Electric Wizard Announce New Album Title Time to Die and Unveil Cover Art

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 1st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

What’s going to happen between now and when Electric Wizard‘s new album comes out before the end of the year is that information is going to continue to piecemeal out. Before, it was the fact that it’s coming out on Spinefarm. Today it’s the album title and the artwork. Soon will be the official release date and tracklisting. Then you get into stuff like track premieres — which will go to namebrand places like your NPRs, your Pitchforks or whoever — and then an album stream before the release. If there’s stuff like a lyric video, that will be worked in there too, but it depends on the label and the band, when the tour dates are, etc.

Maybe I should be a publicist. Either way, what it goes to show is that the anticipation is high enough for Electric Wizard‘s new album, Time to Die, that every bit of info is considered precious and worth the focus of its own press release. I can’t argue with the approach. Impatient as I might be in the give-it-to-me-now sense, it’s the smarter play to build the buzz leading up to whenever the record actually hits. And sometimes waiting is fun anyway.

From the PR wire:



Electric Wizard have announced Time to Die as the title of their forthcoming studio album. Time to Die is the eighth full-length offering from the masters of aural punishment and is testament to the fact that Electric Wizard continue to be the most uncompromisingly heavy, genuinely twisted and evil band in the world.

This will be the band’s first album release since signing a worldwide deal with Spinefarm Records.

Says Electric Wizard founding member, Jus Oborn:

“All of our albums in the past have had a theme — revenge, drugs, black magick — and the theme of this one is death. Of course, death to us really means rebirth, so this album is a manifestation of a very primal occult belief in the final sacrifice. We have gone full circle — it was inevitable, but we had to do it. We had to kill the band so we could be reborn. It was the only way to ensure we could come back even stronger.”

The artwork, once again created by Oborn, is an extension of that theme; this is further solidified by the LP gatefold image, which will be revealed soon.

Electric Wizard, having just played Hellfest in France, have the following festival appearances lined up for 2014, with more shows to be added:

July 3 Roskilde, Denmark Roskilde Festival (Arena Stage)
July 4 Knebworth Park, UK Sonisphere (Stage headline)
August 16 London, UK Jabberwocky (The Excel Centre)
September 12 Valada, Portugal Reverence Valada (headline w/Hawkwind)
October 10 – 12 Antwerp, Belgium Desert Fest


Electric Wizard, Live at Hellfest, June 20, 2014

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Coltsblood Sign to Candlelight Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Hearty congratulations to  UK trio Coltsblood on aligning themselves with Candlelight Records for the release of their upcoming debut full-length, Into the Unfathomable Abyss. They made it pretty clear on their Beyond the Lake of Madness demo tape (review here) that they were in it for a considerable slog, and with the LP recorded by Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio, they’re likely to emerge with precisely that.

The announcement came through this morning, so by all means, dig in:

Candlelight Records sign UK monolithic doomers Coltsblood

Candlelight Records today announces the signing of UK monolithic doomers Coltsblood.

“Coltsblood is the sound of the past, the voices of ancestors, terrifying legends once roared with passion from around fires beneath open skies, fuelled by mead and ale; it is the darkest depths of the human mind and the great journey into the unknown of which we all face. Like Celts thundering into war, Coltsblood take up their weapons and summon colossal riffs loud enough for their ancient Gods to hear. Somewhere in the past, war drums thunder, there bellows a blood curdling cry, fires roar, terror resonates, there is freedom, death, life, meaning. Coltsblood feels the need to recreate the strength and power of these spiritual memories.

Coltsblood formed in Northern England in 2010 but did not surface until 2013 when a demo tape entitled ‘Beyond the Lake of Madness’ was self-recorded and released. Ulthar Records released this demo on vinyl soon after. Coltsblood spent months pillaging the lands, guzzling mead and sharing the stage with many greats within the UK underground as well as Indesinence, Vomitor and Watain. The band recorded and self-released another cassette tape, a four track split with Crypt Lurker which featured a cover of Celtic Frost’s ‘Procreation (Of The Wicked). During this time, the band earned a storm of reviews comparing the music with all genres from funeral doom to black metal and hailing Coltsblood as monolithic, crushing, filthy, bleak, melodic, devastating, other-worldly and horrific.

