Maryland Doom Fest 2016 Highlights Special Sets from Internal Void, Unorthodox and War Injun

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 14th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

maryland-doom-fest-2016-banner

You can see the full lineup for Maryland Doom Fest 2016 below, and I’m sure once you glance at it you’ll agree that the Frederick, MD-based three-dayer needs me to talk it up like it needs a hole in the head. Conceived and organized by JB Matson and Mark Cruikshank, this year’s fest was announced with its full lineup back in October, and of course since that time some changes have been made. It’s inevitable. Place of Skulls were added, Internal Void‘s slot was clarified, and as we move into 2016 and invariably closer to the event itself, the fest is taking some time to highlight some of its special sets.

Getting Internal Void out for anything is pretty rare. I was fortunate enough to see them at Roadburn in 2012 (review here), but the native Maryland doomers don’t often get together, and it’s just as likely as not that Maryland Doom Fest 2016 will be their only appearance this time around. They share vocalist J.D. Williams with War Injun, who haven’t also played since 2013. For the fest, War Injun‘s lineup will include bassist Dave Sherman (EarthrideSpirit Caravan), and to sweeten the pot, they’ve brought in former Pentagram and current Weed is Weed guitarist Russ Strahan alongside Williams on vocals and Matson himself on drums.

Unorthodox, meanwhile, will play with the same lineup the band had when it was called Asylum, having gotten their start in 1981 as one of the earlier acts to come from the scene, along with The Obsessed and Force, who later became Iron Man.

In typically sans-bullshit fashion, the fest offers these facts and more below, in addition to the aforementioned full lineup. Dig in:

maryland doom fest 2016

Internal Void – they have regrouped solely for The MDoomFest 2016 and this appearance will more than likely be their only gig.

War Injun – MDoomFest 2016 will be their first live appearance over 3 years. Lineup includes founding member and bassist Dave Sherman (Spirit Caravan / Earthride). Russ Strahan (Pentagram / W$W) has been added to the ranks on lead guitar.

Unorthodox – reunited with the original Asylum lineup. MDoomFest 2016 will be the second appearance of this unique progressive Md doom collaboration, the trio’s first reunion was MDoomFest 2015. The Asylum lineup members live in Md, Tennesee, and California. Their live performances are exclusively for The Maryland Doom Festival.

This will be IV’s first show since the Williams Benefit in 2013 and WI’s first show since Moving The Earth Fest in 2013.

The Maryland Doom Fest 2 – 2016

FRIDAY NIGHT
• Spirit Caravan 1235 – 135
• Internal Void 1120 – 1220
• Castle 1020 – 1105
• Ruby The Hatchet 925 – 1005
• Pale Divine 830 – 910
• Demon Eye 735 – 815
• Admiral Browning 645 – 720
• Atala 600 – 630
• Black Urn 515 – 545

SATURDAY NIGHT
• BANG 1235 – 135
• Place of Skulls 1140 – 1220
• Blackfinger 1125 – 1205
• Unorthodox 1030 – 1110
• War Injun 935 – 1015
• Hollow Leg 840 – 920
• Wizard Eye 750 – 825
• Spillage 700 – 735
• Argus 610 – 645
• Serpents of Secrecy 520 – 555
• Wicked Inquisition 430 – 505

SUNDAY NIGHT
• Mos Generator 1140 – 1245
• Karma To Burn 1045 -1125
• King Giant 950 – 1030
• Wasted Theory 855 – 935
• Orodruin 800 – 840
• Toke 710 – 745
• Eternal Black 620 – 655
• Seasick Gladiator 530 – 605
• Doperider 445 – 515
• Flummox 400 – 430

https://www.facebook.com/The-maryland-DOOM-Fest-815331421863100/
https://www.facebook.com/events/864772630244169/
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-maryland-doom-fest-2-weekend-passes-2016-tickets-18924966083

Unorthodox, “To Kill a Monster”

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Maryland Doom Fest 2016 Adds Place of Skulls and Internal Void

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 2nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

maryland doom fest 2016 lineup

Last month, when the complete lineup for Maryland Doom Fest 2016 was announced here, there was some measure of confusion as to whether or not Internal Void would play. At the time, promoters JB Matson and Mark Cruikshank said the band, who released three albums — Standing on the Sun (1993), Unearthed (2000) and Matricide (2004) — during their initial run and have been off and on since (mostly off), would not, but that guitarist Kelly Carmichael would be unveiling a new project at the fest.

