Last Licks 2014: Nate Hall, Nocturnal Poisoning, Snailking, Godmaker, Void Generator, The Mound Builders, Mother Kasabian, Deep Space Destructors, Underdogs and Human Services

Posted in Reviews on December 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Happy to report that I survived the first day of this project. Spirits are good and I look at the stack of discs (plus one book; we’ll get there) in front of me and feel relatively confident that by the time I’m through it, my cerebral cortex will still manage to function in the limited way it usually does. If yesterday’s installment is anything to go by, however, I’ll be well out of adjectives by then. What’s another word for “heavy?”

There’s only one way to find out. These will be reviews 11-20 of the total 50. I don’t know if they say the first 10 are the hardest or the last, but I’ll be in the thick of it when this is posted and while I’m sure I probably could turn back and catch minimal if any flack for it — one “Hey wha happen?” on Thee Facebooks seems likely penance — better to just keep going. Another stack awaits tomorrow, after all.

Thanks in advance to anyone reading:

Nate Hall, Electric Vacuum Roar

nate hall electric vacuum roar

Electric Vacuum Roar is one of two Nate Hall physical releases from this fall. The U.S. Christmas frontman and solo performer also has a few digital odds and ends and Fear of Falling, on which he partners with a rhythm section. Released by Heart and Crossbone Records and Domestic Genocide, Electric Vacuum Roar is closer to a solo affair. Hall is joined by Caustic Resin’s Brett Netson on guitar/bass on two extended tracks: “Dance of the Prophet” (16:46) and “Long Howling Decline/People Fall Down” (11:57). The second part of the latter is a reinterpretation of a Caustic Resin song, though here it is droned out and put through a portal of drumless and inward-looking psychedelia, turned into the finale of a communicative and intimate affair. Amp noise and effects swirl around “Dance of the Prophet,” and it’s easy to get lost in it, but Hall maintains a steady presence of obscure vocals and the result is what tribal might be if tribes were comprised of one person.

Nate Hall on Thee Facebooks

Heart and Crossbone Records

Nocturnal Poisoning, Doomgrass

nocturnal poisoning doomgrass

I’ve never tried to break up a one-man band, but I can’t imagine Scott Conner – who helped pave the way for US black metal under the moniker Malefic in Xasthur – has had an easy time of it since he put that band to bed in 2010. Nocturnal Poisoning, whose Doomgass arrives via The End Records, is an entirely different beast. Centered around layers folkish acoustic guitar, cleanly produced backed by occasional bass and tambourine, Doomgrass is still depressive at its core – Robert N. contributes guest vocals, almost gothic in style, to songs like “Starstruck by Garbage” and “Illusion of Worth” – but if the name is a portmanteau of doom and bluegrass, it fits the style. If anything ties Nocturnal Poisoning to Xasthur aside from Conner’s involvement, it’s a focus on atmosphere, but the two ultimately have little in common otherwise, and Nocturnal Poisoning’s exploratory feel is refreshingly individualized and leaves one wondering if Conner will be able to resist the full-band-sound impulse going forward.

Nocturnal Poisoning on Thee Facebooks

Doomgrass at The End Records

Snailking, Storm

snailking storm

Though they’re decidedly post-metal in their influences – Neurosis, YOB, obviously Ufomammut for whose record they are named – Sweden’s Snailking keep to heavy rock tones on their Consouling Sounds debut full-length, Storm, and that greatly bolsters the album’s personality. Even as they lumber, the riffs of 11-minute opener “To Wander” are fuzzed-out, and that remains true throughout the five mostly-extended cuts the trio of drummer Olle Svahn, bassist Frans Levin and guitarist/vocalist Pontus Ottosson present on their first record, which follows the 2012 demo, Samsara (review here). Centerpiece “Slithering” is the shortest and most churning of the bunch at 6:32, but the particularly YOBian “Requiem” underscores another value greatly working in Storm’s favor – the patience with which Snailking present the ambience of their pieces. That will serve them well as they continue to distinguish themselves from their forebears, but for now, Storm makes a welcome opening salvo from the three-piece highlighting both their potential and how far they’ve come already since the release of their demo.

