Argus, Beyond the Martyrs: The Raging Spirits

Posted in Reviews on August 27th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s hard to discern just what Pennsylvania traditional doom metallers Argus intend with the title of their third album, Beyond the Martyrs. On a superficial level, one doesn’t think of a martyr as a place or a level of development to move past, but more than that, what’s supposed to be beyond them? What comes after that? Death? Devastation? Peace? Paradise? Which martyrs are the five-piece talking about? Is it a Christ figure? The al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades? The closing title-track — which arrives eighth on the 42-minute Cruz del Sur LP with cover art by Brad Moore — is instrumental, so that’s not much help in terms of answering the questions of theme. Tracks prior like “No Peace Beyond the Line” and “Trinity,” “Cast out all Raging Spirits” and opener “By Endurance We Conquer” could be read to have elements of religious conflict to them — certainly conflict, anyway — but if there’s a narrative to Beyond the Martyrs, it’s not one as stated by the band so much as one that relies on the listener to plot its course. Maybe that’s on purpose. As a band, Argus seem much more interested in making solid and conscious use of the dual guitars of Jason Mucio and Erik Johnson and one of traditional metal’s most powerful belt-it-out voices in former Penance vocalist Brian “Butch” Balich, who delivers a standout performance here no less righteous than that on 2011’s Boldly Stride the Doomed (discussed here) and 2009’s self-titled debut (review here). Balich is a big part of carrying across the dramas of Beyond the Martyrs – as a standalone frontman should be — and the songs he’s working on top of set a memorable foundation from which to soar as he and a bevvy of guitar solos please, bassist Andy Ramage and drummer Kevin Latchaw hammering out straightforward structures to make “No Peace Beyond the Line,” “Trinity” and “Cast out all Raging Spirits” among the album’s several highlights. That is to say, Argus isn’t just about its singer, despite his considerable presence within these tracks, and Beyond the Martyrs finds a progressive balance between metal and doom that moves fluidly to cast its own personality somewhere between the two.

That process begins immediately with the deceptively catchy chorus of “By Endurance We Conquer.” Latchaw double-times it on his hi-hat to build up tension during the verse before the hook opens up. I don’t know whether it’s because of the arching militaristic bombast of the song or if it’s just the way the epic feel is crafted, but on first impression, “By Endurance We Conquer” stands out more for its voracious chestbeating and listing of virtues than for the delivery of the title line, but after a couple times through, the opener more than justifies its presence at the fore of Beyond the Martyrs, acting as something of a vanguard for the rest of the album to come. Already much of the record’s ethic is established: Balich carries a verse into a memorable refrain and the guitars answer back with accomplished solos and driving riffs underscored by strong, powerful heavy metal rhythms. As far as songwriting methodologies go, you could do a lot worse. “No Peace Beyond the Line” takes more time to unfold, but winds up in a fist-pump chug for its verse as the vocals tease the song’s greater hook still to come in a sort of bridge part that early on substitutes for an actual chorus. They cycle through twice before the guitar solo takes hold, and though it’s not until the last minute that they arrive, it’s the repetitions of “There is no/There is no/There is no peace beyond the line” that ultimately give the song one of Beyond the Martyrs‘ most lasting impressions, the vocals doing a layered call and response to deliver the title and finish with a nailed-it adrenaline-push yell. I don’t know where the line is, but there’s no peace beyond it. The issue is settled. After such a strong opening duo, some comedown is inevitable, but “The Hands of Time are Bleeding” fights redundancy by upping the doom in its slower early going and picking up to an effective linear build in both pace and overall rush. A stop at 3:09 is a startling transition, but I’d guess that was probably the idea, and the solo that continues after stands out all the more for it. Vocals return toward the end, and though the results aren’t quite as instantly engaging as with “No Peace Beyond the Line,” the change in mood is effective leading to “Trinity” which is arguably the darkest moment on the album.

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Argus Set Oct. 1 Release Date for Beyond the Martyrs

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 15th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’m not sure what exactly lies “beyond the martyrs,” but I look forward to finding out when the third album from Pennsylvania doom merchants Argus drops. Cruz del Sur will release Beyond the Martyrs on Oct. 1 in North America, and as their last outing, 2011’s Boldly Stride the Doomed (discussed here) was such a classic-tinged thriller, it’s a date you might want to write down. Get a pencil. I’ll wait.

