Review & Track Premiere: Saint Vitus, Saint Vitus

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

saint vitus saint vitus

[Click play above to stream ‘Bloodshed’ from Saint Vitus’ upcoming self-titled album, out May 17 on Season of Mist. They’re on tour in Europe starting next month (dates here).]

Some 35 years ago, Saint Vitus defied the punk scene to which they mostly played at the time and issued their self-titled debut, an all-black cover with the band’s logo emblazoned on top, as though there was nothing else to say. And the raw doom that pervaded that 1984 release met that same barebones standard — as purely derived Sabbathian heavy as has ever existed outside the forebears themselves. With an undercurrent of hardcore punk’s upfront middle-finger-raised confrontation-prone attitude, Saint Vitus became one of modern doom’s formative and essential acts. They’ve come and gone over the years since and changed members and shape, but Saint Vitus are still Saint Vitus, and that would seem to be the message of their second self-titled release.

Also their third outing for Season of Mist behind 2012’s comeback studio offering Lillie: F-65 (review here) and 2016’s Live Vol. 2 (review here), it immediately enters conversation with the band’s earliest days thanks as well to the return of vocalist Scott Reagers, who rejoined the band in 2015 after a split with Scott “Wino” Weinrich (The Obsessed, etc.) — who had fronted the band since their reunion began at Roadburn Festival in 2009 — thereby keeping the proportion of original members in the band to two, as guitarist Dave Chandler remains the core of the group, while drummer Henry Vasquez (also Blood of the Sun) marks a decade with the group and bassist Pat Bruders (also Down, ex-Crowbar) makes his first appearance. For Reagers, it’s his first time fronting Vitus for a studio record since 1995’s Die Healing (discussed here), which was the band’s final LP until the 2012 reunion release. That makes the new Saint Vitus — a candidate for all manner of nicknames taken from its cover art, whether it’s ‘The Fog Album,’ ‘The Murk Album’ (I like that one), ‘Grey Vitus’ or any number of others — all the more an event than it even would be arriving seven years after Lillie: F-65, and as it brings the band back together with producer Tony Reed (also of Mos Generator), its nine-track/41-minute run succeeds both in capturing the feel of classic Vitus and pushing their sound to places it hasn’t yet gone in the 40 years they’ve been a band.

Two examples to that point, both late in the album: “City Park” and “Useless.” Following the swaying noise/crashfest of “Hour Glass,” “City Park” is not at all the first time Chandler has taken on the vocalist position in the band — one recalls “Just Another Notch” from Die Healing and “A Timeless Tale” from 1992’s C.O.D. (discussed here), as well as “When Emotion Dies” from 1990’s landmark V, and so on — and of those, it’s probably most akin to “When Emotion Dies,” but “City Park” is on a different mission. Its noise is set to the purpose of atmospherics and drama in a way that Saint Vitus have never done before, and Chandler‘s spoken word, almost a whisper, is dark and narrative and backed by guitar noise in an experimentalist way that makes the four-minute piece much more than just an introduction to the subsequent “Last Breath,” which serves as a six-and-a-half-minute culmination of Saint Vitus‘ doomed persona, with a signature riff and lumbering groove and Reagers telltale vibrato over top.

“City Park” sets out to embody that murk on the cover, that feeling of unease of being alone someplace in the darkness with a shapeless and probably imaginary malevolence. “It might be illusion,” Chandler speculates. Indeed it might, but “City Park” is one example of Saint Vitus trying something new for them. At the same time, after “Last Breath” has answered back to the filthy churn and tension of album-opener “Remains” — sure to be a crowd-pleaser — a feedback introduction to album finale “Useless” takes up 13 of a total 91 seconds of what’s both the fastest and most outwardly punk rock song Saint Vitus have ever written. Gang shouts, blazing speed, and a social comment lyric that reminds of early C.O.C., it’s a stripped-raw moment of thrust that, especially in the context of the band’s four decades, seems to be done in good humor. One can almost imagine Chandler introducing it from the stage: “Well it took us 40 years, but we finally wrote a punk song.”

saint vitus

Saint Vitus are no strangers to playing fast. The eponymous track that opened the self-titled is a prime example, or even “Blessed Night” from the last record, but “Useless” goes a step further in a very similar way that “City Park” takes what they’ve done before and brings it to a new level. Even the earlier “A Prelude To…” — which is actually longer than “Bloodshed,” which it would seem to have been composed to introduce — steps beyond the limits of what one might expect from them, with a minimalist creeper of a guitar line and a vocal showcase from Reagers that drifts to about the 2:20 mark before Bruders‘ bassline enters to begin the introduction to “Bloodshed” in earnest. And while “Bloodshed” — arguably the most outwardly catchy inclusion here — and the subsequent “12 Years in the Tomb” both have good speed to their push, the latter finding Chandler taking a particularly noisy solo as Vasquez dutifully holds the track together, they’re still well within Saint Vitus‘ wheelhouse.

