Greenleaf Post “The Rivers Lullaby” Lyric Video; On Tour Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

greenleaf the rivers lullaby

I’m going to review this album in the coming weeks — actually it’s slated for Monday, Nov. 26, if you’re curious — but as I watch the wobbly Wonka-esque letters of Greenleaf‘s new lyric video for “The Rivers Lullaby” roll past, I can’t help but be reminded of the clip Truckfighters put out in 2016 for their song “Calm Before the Storm” (posted here) that wound up catching such hell for directly telling the story of a grisly murder that took place in both bands’ native Sweden. It doesn’t seem like Greenleaf are talking to the same circumstance, but in lines like “Came from the shadows” and “I’m gonna have what it is mine,” the sense of threat comes through clearly as they touch on the title of the record itself, which is Hear the Rivers.

They’ve been out supporting the album alongside Samavayo and only have a couple of dates remaining on the tour, but expect Greenleaf to hit the road again in 2019, since that’s basically their modus nowadays. Album cycles. Since 2014’s Trails and Passes (review here), they’ve been a full-fledged touring act, but Hear the Rivers, which follows 2016’s also-righteous Rise Above the Meadow (review here), is their first with the complete lineup of vocalist Arvid Hällagård, bassist Hans Fröhlich and drummer Sebastian Olsson around founding guitarist Tommi Holappa, who has essentially transmuted what might’ve been the continuation of his other outfit, Dozer, onto what was once a side-project while retaining Greenleaf‘s signature classic heavy rock elements.

I haven’t seen this lineup of Greenleaf live, and it’s starting to give me that existential ache. Sadly it won’t happen on this tour — off to Eindhoven! — but hopefully at some point soon the paths will align.

Enjoy the video and the song. The album is out now:

Greenleaf, “The Rivers Lullaby” lyric video

GREENLEAF give a second glimpse of how the rivers sound by revealing “The Rivers Lullaby”. Today the Swedes illustrate the floating stoner groover with a lyric video that underlines the song’s essence in the typical GREENLEAF way.

The band on the new video and their plans for the next weeks: “We feel very happy with the lyric video for “The Rivers Lullaby”. It captures the mood and the essence of the song itself that for the most part describes a reaper’s helpless and weary thoughts. We also can’t wait to get on the road on Thursday and play this beast of a song for a live audience!”

GREENLEAF – Remaining dates w/ SAMAVAYO:
14.11.18 DE – Cologne / Helios 37
15.11.18 UK – London / Underworld
16.11.18 FR – Paris / Glazart
17.11.18 NL – Eindhoven / Helldorado Festival*
*without SAMAVAYO

Line-up:
Arvid Hällagård: Vocals
Tommi Holappa: Guitar
Hans Fröhlich: Bass
Sebastian Olsson: Drums

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John Garcia and the Band of Gold Post “Chicken Delight” Lyric Video; Playing Planet Desert Rock Weekend Nov. 29

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

john garcia and the band of gold

Later this month, John Garcia and the Band of Gold take the stage headlining the first night of the inaugural Planet Desert Rock Weekend. Put together by Vegas Rock Revolution, it’s an impeccably curated evening celebrating what’s a rare onstage US appearance for Garcia, with performances by Nick Oliveri, Luna Sol which features Hermano‘s Dave Angstrom, and Death in Pretty Wrapping, which has Arthur Seay also from Unida (and House of Broken Promises) on guitar. The idea is everyone kind of gets together and rocks out at Vinyl at the Hard Rock Cafe and Hotel in Vegas, joining Garcia onstage to play tracks from his past outfits and so on.

There’s also a whole weekend of insanity planned (info here), but no question that for US concertgoers, seeing Garcia these days isn’t something that happens all that often. Since Vista Chino went their separate ways, he’s focused heavily on Europe with acoustic tours and festival appearances, and fair enough given that market.

So far as he’s said, this will be his only US show for the upcoming John Garcia and the Band of Gold album.

