Maryland Doom Fest 2019 Announces Lineup: Pentagram, Conan, Earthride, Mothership, Lo-Pan and More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

maryland doom fest 2019 announcement

Holy fucking shit. It’s a good thing Maryland Doom Fest 2019 isn’t until next June, because it’s going to take me that long to process how badass this lineup is. It’s like JB decided this was the year everybody plays. A fourth day has been added. A second venue has been added — it’s Cafe 611 and Guido’s Speakeasy now — and wow. Just, fucking, wow. The headliners: PentagramConanEarthride and Mothership. And the list of bands that follows is absolutely staggering. Of course some things are bound to change between now and then, and there are announcements yet to be made about the pre-show, but really. They’ve absolutely, positively gone to a completely new level of festival here.

It’s gonna be crowded.

And it’s gonna be a blast. If you need me, I’ll be booking my room at the Motel 6 in Frederick.

The announcement was simple and came just in the form of the poster — art is by Kyle Stratton, whose band Atala also make a return to the bill — and from near and far, far and wide, acts are coming in to make what looks like it’ll be an absolutely unforgettable weekend (-plus) of heavy.

Here’s the lineup:

maryland doom fest 2019 poster

MARYLAND DOOM FEST 2019 – JUNE 20-23

DOOMSTERS, GRUNGERS, SLUDGERS, STONERS, & PAGANS —

We are extremely pleased to present to you……The Maryland Doom Fest 2019 lineup!!!

50 of the heaviest, most talented bands to grace the stage.

We bring you INTERITUM from Tasmania, CONAN from England, PENTAGRAM from our soil, and an additional 47 top performing USA acts traveling from all across the continent!!

As if that’s not enough, the MDDF Pre-Fest Party will be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the SHoD (Stoner Hands of Doom) Festival with a spectacular lineup of bands who have performed at the great SHoD fests in years past!! The Pre-Fest / SHoD 20th Anniversary Celebration will be monumental in countless ways!!!!

Please support the Doom scene and share this epic event with your comrades and we will see you at #4daysofdoom !!!!

EARLY BIRD Discounted ticket sales start Dec. 17th, 2018 – for two weeks only.

This astronomical lineup and the 2019 festivities are dedicated to my very good friend and prior MDDF partner from 2015 – 2018, Mark Cruikshank!!

DooM !!! ~JB

Lineup:
Earthride
Warhorse
Solace
Wasted Theory
Devil to Pay
Deer Creek
Weed is Weed
Freedom Hawk
After the Sun
Mothership
Pale Divine
Lo Pan
Year of the Cobra
The Age of Truth
Backwoods Payback
Kingsnake
Interitum
The Druids
Clouds Taste Satanic
Benthic Realm
Dead Sisters
Funeral Horse
Pentagram
Apostle of Solitude
Foghound
Beelzefuzz
Atala
Sixes
Forming the Void
Knoxxville
Atomic 26
Eternal Black
Greenbeard
Electric Age
Pale Grey Lore
Thunderchief
Seasick Gladiator
Crooked Hills
Conan
ZED
Kings Destroy
Toke
Thousand Vision Mist
Horehound
Thonian Horde
Shadow Witch
Faith in Jane
Temptations Wings
Wolf Blood
Stone Dust Riders

https://www.facebook.com/events/371836710006412/
https://www.facebook.com/MdDoomFest/
https://www.themarylanddoomfest.com/

Earthride, Live at Maryland Doom Fest 2018

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Horehound Set Nov. 30 Release Date for Holocene

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 1st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

horehound (Photo by Shannon Kenyon)

This past weekend was the second Descendants of Crom fest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Overseen and curated by Horehound vocalist Shy Kennedy, its schedule read like a list of arguments to leave the house, and Horehound‘s set as part of it would seem to have been a fitting herald for their impending second album, Holocene. Initially supposed for release on Kennedy‘s Blackseed Records — as seen on the magnets on my fridge — it’s been newly revealed that Horehound have signed to Doom Stew Records, helmed by Brume drummer Jordan Perkins-Lewis. The cross-coastal collaboration between artist and label can only help spread the word on Holocene ahead of the Nov. 30 issue date, and while I’m not saying I’ve heard it or anything, I’ll just say that the more people who hear it, the merrier on all fronts.

