Desertfest Belgium 2018: Crowbar, The Skull, Castle, Yuri Gargarin, and Sofy Major Join Lineup

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

Who’s going to argue with this? Sludge, doom, psych, noise, and metal? It’s like Desertfest Belgium 2018 decided its third announcement was when it would encompass the scope of underground heavy in one go. It’s got oldschool and newschool vibes, American and European bands next to each other, and fucking Castle, who just never stop touring ever. Never ever. I’m pretty sure they made their new record in the back of their van.

Maybe not, but still.

Seriously, the list of bands says it all, and the roster of acts they join only makes Desertfest Belgium all the more significant in Europe’s massively-crowded Fall festival scene. I’m not going to tell you to buy tickets or travel if you’re not in a financially secure situation or something, but if you have to sell your car and become a curiously aged European street urchin, complete with backpack and dog, this one might be worth it.

Behold:

desertfest belgium 2018 crowbar

Since you all liked our last announcement so much, we’re already back with another one!

And oh boy… Another quintuple hit of doom, rock, metal, psychedelics and whatever strikes your fancy, here we go…

First up, the absolute heavyweights of Southern sludge will grace our stage for the first time. Yes, Crowbar will be charged up fresh from their upcoming Eastern Europe tour in the summer, so expect them to be sharp as a razor and hard as nails at Desertfest Antwerp 2018!

Another scene stalwart, this time in the traditional doom vein, we welcome former Trouble makers The Skull, who reportedly will come loaded with a fresh sophomore album, out on Tee Pee Records in the fall.

For some more traditional doom vibes with a nice dose of occult rock, San Fransiscan trio Castle – Metal Band will be back at our festival after their killer set in 2016. We are also most pleased that the Swedish spacerock shuttle Yuri Gagarin will land at DF Antwerp from whatever outer space voyage they’ve embarked on. They’ve got an interstellar live reputation, so expect this to be a highlight for sure! And finally, we close off this batch of goodness with something French and sleazy. SOFY MAJOR is a noiserock outfit that will hit you in the face like a solid steel beercan.

So rest assured, your precious Reduced Combi Tickets will be well worth… what’s that? You STILL haven’t bought your tickets you say? Even though they’re still a steal at €95 for three days? This will not stand! We’ll give you just a little more time to go get them, but next time we see each other, don’t give us any excuses you hear!

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/364607267372737/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Crowbar, Live in Flint, Michigan, March 2018

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Roadburn 2018 Day Two: Sessions of Light

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2018 day two banner

04.20.18 – 11:25PM CET – Friday night – Hotel Mercure Rm. 224

You know what I did this afternoon before the show started? I slept. For about an hour. It was fucking crazy. A post-‘zine, pre-Roadburn-day-two nap. I’m not sure I can convey to you the novelty of such a thing. With a 3:10PM start to the day, it never would’ve been possible before, as I’d be folding copies of the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch. Yesterday, today and tomorrow that task is outsourced. Sunday will be folding penance. But damn I enjoyed that nap.

I also enjoyed an inhuman(e) amount of espresso today. You might say I’m sipping one right now. By the time Motorpsycho took to the Main Stage for their two-hour early-headlining set, I’d certainly had a few, and they came in handy in keeping up with the Norwegians’ semi-psychedlic heavy progressive rock. I will not at all pretend to motorpsycho (Photo by JJ Koczan)be an expert on the band — I saw the a few years ago in Eindhoven and they were doing a concept show or something and it didn’t really hit a nerve — but what may or may not still be their latest LP, 2017’s The Tower (review here), was a thrill, so to hear cuts from that like “In Every Dream Home (There’s a Dream of Something Else)” was likewise and as they settled in for the longest haul to feature today on the Main Stage, the crowd seemed to do much the same.

For anyone in the US who might be reading this, Motorpsycho are a huge deal over here. They are legends, legitimately. They’ve been at it for nearly 30 years, and they have a discography that at this point is nigh on insurmountable to which they continuously add releases. They’re relatively obscure in America compared to some other progressive rock-type outfits, but they’re the kind of band who can get on stage, play a song called “Starhammer” from an album called Heavy Metal Fruit and have a couple thousand people absolutely wrapped around their collective finger. Their material is enticingly complex, with ebbs and flows in energy and volume, and when they want to, they can be quite heavy, but while their delivery is technically precise, they’re not overly showy, and the sense of class with which they play holds firm throughout. They, and the response they got, were both a joy to watch.

There was, however, a reason I only stayed for an hour and 45 minutes of their full two-hour set, and that was because over at Cul de Sac, Toronto’s Comet Control were on next, and I was taking zero chances when it came to the potential of missing them. I showed up too late for Insect Ark yesterday and missed my shot. Getting to see Comet Control meant showing up as Ulsect were finishing and waiting the 40comet control 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan) minutes for them to load their gear in, set up, soundcheck, etc. Time well spent as far as I’m concerned, because as I think I’ve said several times by now, there was simply no way I wasn’t going to see them.

My vigilance in doing so was rewarded with a shit-eating-grin-on-my-face life-affirming set the likes of which I’ve only ever experienced at Roadburn. I stayed down the front of the Cul de Sac and stood in front of the stage the entire time. They were my first complete set of the weekend (and only one to this point) and were so good that I wanted to sit it down and explain it to them. Or write a letter. “Dear Comet Control: You guys and gal are fucking awesome. When you played ‘Blast Magic’ I thought my heart was going to explode.” They did that track and “Dig out Your Head” from their excellent 2016 sophomore full-length, Center of the Maze (review here), and were joined on stage by Mario Rubalcaba from Earthless who took over on guitar from Chad Ross for a song — holding the instrument upside down to play left-handed — before they dug back into Ross‘ and fellow guitarist Andrew Moszynski‘s former outfit, Quest for Fire, to play “Greatest Hits by God” and “Sessions of Light,” the opening and closing cuts from 2010’s Lights from Paradise (review here; discussed here).

