Roadsaw Sign to Ripple Music

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

Roadsaw news is good news. The Boston heavy rock magnates have announced that they’ll hit Mad Oak Studio to work with producer Benny Grotto next month in order to record their eighth album, the awaited follow-up to their 2011 self-titled (review here), which will be released — and here comes the twist — on Ripple Music. Formerly the quintessential Small Stone band, Roadsaw will work with Ripple for their new one, the label having already released material from heavy punkers White Dynomite, whose lineup features Roadsaw‘s Tim Catz and Craig Riggs.

Ripple continues its upswing and will have the new Roadsaw album out early next year, as the PR wire informs:

roadsaw

Boston Riff-Masters, Roadsaw, Sign World-Wide Deal with Ripple Music – New Album out Early 2017

Ripple Music is proud to announce the signing of legendary riff-masters, ROADSAW to the label’s hard and heavy roster. The veteran Boston motor-stoner act still consists of the decade-long classic line up and will be heading into the illustrious Mad Oak Studios with producer Benny Grotto to lay down a potent new batch of songs, due out early 2017, that are sure to please old fans and turn on new ones.

For the unfamiliar ROADSAW invite you to climb inside their jaded jalopy and careen headlong into their amplified analog landscape. From the shores of British electric blues, across the pond to America’s sonic 70s stomp; down to the Southern swamps, thru the New York groove, straight into heart of California’s psychedelic desert. ROADSAW’s long strange trip is a virtual history of heavy riffs.

ROADSAW’s often turbulent career includes 7 albums , numerous compilations, and a smattering of hard-to-find singles. The band has shared stages big and small on both sides of the Atlantic with comrades like Orange Goblin, Fu Manchu, Queens Of The Stone Age, Nebula, Scissorfight, Karma To Burn, Black Label Society and many others. Together with Ripple, the band looks forward to adding a big bold exclamation point to this already impressive resume. US and European tours are being booked for spring 2017, including an appearance at London’s Desert Fest. Spirits are high for the much anticipated return of one of riff rocks most loyal disciples.

Like cockroaches in a post apocalyptic fall out, ROADSAW rise once again. Having survived every storm, war, trend and taste, ROADSAW simply refuses to die. Now, they’re signed to one of the world’s leading heavy rock, stoner, doom and heavy psych label’s, Ripple Music, and it’s a certainty that mayhem will follow. Look for limited edition vinyl, CD’s and digital to be spread around the world in Spring 2017.

So there you have it. New year. New music. New label. The ‘Saw remains the same.

https://www.facebook.com/ROADSAW-106440249390336/
www.ripple-music.com

Roadsaw, Roadsaw (2011)

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Second Grave Announce Breakup

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 19th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ll freely admit to being somewhat taken aback by this one. It was less than a week ago that Massachusetts doom metallers Second Grave released their debut album, Blacken the Sky (review here), and today they’re announcing that their time as a band has come to an end. That record, tracked by Benny Grotto at Mad Oak, showed noteworthy promise even beyond that of Second Grave‘s two prior EPs, 2013’s Antithesis (review here) and 2012’s self-titled (review here), so it seems all the more like a shame to lose the band now, just as they were entering a next phase of their potential as a unit.

The final lineup of Second Grave — guitarist/vocalist Krista Van Guilder, guitarist Christopher Drzal, bassist Maureen Murphy and drummer Chuck Ferreira — have one last show booked for Aug. 26 at RPM Fest in Greenfield, MA, and then they’re done, but already in the announcement below of their breakup, there’s a note about new projects in the works. Worth keeping an eye and ear out for what comes next, for sure. In the meantime, Second Grave will be missed.

Here’s what they had to say:

second grave (Photo by Samantha Fraulein-Thursday)

As all things must come to an end, Second Grave too is is being laid to rest. While we are all extremely proud of the new album “Blacken the Sky”, the time has come for us to part ways.

As true musicians, everyone has either already been actively playing in other bands, or will eventually re-join the metal scene in other forms. As SG has been a special project to us, we all remain friends and supportive of each other. We have one last show to play, RPM Fest on August 26th.

