Lamprey Release Final Album III

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


I don’t mind telling you I’m going to miss doubly-bassed Portland trio Lamprey. They played their final show on July 25 at what was apparently the birthday of bassist/vocalist Blaine Burnham, and they’ve newly released their last batch of recordings under the simple title of III. Their last album, EP, whatever, it follows behind 2012’s The Burden of Beasts (review here) and 2011’s Ancient Secrets (review here) and rounds out their tenure on a decidedly powerful note of low-end heavy sludge. Comprised of Burnham, bassist Justin Brown and drummer Spencer Norman, they worked in raw form throughout their time together, but III still sounds huge, and it’s an easy argument to say it’s the best work they’ve done.

From the unmitigated stomp-fest of “Iron Awake” (video here) on down to the leads that close “Gaea,” Lamprey remain a standout of Portland’s massively crowded sphere of heavy, and for more than just their extra helping of thick strings. As for the where-are-they-now thing, you won’t have to look too far to find Brown, as he’s stepped into the bassist role for Witch Mountain — they’re on tour this fall with a little band called Danzig — and Burnham is playing drums in Mane of the Cur. Seems likely Norman will resurface at some point too if he hasn’t yet. When, if and what I hear, I’ll let you know.

For now, bye Lamprey and all the best. Glad III got to come out.

Here’s the release info and stream:

lamprey iii

They say you should always go out on a high note. Well, even our low notes were pretty fucking high…

Engineered, mixed, and mastered by Adam Pike at Toadhouse Recording Studios.

Cover photo and layout by Spencer Norman.

1. Iron Awake 01:36
2. Harpies 07:35
3. Golden Mean 05:59
4. Nokken 02:57
5. Lament of the Deathworm 06:03
6. Gaea 05:27

Blaine, Spencer and Justin would like to say THANK YOU!!! to JJ Koczan of The Obelisk, Adam Pike of Toadhouse Recording Studio, and June No of the Interwebs for being so excellent to us over these past five years.

Lamprey, III (2015)

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Vhöl Post Album Art and Details for Deeper than Sky

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

More details have started to come out about the second album from the they’re-a-supergroup-whether-they-like-it-or-not West Coast outfit Vhöl, which boasts in its formidable lineup members of Hammers of Misfortune, Amber Asylum, Agalloch and YOB. Super as fuck, that group. Anyway, as announced last month, the new record is called Deeper than Sky and will be out Oct. 23 on Profound Lore. Newly released are the cover art by Brandon Duncan and the tracklisting. Both are righteous — I wouldn’t mind hearing what a song called “Red Chaos” put together by these players sounds like — but we’re still a little bit off from audio coming out. Probably next month you’ll see things like track premieres and album trailers starting to surface.

But, you know, take what you can get, right? Looks like you can get some art and text, so dig in:

vhol deeper than sky

VHÖL: Psychedelic Thrash Unit To Unleash Deeper Than Sky Full-Length Via Profound Lore This October; Artwork + Track Listing Revealed

This Fall, Profound Lore Records will unveil the sophomore full-length from psychedelic thrash unit, VHÖL. Titled Deeper Than Sky, the record finds the band — vocalist Mike Scheidt (Yob), guitarist John Cobbett (Hammers Of Misfortune, ex-Ludicra), bassist Sigrid Sheie (Hammers Of Misfortune, ex-Amber Asylum) and drummer Aesop Dekker (Agalloch, Worm Ouroboros, ex-Ludicra) — at their most absorbing. The seven-track follow up to 2013’s self-titled debut was captured at Light Rail Studios and mastered at Trakworx Studio, both in San Francisco, and boasts the cosmic cover creation of Brandon Duncan which unites some of Cobbett’s sketches and concepts with Duncan’s original art, the results of which accurately encapsulate the mind-altering vibe of the music contained within.

“We recorded this album at Light Rail Studios, in a huge room on a beautiful 1970 Trident console onto Jerry Garcia’s 2″ tape deck. One cannot escape the Grateful Dead in San Francisco recording studios — their gear is all over town,” elaborates the band of the recording process. “The mixing was rather primitive with no plug-ins and all effects were done by old pedals, tape echo, and large reverb plates. Another thing that was large and huge during recording was our bass player who was eight-and-a-half months pregnant at the time.”

