Posted in Whathaveyou on September 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
A scant couple months after rounding out the summer with a run through the Midwest, Houston-based dark heavy rockers Doomstress will head out on their next tour, this time hitting the Southeast on a run dubbed “Southern Bounty.” Sure enough it’s harvest season, and by the time they go, Doomstress will have released their new single, Wicked Woman, on limited vinyl through DHU Records, so all the more appropriate in terms of their timing. In October, they’ll also make a hometown appearance at the End Hip End It fest, alongside Radio Moscow, Mondo Drag, Crypt Trip and a vast assortment of others.
Worth noting that bassist/vocalist “Doomstress” Alexis Hollada and lead guitarist/backing vocalist Brandon Johnson will be joined this time around by a different drummer and second guitarist, rounding out the latest lineup of the four-piece. I’ll be curious to see how their lineup ultimately shakes out past this second single and headed into whatever might be next, be it an EP, full-length debut or what. Till then, tour starts Nov. 4:
DOOMSTRESS – Southern Bounty Tour
Doomstress “Wicked Woman” 7″ vinyl from DHU Records officially released on Halloween adn we are hitting the road again! DOOMSTRESS – Southern Bounty Tour to cover 6 states across southeastern US beginning with our hometown debut in Houston, TX at End Hip End It psych fest and spreading across the gulf coast into Florida and Georgia
On this tour, the DOOMSTRESS lineup will consist of: Doomstress Alexis – bass & vocals Brandon Johnson – lead guitar & backing vocals Andy Kaos Vehnekamp – drums (Texas Massacre/H.R.A./The Guillotines) and Davis Jumper – 2nd guitar (PuraPharm/Saxon King)
10/22-Houston/Old Town Spring, TX @ End Hip End It psych fest (www.endhipendit.com) 11/4-Lake Charles, LA @ Luna Live 11/5-Hattiesburg, MS @ The Tavern 11/6-Lafayette, LA @ Steam Press Cafe 11/7-Birmingham, AL The Nick 11/8-Atlanta/Macon, GA @ tba 11/9-Jacksonville, FL @ Shantytown Pub 11/10-Tampa, FL @ Lucky You Tattoo 11/11-Ft. Lauderdale @ Kreepy Tiki Bar 11/12-Gainseville, FL @ Hardback Cafe
Posted in Reviews on August 17th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
A fervent undercurrent of metal runs beneath the progressive atmospheres of The Search. It extends even to the liner notes of the CD, which not only contain the full lyrics, typed out clear with credits, but notes included for which of the two guitarists — Maurice Eggenschwiler and Jan “El Janni” Kimmel, both also vocals — is taking the solo in that place. More often than not, it’s one, then the other. Shades of oldschool thrash there, but the debut full-length from the Houston, Texas, four-piece owes much more of its crux to prog metal and heavy rock than to anything so raw as younger Slayer. Still, the dogwhistle blows to those who might hear that particular frequency, and the spirit of precision that was always an undercurrent both of thrash — underproduced as it was — and the NWOBHM manifest in these vinyl-ready six tracks/41-minutes, topped off with artwork by David Paul Seymour.
The band was founded by Kimmel, Eggenschwiler and drummer Cory Cousins in 2014 following the hiatus of Sanctus Bellum, and in bringing on board bassist Gabriel Katz, they’ve also shifted their sonic focus toward grander fare. Tonally, The Search, which was recorded and mixed at Lucky Run Studio in Houston, adopts a heavy rock feel, but as it’s presented in such a clean, clear style — and maybe standard tuning? — the overarching impression becomes that of the band’s reach rather than their heft. That’s fitting for the traditions in which they’re working, from Uriah Heep to latter-day Opeth — also noteworthy that Kimmel handles keys, specified by the band as Nord, which Opeth‘s Per Wiberg also used — and with the shared vocal duties, they bring something of themselves fluidly to what winds up being an ambitious debut release.
