Live Review: Psycho Las Vegas Friday, 08.17.18

Posted in Features, Reviews on August 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

psycho las vegas

08.18.18 – 5:00AM – Saturday – Hotel room

Gluttons for punishment, unite! Cast off the chains of your dayjobs and journey to a druggy boozy place where you can smoke indoors and piss away your head-earned on, well, potentially, someone else’s hard-earned. You never liked those brain cells anyway, and what good have they done?

Me, I prefer my brains melted or otherwise obliterated with fatigue. Dripping out my ears, either way. But I see some folks around here going nuclear, and hey, I get it. Safe environment, plenty of support, nothing to lose. It’s self-directed cruelty more than anything else that keeps me sober. I don’t deserve the good time everyone else is having. Kablooey.

It was an early start for a busy day. 12:30PM. I’d imagine there were people who hadn’t gone to bed yet. But DVNE were not to be missed, so, I didn’t miss them. A lot of back and forth early and not really much staying-put later makes for a hell of a time, but everything is right there around the corner and everyone here is very nice. At least the people who’ve said hi to me. I’m sure just by simple population-sample math there are one or two jerks running around, but none I’ve run into.

Witchcraft didn’t make it. That’s a band I’ve dug on some level or other for more than a decade, but wasn’t gonna cry over it. Plenty to see besides with three stages open: The Joint, Vinyl and the Pool.

And like I said, early start. Went like this:

DVNE

dvne (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Good band. That’s what I wrote in my notes. Direct quote: Good band. Pro shop. For DVNE‘s first appearance on a US stage — and sizable US stage at that, in The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino — they hit it like absolute professionals. Crisp in their sound, intense in delivery, every bit in command of the room, from “go” onward. With full lighting and production behind them, CO2 canisters firing and lasers behind and their logo blasted on massive stage-side screens, the Edinburgh progressive post-metal four-piece certainly seemed to be made to feel welcome on what to them was foreign shores. Killed. Just nailed it. They have a new record out next year following up on last year’s righteous Asheran, and playing beneath oranges and reds that echoed that album’s cover art, they delivered a set that quite frankly, unless they break up tomorrow, I sincerely doubt will be their last time on an American stage. In other words, they seem ready to hit the road in a we’re-a-full-time-band-now kind of way, and more power to them. It’ll be worth keeping an eye out in 2019 for when they come through supporting their next full-length, but in the meantime, this set was basically serving early notice of a significant arrival.

Night Horse

Night Horse (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Sure, it’s been eight years since L.A.’s Night Horse released their second album, Perdition Hymns (review here), but what the hell? The double-guitar five-piece — one of those guitarists happens to be Justin Maranga from Ancestors — took the stage and quickly warmed up their classic your-dad’s-rock-was-better vibe that, with added charm from vocalist Sam James Velde introducing them by saying, “We’re Integrity from Cleveland, Ohio,” was a total blast. I’ll admit it’s been a while since the last time I had Perdition Hymns or their 2008 debut, The Dark Won’t Hide You, on for a spin, but even though Maranga forgot his slide and no one seemed to have a beer bottle to use instead, they definitely made it work. With guitarist Greg Buensuceso and bassist Nick D’Itri holding down the other side of the stage and drummer Norm Block swinging away in the middle, they were way more locked in than one might think for a band who haven’t really kicked around all that much in at least a half-decade. Velde stepped over the barricade and into the crowd during the last song and asked everyone to sit with him on the floor — a proposition that I’d imagine would be way stickier later in the day — while he told the story of the song, and it made for a special moment, as almost everyone actually did it. He got back up and they rocked to a finish, but if you ever needed to know how much Night Horse owned that room, they literally sat it down to give some background on their material. He could do that at every show for all I know, but it was something special here anyway and I felt lucky to see it.

The Munsens

The Munsens (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Denver trio The Munsens posted a new single earlier this week called “Dirge (For Those to Come)” as a preview of their upcoming full-length, Unhanded, and with it, gave a first look at a notable change in direction, pushing more into the territory of extreme sludge than even two years ago found them on their Abbey Rose EP (review here). With guitarist/vocalist Shaun Goodwin and bassist/vocalist Michael Goodwin welcoming drummer Graham Wesselhoff, the shift is easy enough to place, but a corresponding turn to harsher vocals and more grueling fare would seem to be at hand. Most, if not all, of what they played in Vinyl was also from Unhanded, and they unfurled an onslaught of tone and noise that seemed to bounce right off the back of the room and make a wall of death with the next riff cycle. It was brutal, and not as given to crust as Dopethrone, but seemed to be somewhat of that spirit. Delivered with a likewise visual assault of strobe, their time went quick — unless I passed out from all the flashing lights — but was well enough to get the point of the evolution they’ve undergone. I don’t know if I’ll be ready when Unhanded, hits, but at least I’ll see it coming.

