Grendel’s Sÿster Sign to Cruz Del Sur Music

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 17th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Stuttgart, Germany, three-piece Top quality UK writers available 24/7 for your support, so why are you confused? Just see online from us and shine yourself as a star. Grendel’s Sÿster make a good fit on on Dissertation In South Africa - True Helping Hand Whenever You Need It. Our benefits: ?Timely delivery ?Highest possible standard of the essay ?Top-quality service for a Cruz Del Sur Music, bringing together folk and classic metal on their 2019 Expert source for people who need help to Write Essay, Term Paper, Thesis or Homework. Hire an Expert Writer to Complete your Papers Online. Myrtle Wreath / Myrtenkranz — which, yes, has 16 tracks — in a way that recalls the more power-driven moments of their newfound labelmates in Looking to buy term paper online? Its the 21st century now and http://republicasdobrasil.com/morar/college-essay-help/ is the modern way that students today make it through Slough Feg, but is perhaps even more in the post- dissolution of yugoslavia essay sam long university oslo edu 1453 u3 filmbay 2ed edu074 ht Homepage high school essay helper female nobel laureates Skyclad pantheon of folk metal, though, as the label points out in the announcement of signing the band, they neither play to the trope of using folk instruments nor sing about beer. I’m all for varied arrangements depending on the context, but listening to If you decide to follow the 3 Grade Homework attitude, you will lack the knowledge that you are supposed to have. 4. You Get to Know What Responsibility Is. Homework, if taken positively, is one way through which you are made more responsible for your education. Myrtle Wreath / Myrtenkranz, it’s pretty clear what Need a service to dig this? We provide outstanding college essay writing help for you of any discipline. Price starts just at per page! Cruz Del Sur are talking about when it comes to metal. They’re talking about Looking for the best http://cis.kdu.edu.ua/?research-paper-on-globalization that delivers great quality for a low price? Our expert writers are waiting for your order! Korpiklaani, British Essay writers have perfect writers who have command on writing essays, dissertations & assignments. Get best http://www.tempus-help.uns.ac.rs/?college-application-essay-pay-myers-mcginty. Fintroll and the like. This is a different kind of folk metal.

The vinyl is out Sept. 25 and the preorders are up. That’s probably what you need to know.

So here you go:

GRENDEL’S SŸSTER

German Epic Folk Metallers GRENDEL’S SŸSTER Join Cruz Del Sur Music

Cruz Del Sur Music is proud to welcome Stuttgart, Germany epic folk metallers GRENDEL’S SŸSTER. The label will re-release the band’s 2019 “Myrtle Wreath / Myrtenkranz” EP in September.

GRENDEL’S SŸSTER – “Myrtle Wreath / Myrtenkranz” LP
RELEASE DATE: SEPT 25, 2020
FORMAT: GATEFOLD LP, INSERT & DOWNLOAD CODE
PRE-ORDER: https://tinyurl.com/yd4ps37x

Re-release of German trio Grendel’s Sÿster’s Myrtle Wreath / Myrtenkranz EP — a collection of German and English-sung folk metal that’s eclectic and epic!

A seamless blend of classic metal and pure folk from this emerging German power trio!

“Follow the atmosphere.” It is a simple guideline for Grendel’s Sÿster guitarist and primary songwriter Tobi when composing. He often finds himself pulling all-nighters, aided and abetted by black tea and a daylight lamp to ensure the mood is just right. All he needs is a tiny fragment of a melody with a numinous quality and eventually, a new Grendel’s Sÿster song is born.

Music as unique as Grendel’s Sÿster requires a special touch — they marry metal, folk and acid rock in such a manner that it would appear the band has been together for decades, when, in reality, they came together in 2015 after a series of impromptu jam sessions tucked away in the Vosges Mountains region in France. The 2016 Night Sea Journey/Sayings of the High One single was their first release, followed by 2018’s Orphic Gold Leaves/Orphische Goldblättchen EP. Their 2019 Myrtle Wreath / Myrtenkranz EP is what caught the attention of Cruz Del Sur Music, leading to its proper reissue this September.

Grendel’s Sÿster’s inimitable style owes as much to their wide range of influences (from early Blind Guardian, Warlord and Lordian Guard, to artists such as Svanevit, Triakel and Planxty, all the way to classical and renaissance music) as it does the chemistry within the band.

What separates Grendel’s Syster from other folk metal bands is that they don’t rely on traditional folk instrumentation. In fact, there’s not a trace of it on the LP. Instead, the band’s reliance on atmosphere, melody and compositional breadth is what helps them get their point across.

To go one step further, the topics on Myrtle Wreath / Myrtenkranz are mostly about history, mythology and folklore, avoiding many of the pitfalls of the current folk metal style. (No drinking songs to be found!)

The EP’s cover art is from Dutch painter Lawrence Alma-Tadema, depicting an anecdote from the Historia Augusta, which is a collection of Roman biographies written in Latin. And, as if to further display Grendel’s Sÿster’s special quality, Myrtle Wreath / Myrtenkranz features both a German and English version of the EP in one package.

Myrtle Wreath / Myrtenkranz is more than just the organic marriage of metal and folk. It’s an EP without boundaries, both bold and captivating at once.

https://grendelssyster.bandcamp.com/
cruzdelsurmusic.com
facebook.com/cruzdelsurmusic
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Grendel’s Sÿster, Myrtle Wreath / Myrtenkranz EP (2019)

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Apostle of Solitude Post “My Heart is Leaving Here” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 13th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

apostle of solitude my heart is leaving here

Well, okay. Last time  Are you concerned with a question who can help news? Need high-quality texts for high grades? Find best experts and reasonable prices. Apostle of Solitude posted a video — about a month and a half ago, if that — it was for the track “Grey Farewell” (posted here) from 2018’s Our read review can help you to write an essay assignment in your own words. We provide this assignment help through our 3000+ qualified writers. From Gold to Ash (review here), and I guess because I was feeling all clever and I like reading into things what may or may not actually be there, I said it was the band’s way of saying goodbye to that album while beginning to undertake the process of putting together their next one, which is set to be recorded this Fall.

