Posted in Whathaveyou on October 14th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Some 12 years after its original release, Buried at Sea‘s debut and only full-length, Migration, continues to resonate, and really, it’s no wonder. To be as straightforward about it as possible, Migration was one of the heaviest records ever released, in doom or out of it, and after more than a decade it still provides a measure of heft that very, very few can live up to. The band’s last release was the Ghost EP, which came out in 2007 on Neurot, and boasted a more atmospheric take, but on Dec. 18, War Crime Recordings will reissue Migration as a three-sided 2LP (the last side will be etched), and no doubt claim the lives of turntables worldwide.
To coincide, Buried at Sea will head out on a West Coast tour next month, starting at the Midnite Communion III and heading north from there as far up as Vancouver before turning back to Chicago, where six days later they’ll meet up with two of that city’s finest in The Atlas Moth and Sweet Cobra for a hometown gig. Details follow, as sent down the PR wire:
Chicago Cult Doomsters, Buried At Sea announce Migration LP reissue
Migration, the debut album from Chicago’s cult doom/drone band, BURIED AT SEA, will see its first vinyl pressing come December 18th, 2015. Initially released on Original Sound Recordings on CD in 2003, this reissue will be available on gatefold 2LP, CD and digitally by War Crime Recordings; the label owned and operated by BURIED AT SEA’s own Sanford Parker (Minsk, Corrections House) and Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Corrections House).
The album features new artwork done by vocalist/bassist, Brian Sowell who also created the etched design for the D-side to the album. The LP is limited to 500 copies worldwide. Preorders can be found here:http://hyperurl.co/xnxmzb
Last seen live in 2011, the band has come together to play this year’s Midnite Communion in Long Beach, CA and a short string of dates following with old friends Unearthly Trance. A hometown show with The Atlas Moth and Sweet Cobra has also been booked.
BURIED AT SEA tour dates: Fri, Nov. 13 – Midnite Communion III at The Breakers, Long Beach CA Sat, Nov. 14 – Midnite Communion III at The Breakers, Long Beach CA Sun, Nov. 15 – The Golden Bull, Oakland CA w/ CHRCH, Abstracter Mon, Nov. 16 – Club 66, Ashland OR Tue, Nov. 17 – Star Theater, Portland OR w/ Samothrace, Ephemeros Wed, Nov. 18 – The Highline, Seattle WA w/ Samothrace, MGLA, Weregoat Thu, Nov. 19 – Hindenberg, Vancouver BC w/ Usnea, Haggatha Wed, Nov 25 – Reggies, Chicago, IL w/ The Atlas Moth, Sweet Cobra
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Well shit. I guess, if you’re Goatsnake, and you’ve never played Chicago before, the band you want to team up with to do so is Pelican. The reunited riffers’ sporadic touring to support their 2015 return full-length, Black Age Blues (review here), will continue in December as they hit spots in the Midwest to coincide with their previously announced West and East Coast shows. Europe next year? I wouldn’t be surprised to find them at Temples or some other fests around in the spring, but nothing’s been revealed in that regard as yet. Seems like they have plenty to keep them busy in the meantime.
And fucking Pelican. You’d think they would get exhausted being awesome all the time, but nope. Their latest EP, 2015’s The Cliff, is right on as ever.
To the PR wire:
GOATSNAKE And PELICAN Confirm Midwest December Tour Dates
Southern California’s raging doom quartet, GOATSNAKE, will join up with atmospheric post-rock artisans and Southern Lord labelmates, PELICAN, for a run of tour dates through the Midwest US together this December, marking GOATSNAKE’s first time performing in the region.
The GOATSNAKE and PELICAN tour festivities will begin in Indianapolis on December 12th, the show also featuring Bongripper and more. Post-show, an afterparty has been scheduled to take place at the local Kuma’s Corner spot, where the bands’ prior special burgers will be made available as a trio of miniatures, the event also featuring DJ Sets by Greg Anderson of GOATSNAKE and Dustin Boltjes of Skeletonwitch. The next show takes place on December 13th in Columbus, followed by Ferndale on the 14th and Chicago for the final show on the 15th with Cloakroom and Canadian Rifle.
