Quarterly Review: The Atlas Moth, Across Tundras, The Wizards of Delight, Against the Grain, Our Solar System, Dommengang, Boss Keloid, Holy Smoke, Sabel, Blackwater Prophet

Posted in Reviews on April 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Quarterly-Review-Spring-2018

This is a crucial moment in any Quarterly Review. Today we hit the halfway point one way or the other. I still haven’t decided if this will be a 50- or 60-album edition; kind of playing it by ear, but either way, today’s a landmark in my mind in terms of how far to go vs. how far we’ve come. Uphill vs. downhill to some extent, but I don’t want to give the impression that I’m either half-assing it from here on out or that I don’t enjoy the challenge of reviewing 10 records in a day, one after the next, for (at least) five days in a row. I’ve always been a glutton for a bit of self-flagellation. Ha.

Alright, let’s dive in.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

The Atlas Moth, Coma Noir

the atlas moth coma noir

If one still wants to consider Chicago’s The Atlas Moth post-metal after hearing Coma Noir, at least do them the courtesy of emphasizing the “metal” part of that equation. For their debut on Prosthetic Records and fourth full-length overall, the five-piece worked with producer Sanford Parker to solidify a progressive metal sound that, whether in the harsh and weighted impact of the opening title-track or the later interplay between guitarists Stavros Giannopoulos and David Kush on screams and cleaner vocals in “Furious Gold,” seems to take cues from groups like a less manic Strapping Young Lad and a less watered-down Mastodon more than Isis or Neurosis. With prominent synth from Andrew Ragin (also guitar), and the solid roll from the rhythm section of bassist Alex Klein and drummer Mike Miczek, the band brings revitalized edge to “The Streets of Bombay,” and even on the slower, more atmospheric closer “Chloroform,” they’ve never sounded more lethal. It suits them.

The Atlas Moth on Thee Facebooks

Prosthetic Records webstore

 

Across Tundras, Tumbleweeds III

across tundras tumbleweeds iii

A collection of odds and ends from Across Tundras, the 10-track/52-minute Tumbleweeds III may or may not sate anyone hoping for a follow-up to 2013’s Electric Relics (review here), but it provides some curio fodder along the way to be sure, from raw opener “Final Breath over Venom Falls” to the acoustic-percussion jam “Bullet in the Butt” to the fuller roll of “Cold Ride” and later demos for “Spinning Through the Cosmic Dust,” “Hijo del Desierto,” “Stone Crazy Horse” and “The Stacked Plain,” which later became “Seasick Serenade” on Electric Relics, it’s at very least something for fans to dig into and a fascinating listen, as Across Tundras’ rambling sound is almost eerily suited to a home-recording vibe, as the “Stone Crazy Horse” demo, featuring vocalist Shannon Allie-Murphy along with frontman Tanner Olson, sounds all the more folksome as a result of its lack of production polish. Closing with Bob Dylan’s “The Ballad of Hollis Brown,” then, could hardly be more appropriate. Still waiting for a proper long-player to surface, but happy at this point to take what comes.

Across Tundras on Thee Facebooks

Across Tundras on Bandcamp

 

The Wizards of Delight, The Wizards of Delight

the wizards of delight the wizards of delight

Like a chicanery-laced dusty vinyl with a naked lady on the cover, The Wizards of Delight emerge from the London underground to solidly declare “We’ve got the rock ‘n’ rollz.” And yes, they spell it with a ‘z.’ The presence of frontman Andreas “Mazzereth” Maslen will be familiar to anyone who ever even briefly encountered Groan – dude makes an impression, to be sure – and the four tracks he and the surrounding five-piece of guitarists/backing vocalists Dan Green’s Myth and Lenny Ray, bassist/backing vocalist Eponymous, organist/backing vocalist Henry and drummer Reece bring is both funky and classically heavy, “Gypsy” referencing Dio Sabbath in the first line while “Mountain Woman” brings a heavy ‘70s shuffle to answer the way-un-P.C. “Shogun Messiah,” which seems to be working under the thesis that because it sounds like it’s from 40 years ago, they can get away with it. I’ll give them that the track is, to an unfortunate degree, catchy. As to the rest, give me the groove of “We Got the Rock ‘n’ Rollz” any day. It’s been a while since anyone so brazenly interpreted Mk. II Deep Purple and actually pulled it off.

