Doomstress Premiere “Burning Lotus” from Sleep Among the Dead out May 10

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

doomstress (Photo by thepassionoftherice)

Texas four-piece Doomstress make their full-length debut with Sleep Among the Dead on May 10 through DHU Records (LP) and Ripple Music (CD), and if it feels like it’s been an extra-long wait for the album’s arrival, that’s probably a result of all the touring the band has done since getting together in 2016. To the best of my recollection they haven’t gone out for two months at a time or anything like that, but there’s been a steady chipping away at various Stateside regions that’s kept momentum well on their side as they’ve issued engaging-if-frustratingly-not-an-LP releases like 2017’s The Second Rite (discussed here) and 2016’s Supernatural Kvlt Sounds (discussed here) EPs, and along with slots at fests like Descendants of Crom and Maryland Doom FestSXSW and others, they’ve done a lot of the kind of preliminary work that would go into supporting a record before even having the record to support. Sleep Among the Dead, obviously, flips that scenario, and arrives not late but right on time with seven tracks and 41 minutes of right on Lone Star doom rock that shows the band’s foundations in acts like Well of Souls and Project Armageddon in its early riffing on “Bitter Plea” or “Burning Lotus” and uses that uptempo initial thrust to launch a more varied exploration of mood and impact. As their lineup has solidified with bassist/vocalist Doomstress Alexis, guitarists Brandon Johnson and Matt Taylor, and drummer Tomasz Scull (Sparrowmilk, ex-Venomin James), the band has clearly grown more confident in their approach, as can be heard in the tempo drawback of “Dreaming Spider,” which follows the opening one-two punch and begins to introduce the breadth of the album’s full scope.

So be it. Band has worked. Band has album. Great. When it comes to what distinguishes Doomstress from the multitudes who also might fit that generalized description, one doesn’t have to look far. The guitar work on “Bitter Plea” and even more on “Burning Lotus” might take a listen or two to sink in, but ultimately serves as the heart of Sleep Among the Dead, and in kind with Alexis‘ voice — itself more assured and melodic than it’s yet been on a recording and a vital instrument doomstress sleep among the deadput to welcome use here — the guitars drive the songs forward. That’s not to take away from Scull‘s drumming or Alexis‘ bass work, obviously, but there’s a willingness to engage with heavy metal in the melodic sensibility that is purely Texan throughout, and it’s introduced early, but manifests even in the later leads of centerpiece “Your God is Blind” and the righteously grandiose hook of “Bones and Rust,” even as the title line is delivered at the end in harmonized layers that should be taken by the band as a blueprint for future intent — I don’t usually say shit like that, but it works really well and is not an idea to be left alone. This amalgam of doom, heavy rock and metal isn’t necessarily revolutionary, but it’s more than enough to give Sleep Among the Dead an identity of its own and leave the lasting impression of being what the EPs and steady touring were building toward — the album itself something of a payoff, never mind the chugging apex in the 7:53 penultimate cut “Apathetic Existence,” with a Sabbath-via-C.O.C. swing brought to bear after a doomly opening worthy of reminder that Doomstress‘ home state once produced Solitude Aeturnus.

As “Bitter Plea” and “Burning Lotus” set Sleep Among the Dead forth with uptempo thrust and a fervent rocking vibe, “Apathetic Existence” and the subsequent closing title-track bring the record down, way down, to its darker finish. There’s still plenty of guitar theatrics, and the chug in both songs ties them together effectively, but Doomstress leave little question about their intent that the record should push further into the ground as it goes, perhaps living up to its title in its realization through the listening process. That atmosphere is a further example of the real takeaway from Sleep Among the Dead as a whole, which is that Doomstress are not screwing around. Their level of craft, in terms of construction of this material and its execution, is well beyond the “first record” expectation of a band getting their feet wet or figuring out their sound. Doomstress are past that, and they took the hard way around, honing their approach on tour. That’s admirable, but the record would still need to stand up on its own, and so it’s doubly fortunate that Sleep Among the Dead does precisely that, answering the anticipation of its landing with a collection that’s dramatic without pretense, showy without indulgence and that despite the simmering performances throughout, still puts the songs first. Will Doomstress go on to outclass it? Maybe. They’ll have their work cut out for them in that regard, but that hasn’t stopped them yet. What’s more important for the time being is that Doomstress set themselves up for a big moment of arrival with their full-length debut, and Sleep Among the Dead lives up to that and then some.

My pleasure today to host the premiere of “Burning Lotus.” Please dig in on the player below.

And enjoy:

Doomstress Alexis on “Burning Lotus”:

“This was a rad one to work out in the studio, Tomasz really crushed it with that drum pattern and how it builds into the verse when the vocals kick in! It’s just a ripper of a track and top it all off with killer solos by Matt and special guest solo by Kent Stump of Wo Fat.”

