Posted in Whathaveyou on November 13th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’ll admit, I’m deeply interested to see what comes of the current Bongzilla reunion. Not just if the long-underappreciated Wisconsin stoner-sludgers put out another record — though certainly that too — but also what kind of response they’re able to glean from their audience as a resurgent band. I haven’t had the chance to see them live yet, but I want to know how people liking the idea of Bongzilla as the embodiment of this ultra-reefered sludge ethos translates into making them a sustainable group. One way or another, I think 2016 will be a fascinating year for them.
Today, they reissue their 1999 debut, Stash, on Hydro-Phonic Records. It is by no means the first time the band and label have worked together, Hydro-Phonic having also put out the 15th anniversary edition of Bongzilla‘s Methods for Obtaining Extreme Altitudes EP in 2013, as well as the 10th anniversary edition of their second album, Gateway, in 2012.
If you know Hydro-Phonic‘s work, then you know their packaging is always creative and something special to behold, and from the fuzzy nuggets on the cover of the test pressings to the glow-in-the-dark slipmat and foil cover on the deluxe, Stash is clearly no exception.
As it would almost have to, the sale begins at 4:20PM Eastern.
Click any of the images below to enlarge for a better look:
Bongzilla – Stash LP
BONGZILLA: Stash LP first time ever on vinyl from Hydro-Phonic Records Friday the 13th at 4:20pm EST. Versions for every budget available.
100 Deluxe Edition on Ultra Clear with glow-in-dark slip-mat, foil-stamped cover and poster….Handmade numbered Test Press with four-color “fuzzy nugs” (like black-light posters or The Scimitar Test Press you may have) in a “Cadillac” style cover… 50 made, less than 30 for sale. Also 200 Gold, 300 Black and 200 Green with purple/gold splatter! …every copy comes with some “hidden stash” as well…if you find it!
Don’t be late!
100 Deluxe on Ultra Clear wax with a glow-in-dark slipmat and poster, housed in a foil stamped cover 50 handmade “Fuzzy” test pressings 200 Green Splatter 200 Gold 300 Black
Posted in On Wax on June 11th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
When it finally came to it, I couldn’t bring myself to review Kings Destroy‘s A Time of Hunting around the time of its original 2013 release. Aside from having helped put out their 2010 debut, And the Rest Will Surely Perish, on this site’s in-house label, The Maple Forum, and the invariable conflict of interest there — though by the time they got around to putting out the second album, the first was long gone, so it’s not like I was trying to sell anything — I felt way too close to the songs to even try to muster a sense of impartiality as regards the Brooklyn five-piece’s achievement. What’s changed? A bit of distance from the record itself, maybe, but more than that, and more than protecting the illusion of critical perspective as much as I could ever claim to have such a thing, there was a lot about A Time of Hunting that I don’t think I really understood, and it took a long time before the character of its eight songs really set in.
The biggest help of all may have been the release of their third album, Kings Destroy (review here), which hit at the beginning of last month. In a strange bit of coincidence, that record’s arrival on War Crimes Recordings landed awfully close to Hydro-Phonic Records‘ LP issue of A Time of Hunting, so I had occasion to visit both in pretty close proximity to each other. The vinyl edition, which does justice to the beautiful and intricate album art with its relative size and with the blue and brown splatter on the record itself, also takes a step in explaining the structure of the album. Take it as evidence of how far away I was from being able to offer any valid critique of Kings Destroy‘s sophomore outing if you wish, but I never thought of it as having two sides until I listened to it that way.
It makes mountains more sense. Righteous moments like the huge-sounding drums of Rob Sefcik that launch opener “Stormbreak” and the lurching groove of “The Toe” are preserved on side A, which even as it moves into “Casse-Tête” and “Decrepit” keeps a more straight-ahead and aggressive sound built around the guitars of Carl Porcaro and Chris Skowronski and with the foundational low end of then-newcomer bassist Aaron Bumpus, while side B moves outward from the soft intro of “Shattered Pattern” to a more emotive lumbering before the lurch of the title-track and the subsequent “Blood of Recompense” take hold, the album’s two longest cuts served up one into the next with spliced in leads, an immersive sprawl, and particularly in the case of the latter, a grandiosity that’s still miles away from anything And the Rest Will Surely Perish had on offer, pulled off with sincerity in Steve Murphy‘s voice at the fore — see also the side A closer, “Decrepit,” which hinted of the turns to come — and a fullness of sound surrounding that no doubt benefited from being the second production collaboration with Sanford Parker.
