The Obelisk Questionnaire: Matt Weed of Rosetta

Posted in Questionnaire on May 22nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

rosetta matt weed

One decade after the release of their Translation Loss debut, The Galilean Satellites, Philadelphia’s Rosetta stand on the cusp of their fifth long-player, Quintessential Ephemera. Released in association with Golden Antenna Records, the new album follows 2013’s independently-released The Anaesthete and the 2014 Flies to Flame EP, as well as an original score produced earlier this year for a film about the band, Rosetta: Audio/Visual, and is the latest in a line of deeply creative outings furthering the band’s stylstic meld of atmospheric metal, sludge, post-rock and ambience. Noteworthy also for being their first full-length with the lineup of vocalist/noisemaker Mike Armine, guitarist Matt Weed, bassist Dave Grossman, drummer BJ McMurtrie and guitarist Eric Jernigan after having brought the latter on board in 2014 (he doubles in City of Ships), Quintessential Ephemera continues Rosetta‘s workman-style approach to progressive, fluid and exploratory songwriting, their commitment more to going places they’ve never gone than to any particular genre or other.

Weed took some time out recently to respond to The Obelisk Questionnaire and you’ll find his answers below. Please enjoy:

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Matt Weed

How did you come to do what you do?

Hard to say, since I’ve been in one band or another with our drummer BJ for over half my life. I picked up a guitar when I was 14 and it has always been a kind of territory that I explored, rather than an object I tried to master. So I’ve always written music by default – it was much harder to learn music written by other people. I went to school for totally unrelated stuff and that was probably a good thing, since academic study tends to destroy one’s enjoyment of a thing. I’m a bit of a robot in personality anyway, and music was one of the only ways I could ever access, understand, and communicate about emotion. The verbal language of emotion is either mystifying or outright off-putting to me, but playing an instrument I always felt like I had access to a more truthful way of communicating with people.

Describe your first musical memory.

My parents played a lot of classical LPs on a really crappy integrated turntable/amp system from the ’70s when I was a kid. My dad liked Romantic composers like Brahms and Tchaikovsky a lot, and my mom played the piano in the house, often old hymns. I would sit at the piano and play individual notes to see which I liked. I liked the A two octaves below middle-C the best. I would wail on that note for long periods, sometimes chanting over it (I was about four or five), but my family never complained about it. I guess that was my first foray into drone music.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

In high school, when I was still training on violin, I did a program where high school kids got to sit with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and play together. Each pair of stand partners was one PO member and one high school student. It was remarkable mainly because I was a “just-okay” student of the violin, but while I was on-stage with such serious players, my technique just seemed like it magically improved, instantly. I had no idea I could play like that. It wasn’t objectively great but it was an order of magnitude better than I was normally capable of. I never forgot it, because it was proof to me that everyone does their best work in collaboration; one person who develops skill and takes risks has a beneficial effect on everyone he or she plays with. Likewise, being lazy or self-satisfied drags down everyone around you.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

There have been several extended periods where I really struggled with the idea that having integrity and good character is more important than success. I was brought up believing that (my parents were neither achievement-oriented nor overly accommodating), and I still do. But it’s easy to make that statement when you have enough to eat and can make rent and people are regularly affirming the work you do. Society says that integrity matters, but then turns around and judges you exclusively on indicators of wealth, prestige, or social significance. That would probably explain why so many truly awful people are among the most successful. Especially in the world of art, you need to be profitable, popular, or critically acclaimed. If you’re none of the three, you must not be very good at what you do. Then you feel pressure either to adapt your work to the market or to quit entirely. But neither of those options demonstrates integrity. I’m not sure it’s possible to resolve that conflict, ultimately.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Laying aside questions about marketability, it seems like it’s a progression of greater risk-taking. You try something new and then ask, did it communicate what I wanted to say? Was it satisfying? Did I learn something in the process? If it didn’t work, then you go back and try again. If it worked, then you jump off from there and take more risks. If you’re not taking risks, then you’re not making art, you’re producing a commodity. But taking risks necessarily means failing sometimes.

How do you define success?

