Graveyard Post “Please Don’t” Video; Peace out May 25

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

graveyard

I’m not saying I don’t dig the new Graveyard track. I’m not. That’s not what I’m saying at all. What I am saying is that for all the hullabaloo surrounding the May 25 release of the Swedish classic heavy rock forerunners’ new album, Peace, listening to “Please Don’t” doesn’t tell us all that much that we didn’t already know. Graveyard can write a hook. Joakim Nilsson is an awesome frontman with an ever-expanding range of melody and expression in his voice. The band rocks. These are all things that Graveyard fans know well. It’s part of the reason there are so many of them around.

So don’t think I’m trying to talk smack on Graveyard as they come back from the hiatus after their graveyard peace2015 album, Innocence and Decadence (review here), that led to guitarist/vocalist Joakim Nilsson, guitarist Jonathan Ramm and bassist Truls Mörck parting ways with drummer Axel Sjöberg and bringing in Oskar Bergenheim to fill that role. Quite the opposite. Listen to that shuffle. Check out that boogie. That bluesy feel. It’s Graveyard alright. As many bands as have come along in the last decade trying to sound like that, nope. Graveyard still own it, vintage production or no.

But that brings us back to where we started. These are already established facts. Graveyard with a boogie track is awesome. It’s not, however, answering the question of whether Peace will follow in the melancholy soul footsteps of Innocence and Decadence, which had its boogie tracks too. It’s giving a solid first impression of Bergenheim on drums, to be sure, but it’s hardly answering the question of how the band’s personality will have invariably shifted with him behind the kit. It’s a full song, but it’s still also just a teaser for what’s invariably a more complete offering than one song could possibly convey.

So satisfying in some ways, leaving some questions in others. I guess that makes it an effective single…

Peace is out May 25 on Nuclear Blast. Album preorder link and more info follow here, courtesy of the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Graveyard, “Please Don’t” official video

Swedish classic rock connoisseurs GRAVEYARD have released the official music video for the first single, “Please Don’t,” off their eagerly anticipated upcoming comeback album, Peace.

Commented the band: ”As you may know, we’ve been doing some traveling lately. In many ways and on many levels. The good thing is that we brought back a few things for you all. Here’s a first souvenir from the road to PEACE.”

The album is now available for pre-order in various formats. The Nuclear Blast Mailorder edition will feature the CD as well as a red 7″ vinyl containing 2 exclusive and previously unreleased non-album tracks (“Headache City” & “Something Else”). Aside of that the album will be available as digipack CD as well as on black, yellow, mint, beige and clear vinyl.

Peace will be released on May 25, 2018 via Nuclear Blast.

Secure your copy via this link: http://nblast.de/GraveyardPeace

Graveyard – Peace – Track List:
01. It Ain’t Over Yet
02. Cold Love
03. See The Day
04. Please Don’t
05. Del Maniac
06. The Fox
07. Walk On
08. Bird Of Paradise
09. A Sign Of Peace
10. Low (I Wouldn’t Mind)

Line-Up:
Joakim Nilsson – vocals, guitar
Truls Mörck – bass
Oskar Bergenheim – drums
Jonatan Ramm – guitar

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Earthless Announce More US Touring for May/June

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

earthless ed dominick

Earthless — who are currently embroiled in a European run alongside Comet Control that should be called the ‘Fucking A, This Pairing is Awesome and Everyone Should Go See It’ Tour and will land the San Diego trio at Roadburn, where they’ll serve as artists-in-residence — have announced their next batch of US tour dates supporting their new album, Black Heaven (review here). The band recently wrapped a US stint with Kikagaku Moyo and JJUUJJUU, and as they go from May into June, they’ll be bringing along Here Lies Man for the majority of the dates who are — wait for it — also fucking awesome.

If you think your brain can handle the righteousness, the PR wire submits the following:

earthless tour

EARTHLESS ANNOUNCE NEXT LEG OF U.S. TOUR DATES

BLACK HEAVEN AVAILABLE NOW: http://nblast.de/EarthlessBlackHeavenNB

Earthless, who recently released their Nuclear Blast debut, Black Heaven, have added a second leg of U.S. tour dates, kicking off on May 31 at Detroit’s El Club.

“Our new album, Black Heaven, is out now and we’re super excited to get out on the road again to play the Nelsonville Music Festival plus a bunch of U.S. headline shows in spots we haven’t hit yet,” said Mario Rubalcaba. “Stoked to burn through some new tunes for you all! Tell your friends and hope to see you at the shows!” News of the U.S. outing comes as the band kicks off a European tour in support of the album, launching the three-week leg with a show tomorrow night in Belgium.