Order Link: https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/sleep-among-the-dead

Order Link: https://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/product/doomstress-sleep-among-the-dead

Doomstress is:
Doomstress Alexis – Bass/Vocals
Brandon Johnson – Guitar
Matt Taylor – Guitar
Tomasz Scull – Drums

Doomstress website

Doomstress on Bandcamp

Doomstress webstore

Doomstress on Thee Facebooks

Doomstress on Instagram

DHU Records webstore

DHU Records on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

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Doomstress to Release Sleep Among the Dead LP April 30

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

doomstress

Fair enough to call Doomstress‘ debut album awaited since their second EP, The Second Rite (discussed here) came out in 2017 and they were already touring hard at that point. They stopped at some point last year long enough to record Sleep Among the Dead, however, and DHU Records and Ripple Music will have it out on vinyl and CD this Spring, respectively. Preorders for the LPs start on March 29, which is astonishingly not that long from now, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a song or two surfaced before the album itself shows up a month later. The art comes courtesy of Goatess Doomwych, and the tracklisting has been unveiled as well — you’ll note “Bitter Plea” included from the 2017 EP — and it seems like only a matter of time before the four-piece get back out on the road to support it, so stay tuned.

Info from the PR wire:

doomstress sleep among the dead

Doomstress to release debut full length album “Sleep Among the Dead” April 30th Walpurgisnacht

After releasing a 7″ in 2016 and a Split with Cleveland’s Sparrowmilk on DHU Records in 2017, the time has come for Doomstress to release their full length debut album titled “Sleep Among the Dead” on Limited Edition vinyl through DHU Records and on CD through Ripple Music respectively in this, The New Year of Heavy MMXIX.

“Sleep Among the Dead” was recorded amid the hectic and tense live touring schedule in 2018, and that intensity and raw energy you will hear and feel as you press play on this bad mother.

Musically and lyrically drawing from many wells of the dark side of life, personal experiences and the ever present doomed real world events, making this a deep seated Heavy Metal Doom monster from start to finish, mark my words!

Artwork for “Sleep Among the Dead” is done by the ever great Goatess Doomwych who also did the artwork for the Split with Sparrowmilk, side Doomstress, and it is a powerful piece.

Pre orders for the Doomstress – “Sleep Among the Dead” Limited Edition vinyl will go live Friday March 29th at 7PM CET

Official release date April 30th Walpurgisnacht

Available in following Editions:

-Burning Lotus Edition
(DHU Exclusive)
Limited to 90 copies
Single sleeve w/ 3mm spine
Flooded in black
Black polylined innersleeves
Double sided full color inlay
Artwork by Goatess Doomwych
Hand numbered DHU Exclusive card
Comes on Green/White Cornetto effect w/ Purple and Black Splatter 12″ vinyl

-Bones & Rust Edition
Limited to 150 copies
Single sleeve w/ 3mm spine
Flooded in black
Black polylined innersleeves
Double sided full color inlay
Artwork by Goatess Doomwych
Comes on Oxblood w/ Silver Splatter 12″ vinyl

-Test Press
Limited to 10 copies
Single sleeve w/ 3mm spine
Alternate artwork by Goatess Doomwych
White polylined innersleeves
Hand numbered
Hand stamped
Deluxe PVC sleeve
Black 12″ vinyl

Doomstress – Sleep Among the Dead (DHU032)

Side A
A1. Bitter Plea
A2. Burning Lotus
A3. Dreaming Spider
A4. Your God is Blind

Side B
B1. Bones and Rust
B2. Apathetic Existence
B3. Sleep Among the Dead

Doomstress is:
Doomstress Alexis – Bass/Vocals
Brandon Johnson – Guitar
Matt Taylor – Guitar
Tomasz Scull – Drums

www.doomstress.com
www.doomstress.bandcamp.com
www.doomstress.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DoomstressBand/
instagram.com/Doomstress_band
twitter.com/Doomstress
www.darkhedonisticunion.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://twitter.com/dhu_records
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Doomstress, “Bitter Plea” official video

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Doomstress Touring to Descendants of Crom, Doomed & Stoned and Heavy Mash Fests

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

doomstress

Science tells us that if you’ve got three festival appearances in the span of about two weeks, you should probably just make a tour of it. Accordingly, Texas heavybringers Doomstress are setting out on Sept. 25 for a round of shows that will take them to Descendants of Crom in Pittsburgh, Doomed and Stoned in Indianapolis and Heavy Mash in their home state. They’ll start out in Connecticut on the run and head into the Midwest for gigs in Michigan and Wisconsin and Missouri en route to finishing Oct. 13 in Arlington. Having had the chance earlier this year to see them at Maryland Doom Fest (review here), I’ll confirm they put on a killer set, though to be honest with the amount of touring they’ve put in at this point for a band who don’t yet have a full-length out, they damn well better.

