Quarterly Review: Kungens Män, PFUND, Crystal Spiders, The Misery Men, Hubris, Woorms, Melody Fields, Oreyeon, Mammoth Grove, Crimson Devils

Posted in Reviews on March 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

I used to be pretty artsy and write poetry. Let’s give it a shot:

There was an old man who wore no-toe shoes.
He said, I’mma go do 60 reviews.
He was out of his head,
Should’ve gone back to bed,
But he loves him some dirty psych blues.

Years from now, when I link back to this post for a “(review here)”-type scenario, I’m going to see that and I’ll still think it’s funny. The planet’s dying. I’d say a bit of silly is more than called for.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Kungens Män, Chef

kungens man chef

Krautrockers, assemble! Or, you know, whatever krautrockers do — I assume it involves homemade spacecraft that, yes, absolutely fly. Perhaps one of these days I’ll ask Stockholm’s Kungens Män, whose latest outing for Riot Season, simply titled Chef, is an outbound delight of psych-infused progressivism. Beginning with the opening throb of “Fyrkantig Böjelse” and moving into the volume swells, steady drum line and wandering guitar that starts “Öppen För Stängda Dörrar” on side A, its four extended tracks craft otherworldly textures through a meld of organic instrumental flow and waves of synth, the second cut building to a tense wash of distortion all the while keeping that hypnotic march. The two corresponding 10-minute-plus cuts on side B waste no time in offering cosmic boogie in “Män Med Medel” with a more active rhythmic flow, and closer “Eftertankens Blanka Krankhet” — longer than the opener by one second at 11:24 — fades in on meditative guitar and explores a serene minimalism that only underscores the all around joy of the album.

Kungens Man on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records webstore

 

PFUND, PFUND

pfund pfund

The self-titled, self-released debut full-length from Kiel, Germany’s PFUND arrives and departs with a guesting horn section, and while that inevitably adds a bit of grandeur to the proceedings, the bulk of the outing is dedicated to straightforward, semi-metallic heavy rock, held to ground even in the seven-minute “Spaceman” by a considered sense of structure and an earthy drum sound that draws the songs together, whether it’s the classic riff rock in “Sea of Life” or the moodier sway in the earlier “Lost in Rome.” Dual guitars effectively multiply the impact, and the vocals showcase a nascent sense of melody that one imagines will only continue to grow as the band moves forward. At nine songs and 44 minutes, it shows some breadth and nuance in “Exhaustion” and “Paranoia,” the former tapping into an edge of progressive metal, but the primary impact comes from PFUND‘s heft of groove and how it blends with a rawer edge to their production. The Kyuss-referencing centerpiece here might be called “Imbalance,” but that’s hardly representative of what surrounds, horns and all.

PFUND on Thee Facebooks

PFUND on Bandcamp

 

Crystal Spiders, Demo

crystal spiders demo

Three songs, 11 minutes and three distinct vibes from the aptly-titled Demo demo of North Carolinian three-piece Crystal Spiders. On “Tigerlily,” “Flamethrower” and “Devil’s Resolve,” the trio of bassist/vocalist Brenna Leath (also Lightning Born), guitarist/vocalist Mike Deloatch and drummer/backing vocalist Tradd Yancey careen from bluesy spaciousness to hard-driving catchiness and end up — because why not? — in repeating cult-sludge chants, “Come to the devil’s resolve!” like Black Widow trying to lure people to the sabbat, except shouting. If the purpose of a demo is for a new band to try different methods of working and thereby take a first step in discovering their sound, Crystal Spiders are well on their way, and for what it’s worth, there isn’t anything within their scope as they present it that doesn’t work for them. There are edges to smooth out, of course, but that too is a part of the process starting here.

Crystal Spiders on Thee Facebooks

Crystal Spiders on Bandcamp

 

The Misery Men, Deathspiration

The Misery Men Deathspiration

If you’d asked, depending on which part of Deathspiration was on, I’d probably have called The Misery Men a bass/drum duo, but nope, that’s guitar. Tonally one is reminded of At Devil Dirt from Chile, but the Portland, Oregon, two-piece of vocalist/guitarist Corey G. Lewis and drummer Steve Jones are entirely more barebones in their craft, eschewing digital involvement of any sort in the recording or mixing process and sounding duly raw as a result throughout the subtle earworm of “C.W. Sughrue” and the lumbering “Harness the Darkness.” The subsequent “Night Creeps In” brings a Northwestern noise payoff to quiet/loud trades and the near-10-minute closer “Stoned to Death,” well, it seems to meet an end befitting its title, to say the least. As their stated intent was to capture the most organic version of their sound possible, and made a point of working toward that ideal in their recording, one could hardly fault them for the results of that process. They wanted something human-sounding. They got it.

