Posted in Whathaveyou on February 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
Hints were dropped last fall of a return trio to Europe from San Francisco’s Glitter Wizard to herald the arrival of their Hollow Earth Tour full-length and alliance with Italian label Heavy Psych Sounds, and beginning April 8 on the first of several Italian dates, that stint will begin. Its trajectory leads the Californians toward a closeout set at Desertfest Berlin 2017, at which point they’ll have been on the road for three weeks solid, playing in the aforementioned Italy as well as France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium. I say or at least think this about nearly every European tour I see — BECAUSE I’D VERY MUCH LIKE TO TOUR EUROPE, THANK YOU — but it looks like a damn good time.
You’ll find the dates below, snagged from Heavy Psych Sounds on the social medias with all good intentions.
Glitter Wizard – European Tour April 2017
HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records & Booking is very proud to announce the European dates for GLITTER WIZARD
The band will be on tour promoting their latest album “Hollow Earth Tour.”
The tour will feature as last date the mighty Desertfest 2017!!
08.04.2017 IT Pescara-Scumm 09.04.2017 IT Castel D Ario-Hostaria 10.04.2017 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando 11.04.2017 IT Trieste-Tetris 12.04.2017 IT Erba-Centrale Rock 13.04.2017 IT Parma Tba 14.04.2017 FR Eisenheim-Woodstock Guitar Shop 15.04.2017 CH Ins-Schuxenhouse 16.04.2017 CH Olten-Coq D’Or 17.04.2017 DE Karlsrhue-Akk 18.04.2017 BE Liege-La Zone 19.04.2017 DE Stuttgart-Goldmarks 20.04.2017 AT Innsbruck-Pmk 21.04.2017 AT Bludenz-Villa K 22.04.2017 IT Caldaro-Kuba 23.04.2017 DE Freiburg-White Rabbit 24.04.2017 CH Basel-Swartze Erle 25.04.2017 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse 26.04.2017 CH St Gallen-Rumpeltum 27.04.2017 DE Cottbus-Zum Faulen August 28.04.2017 DE Erfurt-Tiko 29.04.2017 DE Berlin-Desert Fest
Glitter Wizard: WENDY STONEHENGE: “Master of Ceremonies,” vocals / flute / lyrics / piano LORFIN TERRAFOR: “Minister of defense,” guitar / vocals / piano / percussion / bong KANDI MOON: “Ambassador to Hollow Earth,” bass / vocals / acoustic & electric guitar / piano FANCY CYMBALLS: “Minister of Transportation,” drums / tecate DOUG GRAVES: “Minister of Records,” keys / synth / organ / violin / vocals
Posted in Reviews on February 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
Considering how much of Ben Chasny‘s approach in the nearly 20 years he’s operated under the banner of Six Organs of Admittance has been experimental — from solo-crafted noise drones to full-band psychedelic blowouts on various albums, limited releases, one-off collaborations, and so on — it doesn’t seem fair to think of his latest outing, Burning the Threshold, as some kind of “return to roots,” but it does represent a marked realignment of his sound. Burning the Threshold arrives via Drag City as the follow-up to 2015’s Hexadic (review here) and 2016’s Hexadic II, which served as a vehicle for a complex, mathematical, somewhat opaque (to my caveman brain) method of composition of Chasny‘s own devising — he wrote a book about it as well — and were arguably his most progressive and conceptual offerings the guitarist also known for Comets on Fire, Rangda, August Born, and so on, has put forth.
Unsurprisingly, as Chasny moves away from the Hexadic system at least for the time being and shifts toward a more straightforward songwriting style, his material seems far less angular and far more accessible. At an unassuming nine tracks/40 minutes, Burning the Threshold breathes out richly melodic folk, tinged with psychedelia particularly on “Taken by Ascent” in a way that pieces like “Close to the Sky” from 2012’s Ascent (review here), or the tense title-track of 2007’s Shelter from the Ash have dared to be — the album between, 2009’s Luminous Night, looked more toward Easternisms for its psych explorations, when it wasn’t droning out — including arrangements of drums, bass and guitar, but the core of Six Organs of Admittance is Chasny as the auteur.
