Posted in Whathaveyou on May 28th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
If the response to the track streamed here is anything to go by, the Neurot debut from Arkansas-based Iron Tongue, The Dogs Have Barked, the Birds Have Flown, arrives with no shortage of advance fanfare, but might still prove a creeper to the general public. Catching immediate attention because of Rwake‘s Chris “CT” Terry in the frontman role, the moody Southern grooves and heavy vibes nonetheless carve out their own identity across the album’s seven cuts, and it was for that reason I thought the record was worth a release date plug. The Dogs Have Barked, the Birds Have Flown is out now.
PR wire info and a live clip of opener “Ever After” follow here:
IRON TONGUE Debut Out Today Via Neurot!
Neurot Recordings is pleased to release the debut from Arkansas southern rock collective IRON TONGUE! Fronted by Chris “CT” Terry, the founding frontman of sludge legion Rwake, IRON TONGUE formed when a group of veteran players with diverse musical backgrounds found a common interest in the need to get down and dirty and way, way gone.
Churning a soulful blend of girthy, heavily amped, blues-based rock, IRON TONGUE aren’t singing of magical moonlit escapades. The band offer up songs of pain, regret and heartache that recall everything from the proto-metal stomp of Blue Cheer and Grand Funk to the darkest hours of Kiss, Deep Purple, Buddy Guy and ‘Skynyrd. Having spent over three years performing steadily throughout the South, IRON TONGUE has traversed the Midwest and East Coast with Memphis kindred spirits The Dirty Streets, in addition to sharing bills with the likes of Black Tusk, Scott Kelly, The Sword, High on Fire, Crowbar, The Body, Lita Ford and fellow Arkansans Pallbearer. A split 7” with The Dirty Streets, featuring a ballsy version of KISS’s “Two Timer” served as a precursor to the creation their debut full-length for Neurot.
Titled The Dogs Have Barked, The Birds Have Flown, the seven track offering was recorded and produced by soundsmith Billy Anderson (Melvins, Sleep, Neurosis, etc) at IRON TONGUE guitarist Jason Tedford’s Wolfman Studios. Called “a solid slab of balls to the wall shameless rock, with a power and an edge and soul that rarely exists in music today,” by Neurosis’ Steve Von Till, The Dogs Have Barked, The Birds Have Flown is set for release via Neurot Recordings on May 27th in Europe and May 28th in North America.
Comments drummer Stan James of joining the Neurot family: “IRON TONGUE is excited and honored to be a part of the Neurot team! We are looking forward to working hard every step of the way and we are committed to making music that everyone will be proud of.”
IRON TONGUE: Jason Tedford – Guitar Mark Chiaro – Guitar Andy Warr – Bass Stan James – Drums CT – Vocals JR Top – Keyboards Stephanie Smittle – Backing Vocals
Posted in audiObelisk on April 16th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Those looking for similarities between Iron Tongue‘s full-length debut, The Dogs Have Barked, the Birds Have Flown, and frontman Chris “CT” Terry‘s work in post-doomers Rwake will find them few and far between — but not completely absent. Terry is joined in the Little Rock, Arkansas-based six-piece by backing vocalist Stephanie Smittle, guitarists Jason Tedford and Mark Chiaro, bassist Andy Warr and drummer Stan James and he brings to his approach a style of clean-sung but still throaty shouts, at times veering toward that bottom-of-the-mouth soul that Phil Anselmo brought to Down II, but as on the centerpiece “Moon Unit,” he finds his own personality within the material as well. Pacing also helps — Skynyrd by way of Crowbar — and where so much Southern heavy is bent on ZZ Top riffs rehashed at double-speed, Iron Tongue keep their grooves slow, coupling Tedford and Chiaro‘s trodden guitar work with organ textures and Warr‘s consuming low end.
But for the earlier “Witchery” — distinguished by the line, “The cocaine has a lock on my brain,” which opens the chorus — and the stomping finale “Said ‘n’ Done,” most of The Dogs Have Barked, the Birds Have Flown keep the workingman’s downer feel set by opener “Ever After,” Smittle‘s vocals coming on in layers to introduce a key element in Iron Tongue‘s approach: the band’s unabashed penchant for melody. They could’ve easily started the record with a rager, but if the title wasn’t enough of a hint, they clearly wanted to make it plain that there’s more to what they do than redundant burl and dudely posturing in songs about drinking. So be it. Likewise, the penultimate cut on The Dogs Have Barked, the Birds Have Flown, “7 Days,” summarizes much of the record’s emotionality before the final rush of “Said ‘n’ Done,” nestling into a mid-paced groove over which Terry delivers some of his most effective work, answered in the chorus by Smittle to result in one of the best hooks present throughout.
Obviously Terry‘s tenure in Rwake is going to earn at least a mention when it comes to Iron Tongue‘s work, but the album — cumbersomely titled as it is — makes no bones about establishing its own context and working on its own merits in establishing an atmosphere and constructing a genuine sonic breadth out of slow riffs, organic production, Southern woes and heaviness that goes beyond the tonal. As a piece of the whole, I think “7 Days” represents these aspects well, and I’m thrilled to be able to premiere the track on the player below.
