Mugstar Announce Collapsar (Skull Scorchers and Neuron Phasers – Singles and Rarities) out Dec. 15

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

mugstar

Any Mugstar release is a decent excuse to get weird, but I feel like the forthcoming Collapsar stands out as being especially so. Set for issue on Dec. 15 through Evil Hoodoo Records, the full title of the offering is Collapsar (Skull Scorchers and Neuron Phasers – Singles and Rarities), so in addition to just being an outing from the Liverpudlian troupe, it’s also drawing from multiple sources for its live tracks, alternate versions and — because, yes, absolutely — a cover of Fairport Convention‘s “Tam Lin” that bridges the seemingly impossible gap between pastoral folk and garage-gaze. You didn’t even know that gap existed because it’s so wide. They might as well have bridged the sky.

Anyhoozle, if you’ve got a freakout quota, they’re primed to blow it out of the cosmos across the unmanageable 68 minutes included here, and if you want just the most basic sampling of what’s on offer, you can stream the track “Flavin’ HotRod” at the bottom of this post. Enjoy.

The PR wire brings art, details and links:

mugstar collapsar

MUGSTAR – COLLAPSAR – Latest album release by Evil Hoodoo on 15th December

EVIL HOODOO PRESENTS The latest release for Liverpool’s psych lords Mugstar

MUGSTAR – COLLAPSAR (Skull Scorchers and Neuron Phasers – Singles & Rarities).

Liverpool’s MUGSTAR have steadily grown in status over a fifteen-year timescale on the UK underground rock scene. “COLLAPSAR…” is a timely collection of singles and rarities which charts MUGSTAR’s ever evolving outbound journey across the space lanes since the start of the millennium. Catching the ear of the late, great John Peel with their first single ‘Spotlight Over Memphis’, MUGSTAR notably went on to record one of the very last ever Peel Sessions for him.

From that point on, MUGSTAR have been transmitting their unique signal out to the furthest reaches of both inner and outer space ever since. This collection brings together some of MUGSTAR’s best-loved live tracks alongside some now difficult to find rarities – all alternative versions to previous album tracks – as well as previously unreleased tracks. Taking in pulsating Krautrock, skeletal Post Rock, bludgeoning Psych and even an idiosyncratic take on the folk classic ‘Tam Lin’ (made famous by Fairport Convention), “COLLAPSAR…” collates and unearths the hidden chapters of MUGSTAR’s ongoing intergalactic travelogue.

MUGSTAR – COLLAPSAR (Skull Scorchers and Neuron Phasers – Singles & Rarities) is presented here as a luxurious double album package. Pressed on heavy vinyl and housed in a stunning gatefold sleeve – rich in visuals, band photos and information – tracing MUGSTAR’s history to date.

MUGSTAR – COLLAPSAR (Skull Scorchers and Neuron Phasers – Singles & Rarities) will be available to pre order from 1st December

To order this record – http://evilhoodoo.bigcartel.com/product/mugstar

https://www.facebook.com/MUGSTAR-127591997334111/
http://www.mugstar.com/
https://mugstar.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/Evil-Hoodoo-192638530798808/ http://evilhoodoo.bigcartel.com

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Conan to Release New Album Early Next Year; North American Tour Announced

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

UK sonic pummelbringers Conan have announced a round of North American touring beginning Feb. 9. They’ll be joined in the endeavor by The Ditch and the Delta and are set to release a new album in early 2018 via Napalm Records. I don’t know if the album will actually come out while they’re on this run or not, but as the band has made touring the US a priority over the last couple years, it would make sense.

Either way, they’ll be playing new material on the road, so if you want a preview of the follow-up to 2016’s Revengeance (review here) — whatever it might be called — before it comes out, that’s another reason to show up beyond the standard having your ass handed to you by Conan, which was going to happen one way or another.

Just off the PR wire:

conan tour poster

CONAN Announces 2018 North American Tour

New Album Coming Early Next Year Via Napalm Records

British Doom Metallers, CONAN are currently hard at work, on the follow up to their 2016 release “Revengeanance,” which is due out in early 2018. In anticiapion of the new album, CONAN has announced a full North American headline tour beginning in February 2018. The tour features support from The Ditch and The Delta, and starts February 9th in Calgary, AB and wraps up March 13th in Denver, CO. A complete list of dates can be found below.

