War Cloud Premiere “Giver” Video Filmed on European Tour

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

war cloud

Oakland’s War Cloud released their second album, State of Shock (review here), earlier this year on Ripple Music, and as you might guess from the photo above, it was a ripper. The Bay Area four-piece tapped into harder-edged NWOBHM dual-axe chicanery and brought their sound to a new, tighter place than it was at even on their 2017 self-titled debut (review here), upping the irons and still holding enough underlying boogie-readiness so that the overall vibe was fun rather than overly stately. Nothing wrong with that if it’s your thing, but a bit of Oakland grit in their sound certainly feels genuine enough and is true to the history of where they’re coming from as well. It was, simply put, an easy record to dig. If you heard it, you already know this.

If you didn’t hear it — go ahead and slap the back your hand for me (not really; “we don’t hit,” as I constantly remind The Pecan) — it’s streaming in full at the bottom of this post. The band’s new video, however, is for the track “Giver,” and “Giver” isn’t on State of Shock. It’s on War Cloud. Might seem odd that they’d go back and make a clip for a song from the prior album, but consider it’s a new recording, and a live recording done on their European tour, and that the footage in the video also comes from that same tour — the recording was done in Germany, the video shot in Italy, so it’s a bit of multinational conglomerate — and it all starts to make a little more sense. By the time you actually get to watch the thing and witness the sheer righteousness on display, it seems downright logical.

Now then, I won’t keep you from it, except to say that when the band comments below about hearing the progression and shift in sound from the original version on the first record and this one, I tend to agree. They’re a meaner, sharper group on the whole, and clearly that suits their songs new and old. Makes a pretty good argument for showing up to catch them live. Go figure.

Enjoy:

War Cloud, “Giver” official video premiere:

War Cloud on “Giver” video:

It was recorded in a 300 year old barn about an hour outside Cologne, Germany. The recording is live so it only took time to set up, we ran through the song about three or four times. The stage footage was shot at Moto Guzzi Motoraduno in Lecco, Italy and Officine Sonore, in Vercelli, Italy.

We decided to revisit this song because it’s fun to play it faster than it was on the first album, my vocals are more developed and in line with the second album’s sound, the solos are different because we have a different guitarist and it’s a total crowd pleaser!

The new album was received with hails and horns! We only had 2 singles out while we were over there because the record didn’t drop until the last day of tour, but folks were still calling them out by name! We were playing lots of songs no one has ever heard before like “Tomahawk,” “White Lightning,” and “Means of Your Defeat,” and could instantly tell it would be a hit by the crowd’s response. Pits formed, beer was spilled, horns were raised. It was a blast and we can’t wait to get back to Europe!

WAR CLOUD:
Alex Wein – Vocals/Guitar
Nick Burks – Guitar
Joaquin Ridgell – Drums
Taylor Roach – Bass

War Cloud, State of Shock (2019)

War Cloud on Thee Facebooks

War Cloud on Bandcamp

War Cloud BigCartel store

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

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Sleep Announce ‘Hypersleep’ Indefinite Hiatus Starting in January

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Sleep (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Sleep‘s Nostromo-software social media check-in method has provided the update that after their coming three-night stint at Thalia Hall in Chicago, they’ll go into an indefinite ‘hypersleep,’ which is basically being interpreted as a hiatus. Hey, fair enough. I mean, it’s been a decade, and for a band who were done, who lost their original drummer and whose bassist and guitarist had moved on to other, interesting, groundbreaking projects, to ask Sleep to get back together to even do a couple gigs a year was a lot, let alone the kind of touring they wound up doing over the course of the 2010s, headlining festivals and eventually releasing new material, first in the 2014 single “The Clarity” (review here) and then in last year’s holy-shit-there’s-a-new-Sleep-album The Sciences (review here) as well as its companion single “Leagues Beneath” (discussed here) and the follow-up 2019 3LP live album, Live at Third Man Records (review here), so it doesn’t seem unreasonable if they want to step away from it all for a bit. Matt Pike has continued with High on Fire and Al Cisneros has kept Om kind of in his pocket for a while now. Maybe they’ll get those revved up to full-time status — High on Fire kind of already are (they’re about to tour again), but still — while Jason Roeder works on other stuff, including Neurosis, who’ve also been touring more over the last several years.

The point is that listeners were lucky to get as much as they got from Sleep over the last 10 years, because it was never supposed to be like that. And to listeners’ credit, I think it was audience that kept the band going. People kept showing up, and that kept the material vital. Few and far between are the acts who’ve had as much of an influence on the heavy underground worldwide, from the crustiest doom to the stonedest of the stoned, and though they’ll be missed while they’re gone, it seems worth it to appreciate the fact that they came back at all rather than be like, “Oh this is bullshit because Sleep aren’t playing my house,” or whatever. These guys don’t owe anyone anything. Just the opposite.

Hey Sleep — thanks for everything. Hope to see you again soon.

