I’m not really sure what might prompt North Carolinian heavy rock four-piece ASG to make a new video now, more than two years after the release of their latest album, Blood Drive, also their debut on Relapse Records, but if I had to take a guess, they had the footage and decided to use it. Sad to say, I’m not familiar enough with the Wilmington area to know definitively where their newly-premiered clip for “Mourning of the Earth” was filmed, but if it’s Ziggy’s by the Sea, then it would be the same locale where the band captured “Scrappy’s Trip” from the same album, though that seems to have been set to the studio version of the song, whereas this is live video and audio.
Maybe ASG have a new record in the works and are looking to get a little momentum going and say goodbye to Blood Drive before they enter the release/touring cycle anew — and with them, there’s little doubt it’d be a substantial cycle indeed — but whatever it is, I’m little inclined to argue. The massive response Blood Drive garnered was neither happenstance nor the result of anything other than a quality songwriting process and years of hard work put in, and if “Mourning of the Earth” is their way of reminding people of that fact before they bring something new to the table next year, then right on. Hell, even if they haven’t been writing or recording, I don’t think they’ll meet with too many complaints, even this far out from the last release.
Rocka. Also rolla:
ASG, “Mourning of the Earth”
North Carolina stoner rockers ASG have shared a new music video via Vevo for their track “Mourning Of The Earth,” taken from the 2013 release Blood Drive. Directed by Jason Lynn, the video is taken from one of ASG’s recent live performances in their their hometown of Wilmington, NC earlier this year, and features the band tearing through the ripping, riff-laden stoner metal anthem.
In late 2011, Relapse Records announced the signing of North Carolina’s finest psychedelic, stoner-punks. ASG entered the studio in February 2012 to record their highly anticipated Relapse debut with producer Matt Hyde (Slayer, Children of Bodom, Fu Manchu). After a string of U.S. dates with Corrosion of Conformity and label-mates Royal Thunder in early 2013, the group delivered their fourth full length Blood Drive on May 28th, 2013. A 12-song collection of sun-soaked anthems full of groove heavy riffs that reference equally Torche and Queens of the Stone Age, Blood Drive has garnered near-universal critical acclaim since its release.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 15th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Call me crazy, but I tend to think or at least hope that no matter which Corrosion of Conformity lineup a fan prefers, we can at least all be glad the band are continuing to make good more than 30 years after their inception. As announced from the stage the other night on their current tour with Clutch and The Shrine, the Pepper Keenan-fronted four-piece version of the band has signed to Nuclear Blast and will release a new album next year through the label. It will be the first time that all four players in this lineup — Keenan, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean, guitarist/vocalist Woody Weatherman and drummer/vocalist Reed Mullin — have all played on the same album since 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer. No minor happening, in other words.
The band just yesterday unveiled a previously-unreleased Lynyrd Skynyrd cover of “On the Hunt,” that you can stream below. They’re also on tour into Dec., still out with Clutch, dates with Mastodon, and then on a headlining run with Brant Bjork, Saviours and Mothership.
And, of course, the PR wire makes it official:
CORROSION OF CONFORMITY sign to Nuclear Blast Entertainment!
Nuclear Blast Entertainment is pleased to announce the worldwide signing of metal legends CORROSION OF CONFORMITY.
The band will enter the studio late this winter/early spring with longtime producer John Custer. Custer has recorded such prior C.O.C. classics as Deliverance, Wiseblood, America’s Volume Dealer and In The Arms Of God. The as-of-yet-untitled-album will mark the band’s studio reunion with vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan and their first full-length record since 2005.
Says Keenan about the new partnership: “To all the C.O.C. fans worldwide, Mike, Reed, Woody and I are proud to announce that we are starting our next sonic adventure with Nuclear Blast Entertainment! We are honored and psyched to be a part of the Blasted Family, both professionally and artistically. After all these years, its truly inspiring to reawaken the chemistry that the four of us have. We are seriously fucking with our pants off now! We do not take this journey lightly and cannot wait to return to the studio to drop Ze’ Hammer! All of this would not be possible without the global support of all you free thinkers and beer drinkers. Much love and respect and look forward to to seeing you soon.”
