions of pre-Christian, pagan Norse history than would an audience in the States. The simple fact that their faces are painted black could very well raise eyebrows, Heilung (Photo by JJ Koczan)even in such a full context. It’s just not a question here, because it’s the native tribalism being depicted. One way or the other, I have little doubt they could make it work. They absolutely delivered a set that I’ll be talking about for probably years, no matter how many times and in whatever setting I might see them subsequent to tonight. I wasn’t going to stay for the whole thing, but there was no other option. A don’t-miss scenario.

There was still a lot of Roadburn left, and that’s not even talking about the next three days, and I had writing to do, but another part of the different Roadburn experience I’m having this year is staying out late. I did trundle back to the hotel to dump photos and get some work in on Crypt Trip (Photo by JJ Koczan)this review, but Crypt Trip came all the way from Texas to be here, and as I’ve been digging their recently-issued full-length, Haze County (review here), it was only fair to be there to see them. For the minimal effort, I was rewarded with some primo Lone Star boogie. You can insert whatever cliche you want to about barbecue here — I’m sure the San Marcos three-piece have heard them all, but the fact of the matter is they earned every hair bit of mustache they had, and even though they were on a totally different wavelength than anything else on the Main Stage today, they absolutely brought their A-game to the 013. I wish I could say I stayed the whole time and partied until two in the morning or whatever, but yeah, I’m old, and lame. Ugly too, but that’s beside the point.

What I was able to catch of Crypt Trip was a joy — and speaking of, Zach Oakley from Joy (who played last year) was hanging out on the side of the stage — and only affirmed in my mind the buzz I’ve been hearing about their live show for the last couple years. After the vast swath that today covered, closing out with some classic-style heavy rock and roll suited me just fine. It’s a long weekend and a big spectrum of aesthetic. Sometimes you just want to get down to the basics. And Crypt Trip definitely got down.

And that was night one of Roadburn 2019. So much for a laid back start to the fest, though I knew that was a pipedream anyway. Tomorrow I’m up again early to wrap the day’s issue of Weirdo Canyon Dispatch. If you saw that today or see it tomorrow or are reading this at all, thank you.

More pics after the jump.

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Roadburn 2019: LOOP, Sumac, Crippled Black Phoenix, Sherpa and More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2019 banner

A return appearance from Crippled Black Phoenix seemed like asking a lot. A return appearance from LOOP seemed unrealistic. A complete showcase from Exile on Mainstream? Well now that’s just silly. But silly’s how it goes for Roadburn, which in 2019 will apparently continue to exist on a plane all its own, much to the general betterment of humanity. I’ll happily take the chance to see Emma Ruth Rundle and Sherpa and to get exposed to Cave, who sound so much up my alley that I’m kind of embarrassed I’ve never heard them before. Plus underrated sludgesters Treedeon and you know, Sumac, because Aaron Turner hasn’t curated a Roadburn yet and we might as well build up to that seeming inevitability with an unofficial kind of residency, and Young Widows and enough others that I forgot what the point of this sentence was when I started out and it doesn’t even matter because the lineup is so staggeringly incredible.

Fuck it. Dive in:

loop roadburn 2019

More additions for Roadburn 2019, including curated acts; day tickets on sale in December

TOMAS LINDBERG chooses LOOP and SLÆGT for his curated event
SUMAC to perform
YOUNG WIDOWS to play Old Wounds in full
Return performances for CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX and EMMA RUTH RUNDLE

TOMAS LINDBERG’S THE BURNING DARKNESS

LOOP
LOOP are no strangers to Roadburn – they headlined the 2014 edition of the festival. The psych titans split in 1991, reforming in 2013 and cementing themselves as legends of the scene – and amongst other activities, brought their glorious technicolour to the Roadburn stage. We’re thrilled to welcome them back for a special, one off show as part of Tomas Lindberg’s curated event, The Burning Darkness.
Lindberg comments: “I expect to see you all in the front row for this one. I have goosebumps already.”

SLÆGT
As the frontman for At The Gates, we know Tomas is something of an extreme metal connoisseur. He’s flexing that muscle with his latest addition to the line up, which comes in the shape of SLÆGT. Tomas explains:
“When I think of heavy metal, there is a certain feeling I am after. A special haunting, emotional impact that I’m seeking. I will always be super excited when I get that same feeling that was there when I first got into underground metal. SLÆGT is one of those rare examples.”

SUMAC
Aaron Turner is not a man who likes to sit still. When he realised that he would technically have a day off at Roadburn, his brain started to click and whirr. And soon enough we had SUMAC on the bill.

When Love In Shadow landed in September, it was a swift reminder not to assume you know all there is to know about a band. Turner has promised us something special at Roadburn: a titillating promise. But we can’t help but feel that any SUMAC experience is going to be a special SUMAC experience – and surely better than a day off.

YOUNG WIDOWS
If it’s true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, it doesn’t discount the fact that the occasional tease of a live show can still be pure agony, especially when Europe has historically been somewhat starved of YOUNG WIDOWS. So it’s with something akin to relief mixed with pure joy that we announce YOUNG WIDOWS’ performance at Roadburn 2019. For fans of their 2008 release, Old Wounds, the treat is two-fold; the band will be playing the album in full for us!