Here’s their post and dates:

sleep hiatus

Sleep live:
Dec. 29 Thalia Hall Chicago IL
Dec. 30 Thalia Hall Chicago IL
Dec. 31 Thalia Hall Chicago IL

Sleep are:
Al Cisneros
Matt Pike
Jason Roeder

Sleep on Thee Facebooks

Sleep website

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Quarterly Review: Russian Circles, War Cloud, Here Lies Man, Book of Wyrms, Möyhy-Veikot, Darsombra, Set Fire, Jesus the Snake, Föllakzoid, Dresden Wolves

Posted in Reviews on October 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Had to take a second this morning to get my email back under 100 unread. It currently stands at 95. There’s just something about being in triple digits that I can’t stand. Press releases and stuff I can usually file right away since not everything’s relevant to the site, etc., but that’s all stuff that either wants follow-up or could be a factor here if there was time. I do my best to try to keep up. And I fail, consistently.

The tradeoff, of course, is I spend that time writing reviews and other stuff for the site. Today’s hump day when we pass the halfway mark of the Fall 2019 Quarterly Review, and we’re doing it in absolutely all-over-the-place style, so all the better. Some pretty familiar names today, but some that might not be as well, so whatever your poison, I hope you enjoy the picking.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Russian Circles, Blood Year

russian circles blood year

There’s simply no denying the force behind the depths and swell of a song like “Kohokia” on Russian Circles‘ latest offering, Blood Year (Sargent House), and though one knows what to expect to some degree from the Chicago heavy post-rockers at this point in their career, they seem to be doing all they can to deliver their instrumental progressions with energy to match the breadth of the spaces and the heft they conjure. Like 2016’s Guidance (review here), the seven-track/39-minute Blood Year — was recorded with Kurt Ballou, whom the trio imported to their hometown to work at Electrical Audio (aka Steve Albini‘s stomping ground) instead of traveling to Massachusetts to track at Ballou‘s Godcity. If it was the long-famed drum sound of Electrical Audio that they wanted and the live feel that so many of the recordings done there have, they got both, so mark it a success and another notch in the belt of one of the heavy underground’s most immersive and evocative outfits. Their building and releasing of tension is second to none and moves into the spiritual by the time they even get to side B, let alone through it.

Russian Circles on Thee Facebooks

Sargent House website

 

War Cloud, State of Shock

war cloud state of shock

Oh, the riffs you’ll gallop. Oakland, California’s War Cloud skirt the line between classic thrash and heavy rock and roll on their second album for Ripple Music, State of Shock, and from the sound of things, they have a good time doing it. The record’s not much over a half-hour long, which is as it should be for this kind of party, and they toy a bit with the balance between their two sides on a rocker like “Do Anything” or the subsequent “Means of Your Defeat” on side B, but the main crux of State of Shock and certainly the impression it makes off the bat with “Striker” and “White Lightning” up front ahead of the six-minute that-moment-when-ThinLizzy-turned-into-IronMaiden “Dangerous Game” is one of homage to the metal of yore, and in following-up the band’s 2017 self-titled debut (review here), it’s a showcase of energy and craft alike as two guitars shred, chug, groove and charge through the material. If they were from the Eastern Seaboard, I’d say something about getting caught in a mosh. As it stands, I’ll go with urging you to jump in the fire instead. Horns up, either way.

War Cloud on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

Here Lies Man, No Ground to Walk Upon

here lies man no ground to walk upon

They should’ve just called it an album. Yeah, it would be short at 26 or so minutes, but it’s got everything you’d want from a full-length, and if they’d put a four-minute jam or something on it, they’d have been there anyhow. In any case, Los Angeles’ Afrobeat-infused heavy psych rockers Here Lies Man present seven tracks of dug-in glory with No Ground to Walk Upon (on RidingEasy), continuing to build on the potential shown across their first two LPs, 2017’s self-titled debut (review here) and last year’s You Will Know Nothing (review here), even as they swagger their way through a groove like “Long Legs (Look Away)” and show their continued forward potential. They continue to be a special band — the kind of band who doesn’t just come along every day and who shouldn’t be overlooked during their time, because maybe they’ll be around 30 years and maybe they won’t, but what they’re doing now is bringing something wholly individual to a heavy context. They’ve already proven influential to some degree, but listening to No Ground to Walk Upon cuts like the dream-keyed “Iron Rattles” and the opening strut-into-drone of “Clad in Silver,” one wonders if they wouldn’t be more so if people weren’t too afraid to try to pull this thing off. Hard to argue with that, since more likely than not most couldn’t.

Here Lies Man on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Book of Wyrms, Remythologizer

Book of Wyrms Remythologizer

I won’t take anything away from the eight-minute “Blacklight Warpriest” earlier in the offering, but the highlight of Book of Wyrms‘ second album, Remythologizer (on Twin Earth & Stoner Witch Records) has to be the closing “Dust Toad,” which at 9:25 is the longest track and the slowest crawl included. Led into by the synth-infused “Curse of the Werecop,” it takes the crunch that showed itself through opener “Autumnal Snow” and, later, the melody and swing of “Undead Pegasus” — as seen on the cover art — and brings them together in order to perfectly summarize the doom rocking ethic the Richmond, Virginia, four-piece are working from. Tonally righteous and more solvent in their songwriting than they were on their 2017 debut, Sci-Fi/Fantasy (review here), the band sound assured as they move in “Spirit Drifter” from a standout keyboard line to a likewise standout guitar solo, giving a feeling of progressive nuance that’s continuing to take hold in their sound, balanced by the underlying naturalism of their approach. That dynamic continues to duke it out on Remythologizer, much to the benefit of anyone who takes the record on.

