Setalight Festival 2016 Announces Lineup for Oct. 21-22 in Berlin

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 18th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

setalight festival 2016 header

The fall festival season kicks off in Europe before fall even starts. It’s like car companies rolling out next year’s models before we’re halfway through this year (though we are that now as well; you get my point). It seems like between August and November there isn’t a week when one if not multiple nations is playing host to a swath of quality bands, and Setalight Festival 2016 throws itself into the heart of the fray on Oct. 21 and 22, hosting an already-packed two-day lineup at the these-are-German-words Zukunft am Ostkreuz venue in Berlin.

I’m not sure if this is the complete lineup or not. It could be, easily. As of now, jam-prone Dutch trio The Machine, and Germany’s own Mother Engine — veterans of Freak Valley and Desertfest Berlin, no doubt among others — will also take part, as well as East-meets-West groovers Samavayo (based in Berlin), French mostly-instrumentalists Glowsun, uptempo rockers Phiasco and a host of others, some familiar — looking at you, Motorowl — and some less so. A couple names to investigate below, since if Setalight Records — which of course is putting on the festival — knows anything it’s how to pick bands.

The particulars came down the PR wire:

setalight festival 2016 poster

The Berlin based music label SETALIGHT presents the 4th time bands out of Stonerrock, Heavy & Hard Rock, Doom, Noise and Psychedelic Rock. Beside known bands of the scene, we will also present new or unknown bands.

For the lineup, we picked some great bands out of the dust, such as:

and many more.

When / where:

The SETALIGHT FESTIVAL will take place from 21st to 22nd of October 2016 in Berlin, (Club: Zukunft am Ostkreuz). The pre-sale just started. Get more information at the links:

The Machine, “Coda Sun” official video

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The Picturebooks Sign to Another Century Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 15th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Don’t get me wrong, good for The Picturebooks and all that, but I’m just a little curious as to how the German duo wound up with Another Century as opposed to Century Media proper, where they’d be labelmates to the likes of The Shrine, Hexvessel and Truckfighters (among others). Doubtless some internal organizational thing and I don’t know that it really matters in the long run — they’re both under the Sony banner at this point — but it’s just interesting that Century Media seems to be on such a purposeful push into heavy rock and The Picturebooks, who have their indie stream to be sure but probably still fall under a “heavy rock” banner, would wind up on Another Century instead. Can’t help but wonder if other acts might migrate over as well or how separate the two entities actually are. Past Century Media rock imprints — Liquor & Poker comes to mind — have been pretty fluid.

Either way, The Picturebooks will be on tour in Europe this fall and have a new video even as they work on their next record, so it’s bonus news all around. Note the comments below from Mike Gitter of Another Century and Daniel Hall of RidingEasy Records, who released The Picturebooks‘ 2014 album, Imaginary Horse. Those are two excellent dudes to have in your corner.

From the PR wire:

the picturebooks



Primal blues-rock duo THE PICTUREBOOKS has just announced their signing to US-based rock label Another Century. Featuring Fynn Claus Grabke [vocals, guitar] and Philipp Mirtschink [drums], the two perform blues-saturated heavy rock.

“The Picturebooks’ sound is as distinct as the smell of burnt motor oil coming off the sun-baked California desert highway,” explains Another Century’s VP of A&R Mike Gitter. “They are at once completely unique, musically unforgettable, and tapped into the psyche of rock n’ roll at its most primal. We had to get involved with these raw riders of the sonic highway.”

RidingEasy Records’ Daniel Hall adds, “The Picturebooks are destined for greatness and we are excited to be able to combine forces with Another Century who will be able to provide some of the big label resources that we currently aren’t set up to do. I look forward to watching this band continue to grow into the timeless act that they are.”

This September, THE PICTUREBOOKS will hit the road with Le Butcherettes on their month-long “A Raw Youth” European run. A full list of dates can be seen below. With a rigorous touring history, the band has played alongside Eagles of Death Metal, Kadavar, The Answer, and more, as well as performed at Riot Fest (Chicago, Denver; USA), Governor’s Ball (New York, USA), and Sziget (Hungary).

Additionally, THE PICTUREBOOKS have released a new video for their song “The Rabbit And The Wolf,” which was featured on ‘Imaginary Horse.’ Directed by Claus Grabke, the video documents the two riding from city to city on their custom built choppers, amidst a number of daring stunts and electric performances.

