Floor, Oblation: Offerings and Homegoings

Posted in Reviews on April 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s been just over four years since Miami trio Floor played a one-off reunion show that warned, “One show. One chance. Don’t blow it,” and it’s been a decade since the band’s sophomore outing, Dove, was released in 2004. Since that time, the band has spawned a family tree rivaled by few, members of the lineup throughout their 12-year initial run going on to play in acts like Torche, Dove, House of Lightning, MonstrO, Holly Hunt and Cavity (the latter of whom ran concurrent to Floor and who seem like fodder for a reunion of their own), among others. The biggest impact in terms of audience has unquestionably been by Torche, who, led by guitarist/vocalist Steve Brooks, inherited much of their pop-meets-bomb-drop-sludge-riffing ethic directly from Brooks‘ work in Floor, continuing to refine those methods and ultimately creating something new from them. Both bands now active, Floor release their first album since Dove and first new material since their reunion — 2009′s 8CD discography box set Below and Beyond notwithstanding — in the form of Oblation on Season of Mist. Its title refers to “an offering,” and that may well be what Floor have in mind, but while the core focus on tone and pop melody remains intact, there have been some very distinct changes in the approach of Floor – the trio of Steve Brooks, bassist Anthony Vialon (2010 interview here) and drummer Henry Wilson — since they issued their landmark 2002 self-titled debut and they show up audibly in the listening experience of Oblation.

That’s to be expected, right? It has been a decade. To expect Floor to get back together and release Floor Pt. 2 seems unreasonable and unfair. As righteous as that album is, for Brooks, Vialon and Wilson to have come in with the intent of recapturing that magic — and it is the self-titled lineup that’s reunited — would be shooting themselves in the foot before they started. No. Oblation is a collection of songs poised not to surrogate the hooks of old, but to serve as a beginning for this new stage of the band. In short, Floor have grown up. Oblation is not the work of a three-piece experimenting with their sound and happening into brilliance. There is poise, confidence, and awareness at its root, and whether it’s the ultra-thick underlying chugging of the spacious opening title-track or the ensuing upbeat rush of “Rocinante” — one of Floor‘s sonic gifts was to not only have tones so thick, but to make them move, and that remains the case here — or the standalone megastomp of “Love Comes Crushing,” the band offer crisp, assured songcraft and a defining clarity of intent. While the songs remain exciting well beyond the simple novelty of their existence, a new Floor album seeming like an impossibility for years, that clarity necessarily comes in trade for the spontaneous sensibility of their earlier work. That’s the nature of creative progression — once you know what you’re doing, your approach to it changes. The middle section of Oblation that runs from “New Man,” through “Sister Sophia,” “The Quill” and the aforementioned “Love Comes Crushing” before getting to the catchy “War Party” still works as a fitting summary for Floor‘s aesthetic — thick, at times lush, alternately crawling, running, but always moving, etc. — but it does so more in triumph at its level of execution than in raw punkish urgency.

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Holly Hunt’s Prometheus EP Out April 29

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Having recently had the pleasure of seeing Florida’s Holly Hunt live, their upcoming EP, Prometheus, will arrive all the more anticipated. The Miami-based duo of guitarist Gavin Perry and drummer Beatriz Monteavaro made their intent clear on their Year One debut, embroiled in a sonic demolition of big riffs and big stomp that hopefully continues its tide of destruction on the new release. I’m looking forward to checking it out.

Time and the PR wire shall tell:

Holly Hunt – Prometheus (Other Electricities/Sonic TITAN) Out April 29, 2014

Following their highly lauded full-length album Year One, Holly Hunt returns with a 3-song, 12’’ EP, Prometheus. Recorded by Jonathan Nuñez of Torche and mastered by New Alliance East, the record builds on the two-piece’s reputation for metal that’s crafted with the heaviest alloys, and a most magisterial patterning – the type that drones vehemently and drowns in the blues.

Drummer Beatriz Monteavaro (Floor, Cavity) and guitarist Gavin Perry have demonstrated themselves as a loud and lumbering giant of the Miami music scene. The visceral impact of sound – the raising heart rate, neck chills, the warmth spreading throughout your torso – this is Holly Hunt’s raison d’être. Prometheus manages to transmit an almost perfect rendering, delivering listeners to a heightened physical (and mental and spiritual) state. The record conjures the image of an approaching behemoth, striking paranoia and fear until the final, exhilarating sweep of humanity’s total destruction.