Book of Wyrms on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records on Bandcamp

Stoner Witch Records BigCartel store

 

Möyhy-Veikot, Huume Jet Set Life

moyhy-veikot huume jet set life

Too weird for planet earth and, well, probably too weird for anywhere else too, Helsinki psych-space-kraut-whathaveyou experimentalists issue their third tape in the form of Huume Jet Set Life and whether it’s the cosmo-jamming on “MITÄ ON TULLUT VEDETTYÄ?” or the who-the-hell-knows-what-ism of “MEDIA-AJOJAHTI 2000,” the band at no point fail to make an impression of being out there in the far gone far out there reaches of the far out there. Talkin’ freaked out next level total, like the cassette just fell into the atmosphere to represent some other planet’s culture where things are both dangerous and interesting and you never really know if you’re going to get laid or eaten or both. Still, they may be doing math of the likes not yet conceived by humanity, but Möyhy-Veikot go about it in suitably friendly if totally over-the-top fashion, and it’s fun to play along while also being completely overwhelmed at the various pushes and pulls happening all at once, the media samples and the Windows 95 compatibility of it all. It’s one small step for man, one giant leap for disco.

Möyhy-Veikot on Thee Facebooks

Möyhy-Veikot on Bandcamp

 

Darsombra, Transmission

Darsombra Transmission

It’s just lovely. Really. In some ways it feels like the 41:20 single-track full-length Transmission — self-released, no less — is what Baltimore ambient exploratory two-piece Darsombra have been building toward all along, but I think the truth is they probably could’ve done this at any time if they’d chosen to do so. Still, the fluidity of “Transmission” itself is something special, with its cascades of manipulated voice, riffs that swell and recede, loops, synth and somehow-manifested light that are as much immersion for the spirit as the eardrum. One doesn’t want to dive too deep into hyperbole and oversell it to the point of dulling the listener’s own impression, but Transmission is the kind of record that even those who profess to never “get” drone or noise offerings can engage with. Part of that is owed to Brian Daniloski‘s guitar, which provides landmarks along the path of swirl conjured by his own effects and the synth from Ann Everton (both add vocals where applicable; don’t look for lyrics or verses) that allow those who’d take it on to do so more easily. But the real joy in Transmission is letting go and allowing the piece to carry you along its progressive course, genuine in its reaching for the unknown. Plus there’s a gong, and that’s always fun too. Go with it.

Darsombra on Thee Facebooks

Darsombra on Bandcamp

 

Set Fire, Traya

set fire traya

Traya is the third three-song full-length from Boston’s Set Fire, and it would seem that, and in addition to marking the last recording to feature drummer Rob Davol, who’s since been replaced by Josh Cronin, it would seem to show the three-piece nailing their sound of classic-tinged duet-fronted heavy rock and roll. With two powerhouse vocalists on board in guitarist Jim Healey (We’re all Gonna Die, Black Thai, etc.) and keyboardist Jess Collins (ex-Mellow Bravo), they work in varying arrangements across a meager 12-minute run that feels short mostly because it is short. Too short. “Any Place Left” puts Collins in the foreground, while “Sacred Song” is more Healey‘s, and unsurprisingly to anyone who’s experienced their past work either together or separate, they’re more than able to carry the material — only more so with the other party backing. “Waves” brings them together around theatrical layers of piano and keyboard and guitar, and that they manage to hold it steady at all, let alone take flight as it does, speaks to how ready they are to embark on a longer offering. Put out an album, already, would ya?

Set Fire on Thee Facebooks

Set Fire on Bandcamp

 

Jesus the Snake, Black Acid, Pink Rain

Jesus the Snake Black Acid Pink Rain

For those feeling adventurous, Portugal’s Jesus the Snake follow-up their 2017 self-titled EP (review here) with the unmitigated warmth of Black Acid, Pink Rain, their live-recorded full-length debut. And for the sort of heavy psych-jazz-prog meandering, one would almost expect the organ-laced instrumentalist four-piece to track the record as they perform it, if not front-to-back then certainly one song at a time across multiple takes. Not one piece of the five total on the 49-minute offering is under eight minutes long, and sandwiched between opener “Karma” (10:28) and the closing title-track (10:55) are three cuts circa nine that prove no less hypnotic. The beginning of “Floyds I” is so fluid with the interplay of organ and guitar that one almost expects a gentle Portuguese spoken word verse to start, but of course one never does. Instead, Jesus the Snake complement mindful drift with flashes of more weighted or active fare, all the while holding to a central vibe that is peaceful even as “Duna” finds its chill before the halfway point, with no loss of spirit in the process.