While I try to chase down a track premiere or something like that from the powers that be, you can check out the Brian Mercer cover art and the signing announcement below, courtesy of the PR wire:

horehound holocene

Pittsburgh, PA’s Post-Doom foursome HOREHOUND to release their second full-length, ‘HOLOCENE’ on November 30, 2018 via DOOM STEW RECORDS.

Pittsburgh’s paramount Doom/Sludge underground act HOREHOUND continues their ascension above ground with news of a new partnership with San Francisco’s Doom Stew Records for the release of their second full-length album, ‘HOLOCENE’. Set for a street date of November 30, 2018, ‘Holocene’ will be available on CD, Vinyl, and Digital (Bandcamp, Spotify, and all major streaming outlets) with global distribution.

When asked about signing with a new label, the band had this to say: “It’s really great to have been offered the opportunity to work with Doom Stew Records. They have been involved with strong and unique sounding artists and we just really like what they are doing. It’s going to be a great partnership.”

With all music written and performed by Horehound, the album was recorded and mixed by Matt Schor at War Room in Pittsburgh, and mastering done by James Plotkin at Plotkinworks. The incredible cover artwork illustration is by Brian Mercer.

Vocalist Shy Kennedy shares a few words about the album: “‘Holocene’ is the single most rewarding contribution I have made as an individual artist and even of any group effort I’ve been a part of. It has been a realization for Horehound and through this recording we really cultivated our sound. The overwhelmingly gratifying experience we’ve had in creating this album will further transcend once we are able to share it with others.”

Guitarist Brendan Parrish adds: “‘Holocene’ is a convergence of our respective influences and a natural evolution in the sound we’ve developed. It represents our growth as songwriters and we are very eager for the rest of the world to hear what we’re so proud to have created.”

Holocene – Track List:
1. The Kind
2. Dier’s Dirge
3. L’appel du Vide
4. The Sloth
5. Anastatica
6. Highball

HOREHOUND is:
JD Dauer – drums
Brendan Parrish – guitar
Shy Kennedy – vocals
Nick Kopco – bass

https://www.facebook.com/horehoundband/
http://horehound.bandcamp.com/
https://twitter.com/horehoundband
https://www.facebook.com/blackseedrecords/
http://www.blackseedrecords.com/

Horehound, “L’Appel du Vide” official video

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Horehound Announce New Album Holocene for Release Later in 2018

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

horehound (Photo by Trevor Richards)

Not saying I’ve heard it or anything, but Horehound aren’t kidding around when they talk about their second album, Holocene, being a step forward from their 2016 self-titled debut (review here). That album was an impressive showing of potential for their style, somewhere between heavy rock, doom and sludge but not necessarily beholden to any single one of them, and Holocene, from its gorgeous Brian Mercer cover art onward, proceeds to push their vision forward. It’s a bigger but still natural sound with an eye toward atmosphere and they’re giving a first taste in the semi-angular “L’Appel du Vide” now, having premiered a video for the third of the album’s total seven tracks, the last of which is hidden. Don’t tell anybody.

Horehound will appear at Descendants of Crom in their native Pittsburgh at the end of September and have select dates set before that, including opening for Monolord and Brimstone Coven. Good gig.

Here are details from the PR wire:

horehound holocene

Pittsburgh, PA’s Post-Doom Foursome HOREHOUND Reveals Their Second Full-length, ‘HOLOCENE’ & Premieres New Video For Debut Track “L’appel du Vide”

Pittsburgh’s paramount Doom/Sludge underground act HOREHOUND continues their ascension above ground with the announcement of their second full-length album, ‘HOLOCENE’.

