Lightning Born, Lightning Born: Warnings Issued

Posted in Reviews on August 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

lightning born self titled

There’s a word for a band like Lightning Born, with a powerhouse singer, powerhouse riffs and a powerhouse rhythm section. Give me a minute, it’ll come to me.

In the meantime, the North Carolinian four-piece’s self-titled debut for Ripple Music willfully obliterates the line between any number of forms of heavy rock and roll, whether it’s classic doom and boogie or straightforward push and nod. The lineup is enviable, with Brenna Leath (The Hell No, also Crystal Spiders) channeling Stevie Nicks and Laura Dolan on songs like “Salvation” and “Out for Blood” while backed by guitarist Erik Sugg (also Demon Eye), bassist/recording engineer Mike Dean (Corrosion of Conformity) and drummer Doza Hawes (Mega Colossus, ex-Hour of 13), and at 11 songs and 51 minutes, their first outing is a substantial undertaking that signals the cues it’s taken from Sabbath Bloody Sabbath-era Black Sabbath in the lead riff of opener “Shifting Winds” and lives up to that standard throughout in both production and songcraft method.

Of course, they by no means limit themselves to that sphere, and broaden the palette in later cuts like “Out for Blood” and “Power Struggle,” or even the shuffle of second track “Renegade,” which recontextualizes the speedier riff from “Into the Void,” they show their will to create something new from their root influences. They seem most comfortable in the mid-paced groove of “Silence” and the semi-Southern blues-burner “Oblivion,” but do right to change up the tempo as they move forward through the material, or even within the songs themselves, as with “Salvation” and the seven-minute finale “Godless,” which caps the generally-more-patient side B with a rousing argument for viewing Lightning Born‘s Lightning Born as a first step en route to future more complex songwriting. I’m inclined to do that — that is to say: debut album is a debut album — but between the fluidity of the songs from one to the next and the reminder the album delivers of the all-important value of craft and performance in the final tally of the listening experience, one could hardly accuse them of merely getting their feet wet. More of a headfirst dive.

And fair enough. I’ll admit, there are few phrases that in my estimation are going to hurt your band less than “Mike Dean on bass,” but one would be remiss not to single out Leath‘s vocals as a defining factor in Lightning Born‘s approach. She toys some with layering, but by and large sticks to a single, stage-ready take that distinguishes itself from the hook of “Shifting Winds” onward as being malleable to the energy level of the song, as “Renegades” and “Wildfire” or the midsection slowdown of “Power Struggle” and the greater sprawl of “Godless” show. She’s forward in the mix, but that ends up feeding the notion of Lightning Born‘s heavy ’70s roots. The band aren’t shy about those anyway, but neither does that seem to have been the impetus behind their creation. I don’t imagine Lightning Born got together and said, “Okay, let’s form a classic rock band.”

lightning born

Rather, their execution is organic enough to make one believe their material is based around what came out of jams among friends, eventually structured into bluesy verses and choruses, bridges, the start-stop softshoe of “You Have Been Warned,” and so on. Whatever the case, they’re certainly in conversation with the 1969-1974 era, but are by no means a retro band looking to simply recreate it. Once again, their material speaks more to their own forward potential than the past glories of others. It’s plain to hear in “Magnetic” as the guitar shimmers in the buildup to the hook and in how the bass and drums lead the subsequent final slowdown, the subtle layering from Leath adding ambience to what on the whole is a strikingly straightforward release. That is, there are some light moments of flourish here and there, but in the fine tradition of “nuthin’ too fancy,” Lightning Born stand tall in a stripped-down sound that doesn’t want for anything in making its intentions known or accomplishing its stylistic goals. It’s all about the songs.

Future releases might find Leath self-harmonizing, or Sugg topping solos with solos and solos, or even Hawes and Dean employing some manner of studio-based whatnot into their methods, but Lightning Born‘s first LP holds to a strikingly natural ethic. If you told me “Power Struggle” was recorded live, with the four of them in a room — or maybe Leath in a booth for isolation — I’d believe it. And that feel pervades throughout the entire record, ultimately proving central to its purpose, because while the members of Lightning Born aren’t strangers to the act of being in a group creating music, that’s clearly the spirit in which they’re most looking to revel in these 11 cuts. “Salvation” might be the point at which that’s most readily displayed, but “Godless” might stand as the means through which the band most signal their drive to progress as a unit.

