Posted in Features on January 1st, 2017 by H.P. Taskmaster
The poll is closed, the results are counted and the top 20 albums of 2016 have been chosen. Hard to argue with the list as it’s shown up over the course of the past month, so I won’t try. Instead, let me just say thanks to incredible amount of participants who contributed this year.
All told, between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31, 612 people added their picks to the proceedings, compared to 388 in last year’s poll. Considering how much that number blew my mind on Jan. 1, 2016, I’m sure you can imagine how I feel about adding another 200-plus lists to the pot. In short, I’m astounded, deeply humbled and so, so, so grateful. I feel like we got enough of a sampling this year to give a genuinely representative showing for where people’s heads have been at, so thank you if you were a part of it.
Thank you as well as always to Slevin for running the poll’s back end and tabulating the results. As ever, the weighting system is one in which a 1-4 ranking is worth five points, 5-8 worth four, 9-12 worth three, 13-16 worth two and 17-20 worth one. You’ll find that list (plus some honorable mentions) below, followed by the raw-vote tally.
And after the jump, as has become the tradition, are the full lists of everyone who submitted, alphabetized by name. I’m in there too. It’s a huge amount to wade through, and even if you thought you heard everything in 2016, it should be more than enough to keep you busy for the next year.
One last note: I’m no statistician. Please allow for these numbers to change over the next couple days on some small level.
Top 20 of 2016 — Weighted Results
1. Wo Fat, Midnight Cometh (375 points)
2. Greenleaf, Rise Above the Meadow (368)
3. Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree (324)
4. Asteroid, III (302)
5. Brant Bjork, Tao of the Devil (295)
6. Gozu, Revival (274)
7. Neurosis, Fires Within Fires (253)
8. King Buffalo, Orion (244)
9. Mars Red Sky, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (238)
10. Conan, Revengeance (232)
11. Cough, Still They Pray (228)
12. Holy Grove, Holy Grove (218)
13. SubRosa, For this We Fought the Battle of Ages (213)
14. Truckfighters, V (206)
15. Blood Ceremony, Lord of Misrule (200)
16. Khemmis, Hunted (192)
16. Red Fang, Only Ghosts (192)
17. Inter Arma, Paradise Gallows (181)
18. Witchcraft, Nucleus (174)
19. Opeth, Sorceress (173)
20. Church of Misery, And then there Were None (159)
Honorable mention to:
Causa Sui, Return to Sky (157)
Goatess, II: Purgatory Under New Management (157)
Black Mountain, IV (148)
Mos Generator, Abyssinia (144)
Wretch, Wretch (140)
Look at those tallies for number one and two. That race was close all month. Wo Fat kept out front for the most part, but Greenleaf kept it interesting and Elephant Tree’s debut snuck in there at third, which I love to see, both because it’s their first album and because that record was indeed so great. King Buffalo, another debut, also made the top 10, underscoring those two as bands to watch, and though Brant Bjork, Conan, Asteroid, Neurosis, Gozu and Mars Red Sky might be more expected names, they still certainly delivered excellent records, so again, nothing to fight with here. Things flesh out a bit in the 10-20 range, but I don’t think there’s one album on this list you could call is “miss.”