Sustainability. I don’t just mean that in the financial sense. I’ve never made any money from the band and I probably never will, but I’m happy for the band to support itself. Money hasn’t ever been a goal, it’s just one means to the end of being able to keep going for as long as there is music we want to make. But there are other dimensions to sustainability, like avoiding personal burnout and cultivating new audiences, not getting stuck in unproductive habits, becoming more disciplined people as time goes on. During periods where Rosetta was broke and almost unable to continue, money always loomed as the largest dimension. But once we went independent and the band more or less began to pay for itself, I started to see a lot of different ways it could be derailed that had nothing to do with money. I think success would be a situation where we had what we needed and were spending more time creating than problem-solving.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

A No Doubt show at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia in 2002. Yes, it was for a girlfriend. Someone puked on my shoes.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

A drone record made with a guitar and found sounds from my house to a four-track tape recorder.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Every year my wife and I try to go on a wilderness backpacking trip to some weird remote location. I always look forward to that. I feel most human in situations where I have to submit to the law of nature, rather than using technology to bend nature to my wishes. Real life seems totally unreal by comparison.

Rosetta, Rosetta: Audio/Visual Original Score (2015)

Rosetta’s website

Rosetta on Thee Facebooks

Rosetta on Twitter

Rosetta on Bandcamp

Golden Antenna Records

 

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Backwoods Payback Announce Live Shows

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Making their way back to active status following a stint on the DL, Pennsylvania heavy merchants Backwoods Payback have announced two weekenders set to take place next month that will take them out of their West Chester home and onward to regional outlets in New Jersey, PA, Virginia and Maryland. It’s four shows spread over two weeks, so hardly the heaviest touring they’ve done, but with just periodic appearances under their collective belt since the release of their 2014 EP, In the Ditch (review here), it bodes well for what might lay ahead, and frankly, it’s good to hear anything from them at all.

Backwoods Payback‘s most recent show was May 15, playing the after-party for the Bethlehem, PA, date of the Clutch/Mastodon tour, but prior to that, they also shared the stage with Black CowgirlGeneration of Vipers and U.S. Christmas at The Depot in York at the end of April, so there have been stirrings leading to these weekenders coming up. The addition of new drummer Pierson Roe (Castle Freak) alongside guitarist/vocalist Mike Cummings and bassist Jessica Baker will no doubt make gigging easier in the months upcoming, and in announcing the shows, the band also teases a possibility of a new album, which would be their sophomore outing following 2011’s Small Stone full-length debut, Momantha (review here).

Most likely that’s a ways off — though I guess they could surprise everybody with a new record tomorrow; anything’s possible — but either way, that they’re starting to get out again is a step in the right direction. Their announcement was quick and to the point:

backwoods payback june tour

JUNE DATES! this convoy is heading back out where we belong…on the ROAD!

New shows, new songs, new merch, new drummer, new RECORD???

Backwoods Payback on tour:
06/12 The Meatlocker, Montclair, NJ
06/13 The Funhouse, Bethlehem, PA
06/19 Strange Matter, Richmond, VA
06/20 Guido’s Speakeasy, Frederick, MD

https://www.facebook.com/backwoodspayback
http://backwoodspayback.bandcamp.com/

Backwoods Payback, In the Ditch (2014)

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Drinking with the Devil Dick, by Tommy Southard

Posted in Columns on May 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s been almost exactly three years since guitarist Tommy Southard of SolaceThe Disease ConceptSocial Decay, etc., last turned in a Drinking with the Devil Dick beer column, but hey, I’ve got an open door policy and a permanent soft spot for Tommy, so it’s not like when he hit me up and said he wanted to do one I was about to say no. Would never happen. This time around, he hits up Tired Hands and Weyerbacher Brewing near his home outside Philadelphia, and samples a variety of fare, including candied bacon and a beer called “Stoner Witch.”

Solace have a reunion gig booked for this fall at the Vultures of Volume II fest. More info on that to come. In the meantime, enjoy:

i see darkness imperial honey porter on cask with local rasberries

11179977_10206261615597564_3977048150518709014_nWell hello there Obelisk-ers,

It’s been a long time!

Devil Dick here to talk about my current favorite place on Earth to drink beer!

A few years ago a brewery opened up not to far away from where we live in Ardmore, PA. We were intrigued but did not visit right away because I remember my wife “Yelped” it and people were talking about the food portions being small. And my second fave thing after drinking beer is eating, so we passed. I remember telling her I didn’t want to leave being hungry. So it took a while before we took a chance and ventured in. Man, I wish we were there the day they opened because the beers were AMAZING.

The place is called “Tired Hands” and they’ve have become something of a sensation across the triple beers with candied bacon and pannini -1400country. Beer nerds all over salivate to get one of their limited bottle releases in their hands.

