Posted in Whathaveyou on July 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Back in May, Seattle trio Mother Crone were confirmed to take part in the Erosion Festival in Montana this October (info here), and it seems they’ll test the waters in August on a quick run through the Midwest and West Coast still supporting last year’s Awakening (review here) debut full-length that recently got them picked up by DHU Records for the release of their next album.
About that album: Mother Crone put word out not too long ago that they’re looking for a second guitarist, maybe guitarist/vocalist, so if you’re in the Seattle area, can tour, and get down on stuff that’s ridiculously heavy and well constructed, it might be worth hitting them up. Their post and the tour dates follow here, as seen on the social medias:
Hey dudes and dames, we here in the doom thrash band Mother Crone are seeking a second guitar player for both rhythm and leads. Our current record was written for two guitars and we are in the midst of getting the next record ready to record and would like to expand. We would also like the tunes to live up to their fullest live. If you can sing, that’s a huge plus! Hit us up if you’re interested. Please note, we tour quite a bit, but will have some down time as we get ready for the next record.
Two weeks! Stoked to go out and reacquaint ourselves the likes of Chicago and Minneapolis as well as meet y’all in Omaha and Kansas City!
This whole thing ends at Marymoor Park here in WA for HEMP FEST 2016!!
Mother Crone on tour: 08/09 Missoula MT VFW 08/10 Billings MT Muleskinner 08/12 Minneapolis MN The Hexagon 08/13 Chicago IL Livewire Lounge 08/15 Kansas City MO MiniBar 08/16 Omaha NE Dr. JacksDrinker 08/18 Boise ID The Shredder 08/19 Seattle WA Nuemo’s 08/20 Portland OR High Water Mark 08/21 Seattle WA HempFest
Mother Crone: Jeremy Schulz (AKA Walrusdrummer) – Drums, Joshua Hashman – Bass/Vox, Joseph Frothingham – Guitar/Vox
Earth, HEX; or Printing in the Infernal Method (2005)
I think it’s safe to call Earth‘s HEX; or Printing in the Infernal Method one of the most pivotal albums of its decade. Released 11 years ago now in 2005 by Southern Lord, it not only marked the Seattle outfit’s first studio full-length since 1996’s also-essential Pentastar: In the Style of Demons and their fourth album overall (not counting a slew of live releases), but it set in motion a new phase of the long-running instrumental band’s progression that continues to evolve over a decade later while also casting out a massive influence over underground heavy rock. At this point, there are atmospheric-minded groups the world over drawing from what Earth accomplished in tracks like “Raiford (The Felon Wind)” who don’t even know they’re doing it. Itself working heavily off of Neil Young‘s Dead Man soundtrack, it’s become part of the pastiche of darker post-rock, heavy Americana and, of course, drone, which is the tag with which Earth are most often saddled, rightly or not.
But HEX; or Printing in the Infernal Method has more to offer than a blueprint other bands have (understandably) followed. From the opening role of “Mirage” through the minimalist melancholia of “Tethered to the Polestar,” it is Earth proffering a style of immersion that is entirely their own, capturing something evocative and wistful without words or cliche, without losing themselves in indulgence or letting go of the ambience of the work as a whole. It’s not an easy record to keep up with by any means — sometimes it can feel so still it’s like you’re looking at tiny ripples on a lake, or, perhaps more fitting to the mood, a breeze blowing across the top of overgrown grass — but the subtlety with which Earth, which at the time was comprised solely of founding guitarist Dylan Carlson and drummer Adrienne Davies, enact the broad, sweeping scope of tracks like “The Dire and Ever Circling Wolves” and the downward sloping “An Inquest Concerning Teeth” only enhances the effect of those songs and the rest of those around them. It is a landmark both for the band and for a swath of genres.
