Posted in Reviews on November 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Twenty years and eight albums on from their beginning as Our Haunted Kingdom, the hills would seem to be few and far between for Orange Goblin, but they keep climbing. The reigning kings of London’s populous heavy rock scene and in many aspects its progenitors, the four-piece seemed to enter a new phase in their career with 2012’s A Eulogy for the Damned (review here), also their Candlelight Records debut. After several years languished following release trouble for 2007’s stellar Healing through Fire, light touring and no output, it was as likely as not they were done. In the years since, they’ve become one of heavy rock’s most eminent stage acts — the 2013 stopgap live album, A Eulogy for the Fans (review here) documented this thoroughly — and their influence continues to resonate well outside of their UK homebase. Back from the Abyss, their latest studio outing, arrives with 12 tracks and 57 minutes of new music and finds guitarist Joe Hoare, bassist Martyn Millard, drummer Chris Turner and frontman extraordinaire Ben Ward pummeling along similar lines as its predecessor. Also released by Candlelight, it boasts a similarly clean production style, and with AC/DC and Motörhead as their primary models, Orange Goblin seem across its span to be shifting into a comfort zone of brash turns, snarled vocals, heavy riffs and catchy songwriting. Stylistically and thematically, songs like “Mythical Knives,” “Übermensch,” “Heavy Lies the Crown” and “The Abyss” aren’t so far from what Orange Goblin have done since 2004’s Thieving from the House of God – they’ve long since been in command of their sound — but the vibe is steadier, more self-aware. They’ve established their formula, and like AC/DC, like Motörhead, like Slayer, the project now isn’t so much searching for what they want the sound to be as working to refine it as they move forward.
Like its predecessor, Back from the Abyss was recorded by Jamie Dodd at The Animal Farm in London, and if the band wanted to capture a similar feel, it’s understandable given the welcome reception and success of A Eulogy for the Damned. That’s not to say Back from the Abyss doesn’t have a personality of its own. One can hear it in the tightness of the crisp, thrashing “The Devil’s Whip” and its second-half companion “Bloodzilla,” or in how clearly Orange Goblin are writing for their audience. Ward is not through opener “Sabbath Hex” before he’s interacting with an imaginary crowd: “If you understand, raise your right hand/Repeat after me, we are stone free.” Perhaps that’s direct acknowledgement of how much of a professional live band Orange Goblin have become, and no doubt when that cut is aired live it receives or will receive the desired effect, but if Orange Goblin are writing songs for the stage, they run into the trouble of not needing 12 of them for a new release, and that becomes a conundrum for Back from the Abyss as it plays out. The semi-title-track “The Abyss” is well constructed but doesn’t accomplish much that “Übermensch” didn’t already nail, and while the penultimate “Blood of Them” is a blend of hook and horror-inspired atmosphere worthy of “The Fog” from the last record, “Into the Arms of Morpheus,” which ends the first half of the album (presumably, the first of two LPs encompassed), is a better longer-form progression, sounds more inspired and is closer to the front for a reason. The three-minute instrumental closer, “The Shadow over Innsmouth,” has a lumbering doom sensibility and deftly layered-in solo lines from Hoare, but where it seems to be waiting for its kickoff-riff the way “Mythical Knives” moves from a progressive-sounding opening into bruiser riff and the band’s particular burl, the last track just fades out, ending an offering so obviously keyed for adrenaline on a downer note. Maybe that’s the trip back from the abyss? I don’t really know.
For longer-term fans, the meat of Back from the Abysscomes toward the end of its first half. “Sabbath Hex” is a vibrant opener, “Übermensch” is a formidable showing of a songwriting formula at work, and “The Devil’s Whip” proves that Orange Goblin can tear it up full-speed with no questions asked, but it’s “Demon Blues,” “Heavy Lies the Crown” and “Into the Arms of Morpheus” that really convey a sense of the band’s maturity, their position among the world’s foremost heavy rock acts, and an album-style flow. Millard and Turner setting the foundation, Hoare drives the riff of “Demon Blues” and Ward masterfully rides that groove, leading to the bluesy intro of “Heavy Lies the Crown,” vocals following the guitar for the album’s catchiest chorus: “Who am I to, to make the rules, to break the rules and slay the fools/How am I, to be the man, who rules the land, with sword in hand/Fire roars, upon the shores that carry heroes off to wars/Heavy lies the crown I wear, but I did swear this weight to bear.” A somewhat inflated view of the band’s status, but a hell of a hook. At 7:27, “Into the Arms of Morpheus” is Back from the Abyss‘ longest track, Millard handling the opening with a choice bassline soon built upon by Hoare and Turner, the song taking a stoner rocker’s time to fully unfold. It works in three movements — the opening jam, the verse/chorus trade, and the closing jam — but it’s structurally and in sheer listenability the most human portion of the album, and they still get their sing-along in there too. The subsequent “Mythical Knives” is a solid opener for the second LP of a kin with “Sabbath Hex” or “Übermensch,” but “Bloodzilla” and “The Abyss” don’t have the same urgency behind them, and “Titan,” the instrumental preceding “Blood of Them,” features a welcome guitar hook, but neither pulls the listener back in nor leads directly into “Blood of Them,” which opens with fading-in bass over spooky-style ambience and shifts into a vehement closer (even though it’s the second to last track, it’s obviously the final push), with Ward‘s growl echoing out one last monstrous chorus.
Even the transition between “Blood of Them” and “The Shadow over Innsmouth” seems choppy. They could’ve easily put some more spooky rumbling after “Blood of Them” cut out to smooth the way into the finale, but it’s cold one into the next, and in truth, much of the album is that way as well apart from the first-half section already noted. As a fan of the band, I won’t discount Orange Goblin‘s songwriting ability, and in presence and performance, Back from the Abyss lacks nothing. For how tight they sound, however, the presentation should match, particularly as it’s the longest record they’ve ever done (1998’s Time Travelling Blues and 2002’s Coup de Grace were close). Still, their momentum will continue to carry them forward, and there’s more than enough material here to fit well in the setlist alongside “Red Tide Rising” from the last record and the host of classics from their storied career — “Quincy the Pigboy,” “Scorpionica,” “Blue Snow” (if you’re lucky), “They Come Back,” “Some You Win, Some You Lose,” and so on — and that’s pretty clearly the point. Back from the Abyss isn’t a perfect album, but for a lot of what they do and however many hills they may yet climb, Orange Goblin are largely undeniable. They remain undeniable.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Three bands deep and already DesertFest London — which from here on out I’ll be presenting with the capital ‘f’ in accordance with their own stylization and in contrast to years past; I’m tired of feeling like I’ve got it wrong — has an enviable lineup. Sleep was already confirmed shortly after this year’s fest, and they’ll headline Koko, a place about which I know nothing but assume is sizable, as Orange Goblin celebrate their 20th anniversary. Not bad shakes. I’ve seen both of those bands, and they destroy, but I’ve never seen My Sleeping Karma and they’re on my wishlist at this point, their last several records having been so very, very good.
While I consider the finer points of starting an NPR-style pledge drive in order to cover travel expenses (no, not really), check out the announcement from the PR wire:
DESERTFEST LONDON 2015 : Sleep, Orange Goblin and My Sleeping Karma confirmed
European stoner/doom/psych festival DESERTFEST LONDON just unveiled the first batch of bands to be part of its fourth edition, taking place on April 24-26th, 2015 in Camden. Tickets are on sale now, so it’s time to make plans for next spring!
