Kadavar Announce New Album Title Rough Times; Cover Art Posted; New 7″ Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

kadavar-photo-Elizaveta-Porodina

German traditionalist heavy rock forerunners Kadavar have set Rough Times as the title of their impending fourth album. When we heard from them at the end of last month, the Berlin-based trio had newly finished recording and set a Sept. release date through Nuclear Blast, and in addition to announcing the title of the record and posting the striking cover art which you can see below, Kadavar now put out word that Rough Times will be preceded by a new 7″ featuring the Beatles cover “Helter Skelter” and the album track “Die Baby Die.” That’s available for preorder now.

Rough Times, of course, will be the follow-up to 2015’s Berlin (review here), which was arguably Kadavar‘s high-water mark to-date. Below, the band explains their motivation behind the title and details the single. More as I hear it.

Goes like this:

kadavar rough times

Kadavar – Rough Times

Our album “Rough Times” will soon be released!

Tiger: “The process of making this record was quite intense. I kind of went through my inner hell. Working all day, you’re fine but at night all these things were torturing me. The new songs are crazy and absurd sometimes, but also serious and very personal. It’s the ambiguity that holds »Rough Times« together. Every song evolved from a certain strong feeling.

We chose the title because it has this duality. It’s not just funny, yet it’s not a complete serious title. we’re doing fine, but something’s missing in this world. We don’t really fit in or want to but at the same time we’re stuck in this. the times are rough when you wake up and just wanna die, but times can also be rough for very trivial reasons, the latter I have the feeling is very zeitgeisty.

This collage for the cover is the perfect match for the title. I had this picture in my head throughout the whole process. It’s a little rough, but this picture tells a lot.”

Added singer & guitarist Lupus: For me it’s a very serious title, bar any humor. We maintain the achievements of our elders, such as women rights, peace and a corporate Europe by touring through clubs, sniffing 100 euro bills through our noses and call attention to ourselves by posting insta stories. Meanwhile people rising to power decline economy, free thinking and progress. If we don’t start to really care for this heritage and leave it to people who just want to enrich themselves, we will soon face »Rough Times«.

The album itself is a journey through our states of mind. The first 3 songs is us venting our spleen. About everything and everyone we despise – until towards the end when there’s something kinda like hope.”

Aside of the big album announcement, the band also revealed to be releasing an exclusive 7″ vinyl for the first single off the album, called ‘Die Baby Die’. The single will also contain the BEATLES cover ‘Helter Skelter’ and is available for pre-order now: http://nblast.de/KadavarDieBabyDieNB

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Kadavar, “Lord of the Sky” official video

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Mantar Post “Cross the Cross” Video; German Tour Starts Tonight

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 20th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

mantar

It seems reasonable to assume that German duo Mantar filmed their new video when they were in New York last year on tour with Conan (review here). Considering that their new album, Ode to the Flame, was just recently released — it’s their first for Nuclear Blast, second overall behind a 2015 debut, Death by Burning (review here) — it’s a point of interest because that would mean that at very least the song was in the can since last May, when the show was at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. Seems like kind of a long time to hold onto it. One doesn’t usually think of patience when it comes to Mantar, but maybe we should.

The song is “Cross the Cross,” and it’s telling that the very first thing you see in the video is the cover of Illmatic by Nas. As the two-piece get followed around by Death — two Deaths, actually — the clip itself owes a lot of its look and feel to classic hip-hop. Directed by Dave Barbaree is has the wide-angle walking shots, gestures and stuff being thrust at the camera that one might’ve seen on MTV 20-plus years ago. I’m not sure what happens in rap videos these days, if that’s a still a thing, but it’s kind of hard not to be reminded of stuff like Biohazard from that era that also basked in hip-hop culture and translated some of those aesthetics to a heavy aggro push.

I guess the key difference there is Biohazard also borrowed liberally from rap in their music at the time, whereas Mantar remain as fire-spewing as ever, if not quite as rawly produced.

It’s an interesting clip. Makes me miss New York. Check it out below, followed by Mantar‘s German tour dates, which start tonight. They’re also playing all the festivals. Yup, all of ’em.

Dig:

Mantar, “Cross the Cross” official video

Ode To The Flame is the nihilistic new full-length from Northern Germany-based infernal metal duo, MANTAR. Out now on Nuclear Blast, the record is currently available in CD, vinyl (black and gold – the latter of which is only available from the Nuclear Blast Mailorder), and digital formats HERE.

MANTAR will inundate their native Germany with an exclusive run of shows this month which kicked off this past weekend. The band will also level the stages of several festivals throughout the Summer months and make its way to North America with confirmed appearances at Heavy Montreal, Psycho Las Vegas and California Deathfest. Additional live infiltrations are in the plotting stages.