The Misery Men on Thee Facebooks

The Misery Men on Bandcamp

 

Hubris, EP #II Live

hubris ep ii live

Some — not all — of what one needs to know about HubrisEP #II Live is right there in the title. Indeed, it’s their second EP. Indeed, it was recorded live. And indeed, like using a ‘#’ sign with a Roman numeral, there’s something about the way the three included songs from the Toulouse, France-based outfit sound that’s just a little bit off-kilter from what you might expect. “Zugzwang” (7:19), “Tergo” (19:58) and “Biotilus” (27:04) are arranged shortest to longest, and while the opener starts off like Queens of the Stone Age on an Eastern-tinged psychedelic bender, the lengthy jams that follow — the first of them with a fervent drum punctuation, the second a gradual intertwining of synth and guitar with hardly any percussion at all until after its 22nd minute. The instrumental flow that ensues from there is almost like a hidden bonus track, at least until they Hubris get to minute 26 and the whole thing explodes in crash and plod. The underlying message, of course, is that if you think you’re safe at any point, you’re not.

Hubris on Thee Facebooks

Hubris on Bandcamp

 

Woorms, Slake

woorms slake

Lumbering fuckall pervades the debut full-length, Slake, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sludgers Woorms — also stylized all-caps — which incorporates past singles “Find a Meal Find a Bed Find a God” and “Mouth is a Wound” amid the sample/noise barrage of “Our Lady of Perpetually Shitfaced” and the willfully brash “Racist Kevin” that follows. There’s an edge of Melvinsian chug to the proceedings, but Woorms‘ take, though presented in finished compositions, comes across as almost nihilistic rather than making a show of its experimentalism. That is, they’re trying to say they don’t give a fuck, and in listening, they make it kind of easy to believe, but there’s still something about the cohesiveness of “Veni Vidi Fucki” and “Rice Crispy” and the saved-the-best-nod-for-last finale “Sore Afraid” that undercuts the notion even while making the listening experience all the more pummeling, and from the intro “Corpse Corps” through “Urine Trouble Now”‘s echoing shouts and the closer’s unmitigated stomp, there’s still plenty of exploration being done.

WOORMS on Thee Facebooks

WOORMS on Bandcamp

 

Oreyeon, Ode to Oblivion

Oreyeon Ode to Oblivion

Rebranded since their 2016 debut, Builders of Cosmos (discussed here), from their more phonetically intuitive original moniker, Orion, Italy’s Oreyeon issue a cosmically expansive spacescape follow-up in their six-song/40-minute sophomore outing, Ode to Oblivion, also their first release through Heavy Psych Sounds. Echoing vocals pervade “Big Surprise” after the introductory “T.I.O.” and “Trudging to Vacuity” establish the wide-cast mix and anti-grav rhythmic density, and the nine-minute side A finale title-track runs mostly-instrumental circles around most of what I’d usually call “prog” only after it lays down a sleek hook in the first couple minutes. After “Big Surprise,” the 8:45 “The Ones” trades volume back and forth but finds its breadth at about the sixth minute as the dramatic lead turns on a dime to desert rock thrust en route to wherever the hell it goes next. Honestly, after that moment, everything’s gravy, but Oreyeon lay it on thick with closer “Starship Pusher” and never neglect melody in the face of nod. Worth a deeper dig if you get the chance.

Oreyeon on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Melody Fields, Melody Fields

melody fields melody fields

Sometimes you hear a record and it’s like the band is doing you a favor by existing. To that, thanks Melody Fields. The Gothenburg psych troupe lace their lysergic flow with folkish harmonies and an open sensibility on their self-titled debut that comes coupled with enough tonal presence to still consider them heavy not that it matters. They break out the sax on “Morning Sun” to welcome effect, and the sun continues to shine through “Liberty” and the garage-buzzing “Run” before “Rain Man” turns water droplets into keyboard notes and Beatlesian — think “Rain” — voice arrangements atop soothing instrumental drift, every bit the centerpiece and an excellent precursor to the acoustic-based “Fire” and the 10-minute “Trädgränsen,” which is the crowning achievement of this self-titled debut, which, if I’d been hip to it in time, would’ve made both the 2018 best albums and best debuts list. They cap with a reprise of “Morning Sun” and underscore the solid foundation beneath the molten beauty of their work throughout. To ask for another album seems greedy, but I will anyway. More, please.

