Tombstones Touring Europe with Widows Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

After hitting the UK in collusion with Widows last October (also with Wizard Fight on board for the run), Norwegian doomers Tombstones will once more hit the road alongside the Britsh outfit. Tombstones are touring in support of their fourth album, Red Skies and Dead Eyes (review here), on Soulseller Records, and the current stint is slated to hit the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Germany starting on Feb. 1.

The PR wire has it like this:

Tombstones / Widows – European Tour, February 2014

In the first week of February, Eclipse Productions brings you Northern Doom, set to captivate the European continent. The ultra-heavy Norwegian three-piece TOMBSTONES team up with UK-groovers WIDOWS for a 7-day trail, visiting The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Germany.

TOMBSTONES’ highly acclaimed album “Red Skies and Dead Eyes” was released in October by Soulseller Records, and has featured in many end-of -year lists and has received rave reviews from web- and fanzines throughout the world, including the likes of Terrorizer, Visions Magazine and Metal Hammer. In 2013 the band blew minds with three bludgeoning sets at Desertfest in London, found themselves supporting bands such as Clutch and Ufomammut, and are now ready to once again bring their crushing live act across Europe. TOMBSTONES can be described as the bastard child conceived by a filthy threesome with Sleep, Melvins and Bongripper.

Nottingham-based WIDOWS play music you can raise a beer and swing a fist to and they do it hard fast and loud, with bone crushing grooves and undeniable swagger!Influenced by the likes of Down, Kyuss, and Clutch, WIDOWS have spent the three years since the release of their debut EP (2010’s Raise the Monolith) building up an ever more impressive live set as they chewed up, spat out, and pounded venue after venue into submission, adding weight to their sets with regular new tracks and building the collection of songs that would later become their debut full length CD, Death Valley Duchess.

TOMBSTONES - Tourdates 2014
01.02.2014 - tba. - Gouda/Leiden – Netherlands
02.02.2014 - AMC – Antwerpen – Belgium
04.02.2014 - Le Glazart – Paris – France
05.02.2014 - L’Ecurie – Geneva – Switzerland
06.02.2014 - Zentralcafe (K4) – Nürnberg – Germany
07.02.2014 - Little Devil - Tilburg - Netherlands
08.02.2014 - Immerhin – Würzburg - Germany

https://www.facebook.com/events/1405057259741119/
https://www.facebook.com/tombstonesoslo
http://www.soulsellerrecords.com/

Tombstones, “Red Skies and Dead Eyes” official video

Tags: , , , , ,

Tombstones, Red Skies and Dead Eyes: Fields under a Black Moon

Posted in Reviews on November 21st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Norwegian trio Tombstones have released four albums in the last four years. Red Skies and Dead Eyes, on Soulseller Records, is the latest of them, and if the band works quickly, take it as a sign they also know what they’re doing. The six songs on their recorded-live fourth long-player clock in at a vinyl-ready 44 minutes, and whether it’s the Sleep-style thud of opener “Black Moon” or the later divergence into post-Electric Wizard terror-groove in “The Other Eye,” the Oslo-based three-piece of vocalist/guitarist Bjørn-Viggo Godtland, bassist/vocalist Ole Christian Helstad and drummer Jørn Inge Woldmo always seem to keep in mind a steady injection of individuality into the material. Part of that comes through the cave echo on Godtland and Helstad‘s vocals, which at times seem like just another rhythmic element at work to follow the riff — not a complaint; the riffs are worth following — but moreover, it’s about the atmosphere of Red Skies and Dead Eyes, which is full of darkened stoner metal idolatry that never quite veers completely into cult rock. It knows where that line is though and seems to enjoy straddling it, though when it comes to a song like “King of Daze,” Tombstones seem more preoccupied with the chugging itself than mystical posturing — true riff worship. But for the 10-minute “Obstfelder” and the 7:20 title-track, songs hover somewhere between six and a half and seven minutes long, which is roughly consistent if a little shorter on average than the cuts on 2012′s Year of the Burial, which set Tombstones to touring Europe and found them performing at Desertfest in London this spring, and the sampled wind that starts “Black Moon” both calls to mind YOB‘s “Burning the Altar” and sets the album to a rumble that continues throughout the rest of its course, the tones being consistent and large but malleable to the various moods in which the band puts them to use.