Temple of Void

Temple of Void (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I don’t know whether Temple of Void are the doom of death or the death of doom, but fucking hell they’re heavy. The Detroit five-piece released their second LP, Lords of Death, last year on Shadow Kingdom, and they’d only dip back once to 2014’s Of Terror and the Supernatural (review here) for “Examinate Gaze,” while everything else was from the new album. Fair enough for the significant assault factor of their death metal plunge. They took the stage to the Lords of Death intro “The Charnel Unearthing” — which given the intensity of what followed, I almost found unnecessary; they hit it so hard, why give people the chance to get ready? — and from there proffered an extremity that went beyond even the death metal to the atmospheric weight of what they were doing. Vocalist Mike Erdody had a soulful, tortured aspect to his headbanging and while behind him drummer Jason Pearce slammed into his kit with palpable resentment thereof and guitarists Alex Awn and Eric Blanchard tore into searing riffs and leads given all the more weight by Brent Satterly‘s bass, the sense of emotionalism Erdody brought to his growls was something rare on either side of the genre. It was another level on which Temple of Void make their impact felt, and a distinguishing factor that resonated throughout their time.

Church of Misery

Church of Misery (Photo by JJ Koczan)

There was something of a crunch at this point in the schedule. Church of Misery were going on in the Joint while Temple of Void finished up in Vinyl, and then by the time the serial-killer-crazed Japanese riff lords were done, Yakuza would have already started, also in Vinyl. Still, history said “go see Church of Misery,” and history wasn’t wrong. Bassist/founder Tatsu Mikami is nothing less than doom royalty, and while I’ve seen him perform with several different lineups over the years, it always seems like he’s ready to deliver no matter who’s joined him on stage at the time. Psycho was no exception as he, vocalist/thereminist Hiroyuki Takano, guitarist Yasuto Muraki and drummer Junichi Yamamura ran through a selection of the hits: “Shotgun Boogie,” “I, Motherfucker,” “Born to Raise Hell” and so on. I’m not huge on the whole serial killer thing — by coincidence, I wound up in an elevator today with one of Charles Manson’s descendants who was telling his friends it’s way less cool when it’s your family — but regardless, Church of Misery did plenty of slaying on their own and made it easy to hope they record with this lineup, as it seemed like they were more than ready to get down to business at the Sabbathian core of what the band has always been about. I did end up poking my head in to see Yakuza for a moment — and Bruce Lamont is still way ahead of his time — but Church of Misery weren’t taking no for an answer. I was back in the Joint before long as they blew out the rest of their set and any number of eardrums in the process.

Tinariwen

Tinariwen (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Absolutely stunning. I knew next to nothing about the Tuareg group Tinariwen going into the announcement they’d play Psycho Las Vegas, but the schedule cut off both the pool and Vinyl stages while they played, so clearly they were an act Psycho wanted people to see. Rightly so. Dressed in robes and traditional garb and backed by hand percussion, the band led by guitarist/vocalist Ibrahim Ag Alhabib brought a desert blues that tied to Psycho better than one might’ve ever expected. With acoustic and electric guitars, bass and deep-running vocal arrangements, dancing on stage — some dancing in the crowd too — and video of them on huge screens on either side, it was no less of a production in terms of lighting and staging than Church of Misery or DVNE had been, but the soothing vibe and ebbs and flows in the music made it a total standout. They were another one I was going to stay for a bit and then wander off and find some more coffee, but I was hooked. They could’ve played twice as long and I don’t think I would’ve moved. Their set felt like a gift and on a day that wasn’t exactly hurting for highlights anyhow, they were something truly special to behold. Their 2017 album, Elwan, was recorded in the California desert and has quickly made its way to the front of my must-purchase line.

Boris

Boris (Photo by JJ Koczan)

In their 25-plus years, enough wax poetry has been written in honor of Japanese noise and heavy rock innovators, droners, experimentalists, J-poppers and anything-else-they-want-to-be-that-day Boris that even attempting to talk about their set feels superfluous. I’d only be echoing a chorus of praise that’s resounded for the last two decades. Suffice it to say, they’re masters at what they do. Individually and collectively, guitarist Wata, drummer Atsuo and guitarist/bassist Takeshi are relentless in their forward progression, and though most of what they played after a drifting, slower opening came from the Heavy Rocks and Pink-style, the wash of noise and over-the-top push were never far off. Their 2017 album, Dear (review here), was a stunning glimpse at where they’ve been in their time and where they might still go, and bathed in fog on the Joint stage, they captured much the same feel in celebrating their past while continuing to move ahead toward something new. I don’t know if it’s possible for Boris to be underrated, but the chemistry between them on stage — whether it’s Atsuo shouting into his headset mic to raise the energy level or Wata scorching out another solo or Takeshi switching from his rhythm guitar neck to his bass neck and hurling out blistering low end runs — is among the most pivotal aspects of what they do, and as much as they’ve done to push heavy rock to multiple avenues over their tenure, they’ve only gotten to be a more potent force live.

High on Fire

High on Fire (Photo by JJ Koczan)

If a single person could embody what Psycho Las Vegas is, it might be Matt Pike. The High on Fire frontman and Sleep guitarist has played all three editions of this festival in some form or other — time for a Kalas reunion? — and he, bassist Jeff Matz and drummer Des Kensel came out like the statesmen they are; one of the most crucial bands not just in underground heavy, but in the wider sphere of metal. Hugely influential, with a maddening signature gallop and tales of war and bludgeonry to delight the downtrodden of spirit. Their upcoming LP, Electric Messiah, marks the third collaboration between the trio and producer Kurt Ballou, and while they didn’t play anything from it, they did give due representation to 2015’s Luminiferous (review here) in “The Black Plot,” “Carcosa” and “Slave the Hive,”  and 2012’s De Vermiis Mysteriis (review here) with “Fertile Green” and “Serums of Laio,” while older works like 2007’s Death is This Communion (discussed here) and 2005’s Blessed Black Wings (discussed here) made their presence felt with cuts like “Rumors of War” and “Sons of Thunder.” I’d argue they were the night’s headliners even before Witchcraft dropped off, but either way, High on Fire were more than up to the occasion, and with “Blood from Zion” from 2000’s The Art of Self-Defense late in the set, they brought together past and present in a way that was every bit the culmination of the evening. There was still plenty more Psycho after them, but no doubt High on Fire left their mark on the night and all who assembled to see them.