Top 20 of 2016 — Raw Votes
1. Wo Fat, Midnight Cometh (109)
2. Greenleaf, Rise Above the Meadow (92)
3. Brant Bjork, Tao of the Devil (87)
4. Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree (82)
5. Asteroid, III (80)
6. Gozu, Revival (76)
7. Conan, Revengeance (73)
8. Cough, Still They Pray (70)
9. Mars Red Sky, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (68)
10. King Buffalo, Orion (67)
11. Truckfighters, V (62)
12. Red Fang, Only Ghosts (61)
13. Khemmis, Hunted (60)
14. Blood Ceremony, Lord of Misrule (59)
14. SubRosa, For this We Fought the Battle of Ages (59)
15. Holy Grove, Holy Grove (58)
16. Church of Misery, And then there Were None (53)
17. Inter Arma, Paradise Gallows (49)
17. Witchcraft, Nucleus (49)
18. Opeth, Sorceress (47)
19. Mos Generator, Abyssinia (45)
20. Black Mountain, IV (44)
20. Causa Sui, Return to Sky (44)
20. Wretch, Wretch (44)
Honorable mention to:
Goatess, II: Purgatory Under New Management (43)
Mondo Drag, The Occultation of Light (43)
Geezer, Geezer (41)
Crowbar, The Serpent Only Lies (41)
Gojira, Magma (37)
Slomatics, Future Echo Returns (36)
Graves at Sea, The Curse that Is… (35)
Black Rainbows, Stellar Prophecy (33)
Beastmaker, Lusus Naturae (32)
Vokonis, Olde One Ascending (31)
Left a few more honorable mentions in the raw-vote count, just for fun and so you could get more of a feel beyond the top 20 itself, which you’ll notice has a couple ties in it as the raw votes usually do and reorganizes a bit from the weighted results. One and two remain the same, however, and in the same order, and you’ll see Wo Fat was the only album that scored more than 100 votes on its own. As a whole, there were over 2,400 separate entries for albums this year, which is by far the most spread out that the voting has ever been. Frankly, with so many people involved and such a variety of stuff being voted on, I’m amazed anyone managed to agree on anything at all, but of course they did and once again a stellar list is the result.
Well, Happy New Year.
Before I go, thanks again to Slevin for the work put into running the back end of this site and this poll particularly. I show up with the finish lists, but it’s his code that makes it happen, and his efforts are appreciated more than I can say. Dude has never asked me for anything in the nearly eight years I’ve been a constant pain in his ass.
After the jump, you’ll find everybody’s list, alphabetized by name. Please enjoy browsing. I hope you find something awesome, because there’s certainly plenty in there that qualifies, and if you see something that looks like it appears often enough that it should be included in one or both of the counts above, let me know in the comments.
Posted in Reviews on December 27th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Feeling good going into day two of the Quarterly Review. The good news about how heavy music has become such a vast universe is that there’s always plenty to cover without having to really dig into stuff I don’t find interesting. Of course, the other side of that is feeling constantly behind the curve and overwhelmed by it all, but let’s not talk about that for the moment. Point is that as we make our way through this week and into the next — because, remember, it’s six days this time, not five — a big part of me still feels like I’m just scratching the surface of everything that’s out there. It still seems just to be a fraction of the whole story being told around the world in the riffiest of languages. We all do what we can, I guess. Let’s get started.
Quarterly Review #11-20:
Red Fang, Only Ghosts
Four albums into one of the decade’s most successful and influential heavy rock careers, doesn’t it seem like Portland, Oregon’s Red Fang are due for a truly great record? Their 2013 outing, Whales and Leeches (discussed here), was rushed by the band’s own admission – their focus, as ever, on touring – and Only Ghosts (on Relapse) unites them with producer Ross Robinson and mixer Joe Barresi, two considerable names to bring heft and presence to the 10-track/42-minute outing. And I’ve no doubt that “Shadows” and the bigger-grooving “The Smell of the Sound” and opener “Flies” kick ass when delivered from the stage, and it’s true they sound more considered with the ambience of “Flames” positioned early, but Only Ghosts still comes across like a collection of songs united mostly by the timeframe in which they were written. Doesn’t mean they don’t build on Whales and Leeches, but now five years on from 2011’s Murder the Mountains (review here), and with their dynamic, charged and momentum-driven sound firmly established, Red Fang still seem to be at the threshold of some crucial forward step rather than stomping all over it as one might hope.
After releasing a self-titled debut (review here) and the follow-up Andromeda (review here) in 2014, 2016’s Sea of Clouds (on Crispin Glover/Stickman) is the third proper studio full-length from Norway’s Black Moon Circle – though at that point, define “proper.” In 2015, the trio/four-piece – Trondheim-based guitarist Vemund Engan, bassist Øyvin Engan and drummer Per Andreas Gulbrandsen, plus Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective on synth – also released The Studio Jams Vol. I (discussed here) and in addition to the four tracks of Sea of Clouds, they’ve also had a Vol. II (review here) out this year. The definitions become fluid, is what I’m saying, and that couldn’t be more appropriate for the sound of “Lunar Rocket,” the outward-gazing space rock of “The Magnificent Dude,” “Moondog” and “Warp Speed,” which indeed offer enough kosmiche expanse to make one wonder where the song ends and the jam begins. Or, you know, reality. One has to wonder if Black Moon Circle might bridge the gap at some point between studio improv and more plotted songwriting, but as it stands, neither side of their dual personality fails to engage with its flow and drift.