Where Year One established the bedrock of Holly Hunt’s punishing sound, Prometheus thunders with the clarity of a crack of lighting. It establishes a supremely balanced, critical distance between amp worship and riff devotion, rising and falling with ecstatic highs and sublime lows. And while Year One represented the genesis of the band’s existence; Prometheus stands as a churning, threatening hint of things to come.

https://www.facebook.com/HOLLYHUNT.LTD
https://www.facebook.com/SonicTITAN.ltd
http://other-electricities.com/

Holly Hunt, “Meano” from Prometheus (2013)

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Floor Announce Tour Dates; New Album Oblation Due April 29

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Time does strange things. It’s 2014. Floor, Sleep, Spirit Caravan and most of Kyuss are back together. Black Sabbath won a Grammy. The whole fucking world is upside down, the underground is over(ground), and all these things that seemed impossible to see are right in front of us. And yet we still use the combustion engine. Go figure.

I got sidetracked. Floor. The point is Floor are touring again, and the key difference is they’ll have a new album out — Oblation, which will be their first in a decade. Season of Mist will have the collection in the public’s greedy mitts come April 29, and wouldn’t you know the tour starts the day after? One would almost swear these things were coordinated ahead of time.

So says the PR wire:

FLOOR announce North American tour

Cult underground rock outfit FLOOR (Steve Brooks (also of TORCHE)- Guitar, Vocals, Anthony Vialon – Guitar, Henry Wilson – drums) have announced a North American tour this spring. The Noisey/Vice sponsored tour starts on April 30th in Miami, FL, and will see FLOOR travel throughout the month of April, before ending on May 1 in Atlanta, GA. A full list of confirmed tour dates can be found below.

FLOOR will be touring in support of their forthcoming album, ‘Oblation’. ‘Oblation’ will be released via Season of Mist on April 29 in North America (April 25 worldwide). ‘Oblation’ can be pre-ordered in various formats here.

‘Oblation’ track list:
1. Oblation
2. Rocinante
3. Trick Scene
4. Find Away
5. The Key
6. New Man
7. Sister Sophia
8. The Quill
9. Love Comes Crushing
10. War Party
11. Homegoings and Transitions
12. Sign of Aeth
13. Raised to a Star
14. Forever Still

The Florida-based trio was originally formed by Brooks and Vialon in 1992, and issued singles on respected underground labels like No Idea, Bovine, Rhetoric and more. The band’s wildly influential self-titled album was recently inducted into the Decibel Magazine Hall of Fame.

FLOOR Tour Dates
4/30 Miami, FL @ Churchills
5/2 Gainesville, FL @ The Wooley
5/3 Charlotte, NC @ The Casbah @ Tremont Music Hall
5/4 Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
5/5 Brooklyn @ Saint Vitus
5/6 Philadelphia, PA @ The Barbary
5/7 Boston, MA @ Great Scott
5/8 Buffalo, NY @ The Tralf
5/9 Pittsburgh, PA @ Smiling Moose
5/10 Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme
5/11 Chicago, IL @ Double Door
5/13 Denver, CO @ Moon Room
5/14 Salt Lake City, UT @ Bar Deluxe
5/16 Portland, OR @ Branx
5/17 Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
5/19 San Franciso, CA @ Elbo Room
5/24 Los Angeles, CA @ The Satellite
5/25 Fullerton, OC @ SlideBar
5/26 Phoenix, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
5/27 Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad
5/29 Austin, TX @ Red 7
5/30 Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
5/31 Birmingham, AL @ Bottletree
6/1 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl

https://www.facebook.com/floorofficial
http://e-shop.season-of-mist.com/en/predefined-search/46421

Floor, “War Party” from Oblation (2014)

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Shroud Eater and Orbweaver Announce Winter Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I got a copy of Orbweaver‘s 2013 album, Strange Transmissions from the Neuralnomicon, to review because when I first heard it I was like, “Fuck yeah, this is awesome!” For what it’s worth, I was right about that, but when it came time to actually sit down and write it up, it felt like I was trying to get a square peg in a round hole and that as much as I dug the extreme and progressive death metal influence that the Miami outfit thickened to sludge viscosity, I couldn’t really make it fit. I felt bad (as I always do, and as I still do) that the band went out of their way to be cool enough to send the disc. The moral of the story was it wasn’t Orbweaver‘s fault, it was mine.

