Dopethrone Release New EP 1312

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 31st, 2016 by JJ Koczan


Montreal doomscummers Dopethrone have issued a new EP titled 1312 as the follow-up to last year’s blazingly well received Hochelaga (review here) full-length. Unless I’m crazy, the trio were in Europe about a month ago and they’ll be back over there to play Smoke the Fuzz and more, continuing to destroy minds, reap souls, and all that other stuff that riffs do these days, and though likely a stopgap on their way to whatever’s next — more touring? another album? more likely both — fans could do a lot worse. They have a video for “Shot Down,” but frankly, the cover art for the EP is NSFW enough. Only so many titties I’m willing to post per day. Take that, patriarchy.

Oh yeah, and the download is free. From the PR wire:

dopethrone 1312

Montréal’s sludge blues trio DOPETHRONE hit hard once again, with the 100% free release of their new EP “1312” on Riff Dealer Records. This 3-track joint also comes with the intoxicating video for “Shot Down”.

DOPETHRONE’s new EP “1312” was written and recorded in the winter of 2015, and serves as a transition between the band’s largely acclaimed fourth album “Hochelaga” and their next full-length. The video for “Shot Down” features live footage and behind the scenes from the many festivals and clubs they have played in Europe and the U.S this year.

1. Shot Down
2. Drifter
3. Skag Reek
– Artwork by Alexandre Goulet –

After three records that have knocked out all sludge and doom fans across the globe, Canada’s insane weed-laden trio DOPETHRONE returned in 2015 with their fourth album “Hochelaga” – named after the band’s dodgy neighbourhood in Montréal. “Hochelaga” is simply their most infectious effort to date, which has been widely acclaimed by the international critic. Despite a severe leg injury for guitarist/vocalist Vince that led the band to cancel many shows, 2016 has been a very productive year for the band, who released a split record with US doom merchants Fister and the “1312” EP, as well as bringing their dirty grooves to many European and North America cities through an extensive summer and fall tour.

06.09 – Köln (DE) @ Sonic Ballroom
07.09 – Amsterdam (NL) Winston Kingdom
08.09 – Newcastle (UK) @ Cluny*
09.09 – Edinburgh (UK) @ Studio*
10.09 – Bolton (UK) @ Alma Inn*
11.09 – London (UK) @ Underworld*
17.09 – Athens (GR) @ Smoke the Fuzz Fest w/ Yob, Bongzilla, Sons of Otis…
23.09 – Québec (CA) @ Considered Dead Fest
24.09 – Trois-Rivères (CA)
27.09 – Montréal (CA) @ Katacombes
29.09 – Sherbrooke (CA)
30.09 – Toronto (CA) @ Music For The Masses w/ Sons Of Otis
*w/ GURT

Dopethrone, 1312 EP (2016)

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Midnite Communion III: Midnight Masquerade Dates and Lineup Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 14th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

floating heads

Seems a little strange that Midnite Collective‘s Midnite Communion III: Midnite Masquerade fest this Nov. will take place in Long Beach, California, which is kind of the place on earth with the nicest weather ever, but if there was a lineup to darken a sky, this would seem to be it. The lineup boasts the likes of Buried at Sea, Morne, Church, Unearthly Trance, Beneath Oblivion and others, and the uniting factor seems to be an extremity of sludge and doom. Not sure what the Empire Ballroom of The Breakers in Long Beach is like, but the atmosphere will likely darken with an art show and the onslaught of distortion and volume.

Dig it if you dare:

midnite communion iii midnite masquerade


Upon this third-annual celebration of dark arts, crafts, and music, Midnite Collective has gathered seven artists from around the world, eight bands from the far reaches of North America, and with the help of Below (a curator of all things beautifully gloomy) brought together a gifted group to fill our Craft Gala*. Now spanning two evenings, Communion III: Midnite Masquerade will host an elegant mass on Friday, November 13th to continue the evening of Saturday, November 14th within the Empire Ballroom of The Breakers in Long Beach.

