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Descendants of Crom: Penance to Headline; Solace, Karma to Burn, The Midnight Ghost Train and More Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

descendants of crom

Lineup additions have continued to come out over the last week-plus since Pittsburgh-based fest Descendants of Crom made its first announcements with the formidable likes of EarthrideEYEFoghound and Stinking Lizaveta taking part. West Virginian instrumental trailblazers Karma to Burn, New Jersey rock destroyers Solace, Kansas boogie-thrusters The Midnight Ghost Train — as the names have appeared, the geographic reach of Descendants of Crom 2017, which is set for Sept. 30 on the Cattivo Nightclub‘s two stages, has only expanded, but perhaps the biggest addition yet brings the festival much closer to home.

Penance released their Alpha and Omega album in 2001 via the Martyr Music Group, and with it debuted a five-piece incarnation that will play for the first time in 15 years at Descendants of Crom, in a great add to the bill that fulfills the stated mission of the fest in honoring Pittsburgh’s own underground contributions as well as looking outside its borders. Badass all around.

In addition to the already-noted, CantOl’ Time Moonshine and Archarus, have also been added, so the more right on. Here’s the latest from the fest, including some comment from organizer Shy Kennedy on Penance signing on:

DESCENDANTS OF CROM – Penance to Headline with ‘Alpha & Omega’ Lineup

All-day fest set for Sept. 30, 2017, with two stages fueled by riffs created by the riddle of steel.

This all day music festival is the first of its kind in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The underground scene of stoner and doom here is healthy and thriving and the location at Cattivo Nightclub is perfect with two large floors, a stage on each, and good sound with friendly staff.

Descendants of Crom Festival lineup:
CANT
MONOLITH WIELDER
OL’ TIME MOONSHINE
ARCHARUS
HORSEBURNER
WASTED THEORY
FOGHOUND
EYE
BRIMSTONE COVEN
SOLACE
THE MIDNIGHT GHOST TRAIN
KARMA TO BURN
VALKYRIE
EARTHRIDE
STINKING LIZAVETA
PENANCE (Alpha & Omega lineup)

Shy Kennedy on Penance headlining:

It all starts out with an idea of, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be great if there were a gig in Pittsburgh that had a bunch of riff-fueled bands of all rock and metal genres?’ It’s the perfect place for it, really. The scene here is supportive and it’s an accessible city to many. It doesn’t come out of nowhere –- you have to make it happen.

Next, who headlines this underground, doom-rooted event? The answer would be Penance but they’ve been dormant for some time. The Alpha & Omega lineup are all right here and nearly all active in the scene someway or another. Turns out that you just have to ask. Penance are as excited to be a part of the Descendants of Crom as I am. A lot of the seasoned fans are going to appreciate this and for those who aren’t familiar with Penance are going to get a little lesson in Pittsburgh Doom History.

DESCENDANTS OF CROM will bring great regional talent to a hungry crowd, utilizing national fan favorites to lure them to learn about these other amazing artists. This first year is anticipated to be a contender among other established annual fests and will not be an event to miss.

http://facebook.com/descendantsofcrom
http://www.descendantsofcrom.com/

Penance, “Wizards of Mind”

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Friday Full-Length: Pearls and Brass, The Indian Tower

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Pearls and Brass, The Indian Tower (2006)

Through what seems in hindsight like some miracle of interwebular happenstance — and by that I mean it likely happened through StonerRock.com or the All That is Heavy store — I managed to catch wind of the self-titled debut from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, trio Pearls and Brass around the time of its release through Doppelganger Records in 2003. That record was killer, and I’ll admit that if anyone had put it up on YouTube in its front-to-back entirety, I’d probably be closing out the week with it instead of its 2006 follow-up, The Indian Tower, which came out on Drag City, but the second outing was more fully developed in its approach, bringing together the bounce and desert-perfection thrust of Queens of the Stone Age‘s Songs for the Deaf with rolling Pennsylvania hillsides on cuts like opener “The Tower” and the subsequent “No Stone” while saving room for acoustic blues on “I Learn the Hard Way” and closer “Away the Mirrors,” and ’70s-style boogie that seems absolutely prescient in hindsight on “Pray for Sound” and only gets more manic with the kick into next gear on “The Boy of the Willow Tree.” First record or second, you don’t really lose either way, is my point. While keeping to organic undertones and the occasional flourish of pastoralia, Pearls and Brass could absolutely scorch the earth when they chose to do so — see “The Mirror” here — but they’d ultimately be no less defined by that than the heavy blues vibe of “Wake in the Morning.” Dudes were just awesome.

