Eyehategod Tour Starts this Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 20th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

eyehategod (Photo by Danin Drahos)

Admittedly, I don’t know much about the West Coast rooms that Eyehategod are playing on this brief run over the next couple weeks, but every show on the East Coast seems like a special event and I’d expect the same applies for out west. Brighton Music Hall should be resoundingly violent and it’s a place I could actually go, which is an appeal in itself. The Clash Bar in Jersey is a tiny room that Eyehategod seem likely to just level. The Saint Vitus Bar is the Saint Vitus Bar; that’s a draw on its own. And the show at the Ottobar? Vitus (the band) and Eyehategod on the same bill with Cro Mags and Misery Index? God damn. Hard to imagine the therapy everyone in attendance will need after so much head trauma.

I’m showing my regional roots in the Northeast for sure, and I’ve no doubt Alex’s Bar in Long Beach and Strummers in Fresno will be just as memorable for those out that way — these are rooms I wish I knew — but either way, it looks like Eyehategod are doing it up for this quick run before they spend a month in Europe in March/April.

The PR wire has more:

eyehategod tour

EYEHATEGOD: Louisiana Volume Dealers To Kick Off 2015 Live Invasion

Louisiana volume dealers, EYEHATEGOD, are readying for another bout of live demolitions this month commencing with a set of California rumblings through Bakersfield, Lancaster, Long Beach, San Luis Obispo and Fresno. From there, the band will head east to sonically traumatize Boston, Massachusetts, Clifton, New Jersey, Brooklyn, New York for two nights and a very special show in Baltimore, Maryland with the Cro Mags, Saint Vitus and Misery Index!

1/22/2015 Jerry’s Pizza & Pub – Bakersfield, CA
1/23/2015 Moose Lodge – Lancaster, CA
1/24/2015 Alex’s Bar – Long Beach, CA
1/25/2015 Sweet Springs Saloon – San Luis Obispo, CA
1/26/2015 Strummers – Fresno, CA
2/04/2015 Brighton Music Hall – Boston MA
2/05/2015 The Clash Bar – Clifton, NJ
2/06/2015 Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY
2/07/2015 Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY
2/08/2015 Ottobar – Baltimore, MD w/ Cro Mags, Saint Vitus, Misery Index

Over two-and-a-half decades, EYEHATEGOD have helped define the NOLA sound: down-tuned, blues-inflected guitars awash in furious distortion, underpinning the tormented screams of Mike IX Williams over a thundering rhythm section. Though it was a long time between riffs, EYEHATEGOD reemerged stronger and more determined than ever before. EyeHateGod personifies desperation and addiction in the various backwaters of forgotten America, punctuated by the “N’awlins” sound of rebellion and pollution resulting in triumph over adversity. EyeHateGod is an exclamation mark on an already storied career, a statement of rebirth, catharsis, self-preservation and a sign of things to come.

Order EyeHateGod via Housecore Records HERE.


Eyehategod, Eyehategod (2014)

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Crowbar Unveil New Video for “Walk with Knowledge Wisely”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 30th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

To be perfectly honest, the video below for “Walk with Knowledge Wisely” from Crowbar‘s latest outing, Symmetry in Black, is the first I’m hearing of the record. A “promo stream” for the album, which came out on Tuesday, has been sitting in my inbox for a few weeks, but I haven’t clicked on it, because what the hell? I click on it, feel the need to review it, take the time, dig the album, and then add it to the growing list of CDs I want to buy but can’t afford. Super. Better to save myself the trouble of being bummed out and not listen in the first place.

“Walk with Knowledge Wisely” has some continuity with “The Cemetery Angels” (video here), which served as a single from 2011’s Sever the Wicked Hand (review here), in that it rounds out with a massive-sounding slowdown. They don’t milk quite as much this time around — not that I’ll complain either way — but the point definitely gets made, and the point seems to be that well over 20 years on, Crowbar still serve as a litmus test for sonic weight.

Looks like they’ll get on that list after all. It goes like this:

Crowbar, “Walk with Knowledge Wisely” official video



Well known NOLA earthquake purveyors CROWBAR have debuted a brand new music video for their single “Walk With Knowledge Wisely.” Directed by Mike Holderbeast (DOWN, EYEHATEGOD), this is the first of two videos we’ll see from the band’s all new LP SYMMETRY IN BLACK that debuted last week. “For this video we decided to let the music do the talking. Working with Mike was a breeze and a pleasure. He has filmed many of our live shows and he is a true professional.” says frontman Kirk Windstein.