One could argue Red Skies and Dead Eyes is structured to work in vinyl sides — at very least it splits about even with three songs in each half — but it works well as a CD, whereby the shift into darker atmospherics on the later tracks seems more linear and gradual. When it comes to “Black Moon” and “King of Daze,” the focus is pretty clearly on riffing. Godtland leads with low, full fuzz, and Helstad‘s bass enhances the already mud-covered push while Woldmo offers a march on his snare. They may be looking unto the rays of the new stoner sun rising, but they’re doing so from their own angle, and though Gotland‘s vocals are somewhat buried — as they should be for this kind of tone-minded fare — when Helstad joins in, a dynamic is enacted that undercuts some of the superficial simplicity of what’s basically a shouting approach. Further, with about a minute left in “Black Moon,” they pull a quick instrumental turn into a different riff and tempo, and though there’s almost a hiccup at that point, it speaks to the instrumental chemistry the trio have developed over the course of their time together. A light touch of insistent High on Fire-style push at the start of “King of Daze” opens wide to one of the album’s most engaging grooves, and is in turn driven headfirst into a slowdown to more massive riffing and crashing, Woldmo keeping steady on what sounds like a considerably proportioned ride until the pace picks up again somewhat and the verse starts. Helstad takes the fore on vocals near the halfway point with Godtland joining shortly, and they cycle through again, this time skipping the slowdown to go right back into another verse that enacts a lumber all its own, ending big, ending faster than one might expect, and leading to the from-the-ground-up build of “Obstfelder,” which rounds out the first half of Red Skies and Dead Eyes with a few lead lines from Godtland (Billy Anderson, who’s also credited with additional engineering, is listed as having contributed “additional bending and feedback,” perhaps here, along with Petter Svee, who engineered and mixed in cooperation with the band), something largely avoided on the first two tracks.

Read more »

Tags: , , , , ,

SunnO))) and Ulver Collaborate on New Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 18th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I guess what I find so interesting about this latest collaboration from SunnO))), which partners the American masters of drone with Norway’s post-black metal progenitors Ulver, is that I have no idea what it might sound like. Drones? Big riffs and moody vocals? Acoustic folk ballads? It’s wide open for different avenues of exploration on the part of both acts, which is likely why they decided to team up for the album, which will be called Terrestrials, in the first place.

Also interesting in that although SunnO))) have put out live records and even another collaboration with Nurse with Wound, it’s been more than four years at this point since their expansive 2009 outing, Monoliths and Dimensions (review here), was released. That album was hardly just Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley, but still, they’re about due for a SunnO))) proper outing, so one wonders if maybe Terrestrials isn’t the only SunnO)))-related project in the works.

The PR wire’s mum on that but has plenty to say otherwise:

SUNN O))) & ULVER: Collaborative Work Entitled Terrestrials Due For February 2014 Release Via Southern Lord

SUNN O)))’s most recent studio album, 2009′s Monoliths and Dimensions, and ULVER’s 2013 album, Messe I.X-VI.X,found both evolving and longstanding groups venturing into the world of acoustic arrangement and contemporary orchestration. Besides arriving at this seeming parallel in vision, the pair’s long standing camaraderie was initiated during SUNN O)))’s 2003′s White1 sessions with the track “CutWOODED” which was produced by ULVER, in tribute to deceased film director Ed Wood.

ULVER’s decision to emerge from the shadows into live performance, in 2009, unveiled a new facet of showmanship and presentation which took their audiences to an unforeseen level. SUNN O)))’s presence has continuously been felt — whether in the prospect of their hundreds of legendary live concerts, the reissue of out-of-print albums in devotion to their loyal fanbase, or the recent unveiling of their new website — and the anticipation of something new was heightened beyond belief recently when the label posted online the words, “SUNN O))) & ULVER 2014″.

Yes. At long last they have come together for a more developed collaborative work.

Today, it comes with great pleasure to confirm that these words, SUNN O))) and ULVER, together, represent an astonishing yet somehow totally tenable matrimony of these two earthshakingly powerful forces, coming together like tectonic plates. The result of this union is a three-track recording entitled Terrestrials; a trio of movements which flow like magma beneath the Earth’s crust, sonically uninhibited, unpredictably cosmic, haunting and stirring, yet simultaneously ceremonious and beautiful.

Southern Lord shall release Terrestrials in February 2014. Over the course of the next month we shall be revealing the story of how this alliance and recording came to be, revealing the insight of the musicians involved, attempting to answer some of the burning questions which we have, for now, left hanging in the air.

http://sunn.southernlord.com
http://www.jester-records.com/ulver
http://www.southernlord.com
http://www.ideologic.org

Ulver, Messe I.X-VI.X (2013)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Tombstones Announce UK Tour Dates with Widows and Wizard Fight

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 16th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Coinciding with the slated release of their fourth album, Red Skies and Dead Eyes, Oslo-based stoner doomers Tombstones will head to the UK and link up with Widows and Wizard Fight for a string of shows. Red Skies and Dead Eyes is set for release on Soulseller Records and follows on the heels of last year’s Year of the Burial, which you can hear in full under the dates, links and info below.

