The Obelisk Presents: Apostle of Solitude & Pale Divine Tour Dates

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on June 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Earlier this year, Indianapolis four-piece Apostle of Solitude threw themselves into contention for the best doom release of 2018 with their fourth album, From Gold to Ash (review here), but before the year is out, one hopes, Pennsylvania-based trio Pale Divine will have their first long-player in more than half a decade released by Shadow Kingdom, and there’s little doubt it’ll have its own argument to make in that regard. If you want a preview of the head-to-head matchup that seems likely to at least make my December more difficult come year-end list time, the two bands will hit the road together next month for a tour of which I’m proud to count this site among the presenters. I know I’ve said this before, but pretty much anytime Apostle of Solitude do anything — video, new track, shows, whatever — I’m happy to be involved somehow. The company they’re keeping on this run only makes that truer.

You can dig the dates below, as well as copious linkage and album streams, because it’s good to be informed and all that kind of thing, but the point here is you should go see these bands. Especially if you haven’t, but even if you have. Apostle of Solitude are riding their best stuff to-date, and Pale Divine are heralding the release of a new record, and I don’t know if you knew this about them, but that’s not exactly something that happens every day.

Dates follow as put together by Hi-Wattage Booking:

pale divine apostle of solitude tour poster

Apostle of Solitude & Pale Divine – 2018 How the West Was Doomed Tour

7/20 Lafayette LA – Freetown Boom Boom Room w Forming the Void & Doomstress
7/21 Houston TX – Dan Electro’s (1pm early show)
7/21 San Antonio TX – Faust Tavern
7/22 Austin TX – Beerland w Witchcryer
7/23 Dallas TX – Prophet Bar w Kin of Ettins, Space Ape & Stone Machine Electric
7/24 Fort Smith AR – Hero’s w RedWitch Johnny
7/25 Shreveport LA – Bear’s w 18th State
7/26 Memphis TN – Growlers w Admiral Longtooth
7/27 Indianapolis IN – State Street Pub w Desert Planet
7/28 Chicago IL – Reggie’s w deepspacepilots

Apostle of Solitude is:
Corey Webb – drums
Chuck Brown – guitars, vocals
Steve Janiak – guitars, vocals
Mike Naish – bass

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

www.facebook.com/apostleofsolitude
twitter.com/Chuck_solitude
apostleofsolitude.com
www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/cruzdelsurmusic
twitter.com/CruzDelSurMusic

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/

Apostle of Solitude, From Gold to Ash (2018)

Pale Divine, Painted Windows Black (2012)

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The Age of Truth Release Threshold LP June 29; Preorders up Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 1st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the age of truth photo useless rebel

Okay, so the news here is that Philly noise rockers The Age of Truth are getting ready to issue their debut album, Threshold (review here) on vinyl through Kozmik Artifactz at the end of this month. Preorders are up now. Bitchin’. Congrats to the band; nice pick for the label. Everyone wins.

Take a look though at the PR wire info below, and specifically I’d like to draw your eye to The Age of Truth‘s upcoming live dates. Yeah. Pretty sick. They’re doing the Chicago Doomed and Stoned fest, and Maryland Doom Fest 2018, and club shows besides with the likes of Heavy TempleBackwoods PaybackWasted Theory and Witchkiss. Some good-ass shows in there, and especially if you can’t make it to either of the noted festivals, might be one you want to keep in mind. The merch table’s always a good place to pick up a record anyhow.

Info follows in abundance:

the age of truth threshold

THE AGE OF TRUTH debut full-length ‘Threshold’ set for first press vinyl to be released with Kozmik Artifactz on June 29th

The Age Of Truth is four brothers-in-arms from Philadelphia, united in the singular pursuit of creating genuine heaviness for an honestly broken world. Our lives are bathed in twisted deception and they unravel it with a scouring purity. With a fully stocked riff arsenal wrapped in tones of Satanic honey, The Age Of Truth blends fuzz and diesel into heavy psych blues and stoner rock. The perfect soundtrack for a barroom brawl ignited from a single lie.

Their debut album Threshold was released November 1, 2017, and dominated for multiple months within the DoomCharts, as well as ranking #8 of the ‘Top 20 Albums of 2017’ at MoreFuzz.net. The Philly quartet has steadily built a reputation among the heavy underground music world with their superb debut, and will confirm their standing with upcoming appearances at the first Chicago Doomed & Stoned Fest, as well as the fourth edition of The Maryland Doom Fest.