MANTAR:
4/20/2016 FZW Club – Dortmund, DE
4/21/2016 Schlachthof – Wiesbaden, DE
4/22/2016 B58 – Braunschweig, DE
4/23/2016 Stockrock – Hagen, DE
4/28/2016 Desertfest – Berlin, DE
4/29/2016 Desertfest – Berlin, DE
4/30/2016 Desertfest – London, UK
5/05/2016 Beta – Copenhagen, DE
5/07/2016 Volksbad – Flensburg, DE
5/13/2016 Post Valley – Gießen, DE
5/14/2016 Doomed Gatherings @ Glazart – Paris, FR
5/27/2016 Freak Valley Festival – Siegen, DE
5/28/2016 Visbek Rockt – Visbek, DE
6/03/2016 Metalhead Meeting – Bucharest, RO
6/05/2016 Metalfest Open Air – Plzen, CZ
6/18/2016 Hellfest – Clisson, FR
7/01/2016 Tuska – Helsinki, FI
7/16/2016 Gefle Metal Festival – Gävle, SE
8/07-09/2016 Heavy Montreal – Montreal, QC
8/17-20/2016 Summer Breeze – Dinkelsbühl, DE
8/26-28/2016 Psycho Las Vegas – Las Vegas, NV
10/14-16/2016 California Deathfest – Oakland, CA

Mantar on Thee Faceboks

Mantar at Nuclear Blast

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The Vintage Caravan Post “Babylon” Video; On Tour Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 9th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the vintage caravan

Icelandic trio The Vintage Caravan kicked off their first European headlining tour this past weekend, and to mark the occasion, they’ve unveiled the second, even-weirder video to come from their sophomore album, Arrival (review here). “Babylon” was the first audio to come from Arrival early last year in a lyric video (posted here) and its hook is resonant enough that if you checked out that track even once, it’ll probably come back to you here. Plus, it’s significantly longer than was “Crazy Horses,” which was the first video from the record, so the three-piece have more time to really get strange as they go on.

And they do. What starts with an awkward YouTube-style interview that takes Polish ‘zines down a peg quickly takes a turn as the band gets chased by volcano zombies and captured by merpeople, gives birth to an all-white demon, winds up at some weird tea party and then, finally, gets on stage to finish the song. The last video was weird. This one’s weirder. Call it artistic progression.

The Vintage Caravan stay on the road throughout much of March in Europe, and since they rounded out 2015 on tour, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had plans upcoming either for summer or fall as well. And hey, as cinematic as the clips for “Crazy Horses” and “Babylon” have been, it’s always possible the band will make it a trilogy of videos from Arrival before moving forward with their next album. We’ll see if they manage to survive next time.

Enjoy:

The Vintage Caravan, “Babylon” official video

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN RELEASE OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR “BABYLON”!

Icelandic classic rock trio THE VINTAGE CARAVAN have released the music video for the song “Babylon” off their successful latest album, Arrival.

The band commented about the song,”From the beginning we always wanted to do a video to “Babylon”. It’s definitely one of the heavier, more primal songs off the last album Arrival.”

 

The Vintage Caravan on Tour:
04.02.2016 Kolding (Denmark) – Godset
05.02.2016 Aalborg (Denmark) – 1000Fryd
06.02.2016 Copenhagen (Denmark) – BETA
07.02.2016 Kiel (Germany) – Die Pumpe
09.02.2016 Leeuwarden (The Netherlands) – Neushoorn
10.02.2016 Den Bosch (The Netherlands) – W2
11.02.2016 Antwerp (Belgium) – Het Bos
12.02.2016 Sittard (The Netherlands) – Volt
13.02.2016 Dresden (Germany) – Chemiefabrik
14.02.2016 Lille (France) – La Péniche
15.02.2016 Paris (France) – La Mécanique Ondulatoire
17.02.2016 Nantes (France) – Scène Michelet
18.02.2016 Bordeaux (France) – Void
19.02.2016 Bilbao (Spain) – Santana 27
20.02.2016 Almada (Portugal) – Cine Incrivél
21.02.2016 Madrid (Spain) – Sala Caracol
22.02.2016 Barcelona (Spain) – La 2
25.02.2016 Aarau (Switzerland) – Kiff
26.02.2016 Milan (Italy) – Lo Fi Club
27.02.2016 Mödling (Austria) – Red Box
28.02.2016 Graz (Austria) – Explosiv
29.02.2016 Salzburg (Austria) – Rockhouse
02.03.2016 Innsbruck (Austria) – Weekender
03.03.2016 Budapest (Hungary) – Dürer Kert
04.03.2016 Prague (Czech Republic) – Nova Chmelnice
05.03.2016 Cracow (Poland) – Zascianek
06.03.2016 Warsaw (Poland) – Hydrozagadka
08.03.2016 Lichtenfels (Germany) – Paunchy Cats
09.03.2016 Erfurt (Germany) – Museumskeller
10.03.2016 Bonn (Germany) – WDR Crossroads (only The Vintage Caravan)
11.03.2016 Nürnberg (Germany) – Der Cult
12.03.2016 Munich (Germany) – Under The Black Moon (Backstage) (Only The Vintage Caravan)
13.03.2016 Münster (Germany) – Sputnik Cafe
18.03.2016 Düsseldorf (Germany – Pitcher (Only The Vintage Caravan)
19.03.2016 Düsseldorf (Germany – Pitcher (Only The Vintage Caravan) – SOLD OUT