Whether or not that will still happen, I’m not sure, but Carmichael — who also played a solo blues set at Vultures of Volume in MD in Sept. (review here) — and the rest of Internal Void will indeed play, for what may or may not be the first time since 2013. They and Place of Skulls have joined the bill among previously-announced headliners Spirit Caravan, Bang and Unorthodox, and Place of Skulls are in a pretty similar situation. Their shows are more frequent, admittedly, but between guitarist/vocalist Victor Griffin‘s intermittent tenure in Pentagram and getting the In~Graved project going and bringing it to fruition, they’re nowhere near as active as they once were. To wit, their most recent outing, As a Dog Returns (review here), was released in 2010.

So, if you’ve been keeping up, this means that Griffin will be there, Wino will be there, Sherman will be there, and UnorthodoxWar InjunPale DivineAdmiral Browning and Internal Void will play (among many others). It really is a Maryland doom fest. It’s not just a clever name.

True to the no-frills heart of Maryland doom, the announcement that came with the additions of Place of Skulls and Internal Void was straightforward, to the point, and laid it all on the line. It follows the posters below in its entirety:

Yet another chance for you to get stoked!

Be there…..or suck.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-maryland-doom-fest-2-weekend-passes-2016-tickets-18924966083
https://www.facebook.com/The-maryland-DOOM-Fest-815331421863100
https://www.facebook.com/events/864772630244169/
http://www.themarylanddoomfest.com/

Place of Skulls, Live at Bannerfest 2014

Internal Void, Live at Stoner Hands of Doom X, 2009

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Admiral Browning, Corvette Summer: Devil’s Dilemma

Posted in Reviews on October 21st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

admiral browning corvette summer tape and case

Not familiar with the 1978 film from which Admiral Browning‘s Corvette Summer takes its name? Don’t sweat it. I don’t think the band could hold it against you. Corvette Summer stars a post-Star Wars, pre-Empire Mark Hamill as a recent high school grad whose sportscar gets stolen and he spends the entire summer trying to track down the jerks who took it. Yup, that’s the movie. On the tape version of Admiral Browning‘s latest EP, you even get to hear the audio from the trailer. How the Maryland three-piece came into awareness of its existence, I don’t know, but for an outfit who’ve always specialized in doing things just a little weird, just a little their own way, to release a hand-signed red metallic four-song limited tape EP (five if you grab the download) with two studio tracks on side one and two live tracks on side two, housed in a classic red case with their logo in a blazing late-’70s font at the top makes a fitting kind of sense. It’s better not to ask questions, in other words. Just roll with it.

It’s been two years since Admiral Browning‘s fifth album, Give No Quarter (review here), was released. A change in geographic situation — i.e. one of them moved — can be blamed for a relative lack of activity, but Corvette Summer was put together to coincide with a recent week-plus on the road, and they’ve embarked on a series of digital, expanded reissues for their past albums, so guitarist Matt LeGrow, bassist Ron “Fez” McGinnis and drummer Tim Otis are by no means done.