Snailking on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds

Godmaker, Godmaker

godmaker godmaker

The self-titled debut from thoroughly-bearded Brooklynite four-piece Godmaker arrives via Aqualamb as an art-book and download, a full 96 pages of designs, lyrics to the four included tracks of the vinyl-ready 32-minute long-player, live shots from a variety of sources, bizarre geometry and odd etchings feeding the atmosphere of the songs themselves, somewhere between sludge, thrash and aggressive noise with scream-topped moments of doom like “Shallow Points.” Comprised of guitarist/vocalists Pete Ross and Chris Strait, bassist Andrew Archey and drummer Jon Lane, Godmaker fluidly shifts between the various styles at work in their sound, whether it’s the explosion at the end of “Shallow Points” or that beginning the rush of opener “Megalith,” and while their self-titled is a dense listen, with the surprising post-hardcore take of “Desk Murder” and the check-out-this-badass-riff-now-we’re-going-to-smash-your-face-with-it 11-minute metallic closer “Faded Glory,” it efficiently satisfies. More so after a couple listens front to back. If Godmaker were breaking your bones, it would be a clean break, and yes, that’s a compliment to their attack.

Godmaker on Thee Facebooks

Aqualamb

Void Generator, Supersound

void generator supersound

Supersound is the first full-length from Italian heavy psych rockers Void Generator since 2010’s Phantom Hell and Soar Angelic (review here), and where that album held three extended pieces, the latest and third overall breaks into smaller pieces. Some of those are extended – opener “Behind My Door” is 8:09 and “Master of the Skies” tops nine minutes – but the bulk of Supersound’s seven tracks is shorter works somewhere between desert rock and classic psych, guitarist Gianmarco Iantaffi leading the four-piece with a  more subdued vocal approach than last time out, compressed even in the rowdier verses of “What are You Doin’” (written by Sandro Chiesa), on which the keys of Enrico Cosimi feature heavily and add to the sound too crisp to be totally retro but still vehemently organic. Bassist Sonia Caporossi (also acoustic guitar on penultimate interlude “Universal Winter”) and drummer Marco Cenci hold together the fluid grooves as Void Generator follows these varied impulses, and Supersound proves cohesive and no less broadly scoped than its predecessor.

Void Generator on Thee Facebooks

Phonosphera Records

The Mound Builders, Wabash War Machine

the mound builders wabash war machine

There’s a version of The Mound Builders’ 17-minute Wabash War Machine EP from Failure Records and Tapes that includes a comic book, but even the regular sleeve CD edition gives a glimpse at the Lafayette, Indiana, five-piece’s heavy Southern metal push. The middle two of the four inclusions, “Sport of Crows” and “Bar Room Queen,” surfaced earlier this year on a split tape with Bo Jackson 5 (review here), but opener “Wabash War Machine” and the sludged-up closer “The Mound” on which the guitars of Brian Boszor and “Ninja” Nate Malher phase between channels and vocalist Jim Voelz delivers his harshest performance to date, are brand new, albeit recorded at the same sessions in July 2013. “Wabash War Machine” highlights the band’s blend of southern metal and heavy groove, guitar intricacy and a gang-shout chorus meeting thick rollout from bassist Robert Ryan Strawsma and drummer Jason “Dinger” Brookhart, but it’s the finale that’s the EP’s most lasting impression, as pummeling as The Mound Builders have gotten to date.

The Mound Builders on Thee Facebooks

Failure Records and Tapes

Mother Kasabian, Mother Kasabian

mother kasabian mother kasabian

In Olof’s buzzsaw guitar tone, the thud of Karl’s drums and Gidon’s abiding vocal menace, “Strike of the Emperor” gives notice of some Celtic Frost influence, but that’s hardly the whole tale when it comes Stockholm trio Mother Kasabian’s self-titled, self-released debut EP, as “The Black Satanic Witch of Saturn” immediately calls to mind The Doors in its minimal, spacious verse and offsets this with a soulful classic heavy rock chorus en route to the seven-minute “Close of Kaddish,” which works in a similar pattern – hitting notes of Trouble-style doom in its crescendos – and offers Mother Kasabian’s widest ranging moment ahead of the swaggering closer “The Return of the Mighty King and His Cosmic Elephants.” Swinging drums and variety in Gidon’s The Crazy World of Arthur Brown-style approach give the EP a distinguished feel despite raw production and it being Mother Kasabian’s first outing, and with the psych touches in the finale and a generally unhinged vibe throughout, the trio showcase considerable potential at work.

