Psycho Las Vegas 2018 Reveals Lineup; Dimmo 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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Forming the Void Stream New Split; Rift LP Due in June

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

forming the void

Looks like a busy couple months coming up for Louisiana-based progressive heavy rockers Forming the Void. They’ve teamed up with Black Bow Records‘ own Pyreship for a new split that will be out in a couple weeks’ time via Endhipendit Record Co., a label wing of the Texas-based festival of the same name, and in the meantime have dates booked that will take them down to South by Southwest, you know, which Endhipendit is kind of playing off of, name-wise. Ironic? No. That’s not actually irony. It’s a band booking shows and releasing albums. There’s a difference.

Speaking of releasing albums, word’s also come down from that most venerable of sources — the PR wire — that Forming the Void, whose last outing was 2017’s righteously plotted Relic (review here), will issue a new full-length in June titled Rift via Kozmik Artifactz.

There’s a lot of news to keep up with, and some new audio as well, but I think you’re up to the task. Have at you:

forming the void pyreship split

Louisiana prog-rockers FORMING THE VOID to release new album this June on Kozmik Artifactz | Stream new split with Pyreship

Rift, the new studio album from Forming The Void is due for release this June on Kozmik Artifactz

Forming The Void/Pyreship limited edition split is released on 9th March 2018 on Endhipendit Record Co.

Following the release of last year’s critically acclaimed album Relic, Louisiana’s preeminent prog warlocks, Forming The Void, are thrilled to announce news of their signing to Kozmik Artifactz for new album Rift, US tour dates and the imminent release of a split LP with Texan sludge thugs, Pyreship.

Originally formed in 2013 in Lafayette – a place with an impressive reputation for raising underground rock into realms of the unknown – Forming The Void became one of the city’s most talked about bands of 2017. With the release of their third album Relic, their colossal and atmospheric sound summoned the towering hard rock riffs and progressive influence of bands like Mastodon, Baroness and Torche. A distinctive sound that not only marked them out as ‘ones to watch’, but a sound that promptly earned them recognition around the world as ambitious and gifted players.

Newly signed to German label Kozmik Artifactz, in preparation for the official release of their fourth studio album Rift this June, the band will take to the road throughout 2018 for an extensive run of live dates and festival appearances, including shows at South By Southwest (more info below). Before that however, this March will see the release of a limited split 10” on the Houston-based label Endhipendit Record Co. with Black Bow Records’ Pyreship. Another excellent band in ascension, Pyrsehip blend post metal and doom with a raft of 90s slowcore and noise rock influences, deftly slammed out at punishing volume.

With both bands tackling a side apiece, the two track 10” – featuring Forming The Void’s storming and celestial new work ‘To The Wolves’ – hints at electrifying things to come in what will undoubtedly be a breakout year for the Lafayette quartet.

Rift, the new studio album from Forming The Void is due for release this June on Kozmik Artifactz. In the meantime, Forming The Void/Pyreship’s split is released on 9th March 2018 through Endhipendit Record Co.

US Tour (More TBC):
Fri, 23/02 – Nighthawks – Jacksonville (FL) [w. Hollow Leg, Count the Dead, Insalubrious Minanthropes]
Sat, 24/02 – Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery – Atlanta (GA) [w. Hollow Leg, Canopy, Malevich]
Sun, 25/02 – The Cobra – Nashville (TN) [w. Deathstar Lovebeam, Eddas presented by Nashville Psych Alliance]
Wed, 14/03 – SXSW; Stoner Jam at Swan Dive – Austin (TX)
Thurs, 15/03 – SXSW; Stoner Daze at Texas Mist – Austin, (TX)

Forming The Void:
James Marshall – Guitar/Vocals
Shadi Omar Al-Khansa – Guitar
Luke Baker – Bass
Thomas Colley – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/formingthevoid/
https://twitter.com/forming_thevoid
https://formingthevoid.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz/
https://twitter.com/kozmikartifactz
https://www.instagram.com/kozmikartifactz/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
http://www.facebook.com/endhipenditrecordco
http://www.instagram.com/endhipendit_record

