Live Review: Psycho Las Vegas Pool Party, 08.17.18

Posted in Features, Reviews on August 17th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

viva psycho

08.16.18 – 4:50AM – Friday morning – Hard Rock, hotel room

None of it makes any fucking sense. Not a lick of it. And it took me the better part of the day to realize that’s the idea. The whole point. What even is underground when you watch Bell Witch play by the side of a casino pool in a sweltering den of capitalist exploitation? What is real? Any of it? I don’t know. That’s the point. Psycho Las Vegas is taking the narrative of what the underground is and punching it in the face until it can’t be recognized anymore. The sheer spectacle of this event. The are-you-overwhelmed-yet-okay-good tilt. It’s so weird. It’s so weird.

psycho las vegas 2018 thursdayIt’s so weird.

But I don’t think you’re supposed to get it. It’s not about making sense in any kind of traditional way. Psycho Las Vegas, in the span of three very-clearly-well-funded years, has become the absolute destination heavy festival in the US. There are plenty of other metal fests that have been around longer and have unquestionable reputations, but for this particular branch of heavy, there’s nothing to match this. I don’t know how anything could.

This was the first day. The pool party. By the Paradise Pool. I apologize deeply to Haunt and Toke. I just didn’t make it in time. I wanted to see both. It just didn’t work out. I got myself situated in time to catch most of Fireball Ministry though, and here’s how it went from there:

Fireball Ministry

fireball ministry (Photo by JJ Koczan)

If you gotta start a weekend of top-class heavy somewhere, it might as well be with top-class heavy. Fireball Ministry had bassist Helen Storer filling in for Scott Reeder alongside guitarist/vocalists Jim Rota and Emily Burton and drummer John Oreshnick, but there was no way in hell they weren’t going to rock either way. Ostensibly, they were here supporting their new album, late-2017’s Remember the Story (review here), but even more than that, they were here representing a sans-frills heavy rock spirit that has endured in spite of trend and generational swap. That is, Fireball Ministry were there when, and they’re here now, and they delivered a powerful set as only a group of no-bullshit, ace-songwriting, still-underrated-after-all-these-years veterans could hope to do. I hoped to run into Rota later to ask him if this was the first casino pool party he’d ever played — hey, Fireball Ministry‘s done a lot of shows, so you never know — but didn’t get the chance. Either way, they absolutely delivered, and while I was fairly gutted to miss the first two bands, if you need to get on board with a show already in progress, Fireball Ministry are more than ready to make their rock your rock. Oh and by the way, they rock.

Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Tough to be the odd band out on this bill, but Dengue Fever managed, and again, I was a little bit in wrapping my head around what was happening. Psycho returnees? Took it all in stride. Let’s assume they were the ones in the patched battle vests dancing to Dengue Fever‘s upbeat semi-punk/semi-funk surf groove. There’s a trick to being here, I think, and no, it’s not just drinking. I’ll grant that Las Vegas is among the worst places on earth to be sober — the town simply wasn’t built for humans to be lucid within its borders — but beyond that, the trick is to just go with it. Dengue Fever played two bands after the dirt-sludge of Toke and two bands before Bell Witch and Wolves in the Throne Room back to back. That was the whole vibe of today in a nutshell. If you sat back and thought about it, you were doing it wrong. It’s a party. It’s a weird party. So party, and be weird. Dengue Fever were more than just a vehicle for that spirit, of course, but in this context, but with the sax blaring and the bouncing rhythms, they seemed to embody this festival’s will to be whatever the hell it wants to be, whenever the hell it wants to be it. Truly Psycho.

Elder

Elder (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Band of the day. One more record and Elder will be headlining shows like this. It’s a toss-up whose crowd was bigger, theirs or Wolves in the Throne Room‘s, but even so, their presence on stage, their command of their sweeping progressive heavy rock sound, and their drive to genuinely push the idea of ‘heavy’ to places it’s never been all speak to a band ready to be at the next level. Their 2017 album, Reflections of a Floating World (review here), and 2015’s landmark Lore (review here) were assuredly well known to the masses assembled, and even if it was the title-track of  2011’s Dead Roots Stirring (review here) that got the biggest response, people were cheering during part transitions, let alone the standard round of applause between the songs. Elder are that kind of band, and their movements within tracks have only gotten more fluid and nuanced over time. The four-piece incarnation of the band had all the more depth of tone and sonic reach from guitarists Nick DiSalvo and Mike Risberg (the former also vocals, the latter also keys), while bassist Jack Donovan and drummer Matt Couto offered swing and intricacy of play alike that just furthered the proggy impression Elder make at this point. They killed. I don’t know how else to say it. It was an utter pleasure to watch and they’ve become one of the best heavy rock live acts anywhere, period. If you missed them, sorry.

