Freak Valley 2019 Adds Valley of the Sun, A Place to Bury Strangers, High Fighter and More; Lineup Complete

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

freak valley 2019 final banner

I’ll just go ahead and answer a question no one asked by saying that, yes, I was thinking of Arrested Development when I wrote the opening line of the announcement below with “MONSTER” in all-caps. Like Buster Bluth with his hook raised. But I mean, who could argue, anyway. Looking at the final lineup for Freak Valley 2019, long since sold out, it is indeed beastly. Even the final splurge of additions below, with Valley of the SunTuberOutsideinsideGreat Electric QuestA Place to Bury StrangersLacertilia, High Fighter and John Fairhurst Band shows the festival branching out in terms of style and geography, and there’s really no stopping it. Biggest Freak Valley yet? Yeah, I think maybe it is. They’ve had some righteous lineups in the past, but it’s hard to mess with Corrosion of Conformity playing Deliverance or the kind of reach that pulls in Arc of Ascent from New Zealand. For them and Spaceslug alone, this thing is masterful. If you go, well, good call.

It’s been a pleasure to help the fest in the small way I have by writing these lineup announcements over the last however long. Here’s the final one:

freak valley 2019 final poster

+++ A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS | TUBER | VALLEY OF THE SUN | JOHN FAIRHURST BAND | OUTSIDEINSIDE | GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST | LACERTILIA | HIGH FIGHTER +++

Freaks!

This is it — the last lineup announcement for FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL 2019, and it’s a MONSTER.

In grand finale fashion, we’re doing an absolute blowout to finish out the three-day lineup for this year’s fest, and we’re continuing to add more and diverse acts from across a broad spectrum of heavy so you can, you know, broaden your horizons while you expand your consciousness.

So keep eyes, ears and mind open as we welcome A Place To Bury Strangers, Tuber, Valley of the Sun, John Fairhurst Band, Outsideinside, Great Electric Quest, Lacertilia and High Fighter to Freak Valley 2019!

A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS
Chaos holds a strong sway in the aesthetic of Brooklyn’s A Place to Bury Strangers, but out of that chaos has derived some of today’s most essential post-space experimentalism. With over 15 years of tenure under their belt in one form or another, they’ve remained relentlessly committed to a forward-thinking, deeply affecting approach, and they’ll come to FREAK VALLEY with an intent to own the stage as only they can. We’ll just say it in advance: You’re welcome.

TUBER
The Greek four-piece Tuber made a definitive statement in 2017 with their second album, ‘Out of the Blue.’ It was a record that took Krautrock and heavy vibes and keyboard-based nuance to a new level for the band and the ultra-populated, much-loved Greek scene from which they’ve emerged. Since their 2012 self-titled EP and the follow-up 2013 long-player, ‘Desert Overcrowded,’ they’ve been geared toward doing their own thing, and we can’t wait to bear witness to their doing exactly that.

VALLEY OF THE SUN
Yes! You may or may not know it yet, but Valley of the Sun are about to release one of the best albums of 2019. It’s called ‘Old Gods’ and it’s the perfect occasion to have the Ohio band over to play. As they approach a decade since their first release, they take their melodic, catchy, and heavy desert-style rock to a new level entirely and stand tall like the statesmen they’ve always been ready to be. If you thought you knew them, prepare to be surprised.

JOHN FAIRHURST BAND
Got the blues? Want some? John Fairhurst is nothing short of an electric blues master and a troubadour for our tumultuous times. His latest work — released April 12 — is ‘The Divided Kingdom,’ and for the UK-based guitarist probably not much more needs to be said about the meaning behind the title. His modern perspective brings a much-needed edge to a classic blues style, and no doubt we’ll all be dancing the merry dance when he comes to FREAK VALLEY.

OUTSIDEINSIDE
Born out of the ashes of Carousel, the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based rockers Outsideinside — who are named for THE BEST Blue Cheer record; that’s right, we said it — made their debut with 2017’s ‘Sniff a Hot Rock,’ a shred-laced paradise of ‘70s-style soul boogie. They’ve been quiet since last Fall, but they’ll come roaring back to Europe to join our festivities and we know their warm vibes will turn heads when they hit the stage.

GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST
The seekers of the flame themselves are coming to FREAK VALLEY! The legend of Great Electric Quest has spread far and wide and now we’ll get the real deal right in our faces. The San Diego heavy rockers aren’t shy about their classic metal leanings or anything else, and whether they’re climbing on the amps or waving their banner, literally, their brash, all-out performance will be one you’ll be talking about when the weekend is done. Get ready for true madness.

