Review & Track Premiere: Outsideinside, Sniff a Hot Rock

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

outsideinside-sniff-a-hot-rock

[Click play above to stream the premiere of Outsideinside’s ‘Pretty Things.’ Their album, Sniff a Hot Rock, is out Sept. 29 on Machine Age Records in the US and Sixteentimes Music in Europe.]

Outsideinside aren’t three seconds into opening track ‘Pretty Things’ before the handclaps have started, drummer Panfilo DiCenzo is on the bell of his ride cymbal and the boogie has begun that will continue in earnest through just about the entirety of their debut album, Sniff a Hot Rock. Only fair they should get down to business on the quick, since the Pittsburgh four-piece give themselves a pretty high standard to live up to in taking their moniker from one of the greatest and most pivotal heavy rock records of all time — Blue Cheer‘s 1968 sophomore LP — in addition to boasting guitarist/vocalist Dave Wheeler and bassist Jim Wilson in the lineup, both formerly of Tee Pee Records heavy classic rockers Carousel.

Released through Machine Age Records and Sixteentimes Music, the eight-track/35-minute LP dig into early AC/DC vibes on cuts like “Can’t Say Nothin'” and blend that raw sense of songcraft with echoing-solo psychedelic flourish — James Hart joined the band on guitar and backing vocals earlier in 2017, though I’m not sure if he actually features on the recording alongside Wheeler — but the core of Outsideinside‘s approach lies in the playin’-in-a-rock-and-roll-band attitude of hook-out-front pieces like the aforementioned leadoff “Pretty Things,” “Shot Me Down,” “Empty Room” and closer “Say Yeah,” and while the easy narrative might make it seem like Outsideinside are a brand new band formed in the wake of Carousel‘s untimely collapse, the truth is they’ve been kicking around Pittsburgh’s dinged-out bars since before The New York Times declared doing so was cool; having released a split in 2013 with Old Head in 2013 via Machine Age that featured the track “Misled,” which also appears here.

Accordingly, much of this material, while energetically performed in a clear move to bring out a live-sounding vibe — and effectively done, whether it’s the fuzzy/bluesy turns of “Can’t Say Nothin'” or the forward crotchal thrust of “Say Yeah” — would also seem to have the benefit of having been worked on for a while. Where it ultimately triumphs, however, is in not being overwritten as a result of that, but instead pared down to its most basic and classic-sounding elements. As he was in Carousel, Wheeler is a key presence in Outsideinside. He takes forward position early and does not relinquish for the duration, adopting the role of self-effacing storyteller on “Shot Me Down” with an underlying, winking swagger that makes even lines like, “She said ‘Keep on walkin’ son that don’t impress me none’/And she shot me down,” in the first chorus come across in good humor. Likewise, the subsequent “Empty Room” is what it sounds like: a tale of playing to small, unappreciative crowds. This lyrical perspective adds charm to the rhythmic strut that’s so much at the center of Outsideinside‘s writing, from the start-stop of “Pretty Things” to the brazen solo that takes charge of the second half of instrumental “Eating Bread” before “Ten Years” and “Say Yeah” cap side B, and Sniff a Hot Rock benefits greatly from that added sense of personality.

outsideinside

In conjunction with the tightness of the Cactus-style creeping bassline in “Misled” and the writing overall, Wheeler‘s frontman presence becomes a part of a subtle efficiency and professionalism that Outsideinside are in no rush to advertise — truth is doing so would take away from both the grandness and the funkness of their aesthetic — but which underscores the whole of Sniff a Hot Rock just the same. It might be their first record, in other words, but dudes know what they’re doing. They signal it early and often, and some of the record’s greatest success lies in balancing that with the outright fun of their boogie as it shines through on the shuffling “Empty Room,” Wilson‘s choice bass work on “Can’t Say Nothin'” and the brash finish in the one-two punch of “Ten Years” and “Say Yeah.”

As they shift from side A’s catchy landmarks in “Pretty Thing,” “Shot Me Down,” “Empty Room” and “Misled” into the more dug-in rhythm of “Can’t Say Nothin'” and “Eating Bread,” Outsideinside continue to proffer good-times vibes in classic form, their sound organic in presentation as well as structure without necessarily being overly vintage in its production. Heavy ’10s more than heavy ’70s, though of course the roots of the one lie in the other. Still, it’s worth highlighting that while the material they bring to bear throughout Sniff a Hot Rock feels as though it’s had the benefit of being worked on, hammered out, and brought to its most essential aspects, there’s a freshness at the core of Outsideinside that still speaks to this as being their first album. The difference is it’s natural without being haphazard where many others might be, and if that comes from Wheeler and Wilson‘s past work together in Carousel or from Outsideinside simply playing shows and recording for a few years before settling into the studio to track this material, so be it.