Midnite Collective’s Announcement & Invitation follows…

It is our esteemed privilege to present:

Curated by Midnite Collective

with Live Performances from



Featuring Original Artwork by

Brandon Holt
Glyn Smyth
Rotten Fantom
Jason Barnett
& Photo Narrative by
Steph Cammarano

With surprises still to come..

Please Note: Capacity is extremely limited in this unique venue, creating an intimate environment to experience this ceremony. Thus, there will be no door sales once reservations sell out online.
All attendees must be over 21 and no regrets will be issued.

* Craft Gala is on Saturday only with full art exhibit free of charge; this portion of the event is all-ages and has extended hours beginning at 4pm until 10pm in a room apart from the musical portion of the evening.

Tickets are on sale now RIGHT HERE.


Atriarch, Live at Midnite Communion II

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Quarterly Review: Bubonic Bear, The F.T.W., Seremonia, JPT Scare Band, Libido Fuzz, Dopethrone, The Moth, War Iron, Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, Red Mess

Posted in Reviews on April 3rd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

Here we are, the final day of The Obelisk’s Quarterly Review. I won’t lie and say it’s been easy this whole time, but the challenge has been worth it. Will I do another one? I guess that depends on how backed up records get. Even with all of this, I haven’t managed to fit in everything, so yeah, it doesn’t seem unlikely I’ll wind up with fodder for more of this kind of thing. Once again, not at all a hardship to have people interested enough in having me write about their music to send it to me. Not at all something I’m going to complain about.

Thanks to everyone who’s taken the time to read or share the link or whatnot, and of course to bands and labels for caring enough to send the music.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Bubonic Bear, Shaved Heat


In and out of their three-song Shaved Heat tape in under 10 minutes, one could hardly accuse Philly guitar/drum duo Bubonic Bear of being overly elaborate in their approach, but the tracks, particularly closer “Clean,” drive home their post-hardcore rawness with suitable intensity. No frills, just impact. Vocals are raw shouts and the blue tape, which is limited to 50 copies through Bastard Sloth Records, has a kind of avant garde charm, underground in the house-show sense and mean, mean, mean, but probably nice enough to talk to. “Chlorine,” “Witch Pyle” and “Clean” are arranged shortest to longest, but all three hover around three minutes and tear into frenetic turns and let’s-call-it-spirited pummel. Andrew and Dustin, the pair involved, have a slew of EPs and splits and one full-length under their belt, and their six-plus years together are evident in the sheer fact that they can execute material so chaotic without having it fall apart under their stamping feet.

Bubonic Bear on Thee Facebooks

Bastard Sloth Records

The F.T.W., Vendetta Kind of Mood


From its biker chug to its unabashed confrontationalism and attitude-laced approach to songs like “Who Crowned You King” and “Axe to Grind,” The F.T.W.’s Vendetta Kind of Mood just screams oldschool New York. Not the New York that’s the family-friendly (as long as you’re rich) center of the fashion world, but the New York that was really eager to tell you about how it was going to kick your ass, if not actually do so. The 10-track vinyl self-release is clean in its production and straightforward structurally, but has a gritty undercurrent anyway, showing some thrash (or is that NYHC? So hard to tell sometimes) influence in “Bleed Out” and a bit of rawer punk in “Billy Bats,” though they wait till the closer to actually extract a “Pound of Flesh,” which they slice with a choice solo and some Judas Priest riffing from guitarist TheMajor Nelson, joined in the trio by bassist/vocalist Michael Dolan and drummer Jason Meraz. Something tells me they’re not abbreviating “for the win.”

The F.T.W. on Thee Facebooks

The F.T.W. on Bandcamp

Seremonia, Kristalliarkki

seremonia kristalliarkki

Kristalliarkki is the third offering from Finland’s Seremonia on Svart Records, and while all of their albums have thrilled in that quiet, warm-toned, psych-proto-ritual kind of way, the crystal ark is where it’s at. The record lands big with penultimate 14-minute sprawler jam “Kristalliarkki I,” open enough to set down a blanket and have a picnic next to the tree line, but before they get there, the five-piece of vocalist Noora Federley, guitarists Teemu Markkula and Ville Pirinen drummer/flautist Erno Taipale and bassist Ilkka Vekka vibe out fuzzy hypnosis on eight shorter native-language tracks, otherworldly from the word “go” and held together with a glue of ‘70s-style shufflebuzz on “Lusiferin Lapset” and the quick bouncer “Kuolema Voittaa” that beg to be dug on repeat visits. At just 1:14, “Kristalliarkki II” taps punker soul to close out with a sudden finish that leaves one wondering what the hell just happened, and no doubt that’s exactly what Seremonia had in mind.