And speaking of — Hey Doomstress, how ’bout a record, one of these days?

Maybe we’ll get there in 2019. Until then, there are fests to hit:

doomstress tour dates

Doomstress fall tour run will see the band playing 3 fests as well as dates w/Windhand, Satan’s Satyrs, Come to Grief & Sierra. The band continues to expand their tour reach and will play their 1st shows in the upper northeast.

Doomstress is also officially announcing the inclusion of touring guitarist Matt Taylor as a full member of the band on this tour and the trio will be joined by Spike the Percussionist (of Fiddle Witch & the Demons of Doom) handling drum duties for this tour.

9/25 New London, CT @ 33 Golden St.
9/27 Scranton, PA w/ Come to Grief & Curse the Son
9/28 Pittsburgh, PA @ Descendants of Crom Fest
9/29 Detroit, MI @ w/Sierra & Lucid Furs
9/30 Grand Rapids, MI @ w/Sierra
10/2 Milwaukee, WS @ Cactus Club
10/4 St. Louis, MO @ The Sinkhole
10/5 Indianapolis, IN @ Doomed & Stoned Fest 3
10/10 Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall w/Windhand & Satan’s Satyrs
10/13 Arlington, TX @ Division Brewing – Heavy Mash Fest

www.doomstress.com
www.doomstress.bandcamp.com
www.doomstress.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DoomstressBand/
instagram.com/Doomstress_band
twitter.com/Doomstress
www.darkhedonisticunion.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://twitter.com/dhu_records

Doomstress, “Bitter Plea” official video

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Live Review: Maryland Doom Fest 2018 Night Two, 06.23.18

Posted in Features, Reviews on June 24th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

maryland doom fest 2018 night two poster

This scene is staggering. In terms of enclaves of hard and heavy, Maryland doom might be rivaled only by Floridian death metal and New York hardcore for longevity, and I’m pretty sure neither of those dates back to the early ’70s. Think about that. For almost as long as there’s been an idea of “heavy,” there’s been Maryland doom. And the number of lifers in bands and out boggles the mind. At best, I’m an interloper here, and I’d never claim otherwise. Every year or two or three, I’m lucky enough to come down for a fest or something like that, poke my head around and be humbled by the spirit that lives in this place. To actually be a part of it? I can’t imagine.

Maryland Doom Fest has taken on the responsibility not only of representing its native creatives, but in providing the scene a bridge to the outside world as well. The second day of Maryland Doom Fest 2018 did like day one and branched out in geography and sound, the scope of the festival increasing each year even as it maintains its ties to the place whose banner it flies. There’d be plenty of doom, but noise and heavy rock as well, metal both tangible and intangible, and more besides. You bet your ass it’s overwhelming. Maryland Doom Fest comes but once a year. Gotta make it count.

Another rainy day in Frederick set the gray-sky tone for a bill that would start out dark and work its way to the murkiest finish of all with Windhand headlining. Here’s how it happened:

Electropathic

Electropathic (Photo JJ Koczan)

As with Unorthodox last night, the new band fronted by Gary Isom, guitarist in Weed is Weed and former drummer in Spirit Caravan, Pentagram, Valkyrie and others, is a cross-generational affair. Along with drummer Ronnie Kalimon (formerly of Asylum, Unorthodox, etc.), Electropathic features young bassist/backing vocalist Zak Suleri and lead guitarist Eli Watson, both of Et Mors, and with Isom in the frontman role, they ran through a set of classic Maryland doom. Defined in no small part by their lack of pretense, they seemed to still be feeling out where they were ultimately headed as a band. They formed in the back half of last year by all appearances, so while none of them is a stranger to the stage, they’re in the process of developing their chemistry and sound. Likewise, Isom was still internalizing his position at the fore — even in Weed is Weed, he’s off to the side of the stage. He held it down though and their riffs resounded like a clarion to the converted still making their way in — time to go to church, school, whatever. Just time to go.

Molasses Barge

Molasses Barge (Photo JJ Koczan)

Hailing and hauling from Pittsburgh, Molasses Barge reaffirmed the connection between Steel City and Maryland doom that’s been there since the days of Dream Death‘s original run and probably even before that. The five-piece released their self-titled album in 2017 on Blackseed Records and had songs from that and new material in tow, which frontman Brian “Butch” Balich announced from the stage saying drummer Wayne Massey “calls this one ‘Tin Snake,'” or something thereabouts (hard to read the notes, sorry if I’ve got the title wrong). Balich is a formidable presence on his own, as he’s proven over the years in Penance, Argus and most recently Arduini/Balich, and in Molasses Barge he sets his powerful voice the task of cutting through the low end tone rollout from guitarists Justin Gizzi and Chuck Forsythe and bassist Amy Bianco that, presumably is what gives the band its name. Classic heavy riffs and a touch of metal underpinning, they were unsurprisingly met with welcome by the early crowd, and brought out Iron Man frontman Dee Calhoun to co-front a cover of that band’s “On the Mountain” to pay righteous homage to founding guitarist “Iron” Alfred Morris III, who passed away earlier this year.