I don’t know if you saw it, but on the social medias I posted a picture of The Pecan and asked if anyone could turn it into the cover of Vol. 4 by Black Sabbath. Several came in, which was hugely appreciated, and among them was this one from Slevin, which I subsequently spent the rest of the night staring at because it’s so friggin’ awesome. If you need me, I’ll be meme-ing my baby. Next up, his head on Jean-Luc Picard’s body. It will happen.

Anyway, I came back to the room after the show and sorted pictures and whatnot and then crashed out pretty soon thereafter to get up early and write. My alarm was set for six and I woke up a bit before five and decided to roll with it. Psycho starts an hour later today, but is another super-busy day, so I’m going to get some more rest in preparation for that. I may or may not check in again before that review goes up, depends on time, but there are more pics after the jump here and I appreciate you reading and taking time to have a look if you do.

Read more »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DVNE to Release New Album in 2019; Playing Psycho Las Vegas

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I’m not saying you’ll be telling your grandkids about it however many years from now — though one never knows — but DVNE‘s onstage debut in the US seems to me the kind of thing that you want to see if you can help it. They’ve got two — count ’em: one, two — dates booked Stateside. One is Psycho Las Vegas, which comes first, and second is a Psycho-affiliated San Diego gig at Brick by Brick with Elder and Red Fang. Nothing like being made to feel welcome in a new place.

Oh, and speaking of Psycho-affiliated, DVNE are also the first client for the fest-promoter’s new management wing. They’ll have a new album out in 2019 to follow-up last year’s much-lauded Asheran, which was released by Wasted State Records.

The PR wire brings tales of things to come:

dvne

DVNE: Progressive Metal/Sludge Collective To Make First-Ever US Appearance At Psycho Las Vegas; New Album In The Works

In just a few short weeks, Edinburgh-based progressive metal/sludge behemoths DVNE will make their way stateside to play Psycho Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada, followed by a special show at Brick By Brick in San Diego, California with Elder and Red Fang. The two shows will mark DVNE’s first-ever US live performances!

Comments guitarist/vocalist Victor Vicart, “We’re gearing up for the US and couldn’t be more excited to play our first shows over there. Psycho is going to be mental; loads of bands we love and it looks like we’re going to have a three-day non-stop party too. We also have a show in San Diego with Elder and Red Fang the following Monday so our post festival blues are sorted!

“Following those shows,” he continues, “we’ll be back home in Edinburgh and the plan is to lock ourselves in the practice room and finish our next album. We’re really excited to enter the studio again and explore with new sounds and instruments; it’s going to be a blast!”

DVNE recently completed a UK tour supporting New Orleans icons Eyehategod. Lauded The Moshville Times of their performance in Glasgow, “I’ve seen [DVNE] a handful of times now, they’ve always impressed me live, and tonight they were at their best, flying through an absolutely blistering set focused on the Mastodonian Asheran. On yet another uncharacteristically hot Glasgow evening, Audio was stiflingly clammy so as the mellow segue music from Asheran filled the short gaps between songs the guys caught their breath and wiped sweat from their gear. On occasion, vocalist/guitarist Victor Vicart used these pauses to switch between his nine-string and six-string guitars. During the likes of ‘Thirst’ Victor’s vocals and guitar parts acted as lighter, emotive counters to Dudley Tait’s growled hollers and chunkier riffs. All the while Dan Barter’s swift fills and Allan Paterson’s rolling basslines kept the songs driving forward. The local(ish) boys done great!”

DVNE:
8/17/2018 Psycho Las Vegas @ The Hard Rock Hotel And Casino – Las Vegas, NV
8/20/2018 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA w/ Elder, Red Fang

DVNE (pronounced dune) released the critically-lauded debut full-length, Asheran, last year via Wasted State Records. A sixty-minute epic narrative following the tale of the rise and fall of civilizations, the return of an empire thought millennia lost, and the world-spanning events that consequently unfold, Asheran is steeped in themes of science fiction, environmental issues, and both dystopic and utopic visions for the future of mankind. Asheran was captured at Chambers Studio in Edinburgh, and mixed and mastered by Tom Dring of Vagrant Studios (Dragged Into Sunlight, Venom Prison).

A special orange clear 2xLP edition of Asheran is currently available at THIS LOCATION where the record can be streamed in its stunning entirety.