Bell Witch

Bell Witch (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It was sunny when Bell Witch started and by the time they were done, dusk had fallen and the moon was out. Felt about right. They had 80 minutes at their disposal, which would’ve been just enough time to play last year’s brilliant and mournful Mirror Reaper (review here), and sure enough, that single-song outing was basically what comprised their set, even if Erik Moggridge (aka Aerial Ruin) wasn’t around to add his clean parts to it. Bassist/vocalist Dylan Desmond and drummer/organist/vocalist Jesse Shreibman had no problem carrying across the outright bludgeoning sensibility of their ultra-doom on their own, however, and with the inward-turned grieving process that is the material itself, Bell Witch nonetheless oozed forth a consuming mass of volume that, despite the outdoor setting, left little choice but to be swallowed whole by it. They’ve toured fairly heavily in support of Mirror Reaper since its arrival — I was fortunate enough to catch them playing it at Roadburn earlier this year as well — and there’s no denying the power of their performance. It’s a masterwork in every sense and deserves to be heard by as many people as possible.

Wolves in the Throne Room

Wolves in the Throne Room (Photo by JJ Koczan)

The fog machines on full blast for the breezy desert night, incense consecrating the stage during the low-end volume-swell drone of their intro, and Washington’s Wolves in the Throne Room actually managed to make the atmosphere of the pool party their own for the duration of their set. It was a raging, scorching performance, as they took hold on the heels of 2017’s Thrice Woven (review here) and blasted out an intensity that was as much about the ambience as it was the assault. The expanded five-piece lineup was fully charged and as guitarist/vocalist Nathan Weaver, whose brother, Aaron, handles drums in the studio while Trevor DeSchryver fills in live, led the band through an outright pummeling set that made itself even further distinguished from everything before it owing to its keys and synth elements and the manner in which it was able to turn from its most seething stretches to minimalist soundscaping seemingly on a dime. The crowd thinned out some by the end — I’ll admit I watched them finish out my hotel room window as well — but for every dragging-ass member of the audience like me, there were even more for whom the party was just getting started, and somehow, Wolves in the Throne Room fit that party as well as anyone else who played on the poolside bill.

It’s about six-thirty now. Need to shower. Need to sleep more. First band today at 12:30PM. Madness is the order of the weekend. Keep falling asleep while typing. Writing with my eyes closed. Still need to sort pictures. Busy busy busy.

Didn’t have enough coffee yesterday. Will work to rectify that soon enough. More pics after the jump though, so thanks for reading.

More later.

Read more »

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Elder Touring Europe this Fall with Ancestors; Playing Fests and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

elder

Progressive heavy rock forerunners Elder will be back on the road in Europe for Fall 2018, joined by Ancestors for a run through festivals that includes Doom vs. Stoner, Up in Smoke, Desertfest Belgium 2018, Into the Void and Keep it Low. Because, basically, if you’re throwing a heavy fest in 2018, you want Elder to play. The former-trio-now-four-piece affirmed their ascendance last year with Reflections of a Floating World (review here) and have barely come off tour since. To wit, after the stint with Ancestors? They have another European tour. It’s pretty much how it goes with them these days, and right on.

You’ll note they mention an impending announcement about new music. I know what it is and it’s awesome. It’s not public yet, but yeah, there’s something cool happening. Stay tuned.

They posted the following on the social medias:

Elder announce European tour

We’re back on the autobahn and beyond again this fall, sharing the first leg of our tour with the fantastic @ancestors (who have a killer new album out) Let us know below what show you’ll be at!