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Electric Funeral Fest III Lineup Announced; Speedwolf and Weedeater to Headline

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I wanna go to this. Let me not mince words. I know it’s the week after Maryland Doom Fest and that for a dude who lives in Massachusetts and has a baby and is already planning on hitting the Netherlands, Germany and Las Vegas this spring and summer that’s an awful lot of travel, but man, Electric Funeral Fest III looks like an absolute blast. How could you look at a lineup with The Midnight Ghost Train, Amplified Heat and Cloud Catcher and not want to be there? And then after all that boogie you’ve got Primitive Man to flatten the earth so Weedeater have a nice clean surface to get absolutely filthy with their sludge? Come on.

Will I get to go? Yeah, probably not. But it’s nice to think about. Check out the poster and the full lineup from the PR wire and see if you don’t agree:

electric funeral fest iii poster

ELECTRIC FUNERAL FEST III To Take Place June 29th-30th In Denver; Initial Lineup Includes Headlining Appearances By Speedwolf And Weedeater + Tickets On Sale TODAY

The third edition of Dust Present’s ELECTRIC FUNERAL FEST will return to Denver, Colorado on June 29th-30th, 2018!

The annual South Broadway festival, known loosely as The Blowout on Broadway, will be grander than ever in its third iteration, expanding to include a third stage inside the Mutiny Information Cafe, a spot known city-wide for its welcoming atmosphere and promotion of DIY events of all types. Located across the street from Hi Dive and just a block north of 3 Kings Tavern – the two hosting venues of last year’s festival, and two Denver favorites – the Mutiny stage will be the first all-ages stage offered at ELECTRIC FUNERAL FEST and its central location will bolster the street festival environment cultivated over the last two years that’s become an integral part of the Electric Funeral’s attraction.

Friday June 29th will mark the one-night return of Denver speed metal legends Speedwolf as the group reunites for their first show in over four years with a headlining slot at 3 Kings. There may be no band in recent memory that’s achieved the cult status in Denver that Speedwolf has, and a raucous in-your-face performance inside 3 Kings will surely invoke wild memories (or forgotten ones) of infamous Speedwolf appearances of yore. Friday’s support spans from the soaring dual harmonies of 2017 MVPs Spirit Adrift, crushing Iowa doom trio Aseethe, the unmatched ’70s blues-boogie of Amplified Heat, Portland’s self-proclaimed street doom merchants R.I.P. and many more.

The top slot Saturday June 30th will see the aggressive stoner metal onslaught of Wilmington, North Carolina’s Weedeater. Driven by the gutteral growl and enthralling stage energy of bassist/vocalist “Dixie” Dave Collins, North Carolina’s manic sons are poised to lift the crowd a bit higher than usual. The meat of the day two lineup matches the versatility of day one, including the misanthropic punishment of Primitive Man, Duel’s high-flying proto-metal roar, the manic blues attack of The Midnight Ghost Train, Opoponax Records sleepers Grey Gallows and many more.

A full festival lineup will be released in the coming weeks.

ELECTRIC FUNERAL is Denver’s premiere heavy music festival, built as a bridge between one of North America’s most powerful and vibrant cities for heavy music and the legions of bands and fans who visit the Mile High City each year. ELECTRIC FUNERAL, an event run and produced by musicians, stands as the antithesis to corporate driven rock festivals. Founded as a beacon for the Denver scene, ELECTRIC FUNERAL FEST 2018 ramps the spotlight up a little brighter this year, showcasing over fifteen bands from Denver, including a few behemoths holding down headlining and top support slots.

