Wolf Blood Stream “Witch” from Self-Titled Debut

Posted in audiObelisk on August 26th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

wolf blood

The bell of the ride counts out a measure and soon enough the guitar starts in on “Witch,” the opening track from Wolf Blood‘s self-titled debut. Right away, something just seems bent. It’s like the sound is contorted somehow. It’s an otherworldly sensation and it continues throughout the Duluth, Minnesota, four-piece’s six-track offering, which follows through with a loosely cultish approach but is more geared toward general darkness and tonal space than trying to win you over to Team Lucifer. Driven by the riffs of guitarists Mike Messina and Mindy Johnson (the latter also vocals), “Witch” is the slowest of Wolf Blood‘s tracks until its complementary 12-minute closer “Procession of the Witch,” and it also provides one of the album’s signature hooks, so while it may not represent the High on Fire thrashy sensibility of “Exile,” MessinaJohnson, bassist Brian Wells and drummer/vocalist Jake Paulsrude are definitely putting their best foot forward, and they’re swinging it hard right at their audience.

Grooves and big riffs abound, but that’s nothing new to the converted, and where Wolf Blood really distinguish themselves is in the oddity of their aggression. Blending clean vocals, spoken parts and screams, they play off both metallic and heavy rock styles and craft something fluid and malevolent from them. There’s a sense of theatricality in side A finale “Dancing on Your Grave,” where much of the album’s second half seems to be more about pummel, but there’s an emerging personality at work across the board, and Wolf Blood emerge after “Procession of the Witch” unscathed by their own strangeness, having tread hard on a couple fine lines between subgenres. Ultimately, Wolf Blood is as satisfying for its brashness as it is for its density of groove.

The band released it earlier this year on two separate, sold-out tape pressings and the whole record is available to stream on the band’s Bandcamp in that original form, but Burning World Records and Outer Battery Records will have a vinyl out in October remixed and remastered by James Plotkin, and you can hear the new version of “Witch” on the player below. Please enjoy:

Wolf Blood‘s Wolf Blood is out in October through Burning World Records (EU preorder here) and Outer Battery Records (US preorder here). The band will tour beginning on Sept. 25 in support of the vinyl.

Wolf Blood Midwest Fall Tour Dates:
9/25- Duluth, MN @ The Red Star
9/26- Eau Claire, WI @ House of Rock
9/27- Dubuque, IA @ Eronel
9/28- TBA
9/29- Iowa City, IA @ TBA
9/30- Madison, WI @ The Wisco
10/1- Madison, WI @ Dragonfly Lounge
10/2- Milwaukee, WI @ Quarters
10/3- Chicago, IL @ TBA
10/4- St. Louis, MO @ TBA
10/5- Colombia, MO @ TBA
10/6- Kansas City, MO @ Vandals
10/7- Lawrence, KS @ TBA
10/8- Des moine, IA @ Vaudville Mews
10/9- Minneapolis, MN @ House show

Wolf Blood on Thee Facebooks

Wolf Blood on Bandcamp

Wolf Blood at Burning World Records

Wolf Blood at Outer Battery Records

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Wolf Blood to Release Self-Titled Debut on Burning World Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Chaotic acid rockers Wolf Blood will issue their self-titled debut on Oct. 1 through Burning World Records. The Minnesota four-piece released the album earlier this year and have nearly sold through both of the tape runs they pressed, and the Burning World vinyl will be available to preorder starting Aug. 27, complete with new artwork that, well, is pretty badass.

That’s below, as well as the Bandcamp stream of the album, info and Midwestern tour dates, since it seems Wolf Blood will hit the road starting late next month and are still solidifying some of the dates for the tour. If you’ve got a place that needs loud in one of the cities below, hit the band up and pay them for playing, because that’s the right fucking thing to do.

Goes a little something like this:

Wolf Blood Debut Album Coming out October 1st, 2014 on Burning World (U.K.)/Road Burn (U.S.) Records.

Pre-order available August 27th at www.burningworldrecords.com.

Wolf Blood’s Midwest tour runs from Sept 25-Oct 11th.

Burning World Records is extremely proud to add another high quality act to the roster. After signing bands like Monomyth, Conan, Slomatics, Nihill and Altar Of Plagues (to name but a few) we can announce that WOLF BLOOD from Minnesota will join our label with their debut album this fall. The 4-piece band has the songs, the power and the riffs, like Windhand and Goatsnake before them.

After selling out the entire first cassette-pressing of their debut album in less than a week, WOLF BLOOD is set to release the vinyl version of the self-titled monster in October 1st 2014.

Formed in a dank basement during the infamous 2012 Duluth, Minnesota flood, guitarist Mike Messina and drummer Jake Paulsrude (Dad’s Acid) started writing psycho-sludge experiments that sounded too stoned to be metal, and too baneful to be indie-rock. They recruited renown hard-core guitar sorceress Mindy Johnson (The Keep Aways) and magi-roots bassist Brian Wells to flesh-out their menacing sound.

This seven-song recording opens with the haunting single Witch. From there…you’re on your own for the next 35 feral, blood stained minutes.

Midwest Fall Tour Dates:
9/25- Duluth, MN @ The Red Star
9/26- Eau Claire, WI @ House of Rock
9/27- Dubuque, IA @ Eronel
9/28- TBA
9/29- Iowa City, IA @ TBA
9/30- Madison, WI @ The Wisco
10/1- Madison, WI @ Dragonfly Lounge
10/2- Milwaukee, WI @ Quarters
10/3- Chicago, IL @ TBA
10/4- St. Louis, MO @ TBA
10/5- Colombia, MO @ TBA
10/6- Kansas City, MO @ Vandals
10/7- Lawrence, KS @ TBA
10/8- Des moine, IA @ Vaudville Mews
10/9- Minneapolis, MN @ House show

burningworldrecords.com
facebook.com/wbduluthmn
wolfblood666.bandcamp.com

Wolf Blood, Wolf Blood (2014)

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Friday Full-Length: Hawkwind, Hawkwind

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Hawkwind, Hawkwind (1970)

Like most humans who’ve never actually been in the band — there are still five or 10 of us left; we get together on weekends — I am viciously underqualified to discuss the life and times of Hawkwind. I haven’t even seen the BBC documentary, though I have to wonder how more than four (I think it was three at the time) decades of space-rock pioneering could possibly be summarized in a single viewing anyway. In any case, all of Hawkwind‘s groundbreaking, all of their lysergic push, all the drugs, all the riffs, and their insurmountable discography — they continue to release albums; I interviewed Dave Brock a few years back about one of them — all began with their 1970 self-titled debut. If you’re looking for the launch point, this would be it.

At the time, Hawkwind was Brock on vocals/guitar/keys, Nik Turner — who’s touring this fall with his own incarnation of the band — on sax/vocals, guitarist/vocalist Huw Lloyd, bassist/vocalist John A. Harrison, synth/key specialist Michael “Dikmik” Davies and drummer Terry Ollis. I doubt any of them could’ve known the movement they were beginning or the litigation they’d eventually undertake when they recorded this album live with The Pretty Things guitarist Dick Taylor, but as they continued to refine their sound (and lineup) over the next five years, getting through the classic 1971 outing, In Search of Space, en route to albums like 1974′s Hall of the Mountain Grill 1975′s Warrior on the Edge of Time, it became apparent that what they were doing was more than just the standard psychedelic fare, and the rhythmic thrust that became their signature is still widely influential today, 40-plus years after the fact.

That thrust is hardly writ large over the self-titled, but as you can hear as the record plays out, Hawkwind were pretty much making it up as they went along, and of course the tradeoff for self-realization on the part of a band is a necessary narrowing of focus. Hawkwind, the album, is all the more varied for the fact that the band hadn’t really taken shape yet, and so it captures a moment that, in all their releases, studio, live and whatever else, would never come again.

I hope you enjoy.

Tomorrow night, I’m going to drive north to Portland, Maine, to see the last of the three slated We’re all Gonna Die reunion shows. They’re playing with Murcielago and Blackwolfgoat, so I’m expecting a good time and a late night both. I haven’t been to a show in more than a month, with the move and all, so I’m very much looking forward to getting out for a bit and hearing something loud. The plan is to review on Monday.

Also Monday, I may or may not have a Steak video premiere? I’m not sure what’s going on with the timing of that, or if I’m doing a premiere or it’s just coming out, or what the deal really is. I figure it’ll get sorted sooner or later and I’ll adjust accordingly. While I’m talking about nascent plans that may or may not fall through, I got offered a Funeral Horse album stream today that I’d very much like to do because that band rules that I was hoping to do Tuesday. Got my fingers crossed it comes together.

The party don’t stop either way, though. Tuesday night High on Fire play the Sinclair in Cambridge and I’ll be out for that, because if you’re gonna jump back in, do it like you mean it, and I’ll hope Wednesday to get a piece up on that. More Radio Adds to come, and hopefully a review of the Witch Mountain record, which is a little more bittersweet now that Uta Plotkin has announced it’ll be her last with the band. So it goes.

Of course there’s other stuff too, but I can’t possibly imagine what it might be because my mind is in full-on Hawkwind drift. We’ll just have to figure it out when we get there.

Please have an excellent, safe weekend. Eat ice cream and kick ass, because you can.

And don’t forget to check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Duuude, Tapes! Brownangus, Brownangus

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on August 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ll admit, it’s been a while since I last saw a cassingle sleeve. That which brings the self-titled EP from Minneapolis duo Brownangus is simple enough. It says “brown” on one face and “angus” on the other, and on the sides, the band’s name and the website for Major Destroyer Records, who release the tape in an edition of 100 copies. The cassette itself is raw-meat pink with brown letting and offers about 16 minutes of varied punishment, from blistering noise rock to caustic droning to assorted moments of sludgy grooving, the two-piece of bassist Craig Lee and drummer Blake Jette (both of whom take credit for vocals, though I don’t hear any on the tape) coming across with no shortage of blown-out fuckall. At times, Lee‘s tone and the wash of cymbals with which it arrives reminds of fellow Midwesterners Beast in the Field, and if the Twin Cities-dwellers were to take influence from the Detroit twosome, I don’t think anyone could blame them, but ultimately, Brownangus – whose name appears as two words on the tape itself and one just about everywhere else — are more rooted in punk, however much an affinity for chaos the two acts may share.