As noted, Earth have hardly kept still since. In addition to touring heavily, sundry splits and live albums and revisits of older works, they would go on to issue The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull (discussed here), which brought rich color into a changing soundscape, and the 2011/2012 pair Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I (review here) and Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II (review here), which would introduce some of the British folk elements to Earth‘s sound that they’d continue to explore on 2014’s lush Primitive and Deadly (review here) and which would become crucial as well to Carlson‘s solo work under the moniker Drcarlsonalbion, most recently the full-length Falling with a Thousand Stars and Other Wonders from the House of Albion, which he released last month following a successful crowdfunding campaign for the physical pressing.
I hope you enjoy.
Next week, look out for streams from Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel, Nathanael Larochette, Swamp Witch and probably more. Still also want to get High Fighter and Colour Haze reviews going as well, and I’ve got an interview with Laura Dolan from Electric Citizen to get posted as well as an Obelisk Questionnaire from David Rodgers of Godhunter and the Southwest Terror Fest in the can, so one way or another it’ll be a full week. Also news and videos and all the rest of that good stuff.
I said as much yesterday on Thee Facebooks, but thank you for your continued support of this site. It’s been a crazy month or so with starting the new job and everything surrounding that, but I cannot tell you how far this project goes toward keeping me sane and I deeply, deeply appreciate your ongoing interest, encouragement and involvement in it. Thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you.
Please have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and radio stream.
I’ll admit I’ve become less of a Melvins fan over time. The Seattle mainstays-of-riff are well over the 30-year mark at this point, and you won’t in the least find me denying the massive impact Buzz Osbourne and Dale Crover — as well as a series of bassists; six on their new album, Basses Loaded (see what they did there?) — have had on underground rock and roll especially over the last two decades or the fact that they absolutely slay live, but they’re impossible to keep up with, Buzzo‘s a dick to press in the Jello Biafra/Henry Rollins tradition and frankly, no matter who’s playing on it or whatever, there’s a lot of what they do at this point that I think comes from the same place. Even the chug of “Hideous Woman” from the new record should be pretty familiar to anyone who’s listened to any given amount of their material over the last 10 or 15 years.
So why am I posting about the Melvins? Because I respect the shit out of them. Look at that list of tour dates below and ask yourself how many groups have been around for that long and still have that kind of drive to do what they’re doing. True, they’re making a living off it and at this point it’s easy to imagine they don’t know how to live any other way, but even so, the sheer factor of the Melvins having trudged back and forth across the planet, again and again, while putting out albums at a continually impossible rate, means that yes, I still think they’re worth posting about even if I’ll just about never actually put on one of those albums.
There you go. An honest post about the Melvins. Basses Loaded CD is out now on Ipecac. Vinyl on Friday.
Video is below for “Hideous Woman.” Whatever, go to a show. Then watch Bob Hannam‘s documentary. Or watch the documentary first. Either way.
Melvins, “Hideous Woman” official video
The Melvins, who recently wrapped up their latest European tour, debut a video for “Hideous Woman” from their recently released album, Basses Loaded (Ipecac Recordings).
WATCH THE VIDEO FOR HIDEOUS WOMAN, DIRECTED BY DAVID HALL
The 12-song album features six bass players: Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic, Redd Kross’ Steve McDonald, Butthole Surfers’ J.D. Pinkus, Big Business’ Jared Warren, Mr. Bungle/Fantomas’ Trevor Dunn (aka Melvins Lite) and Melvins’ drummer Dale Crover swapping the drum kit for bass in the Melvins 1983 iteration.
The Melvins return to U.S. highways this summer, launching a seven-week tour on Aug. 3 in Las Vegas. The touring line-up features Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover and Steve McDonald.