Last time I saw Pearls and Brass was in 2011 (review here). It was my first experience ever going to Saint Vitus Bar — I appreciated the fact that it wasn’t in Williamsburg but had little forethought as to the institution it would and has become — and the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Randy Huth, bassist/backing vocalist Joel Winter, and drummer Josh Martin still brought it. By then, they were already overdue for a third full-length, but watching them live gave some measure of hope they’d be able to get something going again. Four years earlier, in 2007 Huth had also released a solo album of unplugged Americana folk blues, also via Drag City, under the moniker of Randall of Nazareth. Copies still exist for purchase on the interwebs if you’re interested in hunting it down, which if either “I Learn the Hard Way” or “Away the Mirrors” pique your interest as a complement to the rush of “The Face of God” here build on that nicely. Intimate vibe, like a bluesier take on some of Ben Chasny‘s stuff, but unpretentious to the point of recorded-in-the-living-room humility. Some five years after that record came out, I was fortunate enough to catch Huth — who had been playing for years with aggro punkers Pissed Jeans already — do a Randall of Nazareth set in Philly opening a show for EYE and Serpent Throne at Johnny Brenda’s (review here). I felt like I was getting away with something, and given how much he and/or Pearls and Brass have done since — not much — I probably was.

I don’t know what Winter or Martin have been up to, but Pissed Jeans have kept Huth busy. They have a new album, titled Why Love Now, out in two weeks on Sub Pop, for example, and they’ll tour to support it, so while Pearls and Brass are very likely tabled for good — as much as anything is ever permanent in rock and roll; never say never, never say die, always say “hiatus” — at least Huth has managed to find success elsewhere. It’s not really my thing compared to the pull and shove of “Black Rock Man” on The Indian Tower, but good on him anyhow. The self-titled Pearls and Brass, its follow-up and the Randall of Nazareth outing can remain as ripe-for-reissue fodder for the time being, like so many righteous offerings of the pre-Facebook oughts era.

As always, I very much hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

Sort of a procedural note here — some bookkeeping, if you will — but at the end of last week I changed the name I post under from from H.P. Taskmaster to JJ Koczan, which if you didn’t know is my real name. It wasn’t a secret or anything. It’s what I post as on Thee Facebooks and I think Twitter and Instagram as well, but I’d been using H.P. Taskmaster for years here basically because it felt self-serving to see “published by JJ Koczan” on every post. Still kind of does.

It’s a weird name, not particularly attractive to the eye, so I avoided looking at it for a long time. I guess I finally decided I didn’t give a shit anymore. It’s not anything that has a bearing on what I’ll cover or how I’ll cover it — like I said, just bookkeeping — but it was a change I made and I thought I’d mention it, if only so I could go back later, search for “when I started posting under my real name” and find the date. I had decided not to mention it on social media and see if anyone even noticed. If they did, nobody mentioned it. Fair enough.

We got a decent-sized snowstorm yesterday on the Eastern Seaboard, and I was given the day off work as a result. Back at work today, but the bonus day was a welcome gimme and I was glad to take it. My commute is an hour each way — not nearly as bad as the last one, and neither is the job itself, but still, it’s not nothing — and it’s started to wear on me a bit, particularly in the winter evenings. I leave in the morning, it’s dark. I come home at night, it’s dark. I don’t think I saw the sun at all in January. Hello, Norway. It’s started to get lighter earlier and stay lighter later, but I find myself looking forward to summer in a way that can only mean I’ve forgotten how unpleasant life is when it’s 100 degrees out. Humans are simple creatures. Whatever I qualify as, it’s even simpler.

