Faces of the Bog to Release Ego Death LP Sept. 22

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

faces of the bog

Whether it’s dug-in intensity or spacious psych landscape-building Faces of the Bog‘s debut album, Ego Death, well earns its claim toward sonic diversity. The Sanford Parker-produced seven-tracker originally came out at the end of last year and is set for a vinyl release through DHU Records on Sept. 22. You can stream the thing in its entirety at the bottom of this post and there’s copious info to go on — including live dates with Attalla, Castle, Disenchanter and Pale Horseman for you Midwestern types — so I’ll keep it short in terms of the descriptive end, but as I make my way through there’s a persistent commitment to ambience that seems to tie the record together and it’s one that, having missed out on the first time around, I hope to get to know better.

From the PR wire:

faces-of-the-bog-ego-death

FACES OF THE BOG: Chicagoland’s psychedelic sludge masters to officially release debut album Ego Death on DHU Records

Ego Death by Faces of the Bog is released on 22nd September 2017

Initially conceived in a dingy rehearsal space in Humboldt Park during the fall of 2011, Faces of the Bog have fast become one of the underground’s most celebrated secrets following the self-release of their debut album Ego Death late last year.

For the Chicagoland quartet, their own unique interpretation of sludge has never run neatly alongside preconceived notions of how this kind of music should be played. Choosing to ignore convention and instead power brutal riffs headfirst into psychedelically heightened grooves, relying on atmosphere and mood to create melodic textures they are a band constantly pushing the envelope.

Produced and engineered by the band and Sanford Parker (Voivod, Yob, Wreckmeister Harmonies, Bloodiest) at Electrical Audio and Decade Music Studios, Ego Death hit pretty damn hard for an “independently put-out” album.

“It’s truly amazing these days when an underground band from a US city like Chicago can release an album completely on their own,” explains guitarist/vocalist Trey Wedgeworth. “We’ve been amazed and humbled by the feedback we’ve received all over the world. Fans from places like Germany, Norway, Portugal, Brazil, Australia, and Russia have all reached out to us to give their kind words to what we’re doing.”

It was while playing a handful of shows last year with pacific north-westerners Mother Crone that the band were introduced (in a roundabout way) to the good work of Netherland-based record label, DHU Records.

“Mother Crone ran into some transportation issues while out on tour and we were fortunate enough to be able to help some good dudes in need,” says Wedgeworth. “They more than repaid the favour by putting us in touch with Robert Black at DHU Records. DHU is a DIY label that releases limited edition vinyl packages for some of the heaviest bands in underground music today, so we quickly forged a great relationship and are completely ecstatic that he’s now rereleasing Ego Death on vinyl.”

Pre-order – http://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/

Track Listing:
1. Precipice
2. Drifter in The Abyss
3. Slow Burn
4. The Serpent and The Dagger
5. Ego Death
6. The Weaver
7. Blue Lotus

Live:
5th Aug – Cold Shot – Appleton, Wisconsin (w. Atalla and Black Road)
11th Aug – Reggies – Chicago, Illinois (w. Castle)
4th Oct – Liars Club – Chicago, Illinois (w. Disenchanter and Swamp Ritual)
2nd Sept – Beard Metal Fest – Custer Park, Illinois (w. Pale Horseman, Starless and DeepSpacePilots)

Faces of the Bog:
Paul Bradfield – Bass
Danny Garcia – Drums/Percussion
Mark Stephen Gizewski – Guitars/Vocals
Trey Wedgeworth – Guitars/ Vocals

Personnel:
Sanford Parker – Synth/FX (tracks 1,4,5, & 7)
Artwork – Tony Midi (www.tonymidi.com)
Photography – Cassandra Gordon, GoldilocksCG
Layout – Mark Stephen Gizewski
Mastered – Collin Jordan

https://www.facebook.com/facesofthebog
https://www.instagram.com/facesofthebog/
https://twitter.com/Faces_ofthe_Bog
https://facesofthebog.bandcamp.com/
http://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://www.instagram.com/dhu_records/
https://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bandcamp.com/

Faces of the Bog, Ego Death (2017)

Faces of the Bog, The Making of Ego Death

Tags: , , , , ,

Review & Track Premiere: The Judge, Tell it to the Judge

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the-judge-tell-it-to-the-judge

[Click play above to stream the premiere of ‘Strange Ways’ by The Judge. Tell it to the Judge is out Aug. 4 on Ripple Music.]