The beers are fresh, different and never disappointing. It didn’t take long before the small place that was pumping out 1,000 barrels per year was unable to keep up in production. The once-easy-to-get-a-spot-at bar was full to capacity almost all the time. Fast forward a few years and they opened up a new and much bigger spot called “Fermentaria” just a few blocks away. This larger facility has the capability to bring beer to the Pennsylvania masses, 10,000 barrels per year. The beer has now become available at other bars around the city of Philadelphia. Pretty awesome stuff!

Jean Broillet IV and his wife Julie Foster are locals who have created an instant Mecca for beer nerds in ‘burbs of Philadelphia.

He is mad scientist of brewing, making kooky and delicious beers using interesting ingredients of all kinds. He started out learning the brew trade at Weyerbacher Brewing Company in Easton Pennsylvania. Jean’s main brewing focus is farmhouse ales. The brewery has brewed so many different beers that I can’t even keep track of them all. Lucky for me, a while back I started saving my growler tags so I remember the beers I had! IStoner Witch really should keep a notebook but then I’d become one of those beer geeks, heh…

Jean along with his staff are also some really cool and interesting people, who all dig music. We have often talked with them about music heavy metal and punk rock or Orange Goblin or Venom… And don’t be surprised if you walk in the place and they are jamming The Misfits or Slayer on the sound system. My kind of place! Jean has even brewed beer with some musicians like Dave Witte of Municipal Waste who is not onlyan amazing drummer but also way into beer. Made a beer in honor of the bands Baroness and Pallbearer. Named one of the beers “Stoner Witch” in homage to the Melvins.

There was beer named “Screeching Loud Thrashing Death Metal Offensive Song” which was named after a comment a lady posted that on Yelp: “Great beer, decent food, really quaint, welcoming space. But the music positively ruined this place for me…. SCREECHING LOUD THRASHING DEATH-METAL OFFENSIVE SONG THAT SETS YOUR TEETH ON EDGE & FILLS YOU WITH MURDEROUS RAGE, The wife with a pea and carrot salad at Fermentaria-1400instantly rendering conversation impossible.”

Hey, not everyone loves Slayer — their loss! They often have the Mike Lorenz Quartet playing on weeknights or at monthly bottle releases. They do killer jazz versions of Sabbath tunes.

The food at “The Brew Café”: Don’t expect typical “bar” food. You won’t get greasy burgers and fries. You can get fresh bread made on the spot, local cheeses, Panini sandwiches and killer salads but by all means GET THE CANDIED BACON!

The new Fermentaria has full kitchen with killer tacos!!!

Oh yeah, and Jean does all the artwork for the place as well. Talented guy, that Jean is.candied bacon bread and cheese plate-1400

Great beer, great food, great music and good people, it’s a win, win, win, win.

I can’t do the place justice with my words. So take a peak their website and Facebook page and check out what they are up to. And if you are in the Philly area do yourself a favor and stop in. Tell them Devil Dick sent you! You won’t be sorry.

Tired Hands Brewing website

Tired Hands on Thee Facebooks

Weyerbacher website

Weyerbacher on Thee Facebooks

Solace on Thee Facebooks 

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Rosetta to Release Quintessential Ephemera on July 3

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 14th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

rosetta

By now, Philly five-piece Rosetta are pretty much self-sustaining. What I mean is, the band, who picked up guitarist/vocalist Eric Jernigan from City of Ships in 2014 as their fifth member, seem to be able to just keep going. They tour hard consistently and do well, and they put out records that usually reap some measure of positive response, but more than anything else, what they’ve become in the decade since they issued their The Galilean Satellites debut on Translation Loss in 2005 is steady. Sustainable. They’ve built a loyal following and can probably keep Rosetta going until they decide it’s time to stop. Not saying it’ll make them rich, not saying it’s not work, but the band has a life of its own without being propped up by hype.

Rosetta‘s new album, Quintessential Ephemera, will be released on CD and LP this summer via Golden Antenna Records and follows a score the band put together for a documentary about them called Rosetta: Audio/Visual that can be name-your-price downloaded from their Bandcamp. They’ll head back to Europe following the upcoming full-length’s arrival, and you can find the dates below for that tour, courtesy of the PR wire:

rosetta quintessential ephemera

Golden Antenna Records: ROSETTA “Quintessential Ephemera” (Members of CITY OF SHIPS, Post Metal/ Rock)

Artist: Rosetta
Title: Quintessential Ephemera
Format: CD, 2xLP
Label: Golden Antenna Records
Distribution: Broken Silence
Release Date: 03/07/2015

With four albums under their belt, and over a thousand shows across a decade of touring, the four people behind Rosetta have branched out.