One way or the other, the end result is a palpable, two-sided, full-LP flow that signals the arrival of Outsideinside perhaps in picking up a bit where Carousel left off, but also establishing their own course in modernizing classic boogie rock with a vitality of their own and a level of songwriting that’s already plenty sure of itself even if “Shot Me Down” or “Empty Room” might tell you otherwise. It’s no coincidence they end with “Say Yeah.” The closer is a direct address to their audience and finds Wheeler as bandleader calling out for an audience interaction in a way that one very much imagines could end a live set as well, building in the finish as he encourages the “crowd” (i.e. the listener) to say yeah. Obviously in the context of the record itself, should one choose to respond, it’s not like he’s going to hear it, but if you’ve got the song on and you find you’re tempted to do so, it’s certainly understandable.

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Horehound Sign to Hellmistress Records; New Album in Progress

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

A double-whammy of good news here in that Pittsburgh doom rockers Horehound have signed to Hellmistress Records — kudos all around — and that they’ve got a follow-up in the works to their impressive 2016 self-titled debut (review here). The four-piece had done a release for Horehound through vocalist Shy Kennedy‘s own Blackseed Records imprint, and Hellmistress has confirmed it will indeed pick that up for a reissue, so right on there in addition to the new material. The more the merrier and all that.

I’d guess it’ll be a 2018 release, so you mark your notes and I’ll mark mine (done), and as we get closer, whatever I see, I’ll be posting. In the meantime, Hellmistress stands among the sponsors for the inaugural edition of Kennedy‘s upcoming Pittsburgh-based fest, Descendants of Crom (info here), which is set to take place on Sept. 30 on two stages at Cattivo Nightclub.

Cheers to Horehound and to Hellmistress and here’s looking forward to the fruit of their collaboration. The PR wire makes it official:

horehound

Horehound – Hellmistress Records

Horehound began their journey into the Pittsburgh music scene in the summer of 2015.

Standing on the shoulders of giants – Black Sabbath, Neurosis, Sleep, and the Melvins, among others – Horehound ever since have been crafting their own blend of stoner and doom harmonies and cacophonies. On their debut album, released in April 2016, Shy Kennedy’s powerful, ethereal vocals and haunting lyrics transform the pummeling onslaught of Brendan Parrish’s aggressive guitar riffs, Nick Kopco’s doom-drenched bass grooves, and JD Dauer’s punishing percussive rhythms, into carefully crafted compositions that are “stunningly recorded, tactile, heavy, clear.”

Says Hellmistress Records founder Melanie Streko, “I discovered Horehound on Pat Harrington’s Electric Beard of Doom radio podcast. My ears perked up every time Pat played a Horehound song; whether I was working; cleaning around the house or just playing with my cat, I ran to my computer to see who it was and it was always Horehound. So I knew I had to sign them.”

In 2016, Horehound played the 1st Annual Doomed & Stoned Festival among genre mainstays Cough and Bell Witch, and shared the stage with Captain Beyond, Earthride, and The Atomic Bitchwax at Maryland Doom fest in June of 2017. Horehound is currently in the process of writing a follow-up to their self-titled debut, and hope to be able to share with their fans as the new songs come to life.

Horehound is:
• Shy Kennedy (Vocalist)
• Brendan Parrish (Guitarist)
• JD Dauer (Drummer)
• Nick Kopco (Bassist)

https://www.facebook.com/horehoundband/
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Horehound, Horehound (2016)

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Argus, From Fields of Fire

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

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[Click play above to stream From Fields of Fire by Argus in its entirety. Album is out Sept. 8 via Cruz del Sur Music.]

Even before they get to the sweeping guitar triumph of “216,” Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania metallers Argus have long since secured their victory on From Fields of Fire, their fourth long-player and third for Cruz del Sur Music. Earlier wins come via the striking post-intro salvo of “Devils of Your Time” and “As a Thousand Thieves,” which take flight from the subdued beginning “Into the Fields of Fire” gives to the proceedings and never stop to look back. The five-piece are now a decade removed from their first demo and eight years on from making their self-titled debut (review here) through Shadow Kingdom, and after blending doom, power, classic and progressive metals across that record, 2011’s Boldly Stride the Doomed (discussed here) and 2013’s Beyond the Martyrs (review here) which followed, they’ve never come through quite so stately as they do in the nine tracks and 55 minutes of From Fields of Fire.

