Elliott’s Keep Announce New Album Lacrimae Mundi

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

It’s been a good long while since the last time we heard from Dallas, Texas, trio Elliott’s Keep. Their third record, Nascentes Morimur (review here), arrived in 2013, and, well that was four years ago, so yeah. It was the doom metallers’ harshest offering to-date at the time, and one wonders what the intervening years will have done to their sound. It’s a relevant question, of course, because they’re recording a fourth long-player as we speak.

Okay, maybe not this second, but it’s in progress. Once again working with producer J.T. Longoria (Mercyful Fate, Absu, King Diamond, Solitude Aeturnus), once again keeping on theme in the medieval imagery of their cover art and once again holding true to their penchant for Latin album titles — Lacrimae Mundi translates, as noted below, to “tears of the world” — Elliott’s Keep seem to be signaling a sticking to form rather than any radical changes, but each of their outings has been a creative step from its predecessor and I’d expect no less this time around as well, whatever other elements may persist. The band, as you’ll recall, were formed in homage to mutual friend Glenn Riley Elliott, whose passing continues to inform their thematic and overall style.

Not sure on the exact timing of the release, but the band sent over the following so we can all be in the loop on the art and tracks. Here goes:

elliotts-keep-lacrimae-mundi

Elliott’s Keep – Lacrimae Mundi

Just a quick Elliott’s Keep update.

We have been recording the new album over the past few weeks and the guitar, drums and bass tracking is now complete. We will go back to Nomad Studios in a few weeks for Ken to do his vocal tracking.

The new album is titled Lacrimae Mundi (Latin for Tears of the World). We are again working with JT Longoria.

The track listing is as follows:
Carpe Noctem
Tempest
The Doom of Men
Banished to Shadow
Ninestane Rig
Moments of Respite
Reflection
Remembrance

Elliott’s Keep is:
Joel Bates – Drums
Kenneth Greene – Vocals and Bass Guitar
Jonathan Bates – Guitar

https://www.facebook.com/Elliotts-Keep-126537660738233/
https://elliottskeep.bandcamp.com/

Elliott’s Keep, Nascentes Morimur (2014)

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Last Licks 2014: Seven that Spells, Elliott’s Keep, The Lone Crows, Krautzone, L’Ira del Baccano, Lae, Atomikylä, Deaf Proof, Jastreb and Arctic Sleep

Posted in Reviews on January 1st, 2015 by JJ Koczan

I thought last night about changing the name of this feature to “First Licks 2015,” but on further reflection, that’s just too much licking. It’s bad enough as it is. All the same, Happy New Year to you and yours, wherever you and they may be. I hope in 2015, your reviews pile never gets so backed up that you think about doing something so absolutely insane as tackling them all at once to wipe the slate clean. Then again, being completely inundated with music has its upsides. The music, for one.

We press on today with the fourth installment in the “Last Licks 2014” series. These are reviews 31-40. I passed the halfway point yesterday with barely so much as an inward breath to appreciate the moment, and I can only hope the pile of discs before me goes so smoothly. I’ll let you know when I get there. Until then, no need to dally, let’s get underway with the first reviews of 2015.

Thanks for reading:

Seven that Spells, The Death and Resurrection of Krautrock: Io

seven that spells the death and resurrection of krautrock io

Reportedly second in a series of three albums from Croatian heavy psych rockers Seven that Spells, The Death and Resurrection of Krautrock: Io follows a first installment subtitled Aum released in 2011 and brings forth heady, mostly instrumental progressions of extended runtimes and a satisfying blend of weighted tones and stylistic clarity. The three-piece who released their first album in 2003 alternate between three shorter pieces and two longer ones across the 47-minute Sulatron Records outing’s five tracks, and while I’m not entirely sure what is the narrative that’s taking place across them, there’s definitely a plotted course and concept at work behind the material – it does not come across as haphazard in any way. When they arrive, vocals do so as chants coinciding with sweeping passages, as on “Burning Blood,” the culmination of which is worthy of being the apex of a trilogy in progress. Io takes the off-the-cuff authenticity in heavy psych and gives it direction and purpose beyond simply being. No small feat, no small results.