LACERTILIA
Genre-spanning UK progressive, heavy, psychedelic, space, whatever-you-got rockers Lacertilia have a new album in progress right now. They’re done recording and were mixing last time we checked, so let’s say FREAK VALLEY’s their deadline. Get it done, gentlemen! Whether it’s on-hand or not for the fest, we’ll be glad to see them doing new material after their debut album, ‘We’re Already Inside Your Mind,’ so thoroughly kicked our asses in 2016.

HIGH FIGHTER
Speaking of new albums, High Fighter are in the midst of making their second full-length, taking their metallic sludgecore to new places with a fresh batch of songs to answer the accomplishments of 2016’s ‘Scars and Crosses.’ They’ve been pretty secretive on what the new record sounds like, but we know already they’ll deliver something special, so while we all wait for the release date to be announced, get ready for one of the most aggressive sets you’ll see all year.

www.freakvalley.de
https://www.facebook.com/freakvalley
https://www.facebook.com/events/299339670806919/
https://twitter.com/FreakValley

Great Electric Quest, Chapter II (2018)

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Desertfest London 2019 Adds 29 Bands to Complete Lineup; Madness Ensues

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

What am I even supposed to say here other than ‘yes please?’ As Desertfest London 2019 rounds out its lineup and once again demonstrates its willful growth year after year, I’ll tell you this: there are a lot of bands listed below, and a lot of good bands. And if you’re reading this and you’re in London or you’re fortunate enough that you’re going to be in London for this festival, I know you’re hip to where it’s at. I get that. But seriously, if you don’t know, there re a few really must-see bands here, and it’s not all Amenra headlining. That’s great, and I’m sure it’ll be super-intense and very cool and all that.

But I’m telling you: don’t sleep on seeing High Priestess, BlackWater HolyLight, Worshipper, Salem’s Bend, Skraeckoedlan and Great Electric Quest. Some of those names are kind of buried near the bottom of this announcement, but really, you’d only be doing yourself a favor if you caught them. Let’s put Zed in that category too, and when they’re done, tell them I said hi. You probably already know all this, but I just wanted to highlight the point, since there’s a lot here and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I get that too.

Kudos to the Desertscene team for focusing on what matters — the music — even amid pulling double-duty in putting together the first-ever Desertfest NYC, the lineup for which is still in progress. This fest looks amazing and I wish I could say I was going. Quite simply, it’s been too long.

Here’s the announcement:

desertfest london 2019 final announcement

Amenra to headline Saturday at DESERTFEST LONDON 2019 + day tickets and 28 more bands announced!

Showcasing the best of what the underground has to offer is at the core of DESERTFEST LONDON and this year’s line-up is the most eclectic, yet satisfying to date by ticking those “wish-list old school desert rock” boxes with Fu Manchu and Witch at The Roundhouse, whilst pushing the boundaries of heavy with the likes of HHY & The Macumbas and Grave Miasma. Year after year it’s about offering up a diverse bill that allows for discovery, whilst celebrating the musical foundations of the festival, and the final Saturday headliner and remaining 28 acts do just that.

DESERTFEST LONDON /// 3-5th May, 2019 in London
Weekend and day tickets on sale at this location

Desertfest are honoured to reveal that the incomparable AMENRA will celebrate their 20-year anniversary across the London weekend this May, bringing their uniquely atmospheric sound as headliners of Saturday’s mainstage and, for the first time in the UK, an even more intimate side of the band takes place at The Underworld on Sunday with solo performances from CHVE & SYNDROME. We would be proud to have Amenra headline Desertfest on any year, but to have them on the year they celebrate their 20th anniversary makes it all the more special for us and also the band themselves.

Desertfest are also pleased to announce a stage takeover from the mighty Riding Easy Records, the righteous west coast label will not only bring the sun (we hope) but a hefty dose of fuzzed out riffs from their roster. Headlined by rock’n’rollers ELECTRIC CITIZEN who refuse to be pigeonholed with a 70s proto-metal sound that chimes into psychedelic realms. Street-doom killers R.I.P will hit the UK for the first time and vocalist Fuzz is ready to bring it hard and loud. Completing the stage showcase are 80s punk heavy metal hybrids ZIG ZAGS, hazy Swedish doom newcomers ALASTOR and the low and slow psych goth-rock sounds of BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT.