That album, self-titled, is due out Jan. 4, 2019, via Napalm Records, and they’ve newly unveiled a lyric video — kind of standard procedure at this point — to introduce one of the tracks. Dubbed “Chicken Delight,” the song is not one of the several redux’ed from Garcia‘s last outing, which was 2017’s mostly-unplugged The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here), but instead is all-new and thus far exclusive to this album. Though it’d work acoustic as well. Those curious as to how the reunion might sound between Garcia and producer Chris Goss, who once upon a time produced genre-defining LPs for Garcia‘s band Kyuss, go ahead and take note, because that’s what’s happening here.

A month-long stretch of European tour dates has been announced to follow shortly after the album’s release. You might recall that tour was initially supposed to happen this Fall but was rescheduled to allow for the recording to be done, because, well, let’s face it. If you’re going on tour for a month and you’re about to finish a new record, you probably want to be able to take it along with you. The Jan.-Feb. stint will allow for that.

Those dates as well as more info follow the clip here, courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

John Garcia and the Band of Gold, “Chicken Delight” official lyric video

Desert Rock frontman extraordinaire, JOHN GARCIA, has just released”Chicken Delight”, the first single of the new album John Garcia And The Band Of Gold. Today the Kyuss legend unveils the official lyric video for the relaxed groover straight out of the desert!

“Chicken Delight”is the perfect beginning of your California desert trip that opens out to a new album that melts down the whole subgenre to the core! It’s the perfect mix of his trademarked voice and the groovy, laid back and dusty sound that lies within every chord that makes your mind fly away. Over the last almost three decades, JOHN GARCIA’s voice has set the standard for the sound of the California desert and “Chicken Delight” takes it one step further.

Pre-order “John Garcia And The Band Of Gold” here: http://smarturl.it/JGATBOG

Out January 4th

John Garcia And The Band Of Gold Live:
After having a meeting between his musical past and present, by playing on one stage with Nick Oliveri (ex-Kyuss), Dave Angstrom (ex-Hermano) and Arthur Seay (ex-Unida) on November 29 in Las Vegas, JOHN GARCIA will return to an extensive tour through Europe with his Band Of Gold:

Special Show w/ Nick Oliveri, Luna Sol, Death in Pretty Wrapping
29.11.18 US – Las Vegas / Vinyl

European Tour 2019
w/ Dead Quiet
23.01.19 FR – Paris / Le Trabendo
24.01.19 FR – Bordeaux / Le Krakatoa
25.01.19 ES – Madrid / Caracol
26.01.19 ES – Barcelona / Razzamatazz 2
28.01.19 FR – Lyon / Le Kao
29.01.19 CH – Zurich / Bogen F.
30.01.19 IT – Milan / Santeria Club
31.01.19 DE – Munich / Backstage Halle
02.02.19 AT – Graz / Explosiv
03.02.19 HU – Budapest / A38
04.02.19 CZ – Prague / Rock Café
05.02.19 DE – Nuremberg / Hirsch
07.02.19 DE – Jena / F-Haus
08.02.19 DE – Berlin / SO36
09.02.19 DK – Copenhagen / Loppen
10.02.19 NO – Oslo / John Dee
12.02.19 FI – Helsinki / Tavastia
14.02.19 SE – Stockholm / Debaser Strand
15.02.19 SE – Gothenburg / Sticky Fingers
16.02.19 DE – Hamburg / Gruenspan
17.02.19 DE – Cologne / Helios 37
19.02.19 BE – Leuven / Het Depot
20.02.19 DE – Aschaffenburg / Colos-Sal
21.02.19 DE – Essen / Turock
22.02.19 NL – Tilburg / 013
23.02.19 UK – London / O2 Academy Islington

John Garcia And The Band Of Gold are:
John Garcia – vocals
Ehren Groban – guitar
Mike Pygmie – bass
Greg Saenz – drums

