Switchblade Jesus to Reissue Self-Titled Debut on Ripple Music

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

switchblade jesus

Corpus Christi, Texas, five-piece Switchblade Jesus have inked a deal to reissue their 2013 self-titled debut, which also saw a 2014 vinyl release on Bilocation (review here), on Ripple Music. The album landed with nothing short of a smash upon its initial arrival, and has continued to build an audience in the two years since — momentum that Ripple, who seem to be snapping up more bands each passing week, will no doubt help move forward. As it seems like the association between band and label will be ongoing, that is, not just for this reissue, it would be hard to find a more suitable home for Switchblade Jesus than where they’ve landed.

They’re on the road now with Fuzz Evil, having played El Paso last night on a quick four-date tour of Texas (one of few states one can legitimately “tour” within; see also California), and the date for the reissue is May 12, as told by the PR wire:

switchblade jesus switchblade jesus

Ripple Music to reissue debut album from Switchblade Jesus | Share new video for ‘Oblivion’

Switchblade Jesus will be released on 12th May 2015

In the latest of a long line of formidable signings this year, LA-based record label Ripple Music is thrilled to announce the addition of Texan band Switchblade Jesus to their roster, and the official rerelease of their acclaimed 2014 self-titled debut this May.

Formed in 2010 in the land of oil and tar, the Corpus Christi outfit consisting of Peter Quarnstrom (vocals), Eric Calvert (lead guitar/vocals), Billy Guerra (guitar), Jason Beers (bass) and Jon Elizondo (drums) may be hard drinking operators of heavy rock and roll, but they are also well versed in the ways of the desert.

Switchblade Jesus, the band’s devastating right hook of a debut was originally released on Kozmik Artifactz and instantly found listeners hearing notable nods to Kyuss, Orange Goblin and Clutch deep amid from the record’s weighty grooves and vintage stoner vibes. A crushing, loose and alcohol-fuelled fistfight between heavy fuzz and wild peyote hallucinations, tracks like ‘Bastard Son’ and ‘Renegade Riders’ showcase the band’s raw and unruly power… and then some.

The band also take to the road this month to play a number of dates across their home state of Texas with Arizonan three-piece Fuzz Evil (See dates below).

22nd April – Low Brow Palace – El Paso, TX
23rd April – The Mix – San Antonio, TX
24th April – The Lost Well – Austin, TX
25th April – Club Dada – Dallas, TX

Switchblade Jesus by Switchblade Jesus will be rereleased on 12th May 2015 through Ripple Music.

Track Listing:
1. Into Nothing (2:20)
2. Bastard Son (5:31)
3. The Wolves (3:45)
4. Sick Mouth (4:52)
5. Equinox (3:16)
6. Renegade Riders (4:39)
7. Copperhead (4:49)
8. Oblivion (6:27)

Release Date: 12th May 2015
Label: Ripple Music
Format: LP/CD/Download

https://www.facebook.com/SwitchbladeJesus
https://switchbladejesus.bandcamp.com/
https://instagram.com/switchbladejesus
https://twitter.com/The_Switchblade

Switchblade Jesus, “Oblivion” official video

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Cosmic Wheels to Release Debut LP on Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds continues to expand its already impressive roster with Cosmic Wheels, a revived project from brothers Paul and Vincent Marrone. Based on the West Coast, Paul Marrone is probably best known for drumming in the likes of Radio Moscow, Astra and Psicomagia. Vincent is based in Missouri, and plays bass and handles vocals and harmonica in the two-piece, while Paul does guitar, drums, vocals, organ and sitar. They released a demo circa 2007 that apparently made something of a splash on MySpace, and though most of it was instrumental, it closed out with the could’ve-been-classic “12 o’Clock Groove Street,” a pure molten late ’60s vibe that underscored the classic feel of the nine tracks preceding.