Now for the first time, Kozmik Artifactz will bring this phenomenal slab of stoner rock to wax, with an exclusive vinyl release this June 29th. Plated and pressed on high performance vinyl at Pallas/Germany; with a limited and colored vinyl, 300gsm gatefold cover, and special vinyl mastering. A reissued CD format will also be available.

Pre-orders will begin June 1st at Kozmik-Artifactz.com

The Age Of Truth on Kozmik Artifactz: http://kozmik-artifactz.com/artist/the-age-of-truth/

HE AGE OF TRUTH is:

Kevin McNamara: Vocals
Mike DiDonato: Guitar
Scott Frassetto: Drums
William Miller: Bass

In addition to the upcoming vinyl press, Threshold is available now on CD, digital download, and full-stream via The Age Of Truth Bandcamp page, as well as Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and regular internet radio rotation on Pandora.

The debut album was self-produced by The Age Of Truth and published by Hammerhead Music. Recording, engineering, and mixing was done by Joseph Boldizar at Retro City Studios in Philadelphia, PA; mastering by Carl Saff at Saff Mastering in Chicago, IL; album design and artwork by Michele Fitzgerald; and art direction by Damien Rizzello and The CHAOS Custom.

Threshold – Track List:
Host (Demon In Me)
Come Back A God
Supernatural Salesman
Holding Hands Like Thieves
Caroline
Oceanbones
Hígado de Hierro (interlude)
Threshold
Honeypot (Bonus Track)

Upcoming Live Dates:
Jun 1 – Chicago IL @ Reggie’s – Chicago Doomed & Stoned Festival
Jun 6 – Wilmington DE @ Oddity Bar
Jun 21 – Philadelphia PA @ Kung Fu Necktie (w/The Stone Eye, Transit Method, Rollin’ Loaded)
Jun 23 – Frederick MD @ Cafe 611 – THE MARYLAND DOOM FEST
Jul 6 – Wilmington DE @ Oddity (w/Kingsnake, Wasted Theory, Blood Law)
Jul 20 – Swarthmore PA @ War3house (w/The Electric Mud)
Jul 21 – Philadelphia PA @ Mestosis Room (w/Kingsnake, Temet Nosce, Mesmeria, Strange Aeons)
Jul 23 – Monclair NJ @ Meatlocker (w/Backwoods Payback, Witchkiss)
Aug 3 – West Chester PA @ Sprout Music Collective (w/Heavy Temple, Backwoods Payback)

http://www.theageoftruth.net
https://theageoftruth.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/theageoftruth
https://www.instagram.com/theageoftruth/
http://www.twitter.com/theageoftruth
http://www.reverbnation.com/theageoftruth

The Age of Truth, Threshold (2017/2018)

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Backwoods Payback Announce Aug. 3 Release for Future Slum

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 1st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

backwoods payback

New Backwoods Payback arrives on a relatively quick turnaround. This is unmistakably good news, as it means all that, “We feel better as a band than we’ve ever felt” stuff wasn’t just riding a cool moment, but actually something that has fed into the creative process. Since founding duo Mike Cummings (guitar/vocals) and Jessica Baker (bass) joined up with Erik Larson (drums; ex-Alabama Thunderpussy, etc.), they’ve seem recharged. You could hear it on late-2016’s Fire Not Reason (review here), and I’m not saying that I’ve already listened to it or anything, but their new one, Future Slum, is only a step forward from where they left off a year and a half ago.

For a bonus to the good news, they’ve got live shows coming up, including Maryland Doom Fest 2018, so dig the album art and posters below, then find more from the PR wire, a special quote Cummings sent over about the record, and a teaser clip.

All goes like this:

backwoods payback future slum

Backwoods Payback – Future Slum

Future Slum is not a pretty record. It’s not the clean and well-manicured one sitting awkwardly at a table in the local watering hole, it’s the grizzled one propping up the bar and regaling the crowd with conspiracy theories. Mike Cummings, guitarist and vocalist of Backwoods Payback – the ones responsible for this lumbering hulk of stoner rock n’ roll – certainly fits the bill, whether he’s yowling his head off or singing in an eerily hypnotic manner. Meanwhile, Jessica Baker is the reliable anchor on bass, and Erik Larson (he of Alabama Thunderpussy and the legendary hardcore band Avail, no less) gives a thumping performance on his kit. A friend pops her head round the door too – Mlny Parsonz of Royal Thunder trades words in her usual melodious tones on the apathetic ‘Whatever’, yet also pulling out a surprising rasp.