Shadow Witch

Shadow Witch (Photo JJ Koczan)

I said as much to vocalist Earl Walker Lundy after their set, but I’ve always sensed something a little weird in Shadow Witch. Across the Kingston, New York, four-piece’s two albums to-date, last year’s Disciples of the Crow (review here) and 2016’s Sun Killer (discussed here), there’s been an edge of something standing them out from the pack. Having now seen them live, I feel like I have a better sense of what it is. In no small part, it’s Lundy himself. He carries across his vocals with utmost conviction and purpose, and backed by bassist David Pannullo, guitarist Jeremy Hall and drummer Doug Thompson, he ran his voice through a range of effects and performed barefoot — a bravery in itself considering the amount of spillage I’ve seen on that stage over the last two days — as free in is movement physically as his voice was to carry across the songs. They dwell in a between-genre space and remaining excitingly difficult to classify, but what matters is they carried their passion over to the audience, who met it with welcome. Good band. Better band than people know. Better band than I knew.

Doomstress

Doomstress (Photo JJ Koczan)

Speaking of bands I should’ve seen already, I went into Doomstress‘ set with the distinct impression that their recorded material to-date has yet to do them proper justice. They tour regularly on week and week-plus runs and had been on the road for four nights already en route to Cafe 611, so it seemed likely the Houston four-piece would be on top of their game. Not to toot my own horn, but I was right. They’re a better band than they’ve shown on either of their short releases. It’s a question of balance in their sound. Not just between tonal heft and aggression/attitude or the commanding stage presence of Doomstress Alexis on bass and vocals with guitarists Brandon Johnson and Matt Taylor and drummer Buddy Hachar (also of Greenbeard), or of between the classic and the modern, but between the actual instruments themselves. The live wash of tone suits them, with Alexis‘ vocals cutting through, where on their recordings thus far there’s more separation of instruments. It’s dirtier live, and for the high quality riffs they play, that dirt fits really well. Especially coupled with the fact that their performance was so tight, it was like they were daring the crowd to match their energy level.

The Age of Truth

The Age of Truth (Photo JJ Koczan)

Another band it was my first time seeing (that’s five in a row!), Philly four-piece The Age of Truth had been hanging out all weekend and getting down with some shenanigans the first night of Maryland Doom Fest, but when they got on stage, it was all business. Well, mostly business. One seems to recall vocalist Kevin McNamara saying something before they went on about taking his shirt off and rubbing his nipples on the microphone — it didn’t happen, though it might’ve been an interesting bit of performance art; “what do those nipples signify?” and so on — but with the start of the set, he, guitarist Mike DiDonato, bassist Bill Miller and drummer Scott Fressetto launched into the most noise-rocking set the festival has thus far featured. Their blend of heavy rock groove and crunching tones and riffs made their Kozmik Artifactz-delivered debut, Threshold (review here), an aggro joy, and their live interpretation of those songs as well as the new cut “Palace of Rain” was all the more engaging for the ferocity of its realization. The slow-rolling-int0-quicker-shuffle of “Caroline” was a highlight, but I won’t take anything away from the impact of “Honey Pot” or anything else either. With an injection of melody into the newer stuff, they left some intrigue as to where they might be headed — a proper tease of something to watch for. It’ll be worth keeping an eye out.

Switchblade Jesus

Switchblade Jesus (Photo JJ Koczan)

Before Switchblade Jesus took the Cafe 611 stage, I was asked by Borgo Pass drummer and all-around-excellent-human-being Joe Wood what they sounded like. The first two words that came out of my mouth were “Texas” and “riffs.” To be fair, that’s not by any means all the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Eric Calvert, bassist/vocalist Chris Black and drummer Jon Elizondo have to offer, but if you’ve never heard them before, it’s a start. They made an encouraging self-titled debut (review here) in 2013 and followed up last year with a contribution to Ripple Music‘s The Second Coming of Heavy split series (review here), which took the foundation of that initial offering and expanded it significantly, pulling back on some of the burl in favor of a more nuanced approach. Their set in Maryland? With Calvert and Black sharing vocal duties and Elizondo pounding away behind, they rose to the occasion. In front of the stage, the crowd headbanged and raised fists and dug in nearly as much as the band itself, whose set was flawless near as I could tell. I’ve seen them twice now, been impressed both times, and could only expect that trend to continue for the next round, whenever that might be.