U.S. tour dates: August 3 Las Vegas, NV Backstage Bar & Billiards August 4 Flagstaff, AZ The Green Room August 6 Boulder, CO Fox Theatre August 7 Ft. Collins, CO Aggie Theatre August 9 Sioux Falls, SD The District August 10 Fargo, ND The Aquariaum (Dempsey’s Upstairs) August 13 Eau Claire, WI Eaux Claires Music Festival August 14 Rock Island, IL Rock Island Brewing Company August 15 Des Moines, IA Wooly’s August 16 Lawrence, KS The Bottleneck August 17 St. Louis, MO The Firebird August 18 Louisville, KY Headliners Music Hall August 19 Indianapolis, IN The Vogue Theatre August 20 Grand Rapids, MI The Pyramid Scheme August 22 Columbus, OH A&R Music Bar August 23 Pittsburgh, PA Rex Theater August 24 Buffalo, NY Iron Works August 26 Syracuse, NY The Westcott Theater August 27 Northampton, MA Pearl Street August 28 Hamden, CT The Ballroom at the Outer Space August 29 Providence, RI Fete Ballroom August 31 Baltimore, MD Ottobar September 1 Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle September 3 Cookeville, TN Muddy Roots Music Festival September 5 Athens, GA 40 Watt Club September 6 Charlotte, NC Amos’ Southend September 7 Charleston, SC Music Farm September 8 Jacksonville, FL Jack Rabbits September 10 Baton Rouge, LA Spanish Moon September 11 Jackson, MS Duling Hall September 12 Memphis, TN Hi-Tone September 13 Little Rock, AR Metroplex September 14 Tulsa, OK Cain’s Ballroom September 15 Oklahoma City, OK The ACM @ UCO Performance Lab September 16 Norman, OK Opolis September 17 Austin, TX The Sidewinder September 18 San Antonio, TX Paper Tiger September 20 El Paso, TX Lowbrow Palace September 21 Tucson, AZ Club Congress September 24 Long Beach, CA Music Tastes Good Festival
Basses Loaded is available now via the Ipecac webstore, Bandcamp, Amazon and iTunes. The vinyl release arrives on July 1.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 16th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Change has been afoot in Ancient Warlocks since before they put out their second LP, II (review here), earlier this year through STB Records, but it seems as though they were waiting for the right time to announce their new lineup with Chris Mathews Jr. (aka Chris Joonior, of the Live at Jooniors series of videos and live recordings) on vocals and lead guitar and Stu Laswell on bass alongside guitarist Darren Chase and drummer Steve Jones. With the impending June 25 release of their Live! 12″ — which was also included as a bonus with the first run of II — that time would seem to be right. Works for me.
They’ve got live dates over the next couple months with Mos Generator and Mars Red Sky, so as they say goodbye to the old lineup with Live!, they’re continuing forward keeping good company as they’ve done all along.
From the PR wire:
ANCIENT WARLOCKS ANNOUNCE NEW LINE UP, THEIR “LIVE” LP RELEASE AND SHOW DATES WITH MOS GENERATOR & MARS RED SKY
Ancient Warlocks have just announced their first round of shows in over one year, and now featuring a new line up. Celebrating their return to the stage, the Ancient Warlocks “LIVE!” LP will be released by STB Records on June 25th at High Noon (Eastern Standard Time – USA).
The band will kick things off with a few shows alongside Mos Generator and Mars Red Sky, play more shows through the summer, then record their 3rd studio LP once again with Steve Jones at Big Sound Productions (Seattle) in Sept/Oct., followed by more show dates during November & December.
The new lineup includes the veteran creative core of Darren Chase (Rhythm Guitar) and Steve Jones (Drums) along with the addition of Chris Mathews Jr. (Vocals & Lead Guitar) and Stu Laswell (Bass). Chris is known by many via the “Live at Jooniors” video series (Joonior Studios), where he has produced live music videos from bands such as Holy Grove, Sleep Capsule, X Suns, Mos Generator, Ancient Warlocks, and many more. Stu hails from the relentless touring band Antique Scream. These two bring plenty of their own experience to the table, and in addition to the existing core help to form quite a solid line up.