Continuing in a series of firsts, the San Diego-based outfit offered up their first ever music video recently as well, with the clip for “Volt Rush”. The video features mythical skateboarder T-Spliff (aka Taylor Smith) as he boards across San Diego and neighboring Oceanside, visiting a number of favorite hometown locales. “Volt Rush” was directed by skateboard/visual artist BB Bastidas.

EARTHLESS w/ COMET CONTROL:
Apr 5 – Manchester, UK @ The Deaf Institute
Apr 6 – London, UK @ Islington Assembly Hall
Apr 7 – Paris, FR @ Petit Bain
Apr 8 – Frankfurt, DE @ Zoom
Apr 10 – Munich, DE @ Feierwerk
Apr 11 – Berlin, DE @ Bi Nuu
Apr 12 – Copenhagen, DK @ Pumpehuset
Apr 13 – Oslo, NO @ BLA
Apr 14 – Gothenberg, SE @ Truckstop Alaska
Apr 16 – Hamburg, DE @ Molotow
Apr 19 – Tilburg, NE @ ROADBURN 2018
Apr 20 – Tilburg, NE @ ROADBURN 2018
Apr 21 – Tilburg, NE @ ROADBURN 2018

EARTHLESS 2ND LEG BLACK HEAVEN TOUR:
May 31 Detroit, MI El Club
June 1 Nelsonville, OH Nelsonville Music Festival
June 2 Louisville, KY Zanzabar
June 3 Morgantown, WV 123 Pleasant Street
June 5 Asheville, NC The Mothlight
June 6 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade
June 7 Spartanburg, SC Ground Zero
June 8 Orlando, FL Will’s Pub
June 9 Tallahassee, FL The Wilbury
June 10 Baton Rouge, LA The Spanish Moon
June 12 Houston, TX White Oak Music Hall
June 13 Austin, TX Barracuda
June 14 Ft. Worth, TX Ridglea Room
June 15 Memphis, TN Growler’s

All U.S. non-festival dates with Here Lies Man except Detroit (Timmy’s Organism and The Octopus open)

August 3 Beelen, Germany Krach am Bach
August 10 Moledo, Portugal Sonic Blast

Earthless is Mike Eginton (bass), Isaiah Mitchell (vocals/guitar) and Mario Rubalcaba (drums).

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Earthless, “Volt Rush” official video

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Earthless Post “Volt Rush” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

earthless

Just how West Coast is it? Well, it’s West Coast enough to feature a professional skateboarder jumping over garbage cans dressed as a pizza-themed superhero, if that answers your question. Which it should. Sorry, that shit just doesn’t happen in Philadelphia.

San Diego heavy psych ambassadors Earthless issued their new album, Black Heaven (review here), last week via Nuclear Blast, and somehow, the clip below for “Volt Rush” strikes me as something of a victory lap to mark the occasion. Unlike much of the record, the track is instrumental, but it’s also only two and a half minutes long and so still represents some of the overarching change of approach that’s become so much of the narrative of the record — Earthless daring to not bask in their 20-minute, epic-as-all-hell instrumental songcrat and instead offer verses, choruses, and a piece like “Volt Rush,” which is there and gone before you even really have time to notice it’s Mad Alchemy doing the psychedelic lighting for the band’s show in the clip. Which, incidentally, it is.

As for the narrative, it looks like a hell of a day for Volt Pizza Man, played by pro skater Taylor Smith, and whatever cool tricks happen along the way — though I’ll give both the band and director BB Bastidas credit for not just making it look like a sponsor-me skate demo — the story ends (spoiler ahead) with Smith getting tossed on his ass out back of the Casbah, which my understanding is where it’s at when it comes to San Diego venues. That’s what I’m told, anyhow.

“Volt Rush,” though, lives up to its name, and the quick push through it makes it just right for the average YouTube attention span. Earthless are of course on tour now in the US and will head overseas next month to feature at Roadburn 2018 as artists-in-residence and leaders — suitably enough — of what’s been dubbed the “San Diego takeover,’ with JoyHarsh TokeArcticPetyr and others taking part.

Dates follow the clip below, as per the PR wire:

Earthless, “Volt Rush” official video

Earthless, who are in the midst of a North American tour in support of their new album Black Heaven, debut their video for “Volt Rush.”

The video, which is set in Earthless’ hometown of San Diego, as well as neighboring Oceanside, was directed by skateboard/visual artist BB Bastidas and features the famed SoCal skateboarder T-Spliff (aka Taylor Smith).

“Stoked to present to you the very first Earthless video, directed by artist BB Bastidas,” said drummer Mario Rubalcaba. “We were stoked to work with BB on this as he knows our background as a band and our close roots with skateboarding. His art is amazing and he also has a keen natural eye for film. Having Taylor Smith, aka T-Spliff, in it just makes it even sweeter. He is somewhat of a mythical figure of a skater, an amazing talent but chooses to shred at his own discretion. Those who know, know. This was a blast to be a part of and we hope you enjoy this short high energy rocker that cruises around our hometown of San Diego, and local club, The Casbah.”

