Lamprey Release Final Album III

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


I don’t mind telling you I’m going to miss doubly-bassed Portland trio Lamprey. They played their final show on July 25 at what was apparently the birthday of bassist/vocalist Blaine Burnham, and they’ve newly released their last batch of recordings under the simple title of III. Their last album, EP, whatever, it follows behind 2012’s The Burden of Beasts (review here) and 2011’s Ancient Secrets (review here) and rounds out their tenure on a decidedly powerful note of low-end heavy sludge. Comprised of Burnham, bassist Justin Brown and drummer Spencer Norman, they worked in raw form throughout their time together, but III still sounds huge, and it’s an easy argument to say it’s the best work they’ve done.

From the unmitigated stomp-fest of “Iron Awake” (video here) on down to the leads that close “Gaea,” Lamprey remain a standout of Portland’s massively crowded sphere of heavy, and for more than just their extra helping of thick strings. As for the where-are-they-now thing, you won’t have to look too far to find Brown, as he’s stepped into the bassist role for Witch Mountain — they’re on tour this fall with a little band called Danzig — and Burnham is playing drums in Mane of the Cur. Seems likely Norman will resurface at some point too if he hasn’t yet. When, if and what I hear, I’ll let you know.

For now, bye Lamprey and all the best. Glad III got to come out.

Here’s the release info and stream:

lamprey iii

They say you should always go out on a high note. Well, even our low notes were pretty fucking high…

Engineered, mixed, and mastered by Adam Pike at Toadhouse Recording Studios.

Cover photo and layout by Spencer Norman.

1. Iron Awake 01:36
2. Harpies 07:35
3. Golden Mean 05:59
4. Nokken 02:57
5. Lament of the Deathworm 06:03
6. Gaea 05:27

Blaine, Spencer and Justin would like to say THANK YOU!!! to JJ Koczan of The Obelisk, Adam Pike of Toadhouse Recording Studio, and June No of the Interwebs for being so excellent to us over these past five years.

Lamprey, III (2015)

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Vhöl Post Album Art and Details for Deeper than Sky

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

More details have started to come out about the second album from the they’re-a-supergroup-whether-they-like-it-or-not West Coast outfit Vhöl, which boasts in its formidable lineup members of Hammers of Misfortune, Amber Asylum, Agalloch and YOB. Super as fuck, that group. Anyway, as announced last month, the new record is called Deeper than Sky and will be out Oct. 23 on Profound Lore. Newly released are the cover art by Brandon Duncan and the tracklisting. Both are righteous — I wouldn’t mind hearing what a song called “Red Chaos” put together by these players sounds like — but we’re still a little bit off from audio coming out. Probably next month you’ll see things like track premieres and album trailers starting to surface.

But, you know, take what you can get, right? Looks like you can get some art and text, so dig in:

vhol deeper than sky

VHÖL: Psychedelic Thrash Unit To Unleash Deeper Than Sky Full-Length Via Profound Lore This October; Artwork + Track Listing Revealed

This Fall, Profound Lore Records will unveil the sophomore full-length from psychedelic thrash unit, VHÖL. Titled Deeper Than Sky, the record finds the band — vocalist Mike Scheidt (Yob), guitarist John Cobbett (Hammers Of Misfortune, ex-Ludicra), bassist Sigrid Sheie (Hammers Of Misfortune, ex-Amber Asylum) and drummer Aesop Dekker (Agalloch, Worm Ouroboros, ex-Ludicra) — at their most absorbing. The seven-track follow up to 2013’s self-titled debut was captured at Light Rail Studios and mastered at Trakworx Studio, both in San Francisco, and boasts the cosmic cover creation of Brandon Duncan which unites some of Cobbett’s sketches and concepts with Duncan’s original art, the results of which accurately encapsulate the mind-altering vibe of the music contained within.

“We recorded this album at Light Rail Studios, in a huge room on a beautiful 1970 Trident console onto Jerry Garcia’s 2″ tape deck. One cannot escape the Grateful Dead in San Francisco recording studios — their gear is all over town,” elaborates the band of the recording process. “The mixing was rather primitive with no plug-ins and all effects were done by old pedals, tape echo, and large reverb plates. Another thing that was large and huge during recording was our bass player who was eight-and-a-half months pregnant at the time.”