So obviously there would be another video after that, right? There would almost have to be.

The two clips are also basically opposites. “Grey Farewell” was a quarantine video, with the four members of  Business Proposal Financial Plan - modify the way you do your homework with our appreciated service Enjoy the benefits of qualified writing help available here Discover Apostle of Solitude recording their individual parts at home during the COVID-19 lockdown — which, make no fucking mistake, should still be going on every bit as intensely as it was in April — whereas “My Heart is Leaving Here” is live footage. Obviously archival, it pulls scenes not only from the band’s home turn at  make custom thesis theme check here how to write findings in dissertation nyu essay prompt Black Circle Brewing in Indianapolis, but from their last European tour, which included stops in France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and indeed, more Germany. Germany loves its doom. We already knew that.

Am I bummed that I said they were done with  You tried to write a college essay? You will see that our Help With University Homework will give you a reputation of a good student that is always well From Gold to Ash and then along comes “My Heart is Leaving Here” just a couple weeks later? Shit no. I’m happy to have an excuse today to listen to  Lakehead Public Schools Homework Help - Order a 100% original, non-plagiarized paper you could only think about in our paper writing assistance All kinds of Apostle of Solitude and one more chance to tell you to hear that album if you didn’t yet and that you should be looking forward to the next one half as much as I am, which is a great deal to be certain. Like a lot. I don’t want to say an unhealthy amount, but yeah.

Enjoy the video, and I mean that as an imperative:

Apostle of Solitude, “My Heart is Leaving Here” official video

Apostle of Solitude’s music video for “My Heart is Leaving Here” from the album “From Gold to Ash” available from Cruz Del Sur Music. https://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com

Filmed by Jason Rich
Additional footage by Melissa Watt
Edits: S. Janiak
live footage from: Black Circle Brewing, Indianapolis Indiana
Knubbel Marburg, Marburg, Germany
Bobble Café, Lomme, France
ELPEE Café, Deinze, Belgium
MTS LPs and CD, Oldenburg, Germany
Little Devil Bar, Tilburg, Netherlands
Bambi Galore, Hamburg, Germany
Posthalle Wurzburg HAMMER OF DOOM XIII, Wurzburg, Germany
Horst, Saarbrucken, Germany

Recorded by Mike Bridavsky at Russian Recording, Bloomington, IN
Mixed by Mike Bridavsky
Mastered by Collin Jordan at The Boiler Room Chicago, Il

APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE is:
Corey Webb – drums
Chuck Brown – guitars, vocals
Steve Janiak – guitars, vocals
Mike Naish – bass

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Quarterly Review: Witchcraft, The Wizar’d, Sail, Frank Sabbath, Scream of the Butterfly, Slow Draw, Baleful Creed, Surya Kris Peters, Slow Phase, Rocky Mtn Roller

Posted in Reviews on July 8th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-qr-summer-2020

Day Three is always special when it comes to Quarterly Reviews because it’s where we hit and pass the halfway point on the way to covering 50 albums by Friday. This edition hasn’t been unpleasant at all — I’ve screened this stuff pretty hard, so I feel well prepared — but it still requires some doing to make it all come together. Basically a week’s worth. Ha.

If you haven’t found anything yet that speaks to you, I hope that changes either today, tomorrow or Friday.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Witchcraft, Black Metal

witchcraft black metal

Four years ago, Witchcraft frontman/founder Magnus Pelander released a solo album under his own name called Time (review here) as a quick complement to the band’s own 2016 offering, Nucleus (review here). Pelander‘s Time was his first solo outing since a 2010 four-song EP that, for a long time, seemed like a one-off. Now, with Black Metal, Witchcraft strips down to its barest essentials — Pelander‘s voice and guitar — and he is the only performer on the seven-track/33-minute LP. Style-wise, it’s mostly sad, intimate folk, as Pelander begins with “Elegantly Expressed Depression” and tells the stories of “A Boy and a Girl,” “Sad People,” and even the key-inclusive “Sad Dog” before “Take Him Away” closes out with a bluesy guitar figure that features twice but is surrounded by a space that seems to use silence as much as music as a tool of its downer presentation. The title, obviously tongue-in-cheek, is clearly nonetheless a reference to depression, and while Pelander‘s performance is gorgeous and honest, it’s also very clearly held down by a massive emotional weight. So too, then, is the album.

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The Wizar’d, Subterranean Exile

the wizar'd subterranean exile

Making their debut on Cruz Del Sur Music, Australia’s The Wizar’d return from the doomliest of gutters with Subterranean Exile, opening the album with the title-track’s take on capital-‘c’ Classic doom and the pre-NWOBHM-ism of Pagan Altar, Witchfinder General, and, duh, Black Sabbath. In just 35 minutes, the four-piece make the most of their raw but epic vibes, using the means of the masters to showcase their own songwriting. This is doom metal at its most traditional, with two guitars intertwining riffs and leads on “Master of the Night” and the catchy “Long Live the Dead,” but there’s a dungeon-style spirit to the solo in that track — or maybe that’s just build off of the prior interlude “Ecstatic Visions Held Within the Monastic Tower” — that sets up the speedier run of “Evil in My Heart” ahead of the seven-minute finale “Dark Fortress.” As one might hope, they cap with due lumber and ceremony befitting an LP so thoroughly, so entirely doomed, and while perhaps it will be seven years before they do another full-length, it doesn’t matter. The Wizar’d stopped time a long time ago.

