Valley of the Sun to Release Old Gods May 24; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

valley of the sun

Okay, fine. I guess that’s why you wait for the press release. Last week when I apparently jumped the gun on posting Valley of the Sun‘s upcoming tour dates with Bellringer, I said they were due but I didn’t know anything about a new record coming out. Sure enough, here we are and here’s the announcement of that new record, along with a new track. Fine. You got me. There’s a new Valley of the Sun record and I’m not cool enough to know shit about shit ahead of time. Story of my god damn life.

New song does sound awesome though. Seems like Ryan Ferrier might be pulling back from some of the belt-it-out-all-the-time mindset that’s characterized the band’s past work in favor of a more measured approach. I don’t know if that’s the case across the whole record — recall I didn’t know the damn thing existed, so I definitely haven’t heard it — but it works well in “Means the Same,” which will serve as the penultimate track.

Art and info, as well as those tour dates again, and the track — all from the PR wire:

valley of the sun old gods

Ohio hard rock quartet VALLEY OF THE SUN return with new album on FUZZORAMA RECORDS | Stream new single ‘Means the Same’

Fuzzorama Records – home to world beating rock of Truckfighters, Deville and Skraeckoedlan – is thrilled to announce the release of Old Gods; the brand-new studio album US trio, Valley of the Sun.

Formed in Cincinnati, OH in 2010, the band instantly established themselves as a force to be reckoned with, thanks to an impressive succession of self-released EPs; the kind that never seem to go unnoticed/unheard for long. Often compared to the likes of Corrosion of Conformity, Alice in Chains and Badmotorfinger-era Soundgarden – the latter due in no small part to singer Ryan Ferrier’s exemplary vocal range – listeners are treated to a sound that runs the gamut of blues, hard rock, grunge and heavy metal; with big riffs, fuzzed out hooks and deep bass grooves.

For the band, whose last release came in 2016 with the impressive Volume Rock, new album Old Gods – their third album on Fuzzorama Records – is a new and exciting concoction expertly packaged and delivered with a raw and unbridled power whether listened to via stage or speaker. In this incarnation, incorporating heady moments of psychedelia and assuming a form unlike anything the band has ever attempted before.

“To me, Old Gods is a meditation on who I once was, who I am now, and who I’d like to become,” explains guitarist/vocalist Ryan Ferrier.

“We try to evolve with each album,” adds drummer Aaron Boyer. “On Old Gods we added some heavier elements, darker tones, and a touch of psychedelia. We tried some things on this record that we’ve never done before and that made it a lot of fun to make.”

Old Gods by Valley of the Sun is released on 24th May 2019 and can be pre-ordered via Fuzzorama Records HERE. Editions of Old Gods will include gatefold splatter (only sold at live shows and directly through Fuzzorama), gatefold transparent green, gatefold black and CD digipak.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Old Gods
2. All We Are
3. Gaia Creates
4. Dim Vision
5. Shiva Destroys
6. Firewalker
7. Into the Abyss
8. Faith is for Suckers
9. Buddha Transcends
10. Means the Same
11. Dreams of Sands

VALLEY OF THE SUN – TOUR DATES:
US/Canada with BELLRINGER (feat. Mark Deutrom of Melvins)
4/13/2019 – Milwaukee WI Cactus Club
4/14/2019 – Iowa City IA Wildwood
4/15/2019 – Sioux Falls SD Bigs
4/16/2019 – Fargo ND Aquarium
4/17/2019 – Winnipeg MB Windsor Hotel
4/18/2019 – Saskatoon SK Amigos
4/19/2019 – Edmonton AB Starlite
4/20/2019 – Calgary AB 420 Fest
4/23/2019 – Vancouver BC Astoria
4/24/2019 – Portland OR High Water Mark
4/25/2019 – Seattle WA El Corazon
4/27/2019 – Sacramento CA Cafe Colonial
4/29/2019 – Los Angeles CA Resident
4/30/2019 – Phoenix AZ Club Red
5/02/2019 – Austin TX Come And Take It Live
5/03/2019 – Ft Worth TX Lolas
5/04/2019 – Oklahoma City OK 89th Street
5/05/2019 – St Louis MO Fubar
5/06/2019 – Kansas City MO Riot Room
5/07/2019 – Chicago IL Reggies