If that wasn’t enough Desertfest also adds thunderous space-rock psychedelic masters MONKEY3 to upcoming proceedings, the unforgiving primitive metal sounds of THE SECRET and LA party starters THE SHRINE, who haven’t graced DF with their amped up stoner-skate vibes for well over 5 years.

We also welcome back our long-time partners Human Disease Promo/When Planets Collide for another takeover of The Underworld on Saturday. Topping the bill, the riff muscle of Savannah, Georgia is brought back to The Underworld by the mighty bruisers BLACK TUSK. Dropping in straight underneath we’re living the doom dream of olde with Chicago legends in THE SKULL. Glasgow gives us two offerings this year in the form of explosive riff n roll filth-party heads ACID CANNIBALS, and to lower the tone whilst severely twisting some melons we also welcome their fellow city dwellers HEADLESS KROSS. As ever we chose to open up with a cataclysmic attack, hence why we’ve invited Brighton’s bleak hardcore oblivionists KALLOUSED to set the day into fittingly venomous motion. Bring your ear plugs, it’s gonna be a floor shaker!

And finally, Desertfest round off with the brilliant SKRAECKOEDLAN, BLANKET, SALEMS BEND, SURYA, HIGH PRIESTESS, ZED, KUROKUMA, GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST, PSYCHLONA, VIDEO NASTIES, ONE FOR SORROW, WORSHIPPER, MOUNTAIN CALLER & 1968 all added to the monumental 2019 line-up.

DESERTFEST LONDON /// 3-5th May, 2019 in London
All tickets on sale at this location

http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/
https://twitter.com/DesertFest

BlackWater HolyLight, BlackWater HolyLight (2018)

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Desertfest London 2019 Confirms Om, Wovenhand, Stoned Jesus, Great Electric Quest, Elephant Tree, Messa, High Fighter and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

desertfest london 2019 square poster

A monstrous announcement from Desertfest London 2019 finds the festival, as it has over the last several years, with a far reach in geography and style alike. Acts like Great Electric Quest, High Reeper, Salem’s Bend, The Devil and the Almighty Blues, High Fighter, and Messa represent a flood of up and coming underground heavy from the US and Europe — I’d count hometown heroes Elephant Tree and Greece’s Naxatras at the forefront of that surge — while Om, Wovenhand, Mondo Generator, Stoned Jesus, Sabbath AssemblyJaye JayleHHY and the Macumbas and Wiegedood are of course no minor shakes in terms of draw or aesthetic swath.

Desertfest‘s first announcement, which came through in September with Earthless, All Them Witches, Kadavar and Colour Haze, among others, was enticing enough. This one does nothing but make one want to book travel and lodging.

The PR wire has the details:

desertfest london 2019 old empire stage

Drone doom pioneers OM confirmed as first headliner + 15 more acts added to the DESERTFEST LONDON 2019 lineup!

After warming you up with our first announcement in September, it’s time to break out the big guns. Today we’re adding 16 killer bands to Desertfest, including the lineup for 2019’s Old Empire stage, which, after years of bringing some of the heaviest sounds all weekend, will this year takeover as our Friday main stage. We couldn’t be happier with their first pick, Desertfest 2019’s opening headliners, the incomparable, spiritual force of stoner drone that is Om.

Formed in 2003 as one great band drifted off for a decade, Om – then consisting of the two-part assault of Sleep’s Al Cisneros and Chris Hakius – brought with them an extension of the hypnotic heavy first hinted at on Sleep’s Jerusalem/Dopesmoker. Achieving more with just vocals, bass and drums than most can dream of with a packed out stage, the opening one-two punch of Variations on a Theme and Conference of the Birds serves as a revelation to many; stripped-back power that cleans the cobwebs from your brain with reverberating blasts of droned-down stoner-doom.

By 2007’s Pilgrimage – the last full-length to feature Hakius on drums – Om had begun to lean more and more heavily into spiritual themes and Eastern tones, bringing about a new definition of what exactly heavy is; because let’s be clear, Om are heaviness incarnate, just not in the traditional sense. Through God is Good and their latest LP, Advaitic Songs – their first as a trio and surely one of the finest put to record this decade – Om continued down a path of hazed out perfection. It’s a testament to the importance of the band that, even as Sleep woke up, Om persist, ready to send you into a trance at the pluck of a bass. Be sure to catch Om when they headline the Old Empire stage – and Desertfest at large – on Friday 3rd May.

