Review & Full EP Stream: Godhunter, Codex Narco

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

godhunter codex narco

[Click play above to stream Godhunter’s Codex Narco EP in full. It’s out this Friday, May 19, on Battleground Records and Baby Tooth Records with sale proceeds going to Planned Parenthood.]

Tucson, Arizona’s Godhunter have always had a violent and/or aggressive edge to their approach, but most of what they’re demolishing on their latest EP, Codex Narco, are the expectations listeners might have of them. Delivered through Battleground Records and Baby Tooth Records with cover art by Bailey Illustration as the result of a few tumultuous years on the part of the once-sludge metallers, Codex Narco only tops out at about 21 minutes, and as it moves between the intro “A Dread of Some Strange Impending Doom” and outro “Distant Fading Screams of a Dying World,” rest assured, the fare is still suitably dark, but the band nonetheless hugely expand their sonic palette even from what it was two years ago on their Endsville split with Destroyer of Light (discussed here), let alone on their prior 2014 full-length, City of Dust (review here), which remains their only long-player to-date. They were a six-piece at that time and have since pared back to a core trio of guitarist/sampler David Rodgers, guitarist/keyboardist Matthew Davis and drummer Andy Kratzenberg, all of whom are spread out geographically.

The fact that Codex Narco‘s tracks were written via internet exchange between these three might ultimately be a factor in the aesthetic outcome of the EP, but that’s not to discount guest appearances from CHRCH vocalist Eva Rose on the aforementioned opening/closing pair, or Josh Thorne of Thorne on “Like Glass Under Black Fingernails” and centerpiece “Cocaine Witches and Lysergic Dreams,” or Methra‘s Nick Genitals on the penultimate Tegan and Sara cover, “Walking with a Ghost,” which here becomes a blown-out vision of doomwave with additional guitar from Clayton Bartholomew (Mountaineer) and bass from Demon Lung‘s Adam Sage. Nick Genitals contributes bass and guitar as well to the opener and closer and to the ambient “Unarmed Combat,” and Sage handles low end on “Like Glass Under Black Fingernails,” “Cocaine Witches and Lysergic Dreams” and “Walking with a Ghost” while Bartholomew also plays guitar on “Like Glass Under Black Fingernails,” “Our Blood is Poison” and “Cocaine Witches and Lysergic Dreams.”

One imagines it was quite a chain of emails by the time these songs actually started coming together, or at very least a barrage of Dropbox notifications, but however it was done, the wash that Codex Narco creates ties together this dizzying interchange of personnel, and with a headphone-ready depth of mix unlike anything Godhunter have produced before, these tracks offer atmospheric weight to coincide with their sheer tonal density. Interplay between shorter pieces like the intro and outro, the sample-topped rumble and feedback of “Our Blood is Poison” and the bass-and-drum “Unarmed Combat,” which seems to recount for 100 seconds a military experiment drugging soldiers and finding them refusing to train, the two longer tracks “Like Glass Under Black Fingernails” (5:53) and “Cocaine Witches and Lysergic Dreams” (5:45), and the unabashedly poppy “Walking with a Ghost” (2:31) ensure a steady flow from one piece to the next, and but for its runtime, Codex Narco could just as easily pass as an LP as an EP in terms of how its component pieces feed into and off of each other.

godhunter codex narco lineup

Davis‘ work on synth and keys becomes a huge factor in tying the release together as a whole, whether he’s playing to the post-punk chug and hook of “Walking with a Ghost” or adding electronica-style tension beneath the massive and blasted buzz tones of “Cocaine Witches and Lysergic Dreams.” No doubt a mastering job by the esteemed Brad Boatright had something to do with bringing the various tracks in line as well, but the handling of the synth and keys in the mix alongside the guitar and bass casts a scope behind the trades between screams and clean vocals on “Like Glass Under Black Fingernails” that proves as immersive as it is aggressive, and where in the past Godhunter have been driven to confront, to attack, Codex Narco feels more inwardly-directed as an examination, more personal, and thus more likely to draw listeners along with it on its brief but substantial path.

It’s the kind of release for which reviewers might generally fall over themselves to invent descriptors — which is an impulse that “doomwave” above notwithstanding I’m going to try to resist — but when one sees vague-eries like “post-sludge,” “sludgegaze,” “doomtronic” and so on, it’s a sign that at very least Godhunter are doing something of their own and something original, which on Codex Narco more than ever, they definitely are. RodgersDavis and Kratzenberg haven’t by any means abandoned their aggro tendencies or their underlying sense of purpose in creation — sales of the EP benefit Planned Parenthood and an anti-suicide video for “Walking with a Ghost” is reportedly in production — but they’ve successfully achieved a stylistic turn that even for those who’ve experienced their various experiments on collaborations with Secrets of the Sky (review here) and Amigo the Devil will no doubt prove a surprise. Still, even if one approaches Codex Narco anticipating the band Godhunter were on City of Dust, they’ve always warranted and encouraged a kind of open-mindedness that should make it relatively easy for listeners to get on board with the moves they have made and may or may not continue to make.

