“Apparition of the Revolution” is the second video to be made for a track from Sabbath Assembly‘s self-titled fifth album, newly released on Svart Records and positioned as the band’s casting off of their churchly cultish ways. The prior one, “Ave Satanas,” was essentially a horror movie, centered as many are around the destruction of the family unit, in this case by bloody knife-wielding murder. Fair enough. “Apparition of the Revolution” is significantly less narrative, given as is the track itself more to an atmospheric impression of its otherworldly ambience and dark, no less sadistic intent. If I compared it to a less experimental version of latter-day Jarboe, I’d hope not to take a punch from so much disagreement.
The track itself nears six minutes, but much of that is geared toward setting the stage and building tension to a resoundingly heavy payoff, sultry images and malevolent croon meeting with an underlying violence nowhere near as direct as “Ave Satanas,” but still certainly present. When its full breadth kicks in, a dirge-style march gets underway, guitars churning behind in a manner that contrasts some of the Mercyful Fatery they showed last time around but stands in line with classic metal one way or another.
Feel free to dig in below, and be rewarded for patience and openness of mind:
Sabbath Assembly, “Apparition of the Revolution” official video
The track hails from the band’s highly anticipated fifth album, Sabbath Assembly, released on September 11th via Svart Records. 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.
Regarding the video for “Apparition of the Revolution,” the band states: “The promise of cults is superficial. Personal grandeur, spiritual elevation, heavenly reward – it all turns out smoke and mirrors in the end. The promised ‘revolution’ never comes; yet when in the throes of the cult, the apparition of it looms large, ghostly, immanent. This song and video is about the recognition of the ghost, seeing the apparition in all its mist. It’s about the crumbling and burning of the symbols of the cult, and the powdery dust which they become. Goodbye, Process Church of the Final Judgment. As it is, so be it.”
Posted in Reviews on September 1st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Unraveling is the second EP from Brooklyn post-sludgers Thera Roya, following a 2013 self-titled, a split with respected NJ black metallers Hercyn (review here) and a smattering of singles going back to when they were called The Badeda Ladies and played as a duo, circa 2012/2013. Tour veterans with Maryland’s Foehammer and others and regular denizens of The Meatlocker in scenic Montclair, New Jersey, and the formidable group of bands that haunt that space — Dutchguts, Set and Setting, The Sun the Moon the Stars and so on — the three-piece also recorded the three-song Unvraveling there and push the line between an EP and an LP at 28 minutes but in the end benefit from the concise intensity that a shorter offering brings.
Working under the basic concept of portraying a panic attack, drummer Ryan Smith (also Mountain God) varies between lyrics and indecipherable syllabic screams, and he, guitarist Christopher Eustaquio (also Sunrot) and bassist Jonathan Cohn bring about a suitable tumult to fit that ideal, though as stormy as it is at its most raging, Unraveling is never far from its sense of atmosphere, and as the vinyl-ready structure moves between the first two seven-minute tracks “Anomie” and “Body Breaker” and into the 13-minute closing title-cut, the scope likewise broadens. Looking at it on the level of its concept, I’m not sure I’d say Thera Roya have made sense of the panic attack, but they’ve at very least begun to process what has just given way within the body. It feels significant enough to mention that after all the explosiveness and abrasion contained in these tracks, Unraveling ends quietly.
The EP arrives as a customized presentation of the cover art — almost like a greeting card from the recesses of your psyche. Inside one finds a note in challenging handwriting, various symbols and words jumbled together and a download code, the band tapping into DIY ethics without necessarily having to pay to press a CD or tape. As noted, the structure of Unraveling is suited to vinyl and I wouldn’t be surprised if it wound up that way sooner or later, but a digital release works for setting up a linear, front-to-back flow in a way that vinyl wouldn’t allow, however enjoyable it might be to see Miriam Carothers‘ cover art at such a scale. That flow winds up a major argument in favor of considering Unraveling as a full-length, but the stated intent is otherwise, and at under a half-hour, it’s still easy to read the release as offering a sample of where Thera Roya are at in their progression.
For an answer, they present the punch-you-in-the-face feedback that launches “Anomie,” a thick, grueling riff emerging in slow grind soon topped by screams, deceptively intricate building, and a pervasive rollout offset by post-hardcore-style turns — Isis at their angriest — but by the time it gets down to its final minute, the mood is more desperate than infuriated. “Body Breaker” picks up from there with a tense underlying fuzz that Smith soon joins on drums, its opening more dedicated to instilling unease than smashing away, though of course they get there as well. Around the halfway point, “Body Breaker” shifts into bigger post-metallic riffing, setting up a transition into a quiet, isolated-sounding ambient stretch that carries through the last two-minutes-plus of the song, Cohn‘s bass and Eustaquio‘s guitar taking a forward position as a softer nod takes hold, but it’s not until “Unraveling” itself that they really revive the push.