And then “Turul.” Fucking “Turul.” It’s four and a half minutes long and I’ve spent the last two years trying to get my head around it. A strange shift in its storytelling and a guitar figure to match, “Turul” flips the entire record on its head — but somehow, on the vinyl, its context feels different since so much of side B is branching out from what they were doing on “The Toe” or even “Casse-Tête” in reinterpreting the confrontationalism of their New York hardcore past into an anti-genre stew past doom and still decidedly un-metal. I won’t go so far as to say I get it now, but in light of “Time for War” from the self-titled, I don’t think I’m supposed to. It’s supposed to be as far out as they go, and it winds up exactly that.
In a way, it’s fitting that the LP version of A Time of Hunting should show up so close to the album after it, because with Kings Destroy‘s Kings Destroy for comparison, the vibe on these tracks is really more like a second debut following the lineup change that saw Ed Bocchino leave the band and Bumpus join. These are the origin points for the songwriting methodology that the third offering continues to refine. I guess that’s not such a crazy thing to say about one record into the next, but with A Time of Hunting, it was a big jump sonically, and as enthralled with it as I was — I didn’t review it, but I think I said enough about it along the way to get that point across to anyone paying minimal attention — I feel like there’s a lot about it that’s made clearer with this revisit, so I’m glad to have the chance to approach it again as a new release.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still claim no impartiality when it comes to Kings Destroy or whatever they’re putting out in a given week, but as well as I know these songs, and as close as I’ve come to feel to them over the last two-plus years, it should say something that I can put on the LP and be able to gain a new appreciation for how rich and ambitious a listening experience A Time of Hunting actually is.
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
The second hour starts a little early this time around, and what I mean by that is when you’re like five minutes into hour two and trying to figure out on the tracklisting below what improv-sounding brilliant cut you’re hearing, pay careful attention to when hour one ended. Just 11 seconds from the start of the second half of the podcast. So yeah, that 18-minute wonder gets filed under hour one instead, but it comes with a wink and a nod. I just couldn’t bring myself to file something under hour two without a one at the front of the time stamp, which shows you how sad and compulsive I am because I’ve only been time-stamping these podcasts for two months now. What a dork.
It’s good stuff this. Always is, I suppose, but starting out with Goatsnake into The Machine and then on from there, it builds a flow that makes some sense one into the next in a way that, listening back to it after I put it together, was especially satisfying. Hopefully you agree as you make your way though.
As always, hope you enjoy:
0:00:00 Goatsnake, “Grandpa Jones” from Black Age Blues
0:04:36 The Machine, “Coda Sun” from Offblast!
0:09:55 Galley Beggar, “Pay My Body Home” from Silence and Tears
0:18:51 Steve Von Till, “Night of the Moon” from A Life Unto Itself
0:25:48 Venomous Maximus, “Through the Black” from Firewalker
0:29:42 Black Pyramid, “Open the Gates” from Dead Star 7”
0:34:59 Ape Skull, “A is for Ape” from Fly Camel Fly
0:39:54 Sunder, “Deadly Flower” from Demo
0:43:53 Eternal Fuzz, “Sea Change” from Nostalgia
0:47:37 Geezer, “Long Dull Knife” from Long Dull Knife
0:53:31 Fogg, “Joy of Home” from High Testament
0:59:49 Shiggajon, “Sela” from Sela
1:18:07 Blown Out, “Thousand Years in the Sunshine” from Planetary Engineering
1:34:01 Les Lekin, “Loom” from All Black Rainbow Moon
1:47:14 Undersmile, “Knucklesucker” from Anhedonia
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 8th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Atlanta sludge crushers Sons of Tonatiuh will hit the East Coast for 11 shows in 11 nights starting June 17. The trio, who also toured in Japan last year, are set to make a return to the UK and Europe this Fall alongside Grey Widow as well, though those dates are less firmed up at this point as the band looks to begin a round of heavy road-time in support of their still TBA third full-length, which will be the follow-up to 2012’s Parade of Sorrow.
More to come, I’m sure, but with that in mind, here are the East Coast dates and some comment from the band, hot off the PR wire:
SONS OF TONATIUH: Atlanta Sludge Trio Set For East Coast Takeover Next Month
Atlanta sludge trio, SONS OF TONATIUH, will take to the streets next month on another round of lead-footed live invasions touting psalms from their impending new full-length. The tour will kick off on June 17th on their home turf and stomp its way through eleven metropolises in eight states – some of which the band has never performed — concluding on June 27th in Raleigh. Ears will be deafened. Children will cry.