VALLEY OF THE SUN:
Ryan Ferrier – Guitar/Vocals
Aaron Boyer – Drums
Chris Sweeney – Bass, Keys
Josh Pilot – Guitar

https://www.facebook.com/valleyofthesun/
http://valleyofthesun.bandcamp.com/
http://www.twitter.com/centaur_rodeo
http://www.fuzzoramarecords.com/
http://www.twitter.com/fuzzorecords
http://www.facebook.com/Fuzzorama

Valley of the Sun, “Means the Same”

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Valley of the Sun Announce US/Canada Touring with Bellringer; Playing 420 Fest and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

valley of the sun

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Valley of the Sun don’t exactly announce US touring every day. Over the last five years or so, they’ve been much more apt to head abroad and do stints in Europe, so as they head out next month with Bellringer from Austin, Texas, it’s something of an occasion. They’ll make a stop at 420 Music & Arts Festival in Calgary up in Canada, and will make circuit stops in the Midwest and along the West Coast as they continue to support 2016’s Volume Rock (review here), their latest full-length, which was released through Fuzzorama. Given that record came out upwards of three years ago, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if they had something new in the works, but I haven’t heard either way as to progress in that regard. In any case, the possibility of new songs being aired out only adds to the impetus to see them where and when you can.

They also seem to have made more lineup changes, which, you know, happens. Even so, whatever form you get to catch them, expect them to be in nothing less but top form. Good band. I wouldn’t complain about a new record.

From the social medias:

valley of the sun tour

VALLEY OF THE SUN – TOUR ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

US/CANADA with BELLRINGER feat. Mark Deutrom of Melvins!!!

04/13/2019 Milwaukee WI Cactus Club
04/14/2019 Iowa City IA Wildwood
04/15/2019 Sioux Falls SD Bigs
04/16/2019 Fargo ND Aquarium
04/17/2019 Winnipeg MB Windsor Hotel
04/18/2019 Saskatoon SK Amigos
04/19/2019 Edmonton AB Starlite
04/20/2019 Calgary AB 420 Fest
04/23/2019 Vancouver BC Astoria
04/24/2019 Portland OR High Water Mark
04/25/2019 Seattle WA El Corazon
04/27/2019 Sacramento CA Cafe Colonial
04/29/2019 Los Angeles CA Resident
04/30/2019 Phoenix AZ Club Red
05/02/2019 Austin TX Come And Take It Live
05/03/2019 Ft Worth TX Lolas
05/04/2019 Oklahoma City OK 89th Street
05/05/2019 St Louis MO Fubar
05/06/2019 Kansas City MO Riot Room
05/07/2019 Chicago IL Reggies

Ryan Ferrier-Guitar/Vocals
Aaron Boyer-Drums
Chris Sweeney-Bass and Keys
Josh Pilot-Guitar

https://www.facebook.com/valleyofthesun/
http://valleyofthesun.bandcamp.com/
http://www.twitter.com/centaur_rodeo
http://www.fuzzoramarecords.com/
http://www.twitter.com/fuzzorecords
http://www.facebook.com/Fuzzorama

Valley of the Sun, Volume Rock (2016)

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Deville Post “Pigs with Gods” Video; On Tour this Month

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

deville

Later this week, Swedish heavy rockers Deville will head out on tour supporting their 2018 album, Pigs with Gods (review here). Released this past Fall through Fuzzorama Records, it continues the four-piece’s thread of straightforward, songwriting-based material, using classic forms and modern tones to bring an immediate familiarity to material that, while aggressive, never loses sight of its purpose. Deville, perennially, are songwriters first and foremost. That’s not to say they can’t add a bit of flash here between their two guitars or lock in a killer groove when they’re so inclined, but that even in doing so, they’re serving the greater good of the output itself. And though there are never a shortage of them, it’s not just about hooks either.