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John Garcia and the Band of Gold Self-Titled LP Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

john garcia and the band of gold

With the Jan. 4 release of the self-titled debut/maybe swansong from John Garcia and the Band of Gold, the group’s principle namesake will have issued three solo albums more or less in evolving incarnations. 2014’s John Garcia (review here) was a plugged-in desert rocker credited to the man himself, while last year’s The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here) brought Garcia together with guitarist Ehren Groban (War Drum), bassist Mike Pygmie (Mondo GeneratorYou Know Who) and drummer Greg Saenz (The DwarvesYou Know Who) and was mostly acoustic in its unfolding. John Garcia and the Band of Gold leans more toward the former, but features the latter band and also reunites Garcia with Kyuss producer Chris Goss (also of Masters of Reality) — who one recalls had some choice words when Garcia embarked on the partial Kyuss reunion with Vista Chino — sees reworkings of “Kylie,” “The Hollingsworth Session” and “Give Me 250ML” from the last record, turning the latter into a sequel to “Kentucky” from the last Hermano record, now 11 years old, and brings those familiar pieces together with a total 11 new tracks available to preorder now.

On Nov. 29, John Garcia and the Band of Gold make their only US appearance — maybe ever? — at Vinyl at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas, headlining the first night of the Planet Desert Rock Weekend, and then they’re headed to Europe early in 2019. All dates and info follow here, courtesy of the PR wire:

john garcia and the band of gold self titled

New Album JOHN GARCIA AND THE BAND OF GOLD out January 4th 2019!

Pre-Order HERE!

JOHN GARCIA, the Kyuss legend returns with his next incarnation of Desert Rock, John Garcia And The Band Of Gold, out on Napalm Records! None other than ex-Kyuss and Queens Of The Stone Age producer Chris Goss gave this new groovy piece of dust its finishing touches. JOHN GARCIA takes the next step in his almost 30-year career by combining the strengths of his musical past with the achievements of modern times. It’s once again a distinctive JOHN GARCIA album!

JOHN GARCIA on the new album:
“After a year of heavy stress, starting my own studio, shutting it down, hiring and firing, the drama is finally over. Saved by surgeon Chris Goss, this record is finally done. It is unclear if I will ever be doing this again, so this is it. Here it is, proud and loud John Garcia and The Band of Gold record comes out January 4th with supporting tour thereafter. The Vegas jam is my only U.S. electric show and will prove to be something special. I thank my supporters, you keep me going – Big Love from the Garcia res!!”

You can Pre-Order John Garcia And The Band Of Gold HERE!

After starting the stoner rock movement by establishing Kyuss together with Josh Homme (Queens Of the Stone Age, Eagles Of Death Metal), Brant Bjork (ex-Fu Manchu), Nick Oliveri (Ex-Queens Of The Stone Age) in 1990, JOHN GARCIA became one of the most heard voices from the desert in Rock History. No doubt that he had massive impact on the desert rock movement by singing in bands like Hermano, Slo Burn, Unida and Vista Chino. Since his debut album as a solo artist in 2014 via Napalm Records, he has further established his very own trademarks.

JOHN GARCIA And The Band Of Gold live:

After having a meeting between his musical past and present, by playing on one stage with Nick Oliveri (ex-Kyuss), Dave Angstrom (ex-Hermano) and Arthur Seay (ex-Unida) on November 29 in Las Vegas, JOHN GARCIA will return to an extensive tour through Europe with his Band Of Gold:

Special Show w/ Nick Oliveri, Luna Sol, Death in Pretty Wrapping
11.29.18 US – Las Vegas / Vinyl

European Tour 2019
w/ Dead Quiet
23.01.19 FR – Paris / Le Trabendo
24.01.19 FR – Bordeaux / Le Krakatoa
25.01.19 ES – Madrid / Caracol
26.01.19 ES – Barcelona / Razzamatazz 2
28.01.19 FR – Lyon / Le Kao
29.01.19 CH – Zurich / Bogen F.
30.01.19 IT – Milan / Santeria Club
31.01.19 DE – Munich / Backstage Halle
02.02.19 AT – Graz / Explosiv
03.02.19 HU – Budapest / A38
04.02.19 CZ – Prague / Rock Café
05.02.19 DE – Nuremberg / Hirsch
07.02.19 DE – Jena / F-Haus
08.02.19 DE – Berlin / SO36
09.02.19 DK – Copenhagen / Loppen
10.02.19 NO – Oslo / John Dee
12.02.19 FI – Helsinki / Tavastia
14.02.19 SE – Stockholm / Debaser Strand
15.02.19 SE – Gothenburg / Sticky Fingers
16.02.19 DE – Hamburg / Gruenspan
17.02.19 DE – Cologne / Helios 37
19.02.19 BE – Leuven / Het Depot
20.02.19 DE – Aschaffenburg / Colos-Sal
21.02.19 DE – Essen / Turock
22.02.19 NL – Tilburg / 013
23.02.19 UK – London / O2 Academy Islington

