Posted in Whathaveyou on December 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Prior to checking out for the holidays, Desertfest London 2015 has decided to give its public something to chew on over the next couple weeks. Six bands have joined the lineup for the UK festival. American acts Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band and Acid King, Italy’s Ufomammut, Iceland’s The Vintage Caravan, Sweden’s Galvano and Australia’s Don Fernando broaden an already international assemblage to be headlined by Sleep and Red Fang, and featuring Floor, My SleepingKarma, Black Pyramid, Lo-Panand an impressive host of others listed below.
A lot of festival news around here lately, I know — and more still to come. It’s the season for it. As we move into the New Year and these lineups start to really solidify, it seems like the culture for heavy rock fests just keeps growing. Certainly it’s Desertfest‘s biggest year yet.
Here’s their latest announcement:
Brant Bjork, Ufomammut, Acid King, The Vintage Caravan, Galvano and Don Fernando to play DESERTFEST LONDON in 2015
On the eve of Christmas holidays, the DESERTFEST LONDON promoters wanted to leave you with a sweet stoner rock taste, by adding a new batch of high-end outfits to the 2015 edition of the festival. Desert rock standard-bearer BRANT BJORK will take the stage this April along with Italy’s heaviest trio UFOMAMMUT, the legendary ACID KING, Iceland’s cosmos travellers THE VINTAGE CARAVAN, Swedish sludge mongers GALVANO and Australia’s DON FERNANDO.
Bands already confirmed are:
SLEEP RED FANG BRANT BJORK’S LOW DESERT PUNK ORANGE GOBLIN FLOOR MINSK UFOMAMMUT ACID KING KARMA TO BURN THE VINTAGE CARAVAN MY SLEEPING KARMA BLACK PYRAMID NOOTHGRUSH LO-PAN THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX BLACK COBRA DOPETHRONE DESERT STORM THE WOUNDED KINGS DON FERNANDO GALVANO AGRIMONIA AMULET WALK THROUGH FIRE
DESERTFEST LONDON 24-26th April 2015 in Camden Town Koko Electric Ballroom The Underworld The Black Heart
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Well, last we heard from Londoner trio Bright Curse, they had a new bass player and plans to record. It would seem not much has changed — unless you count the bass players. The three-piece has again enlisted a new party to helm the low end, bringing in Sweden’s Max Ternebring in what they hope will be a permanent replacement. They’re also getting ready to record a new EP to follow-up their 2013 self-titled (review here), and are planning on more studio and road time after that.
The PR wire brings details, for which we are grateful:
BRIGHT CURSE to record new 12″ EP in January; bassist Max Ternebring joins the band.
Following a slight lineup reshuffle, London heavy psych rockers BRIGHT CURSE are back in the saddle for good. The trio just unveiled the identity of their new bass player, as well as the release of a new 12″ EP, due out in early 2015.
After the re-edition of their highly praised debut “Bright Curse” in 2013 via Bilocation Records, UK based doomsters BRIGHT CURSE are set to release new material, to cope with the wait that has ensued from two consecutive changes of bass player this year. The band finally found a definitive groove monger in the person of Max Ternebring. Drummer Zacharie Mizzi comments: “As promised, we present you the new, handsome, completing member of our line-up: Maximilian from the blessed land of Sverige (read Sweden if you’re not from the blessed land…). New riffs are already flowing, and we will record songs for a 12″ vinyl exclusive release very soon. Brace yourselves, more news regarding a tour are coming next.”
BRIGHT CURSE will head back to the studio later in 2015 to record their second album to date. The booking of a full European tour is also in the pipeline.
BRIGHT CURSE rose in May 2012 in London from the ashes of French psychedelic band Soul Manifest (Night Tripper Records). A few months later, the psych doom trio brought to life their first self-titled debut “Bright Curse” to life, which was recorded by J.B Pilon in London and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege in Portland. It didn’t take long until the band gained international recognition thanks to their unique sound imprint, and inked a deal with German label Bilocation Records, who released a limited vinyl edition of the band’s debut album in 2013.
These last two years has seen the band going uphill, for BRIGHT CURSE went on a full UK tour with Trippy Wicked and Wight, and were invited to play significant heavy music events in Europe (Desertfest London, Up In Smoke Fest, Glad Stone Fest), sharing the stage with the likes of Earthless, Colour Haze, Truckfighters, Pentagram, Naam or Mars Red Sky. Enjoying their current momentum, BRIGHT CURSE are now established with their new bassmeister hailing from Sweden, Max Ternebring, and are ready to release their new record some time in 2015.
BRIGHT CURSE IS: Romain Daut – guitar & vocals Zacharie Mizzi – drums Max Ternebring – bass
Posted in Reviews on November 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
If you heard Stubb‘s 2012 self-titled Superhot Records debut (review here), then there are two things to know about the newly-released Ripple Music follow-up Cry of the Ocean: It’s more complex in style and emotion, and it has more of a full-album feel. I will not take anything away from the first Stubb record. Songs like “Scale the Mountain” and “Road” and “Soul Mover” and so on continue to resonate, as does the subsequent 7″ single, Under a Spell (review here), it’s just that guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson, bassist/backing vocalist Peter Holland (also Trippy Wicked and Elephant Tree) and new drummer Tom Fyfe have branched out stylistically from where they started. This is a positive for the band since progress hasn’t come at the expense of songwriting. At just under 39 minutes, the Skyhammer Studios-recorded Cry of the Ocean is a little longer than its predecessor, but none of that time feels wasted, whether it’s the late guitar-led jams in the closing duo of “Snake Eyes” and “You’ll Never Know,” or the Colour Haze-esque interplay of waves and standalone guitar that begin the two-part opening title-track. Rather, while Stubb have clearly become a more patient act — a credit to the time they’ve spent on stage the last couple years — their sound has only gotten richer for it. Dickinson‘s guitar tone, which is as much a draw to Cry of the Ocean as its entrancing shoreline cover art, drives this fluidity across the eight included tracks, and a flow pervades throughout the album’s two halves that stands as further evidence of their growth. The self-titled did a lot of work in establishing Stubb as a band to be taken seriously, and Cry of the Ocean succeeds in building off of those accomplishments as its sets out in its own direction.