That. Well. That. That kind of felt like a birthday present to the universe. Quest for Fire played Roadburn in 2011 in what was then called the Bat Cave. I remember standing there in the hallway of the pre-redo 013 and watching them through the door in the smallest of the then-three rooms in the buildingcomet control (Photo by JJ Koczan). Cul de Sac isn’t the smallest venue at Roadburn 2018 — that honor goes to Hall of Fame, up by the Kopelhal and the merch area — but it was an intimate, packed show all the same, and it was the only time so far this weekend that I pulled my earplugs even part of the way out of my ears during a set to let the loudness in. Ross‘ and Moszynski‘s guitars were a wash across two channels, and even though the skin on the kick drum broke, the band made it work. They were my one “must” of the day, and completely justified my anticipation. I sincerely hope this isn’t the only time I get to see them.

When they were done, I lumbered clumsily back to the 013 proper to check out Crowbar on the Main Stage playing Odd Fellows Rest in full as part of Jacob Bannon from Converge‘s curated day. They very much sounded like Crowbar, and that’s not a complaint. The New Orleans sludge purveyors are pro-shop the whole way through and their set was likewise. It’s always interesting to see who gets into the spirit of Roadburn and who plays it like another gig. Again, nothing against Crowbar, who’ve no doubt played European fests in front of tens of thousands of people, and it being a full-album performance, it was still something special to see, founding guitarist/vocalist Kirk Windstein thanking the crowd profusely as well as Jacob Bannon and Walter for having them back.

I dipped out to grab a quick bite for dinner — there’s this fish in like a lemoncrowbar (Photo by JJ Koczan) cream sauce kind of thing this year in the catering room backstage; I felt like I didn’t want to stop — and made it back in time to catch Crowbar play their cover of “No Quarter” and close out their set with a couple other tunes before Windstein said they were gonna “do that gay thing everyone does” and take a picture on stage with the crowd behind them. Pulled the wind right out of my enjoyment of seeing them. Like a balloon making a fart noise as the air escapes. Bummer. You can call me PC or whatever. I don’t give a fuck. Crowbar has ruled for a long-ass time, but that shit is lame. Moving on.

The delightfully punctuated Seinäjoki, Finland, progressive psych outfit Kairon; IRSE! were wrapping up in the Green Room around the same time, so I waddled in there and caught the end of their set from the balcony. The assembled masses before them were clearly loyal to the cause and it was easy to see why. Heady stuff. They’re on Svart, which is all the endorsement they need as far as I’m concerned, and I may yet pick up their albums in the merch area, where the label has a table all set up that I’ve now visited twice, but I was really in the Green Room to catch Minami Deutsch.

My thinking was that I owed it to myself to catch at least some of the Japanese Psych Experience while I was here — set up by Walter with the minami deutsch (Photo by JJ Koczan)label Guru Guru Brain in a similar kind of thing to the San Diego Takeover, only, you know, from Japan, with acts like Kikagaku Moyo, Dhidalah and Minami Deutsch playing — and I’d heard all along that Minami Deutsch were the mellowest of the bunch. That suited me just fine. I waited for them to go on and when they did, it was easy-groove spacial drift the whole way through and it turned out to be just the vibe I was looking for. I was not the only one, as the room was loaded with people all the way out the door. How many times in my life will I get to see them? I don’t know. Maybe twice if I’m lucky. Point is they were right on and especially as a part of the J-psych theme, a band I felt extra fortunate to be able to catch.

Speaking of possibly-once-in-a-lifetime experiences, up at the Koepelhal — which is on the other side of the train tracks from the 013 in what, with the weather so nice and all the people laying in the grass outside smoking, drinking, whatever, looked like the Roadburn Annex — it was nearly time for Earthless and Damo Suzuki to fuse their mind energies for a set of what I believe was fully improvised psychedelic wandering. There was a little time, so I hobbled next door to the Hall of Fame to watch Petyr play heavy ’70s covers for a minute or two, and perused the merch again, only making myself sad in the process on any number of levels. These are interesting days. Did I mention I ate dinner?

Anyhow, when it was time for Earthless and Damo Suzuki to play their set — which, once more, is the kind of thing that may or may not ever, ever happen again — the Koepelhal was absolutely rammed with bodies looking for a bit of psychedelic communion. As it happens, damo suzuki earthless (Photo by JJ Koczan)that is precisely what they got. The mood started out quiet and built up and came down, with Suzuki on mic, someone else playing another stringed instrument, and EarthlessIsaiah Mitchell, Mike Eginton and Mario Rubalcaba not quite playing the role of the backing band, but definitely giving Suzuki respect on stage and the space to do what he does in terms of proclamations largely indecipherable but completely in the moment. The whole thing, really. Completely in the moment. That seemed to be the entire point.

And maybe it was the heat, or maybe it was the humidity, or maybe it was just me being a sucker and remembering how good they were last time I saw them here in 2013, but something drove me back toward the 013 Main Hall in order to catch the start of Godflesh performing 1994’s Selfless in its entirety. I knew I wasn’t going to see the whole thing — writing to do — but I also knew there was no way I’d be able to consider the night complete without watching them at least for a while. So I did. I peeled myself out of Koepelhal and floundered back to the 013, wheregodflesh (Photo by JJ Koczan) Justin K. Broadrick — with hair, no less — and G.C. Green went on about 10 minutes past their allotted start time and only built on the tension that late start created with their dissonant, crushing industrial aggression.

Like few bands I’ve ever seen, Godflesh seem to have the power to just reach into your lungs and squeeze them until they’re all the way empty. It’s something to behold. Selfless had them beginning to experiment with melody, but the electronic beats and the intensity were (and still are) there to be sure, and Broadrick and Green captivated a full Main Stage area, spaced out across the stage just as they were when I saw them play their 1989 debut, Streetcleaner here in 2011. That was also an adventure in sonic brutalism.