Next week (and actually the week after, too) is already packed. Here’s what’s in my notes:

Mon.: Six Organs of Admittance review (doing myself a favor there) and Dot Legacy video premiere.
Tue.: Full album stream/review of the new Thera Roya, video from Deep Space Destructors.
Wed.: Track premiere from the new Sweat Lodge EP, video from Lung Flower.
Thu.: Track premiere from the new Libido Fuzz album.
Fri.: Full album stream/review from Deep Space Destructors.

Yeah, it’s gonna get pretty far out by the time we hit Friday next week, and that’s definitely okay by me.

The Patient Mrs.‘ birthday is this weekend, and while the snowstorm curtailed my prior present-picking-up intentions yesterday, we’ll nonetheless be celebrating with family on Saturday and likely eating homemade jalapeno poppers on Sunday, which is the day itself, so I expect that will be good. Whatever you’re up to, I wish you a joyous time, relaxing if that’s what you’re looking for, or otherwise action-packed and suspenseful, if that’s more your speed.

Have fun, be safe, thanks again for reading, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Heavy Temple Touring with Pilgrim in March

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Kind of an ICYMI here, in the parlance of our times, but good to note either way that next month, Philly’s Heavy Temple will hit the road alongside Rhode Island doomers Pilgrim. The latter seem poised to make something of a comeback this year after nearly grinding themselves into dust in support of their last full-length, 2014’s II: Void Worship (review here), and in joining them, Heavy Temple make their most significant leap into touring life yet. It’s an East Coast run, and they did hit the Midwest last fall, but 10 dates on the road is the longest I’ve seen from them to-date. Doubt it will be the last.

They of course go supporting the 2016/2017 release Chassit (review here), alternately billed as a debut full-length and a second EP (the latter below). I had thought I read of a parting of ways with guitarist Archbishop Barghest, but maybe I’m wrong about that or bassist/vocalist High Priestess Nighthawk and drummer Siren Tempestas are heading out as a duo? I’d be interested to know for sure either way.

To be perfectly honest, half my impulse in posting these dates a couple weeks after they were first announced is in making sure they’re here for future reference. Seems like the kind of thing I’ll want to have to look back on down the line.

From the PR wire:

pilgrim heavy temple tour

Heavy Temple to tour with Pilgrim

Heavy psych/doom band HEAVY TEMPLE released their new EP Chassit on January 27th 2017. The EP was initially available on cassette and digital formats via Tridroid Records and CD is now available via Van Records.

Heavy Temple formed at the end of 2012 with High Priestess Nighthawk on bass and vocals and presently features Siren Tempestas on drums and Archbishop Barghest on guitar.

The band will also be playing some shows with doom heavyweights PILGRIM in March:

TOUR DATES:
March 2nd The Fire, Philadelphia, PA
March 3rd The Broadberry (With Windhand), Richmond, VA
March 4th Pilgrim (With Subrosa) Saint Vitus, Brooklyn, NY
March 4th Heavy Temple (With Toke) TBA, Winston, Salem NC
March 5th Riffhouse Pub,, Chesapeake, VA
March 6th Sidebar, Baltimore, MD
March 7th Meatlocker, Montclair, NJ
March 8th O’Briens, Boston MA
March 9th Mohawk Place, Buffalo, NY
March 10th Bug Jar, Rochester, NY
March 11th Geno’s, Portland, ME
March 12th AS220, Providence, RI

https://www.facebook.com/HeavyTemple/
https://heavytemple.bandcamp.com
https://www.van-records.de/
https://tridroid.bandcamp.com/album/chassit

Heavy Temple, Chassit (2017)

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Ecstatic Vision to Release Raw Rock Fury April 7; New Single Posted & Tours Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ecstatic vision photo michael connor

Hot damn. Philly space-truckers Ecstatic Vision make a compelling claim over the title of their second record with the first track reveal from it. The album? They’re calling it Raw Rock Fury, which feels way more immediately declarative than did their 2015 debut, Sonic Praise (review here). The song? It’s called “You Got It (Or You Don’t),” and with it, the four-piece seem to be throwing down a seven-minute gauntlet of frenzied kraut-jamming and warp-seven psychedelia.

