Mangog Release The Ghost in the Room EP

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

mangog

With Maryland Doom Fest kicking off later this week, it is a fitting time to celebrate the region’s heavy output. Baltimorean four-piece Mangog won’t play in Frederick this year, but they’ve got a brand new two-songer called The Ghost in the Room out well in time for the occasion just the same. They would seem to have parted ways with masked drummer Dao Yu since the recording of the EP — we never did find out why he wore the mask, so let’s just assume it was because he was secretly WJZ Baltimore meteorologist Bob Turk in disguise and didn’t want anyone at CBS to know he’s super into heavy riffs. Fair. It would probably cost him his job.

The new guy is Russell Hayward III, and he’ll have to wait until the next outing to make his debut with the band, but I hear there’s a second album in the works. I wouldn’t be surprised if these tracks are on it in some form or other.

The PR wire has it like this:

mangog the ghost in the room

Baltimore doom unit MANGOG releases brand new EP; Out now on Argonauta Records!

Doom metal heavyweights MANGOG have announced the surprising release of a brand new EP titled The Ghost in the Room, which is out now on Argonauta Records!

MANGOG is a doom metal band based out of Baltimore, Maryland, formed by bassist Bert Hall Jr. (Revelation, Against Nature, Beelzefuzz ), assuming guitar duties, drummer Stephen Branagan (Revelation, Against Nature, and Yet So Far), Major Company bassist Darby Cox, and Final Answer vocalist Myke Wells. In early 2015 the band released the Daydreams Within Nightmares EP during their debut performance at the Maryland Doomfest. One year later, MANGOG completed its first and critically acclaimed full length album, Mangog Awakens, released with Argonauta Records in 2017.

The Ghost in the Room continues the band’s work and sets high anticipation for their sophomore album, MANGOG are currently working on. Their brand new, 2-track EP is now available for streaming and download HERE!

“We are stoked to give everyone a taste of some of the music we’ve been working on through our partnership with Argonauta Records!” MANGOG comments. “The Ghost in the Room has been a staple of Mangog set lists since shortly after the release of the “Awakens” album, with the track “Hubris” being written much more recently.

The road to getting out new music has been an epic one, paved with hospitalizations, birth, death, setbacks, frustration and lineup changes. These recordings feature former member Dao Yu on drums, who worked with the band between September 2017 and October 2018.

We recently also begun to perform acoustic versions of some of our new and old songs, and will have a video for “Ghost in the Room” about to enter the post production, so better watch out for many more great news to come soon!”

Tracklisting:
1. The Ghost in the Room 06:53
2. Hubris 04:01

MANGOG is:
Myke Wells – Vocals
Bert Hall, Jr. – Guitars, vocals, devices
Darby Cox – Basses
Russell Hayward III – Drums

www.facebook.com/MangogDoom
https://twitter.com/mangogdoom
https://www.mangogdoom.com/
www.argonautarecords.com

Mangog, The Ghost in the Room EP (2019)

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Clutch Launch ‘Weathermaker Vault Series’ with “Evil” Single

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Clutch about to launch a swing through Europe playing festivals, unveiling a new singles series with a cover of a song that Willie Dixon wrote and Cactus took on at the dawn of the heavy ’70s? Yeah, that sounds about right. The Maryland stalwarts go abroad this week for your Downloads, your Copenhells, your Graspops and your Hellfests, etc., before coming back next month for a co-headline swing with Killswitch Engage to I guess get a jump on aughts nostalgia for people who were in college at the same time I was. That tour has indoor and outdoor shows, which is nifty, it being summertime and all, and is noteworthy as well for the stop at their own Earth Rocker Festival on July 13 in West Virginia.

And yes, at the same time, they’re kicking off the Weathermaker Vault Series — seriously, just take my money — with a cover of “Evil,” a song that, even if you don’t know it, you already know it. Others are reportedly to follow — hence “series” — but as the video at the bottom of this post portrays, it’s a righteous take and a hell of a start for whatever will follow.

And I was thinking not too long ago that it’s been too damn long since Clutch banged out one of their limited-as-hell live albums, so hopefully some such thing makes its way through their new Vault as well sooner or later.

From the PR wire:

clutch evil

CLUTCH RELEASE NEW SINGLE AND VIDEO FOR “EVIL”

BAND LAUNCHES THE “WEATHERMAKER VAULT SERIES”
“EVIL” LYRIC VIDEO AVAILABLE NOW

Clutch announce the release of “Evil.” The single is the first in a series of new studio recordings that will comprise the newly launched Weathermaker Vault Series and the first new official music Clutch is making available since the release of their critically acclaimed album, Book Of Bad Decisions.