The Dogs Have Barked, the Birds Have Flown is due out May 28 in North America (day before in Europe) on Neurot Recordings. Please enjoy:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Iron Tongue‘s debut, The Dogs Have Barked, the Birds Have Flown, was recorded at Jason Tedford‘s Wolfman Studios by Billy Anderson. More info at the following links:
Posted in Reviews on January 21st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
I caught the light at just the right time as I was leaving the house to see Neurosis at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple, and it wound up being one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen in my humble river valley. Five minutes earlier or five minutes later and I’d have missed it. I took a picture before I got in the car and before I was up the hill out, felt the need to stop the car in the middle of the street and grabanother on my phone. Right place, right time.
The show itself was the same deal. I made it to Brooklyn in what I actually consider a record 85 minutes, and got to the Masonic Temple in time to stand with the early part of the line for a little over an hour. When doors opened, I headed immediately to the merch table, around which the 10 or so people in front of me on line also swarmed, and then made my way to the front, where I planted. For the night. I got a spot in front of one of the speakers and remained there for the night, through openers Carlos Giffoni and James Plotkin & Tim Wyskida and for the whole of Neurosis‘ 90-plus-minute set. So once more, right place, right time.
Giffoni has collaborated with the likes of Merzbow and Thurston Moore, and both Plotkin and Wyskida were in Khanate (though one might more readily recognize Plotkin‘s name as preceded with the phrase “Mastered By,” as a constant stream of albums seem to be), so I expected a barrage of noise and that’s pretty much what both parties delivered. Working on a foldout table across a range of modular synths and manipulators, Giffoni assaulted the early arrivals with a wash of static, beeps, bloops and beats. Plotkin & Wyskida were, relatively speaking, more traditional, with the former running loops on his guitar through a Sunn Beta Bass amp and Wyskida peppering and accenting the improv creations on drums.
It would be a stretch to draw a line between what they were doing and Khanate, but had Alan Dubin taken the stage to start screaming, it might have resulted in a less sparse version of some of the same psychological dysfunction. Hardly a thrilling stage show, but it worked for what it was, and set the course for the evening’s volume level, which would only increase when Neurosis actually took the stage. Masonic Temple gave out free earplugs, if that’s any indicator. I don’t remember if they did the same when Sleep played in 2010, but it was the right call, anyway.
There had been some word lamenting the lack of Josh Graham‘s visuals behind and around the band while they played, and I get where that’s coming from, but really, the once every two, three or four years I might get to see Neurosis do a show, I’m there for the music and the visceral, affecting sounds blasting full bore from the stage. I didn’t feel like anything was missing watching them. Quite the opposite. As a fan, it was interesting to see them play with lights on, and made the songs seem even rawer in their presentation than they otherwise might, which for a set sandwiched by “Eye” and “Locust Star,” both from 1996′s Through Silver in Blood, worked to their benefit.
As expected, the still-fresh 2012 release, Honor Found in Decay(review here), featured heavily, and rightly so. One wouldn’t expect to trod out “the hits” — like Scott Kelly or Steve Von Till is going to stand at the mic and go, “How’s everyone feelin’ tonight? Here’s one off Souls atZero!” — and in fact, neither of them said a word to the crowd the whole night. They began “Eye” without ceremony and ended “Locust Star” in the same, albeit noisier, fashion, with the only real direct contact between band and audience being from drummer Jason Roeder, who clasped his hands and bowed his head in a gesture of thanks on his way off stage. That might have seemed strange to anyone who’d never seen the band before, but it’s how they do, and again, without the visuals, it made even more sense. All there was, was the music, the performance. That’s what you get.
The would-be asterisk point to make here is that Neurosis put more of themselves physically and emotionally into their performance than any band I’ve ever watched on a stage. As influential as their recorded output has been, their live show — immediately made a special occasion for how infrequently one might occur — is entirely their own, and however inhuman(e) the audio might seem upon receipt, their delivery is almost painfully human. This goes to the core of the most prevalent misconception about Neurosis and why no post-metal act in their wake has been able to capture the same sort of power: It’s them.
Whether it’s Dave Edwardson running in circles like a madman, throwing his bass around his body and jumping on mic for an occasional growl that wouldn’t be out of place over Napalm Death at their most classic, or synth/sample specialist Noah Landis swaying to the noise and looking like his head is about to explode with every keystroke, the steady presence of Roeder behind, Kelly‘s grimaced screaming and rhythmic shoulder-banging contortions or Von Till‘s weathered expressiveness in his vocals and guitar, these moments, “cherished and driven,” are wholly their own. It wouldn’t work with anyone else.
Following Honor Found in Decay‘s explosive “My Heart for Deliverance,” the slowly creeping “At the End of the Road” from 2007′s Given to the Risingand the title-track of 1999′s Times of Gracemade for a fitting pair, the former rife with a mounting intensity and the latter paying it off with thrust that even Giffoni‘s low-end pulsations had done little to presage. I wanted to pay particular attention to Landis, whose contributions to the latest album were a standout element throughout, and the tension brought to the drones between songs and within them proved likewise to be a key and previously underappreciated factor in the live experience.
