Horseburner Set Aug. 9 Release for The Thief; Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

horseburner

Yeah, I’ve got it on now and this one’s pretty sick. Like, gonna-be-on-a-lot-of-lists sick. Maybe mine. Horseburner will make their debut on Ripple Music with The Thief and they’ve already got shows booked into November to support it, so that’s nifty, but listening to the album, it’s got stomper riffs and modern prog metal inflection galore in its winding guitar lines and not-at-all-overplayed drums, taking a cue from the Mastodons of the world without, well, sucking, I guess. It can be a fine line to walk, but Horsebuner would seem to have found the balance between nuance and groove and melody in these tracks that, yes, will be very well received. Bandcamp’s gonna go apeshit for this one. I hope Ripple has an ample supply.

I’m gonna try to set up another track premiere — the first one was here back in March — to go with a review a proper review, but in the meantime, here’s some info from the PR wire:

horseburner the thief

HORSEBURNER: Hard Hitting Road/Riff Merchants Return With New Album + Tour Dates

The Thief by Horseburner is officially released on 9th August on Ripple Music

Pre-order the album now at www.ripple-music.com

Together since 2008 and borne from the wild Appalachian green of West Virginia, Horseburner has never cowered from hard toil. From performing their first live show, self-recording and releasing two EPs (2009’s Dirt City and Strange Giant in 2013), putting on an inaugural tour in 2011 and releasing their debut full-length album, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil in 2016, the band has quite simply, done it all themselves.

Having played hundreds of shows over the past decade, performing alongside acts such as Torche, Weedeater, Goatwhore, Obituary, Corrosion of Conformity, The Obsessed, Karma to Burn and Bell Witch, in 2017 the band reissued their debut album through Hellmistress Records, which quickly reignited that song writing/recording flame, resulting in the gift of new music.

This year, as well as hitting the road for a monster Summer/Fall Tour of the US, the band join forces with Ripple Music, the California-based record label and world leader in Heavy Rock, Stoner, Doom and Heavy Psych to bring you the hard rocking yield of that fruitful and inspired year. The official worldwide release of their brand-new album, The Thief. As the band explains:

“We are thrilled to finally be putting out new music after almost three years and several member changes, and we can’t wait for people to hear, ‘Hand of Gold, Man of Stone’. It was the first song we finished for this new album, and we think it really sets the tone for what’s to come this summer when the full album is released. It’s loud, it’s aggressive, it’s a little weird… It’s also the shortest song. Brevity has never been our strong suit, but there is a much larger story waiting to be told, and this song is just one chapter. We’re even more excited to be teaming up with Ripple Music for the new record. We love so many bands on their roster, it’s such a well curated label. We’re honored to be joining the Ripple Family, and honestly, that’s what it feels like, a family.”

TRACK LISTING:
1. The Thief
2. A Joyless King
3. Drowning Bird
4. The Fisherman’s Vow
5. Seas Between
6. Hand of Gold Man of Stone
7. The Oak
8. Fathoms
9. Thiefsong

LIVE DATES (MORE DATES TBC):
2/8 – Richmond, VA – Wonderland
3/8 – Beckley, WV – Melody’s
23/8 – Athens, OH – Casa
24/8 – Youngstown, OH – Westside Bowl
25/8 – Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop
27/8 – Canton, OH – Buzzbin
5/9 – Huntington, WV – V Club
6/9 – Johnson City, TN – Hideaway
7/9 – Charlotte, NC – Skylark
8/9 – Jacksonville, FL – Jack Rabbits
9/9 – Miami, FL – Las Rosas
11/9 – Savannah, GA – El Rocko
12/9 – Athens, GA – Caledonia Lounge
27/9 – Toronto, ON – Bovine Sex Club
5/10 – Pittsburgh, PA – Gooski’s
6/10 – Buffalo, NY – Electric Avenue
7/10 – Saratoga Springs, NY – Desperate Annie’s
11/10 – Brooklyn, NY – The Well
12/10 – Wilmington, DE – Oddity Bar
13/10 – Baltimore, MD – The Depot
29/11 –Marietta, OH – Adelphia

HORSEBURNER:
Adam Nohe – Drums, Vocals, Percussion
Jack Thomas – Guitar, Vocals, Keys
Seth Bostick – Bass
Zach Kaufman – Guitar

https://www.horseburner.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Horseburner/
https://horseburner.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/horseburner/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Horseburner, “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone”

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Horseburner Premiere “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone”; Announce The Thief on Ripple Music

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on March 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

horseburner

It’s a time of change for West Virginian riffers Horseburner. A decade into their run and after releasing their incredibly well received debut, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil (review here), on their own in 2016 and through Hellmistress Records in 2017, the band are getting ready to bid farewell to guitarist Zach Kaufman following some final dates together as part of their Spring tour, most of which will feature StonecuttersNick Burks in that role alongside guitarist/vocalist Jack Thomas, bassist Seth Bostick and drummer/vocalist Adam Nohe.

At the same time, Horseburner have signed to Ripple Music and are newly unveiling the single “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone” taken from their upcoming second album, The Thief, which will be their first outing for the label. In a sharply-edged five minutes, the song burns horses and barns alike with heroic guitar lines and vocal harmonies drawn from modern progressive metallurgy, but manages as well to hold tight to an underlying groove and build in energy while touching on vibes as much NWOBHM as they are noise rock, the two-guitar dynamic and two-vocal dynamic working in concert to make the track unpredictable despite the solid rhythmic foundation on which it rests — or, when one considers the tempo, doesn’t at all rest.

Already confirmed for Grim Reefer Fest in Baltimore and New England Stoner & Doom Fest in Jewett City, Connecticut — with 40,000 other bands, apparently — Horseburner bring precise execution and weighted tones to bear with motion and largesse in like measure. Through clear production and intent, they would seem to be poised to bring their stamp to the pastiche of modern heavy, and if the purpose of an advance single is to pique interest, “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone” is mission accomplished.

Kudos to the band and to Ripple on the signing. The PR wire brings a full update and you’ll find the premiere of “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone” at the bottom of this post.