Black Heaven is the band’s first release to feature a majority of songs with vocals and is also the trio’s first time working with producer Dave Catching (Eagles of Death Metal). Rubalcaba explains the impact the Joshua Tree studio had on the outfit’s new music: “This album represents yet another branch on the ever growing and now adolescent Earthless tree. I spent a good amount of time just gazing at the stars at night while we were out recording in the desert of Joshua Tree. I think this somehow lent itself to the title and feel of the album on some songs. This LP has a touch more of our classic rock roots showing, just stuff we grew up on and it’s great to finally utilize Isaiah’s lyrical talent and soulful voice. As cliché as it sounds – Black Heaven should be played LOUD.”

Earthless tour dates:
March 20 Washington, DC Rock’n’Roll Hotel
March 21 Richmond, VA The Broadberry
March 22 Nashville, TN Mercy Lounge
March 23 St. Louis, MO Blueberry Hill
March 24 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle
March 25 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle
*All North American tour dates with Kikagaku Moyo and JJUUJJUU

April 3 Korkrijk, Belgium De Kreun
April 4 Bristol, UK The Fleece
April 5 Manchester, UK The Deaf Institute
April 6 London, UK Islington Assembly Hall
April 7 Paris, France Petit Bain
April 8 Frankfurt, Germany Zoom
April 10 Munich, Germany Feierwerk
April 11 Berlin, Germany Bi Nuu
April 12 Copenhagen, Denmark Pumpehuset
April 13 Oslo, Norway BLA
April 14 Gothenberg, Sweden Truckstop Alaska
April 16 Hamburg, Germany Molotow
April 19-21 Tilburg, Netherlands Roadburn 2018
*All European, non-Roadburn dates with Comet Control

June 1 Nelsonville, OH Nelsonville Music Festival
August 10 Moledo, Portugal Sonic Blast

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Earthless, Black Heaven: Gifts of the Wind

Posted in Reviews on March 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

earthless black heaven

There will be those who decry the stylistic changes that San Diego — and really, the West Coast as a whole — heavy psych forerunners Earthless make on their fourth album, Black Heaven, which, with its somewhat quizzical title, also marks the trio’s debut on Nuclear Blast after a longer term alignment with Tee Pee that ran right up to 2016’s Acid Crusher / Mount Swan split (review here) with jammy acolytes Harsh Toke. The use of vocals in a major way for the first time, the paring down of song structures as compared to the massive sprawling righteousness that Earthless‘ reputation has been built on to this point will be departures that no doubt will have some in their fanbase calling them sellouts. This position, in this instance as in at least 85 percent of all instances as regards underground bands, is dumb. When Earthless start doing infomercials for electric scissors, maybe they will have sold out.

Guitarist Isaiah Mitchell wants to sing on four out of the six tracks on a 40-minute record? That’s not selling out. That’s a simple shift in approach. And here’s the thing: I can just about guarantee that for every longtime Earthless follower who refuses to get on board with the hook of “End to End” or opener “Gifted by the Wind,” two new heads will be turned onto what they’re doing for the first time. They’re not selling out. They’re reaching out. And I know they’re not the first group to link up with Nuclear Blast and undergo a stylistic change — see also Witchcraft, Graveyard, Blues Pills and Kadavar modernizing their production methods away from their initial vintage sounds — but even if the label had a hand in making the shift take place, Mitchell, bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba do nothing but thrive in the context of these songs. Want to call it a sellout because it’s not what you’re used to? Not what they did on 2013’s From the Ages (review here)? Fine. But you’re the one who’s losing out, not the band.

Mitchell‘s voice will be familiar enough to anyone who’s experienced either of the two full-lengths he’s put out with his other band, Golden Void, and he largely keeps to the same approach here — classic rock in style, soulful but not overdone, tastefully and willfully imperfect in its execution. He sounds live in the tradition of early heavy rock as he tops the initial push of “Gifted by the Wind” and the ultra-catchy boogie of “End to End,” and in one of Black Heaven‘s greatest points of success, the album has managed to distill the vast spread of prior Earthless output — that feeling of every single second being the most awesome moment of the classic heavy rock jam; crescendo piled on top of crescendo in a hypnotic instrumental torrent — into structured songcraft. “Gifted by the Wind” is only six minutes long, “End to End” only five, and the subsequent side A closer “Electric Flame” is the longest track on the LP at 9:05, but it’s not about song length anymore; it’s about what Earthless do with that time. “End to End” opens atmospherically but soon crashes into a threatening wash of feedback and cymbals before launching after the 1:30 mark into its central riff, which is among the most memorable the band has ever produced and joyously raucous in its circular motion. In short, it sounds like they’re having a blast, and subtle layering in Mitchell‘s vocals only add to the Hendrixian spirit as a whole.