The band’s last video was for “Cut it Loose,” which was premiered here, and though they were in it, it followed a whole narrative arc. This time around, in giving visual representation to the Pigs with Gods title-track, it’s dudes in a room rockin’. And fair enough, honestly, since that’s what Deville are all about. It’s not some overblown thing, it’s unpretentious, well-crafted, dead-ahead rock and roll. Watch out for some shaky-cam stuff from director Henrik Christoffersson, but beyond that, it’s a fittingly sans frills showcase for the track, which not only showcases Deville in their element — i.e., playing — but brings the atmosphere of the album to the fore in a way that portrays it as the strength it is. You can see the character of the band as they are live, which, hey wouldn’t you know it, is just how they’ll be on tour later this week. Isn’t it amazing how that timing works out?

Live dates follow the video on the player below.

Enjoy:

Deville, “Pigs with Gods” official video

“Pigs with Gods” taken from the album “Pigs with Gods” out 2018 on Fuzzorrama Records.
Buy your physical CD or LP from http://www.fuzzoramastore.com

Filmed and directed by: Henrik Christoffersson

European tour coming up!

Deville live:
March 8th @ Peter Weiss Haus, Rostock (DE)
March 9th @ Bastard Club, Osnabruck (DE)
March 10th @ Zauberberg, Passau (DE)
March 11th @ FUGA, Bratislava (SV)
March 12th @ Rockhaus, Salzburg (AU)
March 14th @ Rock n´Eat, Lyon (FR)
March 15th @ KUFA, Lyss (CH)
March 16th @ Café Albatross, Pisa (IT)
March 17th @ Scumm, Pescara (IT)
March 19th @ Stadtwerkstatt, Linz (AU)
March 20th @ The Tube, Dusseldorf (DE)
March 21st @ Sonic Ball Room, Cologne (DE)
March 22nd @ Innocent, Hengelo (NL)
March 23rd @ De Engel, Den Helder (NL)
April 13th @ Plan B, Tranås (SWE)

Deville lineup:
Andreas Bengtsson: guitar/vocals
Andreas Wulkan: guitar
Martin Nobel: bass
Martin Fässberg: drums

Deville on Thee Facebooks

Deville website

Fuzzorama Records

Fuzzorama on Bandcamp

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Skraeckoedlan Announce New Bassist; Touring with Vokonis

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

skraeckoedlan

I happen to know for a fact that Skraeckoedlan vocalist/guitarist Robert Lamu has the winged deer from the cover of Dozer‘s Through the Eyes of Heathens tattooed on his arm, so it’s easy to imagine he’s good and stoked to share the stage with Skraeckoedlan‘s usually-not-all-that-active countrymen forebears. That’s badass in itself, but word that Skraeckoedlan will share the stage this Spring with fellow badass Swedes Vokonis, will play Desertfest London 2019 and are welcoming a new bassist even as they release their third album, Eorþe (review here), on Fuzzorama only broaden the scope of awesomeness surrounding them at this point. The moral of the story? It’s a good week to be in Skraeckoedlan.

The following is culled from social media and the PR wire:

skraeckoedlan tour

Swedish fuzz-fictioneers SKRAECKOEDLAN announce Desertfest London appearance and Spring Tour with Vokonis

People of Earth!

We are super excited to welcome our new band member and bass player extraordinaire. Skraeckoedlan is once again a 4 piece.

Please give Erik Berggren the warmest of welcomes.

