Pale Divine Announce New Self-Titled LP

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

pale divine

A new Pale Divine record does not come along every day. It’s been six years since the Glen Mills, PA-based trio issued their last full-length, Painted Windows Black (review here), so yeah, if you believe in due, they’re due. The new album, which will be the first since Ron “Fezz” McGinnis stepped into the bassist role, seemingly permanently, alongside guitarist/vocalist Greg Diener and drummer Darin McCloskey. Over the last few years, they’ve been regulars at the Maryland Doom Fest and also appeared at Doom in June, Vultures of Volume and at the Brooklyn stop of the Tour of the Doomed last August with Sheavy and Beezefuzz, the latter of which also boasts both Diener and McCloskey in its lineup.

Doomers don’t need me to tell them that the prospect of a Pale Divine LP being released at some point this year is automatically something worth keeping an eye out for. There isn’t an exact date given by the band or the label, which is the venerable Shadow Kingdom Records, but when I find out more I’ll let you know. Till then, dig the art by Brad Moore and the tracklisting:

PALE DIVINE S/T

Via Shadow Kingdom Records: PALE DIVINE – Self Titled album (Coming in 2018) will be the band’s greatest representation of their entire career with all fresh new music! Awesome artwork done by the incredible Brad Moore. AND we brought back their classic band logo! Enjoy!

Via Pale Divine: BEHOLD! Here is the cover art (courtesy of Brad Moore) and final track listing for our new album coming out later this year on Shadow Kingdom Records.

“All I can say is its a bit different from past releases,” says bassist Ron “Fezzy” McGinnis. “It’s taken us a good amount of time. We really put a lot of thought and effort into these songs and I think we have done something special. We are hoping the fans dig it.”

Pale Divine – S/T
(2018, SKR159)

Tracklisting:
1. Spinning Wheel
2. Bleeding Soul
3. Chemical Decline
4. So Low
5. Curse the Shadows
6. Shades of Blue
7. Silver tongue
8. Ship of Fools

Pale Divine is:
Greg Diener – vocals & guitar
Ron “Fezzy” McGinnis – bass & vocals
Darin McCloskey – drums

https://www.facebook.com/serpentspath/
http://www.paledivineband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ShadowKingdomRecords/
https://twitter.com/ShadowKingdom/
https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://www.shadowkingdomrecords.com/

Pale Divine, Painted Windows Black (2012)

Tags: , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: The Atlas Moth, Across Tundras, The Wizards of Delight, Against the Grain, Our Solar System, Dommengang, Boss Keloid, Holy Smoke, Sabel, Blackwater Prophet

Posted in Reviews on April 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Quarterly-Review-Spring-2018

This is a crucial moment in any Quarterly Review. Today we hit the halfway point one way or the other. I still haven’t decided if this will be a 50- or 60-album edition; kind of playing it by ear, but either way, today’s a landmark in my mind in terms of how far to go vs. how far we’ve come. Uphill vs. downhill to some extent, but I don’t want to give the impression that I’m either half-assing it from here on out or that I don’t enjoy the challenge of reviewing 10 records in a day, one after the next, for (at least) five days in a row. I’ve always been a glutton for a bit of self-flagellation. Ha.

Alright, let’s dive in.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

The Atlas Moth, Coma Noir

the atlas moth coma noir

If one still wants to consider Chicago’s The Atlas Moth post-metal after hearing Coma Noir, at least do them the courtesy of emphasizing the “metal” part of that equation. For their debut on Prosthetic Records and fourth full-length overall, the five-piece worked with producer Sanford Parker to solidify a progressive metal sound that, whether in the harsh and weighted impact of the opening title-track or the later interplay between guitarists Stavros Giannopoulos and David Kush on screams and cleaner vocals in “Furious Gold,” seems to take cues from groups like a less manic Strapping Young Lad and a less watered-down Mastodon more than Isis or Neurosis. With prominent synth from Andrew Ragin (also guitar), and the solid roll from the rhythm section of bassist Alex Klein and drummer Mike Miczek, the band brings revitalized edge to “The Streets of Bombay,” and even on the slower, more atmospheric closer “Chloroform,” they’ve never sounded more lethal. It suits them.