“Seven years running and the coals are still blazing bright,” offers the band of their latest bout of onstage annihilation. “With our first time up to Buffalo and Boston, the Armageddon will ensue. This tour will be in support of our upcoming third release. Touring will be non-stop for the next couple of years as we plan to cover new ground across the pond as well as within this great mud bowl. We hope to see some old friends as well as meet some new ones so don’t be a stranger and come out and support our venom towards authority.”
SONS OF TONATIUH: 6/17/2015 529 – Atlanta, GA w/ Rapturous Grief, Waste Layer 6/18/2015 The Milestone – Charlotte, NC w/ From the Gun 6/19/2015 Strange Matter – Richmond, VA w/ Backwoods Payback 6/20/2015 O’Brien’s Pub – Boston, MA w/ Finisher 6/21/2015 Lucky 13 – Brooklyn, NY 6/22/2015 My Place Pizza – Poughkeepsie, NY 6/23/2015 The Hoyt House – Buffalo, NY 6/24/2015 The Smiling Mouse – Pittsburgh, PA 6/25/2015 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA w/ Repellers 6/26/2015 Guido’s – Frederick, MD 6/27/2015 Slim’s Downtown – Raleigh, NC w/ Squall
SONS OF TONATIUH – guitarist/vocalist Dan Caycedo, bassist Twitch and drummer Josh Lomanto – released their Parade Of Sorrow long player via Hydro-Phonic Records in 2012.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Originally released late last year digitally by the band, Necro‘s self-titled album will be available to preorder from Hydro-Phonic Records starting this Saturday. A partial revisit of their 2011 debut — also self-titled, but released under the band’s original name, Necronomicon — it reworks songs like “Dark Redemption” and “Creatures from the Swamp” to suit Necro‘s more modern sound and configuration, with Lillian Lessa taking over lead vocals and sharing parts with bassist Pedrinho while drummer Thiago Alef holds together the fluid grooves behind.
As ever for Hydro-Phonic, the vinyl is gorgeous-looking, and in addition to Necro‘s self-titled, they’ll also have preorders up for new vinyl from Black Pyramid and Kings Destroy. The label posted the following update/announcement about the forthcoming releases. Not sure on the exact due date for Necro, but one assumes it’ll be included in the preorder, and if you’re desperate, the trio has the whole thing streaming on their Bandcamp.
NECRO S/T LP is on its way! Pre-orders start this Saturday at 4:00pm EST (along with Black Pyramid and Kings Destroy vinyls).
Formerly known as Brazil’s Necronomicon, this 70’s inspired doom trio has returned with their second LP (a re-interpretation of their original demo cd). Along with the name shortening, we also have the addition of female lead vocals provided by Lillian Lessa, taking Necro to the next level! Fans of the original Necronomicon releases will not be disappointed!
This addition will be available in two color choices, Gold/Blue (LTD 100) and Splattered wax (LTD 200) along with a poster and lyric sheet insert. For fans of retro 70’s heavy prog, Black Sabbath, Witch Mountain, Blood Ceremony, occult rock and of course doom!
Lillian Lessa: Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Moog, Vocal Pedrinho: Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Mellotron, Vocal Thiago Alef: Drums, Percussion
Diogo Oliveira: Vocal in “Mente Profana” Cristiano Suarez: Pencil Arranged and produced by Necro Recorded at Pedrada between January and March ’14 MIxed by Dácio Messias
Posted in Features on December 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I knew already when I moved to the Boston area that Darryl Shepard was an exceedingly good guy. We’d been in touch for years at that point and I’d helped press up the CD run of Blackwolfgoat‘s second album, Dronolith, plus been a fan of his work in that one-man outfit as well as past bands like Milligram, Roadsaw, and so on. What I didn’t know was how universally respected he is. It’s not a celebrity thing, and part of that I’ll attribute to his own down-to-earth sensibility, but whether it’s people showing up to watch him play, peers in other bands, musicians he plays with or just people he knows from having been around the city’s rock underground for as long as he has, there’s a deep-running appreciation for who he is and what he does. The only person I’ve ever heard talk shit about Darryl, is Darryl, and even he’s doing it for laughs.