Where the Hexadic records were more of a display for the system itself — not to say they weren’t expressive, but in a different manner — Burning the Threshold reemphasizes the human such that pieces like “Under Fixed Stars” or the instrumental “Around the Axis” in the album’s midsection feel burn of folk traditions despite remaining forward thinking. If that isn’t the definition of “neo-folk,” it should be, but whatever one calls it, the execution is Chasny‘s own and will be immediately recognizable as such to those who’ve followed him from releases like the aforementioned Shelter from the Ash or the earlier The Sun Awakens (2006), School of the Flower (2005) and Compathia (2003). He’s not recreating those sounds, varied as they were, but moving ahead with perhaps a similar foundation. The sweetness of opener “Things as They Are” comes across as a marked statement of intent; immediately Burning the Threshold is a return to reality, even with its chorus about angels and moral portrait of the universe.
Followed by “Adoration Song,” which along with gorgeous layers of self-harmonized singing subtly introduces backing vocals, electric guitar, bass and drums that will be pivotal later on “Taken by Ascent,” the beginning of the record is as wonderfully immersive as only a sigh of relief can be. As he guides listeners through the tracklist, the short, acoustic-only instrumental piece “Reservoir” leading to the aforementioned, more fleshed out pairing of “Under Fixed Stars” and “Around the Axis,” Chasny seems to bask in the brightness he’s creating, such that “Adoration Song” and “Under Fixed Stars” exude patience bordering on the meditative; an aural stop for rose-smelling, maybe. Like the best of his work and others still to come here as well, these songs are progressive and affecting as well, familiar and strikingly new, and as the bouncing bassline of “Around the Axis” fills the space beneath the acoustic guitar with a tonal warmth not to be understated, Six Organs of Admittance sounds very much like a project come home to find its footing.
Such evocation is nothing new for Chasny, and I’ll allow my interpretation could be way off — certainly happened before — but even as the buzz of “Taken by Ascent” pushes outward into a standout hook with Chasny joined on vocals by Hayley Fohr, Chris Corsano on drums and Cooper Crain, breaking at almost exactly its midpoint and moving into a smooth instrumental psych-jam (again, the low end resonates), there seems to be a search for serenity happening. That continues as “Threshold of Light,” which is as close as we get to a title-track here, picks up with its swirling vocal effects and more earthbound acoustic figure, both vaguely ritualized. The second half of “Taken by Ascent” is hypnotic enough that just about any transition away from it would be jarring, but “Threshold of Light” presents a calm psychedelic folk, with vocals playing forward lines off chants and repetition that underscore a spiritual sensibility. If this indeed is the threshold that’s burning, one is left to wonder why as the keyboard flourish arrives late in a kind of soothing revelation, but not having it explained outright seems to fit with the notion the album originally proffered: it’s things as they are.
A resurgent bounce in the finger-plucked instrumental “St. Eustace” makes that track the third in a pastoral trilogy — arranged from shortest to longest — with “Reservoir” and “Around the Axis,” while the title references the Roman saint whose trials included the loss of his children to wolves and lions and being burned alive in a bronze statue. Hardly as uplifting as the redemption one hears in Chasny‘s guitar, but the closer, “Reflection” keeps to the theme in pleading, “Please, please peace,” amid repetitions of “Dull, abstract aching…” and so on atop wistful lines of acoustic strum and airy electrified notes. If one looks at Burning the Threshold as two vinyl sides with the split occurring between “Around the Axis” and “Taken by Ascent” — the latter leading off side B — then the second half seems to dig into more personal territory compared to “Things as They Are,” which is a more external parable. This progression toward inner emotionalism gives Six Organs of Admittance‘s latest a linear trajectory despite how far-out it goes in terms of sound, and the intimacy and depth of communication that emerges from it is perhaps what ties Burning the Threshold most to the body of Chasny‘s formidable catalog, to which these songs are a welcome addition.
Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold (2017)
It’s short at about two and a half minutes, but with their new video, San Francisco-based trio Hornss seem to stake a direct claim on their desert heritage. The clip for the low-end-centric groover cut “Manzanita” was put together by guitarist/vocalist Mike Moracha, and it finds its summary moment at the very end of the track, when we see bassist/vocalist Nick Nava standing in front of an impossibly open landscape, holding his Rickenbacker aloft, possibly in an offering, possibly as his means of conquer. Hard to know which, but in the brief span of the video, which features a swath of manipulated footage of the three-piece of Moracha, Nava and drummer Bil Bowman hanging out in what one assumes is the Palm Springs area, Hornss engage a desert vibe in a manner fitting for the song itself, which takes its name from the manzanita plant that grows there.