Enjoy:

horseburner-hand-of-gold-man-of-stone

HORSEBURNER: West Virginian Heavy Stoner Metalists To Release New Album ‘THE THIEF’ with Ripple Music; Share New Song “Hand Of Gold, Man Of Stone” & Announce U.S. Spring Tour

Together since 2008, borne from the wild Appalachian green of West Virginia, HORSEBURNER has never cowered from hard toil. From their first live show performed, a first EP ‘Dirt City’ self-released in 2009, an initial tour in 2011, to a second EP 7” ‘Strange Giant’ in 2013, and right up to a debut full-length ‘Dead Seeds, Barren Soil’ in 2016, it’s all been DIY and self-released.

They’ve played hundreds of shows over the past decade, alongside such acts as Torche, Weedeater, Skeletonwitch, Goatwhore, Obituary, Corrosion of Conformity, The Obsessed, Karma to Burn, Prong, Byzantine, Cough, ASG, Rosetta, and Bell Witch. In 2017, the band altered their DIY stride with a reissue of their full-length through Hellmistress Records and reignited their flame with writing and recording new music during 2018.

Horseburner continues to step up the pace in 2019, with a recent signing with RIPPLE MUSIC to release their sophomore full-length, ‘THE THIEF’, later this year, as well as the announcement of a U.S. Spring Tour. To introduce the upcoming album, a new song is being released today – “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone” off the upcoming album ‘The Thief.’

The band’s reaction to the new venture:
“We are thrilled to finally be putting out new music after almost three years and several member changes, and we can’t wait for people to hear “Hand of Gold, Man of Stone.” It was the first song we finished for this new album, and we think it really sets the tone for what’s to come this summer when the full album is released. It’s loud, it’s aggressive, it’s a little weird… It’s also the shortest song. Brevity has never been our strong suit, but there is a much larger story waiting to be told, and this song is just one chapter. We’re even more excited to be teaming up with Ripple Music for the new record. We love so many bands on their roster, it’s such a well curated label. We’re honored to be joining the Ripple Family, and honestly, that’s what it feels like, a family. “

Some excitement from Todd Severin of Ripple Music:
“It’s not that often that a band comes by and just blows my mind, but Horseburner is one of them. They’re taking the raw soul of stoner and taking it in fresh, exciting new directions. The sky is the limit for where these guys will soar.”

The band also shares some words about the upcoming tour:
“We’re definitely ready to be back on the road, as well. We haven’t been out there as much as we like to this past year, and we’re ready to throw off the rust and see some new faces. We’re hitting a few places for the first time ever, and returning to some old favorites, so this will be a good time.

On top of all that, we’ve got one of our best pals, Nick Burks from Louisville’s Stonecutters, filling in on guitar for the April tour and some of the May dates, it’s going to be killer. Then with Zach’s exit from the band, and him doing a handful of farewell shows before he leaves for good… having Zach’s last show with us in Columbus, Ohio in May – ten years from our first ever show, which was also in Columbus – bittersweet is definitely one way to put it.”

horseburner-tour-spring-2019U.S. Spring Tour Dates:
March 22 – Huntington, WV @ V Club (w/ Cavern, Embracer, Signals)
March 23 – Johnson City, TN @ The Hideaway (w/ Indighost, Haal)
*April 12 – Detroit, MI @ The Fireside (w/ Gear Jammer, Black Heiron)
*April 13 – Toronto, ONT @ The Bovine Sex Club (w/ Ol’ Time Moonshine, Jahgernaut, Quiet Earth)
*April 14 – Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk Place (w/ Malarchuk, Yanari, Tines)
*April 15 – Saratoga Springs, NY @ Desperate Annie’s for Super Dark Monday (w/ Ghastly Sound, The Tenants)
*April 16 – Winooski, VT @ The Monkey House (w/ Ghastly Sound, Wolfhand, Sachem)
*April 17 – Bangor, ME @ Downunder Club (w/ Ghastly Sound, + more)
*April 18 – Boston, MA @ OBrien’s (w/ VOS, Greylock)
*April 19 – Brooklyn, NY @ The Well (w/ Godmaker, + more)
*April 20 – Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar for Grim Reefer Fest (w/ Ruby the Hatchet, Heavy Temple, Haze Mage, Mountainwolf, Book of Wyrms, YATRA, Tombtoker)
May 3 – Pottsville, PA @ Goodfellas (w/ 44 Mag, Brain Candle, The Hands Resist, Faith in Exile) *Playing as a trio*
*May 4 – Jewett City, CT @ Altone’s for New England Stoner Doom Fest (w/ Stonecutters, Brimstone Coven, + 40,000 bands)
*May 5 – Washington, D.C. @ Atlas Brew Works (w/ Stonecutters, Dirt Eater)
May 17 – Parkersburg, WV @ The Dils Center (w/ Lo-Pan, Louts, + more)
May 18 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups (Zach’s last show!)

*Nick Burks from Stonecutters on Guitar

Horseburner:
Adam Nohe – Drums/Vocals
Jack Thomas – Guitar/Vocals
Seth Bostick – Bass
Zach Kaufman – Guitar

https://www.horseburner.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Horseburner/
https://horseburner.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/horseburner/
https://twitter.com/horseburner
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

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New England Stoner and Doom Fest II: More Lineup Announcements; Pre-Party Added

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

new england stoner doom festival 2019 art

It’s time to talk about the real potential of the New England Stoner and Doom Fest. No, I don’t mean the lineup. That’s awesome. You know it and I know it. I’m talking about the acronym. That’s always huge for a festival. How is it abbreviated? Think MDDF or SHoD or any of the DFs spread around the universe. These things matter.

I’ve seen NESDF tossed around for New England Stoner and Doom Fest, and that’s cool, but it’s missing the opportunity. You could have a festival abbreviated NES! Who the hell wouldn’t buy that t-shirt? I hereby cast my vote in the imaginary referendum on festival abbreviations for New England Stoner and Doom Fest to henceforth and forthwith and withhence be known as NES fest. Second the motion?