Deeper Than Sky Track Listing:
1. The Desolate Damned
2. 3AM
3. Deeper Than Sky
4. Paino
5. Red Chaos
6. Lightless Sun
7. The Tomb

With Deeper Than Sky, VHÖL picks up from their debut crafting something totally next level, pushing their already-singular sound to the outer-realms of sonic exploration within the paradigm of old school speed metal. VHÖL’s Deeper Than Sky will be released via Profound Lore on October 23rd, 2015 with preorders and teaser tracks to be revealed in the weeks to come.

Vhöl, “The Wall”

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Ape Machine on Tour Now; Live at Freak Valley Released

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

ape machine

Portland heavy rockers Ape Machine began an admirable string of tour dates last night in Bend, Oregon, and they’ll continue on through the bulk of Sept. in support of their newly-issued live outing, Live at Freak Valley (review here), which was recorded on their European tour in 2013. They’d previously been confirmed for a European tour in Nov., but I’ve yet to see those dates surface.

Their current run finds them out alongside their fellow Portlanders Five White Dudes in a Band Called Black Pussy, and Live at Freak Valley is out now on Ripple Music. Seems like longer than two years since their last full-length, Mangled by the Machine (review here) hit, but I guess time flies when you tour a month at a clip.

For info, we turn, as ever, to the PR wire:

ape machine tour vert

Portland rockers Ape Machine and Black Pussy take to the road for US Tour this month | Live At Freak Valley available on Ripple Music now

Having recently toured their latest full-length album Mangled By The Machine in the US and Europe, Portland rockers Ape Machine are set to hit the road this August and September in support of their new Live LP/DVD combo release Live At Freak Valley on Ripple Music. The daring new release was filmed and recorded at the Freak Valley Festival in Germany last year; an event that has proven to be a veritable showcase and ‘Who’s Who’ in the brave new world of upcoming psychedelic and heavy stoner-rock bands. The set features Ape Machine’s blistering hour-long performance in front of a sold-out festival crowd and serves up proof that the band more than lives up to their reputation of captivating and commanding live audiences.

In addition to the upcoming Live at Freak Valley release, Ape Machine has released three critically acclaimed full-length albums, two recent releases of which – Mangled By The Machine and War To Head – were produced by the late Ikey Owens (Jack White, Mars Volta, Mastodon) who also contributed keyboards to both albums. Owens was set to produce the band’s fourth full-length this summer before his untimely death last October while on tour with Jack White. In Ikey Owens’s absence, the band plans to record their next full length this fall with long-time friend Jacob Golden producing.

Last year also found Ape Machine touring extensively, sharing the stage with bands such as Motorhead, Helmet, Orange Goblin, Crobot plus many others. This August however the band embark on a US tour with good friends and fellow Portlanders Black Pussy, bringing their frenzied live show stateside and teaming up with one of the best up-and-coming bands in the scene.

For the full list of tour dates, see below. (All dates w. Black Pussy).

8/20 – Volcanic – Bend, OR
8/21 – McShane’s – Eugene, OR
8/22 – Audie’s – Fresno, CA
8/23 – Los Globos – Los Angeles, CA
8/24 – Casbah – San Diego, CA
8/25 – JR’s – Sierra Vista, AZ
8/26 – Blue Max – Midland, TX
8/27 – Lola’s Saloon – Ft. Worth, TX
8/28 – Holy Mountain – Austin, TX
8/29 – Walter’s – Houston, TX
8/30 – The Ten Eleven – San Antonio, TX
8/31 – Howlin’ Wolf – New Orleans, LA
9/1 – Loosey’s – Gainesville, FL
9/2 – Backbooth – Orlando, FL
9/3 – New World Brewery – Tampa, FL
9/4 – The Nick – Birmingham, AL
9/5 – The Jinx – Savannah, GA
9/6 – Smith’s Olde Bar – Atlanta, GA
9/7 – Springwater Supper Club – Nashville, TN
9/8 – Reggie’s – Chicago, IL
9/9 – Tater and Joe’s – Terre Haute, IN
9/10 – The Demo – St. Louis, MO
9/11 – Outland Ballroom – Springfield, MO
9/12 – Lookout Lounge – Omaha, NE
9/13 – Zoo Bar – Lincoln, NE
9/14 – Larimer Lounge – Denver, CO
9/15 – Leftwoods – Amarillo, TX
9/17 – Beaut Bar – Las Vegas, NV
9/18 – Hood Bar – Palm Desert, CA
9/20 – DNA Lounge – San Francisco, CA