Obviously not the end of the world, but I prefer to keep my commitments when I’m able. The band seems to be doing just fine, as they’ve teamed up with fellow Miami crushers Shroud Eater for a winter tour that will take them to the West Coast and back over the course of February into March. With the dates though, I’ve included the Bandcamp stream of Strange Transmissions from the Neuralnomicon, in case maybe you didn’t get the chance to check it out. Not the usual fare you find around these parts, but badass nonetheless:

SHROUD EATER 2014 WINTER TOUR

Sludge juggernaut to decimate stages in Feb/March 2014

We are proud to announce that Miami’s Shroud Eater will be touring US cities from February 19 to March 10 2014. The band will be decimating stages from Florida to California with experimental death metallers Orbweaver.

Get ready to have your face melted, your brain warped and your senses pulverized!

Wed. Feb. 19 – Orlando, FL – Will’s Pub with: Ad Nauseum, Ex Vietnam
Thurs. Feb. 20 – Tallahassee, FL – The Shark Tank with: Atrocitus, Short Walk
Fri. Feb. 21 – Pensacola, FL – The Handlebar
Sat. Feb. 22 – New Orleans, LA – Siberia with: Lord Dying, Gristnam
Sun. Feb. 23 – Austin, TX – Beerland with: Crawl, Khringe
Tues. Feb. 25 – Riverside, CA – Kim’s Sports Bar
Wed. Feb. 26 – Oakland, CA – The Metro
Thurs. Feb. 27 – San Luis Obispo, CA – Frankie Teardrops with: Hashmouth
Fri. Feb. 28 – Los Angeles, CA – The Complex with: Lightning Swords of Death
Sat. March 1 – Phoenix, AZ – The Yucca Taproom
Sun. March 2 – Santa Fe, NM – TBA
Mon. March 3 – Dallas, TX – Taquerias Pedritos
Tues. March 4 – Little Rock, AR – Vino’s Pizza Pub & Brewery with: Crankbait
Wed. March 5 – Nashville, TN – TBA
Thurs. March 6 – Greensboro, NC -TBA
Fri. March 7 – Charlotte, NC – TBA
Sat. March 8 – Atlanta, GA – TBA
Sun. March 9 – Jacksonville, FL – Burro Bar with: Porter, Atma
Mon. March 10 – St. Petersburg, FL – Fubar Downtown with: Landbridge, Ulcer, Cosm

https://www.facebook.com/events/781613115185577/
https://www.facebook.com/shroudeater
https://www.facebook.com/Orbweaver.Official

Orbweaver, Strange Transmissions from the Neuralnomicon (2013)

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Shroud Eater Announce September Southeast Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 27th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Floridian trio sans-connerie Shroud Eater have announced that they’ll take to the road in their native Southeast for a handful of tour dates next month. The run comes in support of the Miami three-piece’s destructive 2013 EP, Dead Ends, which as fate would have it is available this very minute on Primitive Violence and The Path Less Traveled in a variety of physical and digital formats. You may recall I found the tape particularly alluring, though whatever delivery system it arrives by, Dead Ends is worthy of a fervent nerding-out. Mark my words when I say that one of these days I’m going to actually get to see this band play. On a stage. At a place. Where I am.

While I carve that bold declaration in the particleboard of my desk with my Lord of the Rings letter opener, please go ahead and peruse the tour dates below, making changes to your calendar as need be to allow for travel. On Sept. 8, Shroud Eater will join with The Body, Deadbird, Pallbearer, Rwake, The Dirty Streets and Black Oak Arkansas at the Mutants of the Monster fest. You know you always wanted to visit Little Rock in the fall.