Deeper Than Sky Track Listing:
1. The Desolate Damned
2. 3AM
3. Deeper Than Sky
4. Paino
5. Red Chaos
6. Lightless Sun
7. The Tomb

With Deeper Than Sky, VHÖL picks up from their debut crafting something totally next level, pushing their already-singular sound to the outer-realms of sonic exploration within the paradigm of old school speed metal. VHÖL’s Deeper Than Sky will be released via Profound Lore on October 23rd, 2015 with preorders and teaser tracks to be revealed in the weeks to come.

Vhöl, “The Wall”

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Ape Machine on Tour Now; Live at Freak Valley Released

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 21st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

ape machine

Portland heavy rockers Ape Machine began an admirable string of tour dates last night in Bend, Oregon, and they’ll continue on through the bulk of Sept. in support of their newly-issued live outing, Live at Freak Valley (review here), which was recorded on their European tour in 2013. They’d previously been confirmed for a European tour in Nov., but I’ve yet to see those dates surface.

Their current run finds them out alongside their fellow Portlanders Five White Dudes in a Band Called Black Pussy, and Live at Freak Valley is out now on Ripple Music. Seems like longer than two years since their last full-length, Mangled by the Machine (review here) hit, but I guess time flies when you tour a month at a clip.

For info, we turn, as ever, to the PR wire:

ape machine tour vert

Portland rockers Ape Machine and Black Pussy take to the road for US Tour this month | Live At Freak Valley available on Ripple Music now

Having recently toured their latest full-length album Mangled By The Machine in the US and Europe, Portland rockers Ape Machine are set to hit the road this August and September in support of their new Live LP/DVD combo release Live At Freak Valley on Ripple Music. The daring new release was filmed and recorded at the Freak Valley Festival in Germany last year; an event that has proven to be a veritable showcase and ‘Who’s Who’ in the brave new world of upcoming psychedelic and heavy stoner-rock bands. The set features Ape Machine’s blistering hour-long performance in front of a sold-out festival crowd and serves up proof that the band more than lives up to their reputation of captivating and commanding live audiences.

In addition to the upcoming Live at Freak Valley release, Ape Machine has released three critically acclaimed full-length albums, two recent releases of which – Mangled By The Machine and War To Head – were produced by the late Ikey Owens (Jack White, Mars Volta, Mastodon) who also contributed keyboards to both albums. Owens was set to produce the band’s fourth full-length this summer before his untimely death last October while on tour with Jack White. In Ikey Owens’s absence, the band plans to record their next full length this fall with long-time friend Jacob Golden producing.

Last year also found Ape Machine touring extensively, sharing the stage with bands such as Motorhead, Helmet, Orange Goblin, Crobot plus many others. This August however the band embark on a US tour with good friends and fellow Portlanders Black Pussy, bringing their frenzied live show stateside and teaming up with one of the best up-and-coming bands in the scene.

For the full list of tour dates, see below. (All dates w. Black Pussy).

8/20 – Volcanic – Bend, OR
8/21 – McShane’s – Eugene, OR
8/22 – Audie’s – Fresno, CA
8/23 – Los Globos – Los Angeles, CA
8/24 – Casbah – San Diego, CA
8/25 – JR’s – Sierra Vista, AZ
8/26 – Blue Max – Midland, TX
8/27 – Lola’s Saloon – Ft. Worth, TX
8/28 – Holy Mountain – Austin, TX
8/29 – Walter’s – Houston, TX
8/30 – The Ten Eleven – San Antonio, TX
8/31 – Howlin’ Wolf – New Orleans, LA
9/1 – Loosey’s – Gainesville, FL
9/2 – Backbooth – Orlando, FL
9/3 – New World Brewery – Tampa, FL
9/4 – The Nick – Birmingham, AL
9/5 – The Jinx – Savannah, GA
9/6 – Smith’s Olde Bar – Atlanta, GA
9/7 – Springwater Supper Club – Nashville, TN
9/8 – Reggie’s – Chicago, IL
9/9 – Tater and Joe’s – Terre Haute, IN
9/10 – The Demo – St. Louis, MO
9/11 – Outland Ballroom – Springfield, MO
9/12 – Lookout Lounge – Omaha, NE
9/13 – Zoo Bar – Lincoln, NE
9/14 – Larimer Lounge – Denver, CO
9/15 – Leftwoods – Amarillo, TX
9/17 – Beaut Bar – Las Vegas, NV
9/18 – Hood Bar – Palm Desert, CA
9/20 – DNA Lounge – San Francisco, CA

Ape Machine, “Strange are the People” Live at Freak Valley 2013

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YOB and Black Cobra Announce US Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 11th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

What, like I’m gonna say something that could possibly make this news any better? It’s fucking YOB and Black Cobra touring together. That should and probably will be enough to reaffirm your belief in a universe composed of something more than bummers. Thanks, Nanotear Booking. YOB of course are out supporting last year’s stellar Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here), and this will be their second full-month of US touring behind their seventh album and Neurot Recordings debut, while if Black Cobra have ever stopped touring since about seven or eight years ago, well, I haven’t seen news about it.

