Primitive Man Announce All the Touring. Yes. All of it.

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

primitive man

Rocky Mountain destroyers Primitive Man head out next month on a tour of the Midwest and East Coast with Spectral Voice, playing, among other spots, the Meatlocker in Montclair in my beloved Garden State for a set that surely will test the structural integrity of that basement venue’s support beams. Now, following that run, they go to the UK — also a one-off in Israel, because obviously — to play Desertfest London 2018 and other dates with Bismuth before coming back to the US and hitting the West Coast for a headlining stretch alongside a slew of others detailed below.

All of this is happening in support of last year’s aptly-titled full-length, Caustic (review here), which offered an overwhelming dose of the Denver three-piece’s sludge extremity. They stand among the heaviest bands in the US right now, and off the top of my head, I’m not sure who has them beat, if anyone does. Let me think on it. I’ll get back to you. In the meantime, surely venues like Mac’s Bar in Lansing, the aforementioned Meatlocker, and Sister Bar in Albuquerque — as well as, you know, everywhere else — will want to investigate earthquake insurance.

Info from the PR wire:

PRIMITIVE MAN: Announce West Coast Headline Tour; Tour with Spectral Voice Begins Next Month

Denver nihilistic trio PRIMITIVE MAN announce 2018 West Coast tour dates in support of their recent full-length album Caustic. The tour commences May 19 in Fort Collins, CO and ends June 18 in Dallas, TX, including appearances at Northwest Terror Fest and Austin Terror Fest. Direct support will be provided by Infernal Coil (5/19-5/21), Celeste (5/26-6/01), Wayfarer (6/11-6/18) and Forn (6/14-6/19). A full list of confirmed tour dates is available below.

Additionally, PRIMITIVE MAN begin their Spring headline tour with Spectral Voice next month on March 17 in Omaha, NE. The tour runs through 24 cities and ends on April 09 in Denver, CO. PRIMITIVE MAN have also announced a United Kingdom tour from April 25 to May 06 with Bismuth. Includes an exclusive one off and the band’s first ever performance in Tel Aviv on May 03. PRIMITIVE MAN are currently confirmed for a couple Summer festivals including Electric Funeral Fest and Temple of Ascension Vol. 1. Stay tuned for more tour news in the near future.


— All Dates Mar 17 – Apr 08 w/ Spectral Voice —

Mar 17 Omaha, NE The Sydney
Mar 18 Milwaukee, WI Cactus Club
Mar 19 Minneapolis, MN 7th St. Entry
Mar 20 Chicago, IL Subterranean
Mar 21 Lansing, MI Macs Bar
Mar 22 Pittsburgh, PA Cattivo
Mar 23 Syracuse, NY Spark Art Space
Mar 24 Toronto, ON Lees Palace
Mar 25 Ottawa, ON Mavericks
Mar 26 Quebec City, QC L’Anti
Mar 27 Montreal, QC Bar LeRitz
Mar 28 Cambridge, MA Middle East
Mar 29 Portland, ME Geno’s Rock Club
Mar 30 Montclair, NJ Meatlocker
Mar 31 Brooklyn, NY Saint Vitus
Apr 01 Philadelphia, PA Kung Fu Necktie (Primitive Man Only)
Apr 02 Washington D.C. Atlas Brew
Apr 03 Richmond, VA Strange Matter
Apr 04 Atlanta, GA The EARL
Apr 05 Nashville, TN The End
Apr 06 St. Louis, MO Fubar
Apr 07 Rock Island, IL Rock Island Brewing Co.
Apr 08 Kansas City, MO Riot Room
Apr 09 Denver, CO Syntax Physics Opera

— All Dates with Bismuth Apr 25 – May 06 —

Apr 25 Newcastle, UK Trillians Rock Bar
Apr 26 Glasgow, SL North of the Wall
Apr 27 Wigan, UK The Old Courts
Apr 28 Manchester, UK Rebellion Club
Apr 29 Sheffield, UK West Street Live
Apr 30 Bristol, UK Old England
May 01 Leeds, UK Temple of Boom
May 03 Tel Aviv, IL Levontin 7 (Primitive Man Only)
May 04 Nottingham, UK Angel Microbrewery
May 05 Plymouth, UK The Junction
May 06 London, UK Desert Fest

— West Coast Headline Tour —

May 19 Fort Collins, CO Hodi’s
May 20 Albuquerque, NM Sister Bar
May 21 Phoenix, AZ Club Red
May 22 Tijuana, MX Garage Rock Bar
May 24 Tucson, AZ Flycatcher
May 25 San Diego, CA Soda Bar
May 26 Los Angeles, CA Union
May 27 San Francisco, CA Elbo Room
May 28 Santa Cruz, CA Catalyst
May 29 Sacramento, CA Blue Lamp
May 30 Eugene, OR Old Nick’s
May 31 Portland, OR Tonic
Jun 01 Seattle, WA Northwest Terror Fest 2018
Jun 02 Victoria, BC Capital Ballroom
Jun 03 Vancouver, BC Astoria
Jun 05 Boise, ID Neurolux
Jun 06 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge
Jun 11 Wichita, KS Barleycorns
Jun 12 Wichita Falls, TX Iron Horse Pub
Jun 13 San Antonio, TX Paper Tiger
Jun 14 New Orleans, LA Santos Bar
Jun 16 Houston, TX White Oak Music Hall
Jun 17 Austin, TX Austin Terror Fest 2018
Jun 18 Dallas, TX Reno’s

w/ Infernal Coil (5/19-5/21)
w/ Celeste (5/26-6/01)
w/ Wayfarer (6/11-6/18)
w/ Forn (6/14-6/19)