Venues:
Hi Dive (21+), 3 Kings Tavern (21+), Mutiny Information Cafe (all ages)

Ticket Options:
$50 early-bird two-day pass (50 available)
$32 one-day pass
$60 two-day pass

Tickets available at: http://www.electricfuneralfestiii.eventbrite.com

Friday, June 29th:
Headliner: Speedwolf (reunion show)
Support: Spirit Adrift, Aseethe, R.I.P., Amplified Heat, Forming The Void, Love Gang, Urn, Smokey Mirror, Augur, Necropanther, Bandits, Green Druid, Keef Duster

Saturday, June 30th:
Headliner: Weedeater
Support: Primitive Man, The Midnight Ghost Train, Duel, Grey Gallows, Cloud Catcher, The Munsens, Loom, White Dog, Vexing, Wizzerd, Space in Time, Smolder & Burn, Alone, Still Valley

https://www.facebook.com/events/1976102246000271/
https://www.eventbrite.com/o/dust-presents-12848870878
http://www.facebook.com/dustpresents
http://instagram.com/dustpresents

Cloud Catcher, “The Whip” Live at Electric Funeral Fest 2017

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Forming the Void Hit the Studio to Record New Single

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

They’re not so terribly far removed from the vinyl release of their second album, Relic (review here), via Lonestar Records — which followed a CD issue through Argonauta this past Spring — but as we know, Louisiana’s Forming the Void have a knack for working quickly. This past weekend found the Lafayette four-piece back in the studio working on a new single that will apparently be used as part of a split release with Houston, Texas’ Pyreship. No release date has been announced, but Forming the Void do refer to Pyreship as labelmates below, so perhaps there’s some news on that front coming sometime in the near future. I’ll keep an eye open and do the see-it-post-it thing to the best of my ability, like always.

In the meantime, I’m interested to hear where Forming the Void are headed and if we get a glimpse of that on this forthcoming split. Relic was a fast turnaround from the heavy progressive heavy rock/metallers’ 2015 debut, Skyward (review here), but a marked step forward in their development as well, so as they continue to move ahead perhaps toward a third full-length, my specific question is how their stylistic blend will shake out, where and if the psychedelic aspects of Relic will show up again, if so, how, and where the adventurousness their songwriting has shown to this point will ultimately lead them.

They made a quick announcement of the work underway on the social medias and have a gig coming up this weekend in Baton Rouge. Info follows:

forming the void

“Back at it again laying down a single for a split release with our labelmates Pyreship. Shout out to our awesome engineer James Whitten at Hightower Recording!”

Forming the Void live:
08.12 Baton Rouge LA Varsity Theatre w/ Ambassador, Slounge & Drood

FORMING THE VOID is an American rock band from Lafayette, Louisiana. Formed in 2013, the band consists of James Marshall, Shadi Al-Khansa, Luke Baker, and Thomas Colley. Their unique blend of atmospheric, progressive rock with towering fuzzed out riffs places a heavy emphasis on dynamics and layers.

https://www.facebook.com/formingthevoid/
https://twitter.com/forming_thevoid
https://formingthevoid.bandcamp.com/
http://www.argonautarecords.com/shop/music-/191-forming-void-relic-cd.html
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords
https://www.facebook.com/Lonestar-Records-142216302478941

Forming the Void, Relic (2017)

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Forming the Void: Relic Vinyl Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

forming the void

Next month will see the official vinyl release of Forming the Void‘s 2017 album, Relic (review here). Initially offered on CD via Italian imprint Argonauta Records, the Louisiana natives’ sophomore outing is available now to preorder through Lonestar Records in full-platter form, and one can hardly say it doesn’t earn the honor both in its aural and visual presentation. Guitarist/vocalist James Marshall recently took some time out for a Six Dumb Questions interview (posted here) to discuss the band’s development between their 2015 debut, Skyward (review here), and the new record, and in so doing cited vinyl as a particular goal for their latest work, so kudos and cheers to the band on seeing that come to fruition.

If you haven’t heard Relic yet — and yeah, I know you have, because you’re up on it like that — you can find the full thing streaming below. Preorder info and links follow here as well:

forming-the-void-relic

Forming the Void vinyl release date – July 28th

Following the release of last year’s impressive Skyward album, Forming the Void, originally formed in 2013 in Lafayette, Louisiana, has gained an impressive reputation for raising underground rock into realms of the previously unknown. Atmospheric, heavy and progressive yet losing none of these earnest qualities at volume, they layer their ambitions as thickly as the riffs that help transmit their visions. Newly signed to Italian label Argonauta Records, this March will see the release of their third album Relic. Like Skyward before it, it draws on one hell of a colossal sound. Summoning the towering hard rock riffs and progressive influence of bands like Mastodon, Baroness and Torche, Relic finds the four piece illustrating their bold and adventurous ideas in the most vivid of colours.