Horehound surpassed their own expectations for the self-titled debut in 2016, and this past Spring re-released a remastered version on Digital, CD, and first-time Vinyl format. Now Horehound presents their sophomore album ‘Holocene’. With all music written and performed by Horehound, the album was recorded and mixed by Matt Schor at War Room in Pittsburgh, and mastering done by James Plotkin at Plotkinworks. The incredible cover artwork illustration is by Brian Mercer.

To introduce the new album, the band is premiering a video for the debut of “L’appel du Vide”, the third track from ‘Holocene’. The visualizer was created by Sam McDonald.

Vocalist Shy Kennedy shares a few words about the album: “‘Holocene’ is the single most rewarding contribution I have made as an individual artist and even of any group effort I’ve been a part of. It has been a realization for Horehound and through this recording we really cultivated our sound. The overwhelmingly gratifying experience we’ve had in creating this album will further transcend once we are able to share it with others. “

Guitarist Brendan Parrish adds: “‘Holocene’ is a convergence of our respective influences and a natural evolution in the sound we’ve developed. It represents our growth as songwriters and we are very eager for the rest of the world to hear what we’re so proud to have created.”

Horehound is preparing for a release of Holocene sometime later in 2018. The band has been reviewing incoming offers and invites all who may be interested in partnering for the release to reach out to them soon.

Holocene – Track List:
1. The Kind
2. Dier’s Dirge
3. L’appel du Vide
4. Sloth
5. Anastatica
6. Highball
7. Hidden Track

Upcoming Live Events:
08/11 – Youngstown, OH – Pabstolutely 11 Festival
09/01 – Pittsburgh, PA w/ MONOLORD, Brimstone Coven
09/28 – Pittsburgh, PA – DESCENDANTS OF CROM

HOREHOUND is:
JD Dauer – drums
Brendan Parrish – guitar
Shy Kennedy – vocals
Nick Kopco – bass

https://www.facebook.com/horehoundband/
http://horehound.bandcamp.com/
https://twitter.com/horehoundband
https://www.facebook.com/blackseedrecords/
http://www.blackseedrecords.com/

Horehound, Holocene

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Horehound Reissue Self-Titled Debut on Hellmistress Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

horehound

Pittsburgh doom rockers Horehound took part this past weekend in the inaugural New England Stoner and Doom Fest in Connecticut, playing alongside Gozu, Wasted Theory and a vast host of others at a show I was both proud to be involved in presenting and sorry to have missed on account of timing. The appearance there is just the latest in the momentum-building that’s been going on for Horehound more or less since their self-titled debut (review here) was released in 2016.

The date of that release? April 20. The release date of the brand new Hellmistress Records CD and vinyl edition of the album? April 20, AKA last Friday. You have to appreciate a bit of symmetry. The band said last fall when they signed to Hellmistress that they had new material in the works. I haven’t seen an update on that, but maybe by the time they get to Descendants of Crom 2018 this September we’ll have word one way or another. Or maybe they’ll just wait for April 2019. Ha.

Here’s the latest on the reissue and the whatnots:

horehound self-titled

HOREHOUND to Re-Issue Self-Titled Debut on CD and Vinyl on April 20th via Hellmistress Records; Current Live Dates & Fest Appearances.

Pittsburgh, PA’s HOREHOUND announce their teaming up with Hellmistress Records to re-issue the Horehound Self-titled 2016 debut for both CD and first-time colored vinyl variants. The seven original tracks have been re-mixed, re-mastered, and now include a bonus song of Portishead’s, ‘Mysterons’, covered a la doom!
Digital Streaming on Bandcamp and other outlets, as well as the new CD will be available 4/20/2018, which is the second anniversary of the original release date.

Vinyl press is expected to be available on June 1st.