On the Full Moon of September 2013, Coltsblood entered Skyhammer Studio with Chris Fielding (Primordial, Winterfylleth, Napalm Death, Electric Wizard) and recorded its first full length entitled ‘Into The Unfathomable Abyss’ over the sacred Autumnal Equinox. The album was mastered by James Plotkin due to his extensive work with bands such as Khanate, SunnO))), Indesinence and Isis. Coltsblood was honoured to ask bassist/vocalist and artist Eric C Harrison to create exclusive artwork for the music due to a long time respect for the band Grief.

In 2014 Coltsblood sign to Candlelight Records for the release of ‘Into The Unfathomable Abyss’.”

“It is a sheer honour to sign to the mighty Candlelight Records and join an incredible roster featuring legends such as Orange Goblin and Emperor alongside many of the greatest bands in the UK and a diverse mix of extreme bands from all corners of the world, many of which we feel a real affinity with. Candlelight has been amazingly supportive and welcoming from the word go and we are looking forward to being a part of such a great label.”


Coltsblood, Beyond the Lake of Madness (2013)

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Frydee Earthen Grave

Posted in audiObelisk on June 14th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Earthen Grave, “Death is Another Word” from Earthen Grave LP

I’m still not sure about these new Bandcamp players, and by that I mean I hate them because I’m not used to them, but here we are. What was I gonna do, not end the week with “Death is Another Word,” the bonus track from the forthcoming Ripple Music reissue of Earthen Grave‘s Earthen Grave? Obviously that’s not an option.

So while what has become the standard purveyor of streaming music and direct-to-or-from-band commerce departs its earlier unintrusiveness in favor of the page-consuming behemoth you see above (ah, but you could choose one of the smaller players that oh wait no one can fucking see them because they’re terrible), I hope you’ll know I take consolation for the lost screen real estate in the form of Earthen Grave‘s melodic semi-traditional doom, which is brought all the more into focus approaching “Death is Another Word…” as a single. I don’t know when this was recorded in relation to the album, but it’s a cool sound and it’s interesting to think how Earthen Grave might’ve grown by the time their next album — which will presumably also show up on Ripple — surfaces. A million possibilities.

Among my own possibilities is that this weekend The Patient Mrs. and I buy a house. Got an offer accepted on a place and an inspection tomorrow, so pending what that turns up and yet another round of mortgage haranguing, I may yet wind up with somewhere to live by the time summer’s over. However that winds up, I’ll be up in Massachusetts, and barring disaster will head out to catch It’s Not Night: It’s Space, Queen Elephantine and Elder side-project Gold and Silver at P.A.’s Lounge in Boston, so whether I’m drowning my sorrows in riffs or celebrating the glorious future to come [NOTE:Actually, I had to turn around and head back home, so I drowned in I-95 traffic], I’ll at least be making the most of the drive from Jersey. A drive which is becoming a familiar staple of my weekends at this point and a drain on my overall energy level — in short a drive I look forward to not needing to make anymore.

I’ll let you know how it works out.

Next week, reviews of that show and the new Sabbath — we’ll doom like bastards — and a countdown of the Top 10 Albums of the Year so far, plus whatever videos, news, audio, etc. I can dig up. My plan is to head out Wednesday for Days of the Doomed III in Wisconsin next weekend. I’ve put in for the time off work(s), so we’ll see if both I and my car make there in one piece. I wouldn’t be reviewing that until the week after this one coming, obviously, but if I get the chance, I might throw up a picture or something. Or, since I’m not drinking, maybe I’ll just live-blog the whole thing. Again, a million possibilities. Let me get through tomorrow afternoon before I decide anything about anything.

