Just what the hell is Dee Calhoun talking about in the new Iron Man song “Eulogy for Queen City?” I have no idea, but man that guy can wail. And “Iron” Al Morris can riff, and bassist Louis Strachan and drummer Jason “Mot” Waldmann groove like madmen, so here we are. Iron Man‘s got a new track out. The rest can be sorted later.
“Eulogy for Queen City” marks the first new song Iron Man have made public since the release of their 2013 full-length and Rise Above Records label debut, South of the Earth (review here). The band have had quite a ride since that album came out, playing the UK for the first time and getting at least a fraction of their due as their tenure moved further beyond the quarter-century mark, but I guess it’s reasonable to have them working on new stuff at this point — been a quick two years since that album showed up.
The clip below — prepare yourself for some cymbals early on — was filmed at the first annual Maryland Doom Fest last month in Frederick, MD, which also featured the likes of Spirit Caravan and The Skull. As much as Iron Man have done in their time, it’s hard to imagine them being at home anywhere more than at a Maryland Doom Fest. Their career is more or less an analog for the entire MD doom scene at this point: Quality over profile, vastly underrated. They certainly seem to be in their element in the video, which was filmed by Michael “Lucifer Burns” Lindenauer.
Iron Man, “Eulogy for Queen City” live at Maryland Doom Fest
Upcoming Iron Man shows: August 15- Tennessean Sludge Fest (Murfreesboro) August 28 – All That Is Heavy, Ottawa, ON Canada August 29 – Toronto (benefit) Sept 3 – Shadow Kingdom Records Riot (Cleveland) Sept 26 – Shadow Woods Metal Fest (White Hall, MD) Oct 2 – Sidebar Baltimore
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Well, the lineup for the Vultures of Volume II festival in Sept. is complete. The last band, Spirit Caravan have been confirmed as the 19th act of the two-day gig, set for Sept. 4 and 5 at Delmar Bar and Grill in Hagerstown, Maryland. As one might expect, they join the ranks of headliners, playing the first night presumably to close out after Solace, while Elder headline the next night.
That’s something, huh? Solace and Spirit Caravan topping a night’s bill together at a doom fest? I’d love to know the last time those two were on a lineup together like that. Would have to be 15 years, I’d think. Either way, it should make for one hell of an evening, with King Giant, Pale Divine (who also, quietly, have been around about that long), Faith in Jane and Bailjack included and of course the second day to follow, which has Elder and Ruby the Hatchet up top while Wretch, Weed is Weed, Carousel, Righteous Bloom, Foghound, Witch Hazel, Thousand Vision Mist, Wizard Eye, Wasted Theory, Buzzard Canyon and Heavy Temple pack in with minimal changeover time and a full-as-hell day set to continue into the wee hours. Because that’s what rock and roll does, right? That’s what they keep telling me.
In addition to Spirit Caravan as the last of the bunch, I’m thrilled to announce that The Obelisk (the site you’re on) has been added as a sponsor for Vultures of Volume II and I couldn’t be more stoked to be involved. I’m hoping to be able to make the trip down in Sept., as this one simply looks too good to miss:
VULTURES OF VOLUME FEST II — Sept. 4th & 5th
Delmar Bar & Grill 16715 National Pike, Hagerstown, Maryland 21740
OFFICIAL TIME SLOTS ARE AS FOLLOWS:
***FRIDAY*** SPIRIT CARAVAN SOLACE KING GIANT PALE DIVINE FAITH IN JANE BAILJACK
I’ve officially decided that I’m going to at least semi-retire Wino Wednesday after the 200th edition. A fictional document has been written in legalese, signed and notarized — yes, my brain has its own internal notary — and included in that are clauses stipulating that the feature can be revived pretty much any Wednesday I feel like it and that all parties involved acknowledge that 200 posts will be plenty and that if there are any complaints, I’ll simply point the complainer back to the 200 editions preceding, because there’s no way he or she possibly read them all. I’m sorry, just no way.
