Posted in Whathaveyou on November 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
This news came through the other day, but now that tickets are on sale, I didn’t figure anyone would really mind a retread of the fact that Neurosis have added Sleep and Shellac as openers for their 30th anniversary shows next March in San Francisco. They’ll play two nights at the Regency Ballroom March 4 and 5, doing career-spanning sets that they’ll be taking overseas a month later to perform again at Roadburn 2016. Hard to imagine a career as landmark as theirs being summed up even in two nights, but no doubt that 30 years after the fact, Neurosis know what the hell they’re doing.
And they’re certainly keeping good company. The PR wire has it like this:
NEUROSIS Announces Sleep And Shellac As Support For San Francisco 30th Anniversary Shows; Tickets Go On Sale Tomorrow
NEUROSIS announces the details for the band’s upcoming stateside 30th anniversary performances set to take place in San Francisco this March, including the opening support acts and ticket links.
Passing their thirty-year mark this Winter, NEUROSIS will celebrate this milestone with two stateside performances on March 4th and 5th at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom, and then two more sets on April 16th and 17th headlining Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, The Netherlands. At these four very special performances, NEUROSIS will deliver a massive two-hour set list, invoking material spanning their entire recorded lineage, from 1987’s Pain Of Mind through 2012’s Honor Found In Decay, with varied set lists at each event. These sets will span the band’s entire career, showcasing the comprehensive evolution, from their primitive beginnings into the seminal, epic outfit of today, as the band’s ever evolving, sonic palette has become a genre-defying template for underground music over the last three decades, avoiding genre classification.
Support for NEUROSIS on Friday, March 4th will be provided by longtime Bay Area comrades and masters of the sonic doom riff, Sleep. Support for Saturday, March 5th will be handled by Steve Albini’s minimalist rock outfit, Shellac, also longtime friends of NEUROSIS through Albini’s involvement in helping capture much of the band’s recorded material since before the turn of the millennium.
Tickets to all of NEUROSIS’ San Francisco and Netherlands 30th Anniversary shows go on sale, Friday, November 20th, at Noon Pacific.
NEUROSIS 30th Anniversary Performances: 3/04/2016 Regency Ballroom – San Francisco, CA 3/05/2016 Regency Ballroom – San Francisco, CA 4/15/2015 Hat Patronaat – Roadburn, Tilburg, NL *STEVE VON TILL and SCOTT KELLY solo performances 4/16/2016 013 – Roadburn, Tilburg, NL 4/17/2016 013 – Roadburn, Tilburg, NL
Posted in Reviews on November 13th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
It had been a few days since I’d gone outside. Seriously. In Chicago for a work trip, I’d been holed up either at the conference I was in town for or the hotel immediately adjacent to it. Dinner had been ordered in three nights in a row, and I’d gone precisely nowhere since arriving in the city on Sunday. Not healthy. Not living right. In the end, it was the phone call from hotel security — checking on the wellness of the room’s occupant, since housekeeping hadn’t been allowed to clean in more than 48 hours — that shamed me into leaving to see Corrections House bandmates Scott Kelly (also Neurosis) and Bruce Lamont (also Yakuza and Bloodiest). Shame sometimes does the trick.
As it happened, they were playing a different hotel, the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, in a space carved out as the “Drawing Room” and decorated in what I can only describe as man-bun living room chic; dimly lit (as the pictures I got will attest — god damn I need a new camera), all things made to look old and comfortable, leather-bound everything, like the Harvard club where people go to talk about how their new app is going to do away with various plights of inequality. “Gamechanging” modern design by making it look like a slavemaster’s parlor. I’m sure it was all very expensive. It looked very expensive. Strange setting for a show.
Not to say that with Misters Kelly and Lamont both playing solo sets — they shared a guitar — it should’ve been in a dive bar. The chair I sat in was perfectly comfortable. It was the second night of the Kelly/Lamont tour, which may or may not be taking the place of a full Corrections House run to support that group’s new album, Know How to Carry a Whip, out on Neurot Recordings, and the plan seemed to be in order: Lamont would play first, Kelly second, and then they’d play together. Not a method entirely dissimilar from the first time I saw Corrections House early in 2013 (review here), but obviously a different sonic context without Sanford Parker‘s beats — likely on his way to the West Coast with Buried at Sea — and without Mike Williams of Eyehategod‘s semi-spoken drug poetics. Worth it to say that nothing felt overly like it was missing once the show got started.