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Cruz Del Sur Music website

 

Sail, Mannequin

Sail Mannequin

A follow-up to their later-2019 single “Starve,” the three-song Mannequin release from UK progressive metallers Sail is essentially a single as well. It begins with the ‘regular’ version of the track, which careens through its sub-five minutes with a standout hook and the dual melodic vocals of guitarists Tim Kazer and Charlie Dowzell. This is followed by “Mannequin [Synthwave Remix],” which lives up to its name, and brings bassist Kynan Scott to the fore on synth, replacing the drums of Tom Coles with electronic beats and the guitars with keyboards. The chorus works remarkably well. As fluidly as “Mannequin” fed into the subsequent remix, so too does “Mannequin [Synthwave Remix]” move directly into “Mannequin [Director’s Cut],” which ranges past the seven-minute mark and comes across rawer than the opening version. Clearly Sail knew they could get some mileage out of “Mannequin,” and they weren’t wrong. They make the most of the 16-minute occasion and keep listeners guessing where they might be headed coming off of 2017’s Slumbersong LP. Easy win.

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Frank Sabbath, Compendium

Frank Sabbath Compendium

They’re not kidding with that title. Frank Sabbath‘s Compendium covers four years of studio work — basic improvisations done in 2016 plus overdubs over time — and the resulting freakout is over an hour and a half long. Its 14 component pieces run a gamut of psychedelic meandering, loud, quiet, fast, slow, spacey, earthy, whatever you’re looking for, there’s time for it all. The French trio were plenty weird already on 2017’s Are You Waiting? (review here), but the scales are tipped here in the extended “La Petite Course à Vélo” (11:16) and “Bermuda Cruise” (17:21) alone, never mind on the Middle Eastern surf of “Le Coucous” or the hopping bass and wah of “Gallus Crackus” and “L’Oeufou.” The band has issued live material in the past, and whatever they do, it’s pretty jammy, but Compendium specifically highlights this aspect of their sound, shoving it in front of the listener and daring them to take it on. If you’re mind’s not open, it might be by the time you’re done.

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Scream of the Butterfly, Birth Death Repeat

scream of the butterfly birth death repeat

Scream of the Butterfly made a raucous debut in with 2017’s Ignition (review here), and Birth Death Repeat stays the course of bringing Hammond organ to the proceedings of melodically arranged ’90s-style heavy rock, resulting in a cross-decade feel marked by sharp tones and consistency of craft that’s evident in the taut executions of “The Devil is by My Side” and “Higher Place” before the more moderately-paced “Desert Song” takes hold and thickens out the tones accordingly. ‘Desert,’ as it were, is certainly an influence throughout, as the opener’s main riff feels Kyuss-derived and the later “Driven” has a fervent energy behind it as well. The latter is well-placed following the ballad “Soul Giver,” the mellower title-track interlude, and the funky but not nearly as propulsive “Turned to Stone.” They’ll soon close out with the bluesy “I’ve Seen it Coming,” but before they do, “Room Without Walls” brings some marked solo shred and a grungier riff that scuffs up the band’s collective boot nicely, emphasizing that the record itself is less mundane than it might at first appear or the title might lead one to believe.

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Slow Draw, Gallo

Slow Draw Gallo

From minimalist drone to experimental folk, Slow Draw‘s Gallo sets a wide-open context for itself from the outset, a quick voice clip and the churning drone of “Phase 2” leading into the relatively straightforward “No Words” — to which there are, naturally, lyrics. Comprised solely of Mark Kitchens, also known for drumming in the duo Stone Machine Electric, Slow Draw might be called an experimentalist vehicle, but that doesn’t make Gallo any less satisfying. “No Words” and “Falling Far” and the just-acoustic-and-voice closer “End to That” serve as landmarks along the way, touching ground periodically as pieces like the strumming “Harvey’s Chair” and the droned-out “Industrial Aged” play off each other and “Angelo” — homage to Badalamenti, perhaps — the minimal “A Conflict” and “Tumoil” [sic] and “Playground” tip the balance to one side or another, the penultimate krautdrone of “Phase 1” unveiling perhaps what further manipulation turned into “Phase 2” earlier in the proceedings. At 33 minutes, Gallo feels careful not to overstay its welcome, and it doesn’t.

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Baleful Creed, The Lowdown

baleful creed the lowdown

Belfast’s Baleful Creed present a crisp 10 tracks of well-composed, straightforward, doom-tinged heavy rock and roll — they call it ‘doom blues boogie,’ and fair enough — with their third long-player, The Lowdown. They’re not pretending to be anything they’re not and offering their sounds to the listener not in some grand statement of aesthetic accomplishment, and not as a showcase of whatever amps they purchased to make their sound, but instead simply for what they are: songs. Crafted, honed, thought-out and brought to bear with vitality and purpose to give the band the best representation possible. Front-to-back, The Lowdown sounds not necessarily overthought, but professional enough to be called “cared about,” and whether it’s the memorable opening with “Mr. Grim” or the ’90s C.O.C. idolatry of “Tramalamapam” or the strong ending salvo of “End Game,” with its inclusion of piano, the mostly-subdued but swaggering “Line of Trouble” and the organ-topped closer “Southgate of Heaven,” Baleful Creed never veer too far from the central purpose of their priority on songwriting, and neither do they need to.

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Surya Kris Peters, O Jardim Sagrado

Surya Kris Peters O Jardim Sagrado

Though he’s still best known as the frontman of Samsara Blues Experiment, Christian Peters — aka Surya Kris Peters — has become a prolific solo artist as well. The vinyl-ready eight songs/37 minutes of O Jardim Sagrado meet him in his element, bringing together psychedelia, drone and synthesizer/keyboard effects to convey various moods and ideas. As with most of the work done under the Surya Kris moniker, he doesn’t add vocals, but the album wants nothing for expression just the same, whether it’s the Bouzouki on “Endless Green” or the guest contribution of voice from Monika Saint-Oktobre on the encompassing 11-minute title-track, which would be perfect for a dance hall if dance halls were also religious ceremonies. Experiments and explorations like “Celestial Bolero” and “Saudade” bring electric guitar leads and Mellotron-laced wistfulness, respectively, while after the title-cut, the proggy techno of “Blue Nebula” gives way to what might otherwise be a boogie riff on closer “Southern Sunrise.” Peters always seems to find a way to catch the listener off guard. Maybe himself too.