Tickets are selling fast, so if you want to see the full lineup with two guitars, this is your last chance.

That being said, we want to thank all of the promotors and venues who booked us, critics who reviewed us, bands we played with, friends we made, and most importantly everyone who has to come to a show, bought our merch, and just plain supported us these last 5 years. Doom on my friends, doom on.

https://www.facebook.com/secondgraveband
http://secondgrave.bandcamp.com/
http://www.secondgrave.com/

Second Grave, Blacken the Sky (2016)

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Second Grave, Blacken the Sky: March into Oblivion (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 15th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

second grave blacken the sky

[Click play above to stream ‘Afraid of the Dark’ from Second Grave’s Blacken the Sky. Album is available now from the band.]

It is a dark and metallic churn that dominates Blacken the Sky, the ominously titled and awaited debut full-length from Massachusetts four-piece Second Grave. In its tone and structural cohesion, it is for all intents and purposes a metal record, but its pacing and atmosphere find their roots in classic doom as well — rarely does a “doom metal” tag serve to actually be so descriptive, but Second Grave cover both sides of that equation well across the formidable 55-minute/nine-track span of Blacken the Sky. Having been lucky enough to see Second Grave play on several occasions, it’s not really a surprise either that their first album would be so assured of its purpose or that it would display such poise in its execution.

If nothing else, it’s been three years since their second EP, Antithesis (review here), followed their 2012 self-titled initial offering (review here), so it’s not like the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Krista Van Guilder (ex-Warhorse), guitarist Chris Drzal, bassist Maureen Murphy and drummer Chuck Ferreira haven’t had time to compose the material and sculpt their aesthetic into what they want it to be, and as songs like opener “No Roam” and “Afraid of the Dark” and the 11-minute “Death March” demonstrate, they’ve clearly gotten there. Where Blacken the Sky meets its truest success is in melding moody ambience and oppressively heavy riffing — the way the band veers into extremity with Van Guilder‘s searing screams on “Bloodletting” or the loosely doomedelic initial two minutes of “Death March,” before the actual march begins and provides Second Grave‘s debut with a worthy crescendo.

No doubt Blacken the Sky will be the introduction for many listeners to Second Grave, but because it’s so put together it’s almost difficult to think of it as the band’s debut. Recorded by Benny Grotto at Mad Oak over the course of just four days — an immediately impressive feat given the amount and depth of the material — the sound is full but not at all unnatural, and some late variety in the interlude “Processional of Lies” and the quiet, layered harmonies of the closing title-track reinforce the brooding sentiment while also building outward from it and expanding the overall context from what the earlier onslaught of “No Roam,” “17 Days” and “Below the Seas” established at the start.

second grave (Photo by Samantha Fraulein-Thursday)

Whether or not Second Grave are planning a vinyl release, I don’t know — they’d either have to shorten the record or go 2LP, which seems prohibitively expensive; a limited run of 100 CDs is being pressed — but there is a notable change of intent signaled with “Bloodletting” at the album’s midpoint, following the melodically rich “Afraid of the Dark” and chugging “Below the Seas” with some mindful scorch and viciously dark energy, and the progression only continues to grow from there. That shift is welcome after the initial trio, which seem to put up a wall of forceful doom and dare listeners to scale it in order to reach the rest of what Second Grave have to offer. Atop the steady roll of Ferreira‘s drums and Murphy‘s bass, Drzal and Van Guider offer fluid riffs and intricate solos, and Van Guilder is steadfast in her vocal command, but the intent is clearly that those three songs should start Blacken the Sky with plodding miseries, and they do. One might say they’re living up to the title in setting the tone.

From their first EP and through the 18-minute two-songer that followed, Second Grave have always shown an affinity for form and structure, and Blacken the Sky does likewise, using the screams in “Bloodletting” and “Death March” to send a clear signal of apex in much the same way that instrumentals introduced each half of their self-titled. The central difference here is the context in which that symmetry arrives. If “Bloodletting” is the peak of the album’s first half — it’s the centerpiece in the tracklisting — and “Death March” the peak of the second — it arrives with two cuts still to go — then those two peaks would seem to serve remarkably different purposes overall. Of course, “Death March” is paying off the album as a whole, but one might say the same thing of “Blacken the Sky” itself, though the means there takes a significant shift.