Joining them on the Old Empire stage, and continuing Old Empire’s tradition of showcasing heaviness from unexpected places, are Wovenhand. Labelled many things over the near two decades they’ve been kicking around, from alternative country, to neofolk, to Southern-gothic, Wovenhand are simply low and slow, oozing with an atmosphere of gloom. Music torn from the heart and soul of David Eugene Edwards (ex-16 Horsepower), Wovenhand are a deeply personal experience that you won’t want to miss.

But that’s not all for the Old Empire stage, who offer up three more treats for Desertfest 2019; firstly, a slice of black metal in the shape of Wiegedood, whose Die doden hebben het goed trilogy serves as a granite slab of brutality. Featuring members of post-black metal heroes Oathbreaker, as well as being part of the illustrious Church of Ra collective – a handful of acts tethered by a DIY ethic – Wiegedood will bring heaviness as we traditionally know it to the stage.

The jazz-inspired, ominous soundscapes of HHY & the Macumbas bring an exploration of the apocalypse to proceedings. Showcasing why they’re one of the most inimitable acts in the Portuguese, or perhaps even European underground scene, HHY are ordered chaos, wielding a twin attack of percussion and horns, tied together with a thin spine of drone.

Rounding off this year’s Old Empire stage come the desolate, minimalist sonic mantras of Louisville’s Jaye Jayle. Revelling in the simplicity of a “Less is more” philosophy, Jaye Jayle build tension with their barely crawling musical progressions and stitch it all together with the gruff, semi-spoken vocals of Evan Patterson.

Yet again, the Old Empire stage looks set to be one of the most exciting places to be over the whole of the Desertfest weekend, bringing both the darkness and the light; but that’s not all to expect over the May Bank Holiday weekend in Camden.

Elsewhere over the weekend, we’re excited to be welcoming Ukraine’s Stoned Jesus to Desertfest London. The stoner blues trio, who released their 4th full-length Pilgrims in September, possess a tone all of their own. Offering up one of the scene’s most beloved albums in 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar, Stoned Jesus remain a treat to catch live; as do punk infused stoner rockers Mondo Generator. Headed up by legend of the underground, Nick Oliveri, Mondo Generator are, like any of Oliveri’s myriad projects, an undeniably raucous experience live.

Next up, a double bill of some of Europe’s finest heavy psych; Part of the modern Greek wave of stoner and psych, without ever disappearing into the crowd, Naxatras are unashamed worshippers of the 70s riff. That said, they bring plenty of their own flavour to the mix. Whilst Oslo’s The Devil and the Almighty Blues live up to their name, bringing a devilishly groovy stomp and infusing it with their almost nonchalant, relaxed tones, fast becoming one of the most exciting bands in all of heavy psych.

There’s doom aplenty as ever at Desertfest, with all angles covered; the occult is worshipped with Sabbath Assembly and Messa’s take on the science of slow, whilst Elephant Tree will continue to show why they’re one of the UK’s finest acts with their uncompromising push outwards to the outer limits of doom.

A double dose of 70’s worship comes in the form of the strutting duo of Great Electric Quest and Salem’s Bend, with today’s announcement rounded off by two chances to get high; High Fighter are set to surround us with a densely packed smog of doom and High Reeper filtering the riffs of classic heavy metal through the So-Cal skater scene.

With dozens more bands still to be announced, including our Saturday and Sunday headliners, Desertfest 2019 is shaping up to be another hit of the best stoner, doom, sludge and psych on the planet. Don’t miss the annual celebration of the underground in Camden next May Bank Holiday weekend. Book your tickets today.

http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/
https://twitter.com/DesertFest

Wovenhand, Live at Fire in the Mountains, Jackson, WY, June 30, 2018

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Great Electric Quest Announce “Red White ‘n’ Brew” Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

great electric quest

Next month, San Diego NWOBHM-infused heavy rockers Great Alcoholic Electric Quest will make appearances in Indianapolis at Doomed and Stoned Fest and in Arlington, TX, at the Obelisk-presented Heavy Mash 2018 (info here). That’s on Oct. 6 and Oct. 13, respectively, and if you’re thinking why not make a tour of it, clearly the band had the same idea. They’ll kickoff what’s been dubbed the ‘Red White ‘n’ Brew’ tour — because beer — on Sept. 27 in Las Vegas and make their way around the southern US and Midwest en route to closing out in Tempe, Arizona, on Oct. 15.

It’s not their first run in support of this year’s Chapter II: Of Earth (review here), as they were on the road before it came out on Totem Cat Records, but it is reportedly the first tour they’ll actually have copies at their merch table, so maybe you go, maybe you buy a record. Everybody has a drink and a good time and uses a fancy app to get a ride home. Joy abounds.