“We are very happy to announce this US tour with The Ditch and The Delta, our fourth US tour in as many years. This tour is slightly different though, we will be playing material from our new album – to be released in 2018 at Napalm Records. See you at the front,” says CONAN frontman Jon Davis.

CONAN are as heavy as interplanetary thunder amplified through the roaring black hole anus of Azathoth. Remember that sentence, for it is writ large in virgin blood on the walls of the forgotten temple of Bol-Krastor, deep in the steaming forests of forgotten Lemuria. CONAN, a monumentally brutal three piece (in the grand tradition of all the hallowed three pieces through time) hold a sinew-tight line and an iron-grip command over the uber-synchronised powerchord changes and tempo-shifts of the anti-holy trio of bass, drums and guitar. Two weary yet defiant men have the task of vocalising wretched thoughts over the turgid weight of Conan’s metalized bombast. They bear it well, for the task is immense.

Hear the roar of battle. Smell the stench of split blood. A thousand heads piled high like a grim mound of suffering – a blasphemy to nature. HAIL CONAN!

CONAN W/ The Ditch and The Delta
2/9/18: Calgary, AB @ Palomino*
2/10/18: Edmonton, AB @ Brixx*
2/12/18: Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
2/13/18: Boise, ID @ Neurolux
2/15/18: Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
2/16/18: Portland, OR @ Sabertooth Fest*
2/17/18: Eugene, OR @ Old Nicks
2/18/18: San Francisco, CA @ Thee Parkside
2/19/18: Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
2/20/18: Phoenix, AZ @ Yucca Tap
2/21/18: Albuquerque, NM @ Sister Bar
2/22/18: El Paso, TX @ Neon Rose
2/23/18: Austin, TX @ Lost Well
2/24/18: Little Rock, AR @ White Water Tavern
2/25/18: Memphis, TN @ Growlers
2/26/18: Knoxville, TN @ Pilot Light
2/27/18: Atlanta, GA @ The 529
3/1/18: Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
3/2/18: Washington, DC @ Atlas Brew Works
3/3/18: Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
3/4/18: Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
3/5/18: Providence, RI @ Alchemy
3/6/18: Boston, MA @ Middle East Upstairs
3/7/18: Rochester, NY @ Photo City
3/8/18: Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
3/9/18: Lexington, KY @ Cosmic Charlies
3/10/18: Chicago, IL @ Reggies
3/11/18: Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry
3/12/18: Omaha, NE @ Lookout Lounge
3/13/18: Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive
*CONAN Only

www.hailconan.com
www.facebook.com/conancavemanbattledoom
www.napalmrecords.com

Conan, “Throne of Fire” official video

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Conan, Kurokuma & Granule to Tour Japan in March

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Fresh off the heels of releasing their Man is Myth – Early Demos collection on Napalm Records, UK rifflords Conan have announced a run of Japanese dates in March 2018. Support will come from UK compatriots Kurokuma and Tokyo’s Granule, and the tour is being presented under the banner of ‘Doomed Japan,’ which, if you can think of something better to call it, you’ll just have to let me know because from where I sit that about sums it up. Conan do not often go to a place and leave it unflattened, and as they look to hit Nagoya, Osaka, and Tokyo, they’ll also be perhaps on the heels of a new album release expected sometime early next year, so all the more reason to watch out.

The PR wire brings copious info about that and more background on the tour in general:

conan doomed japan

Doomed Japan – Conan, Kurokuma & Granule Japan Tour 2018

UK attack extends to Japan as caveman battle doom trio, Conan announce three shows in the Land of the Rising Sun in March 2018. They will be supported by psychedelic sludge crew, Kurokuma and Tokyo blackened sludge project, Granule.