GOATSNAKE Tour Dates: 9/24/2015 Catalyst Atrium – Santa Cruz, CA w/ Black Breath, Battalion Of Saints, Obliterations 9/26/2015 Highline – Seattle, WA w/ Black Breath, Battalion Of Saints, Obliterations 9/27/2015 Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR w/ Black Breath, Battalion Of Saints, Obliterations 10/11/2015 TRIX – Antwerp, BE @ Desertfest 10/13/2015 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA w/ YDI, Big|Brave 10/14/2015 Black Cat – Washington, DC w/ YDI, Big|Brave 10/15/2015 Saint Vitus Bar – Brooklyn, NY w/ YDI, Big|Brave 11/19-22/2015 Le Guess Who? Festival – Utrecht, NL 12/12/2015 5th Quarter Lounge – Indianapolis, IN w/ Pelican, Bongripper, Rlyeh, Sacred Leather 12/13/2015 Ace of Cups – Columbus, OH w/ Pelican 12/14/2015 The Loving Touch – Ferndale, MI w/ Pelican 12/15/2015 ThaliaHall – Chicago, IL w/ Pelican, Cloakroom, Canadian Rifle
PELICAN Tour Dates: 10/25/2015 High Noon – Madison, WI w/ Zebras, Jon Mueller 12/12/2015 5th Quarter Lounge – Indianapolis, IN w/ Goatsnake, Bongripper, Rlyeh, Sacred Leather 12/13/2015 Ace of Cups – Columbus, OH w/ Goatsnake 12/14/2015 The Loving Touch – Ferndale, MI w/ Goatsnake 12/15/2015 Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL w/ Goatsnake, Cloakroom, Canadian Rifle 12/18/2015 Sticky Fingers – Gothenburg, SE @ Scorched Tundra Festival
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 14th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Good news out of the camp of Chicago doomers The Skull in that the five-piece band, which features two former members of Trouble and now two former members of Pentagram, are headed to Europe for the first time since the release of their 2014 debut album, For Those Which are Asleep (review here). That record was a trad-doom gem issued by Tee Pee that boasted highlight work from some of those who set the traditions of doom in motion in the first place. With the still-relatively-recent addition of ex-Pentagram drummer Sean Saley to the lineup, The Skull will set out late in Feb. 2016 and continue through a goodly part of March with more dates still to be added.
While these cats are known for regularly breaking out Trouble songs during the set — you might say that’s how they started out — it says something at this point that if you’re going to see them play, it’s probably even more to get the cuts from For Those Which are Asleep. If you haven’t heard that record, you probably should.
The news came late last night down the PR wire:
The Skull NEW tour dates
THE SKULL featuring former Trouble members including vocalist Eric Wagner and bassist Ron Holzner are heading to Europe in March 2016 for performances across the continent!
Featuring original TROUBLE vocalist Eric Wagner and long time TROUBLE bassist Ron Holzner, THE SKULL are giving their legendary former band a run for their money with their new Tee Pee Records / Plastic Head release “For Those Which Are Asleep”.
In 2012, THE SKULL hit Europe as headliner for the Hells Pleasure Fest in Germany, and then followed up as headliner for their own European tour in November 2012 which included performances in Germany, Netherlands, and Sweden; including co-headlining the Hammer of Doom Festival with Pentagram in Wurzburg, Germany. In 2014, THE SKULL’s European headlining tour included headlining the Day of Doom Festival in Barcelona, Spain, as well as venues in Portugal and a headline show at Camden World in London, England playing the classic Trouble album “Psalm 9” in its entirety on this tour.
THE SKULL’s current show includes a large blend of Trouble classics and rarities spanning the Eric Wagner and Ron Holzner periods with the band as well as new “The Skull” material from their critically acclaimed record “For Those Which Are Asleep” played in Europe for the first time ever. The show also includes the occasional cover and expanded live jam versions. It’s doom that rocks.