Ancient Warlocks NW Tour Dates (more cities to come); July 29th, 2016 – Port Angeles, Washington @ Cherry Bomb (w/ Mos Generator) July 30th, 2016 – Seattle, Washington @ The Funhouse (w/ Mos Generator) August 5th, 2016 – Bremerton, Washington @ The Manette Saloon (w/ Mos Generator) August 6th, 2016 – Tacoma/Fife, Washington @ Louie G’s (w/ Mos Generator) September 2nd, 2016 – Portland, Oregon @ The Panic Room (w/ Mars Red Sky) September 3rd, 2016 – Seattle, Washington @ The Funhouse (w/ Mars Red Sky)
Ancient Warlocks came to life in 2010; drawing from the members’ shared love for all things loud, heavy, and fuzzy driven by a solid groove. They’ve shared stages with the likes of Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Fu Manchu, Pentagram, Mos Generator, Corrosion of Conformity, Brant Bjork, Mars Red Sky, Radio Moscow, Zeke, etc., and the sophomore LP; Ancient Warlocks “II” out now, immediately being followed by the “LIVE!” LP will only continue to fuel this band towards more of the same as well as adding festivals into their touring plans for 2017!
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 9th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
In the realm of ‘signature sounds,’ there are few who can claim a space as individualized as that of Dylan Carlson. As the spearhead of Earth, he’s refined drone rock into something that can be minimal as easily as orchestral, evocative or off-putting depending on whims, and his solo work as Drcarlsonalbion only moves further out from there, whether it’s the soundtrack he did to the film Gold (review here), reminiscent of Neil Young‘s for Dead Man, or the explorations of British folk that he’s taken up the last several years with Earth and in his own outings, typified in the upcoming solo release, Falling with a Thousand Stars and Other Wonders from the House of Albion.
What may or may not be a collaboration with Coleman Grey in its final form, the album was initially funded through a (successful) Kickstarter last year and will be officially issued next month. It’s streaming now on Bandcamp, however, and you can hear it on the player below. Like everything the man touches, it’s worth getting lost in.
Have at it:
Drcarlsonalbion self-release – Falling With A Thousand Stars And Other Wonders From The House Of Albion
Dylan Carlson is to officially self-release Falling With A Thousand Stars and other Wonders From The House Of Albion on 25 June.
“The concept behind this album ‘Falling with a Thousand Stars and Other Wonders From The House of Albion’, was my interpretations of Scotch-English folk ballads about human/supernatural interaction, specifically those ‘spiritual creatures’ known as ‘fayres/fairies/etc.’ Not the tiny winged ones of Victorian nursery stories and decor, but the beings of folklore and the historical records (mostly trial dittays from witch trials). The genesis was my own personal encounters that occurred in 2010-11 and that have occurred occasionally since that time. The album is solo guitar played by myself. It was originally going to have environmental recordings from sights of human/fayre encounters, but unfortunately those recordings were unusable. The album was recorded at crackle’n’pop studios in Seattle with Johnny Sangster as engineer. It is part of a project that was funded initially by kickstarter, and self funding on my part. There is also a short film, dir. Clyde Petersen, released with the cd, and a book (tba).” – DRCARLSONALBION
Having founded seminal rock band Earth in 1989 in Olympia, Wa., Dylan Carlson has since been recognised as the originator of what came to be known as ‘drone metal’ or ‘ambient metal’. As the sole original member and principal songwriter of the Seattle based band, Carlson continues to explore new ground and remains an innovator in his musical career and a compelling character outside of it.
As Earth continues to reach new heights, Carlson also extends his musical repertoire towards solitary endeavours. His solo projects, initially under the moniker ‘drcarlsonalbion’, continue the sustained, expansive motifs found in Earth, but under the influence of the traditional folklore, fayre lore and occult history of England and the British Isles. Shorn of band interplay, the focus is on Carlson’s unique ‘voice’ of amplified guitar and tone.
Never one to be confined to a single genre or label, Carlson’s solo ventures have given him the freedom to experiment with other genres and musicians alike: from his ongoing improvisational work and performances with Dutch free-jazz drummer Rogier Smal, to his collaboration with British experimental dub artist Kevin “The Bug” Martin for the Bug vs Earth Boa / Cold EP in 2014. Most recently he joined forces with Maddy Prior of Steeleye Span, recording a song commissioned for broadcast on BBC Radio. (Psalm For A Revival, 2015)
Guitar remains at the forefront of Carlson’s solo work. His Gold soundtrack (2014) – composed for Thomas Arslan’s German feature film of the same title (2013) – features deliberate and lingering guitar themes. They evolve into forms that fade into the horizon, evoking the desolate wilderness of the American continent. Depth becomes apparent in negative space.