Seremonia on Thee Facebooks

Seremonia at Svart Records

JPT Scare Band, Acid Acetate Excursion & Rape of the Titan’s Sirens

jpt scare band acid acetate excursion and rape of the titan's sirens

A twofer! Kansas City acid rockers JPT Scare Band Jeff Littrell (“J”), Paul Grigsby (“P”) and Terry Swope (“T”) – dig into their archival material to couple their first two records, Acid Acetate Excursion and Rape of the Titan’s Sirens, for Ripple Music. Both were recorded in the ‘70s but not released until 1994 and 1998, respectively, and the trio’s blown-out heavy continues to wear its years well, the bluesy fire in Swope’s guitar work leading the way through 81 minutes of long-range jams and classic vibes, still underrated after all these years. The second record has more bite tonally than the first, the recording is rougher, but I won’t take anything away from the force behind the 13-minute “King Rat” from the debut either. Think of it as an archival release more than a reissue, and if you haven’t yet been introduced to JPT Scare Band, think of the vinyl as an educational expense.

JPT Scare Band website

Ripple Music

Libido Fuzz, Kaleido Lumo Age


Bordeaux trio Libido Fuzz trip out pretty hard on heavy ‘70s influences, but I feel like their Kaleido Lumo Age debut LP (on Pink Tank Records) is all the more praiseworthy for the simple fact that it doesn’t sound like Graveyard. Casting off much of the blues that seems to have afflicted so many the world over, Thibault Guezennec, Pierre-Alexis Mengual and Rory O’Callaghan dip back maybe a couple years before ’71, let’s call it ’68, but filter the Hendrix and The Who influences through modern tonality, which means that a boogier like “Raw Animal” and the proto-stoner shuffle of “Enter the Occult” satisfy in concept and execution. Each of the evident two sides caps with a cut past the eight-minute mark, and both “Redemption of the Bison” and album closer “Haight Ashbury” offer significant heavy psych immersion, though it’s the side B finale that ultimately wins out thanks to its second half journey into noise wash, lysergic swirl, last-minute nod and epilogue of birdsong-esque feedback.

Libido Fuzz on Thee Facebooks

Libido Fuzz at Pink Tank Records

Dopethrone, Hochelaga

dopethrone hochelaga

Filth-caked Montreal trio Dopethrone eat crust and shit riffs on their Totem Cat-released fourth record, Hochelaga, coating themselves in backpatch-worthy tone and throat-searing screams that would do Bongzilla proud. Weedian scummery through and through. Save for “Dry Hitter,” each of Hochelaga’s seven tracks starts with a sample, as if to emphasize the utter stoner fuckall with which Dopethrone – guitarist/vocalist Vincent, bassist Vyk and drummer Borman – execute their rolling grooves and lumbering viciousness once it kicks in. “Sludgekicker,” “Vagabong” and “Riff Dealer” tell the tale, and the record’s 40 minutes play out in largely unipolar but universally righteous fashion, “Scum Fuck Blues” summing up the ethic nicely with the line, “Smoke, drink, die.” Dopethrone make a show of their rawness, but Hochelaga’s fullness of tone and clarity of aesthetic speak to an underlying sense of knowing what they’re doing, and a record this cohesive doesn’t happen by accident, much as it might be telling you otherwise. That doesn’t mean they’re not also high as hell, just that they can keep it together.