And in addition to sitting on the merch table at shows, Corvette Summer serves the further purpose of pushing the long-instrumental outfit’s continuing experiment with vocals even further than did the last album, LeGrow and McGinnis harmonizing on the side one studio cuts “Human Dilemma” and “The Devil’s in the Details” to an effective degree that enhances the bizarro-prog sensibility that has long been in their songcraft while also grounding the material in a way that supports their blazing turns of rhythm rather than detracting from them. Particularly the latter, “The Devil’s in the Details,” is delivered with a focus on hook that, when Admiral Browning released Battle Stations (review here) in 2011 probably would’ve been inconceivable for them. That’s not to critique their progression one way or another, just noting that in addition to their grooves, sometimes the nature of the band itself is given to unexpected shifts.

That also suits Admiral Browning well, and if Corvette Summer is meant to be an experiment in realizing the next stage of the band, they deliver a comprehensive glimpse at where they might be headed between sides one and two. Recorded in March at Cafe 611 in Frederick, MD, at a gig which also hosted local luminaries Righteous BloomNagato and Faith in Jane, both cuts on the tape — “Corvette Summer” itself and “Spanish Trampoline” — are instrumental, but the download also gives a live version of “Human Dilemma” as a bonus track that finds LeGrow and McGinnis working through the vocal arrangement smoothly on stage while Otis pushes through his standard-operating-procedure cardiovascular drumming method behind.

The core of Admiral Browning‘s approach has always been the trio’s ability to remain heavy in the face of technical intricacy and to groove while fulfilling frenetic pacing and unrepentant nuance. That has not changed, but their melodic conceptualization has, and ultimately makes them a stronger, more versatile act. I wouldn’t necessarily expect Admiral Browning after Corvette Summer to go all-out, vocals-every-song, verse-into-chorus-into-verse on every release from here on out, but the simple fact that they have another tool in their arsenal — two, if you count the contributions of both singers — only broadens their reach as they move forward.

Hopefully they do move forward. Corvette Summer plays a distinct role as a stopgap in demonstrating the trio’s commitment despite living apart — the tour does likewise — but the question remains as to what their process might be for putting together a full-length follow-up to Give No Quarter while essentially having to work around an all-in-the-same-room approach or otherwise jam out in limited or intermittent stretches. Whatever they do next, the progression they continue to show in everything they do is plainly evident in “Human Dilemma” and “The Devil’s in the Details,” and while the tape is short, it finds them undaunted in their considerable task. If this is how Admiral Browning can keep growing, then so be it. They still sound like a band who needs to be making this music, and they deliver here with a clarity that highlights how underrated they truly are.

Admiral Browning, “The Devil’s in the Details” Live in MD, 2013

Admiral Browning on Thee Facebooks

Admiral Browning on Twitter

Admiral Browning on Bandcamp

Admiral Browning’s website

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Maryland Doom Fest 2016 Announces Complete Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 5th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

maryland-doom-fest-logo

The 2016 edition of the Maryland Doom Fest will take place June 24, 25 and 26 at Cafe 611 in Frederick, MD. You might recall late in 2014, when the initial word surfaced about the festival’s inaugural billing, it was a complete lineup announced, date, and place, all done straightforward in the tradition of the style being celebrated. In that regard, 2016 will be no different. Festival organizers JB Matson (also of War Injun) and Mark Cruikshank have unveiled the complete Maryland Doom Fest 2016 lineup, and while the core remains very much in the region’s sphere of heavy downer riffs, the palette has clearly expanded as well.

A broader reach pulls in the likes of Mos Generator, Ruby the Hatchet and Hollow Leg, and while headliners Spirit Caravan are a returning act from the 2015 fest, they’ll be joined by classic heavy rockers Bang and Asylum (Unorthodox by their original name), ensuring that even as the Maryland Doom Fest 2016 reveres its finest exports, it pays strict attention to the lineage from where it all comes and the hometown crowd too. All told, it’s a wide-ranging but universally heavy grouping of bands, from the epic classic metal of Argus to the cult rock of Demon Eye, and while realistically there will probably be a shift or two in the lineup between now and next June — things fall through, people get added, and so on — it looks like it’s going to be a hell of a weekend. If and when I hear of changes, I’ll let you know.