First bands confirmed are:
SLEEP (headlining Koko’s on Sunday 26th) ORANGE GOBLIN MY SLEEPING KARMA
For the fourth year running, Camden’s finest venues will be hosting one of the most exciting stoner/doom/sludge/psyche gatherings in Europe, for a full weekend of fuzzed-out tunes, psychedelia and partying. After they announced their long-awaited return a few weeks ago, American stoner rock pioneers SLEEP will be treating the Desertfest crowd to their twenty minutes long smoked-out sonic odysseys, with an exclusive headlining set at London’s famous venue Koko’s on the Sunday. Camden’s ground is set to tremble once again this year, with UK metal heavyweights ORANGE GOBLIN delivering their fiery metal anthems, for a one-off 20th anniversary special performance. This first announcement couldn’t be complete without a cosmic touch (because it wouldn’t be DESERTFEST if we weren’t sonically high at least once), brought to you by German psych trio MY SLEEPING KARMA.
Keep an ear to the ground as more bands will be announced really soon!
DESERTFEST LONDON April 24-26th 2015 in Camden Town Koko – Electric Ballroom – The Underworld – The Black Heart
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
This one’s a couple minutes shorter than the last few have been, but lacks nothing for substance, and particularly after YOB‘s “Marrow,” anything I put at the end would’ve just been filler to meet some imaginary obligation on my part. If you feel like you’re lacking the four minutes, give me a call and we’ll chat about records for the rest of that time. It’ll be a hoot. In any case, I think there’s plenty here to sink into — stuff that for a lot of people, myself included, will be on year-end lists and albums for which 2014 will be remembered when all is said and done. Two of my four current contenders for Album of the Year are featured, first and last.
Parts of this podcast are gorgeous, parts are ugly, but I think everything here holds up in terms of quality and listening back, I like the way this one gets immersive with a mix of longer tracks and shorter ones, slower and faster, etc. As always, I hope you enjoy, and I thank you sincerely for taking the time to check it out.
Lo-Pan, “Regulus” from Colossus (2014)
Steak, “Liquid Gold” from Slab City (2014)
The Well, “Mortal Bones” from Samsara (2014)
Orange Goblin, “The Devil’s Whip” from Back from the Abyss (2014)
Kvlthammer, “Hesh Trip” from Kvlthammer (2014)
Snailking, “To Wonder” from Storm (2014)
Earth, “From the Zodiacal Light” from Primitive and Deadly (2014)
Pallbearer, “Watcher in the Dark” from Foundations of Burden (2014)
Sorxe, “Her Majesty” from Surrounded by Shadows (2014)
Humo del Cairo, “Tres” from Preludio EP (2014)
Joy, “Miles Away” from Under the Spell Of… (2014)
Megaton Leviathan, “Past 21” from Past 21: Beyond the Arctic Cell (2014)
Bong, “Blue at Noon” from Haikai No Ku – Ultra High Dimensionality LP (2014)
YOB, “Marrow” from Clearing the Path to Ascend (2014)
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Well, one of the few remaining questions I had about releases in 2014 was whether or not the new Orange Goblin was going to arrive before the end of the year, and it looks like Candlelight Records has taken care of answering that. London’s heavy rock forerunning stalwarts will have Back from the Abyss– I’ll just assume that’s not their statement on touring in the US — out this October, gunning for an autumnal addition to the year-end best-of lists and, I’m sure, getting it. I know I’ll be keeping a slot open. There’s a new track posted at Loudwire that I haven’t listened to yet, but I wanted to get the news posted right away because, well, it’s new Orange Goblin, and that’s kind of a big deal.
They’ll head out on tour in Europe with Saint Vitus immediately following the release. No doubt much boozy destruction will ensue.
The PR wire has it like this:
ORANGE GOBLIN’s New Album Coming This October
Candlelight Records today confirms October 7th as the North American release date for ORANGE GOBLIN’s new album, Back From The Abyss. Recorded earlier this year in London, the album reunites the band with producer Jamie Dodd. It was mastered at Turan Audio in late July. Back From The Abyss will be available for preorder via iTunes and Amazon beginning August 26th. Fans can begin to preorder the CD today via Candlelight’s official webstore and Bandcamp page.
Loudwire.com is celebrating the announcement with an exclusive North American stream of the album’s first single, “The Devil’s Whip.” Vocalist Ben Ward says, “This song is a real old-school banger stuffed full of riffs, sleaze, filth, and speed… just like the best metal should be! It’s Motörhead-style, outlaw-biker rock in all its glory, destined to get heads banging, fists pumping, drinks flowing and asses shaking. If you don’t find yourself breaking the speed limit to this song, desperate to find the roughest bar in town, start a fight and spending the night in a cell, then you are quite clearly already dead. Let’s ride, let loose, let’s rip… that’s right, you can’t escape ‘The Devil’s Whip.'”
Back From The Abyss follows the band’s most successful release, 2012’s A Eulogy For The Damned, and the recent reissue of their 2007 album Healing Through Fire. Featuring twelve new songs, it delivers the quartets now internationally respected heavy metal. Decibel Magazine calls the band’s sound, “maximum riffage and turbo doom.” Blabbermouth dubs them, “a big burly bag of rock goodness.” Rocking hard as fans have come expect, Back From The Abyss shows not only the band’s tried-and-true blues and doom but the high caliber of their musicianship.
ORANGE GOBLIN will kick off the Autumn with a European tour alongside doom legends St. Vitus. Set to begin in France on October 9th, the tour will work its way through thirteen countries before concluding in Germany on November 14th. On the tour’s announcement Ward said, “We are extremely excited to be going on tour with our good friends and long-time heroes St. Vitus. Vitus are one of the bands that inspired us to form ORANGE GOBLIN all those years ago and to be able to promote our new album and celebrate their thirty-fifth anniversary at the same time just blows my mind.”
American dates in support of Back From The Abyss are anticipated to start early in the new year. Details to be announced shortly.
Together since 1995, ORANGE GOBLIN has released seven full-length studio albums. A Eulogy For The Damned was the band’s first for Candlelight Records and closed a five year recording hiatus. The album was supported with the most live dates by the band in their history; touring that saw the band on North America soil first alongside Clutch then on a full-scale headline tour that found them on thirty-eight stages across the US and Canada. Two videos were filmed and released for the album, including “Red Tide Rising” and the special Scion A/V video for “Acid Trials.”
Back From The Abyss Track Listing: 1. Sabbath Hex 2. Ubermensch 3. The Devil’s Whip 4. Demon Blues 5. Heavy Lies The Crown 6. Into the Arms of Morpheus 7. Mythical Knives 8. Bloodzilla 9. The Abyss 10. Titan 11. Blood Of Them 12. The Shadow Over Innsmouth
ORANGE GOBLIN is vocalist Ben Ward, guitartist Joe Hoare, bassist Martyn Millard, and drummer Christopher Turner. The band are endorsed by Marshall Amplification, Orange Amplification, Fender Bass Guitars, Natal Drums, Meinl Cymbals, Vater Sticks, Remo Skins, Vans, Volcom, Boss Pedals, Rotosound Strings, and Jagermeister.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Presumably it’s Orange Goblin‘s plan to have their new album ready to roll out by the time they hit the road with Saint Vitus on the latter’s European tour celebrating their 35th anniversary. The kings of London’s heavy scene are currently in the studio making said album (as the pic above proves), and in the meantime, they’ve announced that Candlelight will reissue their 2007 outing, Healing through Fire, with bonus tracks on June 10 in North America and May 26 everywhere else.
Makes sense. Healing through Fire was a brilliant record that never got its due Stateside, considering its release was just around the time Sanctuary Records was imploding. After coming to the US to support 2004’s Thieving from the House of God, the four-piece never got back to support it either beyond an appearance at the 2009 Planet Caravan festival in North Carolina, and by then the album was already two years old. It’s been more or less begging for a reissue since, despite having been included in Orange Goblin‘s 5CD box set in 2011.
Nice to be mentioned in the press release below, so thanks to Candlelight for that, even though I’m not at The Aquarian anymore and the noted interview with Ben Ward appeared here in its full, unabridged form. I’ll take what I can get, I guess. Ward had some interesting stuff to say about Healing through Firein that interview, so if you get the chance, it might be worth a look ahead of this reissue.
The PR wire takes it from here:
‘HEALING THROUGH FIRE’ TO BE RE-ISSUED!!