THE SKULL (ex-Trouble, ex-Pentagram) For Those Which Are Asleep European Tour 2016 Presented by Rock Hard Magazine, Guitar Magazine, DrumHeads Magazine, & Grow! 26.02.2016 NL-Tilburg, Little Devil 27.02.2016 NL-Amsterdam, Q-Factory 29.02.2016 DE-Cologne, Underground 01.03.2016 DE-Bielefeld, Forum 03.03.2016 DE-Hamburg, Klubsen 04.03.2016 DE-Leipzig, Bandhaus 09.03.2016 DE-Dresden, Chemiefabrik 10.03.2016 DE-Berlin, Cassiopeia 11.03.2016 DE-Markneukirchen, Framus & Warwick Music Hall 12.03.2016 DE-Munich, Backstage 14.03.2016 AT-Graz, Explosiv 15.03.2016 SK-Bratislava, Muzeum Obchodu 17.03.2016 AT-Wien, Viper Room 18.03.2016 AT-Innsbruck, Weekender 19.03.2016 IT-Bologna, Freakclub 20.03.2016 DE-Karlsruhe, Jubez
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 7th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Good news for those on the western side of the country in that reborn Illinois outfit Minsk are heading out for a round of dates in support of their 2015 return album, The Crash and the Draw (review here), which came out earlier this year on Relapse. They’ve already been to Europe for the album, playing Roadburn and touring alongside Floor, which if you’re going to make a comeback after six years is a damn good way to do it. With the West Coast covered this time around, that really just leaves the East still to do, and it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think more dates will follow before the end of this year, though if it winds up being early 2016, certainly they could be forgiven.
The PR wire has the announcement:
MINSK: Announce US Tour Dates
Illinois post-metal quintet MINSK have announced their first US tour dates in support of their new album The Crash & The Draw. The dates kick off on September 1st in St Paul, MN and run through September 12th, including a series of West Coast shows as direct support for Sweden’s Cult of Luna along with SubRosa. A complete listing of dates is available below.
MINSK released their first album in six years, The Crash & The Draw, this past April to immense critical acclaim. Captured by the band alongside Sanford Parker (Voivod, Eyehategod, Yob etc.), mixed by Parker and MINSK and mastered by Collin Jordan (Eyehategod, Indian, Wovenhand, Voivod etc.) with additional vocal tracking by Scott Evans (Kowloon Walled City, Old Man Gloom, Floor) and further tracking, editing, and mixing by Kevin Rendleman and Aaron Austin, The Crash & The Draw is an instant contender for one of the most forward-thinking metal records of the year. The album can be streamed in it’s entirety via Bandcamp here.
The album is available on CD/2xLP/Digital and can be purchased via Relapse atTHIS LOCATIONor digitallyHERE.
MINSK Tour Dates: Sep 01 St. Paul, MN Turf Club Sep 03 Billings, MT The Railyard Sep 05 Vancouver, BC Rickshaw Theater* Sep 06 Seattle, WA Neumo’s* Sep 07 Portland, OR Star Theater* Sep 08 San Francisco, CA Slims* Sep 09 Hollywood, CA The Roxy* Sep 10 Las Vegas, NV Dive Bar Sep 12 Denver, CO GLOB * = with Cult of Luna & SubRosa
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Fascinating transition for The Skull, who since the release of their 2014 Tee Pee Records debut album, For Those Which are Asleep (review here), have gone from being more Trouble than Trouble to owing just as much of their collective pedigree to Pentagram with the addition of drummer Sean Saley alongside guitarist Matt Goldsborough — both of whom I’m pretty sure were in Pentagram when I saw them at Desertfest London in 2013. Go figure.
What that means to The Skull‘s overall aesthetic will of course remain to be seen, guitarist Lothar Keller (who was never in either Trouble or Pentagram — yet!) having such a huge role in what they do, as well as bassist Ron Holzner and vocalist Eric Wagner, but wherever they go from their first album, I’m glad to see them getting out for a decent bit of touring, even if it’s headed west instead of east. The rest will sort itself out, but more time on stage can only make them a tighter unit and expand on what they were already able to bring to the studio the first time around.