Hope to have more on this one soon. Till then, in case you missed it, artist Brad Moore talks about creating the Beyond the Martyrs cover here.

This from the PR wire:

ARGUS: Beyond the Martyrs Coming This October on Cruz Del Sur Music

Cruz Del Sur Music will release Beyond the Martyrs, from US doom metal outfit ARGUS, on October 1st in North America and October 7th release in the UK.

Beyond the Martyrs starts where their 2011’s release Boldly Stride the Doomed had left us…at the Ruins of Ouroboros. In between these two releases ARGUS has tested its strength and valor in several live shows both in their homeland and in Europe, receiving high praises from fans and from the record industry. Although a sense of impending fate marks again their compositions, the characteristic doom metal elements which were a distinguished trademark of ARGUS’ past releases have now given way to what is primarily to a genuine heavy metal approach, its nature rooted in the most classic environment of Heavy Metal tradition.

1. By Endurance We Conquer
2. No Peace Beyond The Line
3. The Hands of Time Are Bleeding
4. Trinity
5. Four Candles Burning
6. The Coward’s Path
7. Cast Out All Raging Spirits
8. Beyond The Martyrs

ARGUS’ third album is sure to force metal heads everywhere to raise horn-crested fists to the sky. Beyond the Martyrs contains the hallmarks of their previous works – twin guitars, soaring vocals, and a driving rhythm section; it is heavy, melodic, epic, and brooding all at once. After their successful shows at festivals such as Hammer of Doom in 2011 and Dublin Doom Days in 2012, the band will hit again the European soil with a proper tour in October 2013 in order to promote Beyond the Martyrs.

Butch Balich – vocals
Jason Mucio – guitar
Erik Johnson – guitar
Andy Ramage – bass
Kevin Latchaw – drums

Argus, “At the Gallows End” (Candlemass cover) Live at Days of the Doomed II, 2012

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Visual Evidence: Brad Moore Talks about Creating the Cover for Argus’ Beyond the Martyrs

Posted in Visual Evidence on July 31st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Having done work for the likes of Penance, Place of Skulls, Sixty Watt Shaman, Züül and a host of others over the last 20-plus years, artist Brad Moore is known for a signature, definitively-metal style that nonetheless largely defies the black and white and mostly black convention of metal in favor of rich colors and textures. His work on Pennsylvania classic doomers Argus‘ two albums to date — 2009’s Argus and 2011’s Boldly Stride the Doomed — has proven particularly distinct.

As such, when Argus unveiled the art yesterday for the forthcoming third full-length, Beyond the Martyrs, I hit up Moore on the quick to see if he could give some insight on what went into painting it and what inspired the tone and complexity of the piece, which you can see below.

Click the image to enlarge, and special thanks to Moore for his input:

Argus, Beyond the Martyrs front cover

When Argus approached me about painting the artwork for their debut LP, we all agreed we wanted to sidestep the “warriors with swords” thing, and that gory art wouldn’t adequately complement the style of music and subject matter the band were striving to create. We all felt a “Lovecraftian” approach was best, to framework doomy metal that has a mystery to its feel. I created the creature that adorns the Argus covers (at least, the ones I had a hand in) to be the mascot, and though you’ll see it does not utilize any of Lovecraft‘s personal motifs (tentacles, amorphous blob-like gods, etc.), the whole effect is like those Lovecraft paperbacks. I deliberately use unusual color schemes for Argus, as I feel that way too many doom/death metal bands use a grey/black monotone approach that gives the scene, as a whole, a generic feel. I did paint their second LP, Boldly Stride the Doomed, in a very monochromatic style, to completely separate the two recordings, as Boldly is a much darker album than the self titled debut.

Getting to the newest Argus effort, Beyond the Martyrs, the cover painting is titled “Alien Gateway to the Gallery of the Martyrs” precisely because the band wanted to have an “otherworldly” atmosphere to the proceedings, and to have the artwork reflect a dark-but-with-colors feel. In essence; not the near over-the-top colors of the first one, but having toned-down colors to maintain the doom, but suggest a correlation of the two albums that signifies the forward growth of the band. This Argus outing will be their most aggressive! I, for one, am happiest with this new artwork the most, both in mood, and technical achievement.