I wouldn’t call the ending a departure necessarily, since it keeps to Second Grave‘s structural tenets pretty firmly, but in its sheer sound it offers something different from even the droning interlude “Into Oblivion” before it, and while doubtless some will compare it to the subdued side of Windhand — because, you know, ladies — the truth is that Second Grave are coming from someplace else entirely in terms of influence. It’s especially telling that after so much tumult and rage, they would finish quietly, underscoring the patience that’s been present in the songs all along beneath that tempestuousness. One doubts they built the album structure with the intent of giving a glimpse at their progression under way, but after three years, it doesn’t seem impossible to think they have some plan in motion for their future development. Certainly the consciousness at root in these tracks is the work of a band aware of who and what they want to be. As a debut, there’s nothing more one could ask of Blacken the Sky, but by no means is that the sum total of what is delivered.

Second Grave on Thee Facebooks

Second Grave on Bandcamp

Second Grave website

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Cortez Sign to Salt of the Earth Records; The Depths Below Due this Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 5th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

The teaser clip below provides a quick first glimpse at the new album from Boston heavy rockers Cortez. Titled The Depths Below, the full-length was put to bed nearly a year ago, having been recorded by the esteemed Benny Grotto at Q Division Studios, and it will serve as a welcome follow-up to their 2012 self-titled (review here), as well as yet another record to look forward to before the end of 2016, which seems to have packed as many releases as possible into its second half. Fair enough. One more never hurts, particularly when it brings riffs like those of the sort that Cortez proffer. The song in the clip is called “To the Skies.”

Announcement of their signing to Salt of the Earth Records for the new release follows here, courtesy of the PR wire:

cortez

CORTEZ SIGNS WITH SALT OF THE EARTH RECORDS!

SALT OF THE EARTH RECORDS is proud as all hell to announce the signing of Boston riff lords CORTEZ! This veteran group of heavy rock fuzzdealers have really outdone themselves with their latest offering…“The Depths Below”. Truth be told, this album is going to knock you on your ass! All killer, Zero filler. Track after track of sonic bliss.

Having built up a loyal fan base both stateside and abroad over their decade plus existence, CORTEZ have really honed their craft and brought their rock game to a whole new level. Crushing tones, killer hooks and creative dynamics are skillfully woven throughout this blistering nine song release… “The Depths Below” is guaranteed to sink its teeth into you on the first listen.

“The Depths Below” was Recorded and mixed by studio guru, Benny Grotto (Scissorfight, Aerosmith, Lo-Pan) at Q Division, Mad Oak Studios, and Moontower Recording Studio making it the kind of album you will want to both blast from the largest of speakers, as well as repeated listens on a pair of headphones. There is so much packed into these mountain sized grooves!

So with that, we welcome CORTEZ to the SALT OF THE EARTH RECORDS family. With open arms and riff pummeled eardrums!

Watch for ”The Depths Below” coming this fall!

https://www.facebook.com/cortezboston
http://www.cortezboston.com/
http://cortezboston.bandcamp.com/
http://www.twitter.com/cortezboston
http://saltoftheearthrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec

Cortez, The Depths Below teaser

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Phantom Glue, 776: Liquefied Mindscapes

Posted in Reviews on July 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

phantom-glue-776

Phantom Glue run through a chaotic gamut of modern heavy on their third album, 776, but come out of it with a cohesion and stylistic fluidity that is very clearly their own. Released on CD through Negative Fun Records and engineered and mixed by Alec Rodriguez at New Alliance, the Boston four-piece’s latest comprises seven tracks of bombast-fueled heft, marked out by dense tonality, rhythmic tension, the harsh vocals of guitarist Matt Oates and bassist Nicholas Wolf and a snare sound from Kyle Rasmussen (since replaced by Dana Filloon) that recalls Hull‘s 2011 swansong, Beyond the Lightless Sky, in its impact, and lead work from guitarist Mike Gowell that seems to add spaciousness to what can otherwise become a claustrophobic thrust. To wit, the opening salvo of “Ion Cloud” and “Hundred Hand” find Phantom Glue launching at full pummel with two tracks under four-minutes, finding a space between Old Man Gloom‘s still-cerebral cacophony and Celtic Frost via High on Fire-style thrash.