Illinois heavy rock traditionalists The Judge made their first offering through Ripple Music last year with a reissue of their initially-self-released late-2014 self-titled debut. That release was initially positioned as an EP, so one might think of Tell it to the Judge as the Granite City four-piece’s proper label debut, or their first for Ripple anyhow, but either way, what matters is the band has culled together a warm collection of nine tracks drawing influences from sources classic and modern in the spirit of heavy ’10s boogie. Tell it to the Judge is a little long at just under 45 minutes for something of its style — one tends to think of boogie rock LPs in the range of 36 to 38 minutes, and that can make a difference — but the still-young lineup of standalone vocalist Tyler Swope, guitarist Dylan Jarrett, bassist Kevin Jones and drummer Evan Anderson use that time to position themselves within a burgeoning wave of next-generation American heavy boogie.

Thinking of output from groups like Slow Season, labelmates Salem’s Bend and countless others in the expansive post-Radio Moscow/Earthless West Coast sphere, or fellow Midwesterners like the frenetically progressive Cloud Catcher and the biker-grooving Bison Machine — for either of whom The Judge‘s measured pace would make an excellent tour pairing — one finds Tell it to the Judge straightforward in its intent and less geared toward weirdo culture certainly than those freaking out along the Pacific. However, in so being, they’re putting focus on craft rather than style in a way that, particularly with Swope‘s easy melodic execution of highlight choruses like those of “Strange Ways” and “Go on Home,” as well as the verses of the penultimate “Darkest Daze,” brings to mind the earlier work of Nashville’s Dirty Streets in culling modern vibes from the likes of Blue CheerLed Zeppelin and maybe even a bit of Dio-era Sabbath (at least as regards the warning-you-against-evil-ladies perspective of “Go on Home”; see “Walk Away” for reference) thrown in for good measure.

They’re clearly still in the process of sorting out the various elements that will ultimately solidify as their own sound, but the youthful excitement they bring to side A cuts like opener “Empty Halls,” “From the Mountain” and “Changing World” gives them an edge in terms of their songwriting, as do the righteous solos of Jarrett and the blue-eyed soul of Swope, whose verses in the 6:51 centerpiece “Islands” are no less essential to conveying the ’70s-meets-now vibe than the punctuation of Anderson‘s snare — the drums sound fantastic throughout; a boon to the organic feel of the recording overall along with Jones‘ bass. The latter is of particular note in “Islands” and the also-extended “High Flyin’,” shining through in the more languid roll from beneath Jarrett‘s leads.

the judge

It’s a proven formula, and one would be remiss to leave out the clear affect European acts like Graveyard and Kadavar have had on this movement as a whole — one could argue even the title Tell it to the Judge is modeled on something like Abra Kadavar, though that German trio were hardly the first to put the name of their band in the name of their second record — but the fluidity The Judge bring to these tracks, their ease in moving between varied tempos and undercurrent of developing chemistry on the whole lend a sense of personality to the material from which it very much benefits.

Again, they’re growing, and searching out their place within the genre aesthetic, but hearing that in the upbeat stomp of “From the Mountain,” the impressively-controlled thrust of “Changing World” and the shuffling finale “Parade of Sin,” which returns from the gone-further-out blues ranging of “High Flyin'” to earthier ground, only makes Tell it to the Judge a more engaging listen. They’re inviting their audience to be a direct witness to their evolution, already in progress. And with the initial sweep of “Empty Halls,” the flow in unfolding “Islands” and the sincerely unpretentious nod of “Go on Home” — which makes up for in catchiness what its woman-done-me-wrong lyric lacks in being politically correct — they make it a simple invitation to accept.

Like many of their up-and-coming cohorts, The Judge showcase potential over staid or studied realization, but there’s already stylistic nuance to be heard in shifting tones throughout “Darkest Daze”‘s light psych-blues flourish and the swing of “Strange Ways,” and that stands as one of the most encouraging factors when one considers Tell it to the Judge‘s place in the modern sphere. They have and will continue to have their work cut out for them in cutting out a niche for their work, but while Anderson and Jarrett trace The Judge‘s founding back to 2009/2010, they still come across in these tracks like a new band, and that is something they should embrace for the vitality it implies in their delivery, which make no mistake, is very much there. Whether that will be what defines their course as a group remains to be seen, and as a result, Tell it to the Judge is all the more fun as a front-to-back classic-minded listening experience.

The Judge on Thee Facebooks

The Judge on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Novembers Doom, Abrams, The Grand Astoria, Hosoi Bros, Codeia, Ealdor Bealu, Stone Lotus, Green Yeti, Seer, Bretus

Posted in Reviews on July 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-summer-2017

So, after kvetching and hemming and hawing and all that other stuff that basically means ‘fretting and trying to shuffle a schedule around’ for the last several days, I think I’ve now found a way to add a sixth day to this Quarterly Review. Looking at all the records that still need to be covered even after doing 50, I don’t really see any other way to go. I could try to do more The Obelisk Radio adds to fit things in, but I don’t want to over-tax that new server, so yeah, I’m waiting at the moment to hear back on whether or not I can move a premiere from Monday to Tuesday to make room. Fingers crossed. I’ve already got the albums picked out that would be covered and should know by tomorrow if it’s going to happen.