March 29th (Thu) – Club Zion, Nagoya http://www.clubzion.gionsound.jp/
March 30th (Fri) – Hokage, Osaka http://musicbarhokage.net/
March 31st (Sat) – Earthdom, Tokyo http://www1.odn.ne.jp/~cfs81480/index.html/menu.html

Ticket links can be found via Granule’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/granule.tyo/

Conan (UK) are as heavy as interplanetary thunder amplified through the roaring black hole anus of Azathoth. Remember that sentence, for it is writ large in virgin blood on the walls of the forgotten temple of Bol-Krastor, deep in the steaming forests of forgotten Lemuria. Conan, a monumentally brutal three piece (in the grand tradition of all the hallowed three pieces through time) hold a sinew-tight line and an iron-grip command over the uber-synchronised powerchord changes and tempo-shifts of the anti-holy trio of bass, drums and guitar.

Two weary yet defiant men have the task of vocalising wretched thoughts over the turgid weight of Conan’s metalized bombast. They bear it well, for the task is immense. Hear the roar of battle. Smell the stench of spilt blood. A thousand heads piled high like a grim mound of suffering – a blasphemy to nature. Hail Conan!

Forming in 2006, Conan released their earth-flatteningly heavy debut, Horseback Battle Hammer in 2010. Having revitalised the UK’s slow/heavy scene, they are now signed to Napalm Records and currently recording their fourth album set for release in 2018. They released the Man Is Myth demos earlier this year.

Masters of shamanic, hypnotic sludge, Kurokuma (UK) is Jacob Mazlum (guitar/vocals), George Ionita (bass/vocals) and Joe Allen (drums).

After spending a year in the cold reaches of northern Japan and inspired by his time playing the taiko drum, Joe returned to the UK to start a shadowy three-piece that combined the unassailable power of doom with exotic percussion and an enchanting energy. Taking their name from Kurokuma Falls in Aomori, Kurokuma was born.

Kurokuma’s 2014 demo and the 2016 EP, Advorsus (Medusa Crush Recordins) along with savage live performances have been enough to see them establish a reputation as one of metal’s most potent new forces. In 2018 they will release their Dope Rider concept EP, as well as playing Brutal Assault festival in Czech Republic.

Featuring former members of legendary Tokyo band, BOMBORI, Granule formed in 2017. The five piece soon released AURORA on cassette (w/ zine), this being a rapid crystallisation of the band’s cutting, oppressive sludge sound. More recently they released DEMO #2, an all-out, raw, auditory assault representative of the band’s live show. Granule head up the booking/organisation of the Doomed Japan tour.

https://doomedjapan2018.tumblr.com/

https://www.facebook.com/conancavemanbattledoom/
https://conan-conan.bandcamp.com/
https://twitter.com/hailconan

https://www.facebook.com/kurokumauk
https://kurokumauk.bandcamp.com
https://twitter.com/kurokumauk

https://facebook.com/granule.tyo
https://granule.bandcamp.com/album/aurora
https://twitter.com/granule_tyo

Conan, “Gravity Chasm” from Man is Myth – Early Demos

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Conan Announce Man is Myth – Early Demos

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

conan

As we mortals wait for the thunder on the horizon to materialize as the next proper Conan full-length, the UK riff-destroyers have made available for preorder a new collection titled Man is Myth – Early Demos, which will see release via Napalm Records next month. Anyone who’s heard Horseback Battle Hammer (review here) can tell you that early Conan wanted nothing for heft, and as the three-piece make ready to unveil a new record in 2018 (fingers crossed; nothing yet announced) and hit the road with Monolord in just a matter of days, one expects Man is Myth to much more embody the likes of a gravity chasm than, say, a stopgap, even if it is a means to keeping momentum rolling into the New Year. Shit, it’s a new Conan release. Take it and be grateful.

The PR wire has details:

conan-man-is-myth-early-demos

CONAN Unveil Album Details! ‘Man Is Myth – Early Demos’ Now Available For Pre-Order!

The world’s heaviest doom metal-band CONAN finally provide some exciting insights into a secret world! ‘Man Is Myth – Early Demos’ are the unheard beasts out of the band’s rehearsal room and studio, and will see the light of day on November 17th on Napalm Records.

It roars and cranks all over, dull distortion drags nerves into the coldest regions of the world. It’s no accident that they call themselves Caveman Battle Doom. Man Is Myth – Early Demos is the primordial soup for everything that CONAN stands for!

