Posted in Whathaveyou on July 10th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s cool. Just two of the heaviest records of all time. Nothing too wild. You know. Pretty much business as usual.
For those who’d rightfully build an altar and worship them as the prophetic works they are, Neurosis‘ massively influential 1996 Through Silver in Blood and 1999 Times of Grace albums are being given a deluxe vinyl treatment as part of Relapse Records‘ ongoing 25th anniversary celebration. Colored LPs, new art, downloads in case anyone wants to actually listen to the albums, and a special version of Tribes of Neurot‘s Grace as well for that one cat who actually has two turntables and the time to sort out playing it simultaneously with Times of Grace, which, you know, I only make fun of that dude for because I’m jealous both of his two turntables and leisure activity.
A veritable parade of rightfully lauded badassery. Have at you:
NEUROSIS: Relapse Vinyl Reissues Announced
As the next chapter in Relapse Records’ ongoing 25th anniversary commemoration, heavy music visionaries NEUROSIS will have two of their most revered and long out-of-print titles reissued on super deluxe 180-gram double vinyl this fall. Through Silver in Blood (1996), which Fact Magazine recently deemed the #1 best post-metal album of all time, has not been printed on vinyl in ten years, while Times of Grace (1999) is seeing its first pressing in over fifteen years. Additionally, Grace, the 1999 Tribes of Neurot companion piece to Times of Grace, will also see a deluxe Relapse reissue, its first time ever on vinyl.
Each reissue will contain reinterpretations of the original iconic artwork and will be housed in heavy duty “tip-on” jackets and will be available in a variety of limited edition exclusive colors. The reissues are set for worldwide release on September 4th and will also include full album digital download codes. Preorders for all of the editions can be currently foundHERE.
In concurrence with the deluxe reissues, NEUROSIS are preparing to embark on a headlining North American tour this summer alongside Neurot Recordings doomsters Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, experimental sludge/noise technicians The Body and sludgesters SUMAC. A full list of dates is included below.
NEUROSIS Tour Dates: 7/31/2015 Liberty Hall – Lawrence, KS w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, The Body 8/01/2015 Mill City – Minneapolis, MN w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, The Body 8/02/2015 The Majestic – Madison, WI w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, The Body 8/03/2015 Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, The Body 8/04/2015 Expo Five – Louisville, KY w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, The Body 8/05/2015 St. Andrews – Detroit, MI w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, The Body 8/06/2015 Opera House – Toronto, ON w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, The Body 8/07/2015 Heavy Montréal – Montréal, QC w/ Mastodon, Meshuggah, Gorguts, Arch Enemy 8/08/2015 Paradise – Boston, MA w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Sumac, The Body 8/09/2015 Warsaw – Brooklyn, NY w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Sumac 8/10/2015 Cat’s Cradle – Carrboro, NC w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Sumac 8/11/2015 Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Sumac 8/12/2015 Broadberry – Richmond, VA w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Sumac 8/14/2015 Masquerade – Atlanta, GA w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Sumac 8/15/2015 House Of Blues – New Orleans, LA w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Iron Tongue 8/16/2015 Warehouse Live – Houston, TX w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Pinkish Black
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 9th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Finland’s Dark Buddha Rising are kind of like what their Neurot labelmates in Ufomammut would be if every color in their palette of swirl was black. Got a red door? No you don’t, because Dark Buddha Rising took the fucking thing, stripped the finish off and burnt the bare wood out in the forest as part of some weirdo ritual. The ultra-bleak psych-doomers — who are cosmic in the same way as antimatter — will release their new album, Inversum, on Sept. 25 as the follow-up to the two-disc Dakhmandal, which was issued on Svart in 2013.
Me? I think it bodes remarkably well that there are only two songs on the thing. The PR wire had this to say about it:
DARK BUDDHA RISING To Release New Album In September Artwork + Track Listing Revealed
Psychedelic doom purveyors, DARK BUDDHA RISING, will be releasing their fifth studio album, Inversum, this Fall. Their first release on Neurot Recordings, Inversum will be unveiled on September 25, 2015.
The album follows DARK BUDDHA RISING’s 2014 European tour with Mr. Peter Hayden, with the Finnish black psychedelic doom six-piece deservedly garnering further recognition as masters of the art of the hypnotic and dark sonics, which they’ve been honing for the past eight years since their inception.
