Friday Full-Length: Sleep, Sleep’s Holy Mountain

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 1st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Sleep, Sleep’s Holy Mountain (1993)

An obvious pick, maybe, but I’m thinking of it more as correcting the oversight of never having closed a week with it before than taking the easy way out, so if that’s how you want to roll with it as well, I’m cool with that. Or if you don’t give a crap and are happy to have an excuse to groove on Sleep’s Holy Mountain on this late Friday evening/early Saturday morning, that works too. Either way you want to slice it, Sleep‘s second album, released in the US in March 1993 — it’s almost legally old enough to drink, and who wouldn’t buy this record a beer on its birthday? — is among the most influential slabs of Sabbath-worship ever crafted. Not one week goes by that I don’t get hit up by some band playing essentially these riffs in a different order. Sometimes in the same order. It has made gods of Sleep, and helped solidify the second generation of heavy rock and roll in the ’90s, giving a true and loyal update on the potency of the band’s ’70s forebears.

Most importantly, it has earned every bit of the legend around it. To listen to “Evil Gypsy/Solomon’s Theme,” the three-piece of bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros, guitarist Matt Pike and drummer Chris Hakius sound as blitzed out of their minds as they probably were, and as much of Sleep‘s legacy is tied to the legend of Dopesmoker and the band taking their major label advance and spending it on weed and amps and whatever, Sleep’s Holy Mountain is the right album to have come from its time and place, and more than 20 years on, I think we’re still in the process of understanding its impact.

Also it fucking rules. Please enjoy.

I’ve had “day” enough for three days, so I’m going to keep this brief, but please let me say how humbled I was and how heartwarming the response to the fifth anniversary post was. As it happened, I wrote that in a hospital waiting room while a member of my family was having surgery (all seems to be well), and it was a show of support that was even more appreciated in that context. Deeply, deeply appreciated. Again, more than I can say.

We came down to Jersey last night ahead of that procedure — that’s also why there weren’t so many posts today; that premiere for The Socks I wrote late last night to publish this morning — and tomorrow we’ll head back north to Massachusetts after breakfast. I’ve got a lot of email to answer and a lot of stuff to listen to, but I’m going to try to do another roundup this coming week like the one I did this past Monday — though I’m going to do it on Tuesday, because Monday is enough of a pain in the ass without it — and I know I’ll have a review of the Valley of the Sun record, but I’m honestly sure what else at the moment because I’m just not home. Maybe The Warlocks.

Oh, and I’ll have the Alcest interview, finally. Little late on that one, but still. Time to get it posted, so that’ll be up.

I said I was going to keep it short, so I am, since even though I’m not all the way through Sleep’s Holy Mountain yet my eyes are starting to close, but before I go, please, thank you again so much for all the support and encouragement and kind words and thoughts. Five years of this has been fantastic, and I know there’s a lot of really awesome stuff coming in the next few months, with the Pentagram, Radio Moscow and Kings Destroy West Coast tour — fuck I can. not. wait. to go on tour with those dudes — in February and more excellence on tap for the spring. Stay tuned, is what I’m saying.

Alright. Have a great and safe weekend, and please hit up the forum and radio stream.

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Chad Davis Updates on Status of Hour of 13

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 3rd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

No strangers over their years “together” to tumult, Hour of 13 seem to be entering into their next phase. Multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Chad Davis provides a glimpse of where the band is at, its continued turbulent relationship with vocalist Phil Swanson (also Vestal Claret, Seamount, etc.) and what the future might hold for the band, which released its third album, 333, in 2012. For more from Davis, he’s interviewed here.

Here’s the latest:

Chad Davis / Hour Of 13 official press release 5-3-2013:

I am grateful for all of the support everyone has shown for Ho13, and honored to have been able to bring everyone quality music to a very thriving and revitalized movement. It has been extremely trying over the years, the constant interchanging of personnel, missing out on great opportunities to move the band further to all of you in a live setting, internal strife and conflicts of interest. But, in hindsight, things happened the way they have, and it is pointless to dwell on the past. The future is now…

I am glad to announce that new material will be created to carry the Ho13 namesake into the next phase of its existence. A much needed break and rest from all of it was a good source of medicine, healing the mind and allowing me to be able to refocus energy back into this musical force. Ho13 has always been an amazing outlet for me, a magnificent way to incorporate all of the influences that had helped me sharpen my craft.