After a while, the get-to-work itch started to become unbearable and I blundered my way back through Weirdo Canyon to the hotel where so-much-and-yet-not-enough coffee awaited. It had been another excellent day — it was hard to believe it was only the second one of the fest itself — but Roadburn 2018 picks up early tomorrow with Bell Witch playing Mirror Reaper in its entirety, and well, if I’m going to have my head cleaved open with doom, the very least I can do is be well rested in advance for it.

Thanks for reading. More pics after the jump and more to come tomorrow.

Read more »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Roadburn 2018: Earthless to be Artist-in-Residence; Crowbar, Kikagaku Moyo, Zola Jesus, Mutoid Man, Joy, Harsh Toke, Petyr, and More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

This invariably happens every year. Roadburn hits a point where the festival loses its damn mind and delivers a completely overwhelming onslaught of lineup additions, greatly affirming the overall character of the event as well as its ongoing utter creative dominance of the Spring festival scene in Europe. I knew it was coming. I guess I just didn’t expect it so soon.

More the fool I. Today, Roadburn 2018 confirms Earthless will serve as Artist-in-Residence, and in addition to playing a set on their own, they’ll jam out with krautrock legend Damo Suzuki of Can as well as lead the charge of a ‘San Diego Takeover’ featuring the likes of Harsh TokeJoyPetyr and Sacri Monti. Not only that, but Crowbar will play Odd Fellows Rest in full at Jacob Bannon‘s curated event, and another takeover — this time by Japanese psychedelia — brings confirmation of Kikagaku MoyoMinami Deutsch and Dhidalah. Oh, and there’s a shit ton of others added as well, including Mutoid ManJarboe and Ruins of Beverast.

If you can get your head around it, you’ve got one up on me, though it’s certainly fun to try. I got to write the Earthless announcement, so make sure you read that one. Here’s all of it from the PR wire:

roadburn 2018 banner

Roadburn Festival 2018 Artist in Residence announced; plus more lineup confirmations

– Earthless confirmed as 2018 Artist in Residence
– Huge San Diego Takeover project announced feat. collaborations and jam sessions.
– Japanese Psych Experience courtesy of Kikagaku Moyo, Minami Deutsch and Dhidalah
– Crowbar & Zola Jesus confirmed for Jacob Bannon’s curated stages

Artistic Director, Walter Hoeijmakers commented:
“To be Roadburn’s Artist in Residence is quite a prestigious position; it really gives bands a chance to open up and explore different facets of their collective personalities. Earthless are – to me – the perfect fit for this next year; their bond with Roadburn is strong and we’re thrilled to have seen them grow and develop over the years since they first played Roadburn. In fact, it will be a full decade since their first performance on a Roadburn stage – and what a way to mark the occasion.

“The whole San Diego Takeover has been over a year in the planning, and we’re still working on even more ways to enhance what is already going to be such an incredibly special part of Roadburn 2018.”

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE: EARTHLESS

Roadburn is proud to welcome back our benevolent cosmic instrumentalist overlords in 2018! Earthless will perform three sets as our Artist in Residence, including some incredibly special, Roadburn-exclusive jams.

It’s been a decade since the San Diego three-piece of guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba set a standard for epic with the performance that became their landmark Live at Roadburn 2LP in 2008. Since then, Earthless have become the standard-bearers of a heavy psychedelic boom in California, inspiring countless acts around them.

As our Artist in Residence they will take the stage three times. For the first set, they’ll play in their standard three-piece incarnation, showcasing material from their upcoming 2018 album. The second set unites Earthless with progressive rock and improvisational legend Damo Suzuki, a set that is bound to be an occurrence of galaxy-shaking significance. If that’s not enough, Earthless will also take part in an ‘East Meets West’ psych jam with other members of the San Diego scene and members of Kikagaku Moyo from Japan.

The poster for Earthless was created by Maarten Donders.

Read more about Earthless, and Damo Suzuki.

SAN DIEGO TAKEOVER

Steeped in psychedelia and inspired by Earthless – who played a pivotal role in sparking this particular fire – the new breed of San Diego psych-rock bands is gearing up to launch themselves on Tilburg next April. Stand by; the San Diego circus is coming to town.

A veritable gang of musicians will be leaving behind the Pacific Ocean and making their way to the slightly less sun soaked – although no less open minded – vistas of Tilburg.

Each participating band will perform over the course of the weekend as part of the main festival programme at the 013, but a movement this influential deserves it’s own space to spread out, bloom, and indeed envelope us all. So, with that in mind, there will be a Californian takeover at the Hall of Fame on both Friday and Saturday; welcome to the San Diego Clubhouse!

When you count professional skaters among your ranks, it would seem remiss to not factor a skate expo into proceedings. Plus there will be visual exhibitions by the likes of JT Rhoades, Lannie Rhodes and BB Bastidas (the man responsible for the incredible poster below), there will also be stalls featuring Vol.4 Clothing and Psockadelic. We didn’t know we needed Roadburn branded socks until just now, but now we really need them…

More details will unfurl over the next couple of months, but for now, it’s time to get stoked: California is coming. Performing as part of the Roadburn 2018 San Diego takeover will be:
Harsh Toke
Sacri Monti
Joy
Petyr

Read more about the San Diego Takeover.

JAPANESE PSYCH: KIKAGAKA MOYO, MINAMI DEUTSCH, DHIDALAH

In conjunction with the San Diego Takeover, Roadburn 2018 will also host a Japanese psych experience! Steeped in ’60s and ’70s tradition, these bands are exploring psychedelia in a transportive and meditative way. Emphasis is put on the past, but they’re pushing the envelope, and it’s their forward-looking vision that’s prompted us to bring them to Roadburn 2018.

Please brace yourself to explore the sonic spectrum with these new champions of Japanese psych!

