ASG Post New Video for “Mourning of the Earth”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 25th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


I’m not really sure what might prompt North Carolinian heavy rock four-piece ASG to make a new video now, more than two years after the release of their latest album, Blood Drive, also their debut on Relapse Records, but if I had to take a guess, they had the footage and decided to use it. Sad to say, I’m not familiar enough with the Wilmington area to know definitively where their newly-premiered clip for “Mourning of the Earth” was filmed, but if it’s Ziggy’s by the Sea, then it would be the same locale where the band captured “Scrappy’s Trip” from the same album, though that seems to have been set to the studio version of the song, whereas this is live video and audio.

Maybe ASG have a new record in the works and are looking to get a little momentum going and say goodbye to Blood Drive before they enter the release/touring cycle anew — and with them, there’s little doubt it’d be a substantial cycle indeed — but whatever it is, I’m little inclined to argue. The massive response Blood Drive garnered was neither happenstance nor the result of anything other than a quality songwriting process and years of hard work put in, and if “Mourning of the Earth” is their way of reminding people of that fact before they bring something new to the table next year, then right on. Hell, even if they haven’t been writing or recording, I don’t think they’ll meet with too many complaints, even this far out from the last release.

Rocka. Also rolla:

ASG, “Mourning of the Earth”

North Carolina stoner rockers ASG have shared a new music video via Vevo for their track “Mourning Of The Earth,” taken from the 2013 release Blood Drive. Directed by Jason Lynn, the video is taken from one of ASG’s recent live performances in their their hometown of Wilmington, NC earlier this year, and features the band tearing through the ripping, riff-laden stoner metal anthem.

In late 2011, Relapse Records announced the signing of North Carolina’s finest psychedelic, stoner-punks. ASG entered the studio in February 2012 to record their highly anticipated Relapse debut with producer Matt Hyde (Slayer, Children of Bodom, Fu Manchu). After a string of U.S. dates with Corrosion of Conformity and label-mates Royal Thunder in early 2013, the group delivered their fourth full length Blood Drive on May 28th, 2013. A 12-song collection of sun-soaked anthems full of groove heavy riffs that reference equally Torche and Queens of the Stone Age, Blood Drive has garnered near-universal critical acclaim since its release.

ASG on Thee Facebooks

ASG on Bandcamp

ASG at Relapse Records

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Black Tusk Releasing Pillars of Ash Jan. 29; Preorders Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 19th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

black tusk

The forthcoming Pillars of Ash by Savannah, Georgia, trio Black Tusk represents their final recorded work with bassist/vocalist Jonathan Athon, who passed away a year ago following a motorcycle accident. The hard-touring outfit — who’ve since recruited Corey Barhorst, formerly of Kylesa and who just released a new record called Heading East (review here) with his other band, Niche, as their third member — will no doubt hit the road in the New Year to support the new album, but preorders are up now and nothing has yet been announced for shows.

Jan. 29 is the release date, Relapse is the label, Joel Grind of Toxic Holocaust the producer. Details and the new song “God’s on Vacation” follow from the PR wire:

black tusk pillars of ash


Savannah, GA’s Black Tusk have established themselves as one of the hardest working bands in rock since their formation over 10 years ago. After four full-lengths, numerous splits and EP’s and thousands of shows under their belts, the punk/metal power trio was faced with an immense and unexpected tragedy in late 2014 when founding bassist/vocalist Jonathan Athon passed away after a motorcycle accident in his hometown. Now, as a testament to his profound and lasting legacy on the heavy music scene, the band are releasing Pillars of Ash, their final recordings with Athon, on January 29th, 2016 via Relapse Records. Recorded with Toxic Holocaust’s Joel Grind behind the boards and featuring gorgeous artwork by Jeremy Hush (Skeletonwitch, Rwake), Pillars of Ash is the culmination of three brothers-in-arms’ blood, sweat and tears, and is Black Tusk’s finest accomplishment to date.