Ape Machine, “Strange are the People” Live at Freak Valley 2013

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Sons of Huns, While Sleeping Stay Awake: Why Would You Sleep Anyway?

Posted in Reviews on August 5th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

sons of huns while sleeping stay awake

Chances are that if someone came up to you and said, “Hey, I just checked out a hotly-tipped heavy rock trio from Portland, Oregon, that you need to hear,” you’d be right in thinking that it’s a story you already know, and in the case of the three-piece Sons of Huns, to a certain extent there’s a superficial familiarity from the get-go. At least with the narrative. Band comes from hip town, makes cool records, gets noticed. That doesn’t do much to convey the appeal of Sons of Huns on their second record for RidingEasy, the vinyl-begging nine-track/37-minute While Sleeping Stay Awake, but if you’re already that jaded going into it, then fine.

For everyone else ready to get aboard the band’s party wagon of fuzzed up semi-thrash riffing, the Toshi Kasai-produced While Sleeping Stay Awake follows Sons of Huns‘ 2013 debut, Banishment Ritual, which earned a wide barrage of acclaim from listeners and critics alike. The new album doesn’t reinvent the methodology of riff-led shenanigans metal, but it does refine it, and even more impressively, it refines it while at the same time managing to not sound like Red Fang, who one could argue are the Pacific Northwest’s regional forerunners of the style. A song like “Eye in the Sky” is probably as close as they come, and even that still has plenty of distance to spare, Sons of Huns impressing in the meantime with their fast-paced winding rhythms and flourishes of arrangement, guitarist/vocalist Pete Hughes (also of Danava) and bassist/vocalist Aaron Powell running circles around the central forward movement from drummer Ryan Northrop (also of Holy Grove) that propels the track on its somehow-still-efficient route.

Hughes is quick to toss in a lead at the end of a measure or to mark out a transition between a verse and chorus, and that adds excitement to an already energetic performance, but in the end it’s the songwriting that rules the day over any individual performance — up to and including the guest spots from Scott “Wino” Weinrich, who adds vocals on third cut “An Evil Unseen” and the MelvinsDale Crover, who sits in for “Philosopher’s Stone.” Opener “Osiris Slain” sets a lyrical tone toward the otherworldly, but Sons of Huns never veer far enough from their straightforward path to be called cult rock, even if they touch on a thematic inclination there and on side B’s two-parter, “Alchemist Part I” and “Alchemist Part II.”

sons of huns

Something else the leadoff piece does is establish a post-Motörhead type of momentum, Hughes and Powell both contributing vocals atop a speedy progression that finishes strong with some more subdued chugging only to pick up the pace again with the tense start of “Ad Astra,” the central riff of which could claim Dio‘s “Stand up and Shout” as a likely source for at least part of its genetic makeup. Sons of Huns make this their own as they do early-Fu Manchu fuzz a little later on “Philosopher’s Stone,” but with “An Evil Unseen,” they quickly establish Wino as a recognizable presence alongside Hughes‘ vocals, rhythmic rolls and shuffles playing off each other in a memorable chorus before a swath of leads hits in the second half. All this in a song under four minutes long, mind you. As noted, they work pretty efficiently throughout While Sleeping Stay Awake, but that doesn’t necessarily leave tracks without a sense of space either. “Eye in the Sky” is a rawer thrasher, but “Philosopher’s Stone” cuts the tempo somewhat to flesh out a sleek boogie that builds in intensity until fading out — Crover‘s drums seem to be the last to go — adding some variety to what by the end of side A has already been a precise attack.