President of Nuclear Blast Entertainment, Monte Conner adds: “I love all the incarnations of C.O.C. over the years but the Pepper-fronted version has always been the definitive line-up of the band for me. Ever since hearing Pepper take charge on 1991’s ‘Vote With A Bullet’ I was dying to hear him sing more with the band. This line-up’s 1994 debut Deliverance, with its signature tracks ‘Clean My Wounds” and ‘Albatross,’ was an instant classic and is still one of my all-time favorite albums.
“It has been a long 10 years since their fourth album – the highly underrated In The Arms Of God – and as a fan, I am dying to hear what these guys come up with next. I know it will be a monster. The fact that it is coming out on Nuclear Blast is very fulfilling for me and many others on the Nuclear Blast team as we finally get to work with one of our favorite bands.”
A fall 2016 release is expected. In the meantime, catch CORROSION OF CONFORMITY on tour this fall on the following dates:
CLUTCH, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, THE SHRINE Thu/Oct-15 Grand Rapids, MI @ Orbit Room Fri/Oct-16 Sauget, IL @ Pop’s Nightclub Sat/Oct-17 Lincoln, NE @ Bourbon Theatre Sun/Oct-18 Fargo, ND @ Scheels Arena Tue/Oct-20 Billings, MT @ Shrine Auditorium Thu/Oct-22 Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory Concert House Fri/Oct-23 Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory Concert House Sat/Oct-24 KNOTFEST Sun/Oct-25 COC Headline show Las Vegas @ Vinyl Hard Rock
CLUTCH, MASTODON, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Mon/Oct-26 Tucson, AZ @ Rialto Theatre Wed/Oct-28 Austin, TX @ Austin Music Hall Thu/Oct-29 Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Live Fri/Oct-30 Houston, TX @ Bayou Music Center
MASTODON, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Sat/Oct-31 New Orleans, LA @ Civic Theatre Sun/Nov-01 Birmingham @Iron City
CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, BRANT BJORK, SAVIOURS Thu/Nov-12 Atlanta, GA @ The Loft ** Fri/Nov-13 Shreveport, LA @ Riverside Warehouse ## Mon/Nov-16 Scottsdale, AZ @ Pub Rock Tue/Nov-17 Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom Wed/Nov-18 San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s Fri/Nov-20 Vancouver, BC @ Venue Nightclub Sat/Nov-21 Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s Mon/Nov-23 Denver, CO @ The Summit Music Hall Tue/Nov-24 Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room Wed/Nov-25 Minneapolis, MN @ Mill City Nights Fri/Nov-27 Racine, WI @ Rte 20 Sat/Nov-28 Cleveland, OH @ The Odeon Sun/Nov-29 Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts Tue/Dec-01 Toronto, ON @ Opera House Wed/Dec-02 Flint, MI @ The Machine Shop Thu/Dec-03 Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar Fri/Dec-04 New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre Sat/Dec-05 Allston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall Mon/Dec-07 Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club Tue/Dec-08 Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel Wed/Dec-09 Virginia Beach, VA @ Shaka’s Live Thu/Dec-10 Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre ** YOB, Brant Bjork, Black Cobra ## Brant Bjork, local support
C.O.C. emerged from hibernation as a trio and released 2012’s self-titled album and 2014’s IX to wide acclaim, but many hardcore fans have been eagerly and patiently awaiting the return of Pepper Keenan.
The band were originally an influential hardcore punk/heavy metal crossover act before reaching critical success with a then new lineup on 1991’s Blind album. That trajectory continued with wider appeal as Keenan took over as the group’s primary vocalist on Deliverance (1994) and Wiseblood (1996).
These two recordings in particular fused the raw energy of their previous albums, with some great strides forward in classic rock inspired songwriting and more spacious production and execution. Since then the band has often been copied but rarely equaled.
This juggernaut gained mass and momentum with relentless touring alongside such greats METALLICA, CLUTCH, EYEHATEGOD and many more.
Eventually, following the release of In the Arms of God in 2005, Keenan decided to focus all his energy on his hometown band DOWN… until now.