Inversum swallows the listener into an introspective realm of dark psychedelia, menacing mysticism and weighty, trudging riffs and includes the stunning artwork, borne out of a collaboration between V. A. and Karmazid. Elaborates the the band: “Inversum is the opening of the Third Cycle Of DARK BUDDHA RISING. It acts as an initiation for the new members V. Vatanen (guitar, vocals), J. Saarivuori (keyboards) and M. Neuman (vocals). Also it is the first release through Neurot Recordings. Most of all, Inversum is the first album that is recorded, produced and mixed by ourselves in the depths of the Wastement, the asylum of eternal feedback. The process that led to the manifestation of the Inversum, was heavily guided by both intuition and determination, in order to take the music even further down the path we have chosen. Inversum is a monument built upon the foundation of our work and sculpted with the initial principles of DARK BUDDHA RISING, to celebrate the Black Arts of Psychedelia.”
Inversum Track Listing: 1. E S O 2. E X O
Since 2008’s Ritual IX, “the group has mastered their craft album by album, show by show. Ominous riffing, colossal doom, swirling psychedelia, repetition, repetition, repetition. The recipe is carved in stone, yet it leads to different endings – or bottomless shafts. Tension, tension, tension, lunacy. I only have one advice to give: Hold tight. The winds are gathering.” – words by Jukka Hätinen
Posted in Features on July 6th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
If 2015 ended tomorrow, I think you’d still have to say it was a pretty good year for heavy rock. Doom veered into a swath extremes — its own subgenres emerging almost one by one in a growing splinter that nonetheless continues to draw water from its roots — while the neo-stoner ignition of the West Coast continued its boom of new acts proffering classic groove. The East reveled in a progressive vision just waiting to be picked up by others, and in Europe, the ’70s traditionalist movement spread ever wider, essentially defining a modern sound in organic sounding, sometimes-vintage elements. Whether you’re going for crushing, oppressive barbarism or cosmos-bound blissouts, it is, in short, a good time to be alive.
Of course, 2015 doesn’t end tomorrow, and there’s still a whole lot of year to come. About half, as it happens. So, as has been the tradition around here for the last half-decade — and seems to be the tradition in a growing number of outlets; not taking credit or claiming to have invented anything, just noting a proliferation — it’s time to count down the best records of the year so far. There have been more than a handful of gems, and since in December I’m planning on doing a top 30, we’ll mark half the year with a top 15. Seems only fair.
Please note that this isn’t purely a critical evaluation, but a personal list, and that what I’ve put on most is as crucial a factor in my ranking as how important I think a given record is. You know the drill by now. Let’s go:
Kiev three-piece Stoned Jesus have a varied stylistic history, and their third outing, The Harvest was ultimately a success in large part because of its complete refusal to be defined. Atop a foundation of quality songcraft, the trio proffered a sound that was not necessarily experimental in terms of anti-structure noise or effects onslaughts, but bold in each of its forays outward from its heavy rock underpinnings.
It has consistently taken me a while to get a hold on what Freedom Hawk are up to. The steady elements in their sound are held to so firmly that on the first couple listens, it seems to just be more of the same. But the more one digs in, the more there is to be found, and with Into Your Mind, the Virginia Beach trio overcome losing a member to create their most progressive outing to date, flourishes of psychedelia melding easily with their signature style of sunshiny riffing.
Five albums deep, Germany’s My Sleeping Karma are an act unto themselves. Their progress has been natural, fueled by a clear, varied sense of exploratory will, and the results on this year’s Moksha were nothing short of stunning. Branching out their arrangements might not be new to them, but the inclusion of horns, drones, percussion, etc., amid the central guitar, bass, keys and drums lent an almost orchestral feel to the flow between the tracks, and one can only hope they continue on their current path, because it is unquestionably the right one.
So much potential, so much vitality at the heart of this debut from Death Alley. The Amsterdam-based four-piece (interview here) stormed out of the gate with a ripper of a debut, and just when you seemed to have it all figured out, they hit the ignition on a 12-minute full-impulse space rock thrust, a guest vocal appearance from Farida Lemouchi (a former bandmate of Death Alley guitarist Oeds Beydals in The Devil’s Blood) adding both mystique and emotional resonance to what was already a stunning track. With all the riotousness preceding, Black Magick Boogieland readily lived up to its righteous title.
Midwestern-turned-West-Coast heavy psych rockers Mondo Drag may have taken their time in releasing their self-titled sophomore outing, which followed their 2010 debut, New Rituals (review here), and was recorded in 2012, but it’s easy to imagine that’s because they wanted the circumstances to be as special as the album itself, recorded with a fleeting five-piece lineup that included the one-time rhythm section of Radio Moscow who wound up leaving to further their then-nascent project, Blues Pills. Even without that lineup shift as a factor, the late ’60s vibe Mondo Drag brought out across the release proved eminently listenable and has held up on repeat visits.
