It’s amazing more bands don’t do this. What does it take — a couple friends with DSLRs and some rehearsal? Indianapolis four-piece Void King, who just released their debut album, There is Nothing, on CD via Off the Record, have posted a new live clip of them playing the record front to back from a (relatively) recent hometown gig that served as the release show for the tape version (given away here). And yeah, the concert DVD has kind of gone the way of network television — still there, but rarely breaking new ground — but something like this, for the effort of getting a few cameras together, booking a space, and editing to a rhythm, Void King have managed to capture in its entirety a pivotal moment for the band.
I mean that. We live in a multimedia age. One tends to think of albums as documents charting a given act’s growth. Why can’t live videos be the same thing? Throw them up on YouTube, sell burnt DVDRs at the merch table if you want, but even if the number of people willing to shell out for such a thing is limited and the number of people who are going to sit through all 47 minutes of the video and watch it front to back is limited, if you were a band, wouldn’t you want to have that document? Even if it was something you never looked at again when it was done, why wouldn’t you want that behind you as you continued to move forward?
Of course, Void King rose to the occasion of the tape’s public arrival, as you can see for yourself. They reportedly have vinyl in the works for There is Nothing as well — as the PR wire says under the video — so this may not be the last release show they play for their debut.
Void King, There is Nothing Live in Indianapolis, July 16, 2016
Indianapolis Stoner Rockers VOID KING have released a video of the band performing new album There is Nothing in its entirety. The performance was captured by Heavenridge Films during VOID KING’s Cassette Release Show July 16 at the 5th Quarter in Indianapolis. Live audio is courtesy of Niko Albanese.
There is Nothing is out today on CD format via Off The Record. A vinyl LP version is also in the works.
The monstrously riff-tastic There is Nothing was released earlier this summer on digital format.
Track Listing: 1. Skull Junkie 2. Raise the Flags on Fire 3. Brandy Knew 4. Canyon Hammer 5. Healing Crisis 6. Box of Knives 7. Release the Hawks 8. That Was Not An Owl (DFI)
VOID KING is: Derek Felix – Percussion Chris Carroll – Bass Jason Kindred – Vocals Tommy Miller – Guitar
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 16th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
In under two weeks’ time, Indianapolis burl rockers Void King will issue their debut album, There is Nothing, on CD via Off the Record. It had previously been available digitally and on tape, and I for one have yet to look at the title and not think of what was easily the best scene in the 2012 film Prometheus, in which the corporate manipulator Peter Weyland says to the android David, “There’s nothing,” as he’s dying, only to have David answer back with a sort of glib C-3PO-style courtesy, “I know. Have a good journey, Mr. Weyland.” Brilliant scene in an otherwise mediocre movie. I don’t know if that’s where Void King got the title from, but that’s certainly where my head takes it.
The album has been streaming for a while now, and you can partake below if you’re so inclined. Preorders for the CD are also available, as the PR wire informs:
VOID KING to Release ‘There is Nothing’ on CD via Off the Record
Indianapolis Stoner Rockers VOID KING will release There is Nothing on CD format August 26 through Off The Record. Pre-orders are available at this location. A vinyl LP version is also in the works. Stay tuned!
VOID KING recently released the monstrously riff-tastic There is Nothing on digital format. Stream/Purchase: https://voidking.bandcamp.com/album/there-is-nothing
There is Nothing is also available in limited edition cassette format (both green and red versions) at this location. Tape purchases come with a free MP3 download of the album.
There is Nothing was recorded by Carl Byers of Clandestine Arts Recording. The artwork was created by Maia (aka “The Glitch Witch”).
Track Listing: 1. Skull Junkie 2. Raise the Flags on Fire 3. Brandy Knew 4. Canyon Hammer 5. Healing Crisis 6. Box of Knives 7. Release the Hawks 8. That Was Not An Owl (DFI)
VOID KING is:
Derek Felix – Percussion Chris Carroll – Bass Jason Kindred – Vocals Tommy Miller – Guitar
[Click play above to stream ‘Icebound’ from Wretch’s self-titled debut, out Aug. 26 on Bad Omen.]