Likewise, the mid-tempo centerpiece “Wormhole” — which would seem to be a complement/update in lyrical theme to the opiate-minded “White Stallions” from 1985’s Hallow’s Victim, the band’s second record and the last of Reagers‘ original run with them — does well in fusing faster and slower methods and brings nuance of layered vocals in the verses to standout lines like, “I always feel safe in a sacred place/Far away from the human race,” emphasizing a perspective that is no less quintessentially Vitus than Chandler‘s ultra-low guitar tone, which is not only intact throughout these songs, but reestablished as the foundational component that it is of everything they’ve ever done. Especially as this is the first Saint Vitus full-length not to feature original bassist Mark Adams — whose Parkinson’s diagnosis was revealed last year — Chandler seems all the more the center of what makes the band who they are. That doesn’t, however detract from Reagers‘ performance across this material, as from “Remains” to “Useless” (notwithstanding “City Park”), he brings the most classic feel to the material that ties together the album’s diverse presentation. He surfs the groove of “Bloodshed” like a master and is no less at home among the filth and sleaze of “Hour Glass” than in the lurching final verse of “Last Breath.”

Thus it is a two-pronged righteousness to be found on Saint Vitus‘ Saint Vitus. They bring to bear the sound that’s made their legacy span generations as it has while also pushing themselves to try ways of working they’ve never done before. It’s difficult to look at this album out of the context of Saint Vitus‘ past output, but I’m not entirely sure we’re supposed to. Rather, even the title — or lack thereof — seems to hint at the band coming full circle, both in terms of Chandler and Reagers re-teaming for a studio album, for their ongoing flirtations with punk, and for their reclamation of the style and tone that was so much their own from the very start. Saint Vitus‘ Saint Vitus could stand alone, but it doesn’t have to, and especially considering how much the band has done to shape modern doom, it is all the more admirable that the creative restlessness that drove their earliest days would still be so vibrant these many years later. Why rest on your laurels when you can fully embody the miseries and disaffection of our age?

Saint Vitus, “12 Years in the Tomb”

Saint Vitus on Thee Facebooks

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Saint Vitus website

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Season of Mist website

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Saint Vitus Announce Self-Titled LP out May 17

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

saint vitus

Saint Vitus have never been much for following the rules, so hey, 35 years after making an absolute doom metal landmark in their 1984 self-titled debut, why not put out a new, also-self-titled album with original vocalist Scott Reagers back in the band? Season of Mist, which has been the band’s label home since their 2012 comebacker, Lillie: F-65 (review here), will stand behind the new offering — recorded, like its predecessor, by Tony Reed — and the band will support it on a month-long European tour beginning in April, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the band.

They’re streaming the track “12 Years in the Tomb” right now and as you can hear at the bottom of this post, the deranged style of founding guitarist Dave Chandler and Reagers‘ vocals sound like long lost friends finding each other after years apart. And so they are.

Album’s out May 17. Preorders are up now from the label, which posted the following:

saint vitus saint vitus

Saint Vitus – Saint Vitus

Taken from the album “Saint Vitus”. Release date: May 17, 2019. Order here: http://smarturl.it/SaintVitusShop

Seven years after their epic comeback album, ‘Lillie: F-65’ (2012), legendary doom metal trailblazers SAINT VITUS return with their eponymous new album. The band sees the return of their original vocalist, Scott Reagers, as well as the addition of new bassist Pat Bruders (DOWN, ex-CROWBAR), who join long-time drummer Henry Vasquez and founder/guitarist Dave Chandler. As if in a time machine, the seasoned quartet pick up where their 1985 classic ‘Hallows Victim’ left off. Saint Vitus delivers nothing less than the truest and most enduring representation of original and fundamental doom metal.

Tracklisting:
1. Remains
2. A Prelude to…
3. Bloodshed
4. 12 Years In The Tomb
5. Wormhole
6. Hour Glass
7. City Park
8. Last Breath
9. Useless

Recording: Heavyhead Recording co. Port Orchard, WA (US)
Producer/sound engineer: Tony Reed