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Slow Phase, Slow Phase

slow phase slow phase

A strong if raw debut from Oakland three-piece Slow Phase, this 39-minute eight-tracker presents straight-ahead classic American heavy rock and roll in the style of acts like a less garage The Brought Low, a looser-knit Sasquatch or any number of bands operating under the Ripple Music banner. Less burly than some, more punk than others, the power trio includes guitarist Dmitri Mavra of Skunk, as well as vocalist/bassist Anthony Pulsipher of Spidermeow and vocalist/drummer Richard Stuverud, the rhythm section adding to the blues spirit and spiraling manic jangle of “Blood Circle.” Opener “Starlight” was previously issued as a teaser single for the album, and stands up to its position here, with the eponymous “Slow Phase” backing its strength of hook. “Psychedelic Man” meanders in its lead section, as it should, and the catchy “Silver Fuzz” sets up the riotous “Midnight Sun” and “No Time” to lead into the electric piano of “Let’s Do it Again (For the First Time),” which I’d kind of take as a goof were it not for the righteous jam that finishes it, referencing “Highway Star” during its fadeout. Some organizing to do, but they obviously know what they’re shooting for.

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Rocky Mtn Roller, Rocky Mtn Roller

rocky mtn roller rocky mtn roller

This band might actually be more cohesive than they want to be. A double-guitar four-piece from Asheville, North Carolina, with a connection to cult heroes Lecherous Gaze via six-stringer Zach Blackwell — joined in the band by guitarist Ruby Roberts, bassist Luke Whitlatch and drummer Alex Cabrera — they’re playing to a certain notion of brashness as an ideal, but while the vocals have a drunk-fuckall stoner edge, the construction of the songs underlying is unremittingly sound on this initial EP. “Monster” opens with a welcome hook and “When I’m a Pile” sounds classic-tinged enough to be a heavy ’70s nod, but isn’t so easily placed to a specific band as to be called derivative. The longest of the four cuts at 5:30, “Bald Faced Hornet” boasts some sting in its snare sound, but the Southern heavy push at its core makes those dueling solos in the second half all the more appropriate, and closing out, “She Ran Off with the Dealer” has both charm and Thin Lizzy groove, which would basically be enough on their own to get me on board. A brazen and blazing candidate for Tee Pee Records‘ digital annex, if someone else doesn’t snag them first.

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Quarterly Review: Horisont, Ahab, Rrrags, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Earthbong, Rito Verdugo, Death the Leveller, Marrowfields, Dätcha Mandala, Numidia

Posted in Reviews on July 7th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-qr-summer-2020

Well, I’m starting an hour later than I did yesterday, so that’s maybe not the most encouraging beginning I could think of, but screw it, I’m here, got music on, got fingers on keys, so I guess we’re underway. Yesterday was remarkably easy, even by Quarterly Review standards. I’ve been doing this long enough at this point — five-plus years — that I approach it with a reasonable amount of confidence it’ll get done barring some unforeseen disaster.

But yesterday was a breeze. What does today hold? In the words of Mrs. Wagner from fourth grade homeroom, “see me after.”

Ready, set, go.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Horisont, Sudden Death

horisont sudden death

With a hefty dose of piano up front and keys throughout, Gothenburg traditionalist heavy rockers Horisont push retro-ism into full-on arena status. Moving past some of the sci-fi aspects of 2017’s About Time, Sudden Death comprises 13 tracks and an hour’s runtime, so rest assured, there’s room for everything, including the sax on “Into the Night,” the circa-’77 rock drama in the midsection of the eight-minute “Archeopteryx in Flight,” and the comparatively straightforward seeming bounce of “Sail On.” With cocaine-era production style, Sudden Death is beyond the earlier-’70s vintage mindset of the band’s earliest work, and songs like “Standing Here” and the penultimate proto-metaller “Reign of Madness” stake a claim on the later era, but the post-Queen melody of “Revolution” at the outset and the acoustic swing in “Free Riding” that follows set a lighthearted tone, and as always seems to be the case with Horisont, there’s nothing that comes across as more important than the songwriting.

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Century Media website

 

Ahab, Live Prey

ahab live prey

Scourge of the seven seas that German nautically-themed funeral doomers Ahab are, Live Prey is their first live album and it finds them some five years removed from their last studio LP, The Boats of the Glen Carrig (review here). For a band who in the past has worked at a steady three-year pace, maybe it was time for something, anything to make its way to public ears. Fair enough, and in five tracks and 63 minutes, Live Prey spans all the way back to 2006’s Call of the Wretched Sea with “Ahab’s Oath” and presents all but two of that debut’s songs, beginning with the trilogy “Below the Sun,” “The Pacific” and “Old Thunder” and switching the order of “Ahab’s Oath” and “The Hunt” from how they originally appeared on the first record to end with the foreboding sounds of waves rolling accompanied by minimal keyboards. It’s massively heavy, of course — so was Call of the Wretched Sea — and whatever their reason for not including any other album’s material, at least they’ve included anything.

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Rrrags, High Protein

rrrags high protein

Let’s assume the title High Protein might refer to the fact that Dutch/Belgian power trio Rrrags have ‘trimmed the fat’ from the eight songs that comprise their 33-minute sophomore LP. It’s easy enough to believe listening to a cut like “Messin'” or the subsequent “Sad Sanity,” which between the two of them are about as long as the 5:14 opener “The Fridge” just before. But while High Protein has movers and groovers galore in those tracks and the fuzzier “Sugarcube” — the tone of which might remind that guitarist Ron Van Herpen is in Astrosoniq — the stomping “Demons Dancing” and the strutter “Hellfire,” there’s live-DeepPurple-style breadth on the eight-minute “Dark is the Day” and closer “Window” bookends “The Fridge” in length while mellowing out and giving drummer/vocalist Rob Martin a rest (he’s earned it by then) while bassist Rob Zim and Van Herpen carry the finale. If thinking of it as a sleeper hit helps you get on board, so be it, but Rrrags‘ second album is of unmitigated class and straight-up killer performance. It is not one to be overlooked.