earthless

A couple verses belted out lead to a guitar solo and instrumental finish that one senses could probably keep going for as long as the band wants it to in a live setting, but is certainly enough to get the wah-soaked, ass-shaking point across, Rubalcaba turning in a particularly engaging performance. The aforementioned side A closer “Electric Flame” is immediately more subdued, but still takes off on a rush of its own shortly, the time spent in the intro heading toward a more straightforward groove that is graceful in its turns but still rough-sounding along the edges — a balance of danger and surehandedness that Earthless carry through an early jam before turning back to the verse at the halfway point and taking off shortly after five minutes in on the mostly-instrumental stretch that rounds out in fashion no less immersive than they’ve ever been, of course with Mitchell‘s unmitigated at the fore punctuated by Rubalcaba‘s drums as Eginton‘s bass provides the foundation to which they smoothly return near the finish. Like the best of its ilk, it sounds like it’s about to completely fly apart and never does.

The same applies for the sub-two-minute “Volt Rush,” which is essentially a quick, layered-solo embodiment of its title — fast, full-thrust, all-go. It’s the kind of thing Earthless might’ve done for 13 minutes or so on 2008’s Live at Roadburn (discussed here), but even in playing to their classic methods, they’re changing how that happens, emphasizing quickly the trio dynamic between Mitchell, Eginton and Rubalcaba that has made them the arguable godfathers and key influence of the crowded West Coast scene that has sprouted in their wake. As much as it takes “Volt Rush” 1:56 to remind of that, I doubt many will complain as the following nine-minute title-track puts further emphasis on the point. An instrumental push that starts and offers no letup, its bleed directly through to closer “Sudden End” ties what one might think of as the two sides of the band presented on Black Heaven together.

After the fervency of the title-track, “Sudden End” takes a more laid back, bluesy approach and holds to a mid-paced tempo, and the vocals return to top a cloudy-beach psychedelia that fascinates all the more because of the choice it represents on the part of the band not to cap with a blowout, but with a easier flow carried by Eginton‘s bass and a relatively simplified drum progression from Rubalcaba. I won’t say it’s the biggest surprise of the album, but it does bring to mind the notion that as far outside their comfort zone as Earthless reach here — let’s face it, they could’ve put out an hour-long LP of three extended instrumentals and been hailed as gods for it — there’s still farther they can go, and new modes of expression to yet be explored. Earthless have always been songwriters, but they’ve never brought that into focus like they do on Black Heaven, and while it’s certain to divide some of the band’s followers, their boldness and their level of craft both come through stronger than ever before here. An absolute contender for the best album of 2018.

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Amorphis Announce May 18 Release for Queen of Time

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

amorphis
You know what? The more we actually find out about this upcoming Amorphis album, the more excited I am to hear it. The band already announced a long, long string of North American tour dates to support it this Fall — and they hadn’t even given away the title yet. Well, the record is called Queen of Time — you’ll note that 2015’s Under a Red Cloud opened with “Death of a King,” the video for which you can see at the bottom of this post — and the newly-unveiled artwork is absolutely frickin’ awesome. I’d buy that shirt. Hell, I’d buy two. One to sleep in, one to wear around.

Oh who the hell am I kidding? I’d wear the sleepy shirt everywhere.

Even so, the point is I’m getting stoked to find out what the long-running Finnish outfit — who with Queen of Time also welcome back bassist Oppu Laine — have in store for their new outing, and though the info is coming in drips and drabs (i.e. no tracklisting yet), I’m just gonna keep posting the press releases and probably a video or two until the album itself actually shows up.

Come on. Come be psyched with me:

amorphis queen of time

AMORPHIS reveal album title, cover and release date

AMORPHIS have finally finished recording their upcoming new studio album, entitled Queen Of Time. The record is scheduled for a May 18th release via Nuclear Blast. In comparison to its predecessor, Under The Red Cloud (2015), the album will include the use of real strings, flutes, orchestral arrangements and even choirs! In addition, this will be the first time that people will be able to hear their lyricist Pekka Kainulainen on the album as he contributes a speech in Finnish.

Today, the band unveils some more details on the production, the album title, the album cover (see above) and on working with their new/old bassist Olli-Pekka Laine.

The album was once again produced by the famous Jens Bogren (OPETH, AMON AMARTH, KREATOR, and many others), who is well-known for challenging and motivating the artists during the recording process. He isn‘t afraid to push them to their limits!

Esa comments: “I guess Queen Of Time turned out as a massive surprise to all of us. During the rehearsing and pre-production we didn‘t have any idea that Jens had this huge picture inside of his head about the landscape of the album. It‘s a very natural continuation to Under The Red Cloud but with steroids. The songs are more aggressive but there‘s more dynamics, harmonies and orchestral arrangements present. The result is AMORPHIS as something you‘ve never heard before! Essentially, working with Jens worked really well. As a person he is very similar to us – we share the same kind of weird humor and we all like to work hard.”