John Garcia And The Band Of Gold are:
John Garcia – vocals
Ehren Groban – guitar
Mike Pygmie – bass
Greg Saenz – drums

https://www.facebook.com/JohnGarciaOfficial/
https://www.instagram.com/johngarciasolo/
https://shop.napalmrecords.com/

John Garcia, “Give Me 250ML” official lyric video

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John Garcia & The Band of Gold Announce Exclusive US Appearance

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

john garcia

He’s doing one US gig and he’s making it count. John Garcia will appear with his Band of Gold on Nov. 29 on the Vinyl stage at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. He did a show in Calgary earlier this year, but so far as I know, this is it for US appearances for the time being. Joining desert rock’s most pivotal frontman are Death in Pretty Wrapping, featuring Garcia‘s Unida bandmate Arthur Seay, and Luna Sol, with Garcia‘s Hermano bandmate David Angstrom, as well as Garcia‘s former Kyuss/Vista Chino bandmate, Nick Oliveri.

It’s set to be a career-spanning show, as Garcia‘s former bandmates will join him on stage for songs from their respective outfits — Garcia notes in the video below that members of Slo Burn will be on hand for the occasion as well — and one can also expect new tunes from John Garcia and the Band of Gold, whose debut album is now completed and expected to release sometime soon on Napalm Records. Will it be out in time for this show? I doubt it, but probably concurrent to Garcia‘s impending European stint early next year. If you’ll recall, that run was rescheduled to Jan./Feb. to allow for their studio time. If the photo of Garcia and Kyuss producer Chris Goss (also Masters of Reality) posted on social media means they collaborated on the album, then yeah, I’d call that worth putting off some shows. Working toward the greater good, and all that.

The show is presented by Vegas Rock Revolution and the following came down the PR wire:

john garcia show poster

John Garcia & The Band of Gold Announce Special Las Vegas Show

Desert Rock Master John Garcia & The Band of Gold have announced a special once in a lifetime show, set to take place on Thursday November 29th in Las Vegas, NV at Vinyl in The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The Band of Gold features (Ehren Groban on Guitar, Mike Pygmie on Bassand Greg Saenz on drums). This will be the band’s only North American appearance this year and will be a night, not to be missed.

Support on this special evening will come from bands that have a played a role in Garcia’s legendary career including Nick Oliveri, Luna Sol (featuring Dave Angstrom of Hermano) and Death in Pretty Wrapping (featuring Arthur Seay of Unida). Fans can also expect to see additional special guests from Garcia’s bands from over the years.

All of the band’s and Garcia’s friends cannot wait to play this show:

“Johnny rocks. All of his band’s rock. We all know that he’s a monster …but having John as a friend is really amazing to me. He’s such a great guy, father, husband, bandmate and brother. His vocals rock me to the core …they always have. I can’t wait to hang and share the stage with Johnny and the onslaught of monstrous players and characters joining forces in Vegas on Nov 29th. It’s going to be a throw down, for sure…my ears are already ringing. Let’s bring the rock!” says Dave Angstrom

Stay tuned for more news from John Garcia & The Band of Gold, and see if you can begin to the put the puzzle together for yourself…

john garcia and the band of gold logo

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John Garcia, Las Vegas show announcement

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Monster Magnet Post “When the Hammer Comes Down Video; Announce 2019 European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

monster magnet (photo jeremy saffer)

Since Sept. 28, NJ’s Monster Magnet have been out on a US tour supporting their latest album, Mindfucker (review here). You can’t accuse them of not getting out. While their last couple records have seen the long-running stalwarts of heavy psych and rock mostly focus on Europe, their current run started out in Toronto as they quickly made their way to the West Coast and throughout this month, they’ll continue to work back eastward, finishing in Boston on Oct. 28. To follow-up, they’ve got a second run of Europe announced for January, and I can’t help but think either another US tour or a trip to Australia or South America (paging Abraxas) could be in the works thereafter. That is, they don’t seem like they’re done.