In 2014, Rosetta made their first-ever lineup change, adding Eric Jernigan of longtime tourmates City of Ships on guitar and vocals. As a five-piece, they recorded 2015’s Quintessential Ephemera, a many-layered collection of songs at once existential and deeply hopeful. Containing some of the band’s most moody and yet accessible work to date, it still has an upward force to it that delivers an appropriate counterpoint to the darkness and disintegration ofThe Anaesthete. After a 12-year journey, Quintessential Ephemera is a rebirth.

On their fifth full length album, Rosetta continues to broaden their harmonic and sonic experiments. Carrying the torch of 90s experimental rock with , they merge a deep melodic sobriety with progressive and confrontational heaviness. Quintessential Ephemera is both existential and deeply hopeful. It has some of the bands most moody work to date, but has an upward force to it that delivers an appropriate counterpoint to the darkness and nihilism of their previous record.

Quintessential Ephemera was recorded and mixed at Machines With Magnets (Battles, The Body, Braveyoung) in Providence, USA and mastered by Colin Marston (of Gorguts, Krallice, Dysrhythmia) at The Thousand Caves in New York. Artwork was designed by american artist called Mark Price.

Pre-order: http://www.goldenantenna.com/shop/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=rosetta
150 copies available on limited green vinyl!

http://warcrimerecordings.bigcartel.com/product/rosetta-quintessential-ephemera-2xlp-preorder-to-ship-end-of-june
2xLP green splatter on transparent vinyl

European Tour
28.07 BEL – Knokke Heist @ Korenbloem
29.07 NL – Utrecht @ dB’s
30.07 GER – Würzburg @ Immerhin
31.07 GER – Bad Kötzting @ VOID FEST
01.08 SK – Trnava @ Art Klub
02.08 HUN – Budapest @ Dürer Kert
03.08 SRB – Belgrade @ KC Grad
04.08 BIH – Sarajevo @ Club Underground
05.08 CRO – Sibenik @ SUPERUHO FEST
06.08 CRO – Cakovec @ Prostor Cezam
07.08 AUT – Vienna @ Chelsea
08.08 CZ – Jaromer @ BRUTAL ASSAULT FEST
09.08 POL – Warsaw @ Klub Hydrozagadka
10.08 GER – Dresden @ Chemiefabrik
11.08 GER – Essen @ Panic Room
12.08 DK – Copenhagen @ Underwerket
13.08 GER – Berlin @ Tiefgrund (Theatersaal)
14.08 GER – Wiesbaden @ Schlachthof
15.08 FRA – Paris @ Le Point Ephémère
16.08 BEL – Ieper @ IEPER SUMMER FEST

http://www.rosettaband.com
http://www.facebook.com/rosettaband
http://www.goldenantenna.com
https://theanaesthete.bandcamp.com/

Rosetta, Rosetta: Audio/Visual (2015)

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Ecstatic Vision to Release Sonic Praise on June 30

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 6th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

ecstatic-vision-(Photo-by-Orion-Landau)

Initially signed to Relapse on the strength of their first demo, Philly heavy psych trio Ecstatic Vision will make their full-length debut in the heat of summer with Sonic Praise. The album is available to preorder now and follows a spring tour the three-piece undertook with YOB and Enslaved — because if you’re going to do something, god damn it, do it right — and arrives with a sense of intrigue as to how the band’s penchant shown onstage for rhythmic intricacy and jamming spiritualism will translate to a studio setting. The album is five songs, so I’m guessing it translates to a couple pretty extended tracks.

No problem there. Sonic Praise is out June 30 on Relapse and the PR wire has details, a stream of the song “Don’t Kill the Vibe” and those preorder links for those who like to be ahead of the game.

Dig it:

ecstatic vision sonic praise

ECSTATIC VISION DETAIL DEBUT ALBUM ‘SONIC PRAISE’ OUT ON RELAPSE RECORDS JUNE 30TH

Philadelphia’s Ecstatic Vision explode onto the scene with one of the most thrilling guitar driven records in a long, long time. Sonic Praise weaves the guitar heroics of the 70’s heavy classics of UFO and Hawkwind with the rhythmic intensity of Sun Ra and Fela Kuti. Massive riffs vibe seamlessly with deep rhythms to create one of the most original and best heavy psych debuts in years. The album is out June 30th on Relapse Records.