Part of that is probably thanks to Lamont‘s kitchen-sink experimental approach. Surrounded by his saxophone, clarinet, the guitar he was sharing with Kelly, at least two vocal mics and sundry other processors, pedals and effects, he was able to create a wash of droning noise all on his own. Lamont‘s solo album, 2011’s Feral Songs for the Epic Decline, was the basis for some of the performance, but much of what he did was manipulated, echoed, spaced out, and layered into something new. I know Bloodiest have a new full-length coming at the start of 2016 via Relapse, but if Lamont hasn’t considered recording a follow-up solo outing live and putting it out even in limited numbers through War Crime Recordings, his label co-owned by Sanford Parker, he probably should. Some of the most affecting moments came as he tilted his head back and let loose a soulful howl that reminded me of some of the spaciousness he was able to conjure in Yakuza, but the whole set was saturated with creativity and Lamont‘s sense of controlling the chaos was palpable.
The switch to bringing out Scott Kelly was done via an extended saxo-drone and a wave of the hand. Both mics were already set up, and so Kelly came out from the crowd and picked up the guitar. There were a couple songs he played I didn’t recognize — maybe new, maybe covers I couldn’t identify — but his meditative takes on the works of Townes van Zandt are always welcome. He did “Tecumseh Valley” early in the set, but the highlights were cuts from his 2012 Scott Kelly and the Road Home album, The Forgiven Ghost in Me (review here). I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping for “The Field that Surrounds Me,” but “The Sun is Dreaming in the Soul” did just fine, and particularly following “The Ladder in My Blood” from 2008’s solo album, The Wake. “We Let the Hell Come” provided an intense finish to his solo portion — Kelly rocking back and forth behind the mic in a less neck-dislocating fashion than he might on stage with Neurosis, but definitely with a similar rhythmic sensibility — arriving at its title line after gravel-throated incantations for which he backed off the mic about a foot but that still came through clear in their intent and vision.
A similar wave brought Lamont back to the front. Together Kelly and Lamont offered renditions of Townes Van Zandt‘s “The Rake” and Neil Young‘s “Cortez the Killer,” before finishing off with the Corrections House track “Run through the Night,” taken from their 2013 debut, Last City Zero. Standing side-by-side, Kelly‘s guitar and Lamont‘s sax cast a Morricone-style spell over the room, a hard strum spacious with both adding vocals until Lamont, having layered backing “ooh”s, created a sufficient wash and apex that seemed to swell one voice at a time until appropriately consuming. The studio version of that song gets pretty noisy, but live, it was more melodic, and when Kelly got back on mic to whisper out the last few lines, the multi-layer barrage he cut through made it plain that nothing else would follow. They cut out together and the show was over with a quick plug for merch, which had been placed on a table behind them while they played.
It was raining outside when they were done, so I took a quick cab back to my temporary lair and tried to get a night’s sleep. No dice there, but I didn’t the least bit regret how the evening had been spent, whatever it took to get me out the door.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
As it happens, I’m slated to be in Chicago for work the night that Corrections House bandmates Scott Kelly (also Neurosis) and Bruce Lamont (also Yakuza) play the second night of their upcoming solo-set tours. I wouldn’t mind seeing Lamont in front of a hometown crowd, and I’d presume that with Corrections House‘s new album, Know How to Carry a Whip, newly released, a decent portion of what they play when they get together on stage will be drawn, one way or another, from that. Plus, it’s Chicago, so Sanford Parker might be there. Sounds like a good time to me.
Should probably see if I’m actually going to be there before I start solidifying plans, but either way, this one seems like a win:
Neurosis’ SCOTT KELLY And Yakuza’s BRUCE LAMONT Join Forces For November Tour Run
Neurosis’ SCOTT KELLY and Yakuza’s BRUCE LAMONT will join forces later this Fall for a special stretch of US live dates. Set to commence November 10th in Detroit, Michigan, the pair will traverse eleven cities, with the trek coming to a close on November 21st in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Both Kelly and Lamont will be performing material from their respective solo projects as well as tunes from CORRECTIONS HOUSE.
SCOTT KELLY/BRUCE LAMONT: 11/10/2015 Majestic Café – Detroit, MI 11/11/2015 Drawing Room @ The Chicago Athletic Club – Chicago, IL 11/12/2015 Double Happiness – Columbus, OH 11/13/2015 The Acheron – Brooklyn, NY 11/14/2015 Gorman Bros. Music – Syracuse, NY 11/15/2015 Middle East (upstairs) – Boston, MA 11/17/2015 Kung Fu Necktie (late show) – Philadelphia, PA 11/18/2015 Ottobar- Baltimore, MD 11/19/2015 The Funhouse – Jersey City, NJ 11/20/2015 Alternative Gallery – Allentown, PA 11/21/2015 Smiling Moose (late show) – Pittsburgh, PA
SCOTT KELLY (Neurosis, Corrections House) will deliver his signature hymns of pain, reflection and redemption with tracks off his solo outings — the bleakly atmospheric Spirit Bound Flesh and starkly minimalist The Wake as well as The Forgiven Ghost In Me album, released in 2012 under the moniker SCOTT KELLY AND THE ROAD HOME and tunes from the moving Songs Of Townes Van Zandt collection. With a sound that’s at once soulful, morose and healing few artists can manifest with such devout sincerity, when KELLY sits quietly, with his guitar, there’s rarely a dry eye in the room when he bows out at the end.
