Craneium Sign to Ripple Music; Explore the Void Due this Winter

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

craneium

From the Finnish heavy hotbed of Turku, four-piece rockers Craneium issued their debut full-length, Explore the Void, last fall. The band has been picked up to do a pressing of the album via Ripple Music, and it’s received a “winter” release date, no doubt because the label’s schedule is so packed. Fair enough. It may be 2017 before the CD and/or LP shows up, but Explore the Void can be streamed in full now from Craneium‘s Bandcamp (also below), and boasts a fuzzy sound as true to its intent as it is the fiery skies in Alexander von Wieding‘s cover art.

You’ll find that below, followed by the release announcement from the PR wire.

Goes like this:

craneium explore the void-700

Ripple Music Signs Finnish Psych Rockers Craneium to World-wide Deal and New Album

Prepare for a huge slab of protometal leads, psychedelic riffs, rolling bass lines, with killer melodies and grooves, as Ripple Music unleashes the debut album from Finnish rockers Craneium “Explore the Void”.

Craneium was formed 2011 in Turku, Finland, but the roots of the members grow deep in rural Ostrobothnia, the bible-belt of Finland, further north where the are more Holy Books than Sabbath records on the shelves. Craneium formed around one goal – to write some seriously intense and fuzzy riff rock. Eager to play they immediately headed out for live shows as soon as they had penned together some tunes. Live the energetic nature of the band really comes alive and shines. When they perform they are one force with the music, which they projectile right into to the crowd at full volume. Needless to say, they always end a concert dripping in sweat with the audience mangled against a wall of fuzz.

The band released The Slowerdrive Tapes on cassette in 2013 and a 12″ split in 2014 with fellow ‘nauts 3rd Trip. 2014-15 they spent long hours recording the essence of these four years: “Explore The Void”, a 50 minute journey through fuzz rock mayhem. The bands sound is a constant ebb and flow of different influences. They go from atmospheric clean vibes that build up and build up, only to clash into fuzzy grooves. While they’re not trying to reinvent the wheel they’re giving it a hard spin with their own brand of fuzz rock!

Wrapped up in some stunning, artwork, this album creates a total sonic experience; the sort of thing that you can get utterly and beautifully lost in, as you travel beyond the valley and into the void.

Look for Craneium’s Ripple Music debut “Explore the Void” this winter on limited edition vinyl, world-wide vinyl, CD and digital.

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Craneium, Explore the Void (2015)

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Gozu, Revival: Acts of Vitality

Posted in Reviews on May 19th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

gozu revival

In some ways, Gozu‘s Revival is defined by its barnburners. There are a few of them, and the impression they create across the Boston four-piece’s third album — first for Ripple Music — is one of a more intense approach overall than was showed either on 2013’s The Fury of a Patient Man (review here) or 2010’s Locust Season (review here). Those records, both released by Small Stone, had their driving moments, but to listen to “Nature Boy,” “Oldie” or the penultimate “DD McCall” from Revival is to realize how much harder Gozu are pushing themselves across the album as a whole.

The production of Dean Baltulonis at The Wild Arctic and Benny Grotto at Mad Oak brings that out even in a swinging track like “Big Casino” or the soul-fueled “By Mennen.” It’s not necessarily about tonal thickness — that’s not what they’re going for — so much as what kind of impact each instrument can have. Add to this the fact that for the first time on record, Gozu have a cohesive lineup in guitarist/vocalist Marc Gaffney, guitarist Doug Sherman, bassist Joe Grotto (brother to the aforementioned Benny) and drummer Mike Hubbard, and it becomes less of a wonder that these eight songs/41 minutes are the strongest the band has yet presented in their tenure. As Gozu enter relative maturity as a group — three LPs deep — they show clear growth in performance, craft and chemistry, while keeping many of elements of the prior work intact that helped push them to the fore of their home region’s crowded heavy rock sphere. To rephrase: They kick ass early and often.

I’ll note at this point that I’m hardly an impartial observer, having been a fan since Locust Season and grown to think of them as friends, but feel no compunction in offering critique, whether it’s of Gaffney‘s vocals dominating the mix in the crashing apex of “By Mennen” (as opposed to the end of it, where the vocals stand alone and would inherently dominate the mix, being the only thing in it), or of the continued use of gag/reference song titles. “Lorenzo Llamas” is clever, but hardly does justice to the spaciousness of the side A closer itself or the manner in which it complements and sets up “Tin Chicken” as the album’s finale. In any case, if you want to take my continued respect for Gozu‘s work with a grain of salt, feel free, but Revival also stands legitimately on its own as their finest hour to date. Whether it’s the blistering, immediate zero-to-100 that “Nature Boy” brings to lead off or the sleeker groove of “Bubble Time” that follows, there isn’t a level on which Gozu aren’t moving beyond what they’ve done before.

CAMBRIDGE, MA - Photo shoot with Gozu, at The Sinclair. Sunday, January 12, 2014.

Grotto, who played on part of The Fury of a Patient Man, and Hubbard, formerly of Warhorse, make for a rhythm section formidable enough to stand up to the melodies and layering in Gaffney‘s vocals and the crunch in his and Sherman‘s guitars alike, and though the attack here is more pointed than it has been in the past, that suits Gozu remarkably well as they lend each song a personality of its own while uniting the work as a whole through hooks, harmonies and a sense of abandon like that shown in the layered soloing that pushes “Bubble Time” over the top at the end. That song and “Nature Boy” before it build momentum into the more shuffling “Big Casino,” which rides a hypnotic chugging riff — something of a miniaturization of “The Ceaseless Thunder of Surf” from the last outing — in its middle and after one more chorus trips out a bit with far-back falsetto from Gaffney and consistent punctuation from Hubbard as it fades into the crashes that begin “Lorenzo Llamas,” which builds across its seven-minute span with semi-psychedelic patience as a vocal highlight, subtly insistent riff and fluid groove add to the otherworldly feel the ending of “Big Casino” put forth. Through soloing from Sherman, interplay of the two guitars, and more forceful delivery from Gaffney, “Lorenzo Llamas” gives a fitting cap to Revival‘s first half and sets up the continued expansion of reach that follows in the second.

That expansion comes in hand with a feeling that each of side B’s tracks is in conversation with a counterpart on side A, reversing the first three songs and aligning for the longer fourth so that “Oldie” opens with a chug and hook that could be playing off the sway of “Big Casino,” “By Mennen” answers the soul of “Bubble Time” with swaggering, heavy funk — the early bassline is a highlight — and “DD McCall” follows up on the all-out thrash style with which “Nature Boy” lead off, leaving “Tin Chicken” to build on what “Lorenzo Llamas” accomplished. One doubts that kind of symmetry was something that came to mind for Gozu as they were writing — it’s not like they’re making a concept record — but it does give Revival‘s presentation another level of cohesiveness, and whether it’s the fading-out guitar harmonies of “Oldie” or Gaffney pushing his voice to its limits in that standalone part at the end of “By Mennen,” Gozu manage to add to what they did earlier without sonic redundancy.

This is true in the heads-down thrust of “DD McCall” as well as the immediate contrast that “Tin Chicken” brings with its quiet, fluid guitars, subdued drums and soft vocals. The closer pushes through a louder part and quiets again momentarily before launching into the atmospheric payoff that “Lorenzo Llamas” teased, still heavy but swirling as well before cutting back to fade out after a few quiet lines bringing it back to the intro; the song seems to kind of wander off, but it works with the trance-inducing effects display preceding. And as it goes back to its start in a different way, “Tin Chicken” also summarizes some of what works best about Revival, which is the sense of how purposefully built the album is. While the performances are crisp, the natural chemistry Gozu have harnessed onstage remains intact, and the intensity with which they bring it to bear feels like something the band has been waiting for the opportunity to do. They make the most of that opportunity, and what results is some of the best American heavy rock you’re likely to hear in 2016 in composition and execution.

Gozu, “Nature Boy” official video

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Gozu on Bandcamp

Ripple Music

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The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Three out June 24

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 16th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Ripple Music is keeping pace with its split series The Second Coming of Heavy. The second installment — or chapter, as it were — included cuts from Supervoid and Red Desert (review here), while the first paired Geezer and Borracho (review here). For the third, it’s Sweden’s Kingnomad and Michigan good-timers BoneHawk doing the honors, and the limited-run LP (300 copies) will be released June 24. I don’t know if Ripple‘s plan is one per year, two per year or “as often as we feel like,” but they’re working at a good clip to get through the series, which last I heard was going to have 10 installments, all of them already booked.

Info from the PR wire on The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Three follows, as well as tracks from Kingnomad (who I hadn’t heard before but sound awesome) and BoneHawk (less of a surprise, but still cool), which you can stream:

the second coming of heavy chapter iii kingnomad bonehawk

The return of Ripple Music’s The Second Coming Of Heavy; Chapter III | New split album from BoneHawk and Kingnomad

The Second Coming Of Heavy; Chapter III is released on vinyl on 24 June 2016

Already recognised as one of the world’s leading purveyors of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Stoner, Doom and Heavy Psych, Ripple Music upped the ante in 2015 with the arrival of one of the year’s most ambitious projects, The Second Coming Of Heavy.

Serving as an ongoing showcase for some of the best and heaviest bands emerging from the underground, each instalment shines a light on those worthy of your attention. Consisting of one, 12” slab of multicoloured vinyl with full colour sleeves and inserts, the series is designed to be saved and treasured, like a fine anthology of books. So much so, when the albums are filed next to each other, the complete collection of aligned spines forms a mind-blowing image direct from the underground.

Following on from the series’ first instalment released last summer featuring Geezer and Borracho, and February’s Chapter II’s split between Supervoid and Red Desert, the latest chapter, released this June offers up new music from hard hitting Michigan quartet BoneHawk and Sweden’s Kingnomad.

The Second Coming Of Heavy; Chapter III will get an official vinyl release on 24th June 2016 and is limited to 300 copies in three alternative versions (100 of each) – The Resurrection Edition, The Risen OBI and The Ascension Edition.

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BoneHawk, “The Scout”

Kingnomad, “Lucifer is Dead”

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Supervoid & Red Desert, The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Two: Wayfarers and Revolvers

Posted in Reviews on May 9th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the-second-coming-of-heavy-chapter-2-supervoid-red-desert

Ripple Music believes we are in the midst of a heavy rock renaissance. We may well be. The West Coast imprint has both made its argument and fostered the movement over the last several years through a slew of signings of bands from around the US and beyond its borders, and they now stand among the genre’s most fortified purveyors, with a reach that finds them partnering with STB Records on vinyl/CD pressings and picking up Small Stone veteran acts like Gozu and Wo Fat, truly moving into a leadership position in their community, scene, whatever you want to call it. Their aesthetic, to-date, is light on frills and big on riffs, and like any impressive beginning (and I use the term loosely, Ripple have been at it for over five years now) of a creative motion, one expects it will only continue to grow outward for as long as it does.

A special project the label began in 2015 is a series of splits: The Second Coming of Heavy. I already quibbled with the numbering of the title, whether or not this is the second generation playing heavy rock (it’s at least the third), in my review of The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter One (review here), which featured off-album tracks from Geezer and Borracho, and it remains beside the point of the work Ripple is doing to promote the growth of the current, largely undeniable, boom of heavy rock. The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Two boasts new songs from Pittsburgh’s Supervoid and Minneapolis’ Red Desert, continuing thematic artwork from Joseph Rudell and Carrie Olaje, and vinyl pressings limited in number and distinguished in color, as the times would demand.

Like its predecessor, the prevailing vibe throughout The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Two fits neatly onto two 12″ vinyl sides, one per band, with each act offering basically a short EP’s sampling of their stylistic wares and what they bring to the underlying core in the title — the ‘Heavy’ part of the title, that is — that distinguishes them from their peers. In the case of Supervoid — who make their debut as a four-piece here having previously recorded with five members for their 2013 first LP, Filaments (review here), and the subsequent 2014 digital single “Against Sunrise” (posted here) — they present the songs “Olympus,” “Wayfarer” and “The Gallows,” which continue their ahead-thrust blend of modern metal and heavy rock and roll, vocalist Brian creatively arranging an assortment of layered growls and screams behind his belted-out cleaner vocals, which seem to steer the riffs behind from guitarist Joe as much as they’re pushed forward by them.

With John on bass and Greg on drums, their material is consistent but progressed from where they were on their debut (due for a follow-up it may or may not get; more on that in a bit) and the momentum they build in “Olympus” feeds smoothly into the more extended “Wayfarer,” the minor-key Eastern-flair guitar line making it all the more a centerpiece before the crunchier “The Gallows” picks up with open verses, a semi-spaced weaving of guitar effects, and the inescapable drive that has become Supervoid‘s hallmark. Reportedly, since the release of The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter TwoSupervoid have taken “a break,” and how permanent that may or may not be remains to be seen. Either way, the manner in which they bring together metal and heavy rock remains brazen in its show of influence and ground that few acts are so bold as to tread, which is admirable even before one gets to considering their songwriting or performances, likewise worthy of respect.

Supervoid‘s side B companions, Red Desert, offer post-Sleep/The Sword heavy rock chug on “Frost Giant,” the first of their four inclusions, calling out the title character and Valhalla in a resonant hook. Hitting their marks. Their material stands out particularly next to Supervoid for the laid back sensibility in its roll and in the vocals of guitarist Shawn Stende, joined by lead guitarist Jeff Kluegel, bassist Paul Teeter and drummer Dave Dancho, and though “Hypnotized” is faster, it maintains the swing of their opener, as do “Revolver” and “Nightstalker” (presumably not named after the Greek band, but one never knows), while also offering subtle, effective shifts in mood and shifts in approach that speak to the experience gained from their 2012 debut album, Damned by Fate, and call to mind what Lords of the North were once able to bring to stoner riffing in personality and thickness of groove. The harmonies in the chorus of “Nightstalker” and touches of C.O.C. gallop there expand the palette further but ultimately keep consistent with what’s come before, rounding out a fluid B-side with a late surge of energy that suits Red Desert well.

They’re four years out from their first album, and while they’ve threatened a vinyl release thereof, I’ve yet to see word of a follow-up. Doesn’t mean one’s in the works, doesn’t mean one’s not, but in true EP fashion, they give a broad slice of their sound for those who maybe haven’t encountered them before to dig into, which of course speaks to the mission of The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Two overall. My understanding is that all 10 installments of the series are booked and there’s another series in the works for after, so it seems fair to expect over the next several years that these LPs will continue to be a major part of Ripple‘s contribution to heavy rock. Fair enough. Two editions deep, they’ve already highlighted a range of styles and a swath of acts from around different regions of the US brought together by their varied takes on what it means to be heavy. There’s a lot of ground to cover, and the project remains ambitious, but taking it one LP at a time, there seems to be nothing keeping the label from continuing this exploration and enlightening listeners as they go. Looking forward to the next one.

Supervoid & Red Desert, The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Two (2016)

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Red Desert on Thee Facebooks

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Wo Fat Premiere “Nightcomer” from Midnight Cometh

Posted in audiObelisk on May 4th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

wo fat

Texas fuzz forerunners Wo Fat are inching closer to the May 20 release date of their sixth album, Midnight Cometh (review here), on Ripple Music. The Dallas trio are newly returned from a second round through Europe alongside heavy rock chaosbringers Mothership that included stops at Desertfest in Berlin and London, as well as a host of packed-out club shows that only seemed to put an exclamation point on how much Wo Fat have grown over the last several years, in prestige as much as sound. They find themselves now among the foremost in the American heavy underground, legitimate ambassadors of US heavy with a sound of their own they’ve meticulously developed over the course of records like 2014’s The Conjuring (review here), 2012’s The Black Code (reviews here and here) — the two comprising an inescapable duo of LPs issued through Small Stone — and so on back through their catalog, each grown out of the accomplishments of the album before it. Crucially, while dealing familiar elements to their audience — heavy riffs, sprawling jams, bluesy vibes, an undercurrent of Southern grit and what guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump once referred to as “bayou juju” — they’ve never failed to move forward with each new release.

Midnight Cometh is no exception to that. I’ve already reviewed it — hence the link in the first sentence above — so I won’t dive too deep here, but the progression that Wo Fat have undertaken Wo-Fat-Midnight-Comethover their records, from one to the next, is as evident in the listening experience as it is clear in its intent. With an increased drive toward improvisation matched with a penchant for straightforward, landmark hooks like those in “Of Smoke and Fog” and “There’s Something Sinister in the Wind” and “Nightcomer” on the new album, Stump and drummer/vocalist Michael Walter (who played with bassist Ryan Lee of Crypt Trip on the Euro tour) still sound most of all like themselves, but increase their grasp on their aesthetic in a way that speaks not only to pushing themselves in their writing process, but to the chemistry they’ve developed on stage. They stand at the top of a crowded Dallas scene and have rightly garnered an international reputation for quality output, and as they ease into a more statesman-style role, their refusal to rest on past laurels becomes even more admirable. They are, to be blunt, the very best kind of heavy rock band.

With the record release looming like a devil at the crossroads of blues and fuzz, I’m thrilled to be able to premiere “Nightcomer,” the 10-minute closing track from Midnight Cometh. Don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t say much about it other than it sums up a lot of what’s working best throughout the album preceding, and that if you know Wo Fat — and by now, you probably should — you’re going to be glad you took the time to dig in.

Please find the track on the player below, followed by some comment from Stump, and enjoy:

Kent Stump on “Nightcomer”

“’Nightcomer’ is a heavy voodoo blues doom jam. The name is a reference to the midnight rider at the crossroads of blues lore and it’s essentially about corporate greed, dealings with the devil and consequences.”

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CD Preorder at Ripple Music

LP Preorder at Ripple Music

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BoneHawk Release Albino Rhino on Ripple Music

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 26th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

bonehawk

Michigan heavy rockers BoneHawk have issued their debut album, Albino Rhino, via Ripple Music. The awaited offering follows behind a late-2014 self-released edition and a limited vinyl run through Hornacious Wax Records. There was a second pressing of that, but like the first one, it went quickly. No word on a third for the LP, but Ripple‘s CD edition is out now, and to the best of my knowledge it’s the first compactular discus edition, and no doubt its reception will be as here-and-gone as was the vinyl.

The PR wire brings copious background for those who’d dig in:

bonehawk albino rhino

BoneHawk: Share brand new album from hard hitting Michigan quartet, out now on Ripple Music

The story of BoneHawk is one that started as early as third grade, in an unassuming Kalamazoo school, where guitarist/vocalist Matt Helt and guitarist Chad Houts first met and bonded instantly over a shared appreciation of video games, pizza, poster girls and rock and roll. At the age of fourteen, Helt, already an accomplished drummer would jam along with Houts in the family’s basement to songs handpicked from the pair’s ever growing record collections. As the years passed by with each feeding the other on a steady diet of thrash metal and classic rock, when Helt eventually succumbed to the bug and traded in his drum set for a guitar, the duo quickly discovered that being in a band meant everything.

After toiling in various local outfits for years, around 2006 Helt and Houts formed Mesa with close friend Joel Wick (Quixote, Jihad), with the three deciding to put together something that paid homage to the heavy riffs they discovered as teens growing up in the mid 90s. Specifically, that beguiling breed of heavy rock directly influenced by the mighty Black Sabbath. The band would only release one record during this period, a 7” on Michigan’s UFO Dictator Records before breaking up to clear a path for the official formation of BoneHawk in 2011.

Helt and Houts envisioned combining Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy-esque harmonies with the straight-up grooves of Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and the twin guitar assault of Judas Priest and Kiss. Enlisting old band mate Chris Voss on bass, after the departure of Wick the trio set about recording their debut album Albino Rhino, with Helt taking on vocal duties and returning to the drum stool.

Recorded and mixed by Jim Diamond at Ghetto Recorders in Detroit and initially released as a limited run of ‘Albino vinyl’ through Hornacious Wax Records in 2014, with newly appointed personnel in the form of drummer Jay Rylander and bassist Taylor Wallace (formerly of Wilson) the band played packed out local shows in support of the record. In less than two months all double LP copies of Albino Rhino had sold out, calling for a second ‘Ultraviolet Purple’ pressing and leaving Ripple Music boss Todd Severin in no doubt about the band’s true potential.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Bonehawk,” explains Severin. “From the moment I heard their two guitar blitz I was hooked on their sound. Albino Rhino is a masterwork of modern harmony guitar and post NWOBHM heaviness, with real stoner grit. A true gem of an album and we’re excited to be involved in the worldwide release of this CD.”

To order a copy of BoneHawk’s Albino Rhino on CD visit Ripple Music:
http://ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/product/bonehawk-albino-rhino-cd

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BoneHawk, Albino Rhino (2014/2016)

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Wo Fat, Midnight Cometh: Sinister Wind Blowing

Posted in Reviews on April 21st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Wo Fat Midnight Cometh

There are few if any US heavy rock acts going who can match the consistent quality of Wo Fat‘s output over the last half-decade. The Dallas fuzz riffers have grown into a distinct and distinguished outfit that is always identifiable from release to release, but never fails to grow. This is true as well of their sixth studio LP, Midnight Cometh — also their first for Ripple Music after issuing 2014’s The Conjuring (review here) and 2012’s The Black Code (reviews here and here) on Small Stone — in that its six songs/49 minutes bring the band’s sound another step forward, as shown in adding percussion elements to opener “There’s Something Sinister in the Wind,” in the vocal confidence of guitarist Kent Stump and in the overarching fluidity of the trio’s jams, of which there are many, and the poise with which they blend the catchy hooks of “There’s Something Sinister in the Wind,” “Riffborn,” “Of Smoke and Fog,” “Le Dilemme de Detenu,” “Three Minutes to Midnight” and “Nightcomer” — yes, all six tracks — with the more open and improvised-feeling stretches.

In some ways, Wo Fat aren’t doing much different than they did on earlier outings like 2011’s Noche del Chupacabra (review here) or 2008’s Psychedelonaut (review here), in that they blend a swamp boogie atmosphere with memorable songcraft, a jam-ready sensibility and strong chemistry between Stump, bassist Tim Wilson and drummer/backing vocalist Michael Walter, but they leave little room as to the question of whether or not that basic pattern has been refined, and while The Conjuring felt like a landmark in their ascent to the fore of the American heavy underground — it was the record that took them to Europe, for example — Midnight Cometh once again reaffirms that their position is well earned.

It does not fix what wasn’t broken in their sound, but neither is it stagnant. In much the same way Wo Fat‘s sound has become more identifiable over the last decade since their 2006 debut, The Gathering Dark, so too has it progressed. They begin at a tumult with “There’s Something Sinister in the Wind” but soon hammer out an upbeat groove over which Stump slides in a solo before a percussion-laden verse and are into the chorus before the two-minute mark, wasting no time in setting the table for much of what will follow and build on the Southern voodoo blues atmosphere represented in David Paul Seymour‘s cover art and which “Of Smoke and Fog,” “Three Minutes to Midnight” and “Nightcomer” would seem to address directly while second track “Riffborn” and side B opener “Le Dilemme de Detenu” take their focus elsewhere.

wo fat

The split between the two halves of Midnight Cometh is of particular note, since it’s something of a departure from The Conjuring, which wrapped with its 17-minute jam-minded title-track. Here, Wo Fat give each portion of the record a grand finale, in “Of Smoke and Fog” and “Nightcomer,” respectively, and the effect is to make the listening experience focused less on any individual piece than on the affect and the flow of the album as a whole. I wouldn’t argue with either methodology, particularly since while there are commonalities between songs mostly in the structuring of choruses, the band takes care to shift here and there in vibe, whether it’s the more stripped down “Riffborn,” which is faster and jams its way through its second half and out having long since left its hook behind, or the mega-swinging “Le Dilemme de Detenu” (“the dilemma of the detained”), with swagger enough for a full-length on its own, never mind the ultra-fluid hypnosis they’ve just enacted across “Of Smoke and Fog.”

That track — “Of Smoke and Fog” — emphasizes a lot of what Wo Fat have come to accomplish at this stage in their progression. It moves easily through hooks and jams and even trips out psychedelic around eight minutes in, but never lets go of its sense of purpose, and while it’s also the longest cut on Midnight Cometh at 10:47, it puts that time to use summarizing the album’s course. At the end of side B, “Nightcomer” works in a similar vein, but with a darker feel and bigger chorus, with Stump and Walter offering some vocal harmonies before the final jam. Prior to that, the penultimate “Three Minutes to Midnight” showcases the comfort level the trio feel in pushing out a faster hook and more straightforward songcraft — yet another stuck-in-your-head hook — while also bringing back some of the percussive elements of the opener, and the fact that their structures are no less molten than their jams, able to be manipulated to suit the purposes of a given track, is among Midnight Cometh‘s most engaging aspects.

Whatever the pace or trajectory, Wo Fat play like a band six albums deep. They know what they want their sound to do, they know how to make it happen, and they know that to keep it interesting for themselves and their audience, they need to continue to challenge beyond what they’ve done before. Stump has emerged as a frontman and sounds in command of the material here, and together with Walter and Wilson, they’re more of a power trio able to bring their live dynamic to a studio recording without sacrificing fidelity to the cause of a superficially organic sound. Midnight Cometh comes across as full and natural, and continues Wo Fat‘s streak of highlight outings, making it all the more apparent just how much they need to be in the conversation of the best currently active fuzz purveyors, within Texas or without. They’ve long since come into their own, but they’re reshaping what “their own” is, and it’s a joy to watch for those lucky enough to be paying attention. One of the year’s best in heavy.

Wo Fat, “Three Minutes to Midnight”

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Kind Sign with Total Volume Agency; Touring Europe this Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Kind‘s 2015 debut album, Rocket Science (review here), is available now on vinyl through Ripple Music. The band have done some sporadic live shows over the months since the CD dropped last December, as members continue their work on other bands and tours — drummer Matt Couto out with Elder again, bassist Tom Corino wrapping up the awaited debut from Rozamov, vocalist Craig Riggs (also Roadsaw and White Dynomite) touring on drums with Sasquatch, guitarist Darryl Shepard busy being the mayor of Boston heavy rock — but it seems their intention is to head to Europe in October and do a round of shows to support the record. They’ve just signed a deal with Total Volume Agency, in good company with the likes of Valley of the SunGeezerTuberBlaak HeatNaxatras and Funeral Horse, which will no doubt help them in that cause.

Total Volume announced the partnership thusly:

kind (Photo by Nicole Tammaro)

Total Volume – First addition to our roster this year : KIND!

Formed in 2013 by Matt Couto (Elder), Darryl Shepard (Black Pyramid, The Scimitar) and Tom Corino (ROZAMOV) – after the trio spent time jamming together in-between day-to-day commitments – the doom supergroup KIND quickly cemented their formation with the addition of Roadsaw vocalist Craig Riggs.

Out of the mind-bending riffs and extended jam sessions, whole songs began to take shape through winter rehearsals down in Couto’s freezing cold basement in 2014, where the newly formed quartet began laying down ideas for their soon to be released debut, Rocket Science, which officially landed this December on Ripple Music.

Shows were soon booked to share the tunes with the curious. Further riffs materialized, new songs banged into shape, and yet more shows confirmed, so keen were the band to test their mettle and mixture of heavy metal, psych, Krautrock and straight-up classic rock and roll.

With four songs recorded at Mad Oak Studios serving as the band’s demo in the spring of 2015, KIND entered New Alliance Studios with engineer Alec Rodriguez to record their first full-length, Rocket Science, which received an official release this past December on the California-based label Ripple Music.

https://www.facebook.com/KINDtheband/
http://www.ripple-music.com/
http://www.totalvolumeagency.com/kind.html

Kind, Live at Saint Vitus Bar, Dec. 2015

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