A beehive bass buzz starts side one of Brownangus‘ Brownangus. The tape presents two nameless tracks, the first longer than the second, each of which accounts for its side. Side one is immediate but finds room in its circa-10-minute screed for a droning break after an initial buildup and groove. Noise and bigger riffing emerges in a sudden kick on the other end, but Lee and Jette have never completely let go of the tension, so it’s not as if they’re coming completely out of nowhere. They retain an experimental feel as Jette keeps slower time and Lee delves into various effects for a deconstructing march that ends side one with a sample of an emergency broadcast. Side two begins with some abrasive feedback that leads into a rolling low-end groove, but soon enough downshifts into more downtempo terrain, gradually fading out altogether until a rumble signals a return to full-blast bludgeoning. Jette taps his sticks on the rims of his drums during an upbeat break, but Lee soon joins back in and the forward drive continues in punkish form with intermittent starts and stops for the remainder of the side, Brownangus never quite settling into one method or another, but showcasing an unabashed glee for playing with noise on their way. Another fadeout marks the end of the quick release, and Brownangus make their way out of their self-titled with relatively little fanfare considering the havoc wrought over these two sides.

While they keep it nasty for just about the entire duration and the tape’s all-at-once-per-side presentation lends itself more to listening altogether than parsing out each individual piece that comprises it, Brownangus does make a few deft turns, between its fury and drone and roll, and what comes across clearest of all is that Lee and Jette have an open creative process and are ready and willing to manipulate their own sound in order to make the noise they want, rather than sculpting their material to fit some genre ideal. Near as I can tell, the Major Destroyer cassette is their first physical release, and as such it showcases a duo of blistering potential. They don’t seem to here, but should they decide they want to, it’s easy to imagine them adding vocals to their approach down the line from whichever of them can scream the most viscerally, or better yet, both.

Brownangus, Brownangus (2014)

Brownangus on Thee Facebooks

Major Destroyer Records on Bandcamp

Major Destroyer Records webstore

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Heavy Temple, Heavy Temple: Alpha and Omega

Posted in Reviews on August 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s a cavernous and mystical sound that Heavy Temple have conjured for their self-titled debut EP. After impressing with a single for “Unholy Communion” last year — that song is also presented third of the extended three cuts on Heavy Temple and is out as a cassingle via Sarlacc Productions — the Philadelphia outfit were picked up by Germany’s Ván Records for the vinyl and digipak CD issue of this more complete first outing, and it’s an endorsement of no small consequence, Ván having long since proved the mettle of its tastes via picking up cult-minded acts like Year of the Goat and The Devil’s BloodHeavy Temple – here a trio but now a duo with bassist/vocalist Elyse “High Priestess Nighthawk” Mitchell as the sole remaining founder — present a more laid back style of grooving than either of those two, but remain plenty heavy nonetheless across “Dirty Ghost” (8:17), “Legendary Conversations with Ants” (7:31) and the aforementioned “Unholy Communion” (13:15) and offer atmosphere to match the intermittent full-thrust tonal heft. They are, in fact, notably cohesive  in their approach, and particularly for their first time out, Heavy Temple seem to arrive with a firm notion of their intent, what they want to sound like and how they want to achieve it. Mitchell‘s voice is dynamic and her approach shifts smoothly between “Dirty Ghost” and “Legendary Conversations with Ants” before delivering its most powerful performance on the closer, and in guitarist Shawn “Rattlesnake” Rambles and drummer Andy “Bearadactyl” Martin (also of Maple Forum alums Clamfight), she had a formidable complement with which to establish the range heard in these songs.

About those songs: They are spacious, psychedelic, heavy and they manage to avoid much of the cult rock cliché while proving both immersive and memorable over the course of Heavy Temple‘s 29-minute span. Working together as a debut EP, they more than succeed in giving the band’s audience a sense of what Heavy Temple want to do moving forward, and whether it’s the quiet doom blues in “Legendary Conversations with Ants” that gives way to a slow-motion effects-drenched freakout led by Rambles‘ guitar or the jammy bliss that emerges at the end of “Unholy Communion,” they retain their hold of the proceedings and excellently showcase the potential for what the band might or might have become going forward. “Dirty Ghost” commences with an otherworldly volume swell — minimal, quiet — before gradually unfolding itself with Martin‘s drums and Mitchell‘s bass and vocals, and it’s not until well past the halfway point of its eight-minute run that it finally explodes into full-on psych-grunge heft, like if someone wanted to turn peak-era Soundgarden production into a religion. That patience becomes a central element as Heavy Temple plays out, and the trio are just as likely to ride out a loud part as a quiet one, not shying either from crafting a void or filling it with distortion. The malleability of Mitchell‘s voice between the sultry croon in the first minutes of “Dirty Ghost” and the rawer shouting at the apex of “Unholy Communion” — the EP flowing smoothly between the two; something else that bodes well for a full-length — is another major asset working in their favor, and the stoner-mass of “Legendary Conversations with Ants,” while apparently more worldly in its lyric than the title might have you believe, executes a subtle linear build that ends with some classic doom riffing that bleeds right into the start of “Unholy Communion,” the whole release tying together seamlessly.

The first couple minutes of “Unholy Communion” are dedicated to building up tension, but at about 2:50, the song opens up and begins a payoff that will carry it through its midpoint, where it breaks to minimal ambience to set the stage for the EP’s final build and ultimate heavy psych payoff, Rambles‘ soloing meshing with layers of effects swirl that still keep enough room in the mix to sound human-made, though by then all three sound completely engrossed in the stirring concoction, even as they emerge from it for the big-riff finish and last-second string epilogue. Whatever Heavy Temple do from here is bound to be vastly different. I don’t know whether Mitchell intends to form a new trio or keep the band as a two-piece — she’s currently joined by drummer Saint Columbidae – but in any case, the change from the guitar, bass/vocals and drums lineup here is sure to manifest itself in subsequent output, even if her songwriting remains at the core. With that in mind, Heavy Temple may or may not be telling of the band’s future, and one would wonder about releasing it at all but for the fact that when a label like Ván comes calling, you answer. If this EP is to be Heavy Temple‘s beginning point, it starts them with a tumult marked by material of striking quality. It’s a familiar enough story for bands working under a principle songwriter, and if that’s to be the tale of Heavy Temple, the hope is they can find consistency in the chaos. Taken on its own merits, however, Heavy Temple is among the best short releases I’ve heard so far this year, and if it can serve as even the most rudimentary standard of quality from which the band can expand their sound, then they’re going to be just fine. Point is, even just in Mitchell‘s performance there’s potential here and a lot of it. How she handles that and what she does with it the next time out will be a big tell in terms of Heavy Temple‘s longer-term prospects, and either way, it seems likely that their sophomore studio outing will be as much a debut as this one. A live release in the interim would go a long way in giving a look at where Heavy Temple are headed.

Heavy Temple, Heavy Temple (2014)

Heavy Temple on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Temple on Bandcamp

Ván Records

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Friday Full-Length: Torche, Torche

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 1st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Torche, Torche (2005)

I remember when I got this album when it came out in 2005 — nine years ago now. It was the “former members of Floor” that caught my eye when Robotic Empire was getting ready to release it, but it was as soon as the hook of “Mentor” came on, I had my “holy shit” moment with Torche‘s Torche, and I guess a lot of other people did as well. Listening back to the album now, there’s so much more to it than that — the weird experimentalism of “Fuck Addict,” or the feedback-drenched “The Last Word” — things that Torche moved past on subsequent releases in their drive toward a cleaner, more daringly poppy sound, but that make this album’s threat seem all the more glaring. There was nothing like them when they started. This record could be so sweet sounding and still push past the limits of accessibility.

Of course, the context is different, hearing it now. Nearly a decade’s worth of hindsight, several follow-up LPs and a Floor reunion later, Torche‘s self-titled debut still comes across as brazen, but now it sounds more like a beginning point than the bold declaration it was. I haven’t heard much about Torche‘s impending full-length from Relapse, maybe you have the inside track, but something steered me toward this album today, and it wasn’t an impulse I was about to deny. Maybe Torche are a little too fresh, too recent in the consciousness, to start talking about classics, but in another nine or 10 years, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we come to see their debut in that light. My thinking was that maybe you hadn’t heard it in a while, and maybe you’d be as glad to revisit as I was.

Point being, I hope you enjoy.

Quick week, but aren’t they all. Nice to get three bigger reviews done this week and to take a little time and note how grateful I was to The Patient Mrs. for doing a bit of shopping on my behalf while in Greece. I also took some time to make a list of the shows I want to see this and next month and into October. There are five in August starting on the ninth in Portland, Maine, with We’re all Gonna DieBlackwolfgoat and Murcielago, and going on from there. Five this month, six next. I don’t know if I’ll actually make it to all of them, but it’ll be good to end this summer’s shut-in lifestyle as we move into fall, however much I end up getting out.

Tonight? Chinese delivery and looking to spend a cloudy evening watching baseball. Not much for Friday night excitement, but I kind of felt like I never woke up today — was up in the middle of the night for an hour-plus — and yeah, been in a haze ever since. I guess some thrills came in the form of my dinner, which arrived, cost me upwards of $40 with the delivery tip factored in, and was uncooked. I’ve lived in this area a year now and have yet to find a place that’s got anything more than barely acceptable takeout. Granted I don’t get it every week or anything, but I’m up to five or six different spots now and only one was worth going back to. Yelp is no assistance whatsofuckingever. All anyone ever talks about is the fucking “crab rangoons.” It’s god damn deep fried crab meat and cream cheese! Of course it’s fucking delicious! The highlight of the meal was when the dog sat and stayed at the door while I futzed with my cash to give the delivery guy. It was all downhill from there.