Multi-instrumentalist and vocal sorcerer BRUCE LAMONT (Yakuza, Corrections House, Led Zeppelin 2) has performed/collaborated with an array of artists throughout his storied career. On this run, Lamont will be performing versions of some of the material on his 2011-issued debut solo album Feral Songs For The Epic Decline as well as newer/unreleased material. As with his previous solo outings, LAMONT will be executing multiple instruments and a plethora of vocal styles, with an incredibly layered looping system that culminates into some of the most entrancing live solo artist work one could ask for.
In addition, both KELLY and LAMONT will unite each evening following their respective sets to deafen the masses with renditions of various CORRECTIONS HOUSE hymns. CORRECTIONS HOUSE – which features within its ranks KELLY, LAMONT, Sanford Parker (Buried At Sea), Mike IX Williams (Eyehategod) and recently institutionalized minister of propaganda, Seward Fairbury — unleashed their long-awaited sophomore full-length, Know How To Carry A Whip, TODAY via Neurot Recordings. A nine-track, forty-five-minute exercise in sonic indecency, the record was captured by Parker alongside Fairbury in a subterranean bunker complex in Vietnam and dispels a disconcerting air of danger, paranoia and looming defeat marked by an inexplicable sense of catharsis.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 6th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
What’s that you say? Only posting Ufomammut dates as an excuse to nerd out over the Malleus poster, marvel at the thought of seeing them play with Suma and pine about how good they were when I saw them in Brooklyn this past May? I resent the suggestion! Okay, no I don’t, but (1:) that poster is frickin’ rad, and “rad” isn’t a word I break out every day, and (2:) they were so gosh darn good this Spring that I feel like even though it was two seasons ago my ears are still ringing from it. They just completely out-doomed the room. And it was a pretty doomy room.
Awesome. Two needless rhymes in one paragraph. Calling it now — this is the post of the day.
Point is…. that Ufomammut continue to support their 2015 cosmos-basher Ecate (review here), which was released through Neurot Recordings, and that doing so only continues to make them stronger, like the Quickening, except instead of cutting someone’s head off, you put in grueling hours of work and waiting on tour and play for like 80 minutes and then get back to selling merch. So maybe not the Quickening. Did I mention how good they were in May?
The PR wire saves my rambling ass:
Ufomammut on the road in support of their latest album Ecate
Italy’s psychedelic doom masters, Ufomammut, are currently touring in support of their latest album Ecate. On the road for the whole of October, the band have already visited France and shall be performing in the UK and Ireland this week before heading to the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and more.
The majestic trio are known to put on a mind-bending live show, with their skilled interlacing of heavy textures, hypnotic tones and striking visual imagery. Such elements build upon each other, until they forge an all-consuming universe for the listener to lose themselves in. Ecate truly showcases Ufomammut’s mesmerising ability to do this. Here are the remaining tour dates:-
UFOMAMMUT ECATE TOUR
OCTOBER 05. Audio – Glasgow (UK) 06. Voodoo – Belfast (UK) 07. Grand Social – Dublin (IRL) 08. Soup Kitchen – Manchester (UK) 09. Islington Academy – London (UK) w/ Jex Thoth 10. Baroeg – Rotterdam (NL) 11. Desert Fest – Antwerp (BE) 13. Loppen – Copenhagen (DK) w/ Suma 14. SofieHof – Jonkoping (SWE) w/ Suma 16. Korjaamo – Helsinki (FIN) w/ Suma 17. Lutakko – Jyväskylä (FIN) w/ Suma 18. Klubi – Tampere (FIN) w/ Suma 20. Geronimo’s – Stockholm (SWE) w/ Suma 21. Blitz – Oslo (NOR) w/ Suma 22. Babel – Malmö (SWE) w/ Suma 23. Marx – Hamburg (DE) 24. Into the Void – Leuwaarden (NL) 25. Underground – Cologne (DE) 27. Bi Nuu – Berlin (DE) 28. Firley – Wroclaw (PL) 29. Ut connewitz – Leipzig (DE) 31. Bauhof – Pettenbach (A)
DECEMBER 11. Traffic – Roma (IT) 12. Alchemica Club – Bologna (IT)
This tour comes on the back of a great year for the band. Following Ecate’s spring release, which was brought to you by Neurosis’ Neurot Recordings, in conjunction with the band’s own Supernatural Cat Records, the band toured Europe which included appearances at both of this year’s Desertfest events in London and Berlin. Not to be stopped, the band then embarked on their first North American tour which saw their debut at Maryland Deathfest.