Artist Name: Horehound
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Genres/Styles: Doom Metal, Heavy Metal, Sludge
Label Name:
Blackseed Records (First Press, April 20, 2016)
Hellmistress Records (Re-Issue, April 20, 2018)

Horehound – Track List:

1. World to Come
2. Sangreal
3. Crowns and Thrones
4. The Dead Don’t Lie
5. Waters of Lethe
6. Myope
7. Waking Time
8. Mysterons (bonus track on re-issue only)

Recorded by Matt Schor at War Room.
Mastering by James Plotkin at Plotkinworks.
All music written and performed by Horehound, with the exception of “Mysterons”, originally written and performed by Portishead.
Cover Art by Sasaya Orenda Hamer-Pennisi

HOREHOUND is:
JD Dauer – drums
Brendan Parrish – guitar
Shy Kennedy – vocals
Nick Kopco – bass

HOREHOUND – Upcoming Live Events:
05I10I18 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Brillobox (w/Mos Generator, Limousine Beach)
05I26I18 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Cattivo (w/Ufomammut, White Hills)
06I16I18 – Aliquippa, PA @ Fallout Shelter (w/Rule Of Two, Everyone Hates Everything)
09I28I18 – Pittsburgh, PA @ DESCENDANTS OF CROM

Blackseed Records Presents:

DESCENDANTS OF CROM 2018

September 28th – 29th @ Cattivo
Day One: Lo-Pan + Come To Grief + Telekinetic Yeti + Devil To Pay + Disenchanter + Sierra + Heavy Temple + Demon Eye + Horehound + Doomstress + Doctor Smoke + Curse The Son + Eternal Black + Cloud + Solarburn + The Long Hunt
Day Two: Mos Generator + Duel + Kind + Freedom Hawk + Geezer + Forming The Void + Serpents Of Secrecy + Wolftooth + Ironflame + River Cult + Cavern + Thunderbird Divine + Molasses Barge + OutsideInside + Jakethehawk

RSVP – https://www.facebook.com/events/177536592803763/
TICKETS: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3186333

Pre-Gala: September 27th @ Howlers
Destroyer Of Light + Rebreather + Fist Fight In The Parking Lot + Gran Gila + Mires
RSVP – https://www.facebook.com/events/2074052449275860/

https://www.facebook.com/horehoundband/
http://horehound.bandcamp.com/
https://twitter.com/horehoundband
https://www.facebook.com/blackseedrecords/
http://www.blackseedrecords.com/
https://hellmistressrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HellmistressRecords/

Horehound, Horehound (2016)

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Descendants of Crom 2018 Announces Initial Lineup with Geezer, Devil to Pay, Kind, Curse the Son, Come to Grief, Heavy Temple and Many More

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

There are still headliners to be announced and others to come as well, and no doubt between now and then there will be one or two shakeups to what’s listed here between bands being added and bands dropping off as will invariably happen, but kudos all the same to organizer Shy Kennedy for the super-early unveiling of what’s probably the bulk of the lineup for Descendants of Crom 2018, the second installment of the Pittsburgh-based heavy fest. In addition to her own band, Horehound, Kennedy has already assembled a killer roster of acts, from Heavy Temple to Come to Grief to a slew of Steel City reserves in OutsideInside, Molasses Barge and others, and even if this was going to be the ultimate shape the festival would take — that is, if no one else was going to be added, which, again, they are — you’d still have to call it a good time in the making.

If you’ve got a 2018 calendar yet, mark it. Earlybird tickets are linked below. Here’s the announcement as posted by the fest, along with a quote graciously provided by Kennedy herself:

descendants of crom 2018

Blackseed Records Presents: Descendants of Crom 2018

The Descendants of Crom 2018 will be held in Pittsburgh, PA, USA in September 2018.

Pre Gala at Howlers in the evening on Thursday, September 27th.

Full days on September 28th and 29th at Cattivo.