According to reputable sources (read: the comments, though this particular commenter would know), Black Cobra have finished recording with Torche bassist Jon Nunez for the follow-up to 2011’s blistering Invernal (review here), so maybe this is the tour by which they’ll begin to bludgeon audiences with new material live. Only way to find out is to show up. In the meantime, YOB are also heading to Australia next week for a run presented by Life is Noise, and they play North West Hesh Fest (info here) at the end of the month — so what it all works out to is everybody’s very busy one way or another.

This just happens to be a particularly awesome way to keep busy:

yob black cobra tour

YOB headlining North American tour w/ Black Cobra

Pacific Northwestern psychedelic doom bringers, YOB, will bring their sonic enormity to stages this Fall on a lengthy North American headlining trek. Slated to commence on October 22nd in Boise, Idaho and conclude on November 21st in Oakland, California, the trio will quake the stages of over two dozen venues including a special performance at this year’s edition of Philip H. Anselmo’s Housecore Horror Fest in San Antonio, Texas. Support will come from San Francisco volume dealers, Black Cobra. Tickets go on sale this Friday, August 14th.

10/22 – Boise, ID – Neurolux
10/23 – Salt Lake City, UT – Area 51
10/24 – Denver, CO – Hi-Dive
10/25 – Lincoln, NE – Bourbon Theater
10/26 – off
10/27 – St Paul, MN – Turf Club
10/28 – Madison, WI – High Noon w/Jex Thoth
10/29 – Chicago, IL – Reggies w/Acid King
10/30 – Newport, KY – Southgate House w/Ethicist
10/31 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
11/01 – Toronto, ON – Mod Club
11/02 – Montreal, QC – Foufounes w/Dopethrone
11/03 – Boston, MA – Brighton
11/04 – off
11/05 – Brooklyn, NY – Bell House
11/06 – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts
11/07 – New York, NY – Webster Hall (Marlin Room)
11/08 – Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery
11/09 – Richmond, VA – Strange Matter
11/10 – off
11/11 – Asheville, NC – Tiger Mountain
11/13 – New Orleans, LA – Siberia w/Author & Punisher, Muscle & Marrow
11/14 – Houston, TX – Rudyard’s
11/15 – San Antonio, TX – Housecore Horror Film Festival*
11/16 – off
11/17 – Albuquerque, NM – Sister w/Deafheaven, Tribulation*
11/18 – Tucson, AZ – Club Congress
11/19 – San Diego, CA – Brick by Brick
11/20 – Los Angeles, CA – Echo
11/21 – Oakland, CA – Metro
* = no Black Cobra

YOB, “Unmask the Spectre”

Black Cobra, Invernal (2011)

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Sons of Huns, While Sleeping Stay Awake: Why Would You Sleep Anyway?

Posted in Reviews on August 5th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

sons of huns while sleeping stay awake

Chances are that if someone came up to you and said, “Hey, I just checked out a hotly-tipped heavy rock trio from Portland, Oregon, that you need to hear,” you’d be right in thinking that it’s a story you already know, and in the case of the three-piece Sons of Huns, to a certain extent there’s a superficial familiarity from the get-go. At least with the narrative. Band comes from hip town, makes cool records, gets noticed. That doesn’t do much to convey the appeal of Sons of Huns on their second record for RidingEasy, the vinyl-begging nine-track/37-minute While Sleeping Stay Awake, but if you’re already that jaded going into it, then fine.

For everyone else ready to get aboard the band’s party wagon of fuzzed up semi-thrash riffing, the Toshi Kasai-produced While Sleeping Stay Awake follows Sons of Huns‘ 2013 debut, Banishment Ritual, which earned a wide barrage of acclaim from listeners and critics alike. The new album doesn’t reinvent the methodology of riff-led shenanigans metal, but it does refine it, and even more impressively, it refines it while at the same time managing to not sound like Red Fang, who one could argue are the Pacific Northwest’s regional forerunners of the style. A song like “Eye in the Sky” is probably as close as they come, and even that still has plenty of distance to spare, Sons of Huns impressing in the meantime with their fast-paced winding rhythms and flourishes of arrangement, guitarist/vocalist Pete Hughes (also of Danava) and bassist/vocalist Aaron Powell running circles around the central forward movement from drummer Ryan Northrop (also of Holy Grove) that propels the track on its somehow-still-efficient route.