Centered around cult-label GuruGuruBrain, the following bands will perform as the Japanese counterparts of The San Diego Takeover:
Kikagaku Moyo
Minami Deutsch
Dhidalah

JACOB BANNON’S CURATION: CROWBAR

Crowbar have been at the forefront of heavy music for nearly three decades, and in 1998 released the album Odd Fellows Rest. This incredible album merged their existing heaviness with a refined melodic sensibility, creating one of the most powerful metal albums of the era.

Jacob Bannon comments:
“In 1991 I was introduced to Crowbar when I bought a tape of their Obedience Thru Suffering album. The sheer heaviness of the band floored me and I was hooked ever since. For me personally, their 1998 album Odd Fellows Rest is a high watermark of creativity. It is an incredible collection of songs that have been daily listens for me for nearly two decades. It’s an honor to have the band perform this record live at Roadburn Festival 2018.”

Read more about Crowbar.

JACOB BANNON’S CURATION: ZOLA JESUS

Zola Jesus is the stage name of Russian American musician Nika Roza Danilova. Under the name Zola Jesus, she has released a number of genre bending EPs and albums. Her approach is a cross pollination of electronic/industrial, classical, and gothic sounds; all of it coming together as a dark and emotional artistic experience.

Jacob Bannon comments:
“I first heard Nika’s work on the Stridulum EP. Every aspect of the release connected with me and it soon became a daily listen. The record (and all of her work) was relatable and infectious. I’ve been an avid listener ever since. Watching her artistry grow and deepen over time has been inspiring. Okovi, the latest from Zola Jesus is such a powerful album. I am truly honored to have Nika and Company at Roadburn 2018 as part of my curation.”

Read more about  Zola Jesus.

JARBOE FT. FATHER MURPHY

Jarboe has always made collaboration an essential part of her work, and her work with Italian duo Father Murphy has so far been incredibly fruitful. When they perform together at Roadburn, Father Murphy will take to the stage first and set the mood with heir creepy and enveloping aural tapestries, after which Jarboe, in all her glory, will join them to perform those songs. After that, the trio will perform a selection of some of the most powerful moments of the singer’s career so far.

Read more about Jarboe ft Father Murphy.

BIG BRAVE invite us to peek further into the shadows. Read more
DAWN RAY’D will be initiated into the Roadburn family. Read more.
HÄLLAS carry the heart and soul of the seventies. Read more.
KÆLAN MIKLA soundtrack the apocalypse with threatening darkwave rumblings beneath ominous monologues. Read more.
MUTOID MAN shake off the “super group” shackles and re-write the rules. Read more.
PLANNING FOR BURIAL are set to defy description and capture our hearts.Read more.
THE RUINS OF BEVERAST will reprise their 2013 show-stealing performance, this time with added Exuvia; they’ll play their latest album in full. Read more.
UNE MISÈRE are an explosive combination of elongated atmospherics and insanely meaty riffs. Read more.
WIEGEDOOD: furious catharsis, raging obscurity and fiery destruction from the Church of Ra  Read more.
WRECK AND REFERENCE shall devour genres and resist categorisation. Read more.
YELLOW EYES… With burning intention and a sight without limits, BLACK METAL AS SPIRITUAL WAR. Read more.

TICKET ONSALE INFORMATION
Roadburn 2018 tickets are on sale now. 3 and 4 day tickets are currently available, with day tickets going on sale at a later date.

4-day-tickets €198,40 (including €3,40 service fees)
3-day-tickets €175,40 (including €3,40 service fees)

Camping tickets are also available to purchase, with additional options (such as Festipis and camper vans) also possible. This year the urban campsite will be in a new location – but still within walking distance to the 013 venue – providing a comfortable and affordable option for Roadburn attendees.

Click here for more information on tickets and the campsite

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

Roadburn 2018 Third Announcement Video

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Crowbar, Katatonia, Ethereal Riffian, Dot Legacy, Salem’s Bend, Thonian Horde, Second Sun, Ten Ton Slug, Komatsu, The Blue Sunshine Family Band

Posted in Reviews on December 29th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk winter quarterly review

We continue with day four of the Quarterly Review. This batch is numbers 31-40 of the total 60, not that the numbers really mean anything. I know it’s list season — believe me, I know — but there’s no actual ranking going on. It’s just basically so I can keep track and remember what day it is. That’s not to say this is done off the cuff. Actually, there’s an embarrassing amount of planning behind these things. Months. And when I start actually getting the posts ready and realize I’ve slated the same record on two different days — something that’s happened no fewer than three times so far, needing each time to be corrected — it’s a clear demonstration of the value of my planning. Ha. Anyway, we press on. Together. Into the thick of it. Thanks for reading.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Crowbar, The Serpent Only Lies

crowbar the serpent only lies

More than 25 years and 11 albums into a landmark career that helped prove the existence of the hairy beast known as “sludge metal,” Crowbar don’t owe anyone anything, and since returning to activity with 2011’s Sever the Wicked Hand (review here) and 2014’s Symmetry in Black, they’ve played like it. Their third post-resurgence outing is The Serpent Only Lies (on eOne Heavy), and though it works largely to form – that is, Crowbar are going to sound like Crowbar: low, slow, seeming to lurch even when dug into fits of gallop on “I am the Storm” or the early going of “The Enemy Beside You” – one still finds progression especially in the vocal approach of frontman and founder Kirk Windstein, who self-harmonizes effectively on the title-track’s standout hook as well as the later pair “On Holy Ground” and “Song of the Dunes,” the latter also resoundingly spacious in a way that offsets much of The Serpent Only Lies’ head-down intensity. This might be flourish or a companion to the core Crowbar sound that remains intact throughout, but the truth is it’s not like it needs to be there – Crowbar’s audience would still go to the shows even if the band stopped growing – but it’s entirely to the credit of the New Orleans legends that more than a quarter-century later they continue to progress. I guess that’s how Crowbar gets to be Crowbar.