Argus will release Beyond the Martyrs on Oct. 1 in the US and Oct. 4 in Europe on Cruz Del Sur. More on the album to come.

Argus on Thee Facebooks

Brad Moore website

Cruz Del Sur

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Buried Treasure: Argus Stride Boldly, Never Retreat

Posted in Buried Treasure on July 3rd, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

At the end of last year, when I made my Top Five Records I Didn’t Hear in 2011 list, I said that hopefully I’d run into Pittsburgh trad doom merchants Argus at a show and be able to buy their second full-length, Boldly Stride the Doomed, from them directly. That very thing happened at Days of the Doomed II in Wisconsin, and I suddenly felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. Until I actually put the record on. Then the weight — the formidable tonnage of Argus‘ hyper-refined doomly classicism — was right back where it started and then some.

Every time I hit the short bass solo from Andy Ramage in “Wolves of Dusk,” I get a chill up my spine, and Boldly Stride the Doomed is filled with those little moments, flourishes here and there that stand out from the already strong performances. John Mucio and Erik Johnson‘s guitars are full of them, and Butch Balich proves on “The Ladder” alone why he’s one of the most underrated vocalists in doom, American or otherwise. The former Penance singer is a focal point throughout the 10 tracks, and rightly so, but the band behind him (and as regards the mix, the vocals are very much at the fore) more than stands up, whether its the guitar solos (who’s playing what is in the liner notes) or drummer Kevin Latchaw‘s footwork driving the rhythm of “Fading Silver Light.”

Piano adds grandeur to “42-7-29″ and the recent podcast inclusion “Pieces of Your Smile,” at well over 11 minutes, is epic metal without the pomposity. Trouble and Candlemass influences persist, but Argus is very quickly becoming their own band sonically, and it’s not just Balich, who proved his mettle long ago. It’s the whole band, working as a band, that makes Boldly Stride the Doomed land with such heavy feet. As madly catchy as cuts like “Devils, Devils” were from the first record, I wouldn’t trade “A Curse on the World” or “Durendal” for anything.

So yeah, lesson learned. Don’t let another Argus album slip when it comes down the line for review. Hopefully I get the chance to put that wisdom to good use before too long. Until then, if you haven’t heard the album yet, here’s “Durendal,” just because it happens to be the song I have on at the moment:

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Bible of the Devil Interview with Mark Hoffmann: Swearing the Hijacked Oath to Always Know What is Right on Night Street

Posted in Features on May 25th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Primo makers of Midwestern mischief, it’s nonetheless been nearly four-friggin’ years since the last Bible of the Devil album came out, so the arrival of For the Love of Thugs and Fools is well received. The Chicago four-piece’s last album, 2008’s Freedom Metal, was a highlight of that year, crisply produced by Sanford Parker and maybe not capturing the band’s live sound — driven ever forward by their dual (also “duel” in the sense that they seem to be in an eternal battle against that which is neither awesome nor about the night) proto-NWOBHM guitars — but still presenting their best collection of songs to date. With For the Love of Thugs and Fools, though, the date just changed.

The album — which, much to my shame, hasn’t been reviewed yet (I said I was deprioritizing digital promos and I meant it); though I did premiere a track — is rawer than was its predecessor, but even so, it’s immediately clear that the foursome of guitarist/vocalists Mark Hoffmann and Nate Perry, bassist Darren Amaya and drummer Greg Spalding put whatever time they actually had apart between touring and releasing splits with ül, Blade of the Ripper and Winterhawk to good use. For the Love of Thugs and Fools not only matches Freedom Metal punch for punch in having two songs with the word “night” in the title, but it surpasses that album in its more natural feel, the band returning to producer Mike Lust, who helmed some of their earliest recordings.

What’s more, Bible of the Devil hold a special place in Obelisk lore and personally for me for being the first interview I ever posted on this site, so it was an extra pleasure to speak to Hoffmann again about For the Love of Thugs and Fools and what he and the rest of the band has done in the years since issuing Freedom Metal. Same as last time, he wasn’t as much of a talker as some others, but nonetheless friendly and especially open when it came to discussing the band’s ongoing friendship with San Francisco’s Slough Feg, with whom they’ve toured several times over and are planning to release a split 10″. The ongoing theme of the night in Bible of the Devil song titles — as witnessed on “I Know What is Right (In the Night)” and “Night Street” on this album and “Hijack the Night” and “Night Oath” on the last — comes from a running gag between the two acts, and when I brought it up, I could almost hear the smile through the phone along with the prevailing laughter.