Future tracks will follow as part of the new series throughout the 2nd half of 2019. These songs are bound to become another classic milestone in the band’s stellar career.

“Evil” was mixed by 6X Grammy Award winner and Clutch collaborator, Vance Powell (Wolfmother, The Raconteurs, Arctic Monkeys).

A lyric video for “Evil” accompanies the release and can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/RDehbNb4Q1Y

“We’ve had a good amount of downtime since our last tour. And since the devil finds work for idle hands, we kept ourselves busy by recording some tunes. “Evil” is the first of them, a song we’ve loved for many, many years.” Neil Fallon

Later this week, Clutch will embark on a tour of European festivals and headline dates, followed by a July 12th-August 4th co-headline US tour with Killswitch Engage that also includes Clutch’s curated Earth Rocker Festival in Inwood WV.

European Dates: June 14th-June 23rd.

Fri/Jun 14th UK, Castle Donington, Download Festival
Sun/Jun 16th UK, Cardiff, Great Hall
Tue/Jun 18th GR, Thessaloniki, Fix Factory of Sound
Wed/Jun 19th GR, Athens, Release Athens Festival
Fri/Jun 21st DK, Copenhagen, Copenhell
Sat/Jun 22nd BE, Dessel, Graspop Metal Meeting
Sun/Jun 23rd FR, St.-Hilaire-De-Clisson, Hellfest

Clutch-Killswitch Engage Co-Headline US Dates: July 12-August 4th.

Fri/Jul 12th Syracuse, NY at SI Hall
Sat/Jul 13th Inwood, WV at Earth Rocker Festival @ Shiley Acres
Sun/Jul 14th Myrtle Beach, SC at House Of Blues
Tue/Jul 16th Fort Wayne, IN at The Clyde
Thu/Jul 18th Sioux City, IA at Hard Rock Casino
Fri/Jul 19th Cadott, WI at Rock USA Festival
Sat/Jul 20th Peoria, Il at Tailgate N’ Tallboys Festival
Mon/Jul 22nd Tulsa, OK at The Brady Theater
Tue/Jul 23rd St. Louis, MO at The Pageant
Thu/Jul 25th Bethlehem, PA at Sands Bethlehem Event Center
Fri/Jul 26th Asbury Park, NJ at Stone Pony (Outdoors)
Sat/Jul 27th Bangor, ME at Impact Music Festival
Sun/Jul 28th Montreal, QC at Heavy Montreal Festival
Tue/Jul 30th Huntington, NY at The Paramount
Thu/Aug 1st Columbus, OH at Express Live (Outdoors)
Fri/Aug 2nd Pittsburgh, PA at Stage AE (Outdoors)
Sat/Aug 3rd Port Chester, NY at The Capitol Theater
Sun/Aug 4th Worcester, MA at Palladium (Outdoors)

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, “Evil” official lyric video

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Clutch and Killswitch Engage Announce Co-Headlining Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

“Wow, called it!” said nobody. You know, a couple outdoor gigs, a fest or two along the way, and a decent amount of focus on the Eastern Seaboard — pretty standard fare for Clutch touring at this point, if a little bit shorter than some of the runs they go on. Then you throw in metalcore stalwarts Killswitch Engage as a co-headliner and things get a little more eyebrow-raising. Clutch of course are no strangers to touring with metal bands — they shared a bill with Slayer and System of a Down in ’98 as I recall and even recently they were out with Sevendust I guess to fill their quota of “odd pairings with bands who also started in the ’90s,” but it’s been a while I think since they’ve hit the road with a group so directly aggro as Killswitch Engage. Trying to reach different audiences is a tricky prospect, but no worries. Clutch‘ll be just fine.

They go supporting last year’s Book of Bad Decisions (review here) on Weathermaker. Worth noting as well that the Inwood, West Virginia, show is their third Earth Rocker Festival, which Killswitch Engage and Cro-Mags will also play, as well as Fireball Ministry.

Okeydokey then:

clutch kse tour

CLUTCH AND KILLSWITCH ENGAGE ANNOUNCE CO-HEADLINE SUMMER TOUR

Clutch and Killswitch Engage have announced co-headline tour dates for this summer. Tickets go on sale on Friday, May 17th at 10am.

Both bands will also be appearing on several festivals during their July 12th – August 4th run to include Earth Rocker Festival (July 13th), Rock Fest (July 19th), Heavy Montreal (July 26th) and Impact Festival (July 28th).

“We are really looking forward to heading out on the road with Killswitch Engage,” said Clutch’s vocalist Neil Fallon. “It’ll be a rager”.