Foghound

Foghound (Photo JJ Koczan)

The weekend’s emcee, Dave Benzotti, choked up in reading his intro to Foghound, which also served as a remembrance of those the Maryland doom scene has lost over the last year, including bassist Rev. Jim Forrester of Foghound (also Serpents of Secrecy, ex-Sixty Watt Shaman, etc.), and reasonably so given the tragedy of the circumstances of his passing. The inevitability of that loss working its way into the current chapter of Foghound‘s life as a band was thick as the Baltimore four-piece got going, but if they were working toward catharsis, they were doing so with volume and intensity as their means. Their third album, Awaken to Destroy,on which Forrester performs bass and new bassist Adam Heinzmann contributes vocals alongside those of drummer Chuck Dukeheart III and guitarists Dee Settar and Bob Sipes, is done and in the can, and they played material from it both during their own set — the title-track — and afterwards through the P.A., which went unnoticed by many by Dukeheart later explained was a way to get Forrester‘s playing heard even if people didn’t realize they were hearing it at the time. As they also played with a portrait of Forrester signed by many with messages of love (I didn’t have the courage), his presence and absence were both deeply felt by the room, but the music was a fitting tribute and a comfort alike.

Cavern

Cavern (Photo JJ Koczan)

Prog prog prog. Also, prog. It’s fun to watch a band who so delight in being bizarre or outside the norm, and while local instrumentalists Cavern were for sure the odd men out on the bill, that suited them remarkably well and I can only imagine it wasn’t the first time they’ve found themselves in that position. Drummer Stephen Schrock played a kit with his toms out flat before him while Zach Harkins ran his guitar through one of the most elaborate pedal boards I’ve seen this weekend and still had room on stage for a Moog to add atmosphere to the intricate and complex songs they played. Denizens of Grimoire Records, they were a perfectly timed departure. Following Foghound with another straight-up rock band would only be doing said band a disservice, but Cavern were coming from somewhere else completely, so there was no real comparing the two outfits. A jolt to the flow of the night that only served Cavern well, since with all their looped parts, woven-through noise and underlying groove, “jolt” seemed to be the whole idea. It would be all-go riffing from here on out, but whether one considers them on their own merits or in the context of the Maryland Doom Fest 2018 lineup, their efforts toward the bizarre were duly appreciated.

The Watchers

The Watchers (Photo JJ Koczan)

The second Ripple Music act on the bill to have made the trip from the Bay Area behind ZED, four-piece The Watchers delivered one of the most professional sets I’ve seen so far this weekend. I mean, The Obsessed were pro-shop, right? And so were ZED, since they’ve been mentioned, but The Watchers had it all down — from riffs to looks to delivery to vocalist Tim Narducci and guitarist Jeremy Epp working the crowd with natural showmanship while bassist Cornbread and drummer Carter Kennedy locked in groove after groove of rock-solid heavy rock, playing selections from this year’s Black Abyss (review here) as well as the preceding EP, Sabbath Highway (review here). They had a near-commercial level of catchiness, but since that’s not a thing that exists anymore, I’ll just note that as much clear effort as they put into their presentation, the accessibility of the songs came from the songs themselves and the quality of their construction. Were they up there selling it? Absolutely. And kicking ass while doing so, but if the material itself wasn’t so strong the whole thing would’ve fallen flat. The foundation of the entire show was the material itself, and accordingly that show was an utter joy to watch.

Earthride

Earthride (Photo JJ Koczan)

I actually went back and looked up the last time I saw Earthride. It was at Days of the Doomed in 2012 (review here). I also recalled seeing them in Brooklyn in 2011 sharing the stage with When the Deadbolt Breaks, which was a noteworthy coincidence since that band’s guitarist/vocalist, Aaron Lewis, happened to be playing bass in Earthride, having joined just prior to the Maryland band’s just-ended tour with The Skull. Still, six years (and eight days) of not seeing Earthride? Far too fucking long. Dave Sherman, who’d been hanging out all weekend, took the stage in celebration of the welcome-home party that their set was, and with Lewis, guitarist Greg Ball and drummer Eric Little behind him, he held court for what was an absolute highlight of the fest as a whole. I’d been thinking of them as headliners the whole day, and while they didn’t play last, there was definitely a main-event feel going into their set, which started out with “Earthride,” boasted the new single “Witch Gun” (discussed here), the title-track to 2010’s Something Wicked (review here) and capped with “Fighting the Devils Inside You” from 2005’s sophomore LP, Vampire Circus (discussed here). Sherman held the audience and never relinquished his grasp on their attention, and the crowd was as switched on as I’d seen the whole fest. Like I said, they weren’t the headliners in name, but really, they kind of were. And rightly so.

