Quarterly Review: Sumac, Cortez & Wasted Theory, Thunder Horse, The Howling Eye, Grime, URSA, Earthling Society, Bismarck, Grand Reunion, Pledge

Posted in Reviews on December 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

As we land on what would otherwise be the end of a Quarterly Review — day 5, hitting the standard 50 records across the span of a week that this time we’re doubling with another 50 next week — it occurs to me not how much 100 albums is, but how much it isn’t. I mean, it’s a lot, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been sitting and writing about 10 records every day this week. I know how much that is. But it’s astounding to me just how much more there is. With the emails I get from people looking for reviews, discs sent in the mail, the messages on Facebook and everything else, I could do another 100, easy.

Well, maybe not ‘easy,’ but it would be full.

Is it a new golden age of heavy? 45 years from now are rockers going to look back and say, “Hell yeah, from like 2012-2019 was where it’s at,” all wistful like they do now for the ’70s? Will the Heavy ’10s be a retro style? I don’t know. But if it was going to happen, there would certainly be enough of an archive to fuel it. I do my best to cover as much as I can, but sometimes I feel like we barely crack the surface. With 100 records.

That said, time’s a-wasting.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Sumac, Love in Shadow

sumac love in shadow

What are Sumac if not the most vital and highest profile atmospheric metal act out there today? With Aaron Turner (Isis, etc.) on guitar/vocals, Brian Cook (Russian Circles) on bass and Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists) on drums, they qualify easily as a supergroup, and yet their third album, Love in Shadow (on Thrill Jockey), is still more about creative growth and the exploration of sound than anything else. Certainly more than ego — and if it was a self-indulgent exercise, it’d probably still be pretty good, frankly. As it stands, the four massive tracks through which Sumac follow-up 2016’s What One Becomes (review here) and their 2015 debut, The Deal (review here), refine the sound Sumac has developed over the past three years-plus into a sprawling and passion-driven sprawl that’s encompassing in scope, challenging in its noise quotient, and in utter refusal to not progress in its approach. And when Sumac move forward, as they do here, they seem to bring the entire aesthetic with them.

Sumac on Thee Facebooks

Thrill Jockey Records on Bandcamp

 

Cortez & Wasted Theory, The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter Nine

cortez wasted theory second coming of heavy ch 9

Ripple Music‘s split series The Second Coming of Heavy hits its ninth chapter in bringing together Boston’s Cortez and Delaware’s Wasted Theory, and neither band fails to live up to the occasion. Cortez‘s range only seems to grow each time they hit the studio — vocalist Matt Harrington makes easy highlights of the opener and longest track (immediate points) “The Firmament” and the echo-laden “Close” — and Wasted Theory‘s “Ditchpig,” “Abominatrix,” “Baptized in Gasoline” and “Heresy Dealer” are so saturated with whiskey it might as well be coming out of their pores. It’s a decidedly North/South release, with Cortez rolling straightforward New England heavy rock through “Fog of Whores” and the Deep Purple cover “Stormbringer” while Wasted Theory dig with all good speed into a grit that’s more and more become their own with time, but there’s a shared penchant for hooks and groove between the two acts that draws them together, and whatever aspects they may or may not share are ultimately trumped by that. As Ripple starts to wind down the series, they continue to highlight some of the finest in heavy that the underground has to offer. One would expect no less.

Cortez on Thee Facebooks

Wasted Theory on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Thunder Horse, Thunder Horse

thunder horse thunder horse

There’s an unmistakable sense of presence throughout Thunder Horse‘s six-song/43-minute self-titled debut that undercuts the notion of it as being the San Antonio four-piece’s first album. With professionalism and a firm sense of what they want to be as a band, the Texans liberally sprinkle samples throughout their material and hone a professional sound built around massive riffs and even-more-massive lumbering grooves. Indeed, they’re not strangers to each other, as three-fourths of the group — guitarist/vocalists Stephen Bishop, guitarist/sampler T.C. Connally and drummer Jason West — double in the more industrial-minded Pitbull Daycare, whose debut LP came out in 1997. Completed by bassist/vocalist Dave Crow, Thunder Horse successfully cross the genre threshold and are well comfortable in longer cuts like “Liber ad Christ Milites Templi” and “This is the End,” both of which top nine minutes, and shorter pieces like the rocking “Demons Speak” and the shimmering finale “Pray for Rain.” With “Coming Home” and the sneering “Blood Ritual” at the outset, Thunder Horse pulls listener quickly toward dark atmospheres and flourishes amid the weighted tones therein.