Skraeckoedlan live:
02.23 Malmö SE Plan B (Stad I Mörker)*
03.16 Göteborg SE Truckstop Alaska*
03.23 Köpenhamn DK Beta*
04.20 Borlänge SE Broken Dreams (w/ Dozer)
05.03 London UK Desertfest
05.17 Umeå SE Droskan (Make it Sound)*
05.18 Vilhelmina SE Folkets Hus*
06.01 Sundsvall Aveny (Club Deströyer)
* with Vokonis

Heading into 2019 with the help of Fuzzorama Records, Skraeckoedlan steer a course to Eorþe, their first album in over three years and undoubtedly their most progressive. With the big metal riffs of new single ‘Kung Mammut’ riding shotgun alongside the more introspective and explorative moments of songs like ‘Mammutkungens Barn’ and ‘Angra Mainyu’, the trio have cut a definitive and spellbinding record of light and dark. In addition to the CD and standard vinyl editions, Eorþe will also come in a limited-edition box set which sees the album split across two gatefold vinyl records; Earth: Above and Earth: Below. The set will come packed with pieces of merchandise that revolve around the story and feature alternative artwork.

Skraeckoedlan:
Robert Lamu – Vocals/Guitar
Henrik Grüttner – Guitar
Erik Berggren – Bass
Martin Larsson – Drums

http://www.skraeckoedlan.com/
http://instagram.com/skraeckoedlan
https://www.facebook.com/SKRAECKOEDLAN/
http://twitter.com/skraeckoedlan
http://www.fuzzoramarecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Fuzzorama
https://twitter.com/fuzzorecords

Skraeckoedlan, “Creature of Doggerland”

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Deville Announce March European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

deville

Swedish heavy rockers Deville have a couple dates this month in their native land; a weekender in Trollhättan and Motala in the Southern part of the country, and that will likely be the warmup for their tour next month. They go supporting last year’s raucous Pigs with Gods (review here) and in addition to this run, they will be in Spain this coming October to take part in the Tabernas fest alongside Karma to BurnCowboys and AliensRotor and more than a fistful of others. I don’t know if that means they’ll be touring again in the Fall or if that’s a one-off, but Deville are no strangers to hitting the road either way, so it’s entirely possible it’s a couple weeks here and a couple weeks there. Could be summer plans too. They like to keep busy.

Their video below for “Cut it Loose” was premiered here with the review linked above, but if you haven’t checked it out, you’d only be doing your day a favor. The album came out through Fuzzorama Records.

From the PR wire:

DEVILLE – European tour

We are proud to announce european headline tour in March across seven countries supporting the new album “Pigs with Gods”.

Deville live:
Feb 22nd @ Backstage Bar, Trollhättan (SWE)
Feb 23rd @ Bomber Bar, Motala (SWE)
March 8th @ Peter Weiss Haus, Rostock (DE)
March 9th @ Bastard Club, Osnabruck (DE)
March 10th @ Zauberberg, Passau (DE)
March 11th @ FUGA, Bratislava (SV)
March 12th @ Rockhaus, Salzburg (AU)
March 14th @ Rock n´Eat, Lyon (FR)
March 15th @ KUFA, Lyss (CH)
March 16th @ Café Albatross, Pisa (IT)
March 17th @ Scumm, Pescara (IT)
March 19th @ Stadtwerkstatt, Linz (AU)
March 20th @ The Tube, Dusseldorf (DE)
March 21st @ Sonic Ball Room, Cologne (DE)
March 22nd @ Innocent, Hengelo (NL)
March 23rd @ De Engel, Den Helder (NL)
April 13th @ Plan B, Tranås (SWE)

Deville lineup:
Andreas Bengtsson: guitar/vocals
Andreas Wulkan: guitar
Martin Nobel: bass
Martin Fässberg: drums

http://deville.nu/
https://www.facebook.com/devilleband
http://www.fuzzoramarecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Fuzzorama
https://twitter.com/fuzzorecords

Deville, ‘Cut it Loose’ official video

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Review & Track Premiere: Skraeckoedlan, Eorþe

Posted in Reviews on January 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

skraeckoedlan earth

[Click play above to stream the premiere of Skraeckoedlan’s translated-lyric video for “Creature of Doggerland.” Their new album, Eorþe, is out Feb. 15 on Fuzzorama Records. Preorders are here.]