So that’s that. We’ve got eight more Wino Wednesdays to go, however, and this week’s comes from Spirit Caravan‘s recent appearance at the inaugural Maryland Doom Fest in Frederick, MD. Organized by War Injun drummer JB Matson, the festival was by all accounts I’ve seen a rousing success, and well deserved. Matson put together a killer lineup and Spirit Caravan were among the headliners, playing as the trio of Wino on guitar/vocals, Dave Sherman on bass/vocals and Ed Gulli on drums in place of Henry Vasquez, who was in Europe with Saint Vitus at the time, that band being fronted by original vocalist Scott Reagers at least for the time being.
What makes Gulli‘s presence in the trio so special, particularly for a song like “Kill Ugly Naked” — which was released on Spirit Caravan‘s classic 1999 debut, Jug Fulla Sun — is the fact that he played drums for The Obsessed when that band recorded it on their 1985 promo demo. Gulli and “Kill Ugly Naked” quite literally have 30 years of history between them. Fucking awesome.
The shot’s a little odd — a 16:9 aspect ratio, vertical, is just bizarre looking — and where Sherman should be there seems instead to be somebody’s elbow, but the sound is decent and you get a sense for how killer the performance was, so I’ll take it. Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, the Maryland Doom Fest has already announced its 2016 dates. It’ll be the weekend of June 24, 2016, once again at Cafe 611 in Frederick. Excellent.
Spirit Caravan, “Kill Ugly Naked” Live at Maryland Doom Fest
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 9th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
News about some new Clutch? Why, yes please, and thank you. This is the first solid word I’ve seen about the next full-length from the Maryland stalwarts, whose 2013 outing, Earth Rocker (review here), was far and away that year’s best album. Titled Psychic Warfare and featuring cover art by photographer Dan Winters that has an oldschool, confrontational feel, the new outing will be released Oct 2. through the band’s Weathermaker Music imprint. Songs like “Son of Virginia,” “Sucker for the Witch” and “Our Lady of Electric Light” have been played live for some time now, but it’s always great to hear what Clutch come up with in the studio as well, the production method they take any time around — like Earth Rocker, Psychic Warfare was produced by Machine — being such a huge factor in their sound.
Here’s looking forward:
CLUTCH TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM “PSYCHIC WARFARE” OCTOBER 2ND 2015
Clutch, the influential heavy rock band from Maryland, will release its eleventh studio album “Psychic Warfare” October 2nd via their own label Weathermaker Music. The album was produced by longtime producer Machine (Lamb Of God, Every Time I Die) and consists of 12 new tracks. “The title ‘Psychic Warfare’ is taken from the track, ‘X-Ray Visions” states singer Neil Fallon. “It’s a tale about an unnamed protagonist who is forced to seek refuge in a flop house motel. He is hiding from several nefarious psychic forces, the worst of which is his own sleep deprived paranoia.” The album cover was designed by renowned photographer Dan Winters.
Clutch is comprised of vocalist/guitarist Neil Fallon, drummer Jean-Paul Gaster, guitarist Tim Sult, and bassist Dan Maines.
“Psychic Warfare” track listing: 01 The Affidavit 02 X-Ray Visions 03 Firebirds 04 A Quick Death in Texas 05 Sucker For The Witch 06 Your Love is Incarceration 07 Doom Saloon 08 Our Lady of Electric Light 09 Noble Savage 10 Behold the Colossus 11 Decapitation Blues 12 Son Of Virginia
Clutch have been pushing the boundaries that define heavy rock music since the four original members got together in high school. Clutch is an unmatched musical force that has been best described as “the quintessential American Rock Band”. They released their tenth studio album Earth Rocker via their own label Weathermaker Music on March 16, 2013. The album entered the Billboard Top 200 chart at #15 giving the band their highest chart position to date.
Clutch will be touring extensively in 2015 to support the effort. A string of shows, including festival dates have been announced leading up to the release.