CORROSION OF CONFORMITY is: Pepper Keenan – vocals, guitar Woodroe Weatherman – guitar Mike Dean – bass, vocals Reed Mullin – drums, vocals
Posted in Reviews on September 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Cruising right along with the Fall 2015 Quarterly Review. I hope you’ve been digging it so far. There’s still much more to come, and I’ve spaced things out so that it’s not like all the really killer stuff was in the first day. That’s not so much to draw people in with bigger names as to get a good mix of styles to keep me from going insane. 10 records is a lot to go through if you’re hearing the same thing all the time. Today, as with each day this week, I’m glad to be able to change things up a bit as we make our way through. Let’s get to it.
Fall 2015 Quarterly Review #21-30:
Aside from earning immediate points by sticking the 10-minute title-track at the front of their 62-minute fourth album, Swedish mustache rockers Horisont add intrigue to Odyssey (out on Rise Above) via the acquisition of journeyman guitarist Tom Sutton (The Order of Israfel, ex-Church of Misery). Their mission? To rock ‘70s arena melodies and grandiose vibes while keeping the affair tight enough so they don’t come across as completely ridiculous in the process. They’ve had three records to get it together before this one, so that they’d succeed isn’t necessarily much of a surprise, but the album satisfies nonetheless, cuts like “Blind Leder Blind” departing the sci-fi thematics of the opener for circa-1975 vintage loyalism of a different stripe, while “Back on the Streets” is pure early Scorpions strut, the band having found their own niche within crisp execution of classic-sounding grooves that seem to have a vinyl hiss no matter their source.
I’ll make no bones whatsoever about being partial to the work of both Blackwolfgoat – the solo experimental vehicle of Boston-based guitarist Darryl Shepard – and Larman Clamor – the solo-project of Hamburg-based graphic artist Alexander von Wieding – so to find them teamed up for a split 7” on H42 Records is something of a special thrill. Shepard’s inclusion, “Straphanger,” continues to push the thread between building layers of guitar on top of each other and songwriting that the last Blackwolfgoat full-length, Drone Maintenance (review here), found him exploring, while Larman Clamor’s “Drone Monger” is an alternate version from what appeared on last year’s Beetle Crown and Steel Wand (review here) and “Fo’ What You Did” digs deep into the swampy psych-blues that von Wieding has done so well developing for the last half-decade or so in the project’s tenure. My only complaint? No collaboration between the two sides. Would love to hear what Shepard and von Wieding could do in a cross-Atlantic two-piece.
II is the aptly-titled second full-length from Russian heavy psych instrumentalists Matushka, who jam kosmiche across its four component tracks and round out by diving headfirst into the acid with “Drezina,” a 20-minute pulsation from some distant dimension that gives sounds like Earthless if they made it up on the spot, peppering shred-ola leads with no shortage of effects swirl. In comparison, “As Bartenders and Bouncers Dance” feels positively plotted, but it, “The Acid Curl’s Dance” before and the especially dreamy “Meditation,” which follows, all have their spontaneous-sounding elements. For guitarist Timophey Goryashin, bassist Maxim Zhuravlev (who seems to since be out of the band) and drummer Konstantin Kotov to even sustain this kind of lysergic flow, they need to have a pretty solid chemistry underlying the material, and they do. I don’t know whether Matushka’s II will change the scope of heavy psychedelia, but they put their stamp on the established parameters here and bring an edge of individuality in moments of arrangement flourish — acoustics, synth, whatever it might be — where a lot of times that kind of thing is simply lost in favor of raw jamming.
If a pilot is used in television to test whether or not a show works, then Tuna de Tierra’s EPisode I: Pilot, would seem to indicate similar ends. A three-song first outing from the Napoli outfit, it coats itself well in languid heavy psychedelic vibing across “Red Sun” (the opener and longest track at 8:25; immediate points), “Ash” (7:28) and the particularly dreamy “El Paso de la Tortuga,” which closes out at 4:08 and leaves the listener wanting to hear more of what Alessio de Cicco (guitar/vocals) and Luciano Mirra (bass) might be able to concoct from their desert-style influences. There’s patience to be learned in some of their progressions, and presumably at some point they’ll need to pick up a drummer to replace Jonathan Maurano, who plays here and seems to since be out of the band, but especially as their initial point of contact with planet earth, EPisode I: Pilot proves immersive and a pleasure to get lost within, and that’s enough for the moment.