The band sent over the following announcement and the poster as follows:

great electric quest red white n brew tour final poster

Currently, science has determined, without flaw, the most impressive spectacle in our solar system is the live performance of GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST. Four bangers from California who are a full on cyclone of rock n roll destruction. It’s an all out slugfest between man and heavy metal. A display of showmanship that will captivate the eye an ignite the senses, but the invitation is not open forever. Mortal bros were not constructed to rage so hard.

Terrestrial livers were not designed to filter such god-like rations of alcohol. When GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST storms into town on their 2018 RED WHITE & BREW TOUR, it might be for the last fucking time ever! Eventually these dudes are just gonna drop dead on stage from excessive shredding! They will collapse like a black hole under the intense pressure from their own riffage! In the aftermath, the American flag will blow vigilantly in the winds of chaos and baby bald eagles will descend from the heavens to drink stale beer as they feast on the carcasses of our fallen heroes. The slate will be wiped clean and the cycle will start again. Shit is about to go down.

Watching videos on Youtube won’t cut it. Catch GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST.

GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST – Red White ‘n’ Brew tour:
09/27 Las Vegas NV The Bunkhouse Saloon
09/28 El Paso TX Joey’s Bad Company Bar
09/29 San Angelo TX The Deadhorse
09/30 Corpus Christi TX Black Monk Tavern
10/01 Houston TX Spruce Goose: Social Flyers Club
10/02 Lafayette LA The Freetown Boom Boom Room
10/03 Birmingham AL The Nick
10/04 Memphis TN Growler’s
10/05 Louisville KY Mag Bar
10/06 Indianapolis IN Indiana City Brewing Co. *Doomed and Stoned Fest*
10/07 Kansas City MO The Riot Room
10/08 Witchita KS The Elbow Room
10/09 Oklahoma City OK Blue Note
10/11 San Antonio TX The Mix
10/12 Austin TX The Lost Well
10/13 Arlington TX Division Brewery *Heavy Mash Fest*
10/15 Tempe AZ Yucca Tap Room

Words by: Brian Hasley (Riff Relevant)

GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST is
Tyler “T-Sweat” Dingvell – Vocals
Buddy Donner – Guitar
Daniel “MuchoDrums” Velasco – Drums
Jared Bliss – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/electricquest/
https://electricquest.bandcamp.com/
http://greatelectricquest.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/totemcatrecords/
totemcatrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://totemcatrecords.bandcamp.com/

Great Electric Quest, Red White ‘n’ Brew tour promo

Great Electric Quest, Chapter II (2018)

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Great Electric Quest, Chapter II: Of Earth: Molten Rock

Posted in Reviews on July 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Great Electric Quest Chapter II of Earth

Should you happen to be the banner-raising type, you’ll want to get your hoisting arm ready for Great Electric Quest‘s second album. Dubbed Chapter II: Of Earth and released as their first offering in alliance with Totem Cat Records, the seven-track/36-minute long-player follows on the heels of 2016’s well-regarded Chapter I (discussed here) and a 2017 split single with Lords of Beacon House (review here) on Glory or Death Records, and presents a clear-headed vision of classic metal as filtered through a modern West Coast approach to ’70s heavy rock. With production and mixing by Duel guitarist Jeff Henson, engineering by Dan Frick, and mastering by Mos Generator‘s Tony Reed, the San Diego-based four-piece continue to avoid the boogie-rock mindset of which their hometown seems to be the epicenter, and instead distinguish themselves through a harder thrust throughout songs like opener “Seeker of the Flame” and “Anubis” and “Wicked Hands,” ultimately having more in common with Ozzy or Dio solo records than Black Sabbath itself — and more with Judas Priest than any of them — however much groove might lie beneath.

Plenty does, incidentally. With drummer Daniel “MuchoDrums” Velasco making his debut with the band and bassist Jared Bliss — who lives up to his surname with the low-end performance on the bouncing penultimate rocker “The Madness” — underscoring the riffs of guitarist Buddy Donner and the prone-to-soaring vocals of Tyler “T-Sweat” DingvellChapter II: Of Earth is thick not just in its vibe, but in tone as well. And while it’s not necessarily surprising that the guitar would be leading the charge throughout much of the material, Donner acquits himself well both in the head-spinning shred, nodding verses and later gallop of “Wicked Hands” and in giving room to the accompanying Hammond organ on relatively patient closer “Heart of the Sun,” one of several moments where Great Electric Quest seems to be driving toward and reaching 1983’s headbanger ideal of “epic,” as evidenced by a continued focus on songwriting rather than the jammy exploration that, again, so typifies San Diego’s heavy underground at this point.