Behold:

SHROUD EATER is excited to announce a Southern tour September 5-10, taking them to Little Rock, AR for a performance on the Mutants of the Monster Fest III. The band is touring in support of their highly  acclaimed 2013 EP “DEAD ENDS”, out on The Path Less Traveled Records and Primitive Violence Records and Visual.

SEPTEMBER 2013 TOUR DATES:
Thursday 9/5/13 MIAMI, FL @ Churchills Pub
Friday 9/6/13 ATLANTA, GA @ The Masquerade (Purgatory)
Saturday 9/7/13 NASHVILLE, TN @ The Owl Farm
Sunday 9/8/13 LITTLE ROCK, AK @ Mutants of the Monster Fest III
Monday 9/9/13 BIRMINGHAM, AL @ The High Note
Tuesday 9/10/13 JACKSONVILLE, FL @ Warehouse 818

Shroud Eater, Dead Ends EP (2013)

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Visual Evidence: Hollow Leg and Orbweaver Announce “Abysmal Transmissions” Tour

Posted in Visual Evidence on June 11th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Floridian outfits Hollow Leg and Orbweaver have teamed up for a long weekender from Aug. 2-5. Playing four nights in their native state, both bands will be supporting new releases — in the case of Hollow Leg, it’s their new full-length collection Abysmal, which is out on Last Anthem Records on July 30. For Orbweaver, the Strange Transmissions from the Neuralnomicon EP will mark their studio debut with a release on Primitive Violence.

Taking from the titles of both, the Abysmal Transmissions tour runs from Orbweaver‘s home in Miami to Hollow Leg‘s in Jacksonville. The poster below has specifics:

Hollow Leg & Orbweaver – Abysmal Transmissions Tour 2013

Hollow Leg & Orbweaver tour dates:
Aug. 2 Churchills Pub, Miami, FL
Aug. 3 Will’s Pub, Orlando, FL
Aug. 4 Bowman Motorcycles, St. Petersburg, FL
Aug. 5 Burro Bar, Jacksonville, FL

Hollow Leg on Thee Facebooks

Orbweaver on Thee Facebooks

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Nice Package: Shroud Eater, Dead Ends Cassette on Primitive Violence Records

Posted in Duuude, Tapes!, Visual Evidence on May 9th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

My only issue with the limited edition tape of their new Dead Ends EP that Shroud Eater put out through Primitive Violence Records is that so far I haven’t been able to bring myself to open the damn thing. Oh, I’ve heard the EP itself (review here), so I know it kicks plenty of ass, but looking at the limited packaging — which just seems like it should have a little cutout space near the top so it can hang on a peg in some record and or head shop 20 years ago — I just can’t pull those staples out and open it up.

Primitive Violence is the band’s own imprint — there’s a CD of Dead Ends coming later this month on The Path Less Traveled Records as well — and so I take this tape as kind of the definitive version of the album, what a certain British label seems consistently to refer to as the “diehard edition.” Only 22 were made, they sold out just this past Tuesday (there are more regular tapes left), and here’s what’s included:

No, Pinhead from Hellraiser doesn’t come with it, but everything else in the bottom part of that collage does. It’s one-stop shopping for anyone who’d want to show off their Shroud Eater affiliation, with a sticker, patch and pin, and that rules in and of itself, but there’s also the full-color lyric sheet, transparent red tape and — as you can see in the top right corner of the pic above — also a limited edition figurine made in Peru that actually seems to have been the impetus behind there only being 22 of these made, since the people who made the “Death charms” in turn died and these are the last ones ever. Dead Ends indeed.

All this adds up not only to something really special for collector nerds like me and those converted to the cassette nostalgia cultism, but a complete, every-level experience for what in a lot of band’s minds would probably be a toss-off EP release. Cheers to Shroud Eater for going all out in putting the tape of Dead Ends together (even the regular one looks pretty sweet) and continuing to highlight the appeal of physical media in an age regarded by squares as digital. Awesome.