Variety in the songwriting extends to within individual tracks as well as between them. With the exception of the penultimate title-cut at 9:45, songs range around five to six minutes long, but as Blues Funeral show immediately with the blend of Thin Lizzy bounce and proggy lead work in opener “Autumn Dream.” A previously posted live version had reminded me of Beelzefuzz, and though that’s less the case tonally on the record, some element remains, though the context of The Search immediately broadens with “Harbinger,” the shortest track at 5:19, which takes the central groove of Black Sabbath‘s “A National Acrobat” and successfully repurposes it to suit a rhythmic base for vocal harmonies dressed out with flourish of acoustic guitar, choice ride work from Cousins and later thickening of tone behind the soloing of Eggenschwiler and Kimmel.
Something of a darker feel results than anything either “Harbinger” or “Autumn Dream” before it offered, but the rush of “Planet Void” and the urgency of its push assure Blues Funeral aren’t mired one way or the other. With more impressive dual-vocal work and nods vocally and in the riff to Iron Maiden, it’s Katz‘s low end again that holds the proceedings together as the guitars are prone to launching into momentary fits of scorch, only to return to the verse shortly thereafter, as though nothing ever happened. The vocals are dry at least for the most part, and I don’t think some treatment of reverb would hurt, but as it stands they effectively emphasize harmonies when intended, as in the chorus of “Planet Void,” which is revisited just before a final solo — from Kimmel — brings the first half of The Search to a close.
Kimmel adds organ to “Paragon of Virtue,” and with the creepier doom vibe that follows, it would seem to mirror the Beelzefuzzing of “Autumn Dream” while, again, putting its own ’70s-inspired spin on it. The organ rises to prominence in the mix before all drops out leaving light, intricately-plucked Akerfeldtian guitar as the bed for an instrumental midsection — solo included, naturally — that builds guitar harmonies in layers before shifting into its next phase of lower-toned chug behind another solo section. A little Ritchie Blackmore circa Rainbow would seem to be the initial basis for the start of The Search‘s title-track, but there’s a more patient take in the album’s longest cut — it meanders a bit, purposefully — before sweeping in with organ to its first verse at around the two-minute mark, and the classic heavy rock style still holds its complement of metallic vibe, Katz‘s bass getting a moment to shine early for its heretofore underappreciated tonal warmth.
With more spacious vocals, “The Search” offers a hook as well as proggy expanse, and even after it veers into a more extended organ solo, it takes the time to bring back the chorus and keep the composition itself as the focus, rather than the execution. One might’ve expected Blues Funeral to follow it by ending with a lighter, more melancholic feel. They go the opposite route. “Palmdale” rounds out with nigh-on-thrashy riffing and a leveled-up push from even what “Planet Void” brought to bear, delivered with a down-to-business efficiency and a Candlemass-style soaring vocal that serves to highlight how skillfully the band is able to mesh their influences together.
By the time they get there, of course they end with a solo-topped big rock finish. Well earned. Keeping in mind that The Search is their first outing — preceded by no recordings so far as I know — Blues Funeral meet their considerable ambitions head on, while also setting themselves up for stylistic expansion in any number of directions. They effectively bridge gaps between the classic and modern, rock and metal, and metal and prog worlds, and, most encouraging of all, sound like they’re only going to keep growing.
Since their inception three years ago, Houston heavy rockers Funeral Horse have proved to have more than enough weirdo edge to match their rolling, classic-style groove. In the fine and long-standing tradition of Bizarro Texas, their material is both strange and familiar somehow, playing smartly off conventions of traditional metal and punk and noise rock, but establishing an experimental undercurrent that assures they’re completely allied to none of the above.
From their first record, 2013’s Savage Audio Demon (review here), onward, Funeral Horse have willfully defied expectation. At the time I confirmed them for The Obelisk All-Dayer, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar — just EIGHT DAYS AWAY; get your tickets here — I did so in no small part because I thought maybe seeing them live would help explain at least in part just what the hell it is they’re up to. I wound up seeing them this past February and not only did I get a sense of the roots of their offbeat vibe, but was taken aback by their stage presence and the tightness of their performance as well. Bonus.