Mother Kasabian on Thee Facebooks

Mother Kasabian on Bandcamp

Deep Space Destructors, III

deep space destructors iii

Active since 2011 and with two prior full-lengths – 2012’s I (review here) and 2013’s II (review here) – under their belt, Oulu, Finland, heavy psych trio Deep Space Destructors offer their definitive stylistic statement in the wash of III, a five-song/45-minute cosmic excursion with progressive krautrock edge (see “Spaceship Earth”) driven into heavier territory through dense fuzz in guitarist Petri Lassila’s tone and the chemistry between he, vocalist/bassist Jani Pitkänen and drummer Markus Pitkänen. Their extended but plotted jammy course finds culmination in the 15-minute penultimate cut “An Ode to Indifferent Universe,” – King Crimson and Floyd laced together by synth sounds – but the space-rock thrust of closer “Ikuinen Alku” highlights the multifaceted approach Deep Space Destructors have developed since their inception, consistently psychedelic but expansive. The sides gel effectively on “Cosmic Burial,” lending modern crash and tonal heft to classic ideals to craft something new from them in admirable form. As far out as they’ve gone, Deep Space Destructors still seem to be exploring new ground.

Deep Space Destructors on Thee Facebooks

Deep Space Destructors on Bandcamp

Underdogs, Underdogs

underdogs underdogs

Released as a cooperative production between Garage Records and Go Down Records, Italian trio Underdogs’ second, self-titled LP pushes further along the straight-lined course of heavy rock their 2007 debut, Ready to Burn, and 2011’s Revolution Love (review here) charted. Songs like “Nothing but the Best” strip away the Queens of the Stone Age-style fuzz of past outings in favor of a cleaner tone and overall feel, and while that spirit shows up later on side B’s “Called Play” and the rumbling grunge of “My Favourite Game” (a cover of The Cardigans), the prevailing vibe speaks to European commercial viability with clear hooks and straightforward structures. Acoustic finale “The Closing Song” offers a last-minute shift in style, calling to mind UnderdogsDogs without Plugs digital release, but even in more barebones form, the songwriting remains the focus on this mature third offering from a three-piece who’ve clearly figured out the direction in which they want to head and have set about developing an audience-friendly sound.

Underdogs on Thee Facebooks

Go Down Records

Human Services, Animal Fires

human services animal fires

Since they issued their self-titled debut (review here) in 2012, Virginia’s Human Services have brought aboard Steve Kerchner of Lord, and he brings as much a sense of chaos to Animal Fires as one might expect in teaming with Jeff Liscombe, Sean Sanford, Don Piffalo and Billy Kurilko, though the 59-minute full-length isn’t without its structure. Longer songs pair with concise noise experiments throughout the first 10 of the total 13 tracks, and each is different, so that even as the gap between songs is bridged, the stylistic basis for Animal Fires is branched out. The result is that by the time “Onyedinci Yil Sürüsü” closes out the album proper before the 17-minute live inclusion “No Structures in the Eye of the Jungle” hits, Human Services have reimagined the modus of Godflesh as an extremity of organic noisemaking, Southern heavy and eerie progressivism. Shades of Neurosis show up in centerpiece “Rats of a Feather,” but they too are twisted to suit the band’s creative purposes, threatening and engagingly bleak.

Human Services on Thee Facebooks

Human Services on Bandcamp

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On Wax: Mark Deutrom & The Asound, Mini-Skirt/The Chief of Thieves Split 7″

Posted in On Wax on December 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

mark-deutrom-the-asound-split-a-cover-vinyl

Austin-based Mark Deutrom and North Carolinians The Asound team up for a split 7″ released through Tsuguri Records, the imprint helmed by Asound bassist Jon Cox. One track from each outfit is included, Deutrom — who has a new band going called Bellringer (more on them to come) and has collaborated with no shortage of others but is probably best known for playing bass in the Melvins during their Stoner Witch era — tossing in a quick, punkish burst of an A-side in “Mini-Skirt,” while The Asound let their riffs breathe a little more on side B with “The Chief of Thieves,” a steady roll captured raw and suited to the 7″ form. Sound-wise, it’s not so different from their recent live split with Lenoir Swingers Club (review here), but the output is clear enough to indicate a studio recording, even if it’s one still punk enough to warrant the black and while cover art on the 7″ sleeve — a traditionalism well suited to both inclusions.