Joining vocalist Brian “Butch” Balich (ex-Penance, also Arduini / Balich), guitarist Jason Mucio and drummer Kevin Latchaw are new guitarist Dave Watson (who also produced) and bassist Justin Campbell, and whether it’s the fist-pump hook of “You are the Curse” (video posted here) or the suitably reddened Brad Moore cover art out front, From Fields of Fire does not fix what was never broken in the band’s sound, instead bringing a new degree of refinement and poise to their metallic sonic brew, righteously oldschool and every bit living up to the cliché of “firing on all cylinders” — one can listen to just about any of these tracks and find it driven equally by the guitar, bass, drums and vocals. That balance, toyed with here and there as Balich pushes his powerful voice on “As a Thousand Thieves” and the guitars match step for leads as the 11-minute “Infinite Lives, Infinite Doors” draws to its finish, stands among the most effective elements of From Fields of Fire, and taken as a consideration in kind with the level of songcraft displayed throughout, the album unmistakably makes its case for Argus to stand among the US’ most underrated classic metal bands.

It’s not necessarily that Argus are doing anything so revolutionary in tracks like the aforementioned “216” or the later “Hour of Longing” and “No Right to Grieve” as relates to their past work. While they started out more tipped toward the doomly end of the spectrum and have since come around to follow impulses less hindered by tempo — to wit, the windmill-headbang worthy chug of “Devils of Your Time” and the forward thrust in the verses of “Hour of Longing” so effectively pushed by Campbell‘s bass — From Fields of Fire is more a continuation of their ongoing growth than a departure of sorts from what they’ve done before. Again, their sound wasn’t broken. Considering their longest break between full-lengths prior to the four years that split Beyond the Martyrs and From Fields of Fire was half that duration — albums in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2017 — it’s entirely possible these songs have been worked on longer, tightened more over time, and if that’s the case, it’s to their benefit, but the production value brought to the lumbering “No Right to Grieve,” which immediately precedes the closing outro “From the Fields of Fire,” and the shimmer it gives to the lead work on “Infinite Lives, Infinite Doors,” “As a Thousand Thieves” — and really all the rest included — isn’t to be understated.

With Watson at the helm, Argus hone a brisk, sharp and crisp feel excellently suited to the spaciousness such an epic feel requires. That is, in rawer form, the already-noted instrumental opening of “216” might fall flat, but because it comes through so clearly and because there’s room for a volume swell and that lead layer at just the right moment (looking at you, two-minute mark), Argus come across as positively masterful even before Balich serves yet another reminder of just how much he brings to the band in presence, arrangement and delivery. As metal frontmen go, he has the precision of a power metaller and the guttural passion of a doomer, and though I wouldn’t take anything away from his past work, it’s easy to argue that From Fields of Fire finds him just as much at the top of his game as it does the rest of the band around him.

And ultimately, the story of Argus‘ fourth LP is what was said at the outset: a triumph. From the production to the performances to the arrangements and the structures that serve as their foundation, to moments like the fluid shift between grandiose verse/chorus interplay and the instrumental building midsection of “Infinite Lives, Infinite Doors” to the way “Into Fields of Fire” mounts tension to lead the way for “Devils of Your Time” and the way the acoustic first half of “From the Fields of Fire” fades out to let the album wrap with a darker wash of noise, every minute, every part, brims with purpose, even if that purpose is to convey a turn of mood or shift between one tempo and another. From Fields of Fire underscores Argus‘ particular style, and while one can point to certain aspects of it and hear SabbathPriestMaiden, etc., there’s never any point at which they lose sight of sounding most of all like themselves.

In this way, they bring a sense of vitality to the classic metal at their foundation while also keeping the tonal heft in Campbell‘s bass and the guitars of Watson and Mucio to still carry a doomed feel along with them that comes to an emotional head with “No Right to Grieve.” That track, as the last in a series of seven one-int0-the-next epics, arrives at perhaps the most forceful crescendo of Argus‘ career to-date, and every bit earns its position as their final statement before “From the Fields of Fire” draws the offering down to its finish. Bottom line? Argus are nothing less than a heavy metal treasure. With class and grace they find a position for themselves between various subgenres that plays to familiar styles while carving out their own identity through memorable hooks, breathtaking execution and an unmitigated will to move forward creatively from release to release. Four years might’ve been a long wait for From Fields of Fire, but like the best of the classics, no question this one will stand the test of time.

Argus, “You are the Curse” lyric video

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Ruby the Hatchet, Planetary Space Child: Oh, the Places You’ll Trip

Posted in Reviews on August 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

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It’s been a steady creep enacted by Philadelphia’s Ruby the Hatchet into the greater and expanding consciousness of American heavy psychedelia. The organ-laced five-piece from the City of Brotherly Love debuted on respected purveyors Tee Pee Records in 2015 with Valley of the Snake (review here), their second album overall behind 2012’s subsequently reissued Ouroboros and 2014’s Eliminator EP, and Planetary Space Child is their third and most cosmically expansive outing yet.

