Posted in Whathaveyou on July 31st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Been a while since the last time we heard from Brooklyn heavy rockers Reign of Zaius. Long enough, as it happens, for them to revamp their lineup and re-embark on a long series of regional gigs. It’s been a few years since I last was able to see them on stage, but they’ve been a steady presence around New York City’s heavy underground, and they’ve just put out a new single called “Power Hitter,” which marks the first time I’m hearing them with vocalist Leon Chase, and it’s an immediately favorable impression with some punker edge that suits the band’s roots well.
They played Brooklyn last night at Bar Matchless as the first of a three-night weekender that continues this evening in Worcester, MA, and concludes tomorrow in New London, CT. Single announcement and show details follow:
Reign of Zaius Releases “Power Hitter”
Brooklyn-based stoner rockers Reign of Zaius have announced the earthly debut of a brand new single: “Power Hitter”. The song is available as a free download at the band’s website:http://reignofzaius.net/sounds
“Power Hitter” was recorded by Reign of Zaius at their secret headquarters (a.k.a. “the practice space”) in Brooklyn. This is the band’s first recording since a series of massive lineup changes—first with the recruitment of singer Leon “Space” Chase in 2014 and then, more recently, the addition of guitarist Mike “Creepy Mo” O’Neil. The change in personnel brought a definite shift in sound—with “Power Hitter”, the band’s previous two-guitar bombardment has given way to the much grittier, stripped-down feel of Mo’s single Les Paul. The new single arrives just in time for Reign of Zaius’ “Obesity in Three Cities” mini-tour of the Northeast, beginning Thursday, July 30th at Brooklyn’s own Bar Matchless, and ending all the way up in New London, Connecticut on August 1st. Complete show info is available here:http://reignofzaius.net/events
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 17th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Doom experimentalists Insect Ark — now a duo after putting together their full-length debut, Portal/Well (review here), under the sole guidance of multi-instrumentalist Dana Schechter — are getting ready to head out on the road next month alongside Chicago’s Locrian. The tour begins in Washington Aug. 14 and ends in Portland on Aug. 22 and runs down and back up the West Coast in the interim, the Brooklyn-based outfit having West Coast roots in both Schechter and Portland-based drummer Ashley Spungin.
As my brain has turned into goo, I’ll turn it over directly to the PR wire, which puts it thusly:
ExperiMetal Doom outfit Insect Ark touring with Locrian
Insect Ark will celebrate the release of it debut full-length album, Portal/Well with a series of North American dates opening for Locrian. The new album is the result of one years’ work in composer/ multi-instrumentalist Dana Schechter’s Brooklyn studio. Exploring themes of corruption of the natural world and facing oblivion, Portal/Well continues the wordless existential narratives already established on 2013’s Long Arms EP and 2012’s “Collapsar” 7″ single. Autumnsongs Records released Portal/Well, on CD in June 9, 2015.
Insect Ark began in late 2011, as the one-woman solo project of bassist and multi-instrumentalist Schechter. As an analog-electronic hybrid with a heavy focus on live performance, Insect Ark has been building a following in the experimental doom scene via consistent touring in the U.S. and abroad.
Dana Schechter, a California native, spent her teens in the San Francisco metal scene, where her love of heavy music gained its foothold. She moved to NYC in 1997; in 1999 she began working as a recording and touring bassist with Swans leader Michael Gira’s Angels of Light and she founded her own band, Bee and Flower, as well. In 2004 Bee and Flower relocated to Berlin, its new base for touring and recording.
By 2008 Schechter had finally found her way back to NYC. There, she formed Insect Ark as an effort to write and tour continuously without the complexities of a band and to reconnect with the darker, heavier, and more abstract sounds of her youth.
In 2015 Insect Ark gained a second member, drummer and electronics operator Ashley Spungin, who is known for her work with the Portland-based band Taurus. While Schechter appreciated the freedom of working alone, she ultimately decided that live drums would be a powerful addition to the project’s releases and shows. The new duo incarnation of Insect Ark began recording and touring in spring 2015.