And I suppose a big part of While Sleeping Stay Awake‘s success comes from the band’s ability to sound laid back while executing that precision, perhaps best shown on “Alchemist Part I” and “Alchemist Part II,” wherein they directly trade between a full-sprint rush subtly complex in its arrangement and the classic rock boogie and doomed riffing in the second part, which is the longest cut on the album at just over six minutes, Northrop‘s swing and Hughes‘ shouts and Alice Cooper-esque snarl making it a highlight of the collection as a whole. They answer it with the title-track and more fuzz boogie, but there’s little relinquishing the momentum they’ve worked so hard by then to build and maintain, the song seeming to hold its earliest-Metallica nod back until the last minute, seeking and subsequently destroying while keeping a grip on its groove to the last, closer “The Reaper” (or “The Reaper is Waiting,” or “The Reaper is Waiting for You,” depending on whom you ask) winding up While Sleeping Stay Awake with a tale of lost hope and impending destruction.

It’s a fitting enough end, particularly delivered at the clip it is and with the hook on top of which it seems to gallop, and while Sons of Huns boast a decided penchant toward lyrical severity, the underlying spirit of their sophomore outing doesn’t fall prey to pretense really of any sort, instrumental or vocal, and once again, it’s their ability to stand in a delicate balance that marks them out both within the populated scene from whence they emerge and the wider sphere of the heavy rock underground, on the West Coast and beyond. Somewhere between classic metal, ’70s boogie, modern heavy rock and thrash, Sons of Huns carve an identity for themselves that only becomes more their own over the speedy, quick-turning course through these songs.

Sons of Huns, While Sleeping Stay Awake (2015)

Sons of Huns on Thee Facebooks

Sons of Huns on Bandcamp

RidingEasy Records

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Acid King Added to North West Hesh Fest 2015 in Portland, OR

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 29th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

acid king

San Francisco purveyors of righteous fuzz Acid King are barely a week out from announcing their first round of coast-to-coast dates in the better part of a decade, and here they are, adding one more to the mix. The riff-led trio join the lineup for North West Hesh Fest 2015 in Portland, Oregon, next month (Aug. 27-29) to fill the slot vacated by Weedeater, and frankly, I’d be hard pressed to think of anyone more up to the task at hand.

Acid King are supporting this year’s most excellent Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere (review here), which is their first album in 10 years, and at North West Hesh Fest 2015, they’ll play alongside YOB, Dead Moon, Pentagram and local Portland favorites Diesto, among others. If you’re into good times, it looks like it’s gonna be one.

Side note: Thanks to everyone who entered the ticket giveaway contest. A winner has been chosen and emailed. If I don’t hear back from them, another winner will be chosen and emailed, and so on. Presumably by the time I get to everyone who took the time to leave a comment in the first place, someone will have gotten back about it. But yeah, thanks.

Here’s the updated poster and info for the North West Hesh Fest, of which I’m very happy to have The Obelisk be a sponsor:



350 West Burnside, Portland, Oregon 97209

Thursday Aug 27 $25 Pre/ $30 Dos

Friday Aug 28 – $25 Pre/$30 Dos

Saturday Aug 29-$20 Pre/ $25 Dos

Acid King, Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere (2015)

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GIVEAWAY: Enter to Win Three-Day Passes to North West Hesh Fest

Posted in Features on July 21st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

[HOW TO ENTER: I’m very sorry but a winner has been picked and this giveaway has ended. The post will remain live for archival purposes. Much thanks to all who entered for being a part of it.]

Last week, I was fortunate enough to be added to the list of sponsors for American Icon Records‘ upcoming North West Hesh Fest in Portland, Oregon, next month. One of the cool things you can do when you’re sponsoring something like a fest is say, “Hey, how about a ticket giveaway?” and not get laughed at. So here we are.

So, enter by leaving a comment on this post — as per usual for giveaways around here — and if you win, I’ll drop you an email. Obviously, the fest being three days next month in Portland, OR, it doesn’t make much sense for anyone either not in or unable to be in the area when it’s happening to enter. If you want to travel, that rules, but neither I nor the fest can really cover your expenses for that. The giveaway is for the passes only.