Formed in 2005 by Athon, guitarist Andrew Fidler and drummer James May, Black Tusk hit the ground running and toured relentlessly on their first EP, When Kingdoms Fall. They kept up a manic pace, recording two more demos (2006’s untitled demo and 2007’s The Fallen Kingdom). Hyperrealist signed on to release their debut LP, 2008’s Passage Through Purgatory, and 2009 saw them churn out a trio of splits with the likes of The Holy Mountain, ASG, and Fight Amp. Soon after, the band signed to Relapse and formed a partnership that lasts to this day, first collaborating on their 2010 breakthrough Taste the Sin and then on their highly ¬anticipated 2011 follow up, Set the Dial. Since then, Black Tusk have released a pair of EP’s—2013’s Tend No Wounds and the digital¬-only 2014 EP Vulture’s Eye—and kept pounding the pavement in the United States, Europe, and the UK alongside bands like Red Fang, Kvelertak, Down, Municipal Waste, Fu Manchu, Inter Arma, Intronaut, and so many others, as well as being hand¬picked to appear on Metallica’s Orion Festival in 2012.

In 2014, Black Tusk hit the studio with their old friend and accomplished audio engineer, Joel Grind, to work on Pillars of Ash. Before they could get their new record into stores and jump back up in their big white tour van, though, the band suffered a setback beyond what most could even imagine. In November, mere weeks before the band was due to kick off their biggest tour yet, Athon was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. Several days later, on November 9, 2014, he passed away at the age of 31, leaving behind hundreds of friends, family members, and his beloved dog Cutter as well as his brothers in Black Tusk. Support poured in from fans, friends, and fellow musicians from around the world; stunned, Andrew and James laid down their instruments and tried to process the loss. For a few weeks, the band’s future was uncertain, but ultimately, the remaining duo made the difficult decision to soldier on and carry on in Athon’s memory. Athon himself could have chosen no better successor than Corey Barhorst, a longtime friend and veteran musician who heads up his own project, Niche, and previously held down the low end for Kylesa. Barhorst initially joined the band as a live member in time for their European tour with Black Label Society, but after that, was welcomed into the fold as a full-blooded member of Black Tusk.

Black Tusk have lived through the kind of hardship and heartbreak that would cripple a lesser band, but it’s that dedication, gumption, and pure bullheaded stubbornness that’s taken them around the world and as far away from the lacey Spanish moss and sweltering streets of Savannah than any of them could’ve dared dream.

Look for Pillars of Ash to be available January 29th, 2016 and stay tuned for more news coming soon.

Pillars of Ash, track listing:
1. God’s On Vacation
2. Desolation of Endless Times
3. Bleed on Your Knees
4. Born of Strife
5. Damned in the Ground
6. Beyond the Divide
7. Black Tide
8. Still Not Well
9. Walk Among the Sky
10. Punk Out
11. Leveling

Black Tusk, “God’s on Vacation”

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Bongzilla Announce Dec. Shows; Amerijuanican Reissue Due Nov. 27

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 9th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

I remember listening to Bongzilla‘s Amerijuanican when it came out, and the only question I had was, “How much crustier can it possibly get?” And the answer is none. None more crusty. The Madison, Wisconsin, masters of weedian crunch riffing will reissue Amerijuanican Nov. 27 on vinyl through Relapse Records, and they’ve been playing shows sporadically through most of this year. I don’t know if they’re back together — as in, going to put out a new record — but if you’re like me and still waiting on some more Aquilonian as well, you already know holding out for new material, it might be a bit before they get around to it.

Bongzilla have announced a quick run of shows in the Midwest for next month, and that stint will follow the Amerijuanican reissue, which should sell out on the strength of their “Champagne and Reefer” cover alone if the universe has any justice. I’ll be interested to see if the label follows this one up with any other reissues. I wouldn’t mind an excuse to re-buy Apogee, but maybe that’s me.

Preorder links, info and dates below:

bongzilla tour poster

Bongzilla’s most recent full-length ‘Amerijuanican’ is being re-pressed on deluxe vinyl for the first time in ten years! You can preorder your copy of this dank Purple Kush Splatter LP exclusively via Relapse Mailorder – the reissue drops 11/27 on Relapse Records! Get it at

We’re not done yet this year. Come get elevated.