Also, we’ve got another exciting announcement regarding new music coming in the near future…

29.09. UK – Sheffield, O2 Academy, Doom vs. Stoner Festival*
30.09. UK – Glasgow, The Audio*
01.10. UK – Leeds, TBA*
02.10. UK – Manchester, The Rebellion*
03.10. UK – Coventry, The Phoenix*
04.10. UK – Bristol, The Fleece*
05.10. UK – London, Garage*
06.10. CH – Pratteln, Up In Smoke Festival*
07.10. I – Milan, Legend*
08.10. I – Bologna, Freak Out / Locomotive*
09.10. I – Rome, Evol*
10.10. I – Fabriano, Sonic Room*
11.10. CRO – Zagreb, Vintage Industrial Bar*
12.10. HUN – Budapest, Dürer Kert*
14.10. B – Antwerp, Trix, Desertfest*
15.10. GER – Hannover, Chez Heinz*
16.10. GER – Berlin, S036*
17.10. GER – Dortmund, Junkyard*
18.10. F – Paris, Glazart*
19.10. NL – Leeurwarden, Neushoorn, Into the Void*
20.10. GER – Munich, Feierwerk, Keep It Low*
21.10. A – Vienna, Arena*

31.10. RUS – St Petersburg
01.11. RUS – Moscow
03.11. DK – Aalborg, Aalborg Metalfest
04.11. GER – Osnabrück, Bastard
05.11. GER – Karlsruhe, Stadtmitte
06.11. F – Poitiers, Le confort Moderne
07.11. E – Barcelona, Razzmatazz
08.11. E – Callosa De Segura (Alicante), Auditorium
09.11. E – Madrid, Nazca
10.10. I – Fabriano, Sonic Room
10.11. E – Bilbao, Santana 27
* with Ancestors

Artwork by @digitaldexter

http://facebook.com/elderofficial
https://www.instagram.com/elderband/
http://stickman-records.com
http://armageddonshop.com

Elder, Reflections of a Floating World (2017)

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Up in Smoke 2018: Kadavar, Elder, Whores., Villagers of Ionnina City and Six Months of Sun Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

up in smoke 2018 banner

As noted yesterday, John Garcia has postponed his Fall tour of Europe, and that included a stop at Up in Smoke 2018. No doubt Mr. Garcia is a significant presence as a part of an lineup in which he features, and accordingly, Up in Smoke has gone ahead and added five bands in the wake of his cancellation, including Berlin three-piece Kadavar, who will take over his headlining spot. Needless to say, you could do much worse, and with Elder, Whores., Villagers of Ionnina City and Six Months of Sun also joining the lineup, there will definitely be plenty to see in Garcia‘s absence. Plus, there’s always Keep it Low 2019 to think about. Well, not “always,” but at least for the next year or so. Ha.

The following confirmations came down the PR wire:

up in smoke 2018 kadavar

UP IN SMOKE 2018 – KADAVAR & 4 MORE BANDS CONFIRMED!

Smokers,

You may have seen that JOHN GARCIA cancelled his October/November tour yesterday. It’s with great sadness that we have to say it consequently includes his appearance at Up In Smoke 2018… But no worry! We found another amazing act to headline our Friday night, one of the biggest names in the scene whose sound can be recognized by a single guitar strum: the berlin-based power trio KADAVAR! We’re pretty thrilled about that, aren’t you?!

We are also psyched to announce the 4 following bands:

ELDER (USA) – Elder is the definition of a work in progress, as the group continues to meld the familiar sounds of Sleep‘s colossal riffage with their ever-evolving vision of soaring melodies and sonic soundscapes. Listeners will find themselves locked into the trio’s lengthy epics, which toe the line between the chasms of classic stoner metal and mindblowing psychedelia.

WHORES (USA) – Founded in 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia, Whores has established themselves as one of the most successful and motivated bands in the genre today. Through intense, cathartic live performances and the perfected aggressive tenacity present on their recordings, the band has gained a fervent following sure to do nothing but grow in the years to come. October 2016 saw the band’s first full-length album “GOLD”, and Whores is currently recording the next one.

VILLAGERS OF IOANNINA CITY (GR) – The experimental heavy rock band Villagers of Ioannina City (VIC) comes from the mountains of Epirus – Greece. Their unique sound fuses traditional music into heavy psychedelic rock. The band uses a wide range of instruments, such as low tuned guitars and bass, hammond and rhodes, along with traditional instruments such as clarino, bagpipe, kaval, didjeridoo and others. Currently they are recording their long awaited new album “Age of Aquarius” which will be released in September.