Jun 29-30 Denver, CO Electric Funeral Fest

Aug 16-19 Edmonton, AB Temple of Ascension Vol. 1

Ethan Lee McCarthy – guitars, vocals
Jonathan Campos – bass
Joe Linden – drums

Primitive Man, Caustic (2017)

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The Munsens on Tour Now; Recording Plans Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Denver’s okay-seriously-somebody-out-there-it’s-time-to-sign-this-band trio The Munsens are on tour now. For not the first time, they go in support of their 2016 EP, Abbey Rose (review here), the raw groove of which continues to thrill — just take a listen for yourself at the bottom of this post — even as they begin to play material from their forthcoming debut LP, which they’ll record come Spring with the esteemed Mike Moebius at Moonlight Mile in my beloved Garden State of New Jersey.

Ah, North Jersey in Springtime. Cold in the morning, warm in the afternoon, chilly at night. New life all around. I won’t lie, I miss it.

Before they make their way east, The Munsens will hit SXSW and much more besides. As noted, the tour’s already on, so we better get to the PR wire stuff quickly. Keep an eye out for more album news though. I hope to keep up with this one as we get closer to a release date, whenever that might be:

the munsens travis heacock

THE MUNSENS: Denver Metal Trio Embarks On Speedfreak Tour This Week; Band Announces New Record Plans

Denver metallers THE MUNSENS kick off their Speedfreak 2018 Tour February 14th, with additional tour and recording plans to follow.

THE MUNSENS’ upcoming ten-day Speedfreak 2018 will run through Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas, then crossing into Mexico for a show in Juarez, before heading home, closing the tour down in their hometown on February 24th. The tour will encompass both new and return cities for the band and include bills with notable heavy acts including two North Carolina shows with TOKE, as well as shows with Forming the Void, Doomstress, Communion, Bridge Farmers, Abrams, Necropanther, and more.

Two weeks after the Speedfreak dates, THE MUNSENS head back down to Texas for a trio of unofficial SXSW festival appearances 13th, 14th, and 15th, including a return to Boss Tweed Backline’s Black Smoke Conjuring, Wicked Bad’s SX Stoner Jam, and a prime slot at the brand-new Stoner Daze festival.

THE MUNSENS will be unveiling a majority of the material off their upcoming album on these tour dates, and directly following the Austin dates, the band heads back to the East Coast to record a new album, where they will bunker down at Moonlight Mile Recording in Hoboken, New Jersey with Mike Moebius (Pilgrim, Natur, Kings Destroy), who recorded their 2014 EP Weight Of Night. “We’ve been dying to get back and record with Mike for a long while, but the logistics have been tough,” says bassist Mike Goodwin. “We’ve got a really good idea of what we want as a final product with this album and Mike is the guy to get us there.”

The follow up to 2016’s Abbey Rose, the yet-to-be-named new album from THE MUNSENS be the band’s first official “full-length” title; a decidedly caustic and critical assemblage of new tracks running roughly fifty minutes in length. The band has experimented with their sound to a greater degree since Graham Wesselhoff joined the band on drums in the summer of 2016 and this new album will continue to reflect that shift. “Simply put, we want a more aggressive sound on this album,” says Goodwin.

The new album title and release details will be announced later this spring, with a rough album release date of mid-July.

2/14/2018 Bottleneck – Lawrence, KS w/ Hyperbor, Braingea
2/15/2018 Green Lantern – Lexington, KY w/ Dirtbag, Non Compliant, Yellow Cuss
2/16/2018 The Odditorium – Asheville, NC w/ TOKE, Covenator, Reverend Reach Around
2/17/2018 New York Pizza – Greensboro, NC w/ TOKE, Born Hollow, Noctomb, Darth Kannabyss
2/18/2018 The Nick – Birmingham, AL w/ Doomstress, Beerwolf, Murder of Jane Crow
2/19/2018 Santos – New Orleans, LA
2/20/2018 Freetown Boom Boom Room – Lafayette, LA w/ Forming the Void, Cheater Pipe
2/21/2018 The Lost Well – Austin, TX w/ Communion, Thunderkief
2/22/2018 The Mix – San Antonio, TX w/ Bridge Farmers
2/23/2018 Hysteria – Ciudad Juarez, MX w/ Tarantula, Ultimo Trip
2/24/2018 Hi Dive – Denver, CO w/ Abrams, Necropanther
3/13/2018 Black Smoke Conjuring Festival – Austin, TX
3/14/2018 SX Stoner Jam – Austin, TX
3/15/2018 Stoner Daze – Austin, TX
6/10/2018 71Grind Fest – Colorado Springs, CO
6/16/2018 Austin Terror Fest – Austin, TX
6/30/2018 Electric Funeral Fest – Denver, CO

The Munsens, Abbey Rose (2016)

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Electric Funeral Fest III Lineup Announced; Speedwolf and Weedeater to Headline

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I wanna go to this. Let me not mince words. I know it’s the week after Maryland Doom Fest and that for a dude who lives in Massachusetts and has a baby and is already planning on hitting the Netherlands, Germany and Las Vegas this spring and summer that’s an awful lot of travel, but man, Electric Funeral Fest III looks like an absolute blast. How could you look at a lineup with The Midnight Ghost Train, Amplified Heat and Cloud Catcher and not want to be there? And then after all that boogie you’ve got Primitive Man to flatten the earth so Weedeater have a nice clean surface to get absolutely filthy with their sludge? Come on.