His latest album, Falling with a Thousand Stars and Other Wonders from the House of Albion (2016, self-released and initially funded via Kickstarter, consisting of a documentary film and book) sees a return to Carlson’s love of Albion’s supernatural days of yore. Through droning 6 and 12-string guitars, he reinterprets traditional old English and Scottish folk ballads into sombre instrumental pieces. Though a solitary venture, the textures are lush and immersive, summoning the ambiance of a lost time. Ever-present is that meditative, yet meticulous, “restrained majesty” of uncompromising repetition and intensity that is so characteristic of Carlson’s signature sound and style.
TRACK LIST: 1. Reynard The Fox 2. She Moved Thro’ The Faire 3. Alisson Gross 4. Rose In The Heather 5. Tamlane 6. King Orfeo 7. The Elfin Knight
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Washington heavy rock trio Mos Generator and duo Year of the Cobra recently got together to record songs on a 4-track tape for an upcoming split single, with Mos Generator‘s Tony “The Restless” Reed at the helm. The news today is that this split, which will be out on Ripple Music and H42 Records, will coincide with a US tour beginning in June that also leads Mos Generator closer to the release of their new album, Abyssinia, on Listenable Records in July. I’d expect this to be just the first round of what will probably be a several-legged run to support Abyssinia. Ever since Mos Generator took to the road following 2014’s Electric Mountain Majesty (review here) with a revamped lineup, they have basically never looked back.
Year of the Cobra‘s debut long-player is set to arrive later this year as well. Not sure if it’ll be out by the time of this tour — STB was handling the release, last I heard — but they’re sure to be heralding its coming one way or another. Their 2015 EP, The Black Sun (review here), can be streamed below.
Tour dates and the recently-unveiled art for Abyssinia follow, as seen on the social medias:
“Been waiting to announce this for a while… Year of the Cobra and Mos Generator have a split 7″ record coming out on Ripple Music and H42 Records. Both bands will tour the U.S. together this summer to support it. Check the poster for dates! Also, both bands will be playing separately on the dates not listed – check our websites for more info on that. Looking forward seeing and meeting some new friends this summer.”
Mos Generator have unveiled the cover artwork of their new full-length album, ‘Abyssinia’, scheduled for a July release.
Tony Reed comments”These new songs show major change and growth for the band, I wanted the cover to represent that as well. I knew it was going to be collage art style and in searching for an image that moved me I came across this untitled piece. Abyssinia is slang for “I’ll be seeing you”. Sometimes my brain feels like the image on the cover.”
Here are the complete dates for the Mos Generator U.S. tour. More Regional (northwest) dates and European dates for MG coming soon.
6/16 Portland OR – 6/17 Missoula MT – The Palace* 6/18 Salt Lake City UT – (Crucialfest) 6/19 Denver CO – Hi-Dive 6/20 Lincoln NE – Bourbon Theater 6/21 Sioux Falls – Bigs Bar* 6/22 St Paul MN – Agharta records (7pm in-store) Big Vs (night show)* 6/23 Indianapolis IN – State st pub* 6/24 Chicago IL – Reggie’s 6/25 Columbis OH – Ace of Cups 6/26 Frederick MD (Maryland Doom Fest) Cafe 611 6/27 Raleigh NC – Slim’s* 6/28 6/29 Little Rock AR – Vito’s* 6/30 Tulsa OK – Holy Mountain Records(7pm in-store) Downtown Lounge (evening show)* 7/01 Fort Worth TX – The Grotto* 7/02 Austin TX – The Lost Well* 7/03 OFF 7/04 Albuquerque NM – Launchpad* 7/05 Flagstaff AZ* – Greenroom* 7/06 Las Vegas NV – Dive bar* 7/07 Boise ID – Neurolux* 7/08 Seattle WA – The Substation* 7/09 Vancouver BC – SBC* * w/ Year of the Cobra
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Seattle instrumentalist four-piece X Suns made their self-titled debut in 2012 and have released two EPs since: 2013’s The Greys and 2015’s III. The latter two offerings will be compiled by Devil’s Child Records April 15 as III / The Greys, a twofer vinyl to be available in sundry editions and what will no doubt be limited numbers, presumably with all of III on one side (though that’s a crunch) and all of The Greys on the other. It’ll mark the first vinyl release for the band — who pronounce their name “Ten Suns” — and another step in an intriguing progression that blends post-rock evocation with weightier crunch while managing not to sound like either Russian Circles or Pelican. That in itself is something of an accomplishment.
