Clutch Announce Vinyl Release for Full Fathom Five

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 23rd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’m honestly kind of surprised Clutch fans hadn’t already beat the band’s collective door down in order to secure a vinyl release for Full Fathom Five. Or maybe they did, figuratively speaking of course, and that’s why they’re finally doing one some eight years after the original CD/DVD came out, but either way, as the Maryland kings of groove head out once again on their Who-Needs-a-Personal-Life forever-tour (name unofficial), they’ll be taking the first LP copies of Full Fathom Five along for the trip. It’s very, very hard to imagine that many will make it back, if any do at all.

The shows run for just over a month — because of course they do — also feature Zakk Sabbath and Kyng and kickoff in Buffalo, New York, on Sept. 28. If you’re down, the PR wire offers the following:

clutch-full-fathom-five

CLUTCH RELEASE FIRST EVER WEATHERMAKER MUSIC RELEASE “FULL FATHOM FIVE” ON VINYL

Clutch has just released Full Fathom Five on vinyl. Full Fathom Five was Clutch’s first ever release on its own label Weathermaker Music. Released in 2008, it was originally presented on CD (Audio Field Recordings) and DVD (Video Field Recordings). Now it is being released in a double vinyl gatefold format that includes unreleased bonus tracks from the same live shows that previously did not make the original release the first time around.

“The tracks on Full Fathom Five were recorded in the fall of 2007 and the spring of 2008 during Clutch’s From Beale Street to Oblivion tour” states frontman Neil Fallon. “These 19 tracks, recorded in Sydney, New Jersey, Colorado, and Pennsylvania, are typical of our set lists at that time. Naturally, there are a lot of tracks from FBSTO, but there are also tracks from Robot Hive / Exodus, Blast Tyrant, Elephant Riders, and the Self-Titled LP, Clutch. It’s a bit of a snapshot of where we were nearly ten years ago. Clutch has a reputation for being a relentless touring band. I suppose we are. But really, it’s the fans that pack clubs time and time again that make it all possible. We are stoked to have Full Fathom Five available now on vinyl.”

Clutch continues their Psychic Warfare World Tour 2016. The band will be headlining tour dates in September and October with Zakk Sabbath and Los Angeles based metal band Kyng. Including 2 festival appearances, the trek will begin in Buffalo, NY at the The Town Ballroom on September 28th and conclude in Worcester, MA at The Palladium on October 30th.

Psychic Warfare is the latest and eleventh studio effort from Clutch. The disc debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200, No. 2 on the Billboard Independent, No. 1 on the Billboard Hard Rock and Billboard Rock charts. On Record Store Day this past April 16th Clutch released a limited edition numbered etched vinyl 12 inch that included two previously unreleased tracks from the Psychic Warfare sessions: “Mad Sidewinder” and “Outland Special Clearance”. Psychic Warfare was produced by longtime producer Machine (Lamb Of God, Every Time I Die).

Clutch, Zakk Sabbath, Kyng 2016 Tour Dates:
09/28 – Buffalo, NY @ The Town Ballroom
09/30 – Lakewood, NJ @ First Energy Park – Rock Carnival *
10/01 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
10/02 – Louisville, KY @ Champions Park – Louder Than Life *
10/04 – Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues
10/05 – Atlanta, GA @ The Buckhead Theatre
10/07 – Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre Street Stage
10/08 – Columbus, OH @ Express Live
10/10 – Little Rock, AR @ Metroplex
10/11 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom
10/12 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
10/14 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Novo
10/15 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl
10/16 – San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom
10/18 – Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater
10/20 – Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater
10/21 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
10/22 – Sioux City, IA @ Anthem at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
10/24 – Columbia, MO @ The Blue Note ** NO Zakk Sabbath
10/25 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
10/27 – Madison, WI @ Orpheum Theater
10/28 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
10/29 – Clifton Park, NY @Upstate Concert Hall
10/30 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
* festival appearance

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion

www.facebook.com/clutchband
www.instagram.com/clutchofficial
www.twitter.com/clutchofficial
www.pro-rock.com
www.youtube.com/user/officialclutch

Clutch, “The Mob Goes Wild” live at Starland Ballroom”

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Thought Eater & Iron Jawed Guru to Release Vortex 6 Split Oct. 21; Stream New Tracks

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on September 13th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Grimoire Records has set an Oct. 21 release date for a new split titled Vortex 6 from instrumental outfits Thought Eater and Iron Jawed Guru. Each band will present four tracks recorded, as all of Grimoire‘s releases are, by label honcho Noel Mueller, and each band has tied their tracks to a theme born out of classic cult sci-fi. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say what movies in particular, so I won’t give anything away.