It’s not so radically different from some of what precedes it, but maybe more Dio Sabbath than later-Ozzy, and for the already-converted to whom the record is largely targeted, it is a striking enough distinction, marked out by a more gradual linear build over the first four minutes that give way eventually to some “Electric Funeral”-izing stomp and a slowdown apex given its due momentousness by the vocals that accompany. It’s the finish the album deserves, certainly, but something of a departure as well even from the likes of “Magnetic” and “Out for Blood,” which build on the initial shove and swing of “Shifting Winds” and “Renegade,” changing the structural flow of the offering even as it draws it to a close. This too is well within the tenets of heavy rock traditionalism in terms of style, but stands out owing to what Lightning Born make of it. They could go in any number of directions from here, and given the members’ other commitments I won’t try and predict when that might happen, but if this self-titled is what gets them in motion, that motion is more than infectious enough to make one look forward to what may come.

By the way, the word is powerhouse. I can’t think of one that fits them better.

Lightning Born, Lightning Born (2019)

Lightning Born on Thee Facebooks

Lightning Born on Instagram

Lightning Born on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

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Corrosion of Conformity Announce Summer Tour with Crowbar, Lo-Pan & Quaker City Night Hawks

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

corrosion of conformity (Photo by JJ Koczan)

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I can think of fewer tour pairings less broken than Corrosion of Conformity and Crowbar, who were out together co-headlining earlier this year on what turned out to be the first leg of a tour that will continue this July. Of particular note is the addition of Lo-Pan this time around, who’ll be out supporting their new record, Subtle. That record is a beast and they’ll no doubt bring an infusion of energy to the run as they provide support and Quaker City Night Hawks open. Starland Ballroom, you say? That’ll be just about the most Jersey shit ever, methinks. See you there.

Though I wouldn’t mind catching C.O.C. at the Psycho Swim party in Vegas either. Really I’ll take what I can get.

Dates follow from the pr IWRE:

corrosion of conformity crowbar lo pan tour

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Announces North American Summer Headlining Tour With Crowbar + Band To Headline Psycho Las Vegas Pre-Party And More!

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will kick off the second leg of their North American headlining tour this July. The A Quest To Believe, A Call To The Void II Tour will commence on July 26th in Poughkeepsie, New York and run through August 25th in Providence, Rhode Island. Support will be provided by their comrades in Crowbar as well as Lo-Pan and Quaker City Night Hawks. Tickets go on sale this Friday at all local ticket outlets.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will also play a special one-off show with country singer Cody Jinks next month in addition to festival appearances at Rocklahoma, Heavy MTL, KISW’s Pain In The Grass, and a headlining performance at Psycho Swim, Psycho Las Vegas’ annual pool-bound kick-off party where the band will be joined by Lucifer, Danava, ASG, Primitive Man, and more. In October, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will appear on the inaugural MegaCruise alongside Megadeth, Anthrax, Testament, Overkill, and so many others with more shows to be announced in the months to come. See all confirmed dates below.

No Cross No Crown is available on CD, digital, vinyl, and cassette formats. Various order bundles are available at nuclearblast.com/coc-nocrossnocrown.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY:
5/09/2019 Coyote Joe’s – Charlotte, NC w/ Cody Jinks
5/24/2019 Rocklahoma – Pryor, OK

w/ Crowbar, Lo-Pan, Quaker City Night Hawks:
7/26/2019 The Chance – Poughkeepsie, NY
7/27/2019 Westcott Theater – Syracuse, NY
7/28/2019 Heavy MTL – Montreal, QC *
7/29/2019 Dallas Nightclub – Kitchener, ON
7/31/2019 Mercury Ballroom – Louisville, KY
8/01/2019 Elevation – Grand Rapids, MI
8/02/2019 The Rave II – Milwaukee, WI
8/03/2019 KISW’s Pain In The Grass @ White River Amphitheatre – Auburn, WA *
8/05/2019 Deluxe @ Old National Centre – Indianapolis, IN
8/06/2019 Pop’s – Sauget, IL
8/07/2019 Slowdown – Omaha, NE
8/10/2019 Fox Theatre – Boulder, CO
8/11/2019 Mesa Theater – Grand Junction, CO
8/13/2019 Knitting Factory Concert House – Boise, ID
8/14/2019 The Complex – Salt Lake City, UT
8/15/2019 Psycho Swim @ Daylight Beach Club – Las Vegas, NV *
8/16/2019 Encore – Tucson, AZ
8/17/2019 Sunshine Theater – Albuquerque, NM
8/19/2019 Come And Take It Live – Austin, TX
8/21/2019 1904 Music Hall – Jacksonville, FL
8/22/2019 The Tarheel – Jacksonville, NC
8/23/2019 Elevation 27 – Virginia Beach, VA
8/24/2019 Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ
8/25/2019 Fete Music Hall – Providence, RI
10/13/2019 MegaCruise 2019 – Los Angeles, CA *
* COC only

http://www.coc.com
http://www.facebook.com/corrosionofconformity
http://www.twitter.com/coccabal
http://www.nuclearblast.com
http://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa

Corrosion of Conformity, “Wolf Named Crow” official video

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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.