The Vintage Caravan website

The Vintage Caravan on Thee Facebooks

The Vintage Caravan on Twitter

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Quarterly Review: Jess and the Ancient Ones, Iguana, Seamount, Gentlemans Pistols, Wired Mind, Automaton, Sideburn, Year of the Cobra, Drive by Wire, Akris

Posted in Reviews on January 4th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review winter

And so it begins again. It had been my original intention to launch this latest Quarterly Review last week, but as that would’ve had me basically walking out on the holidays with my family, it seemed somehow prickish to be like, “Uh, sorry dudes, riffs call” and split, particularly when there are hours of driving involved. Still, though it’s already running late by the arbitrary calendar in my mind, I’m glad to be able to tackle a batch of releases that both looks back on the last part of 2015 and to the New Year we’ve just entered. As ever, there is a lot, a lot, a lot of ground to cover, so I won’t delay except to remind of what the Quarterly Review actually is:

Between now and this Friday, I will post 10 reviews a day in a single batch grouped like this one. The order is pretty much random, though something higher profile is usually first. It is my intention that each post covers a range of styles, and hopefully within that, you’re able to find something that speaks to you. Many of these releases were sent to me as physical product, and before I start, I want to extend thanks to those groups for undertaking the time and expense of giving me the full representation of their work to hopefully better do mine.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Jess and the Ancient Ones, Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes

jess and the ancient ones the second psychedelic coming

Finnish six-piece Jess and the Ancient Ones pay homage to psych cultistry on their sophomore full-length, Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes (on Svart), and while one might argue with the band marking this out as the “second coming” of psych – I’d say the third, generationally-speaking – the paean to late-‘60s sonic spaciousness in “In Levitating Secret Dreams” is unmistakable, the songwriting of guitarist Thomas Corpse conjuring fervent swirl behind the soulful Grace Slick-isms of vocalist Jess. At 65 minutes, it’s a classic double-LP, but Second Psychedelic Coming seems most engaged in its longer pieces, the eight-minute “Crossroad Lightning,” which pulls back from the urgency of earlier cuts “”The Flying Man” or the opening “Samhain,” and the 22-minute closer “Goodbye to Virgin Grounds Forever,” which has an arrangement to match its scope that unfolds no less gracefully. Some of the more frenetic parts seem to be arguing with themselves, but the overarching vibe remains satisfyingly tripped out and that closer is their to-date masterpiece.

Jess and the Ancient Ones on Thee Facebooks

Jess and the Ancient Ones at Svart Records

Iguana, Cult of Helios

iguana cult of helios

No big surprise that a record called Cult of Helios would seem to so unabashedly bask in sunshine. The four-track/32-minute sophomore full-length from German heavy psych four-piece Iguana has its driving moments, some in opener “Josiah” but more in the subsequent melodic thriller “Albedo,” but the prevailing sensibility is toward tonal warmth and steady groove. The band – vocalist/guitarist Alexander Lörinczy, guitarist Thomas May, bassist Alexander May and drummer Robert Meier – debuted in 2012 with Get the City Love You (review here), but Cult of Helios is a more cohesive, individualized release, whether it’s the hook of “Albedo,” the Beatles-gone-fuzz of “A Deadlock Situation” or the lush, flowing 15-minute jam of the closing title-track. Iguana’s propensity for blending underlying structure with a wide-open, welcoming atmosphere is writ large over Cult of Helios, and the album shines in a manner befitting its inspiration. A sleeper that begs waking.

Iguana on Thee Facebooks

Iguana website

Seamount, V: Nitro Jesus

seamount v nitro jesus

Most long-distance projects fizzle out after a record or two. With a lineup split between Bavaria and Connecticut, doom rockers Seamount have managed to sustain a remote collaboration, the German band of bassist Markus Ströhlein, guitarist Tim Schmidt and drummer Jens Hofmann working with New England-based vocalist Phil Swanson (ex-Earthlord, ex-Hour of 13, Vestal Claret, etc.). The excellently-titled Nitro Jesus (on The Church Within) is their fifth full-length since 2007, and boasts a refined blend of doom, NWOBHM and dark thematics common to Swanson’s lyrics. Tonally crisp but immersive, slow crawlers like “Can’t Escape the Pain” are offset by the ‘80s metal swing of “Beautiful Sadness,” and each side caps with a longer track, whether that’s the seven-minute “Scars of the Emotional Stuntman,” the most singularly sweeping movement here, or the closer “No One Knows,” which has a moodier feel, the guitar recalling Don Henley accompanied by piano as the finale hits its apex. For those who like their metal of tried and true spirit and individual presentation, Nitro Jesus delivers in more than just its name.