“Nothing in the video for ‘The Rabbit and the Wolf’ is staged,” explains THE PICTUREBOOKS. “We just filmed what happened on tour or when hanging around with our friends, riding choppers, skating etc. Some of it was filmed in Europe and some was filmed in the US. The lyrics in the song kinda describe us and the way we feel when being on tour, so it seemed appropriate to use mostly tour-footage for the video. Most of the smaller locations in this video are what really made this band. People believed in us and gave us the chance to play, even before we were signed. We kept coming back till the place was finally packed. We owe these people a lot!”

THE PICTUREBOOKS are working on new material for their Another Century debut, so fans are encouraged to keep their eyes peeled on the group’s socials for future updates.

2016 Tour Dates:
09/09 – Faak am See, Austria – European Bike Week Festival **free entry**

“A Raw Youth” European Tour:
w/ Le Butcherettes
09/22 – Berlin, Germany – Cassiopeia
09/23 – Cologne, Germany – Artheater
09/25 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Loppen
09/27 – Nijmegen, Netherlands – Merleyn
09/28 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Melkweg Theater
09/29 – Courtrai, Belgium – De Kreun
09/30 – Paris, France – Le Backstage By The Mill
10/01 – Stuttgart, Germany – Kellerclub
10/03 – Prague, Czech – Lucerna Music Bar
10/04 – Munich, Germany – Kranhalle
10/05 – Vienna, Austria – B72
10/07 – Zurich, Switzerland – Dynamo
10/08 – Milan, Italy – Tunnel
10/10 – Valencia, Spain – Loco Club
10/11 – Madrid, Spain – El Sol
10/12 – Barcelona, Spain – Sidecar
10/14 – London, UK – The Black Heart
10/15 – Coventry, UK – Kasbah (club night)
10/16 – Birmingham, UK – Hare & Hounds
10/17 – Cardiff, UK – Clwb Ifor Bach
10/19 – Dublin, Ireland – The Workman’s Club
10/20 – Belfast, UK – Black Box
10/21 – Glasgow, UK – King Tuts
10/22 – Manchester, UK – Night & Day

The Picturebooks, “The Rabbit and the Wolf” official video

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Naevus, Heavy Burden: Timeless Illusions (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 14th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

naevus heavy burden

[Click play above to stream Naevus’ ‘Black Sun’ from Heavy Burden. Album is out Aug. 19 on Meta Matter Records.]

In the crowded annals of the last two decades-plus of doom, one might be forgiven for letting Naevus slip through the cracks. Why? Well, it’s been 18 years since the German double-guitar four-piece made their debut on Rise Above Records with 1998’s Sun Meditation, and though they took part in a split on Game Two with Revelation, Mood and Twisted Tower Dire, took part in the 1999 Trouble tribute, Bastards Will Pay (discussed here) and even issued a comp of rare tracks in 2009 before actually getting back together in 2012, their second long-player, Heavy Burden, arrives through Meta Matter Records as 11 tracks/55 minutes light on fanfare and heavy on classic doom. They leave little to wonder about what’s the burden in question. It’s riffs, and so be it.

With stylistic debt to Maryland-style doom — The Obsessed and Pentagram, specifically — Naevus follow up their long-ago first album and their 2012 Universal Overdrive limited 7″ without missing a beat, as though Sun Meditation came out three years ago and Heavy Burden was simply the next phase of a songwriting progression playing out, not necessarily a reunion offering. Granted, production styles have changed in the last 18 years and Heavy Burden isn’t as raw as its predecessor, but that would likely be the case one album to the next to some degree anyway, and the point is that Naevus don’t sound any rustier in “Naked,” “Black Sun,” or “Future Footprints” than they want to — which is to say that doom almost always wants to sound a little rusty — and their material comes across as a fresh take on the traditional form.

Guitarist/vocalist Uwe Groebel and drummer Mathias Straub went on to play in VoodooShock, while guitarist Oliver Großhans is formerly of Sacred Steel (in which Straub also plays) and bassist Sven Heimerdinger of Rebirth, so Naevus has by no means been its members’ only outlet over the years. That might play into how smoothly they seem to slip back into action with cohesive songwriting on the opening title-track and songs like “Timeless Illusion” and “Dead Summer Day,” which follows “Heavy Burden,” “Black Sun” and “Naked” as part of a strong and immersive salvo to begin the journey of the record as a whole.