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Crimson Devils on Bandcamp

 

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Crystal Spiders Post Debut Demo; First Live Appearance Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

crystal spiders (Photo by Marissa Straw)

Taking their moniker from the first track on the debut album from Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Raleigh, North Carolina’s Crystal Spiders have unveiled their aptly-titled Demo ahead of making their first live appearance on Feb. 7 in their hometown. The release is comprised of three cuts giving three distinct looks at the trio as they move from the rolling doom rock and layered harmonies of “Tigerlily” through the rougher-edged thrust of “Flamethrower” with a classic metal riff careening through its sub-two-minute runtime, and into the catchy cultistry of “Devil’s Resolve,” on which bassist Brenna Leath — also of Ripple-signed heavy rockers Lightning Born — steps back from lead vocals to allow a shift to sludgy shouts ahead of a delve into the riff from Electric Wizard‘s “Witchcult Today” repurposed as the bed for an impressive solo from Mike Deloatch, backed by the swing of Tradd Yancey, who wins at names, outright.

It’s 11 minutes of material and does exactly what something called Demo should do: it lets the band get their feet under them and gives anyone listening fodder for future interest. Certainly with such variety over a relatively short period of time and the fact that the band has been together less than a full year, it’s probably safe to say they’re trying things out, but in so doing, they nonetheless give an encouraging look at their songwriting modus as well as some killer performances. If I was gonna be at the gig, I’d show up early. That’s all I’m saying.

Info and whatnot came down the PR wire, but the real point here is the stream, which you’ll find at the bottom of the post. So have at it:

crystal spider demo

Crystal Spiders – Demo

Formed by a punk rock kid, a crazed rock and roller, and later joined by a doom veteran, Crystal Spiders are rising from Raleigh, unleashing dynamic and powerful sounds speaking to the fundamental power of fuzz rock. Inspired by a slew of acts ranging from the Melvins and Kyuss to Fu Manchu, these scene veterans are tried and true worshipers of the riff. Featuring members of local favorites such as Lightning Born, Mind Dweller and Thirsty Curses, Crystal Spiders’ diverse mix of influences makes for music that separates them from the stoner rock rat race.

Brought together by a love of vintage gear, nasty licks, and ratty pedals, Crystal Spiders revel in the waves of volume commanded by their roaring amps. Frontwoman Brenna Leath’s dynamic voice soars above it all, guiding listeners from peak to sonic peak and fascinating the palate with her powerful delivery. She is perfectly complemented by her bandmate’s heavy vocals, joined by the roaring guitars of Mike Deloatch and the high-powered drums of Tradd Yancey. The legendary Raleigh rock scene has been a band breeding ground for years now, but rarely has something emerged from the crypt with the same passion and drive of this fuzz-possessed crew.

Reeking of smoke and drenched in distortion, their demo has just been self-released in January of 2019 and is guaranteed to reap minds and destroy souls, foreshadowing a debut album that will make waves in heavy circles. Excited for the opportunities to come, Leath says, “You know you’re doing something right when you look down at the speedometer and you’re doing 20 miles over with no idea of how you got there. 1-part vintage gear, 1-part doom, a dash of punk and a sprinkle of germanium. That’s how.”

Tracklisting:
1. Tigerlily
2. Flamethrower
3. Devil’s Resolve

All songs written and recorded by Crystal Spiders (Mike Deloatch, Brenna Leath, Tradd Yancey). Mixed and mastered by Jim Griffin, Shadetree Studios, Raleigh, NC. Art by Tyler Pennington. Layout by Alex Traboulsi.