Much of what one might read concerning North Carolinian trio MAKE and their second album, The Golden Veil, seems to go out of its way to point out the individual take they’re bringing to the established parameters of post-metal. I don’t want to speak for anyone else, but part of that has to be sheer critical fatigue at the thought of another act coming along having anything in common with Isis while at the same time, not wanting to rag on MAKE as though their work were without value of its own, which at this point an Isis comparison dogwhistles. MAKE’s The Golden Veil successfully plays out an atmospherically intricate, engaging linear progression across its seven tracks, from the cut-short intro “I was Sitting Quietly, Peeling back My Skin” through the atmospheric sludge tumult of “The Absurdist” and into the patient post-rock melo-drone of “In the Final Moments, Uncoiling.” Yes, parts of it are familiar. Parts of a lot of things are familiar. Some of it sounds like Isis. That’s okay.
To an extent, the reputation of Belgium instru-crushers SardoniS precedes them, and as such I can’t help but listen to “The Coming of Khan,” which launches their third album, III (out via Consouling Sounds), and not be waiting for the explosion into tectonic riffing and massive-sounding gallop. Still the duo of drummer Jelle Stevens and guitarist Roel Paulussen, SardoniS offer up five tracks of sans-vocals, Surrounded by Thieves-style thrust, a cut like “Roaming the Valley” summarizing some of the best elements of what they’ve done across the span of splits with Eternal Elysium and Drums are for Parades, as well as their two prior full-lengths, 2012’s II and 2010’s SardoniS (review here), in its heft and its rush. A somewhat unanticipated turn arrives with 11:46 closer “Forward to the Abyss,” which though it still hits its standard marks, also boasts both lengthy atmospheric sections at the front and back and blastbeaten extremity between. Just when you think you know what to expect.
With their debut long-player, Barcelona trio Lewis and the Strange Magics answer the promise of their 2014 Demo (review here) in setting a late-‘60s vibe to modern cultish interpretation, post-Uncle Acid and post-Ghost (particularly so on “How to be You”) but no more indebted to one or the other than to themselves, which is as it should be. Issued via Soulseller Records, Velvet Skin isn’t afraid to dive into kitsch, and that winds up being a big part of the charm of songs like “Female Vampire” and “Golden Threads,” but it’s ultimately the chemistry of the organ-inclusive trio that makes the material hold up, as well as the swaggering rhythms of “Cloudy Grey Cube” and “Nina (Velvet Skin),” which is deceptively modern in its production despite such a vintage methodology. The guitar and keys on that semi-title-track seem to speak to a classic progressive edge burgeoning within Lewis and the Strange Magics’ approach, and I very much hope that’s a path they continue to walk.
Basking in a style they call “oceanic rock,” newcomer German trio Moewn unveil their first full-length, Acqua Alta, via Pink Tank Records in swells of post-metallic undulations that wear their neo-progressive influences on their sleeve. Instrumental for the duration, the three-piece tracked the album in 2014 about a year after first getting together, but the six songs have a cohesive, thought-out feel to their peaks and valleys – “Packeis” perhaps most of all – that speaks to their purposeful overall progression. Atmospherically, it feels like Moewn are still searching for what they want to do with this sound, but they have an awful lot figured out up to this point, whether it’s the nodding wash of airy guitar and fluid heft of groove that seems to push “Dunkelmeer” along or second cut “Katamaran,” which if it weren’t for the liquefied themes of the art and their self-applied genre tag, I’d almost say sounded in its more spacious stretches like desert rock à la Yawning Man.