Says guitarist & vocalist Jon Paul Davis:

Conan has been active since 2006. Our first demo was recorded on Jan 27th, 2007 and since then we have continued to release our music and tour worldwide. We started out with nothing and gave it everything, like most respected bands. We are proud of where we have been and excited about where we may still go. These demos show a little bit of our progression through this time and hopefully can give the listener an idea of where we have come from. Our aim is always to play to our strengths and not over complicate, it held true at the beginning and it holds true now.
Never give up.

Now the doom heavy weights unveil first, hotly anticipated details about their upcoming release and unleash the cover and track list for ‘Man Is Myth – Early Demos’!

The track list will read as follows:

1. Battle In The Swamp ( Rehearsal room demo 2009 )
2. Satsumo ( Rehearsal room demo 2009 )
3. Krull ( Rehearsal room demo 2009 )
4. Satsumo ( Rehearsal room demo 2006 )
5. Gravity Chasm ( Studio demo 2012 )
6. Foehammer ( Studio demo 2012 )
7. Domed Iron Boss ( Studio demo 2012 )

‘Man Is Myth – Early Demos’ will be coming as a CD Digi Pack, Digital Download and LP Gatefold editions, and is now available for pre-order HERE!

In support and since CONAN have always excelled live, the band will be heavily hitting the road this Fall! Catch them live, when they will bring their wall of sound live on stage, with very special guests MONOLORD at the following dates:

07.10.17 NL – Nijmegen / Soulcrusher Festival
08.10.17 FR – Paris / Le Glazart
09.10.17 FR – Nantes / La Scene Michelet
10.10.17 FR – Bordeaux / Le Void
11.10.17 ES – Barcelona / Razz 3
12.10.17 ES – San Sebastian / Dabadaba
13.10.17 FR – Lyon / Jack Jack
14.10.17 FR – Audincourt / Le Molodo
15.10.17 BE – Antwerp / Desert fest
16.10.17 DK – Aarhus / Atlas
17.10.17 DE – Hamburg / Bambi Galore
18.10.17 DE – Berlin / Musik & Frieden
19.10.17 DE – Kassel / TBA
20.10.17 DE – Dresden / Morbus Maximus
21.10.17 DE – Munich / Keep It Low Festival
22.10.17 CZ – Prague/Brno / Kabinet Muz
23.10.17 AT – Vienna / Bas Bach
24.10.17 CH – Olten / Coq D’or
25.10.17 IT – Bologna / Freakout Club
26.10.17 IT – Milan / Bloom
27.10.17 CH – Lausanne / Le Romandie
28.10.17 DE – Siegen / Vortex

www.hailconan.com
www.facebook.com/conancavemanbattledoom
http://smarturl.it/ManIsMyth-NPR
www.napalmrecords.com

Conan, “Sea Lord”

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Conan Announce New Drummer; European Tour Starts Oct. 7

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

By wonderful coincidence, I recently had occasion to see drummer Johnny King playing as part of the lineup of the Alan Averill-fronted outfit Dread Sovereign at Emerald Haze in Dublin (review here), so if you need confirmation, I’m happy to confirm: dude can bash the shit out of some drums. Not that you’d necessarily have to take my word for it as he’s announced as the new drummer for UK riffsmashers Conan — the fact alone that guitarist/vocalist Jon Davis and bassist/vocalist Chris Fielding are bringing him into the lineup of the band as the third in the trio speaks plenty to that in itself.

I was also fortunate enough to see Conan back in 2015 with Rich Lewis on drums (review here), and that was no minor bit of metal he proffered in that role. One wonders what personality King will add as Conan move into 2018 with already-stated intentions toward a new album following up 2016’s Revengeance (review here), but no doubt that’s something that will be further hammered out on their upcoming European tour next month, which they’ll co-headline with Swedish three-piece Monolord.

Band announcement and tour dates follow:

conan johnny king

CONAN – NEW DRUMMER ANNOUNCEMENT

We are delighted to announce that Johnny King (Altar of Plagues / Malthusian / Dread Sovereign) has joined us as full time drummer. Rehearsals and writing have gone very well and we are very excited to enter into this new phase with Johnny in the band. He is someone we have been friends with for a while, we shared a stage with Johnny and his band several times since 2010.

Please give him a warm welcome.