SAINT VITUS ’40 F’N Years’ European Tour 2019:
w/ special guest Dopelord unless noted
Apr 3 Gothenburg (SE) @ Sticky Fingers
Apr 4 Stockholm (SE) @ Debaser Strand
Apr 6 Jyväskylä (FI) @ Lutakko
Apr 7 Helsinki (FI) @ On The Rocks
Apr 9 Oslo (NO) @ Blaa
Apr 10 Copenhagen (DK) @ Pumpehuset
Apr 11 Berlin (DE) @ So36
Apr 12 Hamburg (DE) @ Headcrash
Apr 13 Bomal-Sur-Ourthe (BE) @ Durbuy Rock Festival
Apr 14 Dortmund (DE) @ Junkyard
Apr 15 Cologne (DE) @ Luxor
Apr 17 Birmingham (UK) @ Mama Roux
Apr 18 Leeds (UK) @ Brudenell
Apr 19 Glasgow (UK) @ Audio
Apr 20 London (UK) @ The Underworld Camden
Apr 21 Paris (FR) @ Petit Bain
Apr 23 Nantes (FR) @ Le Ferrailleur
Apr 24 Toulouse (FR) @ Le Rex
Apr 25 Barcelona (ES) @ Boveda
Apr 26 Madrid (ES) @ Copernico
Apr 27 Barroselas (PT) @ Swr Metalfest
Apr 28 Bilbao (ES) Kafé @ Antzokia
Apr 20 Fribourg (CH) @ Fri-Son*
May 1 Milan (IT) Circolo @ Circolo Magnolia
May 2 Zurich (CH) @ Dynamo*
May 3 Karlsruhe (DE) @ Dudefest
May 4 Leipzig (DE) @ Ut Connewitz
*No Dopelord

BAND LINE-UP:
David Chandler (guitar)
Scott Reagers (vocals)
Henry Vasquez (drums)
Pat Bruders (bass)

https://www.facebook.com/saintvitusofficial
https://twitter.com/saintvitusband
http://saint-vitus.tumblr.com/
http://www.saintvitusband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
https://www.twitter.com/seasonofmist
http://instagram.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Saint Vitus, “12 Years in the Tomb”

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Saint Vitus Tease New Album; Headed Back to Europe in 2019

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

saint vitus

Could it be a Spring 2019 release for a new Saint Vitus album and the band’s first to be fronted by Scott Reagers since 1995’s Die Healing? Well, I mean, yeah, it could. A March or April release is well enough time away for Season of Mist to get the promo-whatnot rolling for it, and the three words I’m keying into in the band’s short tour announcement below as snagged from social media are: “NEW RECORD READY.” I like the sound of that. Does that mean the thing will necessarily show up in time for the April 3 start of the European run? Not at all. But it means it’s possible, and I’ll take that for the time being.

Vitus celebrate 40 years in 2019, and if you missed word when the band put it out, original bassist Mark Adams has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and a GoFundMe has been set up to help with his medical expenses. Donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/mark-adams-parkinson039s-disease

More on the next Vitus LP when I hear it. Here are the tour dates in the meantime:

saint vitus tour

SAINT VITUS announce headlining European tour

SAINT VITUS have announced new European live dates for April and May 2019. A full list of confirmed shows for the ’40 F’N Years’ trek can be found below.

“NEW RECORD READY TO BLOW YOUR FACE OFF!!!!!!” – Saint Vitus

SAINT VITUS ’40 F’N Years’ European Tour 2019:
w/ special guest Dopelord unless noted
Apr 3 Gothenburg (SE) @ Sticky Fingers
Apr 4 Stockholm (SE) @ Debaser Strand
Apr 6 Jyväskylä (FI) @ Lutakko
Apr 7 Helsinki (FI) @ On The Rocks
Apr 9 Oslo (NO) @ Blaa
Apr 10 Copenhagen (DK) @ Pumpehuset
Apr 11 Berlin (DE) @ So36
Apr 12 Hamburg (DE) @ Headcrash
Apr 13 Bomal-Sur-Ourthe (BE) @ Durbuy Rock Festival
Apr 14 Dortmund (DE) @ Junkyard
Apr 15 Cologne (DE) @ Luxor
Apr 17 Birmingham (UK) @ Mama Roux
Apr 18 Leeds (UK) @ Brudenell
Apr 19 Glasgow (UK) @ Audio
Apr 20 London (UK) @ The Underworld Camden
Apr 21 Paris (FR) @ Petit Bain
Apr 23 Nantes (FR) @ Le Ferrailleur
Apr 24 Toulouse (FR) @ Le Rex
Apr 25 Barcelona (ES) @ Boveda
Apr 26 Madrid (ES) @ Copernico
Apr 27 Barroselas (PT) @ Swr Metalfest
Apr 28 Bilbao (ES) Kafé @ Antzokia
Apr 20 Fribourg (CH) @ Fri-Son*
May 1 Milan (IT) Circolo @ Circolo Magnolia
May 2 Zurich (CH) @ Dynamo*
May 3 Karlsruhe (DE) @ Dudefest
May 4 Leipzig (DE) @ Ut Connewitz
*No Dopelord

BAND LINE-UP:
David Chandler (guitar)
Scott Reagers (vocals)
Henry Vasquez (drums)
Pat Bruders (bass)

https://www.facebook.com/saintvitusofficial
https://twitter.com/saintvitusband
http://saint-vitus.tumblr.com/
http://www.saintvitusband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
https://www.twitter.com/seasonofmist
http://instagram.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Saint Vitus, Die Healing (1995)

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Weedeater Announce December Tour Dates; Out with C.O.C. & Crowbar in Jan./Feb.