Insect Ark Opening for Locrian Fri 8/14 Bellingham, WA – The Shakedown Sat 8/15 Seattle, WA – Highline Sun 8/16 Boise, ID – Crazy Horse Mon 8/17 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge Tue 8/18 Las Vegas, NV – Bunkhouse Wed 8/19 Los Angeles, CA – Complex Thur 8/20 San Francisco, CA – Elbo Room Fri 8/21 Sacramento, CA – Starlight Lounge Sat 8/22 Portland, OR – Panic Room
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 8th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Kudos to Brooklyn trio The Golden Grass all around on the company they’re keeping throughout their upcoming eight-date mini-tour, hitting up shows with the likes of Joy, Blue Snaggletooth, Ruby the Hatchet and Attalla as they make their way out to the Midwest and back to the East Coast between July 15 and July 25. Unquestionably the biggest gig of all, however, is the last of the bunch, which finds the three-piece — now a year removed from their self-titled Svart Records debut (review here) — opening for none other than Deep Purple at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY.
The power of positive thinking? Even if you’re not a believer, The Golden Grass make a strong argument.
Tour announcement and appropriate linkery follows, as sent along the PR wire:
THE GOLDEN GRASS TO EMBARK ON JULY 2015 US MINI-TOUR
Brooklyn, NY based heavy rock group THE GOLDEN GRASS to embark on 8-date US mini-tour including shows with DEEP PURPLE, JOY and RUBY THE HATCHET.
Formed in 2013, this Brooklyn power trio quickly signed to Finland’s Svart Records, before even playing their first gig, and have since released 1 full length LP and 2 EPs. These boys are no strangers to the road either, as they’ve extensively toured the Northeast/Midwest US and embarked on 2 European Tours, earning them a devoted cult following, all in less than 2 years.
Their sound majestically encapsulates the timeless feel of 60’s/70’s influence. Taking a nod from legends like JAMES GANG, ALLMAN BROTHERS & GRAND FUNK, the soulful British psych/mod of THE MOVE, THE PRETTY THINGS & THE ACTION, and the heavy umph of BUDGIE, BLUE CHEER & BLACKFOOT to seal the deal, THE GOLDEN GRASS synthesize these influences into a seamless, memorable, and high-energy performance that screams from the past but is a welcome and much needed presence in the now! Hard rock lives! Keep on grassin’!
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Brooklyn doomers Clouds Taste Satanic will release their second album, Your Doom Has Come, on Sept. 1. The record follows the band’s 2014 debut, To Sleep Beyond the Earth, which was formatted as a single piece, and is broken down into separate tracks, though the first three of them — as you can see in the tracklisting — are also meant to be taken as a whole.
The instrumental double-guitar four-piece has made the last installment of that three-parter, “Beast from the Sea” available to check out in a new video, and you can find that under the album announcement below, snagged off the PR wire:
Brooklyn-based instrumental doom quartet CLOUDS TASTE SATANIC will release their highly anticipated sophomore full-length on September 1st. Titled Your Doom Has Come, the six-track follow-up to 2014’s critically-heralded To Sleep Beyond The Earth full-length was engineered and mixed by Nadim Issa at Let Em’ In Studios in Brooklyn and mastered by Alan Douches (High On Fire, Mastodon) at West West Side Music.
Thematically, Your Doom Has Come traces its inspiration to the darkest corners of the Book of Revelation. Sonically, Your Doom Has Come finds the band at their fastest and most aggressive. While To Sleep Beyond The Earth took a more Dopesmoker approach (with one forty minute plus song spread over 2 sides of vinyl), Your Doom Has Come takes a more De Vermis Mysteriis approach, compressing its conceptual storytelling into six minute plus songs of riff-filled Armageddon. While all of Side A is joined together thematically to form the title song, the individual pieces work just as well on their own.
CLOUDS TASTE SATANIC formed in Brooklyn, New York in 2013 and have spent the past two years building a reputation as one of the finest underground doom bands playing today. They’ve patiently and deliberately developed a unique sound that melds riff dominated stoner rock with heavy doom. With their live show, they work to create a multi-media mood that offers a true experience and companion piece to their albums. CLOUDS TASTE SATANIC’s debut album, To Sleep Beyond The Earth was released in 2014.