PRE-ORDER! Release: 28th of July 2017!

Coke-bottle clear vinyl is limited to 500 copies!
https://www.lonestar-recs.de/you-got-the-choice/shop/

Forming The Void:
James Marshall – Guitar/Vocals
Shadi Omar Al-Khansa – Guitar
Luke Baker – Bass
Jordan Boyd – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/formingthevoid/
https://twitter.com/forming_thevoid
https://formingthevoid.bandcamp.com/
http://www.argonautarecords.com/shop/music-/191-forming-void-relic-cd.html
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords
https://www.facebook.com/Lonestar-Records-142216302478941

Forming the Void, Relic (2017)

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Six Dumb Questions with Forming the Void

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on April 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

forming the void

We’re at less than a month’s remove from the release date of Forming the Void‘s second album, Relic (review here), and already it’s apparent that the Louisiana four-piece are turning heads in their direction. The follow-up to 2015’s Skyward (review here) is also the first outing for the band to be issued through Italy’s Argonauta Records, and it further solidifies the progressive charge of its predecessor with a crisp delivery and a marked sense of scope across its span. It toys with but is by no means subject to heavy rock genre restrictions, and one finds it no less at home in the aggro-catchiness of “Biolazar” and the post-Torche lumber of “Plumes” than it is in the more tripped-out roll of “Unto the Smoke” or the take on Led Zeppelin‘s “Kashmir” that rounds out.

United by a clean and clearheaded production, Relic freely careens between a swath of influences from the modern sphere: here touching on Baroness-style melody, there on Eastern-scale guitar leads like that in “Endless Road.” And though they don’t shy away from acknowledging the complexity of what they’re doing, neither do the album’s eight tracks come across as inflated. If anything, as asserted below by guitarist/vocalist James Marshall — joined in the band by guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa, bassist Luke Baker and drummer Jordan Boyd — they’ve become stronger in terms of their editorial voice, so that the resulting output is all the more efficient and communicative in its purposes. That’s an ongoing process, of course, but so is creativity as a whole, and Relic sees Forming the Void take pivotal forward steps on a number of levels, establishing them as an act consciously dedicated to their sonic progression.

Below, Marshall talks about the origins of the band, what they learned from Skyward going into Relic, the mysterious figure on the front cover of both their albums to-date, working with Argonauta and more.

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

forming-the-void-relic

Six Dumb Questions with Forming the Void

Tell me about getting Forming the Void together. Did you have a sound in mind first, or did you start playing and then the band’s style began to take shape? 

When I first started looking for people to play in the band, I was just looking to play rock music. When we all got together in a room, each of our strengths just naturally came through in the music. As we’ve grown, we’ve steadily tried to play on those strengths more. The most drastic change is we’ve been steadily getting heavier.

Talk about your writing process, in general and for Relic particularly. What lessons did you learn from Skyward and how were you able to bring them into the new album?

With Relic the ideas were a lot more deliberate rather than the spontaneous jam room ideas that led to Skyward. I think each approach has its merits, but it was nice to be able to sit down and A-B parts to get a better idea of how we wanted something to flow. One lesson I think we took from Skyward was editing and trimming parts down if they didn’t serve a purpose. We have less long music breaks in Relic but I think it’s more well-packaged that way.

How long were you in the studio this time? How did the recording experience compare to when you put together Skyward? It seems like a really quick span between the two records.

We started tracking Relic in mid-July and finished reamping stuff mid-October. It was a very different experience than Skyward, which we tracked in a few days. We recorded drums at my buddy (and mastering engineer) Jai‘s house and tracked the rest at my house. It was a good and a bad thing to have that much time to obsess over it.

Both album covers feature hooded figures and the classic comic style of David Paul Seymour. Does that hooded character on the front of Relic have some special significance to the band? Does he have a name? Is there a story being told about him either through the album or the art?

