Posted in Whathaveyou on October 25th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
For the last couple months, we’ve followed the unfolding tale of Doommantia.com’s founder, Ed Barnard, who suffered a heart attack at the end of July and has since been left homeless. Donations have been taken over at their site, and hopefully wherever you are or whatever your situation, you’ve had a chance to give and support Ed in these tough times. On Oct. 13, the Doommantia Bash benefit show was held in his honor and by all accounts I’ve seen, that was a success, but there’s more to be done.
Word went out yesterday of the Doommantia Vol. 1digital compilation being available. Put together and organized by the band Compel, it’s $7 on Bandcamp and there are an astounding 39 bands included. Ed‘s special lady, Sally Doomvixen, posted the news last night that Ed was back in the hospital overnight with chest pains again, and though the situation doesn’t seem as serious as last time, the bills are no less devastating.
So you haven’t taken time yet to help out Ed Barnard, I once more urge you to do so, and this time, you get over four hours’ worth of music in return from great bands. More info follows, courtesy of Doommantia:
The DOOMMANTIA Benefit Compilation Has Arrived, 39 Tracks, Over 4 Hours For Only $7…
The first ever Doommantia.Com Compilation is now available for download for only $7 fromBANDCAMP. Immediate download of no less than 39 tracks of doomy goodness, over 4 hours long. Bands featured are Blackwolfgoat, At Devil Dirt, Low Gravity, Ichabod, Fister, Undersmile, Compel, Iron Man, Wizard’s Beard, Oceans Rainbow, Beelzefuzz, Conan, Lazarus Complex, Spyderbone, Order Of The Owl, Dope Flood, War Injun, Heathen Bastard, Halmos, Kriz, Bongripper, Demonaut, In The Company Of Serpents, Switchblade Jesus, Pale Divine, When The Deadbolt Breaks, Bastards Of The Skies, Gorgantherron, Screaming Mad Dee and Alex Vanderzeeuw, Chowder, War Iron, Hollow Leg, Crawl, Desolation, Ketea, Sludgethrone, Vulture, Wolfpussy and The Departure. That is some bang for your buck!!!
All proceeds go to the Ed Barnard homeless fund so it is a very worthy cause. Thanks to all the bands involved and to Tim Davis who worked so hard putting all of this together. Head toBANDCAMPnow to get your download.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 18th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
I always liked Ichabod. It had been years and years since I last saw them when I was fortunate enough to catch their set at Stoner Hands of Doom XII, but still, my impression going into their set was favorable. However, even with some relative idea of what I was getting, I was taken aback by the force of the current lineup that founding guitarist Dave Iverson has assembled, particularly vocalist John Fadden, who made short work of tradeoffs between cleaner melodic singing and throat-ripping screams.
All the better to lead into their new album, Dreamscapes from Dead Space. Some info went up on the forum late last month, but the PR wire sent over particulars, and I couldn’t help but include the stream from the Ichabod Bandcamp page:
ICHABOD: Boston Psyche/Sludge Act Drop Most Expansive Album To Date
Entire Record Streaming Now
Following more than a decade of perpetually mutating and expanding their unique style of rock/metal, Boston-based ICHABOD release their most progressive album to date with Dreamscapes From Dead Space this month.
Conceived and founded in 1998, ICHABOD quickly formed an immediately diehard audience with several awesome demos before the turn of the century. Sporadic but steady live shows have constantly helped the band retain a solid fanbase, and since 2000 they’ve summoned forth four massive and ever-expanding studio full-lengths, culminating with the diversified 2012, released by Rootsucker Records in 2008.
Amidst praise of 2012 from internationally-based media outlets, vocalist Ken MacKay decided to part ways with ICHABOD. Remaining members Greg Delaria (bass), Dave Iverson (guitar), and Phil MacKay (drums) inducted longtime friend John Fadden as new throat to help them finalize their newest material, what was then penned as the band’s swansong. Fadden’s style brought on newfound inspiration for the entire unit, and the band recruited friend Jay Adam on second guitar. Instead of disbanding, ICHABOD forged an entirely new path of musical exploration.