“Descendants of Crom has been one of the most incredibly rewarding endeavors I’ve ever been involved with,” says fest organizer Shy Kennedy. “Having so many great people working and coming together for their underground music community the way they did that day was inspiring enough to erase any doubt that it has to grow. It has to be an annual event. Next year’s event may seem far away but it lends the time to really build it and get more people aware of it. As you know, a lot of work goes into a musical festival and if you take your time, it becomes a very enjoyable task. Descendants of Crom 2018 will be here all too soon and I, for one, cannot wait!”

Once upon a time there were 17 bands who joined forces to create one killer day of live, riff-ripping performances to celebrate the great community of our heavy, underground music here in the Northeast of the United States. That time was just a couple months back in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The all day event was a great collaboration in effort by local organization, bands from the region as well as a few touring and some very generous scene contributors. It was called the Descendants of Crom. Let’s do it again!

The second annual Descendants of Crom will be held on the last weekend of September of 2018 in Pittsburgh again. This time span three days in length as we are including a Thursday evening pre gala and all day events happening Friday and Saturday. There will be over 30 bands in total coming from all over the United States with a strong regional focus.

Tickets will be offered for single day to day events or in combinations. An Early Crow ticket sale will be held for the weekend combo for a 3 month period, limited to 125. These will be live soon today.

Stay tuned to find out the bands who will be rounding out the evenings of each night as well as the completed schedule.

Today, we announce the “meat” of the Descendants of Crom. These bands are the ones supporting this scene locally, regionally and or nationally. They are strong, beautiful creators of the jam, the breakdown, the beat, and the undeniable riff… they are the Descendants of Crom:

Descendants of Crom 2018 lineup:
The Long Hunt (PGH)
JaketheHawk (PGH)
Mires (PGH)
Solarburn (PGH)
Doctor Smoke (PGH)
Fist Fight In The Parking Lot (PGH)
Thunderbird Divine
Cloud
Curse the Son
Disenchanter
Molasses Barge (PGH)
OutsideInside
Wolftooth
Sierra
Horehound (PGH)
Cavern
Doomstress
Heavy Temple
Devil to Pay
Serpents of Secrecy
Eternal Black
Demon Eye
Geezer
Kind
Freedom Hawk
Duel
Come to Grief

Headliners and sub-headliners to be announced soon.
Early Crow tickets available for all event and 2 day passes for 3 months (11/23 – 2/23).

https://www.facebook.com/DescendantsOfCrom/
https://www.facebook.com/events/177536592803763
https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3186333
http://descendantsofcrom.com

Solace, Live at Descendants of Crom 2017

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Horehound Sign to Hellmistress Records; New Album in Progress

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

A double-whammy of good news here in that Pittsburgh doom rockers Horehound have signed to Hellmistress Records — kudos all around — and that they’ve got a follow-up in the works to their impressive 2016 self-titled debut (review here). The four-piece had done a release for Horehound through vocalist Shy Kennedy‘s own Blackseed Records imprint, and Hellmistress has confirmed it will indeed pick that up for a reissue, so right on there in addition to the new material. The more the merrier and all that.

I’d guess it’ll be a 2018 release, so you mark your notes and I’ll mark mine (done), and as we get closer, whatever I see, I’ll be posting. In the meantime, Hellmistress stands among the sponsors for the inaugural edition of Kennedy‘s upcoming Pittsburgh-based fest, Descendants of Crom (info here), which is set to take place on Sept. 30 on two stages at Cattivo Nightclub.

Cheers to Horehound and to Hellmistress and here’s looking forward to the fruit of their collaboration. The PR wire makes it official:

horehound

Horehound – Hellmistress Records

Horehound began their journey into the Pittsburgh music scene in the summer of 2015.

Standing on the shoulders of giants – Black Sabbath, Neurosis, Sleep, and the Melvins, among others – Horehound ever since have been crafting their own blend of stoner and doom harmonies and cacophonies. On their debut album, released in April 2016, Shy Kennedy’s powerful, ethereal vocals and haunting lyrics transform the pummeling onslaught of Brendan Parrish’s aggressive guitar riffs, Nick Kopco’s doom-drenched bass grooves, and JD Dauer’s punishing percussive rhythms, into carefully crafted compositions that are “stunningly recorded, tactile, heavy, clear.”