There have been and continue to be consistent themes in the band’s work — the Adam Burke cover art, the prominent vocals of frontwoman Jillian Taylor, the forward rhythmic push from bassist Lake Muir (who’s come aboard since the last record) and drummer Owen Stewart, a feel somewhere between garage heavy, doom rock and classically stoned ’70s-ism — but the seven-track/41-minute Planetary Space Child from nearly every angle simply brings their approach to a new level, whether that’s the additional percussion and Sean Hur‘s keyboard flourish amid the consuming swirl of effect from guitarist Johnny “Scarps” Scarperia in “Pagan Ritual” or the immediate landmark that the hook in the opening title-track gives the band to build from, so that the later drift of centerpiece “The Fool” after the subtly metallized “Killer” and “Pagan Ritual” has a decided outward direction in which it’s moving. One might say the same of the album as a whole in relation to the band’s preceding material. It’s going farther out.

And make no mistake, it gets there, but with Taylor‘s carefully layered vocals, a depth of mix conjured by Hur and engineers Joe Boldizar of Retro City Studios and Zach Goldstein of Kawari Sound, that easily accommodates the spaciousness required by the blend of keys, guitar, bass and drums as well as the atmosphere of Taylor‘s vocals and those backing her in, say, the seven-minute roller “Symphony of the Night” (is that a Castlevania reference?), there’s never any sense of confusion in terms of Ruby the Hatchet‘s intent. Their command of the song is never relinquished, so that as the just-mentioned “Symphony of the Night” moves toward its speedier midsection via an uptick in organ drama, the listener has no trouble following the band through the shift in ambience. Of course, the righteousness of the gallop that ensues and the clear demonstration of dynamic on the part of the group as a whole don’t hurt either in that regard, but that’s nothing new for Ruby the Hatchet, and whether they’re actively engaging galaxial grandiosity on “Planetary Space Child” — just in case you were looking for the perfect phrase to spraypaint on the back of your van to go with that mountaintop wizard you just put on the side of it — or digging into the more proto-metallic “Killer,” which feels perhaps a bit born of their time on the road alongside Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and is just one of two songs under five minutes long in a mirror with the penultimate “Gemini,” the vibe they set in these early moments holds firm throughout.

ruby the hatchet

The album was reportedly recorded in an 1800s mansion out in the woods of Pennsylvania, and if nothing else, it’s easy to imagine the place had high ceilings, because while Stewart‘s snare has a decided grounding effect, his perfectly-balanced cymbals ring out like splashes complementing the turns in “Killer” and the momentum that boogie-fueled riff of “Pagan Ritual” thrusts toward, and there is a strong feeling of “room” throughout the proceedings as a whole. That can certainly happen in a cramped studio space as well, of course — age of technological wonders and all that — but if Ruby the Hatchet‘s choice of locale was motivated in part by setting a mood for themselves in addition to the audience, it would seem they made the right choice in that regard and the dividends can be heard as much in the unmitigated hookery of “Killer” and “Planetary Space Child” as well as in the Rocka Rolla chug of “Gemini” or the languid motion of “The Fool.”

Anyone who heard Valley of the Snake and paid even a modicum of attention to what the band was doing therein can tell you they want nothing for songcraft, but this too seems to have been refined in the last two years, and while of course “Symphony of the Night” and grand-finale closer “Lightning Comes Again” — which itself is just shy of the seven-minute line that “Symphony of the Night” so fluidly crosses — have their meandering aspects, there’s zero loss of purpose throughout. To wit, the rhythmic change at 2:14 into “Lightning Comes Again” is a masterpiece moment of transition, and the band utterly nails it, bringing the track to its next stage with unmistakable precision without sounding forced or losing the flow that has brought them so gracefully not only through the quiet opening of that song itself, but of the six prior. The band is signaling at that point that they’ve hit the summary moment for Planetary Space Child as a whole, and so they have. Before the next five-ish minutes are up, they’ll call back to the 8-track-ready circa-’73 idolatry of “Gemini” and “Killer,” the staging sensibility of the title-cut, the rhythmic churn of “Pagan Ritual” and even a bit of the horror-rock flourish of “Symphony of the Night,” with Scarperia finding room for a highlight guitar solo and Stewart marking the ending with a flurry of tom fills behind the assurance from Taylor that, “Lightning will come again.”

She makes it a believable proposition, to say the least, though if lightning is what the band caught in a bottle their last time out on Valley of the Snake, then it would seem it’s already returned. They bring the record to an end with no less a sure hand than they began it, and only bring emphasis to the point that especially if they hit the road again as hard for their third LP as they did for their second, it’s time to start considering Ruby the Hatchet among the top purveyors of heavy psych at least along the East Coast. Where so many other acts seem to get mired in the intensity of the region, the cold weather, the traffic, whatever it is, Ruby the Hatchet have plotted and made their escape from the Northeastern crush, and one can only hope that others will follow the path they’re blazing in these tracks. For its standout choruses, the unrestrained feeling of openness that unites them, the flow and richness of its presentation as a whole, front-to-back listening experience, Planetary Space Child is an absolute must and easily one of 2017’s finest offerings.

