Solar Halos Premiere “The Living Tide”; Coiled Light LP Due in May

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on February 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

solar halos

You know, usually when you think of something landing like a brick, it’s not a positive image. Like the thing — whatever it is — should be flying. Well, Solar Halos land like a brick even as they fly. It’s a duel-persona that’s writ large all over their upcoming second full-length, Coiled Light, which will be released in April digitally and May 10 on vinyl through Cursed Tongue Records. Drenched in melody and atmosphere, the release finds the North Carolinian three-piece digging into vibes out of post-metal and heavy psychedelia, but while their tones are thick and their plod considerable thanks in no small part to John Crouch‘s right-upside-the-head kickdrum, the intertwining vocals of guitarist/cellist Nora Rogers and bassist/keyboardist Eddie Sanchez bring a Kylesa-style sense of progressivism to the songwriting, albeit somewhat more patient than that band managed to be during their time.

In cuts like “Personal Levee” and “River of Grass” and the more intense shove of closer “Nebulas,” there’s a lot to dig into and one expects that’s a significant part of what led to the Cursed Tongue pickup, as that label’s taste is only growing more reliable by the release. You can hear “The Living Tide” at the bottom of this post, and as the leadoff track, it does the work of establishing the tone and setting the atmospheric foundation for both the largesse and the impact that follows. I think it was the label said something about “crushing psychedelia.” That’s as good as anything I could come up with.

Enjoy:

Solar Halos Coiled Light

SOLAR HALOS SIGNS TO CURSED TONGUE RECORDS FOR A WORLD WIDE RELEASE OF THEIR NEW ALBUM ‘COILED LIGHT’ ON MAY 10TH, 2019.

Cursed Tongue Records is thrilled to announce the signing of the thunderous and soulful yet equally dark and hypnotic heavy psych rock ensemble Solar Halos, NC. Their sophomore album ‘Coiled Light’ will be released on vinyl May 10th via Cursed Tongue Records, with pre-orders coming early April.

It’s been almost 2 years since the band last released new tunes onto the world and over 5 years since Solar Halos released their self-titled debut album via Devouter Records (UK). The passing of time has failed to dim a great first experience. Still vividly remembering the almost religious awakening that was brought upon Cursed Tongue Records owner back in 2014 when first laying ears to Solar Halos pulsating, ground-shaking and beautifully heavy tunes. Hence, we are not far from a dream come true when being passed the opportunity to work with the band on releasing their follow-up album. The debut never left heavy rotation and the new album ‘Coiled Light’ will sure follow troop.

Behind Solar Halos’ Carrboro, NC practice space there are train tracks and a concrete factory. You feel the rumble of diesel engines and sliding stone as much as you hear it. Like the digestive noises of a nation-sized beast, it jars your teeth. It rattles your marrow. It makes you feel small.

Within Solar Halos practice space, John Crouch (drums and percussion), Nora Rogers (guitar, cello, vocals) and Eddie Sanchez (bass, keys and vocals) take the long view. There is an even larger, more patient, more powerful beast, and it will level the field. “When time awaits / when monuments breathe / when mountains return to the sea,” rings Rogers clear and confident call over nuanced, propulsive sludge. “The calm water hides.”

Human endeavor can rumble and rattle and challenge nature, like the heavy industry all around, or it can tap into forces older and more powerful than anything anthropocene. This is a band that thinks in geological time, and an air of levelheaded patience pervades even the most driving songs. With obliquely poetic lyrics that wax mystical and scientific both, Solar Halos sings to the stones, the grass, the sea, the stars and time itself on their second album ‘Coiled Light’.

Recorded summer 2017 by Kris Hilbert at esteemed Greensboro, NC studio Legitimate Business, ‘Coiled Light’ finds Solar Halos tightening its already impressive structures and expanding its expressive horizons both. On “Nebulas” dual vocalists Rogers and Sanchez adopt a Carl Sagan-esque wonder at humanity’s vulnerability to cosmic forces: “It won’t warn you when it fades to black / it won’t charm you as time yields to mass.”

‘Coiled Light’ is psych-metal for naturalists, for philosophers and for listeners willing to take the long view, to accept our species’ impermanence and to walk paths that fade in the light of day.

It’s our anticipation and hope that many more ears will be opened to this truly unique and magnificent band and the heavy underground scene will learn of this phenomenon of nature. “We are happy to help bestow a second sonic revelation upon the Earth’s inhabitants”, the label owner notes.

So get ready to travel through chilled and dimly lit climes brought through an ever shifting provocative aural landscape. Utilizing a doom like weight, Solar Halos finds a radiant and transfixing resourcefulness through varied textures and sounds making their second album an enthralling and intensive examination of and feast for senses and emotions.