So while the following discussion is relatively short, take that as an extension of Bible of the Devil‘s penchant for rock classicism mixed with their no-bullshit ethic — both equally admirable traits. We still found room to talk about the correlation between “Ol’ Girl” from Freedom Metal and “Yer Boy” from For the Love of Thugs and Fools, the band’s changing tour ethic, songwriting methods and ongoing affection for all things Thin and Lizzy.

Full Q&A can be found after the jump. Please enjoy.

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audiObelisk: Bible of the Devil Stream Scorching New Track from For the Love of Thugs and Fools; Tour Dates Announced

Posted in audiObelisk on April 17th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Splits with Blade of the Ripper and Züül have somewhat filled the void since 2008’s Freedom Metal was unleashed on an unsuspecting underground, but what the world needs now is some new Bible of the Devil. The hard-rocking Chicago foursome further their love of all things Thin Lizzy and NWOBHM on their sixth album, For the Love of Thugs and Fools, which reunites them with producer Mike Lust (Tight Phantomz), who previously helmed 2003’s Tight Empire.

The record, out via Cruz Del Sur on May 8, roughens up some of the melodic grace of Freedom Metal, but as songs like “Out for Blood” and “Yer Boy” (“When did yer boy come back into town” being the opening line) prove, For the Love of Thugs and Fools continues Bible of the Devil‘s streak of exceptionally well-composed, memorable songs, two of which go so far feature the word “night” in the title. “I Know What is Right (In the Night)” and the closer, “Night Street.” “I Know What is Right (In the Night)” even has a sax solo. Awesome.

Their moments of twin-axe glory are manifold, as are stretches of somehow particularly Chicagoan grit, and as they were the first interview that ever went up on this site, they’ll always be a sentimental favorite. As such, I was thrilled when permission came through for me to host the killer side-B tune, “Anytime” for streaming. You’ll hear the lineup of vocalist/guitarist Mark Hoffman, guitarist/vocalist Nate Perry, bassist Darren Amaya and drummer Greg Spalding proffering their Phil Lynott worship during the verse but coming around to an infectious chorus that couldn’t possibly come from anyone other than Bible of the Devil. Naturally, badass guitar antics abound.

Stream “Anytime” on the player below, and check out the band’s latest tour dates following, courtesy of the PR wire:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

Veteran Chicago rock ‘n’ roll band Bible of the Devil are set to strike out on the 14-date “In Raw We Trust” tour in support of their forthcoming release, For the Love of Thugs and Fools, due out on May 8 via Cruz Del Sur Music. Tour dates are as follows:

05/04 Madison, WI The Frequency
05/05 Minneapolis, MN Hexagon Bar
05/06 Rapid City, SD Budd Ugly’s
05/08 Omaha, NE The Waiting Room
05/09 Kansas City, MO The Riot Room
05/10 Wichita, KS Barleycorn’s
05/11 Denver, CO 3 Kings Tavern
05/12 Albuquerque, NM Burt’s Tiki Lounge
05/13 Las Cruces, NM The Train Yard (house party)
05/15 San Antonio, TX Nightrocker Live
05/16 Austin, TX Red 7
05/17 New Orleans, LA Siberia
05/18 Memphis, TN Hi-Tone Cafe
05/19 Carbondale, IL PK’s

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Bible of the Devil: For the Love of Thugs and Fools Due May 8

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 20th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

It seems like just a few weeks ago that I was bemoaning the fact that Chicago dual-guitar madmen Bible of the Devil hadn’t had a new album in over three years. Because it was! Now, I don’t want to say that the members of Bible of the Devil read that post and were so struck by my plea for new material that they immediately wrote an album’s worth of songs and set to recording them, but I’m pretty sure we all know that’s exactly what went down. So, Bible of the Devil — thank you, and you’re welcome.