Your Doom Has Come Track Listing: Your Doom Has Come I. Ten Kings II. One Third of The Sun III. Beast From The Sea Out of The Abyss Dark Army Sudden…Fallen
CLOUDS TASTE SATANIC: Steven Scavuzzo – Guitar David Weintraub – Guitar Sean Bay – Bass Christy Davis – Drums
Posted in Reviews on June 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Day one down and feeling good so far. Day two continues the thread of mixing more known quantities with bands either self-releasing or putting out demos, etc., and I like that. More than last time around — last quarter, if you want to use the business-y sounding language for it — I tried to really get a balance across this batch of reviews, posted yesterday and coming up over the next couple days. We’ll see how it works out when it’s over. It remains a ton of stuff, and I hope you dig it. Day two starts right now.
Quarterly review #11-20:
Horsehunter, Caged in Flesh
Pushing their way to the fore of Melbourne’s heavy surge, double-guitar four-piece Horsehunter proffer oppressive tonal crush on the four tracks of their 2LP Magnetic Eye Records debut, Caged in Flesh. The story goes that, unsatisfied the initial recordings weren’t heavy enough, the band – guitarists Michael Harutyanyan (also vocals) and Dan McDonald, bassist/vocalist Himi Stringer and drummer Nick Cron – went back into the studio and redid the entire thing. Mission accomplished. By the time 16-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Stoned to Death” is done, lungs are suitably deflated, spines are cracked, skulls cleaved, and so on. They’re hardly the only ones in the world to conjure formidable tonal heft, but it’s the deft changes in vocals – clean here, shouts there, more abrasive at the start of the title-track – and the sense of atmosphere in the three-minute penultimate interlude that really distinguish Horsehunter, as well as how smoothly that atmosphere integrates with the pummel in the second half of closer “Witchery,” attention to detail and awareness of the need for more than just sonic weight boding well for future progression.
A staggeringly heavy debut full-length from Sacramento, CA, five-piece Church, Unanswered Hymns was initially released digitally by the band and quickly picked up for a cassette issue by Transylvanian Tapes and forthcoming LP through Battleground Records. One gets the sense listening to the three extended tracks – 19-minute opener “Dawning” being the longest of the bunch (immediate points) – that those won’t be the last versions to come. Psychedelic doom blends seamlessly with vicious sludge extremity, creating a morass engulfing in its tones, spacious in its breadth and unrepentantly heavy, making it one of 2015’s best debut releases, hands down, and a glorious revelry in bleak tectonics that challenges the listener to match its level of melancholy without giving into an impulse for post-Pallbearer emotive theatrics. As thrilling as they are plodding, expect the echoes of “Dawning,” “Stargazer” and “Offering” to resonate for some time to come, and should Church show any predilection for touring in the next couple years, they have the potential to make a genuine impact on American doom. Yes, I mean it.
Recorded in a day and released by Grimoire Records, the four-track Without Form is slated as the debut from Baltimore atmospheric doomers Corpse Light, but the band have had tracks come out in drips and drabs since getting their start as Ophidian in mid-2012, even if this is their first proper release. Either way, “The Fool” sets up an immediate and grim ambience, the churning lurch from guitarists Keiran Holmes and Don Selner and bassist Aurora Raiten set to roll by Lawrence Grimes (The Osedax) and given earthy aggression by the vocals of Jim Webb. “Lying in State” fleshes out these morose aggro vibes, but it’s with the drop-everything-and-kill peak of the subsequent “R Complex” that Corpse Light hit their angriest mark. If Without Form was just about that, it would be the highlight, but the album’s 29 minutes have more to offer than pissed off tonally-weighted post-hardcore, as closer “Kenophobia”’s clever turns and deceptive forward momentum demonstrate, though a touch of that kind of thing never hurts either.
Heavy psych four-piece Sunder will make their debut this summer through Tee Pee and Crusher Records with a 7” for “Cursed Wolf,” so consider this notice of the tracks on their not-for-public-consumption demo a heads up on things to come. Their “Deadly Flower” was streamed here this past April, and the band’s previous incarnation, The Socks, released their self-titled debut (review here) on Small Stone in 2014, but with songs like the key-laced stomper “Bleeding Trees,” the ‘70s rusher “Against the Grain,” and the Uncle Acid-style swinging “Daughter of the Snows,” the Lyon, France, outfit continue to refine a style drawing together different vibes of the psychedelic era. “Deadly Flower” was also distinguished by its key work, and as for “Cursed Wolf” itself, the melody reminds of proto-psych Beatles singles (thinking “Rain” specifically), but the groove still holds firm to a sense of weight that’s thoroughly modern, and by that I mean it sounds like 1972. Keep an eye out.