A one-sided 12” EP issued by STB Records in late 2015 as the follow-up to Richmond dirge-fuzzer trio Druglord’s debut album, Enter Venus (review here), the three-track Deepest Regrets represents the band’s final studio material with bassist Greta Brinkman (ex-L7) in the lineup, who’s since been replaced by Julian Cook. That distinction matters in no small part because so much of Druglord’s purposes on Deepest Regrets’ three component songs – “Regret to Dismember,” “Speedballs to Hell” and “Heaven Tonight” – is about reveling in low end. Rawer than was the album preceding, they find guitarist/vocalist/organist Tommy Hamilton, Brinkman and drummer Bobby Hufnell emitting an oozing lurch, blasting out thickened motor-riffing, and fortifying a darkly psychedelic drear – in that order. True to EP form, each song gives a sampling of some of what Druglord has to offer coming off the album, and with a recording job by Garrett Morris, who also helmed the LP, it remains a fair look at where they might head next, despite the shift in lineup.
Melbourne’s Holy Serpent return with Temples (on RidingEasy), their second full-length after 2015’s self-titled debut (review here), and continue to offer an engaging blend of well-blazed psychedelia and heavier-rolling groove. Especially considering they’ve still only been a band for two years, the four-piece of guitarists Nick Donoughue and Scott Penberthy (the latter also vocals), bassist Dave Barlett and Lance Leembrugen remain striking in their cohesion of purpose, and Temples opener “Purification by Fire” and ensuing cuts like the fuzz-wall centerpiece “Toward the Sands” and echo-laden “The Black Stone” only continue to stretch their intentions toward ever more acid-ic flow. They called it “shroom doom” last time out, and seem to have moved away from that self-branding, but however one wants to label Temples, its five tracks/43 minutes push ahead from where Holy Serpent were just a year ago and, rounding out with the slower churn of “Sativan Harvest,” still reminds that mind expansion and deeply weighted tonecraft are by no means mutually exclusive.
Self-releasing Croatian instrumental trio Drone Hunter devise vigilantly straightforward riffing on their second album, Welcome to the Hole, finding room for some charm in titles like “Wine Dick,” “Crazy Ants with Shotguns” and the closing “A Burning Sensation,” the latter of which seems to draw particularly from the playbook of Karma to Burn. That comparison is almost inevitable for any riff-led/sans-vocal three-piece working in this form, but the crunch in “Fog Horn” and “Waltz of the Iron Countess” isn’t without its own personality either, and as with a host of acts from the Croatian underground, they seem to have a current of metal to their approach that, in the case of Welcome to the Hole, only makes the entire affair seem tighter and more precise while maintaining tonal presence. Fitz (guitar), Klen (bass) and Rus (drums) might not be much for words or last names, but their sophomore full-length comprises solid riffs and grooves and doesn’t seem to ask anything more than a nod from its audience. A price easily paid.
Lugweight is comprised solely of Brooklyn-via-Richmond-Virginia transplant Eric Benson, and the project makes its full-length debut with the evocatively-titled drone wash of Yesterday following one EP and preceding another. Fair to call it an experimental release, since that’s kind of the nature of the aesthetic, but Benson demonstrates a pretty clear notion of the sort of noise he’s interested in making, and there’s plenty of it on Yesterday in “Sleeping on Cocaine,” on which one can hear the undulating wavelengths emanating from speaker cones, or the penultimate “Love Song for the Insane,” which features chanting vocals in echoes cutting through a tonal morass but still somehow obscure. A 33-minute five-tracker, Yesterday doesn’t overstay its welcome, but alternates between sonic horrors and warmer immersion in the shorter centerpiece “Bleed My Sorrow” and closer “Show Me Where the Shovel Is,” coming dangerously close in the latter to doom riffing that one might almost dare to put drums to. Solo drone guitar, even when this thick, is never for everyone, but one doubts Benson was shooting for accessibility anyhow.