Plenty to do in the meantime, so let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Novembers Doom, Hamartia

novembers-doom-hamartia

Look. Let’s be honest here. More than 20 years and 10 records in, one knows at least on a superficial level what to expect from Chicago’s Novembers Doom. Since their first album arrived in 1995, they’ve played to one side or the other between the spectrum of death-doom, and their work legitimately broke ground in the style for a US band and in general. After a push over their last couple albums including 2014’s Bled White (review here) into more deathly fare, Hamartia (on The End Records) brings 10 tracks and 58 minutes of the melancholy dramas – special hello to the piano/acoustic-led title-track – and gut-wrenching, crushingly emotive miseries – special hello to “Waves in the Red Cloth” and “Ghost” – that have defined them. One doesn’t expect a radical departure from them at this point and they don’t deliver one even as they turn to another side of their overarching aesthetic, but whether it’s the still-propulsive death gallop of “Apostasy” or the lush nine-minute finale “Borderline,” Novembers Doom reinforce their position as absolute masters of the style and give their longtime fans another collection of vital woes in which to revel.

Novembers Doom on Thee Facebooks

The End Records website

 

Abrams, Morning

abrams morning

Not a hair out of place in the execution of Morning, the Sailor Records second long-player from Denver three-piece Abrams (interview here). That has its ups and downs, naturally, but is suited to the band’s take on modern progressive heavy rock à la newer Mastodon and Baroness, and with production from Andy Patterson (of SubRosa) and Dave Otero (Khemmis, Cephalic Carnage, etc.), the crisp feel is both purposeful and well earned. Their 2015 debut, Lust. Love. Loss. (review here), dealt with a similar emotional landscape, but bassist/vocalist Taylor Iversen, guitarist/vocalist Zachary Amster and drummer Geoffrey Cotton are tighter and more aggressive here on songs like opener “Worlds Away” (video posted here), “At the End,” “Rivers,” “Can’t Sleep” and “Burned” (video posted here), and “Mourning,” “In this Mask” and closer “Morning” balance in terms of tempo and overall atmosphere, making Morning more than just a collection of master-blasters and giving it a full album’s flow and depth. Like I said, not a hair out of place. Structure, performance, delivery, theme. Abrams have it all precisely where they want it.

Abrams on Thee Facebooks

Abrams on Bandcamp

 

The Grand Astoria, The Fuzz of Destiny

the-grand-astoria-the-fuzz-of-destiny

Dubbed an EP but running 29 minutes and boasting eight tracks, The Grand Astoria’s The Fuzz of Destiny is something of a conceptual release, with the St. Petersburg, Russia-based outfit paying homage to the effect itself. Each song uses a different kind of fuzz pedal, and as the ever-nuanced, progressive outfit make their way through the blown-out pastoralism of opener “Sunflower Queen” and into the nod of “Pocket Guru,” the organ-inclusive bursting fury of “Glass Walls” and the slower and more consuming title-track itself, which directly precedes closer “Eight Years Anniversary Riff” – yup, it’s a riff alright – they’re able to evoke a surprising amount of variety in terms of mood. That’s a credit to The Grand Astoria as songwriters perhaps even more than the differences in tone from song to song here – they’ve certainly shown over their tenure a will to embrace a diverse approach – but in giving tribute to fuzz, The Fuzz of Destiny successfully conveys some of the range a single idea can be used to conjure.

The Grand Astoria on Thee Facebooks

The Grand Astoria on Bandcamp

 

Hosoi Bros., Abuse Your Allusion III

hosoi-bros-abuse-your-allusion-iii

Oh, they’re up to it again, those Hosoi Bros. Their 2016 full-length, Abuse Your Allusion III, from its Guns ‘n’ Roses title reference through the Motörhead riffing of “Saint Tightus” through the stoner punk of “Topless Gnome” and the chugging scorch of the penultimate “Bitches are Nigh” offer primo charm and high-order shenanigans amid the most professional-sounding release of their career. Across a quick 10 tracks and 36 minutes, Hosoi Bros. readily place themselves across the metal/punk divide, and while there’s plenty of nonsense to be had from opener “Mortician” onward through “Lights Out” (video premiere here) and the later swagger of “Unholy Hand Grenade,” the band have never sounded more cohesive in their approach than they do on Abuse Your Allusion III, and the clean production only seems to highlight the songwriting at work underneath all the zany happenings across the record’s span, thereby doing them and the band alike a service as they make a convincing argument to their audience: Have fun. Live a little. It won’t hurt that much.