Their finishing move, “Unraveling” is a monster. It starts out full-boar, finds a middle-ground and even introduces some cleaner singing — a first on the release — before turning to slower plod. All within its first two minutes. Aside from demonstrating Thera Roya‘s ability to work in longer forms, something which I’d be very surprised if they didn’t try again at some point, it’s the richest of the three inclusions and the most atmospherically complex, setting rhythms against each other and moving into an ambient stretch that sets up a linear build to serve as the apex of the EP but not its actual ending, which after. A series of crashes at 6:30 are topped with shouts from Smith as the band move into a highlight, densely-weighted low-end groove, the bass and guitar distinguishable only in the level of force they elicit.
It’s from this foundation that the peak of “Unraveling” is launched in somewhat abbreviated flourish of melody in the guitar, Eustaquio finding room in all that onslaught for subdued, post-rock noodling. The vocals don’t dare — yet — but for this outing, the threat is enough, and before “Unraveling” falls apart at the close, Thera Roya underscore the potential for growth in their sound. Already, they’ve ranged farther than they probably knew they would when they started writing this material, but it still sounds like just the beginning of what they could accomplish stylistically, figuring out how to play off the loud/quiet trades, the dynamics between bass and guitar, where and how and what vocals can add to the atmosphere as another instrument in conveying intent. Unraveling does not suffer from a lack of ambition, but neither is that all it has to offer, and it proves an immersive listen that shows its real strength in putting the listener in the mindset where the band wants them to be. It is disturbing and engaging in kind.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
If you know the record at all, it’s likely you already have the CD, but even if not, Bee and Flower‘s What’s Mine is Yours was released in 2003 on Neurot. It’s remained something of a curio since then in the Neurot discography, but in terms of the actual listen, it’s a deceptively rich experience, brightly experimental and melodic, but cohesive throughout and organic sounding in what was a moment right on the cusp of when that kind of thing actually started to matter. 12 years later, the material retains its individual identity. What’s Mine is Yours has just been reissued by Inherent Records as a 2LP, and to my knowledge it’s the first time it’s been out on vinyl.
The PR wire has it like this:
BEE AND FLOWER “WHAT’S MINE IS YOURS” 2X VINYL REISSUE
Bee and Flower and Inherent Records are pleased to announce for first time available on vinyl, the reissue of the band’s debut release, What’s Mine Is Yours,which originally was released on CD in 2003 on Neurot Recordings. Spanning the band’s discography of three albums, several singles, EP’s, films scores and compilation tracks, What’s Mine Is Yours has remained a personal favorite of the band and its fans for years. Here’s a vintage music clip directed by Josh Graham (Soundgarden, Sleep, Florence & the Machine, Neurosis, etc).
The vinyl comes as a 2XLP at 45 rpm w/ digital download. Included on the reissue is “Dust and Sparks,” a bombastic and terrifying track recorded at the original sessions at Martin Bisi’s BC Studios, but not included on the CD release. Newly mastered, the song is included as the final track on side D. Vinyl mastering was done by Doug Henderson (micro-moose studios Berlin) whose clients include Blonde Redhead, Swans, Antony and the Johnsons, and more.
Pressed at a limited quantity of 250 units, a very limited number of copies will have shards of the original silk lantern whose image graced the album’s cover. The lantern lived in singer/bassist/songwriter Dana Schechter’s apartment in Brooklyn and until its near disintegration, has illuminated, over the years, the same walls where the original cover photo was taken. The “Limited Edition” packages are provided at a first come, first served basis. There will be no additional reserves available and they can not be duplicated, ever.
BEE AND FLOWER was founded in New York City in 2000 by singer-songwriter, bassist, composer and producer Dana Schechter — who recently released the full length debut from her current project “Insect Ark — with Original members Roderick Miller, Lynn Wright, Jon Petrow, and Ani Cordero while a recording / touring member of Micheal Gira’s (Swans) band Angels of Light.
The band released three full-length studio albums, a split 10″, a 7″, two feature film scores, various compilation tracks, and two fully animated music videos. Collaborators in studio & stage have included members of Angels of Light, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Swans, Calexico, and more. The core band moved from NYC to Berlin, from 2004-2008.
Side A 1) I Know Your Name 2) Twin Stars 3) Wounded Walking Side B 4) Riding on Empty 5) Let it Shine 6) On the Mouth Side C 7) Something Good 8) Carpenter’s Fern 9) Dupe Side D 10) This Time 11) Dust & Sparks * (*unreleased track)
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 17th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Respected purveyor Tee Pee Records will host what they’ve dubbed the Cosmic Sonic Rendezvous on Sept. 5 and 6 at The Wick in Brooklyn. The two-day fest is headlined by Witch and Saviours, and will feature a pair of sets from The Bevis Frond as well as Tee Pee label-denizens Carousel, Mirror Queen and The Skull, as well as Brooklyn natives The Golden Grass and Boston’s Worshipper. Pretty badass to get The Bevis Frond over at all, so yeah, two sets makes sense, and it’s not like Witch play out every day, so mark it down as a win for brand extension and rock and roll in general.