Which, as a fan, is only all the better. Mindfucker is their last outing in their contract for Napalm Records. I won’t claim to know the future of the band, but either they’re doing it up for a blowout or they’re showing other labels they’re interested in putting in the work of promoting what they do. Could go either way, I guess, but what it rounds out to in any case is the same: Go see Monster Magnet. I’d love to get to one of these shows and I don’t know that I will, but wherever you are, if that’s where they are, then that’s where you should be. Simple math.

They’ve got a video up for “When the Hammer Comes Down” from the record that’s kind of a lyric video, kind of a regular video, and true enough to Monster Magnet in that it has little interest in being classified along the same lines as everyone else. You’ll find that at the bottom of this post. I don’t have any PR wire info for the newly-announced tour, but you’ll find the dates for that and the one they’re on now below. Here goes:

monster magnet euro tour 2019

Monster Magnet Tour Dates

Current US tour remaining dates:
10/10: Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
10/12: San Francisco, CA @ Thee Parkside
10/13: Sacramento, CA @ Aftershock Festival*
10/15: Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
10/16: San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick
10/17: Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge
10/19: San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger
10/20: Dallas, TX @ Canton Hall
10/21: Houston, TX @ White Oak (Upstairs)
10/23: Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
10/24: Nashville, TN @ Basement East
10/26: Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Soundstage
10/27: New York, NY @ Gramercy Theater
10/28: Boston, MA @ The Sinclair

2019 European tour:
12.01.2019 NOR, Trondheim Byscenen
13.01.2019 NOR, Oslo Parkteatret
14.01.2019 DEN, Aarhus VoxHall
16.01.2019 GER, Hamburg Grosse Freiheit 36
17.01.2019 GER, Berlin Huxleys Neue Welt
18.01.2019 GER, Osnabrück Rosenhof
19.01.2019 SUI, Zürich Dynamo
21.01.2019 GER, Krefeld FuFa
22.01.2019 GER, Leipzig Conne Island
23.01.2019 GER, Hannover Capitol
24.01.2019 LUX, Esch-sur-Alzette Kulturfabrik
26.01.2019 BEL, Kortrijk Concertzaal de Kreun
27.01.2019 BEL, Hasselt Muziekodroom
28.01.2019 BEL, Sint-Niklaas Concertzaal de Casino
29.01.2019 GBR, London Electric Brixton
31.01.2019 GER, Karlsruhe Substage
01.02.2019 NED, Eindhoven Effenaar
02.02.2019 FRA, Magny Le Hongre File7
03.02.2019 GER, Frankfurt Batschkapp
05.02.2019 AUT, Dornbirn Conrad Sohm
06.02.2019 HUN, Budapest Durer Kert
07.02.2019 CRO, Zagreb Culture Factory

MONSTER MAGNET line up:
Dave Wyndorf (vocals, guitar)
Garrett Sweeny (guitar)
Phil Caivano (guitar)
Chris Kosnik (bass)
Bob Pantella (drums)

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https://www.instagram.com/monstermagnetofficial/

Monster Magnet, “When it all Comes Down” lyric video

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Greenleaf Solve Lineup Issue in “Good Ol’ Goat” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

greenleaf good ol goat

So I guess maybe Hans Fröhlich couldn’t make his flight and Greenleaf and video director Peder Bergstrand — a bassist himself — decided to run with it as a video concept? Fair enough. The results are pretty hilarious in the Swedish heavy rockers’ new clip for “Good Ol’ Goat,” which comes from the impending Hear the Rivers, out Nov. 9 on Napalm. The song itself — its bluesy hook with Arvid Hällagård‘s vocals an all the more essential element to their approach and the classic stomp in Sebastian Olsson‘s drums — is kind of lighthearted, so it works on that level, but the story they go with is that because Fröhlich didn’t get there in time, they decide to hold open auditions for a bass player to fill in for the video. Chicanery ensues.