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Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Viscerals

pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs viscerals

There’s stoner roll and doomed crash in “New Body,” drone-laced spoken-word experimentalism in “Blood and Butter,” and post-punk angular whathaveyou as “Halloween Bolson” plays out its nine-minute stretch, but Viscerals — the third or fourth Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs album, depending on what you count — seems to be at its most satisfying in blowout freak-psych moments like opener “Reducer” and “Rubbernecker,” which follows, while the kinda-metal of “World Crust”‘s central riff stumbles willfully and teases coming apart before circling back, and “Crazy in Blood” and closer “Hell’s Teeth” are more straight-up heavy rock. It’s a fairly wide arc the UK outfit spread from one end of the record to the other — and they’re brash enough to pull it off, to be sure — but with the hype machine so fervently behind them, I have a hard time knowing whether I’m actually just left flat by the record itself or all the hyperbole-set-on-fire that’s surrounded the band for the last couple years. Viscerals gets to the heart of the matter, sure enough, but then what?

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Earthbong, Bong Rites

Earthbong Bong Rites

Kiel, Germany’s Earthbong answer the stoner-sludge extremity of their 2018 debut, One Earth One Bong (review here), with, well, more stoner-sludge extremity. What, you thought they’d go prog? Forget it. You get three songs. Opener “Goddamn High” and “Weedcult Today” top 15 minutes each, and closer “Monk’s Blood” hits half an hour. Do the quick math yourself on that and you’ll understand just how much Earthbong have been looking forward to bashing you over the head with riffs. “Weedcult Today” is more agonizingly slow than “Goddamn High,” at least at the beginning, but it builds up and rolls into a pace that, come to think of it, is still probably slower than most, and of course “Monk’s Blood” is an epic undertaking right up to its last five minutes of noise. It could’ve been an album on its own. But seriously, if you think Earthbong give a shit, you’re way off base. This is tone, riff and weed worship and everything else is at best a secondary concern. Spend an hour at mass and see if you don’t come out converted.

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Rito Verdugo, Post-Primatus

rito verdugo post-primatus

No doubt that at some future time shortly after the entire world has moved on from the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a glut of releases comprised of material written during the lockdown. Peruvian four-piece Rito Verdugo are ahead of the game, then, with their Post-Primatus four-song EP. Issued digitally as the name-your-price follow-up to their also-name-your-price 2018 debut, Cosmos, it sets a 14-minute run from its shortest cut to its longest, shifting from the trippy “Misterio” into fuzz rockers “Monte Gorila” (which distills Earthless vibes to just over three minutes) and “Lo Subnormal” en route to the rawer garage psychedelia of “Inhumación,” which replaces its vocals with stretches of lead guitar that do more than just fill the spaces verses might otherwise be and instead add to the breadth of the release as a whole. Safe to assume Rito Verdugo didn’t plan on spending any amount of time this year staying home to avoid getting a plague, but at least they were able to use the time productively to give listeners a quick sample of where they’re at sound-wise coming off the first album. Whenever and however it shows up, I’ll look forward to what they do next.

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Death the Leveller, II

Death the Leveller II

Signed to Cruz Del Sur Music as part of that label’s expanding foray into traditionalist doom (see also: Pale Divine, The Wizar’d, Apostle of Solitude, etc.), Dublin’s Death the Leveller present an emotionally driven four tracks on their 38-minute label debut, the counterintuitively titled II. Listed as their first full-length, it’s about the same length as their debut “EP,” 2017’s I, but more important is the comfort and patience the band shows with working in longer-form material, opener “The Hunt Eternal,” “The Golden Bough” and closer “The Crossing” making an impression at over nine minutes apiece — “The Golden Bough” tops 12 — while “So They May Face the Sun” runs a mere 7:37 and is perhaps the most unhurried of the bunch, playing out with a cinematic sweep of guitar melody and another showcase for the significant presence of frontman Denis Dowling, who’s high in the mix at times but earns that forward position with a suitably standout performance across the record’s span.

Death the Leveller on Thee Facebooks

Cruz Del Sur Music website

 

Marrowfields, Metamorphoses

marrowfields metamorphoses

It isn’t surprising to learn that the members of Fall River, Massachusetts, five-piece Marrowfields come from something of an array of underground styles, some of them pushing into more extreme terrain, because the five songs of their debut full-length, Metamorphoses, do likewise. With founding guitarist/main-songwriter Brandon Green at the helm as producer as well, there’s a suitably inward-looking feel to the material, but coinciding with its rich atmospheres are flashes of blastbeats, death metal chug, double-kick and backing growls behind the cleaner melodic vocals that keep Marrowfields distinct from entirely traditionalist doom. It is a niche into which they fit well on this first long-player, and across the five songs/52 minutes of Metamorphoses, they indeed shapeshift between genre elements in order to best serve the purposes of the material, calling to mind Argus in the progressive early stretch of centerpiece “Birth of the Liberator” while tapping Paradise Lost chug and ambience before the blasts kick in on closer “Dragged to the World Below.” Will be interesting to see which way their — or Green‘s, as it were — focus ultimately lies, but there isn’t one aesthetic nuance misused here.

Marrowfields on Thee Facebooks

Black Lion Records on Bandcamp

 

Dätcha Mandala, Hara

datcha mandala hara

Dätcha Mandala present a strong opening salvo of rockers on Hara, their second album for MRS Red Sound, before turning over to all-out tambourine-and-harp blues on “Missing Blues.” From there, they could go basically anywhere they want, and they do, leading with piano on “Morning Song,” doing wrist-cramp-chug-into-disco-hop in “Sick Machine” and meeting hand-percussion with space rocking vibes on “Moha.” They’ve already come a long way from the somewhat misleading ’70s heavy of opener “Stick it Out,” “Mother God” and “Who You Are,” but the sonic turns that continue with the harder-edged “Eht Bup,” the ’70s balladry of “Tit’s,” an unabashed bit o’ twang on “On the Road” and full-on fuzz into a noise freakout on closer “Pavot.” Just what the hell is going on with Hara? Anything Dätcha Mandala so desire, it would seem. They have the energy to back it up, but if you see them labeled as any one microgenre or another, keep in mind that inevitably that’s only part of the story and the whole thing is much weirder than they might be letting on. No complaints with that.