Since their first album, 2008’s Lemuria (review here), it has been increasingly difficult to pin Peruvian outfit El Hijo de la Aurora to one style or another. Drawing from doom, heavy rock, drone and psychedelic elements, they seem to push outward cosmically into something that’s all and none of them at the same time on their third album, The Enigma of Evil (released by Minotauro Records), the core member Joaquín Cuadra enlisting the help of a host of others in executing the seven deeply varied tracks, including Indrayudh Shome of continually underrated experimentalists Queen Elephantine on the acoustic-led “The Awakening of Kosmos” and the penultimate chug-droner “The Advent of Ahriman.” Half a decade after the release of their second album, Wicca (review here), in 2010, El Hijo de la Aurora’s work continues to feel expansive and ripe for misinterpretation, finding weight in atmosphere as much as tone and breadth enough to surprise with how claustrophobic it can at times seem.
Dallas outfit Hawk vs. Dove recorded Divided States in the same studio as their self-titled 2013 debut (review here) and the two albums both have black and white line-drawn artwork from Larry Carey, so it seems only fitting to think of the new release as a follow-up to the first. It is fittingly expansive, culling together elements of ‘90s noise, post-grunge indie (ever wondered what Weezer would sound like heavy? Check “X”), black metal (“Burning and Crashing”), desert rock (“PGP”) and who the hell knows what else into a mesh of styles that not only holds up but feels progressed from the first time out and caps with an 11-minute title-track that does even more to draw the various styles together into a cohesive, singular whole. All told, Divided States is 38 minutes of blinding turns expertly handled and impressive scope trod over as though it ain’t no thing, just another day at the office. It’s the kind of record that’s so good at what it does that other bands should hear it and be annoyed.
North Carolina semi-cultish heavy rockers Demon Eye released their second album, Tempora Infernalia (review here), in May through Soulseller Records. It was and is the follow-up to last year’s Leave the Light (review here) in literal and figurative terms, expanding on many similar ideas while also pushing further along the band’s progressive path. And Demon Eye have proved quickly that they have something to offer in their near-garage take on post-Pentagram doom, somewhere between the classic and the modern and nowhere near as unclear about what they want to do as I seem to be about describing it, but more than their stylistic nuance, what really excites about their work thus far is the core of songwriting underneath.
There’s something to be said about the strength of underlying structure in songcraft and the various shapes of material one might build on such a solid foundation, and to me, Demon Eye just prove that. They’re not blindsiding anybody with technicality, and nor are they all-style-over-substance when it comes to their aesthetic choices, but they write memorable songs, and by focusing on that first, allow the rest to fill in naturally. Case in point is “End of Days” from Tempora Infernalia. Guitarist/vocalist Erik Sugg, drummer/vocalist Bill Eagen, bassist Paul Walz and lead guitarist Larry Burlison aren’t exactly subtle in terms of perspective, but the impact of the song is even more about its hook and how goddamn catchy it is. Thus far, I’ve heard nothing from Demon Eye to make me think they won’t continue to grow within this methodology.
And as I say, they have aesthetics to offer as well, as the new video for “End of Days” demonstrates. Demon Eye already shared the stage this week with Mos Generator and The Atomic Bitchwax, and they have shows coming up in the next few weeks with Lo-Pan and Acid King as well. Dates follow the clip.
Demon Eye, “End of Days” official video
From “Tempora Infernalia,” courtesy of Soulseller Records. Video was compiled, created and edited by Carmen Parks and the Mystery Machine.
NEW OFFICIAL VIDEO for END OF DAYS! A huge thanks to The Mystery Machine. See Demon Eye at the upcoming shows:
9/24 – Spacebar in Columbus, OH w/ BEGGARS & LO-PAN 9/25 – Live Wire in Chicago, IL w/ LADIES OF LEISURE & CROSS HAMMER 9/26 – Detroit, Michigan w/ THE BEGGARS (Detroit) 10/24 – Kings Barcade in Raleigh, NC w/ ACID KING
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 16th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Already on tour this Fall with Clutch, the semi-reunited four-piece incarnation of Corrosion of Conformity have announced a run of headlining dates to follow that as they continue to mark 20 years since the release of their 1995 classic, Deliverance. At this point, aside from wanting very, very badly to see them play again, I’m curious to find out if C.O.C. will do another record with Pepper Keenan on guitar/vocals alongside bassist/vocalist Mike Dean, guitarist Woody Weatherman and drummer Reed Mullin, or if it’s just going to be live shows from here on out. Rumblings and rumors have been heard, pull quotes from interviews and so on, but that’s a far cry from a release date, and when and if it does happen, new C.O.C. is going to be a landmark.