SIX MONTHS OF SUN (CH) – Six Months Of Sun are based in Geneva, Switzerland and released their debut album called “And Water Flows” in 2013. The band served on Stoner Rock sound and offers us instrumental compositions with strong influences from bands such as Karma To Burn, Black Sabbath, Goatsnake, Orange Goblin, Graveyard and Clutch. They released their excellent second album “ Below the Eternal Sky” barely 2 months ago!

www.upinsmoke.de
https://www.facebook.com/UpInSmokeIndoorFestivalInZ7/
https://www.sol-tickets.com/produkte
https://soundofliberation.com

Kadavar, “Die Baby Die” official video

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Keep it Low 2018 Adds Elder, The Well & Dune Pilot to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I have said on multiple occasions over the years that of all the European autumntime festivals that have emerged, Keep it Low in Munich is the one I’d most care to attend. Not a year passes that the lineup isn’t stellar and digging right to the heart of heavy rock and doom — plus Colour Haze is there pretty much annually — and not a year goes by that I don’t imagine myself hopping on a plane to Germany for a kickass weekend among awesome bands and awesome people. They call them “Keepers,” which is pretty clever if you think about it.

The lineup this year? Already excellent, with Wo Fat, the aforementioned Colour Haze, Acid King, Sasquatch, Child and so on, but certainly tossing Elder into that mix doesn’t hurt either. They’re the latest adds along with Texan riffmarchers The Well and Munich’s own Dune Pilot, who, if it needs to be said, play desert rock.

Sound of Liberation, which presents the fest, announced them as follows:

keep it low 2018 poster

Keepers!

We are glad to unveil 3 more bands for Keep It Low Festival 2018 (the fantastic Elder, the entoxicating The Well & the vigorous DUNE PILOT) as well as the daysplit! More bands will be announced later, but as our 2-day passes are sold-out, we wanted to release the day tickets as soon as possible, and give you the infos to make your choice :)

Hard-Tickets & e-tickets for Friday & Saturday are available right here: www.keepitlow.de/tickets-keep-it-low!

—-

Elder is the definition of a work in progress, as the group continues to meld the familiar sounds of Sleep‘s colossal riffage with their ever-evolving vision of soaring melodies and sonic soundscapes. Listeners will find themselves locked into the trio’s lengthy epics, which toe the line between the chasms of classic stoner metal and mindblowing psychedelia.

Austin-based power trio The Well redefine heavy rock by merging massive riffs with sophisticated melodies. Their progressive sound stems from a nostalgic desire to blend different musical styles as diversified as Joy Division to Blue Cheer. At a time when rock music is fading among the masses, The Well inject an intoxicating dose of raw adrenaline into a fatigued genre. Their nostalgic reverence, simple structure and modern expression put them at the forefront of today’s heavy rock.

The Munich based band DUNE PILOT is celebrating desert rock just like the founding fathers of this genre would have imagined it. Certainly with beards, fuzz and plenty of low tones but also with groove, riffs and a sound that would bring tears of joy to the eyes of Josh Homme or Dave Wyndorf. However, they did not earn their reputation of being one of the most authentic German stoner bands through just their recordings. On stage, they are also one of the most vigorous stoner-bulldozers.

https://www.facebook.com/keepitlowfestival/
https://www.facebook.com/events/300578407135232/
https://www.facebook.com/Soundofliberation/
https://www.soundofliberation.com/news

Elder, Reflections of a Floating World (2017)

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Desertfest Belgium 2018 Adds Elder, Dopethrone, Sasquatch, Eagle Twin & Black Moth

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

Desertfest Belgium 2018 has made its second round of lineup announcements, including a couple North American heavy hitters like Elder, Dopethrone, Sasquatch and Eagle Twin. These, along with UK outfit Black Moth make up the five bands who join the previously announced Acid King, YOB, John Garcia and Wo Fat, making it a thus-far American-leaning lineup to be sure, though I have little doubt that will even out over the coming months. Don’t forget, this fest isn’t until October, and that’s not exactly this weekend or anything like that.

Whatever the geography, anyplace that has YOB, Acid King, Elder and Sasquatch hanging around — let alone playing — is someplace you should want to be. Tickets are on sale, and on sale, now, as the PR wire affirms:

desertfest belgium 2018 elder

DESERTFEST ANTWERP 2018: Elder, Dopethrone & more confirmed

Are you ready for another lethal dose of Desertfestian awesomeness?

Good, ’cause that’s exactly what we’re here to deliver! Here’s five (count’em!) more bands that will absolutely slay come October, with no filler in sight.