Crystal Spiders live:
Feb 07 Slim’s Downtown Raleigh, NC w/ Thunderchief, WitchTit

Crystal Spiders is:
Brenna Leath – Bass & Vox
Mike Deloatch – Guitar & Vox
Tradd Yancey – Drums & Backup Vox

https://www.facebook.com/crystalspidersinmymind
https://crystalspiders.bandcamp.com

Crystal Spiders, Demo (2019)

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Review & Full Album Stream: New Light Choir, Torchlight

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

new light choir torchlight

[Click play above to stream New Light Choir’s Torchlight in full. Album is out this Friday, Nov. 23, on Svart Records.]

Near the end of organ-laced second track “Queen of Winter” there is a lyrical turn. The driving 4:34 piece arrives following opener “Grand Architect” on the New Light Choir‘s Svart-delivered third album, Torchlight, and is the final chapter in a quick initial salvo before the six-minute “Firebird” takes hold as the longest cut included. It happens in the last stretch of the song. The line, “Before the winter begins,” is being repeated following a suitable tempest of riffs and rhythm, as the Raleigh, North Carolina, self-recording, studio-only two-piece of guitarist/vocalist John Niffenegger and drummer Chris Dalton seem to reinvent progressive, blackened and traditional metals in their own image, and at 4:15, the lyric changes for the last go. Instead of, “Before the winter begins,” it’s, “Before her winter begins,” and on paper that’s not a huge shift, but its nonetheless emblematic of the level of detail and precision put into Torchlight as a whole.

Right down to one word in one of 10 songs for one line on a 45-minute album, every moment of Torchlight feels like it’s doing exactly what New Light Choir has intended it to do. The narrative around the album is one of stylistic reach, and indeed, there’s plenty of it, but across the tumult of “Omens” and the what-if-Rush-had-invented-black-metal “Psalm 6,” all frenetic drumming and poised vocal melody and blindingly progressive figures and structures, but it’s not just about taking two or three or four different styles and smashing them together. There are bands who do that and make it work to varying degrees of success, but rather than highlight the divisions between the various elements at play — and it is very much play — across Torchlight, New Light Choir work to erase the boundaries of genre in the first place. It’s as if their goal was to sit down and construct a record where every individual moment was geared toward rendering “File Under” moot.

New Light Choir made their debut with a self-titled LP in 2010, and songs from it carried almost a Wovenhand-style sense of space (thinking of “Choral” near the middle of the tracklist), but as they followed that with Volume II in 2014 — High Roller Records released it in 2015 — and found themselves working more in a classic production-style with an overarching theme, the creative development was palpable. The same is true in sitting that second outing next to Torchlight, as “Adamantine” seems to have found the blend of fullness and rawness in the recording itself that the first two full-lengths seemed to be driving toward, and their lyrics about an unbreakable metal there could hardly be more appropriate. While I don’t know what the circumstances of the recording were, the band worked on Torchlight across three years from later-2015 through February of this year, and while that could’ve just been a matter of their not having time to get into Studio 775 for anything other than laying down snippets at a time, as Niffenegger intones the line “Heavy metal in my veins” shortly before the acoustic guitar and choral keys lead the way out and into the thrashier start of the aforementioned “Psalm 6,” the material indeed sounds like it’s been lived with.

new light choir

It’s thought through, but not staid. From “Grand Architect” onward, Dalton‘s drums are a catalyst for the melded aesthetics, whether it’s in that leadoff as they bring classic doom and thrash into heady coexistence, or on “Golden Ring,” as the graceful lyric “And so it goes” is met with a corresponding instrumental turn on the way to its last verse. Atmosphere is no less central throughout, but on a sheer performance level, Torchlight is a triumph in its uncompromised look at what metal can do and can be. If it took an actual three years of work from top to bottom to make it, I could hardly be surprised listening to the balance of lead and rhythm guitar layers in “Omens” earlier on or the running toms that start and crash into the beginning of the penultimate “Last March,” which nearly blasts through its earlier moments before reimagining Primordial-style post-black metal with that ever-present touch of prog in the vocals but a locked in half-time megagroove after its midpoint that seems to make the journey on that march all the more worthwhile.

Before that, they delve into a rousing cascade on the three-minute “Moondawn Mirage III,” which eschews lyrics until turning to acoustics in its final movement and is the shortest track on the album but still well more substantial than an interlude, and after, they bring forth the finale, “Stardust and Torchlight,” which feels less like a summary than a culmination. With a steady gallop in its initial verse and chorus, it’s black metal but for the vocals, and even after a momentary slowdown just past the halfway mark, the turn into a mid-paced progression and a winding, plotted lead feels smooth and as natural as any of the many other headspinning changes that have preceded it. As they do with “Moondawn Mirage III” and “Adamantine,” they finish “Stardust and Torchlight” with a move into acoustic guitar, residual feedback holding out beneath a few quick plucks and a final strum that once again serves a reminder of just how purposeful Torchlight is in its directed nuance.