While fans await the new album from England’s ORANGE GOBLIN, Candlelight is set to reissue the misisng piece from the band’s stateside catalog. Originally released in 2007, the Mark Daghorn produced Healing Through Fire was issued via Sanctuary Records. The album closed a 3 year recording gap for the band (previous album Thieving From The House of God released 2004 via Rise Above Records) and would be the only album the quartet would release for Sanctuary.
Talking with The Aquarian Weekly’s JJ Koczan in 2011, vocalist Ben Ward noted, “it would have been nice to play for our US fans and promote Healing Through Fire, but for some reason or another, it just never materialized.” ORANGE GOBLIN would not return to America until 2011; the tour put together to promote the release of a limited 5-cd box set released by Rise Above/Metal Blade Records. It was during The Aquarian Weekly interview that Ward enthusiastically said, “we’re finally going to get the opportunity to play the material from Healing Through Fire for American audiences. We’re going to go out and play four or five songs off that record for the crowd.”
Lyrically inspired by The Great Plague and London ’s Great Fire of 1666, the band still considers it to be one of their best albums. Ward says, “this album has been very hard to find in recent times. We are glad that people can once again hear what I consider to be one of our finest albums. Songs like “The Ballad of Solomon Eagle,” They Come Back,” “Vagrant Stomp,” and many more that are regularly featured in our live set can now be heard again. As a band, we are delighted.”
Currently recording the follow-up to the mega-successful A Eulogy For The Damned, ORANGE GOBLIN are expected to return to the US to tear up clubs later this year. Working again with Jamie Dodd, bass guitar and drums have been tracked with guitars and vocals expected to be completed by May 17. The final mix is anticipated by early June . The band announced last week a full European tour with doom legend Saint Vitus. Set to begin in France on October 9, the tour will work its way through 13 countries before concluding in Germany on November 14. On the tour’s announcement Ward said, “we are extremely excited to be going on tour with our good friends and long-time heroes Saint Vitus. Vitus are one of the bands that inspired us to form ORANGE GOBLIN all those years ago and to be able to promote our new album and celebrate their 35th Anniversary at the same time just blows my mind. This tour is going to be awesome.”
The reissue of Healing Through Fire includes two live bonus tracks taken from the band’s studio performance at BBC’s famous Maida Vale studio in London for the Radio One Rock Show in August 2007.
ORANGE GOBLIN’s still untitled new album is anticipated for release in October.
Band Ben Ward – vocals Joe Hoare – guitar Martyn Millard – bass Chris Turner – drums
Tracklisting 1. The Ballad of Solomon Eagle 2. Vagrant Stomp 3. The Ale House Braves 4. Cities of Frost 5. Hot Knives And Open Sores 6. Hounds Ditch 7. Mortlake (Dead Water) 8. They Come Back (Harvest of Skulls) 9. Beginners Guide to Suicide 10. The Ballad of Solomon Eagle (live at the BBC, bonus) 11. The Come Back (Harvest of Skulls) (live at the BBC, bonus)
You wouldn’t know it to look at either my pajamas or my plans for the evening, which include experimenting with a parmesan cheese crisp recipe and watching baseball, but I must feel like partying on some level if I’m breaking out Orange Goblin‘s Time Travelling Blues. Yeah, the UK stoner doom forerunners vibe out Kyuss-style on “Shine” and bring things down a little bit on the title cut, but basically, that’s what this album is to me: A party. And not one of those parties you wind up at where you don’t know anybody and it’s all awkward and terrible. I’m talking about good friends, beers, the yard — all that nonsense. I don’t think I’ve ever actually done that with this record on, but I’d be down to try.
Time Travelling Blues is the second Orange Goblin album, released in 1998 on Rise Above. Because the band has remained so vital — if anything, becoming more so; they’re certainly bigger now than they’ve ever been — it’s strange to think of the record as being 16 years old, but Orange Goblin have kicked a lot of ass for a long time, so there you go. This one I consider the middle part of an essential trilogy of Orange Goblin full-lengths, with their 1997 debut, Frequencies from Planet 10, on one side and 2000’s third offering, The Big Black, on the other, though really none of their stuff is to be fucked with, and live they destroy. No wonder the London scene is currently flush with bands working under their influence.
Orange Goblin‘s last album came out in 2012, but with how hard they’ve toured to support A Eulogy for the Damned, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think it might get a follow-up sooner rather than later. Maybe 2015? After the half-decade between 2007’s Healing through Fireand Eulogy, I certainly wouldn’t argue.
Next week is Roadburn, if you can friggin’ believe that. Snuck up on me this year, it did, though I’ve been doing enough work in preparation. The process is going to be a little different this year than in years past, I think. Sorry to be vague. I’ll explain it all next week. I fly out Tuesday night, get to Tilburg on Wednesday and probably start typing immediately. As ever, you know I’ll cover as much as I can and update as much as I can. Before I even start, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to the fest and the 013 venue. It’s through the generous grace of both that I’m able to go at all.
When I get back, I have some serious thinking to do. Need to find a job, and in the meantime, need to adjust the balance of my day to better facilitate that — which means maybe I don’t spend a nine-to-five’s worth on blogging about doom for no money. Maybe it’s time to put ads on the site and see if I can bring in some cash that way. I don’t know. I’d only like to do ads if they have nothing to do with music. Like if I could get banners for Palmolive and shit like that, I’d be down. Otherwise it’s like throwing your editorial integrity right out the window, though that’s essentially how it’s been since the first newspaper opened and did a story about the restaurant next door. I don’t know when unemployment monies start coming in, but my student loans are in deferment, which helps. Need to talk to The Patient Mrs. and see what my options are and how long we can hold out, because if you’re an out of work editor, nobody gives a fuck. I knew it before but didn’t have to care. Now I have to care and it’s fucking killing me. Need to find something that’s not just a resumé shot into a LinkedIn abyss.
Posted in Reviews on November 4th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Odd matchups seemed to be the running theme of the night, whether it was UK doomers Orange Goblin doing a six-week tour with the thrash outfit Holy Grail and Atlanta tech metallers Lazer/Wulf or the show also serving as St. Vitus bar’s Halloween party and more than a handful of patrons arriving in costume throughout the night. For what it’s worth, I didn’t dress up — I mean, at least not any more than the public identities we create for ourselves counts as “dressing up,” anyway. Existentially speaking, we’re all in costume, man. So dig that for your pagan ceremony.
I can only imagine those who did dress up were hot as hell for having made the effort. The show was sold out and more or less packed by the time Polygamyst went on as openers and local support for three touring acts. I had seen them over the summer with Mirror Queen and The Atomic Bitchwax at a boat show, so I knew their wares were metal, but apparently the ensuing months had vocalist George Souleidis, guitarist Phi Moon (also Mirror Queen) and drummer Chadius Broccolius of their second guitarist and bassist, the latter of whom was replaced by James Corallo, also of Mirror Queen. Hammering out a lineup is inevitable as a band continues to get settled, but Polygamyst were nothing if not in the spirit of the show. Broccolius played most of the set with a mask on, his beard poking through the bottom, Moon had a wig, war paint and bandanna — Uli Jon Roth? — and Souleidis seemed to be a sultan of some sort or other, robes and all.
Their set was no less ready to party, running through classic metal wails enough to justify closing out with a cover of Judas Priest‘s “Breaking the Law,” which got some early moshing going as a sign of things to come. Corallo fit well with Moon‘s amorphous lead style, and though he shed the wig as time wore on, Souleidis seemed even more confident as a frontman than he had just five months prior. That could be an effect of having more shows under his belt, or it could be the fact that St. Vitus wasn’t being tossed around the East River while Polygamyst were playing. Either way. When jazzy quirk-prog trio Lazer/Wulf took the stage, a tone was set for sonic diversity that would only continue as the night wore on.