Already it’s been a decade since the underrated In the Arms of God, which was their last album with Keenan as frontman, the band releasing a self-titled in 2012 and IX in 2014 as a trio on Candlelight Records, so you’d have to say they’re due. Support on this tour comes from Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band, Saviours and Mothership, all of which only makes it more badass.
UPDATE 9/16: I’m not sure what’s going on with this tour as some of the dates have disappeared from what’s on the poster below. The most recently-posted list of tour dates appears in blue:
UPDATE ON THE UPDATE: Okay, so it looks like the shows will go down as seen in the flyer below. Something about contracts and what was supposed to be announced and what wasn’t. I’m gonna keep the list of dates in blue as it is, and if your town’s not on there, check the flyer and maybe it’s there and the rest will work out as it will. Fun afternoon though:
C.O.C. US TOUR DATES 2015: Mon/Sep-28th Motörhead’s MotörBoat CLUTCH AND C.O.C. Sat/Oct-03 Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution Sun/Oct-04 St Petersburg, FL @ Jannus Live Tue/Oct-06 Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works Wed/Oct-07 Charlotte, NC @ Amos’ Southend Fri/Oct-09 Hampton Beach, NH @ Hampton Beach Casino Sat/Oct-10 Clifton Park, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall Sun/Oct-11 New Haven, CT @ Toad’s Place Tue/Oct-13 Indianapolis, IN @ The Vogue Wed/Oct-14 Chicago, IL @ House Of Blues Thu/Oct-15 Grand Rapids, MI @ Orbit Room Fri/Oct-16 Sauget, IL @ Pop’s Nightclub Sat/Oct-17 Lincoln, NE @ Bourbon Theatre Sun/Oct-18 Fargo, ND @ Scheels Arena Tue/Oct-20 Billings, MT @ Shrine Auditorium Thu/Oct-22 Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory Concert House Fri/Oct-23 Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory Concert House SatOct-24 KNOTFEST Sun/Oct-25 COC Headline show Las Vegas @ Vinyl Hard Rock CLUTCH, MASTODON, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY: Mon/Oct-26 Tucson, AZ @ Rialto Theatre Wed/Oct-28 Austin, TX @ Austin Music Hall Thu/Oct-29 Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Live Fri/Oct-30 Houston, TX @ Bayou Music Center MASTODON, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY: Sat/Oct-31 New Orleans, LA @ Civic Theatre Sun/Nov-01 Birmingham @Iron City HEADLINE DATES Thu/Nov-12 Atlanta, GA @ The Loft Fri/Nov-13 Shreveport, LA @ Riverside Warehouse Mon/Nov-16 Scottsdale, AZ @ Pub Rock Tue/Nov-17 Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom Wed/Nov-18 San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s Fri/Nov-20 Vancouver, BC @ Venue Nightclub Sat/Nov-21 Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s Mon/Nov-23 Denver, CO @ The Summit Music Hall Tue/Nov-24 Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room Wed/Nov-25 Minneapolis, MN @ Mill City Nights Sat/Nov-28 Cleveland, OH @ The Odeon Sun/Nov-29 Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts Tue/Dec-01 Toronto, ON @ Opera House Thu/Dec-03 Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar Mon/Dec-07 Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club Wed/Dec-09 Virginia Beach, VA @ Shaka’s Live Thu/Dec-10 Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre
Posted in Features on August 19th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]
Free Weedeater. It’s an idea whose time has come. The North Carolina trio just wrapped an East Coast tour with Kings Destroy in support of their new album, Goliathan (review here), which is their fifth long-player and their first for Season of Mist, and today I’m thrilled to be able to host this giveaway for a Goliathan CD and t-shirt!
You know the protocol by now, just enter by leaving a comment on this post and a week from now (or thereabouts) I’ll dig through and pick a name and an email address at random and notify the winner. It’s not necessarily a formal contest, but if you wanted to name your favorite Weedeater album title puns/wordplays in the comment, that might be taken into account when the winners are chosen. At very least it gives you something to put in the comment.