The questions about Cosmic Wheels‘ Cosmic Wheels on Heavy Psych Sounds is whether it’s those demos — which never officially saw release — those demos re-recorded (albums have been made from less) or completely new material, scrapping the demos altogether. If I knew, I’d tell you. I guess we’ll find out next month. Preorders start May 15, album’s out May 29.

To the PR wire:

cosmic wheels cosmic wheels

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS RECORDS is stoked to announce ***COSMIC WHEELS***

From Radio Moscow’s drummer Paul Marrone and his brother Vincent A Marrone a great record: 10 brand new awesome tracks for fans of Cream- Jimi Hendrix-Radio Moscow-Cactus-Blue Cheer-MC5-Buffalo Killers.

Released in 200 Ltd Orange Fluo Vinyl / Black Vinyl / Cd / Digital. Out May 29 / Pre Sale May 15.

–Cosmic Wheels is Paul and Vincent Marrone. From the ashes of their first band together – where they were known as The Moonshakers with the addition of their older brother Joe – came a new name and a new sound. Recorded in 2007, presented here – and available for download for the very first time – is a collection of rough and unfinished tracks from their Cosmic Wheels sessions.

Late ’60s to early ’70s is the name of the game here; riffs aplenty with a copious dose of heavy psych. That’s definitely not the whole story though, as the listener is treated to seasonings of jazzy goodness, as well as the odd helping of heavy blues-rock. There are clear nods to some of the brothers’ most cherished influences in there too. If six words is all one had to describe this album, they would be ‘Heavy Psych Rock Orgasmic Brain Burner’, simple as that!

With the project halted due to problems with the studio, these demo tracks remained for a long time confined to the realms of MySpace, at the time THE place for independent artists to showcase their work (but now sadly in decline). They were enjoyed by the few classic rock enthusiasts who happened to stumble upon their page or hear about them through word of mouth. The end of 2009 saw a glimmer of hope for fans when drummer Paul – who plays with heavy psych blues band Radio Moscow on and off and has an album out soon with his ’70s-inspired prog band Psicomagia – added the songs to the growing social music site last.fm, with talk of a possible finished product. However, that was never to be. Perhaps it will never be. Only time will tell.

If you dig these tracks, buy the album, spread the word and we may just hear more sweet sounds by these two incredibly talented brothers. (Sébastien Métens)

http://cosmicwheels1.bandcamp.com/
www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS

Cosmic Wheels, Cosmic Wheels Demo (2007)

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Wizard Eye to Release Self-Titled LP on Black Monk Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 21st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

The news is good and has been a while in coming. Philadelphia trio Wizard Eye, whose stonerly sludge is one of the Mid-Atlantic’s best kept secrets at this point in heavy, have signed a deal with the newly-christened Black Monk Records and will release their self-titled sophomore full-length through the label this Summer. This comes after the band hooked up with 313 Artist Management late last year, concurrent to the release of their live EP, Riff Occult Live (review here), back in December.

Since Wizard Eye‘s Wizard Eye will come five years after their 2010 debut, Orbital Rites, I doubt anyone will accuse the three-piece of not being due for a second outing, but while it might have been a while coming together, I’ve little doubt the new record will earn a fair share of nods. Not saying I’ve heard it or anything, just saying keep an eye or an ear out.

Here’s the announcement from the band, pictured below with the Black Monk Records crew:

wizard eye

Wizard Eye Signs With Black Monk Records for Upcoming Vinyl Release

Philadelphia-based stoner/doom band, Wizard Eye, recently announced its partnership with emerging Philadelphia area label, Black Monk Records for the release of its upcoming self-titled album.

“Wizard Eye is thrilled to be working with Black Monk Records,” says David Shahriari, the band’s bassist/vocalist. “As a Philly-based label whose owners have been fans of ours since day one, we can’t imagine a more ideal partnership for our first release on vinyl. Black Monk Records has empowered us to bring our titanic wizard riffs to the masses in exactly the format they need and with complete artistic integrity.”

The newly formed label, started by the owners of Philadelphia record store, Vinyl Altar, will focus on releases from local artists who share their love for high-quality albums with strong aesthetics.