Thunder Horse on Thee Facebooks

Thunder Horse on Bandcamp

 

The Howling Eye, Sonorous

the howling eye sonorous

Poland’s The Howling Eye make a lengthy long-player debut with Sonorous, but more important than the reach of their runtimes — closer “Weedblazer” tops 16 minutes, the earlier “Reflections” hits 12, etc. — the reach of the actual material. The common pattern has been that psychedelic jamming and doom are two distinct things, but The Howling Eye tap into a cosmic interpretation of rolling riffs and push it with an open spirit far into the ether of spontaneous creation. It’s a blend that a group would seem to need to be cautious to wield, lest the whole notion fall flat, but with the assurance of marked chemistry behind them, the Bydgoszcz-based trio of drummer/sometimes vocalist Hubert “Cebula” Lewandowski (also harmonica where applicable), guitarist Jan Chojnowski and bassist Mi?osz Wojciechowski boldly shift from the more structured beginnings of the funky “Kairos” and the aggro beginning “Stranded” into an outward push that’s ambient, psychedelic and naturalistic all at once, with room left over for more funk and even some rockabilly on “The Potion.” It is not a minor conglomeration, but it works.

The Howling Eye on Thee Facebooks

The Howling Eye on Bandcamp

 

Grime, What Have We Become

grime what have we become

Their roots in metal, North Dakota trio Grime — not to be confused with the Italian sludge outfit of the same name — unleash their first full-length in the form of What Have We Become, an ambitious 51-minute offering of progressive heavy rock marked by thoughtful lyrics and fluid songwriting made all the more so by the shared vocals of bassist Andrew Wickenheiser and guitarist Nick Jensen, who together with drummer Tim Gray (who would seem to have been replaced by Cale Mogard) effect a classic feel through “Alone in the Dark” while chugging and winding through the not-a-cover “Hand of Doom” with some harsher vocals peppered in for good measure. Seven-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Through the Eye” sets a broad tone that the rest of the record seems to build on, with the penultimate “Sunshine” delivering the title line ahead of the grittier closer “The Constant Grind,” which seems to payoff everything before it with a final explosion before a big rock finish. They’ll need to decide whether their sound will ultimately tighten up or loosen over time, but for now, what they’ve become is a band with a solid foundation to grow from.

Grime on Thee Facebooks

Grime on Bandcamp

 

URSA, Abyss Between the Stars

ursa abyss between the stars

Modern doom meets a swath of metallic influences on URSA‘s full-length debut, Abyss Between the Stars (on Blood Music), as members of Petaluma, California’s Cormorant take on such classic themes as wizards, dragons, yetis, witches, a spider king, mountains, and… actually, yeah, that covers the six included tracks on the 46-minute LP, which shifts gracefully between epic fantasy doom and darker, soemtimes more extreme fare. It’s easy enough to put URSA in the narrative of a band started — circa 2016 — around a central idea, rather than just dudes picking up instruments and seeing what happened next. Not just because bassist/vocalist Matt Solis, guitarist/keyboardist Nick Cohon and drummer Brennan Kunkel were already three-quarters of another band, but because of the purposefulness with which they approach their subject matter and the cohesion in all facets of their approach. They may be exploring new ground here, but they’re doing so on sure footing, and that comes not only from their experience playing together, but from knowing exactly where they want to be in terms of sound. I would not be surprised if that sound adopted more post-Candlemass grandeur with time — one can hear that burgeoning in “Serengeti Yeti” — but whatever direction they want to go, their debut will only help them on that path.

URSA on Thee Facebooks

Blood Music website

 

Earthling Society, MO – The Demon

earthling society mo the demon

Look, if you can’t get down with a bunch of freaks like Earthling Society tapping into the lysergic fabric of the cosmos to come up with an unsolicited soundtrack to a Hong Kong martial arts movie, I just don’t know what to tell you. Issued by Riot Season, the seven-track MO – The Demon is reportedly the end of the band’s technicolor daydream, and as they crash their plane into the side of “Mountains of Bliss” and hone space rock obliteration throughout “Super Holy Monk Defeats the Black Magic Mothafucker,” their particular experimentalist charm and go-anywhere-anytime sensibility demonstrates plainly exactly why it will be missed. There’s a sharp high-pitched tone at the start of opener “Theme from MO – The Demon” that’s actually pretty abrasive, but by the time they’re through the kosmiche laser assault in “Spring Snow” and the let’s-be-flower-children-until-it’s-time-to-freak-the-fuck-out throb of closer “Jetina Grove,” that is but a distant memory. So is consciousness. Fare thee well, Earthling Society. You were a band who only sought to make sense to yourselves, and for that, were all the more commendable.