Guitarist Bryan Aiken had a mic set up mostly to thank the crowd and let out various maniacal laughs, “let’s go!” exclamations and periodic melodic vocal lines, but the crux of Lazer/Wulf‘s approach was instrumental. As one might expect five weeks into a six-week tour, Aiken, bassist Sean Peiffer and drummer Brad Rice were ridiculously tight, and it’s a good thing, since their kind of technical, progressive metal completely falls flat when the situation is otherwise. Theirs didn’t. They were well received by a Vitus crowd that seemed to know little about them, myself included, and they had stretches of thrash-style groove that went along well with what I’m told the kids call “djent” but a decade ago just used to be a Meshuggah influence. Not really my thing, but they won over the room and their enjoyment of what they were doing was infectious, even if it was as different from Polygamyst as Holy Grail would be from them when they took the stage.
Studded armbands, uniform black stage garb, a record each out on Prosthetic and Nuclear Blast, plus Kirk Hammett bangs on vocalist James-Paul Luna, Holy Grail had their thrash credentials well in order. I’ve never been huge on revivalist thrash, and though the band traces their roots back to White Wizzard and Bonded by Blood, they weren’t really going for the hightops and Alcoholica thing. “Call of Valhalla” showed some metalcore influence — a surefire generational tell — and one could hear shades of Shadows Fall in the dual-guitar harmonies, but whatever they were doing, they were obviously doing it right. Fists were pumped, moshing was had, axes were shredded, blahs were blah blahed. Holy Grail didn’t have to win the room; the room was already with them. The title-track from their 2013 outing, Ride the Void, went over particularly well, and one of the other dudes up front sang along so hard to “My Last Attack” that I thought his face was going to explode. Fair enough.
So there you go. Sold out night, three bands deep. Temperature up. Things had been moving at a decent clip up to Holy Grail, who played a long set, and Orange Goblin didn’t wind up going on until after 11:30PM. Didn’t really matter. After driving four hours south from Massachusetts a couple days before, that trip was far enough out of mind for the next day that I wasn’t stressing about it like I had been at Truckfighters last time I was at the Vitus bar; the late night was no threat. All the better for stargazing en route back to the humble river valley I used to call home and where I’d be staying for the evening. In any case, when Orange Goblin stormed their way into “Scorpionica” to open their set, it was well worth being awake to see. They came out to AC/DC‘s “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock & Roll),” and a more fitting theme for the band — now coming up on their 20th year if you count from their getting together as Our Haunted Kingdom in 1994 — would be hard to find.
Returned guitarist Joe Hoare, who’d sat out a not insignificant amount of road time in Europe on account of an injury to his Achilles tendon, looked to be in good spirits despite what had already been a long slog back on the road alongside bassist Martyn Millard, drummer Chris Turner and vocalist Ben Ward, still supporting the 2012 studio release, A Eulogy for the Damned(review here), and subsequent live album, A Eulogy for the Fans(review here), and Ward — his fists raised in what seems to be a permanent conquest — was as engaging as I’ve seen him. He is a mountainous walking advertisement for whiskey, and among underground metal’s best frontmen, but his performance is also about more than the show. “Acid Trial” from A Eulogy for the Damnedand “Rage of Angels” from 2002’s Coup de Gracefollowed “Scorpionica” in succession and showed how little the foursome’s potency has diminished in the last decade, even though one could argue they’re just getting their due recognition now in the States thanks to tours like this one and their earlier-2013 run with Clutch.
I don’t think they were through “Rage of Angels” before I realized I had brown liquor running down my back. Who threw or spilled what remains a mystery, but yeah. That happened. Hazards of the trade. It was fairly rowdy up front for the duration — I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to seeing people moshing to doom — but I stuck it out for a while before dropping back to the other side of the pit around the time “Shine” from 1998’s sophomore outing, Time Travelling Blues, made its appearance. They’d later include the title cut from that album as well, which was a welcome addition, though I’d hoped for “Blue Snow” as well. Some you win, some you lose.
Speaking of, that song was aired, with Hoare and Millard stepping in for backing vocals in the call and response, and after “Cities of Frost,” Exodus and Generation Kill frontman Rob Dukes joined the band onstage for a raging take on “Your World will Hate This” from Coup de Grace. By then, Orange Goblin could’ve done little to derail their own momentum — following it with “Time Travelling Blues” was a risk, but it paid off — and the guest spot was met with due excitement, as was the Black Sabbath cover “Into the Void,” the rolling groove of which was expertly handled like the precious artifact it is. It should probably say something about Orange Goblin‘s recent surge that more recent songs like “They Come Back (Harvest of Skulls)” from 2007’s Healing through Fireand the Eulogysingle “Red Tide Rising” would appear so late in the set along with the cover and “Quincy the Pigboy,” which like “Scorpionica” comes off 2000’s The Big Black, but the songs stood up, and “Red Tide Rising” made for a riotous closer.
There was karaoke slated for afterwards and the vibe seemed like it was going to stay lively for some time. That’s not my scene, but I can see the appeal. My car, which has a bent rim, 185,000 miles that I’ve put on over the last eight years, and shakes like a massage chair, was around the corner and I drove empty roads back through Jersey to crash out and hit the highway in the morning.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 10th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
A previously reported, the lineup for Portland’s Fall into Darkness 2013 fest is a killer. While my vision of Portland is a place where a righteous show happens more or less every night due to the sheer volume of, well, volume, I do acknowledge that’s probably not actually the case, so something like this is a boon, especially since it brings in out of town and/or country acts like Nik Turner’s Space Ritual and Orange Goblin to go along with natives Lord Dying and Agalloch. It’s a varied grouping of acts across multiple venues, so if you happen to find yourself in Portland between Oct. 10 and 13, I don’t really see how you could lose.
Info and David V. D’Andrea poster follow:
Fall Into Darkness VII festival – Portland, OR – Oct 10-13, 2013
Now in its seventh edition, Portland’s annual dark metal arts festival Fall Into Darkness returns. Curated by Nathan Carson (Nanotear Booking, Witch Mountain) no stones are left unturned in the quest to present the most uncompromising underground music of the highest quality.
With headliners including Hawkwind founder Nik Turner, UK’s unstoppable Orange Goblin, Portland’s own Agalloch, and 3/5 of Trouble performing as The Skull, psych, stoner, black metal and doom bases are firmly covered.
Tickets are on sale now and the gorgeous event poster by David D’Andrea (in collaboration with Ian Lyman) will be on sale in limited editions at the fest.
NANOTEAR BOOKING PRESENTS: FALL INTO DARKNESS VII
Thursday, October 10th
Nik Turner’s Space Ritual White Manna Billions & Billions Hedersleben
8pm, 21+, $12 advance
Friday, October 11th
Orange Goblin Holy Grail Lord Dying Lazer/Wulf
8pm, 21+, $13 advance
Saturday, October 12th
Agalloch Behold… the Arctopus Botanist Eight Bells
7:30pm, $12 advance
Sunday, October 13th
The Skull Hammers of Misfortune Uzala Mike Scheidt
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 6th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Nanotear Booking has put together a considerable and genre-crossing lineup for the 2013 incarnation of its Fall into Darkness fest, to be held from Oct. 10-13 in Portland, Oregon. From snagging the whole bill of the Orange Goblin tour on its way through town and adding local destroyers Lord Dying to the mix to bringing in Nik Turner’s Space Ritual and Trouble-offshoot The Skull to give a classic sensibility, it’s forward-thinking on a couple levels. Taking place at Mississippi Studios and the Star Theater, the final rundown on the schedule looks a bit like this.
Okay, more than a bit:
FALL INTO DARKNESS 2013
Started in 2008, the three-day March Into Darkness music festival showcased a variety of both touring and local bands, each adding their particular stamp of sonic heaviness and emotional depth that has since become Into Darkness trademark. Followed up in October 2008, Halloween weekend 2009, and each October since, the Fall Into Darkness fests have featured bands like YOB, SunnO))), Agalloch, Acid King, Earthless, Saint Vitus, Atriarch, Russian Circles, Red Fang, Wolves in the Throne Room, SubArachnoid Space, Witch Mountain, Black Cobra, and Krallice, all among an ever-growing roster.