Melody Fields on Thee Facebooks

Sound Effect Records website

 

Mammoth Grove, Slow Burn

mammoth grove slow burn

Okay, look, enough screwing around. It’s time for someone to sign Mammoth Grove. The Calgary natives have been putting out quality heavy psych rock since their 2011 self-titled debut (review here), and their latest long-player, the four-song Slow Burn is a righteous amalgam of peace-thru-rock that lives up to its freewheeling vibes in “Seasons” after the methodical opener “Valleys” and rolls out a bit of melodic ’70s biker rock bliss in “Black Meadow” before the side-B-consuming “Gloria” (18:42) asks early if you’re ready to go and then goes like gone, gone, gone, and gone further. Given the analog mindset involved and the heart on display throughout, there’s something fitting about it being pressed up in an edition of 100 hand-screenprinted LPs and 100 CDs likewise, but the more people who could hear it, the merrier, so yeah, some label or other needs to step up and make that happen, and I dare you to listen to the solo that hits past the 14-minute mark in “Gloria” and tell me otherwise. Dare you.

Mammoth Grove on Thee Facebooks

Mammoth Grove on Bandcamp

 

Crimson Devils, A Taste for Blood

crimson devils a taste for blood

Since pared down to a trio from the four-piece incarnation they present here, Austin’s Crimson Devils first released their debut, A Taste for Blood, in 2017, but gave it a vinyl revisit last year and it’s little mystery why. The record comprises 11 sharply-composed tracks of Small Stone-style heavy rock, taking cues from Sasquatch in modern-via-classic modus, picking and choosing elements of ’70s and ’90s rock to conjure formidable groove and engaging hooks. There’s considerable swagger and weight in “They Get It,” and while opener “Dead and Gone” seems to show an influence in its vocal patterning from Elder, as the album unfolds, it’s more about the blast of “Captain Walker” or the penultimate “Nothing to Claim” and the straight-ahead vibes of “Bad News Blues” and “No Action” than anything so outwardly prog. There’s plenty to dig in the rock-for-rockers mindset, and it’s the kind of offering that should probably come with an octane rating. However such things are measured, safe to say it would not be low.

Crimson Devils on Thee Facebooks

Crimson Devils on Bandcamp

 

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BlackWater HolyLight Recording Second Album; European Tour Starts April 26

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

That’s a big yes to new BlackWater HolyLight. The Portland, Oregonian outfit issued their self-titled debut (review here) last year through RidingEasy Records, and it’s the kind of record where all you have to do is see the song titles to get the tracks stuck in your head. What might a second album hold? I honestly have no idea, but I’m sure I’ll be glad to find out.

The band have announced touring in Europe that will include stops at Desertfest London and Berlin as well as Esbjerg Fuzztival and in rooms like Gothenburg’s famed Truckstop Alaska and others. Before they go, they’ll be at Psycho Smokeout on — you guessed it — April 20 in Los Angeles. One would assume that by the time they head abroad the album would be done, but yeah, that’s an assumption, so make of it what you will.

In any case, it’s slated to be out this October, so I’ll hope to have more on it as we get closer.

Dates from the PR wire:

blackwater holylight

Blackwater Holylight in the studio recording new album, announce US & EU tour dates

Portland, OR quintet BlackWater HolyLight are in the studio all this month recording the followup to their breakout self-titled debut album. The album is scheduled for release in October via RidingEasy Records.

BlackWater HolyLight also announce Spring 2019 tour dates starting with a hometown tour kickoff show in Portland, OR on April 16th and a performance at the highly anticipated inaugural Psycho Smokeout Festival in Los Angeles on 4/20. Please see all dates below.

BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT LIVE:
04/16 Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge w/ R.I.P.
04/20 Los Angeles, CA @ Psycho Smokeout Festival
04/26 Linz, AT @ Stadtwerkstatt
05/01 Bristol, UK @ The Lanes
05/02 Newcastle, UK @ Trillans
05/03 London, UK @ DesertFest
05/04 Liege, BE @ La Zone
05/05 Berlin, DE @ DesertFest
05/08 Malmo, SE @ Plan B
05/09 Stockholm, SE @ Undergangen
05/10 Gothenburg, SE W Truckstop Alaska
05/11 Esbjerg, DK @ Esbjerg Fuzzfestival
05/13 Oldenburg, DE @ MTS LP Store
05/14 Berlin, DE @ Zukunft
05/15 Vienna, AT @ Aerena Beisl
05/16 Olten, CH @ Coq’D’or
05/17 Innsbruck, AT @ PMK

https://www.facebook.com/blackwaterholylight/
instagram.com/blackwaterholylight
blackwaterholylight.bandcamp.com
ridingeasyrecs.com