Earthling Society on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records on Bandcamp

 

Bismarck, Urkraft

bismarck urkraft

Norwegian five-piece Bismarck bring spaciousness to doom riffing on their debut album, Urkraft, which is constructed of five molten tracks for a 34-minute totality that seems much broader than the time it takes to listen. Vocals are growls and shouts across a cosmic stretch of tone, giving a somewhat aggressive pulse to heavier psychedelic soundscaping, but a bouncing rhythm behind “A Golden Throne” assures the song is accessible one way or the other. The 10-minute “Vril-Ya” is naturally where they range the farthest, but the Bergen outfit even there seem to be playing by a set of aesthetic principles that includes maintaining a grounded groove no matter how spaced they might otherwise get. Rolling riffs bookend in opener “Harbinger” and closer “The Usher,” as “A Golden Throne,” playing-to-both-sides centerpiece “Iron Kingdom” and the subsequent “Vril-Ya” explore atmospheres that remain resonant despite the low end weight that seems to chug out beneath them. The mix by Chris Fielding at Skyhammer (who also co-engineered) doesn’t hurt in crafting their largesse, but something tells me Urkraft was going to sound big no matter what.

Bismarck on Thee Facebooks

Apollon Records website

 

Grand Reunion, In the Station

grand reunion in the station

In the Station doesn’t seem like anything too fancy at first. It’s produced cleanly, but not in any kind of overblown fashion, and Grand Reunion‘s songwriting is so solid that, especially the first time through their eight-track debut LP, it’s easy to say, “Okay, that’s another cool hook,” and not notice subtleties like when the organs turn to keyboard synth between opener “Eres Tan Serpiente” and second cut “Gordon Shumway,” or to miss the Latin percussion that Javier Tapia adds to Manuel Yañez‘s drumming, or the ways that guitarist Christian Spencer, keyboardist Pablo Saveedra, bassist Mario Rodríguez and Tapia work to complement guitarist Cristóbal Pacheco on vocals. But all of that is happening, and as they make their way toward and through the eight-minute fuzzer “Band Band the Headbang,” through the soaring “Weedow” and into the acoustic-led closer “It’s Alright,” the character and maturity in Grand Reunion‘s songwriting shows itself more and more, inviting multiple listens in the most natural fashion possible: by making you want to hear it again.

Grand Reunion on Thee Facebooks

Grand Reunion on Bandcamp

 

Pledge, Resilience

pledge resilience

16 minutes of scathing post-hardcore/sludge from Portuguese four-piece Pledge, who are in and out of their Resilience EP with a clean break and a windmill kick to the face. The newcomers lack nothing for ferocity, and with the throat-searing screams of Sofia M.L. out in front of the mix, violent intentions are unmistakable. “Profer Lumen Caecis,” “The Great Inbetweeness,” “Doom and Redemption” and “The Peter, the Wolf” nonetheless have groove built on varying degrees of extremity and angularity, with Vítor Vaz‘s bass maintaining a steady presence alongside the guitar of Hugo Martins and Filipe Romariz‘s drumming, frenetic as it sometimes is. I wouldn’t say things calm down in “The Peter, the Wolf” so much as the boiling seems to take place beneath the surface, waiting for a time to burst out, which it eventually does, but either way, for all its harsher aspects, Pledge‘s material isn’t at all void of engagement. It does, however, state the requirement right there on the front cover.

Pledge on Thee Facebooks

Pledge on Bandcamp

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Burn Ritual Preorders up for Blood of the Raven

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

burn ritual

Late last year, San Antonio doom rockers Burn Ritual signed to Cursed Monk Records on the heels of their successful debut EP, Like Suffering. That two-songer, released on limited tapes (gone) and CDs (gone and back), showcased a weighted tonality and flourish of classic Sabbathian melody, and the two songs currently streaming from their upcoming full-length, Blood of the Raven, would seem to follow suit. Play your cards right — i.e., look at the bottom of this post — and you can hear “The Mirror” and the album’s title-track now, and they’re both a clarion to the converted, calling to worship. Preorders are up for the album now through Cursed Monk ahead of the official release date, which is Oct. 1.