Once more Earth will tremble under the soundscapes that emanates from Solar Halos when ‘Coiled Light’ releases digitally on their Bandcamp page April 12th, 2019. It’s a journey you won’t want to miss!

CTR-021: SOLAR HALOS – ‘COILED LIGHT’, vinyl official release date: May 10th, 2019 (Digital release April 12th)

Written and arranged by Solar Halos
Engineered and mixed by Kris Hilburt at Legitimate Business, NC
Mastered by James Plotkin
Drawings & photos by Nora Rogers
Layout & design by Michael Andresakis

Track listing:

side A
1. The Living Tide
2. Personal Levee
3. Ground the Fire

side B
4. River of Grass
5. Conduit
6. Coiled Light
7. Nebulas

Solar Halos is:
John Crouch – drums, percussion
Nora Rogers – guitar, cello, vocals
Eddie Sanchez – bass, keys, vocals

https://www.facebook.com/SolarHalos/
https://www.instagram.com/solar.halos
https://solarhalos.bandcamp.com/
http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CursedTongueRecords
https://www.instagram.com/cursedtonguerecords

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Review & Video Premiere: The Asound, Impalement Arts

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on February 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the asound impalement arts

The Asound, “Triple Saints” official video premiere

[Click play above to watch the premiere of The Asound’s video for ‘Triple Saints.’ Their second album, Impalement Arts, is out now on Rusty Knuckles Music.]

There’s a blistering, sandblasted sensibility to the noise rock The Asound have come to make, and though their beginnings nine years ago on their debut split (review here) and roughly concurrent 2010 self-titled EP (review here) were more in the vein of straightforward heavy rock, the North Carolinian trio-turned-four-piece have since taken a turn for the confrontational, and that seems to suit them in attitude as well as execution. As founders Chad Wyrick (guitar/vocals), Jon Cox (bass) and Michael Crump (drums) welcome guitarist David Easter, they take on an even fuller-sounding production than that heard on their 2017 split with Intercourse (review here), allowing the complete brunt of what they’re doing to make its impact felt. Impalement Arts is at least their second long-player, but the back catalog is nebulous over the last nine years with singles, EPs and splits and pressings through Cox‘s Tsuguri Records imprint making their way to the merch table in limited quantities.

Either way, it’s the most professional-sounding output they’ve had to-date, and while some of its songs go back at least five years — “Chief of Thieves” previously appeared on a 2014 split with Mark Deutrom (review here) — the clarity and breadth of production by Brandon Hamby at Dead Peasant Studio makes it all the more vital, right up to the Floor cover, “Loanin'” that caps side B of the 43-minute long-player. In that time, The Asound pack an intense 12 songs into Impalement Arts, and while the title-track and songs like “Pseudo Vein” do more than hint at some of the heavy rocking foundations of the band, even these moments are purposed into a whole that is brash and dynamic in kind, easily changing tempo and working into and out of winding progressions with an overarching threat of violence that’s right there at the outset of the chugging opener “Wolves Will Feed” and continues as a uniting factor throughout. It’s not that they’re void of melody — they’re not, and Wyrick‘s throaty vocals are quick to show that in the chorus of “Wolves Will Feed” — just that that melody comes with bruises.

Much to their credit, The Asound never come across as rushed throughout Impalement Arts, and as “Dead Rat Cinders” lunges forth with its initial roll and foreboding hey-anyone-remember-when-Mastodon-was-a-noise-band barbarism, the tension they create is a chest-tightening atmosphere at once engaging and disaffected. Still, they’re not out of control, and for having put the record to tape in three days, they sound positively poised as “Throne of Compulsion” winds its way into its first verse with an interaction between lead and rhythm guitars that resolves in a gritty staccato verse topped with Wyrick‘s gritty shouting. These first three tracks — “Wolves Will Feed,” “Dead Rat Cinders” and “Throne of Compulsion” — are all under four minutes long, but together make for a purposeful opening salvo that introduces not only the sound of Impalement Arts, the tones and general aggression of delivery, etc., but also the mood, which “Throne of Compulsion” subtly begins to expand.

the asound

There’s an underlying current of metal amid all the drunk-punk foundations in the songs, and while there’s lumber and plod fast and slow for just as long as you please, the structure of Impalement Arts is still positioned to engage the listener by bringing them gradually into the sphere of the band’s songwriting. “Throne of Compulsion” gives way to “Pseudo Vein” — both appeared on the band’s second self-titled EP in 2016 (review here), as did “Moss Man” still to come on side B — which flows easily at a more relaxed tempo across its five minutes, coming to a head late and feeding more or less directly into the instrumental title-track and the quicker “Triple Saints,” which strips down the approach of the initial trilogy to its sans-frills core and explosive core. It’s a fair enough ending for side A, and leaves the pummel to speak for itself, which it does all the more after the title-track, which is downright friendly in comparison.