CONAN & MONOLORD live dates:
07.10.17 NL – Nijmegen / Soulcrusher II – Doornroosje
08.10.17 FR – Paris / GLAZART
09.10.17 FR – Nantes / La Scène Michelet
10.10.17 FR – Bordeaux / VOID // BDX
11.10.17 ES – Barcelona / Razzmatazz 3
12.10.17 ES – San Sebastian / Dabadaba
13.10.17 FR – Lyon / Jack Jack
14.10.17 FR – Audincourt / Le Molodo
15.10.17 BE – Antwerp / Desertfest Antwerp 2017
16.10.17 DK – Aarhus / Atlas
17.10.17 DE – Hamburg / Bambi galore
18.10.17 DE – Berlin / Musik & Frieden
20.10.17 DE – Bischofswerda / Morbvs Maximvs
21.10.17 DE – Munich / Keep It Low Festival 2017
22.10.17 CZ – Prague/Brno / Kabinet MÚZ
23.10.17 AT – Vienna / DasBACH
24.10.17 CH – Olten / Coq d’Or
25.10.17 IT – Bologna / Freakout Club
26.10.17 IT – Milan / Bloom
27.10.17 CH – Winterthur / Gaswerk
28.10.17 DE – Siegen / The VORTEX

https://www.facebook.com/conancavemanbattledoom/
http://www.hailconan.com
napalmrecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/napalmrecords/

Conan, “Revengeance” lyric video

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Conan & Monolord Announce Co-Headlining European Tour

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

Goodness gracious this is going to be heavy. If you live somewhere in Europe they’re not hitting or in the US and you’re jealous that Conan and Monolord won’t be co-headlining their way across your particular country this time around, don’t worry. I’m pretty sure wherever you’re at you’ll be able to hear them anyway. Just put your ear to the ground — not in a dirty or wet spot; nothing gross — and listen for the rumble. That’s them. Can’t miss it.

I don’t know who had the idea to pair up the UK riff destroyers with the Swedish masters of nod, but yeah, good work. You get a gold sticker. Conan, of course, are still out supporting early-2016’s Revengeance (review here), and this will mark their second European run of 2017 and follow a recent Obelisk-presented US stint that included a stop at Maryland Deathfest. For Monolord, they go heralding the arrival of their third album, newly completed and awaiting the publication of its release details. Presumably by the time October comes around, we’ll know when and how the record will be out even if we don’t yet.

You’ll note the included slots here at Desertfest Belgium 2017 in Antwerp and Keep it Low 2017 in Munich. I wouldn’t be surprised if another fest or two got added, time permitting. Poster and currently announced dates follow, as hoisted from the social medias:

conan monolord tour

Conan and Monolord – Co-Headline Fall 2017 European Tour

CONAN & MONOLORD live dates:
07.10.17 NL – Nijmegen / Soulcrusher II – Doornroosje
08.10.17 FR – Paris / GLAZART
09.10.17 FR – Nantes / La Scène Michelet
10.10.17 FR – Bordeaux / VOID // BDX
11.10.17 ES – Barcelona / Razzmatazz 3
12.10.17 ES – San Sebastian / Dabadaba
13.10.17 FR – Lyon / Jack Jack
14.10.17 FR – Audincourt / Le Molodo
15.10.17 BE – Antwerp / Desertfest Antwerp 2017
16.10.17 DK – Aarhus / Atlas
17.10.17 DE – Hamburg / Bambi galore
18.10.17 DE – Berlin / Musik & Frieden
20.10.17 DE – Bischofswerda / Morbvs Maximvs
21.10.17 DE – Munich / Keep It Low Festival 2017
22.10.17 CZ – Prague/Brno / Kabinet MÚZ
23.10.17 AT – Vienna / DasBACH
24.10.17 CH – Olten / Coq d’Or
25.10.17 IT – Bologna / Freakout Club
26.10.17 IT – Milan / Bloom
27.10.17 CH – Winterthur / Gaswerk
28.10.17 DE – Siegen / The VORTEX

Poster by Error! Design

https://www.facebook.com/conancavemanbattledoom/
http://www.hailconan.com
napalmrecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/napalmrecords/

https://www.facebook.com/monolordsweden/
twitter.com/MonolordSweden
https://monolord.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ridingeasyrecs.com/

Conan, “Throne of Fire” live at Maryland Deathfest 2017

Monolord, Vænir (2015)