Recorded at various studios throughout Philadelphia, the group’s debut is an acid-tinged mix of trance inducing, primitive African tribal and heavy psych a la Hawkwind, Goat and Amon Düül II. The band formed in early 2014 and have already played numerous high profile shows like Pallbearer, Georgia’s Meltasia Festival alongside Black Lips, Nik Turner’s Hawkwind and toured North America with YOB and Enslaved.

ECSTATIC VISION
SONIC PRAISE
RELAPSE RECORDS
JUNE 30, 2015
PRE-ORDER: PHYSICAL | DIGITAL

1 – Journey
2 – Astral Plane
3 – Don’t Kill The Vibe
4 – Sonic Praise
5 – Cross The Divide

https://www.facebook.com/ecstaticvision
https://twitter.com/ecstaticvision_
https://instagram.com/ecstaticvision/
http://ecstaticvision.bandcamp.com/
http://www.relapse.com/ecstatic-vision/

Ecstatic Vision, “Don’t Kill the Vibe”

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Wizard Eye to Release Self-Titled LP on Black Monk Records

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

The news is good and has been a while in coming. Philadelphia trio Wizard Eye, whose stonerly sludge is one of the Mid-Atlantic’s best kept secrets at this point in heavy, have signed a deal with the newly-christened Black Monk Records and will release their self-titled sophomore full-length through the label this Summer. This comes after the band hooked up with 313 Artist Management late last year, concurrent to the release of their live EP, Riff Occult Live (review here), back in December.

Since Wizard Eye‘s Wizard Eye will come five years after their 2010 debut, Orbital Rites, I doubt anyone will accuse the three-piece of not being due for a second outing, but while it might have been a while coming together, I’ve little doubt the new record will earn a fair share of nods. Not saying I’ve heard it or anything, just saying keep an eye or an ear out.

Here’s the announcement from the band, pictured below with the Black Monk Records crew:

wizard eye

Wizard Eye Signs With Black Monk Records for Upcoming Vinyl Release

Philadelphia-based stoner/doom band, Wizard Eye, recently announced its partnership with emerging Philadelphia area label, Black Monk Records for the release of its upcoming self-titled album.

“Wizard Eye is thrilled to be working with Black Monk Records,” says David Shahriari, the band’s bassist/vocalist. “As a Philly-based label whose owners have been fans of ours since day one, we can’t imagine a more ideal partnership for our first release on vinyl. Black Monk Records has empowered us to bring our titanic wizard riffs to the masses in exactly the format they need and with complete artistic integrity.”

The newly formed label, started by the owners of Philadelphia record store, Vinyl Altar, will focus on releases from local artists who share their love for high-quality albums with strong aesthetics.

“Wizard Eye has been one of our favorite bands from Philly for some time now,” Christopher Mazeika, one half of Vinyl Altar explains. “When Black Monk Records was ready to put out its first release, it was only natural that we approach Wizard Eye. Black Monk Records is all about local pride with worldwide appeal, and Wizard Eye is all that and more!”

The band and its management see this pairing as natural and highly advantageous for all parties involved.

“Just visit Philadelphia’s Vinyl Altar once, and you’ll know the heart that Chris puts into making it one of the best record shops around,” says the band’s manager, Scott Harrington of 313 INC Artist Management. “It makes sense that his passion would lead him to starting his own label. And that passion is just one of the many reasons we are extremely excited to announce Wizard Eye’s partnership with Black Monk Records for this album.”

The nine-track album, Wizard Eye, was recorded in Haddon Heights, New Jersey, at Gradwell House Recording Studio and is slated for mid-summer release. This collection will be initially made available at a release show to be held at the Vinyl Altar store location, but it will be also be distributed internationally via web and mail orders.