In the case of Baltimore trio Thought Eater, this split marks their first outing and finds them somewhere between more aggressive chug and engaging depth of tone. They lead off on the first half and provide a tight but still grooving approach, their “Crushing Metaphysical Crisis” shifting easily from semi-blastbeats into more open fluidity and demonstrating a clear lack of respect for the boundaries of genre.

You might recall West Virginia’s Iron Jawed Guru offered up their debut EP, Mata Hari (review here) through Grimoire in the early hours of 2016. Relatively quick though it was, their straightforward approach to Appalachian-style riffy instrumentalism left an impression for sure, and here the duo tease a bit of melody in in their sound, showcasing early growth as they move forward.

Right now, if you play your cards right — and by that I mean click the player below — you can stream premieres of “Crystal Maze” from Thought Eater and “Emerald Seer” from Iron Jawed Guru.

Preorders for Vortex 6 are up as of today from Grimoire, who also had the following:

thought-eater-iron-jawed-guru-vortex-6-cover

Thought Eater / Iron Jawed Guru split “Vortex 6” – 10/21/16 Grimoire Records

Side A:

Thought Eater is a brand new 3-piece instrumental band from Baltimore, MD, featuring a 12-string bass through a big muff. This monstrosity is a standard bass with 3 of everything, producing a bizarre double-vision effect on every note. Uniquely hypnotic High on Fire riffs are woven into angular odd-time compositions reminiscent of Intronaut and Zebulon Pike.

Douglas Griffith – guitar
Darin Tambascio – bass guitar
Bobby Murray – drums

Side B:

Iron Jawed Guru, an instrumental power duo from West Virginia, is back with their second Grimoire release of 2016. True to Mata Hari form, epic compositions reminiscent of Kyuss and Russian Circles. They too employ a novel technique to thicken up their sound, running their guitar through an array of different amps and octavers to create a mammoth wall of sound with a paradoxically clean edge.

Roy Brewer – Drums
Mike Lorenzen – Other Noises

The release date for “Vortex 6” is 10/21/16 on CD and digital download through Grimoire Records. Pre-orders are available here:
https://grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com/album/vortex-6

https://www.facebook.com/IJGrock/
https://www.facebook.com/thoughteaterband
https://www.facebook.com/GrimoireRecords/

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Darsombra, Polyvision: Dronenlightenment (Plus Full Album Stream)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

darsombra polyvision

[Click play above to stream Darsombra’s Polyvision in full. Album is out Sept. 9 on Translation Loss.]

Last year, Baltimorean experimentalist duo Darsombra went on tour. Pretty much for the whole year. They played well over 100 shows on what they dubbed the “Three Legged Monster” tour — it took place over the course of three separate legs — and they played plenty of other shows besides. That nomadic existence seems to feed into the sense of revelry and freedom that one finds in listening to Polyvision, the two-piece’s latest studio full-length for Translation Loss Records and first since 2012’s Climax Community. Or at least that’s easy enough to read into the outing’s two extended, multi-movement component tracks, “Underworld” (21:45) and “From Insects… to Aliens (The Worms Turn)” (22:31).

Guitarist/keyboardist Brian Daniloski and keyboardist/vocalist/visual effects creator Ann Everton bring a clear sense of composition to both pieces, but there’s an undercurrent of improvisation atop which the building layers of samples, loops, synth and effects create their swirl, and where so much of drone/noise is hell-bent on post-apocalyptic desolation, the creation of all-gray spaces, Darsombra offer a full spectrum of sonic color across Polyvision. Moreover, there are moments where they sound truly and genuinely playful in what they do, Daniloski‘s guitar or the keys winding around celebratory figures in one track or the other, bringing about a spontaneous feeling moment of arrival — “We’re here now and isn’t it great here?” — that also would seem to fit with the presented-as-being-completely-on-a-whim turn to nomadic living that the band made in 2015. Have drone, will travel, will be glad to end up wherever.