Since most of what Neurosis puts on their albums is captured as live as possible, the arrangement and mix of their stage show is roughly the same. I remember seeing them at Philly’s TLA in 2004, watching “Burn” from that year’s The Eye of Every Stormand saying, “Perfect,” out loud when it was over. It may or may not have been, but either way, I had the order wrong. It’s the records capturing the live show, not the live show mirroring the records. They didn’t play anything off The Eye of Every Storm this time through at the Masonic Temple, returning to Given to the Risingafter “Times of Grace” for the bleak and agonizing “Distill (Watching the Swarm)” – Roeder‘s drums here were a highlight driving the enveloping churn — before the quiet opening of “At the Well” from the new album brought Von Till to the fore vocally.
By then, I’d lost track of time. If you had told me they’d been on for 15 minutes, I’d have believed it, but they were about halfway through their set by the end of “At the Well,” as Von Till and Kelly traded off lead vocal parts and came together periodically. “The Tide” from 2001′s A Sun that Never Setswas a surprise inclusion and something else I couldn’t recall ever seeing them play before along with “Times of Grace,” but its slow build wasn’t out of place between “At the Well” and Honor Found in Decay opener “We all Rage in Gold,” which probably had the most straightforward groove of the night, centered around a strong riff and memorable verse from Kelly, delivered with pull-your-earplugs-out passion.
Landis once again took the lead with the foreboding intro section of “Bleeding the Pigs,” which Von Till used as a bed for tense guitar and more subdued initial vocals before the second half launched into extended pummel enough to justify the song’s position as centerpiece and a high point of Honor Found in Decay, soon brought back to ground by “Given to the Rising,” Kelly leading through the beginning progression into darker ethereal terrain. I’d been keeping tabs with the setlist by the side of Landis‘ setup, so I knew they were almost done and that only earth, sky and “Locust Star” remained. Every now and again, the press of the crowd (I hadn’t turned around in about two hours, but at some point the room filled up to sold-out capacity) was enough to push me into the speaker placed in front of the stage, but I wasn’t going to leave that spot.
When they finished “Given to the Rising,” I put my camera down and just watched “Locust Star.” It was a conscious decision in an attempt to put as little as possible between myself and the song. Like leaving when I did, waiting at the door, the earplugs and getting up front, this too was the right choice. The ringing tones at the start, Roeder‘s drums behind the contemplative guitar, it all exploded about a minute in and there was no turning back. Compared to some of Neurosis‘ compositions over the course of their career, “Locust Star” is a blip at under six minutes, but what they pack into that time has made it one of their most lasting works. If nothing else, the Through Silver in Bloodtrack made for a fitting summation of the set preceding, with Edwardson‘s bass holding powerful sway amid Kelly‘s vocals, the ferociousness of the chorus, the sheer aural push and the sudden stop. The lights stayed low for a couple minutes after they were done, as though the venue itself wasn’t sure the show was actually over.
Likewise, at first I was unwilling to move. Roeder expressed his thanks after everyone else had gone and before long the house lights were up. Before longer, I was outside, and before longest, leaving Brooklyn, relieved, smiling. I’d been anxious before the show, but all the things I worried about not working out exactly as I’d hoped did, and that tension was no match for Neurosis‘ sonic assault. That’s why some people go to church. All the more appropriate the show happened at a temple.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 21st, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Apparently I missed a few pieces of news while I was spending eight and a half hours putting together my Top 20 yesterday, so in an effort to get caught up, here are the latest additions to Neurosis‘ shows in support of Honor Found in Decay– which, as fate would have it, featured prominently in the aforementioned list. I look forward to nerding out at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple,and if you were fortunate enough to catch them last time they were there, you should too.
The PR wire is wise in the ways of tour dates:
NEUROSIS Authenticates Additional 2013 Live Actions
Details On Vinyl Pressing Of Honor Found In Decay Released
NEUROSIS continues to confirm new live actions in support of the band’s tenth studio opus, Honor Found In Decay.
Following recent announcements on the outfit’s upcoming performances in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle, NEUROSIS have just proclaimed additional 2013 on-stage manifestations, with new shows in Brooklyn and Philadelphia planned for January, as well as Denver and Austin in February. Support acts for these new concerts are all being confirmed now, in addition to even more live performances.
The band has also been confirmed for 2013’s installment of the massive Hellfest festival in Clisson, France. The immense gathering runs from June 21st through 23rd, and will see NEUROSIS sharing the stage with Kiss, ZZ Top, Down, Bad Religion, At The Gates, Kreator and hundreds more.