The Atlas Moth on Thee Facebooks

Prosthetic Records webstore

 

Across Tundras, Tumbleweeds III

across tundras tumbleweeds iii

A collection of odds and ends from Across Tundras, the 10-track/52-minute Tumbleweeds III may or may not sate anyone hoping for a follow-up to 2013’s Electric Relics (review here), but it provides some curio fodder along the way to be sure, from raw opener “Final Breath over Venom Falls” to the acoustic-percussion jam “Bullet in the Butt” to the fuller roll of “Cold Ride” and later demos for “Spinning Through the Cosmic Dust,” “Hijo del Desierto,” “Stone Crazy Horse” and “The Stacked Plain,” which later became “Seasick Serenade” on Electric Relics, it’s at very least something for fans to dig into and a fascinating listen, as Across Tundras’ rambling sound is almost eerily suited to a home-recording vibe, as the “Stone Crazy Horse” demo, featuring vocalist Shannon Allie-Murphy along with frontman Tanner Olson, sounds all the more folksome as a result of its lack of production polish. Closing with Bob Dylan’s “The Ballad of Hollis Brown,” then, could hardly be more appropriate. Still waiting for a proper long-player to surface, but happy at this point to take what comes.

Across Tundras on Thee Facebooks

Across Tundras on Bandcamp

 

The Wizards of Delight, The Wizards of Delight

the wizards of delight the wizards of delight

Like a chicanery-laced dusty vinyl with a naked lady on the cover, The Wizards of Delight emerge from the London underground to solidly declare “We’ve got the rock ‘n’ rollz.” And yes, they spell it with a ‘z.’ The presence of frontman Andreas “Mazzereth” Maslen will be familiar to anyone who ever even briefly encountered Groan – dude makes an impression, to be sure – and the four tracks he and the surrounding five-piece of guitarists/backing vocalists Dan Green’s Myth and Lenny Ray, bassist/backing vocalist Eponymous, organist/backing vocalist Henry and drummer Reece bring is both funky and classically heavy, “Gypsy” referencing Dio Sabbath in the first line while “Mountain Woman” brings a heavy ‘70s shuffle to answer the way-un-P.C. “Shogun Messiah,” which seems to be working under the thesis that because it sounds like it’s from 40 years ago, they can get away with it. I’ll give them that the track is, to an unfortunate degree, catchy. As to the rest, give me the groove of “We Got the Rock ‘n’ Rollz” any day. It’s been a while since anyone so brazenly interpreted Mk. II Deep Purple and actually pulled it off.

The Wizards of Delight on Thee Facebooks

APF Records website

 

Against the Grain, Cheated Death

against the grain cheated death

Hard-touring Detroit heavy rockers Against the Grain are known for speed, and rightly so. When they burst into high gear, as on “Sacrifice,” “No Sleep,” “Last Chance,” “Rolling Stone,” “Enough’s Not Enough,” and “Jaded and Faded” from their latest offering and Ripple Music debut, Cheated Death. The follow-up to 2015’s Road Warriors (review here) sees them no less infectious in their live energy, but it’s hard to ignore the more versatile approach that seems to be growing in their sound, from the classic rocking “Smoke” to the near-centerpiece “Devils and Angels” which ballads-out its boozy regrets before entering into an effective mid-paced build that rounds out in choice dual-soloing. Likewise, though they open at a good clip with the title-track, closer “Into the Light” finds a middle ground between thrust and groove. The truth is Against the Grain have never been just about speed, but they’ve never so directly benefited from a dynamic approach as they do on Cheated Death either.

Against the Grain on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Our Solar System, Origins

our solar system origins

Immediate kudos to Stockholm-based psychedelic progressive explorers Our Solar System – aka Vårt Solsystem – for opening their third full-length for Beyond Beyond is Beyond, the five-track/41-minute Origins, with the side-consuming 21-minute “Vulkanen.” One could hardly ask for more effective immersion in the band’s world of patiently unfurled, languid psychedelia, and with the accompaniment of “Babalon Rising,” the jazz-prog tracklist centerpiece “En Bit Av Det Tredje Klotet,” the birdsong-laced “Naturligt Samspel” and the semi-freaked-out melodic wash of “Monte Verita” on side B, a full, rich, and mind-expanding cosmos is engaged, free of restriction even as it remains thoroughly lysergic, and adherent to no structural will so much as the will to adventure into the unknown, to find out where one progression leads. As regards the long- and short-form material on Origins, it leads far, far out, and if you don’t come out the other side wanting to own everything the band has ever released, you’re decidedly in the wrong.