Castle

Castle (Photo JJ Koczan)

Man, I want to hear Castle‘s new album. So bad. The core duo of bassist/vocalist Elizabeth Blackwell and guitarist/vocalist Mat Davis will issue that long-player through a yet-to-be-announced label, but they’re a touring band at their core. They get out. In talking to Davis after their set, he called their current stint a “quick one.” To put that in perspective, it’s a cross-country tour with 12 dates. I’m assuming what he meant was that it was nothing like the weeks-long voyages that will invariably follow the new full-length’s release, and I guess that’s fair, but 12 dates isn’t nothing either. Last time I saw Castle was Maryland Doom Fest 2016 (review here) as they were marking the release of that year’s Welcome to the Graveyard (review here), and though I knew it was coming, I was still blindsided by their intensity. Thrash, doom, classic metal, heavy groove and delighted pummel. Think of them as extreme traditional metal. They bring a classic sound to bear in their material — a number of classic sounds, actually — but have a ferocity to their execution of that which sets them apart from anything that might be considered “retro.” Coupled with the willful eeriness of their atmospheres and cultish themes, they can be all over the place, but that only makes them harder to pin down, and thus, all the more a thrill to watch. As the penultimate act of the evening, they were a last-minute kick in the ass before things got as far out as they would go, and though it had been a long day by then, Castle revived the spirit even as they seemed to herald its demise.

Windhand

Windhand (Photo JJ Koczan)
Windhand were the night’s headliner. They could’ve slinked in late, hid themselves backstage, got on, done their set, collected whatever there was to collect afterward and been on their way. Instead, the Richmond, Virginia, four-piece, who are arguably the most successful East Coast doom band of their generation and whose influence only continues to spread — trying to come up with another name and can’t; if you have one, I’d love to talk it out — hung around all day. They were back and forth through the venue, watching bands, meeting people, this and that. They had the option to take part or not to take part and they took part. And for a group at their level, on Relapse, having toured the world, etc., that’s not nothing. When they finally got on stage and got going, their fog-drenched riffs were as overwhelming as I remembered, and even though they’ve pared down from a five-piece, there was no discernible gap in volume from vocalist Dorthia Cottrell, guitarist Garrett Morris, bassist Parker Chandler and drummer Ryan Wolfe, who produced a soulful, lurching onslaught the likes of which Maryland Doom Fest had not yet known. Their new album, Eternal Return, was announced in April and will be released by Relapse as the follow-up to 2015’s Grief’s Infernal Flower (review here). No doubt it’s one of the most anticipated doom records for the rest of 2018 and whenever it rears its head will be yet another grueling landmark in a catalog that, at this point, teems with them while also constantly showcasing Windhand‘s progression. It was late, but in front of the stage was a press of humanity, and Windhand justified the urgency with a wash of volume and low end that was on a level all its own. A headlining slot well earned.

It’s almost 1PM on Sunday as I wrap this up and I still need to sort photos, shower and change clothes before I head out from Sparks to Frederick, so I’ll turn you over quickly to the pics after the jump and just say thanks for reading.

Because really, thanks for reading. More tomorrow, if you can believe it.

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The Obelisk Presents: Heavy Mash 2018, Oct. 13 in Arlington, TX

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on June 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

heavy mash 2018 poster

After being fortunate enough to have been asked last year, there was no way I wasn’t going to be up for having The Obelisk on board to present Heavy Mash 2018. The second edition of the Arlington, Texas-based festival will take place on Oct. 13 and feature a full day and a full lineup of all-killer heavy rock, doom, psych and whatnot, with Austin-dwellers Duel as the headliners on the heels of their 2017 sophomore album, Witchbanger (review here). In fact, when fest organizer Mark Kitchens — also of Stone Machine Electric — brought up the issue recently, my only question was whether the awesome frog from last year’s poster would make a return. To the benefit of all humanity, you can see clearly above that it has.

Duel sit atop the lineup with Californian imports Great Electric Quest and Dallas’ Mountain of Smoke, whose second album, Gods of Biomechanics, will be out July 7 and is an absolute crusher. As it turns out, Great Electric Quest are the only non-Texas band on the bill, as amid the roster of DoomstressStone Machine ElectricSwitchblade JesusOrthodox FuzzGypsy Sun RevivalWitchcryer and Dead Hawke, there isn’t one group that doesn’t call the Lone Star State home. I guess that’s what happens when the place you’re from is awash in creativity and, uh, huge. Just ask California.

The geographic theme at play only makes Heavy Mash 2018 more special, since Texas’ heavy underground is nothing if not worth highlighting, and no doubt at least some of the acts will have shared stages in the past, making it all the more of a party at Division Brewing, which once again will host the event and seems to just be asking for trouble in so doing. So much riffs. So much beer. I hope they have a good mop for afterward.