Hornss released their second album, Telepath (review here), last year via STB Records and Ripple Music. The answer back to 2014’s No Blood No Sympathy (review here), it furthered the sometimes-raw-and-punkish/sometimes-rolling-and-nodding spirit of the first outing while keeping to an overarching thrust that was without pretense and full in its sound, despite coming across as organic to a live experience. Shit was heavy, in other words. What it wasn’t, necessarily, was desert rock in the way one commonly thinks of languid fuzz or post-Kyuss riffery. Nonetheless, as Moracha and Nava both trace their roots back to the desert band Solarfeast — they’re also featured in the Lo Sound Desert documentary (review here); Bowman‘s path to Hornss seems to have been more roundabout — they don’t by any means owe some explanation for why they’re there (could’ve been seeing family for all I know) or why they’d still consider that area an important element in what they do, despite currently being based in the Bay Area.
That duality — the push and pull of home — I think is something to which I think anyone who’s moved from one area to another can probably relate. We could have a whole conversation about what it means to be “from a place,” but probably better to just let Hornss explain their side of things with the video itself. Their argument is admirably concise where, rest assured, my own would not be.
This coming Saturday, Jan. 21, Hornss play Bender’s Bar and Grill in San Francisco with Fatso Jetson and BigPig. More info on that show is available at the Thee Facebooks event page listed under the video itself, which you’ll find below.
Hornss, “Manzanita” official video
HORNSS have gained a worldwide reputation among the stoner rock and doom scene, taking the stage with fellow heavy hitters such as Ufomammut, YOB, Windhand, Bang, Black Cobra, Fatso Jetson, Lord Dying, Naam and Elder. They also co-headlined a successful 2014 European tour with Vancouver’s Black Wizard.
Telepath is the follow-up to the band’s acclaimed debut album, No Blood, No Sympathy, released in 2013 on Riding Easy Records. Recorded by Tim Green (Saviours, Melvins, KARP, Comets on Fire, Hot Lunch), the guys recorded this one directly to analog tape at Green’s Louder Studios in Grass Valley, CA.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 7th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
This is the time of year that kind of has me randomly scouring social media accounts and websites of artists I dig looking for signs of impending new music. It just so happens that I visited the Six Organs of Admittance page last week and found an update from Ben Chasny saying he’d finished work on a new record, so yeah, Six Organs was already included in my notes for the inevitable Most Anticipated of 2017 list, but it’s cool to get a name for the impending — Burning the Threshold — as well as a confirmed Feb. 24 release date through Drag City and, best of all, new audio in the form of the seven-minute “Taken by Ascent,” into which I’d encourage you to dig below. Seriously. Hit that up.
Chasny has spent the last year-plus with Six Organs of Admittance pursuing the elusive limits of his own Hexadic songwriting system, as first explored on 2015’s Hexadic (review here) and then subsequently on the complementary Hexadic II, but Burning the Threshold seems to be a return to a more grounded approach. You’ll note the acoustic foundation of “Taken by Ascent,” but that’s hardly the limit of the arrangement, which winds up working in keys, acoustic strum and leads, drums, bass, and so on, for a full-band feel that maintains the serenity of its opening even as it continues to expand into psychedelic see-you-later-ism.
Really, you should hit that up.
Art, info, tour dates and whatnot from the PR wire:
Six Organs Of Admittance announces new LP Burning The Threshold for Drag City; record release show in London
Six Organs of Admittance’s recent output has been a fascinating exercise in relinquished control, as Ben Chasny spread the word of his Hexadic system of musical composition by creating two albums according to its principles. Now, for the first time since 2012’s Ascent, Chasny is restoring his authorship of Six Organs of Admittance, and Drag City will be releasing the brand new full length record Burning The Threshold on February 24th – and to mark the occasion, there will be a special show at London’s St Pancras Old Church on 22nd of February.
As ever, a head full of ideas were driving Chasny to think and speak music as a spirituality superimposed onto a reality, with the ghosts of both whispering at each other. In the end, what sits in our listening ears is the sound of communion. Nobody plays acoustic music quite like Six Organs of Admittance, and Burning the Threshold brings a wealth of his established lightness into one of his sweetest musical meditations yet.
Ben is in a particularly expansive mood this time around, singing and playing with all the thoughts affixed to a quiver of potent melodies launching forth and arcing out through dimensions, seeking infinite space. This space radiates out from the album’s first single, “Taken By Ascent”, a seven minute plus burner that engulfs the surrounding realm with empathetic waves. Featuring resounding vocals by Hayley Fohr, polished drumming provided by Chris Corsano and flourishing keys by Cooper Crain; “Taken By Ascent” fervidly pushes Six Organs of Admittance into new and thrilling territory.