There’s something nice about having a figure defined by his ambiguity. I think it’s a lot like our music; kind of hard to put a finger on it. There’s definitely a sense of mystery surrounding the artwork, especially the hooded figure, which is intentional. In that vein, I’ve never thought of giving him a name or a backstory. He’s just omnipresent; a veiled servant to a greater purpose.

How did signing to Argonauta Records come about and how has it been releasing the album with them?

Our friend Jason Ogle from Electric Age actually got me in touch Argonauta. It’s been really cool. [Label head] Gero has been incredibly helpful throughout the whole process and Argonauta has been really nice to work with. I couldn’t have asked for anything better from our first signing experience.

Any plans or closing words you want to mention?

We recently signed a deal with Lonestar Records from Germany to release Relic on vinyl. We’re pretty excited to have that coming. It should be released sometime between June 2nd and 9th. Vinyl has been a goal of mine for a while so we’re pretty stoked to finally have that come to fruition.

Forming the Void on Thee Facebooks

Forming the Void on Twitter

Forming the Void on Bandcamp

Relic at Argonauta Records

Argonauta Records on Thee Facebooks

Lonestar Records on Thee Facebooks

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Quarterly Review: Ulver, Forming the Void, Hidden Trails, Svvamp, Black Mirrors, Endless Floods, Tarpit Boogie, Horseburner, Vermilion Whiskey, Hex Inverter

Posted in Reviews on March 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cropped-Charles-Meryon-Labside-Notre-Dame-1854

Feeling groovy heading into Day Two of the Spring 2017 Quarterly Review, and I hope you are as well. Today we dig into a pretty wide variety of whatnots, so make sure you’ve got your head with you as we go, because there are some twists and turns along the way. I mean it. Of all five days in this round, this one might be the most wild, so keep your wits intact. I’m doing my best to do the same, of course, but make no promises in that regard.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Ulver, The Assassination of Julius Caesar

ulver-the-assassination-of-julius-caesar

Norwegian post-everything specialists Ulver have reportedly called The Assassination of Julius Caesar (on House of Mythology) “their pop album,” and while the Nik Turner-inclusive freakout in second cut “Rolling Stone” (that may or may not be him on closer “Comign Home” as well) doesn’t quite fit that mold, the beats underscoring the earlier portion of that track, opener “Nemoralia” and the melodrama of “Southern Gothic” certainly qualify. Frontman/conceptual mastermind Kristoffer Rygg’s voice is oddly suited to this form – he carries emotionally weighted hooks like a melancholy George Michael on the electronically pulsating “Transverberation” and, like most works of pop, shows an obsession with the ephemeral in a slew of cultural references in “1969,” which in no way is likely to be mistaken for the Stooges song of the same name. While “So Falls the World” proves ridiculously catchy, “Coming Home” is about as close as Ulver actually come here to modern pop progression, and the Badalamenti-style low-end and key flourish in “1969” is a smooth touch, much of what’s happening in these eight tracks is still probably too complex to qualify as pop, but The Assassination of Julius Caesar is further proof that Ulver’s scope only grows more boundless as the years pass. The only limits they ever seem to know are the ones they leave behind.

Ulver on Twitter

House of Mythology website

 

Forming the Void, Relic

forming-the-void-relic

Last year, Louisiana four-piece Forming the Void had the element of surprise working to their advantage when it came to the surprising progressive edge of their debut album, Skyward (review here). Now signed to Argonauta, the eight-song/55-minute follow-up, Relic, doesn’t need it. It finds Forming the Void once again working proggy nuance into big-riffed, spaciously vocalized fare on early cuts “After Earth” and “Endless Road,” but as the massive hook of “Biolazar” demonstrates, the process by which guitarist/vocalist James Marshall, guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa, bassist Luke Baker and drummer Jordan Boyd meld their influences has become more cohesive and more their own. Accordingly, I’m not sure they need the 11-minute closing take on Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” since by then the point is made in the lumber/plunder of “Plumes” and in the more tripped-out “Unto the Smoke” just before, but as indulgences go, it’s a relatively easy one to make. They’re still growing, but doing so quickly, and already they’ve begun to find a niche for themselves between styles that one hopes they’ll continue to explore.