Doom has anxiously and rightfully awaited the return of Karl Simon to the fold. Formerly the guitarist/vocalist for The Gates of Slumber, Simon formed Wretch shortly before the untimely passing of Gates bassist Jason McCash in 2014, that band having called it quits some months earlier after the release of a final EP, Stormcrow (review here). The Indianapolis outfit make their self-titled debut on Bad Omen Records with seven tracks that in some ways stand very much in line with what Simon brought to The Gates of Slumber and in other ways are a marked departure. Bassist Bryce Clarke and drummer Chris Gordon both make a striking impression as the rhythm section, particularly in the Judas Priest cover “Winter” and the tempo-shifting “Icebound,” which follows, but a lot of Wretch‘s Wretch is Simon directly confronting the death of a close friend, and even in stylized moments like the churning, mostly-psychedelic instrumental solo showcase “Bloodfinger,” that sincerity and intensity of feeling are palpable.
The Gates of Slumber told stories about conquerors and monsters — Wretch seem more grounded in the actual pains of living on. Of course, anyone who has heard Simon‘s prior work will recognize crucial elements like the early NWOBHM darkness and, in closer “Drown” particularly, the influence of Saint Vitus‘ Dave Chandler‘s style of lurch-riffing. What Simon has managed to do throughout his career — and most especially on the final The Gates of Slumber album, 2011’s The Wretch (review here), from which this band takes their moniker — is bring something fresh to that influence and to that of Scott “Wino” Weinrich, preaching a true doom ethic that has both won over and created converts for more than the last decade.
Wretch‘s Wretch is hard to separate from this context, but it’s important to note that the album does have a personality of its own that’s separate from what The Gates of Slumber might’ve done even on a follow-up to their last offering. A seven-track run provides a dense but manageable and varied 33-minute listen, and between the gallop of opener “Running out of Days” and the hook of the subsequent “Rest in Peace” — not a Trouble cover, but no doubt nodding in that direction — on which Simon delivers the lines “Set me free/Let me rest in peace” in such a manner as to make one wonder who the speaker in the song is, himself or McCash, the new band is quick to establish itself as something separate. That one-two punch — the leadoff track crashing directly into the second — gives Wretch an immediately distinct feel, and it’s one that feeds into even the later crawl of “Drown” or “Icebound” or even the minimal guitar interlude “Grey Cast Mourning” that separates them.
A general downward trajectory in tempo for the linear front-to-back listen, Wretch split the album neatly into two sides, and though the whole thing is downtrodden, it’s clearly side B where that comes through most in the material, though even the Wino-style solo layering of “Bloodfinger,” which is as close to classic psychedelia as anything I’ve ever heard Simon play, and probably closer — Gordon does an excellent job holding down a central groove to give the guitar space to flesh out — there’s an underlying melancholy. “Winter,” which originally appeared on Judas Priest‘s 1974 debut, Rocka Rolla as “Winter/Deep Freeze,” plays that up as well even as it basks in “War Pigs”-esque bounce and an element of swirl that feeds off what “Bloodfinger” accomplishes before it in expanding the overall scope of the record.
As “Winter” fits thematically with “Bloodfinger”‘s instrumental feel, so too does “Icebound” pick up smoothly in lyrical theme from “Winter.” The eight-minute cut is the longest on Wretch and while its main riff brings to mind The Obsessed and is trad doom of the highest order, the three-piece find room as well to sneak a bit of boogie into the midsection, which is unexpected and satisfying in kind, particularly following a wah-soaked solo from Simon. They return to that main riff without ceremony and ride it through a verse and shift into a long minute-plus fadeout that ends the song and brings on “Grey Cast Mourning,” a 2:34 piece for standalone guitar that reinforces the emotional crux of the album in its atmosphere of grief and melancholy. It’s an interlude, but both for how it splits “Icebound” and “Drown,” and for what it brings in mood, is more than justified in its presence. Its peaceful meditation makes the “I Bleed Black”-ish riff of “Drown” feel that much more weighted as it introduces the album’s closer.