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX
Following their mind-warping set on Roadburn’s main stage in 2017, we welcome back the progressive darkness of CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX. In the band’s decade and a half career, they have released an incredible ten studio records, the latest of which Great Escape is a powerful, treacherous exploration into a the bleakest realms of Justin Greaves’ psyche. A CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX performance is the sound of a band following their own path, their own rules, for their own enjoyment. And ours.

CAVE
Channeling Krautrock staples like Can and Neu! with Miles Davis/Funkadelic style funk, CAVE offers an instrumental galaxy of hypnotic jams. It’s the band’s groove-heavy – yet loose – approach which gives way to an intricate backdrop for these spontaneous explorations; from fuzzy leads to free jazz fusion, from prog to psychedelic library music, from subtle funk to South American delights.

EMMA RUTH RUNDLE
Emma Ruth Rundle made such a mark on Roadburn 2017, we’re overjoyed to have her back for 2019 – and we expect the results to be just as powerful and mesmerising as the first time around.
Her first solo performance at the festival was a pivotal moment for us. Not only did it mark a definitive turning point for the artistic scope of the festival, it was also the moment that we adopted Emma as one of our own. A kindred spirit, a sonic explorer, a soul sister.

LINGUA IGNOTA
Boldly straddling the classical music world and the often hellish soundscapes of harsh noise, LINGUA IGNOTA plucks what she wants from both – and elsewhere – to form a towering inferno of raging fury, manifesting as sonic indignation. The challenge of a visceral and abrasive show is one that we relish. If you’re looking for an experience, something that that burrows into your consciousness and niggles at you for months to come, sign up now. LINGUA IGNOTA will deliver a masterclass.

EXILE ON MAINSTREAM X ROADBURN
EXILE ON MAINSTREAM Records is celebrating twenty years of existence with us at Roadburn 2019. The iconic label has released almost 90 records over the past two decades.The label’s history is somewhat entwined with our own; in fact they celebrated their 15th birthday with us too! We guess we make good cake!
The label will commandeer the Hall of Fame venue on Saturday, 13 April and the following bands will perform:
OSTINATO
NOISEPICKER
CONNY OCHS
TREEDEON
BELLROPE
CONFUSION MASTER

ALSO CONFIRMED:
FEAR FALLS BURNING will see Dirk Serries performing an exercise in minimalism
JAYE JAYLE will reprise their 2017 performance – in the more spacious Green Room
OVTRENOIR will deliver a dose of sludgy post-metal
SHERPA will perform Tigris & Euphrates in full
SOFT KILL will perform both Savior and Heresy in full
THROANE offer a cold and violent take on modern black metal
TREHA SEKTORI will bring an innovative and immersive take on dark ambient sound

TICKETS:
Single day tickets will go on sale on Thursday, December 13. Weekend tickets are on sale now

Tickets are be priced as follows:
3 days ticket (Thu-Sat) €181 + €4,50 service fee
4 days ticket (Thu-Sun) €204 + €4,50 service fee
Day ticket (Thu, Fri or Sat) €62 + €4,50 service fee
Sunday ticket €55,50 + €4,50 service fee

Click here for more ticketing information.

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http://www.instagram.com/roadburnfest
http://www.roadburn.com

Roadburn 2019 November announcement video

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Crippled Black Phoenix to Release Great Escape Sept. 14; New Track Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

crippled black phoenix (Photo by Pier Corona)

UK melancholic progressive heavy rockers Crippled Black Phoenix have set a Sept. 14 release date for their new album, Great Escape. Like 2016’s Bronze (review here), it’ll be out through Season of Mist, and they’re supplying a nine-minute sampling of what the upcoming record has in store with the track “To You I Give,” which follows suit in its sound with both the elaborate nature of the band’s craft and the brooding nature of their atmospheres. Good to know no one broke Crippled Black Phoenix since their last outing. But of course this is just one track out of 11, and we won’t know the full scope of the release until it shows up. I’d ask the label to do a track premiere and trying sneak an early listen, but there’s no way in hell I’m cool enough for that kind of thing, and there’s only so much rejection I can handle. Which is none. So yeah.

You can dig into the announcement of the record and “To You I Give” below. The PR had this to say about it and brought the artwork, which is by Peder Bergstrand:

crippled black phoenix great escape

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX announce new album, stream new track

International dark rock collective CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX will release ‘Great Escape’, a new full length album on Sept 14. ‘Great Escape’ sees the band pushing their prodigious talents and creativity to the limit, interweaving influences spanning the sonic landscapes of post rock, experimental music, and heavy prog. Pre-orders for ‘Great Escape’ are available now at the Season of Mist E-Shop.

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX are streaming “To You I Give”, the first new track off ‘Great Escape.’

Regarding the track, CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX founding member and vocalist Justin Greaves comments: “This song is about giving your heart to someone or something special, and being able to cope with the trouble and anxiety it can incite as well as the joy and hope it brings. Giving is strength. We can endure.”