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Sulatron Records

Elliott’s Keep, Nascentes Morimur

elliott's keep nascentes morimur

Some metal isn’t doom, some doom isn’t metal, but Texas trio Elliott’s Keep play doom metal, and make no mistake. Their third long-player, Nascentes Morimur, comes after 2008’s In Medias Res (review here) and 2010’s Sine Qua Non (review here), and like them, it was produced and mixed by J.T. Longoria, so that their darkened, metallic chugging is presented with a crisp bite. The three-piece of Kenneth Greene (bass/vocals), Jonathan Bates (guitar) and Joel Bates (drums) toy with the balance between death and doom effectively across Nascentes Morimur’s nine tracks, making highlights of early moments like the double-kick-laden “Now Taken” and the chorus of the proceeding “Days of Hell.” Later cuts like “Tale of Grief” and “Omen” follow suit, with Jonathan riffing out classic metal vibes while Greene switches between clean singing and a rasping, almost black metal in places, scream. Their command never wavers, though, and while there have never been many frills about their approach, Elliott’s Keep have come to offer a fist-pumpingly heavy, sharp-edged push.

Elliott’s Keep on Thee Facebooks

Elliott’s Keep on Bandcamp

The Lone Crows, Dark Clouds

the lone crows dark clouds

Bluesy Minneapolis double-guitar four-piece The Lone Crows show an affinity for classic rock stylization on their World in Sound second full-length, Dark Clouds. Produced modern, with lead guitar front and center, there’s more rock to Dark Clouds than heavy rock, but the vocal style of guitarist Tim Barbeau – joined in the band by guitarist Julian Manzara, bassist Andy Battcher and drummer Joe Goff – has some ‘90s inflection to it, and every now and then they get into a bit of bounce, as on the title-track and “The Dragon.” The penultimate “Midnight Show” would seem like the peak of the album, and sure enough it has one of its best hooks, but the recording doesn’t allow for the same push one imagines the material would carry live, and the quiet ending of “On that Day” feels flat compared to some of The Lone Crows’ bluesy peers. I chalk it up to the difference between blues rock and heavy rock and my own expectations, rather than some fault in the band.

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World in Sound

Krautzone, Kosmiche Rituale

krautzone kosmiche rituale

I’m not sure if it would be appropriate to call Krautzone an offshoot of Zone Six, of which all four members – guitarist Rainer Neeff, synth-providers Modulfix and Sula Bassana, and percussionist Komet Lulu (the latter two also of Electric Moon) – take part, plus bassist Onkel Kaktus, but either way, the sound is nebulous, brilliantly textured for a meditative, slow-motion churn, and utterly engrossing. Their Sulatron debut, Kosmiche Rituale, is comprised of three lengthy explorations, tones washing in and out of each, smoothly offset by Neeff’s flight-taken guitar, minimal but earthy percussion and an improvised sensibility. “Liebe” (12:46) and “Kosmiche Rituale” (9:09) comprise side A and “Only Fools Rush In” (20:41) consumes side B entirely, a wash of synth and cymbals announcing its arrival as it sets about unfolding its long course, every bit living up to the album’s title in the process. Krautzone also released a split with Lamp of the Universe in 2014 (review here), but on their own, they shine with the chance to really stretch out.

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Sulatron Records

L’Ira del Baccano, Terra 42

l'ira del baccano terra 42

Italian instrumentalists L’Ira del Baccano make their full-length debut with the lushly conceived Terra 42, a six-track, 57-minute outing that works in three overarching “phases.” The first of them includes tracks one through three and is dubbed “The Infinite Improbability Drive,” and it makes up more than half the album’s runtime, the first, 13-minute part standing alone while the two subsequent nine-minute stretches feed one directly into the next in a psychedelic wash of open guitar building to a raucous heavy rock finish. Phase II, “Sussurri… Nel Bosco di Diana” is the next two cuts, and moves smoothly from a Yawning Man-style jam to more riff-based thickness. The longest individual part, Phase III, is the 14-minute “Volcano X13,” track six, on which the band move fluidly through their heavy psych and rock impulses, synth and guitar intertwining well as L’Ira del Baccano affirm their more-than-burgeoning stylistic breadth. It’s an interesting, somewhat familiar blend, but they put it to good use on Terra 42 and engage with the spaciousness created.