The Wizards of Delight on Thee Facebooks

APF Records website

 

Against the Grain, Cheated Death

against the grain cheated death

Hard-touring Detroit heavy rockers Against the Grain are known for speed, and rightly so. When they burst into high gear, as on “Sacrifice,” “No Sleep,” “Last Chance,” “Rolling Stone,” “Enough’s Not Enough,” and “Jaded and Faded” from their latest offering and Ripple Music debut, Cheated Death. The follow-up to 2015’s Road Warriors (review here) sees them no less infectious in their live energy, but it’s hard to ignore the more versatile approach that seems to be growing in their sound, from the classic rocking “Smoke” to the near-centerpiece “Devils and Angels” which ballads-out its boozy regrets before entering into an effective mid-paced build that rounds out in choice dual-soloing. Likewise, though they open at a good clip with the title-track, closer “Into the Light” finds a middle ground between thrust and groove. The truth is Against the Grain have never been just about speed, but they’ve never so directly benefited from a dynamic approach as they do on Cheated Death either.

Against the Grain on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Our Solar System, Origins

our solar system origins

Immediate kudos to Stockholm-based psychedelic progressive explorers Our Solar System – aka Vårt Solsystem – for opening their third full-length for Beyond Beyond is Beyond, the five-track/41-minute Origins, with the side-consuming 21-minute “Vulkanen.” One could hardly ask for more effective immersion in the band’s world of patiently unfurled, languid psychedelia, and with the accompaniment of “Babalon Rising,” the jazz-prog tracklist centerpiece “En Bit Av Det Tredje Klotet,” the birdsong-laced “Naturligt Samspel” and the semi-freaked-out melodic wash of “Monte Verita” on side B, a full, rich, and mind-expanding cosmos is engaged, free of restriction even as it remains thoroughly lysergic, and adherent to no structural will so much as the will to adventure into the unknown, to find out where one progression leads. As regards the long- and short-form material on Origins, it leads far, far out, and if you don’t come out the other side wanting to own everything the band has ever released, you’re decidedly in the wrong.

Our Solar System on Thee Facebooks

Beyond Beyond is Beyond website

 

Dommengang, Love Jail

dommengang love jail

Once calling Brooklyn Home, Los Angeles trio Dommengang waste no time in getting down to the business of boogie on their second album for Thrill Jockey, Love Jail. Produced by Tim Green (The Fucking Champs), the 10-track/50-minute long-player has all the room for organ/guitar mashups, righteous West Coast vibes and easy-flowing classic heavy rock one could hope for, and in the opening salvo of “Pastel City,” “Lovely Place” and “Lone Pine,” the three-piece of guitarist Dan “Sig” Wilson, bassist Brian Markham, and drummer Adam Bulgasem reaffirm mellow bluesiness as well on the title-track and dig into ‘90s-style alt bliss on the penultimate “Color out of Space.” There’s a welcoming air throughout that holds steady regardless of tempo, and in heavier moments like the second half of “I’m out Mine,” the band resonates with fuzz and noisy elements that bring just enough danger to the proceedings to keep the listener riveted. Classy, but not too classy, in other words.

Dommengang on Thee Facebooks

Thrill Jockey Records website

 

Boss Keloid, Melted on the Inch

boss keloid melted on the inch

It would seem that Wigan, UK, outfit Boss Keloid — newly signed to Holy Roar Records for the release of their third LP, Melted on the Inch – internalized a few crucial lessons from their sophomore outing, 2016’s Herb Your Enthusiasm (review here). At six tracks and 40 minutes, Melted on the Inch is about 20 minutes shorter than its predecessor. Its title isn’t a weed pun. Its cover art conveys a work of dimensionality, and most importantly, the album itself turns to be precisely that. Taking a significant step toward a more progressive sound, Boss Keloid maintain the heft of their prior outing but base it around material that, frankly, is more complex and dynamic. I won’t say that “Tarku Shavel” and “Lokannok” are without their elements of self-indulgence, but neither should they be for the five-piece to do justice to the multifaceted nature of their purpose. They still roar when they want to, but Boss Keloid strike with breadth on Melted on the Inch as well as sheer impact.

Boss Keloid on Thee Facebooks

Holy Roar Records website

 

Holy Smoke, Pipe Dream

holy smoke pipe dream

After forming in 2015, Philadelphia’s exclamatory Holy Smoke! issued their first three-track release, It’s a Demo! (review here) the next year and showed marked stylistic promise in cuts like “Rinse and Repeat” and “Blue Dreams.” Both of those tracks, as it happens, stand at the opening of the band’s latest EP, the five-song Pipe Dream, and reaffirm the potential in the group. The opener (also the longest track once again; immediate points) is a tale of workaday redundancy, the very sort of monotony that the rest of the offering seems to leave behind in favor of post-grunge heavy rock, marked by the wah-bass on finale “Asch Backwards” and the brooding sensibility of the prior “Golden Retriever,” which surges in its midsection like a lost Alice in Chains demo only to end quiet once again, a departure from the linearity of centerpiece “Missing the Mark” just before. Less psychedelic than their initial impression conveyed, they seem to have undertaken the work of crafting their own sonic niche in Philly’s increasingly crowded scene, and there’s nothing on Pipe Dream to make one think it’s not a realistic possibility they’ll get there.