BlackWater HolyLight, BlackWater HolyLight (2018)

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WEEED, You are the Sky: Opening Doors

Posted in Reviews on March 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

weeed you are the sky

There’s a kind of awakening sensation as the guitars hum and howl their way into the suitably titled leadoff track “Opening” on You are the Sky, setting an immediately patient and mild tone across a serene build for six and a half minutes. It’s the sort of move a band might make on a 70-minute album, but the fact that WEEED‘s sixth long-player (released through Halfshell Records) runs a manageable six tracks and 44 minutes and they dedicate six of those to the instrumental introduction demonstrates plainly how much of a priority they’re placing on mood and atmosphere. It is a careful, but natural sound they amass, and the songs that unfold are rich in their variety of arrangement and vibe. The Portland, Oregon-based four/five-piece of guitarist/vocalist Mitchell Fosnaugh, bassist/vocalist Gabriel Seaver and drummers/percussionists John Goodhue and Evan Franz (also synth and piano, respectively) employ Ian Hartley on hand percussion throughout, and along with other synth and vocoder from Fosnaugh and various effects from Seaver, there develops a fluidity between the songs that becomes essential to the overall affect of the record.

It is a deeply organic sound, with shimmering guitar and naturally flowing rhythms, and it’s lent all the more breadth through the percussion and the forward vocal melodies when they apply, almost Americana in style, but not in a way as to make it seem like a put-on, like all of a sudden Fosnaugh or Seaver get in front of a microphone and become cowboys. Far from it, but the vocals do a fair amount of work in complementing the naturalism of the instrumentation surrounding, and as “Opening” gives way to “I See You” and the cymbal washes and chasing, winding guitars of “Where Did You Go?,” leading to a welcome percussion jam at the end, there’s nothing done to pull the listener out of the space that the band has created. It’s immersive, but not through hypnotic repetition. Instead, WEEED simply — or, not simply — present their shifts and changes in a smooth, natural way, and they bring the audience with them wherever they want to go.

Until they don’t, and that’s a special moment too. You are the Sky doesn’t have a centerpiece as such — six tracks means no place for one — but “Open Door” is close enough, and after the rhythmic glee that tops “Where Did You Go?” finishes, it’s a stark turn to the electrified pulsations and vocoder speech repeating the title line that shows not only how far WEEED‘s experimental sensibility is willing to go on this outing, but how much they’re willing to make it a focal point. On a tape or LP, this would be the end of side A, but even listening in a linear format (CD, digital), the effect is striking. There are still guitar lines woven throughout, but they’re a part of a broader ambient moment, as is the hand percussion that emerges. It’s relatively quick at 4:19 — the shortest piece on You are the Sky and certainly less ranging than either “Caramelized” or the closing title-track that follow and both top 10 minutes long — but it’s a crucial moment nonetheless in what it brings to to the album as a whole.

weeed

WEEED have put out now-six albums since 2013, and this is hardly the first experimental tendency they’ve showcased, but true enough to its title, “Open Door” throws out any rulebook by which the band might otherwise have been playing and engages the listener on an entirely different level, so that it’s not just about laid back flow and languid jamming, but this darker take on American krautrock that leads the way into the “closing duo” that consumes nearly half the record’s runtime. It’s almost as if You are the Sky is two mini-albums put together and “Open Door” is a transitional moment between them, but the truth is it’s a standout from any other modus employed elsewhere in these tracks, and especially with where it’s placed among them, that’s very clearly intentional. If it was first or last, you’d almost be able to write it off and say, “Oh, that’s the intro,” etc., but as it is, WEEED put the emphasis on that expansion of palette, and it makes You are the Sky an even more encompassing listen.

Further, it’s worth noting that the shift back toward guitar-based fare is no less smoothly done than, say, the turn from “I See You” to “Where Did You Go?,” and as they unfold a progressive heavy psychedelic blues throughout, “Caramelized,” finding room for scale work on guitar and highlight basslines as well as harmonica in the second half, there’s an underlying urgency of rhythm that not only grounds the exploration, but makes it an exciting and enticing trip. The vocal melodies hold sway and provide a human presence early where “Caramelized” might otherwise lose its way into the jam, but they get there anyhow, and seem happy to go, guitar stepping back in favor of harmonica while the drums hold steady beneath. They build back up into a verse from there and noodle out rather than launch into a crescendo, but the journey is the thing, and it’s a pleasure. “You are the Sky” follows introducing its title line quickly ahead of an intricate bounce that opens to an effectively punctuated groove and a bit of space rock push that seems to grow more distant as the song moves toward its midpoint.