A release date and further details on the anticipated vinyl edition of Honor Found In Decay have also been disclosed this week. This deluxe 2xLP pressing of the album will be unleashed February 5th in North America, February 8th in Germany/Benelux/Finland and February 11th in the UK/World, via Relapse Records/Neurot Recordings, and will be packaged in a gorgeous Stoughton tip-on gatefold jacket and accompanied by a stunning 16-page LP-sized booklet. The audio was cut directly from the original studio master tapes and pressed on 180-gram vinyl, which will be available in five different colors: 2000 on black, 1000 on translucent smoke grey, 500 on translucent yellow, 500 on translucent orange, and 100 on clear, not available to the public.
Preorders can be placed via Neurot and Relapse now!
NEUROSIS Honor Found In Decay Live Actions: 12/29/2012 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA w/ Rwake, USX, Primate 12/30/2012 The Metro – Chicago, IL w/ Bloodiest, The Atlas Moth 1/04/2013 Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, CA w/ Savage Republic, Ides of Gemini 1/05/2013 Showbox at the Market – Seattle, WA w/ Tragedy, Black Breath, Stoneburner 1/19/2013 Brooklyn Masonic Temple – Brooklyn, NY 1/20/2013 Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA 2/16/2013 Summit Music Hall – Denver, CO 2/17/2013 Emo’s East – Austin, TX 6/21/2013 Hellfest – Clisson, France
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 28th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Some good news from the Neurosis camp and hopefully more to come. Though the band announced yesterday they’d parted ways with visual artist Josh Graham, they’ve just unveiled some new live dates via the PR wire for a lucky handful of people in L.A., Seattle and Atlanta. Dig it:
NEUROSIS: New Stateside Live Actions Declared
NEUROSIS has this week disclosed details on new pending live actions across the country in support of Honor Found In Decay.
Newly locked-down NEUROSIS performances are now set to take place late this year into the first week of 2013 in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Seattle, with tickets for all three shows set to go on sale this Friday, November 30th. Direct ticket links for these shows are posted below, and even more additional tour actions for the group will be announced in the days ahead.
Following their massive, recent release show for Honor Found In Decay in Oakland, this week the collective have traversed the Atlantic for two special UK performances, at ATP’s Nightmare Before Christmas hosted by Steve Albini’s band Shellac, followed by a show in London with support from Godflesh.
As critical acclaim of Honor Found In Decay continues to pour in, extensive and in-depth coverage from respected outlets including a feature on the band’s most detrimental influences at Spin, as well as a massive installment of The Out Door at Pitchfork, not to mention dozens of new reviews praising the album have posted. This follows the main cover feature from Decibel Magazine, the main cover feature of The Aquarian Weekly and outstanding new live footage from the Honor Found In Decay record release show.
UK Honor Found In Decay Performances:
11/30-12/02/2012 ATP’s Nightmare Before Christmas – Camber Sands Holiday Camp, England 12/02/2012 HMV Forum – London, England w/ Godflesh
*NEW – Honor Found In Decay American Live Actions:
12/29/2012 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA 1/04/2013 Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, CA 1/05/2013 Showbox at the Market – Seattle, WA
You know how it is. Sometimes you wake up naked in the woods just as the heavy part kicks in on an Amenra song. You start to wonder around slowly and find a potato sack dress, so you put it on and go down to the stream to brush your teeth or take a hobo bath or whathaveyou. But hey, here’s a dead bird, so you pick it up and lay down with it on your belly and it takes about nine minutes and that’s the video for Amenra‘s “Boden – Spijt.” There you have it.
The track comes off Amenra‘s Neurot Recordings debut, Mass V, which is expected to plant a heavy-foot down on Nov. 27. All kidding aside, the song is pretty killer and worth checking out. Find it below, followed by the lyrics and the latest off the PR wire:
AMENRA Release New Video From Pending Neurot Recordings Debut
After stealing the show at Damnation Festival in Leeds this past weekend, AMENRA are firmly focused on the release of their new studio album Mass Vwhich will see the cold light of day later this month on November 27th via Neurot Recordings.
Having recently showcased their album opener “Dearborn and Buried” via their official Soundcloud page, we explode into the new week with the album’s second track “Boden,” complete with lyrics and accompanying video.