Jesse Leach vocalist of Killswitch Engage adds “We’re excited to hit some of our favorite spots in July and to share the stage wtih Clutch, fun times ahead”

CLUTCH – KILLSWITCH ENGAGE CO-HEADLINE DATES
Tickets available at www.pro-rock.com
July 12th in Syracuse, NY at SI Hall
July 13th in Inwood, WV at Shiley Acres
July 14th in Myrtle Beach, SC at House Of Blues
July 16th in Fort Wayne, IN at The Clyde
July 18th in Sioux City, IA at Hard Rock Casino
July 19th in Cadott, WI at Rock Fest
July 22nd in Tulsa, OK at The Brady Theater
July 23rd in St Louis, MO at The Pageant
July 25th in Bethelehem, PA at Sands Event Center
July 26th in Asbury Park, NJ at Stone Pony (Outdoors)
July 27th in Montrael, QC at Heavy Montreal
July 28th in Bangor, ME at Impact Festival
July 30th in Huntington, NY at The Paramount
August 2nd in Pittsburgh, PA at Stage AE (Outdoors)
August 3rd in Port Chester, NY at Capital Theater
August 4th in Worcester, MA at Palladium (Outdoors)

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, Live at Riot Fest 2018

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Yatra Announce US Tour; New Album to be Recorded in July

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

yatra (Photo by Rock n Roll Socialite)

In case you’re wondering, this is what it looks like when a band decides they’re going for it. All in. Yatra, embarking on one tour, teasing another one to follow this Fall in Europe, and putting out word that they’ll record their second album this summer on a remarkably quick turnaround from their massively well received earlier-2019 debut, Death Ritual (discussed here). That’s a band who are going for it. They’ll hit both coasts on this run, playing New England Stoner and Doom Fest, Monolith on the Mesa, Electric Funeral Fest, and a swath of club shows here there and in between, and with the promise of more to come, it’s easy to think their momentum will continue right up to the next album’s release. You think you’ve been hearing about Yatra a lot in 2019? Well, you have. But don’t expect that to stop anytime soon.

The impressive list of dates came down the PR wire thusly:

yatra tour

YATRA ANNOUNCE US TOUR

Critically acclaimed doom metal band YATRA are pleased to announce that they will be touring the USA extensively throughout May, June and July.

The band commented “We are very excited to get back on the road for this upcoming US tour. We have some great festivals to play, and will be introducing some new material into our set! When we return in July we will be recording at Developing Nations with Kevin Bernsten for our next album, and doing a full October European tour including Desertfest Antwerp, Into the Void, and Hostsabbat Fest among the dates .”

YATRA US TOUR DATES:
5/02 Worcester, MA – Ralph’s
5/03 Portland, ME – Geno’s
5/04 Pawtuckett, RI – News Cafe
5/05 Jewitt City, CT – Altone’s – New England Stoner/Doom Fest
5/15 Memphis, TN – Growlers
5/16 Austin, TX – Beerland
5/18 Toas, NM – Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership – Monolith on the Mesa Fest
5/19 El Paso, TX – Lovebuzz
6/07 Ocean City, MD – Trader Lee’s
6/08 Milton, DE – Brimming Horn Meadery – Viking Fest
6/09 Brooklyn, NYC – Sunnyvale
6/13 Indianapolis, IN – State Street Pub
6/14 Wichita, KS – Kirby’s
6/15 Denver, CO – Mutuny – Electric Funeral Fest
6/16 Albuquerque, NM – Moonlight
6/18 Tempe, AZ – Yucca Taproom
6/19 San Diego, CA – Tower Bar
6/20 Pasadena, CA – Old Town Pub
6/22 Medford, OR – Bamboo Room
6/23 Portland, OR – High Water Mark
6/24 Tacoma, WA – Airport Tavern
6/25 Seattle, WA – Funhouse
6/26 Spokane, WA – Mootsy’s
6/27 Kalispell, MT – Old School Records
6/28 Great Falls, MT – Back Alley Pub
6/29 Mandan, ND – The Strawberry
6/30 Fargo, ND – The Aquarium
7/01 Chicago, IL – Chop Shop
7/02 Canton, OH – Buzzbin
7/03 Buffalo, NY – Mohawk Place

YATRA:
Dana Helmuth – guitars/vocals
Maria Geisbert – bass
Mike Tull – drums

http://www.facebook.com/yatradoom
https://yatradoom.bandcamp.com
http://www.grimoirerecords.com
http://grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/GrimoireRecords
https://twitter.com/grimoiremetal

Yatra, Death Ritual (2019)

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The Druids, Totem: Effigy and Elogy

Posted in Reviews on April 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the druids totem