There’s reportedly one more band to be added and reportedly several in the running for that slot, so this might not be the final update before May 3-5 gets here and NES fest kicks off (see me using the acronym already?), and the lineup for a pre-party at 33 Golden St. in New London has been announced as well, which will be headlined by Fox 45, so, you know, more of a good thing and all that.

The full lineup as has been revealed follows. Note the Wretch reunion. NES fest!

New England Stoner & Doom Fest II

The New England Stoner and Doom Festival will make its return in 2019 on May 3,4, and 5 at Altones in Jewett City, CT.

Earthride
Brimstone Coven
Wretch
Kings Destroy
+1 TBA
Foghound
Pale Divine
Vessel of Light
Spiral Grave
Solace
Black Road
Curse the Son
Shadow Witch
Hell Camino
Clamfight
Eternal Black
Thunderbird Divine
Stonecutters
When the Deadbolt Breaks
Mourn the Light
Entierro
Bone Church
Buzzard Canyon
The Age of Truth
Void King
Horseburner
Scuzzy Yeti
Witchkiss
Cortez
Benthic Realm
Faith in Jane
Conclave
Set Fire
3 Parts Dead
Insano Vision
Old Earth Analog
Pinto Graham
The Stone Eye
Sentinel Hell

Pre-party @ 33 Golden St.:
Fox 45
VRSA
Dark Ritual
Owl Maker
Feed the Beast

www.newenglandstoneranddoomfest.com
https://www.facebook.com/events/1613285008788252/
https://www.facebook.com/NewEnglandStonerAndDoomFest/
https://www.saltoftheearthrecords.com/

Wretch, Bastards Born (2017)

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Grim Reefer Fest 2019 Announces Full Lineup with Ruby the Hatchet, Heavy Temple, Horseburner and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Don’t look now, but here’s another fucking awesome festival to boggle your mind and melt your ears. Grim Reefer Fest 2019 will be held at The Ottobar in Baltimore and feature the likes of Philly heavy psych forerunners Ruby the Hatchet as well as return performances from Heavy Temple and fest-organizers Haze Mage as the event solidifies under the Grim Reefer banner after taking shape earlier this year as Stoned to Death. By any other name, it’s a kickass lineup for the all-dayer-style happening, with HorseburnerMountainwolfBook of WyrmsYatra and Tombtoker filling out the Chesapeake Watershed-minded bill, highlighting  a range of styles from the region and some up and coming as well as more established acts. If you didn’t already have plans for that Saturday, well, you do now.

For a quick side-note: I’ve got a post in the works with an update from Heavy Temple for later this week. Maybe tomorrow, maybe Thursday, depending on how it all comes together. Keep an eye out either way. It’s good news.

Here’s the Grim Reefer announcement, culled from the social medias:

grim reefer fest 2019

Grim Reefer Fest 420 / 2019

Saturday, April 20th, 2019 the Ottobar shall be engulfed by a heavy cloud of groove, gloom, and DOOM. Emerging from the fog a smokey specter materializes, the Grim Reefer. His bloodshot gaze beckoning you forth to test your mettle against a tidal wave of earth-shattering, skull shaking, sonic fuzz that flattens the land. Come forth oh warriors of metal, see if you can traverse the Grim Reefers miasma of crushing metal mayhem and celebrate the holy day of smoke.

Featuring

Ruby the Hatchet (PA) Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Psych-doom
Heavy Temple (PA) – Groovy, moody, fuzzy doom
Haze Mage (MD) – Sword and sorcery stoner metal
Horseburner (WVA) – Pure, pounding stoner rock n’ roll
Mountainwolf (MD) – Hard Rock Psychedelia
Book of Wyrms (VA) – Appalachian stoner rock
YATRA (MD) – Heavy, mountainous riffage
Tombtoker (MD) – Risen, undead doom/metal

$20 ADV – Ticket link: http://www.theottobar.com/event/1794968

https://www.facebook.com/events/726623521049970/
http://www.theottobar.com/event/1794968
https://www.facebook.com/hazemage/

Heavy Temple, Live at Muddy Roots Music Festival 2018

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Live Review: Maryland Doom Fest 2018 Night One, 06.22.18

Posted in Features, Reviews on June 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

maryland doom fest 2018 night one poster

Over the last four years since its inception, Maryland Doom Fest has become a defining force for its many-storied local scene and for the Eastern Seaboard at large. Its reach nowadays goes well beyond those imaginary borders, of course, but its lineup has always remained cognizant of its core inspiration and purpose — you’re always going to find some Maryland doom at Maryland Doom Fest. 2018’s roster of acts, which is the broadest in terms of style and geopgraphy to date, is no exception. With headliners The Obsessed, Windhand and Weedeater, Maryland Doom Fest 2018 reaffirms its commitment to the oldschool groove and its newer-school interpretations, even as acts like HorseburnerUnorthodoxCavern, DuelEarthrideCaustic Casanova, and many others with them, speak to the same meld of styles and origins.

I could go on all day about that, but as ever with festivals, there’s little time for musing amid the 15-minute set-changeovers and sheer onslaught of stuff to catch. Held as ever at Cafe 611 in Frederick, Maryland Doom Fest 2018 boasts a lineup of 32 bands — nine tonight, 12 tomorrow and 11 on Sunday. My goal? To see all of them. Front to back. Staring down the barrel at the outset it seems nigh-insurmountable, but the truth is it’s going to be a total blast and I know it.

Travel south to Maryland from Massachusetts, with an about-to-be-eight-month-old, is a days-long process, and I’m reminded that two years ago when I made the trip, I was bogged down by a car breakdown and about to start a new job the following Tuesday. It was insane. I’m sure 2018 will be much more relaxed. Ha.