“Boden” lyrics: carry within a fear that blossoms on skin forever alone sorrow says bury my bones carry within regret for everything tear old pain away I renounce this day and I renounce every wound made in my flesh made by my flesh are you awake? what did you see? I’m a sudden hissing, right behind your ear. a white noise but it’s quiet now I am reason I am fear inflict. I call out and you fear me I call out and all the brothers in the world they hear me but the pain remains the same
AMENRA Confirmed Live Rituals: 12/01/2012 Db’s – Utrecht, NL @ Le Guess Who Festival w/ Oathbreaker 12/22/2012 Ancienne Belgique – Brussels, Belgium *record release show w/ Oathbreaker, TBHR, Scott Kelly 1/11/2013 Machinefabriek – Groningen, Netherlands @ Eurosonic Festival 2/10/2013 De Kreun – Kortrijk, Belgium w/ Eleanora 2/16/2013 Perron – Ieper, Belgium @ Winterfest 2/22/2013 Burgerweeshuis – Deventer, Netherlands w/ TBHR 2/24/2013 Mod – Hasselt, Belgium w/ Hessian 4/19/2013 Patronaat Church – Tilburg, Netherlands @ Roadburn Festival
European Tour 2013: 4/25/2013 Glazart – Paris, France w/ TBHR 4/26/2013 Epicerie Moderne– Lyon, France 4/27/2013 Boulevard Rock Club – Misano Adriatico (RN), Italy 4/28/2013 Traffic live club – Roma, Italy 4/29/2013 Lo Fi club – Milano, Italy 4/30/2013 Gaswerk – Winterthur, Switzerland 5/01/2013 Arena – Wenen, Austria 5/02/2013 Feierwerk – Munchen, Germany 5/03/2013 Conne Island – Leipzig, Germany w/ Syndrome 5/04/2013 Klub Firlej – Wroclaw, Poland @ Asymmetry Festival 5/05/2013 TBA – Germany 5/26/2012 Stuk – Leuven, Belgium w/ Oathbreaker
Posted in Features on October 26th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Talking to Neurosis is always an educational experience. This time, in conversation with guitarist/vocalist Steve Von Till, I learned that the processes by which the band makes records — specifically, the process that resulted in their latest album, Honor Found in Decay (review here) — isn’t as clean as one might think. Von Till calls it a “chaos process,” and that’s as apt a descriptor as I can come up with going by his recounting of how it all works. Where my impulse in listening to songs like “We all Rage in Gold” and “Bleeding the Pigs” is to hear either Von Till or fellow guitarist/vocalist Scott Kelly (recent interview here) at the fore and assume that whoever’s taking the lead at the moment wrote that song or that part, that’s not necessarily the case. Von Till stresses the group, the collective, and in the end, the search for or the need to put a structural idea to it says more about the listener than the band, who apparently are compelled to no such thing.
Still, there are practical considerations. A Neurosis album doesn’t just happen to take shape out of some foggy ether — if it did, Honor Found in Decayprobably would’ve followed much sooner on the heels of 2007′s Given to the Rising. It’s a gritty, emotional process and gritty, emotional music, but it takes a tremendous amount of back and forth to put together, and with members spread as far out as Idaho, Oregon and California’s Bay Area, it’s not like they can all get together in a rehearsal space three times a week and collaborate. Small groups meet, ideas are emailed back and forth, but when it comes to actually being in the same room at the same time, Von Till puts it bluntly: “Couple times a year.”
In that context, Honor Found in Decayis all the more striking. Of course, the full band — Von Till, Kelly, bassist Dave Edwardson, drummer Jason Roeder and keyboardist/sampler Noah Landis – came together to finalize the album’s seven component tracks before entering the studio with Steve Albini at the helm as engineer for the fifth time. But even so, as much as some acts agonize and argue over parts and what should go where and how many times, Neurosis in their 27th year as a band make the most of their limited hours and days together, resulting in material that’s not only characteristic of what they do or what their style is, but advances their aesthetic further, smoothing out the transitions and contrasts between heavy riffing and sparse ambience, allowing room for melodies to flourish in deconstructed atmospheres and a pervasive sense of darkness.
Von Till discusses it as well, but in that particularly, Landis is more integral to Honor Found inDecaythan he’s ever been to a Neurosis album. Both Given to the Risingand its predecessor, 2004′s The Eye of Every Storm gave hints of the depths of Landis‘ contributions, but with the new record, his manipulations are every bit as essential as the guitars, bass or drums, and it’s important to understand that these things aren’t plotted in the sense of Kelly or Von Till stepping back and saying, “Alright, now we’re gonna do this with the sampler.” It’s what comes out of that chaos process, that collaboration with the whole band, it’s no different for Landis than it is for anyone else in Neurosis.
In the interview that follows, Von Till talks about putting the album together, from the songwriting to the concepts behind the Josh Graham cover art, the continued relationship with Albini, the contrast between the tension of pummeling churn and open musical spaces, the prospects for live shows in the coming months to support the record, his Harvestman and solo projects, the growth of the band’s label, Neurot Recordings, and much more.
The complete 4,400-word Q&A is after the jump. Please enjoy.
I’m not sure how much there is left to say about the magnitude of the work Italian space doom trio Ufomammut has done. The sense I get now in listening to the two full-length albums that comprise the whole of Oro, their Neurot Recordings debut, is that they’ll probably have another record out before this one is fully comprehended. One might have said the same thing about 2010′s Eve as well, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Broken into the two parts Oro – Opus Primum(review here) and Oro – Opus Alter(review here), Ufomammut‘s latest outing has them continuing to plunder the reaches of tonal space. Their sounds are far-out psychedelic even as they seem to bear a tectonic crunch, like plates moving continents. Bassist/vocalist/keyboardist Urlo, guitarist/keyboardist Poia and drummer Vita have persistent as a set trio since 1999, and have never failed to outdo their prior work on the subsequent outing.
The strata that’s put them into, however, is entirely their own. Eve– which was preceded by 2008′s Idolum, also one of that year’s best — was one long composition broken into individual pieces. Orois one album broken into two releases. Do you see where this is going? In a few years, Ufomammut will be issuing 10LP box sets each time out. Maybe not, but what matters most of all is that as the scale of their work has expanded, so has their creative scope, and Orois the most vibrant Ufomammut release to date. One would have to expect no less.