Background on the band follows, as well as the stream of III courtesy of X Suns‘ Bandcamp:
X SUNS (Pronounced “TEN” SUNS) is an instrumental space rock band from Seattle, WA.
X Suns started as Keith Furtado, Trent McIntyre, and Adam Tricoli in Seattle sometime in 2009. They started playing live at the start of 2010 (as Ten Suns).
In Oct. of 2011, They recorded a 5 song EP with Justin Armstrong at Electrokitty Studios. Soon after, they changed their name to X Suns (“X” as the roman numeral for ten), after finding out about a Canadian band of the same name. After self-releasing the E.P. on CD and Digital Download in January of 2012, the band decided to add Skippy King (Formerly of the Seattle band Patrol) as their second guitarist. They continued as a four-piece until May of 2012, when Keith Furtado decided to part ways with the band. He was replaced by Richard Burkett (from the Seattle sludge-metal band Giza) in August of 2012.
Now with a heavier sound, they began to craft new songs and re-work old ones. In March of 2013, they entered the studio to record what would become “The Greys” EP. Recorded by Christiaan Morris at Red Room Studios, and mixed by Matt Bayles (ISIS, Botch, Caspian, Minus the Bear, etc.). The Greys was self-released digitally, and on a limited run of cassette tapes on October 31st, 2013.
Prior to the release, Richard Burkett quit the band to focus on his band Giza. He was quickly replaced by Erick Hohnstein-Von Etten, formerly of the band Claymore (from Port Orchard, WA).
This new lineup started writing new material immediately, and played tons of shows around the northwest. They shared the stage with such notable bands as Pelican, Tombs, And So I Watch You From Afar, Junius, InAeona, North, Dead Meadow, Bearcubbin, Boyfrndz, TTNG, Mylets, Jucifer, and many others. They also did a short northwest tour with Dust Moth & Hooves, and performed at Volume Fest in Spokane.
In Dec. of 2014, they recorded a 4 song EP, titled “III”, with Chris Mathews Jr. It was then mixed by Matt Balyes, and Mastered by Ed Brooks at RFI Mastering in Seattle. During this time, Erick decided to part ways with the band. He was replaced by Jared Burke Eglington, formerly of Akimbo, Patrol, Caligula, Bitches Crystal, etc.
Their third EP, “III”, was released on Oct. 14th, 2015, with a west coast tour to follow.
Trent McIntyre- Drums Adam Tricoli- Bass Skippy Tim King- Guitar Jared Burke Eglington- Guitar
[Click play above to stream Ancient Warlocks’ II in full. Album is out March 19 on STB Records.]
It was only late last year that Seattle four-piece Ancient Warlocks issued what was purported to be the final edition of their 2013 self-titled debut (review here), and like all the others, it went quickly. STB Records had it out in the US (Lay Bare Recordings in Europe, with distro through Burning World), and the same New Jersey-based imprint stands behind the first and presumably subsequent pressings of Ancient Warlocks II, the band’s second full-length. Presented in the deluxe style for which STB has become known, even the “not-so-standard” edition of the LP matches its brown-and-bone platter to the Adam Burke cover art, while the OBI strip edition comes in a gorgeous splatter and marble combo on transparent vinyl, and the die hard (100 pressed) is blue splatter vinyl and comes with a previously-unannounced live companion album on which Ancient Warlocks play songs from both records.