mark-deutrom-the-asound-split-b-cover-vinylDeutrom reportedly recorded “Mini-Skirt” at the same time he tracked the jazzy solo offering Brief Sensuality and Western Violence (review here), and with Aaron Lack on drums, what might’ve been left off the record on account of not fitting sonically earns a distinctive place here via thickened shuffle and unceasing forward motion. Easy enough to be reminded of Butthole Surfers and the Melvins both, but “Mini-Skirt” makes its point in the unflinching, almost garage-sounding nature and in its quick-turning solo culmination. Where the record from whence it doesn’t come was a headier affair, “Mini-Skirt” is simple and decidedly anti-progressive, a sprint put to tape. It contrasts effectively with The Asound‘s “The Chief of Thieves,” which keeps to a slower pace, but the two find common ground in their rougher-edged production an in the density of their tones, the fervency of their crash and the efficiency with which they deal out their riffing.

Guitarist/vocalist Chad Wyrick leads the proceedings for The Asound, with Cox and drummer Michael Crump following the lurching groove set by the guitars more or less for the duration. It’s a riff worth basing a song around, and even the solo section in the second half seems to base its rhythm around that same movement, the vocals by then having dropped out to let the band get to the heart of the matter. No question the B-side is longer than the A, but in the context of what they’re doing, Wyrick‘s singing over the wailing distortion recalling some of Floor‘s appeal in combining doom and more accessible sonic forms, I don’t think I’d call “The Chief of Thieves” less productive than its companion, only going for — mark deutrom the asound split coversand, I’d argue, hitting the mark — on a different side of the same style. The Asound end after all that rolling on a quick-fading feedback that calls to mind the constraints of the format. That is, there’s nothing sonically to make me think that riff couldn’t have gone on another seven minutes or so.

But then it would be an entirely different kind of release — and Deutrom would probably need more than one song — so I’ll instead take the tight-packed grooves on the platter itself to stand as a visual metaphor for what “The Chief of Thieves” has to offer during playback. The 7″ is limited to 200 copies in green or black vinyl, and while it might be a stopgap for both parties concerned, it also asks next to no indulgence on the part of its audience and easily proves worth the time it takes to listen.

Mark Deutrom & The Asound, Split 7″ (2014)

Mark Deutrom website

Mark Deutrom on Bandcamp

The Asound on Thee Facebooks

The Asound on Bandcamp

Tsuguri Records website

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On Wax: Lenoir Swingers Club & The Asound, Live at Dead Wax Records Split 12″

Posted in On Wax on October 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the-lenoir-swingers-club-the-asound-split-cover-and-vinyl

Capturing a Jan. 25, 2014, show that billed Lenoir, North Carolina, as “the fifth most miserable city in the US,” the new Live at Dead Wax Records split 12″ from Lenoir Swingers Club and The Asound delivers on its promise. Two sides of raw drive — the A side more punk-fueled, the B side thicker toned — but the uniting factor is the unbridled nature of the delivery. Dead Wax Records has the split out as the second in a series of two thus far, and with a clear recording from Brian Caudle and a mastering job from Chad Davis (of The Sabbathian, Tasha-Yar, Hour of 13, and so on), the record manages to capture the energy behind both bands’ sets and present some sense of dynamic between them. The only thing missing is a 15-minute breakdown between the two. Well, maybe not “missing,” but you know what I mean.