Enough preamble. Let’s boogie:

Horseburner

Horseburner (Photo JJ Koczan)

I’m not sure the world knows it’s anxiously awaiting the third full-length from West Virginian progressive heavy rockers Horseburner, but it probably is. First band of the weekend and they had heads banging both onstage and off. They were exciting to watch, and their 2016 album, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil (review here) — which was reissued last year by Hellmistress Records; the vinyl was in the merch area to the side of the venue — remains a favorite in its manifestation of what might’ve happened had Mastodon become a heavy rock band while keeping their initial heft instead of going ultra-prog as they did. There were some technical difficulties in the drums, but no real delay, and the trio dynamic — could’ve sworn they used to be a four-piece — played well during the set, with no shortage of crunch in their tone but an overarching groove that they never seemed to relinquish. The record’s good, but they’re better live, with the melodies cutting through the push and a bit of hop-into-the-crowd interaction in the finale.

Geezer

Geezer (Photo JJ Koczan)

Back in January, New York psych-blues jammers Geezer announced they were working on a new album. Accordingly, the triumvirate of guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington, bassist Richie Touseull and drummer Steve Markota shared three new songs for the Maryland Doom Fest 2018 crowd. I hounded Harrington after they finished for the titles: “Spiral Fires,” “Dig” and “Black Owl.” The latter provided some highlight low end work from Touseull, and it was “Dig” with a particularly fuzzed out guitar solo and a bit of cowbell from Markota that I’m dying to hear a studio version of. Supporting their latest release, Psychoriffadelia (review here), they also celebrated 2016 self-titled (review here) at the end of their set with the memorably catchy “Dust” and the spacious “Sun Gods.” Having made their debut in 2013, they’ve moved into veteran status and stage presence relatively quickly, and I took particular interest in a lack of slide guitar from Harrington, wondering if perhaps he put it down in order to focus on more intricate styles of playing in the newer songs. Seems like maybe an interview question to file away for later. In any case, they pulled a packed early crowd and were well known to them, playing out the story of a band whose potential is being realized at that very moment for all to see.

Bailjack

Bailjack (Photo JJ Koczan)

Double-guitar four-piece Bailjack had the distinction of being the first Maryland-based act at the festival. Based out of Boonsboro, they had four songs on the setlist, none of which seems to have stemmed from their 2016 debut, Show Me Your Heart. I’d been fortunate enough to see them once before down this way (review here), but they struck me all around as a tighter and more cohesive band. Guitarists Jason Barker and Blake Owens shared lead vocal duties effectively, changing up the soulful and classic heavy rock moods between them with support from Ron “Uncle Fezzy” McGinnis (also Pale DivineAdmiral Browning, Thonian Horde, etc.), which left drummer Alex Llewellyn as the only one without a mic. He kept plenty busy with the locked-in groove of “Predominantly Green,” though, which like just about everything else they played was deceptively complex in its execution, working around a straightforward groove with personality and depth. They were a fitting complement to Geezer‘s ultra-roll, and at one point while they played I looked around and couldn’t believe we were only three bands into the night. The vibe was so set and so thick in the room that it felt like everyone had been there for a day already. Awesome.

Lightning Born

Lightning Born (Photo JJ Koczan)

North Carolina’s Lightning Born played Maryland Doom Fest last year as well, but as they went public earlier this month about signing to Ripple Music for the release of their debut album this Fall, it seems only appropriate that they should make a return appearance. Their bassist, who just so happens to be Mike Dean of Corrosion of Conformity, just happened to be in France playing another festival — some little shindig called Hellfest or something like that; ha — so filling in was guitarist Erik Sugg‘s Demon Eye bandmate, Paul Walz. I don’t know if it was Walz‘s first time holding down bass duties in Lightning Born or what, but he obviously knew the songs well, and despite some hi-hat difficulties at the outset for drummer Doza Hawes (ex-Hour of 13), once they got going, they were locked in and clearheaded in their intent between heavy rock, doom and classic-style songcraft led by the powerful presence of frontwoman Brenna Leath (also of The Hell No). My first time seeing them and they did nothing but impress, and even putting the pedigree aside for a moment, it’s easy to see why Ripple — who already had a showing in Geezer and would have another before the night was out — would pick them up. Not only do they make the most of their members’ experience in terms of knowing what they want to do, but they obviously have the chemistry between them to make it happen. Would be interested to see them with Dean, and I won’t say he wasn’t missed — nothing against Walz‘s work, it just happens to be that that’s Mike fucking Dean we’re talking about and anytime you get to catch him play is a win — but Lightning Born might as well have named themselves Lightning in a Bottle, as that seems to be what they’ve got.

Disenchanter

Disenchanter (Photo JJ Koczan)

This was by no means Disenchanter‘s first trip to the East Coast — they’ll also be (relatively) back this way later this year for Descendants of Crom in Pittsburgh — but it was the first time I’ve been lucky enough to see the band play. Having toured from their home in from Portland, Oregon, over the last week, the trio sounded like it. Pro shop. Guitarist/vocalist Sabine Stangenberg expressed the band’s gratitude for being included in the lineup and sent out “Green Queen” to any pot smokers in attendance. There may have been one or two. She and bassist Joey DeMartini and drummer Huwy Kilgora Williams set forth a set that pushed even further into the doomed elements that Lightning Born featured in some of their riffs, but had a distinguishing factor that marked them out as a West Coast act nonetheless. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was; tempo? Melody? Rhythm? I actually kind of lost myself while they were playing trying to get an answer. They fit right in with the lineup in tone and influence, to be sure, but there was still some individualized edge to their approach that was a standout factor. Eventually I whittled my hypotheses down to the upbeat nature of their grooves and was willing to leave it at that and, oh, I don’t know, just enjoy the rest of their set, but whatever it was, it made them a highlight of the evening at Cafe 611. Glad I finally was able to watch them.