Holy Smoke on Thee Facebooks

Holy Smoke on Bandcamp

 

Sabel, Re-Generation

sabel re-generation

Sabel know what they want to be and then are that thing. Their third album, Re-Generation, arrives via Oak Island Records as six tracks of to-the-converted stonerism, and from opener/longest track (immediate points) “In the Walls of Eryx,” the Swedish trio do little more than ask their listeners to smell the smoke emanating from their speaker cabinets (oddly sweet), and hone walls of fuzz that each seem to be bigger than the last. There are some elements of earliest Electric Wizard at play in “Atlantean” or the sneering “Voodoo Woman,” but belters like “Interstellar Minddweller” and “Green Priestess” stave off their sounding overly derivative, and though at the end of Re-Generation’s 42-minute run, one might feel as though they need a shower, the record itself proves well worth the dive into the muck. The band would seem to have carved their own descriptor with the title of their self-released 2015 LP, Hard Doom, and that’s as good as anything I could come up with, so let’s roll with it. They seem to.

Sabel on Thee Facebooks

Oak Island Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Blackwater Prophet, As I Watch it Freeze

blackwater prophet as i watch it freeze

Cheers to Christian Peters of Samsara Blues Experiment for putting me onto Spokane, Washington’s Blackwater Prophet, who with the seven-track As I Watch it Freeze collect various tracks recorded between 2015 and 2017. Thus something of a compilation, the 40-minute outing wants nothing for overarching flow, “In My Passing Time” leading off with a mellow psych-blues spirit that only grows more classic-feeling through “House of Stone” and the gorgeously pastoral “The Swamp.” The band have two proper full-lengths out, and if they wanted to count As I Watch it Freeze as their third, I don’t think they’d find much argument, as centerpiece “Gold in the Palm” opens like a gateway leading to the increasingly resonant “Careworn Crow,” the fuzzy swing of “Eating the Sun” and finally, the title-track itself, which answers the acoustics of “The Swamp” earlier while adding flourish of volume-swelling and swirling electric guitar and late choral vocals that only make the proceedings seem all the more complete in their engagement.

Blackwater Prophet on Thee Facebooks

Blackwater Prophet on Bandcamp

 

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Against the Grain Release Cheated Death Feb. 9; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

against the grain

Should you be surprised when the new track Against the Grain are streaming tears ass out of your speakers like it just robbed the place? No, probably not. At least not if you heard 2015’s Road Warriors (review here) or have gotten down the with Detroit four-piece’s speed-minded fare before. What is distinct about the title-cut from their upcoming long-player, Cheated Death — out Feb. 9 on Ripple — is the underlying groove that accompanies that head-spinning presentation. Over time, Against the Grain have worked both on the road and in the studio to build a steady foundation of quality songwriting for their blazing craft, and it would seem those efforts are continuing to pay off.

You can stream “Cheated Death” at the bottom of this post because, you know, the future, and check out the wide swath of touring Against the Grain will be doing to support the record. That’s kind of their thing. Can pretty much guarantee this won’t be the last run they do this year, either. They go and go and go. And fast.

From the PR wire:

Against the Grain Cheated Death

AGAINST THE GRAIN: Motor City Mad Men Cheat Death Next Month with Ripple Music

Cheated Death is released worldwide on 9th February 2018 on Ripple Music

Living up to the title of their newest record, Against the Grain have proven themselves to be true road warriors. Blazing a trail across the US with their brand of gear-shifting, balls-to-the-wall rock, incorporating all things heavy they practically defy categorization, seamlessly blurring the lines of punk, rock, doom and thrash.

After playing fifty shows in 2009 across their home state of Michigan, their self-titled debut (released that same year) garnered a serious local fan base. Introduced to touring life by Hellmouth and The Meatmen, with their intense live show nailed and energized fan base following in support close behind, Against The Grain quickly transformed into a fully-functioning road act.