Hosoi Bros on Thee Facebooks

Hosoi Bros. on Bandcamp

 

Codeia, “Don’t be Afraid,” She Whispered and Disappeared

codeia-dont-be-afraid-she-whispered-and-disappeared

There’s actually very little that gets “Lost in Translation” in the thusly-titled 22-minute opener and longest cut (immediate points) of German post-metallers Codeia’s cumbersomely-named Backbite Records debut album, “Don’t be Afraid,” She Whispered and Disappeared. With heavy post-rock textures and an overarching sense of cerebral progressivism to its wash underscored by swells of low-end distortion, the three-piece of guitarist/backing vocalist Markus L., bassist/vocalist Denis S. and drummer Timo L. bring to bear patience out of the peak-era Isis or Cult of Luna sphere, sudden volume shifts, pervasive ambience, flourish of extremity and all. Nine-minute centerpiece “Shaping Stone” has its flash of aggression early before shifting into hypnotic and repetitive groove and subsequent blastbeaten furies, and 16-minute closer “Facing Extinction” caps the three-song/48-minute offering with nodding Russian Circles-style chug topped with growls that mask the layer of melodic drone filling out the mix beneath. They’re on familiar stylistic ground, but the breadth, depth and complexity Codeia bring to their extended structures are immersive all the same.

Codeia on Thee Facebooks

Backbite Records website

Mountain Range Creative Factory website

 

Ealdor Bealu, Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain

ealdor-bealu-dark-water-at-the-foot-of-the-mountain

“Water Cycle,” the 13-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) of Ealdor Bealu’s debut full-length, Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain, introduces a meditative feel and a breadth of sound that helps to define everything that follows. The ostensible side B leadoff of the self-release, “This too Shall Endure” (11:04), offers no less depth of atmosphere, and the graceful psychedelic expanses of the penultimate “Behind the Veil” continue to add to the overall scope with interplay of tempo variety and acoustic and electric guitar, but even earlier, shorter cuts like the wistful indie rocker “Deep Dark Below” and the linear-building “Behold the Sunrise” have an underlying progressivism that ties them to the longer form material, and likewise the particularly exploratory feeling “Ebb and Flow,” which though it’s the shortest cut at just over five minutes resonates as a standout jam ahead of “Behind the Veil” and subtly proggy seven-minute closer “Time Traveler.” The Boise-based four-piece of guitarist/vocalist/spearhead Carson Russell, guitarist Travis Abbott (also The Western Mystics), bassist/vocalist Rylie Collingwood and drummer/percussionist/saxophonist Alex Wargo bring the 56-minute offering to bear with marked patience and impress in the complexity of their arrangements and the identifiable human core that lies beneath them.

Ealdor Bealu on Thee Facebooks

Ealdor Bealu on Bandcamp

 

Stone Lotus, Comastone

I can take spicier foods than I ever could before.

One might consider the title of “Mountain of Filth,” the second cut on Stone Lotus’ debut album, Comastone, a mission statement for the Southwestern Australian trio’s vicious ‘n’ viscous brand of rolling, tonal-molasses sludge. Yeah, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Dave Baker, bassist Samuel Noire and drummer Reece Fleming bring ambience to the interlude “Aum,” the slower loud/quiet shifts in “Anthropocene” and the subsequent “Umbra” that leads into the creepy launch of the title-track – in fact, quiet starts are something of a theme throughout Comastone; even the thudding toms that begin opener “Swamp Coven” pale in comparison to the volume swell of massive distortion that follows closely behind – but it’s the rhythmic lumber and the harsh vocals from Baker that define their course through the darker recesses of sludged-out misanthropy. No complaints there, especially on a first long-player, but Stone Lotus are right to keep in mind the flourish of atmosphere their material offers, and one hopes that develops parallel to all the crushing weight of their mountainous approach.

Stone Lotus on Thee Facebooks

Stone Lotus on Bandcamp

 

Green Yeti, Desert Show

I'm not sure if that's an effect of dropping carbs or how it would be, but it's strange.

Even before it announces its heft, Green Yeti’s Desert Show casts forth its spaciousness. The second offering from the Athens-based trio in as many years dogwhistles heavy riffing intent even unto its David Paul Seymour album cover, but the five track rollout from guitarist/vocalist Michael Andresakis, bassist/producer Danis Avramidis and drummer Giannis Koutroumpis, as it shifts from the opening salvo of “Black Planets (Part 1)” and “Black Planets (Part 2)” into the Spanish-language centerpiece “Rojo” (direct homage perhaps to Los Natas? if so, effectively done) and into the broader-ranging “Bad Sleep (Part 1)” and 15-minute closer “Bad Sleep (Part 2)” builds just as much on its atmosphere as on its newer-school stoner rock groove and fuzz riffing. It is a 41-minute span that, without question, speaks to the heavy rock converted and plays to genre, but even taken next to the band’s 2016 debut, The Yeti has Landed, Desert Show demonstrates clear growth in writing and style, and stands as further proof of the emergence of Greece as a major contributor to the sphere of Europe’s heavy underground. Something special is happening in and outside of Athens. Green Yeti arrive at the perfect time to be a part of it.