A gorgeous, shimmering and melodically resonant debut from the Dutch four-piece Cigale, their self-titled gracefully maintained tonal presence and warmth while also enacting a psychedelic sprawl and grooving serenity that acted like the landscape in which the songs took place. It was a rich, bright vibe, and an utter joy to behold, tracks like “Harvest Begun,” “Feel the Heat” and “Eyes Wide Shut” proving as memorable as they were inviting. Having two former members of the much-missed fuzz rock outfit Sungrazer may have initially turned some heads in their direction, but Cigale‘s first album proved they’re an outfit with their own personality, their own development to undertake, and already much to offer.
The awaited return of The Machine brought the band’s fifth album and a further-refined sense of maturity in their processes, as well as intrigue as to where they might be headed, two dual modes of open-ended jamming and more structured songwriting playing off each other in the extended “Chrysalis (J.A.M.)” and “Come to Light” and the more verse/chorus stylizations of “Dry End” and “Off Course.” To be perfectly honest, I doubt The Machine will ultimately pick one side over another, since if Offblast! proved anything it’s that they can easily handle either or both, but as they continue to grow, it’s encouraging to have their style establish itself as so multi-faceted.
First time I pressed play on Gravitron was a real “oh shit!” moment. The last release from NJ stalwarts The Atomic Bitchwax was 2011’s The Local Fuzz (review here), a single-song full-length instrumental riff onslaught that had its charm but was inherently divorced from the appeal of the band’s songwriting. Not only does Gravitron re-factor that in with songs like “Roseland,” “It’s Alright,” “Coming in Hot” and “Ice Age Hey Baby,” among others, but it hits with kick-in-the-ass production force and an all-out heaviness that 2008’s TAB4 showed the three-piece steering directly away from. Just a killer record. Utterly void of pretense. No bullshit. No need to rely on anything more than chemistry, and with the Bitchwax, that’s plenty.
7. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth
Right now, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth are my band to beat for Debut of the Year, and I’m quite frankly not sure how anyone is going to be able to do it, so if list time comes in Dec. and you see Tad Doyle‘s trio marked out as such, know that it’s been that way in my head for some time. The three-piece of Doyle, bassist Peggy “Pegadeth” Tully and drummer Dave French arrived with a roar, and even when their self-titled let up sonically, the atmosphere remained viscerally heavy. Six years having passed since the release of their first demo (review here), I wasn’t sure there was ever going to be an album, but then to have Brothers of the Sonic Cloth show up and enact such thorough demolition only made it more impressive.
It can’t possibly be a surprise to have Luminiferous show up somewhere on this list. The seventh long-player by High on Fire had all the rage and bombast in “Slave the Hive” and “The Black Plot” that have become the band’s hallmarks over their 17 years together, but branched out progressively as well in songs like “The Cave” and “The Falconist,” the latter of which was brazenly catchy and about as emotionally direct as the band has ever gotten, their general modus being — and in that song too, just to a lesser extent — a metaphor-laced lyrical approach. That song was a triumph and so was the album as a whole; the second collaboration with producer Kurt Ballou building on the rampaging victories of 2012’s De Vermis Mysteriis (review here) while also showing growth on the part of one of modern metal’s most pivotal bands.
Hitting more or less concurrent with a vinyl release of their prior album, 2013’s A Time of Hunting (review here), Kings Destroy‘s Kings Destroy is not at all coincidentally titled. Over the course of now three full-lengths, the New York five-piece — about whom I feign no impartiality, let it be noted — have distinguished themselves with a sound neither noise, nor doom, nor heavy rock, but drawing on elements of all three when it suits their purposes with chemistry built from years of being in bands together of various stripes and in various genres. What stands the self-titled out from their past work, in part, is that it is the closest they’ve yet come to capturing their live sound in the studio, and accordingly, it’s a volatile kind of heavy that bends aesthetic to its will rather than capitulating to expectations of any sort. I don’t think they’re done growing by any stretch, but Kings Destroy feels like an arrival front-to-back.