I like the fact that the record’s only got four tracks on it, I like the fact that they’ve already got a return trip to Europe booked to support it — they’d previously been announced for Desertfest and Sonic Ritual, so we kind of knew a tour was coming — and I like the fact that “You Got It (Or You Don’t)” feels like an immediate forward leap from the last time out. Could it be that Ecstatic Vision have decided to name themselves the new masters of the cosmos? Guess we’ll find out April 7 when the album hits, via Relapse, as did the last one.

From the PR wire:

ecstatic-vision-raw-rock-fury

ECSTATIC VISION Announce New Album Raw Rock Fury Coming April 7th via Relapse Records

Unveil First Single “You Got It (Or You Don’t)”

U.S. Tour Announced: SXSW and More with Creepoid

Philadelphia’s heavy psych quartet ECSTATIC VISION return with their 2nd LP Raw Rock Fury, the follow up to 2015’s highly acclaimed Sonic Praise.

The band commented on the new album: “With ‘Raw Rock Fury’, we set out to make an album that would remind listeners of what an unpolished, dangerous rock recording should sound like. This is the opening composition entitled “You Got It (Or You Don’t)”. Prepare for a searing mash-up of the driving rhythms of Sly & The Family Stone mixed with the sounds of Hawkwind playing Funhouse-era Troglodyte Rock.”

April 7th, 2017 will see the worldwide release of Raw Rock Fury via Relapse Records on CD/LP/Digital. Physical pre-order and bundles are available via Relapse HERE and digital downloads can be pre-ordered by Bandcamp HERE.

Raw Rock Fury exhibits the band locking in on primordial, troglodyte Detroit rock grooves, krautian motorik sounds that recall the obscure one-time collaboration between NEU and the MC5, grimy harmonica flourishes that evoke Beefheart at his most savage, and the Hawkwindian, primal world heavy psych their debut expertly showcased. All of this is captured on four songs and 35+ minutes of the dirtiest sounding recordings since Kick Out The Jams. Do you miss the days when rock recordings were dangerous? If so, you must crave Raw Rock Fury.

After touring extensively with the likes of YOB, Uncle Acid and the deadbeats and others, ECSTATIC VISION head out again with Creepoid. The leg includes SXSW, Chicago, Denver and more before traveling to Europe for an appearance at Desertfest. All dates available below.

Ecstatic Vision
Raw Rock Fury
Relapse Records
April 7, 2017
Pre-order Here
1 – You Got It (Or You Don’t)
2 – The Electric Step
3 – Keep it Loose
4 – The Twinkling Eye

ECSTATIC VISION Live Dates:
Mar 16-18: Austin, TX – SXSW
Mar 20: Oklahoma City, OK – 89th Street Collective #
Mar 21: Wichita, KS – Kirby’s Beer Store #
Mar 22: Fort Collins, CO – Surfside #
Mar 23: Denver, CO – Hi-Dive #
Mar 24: Salt Lake City, UT – Diabolical Records #
Mar 25-26: Boise, ID – Treefort Music Fest #
Mar 28: Omaha, NE – O’Leavers #
Mar 29: Chicago, IL – Subterranean #
Mar 30: Cleveland, OH – Now That’s Class #
# – w/ Creepoid