I generally assume that if I’m writing about something, you already know about it because you’re cooler than I am, because, frankly, that’s how it usually works. But if you haven’t heard of Skraeckoedlan — especially if you don’t live in Sweden — there’s a decent chance it’s because they sing in Swedish. The fuzz rockers have parted with bassist Tim Ångström since their 2015’s Sagor (review here) with Robert Lamu moving from guitar to bass in addition to vocals, while Henrik Grüttner handles the lone guitarist role as well as more vocals and Martin Larsson remains on drums. One might think the band’s third album and first for Fuzzorama Records, Eorþe, would be more stripped down as a result, but the truth is it’s the most progressive record they’ve made in the decade they’ve been together. Their 2011 debut, Äppelträdet (review here) — also recently reissued by The Sign Records from the original release on Transubstans — blended fuzz-drenched tonality with a post-Mastodon style of metal, but they’ve only grown more since then, and as they align with Fuzzorama, they continue an association with sadly-defunct countrymen Truckfighters that extends all the way back to the recording of their first album.

Indeed, one might look at Eorþe as inheriting the mantle of fuzzprog that the last couple Truckfighters albums were working toward, running a fluid nine songs and 54 minutes with a greater depth of melody and broader sonic reach than they’ve ever shown. Songs like “Mammutkungens Barn,” the earlier highlight “Kung Mammut,” the 10-minute “Elfenbenssalarna” and the acoustic closer “Peggys Sång” demonstrate the range of their composition, while even a song like the under-four-minute “Tentakler & Betar” finds a way to hit new ground with vocal harmonies and a pointedly forward thrust. Whether it’s an extended piece like “Creature of Doggerland” (note the English title), or the opener “Guldåldern” or the drum-led beginning of “Angelica,” Eorþe wants nothing for heft either in tone or construction — indeed, tone has been a strength of Skraeckoedlan all along and very much remains one — but even as they hold onto their stylistic weight, they turn into a more nuanced and individualized unit.

When it comes right down to it, Eorþe is Skraeckoedlan reestablishing themselves after a change in their dynamic. The shift from two guitarists to one, even covered in the studio by layering guitar tracks and whatever else, is not a minor one. It affects songwriting as well as how the material is played. And Skraeckoedlan pull that off, no question. For a band who’ve been around for 10 years and have experience recording and touring, that’s not a huge surprise. They should know what they want to sound like — at least to some basic degree — and be able to make that happen. Fine. Where Eorþe really succeeds though is in not only finding Skraeckoedlan make this claim on who they are as a band, but in moving their sound forward from where it was three years ago. Their work is richly textured and in listening to the melody in the chorus of “Mammutkungens Barn,” one can hear their heritage in Scandinavian metal coming through in more than just the language they’re using, but like the grunge-style opening riff of that song — reminds of something from the early-mid ’90s; is it Sonic Youth? — they bring each of their influences into a context that is their own.

They did the same on Äppelträdet in imagining a fuzz-metal stomp in the first place, but with just about every move they make on Eorþe, they do so with a greater scope and identity born of the maturity of their composition. As a result, Eorþe isn’t just Skraeckoedlan‘s finest hour, but a way forward for them in this new incarnation that builds on what they’ve done before. In the tension of “Guldåldern” or the atmosphere of the penultimate instrumental “Angra Mainyu,” their ability to craft a flow and mood across disparate elements brought into a single presentation is engrossing, and the confidence with which they execute the material is what allows them to carry the audience along every step of the way. LamuGrüttner and Larsson are in absolute control of their sound in these tracks, and the potential that always seemed to be residing in their sound has begun to bear fruit accordingly.