A massive, rolling nod ensues, Simon‘s vocals buried under his and Clarke‘s tones and coated in effects, and it becomes clear quickly that Wretch are hitting bottom as regards the atmosphere of the record. I’m not sure if there could’ve been a more appropriate finish for the self-titled than “Drown,” which not only contrasts the relatively upbeat — at least in pace — beginning of the album, but emphasizes the spiral that led them to that point while mirroring that downward movement in the lyrics with masterful cohesion. The end comes with a final crash from Gordon and a short ring-out, leaving the listener with the feeling that there’s more to say. This too is no doubt purposeful on the band’s part, and it ultimately makes their debut all the more resonant, as if to ask what good it would do to keep going, emotionally or practically. In taking these issues head-on, Wretch‘s Wretch would be grueling were it not for the work the early portion does in building forward momentum, but as it stands, the balance positions the album among 2016’s best in doom. It is brutally honest, conceptually and aurally weighted, and, one hopes, cathartic.
Posted in Features on August 4th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. Specify whether you prefer the green or red tape. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]
Go ahead and enter now to be considered for a free copy of Indianapolis stoner metallers Void King‘s debut album, There is Nothing. The burly full-length is out now in limited numbers on red or green cassette, and one winner will be selected to receive the color of their choosing. There are only so many of these to go around, so if you want it, get in on the giveaway now. My understanding is they only made 30 copies available to the public.
The album itself was released back in June and you can get a taste of its riffy heft by streaming it in full below. Please note that, as ever, no personal information from anyone who enters will be kept or sold or anything like that. I don’t have time for that kind of shady shit even if I was remotely interested.
Ever trusty, the PR wire sent over the particulars for the album. Thanks to Void King and Clawhammer PR for letting me host the giveaway:
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Indianapolis doomers Wretch will make their self-titled debut in less than a month’s time via Bad Omen Records. The trio formed by former The Gates of Slumber guitarist/vocalist Karl Simon after the demise of that band and subsequent death of bassist Jason McCash have been playing shows steadily for the last couple years — I was fortunate enough to catch them at Vultures of Volume II — and as Simon is joined by bassist Bryce Clarke and drummer Christopher Gordon, the vibe is as heavy in spirit as it is classic in tone, at least if the new track “Rest in Peace” is anything to go by. You’ll pardon me if I assume it is.
The album art and background follows, courtesy of Bad Omen, which has Wretch available now for preorder ahead of its official Aug. 26 release:
Wretch – Self-Titled – Released August 26th, 2016
Lest we forget, doom metal stands for much more than merely a collection of Sabbathian riffs, funereal tempos and enormous amp-stacks. It’s a form of music that issues forth from the heart, the soul, and the gut. It can be an alchemical force that functions as a process of catharsis in times of need. What’s more, few know more about the power of this music than Karl Simon, formerly of the titanic and much-respected The Gates Of Slumber, and now of Wretch, whose debut carries on valiantly with the mission he began some eighteen years ago.
The making of this self-titled album marked both a renaissance and a crucial tonic for Simon himself – in the wake of the death of his close friend and The Gates Of Slumber bandmate Jason McCash, he was forced to make sense of a profound loss, and the making of this debut formed a crucial part of this process,
The new power-trio he formed with drummer Chris Gordon and bassist Bryce Clarke rose above their circumstances to issue forth a fearsome salvo of cast-iron riffage and heartfelt traditional metal heraldry, shot through with a steely conviction instilled by the experiences of recent days. “It is a new beginning, but I am what I am. I don’t set out to write a style of music.” notes Simon, “This is what happens when I pick up a guitar”
“Making this record has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done” he adds. “Jason and I met just out of school and instantly became best friends. All of my memories as an adult feature him. All of the songs on this record are about him, about me, about our drug use and his death. I’m not close to getting over the grief. In a lot of ways I’ve lost my mind. I hope that people are touched by the record – I am often on the verge of tears while playing..It’s tough reliving those moments”
Heavy in sincerity and emotion rather than in pitch and tone, these gritty yet grandiose songs may follow in the lineage and spirit of classic crusaders like Saint Vitus, The Obsessed and Cirith Ungol, yet the eerily thundering ‘Running Out Of Days’ and the downcast yet groove-laden ‘Icebound’ reach pinnacles of soulful intensity and emotional resonance. Meanwhile, a heroic essaying of Judas Priest’s early classic ‘Winter’ sees Simon & Co. connect with Heavy Metal’s most gnarled and vital roots. Defiant against all adversity, this debut stands proud as a fiery testimony to an indomitable spirit, one finding its way with grace and honesty through the trials and travails of the everyday.