“Wizard Eye has been one of our favorite bands from Philly for some time now,” Christopher Mazeika, one half of Vinyl Altar explains. “When Black Monk Records was ready to put out its first release, it was only natural that we approach Wizard Eye. Black Monk Records is all about local pride with worldwide appeal, and Wizard Eye is all that and more!”

The band and its management see this pairing as natural and highly advantageous for all parties involved.

“Just visit Philadelphia’s Vinyl Altar once, and you’ll know the heart that Chris puts into making it one of the best record shops around,” says the band’s manager, Scott Harrington of 313 INC Artist Management. “It makes sense that his passion would lead him to starting his own label. And that passion is just one of the many reasons we are extremely excited to announce Wizard Eye’s partnership with Black Monk Records for this album.”

The nine-track album, Wizard Eye, was recorded in Haddon Heights, New Jersey, at Gradwell House Recording Studio and is slated for mid-summer release. This collection will be initially made available at a release show to be held at the Vinyl Altar store location, but it will be also be distributed internationally via web and mail orders.

Photo Caption
l-r: Erik Caplan (Wizard Eye vocals, guitar, theremin), David (Wizard Eye bass, vocals), Mike Scarpone (Wizard Eye drums), Annmarie Lamon (Black Monk Records), Christopher Mazeika (front, Black Monk Records)

https://www.facebook.com/wizardeye
https://wizardeye.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/BlackMonkRecords
https://www.facebook.com/vinylaltar
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Gradwell-House/195259500617649

Wizard Eye, Riff Occult Live (2014)

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Sgt. Sunshine Self-Titled Reissue Due in May

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 16th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

sgt. sunshine

It has bothered me for some time not to own a copy of Sgt. Sunshine‘s 2002 self-titled debut. I have their second record, Black Hole, which came out in 2007, and its 2013 follow-up, III (review here), and both of those were released by Elektrohasch, which also had a vinyl version of the self-titled out in limited numbers, but I never managed to find it on CD. It’s still a search I do on eBay and Amazon and Discogs every now and again — including just now, since it’s on my mind — and nope. Nothing. A couple copies of the vinyl for $125 or thereabouts. No CD. This and the first Rotor are frickin’ elusive.

Thanks to Heavy Psych Sounds, it’s about to be less elusive. The Italian imprint has inked a deal to put Sgt. Sunshine‘s Sgt. Sunshine back out. The vinyl will come in either silver or black, fitting to the artwork, and it’s available to preorder starting May 15 ahead of its May 28 release. It’s hailed as something of an underappreciated classic, and this Heavy Psych Sounds reissue will pave the way for the trio to release their fourth album, which is tentatively due this fall, also through the label. Their announcement, as ever, was short and to the point, but the news is good. I’ve also included the album in full from YouTube, should you like to familiarize or revisit.

Dig it:

sgt sunshine cover

Heavy Psych Sounds Records is really proud to announce another great release!

HPS025 ***SGT.SUNSHINE***(Selfitled-2002)

The Swedish band lead by Eduardo Fernandez started 1998 placed them amongst one of the leading underground Stoner-Heavy Psych rock bands of the time.

HPS Records going to reprint this incredible record out in 2002.

HPS Records also signed the band for their fourth full length that will be out in autumn!

RELEASE DATE MAY 28 / PRESALES MAY 15

Printed in 200 Ltd Silver Vinyl / Black vinyl / Digital

https://www.facebook.com/pages/SgtSunshine/1578586959055691
www.heavypsychsounds.com

Sgt. Sunshine, Sgt. Sunshine (2002)

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Kings Destroy, Kings Destroy: Songs of the City (Plus Track Premiere!)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 15th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

kings destroy kings destroy

[PLEASE: Press play above to hear the premiere of “Mythomania” from Kings Destroy’s self-titled, due out May 5 on War Crime Recordings. Thanks to the band and label and Earsplit PR for allowing me to host the song with this review.]