He’s had a busy 2014, between releasing albums with The Scimitar and Blackwolfgoat, recording Kind‘s first demo, playing shows and so on, and it seems only fitting to wrap up “The Year in Darryl” (not literally in him, in a Martin Short/Inner Space kind of way, but at very least in his work) by giving a rundown of the things he’s done over the last 12 months. Here goes:
Blackwolfgoat, Drone Maintenance
After Dronolith, I knew I probably wouldn’t get to review Drone Maintenance, Shepard‘s third outing under the Blackwolfgoat moniker (released by Small Stone) since I was still pretty close to it, only one record removed from direct-ish involvement in its making, but don’t think for one second that’s a statement about the quality of Drone Maintenance itself. To be honest, the third record blows the second one out of the water. In cuts like “Sunfall,” “White Hole” and the relatively brief “Night Heat,” his tendency toward songwriting comes out, and structures begin to show themselves amid tracks that are varied in mood and feel while still largely instrumental — he vocalizes bleak, feedback-laden closer “Cyclopean Utopia” in a vaguely black metal kind of way — and tied together by three spoken interludes that foster Drone Maintenance‘s underlying concept: The drone is broken, and Shepard is the repair man sent to fix it, as portrayed in Alexander von Wieding‘s cover art. Though the plotline works out otherwise, Shepard fixes the drone in wonderfully progressive fashion, an experimental feel pervading the material that — miraculously, given the context — avoid pretense even at its most ambient moments. I was lucky to be invited to the studio while it was being recorded, and could tell then that Darryl had something special on his hands and that the first two Blackwolfgoat releases were just scratching the surface of what he was looking to accomplish with the project. To hear the finished product after the release party at O’Brien’s in Allston was to see that realization affirmed. Blackwolfgoat on Thee Facebooks, Small Stone Records.
The Scimitar, Doomsayer
Though it was released on gorgeous clear/bone vinyl by Hydro-Phonic Records (also digipak CDR and a name-your-price download from the band’s Bandcamp), it seemed for a minute there that The Scimitar was over before Doomsayer could get started, having been effectively derailed when bassist Dave Gein moved to the West Coast, his last show with the band coming at The Eye of the Stoned Goat 4 (review here) in early May. This supposition was, in a word, mistaken. True to their slaughterhouse doom sound, the trio of Shepard, Gein and drummer Brian Banfield wouldn’t be so easily ended. Doomsayer‘s seven tracks earned their centerpiece Motörhead cover, both continuing the warrior mentality Shepard fostered when he stepped into the guitarist/vocalist role alongside Gein in Black Pyramid for 2013’s Adversarial (review here) and branching out to distinct triumphs on songs like “Void Traveler” and “World Unreal,” finding a balance between the catchy and the brutal that, even on their first outing, The Scimitar made their own. Gein being on the opposite side of the country may have made weekly practice unlikely, but The Scimitar played both Northeastern shows to support the release with a stand-in bassist and, earlier this month, traveled out west for a weekender in California with the album’s lineup. It would seem they’re hardly done, and all the better for the chance to get more of both the raw explosiveness of “Babylon” and the exploratory heavy of Doomsayer instrumental closer “Crucifer” as The Scimitar continues to come into their sound. The Scimitar on Thee Facebooks, Hydro-Phonic Records.
I’ve been fortunate this year to see Kind play twice (reviews here and here), and both times have been markedly different. The roots of the project go back (I’m pretty sure) to late last year, when Shepard and Elder drummer Matt Couto began to jam with an intent toward not much more than that. Bassist Tom Corino of Rozamov was brought in to handle low end and vocalist Craig Riggs of Roadsaw rounded out the four-piece, whose style still finds its basis in those wide-spaced jams. They’ve recorded a demo, with Benny Grotto at Mad Oak, from which the 10-minute “Hordeolum” has surfaced, showcasing both their heavy psych and more forward-driving tendencies, the balance they find and seem to gleefully upset between the two. I hear a full-length is in the works for a summer release via a respected American outlet who, since it hasn’t been announced yet, shall remain nameless, but until that happens, Kind will continue to hone their live sound regionally, opening for Karma to Burn next month at Geno’s in Portland, Maine. Not sure if it will ever be anyone’s main project — Elder, Roadsaw, Rozamov and Shepard‘s bevvy of other bands make for some significant commitments — but Kind have quickly found a stylistic niche for themselves and I’m interested to find out what they do with it on their debut. Kind on Thee Facebooks.