Different listeners will hear various references in the songs, but ultimately New Light Choir‘s style belongs to no one so much as to the duo itself, and the manner in which they’re able to make it own is as much a reshaping of metal as it is an homage to it. I’m not sure if it’s fair to call them experimental, if only for the connotation of well-let’s-try-this-and-see-what-happens that seems to bring, where Dalton and Niffenegger execute their work in a not-makeshift way, but very much befitting their status as a studio project. That’s not to say the tracks on Torchlight wouldn’t work live if a full lineup came together around the two founders, just that that’s what it would take for the material as it is to be brought to life on a stage. Whether that happens or not — it’s been eight years since their debut and it hasn’t yet, so I’ll hazard a guess that it’s not top priority — the clarity of their vision is one of their greatest assets throughout Torchlight, and if that’s the thread that carries them through the next several years of work on their next round of material, it can only be a win.

New Light Choir on Thee Facebooks

New Light Choir on Bandcamp

Svart Records website

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records on Bandcamp

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Corrosion of Conformity Announce Tour Dates with Crowbar, Weedeater, The Obsessed & Mothership; Tickets on Sale Today

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

corrosion of conformity live (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Hey look, I don’t usually post ticket links with tour announcements. Looks shitty — you know I’m all about vanity — makes it harder to read the dates, and if you’re on any form of the internet reading about music you already know how to use said internet to buy tickets. But this isn’t just any tour. Corrosion of ConformityCrowbar and Mothership teaming up with Weedeater and The Obsessed rotating in and out for stretches. It’s fucking significant. And tickets are on sale today, so yeah, I’m posting the links. Can’t help but notice there are three days off after the New York show. Have to wonder what’s up there… Hmm…

Anyway, I don’t know how else to put it but this tour is pretty astounding, so yeah, just get tickets. Whatever. You know these bands. You know why you need to be there. So mark your calendar and go. Easy as that.

Here’s the info (and links) from the PR wire:

corrosion of conformity crowbar tour

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Announces 2019 North American Headlining Tour With Support From Crowbar, Weedeater, The Obsessed, And Mothership; Tickets On Sale This Friday

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will kick off 2019 with a long-anticipated North American headlining tour! Set to commence January 19th in San Antonio, Texas, and run through February 27th in Nashville, Tennessee, the month-long trek will include support from Crowbar and Mothership as well as Weedeater and The Obsessed on select shows. Tickets go on sale this Friday! See all confirmed dates below.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY released the critically-acclaimed No Cross No Crown full-length earlier this year via Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Captured in North Carolina with longtime producer John Custer, the record marks the first studio recording with vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan in over a decade and, earning the #67 spot on the Billboard Top 200 Chart, #12 on the Billboard Top Current Albums Chart, and #3 on the Top Hard Music Albums Chart upon its first week of release, is the highest charting album of the band’s career.

No Cross No Crown is available on CD, digital, vinyl, and cassette formats. Various order bundles are available at nuclearblast.com/coc-nocrossnocrown.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY w/ Crowbar, Weedeater (1/19 – 2/13), The Obsessed (2/16 – 2/27), Mothership:
1/19/2019 Alamo City Music Hall – San Antonio, TX [tickets]
1/20/2019 Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK [tickets]
1/21/2019 The Riot Room – Kansas City, MO [tickets]
1/22/2019 Gothic Theatre – Denver, CO [tickets]
1/24/2019 Crescent Ballroom – Phoenix, AZ [tickets]
1/25/2019 Fremont Country Club – Las Vegas, NV
1/26/2019 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA [tickets]
1/27/2019 Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA [tickets]
1/29/2019 Slim’s – San Francisco, CA [tickets]
1/31/2019 Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR [tickets]
2/01/2019 Neumos – Seattle, WA [tickets]
2/02/2019 Rickshaw Theatre – Vancouver, BC [tickets]
2/04/2019 Starlite Room – Edmonton, AB [tickets]
2/05/2019 Marquee – Calgary, AB [tickets]
2/07/2019 Park Theatre – Winnipeg, MB
2/08/2019 Fine Line – Minneapolis, MN [tickets]
2/09/2019 Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL [tickets]
2/10/2019 Machine Shop – Flint, MI [tickets]
2/12/2019 Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH [tickets]
2/13/2019 The Gramercy Theatre – New York, NY
2/16/2019 Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA [tickets]
2/17/2019 Underground Arts – Philadelphia, PA [tickets]
2/18/2019 Ottobar – Baltimore, MD [tickets]
2/20/2019 Opera House – Toronto, ON [tickets]
2/21/2019 Mr. Smalls Theatre – Pittsburgh, PA [tickets]
2/22/2019 Lincoln Theatre – Raleigh, NC [tickets]
2/23/2019 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA [tickets]
2/24/2019 Orpheum – Tampa, FL [tickets]
2/26/2019 Vinyl Music Hall – Pensacola, FL
2/27/2019 The Cowan – Nashville, TN