The interlude that precedes “Moss Man” on side B is a trap. You turn the volume way up to hear what’s going on, and then all of a sudden Crump‘s drums kick in to puncture your eardrum. You win this round, The Asound. At just under five minutes, “Moss Man” is a highlight of Southern-style noise rock — I tag it as “Southern” a bit for the lead guitar that ensues and a bit because it reminds me of Lord — but while it departs for a long and nearly hypnotic instrumental stretch, it does return to its verse at the end. That’s a crucial structural shift, and “Commanding the Sword” follows with a tempo slowdown that suits the overall tonal largesse well and still carries some searing aspect to its soloing, this time pushing further out until the end as the band continue to screw with their own formula effectively.

“Chief of Thieves” is the longest inclusion at 5:36 and deep-dives into a willfully repetitive break that seems to build on what “Moss Man” was doing in terms of trance-induction, while providing Impalement Arts with a suitable culmination in its thickened and rumbling finish that makes the angularity of “Masters of the Mind” all the more of a blast — as though The Asound got the business out of the way so they could really let loose. Perhaps it’s an answer to “Triple Saints,” but either way, its blown-out push is a good time reward that the Floor cover “Loanin'” backs up in method and theme. There’s no bomb tone, but The Asound do well to bring the two-minute cut into the context of the rest of their album, and while I’m not sure they needed it after “Masters of the Mind,” neither is it detracting from Impalement Arts in any way, its long fade giving them the means to a graceful exit for a record that’s spent so much of its time being brazenly ungraceful. That contrast speaks to what has always been a strength of The Asound, which is the consciousness behind the physicality of their work. They know what they’re doing and how they’re doing it, and Impalement Arts delivers exactly the kind of punishment they intend.

The Asound, Impalement Arts (2018)

The Asound on Thee Facebooks

The Asound on Bandcamp

Rusty Knuckles Music website

Rusty Knuckles Music on Bandcamp

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Crystal Spiders Post Debut Demo; First Live Appearance Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

crystal spiders (Photo by Marissa Straw)

Taking their moniker from the first track on the debut album from Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Raleigh, North Carolina’s Crystal Spiders have unveiled their aptly-titled Demo ahead of making their first live appearance on Feb. 7 in their hometown. The release is comprised of three cuts giving three distinct looks at the trio as they move from the rolling doom rock and layered harmonies of “Tigerlily” through the rougher-edged thrust of “Flamethrower” with a classic metal riff careening through its sub-two-minute runtime, and into the catchy cultistry of “Devil’s Resolve,” on which bassist Brenna Leath — also of Ripple-signed heavy rockers Lightning Born — steps back from lead vocals to allow a shift to sludgy shouts ahead of a delve into the riff from Electric Wizard‘s “Witchcult Today” repurposed as the bed for an impressive solo from Mike Deloatch, backed by the swing of Tradd Yancey, who wins at names, outright.

It’s 11 minutes of material and does exactly what something called Demo should do: it lets the band get their feet under them and gives anyone listening fodder for future interest. Certainly with such variety over a relatively short period of time and the fact that the band has been together less than a full year, it’s probably safe to say they’re trying things out, but in so doing, they nonetheless give an encouraging look at their songwriting modus as well as some killer performances. If I was gonna be at the gig, I’d show up early. That’s all I’m saying.

Info and whatnot came down the PR wire, but the real point here is the stream, which you’ll find at the bottom of the post. So have at it:

crystal spider demo

Crystal Spiders – Demo

Formed by a punk rock kid, a crazed rock and roller, and later joined by a doom veteran, Crystal Spiders are rising from Raleigh, unleashing dynamic and powerful sounds speaking to the fundamental power of fuzz rock. Inspired by a slew of acts ranging from the Melvins and Kyuss to Fu Manchu, these scene veterans are tried and true worshipers of the riff. Featuring members of local favorites such as Lightning Born, Mind Dweller and Thirsty Curses, Crystal Spiders’ diverse mix of influences makes for music that separates them from the stoner rock rat race.