Seamount on Thee Facebooks

The Church Within Records

Gentlemans Pistols, Hustler’s Row

gentlemans pistols hustler's row

Every now and then you hear a record that reminds you what you love about rock and roll in the first place. It doesn’t need to be the most complicated thing in the world, or the most expressive, or the heaviest or the most whatever of anything else, but like Gentlemans Pistols’ third LP, Hustler’s Row (on Nuclear Blast), if it locks in a special chemistry between its players, that’s more than enough to carry it through. That the UK four-piece are ace songwriters and bolstered by the lead guitar chops of Bill Steer (Firebird, Carcass) for the Thin Lizzy dual-solos – vocalist/guitarist James Atkinson on the other end – helps plenty as well, but with the tight, classic-style grooves brought to across Hustler’s Row by bassist Robert Threapleton and drummer Stuart Dobbins, Gentlemans Pistols give essential heavy rock a non-retro modern interpretation that might leave one wondering why so many people try to ape a ‘70s production to start with.

Gentlemans Pistols on Thee Facebooks

Gentlemans Pistols at Nuclear Blast

Wired Mind, Mindstate: Dreamscape

wired mind mindstate dreamscape

Each side of Wired Mind’s Mindstate: Dreamscape LP (on HeviSike Records) gracefully unfolds a lushly-toned, warm, engaging heavy psychedelic sprawl. The chief influence for the Hannover two-piece of guitarist/vocalist Mikey and drummer Chris is their countrymen godfathers Colour Haze, but the duo make their presence felt early on “Road,” the opener and longest-track at 11:01, which balances serene and spaced exploration with post-Kyuss “Thumb” shuffle, all the more enticing for having been recorded live, conjuring Echoplex spaciousness around the repeated line, “All we gotta do is love.” Both sides work on the same structure of a longer track feeding into a shorter one, “Road”’s considerable amassed thickness giving way to the winding groove of “Jennifer’s Dream of a Switchblade” while the Duna Jam-ready vibes permeating from “Wired Dream” finding a moving complement in closer “Woman,” which effectively captures desert rock rhythmic propulsion. As their debut, Mindstate: Dreamscape feels conceptually and stylistically cohesive, and sets Wired Mind up with a sonic breadth on which to continue to build.

Wired Mind on Thee Facebooks

Wired Mind at HeviSike Records

Automaton, Echoes of Mount Ida

automaton echoes of mount ida

Greek heavy rollers Automaton revisit their 2013 debut full-length, Echoes of Mount Ida, for a limited vinyl release. The four-track offering initially surfaced coated in burl and massive riffing, but a remix adds psychedelic edge to the lumbering fervor of “Fear,” on which the Athenian five-piece are joined by Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective for added synth and swirl. He delivers, and the opener also adds guest vocals from Nancy Simeonidou, but the remix keeps things consistent as Automaton transition into the chugging “Beast of War,” a complex near-djent rhythm (which will find complement in the end of “Echoes of Mount Ida” itself) smoothly met by drummer Lykourgos to finish side A of the LP while the locked-in nod of “Breathe in Stone” bleeds into the closing title-track as Automaton offer riffy largesse set in a spacious backdrop like mountains in the distance. Interesting to see if the semi-reboot of their debut is indicative of some overall shift in direction, but at least on the vinyl offering, it makes their sound that much broader.

Automaton on Thee Facebooks

Sound Effect Records

Sideburn, Evil or Divine

sideburn evil or divine

Between Martin Karlsson’s keys (also bass) and vocalist Dimitri Keiski’s propensity to soar, the mood turns epic pretty quick on Sideburn’s fifth album, Evil or Divine (on Metalville Records). The Swedish foursome’s latest shares more than just its titular reference in common with Dio — who, in addition to the lyric from “The Last in Line” had a live record with the same title – but keep a foot in doom territory throughout, drummer Fredrik Haake playing with metallic precision and an edge of swing as Morgan Zocek pulls out leads over “Sea of Sins.” The later “The Day the Sun Died” is particularly post-Ozzy Iommic, but Evil or Divine benefits from the kick in the ass that the penultimate “Evil Ways” seems only too happy to provide before “Presence” finishes on a hopeful note. Definitely more fist-pump than nod, Evil or Divine cries out to legions of the brave who want a thicker groove than modern metal is willing to provide without giving up the occasional cause to headbang.

Sideburn on Thee Facebooks

Metalville Records

Year of the Cobra, The Black Sun

year of the cobra the black sun

Seattle-based bass/drum duo Year of the Cobra had two labels pick up their debut EP, The Black Sun, between Devil’s Child Records and DHU Records, and they’ve signed to STB Records for the follow-up, so it seems safe to say their three-track outing has gotten a solid response. The songs make a compelling argument for why. With vocals that recall Soph Day from Alunah on opener “White Wizard” before delving into faster, more punkish fare on “The Black Sun” itself, Year of the Cobra serve immediate notice of a breadth in their sound, and the seven-minute wah-bass finale “Wasteland” enacts a low-end swirl that pushes even further out while keeping hold of itself via steady, tense drumming. That finisher is a particular high point, with bassist/vocalist Amy Tung Barrysmith self-harmonizing in layers over the steady build and drummer Johanes Barrysmith making sure the considerable tone keeps moving forward. Easy to hear why they’ve found such support in such a short time.