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Anathema, The Optimist: A Fine Day to Return

Posted in Reviews on June 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

anathema the optimist

A significant reason Anathema‘s The Optimist succeeds as it does is because it doesn’t attempt to recapture a moment that’s long since gone. The album, which is released by proggy Peaceville offshoot Kscope Music as the follow-up to 2014’s Distant Satellites and is upwards of the UK-based melodic progressive rockers’ 13th full-length, depending on what you count — they’ve had a couple offerings reworking prior material — is intended as a sequel to 2001’s A Fine Day to Exit (reissue review here). Accordingly, one almost looks at the title The Optimist as ironic at first, as that turn-of-the-century outing had depression and near-suicidal mania so much at its core, but optimism is something the previously-grim Anathema seem to have discovered within their own sound circa 2010’s We’re Here Because We’re Here, and they don’t necessarily cast it off for The Optimist for the sake of pretending to be something they’re not aesthetically.

From the quick electronic pulses that rhythmically transition from intro “32.63N 117.14W” to the ocean waves that start closer “Back to the Start” — that being a direct reference to “Temporary Peace” from A Fine Day to Exit — the six-piece are free to nod at the work they’ve done before, but their songwriting in no way feels beholden to it, even if they’re picking up a story where they left it some 16 years ago. This has been a consistency throughout their career, as Anathema have always embraced change and development within their style and generally managed to bring their fanbase — of which I’d consider myself a part — with them for the ride, and just because they’re looking back in theme doesn’t necessarily mean they’re giving up that approach. Vocalist Lee Douglas might be taking on the voice of our main character’s consciousness in lead-single “Springfield” when she asks, “How did I get here?,” but the arrangement behind her is by no means playing to a darkness that is no longer there.

Crucially, as melancholy as they get, particularly in the back half of the record, the band — led, as ever, by vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Vincent Cavanagh and guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Danny Cavanagh, with Douglas sharing intermittent lead and backing vocal roles, bassist Jamie Cavanagh, keyboardist Daniel Cardoso and drummer John Douglas — don’t try to remake or directly reinterpret “Panic,” the frenetic emotional and sonic apex of A Fine Day to Exit. After “32.63N 117.14W” starts the journey — if one plugs in the coordinates, it’s a beach off the coast of San Diego; presumably intended to be where the cover art of A Fine Day to Exit takes place and where this take begins — with our character getting in his car and hearing on the radio, among other things, an Anathema song, “Leaving it Behind” picks up with a fervent energy and burst-forth hook the tempo of which will inform even quieter moments like “San Francisco” before finding more direct complement in the later track “Can’t Let Go,” but the bulk of The Optimist‘s 11-song/hour-long runtime is given to lush, patient and deeply resonant emotional fare.

Vincent and Lee bolster an abiding instrumental flow throughout by switching lead-singer duties. He soars in “Leaving it Behind,” she answers back on the subsequent “Endless Ways” over a hair-stand-on-end instrumental wash, and after a ringing phone leads directly into the title-track from there, the two come together over an orchestral swell and rhythmic push held together by John‘s drums and a crescendo of lead guitar. Piano plays a large role throughout, including in “San Francisco,” on which more pulsations are met with crashing cymbal sounds in a five-minute instrumental push that ends in traffic giving way fluidly to “Springfield” as the centerpiece of The Optimist‘s linear presentation. Slower and patient in its build, “Springfield” rolls forward but maintains an airy feel thanks to the echo on Lee‘s vocals, the piano line that remains at its core and the light tone of the lead guitar, but the questions it asks as it moves into its voluminous peak would seem to be the essence of what the album is looking to express and a moment of direct relation to the character of The Optimist himself; a crucial moment on the record given its due in melody and flourish.

anathema

Gentle ride cymbal and keyboard string sounds back Lee‘s vocal highlight performance in “Ghosts,” and a sense of stillness pervades that the quicker, more active rhythm guitar and drum progression — not to mention the far back keyboard swirl — of “Can’t Let Go” immediately contrast, Vincent taking over on vocals as if to emphasize the dynamic that has been at play all throughout The Optimist to one degree or another, and the meticulousness with which Anathema at this stage in their career present their material. A swell of guitar near the halfway point of “Can’t Let Go” arises and brings another melodic wash, but never gets louder than it needs to be, with Danny adding backing harmonies before a long fadeout brings the sound of a door opening and our main character sitting down to watch television/listen to the radio comes on quietly, giving us a sampled line of A Fine Day to Exit opener “Pressure” before the piano-led minimalism of “Close Your Eyes” quickly takes hold, drums and horns sound arriving in the second half behind Lee‘s voice to draw out a jazzy, lounge-style vibe.