Live at Dead Wax Records is pressed in limited numbers — a manufacturing problem seems to have made those numbers even more limited than originally intended — and included with the platter itself, a black paper sleeve, the-lenoir-swingers-club-the-asound-split-vinyl-the-lenoir-swingers-club-coverand the two covers is a two-sided liner, one sheet per band. For Lenoir Swingers Club, the manic collage of show flyers and photocopied look mirrors the classic punk of the band itself. A trio unsurprisingly native to Lenoir, they present five songs in a short-seeming burst — “Personal Space Invaders,” “People Under the Stairs” and “Student Driver” pushing out all the attitude and brashness one could ask of a three-piece so apparently keen on irreverence. I’m sure I wouldn’t be the first person to compare them to Dead Kennedys, but “Summer of Bugs” slows down the proceedings somewhat to give a different edge, and the finale “Thing Sloth,” which was going out to Tom, in case you were wondering, wraps with an assault of feedback and noise its capstone thud. They’ve reportedly got a full-length in the works and I wouldn’t be surprised if they pulled it off with an undercurrent of diversity, since that seems to come through even in their bare-bones live sound.

Late last year, The Asound released a self-titled debut full-length on bassist Jon Cox‘s own Tsuguri Records imprint, and on Live at Dead Wax Records, they present four songs from it, beginning with the rush of album-closer “Slave to the Saints” and moving toward the furious percussive rush and mega-stoner riffing of “Joan,” with “Tater Hole Blues” and “The Baron” between. Both “Joan” and “The Baron” havethe-lenoir-swingers-club-the-asound-split-vinyl-the-asound-cover been around for a bit — the latter having been featured on a 2011 split with Magma Rise (streamed here) and the former on an earlier 2010 self-titled EP (review here) and a 2010 split with punkers Flat Tires (review here) — but were certainly at their most realized on the full-length, and they sit well here alongside the Melvins-style thrust of the instrumental “Tater Hole Blues”and the high-gear “Slave to the Saints,” guitarist/vocalist Chad Wyrick tearing into a solo while Cox and drummer Michael Crump hold together the furious groove behind, the whole crude than on the studio offering, which winds its way into an Olde Growth-sort of punkish stoner melodicism, but satisfying in its own right, their set, like Lenoir Swingers Club, finishing with a suitably noisy payoff.

Two underground acts with a penchant for mean groove and underlying — or in the case of Lenoir Swingers Club, overlaid — fuckall, they might not seem on first listen to make for the best pairing, The Asound geared much more toward heavy riffing than their compatriots, but with their foundation likewise in punk, it works. I’m not sure who might be next in Dead Wax Records‘ series, but at least for one probably-cold-ass night in January, Lenoir’s misery got a riotous soundtrack. A 12″ in the tradition of punk 7″s, no surprise there’s more on offer here than it at first seems.

Lenoir Swingers Club & The Asound, Live at Dead Wax Records teaser

Lenoir Swingers Club on Thee Facebooks

The Asound on Thee Facebooks

Dead Wax Records

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Weedeater Finish Recording New Album and Announce Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 29th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Not that Weedeater need an excuse to hit the road at this point, but finishing a new album is as good an occasion as any. That record, yet untitled, will be out in 2015 as their debut on Season of Mist, who’ve also reissued the band’s first two full-lengths. Like its 2011 predecessor, it was helmed by Steve Albini, and while five years seems like a long time between Weedeater records, it’s worth considering that in addition to swapping out drummers, the band hasn’t really been off tour since before the last LP came out.

Dates for the upcoming run follow, courtesy of the PR wire:

weedeater poster

WEEDEATER announce North American Tour dates

Notorious southern metal outfit WEEDEATER (“Dixie” Dave Collins – Bass, Vocals; Dave Sheperd – Guitar, Vocals) have announced new North American tour dates. The tour starts on November 3. A full list of confirmed tour dates can be found below.

WEEDEATER recently re-issued their first two albums, ‘Sixteen Tons’ and ‘…And Justice for Y’all’. The long out of print albums are available as vinyl for the first time, as well as a CD and digitally at the Season of Mist E-shop and at Bandcamp.

The North Carolina-based band have finished recording their new full-length album, and first for Season of Mist, with their long-time engineer Steve Albini (HIGH ON FIRE, NEUROSIS, NIRVANA, HELMET, and more).

For more WEEDEATER news and tour information, please visit the Season of Mist website, and the WEEDEATER website and Facebook page.