The PR wire put it like this:

burn ritual blood of the raven

Cursed Monk Records are thrilled to announce that pre-orders are now open for Burn Ritual’s highly anticipated debut album Blood of the Raven

Blood of the Raven will be released October 1st on CD and Digital Download via the Cursed Monk Records Bandcamp. Each preorder comes with the immediate download of the first two tracks from the album, plus a free woven Burn Ritual patch for the first number of orders, although patches are limited. Preorders can be made directly from our Bandcamp.

Based out of San Antonio, TX, Burn Ritual brew their own brand of heavy riffs, bluesy hazy vocals, and massive hypnotic fuzzed out tones. The band combine their love for traditional doom and stoner rock bands with modern elements making it a unique but familiar journey for the listener. Originally the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist Jake Lewis, who performed and recorded on most of the band’s positively received debut EP Like Suffering. The one man project soon paved way for the necessity for a full band of musicians to bring the songs to the stage the way they were meant to be heard. Now a full four piece band, Burn Ritual has shared the stage with bands such as The Lucid Furs, Black Pussy, and Goya.

The Black Sabbathian foursome has really cemented their sound with Blood of the Raven. And what they have delivered is an album full of monster hooks and gargantuan riffs drenched in a fuzzy psychedelic haze. A must have for every fan of the genre.

Let the burn ritual commence.

Burn Ritual is:
Jake Lewis – vocals, lead guitar, keys
Brent Standifer- drums
Richard Perez – guitar
Chris Trezona – bass

https://www.facebook.com/burnritualband/
https://burnritual.bandcamp.com/
https://cursedmonk.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/cursedmonk/
https://www.instagram.com/cursedmonkrecords/

Burn Ritual, Blood of the Raven (2018)

Tags: , , , , ,

Burn Ritual Sign to Cursed Monk Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Texas doomgazers Burn Ritual issued the two-song EP Like Suffering this past summer, and the hazy ways the then-one-man outfit showed have been enough to get the now-a-full-band picked up by Irish imprint Cursed Monk Records. My chief question going forward is whether the garage-raw nod of “Unleash the Dogs” and “Like Suffering” will be maintained now that Jake Lewis has a complete lineup working around him, but I guess we’ll find out in the New Year when he and the rest of his cohorts get around to recording and releasing the album.

Until then, if you didn’t hear Like Suffering, which was mastered by Mos Generator‘s own Tony Reed, you’ll find it at the bottom of this post courtesy of the Burn Ritual Bandcamp. Here’s the announcement from Cursed Monk about having snagged the band for the impending release:

burn ritual

Burn Ritual have joined the cult of the Cursed Monk

Burn Ritual have signed with Cursed Monk Records!

Burn Ritual is a doom metal band based out of San Antonio, Texas, brewing its own brand of heavy riffs, bluesy hazy vocals, and massive hypnotic fuzzed out tones. The band combine their love for traditional doom and stoner rock bands with a modern element making it a unique but familiar journey for the listener. Burn Ritual is the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist Jake Lewis, who performed and recorded on most of the band’s debut EP Like Suffering, which was mastered by Tony Reed of Mos Generator.

The one man project soon paved way for the necessity for a full band of musicians to bring the songs to the stage the way they were meant to be heard , loud and in your face! Now a full four piece band, Burn Ritual plans to keep performing for the rest of the year and then start recording its first full length album in the beginning of 2018 which will be released by Cursed Monk Records.

Burn Ritual’s positively received E.P Like Suffering was released by the band in August 2017 and can be heard here.

https://www.facebook.com/burnritualband/
https://burnritual.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/cursedmonk/
https://twitter.com/CursedMonkRec
https://www.instagram.com/cursedmonkrecords/
https://cursedmonk.bandcamp.com/

Burn Ritual, Like Suffering EP (2017)

Tags: , , ,

Cursus to Release Self-Titled Debut April 28; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 20th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cursus

At any given second, there is nothing about the new streaming Cursus track that doesn’t seem to want to be as heavy as it can possibly be. One can hear the Neurosis influence noted by the PR wire in “Waters of Wrath,” which is the first audio to come from the San Antonio, Texas, two-piece’s self-titled debut, but less so the likes of Om or YOB, at least as regards an immediate ritualistic or cosmic impression — though after listening to the band’s 2013 Summer Solstice Sessions demo (available name-your-price at their Bandcamp) neither would I count on “Waters of Wrath” to speak for the entirety of the album.