This one doesn’t really need me to sell it. The PR wire brings details:
TEE PEE RECORDS & THE WICK PRESENT: COSMIC SONIC RENDEZVOUS!
September 5th & 6th at The Wick in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Day 1: doors 6pm, show at 7pm. featuring SAVIOURS, THE SKULL, MIRROR QUEEN, THE BEVIS FROND tickets:http://bit.ly/1KjuqRK
Day 2: doors 6pm, show at 7pm. featuring WITCH, CAROUSEL, THE BEVIS FROND, THE GOLDEN GRASS, WORSHIPPER tickets:http://bit.ly/1Kjuv82
Welcome to the inaugural edition of Cosmic Sonic Rendezvous! Tee Pee Records has always been proud to offer a lovingly loud collection of the finest rock bands to the world, and it seemed only natural to create a unique event and annually bring together many of our favorites to New York City.
While most of the bands on the Tee Pee roster have a definite guitar-based sensibility, there is quite a range therein that we and the bands are constantly exploring. Fans of underground rock know that they are witnessing a contemporary explosion of creative bands purveying in everything from joyous riff-rock to full-on psych; from the heaviest doom to neo-thrash; from bands who nod to the occult to a new wave of space-rock to bands who hearken to the blues; etc, etc.
We hope you enjoy these two fantastic nights of music, comprised of bands both rising and those that are stalwarts. Some have albums out on Tee Pee, while others we gleefully listen across what is not a great divide. We feel they all represent what is at least one part of the underground rock ethos: you do it because you simply have to, and you love it loud.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 5th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
This makes sense. If I was Blind Idiot God, back together and having released my first new album in 23 years — that being Before Ever After (review here) on Indivisible Music — I’d probably go to Europe too. Plans are in the works, apparently, for the trio to do precisely that. They’ve signed with Netherlands-based Paperclip Agency for booking, and while I wouldn’t be surprised to have them show up on the Continent sometime in Spring 2016 — say around April, and say about an hour outside of Amsterdam by rail in a sleepy corner of a town taken over by weirdos for about a week annually — nothing’s yet been announced in such concrete terms and there’s some mention of them getting over before the end of the year as well.
Fair enough. The PR brings us the known knowns:
BLIND IDIOT GOD SIGN WITH PAPERCLIP AGENCY IN THE NETHERLANDS; EUROPEAN TOUR DATES PLANNED FOR 2015-2016
New Album, Before Ever After, Co-Produced by Bill Laswell With Original Artwork By Seldon Hunt Out Now
Indivisible Music announces that Blind Idiot God has signed on with Dutch booking agency, Paperclip. Agency heads, Rob Berends and Hilde Spille, are working on festival and tour dates all over Europe for late 2015 through 2016.
The band has always received huge accolades from European press, most recently The Wire UK called the band’s new record “sound as physical force.” NME wrote “They’re post-everything in the best sense of the term.” Melody Maker stated “Blind Idiot God are worthy of cult status.”
Band co-founder Andy Hawkins explains, “Paperclip booked Blind Idiot God’s first tours in Europe starting in the ’80s while we were on SST. We still get positive feedback from people who came to those shows. The band’s focus on a powerful, particular sound has increased over the years so if feels good knowing we’ll be able to connect with those fans again. We anticipate high quality bookings with Paperclip handling us – which is great, since we’re itchin’ to get back to Europe and unleash!”
Paperclip Agency’s Rob Berends adds, “My aim is to bring the band back to Europe for a series of tours covering the entire continent, putting them in front of the largest possible audiences. European capitals, cult venues and a wide variety of festivals are the places the band should perform. We will help get them there.”
Blind Idiot God is Andy Hawkins on guitar; Tim Wyskida (Khanate, Jodis, Plotkin & Wyskida) on drums; Will Dahl on bass (though founding member Gabe Katz plays bass on the album). The band has shared the stage with artists like John Zorn (a collaborator who released their third album on Avant Records), Helmet, Black Flag, The Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Die Kreuzen, Don Caballero, Jesus Lizard, Napalm Death, HR, Eekamouse among many others.
Although Before Ever After is the band’s first release in over twenty years — live and on the recording, they continue their deep exploration of heavy, funk and dub sounds. Respected music publications including Noisey/Vice, Pitchfork, Talk House, New Noise, and many others have all featured the band, exploring their story and sound. Three songs from the new album are featured on the soundtrack of the VHI documentary film about Napster titled, Downloaded, starring Mike D, Henry Rollins, Noel Gallagher and directed by Alex Winter (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, The Lost Boys, Freaked). The band plays regularly in New York where they are based.
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’!