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

weedeater

You know the drill by now. Weedeater, touring. Isn’t that just kind of the state of things at this point? Already announced as taking part in a significant chunk of Corrosion of Conformity‘s upcoming run alongside Crowbar and Mothership in January and February, the band has newly unveiled a quickie stint in December that one assumes they’re undertaking in order to help with the expense of holiday shopping? They’re not making their way to a fest or anything, but in all seriousness, I think touring is how Weedeater eat (both weed and actual food, which may or may not contain more weed) at this point, so yeah, they’re sneaking in a few more dates before 2018 ends. This year has already seen them in Europe and across the US, found them hit with tragedy at the passing of drummer Carlos Denogean and beheld their apparent unstoppability in the wake of that. Why wouldn’t they hit the road again for a sweep up to Philly? Maybe they’re big Gritty fans. I know I am.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before — and yes, you have — but here are some Weedeater tour dates from the PR wire:

weedeater dec tour

WEEDEATER announce extensive US tour

Notorious southern metal outfit WEEDEATER have announced an extensive US tour. The trio will undertake a short run of East Coast headline dates in December before joining CORROSION OF CONFORMITY on January 19 to begin a US Tour. A full list of confirmed dates can be found below.

All of WEEDEATER’s albums are now available at fine stores nationwide and online at the WEEDEATER Bandcamp page.

WEEDEATER was formed by front-man/bassist “Dixie” Dave Collins. Following the release of their 2001 debut ‘…And Justice For Y’All’, WEEDEATER immediately established themselves as a force in the U.S. tour circuit and quickly gained notoriety in the American metal scene. In the time since, the band have released three critically-acclaimed albums: ‘Sixteen Tons’ (2002), ‘God Luck And Good Speed’ (2007), and ‘Jason… The Dragon’ (2011), and toured around the world with the likes of DOWN, SAINT VITUS, HIGH ON FIRE, and THE MELVINS, HANK III, EARTH, SUNN O))) and more. The band has played prestigious festivals such as Maryland Deathfest, Hopscotch Festival, Stoned From The Underground, Asymmetry Festival, Roadburn Festival, Hellfest, and many more.

WEEDEATER TOUR DATES
Dec. 5 Chesapeake, VA @ Riffhouse
Dec. 6 Lancaster, PA @ Lizard Lounge
Dec. 7 Pittsburgh, PA @ Cattivo
Dec. 8 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
Dec. 9 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie

WEEDEATER W/ C.O.C., CROWBAR & MOTHERSHIP:
Jan. 19 San Antonio, TX @ Alamo City Music Hall
Jan. 20 Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom
Jan. 21 Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room
Jan. 22 Denver, CO @ Gothic Theater
Jan. 24 Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
Jan. 25 Las Vegas, NV @ Fremont Country Club
Jan. 26 San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick
Jan. 27 Los Angeles, CA @Teragram Ballroom
Jan. 29 San Francisco, CA @ Slims
Jan. 31 Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater
Feb. 1 Seattle, WA @ Neumos
Feb. 2 Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theater
Feb. 4 Edmonton, AB @ Starlite Room
Feb. 5 Calgary, AB @ Marque
Feb. 7 Winnipeg, MB @ Park Theater
Feb. 8 Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line
Feb. 9 Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
Feb. 10 Flint, MI @ Machine Shop
Feb. 12 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
Feb. 13 New York City, NY @ Gramercy Theater

https://www.facebook.com/weedmetal/
https://weedeater.bandcamp.com/
https://www.twitter.com/seasonofmist
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Weedeater, Goliathan (2015)

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Mark Deutrom Sets Jan. 4 Release for The Blue Bird; Streaming “The Happiness Machine”

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

mark deutrom

You know, I could go on about Mark Deutrom‘s career, his history as a solo artist, that time he played bass when the Melvins were good, or the stuff he did in Clown Alley, or with Bellringer — the latter of which is being reissued — but the bottom line is pretty simple: He does good work, you should listen to it. Okay. Fair enough.

His upcoming LP on Season of Mist is called The Blue Bird, and the details for it are out now as well as the streaming song “The Happiness Machine.” I haven’t had the pleasure of digging into the full record yet, but the art deco cover is killing me and the leadoff single — also the penultimate track on the album — is right in line with what Deutrom does best: foster traditionalist songcraft with just an edge of the weird running alongside. If you have the chance, it’s well worth your time.