Ruby the Hatchet, “Planetary Space Child” official video

Ruby the Hatchet, Planetary Space Child (2017)

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Review & Track Premiere: Blackfinger, When Colors Fade Away

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

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[Click play above to stream the premiere of ‘Can I Get a Witness’ by Blackfinger. When Colors Fade Away is out Sept. 15 via M-Theory Audio and up for preorder now.]

When Blackfinger first started out, the band was a vehicle for acoustic songwriting from Eric Wagner, the former vocalist for Chicago-based doom legends Trouble. By the time they got to releasing their first studio material in 2011 (discussed here), Blackfinger was a full-fledged band, who in addition to their own material, often dug into Trouble classics on-stage, periodically bringing out Wagner‘s former bandmates to take part in the celebration of that legacy. By the time they made their self-titled debut (review here) in 2014 via The Church Within Records, that drive had been channeled into The Skull, which reunited Wagner with ex-Trouble bassist Ron Holzner among others in a seemingly rotating cast, and with The Skull‘s well received and dying-for-a-follow-up 2014 Tee Pee Records debut, For Those Which are Asleep (review here), and subsequent touring, Blackfinger became something of a backburner entity.

They were a side-project that, without much heavy touring behind it, went somewhat underrated for the quality of their original output on the first record and the blend of melancholic classic rock and doom there elicited. The chief question going into the second Blackfinger full-length, When Colors Fade Away (on M-Theory Audio), is what the identity of the group will be. Will they have the somber moodiness of the debut intact? A heavier edge à la The Skull‘s built-from-Trouble ethic of doomed songcraft? What role will the affinity for ’60s rock that once led Blackfinger to produce the Mamas and the Papas-referencing single “All the Leaves are Brown” play in the new material?

With the acknowledgement that those weren’t all yes or no questions, the answer to all of them is yes. Comprised of nine tracks for a total of 38 minutes of original material, Blackfinger‘s sophomore offering brings forth doomed vibes on cuts like the opening title-track and “Crossing the River Turmoil,” moody mid-paced melodicism on “Beside Still Water,” chugging, rocking hooks (and a Dr. Seuss reference in the lyrics) on “Can I Get a Witness” and the cowbell-inclusive centerpiece “Afternow,” a softer touch on the penultimate “Waiting for the Sun” and even references nursery rhymes in the chorus of “My Old Soul,” which reworks “Old King Cole was a very old soul/A very old soul was he/He called for his pipe, he called for his bowl/A very fine bowl it was indeed,” as a kind of self-examination on the part of Wagner, who seems to put himself in that role via the title and his delivery. As a result of all this, the answer to Blackfinger‘s identity is that they’ve become a multifaceted unit, rich in sound and variety of songwriting, and that while Wagner is of course still a focal point, they sound even more like a full band than on the self-titled.

Also a completely different one. Of the players on that first record, only the vocalist has returned for the follow-up, and having since moved from his longtime home in the Chicago area to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Wagner has completely revamped the lineup of Blackfinger around himself, notably bringing in Terry Weston of Dream Death — who released the righteously churning Dissemination (review here) last year — and Penance to handle guitar alongside Matthew TuiteMatthew Cross to play bass and David Snyder for drums as a new incarnation of the five-piece. Particularly when one considers the drastic nature of these changes in the band — changing, quite actually, the band — it becomes all the more remarkable that When Colors Fade Away has anything in common with the preceding Blackfinger at all, let alone seems to be so effectively constructed with a consistency of intent and influence.

blackfinger

The memorable craft behind songs like “All My Sorrow” and the aforementioned “Can I Get a Witness” and “Beside Still Water” has to be mentioned as a factor in this — as well as the quality of the other tracks around them; it’s a pretty high and pretty steady level throughout — but even so, When Colors Fade Away not only shows development from the self-titled, it marks a moment of arrival for Blackfinger as a unit distinct in its purpose and clear-headed about what it wants to accomplish. Any concerns as regards what Blackfinger would become in the wake of The Skull‘s rise to prominence should be duly answered by the shredding solo of “Afternow” as well as the morose rolling groove of “Crossing the River Turmoil,” on which Wagner bequeaths worldly goods over a highlight bassline and lumbering riff, or the uptempo and somewhat hopeful finish brought out through closer “Till We Meet Again.”