Thousand Vision Mist

Thousand Vision Mist (Photo JJ Koczan)

Statistically speaking, three out of the four top acts for the evening could be called locals, and Thousand Vision Mist, who also played Maryland Doom Fest 2016 (review here), and a fest-associated gig during last year’s edition, came supporting late-2017’s Journey to Ascension and the Loss of Tomorrow (review here), their debut album. Between that record and having seen them before, they were pretty familiar to me as well as to the assembled in front of the stage, but guitarist/vocalist Danny Kenyon, bassist/vocalist Tony Cormulada and drummer Chris Sebastian still had a few surprises up their collective sleeve in terms of the twists and turns of their material. By the time they started, it was clear just what a special night this was. The flow of bands was right on, each group pulling something different together from the one before while still making sense in the overall context of the night, and with Kenyon‘s roots in Life BeyondThousand Vision Mist maintained a Maryland doom feel despite not really playing doom so much as doom strung through a filter of progressive metal. Precise, driven and complex, they nonetheless had a central groove to tie it all together, and even when Kenyon broke a string, prompting an interlude from emcee Dave Benzotti, they were able to pick back up and end out as though nothing happened. The place was jammed in any figurative sense you want to think of it, and Thousand Vision Mist signaled a turn toward the headlining portion of the night. Right band, right slot.

Unorthodox

Unorthodox (Photo JJ Koczan)

A decade has passed since Unorthodox issued their last album, Awaken, via The Church Within Records, but if you want to be fair, that album came a full 14 years after 1994’s sophomore outing, Balance of Power, which was of course preceded by their 1992 debut, Asylum, but their set was still enough of an event that both Bobby Liebling of Pentagram and Dave Sherman of Earthride — pivotal figures in this scene if ever there were any — stood at the side of the stage to watch them. From their beginnings as Asylum, whose 1985 demo, The Earth is the Insane Asylum of the Universe, saw reissue via Shadow Kingdom in 2008 (review here), guitarist/vocalist Dale Flood has remained the sole founding presence, and as he’s now based in Nashville, Tennessee, he’s settled in with bassist/vocalist Blake Dellinger and drummer Alan Pfeifer, both also of the band Flummox, injecting a youthful vigor into the rhythm section that seemed to bring Unorthodox‘s classic downtrodden MD doom to life. They even had a new song, called “Horus,” that found Dellinger taking lead vocal duties, and Flood couldn’t help but smile as the set played out, the crowd eating up every single second of the rare live set. New album? Hell if I know. To my knowledge, Unorthodox played the first Maryland Doom Fest in 2015 and as I recall were going to play 2016 as well but didn’t end up making it, so I’m not sure I’d count this set as indicative of a full return to activity, whatever that would mean anyway, but if they wanted to build something from it, that vitality was right there in the band waiting to be harvested. They killed. End of story.

ZED

ZED (Photo JJ Koczan)

For my up-at-5AM-usually-asleep-by-nine ass, it was getting late, and I don’t mind saying so. Ibuprofen for a sore back; protein bar for stamina; water on the face for refreshing; water down the gullet for sheer survival — these are the essential tools of the sober weekend festival. One could simply pound six or 12 beers and none of it would matter, I suppose, and from the look of the dudes falling asleep in the side room of Cafe 611, some had clearly gone that route, but the truth was that ZED were all the shove I need to get through to the end of the evening. Everything else was overkill in comparison to their noise-tinged heavy rock, one riff after the next crunched out at max volume through the guitars of frontman Peter Sattari and Greg Lopez, the bass of Mark Aceves adding even further heft to be shoved forward at an impressive pace considering the mass of it by drummer Sean Boyles, who when the Bay Area outfit were done turned around and held up his hat to deliver the message “fuck everything” as plainly as possible. New song “Strippers” signaled a follow-up in progress to their 2016 third album, Trouble in Eden (review here), and one assumes that will arrive like its predecessor via Ripple Music, given how hard ZED were repping the label, from Lopez‘s beanie to Sattari‘s Freedom Hawk hat and Ripplefest shirt to Aceves‘ High Priestess tee. Gotta fly that flag, and they did it proud with a raucous delivery that lost nothing of its professionalism for its blanket electricity. Seemed like the crowd up front was pretty familiar with their stuff — at one point I also looked over and saw fest co-organizer JB Matson singing along stage-side — but I’d be willing to be they turned a few heads as well and made some new fans. It was that kind of set. If “fucking a rock” was a genre, that’s what ZED would be.

The Obsessed

The Obsessed (Photo JJ Koczan)

I don’t think there’s anywhere you could put The Obsessed on a Maryland Doom Fest bill except at the top. That’s where they were in 2016 and it’s where they deserved to be again. Would Maryland doom exist without them? Maybe, but certainly not in the form it has today. It’s been an eventful couple of years for guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich and the outfit in which he cut his teeth beginning back in the late ’70s when they started under the moniker Warhorse, but with their first album in 23 years behind them in 2017’s Sacred (review here) on Relapse, the trio of Weinrich, bassist Reid Raley (see also: Rwake) and drummer Brian Costantino were as classic as one could ask and a reminder of just how much of a blueprint for the style The Obsessed have always been. Copious touring in support of Sacred has made them maddeningly tight, and with a blend of new material and old in the set, they spoke to where they are today as well as where they came from — perfectly on theme for the night and the weekend as a whole. As the last of the nine bands playing, they shut the place down and it’s hard to imagine there’s any more one could’ve asked for when they were done. The Obsessed, like basically Pentagram and no one else of the region (Black Sabbath being, of course, universal), are essential and foundational when it comes to Maryland doom. Maryland Doom Fest 2018 welcomed them accordingly, and honestly, I think if they played every year here for the next five headlining one of the nights, they wouldn’t meet with any complaints. From “Sacred” itself to “Neatz Brigade” and “Sodden Jackal,” they proved how hard the heart of this scene and this aesthetic continues to beat. Oh yeah, and they were unbelievably loud. Like, might-as-well-take-your-earplugs-out loud. So, you know, bonus.

After flailing toward a 24-hour gas station and a 90-minute ride back to the town of Sparks, where I’m staying, I crashed out around 2:30 and was up a tragically short time later. Still, first day was excellent and there’s nothing I could ask of a leadoff night that wasn’t delivered. Maryland Doom Fest 2018 day two kicks off in a couple hours and, hell’s bells, I need a shower, so I’m gonna get on that, but there are more pics after the jump if you’re interested.

Thanks for reading.