Told you:

FAT Wizard Promo Presents SONIC SEA MONSTER ROAD TOUR PART I

10/10 Heretic Promotions Presents Tombstones / Widows / Wizard Fight / Yamakunt at Scruffy Murphys, Birmingham
11/10 Tombstones / Widows / Wizard Fight / Black Fathoms at The Old Angel, Nottingham
12/10 When planets collide Presents Tombstones / Widows / Meadows / War Wolf / Prosperina / Wizard Fight / Burden of the Noose /March of the Desert at the Brixton Windmill, London
13/10 Tombstones / Widows / Wizard Fight at the Tubman, Hastings FREE ENTRY
https://www.facebook.com/events/494378830647608/

TOMBSTONES
The ultra-heavy Norwegian doom three-piece are coming back to tour the UK after their 2 mind blowing sets at this years Desertfest.
https://www.facebook.com/tombstonesoslo

WIDOWS
Formed in 2008 in the troubled UK town of Nottingham,
WIDOWS play music you can raise a beer and swing a fist to
and they do it hard fast and loud, with bone crushing grooves and undeniable swagger!

Influenced by the likes of Down, Kyuss, and Clutch, WIDOWS have spent the two years since the release of their debut EP (2010’s Raise the Monolith) building up an ever more impressive live set as they chewed up, spat out, and
pounded venue after venue into submission, adding weight to their sets with regular new tracks and building the collection of songs that would later become
their debut full length CD, Death Valley Duchess.
https://www.facebook.com/widows666

WIZARD FIGHT
Formed in 2012 by Luke Bolton (ROTS) and former Steak drummer Dan Kinsey, they set out as a two piece to play insanely sludgey filth with a good measure of Doom and a wee bit of Stoner groove. Early 2013 see the addition of Dave on bass adding the much needed earth shaking guts needed to add to the Wizard Fight sound. Work is ongoing writing material and we will be coming to a shithole near you soon! WATCH THIS SPACE DEBUT ALBUM COMING OVER YOU SOON!
You can get a FREE DOWNLOAD of our first release ‘The Beast Lives (Demo)’ at http://wizardfight.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Wizardfightuk

Tombstones, Year of the Burial (2012)

Tags: , , , , ,

Brutus to Play Roadburn 2014

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 21st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Norwegian classic heavy rockers Brutus released their second album, Behind the Mountains, earlier this year. They were the first band I found out about through The Obelisk Forum, so they’ll always hold a special place in my heart. All the better then that they’ve been added to the 2014 Roadburn festival. No telling at this point if I’ll get there to see them — I seem to be losing jobs faster than I can keep up with this week — but good for the Oslo five-piece either way. The 013 won’t know what hit it.

Roadburn put it thusly:

Brutus Added to Roadburn 2014 Lineup

Over the years, we have been mining Scandinavia for the best heavy 70?s inspired rock and invited the likes of Witchcraft, Abramis Brama, Graveyard, Dead Man, Horisont, Troubled Horse, Spiders, Blues Pills et al to previous festivals.

To keep in line with our tradition – not just because they are part Swedish, part Norwegian, but simply because they deliver the 70s in spades with a healthy dose of soulful hardrock, head down boogie and amped up blues luster – we’re excited to announce that Brutus will appear at Roadburn Festival 2014 on Thursday, April 10th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Inspired by proto metal pioneers such as Dust, Budgie and Buffalo, with nods toward Sabbath and Grand Funk Railroad as well, Brutus know how to throw a good keg-party, as both their self-titled debut album and the recently released Behind The Mountains reek of a good time; these albums could easily be the alternate soundtrack to Dazed and Confused – muscle cars, pick up trucks, high school chicks in flares, denim, beer, sweat, smoking those doobies and anything else you’d imagine to happen when school’s out for summer.

Simply put: no frills, good time hard rock, played from the heart, the gut and the crotch!

Roadburn Festival 2014 will run for four days from Thursday, April 10th to Sunday, April 13th, 2014 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Brutus, “Personal Riot” official video

Tags: , , ,

Premiere: Vulture Industries Unveil Lyric Video for “The Tower”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 18th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Rife with a gleefully weird sense of progressive mania, the title-track of Norwegian five-piece Vulture Industries‘ new album, The Tower, works quickly to turn genres on their head. Their third full-length overall, The Tower marks the Season of Mist debut for the band, whose affinity for the aurally strange should find resonance with fans of anyone from The Ocean to Enslaved to Diablo Swing Orchestra.

The immediate double-kick push that starts “The Tower” probably most resembles the middle of those three comparison points — Vulture Industries guitarist Øyvind Madsen did a stint on keys in Enslaved prior to their acquiring Herband Larsen, who also mixed The Tower – but thanks in no small part to the performance of vocalist Bjørnar Erevik Nilsen, there’s no trouble distinguishing between the two. While raging out lyrically against the evils inherent in the unceasing push toward commercialism, Nilsen literally lists rules of being a part of “The Tower”‘s dominion, e.g. “Rule #1: Each man is what he owns/Whether or not one truly exist is a question of having things.”