Just for easy reference, here they are:
…and Justice for Y’all
Sixteen Tons (not really wordplay, but still a cool title)
God Luck and Good Speed
Jason… the Dragon
All of the above were reissued last year by Season of Mist as well. If you haven’t heard Goliathan yet, Weedeater‘s latest swampsterpiece is a high point in their sludgy assault, new drummer Travis Owen (ex-Artimus Pyledriver) fitting right in alongside bassist/vocalist “Dixie” Dave Collins and guitarist Dave “Shep” Shepherd. Tracks like the weirdo banjo blues “Battered and Fried” and the full-tonal thrust of “Bow Down” find the band toying with expectation like so many beaten livers, and the result across the board is a record both entirely their own and pushed further than ever before into that strange, malevolent world they create.
Sound like something you’d want to win? It is. Have at it. God luck to all who enter, and good speed to Season of Mist for letting me host the giveaway.
[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]
Posted in Reviews on August 11th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
From Raleigh, North Carolina, the dual-guitar foursome Demon Eye rode out of the gate strong on the songwriting of their first full-length, 2014’s Leave the Light (review here), a straightforward but still atmospherically-minded collection of cultish-themes and prime riffs that was likewise unpretentious and preaching to the genre-converted. The inevitable sophomore outing, also released on Soulseller Records, is Tempora Infernalia, which follows suit from its predecessor in its thematic — though one could argue the cult vibes are less direct here — and overall sonic foundation. There are shades of Pentagram-style doom with Uncle Acid‘s newer-modus swing, though it irons out to an able execution of doom rock either way, and Tempora Infernalia is at very least that.
Its 40 minutes/10 tracks are efficiently constructed and come out clean even as they seem to revel in dirt, guitarists Erik Sugg (also vocals) and Larry Burlison (lead), bassist/vocalist Paul Walz and drummer/vocalist Bill Eagen resounding in their cohesion as the record plays out, Sugg and Burlison leading the charge from opener “End of Days” onward, a ’70s boogie meeting early in uptempo pulse with doomly roll, the vocals furthering the retro vibe that’s balanced throughout with modernity of production. And that’s pretty much the story. Demon Eye are obviously capable songwriters, as they proved their first time out, and they have a clear idea of what they want to do with their sound, which they demonstrate plainly on these tracks in a manner that leaves very little room for argument.
And accordingly, I won’t argue against it. What I will say is that Tempora Infernalia feels like it was released a year after their debut, which of course it is. The actual timeline on when songs were written for both doesn’t really matter, what I’m talking about is more the level of progression between the two albums. Demon Eye started out knowing what they wanted to do, and with Tempora Infernalia, they’re doing it a second time. Cuts like “Listen to the Darkness” and side B’s shuffling “In the World, Not of It” are more than capable executions — the latter especially is a highlight that shifts the tempo slightly from the classic metallurgy of “Poison Garden” before it — but aren’t much more assured of their position than were “Edge of a Knife” or “Fires of Abalam” on the debut.
The kicker there is the debut was already plenty assured, but for a band who hit the ground running in paying off the potential shown on their initial 2013 EP (all six songs from which were reused on the first album), one almost went into Tempora Infernalia expecting leaps and bounds from where they were a year ago, whereas the band’s project seems to be more centered around building a catalog of steady growth from one release to the next. Not an issue with the songs here — they even change things up in their approach with the “Solitude”-style penultimate placement of “Please, Father” before closer “Sons of Man” delivers the album’s nastiest hook — so much as with the context through which one enters into hearing them, but as someone who was impressed by the first record, the second stands behind it and affirms its motion rather than blowing it out of the water with the progression from one to the next.
That’s not to say Demon Eye haven’t grown at all in the last year. Leave the Light garnered fervent praise from underground circles, and the band accordingly took on the ’70s ethic of a quick follow-up. Fair enough. The vaguer threat of “I’ll be Creeping” and the speedy swing of “Black Winds” show a broader range for Tempora Infernalia and a willingness to try different ideas across a full-length span, while “See the Signs” reaffirms the craftsmanship that’s been the root of their appeal all along. Across the board, performances are air-tight, Sugg emerging as a frontman presence while not overplaying his hand in that regard, and the production and mixing of Alex Maiolo at Seriously Adequate Studio in NC are crisp in a way that adds to the momentum built as the record plays out.
