Dunsmuir: New Band Announced with Members of Fu Manchu, Clutch and Black Sabbath

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 18th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

As of right now, there isn’t much more to go on when it comes to Dunsmuir than a logo and a lineup, but it’s a considerable lineup to start with. Frontman Neil Fallon of Clutch brings a loyal following with him wherever he goes, and in Dunsmuir he’s joined by The Company Band guitarist Dave Bone, Fu Manchu bassist Brad Davis and Heaven and Hell/Black Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice. The band takes its name from the sleepy fishing getaway town in Northern California that, in 1991, was the site of the largest chemical spill ever to happen in the state — a train fell off a cliff into a river carrying toxic, ecosystem-destroying this-and-that — and while there’s no word yet as regards what they’ll actually sound like, for the rhythm section pairing of Davis and Appice alone, the safest bet seems to be that it’ll rock.

For those reading between the lines of the above, the roots of Dunsmuir would seem to be in The Company Band. Dave Bone played guitar in that band and was principal songwriter, but Fallon and Davis were also members along with CKY‘s Jess Margera and Jim Rota of Fireball Ministry. That group’s last outing was the 2012 Pros and Cons EP (review here), which followed behind their 2009 self-titled debut full-length (review here) and 2008’s debut EP, Sign Here, Here and Here. If Dunsmuir is a continuation on some level of what The Company Band were doing, perhaps without the underlying corporate thematic that the last EP seemed to push away from anyhow, then I doubt they’d meet with many complaints, but it’s really all speculation at this point until some audio begins to surface.

As to that, there’s nothing yet at least that I’ve been able to find. When and if something comes along, I’ll let you know, but here’s that logo and lineup in the meantime, as posted by Davis, along with website/social links in case you’d also like to keep an eye:

dunsmuir logo


Brad Davis (Fu Manchu)
Vinny Appice (Dio / Black Sabbath / Heaven & Hell)
Dave Bone (The Company Band)
Neil Fallon (Clutch)

The Company Band, “El Dorado”

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Friday Full-Length: Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 4th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell (1980)

I just wanted to end this week with an album I love. On a high note, maybe, but even more than that, just something that I can’t see being the person I am without. So here we go, Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell. It’s not a record I can claim to be Johnny Groundfloor on — it came out a year before I was born — but it has touched me profoundly over the years and I’ve gone back to it over time the way you do to things when they become a part of who you are. It’s been a while since last I made my way through, and I’ve missed it. Fucking “Children of the Sea.”

Yeah, you can go ahead and argue in favor of Ozzy-fronted Sabbath. I don’t even necessarily disagree. The way I see it, Master of Reality is just about the best heavy album ever made. It’s apples and oranges — or for a comparison of two even more disparate things — Ozzy and Dio. I’m glad both exist, I’m glad Geezer Butler played in both and I’m happy to leave it at that.

What a week. If I was drinking, I’d already be drunk. I was out this afternoon to meet with a guy from the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center to explore funding options for buying a bar. It went like this: “Uh, I see here you’re poor. There’s no funding for poor people.” I’m not out yet, though that was a fun hit to take. Then I went to the grocery store and had — not one, but two! — debit cards declined. I was doing a pretty good job on the maintaining thing, keeping my head together, but then it was time to break out Heaven and Hell, which is right up there in my book with watching Futurama in the dark.

Normally — though using such a word feels like a perversion of the concept — I’d probably follow up the one (Heaven and Hell) with the other (Futurama in the dark), but instead of sitting on my ass and wallowing in the waste of space and precious oxygen I’ve let myself become, I’m going out tonight. Gonna go catch Cortez and Pants Exploder at Radio in Somerville, then tomorrow there’s an early show for Esoteric and I might just hit that too, because fuck it, music’s still good.

There was a lot this week I didn’t get to post. In addition to reviews for one or both of the shows above, look for reviews to come of The Freeks and Mos Generator, an interview one way or another with Dave Wyndorf of Monster Magnet and some new audio from Supervoid. So there’s a lot as ever. I’ve got some work-type work to finish up, so I’m going to get through that while Heaven and Hell rounds out and then have a bite to eat before I head to Radio for that show. If you’re going, I hope I’ll see you there.

And even if not, I hope you have a great and safe weekend. If you get the chance, please hit up the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Ronnie James Dio, 1942-2010

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 16th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

There were rumors floating around some last night, but Wendy Dio has now confirmed via Blabbermouth that her husband, LEGENDARY metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio has died of the stomach cancer he’d been battling since winter. As a longtime fan of Dio‘s work, I on behalf of this dinkly little website The Obelisk send condolences to Wendy and others who knew Ronnie in either a personal or professional capacity.

I don’t know what to think and I’d feel dirty editorializing. He was my hero. We knew he was sick and we could extrapolate if we wanted to that it wasn’t going well when Heaven and Hell canceled their touring plans. I didn’t want to extrapolate. I wanted to think he’d beat cancer like it was a giant rubber dragon in 1983 and be back putting out Magica II and III in no time.

Mourning later. Music now.