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Maryland Doom Fest 2018 Announces Full Lineup with The Obsessed, Windhand, Weedeater, Earthride and Many More

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Invariably there will be some change between now and next June, and there’s the tradition of the pre-show to consider the night before, but right out of the gate, Maryland Doom Fest 2018 impresses with its scope of heavy rock and doom, cross-country reach and loyalty to its core mission. With The Obsessed, Windhand and Weedeater set to headline, the fourth edition of the fest curated by JB Matson and Mark Cruikshank will welcome return appearances from the likes of Castle, Earthride, Thousand Vision Mist and Foghound, while reaching out to bring first-timers from afar like Texas’ Doomstress and Duel and Switchblade Jesus, Kansas rockers The Midnight Ghost Train, Connecticut’s Curse the Son, New York’s Geezer, and — I believe traveling the farthest — Disenchanter, from Portland, Oregon.

It’s a killer assemblage, and I think the three headliners do a lot in summarizing the whole idea behind the fest in the first place: The Obsessed are among the founders of what we think of as “Maryland doom.” Windhand are the forerunners of the modern scene. And Weedeater bring a riotous sludge party like no one else on the planet. What more could you possibly ask of three bands in terms of expressing what Maryland Doom Fest 2018 is all about?

I’ll have updates as I see them, but in the meantime, mark your calendars for June 22, 23, and 24 at Cafe 611 in Frederick, MD, and I’ll do the same, because this looks absolutely awesome.

Dig it:

maryland doom fest 2018 poster

Maryand Doom Fest 2018

A 3 day weekend of Doom in its purest form.

June 22, 23, and 24

Cafe 611 Restaurant
611 North Market Street
Frederick, MD 21701

Full lineup:
The Obsessed, Windhand, Weedeater, Castle, Unorthodox, Duel, The Watchers, Zed, Switchblade Jesus, The Midnight Ghost Train, Lightning Born, Earthride, Geezer, Disenchanter, Bedowyn, Cavern, Doomstress, Caustic Casanova, Hawkeyes, Curse the Son, Las Cruces, Horseburner, Shadow Witch, Foghound, Witchhelm, Book of Wyrms, Thousand Vision Mist, Molasses Barge, Backwoods Payback, Bailjack, Electropathic, Gateway to Hell

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-maryland-doom-fest-2018-tickets-39468562533
https://www.facebook.com/MdDoomFest/
https://www.themarylanddoomfest.com/

The Obsessed, Live at Maryland Doom Fest 2016

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Horseburner Sign to Hellmistress Records; New Video & Tour Dates Posted

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

horseburner

Just a scant couple of days before West Virginian progressive heftbringers Horseburner strike out on tour with Maryland’s Cavern, shooting as far north as Canada in support of their 2016 debut album, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil (review here). Today, the newly-minted Hellmistress Records announces it will put its stamp on an official release for that record before the end of 2017, CD and LP both. Horseburner are the first pickup for Hellmistress, and as they’ve already sold through self-released pressings of the album, yeah, it seems like a solid grab on the part of label founder Melanie Streko, formerly of MeteorCity.

Marking both occasions — the tour and the signing; keep up — Horseburner also have a new video for “Eleleth” that you can see at the bottom of this post, right under the press release I wrote and received back down the trusty PR wire, which follows here:

horseburner-cavern-tour

HORSEBURNER Sign to Hellmistress Records; On Tour Starting this Week

West Virginia progressive heavy rockers unveil “Eleleth” video

Horseburner will release their debut full-length, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil, via Hellmistress Records on July 14 to coincide with the launch of a tour alongside Maryland’s Cavern. Today, they premiere a video for “Eleleth,” the album’s longest and closing track.

The progressive heavy rockers – recently announced as taking part in the inaugural Descendants of Crom Festival on Sept. 30 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – originally issued Dead Seeds, Barren Soil digitally in July 2016. After a massive response to the album, Hellmistress Records snapped up the band for the CD and an impending vinyl release due later this year.

“I’ve had my eye on Horseburner for a while,” notes Hellmistress Records founder Melanie Streko, formerly of MeteorCity. “They’re the perfect band to launch the label, with a take on heavy that’s their own. Dead Seeds, Barren Soil kicked my ass and I’m excited to give their album a wider audience! They put on an amazing high energy show so be sure to catch them live when they come to town!”

Horseburner are set to begin their stint of East Coast tour dates this week, and will head through Ohio and into Canada before circling back into New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington D.C., with bassist Mike Lorenzen pulling double-duty also playing in Cavern. Dates follow here:

HORSEBURNER Tour Dates w/ Cavern:
7/7 Toledo, OH – New Longhorn Saloon
7/8 Toronto, ON – Bovine Sex Club
7/9 Montreal, QC – Turbo Haus
7/10 Buffalo, NY – Mohawk Place
7/11 Philadelphia, PA – Safety Meeting
7/12 Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus
7/13 Stroudsburg, PA – Sherman Theatre
7/14 Baltimore, MD – Sidebar
7/15 Washington, DC – The Pinch
7/16 Pittsburgh, PA – Howlers
9/30 Pittsburgh, PA – Descendants of Crom Fest

Dead Seeds, Barren Soil will be available via the Hellmistress webstore at: https://hellmistressrecords.com/collections/label

Stay tuned for more from Horseburner and Hellmistress Records in the weeks and months to come!

Horseburner is:
Adam Nohe – Drums/vocals
Jack Thomas – Guitar/vocals
Zach Kaufman – Guitar
Mike Lorenzen – Bass

www.facebook.com/Horseburner
www.twitter.com/horseburner
www.instagram.com/horseburner
horseburner.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/HellmistressRecords
www.hellmistressrecords.com

Horseburner, “Eleleth” official video

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Quarterly Review: Ulver, Forming the Void, Hidden Trails, Svvamp, Black Mirrors, Endless Floods, Tarpit Boogie, Horseburner, Vermilion Whiskey, Hex Inverter

Posted in Reviews on March 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cropped-Charles-Meryon-Labside-Notre-Dame-1854