This one was almost a sneak-attack. German heavy psych forerunners Colour Haze released To the Highest Gods We Know, their 11th full-length, in Dec. 2014 on CD (the vinyl was in 2015, which is what we’re counting in this instance), with very, very little fanfare of any sort. There was a track premiere here that came shortly after the album was announced, but I think it was officially out less than a month after its existence was made public, which for a band of Colour Haze‘s stature and influence was surprising. Less devoted to grandeur than 2012’s 2CD She Said (review here), it nonetheless pushed the band’s sound forward and found them experimenting in their studio, particularly on the string-quartet-inclusive finale title-track, which offset jams like “Überall” and the laid back highlight “Call” with a rhythmic oddness that was somehow still Colour Haze‘s own. I couldn’t help but wonder where it was leading, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t masterful in its own right.
Goatsnake didn’t have it easy going into their third album. It had been 15 years since their sophomore outing, Flower of Disease, 11 since their last EP, and five since they first started playing shows again. Expectations? Through the roof. Among heavy rock heads, a new Goatsnake was like seeing the mountaintop. I mean, a big fucking deal and then some. Then the record hits, and there’s just about no way it can live up to the anticipation, but god damn if Goatsnake not only finally put out a third album, but one that was better than I think anyone could’ve hoped for. Hearing Pete Stahl with however many backup singers he had on “Another River to Cross” et. al. was like finding an animal in its native habitat, and between his soul, Greg Anderson‘s riffs, bassist Scott Renner‘s low end rumble and drummer Greg Rogers‘ roll, Black Age Blues won almost immediately and then spent the rest of its 47 minutes throwing itself a victory party. “Elevated Man,” “House of the Moon,” “Jimi’s Gone,” “Grandpa Jones,” almost on a per-track basis, Goatsnake added to the reasons they’ve been so heralded despite a decade-plus’ absence from the studio.
On the level of achievement alone, Elder‘s Lore will be the album of the year for many, and there are times (such as right now) when I listen to it and question whether or not it isn’t also my pick for that honor, but wherever it falls on whatever list, far more important is what the Massachusetts/Rhode Island/New York trio manage to accomplish across their third LP’s formidable five-track/59-minute span, songs like “Compendium” and “Deadweight” bridging a rarely approached gap between heavy and progressive rocks while maintaining a flow consistent with the psychedelic vibing of 2011’s Dead Roots Stirring (review here) but grown outward in another aesthetic direction and no sooner setting foot on the ground than seeming to master it in a flurry of blinding turns, sprawling soundscapes and clarity of mind that found perhaps its greatest expression in the centerpiece title-track, the 15-minute “Lore” itself, which I’ve no doubt will stand among if not atop the best songs of 2015 when the year is over and encapsulates the ambition and the corresponding breadth of Elder‘s songwriting, the trio of guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo, bassist Jack Donovan, and drummer Matt Couto rising as one of the East Coast’s most pivotal acts, with a sound completely their own.
1. Acid King, Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere
I use the word “molten” pretty regularly to describe an album or song that seems to just ooze its way out of the speakers or shift seamlessly between its songs, but Acid King set an entirely new standard for the term with Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere. Their first outing for Svart and their first release in a decade, its 55 minutes were a riff-rolling nirvana of lurching fuzz and tonal excellence, the guitar of Lori S. at the fore accompanied by Mark Lamb‘s bass and Joey Osbourne‘s drums, the swing of which propelled a highlight track like “Coming down from Outer Space” right back into it, while elsewhere on the record, “Silent Pictures,” “Red River” and “Infinite Skies” torched stoner conventions into a new space-biker rock, culminating in the heavy psych of “Center of Everywhere,” which seemed to emanate from the place it was describing, at once empty and full. More than just a welcome return after a long dearth of releases, Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere found Acid King progressed even beyond where they were with 2005’s III, though more than anything else, what makes it my top pick for the year so far is the fact that I can’t seem to walk away from it for too long before going back, and ultimately, that’s what it all comes down to with his kind of thing. I’ve yet to find a standard to which these songs don’t live up.
A few others worth noting. The Sun Blood Stories album (streamed here) continues to resonate. Also Monolord, Valkyrie, Lamp of the Universe, Garden of Worm, Wo Fat‘s live record, The Midnight Ghost Train‘s Cold was the Ground and Ufomammut‘s Ecate. The Black Rainbows was a joy, as was Spidergawd‘s second LP, and while I still feel like I haven’t given it its due, the Sumac won many over and should get a mention. Steve Von Till‘s solo outing and the latest from Enslaved are worth seeking out as well for anyone who hasn’t heard them yet.