Symmetry in Black tracklisting:
1. Walk With Knowledge Wisely
2. Symmetry In White
3. The Taste Of Dying
4. Reflection Of Deceit
5. Ageless Decay
6. Amaranthine
7. The Foreboding
8. Shaman Of Belief
9. Teach The Blind To See
10. A Wealth Of Empathy
11. Symbolic Suicide
12. The Piety Of Self-Loathing

Crowbar on Thee Facebooks

eOne Music

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Crowbar Announce Tour Dates; Writing New Material

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 7th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

The good news is that Crowbar are touring. The good news is also that Crowbar are writing songs for a new album. I guess there really isn’t any bad news on this one. Crowbar‘s last album, 2011’s Sever the Wicked Hand (review here), found the New Orleans sludge mainstays embracing the influence of many of the bands who followed in their discordant wake, working with producer Zeuss (HatebreedShadows Fall, etc.) and taking on a more modern metal feel throughout the tracks. Of course, a song like the single “The Cemetery Angels” (video here) still had room for a landmark slowdown, but there’s no telling what Crowbar‘s 10th full-length might bring when it surfaces.

And maybe the idea with this tour is to road-test some new songs. The band recently parted ways with bassist Pat Bruders, so no word either on who’s handling the low end (other than everyone). Either way, Crowbar getting back out for a stint is a good thing, and if it’s new material or old, new members or old, the safe bet is it’s going to be loud. Crowbar will also perform at the 2013 Housecore Horror Film & Music Fest at Emo’s East in Austin, Texas, which runs Oct. 25-27 with DownGoblinPig Destroyer and many more on the bill.

Here are the dates:

Crowbar and White Light Cemetery !!

Friday 11/29 Houston TX
@Scout Bar
Saturday 11/30 Dallas TX
Sunday 12/01 Austin TX
@Dirty Dog
Thursday 12/05 Tyler TX
Friday 12/06 Shreveport LA
@Riverside Warehouse
Saturday 12/07 Lafayette LA
@The Station
May have more dates in week of 12/01
Thanks for all your support!!!
Will post any additions as they come !!!


Crowbar, “High Rate Extinction” Live in New Orleans, 2013

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In Memory of Joe LaCaze of Eyehategod

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 24th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Joe LaCaze, 1971-2013

He was the only drummer I ever saw snort something on stage. Word started coming through last night on Facebook of the passing of Eyehategod drummer Joe LaCaze. Details at this point are sketchy, and by that I mean nil, but tributes have begun pouring in for LaCaze, who had more than ably handled the task of solidifying the chaos of Eyehategod’s sonic malevolence since 1989, playing on their four studio full-lengths and sundry other releases and touring the world with the groundbreaking sludge five-piece.

Eyehategod just wrapped a 15-date UK and European stint in Toulouse, France, on Aug. 20 and were scheduled to play three special shows in September to mark their 25th anniversary as a band, including a return to the Rocks Off Concert Cruise in Manhattan and an appearance at Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Horror Film Fest in Austin, Texas. Word of a new album had also begun to spread again with the release last year of the new single “New Orleans is the New Vietnam,” which had been Eyehategod’s first non-compilation studio output since 2004. Their last full-length was 2000’s Confederacy of Ruined Lives.

Again, there is nothing really made public at this point about the circumstances of his passing or any official word from the band (I’ll update when I see some), but LaCaze — who also drummed in Eyehategod offshoots Outlaw Order and The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight — leaves behind a formidable presence within what’s inarguably sludge’s greatest influence. In his attitude and his style, he was the swinging rudder steering a tornado and across classic albums like 1992’s In the Name of Suffering, 1993’s Take as Needed for Pain, and 1996’s Dopesick, he solidified a legacy that few can match.

The Obelisk sends heartfelt condolences to the friends, family, bandmates and anyone else who knew LaCaze. He will be missed.

UPDATE 08.28.13

Eyehategod released this statement today:

Joseph M. LaCaze, New Orleans native and drummer for Eyehategod, Mystick Krewe of Clearlight and Outlaw Order passed away on Aug. 23rd in New Orleans after a very successful five week UK and European tour with EHG.

He also performed ceremonial voodoo drumming and in numerous solo experimental electronic projects. Doctors confirmed to family members the cause as respiratory failure. He also suffered from severe long term asthma.

An account is set up for the benefit of his daughter Lilith LaCaze. Checks can be made payable to the Lilith LaCaze or Joseph LaCaze donation fund at any Capital One Bank in any city.