Photo Caption
l-r: Erik Caplan (Wizard Eye vocals, guitar, theremin), David (Wizard Eye bass, vocals), Mike Scarpone (Wizard Eye drums), Annmarie Lamon (Black Monk Records), Christopher Mazeika (front, Black Monk Records)

https://www.facebook.com/wizardeye
https://wizardeye.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/BlackMonkRecords
https://www.facebook.com/vinylaltar
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Gradwell-House/195259500617649

Wizard Eye, Riff Occult Live (2014)

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Quarterly Review: Leather Nun America, Corsair, Sea, The Munsens, Gondola, Space Mushroom Fuzz, Deep Aeon, Teepee Creeper, Hellrad, Venus Sleeps

Posted in Reviews on April 2nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk quarterly review

Day four. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling it, but you know, that’s what caffeine is there for. If I push past the day’s quota of mental energy, fine. Hasn’t stopped me yet, and there are only 20 reviews of the total 50 left. Not quite the home stretch, but it’s up there on the horizon. Some cool stuff today, and that always helps as well.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Leather Nun America, Buddha Knievel

leather nun america buddha knievel

Though they’re mostly indebted to a Wino-style Maryland doom sound, San Diego three-piece Leather Nun America touch on more dramatic fare late into their fifth album, the awesomely-titled Buddha Knievel (on Nine Records). Pairing the acoustic-led instrumental “Gloom” and 7:51 “Winter Kill,” which swirls its way to an apex of lead guitar from John Sarnie with some subtle touches of extreme metal from drummer Sergio Carlos, they expand beyond a riff-and-groove ethic – though of course they do that well too. Sarnie and bassist Francis Charles Roberts (also of Old Man Wizard) offer familiar structures but satisfying tones, cuts like “Into Abyss” taking a darker turn on some of Spirit Caravan’s road-ready groove. An intro (“Prologue”) and subsequent interludes offer further depth, but the heart of “Burning Village” and Buddha Knievel as a whole is in the three-piece’s take on doom rock, and some of the record’s most satisfying moments come from precisely that, even unto the surprisingly boogieing closer “Irish Steel.”

Leather Nun America on Thee Facebooks

Nine Records on Bandcamp

Corsair, One Eyed Horse

corsair one eyed horse

Seems longer than three years since Virginia’s Corsair made their self-titled full-length debut (review here), but with the fervent support of Shadow Kingdom Records, they return with One Eyed Horse, an album much sweeter than its somewhat disturbing cover art might indicate, the four-piece of guitarist/vocalists Marie Landragin and Paul Sebring, bassist/vocalist Jordan Brunk and drummer Michael Taylor gracefully delving further into progressive heavy rock textures in cuts like “Shadows from Breath,” which though it winds up in blastbeats, never loses its sense of pose. That’s emblematic of the masterfully-handed twists and turns One Eyed Horse presents throughout its 45 minutes, highlights like “Sparrows Cragg” soaring and immersive while elsewhere “Brothers” reminds that sometimes it’s important to just get down to business and rock out. Corsair remain a well-kept secret, and one wonders while listening to the harmonies and post-rock bliss of “Royal Stride” just how long they can stay that way. Gorgeous, heavy and definitively their own, there’s nothing one could ask of One Eyed Horse that it doesn’t deliver. And yes, I mean that.

Corsair on Thee Facebooks

Shadow Kingdom Records

Sea, Demo

sea demo

“Seer,” “Moros” and “Chronos” are the first three tracks to be released by Boston newcomer post-metallers Sea, but already their Demo showcases an impressive atmospheric breadth. Churning riffs from guitarists Liz Walshak (who also drew the cover; ex-Rozamov) and Mike Blasi (Rhino King) are given added depth from bassist/vocalist Stephen LoVerme (Olde Growth), and propelled ahead by drummer/engineer Andrew Muro, though there’s room left in each cut for ambience as well, “Seer” trading off, “Moros” beginning a linear build, and “Chronos” finding a middle-ground in switching between harsh and clean vocals before a slowdown brings about the chugging, memorable finale. Opening with its longest cut (immediate points), Demo proves an ambitious first release, but there’s nothing Sea set out to do on it that they don’t accomplish, and I take it as a particularly encouraging sign that in three cuts, there’s just about no structural repetition to be found. That bodes well in the classic demo sense, but more than what’s to come, these songs are already worth hearing.