There is no band currently active I feel as close to as Kings Destroy, and if you’ve read this site at any point over the last five years, you’ve probably in some measure seen that relationship develop. Their first 7″, Old Yeller/Medusa (review here) introduced them in 2010 as a group of NYHC veterans — guitarists Carl Porcaro and Chris Skowronski of Killing Time, vocalist Steve Murphy of Uppercut, while drummer Rob Sefcik was in both Electric Frankenstein and Begotten — exploring heavy stoner doom riffing in a definitively East Coast style, an undercurrent of aggression never far off even at that formative stage. The subsequent debut LP, And the Rest Will Surely Perish, was released through this site’s in-house label, The Maple Forum (original announcement here), and that album further demonstrated the band’s doomly refinement in cuts like “The Mountie” and “Old Yeller,” which still feature in live sets on the regular. It was a record I was proud to be associated with in the small way I was, and one to which I continue to have significant sentimental attachment, even if everything the band has done since has blown it out of the water. Their second full-length, 2013’s A Time of Hunting (not reviewed, but discussed here), was released on War Crime Recordings and brought changes in the songwriting process with the departure of bassist Ed Bocchino and arrival of Aaron Bumpus, and the result was a genre-defying work that retained the heaviness of the debut, but set a context for itself that was neither doom nor not-doom, a strange and effective atmosphere pervading especially the reaches of side B (a vinyl is due any day now on Hydro-Phonic) songs like “A Time of Hunting” and closer “Turul.” Even the relatively straightforward “Casse-Tete” and “The Toe” had an off-kilter aspect to them, a weirdness to their attack that became, at least for me, the defining characteristic of the album.

I’ve seen Kings Destroy over 30 times in the last few years — that’s a literal figure, not an exaggeration — toured with them twice last year and would again in a minute, conditions permitting. I consider them friends, so when I say that their self-titled third album is their best work to-date, you can take it either one of two ways: Either I’m partial because of my relationship with the band, or I’m the guy who’d know better than just about anyone else, save perhaps the band members themselves and producer Sanford Parker, who’s worked with them on all three of their records (Mike Moebius of Moonlight Mile as well). Comprised of seven tracks totaling a vinyl-minded 34 minutes and topped off with Josh Graham artwork that captures the city-minded grit at the heart of its construction, Kings Destroy‘s Kings Destroy strips down the anti-genre turns of A Time of Hunting to something rawer, truer to their live presentation, and ultimately bolder in its style. When they want to, they write a fierce hook — “Mr. O,” opener “Smokey Robinson,” “Embers” — and when they want to, they delve as deep into oppressive atmospherics as they’ve yet gone — closer “Time for War.” Three albums in, their songwriting is diverse in pace and intent, but equally assured throughout, and their sound has found a place that’s unconcerned with genre even to the point of not working against it. “Mr. O,” an immediate highlight following the Beavis and Butt-Head-worthy chug of “Smokey Robinson,” is an unabashed stoner rock song and a paean to Yankees outfielder Reggie Jackson, called “Mr. October,” that’s laid out honestly enough to not care who it might alienate or how. It finds companionship in the album’s second half with the relatively upbeat “Green Diamonds,” but is nonetheless a beast unto itself within the Kings Destroy catalog. They may never do anything else like it, but even if not, it’s ground they’ve covered and covered well, with all the frenetic movement and blistering solo work one could ask. The subsequent “W2″ thuds harder — Sefcik sets the rolling groove that the guitars and bass seem to be riding — and is slower, but solidifies the concrete-and-pavement vibe of Kings Destroy‘s urban portrayal, the album depicting a city, New York, that’s both dangerous and alluring, dirty and gone, worthy of scorn and nostalgia. It’s not outlet shopping and bike lanes. It’s smoggy air and the fear of being stabbed.

kings destroy (Photo by JJ Koczan)