The song in today’s countdown video is called “Burial of the Sun.” It was filmed in Houston a couple weeks ago and it comes from Funeral Horse‘s impending fourth album, Psalms of the Mourning, which is currently being recorded. I’m stoked beyond all repair to welcome Funeral Horse to The Obelisk All-Dayer and hopefully watch as they blow a few minds and catch a lot of people off-guard, which they’re bound to do even if you think you might know what to expect.
Funeral Horse join Mars Red Sky, Death Alley, Snail, Kings Destroy, EYE, King Buffalo and Heavy Temple on the bill at The Obelisk All-Dayer, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, NYC. For more info and to get your tickets for under the door price, click here.
Enjoy “Burial of the Sun” below:
Funeral Horse, “Burial of the Sun” Live in Houston
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 27th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
It was little more than a week ago that Houston dark heavy rockers Doomstress announced their forthcoming Wicked Woman single, to be released as a 7″ vinyl in time for their upcoming tour. There were a few shows announced at the time for that stint, including the Tennessean Sludge Fest, where Doomstress will headline along with Place of Skulls and Shroud Eater, among many others playing, but the rest of the tour has completely solidified with a Chicago venue just added for Sept. 3. Nice to get these things nailed down.
They’ll be traveling with Venomin James‘ Joe Fortunato — apparently now also in Ancient VVisdom — on second guitar and continue to record new material as they go. Doesn’t look like the 7″ will be done in time to hit the road with the band, but something tells me this won’t be the last tour they announce. Call it a hunch.
From the PR wire:
DOOMSTRESS – Wicked Summer Midwest Tour
DOOMSTRESS hits the road for a series of dates around the midwest US as well as continuing recording new material at Supernatural Sound in the Cleveland, OH area.
DOOMSTRESS will consist of the recording lineup of:
Doomstress Alexis – bass & vocals Brandon Johnson – lead guitar & backing vocals Tomasz Scull – drums
and also on 2nd guitar: Joe Fortunato – of Venomin James, Sparrowmilk and the new bassist for Ancient VVisdom!
8/18 – Indianapolis, IN @ 5th Quarter Lounge (w/ Archarus, Spirit Division & Ice Howl) 8/19 – Murfreesboro, TN @ Tennessean Sludge Fest (Place of Skulls, Shroud Eater, Order of the Owl, Flummox, Black Tar Prophet, Crawl & more!) 8/20 – Chattanooga, TN @ Ziggy’s Underground 8/21 – Louisville, KY @ Highlands Tap Room Grill 8/25 – Cleveland, OH @ The Foundry Concert Club (w/ The Great Iron Snake and Toro Blanco) 9/2 – Milwaukee, WS @ The Metal Grill 9/3 – Chicago, IL @ Township (w/ Fox 45 & Black Road)
**of Special note: The “Supernatural Kvlt Sounds” ep was limited to only 150 CDs of which 1/3 are already gone! This ep and the upcoming “Wicked Woman” very limited edition 7″ single from DHU Records (due sometime this Fall) will be the only available recordings for our remake of Coven’s “Wicked Woman”!
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 18th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Houston dark heavy rockers Doomstress have hooked up with DHU Records to release a new limited single called Wicked Woman. The cover art, by the renowned David Paul Seymour, is NSFW — aside from being generally sick of littering this site with cartoon tits and of heavy rock’s over-usage of them in general, I have a job now where that kind of thing matters — but can be viewed by clicking the cropped header above. Spoiler: there are cartoon tits involved.
No audio yet from the single, but the lead track is a cover of Coven‘s “Wicked Woman” from 1969’s Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls, and Doomstress made their debut earlier this year with the two-songer Supernatural Kvlt Sounds (video premiere here), from which the track “Way of the Mountain” — featured on the Wicked Woman 7″ — also comes.
The total number pressed is 250, and that’s split between red-and-black splatter and purple-and-orange splatter versions, both of which look awesome and ideally will be back from the plant before Doomstress head out on tour in the Midwest and East Coast. They’re due to make a stop at Tennesseean Sludge Fest on Aug. 19 and will reportedly have more dates added around that. I’ll post when I hear about them.