Feeling groovy heading into Day Two of the Spring 2017 Quarterly Review, and I hope you are as well. Today we dig into a pretty wide variety of whatnots, so make sure you’ve got your head with you as we go, because there are some twists and turns along the way. I mean it. Of all five days in this round, this one might be the most wild, so keep your wits intact. I’m doing my best to do the same, of course, but make no promises in that regard.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Ulver, The Assassination of Julius Caesar

ulver-the-assassination-of-julius-caesar

Norwegian post-everything specialists Ulver have reportedly called The Assassination of Julius Caesar (on House of Mythology) “their pop album,” and while the Nik Turner-inclusive freakout in second cut “Rolling Stone” (that may or may not be him on closer “Comign Home” as well) doesn’t quite fit that mold, the beats underscoring the earlier portion of that track, opener “Nemoralia” and the melodrama of “Southern Gothic” certainly qualify. Frontman/conceptual mastermind Kristoffer Rygg’s voice is oddly suited to this form – he carries emotionally weighted hooks like a melancholy George Michael on the electronically pulsating “Transverberation” and, like most works of pop, shows an obsession with the ephemeral in a slew of cultural references in “1969,” which in no way is likely to be mistaken for the Stooges song of the same name. While “So Falls the World” proves ridiculously catchy, “Coming Home” is about as close as Ulver actually come here to modern pop progression, and the Badalamenti-style low-end and key flourish in “1969” is a smooth touch, much of what’s happening in these eight tracks is still probably too complex to qualify as pop, but The Assassination of Julius Caesar is further proof that Ulver’s scope only grows more boundless as the years pass. The only limits they ever seem to know are the ones they leave behind.

Ulver on Twitter

House of Mythology website

 

Forming the Void, Relic

forming-the-void-relic

Last year, Louisiana four-piece Forming the Void had the element of surprise working to their advantage when it came to the surprising progressive edge of their debut album, Skyward (review here). Now signed to Argonauta, the eight-song/55-minute follow-up, Relic, doesn’t need it. It finds Forming the Void once again working proggy nuance into big-riffed, spaciously vocalized fare on early cuts “After Earth” and “Endless Road,” but as the massive hook of “Biolazar” demonstrates, the process by which guitarist/vocalist James Marshall, guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa, bassist Luke Baker and drummer Jordan Boyd meld their influences has become more cohesive and more their own. Accordingly, I’m not sure they need the 11-minute closing take on Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” since by then the point is made in the lumber/plunder of “Plumes” and in the more tripped-out “Unto the Smoke” just before, but as indulgences go, it’s a relatively easy one to make. They’re still growing, but doing so quickly, and already they’ve begun to find a niche for themselves between styles that one hopes they’ll continue to explore.

Forming the Void on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

Hidden Trails, Instant Momentary Bliss

hidden-trails-instant-momentary-bliss

Though it keeps a wash of melodic keys in the background and its approach is resolutely laid back on the whole, “Beautiful Void” is nonetheless a major factor in the overall impression of Hidden Trails’ self-titled debut (on Elektrohasch), as its indie vibe and departure from the psychedelic prog of the first two cuts, “Lancelot” and “Mutations,” marks a major distinguishing factor between this outfit and Hypnos 69, in which the rhythm section of the Belgian trio played previously. “Ricky” goes on to meld acoustic singer-songwriterism and drones together, and “Hands Unfold” has a kind of jazzy bounce, the bassline of Dave Houtmeyers and drumming of Tom Vanlaer providing upbeat groove under Jo Neyskens’ bright guitar lead, but the anticipation of heavy psych/prog never quite leaves after the opening, and that doesn’t seem to be what the band wants to deliver. The sweetly harmonized acid folk of “Leaving Like That” is on a different wavelength, and likewise the alt-rock vibes of “Space Shuffle” and “Come and Play” and the grunge-chilled-out closer “Denser Diamond.” If there’s an issue with Hidden Trails, it’s one of the expectations I’m bringing to it as a listener and a fan of Houtmeyers’ and Vanlaer’s past work, but clearly it’s going to take me a little longer to get over the loss of their prior outfit. Maybe I’m just not ready to move on.

Hidden Trails on Thee Facebooks

Elektrohasch Schallplatten website

 

Svvamp, Svvamp

svvamp-svvamp

Naturalist vibes pervade immediately from this late-2016 self-titled Svvamp debut (on RidingEasy Records) in the bassline to “Serpent in the Sky,” and in some of the post-Blue Cheer heavy blues sensibility, the Swedish trio bring to mind some of what made early Dirty Streets so glorious. Part of the appeal of Svvamp’s Svvamp, however, is that among the lessons it’s learned from heavy ‘70s rock and from Kadavar‘s own self-titled is to keep it simple. “Fresh Cream” is a resonant blues jam… that lasts two and a half minutes. The bouncing, turning “Oh Girl?” Three. Even the longest of its cuts, the slide-infused “Time,” the subdued roller “Big Rest” and the Marshall Tucker-esque finale “Down by the River,” are under five. This allows the three-piece of Adam Johansson, Henrik Bjorklund and Erik Stahlgren to build significant momentum over the course of their 35-minute run, casting aside pretense in favor of aesthetic cohesion and an organic sensibility all the more impressive for it being their first record. Sweden has not lacked for boogie rock, but even the most relatively raucous moments here, as in the winding “Blue in the Face,” don’t seem overly concerned with what anyone else is up to, and that bodes remarkably well for Svvamp’s future output.

Svvamp on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Black Mirrors, Funky Queen

black-mirrors-funky-queen

There are few songs ever written that require whoever’s playing them to “bring it” more than MC5’s “Kick out the Jams.” True, it’s been covered many, many times over, but few have done it well. Belgium’s Black Mirrors signal riotous intent by including it as one of the four tracks of their Napalm Records debut EP, Funky Queen, along with the originals “Funky Queen,” “The Mess” and “Canard Vengeur Masqué,” and amid the post-Blues Pills stomp of “The Mess,” the mega-hook of the opening title-track and the more spacious five-plus-minute closer, which works elements of heavy psych into its bluesy push late to welcome effect, “Kick out the Jams” indeed brings a moment of relative cacophony, even if there’s no actual threat of the band losing control behind the powerful vocals of Marcella di Troia. As a first showing, Funky Queen would seem to be a harbinger, but it’s also a purposeful and somewhat calculated sampling of Black Mirrors’ wares, and I wouldn’t expect it to be long before an album follows behind expanding on the ideas presented in these tracks.