ICHABOD’s fifth full-length, Dreamscapes From Dead Space, visits new territory for the band’s already expansive sound, melding elements of their sludge/doom metal roots with a more prog/psyche ‘70s vibe, adding a lot more rock to how they already triumphantly roll. Featuring nearly fifty minutes worth of otherworldly, free-flow, heavy-ass rock, recorded, co-produced and mixed by Glenn Smith at Amps vs. Ohms Studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with final mastering done by Nick and Rob at New Alliance East Mastering. The artwork bears original paintings by Mike Kent and layout but Aaron D. C. Edge.
Dreamscapes From Dead Space showcases the broad range of a proficient musical force in a renaissance era.
The digital download of Dreamscapes From Dead Space is on sale now, the album to see a proper CD release via Rootsucker Records/Black Lotus Entertainment on October 30th, 2012. Official info on even more new ICHABOD material pending release, and new gigs being booked now and through the New Year, will be announced over the months ahead.
Posted in Features on August 31st, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
The ride to New London wasn’t bad. No real traffic or anything, but my stomach was tense with GPS jitters, riding up what seemed to me like the nether regions of I-95 in the state, deciduous trees hanging like a claustrophobic ceiling over the roadway. It was the first time I’d made the trip. I didn’t want to get lost, I didn’t want to delay. I expect by the time this weekend is out, I’ll be much more familiar with the route.
My soundtrack on the way there was the self-titled release from Ice Dragon side-project Tentacle, which was fitting, because like that band, everyone who played the opening night of SHoD XII tonight was from Massachusetts. Six bands. I’d have to check my official rulebook on the matter, but I think that might constitute a “takeover.” Fortunately, our Sox-worshiping overlords were benevolent and generous of riff.
On that subject, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a show in Connecticut that someone didn’t ask from the stage whether the audience were Yankees fans or Red Sox fans. As I stood and watched Rozamov‘s guitarist do so tonight, it dawned on me just how badly this state needs its own team. It wouldn’t be a problem anymore, though it was interesting to hear a few shouts of “Pirates!” from the back of the El ‘n’ Gee club, over in the bar area.
Well, that’s as good a segue as I’ve got, so let’s get to it. Here’s how it all went down:
In the end, I had no choice but to buy Boston rockers Rozamov‘s CD, because I couldn’t get it straight whether they were Rozamov (rhymes with “hose ‘em off”) or Romazov (as in, “Rome is off, we’re not going”). Principally, they were young. Their first song had no shortage of post-High on Fire gallop, and the two-guitar four-piece only got more complex from there, adding some post-metal and sludge to the mix before rounding out with a song that, well, if it wasn’t “Blood From Zion,” it was darn close. The drummer looked bored, and yeah, they did inquire as to the crowd’s baseball allegiance, but they were young and figuring out what they want to do as a band, so I’m not about to rip into them for not being Sleep. They’re figuring it out. And their CDs were five bucks, so they were doing something right for sure.
Birch Hill Dam
Fact of the matter is I can’t even see this band’s name without thinking of the old Birch Hill nightclub in Jersey, which is bittersweet for all the shitty metal I watched there over the years. Speaking of metal, Birch Hill Dam‘s bassist (above) was most certainly that, with a Bonded by Bloodshirt and five-string bass with those red strings that I keep hearing the kids talk about. To contrast, their guitarist wore a classic Unida shirt. I used to have the same one about 100 years and 100 pounds ago. His attire was more in line with the band’s sound for sure than the Exodus duds — nothing against the Bay Area thrashers. Birch Hill Dam released their slickly-produced Colossusalbum last year (video here), but live they sounded so much like Kyuss that I literally stood there and said, “Damn this sounds like Kyuss.” I’ll give them points for honesty in covering “Green Machine,” paying homage to the deserts of Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Whatever dude, I’ll take it, and singer Mike Nygard had his John Garcia working in full force. They had one false start, but were a pro job otherwise, complete with their album cover airbrushed onto screens in front of their amps. You know a band means business when they start in with that stuff.