Soon enough, subdued guitar takes hold, the vocals step back into the space created, and everything — everything — calms way down. It’s temporary, but dynamic. A guitar solo spikes the energy, but dissipates and the sound of a wave brings in the next vocal line at the eight-minute mark that acts as the introduction for the final surge that will carry WEEED through the apex and out on a crashing finale. Well earned. You are the Sky feels very much based around the musical conversation happening between the players involved, but neither does it exclude the listener from that as so much material that might otherwise be tagged “progressive” can do. That’s a risk to take, but six albums later, WEEED either consciously know or have an innate sense of what they want to do in terms of songwriting, and that comes across in the realization and structure of the album. It’s a particular kind of gorgeous, not about a lush wash of effects so much as the mindset it inspires and the payoff of those risks taken. Be at peace, if not necessarily peaceful.

WEEED on Thee Facebooks

WEEED on Bandcamp

Halfshell Records on Thee Facebooks

Halfshell Records on Bandcamp

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Lord Dying to Release Mysterium Tremendum April 26

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

lord dying

I’m curious what’s in store for Lord Dying‘s new album, the title of which has been newly revealed as Mysterium Tremendum. And that seems fitting enough, what with the ‘big mystery’ alluded to in the title, but we’ll find out this Spring when the Portland, Oregon, extremists make their debut on eOne with the aforementioned LP. This news just came in, and I’m not currently in a place where I can hear the new track “Envy the End” that you’ll find at the bottom of this post, but rest assured I’ll be putting it on as soon as I’m able — i.e., when I’m back in the car or back home — to check it out, because for a band this unfriendly sounding to put out a record that will be so widely distributed doesn’t happen all the time. Not that one song will necessarily tell the whole tale, but it’s more to go on than I’ve currently got. And the cover art’s nifty too.

That and all the rest came from the PR wire:

Lord Dying Mysterium Tremendum

LORD DYING: Portland Metal Unit To Release Mysterium Tremendum Full-Length April 26th Via Entertainment One; New Track Streaming + Preorders Available

Portland heavy metal unit LORD DYING will release their anticipated third studio album Mysterium Tremendum worldwide on April 26th via Entertainment One (eOne).

Captured at Los Angeles’ West Valley Recording Studios in August of 2018 with engineer Mike Plotnikoff (Fear Factory, In Flames) and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Slayer, Nirvana, Pantera, Red Hot Chili Peppers), Mysterium Tremendum is a monolithic, riff-heavy concept album boasting eleven heaving tracks examining the many facets of dying and what may or may not exist in the afterlife.

An emotionally satisfying record, lyrically and musically Mysterium Tremendum’s exploration of death goes beyond the mere longing for it in order to see what lies beyond (“Lacerated Psyche” is about the death of Evans’ sister). There are many layers to it – you might even find parallels between the record’s concept and life itself. It’s a journey. And in their quest to pursue death, LORD DYING has themselves found new life.

LORD DYING’s Mysterium Tremendum will be released on CD, double LP, and digital formats. For preorder options go to smarturl.it/LordDyingMT.

Mysterium Tremendum Track Listing:
1. Envy The End
2. Tearing At The Fabric Of Consciousness
3. Nearing The End Of The Curling Worm
4. The End Of Experience
5. Exploring Inward
6. Severed Forever
7. Even The Darkness Went Away
8. Freed From The Pressures Of Time
9. Lacerated Psyche
10. Split From A World Within/Devoid Of Dreams/Death The Final Loneliness
11. Saying Goodbye To Physical Form

“We set out to write a record about life, and it ended up being about death,” says LORD DYING guitarist/vocalist Erik Olson about the band’s third studio album Mysterium Tremendum.

While the new record centers around death, it focuses more on what awaits us on the other side while also exploring our culture’s fear of dying, and the struggles with our own mortality. The ideas for the concept have been kicking around for some time, but it’s fitting that they’re only now coming to fruition.

At the core of these Portland, Oregon, heavy metal titans is Olson and guitarist Chris Evans, who’ve been making music together since fifth grade. They formed LORD DYING before they had a name or a record when another Portland powerhouse Red Fang beckoned them to open some shows for them in 2010. Two records and countless live performances – including tours with Voivod and Crowbar – followed.

Mysterium Tremendum is the record Olson and Evans have wanted to make since the band’s inception. It’s easily LORD DYING’s most musically diverse album, but one that could only be made following the band’s jackhammer 2013 debut Summon The Faithless, and 2015’s brooding Poisoned Altars. “It’s more along the lines of what we wanted to do early on,” says Evans.