08/15 – GwarBQ @ Hadad’s Lake – Richmond, VA 09/04 – The Joint @ The Hard Rock Hotel – Las Vegas, NV – special guest for Primus 09/19 – The Shindig @ Carrol Park – Baltimore, MD 09/20 – The Rock Carnival @ Oak Ridge Park – Clark, NJ 10/24 – Aftershock Festival – Sacramento, CA 10/25 – Knotfest @ San Manuel Amphitheater – San Bernardino, CA 10/31 – Voodoo Festival – New Orleans, LA
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 6th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
The Maryland-based festival Vultures of Volume II has continued to add to its already-righteous lineup. Actually, it started out on more than solid footing with the likes of Solace and Righteous Bloom, and it’s only really gotten better, mixing local Marylanders like Weed is Weed and Thousand Vision Mist and branching out up along the East Coast in bringing aboard Elder and Wasted Theory, while also exploring the Midwest with Wretch and Buzzard Canyon. A quickly expanding reach.
Latest adds? Well, they’re in the headline: Virginia’s King Giant, Philly’s Ruby the Hatchet and Pittsburghers Carousel. The latter two have records out on Tee Pee — or at least Carousel‘s will be out by the time the fest kicks off — and King Giant‘s third was recently issued on The Path Less Traveled.
Reportedly a few more acts still to come for the two-dayer, which is set for the Delmar Bar and Grill in Hagerstown, MD, Sept. 4-5. Here’s this announcement in the meantime:
VULTURES OF VOLUME FEST Sept. 4th & 5th
Delmar Bar & Grill 16715 National Pike, Hagerstown, Maryland 21740
As if the mountain of heaviness representing at Vultures of Volume Fest II wasn’t already high enough… we’ve climbed higher!!!
Supporting their newly released third album “Black Ocean Waves”, we are proud to bring you Virginia’s southern tinged, doom-drenched anthems of KING GIANT!
Next, like a psychedelic, Hammond organ driven trip through the valley of the snake, you’ll want to hold on with both hands as the atmosphere changes right before your eyes… We give you Philadelphia’s own RUBY THE HATCHET!
Lastly, do you want hard rocking stoner jams full of soul and a touch of the blues? Good, ’cause we do, too! And nobody does it better than Pittsburgh’s CAROUSEL!
Stay tuned for the final acts to be announced very soon! Pre-sale tickets can be purchased right now atwww.daysofthedoomed.com! We highly recommend getting your tickets early! It will save you money at the door and guarantee your place at the biggest and heaviest end of the summer party this year! Vultures of Volume II – September 4th and 5th at the Delmar Bar & Grill, Hagerstown, MD!
Elder – Ruby The Hatchet – Wretch – King Giant – Solace – Pale Divine – Weed is Weed – Carousel – Righteous Bloom – Foghound – Wizard Eye – Wasted Theory – Thousand Vision Mist – Faith in Jane – Witch Hazel – Buzzard Canyon – Bailjack
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
The title of the documentary Maryland trio Cavern put together while recording their sophomore full-length for Grimoire Records, Outsiders, is titled How to Make a Hit Record, so take that as an immediate sign that the post-metallic three-piece are willing to toss in a bit of charm with their dense, progressive riffing — of which two samples from Outsiders are now available for streaming in the form of album-opener “Garrett” and the title-track below. That same documentary also gives a look at the warehouse space where the guys in the band work cutting marble, so it’s doubly worth a look. Want to know how they get that big a sound? High fucking ceiling.
Cavern released their self-titled debut, also through Grimoire, in 2013, and I didn’t get to review it because I suck at this, but I remembered the band immediately on hearing they had a new one in the works and Outsiders sounds like it’s going to be a worthy follow-up going by what I’ve heard so far.
You can find the two-headed-hawk cover, the announcement of the record, audio and that documentary below, all scoured from across the mighty span of the internets:
Today we’re proud to debut 2 tracks from Cavern’s instrumental full-length “Outsiders,” out 8/25/15 in CD/cassette/digital on Grimoire Records! For fans of Russian Circles, Baroness, Zebulon Pike.. and highpriest.
Posted in Reviews on June 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Day one down and feeling good so far. Day two continues the thread of mixing more known quantities with bands either self-releasing or putting out demos, etc., and I like that. More than last time around — last quarter, if you want to use the business-y sounding language for it — I tried to really get a balance across this batch of reviews, posted yesterday and coming up over the next couple days. We’ll see how it works out when it’s over. It remains a ton of stuff, and I hope you dig it. Day two starts right now.