Jesus the Snake on Thee Facebooks

Jesus the Snake on Bandcamp

 

Föllakzoid, I

follakzoid i

As with any kind of sonic minimalism or release based around trance induction — see Darsombra above — there’s a certain amount of buy-in that needs to happen on the listener’s side. Accordingly, those going into the fourth LP from Chilean duo Föllakzoid, titled I and issued through Sacred Bones Records as a double-vinyl, should be aware that it’s requires that kind of interaction from one side to the other. It’s not especially loud or abrasive, or even demanding in terms of the basic sonics of the thing, but as “I” becomes “II” becomes “III” becomes “IIII” and the songs such as they are alternate between 17- and 13-minute runtimes and the blend of effects and electro beats tips to one side or the other — “II” with a fervent ‘ump-tis’ in its early going while “III” brings a more Vangelis-style cinematic wash — of course there’s an ask in terms of indulgence happening on the part of the two-piece to their audience. Whether an individual is willing to make that jump is obviously going to be up to their headspace and where they’re at, but Föllakzoid‘s work here is more than worth the investment, even for those less familiar with their methods.

Föllakzoid on Thee Facebooks

Sacred Bones Records website

 

Dresden Wolves, Hiedra – Sencillo

dresden wolves Hiedra Sencillo

The sub-three-minute “Hiedra – Sencillo” is the latest in an ongoing series of digital offerings from Mexico City’s Dresden Wolves, and though the two-piece band bill themselves as post-punk and they may actually have a history in playing punk rock — stranger things have happened, certainly — the song finds them working in a taut heavy rock context, brash in delivery but not overly so as to lose the overarching swagger they seem intent on conveying. Particularly as it follows behind two EPs and a swath of other single tracks, and is offered name-your-price through their Bandcamp, “Hiedra – Sencillo” feels like its most nefarious aim is to hook anyone who’d click play on first listen and try and keep them intrigued for next time out. Fair enough. I won’t profess to know what Dresden Wolves‘ plans are, but they’ve got songwriting in their pocket and the production on “Hiedra – Sencillo” is crisp and clear enough to convey the heft of the guitar but not so much so as to dull its rawer aspects. They’ve got the balance ready to go, whatever they might choose to do with it from here.

Dresden Wolves on Thee Facebooks

Dresden Wolves on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: High on Fire, Ruff Majik, Merlin, Workshed, E-L-R, Sibyl, Golden Legacy, Saint Karloff & Devil’s Witches, Burden Limbs, El Supremo

Posted in Reviews on October 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Another day, another batch of 10 reviews on the march to 50 by the end of the week. Will we make it? Yeah, probably. I mean, I think there was once when I had to skip a day or something but even then I made up for it and there’s never been an instance where the Quarterly Review fell apart. The one quarter I decided to nix it (was it last year?) I made up for it by doing 100 reviews instead of 50 the next time out, so we got there eventually. It being Tuesday, the end of the week looks far off, but indeed we’ll ge there eventually, and there’s a lot of good music between now and then, so let’s hit it.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

High on Fire, Bat Salad

high on fire bat salad

A limited vinyl EP released as part of Record Store Day 2019, High on Fire‘s Bat Salad comprises three songs: an original instrumental and two covers, one of Celtic Frost and one of Bad Brains. And I won’t take away from the “Rat Salad” Sabbath-does-blues-jazz-jam-except-it’s-HighonFire-so-it-sounds-nasty-as-hell spirit of “Bat Salad” at all, but the real highlight here is hearing Matt Pike‘s gravel-throated vocals take on “Into Crypts of Rays.” Celtic Frost have always been a central factor in what High on Fire were doing stylistically, so to have the band take them on directly seems long in the making. They approach Bad Brains‘ “Don’t Bother Me” with due reverence as well, careening through an intense three-minute burst of energy with the grit and underlying precision one has come to expect from these singular masters. Soon enough, bands will be covering High on Fire with the same spirit of fan homage. Doubly notable for being founding drummer Des Kensel‘s last recorded appearance alongside Pike and bassist Jeff Matz in the band.

High on Fire on Thee Facebooks

eOne Heavy on Thee Facebooks

 

Ruff Majik, Tårn

ruff majik tarn

Guitarist/vocalist Johni Holiday, bassist Jimmy Glass and drummer Ben Manchino return with Tårn, Ruff Majik‘s second album on a quick turnaround from their 2018 debut, Seasons (review here). Aligned with Lay Bare Recordings for the vinyl release, the deceptively quick and even more deceptively complex seven-track/36-minute offering finds Ruff Majik digging into dirt-caked tonality and classically punkish sneer in Holiday‘s vocals. There are moments where they sound like Queens of the Stone Age (“Speed Hippie”) and moments where they sound like Black Flag (parts of opener “Schizophrenic”), but as a roller like “Heretically Happy” or the earlier post-Zeppelin stoner sneak of “Gloom & Tomb” show, Ruff Majik are perhaps most interested in sounding like themselves. They’re gleeful as they toy with doomed vibes on closer “Seasoning the Witch,” and the seven-minute “I’ll Dig the Grave” earlier thrills with changes drawn together by a pervasive and righteous groove. With Tårn, Ruff Majik have found their wavelength, and it suits them.