Varied material is brought together by Wagner‘s voice — pushed to a higher register on “Afternow” and in layers on “Till We Meet Again” and “When Colors Fade Away” — and by a straightforwardness of structure that finds individual pieces standing out from each other while still flowing smoothly one into the next, and with a full, tonally rich recording sound, Blackfinger‘s When Colors Fade Away should have no problem making its case to those among a new generation of listeners who caught wind of Wagner‘s work via The Skull as well as to those who’ve followed him since his time in Trouble.

It is also, however, more than simply a showcase for Wagner to the converted new or old. There’s a reaching out in these tracks and a creative progression that’s not to be understated, and as much as the vocals are a defining presence, the basic fact that Blackfinger has been able to put together a completely new band while still forging an identity of its own and releasing a second album just three years after the debut is more than slightly impressive. Even if it works mostly in shades of blue sonically in accordance with its cover art, the fullness of realization across When Colors Fade Away brims with not-to-be-missed vitality, and whether it’s the new collaboration between Wagner and Weston or the cohesion of the group as a whole around them, one hopes Blackfinger continue to grow, mature and press forward as brazenly as they do here.

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Rosetta: New Album Utopioid out Sept. 1; Tour Starts Oct. 5

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

rosetta

Philly’s self-sustaining DIY post-metallers Rosetta will hit the road on the West Coast and in the Midwest in October supporting their upcoming sixth album, Utopioid. The record, like 2015’s Quintessential Ephemera (review here) before it, will be issued as a name-your-price download through Rosetta‘s Bandcamp page, and the five-piece’s ongoing commitment to a lack of bullshit remains singularly admirable. They do things on their own terms, exclusively, or they don’t do them. I don’t care who you are or how you spend your days — and I’m not necessarily the hugest Rosetta fan in the world; nothing against them, but there are those out there who dig their stuff way more than I do — integrity like that is pretty goddamn rare.

So I guess that’s why I’m leaving the ticket-buy links in the list of tour dates below, where I’d usually take them out because they look shitty in posts and take up a ton of space. And I guess that’s why I’m including all three of Rosetta‘s studio update videos about the making of Utopioid. And that’s probably why, once the record is posted, I’m going to grab a download and give it at least a short review like the last one. Because respect. Profound, profound respect.

From the PR wire:

rosetta utopioid

ROSETTA ANNOUNCES FALL NORTH AMERICAN TOUR; NEW ALBUM, ‘UTOPIOID,’ OUT SEP 1ST

Philadelphia avant-metal band Rosetta will embark on a headline North American tour this fall in support of their forthcoming, 6th studio album, Utopioid, which is due out on September 1st. The band will be supported by Tucson sludge act North. Tickets are on sale now; dates are listed below.

“We’re thrilled to play shows throughout the Western US and Canada this Fall, in support of our new album Utopioid. And we’re especially proud to be joined by our longtime friends in North, who we’ve had the pleasure to tour with several times over the years. Even beyond our brotherly kinship, they bring a level of inspired creativity to the stage night after night. For our part, we’re crafting a setlist pulling from the new album as well as many of our past releases, and look forward to connecting with old and new friends along the way. Can’t wait to see you out there.” – Rosetta

On their 6th studio album, Utopioid, Rosetta has unshackled themselves from past restraints and are further exploring their sound, pushing their music beyond the confines of what’s expected. The highly-anticipated album is a crushing hour long, intense journey that takes fans through a dynamic range of emotions while soaring to new creative heights.

“Composing Utopioid, we were wholly devoted to realizing the concept, disciplining ourselves to let the narrative shape all parts of the album — not just the lyrics, but everything down to the subtle ways rhythm or effects could alter the mood. We quickly let go of the imperative to write for live performance; although we will play many of these songs live, we felt freedom to explore the furthest reaches of our skills and imaginations.” – Eric Jernigan, guitar/vocals

“It’s the first album we’ve made where every single element, top to bottom, was created collaboratively — each of us has more of ourselves invested in this record than ever before.” – Matt Weed, guitar

Utopioid was engineered and mixed by Francisco Botero with assistance from Alexis Berthelot at Studio G, Brooklyn, NY, July-August 2017. The record was produced by Botero and Rosetta, mastered by Carl Saff with artwork by Jordan Butcher for Studio Workhorse.

Fans can purchase the digital record exclusively at BandCamp on September 1st. Studio updates, album art, track listing and tour dates are found below.