DVNE features Victor Vicart (guitar, vocals, keys), Daniel Barter (guitar, vocals), Dudley Tait (drums), and Allan Paterson (bass). Forged in 2013, DVNE’s Scottish roots lie with Tait and Paterson, with Vicart hailing from France and Barter from England. DVNE’s debut EP Progenitor was released in December 2013 and was followed the next year by a second EP entitled Aurora Majesty. Both offerings were released via Wasted State Records. Thanks to the excellent critical reception, DVNE quickly began to tour the UK and around Europe sharing stages with the likes of such scene household names as Crowbar, Eyehategod, Inter Arma, Dragged Into Sunlight, and Black Tusk. DVNE unleashed their most ambitious album to date in August 2017. Titled Asheran, the offering was released on 2xLP vinyl, CD, and digitally again via Wasted State Records. Since Asheran’s release, DVNE took on a month-long European headlining tour and recently partnered with Psycho Entertainment, curators of the esteemed Psycho Las Vegas festivals, for management. The union marks Psycho Entertainment’s first ever management venture. DVNE will release their follow-up to Asheran next year with details to be announced in the coming weeks.

https://www.facebook.com/DvneUK
https://www.instagram.com/dvne_uk/
https://twitter.com/SongsOfArrakis
https://songs-of-arrakis.bandcamp.com/album/asheran
http://www.wastedstate.com/

DVNE, Asheran (2017)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

DVNE to Tour UK with Eyehategod; Asheran Repress out Next Month

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

dvne

Scottish heavy progressives DVNE are on the third vinyl pressing of their 2017 album Asheran. That they’d have sold through two is little surprise, considering the breadth and weight the band puts into their material. That should make an interesting pairing when they play with sludge magnates Eyehategod in July in the UK in preparation for their US debut this August at Psycho Las Vegas, where there’s little doubt they’ll turn even more heads in their direction. Every fest has that one band that surprises people, and it’s easy to think DVNE will be that band for many. I hope very much to find out for myself by, you know, being there to see them.

The PR wire brings all the latest on all the latest, and it goes like this:

dvne-asheran

DVNE: Progressive Metal/Doom Collective Issues Third Pressing Of Asheran On Limited Orange Clear 2xLP; UK Dates With Eyehategod Confirmed + Band To Make US Live Debut At Psycho Las Vegas

Edinburgh-based progressive metal/doom collective DVNE are pleased to unveil the third vinyl pressing of the critically-lauded Asheran full-length debut.

Released last year via Wasted State Records, Asheran is a sixty-minute tapestry of sound; an epic narrative following the tale of the rise and fall of civilizations, the return of an empire thought millennia lost, and the world-spanning events that consequently unfold. Steeped in themes of science fiction, environmental issues, and both dystopic and utopic visions for the future of mankind, Asheran was captured at Chambers Studio in Edinburgh, and mixed and mastered by Tom Dring of Vagrant Studios (Dragged Into Sunlight, Venom Prison).

The orange clear 2xLP edition of Asheran will be released on June 4th via Wasted State Records and is currently available for preorder at THIS LOCATION where the record can be streamed in its stunning entirety.

Since Asheran’s release, DVNE took on a month-long European headlining tour and recently
partnered with Psycho Entertainment, curators of the esteemed Psycho Las Vegas festivals, for management. The union marks Psycho Entertainment’s first ever management venture.

DVNE will bring their psalms to UK stages this July supporting Eyehategod. From there, the band will make their way stateside for their first ever US performance at Psycho Las Vegas followed by a special show at San Diego’s Brick By Brick with Elder and Red Fang with additional live dates to be announced soon.

Comments guitarist/vocalist Victor Vicart of the Psycho appearance, “We’re so stoked to play Psycho this year. It’s the kind of festival we’ve always wanted to be part of because it pushes bands to do something special and different from their regular live performance. We’ve played a lot of small venues and squats in Europe and love the DIY part of the scene, but with Psycho, we have the opportunity to do something with our show we’ve had in mind for a long time. We can’t wait for people to see what we’re working on for the occasion.”

DVNE w/ Eyehategod:
7/01/2018 The Exchange – Bristol, UK
7/02/2018 Brudenell Social Club – Leeds, UK
7/03/2018 Audio – Glasgow, UK
7/04/2018 Rebellion Rock Club – Manchester, UK
7/05/2018 The Underworld – London, UK
8/17/2018 Psycho Las Vegas @ The Hard Rock Hotel And Casino – Las Vegas, NV
8/20/2018 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA w/ Elder, Red Fang

DVNE (pronounced dune) consists of Victor Vicart (guitar, vocals, keys), Daniel Barter (guitar, vocals), Dudley Tait (drums), and Allan Paterson (bass).

https://songs-of-arrakis.bandcamp.com/album/asheran
https://www.instagram.com/dvne_uk/
https://twitter.com/SongsOfArrakis
https://www.facebook.com/DvneUK
wastedstaterecords.bandcamp.com

DVNE, “Thirst” official video

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Psycho Las Vegas 2018 Reveals Lineup; Dimmu Borgir, Hellacopters, Godflesh, Witchcraft and More to Play

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

Psycho Las Vegas 2018 logo

It’s only taken a few years for Psycho Las Vegas to establish itself as the premier underground festival in the US. All well and good. With 2018’s lineup, though, it’s time to start thinking of Psycho among the best in the world.

Sounds like too much? Consider Godflesh and Dimmu Borgir sharing a stage, both for exclusive West Coast appearances. Think of Sweden’s Witchcraft playing one of the two shows they’ll do in the US at Psycho, and ditto that for Japanese riff-madmen Church of Misery. Think of US exclusives from Lee Dorrian’s With the Dead, or Lucifer, whose Johanna Sadonis will also DJ the Center Bar. The commitment to up and coming underground acts local, domestic and foreign like Temple of Void, King Buffalo, Dreadnought, The Munsens and DVNE. Picture yourself watching Wolves in the Throne Room headline a pre-fest pool party with Elder, Young and in the Way, Dengue Fever, Fireball Ministry and Toke.