Green Yeti on Thee Facebooks

Green Yeti on Bandcamp

 

Seer, Victims

seer victims

Let’s just assume that Seer won’t be asked to play at Dorney Park anytime soon. The Allentown, Pennsylvania, three-piece dig into largesse-minded instrumental riffing someplace between doom and sludge and do so on raw, formative fashion on the two-song Victims EP, which features the tracks “Victims… Aren’t We All?” and “Swollen Pit,” which is a redux from their 2015 debut short release, Vaped Remains. Some touch of Electric Wizard-style wah in Rybo’s guitar stands out in the second half of the opener, and the closer effectively moves from its initial crawl into post-Sleep stonerized idolatry, but the point of Victims isn’t nearly as much about scope as it is about Rybo, bassist Kelsi and drummer Yvonne setting forth on a stomping path of groove and riff worship, rumbling sans pretense loud enough to crack the I-78 corridor and offering the clever equalizer recommendation to put the bass, treble and mids all at six. Think about it for a second. Not too long though.

Seer on Thee Facebooks

Seer on Bandcamp

 

Bretus, From the Twilight Zone

bretus-from-the-twilight-zone

Doom! Horror! Riffs! Though it starts out with quiet acoustics and unfolds in echoing weirdness, Bretus’ new album, …From the Twilight Zone, more or less shouts these things from the proverbial cathedral rafters throughout its seven tracks. The Catanzaro, Italy, foursome weren’t shy about bringing an air of screamy sludge to their 2015 sophomore outing, The Shadow over Innsmouth (discussed here), but …From the Twilight Zone shifts more toward a Reverend Bizarre trad doom loyalism that suits the Endless Winter release remarkably well. Those acoustics pop up again in expanded-breadth centerpiece/highlight “Danza Macabra” and closer “Lizard Woman,” and thereby provide something of a narrative thread to the offering as a whole, but on the level of doom-for-doomers, there’s very little about the aesthetic that Bretus leave wanting throughout, whether it’s the faster-chug into drifting fluidity of “The Murder” or the nodding stomp of “In the Vault” (demo posted here) and crypto-NWOBHM flourish of “Old Dark House” (video posted here). Not trying to remake doom in their own image, but conjuring an eerie and engaging take in conversation with the masters of the form.

Bretus on Thee Facebooks

Endless Winter Records

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Judge to Release Tell it to the Judge Aug. 8; New Song Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the judge

Midwestern heavy rockers The Judge issued their self-titled debut last year as their first offering through Ripple Music, and next month, they follow it up with Tell it to the Judge. Set for a release Aug. 8 with charm-laden stoner-toon cover art of the band in front of, yes, a judge, the album reveals its first public audio with the track “Empty Halls,” which you can stream now at the bottom of this post. It’s the opening cut from the record, so fitting enough to be the first impression — it would be anyway, in other words — and no doubt there will be more to come over the next month as the band and label gear up for its proper arrival.

The PR wire brought album info and more:

the judge tell it to the judge

THE JUDGE to release new album on Ripple Music

Tell It To The Judge by The Judge is released on 8th August 2017 on Ripple Music

Originally formed in 2010 by long-time friends Dylan Jarrett and Evan Anderson, The Judge is a hard rock quartet of impeccable vintage, formed in the fittingly named stronghold of Granite City, Illinois.

After the band’s initial incarnation as Unfallen – with Jarrett on guitar and Anderson on drums – the duo quickly became a trio for a period, touring music venues across the St. Louis area with new member Kevin Jones taking up bass and vocal duties. Increasingly influenced by the Britannic rock majesty of groups such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, and with it that unshakeable ‘band of brothers’ mentality’, in 2013 the trio finally discovered the missing piece of a puzzle with the addition of their very own enigmatic front man, Tyler Swope.

As a criminally young quartet happily graduating from the riffs of old, Jarrett and Anderson started to uncover a new wave of hard rock acts occupying radio waves and record store shelves. Music by the likes of Graveyard and Kadavar helped inspire The Judge to develop their own special breed of slow burning psychedelia and sonic stew of traditional classic rock’n’roll and heavy backroom blues, the results of which can be heard on their brand-new studio album Tell It To The Judge, which follows on from the release of last year’s acclaimed self-titled debut and first for Ripple Music.

Tell It To The Judge by The Judge is released on 8th August 2017 on Ripple Music.