Till then, here’s the info on the new single:
DOOMSTRESS has signed with DHU Records for a 7″ vinyl release of : “Way of the Mountain” / “Wicked Woman” single Original artwork by David Paul Seymour Cover concept by Doomstress Alexis
Limited to 250 copies: 150 Red with Black splatter-band edition) 100 Purple with Orange splatter-DHU exclusive Scheduled for release in late summer (hopefully in time for our #WickedSummerTour )
Doomstress, featuring members of Project Armageddon, Sparrowmilk & Venomin James, will be touring the midwest/northeast US over the summer to support their debut. Among their stops will be The Tennessean Sludge Fest! More dates and info tba
8/18-Indianapolis,IN-5th Quarter Lounge 8/19–Murfreesboro,TN-TN Sludge Fest 8/21-Louisville,KY-The Tap Room
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 24th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
To answer your immediate question, yes, there is actually a fiddle involved in Fiddle Witch and the Demons of Doom. The Houston-based trio feature it pretty heavily on their new single, in fact. They were recently picked up by Domo Music and issue “Midnight Mayhem” under the label’s banner with nods toward pagan metal and progressive death. It’s a weird blend, which is what I like about it, but they make it work. Of course, “Midnight Mayhem” is really just a sampling of what Fiddle Witch and the Demons of Doom might have in store, but as a first impression, it offers a look at a group who seem hell bent on developing a style of their own. Hard not to respect that.
From the PR wire:
Fiddle Witch and The Demons of Doom Get Signed and Release new Single
“Midnight Mayhem” perfectly illustrates the mood and musical content of a new single released by Fiddle Witch & The Demons Of Doom. Collectively, the Houston, Texas based artists deliver an innovative, melodic blend of classical and metal music.
Penned by band members Jo Bird, Geoffrey Muller and SPIKE the Percussionist, “Midnight Mayhem” reflects the band’s collaborative spirit, unique instrumentation and sound.
Of the band, producer Ulrich Wild said, “It’s very rewarding to work with new and exciting artists such Jo Bird, Geoffrey Muller and Spike the Percussionist who fearlessly conquer new ground. The new single by Fiddle Witch & The Demons Of Doom, Midnight Mayhem marries electric viola and Death Metal into a mutant pagan ritual.”
Jo Bird said, “We’re excited to unleash Midnight Mayhem onto the unsuspecting world that leads us to new avenues.” Geoffrey Muller added, “We had an amazing time working with Ulrich Wild on this new track. Powerful and creepy, it contains all of the intricacies you would expect from a Fiddle Witch & The Demons Of Doom track!” SPIKE The Percussionist concludes, “The new noiz really pushed us into a new experience and an unexpected direction with themes ranging from sinister classical elements to exotic world motifs. This new track is quite a sonic adventure.”
Fiddle Witch & The Demons Of Doom features the talents of Jo Bird, Geoffrey Muller and SPIKE the Percussionist. Jo Bird conceived the notion of Fiddle Witch in 2012 as a way to further explore her diverse musical influences. At that time, Bird was referred to SPIKE the Percussionist who shared her classical training and passion for metal and rock music. Veteran Houston Bassist and session musician Geoffrey Muller rounds out the trio. Fiddle Witch & The Demons Of Doom look forward to a “Mayhem” filled 2016 on the heels of their new release and upcoming tour dates.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 2nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Hate to point it out, but for an album titled No Warning, Houston dark heavy rockers Venomous Maximus are actually giving considerable warning of its arrival. It hasn’t been recorded yet! When the band hits the studio later this month, they’ll do so with Joel Grind of Toxic Holocaust at the helm, and the to-be-resultant offering is currently slated for a Fall 2016 release via Shadow Kingdom, which also released the band’s 2015 outing, Firewalker (review here).
One can’t help but wonder if the witch in the tentative song title “Return of the Witch” is the same one featured on 2011’s The Mission (review here) in “Give up the Witch.” Would make an awful lot of sense, since Venomous Maximus note below they’re playing to their strengths in the new material, and that track would certainly qualify as such. Any good horror show deserves a sequel, so fair enough if it actually is one.