Hughes is quick to toss in a lead at the end of a measure or to mark out a transition between a verse and chorus, and that adds excitement to an already energetic performance, but in the end it’s the songwriting that rules the day over any individual performance — up to and including the guest spots from Scott “Wino” Weinrich, who adds vocals on third cut “An Evil Unseen” and the MelvinsDale Crover, who sits in for “Philosopher’s Stone.” Opener “Osiris Slain” sets a lyrical tone toward the otherworldly, but Sons of Huns never veer far enough from their straightforward path to be called cult rock, even if they touch on a thematic inclination there and on side B’s two-parter, “Alchemist Part I” and “Alchemist Part II.”

sons of huns

Something else the leadoff piece does is establish a post-Motörhead type of momentum, Hughes and Powell both contributing vocals atop a speedy progression that finishes strong with some more subdued chugging only to pick up the pace again with the tense start of “Ad Astra,” the central riff of which could claim Dio‘s “Stand up and Shout” as a likely source for at least part of its genetic makeup. Sons of Huns make this their own as they do early-Fu Manchu fuzz a little later on “Philosopher’s Stone,” but with “An Evil Unseen,” they quickly establish Wino as a recognizable presence alongside Hughes‘ vocals, rhythmic rolls and shuffles playing off each other in a memorable chorus before a swath of leads hits in the second half. All this in a song under four minutes long, mind you. As noted, they work pretty efficiently throughout While Sleeping Stay Awake, but that doesn’t necessarily leave tracks without a sense of space either. “Eye in the Sky” is a rawer thrasher, but “Philosopher’s Stone” cuts the tempo somewhat to flesh out a sleek boogie that builds in intensity until fading out — Crover‘s drums seem to be the last to go — adding some variety to what by the end of side A has already been a precise attack.

And I suppose a big part of While Sleeping Stay Awake‘s success comes from the band’s ability to sound laid back while executing that precision, perhaps best shown on “Alchemist Part I” and “Alchemist Part II,” wherein they directly trade between a full-sprint rush subtly complex in its arrangement and the classic rock boogie and doomed riffing in the second part, which is the longest cut on the album at just over six minutes, Northrop‘s swing and Hughes‘ shouts and Alice Cooper-esque snarl making it a highlight of the collection as a whole. They answer it with the title-track and more fuzz boogie, but there’s little relinquishing the momentum they’ve worked so hard by then to build and maintain, the song seeming to hold its earliest-Metallica nod back until the last minute, seeking and subsequently destroying while keeping a grip on its groove to the last, closer “The Reaper” (or “The Reaper is Waiting,” or “The Reaper is Waiting for You,” depending on whom you ask) winding up While Sleeping Stay Awake with a tale of lost hope and impending destruction.

It’s a fitting enough end, particularly delivered at the clip it is and with the hook on top of which it seems to gallop, and while Sons of Huns boast a decided penchant toward lyrical severity, the underlying spirit of their sophomore outing doesn’t fall prey to pretense really of any sort, instrumental or vocal, and once again, it’s their ability to stand in a delicate balance that marks them out both within the populated scene from whence they emerge and the wider sphere of the heavy rock underground, on the West Coast and beyond. Somewhere between classic metal, ’70s boogie, modern heavy rock and thrash, Sons of Huns carve an identity for themselves that only becomes more their own over the speedy, quick-turning course through these songs.

Sons of Huns, While Sleeping Stay Awake (2015)

Sons of Huns on Thee Facebooks

Sons of Huns on Bandcamp

RidingEasy Records

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Acid King Added to North West Hesh Fest 2015 in Portland, OR

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 29th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

acid king

San Francisco purveyors of righteous fuzz Acid King are barely a week out from announcing their first round of coast-to-coast dates in the better part of a decade, and here they are, adding one more to the mix. The riff-led trio join the lineup for North West Hesh Fest 2015 in Portland, Oregon, next month (Aug. 27-29) to fill the slot vacated by Weedeater, and frankly, I’d be hard pressed to think of anyone more up to the task at hand.

Acid King are supporting this year’s most excellent Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere (review here), which is their first album in 10 years, and at North West Hesh Fest 2015, they’ll play alongside YOB, Dead Moon, Pentagram and local Portland favorites Diesto, among others. If you’re into good times, it looks like it’s gonna be one.