Ruff Majik on Thee Facebooks

Lay Bare Recordings website

 

Merlin, The Mortal

merlin the mortal

Be it heretofore established that sax-laced Kansas City psych-doomers Merlin don’t give a fuck. They don’t give a fuck what you expect, they don’t give a fuck what everyone else is doing, they don’t give a fuck if they meme the crap out of their own band. They’ve got their thing and they’re doing it. And you know what? They’re right. The Mortal is their fifth full-length in six years, following as a sequel to early-2018’s The Wizard (review here), and with flourish galore in arrangements of organ, sax, flute, percussion, accordion, trumpet, etc., alongside the foundation of songcraft that comes through the guitar, bass, drums and always-theatrical vocals of Jordan Knorr, the band recount tales along a dark-magical mystery tour of gorgeously flowing and still-weighted psychedelic plunder. They have become a buried treasure of weirdo/geek rock, and whether it’s the peaceful drift of “Ashen Lake” or the cacophonous heavy riffing of “Basilisk,” the stage-setting prog of “Towerfall” or the consuming swell that carries out the apex of closer “The Mortal Suite” — King Crimson chase and all — Merlin‘s work has never sounded so masterful. Will there be a third installment in the tale? Nothing quite like a trilogy.

Merlin on Thee Facebooks

The Company BigCartel store

 

Workshed, Workshed

workshed workshed

They’ve since added a third party in bassist Helen Storer (Fireball Ministry, among others), but Workshed‘s self-titled Rise Above Records debut LP was recorded as the duo of guitarist/vocalist Adam Lehan and drummer Mark Wharton. More than a quarter-century ago, both Lehan and Wharton played on Cathedral‘s pivotal first two albums, but in Workshed, and certainly there are some shades of doom on a stomper like “Anthropophobic” here, but the bulk of Workshed‘s nine-song/47-minute first offering is given to post-Entombed buzzsaw noise sludge, riffs crunched one into the next in an aggro, punk-rooted fashion that rife with a sense of willful punishment that comes through in sheer impact from front to back. Vocals call to mind Tom G. Warrior immediately and are suited to the social commentary of “If This is How it Is” and “This City Has Fallen,” while the grueling march of “A Spirit in Exile” leaves room for some atmosphere to eek through, which it does. They trash out in centerpiece “On Sticks of Wood” and chug their into a last fade on closer “It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way,” but by then they’ve long since made their statement and left a trail of destruction behind them. Would they have been signed to Rise Above without the Cathedral connection? Probably not. Does the album earn their place? Absolutely.

Workshed on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

 

E-L-R, Mænad

e-l-r maenad

With their first full-length, Mænad, Swiss post-metallers E-L-R cart a gorgeous and textured course through patient and progressive songweaving that lends itself to hypnosis through its churning rhythm as much as its overarching melodies seem to evoke other worlds. It is not without its sense of challenge and certainly plenty heavy in its tone and groove — at least where it wants to be — but it’s also rich and provides a level of depth to its mix that should have others in the genre asking how they did it. A transitional drone at the end of “Devotee” brings about the 10-minute “Above the Mountains There is Light” and a long contemplation begins, working from the ground up on a pilgrim’s path to the eventual payoff. The resonance there is something unto itself, but even as “Ambrosia,” “Lunar Nights” and “The Wild Shore” find the stylistic footing that opener “Glancing Limbs” and “Devotee” seemed to hint at earlier, E-L-R maintain both an ambient sprawl and a consuming sense of passion that makes their work here all the more thrilling. This is a debut, following only a single 2018 demo that had two of the same tracks. What that tells me is look out for this band, because this kind of potential doesn’t come along every day and when it does, you want to be there for the follow-up. The impeccable taste of Prophecy Productions pays dividends once again.

E-L-R on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions website

 

Sibyl, The Magic Isn’t Real

sibyl the magic isn't real

Otherworldly doom rock marked by echoing vocals oozing out from deep in the mix and gotta-hear-it bass tone complemented by choice riffage and a fervent thud in the drums, even if the aesthetic of Richmond’s Sibyl is familiar enough, there’s plenty to dig about their debut EP — what one might’ve called a “demo” in eras past — The Magic Isn’t Real. The stylistic elephant in the room is RVA’s own Windhand, but Sibyl take a more psychedelic path to heavy oblivion, and with four tracks in the range of four to five minutes, The Magic Isn’t Real comes across as well focused in its songwriting despite the ethereal touches in the actual sound. Cool vibe, and as they work some noisy shuffle into “Spinning Webs,” they show themselves as being less restricted than otherwise might be the case if they were purely committed to doomed drudgery. I’ll give bonus points as well for naming the penultimate track “Sexpionage,” just on principle, but it’s in stretches like the subdued creeper opening of “Blood Moon” and the engrossing, still-somehow-moving wash of “Pendulums” that Sibyl really showcase their intention.

Sibyl on Thee Facebooks

Sibyl on Bandcamp

 

Golden Legacy, Golden Legacy II

golden legacy golden legacy ii

London heavy noise duo Golden Legacy offer five tracks and 23 minutes of anti-genre, adrenaline rock to follow-up their 2016 self-titled EP. There’s a strong undercurrent of modern punk and indie to their sound, which is what gets them the “anti-genre” consideration, but it’s the energy of their delivery carrying them one way or the other as they drive through the harsh snare of “Cut and Crash” following the chunkier tone of opener “Moon” and just before centerpiece “Dirty Mouth” finds its way into grunge-style howling beastliness. Comprised of drummer/vocalist Lorena Cachito and guitarist Yanni Georgiou, the two-piece find winning momentum in “Salvation,” while closer “Thirsty” opens with a mellow drum progression gradually joined by the guitar and builds into more progressive and dramatic movement, casting off some of the rawness of the songs before it in favor of more complex fare. It still manages to soar at the end, though, and that seems to be what counts. They might be rawer now than they’ll eventually turn out, but that suits most of what they’re doing in adding to the emotionality on display in Cachito‘s vocals.