The cover artwork, which was created once again by French artist Jean ”Valnoir” Simoulin from Metastazis, captures the feeling of the lyrics and the music. With Pekka Kainulainen’s (lyricist) words, the lyrical theme is universal: “Cultures rise, flourish, and are destroyed. The story of man is the story of searching, finding, and forgetting. A single spark can set the world afire, a single idea can give birth to a new culture. The greatest can stagnate into insignificance, the smallest can hold the power for change. The lyrics on this album are distant echoes of ancient forest peoples, from a time when meaning was proportioned by the cosmic forces that govern birth and death. If the connection was lost, they sought for a strand of knowledge, found a new direction, and a new age began.”

Queen Of Time will be also the first album with their old/new bass player Olli-Pekka ‘Oppu’ Laine following the departure of Niclas Etelävuori in 2017. Oppu was one of the founding members in 1990 and recorded the early releases with AMORPHIS (The Karelian Isthmus LP, 1992; Privilege Of Evil EP, 1993; Tales From The Thousand Lakes LP, 1994; Black Winter Day EP, 1995; Elegy LP, 1996; My Kantele EP, 1997 and the Tuonela LP, 1999) before he parted ways with the band in spring 2000.

“To be honest, Oppu was the only guy we could imagine being in AMORPHIS. It was funny – when we started to play our first shows together again last summer it all felt so familiar. He was involved with arranging songs and he also even brought some new songs to the table… really good ones, too!” says Esa. And Oppu adds: “Even though the last year with AMORPHIS has been exciting, nostalgic and fun, it’s also been truly comfortable to be with the guys again. As a clichéd expression, it’s been like returning home from a lenghty odyssey. After eighteen years, it feels like we are picking up where we left off from the good ol’ days! I’m really looking forward for the upcoming tour. The new album itself is a really strong package, the only hard thing will be picking which songs to play live! It‘s safe to say we are set to pull off some killer shows over the next few years. After that, I’m predicting a long and fruitful career for the band in its current form…”

The band will soon kick off pre-orders for Queen Of Time and release their first single, so stay tuned!

AMORPHIS, DARK TRANQUILLITY, MOONSPELL, OMNIUM GATHERUM
07.09. USA New York, NY – Gramercy Theatre
08.09. CDN Montréal, QC – Café Campus
09.09. CDN Québec City, QC – Impérial de Québec
10.09. CDN Toronto, ON – The Opera House
11.09. USA Ft. Wayne, IN – Piere’s Entertainment Center
12.09. USA Detroit, MI – Harpos Concert Theatre
13.09. USA Joliet, IL – The Forge
14.09. USA Minneapolis, MN – The Cabooze
15.09. CDN Winnipeg, MB – The Park Theatre
17.09. CDN Edmonton, AB – The Starlite Room
18.09. CDN Calgary, AB – Dickens
19.09. CDN Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre
20.09. USA Seattle, WA – El Corazon
22.09. USA Berkeley, CA – UC Theatre
23.09. USA Anaheim, CA – City National Grove
24.09. USA West Hollywood, CA – Whiskey a Go Go
25.09. USA San Diego, CA – Brick by Brick
26.09. USA Tempe, AZ – Marquee Theatre
27.09. USA Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues
28.09. USA Salt Lake City, UT – Liquid Joe’s
29.09. USA Denver, CO – Herman’s Hideaway
01.10. USA Dallas, TX – Trees
02.10. USA San Antonio, TX – The Rock Box
03.10. USA Houston, TX – Scout Bar
05.10. USA Tampa, FL – The Orpheum
06.10. USA Lake Park, FL – Kelsey Theater
07.10. USA Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
09.10. USA Louisville, KY – Diamond Pub & Billiards
10.10. USA Durham, NC – Motorco Music Hall
11.10. USA Baltimore, MD – Soundstage
12.10. USA Philadelphia, PA – Trocadero Theatre
14.10. USA Clifton Park, NY – Upstate Concert Hall

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Amorphis, “Death of a King” official video

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Amorphis Announce Fall 2018 North American Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

amorphis (Photo by Ville Juurikkala)

Well, I said last time around that I was going to be covering Finnish progressive/melodic metallers Amorphis leading up to the release of their next album, which will be the follow-up to 2015’s Under the Red Cloud, which was very, very good and about which I wrote nothing. Consider this me keeping my word. There hasn’t been any real confirmation of a release for said new album — guitarist Esa Holopainen says May as a tentative below, and it would seem likely to me that the fact that it’ll be September before the band comes to North American shores has more to do with a busy summer schedule playing European fests and the like than any thought the record might be delayed that long. One never knows, but that’s my guess.