Granted not everyone is going to make this immediate association, but when I first saw the moniker T-Tops, I couldn’t help think of like C-grade generic stonerisms, songs about beer and pretending to be from the South and all that. If you experienced something similar in seeing the name, rest easy. The Pittsburgh trio of guitarist/vocalist Pat Waters (ex-The Fitt, Wormrigg), bassist Jason Orr (Wormrigg) and drummer Jason Jouver (ex-Don Caballero) are down with far more sinister punk and noise on their self-titled, self-released debut full-length, riding, shooting straight and speaking truth on cuts like “Wipe Down” and the catchy “Pretty on a Girl” after the tense sampling of “A Certain Cordial Exhilaration” turns over the power-push to “Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’.” “Ralphie” is probably an inside-joke if not a Christmas Story reference, but point is these guys are way less about-to-sing-about-muscle-cars than the name implies and their tight, crisp rhythmic turns come accompanied by vicious tonal force and an utter lack of bullshit, which is a scenario far preferable to that which one might otherwise expect.
Issued by Aqulamb in the imprint’s standard 100-page art book/download format, the self-titled debut from fellow Brooklynites The Space Merchants seeks to draw a line between psychedelic rock and country. And not pretend country like people with a Johnny Cash fetish because he covered that Nine Inch Nails song one time – actual, bright, pastoral, classic country. Call the results psychtwang and applaud the effort, which works oddly well in a thoroughly vintage context to come across on “Mainline the Sun” like something from a lost ‘60s variety show. Parts of “One Cut Like the Moon” and the later fuzz of “One Thousand Years of Boredom” give away their modernity, but The Space Merchants’ push toward a stylistic niche suits them well, and the intertwined vocal arrangements from guitarist Michael Guggino, bassist Aileen Brophy and keyboardist Ani Monteleone – Carter Logan drums to round out the four-piece – add to the rich, welcoming feel that remains prevalent even as the eight-minute “Where’s the Rest of Life” slips into wah-soaked noise to finish out.
The undercurrent of black metal coursing beneath the surface of Etiolated’s debut full-length, Grey Limbs, Grey Skies, eventually comes to the surface in 10-minute opener “Internal Abyss” and 16-minute eponymous closer, which bookends, but in part it’s the tension of waiting for those rampaging surges that keeps one hooked to the Armus Productions release. Guttural death growls echo up from dense tonal reaches, and tempo shifts, whether in those longer tracks or three-minute lumbering slice “Futility” are fluid, the North Carolina five-piece executing a slow-grinding chug in centerpiece “Exsanguinate,” which seems like a murk without end until the 1:47 “For Your Hell” kicks into a speedier, more blackened rush, guest vocalist Ryan McCarthy joining guitarist/vocalists James Storelli and Walls, bassist Cody Rogers and drummer Elliot Thompson in furthering the already prevalent sense of extremism before “Etiolated,” after a surprisingly peaceful if brooding midsection, plods the album to a close. To say “not for the faint of heart” would be putting it lightly, but if I had a vest and if Etiolated had patches, the two parties would definitely meet up at some point in the near future.
It has not taken long for the discography of UK psych jammers Blown Out to become a populated murky cosmos of its own. Planetary Engineering is released on Oaken Palace Records and finds the three-piece of guitarist Mike Vest (also Bong, etc.), bassist John-Michael Hedley (also Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs) and drummer Matt Baty (also the head of Box Records) exploring two mesmeric and sprawling instrumentals – one per side – that bend and flourish and hypnotize in organically-concocted swirl. Side A’s “Transcending Deep Infinity” tops 20 minutes and shifts from its spacey build to a low key groove at about 7:30 in, pulsing forward once more amid head-turning repetition, deep echoes and longform nod, culminating in a two-minute fadeout that brings forward “Thousand Years in the Sunshine,” an immediate bass groove and interstellar swirl no less trance-inducing than its predecessor. Cyclical drum fills morph over time behind the guitar and bass, and Planetary Engineering seems to push continually further out until, of course, it disintegrates, presumably as it crosses the galactic barrier.