Playing seventy-five dates in 2011, they followed their debut with 2012’s Motor City Speed Rock and a further hundred fifty dates in support. Their efforts caught the attention of Self-Destructo Records, who in 2013 released their third full-length Surrounded By Snakes to such acclaim that they rereleased it soon afterward on 10” vinyl. Maintaining a DIY tour ethic, the band has since built a national fan base while quenching their thirst for fast and heavy rock and roll, right across the land. With a combined total of seven hundred and fifty dates under their belts since their formation in 2011, the band has toured alongside an impressive assemblage of notable acts that include Nashville Pussy, Valient Thorr, Bongzilla, Atomic Bitchwax, Mos Generator, Anvil, Night Demon, Church of Misery, The Hookers, Beast in the Field, Lo-Pan and many more.

Against The Grain’s heavily anticipated forth full-length, Road Warriors, was released in the summer of 2015 and pushed them even further into the electrifying realms of rock, metal and punk world. But it’s their soon-to-be released album Cheated Death that’s going to truly push them over the edge. Released this February on the California-based record label Ripple Music – widely regarded as one of the world’s leading record labels for Heavy Rock, Stoner, Doom and Heavy Psych – you can rest assured that the mad men of Michigan are going to blaze a trial across the US, the world and your mind in 2018.

Cheated Death is released worldwide on 9th February 2018 on Ripple Music

Against The Grain:
Chris Nowak – Bass, Vocals
Rob Nowak – Drums
Nick Bellomo – Guitar
Kyle Davis – Guitar
2018 Tour Dates:

2/2 – Saginaw (MI) – Hamilton St. Pub
2/3 – Indianapolis (IN) – The Melody Inn
2/4 – Grand Rapids (MI) – Tip Top Deluxe (Matinee)
3/22 – Westland (MI) – The Token Lounge
3/23 – Newport (KY) – The Southgate House Revival
3/24 – Nashville (TN) – Exit/In
3/25 – Lexington (KY) – Cosmic Charlies
3/26 – Louisville (KY) – Highlands Tap Room
3/27 – St Louis (MO) – FUBAR
3/28 – Springfield (MO) – Outland Ballroom
3/29 – Wichita (KS) – The Elbow Room
3/30 – Denver (CO) – The Gothic Theatre
3/31 – Grand Junction (CO) – The Mesa Theatre
4/1 – Salt Lake City (UT) – Metro Music Hall
4/3 – Las Vegas (NV) – The Divebar
4/4 – San Diego (CA) – The Soda Bar
4/5 – Santa Ana (CA) – The Observatory
4/6 – Bakersfield (CA) – Pyrenees Cafe and Saloon
4/7 – San Jose (CA) – The Ritz
4/8 – Santa Cruz (CA) – The Catalyst
4/10 – Sacramento (CA) – The Blue Lamp
4/12 – Grants Pass (OR) – Rogue Theatre
4/13 – Portland (OR) – Dantes
4/14 – Seattle (WA) – El Corazon
4/15 – Spokane (WA) – The Pin!
4/16 – Whitefish (MT) – Remington Bar and Casino
4/17 – Bozeman (MT) – Bozeman Eagles Club and Ballroom
4/18 – Billings (MT) – The Pub Station
4/20 – Minneapolis (MN) – Lees Liquor Lounge
4/21 – Green Bay (WI) – The Lyric Room
4/22 – Chicago (IL) – Reggies Rock Club

https://www.facebook.com/Againstthegraindetroit/
https://www.instagram.com/againstthegraindetroit/
https://againstthegrain-atg.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

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Temple of Void Announce New Album Lords of Death

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

temple of void

Hell yes. If nothing else, we can be sure Detroit’s Temple of Void know how to name a record. That was something the death-doom extremists proved with their 2014 debut, Of Terror and the Supernatural (review here), and it seems to be affirmed with the reveal of their follow-up sophomore outing, Lords of Death. Just try to say that out loud without turning one of your hands into a doom claw. Can’t be done. It’s impossible.

Been digging the viciousness these guys roll out since their Demo MMXIII (review here) hit like a full-stack falling on my head, and though I know their kind of ultra-dark, ultra-plodding, ultra-nastiness isn’t everybody’s cup of poisonous tea, they’ve done it so well to-date that I’ve been unable to hear anything in what they do other than righteousness. I didn’t know they’d have a new album out this year, but I’m definitely looking forward to it now.

And you vinyl types will want to get a load of this cover art too. It, the Lords of Death — claw! — tracklisting and more background info come courtesy of the PR wire:

temple-of-void-lords-of-death

TEMPLE OF VOID reveal cover art, tracklisting for new SHADOW KINGDOM album

Today, Shadow Kingdom Records reveals the cover art and tracklisting for Temple of Void’s highly anticipated second album, Lords of Death. Ever aptly titled, Lords of Death is an insanely, irrevocably MASSIVE slab of doom-DEATH, and the album by which Temple of Void will rightfully take their seat at the throne. Nearly three years in the making, Lords of Death is an experience like no other, and will surely go down as one of the top metal albums of 2017.