Quarterly review #11-20:
Horsehunter, Caged in Flesh
Pushing their way to the fore of Melbourne’s heavy surge, double-guitar four-piece Horsehunter proffer oppressive tonal crush on the four tracks of their 2LP Magnetic Eye Records debut, Caged in Flesh. The story goes that, unsatisfied the initial recordings weren’t heavy enough, the band – guitarists Michael Harutyanyan (also vocals) and Dan McDonald, bassist/vocalist Himi Stringer and drummer Nick Cron – went back into the studio and redid the entire thing. Mission accomplished. By the time 16-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Stoned to Death” is done, lungs are suitably deflated, spines are cracked, skulls cleaved, and so on. They’re hardly the only ones in the world to conjure formidable tonal heft, but it’s the deft changes in vocals – clean here, shouts there, more abrasive at the start of the title-track – and the sense of atmosphere in the three-minute penultimate interlude that really distinguish Horsehunter, as well as how smoothly that atmosphere integrates with the pummel in the second half of closer “Witchery,” attention to detail and awareness of the need for more than just sonic weight boding well for future progression.
A staggeringly heavy debut full-length from Sacramento, CA, five-piece Church, Unanswered Hymns was initially released digitally by the band and quickly picked up for a cassette issue by Transylvanian Tapes and forthcoming LP through Battleground Records. One gets the sense listening to the three extended tracks – 19-minute opener “Dawning” being the longest of the bunch (immediate points) – that those won’t be the last versions to come. Psychedelic doom blends seamlessly with vicious sludge extremity, creating a morass engulfing in its tones, spacious in its breadth and unrepentantly heavy, making it one of 2015’s best debut releases, hands down, and a glorious revelry in bleak tectonics that challenges the listener to match its level of melancholy without giving into an impulse for post-Pallbearer emotive theatrics. As thrilling as they are plodding, expect the echoes of “Dawning,” “Stargazer” and “Offering” to resonate for some time to come, and should Church show any predilection for touring in the next couple years, they have the potential to make a genuine impact on American doom. Yes, I mean it.
Recorded in a day and released by Grimoire Records, the four-track Without Form is slated as the debut from Baltimore atmospheric doomers Corpse Light, but the band have had tracks come out in drips and drabs since getting their start as Ophidian in mid-2012, even if this is their first proper release. Either way, “The Fool” sets up an immediate and grim ambience, the churning lurch from guitarists Keiran Holmes and Don Selner and bassist Aurora Raiten set to roll by Lawrence Grimes (The Osedax) and given earthy aggression by the vocals of Jim Webb. “Lying in State” fleshes out these morose aggro vibes, but it’s with the drop-everything-and-kill peak of the subsequent “R Complex” that Corpse Light hit their angriest mark. If Without Form was just about that, it would be the highlight, but the album’s 29 minutes have more to offer than pissed off tonally-weighted post-hardcore, as closer “Kenophobia”’s clever turns and deceptive forward momentum demonstrate, though a touch of that kind of thing never hurts either.
Heavy psych four-piece Sunder will make their debut this summer through Tee Pee and Crusher Records with a 7” for “Cursed Wolf,” so consider this notice of the tracks on their not-for-public-consumption demo a heads up on things to come. Their “Deadly Flower” was streamed here this past April, and the band’s previous incarnation, The Socks, released their self-titled debut (review here) on Small Stone in 2014, but with songs like the key-laced stomper “Bleeding Trees,” the ‘70s rusher “Against the Grain,” and the Uncle Acid-style swinging “Daughter of the Snows,” the Lyon, France, outfit continue to refine a style drawing together different vibes of the psychedelic era. “Deadly Flower” was also distinguished by its key work, and as for “Cursed Wolf” itself, the melody reminds of proto-psych Beatles singles (thinking “Rain” specifically), but the groove still holds firm to a sense of weight that’s thoroughly modern, and by that I mean it sounds like 1972. Keep an eye out.