Europe
Apr 21: Roma, IT – HPS Night
Apr 22: Parma, IT – Titty Twister
Apr 24: Trieste, IT – Tertis
Apr 25: Salzburg, AT – Rockhouse
Apr 26: Bologna, IT – Alchemica Club
Apr 27: Olten, CH – Le Coq D’Or
Apr 28: Liege, BE – Garage
Apr 29: Nijmegen, NL – Doornroosje
Apr 30: Berlin, DE – Desertfest
May 02: Koln, DE – Limes
May 03: Paris, FR – Glazart
May 04: Lille, FR – Biplan
May 05: Rennes, FR – Mondo Bizarro
May 06: Clermont Ferrand, FR – Raymond Bar
May 09: Sevilla, ES – Sala X
May 10: Louele, PT – Bafo Baraco
May 11: Cascais, PT – Stairway Club
May 12: Madrid, ES – Wulrlitzer Ballroom
May 13: San Sebastian, ES – DABADABA
May 14: Bordeaux, FR – VOID
May 16: Lucerne, CH – Treibhaus Luzern
May 17: Bolzano, IT – Sudwerk
May 18: Zagreb, HR – Vintage Bar
May 19: Ravenna, IT – Bronson
May 20: Milano, IT – BLOOD (Sonic Ritual)

ECSTATIC VISION is:
Doug Sabolik
Michael Field Connor
Jordan Crouse
Kevin Nickles

https://www.facebook.com/ecstaticvision
https://twitter.com/ecstaticvision_
https://www.instagram.com/ecstaticvision
http://www.relapse.com
http://www.facebook.com/relapserecords
http://www.relapserecords.bandcamp.com
http://www.twitter.com/relapserecords

Ecstatic Vision, “You Got It (Or You Don’t)”

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Electric Horsemen Announce Return After Seven Years; New Single Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

electric horsemen

Indeed, seven years. Seven years and a week, if you want to go by the last time I wrote about Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, sludge rockers Electric Horsemen. The occasion was a review of a split they had out with Count von Count (review here), and that was the last I heard from the offshoot of heavy rockers Black Cowgirl until a couple days ago. As it turns out, Electric Horsemen last month posted a single called “Milk Coma.” It was recorded back in 2008, but you can hear it below and it neatly encapsulates the density that was at root in their appeal way back when.

I don’t know where they’re actually at with new material — they say below there are plans to record “sometime this year” — but they’ve got a couple shows booked in Eastern PA next week with Backwoods Payback, and, well, it’s just kind of cool thinking they might get back to it, all hot pickled eggs and whatnot.

Confession time: I’ve never had a hot pickled egg. Not sure I could hang. Mostly these days I eat protein bars and chicken caesar salads without croutons. Rock and roll, y’all.

The band sent this down the PR wire:

electric horsemen logo

Electric Horsemen – Back from Hiatus

Lancaster County Pennsylvania’s Electric Horsemen is ending a 7 year hiatus starting with two shows in February with fellow Pennsylvanians and friends Backwoods Payback. The band founded in 2006 is hoping to get back in the studio to record new material sometime this year. The lineup includes 2 current and 1 former member of Black Cowgirl, former bassist Chris Casse, current bassist Wyatt Kring and vocalist/guitarist Ben McGuire as well as original Electric Horsemen drummer Barry Lupacckino.

The band made a reputation for themselves in the myspace era for playing feedback-laden Crowbar influenced-riffs and being the heaviest band to ever come from Lancaster County PA (there was no competition) as well as having the market cornered in hot pickled egg sales. They are back in action, heavier than ever and filling jars with hot pickled eggs in preparation for their return!

February 17 – The Alternative Gallery (Allentown PA) Electric Horsemen w/Backwoods Payback and more!
February 18 – REX’s (West Chester PA) Electric Horsemen w/Backwoods Payback and more!

https://www.facebook.com/electrichorsemen/
https://electrichorsemen.bandcamp.com/track/milk-coma
https://www.facebook.com/backwoodspayback/

Electric Horsemen, “Milk Coma” (2017)

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Canyon, Canyon: Process Beginnings