Brought together by a love of vintage gear, nasty licks, and ratty pedals, Crystal Spiders revel in the waves of volume commanded by their roaring amps. Frontwoman Brenna Leath’s dynamic voice soars above it all, guiding listeners from peak to sonic peak and fascinating the palate with her powerful delivery. She is perfectly complemented by her bandmate’s heavy vocals, joined by the roaring guitars of Mike Deloatch and the high-powered drums of Tradd Yancey. The legendary Raleigh rock scene has been a band breeding ground for years now, but rarely has something emerged from the crypt with the same passion and drive of this fuzz-possessed crew.

Reeking of smoke and drenched in distortion, their demo has just been self-released in January of 2019 and is guaranteed to reap minds and destroy souls, foreshadowing a debut album that will make waves in heavy circles. Excited for the opportunities to come, Leath says, “You know you’re doing something right when you look down at the speedometer and you’re doing 20 miles over with no idea of how you got there. 1-part vintage gear, 1-part doom, a dash of punk and a sprinkle of germanium. That’s how.”

Tracklisting:
1. Tigerlily
2. Flamethrower
3. Devil’s Resolve

All songs written and recorded by Crystal Spiders (Mike Deloatch, Brenna Leath, Tradd Yancey). Mixed and mastered by Jim Griffin, Shadetree Studios, Raleigh, NC. Art by Tyler Pennington. Layout by Alex Traboulsi.

Crystal Spiders live:
Feb 07 Slim’s Downtown Raleigh, NC w/ Thunderchief, WitchTit

Crystal Spiders is:
Brenna Leath – Bass & Vox
Mike Deloatch – Guitar & Vox
Tradd Yancey – Drums & Backup Vox

https://www.facebook.com/crystalspidersinmymind
https://crystalspiders.bandcamp.com

Crystal Spiders, Demo (2019)

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Review & Full Album Premiere: The Sabbathian, Latum Alterum

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the sabbathian latum alterum

[Click play above to stream The Sabbathian’s Latum Alterum in full. Album is out Jan. 25 on Svart Records.]

Anette Uvaas Gulbrandsen — who has worked with Leaves’ Eyes, Nàttsòl and Mandylion, and many more — and Chad Davis, of Hour of Thirteen, The Ritualist, Anu, Jenzeits and dozens of others, are The Sabbathian. She’s in Norway and he’s in the US, but they render borders moot with their Svart Records-delivered first album, Latum Alterum, which follows the 2014 EP, Ritual Rites, and furthers a blend of extreme metal, cultish impulses, near-operatic melodies and an overarching atmosphere of doom. Songs like “One Night of Cruelty” and the penultimate “Embrace the Dark,” which follows, tap into The Devil’s Blood-style mystique, with Gulbrandsen delivering her lines in self-harmonized layers while the multi-instrumentalist Davis handles guitar, bass and drums (and maybe a bit of vocals as well).

The construction of the band reminds somewhat of the earliest incarnation of Hour of 13, which was Davis on instruments and standalone-singer Phil Swanson, but while The Sabbathian has its doomed elements, the overarching feel of the band is different and entirely more grand. Of course, a large portion of the credit for that has to go to Gulbrandsen, who makes even coming in for the first lines of closer “Evig Hvile/Libera Me… (Outro)” in the pocket of the beat feel stately, but even in Davis‘ breadth of guitar tone on the earlier “Liti Kjersti,” which in another context would easily be black metal, there’s a resonant grandeur that complements the work done on vocals. From the beginning of the chanting opener “Requiem…” through the slow-moving “The Brightest Light,” Latum Alterum — Latin for “on the other side” — the progression of the album feels geared for maximum listener consumption, and the intercontinental duo get going, there’s nothing stopping the feeling of plunging further and further into a deep-reaching metallic abyss. It’s their first album, but it’s nobody’s first album, if you know what I mean, and the experience of knowing how they want to sound and how to make that happen is writ large in the material.

Though rich in its melody, it is not easy listening. Though there’s nothing in its run one would consider abrasive given proper indoctrination and openness to a consistent distorted wash, but Latum Alterum requires attention. As it makes its way toward and through nine-minute centerpiece “Head of a Traitor,” which boasts a guest appearance from Liv Kristine of Leaves’ Eyes, and onward to the final echoing organ and choral lines of the outro portion of the finale, the tracklisting demands engagement. It’s worth the effort of a headphones-on experience, thanks in no small part to the depth of its mix and the reaches the sound seems to find. Even as “The Brightest Light” seems to dig its heels into engrossing darkness, the layering of vocals and details in the forward push of guitar, bass and drums gives an impression of nuance that the rest of the album continues to build upon. “The Brightest Light” finishes just before the seven-minute mark, but is hypnotic in its fluid execution — and when I say “execution,” I’m thinking guillotine — and cedes ground to “Liti Kjersti,” which derives from a Norwegian folk song telling the story of a girl meeting a dwarf or troll in the mountains, and again, pushes into more outwardly extreme sounds in the guitar.