Temple of Void is an uncompromising collaboration from the depths of Detroit, Michigan. Comprising five musicians who have put in decades of time in the Detroit underground, Temple of Void entered this world with singular focus and methodical execution from the start. Temple of Void harkens back to the somber sound of early European doom, while channeling the energy and devastation of old-school American death metal. But Temple of Void is far more than the sum of its parts: Temple of Void destroys.

Temple of Void self-released their first demo in 2013. Four weeks later, they had signed to four different record labels to release Demo MMXIII and their imminent debut album across the world. The demo was met with staggering support from the underground, but just over a year later, Temple of Void unleashed their debut album, Of Terror and the Supernatural, via Saw Her Ghost Records for the double-LP vinyl version and on CD through Rain Without End Records. The day it was released, Shadow Kingdom contacted the band and requested dibs on re-releasing the album to a worldwide audience. Unleashed internationally in September 2015, the slab of barbarity otherwise known as Of Terror and the Supernatural quickly became a critically acclaimed cult hit amongst the press and those looking for the darkest, dirtiest doom-death.

But, with the bar set so high by that debut album, Temple of Void swagger forth to eclipse that achievement and soundly obliterate any comparisons with Lords of Death. A prescient title if there ever was one, Lords of Death casts Temple of Void in a slightly newer light: whilst unmistakably Temple of Void, this is the sound of the band shorn of any fat and fully representing the powerful, punishing experience of the band in a live setting. It’s still signature Temple of Void, to be sure, but Lords of Death emits an enviable amount of focus and forward momentum, with the band largely ditching the doomier tropes in favor of ones reflective of their all-consuming onstage power. Instead, Temple of Void emphasized the deathlier aspects of their debut, but pumped them full of addicting, headbanging energy. Put another way, whereas Of Terror and the Supernatural was doom with death metal, Lords of Death is death metal with doom. Fittingly, the production here is utterly CRUSHING, and once again recorded at Mount Doom in Detroit.

Completed by appropriately morbid artwork by Paolo Girardi, Lords of Death is that Rubicon-crossing moment where a band becomes masters. Recommended for fans of Autopsy, Bolt Thrower, Grave, Asphyx, Edge of Sanity, Obituary, Hooded Menace, Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, and the early works of Paradise Lost, Morbid Angel, and Opeth – behold the new lords of death, Temple of Void!

“An uncompromising record from the band that made one of the very best, if not THE best death/doom debut in last five years or so. Weighty death metal groove and suffocating, gloomy atmosphere in just the right mix together. Album-of-the-year material!” – Markus Makkonen (Hooded Menace / Sadistik Forest)

Release date, first track, and preorder info to be revealed shortly. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Temple of Void’s Lords of Death
1. The Charnel Unearthing
2. Wretched Banquet
A Watery Internment
3. The Hidden Fiend
4. An Ominous Journey
5. The Gift
6. Graven Desires
7. Deceiver in the Shadows

www.facebook.com/templeofvoid
www.templeofvoid.bandcamp.com
www.shadowkingdomrecords.com
www.facebook.com/shadowkingdomrecords

Temple of Void, Of Terror and the Supernatural (2014)

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Against the Grain Post “Here to Stay” Video; Tour with Speedealer and Mothership Starts Tomorrow

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

against the grain

Tomorrow night, Detroit bruisers Against the Grain head out on a tour alongside Mothership and the resurgent Speedealer. The heavy rockers continue to live up to the ethic set forth with 2015’s Road Warriors (review here), by doing more than simply putting in time on the road, instead seeming to take a step forward with each subsequent tour. Over the last two-plus years, they’ve been out with Lo-Pan, The Atomic Bitchwax, Bongzilla, Black Cobra and others. I’ve yet to hear a complaint from anyone who’s been fortunate enough to see them play.

Given the significant amount of touring, maybe it’s not such a surprise that Against the Grain‘s new video for “Here to Stay” — a funny claim for a band with so much “go” in their approach to be making — is made up of a lot of live footage. There are some other clips and stuff spliced in, but the bulk of the thing finds the four-piece kicking ass on stage, which by now is probably where they’re most at home in so doing. I’ve heard they’ve got new material on the way at some point this year — they were included last month in the most anticipated for 2017 list, if you missed it — and there can be little doubt that when it arrives, in whatever form it takes, the follow-up to Road Warriors will be yet another occasion for the band to get out on tour. Much to their credit, it doesn’t seem to take much to convince them.