Will I get to go? Yeah, probably not. But it’s nice to think about. Check out the poster and the full lineup from the PR wire and see if you don’t agree:

electric funeral fest iii poster

ELECTRIC FUNERAL FEST III To Take Place June 29th-30th In Denver; Initial Lineup Includes Headlining Appearances By Speedwolf And Weedeater + Tickets On Sale TODAY

The third edition of Dust Present’s ELECTRIC FUNERAL FEST will return to Denver, Colorado on June 29th-30th, 2018!

The annual South Broadway festival, known loosely as The Blowout on Broadway, will be grander than ever in its third iteration, expanding to include a third stage inside the Mutiny Information Cafe, a spot known city-wide for its welcoming atmosphere and promotion of DIY events of all types. Located across the street from Hi Dive and just a block north of 3 Kings Tavern – the two hosting venues of last year’s festival, and two Denver favorites – the Mutiny stage will be the first all-ages stage offered at ELECTRIC FUNERAL FEST and its central location will bolster the street festival environment cultivated over the last two years that’s become an integral part of the Electric Funeral’s attraction.

Friday June 29th will mark the one-night return of Denver speed metal legends Speedwolf as the group reunites for their first show in over four years with a headlining slot at 3 Kings. There may be no band in recent memory that’s achieved the cult status in Denver that Speedwolf has, and a raucous in-your-face performance inside 3 Kings will surely invoke wild memories (or forgotten ones) of infamous Speedwolf appearances of yore. Friday’s support spans from the soaring dual harmonies of 2017 MVPs Spirit Adrift, crushing Iowa doom trio Aseethe, the unmatched ’70s blues-boogie of Amplified Heat, Portland’s self-proclaimed street doom merchants R.I.P. and many more.

The top slot Saturday June 30th will see the aggressive stoner metal onslaught of Wilmington, North Carolina’s Weedeater. Driven by the gutteral growl and enthralling stage energy of bassist/vocalist “Dixie” Dave Collins, North Carolina’s manic sons are poised to lift the crowd a bit higher than usual. The meat of the day two lineup matches the versatility of day one, including the misanthropic punishment of Primitive Man, Duel’s high-flying proto-metal roar, the manic blues attack of The Midnight Ghost Train, Opoponax Records sleepers Grey Gallows and many more.

A full festival lineup will be released in the coming weeks.

ELECTRIC FUNERAL is Denver’s premiere heavy music festival, built as a bridge between one of North America’s most powerful and vibrant cities for heavy music and the legions of bands and fans who visit the Mile High City each year. ELECTRIC FUNERAL, an event run and produced by musicians, stands as the antithesis to corporate driven rock festivals. Founded as a beacon for the Denver scene, ELECTRIC FUNERAL FEST 2018 ramps the spotlight up a little brighter this year, showcasing over fifteen bands from Denver, including a few behemoths holding down headlining and top support slots.

Hi Dive (21+), 3 Kings Tavern (21+), Mutiny Information Cafe (all ages)

Ticket Options:
$50 early-bird two-day pass (50 available)
$32 one-day pass
$60 two-day pass

Tickets available at:

Friday, June 29th:
Headliner: Speedwolf (reunion show)
Support: Spirit Adrift, Aseethe, R.I.P., Amplified Heat, Forming The Void, Love Gang, Urn, Smokey Mirror, Augur, Necropanther, Bandits, Green Druid, Keef Duster

Saturday, June 30th:
Headliner: Weedeater
Support: Primitive Man, The Midnight Ghost Train, Duel, Grey Gallows, Cloud Catcher, The Munsens, Loom, White Dog, Vexing, Wizzerd, Space in Time, Smolder & Burn, Alone, Still Valley

Cloud Catcher, “The Whip” Live at Electric Funeral Fest 2017

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Green Druid, Ashen Blood: Altar of Stone

Posted in Reviews on February 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

green druid ashen blood

Green Druid are not quick to show off complexity in their debut release, Ashen Blood. If anything, just the opposite. Comprised of seven tracks and running a brazenly unmanageable 74 minutes, the full-length presents itself with a purposeful drive toward lunkheaded lumber, the plod of opener “Pale Blood Sky” pulling directly from the Sleep miieu of riff worship, thinking specifically of “The Druid” from Sleep’s Holy Mountain as a touchstone. It’s not until you dig in a bit that the complexity begins to show itself. The melodic callout to “Sweet Dreams are Made of This” early and airy solo late in “Pale Blood Sky” melting together doom and stoner impulses. The droning breadth that accompanies the tonal rumble of the subsequent “Agoraphobia.” The slow devolution into noise on the 18-minute album centerpiece “Cursed Blood” recalling Electric Wizard even as the drums of Ryan Sims stay clear in their thud as the final sustained element.