Granted not everyone is going to make this immediate association, but when I first saw the moniker T-Tops, I couldn’t help think of like C-grade generic stonerisms, songs about beer and pretending to be from the South and all that. If you experienced something similar in seeing the name, rest easy. The Pittsburgh trio of guitarist/vocalist Pat Waters (ex-The Fitt, Wormrigg), bassist Jason Orr (Wormrigg) and drummer Jason Jouver (ex-Don Caballero) are down with far more sinister punk and noise on their self-titled, self-released debut full-length, riding, shooting straight and speaking truth on cuts like “Wipe Down” and the catchy “Pretty on a Girl” after the tense sampling of “A Certain Cordial Exhilaration” turns over the power-push to “Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’.” “Ralphie” is probably an inside-joke if not a Christmas Story reference, but point is these guys are way less about-to-sing-about-muscle-cars than the name implies and their tight, crisp rhythmic turns come accompanied by vicious tonal force and an utter lack of bullshit, which is a scenario far preferable to that which one might otherwise expect.
Issued by Aqulamb in the imprint’s standard 100-page art book/download format, the self-titled debut from fellow Brooklynites The Space Merchants seeks to draw a line between psychedelic rock and country. And not pretend country like people with a Johnny Cash fetish because he covered that Nine Inch Nails song one time – actual, bright, pastoral, classic country. Call the results psychtwang and applaud the effort, which works oddly well in a thoroughly vintage context to come across on “Mainline the Sun” like something from a lost ‘60s variety show. Parts of “One Cut Like the Moon” and the later fuzz of “One Thousand Years of Boredom” give away their modernity, but The Space Merchants’ push toward a stylistic niche suits them well, and the intertwined vocal arrangements from guitarist Michael Guggino, bassist Aileen Brophy and keyboardist Ani Monteleone – Carter Logan drums to round out the four-piece – add to the rich, welcoming feel that remains prevalent even as the eight-minute “Where’s the Rest of Life” slips into wah-soaked noise to finish out.
The undercurrent of black metal coursing beneath the surface of Etiolated’s debut full-length, Grey Limbs, Grey Skies, eventually comes to the surface in 10-minute opener “Internal Abyss” and 16-minute eponymous closer, which bookends, but in part it’s the tension of waiting for those rampaging surges that keeps one hooked to the Armus Productions release. Guttural death growls echo up from dense tonal reaches, and tempo shifts, whether in those longer tracks or three-minute lumbering slice “Futility” are fluid, the North Carolina five-piece executing a slow-grinding chug in centerpiece “Exsanguinate,” which seems like a murk without end until the 1:47 “For Your Hell” kicks into a speedier, more blackened rush, guest vocalist Ryan McCarthy joining guitarist/vocalists James Storelli and Walls, bassist Cody Rogers and drummer Elliot Thompson in furthering the already prevalent sense of extremism before “Etiolated,” after a surprisingly peaceful if brooding midsection, plods the album to a close. To say “not for the faint of heart” would be putting it lightly, but if I had a vest and if Etiolated had patches, the two parties would definitely meet up at some point in the near future.
It has not taken long for the discography of UK psych jammers Blown Out to become a populated murky cosmos of its own. Planetary Engineering is released on Oaken Palace Records and finds the three-piece of guitarist Mike Vest (also Bong, etc.), bassist John-Michael Hedley (also Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs) and drummer Matt Baty (also the head of Box Records) exploring two mesmeric and sprawling instrumentals – one per side – that bend and flourish and hypnotize in organically-concocted swirl. Side A’s “Transcending Deep Infinity” tops 20 minutes and shifts from its spacey build to a low key groove at about 7:30 in, pulsing forward once more amid head-turning repetition, deep echoes and longform nod, culminating in a two-minute fadeout that brings forward “Thousand Years in the Sunshine,” an immediate bass groove and interstellar swirl no less trance-inducing than its predecessor. Cyclical drum fills morph over time behind the guitar and bass, and Planetary Engineering seems to push continually further out until, of course, it disintegrates, presumably as it crosses the galactic barrier.