Track Listing:
1. Empty Halls
2. From the Mountain
3. Strange Ways
4. Changing World
5. Islands
6. Go On Home
7. High Flyin’
8. Darkest Daze
9. Parade of Sin

The Judge:
Dylan Jarrett – Guitar
Evan Anderson – Drums
Kevin Jones – Bass
Tyler Swope – Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/thejudgeband/
https://thejudge.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Ripple-Music-369610860064/

Tags: , , , , ,

Review & Full Stream: Bible of the Devil and Leeches of Lore, Split 7″

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

bible of the devil still on top

[Click play above to stream the new split single from Bible of the Devil and Leeches of Lore. Copies are available now from the bands.]

“Got no time to lose” is one of the lines tossed out in the call and response hook to Bible of the Devil‘s “Still on Top,” which is their contribution to a new split 7″ single with Albuquerque’s Leeches of Lore. It might be true in the case of both bands, but for the Chicago outfit it seems especially so. After years of road-dogging, the antic-prone two-guitar four-piece have played it decidedly lower key since the release of their most recent album, For the Love of Thugs and Fools (discussed here), via Cruz del Sur in 2012. They’ve done periodic tours in the Midwest and hit local fests like Alehorn of Power, but where the aughts and early ’10s found them belting out album after album, tour after tour, and a succession of splits with the likes of ValkyrieSlough Feg and Winterhawk, the half-decade since the last full-length has been comparatively quiet.

One single, of course, isn’t going to make up for lost time, but “Still on Top” comes across very much as a song with a message, taking a workingman’s rocker perspective and assuring both the listener and the band that yes, they’ve still got it. Interestingly, it comes accompanied by Leeches of Lore‘s “Mountain of Mom,” which may or may not be the final recorded output from a group who recently and willingly gave that same “it” up. Following their to-date pinnacle work in 2015’s Toshi Kasai-produced Motel of Infinity (review here), the avant rockers led by guitarist/vocalist Steve Hammond played what was to be their last shows in May 2017, making this, at least technically, a posthumous offering. For what it’s worth, they hardly sound dead at all.

So in terms of communication, what Bible of the Devil and Leeches of Lore present in “Still on Top” and “Mountain of Mom” is — at least potentially — hello and a goodbye. One hesitates to speculate on the future of either group, particularly since the latter have said they’re done and since it’s been so long since the former had any other output, but that’s how it looks on the surface, and for a release that runs neatly under the nine-minute mark and comprises just two tracks, it’s a pretty efficient check-in. Accordingly, both groups play solidly to their strengths.

For Bible of the Devil, that means a classic-sounding blend of rock and metal, with guitar work by Nathan Perry (also vocals) and Chris Grubbs in the spirit of the NWOBHM as most informed by Thin Lizzy-style good times, and an upbeat hook propelled by the rhythm section of drummer Greg Spalding and bassist/vocalist Darren Amaya. On the basic level of its approach, it could hardly be more their own if it was about “the night,” but while the method and structure may be familiar, a rawer production than one necessarily might expect from Bible of the Devil after For the Love of Thugs and Fools or the preceding 2008 triumph, Freedom Metal, gives a live feel to the proceedings such that there’s almost a garage sensibility to the initial chug and the verse, before the background vocals or harmonized guitar lead take hold.

This might make “Still on Top” an even more fitting complement to “Mountain of Mom,” as Leeches of Lore have always been (or “always were,” depending on the tense in which one wants to categorize them) a rawer band, even under the guidance of Kasai, taking cues from noise rock, punk, country, extreme metal and the great anti-genre beyond where few dare to tread. Their final lineup consisted of HammondKris KerbyNoah Wolters and Andy Lutz, but whether or not that’s who appears on the single I don’t actually know. In any case, like Bible of the Devil before them, Leeches of Lore are very much at home in the 4:09 “Mountain of Mom,” working quickly even with the title to make the listener ill-at-ease as only good art can in terms of just what the hell they’re talking about and whether or not it actually has anything to do with the song itself.

That’s a question that remains as Hammond moves vocally between cleaner singing, falsetto, and harsher shouts and the band around him between circuitous lumbering marked out by its transitional drum fills and sustained pulls of guitar and a last-minute delve into lead guitar and organ that comes close enough to punk rock cabaret to recall some of Leeches of Lore‘s more offbeat aesthetic aspects, even if the basic structure it keeps to is relatively straightforward. If indeed it is their final output — again, one never says never in rock and roll — it’s a suitable weirdo-metal farewell with early screams leading to talk of the end of the world and traffic jams and so on. One might call it “the usual,” but in the grander scheme, there’s hardly anything usual about it, and of course that’s a big part of the fun.