Skraeckoedlan have generally kept to a unifying science-fiction thematic over their years, writing about monsters and in this case specifically, mammoths and beasts that may or may not have tentacles and tusks, etc., but whether or not a given listener speaks Swedish, there’s no mistaking the intent of their craft. They are a band who have worked diligently to hone their approach, and while Eorþe is dense, and not a minor undertaking at 54 minutes long, they remain accessible through their use of melody and rhythmic momentum. The fluidity of Eorþe is not to be understated, and while I don’t know if they’re telling a unified story in the lyrics, the underlying point is that the album itself is unified, and the trio are unified in their mission to grow as a band. They have. They do. One hopes they’ll continue to.

In the largesse-laden instrumental stretches of “Elfenbenssalarna,” Skraeckoedlan make clear not only how they’ve developed, but that their commitment is to keep evolving as a creative force, and that the impact that was so much of their initial appeal remains an important factor in what they do. Listening to Eorþe, one can only be glad that’s the case, but the truth is that Skraeckoedlan have expanded their aesthetic to the point that they’re about so much more than just the volume at which one hears them. The melody, the quick turns, the ambience of Eorþe have just as much of an effect on the overarching experience of the songs as the fuzzy tones, shouts and consistent sense of lumber. Whatever it is that has one hearing them, though, they’re a band who deserve more attention than they’ve gotten, and regardless of whatever language barrier there might be with a broader public, Skraeckoedlan break through it like one of the tentacled mammoths of their own creation.

Skraeckoedlan’s website

Skraeckoedlan on Instagram

Skraeckoedlan on Thee Facebooks

Skraeckoedlan on Twitter

Fuzzorama Records

Fuzzorama on Bandcamp

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Review & Video Premiere: Deville, Pigs with Gods

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on October 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

deville pigs with gods

Deville, ‘Cut it Loose’ official video premiere

[Click play above to watch the official premiere of Deville’s ‘Cut it Loose’ video. Their album, Pigs with Gods, is out Oct. 26 on Fuzzorama Records.]

Sweden’s Deville seemed to lay self-aware claim to their straightforward approach to heavy rock and roll on their last album, 2015’s Make it Belong to Us (review here), which was their first outing through Fuzzorama Records after issuing their third LP, Hydra (review here), through Small Stone. But things change, and in the case of the Malmö four-piece, that extends to the lineup of the band, as guitarist/vocalist Andreas Bengtsson is now the sole remaining founding member of Deville, with lead guitarist Andreas Wulkan having joined before Hydra and the dual-Martin rhythm section of bassist Martin Nobel and drummer Martin Fässberg coming aboard in 2016. As Deville come upon their 15th anniversary in 2019, their latest collection, Pigs with Gods, will be the album that carries them through it, and it’s another forward step in their ongoing sonic development.

As to how much the Andreases and Martins share writing duties among them, I don’t know, but Deville has always had Bengtsson at the center, and that remains true throughout the substantial, LP-limit-pushing 12 tracks and 51 minutes of Pigs with Gods, but as cuts like “Came for Nothing,” “Hell in the Water,” “Cut it Loose” and “Gold Sealed Tomb” remind, the star when it comes to Deville‘s work has always been the songs themselves. Structurally tight, crisply produced and executed with a full, professional sound and energy, the material on Pigs with Gods offers little by way of surprises in the overall quality of its work. That is, after their last couple albums especially and even going back to 2007’s Come Heavy Sleep (which Heavy Psych Sounds pressed to vinyl in 2013) and 2009’s Hail the Black Sky (discussed here), they’ve worked to a high standard of output. With Bengtsson as the consistent factor in the band all along, one can at this point read a certain level of auteurship to their work, but again, it’s the songwriting that’s the proper focus.