Tickets are on sale today, and I’m honored to have my logo on the poster. Full lineup and links follow:

maryland doom fest 2016

The second edition of a weekend of doom in its purest form.

We are stoked about the second installment of The Maryland Doom Fest with 25 kickass bands!

Tickets sales begin on Monday.

The official Maryland Doom Fest web page will be up and running soon at www.themarylanddoomfest.com

Tickets are on sale now: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-maryland-doom-fest-2-weekend-passes-2016-tickets-18924966083

Spirit Caravan
BANG
Asylum (Unorthodox)
Argus
War Injun
Orodruin
Blackfinger
Kelly Carmichael (Internal Void) New Project
Earthen Grave
Black Urn
Doperider
Mos Generator
Hollow Leg
Ruby The Hatchet
Admiral Browning
Pale Divine
Toke
Flummox
Demon Eye
Wicked Inquisition
Seasick Gladiator
Karma to Burn
Eternal Black
King Giant
Spillage
Wasted Theory

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-maryland-doom-fest-2-weekend-passes-2016-tickets-18924966083
https://www.facebook.com/events/864772630244169/
https://www.facebook.com/The-maryland-DOOM-Fest-815331421863100/
www.themarylanddoomfest.com

Asylum, “Unseen World” Live at Maryland Doom Fest 2015

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “Kill Ugly Naked” Live at Maryland Doom Fest

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 15th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

happy wino weds

I’ve officially decided that I’m going to at least semi-retire Wino Wednesday after the 200th edition. A fictional document has been written in legalese, signed and notarized — yes, my brain has its own internal notary — and included in that are clauses stipulating that the feature can be revived pretty much any Wednesday I feel like it and that all parties involved acknowledge that 200 posts will be plenty and that if there are any complaints, I’ll simply point the complainer back to the 200 editions preceding, because there’s no way he or she possibly read them all. I’m sorry, just no way.

So that’s that. We’ve got eight more Wino Wednesdays to go, however, and this week’s comes from Spirit Caravan‘s recent appearance at the inaugural Maryland Doom Fest in Frederick, MD. Organized by War Injun drummer JB Matson, the festival was by all accounts I’ve seen a rousing success, and well deserved. Matson put together a killer lineup and Spirit Caravan were among the headliners, playing as the trio of Wino on guitar/vocals, Dave Sherman on bass/vocals and Ed Gulli on drums in place of Henry Vasquez, who was in Europe with Saint Vitus at the time, that band being fronted by original vocalist Scott Reagers at least for the time being.

What makes Gulli‘s presence in the trio so special, particularly for a song like “Kill Ugly Naked” — which was released on Spirit Caravan‘s classic 1999 debut, Jug Fulla Sun — is the fact that he played drums for The Obsessed when that band recorded it on their 1985 promo demo. Gulli and “Kill Ugly Naked” quite literally have 30 years of history between them. Fucking awesome.

The shot’s a little odd — a 16:9 aspect ratio, vertical, is just bizarre looking — and where Sherman should be there seems instead to be somebody’s elbow, but the sound is decent and you get a sense for how killer the performance was, so I’ll take it. Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, the Maryland Doom Fest has already announced its 2016 dates. It’ll be the weekend of June 24, 2016, once again at Cafe 611 in Frederick. Excellent.