An April 28 release has been set through Artificial Head Records, the label helmed by Funeral Horse guitarist/vocalist Walter Carlos, and I’ll be interested to find out what it has in store to go with the forceful churn Cursus showcase initially. For now, they certainly seem to know how to make a first impression.

Cover art and album details follow:

cursus self titled

CURSUS: Texan doom-duo crush worlds on colossal debut | Listen to new song ‘Waters of Wrath’

Cursus will be released on vinyl/digital on 28th April 2017 via Artificial Head Records

Artificial Head Records is pleased to announce the signing of psychedelic sludge band Cursus and with it the release of their self-titled debut album this April.

Taken from the Latin word meaning “course” – specifically the mournful paths our ancestors once took to bury their dead – the San Antonio-based paring of guitarist/vocalist CJ Duron and drummer Sarah Roork first came into being in the winter of 2013 with the release of their Summer Solstice Sessions demo. Influenced by the likes of Om, Neurosis, YOB and Ufomammut, and deep in experimentation with different sounds, instruments and drone frequencies, the demo slowly unfurled colossal riff driven soundscapes that permeated and punched in equal measure.

Released through Bandcamp it quickly caught the ear of label boss and fellow Texan, Walter Carlos, who signed Cursus on the spot to his Houston-based label Artificial Head Records.

“I had toured with Cursus a few times over the years and I’ve always admired their massive sound. Their ability to crush bodies in the room with their songs is uncanny,” explains Carlos. “Initially, we were going to release a live cassette by the band from recordings they made while on tour. But as the project kept going, we decided that a full-length studio album would be better and we’re proud to have Cursus as part of our family.”

Three years on from the release of Summer Solstice Sessions and Duron and Roork have their debut album loaded. Produced in a basement-recording studio by close friend Chris Dillard, over six devastating songs Cursus summons personal and spiritual pains and turns each into amplified dirges packed with riffs, hypnotic string arrangements and spellbinding percussion. With the power of cosmic doom burning brightly, distortion slams hard into 6/8 rhythms as the Duron and Roork charter a longboat through a magnificent storm of ethereal destruction.

Cursus’s self-titled debut album will be released on vinyl/digital on 28th April 2017 via Artificial Head Records.

Cursus:
CJ Duron – Guitar and Vocals
Sarah Roork – Drums

Album art by Javier “Warhorse” Luis
Artist: Cursus
Title: Cursus
Release Date: 28th April 2017
Label: Artificial Head Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital

https://www.facebook.com/cursusdoom/
https://cursus.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ArtificialHead
https://artinstitute.bandcamp.com/

Tags: , , , , ,

Las Cruces Rejoined by Original Vocalist Mark Zamarron

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 15th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Texas doom rockers Las Cruces have set the Denizens of the Dark festival in San Antonio as their first appearance with original frontman Mark Zamarron. The vocalist, who appeared on the band’s last record, 2010’s Dusk (review here), has rejoined the band ahead of the release of their fourth album and Ripple Music debut, which has been in the works for at least the last three years. Considering the album before Dusk, the sophomore outing Ringmaster, came out in 1998, they’re still on pace for a significant decrease in the split from one record to the next at six or seven years, and of course they’ve continued to play shows all the while.

The lineup for Denizens of the Dark — which I’ve posted below the band’s announcement of Zamarron rejoining the fold — is a considerable gathering of heavy acts from Texas and beyond, easily worth your perusal. Check it out if you feel like spending the rest of your day digging on bands (and why wouldn’t you?):

las cruces

Great news to share from the Las Cruces camp. Original frontman Mark Zamarron has returned to flock.

The prodigal son has returned from his ten year dragon slumber!

The Ringmaster himself, original frontman Mark Zamarron back in Las Cruces. First full set appearance will be at The Denizens of the Dark festival Sept 2nd. We will be recording our up coming album “Altar of the Seven Sorrows” on Ripple Music.