Keep your fingers crossed for me and please have a great and safe weekend.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Cathedral, The Last Spire: Circle of Time Has Stopped

Posted in Reviews on May 24th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Whatever else you might want to say about Cathedral‘s catalog as it’s developed over the course of their massively influential more than 20-year run, the band has always made the album they wanted to make. Even during the British doom legends’ mid- and late-’90s period of wandering through the stoner rock wilderness — see 1996’s Supernatural Birth Machine and 1998’s Caravan Beyond Redemption — they didn’t wind up there by happenstance. Still, their legacy will always be for morose, stomping, thoroughly British doom, and it’s that side of their approach that their fans have most clamored for over the years. Their last studio outing, 2010’s The Guessing Game (review here), offered two discs of classic prog-influenced songs that asked much of their audience but offered much in return. Where the prior full-length, 2005’s The Garden of Unearthly Delights, had sought to marry some of the rock and doom sides together, The Guessing Game marked the band’s 20th anniversary with a bold and uncompromising progression of their sound. The results were never going to be as heralded as the band’s earliest works on landmark albums like 1991’s Forest of Equilibrium debut (presented in its entirety on the Anniversary live album; review here) or the subsequent offerings The Ethereal Mirror (1993) and The Carnival Bizarre (1995), but again, it was the album Cathedral felt compelled to write, and that was what mattered at the time.

Now Cathedral have called it quits, played their last live show, made their last video and the somewhat cleverly titled The Last Spire (released through Rise Above/Metal Blade) is reportedly to be their final album. One never knows for sure — surely over their time together the band must have amassed suitable fodder for rarities collections, live albums, greatest hits, cover records and so forth — but if it actually is the end of their run, The Last Spire is also the point at which the album Cathedral wants to make meets with the album that fans want to hear. It is an 56-minute victory lap that — far from actually sounding like one — presents eight songs of the dark, dreary doom that has come to be thought of as traditional in no small part because of Cathedral‘s crafting of it. The band’s lineup of vocalist Lee Dorrian, guitarist Gary “Gaz” Jennings, bassist Scott Carlson and drummer Brian Dixon present some progressive moments reminiscent of or at very least nodding toward The Guessing Game — the synth interlude that interrupts the sluggish lumber of “An Observation” comes to mind; David Moore‘s contributions of Hammond, Moog, synth and mellotron aren’t to be understated in establishing The Last Spire‘s murky atmosphere — but in their structure and in their intent, cuts like the early “Pallbearer,” “Cathedral of the Damned” and “Tower of Silence” underline the doomed feel for which Cathedral have become so known both in their home country and abroad. They are Cathedral at their most Cathedral. And rightly so. One couldn’t possibly hope for more of them than that.

The aforementioned trio occur sequentially following the intro “Entrance to Hell,” which finds Dorrian repeating the phrase “Bring out your dead” — which in my mind always goes right back to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but he sells it well — over suitably plague-addled atmospheres, with “Pallbearer” as the longest track on The Last Spire at 11:39 and marked aside from its strong hook by the backing vocals of Rosalie Cunningham behind Dorrian‘s signature semi-spoken delivery and the chorus of “War, famine, drought, disease” repeated to memorable effect. There’s a mournful acoustic break in the middle, but by and large, Jennings, Carlson and Dixon sound big, thick and threatening, and when the acoustics (backed by organ) give way to the resurgent groove and faster push of the song’s peak movement, the effect is fluid and entirely metal. They end slow and offer a more mid-paced distortion on “Cathedral of the Damned,” which is marked out by the spoken guest vocal by Chris Reifert of Autopsy and the line “Living in the shadow of a damned cathedral,” which may or may not be Dorrian dealing with his own legacy and the prospect of moving on after ending the band. Either way, it’s the riff and the buzzsaw guitar tone that stands out most as the band meet their longest track with the shortest full song (that is, non-interlude or intro), slamming head-on into the chorus as they do with no diminished returns on the subsequent “Tower of Silence,” the pair affirming Cathedral‘s potency on all levels as they round out The Last Spire‘s first half, whether it’s the vocals, Jennings‘ righteous solo, the heavy nod of the bass and drums, or the overarching catchiness of the chorus itself: “A tower of silence/Is waiting for me/Looming before/An astral sea.”

Read more »

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The Obelisk is Now on Twitter

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 8th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

It just wouldn’t be hypocrisy if I hadn’t said it’d never happen. Many things change in four years’ time, and I’ve signed up for a Twitter account for The Obelisk. What does this mean to you? Well, if you don’t use Twitter, probably not a whole lot. If you do, it means you can keep up with The Obelisk-y doings via that most brevity-inducing of social media platforms by using the image on the right or the link below:


I’ve never been an early adopter of this kind of technology, so if I’m late to the party here, you won’t find me claiming otherwise. Nonetheless, if you’re on Thee Twitters, I hope you’ll take a second to follow along with my many fumbles as I figure out how to use a hashtag — it’ll always be a pound sign to me — and all the rest of it.