Orders for Ecate including limited edition vinyl, CD, shirt, and bundle deals are available. In North America stop by the Neurot Recordings store and internationally click to Supernatural Cat’s store.
Posted in Reviews on October 1st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
We’re in the thick of it now. It’s hard sometimes putting these things together to remember that each band has worked incredibly hard to put out an album. I’ve been through that process (once), and so I know it can be harrowing at times between acts going back and forth about recording, what’s included, how to release, when, and so on. There’s a lot to cover this week — and we’re not out of the woods yet — but I hope that, just because each review is short, you don’t take that as a sign I don’t have the utmost respect for the effort that has gone into making each of these releases. It can be a tremendous pain in the ass, but of course it’s worth it when you get to the end product. We continue.
Fall 2015 Quarterly Review #31-40:
We Lost the Sea, Departure Songs
To be blunt, We Lost the Sea’s Departure Songs is the kind of album that immediately makes me want to own everything the band has done, in hard copy, for posterity. The Sydney outfit’s third full-length finds its crux in its two-part closing duo of “Challenger Part 1 – Flight” and “Challenger Part 2 – A Swan Song,” enacting a lush instrumental interpretation of the Space Shuttle Challenger flight and disaster that took place nearly 30 years ago in Jan. 1986. In its progression, patience, flow and discernable narrative thread it is nothing short of brilliant, a lush and sad beauty that serves as a genuinely affecting reminder of the hope for a better future that died with that shuttle’s civilian crew and the era of aspiration that tragedy brought to a close. I think the closing sample is the only time I’ve ever heard Ronald Reagan speak in my adult life and felt something other than anger, and that’s a testament to the ground Departure Songs covers – on the preceding three cuts as well as the final two – and the masterful execution on the part of We Lost the Sea.
There does not yet exist a name for what Finland’s Dark Buddha Rising bring to bear on the two side-consuming tracks of their Neurot Recordings debut and sixth album overall, Inversum. Self-recorded and presented following some shifts in lineup, the album swells to a massive head of bleak, noise-infused psychedelia, fully ritualized and self-aware but still vibrant as it makes its way further and further down into itself. It is bright black, based so much around contrasting ideas of form and tonality that to listen to it, one almost doesn’t believe that the band are accomplishing what they are on an aesthetic level, but the weight, chants, screams, cavernous feel and nod that “Eso” (24:05) and “Exo” (23:52) enact is ultimately real no matter how nightmarish and otherworldly the impression might be. A work that sounds as likely to digest as be digested, it constructs a temple of its own sound and then burns that temple and everything around it in a glorious final push into charred chaos.
Few endorsements carry as much weight for me as that of Germany’s Nasoni Records, so when I see that venerable imprint is on board for the release of Red Mountains’ first album, Down with the Sun, expectations immediately rise. The Norwegian four-piece don’t disappoint, calling forth a heavy psychedelia weighted enough to be immersive without really falling into the trap of sounding too post-Colour Haze or Causa Sui, finding a balance right away on opener “Six Hands” between open-vibe and structured songcraft. They toy with one side or the other, getting crunchy on “Rodents” and tripping out into ambient echoing on the penultimate “Silver Grey Sky,” but that only makes the debut seem all the more promising. Particularly satisfying is the scope between “Sun” and “Sleepy Desert Blues,” which is enough to make the listener think that grunge and desert rock happened in the same place. An engaging and already-on-the-right-track start from a band who sound like they’re only going to continue to grow.
It’s improper to think of Germany’s Black Space Riders as entirely psychedelic if only because that somehow implies a lack of clearheaded consciousness in their work, which as their fourth album, Refugeeum, demonstrates, is the very core tying all the expanses they cover together. As Europe comes to grip with its most dire refugee crisis since World War II, Black Space Riders take their thematic movement from such terrestrial issues (a first for them) and it makes a song like 11-minute centerpiece “Run to the Plains” all the more resonant. Of course, the big-chug groove of “Born a Lion (Homeless)” and the cosmic thrust of the penultimate “Walking Shades” still have a psychedelic resonance, but the balance between the earthly and the otherworldly do well to highlight the progressivism that’s been at work in the band’s sound all along. A considerable undertaking at 61 minutes, Refugeeum is an important step in an ongoing development that has just made another unexpected and welcome turn.