Stubb are indebted to classic heavy rock without being retro and they nod at heavy psych on Cry of the Ocean without wading too deep in those waters. Rather than seeming noncommittal, though, the effect is that Stubb retain the penchant for hooks that made their first outing such a joy. “Cry of the Ocean Pt. 1″ makes waves of its verses — “And in my mind I break loose/And in my mind I break free…” — and opens to one of the record’s first standout choruses with the lines, “Hear the cry of the ocean, baby/As washes over me.” It is a more brooding sentiment than one might’ve expected, but Dickinson sells the emotion confidently and Stubb prove early they’re more than able to pull off the turn, “Cry of the Ocean Pt. 1″ giving way to “Cry of the Ocean Pt. 2,” a two-minute soulful, handclap-laden singalong that asks, “Are you free? Are you free to believe?/Free to be who you wanted to be?” The transition between the two parts is seamless, and the songs remain individually distinct, it sets up the across-album flow that will continue for most of Cry of the Ocean, with Holland and Fyfe setting up a swinging groove behind a guitar solo that adds distinction to what’s intended as a one-riff progression. “Heavy Blue Sky,” which follows, is likewise open-toned and likewise moody, but Dickinson brings lead-work forward early and with a confident, well-balanced vocal, carries the song, less based around its hook than the title cut but still memorable both for its riff and languid, swaying groove, which is held onto for the duration in a way that demonstrates the band’s patience and serves the album for the better. There’s plenty of time to blow doors off with the more fuzzed “Sail Forever,” the nod of which is immediate and which works its way smoothly toward one of Cry of the Ocean‘s best choruses, raw and classically-styled, but heavy and efficient as well, Fyfe‘s snare cutting through Dickinson‘s solo near the halfway mark.
I’m not sure where the side A/B change is. Track-wise, it’s possible to be even on both sides, but in terms of time, one’s bound to be longer than the other. For what it’s worth, the acoustic “Heartbreaker” fits well coming out of “Sail Forever,” giving Cry of the Ocean its most contemplative moment and fitting with the bluesy interpersonal thematic at play in several of the songs. A sweet, folkish guitar line at the center furthers the overarching complexity, minimal-but-still-there drums retaining movement and adding class as Dickinson and Holland come together effectively on vocals in the chorus. Some harder snare hits in the second half tell of the pickup to come, but like “Heavy Blue Sky” never lost sight of its intent, “Heartbreaker” retains its acoustic basis even in its payoff, which is more satisfying considering how easy it would’ve been for the band to layer in a wall of fuzz. That also leaves “Devil’s Brew” tasked as the wake-up call, to which its unabashed catchiness is well suited, vocals following the winding bounce of the riff in “woo-oooh” fashion and a faster, more insistent rhythm emerging. It’s quick hook, but perfectly placed on the record between the acoustic “Heartbreaker” and subsequent “Snake Eyes,” a return to a simpler heavy rock feel between excursions elsewhere and a landmark for Cry of the Ocean‘s second half. Both “Snake Eyes” (7:01) and “You’ll Never Know” (the longest track at 7:14) are more complex, but still fit with the proceedings. Holland comes to the fore vocally in the chorus of “Snake Eyes” and there’s a Hammond organ guest spot from Mos Generator‘s Tony Reed, who also mixed and mastered the album, and Dickinson saves his most impressive soloing for the closer, but the two essentially work from the same structure, moving from early verse/chorus tradeoffs into consuming power trio jams.
It’s a fitting way to end Cry of the Ocean, the layers of high-end interweaving on “You’ll Never Know” with a considerable foundation in Fyfe‘s drums and Holland‘s bass, a final effects swirl underscoring the point of how far Stubb have come in just two years’ time. Clearly they’re a unit with a firm sense of what works for them, and the boldness with which they expand those parameters on Cry of the Ocean only makes it easier to be a fan. If you heard the first record, the progress here will impress. But even if Cry of the Ocean is your first exposure to Stubb, their level of songwriting, natural tones and heavy roll seem ready to find favor at a moment’s notice.
Posted in Reviews on November 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Twenty years and eight albums on from their beginning as Our Haunted Kingdom, the hills would seem to be few and far between for Orange Goblin, but they keep climbing. The reigning kings of London’s populous heavy rock scene and in many aspects its progenitors, the four-piece seemed to enter a new phase in their career with 2012’s A Eulogy for the Damned (review here), also their Candlelight Records debut. After several years languished following release trouble for 2007’s stellar Healing through Fire, light touring and no output, it was as likely as not they were done. In the years since, they’ve become one of heavy rock’s most eminent stage acts — the 2013 stopgap live album, A Eulogy for the Fans (review here) documented this thoroughly — and their influence continues to resonate well outside of their UK homebase. Back from the Abyss, their latest studio outing, arrives with 12 tracks and 57 minutes of new music and finds guitarist Joe Hoare, bassist Martyn Millard, drummer Chris Turner and frontman extraordinaire Ben Ward pummeling along similar lines as its predecessor. Also released by Candlelight, it boasts a similarly clean production style, and with AC/DC and Motörhead as their primary models, Orange Goblin seem across its span to be shifting into a comfort zone of brash turns, snarled vocals, heavy riffs and catchy songwriting. Stylistically and thematically, songs like “Mythical Knives,” “Übermensch,” “Heavy Lies the Crown” and “The Abyss” aren’t so far from what Orange Goblin have done since 2004’s Thieving from the House of God – they’ve long since been in command of their sound — but the vibe is steadier, more self-aware. They’ve established their formula, and like AC/DC, like Motörhead, like Slayer, the project now isn’t so much searching for what they want the sound to be as working to refine it as they move forward.