There are many for whom three active bands would be enough projects, but in the middle part of 2014, Darryl also found time to release a slew of accumulated recordings from over the years, all as name-your-price downloads via Bandcamp. Each recording — most were demos, but a Milligram radio appearance (review here) was also included — was given a different solid color as a cover, and a total of six have made their way out to date, including a completely solo acoustic album (with vocals) recorded by Andrew Schneider in 1998, the aforementioned Milligram performance, some Roadsaw demos also from ’98 (first streamed here), the final three songs tracked by instrumental outfit Hackman, early ’90s demos from Deslok and various collected four-track demo/experiments from the early ’00s on which some of the roots of Blackwolfgoat can be heard. These weren’t put out for any kind of profile, just made available for anyone who might want to explore them, but in both the stylistic variety and the performance value Shepard brings to each project, there’s much to dig into. Perhaps most impressive of all is that, though they cover a considerable swath of ground, they’re still just a fraction of Shepard‘s total output. Hopefully he has more tapes/hard drives in a closet somewhere and the series can continue, or maybe even get added to with newer material over time. Just a thought. Darryl Shepard on Bandcamp.
Well, despite Gein living in California and drummer Clay Neely living in Georgia while Shepard continues to reside in Massachusetts, Black Pyramid will once again spring to life in 2015. They’re already confirmed for Desertfest in London and Berlin alongside Lo-Pan, and from what I hear, they’ll have a new 7″ on Hydro-Phonic to mark the occasion. There’s a mysterious Soundcloud demo called “Donor Kebab” by an outfit named Iron Malden, and who knows what that portends. As noted, Kind will also continue to play shows ahead of their full-length debut release, tentatively set for the summer, and one imagines Darryl will continue to keep busy otherwise gigging and recording as he always seems to do, his work ethic as admirable as the results it produces.
Young Brazilian classic heavy rockers Necro — shortened from their original name, Necronomicon — are gearing up to release their second LP on Hydro-Phonic Records. The Maceio-based trio of guitarist/vocalist Lillian Lessa, bassist/vocalist Pedro Ivo Araujo and drummer Thiago Alef have released two singles to-date ahead of the forthcoming and as-yet-untitled full-length, and “Dark Redemption” was the first of them — the second, “Grito,” is streaming on their Bandcamp — and it continues the adherence to catchy, natural heavy ’70s vibes and classic Sabbathian doom riffing that Necronomicon showed on their first two releases, 2011’s self-titled debut EP and 2012’s conceptual follow-up The Queen of Death, though where it’s ultimately headed thematically remains as yet a mystery.
Still, the coming months will tell on that, and in the meantime, the video for “Dark Redemption” finds Necro slow-boogieing hooks in defiance of their years, the vocals of Lessa and Araujo underscored by organic, analog tones and a welcome retro groove. I heard their first EP a couple years back and dug the living hell out of it, but missed The Queen of Death, and so will look forward to checking out what the new one has to offer upon its arrival, whenever that might be, and while Necro unfortunately share their moniker with that death metal rapper who had Dan Lilker and the Tardy brothers from Obituary playing with him — as well as 30 or 40 other metal outfits — they still manage to carry their material across in such a way as to stand out from the pack. They don’t suck, and that always helps.
More to come on their new album as soon as I hear it, I hope, and in the meantime, “Dark Redemption” is a good way for anyone who maybe hasn’t heard them before to get introduced.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Doomsayer, the debut long-player from Black Pyramid-offshoot The Scimitar, is now available to preorder from Hydro-Phonic Records. The Michigan-based label, which has a penchant for creative packaging and dedication to vinyl, has the record coming in July in a number of limited pressings and editions, including one that also houses a CD with an alternate mix of the album. If you’d like to hear the regular mix so you have it to compare by when the time comes, the band has made it available for streaming and pay-what-you-will downloading on their newly-launched Bandcamp page.
These’ll probably go, so if you want one, a preorder probably isn’t a terrible idea.
Details follow, courtesy of Hydro-Phonic:
The Scimitar come swinging with their debut LP, “Doomsayer”. Featuring Gein and Darryl from Black Pyramid (along with new drummer Brian Banfield) turning out some Sabbath-Maiden-Motorhead influenced heavy riffs.
The Striped Deluxe Edition comes on white wax with a black stripe through the center. The jacket is printed on black cardstock, so the inside will be black instead of the normal white. The Deluxe Edition also comes with a CD featuring and alternate mix/master of the album. Will include other extra goodies as well!
The Clear/White Edition comes on Ultra Clear wax with a White blob in the center. The jacket is printed on black cardstock, so it will be black instead of the normal white inside the jacket.
By popular demand, we will release for the first time to the public a chance to own a test pressing of this release. This is limited to 20 copies in cool handmade covers by the HPRX staff. Limited to ONE COPY PER PERSON and will surely be extremely collectible as our test pressings often sell for $100 – $250 on ebay.
Also available now at the bands Bandcamp page that will go live very soon!