To hear Australia’s Megaritual tell it, the 25-minute single-song Eclipse EP was recorded on Mt. Jerusalem in New South Wales this past summer, the one-man outfit of vocalist/guitarist/sitarist/drummer Dale Paul Walker working with bassist/Monotronist Govinda Das to follow-up his prior two Mantra Music EPs, recently compiled onto an LP (review here) by White Dwarf Records. Whether or not that’s the case, “Eclipse” itself is suitably mountainous, building along a linear course from sea level to a grand peak with droning patience and gradual volume swells, lush and immersive psychedelia in slow-motion trails, a sparse verse, percussion, sitar, guitar, bass, and so on coming to a glorious vista around the 17:30 mark only to recede again circa six minutes later in a more precipitous dropoff. The digital edition (and that’s the only edition thus far) comes with a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” which makes good company for the hypnotic titular exploration and the quick progression it represents after the other two short releases.
Heavy psychedelic pastoralists Red Lama enter the conversation of 2016’s best debut albums with Dreams are Free, initially released on All Good Clean Records and subsequently picked up by Stickman. Leaning more toward the liquid end of psych-blues, the Danish seven-piece immediately transcend with opener “Inca” (video here) and quickly showcase a subtlety for build that only gets more potent as they move through “Sonic Revolution” and “The World is Yours,” unfolding due heft in the latter without losing the laid back sensibility that the vocals bring sweetly, melodically, to the material. The later “Mekong River” seems almost like it’s going to shoegaze itself into post-rock oblivion, but Red Lama hold their sound together even into the 10-minute closer “Dalai Delay” – aptly-titled twice over – and deliver with striking patience a languid flow with hints of underlying prog experimentation. How that will come to fruition will have to remain to be seen/heard, but Dreams are Free also dips into funkier groove on “Dar Enteha,” so while they probably could be if they were feeling lazy, Red Lama don’t at all seem to be finished growing. All the better.
Lacy is an experimental solo-project from former Lord guitarist Stephen Sullivan, based in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and part of a deep sludge underground that goes back well over a decade. Andromeda is his third album with the outfit and the second to be released in 2016, though unlike the preceding Volume 2. Blue, its 12 tracks were recorded in a matter of months, not years. All instruments, arrangements, vocals and the raw recording were handled by Sullivan himself (he also took the photo on the cover) but cuts like “Gyre Hell” and the acoustic “Push Me Away” veer around self-indulgence or hyper-navelgazing – I’d call “Offal and the Goat Brains” experimental, but not narcissistic – and he seems more interested in writing songs than making a show of being outside this or that imaginary box. Still, Andromeda offers diversity of instrumentation and arrangement, unplugging once more for “Healer” before closer “Always” finishes the album as a rumbling and grunge-laden love song.
After catching on late to German metallers Valborg’s 2015 fifth album, Romantik, I told myself I wasn’t going to miss whatever they did next. The single Werwolf (on Temple of Torturous and Zeitgeister) might be a quick check-in of just two songs – “Ich Bin Total” and “Werwolf” itself – but the classic European-style death-doom chug of the latter and the vicious crash of the former I still consider a reward for keeping an eye out. “Ich Bin Total” is less than three and a half minutes long, and “Werwolf” just over five, but both feature choice chug riffing, darkened atmospherics and art-metal growls that only add to the clenched-teeth intensity of the instruments surrounding. They spare neither impact nor ambience nor lives as Werwolf plays out, the title cut riding its massive progression forward to a sensory-overload of nod before finally offering some release to the tension in a second-half guitar lead, only to revive the brutality once more, repetitions of “werwolf” chanted in growls over it. Awesome.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 21st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Well, I mean, yeah. Clearly. Labelmates, both from Richmond, both with three records out, sharing a bassist, etc. — it seems only reasonable that if either Windhand or Cough were going to undertake the rather significant voyage from the US East Coast to tour Australia and New Zealand that the other would go along as well. Though they’re certainly distinguishable in sound, they could hardly have more circumstantially in common if they were the same band. Logic wins the day. Spock would be pleased.
Windhand go supporting 2015’s Grief’s Infernal Flower (review here), while Cough head abroad to herald 2016’s Still They Pray (review here). It’s hardly the first international trip for either band — both of whom were also recently confirmed to play Psycho Las Vegas 2017 — but should be a good time nonetheless. Who doesn’t like to travel with friends?
Shows are presented by Life is Noise, who sent the following down the PR wire:
LIFE IS NOISE PRESENTS: WINDHAND (USA) & COUGH (USA) AUSTRALIAN / NEW ZEALAND TOUR MARCH/APRIL 2017
LIFE IS NOISE is excited to announce that two powerhouses of American doom metal—Windhand and their spiritual kin Cough—will be heading to our shores in 2017.
These label-mates from Virginia will be melting minds at select venues throughout Australia and New Zealand as part of a massive doom double-header in March and April next year.
The rise of Windhand has been meteoric. Since first surfacing in 2009, this Virginia five-piece quickly outgrew their local underground ties to tour the globe with acts like Sleep, High On Fire, Dead Meadow and Kvelertak. And their third full length, Grief’s Infernal Flower, cemented the band as one of the doom masters of our time.
Grief’s Infernal Flower is the epitome of fuzzed-out bliss. Simultaneously massive, heavy and deeply personal, the haunting and hypnotic vocals of Dorthia Cottrell serve to guide the listener through the dual riff attack of guitarists Garrett Morris and Asechiah Bogdan.
Windhand live are a lesson in rhythmic mastery. Propelling through the slowest of songs, with the subtle expertise of bassist Parker Chandler and drummer Ryan Wolfe as their backbone, no one will be able to defy the pure need to headbang in their presence.
Cough rose from the fertile metal swamps of Richmond, Virginia to produce some of the most intense, tortured and misanthropic doom out. Drawing from savage elements of extreme music, the past decade has seen the band inspired by everything from early black metal and sludge tones to psychedelia, doom’s early genre forefathers, blues and more—all in their search for beauty in the darkest of places.
Now they have returned after a five-year hiatus with the monolithic beast that is Still They Pray.
Produced by Electric Wizard’s Jus Oborn, Still They Pray is a recording that takes the listener to the depths of despair and longing. With comparisons to seminal acts like Candlemass, Cathedral, Sleep and Saint Vitus, their third full length is 70-minutes of crushing defeat and euphoric redemption.
Catch Windhand and Cough at any of the following dates:
Wellington – San Fran – March 31 Auckland – Kings Arms – April 1 Brisbane – Crowbar – April 2 Sydney – Newtown – April 5 Adelaide – Fowlers Live – April 6 Melbourne – Corner Hotel – April 7 Perth – Badlands – April 8
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 16th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Jeez, Unearthly Trance. Save some crushing misanthropy for the rest of the class, would you? Or, you know, don’t. It would seem the intervening six-plus years have done little to dull the multifaceted intensity of the Brooklyn extreme sludge outfit, though that genre descriptor does little to capture their actual stylistic swath, which is just as likely to pull from death or black metal as from a meaty stoner riff.
Their last album, V (review here), came out in 2010, and in addition to essentially having picked up where they left off in terms of releasing through Relapse Records — that should say something in itself about the persistent appeal of the band; “Oh hey it’s been more than half a decade mind putting this out alright cool” — and having been recently confirmed to take part in Roadburn 2017 with more fest announcements to come, the trio have set a Feb. 24 release for Stalking the Ghost, their sixth full-length, and unveiled the track “Dream State Arsenal,” which if you’re feeling daring you can hear below.
Cover art is by Orion Landau, and not that you need me to tell you, but it’s pretty awesome.
From the PR wire:
UNEARTHLY TRANCE Announces New Album Stalking The Ghost; Premieres First Single
New York City sludge/doom/drone trio UNEARTHLY TRANCE reemerges from the shadows with Stalking The Ghost, their sixth full-length recording and first album in over seven years.
February 24th, 2017 will see the worldwide release of Stalking The Ghost via Relapse Records on CD, LP, and digital formats. Physical preorders and bundles are available via Relapse.com HERE and digital downloads can be preordered via Bandcamp at THIS LOCATION.
An esoteric ritual of seismic doom, Stalking The Ghost taps into the darkest realms of the occult over the course of seven tracks that reek of utter despair. Forming a balance between slow-churning maelstrom and spine-chilling harmony, wrapped beneath a blackened cloud of rumbling feedback, UNEARTHLY TRANCE sounds more powerful and exploratory than ever before. Recorded at Menegroth/The Thousand Caves Studios by Colin Marston (Krallice, Gorguts, Panopticon) and featuring cover art by Orion Landau (Yob, Red Fang, Graves At Sea), Stalking The Ghost restores misery to a gentrifying city. Stalking The Ghost Track Listing: 1. Into The Spiral 2. Dream State Arsenal 3. Sycthe 4. Famine 5. Lion Strength 6. Invisible Butchery 7. The Great Cauldron 8. In The Forests Keep In related news, UNEARTHLY TRANCE has been confirmed for next year’s prestigious Roadburn Festival with additional live dates to be announced soon.
Hailing from Long Island/Brooklyn, New York, UNEARTHLY TRANCE was forged in 2000 by Ryan Lipynsky (guitar, vocals) and Jay Newman (bass), with Darren Verni (drums) joining the following year. Over the past fifteen-plus years, the trio has been creating the loudest, most harrowing blackened doom/sludge in the region. UNEARTHLY TRANCE established their early defining sound with the release of their first two full-lengths (2003’s Season Of Séance, Science Of Silence and 2004’s In The Red) released on Lee Dorrian’s Rise Above Records.
In 2006, UNEARTHLY TRANCE signed with Relapse Records and released three more critically acclaimed full-lengths (2006’s The Trident, 2008’s Electrocution, and 2010’s V) exposing the world to a palpable growth in their doom/sludge foundation and well-crafted songwriting. Over the years, the band has brought their crushing live show across North America, the UK, and Europe with legendary and acclaimed acts such as Electric Wizard, The Melvins, High On Fire, Grief, Sunn O))), Pelican, Sleep, Morbid Angel, Floor, Autopsy, Crowbar, and more.
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 16th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Indiana heavy post-rock trio Cloakroom recently signed to Relapse Records ahead of what will be their second full-length. They’ve given a preview of the impending album with the track “Big World,” which seems to owe as much sonically to The Cure as to Russian Circles — actually there are moments early on that remind me of a less poppy take on Peder Bergstrand‘s work in Iaredroid, but that seems more likely to be happenstance than influence — and have announced tour dates for January that will presumably be their way of shaking off both the holidays and the post-studio rust of having not gotten out for a while. Recording is set to begin in the “coming weeks” according to the PR wire.
As you can see for yourself in the info below:
CLOAKROOM: Announce January Tour Dates; Set To Enter Studio
Newly signed Relapse artists CLOAKROOM has just confirmed a short headlining tour for January 2017. Support will be provided by Jaye Jayle with Pinkwash on select dates. A full list of dates is included below.
CLOAKROOM’s new digital single “Big World” can be streamed and downloaded via Bandcamp HERE. The single is an alternate version of a track that will appear on their forthcoming Relapse debut, which they plan to record at their own recording studio in the coming weeks. The album will be due out in mid-2017.
CLOAKROOM Tour Dates: *All dates with Jaye Jayle* Jan 18 Cleveland, OH Now That’s Class Jan 19 Washington, DC DC9 * Jan 20 Brooklyn, NY Saint Vitus * Jan 21 Philadelphia, PA Boot & Saddle * Jan 22 Columbus, OH Double Happiness *w/ Pinkwash
Hailing from the harsh rurals of Northwest Indiana, CLOAKROOM consist of three initiates writing music that blurs the contemporary and resuscitates the meaning of being a “rock band” in these seemingly stagnant times. Four years and counting, the band has spun their introverted web of genre and boundary dissolving rock n’ roll. Where one may hear the high, lonesome pangs of long lost country, another may note the hallucinogen-roused layers of psychedelic-rock. Being given such apocryphal descriptors such as “shroomgaze” only seems to further estrange CLOAKROOM‘s sound and public presence from all tangibility. The band is a pensive chimera of equal parts; overdriven moody sonic-abrasion, an adherence to the pop music formula, and the quiet moments of a ghost contemplating its ethereal form. CLOAKROOM aren’t reinventing the wheel, they’re building an interstellar vessel.
CLOAKROOM is: Brian Busch Robert Markos Doyle Martin
Look, some shit just works. This track taken from their upcoming LP, Only Ghosts (out Oct. 10 on Relapse), marks the sixth time that Portland, Oregon’s Red Fang have collaborated with video director Whitey McConnaughy, and clearly it’s a system that isn’t broken. Hell, I think you could very easily make the argument that it was the viral takeoff from “Prehistoric Dog” from their 2009 self-titled debut that had a major part in Relapse picking them up for 2011’s Murder the Mountains (review here). And each subsequent clip the four-piece and McConnaughy have made together has been likewise entertaining and likewise successful. Remember “Wires” (posted here)? That was awesome.
You’ve probably seen this already — because the internet — but I wanted to get “Shadows” posted anyway, particularly as it comes coupled with a mighty package of tour dates that only further emphasize the fact that in addition to handing heavy rock and roll its ass with songwriting and their sense of humor, Red Fang also outwork just about everybody on the road. One doubts they’re sleeping on floors at this point, or at least not every night, but even as they moved through 2013’s Whales and Leeches (discussed here), they have kept that ethic going and as a result have become a powerhouse live act worthy of stepping into the headliner role they’ve taken on over the last several years. Dudes kill it. On just about every level.
Interested to dig into the Ross Robinson-produced Only Ghosts, and “Shadows” provides even more intrigue.
Red Fang, “Shadows” official video
Red Fang mess with the wrong comic book collectors in the band’s new video for “Shadows.”
“We had the pleasure of working with Whitey (McConnaughy) again on another music video,” Red Fang singer/guitar player Bryan Giles explains of the Predator like clip. “It was a crazy adventure through the woods in rural Oregon. It has stunt men, real firepower and some great explosions! We had a blast on this one.”
The video is the sixth video to pair Red Fang and director McConnaughy with the first clip from the partnership being 2010’s “Prehistoric Dog,” which saw the Portland-based band challenge a local role playing troupe only to suffer the consequences. The most recent video from the band is the 2013 clip featuring Fred Armisen and a horde of beer thirsty zombies in “Blood Like Cream.”
“Shadows” is the second new song to preview music from the band’s Ross Robinson produced album, Only Ghosts (Oct. 14, Relapse Records).
The band kick off an extensive fall tour on Sept. 26 with the first leg being a month of European tour dates followed by a month of U.S. dates. Label mates Torche will open on both runs with Whores joining the U.S. dates.
Red Fang tour dates: September 22 Portland, OR Northwest Hesh Fest September 26 Brighton, UK Concorde 2 September 27 London, UK Koko September 28 Bristol, UK Bierkeller September 29 Leeds, UK Leeds Stylus September 30 Manchester, UK Manchester Academy 2 October 2 Birmingham, UK Institute2 October 3 Glasgow, UK Garage October 4 Newcastle, UK Riverside October 5 Southampton, UK Engine Rooms October 7 Athens, Greece Desert Fest October 9 Paris, France Trabendo October 10 Munich, Germany Strom October 11 Vienna, Austria Szene Wien October 12 Berlin, Germany Huxleys October 13 Cologne, Germany Essigfabrik October 14 Antwerp, Belgium Desert Fest October 15 Leipzig, Germany Conne Island October 16 Hamburg, Germany Markethalle October 18 Odense, Denmark Posten October 19 Oslo, Norway John Dee October 20 Stockholm, Sweden Debaser Medis October 21 Malmo, Sweden KB October 22 Munster, Germany Skater’s Place October 23 Karlsruhe, Germany Substage October 24 Amsterdam, Netherlands Melkweg (OZ)
November 18 San Francisco, CA Slim’s November 19 Pomona, CA Glasshouse November 20 Los Angeles, CA Teragram Ballroom November 22 San Diego, CA Casbah November 23 Phoenix, AZ Rebel Lounge November 25 Austin, TX Mohawk November 26 Dallas, TX Three Links November 27 Houston, TX Warehouse Studio November 29 Atlanta, GA Masquerade (Hell) November 30 Durham, NC Motorco December 1 Washington, DC Rock and Roll Hotel December 2 Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts December 3 Brooklyn, NY Music Hall of Williamsburg December 4 Boston, MA The Sinclair December 5 New York, NY Mercury Lounge December 7 Pittsburgh, PA Spirit Lounge December 8 Cleveland, OH Beachland Ballroom December 9 Detroit, MI El Club December 10 Chicago, IL Metro December 11 Bloomington, IL Castle Theater December 13 Denver, CO Bluebird Theater December 14 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge December 15 Boise, ID Neurolux December 16 Seattle, WA Showbox
Torche appears on all European and U.S. dates except Heshfest Whores appear on all U.S. dates except Heshfest
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
At this point, one almost receives an email with a subject announcing a Windhand tour and expects it to list a month-plus of dates. That’s kind of just how the Virginian outfit have operated for the last couple years — already they’ve put in considerable time supporting last fall’s Jack Endino-produced Grief’s Infernal Flower (review here) — but this time around it’s just a handful of gigs for December alongside Relapse Records labelmate extremists Ilsa that will take them as far north from Richmond as the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn before they head back, a quick run of pre-holiday dates.
Maybe they’re testing out new material ahead of 2017? Maybe they’re taking a victory lap for Grief’s Infernal Flower? Or maybe they just feel like getting out and doing a couple nights to wrap the year. Can hardly hold it against them either way.
The PR wire has details and a couple September shows as well:
WINDHAND Announce US Tour Dates With ILSA
Stoner/doom heavyweights WINDHAND have announced a new run of US tour dates this coming December along with labelmates and recent Relapse signees ILSA. The bands will be leveling Washington D.C., Boston, and New York beginning December 1; WINDHAND will also be playing select US dates in September. Check out a full itinerary below.
WINDHAND Live: Sep 06 Atlanta GA The Earl Sep 07 Nashville TN Exit/In Sep 15 Durham NC Motorco Music Hall
***All Dates With Ilsa*** Dec 01 Washington DC Black Cat Mainstage Dec 02 Boston MA Brighton Music Hall Dec 03 New York NY Mercury Lounge Dec 04 Brooklyn NY St Vitus
WINDHAND are still touring in support of their critically-acclaimed 2015 full-length Grief’s Infernal Flower, which can be streamed and purchased at the band’s Bandcamp page here.
D.C. death metal crew ILSA signed to Relapse last year and released a two-song split with labelmates COFFINS this past February. The split is available for streaming and purchase at this location.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 9th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
I like a tour with an element of contrast, and to pair Virginia’s Cough with Massachusetts trio Elder strikes me as particularly brilliant. It’s a classic light and dark. Cough head overseas behind their new album, Still They Pray (review here), a massive slab of full-on bum-you-the-fuck-out doom that rolls its grooves like boulders. Elder? Still supporting 2015’s album of the year Lore (review here), they lead the charge with fleet-footed progressive heavy rock that even as it maintains its tonal crunch only seems to be becoming brighter in its tone.
So yeah, like I say: Some contrast. Awesome.
From the PR wire:
COUGH Announce EU Tour Dates With Elder
Fresh off the release of their highly-acclaimed new record Still They Pray, Richmond stoner/doom veterans COUGH have announced a European tour with contemporaries Elder set to begin this coming October. The band will be performing throughout Western Europe and the UK, including appearances at Up In Smoke Festival in Switzerland and Desertfest in Belgium. The band will also be performing select US dates before their departure – see a full list of dates below.
COUGH Live: Aug 12 Philadelphia, PA Kung Fu Necktie Aug 13 Brooklyn, NY Union Pool
***European Tour*** Oct 01 Pratteln, CH Up In Smoke Festival @ Z7 Oct 02 Nürnberg, DE Kunstverein / Z – Bau Oct 03 Budapest, HU Dürer Kert Oct 04 Berlin, DE SO 36 Oct 06 Nantes, FR TBD Oct 07 Lyon, FR TBD Oct 10 London, UK Underworld Oct 11 Edinburgh, UK Bannermans Oct 12 Manchester, UK Rebellion Oct 13 Coventry, UK The Phönix Oct 14 Bristol, UK Exchange Oct 15 Antwerp, BE Desertfest Belgium @ Trix
Nov 12 Long Beach, CA Di Piazza’s – Midnite Communion Festival Nov 18 Indianapolis, IN 5th Quarter – Doomed and Stoned Festival
COUGH’s new album Still They Pray is out now via Relapse Records on CD/2xLP/Digital. Physical orders and bundle deals are available via Relapse.com here, and digital copies can be ordered through COUGH’s Bandcamp page at this location.