There is no shortage of low-end cinderblock-on-the-chest heft to the proceedings, as bassist Ryan Skates and guitarists Graham Zander and Chris McLaughlin (the latter also vocals) revel in the thickness of their own potent brew, but the periodically-enshrouded four-piece dig deep enough and voraciously enough into stonerism that it becomes kind of an atmosphere unto itself, not necessarily so separate at times from the murk conjured by Windhand, but definitely evolving its own direction, as the psychedelic flourish of guitar in “Rebirth” so readily puts on display. Oh, and just in case the point hasn’t yet gotten across: it’s really, really fucking heavy.

It does not seem at all like a coincidence that Green Druid have been plucked from an emergent underground in Denver, Colorado, to release Ashen Blood on Earache Records. One of heavy metal’s most historically celebrated imprints has a history of landmarks in terms of riffy fare — the aforementioned Sleep’s Holy Mountain chief among them but by no means the only one; albums from Cathedral, Iron Monkey, Fudge Tunnel, Deadbird and Hour of 13 come to mind — and even if it’s not the style for which Earache is chiefly known, Green Druid represent well the core values of modern stoner-doom idolatry, a nodder like “Dead Tree” rolling itself forward slowly but not without a fluid drive.

green druid

And surrounded as they are in their hometown by the likes of the pure onslaught of Primitive Man, the emotive doom of Khemmis, the unbridled boogie of Cloud Catcher, and so on, Green Druid succeed via the tortured string pulls and wails of “Cursed Blood” in finding a blown-out space of immersive rhythm and Iommic rollout, each righteous-for-righteousness’-sake riff helping to sculpt a niche for the band that, by the time they get around to the three-minute noise finale “Nightfall,” they’ve made their own and thoroughly dominated. Whatever it might seem to accomplish superficially, Ashen Blood proves deceptive in its ambition in displaying the band’s sheer will to overwhelm their listeners with viscous tonality, obscure shouts and jarring thud and crash. It should be considered nothing less than a joy to the already converted, and as they present their mystical lyrical themes with a bent more toward fantasy literature than cultish posturing, there’s a classic sensibility drawn from the metal of old that only makes Green Druid seem all the more human in their approach. They’re fans too. Clearly.

Four of Ashen Blood‘s seven tracks, including the knife-sharpening three-and-a-half-minute atmospheric finale “Nightfall” — not that one necessarily expected a Blind Guardian cover, but it might’ve been fun — appeared on Green Druid‘s 2015 EP, and they appear here presented in reverse order. That is, “Nightfall” opened that short release and “Cursed Blood” closed it, with “Ritual Sacrifice” and “Rebirth” in between. Forward or backward, up and down, side to side, Green Druid‘s Ashen Blood is like a long staircase down into some dark cavern that, as you go, even the torch you’re carrying — because of course you’re carrying a torch — seems to lose is light. Riffs are immersive to the point of hypnosis, the grooves varied and the ambience almost universally darkened in stretches of “Dead Tree” and the crash wash of “Ritual Sacrifice,” and none of it feels like happenstance.

If one regards “Pale Blood Sky,” “Agoraphobia” and “Dead Tree” perhaps as newer material than the four tracks that follow — and mind you, I don’t know what was written when; the album may or may not have been compiled from two EP-length releases — a narrative emerges already of creative development on the part of the band, more confident in cleaner vocal sections and showing just a tinge of The Wounded Kings-style theatricality in “Agoraphobia” while staying patient overall in their execution and turning the songs themselves into the rituals in question rather than just a means of describing same. One wouldn’t call it innovative in either its outcome or intention, but that’s not the point here so much as Green Druid establishing their place in the sphere of heavy within and without of the borders of their hometown. I’d gladly argue Ashen Blood accomplishes that, and puts out a showing of potential especially in its moments of flourish and detail that lets its listeners know the band has by no means finished growing or becoming what they will ultimately be. Yes, it’s true. Things could get even more massive from here.

Green Druid, “Dead Tree” official video

Green Druid on Thee Facebooks

Green Druid on Twitter

Green Druid on Instagram

Green Druid on Bandcamp

Earache Records website

Earache Records on Thee Facebooks

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Green Druid Announce Debut LP Ashen Blood Due in March

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

green druid

On March 16, Denver four-piece Green Druid will release Ashen Blood, their debut full-length, via Earache Records. The label is quick to break out the reminder that once upon a quarter-century ago it stood behind a relatively unknown riffy band called Sleep, and neither is the comparison moot in terms of the various influences under which Green Druid might be working, though the harsher screaming that emerges in the now-streaming-hey-there-it-is-at-the-bottom-of-this-post-amazing-how-these-things-work-sometimes-isn’t-it video for “Dead Trees” speaks to sludgier and more extreme vibes, and if you listen hard enough, there’s some Electric Wizard poking through as well.

As Denver’s heavy underground has bloomed in the last couple years around varied bands like Primitive ManThe MunsensCloud Catcher and events like The Decemburger and Electric Funeral Fest, the city is quickly developing a reputation for quality alongside its quantity, and nothing I hear so far from Green Druid — Earache has a couple tracks posted and the band released a self-titled EP in 2015 — should do anything to change that. Isn’t it funny how weed gets legalized and then all of a sudden there are a bunch of killer bands coming up? The damnedest thing.