Backwoods Payback are also able to spin a good yarn about their travels – sharing stages with Fu Manchu, Scissorfight and Third Eye Blind, a bewildering list when put side-by-side, but each represents an important factor in this band’s aesthetic. Fu Manchu demonstrate the “gloryfucked fuzz”, as Backwoods Payback so eloquently put it; Scissorfight showcase the no-holds-barred burly brawling such as on “Generals”; Third Eye Blind for the occasional moments of calm (!) like in “Big Enough”, giving brief respite from the warning shots being fired throughout the rest of the records.

Five albums in, Future Slum is the fruit of a hard slog for fifteen years. Understandably, they are excited for it to see the light of day, not least for its cryptic subject matter. “It all revolves around the idea of feeling lost and disenfranchised with your surroundings, finding your people, and losing yourself within them. Have you ever followed?” Mike finishes, quoting from second track “Lines”. It’s up to you if you can read between them.

Mike Cummings on Future Slum:

We went into the studio (back to Noisy Little Critter, where we have done everything since “in the ditch”) immediately following our Jan tour with Royal Thunder and laid down the record. We had been working on the songs for the few months leading up to that tour and it came together very fast. This definitely feels like the next step in the evolution of the band since Erik joined. The three piece thing has really streamlined the writing process and kind of taken us to a whole new place. I’m not quite sure where we fit into the landscape anymore, but we are making ourselves at home in this little valley we are carving out. We are stoked to be hitting the road again and getting back on the horse. See you out there with some new jams, some new gear, some new ideas, and our old hearts.

BACKWOODS PAYBACK:
Jessica Baker – Bass
Mike Cummings – Guitar/vocals
Erik Larson – Drums

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

Backwoods Payback, Future Slum teaser

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Thunderbird Divine Sign to Salt of the Earth Records; Premiere Video for “Quaalude Thunder”

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

First discussed here last May, Philadelphia four-piece Thunderbird Divine have signed on to release their debut album through Salt of the Earth Records. Inking the deal makes them labelmates to the likes of EarthrideScissorfight and Atala, though if their first public audio in the track “Quaalude Thunder” premiering in the video at the bottom of this post is anything to go by, they’re way dug into their own wavelength. All the better for the group, which features guitarist/vocalist/thereminist Erik Caplan, formerly of Wizard Eye and guitarist Flynn Lawrence, bassist Adam Scott and drummer Mike Stuart, all of whom used to play in Skeleton Hands.

I’d doubt “Quaalude Thunder” speaks for the whole of Thunderbird Divine‘s aesthetic, but it’s a pretty engaging introductory sampling, and one hopes it’s not too long before they dole out a follow-up ahead of the yet-untitled first long-player.

Salt of the Earth made the signing official by sending over the following announcement. Stoked on this one. Expect more to come:

Thunderbird Divine (Photo by Dante Torrieri)

Thunderbird Divine Signs With Salt of the Earth Records for First Album, Releases Exclusive Video Track

Colchester, Connecticut-based label, Salt of the Earth Records, has inked a contract with Philadelphia’s Thunderbird Divine for its first, as-yet unnamed album due late Summer 2018. The band, comprising former members of the now-defunct bands Skeleton Hands and Wizard Eye, formed in March 2017 and is presently wrapping up the recording process.

“I couldn’t be more psyched, nor could I be prouder to be able to announce the signing of Thunderbird Divine to Salt Of The Earth Records,” says label president, Scott Harrington. “These guys are doing something truly interesting, different and exciting–make no mistake, this is definitely a heavy record, but there are complex elements of psychedelia and weird, wild textures mixed with classic riffing. This thing has class, style and balls. That’s a rare combination.”

Thunderbird Divine, featuring guitarist/vocalist Erik Caplan, bassist Adam Scott, drummer Mike Stuart and guitarist Flynn Lawrence, is extremely pleased to be working with Salt of the Earth Records as well, a label featuring releases from the likes of Scissorfight, Atala and Earthride.

“I knew Scott very well from his work with my last project, and he did some wonderful stuff for that band,” says Caplan. “I have always considered him to be a solid, stand-up guy who shoots straight and makes things happen, and we’re proud to join the Salt of the Earth Records roster of talented, creative artists who feel the same way about Scott and his work ethic. We’re in good company.”