Golden Legacy on Thee Facebooks

Golden Legacy on Bandcamp

 

Saint Karloff & Devil’s Witches, Coven of the Ultra-Riff

saint karloff devils witches coven of the ultra-riff

Alright, look. I don’t even think I have the full thing, but whatever. Saint Karloff and Devil’s Witches came together to release the Coven of the Ultra-Riff split — it can be so hard to find the right coven for your family; have you considered the Ultra-Riff? — and they each play an original track and then they cover each other’s songs and then Saint Karloff introduce the progression of “Supervixen (Electric Return)” and Devil’s Witches take up the mantle and run with it on “Supervixen (Acoustic Return),” so yeah, it’s pretty awesome and kind of all over the place but whatever. Get your head around it and get on board with whatever version you can grab. Vinyl came out through Majestic Mountain Records and tapes were through Stoner Witch Records and I’m fairly certain it’s all sold out already and probably stupid expensive on Discogs, but do what you need to do, because this is what Sabbath worship in the year 2019 is supposed to sound like. It’s bombed out of its gourd and has long since dropped out of life. It’s exactly where and what it wants to be.

Saint Karloff on Thee Facebooks

Devil’s Witches on Thee Facebooks

Majestic Mountain Records BigCartel store

Stoner Witch Records BigCartel store

 

Burden Limbs, There is No Escape

burden limbs there is no escape

I’m not going to pretend to have the grounding in post-hardcore to toss off the influences under which Burden Limbs are working, but to listen to the blast of noise in “How Many Times Must I Reset” and the near-industrial wash of noise they conjure in the subsequent “Hypochondriac,” it’s clear they’re working under one influence anyway. There is No Escape (released through Glasshouse Records) runs 24 minutes and carries four songs, but in that time the band around founding figurehead and guitarist/vocalist Chad Murray manage to challenge themselves and the listener alike to keep up with their turns and emotional resonance. Murray is joined by two bassists, another guitarist, keyboards/synth and drums, so yes, there’s something of a busy feel to it, but even echoing cavernous as they are, the vocals seem to draw the songs together around a central presence and add a human core to the proceedings that only makes them all the more affecting as would seem to be the intent.

Burden Limbs on Thee Facebooks

Glasshouse Records on Bandcamp

 

El Supremo, Clarity Through Distortion

El Supremo Clarity Through Distortion

Sometimes these things take a while, but El Supremo was formed by now-ex-Egypt bassist Chad Heille has a solo-project and released a self-titled demo in 2008, to which Clarity Through Distortion is the follow-up full-length. Now joined by guitarist Neil Stein (also ex-Egypt, and who also played some on the demo) and organist Chris Gould as well as bassist Cam Dewald who came aboard after the album’s completion, the instrumentalist full-band incarnation of El Supremo waste no time diving into dead-on tonal and riffy righteousness, taking classic heavy cues and running with them in modern production richness, sounding clear but natural as a jam like “Moanin’ & Groanin'” turns into a shuffler as it moves into its second half, or the mellow sway of the 14-minute “Supercell” at last runs head-on into the lumbering motion that will carry it through to the end. I don’t know how much clarity — at least of the existential sort I think they mean in the title — they might’ve found by the time the bluesy “Lotus Throne” rolls over into the shreddy “Outro” that caps, but if the method is distortion, they’ve certainly got that part down.

El Supremo on Thee Facebooks

El Supremo on Bandcamp

 

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High Tone Son of a Bitch on Tour Now; Billy Anderson Joins Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

high tone son of a bitch

I’ve been seeing the immediately recognizable moniker of Oakland, CA’s High Tone Son of a Bitch pretty steadily of late, particularly since their performance this past April at Desertfest NYC (review here). This weekend, the five-piece took off on a round of West Coast touring that will mark their inaugural run with producer Billy Anderson on bass. Yes, that Billy Anderson — commonly referred to around these parts as Billy “Frickin'” Anderson, or some more vulgar variation thereof. One might recall Anderson‘s work with his band Blessing the Hogs or teamed with Los Natas members in Solodolor, etc. Well, now he’s in High Tone Son of a Bitch, so there’s another line on what’s arguably the heavy underground’s most enviable curriculum vitae.

They’re in L.A. tonight with Orange GoblinEarthless and Black Cobra for a show that would appear to be a festival in everything but name, and they’ll join the Anderson-produced Holy Grove this weekend as the tour wraps up in California. Badass.