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY is:
Pepper Keenan – vocals, guitar
Woodroe Weatherman – guitar
Mike Dean – bass, vocals
Reed Mullin – drums, vocals

http://www.coc.com
http://www.facebook.com/corrosionofconformity
http://www.twitter.com/coccabal
http://www.nuclearblast.com
http://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa

Corrosion of Conformity, “Wolf Named Crow” official video

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Corrosion of Conformity Announce UK Tour with Orange Goblin, Fireball Ministry and Black Moth

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Can you frickin’ imagine C.O.C. and Orange Goblin on the same bill? I’m sorry, but that’s just awesome. Both will be supporting new records — for Corrosion of Conformity, it’s earlier-this-year’s No Cross No Crown (review here), and for Orange Goblin, the impending The Wolf Bites Back (review later this week) — and with support from Fireball Ministry, lest we forget their own new album, Remember the Story (review here), which came out toward the end of 2017 — and Black Moth, the proceedings are all the more righteous for those who’ll be fortunate enough to witness them.

As fate and clever timing would have it, C.O.C. were in the UK this weekend playing Download and they’ve got another date in Colchester tonight ahead of hitting mainland Europe tomorrow to begin a tour that includes a couple dates meeting up with Converge and a stop at Hellfest. This of course will lead to the next tour, which is another run with Black Label Society in the States following up on the one at the start of the year. That’s in July/August, then in Oct./Nov. it’s back to the UK for the aforementioned excellence alongside Orange Goblin et al. It’s been a busy year for these dudes, especially as they’ve been largely without drummer Reed Mullin, who’s been unable to tour with the band following knee surgery and is, as of the last social media post on the subject, understandably anxious to return.

The PR wire brings the latest, but really, the point here is go see C.O.C. You have the means, motive and opportunity, so make it happen:

corrosion of conformity photo by Dean Karr

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY To Kick Off European Tour This Weekend; Band Confirms Fall UK Dates + Second Leg Of North American Tour With Black Label Society And Eyehategod Nears

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will return to Europe this weekend for a stretch of live dates set to commence June 9th and run through June 24th. The journey includes special performances with Converge as well as appearances at Download, Hellfest, Copenhell, and Graspop. In July, the band will return to North American stages to kick off the second leg of their tour supporting Black Label Society. Slated to begin July 15th, the tour will make its way through nearly two dozen cities upon its conclusion on August 11th. Additional support will again be provided by Eyehategod. CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will close their summer live takeover with a performance at Loud And Heavy Fest in Fort Worth Texas sharing the stages with the likes of Cody Jinks and Whiskey Myers! In October, the band will take on an eight-date UK headlining tour with Orange Goblin, Fireball Ministry, and Black Moth. See all confirmed dates below.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY continues to tour in support of their critically lauded No Cross No Crown full-length, released earlier this year via Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Captured in North Carolina with longtime producer John Custer, the record marks the first studio recording with vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan in over a decade and, earning the #67 spot on the Billboard Top 200 Chart, #12 on the Billboard Top Current Albums Chart, and #3 on the Top Hard Music Albums Chart upon its first week of release, is the highest charting album of the band’s career.