That said, good luck to all who enter. Weedeater has had to drop off the bill, but American Icon has something in the works for a replacement, and I wouldn’t put it past them to bring in somebody badass. Whoever it is, you can’t beat the price when the price is free.

Info and ticket links follow:

northwest hesh fest


350 West Burnside, Portland, Oregon 97209

Thursday Aug 27 $25 Pre/ $30 Dos

Friday Aug 28 – $25 Pre/$30 Dos

Saturday Aug 29-$20 Pre/ $25 Dos

[HOW TO ENTER: I’m very sorry but a winner has been picked and this giveaway has ended. The post will remain live for archival purposes. Much thanks to all who entered for being a part of it.]

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Hoverfest 2015 Lineup Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Can’t say it’s much of a surprise, but the lineup for Hoverfest 2015 looks pretty awesome. The second installment of the annual fest brought together by Hovercraft Amps, Cravedog and Nanotear is set for an all-dayer Aug. 8 in Portland, Oregon, and like last year, the lineup of acts is made up mostly of locals — there are a few to choose from in Portland these days — and to go with all that hometown spirit, they’ll bring in San Francisco kings of weirdo trad metal Slough Feg to headline.

Slough Feg will sit atop a mighty Portlander grouping, varied between the doomly ways of Witch Mountain, who make a return appearance, a return as well for the ’70s heavy of Danava, Lord Dying‘s don’t-tell-anybody-it’s-death-metal-because-we-like-playing-with-stoner-bands genrebending, Sons of Huns on the heels of their new album, While Sleeping Stay Awake, a second showing from Holy Grove, and first-timers Zirakzigil and Mane of the Cur to lead things off. Sounds like a good time to me.

Last year, Billy Anderson was brought on to work the mixer, and whether or not he’ll make another appearance has yet to be revealed, but the preliminaries are out. With presumably more to come, here they are:

hoverfest 2015

Cravedog Presents HOVERFEST 2015

Cravedog, Hovercraft Amps, and Nanotear Booking have teamed up to bring the second annual HOVERFEST on Saturday 8.8.15 in Portland, OR

The rocks starts at noon and rolls til sundown. Once again set in the alley behind Cravedog with the gorgeous sunset view of the Fremont Bridge. 611 N. Tillamook Street

This year will be 21+ so the whole alley is a beer garden.

Rock, metal, and doom all day long from:


Tickets go on sale Friday 6.19 at 10am PST.

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Ape Machine to Release EP on Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 25th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

It was kind of a surprise to have Ape Machine ink a deal with Heavy Psych Sounds, not because they don’t deserve to get picked up by a label doing cool things, but because they seemed so firmly entrenched in the roster of Ripple Music, which put out their last full-length, 2013’s Mangled by the Machine (review here), and earlier this year, the Live at Freak Valley (review here) live offering. And actually, it’s not that they’ve signed to Heavy Psych Sounds to the exclusion of everyone else, just that they’ll be working with the label for a tour — Heavy Psych Sounds has a booking arm — and an EP release to coincide with it.

It’s good news for the band, either way, and good news for those who’ve been fortunate enough to catch onto their intricate but still catchy wares. They’ll have a full-length out before too long on Ripple as well, and according to Heavy Psych Sounds — who posted the announcement below — it’s looking like the band will be on the road for the better part of a month. Doesn’t sound too bad. Dates are still to come, but here’s initial word from the label:

ape machine heavy psych sounds

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records is honoured to announce the signing of another awesome band *** Ape Machine ***

A true four-piece, Portland, Oregon’s Ape Machine has been called “a rock and roll band with a finger on the pulse of the 70?s and their asses firmly in the present” and “real heavy-psych for the iPhone generation” that delivers “true guts and glory rock and roll.” Combining psychedelic, classic and progressive rock with arena-worthy metal, bluesy stoner-rock and catchy riffs in odd signatures.

Heavy Psych Sounds Records will release A new Record/Ep in November and will book a four weeks European tour from November 12 to December 5.

more details will be communicate in the next weeks together with new cool announcements!

Ape Machine, Live at Freak Valley (2015)

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