The PR wire has tour details:
The Skull Announces North American Tour Dates
Doom Titans featuring Ex-Members of Legendary Metal Bands TROUBLE and PENTAGRAM Set to Hit the Road
THE SKULL, featuring vocalist Eric Wagner and bassist Ron Holzner, formerly of metal legends TROUBLE, guitarist Matt Goldsborough and drummer Sean Saley (both ex-PENTAGRAM) and guitarist Lothar Keller, has announced a North American tour in support of its debut album, For Those Which Are Asleep.
THE SKULL will launch the 16-city trek on September 11 in Milwaukee, WI. The tour will run through September 29 in New Orleans, LA. At the shows, THE SKULL will perform both songs from For Those Which Are Asleep and time-tested favorites from its canon of TROUBLE classics. The just-announced live dates are as follows:
THE SKULL tour dates: September 11 Milwaukee, WI Metal Grill September 12 Kansas City, MO Riot Room September 13 Denver, CO Larimer Lounge September 15 Spokane, WA The Pin September 16 Boise, ID Neurolux September 17 Vancouver, BC Rickshaw September 18 Seattle, WA El Corazon September 19 Portland, OR Star Theatre September 20 Oakland, CA Opera House September 22 Los Angeles, CA Satellite September 23 San Diego, CA Hideout September 24 Phoenix, AZ Pub Rock September 25 Albuquerque, NM Launchpad September 26 Fort Worth, TX Lola’s September 27 Tulsa, OK Downtown Lounge September 29 New Orleans, LA Sibera
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Long-running Chicago psych rockers The Luck of Eden Hall are getting ready to head to the UK for a round of tour dates between now and Aug. 11, playing in England, Scotland and Wales on a round of gigs ahead of finishing up their new album, The Acceleration of Time. Their most recent release is the single “The Happiness Vending Machine,” for which they made a video you can see below and which was issued back in Sept. of last year. They’ve got a new single in the works with a theme taken from and artwork by Neil Gaiman that has a Kickstarter in progress. This tour was also crowdfunded, so apparently they get some pretty good support.
The stint in the UK will be bookended by two Midwestern gigs, one in Michigan and one later in Aug. with The Psychedelic Furs in Skokie, Illinois. The PR wire keeps us all informed:
After completing a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for airfare, lodging and rentals, Chicago psych-pop group The Luck of Eden Hall has confirmed the dates for their second UK tour.
The tour, which will begin with a show at London’s 12 Bar Club on July 30 and wrap up with a headlining performance at the book release party for Dave Thompson’s A Séance at Syd’s at The Half Moon, Putney on August 11, will also touch down in Sheffield, Cardigan, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Liverpool. In addition, the band will be recording a live album for Fruits de Mer Records at MWNCI Studios, August 3-5.
Upon returning to the states, The Luck of Eden Hall will be supporting The Psychedelic Furs at Skokie’s Backlot Bash on Saturday, August 29 and will be putting the finishing touches on their upcoming album, The Acceleration of Time.
July 25 @ Shakespeare¹s Pub, Kalamazoo, Michigan July 30 @ 12 Bar Club, London, England Aug 1 @ The Rocking Chair, Sheffield, England Aug 6 @ Bannerman’s, Edinburgh, Scotland Aug 7 @ Nice n¹ Sleazys, Glasgow, Scotland Aug 8 @ The Magnet, Liverpool, England Aug 9 @ 13th Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival, Cardigan, Wales Aug 11 @ The Half Moon, A Seance At Syd’s book release show, London, England Aug 29 @ Backlot Bash w/ The Psychedelic Furs, Skokie, Illinois
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 1st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
The Trouble family tree strikes again, bringing forth the self-titled debut full-length from Chicago five-piece Spillage. Aside from guitarist Tony Spillman, formerly of Earthen Grave, the band also featured vocalist Lothar Keller, who plays guitar in The Skull. If that’s not enough lineage for you, it was produced by Bruce Franklin, who, of course, is one of Trouble‘s founding guitarists. So there.