“The days of swords and sorcery are pretty much over for me” notes Karl”. “No more giant spiders or Iceworms, There are real horrors that occupy my mind these days.”
Vinyl Pressing info: White Vinyl – 80 units exclusive to Bad Omen webstore “Bone” Vinyl Black Vinyl
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 24th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’m pretty sure what the W. Ralph Walters cover art for the new Devil to Pay record is going for is an accurate historical depiction of humanity’s encounter with ancient aliens. No doubt A Bend Through Space and Time is exactly how it went down, or so the ancient astronaut theorists believe, a big-boobed alien blowing knowledge-smoke in the face of a caveman/Neanderthal-type who may or may not be the titular character for the song “Knuckledragger.” I’m getting pretty tired of supporting the objectification industrial complex when it comes to cartoon tits, I’ll be honest, but I like Devil to Pay, so you’ll find the cover art and the tracklisting for the album below. You might recall the band premiered their video for “Your Inner Lemmy” here back in February.
If you don’t recall and don’t feel like clicking, that video is also below. A Bend Through Space and Time is out Aug. 12 on Ripple Music. Art and info:
DTP RELEASE ‘A BEND THROUGH SPACE AND TIME’ ALBUM ART & TRACK LIST
Today DEVIL TO PAY release album art and the track list for their upcoming release, “A Bend Through Space and Time”. Recorded in 2015 by Mike Bridavsky at Russian Recording in Bloomington, Indiana, “A Bend Through Space and Time” showcases the further development of DEVIL TO PAY’s songcraft and explorations in heavy, riff-oriented rock and roll. The album was preceded by the early release of a download and music video for the song “Your Inner Lemmy” in honor of the rock legend Lemmy Kilmister’s passing last December.
The cover art features an original painting by the amazing W. Ralph Walters.
“A Bend Through Space and Time” will be released worldwide August 12th on Ripple Music.
A BEND THROUGH SPACE AND TIME: 1. On and On (in your mind) 2. Don’t Give Away the World 3. Kobold in the Breadbasket 4. Laughingstock 5. the Meaning of Life 6. Recommended Daily Dosage 7. Knuckledragger 8. Kerfuffle 9. Your Inner Lemmy 10. the Demons Come Home to Roost
Just before the band starts playing, as he and fellow guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak are turning their guitars, Apostle of Solitude‘s Chuck Brown clues in the crowd as to what the song “Luna” is all about. He says, “This song goes out to a friend who you guys do not know and really it does not matter. Stay away from those drugs, kids.” Brown, Janiak, then-bassist Dan Davidson (since replaced by Mike Naish, also of Astral Mass) and drummer Corey Webb then ease their way into the memorable, eight-minute penultimate cut from 2014’s righteous Of Woe and Wounds (review here), a song that establishes its progression and then lurches forth with resonant melancholy and heft in kind, Brown and Janiak providing highlight vocal harmonies in soulful verses and choruses.