Side note: Thanks to everyone who entered the ticket giveaway contest. A winner has been chosen and emailed. If I don’t hear back from them, another winner will be chosen and emailed, and so on. Presumably by the time I get to everyone who took the time to leave a comment in the first place, someone will have gotten back about it. But yeah, thanks.

Here’s the updated poster and info for the North West Hesh Fest, of which I’m very happy to have The Obelisk be a sponsor:



350 West Burnside, Portland, Oregon 97209

Thursday Aug 27 $25 Pre/ $30 Dos

Friday Aug 28 – $25 Pre/$30 Dos

Saturday Aug 29-$20 Pre/ $25 Dos

Acid King, Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere (2015)

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GIVEAWAY: Enter to Win Three-Day Passes to North West Hesh Fest

Posted in Features on July 21st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

[HOW TO ENTER: I’m very sorry but a winner has been picked and this giveaway has ended. The post will remain live for archival purposes. Much thanks to all who entered for being a part of it.]

Last week, I was fortunate enough to be added to the list of sponsors for American Icon Records‘ upcoming North West Hesh Fest in Portland, Oregon, next month. One of the cool things you can do when you’re sponsoring something like a fest is say, “Hey, how about a ticket giveaway?” and not get laughed at. So here we are.

So, enter by leaving a comment on this post — as per usual for giveaways around here — and if you win, I’ll drop you an email. Obviously, the fest being three days next month in Portland, OR, it doesn’t make much sense for anyone either not in or unable to be in the area when it’s happening to enter. If you want to travel, that rules, but neither I nor the fest can really cover your expenses for that. The giveaway is for the passes only.

That said, good luck to all who enter. Weedeater has had to drop off the bill, but American Icon has something in the works for a replacement, and I wouldn’t put it past them to bring in somebody badass. Whoever it is, you can’t beat the price when the price is free.

Info and ticket links follow:

northwest hesh fest


350 West Burnside, Portland, Oregon 97209

Thursday Aug 27 $25 Pre/ $30 Dos

Friday Aug 28 – $25 Pre/$30 Dos

Saturday Aug 29-$20 Pre/ $25 Dos

[HOW TO ENTER: I’m very sorry but a winner has been picked and this giveaway has ended. The post will remain live for archival purposes. Much thanks to all who entered for being a part of it.]

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Vhöl to Release Deeper than Sky Oct. 23 on Profound Lore

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 16th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Somehow I doubt Vhöl would be into being tagged as a supergroup, but with a pedigree between them that includes YOBLudicraHammers of MisfortuneWorm OuroborosAgalloch and Amber Asylum, it just seems more efficient than saying “band with people who’ve played in other good bands.” Anyway you put it, the idea is much the same. By way of a confession, I still haven’t heard Vhöl‘s self-titled 2013 debut — was never sent one, even digitally, to review, and that kind of bummed me out — which as I understand it was something I genuinely missed out on, but I’ll see if I can’t correct that in time for the arrival of Deeper than Sky, their second album, on Oct. 23 through Profound Lore. Better late than never and all that.

No audio yet, but expect teasers and advance tracks and art and details and all that stuff, as Deeper than Sky is sure to be one of late-2015’s bigger releases. The PR wire brings initial preliminaries:


VHÖL: West Coast Psychedelic Thrash Collective To Release Sophomore Full-Length Via Profound Lore This Fall

West Coast psychedelic thrash collective, VHÖL, which features vocalist Mike Scheidt (YOB), guitarist John Cobbett (Hammers Of Misfortune, ex-Ludicra), bassist Sigrid Sheie (Hammers Of Misfortune, ex-Amber Asylum) and drummer Aesop Dekker (Agalloch, Worm Ouroboros, ex-Ludicra) — will unleash its sophomore full-length this Fall via Profound Lore.

Titled Deeper Than Sky, the follow up to 2013’s self-titled debut, was recorded at Light Rail Studios in San Francisco and mastered at Trakworx Studio (also in San Francisco).

Issues the band of the forthcoming release, “VHÖL continues to explore unbridled, high energy metal with very little digital processing, and lots of sounds, riffs and ideas flying around. This music is all about the ascending side of the manic curve.”

VHÖL’s Deeper Than Sky will be released via Profound Lore on October 23rd, 2015 with artwork, track listing and teasers to be revealed in the coming weeks.

Vhöl, Live in Oakland, CA, Aug. 8, 2013

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