Dopethrone on Thee Facebooks

Dopethrone on Bandcamp

The Moth, And Then Rise

the moth and then rise

A presumed sequel to their 2013 debut, They Fall, Hamburg trio The Moth‘s sophomore full-length, And Then Rise, pulls off heavy rock ethics with a heavy metal sense of purpose and basks in an overarching tension throughout its nine tracks. Fast or slow, doomed or thrashing, cuts like “Battle is Over” and “Travel Light” carry a progressive feel to match their hooks, later doomers like “Slowly to Die” and closer “Fire” – which hides a bonus track in its span – holding onto the tightness even as the relinquish in terms of pacing. Dark atmospherically but brazenly intricate, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Freden, bassist/vocalist Cécile and drummer Tiffy are never showy or putting on a technical clinic, but everything seems to be geared toward the purpose of enhancing the songs, which of course is the ideal. Because the sound is so condensed, it might take a couple listens for And Then Rise to sink in – not saying the chug of “Last Times” doesn’t also have immediate appeal – but The Moth’s genre-bending compositions prove worth the active engagement.

The Moth on Thee Facebooks

The Moth on Bandcamp

War Iron, Precession of the Equinoxes

war iron precession of the equinoxes

I’m pretty sure War Iron could play fast and it would still sound slow. They don’t really try it. Deep, deep low end is cut through by indecipherable-but-get-their-point-across-anyway screams on the Northern Irish four-piece’s third album, Precession of the Equinoxes, which plods out a grueling extremity of doom across its four included tracks, the shortest of which is the 7:37 “Summon Demon Scream the Abyss,” a harsh ritual of sonic heft and disaffection well met by its compatriots, from the churning opener “Bludgeon Lord,” to the title-track – which actually does up the pace somewhat, relatively speaking (and yes, it still sounds slow), and only temporarily – which crushes hopes and eardrums alike leading into the closer “From Napalm Altar,” a final affirmation of the deathly miseries at heart in War Iron’s approach, vocalist Baggy going high-low with screams and growls over the Ross’ guitar, Dave’s bass and Marty’s drums. It is a fearsome and challenging listen.

War Iron on Thee Facebooks

War Iron on Bandcamp

Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, Earth Hog


Guitarist/vocalist Owen Carty, formerly of underappreciated, coulda-been-contender sludge rockers Dopefight, lends his riffy services to the cumbersomely-named trio Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters (also stylized all-lowercase), who make their debut with the self-released five-song Earth Hog EP. Bassist Will Hart and drummer Mark Buckwell swing heavy and land hard on the opening title-track, and there’s not much letup from there, wah bass and cowbell leading to some fervent stomp in the second half of “Chopsticks and Bad Meatballs,” which starts out as a punk song, and “Devil’s Buttermilk” brazenly tackling Southern riffing without the chestbeating that way, way too often accompanies. More cowbell there too, because if you’re going to do something, overdo it. “Mother Chub” and “Riff Richard” close out, the latter with a slowdown that emphasizes the point: the kush may be bad, but the riffs are primo. Silly name or not, I’ll take this shit any day of the week, and considering Earth Hog was recorded in a living room, I have the feeling it’s only going to get louder from here. Right on.

Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters on Thee Facebooks

Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters on Bandcamp

Red Mess, Drowning in Red

red mess drowning in red

With a sense that they’re continuing to feel out where they want to be sonically, Brazilian three-piece Red Mess follow-up last year’s Crimson EP (review here) with the newly-issued two-tracker Drowning in Red – apparently working on a theme chromatically – the cuts “Daybreak’s Dope” and “Ready to Go” impressive in performance and tone as guitarist/vocalist Thiago Franzim shreds out on the latter atop Lucas Klepa’s bass and Douglas Villa’s speaker-popping kick. Each song has a markedly different approach, with “Daybreak’s Dope” topping seven minutes via a Sleep-style rollout while, true to its title, “Ready to Go” seems to have no interest in holding its shuffle still. Pairing them shows sonic breadth, and in the case of the second, a bit of ‘70s influence to coincide with what they showed on Crimson, though the results will still ultimately be familiar. They’re making progress, though, and their cohesiveness and catchiness through stylistic shifts is encouraging.