Like much of Leeches of Lore‘s work during their time together, “Mountain of Mom” benefits from longer-term digestion over multiple listens, but those repeat visits are well-enough earned by the quickened feel and the front-to-back linear transition the band undergoes. As was the case throughout their tenure, their reach remains underrated and underappreciated, and despite a more immediate take, the same could easily be said of Bible of the Devil, the quality of whose work has always made them something of a well-kept secret within the American Midwest. If there’s anything tying the two bands together, it’s probably that most of all, but neither should one discount the fact that throughout their careers — one maybe restarting, the other maybe over — neither of them has been willing to compromise who they are at their root or give up exploring outward from their sonic foundation. Their split may be short, but there’s no lack of substance whatsoever.

Bible of the Devil on Thee Facebooks

Bible of the Devil on Bandcamp

Bible of the Devil website

Leeches of Lore on Thee Facebooks

Leeches of Lore on Bandcamp

Leeches of Lore website

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Scorched Tundra VIII Announces Lineup with Acid King, Oxbow, The Atomic Bitchwax and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

In all places and in all things, I remain a sucker for a good bill. I’ll be elsewhere this same weekend, as The Obelisk is presenting the Emerald Haze festival in Dublin, Ireland (info here), and I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited over for that, but a good bill is a good bill, and if you happen to be in Chicago or can head that way, Scorched Tundra VIII has one to offer, with Acid King, The Atomic Bitchwax and Oxbow positioned as headliners across three nights from Sept. 1-3 at The Empty Bottle.

Those names are enough to grab attention, to be sure, but toss in the post-metallic breadth of Minsk, perpetual sludge scumbags FistulaPelican offshoot RLYR (only fair since it’s Chicago after all), and others, and yeah, it looks like a damn fine way to spend a couple of nights, provided your calendar doesn’t conflict.

Tickets are available now and you’ll find those links and more info below, courtesy of the fest:

scorched-tundra-viii-poster

ACID KING, OXBOW, THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX, FISTULA, MINSK, BEHOLD! THE MONOLITH, AND MORE CONFIRMED FOR SCORCHED TUNDRA VIII

Scorched Tundra is proud to announce the lineup for its eighth edition. The second installment of 2017 – taking place September 1-3 at The Empty Bottle in Chicago – will feature the showcases’ most diverse and extensive lineup to date.

Friday September 1st
The Atomic Bitchwax
Fistula
Electric Hawk

Saturday September 2nd
Acid King
Minsk
Wolvhammer
Bottomed

Sunday September 3rd
Oxbow
Behold! The Monolith
RLYR

Tickets for each day can be purchased at the following links:

Friday September 1st:
http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?eventId=7524445&pl=eb&dispatch=loadSelectionData

Saturday September 2nd:
http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?eventId=7523745&pl=eb&dispatch=loadSelectionData

Sunday September 3rd:
http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?eventId=7524415&pl=eb&dispatch=loadSelectionData

Scorched Tundra’s mission is to give a new generation of talented artists a unique live platform in Chicago and Gothenburg. Scorched Tundra’s billing – based on sound not stature – creates a unique aural experience for the audience. “The forthcoming eighth edition was the most enjoyable to put together as the lineup is extremely eclectic and in many ways different from past iterations. All of these artists are newcomers to Scorched Tundra; they are very difficult to pigeonhole; and transcend categorization. Intimate, historic, and highly respected, The Empty Bottle in Chicago will once again play as a perfect host to this unique set of artists,” states organizer Alexi Front.

Scorched Tundra VIII marks the event’s much anticipated return to Chicago after last years two day sold out event. The third ever Scorched Tundra beer – brewed in collaboration with Pipeworks Brewing Company –an India Pale Ale dry hopped with Australian and American aromatic varietals – will be available at select bars and stores in Chicago in August and at the festival. Longtime Scorched Tundra collaborator Axel Widén created artwork for the beer label and festival poster. Seven other Pipeworks beers will be available as part of a tap takeover throughout Scorched Tundra VIII.

http://www.scorchedtundra.com
https://www.facebook.com/ScorchedTundra

The Atomic Bitchwax, Live at Maryland Doom Fest 2017

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Atlas Moth Sign to Prosthetic Records; New LP Coma Noir Due this Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Chicago’s The Atlas Moth are currently dug into the recording process of their fourth album, to be titled Coma Noir. Their first outing since 2014’s righteous The Old Believer (discussed here), it’s being produced by none other than Sanford Parker (Buried at Sea, Mirrors for Psychic Warfare, etc.) and will see release this fall as the band’s debut release through Prosthetic Records.

Solid fit for a band who’ve consistently played outside genre lines and an imprint who’ve taken pains particularly over the last couple years to expand their own aesthetic palette to cover swaths of the heavy and/or doom underground, and when it comes to The Atlas Moth, the likelier bet would be further progression of their densely-weighted, atmospheric sound, since whatever else they’ve done over the course of their three LPs to-date, they’ve never failed to push themselves forward.