And so, with their third and final outing, III, Portland, Oregon, trio Lamprey reserve their strongest point for their closing argument. The two-bass trio of bassist/vocalist Blaine Burnham (now drumming in Mane of the Cur), bassist Justin Brown (now bass-ing in Witch Mountain) and drummer Spencer Norman recorded the conclusive six-tracker with Adam Pike at Toadhouse (Red Fang, Mammoth Salmon, etc.) and even the slower shifts of “Harpies” and the decidedly Conan-esque “Lament of the Deathworm” breeze right by. Like their two prior releases, 2012’S The Burden of Beasts (review here) and 2011’s Ancient Secrets (review here), III is a showcase of songcraft as much as tone, and it seems to presage its own vinyl reissue, each of the two halves starting with a shorter piece, the opener “Iron Awake” a notably vicious stomp that sets a destructive vibe that the rumble and weirdo keys and leads that finish out “Gaea” seem to be answering, a quick fade bringing an end to an underrated act. They’ll be missed.
If newcomer bruisers Godsleep seem to share some commonality of method with fellow Athenians 1000mods, it’s worth noting that on their debut, Thousand Sons of Sleep, they also share a recording engineer in George Leodis. Fair enough. The big-toned riffing and shouty burl on which Godsleep cast their foundation makes its identity felt in the post-Kyussism of “Thirteen” and stonerly grit of centerpiece “This is Mine,” which follows the extended opening salvo of “The Call,” “Thirteen” and “Wrong Turn,” the latter of which is the longest cut at 9:09 and among its most satisfyingly fuzzed nods. They’re playing to style perhaps, but doing so well, and if you’ve gotta start somewhere, recording live and coming out with a heavy-as-hell groove like what emerges in the second half of “Home” is a good place to start. Godsleep are already a year past from when they recorded Thousand Sons of Sleep in Summer 2014, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a follow-up happened sooner than later.
Slow Joe Crow & the Berserker Blues Band, We are Blues People
Kentucky-based, cumbersomely-named Slow Joe Crow and the Berserker Blues Band may indeed live up to the We are Blues People title of their debut EP, but they’re definitely riff people as well. As such, the four-track sampling of their wares draws from both sides on a cut like opener “No One Else,” the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Austin P. Lunn, bassist Patrick Flanary and drummer Thom Hammerheart in the process of figuring out how much they want to lean to one or the other. They round out with a fuzzy take on the traditional “John the Revelator,” but the earlier “Muddy Water Rising” strikes a more effective and more authentic-feeling balance, leading to the slow jam of “Before I Go,” which adds a ‘70s rock vibe to push the bluesy feel even further and expand the palette in a manner one hopes they continue to pursue as they move forward.
Canadian trio Monobrow follow their 2014 LP, Big Sky, Black Horse (review here) with what’s essentially a new single that finds them continuing to step forward in their approach. Dubbed A Handwritten Letter from the Moon and taking its name from the 8:33 title-track, the Ottawa group’s latest offering finds the instrumental outfit smoothing out the tones a bit, still hitting into raucous grooves, but closer to Truckfighters than their prior brashness. I don’t know if it’s a method they’ll stick to going into their fourth LP next year, but the result is dynamic and suits them well. “A Handwritten Letter from the Moon” comes coupled with “Dyatlov Station 3,” a seven-minute rehearsal-space jam from 2011 that fascinatingly (and I’m sure by no coincidence) showcases some similar classic heavy rock influence. The only real shame of the release is that both these tracks are probably too long to fit on a 7”, since a small platter of vinyl would be a perfect way to hold over listeners until the next album arrives. As it stands, the digital version is hardly roughing it.
French heavy rocking four-piece Denizen issued their decidedly Clutchian debut, Whispering Wild Stories (review here), in 2011, and follow it through Argonauta Records with Troubled Waters, a more individualized 10-track outing that alternates between punkish rawness and classic upbeat grooves. Four years after their first album, their progression hasn’t come at the cost of songwriting, and while they still have work to do in distinguishing themselves in a crowded, varied European market, they deliver the material with an energy and vitality that makes even its familiar parts easy enough to get down with, be it the Southern heavy solo of “Jocelyne” or the meaner bite of “Enter Truckman.” I’ll take the pair of “King of Horses” and “Heavy Rider” as highlights, and remain interested to find out where Denizen head from here, as well as how long it might take them to get there. Four years between records gives Troubled Waters the feel of a second debut as much as a sophomore effort.
Releasing through Candlelight in their native UK, doom metal trio Witchsorrow mark a decade with their third album, No Light, Only Fire. Opener “There is No Light There is Only Fire” seems to nod immediately at Cathedral, with a speedier, chuggier take, and the record proceeds to alternate between shorter and longer tracks en route to the 14-minute closer “De Mysteriis Doom Sabbathas,” cuts like “Negative Utopia” and “Disaster Reality” sailing a black ship past the 10-minute mark on a rumbling sea of riffs and slow motion nod. They break for a minute with the acoustic interlude “Four Candles” before embarking on the finale, and the respite is appreciated once the agonizing undulations of “De Mysteriis Doom Sabbathas” are underway, using nearly every second of their 14:25 to affirm Witchsorrow’s trad doom mastery and bleak, darkened heft. No light? Maybe a little light, but it’s still pretty damn dark, and indeed, it smells like smoke.