Like its predecessor, Back from the Abyss was recorded by Jamie Dodd at The Animal Farm in London, and if the band wanted to capture a similar feel, it’s understandable given the welcome reception and success of A Eulogy for the Damned. That’s not to say Back from the Abyss doesn’t have a personality of its own. One can hear it in the tightness of the crisp, thrashing “The Devil’s Whip” and its second-half companion “Bloodzilla,” or in how clearly Orange Goblin are writing for their audience. Ward is not through opener “Sabbath Hex” before he’s interacting with an imaginary crowd: “If you understand, raise your right hand/Repeat after me, we are stone free.” Perhaps that’s direct acknowledgement of how much of a professional live band Orange Goblin have become, and no doubt when that cut is aired live it receives or will receive the desired effect, but if Orange Goblin are writing songs for the stage, they run into the trouble of not needing 12 of them for a new release, and that becomes a conundrum for Back from the Abyss as it plays out. The semi-title-track “The Abyss” is well constructed but doesn’t accomplish much that “Übermensch” didn’t already nail, and while the penultimate “Blood of Them” is a blend of hook and horror-inspired atmosphere worthy of “The Fog” from the last record, “Into the Arms of Morpheus,” which ends the first half of the album (presumably, the first of two LPs encompassed), is a better longer-form progression, sounds more inspired and is closer to the front for a reason. The three-minute instrumental closer, “The Shadow over Innsmouth,” has a lumbering doom sensibility and deftly layered-in solo lines from Hoare, but where it seems to be waiting for its kickoff-riff the way “Mythical Knives” moves from a progressive-sounding opening into bruiser riff and the band’s particular burl, the last track just fades out, ending an offering so obviously keyed for adrenaline on a downer note. Maybe that’s the trip back from the abyss? I don’t really know.
For longer-term fans, the meat of Back from the Abysscomes toward the end of its first half. “Sabbath Hex” is a vibrant opener, “Übermensch” is a formidable showing of a songwriting formula at work, and “The Devil’s Whip” proves that Orange Goblin can tear it up full-speed with no questions asked, but it’s “Demon Blues,” “Heavy Lies the Crown” and “Into the Arms of Morpheus” that really convey a sense of the band’s maturity, their position among the world’s foremost heavy rock acts, and an album-style flow. Millard and Turner setting the foundation, Hoare drives the riff of “Demon Blues” and Ward masterfully rides that groove, leading to the bluesy intro of “Heavy Lies the Crown,” vocals following the guitar for the album’s catchiest chorus: “Who am I to, to make the rules, to break the rules and slay the fools/How am I, to be the man, who rules the land, with sword in hand/Fire roars, upon the shores that carry heroes off to wars/Heavy lies the crown I wear, but I did swear this weight to bear.” A somewhat inflated view of the band’s status, but a hell of a hook. At 7:27, “Into the Arms of Morpheus” is Back from the Abyss‘ longest track, Millard handling the opening with a choice bassline soon built upon by Hoare and Turner, the song taking a stoner rocker’s time to fully unfold. It works in three movements — the opening jam, the verse/chorus trade, and the closing jam — but it’s structurally and in sheer listenability the most human portion of the album, and they still get their sing-along in there too. The subsequent “Mythical Knives” is a solid opener for the second LP of a kin with “Sabbath Hex” or “Übermensch,” but “Bloodzilla” and “The Abyss” don’t have the same urgency behind them, and “Titan,” the instrumental preceding “Blood of Them,” features a welcome guitar hook, but neither pulls the listener back in nor leads directly into “Blood of Them,” which opens with fading-in bass over spooky-style ambience and shifts into a vehement closer (even though it’s the second to last track, it’s obviously the final push), with Ward‘s growl echoing out one last monstrous chorus.
Even the transition between “Blood of Them” and “The Shadow over Innsmouth” seems choppy. They could’ve easily put some more spooky rumbling after “Blood of Them” cut out to smooth the way into the finale, but it’s cold one into the next, and in truth, much of the album is that way as well apart from the first-half section already noted. As a fan of the band, I won’t discount Orange Goblin‘s songwriting ability, and in presence and performance, Back from the Abyss lacks nothing. For how tight they sound, however, the presentation should match, particularly as it’s the longest record they’ve ever done (1998’s Time Travelling Blues and 2002’s Coup de Grace were close). Still, their momentum will continue to carry them forward, and there’s more than enough material here to fit well in the setlist alongside “Red Tide Rising” from the last record and the host of classics from their storied career — “Quincy the Pigboy,” “Scorpionica,” “Blue Snow” (if you’re lucky), “They Come Back,” “Some You Win, Some You Lose,” and so on — and that’s pretty clearly the point. Back from the Abyss isn’t a perfect album, but for a lot of what they do and however many hills they may yet climb, Orange Goblin are largely undeniable. They remain undeniable.
Posted in Reviews on November 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The first time through, it is jarring when the screams come. Elephant Tree‘s Magnetic Eye Records debut, Theia, plays the setup perfectly. The newcomer London four-piece open with an 18-second sitar intro “The Call” — they later answer it with the 42-second “The Response,” totaling one minute — and shift seamlessly into the drum-led intro of the eight-minute, languid-rolling, heavily riffed “Attack of the Altaica,” with its open, multi-vocal verses, catchy but not overdone hook, resonant backing sitar drone and sparse guitar, and second half dedicated mostly to an instrumental jam. There’s one scream as they make that transition, buried in the mix at around 4:40, but there’s an effect on it, and the following jam is so immersive with its light guitar swirls, sitar noodling, and steady percussive base, that even after the fuzz guitar kicks back in to give the song its heavy end, “In Suffering” is still a surprise. Theia, which takes its name from the ancient planetoid that smashed into earth creating the moon, is the first outing from guitarist/vocalist Jack Townley, bassist/vocalist Peter Holland (also of Stubb and Trippy Wicked), sitarist/vocalist Riley MacIntyre and drummer Sam Hart, and with the liquefied heavy psychedelia they otherwise elicit, one might be tempted to call the screams a misstep on “In Suffering,” but I disagree. They change the whole context of the release. One rarely finds sitar and screams in the same place, and that seems exactly to be the point. After “In Suffering,” you don’t know what else any of Theia‘s seven tracks might bring, if they’ll sludge out again or dive further into the jammy psych bliss of the extended semi-opener. It turns out a little bit of both, and more too.