No Cross No Crown is available on CD, digital, vinyl, and cassette formats. Various order bundles are available at nuclearblast.com/coc-nocrossnocrown.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY:
6/09/2018 Download – Donnington Park, UK
6/11/2018 Colchester Arts Centre – Colchester, UK
6/12/2018 FortaRock – Nijmegen, NL
6/13/2018 Den Atelier – Luxembourg, LU
6/14/2018 Universum – Stuttgart, DE
6/16/2018 Konzertfabrik Z7 – Pratteln, CH
6/17/2018 Santeria Social Club – Milan, IT
6/18/2018 Orion – Rome, IT w/ Converge
6/19/2018 VAZ Hafen – Innsbruck, AU w/ Converge
6/20/2018 La Belle Electrique – Grenoble, FR w/ Converge
6/22/2018 Hellfest – Clisson, FR
6/23/2018 Copenhell – København, DK
6/24/2018 Graspop – Dessel, BE

w/ Black Label Society, Eyehategod:
7/15/2018 Inkcarceration Music Festival @ Ohio State Reformatory – Mansfield, OH *
7/16/2018 Monarch Music Hall – Peoria, IA *
7/17/2018 The Forge – Joliet, IL *
7/18/2018 20 Monroe Live – Grand Rapids, MI
7/20/2018 Bourbon Theatre – Lincoln, NE
7/21/2018 Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK
7/22/2018 Cotillion Ballroom – Wichita, KS
7/23/2018 The District – Sioux Falls, SD
7/25/2018 The Clyde Theatre – Wayne, IN
7/27/2018 Si Hall At The Fairgrounds – Syracuse, NY
7/28/2018 Impact Music Festival – Bangor, ME
7/29/2018 The Webster – Hartford, CT*
7/30/2018 The Queen – Wilmington, DE
8/01/2018 The Mill & Mine – Knoxville, TN
8/02/2018 The Fillmore Charlotte – Charlotte, NC
8/03/2018 Phase 2 – Lynchburg, VA
8/05/2018 The Norva – Norfolk, VA
8/07/2018 Rebel – Toronto, ON
8/08/2018 Metlus – Montreal, QC
8/09/2018 Sherman Theater – Stroudsburg, PA
8/10/2018 Paramount – Huntington, NY
8/11/2018 Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ
8/18/2018 Loud And Heavy Fest @ Panther Island Pavilion – Fort Worth, TX w/ Cody Jinks, Whiskey Myers

w/ Orange Goblin, Fireball Ministry, Black Moth:
10/26/2018 Engine Rooms – Southampton, UK
10/27/2018 02 Institute – Birmingham, UK
10/28/2018 Rock City – Nottingham, UK
10/30/2018 Ritz – Manchester, UK
11/01/2018 02 ABC- Glasgow, UK
11/02/2018 Plug – Sheffield, UK
11/03/2018 The Great Hall – Lardiff, UK
11/04/2018 02 Forum Kentish Town – London, UK
* No Eyehategod

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY is:
Pepper Keenan – vocals, guitar
Woodroe Weatherman – guitar
Mike Dean – bass, vocals
Reed Mullin – drums, vocals

http://www.coc.com
http://www.facebook.com/corrosionofconformity
http://www.twitter.com/coccabal
http://www.nuclearblast.com
http://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa

Corrosion of Conformity, “The Luddite” official video

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Corrosion of Conformity Post “The Luddite” Video; US Tour on Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 17th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

corrosion of conformity dean karr

So not that I’m awash in extra minutes-per-day or anything like that, but among the various ideas for writing projects kicking around my head lately has been a side-blog that theoretically would be called ‘Doomestic Living,’ which would basically serve as a chronicle for my adventures in my still-new position as a stay-at-home dad, a dude who likes music, and someone with assorted mental health issues. Sounds pretty indulgent, right? Don’t worry, I’m sure self-critique would be a huge factor. To wit, C.O.C. have a new video for “The Luddite” from their new record, No Cross No Crown (review here), and here’s how I might feature it as a post in said context:

The Patient Mrs. was out at physical therapy the other night, still recovering more than two months after her emergency C-section, learning which of her muscles medical professionals fucked up and how best to make them work again, etc. Pretty much every time she leaves the house these days and I’m home alone with The Pecan, I take it as a preview of what life will be like when she goes back to work. This was no exception.

He was fussy; had missed a nap. There was a bottle on the counter, but he’s still not taking a bottle from me, so basically when he gets hungry it’s a fight. Every time. He doesn’t want it. Apparently The Patient Mrs. has magic boobs (something I’ve always suspected) that require no effort on The Pecan’s part to extract milk from, so when he actually has to engage a sucking action on the nipple of a bottle, he gets pissed about it. I get it. The “There’s an easier way to do this and I prefer that” instinct. Very human.

I was waiting for PBS Newshour to come on and dicking around through YouTube on the tv in the living room. He was in his chair, sort of proto-kvetching. Grunting. He grunts a lot; some in distress, some in conversation. Grunty Pecan. I’d gotten the press release about the new Corrosion of Conformity video for “The Luddite” from Nuclear Blast earlier in the day, but as it came up in my recommendations, I decided to check it out. Good track as I knew from hearing the album, so what the hell.