Next week, look out for streams from Joy and Blackwitch Pudding, reviews of Heavy Temple and Witch Mountain and hopefully I’ll get the John Garcia interview posted, which I actually filed away thinking it already went up when clearly it did not. Whoops. Little late on that one, but so it goes.

Alright, onward to my evening of awful raw meat greasy-flavor aftertaste and watching the off-brand peckerwood Yankees lose to the Red Sox. I hope you have an excellent and injury-free weekend.

Please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Sleep, Red Fang, Deamon’s Child, The Jackpine Snag, Cruthu

Posted in Radio on July 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I guess this is the part where I complain about lack of time, blah blah blah. Last week was a mess, it’s true, as were the last couple days, but what it comes down to is I do what I can when I can. That’s been my policy all along. A couple of these discs – CruthuDeamon’s Child — are my own rips as well from discs that were sent in, and as ever, there’s more that went up than just what is listed here. So one way or another, activity abounds. I need to find out how close I am to filling the three terabytes of the hard drive used for the server, but until then, the additions will continue unabated. It’s good to keep busy.

The Obelisk Radio adds for July 31, 2014:

Sleep, “The Clarity”

To call the first new Sleep track since Dopesmoker an “event” would be underselling it. “The Clarity” arrives via the Adult Swim Singles Series not only as the Iommian legends’ first outing since that landmark release, but also their debut recording with drummer Jason Roeder and their first studio work since guitarist Matt Pike and bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros went on to destroy/expand minds in High on Fire and Om, respectively, for the last decade-plus. A near-10-minute stonerly sprawl finds Sleep‘s central methodology intact. Grown up some from what it was 20 years ago, expectedly, but loyal to what they were without trying to recapture a magic that’s gone with that time. Cisneros has taken some flack for not roughing up his vocals à la Sleep’s Holy Mountain, but from where I sit, his cadence and cleaner style only makes “The Clarity” more honest, and if lyrics like “Iommic life complete” and “The dealer is my refuge” are easier to understand, you won’t find me complaining. They jam out most of the song’s second half, and ultimately “The Clarity” collapses in a sudden cut, leaving you to wonder if it ever happened at all — until of course you go back to the start for another glorious hit. If this portends more to come, I’m even more excited about the prospect of new Sleep than I was before the single arrived. Sleep on Thee Facebooks, Adult Swim Singles.

Deamon’s Child, Deamon’s Child

Even before you get to the dolphin sample in “Delfine,” and the garage thrashiness of the subsequent “Alles Bio, Immer Bio,” German trio Deamon’s Child give some hints that there’s more to what they do than the standard heavy noise rock. Comprised of guitarist Sven “Missu” Missulis (aka John Reebo of Reebosound, also ex-Psychedelic Avengers), bassist/vocalist Ana Maija Muhi (who also contributed to Reebosound‘s 2010 outing, This is Reebosound) and drummer Tim Mohr (also WhiteBuzz), Deamon’s Child debuted last year with an engaging demo and follow it with a self-titled debut of increased complexity and a sound that’s varied without the pretense, culling together punk, grunge, heavy rock and noise to create songs that feel like they could turn in any direction at once. The production plays up the frayed edges, and Muhi‘s layered vocals on a chugger like “Lutscher!” sound all the more Melvins-esque. Deamon’s Child is loaded with surprises, but doesn’t feel any more haphazard than it’s meant to, and while it may take a couple listens to catch up to it, the songs are consistent in their invitation for repeat visits. Deamon’s Child on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Red Fang, TeamRock.com Presents an Absolute Music Bunker Session with Red Fang

A free Red Fang acoustic EP — who’s going to argue with that? Not me, though the cumbersome and corporate-style title leaves something to be desired. Nonetheless, once you get through all the namebrandery, what you come out with are acoustic renditions from Red Fang of “Failure” from late 2013′s Whales and Leeches and “Malverde” and “Human Herd” from the preceding 2011 outing, Murder the Mountains (review here). Hearing guitarist Bryan Giles soften up his usually-rough vocal approach on “Malverde” is interesting, given how much of the album version of that track is about the impact of the thing, but “Failure” becomes a brooding plea rather than the threat it is at full thrust, and “Human Herd” a kind of meditation that makes for the highlight of the whole release. One tries not to read too much into what was clearly a one-off thing, but it would be cool to hear what an acoustic album track from Red Fang might sound like. Their songwriting clearly translates, and between Giles and bassist/vocalist Aaron Beam – let’s not forget guitarist David Sullivan or drummer John Sherman – they prove here they can pull it off sounding confident and comfortable. Kind of an unexpected turn from the chicanery-fueled rock we’re used to from Red Fang, but they’re as easy to dig as ever on (deep breath) TeamRock.com Presents an Absolute Music Bunker Session with Red FangRed Fang on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

The Jackpine Snag, The Fire Tower EP

Tonally, Michigan’s The Jackpine Snag seem rooted in punk, but a strong undercurrent of the weirdo runs throughout the songs on their new EP, The Fire Tower, and whether it’s the shouting on “With Wings” or “The Missaukee Strut” or the motoring noise of closer “Gonna Wreck My Life,” the trio present an individualized approach to bruiser expression. The Fire Tower is their longest outing yet at seven songs following a four-track 2013 debut 7″, but they have no trouble changing up their take enough to hold interest, while also keeping the tracks themselves relatively lean and concise. Maybe what the EP does best is balance that efficiency with a loose, tossoff-punker vibe, but The Jackpine Snag – guitarist/vocalist Joe Hart, bassist Jason Roedel and drummer Todd Karinen – show a keen awareness of how far out they want to go and how oddball they want to get in their ragged, grungy craftsmanship. No doubt that will serve them well should they decide next to tackle a debut full-length. The Jackpine Snag on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Cruthu, Creation Demo

The debut release from Lansing, Michigan’s Cruthu, the Creation Demo culls together an initial three tracks that sound somewhat raw but hold significant stylistic promise, blending a heavy ’70s psych-blues mentality with drearier rock tendencies and analog worship. Frontwoman Teri Brown provides a soulful lift to “S.O.S.,” as guitarist Dan McCormick leads bassist Scott Lehman and drummer Matt Fry through a subtly doomed murk, but pushes into rawer, strained-throat vocalizing on “Walk with Me” that immediately stands the Creation Demo apart from much of what claims to have been recorded live in terms of sheer honesty. And to Cruthu‘s further credit, I don’t think the tracks were recorded live. Particularly in “Separated from the Herd” and “Walk with Me,” which closes, Cruthu find some room for instrumental exploration along with Brown‘s vocals, and the path they’re on suits them well as the demo plays out. I’d be interested to hear them branch out further instrumentally, get weird with some percussion or strings or psychedelics, but there’s time for such things, and they’re off to an evocative start. Cruthu on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Like I said, there’s a lot more that went up this week than is listed here. Check out The Obelisk Radio playlist/updates page for the complete list.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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audiObelisk Transmission 038

Posted in Podcasts on July 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Click Here to Download

 

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As I’ve tried not to do since I started making podcasts again, I kept away from a consistent theme this time around, but I wanted to at least get a blend of bands you’ve probably heard and bands maybe you haven’t. Of course the new Sleep was a given, and new cuts from Electric Wizard and Karma to Burn felt like they needed to be there as well, so they are. But there are a few corresponding inclusions of stuff I’ve been digging that I haven’t had the chance to write about yet — looking at you, USA out of Vietnam, Lewis and the Strange Magics and Deamon’s Child — and while I’ve no doubt you’re already down with those and the rest of what’s included here because you’re on it like that, putting them in here seemed a good way to feature them for anyone not yet exposed who might be interested in checking them out.

If that’s you, please enjoy. The second hour, as usual, is consumed by longer songs, but there are a few in the first hour as well (that Electric Wizard track is over 10 minutes, and the Sleep is close to it), but of the podcasts I’ve put together in the last few months, this one easily flows the best. It was pretty late as I was putting it together last night, so I had the headphones on and was working totally without distraction. I know it’s an unrealistic expectation to think anyone will be able to listen in that manner, but if you get the chance or if you don’t, I hope you have a good time.

First Hour:
Sleep, “The Clarity” from Adult Swim Singles Series (2014)
Electric Wizard, “I am Nothing” from Time to Die (2014)
Lewis and the Strange Magics, “Cloudy Grey Cube” from Demo (2014)
USA Out of Vietnam, “You are a Comet, You are on Fire” from Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes (2014)
Serpent Venom, “Lord of Life” from Of Things Seen and Unseen (2014)
Deamon’s Child, “Lutscher!” from Deamon’s Child (2014)
Rabbits, “Reek and Ye Shall Find” from Untoward (2014)
Karma to Burn, “Fifty Seven” from Arch Stanton (2014)
The Heavy Co., “One Big Drag” from Uno Dose (2014)

Second Hour:
Wolf Blood, “Dancing on Your Grave” from Wolf Blood (2014)
Frown, “Harpocrates Unborn” from The Greatest Gift to Give (2014)
Merlin, “Lucifer’s Revenge” from Christ Killer (2014)
Causa Sui, “Incipiency Suite” from Pewt’r Sessions 3 (2014)

Total running time: 1:57:27

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 038

 

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Death Penalty to Release Self-Titled Debut in September

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Today is the official release date for the debut seven-inch from Death Penalty, the new band featuring former Cathedral guitarist Gaz Jennings along with vocalist Michelle Nocon and drummer Frederik Cosemans, both formerly of Belgian doom outfit Serpentcult. Together with bassist Raf Meukens, also of death metallers Torturerama, Jennings and company issue Sign of Times through Rise Above in a varied pressing of 500 copies ahead of a self-titled debut which is set to release in September.

That album will mark Jennings‘ first full-length outing since Cathedral met their end, and given his unearthly pedigree of riffing, it’ll be interesting to hear what he brings to this new project. As you can hear below, the single bodes well.