Year of the Cobra on Thee Facebooks

Dark Hedonistic Union Records

Devil’s Child Records

STB Records

Drive by Wire, The Whole Shebang

drive by wire the whole shebang

The third long-player from Dutch four-maybe-five-piece Drive by Wire, The Whole Shebang gets more complex as it goes. Its first couple tracks, “Kerosine Dreams” [sic], “Woodlands,” “The Whole Shebang” and “Five Ft. High” are deeply indebted to desert rock circa Songs for the Deaf, tonally and even in some of Simone Holsbeek’s sing/talk call and responses on “Woodlands.” From there, “Rituals,” “In This Moment” and the moody “River Run” and “Promised the Night” push into more individual ground, and even though they tie it back together in the album’s third and final movement with “Rotor Motor,” “All Around” and “Voodoo You Do,” the context has changed, and by the time guitarist Alwin Wubben swells lead lines behind the verse of the closer, the fuzz of “Kerosine Dreams” is a distant memory. Completed by bassist Marcel Zerb and drummer Jerome Miedendorp de Bie, Drive by Wire wind up on a considerable journey, and while the title at first seems off-the-cuff, it works out to be a whole shebang indeed.

Drive by Wire on Thee Facebooks

Drive by Wire webstore

Akris, Fall EP

akris fall ep

Relaunched as a trio in the first half of 2015, Virginia trio Akris made a studio return with the four-song/32-minute Fall EP, which probably should’ve been called a full-length and probably should’ve been pressed to vinyl (paging Tony Reed to master and STB Records to release…), but the digital-only offering finds Akris and particularly founding bassist/vocalist Helena Goldberg anything but apprehensive as she, guitarist/vocalist Paul Cogle (Nagato, Black Blizzard) and drummer Tim Otis (Admiral Browning) follow-up the band’s raucous sans-guitar 2013 self-titled full-length debut (review here), balancing plodding grooves, melody and abrasion deftly atop rumble and riffs in “Forgiven” as Goldberg swaps between screams and grunge-styled croons. The subsequent “People in the Sky” is less patient, and caps its nine-minute run with a barrage of noise rock synth that continues at the start of closer “Alley Doorway” but ultimately recedes (momentarily) to let that song establish its own course of loud/quiet tradeoffs and resonant exploration. Unless Akris are planning a series of seasonal short releases, I see no reason why Fall EP shouldn’t be characterized as a second long-player and heralded for the bold expansion of the band’s approach it represents.

Akris on Thee Facebooks

Akris on Bandcamp

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Mantar Sign to Nuclear Blast; Ode to the Flame Due in Spring

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 1st, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Punishing Hamburg duo Mantar will release their second album, Ode to the Flame, in Spring 2016 via Nuclear Blast. The sophomore outing will be the follow-up to 2014’s much-lauded Death by Burning (review here), and though that record came out on Svart and Brutal Panda — both respected imprints — it’s hard to imagine the new one won’t grab a whole bunch of new ears with Nuclear Blast behind it. As a band that blends elements of raw punk, extreme metal and doom, Mantar would seem to embody numerous reasons to turn a label’s head. Still, if you’d asked me — and you didn’t — I’d have guessed Relapse at least 10 times before Nuclear Blast.

Kudos and congrats to all involved. It’s a safe bet Ode to the Flame will pummel accordingly. Here’s the announcement from the PR wire:

mantar

MANTAR sign to Nuclear Blast!

Northern Germany’s infernal extreme metal duo MANTAR have inked a worldwide record deal with Nuclear Blast.

Commented the band: “We never had any plans to think this big with the band, but for some strange reason people seem to dig it. Within just two years we got the chance to play shitloads of shows all over Europe and the USA and meet people from all over the world. Actually, we were not even 100% sure if we wanted to do another record, but there were so many people out there who were begging for more that we just gave it a shot. Well, here we are… Glad to have found a powerful partner that puts trust in the band, respects our DIY background and is able to finally poison the whole world with our records. Never stop the madness!”

Added Nuclear Blast head of A&R and label manager Andy Siry: “MANTAR is the band we’ve been waiting for. Their sheer brutality and passion for honest and deep darkness just blew us away from the get-go. When we met it was just love at first sight. MANTAR is as genuine as it gets – on a musical as well as on a personal level. So, in today’s musical environment of copycats and polished plastic recordings you can tell we’re super excited to be working with a band that is as unique as visionary!”

MANTAR are currently working on the successor to 2014’s critically acclaimed debut album, »Death By Burning«. The band’s second full-length album will be entitled »Ode To The Flame« and is tentatively scheduled for a spring 2016 release.

Ever since their inception in 2013 and the release of their first album in 2014 the band has been recognized as one of the hardest working in the German extreme metal underground. Melting the most sinister elements of styles like black metal, doom and punk, representing unfiltered pure primal rage, MANTAR have proven to be one of a kind. Their extremely intense live shows have been seen all over the world and blown away unaware audiences with their extremely tight and brutal performances. MANTAR is pure evil elemental force captured by only two uber passionate artists that strife for ultimate raw sonic power.

Make sure to catch MANTAR live on their last shows in 2015 this December.