Says Hellmistress Records founder Melanie Streko, “I discovered Horehound on Pat Harrington’s Electric Beard of Doom radio podcast. My ears perked up every time Pat played a Horehound song; whether I was working; cleaning around the house or just playing with my cat, I ran to my computer to see who it was and it was always Horehound. So I knew I had to sign them.”

In 2016, Horehound played the 1st Annual Doomed & Stoned Festival among genre mainstays Cough and Bell Witch, and shared the stage with Captain Beyond, Earthride, and The Atomic Bitchwax at Maryland Doom fest in June of 2017. Horehound is currently in the process of writing a follow-up to their self-titled debut, and hope to be able to share with their fans as the new songs come to life.

Horehound is:
• Shy Kennedy (Vocalist)
• Brendan Parrish (Guitarist)
• JD Dauer (Drummer)
• Nick Kopco (Bassist)

https://www.facebook.com/horehoundband/
http://horehound.bandcamp.com/
https://twitter.com/horehoundband
https://www.facebook.com/blackseedrecords/
http://www.blackseedrecords.com/
https://hellmistressrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HellmistressRecords/

Horehound, Horehound (2016)

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2016

Posted in Features on December 15th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk top 20 debut albums of 2016

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2016 to that, please do.

Of all the lists I do to wrap up or start any given year, this is the hardest. As someone obviously more concerned with first impressions than I am and thus probably better-dressed once said, you only get one chance at them. For bands, that can be a vicious bite in the ass on multiple levels.

To wit, you put out a great debut, fine, but there’s a whole segment of your listeners who’re bound to think you’ll never live up to it again. You put out a meh debut, you sell yourself short. Or maybe your debut is awesome but doesn’t really represent where you want to be as a band, so it’s a really good first impression, but a mistaken one. There are so many things that can go wrong or go right with any LP, but with debuts, the stakes are that much higher because it’s the only time you’ll get the chance to engage your audience for the first time. That matters.

And when it comes to putting together a list of the best debuts of the year, how does one begin to judge? True, some of these acts have done EPs and singles and splits and things like that before, and that’s at least something to go on, but can one really be expected to measure an act’s potential based on a single collection of songs? Is that fair to anyone involved? Or on the other side, is it even possible to take a debut entirely on its own merits, without any consideration for where it might lead the band in question going forward? I know that’s not something I’ve ever been able to do, certainly. Or particularly interested in doing. I like context.

Still, one presses on. I guess the point is that, like picking any kind of prospects, some will pan out and some won’t. I’ve done this for enough years now that I’ve seen groups flame or fade out while others have risen to new heights with each subsequent release. It’s always a mix. But at the same time, it’s important to step back and say that, as of today, this is where it’s at.

And so it is:

KING BUFFALO ORION

The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2016

1. King Buffalo, Orion
2. Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree
3. Heavy Temple, Chassit
4. Holy Grove, Holy Grove
5. Worshipper, Shadow Hymns
6. Vokonis, Olde One Ascending
7. Wretch, Wretch
8. Year of the Cobra, In the Shadows Below
9. BigPig, Grande Puerco
10. Fuzz Evil, Fuzz Evil
11. Bright Curse, Before the Shore
12. Conclave, Sins of the Elders
13. Pale Grey Lore, Pale Grey Lore
14. High Fighter, Scars and Crosses
15. Spirit Adrift, Chained to Oblivion
16. Bellringer, Jettison
17. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Is Satan Real?
18. Merchant, Suzerain
19. Beastmaker, Lusus Naturae
20. King Dead, Woe and Judgment

Honorable Mention

There are many. First, the self-titled from Pooty Owldom, which had so much weirdo charm it made my head want to explode. And Iron Man frontman Dee Calhoun‘s acoustic solo record was technically a debut. And Atala‘s record. And Horehound. And Mother Mooch. And Domkraft. And Spaceslug. And Graves at Sea? Shit. More than a decade after their demo, they finally put out a debut album. And Second Grave‘s full-length would turn out to be their swansong, but that doesn’t take away from the quality of the thing. There were a lot of records to consider in putting this list together. As always, it could’ve been a much longer list.