When it comes to the aftermath of this EP, that’s really the big question: whether Codex Narco, with its slew of guests and lung-collapsing soundscapes, is a sign of the future direction for Godhunter or a one-off experiment. Given the accomplishment and the fluidity of these songs, I’m inclined to hope for the former, but less than ever does it seem reasonable to predict what the band might do doing forward. Codex Narco is a quick listen, but it presents a huge shift in method and practice for Godhunter, and that’s as much palpable in the audio as it is in the context in which the EP arrives. What has remained most constant about them, however, is the boldness with which they’ve undertaken these changes, and that seems to be the thread that unites all of their work: They’re going to do what they’re going to do, on their own terms, without compromise. Whatever else might swirl around it, righteousness persists.

Godhunter on Thee Facebooks

Battleground Records on Bandcamp

Battleground Records website

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Baby Tooth Records on Bandcamp

Baby Tooth Records on Thee Facebooks

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Godhunter Post Codex Narco Trailer and Release Details

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

godhunter and friends

Earlier this month, when Arizona sludge-with-a-purpose outfit Godhunter announced their new release, Codex Narco, would be out in May through Baby Tooth and Battleground Records, the guest-laden offering was positioned as an EP. As I look at the seven tracks below — granted they could all be a minute long; one doesn’t want to predict or pre-judge — and take a peak at the newly-posted trailer, it’s looking more and more like a full-length album every minute. I don’t necessarily know that Godhunter give a shit about such concerns — they’ve got bigger fish to fry, aesthetically and politically — but these are the things I get hung up on, basically so I know which list something belongs on for December. Godhunter, almost invariably, will wind up on one or the other.

The PR wire brings art, the aforementioned tracklisting and the also-aforementioned trailer. Busy busy busy. Dig it:

godhunter codex narco

GODHUNTER Releases Art, Trailer, And More For Codex Narco Record Featuring Members Of CHRCH, Demon Lung, Mountaineer, Thorne, Methra, And More

GODHUNTER has issued the artwork, track listing, and a brief trailer for the band’s impending Codex Narco record, which features contributions from members of CHRCH, Demon Lung, Mountaineer, Thorne, Methra, and others.

In line with GODHUNTER’s commitment to speaking out about social issues, the proceeds of Codex Narco’s sales will be donated to Planned Parenthood, the statement reflected in the pink color scheme of the artwork by Bailey Illustration and layout by Cool Ghoul Ltd. (Ethan McCarthy of Primitive Man). Codex Narco was mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, and features a cover of Tegan & Sara’s “Walking With A Ghost,” for which a video is being created to support suicide prevention.

Codex Narco will see digital release through Battleground Records and cassette release through Baby Tooth Records on May 19th; preorders and further audio samples will be issued in the weeks ahead.

Codex Narco Track Listing:
1. A Dread Of Some Strange Impending Doom
2. Like Glass Under Black Fingernails
3. Our Blood Is Poison
4. Cocaine Witches & Lysergic Dreams
5. Unarmed Combat
6. Walking With A Ghost
7. Distant Fading Screams Of A Dying World

In September of 2015, after finishing a successful US tour with Destroyer Of Light, several members of GODHUNTER amicably split with the band, simply moving on with more family commitments and unable to commit to regular touring. Within weeks of the lineup shift, the rest of the band began writing new material together through internet conversations and individual recording sessions, as remaining guitarist/vocalist David Rodgers, drummer Andy Kratzenberg, and keyboardist Matthew Davis, currently reside on opposite ends of the country, spread across Washington, Arizona, and Georgia. Shortly into the creation process, it was realized that the band was deviating from their usual lyrical content on our deteriorating world and current events, and for the first time were instead focusing towards their own realms of inner darkness. Everyone in the band has experienced some dramatic personal trauma in recent years, a factor which is intensely reflected in the writing of Codex Narco, where dependency, depression, and loss are the driving factors, resulting in the most personal and deeply introspective material the band has ever made.

After fleshing out the main skeleton of the new material, the remaining members of GODHUNTER secured additional elements from several of the band’s closer personal and musical friends. Several of the contributors recorded a large amount of Codex Narco at Homewrecker Studios in Tucson, with the additional material recorded by each musician at their hometown studio of choice. The record features guest vocals from Eva Rose (CHRCH) and Josh Thorne (Thorne), bass from Adam Sage (Demon Lung), guitars from Clayton Bartholomew (Mountaineer, ex-Secrets Of The Sky), and vocal, bass, and guitar contributions from Nick Genitals (Methra).

http://www.facebook.com/godhuntersludge
https://battlegroundrecords.bandcamp.com
http://www.battlegroundrnr.com
https://twitter.com/BattlegroundRNR
http://instagram.com/battleground_records
https://babytoothtucson.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/babytoothtucson

Godhunter, Codex Narco trailer

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Godhunter Announce New EP Codex Narco Due in May

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Tucson sludgers Godhunter taking on a more directly political lyrical bent makes sense, as the band has always been keen to offer some latent social commentary both on the local level of their home in Arizona and in the wider sphere of worldly goings on. Not to mention these are deeply politicized times blah blah blah, but yeah, that makes sense as a turn the band would make. Interestingly, they’ve called in a few friends to help them make their point. Their new EP, Codex Narco, is set to release this May on Battleground Records and Baby Tooth Records and with guest spots from CHRCH‘s Eva Rose — well that’s going to be fucking unbelievably heavy — as well as members of Methra, Demon Lung and others, although Godhunter have undergone some lineup changes over the last couple years, they still clearly know how to put a party together. Interested to hear how this one turns out.