L’Ira del Baccano on Thee Facebooks

Subsound Records

Lae, Break the Clasp

lae break the clasp

Reactivated Montreal noisemakers Lae enlisted the help of their producer, Today is the Day’s Steve Austin, in handling lead vocals for their debut, Break the Clasp, which is a move fitting for their anti-genre approach to noise, drone, doom, post-everything, and so on. A Battleground Records/The Compound release, Break the Clasp reworks unheard material from Lae’s original run in the mid-‘90s – an album that never came out, essentially – but the vitality in the 13 tracks (yes, even the crushingly slow ones) is fresh to the point of its newness, and even the parts meant to be abrasive, opener “Sexy Sadie” or pieces of “17 Queen,” for example, hold onto a wonderful depth the mix and a feeling of texture that feeds Break the Clasp’s otherworldly spirit and brings you along its path of consuming strangeness. Austin is a presence, but by no means the star, and the whole band Lae shines across Break the Clasp’s fascinating span. A debut no one knew they were awaiting, but they were.

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Earsplit Distro

Atomikylä, Erkale

atomikyla erkale

Psychedelia implying such a colorful sound, and black metal implying essentially the absence of that color, the two have rarely been paired well, but Finnish four-piece Atomikylä display a resounding space on their five-song debut full-length, Erkale (released by Future Lunch), and they’re not through the 13-minute opener, “Aluaineet,” before I think they might have mastered the balance between effects wash, unmitigated thrust and far-back screaming that most others have left too far to one side or the other. The four-piece with a lineup half from Oranssi Pazuzu and half from Dark Buddha Rising don’t stay in one place stylistically – the title-track has an almost krautrock feel, while the subsequent “Ihmiskallo” is more resolved to doom – but they keep a consistency of blinding bleakness to Erkale that results in a decidedly individualized feel throughout the 48 minutes. Droning and jazzy guitar experimentalism prevails in “Who Goes There,” and 10-minute closer “Musta Kulta” both broadens the atmosphere and underscores Atomikylä’s vicious stylistic triumph, capping Erkale with a mash of squibblies and screams, effects and distortion that’s so filthy it can’t help but be beautiful.

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Future Lunch

Deaf Proof, Death Sounds Angry

deaf proof death sounds angry

Freiburg, Germany, trio Deaf Proof – guitarist/vocalist J. Fredo, bassist JP and drummer Pedro – released their first demo in 2013, but the three-song/34-minute EP (it’s more like an album, but I won’t argue) Death Sounds Angry is a decidedly more assured, professional affair. The vibe is loose and, in the reaches of 18-minute middle cut “Origin of Pain,” jammy, but the three-piece still seem to have some idea of where they want their material to go, even as they feel their way toward those ends. A Colour Haze influence? Maybe, but less than one might think given the current climate of European heavy psych. JP’s bass has a tendency toward darker undertones, and when they hit the payoffs for “Death Sounds Angry and Hungry for More,” “Origin of Pain” and “The Sense,” they reveal themselves to be in search of something heavier and less peaceful. J. Fredo’s vocals are a little forward in the mix, but Death Sounds Angry still offers plenty to chew on for the converted.

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Deaf Proof on Bandcamp

Jastreb, Mother Europe

jastreb mother europe

Progressive, mostly instrumental and hypnotic, Zagreb, Croatia, trio Jastreb released their self-titled debut as a single 36-minute song in 2012, and the follow-up, Mother Europe (on HauRucK), is no less ambitious. Vocals appear here and there, both from the core three-piece and a guest spot, but the heart of what Jastreb do is rooted in their ability to craft movements that pull listeners in without falling into lulls of unconsciousness – to wit, the repetitions of “The Black Mountain” seem still but are constantly building and moving forward – as well as in arrangement flourishes like synth, Hammond, sitar and violin among the shades of post-metal in “Haemmer” or the bleary, drone-backed opener “North,” which comes companioned by the subtle churn of “South” to end the album. Not necessarily psychedelic in a loose or jammy sense, but immersive, and purposeful in its variety; the sitar and guest vocals on “The Silver Spire” arrive just at the moment when one thinks they might have heard it all. Could say the same of the record itself, I suppose.