The band has been recording in both New York and Philadelphia, at TedAudio with Ted Richardson and Mother West with Charles Newman, respectively. The foursome also chose to work with a producer for its first release, landing Caplan’s longtime friend, composer/multi-instrumentalist/artist/producer LD Beghtol. Beghtol, known for his solo music as well as work with Flare, Magnetic Fields and various other ventures, is not the typical choice as producer for music on the heavier side of the music spectrum.

“I’ve known LD for 20 years or so, and he’s a great friend as well as a ridiculously talented person,” says Caplan. “He’s always been an excellent touchstone and confidante for me, and I knew he would bring a fresh mindset to our sound. I think it would have been easy to approach one of the usual sludge or stoner/doom producers with our music, and I think the result would have been a really strong but typical album. Working with LD has really expanded our horizons and made this into something extraordinary.”

Thunderbird Divine has also created a series of advance self-produced non-album tracks with video treatments to herald this release. The first of these, an instrumental called “Quaalude Thunder,” is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the way the late, great Frank Zappa described self-indulgent drumming.

“We have the capability to create our own recordings and make our own videos, so we wanted to offer some appetizers before we served up the main course,” says Stuart. “Every one of these tracks is a short teaser related to something you’ll hear on the album–variations on themes we’ve explored. ‘Quaalude Thunder’ certainly could have been a section of an album track, but we decided to give it a home of its own as an advance video track. The videos offer glimpses into the kinds of things we embrace as visual inspiration. Expect more as we get closer to the release date for the album.”

Photo credit: Dante Torrieri
(l-r) Erik Caplan, Flynn Lawrence, Adam Scott, Mike Stuart

www.facebook.com/thunderbirddivine
https://www.instagram.com/thunderbird_divine/
www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec

Thunderbird Divine, “Quaalude Thunder” official video premiere

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The Obelisk Presents: Electric Dragon Festival, July 28 in York, PA

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on May 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Three bucks! Three American dollars! I’ve had the pleasure of presenting a good number of shows at this point with The Obelisk, and it’s something I’m almost always happy to do and promote people doing good work, but five bands for three bucks on a night that offers heavy psych, classic boogie, doom and synth-prog weirdness — I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t especially honored to see this site’s logo on this poster.

The first-ever Electric Dragon Festival is set for July 28 at The Depot in York, PA, and the lineup reads like a tour of Mid-Atlantic heavy. There’s St. James & the Apostles, from Philly, as well as Brooklyn’s Rattlesnake, Baltimore’s Alms and Witch Hazel and What’s Her Face, both from PA. Did I mention it was three bucks to get in?

That’s a pretty special kind of night, which of course is the whole idea. There’s some more info about the bands below, courtesy of the fest itself, for which, once again, I’m thrilled to have The Obelisk stand among the presenters.

Dig this:

Electric Dragon Festival poster

The Electric Dragon Festival is a one-day, five-band celebration of Hard and Heavy Rock ‘N’ Roll featuring some killer groups from the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic US underground!
The event will take place on Saturday July 28 at The Depot in York, PA. Doors are at 7pm and entrance is only $3!

www.theyorkdepot.com

A little about the bands:

St. James & The Apostles: A Heavy Psychedelic Soul Family Trio based out of Philadelphia, PA, (and yeah, they’re actually all cousins!), and they’ve been on the scene performing and releasing albums for over eight years now! They are the esteemed headliners of the festival!

https://stjamestheapostles.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/stjamesandtheapostles

Witch Hazel: York, PA’s own Doom/Occult Rock ‘N’ Roll hometown heroes! For this special festival occasion, they’ll be performing their brand new album “Otherworldly” in its entirety with special guest Mike Kiker from St. James & The Apostles on keys!

http://witchhazeldoom.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/witchhazelyork

Rattlesnake: Hard Southern Rock Boogie coming out of Brooklyn, NY, yeah, you read that correct! Having just released their debut 7” on In For The Kill Records/H42 Records, this up and coming trio, featuring Adam Kriney of The Golden Grass, will make their York debut at the festival!

http://rattlesnakeboogie69.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/RattlesnakeBoogie69

Alms: Traditional Doom-Rock/Heavy Metal group out of Baltimore, MD! They’re just about to release their highly anticipated debut LP on Shadow Kingdom Records!

https://almsbaltimore.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/almsbaltimore/