Bongzilla December 2015 Tour
12/09 Chicago IL Chop Shop
12/10 Minneapolis MN 7th St. Entry
12/11 Rock Island IL Rock Island Brew Co.
12/12 Cudahy WI The Metal Grill
12/13 Indianapolis IN 5th Quarter Lounge

First Reissue Press
1250 x Black Standard Gram
500 x Purple Kush Standard Gram *Mailorder Exclusive*
250 x Relapse 25th Anniversary Silver Standard Gram *Mailorder Exclusive*

Bongzilla’s fourth and final full-length repressed for the first time in ten years! Weed-infested stoner doom at its finest.

Bongzilla, Amerijuanican vinyl reissue trailer

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Torche Announce First Headlining Dates of 2016

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 22nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


I don’t know, don’t you just feel good knowing that Torche are out there? Even if they’re not coming to your town this time around, it’s a pretty reliable supposition that they’ve been there before and they’ll get there again, and as they continue to support earlier-2015’s Restarter (review here), I’m just glad to know they’ll be kicking off the New Year doing what they do best in delivering boots to the collective ass of a live audience. Because they’re a fucking good band, and good bands should be playing live, as Torche are, rampaging through Europe (again?) next month before breaking for the holidays.

That’s your sports wisdom for the day, pointing out the obvious. If you need me, I’ll be in my zen rock garden.

Sadly, no, that’s not true. I neither have, nor spend time in, a zen rock garden. Even if I did, I’d just ruin it by bringing my laptop.

Here are the tour dates:

torche jan tour

TORCHE: Announces January US Headlining Dates

Miami stoner rockers TORCHE have just announced a short new run of headlining US dates beginning this January. The 10-day tour is set to kick off just five weeks after the band’s month-long European headlining tour concludes this November. After having toured in Australia, New Zealand, North America, and Europe over the past year, TORCHE will now bring their unique brand of rock to the US South for two weeks kicking off January 14. A complete listing of dates is available below.

TORCHE recently released Restarter, the band’s debut for Relapse Records and its best-selling album to date. The ten-song collection landed on multiple worldwide charts and was universally lauded by press outlets worldwide.

***All Dates With Jeff Carey and Day Old Man***
Jan 14 Savannah, GA Jinx
Jan 15 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade – Hell
Jan 16 Johnson City, TN The Hideaway
Jan 17 Chattanooga, TN JJ’s Bohemia
Jan 18 Memphis, TN The Hi-Tone
Jan 19 Birmingham, AL Saturn
Jan 20 Tallahassee, FL Club Downunder
Jan 21 Gainesville, FL The Wooly
Jan 22 Orlando, FL Will’s Pub
Jan 23 Miami, FL Churchill’s Pub
Jan 24 Tampa, FL New World Brewery

Torche, “Annihilation Affair” official video

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Windhand Post New Video for “Two Urns”; Headlining Tour Starts this Week

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

windhand (Photo by Jordan Vance)

Like most Halloweens, the one depicted in Windhand‘s new video for “Two Urns” starts out with some innocent trick-or-treating and TP’ing houses and winds up in murder. Don’t act like you’ve never been there. The Virginian doom forerunners will head out this week — tomorrow, by golly — on a headlining tour to support their third album, the newly-released Grief’s Infernal Flower (review here), and the timing on a Halloween-themed video is eerily good, what, uh, with… Halloween… coming up — do I really need to explain that?

Point is Windhand have their shit together. The album proved that well enough, and as the five-piece move into headlining bigger stretches in bigger venues, that can only continue to serve them. Starting and ending on the East Coast, the stint alongside Danava and Monolord will make a stop at Night of the Shred on Halloween night, and hits just about every other choice market in the States either before or after, so kudos. They’ve busted their collective ass on the road the last several years to get to this point, and one hopes this tour goes well and leads to more. That’s what the work is for, right? More work? So yeah, keep it rolling.