This atmosphere — a classic image of New York toughness — is maintained without, for the most part, playing into to the band’s hardcore past (also present; Killing Time plays sporadic shows). A confrontational sensibility emerged on A Time for Hunting, which not only was weird as hell but punching you in the face with that weirdness, and there’s some of that on Kings Destroy as well on “Smokey Robinson” or “Time for War,” with its gang vocals and slow, seething crawl, but the album isn’t limited to one angle or direction of approach. Enter “Mythomania,” the centerpiece of the tracklist. With a creeping guitar intro, subdued, open verses and hair-raising chorus payoffs leading to an apex that provides one of Kings Destroy‘s most satisfying emotional resolutions, marked out by Murphy‘s best performance here — his voice and the listener’s back seem to break at the same time at the very end of the song — and leading the way into “Embers,” which is the longest cut at 6:25 and furthers the grandiose feel with an even catchier roll. The ability to shift into and out of these modes so smoothly is one of the clearest instances of growth since their start, and ultimately it’s the balance of patience with an underlying intensity in “Mythomania” and “Embers” that makes them such landmarks for the band. When “Green Diamonds” hits, it’s something of a return to earth, a shorter, quicker pulse placed to set the stage for “Time for War,” though its value is more than positional. An atmospheric shift, it’s also the most straightforward verse/chorus hook on Kings Destroy, emphasizing the album’s little need for frills when a concise, efficient method will do, which it does. How then to explain “Time for War?” A new expression of the experimental bent that last time led to “Turul,” maybe? A nod to the increasingly blurred line between hardcore and doom? Maybe this is a cop-out, but I think it’s just another song Kings Destroy wanted to write. Its build, slow, understated, but still mean, ready to boil over, is perhaps the most “New York” of the bunch, Murphy growling over an abrasive drone and a churning riff before the gang vocals kick in. It’s both the most atmospheric and the most crushing piece on the album, and its duality suits it well.

But Kings Destroy‘s Kings Destroy doesn’t end in the chaos one might expect, and “Time for War” doesn’t build to a driving climax. It has a payoff, to be sure, but ultimately, it passes quietly into a softer drum progression and quiet guitars and bass, that drone still there to lead the way out after Sefcik‘s final crash. All the more fitting that the band should cap the record by skirting the anticipated move, since that’s been their specialty all along, from their let’s-riff-and-see-what-happens beginnings through this self-titled’s assured sense of sonic personality and well-honed, individualized take. It’s true that I’m a fan of the band, and I’m more than willing to acknowledge that I’m in no way impartial as regards their work, but the fact of the matter is I’ve been listening to this record for the better part of a year in one form or another, if not over a year, and it’s quite simply the best thing they’ve done up to now. The songs are memorable and well defined, but feed into an overarching flow that’s executed confidently now matter how far out it goes, and the translation of what Kings Destroy do live is an accomplishment unto itself. Call me biased. I’ll take a lesson from the album and not give a fuck. Recommended.

Kings Destroy on Thee Facebooks

Kings Destroy on Twitter

War Crime Recordings

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Domovoyd to Release Self-Titled LP May 8 on Svart

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 19th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

domovoyd

Two things I immediately like about Domovoyd‘s self-titled album opener, “Domovoyage,” which you can hear below: First, it’s trippy as fuck and then some. Second, even the “shorter version” of the song is 13 minutes long. Hell yes. The Finnish outfit k-i-l-l-e-d it on their 2013 Svart Records debut, Oh Sensibility (review here), and they seem primed to push the ritual even farther out with Domovoyd, which is due out May 8, also on Svart. Expect a layered, effects-driven freakout and don’t be surprised when those expectations are exceeded.

Raw vibe, anything goes, psychedelic fuckall. Hard to beat. PR wire brings news of doom from space:

domovoyd domovoyd

DOMOVOYD set release date for new SVART album, premiere first track

The young psychonauts of Domovoyd are onto their sixth year of existence in this dimension, and having taken many acid heads by surprise with their Svart debut album, Oh Sensibility (2013), the band are ready to deliver a second transmission from worlds beyond and within. Scheduled to appear on the planet on May 8th, once again via Svart Records, the album is self-titled and it will be available on CD, double-vinyl, and digital.