I was fortunate enough to have been in attendance at Het Patronaat in Tilburg when French post-black metallers Les Discrets took the stage at Roadburn 2013. As such, it’s with some trepidation I approach their Live at Roadburn recording on Prophecy Productions – the impression they made live wasn’t something I’d want potentially spoiled or brought to earth by a document proving it was just another set. With Neige of Alcest on bass with guitarist/vocalist Fursy Teyssier, Les Discrets proved to be something really special to those who, like me, were there to catch them, and the eight-track Live at Roadburn – fortunately – captures both the majestic lushness they brought with them and the underlying weight that seemed to add impact to the material. What might sound like post-production mixing on “L’Echappée” or the wash of “Chanson D’Automne” isn’t – it really was that beautiful and that perfectly balanced coming from the stage. A vastly underrated act and a document that reminds of how stellar they were without sullying the memory in the slightest.
Brooklynite foursome Beast Modulus seem to care less about meshing with ideas of genre than sticking them in a meatgrinder and seeing what comes out. To wit the riotous chugging of “Cowboy Caligula,” and the blackened thrust of “WaSaBi!” on their self-released, self-titled outing, which leads to dueling growls and screams on the tonally weighted post-hardcore “Fabulous,” and the appropriately mathy turns of the thrashing “Tyranny of Numbers.” Inventive in their stylizations and in where the six songs included on the release actually go – hint: they go to “heavy” – the lineup of vocalist Kurt Applegate, guitarist Owen Burley, bassist Jesse Adelson and drummer Jody Smith have some post-Dillinger Escape Plan vibe in the calculated chaos of “Kalashnikov,” but closer “Killing Champion” is too impatient to even be held by that, the prevailing manic angularity of Beast Modulus ultimately crafting its own identity from the physical assault the music seems intent on perpetrating upon the listener.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
If the prospect of Sabbath Assembly casting off the cultish tropes of their genre even in part piques your interest, the band have made it easy to get introduced to the crux of their fifth album, which is self-titled perhaps as much to showcase a defiant spirit as to declare who they are as an act less based on Satan-loving dogma. Not that the two are mutually exclusive necessarily, but you know what I mean. Their new video, “Ave Satanas,” still has plenty of cultistry to it, even if that comes encased in Mercyful Fate-style riffing. Has it been long enough for proto-black metal to become a style? Yeah, probably.
Art, info, tour dates and bloodshed-prone video, courtesy of the PR wire:
SABBATH ASSEMBLY set release date for fifth album, premiere first video and album trailer
Today, Svart Records announces September 11th as the international release date for Sabbath Assembly’s highly anticipated fifth album, Sabbath Assembly. It marks a new beginning for the band: its “Great Schism” from the Process Church of the Final Judgment. Like the albatross falling from the mariner’s neck, the band has freed itself from the cult’s theology in order to explore its own creations – with no special guest appearances or narrative frills. Sabbath Assembly is, in fact, a decidedly metal offering, for in the writing, the band returned to its own personal roots in the dark age of the ’80s. These are Sabbath Assembly’s own “hymns” for their own “church” – a place marked by passion, devotion, and the gospel of metal.
The primary thematic difference between Sabbath Assembly and its predecessors is that this album is about embodiment, addressing all the power and grit required to endure our human existence, rather than exploring spiritual philosophy alone. While the songs reference occult literature, such as Robert Chambers’ The King in Yellow, Valeri Briussov’s The Fiery Angel of Desire, and The Gospel of Thomas, these texts were chosen not because of their abstraction from the mundane, but rather their propensity to embrace it as a means to spiritual understanding. If something is to be taken away from the new Sabbath Assembly album, it is this: the mysteries of occult philosophy are revealed not through celestial charts and diagrams, but rather the subtleties of earthly love and loss. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:
Tracklisting for Sabbath Assembly’s Sabbath Assembly 1. Risen From Below 2. Confessing a Murder 3. Burn Me (I Thirst for Fire) 4. Only You 5. The Fiery Angel of Desire 6. Ave Satanas 7. Sharp Edge of the Earth 8. Apparition of the Revolution 9. Shadows of Emptiness
Sabbath Assembly features Jamie Myers on vocals, David Christian on drums, Kevin Hufnagel on guitar, and the new addition of Johnny DeBlase on bass. The album was recorded by Colin Marston at Menegroth: The Thousand Caves Studio in Queens, NY. Comments drummer David Christian: “When we started the writing for this record, I was reading through hundreds of pages of Process texts, hunting for inspiration. All the writing seemed so stiff and jilted. Then I came across a letter that founder DeGrimston had written after having been excommunicated from the Church addressing the remaining congregation. It was so tragic, so moving – so much more heartfelt than his theological treatises. There was no talk of judgment or revenge in the letter, only bewilderment and heartache – but also forgiveness. My heart cracked open; I called Jamie and the band to discuss this new inspiration, and out came all these songs of heartbreak – our own songs, connecting us to all those who have ever experienced the pain of loss and the suffering of grief.” See/hear a vision of that heartbreak with the first video from Sabbath Assembly, “Ave Satanas,” which can be viewed exclusively HERE. A video trailer for the new Sabbath Assembly album can be viewed HERE.