Fall Into Darkness 2013 is now upon us. Check out the schedule.
FALL INTO DARKNESS 2013 October 10 – October 13, 2013 Mississippi Studios & Star Theater Portland
Thursday, October 10th Mississippi Studios
Nik Turner’s Space Ritual White Manna Billions & Billions Hedersleben
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 25th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Well, they said it was coming. Not sure yet if guitarist Joe Hoare will be healed up from his recent Achilles tendon injury (though reportedly he’s doing well and didn’t need surgery), but one way or another, Orange Goblin are once again storming North American shores this fall, this time as headliners on their own tour with Holy Grail and Lazer/Wulf.
Whilst you’re pre-booking your liver transplant, dig the following off the PR wire:
ORANGE GOBLIN To Return To North America This Autumn
Britain’s premier stoner metal band ORANGE GOBLIN will return to perform at venues throughout North America this Autumn. Following the band’s huge success earlier this year as main support for Clutch on their Earth Rocker North American tour, the Brits return for a full headlining run. Kicking off in New Orleans on September 27, the band will visit 38 cities around the United States and Canada before concluding in Nashville on November 9. Support on the tour will come from Holy Grail and Lazer/Wulf.
The trek finds ORANGE GOBLIN continuing a year-long commitment to performances in support of their latest studio album, A Eulogy For the Damned (2012), and first live CD/DVD released earlier this year. This rigorous schedule has seen them perform in over 25 countries across the globe, ensuring that the band is firing on all cylinders and maintaining their reputation as one of the fiercest and most exciting live acts on the planet! In fact, Clutch’s own Neil Fallon was recently seen on That Metal Show wearing an ORANGE GOBLIN shirt and proclaiming them to be one of his favorite bands!
Released March 12, A Eulogy For The Fans/Orange Goblin Live 2012 includes ORANGE GOBLIN’s complete performances from England ’s Bloodstock Open Air and France’s Hellfest. The package’s DVD includes the official Tom Cronin directed videos for “Red Tide Rising” and “Acid Trial,” the latter courtesy of Scion A/V. It further includes the Matt Chance directed “Red Tide Rising” documentary and Gaetan Chataigner directed “Highway to Hellfest” documentary. Art and design was provided by Jimbob Isaac under the direction of vocalist Ben Ward. The live album follows the release of A Eulogy For The Damned, now ORANGE GOBLIN’s highest selling album in North America. Produced by Jamie Dodd and mastered by two-time Grammy-nominated engineer Andy Jackson (Pink Floyd), the album entered the UK charts at position 96 and for the US landed on Billboard Magazine’s Heat Seekers chart at position 38.Tickets for the tour are set to go on sale via all appropriate ticket agencies and venue box offices next week. Confirmed dates are below.
ORANGE GOBLIN w/ Holy Grail, Lazer/Wulf 09/27/2013 One Eyed Jacks – New Orleans, LA 09/28/2013 Red 7 – Austin, TX 09/29/2013 Fitzgerald’s – Houston, TX 09/30/2013 Club Dada – Dallas, TX 10/01/2013 Sister Bar – Albuquerque, NM 10/02/2013 Yucca Tap Room – Tempe, AZ 10/04/2013 The Catalyst – Santa Cruz, CA 10/05/2013 The Satellite – Los Angeles, CA 10/06/2013 Soda Bar – San Diego, CA 10/08/2013 The Observatory – Santa Ana, CA 10/09/2013 Oakland Opera House – Oakland, CA 10/10/2013 Oak Street Speakeasy – Eugene, OR 10/11/2013 Fall Into Darkness Festival – Portland, OR 10/12/2013 The Highline – Seattle, WA 10/13/2013 Rickshaw Theater – Vancouver, BC 10/15/2013 The Palomino – Calgary, AB 10/17/2013 The Pawn Shop – Edmonton, AB 10/18/2013 Amigos – Saskatoon, SK 10/19/2013 Windsor Hotel – Winnipeg, MB 10/20/2013 The Aquarium – Fargo, ND 10/21/2013 Triple Rock – Minneapolis, MN 10/22/2013 Reggie’s – Chicago, IL 10/23/2013 Pyramid Scheme – Grand Rapids, MI 10/24/2013 Now That’s Class – Cleveland, OH 10/25/2013 Rockstar Arena – Dayton, OH 10/26/2013 Rex Theater – Pittsburgh, PA 10/27/2013 London Music Hall – London, ON 10/28/2013 The Opera House – Toronto, ON 10/29/2013 Mavericks – Ottawa, ON 10/30/2013 Foufounes Electriques – Montreal, QC 11/01/2013 Empire – Springfield, VA 11/02/2013 Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY 11/03/2013 The Note – West Chester, PA 11/05/2013 Strange Matter – Richmond, VA 11/06/2013 Tremont Music Hall – Charlotte, NC 11/07/2013 Broadway’s – Asheville, NC 11/08/2013 The Earl – Atlanta, GA 11/09/2013 Exit/In – Nashville, TN
ORANGE GOBLIN is vocalist Ben Ward, guitarist Joe Hoare, bassist Martyn Millard, and drummer Chris Turner. The band is endorsed by Fender Guitars, Marshall Amps, Meinl Cymbals, Vater Sticks, Lace Pick Ups, Orange Amps, Natal Drums, Rotosound, and Jagermeister.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
A speedy recovery to Orange Goblin guitarist Joe Hoare, who’s forced to sit out live dates after an injury to his Achilles tendon in Italy. Orange Goblin continues their international assault in support of 2012’s punch-you-in-the-face-it’s-so-good A Eulogy for the Damned(review here), and filling in for Hoare on the current round of Euro shows for the London four-piece will be guitar tech Neil Kingsbury.
The band toured the US earlier this year with Clutch and are slated to play Paris next month with Mondo Generator and Eyehategod. No word yet on when Hoare will be able to rejoin the band.
Here’s the latest:
We regret to report that the injury Joe sustained to his Achilles’ tendon yesterday is far more serious than first feared.
Joe completed yesterday’s show in Calenzano, Italy and was then taken to hospital in an ambulance where they confirmed that he has completely ruptured his Achilles. He is now in a cast to his knee and is being flown home today where he will require emergency surgery to repair the tendon.
Orange Goblin will endeavour to complete the rest of the summer tour in Europe with guitar tech and good friend Neil Kingsbury filling in on guitar. We thank Neil for taking this on at such short notice and hope you will come out and support him.
We wish Joe a safe journey home, a successful operation and a very, speedy recovery. Please leave him get well messages here to cheer him up.
“What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger in the long run.” – Stand For Something (Orange Goblin)
Orange Goblin, “Stand for Something” from A Eulogy for the Damned (2012)
Posted in Features on June 27th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
They always say you there’s no going back. I don’t know who they are, but they’re right. As I searched back through posts to find the Top 20 of 2012, I realized it had been way too long since I heard some of these records. It’s so easy to get caught up with what’s current and what’s coming next that sometimes I forget to actually listen to albums I already enjoyed. That happened a couple times along the way.
When a year ends and the lists start coming out, it’s like records as numbered, stocked and then forgotten. I guess I’m guilty of it too. With that in mind, here’s a quick revisit to what I had as my favorites of 2012:
The Top 20 of 2012 Revisited
20. Mos Generator, Nomads
I can’t even look at this album cover without hearing the chorus to “Lonely One Kenobi” play in my head. Still a sentimental favorite.
19. Golden Void, Golden Void
Haven’t put it on in a while, but probably should.
18. Wight, Through the Woods into Deep Water
Ditto. This record was great and if I made the list today, it would probably be higher than it is here.