Shroud Eater, “Tempest” from Dead Ends

Shroud Eater’s merch page

Shroud Eater on Thee Facebooks

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Shroud Eater, Dead Ends EP: Tempestry

Posted in Reviews on March 28th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

One never likes to predict the future when it comes to bands and what the given response to a release will be, but I have little doubt that when the story of Shroud Eater — however that story might turn out to read — is over, their Dead Ends EP will serve as the moment of their arrival. Over the course of these five tracks, four plus an intro, the Miami-based trio showcase not only the professionalism in their songwriting, but a maturity of approach and presentation that their prior full-length debut, 2011′s ThunderNoise (review here), began to hint at. During the time since that album’s release, Shroud Eater Jean Saiz on guitar/vocals/artwork, Janette Valentine on bass/backing vocals and Felipe Torres on drums — have played shows and toured around and beyond the Southeast, and while that’s bound to have an effect on their approach even if only subconsciously, what really separates Dead Ends from ThunderNoise and their self-titled 2009 demo (review here) is the production. That is to say, Shroud Eater‘s songs were already there, and in the emergent gallop here of “Tempest,” the roots found in “We are Beasts” from ThunderNoise seem to have broken through to the surface, but a huge part of what makes that so apparent in listening to Dead Ends (CD on The Path Less Traveled, tape on Primitive Violence) is the still-natural-sounding crispness with which the EP is presented. Whether it’s the doomly tectonics of “Lord of the Sword” or the out-of-nowhere onslaught of “Sudden Plague,” there’s nothing on Dead Ends that isn’t the most professional, mature and satisfying material yet to come from Shroud Eater. And so, like I say: Arrival.

It’s worthwhile to note that the four main tracks of Dead Ends are longer than anything Shroud Eater have done to this point. But for the intro, “Cannibals,” at 2:07, nothing on the EP is under five minutes long, which is a line the band had only previously crossed on ThunderNoise opener “High John the Conqueror.” More importantly, the songs are expansive in their reach and bring together the varied sides of Shroud Eater‘s sound that showed up before on separate tracks, so that once the initial threat of “Cannibals” is laid out — Torres‘ drums driving the point home amid not inconsiderable amp rumble and far-back whispers, blown-out shouts — “Sudden Plague” has room for both a beginning that’s utterly miserable in its doomed lumber and a contrasting second half made propulsive by Saiz‘s riffing. Of immediate distinction is the tone Valentine brings out of her bass; an asset to Shroud Eater‘s sound I’d previously overlooked. Joined by guitar feedback and creeping drums, the bass leads the way into “Sudden Plague”‘s first movement, patiently building a groove for more than a minute before crashing to full breadth. After the lead-in that “Cannibals” provided and the first two minutes of “Sudden Plague,” Dead Ends is nothing if not properly introduced to its audience, but when the second cut takes off, it nonetheless earns the first word of title. As faster riff comes to a head shortly before the two-minute mark, and Saiz‘s vocals emerge, semi-melodic in the mid-period Kylesa tradition, but functioning to serve a consuming swirl that only gets more fervent as the song moves forward.

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audiObelisk: Stream & Download Shroud Eater’s “Tempest” from the Dead Ends EP

Posted in audiObelisk on February 6th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

As catchy as it is propulsive, the new single “Tempest” from Miami trio Shroud Eater announces their arrival at a new level of metallic professionalism. The potential that their ThunderNoise full-length (review here) showed in following their already vicious self-titled demo (review here) has paid off in fullness of sound and clarity of approach. Shroud Eater recently announced that they’d signed with The Path Less Traveled Records for the release of a new EP, and as a taste of what’s to come, “Tempest” casts a formidable shadow.

The upcoming release, titled Dead Ends, is set for issue in May, and Shroud Eater – the lineup of Jean Saiz on guitar/vocals, Janette Valentine on bass and Felipe Torres on drums — are slated tour their way up the East Coast to support. They’ve also got shows booked this month in the south, for which you can find the info below, and have released a new teaser trailer for the EP, which is at the bottom of this post. All this should amount to a considerable level anticipation for Dead Ends, which aligns Shroud Eater to the progressive breadth of modern Southeastern heavy — bands like Mastodon, Kylesa, etc. — even as it sees them carving out their own identity within that sphere.

I’m stoked to hear how that process pans out, and “Tempest” only makes that truer. Thanks to the band for allowing me to host the track for stream and download. You’ll find it on the player and through the link below, followed by this month’s gigs and the teaser for Dead Ends. Enjoy:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!