Las Cruces:
George Trevino – Rhythm Guitar
Mando Tovar – Lead Guitar
Mark Zamarron – Vocals
Paul De Leon – Drums
Jimmy Bell – Bass Guitar

Denizens of the Dark Festival
September 2 & 3
Bonds Rock Bar
450 Soledad St, San Antonio, Texas 78205

Friday line up :
Destroyer of Light (Austin)
Las Cruces
Jason Kane and the Jive
Cursus
Over the Top
Kin of Ettins (DFW)
King Earth

Saturday line up:
Mos Generator (WA)
Mala Suerte (Austin)
Deguello
Switchblade Jesus (Corpus)
The Dirty Seeds (Houston)
Orthodox Fuzz (DFW)
Dead Hawke (DFW)
Death’s Embrace

https://www.facebook.com/Las-Cruces-107675405929597/
www.ripple-music.com
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com

Denizens of the Dark Festival preview

Tags: , , , , ,

Las Cruces Sign to Ripple Music

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 30th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

My impression was that San Antonio doomers Las Cruces were going to be releasing their fourth album on Brainticket, but I apparently had it wrong. Happens daily, if not hourly. Anyway, a partnership with Ripple Music is a good fit, and it makes Las Cruces labelmates with their fellow Texans Mothership, and if that even slightly increases the odds that the two bands will hit the road together, say, in a Northeasterly direction, then I’m ready to mark it a win sight-unseen. Las Cruces‘ last record, 2010’s Dusk (review here), was a mean slugger that as I recall sat in the can for a while before being released, so it’s good to see the next one coming along with Ripple behind it.

Here’s how it all looks according to the PR wire, which seems to be choosing its press quotes well these days:

LAS CRUCES: Texan doom crew ink new contract with RIPPLE MUSIC

Burly, Texan doom rockers Las Cruces have signed to California’s Ripple Music for a world-wide onslaught of heavy rock. The group, who just completed a standout performance at the infamous Doom in June Festival, have already started writing and making demos and will enter an undisclosed studio this summer to record their Ripple Music debut and follow up to 2010’s Dusk, which The Obelisk hailed as “something not to be missed by loyal doomers.”

Hailing from San Antonio, Texas, Las Cruces has spent the past several years bludgeoning audiences with their doom-driven, precision sound. Originated in 1994 by George Trevino, their influences range from Venom, Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Fates Warning to vintage Sabbath. Las Cruces has risen to the top of the South Texas metal heap and left its mark across the Lone Star State, with a resume that includes opening slots with such acts as Overkill, Nebula, Kyuss, Trouble, Spirit Caravan, Solitude Aeturnus, Cathedral, Monster Magnet, Rob Zombie, Bio-Hazard, Pissing Razors, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Eyehategod, Crowbar, Sixty Watt Shaman, Vader, Kreator., Atomic Bitchwax, Gates of Slumber, Lo Pan, Earthride, Pale Devine, Kamelot, Sour Vein, Weedeater and many others.

Shortly after forming, Las Cruces began touring the Texas scene, gaining widespread recognition and the interest of John Perez, guitarist of Solitude Aeturnus & owner of Brainticket Records, thus forging the Debut release, S.O.L. After a year of touring Texas and the Southern States, Las Cruces decided to re-enter the studio. Driven by the hunger and sharpness of old school metal along with the power melodies of 70s rock, Las Cruces released their skull-crushing follow-up, 1998’s Ringmaster. Las Cruces was invited to perform at the first-annual Stoner Hands of Doom Fest in August of 1999 and have been asked to perform regularly at many heavy rock festivals in North America ever since.

Over the years Las Cruces has gone through line-up changes and rumors of break-up. However, these things have not foiled the bands ideology. The band was honored to be featured in The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal by author Daniel Bukszpan in 2003 as well as in the publication Rockdetector Music Presents: Stoner, Doom and Gothic Metal series published in 2003.

Described as “a journey into a parallel sonic universe of all that is heavy,” their songs are sprinkled mighty, bludgeoning riffs; barn-burning guitar work, and apocalyptic vocals that melt listener’s brains. Las Cruces is poised to begin the metal onslaught for the masses as they prepare to record their fourth full-length album.

“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Ripple Music to unleash the fourth Las Cruces record upon the underground,” comments Trevino. “Many of our friends and contemporaries have passed through the ranks and we’re thrilled to march onward into the streets with them at our side.”