He never goes quite so far as to call for an uprising against our capitalist masters — it would be pointless anyway; the bad guys won a long time ago — but the spirit of the track remains rousing for the duration anyway, the fivesome of Nilsen, Madsen, guitarist Elvind Huse, bassist Kyrre Teigen and drummer Tor Helge Gjengedal offsetting some of the blackened thrust with neo-prog metal noodling before the insistence resumes with the memorable, intricate chorus. Resolution, such as it is, comes on dramatic and vicious in kind, “The Tower” culminating not with the destruction of the title structure itself, but with one’s losing their very humanity in succumbing to it. Somebody’s read Marx. Right on.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting the premiere of the art deco-themed lyric video for “The Tower.” As you can see in the PR wire info that follows, Vulture Industries will release The Tower on Oct. 1 in North America, Sept. 27 everywhere else, on Season of Mist, the album is available now for pre-order and the clip was designed by Fabien Laubry based around the cover art by Costin Chioreanu. I think you’ll agree the look meshes well with the song’s anarchist underpinnings:

Vulture Industries, “The Tower” lyric video

VULTURE INDUSTRIES’ debut, ‘The Tower’ is slated for release on October 1st in North America (September 27th rest of world). ‘The Tower’ was recorded at the Conclave & Earshot Studios in Bergen. The album was mixed by Herbrand Larsen (ENSLAVED) and mastered by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios (OPETH, KATATONIA, DEVIN TOWNSEND, IHSAHN, ENSLAVED).

Through their charismatic musicianship, VULTURE INDUSTRIES quickly earned the reputation of a formidable live act, characterized by the fusion of technical prowess with eccentric, manic performances by frontman Bjørnar Erevik Nilsen. “The Tower” explores dark musical vistas and lyrics within a unique mixture of progressive, experimental, extreme and even foreboding symphonic elements. With a wealth of creativity and the ability to shift gears smoothly in the blink of an eye, VULTURE INDUSTRIES bend, twist, and shape their songs into living entities embodying the width and breadth of human emotion. Comparisons to unique and trail-blazing artists such as FAITH NO MORE, DEVIN TOWNSEND, ENSLAVED and NICK CAVE, only act as starting points to this unique heavy rock band.

‘The Tower’ is available for pre order here.

Vulture Industries website

Vulture Industries on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist

Tags: , , , , ,

High Priest of Saturn, Devil, Brutus and More to Play Norway’s Høstsabbat Fest this September

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 14th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

There’s little I find more inspiring than someone putting in the time and effort to coordinate and execute a festival. It’s something I’ve thought of doing more times than I can count but have yet to be able to muster the backing or the location to get it done, so when I see the news below about the upcoming Høstsabbat in Norway, it makes me want to take to the north even more than I usually do. Which is plenty, I guess.

Norway’s heavy rock scene is widely varied and from the roster of acts playing the upcoming Høstsabbat in Oslo on Sept. 13 and 14, it seems the intent is to capture a bit of that variety in a weekend and present it to the masses. An admirable goal no matter how you look at it.

Best wishes. I hope they pull it off without a hitch. The PR wire has lineups and links:

HØSTSABBAT – NEW NORWEGIAN FESTIVAL

HØSTSABBAT is a newborn initiative, brought to life by people involved in the underground scene in Norway.

It’s a DIY-festival, in collaboration with the student-organisation at Betong in Oslo, focusing on presenting the best underground bands Norway has to offer.

Over two days you can experience slow doom, heavy bluesrock, proto-heavy metal, psychedelic spacerock and prog. The concerts will be held on two different stages, located in the same venue.
In addition to this, you’ll find stands, food, beverages and diverse stimulation for your ears and mind. Dj’s from the norwegian scene will accompany your days with the right soundtrack.

HØSTSABBAT takes place on friday 13th, and saturday 14th of September.

Cheap accomodations are located nearby the venue, and the damage for a two-day ticket is about 50 euros.

Complete lineup HØSTSABBAT 2013:

Friday 13th:
Lonely Kamel
Devil
Tusmørke
High Priest of Saturn
Spectral Haze
Hymn

Saturday 14th:
Lamented Souls
Brutus
Tombstones
Resonaut
Dunbarrow
Purple Hill Witch
The Devil and the Almighty Blues

Facebookpage:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Høstsabbat/493336370734335

Facebookevent:
https://www.facebook.com/events/118739448332674/

Link for tickets:
http://www.billettservice.no/event/hostsabbat-2013-billetter/396189

Brutus, “Personal Riot” official video from Behind the Mountains (2013)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

audiObelisk: Spirits of the Dead Premiere “Song of Many Reefs” from Rumours of a Presence

Posted in audiObelisk on May 23rd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

In 2011, Oslo acid folk rockers Spirits of the Dead marked their arrival with the release of their sophomore outing, The Great God Pan. The follow-up to a 2010 full-length, The Great God Pan (review here) was striking in aesthetic as much in performance, the four-piece showcasing a rare ability throughout to blend classic ideology and modern sonics to both the benefit of the material and any and all ears who might hear it and be tired of the retro cultism and post-Coven candlelit Satanic silliness that so often accompanies.