A bunch of first names appear at the end of the video: Jugglo, Kapsylen, Linus, Chris, Rikard, Lena, and so on, but I’d love to see a comprehensive list of who all the people are who show up to “audition” for the bassist role, because I’m willing to bet a couple of them would be familiar. Not to spoil it — though it’s handled pretty cleverly, and I won’t give that away — but it’s all the more fitting that they resolve the issue by having guitarist Tommi Holappa step into the bassist role himself. As the founder and sole remaining original member of the band, who are coming up on 20 years as a unit around Holappa, it’s kind of always been his answer anyway. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that Bergstrand does not himself show up for an audition spot. Maybe he didn’t want to give the impression that anything was taking away from the work he’s currently doing in the studio on a long-awaited new album from his band, Lowrider.

In any case, the video rules, and could hardly be a better lead-in for the arrival of Hear the Rivers, a month away. Also a month away is that release tour — and I think at this point I’ve posted these dates at least three times before; watch out, this might not be the last, either — Greenleaf will do with Germany’s Samavayo, who as well will herald a new album.

Clip follows. Have fun:

Greenleaf, “Good Ol’ Goat” official video

Mighty Swedish Stoner force GREENLEAF just released their amazing and amusing music video for “Good Ol`Goat”. The band on their epic movie:

“We wanted to do something funny and entertaining and Peder Bergstand came up with this idea. It’s a very fitting video since it’s packed with dad jokes and some of us recently became fathers. Enjoy the bass!”

On November 9th, Hear The Rivers comes into world via Napalm Records. This album turns out to be quite the mesmerizing bag of tricks that seizes the Swedish Stoner sound and enriches it with so many wonderful things, like the just released unforgettable riff-o-rama “Good Ol`Goat” or the slow soul-feeder “We Are The Pawns”. An absolute gem of an album that is best kept in the family – which is why former GREENLEAF- and Dozer drummer Karl Daniel Lidén (Craft, Bloodbath, Crippled Black Phoenix amongst others) produced it.

Pre-Order HERE!

GREENLEAF – Live w/ SAMAVAYO
08.11.18 DE – Dresden / Beatpol*
09.11.18 DE – Berlin / Musik & Frieden
10.11.18 DE – Stuttgart / Keller Club
11.11.18 AT – Vienna / Viper Room
12.11.18 DE – Munich / Feierwerk
13.11.18 CH – Olten / Coq d’Or
14.11.18 DE – Cologne / Helios 37
15.11.18 UK – London / Underworld
16.11.18 FR – Paris / Glazart
17.11.18 NL – Eindhoven / Helldorado Festival*
*without SAMAVAYO

Greenleaf is:
Arvid Hällagård: Vocals
Tommi Holappa: Guitar
Hans Fröhlich: Bass
Sebastian Olsson: Drums

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Conan, Existential Void Guardian: Prosperity on the Path

Posted in Reviews on September 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Conan Existential Void Guardian

There’s a dual emphasis happening on Conan‘s fourth full-length in a 13-year run. First, Existential Void Guardian, which is also their third LP for Napalm Records, calls to mind just how recognizable Conan‘s sound is. They’ve subtly drawn back on some of the overbearing tonal onslaught over the years, which one can hear in songs like “Eye to Eye to Eye” in comparison to their earlier work on 2012’s debut, Monnos (review here), or the preceding 2010 EP, Horseback Battle Hammer (review here), but Conan remain one of the most immediately recognizable bands in metal, period, let alone doom or whatever other subgenre you might want to stick them in. Existential Void Guardian brings to mind just how much Conan‘s sound has become their own over the course of this decade, and yet it also emphasizes how much that sound is grown.