Domovoyd’s eponymous 60-minute behemoth pays tribute to progressive rock masterpieces of yesteryear in the sense that it is, for lack of a better word, a concept album: storytelling and mythmaking in the works, if you will, but distilled through an overdriven stack of amplifiers. The album’s six tracks deal with inner discovery of the psychedelic kind and, ultimately, with the loss and destruction of all conceptions of self and the world; old ego is a too-much thing, as Charlie Manson once said. For those who are looking for a quick fix while waiting for the album to hit, Domovoyd have prepared a shorter version of the album’s opening track “Domovoyage” HERE. Ease on out of your mind with Domovoyd! Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Kesä’s Kesä
1. Domovoyage
2. Ambrosian Perfume
3. Caustic Afterglow
4. Mystagogue
5. Amor Fati
6. Vivid Insanity

MORE INFO:
www.facebook.com/domovoyd
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
www.youtube.com/svartrecords
www.twitter.com/svartrecords

Domovoyd, “Domovoyage”

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Necro’s Necro Preorders Start this Weekend

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

necro

Originally released late last year digitally by the band, Necro‘s self-titled album will be available to preorder from Hydro-Phonic Records starting this Saturday. A partial revisit of their 2011 debut — also self-titled, but released under the band’s original name, Necronomicon — it reworks songs like “Dark Redemption” and “Creatures from the Swamp” to suit Necro‘s more modern sound and configuration, with Lillian Lessa taking over lead vocals and sharing parts with bassist Pedrinho while drummer Thiago Alef holds together the fluid grooves behind.

As ever for Hydro-Phonic, the vinyl is gorgeous-looking, and in addition to Necro‘s self-titled, they’ll also have preorders up for new vinyl from Black Pyramid and Kings Destroy. The label posted the following update/announcement about the forthcoming releases. Not sure on the exact due date for Necro, but one assumes it’ll be included in the preorder, and if you’re desperate, the trio has the whole thing streaming on their Bandcamp.

Dig:

necro lp

NECRO S/T LP is on its way! Pre-orders start this Saturday at 4:00pm EST (along with Black Pyramid and Kings Destroy vinyls).

Formerly known as Brazil’s Necronomicon, this 70’s inspired doom trio has returned with their second LP (a re-interpretation of their original demo cd). Along with the name shortening, we also have the addition of female lead vocals provided by Lillian Lessa, taking Necro to the next level! Fans of the original Necronomicon releases will not be disappointed!

This addition will be available in two color choices, Gold/Blue (LTD 100) and Splattered wax (LTD 200) along with a poster and lyric sheet insert. For fans of retro 70’s heavy prog, Black Sabbath, Witch Mountain, Blood Ceremony, occult rock and of course doom!

Lillian Lessa: Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Moog, Vocal
Pedrinho: Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Mellotron, Vocal
Thiago Alef: Drums, Percussion

Diogo Oliveira: Vocal in “Mente Profana”
Cristiano Suarez: Pencil
Arranged and produced by Necro
Recorded at Pedrada between January and March ’14
MIxed by Dácio Messias

Available at http://hydro-phonicrecords.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Necronomicon/152830624746008
http://necronomicon.bandcamp.com/
http://hydro-phonicrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Hydrophonicrecords

Necro, Necro (2014)

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Blackout, Blackout: Cavetone