Track-list
1.You Brought It Upon Yourselves
2. To You I Give
3. Uncivil War (Pt. I)
4. Madman
5. Times, They Are A Raging
6. Rain Black, Reign Heavy
7. Slow Motion Breakdown
8. Nebulas
9. Las Diabolicas
10. Great Escape (Pt. I)
11. Great Escape (Pt. II)

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

Crippled Black Phoenix, “To You I Give”

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Crippled Black Phoenix Announce Covers Collection Horrific Honorifics Due March 9

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Anybody who covers Swans and Arbouretum on the same record is cool by me. Back-to-back to lead off the record, no less. Maybe the point is somewhat moot, since Crippled Black Phoenix already well exceeded that loftiest of standards, but in this age where media consumption so often boils down to little more than the reinforcement of one’s own pre-stated positions, a little more of that kind of thing never seems to hurt. What was the point I was making? Oh yeah. Crippled Black Phoenix are fucking awesome.

Season of Mist releases Horrific Honorifics, the new covers collection from the UK avant gloom rockers, on March 9. And yes, it includes Arbouretum and Swans at the outset, along with Magnolia Electric Co., The God Machine, NoMeansNo and The Alex Harvey Band, whose “The Faith Healer” you can hear at the bottom of this post. If, like me, you were feeling greedy and hoping maybe they’d take on “They Say I’m Different” by Betty Davis, fingers crossed for next time.

I’m completely serious, by the way. I know that last sentence reads like internet snark. It isn’t. I’d actually love to hear that. Just felt compelled to make that clear.

From the label via the PR wire:

crippled black phoenix horrific honorifics

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX announce limited edition album

International dark rock collective CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX are set to release a new covers album. The album, titled ‘Horrific Honorifics’, is a celebration of songs that have influenced CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX or its members in both music and in life. The album Includes covers of SWANS, NOMEANSNO, THE GOD MACHINE, THE SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND, MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO. and ARBOURETUM as only this collective could re-imagine them.

‘Horrific Honorifics’ will be released worldwide on March 9th. Pre-orders for the limited edition album are available at the Season of Mist E-Shop.

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX are streaming “The Faith Healer”, a cover of THE SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND.

Regarding the track, CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX founding member and vocalist Justin Greaves comments: “I used to watch the ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’ when I was young and I came across the ALEX HARVEY BAND on there. They did a great version on ‘Give My Compliments To The Chef’, which for years I forced upon the rest of the band when on tour. ‘The Faith Healer’ seamed to make sense when thinking of songs to cover. I’m glad it turned out ok. With James Ray on guest vocals, it gets an even darker edge. I’m thinking of adopting Zal Cleminson’s make up on stage for the next tour.”

Track-list
1. False Spring (originally by ARBOURETUM)
2. The Golden Boy Swallowed By The Sea (originally by SWANS)
3. Will-O-The-Wisp (originally by MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO)
4. Victory (originally by NOMEANSNO)
5. In Bad Dreams (originally by THE GOD MACHINE)
6. The Faith Healer (originally by THE SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND)

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

Crippled Black Phoenix, “The Faith Healer”

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Crippled Black Phoenix Announce Summer Festival Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

I consider myself pretty fortunate to have seen Crippled Black Phoenix last month at Roadburn 2017, and all the more so as the long-running UK gloom merchants were there supporting their latest full-length, Bronze (review here), which crosses genre lines as easily as it moves from measure to measure within its tracks. Also the band’s first long-player to be delivered via Season of Mist, it’ll get further live representation throughout the next couple months as Crippled Black Phoenix take part in another slew of festivals, including Hellfest in France and Night of the Prog in Germany. Looks like they’ve got a couple club shows besides, so they should be plenty busy, and as we head into July and August, I wouldn’t be surprised if more shows were forthcoming as well. Always a busy Fall fest season to consider.

For now, here’s the latest from the PR wire:

crippled-black-phoenix-euro-tour

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX announce European summer tour

International dark rock collective CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX have announced a European summer festival tour. The band will kick off their tour at Hellfest in France on June 18, and continue through select dates in June, July, and August. A full list of confirmed tour dates can be found below.

Regarding the tour, CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX founding member and vocalist Justin Greaves comments: “Hello rockers! We are stoked to bring a fine selection of our songs to you this summer. Make sure to catch our shows this time round; we are not the most touring band. See you in the sun!”

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX are touring in support of their new album, ‘Bronze’. ‘Bronze’, a slow-burning mix of unique and soaring post-rock, is streaming here. ‘Bronze’ is available at the Season of Mist E-Shop.

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).

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX
Jun. 18 Clisson (FR) @ Hellfest
Jun. 19 Liege (BE) @ La Zone (+Trap Them)
Jun. 20 Wiesbaden (DE) @ Schlachthof (+Trap Them)
Jun. 21 Segrate (IT) @ SoloMacello Fest
Jun. 23 Aarau (CH) @ Kiff (+Trap Them +Ghost Bath)
Jun. 24 München (DE) @ Saint Helena Festival
Jul. 14 Sankt Goarshausen (DE) @ Night of the Prog
Aug. 4 Raversbeuren (DE) @ Lott-Festival

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

Crippled Black Phoenix, “Scared and Alone” official video

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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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