If Chapter II: Of Earth has anything in common with the output of Great Electric Quest‘s Sun Dog compatriots, it’s a party atmosphere. Their edge might be inherently more aggressive because of the metallic elements at play, but there’s still a good chance these dudes skate. In Donner‘s tone, in the smoothness of rhythm from Velasco and Bliss, and in Dingvell‘s gotta-hear-it Halfordian throat scorch early in “Anubis,” there’s still the sense that Great Electric Quest stand ready at a moment’s notice to throw down an inhuman(e) amount of hooch, smoke whatever’s handy and have a good time doing it. Then, you know, get up on stage and crush as they will. It doesn’t mean they don’t take what they’re doing seriously — they’ve put in enough time on the road since Chapter I that it’s clear their intentions are to melt brains with songcraft as much as any other method — just that in listening to Chapter II: Of Earth, its spirit isn’t at all staid as one finds with some traditional heavy metal.

Great Electric Quest

Put it this way: if riffs are beer, then Great Electric Quest is the craft movement. They’re not the ones sticking to the 500-year-old established tenets of purity. They’re the ones turning those rules on their head, getting a colorful-ass label — in this case, a righteous Adam Burke cover painting — and punching you in the face with hops. And the loosening of stylistic reins can be heard not just in the blurring of lines between rock and metal on “Seeker of the Flame” at the album’s outset — more Priest there — or in “Heart of the Sun” on the opposite end, but perhaps most especially in the two-part “Of Earth” saga itself, which, broken into the six-minute “Of Earth I” and the subsequent, eight-minute “Of Earth II,” presents more of a narrative and conceptual structure that not only carries through the stylistic meld and allows Velasco a snare-centered solo beginning in the first half of the first part, but brims with end-of-the-set vitality in a way that adds a sense of adventure to the record as its second and third tracks respectively.

To wit, “Of Earth I” picks up from that drum solo after hitting the four-minute mark and is led by the guitar to a Manowar-style over-the-top rock finish followed by a highlight solo from Donner that provides the transition into the more mid-paced intro to “Of Earth II.” Live, this must seem like a tour de force, and on the album, the impression isn’t all that different. The central tempo that emerges from “Of Earth II” is faster and its descending vocal melody a bit more severe, but the metallic fist-pumping is prevalent until just before six minutes in, when they turn to a quieter groove, layers of guitar working over the solid bass and drum progression as Dingvell holds over the energy in his delivery from earlier in the track, locking step with the guitar as the track enters its final measures with a last-second hook before a cymbal wash closes out, to be followed by “Anubis” — presumably on vinyl, this is where the side split happens — as though nothing ever happened. I won’t call it progressive because of the potential for misunderstanding where Great Electric Quest are coming from aesthetically, but the Chapter II: Of Earth two-parter title-cut is remarkably thoughtful in its execution.

Following, the one-two-three punch of “Anubis,” “Wicked Hands” and “The Madness” passes quickly, despite the variety of style between them, and warrants multiple listens as a section of its own before giving way to “Heart of the Sun,” which speaks to a similar mindset as “Of Earth I” and “Of Earth II” despite being on its own wavelength in terms of mood. From “Seeker of the Flame” onward, one of Great Electric Quest‘s greatest strengths is the front-to-back flow of Chapter II: Of Earth, which is something that their toying with different structures throughout helps immensely, but much like the care put into the mix in terms of giving the guitar, bass and drums standout moments while tasking Dingvell with establishing himself as a true classic metal frontman — he does — likewise attention seems to have been paid to each level of the presentation, from tones to the ordering of the tracklisting. Coupled with the deceptive nuance of the sound itself, all of these elements come together to make Chapter II: Of Earth both a satisfying listen and an important, willful step forward for Great Electric Quest. It’s growth they’ve actively made happen through touring and tightening their approach, and if this is the sound of that work paying off, then by all means, raise the banners high.