Check it out:

high tone son of a bitch tour

High Tone Son of a Bitch Announces West Coast Tour Dates

Billy Anderson Joins Bay Area Group Featuring Members of Kalas, Noothgrush, Neurosis, Necrot, Saviours and More for Later Summer Swing

Oakland psych rock band High Tone Son of A Bitch (aka HTSoB) has announced west coast tour dates in support of its comeback EP, ‘Death of a New Day / Eye in the Sky’. Set to launch on August 30 in Santa Cruz, CA, the 10 city tour will run through September 9 in Sacramento. Famed producer / bassist Billy Anderson, who recorded the group’s new EP, will join HTSoB on the live dates and remain a part of the band’s lineup, moving forward. The just-revealed live schedule is as follows:

High Tone Son of A Bitch live dates:

September 2 Los Angeles, CA Regent Theater (w/ Orange Goblin, Earthless, Black Cobra)
September 3 Fresno, CA TBD
September 4 Crockett, CA Toot’s Tavern (w/ Rockman)
September 5 Nevada City, CA Cooper’s
September 6 Pacifica, CA Winters Tavern
September 7 Oakland, CA Elbo Room (w/ Holy Grove)
September 8 Cupertino, CA Homestead Bowl & The X Bar (as part of Bowling and Beers in Hell fest w/ Holy Grove, Solar Haze, etc.)
September 9 Sacramento @ Blue Lamp (w/ Holy Grove)

Formed in 2003 by the brothers Paul and Andrew Kott with bassist Ron Nichols (a veteran of Neurosis’ Noah Landis’ legendary punk band Christ on Parade), and named after named after the bumper sticker on an automobile from the Steven King novel, ‘The Dark Half’, HTSoB ultimately pulled together the talents of an all star cast, with the line-ups and contributing guests coming from and heading into bands like Kalas, Cruevo, Noothgrush, Hammers of Misfortune, Neurosis, and others. The original lineup’s trajectory was cut short by tragedy when Andrew, who was struggling with addiction, died unexpectedly. In 2018, Andrew Kott’s step-son Juan, who plays in the Latin Grammy-nominated Mexican regional band Banda Troyana, urged Paul to start HTSoB up again. Paul then gradually re-formed a revised lineup of the band that has now fully arisen in triumph from the ashes of tragedy.

https://www.facebook.com/htsob.oakland/
https://www.instagram.com/htsob.oakland/

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War Cloud Announce ‘State of Shock’ European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Well, it’s been all of one day since I posted about War Cloud being added to Ripplefest UK in London next month, but the news that they’ll wrap that in as part of a stint of UK/European shows definitely seems worth highlighting. Of particular note, it means that the Oakland, CA, heavy classic metallers — as opposed to classic heavy metallers, and yes, there’s a difference — won’t be in the country when their new album, State of Shock, is released on Sept. 27. In fact they’re in Pavia, Italy, that night, for the penultimate show of the tour. One assumes a hometown release show will happen sooner or later, but in the meantime, I’m sure they’ll make due with kicking ass across Europe for a month ahead of the LP coming out. Doesn’t sound too bad, frankly.

The route looks like this:

war cloud tour

War Cloud – State of Shock: Europe

Erupting out of Oakland, California in 2014, War Cloud has left a smoking path across much of the USA over the past five years. Formed by guitarist/vocalist Alex Wein after firmly planting his amps in the Bay Area, he unified a crew with Joaquin Ridgell on drums, Taylor Roach on bass, and most recently Nick Burks on guitar (also of Kentucky rockers, Stonecutters).

Touring extensively in support of their debut record, War Cloud adapted a take no prisoners strategy with the intent to decimate all from the opening tone of each engaging live show and recently completed recording their sophomore full-length, State of Shock. Set to arrive this September, once again with Ripple Music, the song writing on the album led the band in the direction of a strong concept which thematically surrounds a life in war – be it with friend, enemy, or self.

9/7 Milan, IT – Motoraduno Guzzi
9/8 Vercelli, IT – Officine Sonore
9/11 Toulouse, FR – L’Usine a Musique
9/14 Dresden, DE – Eichenkranz
9/17 Erfurt, DE – Cafe Tikolor
9/19 Nottingham, UK – Old Salutation Inn
9/21 London, UK – Black Heart (Ripplefest UK)
9/22 Lille, FR – Le Midland
9/24 Cologne, DE – Sonic Ballroom
9/26 Bellinzona, CH – The Pit
9/27 Pavia, IT – Dagda
9/28 Vigone, IT – Positive Music
More dates to be announced!

WAR CLOUD:
Alex Wein – Vocals/Guitar
Nick Burks – Guitar
Joaquin Ridgell – Drums
Taylor Roach – Bass

http://facebook.com/WarCloudisComing
http://warcloudiscoming.bandcamp.com/
http://warcloud.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ripple-Music/369610860064
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

War Cloud, State of Shock (2019)

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Slow Phase Announce Debut Album; Post “Starlight” Video

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

slow phase

Bringing together members of West Coast rockers Skunk and 3rd Ear Experience, Slow Phase are a new outfit who’ll look to release their debut album sometime this Fall. No word on an exact date yet — one assumes it’s done if they’re putting out singles? — but they’ve got a video up for “Starlight” that you can check out below that features the trio, some lyrics, bright colors, the whole bit. The song is likewise straightforward, no pretense about what it’s going for or how it’s getting there. That makes the according vibe easy enough to dig, and though one would suspect the album has a bit more going on than just a single approach, “Starlight” bodes well for what might be in store when it gets here. Only one way to find out.