It’s a genuine release when “Hundred Hand” moves into its solo section, even if Rasmussen keeps the bounce steady on drums until the riff starts in with Voivod-ish bends and oddity-worship. Freneticism is nothing new for Phantom Glue, as their 2013 second album, A War of Light Cones (review here), and their 2009 self-titled debut (review here), set forth, it’s a crucial element to what they do. What 776 brings to this form — aside from a conceptual lyrical foundation painting impressions of the American present from 1,200 years in the past (and some untold number in the future at the end) — is a progressive flow front to back that demonstrates the maturity that the band has come by honestly during their time together and the consciousness underlying the onslaught, which at times feels inescapable.

Voivod vibe continues into “Somatic,” with Oates and Gowell playing off each other with dissonant notes and odd-timed riffing that seems to be a challenge Wolf and Rasmussen are only too ready to take on, but the pacing is slower, and the vocals bring to mind some of the drawling growls of Beastwars frontman Matt Hyde, almost completely indecipherable to the point of becoming another instrumental impression more than a lyrical one. As Gowell tears into a spacious lead behind, Oates‘ shouts add to the atmosphere and largesse of the track, so that while slower, it maintains the intensity of the first two cuts and leads smoothly into “A Worker-less Mill,” the centerpiece of 776 and maybe a little bit what it’s all about.

phantom glue

Here’s what I mean: At five minutes long, “A Worker-less Mill” is essentially one linear build working in multiple stages. The fact, however, is that Phantom Glue — all four of ’em — pull this off with such tension that by the time they move from the chugging first part to the thudding second, you feel like your head is about to explode. It’s the band using the right tool at the right time, and when they move into the payoff riff, a breakdown chug complemented by low wash of keys or effects or I don’t even know what, there’s a real sense of catharsis. The riff fades, but the surrounding noise stays and holds court for the last minute or so, Phantom Glue still harsh with feedback when providing listeners a moment of relative respite.

The 7:13 “Suttungr” recalls the Beastwars-style sludge of “Somatic,” but with a more patient attack in its first half and a heft that seems to be as much about the lumbering rhythm as about the ambience surrounding. It grows more intense in the second half, churning and thrashing through an instrumental section that leads to an extended guitar solo, but they bring “Suttungr” back to its chorus and more grueling plod smoothly to finish out, setting up a stark contrast with “Hocheim’s War,” which essentially strips down and reverses the tempo structure, so that it starts of faster and more avant/prog-metal and hits the brakes as it moves into its second half. Unsurprisingly, the end result is shorter — they spend more time playing fast; that will happen — but still satisfying, both on its own and in context with “Suttungr” before it, giving a sense of Phantom Glue‘s purposefulness to what can at points feel like noise for its own sake.

They save the doom for last as closer “Gog is Dead” begins with a dirge somewhere between a grandfather clock and warped guitar. More likely the latter, but you never know. It’s never quite as simple as a roll, but “Gog is Dead” makes its way toward the crash and stomp of its second half, the feeling of providing 776 as a whole with its payoff is palpable. They carry that forward — huge, open at last, marked by interplay of clear notes and obscure guitar wash — until they pass the six-minute mark, and then suddenly cut, as though the future just ended. Phantom Glue have never been an outwardly accessible band. They’ve never been about hooks, or trying to make their sound friendly, or anything like that. What they’ve done instead is to build a progressive sludge metal that, while constructed from familiar elements, has been shaped into something unrecognizable from where it started. That is no minor accomplishment, and neither is this record.