Just kidding, obviously. I don’t want to go around making assumptions about anyone’s lifestyle or anything.

Info from the PR wire:

green druid ashen blood

GREEN DRUID: Psychedelic Stoner Doom Collective To Release Ashen Blood Debut Full-Length Via Earache Records This March; Album Details Revealed Plus New Track Streaming

Psychedelic stoner doom collective GREEN DRUID will release their debut full-length Ashen Blood via Earache Records this March. Brooding, atmospheric, and isolationist with weighty riffs summoning the Lovecraftian horrors of the cosmos, GREEN DRUID’s music entrances listeners with tales of the Old Blood and of dismal worlds too soon forgotten.

From the label that brought you Sleep… welcome to the stage Green Druid. Brooding, atmospheric, isolationist… with weighty riffs summoning the Lovecraftian horrors of the cosmos, Green Druid’s psychedelic doom entrances listeners with tales of the Old Blood and of dismal worlds too soon forgotten.

Hailing from the land of Denver, Colorado – the first US city to legalize marijuana – GREEN DRUID worships at the feet of the monolithic amplifier, and performs holy communion with the tremorous onslaught of murky tones that emanate from its maw. Written during ‘the most chaotic and depressing of circumstances’ Ashen Blood is over an hour and fifteen minutes of crushing Psych-Doom.

“While our first EP and foray into the world of doom could be viewed as us learning the ins-and-outs of the genre, Ashen Blood is where we really started to hone in on our own voice,” issues the band. “Taking influence from the dark fantasy landscapes of games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne, we strove to create a truly doomed psychedelic experience.”

Ashen Blood will descend upon the ears of the worthy on March 16th on CD, LP, and digital formats. For preorder bundles, go to THIS LOCATION.

In related news, GREEN DRUID will rumble the stages of several venues in the coming weeks with additional performances to be announced soon. See all confirmed dates below.

2/02/2018 3 Kings Tavern – Denver, CO w/ Palehorse, Palerider, Weathered Statues
2/09/2018 Bar Bar – Denver, CO w/ The Hazytones, Green Mountain, Pennysick
2/22/2018 Bar Bar – Denver, CO w/ Ghosts of Glaciers, Kenaima, Vexing

Ashen Blood Track Listing:
1. Pale Blood Sky
2. Agoraphobia
3. Dead Tree
4. Cursed Blood
5. Rebirth
6. Ritual Sacrifice
7. Nightfall

Graham Zander – guitar
Chris McLaughlin – guitar/vocals
Ryan Sims – drums
Ryan Skates – bass

Green Druid, “Dead Tree” official video

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The Decemburger 2017 Lineup Announced; Promises “Medium-Rare Mayhem”

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

As someone who’s worked professionally to produce them, I know how difficult it can be to come up with a good tagline, headline, whatever you want to call it. As simple as it is to receive the directive, ‘Oh hey, just go ahead and give me something concise and maybe astoundingly witty that nonetheless sums up an entire idea/story/product/anything in three or four words,’ materializing that is much, much harder to do.

Accordingly, I tip my virtual hat to Dust Presents and The Decemburger 2017 for coming up with the tagline “Medium-Rare Mayhem,” which not only conveys the fact that, yes, the event will feature a hamburger-eating contest like it did last year, but captures as well the humor and good nature behind the festival as a whole. “Medium-Rare Mayhem?” Pink in the middle, maybe a little bloody? Fucking delicious? Probably. Sign up to eat a bunch of sliders and find out.

Show is at the Hi-Dive in Denver, Colorado, on Dec. 16 and will be headlined by Bongripper and also feature sets from Call of the Void, the Primitive Man-related projects Nightwraith and Vermin WombSerial Hawk and Weeed coming down from Washington, AbramsThe Munsens and Sceptres. Killer show. Once again, looks like it’s gonna be a great time. If you’re in Denver or you can get there, it’s a pre-holiday blowout that I only wish I was involved in presenting.

Info follows from the PR wire:

the decemburger 2017


“Medium-Rare Mayhem”
Denver, CO

The second annual installment of DUST Presents’ The Decemburger returns to Denver, Colorado, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 at the Hi Dive, a staple for good times in Denver’s South Broadway neighborhood. The 2017 lineup leans more toward the metal spectrum of “heavy” in comparison with last year’s event (featuring The Shrine, The Well, Zig Zags, Malahierba, and more).

Chicago’s crushing doom-metal legends, Bongripper, will headline the sophomore iteration of The Decemburger, supported by a prime selection from Denver’s booming metal scene, including Call Of The Void, Vermin Womb (featuring Ethan McCarthy of Primitive Man), Abrams, the Munsens, Nightwraith (current and former members of Primitive Man, Vimana, Black Sleep of Kali, Rottenness, Collapse, and more), and Sceptres.

The 2017 bill also features a pair of standout acts from Washington. Serial Hawk, a hypnotically heavy three-piece metal group from Seattle, whose 2015 full-length out on Bleeding Light Records achieved global recognition, will join Weeed from Bainbridge Island, WA and their energetic brand of heavy, psychedelic rock in rounding out the bill.