Posted in Reviews on September 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Truth be told, I’ve been looking forward to this Quarterly Review since the last one ended. Not necessarily since it clears the deck on reviews to be done — it doesn’t — but just because I feel like in any given week there’s so much more that I want to get to than I’m usually able to fit into posting that it’s been good to be able to say, “Well I’ll do another Quarterly Review and include it there.” Accordingly, there are some sizable releases here, today and over the next four days as well.
If you’re unfamiliar with the project, the idea is over the course of this week, I’ll be reviewing 50 different releases — full albums, EPs, demos, comps, splits, vinyl, tape, CD, digital, etc. Most of them have come out since the last Quarterly Review, which went up early in July, but some are still slated for Oct. or Nov. issue dates. Best to mix it up. My hope is that within this barrage of info, art and music, you’re able to find something that stands out to you and that you enjoy deeply. I know I’ll find a few by the time we’re done on Friday.
Fall 2015 Quarterly Review #1-10:
Steve Von Till, A Life unto Itself
A new Steve Von Till solo outing isn’t a minor happening in any circumstances, but A Life unto Itself reads more like a life event than an album. As ever, the Neurosis guitarist/vocalist puts a full emotional breadth into his material, and as it’s his first record in seven years since 2008’s A Grave is a Grim Horse, there’s plenty to say. Sometimes minimal, sometimes arranged, sometimes both, the seven tracks feature little of the psychedelic influence Von Till brought to his Harvestman project, but use lap steel, strings, electrics, acoustics, keys and of course his meditative, gravelly voice to convey a broad spectrum nonetheless, and cuts like “Chasing Ghosts,” “In Your Wings” and the centerpiece “Night of the Moon” (which actually does veer into the ethereal, in its way) are all the more memorable for it. The richness of “A Language of Blood” and the spaciousness of the drone-meets-sea-shanty closer “Known but Not Named” only underscore how far Von Till is able to range, and how satisfying the results can be when he does.
Bizarro vibes pervade Devil Worshipper’s debut LP, Devil Worshipper, what may or may not be a one-man project from Jeff Kahn (ex-Hideous Corpse, Skeleton of God; spelled here as Jevf Kon), mixed by Tad Doyle and released on Holy Mountain. Based in Seattle (that we do know), the project wields molten tones and slow groove to classic underground metal, heavy psych and bleary moods to hit into oddly cinematic moodiness on “Ash Brume” and even nod at Celtic Frost from a long ways away on closer “Lurker (Death).” Most of the drums are programmed, save for “New Spirit World Order,” “Ash Brume” and “Lurker,” but either way, they only add to the weirdness of the chanting layered vocals of “New Spirit World Order,” and just when it seems like eight-minute second track “Chemrails” will have been as far out as Devil Worshipper gets, side B’s “Desert Grave” takes hold for a five-minute dirge that turns out to be one of the record’s most satisfying rolls, reminiscent of something Rob Crow might’ve done with Goblin Cock on downers. Unexpected and living well in its own space, the album manages to be anchored by its lead guitar work without seeming anchored at all.
So, how many guitars on London trio Dr. Crazy’s 13-minute/four-song EP, 1,000 Guitars? Two, I think. The side-project of Groan vocalist Andreas “Mazzereth” Maslen and Chris West, formerly the drummer of Trippy Wicked and Stubb who here plays guitar and bass while Groan’s former guitarist Mike Pilat handles drums, make a bid for the possibility of playing live in bringing in Pilat to fill the role formerly occupied remotely by Tony Reed of Mos Generator on their 2014 debut EP, Demon Lady. Whether that happens will remain to be seen, but they affirm their ‘80s glam leanings on “Bikini Woman” and keep the message simple on opener “Hands off My Rock and Roll” while “1,000 Guitars” makes the most of guest lead work from Stubb’s Jack Dickinson – he’s the second guitar, alongside West – and yet another infectious Mazzereth-led hook, and well, “Mistress of Business” starts out by asking the titular lady to pull down her pants, so, you know, genius-level satire ensues.
An aggressive core lies beneath the progressivism of German five-piece Linie (actually written as ?inie) on their debut full-length, What We Make Our Demons Do, but the material holds a sense of atmosphere as well. Vocalist/guitarist Jörn is very much at the fore of post-intro opener “Blood on Your Arms,” but as the crux of the album plays out on the chug-happy “Lake of Fire” and “No Ideal,” Linie showcase a wider breadth and bring together elements of post-hardcore à la Fugazi, darker heavy rock and purposefully brooding metal. Comprised of Jörn, guitarist/vocalist Alex, bassist/vocalist Ralph, drummer/vocalist Alex and keyboardist Iggi, the band impress on their first offering with not only how assured they seem of their aesthetic, but the expansive manner in which they present it. Their songwriting is varied in approach but unified in mood and while I don’t know what has them so pissed off on a cut like “Inability,” there’s no question whether they’re putting that anger to good use.