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Jastreb’s BigCartel store

HauRucK

Arctic Sleep, Passage of Gaia

arctic sleep passage of gaia

Passage of Gaia is the sixth album from progressive melo-doomers Arctic Sleep. A four-piece from Milwaukee including bassist/drummer/cellist/vocalist Keith D, guitarist Mike Gussis and vocalist Emily Jancetic (John Gleisner plays drums live), one is reminded both of the Floydian consciousness of mid-period Anathema (my go-to comparison point for this kind of stuff, admittedly) and the drama in Katatonia and some of Novembers Doom’s clean sections, but ultimately, Arctic Sleep emerge from the eight-track/54-minute DIY long-player with their own personality, measured out in the careful vocal collaboration between Keith D and Jancetic, songs like “Terra Vindicta,” “Green Dragon” and “Passage of Gaia,” and the varied structures between the more rocking “Terra Vindicta” and the build of “Solar Lament.” Through it all, nothing’s out of balance, and Arctic Sleep execute Passage of Gaia with the poise demanded by the style and the fact that it’s their sixth album, accomplishment suiting them as well as the melancholy of closer “Destroy the Urn,” which almost loses its restraint at the end. Almost.

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Arctic Sleep at CDBaby

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audiObelisk: Elliott’s Keep Unveil “Gates Beyond” from New Album Nascentes Morimur

Posted in audiObelisk on November 26th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

For over half a decade, Dallas, Texas, doom metal trio Elliott’s Keep have paid homage to fallen comrade Glenn Riley Elliott, the three-piece of Kenneth Greene (bass/vocals), Jonathan Bates (guitar) and Joel Bates (drums) having made their debut with 2008’s In Medias Res (review here). In some ways, that album has proven to be the blueprint for everything Elliott’s Keep have done since. Released on Brainticket, it established Elliott’s Keep as a powerfully metallic act running an electric current of Solitude Aeturnus-style traditional American doom metal through their songs. The ensuing follow-up on the same label, Sine Qua Non (review here), was more cohesive and more metal, but crucially, more confident in establishing its darkened course.

Elliott’s Keep‘s third album, the forthcoming Nascentes Morimur, holds to some of the band’s established traditions. It has a Latin title (meaning, “From the moment we’re born, we die”), as well as artwork with a castle keep on the front cover, and it sure enough taps into trad doom and metallic elements from what I’ve heard of it, but like last time around, there’s also progression on the part of the band. And since they returned to record with J.T. Longoria (Solitude Aeturnus, Absu, Mercyful Fate), that progression comes through with clarity and a professionally crisp presentation that’s still heavy as all hell. For example, take the closing track of the CD’s total nine, “Gates Beyond.”

What impresses most about the song isn’t necessarily that it expands the band’s sonic palette by incorporating violin alongside Greene‘s mournful vocals, but how well that expansion blends with the strength in the songwriting. Yeah, “Gates Beyond” is interesting, but it’s also quality doom, and I feel like all too often the one is sacrificed in service of the other (or the other to the one, as it were). Elliott’s Keep have been able to hold firm to the parts of their processes they want to maintain and at the same time bring in new ideas and ultimately change the output in a natural way. “Gates Beyond” proves that, five-years on from their first record, Elliott’s Keep are able to bend their sound to their will. They’re the masters of their own fate.

And that being the case, all the better that I have the opportunity to premiere “Gates Beyond” in advance of the album release. Check it out on the player below, and please enjoy:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

Elliott’s Keep‘s Nascentes Morimur is due in December and will be available on CD/digital. More info at the following links.