Happy to say, the forthcoming third release from Spirits of the Dead, Rumours of a Presence follows suit and sees the returning lineup of frontman Ragnar Vikse, guitarist Ole Øvstedal, bassist Kristian Hultgren and drummer Geir Thorstensen keeping to a sense of warm tonality without losing sight of either clarity of sound or purpose. In anything, Rumours of a Presence is even more rock-based than was The Great God Pan. Some of the pagan mentality remains — see the “Dance of the Dead” interlude or the earlier “Golden Sun” — but Spirits of the Dead part ways with some of their folkish roots in favor of classic rock swagger and thematic linearity, the album dealing with mortality and the sea lyrically while tracks like “Wheels of the World” nod at Rush and “Song of Many Reefs” mounts an 8-track ready psychedelic apex.

It’s the latter song that I have the pleasure to premiere today from Rumours of a Presence, which is out June 25 on The End Records in North America. “Song of Many Reefs” offers not only one of Spirits of the Dead‘s most memorable grooves, but also an excellent example of their crisp modern approach, which when combined with Øvstedal‘s classic lead work and the stomp of Hultgren and Thorstensen makes for a potent brew not to be taken lightly.

You can check out the track on the player below, followed by some words from Ragnar Vikse about the song’s origins:

Ragnar Vikse on “Song of Many Reefs”

“Song of Many Reefs” is one of our favorite tracks on the album. We had a clear vision about the first part of the song before we went into the studio, while we left the rest more open and loose to unfold as we were there. Lyrics were also made while we were in the studio. It is a song open for interpretation for everyone, but I would say it’s more or less about a traveler with a highly “driven” desire to travel.

Spirits of the Dead on Thee Facebooks

Album Preorder at The End Records

Tags: , , , , ,

Spirits of the Dead New Album Due in June

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 1st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Norwegian acid folk rockers Spirits of the Dead return on June 25 with their third album, Rumours of a Presence. Their last album, The Great God Pan (review here), came out in 2011 and successfully touched on pagan sensibilities without sounding either redundant thematically or silly in its forest worship — which as any number of artists who’ve crossed that line probably won’t be able to tell you — isn’t easy. Those in perpetual search for “something different” would do well to take note of the following, which came down the PR wire yesterday:

SPIRITS OF THE DEAD SET TO RELEASE ‘RUMOURS OF A PRESENCE’ JUNE 25, 2013 ON THE END RECORDS

ANNOUNCE EUROPEAN TOUR WITH KADAVAR

PRE-ORDER ‘RUMOURS OF A PRESENCE’ EXCLUSIVE BUNDLE PACKAGES

When “Norway’s finest psychedelic-stoner-folk-band” Spirits of the Dead, released their eponymous debut album in 2008, few could have been more surprised than the band of the album’s overwhelming reviews.

Crowned with a place in Classic Rock Magazine’s “The Best Albums of the Year”, their second album ‘The Great God Pan’ somehow evoked a both retrospective and futuristic quality and made it clear that something was in the making. The band claimed they were “mixing the Sound of the Past with the Sound of the Future”. Well…

Now it’s 2013, and Spirits of the Dead are about to raise the stakes. “Rumours of a Presence” digs deeper and goes to even more profound places than the band has ever been before. Recorded in remote districts of Norway, this grand record lingers on the big questions: Life, Death and the Sea. Well, to be honest…Death and the Sea, really.

Dom Lawson gives us an insight to the record in his liner notes, which can be read here.

Having just announced a European tour with Kadavar, the band looks forward to crossing the ocean to embark on a US tour later in the year.

TOUR DATES WITH KADAVAR
05.10.2013 – DK Copenhagen – Beta
05.11.2013 – DE Hamburg – Klubsen
05.12.2013 – DE Dusseldorf – Stahlwerk
05.13.2013 – DE Nurnberg – Zentralcafe
05.14.2013 – DE Munchen – Backstage
05.15.2013 – DE Frankfurt – Das Bett
05.16.2013 – DE Koln – Underground
05.17.2013 – BE Brussels – Magasin 4
05.18.2013 – NL Rotterdam – Rotown
05.19.2012 – NL Nijmegen – Doornroosje

‘RUMOURS OF A PRESENCE’ TRACKLISTING
01. Wheels Of The World
02. Song Of Many Reefs
03. Golden Sun
04. Dance Of The Dead
05. Rumours Of New Presence
06. Red Death
07. Seaweed
08. Oceanus

Spirits of the Dead, “Fields of Gold”

Tags: , , , ,

Darkthrone, The Underground Resistance: Blowing the Reactor

Posted in Reviews on March 5th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