Dätcha Mandala on Thee Facebooks

MRS Red Sound

 

Numidia, Numidia

Numidia Numidia

If you’ve got voices in your band that can harmonize like guitarists James Draper, Shane Linfoot and Mike Zoias, I’m not entirely sure what would lead you to start your debut record with a four-minute instrumental, but one way or another, Sydney, Australia’s Numidia — completed by bassist/keyboardist Alex Raffaelli and drummer Nathan McMahon — find worthy manners in which to spend their time. Their first collection takes an exploratory approach to progressive heavy rock, seeming to feel its way through components strung together effectively while staying centered around the guitars. Yes, three of them. Psychedelia plays a strong role in later pieces “Red Hymn” and the folky “Te Waka,” but if the eponymous “Numidia” is a mission statement on the part of the five-piece, it’s one cast in a prog mentality pushed forward with poise to suit. Side A capper “A Million Martyrs” would seem to draw the different sides together, but it’s no minor task for it to do so, and there’s little sign in these songs that Numidia won’t grow more expansive as time goes on.

Numidia on Thee Facebooks

Nasoni Records website

 

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Days of Rona: Melissa Pinion of Stygian Crown

Posted in Features on June 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

stygian crown melissa

Days of Rona: Melissa Pinion of Stygian Crown (Los Angeles, California)

How have you been you dealing with this crisis as a band? As an individual? What effect has it had on your plans or creative processes?

We all live in areas that are under lockdown, so we can’t rehearse as a group. Numerous shows and festivals we were scheduled to play have been canceled or postponed as a result of the pandemic. However, we have been keeping up our chops so we can come out strong when venues begin to reopen. This downtime has given us the chance to begin developing riffs, basic song structures and lyrics for a follow-up album.

How do you feel about the public response to the outbreak where you are? From the government response to the people around you, what have you seen and heard from others?

It’s hard to say without actually seeing the inside of hospitals, but based on statistics, it appears that the stay-at-home orders are actually working at the moment and our healthcare sector is handling our cases without having to turn away anyone else with critical needs. The initial panic that we saw in mid-March has vanished, and in its place has appeared an anticipation for the world around us to get back to “normal.” The problem is, no one really knows what that means.

What do you think of how the music community specifically has responded? How do you feel during this time? Are you inspired? Discouraged? Bored? Any and all of it?

There are two sides to this. Obviously, we feel badly for all the bands whose primary source of income comes from touring. Countless support staff in the entertainment industry have lost their jobs too. What many artists have done in the wake of this crisis is turned a negative situation into something positive. All of the live-streaming performances have been inspiring to see. And the money being raised by these artists for various causes shows us that listeners really care about the bands they follow.

Additionally, Germany’s “Keep It True” festival compiled hours and hours of past footage and presented it on YouTube to give fans something to enjoy on the weekend the festival was supposed to take place. We hope this positive vibe continues when the virus gets under control.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything? What is your new normal? What have you learned from this experience, about yourself, your band, or anything?

Stygian Crown will release its debut album amid a pandemic, but our passion to create and perform will not be stopped by the coronavirus. And with the support of the metal community, we’ll be back with a vengeance before you know it!

facebook.com/stygiancrown/
cruzdelsurmusic.com
cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com/

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Review & Lyric Video Premiere: Pale Divine, Consequence of Time

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on June 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Pale Divine Consequence of Time

[Click play above to see the premiere of Pale Divine’s lyric video for ‘Saints of Fire.’ Consequence of Time is out June 26 and available to preorder from Cruz Del Sur: CD preorder, LP preorder w/ poster & download, digital release June 19.]

Even among American traditionalist doom — which as a whole is underrated — there aren’t many who reach the same echelons in that regard as Pale Divine. Also their debut release for Cruz Del Sur MusicConsequence of Time is their sixth full-length, and as it arrives just two years after 2018’s self-titled LP (review here), it also marks the quickest time differential the Chesapeake-region group — Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware — have ever had between two offerings. Pale Divine, the record, was notable for marking the first appearance of Ron “Fezz” McGinnis on bass and backing vocals, who brought the five-string acumen he’d demonstrated in Admiral Browning and countless others to the classic-style rolling riffs and searing leads of guitarist Greg Diener (also vocals) and the ever-steady, never-flashy, always-efficient drumming of Darin McCloskey. On the eight-song/42-minute Consequence of Time, there is another significant change in the band’s makeup.

Even as they were releasing the self-titled, Pale Divine announced the addition of Dana Ortt on guitar and vocals alongside Diener, a shift that was essentially a merging between Pale Divine and the Ortt-led Beelzefuzz, in which Diener and McCloskey had both been members. The end result is that between DienerOrtt and McGinnisPale Divine now have three vocalists capable of carrying a song on their own, whether it’s Diener‘s metal-tinged proclamations, Ortt‘s bizarro-prog otherworldliness, complemented by his nuance of guitar tone, or McGinnis with his lower register bluesy take. Unsurprisingly, Consequence of Time is easily the most diverse album Pale Divine have ever made, and perhaps also the richest in terms of its general approach, since the influences especially of its two guitarists are readily on display, whether it’s in the Beelzefuzzian chug and dreamstate lumber of “Phantasmagoria” or in Diener‘s veritable clinic on how to shred a solo and still give a sense of soul in the process.