Crowbar on Thee Facebooks

eOne Heavy on Thee Facebooks

 

Katatonia, The Fall of Hearts

katatonia the fall of hearts

Depending on what you count as a full-length, The Fall of Hearts (on Peaceville) is either the 10th or 11th studio record from Sweden’s Katatonia. It follows 2013’s acoustic Dethroned and Uncrowned, which reenvisioned 2012’s Dead End Kings and brings forth over an hour of new material from founding duo Jonas Renkse (vocals/guitar/etc.) and Anders “Blakkheim” Nyström (guitar/backing vocals), as well as Niklas Sandin (bass) and Daniel Moilanen (drums), who, working with engineer Karl Daniel Lidén (ex-Greenleaf, Demon Cleaner), continue to proffer resonant melancholy in abundance. As a band, Katatonia have had a number of different phases over the years, from their deathly beginnings through the later moves into melody, but as it stands on songs like “Decima,” with its acoustic and mellotron arrangement, and the seven-minute “Serac,” which plays back and forth between serene and some of The Fall of Hearts’ most intense thrust, they remain among heavy metal’s most recognizable acts. There is no one else who sounds like them, and they sound not quite like anyone else. This collection might be more about gradual steps forward than radical shifts in approach, but Katatonia have found a way to preach to their converted and keep growing at the same time, and that’s to be commended.

Katatonia on Thee Facebooks

Peaceville Records website

 

Ethereal Riffian, I am Deathless

ethereal riffian i am deathless

Issued via Robustfellow in a range of physical editions from an oversized CD digipak to cassette bundles, the two-song I. AM. Deathless EP from yet-underrated Ukrainian progressive ritualists Ethereal Riffian warrants the ceremony with which it arrives. Its two tracks, “Drum of the Deathless” (6:19) and “Sword of the Deathless” (9:57) closed and opened, respectively, the prior 2016 live outing, Youniversal Voice (review here), and in their studio form they bring to bear a vision of psychedelic metal given to atmospheric breadth that comes at the expense neither of purpose nor impact. The opener proves the more immediate of the pair, but as “Sword of the Deathless” plays out, it finds prog-metal swirl amid low-end starts and stops intertwined layers of multi-channel spoken word, acoustic and electric guitar and percussive tension, so that as it heads into its payoff and melodic finish, the resolution is both satisfying and something of a relief from the cacophony preceding. Forward-thinking and of marked substance, I. AM. Deathless offers a quick glimpse at the band’s scope and invites listeners to dive deep therein.

Ethereal Riffian on Thee Facebooks

Robustfellow Productions on Bandcamp

 

Dot Legacy, To the Others

dot legacy to the others

There isn’t much that’s off-limits to Parisian heavy rockers Dot Legacy. To wit, the near-rap-rock mania of opener “Horizon” from their second LP, To the Others (on Setalight Records), and the laid-back psych-lounge vibes that follow on “Grey Cardinal,” only to be swept away in crashes and chants later, leading to the driving desert punkery of “211.” Three songs, three distinct feels, and Dot Legacy only get weirder from there as they toy with fuzzed momentum on “5314” and “Dakota” before the dreamy post-rock meandering of “The Twelve,” the prog-pop of “Story of Fame” and piano-laden psych-drama of closer “Pioneer.” In 35 minutes, the four-piece cover more ground than most bands do in their whole careers, but that becomes even more admirable in that they manage not to just be all over the place, but to provide a consistent quality of songwriting to complement all that quirk. Add to that the attention to detail in vocal harmonies and arrangements, and as they follow-up their 2014 self-titled debut (review here), they reveal a clear sense of a master plan at work under all the brashness and genre-hopping.

Dot Legacy on Thee Facebooks

Setalight Records website

 

Salem’s Bend, Salem’s Bend

salem's bend self-titled

Self-released by the Los Angeles trio in late-2015 and picked up for a vinyl issue through Ripple Music, the self-titled debut from Salem’s Bend leaves little wonder as to why with its classic sensibility and the vibe proliferated by the natural-toned nod of a song like “Silverstruck.” Though still prone to a bit of Hendrix-style shred when it comes to lead guitar, the three-piece of Bobby (guitar/vocals), Kevin (bass) and Zach (drums) depart from some of the post-Radio Moscow all-thrust boogie in favor of more laid back fair and on that cut and the later “Sun and Mist,” which hits into a satisfying apex in its second half without feeling overcooked, as well as the six-minute finale “A Tip of Salem,” which nods through its initial movement before bursting out toward the end. In a crowded SoCal scene, just about anything Salem’s Bend can do to stand apart will serve them, and the fluidity they hone across these seven tracks sets them up to do just that.

Salem’s Bend on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Thonian Horde, Thonian Horde

thonian horde self-titled

Given the personnel involved, the black ‘n’ roll extremity of Thonian Horde’s self-titled debut full-length will no doubt come as a surprise to listeners. Formed in Boonsboro, Maryland, by bassist/vocalist Ron “Fezz” McGinnis (Pale Divine, Admiral Browning, etc.), guitarists Darren “Dirty” Waters (Weed is Weed) and Dan “D-Mize” Mize (Faith in Jane), and drummer Tyler “The Beast” Lee (Weed is Weed), one might expect high-order Frederick-style post-The Obsessed doom. Thonian Horde have more in common with Immortal on their centerpiece track “Darkest Nights Shadow,” and even as the closing “Psychonaut” finds a rock groove in its chorus, it does so with the hooky edge of Satyricon more than any of the members’ other outfits. No doubt that’s the point: doing something different. Indeed, the nine-tracker is a refreshing aesthetic reboot for the scene from whence it comes, holding fast to their region’s crucial lack of pretense even as they brazenly walk their own path – left-hand, of course.