And on the off-chance Bible of the Devil didn’t put For the Love of Thugs and Fools to tape purely because I asked them too — impossible as it sounds, we should at least entertain the notion that they didn’t — we can still be glad the record has two songs with “night” in the title, as did its predecessor. Anything less would be unacceptable. For the Love of Thugs and Fools will be out May 8. The sooner the better.

Here’s the news off the PR wire:

Veteran Chicago rock ‘n’ roll band Bible of the Devil have announced the completion of their sixth full-length album and third for Rome, Italy-based label Cruz Del Sur Music. Entitled For the Love of Thugs and Fools, Bible of the Devil‘s eagerly anticipated follow-up to their 2008 release, Freedom Metal, is an assembly of raging rock ‘n’ roll songs that encapsulate the band’s saga musically and personally over the years since the last full-length. Returning to Phantom Manor studios in Chicago to work with engineer Mike Lust, who has engineered numerous BOTD recordings in the past, the band sought to emphasize their trademark bludgeoning two-guitar attack and mammoth hooks with an increased attention to soaring, anthemic vocals.

For the Love of Thugs and Fools is viewed by the band as a document of the many characters they have encountered through the life of the band, whether it be in love, loss, friendship, or hatred. Having toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe since the band’s inception in late 1999 and living in the volatile urban environment of Chicago, where encounters with crime, violence, and “street justice” are unavoidable, there has been much subject matter for the band to draw from. Embracing the philosophy that a bottle of whiskey and some loud guitar is often the best cure available for these challenges and ordeals, Bible of the Devil have chosen to document their grievances in the form of one devastating rock ‘n’ roll platter. Said singer/guitarist Mark Hoffmann, “The few years since the last full-length have been like a dare. A dare to create a soaring, punishing rock ‘n’ roll record of this magnitude. It is a dare that we have been forced to answer ourselves.” Fans of Bible of the Devil can expect yet another collection of fist-pumping heavy guitar classics-in-the-making, For the Love of Thugs and Fools.

Track Listing:
1. Sexual Overture/While You Were Away 6:02
2. Out for Blood 5:28
3. Anytime 4:20
4. The Parcher 5:28
5. (I Know What is Right) In the Night 5:16
6. Raw & Order 4:31
7. Can’t Turn off the Sun 5:14
8. Yer Boy 4:52
9. Night Street 5:07
Running Time 46:08

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Argus: Album Art and Release Date Revealed

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 29th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

Their sound might be more appropriate for a frosty Pennsylvanian winter, but Key State merchants Argus will nonetheless be releasing their sophomore album, Boldly Stride the Doomed, in May via Cruz Del Sur. Below, the always-trusty PR wire comes through with the release date, album art, tracklisting, and a bit of biographical info on the band. Oh, PR wire. Always so courteous.

Dig it:

Italian heavy metal label Cruz Del Sur Music confirms May 3, 2011, as the official release date for the sophomore album from Pennsylvania-based Argus! Titled Boldly Stride the Doomed, this is the first release from Argus via Cruz Del Sur.

Boldly Stride The Doomed track listing:
1. Abandoning the Gates of Byzantium
2. A Curse on the World
3. Wolves of Dusk
4. The Ladder
5. Durendal
6. 42-7-29
7. Boldly Stride the Doomed
8. Fading Silver Light
9. Pieces of Your Smile
10. The Ruins of Ouroboros

Argus stormed onto the underground metal scene with their twin guitar-driven, doom-tinged, working class metal sound with a self-recorded demo in early 2007, on John Brenner’s (Revelation/Against the Nature) DIY label, Bland Hand Records. The band was roundly welcomed by the metal community at home as well as abroad and established its foundation amongst friends/fans within the scene. With this initial momentum, the band created a buzz that was only solidified by their punishing live performances. Their self-titled debut album was released on Shadow Kingdom Records in 2009 receiving praise from media outlets worldwide. The band continued to gain notoriety attracting like-minded fans who celebrate the genre and its core values of hard work, discipline and integrity.

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New Year’s Update from Bible of the Devil

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 29th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

Though they’re about half a day’s ride from me and I’m as able to go to one of their shows as I am to make an appearance in Georgia to catch Kylesa, it’s always good to hear from the dudes in Bible of the Devil and see what they’re up to, when their next gigs with Slough Feg are (April), and maybe get some news on when the follow-up to 2008’s spectacular Freedom Metal.