Great Electric Quest on Thee Facebooks

Great Electric Quest on Bandcamp

Great Electric Quest webstore

Totem Cat Records on Thee Facebooks

Totem Cat Records webstore

Totem Cat Records on Bandcamp

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The Obelisk Presents: Heavy Mash 2018, Oct. 13 in Arlington, TX

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on June 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

heavy mash 2018 poster

After being fortunate enough to have been asked last year, there was no way I wasn’t going to be up for having The Obelisk on board to present Heavy Mash 2018. The second edition of the Arlington, Texas-based festival will take place on Oct. 13 and feature a full day and a full lineup of all-killer heavy rock, doom, psych and whatnot, with Austin-dwellers Duel as the headliners on the heels of their 2017 sophomore album, Witchbanger (review here). In fact, when fest organizer Mark Kitchens — also of Stone Machine Electric — brought up the issue recently, my only question was whether the awesome frog from last year’s poster would make a return. To the benefit of all humanity, you can see clearly above that it has.

Duel sit atop the lineup with Californian imports Great Electric Quest and Dallas’ Mountain of Smoke, whose second album, Gods of Biomechanics, will be out July 7 and is an absolute crusher. As it turns out, Great Electric Quest are the only non-Texas band on the bill, as amid the roster of DoomstressStone Machine ElectricSwitchblade JesusOrthodox FuzzGypsy Sun RevivalWitchcryer and Dead Hawke, there isn’t one group that doesn’t call the Lone Star State home. I guess that’s what happens when the place you’re from is awash in creativity and, uh, huge. Just ask California.

The geographic theme at play only makes Heavy Mash 2018 more special, since Texas’ heavy underground is nothing if not worth highlighting, and no doubt at least some of the acts will have shared stages in the past, making it all the more of a party at Division Brewing, which once again will host the event and seems to just be asking for trouble in so doing. So much riffs. So much beer. I hope they have a good mop for afterward.

Get your ass to Texas:

The Obelisk Presents: Heavy Mash 2018

Oct 13 at 1 PM

Division Brewing
506 E Main St, Arlington, Texas 76010

After last year’s successful event, we are pleased to announce this year’s Heavy Mash! Once again, our great friend Wade hosts this event at Division Brewing in Arlington, TX on October 13th, 2018.

Nothing but heavy music and great beer! Here is this year’s line-up:

DUEL – 11pm
Great Electric Quest – 10pm
Mountain of Smoke – 9pm
Doomstress – 8pm
Stone Machine Electric – 7pm
Switchblade Jesus – 6pm
Orthodox Fuzz – 5pm
Witchcryer – 4pm
Gypsy Sun Revival – 3pm
DEAD HAWKE – 2pm

Duel, Witchbanger (2017)

Heavy Mash 2018 event page

Heavy Mash on Thee Facebooks

Division Brewing website

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Great Electric Quest Set July 6 Release for Chapter II; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

great electric quest

In discussion for over a year and preceded by the band’s first full US tour and their signing to Totem Cat RecordsGreat Electric Quest‘s Chapter II will be released on July 6. To herald its arrival, the San Diego four-piece are streaming the song “Seeker of the Flame” now, and it’s got all the classic metal vibes one could ask for coming off of the band’s 2016 debut album, Chapter I (discussed here), as they continue to eschew their hometown’s penchant for heavy psych jams and instead raise horns high in a salute to timeless riffing and an aggressive spirit. Dudes have put in some real time on tour, and it seems like it’s about to bring them to a new level of notoriety and direction.

They kill it, in other words. Record’s good. Keep an eye out:

Great Electric Quest Chapter II

GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST: new LP “Chapter II” out July 6th on Totem Cat Records

San Diego’s shredding heroes GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST return with their aptly-titled second LP “Chapter II”, a hook-laden heavy metal odyssey out July 6th on Totem Cat Records!

Sonic storytellers GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST are true merchants of Rock and Roll and Heavy Metal taking listeners on a journey into an ever expanding world of captivating characters and allegories…

“Chapter II”, the long anticipated 2nd LP coming from GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST bring their journey to flat out gargantuan proportions. Barn burners like “Seeker of the Flame”, “Anubis” and “Wicked Hands” set fire to the torch that illuminates the Epic title track “Of Earth”; a 15 minute saga full of “Creation, “Destruction”, and the resolution of “Ancient Machine”. The penultimate track “The Madness” is a gritty ode to classic riff rock and the closing track “Heart of the Son”, simply unites.