I waited to interview the band until Oro – Opus Alterwas released so that the full project could be discussed, and today I have the sincere pleasure of hosting both that Q&A and a video premiere for Ufomammut‘s self-made clip for the track “Sulphurdew.” Similar to how opening track “Empireum” from Oro – Opus Primum made its way to the public, “Sulphurdew” arrives as a YouTube clip constructed by the Malleus Rock Art Lab, of which Urlo — who fielded these questions — and Poia are a part.
You’ll find both the “Sulphurdew” video and the complete Q&A after the jump. Please enjoy.
Posted in Features on August 17th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Listening to Scott Kelly and the Road Home‘s The Forgiven Ghost in Me, it’s almost like Kelly — best known as the guitarist/vocalist of Neurosis — can’t escape the heavy. One doesn’t often think of folk-derived stripped-down singer-songwriterisms as being especially weighted, but even through lyrics about near-religious redemption and forgiveness, there’s a sense the spirit remains heavy. And more, the delivery remains heavy. Kelly, who is joined in The Road Home by guitarist/vocalist Greg Dale and Neurosis keyboardist Noah Landis and whose songcraft is at the core of the project, seems to just bleed the stuff.
Certainly the vast majority of his output over the last 25-plus years would bear that out, but more perhaps on The Forgiven Ghost in Me(review here) than ever before in Kelly‘s career, that sense of weight is given a counterbalance. Sure, tracks like “Within it Blood,” “We Let the Hell Come” and “The Field that Surrounds Me” — which features guests Josh Graham (A Storm of Light, also Neurosis‘ visuals) on guitar and Jason Roeder (Neurosis, Sleep) on drums — have darkened and foreboding atmospheres, but there’s an answer to them in “We Burn through the Night” and “A Spirit Redeemed to the Sun,” or even the title-track, “The Forgiven Ghost in Me.” One need only to look at the titles and find images of hell, blood, burning, the sun and fire, to get a sense of the penance that has been the price of even this partial redemption, but it’s there, anyway.
But more than this offsetting defeat and triumph, The Forgiven Ghost in Meis about the songs themselves. It is a gorgeous listen, reveling in its moodier moments but never quite letting go of its sullen melodicism. Flourishes of tape noise on the darker “Within it Blood” may seem on paper to work against, say, the deep breath that starts off the album before “A Spirit Redeemed to the Sun” begins, but in the actual listen, it’s fluid. Kelly is talking about the sharing of influences below when he posits that, “Music is a stream,” but you could just as easily apply that to the context of these songs and how he’s positioned them on the album.
In the interview that follows, Kelly discusses that positioning process, as well as his songwriting and what it was in these songs that seemed to warrant the input of Dale and Landis, as opposed to his 2008 outing, The Wake, which was directly a solo affair, and what separates Scott Kelly and the Road Home from his prior non-Neurosis collaboration with Landis in Blood and Time, and much more. Neurosis have a new album due for release in October called Honor Found in Decay (info here), but I wanted to focus this conversation more on The Forgiven Ghost in Meand the impact Kelly‘s solo work has had on a heavy underground that might not otherwise have so readily discovered the likes of Townes Van Zandt, to whom Kelly, Neurosis bandmate Steve Von Till and Shrinebuilder bandmate and acoustic tourmate Scott “Wino” Weinrich paid homage on the Songs of Townes Van Zandtthree-way split (track stream here) just a few months back.
He was as brutally honest in conversation as he is in his songwriting, as regards his work, what goes into it from and through him, and the influence it’s had on others.
You’ll find the complete Q&A after the jump. Please enjoy.
Posted in Reviews on August 16th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Earlier this year, Italian space doom trio Ufomammut favored the world with the first half of their Neurot Recordings debut. Oro – Opus Primum (review here) remains a stunning achievement in an increasingly long string of them. 2010’s Eve (review here) was one of that year’s best, and 2008’s Idolum, 2005’s Lucifer Songs and 2004’s Snailking were resounding triumphs as well. Even their first album, 2000’s Godlike Snake (reissued in 2006) impressed in its scope, as did their 2007 collaboration with Lento, and like the universe their sound threatens to encompass at nearly every turn, Ufomammut seem on a course of endless expansion. The second half of Oro, appropriately dubbed Opus Alter, completes the two-part cycle and underscores how right it was for the band to break up the release in the first place. Taken as a whole, the two albums total 10 tracks and 94 minutes of overwhelming tonality, far-off echoing vocals and crushing psychedelic grooves. Oro is an astounding achievement from one of the most pivotal doom acts going. Make no mistake, its every thunderous moment rattles the ground on which it stands, but metaphorically and – if you turn the volume up loud enough to really let bassist Urlo’s low end shine through – literally. But released with Opus Primum and Opus Alter together as the double-album Oro, it might also have simply been too much. Instead, Opus Alter, which is about nine minutes shorter, is a fitting complement to its predecessor, and one that both affirms the ongoing growth of the band as that album presented it and continues to hint at further progression to come. Ufomammut did it right – two remarkable halves of a larger tracklist released in installments so that not a moment seems wasted and their listeners can fully appreciate what they’re doing. No single member of the band, be it Urlo, guitarist Poia or drummer Vita, is really doing anything so different on Opus Alter than they were on Opus Primum – it’s just that now the album has a second half.