I was fortunate enough to have been in attendance at Het Patronaat in Tilburg when French post-black metallers Les Discrets took the stage at Roadburn 2013. As such, it’s with some trepidation I approach their Live at Roadburn recording on Prophecy Productions – the impression they made live wasn’t something I’d want potentially spoiled or brought to earth by a document proving it was just another set. With Neige of Alcest on bass with guitarist/vocalist Fursy Teyssier, Les Discrets proved to be something really special to those who, like me, were there to catch them, and the eight-track Live at Roadburn – fortunately – captures both the majestic lushness they brought with them and the underlying weight that seemed to add impact to the material. What might sound like post-production mixing on “L’Echappée” or the wash of “Chanson D’Automne” isn’t – it really was that beautiful and that perfectly balanced coming from the stage. A vastly underrated act and a document that reminds of how stellar they were without sullying the memory in the slightest.
Brooklynite foursome Beast Modulus seem to care less about meshing with ideas of genre than sticking them in a meatgrinder and seeing what comes out. To wit the riotous chugging of “Cowboy Caligula,” and the blackened thrust of “WaSaBi!” on their self-released, self-titled outing, which leads to dueling growls and screams on the tonally weighted post-hardcore “Fabulous,” and the appropriately mathy turns of the thrashing “Tyranny of Numbers.” Inventive in their stylizations and in where the six songs included on the release actually go – hint: they go to “heavy” – the lineup of vocalist Kurt Applegate, guitarist Owen Burley, bassist Jesse Adelson and drummer Jody Smith have some post-Dillinger Escape Plan vibe in the calculated chaos of “Kalashnikov,” but closer “Killing Champion” is too impatient to even be held by that, the prevailing manic angularity of Beast Modulus ultimately crafting its own identity from the physical assault the music seems intent on perpetrating upon the listener.
The beating heart of Maryland doom lies in Frederick. It’s not the traditional “Doom Capitol” — that being D.C. or at least Baltimore — but it’s where the style lives on and flourishes today, and it’s from whence the newcomer four-piece Mangog hail, their style steeped in the lurching traditions, downer riffing and sonic heft for which the Maryland scene is so rightly revered. The band features in its lineup former Revelation and current Righteous Bloom bassist Bert Hall — here on guitar and vocals — and ex-Iron Man drummer Mike Rix alongside vocalist/intermittent guitarist Myke Wells (who co-directed the video) and bassist Darby Cox (also of Major Company and Hall‘s experimental hip-hop outfit, Negro Childe), and “Ab Intra” is the first audio they’ve made public from a forthcoming demo, and one finds its eight-minute roll (reportedly they’re playing it slower now, thus further elongating) working in regionalist form as what should be a welcome introduction to the converted awaiting their arrival.
Formed late in 2014, Mangog hit the studio in April with producer Drew Mazurek to track their debut demo, and they’ll make their first stage appearance at the end of this month at the Maryland Doom Festival in — where else? — Frederick, at Cafe 611, performing at the final day of the fest on June 28. If their pedigree isn’t enough to pique interest for those making the pilgrimage to the inaugural three-dayer, then “Ab Intra” should get the job done, with its eerie intro and subsequent theatrical flourish — no, I’m not just talking about Hall‘s fuzzy hat — and moody sensibility. Not sure on an exact release date for the demo. Presumably it would be in-hand for the Maryland Doom Fest, but one never really knows how that kind of thing is going to work out. In any case, worth keeping an eye on, and you can do precisely that (mostly with the video below.
Mangog, “Ab Intra” official video
We premiered the first song from our demo, “Ab Intra”, recorded and produced by the great Drew Mazurek (Gwar, Revelation, Jawbox)! We hope you’ll enjoy our video for “Ab Intra”, directed and filmed by our very own Myke Wells and Jonathan Carroll of X9 Records!
Come see our debut at the Maryland Doom Festival! Tickets are only sold online! Get ya doom on!
The Maryland Doom Festival June 26-28 Cafe 611 611 N. Market Street Frederick, Maryland 21701