Heavy stock jackets, stickers, a test-press edition — II is being given the treatment which the self-titled seemed to earn, and fairly enough so. The new album, seven tracks but just 27 minutes, splits neatly into two sides, begins with its longest cut (immediate points), and wastes none of its relatively brief runtime in honing a live, natural sound, flowing as an onstage set might toward the fuzzy bounce of closer “Benediction” as it reaffirms the band as a Pacific Northwest answer to the sunshiny classic heavy fuzz of Fu Manchu. A little bit bluesier, a little earthier grit to their approach, but still locking in tracks hell bent on groove and hooks and offering plenty of both.
Continuity from the self-titled isn’t a problem here. While Ancient Warlocks — the returning lineup of guitarist/vocalist Aaron Krause, guitarist Darren Chase, bassist Anthony “Oni” Timm and drummer/engineer Steve Jones — might be said to be stripping down to a degree, pushing toward live analog recording and so on, they’re not so stylistically removed from where they were several years ago. A key difference is in the efficiency of these tracks, “Terrible Touch” launching II with an introductory nod that picks up to rolling fuzz and a bluesy verse from Krause, but they haven’t lost the fluid motion of the first outing as they’ve grown, and that continues to serve them well as the swinging “Charge” picks up from the opener.
The second cut plays more with tempo shifts and features some particularly choice lines from Timm in conversation with the dual guitars, but ultimately makes its impression after the verses and choruses have ended and it works its way toward a noisy finish, crashing and riffing and feeding back as the band might at a show before the quiet start of side A closer “Walk On” brings the proceedings back to ground. They’re more than halfway through the song before Krause delivers the first vocal lines, and the song’s only 3:39, but that exploratory instrumental moment suits Ancient Warlocks, and the riff they shift into as the noodly opening gives way is worthy of highlighting for a few measures. Start-stop chugging backs a shouty verse, and they end on a chorus quickly, again, efficiently, to let “Thunder Punch Elephant Kick” give the start of side B a kick in the ass, running at about as close to full speed as the band come, maybe nodding at some punker roots, but mostly finding a ground just on this side of garage rock as they careen through the tracklisting centerpiece, only 2:26 long.
An evocative title doesn’t hurt, but “The Sun at the Final Rise” also offers II‘s standout hook as Ancient Warlocks ease up on the gas of “Thunder Punch Elephant Kick” and find root in interplay of chug and fuzzy leads, a thickened take on pre-commercial grunge leaving it to the quietly bluesy “Waiting” to blindside the listener. Chase and Krause offer slick guitar interplay as Timm and Jones hang onto the central rhythm, teasing a shift into a chorus before actually kicking into full-tone push just past the two-minute mark, the riff bringing to mind the tube-amp overload of Suplecs‘ first record while also giving Ancient Warlocks an apex for which the instrumental “Benediction” acts as an epilogue, winding in its initial thrust, but soon enough turning to a bouncing groove and driving stonerly nod topped with swirling wah that ends the album on a long fade.
That ending, sort of drawn out, is a little ironic given how short the record ultimately is, but the companion Ancient Warlocks Live!, with its cover referencing Van Halen‘s 1978 self-titled debut, provides brisk reinforcement of the band’s energy and a direct comparison point on the proximity of their studio and live sound. Self-titled cuts “Superwizard,” “Sweet’s too Slow,” “Lion Storm,” “Killer’s Moon” and “White Dwarf” feature alongside “Walk On” and “Terrible Touch,” which round out sides A and B, respectively, as the recordings chronicle performances from 2012, 2014 and 2015. I can’t help but wonder what the future might hold for Ancient Warlocks after II, but whatever comes next, the band has given their debut a worthy follow-up with their second outing, building on the foundation of laid back vibe and songwriting with a catchy and fuzzed-out collection that’s sure to find itself no less welcome over time.