The cover is by Jennifer Deutrom and the info came down the PR wire. Preorders are up now:

Mark Deutrom The Blue Bird

MARK DEUTROM (ex MELVINS bassist) will release his highly anticipated new album ‘The Blue Bird’ on January 4, 2019. The first work under the Texan’s own name in almost six years, ‘The Blue Bird’ is a full album listening experience; it explores melody, space, nuance, and volume as it flows from track-to-track like a prismatic audio storybook. From the classic unconventional heaviness of tracks such as “The Happiness Machine”, to the fever dream haziness of the “Somnambulist”, through the moody “The Day Has Come”, Deutrom moves from strength to strength without ever letting his foot off the gas. ‘The Blue Bird’ is rock grandeur, oozing poise and purpose, and has all the Deutrom hallmarks to be an abiding piece of heavy rock history.

DEUTROM is sharing the first new track from ‘The Blue Bird’ titled “The Happiness Machine” now.

Regarding the track and album unveiling, MARK DEUTROM comments, “Happiness is defined as the following: pleasure, contentment, satisfaction, cheerfulness, merriment, gaiety, joy, joyfulness, joviality, jollity, glee, delight, good spirits, lightheartedness, well-being, enjoyment; exuberance, exhilaration, elation, ecstasy, jubilation, rapture, bliss, blissfulness, euphoria, transports of delight; Hollywood ending”

He continues,

“An observation of the machinery at work, and possibly the ghost in that machine. Happiness, always being pursued is perpetually ethereal and elusive.

” in the air, on the web,
on the chain in your head”

The album is about the nature of happiness…or is it?”

‘The Blue Bird’ will release January 4, 2019. Pre-orders for the album are available here.

The artwork, created by Mark’s wife Jennifer Deutrom, and track list for ‘The Blue Bird’ can be found below:

Track List:
1. No Space Holds the Weight
2. Futurist Manifesto
3. Radiant Gravity
4. O Ye of Little Faith
5. Our Revels Now are Ended
6. Hell is a City
7. Somnambulist
8. Maximum Hemingway
9. Through the Ringing Cedars
10. They Have Won
11. On Father’s Day
12. The Happiness Machine
13. Nothing Out There

DEUTROM recently announced the reissue of “Bellringer”, the last in the series of reissues via Season of Mist. The prolific musician’s forward-thinking album titled ‘Bellringer’ will be available again worldwide on November 30. Pre-orders for ‘Bellringer’ are available here.

https://www.facebook.com/markdeutrom/
https://markdeutrom.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
https://www.twitter.com/seasonofmist

Mark Deutrom, “The Happiness Machine”

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R.I.P. Carlos Denogean of Weedeater

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

weedeater carlos denogean

North Carolinian sludge stalwarts Weedeater mourn the loss of one of their own with the passing this weekend of drummer Carlos Denogean. The trio toured this past summer starting in June at Maryland Doom Fest 2018 and performed earlier this month at Psycho Las Vegas. At this time, the cause of death has not been made public, but bassist/vocalist “Dixie” Dave Collins and guitarist Dave “Shep” Shepherd posted a statement on social media to note Denogean’s passing and ask for privacy.

Hi everyone,

There is no easy way to say this. Our dear friend and bandmate Carlos Denogean passed away yesterday. It is with a heavy heart and intense sadness that we bring you this unfortunate news. He left this world far too soon and will be missed immensely by all of us. Anyone that knew Carlos was enamored by his kindness and his warm personality. He was an incredibly talented musician and a real joy to be around. He brought something truly special to the band and we all loved working with him. We simply cannot express how devastated we are by this loss. We don’t know any details at this time and we ask that you please leave us to grieve now along with Carlos’ family. Thank you for all of your kind wishes. Cherish what you have while you have it.

– Weedeater

Having been fortunate enough to see Denogean play in Maryland at the start of Weedeater’s June/July tour, he was an energetic performer who brought character and swing to Weedeater’s established material while playing with a sense of personality that fit well with the long-established chemistry of Collins and Shepherd. Condolences on behalf of this site and myself to Denogean’s family, friends and bandmates in this difficult time. Weedeater have not posted any word about their future plans, and neither would one expect them to so close to this loss.

They were in Europe earlier this spring for appearances at Roadburn and Desertfest in London and Berlin, and were slated to appear in October at Slaughter-Que in Atlanta, Georgia.