Sea on Thee Facebooks

Sea on Bandcamp

The Munsens, Weight of Night

the munsens weight of night

Aggressive Sabbath-style doom with East Coast roots – The Munsens recorded at Moonlight Mile with Mike Moebius (Pilgrim, Kings Destroy) in NJ – Weight of Night finds the trio amidst the legal flora of Denver, Colorado, which is a fitting enough setting for the three riff-led cuts they offer on the tape. Of them, side one’s “Slave” is the most decidedly Iommic, a layered solo rounding out after “Under the Sun”-style descent — it also opens with a sample of Julie Newmar as the devil from The Twilight Zone — but both “Weight of Night” and side two’s 11-minute “The Hunt” boast the root influence as well, though the latter is invariably a standout for its crawling progression, almost Pallbearer-esque, that pushes up the tempo in its second half, arriving at a driving pace that’s even farther from where it started than the runtime would have you believe. The opening title-track works somewhat similarly, but ends with a piano interlude, and the shouting, metallic vocals hold back later on “The Hunt,” making its lumbering all the more hypnotic.

The Munsens on Thee Facebooks

The Munsens on Bandcamp

Gondola, Get Bent

gondola get bent

Philly trio Gondola waste just about no time showing off primo guitar antics on their Budro Records-released Get Bent LP, a penchant for jamming underscoring a lot of the wah-drenched movement on opener “Brain Ghost” and its side A compatriots “Psychic Knife,” “Poison Path” and “The Hornet.” There’s a decidedly stoner influence, vocals gaze-out Dead Meadow-style on “Psychic Knife,” but a Naam jam in “Brain Ghost” and the Fu Manchu drive of side B highlight “Electric Werewolf” offer plenty of variety within that sphere, guitarist/vocalist Rocky Rinaldi, bassist/vocalist Jordan Blumling and drummer Tim Plunkett finding space to make their own thanks in no small part to a palpable chemistry between them. Heavy rock and roll, and a damn good time, Get Bent comes across more as a suggestion than an imperative by the time the arm’s returned after “Life Cult” but either way, Gondola’s jam-laden push and brainmelter leads make this one a howler not to be missed, and just because it vibes hard doesn’t meant the songs don’t move.

Gondola on Thee Facebooks

Gondola on Soundcloud

Space Mushroom Fuzz, Future Family

space mushroom fuzz future family

Consistently unpredictable and reliably prolific, Boston outfit Space Mushroom Fuzz – spearheaded by Adam Abrams of Blue Aside – isn’t through opener “Let’s Give Them Something to Hate About” before a sampled bong and sickly-sweet solo interwine with a progressive psychedelic jam. One never really knows what’s coming from Space Mushroom Fuzz, and on Future Family, it seems to be a blend of traditional songwriting with the project’s long-established weirdo sensibilities. “A Day in the Strife” is particularly Floydian, but even that has a structure, and “Saving all My Love for U2” has just about the heaviest, most straightforward push I’ve heard from Abrams in this context, even though there’s plenty of freakout to be had as well. What holds the release together is the persistent anything-goes vibe, which is maintained even unto the acoustic-led swirl of closer “L’Americana,” not quite fully departing an underlying cynicism, but escaping sonically the irony in some of the album’s titles in a manner that’s sincere whether or not it wants to be.

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Deep Aeon, Temple of Time

deep aeon temple of time

The key to Deep Aeon’s Temple of Time (released on H42 Records) is in the momentum the German four-piece commence to build on opener “Element 24” and how utterly unwilling they are to relinquish it at any point over the release’s 29-minute span. Even six-minute closer “River” has a shuffle – and handclaps. Vocalist Marcel Röche keeps a gruff edge to his voice throughout, but that could just as easily be from keeping up with guitarist Alexander Weber, bassist Axel Meyer and drummer Nikolaj Marfels. Songs like “Floating” and side-B launch “With that Priest on the Back Seat” offer straightforward fuzzy heavy rock, but rhythmically, Temple of Time swings and swings and swings and there’s just no getting away from it. If the record was 50 minutes long, I’m not sure it would be sustainable – someone’s bound to need to catch their breath, band or listener – but for being in and out in under half an hour, Deep Aeon make a clean, efficient run with little use for letup. Bonus points for the Alexander von Wieding artwork.

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H42 Records

Teepee Creeper, Ashes of the Northwest

teepee creeper ashes of the northwest

“Come with me, let’s go get high,” urges Teepee Creeper guitarist/vocalist Jon Unruh on “Rainbow Sex Glow” from his band’s seven-track/33-minute Ashes of the Northwest full-length, recorded by Mos Generator’s Tony Reed, who also drums and whose band released a split 7” with Teepee Creeper last year (review here). I won’t say “let’s go get high” sums it all up, but a lot of it. Riffs rule the day, and deservedly so, on tracks like “Far Far Away,” the live-tracked “Crushing the Gods of Men” and “The Raven’s Eye,” which caps with a particularly righteous roll. Rounded out by bassist Jeremy Deede – no slight presence in the mix – and now featuring drummer Ian Hall, Teepee Creeper seem to get better the higher the volume goes, the impressive and open-sounding tones surrounding the listener on the aforementioned “Rainbow Sex Glow” like a meaner version of Texas’ Wo Fat, and yes, that is a compliment. The album may or may not reduce their native region to ashes, but it’s bound to turn some heads in their direction.