No art or audio yet, but the PR wire has release details:

godhunter

GODHUNTER To Release Codex Narco In May; Record Features Contributors From CHRCH, Demon Lung, Mountaineer, Thorne, Methra, And More

GODHUNTER has completed a new EP titled Codex Narco, featuring a cast of fellow musicians hailing from the likes of CHRCH, Demon Lung, Mountaineer, Thorne, Methra, and others. The EP will see release in May, with the proceeds from each format going to several important charities.

In September of 2015, after finishing a successful US tour with Destroyer Of Light, several members of GODHUNTER amicably split with the band, simply moving on with more family commitments and unable to commit to regular touring. Within weeks of the lineup shift, the rest of the band began writing new material together through internet conversations and individual recording sessions, as remaining guitarist/vocalist David Rodgers, drummer Andy Kratzenberg, and keyboardist Matthew Davis, currently reside on opposite ends of the country, spread across Washington, Arizona, and Georgia.

Shortly into the creation process, it was realized that the band was deviating from their usual lyrical content on our deteriorating world and current events, and for the first time were instead focusing towards their own realms of inner darkness. Everyone in the band has experienced some dramatic personal trauma in recent years, a factor which is intensely reflected in the writing of Codex Narco, where dependency, depression, and loss are the driving factors, resulting in the most personal and deeply introspective material the band has ever made.

After fleshing out the main skeleton of the new material, the remaining members of GODHUNTER secured additional elements from several of the band’s closer personal and musical friends. Several of the contributors recorded a large amount of Codex Narco at Homewrecker Studios in Tucson, with the additional material recorded by each musician at their hometown studio of choice. The record features guest vocals from Eva Rose (CHRCH) and Josh Thorne (Thorne), bass from Adam Sage (Demon Lung), guitars from Clayton Bartholomew (Mountaineer, ex-Secrets Of The Sky), and vocal, bass, and guitar contributions from Nick Genitals (Methra).

Codex Narco was mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, and features artwork by Bailey Illustration and layout by Cool Ghoul Ltd. (Ethan McCarthy of Primitive Man). The record will see release through Battleground Records in conjunction with Baby Tooth Records who will release a cassette version, on May 19th; all profits will be donated to Planned Parenthood.

GODHUNTER’s commitment to speaking out about social issues has not changed though, and as such, the proceeds from this album will be donated to Planned Parenthood, as reflected in the pink color scheme. Mitch Wells from Thou is also making us a video for the Tegan & Sara cover song “Walking With A Ghost.” This video is being made to support suicide prevention. Even though the album is very personal, the resulting effort is all about giving back to organizations the band members care deeply about.

http://www.facebook.com/godhuntersludge
https://battlegroundrecords.bandcamp.com
http://www.battlegroundrnr.com
https://twitter.com/BattlegroundRNR
http://instagram.com/battleground_records
https://babytoothtucson.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/babytoothtucson

Godhunter vs. Destroyer of Light, Endsville (2015)

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Singles, EPs, Splits and Demos of 2015

Posted in Features on December 29th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

top 20 short releases of 2015

Please note: This list is not culled in any way from the Readers Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2015 to that, please do.

What’s a short release? Anything that’s not a full-length. I’ve done this list in the past and given a small list — The Top 20 EPs, Splits, Demos and Singles, or whatever — but “Short Releases” seemed more concise, and believe it or not, that’s something I shoot for.

Essentially, what we’re taking a look at here is everything else a band might put out in a given year. No question that albums are where the greatest impact is made over the longer term, but from landmark 7″s to EPs that provide crucial experiments or serve notice of bands solidifying their sound or marking pivotal first impressions, the shorter offerings have tremendous value, and it’s worth considering them on their own merit, rather than in comparison to LPs directly.

I know for a fact that there are releases I’ve missed here. Particularly among the Bandcamp-only demos, there’s just so much out there that for any one person to keep up with all of it is even more impossible than it’s ever been before. Before you berate me immediately with, “Hey you forgot X Band!” and start throwing tomatoes at your computer or mobile device screen, please keep in mind The Obelisk is run by a single individual and there are only so many hours in the day. As always, I do the best I can.