It’s out now through Qumran Records on CD with vinyl to follow, as the PR wire informs:
Behold! The wait is over!
Nearly 10 years in the making, the debut album from Spillage has just been let loose on the highways of hard rock/metal!
Tony Spillman, formerly of Earthen Grave, has assembled a massively talented lineup that brings the songs of Spillage to life with raw emotion, colorful landscapes, and at times, full blown rage! Lothar Keller (The Skull/Divinity Compromised) lends his incredible range to light up the vocals, Nick Bozidarevic (Band of Brothers) joins Tony to create a very Tipton/Downing-esque guitar duo, and Willie Max (Blackfinger/Shadoz Edge) and Chris Martins (Band of Brothers) hold down an absolutely thunderous rhythm section, and Paul Rau lays down the essential keyboard accents. Special guest lead guitar spots by none other than Trouble’s Bruce Franklin send things completely into the stratosphere.
Taking the best qualities of early Judas Priest & Uriah Heep, and mixing it with Uli Jon Roth era Scorpions, Spillage manages to create brilliant, original music that stands well on its own in today’s heavy scene.
Produced by the one and only Bruce Franklin, the self titled Spillage debut will be released world-wide on June 30th, 2015 via Qumran Records. CD and digital downloads will be available online via the band’s official Bandcamp page:www.spillage.bandcamp.com.
The track listing for the debut Spillage album is as follows: 1. The Darkness 2. Live In Fear 3. The Road 4. Call It Freedom 5. In Hell 6. Insomnia 7. Devil Woman 8. Land Of Opportunity 9. We Are
Limited edition red vinyl will be available soon!
Having already shared the stage with the likes of Trouble, Elder, and Brimstone Coven, and taking part in high profile festivals such as Days Of The Doomed, Spillage is poised to hit the road this summer in full force supporting the release of their debut album. Check listings for a city near you!
Posted in Reviews on July 1st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
And so we cruise into day three. Not sure how you’re holding up, but I feel like I’m hanging in pretty well. We pass the halfway point today, which is significant, but of course there are still plenty of records to come. I’m not sure I have a favorite day — I tried to spread stuff around as best I could when I was planning the whole thing — but there are definitely a couple highlights today as well. No doubt the standouts will stand out as we make our way through.
Quarterly Review #21-30:
Minsk, The Crash and the Draw
Six years after the release of their third album, With Echoes in the Movement of Stone (review here), the 75-minute breadth of The Crash and the Draw (on Relapse) marks a welcome resurgence for Illinois post-metallers Minsk. Only keyboardist/vocalist Timothy Mead and guitarist/vocalist Christopher Bennett (also of Lark’s Tongue) remain from what was a four-piece and is now five with Aaron Austin on guitar/vocals, Zachary Livingston on bass/vocals and Kevin Rendleman on drums, but Minsk’s cascading heft is well intact as they show immediately on 12-minute opener and longest cut (immediate points) “To the Initiate.” True enough one is bound to be initiated after it, but it hardly scratches the surface of the atmospheric sludge Minsk continue to develop over the course of the four-parter “Onward Procession,” the glorious later melodies of “The Way is Through,” or the tribal tension in the percussion-led “To You there is No End.” They cap with the 10-minute “When the Walls Fell” and find themselves standing after all else has crashed down. A sprawling and triumphant return.