Riding a silver machine in search of elusive truth, Maryland’s The Druids make an encouraging full-length debut with Totem, which follows behind a few likewise-digital odds and ends, including an untitled 2016 EP and a couple singles here and there. They’ve used pseudonyms all along, but would seem to be transitioning out of that, as guitarist/vocalists Eli “Stone Druid” Watson and Danny “Spacehawk” Alger and bassist Jeremy “Weed Warlock” Dinges introduce drummer Gary “Iceman” Isom to the lineup. Isom, of course, has a pedigree in Maryland heavy that includes drum stints in Pentagram and Iron Man, King Valley and Nitroseed, as well as Shine/Spirit Caravan and, currently, playing guitar in Weed is Weed and fronting Electropathic. As Spirit Caravan are a primary influence for The Druids, he’s an excellent fit here on songs like opener “Cruising Astral Skies” and the wah-swirling “Sorcerers,” as the band push earthy visions of heavy into cosmic reaches — or, at least, they begin the process of doing so.

There’s a jammy undercurrent not just to the nine-minute “Hawkwind,” or the later “Turtles Dream,” but that serves as the foundation to even the more structured material like the duly Southern-tinged “Moonshine Witch” and the it’s-called-“lead-guitar”-because-you-follow-it “Atlantean,” which departs its early verses for solo-laced oblivion past the halfway point. There’s a cross-generational element at play, between Isom and WatsonAlger and Dinges, but that does nothing to interrupt the overall fluidity of Totem or bring any sense of incongruity to the band’s style. If anything, the inclusion of Isom seems to have tightened The Druids‘ songwriting approach, as heard in “Turtles Dream,” which takes elements from “Turtles” and “Dreams” from the EP and combined them into one progression. “Hawkwind” is an exception and clearly intended as such, but most of the material on Totem is shorter and more structurally sound, so that even as The Druids decide to take off on the occasional interstellar trip, they have solid ground from which to launch. That provides balance for the listener making their unsuspecting way through, and sees moments like the drift in the concluding “Sky Submarine” all the more effective.

Interestingly, Totem seems to be rawer in its production than was the EP. Listening to the sample from The Wild Angels that lets “Sorcerers” open what would be side B on a vinyl release before giving way to the trippier “Turtles Dream,” “High Society” and “Sky Submarine,” there’s an almost garage-psych sensibility to what The Druids conjure here, with a grit cast on some of the shimmer in the guitars their last time out. Could be a circumstance of recording live as they did, or could be a purposeful aesthetic choice on their part — I don’t think we can know until their next time out, but it enhances the ride that is “Cruising Astral Skies” and makes the nodding “Atlantean” all the more of a wash of dirty fuzz, classically doomed in the Maryland tradition, but not necessarily beholden to Maryland doom in terms of its psychedelic vibe and general stoned fuckall.

the druids

The leadoff and “Moonshine Witch” might be as straightforward as The Druids get, but even the second of those makes its way out on a solo, leaving behind the expectation that they might return to the verse or chorus and instead just jamming its way to wherever it might end up — the start of “Sorcerers,” as it happens. With Totem being the band’s first long-player, it’s hard to guess how that will ultimately develop in their sound — but that only makes the album more exciting to hear, since the four-piece have already essentially carved an identity for themselves that spans subgenres from psych to heavy rock to classic-style garage bikerism and more. Further, they vary that departure from core structure, so that “Atlantean” might not make its way back, but the would-be anthem “High Society” does, at least instrumentally, and even though they’re long-since gone by the time they get there, the sample at the end of “Hawkwind” works to tie that song together with “Atlantean” as well, so that side A ends up with an overarching symmetry one way or the other as “Cruising Astral Skies” and “Moonshine Witch” bookend the two jammier pieces.

Mark it a win, move on, wait for the next one? Okay, sure, but I think if you do, you’re missing out on a bit of the nuance The Druids have to offer. Not so much in terms of the technicality of what they do — though the solos are impressive and their tones are intricate — but stylistically overall. It’s easy, particularly for the converted, to listen to Totem and get where The Druids are coming from. And for some, that’s enough, but to take that approach misses perhaps the bigger picture of what’s at play throughout these songs in terms of bringing a generational freshness to these ideas and aesthetic elements. The Druids‘ raw fuzz is informed of course by the heavy rock that’s gone before it, but the homage they pay comes with a youthful vigor and an unfaded luster.

This, quite simply, is how rock and roll has survived despite being cast as dead — and maybe being dead — as a commercial enterprise. It has been handed from one group to the next. I won’t deign to predict where The Druids will go from their debut in terms of style or substance, but already in these songs they show a genuine affinity for heavy modes of expression and they work to make them their own with a quality of craft and a variety of moods. There isn’t much more one could reasonably ask of a young band putting out their first record. So yeah, one could dig into Totem and think “that’s cool,” grab a download or whatever and be done, or one could perhaps realize that even the name of the album speaks to a sense of monument-building and that essentially that’s what the band are doing in entering this conversation with their influences. The potential that gives them for moving forward and continuing to make those influences theirs is writ large throughout this material, and to miss that is missing the larger picture of what they accomplish here.