Here we go:

foehammer foehammer

The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2015

1. Foehammer, Foehammer EP
2. Mos Generator & Stubb, The Theory of Light and Matter Split
3. Sun Voyager, Lazy Daze EP
4. All Them Witches, A Sweet Release
5. Geezer & Borracho, The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter 1 Split
6. Fatso Jetson & Farflung, Split
7. Eggnogg & Borracho, Sludgy Erna Bastard Split 7″
8. Shroud Eater, Face the Master EP
9. Bedroom Rehab Corporation, Fortunate Some EP
10. Stars that Move, Demo Songs
11. Wight, Helicopter Mama 7″
12. Thera Roya, Unraveling EP
13. Shatner, EP
14. Cities of Mars, Cyclopean Ritual EP
15. Pyramidal & Domo, Jams from the Sun Split
16. Sandrider & Kinski, Split
17. Mount Hush, Low and Behold! EP
18. Godhunter & Amigo the Devil, The Outer Dark Split
19. Groan, Highrospliffics EP
20. Rozamov & Deathkings, Split

Honorable Mention

The Sunburst EP by Valley continues to resonate, as do splits from Goya & Wounded Giant and King Buffalo & Lé Betre. plus Derelics‘ IntroducingTime Rift‘s demo, the Carpet 7″, Watchtower‘s EP, Eternal Black‘s debut demo, Dorre‘s half-hour single One Collapsed at the Altar, and Mount Desert‘s two-songer all deserve serious consideration, as well I’m sure as many others.

Notes

It’s something of a break in routine for me to put any kind of debut in a top spot (other, of course, than on the list of debuts), but Foehammer simply would not be denied. The Virginia trio’s three-song EP release on Grimoire Records (LP on Australopithecus Records), it was a self-titled that seemed to be telling you the name of the band twice as if in a warning against forgetting it. And that warning was one to heed. Foehammer‘s first outing brought the Doom Capitol region to new heights of extremity, and while at over half-an-hour long it could’ve just as easily have been called a full-length, part of the overarching threat is what the band will bring to bear when they actually get around to their first LP.

A good number of splits included here, with Mos Generator and Stubb‘s The Theory of Light and Matter (HeviSike Records), Geezer and Borracho‘s The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter 1 (launching a series for Ripple Music), Fatso Jetson and Farflung‘s joint release (on Heavy Psych Sounds) and Eggnogg and Borracho‘s Sludgy Erna Bastard (on Palaver Records) all cracking the top 10. No coincidence that Washington D.C. heavy riffers Borracho show up twice in that mix. As Pyramidal and Domo‘s blissful Jams from the Sun, Sandrider and Kinski‘s one-two, Godhunter and Amigo the Devil‘s Battleground Records collaboration and Rozamov and Deathkings‘ joint single feature between #11-20, a total of eight out of the full included 20 releases here are splits. Last year it was only five.

Whether that means the form is growing in an attempt to capture fickle social-media-age attention spans while cutting individual vinyl pressing costs, I couldn’t say — likely a combination of the two and more besides — but it’s noteworthy that a split is more than just a toss-off, between-albums castaway at this point, something for songs to later be included on rare-tracks comps. One could easily say the same of EPs as a whole. To that end, Sun Voyager‘s Lazy Daze was a brutal tease for the NY psychgaze outfit’s first album, hopefully out in 2016. And while All Them WitchesA Sweet Release was over 50 minutes long — longer, actually, than their Dying Surfer Meets His Maker LP, which was also issued this year — they considered it an EP/live collection, and that indeed proved how it worked best, immersive though its stretch remained.

Shroud Eater and Bedroom Rehab Corporation both turned in impressive outings that showed marked progression from their last time out, while Shatner‘s first batch of tracks tipped off a songwriting process well-honed and Stars that Move, Cities of Mars, Thera Roya and Mount Hush — I’d put Mount Desert in this category as well — had compelling outings that, like Foehammer at the top, showed much potential at work in formative sounds. Not to be forgotten, Wight‘s Helicopter Mama 7″ gave listeners a heads up on the funkified stylistic turn their upcoming full-length, Love is Not Only What You Know, will take even further, and UK stoner miscreants Groan proved once and for all that, along with logic and reason, a constantly changing lineup can’t hold back their good times.

Like I said — like I always say — if I left something out, let me know about it in the comments. Really let me have it. Call me a jerk. It’s cool. I can take it.

Please note: I can, in no way, take it.

Still, if I left something/someone out, I hope you’ll let me know. And please don’t forget that if you haven’t yet, you can still contribute your list of 2015 favorites to the year-end poll until Dec. 31. EPs, LPs, whatever, however many, it doesn’t matter. All entries are welcome there.

Thanks for reading.

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Live Review: Godhunter and Destroyer of Light in Massachusetts, 08.14.15

Posted in Reviews on August 17th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Godhunter (Photo by JJ Koczan)

My first time in Salem, or “Witch City,” as the sign said, which seems to have done reasonably well on the niche-tourism market based on its people-got-burned-at-the-stake-here heritage. Well enough to have a joint like Koto, anyway. The venue where this show happened is a sushi bar. A sushi bar. Because although the passion for heavy music in the area of Eastern Massachusetts is strong enough to host gigs at, say, a sushi bar, that’s also how deep the corresponding lack of decent venues in the region runs. Godhunter and Destroyer of Light, from Arizona and Austin, Texas, respectively, came an awfully long way. It’s kind of hard not to be embarrassed for the state in which I live. Often.