And whether it’s the lumbering riffer “Lightbringer” or the one-two punch of opener “Lost Grounds” and the title-track right behind it, Pigs with Gods wants nothing as regards songwriting. The real shift as regards Deville‘s style is in the aggression level of the material overall. “Lost Grounds” puts that out immediately and sets a context for the rest of what follows such that even the uptempo push of “Cut it Loose” or the bombastic “Wrecked” later on seem informed by it. They play around with the dynamic, as one would think for a group of their established professionalism, and “Acid Meadows” mellows out while “Dead Goon” turns it somewhat darker ahead of “Came for Nothing” and the ending shove of “Medicated on a Concrete Road” and closer “In Reverse,” which tops six minutes in grand finale fashion with a striking vocal harmony, but the core tonality of Pigs with Gods — and even the title itself, unless they’re referencing Margaret Atwood — retains more of an aggro edge than anything they’ve done before.

deville

The effect there is to toe the line between heavy rock and hard rock, and taken in concert with the accessibility that their penchant for hooks grants them, one might read a commercial aspect to their sound, but I don’t think that’s what they’re going for. Whether they’re reflecting the times or some personal strife or whatever it might be, their intention seems not to make the widest-reaching album possible, but to push themselves into making the best album possible, and while Pigs with Gods is a considerable undertaking at 51 minutes — Make it Belong to Us was 37, to compare — they stave off redundancy with malleability and succeed in moving their aesthetic forward to someplace it’s never been. As to how much the arrival of Nobel and Fässberg might have to do with the sharper take, I can’t say, but it’s crucial that even as raucous as Pigs with Gods gets, on “Gold Sealed Tomb” or  “Wrecked” or even “Lost Grounds” at the outset, there’s no sacrifice of melody or catchiness in the name of making a show of being pissed off.

Nor should there be. Instead, Deville hit this new nuance in their modus with the same level of pro-shop confidence they’ve had for the better part of the last decade, and I firmly believe that’s because they keep the songs themselves as the core of the band. At no point does Pigs with Gods sound like Bengtsson sat WulkanFässberg and Nobel down at a band meeting and told them it was time to get mad. What it sounds like is that Deville wrote a new collection of tracks to follow-up the last one and the songs went where they wanted to go naturally. I’ve mentioned a couple times by now Pigs with Gods hitting expectations. In songwriting, in performance, etc. And it does, but that shouldn’t be taken to mean that it lacks passion or that it’s somehow otherwise flat, just hitting its marks and content with that. While there are steady elements to their approach and I wouldn’t say they ever come close to losing their tight grip on what they do, Deville are just working to a high standard, and surpassing where they were before is a part of that.

One would expect no less from them, no matter who’s in the band, or it simply wouldn’t be Deville. And with the rolling-forward riff of “Dead Goon” and the spacious time-taking of “In Reverse” — the bass of which is satisfyingly dirt-caked in its post-midpoint showcase — Pigs with Gods is unquestionably Deville. It shows how recognizable their sound has become over time and just how much the ownership they acknowledged their last time out has allowed them to do what they want with their songwriting and take it to places it hasn’t yet been. Whatever the future holds for them as they move beyond a decade and a half — one assumes they won’t have another album out next year, given past pacing — Deville give zero sign of letting go of the willfully grounded craft that serves as their foundation. As regards Pigs with Gods, it is only a source of strength for what they do.

Deville on Thee Facebooks

Deville website

Fuzzorama Records

Fuzzorama on Bandcamp

 

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Review & Track Premiere: We Hunt Buffalo, Head Smashed In

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on September 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

we hunt buffalo head smashed in

[Click play above to stream the premiere of We Hunt Buffalo’s lyric video for ‘The Giant’s Causeway.’ Their new album, Head Smashed In is out Oct. 26 on Fuzzorama Records and New Damage Records.]

As images go, ‘head smashed in’ is as vivid as it is succinct and violent. We Hunt Buffalo, who made their debut on Fuzzorama Records in 2015 with their second album, Living Ghosts (discussed here), return with Head Smashed In as a nine-song/43-minute collection of beefed-up modern progressive-styled heavy, bordering often on metal in songs like “Angler Must Die” with the popping snare of drummer Brandon Carter backing the dual-vocal hook from guitarist Ryan Forsythe and bassist Cliff Thiessen, or in the lumbering moments of finale “God Games.”