It’s not a short journey at nearly an hour, but as noted, it’s been almost 20 years, so one seems inclined to forgive the band for indulging the CD-era convention of a longer runtime, and their craft proves largely unwavering throughout, Groebel establishing a range and sticking to it while his and Großhans‘ guitars lead the way with thick-grooving riffs rolled along Straub‘s forward-minded drumming and given heft through Heimerdinger‘s low end. They toy with pace on “Dancing in the Summer Rain,” a side B dive into lyrical nostalgia — lines about dancing naked in the summer rain and drinking beer; must have been quite a camping trip — and bring to bear some faster thrust in the spirit of the aforementioned Trouble, but by then Heavy Burden has already set its own identity with its tones and overarching moodiness. What ties the album together, ultimately, is a consistency of sound via the production and that emotional crux. It’s not showy by any means, even when they get to the organ on “The Dwarves’ Revenge” before the closing “Outro,” but remains expressive all the same.

That closer, by the way, is more than just a simple interlude. It leaves behind the distorted heft in favor of acoustic textures that further highlight Groebel‘s vocals, and though it’s shorter than the other tracks at just over three minutes, it brings additional context to Heavy Burden as a whole and offers a sweeter take particularly in its final moments than one might expect from a record that’s spent so much time riffing out on “The Whistling Tree” or a bruiser like “Cloudless Sunstreams.” Naevus‘ roots stretch back to 1991 and their first demo was issued in 1993, so the band has plenty of history, and their earliest work was in a much more extreme aesthetic, so I don’t want to make it seem like they’ve simply regrouped and put Heavy Burden together like it’s no big deal — worth pointing out that they’ve been back for four years and the album is only now complete — or that there’s no stylistic growth from Sun Meditation. That’s simply not the case. Rather, Heavy Burden succeeds precisely because it’s so plainspoken in its presentation, and what it captures in traditional doom would ring false any other way. Naevus do many things in these tracks, but ring false is not one of them.

Naevus on Thee Facebooks

Naevus on Bandcamp

Heavy Burden preorder at Amazon

Preorder at Meta Matter Records

Meta Matter Records on Thee Facebooks

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Valborg and Bloodway Release Karbon Winter Collaboration

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 8th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ll rarely say this, but Valborg & Bloodway get my vote for Roadburn 2017. Not that I actually get a vote, but if I’m fortunate enough to go and they’re on the bill, I’ll be there front and center when the German and Romanian collaborative outfit start into the tracks from their Karbon Winter EP, newly issued and positively crushing in its churn. The collaboration was apparently born of a joint tour, but as you can see in the lineup info below, it really is the two bands working together, and it sounds massive enough to come from two outfits, one of which includes acclaimed artist Costin Chioreanu and the other Christian Kolf, also of post-metal experimentalists Owl.

You can check out the title-track of the EP in the video below. See if the cave-echo doesn’t do it for you. It’s sure as shit doing it for me:

valborg bloodway karbon winter

VALBORG and BLOODWAY digital EP ‘Karbon Winter’ out now!

After the “Horrors of the Unknown” tour in fall 2015, it was clear to many that the friendship between Bloodway and Valborg was something truly special. In January, while Valborg was in Bucharest for a concert, the two bands met, composed and recorded a song together, “Karbon Winter”. Few months later a second song entitled “Ashes”, was worked out by only the bands guitarists. So, this way, this digital EP got born. This is not a split, this is actually music crated together by both bands!

1. Karbon Winter 06:17
2. Ashes 04:23

This EP is a collaboration between 6 musicians:
Costin Chioreanu – Guitars, Keyboards (Bloodway)
Christian Kolf – Guitars, Vocals (Valborg)
Florian Toyka – Drums (Valborg)
Jan Buckard – Bass (Valborg)
Alex Ghita – Percussion (Bloodway)
Mihai Andrei – Bass (Bloodway)

“Karbon Winter” song credits:
Music by Valborg and Bloodway. Lyrics by Christian Kolf.
Composed and recorded in studio 148, Bucharest, Romania on January 7th, 2016. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Marius Costache at Studio148.

“Ashes” song credits:
Music by Costin Chioreanu & Christian Kolf.
Recorded on June 7th, 2016. Mixed and mastered by Costin Chioreanu.