Not to be overshadowed by the sonic mania, the burger-eating contest for which the event is named will also return, with heightened competition (following 2016 champion Andrew Renfrow’s crushing victory) and a larger purse – cash, trophy, merch, framed prints and more. Contest entry can be purchased as a separate ticket that includes festival entry. (Burger-eating contest limited to 10 contestants!)

Doors 3pm, Show 4:30pm, 18+

Flier by Sam Pierson

Bongripper, Miserable (2014)

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Quarterly Review: Primitive Man, Black Lung & Nap, Zone Six, Spectral Haze, Cosmic Fall, Epitaph, Disastroid, Mastiff, Demons from the Dungeon Dimension, Liblikas

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

the obelisk quarterly review

The final round of the Fall 2017 Quarterly Review starts now. 60 reviews done. I think if this particular QR session proves anything it’s that come hell or high water, once it’s set, there’s no stopping this train. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but the site was down for half of last week and we’re still getting to 60 reviews from Monday to Monday. That’s not not impressive from where I sit, especially since I spent that downtime going out of my mind trying to get things up and running again while also trying to write posts that I didn’t even know if they were going to happen. But they happened — thanks again, Slevin and Behrang — and here we are. All is well and we can get back to normal hopefully for the rest of this week. Thanks for reading any of this if you did. Let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Primitive Man, Caustic


Primitive Man’s Caustic is the concept of “heavy” taken to the superlative. It is a 12-track/77-minute onslaught for which no less than absolute hyperbole will suffice. In following-up their 2013 Relapse Records debut, Scorn (review here), a series of splits and 2015’s Home is Where the Hatred Is EP (review here), the Denver trio reign in terror as they make Caustic live up to its name in the crushing tones, feedback of and slow churn of “My Will,” “Commerce” “Tepid,” and “Sugar Hole,” the consuming wave of “Victim,” the blastbeating death assault of “Sterility,” and the biting atmospherics of harsh interludes “Caustic,” “Ash” and “The Weight,” which preface the nine minutes of vague noise that close on “Absolutes,” following the grueling slaughter of “Disfigured” and the rightfully-named 12-minute “Inevitable,” which seems even slower and more weighted somehow than everything before it. On the sheer level of heft for that song alone, it’s time to start thinking about Primitive Man among the heaviest bands in the world. I’m serious. Caustic is an overwhelming masterwork of unbridled extremity, and with it, Primitive Man set a new standard both for themselves and for anyone else who’d dare to try to live up to it in their wake.

Primitive Man on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records webstore


Black Lung & Nap, Split


A heavy blues trio from Baltimore and a progressive boogie outfit from Oldenburg, Germany, might seem like an odd pairing, but by the time the 25 minutes of Black Lung and Nap’s split 12” platter (on Noisolution) are up, the release has come to make its own peculiar kind of sense. In following 2016’s See the Enemy (review here), Black Lung present two new songs in “Strange Seeds” and “Use this Stone” as well we the prior-issued Marvin Gaye cover “Inner City Blues” done in collaboration with rapper Eze Jackson, where Nap answer their debut album, Villa (review here), with the shuffle-into-psychedelia of “Djinn,” the spacious, patient rollout of the airy guitars in “Vorlaut” and the final thrust of “Teer.” Each of the two acts establishes a context for itself quickly – Black Lung brazenly defying theirs in the shift from “Use this Stone” to “Inner City Blues”; Nap expanding between “Djinn” and “Vorlaut” – and though one wouldn’t be likely to mistake one group for the other, their disparate sounds don’t at all hinder the ability of either group to make an impression during their brief time.

Nap on Thee Facebooks

Black Lung on Thee Facebooks

Noisolution webstore


Zone Six, Zone Six


Originally issued in 1998 via Early Birds Records with the lineup of bassist/synthesis/Mellotronist Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt, guitarist Hans-Peter Ringholz, drummer/keyboardist Claus Bühler and vocalist Jodi Barry, the self-titled debut from German space/krautrock explorationists Zone Six sees something of a redux via Sulatron Records to mark the 20th anniversary of the band’s founding. Eight minutes shorter than the original edition at 51 minutes, the new version whittles down the original 13-track presentation to two vinyl sides – titles: “Side A” (27:04) and “Side B” (24:39) – and drops the vocal tracks entirely to make it a completely instrumental release. That’s a not-insignificant change, of course, but let there be no doubt that it works in terms of highlighting the flow, which as it transitions between what used to be one song and another loses not one step and instead simply becomes an engrossing and multifaceted jam. This is truer perhaps to the band Zone Six have become – if you missed their 2015 full-length Love Monster (review here), it was glorious and it’s not too late to catch up – than the band they started out as, but Zone Six have found a way to make an old release new again, and new Zone Six is never anything to complain about, whatever the occasion.