MANTAR
10.12.2015 Essen (DE), Turock
11.12.2015 Haarlem (NL), Patronaat
12.12.2015 Arnhem (NL), Willemeen
13.12.2015 Antwerpen (BE), Kavka
15.12.2015 Stuttgart (DE), Juha West
16.12.2015 Zürich (CH), Dynamo
17.12.2015 Bern (CH), ISC
18.12.2015 Nürnberg (DE), Zentralcafé
19.12.2015 Berlin (DE), Cassiopeia

MANTAR is:
Hanno – vocals, guitars
Erinc – drums, vocals

www.mantarband.com
www.facebook.com/mantarband
www.nuclearblast.de/mantar

Mantar in the studio

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Witchcraft to Release New Album Nucleus on Jan. 15

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 28th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

witchcraft-band-pic

Nuclear Blast has announced a Jan. 15 release date for Nucleus, the next LP from Swedish revivalist progenitors Witchcraft, who brazenly adopted a more modern take on their last album, 2012’s Legend (review here). That record was their fourth overall and their first for the label, and as founding guitarist/vocalist Magnus Pelander has once again revamped the lineup, it’s even harder to know what to expect for full-length number five. Doubtless that’s the whole idea, but my interest is piqued with the label’s mentioning of capturing the rawness of their early work in the upcoming tracks. We’ll see how it pans out. Either way, preorders are up now and linked below.

From the PR wire:

Witchcraft - Nucleus

WITCHCRAFT announce new album details!

Swedish classic / doom rock masters WITCHCRAFT have announced the release date, track list and cover art for the band’s eagerly anticipated new album.

Nucleus is scheduled for a January 15, 2016 release worldwide via Nuclear Blast and will be available as CD, lavish digipak (also as a t-shirt bundle), vinyl (black, clear, splatter, gold) and digital download.

The first single, ‘The Outcast’ will be released on 7″ vinyl (black, clear) and as digital download on December 4, and will exclusively be available via the Nuclear Blast Mailorder. The single will include the NIRVANA cover ‘Even In His Youth’.

Pre-order Nucleus and The Outcast 7″ from the Nuclear Blast web shop, here: http://nblast.de/WitchcraftNucleusNB

The track lists for both releases read as follows.

The Outcast 7″:
Side A
01. The Outcast (edit)
Side B
02. Even In His Youth (NIRVANA cover)

Nucleus:
01. Malstroem
02. Theory Of Consequence
03. The Outcast
04. Nucleus
05. An Exorcism Of Doubts
06. The Obsessed
07. To Transcend Bitterness
08. Helpless
09. Breakdown
Limited digipak CD & 2LP vinyl bonus track
10. Chasing Rainbows

The successor of 2012’s globally extremely successful album, Legend, will be entitled Nucleus. The record seemlessly mixes the rawer side of WITCHCRAFT’s early roots, with a slightly more melancholic modern sound.

With an all new line-up (Rage Widerberg on drums and Tobias Anger on bass) the band sounds more hungry and powerful than ever before. In combination with the thrilling, yet very down-to-earth production by mastermind Magnus Pelander himself, Philip Gabriel Saxin and Anton Sundell, the album throws you into a dreamy sonic landscapes that will mesmerize and haunt you alike.

www.witchraftswe.com
www.facebook.com/witchcraft
www.nuclearblast.de/witchcraft
http://nblast.de/WitchcraftNucleusNB

Witchcraft, “Deconstruction” Live in Finland, 2013

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Graveyard Announce Jan. 2016 US Headlining Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 21st, 2015 by JJ Koczan

graveyard

There was good reason I didn’t sweat it back in August when Graveyard announced a round of US tour dates that covered the Midwest and some of the West Coast and that was it. It was because it would only be a matter of time before the Swedish heavy rockers let loose another round of touring. What, you thought Graveyard just wasn’t gonna come around? They’ve put in an awful lot of work over the last couple years to let their new album, Innocence and Decadence (review here), go unsupported. Sometimes these things require patience.

So Graveyard will indeed hit another slew of North American markets — including the Eastern Seaboard — and whenever they get here, they’re sure to find welcome.

The PR wire tells it like it is:

graveyard us tour poster

Graveyard Announces Winter 2016 U.S. Headlining Tour

Award-winning Swedish rock band GRAVEYARD has announced a winter 2016 U.S. headlining tour in support of its critically acclaimed new album Innocence & Decadence. The three week major market trek will kick off on January 22 in Cambridge, MA and run through February 13 in Philadelphia, with stops in NYC, Cleveland, Detroit, New Orleans, Atlanta, Washington, DC and more along the way. Support on the GRAVEYARD tour will come from fellow Swedish rockers Spiders.

In advance of the 2016 tour, GRAVEYARD will headline North America this December, launching the late autumn jaunt on December 4 in Columbus, OH. Support on the two week run will come from California psych-rock trio Earthless.

GRAVEYARD tour dates:

Dec. 4-19 featuring support from Earthless.

December 4 Columbus, OH Ace of Cups
December 5 Chicago, IL Lincoln Hall
December 6 Minneapolis, MN Fine Line Music Cafe
December 8 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall
December 9 Salt Lake City, UT In the Venue
December 10 Missoula, MT Top Hat Lounge
December 11 Seattle, WA Chop Suey
December 12 Vancouver, BC VENUE
December 14 Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom
December 15 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
December 17 Phoenix, AZ Crescent Ballroom
December 19 Austin, TX Mohawk

Jan. 22 – Feb. 13 featuring support from Spiders.