With this new music, Ben Chasny has created a potent tonic for our times. Looking at the world through clear eyes beneath a knitted brow, but with a laugh rising up from its heart, Burning the Threshold brings us a powerful draught of essence.
SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE – RECORD RELEASE SHOW Wednesday February 22nd at St. Pancras Old Church in London
SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE – US TOUR 02/03/17 – Vancouver, BC at The Cobalt 03/03/17 – Seattle, WA at Fremont Abbey Arts Center 04/03/17 – Portland, OR at Bunk Bar 06/03/17 – San Francisco, CA at The Chapel 07/03/17 – Los Angeles, CA at Bootleg Bar 08/03/17 – San Diego, CA at Soda Bar 23-26/03/17 – Knoxville, TN Big Ears Festival – TBD date 28/03/17 – Atlanta, GA at The Earl 29/03/17 – Asheville, NC at Mothlight 30/03/17 – Raleigh, NC at Kings 31/03/17 – Washington, DC at DC9 01/04/17 – Brooklyn, NY at Union Pool 02/04/17 – Boston, MA at Great Scott 03/04/17 – Portland, ME at Space Gallery 05/04/17 – Philadelphia, PA at Johnny Brenda’s 06/04/17 – Pittsburgh, PA at Club Cafe 07/04/17 – Cleveland, OH at Beachland Tavern 08/04/17 – Detroit, MI at Third Man Records 09/04/17 – Chicago, IL at Empty Bottle 10/04/17 – Minneapolis, MN at 7th St. Entry 12/04/17 – Milwaukee, WI at Collectivo Coffee 14/04/17 – St. Louis, MO at Duck Room at Blueberry Hill 15/04/17 – Louisville, KY at Zanzabar
When The Watchers announced earlier this year they had signed to Ripple Music, they did so with the release of a new video, so it’s only fitting their debut EP should arrive accompanied by one as well. “Sabbath Highway” is the opener and title-cut of the Bay Area heavy rockers’ five-tracker, and its meld of oldschool metal and West Coast-style stoner hooks could hardly make for a better introduction to the band’s straightforward and classic modus. Little need for frills when you can come up with a title like “Sabbath Highway.” Who the hell doesn’t want to drive down that? Hell, I wouldn’t even set my GPS. Just go ahead and get lost. Doesn’t matter. Take the Sabbath Highway to the 101. Good to go.
Sabbath Highway came out via Ripple on Nov. 4. On Halloween, it was announced here that The Watchers would take part in Maryland Doom Fest 2017 alongside The Skull, Bang, Borracho and a ton of others, very vew of whom will travel as far to get to Frederick. I think Beastmaker might be the only competition in that regard, but again, it all depends which highway you take. The Watchers have made public their inention to tour around that appearance, which seems reasonable given the distance. Will keep you posted when I hear more or when/if I see dates announced before next June, when MDDF17 is set to take place.
Till then, enjoy a trip down the “Sabbath Highway” below:
The Watchers, “Sabbath Highway” official video
Gathering together an impressive cast of seasoned players with vocalist Tim Narducci and bassist Cornbread (SpiralArms, White Witch Canyon), Orchid drummer Carter Kennedy and guitarist Jeremy Von Eppic (Black Gates, The Venting Machine) The Watchers is an out-and-out super group of musicians’ musicians and a fitting addition to Ripple Music’s ever growing roster.
After peddling some killer and powerful riffs earlier in year on their Evel Knievel-inspired video for ‘Today’, the band returns with the title track from Sabbath Highway.
The Watchers: Tim Narducci – Vocals Jeremy Von Eppic – Guitars Cornbread – Bass Carter Kennedy – Drums
Posted in Reviews on October 7th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
Last day. As ever, I am mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted by this process, but as ever, it’s been worth it. Today I do myself a couple favors in packing out with more familiar acts, but whatever, it’s all stuff I should be covering anyway, so if the order bothers you, go write your own 50 reviews in a week and we can talk about it. Yeah, that’s right. That’s what I said. Today we start with Swans. Everything’s a confrontation.
Once again, I hope you’ve found something somewhere along this bizarre, careening path of music that has resonated with you, something that will stick with you. That’s why we’re here. You and me. If you have, I’d love to know about it. Until then, one more time here we go.