Red Mess on Thee Facebooks

Red Mess on Bandcamp


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Dopethrone Release Hochelaga in April on Totem Cat

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2015 by JJ Koczan


Montreal sludge trio Dopethrone will release their fourth album, Hochelaga, on Totem Cat Records in April. They have a quality-over-quantity round of European tour dates booked to celebrate, slots included at Desertfest in London and Berlin as well as Heavy Days in Doomtown and shows with Eyehategod and Acid King. I’m also interested to find out if their noted-but-not-specified Los Angeles appearance in November is a part of a festival — as I recall, the Day of the Shred was around that time last year — or just a regular one-off gig. Would be a long way to go for a club show.

Hochelaga will be out by then, but it’s still in preorders for now. Link, album info and trailer follow, courtesy of the PR wire:

dopethrone hochelaga

Canada’s sludge legends DOPETHRONE to release new album this April on Totem Cat Records!

Montréal-based DIY filthmongers DOPETHRONE finally return this spring with their heaviest album to date! “Hochelaga” is slated for vinyl and digital release on April 13th via independent label Totem Cat Records. Get whatever substance you may need ready, hide your daughters: they’re back…

After they have mercilessly pounded eardrums and spread their groove-laden lunacy on an international scale with three widely acclaimed eargasmic LPs, it is finally time for one of North America’s filthiest weed-infused doom acts DOPETHRONE to take over your households once again. Named after their ghetto stronghold in Montréal, this fourth record betokens DOPETHRONE’s determination to stir up even more trouble and take their sonic power to a higher level.

Enjoy yourselves now and prepare for the takeover with the album’s official trailer.

“Hochelaga” is due out April 13th on Totem Cat Records
Pre-orders on February 2nd via

Track Listing:
1. Sludgekicker
2. Chameleon Witch
3. Vagabong
4. Scum Fuck Blues
5. Dry Hitter
6. Bullets
7. Riff Dealer
Artwork by Alexandre Goulet

The riff comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s clean, catchy and elegant. Sometimes it’s filthy, grimy and about as elegant as a sledgehammer to the sternum. DOPETHRONE is the latter. This D.I.Y trio from Hochelaga, Montreal’s trashiest ghetto, wallows in smoke, demons, death, the occult and enough psychotropic drugs to send both Hunter S. Thomspson and William Burroughs on one hell of a trip. Delivering some of the filthiest, most skull-crushing riffs drenched in distortion and fuzz, they encompass the bleakness of black metal, the steadfastness of New Orleans-style sludge with a heavier-than-thou doom mentality. Riffage is thick, punishing, suffocating and destructive and demonic vocals are harsh, visceral and animal-like for tunes dripping with pervasive THC. DOPETHRONE take over doom and view it through a crusty lens, and that perspective rise the genre to new heights of sonic filth.

After they released their first LP “Demonsmoke” on STB Records, the band unleashed “Dark Foil” via Totem Cat Records in 2011, then got invited to Roadburn Festival in 2012 by festival curators Voivod. The performance was followed by the release of third album “III”, in support of which the trio toured Europe two times. Montreal’s distortion-powered sledgehammer DOPETHRONE is set to be back in 2015 with a fourth heavier and most of all thrashier full-length… The band will perform at DesertFest London and Berlin and Heavy Days In Doomtown this spring, and will make their very first appearance in Los Angeles for a special performance in November !

In support of the release, DOPETHRONE will play some of the best heavy festivals this spring, including a bunch of club shows in the rest of Europe. More dates to be announced soon, including North American dates.

22.04 – LYON (FR) MJC Ô Totem w/ EyeHateGod
23.04 – STRASBOURG (FR) Molodoï w/ EyeHateGod
24.04 – LONDON (UK) Desertfest London
25.04 – BERLIN (DE) Deserfest Berlin
28.04 – PARIS (FR) Glazart w/ Acid King & Black Cobra
30.04 – ATHENS (GR) An Club w/ Belzebong
01.05 – COPENHAGEN (DK) Heavy Days In Doomtown
03.05 – HAMBURG (DE) Hafenklang

Vince – Guitar & Vocals
Carl – Drums
Vyk – Bass


Dopethrone, Hochelaga album trailer

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Desertfest London 2015 Adds Noothgrush, Black Cobra, Minsk and More to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 17th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

desertfest banner

Desertfest teased this announcement yesterday, and since Human Disease Promo/When Planets Collide have put together a stage at each of the past fests, that they’d do so again at Desertfest London 2015 isn’t a huge surprise, but still, they’ve acquired some killer acts to fill it out. The reactivated Minsk will apparently make a trip overseas next April, and Black Cobra will return to Desertfest after playing at the Underworld last year. Add Noothgrush on top as headliners and DopethroneAgrimonia and Walk through Fire to round it out and it’s safe to say Desertfest London won’t be lacking for sludge next year.