January 22 Cambridge, MA The Middle East Downstairs
January 23 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
January 24 Portland, ME Port City Music Hall
January 26 Millvale, PA Mr. Small’s Theatre
January 27 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop
January 28 Detroit, MI St. Andrew’s Hall
January 29 Louisville, KY Headliners Music Hall
January 30 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel
January 31 Raleigh, NC Lincoln Theatre
February 2 New Orleans, LA Gasa Gasa
February 4 St. Petersburg, FL State Theatre
February 5 Atlanta, GA Terminal West
February 6 Chattanooga, TN Revelry Room
February 9 Baltimore, MD Baltimore Soundstage
February 10 Brooklyn, NY Brooklyn Bowl
February 11 Buffalo, NY Town Ballroom
February 12 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
February 13 Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts

https://www.facebook.com/graveyardofficial
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https://instagram.com/graveyardmusic/

Graveyard, “Too Much is Not Enough” official video

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Live Review: Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity and The Shrine in New Hampshire, 10.09.15

Posted in Reviews on October 12th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

clutch 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It was only about an hour and a half to the Casino Ballroom in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, from my office, which felt like something of a miracle. Maryland heavy rock kingpins Clutch last played the venue about two years ago, but between it being the beginning of what will no doubt be a comprehensive touring cycle in support of their newly-released 11th album, Psychic Warfare (review here), and their partnering with the reunited four-piece incarnation of Corrosion of Conformity with SoCal heavy skaters The Shrine opening, it was an easy sell as far as I was concerned. Clearly I wasn’t the only one. I walked into the venue a little before The Shrine went on, and the place was already fairly packed. A large room, the prevailing mood was celebratory and ready to blow off steam. The Shrine (Photo by JJ Koczan)I think people were just looking for a good time.

And in kicking off the evening with a classic-rocking-but-somehow-still-punker boot to the ass, The Shrine seemed only too ready to get that good time moving. I had wondered how their very-Californian sound would translate to a chilly autumn night in New Hampshire — even one right across the street from a beach — but the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Josh Landau, bassist Courtland Murphy and drummer Jeff Murray have busted their collective ass on the road the last couple years, and if they were out of their element, you never would’ve known it watching them on stage. Last I saw them was in early-2013 with Graveyard (review here) in Philly, and it was plain to see at the Casino Ballroom how much they’ve come into their own since. Their second album, Bless Off, was released by Tee Pee last year (I didn’t review it, but should have), following up their aptly-titled 2012 debut, Primitive Blast (review here), and their new one, Rare Breed, is out at the end of this month in Europe and in Jan. here in the States as their first in Century Media.

Their set felt quick, but it was enough to give a sense of the new album in songs like “The Vulture,” “Savage Skulls and Nomads,” which Landau told the crowd was about 1970s street gangs in New York, “Coming Down Quick” and “Death to Invaders” (don’t quote me on that last one, but I think that was it), running from the initial uproariousness of their first record to the thicker grooves of the second. This was the fifth night of the tour, which will run through Oct. 23 with the same three bands, and The Shrine were duly locked in, Murray keeping some bounce in the drums while also adding gallop to some of the The Shrine (Photo by JJ Koczan)more Motörheady riffing from the guitar while Murphy added backing vocals and a steady foundation in the low end. They finished with “Nothing Forever,” the longest cut from Bless Off, which emphasized some of the complexity in their approach — not t0 mention the tightness of their execution — that I think gets lost sometimes in how they present the band. Not that they should be stoic prog rockers, what they’re doing clearly works, but they’re tough to ignore after you watch them play. I’ll hope to get the chance to hear Rare Breed.

I was trying to think of the last time I saw the Pepper Keenan-fronted incarnation of Corrosion of Conformity, and I think it was in 2005. They would have been out supporting that year’s In the Arms of God, which got a mixed reception on its arrival but in my estimation remains underrated, and I believe it was Irving Plaza in New York. Weedeater and Alabama Thunderpussy may or may not have also played. Either way, it’s been a while. With the lineup of Keenan plus bassist/vocalist Mike Dean, guitarist/vocalist Woodroe Weatherman and drummer Reed Mullin — who’ve been playing as the “Animosity-era” trio the last several years and released an EP and two also-underrated albums in 2014’s IX (review here) and 2012’s declarative Corrosion of Conformity (review here) through Candlelight — C.O.C. Corrosion of Conformity (Photo by JJ Koczan)have been playing shows throughout Europe and the UK since earlier this year, but to my knowledge this marks their first US run, at least on the East Coast, and it will preface a headlining tour set to start next month. A practice run? Maybe, but they hardly seemed rusty.