Ever-vigilant, the PR wire has details on the album and more background on how the band came together

DEATH PENALTY (Featuring Gaz Jennings of Cathedral) to Release Self-Titled Debut on Rise Above Records September 16th in North America

Artwork and Track Listing Revealed

When all is said and done, the art of making people bang their heads comes down to one central component: the riff. The riff has been refined and redefined so many times over the last four decades that ownership of a guitar and half a brain should be all that’s required to at least have a decent stab at getting things right, and yet very few people seem capable of tapping into the true essence and ethos of what made Tony Iommi such an all-conquering pioneer and overlord of six-string power and glory. Over the last 25 years, discerning metal fans may have struggled to pinpoint any bona fide contemporary greats amongst the never-ending proliferation of also-rans and wannabes, but as chief composer and guitarist for UK doom metal legends Cathedral, Gaz Jennings has more than earned the mantle of the modern age’s most consistent and supremely talented Riffmaster General. A perennial unsung hero of the heavy underground, Gaz has already contributed a vast number of classic songs to the metallic canon, but when Cathedral finally called it a day in 2013 it looked as if another guitar hero was destined to disappear into the shadows. Gloriously, he has now returned with a brand new band, DEATH PENALTY, and an eponymous debut album that once again proves his absolute mastery of the form.

“When Cathedral split I didn’t have any intention of getting another band together,” Gaz admits. “I wanted to do a record, because Lee [Dorrian, Cathedral front man and Rise Above Records boss] has been saying for years that he’d give me a deal! But all my time was taken up writing stuff for Cathedral. I had a few bits and bobs lying around, so I started writing material a few years back and that’s where it all started. And now the album is ready to go.”

With such a formidable reputation to uphold, it was absolutely vital for Gaz to select the right musicians to work with in his new band. Enter vocalist Michelle Nocon and Fredrik ‘Cozy’ Cosemans, members of Belgian doom warriors Serpentcult; a band that Gaz greatly admires and fellow Rise Above alumni. Although resident in Belgium, Michelle and Cozy were simply the right people for the job and kindred spirits that Gaz suspected would be perfect for helping him to realize his new musical vision.

With the DEATH PENALTY line-up completed by the addition of another Belgian, bassist Raf Meukens, Gaz was now fully equipped to bring his new band into the spotlight. The first results emerged via a debut seven-inch single, Sign Of Times/Seven Flames, which showcased DEATH PENALTY’sfiery blend of old school heavy metal, subtle doom shades and Michelle Nocon’s extraordinary vocal talents. The real meat of the matter will be unveiled upon the release of the band’s self-titled debut album, a triumphant tour-de-force of pounding heaviness that brilliantly encapsulates everything that Gaz has brought to the table with Cathedral while veering off on a number of new and distinctly compelling tangents along the way. Fans of the NWOBHM era will find themselves instantly entranced by the likes of Howling At The Throne Of Decadence and Golden Tides, while diehard doom acolytes will be immediately reassured that Gaz’s ability to pen timeless riffs remains entirely undimmed, as demonstrated on the grandiose grit of Into The Ivory Frost and Children Of The Night.

The final piece of the puzzle slotted neatly into place when Gaz chose a name for the new band. Anyone that has followed the guitarist’s career over the years will recognise that DEATH PENALTY is the title of Witchfinder General’s classic 1982 debut album; a record that has long been an essential part of Gaz’s inspirational armoury. However, beyond paying homage to his childhood heroes, he freely confesses that the name was simply the first and only credible option and a telling alternative to the countless terrible band names currently doing the rounds.

Once DEATH PENALTY’s debut hits the shops (and the nebulous world of online retail, of course), it seems highly likely that everyone from Cathedral fans and old school diehards to new school doom and psych rock admirers will celebrate the arrival of another truly great heavy metal band for the modern age. Quite content to remain an underground concern, DEATH PENALTY are just beginning their journey into the outer limits of refined riff worship and Gaz Jennings’ hopes and expectations are every bit as humble and honest as long-time fans will expect.

Death Penalty Track Listing:
1. Grotesque Horizon
2. Howling at the Throne of Decadence
3. Eyes of the Heretic
4. Golden Tides
5. Into the Ivory Frost
6. Children of the Night
7. The One That Dwells
8. She is a Witch
9. Immortal by Your Hand
10. Written by the Insane

For More Info Visit:
http://www.riseaboverecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/riseaboverecords

Death Penalty, “Sign of Times” (2014)

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Bongripper, We’re all Gonna Die, Sufferghost, Liquido di Morte, Planet of Zeus

Posted in Radio on July 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Click here to listen.

You may or may not have noticed, but on the updates page for The Obelisk Radio, you can now see the playlist for the entire day. Mad and thoroughly appreciated genius that he is, Slevin set it up so that even when a song doesn’t have an ID3 tag — as some of the older included mp3s obviously don’t — the filename itself appears, so you can still find out what was played. It goes back to July 10 now, because that’s when it was launched, but my understanding is it will just keep adding days, so there will be a full archive from here on out of what was played. I’ve been nerding out on it all week.

And primarily what it’s underscored for me is just how much good shit there is on that playlist. It’s unreal. Please feel free to peruse. Here’s some more stuff that just went up.

The Obelisk Radio Adds for July 18, 2014:

Bongripper, Miserable


Chicago four-piece Bongripper once more crawl out of the muck with another collection of lurching, extended instrumental tracks, proliferating malevolent riff worship and lumbering, head-slung hopelessness. Like Pelican‘s evil twin, they offer a couple catch-your-breath moments throughout “Endless” (somewhat ironically the shortest track at 17:49), “Descent” (18:52) and the insurmountably mammoth “Into Ruin” (28:25), but the bulk of their sixth album is dedicated to destructive crash and vicious low-toned riffing, and even when they drone out in the last six minutes of “Descent,” the mood remains dark and crushing. All the more fitting as a lead-in for “Into Ruin,” which has its own breaks for good measure but makes its impression more in the tectonic weight of its impact. Everything heavy. All heavy. Nothing not heavy. Bongripper have been at it for nearly a decade now, and they’ve only gotten meaner. Miserable gets bonus points for the Mike Miller cover art. One would be hard pressed to think of something more appropriate. Bongripper on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

We’re all Gonna Die, These are the Old Ways


When Boston heavy rockers We’re all Gonna Die — the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Jim Healey (also Black Thai), bassist Jesse Sherman (also Never Got Caught) and drummer Scott Healey (also Gut) — announced their return a short while ago for three summer shows, they sent word of a new single “Pleurisy.” That single, included on These are the Old Ways, has been expanded to include a collection of previously unreleased cuts from the band’s history, resulting in the 24-minute These are the Old Ways. Lineups and recording vibes vary — the EP caps with two instrumentals that show off some solid riffs but are clearly incomplete demos — but “Pleurisy” itself and “I’m Free” showcase the driving, forward rhythms and Healey‘s towering vocals following the riff, and “The Day I Walked Away,” while rougher sounding, offers the most memorable hook of the release. Round it out with a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s “That Smell” and the aforementioned instrumentals “Small” and “Awash,” and These are the Old Ways adds intrigue to the new single and reminds of the variety that We’re all Gonna Die were always able to bring to their gritty, aggressive approach. We’re all Gonna Die on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Sufferghost, Thaw


In historical hindsight, it’s tempting to think of Connecticut’s Sufferghost as a prelude to guitarist/vocalist Ron Vanacore and bassist Richard “Cheech” Weeden‘s work in Curse the Sun, but the truth is, it’s an entirely different band. Vanacore, still on vocals, plays drums on Sufferghost‘s recently-unearthed 2007 outing, Thaw, and the guitars are handled by Anthony Buhagiar, whose burst aortic aneurysm would effectively end the band in 2009, leading to the founding of Curse the Son. There are some consistencies of method between the two — riffs lead the way, albeit less tonally developed than Vanacore would be by the time Curse the Son put out 2012′s Psychache (review here), which has just been released on vinyl through STB Records — but Sufferghost had a musical personality of its own as well, and while “Leave the Church” offered stonerly roll, and “Neuralgia” engages righteous, mostly instrumental Sabbathizing, “Summer Insane” and the slower “Land of the None/Evilled” have some shades of burlier Black Label Society-style metal, and that’s terrain Vanacore and Weeden (who’ve been in bands together since the mid ’80s) have avoided in their subsequent act. Thaw makes you wonder what might’ve been had Sufferghost continued to develop, and gives listeners an opportunity to explore the roots from which Curse the Son sprouted. Sufferghost on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Planet of Zeus, Vigilante


Vigilante is the third LP from dudely Athens-based riffers Planet of Zeus, and while Clutch remains a primary influence, songs like “Burn this City Down,” “Tornado” and closer “The Beast Within” find the four-piece come into their own sound more than did 2011′s sophomore outing, Macho Libre. Still, moments will ring familiar, if roughened up, and the bluesy roll and organ of “No Tomorrow,” the gospel preaching of the title-track and the start-stop funk of “Second Coming” would seem to continue the pattern. They do it better than most who try, and for the touches of individuality, the impact of the production, and for the ease with which they move into instrumental psychedelia on “The Beast Within,” Vigilante (released on Ihaveadrum Records) makes a catchy endeavor for the already converted. Some of the harder-edged vocals from guitarist Babis might surprise, but it’s easy enough to get oriented throughout, and if Planet of Zeus have a more aggressive take on an established style, that only furthers their ability to stand out within it. Planet of Zeus on Thee Facebooks, Vigilante on Bandcamp.

Liquido di Morte, Liquido di Morte


Made up of three recorded-live psychedelic jams that spread smoothly over the total runtime of 37 minutes, Northern Italy outfit Liquido di Morte‘s self-titled debut is marked out by some post-rock sensibilities in the guitar and the lead/rhythm dynamic that periodically merges into bigger, more lumbering grooves throughout. The double-guitar four-piece use samples or guest speakers for vocals and the feel across the tracks is pretty vast, but there’s also clearly a consciousness at work on opener “Ozric Pentacles,” and as the riffy largesse mounts backed by chaos swirls and loops, it’s hard not to be reminded of some of Ufomammut‘s earliest goings, though that’s just one element at work. “In Death of Space/Of Death in Space” pushes further with the plotted feel, a tension and intensity trading off as movements weave in and out and open and close, culminating in a noisy wash that only highlights how much Liquido di Morte have known all along where they were heading, and the 18-minute finale “144″ builds from an effects-laden early few minutes into their most hypnotic and consuming roll yet, spoken word guest vocals emerging late to pipe a last-minute sense of reality into what had clearly, by then, departed from it. A more than impressively cohesive first offering — all the more because it was recorded live — from a band whose potential is writ large in their material. Liquido di Morte on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

As ever, this isn’t even close to everything that joined The Obelisk Radio playlist this week. For the full list and to check out today’s playlist, visit the updates page.