WEEDEATER Tour Dates
*All dates with FULL OF HELL and LAZER/WULF

Nov. 3 Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theater
Nov. 4 Baltimore, MD @ Soundstage
Nov. 5 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
Nov. 6 Holyoke, MA @ Waterfront Tavern
Nov. 7 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
Nov. 8 Dayton, OH @ Rock Star Arena
Nov. 9 Chicago, IL @ Double Door
Nov. 10 Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme
Nov. 11 Indianapolis, IN @ 5th Quarter Lounge
Nov. 12 Newport, KY @ Thompson House
Nov. 13 Atlanta, GA @ 529
Nov. 14 Savannah, GA @ Jinx
Nov. 15 St. Petersburg, FL @ The State Theater

http://www.season-of-mist.com/
http://www.weedmetal.com/
https://www.facebook.com/weedmetal

Weedeater, Live in Los Angeles, CA, Jan. 29, 2014

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Sourvein Signs to Metal Blade; Aquatic Occult Due in 2015

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The Dirty South finds a new home out west! Earlier this year on a split with Graves at Sea, North Carolina sludge stalwarts Sourvein began to show a different side of themselves, founder and vocalist T-Roy Medlin experimenting with a cleaner approach to singing over the band’s signature rolling riffs. On tour this spring in Europe, they worked this stylstic shift successfully into the context of their past material — raucous, riotous and filthy — and I guess it worked out. Their next album, Aquatic Occult, will be released on Metal Blade Records.

Their plan is to record with Mike Dean of C.O.C. early next year and put it out sometime thereafter. Medlin has bled hard for his band over the years, been through more lineups than I can count, and even Sourvein‘s last full-length, Black Fangs (review here), was badass, so I’d definitely say he deserves the push Metal Blade will give. Congratulations to him and to the band.

Fresh off the PR wire:

sourvein aquatic occult banner

Sourvein signs to Metal Blade Records, plan release of “Aquatic Occult” for 2015

Critically-acclaimed sludge/doom veterans Sourvein have signed with Metal Blade Records! The new partnership’s first effort will be the release of the band’s fourth full-length album, “Aquatic Occult” in 2015. The album is scheduled to be recorded with Corrosion of Conformity’s Mike Dean in early 2015 and will finally see its release later that year. Sourvein main man Troy “T-Roy” Medlin was interviewed by friend and fellow musician, Randy Blythe of Lamb of God fame, who penned the band’s new biography. The text will serve as an excellent introduction for the uninitiated. It’s a recap of the past twenty years of the band, and a look towards a bright future for Sourvein.

Below is an excerpt from the biography, which includes comments on the signing and the upcoming album:

Over twenty long dues-paying years later, Sourvein has at long last found a proper home for their doom-laden Southern noise with underground stalwarts Metal Blade Records, and Medlin couldn’t be happier. “Aquatic Occult”, the band’s first offering on the label, promises to be heavier than a two-ton anchor dropped into an antique porcelain bathtub– it’s going to break things. But getting here hasn’t been easy.

“Finally, man. Finally,” he says, shaking his head in disbelief as he reflects on the lengthy, grueling trek that brought his band to Metal Blade’s roster.

“It’s the record I wanted to make when I was in those rooming houses, but I couldn’t,” Medlin says, “There was too much pain, so I got lost for bit, falling back into the party life and trying to numb myself with alcohol. But motherfuckers need to feel the pain. There is more to life than numbing yourself.” Is that what “Aquatic Occult” will be about, bringing the pain? “I’m going to bring the truth. The lyrics are reality to me; I don’t write about cars or chicks or fucking horror movies, I write about getting my nose fucking broken, all the stuff I saw growing up and now. But I want it to be positive, to let people know that there is a way out of bad times and tough situations. I’m living proof,” he says. When Sourvein hits the road in 2015 to support “Aquatic Occult”, is that what he’ll be talking from the stage, positivity?”