Cover Art by Costin Chioreanu –

You can listen “Karbon Winter” EP in full or buy it from:

Valborg & Bloodway, “Karbon Winter”

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Sonora Ritual Release Worship the Sun Vinyl

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 7th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

sonora ritual-700

It was almost exactly a year ago that German four-piece Sonora Ritual announced they had a second album in the works. Titled Dust Monument, it was in the mixing stage as of last month, and when it’s done, it’ll arrive preceded by the band’s 2013 debut, Worship the Sun, receiving some proper vinyl love via respected purveyor Kozmik Artifactz. The LP version of the first outing was released on July 4, and while I’ve yet to see a release date for Dust Monument, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think it could show up before the New Year, depending of course on the label’s schedule, production times, etc.

Plenty to keep busy with in the meantime, of course. Worship the Sun is long since streaming, and you’ll find it below after the details of the first record, which came down the PR wire:

sonora ritual worship the sun-700

On doomsday 2012 this hermit baby was born and drones through the dusty franconian desert since then.

Sonora Ritual is a 4-piece combo that throws together different influences and styles of heavy music by combining atmospheric trips with massive riffage.

Keeping it raw and stricly lo-fi this band does the recordings by itself and released their debut album ‘worship the sun’ in 2013 which became a popular freebie download real quickly.

Trying to keep things simple these guys don’t come along with any overblown adjectives that describe their sound.

It’s up to you, to make your own opinion. Grab a beer and follow the hermits footsteps to see what you’ll find.

– Plated & pressed on high
performance vinyl in germany
– 166x Black marbled orange
(Exclusive mailorder version)
– 150x black
– matt laquered 300gsm
gatefold cover
– special vinyl mastering

A1. Spring
A2. Black fog
A3. Child of the sun
A4. Ryff Ryder

B1. Worship
B2. Lonely Road
B3. Welwitch
B4. Mean Machine

Fartface Johnson – Lead Vocals/Guitar
Franklin D. Boozewell – Bass
Wifebeater McKenzie – Guitar
Snuffy O’Brian – Drums

Sonora Ritual, Worship the Sun (2013/2016)

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Keep it Low 2016 Lineup Complete; Electric Citizen, Samavayo, Deadsmoke and Salem’s Pot Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 6th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

keep it low 2016 final header

With the final additions of Electric CitizenSamavayoDeadsmoke and Salem’s Pot, the lineup for Keep it Low 2016 in Munich, Germany, is complete. Presented by Sound of Liberation at the Feierwerk venue, the fest boasts John GarciaColour HazeElder and Greenleaf at the top of the bill and pulls acts from around Europe and the US together for a two-nighter focused on vibe and groove, but still pretty varied in its spirit overall between the likes of 1000mods and Deadsmoke. Wherever they’re at sound-wise, you’d be hard-pressed to find a dud in the bunch.

Last announcement from the fest follows here:

keep it low 2016 final poster

KEEP IT LOW 2016! Oct. 21st & 22nd… Electric Citizen, Salem’s Pot, Mother’s Cake, Samavayo & Deadsmoke complete the line-up!

We are pleased to tell you that our 2016 line-up is now complete: 21 bands that will blow your mind!!

Today, the American 70’s heavy rock influenced four-piece Electric Citizen, the Swedish catchy spooky doom rock quintet Salem’s Pot, the German not-quite-like-anything else stoner/heavy rock outfit Samavayo and the monolithic Italian doom sludge trio Deadsmoke joined the bill alongside previously announced John Garcia, Colour Haze, Karma To Burn, Elder, Greenleaf, The Atomic Bitchwax, Monkey3, 1000Mods, Toner Low, Black Rainbows, Fatso Jetson, Moaning Cities, Duel, Bright Curse, Grusom and Swan Valley Heights!

All those 4 bands released amazing new albums during the spring that you can listen to by clicking on the links above.

Also, due to the unfortunate cancellation of Kind, we are able to add John Garcia’s touring support band, Austrian Alternative Space Rockers Mother’s Cake! And we are very happy about that!

KEEP IT LOW 2016 will happen on October 21st and 22nd in FEIERWERK (Munich) and will greet with 3 stages and outside beergarden & skatepark. On this upcoming edition we are setting up a cozy and rain protected outside area with food and drink station. We also decided to play already on 2 stages on the Friday night and ending both KIL nights with aftershow parties and Dj Sets (Friday until 3 am and Saturday until 5 am).

Hard Tickets (2-day passes) are available on Woolheads for 65 €! Online tickets are also available on Eventim!