More to Come:
The year’s only half over, which is kind of a scary thought but true nonetheless. Watch out in the coming months for new stuff from Bloodcow, All Them Witches, Clutch, Graveyard, Zun, Sacri Monti (if that one’s not already out), Snail, Uncle Acid, and Kind. The new Kadavar is a sure-fire top tenner, and between that, the potential for a new Neurosis album and stuff like Magnetic Eye Records‘ Electric Ladyland [Redux], there’s no way the book is written on the best of 2015.
So stay tuned.
And if I’ve still got your attention, thanks for reading.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Steve Von Till, best known as guitarist/vocalist in Neurosis, has announced a European run that will start June 29 in support of his new album, A Life unto Itself (review forthcoming), which is out now on Neurot Recordings. It is the Idaho-based Von Till‘s fourth solo full-length, and like 2008’s A Grave is a Grim Horse, A Life unto Itself explores a variety of textures and arrangements while keeping a central, if-not-acoustic-at-least-intimate spirit at its core, though it’s worth noting that the seven years between records has resulted in prevalent growth as well, Von Till becoming an even more patient, exploratory songwriter while reveling in tradition as much as experimentation.
Tour dates and album info follow, fresh off the PR wire:
STEVE VON TILL Announces European Live Dates In Support Of His New Solo Album, A Life Unto Itself, Out Now On Neurot Recordings
Neurosis guitarist/vocalist and Neurot Recordings founder, STEVE VON TILL, reveals a string of European live dates in support of his latest solo album, the immense and celestial, A Life Unto Itself. From June 29th through July 5th, SVT will trek through the UK, Germany and France.
STEVE VON TILL Solo Shows: 6/29/2015 St Pancras Old Church – London, UK 7/01/2015 Jägerklause – Berlin, DE 7/02/2015 UT Connewitz – Leipzig, DE 7/03/2015 Jubez – Karlsruhe, DE 7/04/2015 La Peniche – Lille, FR 7/05/2015 Espace B – Paris, FR
A Life Unto Itself ventures into compelling uncharted territory for its maker. STEVE VON TILL’s weathered, distinctive voice and sparse acoustic guitar provides a foundation, but a much wider variety of sonic textures are presented here. Bold and ambitious arrangements weave vintage synth, sublime strings, percussion, and electric guitars throughout these unique and expansive songs, as VON TILL’s raspy whisper dives deeply inward, and speaks genuinely of visions, memories, and self-reflection in a way that feels both seasoned and exposed.
The majority of A Life Unto Itself was captured at Avast! Recording Co. in Seattle under the direction of producer Randall Dunn (Earth, Sunn O))), Wolves In The Throne Room, Marissa Nadler and Rose Windows), with additional recordings handled at STEVE VON TILL’s own The Crow’s Nest, and the final product was mastered by Jason Ward at Chicago Mastering Service. With guest viola contributions from Eyvind Kang, pedal steel from J. Kardong, and percussion courtesy of Pat Schowe, the album is enshrouded in artwork bearing the recognizable style of Aaron Turner (Sumac, Isis, Old Man Gloom, Hydra Head). All of these factors culminate into a twelve-passage voyage with over forty-five minutes of stirring textures which drill their way immediately to the core of your bones, gnaw your heart’s defense mechanisms to their foundations, and invoke a wellspring of emotions.
A Life Unto Itself LP is out now via Neurot Recordings. Packages for the digital download, CD, and 12″ LP on both black and red vinyl, including t-shirt bundles, areAVAILABLE HERE.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 29th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Ambient ritualists Ides of Gemini have a handful of shows booked in June, a slot at Crucialfest 5 in Salt Lake City alongside Goatsnake, Mothership, Eagle Twin, SubRosa, Uzala, Cold Blue Mountain and others, as well as a gig for Demon Lung‘s new album release and two shows with Oxbow, but it’s in July that they’ll really hit the road again, hitting up the West Coast for 10 shows with Clay Rendering.
The trio are still out supporting last year’s Old World/New Wave (review here) and have a new 7″ that came out for Record Store Day as well. News comes from the PR wire and goes like this:
IDES OF GEMINI Announces Summer Tour With Clay Rendering, Performance At Crucialfest And More
IDES OF GEMINI are very pleased to announce their latest bout of West Coast live ceremonies. Set to commence on July 14th in Oakland, the journey will coil its way around ten cities through California, Oregon, Vancouver and Washington, coming to a close on July 24th in Glendale. The band will be joined by blackened dream pop duo, Clay Rendering. As a precursor to the expedition, the ethereal trio will play two shows supporting Oxbow next week. Two weeks later the IDES will head to Salt Lake City for a performance at Crucialfest alongside Rosetta, Norska, Disforia and more followed by slot on the Demon Lung record release show in Las Vegas June 20th.