16. Pallbearer, Sorrow and Extinction
I’ve seen them three times so far this year and they’ve delivered each time, but haven’t put on the album itself in a while. Still looking forward to new stuff though.
15. Kadavar, Kadavar
I think I’ve had more fascinating conversations about Kadavar than any other band in the last year. So many opinions, so widely varied. I dig the self-titled, will probably have the follow-up on my list at the end of 2013. Nuclear Blast needs to bring them over to tour, maybe opening for Witchcraft?
14. Stubb, Stubb
Yay fuzz! Catchy songs, easy formula, well structured and impeccably performed.My favorite straight-up heavy rock record of 2012.
13. Orange Goblin, A Eulogy for the Damned
Hard to fuck with these dudes. The production here was a presence, but the songs still hold up.
12. Ararat, II
No shit, I live in terror of having Ararat release their third album and missing it. Like all of a sudden the album will have been out for three months and I’d have no idea.
11. Ufomammut, Oro
Haven’t listened to Opus Primumor Opus Altersince. Can’t help but think if Oro was released as one record, I’d put it on from time to time.
10. Conan, Monnos
I put this in the top 10 for a reason. Because it’s fucking ridiculously heavy. I stand by my reasoning. Looking forward to their new one.
9. My Sleeping Karma, Soma
An album I couldn’t manage to put down even when I wanted to, and one I still pick up from time to time. Glad I finally gave in an bought a copy to get away from the shitty digital promo version.
8.Graveyard, Lights Out
Maybe I burnt myself out on this? I went on a binge after their show in January for a bit and then put Lights Outaway and that was that.
7. Saint Vitus, Lillie: F-65
Every time I’m in a record store, flip through the Vitus selectionand see my quote on the sticker on the front of the jewel case of Lillie: F-65, I feel like an entire decade of shitty career decisions is justified. No bullshit.
6. Ancestors, In Dreams and Time
Brilliant. Mostly brilliant for closer “First Light,” but that song was brilliant enough to get this spot on the list anyway.
5. High on Fire, De Vermis Mysteriis
Hard to argue with its intensity. Not much staying power as I would’ve thought, but god damn that’s a heavy record.
4. Neurosis, Honor Found in Decay
An overwhelming listen. I have to prepare my head for putting it on, but I continue to find it worth the effort.
3. Greenleaf, Nest of Vipers
It was the highlight of my year last year to see this material live. Greenleaf have a new lineup now and another album in the works, but if Nest of Vipersis how the last one was going out, they killed it.
2. Om, Advaitic Songs
Sometimes I fantasize about living in a temple where I wake up and Advaitic Songsis playing every day. That is 100 percent true.
1. Colour Haze, She Said
I’d probably listen to it even more if it was on one CD, but god damn, this record is amazing. Another one that’s kind of overwhelming, but it gets regular play as I expect it will continue to do into perpetuity.
All in all, pretty great year. Some stuff that’s fallen by the wayside, but a few landmarks as well that have carried over, and more importantly, some that seem like they’ll continue to carry over and grow in appeal as more time passes. Wight should’ve been higher on the list, but other than that, I’ll take it.
Not that it’s not something I do on the regular anyway, but there’s something even more satisfying about going record shopping when The Patient Mrs. isn’t around. I guess it’s the illusion that I’m getting away with something, though basically, it’s that: an illusion. But a couple weekends ago, as I was headed down to Philly to catch Been Obscene share a Kung Fu Necktie bill with Borracho, SuperVoid and Clamfight (review here), she was gone for a few days and I took it upon myself to make a stop off at Vintage Vinyl in Fords to pick up a few odds and ends.
If ever there was a justification for the Garden State Parkway — which is among the most overpopulated, miserable, thin-laned highways I’ve ever driven on (and I’ve driven on California’s 101, the Masspike into Boston and I-95 all up and down the Eastern Seaboard) — it’s Vintage Vinyl. Exit 130 if you’re going southbound, as I was, it’s a destination-type shop; one worth traveling to even if you’re not necessarily driving somewhere else. Jersey has a scant few remaining, but Vintage Vinyl is the one most geared toward the heavier end of the spectrum. The metal CD section is the first thing you see after getting in the door. Awesome.
Most of what I grabbed this time through was stuff I’d reviewed by wanted a physical copy of. I’ve ranted enough about how much it annoys me to make these purchases — I suppose if someone had to be the last one to place any value whatsoever on my time, it was bound to be me — so I’ll spare that, but I was still glad to nab recent outings from Samothrace, Troubled Horse, Darkthrone, Orange Goblin and SardoniS. I’d wanted to get Royal Thunder‘s CVIand finally give it the listen I’ve felt it really deserved since I saw the band in Manhattan in February — even though their guitarist spit beer on the crowd — but decided to roll with the preceding 2010 self-titled instead.
That’s an old impulse. I remember being upwards of 10 years old, hearing a band’s song on the radio, and then buying the album before to hear where they came from. I don’t know if I’m the only one who does it, but it’s something I’ve always done. It’s a two-sided deal, because I do get to listen to the origins of a band, or at least the relative origins, but don’t get the material I want to hear. Why, when I was obviously buying a stack of discs, was I limiting myself to just one Royal Thunder CD when I could’ve easily solved the problem by getting both? I don’t know. Old habits die hard.
Fortunately, the self-titled is pretty awesome in its own right, though I think the pick of the haul might have to be Beast in the Field‘s 2009 sophomore outing, Lechuguilla. The Michigan instrumentalists hadn’t quite yet adopted the Satan-loving aesthetic of their two subsequent albums to date, 2010’s World Endingand 2011’s Lucifer, Bearer of Light, but the work itself is no less malevolent. Broken into six tracks, the 37-minute long-player is essentially one extended piece, building a huge tension throughout the first several tracks before finally landing at full impact with “Lake OF Blue Giants” and carrying a vicious lumber through the remaining two extended cuts, “Castrovalva” and “The Emperor’s Throne Room.” I got turned on to these guys last summer when I was out their way en route to Days of the Doomed II, and I have yet to regret getting ahold of one of their albums. I’ve got them all now, so they’re four for four in my book, and hopefully Lucifer, Bearer of Lighthas a follow-up soon.
I’d heard Mirror of Deception‘s previous outing, 2006’s Shards, and so was glad to pick up 2010’s The Smouldering Fireon the cheap with the bonus disc, and something I’ve been meaning to get as long as I’ve been meaning to get to Vintage Vinyl was My Sleeping Karma‘s last album, Soma. The purchase was bittersweet (it’s the first of their albums I’ve not been given a physical promo to review), but I was comforted by the opportunity to hear the two bonus tracks in the digipak version. First is “Interlude by Sheyk rAleph,” performed by the long-tenured German sitarist/psychedelic soundscaper Ralph Nebl, who uses Sheyk rAleph as a stage name, and second is “Glow 11,” a remix credited to Holzner & Kaleun that brings electronic beats into the melting pot of My Sleeping Karma‘s heavy psych meditations. What’s really interesting about it is neither would’ve been out of place had they been included as part of the album proper, which I guess shows just how expansive the band’s palette has become.
Of course, the subsequent gig at Kung Fu Necktie was the highlight of the night, but a bit of record shopping beforehand certainly took the bite out of the trip, there and back afterwards. And The Patient Mrs. was kind enough to not even mention it later, letting me keep my delusions of sneakiness, so really it was an all-around win however you might want to look at it.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 29th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
…Well, they are. And that’s just the first sliver of big news for Kings Destroy, who’ve got a new record coming that’ll be announced and given its well-deserved hyping over the next few months. While you’re waiting for that and the new video the shoot for which was the source of the woodsy photo above, Kings Destroy have a bunch of other dates coming up, including Days of the Doomed III in Wisconsin, to check out. Behold:
April 21 Northstar Bar, Philadelphia with Orange Goblin, ASG, KEN Mode, Roadsaw April 22 Saint Vitus , Brooklyn with Orange Goblin, ASG, KEN Mode, Roadsaw April 23 Middle East, Boston with Orange Goblin, Roadsaw June 7 Brooklyn, NY TBA June 20 Chicago, IL TBA June 21 Days of the Doomed Fest, Milwaukee, WI June 22 Columbus Ohio, with Hollow Leg plus TBA
Posted in Features on March 12th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
…Yeah, I know, 24 is a buttload of records to buy in the span of about a month and a half. To do the division, it would mean buying a new album every 2.04 days. Probably not feasible in terms of time, let alone budget, but hell, it’s a nice thought and seeing the onslaught of new stuff coming between now and the end of April, I thought maybe a list would help keep it all straight. Even if I’m only helping myself, I could probably spend my time in worse ways.