Set-wise, they dipped as far back as “Vote with a Bullet” from 1991’s Blind — which was Keenan‘s introduction to the band as vocalist/guitarist — and as far forward as the uptempo “Paranoid Opioid” from In the Arms of God, but the focus was on their two ’90s landmarks, Deliverance (1994) and Wiseblood (1996), and as someone who’s been rooting for the trio lineup the last several years sort of as underdogs working against the expectations of that portion of their audience dug deep into the heavy Southern Sabbathisms of those records, I had forgotten just how special that material actually is — songs like “Long Whip/Big America,” “Heaven’s Not Overflowing,” with which they opened, “Wiseblood” and “Seven Angels.” Hearing Dean and Mullin and Weatherman all switching off in backing vocal roles, or better, leading a sing-along all at once, was exhilarating, and Keenan, who’s spent the last several years in Down‘s descent into post-Kirk Windstein caricature machismo, is a frontman of undeniable charisma.Corrosion of Conformity (Photo by JJ Koczan) There were some sound issues — a chirp of feedback when everyone got on mic during “Albatross,” etc. — but there was very little that would’ve been able to hold C.O.C. back, and even in the slower “13 Angels,” which was the sole representation from 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, their last album as this four-piece (Stanton Moore of Nola jammers Galactic played drums on In the Arms of God), they were dead on in serving a refresher of just what a substantial portion of their fanbase has been clamoring for pretty much since they stopped playing circa 2006.

Keenan thanked Clutch from the stage for bringing them out and letting them, “Get their shit back together,” but the bigger news was when he announced that C.O.Cwere in the process of signing to Nuclear Blast and that they’d have a new album out with this lineup in 2016. I had no official word, but I’d assume John Custer, who’s helmed all their records since Blind, will produce. Once he said it, which was I believe before “Vote with a Bullet” preceded “Albatross” and “Clean My Wounds” at the end of the set, my mind immediately flashed to the possibilities for what it might sound like, the balance of songwriting, who does vocals where — does the hardcore punk track still get relegated to the end of the tracklist? — and so on. Two months out from the New Year, a landmark for 2016 may have just been revealed.

Finding that out alone would’ve made my night. Even without a show. I mean, if I read that on Facebook or some shit,Clutch (Photo by JJ Koczan) I’d have been like, “Well, my evening can end now, I feel like I’ve hit a satisfactory quota of awesome.” But there was still a gig going on, and Clutch were headlining! Similar to what they did after releasing Earth Rocker (review here) in 2013, and really going back further than that as well, the set was highly focused on the new album. Their stated method of one band member between vocalist Neil Fallon, guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster picking an evening’s setlist always leaves me guessing who’s responsible for what show, but in any case, between “X-Ray Visions” opening, “Firebirds,” “A Quick Death in Texas,” “Sucker for the Witch,” “Your Love is Incarceration,” “Our Lady of Electric Light,” “Noble Savage,” “Behold the Colossus” and “Son of Virginia,” the only song from Psychic Warfare unrepresented was the penultimate “Decapitation Blues.” Otherwise, they played the whole record, which coming from them is just what the crowd both expected and wanted.

“Son of Virginia,” which closed the regular set before a three-song encore, got a particularly vehement response, but “The Face” from Earth Rocker had me pulling my earplugs out to sing along, and “Elephant Riders” from 1998’s The Elephant Riders and “Dragonfly” from that same album felt like something special tossed in for longer-term fans, particularly the latter, which is a rarer inclusion. Their presence and delivery something of a given, Clutch seemed in likewise good spirits to the crowd, Fallon picking up the guitar more than he did when they were out for Earth Rocker to join Sult even on a faster cut like “Your Love is Incarceration.” They’re still tightening up some of the new material — other songs have been around for more than a year already and included in sets — but one assumes that by the time they get around to the inevitable live album sometime in 2016 or 2017, it will be no less second nature (or first, I guess) than “Cypress Grove” from 2004’s Blast Tyrant, Clutch (Photo by JJ Koczan)which has become a perennial favorite and was clearly known to the packed Casino Ballroom, readily aware of that black plastic bag in the back of a jacked-up Ford.

Who could argue with an encore launched by “The Wolfman Kindly Requests…” from Earth Rocker? From its “Party’s over you all got to go” chorus to the bigger nod of its ending, the song feels hand-constructed to appear near the finish of a set, and joined by the more raucous “The Mob Goes Wild” from Blast Tyrant, for which Bryan “Uzi” Hinkley from Never Got Caught and formerly of Tree joined in on guitar, Clutch seemed geared to cap the night in high-octane fashion, but they cut back and let the more spacious “Electric Worry,” the highlight of 2007’s From Beale St. to Oblivion and an unmistakable precursor to a song like “Son of Virginia,” finish, with the uptempo kick of “One Eye Dollar” tacked on, which is nothing new but still feels like a bonus each time. One felt as though the entire venue, which was built and originally opened in 1899, was caught in the around-the-horn swirling rhythm.

By the time I managed to make my way out, the sidewalk was already flooded with weirdos, working-types and the other such and sundry who’d attended, the off-season windchill not drawing much of a shoreline crowd. I had about another 90 minutes to get home still ahead of me, so didn’t hang around long, but got to see a couple old friends and that’s always restorative, even if brief. Same could be said of the show as a whole, I suppose.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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