Elephant Tree call Theia an EP, but I read it as more of a full-length. It has a two-sided flow, even on CD — though the CD has 10 minutes of silence at the end of closer “The Sead” and rounds out with a two-minute riff reprise — and the songs play well one into the next with added ease from each side’s intro, “The Call” and “The Answer,” and the smoothness of the transitions overall, whether it’s “Attack of the Altaica” into “In Suffering,” or “Vlaakith” into “Lament” into “The Sead,” the release continuing to expand its breadth the whole time in the way new bands often are more open about trying different things as they begin to establish songwriting patterns. The variety in the music speaks for itself. Even “In Suffering,” which is as harsh as Elephant Tree get, breaks down in its midsection for a swing-drum heavy psych jam, and gradually builds first to a clean-sung verse and then near the end to resurgent throatripping, somewhere in style between sludge and black metal, but effectively used. On the four-panel digipak version of Theia, “In Suffering” finishes heavy and nodding and gives way to MacIntyre‘s sitar on “The Answer,” which provides a brief but welcome respite and smooths the way into “Vlaakith,” a steady roll of subdued verse and weightier hook no less in conversation with “Attack of the Altaica” than “The Answer” is with “The Call.” Again we see that however far out Elephant Tree go in their jamming, they manage to pull back to some payoff to the structure of the song itself. This does them well across Theia as a whole and particularly with “Vlaakith,” on which Townley seems to touch on lead guitar ideas but ultimately backs off an actual solo to let the multi-source vocals drive the track’s apex and conclusion.
At just over two minutes, “Lament” is more than another interlude mostly because of the vocals, Holland‘s voice recognizable and bluesy over a subtly building stoner riff that continues to make its way northward for the (relatively short) duration. Like “In Suffering,” it’s something else to change the context of the material around it, and shows that Elephant Tree aren’t necessarily bound by one songwriting modus or another. That they pull it off is all the more impressive considering Theia is a first release, and “The Sead” finishes out with an interplay of atmospheric screams and clean singing over a steady riff. The sitar seems to take a back seat to fuzzed out guitars and warm-toned bass, but the band are obviously able to play it either way. A last hook is peppered with emerging lead guitar — I wouldn’t be surprised to find Townley bolder in this regard on future outings — and a quick scream marks the launch into the faster-riffed ending that, particularly with 10 silent minutes behind it, feels quick and cold in comparison to “Attack of the Altaica” or “Vlaakith.” The reprise arrives long enough later to be truly buried, but fades in as it builds for one final swell of volume to close out Theia in showcase of some but not all of the pieces working in Elephant Tree‘s favor, namely the easy, classic-styled-but-modern-sounding grooves, natural tones, fluid approach. Couple them with the potential they establish in the sitar, the use of multiple singers (and multiple singing styles), the diversity in songwriting and the will to craft an overarching flow, and Theia makes for a particularly strong, forward-thinking and nuanced debut. It might be surprising at first, but as it unfolds, Elephant Tree prove expansive enough readily handle such stylistic range.
Posted in audiObelisk on October 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
London heavy rockers Stubb will release their second album, Cry of the Ocean, on Nov. 14. Their first for Ripple Music, it was recorded in Skyhammer Studios, mastered by Tony Reed, and pushes further into the classic-rock-inspired vibes of their 2012 self-titled debut (review here), which came across as a fuzzer’s delight with the memorable songwriting of guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson at the fore. Dickinson, who’s joined once again by bassist/backing vocalist Peter Holland (Trippy Wicked, Elephant Tree) and new drummer Tom Fyfe, continues to refine his approach on the new album, branching ambitiously into bolder elements of soul and heavy psychedelia.
Cry of the Ocean is a more complex offering, as the sweet acoustics of “Heartbreaker” and the handclap-inclusive apex of the two-part opening title-track demonstrate, but ultimately no less satisfying. Dickinson, Holland and Fyfe have been able to expand the palette of the first record while still maintaining the basic focus on craftsmanship that made so many of that outing’s cuts resonate. So “Heavy Blue Sky” might unfurl with a more melancholy roll, and “Devil’s Brew” might get down to boogie business in quick fashion ahead of the organ-ified “Snake Eyes,” but what ties the material together is the quality of its execution, and in branching out, Stubb seem to in no way have bit off more than they can chew. “Snake Eyes” and the subsequent “You’ll Never Know,” at seven minutes each, make up a substantial closing duo that brings out some of Cry of the Ocean‘s best moments. And in case you’re worried, there’s no shortage of fuzz either.
As proof, today I have the pleasure of hosting “Sail Forever” for streaming. In it, one can get a sense of the wider emotional net that Cry of the Ocean casts and the warm tones that have remained very much an essential part of their approach. Stubb push the balance to one side or the other several times over the course of the eight tracks, but “Sail Forever” makes an excellent summary, pulling its vibe from elements on all sides and putting it to use with one of the LP’s strongest hooks.
Hope you dig it:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Stubb‘s Cry of the Ocean is due Nov. 14 in North America, Nov. 17 in Europe. More info at the links below.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Desertfest teased this announcement yesterday, and since Human Disease Promo/When Planets Collide have put together a stage at each of the past fests, that they’d do so again at Desertfest London 2015 isn’t a huge surprise, but still, they’ve acquired some killer acts to fill it out. The reactivated Minsk will apparently make a trip overseas next April, and Black Cobra will return to Desertfest after playing at the Underworld last year. Add Noothgrush on top as headliners and Dopethrone, Agrimonia and Walk through Fire to round it out and it’s safe to say Desertfest London won’t be lacking for sludge next year.
The PR wire put it like this:
NOOTHGRUSH, MINSK, BLACK COBRA, DOPETHRONE, AGRIMONIA and WALK THOUGH FIRE confirmed for DESERTFEST LONDON 2015
Like every year, London promoters When Planet Collides and Human Disease Promo will be curating a stage at The Underworld, hosting some of the most crushing and bleak riffage on the whole festival. Let’s all welcome the mighty NOOTHGRUSH, MINSK, BLACK COBRA, DOPETHRONE, AGRIMONIA and WALK THROUGH FIRE at DESERTFEST LONDON 2015, taking place on April 24-26th in Camden.