The latest round of IDES OF GEMINI rituals follows the band’s run supporting acclaimed indie rockers, Mountain Goats, which was cut short due to a medical injury sustained by drummer Kelly Johnston-Gibson. “After the disappointment of having to drop off the Mountain Goats tour last month,” issues guitarist J. Bennett, “we’re looking forward to getting out on the road again. Unfortunately, Kelly’s injury is still healing so she won’t be able to join us for the June shows with Oxbow and Demon Lung or our appearance at Cruficalfest in Salt Lake. The good news is that our friend Sash Popovic, formerly of [singer/bassist] Sera’s [Timms] old band, Black Math Horseman, will be filling in for those. He’s a killer drummer and a great guy, so we’re very thankful that he’s agreed to help us out. If all goes according to plan, Kelly should be back in action for the July run with Clay Rendering.”
IDES OF GEMINI: 6/05/2015 Brick & Mortar – San Francisco, CA w/ Oxbow 6/07/2015 The Echo – Los Angeles, CA w/ Oxbow 6/19/2015 Crucialfest – Salt Lake City, UT 6/20/2015 Dive Bar – Las Vegas, NV Demon Lung Record Release Show w/ Clay Rendering: 7/14/2015 Golden Bull – Oakland, CA 7/15/2015 Club 66 – Ashland, OR 7/16/2015 Wandering Goat – Eugene, OR 7/17/2015 Ash St Saloon – Portland, OR w/ Jex Thoth, Atriarch, Barrowlands * 7/18/2015 Media Club – Vancouver, BC 7/19/2015 Highline – Seattle, WA 7/21/2015 Press Club – Sacramento, CA 7/22/2015 Elbo Room – San Francisco, CA 7/23/2015 Sweet Springs – Los Osos, CA 7/24/2015 Complex – Glendale, CA * no Clay Rendering
IDES OF GEMINI released their critically-hailed, Chris Rakestraw (Danzig)-produced Old World New Wave full-length last September via Neurot Recordings as well as a special, limited Carthage/Strange Fruit seven-inch via Magic Bullet Records last month in honor of Record Store Day.
IDES OF GEMINI’s Old World New Wave is available on CD and digitally via Neurot Recordings and on vinyl via SIGE Records. For CD orders, point your browserHEREand for T-shirt bundles, point your browser toTHIS LOCATION. The seven-inch is currently available on limited black and clear wax atTHIS LOCATION. Desirers of the digitals visitMagic Bullet’s BandCamp page HEREoriTunes HERE.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Well that’s about as easy a sell for a bill as you can get. Neurosis — on their longest US run in a decade and a half — partnered with Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, with support from Isis-offshoot Sumac and The Body. It’s like a moment of clarity, almost obvious, even though it’s a surprise to have Neurosis hitting the road so hard after so long. Mark your calendars. Attendance is mandatory.
From the PR wire:
NEUROSIS To Embark On Their Most Extensive Stateside Tour In Over Fifteen Years This Summer
As their thirtieth anniversary nears, NEUROSIS will be hitting the road in their most extensive touring of the North American continent in over fifteen years this Summer, the announcement falling as the dust still settles on Baltimore following their crushing performance at this year’s Maryland Deathfest.
Not since prior to the turn of the millennium has the mighty NEUROSIS embarked on a tour of this size, as this week the band confirms more than a dozen new tour dates between the end of July and the middle of August throughout the Midwestern, East Coast, and Southern US states and the lower Eastern portion of Canada. Besides the extensive nature of the tour, they will also be playing in cities and states which they have not visited since the ’90s.
For this widespread endeavor, NEUROSIS will bring an array of excellent acts to the stage with them, including support from labelmates Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, featuring Tad Doyle, for the entire trek, as well as eight shows with nomadic doomsday cult, The Body, five dates with expansive rock duo, Sumac (members of Baptists, Old Man Gloom, ex-Isis, etc.), and one show each with Pinkish Black and labelmates Iron Tongue. This all comes in addition to NEUROSIS’ previously announced inclusion in the massive, three-day Heavy Montréal Festival consuming August 7th-9th, where the band will perform the opening night with the likes of Mastodon, Meshuggah, Gorguts, Arch Enemy and many others.