Posted in Reviews on March 17th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

blackout blackout

Blackout‘s self-titled full-length debut is going to get its point across, even if it has to roll right over you to do it. About 18 months after releasing their debut EP, We are Here (review here), the Brooklynite trio enter RidingEasy Records‘ worldwide search for the biggest riffs with their first LP, a seven-song monolith of thickened tones, blown-out vocals and molasses-churning groove with enough lumber in it to replenish your favorite rainforest. Perhaps its most distinguishing feature is its unrepentant primitive stylization. That is, Blackout are not interested in carving their own niche so much as caveman-clubbing the impulse to do in the first place. Blackout‘s 38 minutes offer little deviation from the central theme of play-loud-play-large, and guitarist/vocalist Christian Gordy, bassist Justin Sherrell and drummer Taryn Waldman seem to delight in such a weighted presentation of a classic punker ethic, keeping simple what, when done so well, requires no complication in the first place. Like We are Here before it, Blackout carves neatly into two sides — all song titles single words — and was clearly intended to convey a vinyl listening experience, but the album goes a step further in affirming that what seemed formative on We are Here is, in fact, the basis for Blackout‘s aesthetic. They weren’t just screwing around, and they weren’t about to go off and sacrifice the heaviness working so much in their favor in the name of progression. One can hear growth on Blackout‘s self-titled from the prior EP, but it’s more about how assured the three-piece sounds in what they’re doing than about an uptick in stylistic range.

This is fortunate. While one may have expected that Blackout‘s stomping MelvinsSleep and (inevitably) Sabbath idolatry would’ve led them to more intricate explorations, the album’s better off for not. A solid minute of feedback buildup introduces opener “Lost,” which delivers its chorus late but makes for a resonant, rumbling launch nonetheless, the first of four on side A and followed by the eponymous “Blackout.” Subtle layers of guitar in the beginning give way to a raucous, shouted hook before a stop sets up a chugging, thudding build that returns to full heft just before the three-minute mark but keeps a slower tempo until about the last 20 seconds, at which point it returns to the hook to finish out. In many ways — tonally, ethically, and for the most part structurally — the course of Blackout‘s Blackout is set. Closing duo “Tannered” and “Human” on side B are longer and push into jammier roll, but as a sample of what the album has to offer, the first two tracks serve well, the underlying sense of chaos in the opener standing in as a preview of the noise wash that also closes. Third cut “Nightmare” picks up with Sherrell‘s bass and Waldman‘s drums before the guitar joins in, but Gordy isn’t far off, and the slowdown and echoing drawl of the vocals feel both in character for the band and a nod to the tempo shifts that make their material fresh and exciting despite its familiar elemental makeup. “Nightmare” has a touch more atmosphere to it than “Blackout,” which is the shortest cut on Blackout at four minutes, and the end-section freak-jam is a highlight of side A, which caps with the marching “Sprites.”

blackout

Side B picks up with “Cross,” which seems to herald business as usual, right down to the wailing over the slowdown in its midsection, but proves immersive nonetheless as its pushes toward a false ending and beyond with commanding, hypnotic repetition that seems to be interrupted by a final verse before a big rock finish that sounds drunker than it probably is ends the song. The primary impression of Blackout‘s second half, however, is in “Tannered” and “Human.” Like the song “Blackout,” “Tannered” appeared last year on Blackout‘s live-recorded Converse EP (review here) along with a cover of Fleetwood Mac‘s “The Chain” that, if the self-titled’s album art is a reference to Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks‘ 1973 Buckingham Nicks debut, at least means it wouldn’t be the first Fleetwood Mac association. Here though, “Tannered” is more assured and volatile. Vocals are layered in shouts and screams, but too deep in the mix to be abrasive, and by the time Blackout get there, pretty much anything goes. Vocals come forward late and the song ends cold, leading to the seven-minute “Human,” which is the longest of the record and follows a linear course pushing to the apex of its final movement with plenty of room for a squibbled solo in the meantime. There aren’t too many surprises on Blackout, and it’s not like GordySherrell and Waldman are hiding anything up their collective sleeve, but what makes the album work is precisely that. It’s a raw, honest and unremittingly heavy full-length debut makes zero effort to pretend to be anything it isn’t, and ultimately, it would seem unfair to ask anything more of it that what’s delivered. Fuck it, riff out.

Blackout, Blackout (2015)

Blackout on Thee Facebooks

Blackout on Bandcamp

RidingEasy Records

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