Worth noting that even with 24 albums, presented below in order of release, I feel like there’s stuff I’m forgetting. Frankly, it’s an overwhelming amount of material, so if I’ve missed something or there’s something you’d like to see added to the list, as always, that’s why there’s a comments feature.
Okay. These are numbered just for fun, but listed by date:
1. Orange Goblin, A Eulogy for the Fans (March 12)
My understanding is that London’s foremost doom scoundrels, none other than Orange Goblin, have been selling copies of A Eulogy for the Fans since starting their US tour with Clutch on March 8 in Cincinnati, Ohio, but today is the official release date, and I can think of no better place to start than with the four-piece’s ferocious performance at the 2012 Bloodstock festival, captured audio and video in all its bloodsoaked glory. Not to be missed or taken lightly because it’s a live record. Album review here.
2. Borracho, Mob Gathering 7″ (March 13)
Even though it’s comprised of older tracks, the new Mob Gathering 7″ from Borracho is welcome by me for two reasons: I’ve never heard the songs before and Borracho rocks. The Washington D.C.-based riffers recorded “Mob Gathering” and “Short Ride (When it’s Over)” in 2009 and are set to release the cuts on a limited platter in black and orange swirl through Spain’s Ghost Highway Recordings and Germany’s No Balls Records. They’ve been playing live as a mostly-instrumental outfit while guitarist/vocalist Noah is out of the country on what I can only assume is an awesome spy mission, so if you need a Borracho fix — and it’s obvious from the way your hands are shaking that you do — this might be the way to go. More info here.
3. Inter Arma, Sky Burial (March 15)
Like Windhand below, Inter Arma are recent Relapse Records signees from Richmond, Virginia, and Sky Burial will serve as their first release for the label. Literally and figuratively, the album is expansive, topping 69 minutes and pummeling the whole way through with a genre-transcending concoction of bleakness that’s not so much aligned to any particular heavy aesthetic so much as it is set to its own atmospheric purposes. Through this, Inter Arma emerge terrifyingly cohesive where many others would falter, and their second LP behind 2010’s Sundown (review here) leaves a progressive impression despite an almost complete lack of sonic pretense. Mostly, it’s fucking heavy. Track stream and info here.
4. Clutch, Earth Rocker (March 19)
If 2013 ended tomorrow, Clutch‘s Earth Rocker would be my album of the year. That’s not saying the situation will be the same nine months from now when I actually start putting that list together (already dreading it), but as of March 12, it’s the cat’s pajamas and no foolin’. The long-running Marylanders outdid themselves and put together a surprisingly fast, energetic collection of songs that don’t forsake the bluesy tendencies of their last album, 2009’s Strange Cousins from the West, so much as they put some of the jamming on lockdown in favor of all-out pro-grade heavy rock and roll. The velocity is crucial and the wolfman is out, but it feels like the party’s just starting. Look for them on tour sometime between now and forever. Album review here.
5. Black Mare, Field of the Host (March 20)
Black Math Horseman and Ides of Gemini frontwoman Sera Timms (who’s also recently collaborated with Yawning Man‘s Gary Arce in the new outfit Zun) steps further out on her own with the solo-project Black Mare, from whom Field of the Host is the first album. Due March 20 on LP through The Crossing and on cassette through Breathe Plastic, limited in both cases and sure to be gone shortly after release if they’re not already taken through pre-orders. Fans of Timms‘ past works will be glad to hear the misty wash of melody and dreamy, somehow sad, languid roll of “Blind One,” for starters. Audio and info on the forum.
6. Kvelertak, Meir (March 26)
Short of setting themselves on fire, Norwegian triple-guitar six-piece Kvelertak did just about everything they could to get noticed in support of their 2010 self-titled debut LP (review here), and sure enough, their work paid off in getting signed to Roadrunner Records for all territories outside their native Scandinavia (where Indie Recordings holds sway) and trumpeting up a wave of anticipation for their second full-length, Meir. Their energetic, genre-crossing approach might not be for everybody, but the band have turned a lot of heads and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to find them on bigger tours this year with Roadrunner behind them. More info on the forum.
7. Black Pyramid, Adversarial (April 2)
This is actually the first time the Eli Wood cover art for Black Pyramid‘s Adversarial has been seen in full, so you know. The Hydro-Phonic Records release of the third Black Pyramid album and first to be fronted by guitarist/vocalist Darryl Shepard along with bassist David Gein and drummer Clay Neely punctuates the beginning of a new era for the Massachusetts trio. If the advance listen to closing track “Onyx and Obsidian” is anything to go by, they could very well be at their most potent yet, and though I’d hardly consider myself an impartial observer, as a fan of the band, this is one I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. More to come. Track stream here.
8. Moss, Horrible Night (April 2)
I’ve yet to hear the complete album, but UK trio Moss seem poised to surprise with a cleaner vocal approach on Horrible Night, their first offering since 2008’s impressive Sub Templum LP and two EPs in 2009, so in addition to wondering how they’ll pull it off, the level of the shift remains to be seen. That is, how big a deal is it? Should I call my mom? Is this something grandma needs to know about? Time will tell, but for it having been five years since the last time a Moss record reared its doomly head, it seems only fair to give the band a little breathing room on their evolution. More info and video here.
9. Mars Red Sky, Be My Guide EP (April 8)
How glad am I that French fuzz rockers Mars Red Sky have a new EP coming? Well, I’m not as happy that it’s coming as I am that it’s frickin’ awesome. The trio keep the weighted bass tones that gave so much depth to their 2011 self-titled debut (review here), but they’ve also clearly set to work expanding the formula as well, adding stomp to second track “Seen a Ghost” and an eerie repetitive sense to side B closer “Stranger,” while also broadening their melodic reach and taking claim of whichever side of the line they want between fuzz rock and heavy psychedelia while remaining so much more to the ears than either genre descriptor can offer to the eyes. At half an hour, my only complaint with it is it’s not a full-length album. Video trailer and info here.
10. Blaak Heat Shujaa, The Edge of an Era (April 9)
A sample of the poet Ron Whitehead — who also featured on Blaak Heat Shujaa‘s late-2012 debut EP for Tee Pee Records, The Storm Generation (review here) — comes to clarity just in time for the gonzo Boomer poet to let us all know that, “America is an illusion” (that may be, but it’s an illusion with an army of flying killer robots), and from there, the youngin’ desert transplants embark on a low-end-heavy freakout topped with sweet surf rock guitars and set to use in intricate, sometimes surprisingly jagged, rhythmic dances. Mario Lalli of Fatso Jetson guests, Scott Reeder produced. Review is forthcoming, but till then, there’s more info here.
11. Devil to Pay, Fate is Your Muse (April 9)
Fate is Your Muse serves not only as Indianapolis rockers Devil to Pay‘s Ripple Music debut, but also as the double-guitar foursome’s first outing since 2009’s Heavily Ever After. With tales of lizardmen attacks and the alleged end of the world, it’s got its fair share of personality, and set to the chugging riffs, melodic vocals and straightforward heavy grooves, that personality still goes a long way. I’ll have a review up before this week is out (I hope), but still, I wanted to make sure to include Devil to Pay here too, since their songs command both attention and respect. To wit, I just can’t seem to get “This Train Won’t Stop” out of my head. Video and info here.