Click Here to Download “Tempest”

As I mentioned, Shroud Eater will tour preceding the May release of Dead Ends, but before that, they have an extended weekender lined up for this month. Dates and compatriot info follow here:

Wednesday February 20 – Atlanta, GA at 529
With: Order of the Owl, Demonaut, Volume IV

Thursday February 21 – Asheville, NC at The Odditirium
With: Kreamy Lectric Santa, Blood Summer, Tape and Wire

Friday February 22 – Nashville, TN at The Owl Farm
With: Brother Ares, Act of Impalement, Forest of Tygers

Saturday February 23 – Jacksonville, FL at The Phoenix Taproom
With: Hollow Leg, Dead Southern Bishop, Yama

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Shroud Eater Sign to The Path Less Traveled Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 31st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Congratulations to Miami trio Shroud Eater, who have inked a deal with emergent imprint The Path Less Traveled Records for the release of a new EP. Shroud Eater were last heard from with the 2011 ThunderNoise full-length (review here) and have been busy kicking ass on stage with an impressive list of bands you can see below, including having their set supporting Corrections House streamed live this week. 2013 keeps getting bigger and better for new releases, and if you’re keeping a list of ones to watch for, here’s another to add.

Dig it:

Formed in Miami, Florida in 2009, Shroud Eater is a brooding three-piece juggernaut blending sludge, doom and stoner metal riffs with gruff howls and intense tribal drumming. Drawing comparisons to High on Fire and Helmet with a Kyuss groove, Shroud Eater have established themselves as a ferocious live act with a uniquely refreshing take on the stoner/sludge/doom metal genre. The trio have self-released a demo in 2009, a full length album in 2011, embarked on several east-coast and Florida-state tours, opened and run an underground music venue in South Florida, and are set to release a new EP in 2013 via The Path Less Traveled Records.

Shroud Eater has had the pleasure of opening for:
Corrosion of Conformity, Corrections House, Kylesa, Floor, Tombs, -16-, KEN Mode, The Atlas Moth, Weedeater, ASG, Cough and MonstrO.

Shroud Eater is: Jean Saiz (guitars/vocals), Janette Valentine (bass/back up vocals), and Felipe Torres (drums/percussion)

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Torche, Harmonicraft: Inverting the Reverse, and Vice Versa

Posted in Reviews on May 8th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Miami-based rockers Torche don’t do anything so well as they seem to delight in contradiction. Even on their third full-length album, Harmonicraft, there’s a palpable joy that comes through in the band’s defiance of the expectations placed on them. On the most superficial level, Harmonicraft is released by Volcom, where the bulk of the band’s various splits, singles and EPs have arrived via Hydra Head, and in terms of function, though the 13 songs here seem to go punch for punch with the 13 songs on 2008’s Meanderthal and wind up just a minute longer in total – 37 as opposed to 36 on the prior outing – they do so with the pivotal inclusion of a new guitarist/vocalist. Torche, who recorded 2010’s Songs for Singles EP as the three-piece of bassist Jon Nuñez, drummer Rick Smith and vocalist/guitarist Steve Brooks, are joined here for the first time by guitarist/vocalist Andrew Elstner, who came aboard to fill the spot formerly occupied by Juan Montoya, currently of MonstrO. As Montoya had previously played with Brooks in seminal Floridian doomers Floor, who reunited for several shows in 2010 to celebrate a 10LP box set, his absence from Torche was significant despite the common perception that it’s Brooks doing the bulk of the writing, but Elstner fits smoothly into that role (especially vocally), and Harmonicraft shows no backward movement on the part of the band either in performance or creative scope. As ever for Torche, songwriting is paramount, and they continue to refine their blend of weighted underground metal tonality with classic pop structures, upbeat, catchy choruses and melodies. They’re a band known for offering a lot of substance in a short amount of time – indeed, several of Harmonicraft’s tracks hover below or around the two-minute mark, and that novelty has always been part of Torche’s contrarian nature as regards the tropes of doom – and these songs keep that pattern going, with a memorability factor that at points mirrors the strength of the hooks.