Our Solar System on Thee Facebooks

Beyond Beyond is Beyond website

 

Dommengang, Love Jail

dommengang love jail

Once calling Brooklyn Home, Los Angeles trio Dommengang waste no time in getting down to the business of boogie on their second album for Thrill Jockey, Love Jail. Produced by Tim Green (The Fucking Champs), the 10-track/50-minute long-player has all the room for organ/guitar mashups, righteous West Coast vibes and easy-flowing classic heavy rock one could hope for, and in the opening salvo of “Pastel City,” “Lovely Place” and “Lone Pine,” the three-piece of guitarist Dan “Sig” Wilson, bassist Brian Markham, and drummer Adam Bulgasem reaffirm mellow bluesiness as well on the title-track and dig into ‘90s-style alt bliss on the penultimate “Color out of Space.” There’s a welcoming air throughout that holds steady regardless of tempo, and in heavier moments like the second half of “I’m out Mine,” the band resonates with fuzz and noisy elements that bring just enough danger to the proceedings to keep the listener riveted. Classy, but not too classy, in other words.

Dommengang on Thee Facebooks

Thrill Jockey Records website

 

Boss Keloid, Melted on the Inch

boss keloid melted on the inch

It would seem that Wigan, UK, outfit Boss Keloid — newly signed to Holy Roar Records for the release of their third LP, Melted on the Inch – internalized a few crucial lessons from their sophomore outing, 2016’s Herb Your Enthusiasm (review here). At six tracks and 40 minutes, Melted on the Inch is about 20 minutes shorter than its predecessor. Its title isn’t a weed pun. Its cover art conveys a work of dimensionality, and most importantly, the album itself turns to be precisely that. Taking a significant step toward a more progressive sound, Boss Keloid maintain the heft of their prior outing but base it around material that, frankly, is more complex and dynamic. I won’t say that “Tarku Shavel” and “Lokannok” are without their elements of self-indulgence, but neither should they be for the five-piece to do justice to the multifaceted nature of their purpose. They still roar when they want to, but Boss Keloid strike with breadth on Melted on the Inch as well as sheer impact.

Boss Keloid on Thee Facebooks

Holy Roar Records website

 

Holy Smoke, Pipe Dream

holy smoke pipe dream

After forming in 2015, Philadelphia’s exclamatory Holy Smoke! issued their first three-track release, It’s a Demo! (review here) the next year and showed marked stylistic promise in cuts like “Rinse and Repeat” and “Blue Dreams.” Both of those tracks, as it happens, stand at the opening of the band’s latest EP, the five-song Pipe Dream, and reaffirm the potential in the group. The opener (also the longest track once again; immediate points) is a tale of workaday redundancy, the very sort of monotony that the rest of the offering seems to leave behind in favor of post-grunge heavy rock, marked by the wah-bass on finale “Asch Backwards” and the brooding sensibility of the prior “Golden Retriever,” which surges in its midsection like a lost Alice in Chains demo only to end quiet once again, a departure from the linearity of centerpiece “Missing the Mark” just before. Less psychedelic than their initial impression conveyed, they seem to have undertaken the work of crafting their own sonic niche in Philly’s increasingly crowded scene, and there’s nothing on Pipe Dream to make one think it’s not a realistic possibility they’ll get there.

Holy Smoke on Thee Facebooks

Holy Smoke on Bandcamp

 

Sabel, Re-Generation

sabel re-generation

Sabel know what they want to be and then are that thing. Their third album, Re-Generation, arrives via Oak Island Records as six tracks of to-the-converted stonerism, and from opener/longest track (immediate points) “In the Walls of Eryx,” the Swedish trio do little more than ask their listeners to smell the smoke emanating from their speaker cabinets (oddly sweet), and hone walls of fuzz that each seem to be bigger than the last. There are some elements of earliest Electric Wizard at play in “Atlantean” or the sneering “Voodoo Woman,” but belters like “Interstellar Minddweller” and “Green Priestess” stave off their sounding overly derivative, and though at the end of Re-Generation’s 42-minute run, one might feel as though they need a shower, the record itself proves well worth the dive into the muck. The band would seem to have carved their own descriptor with the title of their self-released 2015 LP, Hard Doom, and that’s as good as anything I could come up with, so let’s roll with it. They seem to.