The Druids, Totem (2019)

The Druids on Thee Facebooks

The Druids on Bandcamp

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Haze Mage Premiere “Storm Blade” from Debut Album Chronicles out April 19

Posted in audiObelisk on March 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Haze-Mage-photo-by-Shane-Gardner

Baltimorean double-guitar five-piece Haze Mage will issue their debut full-length, Chronicles, through Grimoire Records on April 19. Comprised of a briskly captured eight tracks and 45 minutes of material produced by the label’s own Noel Mueller, it is the band’s first outing since they changed their name from Blood Mist following the 2017 release of what was then their self-titled debut EP (review here), but which now you can probably just call Blood Mist. Either way, Chronicles brings the arrival of Haze Mage — the lineup of vocalist Matthew Casella, guitarists Nick Jewett and Kevin Considine, bassist Scott Brenner and drummer John De Campos — as a force to contend with in terms of their blend of classic metal, traditional doom and heavy rock and roll, parts of the eponymous opener and “Storm Blade”, which follows, reminded of Saint Vitus on a bender with Pentagram while “Bong Witch” is more purely self-aware stonerization and “Fire Wizards” asks the inevitable question of what might’ve happened if the NWOBHM had been infiltrated by operatives from Big Muff. So yes, it’s awesome.

And that’s really just the start. “Corpse Golem” teases out more complex vocal arrangements and in so doing serves notice of growth yet to come on the part of the band, all the while rolling forth the record’s most satisfyingly lumbering groove, right into “Priest of Azathoth” haze mage chronicleswhich fuzzes a kind of semi-shuffle that’s part Zeppelin preen and part Sabbathian cultistry but all righteous, right up to the laughter on the other side of the halfway mark and the riff-led bounce that follows. If you’re wondering where the blastbeats are hiding, that’d be in “Harbinger,” which starts out like a theatrical, grandiose classic metaller until it suddenly flips its wig with layers of growls under Casella‘s prominent clean vocals and, indeed, a bit of blast. They do it twice, and the second time, it’s screams layered on growls, just like Deicide used to make. Life is full of surprises. They summarize their findings effectively in the 10-minute finale — yeah, there’s some more blastbeating in there too — starting off with a patience that suits them and ending up in much the same place, but in between following a winding course to get where they’re going and executing the song with due drama wielded with a sense of control that seems greater than a first record should generally hold.

What does that mean? Could be a foreshadow for future progressivism in their songcraft, or it could just be a fluke, but what’s more important for the moment is that with ChroniclesHaze Mage establish a metallic hold on the tenets of heavy and traditional doom. And not only to do they do so, but they then essentially put the varying styles in their grasp to work as their plaything — because Chronicles is more than just one-sided, and a lot of it is unabashed fun — from Casella‘s over-the-top Danzig style to the bubbling over the drums that starts “Bong Witch” and the extra-right-on bassline that follows. Haze Mage know what they’re doing, as shown on multiple levels with the characters in their songs as depicted on the cover art and the hooks of “Storm Blade” and “Dread Queen.” That isn’t to say they don’t have room for refinement coming off this collection en route to whatever’s next, but it says that especially as their first record, Chronicles is a warning of what might follow and it’s a warning well worth heeding.

Get yourself impaled with “Storm Blade” via the player below. Comment from the band follows, as well as some PR wire this-and-that.

Enjoy:

Haze Mage on “Storm Blade”:

Forged in lighting, the Storm Blade is an ancient cursed blade which while powerful and deadly to anything in its path, it corrupts the mind of the wielder. To hold it is to release one’s self from mercy, to abandon choice and become an unstoppable, frenzied maniac christened in bloodshed while only a whisper of your own will remains. The Storm Blade, it thunders to kill.

We enjoy diving into the wide spectrum of stoner/doom sub genres and want each song on the album to take the listener to a different place while still feeling like each one belongs as part of the whole experience. Embodying the chaotic and hectic mental state of a person possessed by the Storm Blade, we allowed our mutual admiration for ’80s era UK heavy metal to let loose. With a decidedly doomier approach informing much of this album it was important to us have at least one biting ambush of a song. Frenetic, frantic, and an in-your-face fuel for a fight, Storm Blade is that song for us.

Chronicles will see release on limited edition CD, and digital download via Grimoire Records on April 19th. Preorders have been posted HERE.

Chronicles was recorded, mixed and mastered between fall 2018 and winter 2019 by Noel Mueller. Album art was created by John De Campos/Ghost Bat Illustration, with additional layout work by Noel Mueller, and photography by Shane Gardner. © 2019 Grimoire Records.