Black Mirrors on Thee Facebooks

Black Mirrors at Napalm Records

 

Endless Floods, II

endless-floods-ii

No doubt that for some who’d take it on, any words beyond “members of Monarch!” will be superfluous, but Bordeaux three-piece Endless Floods, who do indeed feature bassist/vocalist Stéphane Miollan and drummer Benjamin Sablon from that band, as well as guitarist Simon Bedy, have more to offer than pedigree on their three-song sophomore full-length, II (on Dry Cough vinyl and Breathe Plastic cassette). To wit, 24-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Impasse” rumbles out raw but spacious sludge that, though without keys or a glut of effects, and marked by the buried-deep screaming of Miollan, holds a potent sense of atmosphere so that the two-minute interlude “Passage” doesn’t seem out of place leading into the 19-minute lumber of “Procession,” which breaks shortly before its halfway point to bass-led minimalism in setting up the final build of the record. Slow churning intensity and longform sludge working coherently alongside ambient sensibilities and some genuinely disturbing noise? Yeah, that’ll do nicely. Thanks.

Endless Floods on Thee Facebooks

Dry Cough Records on Bandcamp

Breathe Plastic Records on Bandcamp

 

Tarpit Boogie, Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam

tarpit-boogie-couldnt-handle-the-heavy-jam

Boasting four eight-plus-minute instrumentals, Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam finds New Jersey trio Tarpit Boogie rife with classic style heavy rock chemistry, bassist John Eager running fills around the dense-toned riffing from guitarist George Pierro as drummer Chris Hawkins propels a surprising thrust on opener “FFF Heavy Jam.” I’ve been a fan of Pierro and Eager’s since we were bandmates a decade ago, so to hear them unfold “Chewbacca Jacket” from its tense opening to its righteously crashing finale is definitely welcome, but the 37-minute offering finds its true reasoning in the swing and shuffle of the eponymous “Tarpit Boogie,” which digs into the very challenge posed by the title – whether or not anyone taking on the album can handle its balance of sonic impact and exploratory feel – inclusive, in this case, of a drum solo that sets a foundation for a moment of Cactus-style rush ahead of a return to the song’s central progression to conclude. They round out with “1992 (Thank You Very Little),” Chevy Chase sample and all, bringing more crashing nod to a massive slowdown that makes it feel like the entire back half of the cut is one big rock finish. And so it is. A well-kept secret of Garden State heavy.

Tarpit Boogie on Thee Facebooks

Tarpit Boogie on Bandcamp

 

Horseburner, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil

horseburner-dead-seeds-barren-soil

The self-released Dead Seeds, Barren Soil is Horseburner’s second full-length, and it arrived in 2016 from the four-piece some seven years after their 2009 debut, Dirt City. They’ve had a few shorter outings in between, demos and 2013’s Strange Giant EP, but the West Virginia four-piece of Adam Nohe, Chad Ridgway, Jack Thomas and Zach Kaufman seem to be shooting for a definitive statement of intent in the blend of heavy rock and modern, Baroness-style prog that emerges on opener “David” and finds its way into the galloping “Into Black Resolution,” the multi-tiered vocals of “A Newfound Purity” and even the more straight-ahead thrust of “The Soil’s Prayer.” Marked out by the quality of its guitar work and its clearly-plotted course, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil caps with “Eleleth,” which at just under eight minutes draws the heft and the complexity together for a gargantuan finish that does justice to the ground Horseburner just flattened as they left it behind.

Horseburner on Thee Facebooks

Horseburner on Bandcamp

 

Vermilion Whiskey, Spirit of Tradition

vermilion-whiskey-spirit-of-tradition

Lafayette, Louisiana, five-piece Vermilion Whiskey telegraph participation in the New Wave of Dude Rock to the point of addressing their audience as “boy” in second cut “The Past is Dead,” and from the cartoon cleavage on the cover to the lack of irony between naming the record Spirit of Tradition and putting a song called “The Past is Dead” on it, they sell that well. The Kent Stump-mixed/Tony Reed-mastered six-tracker is the band’s second behind 2013’s 10 South, and basks in dudely, dudely dudeliness; Southern metal born more out of the Nola style than what, say, Wasted Theory are getting up to these days, but that would still fit on a bill with that Delaware outfit. If you think you’re dude enough for a song like “One Night,” hell, maybe you are. Saddle up. Listening to that and the chunky-style riff of closer “Loaded Up,” I feel like I might need hormone therapy to hit that level of may-yun, but yeah. Coherent, well written, tightly performed and heavy. Vermilion Whiskey might as well be hand-issuing dudes invitations to come drink with them, but they make a solid case for doing so.

Vermilion Whiskey on Thee Facebooks

Vermilion Whiskey on Bandcamp

 

Hex Inverter, Revision

hex-inverter-revision

If the cover art and a song title like “I Swear I’m Not My Thoughts” weren’t enough of a tip-off, there’s a strong undercurrent of the unsettled to Hex Inverter’s second long-player, Revision. The Pennsylvania-based experimentalists utilize a heaping dose of drones to fill out arrangements of keys, guitar and noise that would otherwise be pretty minimal, and vocals come and go in pro- and depressive fashion. Texture proves the key as they embark on the linear centerpiece “Something Else,” with a first verse arriving over a sweetened bassline after four minutes into the total 9:58, and the wash of noise in “Daphne” obscures an avant neo-jazz groove late, so while opener “Cannibal Eyes” basks in foreboding ambience prior to an emotionally-driven and explosive crunch-beat payoff, one never quite knows what to expect next on Revision. That, of course, is essential to the appeal. They find an edge of rock in the aforementioned “I Swear I’m Not My Thoughts,” but as the loops and synth angularity of closer “Fled (Deadverse Mix)” make plain, their intentions speak to something wider than even an umbrella genre.

Hex Inverter on Thee Facebooks

Hex Inverter on Bandcamp

 

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