2018 is the year Psycho Las Vegas outclasses even itself and pushes further than it ever has in terms of stylistic reach (Integrity walks by and waves… at Boris) and the sheer power of its construction. If you’re looking for the future, you’ll find it in scumbag paradise.

Here’s the lineup:

Psycho Las Vegas 2018 poster

Psycho Las Vegas 2018

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas
4455 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, Nevada 89169

Tickets: https://www.vivapsycho.com/pages/tickets

PSYCHO LAS VEGAS 2018 lineup:
DIMMU BORGIR (west of chicago exclusive)
HELLACOPTERS (one of two shows to be played in the USA in 2018)
SUNN 0)))
GODFLESH (west of chicago exclusive)
WITCHCRAFT (one of two shows to be played in the USA in 2018)
ENSLAVED
AMERICAN NIGHTMARE
HIGH ON FIRE
ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT
RED FANG
ZAKK SABBATH
CHURCH OF MISERY (usa exclusive 2018 with exception to one other show in San Diego)
TINARIWEN
GOBLIN
CKY
VENOM INC
EYEHATEGOD
VOIVOD
BORIS
COVEN
INTEGRITY
PALLBEARER
WITH THE DEAD (USA exclusive 2018)
MONOLORD
LUCIFER (USA exclusive 2018)
ACID WITCH
SURVIVE
DOPETHRONE
BIG BUSINESS
UNEARTHLY TRANCE
MUTOID MAN
TODAY IS THE DAY
HELMS ALEE
SPIRIT ADRIFT
BATUSHKA
PRIMITIVE MAN
DVNE
ALL PIGS MUST DIE
EIGHT BELLS
WORMWITCH
INDIAN
NECROT
HOMEWRECKER
BRAIN TENTACLES
CLOAK
BLACK MARE
MAGIC SWORD
UADA
TEMPLE OF VOID
DREADNOUGHT
WOLVHAMMER
ASEETHE
DISASTROID
FORMING THE VOID
VENOMOUS MAXIMUS
GHASTLY SOUND
HOWLING GIANT
KING BUFFALO
NIGHT HORSE
THE MUNSENS
GLAARE

Paradise Pool Pre Party
August 16th

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM
ELDER
YOUNG AND IN THE WAY
DENGUE FEVER
FIREBALL MINISTRY
TOKE

Center Bar DJ’s
Andrew W.K.
Nicke Andersson (Entombed/Hellacopters)
Johanna Sadonis (Lucifer)

https://www.facebook.com/psychoLasVegas/
https://www.facebook.com/events/125340824913552/
http://vivapsycho.com

High on Fire, Live at Psycho Las Vegas 2016

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 20 of 2017 Year-End Poll — RESULTS!

Posted in Features on January 1st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

top-20-of-2017-year-end-poll-results

Happy New Year 2018! If you’re reading this, welcome to the future. Enjoy your flying car, free healthcare, universal income, matter replicators and life on that moon colony you moved to a couple years back — New Berlin, wasn’t it? Well, either way, I’m sure it’s lovely this season.

Way back in the Dark Ages, on Dec. 1, 2017, I put up The Obelisk’s annual Year-End Poll, looking for submissions from as many people as possible with their picks for what were the year’s best albums. The response was once again staggering. Over 400 lists came in — including my own, which I submitted yesterday — for a final tally of 419, and the amount of consensus that emerged from them was no less impressive.

We’ll get there in a second. First, a reminder about the point system. As ever, a 1-4 ranking is worth five points, 5-8 worth four, 9-12 worth three, 13-16 worth two and 17-20 worth one. So it doesn’t only matter that you included a record on your list — the raw votes are also tallied — but where it was included. That only seems fair in acknowledging how passionate people were about a given release.

You know the drill by now I’m sure, but it pays to be thorough. Below you’ll find both the weighted point tally and the raw votes results, followed by some quick honorable mentions, comment, etc. After the jump, you’ll find the complete list of everyone who submitted. If you’d like to check my math on anything, feel free. I’m by no means perfect when it comes to statistics or counting or any of that stuff involving those things that aren’t letters. Whatever they’re called.

Thanks to everyone who took part this year. Here are the lists:

Top 20 of 2017 — Weighted Results

elder reflections of a floating world adrian dexter

1. Elder, Reflections of a Floating World (888 points)
2. Monolord, Rust (397)
3. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War (346)
4. Pallbearer, Heartless (327)
5. Colour Haze, In Her Garden (284)
6. Mastodon, Emperor of Sand (256)
7. Bell Witch, Mirror Reaper (250)
8. The Obsessed, Sacred (248)
9. Sasquatch, Maneuvers (242)
10. Electric Wizard, Wizard Bloody Wizard (237)
11. Kadavar, Rough Times (236)
12. Samsara Blues Experiment, One with the Universe (225)
13. Ufomammut, 8 (205)
14. DVNE, Asheran (198)
15. Ruby the Hatchet, Planetary Space Child (189)
16. Woodhawk, Beyond the Sun (163)
17. Spaceslug, Time Travel Dilemma (158)
18. Causa Sui, Vibraciones Doradas (155)
19. Telekinetic Yeti, Abominable (150)
20. Motorpsycho, The Tower (149)