Already confirmed: SLEEP RED FANG ORANGE GOBLIN MY SLEEPING KARMA
Human Disease Promo / When Planets Collide Stage NOOTHGRUSH MINSK BLACK COBRA DOPETHRONE AGRIMONIA WALK THROUGH FIRE
For the fourth year running, Camden will be hosting one of the most exciting stoner/doom/sludge/psyche gatherings in Europe, for a full weekend of fuzzed-out tunes, psychedelia and partying. As the first headliner of this 2015 edition, American stoner rock pioneers SLEEP will be treating the Desertfest crowd to the finest smoked-out odysseys, with an exclusive headlining set at London’s famous venue Koko. Also headlining, Portland’s heavy rock’n’rollers RED FANG are set to turn this fourth edition into a massive metal celebration. The ground is set to tremble once again this year, with UK metal heavyweights ORANGE GOBLIN delivering their fiery metal anthems for a one-off 20th anniversary performance. It’s very rightfully than German psych foursome MY SLEEPING KARMA will be perfectly embodying the cosmic side of the lineup.
This new announcement with cult North-American outfits NOOTHGRUSH, MINSK, BLACK COBRA and DOPETHRONE, as well as Sweden based AGRIMONIA and WALK THROUGH FIRE is giving our 2015 lineup the blackened twist that is expected by all sludge and doom worshippers each year. Impending earthquake in Camden…
Posted in audiObelisk on October 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
After releasing their debut EP, Eat up the Sun, last year on Superhot Records, London trio Vodun – also seen as Vôdûn — issue their new single “Loa’s Kingdom” today as a free download in order to provide advance warning of their first full-length, which is due out next year. The three-piece take their cues from psychedelic rock, churning metallic tones and Afrobeat rhythmic complexity, and donning costumes and makeup for their stage show, they give a visual impression of a rawer form of Goat. The two acts actually share very little in common sonically, so don’t be fooled going into “Loa’s Kingdom,” which seems to subliminally implant its hook as it rushes past for a quick, under-three-minute listen.
Aside from the aesthetic vigilance, it’s that ability to blend memorable songcraft and a feeling of chaos that impresses most about Vodun, who never lose control of the material even when it seems most like it’s about to fly off the rails. Beginning with heavy rocks starts and stops and a forward percussive presence, “Loa’s Kingdom” unfolds with preaching vocals and a manic build of tension that lets loose in its chorus, the bass-less trio of singer Chantal Brown, drummer Zel Kaute (also of Groan) and guitarist Oliver Martinez enacting dizzying turns before a steady nod emerges. It’s a ferocious rush, and if it takes you two or three times through before you get your head around the song, my hope is you’ll consider it worth the effort.
Vodun head out on a round of UK dates Oct. 24. Find that list and some more info on “Loa’s Kingdom” under the player below, and enjoy:
Loa’s Kingdom is about the desire to transcend into the realm of the Gods – your highest self. A kingdom only fit for supreme beings, who must first pay penance to Papa Legba, as all the spirits do. He is the first and last, the beginning and end. He is the one who will let you into their world, and the one to let you out, so be generous with your offerings…
Rising from the ashes of London’s female-fronted metal band Invasion, VODUN blends a unique concoction of heavy metal and psychedelism, while embracing the African/Caribbean culture in the fullest possible way ever. Successfully reborn as voodoo Loa spirits Oya, Ogoun and Ghede, VODUN unleashed their first EP « Eat Up The Sun » in 2013, a perfect introduction to the trio’s singular and thrilling blend of shredding guitars, blazing rhythms and soulful vocals. After completing a short UK tour, the band revealed a vibrant new single entitled “Possession” (released in 2014 via the “New Heavy Sounds Vol. 3″ compilation), thus paving the way for their debut full-length, due out later in 2015. Second excerpt off VODUN’s forthcoming record, « Loa’s Kingdom » is a highly energetic ode to spiritual elevation marked by pounding riffage and incredibly catchy hooks. Get ready to unleash your inner Loa…
TOUR DATES 24.10 CAMBRIDGE – Portland Arms 25.10 COLCHESTER – The Old Bus Station 26.10 NOTTINGHAM – Stuck On A Name 27.10 WAKEFIELD – The Unity 28.10 MANCHESTER – Kraak Gallery 29.10 LIVERPOOL – Maguires Pizza Bar 30.10 BRISTOL – Mothers Ruin 01.11 LONDON – The Victoria
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Currently banging out a quick round of dates in Canada and a couple US shows surrounding ahead of hitting the road with Opeth and In Flames in December, raucous Portland heavy rock forerunners Red Fang have been announced as headliners for the London and Berlin 2015 editions of Desertfest. Both fests will take place at the end of next April. They join Sleep as one of the headliners for London and Orange Goblin‘s 20th anniversary special for Berlin, of course among many others and more to come.
Announcements from both Desertfests follow, yoinked from the PR wire:
RED FANG confirmed for Desertfest London 2015!
They need no introduction, each one of their gigs turns into the best metal party you’ll ever have: ladies and gents, we have the immense pleasure to confirm RED FANG as second headliner of DESERTFEST LONDON 2015, which will take place on April 24-26th in Camden.
For the fourth year running, Camden will be hosting one of the most exciting stoner/doom/sludge/psyche gatherings in Europe, for a full weekend of fuzzed-out tunes, psychedelia and partying. As the first headliner of this 2015 edition, American stoner rock pioneers SLEEP will be treating the Desertfest crowd to the finest smoked-out odysseys, with an exclusive headlining set at London’s famous venue Koko. Also headlining, Portland’s heavy rock’n’rollers RED FANG are set to turn this fourth edition into a massive metal celebration. The ground is set to tremble once again this year, with UK metal heavyweights ORANGE GOBLIN delivering their fiery metal anthems for a one-off 20th anniversary performance. It’s very rightfully than German psych foursome MY SLEEPING KARMA will be perfectly embodying the cosmic side of this first announcement.
Desertfest Berlin – April 23th, 24th & 25th 2015 – Red Fang added to the Line-up!