Sabel on Thee Facebooks

Oak Island Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Blackwater Prophet, As I Watch it Freeze

blackwater prophet as i watch it freeze

Cheers to Christian Peters of Samsara Blues Experiment for putting me onto Spokane, Washington’s Blackwater Prophet, who with the seven-track As I Watch it Freeze collect various tracks recorded between 2015 and 2017. Thus something of a compilation, the 40-minute outing wants nothing for overarching flow, “In My Passing Time” leading off with a mellow psych-blues spirit that only grows more classic-feeling through “House of Stone” and the gorgeously pastoral “The Swamp.” The band have two proper full-lengths out, and if they wanted to count As I Watch it Freeze as their third, I don’t think they’d find much argument, as centerpiece “Gold in the Palm” opens like a gateway leading to the increasingly resonant “Careworn Crow,” the fuzzy swing of “Eating the Sun” and finally, the title-track itself, which answers the acoustics of “The Swamp” earlier while adding flourish of volume-swelling and swirling electric guitar and late choral vocals that only make the proceedings seem all the more complete in their engagement.

Blackwater Prophet on Thee Facebooks

Blackwater Prophet on Bandcamp

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

High Reeper Announce European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

When Philly heavy rockers High Reeper were announced for a slot at Desertfest Berlin last week, I speculated that European tour dates were forthcoming because they’d previously been confirmed for Tube Cult Fest in Italy. Sure enough, a couple hours later, the dates showed up from the PR wire in a newsletter from the band’s label, Heavy Psych Sounds. Does this make me psychic? Nope. Does it even make me a reasonably thoughtful individual, putting two and two together on the notion that the band probably wouldn’t fly internationally for two shows on concurrent weekends?

Nah. Mostly it makes me forgetful, because when High Reeper posted their video for “Die Slow,” they said Euro dates were in the works. So there’s my big brain. Good thing I saw that in the older post though; I almost had a second there of self-congratulation. Obviously we can’t have that. Ever. Also, my pants don’t fit.

Oh look, I made myself sad. Better cut my losses and head to the PR wire. Let’s do this thing:

high reeper tour

Formed in 2016, High Reeper is made up of Zach Thomas, Napz Mosley, Andrew Price, Pat Daly and Shane Trimble. Originally started as just a studio band, it rapidly became apparent that these songs were meant to be heard live and loud. The band made their debut in the Philly/DE stoner rock scene in early 2017 with success which was followed up by the recording of their self-titled debut in May. With a sound deeply rooted in modern stoner rock while still giving a nod to the earliest Sabbath records, High Reeper’s first offering is driven by pounding rhythms, thick guitars and soaring, screeching vocals.

The band has signed with Heavy Psych Sounds Records and released the self-titled debut album in march 2018. The sound of the record is running from uptempo straight ahead rock, to slowed down, heavy, early doom. With a rhythm section throwing down grooves that are deeper than the darkest abyss and guitars big enough to put a hole in your chest.
High Reeper is meant to be played loud and to be played often!!!

***HIGH REEPER EUROPEAN TOUR 2018***
26.04.2018 IT Roma-Let It Beer
27.04.2018 IT Pescara-Tube Cult Fest
28.04.2018 IT Castelfidardo-On Stage
29.04.2018 IT Castelnuovo del Garda-Secret Show
30.04.2018 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando
01.05.2018 IT Livorno-Secret Show
02.05.2018 IT Torino-Blah Blah
03.05.2018 CH Olten-Coq D’Or
04.05.2018 CH Kreuzlingen-Horst
05.05.2018 DE Berlin-Desertfest
07.05.2018 DE Leipzig-Black Label
08.05.2018 DE Dresden-Chemo w/ Alunha
09.05.2018 DE Erfurt-Tiko
10.05.2018 DE Chemnitz-Zukunft
11.05.2018 DE Mannheim-7er
12.05.2018 DE Frankfurt-Dkk
13.05.2018 looking for show****
14.05.2018 AT Graz
15.05.2018 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse
16.05.2018 CH Basel-Hirschneck
17.05.2018 looking for show****
18.05.2018 IT Parma-Titty Twister
19.05.2018 IT Toscana TBA

HIGH REEPER are:
Shane Trimble-bass
Zach Thomas-vocals
Pat Daly-guitar
Andrew Price-guitar
Napz Mosley-drums

https://www.facebook.com/HIGHREEPER/
https://highreeper.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/

High Reeper, “Chrome Hammer” official video

Tags: , , , , ,

Ruby the Hatchet Announce April Tour Dates with Youngblood Supercult, Windhand and Heavy Temple