Honorable Mention:
Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle (144)
Radio Moscow, New Beginnings (134)
Dopelord, Children of the Haze (132)
Chelsea Wolfe, Hiss Spun (129)
Mutoid Man, War Moans (123)

No real surprise here, but with the fact that Elder’s Reflections of a Floating World topped 880 points and got more than twice as much as the next closest record, it’s hard to begrudge 2017 some measure of predictability. For what it’s worth, that’s an even stronger showing than their Lore LP got in 2015, and they took the lead on day one and did not relinquish it for the duration. Outside of them and Monolord, who held command of the number two spot for the entire month, there was some measure of parity, but it was clear where hearts and minds were situated in 2017, and certainly difficult to argue with the picks on the whole, regardless of where a given individual ranked one album or the other. Looking at that list of 20-plus, especially with the honorable mentions, I’d sign up for that year every time. It was a good one. Now then…

Top 20 of 2017 — Raw Votes

elder reflections of a floating world adrian dexter

1. Elder, Reflections of a Floating World (207 votes)
2. Monolord, Rust (110)
3. Pallbearer, Heartless (94)
4. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War (88)
5. Kadavar, Rough Times (77)
6. Electric Wizard, Wizard Bloody Wizard (75)
7. Colour Haze, In Her Garden (74)
8. Mastodon, Emperor of Sand (72)
9. The Obsessed, Sacred (71)
10 Sasquatch, Maneuvers (70)
11. Ufomammut, 8 (67)
12. Bell Witch, Mirror Reaper (64)
13. Ruby the Hatchet, Planetary Space Child (60)
14. Samsara Blues Experiment, One with the Universe (59)
15. Woodhawk, Beyond the Sun (54)
16. DVNE, Asheran (53)
17. Telekinetic Yeti, Abominable (48)
18. Causa Sui, Vibraciones Doradas (47)
19. Radio Moscow, New Beginnings (45)
19. Spaceslug, Time Travel Dilemma (45)
20. Dopelord, Children of the Haze (43)
20. Mothership, High Strangeness (43)

Honorable Mention:
Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle (40)
Chelsea Wolfe, Hiss Spun (37)
The Atomic Bitchwax, Force Field (34)
Beastmaker, Inside the Skull (34)
Motorpsycho, The Tower (33)
Mutoid Man, War Moans (32)

Even less surprising given the above. 207 people of the 419 who submitted lists included Elder somewhere on theirs. It’s pretty hard to get about 50 percent of anyone to agree on anything these days, so I consider that no minor feat. Again, Reflections of a Floating World earned its place, and it was a pretty astounding achievement for the band and the genre they’re working to remake in their own image. A couple minor shifts between the raw tallies and the weighted results as there always are, but again, the underlying point here is that 2017 was a pretty killer year all the way around and across a deep variety of styles, the quality of work being put forth by veterans and newcomers alike was nothing short of excellent.

Before I turn you over to the massive swath of everybody’s lists, I just want to say thanks again to Slevin for being so instrumental in setting up the technical end of this poll. It’s amazing year after year to be able to basically at this point flip a switch and have it all set to go and there’s no way that would happen without Slevin working so hard behind the scenes to put the structure in place that holds this project, the entire site, together. Thanks dude.

And thank you for reading and contributing your favorites of 2017! This is the last of the 2017 Year-End coverage for The Obelisk. If you missed any of it, go here:

The Top 30 Albums of 2017

The Top 20 Short Releases of 2017

The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2017

2017 Song of the Year

12 of 2017’s Best Album Covers

One more time, thank you for reading. After the jump, please find the raw lists of everyone who took the time to turn one in. Enjoy:

Read more »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

audiObelisk Transmission 064

Posted in Podcasts on December 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

audiobelisk transmission 064

So this is something I’ve never done before. I’m not exactly what you’d call an early adopter when it comes to new technology, but this weekend I finally signed up for Spotify and decided to give a shot at putting together a year-end playlist through that rather than doing the standard podcast. Aside from a kind of ongoing latent concern about essentially giving away downloads of music that doesn’t belong to me via the old mp3 files — no one’s ever said anything and I always figured it was okay since songs were bundled together as one file — this just seemed more useful in allowing people to explore different artists, albums, etc. If you disagree, I’m sorry.

I can’t say I won’t ever go back to the other way, or that I’ll actively enjoy having a Spotify account enough to keep it, and so on, but it’s something new to try, so I’m giving it a shot. The playlist turned out to be nine hours and 12 minutes long, and once I got going, I couldn’t really resist making it 65 tracks, what with it being the 64th podcast and all. One to grow on.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for listening:

Track details:

• Artist, Track, Album, Runtime
• Elder, Sanctuary, Reflections of a Floating World, 00:11:13
• All Them Witches, Am I Going Up?, Sleeping Through the War, 00:05:33
• Lo-Pan, Pathfinder, In Tensions, 00:06:22
• MOON RATS, Heroic Dose, Highway Lord, 00:04:27
• Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree, Medicine, Medicine, 00:06:38
• Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream, Lucifer’s Dream, 00:09:06
• Brume, Reckon, Rooster, 00:09:12
• Riff Fist, King Tide, King Tide, 00:11:20
• Monolord, Dear Lucifer, Rust, 00:08:41
• Hymn, Serpent, Perish, 00:07:32
• Vinnum Sabbathi, Gravity Waves, Gravity Works, 00:08:26
• Electric Wizard, Wicked Caresses, Wizard Bloody Wizard, 00:06:43
• Ruby the Hatchet, Symphony of the Night, Planetary Space Child, 00:07:08
• Telekinetic Yeti, Colossus, Abominable, 00:08:56
• Bong Wish, My Luv, Bong Wish, 00:02:31
• Radio Moscow, New Skin, New Beginnings, 00:03:02
• Cloud Catcher, Celestial Empress, Trails of Kozmic Dust, 00:05:41
• The Atomic Bitchwax, Humble Brag, Force Field, 00:02:52
• Sasquatch, Just Couldn’t Stand the Weather, Maneuvers, 00:06:27
• Kadavar, Die Baby Die, Rough Times, 00:04:18
• Cities of Mars, Children of the Red Sea, Temporal Rifts, 00:08:27
• Argus, You Are the Curse, From Fields of Fire, 00:06:23
• Comacozer, Hylonomus, Kalos Eidos Skopeo, 00:13:43
• Samsara Blues Experiment, One with the Universe, One with the Universe, 00:15:02
• Orango, Heirs, The Mules of Nana, 00:04:46
• Siena Root, Tales of Independence, A Dream of Lasting Peace, 00:03:39
• Demon Head, Older Now, Thunder on the Fields, 00:04:17
• Sun Blood Stories, Great Destroyer, It Runs Around the Room with Us, 00:06:11
• Spaceslug, Time Travel Dilemma, Time Travel Dilemma, 00:10:07
• Arc of Ascent, Hexagram, Realms of the Metaphysical, 00:07:34
• Causa Sui, Seven Hills, Vibraciones Doradas, 00:07:24
• Alunah, Fire of Thornborough Henge, Solennial, 00:05:32
• Vokonis, Calling From The Core, The Sunken Djinn, 00:06:03
• Enslaved, Sacred Horse, E, 00:08:12
• Dvne, Edenfall, Asheran, 00:07:04
• The Midnight Ghost Train, Break My Love, Cypress Ave., 00:03:33
• The Obsessed, It’s Only Money, Sacred, 00:02:35
• Mothership, Crown of Lies, High Strangeness, 00:05:41
• Geezer, Red Hook, Psychoriffadelia, 00:06:02
• Uffe Lorenzen, Flippertøs, Galmandsværk, 00:02:46
• Youngblood Supercult, Master of None, The Great American Death Rattle, 00:04:01
• Beastmaker, Nature of the Damned, Inside the Skull, 00:03:26
• Pallbearer, I Saw the End, Heartless, 00:06:21
• Paradise Lost, Blood and Chaos, Medusa, 00:03:51
• Rozamov, Wind Scorpion, This Mortal Road, 00:08:49
• Eternal Black, Sea of Graves, Bleed the Days, 00:06:33
• Demon Eye, Politic Divine, Prophecies and Lies, 00:03:40
• Snowy Dunes, Ritual of Voices, Atlantis, 00:07:17
• The Devil and the Almighty Blues, Low, II, 00:08:49
• Abronia, Glass Butte Retribution, Obsidian Visions / Shadowed Lands, 00:06:09
• John Garcia, Kylie, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues, 00:04:58
• Tuna de Tierra, Raise of the Lights, Tuna de Tierra, 00:07:09
• Colour Haze, Lotus, In Her Garden, 00:07:05
• IAH, Stolas, IAH, 00:08:39
• Fungus Hill, Are You Dead, Creatures, 00:08:54
• Atavismo, El Sueño, Inerte, 00:11:18
• Tuber, Noman, Out of the Blue, 00:08:14
• Spidergawd, What You Have Become, Spidergawd IV, 00:03:44
• Puta Volcano, Bird, Harmony of Spheres, 00:05:07
• Ufomammut, Core, 8, 00:05:15
• Kings Destroy, None More, None More, 00:14:03
• PH, Looking Back at Mr. Peter Hayden, Eternal Hayden, 00:16:44
• Mt. Mountain, Dust, Dust, 00:17:15
• Electric Moon, Live Forever Now (You Will), Stardust Rituals, 00:22:41
• Bell Witch, Mirror Reaper, Mirror Reaper, 01:23:15

If you want to follow me on Spotify, apparently that’s something you can do here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Psycho Las Vegas 2018 Announces High on Fire, Witchcraft, Goblin and More for Lineup; Tickets on Sale Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

It was only a matter of time, wasn’t it, before the great American disruptor returned? As Europe’s Spring 2018 festival season continues to take shape — I’ve hardly seen a word about summer outside of a certain hellacious France-based fest held annually each June — Psycho Las Vegas 2018, set once again for the dead heat of August in Nevada’s basically-uninhabitable-were-it-not-for-air-conditioning desert stronghold of decadence, is lashing out early with its first lineup announcements and putting its tickets on sale. Waste not want not in all things, including time.