Led to the Grave. (Photo by JJ Koczan)But the good news was Godhunter and Destroyer of Light, and if it’s a sushi bar, well, that’s better than nowhere at all. A section of the otherwise carpeted floor was hardwood, and tables were cleared out to make a “stage,” which is to say an empty space. The kitchen stayed open — sadly, I did not have any sushi, though I’d been craving it for weeks — and locals Led to the Grave opened the show billed to start at 9PM well after 10 with their death-thrashing blend of sonic extremity very much in a New England-y vein. Dual-guitar squibblies called to mind the first time I heard Cannae‘s Troubleshooting Death and thought about the colors of autumn leaves. They were heavy, growls, screams, shouts, Slayer parts, etc. Not offensive to watch, and at times pretty right on, but not really where my head was at.

I was there to see Destroyer of Light and Godhunter, whose split 12″, Endsville, is out now on Battleground Records. Both are dual-guitar/dual-vocal four-pieces, and both have plenty of aggressive edge, so how they wound up touring and working together isn’t really much of a mystery, but they made a fitting complement at what I’d seen billed as “Salem’s first stoner rock show,” which was interesting since I didn’t think it was a stonerDestroyer of Light (Photo by JJ Koczan) rock show at all. Led to the Grave, even when they grooved beyond their melodeath and thrash influence, did so with a death metal charge, and both Godhunter and Destroyer of Light are meaner than what I usually think of as stoner rock. It’s not like it was “An Evening with Sons of Otis” (though I’d probably go to that as well). Maybe it’s splitting hairs, but Godhunter are sludge metal all the way and Destroyer of Light have some pretty clear Sleep influence, but are up to something entirely rawer.

If you don’t know the band, I’m not trying to slight them when I say they’re not as metal as their name and they’re not as punk as their cover artwork, but they have elements of both metal and punk to go along with their big, big, big riffing. On stage — such as it was — guitarist/vocalist Steve Colca, bassist Jeff Klein and guitarist/backing vocalist Keegan Kjeldsen headbanged in unison to their own grooving largesse while drummerDestroyer of Light (Photo by JJ Koczan) Penny Turner slammed away on his ride cymbal behind, setting the nod. It was righteous from the start, and they offered little breathing room from one pummel to the next, guitar leads cutting through the density of the direct-from-the-cabs wash of sound — P.A. for vocals only, house-show style — as Turner was bathed in green light and the rest of the band more or less played in the dark.

Another unfortunate staple of the Bay State show-going experience, that, but not unexpected, particularly at a place like Koto, which though it’s badass enough to put on a show like this one — their t-shirts were also killer-looking, but I did not dare ask about sizes lest I should incur the judgmental glare of the employees, several of whom I supplied with earplugs — isn’t really equipped to host it on a professional level. Again, nothing against it, but it’s a sushi bar, not Radio City Music HallGodhunter (Photo by JJ Koczan)It seemed likely to me that either Destroyer of Light or Godhunter, who closed out the night, would bust through that P.A., but neither did. On tour together and sharing amps, it wasn’t a long changeover between the two traveling acts, and I was very excited for Godhunter‘s set, which even Steve from Destroyer of Light had teased by touting the assault of volume that was to come.

They didn’t disappoint on that level or any other unless you perhaps count the shortness of their set. Four songs, maybe five? They incited a sort of mini-mosh, dudes who were clearly more metal than doom meeting their cathartic riffing head-on by blowing off steam, yelling, being plastered, and so on. I moved to the side of the stage and just sort of watched it happen, Godhunter‘s guitarists, David Rodgers and Jake Brazelton, trading vocal duties as bassist Dick Williamson and drummer Andy Kratzenberg held the groove together thick and rolling at centerstage. On record, they are vicious, and while the live set had more of an overwhelming density than a harsh bite, the Godhunter (Photo by JJ Koczan)beastliness they conjured was familiar anyway, and I was very glad to have been there to see it.

Standing where I was, I kind of felt like I was observing from outside the action, but being there, it would’ve been impossible not to be affected by it, and so their catharsis offered me a bit of my own, which on a Friday night after a long week, was much appreciated. They finished and I shouted for one more song, which they didn’t have. It was after midnight and I had a 90-minute ride home, so it didn’t seem like an issue to push, but if Godhunter had done an encore, no question I would have stayed.

A couple more pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Destroyer of Light Premiere Lyric Video for “Electric Shadows”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 16th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

destroyer of light

Tapping into grandiose classic doom and wah-drenched psychedelic heavy rock, Austin, Texas, four-piece Destroyer of Light are gearing up to release a new split 2LP with Godhunter that, as of today, is available to preorder through Battleground Records. Titled Endsville and limited to 300 copies available via Battleground and Destroyer of Light‘s Heavy Friends Records imprint, Endsville comprises four sides, two for one band, two for the other, each with original material and one cover track between them. No strangers to the road after having gone coast-to-coast last fall supporting their Bizarre Tales Vol. 2 EP, which was the follow-up to their 2012 self-titled debut (review here), Destroyer of Light will team up with Godhunter for a lengthy run of the East Coast this July/Aug. that includes a stop at the Death to False Metal festival in Connecticut on Aug. 15.