Video and tour dates follow:

Windhand, “Two Urns” official video

Watch Windhand’s New Video “Two Urns”

Headlining North American Tour Kicks Off This Week

Windhand share a new evil video just in time for Halloween. The story goes: It’s Halloween, 1987. Four best friends are out trick-or-treating on their BMXs. Four older bullies in a muscle car have an appetite for something more sinister than candy.

Windhand’s headlining North American Tour kicks off next week with Danava and Monolord. Highlights include NYC’s Gramercy Ballroom, Chicago’s Empty Bottle, LA’s Roxy, San Diego’s Night of the Shred, Fun Fun Fun Fest and more – full list of dates below.

Windhand Live Dates:
Oct 21: New York, NY – Gramercy #
Oct 22: Buffalo, NY – Waiting Room #
Oct 23: Pittsburgh, PA – Smiling Moose #
Oct 24: Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle #
Oct 27: Seattle, WA – Neumos #
Oct 28: Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret #
Oct 29: Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios #
Oct 30: San Francisco, CA – The Chapel #
Oct 31: San Diego, CA – Night of the Shred ^
Nov 1: Los Angeles, CA – Roxy #
Nov 2: Mesa, AZ – Club Red #
Nov 3: Albuquerque, NM – Sister #
Nov 4: Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater #
Nov 6: Dallas, TX – Dada #
Nov 7: Austin, TX – Fun Fun Fun Fest Nites #
Nov 8: Little Rock, AR – White Water Tavern #
Nov 11: Columbus, OH – Ace of Cups #
Nov 12: Ferndale, MI – Loving Touch #
Nov 13: Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop #
Nov 14: Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery #
Nov 15: Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts #
# – w/ Danava and Monolord
^ – w/ Monolord

Windhand: Garrett Morris (Guitars), Parker Chandler (Bass) Dorthia Cottrell (Vocals), Asechiah Bogdan (Guitars), Ryan Wolfe (Drums)

Windhand’s website

Windhand on Instagram

Relapse Records

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Graves at Sea Finish Work on Debut Album; West Coast Tour Starts this Weekend

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 8th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

graves at sea

Based now in Portland, reunited sludge-doomers Graves at Sea will hit the road this weekend on the West Coast as they make their way to the Southwest Terror Fest in Tucson, Arizona. Some 12 years after their Documents of Grief demo became a significant statement of intent that was ultimately cut short, the band has just put the finishing touches on their debut album, which will be released on Relapse Records early next year. Pretty astonishing journey this band — and granted they’ve been through a few lineup changes along the way — has had to get to their first record, but hey, it’s doom. If you want it to be fast, you’re doing it wrong.

The PR wire has details and dates. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to seeing what Orion Landau comes up with for this one:

graves at sea oct 11

GRAVES AT SEA: Complete New Album; Announce October West Coast Tour Dates

Doom/sludge quartet GRAVES AT SEA has completed recording its first-full length ever! The new material, which was tracked at Audible Alchemy in Portland, OR and mixed at Earhammer Studios in Oakland, CA, will see an early 2016 release via Relapse. The album was engineered by Greg Wilkinson (Atriach, Lycus, etc) and mastered by Brad Boatright (Obituary, Sleep, Yob, etc), and will also feature artwork by Orion Landau. Album title and preorder information will be made available soon.

Though they have gained a near-cultish following in the underground in relatively little time, GRAVES AT SEA’s success is even more noteworthy when one considers the fact that the band has managed to do so without ever releasing a proper full-length album. Formed in 2002, the band soon self-released the demo Documents of Grief (2003), which quickly became one of the most talked about underground demos of the decade. After recording their debut 7″ and a split with Asunder in 2004 and 2005 respectively, the band went on hiatus, before reuniting in 2012 and signing to Relapse Records in 2015.