Austrian trio The Heavy Minds make their full-length debut on Stone Free with Treasure Coast, a seven-cut LP that fuzzes up ‘70s swing without going the full-Graveyard in retro vibe. “You’ve Seen it Coming” seems to nod at Radio Moscow, but a more overarching vibe seems to share ideology with Baltimore three-piece The Flying Eyes, the classic rock sensibilities given natural presentation through a nonetheless modern feel in the tracks. The bass tone of Tobias (who also plays guitar at points) alone makes Treasure Coast worth hunting down, but doesn’t prove to be the limit of what the young outfit have to offer, drummer Christoph swinging fluidly throughout “Diamonds of Love” in a manner that foreshadows the emergent roll of “Seven Remains.” That song is part of a closing duo with “Fire in My Veins,” which boasts a satisfying bluesy howl from guitarist Lukas, rounding out Treasure Coast with an organic openness that suits the band well.
Momentum is key when it comes to Road Warriors, the new full-length from Detroit four-piece Against the Grain. They amass plenty of it as they thrust into the 12-track/38-minute rager of an outing, but there are changes to be had in tempo if not necessarily intent. Comprised of bassist/vocalist Chris Nowak, guitarist/vocalist Kyle Davis, guitarist Nick Bellomo and drummer Rob Nowak, the band actually seems more comfortable on fifth-gear cuts like “’Til We Die,” “What Happened,” the first half of “Afraid of Nothing” or the furious “Run for Your Life” than they do in the middle-ground of “Guillotine” and “Night Time,” but slowing down on “Sirens” and “Eyes” allows them to flex a more melodic muscle, and that winds up enriching the album in subtle and interesting ways. If you want a clue as to the perspective from which they’re working, they start with “Here to Stay” and end with “Nothing Left to Lose.” Everything between feels suitably driven by that mission statement.
Angel Eyes, Things Have Learnt to Walk that Ought to Crawl
With the ‘t’ and the ‘ought’ in its title, Angel Eyes’ posthumous third full-length, Things Have Learnt to Walk that Ought to Crawl, brims with oddly rural threat. Like the things are people. The Chicago outfit unfold two gargantuan cascades of atmosludge on “Part I” (15:54) and “Part II” (19:18), pushing their final recording to toward and beyond recommended minimums and maximums as regards intensity. They called it quits in 2011, so to have the record surface four years later and be as blindsidingly cohesive as it is actually makes it kind of a bummer, since it won’t have a follow-up, but the work Angel Eyes are doing across these two tracks – “Part I” getting fully blown-out before shifting into the quiet opening of “Part II” – justifies the time it’s taken for it to be released. They were signed to The Mylene Sheath, but Things is an independent, digital-only outing for the time being, though its structure and cover feel ripe for vinyl. Who knows what the future might bring.
Textured, hypnotic and downright gorgeous in its psychedelic melancholy, Baron’s Torpor is a record that a select few will treasure deeply and fail to understand the problem as to why the rest of the planet isn’t just as hooked. A thoroughly British eight-track full-length – their second, I believe, but first for Svart – Torpor creates and captures spaces simultaneously on organ-infused pieces like “Mark Maker,” executing complex transitions fluidly and feeding into an overarching ambience that, by the time they get around to the eight-minute “Stry,” is genuinely affecting in mood and beautifully engrossing. The Brighton/Nottingham four-piece fuzz out a bit on “Deeper Align,” but the truth is that Torpor has much more to offer than a single genre encapsulates and those that miss it do so to their own detriment. I mean that. Its patience, its poise and its scope make Torpor an utter joy of progressive flourish and atmosphere with a feel that is entirely its own. I could go on.
So get this. For their first EP, Swedish trio Creedsmen Arise – guitarist Emil, drummer Simon and bassist Gustaf (since replaced by Jonte) – have taken it upon themselves to pen a sequel to Sleep’s Dopesmoker that, “tells the story about what happened centuries after the Dopesmoker Caravan and it’s [sic] Weedians reached their destination.” Admirably ballsy terrain for the three-piece to tread their first time out. It’s like, “Oh hey, here’s my first novel – it’s Moby Dick from the whale’s perspective.” The three tracks of the Temple EP are fittingly schooled in Iommic studies, but the band almost undercuts itself because they don’t just sound like Sleep. They have their own style. Yeah, it’s riffy stoner metal, but it’s not like they’re doing an Al Cisneros impression on vocals, so while the concept is derived directly, the sound doesn’t necessarily completely follow suit. Between the 10-minute opening title- and longest-track (immediate points), “Herbal Burial” and “Circle of Clergymen,” Creedsmen Arise make perhaps a more individualized statement than they intended, but it’s one that bodes well.