Phantom Glue, 776 (2016)

Phantom Glue on Thee Facebooks

Phantom Glue on Bandcamp

Negative Fun Records

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Hey Zeus Post “Richard the Elder” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

hey zeus

“Richard the Elder” is the second single that Boston heavy rockers Hey Zeus have issued this year behind “Caveman” (premiered here), which came out in May. The hard-driving New England traditionalists have yet to disappoint in either their hooks or the force with which they’re delivered, and “Richard the Elder” is no exception. It’s a right-on rush, in and out in just over three minutes of sans-frills heavy rock and roll, recorded live and engineered by vocalist Bice Nathan at New Alliance Audio in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Nathan is joined in the band by bassist Ken Cmar (also of Wonderdrug Records), guitarist Pete Knipfing and drummer Todd Bowman (both ex-Lamont), and recording live suits them remarkably well. For a style so lacking in pretense and so heated in its intensity, the setting could hardly be more perfect, and though Hey Zeus don’t have a record out or even an EP — they did release a split 7″ with White Dynomite in 2014 (review here) and seem to be working their way toward one sort of larger offering or another with this ongoing series of single tracks — they’ve clearly found a method that works for them, and that’s obviously a significant start.

The video is somewhat manic — GoPros hooked up to instruments in motion and so on — but that only suits the song itself, which you’ll almost have to hear twice before you can really feel like it’s begun to sink in even vaguely. Clip was directed by Michael Cimpher and follows here along with a couple live dates Hey Zeus have this month.

Enjoy:

Hey Zeus, “Richard the Elder” official video

Richard the Elder by Hey Zeus
Recorded live in studio.
Tracked and Mixed by Bice at New Alliance Audio-Cambridge, MA
Mastered by Dean Baltulonis at Wild Arctic-Portsmouth, NH
Directed by Michael Cimpher
Edited by Michael Cimpher and Bice

Hey Zeus live:
7/15 O’Brien’s Allston MA w/ Black Helicopters and Wolfsmyth
7/22 Higher Ground Burlington VT w/ Scissorfight, Murcielago and The Road Trash Band

Hey Zeus on Bandcamp

Hey Zeus on Thee Facebooks

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Sea Debut “Return” Video; Euro Tour Announced

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 11th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

sea (Photo by Erin Gennett)

“Return” is the first audio to come from Boston post-metallers Sea since their initial demo (review here) arrived early last year, and it brings with it the news that the four-piece will tour Europe next month alongside German trio Weedwolf, with whom Sea will also release a new split LP. It’s Sea‘s first tour, and it runs two and a half weeks through Northern Europe — Germany, Scandinavia, Finland, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania — and like their demo was, it’s an ambitious run for a still relatively-new band, but particularly with the split due, it seems like it’ll be a fitting introduction to the band for the continent. While I don’t know what their plans are for the longer term, it doesn’t seem like this will be their last incursion abroad.

But it is their first, and that’s something special. A new video comprised of public-domain psychedelic footage brings the premiere of “Return,” and with recording by Chris Johnson (one can hear the crisp fullness he brought to Summoner ringing true in this track as well), the new song brims with vitality and stylistic purpose, shifting from Isis-style churn into blackened push as propelled by drummer Andrew Muro as vocalist/bassist Stephen LoVerme (Olde Growth) adjusts his vocals to a scream to match the more furious riffing of guitarists Liz Walshak (ex-Rozamov) and Mike Blasi. Most importantly, they make it make sense, and by that I mean Sea don’t simply juxtapose different aesthetics. They create a flow across “Return”‘s eight-plus minutes that builds gracefully in intensity and speaks to an emerging patience within their sound.

And the aforementioned archive video does fit the vibe well. Please find the video for “Return” below, followed by the credits and Sea‘s tour dates with Weedwolf, which kick off on Aug. 17.