Spirit Caravan, “Kill Ugly Naked” Live at Maryland Doom Fest

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Mangog Unveil First Rumblings in Video for “Ab Intra”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 15th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

mangog

The beating heart of Maryland doom lies in Frederick. It’s not the traditional “Doom Capitol” — that being D.C. or at least Baltimore — but it’s where the style lives on and flourishes today, and it’s from whence the newcomer four-piece Mangog hail, their style steeped in the lurching traditions, downer riffing and sonic heft for which the Maryland scene is so rightly revered. The band features in its lineup former Revelation and current Righteous Bloom bassist Bert Hall — here on guitar and vocals — and ex-Iron Man drummer Mike Rix alongside vocalist/intermittent guitarist Myke Wells (who co-directed the video) and bassist Darby Cox (also of Major Company and Hall‘s experimental hip-hop outfit, Negro Childe), and “Ab Intra” is the first audio they’ve made public from a forthcoming demo, and one finds its eight-minute roll (reportedly they’re playing it slower now, thus further elongating) working in regionalist form as what should be a welcome introduction to the converted awaiting their arrival.

Formed late in 2014, Mangog hit the studio in April with producer Drew Mazurek to track their debut demo, and they’ll make their first stage appearance at the end of this month at the Maryland Doom Festival in — where else? — Frederick, at Cafe 611, performing at the final day of the fest on June 28. If their pedigree isn’t enough to pique interest for those making the pilgrimage to the inaugural three-dayer, then “Ab Intra” should get the job done, with its eerie intro and subsequent theatrical flourish — no, I’m not just talking about Hall‘s fuzzy hat — and moody sensibility. Not sure on an exact release date for the demo. Presumably it would be in-hand for the Maryland Doom Fest, but one never really knows how that kind of thing is going to work out. In any case, worth keeping an eye on, and you can do precisely that (mostly with the video below.

Enjoy:

Mangog, “Ab Intra” official video

We premiered the first song from our demo, “Ab Intra”, recorded and produced by the great Drew Mazurek (Gwar, Revelation, Jawbox)! We hope you’ll enjoy our video for “Ab Intra”, directed and filmed by our very own Myke Wells and Jonathan Carroll of X9 Records!

Come see our debut at the Maryland Doom Festival! Tickets are only sold online! Get ya doom on!

The Maryland Doom Festival
June 26-28
Cafe 611
611 N. Market Street
Frederick, Maryland 21701

Mangog on Thee Facebooks

Mangog on Twitter

Maryland Doom Fest tickets

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On Wax: Old Indian, Mumble

Posted in On Wax on June 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

old indian mumble vinyl and package

Mumble is the self-released debut vinyl long-player from Frederick, Maryland, trio Old Indian, and though their moniker and their home base both bring a certain amount of expectation to the release — i.e. they’re called Old Indian and they’re from Frederick, so they must be stoner doom — the record itself plays out with a much more intricate stylistic spread. It’s eight songs, four on each side, totaling a relatively quick 33 minutes, but even so, the turns that the trio of guitarist/vocalist Cory Springirth, bassist/backing vocalist Mark Weeks and drummer/backing vocalist Evan Owens manage to pull off make Mumble a more nuanced experience than one might anticipate.

old indian mumble side a Even just side A. All four of its songs hover around four minutes long, but that proves to be more than enough time for each to establish its own sonic personality, whether it’s the loosely progressive noodling that starts opener “Space Connect,” the bizarre lounge jangle and swing of “Mean Man,” which Springirth uses as the backdrop to introduce his yelping bluesy vocal style and from which Owens sort of inexplicably launches into a drum solo in the midsection, or the purely Saint Vitus-style fuzz of “Too Old to be Cool,” which rolls out low-end heavy in its initial push and tops it with plucked guitar strings at the headstock before opening to a wider, more subdued verse that still swings but does so quietly, giving the vocals room, or the psych-country twang of “Bedside Blues,” on which the vocals are less, well, mumbled, to start with, and which shits in its midsection to an upbeat, near-rockabilly push that features some choice bass runs from Weeks beneath the guitar.

Already the vibe of Mumble is all over the place, but side B works to establish a spirit that, while still malleable, is also somewhat more cohesive one cut into the next. “The Riff” is a solid title, and accordingly its central riff is worthy of highlighting, but the bass fuzz that underscores the later solo is actually the high point, while on the subsequent “Just a Bum,” Springirth offers a touch of Dick Dale influence in the surf-style guitar before winding up in a punkish verse and pushing through a final lead. Oh yeah, and the song’s two and a half minutes long — nothing if not efficient in its motion.