Now thirteen years since their formation, GRAVES AT SEA have become stronger than ever, focusing their efforts on touring and recording new material. 2014 saw the group release their first new material in over nine years, including a split with Sourvein and a separate two song EP. GRAVES AT SEA are poised to fully come into their own with the release of their first-ever full-length, which seems certain to bestow the level of success the band has achieved underground to more mainstream audiences. You can stream the band’s 2014 split with Sourvein via Soundcloud HERE.

In celebration of the finished recording, GRAVES AT SEA have also announced a week of tour dates beginning the second week of October. The tour will see the band performing shows throughout the West Coast, and will also include a performance at Southwest Terror Fest in Tucson, AZ alongside Relapse brethren CALL OF THE VOID. You can find a full list of dates below.

Oct 11 Seattle, WA The Highline
Oct 13 Oakland, CA The Golden Bull
Oct 14 Glendale, CA Complex
Oct 15 Long Beach, CA Alex’s Bar
Oct 16 Tucson, AZ South West Terror Fest – Club Congress
Oct 19 Sacramento, CA Starlite Lounge

Graves at Sea, “Betting on Black”

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Boris with Merzbow to Release Gensho in Feb.

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 24th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Anyone who tells you they know what a Boris release is going to sound like before they’ve actually heard the thing is a liar, and as such, I’m not even gonna guess what the reignited Boris with Merzbow collaboration might be up to on Gensho, the two-disc full-length it will offer up via Relapse Records in Feb. 2016. With over 150 minutes of music — or, you know, something; these definitions get pretty fluid — spread across the two discs meant to be played at the same time, it seems fair to say it’s going to be an experience one way or another, but probably best to leave it at that for the time being.

The last Boris with Merzbow release was 2011’s Klatter, which was recorded in 2004. If you want to feel old, it’s been a decade since they released Sun Baked Snow Cave on Hydra Head.

To the PR wire:

boris with merzbow


Renowned Japanese innovative team BORIS WITH MERZBOW has completed recording a new collaborative full-length LP entitled Gensho, which is Japanese for “phenomenon”. Gensho is a unique release featuring over 150 minutes of new music spread across two discs. The BORIS tracks are new reinventions of the band’s classic songs, while the MERZBOW songs are new compositions. BORIS and MERZBOW have each contributed exactly the same amount of music, with the two discs intended to be played at the same time on physical speakers at varying volumes so that the listener can experience their own “gensho/phenomenon” every time. The artists also commented, “Of course you can enjoy both albums separately, as a separate work.” Gensho is slated for a February 2016 release via Relapse Records.

Though the artists have an extensive history of collaborating with one another, this latest effort was born out of a one-off show in 2014 for Boiler Room TV, when the two acts decided that their set from that day was worthy enough to perform in the context of a proper studio recording. As with every BORIS and MERZBOW release, the only thing to expect is the unexpected. Each artist’s individual contribution to Gensho weaves through countless disparate textures with a varied sonic palette, to say nothing of the effect when both records are played simultaneously. The unique presentation of the album lends it near-infinite potential for aural discovery, and encourages direct interactivity with the listener rarely found in such unconventional music.

BORIS WITH MERZBOW have also announced an exclusive one-off show in Tokyo in support of Gensho this November. More details about Gensho including album art, tracklisting and song samples will be revealed shortly.

Nov 27 Tokyo, JP Fever

Takeshi (Vocals, Guitar & Bass)
Wata (Vocals, Guitar & Echo)
Atsuo (Vocal, Percussion & Electronics)

Masami Akita – electronics

Boris with Merzbow, Live at the Boiler Room, Tokyo, 2014

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Windhand, Grief’s Infernal Flower: In Bloom

Posted in Reviews on September 16th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

windhand grief's infernal flower

More and more, the leadup to each new album release from Virginian doomers Windhand feels like an event. The five-piece have wanted little for vehemence of response going back to their 2012 self-titled debut (streamed here), which in combination with the considerable amount of road time they put in was enough so that Relapse Records came calling for the follow-up, 2013’s Soma (review here). Their touring has only helped expand their reach, and they arrive at their third album (second for Relapse), Grief’s Infernal Flower, ready to take the next step, not only as headliners, but as one of current doom’s most prevalent acts.