Riffage, solos, rhythms, and lyrics along with the production of Jeff Henson (Duel) and Tony Reed (Mos Generator) combine to bring a bigness and fullness of color that elevates this album into upper echelons. Adam Burke’s cover art is a mind blowing combination of bad ass and fun as the four members are represented in an almost superhero like fashion protecting planet Earth with their Rock and Roll as they ride over her. “Chapter II” is here and so is GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST, delivering the whole package with an album that should resonate for years to come.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Seeker Of The Flame
2. Of Earth I
3. Of Earth II
4. Anubis
5. Wicked Hands
6. The Madness
7. Heart Of The Son

GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST is
Tyler “T-Sweat” Dingvell – Vocals
Buddy Donner – Guitar
Daniel “MuchoDrums” Velasco – Drums
Jared Bliss – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/electricquest/
https://electricquest.bandcamp.com/
http://greatelectricquest.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/totemcatrecords/
totemcatrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://totemcatrecords.bandcamp.com/

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420 Music & Arts Festival 2018: Sasquatch, Brant Bjork, Great Electric Quest, La Chinga, Dopethrone and More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

My understanding there’s a whole lot more that goes on at Calgary’s 420 Music and Arts Festival than just bands playing, but golly, there sure are a lot of bands playing. I just hope someone keeps a running tally of what’s on the playlist for Brant Bjork‘s DJ set, because you know that dude is going to both out-funk and out-punk the entire room and I’d pretty much take each track as a recommendation for an album I needed to check out. Oh yeah, DopethroneSasquatchLa ChingaMendozza, and about 20-odd other bands playing are pretty cool too. Not taking anything away from that. Just saying someone needs to write that shit down for me.

The PR wire has all the info:

420 music and arts festival

CALGARY’S 420 MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2018 LINE-UP W/ DOPETHRONE, BRANT BJORK, SASQUATCH, LA CHINGA – TICKETS ON SALE NOW!

Official Festival Poster Artwork by Mike Calhoun / Sketchy Intuitions, Austin, TX

Calgary, AB’s 420 Music & Arts Festival presented by METALHEADS UNITED announces their 2018 line-up for April 19th, 20th, and 21st featuring headliners Dopethrone, Brant Bjork (Kyuss, Vista Chino) (special guest DJ set on 420), Sasquatch and La Chinga along with over 20 other acts ranging from stoner rock/stoner metal, doom, psychedelic and heavy blues.

420 Music & Arts Festival 2018 Line-Up

Thursday April 19

Sasquatch (Los Angeles, CA)
Great Electric Quest (San Diego, CA)
Electric Owl (Calgary, AB)
Gin Lahey (members of Chron Goblin and Witchstone) (Calgary, AB)
RAW (Calgary, AB)
Set and Stoned (Calgary, AB)
Solid Brown (Calgary, AB)

Friday April 20

Brant Bjork (Palm Desert, CA) (DJ sets between bands, spinning rare vinyl and closing the festival night)
La Chinga (Vancouver, BC)
Buffalo Bud Buster (Calgary, AB)
Mendozza (Vancouver, BC)
Bazaraba (Calgary, AB)
Chronobot (Sask)
Black Hell Oil (Saskatoon, SK)
The Mothercraft (Edmonton, AB)

Saturday April 21

Dopethrone (Montreal, QC)
Buzzard (Victoria, BC)
Orbital Express (Regina. SK)
The Electric Revival (Calgary, AB)
Chunkasaurus (Nanaimo, BC)
Heron (Vancouver, BC)
Ogimaa (Winnipeg, MB)
Haaze (Calgary, AB)
Pelican Death Squad (Calgary, AB)

Ticket Info:

Advance festival 3 day passes are now available for $69 CAD (plus applicable service charges) until April 1st then will increase to regular price of $89 (plus applicable service charges).

Limited quantities of individual day tickets will be available beginning March 1st.

Festival passes available online only at the festival store at the following link: http://www.420musicandartsfestival.ca/store-2/

Festival passes give fans entry to Distortion on April 19, 20 and 21 and additional 420 Music and Arts Festival Events to be announced at a later date.

Passes are not transferable between attendees during the event. Passes will be exchanged for wrist bands, which must be worn for entrance to the events.

All passes purchased online will be available for pick up at venue or shipped to choice of mailing address. Physical passes will be mailed out in early February. Any passes purchased for shipping by February 15th, are scheduled to arrive by March 1st. If you do not receive your passes by the listed date, please contact the festival at http://www.420musicandartsfestival.ca/contact/. A shipping confirmation will be sent when passes are mailed.

All ticket sales are final. No refunds will be issued unless full festival cancellation. 420 Music & Arts Festival reserve the right to change the line up as required due to band scheduling and / or other circumstances beyond their control.

http://www.420musicandartsfestival.ca
http://www.facebook.com/420MusicAndArtsFestival
http://twitter.com/420FestivalYYC

Dopethrone, 1312 (2016)

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