Utopioid Track List:
1. Amnion
2. Intrapartum
3. Neophyte Visionary
4. King Ivory Tower
5. 54543
6. Détente
7. Hypnagogic
8. Qohelet
9. Intramortem

Rosetta Tour Dates:
10/05/2017 Scottsdale AZ – Rogue http://ticketf.ly/2vubbIN
10/06/2017 San Diego CA – Soda Bar http://ticketf.ly/2f8z6Hu
10/07/2017 Los Angeles CA – Five Star http://bit.ly/2v1ThfT
10/09/2017 San Francisco CA – Brick and Mortar http://bit.ly/2v2kGyd
10/10/2017 Sacramento CA – Blue Lamp http://bit.ly/2vwB3ns
10/11/2017 Portland OR – Ash St Saloon http://bit.ly/2hrNj2S
10/12/2017 Seattle WA – TBA
10/13/2017 Vancouver BC – Pub 340 – http://ticketf.ly/2hvwrsk
10/16/2017 Edmonton AB – Brixx – http://ticketf.ly/2hosrd3
10/17/2017 Calgary AB – The Palomino http://bit.ly/2u8pt25
10/18/2017 Saskatoon SK – Amigos http://ticketf.ly/2fcOoew
10/19/2017 Regina SK – TBA
10/20/2017 Montana – TBA
10/21/2017 Boise ID – Shredder http://bit.ly/2u7WB6f
10/22/2017 Salt Lake City UT – Metro Music Hall http://ticketf.ly/2vr1wCP
10/23/2017 Denver CO – Globe Hall http://ticketf.ly/2vl2KzE
10/24/2017 Lawrence KS – Replay Lounge -Tickets Available at Door
10/25/2017 Ft Worth TX – Lolas http://ticketf.ly/2vkLbj9
10/26/2017 Austin TX – Lost Well – Tickets Available at Door
10/27/2017 Houston TX – Green Room http://bit.ly/RosettaWHL
10/28/2017 El Paso TX – Lowbrow Palace http://ticketf.ly/2u5TpI1
10/29/2017 Albuquerque NM – Sister http://bit.ly/2u1YPnI
10/30/2017 Tucson AZ – Flycatcher http://ticketf.ly/2u6bYjx

https://theanaesthete.bandcamp.com/
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Rosetta, Utopioid studio update 1

Rosetta, Utopioid studio update 2

Rosetta, Utopioid studio update 3

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Ruby the Hatchet Post “Planetary Space Child” Video; Playing Psycho Las Vegas and More

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ruby-the-hatchet-Photo-Mike-Petzinger

Call me crazy, but am I wrong in thinking that at some point at least one of the sci-fi movies featured in Ruby the Hatchet‘s new video for the title-track of their third album, Planetary Space Child, was on Mystery Science Theater 3000? Aside from being a blatant take on the Star Wars opening scene, that ship underbelly at the beginning of the clip is awfully familiar. Is it Space Mutiny? Or maybe Starcrash from the new season? I can’t say for sure, and apparently there was an endless supply of budget science fiction in the wake of A New Hope in 1977, so I’m sure it could be from any number of films. Probably a few of them used the same ship models anyway.

Whether or not Tom Servo ever ripped on the visuals, what matters is the song “Planetary Space Child” itself. Aside from the righteous, righteous, righteous righteousness of the title, the cut from the album that shares its name — and how would one ever dare to call a record anything else given the opportunity to call it Planetary Space Child? — stands as a demonstration of the kind of breadth Ruby the Hatchet are exploring as they follow-up and expand the cosmic aspects of their sound from even where they were on 2015’s Valley of the Snake (review here) while also emphasizing a natural core of performance true to the live feel the Philly natives bring to their gigs.

Later this month, Ruby the Hatchet will take the stage at Psycho Las Vegas, and if the energy they carry into the Nevada desert is anything like that which they brought to their set this past April at Roadburn 2017 (review here), then those who are fortunate enough to be there to see them will be glad they were. Planetary Space Child, meanwhile, lands on Aug. 25 — it’ll be here before you know it — and the band will also play other shows around the fest. You can find all the info, dates, links, etc., under the video below, courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Ruby the Hatchet, “Planetary Space Child” official video

Philadelphia psych rock quintet RUBY THE HATCHET will release its new album, Planetary Space Child, on August 25 via Tee Pee Records. The record showcases richly layered songs that unite heavy, doomy psychedelia with acid rock, proto-prog and melodic, hypnotic songcraft. The far-out title-track clip was created by Jordan Vance (Inter Arma, Windhand) for 3grit.com.

“We didn’t realize ‘Planetary Space Child’ was going to be the title track for the album, but it ended up being the perfect summation,” says vocalist Jillian Taylor. “Lyrically, this song is a perspective play from ancient kings to sci-fi space beings. Create. Destroy. Repeat. It’s an imaginative play on the cyclical nature of humanity, and the music rides the theme; don’t I know you from another world?”

On August 17, RUBY THE HATCHET will perform alongside Mastodon, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, SLEEP and more as one of the featured acts at the 2017 Psycho Las Vegas Festival, set for August 18-20. For more details, visit this location.