LORD DYING was already beginning to expand its musical palette – including moodier interludes and Olson’s expanded vocal range – but Olson says once the decision was made to make a concept record, he and Evans pushed themselves to match the themes musically and vocally. You’ll hear it in songs like “The End Of Experience” and the floating “Severed Forever,” which sees Olson melodically doubling his vocals before returning to his trademark growl. Shorter interludes like “Tearing The Fabric Of Consciousness” and “Even The Darkness Went Away” are stunning and fragile, like nothing the band has ever done.

Olson and Evans worked tirelessly on the songs together over the course of a year-and-a-half, using programmed drum parts, and sending ideas back and forth. As Olson puts it, “It was the first time we were really able to put things under a microscope.” The songs were all but ready by the time they headed to Los Angeles’ West Valley Recording Studios in August of 2018 with engineer Mike Plotnikoff. L.A.-based bassist Matt Price and drummer Chase Manhattan jumped right in to bring these songs of death to life, and the results are huge and seamless.

https://www.facebook.com/LordDying/
http://lorddying.bandcamp.com/
https://twitter.com/eoneheavy
https://www.facebook.com/eOneHeavy

Lord Dying, “Envy the End”

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Ceremony of Sludge VIII Set for March 8-9 with Holy Grove, Megaton Leviathan, Young Hunter, Disenchanter & More

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ceremony of sludge viii banner

The years go quick, it seems, as Ceremony of Sludge marks its eighth in celebrating Portland’s native heavy boom. Ceremony of Sludge VIII hits the Kenton Club in that storied Oregon hotbed on March 8 and 9 and has a lineup across those two nights that’s bound to please tone-seekers of sundry stripes. Maximum Mad and Hair Puller sit atop the Friday bill, while Saturday will be overseen by Holy Grove and Megaton Leviathan, so indeed, there will be righteousness to spare, and as the likes of Young HunterDisenchanterGlasghoteHound the WolvesA//tar and Pet Weapon round out the full roster, it’s two nights, five bands each, that fit well into the now veteran event’s gameplan of quality over quantity, Ceremony of Sludge no less defined than ever by its lack of filler.

Past years have been filmed as well — I’ve hosted videos here on occasion over the years and been glad to do it — but it looks like 2019’s edition will be pressed up as a DVD compilation, which is all the more right on. Coming to a merch table near you.

Info for the shows came down the PR wire. Note if you will that both nights are dirt cheap:

ceremony of sludge viii poster

Ceremony of Sludge VIII Comes to World Famous Kenton Club, Portland

CEREMONY OF SLUDGE VIII
MARCH 8th and 9th at World Famous Kenton Club | Portland, OR
$10/night

Portland Heavy Seen presents Ceremony Of Sludge VIII, to be held March 8th and 9th at The World Famous Kenton Club in Portland, Oregon. Now in its eighth year, Ceremony Of Sludge continues the annual celebration of showcasing Portland’s heaviest bands and filming the performances for a future DVD release.

Ceremony of Sludge VI lineup:

March 8th
Maximum Mad
Hair Puller
Young Hunter
A//tar
Pet Weapon

March 9th
Holy Grove
Megaton Leviathan
Glasghote
Disenchanter
Hound The Wolves

https://www.facebook.com/ceremonyofsludge
https://www.facebook.com/events/507836499682519/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfJ2t6pqUm5W2w4qIk5zifA

Pet Weapon, Live at Kenton Club, Portland, OR

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Troll Set April 12 Release for Legend Master; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

troll

The appeal of Portland’s Troll was readily apparent from the self-titled debut (review here) that Shadow Kingdom picked up for release last year — their still-traditional-feeling doom resonates with emotion and melodies atop patient rhythms and a feel that’s no less modern than it is classic, at once of the post-Pallbearer and Windhand school of doom while holding to a march that seems to stem from earlier influences in the genre. Legend Master, which I guess will serve as their second album, though I could’ve sworn the self-titled was an EP. Either way, they’re streaming the first part of the two-chapter title-track, “Legend Master, Book I: Proverbs of Hell,” and the epic feel in the cut is worthy in every fashion of the punctuation its title carries.

You can hear that for yourself at the bottom of this post, and if I can go out on a limb, I’ll say it’s worth your time to do precisely that. Album preorders are up now through the label.

Dig:

troll legend master

Portland’s TROLL set release date for new SHADOW KINGDOM album, reveal first track

Shadow Kingdom Records sets April 12th as the international release date for the highly anticipated second album of Portland’s Troll, Legend Master, on CD, vinyl LP, and cassette tape formats.

Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Troll released their first demo in 2015. Not long after came Troll, their debut album, which was originally self-released on cassette tape. Its original edition sold out quickly, and soon came to the attention of Shadow Kingdom. Duly impressed, the label simply had to release Troll’s album on wider-available physical formats and get the band the attention they so truly deserve.

And indeed did Troll get that attention with its Shadow Kingdom re-release in early 2018: Troll’s swampy, primordial doom ooze was critically acclaimed far and wide, with many salaciously awaiting the band’s next move. And now, that next move has arrived, and it’s more molten and momentous: the ominously titled Legend Master, Troll’s first brand-new material since 2016.

The title Legend Master is a telling one: here, Troll dial back the swampier excesses of their more stoner-indebted work and aim for a more regal, prog-inclined style of doom. And yet, even with such a significant shift, the band’s powers are truly hitting a fever pitch here, seemingly able to weave a majestic-yet-mournful tale at every turn. And there are five “turns” here, each of Legend Master’s five tracks an expansive epic in their own right. With two songs clocking in at eight minutes and the other three topping 10 minutes, Troll render the album a world unto itself; riffs lumber and crunch and then fold and wander, creating atmosphere and tension alike, as enigmatic vocalist Rainbo really reaches into his soul to deliver a goosebump-inducing performance like no other. After 52 minutes, you’ll feel like you’ve gone on a journey of a lifetime, yet will be pressing “play” again immediately after: Troll have truly become that engaging.

Shadow Kingdom is so confident in Troll’s Legend Master, it promises the album’s like sipping a fine wine – subtly intoxicating, savory to the palate, ever mysterious to the very end. Adorned with a classy cover and spellbinding layout, Legend Master will surely put Troll in the league of such luminaries as Pallbearer, Warning (UK), Solstice (UK), and the Lord Weird Slough Feg. Begin the journey to the Legend Master NOW!

Start the journey with the new track “Legend Master, Book I: Proverbs of Hell” HERE at Shadow Kingdom’s Bandcamp, where the album can be preordered. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Troll (Portland)’s Legend Master
1. The Flight of the Dragonship
2. Legend Master, Book I: Proverbs of Hell
3. Legend Master, Book II: Three Evil Words
4. The Door
5. Building My Temple

www.facebook.com/trollPDX
https://trollpdx.bandcamp.com/
www.shadowkingdomrecords.com
www.facebook.com/shadowkingdomrecords

Troll, “Legend Master, Book I: Proverbs of Hell”

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Glory in the Shadows Premiere “Babalon” Video; Self-Titled Debut EP out Jan. 25

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

glory in the shadows

Glory in the Shadows seem to be immediately intent on realizing their name. The Portland, Oregon, trio is comprised of guitarist/vocalist Alyssa Maucere, also of Grigax, whose debut album, Life Eater (review here), came out in 2017, as well as Eight Bells as of the last year or so, guitarist/vocalist Taylor Robinson of Bastard Feast and Elitist, and drummer Chuck Watkins, whose CV includes responsibility for the lumber of Uzala and Graves at Sea, among others past and current. Between Maucere‘s experimentalism, Robinson‘s extremity and Watkins‘ plod, Glory in the Shadows clearly lack nothing for diversity of influence on their self-titled four-song debut EP, set to release Jan. 25.

Checking in at a densely-packed 25 minutes, it is an initial salvo that spans styles as one might hope while remaining consistently weighted in its atmosphere and tonal impact. With Maucere channeling her guitar through bass as well as guitar amps, there’s nothing missing from the low end, and the overarching sound is cavernous enough to convey the thematic intensity with which it’s working.

“Lyrically, it takes from [J. Robert] Oppenheimer’s obsession with the Bhagavad Gita, Dante’s Inferno, Book of Revelations interpreted by Aleister Crowley, and the invention of the nuclear bomb,” explains Maucere. Not exactly minor considerations for a 25-minute offering — seems more like three semesters’ worth, at least — but the theme feeds into the ambience across “Kurukshetra I,” “The Seventh Circle,” “Babalon” and “Kurukshetra II: Oppenheimer,” which gracefully meld a post-black metal sensibility with elements of drone and bleak, expansive psychedelia.