Thonian Horde on Thee Facebooks

Thonian Horde on Bandcamp

 

Second Sun, Tachyonregenerator

second sun tachyonregenerator

I don’t know about you, but I missed out on Hopp/Förtvivlan, which was the 2015 debut full-length from Swedish rockers Second Sun, so to have Gaphals provide gentle encouragement to check it out by getting behind the two-songer single Tachyonregenerator is most welcome. Both cuts included – “Tachyonregenerator” and “Tror Faktiskt På Dig” – bask in classic vibe without being overly showy when it comes to retroism, and are marked out by the inclusion of organ amid the natural-sounding guitar, drums and bass, the vocals presented in Swedish across both pieces. It’s a quick eight-minutes perfect for the 7” pressing it’s been given, but again, makes enough of an impression that one is inclined toward further investigation, and given that, I can’t call it anything other than a success. I’ll go ahead and chalk up one more quality Swedish act to keep track of, because Second Sun offer tight-knit progressive leanings in a crisp package on Tachyonregenerator, and even if I’m late to the party, I’m glad I got to hear it.

Second Sun on Thee Facebooks

Gaphals Records website

 

Ten Ton Slug, Brutal Gluttonous Beast

ten ton slug brutal gluttonous beast

Some pretty clear self-awareness demonstrated in Ten Ton Slug’s self-released debut EP, Brutal Gluttonous Beast. The Galway, Ireland, five-piece had a prior live-recorded two-tracker, but these four songs mark their first studio outing, and as they draw together massive sludge riffing and more extreme, death metal-style growls, there’s precious little one might say to more accurately describe a track like “Trollhunter” – the opener and longest on the release (immediate points) – than that it lives up to the title, its second-half slowdown lurch prefacing a similar move in “Bloodburns” before the more rampaging “Subterranean” and noise-soaked burl of “Unit” take hold. Intense and vicious, but not necessarily unhinged, Brutal Gluttonous Beast finds Ten Ton Slug sounding remarkably sure in their approach, and one will await the news of their traveling to England to record with Chris Fielding at Skyhammer, since that seems to be the kind of presentation for which the tonal onslaught here is begging.

Ten Ton Slug on Thee Facebooks

Ten Ton Slug on Bandcamp

 

Komatsu, Recipe for Murder One

komatsu recipe for murder one

A half-decade after releasing their self-titled EP (review here), Eindhoven heavy/noise rockers Komatsu reemerge on Argonauta Records with the follow-up full-length, Recipe for Murder One. Boasting a guest appearance from Nick Oliveri on the suitably tumultuous “Lockdown,” the album leaves little to wonder what’s in that recipe in the darker-desert vibe of “So How’s About Billy” and “There Must be Something in Your Water,” which teases airy serenity in its first half only to go full-throttle for the second, but as the bass-driven lumber of the title-track and subtle melodic expansion of “The Sea is Calm Today” show, Komatsu haven’t wasted the last five years, instead constructing their own take on sonic density and sludge impulses that seems to hit with formidable impact regardless of tempo or tension level, both of which prove to be fluid elements at the four-piece’s disposal. They get the point across quickly in the stomp of “The Long Way Home,” but find suitable resolution in the nod of closer “Breathe,” rounding out a debut of significant character and depth with one last surprise in ambience it’s only fair to call progressive.

Komatsu on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

The Blue Sunshine Family Band, The Blue Sunshine Family Band

the blue sunshine family band self-titled

A double-guitar instrumental four-piece from Santa Rosa, California, The Blue Sunshine Family Band make their debut with a six-song/51-minute self-titled. Tracks presented as Roman numerals “I” through “VI,” though whether or not they’re actually the first six pieces the band has written, I couldn’t say. Either way, the impression immediately draws from “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” – that great king of nod riffs – and first-name-only guitarists Billy and Kevin, bassist Matt and drummer Quinten build outward from there, dipping below the eight-minute mark only on “V” (7:14) as they unfurl solid grooves and tonal heft, seeming to leave room for vocals either consciously or not. The converted will find engagement and immersion in the crash and swinging turn of “IV,” as well as the David Paul Seymour cover art, and if The Blue Sunshine Family Band is the sound of this foursome getting their feet under them, they manage to accomplish that preliminary feat and then some in these tracks.

The Blue Sunshine Family Band on Thee Facebooks

The Blue Sunshine Family Band on Bandcamp

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Crowbar Post “Falling While Rising” Video; December Tour Announced

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 3rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

crowbar-photo-by-jimmy-hubbard

In case you didn’t feel the earth shake at the time, New Orleans sludge progenitors Crowbar released their latest album, The Serpent Only Lies, last week. Out through eOne Heavy, it follows 2014’s Symmetry in Black and 2011’s Sever the Wicked Hand (review here) as the Kirk Windstein-led outfit continue their progression from an ’00s metal style back toward the lurching and roughed-up Sabbathian plod of their earliest work. One can hear that process taking place in the track “Falling While Rising,” which in addition to the sound, also provides a signature Crowbar approach in its downer lyric and Windstein‘s unmistakably guttural vocals.

The Serpent Only Lies is the 11th Crowbar album, so it’s not surprised to find them sounding very much in their element on it, but like the most landmark of multi-decade-spanning metal bands — your Iron Maidens, your Slayers; groups who’ve influenced a generation — their delivery remains powerful. Fact is, Crowbar belong in that class of acts, even if their aesthetic has always been in search of something rawer, and “Falling While Rising” demonstrates their root contribution to what sludge became in their wake, both around the fertile New Orleans scene and worldwide. As many acts who’ve tried, there’s still nobody who does Crowbar better than Crowbar.

They’ve got tour dates with Goatwhore newly announced for December. You’ll find them under the video and the PR wire info below.

Please enjoy:

Crowbar, “Falling While Rising” official video

NOLA legends CROWBAR have debuted their music video for “Falling While Rising” today. Directed by Justin Reich (ACE FREHLEY, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY), this is the first video installment from the band off their new LP.

Crowbar released The Serpent Only Lies, on October 28, 2016 via Entertainment One (eOne) in North America and via SPV overseas. “We are so excited about our 11th studio record! The Serpent Only Lies is a powerful follow up,” says frontman and guitarist Kirk Windstein. “Eliran Kantor did a brilliant job with the artwork!”