That’s a simplification of the mindset, obviously, but the underlying point is that Polyvision feels unafraid to embrace joy as it moves through its complex and ritualized-feeling soundscapes. Not that it doesn’t also have its foreboding stretches, as any even vaguely drone release with a low tone will — soundtracks have conditioned us to hear things a certain way, even subconsciously — but though its two titles are somewhat dark in their themes, with the creepy vibe and strangeness of the construction of “From Insects… to Aliens (The Worms Turn)” and an “Underworld” traditionally being a place not known for its pleasant afternoons, it’s not long into Polyvision before Daniloski and Everton are exploring colorful, rich textures.

darsombra

It’s still fair to call Darsombra instrumental, but vocals do play a large role in setting the vibe, and that happens relatively quickly in the first movement of “Underworld”; voices almost choral loop in with undulating volume swells, fading in and out again, moving toward an end just before the five-minute mark where all goes quiet before the next wave starts with what seems to be both their voices leading to the establishing of a slow, patient rhythmic guitar figure around which the keys and a brightly progressive and extended guitar lead unfold. It’s here, making its way toward and past the midpoint of “Underworld” that Polyvision first and perhaps most effectively conveys the joy at root in its creation. It finds itself in a bouncing, almost child-like section of fuzzed-out keys and guitar — still with that original rhythm beneath; it doesn’t leave just yet — that receives due exploration before giving way to rolling waves, which is how “Underworld” ends. At the ocean. I’d assume that’s a field recording from the band, rather than a keyboard sample, but never fully knows. In either case, it’s hypnotic and signifies the kind of perpetualness Darsombra are looking to convey in their material as well as a peaceful moment to collect oneself before moving onto the second, longer track.

“From Insects… to Aliens (The Worms Turn)” finds itself building layers of proggy guitar, more active, more intense, with washes of cymbal added for effect in the first couple minutes. A swirling solo takes hold and winds its way into another seemingly simplistic progression around eight minutes in, but it gives way to lower rumbling undertones, if only momentarily before the guitar surges forward again. Though only part of Darsombra‘s broad approach, Daniloski‘s lead work isn’t to be undervalued. Aside from being technically proficient, it brings a rare spontaneity to what might commonly be thought of as a drone or noise record, neither of which is a style known for working off the cuff, adding to the atmosphere of positivity and basking in the spirit of an apparently ceaseless creative drive. Just past 15 minutes, Everton begins a vocal loop that is ultimately the introduction to the final movement of “From Insects… to Aliens (The Worms Turn)” and after a final crash of guitar, she’s backed by noise that indeed sounds like and may or may not be bugs, like crickets at night something from the forest.

That Darsombra would choose to end both of Polyvision‘s cuts with nature sounds — granted in the closer the human voice is still more prominent in its long fadeout — and one can’t help but wonder in light of the album’s title if the band isn’t trying to see multiple sides, and trying to show their audience multiple sides, of how humans interact with the world around them. Of course that’s speculation on my part, but if you take anything from it, take it as a sign of the depth of the evocation that the duo enact over the course of the album’s 44 minutes. If what they gleaned from those 100-plus days on the road together are the lessons they seem to be teaching here, then their time was well spent.

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Darsombra on Bandcamp

Darsombra preorder at Translation Loss Records

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Shadow Woods Metal Fest II Updates Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 16th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

The second annual Shadow Woods Metal Fest has shuffled its lineup somewhat, bringing on board Boston’s blackened metal-types Lord Almighty, Germany’s Mantar, Windfaerer from New Jersey and several others to its varied and formidable roster. I’ll be honest, not everything Shadow Woods Metal Fest books is my cup of tea, sonically — certainly I dig a good portion of it, from the aforementioned Mantar to Wizard Eye, Temple of Void, Wino with Faith in Jane, and so on — but I respect the hell out of the effort that fest head honcho Mary Spiro has put into making it something special. There are not to many extreme metal campouts in the US that I know of, so yeah, it might not all apply to what I’m looking to cover on a day-to-day basis, but I’m happy to support it every time I’m able to do so.