And a May release would time well with June and July touring in Europe, which, again, hasn’t been announced to my knowledge, but seems like a reasonable enough plan should they want to hit the road on the quick after the album arrives.

It’s been Y-E-A-R-S since I last saw these guys play. Maybe if I work my schedule just right I can make it happen by the time September rolls around. Might be fun.

From the PR wire:

AMORPHIS TOUR POSTER

AMORPHIS announce N. American tour w/ DARK TRANQUILLITY, MOONSPELL and OMNIUM GATHERUM

Melancholic progressive metallers AMORPHIS will return to North America with a co-headlining trek with DARK TRANQUILLITY this September/October. Joining them are Portugal’s premiere gothic-metallic-force MOONSPELL, and Finnish melo-death contingent OMNIUM GATHERUM.

AMORPHIS will be touring in support of their soon to be announced new album, produced and mixed once again by Jens Bogren (OPETH, AMON AMARTH, KATATONIA). More details to be announced shortly, so stay tuned!

Guitarist Esa Holopainen commented:
“We are extremely excited to start the world tour with new album from North America. There’s been lot of requests to hit the states again after our last tour spring 2017. This time we come over with a killer package. Touring with DARK TRANQUILLITY, MOONSPELL and OMNIUM GATHERUM is almost like having a road trip with best mates around. Every band has a strong fanbase so there will be something for everyone.”

Holopainen continued and offered this update from the studio as well:
“We just finished new album recordings with our producer Jens Bogren and result is very bombastic! Album release is tentatively this May and it’s a great privilege to introduce new songs first time for North American audience. AMORPHIS has long history behind so once again we try to offer something for everyone. Impossible but doable. Shine on, see you soon and support live music. That keeps our engines running!”

AMORPHIS, DARK TRANQUILLITY, MOONSPELL, OMNIUM GATHERUM
Sep-07-18 New York, NY – Gramercy Theater
Sep-08-18 Montreal, QUE – Cafe Campus
Sep-09-18 Quebec City, QUE – Imperial de Quebec
Sep-10-18 Toronto, ONT – Opera House
Sep-11-18 Ft Wayne, IN – Pierre’s
Sep-12-18 Detroit, MI – Harpo’s
Sep-13-18 Joliet, Il – The Forge
Sep-14-18 Minneapolis, MN – The Cabooze
Sep-15-18 Winnipeg, MB – Park Theatre
Sep-17-18 Edmonton, AB – The Starlite Room
Sep 18-18 Calgary, AB – Dickens
Sep-19-18 Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theater
Sep-20-18 Seattle, WA – El Corazon
Sep-22-18 Berkeley, CA – The UC Theatre
Sep-23-18 Anaheim, CA – City National Grove
Sep-24-18 West Hollywood, CA – Whiskey a Go Go
Sep-25-18 San Diego, CA – Brick By Brick
Sep-26-18 Tempe, AZ – Marquee Theatre
Sep-27-18 Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues
Sep-28-18 Salt Lake City, UT – Liquid joe’s
Sep-29-18 Denver, CO – Herman’s Hideaway
Oct-01-18 Dallas, TX – Trees
Oct-02-18 San Antonio, TX – Rock Box
Oct-03-18 Houston, TX – Scout Bar
Oct-05-18 Tampa, FL – Orpheum
Oct-06-18 West Palm Beach, FL – Kelsey Theater
Oct-07-18 Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
Oct-09-18 Louisville, KY – Diamond Pub and Billiards
Oct-10-18 Durham, NC – Motorco
Oct-11-18 Baltimore, MD – Soundstage
Oct-12-18 Philadelphia, PA – The Trocadero
Oct-14-18 Clifton Park, NY – Upstate Concert Hall

AMORPHIS’ most recent release, their 2015 studio album Under The Red Cloud, would go on to obtain gold status in Finland and reached great chart results all around the world, including their first ever entry in United Kingdom and Australia, as well as their highest ever entries in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and France. Following this success, they released their Under The Red Cloud Tour Edition in February 2017, including the entire album with two bonus songs as well as the live tracks of their An Evening With Friends-Shows @ Juhlaviikot – Huvila.

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Amorphis, “Sacrifice” official video

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Live Review: Corrosion of Conformity and Red Fang in Worcester, Massachusetts, Feb. 1, 2018

Posted in Reviews on February 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

corrosion of conformity 1 (Photo JJ Koczan)

Before the four-piece launched into ‘Vote with a Bullet,’ Corrosion of Conformity frontman Pepper Keenan introduced the song by saying they wrote it a long time ago but that it had come back around full-circle — an obvious reference to political dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs; elected officials, Donald Trump and so on — and the general frustration and disaffection that dissatisfaction engenders. He’s right though. Considering that song, which appeared on 1991’s Blind and was the first track for which Keenan took on a lead-vocalist role in addition to playing guitar, was written during the post-Reagan Bush years, Gulf War I and all that, not much has changed. Oh, except now they’re talking about strategically deploying a modernized and rebuilt nuclear arsenal. “Forgive and forget? Fuck no. Next time I’m voting with an atom bomb.”