Quarterly Review #41-50:
Swans, The Glowing Man
Oh fucking please. You want me to try to summarize The Glowing Man – the culmination and finale of an era of Swans that Michael Gira began now more than half a decade ago – in a single review? Even putting aside the fact that the record two hours long, the notion is ridiculous. If there ever was a chart, the scope here is well off it. The material unfolds and churns and is primal and lush at once on “Cloud of Forgetting,” genuinely chaotic on the 28-minute title-track, and it ends with a drone lullaby, but seriously, what the fuck? Some shit is just beyond, and if you don’t know that applies to Swans by now, it’s your own fault. You want a review? Fine. I listened to the whole thing. It ate my fucking soul, chewed it with all-canine teeth and then spit it out saying “thanks for the clarity” and left me dazed, bloodied and humbled. There’s your fucking review. Thanks for reading.
Oslo trio Virus have long since established that they’re a band working on their own wavelength. Memento Collider (on Karisma Records) is the jazzy post-black metallers’ first album in five years and brings together adventurous rhythms, poetic declarations, dissonant basslines and – in the case of “Rogue Fossil,” the occasional hook – in ways that are unique unto Virus. Look at this site and see how often I use the word “unique.” It doesn’t happen. Virus, however, are one of a kind. Memento Collider makes for a challenging listen front to back on its six-track/45-minute run, but it refuses to dumb itself down or dull its progressive edge, bookending its longest (that’s opener “Afield” at 10:41; immediate points) two tracks around jagged explorations of sound like “Steamer” and “Gravity Seeker,” which engage and intrigue in kind after the melodic push of “Dripping into Orbit” and leading into “Phantom Oil Slick,” a righteous affirmation of the angular thrust at the core of Virus’ approach.
In 2010, Moscow troupe The Re-Stoned issued their first EP, Return to the Reptiles, and being obviously concerned with evolution, they’ve now gone back and revisited that debut release with Reptiles Return, a reworking of the four studio tracks that made up the initial version – “Return,” “Run,” “The Mountain Giant” and “Sleeping World.” The opener is a straight re-recording, as is one other, where another is remixed and the other two remastered, and Reptiles Return – which is presented on limited vinyl through Clostridium Records and a CD box set with bonus tracks via Rushus Records – pairs them with more psychedelic-minded soundscape pieces like “Winter Witchcraft,” “Walnut Talks,” the proggy “Flying Clouds” and sweetly acoustic “Roots Patter,” that showcase where founding multi-instrumentalist Ilya Lipkin is taking the band going forward. The result is a satisfying side A/B split on the vinyl that delights in heavy riffing for its own sake in the first half and expands the scope in the second, which should delight newcomers as well as those who’ve followed The Re-Stoned along this evolutionary process.
It may well be the fate of San Francisco’s hard-touring, ass-kicking, genre-refusing duo Castle to be terminally underappreciated, but that has yet to stop them from proliferating their righteous blend of thrash, doom and classic, fistpump-worthy metal. Their latest outing, Welcome to the Graveyard, arrives via respected purveyor Ván Records, and entices in atmosphere and execution, cohesively built tracks like “Hammer and the Cross” and the penultimate “Down in the Cauldron Bog” finding a balance of personality and delivery that the band has long since honed on stage. The Dio-esque barnburner riff of “Flash of the Pentagram” makes that cut a highlight, but as they roll out the cultish vibes of “Natural Parallel” to close, there doesn’t seem to be much on the spectrum of heavy metal that doesn’t fit into Castle’s wheelhouse. For some bands, there’s just no justice. Four records deep, Castle have yet to get their due, and Welcome to the Graveyard is further proof of why they deserve it.
One can hear a new wave of modern doom taking shape in Chained to Oblivion, the Prosthetic Records debut from Arizona one-man outfit Spirit Adrift. The work of Nate Garrett alone in the studio, the full-length offers five mostly-extended tracks as a 48-minute 2LP of soaring, emotional and psychedelic doom à la Pallbearer, but given even further breadth through progressively atmospheric passages and a marked flow in its transitions. To call it personal seems superfluous – it’s a one-man band, of course it’s personal – but Garrett (also formerly of metallers Take Over and Destroy) brings a palpable sense of performance to the songwriting, and by the time he gets to the 11-minutes-apiece finale duo of the title-track and “Hum of Our Existence,” it’s easy to forget you’re not actually listening to a full band, not the least because of the vocal harmonies. Calling Chained to Oblivion a promising first outing would be underselling it – this is a project with serious potential.