HAZE MAGE Live:
4/20/2019 Ottobar – Baltimore, MD @ Grim Reefer Fest

HAZE MAGE:
Kevin Considine – guitar
Nick Jewett – guitar
John De Campos – drums
Scott Brenner – bass
Matthew Casella – vocals

Haze Mage on Instagram

Haze Mage on Thee Facebooks

Haze Mage on Bandcamp

Grimoire Records website

Grimoire Records on Bandcamp

Grimoire Records on Thee Facebooks

Grimoire Records on Twitter

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Caustic Casanova Sign to Magnetic Eye Records; New Album out This Summer

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Magnetic Eye Records announced three pickups this week. Brume, who were posted about yesterday, Caustic Casanova, about whom I’m posting right now — fancy that! — and Leather Lung, and Leather Lung, who’ll get a post Friday. Busy label. Busy band as well, as I don’t know when you last saw a stack of Caustic Casanova tour dates, but they are generally fairly mighty undertakings. They’re a good pickup for Magnetic Eye even apart from their we’ll-just-go-ahead-and-hand-deliver-our-songs touring ethic, as their records pull off that rare feat — progressive punk — and make it heavy without falling all over themselves with self-indulgence in the process. Good stuff. I owe their The Pantheon Collection Vol. 1-3 a review — currently slated for Wed., April 24; because yes, I believe in advance scheduling (subject to change) — so uh, check back for that, I guess. Or you can skip my blah blah and just stream at at the bottom of this post. I won’t be offended either way.

Band and label announcements follow in that order:

caustic casanova magnetic eye

Alright everyone – it’s time! We are SO STOKED to announce that we’ve joined the Magnetic Eye Records roster!!! We’ve been huge fans of their bands, Redux records, and work ethic for a long time so we couldn’t be more thrilled or honored to join this magnificent, merry metal family!! Along with a new full length coming around late summer/early fall this year and accompanying national tours we still have a few more surprises up our sleeves so STAY TUNED! CC train never stops! From the desert, to the ocean, to the snowy tundra to your kitchens all across the globe – we are coming for you.

Keep it Sabbath y’all.

From the label: “CAUSTIC CASANOVA modestly describes themselves as, “a loud, heavy band from the nation’s capital,” but that hardly does justice to a band that’s been compared to bands ranging from Torche to Faith No More to Voivod… wtf? Hell, we don’t know, we just knew they belonged here with us. Happy to welcome this acrobatic D.C. three-piece to the roster, and you can look for their album to land sometime around late Summer!”

Caustic Casanova is:
Stefanie Zaenker – Drums, Vocals
Francis Beringer – Bass, Vocals
Andrew Yonki – Guitar

http://causticcasanova.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CausticCasanova
https://www.instagram.com/CausticCasanova/
https://twitter.com/causticcasanova
http://store.merhq.com
http://magneticeyerecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MagneticEyeRecords

Caustic Casanova, The Pantheon Collection Vol. 1-3 (2018)

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Quarterly Review: Bellrope, Cracked Machine, The Sky Giants, Sacred Monster, High ‘n’ Heavy, Warlung, Rogue Conjurer, Monovine, Un & Coltsblood, La Grande Armée

Posted in Reviews on March 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

Day Six. Not that there wasn’t a bit of a crunch along the way, but I definitely think this Quarterly Review was aided by the fact that I dug so much of what I was writing about on a personal-taste level. You get through it one way or the other, but it just makes it more fun. Today is the last day and then it’s back to something approaching normal tomorrow, but of course before this thing is rounded out I want to thank you as always for taking the time and for reading if you did. It means a tremendous amount to me to put words out and have people see them, so thank you for your part in that.

This could’ve easily gone seven or eight or 10 days if scheduling had permitted, but here’s as good a place to leave it. The next one will probably be the first week of July or thereabouts, so keep an eye out.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Bellrope, You Must Relax

bellrope you must relax

How much noise can your brain take? I don’t mean noise like start-stop riffs and dudes shouting. I mean actual, abrasive, amelodic noise. Bellrope, with ex-members of the underrated Black Shape of Nexus start their Exile on Mainstream-delivered debut album, You Must Relax, with three minutes of chaff-separation they’re calling “Hollywood 2001/Rollrost.” It’s downright caustic. Fortunately, what follows on the four subsequent extended tracks devotes itself to lumbering post-sludge that’s at least accessible by comparison. “Old Overholt” is the only other inclusion under 10 minutes as the tracks are arranged shortest to longest with the 17:57 “CBD/Hereinunder” concluding. The thickened tones brought to bear throughout “Old Overholt” and the blend of screams and growls that accompany are more indicative of what follows on the centerpiece title-track and the penultimate “TD2000,” but the German four-piece still manage to sound plenty fucked throughout. Just not painfully so. There’s something threatening about the use of the word “must” in the album’s title. The songs realize that threat.