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

If this was a package tour, you’d shit a brick, right? Imagine all four of those bands on the same bill. That’s not how this one’s playing out. It’s Ruby the Hatchet — otherwise known as Philadelphia’s chief heavy psychedelic export; it’s them or Ecstatic Vision, take your pick — starting out with Youngblood Supercult for a few days in the Midwest,then picking up with Windhand on the West Coast, and then meeting fellow Philly natives Heavy Temple for a run through the South after putting in an appearance at Levitation Fest in Austin, TX. Still pretty awesome when it comes right down to it, even if it might be a different kind of deal than what you thought of at first glance at the headline. I did the same thing. So it goes.

Ruby the Hatchet are still out in support of last year’s excellent Planetary Space Child (review here), which is a better cause than most when it comes to reasons to hit the road. Shows start April 13, as the PR wire tells us:

ruby the hatchet tour poster

Ruby the Hatchet Announces U.S. Tour Dates

Philly Heavy Psych Band Set to Hit the Road in Support of New Album ‘Planetary Space Child’; Showcase at Austin’s Levitation Fest

Philadelphia psych rock quintet Ruby the Hatchet has announced U.S. headlining tour dates in support of its celebrated new album Planetary Space Child. Fresh off U.S. dates alongside Pallbearer, Ruby the Hatchet will launch the tour on April 13 in Canton, OH. The spring trek will include support from Youngblood Supercult and Heavy Temple and also see Ruby the Hatchet’s perform as part of Austin’s acclaimed Levitation Festival on April 26. From April 19-23, Ruby the Hatchet will play west coast live dates supporting Windhand.

Ruby the Hatchet tour dates:

w/ Youngblood Supercult
April 13 Canton, OH Buzzbin
April 14 Chicago, IL Reggie’s
April 15 Kansas City, MO Riot Room
April 16 Denver, CO Streets Of London

w/ Windhand
April 19 Seattle, WA Neumos
April 20 Portland, OR Stump Fest
April 21 Sacramento, CA Blue Lamp (* no Windhand)
April 22 San Francisco, CA Slim’s
April 23 Los Angeles, CA Roxy
April 26 Austin, TX Barracuda (as part of Levitation Festival w/ Dead Meadow, etc.)

w/ Heavy Temple
April 28 Houston, TX Satellite Bar
April 29 Little Rock, AR Vino’s
April 30 Nashville, TN The End
May 1 Atlanta, GA The Earl
May 2 Raleigh, NC The Pour House
May 3 Richmond, VA Champion

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.

https://www.facebook.com/rubythehatchet
https://www.instagram.com/rubythehatchet/
https://twitter.com/rubythehatchet
http://rubythehatchet.tumblr.com/
https://www.facebook.com/teepeerecords
teepeerecords.com/products

Ruby the Hatchet, “Planetary Space Child” official video

Tags: , , , , ,

Ecstatic Vision Covers EP Under the Influence out May 11

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

ecstatic vision

Almost precisely a month ago, Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds and Philadelphia’s Ecstatic Vision — who are arguably the City of Brotherly Love’s number one export in the style; it’s them or Ruby the Hatchet, take your pick — announced they were collaborating on a “project” of some sort. Now, aside from the basic guess that this meant a release was forthcoming of some kind, there was just about no hint given as to what that really meant. Now we know. It’s a covers EP. It’s being released in May. Preorders start tomorrow. Isn’t solving mysteries fun?

I can think of few things that make as much sense as Ecstatic Vision taking on Hawkwind‘s “Master of the Universe,” and they get pretty obscure with digging into ’70s era Zambian heavy psych — because of course they do — so it looks like a good time all the way around. Turns out it’s a pretty cool project. Go figure.

From the PR wire:

ecstatic vision under the influence

Philly cosmic freaks ECSTATIC VISION to unleash their new record “Under The Influence” this May on HPS Records.

Philadelphia cosmic freaks ECSTATIC VISION are back this spring with a unique collaboration with Heavy Psych Sounds Records. The band have announced the release of a mind-altering covers project entitled “Under The Influence” on May 11th.