The band announced co-headlining tour dates with NOLA neighbors GOATWHORE, capping off the calendar year with style. “This upcoming tour is one that we’re all looking forward to!,” says Kirk Windstein. “These are our Brothers. Hell, Sammy Duet was in Crowbar for a few of our best records! To the fans of both bands, here’s your early Christmas present! and we are super stoked to have Lillake on this tour with us!”

Crowbar w/ Goatwhore & Lillake tour dates:
12.02.16 Little Rock, AR – Rev Room
12.03.16 Tulsa, OK – The Shrine
12.04.16 St. Louis, MO – Fubar
12.05.16 Indianapolis, IN – 5th Quarter
12.06.16 Ft. Wayne, IN – The Hub
12.07.16 Morgantown, WV – 123 Pleasant Street
12.08.16 Harrisonburg, VA – The Golden Pony
12.09.16 Richmond, VA – Broadberry
12.10.16 Durham, NC – Motorco
12.11.16 Johnson City, TN – Capones
12.12.16 Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
12.13.16 Savannah, GA – Jinx
12.14.16 Macon, GA – Macon Venue Project

Crowbar on Thee Facebooks

Crowbar on Twitter

eOne Heavy on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,

Crowbar Announce New LP The Serpent Only Lies Due Oct. 28

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

crowbar

Nola sludge progenitors Crowbar will release their 11th studio album, The Serpent Only Lies, via eOne Heavy on Oct. 28. The band’s last outing was 2014’s Symmetry in Black, which was preceded in 2011 by Sever the Wicked Hand (review here) — their first for eOne — which marked a resurgence that’s now five years running and finds Crowbar among underground metal’s most respected mainstays. They’ve been everywhere, they’ve seen everything, and rather than give into any of what is no doubt a copious amount of bullshit they’ve been through in their years together, they continue to push forward.

Particularly interested in guitarist/vocalist Kirk Windstein saying he went back to old Crowbar and old Crowbar influences this time out, as some of the more modern metallurgy of their recent output had marked a big sonic turn for the band.

Many tour dates, much info, and a teaser, from the PR wire:

crowbar the serpent only lies

CROWBAR ANNOUNCE THE SERPENT ONLY LIES, DUE OUT 10/28

TEASER AVAILABLE NOW!

New Orleans sludge masters Crowbar have announced their eleventh new LP titled The Serpent Only Lies, due out October 28, 2016. “We are so excited about our 11th studio record! The Serpent Only Lies is a powerful follow up.” says frontman and riff lord Kirk Windstein. “Eliran Kantor did a brilliant job with the artwork! Our first release, “Falling While Rising”, is Crowbar at its finest… HEAVIER THAN EVER!!!”

The Serpent Only Lies will be the follow up to the highly buzzed about Symmetry in Black that sold over 4,000 copies in its first week of release in 2014, the highest of any LPs in the band’s 27 year career, beating out its predecessor, 2011’s Sever the Wicked Hand.

For nearly three decades, the name Crowbar has been synonymous with HEAVY. Since rising ominously from the swamplands of New Orleans in 1990, they’ve been hailed internationally as one of the world’s foremost purveyors of crushing, melodic sludge. The Serpent Only Lies, is both an affirmation of the band’s staying power and a nod to their legacy. “To me, it’s a fresh-sounding version of old-school Crowbar,” says Windstein.

“I intentionally went back and listened to a lot of old Crowbar stuff, like the self-titled and Broken Glass albums, to get a feel for what my mindset was 20-plus years ago. I also went back and listened to the bands that influenced Crowbar in the beginning, like Trouble, Saint Vitus, Melvins, and the first Type O Negative record. So it was kinda me doing my homework.”

The result is an album that stands toe-to-toe with those early Crowbar classics while maintaining the lumbering hooks of mid-period standouts like 1998’s Odd Fellows Rest and 2000’s Equilibrium. “Even lyrically, the approach was a little more old-school,” Windstein offers. “Some of the songs have less lyrics to let the riffs breathe a little more, which I had kind of gotten away from over the years. It was a conscious thing to go back to that.”

The tour cycle for The Serpent Only Lies marks the return of original Crowbar bassist Todd “Sexy T” Strange, who left the band back in 1999 but now joins Windstein, drummer Tommy Buckley and guitarist Matt Brunson in forging Crowbar’s future. “Todd helped start the band, so having him back is important to me and, I think, the fans,” Windstein offers. “It’s a great feeling to be standing onstage next to him. It’s a breath of fresh air for the band and makes us stronger.”

“Having this be our eleventh record, we’re very fortunate because so many bands don’t last this long,” Windstein adds. “My whole outlook on music as a career is the Motörhead outlook, which is that slow and steady wins the race. If you continue to put out killer records, continue to kick ass onstage every night and continue to treat your fans with respect, that’s the stuff people will remember.”

Sep 13 JJ’s Bohemia Chattanooga, TN
Sep 15 The Agora Theatre and Ballroom Cleveland, OH
Sep 16 Reggies Music Joint Chicago, IL
Sep 17 Harpos Detroit, MI
Sep 18 Town Ballroom Buffalo, NY
Sep 20 The Westcott Theater Syracuse, NY
Sep 21 The Ballroom at The Outer Space Hamden, CT
Sep 23 Amityville Music Hall Amityville, NY
Sep 24 THE COLOSSEUM/ THE RUINS @ THE COLOSSEUM Providence, RI
Sep 26 Saint Vitus Brooklyn, NY
Sep 27 Dingbatz Clifton, NJ
Sep 28 Shakas Live Virginia Beach, VA
Sep 29 The Throne Theater Wilmington, NC
Sep 30 The Sparrow North Charleston, SC
Oct 01 New Brookland Tavern Columbia, SC
Oct 02 The Warehouse Clarksville, TN
Oct 03 Manchester Music Hall Lexington, KY
Oct 06 Nighthawks Jacksonville, FL
Oct 07 The Orpheum Ybor City, FL
Oct 09 Churchills Pub Miami, FL
Oct 10 House of Blues Orlando Orlando, FL
Oct 22 Empire Control Room & Garage Austin, TX

https://www.facebook.com/crowbarmusic
https://twitter.com/crowbarrules
http://www.facebook.com/eoneheavy
http://www.twitter.com/eoneheavy