Sandwiched by near-manically upbeat opener “Letting Go” and the five-and-a-half-minute relative downer closer “Looking On,” the bulk of Harmonicraft settles into Torche’s creative sphere comfortably, with the band sounding confident in their presentation. The album was recorded by Nuñez and mixed by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou (High on Fire, Black Cobra, etc.), and sounds crisp and clean, and cuts like “Kicking,” which follows the opener, and the playful later arrival “Kiss Me Dudely” offer landmarks of a quality no less forceful than prior Torche high points like “Grenades” from Meanderthal, “Tarpit Carnivore” from 2007’s In Return EP (though for my money, they’ve never been that heavy before or since) or “Mentor” from 2005’s self-titled debut. These tracks are Torche at their best, and on an album like Harmonicraft, which doesn’t follow a plotted narrative – at least to my knowledge – are essential in the overall effect on the listener. Other songs seem to serve to bolster their position, like the skater-punkish 86-second blast “Walk it Off” that ups the energy following “Kicking,” leading to the more mid-paced groove of “Reverse Inverted,” or likewise, the slower, more openly-riffed “Solitary Traveler,” on which Brooks’ vocals arrive from deeper in the mix and coated in sub-psychedelic echo. One hears shades of U2 sentimentality in the lead notes of mid-album cuts like “Snakes are Charmed,” but Torche’s tonal heft is maintained through Nuñez’ bass and underscored by Smith’s tom work. Particularly without Montoya’s involvement, it’s easy to read Torche at this point as being Brooks’ band – and maybe it is, I don’t know the realities of their songwriting process – but even if that’s the case, everyone here contributes. Following the more foreboding Melvins-style chug of “In Pieces,” “Snakes are Charmed” is one more shift Torche skillfully pull off on Harmonicraft, Smith’s frantic snare on the 1:18 “Sky Trials” acting as a palate cleanser before “Roaming”’s nod-worthy groove exemplifies the mixture of influence that has come to typify the band.

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Shroud Eater Interview with Jeannie Saiz: The Storm with a Million Eyes and the Noise Thunder Makes

Posted in Features on March 10th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

I wasn’t there to see it, but this past weekend, Miami outfit Shroud Eater reportedly devastated their hometown with Kings Destroy, Junior Bruce and Hollow Leg. As the trio is also to embark on a week-long tour with Hollow Leg starting March 22, now seemed as appropriate a time as any to post the recent conversation I had with guitarist/vocalist Jeannie Saiz about the band and their self-released debut full-length, ThunderNoise.

Now, about that album. I said in my review (and, I think, rightly) the recording of drummer Felipe Torres was unfortunate. I hope, more than that, what carried across is that Shroud Eater, while still in the earlier stages of discovering who they want to be as songwriters, are nonetheless concocting a righteous brew of sludge aggression and bastardly groove. In fact, part of my reason for scheduling the phoner with Ms. Saiz at all was to give myself another chance to underscore that very point. So consider it underscored.

What’s most striking about ThunderNoise post-review is the immediacy of it. It’s such a cliché to talk about unsigned acts as “hungry,” and I don’t think what’s driving Shroud Eater at this point is aspirations for big-time commercial success, but the impatience (perhaps brought on by the reportedly extreme heat in which the album was recorded) of the material on ThunderNoise is palpable. I included a Bandcamp player at the end of the interview, which is short by the standards of some done around here, and I hope you’ll take the time to listen to at least some of the tracks on the album.

The purpose here is basically to introduce Shroud Eater to anyone who might be interested in what they’re doing, because I am. In the conversation that follows, Saiz discusses her writing process with bassist Janette Valentine, how Shroud Eater got together, what inspired her cover art for ThunderNoise, recording the album, and perhaps most importantly, where that badass title came from.

Complete Q&A is after the jump. Please enjoy.