The fourth edition of our festival will take place once again in the famous ASTRA KulturHaus, in the beating cultural heart of BERLIN (F-Hain/X-Berg), from APRIL 23TH to 25TH 2015! We already look forward to welcome you again : 196 days left to wait :)
On the programme: 2 stages, around 25 bands playing across the 3 days, a beergarden, a hippie corner market and art exhibits… you know the formula… but also a bunch of new suprises that you will discover soon enough!
We started in September to unveil the first bands of a line-up that will totally blow you away, with a lot of exclusive/special shows: ORANGE GOBLIN “20 Year Anniversary Special Show”, MY SLEEPING KARMA “Album Release Party”… And we are proud to announce today that Portland’s Hard Rock Heroes RED FANG will headline one of the 3 nights!!
EARLY BIRDS TICKETS can already be purchased for 75€ via the link you will find a the end of this release!
Posted in Reviews on September 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
After two ceremonious vinyl reissues for their 2012 Disastronaught (review here) and 2013 Corned Beef Colossus (review here) EPs, London heavy rock four-piece Steak make their proper debut on Napalm Records with Slab City, also their first full-length. In several ways, the album is a 10-track/49-minute homage to the glories of desert rock, and particularly, Slab City is indebted to Kyuss‘ 1994 genre classic Welcome to Sky Valley in both its mindset and execution, taking its name, as that record does (if unofficially) from a location in the Californian desert. Not only that, but Steak – vocalist Kippa, guitarist Reece Tee (also a principal organizer of the DesertFest in London), bassist James “Cam” Cameron and drummer Sammy Forway – traveled from London to Palm Springs in Southern CA in order to record at Thunder Underground with producer Harper Hug, who also recently engineered outings by Vista Chino and John Garcia, and co-producer Arthur Seay, guitarist of Unida and House of Broken Promises. In addition, John Garcia makes a guest vocal appearance on side A’s “Pisser,” underscoring that track’s particular Blues for the Red Sun-shine, and even unto the goof-off bonus track “Old Timer D.W.” — which, admittedly, is both less pull-you-out-of-the-album and more of an actual song than was “Lick Doo” on Sky Valley – Steak wear their influence on their sleeve. I’m not going to complain about that. With the general quality of their riffing and the compression brought to the recording — Vista Chino‘s Peace makes a decent comparison point, production-wise — by Hug and Seay, Steak embark on their first long-player by continuing the progression from their EPs that serves as the steps toward creating their own identity out of that influence. And anyway, it’s not like they’re trying to tell you they wrote “Gardenia” or something.
I’ve been curious to hear how Steak would make the leap from their shorter releases to a full album. They do so reusing only two tracks — “Liquid Gold” from the second EP, and “Machine,” from the first. Each is the second song on its respective half of Slab City, which seems to have been structured with at least thoughts of vinyl. “Liquid Gold” in particular is an early highlight, coming off opener “Coma”‘s noisy and gradually solidifying atmosphere — the first couple minutes of the album, the band seem to be coalescing aurally before the track launches — more expansive sounding than the original and with a different treatment of Kippa‘s vocals, which here are deeper in the mix and piled in effects, whether it’s echo, compression, megaphone, reverb, etc. Sometimes that can signal a lack of confidence on the part of a singer, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case here. While he’s got a gruff delivery and he’s prone to sticking to it, Kippa doesn’t strike as the kind of vocalist trying to hide behind studio trickery, and the impression across Slab City‘s first three tracks — “Coma,” “Liquid Gold” and the shorter push of the titular cut, “Slab City” — is that the band is trying to find different ways of changing things up around Tee‘s wall of fuzz and the laid back heavy grooves of Cameron (who once again serves as Steak‘s hidden weapon) and Forway, whose tight snare pop manages to ground the proceedings even at their most jammed out. And they do jam. Songs are structured, but even “Pisser” moves through its varied parts and into and out of Garcia‘s parts with a sense that any minute now Steak might just decide to ride a riff for the next eight minutes. They don’t go that far — at least not until closer “Rising,” and even that has purpose — but they make it known effectively that they could and reserve the right to at some future date. The noisy wash of “Quaaludes and Interludes” underscores the dynamic flow of Slab City‘s first half, setting up side B to keep the momentum moving forward.
It does so successfully. “Roadhead,” which follows “Quaaludes and Interludes,” begins a trio of faster cuts that continues through “Machine” and “Hanoid” as Steak hit full throttle en route to the eight-minute “Rising” and Slab City‘s grandest statement of where they are as a band. Though I doubt you’ll be hearing about it on the radio anytime soon, “Roadhead” is one of the album’s catchiest songs — a solid opener for the second half — and with the familiar roll of “Machine” backing it up, there’s a bit of back and forth play going on with the energy of the material, despite a pretty consistent tempo. Tee alternates between airy lead lines in the verse and a more heads-down chorus rollout, but the groove is palpable either way, and he saves a scorching lead for “Hanoid,” which builds up quickly over a four-and-a-half-minute course and ends with a cymbal wash and feedback to signal the shift into “Rising,” the longest piece on the record and most expansive, bringing in a feedback start, some vague speech in there either sampled or not, drum thud taking hold to transition into the verse. The song is almost at its halfway point be the time they get to the chorus, Kippa raging out his lines over waves of distortion in the guitar and bass. More feedback serves as a transition back through the next cycle, and though it’s basically a verse and a chorus repeated, Steak approach “Rising” with a feel open enough to bring some chaotic vibing to the mix, which is as fitting an end to Slab City‘s movement as one could ask. That makes “Old Timer D.W.” a little extraneous, perhaps, but the bonus track, which begins with a cockney “Come on now, work for your money! Play another song!” and shifts into reverb-drenched slide guitar shenanigans, is clearly serving a purpose beyond what it might convey about the band’s songwriting. Its half-written feel is somewhat incongruous with Slab City‘s overall purposeful nature — if Steak had just been interested in screwing around, they probably would’ve saved the travel expense and stayed in London or at least the UK to do it — but as far as sending messages goes, “we don’t take ourselves too seriously” isn’t a bad thing for a band to say on their first album.