One to look forward to in the colder, darker months to come.

From the PR wire:

the atlas moth

THE ATLAS MOTH Sign to Prosthetic Records, Recording New Album, “Coma Noir”

In-Studio Now with Sanford Parker (Voivod, Eyehategod) | Release Details Coming Soon

Chicago-based experimental metal band THE ATLAS MOTH have officially announced their signing to Prosthetic Records. The five-piece is augmenting their ever-evolving sound with producer Sanford Parker (Voivod, Eyehategod) at the helm.

Vocalist/guitarist Stavros Giannopoulos comments on the signing, “We have nothing but the best things to say about our time with Profound Lore and we are equally excited to start our next chapter with Prosthetic Records! We are currently tracking our fourth full-length record, Coma Noir, in Chicago with Sanford Parker at the helm! We’ve known Sanford for many years and are stoked to have him be the first to produce a moth record outside of the band. Keep your eyes peeled for in studio updates.”

Coma Noir will be released in the fall of this year. More information will be made available soon.

THE ATLAS MOTH have released three full lengths, A Glorified Piece of Blue Sky (Candlelight Records), An Ache For The Distance (Profound Lore) and The Old Believer (Profound Lore), as well as numerous splits, EPs and singles. They have toured with Gojira, Boris, Between the Buried and Me, The Ocean, Scale The Summit and many more throughout the world.

THE ATLAS MOTH is:
Andrew Ragin – Synth/guitar
Alex Klein – Bass
Mike Miczek – Drums
David Kush- Guitar/Vocals
Stavros Giannopoulos – Guitar/Vocals

www.facebook.com/theatlasmothband
www.twitter.com/theatlasmoth
www.instagram.com/theatlasmoth

The Atlas Moth, The Old Believer (2014)

Tags: , , , , ,

Drug Honkey Post Lyric Video for “Pool of Failure”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

drug honkey

If you haven’t yet heard it, the new album from Chicago’s Drug Honkey contains some of the most thoroughly fucked-sounding audio you’re likely to encounter in 2017. I mean it. Not only is Cloak of Skies (review here) unremitting in its bleakness, but the sheer aural harshness the band conveys with their industrialized sludge is like almost nothing else out there. With a background in extreme metal, they bring that intensity to their first outing since 2013’s Ghost in the Fire (review here), and the aggressive, malevolent place they wind up with the record is as brutal in its atmospheric purpose as in its raw assault factor. By the time it’s over, one feels as though they’ve earned this sonic punishment, even if one isn’t entirely sure what it is they’re supposed to feel so guilty for.

A noteworthy guest remix by Justin Broadrick has helped get the word out some about what Drug Honkey are doing, and sure enough Godflesh are a central influence or at very least a starting point when it comes to trying to understand where Cloak of Skies is coming from, but the real impact of the album comes from its deranged vibe and opaque violence. As the leadoff track, “Pool of Failure” offers the first signal of this mission and gets it underway in terrifyingly immersive form. Like much of what follows throughout Cloak of Skies, it is a nightmarish pulse peppered with impressionist lyrics, expressive and evocative half-thoughts that lead the listener downward on a course that will only continue in that direction.

Do you get the fucking point yet that Drug Honkey are basically out to wreck consciousness? Good. They’ve got a new video for “Pool of Failure” posted now with even more nightmare-style imagery, and I’d hate for you to go into such a thing unprepared to have your day melted by the song or the clip’s depressive disaffection. You have, as the saying goes, been warned.

Dig it:

Drug Honkey, “Pool of Failure” lyric video

Chicago-based industrial doom lords DRUG HONKEY have premiered their macabre new video for ‘Pool of Failure.’

Recorded by the band themselves at SOS Studio in Chicago and Everflow Studios in Berwyn, IL, Cloak of Skies boasts seven tracks, including a remix by the legendary Justin K. Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu) and a guest saxophone feature from Bruce Lamont (Yazuka, Corrections House, Brain Tentacles). Cover art was hand-painted by renowned artist Paulo Girardi (Inquisition, Power Trip).

DRUG HONKEY is:
Paul Gillis (Honkey Head) – Vocals/Synths/Samples/FX
Gabe Grosso (Hobbs) – Guitars
Ian Brown (Brown Honkey) – Bass
Adam Smith (BH Honkey) – Drums

Cloak of Skies is currently available for purchase (vinyl, CD, digital) at this location: http://drughonkey.bandcamp.com

Drug Honkey on Bandcamp

Drug Honkey on Thee Facebooks

Transcending Obscurity website

Transcending Obscurity Records on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,