You’ll find the live dates under the video player below for the Speedealer and Mothership tour. Note also that Against the Grain will be at Berserker Fest in Pontiac, Michigan, in April. One assumes there are more dates to follow as we head deeper into the year.

Enjoy:

Against the Grain, “Here to Stay” official video

Here’s our new music video for “Here To Stay”. Official video for “Here to Stay” off of 2015’s release “Road Warriors” available on Self Destructo/Failure Records.

See you on the road with Speedealer and Mothership!

Against the Grain live:

Southern Disruption tour w/ Speedealer and Mothership:
2/9 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
2/10 – New Orleans, LA – Siberia
2/11- Birmingham, AL – The Nick
2/12 – Nashville, TN – The End
2/13 – Memphis, TN – Hi Tone Cafe
2/14 – Little Rock, AR – White Water Tavern
2/15 – Oklahoma City, OK – The Blue Note
2/16 – Austin, TX – The Sidewinder
2/17 – San Antonio, TX – Hi-tones
2/18 – Dallas, TX – Three Links
2/19 – Houston, TX – Fitzgeralds ( all ages, early show)

4/15 and 4/16 – Pontiac, MI – Crofoot – Berserker Fest

Against the Grain on Thee Facebooks

Against the Grain on YouTube

Against the Grain on Bandcamp

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Speedealer, Mothership and Against the Grain Announce Southern US Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 27th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Dallas octane rockers Speedealer played a few gigs in November that they highlighted as a ‘return’ for the band, but they seem to have been doing shows for a while before that as well. Their last studio release was 2003’s Bleed, so one way or another, it’s probably fair to call anything they do a return. One recalls (vaguely and through a Shiner Bock-filtered haze) seeing them at SXSW in the mid-’00s — was it the tiki bar joint on Red River with JJ Paradise Players Club? — and being fairly blown out of the room, though to be fair, that was kind of how it went in Austin at the time. I haven’t seen word of a new record or anything, but even if they’re doing 10 days out to test the waters, they gotta have a reason. These things don’t happen by mistake, you know.

The two bands joining them on the run, as it happens, are both heralding new albums. In the case of fellow Texas trio Mothership, it’s the forthcoming High Strangeness (info here), which is out March 17 on Ripple Music. Less is publicly known at this point about Against the Grain‘s next full-length, but the Detroit-based speed rockers have at least announced their intentions toward a 2017 release. There’s plenty of year ahead, so let’s get there first and then we’ll see what comes.

Run has been tagged as the “Southern Disruption Tour 2017.” Poster and dates follow here, as seen on the social medias:

speedealer mothership against the grain

Speedealer w/ Mothership & Against the Grain:
Feb 9 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade.
Feb 10 – New Orleans, LA – The Siberia.
Feb 11 – Birmingham, AL – The Nick.
Feb 12 – Nashville, TN – The End.
Feb 13 – Memphis, TN – Hi Tone.
Feb 14 – Little Rock, AR – White Water Tavern (no speedealer).
Feb 15 – Oklahoma City, OK – The Blue Note (no Speedealer).
Feb 16 – Austin, TX – The Sidewinder.
Feb 17 – San Antonio, TX – Hi-Tones.
Feb 18 – Dallas, TX – Three Links.
Feb 19 – Houston, TX – FitZgeralds.

https://www.facebook.com/Speedealer-16197817734/
https://www.facebook.com/mothershipusa/
https://www.facebook.com/Againstthegraindetroit/

Speedealer, “Inventor of Evil”

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Lavamoth Post Video for “Moving On”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 2nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

lavamoth-(Photo-by-Chris-Lawrence)

It’s very true that Detroit trio Lavamoth could’ve just made a regular old performance video — three longhair dudes in a room playing a song but not really playing it while maybe the camera changes a couple times. They went a different route. Yeah, they’re rocking out in their new clip for “Moving On,” but they’re doing it in a spaceship after being beamed off the surface of the planet and jumping to light speed. I don’t know what video game they got that background from, but they make the most of it and I’m sorry, but watching the stars go by while they play really only adds charm to the straight-ahead heavy rock they’ve got on offer.

You might recognize guitarist/vocalist/synthesist Kevin Edwards and drummer Mick Stone from 500 ft. of Pipe, who had three records out between ’97 and ’03 before going the way of most of the pre-social media generation of second wave (maybe third wave?) stoner rockers. They’re joined by bassist Wayne Crouton of metallers Shotgun Logic, and the groove is right on from the start. I don’t know if they’ve got an album together or a demo or an EP or a split or any other kind of release, or if it’s just this single for now, but the track was cool and the video was right on, and I don’t really need much more than that to go on at any given point.