The thing about Darkthrone some 25-plus years into their career is they don’t give a fuck. A lot of bands say that, but few say it as convincingly and have the fuckall in their approach to back it up that the long-running Norwegian duo seem to toss off on their records like so many squibbly riffs. Where that attitude has manifested itself over the course of their last several full-lengths as a raw, lo-fi punk aimed hard at the very roots of the black metal Darkthrone once pioneered on albums like A Blaze in the Northern Sky (1992) and Transylvanian Hunger (1994), their newest full-length and 16th by my count, The Underground Resistance (Peaceville), finds them blending that rawness with a traditional metal approach manifesting many of the influences they’ve claimed since 2007′s N.W.O.B.H.M – New Wave of Black Heavy Metal single signaled their transition from the blackened material of 2006′s The Cult is Alive – actually it was kind of stagnant — to later 2007′s F.O.A.D. (Fuck off and Die), at once a declaration and defense of its own stylistic shift.

But at this point, having pushed that punkish sound as far as it could go or at least as far as they were interested in pushing it with 2010′s bored-seeming-but-still-effective Circle the Wagons (review here), I honestly think that praise heaped on The Underground Resistance and harsh criticism of it sound the same in the ears of multi-instrumentalist/vocalists Ted “Nocturno Culto” Skjellum and Gylve “Fenriz” Nagell: It’s all just noise. If that’s actually the case, I don’t know, but it’s at least the perception and that character has become as much a part of Darkthrone‘s sound as Fenriz‘s campaigning on behalf of classic underground metal, so fervent that band recommendations on the last couple albums have come on a per-track basis in the liner notes, with Darkthrone cited on occasion as influencing themselves. All this makes the duo a fascinating entity, but ultimately has little to do with the music, which on The Underground Resistance remains as confrontational as ever in this semi-novel aesthetic sphere. The sound of the album’s six tracks is fuller and occasionally grander than that of Circle the Wagons or 2008′s Dark Thrones and Black Flags before it — as heavy metal was when it emerged early in the ’80s to distinguish itself from punk — but raw enough in its production to be called consistent. That is, between Nocturno Culto‘s trademark gurgle and the speedy gallop of the riffing on the penultimate “Come Warfare, the Entire Doom,” there’s little doubt you’re listening to a Darkthrone record, whatever kind of shenanigans they might be getting up to this time around.

And while homage is paid throughout the album’s 41 minutes to the likes of Manilla Road, Pagan AltarCeltic FrostBathory, Iron Maiden and Mercyful FateFenriz rounding out the album with some pretty mean King Diamond-style vocal drama on the 14-minute closer “Leave No Cross Unturned” — whatever sonic references they might be making are filtered through their own approach so that Darkthrone still sound like Darkthrone. I don’t know if I’d call The Underground Resistance re-energized as compares to Circle the Wagons, but as a band who’ve emerged as being pretty self-aware over the last decade or so, they probably could sense it was time for a change in their approach, even if it wasn’t a conscious decision between the two members as they wrote their individual parts. Three years is also the longest break between Darkthrone albums since 1996′s Goatlord and 1999′s Ravishing Grimness, and if the extra time was spent developing this material, I’d have to believe it. Even “Leave No Cross Unturned,” which seems to switch back and forth between Fenriz and Nocturno Culto parts, nonetheless winds up with one of the collection’s strongest hooks in its chorus with the oft-repeated title line. Finding earlier companionship on the album in “The Ones You Left Behind,” which works from a similar foundation musically, it’s all one could reasonably ask of a closer for an album like The Underground Resistance, which makes a weapon even of its most accessible moments.

Read more »

Tags: , , , , ,

High Priest of Saturn Full-Length Debut Coming March 22

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 12th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Svart Records continues its descent into the realms of the weird and wicked. The label that brought forth Seremonia and the long-awaited Bedemon full-length and who’ve also signed on to release the debut from Victor Griffin’s In~Graved will issue the self-titled LP from organ-drenched Norwegian psych-doom three-piece High Priest of Saturn. The band previously released a demo in 2011, and as both tracks from it will also appear on the record when it hits March 22, I’ve included the stream courtesy of the High Priest of Saturn Bandcamp for your enjoyment below.

But first, sayeth the wire of PR:

Today, SVART RECORDS sets March 22nd as the international release date for HIGH PRIEST OF SATURN’s self-titled debut. Self-described as a psychedelic doom act inspired by classic stoner bands and ’60s and ’70s psychedelic rock, HIGH PRIEST OF SATURN are a Norwegian three piece that consist of guitarist Martin Sivertsen and guitarist-drummer Andreas Hagen’s slow-pounding riffs and beats and Merethe Heggset’s eerie vocals, which seem to resonate from another dimension.