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Cracked Machine, The Call of the Void

Cracked Machine The Call of the Void

Here be dragons. Though its core tonality is still within the bounds of heavy rock, Wiltshire, UK, four-piece bring a far more atmospheric and progressive style to fruition on their second album, The Call of the Void, than it might at first appear. With post-rock float to the guitar of Bill Denton, keyboard textures from Clive Noyes, and fluid rhythms carried through changes in volume and ambience from bassist Christ Sutton and drummer Blazej Gradziel, the PsyKA Records outfit present a cerebral seven tracks/47 minutes of immersive and seemingly conceptual work, with opener “Jormungandr” establishing the context in which each song that follows is named for a different culture’s dragon, whether it’s the Hittite “Illuyanka,” Japan’s “Yamata No Orochi” or the Persian “Azi Dahakar.” Cracked Machine use this theme to tie pieces together, and they push farther out as the record unfolds late with “Typhon” and “Vritra” a closing pair of marked scope. The shortest cut, the earlier 5:14 “Kirimu,” has probably the most straightforward push, but Cracked Machine demonstrate an ability to adapt to the needs of whatever idea they’re working to convey.

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The Sky Giants, The Shifting of Phaseworld

the sky giants the shifting of phaseworld

Taking cues from psychedelia almost as much as jangly West Coast noise and punk, Tacoma, Washington’s The Sky Giants offer the 10-track sophomore outing The Shifting of Phaseworld, which finds a balance in songs like “Dream Receiver” between progressive heavy rock and its rawer foundations. The trio of guitarist/vocalist Jake Frye, bassist Jessie Avery and drummer/vocalist/engineer/graphic artist Peter Tietjen are comfortable tipping from one side to the other between and within songs, starting off with the shove of “Technicolor Kaleidoscope” and getting mathy on the later “Half Machine” ahead of the chunkier-riffed “Rhyme and the Flame,” which somehow touches on classic punk even as it hones a wash of distortion that that has to cut through. Closing each side with a longer track in the rolling, airy “Solid State” (6:53) and the frenetic ending of “Simian” (7:38), The Sky Giants stake out a sonic terrain very much their own throughout The Shifting of Phaseworld and only seem to expand their territory as they go.

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Sacred Monster, Worship the Weird

sacred monster worship the weird

Topped off by the ace screams of vocalist Adam Szczygiel, who taps his inner Devin Townsend circa Strapping Young Lad on “High Confessor” and “Re-Animator,” Sacred Monster‘s debut album, Worship the Weird would seem to cull together elements of Orange Goblin and Bongzilla for a kind of classic-metal-aware sludge rock, the riffs of Robert Nubel not at all shy about digging into aggressive vibes to go with the layers of growls and throatrippers and the occasional King Diamond-esque falsetto, as on “Waverly Hills,” as bassist Guillermo Moreno and drummer Ted Nubel bolster that feel with tight turns and duly driven bottom end. I’ll take “Face of My Father” as a highlight, if only for the excruciating sound of Szczygiel‘s screech, but the swing in closer “Maze of Dreams” has an appeal of its own, and as a Twilight Zone and a Shatner fan, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” offers its own charm.

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High n’ Heavy, Warrior Queen

high n heavy warrior queen

Shades of grunge and skate-fuzz fuckall pervade the Sabbathian grooves of High n’ Heavy‘s second album, Warrior Queen, as guitarist John Steele works some doomly keys into second cut “Shield Maiden” and vocalist Kris Fortin moves in and out of throaty shouts on side B’s “Lydia.” They thrash out in the noisy “Catapult” and Nick Perrone‘s drums seem to bounce even in the longer-winded “Lands Afar” and closer “Smell of Decay / Wings and Claw,” on which Mike Dudley‘s rumble backs classically metallic shred in the lead guitar after offering likewise support to the piano in the early going of “Join the Day.” Released through Electric Valley Records, the eight-song/36-minute LP comes across as raw but not without purpose in that, and its blend of tonal thickness and the blend of thrust and nod does well to ensure High n’ Heavy remain unpredictable while also living up to the standard of their moniker. There’s potential here that’s worth further exploration on the part of the band.