But don’t mistake them, Steak might be up for tossing off a riff here and there, but even when they do so, they’re playing to a very specific idea, and Slab City — desert hued and desert captured — is a record by a group of players who knew precisely what they wanted to accomplish in making it. It is not haphazard. The two EPs set up a comic-book-style narrative between them, and I don’t know if Slab City continues that or not (hazards of digital promos), but in terms of their overarching progression, it proves just how ready they were to take on the long-player task, and justifies the ambitious method by which they recorded the album through high-grade riffs, memorable songs and a molten flow between its component tracks. Steak leave themselves room to grow, but don’t let that take away from the fact that Slab City is a markedly impressive debut and as true a work of desert rock as one is likely to find no matter the geography.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Three bands deep and already DesertFest London — which from here on out I’ll be presenting with the capital ‘f’ in accordance with their own stylization and in contrast to years past; I’m tired of feeling like I’ve got it wrong — has an enviable lineup. Sleep was already confirmed shortly after this year’s fest, and they’ll headline Koko, a place about which I know nothing but assume is sizable, as Orange Goblin celebrate their 20th anniversary. Not bad shakes. I’ve seen both of those bands, and they destroy, but I’ve never seen My Sleeping Karma and they’re on my wishlist at this point, their last several records having been so very, very good.
While I consider the finer points of starting an NPR-style pledge drive in order to cover travel expenses (no, not really), check out the announcement from the PR wire:
DESERTFEST LONDON 2015 : Sleep, Orange Goblin and My Sleeping Karma confirmed
European stoner/doom/psych festival DESERTFEST LONDON just unveiled the first batch of bands to be part of its fourth edition, taking place on April 24-26th, 2015 in Camden. Tickets are on sale now, so it’s time to make plans for next spring!
First bands confirmed are:
SLEEP (headlining Koko’s on Sunday 26th) ORANGE GOBLIN MY SLEEPING KARMA
For the fourth year running, Camden’s finest venues will be hosting one of the most exciting stoner/doom/sludge/psyche gatherings in Europe, for a full weekend of fuzzed-out tunes, psychedelia and partying. After they announced their long-awaited return a few weeks ago, American stoner rock pioneers SLEEP will be treating the Desertfest crowd to their twenty minutes long smoked-out sonic odysseys, with an exclusive headlining set at London’s famous venue Koko’s on the Sunday. Camden’s ground is set to tremble once again this year, with UK metal heavyweights ORANGE GOBLIN delivering their fiery metal anthems, for a one-off 20th anniversary special performance. This first announcement couldn’t be complete without a cosmic touch (because it wouldn’t be DESERTFEST if we weren’t sonically high at least once), brought to you by German psych trio MY SLEEPING KARMA.
Keep an ear to the ground as more bands will be announced really soon!
DESERTFEST LONDON April 24-26th 2015 in Camden Town Koko – Electric Ballroom – The Underworld – The Black Heart
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Well, one of the few remaining questions I had about releases in 2014 was whether or not the new Orange Goblin was going to arrive before the end of the year, and it looks like Candlelight Records has taken care of answering that. London’s heavy rock forerunning stalwarts will have Back from the Abyss– I’ll just assume that’s not their statement on touring in the US — out this October, gunning for an autumnal addition to the year-end best-of lists and, I’m sure, getting it. I know I’ll be keeping a slot open. There’s a new track posted at Loudwire that I haven’t listened to yet, but I wanted to get the news posted right away because, well, it’s new Orange Goblin, and that’s kind of a big deal.
They’ll head out on tour in Europe with Saint Vitus immediately following the release. No doubt much boozy destruction will ensue.
The PR wire has it like this:
ORANGE GOBLIN’s New Album Coming This October
Candlelight Records today confirms October 7th as the North American release date for ORANGE GOBLIN’s new album, Back From The Abyss. Recorded earlier this year in London, the album reunites the band with producer Jamie Dodd. It was mastered at Turan Audio in late July. Back From The Abyss will be available for preorder via iTunes and Amazon beginning August 26th. Fans can begin to preorder the CD today via Candlelight’s official webstore and Bandcamp page.
Loudwire.com is celebrating the announcement with an exclusive North American stream of the album’s first single, “The Devil’s Whip.” Vocalist Ben Ward says, “This song is a real old-school banger stuffed full of riffs, sleaze, filth, and speed… just like the best metal should be! It’s Motörhead-style, outlaw-biker rock in all its glory, destined to get heads banging, fists pumping, drinks flowing and asses shaking. If you don’t find yourself breaking the speed limit to this song, desperate to find the roughest bar in town, start a fight and spending the night in a cell, then you are quite clearly already dead. Let’s ride, let loose, let’s rip… that’s right, you can’t escape ‘The Devil’s Whip.'”
Back From The Abyss follows the band’s most successful release, 2012’s A Eulogy For The Damned, and the recent reissue of their 2007 album Healing Through Fire. Featuring twelve new songs, it delivers the quartets now internationally respected heavy metal. Decibel Magazine calls the band’s sound, “maximum riffage and turbo doom.” Blabbermouth dubs them, “a big burly bag of rock goodness.” Rocking hard as fans have come expect, Back From The Abyss shows not only the band’s tried-and-true blues and doom but the high caliber of their musicianship.
ORANGE GOBLIN will kick off the Autumn with a European tour alongside doom legends St. Vitus. Set to begin in France on October 9th, the tour will work its way through thirteen countries before concluding in Germany on November 14th. On the tour’s announcement Ward said, “We are extremely excited to be going on tour with our good friends and long-time heroes St. Vitus. Vitus are one of the bands that inspired us to form ORANGE GOBLIN all those years ago and to be able to promote our new album and celebrate their thirty-fifth anniversary at the same time just blows my mind.”
American dates in support of Back From The Abyss are anticipated to start early in the new year. Details to be announced shortly.
Together since 1995, ORANGE GOBLIN has released seven full-length studio albums. A Eulogy For The Damned was the band’s first for Candlelight Records and closed a five year recording hiatus. The album was supported with the most live dates by the band in their history; touring that saw the band on North America soil first alongside Clutch then on a full-scale headline tour that found them on thirty-eight stages across the US and Canada. Two videos were filmed and released for the album, including “Red Tide Rising” and the special Scion A/V video for “Acid Trials.”