The PR wire takes it from here:
VENOMOUS MAXIMUS Tap TOXIC HOLOCAUST’s Joel Grind to Produce New Album
Award-Winning Houston Metal Band to Release New LP this Fall
Dark metal band VENOMOUS MAXIMUS will enter Portland, Oregon’s Falcon Studios on June 21 to record the follow-up to their celebrated 2015 release, Firewalker. Tentatively titled, No Warning, the album will be produced and engineered by Toxic Holocaust front man Joel Grind (Poison Idea, Lord Dying). A fall, 2016 release date via Shadow Kingdom Records is expected.
“‘No Warning’ will point a magnifying glass directly towards this band’s biggest strengths,” comments VENOMOUS MAXIMUS vocalist / guitarist Gregg Higgins. “Prepare for riff after riff on top of riffs.” Tentative song titles include “Return of the Witch”, “No Warning” and “Spellblind”.
The release of last year’s heralded LP, Firewalker, thrust VENOMOUS MAXIMUS into the higher reaches of the international hard-and-heavy music scene. The quartet followed the release of the LP with a full U.S. tour alongside metal heroes HIGH ON FIRE.
In addition to Gregg Higgins, VENOMOUS MAXIMUS features Christian Larson (guitar), Trevi Biles (bass) and Bongo (drums).
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 20th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Tomorrow, May 21, dual-guitar proto-doomers Blues Funeral will enter the studio to record their debut full-length. What’s been given the title The Search will comprise six songs to be tracked at Lucky Run Studios in the four-piece’s native Houston, Texas, for a total runtime of 41 minutes, give or take. As for who’ll be at the helm, it’s Michael Mikulka, who owns Lucky Run and is known for engineering Kyuss‘ early LP Wretch. Though both would fall under the general umbrella of “heavy,” those legendary desert rockers shouldn’t necessarily be taken as a comparison point when it comes to Blues Funeral, who as the live clip for “Autumn Dream” below shows, owe much more of their approach to organ-laced classic doom, marked out by the combined vocals of guitarists Maurice Eggenschwiler and Jan Kimmel.
Kimmel also handles organ on the track, and the harmonies of voice and instrument in combination with the key work gives an impression not unlike Beelzefuzz, though obviously the processes behind it are different. Kimmel, Eggenschwiler and drummer Cory Cousins come out of the band Sanctus Bellum — Blues Funeral is rounded out by bassist Gabriel Katz — and the new project has some of that same underlying metallurgy, but it’s still clear that they’re working to establish their own sound as well.
No word on a release date yet for The Search, but you can find album art by David Paul Seymour and some comment that Eggenschwiler was kind enough to give on the upcoming studio time below. Blues Funeral will also open the Houston date for The Obsessed, The Atomic Bitchwax and Karma to Burn tour on June 9, and that info follows:
Maurice Eggenschwiler on recording:
“It’s crazy to think that we’ve already been playing together as a band for over a year. Though our music tastes are all fairly varied, we all share a mutual affinity for music from the ’60s and ’70s. Especially some of the music that really has a pronounced inclusion of Hammond organ. While we were playing together in Sanctus Bellum we’d always talked about a project that would allow us to bring in more of that shared influence, but never had the time to do it. When Sanctus needed to go on hiatus for a bit, we were finally given that opportunity and from November 2014 to date, we’ve had the chance to write and perform the six songs that are ultimately going to end up on this record… as well as a few others that we’re currently working on arranging and will unveil later. The album title, The Search, was taken in part from the first song that we arranged as a band and is also a bit of a nod to the idea that we’re searching to find that perfect blend of all our influences in this project. We’ve been thrilled to really push the boundaries of our songwriting with this project and are very excited to finally get the music out on a consumable format. We’re excited for what the future holds.”
Blues Funeral is: Jan Kimmel (El Janni) – Guitar, Nord, Vocals Maurice Eggenschwiler – Guitar, Vocals Cory Cousins – Drums Gabriel Katz – Bass
Blues Funeral live: June 9 Walter’s Downtown, Houston, Texas w/ The Obsessed, The Atomic Bitchwax & Karma to Burn