It’s thanks in part to the steady groove of the drums that the song doesn’t tip over into a more outwardly extreme spirit, but there’s no doubt the motion is dragging the listener deeper into the progression under way, and of course there’s no letup with “Head of a Traitor” in that regard either, the longest song on Latum Alterum beginning with a creep of intertwined guitar lines before bursting forward in a sudden surge, and even before the first verse, causing one to imagine hearing buried screams so deep in the mix as to barely be audible. This is prior to the arrival of the harmonies between Gulbrandsen and Kristine, which are masterful by the midpoint of the track and set up a second half of continuing buzz and a stretch of guitar topped with final lyrics that ends by giving way to residual noise and the immediately carbonized feel of “One Night of Cruelty.”

These turns and shifts are there, and swiftly applied, but can be easy to miss the first time through if, again, one isn’t giving the proper level of interactivity to the listen. Latum Alterum in its side B delves even further in misanthropic and grueling darkness, as both “One Night of Cruelty” and the aptly-titled “Embrace the Dark” seem to careen downward, the latter with a punctuated march that’s as majestic as it is weighted. “Embrace the Dark” ends with lower register vocals that would seem to set up a bleaker turn in “Evig Hvile/Libera Me… (Outro),” but the truth is things are plenty bleak by then anyway. The finisher might be another folk song by Bjørn Eidsvåg reinterpreted, or there’s a Nortt song from 2003 with the same name, I’m not really sure, but wherever it comes from The Sabbathian make it their own no less than they did with “Liti Kjersti,” reinforcing the atmospheric shimmer and downer spirit of the proceedings with a patiently unfolding rhythm with the vocals woven over-top.

There isn’t so much a grand finale as a dirge march outward, and as the last strains cut off and let the outro take hold, organ and vocals, the scope of Latum Alterum continues to be among the album’s primary assets. Whatever stylistic tags one might want to apply or force upon it, The Sabbathian create their own sonic persona on their first long-player, and do so with a sure-minded purpose toward ambient weight. Their prior experience on the EP — which was more in a vein of cult metal and is included in a 2CD edition of this release — helped solidify their approach, but Latum Alterum is on a different level entirely for The Sabbathian, and though invariably geographical complications are a factor, one hopes they continue along this path of resonant drear.

The Sabbathian on Thee Facebooks

The Sabbathian on Bandcamp

Svart Records website

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records on Twitter

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The Sabbathian Announce Jan. 25 Release for Latum Alterum

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the sabbathian

Following the debut EP Ritual Rites, which Svart issued in 2014, The Sabbathian will issue their debut long-player on Jan. 25. The group has pared down from a trio to a two-piece since the EP, with multi-instrumentalist Chad Davis (GnuJenzeitsHour of Thirteen, so many others) and Norewgian-native vocalist Anette Uvaas Guldbransen (Nàttsòl, Mäctätus) as its sole inhabitants — though Liv Kristine of Leaves’ Eyes makes a guest appearance as well — and if the band itself positions the songs more in line with classic metal and doom. A comparison to early Bathory is always a mixed bag: How early are we talking? But with that intrigue added, I’m only more on the hook for listening to the album when the time comes.

Art and info came down the PR wire:

the sabbathian latum alterum

THE SABBATHIAN set release date for SVART debut album

Today, Svart Records sets January 25th, 2019 as the international release date for The Sabbathian’s highly anticipated debut album, Latum Alterum, on CD and vinyl LP formats.

The words “highly anticipated” come quickly to mind when talking of the US-Norwegian project The Sabbathian and the chance that there will be new material from them. The band, formed by Chad Davis (Hour of 13 and many more) and Anette Uvaas Guldbrandsen (Nàttsòl), released their debut EP, Ritual Rites, on Svart Records in 2014. The duo’s personal approach to old-school doom won over many metal hearts, and the wait for new material is over in January 2019.

The Sabbathian’s debut full-length, Latum Alterum, is scheduled for release on January 25th on LP, digital, and limited double CD (including Ritual Rites EP on CD for the first time). The album is a considerably darker affair compared to the EP, a step away from the origins of doom metal and towards the heavier vistas traversed by Nordic metalmongers such as Bathory or Candlemass. Vocalist Anette Uvaas Guldbransen describes the album thus: “The overall theme can be described as slightly morbid, as it is very much about passing over to the other side – latum alterum. The odd one out is the song ‘Embrace The Dark,’ which retains the sound of the EP. The intro and outro tracks are meant as a way of blessing the souls on their journey.”