No word on the latter (though they do mention recording), but the band still has plenty of updates, so check it out:

There’s a few items of note from the Bible of the Devil camp as we approach 2011…

Looking for a rowdy, rad way to spend New Year’s Eve? Bible of the Devil will be playing Quenchers Saloon (Western & Fullerton) in Chicago with Tight Phantomz and Lovers. The cover on this one is $10 and is 21 and over.

Yes, you will actually have to pay a cover, but what are your other choices? Spend $100 to get in somewhere else? Who needs a crappy champagne toast when there’s plenty of PBR? BOTD will take the stage at the strike of 2011. Get there by 9pm or else you probably won’t get in! We also have our prized pint glasses now available for sale!

BOTD will be returning to Phantom Manor in two weeks to record new material for two forthcoming 7″ releases. Details to come.

Saturday, Jan. 29, sees Bible of the Devil‘s return to the Red Line Tap in Chicago for another edition of “Metal up Your Tap.” The lineup is absolutely ferocious and is not to be missed:

Bible of the Devil


High Spirits

Saturday, Jan. 29
Red Line Tap
(7006 N. Glenwood, Chicago)
9PM. 21 and over. $7 cover.

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Bible of the Devil to Play Brew Release Show Tomorrow Night

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 1st, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

I won’t be there to drink it, but for anyone in and around the Chicago area tomorrow, Obelisk favorites Bible of the Devil are playing a release show for their new microbrew, The Devil’s Handshake. Made in conjunction with the local 3 Floyds Brewery, I can only imagine it tastes like burnt rubber and guitar harmonics. In other words: delicious.

If you miss them there, they’ll also be at RADfest this weekend. Here’s the info direct from the band, courtesy of the PR wire:

As you know, Bible of the Devil joined forces a few weeks back with our allies at 3 Floyds Brewery in Munster, Indiana, to create what is believed to be the world’s first street metal ale, The Devil’s Handshake. This malicious and crucial brew will be available in limited quantities at selected worthy taverns and gin-joints around the Chicago area this month, most notably Map Room, Longman & Eagle, Small Bar, Piece and of course Quenchers. Tomorrow will be a most brewtal party to celebrate its release:

June 2nd, 2010, 9pm $5 donation
Quenchers Saloon

2401 N. Western Avenue, Chicago
The Devil’s Handshake
: 3 Floyds / Bible of the Devil
collaboration street metal ale release party with:

Bible of the Devil: 12am
Broken Teeth
(Austin, TX, feat. Jason McMaster of Dangerous Toys): 11pm
The Vibrolas
(Waynesburg, KY, ex-Hookers): 10pm

For those of you worried about getting in to the show, please show up at 8pm as Quenchers is limited in capacity. This event also marks Bible of the Devil‘s 600th show in its illustrious career. Come out and get parched!

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While Heaven Wept Take to the Seas

Posted in Reviews on May 20th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

With intricate metallic composition and power/prog tendencies, While Heaven Wept’s third album, Vast Oceans Lacrymose (Cruz Del Sur), blends the high drama of European doom à la Paradise Lost with the technical savvy of American prog acts like Dream Theater. The Dale City, Virginia, six-piece (that’s two trios!), led by chief songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist Tom Phillips, weave practically a whole album into 15-minute opening track, “The Furthest Shore,” which sets a tone of conflict and triumph for the rest of Vast Oceans Lacrymose to follow.

Harmonies abound on keyboards, guitars and vocals, with Phillips, lead vocalist Rain Irving and keyboardist Michelle Schrotz all contributing. Of course, as a double-guitar unit with a singer and keymaster, there is plenty of room for such things, provided the players are talented to pull it off, which in the case of While Heaven Wept, they are. One imagines that it’s Phillips’ role as main songwriter that keeps things together – difficult as it is to get five people other than yourself on the same page about anything (try it sometime if you never have) – but that’s conjecture on my part that only seems to make sense because of the complexity of the material, the amount of changes in the songs and the carefully hewn theater of a song like “Vessel.” In the context of many other albums, it might just be power metal, but While Heaven Wept keep too progressive a mindset for such simple labeling.