Thanks for reading and listening.
 

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Brimstone Coven Stream “Behold, the Anunnaki” from Metal Blade Debut

Posted in audiObelisk on July 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

On Aug. 5, West Virginian classic doom four-piece Brimstone Coven will make a self-titled debut on Metal Blade Records. The retro-fied, boogie-ritualized, 69-minute monster with which they’ll do it is available now to preorder and made up of 17 tracks — the sum total of their discography prior to inking the deal. Their original 2012 self-titled EP (which STB Records released as a 12″ last year) appears here as bonus tracks, and 2013′s II, comprises the meat of the album proper. But with the combination and a remaster comes a change of title, and Brimstone Coven‘s Brimstone Coven it is.

In whatever context one might want to view it, Brimstone Coven is an album that righteously engages the tenets of classic doom. There’s an early ’70s sway to the material, a looseness in the rhythm section of bassist Andrew D’Cagna and drummer Justin Wood, that gives the chugging, grooving riffs of guitarist Corey Roth both meat and movement, and vocalist “Big John” Williams meshes with this modus perfectly, the layers of his voice harmonizing and calling to mind the natural feel and melodic range of grandiose ’70s prog, working with the music surrounding to give cuts like “Behold, the Anunnaki,” “The Black Door” and “The Seance” a mystique without sounding overblown or needlessly theatrical. It’s a careful balance and Brimstone Coven execute it well.

While the newer material (which appears first on the new collection) has a clearer production value than the original EP — though the remaster and an intro track provide an easy flow from one section into the next — that only makes it easier to hear the progression Brimstone Coven have undertaken. As a summary of the album’s appeal, “Behold, the Anunnaki” holds up more than ably in giving a sense of their progressive side while nailing down a steady rolling groove and building to a bigger finish. If it’s your first taste of what Brimstone Coven have to offer, you’re likely in for a pleasant surprise.

Enjoy:

Brimstone Coven will release their self-titled full-length via Metal Blade Records on Aug. 5. The album is available to preorder here. They’ll also join Eric Wagner‘s Blackfinger for select shows on their upcoming tour, and on July 21, they’ll play with labelmates Mount Salem in their home state. More info from the PR wire and at the links below:

Brimstone Coven is a retro-hard rock / doom band that hails of out Wheeling, WV. They began brewing their own blend of “dark occult rock” in the early months of 2011. Corey Roth (Guitarist) wrote the first five songs, which would later become the band’s self titled album. Roth went on to handpick three seasoned musicians from the local scene. Andrew D’Cagna (Bass), Justin Wood (Drums), and “Big John” Williams (Vocals) were recruited to carry out Roth’s plan for sonic domination. Echoing the eerie reverberations of hard rock heavyweights such as Black Sabbath and Pentagram, mixed with the classic rock style of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, Brimstone Coven strive to preserve a vintage rock sound mixed with a style all their own.

After many shows, one album, the band added new drummer Dan Hercules, released their second album, simply titled “II”, which was released in November of 2013, and signed with Metal Blade Records! Since signing with Metal Blade, original drummer Justin Wood has returned to the fold and has rounded out the seminal chemistry the band had been looking for. Metal Blade Records will begin their new partnership with Brimstone Coven by releasing the band’s latest album combined with their debut EP, complete with new mastering and brand new artwork. Artwork was completed by Creighton Hill, the same mind behind the band’s first two releases. The newly packaged and mastered set 17 tracks will serve as a solid introduction to Brimstone Coven for new fans. On August 5, the album will be available digitally and physically in North America.

Brimstone Coven at Metal Blade Records

Brimstone Coven on Thee Facebooks

Brimstone Coven’s website

Metal Blade Records

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Slow Motion Rider to Release Self-Titled LP Sept. 1

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Los Angeles heavy psych rockers Slow Motion Rider put the digital edition of their self-titled debut out in May, and The Committee to Keep Music Evil will issue the physical version of the album this September. The record was produced by Rob Campanella of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and the release will make the three-piece labelmates with the likes of FederaleThe Asteroid 4 and Spindrift. Accordingly, the collection spaces out its vinyl-able 42 minutes with trippy effects and a shoegazing drawl that sounds desert-baked. I dig it. You might also dig it. Which is why I’m posting about it. Right on.

The PR wire sends its regards, as well as audio:

The Committee To Keep Music Evil would like to announce the release of the debut album by Slow Motion Rider

Produced by Rob Campanella of The Brian Jonestown Massacre

digital release/ May 1st 2014 -hard copies / September 1st 2014

Slow Motion Rider can take you places. This heavy psych trio has created a strong identity of powerful musicianship, taking it back to its roots and giving it all they can. Hailing from the LA circuit with renown for groovy carefree parties and a strong sense of community, their live shows are raw and full of energy. Having a number of influences in their DNA you will think of Spacemen 3 and the pure blood of The Doors and Hendrix.

Talented with their ability to get into a groove and even riff without over indulgence these songs will have you hooked and truly take you back to the times when rock and roll was straightforward and honest. With a release amongst the stellar lineup of The Committee To Keep Music Evil that includes The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Dead Meadow, and more, they are already poised to move up in the community and bring a new consciousness to it all at once. From a trek through the California desert all the way to the deep reaches of our universe, these vibes are transcendent.

With performances at Austin Psych Fest 2014, other regional tours are scheduled for fall 2014. Slow Motion Rider has already been getting some airplay in the US as well as Europe which includes European syndicated Volks Radio Show. It drew the attention of Joe Foster “Slaughterhouse Joe”, co-founder of Creation Records and producer of countless bands including The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, who has recently signed on to work on their European presence and production of their second album. This album is scheduled for worldwide distribution by September 1st.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Slow-Motion-Rider/113494355371841
slowmotionrider.net
http://ctkme.com

Slow Motion Rider, Slow Motion Rider (2014)

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: All Them Witches, Rainbows are Free, Idre, Nyarlathotep, Panopticon

Posted in Radio on July 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Click here to listen.

There doesn’t seem to ever be a break with this stuff. 16 records joined The Obelisk Radio playlist today, and that’s still got me behind on checking out more to add. I don’t know what the state of that hard drive is, but I might not be far off from needing to add a second one. It’s become an archive for me.

Diligent and admirable bastard that he is, Slevin is working on an automatically refreshing script that will allow listeners to see what was played over the last 24 hours, which will be a big help if a file is missing its ID3 tags — that being how the player identifies the songs — as I know things sometimes are. I get asked regularly what was played at a specific time, so hopefully this will be able to answer that question.

So things are in the works, but of course there’s a ton of music to talk about in the meantime, and that’s the fun part anyway.

The Obelisk Radio Adds for July 11, 2014:

All Them Witches, Effervescent EP

There are at least two distinct jams at work in the 25-minute single track that makes up Effervescent, the 2014 EP from Nashville psych-blues rockers All Them Witches. The Fender Rhodes of Allan Van Cleave and airy guitar of Ben McLeod feature heavily in both, as bassist Michael Parks, Jr., and drummer Robby Staebler (interview here) provide a foundation on which to space out, and the two pieces find a bridge in hypnotic, psychedelic stretching and backwards noise beginning at around 13 minutes in before building back up. All throughout, the vibe is central, there is movement, and the four-piece demonstrate that the chemistry they showed burgeoning on last year’s brilliant Lightning at the Door (discussed here) was no fluke, but the beginning of a grand and creative exploration that finds its next installment here. It may be a stopgap — formerly their primary means of release, they’ve recently pulled their full-lengths down from Bandcamp; one expects big, got-signed-type news from them at any moment — but Effervescent is fluid and rich, and as deep as you want to go in listening to it, it’s willing to take you there and further. All Them Witches on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Nyarlathotep, The Shadow over Innsmouth

Some six years after releasing their initial The End is Always Near demo, New Jersey black metal outfit (whom, in the interest of full disclosure, I know personally) Nyarlathotep follow-up with the Lovecraftian full-length, The Shadow over Innsmouth. Based around the  short story of the same name, the album breaks down into five extended tracks plus an intro of rage-fueled atmospherics. Using programmed drums to their advantage on “Old Zadok Allen” — the only proper song here under 10 minutes — they add an industrial feel with a keyboard-led midsection backed by vague, ambient screams. The density in the material is striking, but even at their most unbridled — as on the blasting, solo-topped early moments in the title-track – Nyarlathotep hold their commitment to setting a mood firm, and the blown-out, distorted soundscape they create across the release is grim and otherworldly enough to be worthy of its subject matter. It is a complex, biting execution that won’t be for everyone, but that seethes in its quiet parts and gnashes its pointed teeth with monstrous force. Nyarlathotep on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Idre, Idre


Oklahoma City trio Idre specialize in ambient fluidity and deeply-weighted tonal crush. Their self-released, self-titled debut long-player is comprised of two extended cuts — “Factorie” (26:41) and “Witch Trial” (13:17) — that each impress with their patience, their impact and their ability to contrast the generally claustrophobic feel of post-metal with an open-spaced, salt-of-the-earth pulse. Within its first 10 minutes, “Factorie” has moved from undulating waves of riffing to vast, strumming, Across Tundras-esque roll, and never does it seem to be meandering without purpose in the noisy stages to come. It builds and collapses, and when they seem the most gone, the clean, twanging vocals return to finish out, leading to the parabolically constructed “Witch Trial,” which marries Earth-style drone and galloping drums effectively to create a decidedly Western feel while still building toward, and eventually moving through a sonically pummeling apex. Once again, vocals are sparse, but perfectly placed almost as if to remind the listener of how small a human being can be in so wide a space as the Midwest. Like that landlocked region, Idre‘s Idre is expansive and lets you see for miles. Idre on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Rainbows are Free, Waves ahead of the Ocean