Elliott’s Keep on Thee Facebooks

Brainticket Records

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Elliott’s Keep Finish Recording Nascentes Morimur

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 2nd, 2013 by JJ Koczan

With their eyes on a Fall 2013 release, Dallas doomers Elliott’s Keep have finished recording their third album, Nascentes Morimur. Last we heard from the trio, they were starting to record in May, so as the record is being mixed, they’re on track to have it out as planned. J.T. Longoria (whose considerable credentials you can see below) will be handling the mix, and while it’s probably not up there with the highest profile outings he’s worked on, Elliott’s Keep‘s mission of honoring their fallen comrade with heavy-as-hell trad doom continues to impress with both its sincerity and its metallic heft.

The band sent an update down the PR wire:

ELLIOTT’S KEEP COMPLETES RECORDING OF THIRD ALBUM

ELLIOTT’S KEEP, the Dallas metal doom trio have completed the recording of their third full-length album, entitled Nascentes Morimur, which is scheduled for a fall 2013 release.

As with their first two releases, ELLIOTT’S KEEP recorded again with J.T. LONGORIA (Solitude Aeturnus, Candlemass, Absu, Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Volbeat). Primary recording was completed again at Nomad Studios in Carrollton, Texas. Drums were tracked at Empire Sound Studio in Carrollton, Texas.

Nascentes Morimur is currently being mixed by J.T. LONGORIA, with GARY LONG of Nomad Studios again mastering. In keeping with the band’s use of Latin titles, Nascentes Morimur means “from the moment we are born, we begin to die.”

Song titles for Nascentes Morimur are as follows:

Waves of Anguish
Days of Hell
Now Taken
Feanor’s Bane
Regicide
Tale of Grief
Convergence
Omen
Gates Beyond

In Medias Res was released in November 2008 on Brainticket Records. Sine Qua Non was released in September 2010 on Brainticket Records.

Elliott’s Keep, “Days of Hell” practice recording

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Elliott’s Keep Recording New Album for Fall Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 15th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Good news from Texas today in that Dallas trio Elliott’s Keep have a batch of new material they’re getting ready to record next month. According to the update below, which the band sent down the PR wire, they’ll be working again with engineer J.T. Longoria, who also manned their 2010 sophomore outing, Sine Qua Non (review here). A sampling of his credits, which are considerable, is listed below.

Look for more on the album, dubbed Nascentes Morimur in Elliott’s Keep‘s tradition of Latin titles, as we get closer to the Fall 2013 release, but for now here’s the announcement and the front cover of what’s to come:

As we did three years ago, we will begin recording the next Elliott’s Keep record over Memorial Day weekend. This one is entitled Nascentes Morimur, which translates to “From the moment we are born, we begin to die.” The cover art is attached. We will be working again with J.T. Longoria (Solitude Aeturnus, Candlemass, Concept of God, Absu, King Diamond).

Nine tracks this time. The record should be released in the fall.

Elliott’s Keep, “Fearless” from Sine Qua Non

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Elliott’s Keep Interview with Jonathan Bates: “Music is an Essential Part of Our Lives. It is Not a Passive Thing.”

Posted in Features on November 11th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

After reporting on their album progress, debuting a track, reviewing the record and including them in the latest podcast, short of going to their house (dudes in bands all live in the same house, right?) and standing outside of their window holding up a boombox playing Bathory, an interview is the only means I have left of showing Dallas metal doomers Elliott’s Keep the love. So we’ll go with that.

The trio’s second full-length, Sine Qua Non, continues the mission of paying tribute to fallen band comrade Glenn Riley Elliott, and what Elliott’s Keep do through this collection of songs is basically establish themselves as a band with a distinct sound within the world of doom. By upping the level of black and death metal influence from 2008’s In Medias Res debut, they carve a niche for themselves in a crowded Texas scene by brazenly taking on forms of extremity most bands wouldn’t dare touch. Oh yeah, and it’s heavy too.