godhunter destroyer of light endsvilleA lot of information in that paragraph, so I’ll sum up — two good bands paired up for a split, preorders now, tour next month. Hopefully that sorts out the basics, which, if you’re going by “Electric Shadows,” which leads off their two-song side C of the Endsville vinyl, obviously aren’t a problem for Destroyer of Light. Guitarist/vocalist Steve Colca, guitarist Keegan Kjeldsen, bassist Jeff Klein and drummer Kelly Turner have their Sabbath worship down pat, but there’s more to the track for those who’d dig in, and over the course of its six minutes, they’re able to smoothly shift between wrenching doom and ’70s-style shuffle, a catchy boogie of a guitar lead taking hold in the second half to steer toward a surprisingly upbeat, if somewhat sudden, finish. The band prove just as ready to jam as doom out, and though they’re playing one side against the other, in the middle third of the track, they seem to find a riffy middle-ground that eases the transition, subtle effects swirls behind plodding riffs before Klein‘s bass announces the arrival at the next stage.

Endsville is out July 28, but “Electric Shadows” is available for those who’d check it out to hear in a new lyric video put together by Erik Bredthauer that I’m happy to be able to premiere today. You’ll find it on the player below, followed by the tracklisting for the split, the tour dates Destroyer of Light will undertake with Godhunter starting on July 29, and much more info, culled from the PR wire.

Hope you enjoy:

Destroyer of Light, “Electric Shadows” lyric video

GODHUNTER vs. DESTROYER OF LIGHT: Endsville Split Double-LP to see release in a gatefold setup on two different colors of vinyl through Battleground Records and Heavy Friends Records on July 28th, 2015.

Double album featuring brand new music from Godhunter and Destroyer of Light, plus a cover song from each band.

Godhunter (Sides A/B) pressed on 180 gram translucent green vinyl, Destroyer of Light (Sides C/D) pressed on 180 gram translucent red vinyl. Both records are housed together in a two pocket, deluxe gatefold package featuring art combining sculpture work by Bestia Dentro and photography by Andrew Weiss. Includes a digital download card for the album. Limited to 300 copies pressed worldwide.

Godhunter
Side A
1. End Time Blues
2. Divided States
3. Dull Knives, Weak Handshakes
Side B
4. Cassandra Complex
5. Anthropophobia
6. The Emptiness That Is Left

Destroyer of Light
Side C
1. Electric Shadows
2. Coffin Hunter
Side D
3. Forever My Queen
4. Valley Of The Dead

GODHUNTER vs. DESTROYER OF LIGHT: Endsville bears twenty minutes of new material and a cover track from each band. Tucson/Vancouver-situated sludge faction, GODHUNTER, captured the tunes for their platter at WaveLab Studios in Tucson by Dana Fehr (North, Juarez), the newest in a steady line of titles since their 2014-released debut LP, City Of Dust, including their GH/OST:S split LP with Secrets Of The Sky and The Outer Dark collaborative 7” with Amigo The Devil. The adjoining slab by Austin-based psychedelic doom outfit, DESTROYER OF LIGHT, follows the band’s 2012-released self-titled debut album and 2014’s Bizarre Tales Vol. II EP, recorded at Orb Recording Studios in Austin, engineered and mixed by Matt Meli. The entire album was then mastered by James Plotkin. The two 12” EPs will be united in a gatefold setup on two different colors of vinyl, in addition to a digital release, the cover artwork to feature custom sculpture art by Bestia Dentro and photography by Andrew Weiss.

Directly in conjunction with the release of Endsville, GODHUNTER and DESTROYER OF LIGHT will collaborate on a major widespread tour together, which will see them both raiding the East Coast US for the first time. While previously only the rough skeletal city itinerary of the trek has been announced, this week nearly every one of the twenty-five venues on the tour has been declared. The tour includes both bands’ participation in the first Death To False Metal Festival in Hamden, Connecticut on August 14th and 15th with Whiplash, Krieg, Secrets Of The Sky, Valkyrie, Imperial Triumphant, Nightbitch, Immortal Bird, Secret Cutter and more.

Godhunter and Destroyer of Light on tour:
7/29: Tucson, AZ – Club Congress
7/30: Tempe, AZ – Yucca Tap Room
7/31: El Paso, TX – The Sandbox
8/1: Albuquerque, NM – The Launchpad
8/2: Denver, CO – Seventh Circle
8/3: Omaha, NB – TBA
8/4: Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock
8/5: Chicago, IL – Livewire
8/6: Kalamazoo, MI – Fat Guy Fest
8/7: Indianapolis, IN – Fifth Quarter
8/8: Louisville, KY – Magnolia Bar
8/9: Raleigh, NC – Pour House
8/10: Charleston, WV – The Empty Glass
8/11: Pittsburgh, PA – Gooski’s
8/12: Buffalo, NY – Mohawk Place
8/13: New York, NY – Saint Vitus
8/14: Salem, MA – KoTo
8/15: New Haven, CT – Death To False Metal Festival
8/16: Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie
8/17: Baltimore, MD – The Depot
8/18: Greenville, SC – Thomas Creek Brewery
8/19: Atlanta, GA – The Basement
8/20: Little Rock, AR – Vino’s
8/21: New Orleans, LA – Saturn Bar
8/22: Austin, TX – Holy Mountain