Thanks to Chris Taylor of Blue Snaggletooth for the recommendation on this one.

Enjoy:

Lavamoth, “Moving On” official video

LAVAMOTH’s video for “Moving On” teleports them on a journey through time and space at hypersonic speeds…They Rock there way through the galaxy and beyond…(c) 2016 The High Clopse Music BMI

Fuzzed-out,anthemic guitar riffs,combined with tribal,pounding drum and bass. Stoner Rock songs about space and time travel,messed up dope deals,dirty cops, and life in Detroit…Former members of Detroit’s own 500 Ft. Of Pipe & Shotgun Logic…laying down some new tracks to melt your brains…

Kevin Edwards~ Guitar/Vocals/Moog Synth
Mick Stone~ Drums
Wayne Crouton-Bass

Lavamoth on Thee Facebooks

Lavamoth on YouTube

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Bison Machine, Wild Savages & SLO, Sweet Leaves Vol. I Split: The Good Times, Rolling

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 14th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

sweet leaves volume one

[Click play above to stream Sweet Leaves Vol. I in full. Release date is Jan. 22. Thanks to the bands for letting me host the tracks.]

If you’re looking for a sampling of the madness infecting the Motor City’s underground these days, look no further than Sweet Leaves Vol. I. Detroit has long been an epicenter of all things raw and visceral in American rock — and by that I mean The Stooges and MC5 were from there — but in bringing together newcomer acts Bison Machine, Wild Savages and SLO across a limited-release three-way split tape, the classic form proves continually vital in the more recent outfits, each of which brings a grit of their own to reside under a heavy rock umbrella.

Appearing in that order — Bison Machine, then Wild Savages, then SLO — the tape gets more formative as it progresses through each pair of tracks, Bison Machine being the most established of the three with their debut long-player, Hoarfrost (review here), released last year on Kozmik ArtifactzWild Savages have an EP up for streaming and SLO a demo, both issued in Sept. 2015, but both of the newer acts also share ties to Bison Machine through current and former members. Wild Savages features guitarist Casey O’Ryan, who also plays in Bison Machine, and SLO guitarist/vocalist Dusty Jones is an alum as well. Clearly as each of these bands spun off or came up around the same time, everyone remained tight enough to continue to collaborate, which in giving an idea of where the Detroit area is at (Wild Savages claim Ann Arbor as home, SLO Detroit proper and Bison Machine Hamtramck), is at very least a show of overall strength.

More importantly, the tape — which is a quick listen at a little over half an hour — rocks. None of the three groups wastes any time getting down to business, and with Bison Machine‘s “Hawk on the Wind,” the Sabbathian reference of the tape’s cover proves not to be the only classic heavy source from which the release draws. The recording that produced “Hawk on the Wind” and the subsequent “Soul Seeker” is older, with guitarist John deVries in the role that O’Ryan now occupies alongside vocalist Tom Stec, bassist Anthony Franchina (who put the split together) and drummer Breck Crandell, but their methods are no less righteous than on Hoarfrost, quick-turning shuffle pervading “Hawk on the Wind” amid a catchy hook while “Soul Seeker” rests on a bed of low-end chugging and Motörheady skate in the guitar.

sweet leaves volume one tapes

The second track trips out a bit at the end, but in general, Bison Machine play it tight and don’t let up on the throttle, which makes for an easy transition into Wild Savages, who seem intent on living up to their moniker in grit, ’70s bass warmth and persistent proto-punk fuckall. “Stage Fright” has one of the most resonant hooks on Sweet Leaves Vol. I once you have a grip on what bassist Joe Kupiec is talking about — O’Ryan also provides vocals — and transitions easily into a dual-channel guitar jam atop some of the best vintage-sounding drums I’ve heard since Kadavar‘s debut from Stefan Krstovic, who has swing to match. By the time they get there, they seem to have left the verse structure behind, but even among the late-arriving boogie onslaught, they bring back the chorus for one last go. With funkier starts and stops in its early going and a similar overall approach, “Queen Bee” affirms no fluke on the part of Wild Savages, who rage in layers but with an energy that one imagines has no trouble translating live.