Tickets for the impending NEUROSIS tour will go on sale for all shows this Friday, May 29th.
NEUROSIS Tour Dates: 7/31/2015 Liberty Hall – Lawrence, KS w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, The Body 8/01/2015 Mill City – Minneapolis, MN w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, The Body 8/02/2015 The Majestic – Madison, WI w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, The Body 8/03/2015 Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, The Body 8/04/2015 Expo Five – Louisville, KY w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, The Body 8/05/2015 St. Andrews – Detroit, MI w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, The Body 8/06/2015 Opera House – Toronto, ON w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, The Body 8/07/2015 Heavy Montréal- Montréal, QC w/ Mastodon, Meshuggah, Gorguts, Arch Enemy 8/08/2015 Paradise – Boston, MA w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Sumac, The Body 8/09/2015 Warsaw – Brooklyn, NY w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Sumac 8/11/2015 Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Sumac 8/12/2015 Broadberry – Richmond, VA w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Sumac 8/14/2015 Masquerade – Atlanta, GA w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Sumac 8/15/2015 House Of Blues – New Orleans, LA w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Iron Tongue 8/16/2015 Warehouse Live – Houston, TX w/ Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Pinkish Black
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
The second hour starts a little early this time around, and what I mean by that is when you’re like five minutes into hour two and trying to figure out on the tracklisting below what improv-sounding brilliant cut you’re hearing, pay careful attention to when hour one ended. Just 11 seconds from the start of the second half of the podcast. So yeah, that 18-minute wonder gets filed under hour one instead, but it comes with a wink and a nod. I just couldn’t bring myself to file something under hour two without a one at the front of the time stamp, which shows you how sad and compulsive I am because I’ve only been time-stamping these podcasts for two months now. What a dork.
It’s good stuff this. Always is, I suppose, but starting out with Goatsnake into The Machine and then on from there, it builds a flow that makes some sense one into the next in a way that, listening back to it after I put it together, was especially satisfying. Hopefully you agree as you make your way though.
As always, hope you enjoy:
0:00:00 Goatsnake, “Grandpa Jones” from Black Age Blues
0:04:36 The Machine, “Coda Sun” from Offblast!
0:09:55 Galley Beggar, “Pay My Body Home” from Silence and Tears
0:18:51 Steve Von Till, “Night of the Moon” from A Life Unto Itself
0:25:48 Venomous Maximus, “Through the Black” from Firewalker
0:29:42 Black Pyramid, “Open the Gates” from Dead Star 7”
0:34:59 Ape Skull, “A is for Ape” from Fly Camel Fly
0:39:54 Sunder, “Deadly Flower” from Demo
0:43:53 Eternal Fuzz, “Sea Change” from Nostalgia
0:47:37 Geezer, “Long Dull Knife” from Long Dull Knife
0:53:31 Fogg, “Joy of Home” from High Testament
0:59:49 Shiggajon, “Sela” from Sela
1:18:07 Blown Out, “Thousand Years in the Sunshine” from Planetary Engineering
1:34:01 Les Lekin, “Loom” from All Black Rainbow Moon
1:47:14 Undersmile, “Knucklesucker” from Anhedonia
Posted in Reviews on May 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
The circumstances by which I found myself in the Tri-State Area were complex enough that I feel no need to recount them, but the point is, if you’re in town anyway, and Ufomammut are rolling through Brooklyn to hit the Saint Vitus Bar on their first US tour ever, supported by Portland’s Usnea and locals Mountain God opening, the obvious choice is to go. Yes, I was at a show in Boston on Sunday, but that seemed like long enough ago that it didn’t matter. It’s fucking Ufomammut. You show up.
I missed the three-piece at Roadburn in 2011, but saw them there in 2009, and even six years later, the impression they left behind was resonant enough that I could see them clearly on the Main Stage bludgeoning the room with their cosmic mastery. The image is vivid. They’ll play Maryland Deathfest this weekend and are out supporting their 2015 Neurot Recordings outing, Ecate (review here), the latest in a line of records a decade long proving their utter supremacy of sound. I felt fortunate to have the planets align in such a way as to allow me to make it to the show.
As I understand it, Mountain God were something of a late addition to the bill. Cool by me. Playing as the trio of guitarist/vocalist Ben Ianuzzi, bassist Nikhil Kamineni and drummer/backing vocalist Ryan Smith (also Thera Roya), they had new material on offer and included two cuts from their 2013 Experimentation on the Unwilling demo (review here), so yeah, sign me up. Their particular brand of atmospheric sludge has only become more visceral over the last couple years, and as expansive as their 2015 single-song Forest of the Lost EP (review here) is, its churn still seems to stir the guts. So it was on stage as well.