Back From The Abyss Track Listing: 1. Sabbath Hex 2. Ubermensch 3. The Devil’s Whip 4. Demon Blues 5. Heavy Lies The Crown 6. Into the Arms of Morpheus 7. Mythical Knives 8. Bloodzilla 9. The Abyss 10. Titan 11. Blood Of Them 12. The Shadow Over Innsmouth
ORANGE GOBLIN is vocalist Ben Ward, guitartist Joe Hoare, bassist Martyn Millard, and drummer Christopher Turner. The band are endorsed by Marshall Amplification, Orange Amplification, Fender Bass Guitars, Natal Drums, Meinl Cymbals, Vater Sticks, Remo Skins, Vans, Volcom, Boss Pedals, Rotosound Strings, and Jagermeister.
UK heavy rockers Steak may have gone to the desert to record Slab City, but they went to the woods to film the video for “Rising.” Their full-length debut is due out Sept. 9 on Napalm Records, following two successful EPs, 2013’s Corned Beef Colossus(review here) and 2012’s Disastronaught(review here), and a host of European tours and festival slots. The London-based four-piece of vocalist Kippa, guitarist Reece Tee, bassist Cam and drummer Sammy will join forces with their labelmate John Garcia – who also puts in a guest appearance on the album — for a round of dates with his solo live band this fall. I’m not sure how many sjpws they’re doing together, but posters have started to surface, and what it all rounds out to is the next stage of progression for one of the fertile UK scene’s most potent up and coming acts.
Slab City was tracked at California desert hotspot Thunder Underground in Palm Springs, and I don’t know where the “Rising” clip was captured, but there isn’t a speck of sand to be seen. Off in the woods at night, there’s magical drug/artifact smoking, weird reincarnation rituals, and in the meantime, with spotlights behind branches like they used to do on the X-Files, Steak can be found jamming out with tree-falls-in-the-forest abandon. If you’re looking to get a feel for what Slab Cityis all about, the song itself is a more than suitable representation of its desert-minded grooves and bulk supply of spacious riffage. It is the apex of the record as well as its longest track and one of its most powerful executions, the band tackling the form of desert rock and invariably bringing something of their own to it.
“Rising” was directed by Samuel Smith and produced by Smith and Kieron Allender. Please enjoy:
Steak, “Rising” official video
Steak‘s Slab City will be out Sept. 9 on Napalm Records. The album is available now for pre-order. More info at the links.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Headlining in the UK for the first time, Swedish trio Kamchatka have announced a show Sept. 19 at The Black Heart in Camden Town, London, on Sept. 19. The three-piece released their fifth album, The Search Goes On, earlier this year on Despotz Records and boast the formidable presence of Per Wiberg in their ranks. Their last stop off in the UK was at the 2012 Download festival, and their resume also boasts an opening slot for Clutch, whose drummer Jean-Paul Gaster is a former collaborator.
I’ll grant that Camden is a long ways away for me to be plugging a show, but I’ve been to that venue as a part of Desertfest and met the people who run it and found them to be exceedingly welcoming, and the room upstairs where bands play is badass. I can think of an infinite number of less pleasant ways to spend an evening, so yeah, it’s not the most geographically central place for me to note a gig happening, but I think the circumstance warrants the mention.
From the PR wire:
Kamchatka – UK Exclusive Event
Snuff Lane Promotions has team up with Chaos Theory Music to proudly present – Exclusive Kamchatka UK Headlining event. (Only UK performance of the year).
Despite fans demanding more shows since their performance at 2012’s download festival, as well as having been spotted supporting the likes of Clutch, we’re flabbergasted that this is Kamchatka’s debut UK Headlining event.
In support of their new album ‘The Search Goes On’, the band has recently recruited the addition of Per Wiberg (Ex-Opeth, Spiritual Beggars…) – we’re certain that this is a must see event and request fans to attend to be a part of Stoner Rock history Tickets are due to go live today; with an unmissable line-up still to be announced, including another Swedish act for special guest support.
We would greatly appreciate any articles you’d announce in relation to our event, so please do request any additional information or press material to support.
Event: Kamchatka – UK Exclusive Date: Friday 19th September Venue: The Black Heart, London Tickets: £10.00 (Advance) Support: TBA.
Yeah, I know this isn’t the first Wino Wednesday clip culled from the video evidence snagged at this year’s Desertfest in London. Not even close, actually. But unlike Wino‘s sit-in with Weedeater (seen here) and his acoustic set with Spirit Caravan bandmate Dave Sherman (seen here), this week’s video is actually of Spirit Caravan performing. If that’s too minor a distinction, I apologize. Stick around and it’ll be something else next week.
For now, shot from the side of the stage in a rather nostalgic black and white, we see Sherman, drummer Henry Vasquez and, deep in the shot, Wino himself performing “Dead Love/Jug Fulla Sun” from Spirit Caravan‘s classic 1999 debut, Jug Fulla Sun. In a big way, the album would define the band going forward, and while their 2001 follow-up/swansong, Elusive Truth, brought new edges to the sound and they continued to progress right up to the new studio tracks they included with their final offering, the 2003 The Last Embracecompilation, Jug Fulla Sunremains a standout 15 years later in capturing the trio as they were in a natural, heavy rolling state. It’s hard to imagine the smooth instrumental “Dead Love” section and “Jug Fulla Sun” without each other, and as Sherman stomps out the groove in the early going of the latter, I can’t help but agree. Simply one of heavy rock’s best nods.
Spirit Caravan just reissued Jug Fulla Sunon a limited, hand-screened LP — Exile on Mainstream had them for sale — and they looked absolutely gorgeous. It’s a worthy investment as the band’s reunion continues and they promise work on a new album, which would be their first studio outing since Elusive Truth. More on that to come, I’m sure, but until then, hope you enjoy “Dead Love/Jug Fulla Sun” and get a sense of just how much vitality there is at the heart of this band.
Happy Wino Wednesday:
Spirit Caravan, “Dead Love/Jug Fulla Sun” Live at Desertfest London 2014