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Yes, I Did Just Get off the Phone with Tony Iommi…

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Whathaveyou on August 6th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

…because I am awesome. How was your afternoon? And was I the only one who didn’t realize Neurosis is opening for Heaven and Hell in Seattle on Saturday? That’s the kind of show that’ll let you call your grandkids wusses. “In my day, Scott Kelly and Geezer Butler got on the same stage and killed everyone in the place!”

Since now I can’t concentrate, here’s a relatively recent video of Mr. Iommi‘s glory:

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TFFH09 #4: Heaven and Hell, The Devil You Know

Posted in Features, Whathaveyou on June 17th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

They look pretty solemn. I guess they're disappointed at being number four. Geezer says, "I can't believe I dyed my hair for this!"Number four is kind of a no-brainer, and I’m honestly surprised you didn’t see it coming. The Devil You Know is the first studio release with the lineup of Ronnie James Dio (after whom the couch-dwelling little dog Dio is named), Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice since Black Sabbath‘s 1992 album, Dehumanizer. Of course, today’s Heaven and Hell band is a different animal than the Sabbath roster that birthed the album of the same name in 1980, but The Devil You Know shows there’s still creative life in them yet. If nothing else, there’s “Eating the Cannibals.” That shit rules.

Hail this guy.Fueled by the power of Tony Iommi‘s moustache, The Devil You Know achieves everything a Heaven and Hell studio album should; songs ranging from fast rockers in the tradition of “Neon Knights” to creepy doom numbers like “Bible Black” or the excruciating closer “Breaking into Heaven.” Yeah, we all know it’s ProTooled to death, but as far as corporate metal goes, this is still the best you’re going to get.

In the spirit of sharing, here’s “Bible Black.” Any interested parties can also find about 7,000 live versions on YouTube. This one’s right off the album.

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Heaven and Hell: Knowing the Devil

Posted in Reviews on March 24th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

It's like Pan's Labyrinth meets Legend! Bad ass!Let’s get this out of the way first: anyone who goes into this record expecting the team of Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Vinny Appice and Ronnie James Dio to come out with a new Heaven and Hell or Mob Rules is out Objects in image may not be to proper scale. (Photo by Chapman Baehler)of their minds. 1980 was 29 years ago. It’s like asking Al Pacino to be Michael Corleone from the first Godfather movie again, or doing a sequel to Dr. Strangelove. The first two albums Black Sabbath released with Dio on vocals captured a special moment in time, one that couldn’t even be revisited on 1992’s reunion album, Dehumanizer. To think they’d pull it off 17 years after that is just ridiculous. They’re simply not those people anymore.

To their credit, they know it, and rather than try to recreate something from their past as Black Sabbath, the band Heaven and Hell are moving forward. The Devil You Know (Rhino) meets every reasonable expectation that could possibly be placed on it. It’s never going to be as influential or top albums that have already had 30 years of deifying, but it sounds modern, heavy and like the four legendary players in the band are enjoying making music together. We all know Iommi‘s been itching to do another Sabbath record for years. This is his opportunity, and he makes the most of it.

The band has hinted that The Devil You Know has the most in common with Dehumanizer, and to a certain extent, it’s true, but thankfully, the early ’90s production that now makes that album sound so dated where its two Dio-fronted predecessors are timeless is nowhere to be found. This is a modern album with classic players, and though that can be an awkward fit, Dio, Iommi, Butler and even Appice pull it off sounding fresh and not overly overproduced.

After the jump is the track-by-track breakdown…

Read more »

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Baseless Speculation: it’s Heaven and Hell

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 10th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Geezer Butler rules because he's holding up a portable fan.The current Ronnie James Dio-fronted incarnation of Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell has announced the title of their highly-anticipated new album is… The Devil You Know. Hardly inspirational. Nothing starts the buzz going like naming your album a clich?, let alone one that denotes something familiar and/or generic. Might as well call it Playing it Safe.

Yes, I know it’s blasphemy to defame anything that comes from the fingers of Tony Iommi — we just won’t talk about Forbidden — but an album named The Devil You Know hardly fills my heart with excitement. Also revealed on Blabbermouth were the song titles “Bible Black” (uh huh), “Rock & Roll Angel” (pure Dio, that one), “Breaking into Heaven” (as opposed to being hungry for it, okay), “Atom & Evil” (sounds way Dehumanizer) and my personal favorite, “Eating the Cannibals.” That song, no matter what, will rule.

Iommi himself has compared the record to Dehumanizer, and the truth is that no matter how much it sucks, it’s going to rule. Vinny Appice is one of the least interesting rock drummers I’ve ever seen, but it doesn’t matter. It’s Black Sabbath, you have to like it. There’s no choice. You signed up? Well, this is what you signed up for.

In all seriousness, I am looking forward to… The Devil You Know… ugh… but I have no delusions that it’s going to be a great album. I think Dehumanizer is a cool record, and if this sounds like modernized Dehumanizer, fine, but anyone who’s thinking it’s 1980 again and the band are about to unleash a second Heaven and Hell on the world are out of their minds. That time has simply passed — 30 years ago.

Approached with reasonable expectations, this Devil may yet be worth knowing, even with that crappy, crappy title. I mean, come on. It’s got Geezer Butler and a song called “Eating the Cannibals!” What could possibly go wrong?

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