A recent interview with Phil Swanson that was posted on a rather small blog, in which he made some very bold statements. I am not here to defend myself or counteract anything he may feel towards Ho13 or myself directly. His point of view is entirely his own prerogative. In an attempt to not discredit his persona, his ideas are quite far from reality. My reality. So, with that said, I wish him nothing but the best in any musical endeavor he may embark on. A talented vocalist he is, but he is NOT the be-all-end-all of Ho13.

In closing, the only thanks I can extend is once again to all of you. The fans. You have helped us more than anything. The music is for you. And I am extending to you guys the longevity of this band until the finality comes. Thank all of you!!

Regards,
Chad Davis

Hour of 13, “Who’s to Blame?” official video

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Hour of 13 Release New Video for “Who’s to Blame?”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 12th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

As it goes in December, there’s an awful lot of discussion around the interwebs lately about the best albums of the year. Well, as if to remind us all of their lurking presence, Hour of 13 have unveiled a new video for the track “Who’s to Blame?” from their 2012 third album, 333. Multi-instrumentalist Chad Davis (interview here) stripped the band down to its original parts for the latest outing, those being he and vocalist Phil Swanson, and the result was a collection of memorable cult doom right in line with the classic tenets of horror atmospheres and kickass riffs.

If you missed it, Davis‘ newest project Witchcoven premiered their first recorded track last Friday, so there’s even more to look forward to there, but Hour of 13 remain a constant shadow creeping behind, never quite there and never quite gone. Enjoy “Who’s to Blame?” on the player below:

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Hour of 13 Interview with Chad Davis: Naming the Threes

Posted in Features on August 24th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Last year when I conducted an Hour of 13 interview, it was with then-vocalist and Obelisk contributor Ben Hogg about having landed the singer spot as a replacement for Connecticut-based Phil Swanson. What changes a year can bring. This time, speaking with North Carolinian multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Chad Davis, it was about the band splitting with Hogg following a tour with Kylesa last summer and eventually having Swanson come back on board for the recording of the band’s appropriately named third album, 333.

Also Hour of 13‘s Earache Records debut, 333 marks the third time Swanson has joined the band — once for their 2007 self-titled debut and again for 2010’s The Ritualist before now — but Davis seems to take the tumult in stride. He’s uncomfortable talking about the situation with Hogg, I think the interview transcript shows that, but gives some sense of what led to the dissolution of Hour of 13 as a touring act. The live lineup also featured bassist John Mode and guitarist Brandon Munday, who’ll do a smattering of shows this October with the Swanson-fronted incarnation rounded out by a new drummer, but as to larger touring, Davis makes his position clear when he says, “To me, it’s not really a necessity.”

Nonetheless, the band has joined the growing roster of acts playing Roadburn 2013, and their cult-minded traditional doom continues to resonate with audiences around the world, who’ve responded with suitable clamor to 333, which Davis reveals was written both before going into Epiphonic Studios to record and after he got there, songs like “Who’s to Blame?” and the righteous closer “Lucky Bones” — also released on a limited Svart Records vinyl with Hour of 13’s earlier Razorrock Tapes recordings — given a sense of spontaneity for how freshly composed they were. The first two albums, Davis notes, took three days each. 333 took two weeks.

And maybe that’s the last of the three threes in the title. One for it being the band’s third album, one for it being Swanson‘s third return, and one for the three days it used to take Hour of 13 to make a record. Whatever the case, Davis‘ commitment to Hour of 13‘s bleak musical and conceptual aesthetic remains firm, and in the interview that follows, he discusses not only lineup shifts and live gigs, but what drives the project and the processes at work in Hour of 13 as opposed to his black metal outfits Anu and Set or the psychedelically jamming Tasha-Yar, who’ll reportedly add the recently-streamed “Casting Lots” to a series of other improv recordings for a new CD in the next month or so.

Including what got him into Epiphonic earlier than he intended and working long-distance with Swanson, Davis illuminates on a range of topics. You’ll find the complete Q&A after the jump.

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