Nola’s cool and all, but when it comes to the nastiest, most misanthropic, fucked-up sludge, choosy moms choose Ohio, and Deadly Sin (Sloth) are a potent example of why. Their Demo Discography tape revels in its disconcerting extremity and seems to grind regardless of whether the Xenia, OH, trio are actually playing fast. Comprised of Jay Snyder, Wilhelm Princeton and Kyle Hughes, Deadly Sin (Sloth) cake themselves in mud that will be familiar to anyone who’s witnessed Fistula on a bender or Sloth at their most pill-popping, but do so with sub-lo-fi threat on the tape and are so clearly intentional in their effort to put the listener off that one could hardly call their demos anything but a victory. Will not be for everyone, but of course that’s the idea. This kind of viciousness is a litmus test that would do justice to any basement show, maddening in its nod and mean well beyond the point of reason.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 31st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
If it seems like a lot of records are hitting right at the end of October, you’re right. Add Corrections House to your list with Vhöl, Baron, Saviours, Hooded Menace, All Them Witches, and With the Dead and Kylesa earlier in the month — as well as seven or eight others I’m sure I can’t think of off the top of my head — as the dark, semi-industrial supergroup will issue their second album, Know How to Carry a Whip, via Neurot on Oct. 23. And if you think there’s any chance Corrections House will have trouble sticking out from the pack, you probably didn’t hear their debut, Last City Zero. I won’t even feign an attempt at speculation as to what the second record might sound like, but it doesn’t seem daring in the slightest to imagine it’ll make its impact felt.
The PR wire brings art and album details:
CORRECTIONS HOUSE To Unleash Know How To Carry A Whip Full-Length This October Via Neurot Recordings; Artwork + Track Listing Undraped
“Who made Hell… Hell made Who…” – “I Was Never Good At Meth,” CORRECTIONS HOUSE
CORRECTIONS HOUSE will unleash their long-anticipated, sophomore full-length, Know How To Carry A Whip, this October via Neurot Recordings. Darker, denser, and more despairing than their 2013-issued Last City Zero predecessor, the nine-track, forty-five-minute audio apocalypse was captured by the band’s own Sanford Parker (Minsk) and recently institutionalized minister of propaganda, Seward Fairbury, in Vietnam. The record boasts a guest appearance by Negative Soldier and finds CORRECTIONS HOUSE – which features the fiery lineup of Parker, Fairbury, Scott Kelly (Neurosis), Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) and Mike IX Williams (Eyehategod) — at their most punishing, painting electronic mosaics of deviance and decadence with brushes made of bristles of the damned.
Immersed in experiences of longing and loneliness from the depths of their collectively decaying hearts, each movement contained within CORRECTIONS HOUSE’s Know How To Carry A Whip reveals a new, unsettling sentiment of danger, paranoia and looming defeat. An underlying theme of confinement and release bridges each track. Atmospheric and haunting; hypnotic and pulsing, songs writhe and wither, decay and peel. Distorted, doomed and oft static sodden, discordant and tribal, twined around Williams’ unassailable manic street preacher prose and intermittently juxtaposed by the smooth, cradling sounds of Lamont’s lingering saxophone, Know How To Carry A Whip is at once bleak, grey, glacially devastating and metaphysically cathartic. “The music is simultaneously suffocating and freeing,” expounds Kelly, “but it also has the energy of a whirling dervish.”
In a rare, lucid skype transmission from the mental facility in which he currently resides. Fairbury further elaborates of the production, “the songs typically originate from the loops and beats that are generated from Sanford, then the skeleton of riffs are built by Scott and Bruce. Mike IX adds his profound observations and I do the final production. These new songs are far more developed and fluid then the first record. There is a prevailing groove that dominates.” (Fairbury, who was missing briefly last year, obsessed with seeking clarity and understanding beyond Who, What and Why we are to ultimately expose The Truth, continues his downward spiral towards madness and despair. Allegedly plotting an elaborate escape, Fairbury plans to rejoin CORRECTIONS HOUSE in their systematic propagation of auditory abuse later this year.)
Know How To Carry A Whip Track Listing: 1. Crossing My One Good Finger 2. Superglued Tooth 3. White Man’s Gonna Lose 4. Hopeless Moronic 5. Visions Divide 6. The Hall Of Cost 7. When Push Comes To Shank 8. I Was Never Good At Meth 9. Burn The Witness
CORRECTIONS HOUSE methodically creates and destroy through sonic disease and transcendent musical deconstruction. All things in all ways. There is nothing else. Know How To Carry A Whip will be released worldwide on October 23rd, 2015 via Neurot Recordings.
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