Thanks as always for your continued support.

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Cathedral Post Horrific Video for “Tower of Silence” from The Last Spire

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 28th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Lee Dorrian ain’t no dummy. He knows what time it is. And if their new video for the track “Tower of Silence” from their forthcoming final album, The Last Spire, is anything to go by, it’s about doom o’clock. The UK legends seem to be enjoying their farewell, and why not? Dorrian, guitarist Garry “Gaz” Jennings and bassist Scott Carlson already have a new project in the works called Septic Tank, and they’ll make their live debut in May, so what the hell? Live it up a little in the meantime. Certainly a victory lap well earned over the last 24 years.

Assuming the tracklisting stays as it was in the release announcement late last year, “Tower of Silence” is the centerpiece of The Last Spire, surrounded by three tracks on either side. I don’t want to make predictions about the rest of the record having only heard this one track, but at very least it bodes well.


Cathedral, “Tower of Silence” Official Video

The final promo video from the final album by UK Doom Legends Cathedral. Thanks to all our friends, followers and supporters over the year. This is for you!

Inspired by classic cult British Film Institutions such as Amicus and Hammer House of Horror, “Tower of Silence” was shot on location during the British Winter of 2012 at Gunnersbury Park Tower, London. It features a guest appearance from Purson’s Rosalie Cunningham, who places a symbolic black orchid on the tombstone of each member in the clips closing scenes.

Directed by UK based Paraffin City Productions, Tower of Silence will be the last full production promo video ever made by this British Doom Metal institution and is taken from their final album, The Last Spire, out April 29th on RISE ABOVE Records.

The Last Spire is released in the following territories;

UK via Rise Above Records on April 29th 2013. www.riseaboverecords.com
USA via Metal Blade Records on April 30th. www.metalblade.com
Japan via Trooper Entertainment on May 1st. www.trooper.co.jp
Pre-order at iTunes from March 29th.
Die-hard vinyl editions will be available from the Rise Above webstore soon.

Lee Dorrian – Vocals
Garry Jennings – Guitar
Brian Dixon – Drums
Scott Carlson – Bass Guitar

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Alunah Join Sound of Liberation Roster; European Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 20th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Funny, I just last night had Alunah‘s “Oak Ritual” from last year’s White Hoarhound stuck in my head, and now here I am with an excuse to revisit the album. Having already reissued the full-length through Spinning Goblin Productions/Napalm Records, the naturalist British psych-doomers have announced a handful of tour dates as a result of joining forces with Euro-booking powerhouse Sound of Liberation. An announcement on that just came down the PR wire, as well as a link to where one fortunate enough to be within range of going can purchase a ticket to see Alunah at the 02 Academy in Birmingham with Saint Vitus and Mos Generator. Damn that’s a good show.

In case you were also looking for an excuse to revisit White Hoarhound, I humbly submit the following:


Alunah are proud to be working with Sound Of Liberation, the well respected booking agency will be handling all future European dates for Alunah, starting with dates in March, April and May. These dates mark Alunah’s first gigs outside of the United Kingdom.

Sound Of Liberation are the booking agency behind such events as DesertFest Berlin, Up in Smoke, Brainbanger’s Ball and Santa Psychedelia. Artists who Alunah will be joining on the roster include Ahab, The Atomic Bitchwax, Belzebong, Black Pyramid, Colour Haze, Fatso Jetson, Truckfighters and Ufomammut amongst many others.

European Alunah Dates:

Sound Of Liberation proudly presents the following Alunah dates. Please forward any European booking enquiries regarding Alunah to contact@soundofliberation.com or visit their website at www.soundofliberation.com. Booking enquiries within the UK should still be forwarded to info@alunah.co.uk.