Forming the Void on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

Hidden Trails, Instant Momentary Bliss

hidden-trails-instant-momentary-bliss

Though it keeps a wash of melodic keys in the background and its approach is resolutely laid back on the whole, “Beautiful Void” is nonetheless a major factor in the overall impression of Hidden Trails’ self-titled debut (on Elektrohasch), as its indie vibe and departure from the psychedelic prog of the first two cuts, “Lancelot” and “Mutations,” marks a major distinguishing factor between this outfit and Hypnos 69, in which the rhythm section of the Belgian trio played previously. “Ricky” goes on to meld acoustic singer-songwriterism and drones together, and “Hands Unfold” has a kind of jazzy bounce, the bassline of Dave Houtmeyers and drumming of Tom Vanlaer providing upbeat groove under Jo Neyskens’ bright guitar lead, but the anticipation of heavy psych/prog never quite leaves after the opening, and that doesn’t seem to be what the band wants to deliver. The sweetly harmonized acid folk of “Leaving Like That” is on a different wavelength, and likewise the alt-rock vibes of “Space Shuffle” and “Come and Play” and the grunge-chilled-out closer “Denser Diamond.” If there’s an issue with Hidden Trails, it’s one of the expectations I’m bringing to it as a listener and a fan of Houtmeyers’ and Vanlaer’s past work, but clearly it’s going to take me a little longer to get over the loss of their prior outfit. Maybe I’m just not ready to move on.

Hidden Trails on Thee Facebooks

Elektrohasch Schallplatten website

 

Svvamp, Svvamp

svvamp-svvamp

Naturalist vibes pervade immediately from this late-2016 self-titled Svvamp debut (on RidingEasy Records) in the bassline to “Serpent in the Sky,” and in some of the post-Blue Cheer heavy blues sensibility, the Swedish trio bring to mind some of what made early Dirty Streets so glorious. Part of the appeal of Svvamp’s Svvamp, however, is that among the lessons it’s learned from heavy ‘70s rock and from Kadavar‘s own self-titled is to keep it simple. “Fresh Cream” is a resonant blues jam… that lasts two and a half minutes. The bouncing, turning “Oh Girl?” Three. Even the longest of its cuts, the slide-infused “Time,” the subdued roller “Big Rest” and the Marshall Tucker-esque finale “Down by the River,” are under five. This allows the three-piece of Adam Johansson, Henrik Bjorklund and Erik Stahlgren to build significant momentum over the course of their 35-minute run, casting aside pretense in favor of aesthetic cohesion and an organic sensibility all the more impressive for it being their first record. Sweden has not lacked for boogie rock, but even the most relatively raucous moments here, as in the winding “Blue in the Face,” don’t seem overly concerned with what anyone else is up to, and that bodes remarkably well for Svvamp’s future output.

Svvamp on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Black Mirrors, Funky Queen

black-mirrors-funky-queen

There are few songs ever written that require whoever’s playing them to “bring it” more than MC5’s “Kick out the Jams.” True, it’s been covered many, many times over, but few have done it well. Belgium’s Black Mirrors signal riotous intent by including it as one of the four tracks of their Napalm Records debut EP, Funky Queen, along with the originals “Funky Queen,” “The Mess” and “Canard Vengeur Masqué,” and amid the post-Blues Pills stomp of “The Mess,” the mega-hook of the opening title-track and the more spacious five-plus-minute closer, which works elements of heavy psych into its bluesy push late to welcome effect, “Kick out the Jams” indeed brings a moment of relative cacophony, even if there’s no actual threat of the band losing control behind the powerful vocals of Marcella di Troia. As a first showing, Funky Queen would seem to be a harbinger, but it’s also a purposeful and somewhat calculated sampling of Black Mirrors’ wares, and I wouldn’t expect it to be long before an album follows behind expanding on the ideas presented in these tracks.