The entire High Priest of Saturn opus is drenched with swirling, menacing vintage organ sounds, played on the album by Ole Kristian Malmedal. Groovy yet epic (none of the four tracks presented here are below the nine-minutes mark!), HIGH PRIEST OF SATURN’s debut full-length is a trip. Not only does it fulfill the many promises offered by their 2011 demo (whose two songs have been re-recorded here in even heavier and more mesmerizing versions), but it also propels this trio towards the same league as Sleep and Acid King, towards the sky and beyond. Tracklisting and cover (also attached) are as follows:

Tracklisting for HIGH PRIEST OF SATURN’s High Priest of Saturn
1. Protean Towers (10:30)
2. Kraken Mare (9:06)
3. Crawling King Snake (9:01)
4. On Mayda Insula (12:49)

Tags: , ,

Norway’s Tombstones Added to 2013 Desertfest London Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 29th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Anticipation is ramping up for the spring and summer festival season, and the latest check-in comes from Desertfest in London, which announced earlier that Norwegian doomers Tombstones have joined the 2013 lineup. Seems it’s all I can do these last couple weeks to keep up with fest news, but I’ve yet to come across one announcement that didn’t make me more stoked on the event, whatever it might be.

More on Tombstones below, courtesy of the Desertfest website:

NORWEGIAN HEAVINESS CONFIRMED FOR DESERTFEST

For the first time ever in the UK, Desertfest presents the ultra-heavy Norwegian three-piece; TOMBSTONES.

Although Norway is more famous for its beastly blasting Black Metal, TOMBSTONES turn this musical concept upside down: slow, downtuned, stoned and buzzed out doom is on the menu. TOMBSTONES have two albums under their belt. “Volume II” was released in 2010 by Transubstans Records, and their latest piece “Year of the Burial” was dropped spring 2012 by Soulseller Records. The norwegian doomsters toured Europe with their new album last fall, and have played Mudfest, Death Doomed The Age and Robustfest.

This time it’s Camden and Desertfest who will shiver from their loud and crushing, trance-indulging heaviness. Light you your bongs, and worship the riff!

Tags: , , , , , ,

Enslaved Announce North American Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 7th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Well, no way this one isn’t a win. Norway’s Enslaved will hit North American shores just at that point when you think winter will never end, and they’re bringing Pallbearer and Ancient VVisdom along to support. Enslaved will be promoting their most excellent Riitiir release (review here), and I’m already anxious at the thought of seeing “Roots of the Mountain” live. Call the greatness assumed if you want — this is going to fucking rule.

The PR wire sends details:

Norwegian progressive extreme metal band ENSLAVED will return to the U.S. and Canada in early 2013 for a headlining, 20-show “Winter Rite” tour joined by U.S. doom metallers Pallbearer and occult rockers Ancient VVisdom as openers. Kick-off is in Philadelphia on January 30th with the tour closing in New York City on February 22nd.

ENSLAVED rhythm guitarist/songwriter/lyricist Ivar Bjørnson checks in from Norway about the upcoming trek:

“North America has become like a second home-shore to us; the rising support we’ve been getting for the last albums and tours has been amazing! We’re more than ready to come over again and play our new album Riitiir live to show that the new material is extremely well-fitted for a live setting, and to reflect the enthusiasm and dedication we’ve been getting from the fans over there! See you on the road!”

Confirmed dates for ENSLAVED’s headlining “Winter Rite 2013” tour are:

01/30/13 Underground Arts – Philadelphia, PA
01/31/13 Ottobar – Baltimore, MD
02/01/13 Mr. Smalls Theatre – Pittsburgh, PA
02/02/13 Magic Stick – Detroit, MI
02/03/13 Reggie’s Rock Club – Chicago, IL
02/04/13 Mill City Nights – Minneapolis, MN
02/06/13 Marquis Theater – Denver, CO
02/08/13 The Troubadour – West Hollywood, CA
02/09/13 Slim’s – San Francisco, CA
02/10/13 Branx – Portland, OR
02/11/13 The Highline – Seattle, WA
02/12/13 Biltmore Cabaret – Vancouver, B.C. – CANADA
02/14/13 The Pawn Shop – Edmonton, AB – CANADA
02/15/13 Dickens Pub – Calgary, AB – CANADA
02/16/13 The Exchange – Regina, SK – CANADA
02/17/13 Osborne Village Inn – Winnipeg, MB – CANADA
02/19/13 The Opera House – Toronto, ON – CANADA
02/20/13 Les Foufounes Electriques – Montreal, QC – CANADA
02/21/13 The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA
02/22/13 Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY

RIITIIR, ENSLAVED’s twelfth studio album, debuted at #8 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart in October with the band’s highest first-week sales in their career in the United States. The album is already a contender for many “Best of” year-end lists around the world for 2012. Pick up a copy at http://bit.ly/enriitlp and see why that is.