The PR wire put it like this:



Like every year, London promoters When Planet Collides and Human Disease Promo will be curating a stage at The Underworld, hosting some of the most crushing and bleak riffage on the whole festival. Let’s all welcome the mighty NOOTHGRUSH, MINSK, BLACK COBRA, DOPETHRONE, AGRIMONIA and WALK THROUGH FIRE at DESERTFEST LONDON 2015, taking place on April 24-26th in Camden.

Already confirmed:

Human Disease Promo / When Planets Collide Stage

For the fourth year running, Camden will be hosting one of the most exciting stoner/doom/sludge/psyche gatherings in Europe, for a full weekend of fuzzed-out tunes, psychedelia and partying. As the first headliner of this 2015 edition, American stoner rock pioneers SLEEP will be treating the Desertfest crowd to the finest smoked-out odysseys, with an exclusive headlining set at London’s famous venue Koko. Also headlining, Portland’s heavy rock’n’rollers RED FANG are set to turn this fourth edition into a massive metal celebration. The ground is set to tremble once again this year, with UK metal heavyweights ORANGE GOBLIN delivering their fiery metal anthems for a one-off 20th anniversary performance. It’s very rightfully than German psych foursome MY SLEEPING KARMA will be perfectly embodying the cosmic side of the lineup.

This new announcement with cult North-American outfits NOOTHGRUSH, MINSK, BLACK COBRA and DOPETHRONE, as well as Sweden based AGRIMONIA and WALK THROUGH FIRE is giving our 2015 lineup the blackened twist that is expected by all sludge and doom worshippers each year. Impending earthquake in Camden…

Noothgrush, Live at Maryland Deathfest 2014

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Friday Full-Length: Electric Wizard, Dopethrone

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 9th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Electric Wizard, Dopethrone (2000)

The Patient Mrs. and I were walking around Ikea tonight, basking in the mediocre consumer hell that is our 30s and looking for a shelf I can put LPs on, since apparently I have enough now to warrant one — also a lamp because with the time change it gets dark in my office before I’m done working — and I couldn’t get Electric Wizard out of my head. They seem to be an immediate go-to association for those moments when you most want to say fuck everyone and everything and drop completely out of society. Ikea on a Friday night will do that.

Then we went to the Costco.

Suburbs, man. Some harsh shit.

I’ve always hated Ikea, and I feel like the worst part is I can’t really complain — we got both a lamp and a shelf, as well as a whole load of oh-yeah-we-totally-need-this bargain bulk crap at Costco. If we get snowed in tomorrow and are stuck until June like in The Shining, I’ll have enough deodorant to get me through. That’s not really something I worry about, but unit prices exist whether you want them to or not and I’m not in a position to be throwing money around willy nilly to not stink. There are bills to pay.

So although we were listening to the much more peaceful Papermoon Sessions collaboration between Papir and Electric Moon — which I’ll be reviewing next week along with Lumbar, or EYE, or Corrections House or whatever it is I find myself wanting to hear because god damn it that’s how I pick records these days — the Wizard were on my mind and I figured Dopethrone was a decent enough cap to the evening. So far so good.

Other than the big box surroundings in that, which was the early going, it was hardly an unpleasant night. I feel lucky when I get to spend real time with The Patient Mrs. that isn’t me working at my desk and she working at hers or the two of us too tired to have an actual conversation, and we got dinner afterwards — she called me interesting! — and I’m looking forward to a relatively low key weekend ahead of what will be a busy week to come, with shows on deck from Blaak Heat Shujaa and Devil to Pay and maybe High on Fire, at least two, maybe three nights in a row.