It’s a strong one. Urlo and Poia provide prominent keys and synth work even before the doomed sub-shuffle of the instrumental “Oroborus” (one day I’m going to make a list of all the metal songs about ouroboros and the various spellings they use; perhaps this one is a pun on the album’s title) takes full hold, but once it does, there’s no doubt who you’re listening to. The song gets heavy twice. At 2:11, guitars kick in and it seems like the build established is hitting its peak, but then 30 seconds later, the bottom drops out on the low end and Oro – Opus Alter has truly begun. Ufomammut affect a landmark heavy psych build, and for a few minutes it seems like the song is going to live up to its name, just devour itself until there’s nothing left but the various swirls and noises that have come to be such a huge part of Ufomammut’s encompassing ambience, but a little before five minutes into the song’s total 7:55, there’s a break and the bass leads to a faster riff and beyond, to devastatingly heavy plod that finds Vita half-timing it on the drums, his cymbals nonetheless ringing clear the band’s crushing intent. They are so. Fucking. Heavy. The chugging guitar crashes cold, but noise fills out the break between “Oroborus and the subsequent “Luxon,” which – like all the tracks on Opus Alter safe for closer “Deityrant” – also starts quietly, gradually unfolding from its ambience. Deep, slow guitar chords announce “Luxon”’s stomp, and vocals are murky, far off and, to start, indecipherable, but like a distant chorus, they make themselves known anyway before at 1:45, the full breadth of the rumble kicks in and everything else plays off of that. Vocals remain obscure, as is Ufomammut’s wont, but come to the fore over a blissfully stoner groove led by Urlo’s swaying bassline and rounded out by Poia’s own low end. Of the material here, the opening of “Luxon” is among the most effective, though, and its development of parts isn’t exactly linear as opposed to one-into-the-next, but its flow is unquestionable, and there isn’t a turn Ufomammut present that seems out of place or confusing. That holds true as well going into the 12:19 centerpiece, “Sulphurdew,” which gets underway with a churning guitar figure filled out by synth noise and a steady beat from Vita until they reach the next plateau of their build. There are marked changes – another layer of guitar here, crash cymbals introduced here – but they occur in a steady progression of measures, almost so that you expect something to come without knowing exactly what.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 13th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
No better way to start the week than this:
NEUROSIS: Title Of Eleventh Full-Length From Musical Pioneers Revealed
It is said that great art has the power to take us outside of ourselves and bring us closer to ourselves simultaneously. Few bands have accomplished this rare feat on a more profound and consistent basis than NEUROSIS. For nearly three decades, their music has touched the hearts and minds of young men and women seeking contact with something beyond the physical world, something intangible, something that expresses the inner tumult of the human condition in a way that transcends time and space. Something that not only provokes questions but maybe even hints at answers.
Since 1985 this matchless force has surpassed the boundaries of any genre, never ceasing to mutate and progress their songwriting and sonic delivery, and never failing to mesmerize audiences both in the studio and onstage. And as the anticipation from their diehard fanbase reaches a boiling point, this week NEUROSIS unveil the title of their eleventh full-length studio creation, which will manifest itself as Honor Found In Decay.
The follow-up to their acclaimed 2007-released Given To The Rising album, the music on Honor Found In Decay is both torturous and transcendent. It is the ongoing exposition of a vast internal dialogue that seems to carry the weight of eons. With the right kind of ears and eyes, it can seem like the trials and tribulations of mankind are being channeled through five individuals: Steve Von Till, Scott Kelly, Noah Landis, Jason Roeder and Dave Edwardson. And yet? They will be the first ones to tell you that they are just regular people trying to make sense of the world around them. Aided by Josh Graham, their resident visual guru, they transmit their interpretations through multiple sensory planes. The degree to which Neurosis allows them to step out of their everyday lives is the distance between one and zero, the distance between thinking and doing, the distance between this minute and the one that may or may not follow. Which is to say: NEUROSIS takes them outside of themselves and brings them closer to themselves. Simultaneously.
This next chapter in the evolution of NEUROSIS will see worldwide release through the band’s own Neurot Recordings this Autumn, in Germany October 26th, in the UK October 29th, and in North America on October 30th.
Further details on Honor Found In Decay will be made available over the coming weeks.
NEUROSIS: Scott Kelly – vocals/guitars Steve Von Till – vocals/guitars Dave Edwardson – bass Jason Roeder – drums Noah Landis – keyboards Josh Graham – visual effects, art
Neurosis continue their process of mysteriously teasing their upcoming, yet-untitled new album. You know what would be awesome? If they just put out the record, like, next week. If they pressed the whole thing in secret, got it out to stores on the sly, no advance notice, no track premieres, no advance press. Nothing. Just an album that came out and no one even knew the name of it or any of the songs until it dropped. Not bloody likely. Either way, these clips continue to pique the already-there interest in the first Neurosis release in half a decade.