RUBY THE HATCHET tour dates:
August 14 Kansas City, MO The Riot Room
August 15 Denver, CO Streets Of London Pub
August 16 Salt Lake City, UT Metro Music Hall
August 17 Las Vegas, NV Hard Rock Hotel (* As part of Psycho Las Vegas Festival)
August 20 Albuquerque, NM Sister
August 22 Saint Louis, MO Fubar
September 9 Philadelphia, PA Johnny Brenda’s

RUBY THE HATCHET features vocalist Jillian Taylor, guitarist Johnny Scarps, bassist Lake Muir, drummer Owen Stewart and organist Sean Hur. Find the band online at RubytheHatchet.com.

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Argus Post “You are the Curse” Lyric Video; European Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

argus

Let me say this as plainly as possible: If you’re not looking forward to Argus‘ new album, you’re fucking up. From Fields of Fire is out Sept. 8 via Cruz del Sur Music. Write it down so you remember.

Granted, that seems like such a hyperbole-happy-dipshit-blogger way of putting it, but it’s pretty true to the urgency I feel about the subject, and if it sounds like I’m being inadvertently critical of your taste — not everybody’s into doom-tinged classic metal with a flair for the epic, and I get that — I apologize, but rest assured I’m coming from a place of not wanting you to miss out. Not trying to be a jerk. Not trying to overstate the case. Frankly, I don’t need to; the Pittsburgh five-piece make their own argument excellently across the 55-minute From Fields of Fire without any help from the likes of me. I’m just saying that whether or not you’ve ever checked out Argus before, their fourth long-player — out Sept. 8 — deserves a fair shot. Give it one.

To give a first public sampling of what’s to come with From Fields of Fire, the band have a new lyric video posted for the centerpiece of the tracklisting and presumed side A closer (assuming this all fits onto one platter, which I’m not actually sure it does) “You are the Curse.” Following suit from post-intro opener “Devils of Your Time,” it’s a strong hook delivered with due fervency, and as it immediately precedes the 11-minute sprawl of “Infinite Lives, Infinite Doors” on the record, which is out Sept. 8, it’s an excellent showcase for the level of songcraft shown across the album as well as the crispness of the production through which that songcraft arrives.

Argus will celebrate the release of From Fields of Fire — it’s Sept. 8; have I mentioned that? — by launching a string of newly-announced tour dates in Austria, Switzerland and Germany that same day. The run will be alongside High Spirits and culminates at Storm Crusher fest in Germany, where Argus will share the stage with ExciterTygers of Pan TangSulphur Aeon and many others.

Tour specifics and more info from the PR wire follow the video below. Enjoy:

Argus, “You are the Curse” lyric video

‘YOU ARE THE CURSE’, taken from ARGUS’ album “From Fields Of Fire”.

Comments vocalist Brian “Butch” Balich: “‘You Are The Curse’ was the first song we wrote for From Fields Of Fire. Dave [Watson, guitar] brought it in and it immediately fit. I knew we had exciting things coming for the album when it came together. It’s classic ARGUS and a good song to introduce From Fields of Fire to our friends worldwide. It’s an up-tempo, rhythmically aggressive but melodic song shot through with dark undertones. Lyrically, this song deals with the idea that sometimes we need look no further than ourselves for why things go wrong in our lives…as you sow so shall you reap. It’s been a live mainstay for about a year-and-a-half and one we expect to play often.”

VIDEO CONCEPT AND MAKING by YOD MULTIMEDIA: facebook.com/yodmultimedia

“From Fields Of Fire” out on SEP 8, 2017 via Cruz Del Sur Music.

Available in the following formats:

– COMPACT DISC with 12-PAGE BOOKLET: http://tinyurl.com/ycssx53j
– REGULAR BLACK / LIMITED RED/WHITE SPLATTER DOUBLE LP EDITION featuring 4 BONUS TRACKS | A2 POSTER | INSERT | DOWNLOAD CARD http://tinyurl.com/y9ra32xc
– DIGITAL

To coincide with the release of From Fields Of Fire, ARGUS is embarking on a nine-date European tour with Chicago high-energy rock heroes HIGH SPIRITS. The tour kicks off September 8 in Dornbirn, Austria, culminating with their September 16 appearance at the Storm Crusher festival in Püchersreuth, Germany.

09/08: Dornbirn, AT,- Schlachthaus
09/09: Olte, CH – Coq D’Or
09/10: Münster, DE – Sputnikhalle
09/11: Marburg, DE – Trauma G-Werk
09/12 Oldenburg, DE – MTS Record Store
09/13 Hamburg, DE – Bambi Galore
09/14 Berlin, DE – Urban Spree
09/15 Weimar, DE – Kasseturm
09/16 Pückersreuth, DE – Storm Crusher Festival

Musicians:
Brian ‘Butch’ Balich – Vocals
Dave Watson – Guitars
Jason Mucio – Guitars
Justin Campbell – Bass
Kevin Latchaw – Drums

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