“The way we work on the music takes time,” adds Guldbransen. “Chad would send me the music and I then work my way through the songs. As the music is quite different now, I must admit I had quite a struggle at first with some of the tracks. My best friend Liv Kristine Espenæs has joined me on one track, mainly because I thought her voice would lift the song and also because I love her voice. I have sung on several songs with her ex-band Leaves’ Eyes, and now I felt it was her turn to sing on something I made.”

First track premiere and preorder info to be revealed shortly.

Tracklisting for The Sabbathian’s Latum Alterum
1. Requiem… (Intro)
2. The Brightest Light
3. Liti Kjersti
4. Head Of A Traitor
5. One Night Of Cruelty
6. Embrace The Dark
7. Evig Hvile / Libera me… (outro)

www.facebook.com/thesabbathianband
https://thesabbathian.bandcamp.com
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
www.twitter.com/svartrecords

The Sabbathian, Ritual Rites (2014)

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Weedeater Announce December Tour Dates; Out with C.O.C. & Crowbar in Jan./Feb.

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

weedeater

You know the drill by now. Weedeater, touring. Isn’t that just kind of the state of things at this point? Already announced as taking part in a significant chunk of Corrosion of Conformity‘s upcoming run alongside Crowbar and Mothership in January and February, the band has newly unveiled a quickie stint in December that one assumes they’re undertaking in order to help with the expense of holiday shopping? They’re not making their way to a fest or anything, but in all seriousness, I think touring is how Weedeater eat (both weed and actual food, which may or may not contain more weed) at this point, so yeah, they’re sneaking in a few more dates before 2018 ends. This year has already seen them in Europe and across the US, found them hit with tragedy at the passing of drummer Carlos Denogean and beheld their apparent unstoppability in the wake of that. Why wouldn’t they hit the road again for a sweep up to Philly? Maybe they’re big Gritty fans. I know I am.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before — and yes, you have — but here are some Weedeater tour dates from the PR wire:

weedeater dec tour

WEEDEATER announce extensive US tour

Notorious southern metal outfit WEEDEATER have announced an extensive US tour. The trio will undertake a short run of East Coast headline dates in December before joining CORROSION OF CONFORMITY on January 19 to begin a US Tour. A full list of confirmed dates can be found below.

All of WEEDEATER’s albums are now available at fine stores nationwide and online at the WEEDEATER Bandcamp page.

WEEDEATER was formed by front-man/bassist “Dixie” Dave Collins. Following the release of their 2001 debut ‘…And Justice For Y’All’, WEEDEATER immediately established themselves as a force in the U.S. tour circuit and quickly gained notoriety in the American metal scene. In the time since, the band have released three critically-acclaimed albums: ‘Sixteen Tons’ (2002), ‘God Luck And Good Speed’ (2007), and ‘Jason… The Dragon’ (2011), and toured around the world with the likes of DOWN, SAINT VITUS, HIGH ON FIRE, and THE MELVINS, HANK III, EARTH, SUNN O))) and more. The band has played prestigious festivals such as Maryland Deathfest, Hopscotch Festival, Stoned From The Underground, Asymmetry Festival, Roadburn Festival, Hellfest, and many more.

WEEDEATER TOUR DATES
Dec. 5 Chesapeake, VA @ Riffhouse
Dec. 6 Lancaster, PA @ Lizard Lounge
Dec. 7 Pittsburgh, PA @ Cattivo
Dec. 8 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
Dec. 9 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie

WEEDEATER W/ C.O.C., CROWBAR & MOTHERSHIP:
Jan. 19 San Antonio, TX @ Alamo City Music Hall
Jan. 20 Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom
Jan. 21 Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room
Jan. 22 Denver, CO @ Gothic Theater
Jan. 24 Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
Jan. 25 Las Vegas, NV @ Fremont Country Club
Jan. 26 San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick
Jan. 27 Los Angeles, CA @Teragram Ballroom
Jan. 29 San Francisco, CA @ Slims
Jan. 31 Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater
Feb. 1 Seattle, WA @ Neumos
Feb. 2 Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theater
Feb. 4 Edmonton, AB @ Starlite Room
Feb. 5 Calgary, AB @ Marque
Feb. 7 Winnipeg, MB @ Park Theater
Feb. 8 Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line
Feb. 9 Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
Feb. 10 Flint, MI @ Machine Shop
Feb. 12 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
Feb. 13 New York City, NY @ Gramercy Theater

https://www.facebook.com/weedmetal/
https://weedeater.bandcamp.com/
https://www.twitter.com/seasonofmist
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Weedeater, Goliathan (2015)

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Review & Full Album Stream: New Light Choir, Torchlight

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

new light choir torchlight

[Click play above to stream New Light Choir’s Torchlight in full. Album is out this Friday, Nov. 23, on Svart Records.]