Like now. Update follows from the PR wire:

shadow woods metal fest 2016 poster

SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST: Lord Almighty Joins Lineup; Festival Merch Designs Announced

SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST, Maryland’s open-air metal camping party, announces that Boston black metallers Lord Almighty will join the lineup this Fall. Other newcomers to the fest include Germany’s sludge masters, Mantar, North Dakota’s eerie Ghost Bath, Canada’s frosty Numenorean, who opens the fest on Thursday September 15th, and New Jersey’s Iberian folk-metalists Windfaerer, who play Saturday.

The three-day event continues through the morning of Sunday, September 18th at Camp Hidden Valley, in White Hall, Maryland, about thirty miles north of Baltimore. Now in its second year, SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST strives to showcase the best in underground metal from diverse subgenres, on three stages at the same charming summer camp where the fest was held previously.

“Lord Almighty has a raw, fresh approach to black metal,” says festival organizer Mary Spiro of Metallomusikum.com/Shadow Woods Productions LLC. “They display both aggression and beauty when they perform, and we are super stoked to have them!” Lord Almighty replaces Chicago’s Empyreus on Saturday night.

Friday night headliners include Brooklyn’s post black metal pillagers Tombs, Mongolian folk metal warriors Tengger Cavalry, Detroit’s horror-death conjurers Acid Witch, and a special reunion performance from Philly’s blackened doom two-piece Sadgiqacea. Saturday headliners include black-thrash alchemists Blood Storm, Pennsylvania death metal stalwarts Sadistic Vision, Maryland’s doom metal godfather Scott “Wino” Weinrich with friends from Faith In Jane, and Long Island ritualists Teloch Vovin. The fest will close with the return of Maine’s black metal-blues shredders Zud.

Other performance highlights this year include blackened space-rock duo Lotus Thief from San Francisco, which features drummer Otrebor of Botanist, and Colorado’s Helleborus, powered by the Houseman brothers (Akhenaten; ex-Execration), who specialize in psychedelic black metal tinged with sexual mysticism. The complete lineup (listed below) displays some of the most innovative and surprising acts in the metal underground.

This year’s festival merch designs include the ghostly twins created by Brian Sheehan of Legerdemain and Maryland’s own cryptid, the Goat Man, as illustrated by Fred Grabosky (FTG Illustrations). The twins appear on the band shirt and the goat man will appear on a t-shirt, hoodie and a limited edition silk-screened art print. Legerdemain’s work uses manipulation of original and vintage photography to create is ghastly images. FTG Illustrations are hand-drawn creations have been used by Yob, Heavy Temple and Brimming Horn Meadery, among others. Both created art for Shadow Woods Metal Fest 2015. SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST merch can be preordered for pickup at the fest RIGHT HERE.

Food vendors this year include Baltimore-area coffee mavens Zeke’s Coffee, Headbangin’ Hotdogs (vegan), pit beef, and other festival specialties from Pond View Farms and new vendor Funtastic Foods. Beer will be available for sale. Unlike last year, local laws have determined that the fest cannot be BYOB. Coolers will be checked.

SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST was founded by Shadow Woods Productions, LLC and is produced through the work of many volunteers putting in countless hours of work.

SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST is 21+. Weekend Passes are available for $130 at BrownPaperTickets.com. Tent camping is included with the weekend pass. People who want to reserve cabin beds can do so for an additional $20 for the duration of the fest. Only 400 weekend passes will be available. Single-day passes are now on sale.

SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST 2016:

Thursday, September 15th:
6:00 Heron
6:30 Xeukatre
7:00 Numenorean
8:00 Darsombra
9:00 Ghost Bath
10:10 Mantar
11:20 Haxen

Friday, September 16th:
12:00 A Sound of Thunder
12:30 Genevieve
1:00 At the Graves
1:30 Destroyer of Light
2:00 Surgeon
2:30 Myopic
3:00 Sapremia
3:40 Lotus Thief
4:20 Wizard Eye
5:00 Temple of Void
5:40 Sadgiqacea
6:20 Helgamite
7:00 Acid Witch
8:00 Tengger Cavalry
9:00 Tombs
10:10 Athame
11:10 Helleborus
12:10 T.O.M.B.

Saturday, September 17th:
12:00 Bound By The Grave
12:30 Corpse Light
1:00 Vorator
1:30 Windfaerer
2:00 Torrid Husk
2:30 Cemetery Piss
3:00 Cemetery Filth
3:40 Grave Gnosis
4:20 Horseskull
5:00 Coffin Dust
5:40 Wino with Faith in Jane
6:20 Lord Almighty
7:00 Sadistic Vision
8:00 Teloch Vovin
9:00 Blood Storm
10:10 Zud

http://www.shadowwoodsmetalfest.com
http://www.facebook.com/shadowwoodsmetalfest
BrownPaperTickets.com

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Clutch Hit the Wild West (Sort of) for “A Quick Death in Texas” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 3rd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

clutch-a-quick-death-in-texas

As a native son of the Garden State, I find it hilarious that Clutch‘s vision for Wild West City led them to Northwestern New Jersey, to a theme park. Hard to mess with that kind of charm. The track comes from Clutch‘s 2015 album, Psychic Warfare (review here), and the video couldn’t suit it better, from the ZZ Top reference in the lyrics to the play around the song’s theme of chasing around the wrong guy’s wife and ending up on the wrong end of various Lone Star furies. “A Quick Death in Texas” offers masterful bounce, one of Psychic Warfare‘s best hooks, and a lighthearted but thick-grooving vibe that’s about as signature Clutch as Clutch gets, all the more so with the nod to Southern rock in Tim Sult‘s guitar.

A couple highlights: the shootout. Two executions. Vocalist Neil Fallon subjected to various physical tortures — gun at his head and knife at his throat, hanged, dragged behind a horse, etc. The can-can girls when they’re playing the hoedown later in the song is an especially nice touch, but really it’s a budget put to excellent use all around, with clever editing that feels like a running theme from their clip for “Psychic Warfare” (posted here), which came out late last year. I guess cleverness is kind of the overarching narrative for Clutch — SultFallon, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster — in general. Still, they do the cowboy thing well and indeed look like they’re having the blast they apparently were making their new video.

Clutch are on the road this fall along with Zakk Wylde and Kyng. Dates and more info below, courtesy of the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Clutch, “A Quick Death in Texas” official video

Clutch has just released their new video for the song “A Quick Death In Texas”. The video was directed by David Brodsky / MyGoodEye (Papa Roach, In This Moment).

“The video for ‘Quick Death In Texas’ was a lot of fun to make” states frontman Neil Fallon. “Dave Brodsky and his crew did a great job and considering that the whole shoot was done in a single day is astonishing. The cast at Wild West City are a great group of folks. In a world of monster corporate theme parks, Wild West City is a rare gem. (And no… Wild West City is not in Texas. It’s in New Jersey in the shadow of the Poconos.)

“I won’t lie, I had a blast playing cowboy for a day, even if it meant getting repeatedly killed, sometimes by desperados, sometimes by trusted bandmates. Originally, I was going to be drawn-and-quartered, but we didn’t have the budget for four horses. So we opted for a traditional one-horse-dragging. And Lucky, the painted roan, did a fine job of delivering justice.”