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Shroud Eater, ThunderNoise: A Storm is Brewing

Posted in Reviews on February 7th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

Creative neo-sludge trio Shroud Eater emerge from the swamp of their Miami homeland with their first full-length, the self-released ThunderNoise. The album, available digitally or in a limited run of 100 self-stamped digipaks put together with lyric sheets by the band themselves, is 11 tracks/44 minutes of modern sub-melodic upbeat sludge, not too dissimilar from Kylesa or, in parts, High on Fire, but distinguished from those groups by a rawer feel and less thrash or classic metal influence, Shroud Eater seem to draw more from the tonal well of Helmet and the ‘90s school of thickened noise rock. Vocals are kept mostly to shouts, with a few exceptions, and ThunderNoise has a couple turns on it that stave off redundancy, Their 2009 Shroud Eater EP was grittier sounding, but the trio haven’t lost any of their immediacy on the long player, and ThunderNoise is every bit as vital.

The three tracks from Shroud Eater’s Shroud Eater – “We are Beasts,” “Vesuvius” and “Cyclone” – show up on ThunderNoise in re-recorded versions, palpable changes audible in the vocals of guitarist Jeannie Saiz and in the drum work of Felipe Torres. Torres has an unfortunate snare sound that cuts through more on some stereos than others — really came out in my car, but isn’t so bad on the office computer, despite still kicking through “Shark Valley” – but on the songs with vocals, they take away from it. The drum sound in general is my major production gripe; Torres’ tom-work on opener “High John the Conqueror” sounds thin and doesn’t come across naturally as it should. Saiz’s guitar and the bass of Janette Valentine make up for a lot of ground, but there’s no doubt ThunderNoise would be even heavier with better drum recording. Not the end of the world, by any stretch. You can still get a sense of what Shroud Eater is going for sound-wise in the songs, and it’s not like basement black metal recorded into a Fisher Price tape recorder, where it’s raw past the point of being listenable, it’s just something worth noting.

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Torche to Explore Singularity this September; Classy Album Art Revealed

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 2nd, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

This site seems awfully Torche-centric lately, with the Floor coverage (lackluster though it was — the coverage, that is) and the Meanderthal Demos writeup, but there’s word through the PR wire that they’ve got a new album out on Hydra Head September 21, so it’s only right to post said news in this space, which I think I’ll do right now:

Songs for Singles, Torche‘s upcoming addition to a six year stretch of well deserved lionization within the world of progressive metal, is basically a super solid collection of singles (though I’m pretty sure the title actually refers to one’s legal interpersonal status) written by, and therefore in, the instantly appealing songwriting style developed by the band…

You, just like me, have probably been waiting patiently for some new material since Meanderthal! If so, I’m honored to be the one to publicly confirm that new material is on its way! If you are one of those in need of an education on the subject, Songs for Singles will still find a way into your day to day… reason being… everyone’s Summer needs a jam (debate it) and Songs for Singles will be hitting shelves just in the nick of time!

Torche, Songs for Singles:
01 “U.F.O.”
02 “Lay Low”
03 “Hideaway”
04 “Arrowhead”
05 “Shine on My Old Ways”
06 “Cast into Unknown”
07 “Face the Wall”
08 “Out Again”

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Shroud Eater Do Right by the People

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 11th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

Well, the first time I caught wind of Shroud Eater‘s demo, I knew the band was going pro, and now that they’ve decided to give the release away for free in advance of their full-length debut, ThunderNoise, it’s confirmed… by the fact that The Obelisk isn’t hosting it. Yes indeed, the Miami trio has chosen some Russian download site instead. The smart move all around. No one reads this page anymore. Click here for the zip file.

Here’s what the PR wire has to say about it:

Shroud Eater, South Florida’s DIY grunge/stoner rock trio, is offering a free download of their debut self-titled EP, in anticipation of the release of their debut full-length record, ThunderNoise, due out this fall. Inspired by all things dark and dirty, including ‘70s heavy metal, and ‘90s grunge/stoner rock, the three-song EP can be downloaded here.

“We had always seen the EP as a way to distribute our music for free to as many people as possible — it’s a basic primer on who Shroud Eater is as a band, and hopefully it left people curious and interested in hearing what we can really bring to the table,” states guitarist/vocalist Jeannie Saiz. “For the ThunderNoise sessions, we have some surprises up our sleeves, and are positive that the finished album will rock your ass off.”

The EP was recorded last year at Relax, Bro! recording studio, in the band’s hometown of Miami, and it was mixed and mastered by Jonathan Nunez. Artwork comes courtesy of Shroud Eater’s own Jeannie Saiz.

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