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Sulatron Records? webstore


Spectral Haze, Turning Electric


Space rock warriors Spectral Haze return after three years in the Gamma Quadrant with Turning Electric via Totem Cat Records, a six-song sophomore outing behind 2014’s I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains (review here) that quickly enters a wormhole of Hawkwindian thrust on opener “The Dawn of the Falcon” – perhaps that’s what’s represented on the glorious Adam Burke cover art – and takes a winding but directed course deeper and deeper into interstellar realms for its duration of what on earth is only six songs and 33 minutes. Each of the intended two vinyl sides boasts a longer track, be it “Cathexis/Mask of Transformation” on side A or “They Live” on side B, but whether it’s in those or shorter rocket boosters like the title-track, “Ajaghandi” or the aforementioned leadoff, the Oslo-based four-piece keep it dreamy and kosmiche even unto the doomlier roll of closer “Master Sorcerer,” a collection of final psychedelic proclamations that cuts off quickly at the end as though breaking a transmission from the heart of the galaxy itself. Heck of a destination, and getting there’s a blast, too.

Spectral Haze on Thee Facebooks

Totem Cat Records webstore


Cosmic Fall, Jams for Free


Kind of a bummer how Jams for Free came about, but for the reassurance that Berlin heavy psych improvisationalists Cosmic Fall will keep going after what seems to have been an unceremonious split with now-ex-guitarist/vocalist Mathias, I’ll take it. With two new explorations, bassist Klaus and drummer Daniel introduce new guitarist Martin, and those worried they might lose the funk of their original incarnation should have their fears duly allayed by “A Calmer Sphere” (12:19) and “The Great Comet” (8:10), which begin a new era of Cosmic Fall after the remaining founders were forced to stop selling their prior works. If there’s anger or catharsis being channeled in Jams for Free, though, it comes through as fluidity and serene heavy psych, and with the resonant live-in-studio vibe, Cosmic Fall essentially seem to be picking up where they left off. With Martin making a distinguishing impression in the soloing of “A Calmer Sphere”’s second half particularly, the future continues to look bright for the German asteroid riders. Right on, guys. Keep jamming.

Cosmic Fall on Thee Facebooks

Cosmic Fall on Bandcamp


Epitaph, Claws


Doomers of Verona Epitaph trace their origins back some 30 years, but Claws (on High Roller Records) is just their second long-player behind 2014’s Crawling out of the Crypt. Matters not. Theirs is the doom of ages one way or the other, presented in this collection of five songs in traditional fashion with an edge of the Italian bizarrist movement (think early Death SS) and, from the “Neon Knights”-style riff of “Gossamer Claws” to the “After All (The Dead)”/”Falling off the Edge of the World”-style dramaturge of “Wicked Lady,” the nods to ‘80s and early-‘90s Black Sabbath are manifold and executed with what sounds like a genuine love for that era of the band and classic metal in general. Hard to fault Epitaph that influence, particularly as they bring it to bear in the guttural riffly chug of centerpiece “Sizigia,” tonally as much as in the form of what’s actually being played. As a mission, the homage is perhaps a bit single-minded, but as they continue to build their own legacy in these classic sounds, it’s impossible to say Epitaph’s collective heart isn’t in the right place.

Epitaph on Thee Facebooks

High Roller Records webstore


Disastroid, Screen


The nine songs of Disastroid’s fourth self-released LP, Screen, are drawn together by a songwriting prowess that’s better heard than described and by a heft of tone that, especially on stompers like “Dinosaur” early and “Coyote” later on, proves likewise. Is the point of this review, then, that you should listen to the album? Yuppers. At a crisp 35 minutes, Screen finds the Bay Area trio willfully nestled someplace between heavy rock riffing, noise crunch, punk and metal, and they fly this refusal to commit to one style over another no less proudly than they do the hook of “Getting in the Way” or “I Didn’t Kill Myself,” which along with the push of “Choke the Falcon” and the Melvinsian “Clinical Perfection” make up a series of short burst impressions contrasted by the longer “Screen” and “New Day” at the outset and the six-minute finale “Gunslinger,” though wherever Disastroid seem to go, they bring a current of memorable craft with them, making an otherwise purposefully bumpy ride smooth and a chaos-fueled joy to undertake.

Disastroid website

Disastroid on Bandcamp


Mastiff, Bork


Ultimately, bludgeon-ready UK five-piece Mastiff might owe as much to grind as they do to doom or sludge – at least if “Nil by Mouth” has anything to say about it – but more than loyalty to any subgenre or other, the Hull unit’s 25-minute Bork full-length (released on CD by APF Records) is interested in presenting an extreme vision of sonic heft. Brutal pummel infects the rolling chorus of “Everything Equals Death” and the initial chug of “Tumour” alike, and where opener “Agony” was content to blast out its cacophony in fury of tempo as much as weight, as they settle in for the mosh-ready six minutes of closer “Eternal Regret,” Mastiff seem to have dug out a position between lumbering doom and early ‘00s deathcore, a telltale breakdown capping Bork in grooving and familiar fashion. Their intensity might prove a distinguishing factor over the longer term, though, and they certainly have plenty enough of it to go around.