Clutch, Zakk Sabbath, Kyng 2016 Tour Dates:
09/28 – Buffalo, NY @ The Town Ballroom
09/30 – Lakewood, NJ @ First Energy Park – Rock Carnival *
10/01 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
10/02 – Louisville, KY @ Champions Park – Louder Than Life *
10/04 – Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues
10/05 – Atlanta, GA @ The Buckhead Theatre
10/07 – Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre Street Stage
10/08 – Columbus, OH @ Express Live
10/10 – Little Rock, AR @ Metroplex
10/11 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom
10/12 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
10/14 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Novo
10/15 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl
10/16 – San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom
10/18 – Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater
10/20 – Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater
10/21 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
10/22 – Sioux City, IA @ Anthem at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
10/24 – Columbia, MO @ The Blue Note ** NO Zakk Sabbath
10/25 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
10/27 – Madison, WI @ Orpheum Theater
10/28 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
10/29 – Clifton Park, NY @Upstate Concert Hall
10/30 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
* festival appearance

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion

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Beelzefuzz, The Righteous Bloom: Nebulous Parfait

Posted in Reviews on August 2nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

beelzefuzz ii the righteous bloom-700

Three years after offering up their self-titled debut (review here), Maryland-area progressive doomers Beelzefuzz return with a second album. But what a three years it’s been. First, the former trio added guitarist Greg Diener (Pale Divine) as a fourth member, then they broke up, partially reformed under the name Righteous Bloom, and then finally decided to re-adopt the name Beelzefuzz as they headed into making the sophomore outing that would eventually become The Righteous Bloom, out this month on Restricted Release in the US and The Church Within in Europe. Founding members Dana Ortt (guitar/vocals; also Dark Music Theory) and Darin McCloskey (drums; also Pale Divine) are once again joined by Diener on lead guitar/backing vocals, and while it’s his first record with the band, these 11 tracks/47 minutes also mark the introduction of bassist Bert Hall, perhaps best known for his work in Revelation and Against Nature, but a perennial figure in Maryland doom, now also a member of Mangog.

Hall makes an impression early in opener “Nazzriff,” as does Diener, and helps the band build on the rather considerable accomplishments of the first offering while finding a tonality truer to their live presentation than their prior studio work had been and maintaining the subtle classic rock nuance and progressive doom that have become Beelzefuzz‘s hallmark, be it in “Nazzriff” — named after the band Nazareth — or the more shuffling “The Soulless,” which follows. After all the tumult the last few years have brought, The Righteous Bloom‘s level of cohesion is even more impressive, and their second LP establishes Beelzefuzz as one of the most immediately recognizable sounds in doom.

Greatly bolstering their distinction, as has been the case all along, is Ortt‘s guitar tone. Easily mistaken for flourish of organ, his guitar is as much of a sonic signature as Beelzefuzz have, and that’s plenty, but as a later cut like rolling album highlight “Nebulous” or the earlier “Rat Poison Parfait” showcase, his vocal presence has also become more confident and his range has increased from where it was in 2013. I won’t take away anything from Beelzefuzz‘s Beelzefuzz — I loved that record and still do — but The Righteous Bloom steps forward in bold-but-subtle ways and makes its progression felt in service to the songs.

beelzefuzz (Photo by Kathy Reeves)

Whether it’s a chorus-driven bouncer like “Hardluck Melody” — an older song if I’m right — or the yes-it’s-actually-a-waltz “Eternal Waltz,” or the atmospheric “Sanctum and Solace” that arrives after the title-track, the band’s execution of this material makes plain the fact that their priority is in the songs, and all four members of Beelzefuzz work toward the same goals throughout, be it the boogie-doom of centerpiece “Within Trance,” on which Hall particularly shines from under the guitar line, or the penultimate “Dying on the Vine.” I’ll admit to some skepticism when I heard Beelzefuzz added a second guitarist. Diener has long since proven he’s a fantastic player in Pale Divine, so that wasn’t really in question, but establishing a dual-guitar dynamic seemed like it might take away from what Ortt‘s tone did by standing alone. Rather, it adds to it, literally and figuratively. Diener brings tonal depth in a more natural way and his lead work throughout is stellar, perhaps nowhere more so than on the epilogue closer “Peace Mind” where he classes up Skynyrdisms to round out a quick three-minute track that sounds like it could’ve gone on for another 11.