On that subject, toward the end of next week I’ll probably have few posts up, since Postman Dan — you may recall my travel partner out to Days of the Doomed or know him because he’s generally awesome and seems to know everyone anyway — is flying in on Thursday from Michigan. It wouldn’t really do to be like, “Hey dude, glad you’re here, but I gotta go review some shit for like three hours so I’ll talk to you later. Good to see you though.” Not that I doubt he’d be fine on his own, it’s just rude.

Plenty with which to stay busy through all that though, and I’ll probably find some room in there to talk about some records, tapes, CDs, whatever format it might be. When the Deadbolt Breaks also have a new video that I’ll be posting and there’s a lot of other stuff to come as well, so please stay tuned.

And in the meantime, as always, have a great and safe weekend. Enjoy the Electric Wizard (I know I am), and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Buried Treasure: Cheap Thrills and Soundcentral in Montreal

Posted in Buried Treasure on July 26th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Had I been there longer than two days, I probably would’ve visited more shops than I did, but as it was, two weeks ago, The Patient Mrs. and I escaped to Montreal for a couple days and as is my habit in places I’ve never been before, I decided to do some CD shopping. I asked and was immediately given many helpful pointers on Thee Facebooks, and that was excellent, but again, with limited time, limited funds and a limited ability on my part to be like, “No honey I don’t want to go take a walk by the river I want to go sift through musty record stores,” I picked the two that showed the most immediate promise: Cheap Thrills on Metcalfe St. and Soundcentral on Rue Coloniale.

Cheap Thrills was first since it was closer to where I was staying. Located on the second floor of its building — an older structure surrounded by taller, newer ones, it looks a little bit like something out of a time warp — getting there required a walk up a staircase that was warped almost to the point of psychedelia but proved to be worth the risk. A table of used paperbacks outside the door provided greeting and inside, a varied selection of vinyl and CDs and more books (half the store was dedicated to books, half to music) awaited perusal. The LPs looked like the way to go, but I wasn’t looking to pick up vinyl and so, finding nothing in metal, waded through the retro section hoping for Chicken Shack or some other heavy ’70s obscurity.

There were a couple that piqued my interest, but nothing so much so that I actually bought it. Tapes were behind the counter and I looked at some of them as well, but well, it was early, I was only halfway through my coffee and barely awake. It wasn’t until I found the cheapo bin — three discs for $5 — that I started to really feel inspired. Going for some local flavor, I grabbed the 2007 Blackhorse full-length from native dronegazers Aun, and was dumbfounded when I stumbled on a copy of the 1999 outing from Floridian sludgers Cavity, Supercollider. Not only was it that album, but the original Man’s Ruin pressing. Yeah, I already owned it, but it seemed like an issue of principle. No way I could leave it there. I didn’t wind up hitting that three for $5 special, but between those and some books The Patient Mrs. picked up, I felt like I did reasonably well.

My magical track-my-movements-and-tell-me-where-to-go robot (aka my phone) didn’t work above the border, so finding Soundcentral was something of a challenge, but it worked out in the end. I knew I was in the right place when, as I started to check out the bins by the door, the dude behind the counter took one look at my Vitus shirt and told me the sludgy, doomy, stoner stuff was in the back. Off I went. Sure enough, up a couple stairs — Soundcentral is deceptively spacious, but creatively laid out, and again, there are books in back (also VHS tapes) — and around the hardcore section, there was a pretty wide variety of heavy styles, used and new, neatly enough organized and running a full gamut of subgenres.

Montreal has a history of diverse metal, from Cryptopsy to The Great Sabatini, but I knew from the modicum of research I did beforehand that Soundcentral was the official distro point for local trio Dopethrone, and having bought their two prior offerings at Roadburn 2012, I knew I didn’t want to leave without picking up a physical copy of the third. The aptly-titled III was readily on hand, so I snagged that, and have been delighting in its Bongzilla-style stone-sludge ever since. For further Montreal-atry, I got Hell in Montreal by Mister Bones, who are from — wait for it — Montreal, and veering from the local stuff, was glad to find a CD copy of Egypt‘s 2013 return outing, Become the Sun (review here), and the 2012 debut, Wild Beyond Belief!, by Virginian outfit Satan’s Satyrs.