Man, it’s not all peace and love; it’s just not coming from hate anymore. And when I’m on stage, I’m not up there to talk to you anyways. I’ll let the amplifiers do the talking. I want you to feel it. You’ve got to feel alive, and life sometimes includes pain. Masking it doesn’t do any good, because it’s still there. It’s better to live and feel it. All of it, the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

For more information and to stay up to date, follow Sourvein on facebook and twitter here:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/SOURVEIN/238932972468
https://twitter.com/sourveinoffical
http://www.metalblade.com/us/

Sourvein, “Follow the Light” from Split with Graves at Sea (2014)

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The Sabbathian Release Ritual Rites Sept. 3 on Svart

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

If you follow the varied work of guitarist Chad Davis (Hour of 13, Tasha-Yar, etc.), then you probably at some point in the last year or two saw The Sabbathian namedropped as a project in the making. Their debut EP, Ritual Rites, has been a while coming, and apparently the band’s new label, Svart, is looking to make up for some lost time. All the better, what with the three-track offering reveling as it does in bleak, classic doom the likes of which Davis seems to be able to so readily conjure.

Doubtless part of the delay in putting the whole thing together — if you want to call it a delay; sometimes these things just take a minute to get going — was in coordinating with vocalist Anette Gulbrandsen, who is based in Norway while Davis and guitarist Joey Downs reside in North Carolina. Whatever the case, the vinyl/download will be out shortly and it’ll look like this:

the sabbathian ritual rites

THE SABBATHIAN to release SVART debut, feature Hour of 13 member

Today, Svart Records announces September 3rd as the international release date for The Sabbathian’s debut mini-album, Ritual Rites, to be released on vinyl and digital formats. The Sabbathian comprise two fundamental elements: doom metal, and the occult forces of nature and energy. These elements brought together three individuals in the form of The Sabbathian. Taking their roots to the core of true, heavy, darkened metal, The Sabbathian draw an unparalleled ion from the likes of Candlemass and Black Sabbath, all while retaining a sound very personable to them. Formed by Chad Davis (Hour of 13), the journey is to create music for the hours of darkness and gloom.

Joined by guitarist Joey Downs (Altar Blood), his contribution adds the element of power and everything the sense of heavy. Featuring the sheer vocal beauty of Anette Gulbrandsen (Leave’s Eyes, Nattsol, Mäctätus) at the forefront, her alto/soprano vocal stylings bring forth medieval choirs and haunting apparitions that complete what is The Sabbathian: a journey into darkness, a voyage into the cosmic void unknown. With Ritual Rites, The Sabbathianhave arrived as a force to be reckoned with in the world of modern-day occult doom rock, and will remain the top contender until death. First proof can be heard HERE. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for The Sabbathian’s Ritual Rites
1. Ancient’s Curse
2. Ritual Rites
3. Nightshade Eternal

MORE INFO:
www.facebook.com/thesabbathianband
http://www.svartrecords.com/

The Sabbathian, “Ancient’s Curse”

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Should’ve Been Sooner: Demon Eye, Leave the Light

Posted in Reviews on August 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

“Better late than never,” or so the adage goes. If you’ve ever read more than two sentences on this site, chances are you’ve witnessed me complaining about being perpetually short on time, unable to fit in everything that I want to, etc. That’s been the case for at least the last four years. I’m always working at a deficit, and it’s usually just a question of whether or not I’m able to live with the level of behind that I am. In the case of Demon Eye‘s Leave the Light, I simply can’t take it anymore.

Released back in January on Soulseller Records, the debut long-player from the Raleigh, North Carolina, witch-rocking four-piece has haunted me — daily — as it has sat on the stack waiting to be reviewed, its righteously devilized jewel case cover burned into my consciousness no less than the cowbell-stomped chorus of “Adversary,” just one of the album’s 11 memorable exaltations of the left hand path. Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Erik Sugg, lead guitarist Larry Burlison, bassist/vocalist Paul Walz and drummer/vocalist Bill Eagen, Demon Eye owe much to early Pentagram‘s vaguely Luciferian swing and Sugg‘s touches of Eric Wagner influence go far in “Edge of the Knife” and the brooding “Fires of Abalam,” but they’re distinguished by proto-thrash riffing and ultimately wind up with an energetic, somewhat mystical concoction not entirely dissimilar in concept from Texas’ Venomous Maximus, though the
execution of Leave the Light works with its own blend.