What’s Her Face: A synthesizer driven outer-space rock ‘n’ roll band from Lancaster, PA! Word on the street is that they’ve upped the ante and now have two synth players, they’ll be kicking off the festivities and taking it to the cosmos!

https://whatsherface1.bandcamp.com/

Electric Dragon Festival event page

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Horehound Reissue Self-Titled Debut on Hellmistress Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

horehound

Pittsburgh doom rockers Horehound took part this past weekend in the inaugural New England Stoner and Doom Fest in Connecticut, playing alongside Gozu, Wasted Theory and a vast host of others at a show I was both proud to be involved in presenting and sorry to have missed on account of timing. The appearance there is just the latest in the momentum-building that’s been going on for Horehound more or less since their self-titled debut (review here) was released in 2016.

The date of that release? April 20. The release date of the brand new Hellmistress Records CD and vinyl edition of the album? April 20, AKA last Friday. You have to appreciate a bit of symmetry. The band said last fall when they signed to Hellmistress that they had new material in the works. I haven’t seen an update on that, but maybe by the time they get to Descendants of Crom 2018 this September we’ll have word one way or another. Or maybe they’ll just wait for April 2019. Ha.

Here’s the latest on the reissue and the whatnots:

horehound self-titled

HOREHOUND to Re-Issue Self-Titled Debut on CD and Vinyl on April 20th via Hellmistress Records; Current Live Dates & Fest Appearances.

Pittsburgh, PA’s HOREHOUND announce their teaming up with Hellmistress Records to re-issue the Horehound Self-titled 2016 debut for both CD and first-time colored vinyl variants. The seven original tracks have been re-mixed, re-mastered, and now include a bonus song of Portishead’s, ‘Mysterons’, covered a la doom!
Digital Streaming on Bandcamp and other outlets, as well as the new CD will be available 4/20/2018, which is the second anniversary of the original release date.

Vinyl press is expected to be available on June 1st.

Artist Name: Horehound
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Genres/Styles: Doom Metal, Heavy Metal, Sludge
Label Name:
Blackseed Records (First Press, April 20, 2016)
Hellmistress Records (Re-Issue, April 20, 2018)

Horehound – Track List:

1. World to Come
2. Sangreal
3. Crowns and Thrones
4. The Dead Don’t Lie
5. Waters of Lethe
6. Myope
7. Waking Time
8. Mysterons (bonus track on re-issue only)

Recorded by Matt Schor at War Room.
Mastering by James Plotkin at Plotkinworks.
All music written and performed by Horehound, with the exception of “Mysterons”, originally written and performed by Portishead.
Cover Art by Sasaya Orenda Hamer-Pennisi

HOREHOUND is:
JD Dauer – drums
Brendan Parrish – guitar
Shy Kennedy – vocals
Nick Kopco – bass

HOREHOUND – Upcoming Live Events:
05I10I18 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Brillobox (w/Mos Generator, Limousine Beach)
05I26I18 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Cattivo (w/Ufomammut, White Hills)
06I16I18 – Aliquippa, PA @ Fallout Shelter (w/Rule Of Two, Everyone Hates Everything)
09I28I18 – Pittsburgh, PA @ DESCENDANTS OF CROM

Blackseed Records Presents:

DESCENDANTS OF CROM 2018

September 28th – 29th @ Cattivo
Day One: Lo-Pan + Come To Grief + Telekinetic Yeti + Devil To Pay + Disenchanter + Sierra + Heavy Temple + Demon Eye + Horehound + Doomstress + Doctor Smoke + Curse The Son + Eternal Black + Cloud + Solarburn + The Long Hunt
Day Two: Mos Generator + Duel + Kind + Freedom Hawk + Geezer + Forming The Void + Serpents Of Secrecy + Wolftooth + Ironflame + River Cult + Cavern + Thunderbird Divine + Molasses Barge + OutsideInside + Jakethehawk

RSVP – https://www.facebook.com/events/177536592803763/
TICKETS: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3186333

Pre-Gala: September 27th @ Howlers
Destroyer Of Light + Rebreather + Fist Fight In The Parking Lot + Gran Gila + Mires
RSVP – https://www.facebook.com/events/2074052449275860/

https://www.facebook.com/horehoundband/
http://horehound.bandcamp.com/
https://twitter.com/horehoundband
https://www.facebook.com/blackseedrecords/
http://www.blackseedrecords.com/
https://hellmistressrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HellmistressRecords/

Horehound, Horehound (2016)

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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