Enjoy:

Sea, “Return” official video

The lyrical content of the song is sort of about the cyclical natural of the universe, rebirth, intrinsic knowledge, etc. So it’s kind of appropriate that the source footage was culled from a 1969 psychedelic film about Zen Buddhism. On to the production credits…

Recorded and mixed by Chris Johnson (Summoner, Sand Reckoner)
Mastered by James Plotkin

From a forthcoming split LP with Weedwolf from Leipzig, Germany
Due out in August

Original source material: The Flow of Zen 1969
https://archive.org/details/theflowofzen

Footage re-purposed by Stephen LoVerme

Tour dates:

sea euro tourWed 8.17 – Halle, Germany
Thu 8.18 – Leipzig, Germany
Fri 8.19 – Potsdam, Germany
Sat 8.20 – Kopenhagen, Denmark
Sun 8.21 – Helsingborg, Sweden
Mon 8.22 – Oslo, Norway
Tue 8.23 – Trondheim, Norway
Wed 8.24 – Lulea, Sweden
Thu 8.25 – Oulu, Finland
Fri 8.26 – Tampere, Finland
Sat 8.27 – Turku, Finland
Sun 8.28 – Helsinki, Finland
Mon 8.29 – Riga, Latvia
Tue 8.30 – Kaunas, Lithaunia
Wed 8.31 – Vilnius, Lithaunia
Thu 9.1 – Gdynia, Poland
Fri 9.2 – Stettin, Poland
Sat 9.3 – Dresden, Germany

Full tour details here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1301633346518022/

Sea on Thee Facebooks

Sea on Bandcamp

Sea on YouTube

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Gozu and Holy Grove Announce European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 8th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Gozu go supporting their new album, Revival (review here) and Holy Grove go supporting their also-new self-titled debut (review here), but I feel like the part that really makes it isn’t just that they’re both going to Europe, but that they’re doing it together. The Boston and Portland, Oregon, acts will make an exceedingly complementary pairing, I think with a thread of soul influence running between them and each still pushing out heavy grooves, Holy Grove with a nod toward doomly roll, Gozu with an uptick in intensity particularly on some of their newer material. If I had the money and could get the time off, I’d ask to tag along, but turns out I’m broke and not that pleasant company to keep anyway, so maybe for the best I don’t make the trip.

In any case, the full run is presented by Heavy Psych Sounds, which also released Holy Grove‘s album — Gozu‘s is on Ripple Music — and I reached out to Gaff da Rula, aka Gozu guitarist/vocalist Marc Gaffney, and Holy Grove vocalist Andrea Vidal, for quotes about the tour to go with the dates, and both were kind enough to oblige.

Have at you:

gozu holy grove tour

“I heard they wanted to schedule the World Cup around it but they were worried people would be too hopped up on the boogie,” says Gaffney. “God damn. Wanna thank Gabe from Heavy Psych Sounds for hooking it up and lathering the clubs because without that angel, none of this would have happened. Also thanks to Ripple for putting out the album. Taking two bands that love each other’s music and setting them on fire together, I don’t know about you, but I like it hot, perfect blend of heat and auditory cuddling, woooo! I feel like Rick Flair, baby!”

Offers Vidal: “As far as heading abroad, we couldn’t be more thrilled to have this opportunity to tour Europe with our brothers in Gozu and with the support of Heavy Psych Sounds. We’re really looking to forward to playing in places where much of our earliest support was from — and leaving it all on the stage night after night.”

Gozu & Holy Grove on tour:
28.09.2016 IT Rome
29.09.2016 IT Erba-Centrale Rock
30.09.2016 IT Ravenna-Bronson
01.10.2016 AT Feldkirch-Villa K
02.10.2016 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse
03.10.2016 IT Trieste-Tetris
04.10.2016 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando
05.10.2016 CH Basel-Terrorsamba
06.10.2016 DE Mannheim-7er Club
07.10.2016 DE Munster-Rare Guitar Shop
08.10.2016 BE Liege-La Zone
09.10.2016 DE Dresden-Chemiefabrik
10.10.2016 DE Koln-Lime
11.10.2016 DE Leipzieg
12.10.2016 DE Berlin-Urban Spree
13.10.2016 DE Stuttgard-KellerClub
14.10.2016 CH Olten-Coq D’or
15.10.2016 CH Frauenfeld-Kaff

https://www.facebook.com/GOZU666/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/revival
https://www.facebook.com/holygroveband/
http://holygrove.bandcamp.com/album/holy-grove
http://www.ripple-music.com/
www.heavypsychsounds.com

Holy Grove, Holy Grove (2016)

Gozu, Revival (2016)

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