More than it being simply heavy, though, what I enjoy most about Elliott’s Keep is the spirit behind the music and the obvious passion in playing it. Sure, they’re skilled songwriters, but the band strikes me more as friends who enjoy playing together than career-driven musicians looking to get as big as possible in the music industry. And isn’t that what doom is all about? Getting together with your buddies, playing killer heavy tunes and having a good time? How could it be anything else?

Guitarist Jonathan, bassist/vocalist Kenneth and drummer Joel have refined and intensified their approach, showing growth in both musicianship and consciousness, but honestly, given all the links above, I’ve probably said enough about Sine Qua Non. It’s time to give someone else a turn. Jonathan takes the conch in the interview to follow, providing answers as sincere as Elliott’s Keep‘s music to questions about their writing process (unlike most bands, the riffs do not necessarily come first), recording the album, working with Brainticket Records head John Perez of Solitude Aeturnus, who also provides a guest solo on Sine Qua Non, and much more.

Q&A is after the jump, as ever. Please enjoy.

Read more »

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Elliott’s Keep: Fearless Fate in the Darkest Corners

Posted in Reviews on October 25th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

There are two things that anyone who heard Dallas doom trio Elliott’s Keep’s first record are going to notice immediately about the follow-up. Primarily, Sine Qua Non is a lot heavier than In Medias Res, especially in the vocals of bassist Ken, and second, that there’s a lot more of it. In Medias Res — which, like the sophomore outing, was released on Brainticket Records – was 40 minutes long, and Sine Qua Non adds nearly half that time again to clock in at 58:49. It’s a lot of doom, and though it’s not without its lulls, Elliott’s Keep have clearly grown as players and as a band in the two years since In Medias Res.

And yet, a lot of the mission seems to have stayed the same. The look of the two albums is similar down to the fonts used and the layout of the back covers. Both have medieval-themed artwork (though I prefer the deep reds of the new album), Latin titles, production credited to J.T. Longoria at Nomad Studios in Dallas with mastering by Gary Long. Hell, if you stand In Medias Res and Sine Qua Non next to each other, even the logos and titles on the spines line up. Obviously, the trio of Ken, guitarist Jonathan and drummer Joel (who seem to prefer first names only) weren’t looking to revolutionize their approach, and that holds true for the music as well, though right from the start with the pummeling alliterative back-to-back heaviness of “Fearless” and “Fate,” Elliott’s Keep show their songwriting has matured. Both tracks top eight minutes both hold attention well, and with a guest solo from Solitude Aeturnus guitarist/Brainticket head honcho John Perez on the emotionally tortured 7:50 “Shades of Disgrace,” you’re 25 minutes through Sine Qua Non before you even know it.

Read more »

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audiObelisk EXCLUSIVE: Elliott’s Keep Premiere Devastating Lead Track from Sine Qua Non

Posted in audiObelisk on September 29th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Yesterday, Sept. 28, 2010, Dallas doomers Elliott’s Keep released their second album through Brainticket Records. Titled Sine Qua Non, the full-length sees them take the traditional doom they unleashed on their 2008 debut, In Medias Res, and up the heaviness with blistering black and death metal vocals alongside the clean ones as heard on the previous outing. The first time I put the song on I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

I enjoyed In Medias Res, don’t get me wrong, but the subtle change in approach puts Elliott’s Keep and Sine Qua Non in a different category entirely. They might still be traditional doom, but they’re refining the tradition instead of working within it. Once you hear the song, you’ll understand the difference.

And about that: The Obelisk couldn’t be more thrilled to bring you the opening track from Sine Qua Non, called “Fearless.” Stream it in high quality on the player below and get filled in on the info from the band’s MySpace:

Fearless

We recorded again at Nomad Studios in Carrollton, Texas, with J.T. Longoria (Solitude Aeturnus, RobertLoweCandlemass, Concept of God, Absu, King Diamond) at the helm.

As with our initial 2008 release — In Medias ResSine Qua Non will be issued on John Perez’s Brainticket Records. We are honored that he makes a special guest appearance with a guitar solo on the track “Shades of Disgrace.”

The title Sine Qua Non is Latin for “Without This, Mothing,” meaning, “Without this part of my life, the rest is meaningless.”

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