Unpredictable from the start of opener “Flesh ‘n’ Steel,” Once upon the Wings is a first-time multinational collaborative effort from Robbi Robb of California’s 3rd Ear Experience and Paul Pott of Germany’s The Space Invaders. Its five tracks/42 minutes arrive through no less than Nasoni Records, and provide a curious and exploratory blend of the organic and the inorganic in sound, as one finds the 11-minute “Grass” no less defined by its percussion solo, guitar line and ‘60s-style vocal than the electronic drums that underscore the layered wash of noise in its midsection. Further definition hits with the 16-minute centerpiece “Prophecy #1,” which works in a space-rocking vein, but the shorter closing duo of the catchy “Looney Toon” and darkly progressive “Space Ear” show a creative bent that clearly refuses to be tamed. Robb & Pott, as a project, demonstrates remarkable potential throughout this debut, as they seem to have set no limits for where they want their sound to go and they seem to have the command to take it there.
Most of the tracks on Brooklyn progressive noise rockers Family’s second album and Prosthetic Records debut, Future History, come paired with interludes. That cuts some of the growling intensity of winding pieces like “Funtime for Bigboy” and “Floodgates,” and emphasizes the generally experimental spirit of the record as a whole, broadening the scope in sound and theme. I’m somewhat torn as to how much this actually works to the 51:50 outing’s benefit, as shorter pieces like “Prison Hymn” and “Transmission,” while adding dynamic to the sound and narrative drama, also cut the immediacy in impact of “The Trial” or closer “Bone on Bone,” but it’s entirely possible that without them Future History would be an overwhelming tumult of raw prog metal. And while the play back and forth can feel cumbersome when one considers how effectively “Night Vision” bridges the gap between sides, I’m not sure that’s not what Family were going for in the first place. It’s not supposed to be an easy record, and it isn’t one.
France’s Les Discrets haven’t had a studio offering since 2012’s Ariettes Oubliées (review here), and while they released Live at Roadburn (review here) last year documenting their 2013 set at that festival, there’s little there that might presage the stylistic turn the Fursy Teyssier-led outfit takes on their new EP, Virée Nocturne (on Prophecy Productions). With four tracks – two new, complete recordings, one demo and the last a remix of the opener by Dälek and Deadverse – Les Discrets attempt to find a stylistic middle ground between post-rock and trip-hop, and for the most part, they get there. “Virée Nocturne” itself leads off and can be jarring on first listen, but successfully blends the lush melodicism for which the band is known with electronic-driven beats, and both “Capricorni. Virginis. Corvi” and even the demo “Le Reproche” continue to build on this bold shift. The finale remix adds over two minutes to “Virée Nocturne,” but uses that time to make it even more spacious and all the more immersive. For anyone who thought they might’ve had Les Discrets figured out, the surprise factor here should be palpable.
Presented across four tracks beginning with the 12-minute and longest-of-the-bunch (immediate points) “The Corpse of Dr. Funkenstein” (double points for the reference), II, the aptly-titled second album from Liquido di Morte expands the progressive atmospherics of the Italian four-piece’s 2014 self-titled debut (review here) without losing sight of the performance and spirit of exploration that helped bring it to life. Isaak’s Giacomo H. Boeddu guests on brooding vocals and whispers for “The Saddest of Songs I’ll Sing for You,” which swells in seething intensity as it moves forward, while “Rodents on the Uphill” casts a vision of post-space rock and closer “Schwartz Pit” rounds out with crash and wash that seems only to draw out how different the two halves of II actually are. Not a complaint. Liquido di Morte make their way across this vast span with marked fluidity, and if they prove anything throughout, it’s that they’re able to keep their command wherever they feel like using it to go.
Canberra, Australia, trio Witchskull initially released their debut full-length, The Vast Electric Dark, last year, and caught the attention of the cross-coastal US partnership between Ripple Music and STB Records, who now align for a reissue of the eight-tracker. Why is quickly apparent. In addition to having earned a fervent response, The Vast Electric Dark basks in quality songcraft and doomly, heavy vibes, keeping a consistent pace while rolling through the semi-metallic push of “Raise the Dead” or the later rumble/shred of “Cassandra’s Curse.” All the while, guitarist/vocalist Marcus De Pasquale provides a steady presence at the fore alongside bassist Tony McMahon and drummer Joel Green, and what’s ultimately still a straightforward rocker of an album finds a niche for itself between varies underground styles of heavy. Between the balance they strike across their 37 minutes and the energy that courses through their songs, Witchskull’s The Vast Electric Dark proves easily worth the look it’s getting.