Posted in Reviews on February 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

canyon self titled

At four tracks and just under 19 minutes, the self-titled debut EP from Philadelphia three-piece Canyon give listeners just enough of a glimpse of where they might be headed to emphasize the potential at work. Canyon is their first outing since getting together in 2015 with the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Peter Stanko, bassist/vocalist Dean Welsh and drummer/vocalist Anthony Bove and after an initial digital self-release and tape through Anvileater Records, the short outing shows up as a full jewel-case CD with a picture of the band out front to emphasize the classic ideas they’re working from. I would not be surprised if some of the root jams out of which opener “Mashriq” was formed were some of Canyon‘s earliest, as there is definitely a formative aspect to their approach, vocals following the riff closely in a bouncing rhythm that, even compared to what follows on the palpably airier “She Comes to Me,” seems straightforward in a we’re-a-new-band-getting-our-footing kind of way.

That process itself, honestly represented as it is, can be and is refreshing to hear, and in the context of Canyon‘s style, which benefits greatly from an organic warmth of tone in the guitar and bass along with the interplay of vocals, it makes a particular sense that they would showcase where they’re at in this early stage of their progression. Their sound, captured here by Alex Santilli, who engineered and mixed at Spice House Sound while Mark Trewella at Full Circle Mastering handled the finishing touches, is raw, but still offers plenty to the curious listener, and even more so on repeat visits.

After some initial thud, “Mashriq” starts off with a righteously fuzzed impression. Philly has seen no shortage of heavy psych come through the last couple years, from Ruby the Hatchet and Ecstatic Vision to Meddlesome Meddlesome Meddlesome Bells, but right away, “Mashriq” positions Canyon as having a more earthbound take — fitting enough for their name, I suppose — given to roll and straightforwardness in structure. At just under three and a half minutes, it’s the shortest of the four inclusions on the EP and as “She Comes to Me,” “Radiant Light” and “Tell Me Mister” play out behind it, it becomes something of an outlier stylistically for that. Where Stanko, Welsh and Bove soon enough dig into a languid blend of heavy blues rock and, in the case of “Radiant Light” particularly, find a niche for themselves in dreamy vocal melodicism to complement a shimmer in Stanko‘s guitar, the leadoff cut seems more about establishing a context on which the subsequent material builds.

Maybe that’s Canyon‘s way of easing the listener into their world, and that’s certainly valid, even on a short offering like this one, but “Mashriq,” while a strong opener and memorable in its hook, ultimately does little to account for some of the fleshed-out vibes that follow, even as “Tell Me Mister” rounds out with a return to a more energetic push and the gotta-hear-it buzz-tone that begs to be turned up even louder than it starts. How one accounts for that will depend on the listener, but if we look at the concept of a “debut EP” doing the work that a band’s “demo” used to do, then Canyon‘s establishes them as an outfit with an immediately varied approach of craft, however nascent it might otherwise be.

Could that be the work of multiple songwriters? I don’t know, but I’d believe it based on how the progression plays out front to back. Most importantly, however, Canyon offer intrigue and show several potential avenues for future growth and where their sound might go, toying with pop elements in their use of backing vocals in a kind of garage-grunge mindset — this happens in “Mashriq” as well — and dedicate themselves to a breadth of approach that stays apparent even in this abbreviated context. As to how that growth might manifest, it hardly seems fair to speculate, but as the self-titled plays out with increasing complexity almost on a song-by-song basis until “Tell Me Mister” bridges the gap in summarizing what the band has been putting together all the while, it’s easy enough to foresee Canyon stabilizing their approach to songwriting in a way that allows them to construct a full-album flow.

This, of course, is essential to the work of an initial outing like this one — to give the band lessons to learn as they move forward, and I hear nothing in the tracks to make me think Canyon won’t do precisely that. On the most basic level, it’s a quick debut outing — a demo by any other name — that shows potential in tone and in trading between bounce and blues and drift and thrust all while holding to identifiable markers and avoiding a direct, blatant flag-bearing of its influences. This already is more than one might reasonably ask of it, and it is not by any means the sum total of what is delivered.