Eyehategod, In the Name of Suffering (1992)

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Wino Wednesday: Mystick Krewe of Clearlight, “Buzzard Hill (My Backyard)” from Split with Acid King

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 30th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Mystick Krewe of Clearlight are one of those bands who, once you hear them, you just want more. And to that impulse, the only answer is really “too bad,” because there just isn’t that much out there. The band, led by Jimmy Bower of EyeHateGod/Down, only ever released one full-length — a self-titled in 2000 on Tee Pee — and splits with Acid King and The Obsessed (the latter a single with A and B side Lynyrd Skynyrd covers) before fizzling out. As late as 2004, they had a track appearance on the High Volume compilation released via High Times, but that’s the last heard from the instrumental classic heavy rockers to date. Once you’ve heard it all, there’s no place else to go.

In that regard, that makes the two tracks they included on the 2001 Acid King split all the more special. Featuring guest contributions from Wino on vocals and ebow, the two tracks “Buzzard Hill (My Backyard)” and “Veiled” that made up Mystick Krewe‘s portion of the split — which was subtitled The Father, the Son and the Holy Smoke in ultimate stonerly fashion — were a moment never to be repeated. At the time, Spirit Caravan were releasing their second album, Elusive Truth, and the next year, Bower would return to Down to record and release Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow, leaving little time for a lower-profile project like Mystick Krewe of Clearlight, however righteous their jams may have been.

And while those who got down with their organ-heavy boogie the first time have held out vague hopes for a follow-up full-length, it’s yet to happen. Never say never in a world where even Black Flag can reunite, but I’m not exactly holding my breath for new Clearlight material anytime soon. Call me crazy.

So enjoy “Buzzard Hill (My Backyard)” for what it is. Wino gives an especially killer performance, and if you’ve never had the chance to check it out, I think you’ll find it’s worth the time. Happy Wino Wednesday:

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Wino Wednesday: Saint Vitus, “Dying Inside” in New Orleans with Phil Anselmo, 2009

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 23rd, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Yeah, it hasn’t been that long since the last time I had Saint Vitus‘ “Dying Inside” as the Wino Wednesday pick, but there are two key differences: One, this clip of the song, which was filmed during a New Orleans warmup show prior to their leaving to play Roadburn in 2009, features guest vocals in the chorus by Down frontman Phil Anselmo (he used to be in some metal band as well, I can’t remember). Two, whatever, it’s Saint Vitus. A second reason need not apply.

Though if you actually want one, another reason to highlight this clip specifically is for drummer Armando Acosta. The number of shows he played with Vitus upon their resurgence in ’09 was few, just the European run that included Roadburn and one or two warmups beforehand. By the time they came through New York in the fall, Acosta was out and Henry Vasquez was in. The reason I didn’t point it out initially though is that the video itself is pretty dark and Acosta can barely be seen. Still, he’s there and you can hear him no problem — as, I’m sure, could people three blocks down the way from One Eyed Jacks in New Orleans, where this gig took place.

And of course, “Dying Inside” is just one of several anthems from 1986’s Born too Late LP, along with the title-track and “The War Starter.” Wino‘s first release with the band in place of vocalist Scott Reagers is one of the all-time most classic albums in doom, so yeah, looking for excuses to post a song from it is probably pointless to begin with. Happy Wino Wednesday:

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Thou to Release Heathen in June

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 14th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

You’d need a checklist like on the back of a G.I. Joe action figure to keep up with all the splits and EPs Louisiana sludgers Thou put out, but when it comes to actual full-lengths, they occur somewhat less frequently, and so the news of a 2013 release for Heathen — their fourth behind the also-single-word titles Summit (2010), Peasant (2008) and Tyrant (2007) — is welcome. The band put the album to tape at the Living Room Studio in Algiers, LA, and it’ll reportedly top 60 minutes, which if you’re keeping track, is a whole lot o’ sludge.

Adam from Gilead Media sent over confirmation of Thou’s progress in the label’s latest newsletter:

I spent January 5th-8th down in New Orleans hanging out with Thou while they finished up tracking for their new full-length album, Heathen.

It was great to get out of Wisconsin for a bit–particularly after 14 inches of snow in the last month and a half–and spend some time in a drastically different environment. Especially watching things come together on the new Thou record. Many thanks to the guys for hosting me while I was down there. Always a pleasure to spend some time with my favorite Louisiana folks.

Recording took place at The Living Room Studio in Algiers, LA, engineered by James Whitten. Heathen should be released on CD by Gilead Media in June, after James completes mixing and Adam Tucker at Signaturetone Recording gives it the ol’ mastering treatment. Vinyl should be ready around the same time, but we haven’t ironed out if the band will be releasing it themselves or not. I need to keep hammering away at Bryan to let me take care of it.

The album will ultimately clock in at around 60 minutes, their longest single piece of work to date.