12. Cough & Windhand, Reflection of the Negative Split (April 15)
Virginian doomers Cough and Windhand share a hometown in Richmond, a love of volume, a bassist in Parker Chandler and now a label in Relapse Records, so yeah, a split makes sense. Reflection of the Negative will be Windhand‘s first release through Relapse ahead of their sophomore full-length, scheduled for later this year (info here). For Cough, this split marks their first outing since 2010’s An Introduction to the Black Arts split with UK masters The Wounded Kings (review here), and they’ll present the 18-minute “Athame,” while Windhand bring forth “Amaranth” and “Shepherd’s Crook.” More info here.
13. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Mind Control (April 15)
What the last Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats album, 2011’s Blood Lust (semi-review here), did so well was capture the atmosphere and the grainy imagery of late ’60s/early ’70s psychedelic horror and put it into audio form. For that, Blood Lust earned massive praise, but I still think that without the central core of songwriting underneath the genre trappings, it would’ve fallen flat. When it comes to Mind Control, the question waiting to be answered is if the band wants to stick to the blueprint they’ve established or go brazenly into uncharted weirdness. I’m not really sure they can lose, either way. Info and music here.
14. Kadavar, Abra Kadavar (April 16)
Their debut on new label Nuclear Blast and the quick-arriving answer to my pick for 2012 debut of the year, Abra Kadavar arrives with plenty of anticipation leading the way. The retro-rocking German trio have their work cut out for them in following that self-titled, but however it turns out in the comparison, it will be fascinating to learn how Kadavar develops the band’s sound and whether or not they prove able to push the boundaries of their aesthetic while simultaneously setting a new standard for promo photos. New video here.
15. Spiritual Beggars, Earth Blues (April 16)
I guess when it comes to these long-running Swedes, everybody’s got their favorite lineup, their favorite tunes, etc., but for me, I’m just impressed that Michael Amott — now more than 20 years on from starting Spiritual Beggars as a side-project while still in grindcore pioneers Carcass — still has any interest in keeping the classic rock Hammond-loving outfit grooving. Their last outing, 2010’s Return to Zero (review here), was the first to feature vocalist Apollo Papathanasio, formerly of Firewind, and though those songs were solid, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re more settled in on Earth Blues when it drops via InsideOut Music on April 16. More info on the forum.
16. Beastwars, Blood Becomes Fire (April 19)
Alternating between periods of brooding intensity and all-out crushing heaviness, the second full-length from New Zealand’s Beastwars, Blood Becomes Fire, is nasty, nasty, nasty. It’s nasty when it’s quiet and it’s nasty when it’s loud. It’s the kind of record you put on and you’re like, “Damn that’s nasty.” And you’re not wrong. The four-piece — touring shortly with Unida — upped their game even from 2011’s self-titled debut (review here), and for anyone who heard that record, you know that’s saying something. I’m still in the “getting to know it” phase, but so far all that nasty feels pretty right on. More info here.
17. Ghost, Infestissumam (April 19)
Man, this one just kind of happened, huh? I suck — and I mean S-U-C-K suck — at keeping up with band hype. I’m the dude who hears the record three months later and goes, “Yeah, I guess that’s cool,” as countless reviews here can attest, including the one for Ghost‘s 2010 debut, Opus Eponymous, but with the Swedish cult heavyweights, all of a sudden I turned around and blamo, major label deal, semi-name change to Ghost B.C., and enough slathering over the impending Infestissumam to make the first album seem like less than the hyperbole it was treated to initially. Funny how that happens. Out in April? I’m sure I’ll review in June and go, “Yeah, I guess that’s cool.” More info on the forum.
18. One Inch Giant, The Great White Beyond (April 19)
Now signed to Soulseller Records, Swedish heavy rockers One Inch Giant will unveil their debut full-length on April 19 and as three of my favorite words in the English language are “Swedish heavy rockers,” I’m excited to find out how this Gothenburg four-piece follow-up their Malva EP, and if they can capture some of the extreme dynamic they brought to their live show when they toured the US last summer — a run of shows that included a stop at SHoD. Hard not to pull for a band after they come over to play club dates. More info and music here.
19. The Heavy Co., Midwest Electric (April 20)
It was actually the other day writing about The Heavy Co.‘s Midwest Electric that I had the idea for this feature, so however high the profile might be for some of these albums — Ghost walks by on their way to cash a check — it was these unpretentious Hoosier rockers and their new outing, Midwest Electric, that started me off. From what I’ve heard so far, the new collection sounds a little more confident in exploring psychedelia than did the trio’s 2011 debut EP, The Heavy (Please Tune In…) (review here), so I’m looking forward to hearing if and how that plays out over the course of the whole thing. Video trailer here.
20. Gozu, The Fury of a Patient Man (April 23)
I have an interview slated for later this week with Gozu guitarist/vocalist Marc Gaffney, and I’m even more excited for this time than I was when we last spoke, around their 2009 Small Stone debut, Locust Season (review here), since in everything but its goofball song titles, the sophomore outing marks a huge developmental step in the band’s melodic reach and songwriting chemistry. Stay tuned for that interview and check out the Bandcamp stream included with the album review here.
21. Yawning Man & Fatso Jetson, European Tour Split 7″ (April 26)
Note: I don’t actually know that April 26 is the day that what’s sure to be 2013’s most desert-rocking split is due to arrive, I just know that it’s Fatso Jetson and Yawning Man‘s European tour split, and that’s the day the Euro dates start — with performances at Desertfests London and Berlin, to be more specific. Given both the greatness of Fatso Jetson‘s last record, 2010’s Archaic Volumes (review here), and of Yawning Man‘s own 2010 outing, Nomadic Pursuits (review here), the bands’ shared lineage and the relative infrequency of their touring, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to hope that, even for a single, they pull out all the stops. And starts. And riffs. More info on the forum.
22. Serpent Throne, Brother Lucifer (April 29)
Philly-based instrumental heavy rockers Serpent Throne will follow-up 2010’s White Summer/Black Winter (review here) with Brother Lucifer, and while no one can ever really know what to expect, it’s a safe bet that the dual-guitar outfit will have the solos front and center once again. Having seen them do a couple new songs back in December, I can’t blame them in the slightest. Looking forward to letting these songs sink in for a while and having those solos stuck in my head. Track stream here.
23. Melvins, Everybody Loves Sausages (April 30)
Hey wow, a Melvins covers album. Finally, an opportunity for the band to let their hair down and go wild a bit, right? I mean, at long last, they can really feel free to indulge a little and explore their musical roots in a free and creative way. Okay, you get the point. In all seriousness, it’s a pretty cool idea and anything that teams the Melvins with Scott Kelly to do a Venom song is probably going to be a worthy cause. The most amazing part of it is they haven’t already done a version of “Black Betty.” More info on the forum.
24. Revelation, Inner Harbor (April 30)
Their most progressive outing yet and their first album since 2009, Revelation‘s Inner Harbor (review here) is bound to surprise some who thought they knew what to expect from the Maryland doom stalwarts who double as the classically rocking Against Nature. Good thing Inner Harbor had a digital release last year through the band’s Bland Hand Records to act as a precursor to this Shadow Kingdom CD issue. Rumor has it vinyl’s on the way as well, so keep an eye out, since John Brenner‘s guitar tone should be heard on as natural-sounding an apparatus as possible. More info here.
Okay, so you’re saying to yourself, “Golly, that’s a lot of stuff.” You’re absolutely right. But even as I was typing up this feature, I got word of a new Queen Elephantine full-length coming in April, so even as much as this is, it’s not everything. And that’s not even to mention May, which will bring a new Shroud Eater EP, a new Kylesa record and a new Mark Lanegan collaboration, among however much else. Tons of stuff to keep your ears out for, and like I said way back at the top of this thing, if you have something to add, a comment’s always appreciated.