Raw Radar War
I got to meet vocalist Jonah Jenkins before his band played and told him I vaguely remembered seeing Milligram at Solace guitarist Tommy Southard‘s wedding. He was as gracious about that as Raw Radar War was intense in their set, bringing out the kind of unfriendly, this-isn’t-a-joke-to-us pissed off fuckall that is a mark of their generation of hardcore and all but forgotten among the proverbial “kids these days.” Owning the stage in the process, Jenkins (who’s a bit of a New England legend) moved fluidly between cleaner shouts and Obituary-esque screams and the band behind him turned on a dime from D-beat sub-grind to chugging doom, but honestly, even the slow parts sounded fast, as intensely as they were played. Three bands and three Cottrell beers (a local ale the high alcohol content of which I was duly warned) in, I was feeling good about the prospects for the weekend. I didn’t drink any more than the three, but with three more bands still to go on the night, SHoD felt like it was really getting going, and Raw Radar War were a wake-up call of the kind of anger that dares you to match it, which of course, you can’t. I make no secret of the fact that I’m not a big hardcore guy, but I hadn’t heard Raw Radar War since their split with Deer Creek, and I was glad to encounter them again. Some shit just sounds mean.
The only other time I’d ever been to the El ‘n’ Gee was a show on a weekender tour with these Bostonian doomers. That was three years ago now, almost to the day. Ichabod were heralding the release of their still underrated 2012full-length (review here), and the actual 2012 finds them a different band entirely, with second guitarist Jason Adam joining alongside founding six-stringer Dave Iverson and new vocalist John Fadden starting off the set with a quiet tension that soon paid off in a barrage of face-melting screams. Fadden, who had a persona to match his throat, cracked jokes from the stage, but Ichabod was deadly serious as they ran through material from their upcoming album, Dreamscapes from Dead Space. “Huckleberry,” if I’ve got the title correct, was a highlight. They’ve always straddled various genre lines — stoner, doom, post-hardcore, post-metal — but as tight as they were, categories hardly figured into it as much as the crunch of tone and righteousness of riff. Bassist Greg Dellaria boasted the night’s only flying-V bass, and early into their set, one of the guitarists from Raw Radar War made his way to the front of the stage with five tallboy beers, because whatever else you can say about the city, Boston takes care of its own. That said, hopefully Ichabod get to do a few shows out of town once the new record drops. They deserve to be seen by as many people as possible.
Black Thai need to put an album out. The four-piece of guitarist/vocalist Jim Healey (We’re all Gonna Die), guitarist Scott O’Dowd (Cortez), intense bassist Cory Cocomazzi and drummer Jeremy Hemond (Roadsaw, Cortez) are too tight and too solid a band not to do it. So, uh, get on it, I guess. Hemond was the only drummer of the night to play on his own kit, setting up his Vistalites and high cymbals before they went on. Might as well, I guess, if you’re closing out the night in the last two bands and it’s not like anyone’s going on after you. I had a hard time believing it had been more than a year and a half since I saw Black Thai at Hank’s Saloon in Brooklyn, but the numbers don’t lie. On a stage roughly five times the size of that at Hank’s, the riff metal foursome tore through three of the songs from their Blood from on HighEP (review here) and left room for a couple new songs as well, culminating in a progressively building churn of distorted crunch that made for a perfect ending to their set. Healey‘s vocals were a little rough — reportedly he was under the weather — but Black Thai is in Philly tonight and Boston tomorrow with Borracho, One Inch Giant and Fire Faithful. If you can see them at any point, it’s worth taking advantage of the opportunity. They’re even more in command of their sound now than they were when last our paths crossed, and with just Roadsaw to go, it seemed like the first night of SHoD was a success.
So this is the part where the roof caves in and the crowd, sparse though it was by the end of the night, is crushed to death, myself included? Nah. Things ended no less smoothly than they’d ran all night. Thinking of prior shows, the last time I ran into the dudes from Roadsaw was at Desertfest in London. The El ‘n’ Gee wasn’t nearly so crowded as the Underworld had been, but the four-piece made the best of it anyway, Hemond making Popeye faces as he rounded out his double-duty on drums, Tim Catz holding together even the most ranging of jams which were surprise inclusions later into the set, guitarist Ian Ross leading those jams with both class and improvisational prowess, and vocalist Craig Riggs whirling his duct-taped microphone around him and running from one side of the stage to the other in his usual madman’s form. “Long in the Tooth,” “Thinking of Me” and “Weight in Gold” from the self-titled were highlights, but it was the later jams that really made it, as it’s not something you’d necessarily expect from Roadsaw at this point, who are so bolstered by the strength of their choruses and of their songwriting in general. Maybe they were just fucking around, but it was still cool. Ross killed it, and they showed by they’re the band to call if you’re looking for someone to close out a night of Massachusetts heavy. Riggs had forgotten the merch, so they didn’t have anything to sell (they laughed about it on stage), but whatever. It was good times anyway and Roadsaw did right by the fest closing out night one. It was apparently also the first time they’d ever played Connecticut in their 19 years as a band. Another notch in their belt.