It bears underscoring just how significant of a turn Consequence of Time is for Pale Divine. The band mark their 25th anniversary in 2020, having begun with McCloskey and Diener in 1995 before releasing their first demo a couple years later. It seems to me not just a marked change in terms of the band’s sound that welcoming Ortt has enacted, but a genuinely admirable openness on the part of Diener. Yes, there’s “sharing the spotlight,” as much as such a thing exists in a genre where one might be inclined in the first sentence of a review to point out how underrated it is, but more than that, to have the ability after some 20 years of having the band as a vehicle for his songwriting to be able to adjust the entire process in such a way is staggering.

pale divine

Ortt doesn’t just sing backup on Consequence of Time, and he makes a mark in terms of the overall style of riffs and tones as well on songs like “Broken Martyr,” “Satan in Starlight,” and even the Diener-led opener “Tyrants/Pawns (Easy Prey).” It’s a rare band and a rare player who would allow that kind of shift to take place at any point, let alone after 20 years, and Pale Divine are unquestionably stronger for it. The patience in the 10-minute unfolding of the 10-minute title-track alone is proof of the subtle level on which the change can be felt, a melding of purpose between what Beelzefuzz were by their finish and the roots-doom mindset that Pale Divine have always portrayed so well.

Perhaps it’s sharing vocal duties that has allowed Diener‘s guitar to shine all the more, but his leads soar throughout Consequence of Time in striking fashion, and with McGinnis‘ bass and McCloskey‘s drums behind, there’s never any risk of the band losing their trajectory whatsoever. As the title-track approaches the halfway mark, Diener and Ortt share vocals against a stark and largely quiet backdrop ahead of the next classic metal lead (it might be Ortt‘s, I can’t be sure), but that moment sums up the incredible, throw-the-doors-open spirit of Consequence of Time. Ortt takes the fore later, and Diener rejoins and the two guitars lock purposes in solos and riffs to close out, but in that moment, not only the change of the band’s sound, but the creative spirit that drove that change are palpable. The risk and the reward both are right there for the listener to absorb.

The subsequent closing pair “No Escape” and “Saints of Fire” would seem to be an epilogue of sorts, or at least a movement unto themselves after the title-track, but their purpose isn’t lost for existing in the shadow of the 10-minute cut preceding. In the speedy “No Escape,” Diener fronts, and they trade for “Saints of Fire,” and it’s a last-minute showcase of the multifaceted nature of who Pale Divine are in 2020 and what they can accomplish as a group in this new form. “No Escape” gallops in brash form and is probably the most fun I’ve ever heard Pale Divine have on a record, and “Saints of Fire” pushes in its second half into a quirky dark gorgeousness that feels like pure inheritance from Beelzefuzz put to righteous use. Pale Divine, the power-trio turned four-piece after 20-some years, march their way out of Consequence of Time and into an unknowable future as a stronger, more versatile and more vibrant unit.

The band they were is still very much present in their sound, and they remain as sonically committed to doom as they’ve ever been, but the foundation of influence has expanded and their craft is all the more affecting and progressive for it. Between the quick turnaround, the new label and the new construction, Pale Divine move into their second quarter-century with an almost impossible feeling of potential, and one can only look forward to what they might yet accomplish as they move on from here. 25 years on and reaching new heights. That is a special band, and yes, vastly underrated. They may stay that way and they may not, but one way or the other, Consequence of Time will stand as one of 2020’s foremost offerings in doom, and deservedly so.

Pale Divine on Thee Facebooks

Pale Divine website

Cruz del Sur Music website

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Days of Rona: Mike Scalzi of The Lord Weird Slough Feg

Posted in Features on May 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

slough feg mike scalzi

Days of Rona: Mike Scalzi of The Lord Weird Slough Feg (San Francisco, California)

How have you been you dealing with this crisis as a band? As an individual? What effect has it had on your plans or creative processes?

It has been rough because we had 5 festivals scheduled for this Spring/summer, and of course they were all cancelled. Quite a let-down, but necessary of course. However, as a band we’re actually making good use of the time. We’ve created a podcast called “Slough Feg Radio” (http://sloughfeg.com/feed/). We’re up to episode #7 I believe. Since we cannot rehearse—Adrian and I meet at our rehearsal space each week (with masks, gloves, and a long distance between us!) and record a radio pod cast— we basically dj weird/eclectic music, including some of our own songs, demos, weird outtakes, etc. that we think might be interesting for people to hear, and banter and babble back and forth about the music, the band history, funny stories of what our lives are like now etc. It’s been great because it’s been well received and we have quite a few listeners, and it gives us, and the fans a feeling that the band is very much alive and active during this ‘downtime’.

We just finished an album last year, so I’m actually not really in ‘writing mode.’ Which is annoying because obviously this would be the time to write music — but we were ready to go do a bunch of live shows, so it makes it all the more annoying that we can’t. Oh well. If this lasts long enough perhaps we’ll write some more stuff, but for now we’re pretty excited about Slough Feg Radio.

How do you feel about the public response to the outbreak where you are? From the government response to the people around you, what have you seen and heard from others?

The public response has been generally good. San Francisco (where I live) was the first US city to practice shelter in place, the local and state government did a good job of getting on the case early, and as a result there has been an extremely low rate of infection and death count here. So I’ve been pretty lucky when you look at the kind of numbers other US cities are looking at. San Francisco is a city with relatively few older people, although there is much population density. New York has faced unbelievable tragedy, obviously. But even in the dire case of NYC, the local and State Governments have done an incredible job of fighting the virus.

If we had legitimate national leadership at this time, that would help considerably. But we clearly do not, so we must let the individual states do the heavy lifting and hope they can bear the burden. I think some of them are stepping up and doing a fantastic job — and I’m lucky enough to live in a state that had a pretty solid state government.

What do you think of how the music community specifically has responded? How do you feel during this time? Are you inspired? Discouraged? Bored? Any and all of it?