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Warlung, Immortal Portal

Warlung Immortal Portal

Houston, Texas, four-piece make a quick case for the attention of Ripple Music on their sophomore outing, Immortal Portal, which is slickly-but-not-too-slickly produced and sharply-but-not-too-sharply executed, a professional sensibility in “Black Horse Pike” and the subsequent “The Palm Reader” — which manages to be influenced melodically by Uncle Acid without sounding just like them — ahead of the ’80s metallurgy of “Heart of a Sinner” and the reference-packed “1970.” “We All Die in the End” gives an uptempo swing to the opening salvo ahead of the more brooding “Between the Dark and the Light,” but Warlung hold firm to clearly-presented melodies and riff-led rhythms no matter where they seem to go in mood or otherwise. That ties the drift of the later “Heavy Echoes” to the earlier material and makes the harmony-laced “No Son of Mine” and the organ-ic proggy sprawling finale “Coal Minors” all the more effective in reaching beyond where the album started, so that the listener winds up in a different landscape than they started, still grounded, but changed nonetheless.

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Rogue Conjurer, Of the Goddess / Crystal Mountain Lives

rogue conjurer of the goddess

Originally released digitally by the Baltimore-based unit in 2017, the two-songer Of the Goddess / Crystal Mountain Lives sees pressing as an ultra-limited tape via Damien Records and finds the three-piece of guitarist/bassist/vocalist Tonie Joy, drummer Colin Seven and organist Donny Van Zandt — since replaced by Trevor Shipley — honing a psychedelic take on doomly riffs and groove. “Crystal Mountain Lives” has a more distinct nod to its central progression, with a wah-drenched break and greater overall largesse of fuzz, but “Of the Goddess” brings an effective almost shoegazing sense to its downer spirit. The first track is also longer, so it has more time to move from that initial impression to its own payoff, but either way you go, Rogue Conjurer bring out their dead ably on the tape, showing influences from heavy psych and beyond as “Of the Goddess” winds its way to its close and “Crystal Mountain Lives” begins its fade-in all over again. No pretense, but a broad range that would allow for some if they wanted.

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Monovine, D.Y.E

monovine dye

Athens heavy rockers Monovine wear their grunge influence proudly on their third full-length, D.Y.E, issued late in 2018 digitally with an early 2019 vinyl release. It’s writ large in the Nirvana-ism of the slurring “Mellow” at the outset and remains a factor through the melodies of “Void” and the later punkery of “Messed Up” or “Ring a Bell,” as well as the toying-with-pop “Me (Raphe Nuclei)” and “Your Figure Smells,” but where Monovine succeed in making that influence their own is by filtering it through a fuzzier presentation. The guitar and bass tones keep a modern heavy feel, and as the drums roll and crash through songs like “For a Sun” and “Why Don’t You Shoot Me in the Head,” that makes a difference in the overall impression the album leaves. Still, there’s little question as to their central point of inspiration, and they bring it out in homage and as a fairly honed mode of expression on closer “Haunt,” which teases an explosion in its melancholy strum and then… well, don’t let me spoil it.

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Un & Coltsblood, Split

un coltsblood split

A festering 42 minutes of lurching agonies, Un and Coltsblood‘s split taps the best of modern death-doom’s emotionalism and bent toward extremity. Billed as a “tribute to grief: the final act of love,” it brings just two tracks, one per band, as Coltsblood open with “Snows of the Winter Realm” and Un follow with “Every Fear Illuminated.” Both bands proffer a terrifyingly weighted plod and offset it with a spacious ambience, whether it’s Un departing their grueling nod after about six and a half minutes only to build back up over the next six and grow more ferocious until devolving into noise and slamming crashes ahead of an outro of echoing, needs-a-tune-sounding piano, or Coltsblood fostering their own tonal brutalism and casting their lot with death and black metal while a current of airy guitar seems to mourn the song even as it plays out. Each cut is a monument built to loss, and their purpose in conveying that theme is both what unites them and what makes their work so ultimately consuming, as grief is.

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La Grande Armée, La Grande Armée

La Grande Armée La Grande Armée

The blend of drifting guitar and psychedelic wash on opener “El Canto de las Ballenas” earns La Grande Armée‘s self-titled debut three-song EP immediate favor, and the patient execution they bring to the subsequent “Tripa Intergaláctica” and “Normandía,” particularly the latter, only furthers that appeal. The Chilean trio keep a decidedly natural feel to the exploratory-seeming work, and if this is them finding their sound, they seem happy to do it by losing themselves in their jams. All the better someone thought to press record, since although there’s clearly some trajectory behind the progression of songs — i.e., they know at least to a degree where they want to end up — the process of getting there comes across as spontaneous. Guitar pans channels as bass and drums hold down languid flow, and even in the more active midsection of “Tripa Intergaláctica,” La Grande Armée there’s a sense that it’s more about the space being created than the construction under way. In any case, wherever they want to head next, they would seem to have the means of travel at their disposal.

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