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Bible of the Devil West Coast Tour Starts Tomorrow; Band’s Own Brew Forthcoming

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 31st, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

I know I’ve certainly hoisted a mug (or at least a party cup) in the direction of Chicago rockers Bible of the Devil on more than one occasion, and now, thanks to Three Floyds Brew Pub, the band will have their own beer with which to do the toasting. If you think about it, it’s a perfect fit. Rock and roll and beer! Who’d have thought?

Bible of the Devil‘s West Coast Parched in the Western World tour starts tomorrow, Thursday, April 1, in their hometown. Drummer Greg Spalding checked in with this update:

Bible of the Devil‘s mammoth West Coast tour kicks off this Thursday, April 1st @ Cobra Lounge in Chicago with Slough Feg. Joining the bill will be Chicago‘s own Hay Perro. Show starts at 10pm and there is no cover. Plenty of new merch and new songs for you all. We are in the midst of unseasonably warm weather here in Chicago so come on out and get demolished by this bill. After this the mayhem begins…

Parched in the Western World April US tour 2010:
April 1st Chicago, IL @ Cobra Lounge w/Slough Feg, Hay Perro
April 2nd Madison, WI @ The Frequency w/Slough Feg, Imperial Battlesnake
April 3rd Louisville, KY @ Third Street Dive w/Slough Feg, The Vibrolas
April 4th Carbondale, IL @ PK’s w/Slough Feg, Zuul
April 5th Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone Café w/Slough Feg, Dead-I-On
April 6th Austin, TX @ Emo’s w/Slough Feg, Radio Moscow, Naam
April 7th San Antonio, TX @ Nightrocker Live w/Slough Feg
April 8th Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad w/Slough Feg, Leeches of Lore
April 9th Scottsdale, AZ @ The Rogue w/Slough Feg, Vektor, Greenhaven
April 10th Los Angeles, CASpaceland w/Slough Feg, Professor
April 11th San Francisco, CA @ Thee Parkside w/Slough Feg, Orchid
April 12th Oakland, CA @ Oakland Metro w/Slough Feg, Elk, Cold Grave
April 13th Portland, OR @ Rotture w/Dark Black, Order of the Gash
April 14th Seattle, WA @ The Funhouse w/Witchburn, Hakai
April 15th Missoula, MT @ The Palace w/Rooster Sauce
April 16th Rapid City, SD @ Roman’s Pub w/Woman is the Earth
April 17th Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room w/Bloodcow, The Dinks, Desire to Destroy

Plenty more to come after this tour including news on BOTD‘s recording plans for its sixth album and who we are recording it with, plus our very own beer!! Yes, the fine folks at Three Floyd’s Brewery have agreed to make a beer in honor of BOTD. BOTD will even assist in the production of what is sure to be an absolutely punishing beer. A show will be dedicated for its release in June. More details to come.

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Bible of the Devil: Somebody Get These Guys a Drink

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 25th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

Aside from their having been the first interview posted on The Obelisk, I have sentimental attachment to Chicago hellraisers Bible of the Devil because, uh, they rock. They rock often and they rock hard. Would be nice if we saw a new record from them this year, but one can only imagine the run of dates they’re doing with Slough Feg will produce one if not more new songs about “the night,” so on that level, it’s all for a good cause.

The band checked in with this update. Note the Chicago show with Paul Di’Anno is happening tonight, Feb. 25:

Attention BOTD fans!  Here’s what we having coming up in the next two months:

February 25th Thurs. Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s Live w/Paul Di’Anno, Icarus Witch, Desolate Sky $12 adv/$15 dos Doors 8pm BOTD plays at 9pm sharp!!!  We also will have limited edition screenprint posters available for $10 to commemorate this occasion.
March 12th Fri. Iowa City, IA @ The Picador w/Snow Demon, Bloodcow
March 13th Sat. Chicago, IL @ Quenchers w/American Draft