For SLO, their “The Darkness” and “Shield Maidens” follow a two-song demo recorded on a four-track, but already one can hear in their sound a beefed up dual-guitar via Thin Lizzy approach that, in “The Darkness” delves in its midsection into some transposed “Hole in the Sky” riffing as if to remind the listener what it’s all about. Fuzz in the guitar and bass goes full-on hairy as the song rolls to what seems to be its finish before the initial groove is revived and swirl-faded out to end, which lets “Shield Maidens,” the only song on the release that tops six minutes (though each band has a track that comes close), close out with proto-metallic rush and a grander approach vocally.

Whether that’s drummer Charlie McCutcheon or bassist Brian Blair joining Jones singing — Kevin Sullivan is the only member of the four-piece not credit with vocals on the prior demo — I don’t know, but it adds a classic metal sensibility to complement the quiet midsection and deftly intricate guitar line that transitions into an instrumental finish, thick tonally but still ready to move and keeping that fist-pump feel thanks to a late solo either from Sullivan or Jones. Their cap for Sweet Leaves Vol. I is encouraging, and that descriptor seems to apply to the release overall as well. Of course, one can’t completely summarize the complete breadth of a region’s output by getting together a couple similarly driven bands and putting together a split tape — if one could, I’d expect to see more of them — but, even in showing the direction a few of the Detroit area’s groups are taking with a brash, classically-minded heavy rock sound, Sweet Leaves Vol. I serves notice of attention-worthy doings in volume and aesthetic.

Bison Machine on Thee Facebooks

Bison Machine on Bandcamp

Wild Savages on Thee Facebooks

Wild Savages on Bandcamp

SLO on Bandcamp

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Temple of Void Sign to Shadow Kingdom Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

temple of void

Yours truly rated Temple of Void‘s 2014 lurker Of Terror and the Supernatural (review here) as one of the best debuts of the year, so you’ll pardon me if I think it’s a good thing it’s getting another look. The record’s second go around will come in Sept. courtesy of Shadow Kingdom, for whom it was also recently announced that Temple of Void would play at their Shadow Kingdom Riot fest.

That gig is on Sept. 3, and the album is reissued on Sept. 4 — you’d almost swear these things were planned out ahead of time — so it seems to me like the Shadow Kingdom Riot will turn into a de-facto-if-not-officially-announced-as-such release party for Of Terror and the Supernatural, which was originally released by Saw Her Ghost and Rain without End Records, its pile of victims continuing to grow.

Or, as the PR wire puts it:

temple of void of terror and the supernatural

TEMPLE OF VOID Signs to Shadow Kingdom Records

Detroit Death-Doom Despots to See Debut LP, ‘Of Terror and the Supernatural’ Re-issued September 4

Detroit death-doom band TEMPLE OF VOID has signed to underground independent label Shadow Kingdom Records. The band’s first order of business with its new label will be a re-issue of the group’s debut album, Of Terror and the Supernatural, a pulverizing record that steamrolls via a morbid, high-fidelity death metal assault. The album, which has been called, “powerful and overwhelming like thick fog in an old graveyard” will see a September 4 release through Shadow Kingdom, complete with eerie cover art by legendary science fiction and fantasy artist Bruce Pennington.

Wielding a weighty, deafening power that has been called “a right balance of creeping lurch and extreme plunder”, TEMPLE OF VOID creates crushing metal that will appeal to fans of Autopsy, Bolt Thrower, Dismember, Hooded Menace, Incantation and (old) Paradise Lost. The band’s sound combines the slow tempos and depressive moods of doom metal with the subhuman vocals and double kick drumming of classic death metal. Check out the video for TEMPLE OF VOID’s “Savage Howl” now at this location.

TEMPLE OF VOID will perform as one of the featured acts at the just-announced Shadow Kingdom Riot, set to take place on September 3 at Cleveland’s Agora Ballroom. The evening will showcase a diverse lineup from Shadow Kingdom Records’s ever-growing roster, and will see TEMPLE OF VOID share the stage along with now-labelmates Venomous Maximus, Iron Man and more. For full details, visit the show’s Facebook event page HERE.

Track listing:
1.) The Embalmer’s Art
2.) Savage Howl
3.) Beyond the Ultimate
4.) Invocation of Demise
5.) To Carry this Corpse Evermore
6.) Rot in Solitude
7.) Exanimate Gaze
8.) Bargain in Death

Tour dates:
June 18 Pittsburgh, PA The Smiling Moose (w/ Cemetery Filth, Abysme)
June 19 Philadelphia, PA Millcreek Tavern (w/ Crypt Sermon)
June 20 Bayonne, NJ Lot 13 Longbar (w/ Morpheus Descends, Malignancy, etc.)

facebook.com/templeofvoid
http://templeofvoid.bandcamp.com/
shadowkingdomrecords.com/

Temple of Void, “Savage Howl” official video

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