The shortest non-intro track at 3:43, “Close Your Eyes” nonetheless distinguishes itself from its surroundings with this semi-experimental feel, and a voice whispers, “It’s okay, it’s okay. It’s just a dream. Go back to sleep,” before piano begins the penultimate “Wildfires.” The title-line is delivered in drawling, effected fashion, as is the verse that follows, but an electronic urgency rises in the mix gradually, and at the 3:19 mark, the guitars and drums explode to prominence and a fullness of impact that lets the listener know they’re arriving at the conclusion of the narrative. Vincent‘s voice informs in repetitions, “It’s too late,” over his own lead guitar, and the song cuts to toy piano and guitar to transition into the aforementioned wave sounds that drift into “Back to the Start,” a six-plus-minute grand finale that works on a linear energy as a payoff for the entire course of the album preceding. In its melody and arrangement, it is among the most memorable stretches of The Optimist despite coming at the end of a long and varied trip, and when it’s over, our character walks up, knocks on a door and a voice says, “How are you?” And then it’s over.

One last thing The Optimist shares in common with A Fine Day to Exit is a tossoff, silly, home-recorded-sounding hidden track, but instead of the John Douglas goofing around, this time it’s primarily a child’s voice we hear. That last-minute acknowledgement of time gone by is subtle but evocative of the spirit of The Optimist as a whole, which though it revives a narrative thread the band clearly felt was unfinished, reshapes the story into one that sounds fresh in perspective and execution coming from them as they are today. Anathema‘s creative growth as songwriters has never stopped, and as a result, no two of their albums have found them in the same place in terms of sound. That remains true here, and even as they look to their past, they push brazenly ahead into their future, as ever.

Anathema, “Springfield” official video

Anathema on Thee Facebooks

Anathema on Instagram

Anathema on Twitter

Anathema website

Kscope Music webstore

Kscope Music on Thee Facebooks

Kscope Music on Twitter

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Anathema Announce North American Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

anathema (photo caroline traitler)

Earlier this month, when long-running UK melodic progressive rockers Anathema announced the June 9 release of their new album, The Optimist, that word came already with tour dates across multiple continents. Well, after they wrap up in South and Central America this August, the band will continue to make their way north for shows in the US and Canada, hitting major markets in Baltimore, New York, Chicago, Quebec, and so on in support of the new record. As the PR wire notes below, it’s their first North American run since 2014, and it precedes a much lengthier UK/European tour alongside Alcest that will consume much of their autumn.

Any way you look at it, it’s a lot, a lot, a lot of touring. Of course, Anathema are no strangers to time on the road, and a steady stream of live records, DVDs and offerings of the like keeps their loyal fanbase sated even when they’re not actually playing out, so all the better. Maybe they’ll record a few of these shows too. One never knows.

Here’s the latest:

anathema tour dates

ANATHEMA ANNOUNCE FIRST NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES IN SUPPORT OF THE OPTIMIST (JUNE 9, KSCOPE)

TICKETS AVAILABLE THIS FRIDAY, APRIL 21

Anathema, who recently revealed the new song “Springfield” from the band’s forthcoming album, The Optimist (June 9, Kscope), are now thrilled to announce their first North American dates since 2014.

The nine dates, which kick off on Aug. 16 in Baltimore, include stops in New York, Chicago and a trio of Canadian dates.