Canyon, Canyon (2017)

Canyon on Thee Facebooks

Canyon on Bandcamp

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Descendants of Crom: Earthride, EYE, Valkyrie & More to Appear at Pittsburgh Festival

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

descendants of crom

Cheers to a new festival coming to Pittsburgh this fall. Sept. 30 will see the debut installment of the all-day Descendants of Crom held at the two-stage Cattivo Nightclub, and the first lineup announcement has been made with a considerable blend of Chesapeake and Midwestern talent on hand. With a strong focus that seems to put Maryland at the epicenter, prime Dave Sherman-fronted riff-rollers Earthride will play as part of an apparent 2017 resurgence, along with Ripple Music heavy rockers Foghound, whose 2016 outing, The World Unseen (review here), was among the year’s most unabashedly kickass.

One particularly encouraging sign from this first round of confirmations — there’s apparently another to come by the end of the month — is the stylistic variety. To have the lush melo-prog of Ohio’s EYE and the jazzy intricacy of just-reviewed Philly trio Stinking Lizaveta on the same bill is righteous enough, let alone to have them alongside the boozy forward drive of an act like Wasted Theory, the dual-guitar acrobatics of Valkyrie, Brimstone Coven‘s harmonies and the progressive sludge of Horseburner.

Wait. Did I just convince myself to drive to Pittsburgh?

While I ponder that question of questions, dig into Descendants of Crom‘s initial communiqué below, which comes courtesy of the fest itself:

descendants of crom

DESCENDANTS OF CROM – SEPT. 30, 2017

This all day music festival is the first of its kind in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The underground scene of stoner and doom here is healthy and thriving and the location at Cattivo Nightclub is perfect with two large floors, a stage on each, and good sound with friendly staff.

DESCENDANTS OF CROM will bring great regional talent to a hungry crowd, utilizing national fan favorites to lure them to learn about these other amazing artists. This first year is anticipated to be a contender among other established annual fests and will not be an event to miss.

THIS YEAR’S CONFIRMED TALENT
EYE (Columbus, OH)
FOGHOUND (Baltimore, MD)
BRIMSTONE COVEN (Wheeling, WV)
STINKING LIZAVETTA (Philadelphia, PA)
WASTED THEORY (Delaware)
EARTHRIDE (MD)
VALKYRIE (Harrisonburg, VA)
HORSEBURNER (Parkersburg, VA).

The rest of the line-up will be announced by end of February. You can keep an eye out for updates through DescendantsOfCrom.com and the Facebook page, facebook.com/DescendantsOfCrom.

http://facebook.com/descendantsofcrom
http://www.descendantsofcrom.com/

Earthride, “Mr. Green”

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Review & Track Premiere: Stinking Lizaveta, Journey to the Underworld

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Stinking-Lizaveta-Journey-To-The-Underworld

[Click play above to stream ‘Blood, Milk and Honey’ from Stinking Lizaveta’s new album, Journey to the Underworld. Release is Feb. 17 on Translation Loss.]

You’d have to look pretty far and pretty wide to find a band who’s been weirder, for longer, than Stinking Lizaveta. Much farther and wider than Philadelphia, anyhow, which is from whence the instrumentalist trio have been emanating their one-of-a-kind progressive blend of rock, jazz, punk, metal and doom for more than 20 years — their first album, …Hopelessness and Shame, released in 1996 preceded by a few earlier singles. The three-piece of founding guitarist Yanni Papadopoulos, founding upright electric bassist Alexi Papadopoulos and founding drummer Cheshire Agusta have established their own wavelength over the course of that time, which is to say one expects a certain kind of madcap adventure into blinding turns and near-freneticism when playing a Stinking Lizaveta, at least as part of the overall offering, but right up to their eighth album, Journey to the Underworld — their second for Translation Loss — they retain an evident glee in the experimental process.