Special thanks to Dutch heavy devotee Koen for sending along the below clip for this week’s Wino Wednesday inclusion. The video isn’t exactly loaded with pyrotechnics, but it is a straight line feed of the Shrinebuilder vinyl — not recorded from speakers, in other words — of Live in Europe 2010, and for the killer audio, I’m more than happy to take it. That spinning clear LP is pretty hypnotic, either way.
The song is technically more of a Scott Kelly jam — enough so that a version of the song wound up on his new Scott Kelly and the Road Home release, The Forgiven Ghost in Me (review here) — but anyone who’s heard that version and not this, perhaps because they (just a hypothetical) stubbornly refuse to start buying vinyl habitually, will be surprised at the disparity. Kelly‘s quiet croak starts out roughly the same in both versions, but as sent through Shrinebuilder — Kelly and Wino on guitar, Al Cisnernos on bass and Dale Crover on drums — it’s positively apocalyptic by the end, and a far cry from the mostly acoustic rendition.
Not a complaint. Either way you cut it, the song still has a weathered heaviness to it that’s engrossing, and with Shrinebuilder‘s mounting swirl towards the apex, it’s easy to get caught up in it. Since it made it onto Kelly‘s solo album, who knows whether “We Let the Hell Come” will show up on the next Shrinebuilder outing, or even when that will arrive, given everyone involved’s busy schedules. Nonetheless, on this Wino Wednesday, I hope you enjoy:
Apparently diligent YouTuber NeurotRecordings has posted a third promo clip for the still untitled new Neurosis album. If you missed it, two prior clips came out last week and were posted here on Friday. Presumably they’re titled “Electrical Transmission” because “vague new album teaser video” was both cumbersome and crass. Neurosis keep it classy.
Anyone else but me also notice how these clips seem to be getting progressively clearer as they go on? You can see people playing instruments in this one. Maybe eventually one will come that’s just completely lucid and it’ll be like we all woke up from a dream and there was brand new Neurosis — which, I can only assume, is how I’ll probably feel when I finally get to hear the album in its finished form.
Dig it and let our anticipations seethe together in nerdly excitement:
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 6th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
One of the most anticipated records still to come before the end of 2012, the second installment of Ufomammut’s Oro – Opus Alter is beginning to take shape. Check out the cover art for the album and PR wire info below:
Ufomammut unleash second teaser, reveal artwork, tracklisting and announce more tour dates in support of ORO: Opus Alter
Having previously announcing the arrival of the second installment of ORO – Opus Alter, which is to be released on 17 September on Neurot Recordings, we can now proudly unveil the delectable cover art for this next chapter brought to you once again by the unstoppable force that is the Malleus art collective…
We can also reveal the full tracklisting for this release which is as follows:
As with all previous Ufomammut albums, the concepts behind ORO are expansive and multi-faceted, mutating the Italian palindrome which translates to “gold” with the Latin translation of “I prey.” ORO explores the concept of knowledge and its power; the magical stream controlled by the human mind to gain control of every single particle of the world surrounding us. ORO is the alchemical process to transform the human fears into pure essence; into Gold. Although ORO‘s two chapters will be released months apart from each other, they must be considered as a single track in which the musical themes and the sounds appear and reappear, mutate and evolve, progressively culminating in the crushing final movement. ORO is an alchemic laboratory in which substances are flowing, dividing and blending themselves in ten increments from the alembics and stills, culminating into the creation of Gold.
Opus Alter is going to fulfill and widen the perspective of the new work of Ufomammut. Starting where Opus Primum ended, Opus Alter evolves deeper into devastatingly powerful new territory, where chaos is metamorphosed by cacophonous sound, until the final notes resonate, knowledge is forged and Ufomammut strike gold.
Stay tuned for more details regarding the release and tour are announced. Meanwhile check out the following confirmed dates so far:
AUGUST 13. ITA . Musica W Festival – Castellina Marittima (PI)SEPTEMBER 01. ITA . Rock in Riot Festival – Martinengo (BG)OCTOBER 04. D – Leipzig, UT Connewitz 05. D – Berlin, Bi Nuu – TBC 06. SWE – Malmo – Krank 09. FI – Turku , Klubi 10. FI – Tampere, Klubi 11. FI – Helsinki, Kuudes Linja 13. NOR – Oslo, Betong 15. D – Kiel, Alte Meierei 16. D – Koln, Underground – TBC 17. NL – Tilburg, 013 18. B – Kortrijk, De Kreun 19. NL – Utrecht, Ekko 21. UK – Birmingham, Supersonic Festival 23. F – Paris, Glazart – TBC 24. F – Poitiers, Le Comforte Moderne 25. F – Bordeaux, Heretic club – TBC 27. P – Porto -Amplifest (Hard Club)