Not to be confused with New York’s King Buffalo, Michigan’s Bison Machine or any number of other large mammals in the well-populated fur-covered contingent of American heavy rockers, King Bison make their self-titled debut via Snake Charmer Coalition, comprising seven riffy bruisers owing a deep debt to Clutch and, in that, reminding a bit of their Pennsylvanian countrymen in Kingsnake. Songs like “One for the Money” and “March of the Sasquatch” signal a watch for stoner-roller grooves to come in “Queen of the South” and “Pariah,” the dudeliness of the proceedings practically oozing from the speakers in the gruff vocals of guitarist/vocalist Chris Wojcik, who’s joined in the trio by bassist Dean Herber and drummer Scott Carey. The penchant for booze and blues, ladies and US auto manufacturing holds firm in “Night Ride” and the slower “I’m Gone,” and while one might expect a closer called “Space Boogie” to flesh out a bit, King Bison instead reinforce the foundation they’ve laid all along of Southern-style heft, remaining light on pretense and heavy on riffs.
Originally issued digitally late last year, Salzburg, Austria, instrumental trio Les Lekin are set to give their debut long-player, All Black Rainbow Moon, a second look with a 180g vinyl pressing in Fall 2015. Comprised of six tracks, the record is a spacious 49 minutes, and the three-piece of guitarist Peter G., bassist Stefan W. and drummer Kerstin W. enact a fluid heavy psych groove, somewhat less dense in its fuzz than the post-Colour Haze sphere and following plotted courses throughout, whether it’s in the Arenna-esque “Solum,” which unfolds after the album’s wash of an intro, the efficient exploration of “Useless,” which seems to pack a 12-minute jam into a six-minute song, or the still-open-sounding bluesy stretchout of “Loom,” the longest inclusion here at 13:16. Familiar in aesthetic perhaps, the songs are nonetheless complex enough to represent the band’s beginnings well, the closer “Release” coming to a heavier apex that could perhaps foreshadow future expansions of the chiaroscuro elements at which the title of this debut is hinting.
After releasing their 2012 debut, Voyage, on Nuclear Blast last year, young Icelandic trio The Vintage Caravan return in 2015 with their sophomore full-length, Arrival – the second record seeming by title to be an answer to the first. Maybe that’s the intention musically, but the 10 tracks/55 minutes comprising Arrival do well to stand on their own, with the impressive lead work of guitarist/vocalist Óskar Logi never too far from the fore on songs like the standout “Babylon” or “Sandwalker,” though backed capably by the rhythm section of bassist Alexander Örn (also backup vocals) and drummer Stefán Ari Stefánsson. While unquestionably a more mature outing than their debut and more accomplished in its chemistry and songwriting, Arrival still gives a sense of the progression to come, and it’s easy to worry that by the time the listener gets to the powerful closing trio of “Innerverse,” “Carousel” and “Winter Queen,” the dizzying play throughout will have dulled the senses past the point of full appreciation. Room to tighten? Perhaps, but still a strong second outing for a band loaded with potential.
Guitarist/vocalist Jim Healey is known more for the aggressive edge he’s brought over the years to bands like We’re all Gonna Die, Black Thai and most recently Shatner, but his solo material brings a different look. Joined in this “solo” endeavor by guitarist/vocalist/organist Joe McMahon, cellist/backing vocalist Dana Fisher, drummer Kyle Rasmussen and accordionist/backing vocalist Bridget Nault, Healey’s songwriting is nonetheless front and center across the nine tracks of This is What the End Looked Like, memorable cuts like “A Whole Lot of Nothing,” the more subdued “Radio” (written by Eddy Llerena) and closer “World War Eight” fleshing out arrangements that could work and/or have worked just as well on solo acoustic guitar for Healey in live performances. Worth noting that for all the vocal and instrumental embellishments on the studio incarnations, the songs lose none of the heartfelt feel at their core, Healey’s voice remaining a lonely presence despite obviously keeping good company.
Nighthymns marks a return for ANU and the band’s sole inhabitant Chad “Drathrul” Davis (Hour of 13/Night Magic, Tasha-Yar, The Sabbathian, and so many others) after a four-year absence following the release of 2011’s III EP. Offsetting blasting, ripping black metal on cuts like “Enter the Chasm” and “The Eternal Frost” with the ambient drones of “Risen within the Mist of Obscurity,” the longer “Winterfall” and the title-track, Nighthymns nonetheless gnashes its teeth in a dense blackened murk, screams far back in “Enter the Chasm” beneath programmed-sounding thud and full-on guitar squibblies. A project Davis has had going in one form or another since releasing a first demo in 1999, and likely before that, ANU’s slicing extremity and atmospherics rest well alongside each other, but neither is accessibility a remote concern. If you get it, you get it, and if you don’t, you don’t. Nighthymns is way more concerned with separating wheat from chaff than it is with making friends, and that plays much to its ultimate success.