The video’s pretty standard fare: mostly classic heavy rock fire and fury updated with digital presentation. Mike Dean looks badass as ever holding down the business of groove on bass while Pepper Keenan handles frontman duties, Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin presences unto themselves in their righteousness. The kind of thing that, if there were a Headbanger’s Ball and they let me host it, you’d most definitely see on Headbanger’s Ball. Nowadays, the internet. Fair enough. Good showcase for the track, at very least.

The Pecan was fucking mesmerized. In his two-plus months of life, I don’t think I’ve seen his attention so utterly and singularly wrapt by anything. Not even eating or pooping, and to-date, those have been his primary activities. And it wasn’t his first exposure either to television or to music videos either. C.O.C. held that baby’s gaze like nothing has yet.

I wound up watching him watching the video as much as I watched the video itself — overcome by a strange mixture of worry about screen-time exposure (the latest science says it’s okay, but science is malleable) and pride at the thought that this baby might have such killer taste innate to his being as to really dig a track like “The Luddite,” which is among the closest points C.O.C. hit on their new record to their classic mid-’90s sound.

Afterwards, I put on Sabbath doing “Children of the Grave” at Cali Jam 1974 and he dug that too. For a couple minutes there, things were looking up in terms of parenting potential. Fortunately, The Patient Mrs. got back before he got too hungry.

Yeah, something like that. C.O.C.‘s No Cross No Crown is out now on Nuclear Blast. Please find the video for “The Luddite” below, followed by the band’s current/ongoing tour dates, courtesy of the PR wire, and enjoy:

Corrosion of Conformity, “The Luddite” official video

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY is currently in the midst of a massive North American live takeover supporting Black Label Society. The tour kicked off in Denver, Colorado December 27th and will wind its way through nearly four dozen cities upon its conclusion on February 27th. Additional support is being provided by Eyehategod and Red Fang on select shows. See all confirmed dates below.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY w/ Black Label Society, Eyehategod (12/29 – 1/20; 2/11 – 2/27), Red Fang (1/26 – 2/09):
1/17/2018 House Of Blues – New Orleans, LA ^
1/18/2018 Marathon Music Works – Nashville, TN ^
1/19/2018 Bogart’s – Cincinnati, OH ^
1/20/2018 Center Stage – Atlanta, GA ^
1/26/2018 Jannus Live – St. Petersburg, FL *
1/27/2018 House Of Blues – Myrtle Beach, SC *
1/28/2018 The Ritz – Raleigh, NC *
1/29/2018 The Fillmore Silver Spring – Silver Spring, MD *
1/31/2018 PlayStation Theater – New York, NY *
2/01/2018 The Palladium – Worcester, MA *
2/02/2018 Aura – Portland, ME *
2/03/2018 Electric Factory – Philadelphia, PA *
2/05/2018 Town Ballroom – Buffalo, NY *
2/06/2018 The Goodyear Theater at East End – Akron, OH *
2/07/2018 Stage AE – Pittsburgh, PA *
2/08/2018 Eagles Ballroom Club Stage – Milwaukee, WI *
2/09/2018 Myth Live – St. Paul, MN *
2/11/2018 O’Brians Event Centre – Saskatoon, SK ^
2/12/2018 The Ranch Roadhouse – Edmonton, AB ^
2/14/2018 Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, BC ^
2/16/2018 Bowes Event Center at Revolution Place – Grande Prairie, AB ^
2/17/2018 MacEwan Hall – Calgary, AB ^
2/19/2018 Showbox SoDo – Seattle, W ^
2/20/2018 Roseland Theater – Portland, OR ^
2/21/2018 Ace Of Spades – Sacramento, CA ^
2/23/2018 House of Blues – Las Vegas, NV ^
2/24/2018 The Marquee – Tempe, AZ ^
2/25/2018 Sunshine Theater – Albuquerque, NM ^
2/27/2018 The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, CA ^
^ w/ Eyehategod
* w/ Red Fang

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY is:
Pepper Keenan – vocals, guitar
Woodroe Weatherman – guitar
Mike Dean – bass, vocals
Reed Mullin – drums, vocals

Corrosion of Conformity website

Corrosion of Conformity on Thee Facebooks

Corrosion of Conformity on Twitter

Nuclear Blast website

Nuclear Blast on Thee Facebooks

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