Led by the substantial pipes of vocalist B. Fain Kistler, Norman, Oklahoma, four-piece Rainbows are Free seem keen on finding the place where classic doom and heavy rock meet, and on their second full-length, Waves ahead of the Ocean (released by Guestroom Records), they just about get there. Kistler is a singer worthy of comparison to Grand MagusJB Christoffersson, but Rainbows are Free are less grandiose overall, early songs like “The Botanist,” the title-track and the cumbersomely-titled opener “Speed God and the Rise of the Motherfuckers from a Place beyond Hell” nestling into heavy, engaging grooves marked out by the choice riffing of Richie Tarver, the bass work of Chad Hogue and drums of Bobby Onspaugh. Unpretentious and professional in their presentation, they doom up an otherwise Clutch-style boogie in “Cadillac” before going full-on trad metal in “Snake Bitten by Love,” and ably making their way through a Dio Sabbath push on “Burn and Die,” which works well despite feeling a long way from the upbeat rockin’ of earlier highlight “Sonic Demon” and leads smoothly into closer “Comet,” the six-and-a-half-minute spacier thrust of which seems to be seems to be where Rainbows are Free most choose to harken to the psychedelia one might expect from their moniker. They most drive toward the epic in their finale, and the payoff there is churning and insistent in a way that more than justifies the song’s position on the 37-minute record, but even then have a keen eye for structure and holding the attention of their audience. An impeccably put together album from a band more than ready to turn heads. Rainbows are Free on Thee Facebooks, Guestroom Records on Bandcamp.

Panopticon, Roads to the North


Despite the bluegrass influence and liberal inclusion of banjo amidst its blackened onslaught, Panopticon‘s Roads to the North (released on Bindrune) is perhaps most American of all for its pulling together seemingly disparate elements in defiance of European traditionalism. Billed as and creating the standard for American folk metal, it nonetheless is in conversation with European black metal — a conversation that in my head looks something like it’s being chased à la Benny Hill for its heresies — while purposefully working against its tenets. Roads to the North is the fifth full-length from the one-man project of Kentucky’s Austin Lunn, and made in collaboration with Krallice‘s Colin Marston (among others), it elicits a sprawl through both its metallic extremity and its devotion to the aesthetic it pioneers. It makes for a heady 74-minute listen, but Panopticon are cohesive throughout — five records deep, they should be — and one doesn’t embark on an album like Roads to the North lightly or without wanting full immersion into an evocative and blistering landscape. That’s just what you get. Panopticon on Thee Facebooks, Bindrune Recordings.

For the full list of albums added to The Obelisk Radio this week and to see the latest updates, click here.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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30 Before ’15: Records Not to Miss Before the New Year Hits

Posted in Features on July 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Before I even start, let’s get one thing out of the way. I want a new Sleep album too. My not including them on this list isn’t due to the fact that I don’t think a new Sleep album is a good idea, but just because I haven’t seen anything about it being recorded or released in the next five-plus months. If it hits on Jan. 1, 2015, I’ll be the happiest Baby New Year you ever saw, but that’s a different list altogether.

Ditto that Om and High on Fire. The latter were writing as of May, and I know Om did some recording way back in January, but I’ve yet to see solid word of new records at all, let alone before the end of the year. Either or both or all three may happen, but until I see some hint of it, all I can go on is the info I can find.

Seriously though, how badass would it be if all three put out albums before the New Year? That excitement is kind of what this list is about. Some of these records I’ve heard, but most I haven’t, so it’s just basic speculation about what I think could be some of the best releases in the next couple months. You’ll note that while there are plenty of dates TBA, nothing listed arrives in November, so as 2014 winds down, there’s bound to be even more quality stuff than appears here.

In fact, I struggled to take things out to get it down to 30. And it still goes to 31! I figured no one would mind. They’re numbered, but the list is in alphabetical order.

If I left something out you’re dying to hear, please let me know in the comments.

Thanks in advance for reading:

 

1. Alunah, TBA (Sept.)


Birmingham’s Alunah, like several others below, are a holdover from the Most Anticipated Albums list back at the start of the year. The difference between now and then is that, while its title still hasn’t been revealed so far as I know, their Napalm Records debut has been recorded, mixed and mastered, the latter by Tony Reed, the former by Greg Chandler of Esoteric, and given a September release date. Two years after Alunah made riffy doom sound easy on their sophomore outing, White Hoarhound (review here), I look forward to hearing how they’ve grown and shifted in their approach to warm-sounding tones and memorable hooks. They’ve set a pretty high standard for themselves. Alunah on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.

2. Apostle of Solitude, Of Woe and Wounds (Oct.)


These guys. I don’t mind telling you it was a thrill when Indianapolis doomers Apostle of Solitude were announced as having signed to Cruz del Sur to release their third album, Of Woe and Wounds, this fall. Their second outing, 2010′s Last Sunrise (review here), didn’t get the attention it deserved, but the handful of songs they’ve made public since have shown much promise, and as the first Apostle of Solitude full-length to feature guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak (also Devil to Pay) in harmony with guitarist/vocalist Chuck Brown — the band is completed by bassist Dan Davidson and drummer Corey Webb — this is definitely going to make for a doomly autumn. Apostle of Solitude on Thee Facebooks, Cruz del Sur Music.

3. Blackwolfgoat, Drone Maintenance (Aug. 26)


Recorded late last year at Amps vs. Ohms in Boston, the third album from Maple Forum alum Blackwolfgoat — the prog-drone alter ego of guitarist Darryl Shepard (Milligram, Black Pyramid, The Scimitar, Roadsaw, etc.) — is the project’s most expansive outing yet, and it seems Shepard is moving more in a song-based direction, rather than some of the building loops of the past two offerings. Of course, there will be plenty of those as well, but watch out for some acoustic guitar, and deep-in-the-mix vocals, as they could easily hint of things to come. Or Darryl could turn it on its head and do a calypso record. Either way, I’m on board with no pretense of impartiality. Blackwolfgoat on Bandcamp, Small Stone’s Bandcamp.

4. Blues Pills, Blues Pills (Aug. 5)


The much-heralded Swedish/French/American psych-blues conglomeration Blues Pills will make their self-titled debut (short review here) next month, and while it’s probably going to be a bigger deal in Europe than in the States — at least until Nuclear Blast brings them over here for a tour, then the country is going to go apeshit for them — the songwriting and soulful execution of their tracks justifies the hype. There’s a bit of retro posturing to what they do, some Graveyard shuffle (it feels inevitable at this point with a ’70s-influenced band), but the grooves are easy to dig into and the potential is basically limitless for where they want to go. It’s scary to keep in mind, but this is just the beginning. Blues Pills on Thee Facebooks, Nuclear Blast.

5. Bongripper, Miserable (July 7)


You may notice something strange about the date above for a list of upcoming albums in that July 7 was yesterday. Well, Chicago’s Bongripper posted their new three-track full-length monster Miserable on their Bandcamp for stream and download ahead of the vinyl’s arrival, and it was just too righteous to leave out. Those seeking landmark riffing need look no further than the 19-minute centerpiece “Descent,” which meters out stomp enough that future “scientists” will study its footprint, and closer “Into Ruin” (28:25) is guaranteed to be the heaviest half-hour you’ll spend today. Miserable feels like a no-brainer, but maybe that’s just because Bongripper have such a propensity for pounding skulls into mush. Bongripper on Thee Facebooks, Miserable on Bandcamp.

6. Botanist, VI: Flora (Aug. 11)


I feel like I missed a couple numbers from San Francisco-based environmentalist black metal unit Botanist along the way, but they’ll nonetheless issue VI: Flora on The Flenser next month, furthering their marriage of destruction and beauty and insistent percussive expression. The spaces Botanist — a one-man project from Robert Martinelli — create feel ritualistic without the dramatic posturing that pervades much of the genre, and sound, somewhere between raging and mournful, is hypnotic. Whatever your expectation might be, Martinelli seems pleased to use it to their advantage, and ultimately, defy it. Post-human, hammered dulcimer-laden black metal. It would be harder for Botanist to not be unique. Botanist on Thee Facebooks, The Flenser.

7. Brant Bjork, TBA (TBA)


When Brant Bjork‘s next album might show up, I don’t know. I know he’s signed to Napalm, and I know the photo above was snapped as he finished some vocals before going on tour with his Low Desert Punk band that includes guitarist Bubba DuPree, bassist Dave Dinsmore and drummer Tony Tornay, but whether or not the album they made is the funk-inspired Jakoozi that’s been in the offing for a while, or another collection of songs, and if Napalm will get it out before the end of the year remain a mystery. I do find it interesting that for his first “solo” outing post-Vista Chino (that band being on hiatus), Bjork has assembled a new band to work with rather than record multiple instruments himself, but no matter who’s involved, when it’s Brant Bjork writing the songs, it’s gonna be high rock from the low desert. Can’t wait to dig into whatever comes. Brant Bjork on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.

8. Earth, Primitive and Deadly (Sept.)


The headline for Earth‘s new album is it’s the one where they experimented with vocalists. And hey, if you’re going to toy around with the idea, you might as well get Mark Lanegan involved. The former Screaming Trees frontman is one of several singers appearing on Primitive and Deadly, due in September on Southern Lord, and it would appear that Earth‘s sound — always evolving, always somehow changing — is about to take another considerable turn. Fortunately, the Seattle band, led by guitarist Dylan Carlson and now approaching their 25th year, have long since proven worthy of trusting with their own direction. Earth will never be huge, by the simple nature of what they do, but their influence resounds and the quality of their output is unmatched. Earth on Thee Facebooks, Southern Lord Recordings.