Those stretches, though, aren’t without contrast, and We Hunt Buffalo wind up with a sneakily dynamic style that takes on heavy rock directly in cuts like “Keep it Refreshing,” which to my New England-dwelling ears seems to have a bit of Roadsaw in its chorus, and centerpiece “Industry Woes,” which engages harsher vocals but has a classic round of starts and stops that not only shows a tightness on the part of the band instrumentally, but easily crosses genre lines in a way that sounds natural and familiar while still remaining stylistically nuanced. That nuance is in part thanks to the production, which is crisp and brings out a tension in a way that Living Ghosts seemed more open and looser on the whole, but is full in its overall affect and massive sounding especially in the guitar and bass tones.

Big choruses pay off dug-in movements, and from opener “Heavy Low” through “Angler Must Die” and “Prophecy Wins” and into the instrumental “Get in the Van,” the balance between proggy detail-making, weighted force of tone and rhythm and traditional-feeling earwormery makes Head Smashed In true to its titular sense of impact without necessarily the direct one-on-one violence that “smashed” brings to mind. In the end, there are many ways to cave in a skull.

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The shouts in “Industry Woes” feel well-enough earned by that song’s theme, and they have a likewise well-placed effect on the context of the record as a whole, speaking to roots in the Mastodon-informed sphere of modern underground thrust, but for the most part, Head Smashed In works at a comfortable pace. Later, “God Games” takes on an almost post-rocking feel in its subdued verses, but even “Prophecy Wins” — the longest cut at 6:12 and the last chapter of the opening salvo — has a steady, obviously-in-control rollout that never flies too far off the handle on its way to its engaging melodic finish. “The Giant’s Causeway” finds Carter double-timing his ride cymbal in the chorus, and that adds a sense of urgency, but in that song as well there’s no danger of We Hunt Buffalo losing their way. They might be at their speediest on “Get in the Van,” but the same applies, and ultimately, the range on Head Smashed In is more about volume and melody than about tempo.

That’s not to say there’s no changing it up, as the back-to-back run of “Anxious Children” into “God Games” demonstrates, just that the impression the tracks make draws more from the trades between Forsythe and Simpson on vocals and the shifts between louder and quieter parts than playing grind on one track and doom on another. Their pacing helps draw the material together and create a flow that moves the listener from start to finish, and it’s in how they work within that sphere that We Hunt Buffalo emanate a maturity in their approach that even just three years ago they simply didn’t have. It might not come across as such on a first time through, but Head Smashed In is actually pretty classy. The performances are sharp, the mix is deep and allows for emotional resonance in the melodies that are so crucial to the memorable nature of the songs, and there is an overarching groove that results in an all-the-more coherent vibe. Very much a third album. Very much the product of a group who know what they want to do, who are steady in their approach, confident in the studio, working how they want to work and able to bring a sense of energy to their output regardless of the outward push. It’s not the kind of record a band could make their first time out.

And maybe that’s part of the idea behind the title — to mask some of that intricacy in a notion of brute force. Fair enough. Influences from the likes of Elder situate We Hunt Buffalo in a forward-thinking heavy sphere with the likes of Forming the Void, and like the lines in its cover art, which also features a smashed head or two, it’s the pinpoint details in the songs that make their third LP succeed in the manner it does. They bolster the strong choruses of cuts like “Prophecy Wins” and “The Giant’s Causeway” and “Keep it Refreshing,” while giving those who’d rightfully return for multiple listens all the more reason to keep coming back. It’s songwriting. But just like one might look at the name of the album and prejudge an expectation of what’s coming, there’s more to the proceedings in the individual pieces than their plus-sized riffs and stories about monsters. Though there’s plenty of that too for anyone who’d readily take them on.

We Hunt Buffalo, Head Smashed In (2018)

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