Parched in the Western World US Tour April 2010:
April 1st Chicago, IL @ Cobra Lounge w/Slough Feg, Hay Perro
April 2nd Madison, WI @ The Frequency w/Slough Feg
April 3rd Louisville, KY @ Third Street Dive w/Slough Feg, The Vibrolas
April 4th Carbondale, IL @ PK’s w/Slough Feg, Zuul
April 5th Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone Café w/Slough Feg
April 6th Austin, TX @ Emo’s w/Slough Feg, Radio Moscow, Naam
April 7th San Antonio, TX @ Nightrocker Live w/Slough Feg
April 8th Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad w/Slough Feg, Leeches of Lore
April 9th Scottsdale, AZ @ The Rogue w/Slough Feg
April 10th Los Angeles, CA @ TBA w/Slough Feg
April 11th San Francisco, CA @ Thee Parkside w/Slough Feg, Orchid
April 13th Portland, OR @ Rotture w/Dark Black
April 14th Seattle, WA @ The Funhouse
April 15th Missoula, MT @ The Palace w/Rooster Sauce
April 16th Rapid City, SD @ Roman’s Pub w/Woman is the Earth
April 17th Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room w/Bloodcow, The Dinks, Desire to Destroy

Check out our new video for “Warrior Fugue” from our 10 year anniversary show!!  The video was shot and edited by Derek Ashbaugh and friends who also did “The Turning Stone” video. You can see the video here:

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While Heaven Wept to Reissue First Two Albums

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 3rd, 2009 by H.P. Taskmaster

Cult (as opposed to kvlt) Virginian doom six-pack While Heaven Wept, who are headed to Deutschland early next year for the Hammer of Doom fest, have announced reissues of their first two albums via Cruz Del Sur. Nifty reissues at that. The PR wire has details:

Anyone remember the Chris Rock bit from Bigger and Blacker about the trench coat mafia? "There was six of the motherfuckers. I didn't have six friends in high school. Shit, I don't got six friends now! That's three on three in a half court!"We have heard your calls! After the incredible response to While Heaven Wept‘s brand new album Vast Oceans Lachrymose — which continues to receive the very highest of accolades worldwide — Cruz Del Sur Music, as well as the continued demands from their audience, have finally convinced the band to reissue their long out-of-print past albums Sorrow of the Angels and Of Empires Forlorn, each in limited-editions of 1000 hand-numbered CDs!

This is a rare opportunity for everyone who missed these masterpieces of epic doom metal history the first time around to buy these at new-release prices (as opposed to the outrageous amounts these albums sometimes fetch on eBay). Both albums feature updated cover art, new pictures, and new liner notes from main man Tom Phillips. The audio content is identical to the original Eibon Records (Sorrow of the Angels) and Rage of Achilles Records (Of Empires Forlorn) releases so as to preserve the integrity of the original albums.

These reissues will be strictly limited to 1000 copies, with absolutely no repressing whatsoever at the request of While Heaven Wept themselves. Both albums will be released simultaneously on the 29th of January 2010, just in time for the bands’ appearance at the Hammer of Doom III festival in Wurzburg, Germany on February 6th.

More album specifics (and a video) after the jump…

Read more »

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Who’s Got a Request for Bible of the Devil?

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 22nd, 2009 by H.P. Taskmaster

I try not to swipe too much news from, since I imagine there’s a pretty decent overflow of traffic from this site to over there (I have no demographic data to back that up), but when it pertains to Chicago‘s Bible of the Devil, and especially when it pertains to them doing something awesome — which it usually does — I just can’t help myself. This time, the four-piece are celebrating their 10th anniversary as a band with a special show in their hometown. Check it out:

These guys rule. (Photo by V. Odisho)Thousands of miles of bad road, hundreds of shows raging, questionable or both, countless broken hearts and battered eardrums, and infinite beers later, Chicago‘s Bible of the Devil will commemorate 10 years of toiling in the rock ‘n roll wars November 7 at Cobra Lounge in Chicago.

Yes, it was ten long years ago when singer/guitarist Mark Hoffmann and drummer Greg Spalding began woodshedding the blueprint for what would become Bible of the Devil in a crappy apartment in Chicago‘s Wicker Park neighborhood.? As a nod to our loyal fans, whom we can only assume are legion, we have decided to take song requests in advance for the first time ever.? We know there’s tunes people? may want to hear that we haven’t played in ages, so hit us with requests now and we can be prepared when the chips are down on November 7.? Send any and all requests to or If we can remember it, we’ll try to play it.

Saturday, November 7: Chicago, IL - Cobra Lounge (235 N. Ashland)
Bible of the Devil
Ironhead (Virginia Beach, VA)
High Spirits
Doors at 9 pm. FREE!

See you there!
Mark, Greg, Nate, and Darren

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