As one would hope, the title-cut proves to be something special. Beelzefuzz hit the seven-minute mark once on the debut, and “The Righteous Bloom” comes close at 6:57, but moreover, it offers one of the record’s most memorable shuffles alongside quick rhythmic changes that play up both the bizarro ambience of the guitar and wizardly conjuring of Ortt‘s vocals, and highlights how far the band has come in the last couple years, pushing into unpretentious prog that’s as intricate as it is heavy, lush in its melody but still commanding in vibe. It emphasizes the balance that Beelzefuzz seem to perpetually strike so well. You’d call them laid back as quickly as you’d call them downtrodden, classic and forward-thinking in kind, yet not at all incongruous.

They were already a standout from the Maryland doom set, which very often prides itself on riffy originalism, but The Righteous Bloom brings their stylistic achievement to a new level entirely, and it does so without sacrificing the songwriting that, like McCloskey‘s drumming, has been the reliable foundation on which the band is built. In the speedier chug of “The Soulless,” or the nod of “Within Trance,” or the creeper insistence of “Dying on the Vine,” and in each of the inclusions here, Beelzefuzz always seem to be showing a look just slightly different, but The Righteous Bloom ties together via tone, groove and overall high quality of performance and satisfies so as to completely justify the anticipation leading to its release. We’d be lucky if it was taken up as an influence by other acts, and going forward, it seems only fair to consider Beelzefuzz among the most essential outfits going in East Coast doom. There’s no one else quite like them.

Beelzefuzz, “Nazzriff” official video

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The Righteous Bloom preorder at Restricted Release

The Righteous Bloom preorder at Abstract Distribution

The Church Within Records

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Memorial Benefit Announced for Kenny Staubs of War Injun

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 22nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

The shock was immediate when the news came down of the passing of War Injun guitarist Kenny Staubs last week. After all, it had only been a couple weeks since War Injun absolutely leveled Maryland Doom Fest 2016, and it just seemed impossible that someone able to bring such life to the stage as Staubs did would be gone so soon thereafter. I didn’t know the man, we’d never spoken, so I won’t comment on his life, but he was very clearly well loved and no doubt will be dearly missed by family and friends alike.

A GoFundMe page is live now (link here, also below) and a benefit show has been organized in his honor for next Saturday, July 30 at G Boone’s in Boonsboro, Maryland, that features not only War Injun playing to memorialize Staubs‘ contributions to the sphere of MD doom, but a host of other luminaries from the area, including Beelzefuzz, Bailjack, Thonian Horde, Dee Calhoun of Iron Man, Dark Music Theory, Byrgan, and Thousand Vision Mist.

On behalf of the site and myself, condolences to all who knew Kenny Staubs and I hope the benefit show helps to celebrate the life he led and the music he loved.

Info follows:

kenny staubs benefit poster-700

July 30: KENNY STAUBS BENEFIT CONCERT

Let’s celebrate the life of Kenny Staubs, our brother, our friend, and War Injun guitarist. All proceeds pay for his trip to Heaven.

On July 15, 2016 the world lost an incredible man. Kenny was a musician, friend, brother and son. He was much to young and full of life. Kenny touched many lives and if you were lucky to know him, you loved him.

Saturday, July 30 at 3 PM
$20 donation

G Boone’s
7704 Old National Pike, Boonsboro, Maryland 21713

Lineup:
Beelzefuzz
War Injun
Thonian Horde
Bailjack
Dark Music Theory
Byrgan
Dee Calhoun
Thousand Vision Mist

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War Injun, Live at Maryland Doom Fest 2016

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Foghound, The World Unseen: Message in the Sky (Plus Full Album Stream)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 6th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

foghound the world unseen

[Click play above to stream Foghound’s The World Unseen in full. Album is out Friday on Ripple Music.]

Originally set for a Spring release, The World Unseen is the second full-length from Baltimorean four-piece Foghound after 2013’s Quick, Dirty and High (review here). It’s also their first offering through Ripple Music, and like a lot of productions in which Mike Dean has a hand — he produced here along with Frank “The Punisher” Marchand and the band itself — one can hear some C.O.C. in a song like “Serpentine,” but in the context of the record as a whole, that becomes only one element at the band’s disposal.