In other Sabbath Assembly news, the band have confirmed all dates & venues for their upcoming “From Darkness to Darkness” tour with Relapse recording artists Christian Mistress. The full list of dates are as follows:
JULY 10 – SAN FRANCISCO, CA @ ELBO ROOM JULY 11 – SACRAMENTO, CA @ STARLIGHT LOUNGE JULY 12 – GARBERVILLE, CA @ THE GARBERVILLE THEATER JULY 13 – SALEM, OR @ THE WISP HOUSE JULY 14 – EUGENE, OR @ OLD NICK’S PUB JULY 15 – SEATTLE, WA @ THE HIGHLINE JULY 16 – BELLINGHAM, WA @ THE SHAKEDOWN JULY 17 – OYLMPIA, WA @ OBSIDIAN JULY 18 – PORTLAND, OR @ TONIC
Perhaps most of all on their recently released third, self-titled album (review here), Kings Destroy‘s “Mr. O” is a litmus test to determine who’s going to get it and who isn’t. Easily the most upbeat track they’ve recorded to date, its lyrics refer to Reggie Jackson, who has become in the last several decades analogous not just to a vision of late-’70s power hitting standing in for some mustachioed lost masculine ideal, but more specifically for the era of New York City that Kings Destroy‘s Kings Destroy takes as its central theme. Before the porn shops were closed, before Mayor Rudy Giuliani had the homeless secretly killed (prove it didn’t happen), when the Knicks were good and the Yankees were gods, the streets smelled of piss (some things never change) and there was danger. It wasn’t a place to raise kids. It was a place to get stabbed.
The regularly-showing-up-around-these-parts Brooklynite five-piece of vocalist Steve Murphy, guitarists Carl Porcaro and Chris Skowronski, bassist Aaron Bumpus and drummer Rob Sefcik aren’t so much mourning the loss of that threat in their new Josh Graham-directed video for “Mr. O” as they are speaking to their personal experience of it. For the first half of the clip, we take a tour through the past with Murphy in an awfully nice looking muscle car, and gradually the B-roll takes over, the line, “Ladies and gents, the Bronx is in flames tonight,” as resonant of the time as of any particular performance Jackson ever gave. It’s a remembrance of the idea of a city — theirs is unmistakably New York, but yours doesn’t need to be — and a cultural moment whose time has passed, and in true New Yorker fashion, they don’t couch the idea in some grand metaphor so much as directly confront the listener and viewer with embodiments of that memory, the song thrusting ahead at full punch-in-the-face speed all the while.
To go with the new release on War Crime Recordings, Kings Destroy have announced they’ll hit the road in August alongside Weedeater. I know the two bands had previously played together or close enough to it in Sweden at this or that festival, and it’s hard to imagine they haven’t shared a stage somewhere along the line since, but it should make for a solid pairing of complementary sounds, big riffs, lurching groove and little tolerance for those who can’t or wouldn’t have gotten it anyhow.