You can purchase tickets on but be quick! E-Tickets are also available on

Samavayo, Dakota (2016)

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Kadavar Post “Lord of the Sky” Video as Part of Berlin Visual Album

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 24th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

kadavar (Photo by Joe Dilworth)

It’s been a little more than a month since German heavy rock forerunners Kadavar posted the last installment of their series of videos for their 2015 third album, Berlin (review here). That clip was for “Filthy Illusion” (posted here) and was a distinct shift in vibe from the preceding “Pale Blue Eyes” (posted here), the band working on the stated intention of releasing a video for every song on the record within the next year. If they include the Nico cover “Reich der Träume” that closed the record, they’re on pace to finish by roughly next March — a year from when they started — so it could legitimately happen. I’ve never undertaken coordinating the logistics of making a music video, but it never struck me as something that would be particularly easy to do.

One has to imagine that when they’re done, Kadavar and director Nathini van der Meer will somehow put together a physical version of the clips to sell, whether it’s part of a deluxe Berlin reissue that Nuclear Blast does (no confirmation on that, this is just speculation) or with a live album, live show or some other kind of DVD release. Nothing against YouTube, but it seems like for as much effort is clearly being put into making these videos — van der Meer again gives a different look with the latest, for “Lord of the Sky” — they deserve some kind of physical issue. Maybe that’s me being old. Actually, no maybe about it. That’s definitely me being old. Not sure that makes me wrong.

I’ve been doing my best to keep up with these as they’ve come out and will continue to do so for the duration, however long that might actually last. If nothing else, it highlights the point of just how front-to-back Berlin was, in that every song on it stood out and was worthy of attention and focus. A year-long reminder of that would seem to be fitting as far as giving the record its due, so long as it doesn’t hold the band back from writing the next one.

Enjoy “Lord of the Sky” below, followed by more info from the PR wire:

Kadavar, “Lord of the Sky” official video

Together with long-time friend and collaborator Nathini van der Meer (, who has created artwork and videos for them in the past, they are working on their first “Visual Album”- 12 short films accompanying each of the albums’ songs, to be released once a month throughout the entirety of the year.

Comments the band: “The song is about freedom, about watching your city and your life from a certain distance – from the bird’s-eye view. Just like we see our city from that perspective when we’re on tour. Problems and tasks just seem to vanish the more you recede from ground. At the same time you need to push your wings against the wind to gain altitude and not get off course. The hopes, memories and expectations with which you leave your city you will always keep.”

“The video is also about things that simply don’t change,” adds Nathini. That’s why we chose to use this old man who’s just doing his thing for like forever. He goes to work every day, does his job and probably doesn’t realize that his surroundings are changing and becoming crazier and crazier. He lives in the bird’s-eye perspective and keeps a certain distance to things.”

Kadavar on Thee Facebooks

Kadavar on Instagram

Nuclear Blast Records

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Deaf Proof and Holistic Hobos Release Split

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 23rd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

One never really knows where German outfit Deaf Proof are going to wind up on a release until they get there. This time around, the Freiburg trio come down to earth to meet up with the progressively-styled Holistic Hobos for a three-tracks-each split offering that brings out a heavy side of both. For Holistic Hobos, this marks their first outing since their 2013 Let Loose be Free EP, while Deaf Proof take a much different turn than the extended improv jams they brought out for 2015’s Blood Red Sky Sessions (review here), going for a more straightforward overall sound.

It’s my first listen to Holistic Hobos, and gives a positive impression of the four-piece. The two bands complement each other well on the six tracks, as you can hear via the players below, hoisted from the respective Bandcamp pages. Note that the physical version is CD digipak and that it’s limited to 100 copies. Just in case you were thinking you had time on it, you probably don’t.

Release announcement looks an awful lot like this:

deaf proof holistic hobos split

Deaf Proof Holistic Hobos Split

Two heavy rocking bands of stony south-west-german origin gather to release some of their new tunes together on a split album.

Come on, there’s a fuzz-split-monstrosity emerging from south-west Germany: The Holistic Hobos from Stuttgart present their latest compositions. These are quiet psychedelic, sometimes grungy and with NWOBHM-style twin-guitars, always diversified and heavy. In the end it’s more than stoner and doom, if Baroness comes to your mind, this is more than reasonable.

The Freiburg trio Deaf Proof puts aside the jammy moments and most of the FX this time, only the fuzz pedal is cranked to 11, so the boys are rockin’ straightforward and kickin’ ass hard: Ouch ;) !

Hard facts: Limited, hand numbered digipak, 100 pieces, 50 per band, buy for 7€ + shipping via or contact:

Deaf Proof, split with Holistic Hobos (2016)

Holistic Hobos, split with Deaf Proof (2016)

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