Weedeater’s latest album, which preceded Denogean’s arrival to the band, was Goliathan, released in 2015 on Season of Mist.

https://www.facebook.com/weedmetal/
https://weedeater.bandcamp.com/album/goliathan
https://www.twitter.com/seasonofmist
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Weedeater, Live at Psycho Las Vegas, Aug. 17, 2018

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Quarterly Review: Lucifer, Heilung, Amarok, T.G. Olson, Sun Dial, Lucid Grave, Domadora, Klandestin, Poor Little Things, Motorowl

Posted in Reviews on July 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

You know what’s disheartening? When someone goes ‘thanks dudes.’ You know, I share a review or something, the band reposts and goes ‘thanks to the crew at The Obelisk blah blah.’ What fucking crew? If I had a crew, I’d put up 10 reviews every single day of the year. “Crew.” Shit. I am the crew. In the description of this site, the very first thing it says is “One-man operation.” It’s a fucking solo-project. That’s the whole point of it. It’s like me looking at your bass and going, “Sweet guitar, thanks for the solos brah.” I’m happy people want to share links and this and that, but really? It’s been nine years. Give me a break.

Oh yeah, that’s right. Nobody gives a shit. Now I remember. Thanks for reading.

And while we’re here, please remember the numbers for these posts don’t mean anything. This isn’t a countdown. Or a countup. It’s just me keeping track of how much shit I’m reviewing. The answer is “a lot.”

Grump grump grump.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Lucifer, Lucifer II

lucifer lucifer ii

Recorded as the trio of vocalist Johanna Sardonis (ex-The Oath), guitarist Robin Tidebrink (Saturn) and guitarist/drummer Nicke Andersson (Death Breath, ex-Entombed, ex-The Hellacopters), Lucifer’s second album, Lucifer II (on Rise Above), follows three years after its numerical predecessor, Lucifer I (review here), and marks its personnel changes with a remarkable consistency of mission. Like Mercyful Fate gone disco, the formerly-Berlin/London-now-Stockholm group bring stage-ready atmospheres to songs like “Phoenix” and the riff-led “Before the Sun,” while unleashing a largesse of hooks in “Dreamer” and the boogie-pushing “Eyes in the Sky.” “Dancing with Mr. D” brings nod to a Rolling Stones cover, and “Before the Sun” reaffirms a heavy ‘70s root in their sound. I can’t help but wonder if the doomier “Faux Pharaoh” is a sequel to “Purple Pyramid,” but either way, its thicker, darker tonality is welcome ahead of the bonus track Scorpions cover “Evening Wind,” which again demonstrates the ease with which Lucifer make established sounds their own. That’s pretty much the message of the whole album. Lucifer are a big band. Lucifer II makes the case for their being a household name.

Lucifer on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records webstore

 

Heilung, Lifa

heilung lifa

Lifa is the audio taken from the live video that brought Denmark’s Heilung to prominence. Captured at Castlefest in The Netherlands in last year, the impression the expansive Viking folk group made was all the more powerful with elaborate costuming, bone percussive instruments, antlers, animal-skin drums, and so on. Their debut studio album, Ofnir, came out in 2015 and like LIFA has been issued by Season of Mist, but the attention to detail and A/V experience only adds to the hypnotic tension and experimentalist edge in the material. Does it work with just the audio? Yes. The 12-minute “In Maijan” and somehow-black-metal “Krigsgaldr” maintain their trance-out-of-history aspect, and the 75-minute set blends multi-tiered melodies and goblin-voiced declarations for an impression unlike even that which Wardruna bring to bear. Whether it’s the drones of “Fylgija Futhorck” or the chants and thuds of “Hakkerskaldyr,” LIFA is striking from front to back and a cohesive, visionary work that should be heard as well as seen. But definitely seen.

Heilung on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist website

 

Amarok, Devoured

amarok devoured

Eight years after their founding, an EP and several splits, Chico, California, atmosludge extremists Amarok make their full-length debut with Devoured on Translation Loss. If it’s been a while in the making, it’s easy enough to understand why. The album is rife with brutalist and grueling sensibilities. Comprised of just four tracks, it runs upwards of 70 minutes and brings a visceral churn to each cut, not forgetting the importance of atmosphere along the way, but definitely focused on the aural bludgeoning they’re dealing out. Tempos, duh, are excruciating, and between the screams and growls of bassist Brandon Squyres (also Cold Blue Mountain) and guitarist Kenny Ruggles – the band completed by guitarist Nathan Collins and drummer Colby ByrneAmarok make their bid for Buried at Sea levels of heft and rumble their way across a desolate landscape of their own making. Eight years to conjure this kind of punishment? Yeah, that seems about right. See you in 2026.