Dates follow the video below. Please enjoy:
Kings Destroy, “Mr. O” official video
Weedeater & Kings Destroy on tour:
08/04 Atlanta GA 529 08/05 Savannah GA Jinx 08/06 Charlotte NC Tremont 08/07 Richmond VA Hardywood Brewery 08/08 Sprague WI Farmageddon (Weedeater only) 08/09 Philadelphia PA Johnny Brenda’s 08/10 Boston MA The Sinclair 08/11 Brooklyn NY Saint Vitus 08/12 York PA The Depot 08/13 Pittsburgh PA 31st St. Pub 08/14 Erie PA Sherlocks 08/15 Kent OH Outpost 08/16 Asheville NC Mothlight
Posted in On Wax on June 11th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
When it finally came to it, I couldn’t bring myself to review Kings Destroy‘s A Time of Hunting around the time of its original 2013 release. Aside from having helped put out their 2010 debut, And the Rest Will Surely Perish, on this site’s in-house label, The Maple Forum, and the invariable conflict of interest there — though by the time they got around to putting out the second album, the first was long gone, so it’s not like I was trying to sell anything — I felt way too close to the songs to even try to muster a sense of impartiality as regards the Brooklyn five-piece’s achievement. What’s changed? A bit of distance from the record itself, maybe, but more than that, and more than protecting the illusion of critical perspective as much as I could ever claim to have such a thing, there was a lot about A Time of Hunting that I don’t think I really understood, and it took a long time before the character of its eight songs really set in.
The biggest help of all may have been the release of their third album, Kings Destroy (review here), which hit at the beginning of last month. In a strange bit of coincidence, that record’s arrival on War Crimes Recordings landed awfully close to Hydro-Phonic Records‘ LP issue of A Time of Hunting, so I had occasion to visit both in pretty close proximity to each other. The vinyl edition, which does justice to both the beautiful and intricate album art with its relative size and with the blue and brown splatter on the record itself, also takes a step in explaining the structure of the album. Take it as evidence of how far away I was from being able to offer any valid critique of Kings Destroy‘s sophomore outing if you wish, but I never thought of it as having two sides until I listened to it that way.
It makes mountains more of sense that way. Righteous moments like the huge-sounding drums of Rob Sefcik that launch opener “Stormbreak” and the lurching groove of “The Toe” are preserved on side A, which even as it moves into “Casse-Tête” and “Decrepit” keeps a more straight-ahead and aggressive sound built around the guitars of Carl Porcaro and Chris Skowronski and with the foundational low end of then-newcomer bassist Aaron Bumpus, while side B moves outward from the soft intro of “Shattered Pattern” to a more emotive lumbering before the lurch of the title-track and the subsequent “Blood of Recompense” take hold, the album’s two longest cuts served up one into the next with spliced in leads, an immersive sprawl, and particularly in the case of the latter, a grandiosity that’s still miles away from anything And the Rest Will Surely Perish had on offer, pulled off with sincerity in Steve Murphy‘s voice at the fore — see also the side A closer, “Decrepit,” which hinted of the turns to come — and a fullness of sound surrounding that no doubt benefited from being the second production collaboration with Sanford Parker.
And then “Turul.” Fucking “Turul.” It’s four and a half minutes long and I’ve spent the last two years trying to get my head around it. A strange turn in its storytelling and a guitar figure to match, “Turul” turns the entire record on its head — but somehow, on the vinyl, its context feels different since so much of side B is branching out from what they were doing on “The Toe” or even “Casse-Tête” in reinterpreting the confrontationalism of their New York hardcore past into an anti-genre stew past doom and still decidedly un-metal. I won’t go so far as to say I get it now, but in light of “Time for War” from the self-titled, I don’t think it’s supposed to. It’s supposed to be as far out as they go, and it turns out to be exactly that.
In a way, it’s fitting that the LP version of A Time of Hunting should show up so close to the album after it, because with Kings Destroy‘s Kings Destroy for comparison, the vibe on these tracks is really more like a second debut following the lineup shift that saw Ed Bocchino leave the band and Bumpus join. These are the origin points for the songwriting methodology that the third offering continues to refine. I guess that’s not such a crazy thing to say about one record into the next, but with A Time of Hunting, it was a big jump sonically, and as enthralled with it as I was — I didn’t review it, but I think I said enough about it along the way to get that point across to anyone paying minimal attention — I feel like there’s a lot about it that’s made clearer with this revisit, so I’m glad to have the chance to approach it again as a new release.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still claim no impartiality when it comes to Kings Destroy or whatever it might be they’re putting out in a given week, but as well as I know these songs, and as close as I’ve come to feel to them over the last two-plus years since I first heard them, it should say something that I can put on the LP and be able to gain a new appreciation for how rich and ambitious a listening experience A Time of Hunting actually is.