“Eyelids” is more laid back from the start, old indian mumble back coverplaying the low end of “Too Old to be Cool” off more post-grunge oddity and trades between tin-can vocals over open spaces and heavier jamming, an undulating sort of riff emerging near the finish of the three-minute track that cuts out to let Owens‘ cymbals lead the way into the bass beginning of seven-minute closer “Spanish Blues.” Noteworthy that both sides end with a “Blues,” but the “Spanish” variety is on its own trip, taking longer to develop, but also farther-ranging. The extra time is given to instrumental exploration and plotted parts that suit Old Indian well, the last four minutes or so taking off from the foundation of the song and heading outward from there on a satisfying plunge into immersive, rolling heavy that like the rest of the record before it, is decidedly their own in its style and execution.

Unquestionably that’s one of the greatest impressions Mumble leaves behind when it’s over — of individuality. Being their first album, it shows Old Indian can essentially develop as a band in one of two ways: either they can take these elements and tighten them into a crisp but ultimately more single-minded aesthetic, or they can keep getting weirder on an anything-goes Ween-style blend of genres. I don’t think I’d argue if they said they were going to give either a shot, since a more subtle factor on Mumble is the songwriting itself. It might get lost underneath the basic appeal of Springirth‘s yowling vocals, the fuzz, the reverb or the jangle, but it’s there all the same, and ultimately that’s what’s going to make it work as Old Indian move forward from here, in whatever direction they might go.

Old Indian, Mumble (2015)

Old Indian on Thee Facebooks

Old Indian on Bandcamp

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Wino Wednesday: “Adrift” Live in Frederick, MD, Feb. 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 15th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

It’s been two weeks since the last Wino Wednesday, which I think is as long as I’ve gone in the more-than-three-years since the feature started. Between the Quarterly Review and traveling for Roadburn, time was pretty limited, but I didn’t want to let it go any longer than it already has, so here we are. Half a decade ago, in 2010, Scott “Wino” Weinrich, issued his first acoustic album, Adrift (review here), via Exile on Mainstream.

Having at that point already fronted the beginning stages of the Saint Vitus reunion, it was something of a side-step for the guitarist/vocalist, still just three years removed from the last The Hidden Hand album and also participating at that point in Shrinebuilder‘s 2009 offering and the subsequent shows, but for Wino fans, it made sense for him to dig to the roots of his songwriting process and unearth something like Adrift, which in turn led to his collaboration with Conny Ochs and a new style of performance he continues to refine today.

I wouldn’t call his first steps in that direction tentative. His first acoustic tour was with his Shrinebuilder bandmate Scott Kelly, also of Neurosis, and they released a split 7″ to mark the occasion, but with Adrift, we got to see a new side of Wino‘s personality, not necessarily separate from the ride-these-riffs grooves of Spirit Caravan or the foundational trad doom of The Obsessed, but more contemplative, more up front. An acoustic guitar provides little cover, and Adrift laid bare a lot of Wino‘s persona in a way that felt sincere in the listening and still managed to deliver in terms of songwriting and performance.

For this week’s Wino Wednesday, we have a clip of Wino playing the title-track of Adrift live at Guido’s Speakeasy, in Frederick, Maryland, which is arguably the epicenter of Wino‘s influence at this point. At the very heart of a Maryland doom he helped create, he stands with an acoustic guitar, a crappy stand that can’t seem to actually hold up the microphone, and someone with a shaky cellphone recording it vertically. It’s not the best quality clip I’ve ever posted for a Wino Wednesday, but worth it for the solo at the end.

Hope you enjoy:

Wino, “Adrift” Live at Guido’s Speakeasy, Frederick, MD, Feb. 1, 2014

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