We’re delighted to welcome back Elder to the DF stage after their blistering show in 2016. Next up, Dopethrone wants to show you why exactly their upcoming new album is called ‘Transcanadian Anger’. Rocking, pissed off and dope as fuck – exactly how we prefer our sludge.

In a more traditional stoner vein, we have Black Moth from Leeds (UK) and Sasquatch from LA. Both are known to deliver the grooves and riffs as well as the songs and melody, and both have more than a decade of solid live reputation behind them. Two quality picks for the real connoisseurs out there. Finally, from the depths of Salt Lake City comes Eagle Twin, whose new album ‘The Thundering Heard’ reaches new heights of shamanic delirium. A power duo if there ever was one!

All of this, and still no shortage of Reduced Combi Tickets at the price of €95. Are we crazy? Well, yes. So make sure you grab your ticket before we come to our senses – this high won’t last forever, but it’ll last you until the next announcement in a few weeks.

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/364607267372737/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Elder, Reflections of a Floating World (2017)

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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

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Psycho Las Vegas 2018 Announces Pool Party Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

In the long, storied and groundbreaking career of Washington-based US black metal innovators Wolves in the Throne Room, I’m willing to wager that this will possibly be the first pool party they’ve ever played. Now, if you told me Toke had done pool parties, or even Elder, or Fireball Ministry — yeah, I’ve got no trouble believing that. But Wolves in the Throne Room? No way. This has to be the first.

They’re in good company with the aforementioned as well as Young and in the Way and Dengue Fever, but it should be an interesting test of their aesthetic to see if it works in such an unexpected context. Call me crazy, but it seems like Wolves in the Throne Room would be way more suited to a party in a dark and humid cave than a Vegas poolside. Hey, cave party! Maybe next year.

One more reason to hit Psycho Las Vegas 2018, as far as I’m concerned. Incongruity like that doesn’t come along every day. I dig it. You wouldn’t want to let the chance to see it slip.

Info from the PR wire:

psycho las vegas 2018 pool party

Wolves in the Throne Room, Elder, Dengue Fever to play PSYCHO LAS VEGAS Pre-fest Pool Party (Tickets Limited)

PSYCHO LAS VEGAS ANNOUNCING
WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM
ELDER | YOUNG AND IN THE WAY
FIREBALL MINISTRY
DENGUE FEVER | TOKE

TO PLAY PRE-FEST POOL PARTY AT THE HARD ROCK HOTEL

LIMITED NUMBER OF TICKETS HERE

PLUS TINARIWEN JOINING FULL LINEUP AUGUST 17-19, 2018
@ HARD ROCK HOTEL AND CASINO, LAS VEGAS

In a week oversaturated with redundant festival announcements, Psycho Las Vegas throws its hat into the ring to once again prove why the award-winning festival keeps fans on their toes year after year. Playing the exclusive pre-fest pool party will be Psycho alumni Young and in the Way, as well as Wolves in the Throne Room, Elder, Dengue Fever, Fireball Ministry, and Toke. This event will be the only time during the weekend where desert festival goers can enjoy the lineup from the comfort of the Hard Rock Hotel pool during the daytime — and tickets are extremely limited, available only to the first 2500 ticket buyers (labeled as Tier I), with less than 1000 remaining.

In true Psycho form, they have announced their first curveball for the main lineup: Mali’s Tinariwen.

Another exciting addition to the Psycho Las Vegas team is legendary artist Dirty Donny Gillies, who will be designing this year’s exclusive artwork. Deemed to be one of the most influential artists to invade the pop culture scenes of the punk, rock and metal underground, Dirty Donny has been spreading his art across all mediums for decades; ranging from skate decks to pinball machines, hot rods and album covers for clients like Metallica, Vans, Stern Pinball and Snap-on Tools, to name a few. The pairing of Psycho Entertainment with Gillies’ signature psychedelic themes and acid-soaked color palette is a celebration of the classic underground, the roots of heavy music and the surrounding culture. Limited prints of the 2018 poster will be available soon.

PSYCHO LAS VEGAS 2018
AUGUST 17-19
WITCHCRAFT | GOBLIN | HIGH ON FIRE | TINARIWEN
WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM | ELDER | S U R V I V E
ZAKK SABBATH | DENGUE FEVER | INDIAN | YOUNG AND IN THE WAY
FIREBALL MINISTRY | TOKE | 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

Wolves in the Throne Room, Thrice Woven (2017)

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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:

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