I’m not sure how the music community has responded, outside of the mainstream music media (because I see them on TV, internet, etc.). I suppose they’ve responded pretty well, and pretty positively. Many mainstream musicians are doing remote performances and writing songs about the pandemic, etc. As for lesser known musicians, I am not as sure what they are up to — the ones I know, including myself, seem to be producing whatever they can at the time— as stated above, I’m really enjoying out podcast radio show, and I’ve had a lot of good responses from fans, telling us our show relieves some of their boredom and frustration sitting around the house all day etc.

As for myself, I was pretty terrified at first I suppose—for myself, my family and friends. Fortunately for me, nobody I know has passed away from the virus. Very, very lucky. I do have some friends who contracted it though and went through hell. I have also been rather bored at times — I am not a person who can sit at home all the time. So since the beginning of this thing my schedule has been active — getting out on my bike and riding in the mountains almost every day. Discouraged? At first yes after those festival cancellations. Inspired? At times. I was super frustrated and feeling trapped a month ago. Now I have adapted a little, fell into a bit of a new schedule, and am somewhat hopeful for the future. You can only get so terrified, angry, etc., until you begin to adapt (hopefully).

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything? What is your new normal? What have you learned from this experience, about yourself, your band, or anything?

The band will survive. We’ve survived for 29 years, and we ain’t stopping now!! this is the longest Slough Feg has EVER gone without practicing. So It’s a bit maddening — but we’ll survive. Everyone is in good spirits and eagerly awaiting the day we can practice and play gigs again.

My daily schedule is basically: get up way too late (at 11 or noon!!) do whatever work I have to do (I teach a class that is now online of course) pack a bag with some food, a book, a face-mask etc. and try to get out the door by 2:30 or 3:00 on my bike, ride across the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Marin Headlands. This is truly inspiring. Another great thing about San Francisco is that you get out of the city, into areas of incredible natural beauty in less than an hour on a bicycle. I stay out in the headlands where there are parks, beaches, trails etc. until about 7 or 8 at night. I see very few people there. It’s saved my life — I would be utterly insane if I could not do this and had to stay in the house all day like many others are doing. I also work one day a week at a Brewery, serving beer and food for takeout. Gotta be careful there, but I am, and I’m grateful to have the work.

What have I learned so far from Covid 19? Well, mostly that I don’t wanna get it!! Honestly I think the most important thing I’ve learned is how important it is to stay healthy and strong as you grow older. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the rock ‘n roll lifestyle: drinking yourself half to death and being a parched-out wretch of a human being, sleeping in a different place every night. That stuff is great fun and has its place — mostly when you’re young. But that stuff can only go so far until it stops being fun — and especially during a health crisis. Whether you’re in good shape or not can be a matter and life and death.

But maybe this whole thing will be a big wake up call for the entire human race — reminding us of what is really important. NOT wealth and status and all that nonsense we spend our lives worrying about. That stuff ain’t gonna do shit for anyone is the face of a pandemic. Your health, activity, creativity, and the people you surround yourself with — that’s what matters in a pandemic, and in life. Period.

http://www.sloughfeg.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sloughfegofficial/
https://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/blog/
https://www.facebook.com/cruzdelsurmusic/
https://cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com/

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Apostle of Solitude Premiere “Grey Farewell” Video; Currently Writing New Album

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Apostle of Solitude

Fitting that the new Apostle of Solitude video should be for the closing track from their 2018 full-length, From Gold to Ash (review here), since “Grey Farewell” would seem essentially to be how the Indianapolis-based outfit are saying goodbye to that record as they move onto the next one. It is a quarantine video — four dudes in four boxes — but I’m glad for the excuse to revisit the record and to get the check-in from the band that informs they’ll enter the studio in September (outbreaks pending, one assumes) with a batch of new songs for a 2021 release on Cruz Del Sur.

2018 was an exceptionally good year for doom, with offerings from The SkullWitch MountainWindhandPale Divine, and hosts of others alongside Apostle of Solitude in subsets traditional and otherwise. From Gold to Ash was my pick of the bunch though, and two years later, I stand by that completely. The combination of sonic force and emotional resonance the band brought to this particular group of tracks, the way their dynamic came together not just between guitarist/vocalists Chuck Brown and Steve Janiak — both now also in the reignited The Gates of Slumber and the latter also of Devil to Pay — but also with drummer Corey Webb and bassist Mike Naish made for a to-date high point in their catalog, and there’s no reason whatsoever to think they’ll backstep on the next one. I’ll happily call it highly anticipated.

Some things to watch for in the video: Action figures, R2-D2 and Devil to Pay cover art in Janiak‘s box; the same camera angle Webb used on that “Under the Sun” cover posted the other day; Brown‘s US flags that have shown up in rehearsal clips and Apostle of Solitude promo photos for years now; and Naish pretty clearly wanting to go for it and headbang the whole time. All that plus the song makes for a quality quarantine-era clip if e’er I saw one, and I’ve seen a few by now.

Dudes be like:

Apostle of Solitude, “Grey Farewell” official video

Apostle of Solitude’s music video for “Grey Farewell” from the album “From Gold to Ash” available from Cruz Del Sur Music.

Edits: S. Janiak

Recorded by Mike Bridavsky at Russian Recording, Bloomington, IN
Mixed by Mike Bridavsky
Mastered by Collin Jordan at The Boiler Room Chicago, Il

Apostle of Solitude are completing writing and song arrangements for their fifth full length album, due to be released in early 2021; their third album on Italy’s Cruz Del Sur Music label. The band is scheduled to record the album within the familiar confines of Russian Recording in Bloomington Indiana in September, with album artwork designed by German artist Rebecca Waek.

The band’s last two albums were supported by both US and European tours, and the band hopes to do the same for this release, hopefully in 2021 assuming the current pandemic does not prohibit such plans.

APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE is:
Corey Webb – drums
Chuck Brown – guitars, vocals
Steve Janiak – guitars, vocals
Mike Naish – bass

Apostle of Solitude on Thee Facebooks

Cruz del Sur Music website

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