From “Kurukshetra I” onward, there’s an immediacy of expression that bleeds through the material whether or not a given part is loud, glory in the shadows glory in the shadowsand while drift is a factor as well, as at the end of the opener, or in the cosmic chants that emerge out of the screams in “The Seventh Circle,” and a swirling murk that seems to cast a pall over Maucere and Robinson‘s vocals. “Babalon,” at a little over four minutes, is the shortest track on Glory in the Shadows, and solidifies around a push of low-end wash and interplay between melody and harsher elements set to a rhythmic nod that holds sway for the duration. It would be undercutting it to call “Babalon” straightforward, but in terms of an initial demonstration, it shows clearly that the three-piece are working from more than one songwriting modus.

“‘I don’t want to play in another metal band,’ was the theme,” Maucere recalls. “I’m not sure if we strayed from our paths, or if we found another way to be heavy; it’s for others to decide. I do know it’s my favorite project to-date, and the fact that we live recorded in our studio, mixed it down ourselves, and managed a good master was amazing. This was my first time running that portion of the recording process, and I borrowed lot of influence from Steve Albini and Butch Vig.” That impulse toward live recording can be heard as “Kurukshetra II: Oppenheimer” blends cave growls and an encompassing surge of guitar tone drops to standalone growls from Robinson soon joined again by Maucere and the total slow-motion instrumental onslaught.

A more studio-type approach, working in layers, etc., would clean that up, and Glory in the Shadows may indeed get there, but they benefit aesthetically from the rawness of the sound and finish with a long stretch into noise and drone to once more highlight their will to use structure as a departure point rather than a cage for their craft.

Or, as Maucere puts it: “Musically… it’s just as strange and creepy. Not sure what to say about it otherwise.”

Fair enough, even if one might add “promising” as a third descriptor for the list.

One doesn’t imagine at all that Glory in the Shadows are settled completely into their sound on their first EP — nor should they be, frankly — but there is a clear will to defy expectation and genre in these four tracks, and that can only bode well as they move forward to whatever might be next.

If you’re sensitive to flashing lights, go warily into the premiere of the video for “Babalon” below, and otherwise, please enjoy:

Glory in the Shadows, “Babalon” official video premiere

Psychotropic Death Songs from the Profound Abyss

Digital release January 25th 2019 on Gloryintheshadows.bandcamp.com.

Also streaming on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora, starting January 25th 2019.

Guitars/Vocals: Alyssa Maucere
Guitars/Vocals: Taylor Robinson
Drums: Chuck Watkins
Recorded/produced/mixed: Alyssa Maucere at Fremont St

Glory in the Shadows on Thee Facebooks

Glory in the Shadows on Instagram

Glory in the Shadows on Bandcamp

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ILS Sign to P.O.G.O. Records; Pain Don’t Hurt EP Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 9th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Portland heavy noise rockers ILS have released their debut EP, Pain Don’t Hurt, through French label P.O.G.O. Records. The band features vocalist Tom Glose of Black Elk and Clarity Process guitarist Nate Abner, and hey, past bands are fun and all that, but I think the pummel of “It’s Not Lard but it’s a Cyst” speaks for itself over the course of its two minutes, and “For the Shame I Bring” is just the right kind of punishment for, say, sitting on your ass all day while going out of your mind waiting for the internet guy to (not) show up. Just a random example. Not speaking from personal experience or anything.

Oh wait, yes I am. Either way, it’s a solid fit for that I’m-so-restless-I’m-about-to-burst-out-of-my-skull thing that, as human beings, we all know too well. The band released the EP last month and P.O.G.O. posted it as of Jan. 2, so whether you want to call it a 2018 or a 2019 release, I don’t think it matters nearly as much as having your head bashed in by it. Which you can name your own price to do.

Info follows:

ils pain dont hurt

For this beginning of the new year (the 26th!), we are very happy to welcome in the P.O.G.O. family, the furious guys of ILS coming from Portland – USA.

We invite you to discover their 1st EP “Pain Do not Hurt”, for fans of Jesus Lizard, Unsane, Steel Pole Bath tub, Flipper, Drive Like Jehu, Whores, Bummer …

(download it for FREE on bandcamp, if problem contact us) –

Tracklisting:
1. No Luck 02:52
2. It’s Not Lard But It’s A Cyst 02:18
3. Northstar 02:08
4. Curse 03:34
5. For The Shame I Bring 03:29

ILS is:
Nathan Abner, g
Christopher Frey, b
Tom Glose, v
Tim Steiner, d

Four guys in PDX who’ve all been in other bands and stuff. This is what we do now. We like loud, aggressive and abrasive. We also like space, like, the place. You don’t have to but it might help.

ilspdx.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/ilspdx/
https://www.facebook.com/PogoRecords
https://pogorecords.bandcamp.com

ILS, Pain Don’t Hurt (2019)

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