The pivotal moment might’ve been in 2014 when producer Chris Fielding joined the band following the recording of their second album,  Blood Eagle (review here). Taking on the role of bassist/vocalist alongside founding guitarist/vocalist Jon DavisFielding added not only his recording expertise — brought to bear at Skyhammer Studio, owned by Davis — but also his tonal weight and a vocal foil to Davis, something that Conan had worked to incorporate with original bassist Phil Coumbe but which became all the more essential with the lineup change. The impact of Fielding joining the band could be felt in their live presence and was realized in the studio on 2016’s Revengeance (review here), which updated listeners on the burgeoning dynamic between Davis and Fielding, the former’s higher-register wails complemented by the latter’s lower growls and shouts.

On Existential Void Guardian, with opener “Prosper on the Path” and the midsection of centerpiece/side A closer “Amidst the Infinite” as well as the later “Vexxagon” as particular examples, the two find a kind of shouted vocal harmony, and as Fielding takes the lead role in closer “Eternal Silent Legend,” there are more than hints of melody in his approach that even further expand the reach of the group on the whole. In kind with the contributions of drummer Johnny King (also of Dread Sovereign, ex-Altar of Plagues and others), who makes his first appearance on the seven-song/35-minute release, it all makes for Conan‘s most complex outing to-date.

One hesitates to use a word like “progressive” when it comes to Conan. Given the lumber they bring to bear on the aforementioned “Amidst the Infinite” and the gallop of “Eye to Eye to Eye,” it just feels gross and wrong, but there’s no question Existential Void Guardian is the most thoughtful Conan manifestation yet. From its evocative title — is the guardian bringing you into the void? warding off the void? keeping you there? — to the more developed lyrical ideas of “Volt Thrower” or “Prosper on the Path,” one can hear Conan moving away from the one-word-line impressionism they’ve used in the past to conjure images of violent conquering to a fuller mode of expression. Or so it seems without the benefit of a lyric sheet. That’s not to say Existential Void Guardian doesn’t have its raw moments. As “Vexxagon” settles into its final rolling groove, it does so with Davis having spit out quick lines atop the prior cacophony of riffs.

conan

And “Paincantation” is straight-up grindcore. No other word for it. It’s a 55-second blastbeaten assault — and the first 19 seconds of that is a kind of swelling introduction, while the last seven are a ringout — and the focus is pure brutality. It’s an easy pick to say that’s where King makes his presence most felt, as the wash of crash is no less consuming than the miasma of distortion churning at maximum speed overhead, but his snare and tom work in the early cycles of “Vexxagon” and the quick fills he works into the first half of “Prosper on the Path” while still holding to the central plodding rhythm aren’t to be undervalued for the tension they add to the proceedings overall. As he transitions into a kind of gallop in the first-stage of the chorus of the opener, he brings a professionalism of style and a crispness of play that’s clearly rooted in the more extreme end of metal but works nonetheless with the swing that Conan‘s songwriting requires. He’s a more than solid fit alongside Davis and Fielding. Hope he likes touring.

But the point is that as much as Conan have grown, there’s still blood dripping from their battle axe, and as much as the band’s even-year succession of releases — 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 and now 2018 — has seen them bring new ideas and personnel into the fold, they’ve continued to hold firm to their ultra-low end and a brutality brought to bear amid the ensuing weight. Even as “Eternal Silent Legend,” which is also the longest inclusion at 6:53, rounds out Existential Void Guardian, with a gradual feedback-topped unfolding that riffs its way into what’s sneakily Davis‘ most melodic vocal performance with the band — trading between a few cleaner lines and a final growl — they do so en route to a massive stomp and rolling finish that’s as much a signature moment as Conan could possibly have. Thus the dual emphasis: they’ve advanced this much while still retaining their core purpose.

Every Conan record seems to be a first of one sort or another. Monnos, of course, was the first album. Blood Eagle the first recorded at SkyhammerRevengeance was the first with Fielding on bass and then-drummer Rich Lewis rounding out trio, and Existential Void Guardian is the first with King. It’s little short of amazing this can be the case while Conan‘s identity has remained so vividly cast. That’s a credit to Davis, of course, as the founder and guiding hand of their ongoing project, but it’s also a result of the natural way they’ve matured.