To wit, opener “Hecate”‘s resonant hook and tradeoff of chugging and winding riffs and slower Motörhead spellcasting sets the stage for varied invocations of classic metal, but nowhere on Leave the Light do Demon Eye lose their heavy rock tonality or vibe. “Shades of Black” owes more to Thin Lizzy than Slayer, and the subsequent “Secret Sect” has a natural enough sound to namecheck Kadavar or Graveyard in terms of its ’70s loyalism. Side B branches out but remains catchy, with the shorter “Witch’s Blood” (2:47) setting up a moodier run with “Fires of Abalam” referencing Pentagram‘s “When the Screams Come” and delivering the band’s eponymous line while pulling back on the thrust to make “Devil Knows the Truth” sound even more motion-based, dueling leads just past the halfway point making it all the more a standout en route to “The Banishing,” which turns around the lyrical perspective to give Lucifer himself a chance to speak (anyone remember when Type O Negative did that for Black Sabbath‘s “Black Sabbath?”) and, before its 4:35 are done, earns a bit of sympathy for the devil to go with the classic heavy rock swagger, like Scorpions when they knew what was up.

demon eye leave the lightThe single-mindedness of a 46-minute full-length where just about every song is in one way or another about hellishness and ghouls and Satan and whatnot becomes a factor by the time Demon Eye get down to the closing duo of “From Beyond” and “Silent One” — both choice riffs, the latter locking into a groove every bit worthy to end the record — but what ultimately saves Leave the Light from monotony are the sonic shifts between the songs and the flow that the CD enacts as it plays out. It’s worth noting that, as their first outing, Leave the Light is remarkably consistent in the quality of its songcraft, and as six of these cuts — “Hecate,” “Witch’s Blood,” “Shades of Black,” “Fires of Abalam,” “Devil Knows the Truth” and “Silent One,” in that order — also appeared as Demon Eye‘s 2013 self-released debut EP, Shades of Black (a tape also came out through Sarlacc Productions), the band obviously knows a good thing when they hear it. Reusing one or two tracks from a first EP to first LP isn’t uncommon, but to incorporate all of them — and more importantly, to be right in doing so — shows a confidence in their approach that serves the band well as the other songs work their way between.

It really has been months that Leave the Light has worn on my mind, and though I feel a bit like writing this review is an exorcism, the songwriting here and the cohesiveness of Demon Eye in what’s still their early going (they got together in 2012) stand as testament to the fact that this won’t be the last time we hear from them. Next time around, I’ll be ready.

Demon Eye, Leave the Light (2014)

Demon Eye on Thee Facebooks

Demon Eye on Bandcamp

Soulseller Records

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “Brother Blue Steel” Live in North Carolina, 1999

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 6th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

We’ve had a lot of Spirit Caravan around these parts lately for Wino Wednesday. Reasonably so, what with the reunion and the wealth of videos posted from their tours of the US and Europe. I thought maybe this week we’d run with it but change it up a bit and go back to the three-piece’s original run. Spirit Caravan as a working band rather than the returning conquerors, playing to small rooms and caving in the chest cavities of those fortunate enough to be in the know.

In March 1999, when the below version of “Brother Blue Steel” was recorded, Spirit Caravan hadn’t yet released their debut album, Jug Fulla Sun. That record, which came out through Joe Lally of Fugazi‘s Tolotta Records, was still two months off. They’d been kicking around for a couple years both as Shine and Spirit Caravan and had put the track “Darkness and Longing” on a split with Sixty Watt Shaman, but their full-length debut wouldn’t arrive until May. It makes more sense, then, that Spirit Caravan would take on a song like “Brother Blue Steel,” which Wino originally wrote and recorded with The Obsessed.

It was the opener from The Obsessed‘s 1991 return outing, Lunar Womb, and it seems fair to expect that if someone’s in the crowd at a Spirit Caravan show before the band has an LP out, they’ve probably heard The Obsessed, so yeah, a take on “Brother Blue Steel” is understandable. While there’s always some stylistic bleedthrough between Wino‘s bands because of his tone and songwriting process, I still think you can see in the below some of the differences in character between the two groups, bassist Dave Sherman and then-drummer Gary Isom hitting into a bounce that foreshadowed a big part of Spirit Caravan‘s sonic personality as Wino chugs out the verse riff. For being the same song, it’s definitely a different take.

Hope you enjoy and have an excellent Wino Wednesday:

Spirit Caravan, “Brother Blue Steel” Live at The Caboose, Garner, NC, March 27, 1999

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