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Godhunter & Amigo the Devil Premiere Video for “Weeping Willow”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 5th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

godhunter and amigo the devil the outer dark

If you caught wind of Arizona’s Godhunter via either of their 2014 releases — the full-length City of Dust (review here) or the GH/OST:S split with the newly-signed to Metal Blade outfit Secrets of the Sky (review here) — then cheers, but neither of those is going to do much to give you a context for comprehending the new Battleground Records/The Compound 7″ collaboration with Miami’s Amigo the DevilThe Outer Dark, except perhaps to demonstrate that just about anything is fair game when it comes to the Tucson six-piece, be it hardcore-infused sludge chaos or post-metallic droning malevolence.

The Outer Dark, it’s worth noting, toys with neither, and instead, Godhunter & Amigo the Devil offer two slices of downer neofolk, doomed in spirit, of weighted emotionality, but subdued and brooding rather than aggressive. A sense of atmosphere proves consistent with some of what showed up on the prior split, but essentially, Godhunter are working in a new form, as Danny Kiranos, aka Amigo the Devil, steps in on vocals to add Americana-style dramatics togodhunter amigo the devil “Weeping Willow” and the B-side cover of Nirvana‘s “Something in the Way,” which, being of a certain age, I recall hearing after the finish of 1991’s Nevermind, its moody minimalism just waiting to have all kinds of adolescent importance cast onto it as only the best pop can withstand.

Godhunter & Amigo the Devil have given that cut its due, and next to “Weeping Willow,” the context is completely different. The original composition shifts into classic murder balladry, with Kiranos topping Godhunter‘s arrangement in harmonized layers that add to the full-sounding instrumental backing’s pervasive sadness, a violent turn coming in the second half that, even if you’ve heard Godhunter at their most raging, I doubt you’ll find lacking in heaviness.

Ahead of the Feb. 13 release of The Outer Dark, I have the pleasure of hosting today a premiere for the video of “Weeping Willow.” Put together by the esteemed Frank Huang, its dark Western themes sit well alongside Godhunter & Amigo the Devil‘s own, one atmosphere enhancing the other in a morose symbiosis. More release info follows the video below. Enjoy:

Godhunter & Amigo the Devil, “Weeping Willow” official video

Behind the early 2014 release of their debut album, City Of Dust, and the more recent GH/0ST:S split LP with Oakland’s Secrets Of The Sky, Tucson-based GODHUNTER will now release a collaborative 7” single with AMIGO THE DEVIL, entitled The Outer Dark.

With GODHUNTER’s generally crushing sludge/crust-influenced hardcore grooves here supplying a much more ethereal, organic country/folk influence, the two-song single The Outer Dark 7” sees the quintet joined by one Danny Kiranos, also known as AMIGO THE DEVIL, who supplies his charismatic soulful Americana-based murderfolk vocals. “Weeping Willow” is the A-side track from the collaborative 7″, while the B-side features a cover of Nirvana’s “Something In The Way.” The record was recorded in multiple sessions during the Summer of 2014 at Arcane Digital Studios in Chandler, Arizona, and was produced, mixed and mastered by Ryan Butler.

The Outer Dark will see release through a union of GODHUNTER-co-owned Battleground Records and Earsplit’s label, The Compound in February 2015.

The “Weeping Willow” video was created by Frank Huang @ Pit Full Of Shit.

Lyrics, vocals and Theremin solo by AMIGO THE DEVIL. All music and instrumentation by GODHUNTER.

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Singles, EPs, Splits and Demos of 2014

Posted in Features on December 23rd, 2014 by JJ Koczan

top-20-short-releases-of-2014-Samuel-Palmer-1805-1881-Morning-of-Life-1861

Please note: These are not the results of the Readers Poll. That’s still going on. Please feel free to submit your list.

I did this last year mostly as a result of not having somewhere to put Elder‘s Spires Burn/Release EP in 2012, but it went pretty well, so I thought we’d do another round for 2014. The 2013 list covered demos, singles, EPs and splits — basically everything that’s not a full-length album — and the same rules apply here. It’s a pretty basic idea, but it makes sense to me to consider short releases apart from full-lengths because very often they’re trying to accomplish different things.

For example, if an album is trying to tell a story or describe a central theme, either blatantly in its lyrics or atmospherically through the music itself, a demo might just be the work of a band trying to feel their way into their sound. It doesn’t strike me as fair to judge the two on the same standard. Likewise, if a band releases a single, should that really be judged alongside an hour-long release? Granted, some bands’ singles actually are an hour long, but that’s another category entirely. “The ‘Dopesmoker’ Awards” will be handed out at another date.

No, not really. At least not this year.