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Hellräd, Things Never Change

hellrad things never change

How right the umlaut-happy Hellräd are when the Philly sludge slammers posit that Things Never Change. Their destructive, blown-out grime makes its nihilism plain in songs like “Homegrown Terrorist,” “My Jihad Against My Own Mind,” “Dopefiend Jesus,” and of course “Smoke More Crack,” weighted, lumbering grooves switching off at a clip with full-speed punker fuckall. Guitarist Mike Hook, noisemaker/vocalist Dirty Dave (not the same Dirty Dave from The Glasspack), bassist Herb Jowett and drummer Robert Lepor get down to all-out bludgeonry from the start of “Street Zombies,” the opener and longest track (immediate points) at 6:55, but there’s just something about the rolling groove of “Fuck Up (All I’ll Ever Be)” that hits home. Probably not as primal in its making as the energy with which it’s conveyed might lead one to believe, the ultra-nasty 38-minute debut full-length is nonetheless likely to leave a dent in your skull. Or have your skull leave a dent in something else. A wall, maybe. Or another skull.

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Venus Sleeps, Dead Sun Worship

venus sleeps dead sun worship

Working in longer form on the four original tracks included on Dead Sun Worship, their full-length debut, Dublin four-piece Venus Sleeps make an atmospheric centerpiece out of the Syd Barrett cover “Golden Hair,” which in the context of what surrounds it is almost an interlude. Shades of Electric Wizard show themselves on the howling “I am the Night,” but the opening duo of “Ether Sleeper” and “Dawn of Nova” is more progressive, the guitarist/vocalist Sie Carroll, guitarist/backing vocalist Steven Anderson, bassist Seán O’Connor and drummer Fergal Malone exploring a psychedelic blend of doom and heavy rock riffing that comes to the fore again on 11-minute closer “Age of Nothing,” despite that song’s healthy dose of wah. The range they show in the original material seems only bolstered by the cover, and especially as their debut, the ambition and scope Venus Sleeps showcase is admirable. There are moments when the production seems to contract when a given part wants it to expand, to sound bigger, but Dead Sun Worship lacks nothing for clarity in purpose or execution.

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In the Studio with Supervoid

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 12th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

supervoid

Later this year, Pittsburgh riff metallers Supervoid will release a split with Minneapolis four-piece Red Desert on Ripple Music as part of the label’s noble oh-my-god-there-are-too-many-bands-okay-fine-we’ll-just-put-out-stuff-from-everyone series of splits titled The Second Coming of Heavy. They recently tracked new material with Matt Very at Very Tight Recordings to include for their part and, diligent sirs that they are, video recorded what seems more or less like the entire experience. Or at least enough of it to edit it down and give everyone a little glimpse at what it was like in the studio.

Seems like a pretty laid back atmosphere, which always helps. If you’ve ever seen Supervoid‘s press shots, you know they’re not inclined to take themselves too seriously — though in my experience even the most heads-down-get-to-business session has a tendency to devolve into running gags, dick jokes, etc. — so it’s not much of a surprise they’d be having a good time while recording. Even better though is the fact that, as you hear the song being built in the beginning, one part at a time, the second half brings a (partial) reveal of the finished track along with a montage of its making. So you get a taste of the completed new music as well as a look at how it came together.

If I’m not mistaken, this will be Supervoid‘s first outing as a four-piece after quietly parting ways with guitarist Dave following 2013’s Filaments long-player (review here) and the subsequent 2014 digi-single, “Against Sunrise,” so I wouldn’t be surprised if some sonic changes are in store as they move from two guitars to one. Filaments is mostly sold-out, but there are a few limited-edition hand-made digipaks available at their Bandcamp, which will likely be gone by the time they make the trip to Long Island for the Eye of the Stoned Goat 5 fest in June. More info on that here.

Enjoy the clip:

Supervoid, Recording for Red Desert Split

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Ripple Music

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