9. Electric Wizard, Time to Die (Sept.)


“Wake up baby/It’s time to die.” So goes the title-track hook of Electric Wizard‘s new album and Spinefarm Records debut, Time to Die. As ever, it’s simple, hateful, drenched-in-fuzz misanthropy, and Electric Wizard revel in it accordingly. Their witchcult continues to grow in their native UK and abroad, and while their last two records have divided some listeners, they’ve invariably gained more ground than they’ve lost. A legal dispute with Rise Above finds them on the new label, and if there’s even the slightest chance that change will bring them to the US for a tour, I’ll take it. Expect 66 minutes of glorious filth. Electric Wizard on Thee Facebooks, Spinefarm Records.

10. Fever Dog, Second Wind (TBA)


Palm Desert youngsters Fever Dog have been kicking around the last few years finding their sound in varying elements of heavy rock and psychedelic experimentation. Most recently, they impressed with the single “Iroquois” (review here) taken from their new album Second Wind, and in looking forward to the full-length, I’m eager to learn how their style has solidified and what sort of vibes they conjure over its course. They’ve shown plenty of propensity for jamming in their prior work, so hopefully there’s a bit of that on hand as well. I’ve said before they’re a trio of marked potential, and nothing I’ve yet heard has dissuaded me from that impression. Fever Dog on Thee Facebooks, Fever Dog on Bandcamp.

11. Goat, Commune (Sept. 23)


Somehow, a band from Sweden who dress up in tribal costumes (problematic) and play Afrobeat psychedelia became a very, very big deal. I couldn’t explain it if I wanted to, and I won’t try, but I know that when Sub Pop releases Goat‘s second album, Commune, it’s going to be to a flurry of hype and heaps of critical fawning. It would be tempting to call Goat a novelty act, but their 2012 debut, World Music (discussed here), showcased a legitimately creative musical approach to go with the visual aspects of their presentation, and I find the fact that I have no idea what to expect from Commune to be refreshing. Goat on Thee Facebooks, Sub Pop Records.

12. Grifter, The Return of the Bearded Brethren (Aug. 11)


UK heavy rockers Grifter will make a welcome resurgence on Ripple Music with The Return of the Bearded Brethren, an album that builds on the straightforward, catchy sounds of their 2011 self-titled label debut (review here) and takes their infectiousness to new places lyrically, such as exploring issues of aging via an ode to Princess Leia from Star Wars. That particular brand of humor and is writ large on Grifter‘s second Ripple outing, and the trio set to work refining their take without losing the engaging feel of their self-titled. It feels like a long three years since that record hit, and I’ll be glad to have a follow-up in-hand. Grifter on Thee Facebooks, Ripple Music.

13. Ice Dragon and Space Mushroom Fuzz, New Blue Horizon/A Peak into the Future (TBA)


Unclear at this point whether Boston outfits Ice Dragon and Space Mushroom Fuzz collaborated on New Blue Horizon/A Peak into the Future, or if it’s a split. Either way, the prolific acts make a sound pairing. Both are vehemently creative and exploratory, psychedelic and progressive each in their way, and if what’s presumably a single finds them working together, all the better, but even if not, new material from either is nothing to balk at, particularly when topped off by such gorgeous artwork. Neither act is ever long from putting something out, so to have them come together one way or another makes a weird brand of sense, which I’m relatively sure the songs will as well. Ice Dragon on Thee Facebooks, Space Mushroom Fuzz on Thee Facebooks.

14. Ides of Gemini, Old World New Wave (Sept. 16)


Ides of Gemini‘s 2012 Neurot Recordings debut, Constantinople (discussed here), established the three-piece as freely inhabiting either side of the imaginary line between ambience and heaviness, J. Bennett and Kelly Johnston providing sometimes minimal, sometimes consuming foundations for vocalist Sera Timms (ex-Black Math Horseman, also Black Mare) to cast ethereal melodies. What Old World New Wave will hold sound-wise, I don’t yet know, but Ides of Gemini‘s otherworldly resonance and ultra-patient approach makes it well worth finding out. Ides of Gemini on Thee Facebooks, Neurot Recordings.

15. John Gallow, Violet Dreams (Aug. 4)


Frontman of Blizaro and Orodruin guitarist John James Gallo adds a ‘w’ to his last name and steps out solo on the I, Voidhanger Records release, Violet Dreams, the title hinting at some of his on-his-sleeve affinity for Italian psych-doom master Paul Chain and Swedish legends Candlemass. Gallo‘s work in Blizaro has a tendency to lean toward the progressive and cinematic, but as John Gallow, the focus is more on classic doom riffing and darkened metallurgy. As one would expect, he’s well in his element on the hour-long album, and I hope he decides to call the next one Ancient Theatre. Also note the incredible artwork of Costin Chioreanu. John Gallo on Thee Facebooks, I, Voidhanger Records.

16. John Garcia, John Garcia (Aug. 5)


A long-discussed solo debut for the former Kyuss frontman following a stint alongside Brant Bjork in Vista Chino, John Garcia‘s John Garcia (review here) finds the singer right in his comfort zone, topping desert rock riffs with his trademark guttural vocals. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I’d trade a second Vista Chino outing for it if given the choice — that band seemed to be on course for a sound of its own, separate from Kyuss‘ legacy, and that struck me as worth pursuing — but these songs have a similar enough production style that it’s easy to think of the one as an offshoot of the other, and of course Garcia calls his shots well throughout. John Garcia on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.

17. King Buffalo, TBA (TBA)


Including King Buffalo here was pretty speculative on my part, but I dig the Rochester, NY, outfit and didn’t want to leave the prospect of their STB Records debut long-player out. It probably won’t land until 2015 — the future! — but their demo (review here) still gets regular plays around these parts, and I’m very much looking forward to catching them with similarly-minded Nashville blues rockers All Them Witches when they tour together next month. Whatever King Buffalo‘s recording/release plans might be, they’re definitely one to keep an eye on in the back half of this year. King Buffalo on Thee Facebooks, STB Records.

18. Kings Destroy, Kings Destroy (TBA)


Love these guys, love this band. I make no bones about it. Their third record, self-titled and produced as the last two were by Sanford Parker, is as close as they’ve yet come to capturing their live sound, and while they’ve yet to nail down an exact release date, they have a couple very cool tours in the works for this fall, including dates next month with Eric Wagner‘s Blackfinger, that will make a fitting lead-in to their best outing yet. I’ve heard this and had the chance to see some of the material live, and they’ve outdone themselves again, which, considering the esteem in which I continue to hold their 2013 sophomore full-length, A Time of Hunting, is really saying something. Kings Destroy on Thee Facebooks, War Crime Recordings.

19. The Kings of Frog Island, V (Fall)


Easily one of the LPs I’m most eager to hear over the next few months, and specifically on vinyl. The Kings of Frog Island have shown themselves to be so dedicated to the format that their early-2013 album, IV (review here), was presented as two bundled sides even digitally. They recently gave a taste of what their fifth album will in-part hold via a video for “Sunburn” and I’m told more jamminess ensues elsewhere to complement that track’s easygoing flow and platter-ready hook. All the better. The Kings of Frog Island on Thee Facebooks, The Kings of Frog Island on YouTube.

20. Lonely Kamel, Shit City (Sept. 9)


I’d be lying if I said part of my immediate interest in Oslo heavy rockers Lonely Kamel‘s fourth record wasn’t due to the cheeky title, but it’s been three years since the Napalm Records four-piece released their last album, Dust (track stream here), and as they’ve put in plenty of road-time, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to go into this time around with elevated anticipation. I’m not sure you could get away with calling an album Shit City unless you meant business. Got my fingers crossed that’s precisely the case with Lonely Kamel. Lonely Kamel on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.

21. Lo-Pan, Colossus (Oct. 7)


Fucking a. Doing the research for this list was the first I’d seen the Jason Alexander Byers cover art for Lo-Pan‘s fourth album, Colossus, or its Oct. 7 Small Stone release date. I haven’t heard the tracks yet — they recorded in Brooklyn back in March, and while I got 2012′s Salvador (review here) pretty early, the Columbus four-piece seem to be keeping a tighter lid on the follow-up — and I can’t help but feel like that’s my loss. Judging by what I’ve heard of the material live, Lo-Pan have dug further into their individual brand of riff-led soulful heavy, and I’ve got a high wager that a few months from now, Lo-Pan‘s latest will make an appearance on another list. More to come. Lo-Pan on Thee Facebooks, Small Stone Records.

22. Novembers Doom, Bled White (July 15)


One of doom’s most fascinating and largely ignored progressions is that of Chicago melancholists Novembers Doom, who, when they started out 25 years ago, did so largely as a death metal band, and then moved on to pioneer an American interpretation of what’s commonly thought of as European doom, until, over their last several records, as they’ve started to move back to a more extreme, double-kick-drummed style. Bled White, on The End Records, continues along this path, but especially in the cleaner vocals of frontman Paul Kuhr there remain shades of the morose emotionality that typified what’s now become their mid-period doom idolatry. Unheralded, Novembers Doom keep exploring deeper, darker terrain. Novembers Doom on Thee Facebooks, The End Records.

23. Pallbearer, Foundations of Burden (Aug. 19)


Foundations of Burden is unquestionably among the second half of 2014′s most anticipated albums. Arkansas-based doom four-piece Pallbearer will mark its release with extensive European and North American tours, and where their 2012 Profound Lore debut, Sorrow and Extinction (review here), came out and caught listeners off-guard with its unabashed emotional core, their sophomore outing finds them positioned at the forefront of American doom. Already the hype machine is rolling out the red carpet for the Billy Anderson-produced Foundations of Burden, but no one can say these guys haven’t put their work in, and the record is indeed one to look forward to. Pallbearer on Thee Facebooks, Profound Lore Records.

24. The Skull, TBA (TBA)


For The Skull to put out an album of original material is a unique challenge. Their earlier-2014 first single (stream/review here) found them standing up to it on the new song “Sometime Yesterday Mourning,” but at least half the point of the band since its inception has been to pay homage to legendary doomers Trouble, from whence vocalist Eric Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner and drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson come. For their Tee Pee Records debut full-length — yet untitled and hopefully out before 2015 — it’ll be most interesting to see how guitarists Matt Goldsborough (ex-Pentagram) and Lothar Keller (Sacred Dawn) rise to the occasion of building off some of doom metal’s most celebrated tones. Fingers crossed on this one. The Skull on Thee Facebooks, Tee Pee Records.