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Black Mirrors at Napalm Records

 

Endless Floods, II

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No doubt that for some who’d take it on, any words beyond “members of Monarch!” will be superfluous, but Bordeaux three-piece Endless Floods, who do indeed feature bassist/vocalist Stéphane Miollan and drummer Benjamin Sablon from that band, as well as guitarist Simon Bedy, have more to offer than pedigree on their three-song sophomore full-length, II (on Dry Cough vinyl and Breathe Plastic cassette). To wit, 24-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Impasse” rumbles out raw but spacious sludge that, though without keys or a glut of effects, and marked by the buried-deep screaming of Miollan, holds a potent sense of atmosphere so that the two-minute interlude “Passage” doesn’t seem out of place leading into the 19-minute lumber of “Procession,” which breaks shortly before its halfway point to bass-led minimalism in setting up the final build of the record. Slow churning intensity and longform sludge working coherently alongside ambient sensibilities and some genuinely disturbing noise? Yeah, that’ll do nicely. Thanks.

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Dry Cough Records on Bandcamp

Breathe Plastic Records on Bandcamp

 

Tarpit Boogie, Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam

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Boasting four eight-plus-minute instrumentals, Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam finds New Jersey trio Tarpit Boogie rife with classic style heavy rock chemistry, bassist John Eager running fills around the dense-toned riffing from guitarist George Pierro as drummer Chris Hawkins propels a surprising thrust on opener “FFF Heavy Jam.” I’ve been a fan of Pierro and Eager’s since we were bandmates a decade ago, so to hear them unfold “Chewbacca Jacket” from its tense opening to its righteously crashing finale is definitely welcome, but the 37-minute offering finds its true reasoning in the swing and shuffle of the eponymous “Tarpit Boogie,” which digs into the very challenge posed by the title – whether or not anyone taking on the album can handle its balance of sonic impact and exploratory feel – inclusive, in this case, of a drum solo that sets a foundation for a moment of Cactus-style rush ahead of a return to the song’s central progression to conclude. They round out with “1992 (Thank You Very Little),” Chevy Chase sample and all, bringing more crashing nod to a massive slowdown that makes it feel like the entire back half of the cut is one big rock finish. And so it is. A well-kept secret of Garden State heavy.

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Horseburner, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil

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The self-released Dead Seeds, Barren Soil is Horseburner’s second full-length, and it arrived in 2016 from the four-piece some seven years after their 2009 debut, Dirt City. They’ve had a few shorter outings in between, demos and 2013’s Strange Giant EP, but the West Virginia four-piece of Adam Nohe, Chad Ridgway, Jack Thomas and Zach Kaufman seem to be shooting for a definitive statement of intent in the blend of heavy rock and modern, Baroness-style prog that emerges on opener “David” and finds its way into the galloping “Into Black Resolution,” the multi-tiered vocals of “A Newfound Purity” and even the more straight-ahead thrust of “The Soil’s Prayer.” Marked out by the quality of its guitar work and its clearly-plotted course, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil caps with “Eleleth,” which at just under eight minutes draws the heft and the complexity together for a gargantuan finish that does justice to the ground Horseburner just flattened as they left it behind.

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Vermilion Whiskey, Spirit of Tradition

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Lafayette, Louisiana, five-piece Vermilion Whiskey telegraph participation in the New Wave of Dude Rock to the point of addressing their audience as “boy” in second cut “The Past is Dead,” and from the cartoon cleavage on the cover to the lack of irony between naming the record Spirit of Tradition and putting a song called “The Past is Dead” on it, they sell that well. The Kent Stump-mixed/Tony Reed-mastered six-tracker is the band’s second behind 2013’s 10 South, and basks in dudely, dudely dudeliness; Southern metal born more out of the Nola style than what, say, Wasted Theory are getting up to these days, but that would still fit on a bill with that Delaware outfit. If you think you’re dude enough for a song like “One Night,” hell, maybe you are. Saddle up. Listening to that and the chunky-style riff of closer “Loaded Up,” I feel like I might need hormone therapy to hit that level of may-yun, but yeah. Coherent, well written, tightly performed and heavy. Vermilion Whiskey might as well be hand-issuing dudes invitations to come drink with them, but they make a solid case for doing so.