31/03: Alunah, The Skeletons, Cultura Tres @ Les Combustibles, Paris
27/04: DesertFest Berlin @ Astra Kulturhaus – Berlin, Germany
28/04: Date TBC – email contact@soundofliberation.com for booking requests
29/04: Belzebong, Alunah @ Römer – Bremen, Germany
30/04: Ufomammut, Belzebong, Alunah + 1 TBC @ Club Puschkin – Dresden, Germany
01/05: Date TBC – email contact@soundofliberation.com for booking requests
02/05: Date TBC – email contact@soundofliberation.com for booking requests
03/05: Heavy Days in Doom Town Festival @ Ungdomshuset – Copenhagen, Denmark

Alunah will also be supporting St. Vitus in Birmingham at The O2 Academy on 13th March, reduced £10 tickets are available from Alunah’s Bandcamp!


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Altered States, with Dr. Space

Posted in Columns on November 29th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

In his latest column for The Obelisk, Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Danish psych jammers Øresund Space Collective takes us through a gem of obscure Japanese psychedelic heaviness, the 1987 debut LP No More Pain, by Tokyo trio Doom. Please enjoy:

Doom, No More Pain (Explosion Records EXP-HM283Q24)

DOOM were an amazing Japanese three-piece band that made some pioneering records in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. They were led by fretless bass player Koh Moroto, who sadly passed away in 1999. No More Pain was released only in Japan and came in April 1987. I received a copy on a promo tape earlier in the year and then the real vinyl copy arrived in April. I ran my own heavy metal fanzine called Metal Madness from 1984-1988 and followed the Japanese scene closely due to a good Japanese friend.

Anyway, I was totally blown away by this record and still am today. The band had previously released a 7” also on Explosion Records in 1986. This record starts off with the very intense, “Death to Wimp!” It has a slow looping Japanese drone, drum intro as the sound gets louder and louder and faster and faster then, bang – it just hits you full-force (especially if you have it cranked up loud!). Takashi Fujita was the brilliant riff master and psychedelic guitar solo deliverer and also the vocalist. The riff is heavy metal, thrash but then Takashi plays these really intense solos like in the slow part of this opening track which then suddenly switches after the slow section into Slayer-like thrash metal. Very intense stuff.

The record production is also really excellent and powerful. “Body No Body” starts with some really intense bass before the main section takes off at a fast pace. It is really the bass and intense time changes that drive this track. The solo section takes you to some otherworldly dimension as the sound floats over the top of the clear and intense bass lines. This was clearly way ahead of its time and some of the first what I would call psychedelic experimental metal. The spacey section in this track is just so cool. They had dynamics.

“I ‘m Your Junky Doll” is probably my favourite track on this record as it has this hypnotic rhythm and just cool strangeness to it and a killer guitar riff. Wow, what a powerful number. “Cry of You No Long Life” ends side A. The riff is very influenced by the fast songs of Slayer and Metallica of this era but has a really complex rhythm, amazing bass and dynamics. Again, Takashi plays some really psychedelic shredding and crazy guitar. You have to remember these guys were a three-piece and did not have two guitars so Koh, his bass playing is so powerful, they could just drive the tracks without the rhythm guitar when Takashi was soloing.

Flip the record over and you have the title-track, “No More Pain.” It starts slowly and quiet with a solo melodic guitar line, some ideas and things you hear on the first Dark Buddha Rising LP appear (I wonder if they ever heard this record) and the bassline comes in alone and then the band takes off with a massive intensity, but only briefly before a super-cool beautiful guitar section and an almost whispered vocal is mixed to a quite psychedelic effect.

Again, amazing dynamics. And the midsection is totally psyched-out with crazy guitar and voice and other effects, getting really intense before the beautiful parts return and repeat several times. “Iron Card” is a fast one with more cool bass and the band is tuned in a different way on this track, giving it a different sound. It is a bit like Motörhead almost at times. “Kick it Out” has a heavy riff and changing rhythm like Metallica, but they do it in their own way, and “Til Death” is a super-fast thrash number. Takashi returns with that really cool psychedelic guitar soloing sound that just lifts the solo out of the sound somehow.

This might not be for everyone but it was the first metal that I heard that I considered psychedelic. Two years ago, Victor in Japan rereleased four of the band’s CDs from the Killing Fields EP (1988) to Human Noise (1991). This record has still never been re-released. The CD is available in Japan with the first EP on it as well.

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