A less-directly Satanic theme feels like a purposeful drive away from what they were doing on Leave the Light, and on repeat listens its blend of elder metal and newer heavy comes across as even more engaging, so while Demon Eye haven’t reinvented their or anyone else’s wheel with Tempora Infernalia, neither did they need to. Instead, they’ve set themselves on a steady path that mirrors the linear feel of their songwriting to produce a catalog of growth over a longer-term and more records. Whatever their method, all Tempora Infernalia really makes one do after listening to it is hope they keep working, however quickly they might or might not do so from here.
Posted in audiObelisk on July 15th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
North Carolina two-piece Wildlights will no doubt earn a comparison or two to their Season of Mist labelmates in Floor with tracks like “Hellfire Forever” and “Onward Upward” from their impending self-titled debut full-length, out Aug. 21 via the aforementioned, but neither is that the beginning and end of their sonic sphere. Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Jason Shi of ASG and Thunderlips‘ Johnny Collins on drums, the duo hit on a blend of upbeat vibes, resonant melodies and weighted groove that find a middle-ground between accessibility and weight. Shi‘s vocals are immediately identifiable for anyone who’s listened to ASG — and perhaps they’re an underappreciated distinguishing factor in that group as well — but the dynamic in Wildlights is on its own trip, shorter cuts like “Lights Out” and the airier-into-a-big-finish closer “Big Frontier” shooting for unabashed catchiness in their hooks, while “New Year Repeat” and the earlier “Snow Song” add arrangement flourishes via a quiet guitar line at the start and an organ (or organ-sounding) finish, respectively.
Worth mentioning plainly is the production of Matt Hyde (Monster Magnet, Slayer, etc.), whose crispness in the guitar and drums suits Wildlights‘ presentation remarkably well. Cuts throughout the 12-track/41-minute release are relatively short — “Hellfire Forever” is the longest at 4:33 — but for the kind of efficiency they’re looking to convey, it wouldn’t work if they weren’t, and while still vinyl-ready in its runtime, it’s not as though the album is lacking substance. As it is, small shifts like the tempo change of “Climb in the Throne” and the departure from the early rush of “Anchors” and “Rebel Smiles” that “Part of the Sea” brings with its winding riff feed into each other over the course of the front-to-back listen, and Wildlights proves to be more of a full-album experience than it at first seems, as memorable as individual tracks and parts can be over its span. At their root, Shi and Collins benefit from the songwriting experience both have and execute a record that seems barebones because its structures are so apparent and so much of the appeal but also has a considerable amount of atmosphere to go with, immersing the listener almost before they know what’s happened.
By way of evidence, I have the pleasure of hosting the premiere today for “Lights Out.” One of four cuts on Wildlights‘ Wildlights under three minutes long, it nonetheless engages with its heft, the tonal presence of Shi‘s guitar and the push of Collins‘ drums. Please find it on the player below, followed by more info from the PR wire, and enjoy:
WILDLIGHTS’ brand of hard rock is truly timeless. Featuring ASG’s Jason Shi and THUNDERLIP!s’ Johnny Collins, their direct, honest sound draws equally from the driving, melodic, SoCal-spawned skate/desert rock and the heavy, blues-based sound of the South. Their self-titled, Matt Hyde (PORNO FOR PYROS, MONSTER MAGNET, FU MANCHU, SLAYER) produced album shines with stunning tracks like “Rebel Smiles”, “Anchors”, “Lights Out”, “Lions”, “Part of the Sea” and more. More than just a mere collection of tracks, WILDLIGHTS is a soundtrack to life that resonates hope.
Track List: 1. Anchors 2. Rebel Smiles 3. Part of the Sea 4. Snow Song 5. Hellfire Forever 6. Pictures 7. Onward Upward 8. Lights Out 9. New Year Repeat 10. Climb in the Throne 11. Lions 12. Big Frontier
Line-up: Jason Shi (ASG)- Vocals, Guitars Johnny Collins (Thunderlip) – Drums