ENSLAVED will be headlining Scion A/V’s Roadburn Records showcase on Saturday, November 10th, 2012 at The Roxy in West Hollywood. Also performing are White Hills, Scott Kelly, Earthless, and Astra. RSVP to the All Ages event here: www.scionav.com/METALSHOW

Tags: , , , ,

audiObelisk: Norwegian Classic Proggers Tusmørke Stream Opening Track from Debut Album

Posted in audiObelisk on October 29th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Underjordisk Tusmørke is the debut album from Oslo-based foursome Tusmørke. In English, the album title means “subterranean twilight,” and the name of the opening track, “Fimbul,” refers to the long, multi-year apocalyptic winter that precedes the end of the world in Norse mythology. So if you’re wondering precisely what kind of ground Tusmørke are covering on their first LP, it’s dark, it’s pagan, and cloaked in atmospheres cold enough to warrant the robes the band dons to present their material.

With flute, mellotron, Hammonds and a host of other bizarre flourishes, Underjordisk Tusmørke basks in its own strange otherworldliness. A proggish sense of pomposity bleeds into the arrangements, purposefully reaching toward the melodically grandiose in a way that would make Black Widow or Amon Düül II proud. The dual vocals of bassist Benediktator and floutist Krizla add depth and range to the six tracks of the album proper (three bonus tracks are included on the CD), only periodically touching on Tull-isms before taking darker turns pushed forward by drummer HlewagastiR and lent atmospheric richness by keyboardist Deadly Nightshade (also of noise crushers Årabrot). But always, weirdness prevails.

And chiefly, that’s why I’m interested. One listen to “Fimbul” and you know a goat-legged devil isn’t far off, but as much as classic prog has made itself felt across doom and pagan metals and heavy rock, Tusmørke approach the unabashed sense of strangeness that made the sound standout so much in the first place. Using elements of Scandinavian folk and an apparent affinity for vintage methods, they don’t so much lay claim to authenticity as make you wonder why you care so much about it to begin with.

Tusmørke‘s Underjordisk Tusmørke is due for release on CD/LP Nov. 9 (Nov. 13 in US) on Termo Records. Please enjoy “Fimbul” on the player below, followed by more info about the album, courtesy of the PR wire:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

The band’s history can be traced back to the mid-nineties and the budding, Scandinavian scene of new progressive bands. Back then, the Momrak twins who are the beating heart of Tusmørke called their band Les Fleurs de Mal. The band featured future Wobbler vocalist Andreas Prestmo, and they shared the stage with other up-and-coming bands like White Willow. Via intricate pathways, this evolved into Tusmørke, whose music is darker, more intense and dare we say primeval, than the more delicate Les Fleurs de Mal. The album you are holding in your hands will conjure up images of pagan rites, witches dancing in the firelight serenading the new moon, eldritch wizards conjuring dark spirits… And it’s no gimmick: This band lives and breathes the same air that flows through the magical lands their music describes.

The album has been expertly recorded and produced by that master of retro productions, Lars Fredrik Frøislie (Wobbler, White Willow, In Lingua Mortua), and sounds so authentically analog that you can practically smell the antique equipment that has been used for its making. Lars contributes mellotron, chamberlin, spinet, Hammond organ and a host of esoteric instruments on the album.

Tags: , , , , ,

Frydee Trouble (Also Frydee Darkthrone)

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 22nd, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster


I will sing praise in thy name…

Blah blah blah Jesus.

You know, I kind of struggle with knowing how personal I should get in these posts. I’m glad this week to have gotten back to the point where I fill the full frontpage with new stuff, but fuck me sideways, it wasn’t easy. And man, everyone works hard. I’m not the only one with two jobs. I’m not the only one who works late. It’s a fine line between explaining my situation and whining, I think. I don’t get to post as much as I want to, but you know, even when I didn’t have a job and I did five or six posts a day, I didn’t post as much as I wanted to.

So what’s new?

I picked Trouble tonight because it seemed like the only fitting end to this week. It was a pretty Trouble-y week, what with those Days of the Doomed reviews and all that craziness. I figured no better way to go. Sorry if you don’t like Trouble. Sorry if you don’t like The Obelisk. Sorry I drank all the wine.

Except that last one I’m not sorry about.

I’m gonna wait until The Patient Mrs. falls asleep, then I’m gonna go out in the field across the street and make black metal poses at the moon. And I’ll pretend like someone’s taking pictures of me except no one will be and I’ll pretend everything is high contrast black and white and I’m in Norway and I’m in Darkthrone and whatever. Frydee Darkthrone:

Yeah, that’s right, TWO videos. I’m shifting paradigms. Whole damn world’s upside down.

New podcast this weekend. Next week, reviews of Danny G., The Company Corvette, maybe Sons of Otis, so on. So help me gawd, I’ll have my interview with Justin Maranga of Ancestors posted, and it’s a good one. And I’ll work late, and I’ll bitch about that, and if I have time, I’ll write some about that Argus record I bought last weekend, and that’ll be fun too. Like, woo-hoo, man.

See you back here tomorrow or Sunday for that new podcast, on the forum in the meantime, and at your favorite jaded-rock-dude support group. SIJA: Self-Indulgent Jerks Anonymous.

Argh.

Tags: , , , ,