I took some photos while I was in New Orleans. Whenever I travel I rarely take photos, which is a critical error since I have an awful memory. When I do take photos, it’s always random stuff like this. Check it: http://www.gileadmedia.net/uncategorized/thou-heathennew-orleans-field-trip/

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At a Glance: Down, Down IV Part One: The Purple EP

Posted in Reviews on September 19th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Down IV Part One: The Purple EP is a pretty complex title for a band who, when they released their first album in 1995, couldn’t be bothered to say the entire phrase “New Orleans.” The project seems to be that over the next year, Down — the supergroup of (do I even need to list them?) Pepper Keenan (C.O.C.), Kirk Windstein (Crowbar), Jimmy Bower (EyeHateGod), Pat Bruders (Crowbar) and Phil Anselmo (Pantera) — will issue four EPs that will make up the whole of Down IV, which follows 2007’s Down III: Over the Under, an album that was watered down sound-wise and had stripped much of the edge off of the band’s songwriting. Anyone remember “Pillamyd?” I’m sorry I brought it up.

My appreciation for Down‘s recorded output has been on a decline since 2002’s Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow, though I liked that album and still consider 1995’s Nola a masterpiece, if one I can’t really listen to anymore. I don’t begrudge the band their commercial success. All of them — even Bruders, who came aboard at some point after the last album as a replacement for Pantera‘s Rex Brown, now in Kill Devil Hill –have put in more than their share of roadtime. Hell, for Wiseblood alone, Pepper Keenan should be a millionaire. Down III, however, sucked. Plain and simple. Everything that worked about Down‘s prior output fell flat, and even the songs that were memorable, such as the nonsensical Dimebag Darrell paean “Three Suns and One Star,” were more memorable for being annoying than being good.

So when it comes to Down IV Part One: The Purple EP, I’d rather just write the band off and go my own way, them onward to wider audiences, me onward to… a wider ass, I guess. Whatever. The point is I’m annoyed at feeling obligated to even put on Down‘s six-track collection — which is full-length enough at 33 minutes — and annoyed at the thought of reviewing it. It’s not like my opinion on this record matters. No one’s going to read this and have their mind changed about Down. If you like the band and liked the last album, you’ll probably like the EP. If you didn’t, you won’t. Down‘s legacy, pedigree and commercial breadth doesn’t allow for much ambivalence. You’re either going to feel one way or another.

A chugging riff fades up slowly to begin opener “Levitation,” and already Down IV has more meat to its tonality than its predecessor, Keenan and Windstein working well together as they always do. Bower, a more than capable drummer, is in the pocket with Bruders, and all more or less goes according to plan as Anselmo counts in with a “one, two, three, go!” apparently unaware the song has already been on for two minutes. From there, he’s all over the verse and chorus, his unfortunately influential clean vocal mewling layered in with one or two ambient background screams and the toughguy spoken word he’s used since Pantera‘s heyday. And well, it just goes from there.

I’ll grant that for a band of this scale — releasing music on Warner Bros., touring the world in large venues, etc. — to put forth anything as stoned-sounding as “Witchtripper” (on which Bruder‘s bass offers ultra-low rumble that’s legitimately killer) or anything even close enough to be vaguely compared to Pentagram as “The Curse is a Lie” can be, is admirable, but that’s not really enough to save the songs themselves, which sound written to type and, as “Open Coffins” shows, lack the punch that the beginning of “Levitation” seemed to promise. And though he’s actually made himself into a decently-stylized singer of reasonable range, Anselmo is also a cartoon character who sounds like he doesn’t know how to be anything else than this persona he’s created for himself over the last 20 years. Every time he opens his mouth, I just hear him telling VH-1 viewers to, “never underestimate the kid.”

“This Work is Timeless” is an overestimation from the start, if a decent riff, and closer “Misfortune Teller” (get it?!) locks in a solid groove and features a rougher vocal — not quite the screams of old, which were among metal’s most vicious — atop effective lumber in the guitar that Bower meets with heavy-thudding fills. They fade out on a chugging riff at about seven minutes in, and for the last 15 seconds of the track’s total 9:05 bring up a melody that’s perhaps a preview of things to come on the next installment of Down IV. Sounds like Down, anyway.

Objectively, Down IV Part One: The Purple EP is an improvement over Down III. On a basic songwriting level, the band seems to search out a niche between accessible doom-tinged Southern stoner riffs and commercial metal, and while there are at least 75 records I’ve heard this year that I’d put on before it, the fans who’ve stuck with them to this point will find it easy to continue to follow them onward to Part Two, whatever stylistic shifts or changes in mood it may hold. For me, even the best stretches are undercut by the ultra-gendered posturing, and already being mostly out of the fold (apparently not enough so to ignore the record altogether), I hear few reasons to return to it, comforting though the familiarity might otherwise prove. Somehow, I imagine the band will survive.

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