25. Snail, Feral (TBA)


Nothing has been formally announced yet, but on Small Stone Records‘ website, they list Snail‘s Feral among their upcoming releases. It would make a suitable pairing, the West Coast riffers having previously worked with MeteorCity on their 2009 post-reunion outing, Blood (review here), prior to independently releasing 2012′s Terminus (review here), and Small Stone seems like a good home for their fourth overall record and return to form as a trio, which was their original incarnation before their original dissolution circa 1994. How they expand on the heavier crunch of Terminus remains even more a point of fascination, and surely their cult following will be glad to find out. I know I will. Snail on Thee Facebooks, Small Stone Records.

26. Steak, Slab City (Sept. 9)


After two strong EPs in 2012′s Disastronaught (review here) and 2013′s best-title-ever-boasting Corned Beef Colossus (review here), it’s time for London stoner rockers Steak to step up their game for their Napalm Records debut full-length. The four-piece headed to the Californian desert to record Slab City, and so it’s fair to think some of that atmosphere may have worked its way into the material. Would be an awfully long way to go, otherwise. In either case, Steak have showcased considerable songwriting chops already, now it’s just a matter of sustaining it for a full album’s runtime and keeping enough variety in their approach. I have no doubt they’re ready for this next step. Steak on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.

27. Stubb, Cry of the Ocean (TBA)


It is with simple, unabashed warm feelings that I look forward to hearing Cry of the Ocean, the second long-player and Ripple Music debut from UK riffers Stubb. They’ve traded out drummers since 2012′s self-titled (review here), bringing aboard Tom Fyfe with guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson and bassist/vocalist Peter Holland, but I’m excited to hear what changes and shifts in sound Cry of the Ocean might have in store to match its provocative title. Goes without saying the photo above isn’t the final artwork, but instead Tony Reed‘s mastering sheet from back in May when he worked on the tracks. No solid release date yet, but hopefully soon. Stubb on Thee Facebooks, Ripple Music.

28. Torche, TBA (TBA)


Torche‘s new album and Relapse Records debut was originally slated for the end of the summer. Given that no official word has come out about a title or anything like that and the members of the band have been busy with other projects, it seems unlikely as of now that they’ll hit that target, but after something of a break so frontman Steve Brooks could focus on the resurgent trio Floor, Torche are in fact getting going again, beginning with their first tour of Australia this fall. Maybe their LP will be out by the time they go and maybe it won’t, but word on the street is that whenever the thing arrives, it’s gonna be heavy, which I have no problem believing. Torche on Thee Facebooks, Relapse Records.

29. The Well, Monomyth (Late Summer)


I’ve been waiting since the March announcement that Austin trio The Well signed with RidingEasy Records for further word of their debut full-length, Monomyth (pretty sure that’s not the cover above), but thus far to no avail. Their 2012 single, Seven (review here), was a repeat-listen thriller, and anticipation abounds for what sort of psychedelic garage riffing they’ll conjure up for the album itself. It’s been a couple months at this point, and maybe it’ll be 2015 before Monomyth gets out, but screw it, a boy can hope. The Well on Thee Facebooks, RidingEasy Records.

30. Witch Mountain, Mobile of Angels (Sept.)

Please note: The original cover art with this post was not final and has been replaced with the above band photo.

Portland, Oregon’s Witch Mountain have spent much of the two years following their 2012 third LP, Cauldron of the Wild (review here) on tour in the US and abroad, playing fests, headlining, supporting, but generally putting in a lot of time. As such, Mobile of Angels, which will be out on Svart in Europe and Profound Lore in North America, comes as the end product of a considerable touring cycle. Has all that gigging worn Witch Mountain into the ground, or will they rise above it with metal-loving doom-blues supremacy? They’ve got a vinyl-ready 38 minutes on tap for September and if they’ve ever been in a position to make their case, it’s now. Watch out for the killer sway in “Can’t Settle,” the title of which seems a fitting theme for the band. Witch Mountain on Thee Facebooks, Profound Lore Records.

31. YOB, Clearing the Path to Ascend (Sept. 2)


Yet again — as was the case back in January — alphabetical order forces me to end with YOB, whose seventh full-length and Neurot debut might just be my most anticipated of all on this list. The recently-unveiled Orion Landau cover speaks to a brooding sentiment, and from the one time I was fortunate enough to hear it to-date, the four-track album from the Eugene, Oregon, natives corresponds to its visual side in being a more aggressive push than was 2012′s Atma (review here), but also more exploratory and contemplative in its approach. Now statesmen in American doom and the forebears of a cosmic-minded sound, YOB stand ready to showcase a creative progression that has yet to find its end point. YOB on Thee Facebooks, Neurot Recordings.

Other Notable Mentions

Just a couple of these I’d be remiss if I didn’t note. Some were carried over from earlier this year, others just come up along the way. Not sure on all the release dates, but these are worth keeping an ear out for:

Acid King — Were listed in January, but their record has a Feb. 2015 release date.

Bright Curse — Second album recorded at Skyhammer Studios.

Brothers of the Sonic Cloth — My understanding is the album is done and they’re waiting to secure a label. Seems like a good occasion for Southern Lord to step forward, if not Profound Lore or Neurot.

Eggnogg — Not sure if it’s their full-length, You’re all Invited, or something else that’s coming, but whatever. More stoner-funk riffing needs to be had.

40 Watt Sun — There was some word of this early in the year, but nothing since.

Godflesh — Their first in 15 years, A World Lit Only by Fire, will be out Oct. 7. A fuckup not including them on the list proper.

It’s Not Night: It’s Space — Eagerly awaiting the Small Stone debut from this instrumental outfit, but it might be next year.

Karma to Burn — New album, Arch Stanton, out in August. I emailed for a review promo and never heard back. Always a great feeling.

Larman Clamor — Solo-project from Alexander von Wieding has a new one in the can, but I’m not sure on the release schedule.

Lowrider — They’re working on it, but don’t hold your breath to have it out by December.

The Machine — Kind of a slow year for Elektrohasch, but the new one from these Dutch fuzzers would be a nice way end up.

NachtmystiumCentury Media releases their final album, The World We Left Behind, on Aug. 5.

Orange Goblin — Seriously debated putting them on the list, since I know they’ve recorded, but they seem to be promoting a recent reissue of 2007′s Healing through Fire and their upcoming European tour with Saint Vitus rather than their new album, so unless news comes out about it like this week from Candlelight, I wouldn’t expect it until early in 2015.

Pink Floyd – Believe it when I see it, but I honestly couldn’t care less either way if I tried.

Ruby the Hatchet — Their full-length Tee Pee debut is due sometime in the next couple months.

Sun Voyager — Upstate NY youngsters had hinted at new recordings.

Again, if I forgot anything — and I’m sure I did — please let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading.

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John Garcia, John Garcia: The Time was Right

Posted in Reviews on July 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Over the last two-plus decades, John Garcia‘s voice has set the standard for the sound of the California desert. His work in genre-progenitors Kyuss speaks for itself — loudly, and with much fuzz — and subsequent outfits UnidaSlo BurnHermano and more guest appearances than one can count have kept his presence steady in the international underground he played an essential role in forging, and his first solo outing, John Garcia, arrives via Napalm Records following a run with the semi-Kyuss reunion outfit Vista Chino, which ultimately brought together Garcia and drummer Brant Bjork with guitarist Bruno Fevery and Corrosion of Conformity bassist Mike Dean to tour the world in support of their 2013 outing, Peace (review here), after a couple years prior on the road as Kyuss Lives!, that project born out of Garcia‘s own Garcia Plays Kyuss, which launched at the 2010 Roadburn festival. In some ways, the album John Garcia is an extension of Vista Chino, particularly in terms of Garcia‘s performance and in terms of the production. An 11-track/45-minute full-length, material was culled from years of Garcia‘s own tapes, freshly arranged by the singer with some input by Hermano guitarist Dave Angstrom, and brought to bear by producer Harper Hug at Thunder Underground, the same studio where Peace was recorded. However, since some of the source material for these songs is older, and because there are a variety of players appearing throughout, from The DoorsRobbie Krieger on acoustic-led closer “Her Bullets Energy” to Danko JonesAngstrom himself, Nick Oliveri and The Dwarves‘ Mark Diamond and Tom Brayton, there’s also no shortage of diversity in the sound.

That being the case, John Garcia ran a pretty hefty risk in the making of coming across disjointed, but the consistency in the production and of course the focus element of Garcia‘s voice tie tracks together neatly, the album opening with its biggest chorus in “My Mind,” a track that immediately casts the wide-open spaces in which the rest of the songs will take place. Those familiar with his work will hear shades of various Garcia-fronted bands throughout the album, from the Slo Burn-style rush of later cut “Saddleback” to the Vista Chino-esque bounce of “Rolling Stoned,” a cover of Canadian trio Black Mastiff which undercuts some of its laid-back vibe with the opening lyrical threat, “If you leave me, I will kill you.” Nonetheless, “Rolling Stoned” follows “My Mind” as part of a strong opening salvo that continues through “Flower” and “The Blvd” and “5,000 Miles” to proffer memorable hooks, compressed but warm tones and an engaging presence from Garcia, who departs from the post-lawsuit bitterness that comprised much of the thematic of the Vista Chino offering to tell more of a story, as on “The Blvd” or the following “5,000 Miles,” which resounds as a classic coming-home song set to a particularly effective riff, somewhat more open than the first four cuts, but still largely consistent in pace and quality. Truth be told, though the mood changes somewhat along the way, there really isn’t a point where John Garcia falls into clunker-ism. And neither should there be. This project was years in the making and even more years in the discussing, and with Garcia‘s experience in the studio and on stage, it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that if something wasn’t working toward the benefit of the album, it would be discarded. Over repeat listens, John Garcia begins to give that impression — not of being a confessional, exactly, in the way that some “solo albums” are, but of being carefully constructed selections chosen to represent this singer and his songwriting process.

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