“Touring the U.S. and Canada is always a fantastic privilege,” said guitar player Daniel Cavanagh. “These countries have been the birthplace of some of the most revered recording artists of all time. We are delighted to visit the east coast and we promise to visit the west coast, following up soon. Our new album, The Optimist, is set in America. It will be a blast! “

North American Tour dates:
August 16 Baltimore, MD Soundstage
August 17 New York, NY Gramercy Theater
August 18 Boston, MA Brighton Music Hall
August 19 Quebec, QC Saile Multi
August 20 Montreal, QC Astral
August 21 Toronto, ON Opera House
August 23 Chicago, IL Bottom Lounge
August 24 Cleveland, OH House of Blues
August 25 Philadelphia, PA Theatre of Living Arts

ANATHEMA TOUR DATES:
Jun 08 Yotaspace Moscow, Russia
Jun 09 Clubzal St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
Jun 11 Download Festival Derby, United Kingdom
Jun 18 Graspop Metal Meeting Dessel, Belgium
Jun 23 Doornroosje Nijmegen, Netherlands
Jun 24 Midsummer Prog Festival Valkenburg, Netherlands
Jul 01 Be Prog! My Friend Barcelona, Spain
Jul 02 Rockwave Festival Athens, Greece
Aug 03 Café Iguana Monterrey, Mexico
Aug 04 C3 Stage Guadalajara, Mexico
Aug 05 El Plaza Condesa Mexico City, Mexico
Aug 07 Teatro Ecci Bogota, Colombia
Aug 09 Teatro Capriola Santiago, Chile
Aug 11 Groove Buenos Aires, Argentina
Aug 12 Carioca Club Sao Paulo, Brazil
Aug 13 Granfinos Belo Horizonte, Brazil

ANATHEMA with Alcest:
Sep 23 Limelight 2 Belfast, United Kingdom
Sep 24 Academy Dublin, Ireland
Oct 02 La Cartonnerie Reims, France
Oct 03 L’Étage Rennes, France
Oct 04 Le Bataclan Paris, France
Oct 05 Aeronef Lille, France
Oct 06 013 Tilburg, Netherlands
Oct 07 La Laiterie Strasbourg, France
Oct 08 La Sirene La Rochelle, France
Oct 10 Rock School Barbey Bordeaux, France
Oct 11 Le Metronum Toulouse, France
Oct 14 Paloma Nimes, France
Oct 15 Le Radiant Caluire Et Cuire, France
Oct 16 Alcatraz Milan, Italy
Oct 18 Z7 Konzertfabrik Pratteln, Switzerland
Oct 19 LKA Longhorn Stuttgart, Germany
Oct 20 Backstage Werk Munchen, Germany
Oct 21 Simm City Vienna, Austria
Oct 22 Kino Šiška Ljubljana, Slovenia
Oct 24 Arenele Romane Bucharest, Romania
Oct 25 Orpheus Studio Sofia, Bulgaria
Oct 27 Dürer Kert Budapest, Hungary
Oct 28 Lucerna Music Bar Prague, Czech Republic
Oct 29 Batschkapp Frankfurt Am Main, Germany
Oct 31 Astra Berlin, Germany
Nov 01 Uebel & Gefährlich Hamburg, Germany
Nov 02 Amager Bio Copenhagen, Denmark
Nov 03 Kulturbolaget Malmö, Sweden
Nov 05 Rockefeller Music Hall Oslo, Norway
Nov 06 Kägelbanan Södermalm, Sweden
Nov 08 Klubi Tampere, Finland
Nov 09 THE CIRCUS Helsinki, Finland
Nov 10 Rock Café Tallinn, Estonia
Nov 12 Progresja Music Zone Warsaw, Poland
Nov 13 Stary Mane? Gdansk, Poland
Nov 14 MTP2 Poznan, Poland
Nov 15 HSD Erfurt, Germany
Nov 16 Live Music Hall Cologne, Germany
Nov 18 Kulturfabrik Esch Sur Alzette, Luxembourg

Anathema, led by brothers Daniel and Vincent Cavanagh, along with drummer John Douglas, singer Lee Douglas, bassist Jamie Cavanagh and drummer/keyboardist Daniel Cardoso began recording The Optimist in the winter of 2016 at Attica Audio in Donegal, Ireland and then finished at Castle Of Doom studios in Glasgow with producer Tony Doogan (Mogwai, Belle & Sebastian, Super Furry Animals) at the helm and was mastered at the legendary Abbey Road Studios.

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www.twitter.com/anathemamusic
www.anathema.ws

Anathema, “Springfield”

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