Get your ass to Texas:

The Obelisk Presents: Heavy Mash 2018

Oct 13 at 1 PM

Division Brewing
506 E Main St, Arlington, Texas 76010

After last year’s successful event, we are pleased to announce this year’s Heavy Mash! Once again, our great friend Wade hosts this event at Division Brewing in Arlington, TX on October 13th, 2018.

Nothing but heavy music and great beer! Here is this year’s line-up:

DUEL – 11pm
Great Electric Quest – 10pm
Mountain of Smoke – 9pm
Doomstress – 8pm
Stone Machine Electric – 7pm
Switchblade Jesus – 6pm
Orthodox Fuzz – 5pm
Witchcryer – 4pm
Gypsy Sun Revival – 3pm
DEAD HAWKE – 2pm

Duel, Witchbanger (2017)

Heavy Mash 2018 event page

Heavy Mash on Thee Facebooks

Division Brewing website

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Doomstress Touring to Maryland Doom Fest 2018 Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

doomstress

Supporting their NoSlip Records and DHU Records EP, The Second Rite (discussed here), Houston doom rockers Doomstress are once again hitting the road in June. The occasion is an appearance at Maryland Doom Fest in Frederick, MD, where they’ll play alongside Castle, Earthride (who rumor has it have a new bassist), Switchblade Jesus and headliners Windhand, and a host of others, but they’re also playing with a bunch of killer bands — who are both on and off the MDDF bill in their travels, including Josefus, in whose lineup Doomstress frontwoman Doomstress Alexis also plays, so check out the dates below and if they’re coming through, you know, buy some merch and whatnot.

Dates and details follow:

doomstress june tour poster

Doomstress announce ‘They Came from Texas! Tour in June to play Maryland Doom Fest and 2 shows w/Texas heavy rock pioneers Josefus!

Doomstress will have just wrapped up a tour in May but will be hitting the road again in June on the ‘They came from Texas! Tour’ to play Maryland Doom Fest 4. (Doomstress Alexis & Brandon played Maryland Doom Fest 1 w/Project Armageddon).

This tour will also include two direct support dates for late 60s heavy rock/proto-metal pioneers Josefus on their 1st ever shows outside of Texas!

Doomstress Alexis (bass & vox), Brandon Johnson (lead guitar) & Matt Taylor (lead guitar) will be joined by fellow Texan, Buddy Hachar of Greenbeard, pounding the skins for this tour!
Tour poster art by TriStarr (http://tristarr.art)

June Tour dates:
6/18 Mobile, AL @ Blind Mule
6/19 Chattanooga, TN @ Ziggy’s
6/20 Atlanta, GA @ 529 w/Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf
6/21 Raleigh, NC @ Local Band, Local Beer w/Demon Eye & Disenchanter
6/22 Charlottesville, VA @ Magnolia House
6/23 Frederick, MD @ Cafe 611 – Maryland Doom Fest IV w/Windhand, Castle, Earthride & The Watchers
6/24 Norfolk, VA @ Pourhouse of Norfolk w/Shadow Witch & Witchkiss
6/25 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie w/Goat Wizard
6/26 Canton, OH @ Buzzbin Bar w/Duel & Sparrowmilk
6/27 Ferndale, MI @ Zeke’s Rock N Roll BBQ
6/28 Kalamazoo, MI @ Shakespeare’s Lower Level
6/29 Chicago, IL @ The Hideout w/Josefus & PCW Syndicate
6/30 Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club w/Josefus & PCW Syndicate

Cheers- Doomstress Alexis & all at DOOMSTRESS

www.doomstress.com
www.doomstress.bandcamp.com
www.doomstress.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DoomstressBand/
instagram.com/Doomstress_band
twitter.com/Doomstress
www.darkhedonisticunion.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://twitter.com/dhu_records

Doomstress, “Bitter Plea” official video

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Doomstress Touring Midwest Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

doomstress

Doomstress ride again. Actually, that’s pretty much been the story of the band since the first time they rode. They’ve toured steadily since the release of their first EP 2016’s Supernatural Kvlt Sounds (video premiere here), which got a follow-up in last year’s The Second Rite (discussed here), issued via NoSlip Records and DHU Records.

Appropriately enough, the run starts and ends in Texas, heading up to Wisconsin and back between May 18 and May 26, and as they go out again, I still can’t help but wonder when we might see a full-length from them. Two EPs and numerous runs later, I don’t think anyone would say they aren’t ready or sounding like they’re not up to the task. Hell, they started out up to the task, even before all the touring. Maybe I’m just impatient. Scratch that. I’m definitely just impatient. Point stands.