While conscious, nothing in Conan‘s ongoing progression has felt forced, and at the risk of shoehorning them into a narrative, it seems like their songcraft has become more complex as a result of the time they’ve spent on stage and the development of the chemistry between the players rather than heady studio experimentation. Nothing against that approach, but Conan continues to work so well as a concept because they know who they are and who they want to be, and they always have. Even as those ideas have changed with time, there are crucial elements that have remained cast in stone, and one expects they’ll stay that way as they work to push beyond the void.

Conan, “Volt Thrower” official video

Conan website

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Greenleaf Set Nov. 9 Release for Hear the Rivers

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

greenleaf photo by edko fuzz

Swedish heavy rock institution Greenleaf will release their seventh album, titled Hear the Rivers, on Nov. 9 through Napalm Records. Among the many reasons this news should make you excited is the fact that Karl Daniel Lidén recorded it. Even just the drum sound immediately bears his signature to the point that, having had a bit of a preview, I knew it was him before I even read it. The guy adds a sense of space to a sound like no one else, and he brings to Greenleaf once again this time around and the results are nothing short of phenomenal. That’s not of course to discount the work of the band itself, which has only grown more stellar as the current lineup has settled in around founding guitarist Tommi Holappa.

I don’t want to say to much about it because we still have two months before November gets here, but the short version is make sure you save some room on your top albums list.

Greenleaf will tour with Berlin’s Samavayo to coincide with the record release, as the PR wire informs:

greenleaf hear the rivers

GREENLEAF – “Hear The Rivers” Comes Into The World In November 2018

Album Pre-Orders Start Now

On November 9th, the mighty Swedish Stoner force GREENLEAF present their latest album “Hear The Rivers” via Napalm Records.

This album turns out to be quite the mesmerizing bag of tricks that seizes the Swedish Stoner sound and enriches it with so many wonderful things, like the unforgettable riff-o-rama ‘Good Ol`Goat’ or the slow soul feeder ‘We Are The Pawns’. An absolute gem of an album that is best kept in the family – which is why former GREENLEAF- and Dozer drummer Karl Daniel Lidén (Craft, Bloodbath, Crippled Black Phoenix amongst others) produced it.

GREENLEAF summarize this record in the following way:

” ‘Hear The Rivers’ is our full length number 7. Lucky number 7? Well, we like to think so! All the songs give us huge smiles on our faces and we are extremely proud of what we have done! As always we try to take our listeners on a trip with our music, make them wanna bang their heads, dance, smile and cry (of happiness of course).
This is easily the biggest sounding record we have ever done and we hope people will enjoy it as much as we do!”

The full track listing of Hear The Rivers reads as follows:
1. Let It Out!
2. Sweet Is The Sound
3. A Point Of A Secret
4. Good Ol´Goat
5. The Rumble And The Weight
6. We Are The Pawns
7. Oh My Bones
8. In The Caverns Below
9. High Fever
10. The Rivers Lullaby
“Hear The Rivers” will be available in the following formats:
-4 Page Digipack
-Double LP-Gatefold
-Digital Album

Pre-Order HERE!

GREENLEAF – Live w/ SAMAVAYO
08.11.18 DE – Dresden / Beatpol*
09.11.18 DE – Berlin / Musik & Frieden
10.11.18 DE – Stuttgart / Keller Club
11.11.18 AT – Vienna / Viper Room
12.11.18 DE – Munich / Feierwerk
13.11.18 CH – Olten / Coq d’Or
14.11.18 DE – Cologne / Helios 37
15.11.18 UK – London / Underworld
16.11.18 FR – Paris / Glazart
17.11.18 NL – Eindhoven / Helldorado Festival*
*without SAMAVAYO

Line-up:
Arvid Hällagård: Vocals
Tommi Holappa: Guitar
Hans Fröhlich: Bass
Sebastian Olsson: Drums

http://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/store/greenleaf
http://shop.napalmrecords.com/greenleaf
www.facebook.com/greenleafrocks
www.napalmrecords.com
www.facebook.com/napalmrecords
http://www.soundofliberation.com/greenleaf

Greenleaf, “Goin’ Down” (Freddie King cover)

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