Near the end of organ-laced second track “Queen of Winter” there is a lyrical turn. The driving 4:34 piece arrives following opener “Grand Architect” on the New Light Choir‘s Svart-delivered third album, Torchlight, and is the final chapter in a quick initial salvo before the six-minute “Firebird” takes hold as the longest cut included. It happens in the last stretch of the song. The line, “Before the winter begins,” is being repeated following a suitable tempest of riffs and rhythm, as the Raleigh, North Carolina, self-recording, studio-only two-piece of guitarist/vocalist John Niffenegger and drummer Chris Dalton seem to reinvent progressive, blackened and traditional metals in their own image, and at 4:15, the lyric changes for the last go. Instead of, “Before the winter begins,” it’s, “Before her winter begins,” and on paper that’s not a huge shift, but its nonetheless emblematic of the level of detail and precision put into Torchlight as a whole.

Right down to one word in one of 10 songs for one line on a 45-minute album, every moment of Torchlight feels like it’s doing exactly what New Light Choir has intended it to do. The narrative around the album is one of stylistic reach, and indeed, there’s plenty of it, but across the tumult of “Omens” and the what-if-Rush-had-invented-black-metal “Psalm 6,” all frenetic drumming and poised vocal melody and blindingly progressive figures and structures, but it’s not just about taking two or three or four different styles and smashing them together. There are bands who do that and make it work to varying degrees of success, but rather than highlight the divisions between the various elements at play — and it is very much play — across Torchlight, New Light Choir work to erase the boundaries of genre in the first place. It’s as if their goal was to sit down and construct a record where every individual moment was geared toward rendering “File Under” moot.

New Light Choir made their debut with a self-titled LP in 2010, and songs from it carried almost a Wovenhand-style sense of space (thinking of “Choral” near the middle of the tracklist), but as they followed that with Volume II in 2014 — High Roller Records released it in 2015 — and found themselves working more in a classic production-style with an overarching theme, the creative development was palpable. The same is true in sitting that second outing next to Torchlight, as “Adamantine” seems to have found the blend of fullness and rawness in the recording itself that the first two full-lengths seemed to be driving toward, and their lyrics about an unbreakable metal there could hardly be more appropriate. While I don’t know what the circumstances of the recording were, the band worked on Torchlight across three years from later-2015 through February of this year, and while that could’ve just been a matter of their not having time to get into Studio 775 for anything other than laying down snippets at a time, as Niffenegger intones the line “Heavy metal in my veins” shortly before the acoustic guitar and choral keys lead the way out and into the thrashier start of the aforementioned “Psalm 6,” the material indeed sounds like it’s been lived with.

new light choir

It’s thought through, but not staid. From “Grand Architect” onward, Dalton‘s drums are a catalyst for the melded aesthetics, whether it’s in that leadoff as they bring classic doom and thrash into heady coexistence, or on “Golden Ring,” as the graceful lyric “And so it goes” is met with a corresponding instrumental turn on the way to its last verse. Atmosphere is no less central throughout, but on a sheer performance level, Torchlight is a triumph in its uncompromised look at what metal can do and can be. If it took an actual three years of work from top to bottom to make it, I could hardly be surprised listening to the balance of lead and rhythm guitar layers in “Omens” earlier on or the running toms that start and crash into the beginning of the penultimate “Last March,” which nearly blasts through its earlier moments before reimagining Primordial-style post-black metal with that ever-present touch of prog in the vocals but a locked in half-time megagroove after its midpoint that seems to make the journey on that march all the more worthwhile.

Before that, they delve into a rousing cascade on the three-minute “Moondawn Mirage III,” which eschews lyrics until turning to acoustics in its final movement and is the shortest track on the album but still well more substantial than an interlude, and after, they bring forth the finale, “Stardust and Torchlight,” which feels less like a summary than a culmination. With a steady gallop in its initial verse and chorus, it’s black metal but for the vocals, and even after a momentary slowdown just past the halfway mark, the turn into a mid-paced progression and a winding, plotted lead feels smooth and as natural as any of the many other headspinning changes that have preceded it. As they do with “Moondawn Mirage III” and “Adamantine,” they finish “Stardust and Torchlight” with a move into acoustic guitar, residual feedback holding out beneath a few quick plucks and a final strum that once again serves a reminder of just how purposeful Torchlight is in its directed nuance.