Those four probably would’ve been enough to send me out of Soundcentral confident I’d come out on the winning end, but my interest was also piqued by a self-titled outing in a sleeve by a band called Gruel. Normally, I wouldn’t shell out the cash for something in a sleeve — at a show, maybe — just as a moral standpoint, but already being out of my element in an unfamiliar city, I went with my gut and picked it up. The UK band released it in 2009 and played their last show in 2011, it was limited to 500 copies and it’s got a vicious threatening ambience to its sludge, something like Thou but with the additional off-puttingness of being an hour’s worth of material broken into four tracks that are slabs of 15 minutes apiece. Vinyl sides, in other words. On CD they make for a formidable challenge.

Knowing nothing about that, I got it basically just for the fun of taking a chance on it and on my way out, was given a copy of Coloniale, an also-limited 2010 3.5″ CDR from local and affiliated instrumentalists Squalor. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to play it when the time came — those tiny CDs can be trouble — but it wound up working fine in my laptop, and Squalor‘s garage-sounding noise-rock hit with suitable bombast. There are just three tracks on it, sort of like the compact disc version of a 7″ with one song on one side and two shorter ones on the other, but though the sound was raw the band kept my attention anyway, middle cut “Dos de Mayo” holding a line somewhere between psychedelia and caustic punk. They’ve reportedly got a new one in the works, so that’s something to keep an eye out for.

By the time I was done in Soundcentral, the afternoon was starting to wear on. Plans to hit the contemporary art museum proved ambitious and were tossed in favor of a nap. Poutine dinner and a semi-comatose walk by the aforementioned river followed, and in the morning, The Patient Mrs. and I started the long drive back down south. We’d talked about hitting Montreal for about a decade before we finally got to do it — we’ve stopped a few times over the years because of the sheer distracting gorgeousness of the Adirondacks — but if I make it back anytime soon, at least I’ll know where to get my shopping in.

Squalor, Coloniale (2010)

Cheap Thrills website

Soundcentral website

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Monday Long-Player: Dopethrone, III

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 17th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Nothing like getting off on the right foot. Not having had the chance to close out last week properly as I otherwise might have done, I thought we’d start this week angry. Montreal sludge trio Dopethrone released their third album, III, last month, and it’s a low-bullshit/high-aggression exercise in riff worship, topped by Bongzilla-style gurgling that nonetheless finds a few moments of respite from the onslaught, such as the well-placed solo at the end of centerpiece cut, “Storm Reefer.” Vince (guitar/vocals), Vyk (bass) and Borman (drums) leave little to the imagination in terms of what they’re going for stylistically, but a job well done is a job well done, and they deliver some seriously abrasive shit in some seriously heavy tones. I’ve yet to think of an argument against it.

This week: Stuff? Yes. I’ve got stuff. Stuff like an interview with Gary Arce from Yawning Man that I’m just waiting to get back, and stuff like reviews of Second Grave, Colour Haze, and a bunch more. We’re due for another reviewsplosion, I think, so I’m gonna try to get on that and see if I can’t make it happen before the tide of download promos and “check out this link”-emails takes me out to sea. Also new audio from The Fërtility Cült that’ll go up today and a bunch of other stuff I can’t remember because it’s Monday morning. I knew there was a reason I did these things on Friday.

Anyway, hope you had a solid weekend. Mine was killer, and I say that with no sense of sarcasm or irony. Fucking great time hanging out with good people, drinking good beer and listening to a solid 13 hours of Clutch. If I’d managed to sleep at all last night, I’m sure we’d have started this week off with something much more peaceful, but so it goes. Hope you dig the sludgy destruction above, hope you have a great week, and hope you check in throughout, here or on the forum, you know, just kind of clicking refresh for new updates or posts. That’s what I do anyway, but I’m really into this stuff. You know how it is.

Right on. More to come.

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