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Hex Inverter, Revision

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If the cover art and a song title like “I Swear I’m Not My Thoughts” weren’t enough of a tip-off, there’s a strong undercurrent of the unsettled to Hex Inverter’s second long-player, Revision. The Pennsylvania-based experimentalists utilize a heaping dose of drones to fill out arrangements of keys, guitar and noise that would otherwise be pretty minimal, and vocals come and go in pro- and depressive fashion. Texture proves the key as they embark on the linear centerpiece “Something Else,” with a first verse arriving over a sweetened bassline after four minutes into the total 9:58, and the wash of noise in “Daphne” obscures an avant neo-jazz groove late, so while opener “Cannibal Eyes” basks in foreboding ambience prior to an emotionally-driven and explosive crunch-beat payoff, one never quite knows what to expect next on Revision. That, of course, is essential to the appeal. They find an edge of rock in the aforementioned “I Swear I’m Not My Thoughts,” but as the loops and synth angularity of closer “Fled (Deadverse Mix)” make plain, their intentions speak to something wider than even an umbrella genre.

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Forming the Void Premiere Video for “Unto the Smoke” from Relic

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

forming the void

Louisiana-based prog-metal tinged outfit Forming the Void release their second album, Relic, March 17 via Argonauta Records. The song for which they have a new video premiering below, “Unto the Smoke,” is the second to last track on that record. It arrives after a tumult of winding riffs, soaring shouts and rhythmic pummel, the four-piece outfit working in a range of modern influences from the post-Mastodon/Baroness sphere as they did on their 2016 debut, Skyward (review here), and then turning much of that on its head — they’re consistent in the regard of being quite heavy, despite pace or other aesthetic whatnots — with “Unto the Smoke,” opting for a slow, almost Sleep-minded crashing, lumbering doom riffing. Vocals hold to a sense of melody, but “Unto the Smoke” — well, the name says a lot. Compared to earlier tracks like the rushing “Biolazar” or even the rolling “After Earth,” which opens, it’s a departure from a lot of what Relic offers atmospherically.

If it tells you anything at all, the only thing that follows it is a cover of Led Zeppelin‘s “Kashmir.” Yeah, it’s like that.

You’d almost think Forming the Void have… range? Indeed, listening to the hook-laden “Plumes” before “Unto the Smoke” comes on, their production is steadily geared toward maximum largesse, but the band does work effectively within that to enact a scope between the various tracks. Admirable in intent, but more satisfying in the actual sound, and more so on repeat listens. It’s not a short record at a CD-era-esque 55 minutes — of which that Zeppelin cover accounts for 11 — but as with outfits like Summoner, there’s a purpose to every move the band makes throughout, and their careful execution, even in “Unto the Smoke,” gives Relic a sense of poise to go with that range. Nothing about it, front to back in that 55-minute span, is haphazard.

Hoping to have more to come on this one as we get closer to the release, or, you know, a review three months after the fact since that seems to be the timeline I work on nowadays (hangs head in shame). Either way, you can check out the premiere of “Unto the Smoke” below and beneath that find some comment from guitarist James Marshall about the clip’s origins as well as those of the song itself.

Please enjoy:

Forming the Void, “Unto the Smoke” official video

James Marshall on “Unto the Smoke”:

“The video was made by a Swiss artist who goes by ‘Gryphus’ who compiled it using clips from John Carpenter’s The Fog. The song itself is one of the more psychedelic songs on the album. There is a lead guitar odyssey at the end where Shadi really draws from his Middle Eastern roots. It’s also the slowest song on the album. The themes of the lyrics are transcendence and mortality.”

Relic by Forming the Void is released on 17th March 2017 via Argonauta Records.

Forming The Void:
James Marshall – Guitar/Vocals
Shadi Omar Al-Khansa – Guitar
Luke Baker – Bass
Jordan Boyd – Drums

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Relic at Argonauta Records

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