In addition to George Trevino on guitar, Las Cruces features Mando Tovar – Lead Guitar, Paul De Leon – Drums and vocals, and Jimmy Bell – Bass Guitar

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Las-Cruces/107675405929597
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Las Cruces, “Reverend Trask” Live

Tags: , , ,

Duuude, Tapes! Slo’ Poke, Deliver us to Evel

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on August 15th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

I know for a fact that I’ve opined before on the merits of charm when it comes to otherwise kinda-dopey stoner rock, and that an album or EP or whatever can be as redundant as it likes in my eyes so long as there’s some personality on display. Well, when it comes to San Antonio heavy rocking four-piece Slo’ Poke, their Deliver us to Evel cassette doesn’t make any bones about its root influences so much as it downs a beer, smokes a joint and roughs up Fu Manchu start-stop grooves to give a Tejas Crossing kind of sensibility to otherwise straightforward, ultra-unpretentious fuck-yeah-good-time stonerisms. Flip tape to side 2 and repeat. Right on.

A lot of what you need to know about the band’s approach, you can probably pick up from the title. Last time I checked, 20 year olds weren’t talking about Evel Knievel — please note: I have no idea what the kids are talking about — so you can probably guess Slo’ Poke are in the over-30 demographic. The play on words tells you two things — there is a metal influence and though they don’t take themselves too seriously, there’s an element of cleverness at work as well. All that turns out to be true over the course of Deliver us to Evel, the metallic side and a bit more of the tongue-in-cheek vibe coming through on side 1’s “The 5th Horseman,” while the opener “Cockfight” provides as straight a port of the Fu as one could ask. In between, “I Shot Mark David Chapman” reminds of Clutch‘s funk-infused style of riffing, and “Ten Speed” keeps things suitably active on the way to “Winterbeard” and “Wizard’s Sabatical” (sic) closing out with unabashed stoner fervor.

Comprised of the foursome of guitarists Jeff Nettles and Matt, bassist Jason and drummer/vocalist Danny — whose voice is high in the mix initially, but settles back by the time “Hocus Pocus” (not a Focus cover) is over — Slo’ Poke reportedly got together in 2001. I don’t know how much material they actually have out and available for public consumption, but Deliver us to Evel sounds sure enough of its approach to make me think it wasn’t 12 years in the making. Whatever the case, it’s a decent bit of riffery aimed at the already converted that isn’t trying to be anything other than what it is. Probably won’t quake your earth, but if Slo’ Poke were playing at the bar down the street on some night I happened to be in San Antonio, for sure I’d be up for getting hit over the head with these riffs live.

Slo’ Poke, All Hail the Snail (2013)

Slo’ Poke on Thee Facebooks

Slo’ Poke on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

Las Cruces at Work on Fourth Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 3rd, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Last heard from with 2010’s underrated slab of rockin’ doom, Dusk (review here), Texan burl-bringers Las Cruces are on the move as regards their fourth album. According to a comment left yesterday, the four-piece are currently writing tracks set to be recorded later this year and released on John Perez of Solitude Aeturnus‘ label, the venerable Brainticket Records. Obviously this is good news for lovers of trad or biker doom, and I can only hope they top Dusk by having the word “wizard” in the titles of three songs this time out.

Stoked:

Texas Doom-Metal Veterans LAS CRUCES To Enter Studio For New Album In 2013

Viva Las Cruces

Texas doom-metal veterans Las Cruces are currently writing new material and preparing to enter the studio for their 2013 as-yet-untitled fourth full-length album. The album will be a follow-up to 2010?s “Dusk” released worldwide via Brainticket Records. The band will also re-release their entire catalogue to include a vinyl edition of 1998?s “Ringmaster”, initially released via Brainticket Records.

In other news, Las Cruces will now be managed by Leigh Olson Management and Media Relations who is the wife and personal manager of Jeff “Oly” Olson, original drummer of doom-metal legends Trouble. Moreover, Las Cruces is currently entertaining new record labels as well as scheduling a summer 2013 U.S. tour. Tour dates will be announced soon.

Guitarist George Trevino founded Las Cruces back in 1994 in San Antonio, Texas and has since made his mark across The Lone Star State and the American doom-metal scene. It’s no wonder why Daniel Bukszpan, author of “The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal,” acknowledges Las Cruces as “one of the genre’s leading proponents.”

Las Cruces‘ current lineup is as follows:
George Trevino – Guitar
Mando Tovar – Guitar
Jimmy Bell – Bass
Paul DeLeon – Drums/Vocals

Tags: , , ,