ECSTATIC VISION unleash “Under The Influence”, a collection of six raw, fuzzy, psychedelic slabs of cosmic rock. “Under The Influence” sees the band covering tracks by some of their biggest influences: the primitive stoner doom sounds that came out of Zambia in the early/mid 70s that is known as Zam Rock, the godfathers of space rock Hawkwind and the early kings of Detroit rock’n’ roll MC5, all delivered with ECSTATIC VISION’s signature bone-crushing, blown-out in-all-the-right-ways recording style.

“Under The Influence” will be released as Limited Transparent Splatter Black/Red/Green vinyl, Black vinyl, CD and digital.

ECSTATIC VISION “Under The Influence”
Out May 11th on Heavy Psych Sounds Records
Pre-orders from March 15th

TRACK LISTING:
1. Troublemaker
2. The Bad Will Die
3. History Of Man
4. Born To Go
5. Master Of The Universe
6. Come Together

ECSTATIC VISION is
Doug Sabolik
Michael Field Connor
Kevin Nickles
Ricky Kulp

https://www.facebook.com/ecstaticvision
https://twitter.com/ecstaticvision_
https://www.instagram.com/ecstaticvision
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/

Ecstatic Vision, Raw Rock Fury (2017)

Tags: , , , , ,

Argus Post Video for “Devils of Your Time”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

argus

Okay, so I guess technically this is the first Argus video, though they very definitely had a lyric clip posted for “You are the Curse”, so it’s the first video with the band rocking out and all that, and the second video made to promote the band’s latest triumph of traditional heavy metal and doom, From Fields of Fire (review here), their fourth album and third for Cruz del Sur, which was released last year. The new video is for “Devils of Your Time,” which is the post-intro leadoff to Argus‘ most charged and furious work to-date.

If you heard the album, you know that’s not hyperbole. The Pittsburgh-based five-piece have put out work of increasing metallurgy and quality throughout their 13-year tenure, beginning with their self-titled debut (review here) in 2009 and running through 2011’s Boldly Stride the Doomed (discussed here) and 2013’s Beyond the Martyrs (review here), and with From Fields of Fire, they take yet another forward step in their approach, finding a niche between doom and classic metal and treading that ground in a way not only irony-free, but utterly flexible to bend at the will of their songwriting to one side or the other. It’s a special record. An undertaking at 55 minutes, but poised and righteous and a gift to the sphere of American metal.

The video for “Devils of Your Time” is also pretty classic and straightforward in its approach. Directed by Nick Prezioso, it’s got the band rocking out in Headbanger’s Ball-worthy fashion, and if you’re sensitive to flashing lights, you might want to look out because there are a decent portion of them featured here, but beyond that, there’s no reason not to dig into what I think it’s fair to call one of the best kept secrets in US heavy metal and heavy metal in general. Dudes should be on magazine covers and whatnot.

PR wire info follows the video below. Please enjoy:

Argus, “Devils of Your Time” official video

Pittsburgh, PA traditional metal force ARGUS have released the official video for “Devils of your Time,” a track from 2017 Cruz Del Sur Music album From Fields of Fire. The video (the band’s first ever) was conceptualized and created by Nick Prezioso.

From Fields Of Fire was released September 8, 2017 on Cruz Del Sur Music. Order the CD at this location. The Vinyl LP version is available here.

Stream From Fields of Fire at argusmetal.bandcamp.com/album/from-fields-of-fire

Four years after the release of Beyond the Martyrs, the mighty U.S. Heavy Metal torchbearers ARGUS have returned with From Fields of Fire on Italy’s Cruz Del Sur Music! From Fields of Fire is the defining moment from a band that has delivered the goods album after album. It is the highlight of their career to date and one that will be seen as a highlight in heavy metal circles, not just this year, but for years to come.

Argus on Thee Facebooks

Argus on Bandcamp

Cruz del Sur Music website

Cruz del Sur Music on Bandcamp

Cruz del Sur Music on Thee Facebooks

Cruz del Sur Music on Twitter

Tags: , , , , ,

Review & Full Album Premiere: Deathwhite, For a Black Tomorrow

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

deathwhite for a black tomorrow

[Click pay above to stream Deathwhite’s For a Black Tomorrow in its entirety. Album is out Feb. 23 via Season of Mist with preorders available here.]