For example, here are 20 more: Swan Valley Heights, Arctic, Blues Funeral, Teacher, Psychedelic Witchcraft, Nonsun, Duel, Banquet, Floodlore, Mindkult‘s EP, Mountain Dust, Red LamaRed Wizard, Limestone Whale, Dunbarrow, Comacozer, Sinister Haze, Pants Exploder, Akasava, Katla and No Man’s Valley. That’s not even the end of it. I could go on.

Notes

It was a fight to the finish. There’s always one, and as late as yesterday I could be found kicking back and forth between King Buffalo and Elephant Tree in the top spot. What was it that finally put King Buffalo‘s Orion over Elephant Tree‘s self-titled? I don’t know. Ask me tomorrow and the answer might be completely different.

They had a lot in common. Not necessarily in terms of style — King Buffalo basked in spacious Americana-infused heavy psych jams while Elephant Tree proffered more earthbound riffing and melodies — but each executed memorable songs across its span in a way that would be unfair to ask of a debut. The potential for what both bands can turn into down the line played a part in the picks, but something else they share between them is that the quality of the work they’re doing now warrants the top spots. Orion and Elephant Tree were great albums, not just great first albums.

From there, we see a wide swath of next-generation encouragement for the future of heavy rock, whether it’s coming from Sweden’s Vokonis or Philadelphia’s Heavy Temple, or London’s Bright Curse, or Los Angeles duo BigPig. The latter act’s punkish fuzz definitely benefited from guitarist/vocalist Dino von Lalli‘s experience playing in Fatso Jetson, but one hopes that as the years go on his own multifaceted songwriting style will continue to grow as well.

A few offerings weren’t necessarily unexpected but still lived up to the anticipation. High Fighter‘s EP prefaced their aggro sludgecore well. Ditto that for the grueling death-sludge of Massachusetts natives Conclave. The aforementioned Bright Curse, Merchant, Fuzz Evil, Atala, Bellringer, Holy Grove, Wretch and Worshipper all had offerings of one sort or another prior to their full-length debuts — in the case of Bellringer, it was just a series of videos, while Wretch had the entire The Gates of Slumber catalog to fall back on — but each of those albums offered surprises nonetheless.

It would’ve been hard not to be taken by the songwriting on display from the likes of Holy Grove, Year of the Cobra, Pale Grey Lore and Beastmaker, who between them covered a pretty broad variety of atmosphere but found ways to deliver high-quality crafted material in that. Those albums were a pleasure to hear. Put Boston’s Worshipper in that category as well, though they were just as much a standout from the pack in terms of their performance as what they were performing. Speaking of performance, the lush melodies from Church of the Cosmic Skull and classic progressive flourish were enough to make me a believer. Simply gorgeous. And one-man outfit Spirit Adrift shined, if in that matte-black doom kind of way, on an encouraging collection of modern melancholic heavy that seemed to hint at sprawl to come.

As we get down to the bottom of the list we find Pennsylvania ambient heavy post-rockers King Dead. Their Woe and Judgment was released digitally last year (2015) but the LP came out earlier this year, so I wasn’t quite sure where to place them ultimately. I know they got some mention on the 2015 lists somewhere, but while they’re an act who’ve flown under a lot of people’s radar as yet, I have good feelings about how they might continue to dig into their sound and the balance of bleakness and psychedelic color they bring to their material. They’re slated for a follow-up in 2017, so this won’t be the last list on which they appear in the next few weeks.