It was nigh on one in the morning by the time I got back to where I’m staying, and I had a headlight out, so I was making the trip half-blind, which only made me gladder I’d limited my beer intake. Let’s see: Holiday weekend, out of state plates, one headlight. Uh, sir, I’m gonna have to ask you to step out of the car. No thanks. Today I’ll get that headlight replaced and I’ve got some work and other running around to do before I head back to the El ‘n’ Gee, but Stoner Hands of Doom XII is off to a cool start, and with When the Deadbolt Breaks, Wizard Eye, John Wilkes Booth, Faces of Bayon, Lord Fowl, Revelation and Pilgrim to come tonight, things are only going to get louder from here. I’ll take it.
Posted in Reviews on October 27th, 2009 by H.P. Taskmaster
Since the third offering from Boston heavy psych aggressors Ichabod was intended for release last year, one can only imagine they didn?t know it would wind up coming out the same month as a John Cusack movie of the same name. I looked back in the archives, and such a phenomenon is a first. No one was nearly as timely with a record called Better off Dead.
2012 follows four years behind 2005?s Reaching Empyrean, and the growth in the band is palpable. There?s still the roots of sludge aggression, but the band have progressed to the point of incorporating more clean vocals and more complex structures. Listening to ?Giving up the Ghost,? the verse riff is undeniably stoner, and the later bridge is straight out of Sabbath?s ?Iron Man? — though put to good use — but Ichabod encase these influences in a multifaceted context that?s bound to surprise more than a few listeners expecting something simple and straightforward.
The album was recorded at Mad Oak Studios by Devin Charette, and the production is crisp and sharp despite some issues with Phil MacKay?s snare drum, which sounds flat compared to what?s around it. Greg Dellaria?s bass is lively and present in the mix, adding much-appreciated thickness to the songs. Dave Iverson?s guitar, rarely appearing in a single layer, is rich and the root of many of 2012?s successes — not to take anything away from Ken MacKay?s vocals, which in their clean incarnation vary between a Facelift-era Layne Staley and a From Bliss to Devastation-style Tim Williams and when screamed come on with an intonation and cadence reminiscent of Devin Townsend?s work in Strapping Young Lad. MacKay?s ability to adjust his approach to the music is a tremendous asset to the band, as a track like their cover Pink Floyd?s ?Nile Song? simply would have been impossible to pull off otherwise.
Posted in Reviews on August 26th, 2009 by H.P. Taskmaster
It was a three-night tour and I, being a colonel among the weekend warriors, missed Friday night in Boston, but hopefully made up for it Saturday and Sunday in Maryland and Connecticut, respectively. Afforded a chance to catch the likes of Cortez, Ichabod and When the Deadbolt Breaks live two nights in a row, it was not an opportunity I was going to pass on. They called it the Amped for the End tour. Pristina was on the bill as well, but fuck Pristina. They blew Saturday, played their wannabe Meshuggahcore first and then split before the next band even went on. It’s not there were so many people there; it was basically the bands playing to each other and a few sporadic others. Splitting was a dick move.
Sunday they didn’t even show up. They live in Connecticut. Screw those guys. Who names a record Boner Jams?
The other three bands, by contrast, were killer. The sound at Krug’s Place in Frederick (where Stoner Hands of Doom X will be held next weekend) was a little muddy, but everyone seemed to be having a good time anyway, and it’s not like Deadbolt was about to break out the catchy corporate number that required absolute clarity. This is doom. Muddy works. It was clearer at the El n Gee in scenic New London the next night anyway, so in watching the three bands, you got a taste of both worlds.