Nonetheless, off they go:

doomstress may tour

Texas heavy metal doomers, DOOMSTRESS, will be rolling back out on the US highways for their 3rd tour in 2018 to support their “Supernatural Kvlt Sounds-The Second Rite” ep (released on cd via NoSlip Records and 12″ vinyl split w/Sparrowmilk via DHU Records)

The tour kicks off at the 11th annual Loud!Fest in Bryan/College Station, TX on Friday, May 18th, travelling as far north as Madison, WI and covering much of the central US region before it wraps up back in Alington,TX at Division Brewing.

DOOMSTRESS – May tour dates:

5/18-Bryan, TX at Loud!Fest @ Revolution Cafe
5/19-Oklahoma City, OK @ Blue Note
5/20-Albuquerque, NM @ Moonlight Lounge
5/21-Denver, CO @ Streets of London Pub
5/22-Omaha, NB @ Lookout Lounge
5/23- Madison, WI @ The Wisco
5/24-Lawrence,KS @ Replay Lounge
5/25-Little Rock, AR @ Vino’s
5/26-Arlington,TX @ Division Brewing

Doomstress is out supporting their latest release, Supernatural Kvlt Sounds: The Second Rite. The EP contains remixed versions from the original, very limited self release and 7″ DHU single, as well as new song “Bitter Plea” recorded at the end of the Wicked Summer tour and featuring additional rhythm guitar by guitarist Joe Fortunato (Sparrowmilk/Venomin James/ex-Ancient VVisdom). The artwork that will appear on both the CD & vinyl is by renowned psychedelic artist, Goatess Doomwych.

www.doomstress.com
www.doomstress.bandcamp.com
www.doomstress.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DoomstressBand/
instagram.com/Doomstress_band
twitter.com/Doomstress
www.darkhedonisticunion.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://twitter.com/dhu_records

Doomstress, “Bitter Plea” official video

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Doomstress Touring with Beerwolf in February

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

doomstress

Next month, Texas now-four-piece Doomstress will head out on tour in the company of Florida’s Beerwolf for a run through the Southern states. Normally here I’d write something about heading south for the winter, blah blah blah avoiding snow, but that doesn’t seem to be the way the universe works anymore. Nonetheless, Doomstress go in support of their new EP, The Second Rite (discussed here), which is out on DHU Records as the follow-up to 2016’s Supernatural Kvlt Sounds (video premiere here).

Doomstress have undertaken numerous tours since getting together about two years ago now, and one can’t help but wonder how much that process may or may not be playing toward progress on a debut full-length. With members coming from outfits like Venomin James, Project Armageddon and Well of Souls, there’s no lack of experience or pedigree behind them. Could be they’ve chosen to find their sound in front of an audience rather than in the rehearsal space, which is an admirable ethic, to be sure. I guess maybe I’m just anxious to hear how an LP from them might come across when they get there. Due time.

Tour dates came in from the PR wire:

doomstress beerwolf tour

Doomstress to Embark on Co-Headlining North American Tour with Beerwolf!

Houston, TX doom metal masters (and mistress) Doomstress will be hitting the road for an extensive North American tour starting in February. Joining Doomstress as co-headliners starting February 17th will be Florida’s Beerwolf. Here’s what Doomstress Alexis had to say about the upcoming tour:

“After playing with Beerwolf in Tampa, FL during our 2nd tour back in November 2016 and really hitting it off with these dudes, we are super stoked to have them touring across the southern US with DOOMSTRESS this February!”

Doomstress/Beerwolf North American Tour 2018
February 15 – Lafayette, LA – Freetown Boom Room (Doomstress Only)
February 16 – Hattiesburg, MS – The Tavern (Doomstress Only)
February 16 – Gainesville, FL – Loosey’s (Beerwolf Only)
February 17 – Mobile, AL – The Blind Mule
February 18 – Birmingham, AL – The Nick
February 19 – Memphis, TN – Growlers
February 20 – Oklahoma City, OK – Your Mom’s Place
February 21 – Arlington, TX – Division
February 22 – Austin TX – The Lost Well
February 23 – San Angelo, TX – The Dead Horse
February 24 – Houston, TX – Dan Electros
February 25 – New Orleans, LA – Santo’s Bar

Doomstress is out supporting their latest release, Supernatural Kvlt Sounds: The Second Rite. The EP contains remixed versions from the original, very limited self release and 7″ DHU single, as well as new song “Bitter Plea” recorded at the end of the Wicked Summer tour and featuring additional rhythm guitar by guitarist Joe Fortunato (Sparrowmilk/Venomin James/ex-Ancient VVisdom). The artwork that will appear on both the CD & vinyl is by renowned psychedelic artist, Goatess Doomwych.

www.doomstress.com
www.doomstress.bandcamp.com
www.doomstress.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DoomstressBand/
instagram.com/Doomstress_band
twitter.com/Doomstress
www.darkhedonisticunion.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://twitter.com/dhu_records

Doomstress, “Bitter Plea” official video

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