If they’re early with the first Psycho Las Vegas 2018 announcements, they’re certainly already working at the scale one expects from what’s become the US’ premium heavy festival. High on Fire, Goblin, Witchcraft, a notable underground first-timer import in DVNE, as well as the extremity of Indian, the profile of Zakk Sabbath and the spacious S U R V I V E, otherwise known as the duo behind the soundtrack to Stranger Things. I still haven’t managed to watch the second season. Any good?

Either way, this is just the start for Psycho, as we all know, but it’s a hell of a start, and on looks forward to what they build up as we get closer to next summer. They haven’t failed yet to outdo themselves in scope or scale, and they continue to give the rest of Planet Earth a run for its money in that.

The PR wire brought official word:

psycho las vegas 2018

PSYCHO LAS VEGAS 2018: Announcing Witchcraft, Goblin, High on Fire + MORE, Tix on Sale

TICKETS ON SALE
FRIDAY 12/15 @ 10AM PST HERE

AUGUST 17-19, 2018
@ HARD ROCK HOTEL AND CASINO, LAS VEGAS

The award winning Psycho Las Vegas has announced its return, along with its first round of bands it plans to host next August 17-19 at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Expectations are high for the fest after last year’s massive, expertly curated selection of artists from around the globe, and if
this first taste of the lineup is any indication, 2018 promises to go above and beyond, setting the desert on fire.

The list of bands they have unleashed to reign havoc as of now are:

The return and reunion of Swedish psychedelic fuzz legends Witchcraft will be playing their first US show since 2009. In line with their reputation for scoring highly coveted sets, Psycho Las Vegas will be only one of two US dates that the band will be performing in 2018. Joining the ranks are Italian purveyors of prog rock, Goblin, most notable for their original scores for Dawn of the Dead & Disturbia; beloved stoned thrashers High On Fire; guitar lord Zakk Sabbath; horror-synth group S U R V I V E, best known for scoring Stranger Things; the reunion of Chicago doom heavyweights Indian; and UK’s prog masters DVNE, who will be performing their first ever US show at this year’s fest.

The first 2500 tickets sold will also include access to the Psycho Las Vegas Pre-fest Pool Party on August 16, which is not only the most notorious pre-party in town, but also includes favorite Psycho alumni.

PSYCHO LAS VEGAS 2018
AUGUST 17-19

WITCHCRAFT
GOBLIN
HIGH ON FIRE
ZAKK SABBATH
S U R V I V E
INDIAN
DVNE
And many, many more to be unleashed…

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/psycho-las-vegas-2018-tickets-41041983678
http://www.vivapsycho.com
https://www.facebook.com/psychoLasVegas
https://www.instagram.com/psycholasvegas

DVNE, Asheran (2017)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

DVNE Launch European Tour with Crackhouse in October

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

dvne

Edinburgh heavy prog pummelcrafters DVNE issued their Asheran full-length earlier this year and they’re set to hit mainland Europe to support it in October. Keeping company with France’s Crackhouse, the Scottish four-piece will his Germany, France, the Netherlands and territory closer to home as they go, and as you can see on the list of shows below — dutifully and probably incorrectly typed out from the poster by yours truly — there are still a few dates to be filled in, including one that DVNE will look to play on Oct. 28 before they meet up with their tourmates in Toulouse. I don’t necessarily believe in karma, but science and folkloric wisdom alike tell us that good things happen to people who help cool bands find gigs in time of need. That’s just an indisputable fact.

Info on the run and the poster came down the PR wire. Dig it:

dvne tour poster

Dvne & Crackhouse November Tour

Edinburgh based DVNE has announced European tour dates thoughout October and November in support of their latest album Asheran.

The band will be touring with French post-metal trio Crackhouse (Argonauta Records) from the 27th of October until the 18th of November. Both bands will be performing shows in France, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK.

DVNE & Crackhouse European Tour:
27.10 Tours, ESP, Gentiana, FR*
28.10 TBC**
30.10 Toulouse, Pavillons Sauvages, FR
31.10 Poitiers, Le Zinc, FR
01.11 Rennes, Bar’Hic, FR
02.11 Paris, Olympic Cafe, FR
03.11 Rouen, 3 Pieces, FR
04.11 Lille, Le Biplan, FR
05.11 TBC
06.11 TBC
07.11 TBC
08.11 Amsterdam, The Winston, NL
09.11 Tubigen, DE (TBA)
10.11 Muflingen, QL Tour Raum, DE
11.11 TBC
15.11 Edinburgh, Banshee, UK
16.11 Glasgow, Nice and Sleazy, UK
17.11 Newcastle, UK (TBA)
18.11 Sheffield, The Lughole, UK
*Crackhouse only
**DVNE only

Asheran is out now on 2xLP and digital via Wasted State Records, available HERE.

Asheran is a 60 minute tapestry of music, an epic narrative following the tale of the rise and fall of civilisations, the return of an empire thought millennia lost, and the world-spanning events that unfold as a consequence.

DVNE is:
Victor Vicart – Guitar, Vocals, Keys
Dan Barter – Guitar & Vocals
Dudley Tait – Drums
Allan Paterson – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/DvneUK
https://twitter.com/SongsOfArrakis
https://www.instagram.com/dvne_uk/
https://songs-of-arrakis.bandcamp.com/album/asheran
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wasted-State-Records/111088732018
https://twitter.com/wastedstate
http://www.wastedstate.com/

DVNE, “Thirst” official video

Tags: , , , , , ,