Different listeners will hear various references in the songs, but ultimately New Light Choir‘s style belongs to no one so much as to the duo itself, and the manner in which they’re able to make it own is as much a reshaping of metal as it is an homage to it. I’m not sure if it’s fair to call them experimental, if only for the connotation of well-let’s-try-this-and-see-what-happens that seems to bring, where Dalton and Niffenegger execute their work in a not-makeshift way, but very much befitting their status as a studio project. That’s not to say the tracks on Torchlight wouldn’t work live if a full lineup came together around the two founders, just that that’s what it would take for the material as it is to be brought to life on a stage. Whether that happens or not — it’s been eight years since their debut and it hasn’t yet, so I’ll hazard a guess that it’s not top priority — the clarity of their vision is one of their greatest assets throughout Torchlight, and if that’s the thread that carries them through the next several years of work on their next round of material, it can only be a win.

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New Light Choir on Bandcamp

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U.S. Christmas Premiere “Death by Horses” Video Showing Handmade Reissue Process

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

us christmas prayer meeting box

Being so thoroughly useless in such a wide variety of ways, I can only watch in admiration in the video below as Hypershape Records builds, stains and brands the wood boxes that house the limited-to-100-copies reissue of U.S. Christmas‘ 2003 debut album, Prayer Meeting. The thing is so in tune with the natural order that it comes with a warning about import restrictions in case the country you’re ordering from doesn’t want you to bring things like seeds and leaves from elsewhere. To be fair, U.S. Christmas‘ music itself should probably always have that warning, since the North Carolinian psych explorers seem so able to conjure a sense of place in what they do; dug so deep into Appalachian dirt as they are, it’s easy to imagine a few seeds and roots getting in amid the organic sprawl of their songwriting. Prayer Meeting turns 15 years old this year, and to listen to the opening track “Death by Horses,” it only underscores how much out of time it existed in the first place. A band on their own wavelength and a songwriter in Nate Hall whose refusal to compromise his vision has led to an ongoing cult following despite the band’s most recent album, The Valley Path, having arrived in 2011.

Hall has of course embarked on a solo career — he released The Center of the Earth last year on Hypershape — and other members of the band have gone on to contribute to acts like GracelessGeneration of VipersTasha-Yar and A Storm of Light, but U.S. Christmas‘ legacy has lingered in no small part thanks to the atmospheres brought to bear in the material. Experimentalist and organic at the same time, their stuff has never been for everyone. I panned 2010’s Run Thick in the Night when it came out and ate crow when I heard The Valley Path the next year; “duh, turns out this band’s kinda awesome.” But its resonance and the wide-open context of its creativity speak not only to the very real place from where it comes — Marion, NC, is in the western half of the state, about 40 minutes from Asheville by car and near the Lake James State Park — but a breadth of influence that’s as much ethereal as it is terrestrial. A handmade wooden box seems like a suitable container for it, and the leaves other found-on-the-trail whatnot included should be a fitting complement to the sound of Prayer Meeting itself, which only underscores how on their own plane U.S. Christmas have always been.

Prayer Meeting is released on Nov. 23 on Hypershape Records, and you’ll find the preorder link included in the info below the video, which comes courtesy of the label.

Please enjoy:

U.S. Christmas, “Death by Horses” promo video

Here comes the promotional clip for “Prayer Meeting” by the cult space rock band U.S. Christmas (ex-Neurot Recordings, now on Hypershape Records).

“Prayer Meeting” finally has been rediscovered, professionally remastered, and found its home in a ltd series of handmade and firebranded wooden boxes at Hypershape Records. Each box will be strictly unique and different from the previous one and will contain postcards and special gifts of nature like bark pieces or leaves collected by Nate Hall himself on the Appalachian mountains, other than a luxury 8-panel digipak with visuals reboot at HPS headquarter. Honest and sincere record, it represents how the USX path started back in the days.

Preorder here: https://hypershaperecords.bandcamp.com/album/prayer-meeting

IMPORTANT – boxes are 100% timber made and contains pieces of bark, seeds, leaves – BEFORE ordering be careful with natural items import restrictions in your country (Australia for example) – Hypershape Records is not responsible in case of those restrictions. Thank you.

Written, performed and recorded by U.S. Christmas
Nate Hall: guitar, vocals
Tim Greene: drums
John Presnell: bass
Matt Johnson: theremin

U.S. Christmas, Prayer Meeting (2003/2018)

U.S. Christmas on Thee Facebooks

U.S. Christmas BigCartel store

Hypershape Records on Bandcamp

Hypershape Records BigCartel store

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