Worth noting that for all three bands, the stage was d-a-r-k dark. Most of all for Mountain God and Usnea, but even for Ufomammut the only real light was toward the back of the stage, and there wasn’t much of that. Might as well have been taking pictures in Boston, it was so fucking dark. So it goes. Mountain God‘s new songs, “Nasca Lines” and “Taxidermist,” pushed the limits of their extremity well, Ianuzzi‘s blown-out vocals cutting through his and Kamineni‘s rumbling tonal morass — a heft that would become a theme for the night. The interplay of Ianuzzi and Smith proved especially effective throughout, but either way, ambience remained thick and the effect remained crushing.
They finished out with “Experimentation on the Unwilling” itself, a memorable pummel of a riff at its center, and received greetings and well-earned congratulations at the front of the stage while breaking down their gear to make way for Usnea, touring with Ufomammut from their base of operations in Oregon. It was my first exposure to the death-doom four-piece, who made their debut on Relapse last year with their second full-length, Random Cosmic Violence, and I found they were a completely different band from what I expected them to be. As in, I thought they were another band. It was a pleasant surprise when their ultra-nodding brutality held sway for the duration, both guitars tuned to the key of slow-motion destruction as drums and bass stood center-stage to punctuate and foster feel-it-in-your-stomach resonance. Can’t claim to have known the material, but the first impression was a positive one.
And by positive, I mean overwhelmingly negative — the downer vibes so dense they couldn’t seem to let any light escape. Right on. I knew Ufomammut would be headed for more psychedelic terrain, and indeed they were, so to have Usnea follow Mountain God‘s tectonics with their own lumbering doom was a solid fit and welcome complement to the bill. If I’d had any cash, I probably would’ve picked up a CD of Random Cosmic Violence, but the water bottle I had in my camera bag I bought with quarters and I didn’t think I had that much change on hand. Maybe next time. Their closer was “Detritus,” the 15-minute finisher from their sophomore outing, and it was as vehement an endorsement of their wares as anything I might recount in a review, plodding and stomping en route to a building finish that left nothing else to say when it was done. Many bands would have trouble following it.
Ufomammut, however, are a different breed. I’m almost surprised this was their first US tour. It’s easy to imagine them — as so many of their contemporaries from around Europe did — coming to the States and playing to upwards of 20 people at The Continental in Manhattan a decade ago before any of this stuff caught on and it was suddenly reasonable to be positioned in front of the stage at the Vitus Bar next to a photographer from The New York Times (“Uh, I run a blog,” was my barely-stammered response when she asked who I was shooting for) at a sold-out show. As if the experience wasn’t surreal enough, Ufomammut — guitarist Poia, drummer Vita and bassist/vocalist Urlo arranged left to right — played off a setlist that seemed to be written in code, with notations for synths and the mysterious light-up samplers and effects they had on foot-switches while a video screen projected behind.
Devastatingly heavy? Why yes, they were, but that’s really just one component of the experience. Watching Ufomammut play is like being stirred in a cauldron of something thick and molten. Somehow, it swirls, but on the surface level it doesn’t even seem like it should be able to move at all. Each song seemed to take them deeper into space, the entirety of Ecate rearranged for stage presentation and followed by “Oroboros” from Oro: Opus Alter (review here), “Stigma” from 2008’s Idolum and, finally, “God” from 2004’s Snailking, which was brought to a brutal finish as though the trio were trying to pull apart the remnants of the galaxy on a molecular level, some great cosmic code punched in to result in the end of all things in multi-dimensions. It was like that. Sound as force. Senses colliding, and Urlo headbanging with his entire body the whole time. The further they went the more righteous they became, and the room — sweltering, dark, vibrating — went with them all the while, that great cauldron made flesh. To call it breathtaking would be speaking literally.
There was a moment after they were done that required a return to earth, more of a snap back than a gentle release, and you could feel it from others in the room as much as from yourself. An exhale and realization of the impressionist galaxial scope just witnessed, blurred lines fitting for the summer’s haze that seemed to be settling over the Manhattan skyline on the way into the city. Even having seen the band before, I did it too. People made their way to the bar and out blissfullly stunned, and I did likewise, almost tempted to call Ufomammut‘s arrival on North American shores overdue if they hadn’t rendered things like space and time so irrelevant.
A couple more pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.