Tonight begins heavy duo Castle‘s latest European tour. Less than a week ago, they finished a run that took them coast to coast in Canada, rounding out in Toronto on Sept. 30. A little while after they return from overseas, they’ll do the West Coast with Mos Generator. After that? Japan.
If you don’t respect the living shit out of that, then I don’t know what you’re doing on this site.
To mark the occasion of Castle ending one tour and starting another, they today present a new video for “Down in the Cauldron Bog.” The track comes from 2016’s Welcome to the Graveyard (review pending, by which I mean it’ll be up with the batch on Friday), which was released by respected purveyor Ván Records in the dead heat of summer. The hard-touring outfit had of course already crossed coasts by then, appearing at Maryland Doom Fest (review here) at the end of June to sear the crowd with their signature blend of thrash, classic metal, eerie vibes and doom. The album, unsurprisingly, represents those perfectly as well.
And “Down in the Cauldron Bog” definitely shows it. With death as the central theme for its imagery, the track offers hooks, shred, groove and melody all in kind, all in a package of songwriting that most bands would collapse on themselves even trying to replicate. I’m sorry, but after seeing them live this summer, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to talk about Castle again without thinking of them as being woefully underappreciated (I know the review certainly doesn’t; keep an eye out for it), and if you don’t believe me, just do yourself a favor and really dig into Welcome to the Graveyard and go catch them when they invariably roll through wherever you live, if not on this tour, then the next one or the one after that. They’ll get there sooner or later, no doubt.
Some comment from the band on the track and video and the upcoming tour dates follow the clip below.
Castle, “Down in the Cauldron Bog” official video
Castle on “Down in the Cauldron Bog”:
“It’s fitting that we’re releasing the video for ‘Down in the Cauldron Bog’ as we kick off our European tour, since we actually wrote it while we were here in Europe last year. It was the first track we wrote for the new album and was really the catalyst that set the mood musically. The haunted melody seemed to come from the landscape and the inspiration for the words were from a book we were reading at the time, The Bog People. That idea mushroomed into a larger concept of death and rebirth that we used throughout the album and also serves as a backdrop to the video.”
Video directed by Jaan Silmberg for Pistoltrixx.
CASTLE European Tour Dates: 5.10 Prague, CZ – Modra Vopice 6.10 Budapest, HG – Durer Kert 7.10 Bucharest, RO – Old Grave Fest V 8.10 Volos, GR – Lab Art 9.10 Athens, GR – Death Disco 11.10 Parma, IT – Titty Twister * 12.10 Milan, IT – Lo Fi Club * 13.10 Freiburg, DE – White Rabbit Club * 14.10 Kassel, DE – Hammerschmeide * 15.10 Tilburg, NL – Little Devil * 16.10 Antwerp, BE – Desertfest Belgium 17.10 Aachen, DE – AZ * 18.10 Berlin, DE – Urban Spree 19.10 Olten, CH – Coq d’Or 20.10 Leipzig, DE – UT Connewitz (w/ Conan) 21.10 Hamburg, DE – Bambi Galore 22.10 Gothenburg, SE – Truckstop Alaska ^ 23.10 Copenhagen, DK – KB18 ^ 25.10 Gottingen, DE – Freihafen 26.10 Weimar, DE – Gerber3 27.10 Wroclaw, PL – Ciemna Strona Miasta 28.10 Poznan, PL – U Bazyla 29.10 Zielona Gora – Jazzkino * w/ Universe217 ^ w/ Year of the Goat
CASTLE w/ MOS GENERATOR: 11/25/2016 Funhouse – Seattle, WA 11/26/2016 The Shakedown – Bellingham, WA w/ Year Of The Cobra 11/27/2016 Obsidian – Olympia, WA w/ Year Of The Cobra 11/28/2016 High Water Mark – Portland, OR 11/29/2016 Old Nick’s – Eugene, OR 11/30/2016 G Street – Grant’s Pass, OR 12/01/2016 Thee Parkside – San Francisco, CA 12/02/2016 Blue Lagoon – Santa Cruz, CA 12/03/2016 The Garage – Ventura, CA 12/04 /2016The Complex – Los Angeles, CA
CASTLE w/ Guevnna: 12/08/2016 El Puente – Yokohama, JP 12/09/2016 Earthdo – Tokyo, JP 12/10/2016Osaka – Hokage, JP 12/11/2016 Huck Finn – Nagoya, JP 12/12/2016 Ruby Room – Tokyo, JP
High on Fire just keep killing it. To the point that it’s almost moot to say so. I mean, of course they’re killing it. That’s what they do. They find it, they kill it. They’ve got a tour coming up alongside Sweden’s Meshuggah, and from where I sit the pairing couldn’t be more appropriate even though the two bands don’t have much in common sonically beyond basic onslaught of volume. They’re both among the most important metal bands of their generation, and they’ve both cast a net of influence that ranges years and knows no borders. They’ll invariably draw different crowds. Will the djent types get the raw force with which High on Fire present themselves on stage? Will the beer-guzzlers be able to keep up with Meshuggah‘s algorithmic patterns? At the end of the night, it won’t matter. Every room will be flattened.