Like I said at the outset, putting out a debut album is a special moment for any band. Not everyone gets to that point and not everyone gets beyond it, so while a list like this is inherently bound to have some element of speculation, it’s still a worthy endeavor to celebrate the accomplishments of those who hit that crucial moment in their creative development. Hopefully these acts continue to grow, flourish, and build on what they’ve thus far been able to realize sonically. That’s the ideal.

And before I go, once again, let me reinforce the notion that I recognize this is just a fraction of the whole. I’d like it to be the start of a conversation. If there was a debut album that kicked your ass this year and you don’t see it here, please drop a note in the comments below. I’m sure I’ll be adding more honorable mentions and whatnot over the next couple days, so if you see glaring omissions, let’s have ’em.

Thanks for reading.

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Maryland Doom Fest 2017: Set Times Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 14th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

So I guess we’re pretty much ready to roll on Maryland Doom Fest 2017, right? We’ve had the lineup announced, we’ve got the schedule now. Might be another couple weeks getting t-shirts together — and hoodies; should’ve gotten a hoodie this year, which admittedly is something that occurs to one way less at the end of June than in mid-November — but then I’d say we’re about good to go. No need to wait until next summer on it. Let’s do this thing.

Maybe that’s just me being excited at the prospect of that Friday night lineup, which seems particularly strong front to back — not to take away from any of the other days, but you know I dig me some Lo-Pan — but either way, if Maryland Doom Fest‘s now-three-year tenure has been marked by anything it’s a lack of bullshit. A fervent get-down-to-business-and-kick-as-doing-it mentality. It’s perhaps the most “Maryland doom” aspect to the whole event. Maryland Doom Fest 2017 is clearly no different. Here we are more than half a year from the event kicking off and I know what time I need to be there on Thursday to watch Spillage start the pre-party. This is information I’m glad to have.

If your calendar isn’t marked yet, you might want to get on that:

maryland-doom-fest-2017-poster

The Maryland Doom Fest 2017

June 23, 2017 – June 25, 2017

Cafe 611
611 N Market St, Frederick, Maryland 21701

ROSTER SLOT TIMES

**PRE FEST PARTY THURS JUNE 22
• Valkyrie 1150 – 1250
• Beastmaker 1055 – 1140
• Pilgrim 1000 – 1045
• Borracho 915 – 950
• Weed Is Weed 830 – 905
• Sweet Heat 745 – 820
• Spillage 700 -735

FRIDAY JUNE 23
• Captain Beyond 1240 – 150
• Lo-Pan 1140 – 1230
• Apostle of Solitude 1050 – 1130
• Earthride 1000 – 1040
• Beelzefuzz 910 – 950
• Wretch 820 – 900
• Demon Eye 735 –810
• Brimstone Coven 650 – 725
• Black Manta 605 – 640
• Sierra 515 – 555

SATURDAY JUNE 24
• The Skull 1245 – 150
• Bang! 1140 – 1235
• Wo Fat 1050 – 1130
• The Well 1000 – 1040
• The Watchers 910 – 950
• Hollow Leg 825 – 900
• Iron Man 740 – 815
• Dark Music Theory 655 – 730
• War Injun 610 – 645
• Thonian Horde 525 – 600
• Witches of God 440 – 515
• Black Tar Prophet 355 – 430
• Conclave 305 – 345

SUNDAY JUNE 25
• Headliner 1140 – 1245
• The Atomic Bitchwax 1045 -1130
• Serpents of Secrecy 955 – 1035
• Lightning Born 905 – 945
• Lifetime Shitlist 815 – 855
• Akris 730 – 805
• Burn Thee Insects 645 – 720
• Faith In Jane 600 – 635
• Cavern 515 – 550
• Old Blood 430 – 505
• Horehound 345 – 420

TICKET SALES START JAN 1st !!

https://www.facebook.com/The-maryland-DOOM-Fest-815331421863100/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1794418777500202/
http://www.themarylanddoomfest.com/

Earthride, Live at Jason McCash Benefit, 2014

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