On a record that had no shortage of quality cuts, it’s hard to find a better example of the particular downerism at which Apostle of Solitude excel so very much. You’d still call their style straightforward in that it’s two guitars, bass, drums, vocals, but though the advent of two singers (something the band’s first two records didn’t have) has added new dimension to their approach, it’s that feeling of drudgery that most distinguishes a song like “Luna,” the struggle that the pacing and delivery seem to convey. There are a lot of acts in doom who shoot for something similar, but it’s not just about playing slow or being bummed out. I know that’s vague, but you can hear it when you listen to Apostle of Solitude — and it’s something true regardless of the tempo of a given track; “Luna” happens to be slower — and it has become a defining feature of their sound. Multi-tiered doom, brought out with as much feeling as tonal density.
Apostle of Solitude previously premiered two videos from Of Woe and Wounds on this site — for “Push Mortal Coil” (posted here) and “Lamentations of a Broken Man” (posted here) — and I’m glad to host the third one for “Luna,” not just because it’s one of my favorites, but because like all the others, it’s given me an excuse to put the record on again and make my way through its lumbering moodiness. Thanks to the band for giving me permission.
Of Woe and Wounds is out on Cruz del Sur. Enjoy “Luna,” followed by the video credits, below:
Apostle of Solitude, “Luna” official video
Apostle of Solitude’s video clip for “Luna” from the album “Of Woe and Wounds” available from Cruz Del Sur Music.
Cameras: Jay Rich Edits: S. Janiak Performances filmed in 2015: 5/2/15 at Jabber Jaws, Allentown, PA, and 5/9/15 at Goodfellas, McMechen, WV
Recorded by Mike Bridavsky at Russian Recording, Bloomington, IN Mixed by Mike Bridavsky Mastered by T. Dallas Reed @ HeavyHead Studios, Port Orchard, WA
Chuck Brown – Guitar, Vocals Corey Webb – Drums Steve Janiak – Guitar, Vocals Dan Davidson – Bass
Indianapolis heavy rockers Devil to Pay are inching closer to a summer release for their upcoming fifth album, A Bend Through Space and Time. Due out via Ripple Music as the band’s second for the label behind 2013’s Fate is Your Muse (review here), the new LP will come preceded by the recently-unveiled digital single, “Your Inner Lemmy” (posted here), which serves as the four-piece’s homage to late Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister, culling its lyrics from among the thousands of famous quotes attributable to the outspoken bassist/vocalist. The chorus, for example, resounds as a gang-shouted call and response, “Fuck your gods/Fuck devils too/Fuck the church/And then fuck you.”
True to form for Devil to Pay, this is a hook, and a serious one. The band doesn’t write any other kind, and even if the source material here is largely stuff Kilmister said over his 40-year career, and if the speedy central riff of the verse could be said to be a tribute as well, the track is definitely Devil to Pay‘s own, bolstered by their blend of aural heft and melody, their well-honed verse/chorus changes and the songcraft that continues to be their greatest appeal of all. I’m not sure if “Your Inner Lemmy” will feature on A Bend Through Space and Time — wait until you see the W. Ralph Walters artwork — but it’s notice all the same that the band haven’t gone off the rails since their last record, and I, for one, take comfort in that.
Devil to Pay is guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak, guitarist Rob Hough, bassist/backing vocalist Matt Stokes and drummer/backing vocalist Chad Profigle. Shot in what seems to be a practice space surrounded by well-framed posters, you can find the clip for “Your Inner Lemmy” below, followed by a few words from Janiak about the single.
Devil to Pay, “Your Inner Lemmy” official video
From the forthcoming Devil to Pay album, A Bend Through Space and Time — available this summer on Ripple Music vinyl, CD and digital
Steve Janiak, singer/guitarist of Devil to Pay says, “We initially came up with the riffs in 2013 and they obviously sounded very Motörhead-ish. I named the idea ‘Your Inner Lemmy’ because it felt like we were channeling the rock god. Months later we fleshed out the arrangement and made the lyrics a textbook lesson on everything Lemmy was about. We initially didn’t intend to put it on the record, but the more we played it, the more it spoke to us. After we recorded it,we were really hoping that somehow he would end up hearing the song. His unfortunate passing shocked and saddened us all. RIP Lemmy!”