Amarok on Thee Facebooks

Translation Loss Records webstore

 

T.G. Olson, Ode to Lieutenant Henry

tg olson ode to lieutenant henry

Here’s a curious case: T.G. Olson, founding guitarist and vocalist of Across Tundras, is a prolific experimental singer-songwriter. His material ranges from psychedelic country to fuller-toned weirdo Americana and well beyond. He’s wildly prolific, and everything goes up on Bandcamp for a name-your-price download, mostly unannounced. It’s not there, then it is. Olson’s latest singe, Ode to Lieutenant Henry, was there, and now it’s gone. With the march of its title-track and a complementary cover of Townes van Zandt’s “Silver Ships of Andilar,” I can’t help but be curious as to where the tracks went and if they’ll be back, perhaps in some other form or as part of a different release. Both are plugged-in and coated in fuzzy tones, with Olson’s echoing vocals providing a human presence in the wide soundscape of his own making. The original is shorter than the cover, but both songs boast a signature sense of ramble that, frankly, is worth being out there. Hopefully they’re reposted at some point, either on their own as they initially were or otherwise.

Across Tundras on Thee Facebooks

T.G. Olson/Across Tundras on Bandcamp

 

Sun Dial, Science Fiction

sun dial sci fi

If space is the place, Sun Dial feel right at home in it. The long-running UK psychedelic adventurers collect two decades’ worth of soundtrack material on Science Fiction, their new release for Sulatron Records. Made with interwoven keyboard lines and a propensity to periodically boogie on “Mind Machine,” “Airlock,” “Infra Red,” etc., the experimentalist aspect of Science Fiction is all the more remarkable considering the album is compiled from different sources. One supposes the overarching cosmos is probably what brings it together, but with the samples and synth of “Saturn Return” and the lower end space-bass of pre-bonus-track closer “Starwatchers” – that bonus track, by the way, is a 15-minute version of opener “Hangar 13” – and though the vast majority of the Science Fiction relies on synth and keys to make its impression, it’s still only fair to call the proceedings natural, as the root of each one seems to be exploration. It’s okay to experiment. Nobody’s getting hurt.

Sun Dial on Thee Facebooks

Sun Dial at Sulatron Records webstore

 

Lucid Grave, Demo 2018

lucid grave demo 2018

There are three songs on Lucid Grave’s first outing, the aptly-titled Demo 2018, and the first of them is also the longest (immediate points), “Star.” It presents a curious and hard to place interpretation of psychedelic sludge rock. It is raw as a demo worthy of its name should be, and finds vocalist Malene Pedersen (also Lewd Flesh) echoing out to near-indecipherable reaches atop the feedback-addled riffing. Quite an introduction, to say the least. The subsequent “Desert Boys” is more subdued at the start but gets furious at the end, vocals spanning channels in an apparent call and response atop increasingly intense instrumental thrust. And as for “Ride the Hyena?” If I didn’t know better – and rest assured, I don’t – I’d call it doom. I’m not sure what the hell the København five-piece are shooting for in terms of style, but I damn sure want to hear what they come up with next so I can find out. Consider me enticed. And accordingly, one can’t really accuse Demo 2018 of anything other than doing precisely what it’s supposed to do.

Lucid Grave on Thee Facebooks

Lucid Grace on Bandcamp

 

Domadora, Lacuna

domadora lacuna

Comprised of four-tracks of heavy psychedelic vibes led by the scorch-prone guitar of Belwil, Domadora’s third album, Lacuna, follows behind 2016’s The Violent Mystical Sukuma (discussed here) and taps quickly into a post-Earthless league of instrumentalism on opener “Lacuna Jam.” That should be taken as a compliment, especially as regards the bass and drums of Gui Omm and Karim Bouazza, respectively, who hold down uptempo grooves there and roll along with the more structured 14-minute cut “Genghis Khan” that follows. Each of the album’s two sides is comprised of a shorter track and a longer one, and there’s plenty of reach throughout, but more than expanse, even side B’s “Vacuum Density” and “Tierra Last Homage” are more about the chemistry between the band members – Angel Hidalgo Paterna rounds out on organ – than about crafting a landscape. Fortunately for anyone who’d take it on, the Parisian unit have plenty to offer when it comes to that chemistry.

Domadora on Thee Facebooks

Domadora on Bandcamp

 

Klandestin, Green Acid of Last Century

klandestin green acid of last century

That’s a big “fuck yes, thank you very much” for the debut album from Indonesian stoner metallers Klandestin. Green Acid of the Last Century arrives courtesy of Hellas Records and is THC-heavy enough that if they wanted to, they could probably add “Bong” to the band’s name and it would be well earned. Eight tracks, prime riffs, watery vocals, dense fuzz, stomp, plod, lumber, shuffle – it’s all right there in homegrown dosage, and for the converted, Green Acid of the Last Century is nothing short of a worship ceremony, for the band itself as well as for anyone taking it on. With the march of “Doomsday,” the unmitigated rollout of “Black Smoke,” and the swirling green aurora of “The Green Aurora,” Klandestin wear their holding-back-a-cough riffage as a badge of honor, and couldn’t be any less pretentious about it if they tried. From the hooded weedian on the cover art to the Sleepy nod of closer “Last Century,” Green Acid of Last Century telegraphs its intent front-to-back, and is all the more right on for it.