It had been at least 12 years and more like 15 since the last time I was at the Palladium for a show. That part of Worcester — which everyone who played had clearly long since been schooled to pronounce as “wooster” — hadn’t changed much. Some luxury commuter condos, or were they dorms, and that’s about it. The bill was three bands, with Portland, Oregon, exports Red Fang opening, C.O.C. in the middle supporting their recently-issued No Cross No Crown (review here) long-player on Nuclear Blast, and Zakk Wylde‘s Black Label Society as the headliner, pulling in a drunken Thursday night Massachusetts crowd populated by Sam Black Church and Pantera t-shirts very much of a dudely persuasion. My general goal for that kind of thing is not to get punched. I didn’t get punched — so, win.

The line was around the building to get in before Red Fang went on, and I could see their U-Haul and trailer where they’d loaded in their gear, which only emphasized to me how hard those dudes have worked on the road and for how long. We’re almost a decade removed from their 2009 self-titled, and it’s been seven years since they made their debut on Relapse with 2011’s Murder the Mountains (review here), from which “Wires” and “Number Thirteen” were set highlights, and they’re still slogging it out in a work van and a U-Haul. I have no doubt they have their processes and routines nailed down at this point, but still, the sheer amount of energy they’ve put in made their stage presence all the more impressive as they started off the show, with John Sherman pounding away on drums behind bassist/vocalist Aaron Beam front and center, flanked on one side by guitarist David Sullivan and the other by guitarist/vocalist Maurice Bryan Giles.

Particularly for this tour, a lot of the focus is on frontmen, and Pepper Keenan and Zakk Wylde — surrounded by massively talented individuals as they are — are significantly charismatic comparison points, but in addition to being part of a different generation, Red Fang have their own style of presentation, more geared to what the whole band brings than one individual as a focal point. Part of that is Giles and Beam sharing vocals as effectively as they do, part of it is Sullivan being so dug into and immersed in what he’s doing on guitar and part of it is how much fun Sherman looks like he’s having while he’s playing, but as they ran through “Prehistoric Dog” at the end of the set, the impression was prevalent all the same: they’re very much a complete group, and they did not at all become one by happenstance. Red Fang‘s is a professionalism earned the hard way: in that van down around the side of the building outside the Palladium.

Yes, C.O.C. were selling signed copies of No Cross No Crown at $20 a pop, and yes, I bought one. Sorry, I know it’s like nine bucks on Amazon, but screw it, I’ve only listened to the band since I was 11; I can shell out a little extra for the signatures. And sure enough, the front cover in silver marker has the markings of Keenan, bass hero Mike Dean, guitarist Woody Weatherman and drummer Reed Mullin, the latter of whom was absent from the show owing reportedly to a surgery-requiring knee surgery to be repaired, and filling in was drum tech Jon Green, also currently tenured in long-running Scottish folk rockers The Waterboys.

They kept the lights low on him and low in general, but the dude wailed and especially in a late jam as they played through “Clean My Wounds,” showed himself to be more than capable of holding down the fort until Mullin recovers. I happened to be standing by the table when they played and when I asked the person selling C.O.C.‘s merch who it was, she said Mullin‘s knee was, “the size of a grapefruit.” Obviously all the best to him for a speedy recovery.

It was a relatively quick set, just 10 songs: “Bottom Feeder (El Que Come Abajo)” leading into “The Luddite,” which was the only cut aired from the new album, “Seven Days” from 1994’s Deliverance (discussed here), the aforementioned “Vote with a Bullet,” which appeared on 1991’s transitional offering Blind, “Long Whip, Big America” from 1996’s Wiseblood (discussed here), “Who’s Got the Fire” and “13 Angels” from 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, and a closing salvo of the chug-nodding “Broken Man,” “Albatross” and “Clean My Wounds,” all from Deliverance.

Hard to argue with the premise — Clearly they know their crowd — but I don’t think there would’ve been a revolt of boozed-up Massholes had a song like “Cast the First Stone” or “Wolf Named Crow” — the other front-loaded singles from No Cross No Crown past “The Luddite” — been included, let alone something like “Paranoid Opioid” from 2005’s In the Arms of God. But it wasn’t C.O.C.‘s show, ultimately, and one assumes time was a factor. Judging from all the various BLS logo paraphernalia adorned on t-shirts, bandannas, tattoos, etc., on the audience, a substantial portion of the room was there to see the headliner.