Going by what your ears tell you, you’d have to be forgiven for guessing wrong at mood-metal three-piece Deathwhite‘s base of operations. Sweden? Nope. The UK? Nope. Poland? Nope. Romania? Nope. Some frigid former Soviet Bloc nation with little scene to speak of but plenty of passion and sadness to spare? Wrong-o, chief. The correct answer is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Steel City. The trio choose to remain anonymous under their hooded robes — I’ve seen AM and LM listed as a partial lineup, so maybe there’s a pair of brothers in there, but maybe not — but when it comes to their debut album for Season of Mist, the nine-song/43-minute For a Black Tomorrow, their intention couldn’t be clearer. The mission of the album, front to back, is to pay homage to the greats of melancholic metal. Perhaps Katatonia, and in particular the Last Fair Deal Gone Down era of that Swedish outfit’s work, most of all, but definitely the oeuvre of the so-called ‘Peaceville Three’ — My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and Anathema — as well.

Saying that might lead one to believe there are death-doom elements at play throughout For a Black Tomorrow, or that the band engages a rawness of production à la those groups’ transformative works in the early ’90s — a specific aspect I’d argue just about no one has been able to accurately recreate — but no. Deathwhite take on the atmospheric, emotional, and melodcally ranging side of these bands’works, and while tracks like the later “Death and the Master” offer some shouts and heavier thrust, and amid one of the album’s strongest hooks, the earlier “just Remember” proffers a riff with a sharper bite than that of, say, opener “The Grace of the Dark,” which unfolds at the beginning of Deathwhite‘s first album with a patience that immediately puts the band in command of both the aesthetic and the outward-moving progression of the LP itself. In other words, there’s an awful lot about what they want to do that Deathwhite have already figured out.

The band has two prior EPs in 2014’s Ethereal and 2015’s Solitary Martyr, but while I obviously have no confirmation to back me up, I’d more likely credit their cohesiveness as regards overall mission to members’ prior experience in other outfits. Do I know that? Nope. But though Deathwhite have been together for upwards of six years, there are still parts of For a Black Tomorrow that speak to pedigree beyond this band itself. The fluidity with which “The Grace of the Dark” unfurls atop double kick drums, building tension in its verse to release in the chorus, or how the subsequent “Contrition” picks up with a more urgent and metallic chug topped with a plotted but classy lead that fades out of the mix just as the first verse begins, the band galloping forward for the duration into the depressive acoustic/full-breadth tone trades that take place in “Poisoned,” a swapping out of layers masterfully handled by producer Shane Mayer that only make the fullness of tone in the subsequent “Just Remember” all the more resonant.

That song, along with the following centerpiece “Eden,” might be the emotional and aesthetic crux of For a Black Tomorrow — i.e., the moments at which Deathwhite‘s tribute is most readily paid to their influences. Once again, that’s primarily directed toward Katatonia, but there are darker impulses at work as well, in the guitar and bass tones, though the vocals and the pacing assure that the prevailing vibe is emotionally downtrodden in just such a specific way. It’s also gorgeous — especially “Eden” — so another manner in which Deathwhite seem to nod to their stylistic forebears is finding beauty amid the darkness of their making and not forgetting to highlight the one alongside the other. That, ultimately, is a major factor in what separates this kind of doom from its more workmanlike, traditionalist contemporaries.

deathwhite

It’s not until they come around to sixth track “Dreaming the Inverse” that Deathwhite cross over the five-minute mark. One could argue this shows a monotony of structure, but that’s simply not the case — rather, it’s an efficiency of songcraft from which the trio begin to branch out as For a Black Tomorrow progresses toward its finale title-track. After “Eden,” “Dreaming the Inverse” (5:01) brings turns between double-kick gallop and quieter, brooding verses, the sudden moves between one and the other a familiar tactic and not entirely dissimilar from what Deathwhite already brought to “Poisoned,” though heavier on the whole and more soulful vocally. That vocal soul sets up the primary impression that “Death and the Master” will make over the course of its six and a half minutes, as a rawer shout — still melodic, but the delivery changes, to be sure — emerges to top the fuller push of the band behind it.

As one of the most engrossing moments of For a Black Tomorrow, “Death and the Master” takes on a declarative vibe that could be derived from Primordial at least in part or perhaps unintentionally, but it’s a powerful standout either way, and though an interlude of some sort might’ve worked well to separate the two, “Death and the Master” still doesn’t necessarily overshadow “Prison of Thought,” which follows, the two songs rather acting as complements as the latter revives shifts from hard-driving distortion and acousti-poetics, settling by its finish on a raucous but still very much controlled payoff. “For a Black Tomorrow” itself rounds out, the band quickly dropping a lyrical reference to Anathema‘s “Shroud of False” from Alternative 4, and moving through a return to the shorter songcraft of earlier pieces, but with something of a looser feel as the guitar leads the way through. There’s still a tension in the chug, but open-ringouts remind of the patience in “The Grace of the Dark,” and the vocal harmonies that top the final section before the fadeout in the song’s second half are nothing less than beautiful. One could hardly ask for a more appropriate ending.