To the issue at hand: High on Fire have a new video for “The Black Plot,” which comes from their 2015 album, Luminiferous (review here). That record was arguably the band’s most furious yet, but also found them delving into a more melodic approach and expanding on what they do in a few key ways, building on the foundation of intensity that has only come to sustain them more and more. Well, “The Black Plot” is less about that than straight-up pummel, but fortunately, that’s also a pretty excellent representation of what the band is all about. And as to the clip itself, it’s by Skinner and Hey Beautiful Jerk and it’s suitably insane. You can watch it for yourself and see if you can keep up. I’m not sure I can.
Tour dates and comment via the PR wire follow the video below. Enjoy:
High on Fire, “The Black Plot” official video
HIGH ON FIRE Unleashes “The Black Plot” Animated Video
Power Trio’s Critically Acclaimed Albums ‘Snakes for the Divine’, ‘De Vermis Mysteriis’ and ‘Luminiferous’ See Limited Edition Cassette Release
World-renowned heavy metal power trio HIGH ON FIRE has premiered a new music video for the song “The Black Plot”. Created by Skinner and Hey Beautiful Jerk, “The Black Plot” video, which made its broadcast debut on Adult Swim, is an animated tour de force and a wild psychedelic fantasy epic. “The Black Plot” is taken from HIGH ON FIRE’s latest album, Luminiferous.
“I wanted to make an animated short film with Hey Beautiful Jerk, I just didn’t know how completely crazy it would get,” says Skinner. “At first I thought we should do a real simple story with action fights to wear down the timing a little bit. But then I thought, fuck it, here’s a super complicated story with a million characters and it’s off the wall crazy and shit. Wanna do it?”
“This has definitely been the most challenging and the most rewarding project in the history of Hey Beautiful Jerk,” adds the team of Mark Szumski and Gina Niespodziani. “Creatively, we did not make many concessions and we really pushed ourselves to see how far we could take this thing. It worked.”
Additionally, HIGH ON FIRE’s celebrated albums Snakes for the Divine, De Vermis Mysteriis and the aforementioned Luminiferous, are available on cassette for the very first time via eOne. The cassettes, released as a limited edition bundle pack, can be purchased now, at this location.
HIGH ON FIRE will tour North America this fall as direct support to Sweden’s Meshuggah. The titanic team-up will kick off on October 11 in Atlanta, GA, running through November 6 in Silver Spring, MD.
HIGH ON FIRE tour dates: September 25 San Francisco, CA Stinky’s al Fresco (w / Meshuggah) October 11 Atlanta, GA Tabernacle October 12 St. Louis, MO The Pageant October 13 Nashville, TN Marathon Music Works October 14 Pensacola, FL Vinyl Music Hall October 15 New Orleans, LA Tipitina’s (* HIGH ON FIRE only) October 16 Houston, TX House of Blues October 17 Dallas, TX House of Blues October 19 Los Angeles, CA The Novo October 24 Denver, CO Ogden Theatre October 25 Lawrence, KS Liberty Hall October 26 Minneapolis, MN Mill City Nights October 27 Rock Island, IL Rock Island Brewing Company (* HIGH ON FIRE only) October 28 Chicago, IL House of Blues October 29 Detroit, MI The Majestic October 30 Toronto, ON Phoenix Concert Theatre October 31 Montreal, QC Metropolis November 1 Ottawa, ON Mavericks (* HIGH ON FIRE only) November 2 Boston, MA House of Blues November 3 New York, NY PlayStation Theatre November 4 Philadelphia, PA Trocadero Theatre November 5 Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom November 6 Silver Spring, MD The Fillmore