In the meantime, dudes clearly have their artwork game on point, as the cover for “Starlight” single shows. Check that out right here with its beardo-thinker-in-the-desert thing, followed by some more background from the band itself.

Like so:

slow phase starlight

It was only after having spent 3 years woodshedding stuff like James Gang, KISS, Mountain, Zeppelin, Zappa, Grand Funk (and playing the occasional party) that we decided to start writing our own songs, and christened ourselves SLOW PHASE, after the coolest setting on my 1972 Maestro Phase Shifter.

The band includes Dmitri Mavra, the founder and songwriter behind SKUNK, on guitar, along with Anthony Pulsipher (bass/vocals) and Richard Stuverud (drums/vocals).

Pulsipher is a veteran of many bands, and in addition to SLOW PHASE he also plays guitar, writes, and sings for Oakland’s SPIDERMEOW, a country rock trio in the tradition of The Band and Gram Parsons.

Drum wizard Richard Stuverud, originally from Seattle, has played with the Fastbacks, RNDM, Tribe After Tribe, 3rd Ear Experience, Jeff Ament, and many more. With SLOW PHASE Stuverud gets to indulge his love of Bonham, Ward, and Moon to the fullest!

Also, Stuverud and Pulsipher are both great singers and it’s been cool to add some harmonies to the sound, a facet of early rock that’s often overlooked by today’s bands.

The album should be out later this Fall. In the meantime, I hope you can get a chance to check out our first track, STARLIGHT, either via Bandcamp (free download) or the video on Vimeo.

Slow Phase is:
Dmitri Mavra – guitar
Anthony Pulsipher – bass/vocals
Richard Stuverud – drums/vocals

facebook.com/SlowPhase/
slowphase.bandcamp.com/album/starlight

Slow Phase, “Starlight” official video

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War Cloud Set Sept. 27 Release for State of Shock; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 9th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

war cloud

Whatever level of nostalgia you might ultimately feel for heavy metal’s alleged glory days — I’d argue there’s always been a lot of good metal and a lot of bad metal, same as anything — listening to War Cloud, you get it. You understand what they’re paying homage to and the legacy of brash, infectious, sonic impact to which they’re living up. Helps that they’re not exactly shy about it. Like, song-opens-with-a-siren-level not shy. No complaints. Their self-titled (review here) got them picked up by Ripple and no mystery why, and they’ll follow it up with State of Shock next month. Denim, leather, backpatches, mustaches. Heavy metal in 2019. Do it.

They’re streaming “Striker” now, and if you’re looking for a metaphor to go along with the cover art, consider the business of it and the general sphere of public discourse in the present day. You’re welcome. Album preorders are up now.

The PR wire:

war cloud state of shock

Bay Area quartet WAR CLOUD bring the metal with new album on RIPPLE MUSIC | Stream and share new song ‘STRIKER’

State of Shock by War Cloud is officially released on 27th September on Ripple Music

Pre-order the album HERE

Erupting out of Oakland, California in 2014, War Cloud has left a smoking path across much of the USA over the past five years. Formed by guitarist/vocalist Alex Wein after firmly planting his amps in the Bay Area, he unified a crew with Joaquin Ridgell on drums, Taylor Roach on bass, and most recently Nick Burks on guitar (also of Kentucky rockers, Stonecutters).

Adopting a classic 70s rock and 80s power metal approach and aggressively dousing it in modern sophistication, War Cloud released their self-titled debut album on Ripple Music to much acclaim in 2017. Their take on metal is a dish best served heavy and those that have dined on the likes of Saxon, Motorhead, Kiss, Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden will no doubt appreciate the hard rock sophistication, dipped deep in ’70s fuzz, as showcased on their new single, ‘Striker’:

“The initial air raid siren warns the listener of the incoming attack they will soon meet by heavy metal force!” explains guitarist Alex Wein. “The lyrics are from the perspective of a fighter pilot, upon hearing the siren he rushes to his warplane to prepare for battle. As the launch pad to the album this song takes off with only lightning in its wake.”

Touring extensively in support of their debut record, War Cloud adapted a take no prisoners strategy with the intent to decimate all from the opening tone of each engaging live show and recently completed recording their sophomore full-length, State of Shock. Set to arrive this September, once again with Ripple Music, the song writing on the album led the band in the direction of a strong concept which thematically surrounds a life in war – be it with friend, enemy, or self.

Embracing their recognizable dual guitar harmonies, proto-metal licks, hard charging rhythms, adding heavy surges of British and Southern metal to inspire the fire, War Cloud has unquestionably upgraded their bomber jets for long-range pursuit.

State of Shock by War Cloud is officially released on 27th September on Ripple Music.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Striker
2. White Lightning
3. Dangerous Game
4. Tomahawk
5. Seeing Red
6. Do Anything
7. Means of Your Defeat
8. State of Shock

WAR CLOUD:
Alex Wein – Vocals/Guitar
Nick Burks – Guitar
Joaquin Ridgell – Drums
Taylor Roach – Bass

http://facebook.com/WarCloudisComing
http://warcloudiscoming.bandcamp.com/
http://warcloud.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ripple-Music/369610860064
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

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