What Deathwhite present on their debut album is a powerful showcase of aesthetic. They prove readily in these tracks that they know what they want to sound like, know where they’re coming from in terms of influence and style, and know how they want to bring that to fruition in their own work. As the question was eventually put to the likes of AnathemaKatatoniaParadise Lost and My Dying Bride, sooner or later, Deathwhite will have to answer how they’ll be able to take these elements and craft something more individualized from them — that is, something to distinguish them from their forebears in the subgenre — but that is perhaps best left to time and the natural development of the group over their next however-many releases. As regards For a Black Tomorrow, it speaks with resonance to a certain depression of spirit and though Deathwhite may seem a novelty at first for the simple fact of their surprising geographic locale, there’s nothing in these nine songs that feels like a put-on or a less than genuine expression on its own level.

Deathwhite on Thee Facebooks

Deathwhite on Bandcamp

Deathwhite website

Season of Mist website

Season of Mist on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist on Twitter

Tags: , , , , ,

High Reeper Premiere “Chrome Hammer” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

high reeper

High Reeper mark their first release on Heavy Psych Sounds March 16. Their self-titled debut (review here) was given a sneaky self-release last year, but if you by any chance were feeling crazy and wanted to get a preview of what’s to come with the Heavy Psych Sounds version of the offering, it wouldn’t take anything more than checking out the five-piece’s previous video for “Die Slow” (posted here) and the one below for “Chrome Hammer,” because it just so happens that’s the one-two punch that starts off the album.

And a considerable punch it is. The Philly outfit made it clear with the record the first time around that they weren’t screwing around, and yeah, that very much continues to be the case. Even before they get to the drum-sol0-laden eponymous “High Reeper” or the later riff-worship of “Weed and Speed” and “Black Leather (Chose Us),” which would straddle the line between doom, classic metal and heavy rock were it not so busy using its legs to meter out the rhythmic stomp driving all of it, “Die Slow” and “Chrome Hammer” together set up the “Why’s it gotta be NWOBHM or thrash?” central question High Reeper is asking, backing up its argument with a firm reminder that, indeed, Black Sabbath still kicks everyone’s ass.

You can see their classic-minded aesthetic on display in the clip for “Chrome Hammer” below, which I’m thrilled to be able to premiere today. You’ll note the citrus hue of the amplification through which the guitars and bass come, and the occasional upside-down shot here and there as well. All good fun, and plenty of heavy boogie to go with it, so by all means, dive in.

Some comment from the band and PR wire info follows.

Please enjoy:

High Reeper, “Chrome Hammer” official video premiere

High Reeper on “Chrome Hammer”:

When we wrote Chrome Hammer we just had the title as the idea for the song and then we filled in the lyrics and music around the title. When we decided to make the video we wanted something that didn’t relate to the song in a literal way but still captured the idea and then feeling of not just the song but also the band. We gave the director (Dan Dome) free reign to do whatever he wanted and we feel like he fucking nailed it.

High Reeper’s self titled debut is an unapologetic punch to the face for fans of early ‘70s proto-metal. The sound and smell of leather, weed, boozing, gambling and death permeate the record from start to finish. Nine tracks that run from uptempo straight ahead rock, to slowed down, heavy, early doom. With a rhythm section throwing down grooves that are deeper than the darkest abyss and guitars big enough to put a hole in your chest, the record’s finale hits just as hard as its opening track. Vocals that soar above the guitars with laser like precision, while delivering a direct hit to your soul.

Produced, engineered and mixed by bass player Shane Trimble at TTR studios in Philadelphia and at his home studio Delwood sound in Delaware. The production is laced with old school elements while still maintaining the focus of a modern release.

Recorded in the fall of 2017, HIGH REEPER IS MEANT TO BE PLAYED LOUD AND TO BE PLAYED OFTEN.

High Reeper is:
Pat Daly
Zach Thomas
Andrew Price
Napz Mosley
Shane Trimble

High Reeper on Thee Facebooks

High Reeper on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , , ,