BREAKING: R.I.P. Jon Rossi of Pilgrim

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

pilgrim-at-roadburn-2013-Photo-by-JJ-Koczan

Confirmation has yet to surface at this time from either the band or their label, Metal Blade Records, but reports have begun to surface and tributes have begun pouring in marking the passing of guitarist/vocalist Jon Rossi of Providence, Rhode Island-based doom metallers Pilgrim. If true, Rossi’s death on Oct. 26 would follow just a day after his band joined The Obsessed and Cobalt Dusk in their hometown. He was 26 years old.

I’ll repeat that: 26 years old.

Pilgrim’s second and latest full-length, II: Void Worship (review here), was released in 2014 as the follow-up to their massively successful 2012 debut, Misery Wizard (discussed here),pilgrim-at-shod-xii-Photo-by-JJ-Koczan and pushed them to a new level of notoriety. A long tour with the reunited Spirit Caravan followed and reportedly nearly undid the trio on a financial level, but there was still hope that Rossi, who went by the stage name “The Wizard,” bassist Eric Dittrich and drummer Brad Richardson, would reconvene for a third album at some point, if one wasn’t already in the works. As there hasn’t been word from the band on Rossi’s passing, obviously any plans on their part are up in the air.

It goes without saying that the death of someone whose work had such an impact on doom, especially of one so young, is a significant loss, and on behalf of myself and this site, I’d like to send personal condolences to Rossi’s family, friends, bandmates and fans. I still remember seeing Pilgrim take the stage in New London, Connecticut, at Stoner Hands of Doom XII (review here), and though they were about half the age of everyone else playing, they absolutely owned the room.

Clearly a special band, and all the more exciting for the potential they continued to exude and the doomed spirit that was embodied in their songcraft. Rossi was a huge part of that presence, on stage and in the studio. He will be missed.

Once again, no word officially on his passing or the cause of death. As news comes in, this post will be updated with the latest.

Pilgrim, “The Paladin” official video

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Godhunter Announce Breakup

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

In no small way, the end of Godhunter is made even more of a bummer by the recent release of what will apparently serve as their swansong EP. That offering, the seven-track Codex Narco (review here), came out earlier this year via Battleground Records and Baby Tooth Records and marked a distinct broadening of aesthetic on the part of the band, who were once based in Tucson, Arizona, but who according to founding guitarist David Rodgers (interview here) had relocated as far as Washington and Georgia.

Likely that geographical challenge played a role in bringing about the band’s end, but either way, what Codex Narco represented in sound was a manifestation and further realization of the experimental impulse that Godhunter had previously shown on releases like their 2015 Endsville split with Destroyer of Light (discussed here) or their 2014 Gh/0st:S split (review here), distinct from the aggressive approach fostered through their 2014 full-length, City of Dust (review here), or their 2011 debut EP, Wolves (review here), but not entirely separate in its sense of atmosphere. Marked out by the inclusion of guest appearances by Nick Genitals of MethraCHRCH vocalist Eva Rose and Josh Thorne of Thorne, among others, it found the core three-piece of Rodgers, guitarist/keyboardist Matthew Davis and drummer Andy Kratzenberg bringing to life a sound that was as much ambient as it was scathing, and though the mood was persistently grim throughout the release — even the poppy cover of Tegan and Sara‘s “Walking with a Ghost” (video posted here) had a darker edge — it was hard not to be hopeful about what the band’s future might bring, distant though they might be in locale.

Codex Narco was already on my list of 2017’s best short releases, but it becomes especially poignant as the final offering from Godhunter (if in fact it turns out to be that; never say never in rock and roll). The band wasn’t going to make any kind of announcement, but I chased down Rodgers and basically bothered him into doing so. Sorry about that, but as a group whose creative potential it seemed was only beginning to really be explored, it seemed to me that the very least they deserved a proper sendoff. I’ll miss having the chance to hear how Godhunter might’ve followed up Codex Narco, but Rodgers has a new, extreme black metal outfit going called Taarna in Portland, OR — they recently shared the stage with righteous death metallers Vitriol — and their first demos are available now to stream. So there’s future productivity to look forward to, one way or the other.

Here’s what Rodgers had to say about the end of Godhunter:

godhunter codex narco lineup

David Rodgers on the end of Godhunter:

‘Ichi-go Ichi-e’ is a Japanese idiom that describes the idea that when people meet together for something, even if they see each other regularly, that meeting is unique and can never be replicated. It’s often translated as “for this time only” or “one chance in a lifetime.”

Since day one, back in 2009, this is something that Godhunter has always embraced both consciously and subconsciously. We have always tried to keep each musical release unique from the previous release, each piece of album art or each t-shirt design unique from that which came before.

In keeping with this idea, we have decided that this unique meeting of friends, this once in a lifetime experience, is over now. Over the past eight years we’ve given our most sincere effort to bring the world something unique, and now that we have said all that we had to say, our time as a band is over.

Thank you to everyone that shared this beautiful experience with us. You remain in our hearts forever.

http://www.facebook.com/godhuntersludge
https://battlegroundrecords.bandcamp.com
http://www.battlegroundrnr.com
https://twitter.com/BattlegroundRNR
http://instagram.com/battleground_records
https://babytoothtucson.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/babytoothtucson

Godhunter, Codex Narco (2017)

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Sophie Day Announces Departure from Alunah

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Bummer news out of the UK for fans of heavy forest rockers Alunah, and make no mistake, I consider myself to be one. Guitarist/vocalist Sophie Day has decided after 11 years to leave the band she and husband/fellow guitarist Dave Day started in 2006. Her stepping down from the frontwoman role leaves a significant void in Alunah, as she was also responsible for the lyrics and thereby the naturalist thematic that has become so much a part of Alunah‘s sound over the course of their four albums — the latest of which, Solennial (review here), came out as their first for Svart Records earlier this year — but the band has decided to continue on and search for a replacement with whom they’ll look to move forward on a fifth full-length.

Sophie‘s last shows with Alunah were this past July with Acid King, which seems fitting in terms of the influence that band had particularly on Alunah‘s earlier offerings. In a brief statement, Sophie says she has other avenues she’s interested in exploring, and in addition to general intrigue as to what shape Alunah might take in her absence, I know I for one would be interested to hear how she would/hopefully will manifest songwriting in the future. Maybe she’ll go acid folk. That would rule. She could pull it off, not a doubt in my mind. Songs of the wood and whatnot.

In case you’d like to rock some Alunah in her honor, all four of their albums can be streamed at the bottom of this post.

Best of luck of course to Sophie Day and to the band, who made the announcement thusly on their website:

alunah

Singer/Guitarist Sophie Day Leaves Alunah

25/9/2017

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the departure of our singer and guitarist Sophie Day; our gigs back in July with Acid King were particularly poignant, due to that fact that they were Soph’s final gigs with us.

As a founding member, Soph has been with Alunah since our inception in 2006, and she has been an integral part in forging Alunah into what it has become today. The remaining members of Alunah wish to continue, and invite applications to be sent to info@alunah.co.uk. Please only apply if you are serious and willing to commit.

Of her decision Soph said, “When we started Alunah I never realised how huge a part of my life it would become, how many wonderful people I would meet and establish lasting relationships with, how much music we would write and release, how much support we would get from labels and press, how many countries we would visit and how many of our favourite bands we would share the stage with. It has been my comfort blanket through personal trauma and have been moved when told how much our music has affected some of you guys. It has been amazing.

“However, there are other avenues I want to explore, both musically and in my personal life, and I can no longer give my all to Alunah, nor would it be fair to try and force Alunah in the direction I would like to go in. I continue to support the guys with design and marketing and of course through Dave’s and my label Catacomb Records, who have just co-released ‘White Hoarhound’ with HeviSike Records. I wish Dave, Jake, Dan and my replacement(s) the best of luck for the future, and I thank every single one of you for your support over the years. It’s been a trip.”

www.facebook.com/alunah.doom
http://twitter.com/#!/alunah_doom
https://alunah.bandcamp.com
www.alunah.co.uk
www.svartrecords.com

Alunah, Solennial (2017)

Alunah, Awakening the Forest (2014)

Alunah, White Hoarhound (2012)

Alunah, Call of Avernus (2010)

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Here’s the Eulogy I Wrote for My Grandmother

Posted in Features on September 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Before I get to the actual text of this thing, I’d like to extend a special thanks to my mother for her kindness in allowing me to post what’s obviously something very personal for her as well as for me and my family as a whole.

I wouldn’t necessarily do so, but I’ve spoken about the recent passing of my grandmother at the age of 102 a few times here in the last couple weeks, and the passion and ferocity with which she lived her life is something from which I will continue to derive inspiration in how I conduct my own.

If you need a tie into music or what I do here, that’s it, and if you’re otherwise not interested, I’ll please just ask you to give me this one and wait for the next post, which I’m sure will follow shortly and be about riffs. Thanks for reading if you do and thanks for the indulgence either way.

florence peterson parsippany nj

Florence Peterson Eulogy Sept. 8, 2017

The very idea of trying to offer some summary of Florence Peterson’s life is laughable, even though through the simple act of laughing, we’d already have a lot of the work done. Most likely it would take at least three weeks to do her scope and history any justice whatsoever, and while it might be fun to try, we simply don’t have that kind of time.

Telling people your grandmother, your mother, your aunt, your great-grandmother, your sister – because Florence was of course all these things and many more — lived to be 102 elicits a very specific kind of sympathy. Call it the “good run” response. “She had a good run.”

Actually, she had the best run. And that’s precisely why we although we can be sad at her passing and we can miss the person she was and the inimitable presence she brought to our lives, we can only celebrate the way she lived, the personality that was hers and hers alone, and the stamp she left on all of us as her family.

Because while the numbers are staggering – born 1915 on the kitchen table in the shadow of one impending World War, married 1936 under the church stairs in the shadow of another, daughters born 1942 and 1947, moved from Bronx, NY, to Morris Plains, NJ, 1960, and so on – even sum total of her full one hundred and two years does precious little to indicate the breadth of Florence’s life. She lived an existence marked in every respect by the full spectrum of what it is to be a person. Joy, pain, love, despair. Florence’s life encompassed this range of extremes and found milestones between them that for most of us would be impossible to fathom.

Imagine living 41 of your 102 years as a widow. Imagine watching as your great-grandchildren are born and begin to take shape as people, the way your grandchildren and children did before them. From the devastation at the passing of her daughter Susan in 2004 to the smile on her face earlier this year when my wife Wendy told her we were naming our son after her husband – this life that tested the boundaries of what a life can be was a touchstone that seems utterly unscratchable. A diamond of a life.

Several years ago, I made it a point to sit down with Florence on that god awful living room furniture she got for such a bargain and talk to her about growing up in New York, to hear her stories about meeting Joe Peterson as a boy from the neighborhood, a couple blocks away that might as well have been an eternity between them, about getting married, her relationship with her brothers and the divide in the family there, her parents, career, and beyond.

There was so much to talk about, but what it always came back to for Florence was her family, and it’s that core emphasis that speaks to who she was as a person. Florence said what she wanted to say, did what she wanted to do. Right or wrong. She had days where she behaved like a complete child and simply did not care because that was how it was going to be. As she got older, it was, “I’m 70 so I can say what I want,” “I’m 85 so I can say what I want.” I’m 90, I can say what I want. One imagines she had said the same when she turned 23, and there was simply no point at which she didn’t just say whatever the hell she wanted to say.

And though there are at least as many instances throughout her life when this worked to her downfall as to her advantage – certainly advantage in her work as a secretary, substitute teacher, an underage sales clerk selling alcohol at Macy’s, or just as building a firebrand reputation among her friends and neighbors, doctors, and a succession of managers and cashiers at Shop-Rite on Rt. 10 & 202 on whom she was quick to pull a fast one with expired coupons – what stands out even more from Florence is the sheer ferocity with which she felt what she felt.

No one loved family like Florence loved family. It was like she was angry about it. Maddening love. A fierce love. And yes, sometimes that love could take a quick turn and call you stupid, or fat, or both, and she could be cruel as well as generous, but this was what made her human, and it was love that defined her.

It meant taking care of Pamela even long after Pamela was taking care of her. It meant being proud of every single one of Matt’s career accomplishments – her baby brother made good. It meant that, years after Susan died, Florence rewrote the story of their falling out in her mind and when prompted with what actually happened, refused outright to accept it as the truth. “You’re making that up,” she said. “No.” It meant her telling you to be careful going up the stairs to her second floor in the same tone of voice from the time you were five to the time you were 30. It meant worrying about “that Walker” or complaining that you never came to visit her even as you were right there with her, then and there, wanting to shout, “I’m here now! I’m actually sitting with you at this very moment! We’re visiting!”

And of course, shouting would be required, because defined as she was by her love for her family, Florence was equally defined by her stubborn refusal to get a hearing aid. Ever.

It is fitting that as we honor her life today and stop to reflect on who she was to each of us that we should be surrounded by photographs. Not just because they show a small selection of the milestones of Florence’s life, her bright, camera-ready smile, shows she’d been in, things she’d seen and the various trips she took with Joe Peterson, Ken, Helen, Susan and Bob, Dr. Huster, the Gelpkes, Pauline, Bonnie Smith and other friends and neighbors – St. Thomas, “Ittly,” Switzerland, and so on as she traveled across continents – but also because these photographs themselves are cherished memories.

The picture of Florence leaning over Joe Peterson in his red jacket, smiling wide as if inviting us all to laugh at his bowtie. Florence sitting on the fireplace at Matt’s house at the lake on that family Thanksgiving so many years ago. Even the yellowed newspaper clipping of the time she won the computer from The Daily Record. Not only do these photos evoke the events they depict, but they have become tangible artifacts no less representative of the love she shared with her family than the memories represented in them.

Take a tour of the house at 2 Sherwood Road – that place that was so much a part of her life when she, Joe Peterson, Susan and Pamela moved from the Bronx to the suburbs – and nearly every room has family photos in it. Walker and Emmett, Rob Jones, my sister Suze and I as children. Pamela and Susan as kids, growing up, and as adults with their families. Though she spent so many years living alone, there was almost no space in which she wasn’t surrounded by this love that she was so ready at a moment’s notice to almost violently defend if it came to it. Really. Woman might smack you if you messed with her family. Or her pictures. Or her Entenmann’s doughnuts.

And at holidays, family events, whatever it was, it was Florence with her disc-film camera, then her disposables. Always documenting. Her scrapbooks are tomes – dusty treasures in her living room of the memories she stewarded and was so right to preserve in that house. They became expressions of the love that fueled their making – that fueled her – and for the rest of us they serve as yet another reminder of how much the improbability of Florence Peterson goes so far beyond the meager 102 years she lived and what she did in that span of time.

There is so much to remember when we remember Florence, and when I think of my Gramma I can still hear her complaining about money or Suze’s furniture upstairs, or talking about the O.J. Simpson trial, or telling a story about a Sara Lee apple pie she “passed off” as her own. I can hear her particular Irish glee at mispronouncing “macacroni” in the context of a “macacroni and cheese” that consisted of elbow noodles, Hunt’s canned tomato sauce and shredded cheddar that was a holiday staple for decades and never failed to garner anything less than rave reviews.

I can see her sitting on her front porch with my mother, all around her busy with a detritus of personality – yard schlock, from pink flamingos to that mysterious penguin to even the light-up Santa Claus that never seemed to leave the front window of the great red room at 2 Sherwood Road, tucked away in the back of which are more memories, of board games, fires in the circular fireplace, wood paneling all around and the bar on the side. How cold it was there in the winter, but what a great place to be.

How much that space was a part of Florence and how much that house, with the tree in the front yard planted by Joe Peterson – always “Joe Peterson,” never “Joe,” though sometimes “Daddy” to my mother or Susan – became the center of her existence. What’s astounding to think is that Florence, who stopped driving no fewer than 15 years ago and with much fighting finally gave up that wonderful boat of a white Oldsmobile with AM-only radio and the bench seats — I remember hearing “How Much is that Doggy in the Window (Arf Arf)” and singing along to it with her at what must have been seven years old – spent her final years inside that house and still seemed to outlive us all. For so long and in so many ways, she was undulled by time – that diamond life as hard and clear as ever.

And so it will remain. Because the truth is that while Florence has passed on, it is our memories of her that we share today and every day in ways we can’t even articulate that she helped shape who we are that preserve her, even more than these photos. It’s not just about recalling the time when I was five and she got lost taking me home from Denville to Parsippany because she refused to listen to my directions, or the way she got so solemn and serious in talking about her coin collection as though it was a treasure of Doubloons unearthed from the bottom of the ocean, or the way she used to tell me how worried she was about my mother, how my mother was just like Joe Peterson and Susan had been more like her.

It’s not just about these things. It’s about the love we continue to feel for each other. It’s about the tribute we pay to Florence in our own growing families, and the parts of her we pass along to each other in passing along parts of ourselves. She was never perfect and I don’t think she’d have claimed to be if you’d been brave enough to ask – though she might argue with you just to have fun doing so – but today, it’s about how unbelievably, unrealistically lucky we were to have had Florence in our lives and how lucky we are to still carry the memories: the sound of her laughing, or cursing, or telling some raunchy story as she said whatever she wanted to say at whatever age she was. The sight of her in some silly hat going out to dinner. The American flags that she seemed so eager to adorn herself with in patriotic zeal.

Most of all, how fortunate we are to inherit her stewardship of memory, and the stewardship of remembering her, because while even those who never knew Florence have to admit she had “a good run,” it’s those of us who will never be the same without her – and will never forget her – who know exactly how wonderful, and terrifying, and beautiful, and sad, and gorgeously complete her life actually was.

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Tombstones Call it Quits

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tombstones

Sorry to see these guys go, but one could hardly argue Norwegian doomers Tombstones aren’t disbanding at the top of their game. In 2015, the Oslo natives released their third album, Vargariis (review here), through Soulseller Records and this Spring found them on tour with doom legends Saint Vitus, which felt like a culmination meeting after guitarist/vocalist Bjørn-Viggo Godtland, bassist/vocalist Ole Christian Helstad and drummer Markus Støle made runs the last few years alongside Egypt, gigs with Conan and slews of others, appearances at Freak Valley and Roadburn, a US incursion with an appearance at Psycho Las Vegas and a founding involvement in the Høstsabbat fest in their hometown.

Stepping back and looking at it, one can’t help but wonder if that tour with Vitus didn’t have some impact on their decision to keep going, or if there was a conversation afterwards about direction or some assessment of where they were at and headed as a band. Earlier this Spring, Støle released a debut offering from his new band Hymn (review here), which pushed in a different direction than Tombstones, so it’s certainly possible that exploration will continue. As for what Godtland and Helstad will do going forward, it remains to be seen, but when I hear or see something, I’ll do my best to keep up with it. On levels of style and substance, Tombstones felt like a band who had come into their own and still had much to offer. So it goes.

They announced their breakup as follows:

tombstones logo

Everyone!!

The day has come. Tombstones will no longer exist as a band. We are eternally grateful for what the band has granted us over the last decade. Fans, promoters, bands, bookers, labels, festivals and friends have given us more memories filled with joy than we could ever hope for. After such a long time, you go through ups- and downs, and the decision to put the band on hold feels right, but still sad.

The decision is mutual, and is based upon the fact that we as a group are no longer able to continue in the same direction. Sometimes motivation can be lost, the juice runs out and you long for inspiration elsewhere. This is the crossroads we found ourselvses in at the moment.

We would like to thank Jorn from Soulseller , Klaus from Vibra and Jerome from Eclipse in particular. You have been nothing but awesome over the years.

This doesn’t mean we will stop making music. Keep your eyes peeled for future projects.

Thank you all, we love you!!

https://www.facebook.com/norwegiandoom/
https://tombstonesoslo.bandcamp.com/
http://www.soulsellerrecords.com/

Tombstones, Vargariis (2015)

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R.I.P. Hans-Georg Bier of Nasoni Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Sad news out of Berlin today in the announcement from Nasoni Records that founder Hans-Georg Bier has passed away. With Nasoni as his vehicle since 1996, Bier has been an instrumental figure in shaping the modern sphere of the heavy underground both in and out of Europe. Working with bands like Colour Haze, Vibravoid, Sula Bassana, Siena Root, Weltramstaunen, Causa Sui, Samavayo, Los Natas, Terraplane, Deadpeach, Stoned Jesus, Arenna, Space Invaders and countless others, his efforts contributed massively to the aesthetic of modern heavy psychedelia and particularly its loyalty to classic foundations in organic sounds and vinyl presentation. Under his tutelage, Nasoni Records became an absolute “can’t miss” label: all you needed to know going into a new release was that if Nasoni approved enough to put it out, it was going to be worth hearing.

I’ve said on multiple occasions that I consider Nasoni among the finest imprints worldwide, and their catalog over the last 21 years stands as evidence to back me up on that. In 2014, Dr. Rainer Präger’s From Farm to Space chronicled the accomplishments and releases of Nasoni, and the fact that the book (still available) included a limited-run 7″ with exclusive tracks from Wo Fat and The Re-Stoned emphasizes how completely unwavering the passion of the label has been. Bier, who reportedly suffered from long-term heart problems, was never anything but kind in my limited direct dealings with him years ago, and clearly someone for whom the music was paramount and everything else secondary.

The fact that Nasoni has never strayed from its initial principals and never forgotten to look forward to new fostering new bands and an ever-broadening reach is a huge part of what has made it so special as an imprint, and as listeners, we should be thankful to have had Bier at the helm for as long as we did. His accomplishments will continue to resonate for years and decades to come.

On behalf of myself and this site, condolences to the friends, family, colleagues and to fellow fans of Nasoni Records. This is a significant loss not only on practical terms for the company Bier founded, but for Europe’s heavy psych underground as a whole, but in his honor, it’s all the more crucial to press on and keep the turntables spinning.

Rest in Peace, Hans-Georg Bier.

The announcement as posted on Nasoni’s website follows here:

hans-georg bier of nasoni records

We deeply regret, having to inform you that the founder of Nasoni-Records, Hans-Georg Bier, has passed away just recently.

However, the Nasoni Label is going to live on and will be continued in Hans’s entire sense, philosophy and terms.

One fifth of a century of Nasoni records — this is certainly a reason to celebrate and also a good opportunity to look back at the beginnings and the history of the label.

In 1996 the music industry started the attempt to eliminate the traditional vinyl LPs with the introduction of the newest fad called CD — this encouraged us with our rebellious minds to start our project to reach out to all friends of analogue sounds and release outstanding music on vinyl.

We were sure that there were plenty of humans who would prefer the exciting and adventurous trip into the underground to the easy available junk from the surface of the mainstream scrapyard. These people shared also our view that every now and then a bit of surface noise on a record is still better than the irrelevant offers of 16 or 24bit audio and sampling up to 44000 Hz. At that moment in time nobody was even thinking about the next abyss and the coming horrors of the not so far away future — where people would happily listen to hollow and tinny sounds of a mumbling Mickey Mouse singer from a portable telephone!

If in 2096 somebody pulls a Nasoni record from the shelf and cannot help a sympathetic smile turning up on his face — then we know that our fight against the dark forces of the digital age was not in vain. This label was and still is the honest attempt to document and emphasize our love for music.

Nasoni Records website

Nasoni Records on Thee Facebooks

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Moab Pay Homage to Drummer Erik Herzog with “Nothing Escapes” Lyric Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

moab

It’s been a while since last we heard from Los Angeles outfit Moab, and one can only wish the news was better. Toward the end of last year, the trio marked the passing of drummer Erik Herzog, and they now celebrate his life with a lyric video for the track “Nothing Escapes.” The song comes from Moab‘s second release, Billow (review here), which was released in 2014 via the now-defunct Scion A/V as a free download but is still available on CD and LP directly from the band. In addition to being tragic in its moment of arrival, the video is a reminder of the nuance that album proffered in following up 2011’s Kemado Records debut, Ab Ovo (discussed here), the sweetness of its melody and underlying Beatlesian pop bounce emblematic of the progressive bent emerging in their style at the time.

Naturally, Herzog played a major role in making that possible, so whether or not guitarist/vocalist Andrew Giacumakis and bassist Joe Fuentes will keep Moab going, I don’t know and don’t particularly want to speculate. For now, the lyrics to “Nothing Escapes” make a poignant tribute, and if in fact this does mark the end of the band, they will have offered listeners two rich outings that showed them as unafraid to look outside genre lines for inspiration as they pursued a path of individualized growth. Some groups never get that far, and while one could easily argue for Moab sounding like they still had more to say coming off of Billow — I would have, if we were debating the topic — the band’s work and that of Herzog as a part of the three-piece are able to stand on their own achievements as well and should continue to be enjoyed for years to come.

Condolences to GiacumakisFuentes and all who knew Herzog, friends and family and fans.

Please enjoy “Nothing Escapes” below:

Moab, “Nothing Escapes” lyric video

This video is our “shrine” to Erik. The song was especially significant to him as the lyrics were based on years of conversations with him about his struggles with depression. While that remained a struggle for him, he was especially proud of this song and the truth it contained. The drumming is some of his best work and the music is something we are all very proud of.

RIP Erik Herzog

Moab on Thee Facebooks

Moab website

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Uzala Announce Breakup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

UZALA

Sad news out of Boise, Idaho, in that atmospheric doomers Uzala seem to have broken up. The announcement came via a brief Facebook post from guitarist Chad Remains that went like this:

R.I.P. UZALA
2009-2017
Our sincere thanks to everyone who supported us along the way. We love you all.

What he or the trio — which at last check was Darcy Nutt on guitar/vocals, Remains and drummer Chuck Watkins — has not said is why. Uzala had been relatively quiet since the release of their early 2016 Live at Roadburn MMXV (review here) CD/LP through Burning World Records, and it now looks like that will serve as the band’s final recorded statement.

Their two prior full-length albums, Tales of Blood and Fire and Uzala (track premiere here), were issued in 2013 and 2011, respectively. Both earned the band significant acclaim, and especially the latter found them coming into an atmospheric individualism bolstered by the melodic range in Nutt’s voice and the tonal onslaught from Remains. These elements, set to the steady foundation from Watkins’ drumming, the low rumble of then-bassist Nick Phit (see also: Graves at Sea), and a recording job by Tad Doyle, positioned Uzala for remarkable forward momentum.

They toured the US alongside Mike Scheidt of YOB in 2013 (review here) before following up with the aforementioned trip to Europe for Roadburn (review here), where they were nothing short of spellbinding. Having been fortunate enough to stand in front of the Green Room stage and see that set in its entirety (as well as take the pictures on the cover of the subsequent live outing), it seemed Uzala were living up to and through the potential their work had shown up to that point, and whatever was going to come next from them would not be something to miss.

Whether or not they’ll ultimately make some statement, and whether or not the breakup sticks — I don’t want to speculate at reasons without anything concrete to go on, so I won’t — their output stands in testament to what they had to offer, and while they appeared to be on the cusp of reaching a new aesthetic level, the accomplishments under their collective belt remain substantial enough to resonate for years to come.

You hate to see good bands go, but Uzala never operated under any terms but their own, so there it is. Respect and best wishes to them.

Uzala, Tales of Blood and Fire (2013)

Uzala on Thee Facebooks

Uzala on Bandcamp

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