If you didn’t see the full-albums Top 30 of 2014, please feel free to check it out and think of this and the year-end podcast as companion pieces, albeit both a little more casual. Let’s get to it:

sleepsingle

The Top 20 Short Releases of 2014

1. Sleep, The Clarity
2. Fatso Jetson/Herba Mate, Early Shapes
3. All Them Witches, Effervescent
4. Cortez/Borracho, Split 7″
5. Naam/White Hills/Black Rainbows/The Flying Eyes, 4-Way Split
6. Heavy Temple, Heavy Temple
7. Death Alley, Over Under/Dead Man’s Bones 7”
8. Geezer, Live! Full Tilt Boogie
9. The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues, The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues
10. Demon Head, Demo 2014
11. Gold & Silver, Azurite and Malachite
12. The Proselyte, Our Vessel’s in Need
13. Hull, Legend of the Swamp Goat
14. Lamp of the Universe/Krautzone, Split
15. The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, Through the Dark Matter
16. The Heavy Co., Uno Dose
17. Wren, Wren
18. He Whose Ox is Gored, Rumors 7”
19. Lewis and the Strange Magics, Demo
20. Godhunter/Secrets of the Sky, Gh/0st:s
21. Lord, Alive in Golgotha

Some honorable mentions to the Young Hunter/Ohioan split tape (the Young Hunter portion of which was included last year, otherwise it would probably be number two on this list), Inter Arma‘s The Cavern 40-minute single-song EP/LP, Harvest Bell‘s debut EP, Goya and Wounded Giant‘s split, Fuzz Evil and Chiefs‘ split, Cruthu‘s demo, Disenchanter‘s second EP, the White Dynomite/Hey Zeus split 7″, Humo del Cairo‘s EP, The Golden Grass‘ Realisations EP, Dune‘s ProgenitorGodflesh‘s comeback EP, and Blackwitch Pudding‘s reinterpretations/covers EP, Covered in Pudding.

A couple notes: The Sleep single was a given. I don’t think anything could’ve topped it one way or another, even if I hadn’t listened to it 100 times since its release in July as part of the Adult Swim Singles Series. In any case, there was no debate about where to place it. You might notice on the other end the list goes to 21. I thought that being the element of chaos suited Lord well, and since I’m not entirely sure their Alive in Golgotha EP has been officially released, they warranted inclusion just in case.

One thing that struck me in putting this list together was the amount of splits included. You’ll notice Fatso Jetson and Herba Mate‘s Early Shapes right in behind Sleep. That one was an utter joy, as far as I’m concerned, and made me wish both of them would get on putting out full-lengths as soon as possible. Not far behind is Cortez and Borracho‘s split single, which had killer tracks from both bands, and the Naam/White Hills/Black Rainbows/The Flying Eyes split from Heavy Psych Sounds that, even with four bands involved, managed to keep a flowing atmosphere front to back, which was impressive enough in and of itself, never mind the individual contributions of those four acts, which were also top quality. The Krautzone/Lamp of the Universe split also provided a considerable psych blissout, and Godhunter‘s split/collaboration with Secrets of the Sky earned extra points for its adventurous spirit and the payoff its risk-taking brought to bear.

Like their Lightning at the Door LP, All Them Witches‘ Effervescent 25-minute jam figured heavily in my 2014 listening habits, as did Heavy Temple‘s self-titled debut EP. Dutch garage/heavy punkers Death Alley earned spins with their debut 7″, a lack of pretense in melding proto-thrash and heavy rock impulses allowing them to quickly find a niche that one hopes they continue to develop. Their debut single, along with Demon Head‘s Demo 2014 (and, indeed, that band’s follow-up single) and the Lewis and the Strange Magics demo were an allay to concerns retro-minded rock might be stagnating.

Geezer featured on the Short Releases list last year as well. I wasn’t sure what to do with their Gage 12″, since it was released in 2013 as an EP and 2014 as an LP, but either way, their Live! Full Tilt Boogie tape effortlessly recalled classic blues rock performances and demonstrated the fluid chemistry at work in the New York trio, I hope it’s not the last live release they do. Along similar bluesy lines, The Heavy Co.‘s Uno Dose found the Hoosier three-piece dipping into heavy jams more than their last full-length, and if that’s the direction they’re headed, you won’t hear me argue. Hailing from Sweden and arriving as an offshoot of Asteroid, the single-song EP from The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues had more than a touch of heavy blues to it too, and made me look forward to that project’s development from here on out.

There’s little I’m going to complain about less than hearing Ed Mundell bust out Miles Davis-inspired solos, so yeah, The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic‘s Through the Dark Matter EP gets a nod. Impressive guitar work ran a current through Boston duo Gold & Silver‘s debut EP, Azurite and Malachite, but the proggy feel was what ultimately sold me on the two extended instrumentals included there, whereas with fellow Beantowners The Proselyte, it was the catchy songwriting and variety they showed in just four tracks. The He Whose Ox is Gored 7″ was likewise modern and satisfyingly weighted, though obviously shorter, and last but not at all least, the progressive sludge of Wren‘s self-titled EP seemed to fly under a lot of people’s radar but was a markedly individual take on a well established form that portended of good things to come.

As with everything, I’m sure there’s something in this mix that I forgot. If you’ve got a call you want to make on something, please let loose in the comments. Thanks for reading.

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