Klandestin on Thee Facebooks

Hellas Records on Bandcamp

 

Poor Little Things, Poor Little Things

poor little things poor little things

You get what you pay for with “Rock’n’Roller,” which leads off the self-titled debut EP from Bern, Switzerland-based Poor Little Things. Around the core duo of vocalist Tina Jackson and multi-instrumentalist Dave “Talon” Jackson (also of Australia’s Rollerball) on guitar, bass, synth and percussion is Talon’s The Marlboro Men bandmate Fernando Marlboro on drums, and together the band presents five tracks of remember-when-rock-rocked-style groove. Fueled by ‘70s accessibility and a mentality that seems to be saying it’s okay to play big rooms, like arenas, cuts like “Drive” seem prime for audience participation, and “Break Another Heart” gives a highlight performance from Tina while “About Love” showcases a more laid back take. They close with the 6:37 “Street Cheetah,” which struts appropriately, and end with a percussive finish on a fadeout repeating the title line. As a showcase of their style and songwriting chops, Poor Little Things shows significant promise, sure, but it’s also pretty much already got everything it needs for a full-length album.

Poor Little Things on Thee Facebooks

Poor Little Things on Bandcamp

 

Motorowl, Atlas

motorowl atlas

Every now and then you put on a record and it’s way better than you expect. Hello, Motorowl’s Atlas. The German troupe’s second for Century Media, it takes the classic stylizations of their 2016 debut, Om Generator, and pushes them outward into a vast sea of organ-laced progressive heavy, soaring in vocal melodies and still modern despite drawing from an array of decades past. The chug in “The Man Who Rules the World” would be metal for most bands, but on Atlas, it becomes part of a broader milieu, and sits easily next to the expansive title-track, as given to post-rocking airiness in the guitar as to synth-laden prog. That mixture of influences and aesthetics would be enough to give the five-piece an identity of their own, but Atlas is further characterized by Motorowl’s ambitious songwriting and benefits greatly from the melodic arrangements and the clear intention toward creative development at work here. Those who take on its seven-track/45-minute journey will find it dynamic, spacious and heavy in kind.

Motorowl on Thee Facebooks

Motorowl at Century Media website

 

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Crippled Black Phoenix to Release Great Escape Sept. 14; New Track Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

crippled black phoenix (Photo by Pier Corona)

UK melancholic progressive heavy rockers Crippled Black Phoenix have set a Sept. 14 release date for their new album, Great Escape. Like 2016’s Bronze (review here), it’ll be out through Season of Mist, and they’re supplying a nine-minute sampling of what the upcoming record has in store with the track “To You I Give,” which follows suit in its sound with both the elaborate nature of the band’s craft and the brooding nature of their atmospheres. Good to know no one broke Crippled Black Phoenix since their last outing. But of course this is just one track out of 11, and we won’t know the full scope of the release until it shows up. I’d ask the label to do a track premiere and trying sneak an early listen, but there’s no way in hell I’m cool enough for that kind of thing, and there’s only so much rejection I can handle. Which is none. So yeah.

You can dig into the announcement of the record and “To You I Give” below. The PR had this to say about it and brought the artwork, which is by Peder Bergstrand:

crippled black phoenix great escape

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX announce new album, stream new track

International dark rock collective CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX will release ‘Great Escape’, a new full length album on Sept 14. ‘Great Escape’ sees the band pushing their prodigious talents and creativity to the limit, interweaving influences spanning the sonic landscapes of post rock, experimental music, and heavy prog. Pre-orders for ‘Great Escape’ are available now at the Season of Mist E-Shop.

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX are streaming “To You I Give”, the first new track off ‘Great Escape.’

Regarding the track, CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX founding member and vocalist Justin Greaves comments: “This song is about giving your heart to someone or something special, and being able to cope with the trouble and anxiety it can incite as well as the joy and hope it brings. Giving is strength. We can endure.”

Track-list
1.You Brought It Upon Yourselves
2. To You I Give
3. Uncivil War (Pt. I)
4. Madman
5. Times, They Are A Raging
6. Rain Black, Reign Heavy
7. Slow Motion Breakdown
8. Nebulas
9. Las Diabolicas
10. Great Escape (Pt. I)
11. Great Escape (Pt. II)

https://www.facebook.com/CBP444/
https://crippledblackphoenixsom.bandcamp.com/
http://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/predefined-search?id_list=139

Crippled Black Phoenix, “To You I Give”

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