Mastiff on Thee Facebooks

APF Records website


Demons from the Dungeon Dimension, An Organic Mythology


The righteously-monikered Demons from the Dungeon Dimension made a striking and individualized – and bizarre – impression in 2016 with the There was Ogres EP (discussed here), a follow-up to the debut full-length, As the Crow Flies, released just weeks earlier. With the new single An Organic Mythology and the five-minute, raw-recorded track of the same name, the Durban, South Africa-based project is laid to rest. A burly opening and thickened distortion lead to a pushing verse with dry vocals over top – sounding very much like a home-recorded demo outright and not trying to be anything else – and soon enough the track shifts into a spoken-word-dissertation over an instrumental build that carries it into its final minute, at which point the verse kicks back in to end. As with the prior EP, which topped 25 minutes, the vibe is willfully strange throughout “An Organic Mythology,” and if this is indeed the last we’ll hear from Demons from the Dungeon Dimension (doesn’t it just sound like something TOR Books would put out?), somehow it seems right we live in an age where the material can reside in the digital ether, waiting to be stumbled on by curious parties soon to be blindsided by what they hear.

Demons from the Dungeon Dimension on Bandcamp

Demons from the Dungeon Dimension on YouTube


Liblikas, Unholy Moly


From the initial semi-gothic vibes from vocalist Oliver Aunver to the progressive fuzz rock that ensues on opener “Holy Underground,” Estonian five-piece Liblikas seem to specialize in the unexpected on their second full-length, Unholy Moly. Aunver, guitarists Temo Saarna (also vocals) and Henrik Harak, bassist Joosep Käsper and drummer/backing vocalist Mihkel Rebane, oversee a brisk 45-minute run across eight tracks of genre-spanning grooves, from the chugging almost-doom of “Highest Hound” to the semi-folk experimentalist interlude “Fugue Yeah! (Diary Pt. II),” which follows “Dear Diary, Yeah!” a track that starts out with what might be a Japanese-language sample and psychedelic unfolding to more cohesive, harmony-topped prog rock bounce before the fuzz emerges and meets with forward vocals and effective interplay of acoustics in the chorus. Why yes, there is a six-minute song called “Pornolord” – funny you should ask. It appears before the oud-laced “Ol’ Slime” and nine-minute closer “Keezo,” which embraces the difficult task of summing up the weirdo intensity that’s been on display throughout Liblikas’ songwriting all along, and with wispy guitar leading to a big, noisy finish, succeeds outright in doing so.

Liblikas on Thee Facebooks

Liblikas on Bandcamp


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Brother Sister Hex Release End Times EP Tomorrow; Streaming in Full Now

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on September 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Tomorrow marks the release date of Denver, Colorado, heavy rockers Brother Sister Hex‘s new EP, End Times. The release is streaming in full now via Bandcamp — you can hear it below — and follows two prior “sessions” EPs issued in 2016 and 2015. End Times, which the band led into with the title-track as an initial single, is my first exposure to the band, but their high-desert-style rock is right when it nods toward Queens of the Stone Age as an influence. A little Songs for the Deaf is almost always good for the soul, at least in my experience. Definitely some of that vibe here.

Copious background follows, as sent along the PR wire. Please feel free to dig in:


Brother Sister Hex’s EP and title track single ‘End Times’

From Denver Colorado, BROTHER SISTER HEX unveil their highly anticipated 3rd EP ‘End Times’. A multifarious, multi-perspective journey through the range of emotions and uncertainty that comes with the current time we live in. Propelled by singer/guitarist Colfax Mingo’s soulful, mesmerizing vocals and thought-provoking lyrics – ‘End Times’ compelling sound is embodied by the complimentary dual guitars of Colfax Mingo and guitarist Patrick Huddleson; and the indelible rhythm section of bassist Drew Hicks and guest drummer Jordan Palmer (Plastic Daggers).

Recorded, mixed, and mastered with Pete De Boer at World Famous Studios in Denver – ‘End Times’ will bring to mind touches of the down tuned, dusty, swampy vibes of desert, stoner, and sludge rock; combined with the bluesy rawness and attitude of the 21st century garage rock revival. Bolstered with the grungy, noisy, fuzzy tones of early 90s alternative and the layered, moody and enigmatic sound of Radiohead – it should appeal to fans of Queens of the Stone Age, PJ Harvey, The Black Keys, Early Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Dead Weather, Soundgarden, and Radiohead alike.

“Singer/Guitarist/Lyricist Colfax Mingo says of the song ‘End Times’; “Well, it’s really about perseverance. Initially about how Patrick and I can’t stop making music, but then more generally about how you have to keep pushing in a world that sometimes tries to discourage you. A funny thing is I always knew what the song was about but I didn’t push myself to finish the lyrics til we recorded.”

Brother Sister Hex was formed in 2014 by Colfax Mingo and Patrick Huddleson, who have been playing music together in various projects for over 10 years. This ties into the above quote and also why the band is called Brother Sister Hex. They’re stuck together like family.

Though Brother Sister Hex has released music for free in the past, but this is the first time they were able to spend the time in the studio to really create and push the music to where we knew it could go.

When our drummer amicably departed the band shortly before planning to go into the studio, Jordan Palmer from our good friends and Denver band Plastic Daggers stepped up to help us work up the songs and record them with us. His contributions to the album really took things up to another level and helped us capture the sound we have been going for since the beginning.

All music written and performed by Brother Sister Hex.
Colfax Mingo – Vocals, Guitar
Patrick Huddleson – Guitar
Drew Hicks – Bass
Guest drums – Jordan Palmer (Plastic Daggers)

Brother Sister Hex, End Times (2017)

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