Shades of fellow Marylanders Clutch, of a roughed-up Fu Manchu and of Alabama Thunderpussy‘s Southern edge show up, but primarily what’s happening in The World Unseen is Foghound are establishing their own style with those influences as a foundation. They do Baltimore proud in that, and over the course of its 10 tracks/43 minutes, the album offers a force of delivery well beyond that of the debut. The sound is tighter, the performances crisper, and the production sharper. Not that Quick, Dirty and High didn’t have its hard-hitting side, but The World Unseen sees each member of Foghound turning in the same direction and heading forward at breakneck speed, and the result is strong, clearheaded heavy rock and roll like “Message in the Sky” or “Rockin’ and Rollin’,” songs executed with no pretense of wanting to do anything more than kick ass and have a good time doing it.

More complex vocal arrangements also help bring out more of Foghound‘s sonic identity, drummer Chuck Dukehart and guitarist Bob Sipes splitting the bulk of the lead duties while also backing each other complemented by guitarist Dee Settar. Bassist Jim Forrester rounds out the lineup this time around, making a considerable impression under the guitar fuzz of “Truth Revealed,” and fitting well in Foghound alongside his former Sixty Watt Shaman bandmate Dukehart, who belts out his vocals with similar a physicality to how he hits his drums — a full-body process. The record starts off innocently enough with the roll of “Above the Wake,” one of three songs to hit five minutes with the later “Truth Revealed” and closer “Never Return,” but builds intensity as it moves toward each of its choruses, its loose groove tightening amid a flurry of guitar leads and rhythmic push.

foghound (Photo by Rock and Roll Socialite)

The next two songs, “Message in the Sky” and “Serpentine,” help define a large portion of The World Unseen‘s personality, moving fast, making an impact and wasting zero time. Efficient, catchy and on the beat, they’re paired well together for the hooks they proffer, but all the more so because the more swinging “Serpentine” also provides a more flowing transfer into “On a Roll,” which has a nod straight off The Action is Go and a lyric about blasting off into space, just in case the classic stoner rock vibe wasn’t apparent enough. It was, but the song is almost maddeningly well written, and also the shortest at just over three minutes, so it’s not like it’s overstaying its welcome. “Give up the Ghost” recalls Down in its sung/spoken vocals and its style of riff, but by the time it arrives, Foghound have already established themselves as able to draw these things together to suit their own purposes, and they do likewise to close side A.

A more fervent thrust resumes with “Rockin’ and Rollin’,” which seems like as much a mission statement as anything else, another track that wastes no time getting to its point and offering another driving verse and memorable hook, put to good use, but “Truth Revealed” provides counterbalance with a more laid back groove, highlighting the tone in Sipes and Settar‘s guitars as a blown-out vocal tops as atmospheric accompaniment. They pick up the tempo for the last measure or two, but the prevailing feel is still less insistent, and the spacier instrumental “Bridge of Stonebows” follows up on that and pushes it further with subdued guitar, punctuating drum thud and rumbling bass that speaks to something foreboding but bittersweet, a solo in the second half a standout moment for its fluidity amid the build behind it. The side B interlude doesn’t so much derail the considerable momentum the band has built up to that point, but it does broaden and shift the overarching feel of the album, giving the return to a more straightforward approach on “Street Machine” a different context than it would have coming out of, say, “Truth Revealed” or one of the other tracks.

So be it. “Street Machine” remains catchy in the spirit of “On a Roll” and leads to “Never Return,” which makes a fitting enough finale but one can only hope isn’t prophetic in some way about the band itself. Its chugging riff, mid-paced push and larger sense of space come with lyrical escapism, but for what it’s worth, Foghound don’t sound like a group looking to make their end. Quite the opposite. They sound hungry, and when they return, it’ll be one to watch for, because while The World Unseen makes its primary impression in the quality of its songwriting and the tightness of its performances, it also showcases the real potential at heart in Foghound as they continue to develop. As a second full-length and a debut for this lineup, it marks an arrival for sure — almost for Ripple Music as much as the band itself — but it also feels like another step in a larger process of growth still to play out.

Foghound on Thee Facebooks

Foghound on Bandcamp

Foghound website

Ripple Music

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