I was not, frankly. Nothing necessarily against Black Label Society — they have their thing, they do it, and I certainly had my time as a fan circa 1919 Eternal — but this was my first night out since the birth of my son three months ago and I was new-parent-anxious to get back home. After C.O.C. played, a weekday morning DJ from local rock radio institution WAAF got on stage to plug the headliner set to come and to thank any troops in the crowd for their service, lest the evening go untinged by jingoism. People cheered as they will.

After a while, Wylde and company dropped their huge banner from the front of the stage, lit up the lights and smoke release that would’ve been fire pre-The Station and launched into “Genocide Junkies” and “Funeral Bell,” the band — Wylde, bassist John DeServio, guitarist Dario Lorina and drummer Jeff Fabb — all spot-on in pro presentation, side-to-side headbanging, raising picks in the air as though each pinch harmonic was an offering to the gods of metal themselves, half-Viking, half-biker, all dude. The crowd ate it up like riff-driven clam chowder with Maine lobster still to come.

On my way out, one of the security personnel took the time to tell me to look both ways while I crossed the empty street, which I did. I then heard her take credit for saving my life to one of her coworkers. I guess it was that kind of night at the office. Anyway, I’d just seen Red Fang and C.O.C. put on killer sets one after the other, and I had a thermos of coffee waiting for me in the car for the ride home, so the effort was appreciated.

Thanks for reading. Click any of the images above to see larger versions.

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Amorphis in Pre-Production for New LP

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

So here’s the thing: I’ve covered long-running Finnish progressive metallers Amorphis a few times over the years, and have spoken at some length about how much their past work means to me and helped to shape my personal taste in metal and underground heavy rock. I’m what you’d call a fan. But I’ve never really thought of them as a band that fit with this site. Progressive as they are, they’re more metal than not, and while there might be a few unfamiliar heads who get turned onto what they’re doing, I have the feeling that most of the people who read this site would just greet coverage of their doings with complete apathy, and it’s kind of my fear of that more than anything else that’s kept me away from writing about them over the years. It’s a bummer when people aren’t into the same stuff you’re into.

Well, because it’s my site and because I can, I’m saying screw that this time around. Amorphis‘ 2015 album, Under the Red Cloud, which I finally picked up not too long ago, was badass and I’m not going to miss out covering something I think would be fun to write about because only maybe a couple other people who read the site might give a crap. Amorphis are working now with Jens Bogren on pre-production for their next record. Whether it’s a perfect fit for The Obelisk or not, I’m going to be covering this album to the best of my ability, and I’m looking forward to it.

The PR wire gets us started:

amorphis in studio

AMORPHIS working on new studio album

Melancholic progressive metallers AMORPHIS recently released their 2015 studio album Under The Red Cloud, which won countless soundchecks and reached great chart results all around the world, including their first ever entry in United Kingdom and Australia, as well as their highest ever entries in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and France. Following this success, they released their Under The Red Cloud Tour Edition in February 2017, including the entire album with two bonus songs as well as the live tracks of their An Evening With Friends-Shows @ Juhlaviikot – Huvila (more info, see below).

Today, there are some good news for all fans of AMORPHIS: The band is currently working on a new studio album! The pre-production process is already done and most of the recordings have been finished. But this time, the band didn’t rush at all and took their time to focus on details so there’ll be also some really amazing surprises: additional recordings with real strings and flutes, as well as orchestra arrangements and choirs! In addition, this is the first time that people will be able to hear their lyricist Pekka Kainulainen on the album as he contributes a speech in Finnish!

Jens Bogren (OPETH, AMON AMARTH, KATATONIA, and many others) will be once again the producer of the upcoming album. More details to be announced soon, so stay tuned!

AMORPHIS live 2018:
12.05. N Kopervik – Karmoygeddon Metal Festival
08.06. FIN Hyvinkää – Rockfest
09.06. FIN Tampere – South Park Festival
13.06. J Tokyo – Shibuya Club Quattro
14.06. J Osaka – Umeda Club Quattro
21. – 23.06. D St. Goarshausen – RockFels
22. – 24.06. F Clisson – Hellfest
04. – 07.07. D Ballenstedt – Rockharz Open Air
06.07. FIN Lohja – Rantajamit
12. – 14.07. D Balingen – Bang Your Head!!!
12. – 15.07. CZ Vizovice – Masters of Rock
20./21.07. FIN Laukaa – John Smith Rock Festival
26. – 28.07. FIN Kuopio – RockCock
27./28.07. FIN Oulu – Qstock
02. – 04.08. D Wacken – Wacken Open Air
08. – 11.08. E Villena – Leyendas del Rock

Order Under The Red Cloud« (Tour Edition), here: http://nblast.de/AmorphisRedCloudNB
Or get the digital version, here: http://nblast.de/AmorphisDigital

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Amorphis, “Death of a King” official video

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