Comprised of gruff-shouting vocalist Henning L., guitarists Christopher P. and Stephan M., bassist Matthias B. and drummer Torsten H., German riff idolizers Iron and Stone debuted in 2013 with an EP titled Maelstrom and Old Man’s Doom is a follow-up short release. Pressed to DIY cassettes, the three-tracker preaches loud and clear to the nod-ready converted in “Place in Hell” and “Into the Unknown,” big riffs lumbering out stone vibes, intertwining rhythms and leads in the latter as Henning works his shouting into a corresponding notation. “Into the Unknown” ends large and Sabbathy, but speedier closer “Bliss of Diversion” is a high point unto itself for the consistency of the tonal morass that the uptick in pace brings out of the guitar and bass, resulting in a kind of noisy, dense-in-the-low-end punk that suits Iron and Stone well despite operating in defiance of the EP’s title. New material reportedly in the works as well.
Their first album, Second Sun follows a 2012 self-titled EP from Indiana trio Gorgantherron, but is in a different league entirely. A well-set mix balance establishes itself on the opening title-track and develops throughout “Superliminial” and “Bookbinder” as they get rolling, and Gorgantherron – guitarist/vocalist Clint Logan, bassist/vocalist Toby Richardson and drummer Chris Flint – continue to foster grooving largesse over the nine tracks/47 minutes, veering skillfully between boogie and doom on “Pre-Warp Civilization” before airing out an atmospheric take on “Seventh Planet,” the rough-edged vocals prevalent in quieter surroundings. Richardson’s fuzz on “The Stone” ensures the song lives up to its name, and the soft guitar noodling that opens “Paranoia” brings a surprising touch of Colour Haze influence out of the blue before a count-in from Flint puts the band’s roll back on its appointed track. Closing duo “Entropy” and “Defy” offer some shuffle and chug, respectively, but by then the trio have already made the album’s primary impression in their heavy riffs, burl and more than capable execution.
The two cuts of Spanish trio Elephant Riders’ Challenger EP take Kyuss-style desert riffing and reset the context to something altogether less jammy. Tight and presented with a near-metallic crispness in their production, both “Challenger” – rerecorded from an earlier EP – and its more rolling B-side “Lone Wolf” push the line between heavy and hard rock, but riffs remain central to their purposes. Having released their debut full-length, Supernova, in 2014, they’re still getting settled into their sound, but a blend of heavy rock, grunge and metal impulses pervades these two songs, and when “Lone Wolf” shifts into a couple measures of start-stop fuzz riffing in its second half, they show off just a reminder nod for where they got their name. Two catchy tracks that maybe aren’t reinventing the stoner rock game, they nonetheless provide a quick sample of Elephant Rider’s songwriting development in progress and plant the seeds of future hooks to come.
When placed next to each other, the five one-word titles on Lend Me Your Underbelly’s Hover – either the project’s third or fourth full-length, depending on what you count – result in the phrase “Everything” “Was” “Deep” “Dark” “Green.” Whether or not that is of special significance to Netherlands-based multi-instrumentalist/sampler Christian Berends, I don’t know. The whole idea across these tracks seems to be experimentation and improvisation, so if the titles were grabbed from somewhere at random or carrying a rich emotional connection, either is just as likely. Not knowing turns out to be half the fun of Hover itself – not knowing that, not knowing what Berends is going to do around the next turn as each track builds, not knowing where all this noise is leading as the swirls and riffs of “Green” close out. Layers careen, appear and disappear throughout, but the wide open structures and creative sensibility remain consistent and tie Hover together as an intricate work of exploratory psychedelia.