That shows itself in the nine-song outing’s overarching progression as much as within individual tracks as it scorches through side A cuts like opener “Witches and Pigs” and the thrashy “Six Fangs” in order to begin to introduce more contemplative textures on “Blood, Milk and Honey” that will flesh out across the subsequent title-track, the spacious “Love Song for Jusu,” the acoustic-strummed “A Stranger’s Welcome” and the brief, classic prog outro “Allegro” on side B. Produced and mixed by Stephen Berrigan (Paul Webb co-produced) with a master by Bruce Leighton and suitably-odd cover art by David GunnJourney to the Underworld is the first Stinking Lizaveta album in five years since the Sanford Parker-produced 7th Direction arrived in 2012 (in Europe via Exile on Mainstream) following up 2009’s Sacrifice and Bliss (review here).

Accordingly, it’s little surprise the non-vocalized outfit seem to have so much to say within Journey to the Underworld‘s utterly-manageable 36-minute span. A principal element of their work has always been an utter refusal to take up the mantle of pretense to which their technical acumen entitles them. They could be real dicks about being so good, but they’re not. Instead, from “Witches and Pigs” onward into the guitar-led trad-metal-gone-noise of “Chorus and Shades” (think alternate-reality Slough Feg) and seeming to even out over the conversational course of “Sharp Stick in the Eye” — each measure seeming to argue with the one before it — Stinking Lizaveta keep their heads about them even as those of their listeners set to spinning. That aspect of their personality, a kind of sonic humility, has been consistent in their studio output over the years, and the clear-but-natural recording from Berrigan here presents it well, but that shouldn’t be taken to mean “Chorus of Shades” or “Sharp Stick in the Eye” — which thuds to a finish just in time to let Agusta‘s drums pick up with the start of “Six Fangs,” soon to depart into thrashier terrain — somehow lacks dynamic.

stinking lizaveta (photo by dante torrieri)

If anything, Journey to the Underworld becomes richer for the here-it-is-style presentation functioning as an implicit dare on the part of the challenging material itself rather than the band’s showiness, which again, they don’t have when they easily could. As the first half of the album transitions into the second, “Blood, Milk and Honey” follows “Six Fangs” as the centerpiece of the tracklisting and works in three stages. The first of them is a mid-paced chug, nodding, relatively straightforward. The second is a wistful acoustic-led turn that sets on a linear build eventually topped by a shredding solo and insistent chug, impeccably mixed. The third is a return to the opening progression following the righteous payoff to the prior build. All of this happens in under five minutes.

It is precisely this kind of efficient, unpostured feel that sets Stinking Lizaveta and the rest of the planet apart. Following “Blood, Milk and Honey” — which, indeed, seems to represent all three — Journey to the Underworld shifts into further sonic expansion as the 6:56 title-track cuts back on tempo in order to move more patiently through a course no less complex than anything that has preceded, trading between lurching rhythm and more atmospheric sprawl. The latter will also be a factor in “Love Song for Jusu,” which is shorter and, fitting its title, less grimly mooded on the whole, but still comes to a wash of noise in its midsection before a sweetness of guitar rounds out. Of particular note in terms of the recording is the tone of the acoustic guitar, or quiet electric, or whatever it is, that Yanni is using. Listening to “A Stranger’s Welcome,” one can hear the strings responding to his fingers, to the strike of his pick, and the song comes that much more to life for it.

As part of the closing duo with “Allegro” subsequent, Journey to the Underworld finds emotional resolution in “A Stranger’s Welcome” as well, and as they finish with a sudden crash and burst of noise, one can hear laughter coming through the room mics. This serves as an inherent reminder of the human core behind the voyage on which Stinking Lizaveta have embarked throughout, and if indeed it’s an Underworld to which they’re headed, it’s one that comforts rather than terrorizes — defying, as ever, the cliché in favor of more individualized expression. Their work has never been and probably never will be for everyone, but that doesn’t make it any less special, and as they end the longest drought between full-lengths of their career — Agusta was involved in a significant hit-and-run in 2012, it’s worth noting — they do so by only continuing to broaden their technical, emotional and aural reach. I almost never use the word “unique” to describe bands, but Stinking Lizaveta earn that and more on Journey to the Underworld, and remain an underrated treasure unto themselves.

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