A comparison one might make — not sonically — is to where High on Fire were after Blessed Black Wings. A couple killer records under their belt, an underground reputation for volume and badassery, a rising profile, and a swath cut into the US and Europe through consistent touring. High on Fire‘s 2007 outing, Death is this Communion, could easily be argued as their breakout moment, and positioning Windhand‘s Grief’s Infernal Flower next to that album seems all the more appropriate when one notes that both LPs were recorded and mixed by Jack Endino (both also have cover art by Arik Roper). So we see Windhand enter into this album cycle as a band ready for the next level — and whatever that next level turns out to be will unfold over the next couple months and years as Grief’s Infernal Flower is released and received by critics and the public at large; I’m not interested in speculating how “big” it or they will be — and Endino as the producer to help them get there.

For what it’s worth, I do not think this album is as far as Windhand — the five-piece of vocalist/acoustic guitarist Dorthia Cottrell guitarists Garrett Morris and Asechiah Bogdan, bassist Parker Chandler (also Cough) and drummer Ryan Wolfe — are able to go with their sound. The nine tracks/71 minutes of Grief’s Infernal Flower are, however, easily the farthest they’ve gone with it yet. Whether it’s the consuming mire of “Hesperus” and the penultimate “Kingfisher,” both of which top 14 engrossing minutes of aired-out plod, or the acoustic tracks “Sparrow” and “Aition,” both positioned to close a second side of a 2LP release (the latter, thus, finishing the album), Windhand are the most realized and individualized they’ve yet been across Grief’s Infernal Flower‘s considerable span.


Of course, one can still hear shades of Jus Oborn‘s creeping influence in the leads of the one-two opening salvo of “Two Urns” and “Forest Clouds,” but the surrounding context in which that influence plays out has shifted to be more identifiable as Windhand‘s own, and while Soma boasted plenty of atmosphere, the reaches Windhand take the crawling “Tanngrisnir” and “Hyperion” come across as a natural extension and step forward from that. In particular, the performance of Cottrell on “Hyperion,” while layered, stands as an easy showcase for her growth as a singer and the confidence in general with which these songs are executed. She carries the acoustic tracks fluidly, as one might expect given her similarly-minded solo work, but even “Kingfisher,” which by the time it hits is not just the apex of the album but the deepest plummet of its hypnotic dive, is made richer for her delivery, which feels mirrored in the echoing guitars as only hinted prior.

And while doom is still very much at the heart of what Windhand have to offer, they continue to expand the definition of what that doom means in terms of their own sound. The early-arriving “Crypt Key” is as tonally cumbersome as “Hesperus” or “Kingfisher” once it gets past its acoustic intro and suddenly lurches forward, heavy-swaying and dreamy in kind, Chandler adding organ for even more flourish, but it’s also among the catchier tracks the band has ever written and especially in its chorus has a distinctive grunge vibe, which “Tanngrisnir” complements gorgeously. Not sure I need to note that Endino also helmed records for SoundgardenL7 and Nirvana, but I will anyway, though the nuance feels more naturally brought to bear and less calculated than the band writing a song to suit the style of their producer.

Still, it’s hard not to listen to Grief’s Infernal Flower with that collaboration in mind, which no doubt was part of the intent in working with Endino in the first place, and pivotally, it’s the band who makes the lasting impression when the album is done, Cottrell‘s resonant self-harmonies on “Aition” backed with the sound of wind to fill out the mix and remind of the foreboding ambience the band has conjured all along. Wherever Grief’s Infernal Flower takes them, and whatever its impact on the band over the long-ish term until their next outing (and beyond, I suppose), it remains Windhand‘s defining work to-date and a fresh take on ideas that, while superficially familiar, are given new life in the hands of a band reshaping their genre to suit their purposes. I’m not convinced it’s their masterpiece or their creative peak, but it’s a definite step in that direction and one that feels integral to the work Windhand want to do.

Windhand, “Crypt Key” official video

Windhand on Thee Facebooks

Windhand on Bandcamp

Windhand at Relapse Records

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