Crowbar, The Serpent Only Lies teaser

Tags: , , , , ,

Doomed Gatherings III: Crowbar, Elder, Toner Low and Many More Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 23rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

doomed gatherings iii header

You know how I know Doomed Gatherings III has its shit together? Yeah, they’ve got Elder, Crowbar, Trouble, Monolord, Egypt, Ramesses, Mantar and so on confirmed to play over the course of the three-night event in Paris this May, and that’s super. Not arguing against any of that. But how you really know is that not only are Toner Low playing the thing, but they’re playing a set all three nights. That’s right: a Toner Low residency. I don’t know about you, but from where I sit there’s nothing about that concept that isn’t badass.

Details and ticket links follow for the big to-do, for which there are reportedly more band announcements to come. Makes sense, as May’s still a ways off. The following came down the PR wire:

doomed gatherings iii poster

Crowbar, Ramesses, Trouble and more confirmed to play third DOOMED GATHERINGS festival in Paris!

The third edition of France’s only doom, sludge and filth-oriented festival DOOMED GATHERINGS is taking up residence again at Glazart venue in Paris, for three days of crushing, highly grooving and undoubtedly smoke-filled performances. The lineup is now almost complete with a total of twenty-one bands, among which Crowbar, Ramesses, Trouble, Monolord and Elder. Let there be doom.

DOOMED GATHERINGS III
May 14-16th at Glazart – Paris, France
3-day pass (55€) and day tickets (25€) on sale HERE

The current lineup is as follows, with two more bands remaining to be announced. Hotel deals will come up soon along with next announcement.

DAY 1 ? Saturday 14th May ?
Ramesses (UK) ? Toner Low (NL) ? Mantar ? Egypt (USA) ? Demonic Death Judge (FIN) ? The Lumberjack Feedback (FR) ? NNRA ? Bathsheba (BE)

DAY 2 ? Sunday 15h May ?
Crowbar (USA) ? Trouble (USA) ? Toner Low (NL) ? Samothrace (USA) ? Hang The Bastard (UK) ? Throw Me in the Crater (NL) + 2 more bands TBA

DAY 3 ? Monday 16h May ?
Elder (USA) ? Monolord (SWE) ? Toner Low (NL) ? Electric Moon (DE) ? Chaos E.T. Sexual (FR) ? DDENT (FR) ? Carousel (USA)

Doomed Gatherings is the first festival in France for everything doom, sludge, filthy and psyched out. Taking place for the third year at Glazart in the 19th district of Paris, the festival is powered by national heavy promoters Stoned Gatherings and assembles a fine selection of international headliners and breakthrough acts, for the sheer love of Heavy.

Glazart is an indoor/outdoor club located in the north-east of Paris, near reknown architectural unit of La Villette, a venue that is easily reachable from the underground and tramway lines.

? Getting to Glazart ?
7-15 avenue de La Porte de la Villette, 75019 Paris
? Metro 7 (Porte de la Villette station)
or Tram 3b (Porte de la Villette station)

https://www.facebook.com/events/1717007591852526
https://www.weezevent.com/doomed-gatherings
https://www.facebook.com/doomed.gatherings
https://twitter.com/StonedGathering

The Body, Live at Doomed Gatherings 2014

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Desertfest Berlin 2016: Crowbar, Truckfighters, Egypt, Desert Storm and Kaleidobolt Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 20th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

desertfest berlin 2016 banner

It’s been fun particularly over the last two years or so to really watch the two springtime Desertfests distinguish themselves as more bands are added to each lineup. Desertfest London and Desertfest Berlin 2016 will still share many bands between them, no doubt, but in seeing acts like Kaleidobolt and Desert Storm (who played London in 2015) join the roster for Berlin in 2016, alongside the newly announced Crowbar, Truckfighters and Egypt — each of whom will also play London — gradually the shape of the German fest itself becomes apparent, and likewise for its European counterpart.

To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t mind ending up at either or, but there are some considerable arguments to be made in those steely owl eyes.

Here are the latest announcements:

desertfest berlin 2016 poster

Desertfest Berlin 2016 – TRUCKFIGHTERS, CROWBAR, EGYPT, DESERT STORM, KALEIDOBOLT added to the line-up!

We all love heavy music and rock concert. Needless to say that we were as shocked as everybody else about the horrible things which happened in Paris last Friday. Our thoughts and hearts are with all the people who lost family members and friends in that senseless attempt…

After such a terrible event , it´s not easy to switch back to “normal”… nevertheless we would like to announce a few more bands today for DESERTFEST BERLIN 2016. We are pleased to welcome Sweden’s phenomenal, bone-rattling godfathers of fuzz Truckfighters, New Orlean’s sludge titans Crowbar, North Dakota based doom/psychedelic/stoner Rock Pharaohs Egypt, Oxford based heavy stoner / blues metal riff hounds Desert Storm and Helsinki’s groovy 1970’s Classic/Hard Rockers Kaleidobolt.

These 5 acts join the first 8 bands previously announced Electric Wizard, Elder, Wo Fat, Monolord, Death Alley, Monomyth, Mothership and Somali Yacht Club. Happening from APRIL 28th to 30th, DESERTFEST BERLIN 2016 might be the trippiest experience of your life, so join us… take the ride and buy your ticket now! (tickets’ links below).

See you all in 162 days!

Regular HARD TICKETS or E-TICKETS can be purchased on our WEBSITE! Our ticketprices remain the same, that’s 85 Euros for all you newbies! But remember that we were sold out last time about 7 weeks ahead, and we think we may top that this year!

http://www.desertfest.de/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestBerlin

Truckfighters, Universe (2014)

Tags: , , , , , , ,