Conan Announce North American Tour with Serial Hawk

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 14th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

We are quickly approaching the Jan. 29 release date of Conan‘s new album, Revengeance, on Napalm Records. Their third full-length outing, it features aural devastation that will be familiar to the multitudes whose lives were impacted by the onslaught of 2014’s Blood Eagle (review here), but with a new lineup has come a new dynamic as well, and the songs bear that out across a consistently brutal span. I’ll have a review up next week, so I’ll say more then, but in the meantime, the UK three-piece have announced their first US run to support the record, which will begin in March in Billings, Montana, and will find them accompanied by Seattle’s own Serial Hawk, whose debut, Searching for Light (review here) stood out as one of 2015’s best first albums.

The PR wire brings dates and details:

conan tour poster

CONAN Announce North American Tour

New Album Revengeance Out January 29th on Napalm Records

UK Battle Doomsters CONAN will return to North American this March in support of their new album Revengeance due out January 29th via Napalm Records. Today the band announces a new North American tour alongside Serial Hawk. The tour is set to kick off March 3rd in Chicago, IL and will run through March 26th is Seattle, WA. The tour will also include a stop at this year’s SXSW Festival in Austin, TX. More info on this show and additional shows will be announced soon.

Fresh from battle, dripping from the gore exposed by Blood Eagle CONAN return with their newest release Revengeance. With inspiration taken from video games, retro sword and sorcery movies, ancient battle scenes and the hum and aroma of warm output valves they have laid down 6 songs of total heaviness, unsurpassed in their blend of brutality and tone, groove and flow. Prepare to be blown away by the heaviest CONAN album yet as they hack, slash and charge their way into your subconscious. Check out a stream of the title track for Revengeance HERE. Revengeance can be pre-ordered via the Napalm Records Webstore and iTunes.

CONAN front man Jon Davis commented on the new album and upcoming tour:

“Revengeance is the sound of hacking and slashing in Golden Axe, throwing coins into Gauntlet and still failing. Failure and triumph, sword and sorcery.

We are excited to visit the US again and make our first trip to Canada. Our tour in 2015 was awesome, and we look forward to doing this all again.

See you at the front.”

Revengeance Track Listing:
1. Throne Of Fire
2. Thunderhoof
3. Wrath Gauntlet
4. Revengeance
5. Every Man Is An Enemy
6. Earthenguard

CONAN W/Serial Hawk:
3/3: Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen
3/4: Detroit, MI @ Berserker Fest
3/5: Toronto, ON @ Hard Luck
3/6: Cleveland, OH @ Now That’s Class
3/8: Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
3/9: Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
3/10: Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
3/11: Raleigh, NC @ King’s
3/12: Knoxville, TN @ Pilot Light
3/13: Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn
3/16: Austin, TX @ SXSW
3/18: Albuquerque, NM @ Sister Tavern (Free Show)
3/19: Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge
3/20: Glendale, CA @ Complex
3/21: Oakland, CA @ Metro
3/22: Sacramento, CA @ Press Club
3/24: Portland, OR @ Star Theater
3/25: Boise, ID @ Treefort Fest
3/26: Seattle, WA @ Highline w/ Bell Witch, Mitochondiran

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

Conan, “Revengeance” lyric video

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2015

Posted in Features on December 18th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

top 20 debuts of 2015 1

Please note: This list is not culled in any way from the Readers Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2015 to that, please do.

I’ll note right away that this list started out as a top 10. When it came to it, it didn’t seem fair to cut it off. Too much left out. It gets to a point where you look at your list of honorable mentions and it’s like three times as long as your list itself and you realize maybe you should up the numbers and give a few more records their due. So yeah, a top 20 it is.

The temptation with a list like this, especially since it’s dealing with bands working on their first full-length albums (EPs are counted separately), is to think of it as indicative of future movement overall, to try and measure some overarching trend from some of the best outings of the year. I’m not sure that’s a fair approach either to the bands who made these records or to everyone else who might come after, but if we step back and look at what’s presented in the list below, we see veterans resurfacing in new incarnations, new, young groups coming together with classic ideologies, a bit of heavy extremity, psych melding with pop, heavy rock going prog and much more.

What all that tells me is that notions like “underground” and “heavy,” these vague terms that get applied so liberally, are constantly expanding. Whatever their individual sound might be, these bands all pushed ahead an overarching stylistic progression in whatever they’re doing, and like the best of debut albums, they held promise for further growth beyond this already impressive output. It’s less about which seems like an immediate landmark, touchstone, whatever, than it is about what sets up and effectively begins that development going forward, though striking a chord in the present never hurts either.

To that end, here we go:

brothers of the sonic cloth brothers of the sonic cloth

The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2015

1. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth
2. Death Alley, Black Magick Boogieland
3. Cigale, Cigale
4. Kind, Rocket Science
5. Fogg, High Testament
6. Crypt Sermon, Out of the Garden
7. CHRCH, Unanswered Hymns
8. With the Dead, With the Dead
9. Demon Head, Ride the Wilderness
10. Sacri Monti, Sacri Monti
11. Stars that Move, Stars that Move
12. Chiefs, Tomorrow’s Over
13. Sunder, Sunder
14. Ecstatic Vision, Sonic Praise
15. Bison Machine, Hoarfrost
16. Serial Hawk, Searching for Light
17. Cloud Catcher, Enlightened Beyond Existence
18. Khemmis, Absolution
19. Sumac, The Deal
20. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, The Devil and the Almighty Blues

Honorable Mention

By way of honorable mentions, first I have to give a nod to Foehammer‘s self-titled debut EP, which would be on this list probably in the top five if not the top three were it not for the fact that, as noted, it’s an EP. Its list will come. The 2015 release of Horsehunter‘s self-titled on Magnetic Eye was killer as well, but since the album initially came out in 2014, it didn’t seem fair to include it in the list proper.

Releases from Killer Boogie, Snowy DunesSweat LodgePlanes of SatoriDoctoR DooMLasers from Atlantis and Lords of Beacon House (I heard the EP, not the LP) also provided thrills a-plenty, and while I recognize that sounds like sarcasm, please rest assured it’s not. I’m sure there are others, and as always, I reserve the right to tweak mentions and numbers over the next however many days, weeks, years, etc.

Notes

There wasn’t much mystery to this one for me. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth held onto that top spot for most of the year, and it seemed like no matter what came along, the wall of sound that Tad Doyle and company built on that record simply would not be torn down. As oppressive in tone as it is in atmosphere, it was a long-awaited debut that produced devastating results the ripples from which I expect will continue to resonate well into 2016 and beyond.

Brothers of the Sonic Cloth is one example of a veteran presence finding a new home, as several did this year. See also, Sumac with former members of IsisEcstatic Vision with players from A Life Once LostWith the Dead with members of Cathedral and Ramesses coming together for the first time, Kind drawing its lineup from the likes of RoadsawMilligramRozamov and Elder, and even groups like Sunder, who previously released an album together under the moniker The Socks before abandoning that project in favor of the current one, as well as Sacri Monti, with a member from Radio Moscow in tow, Cigale, who had two members from SungrazerStars that Move which sprang from Starchild, and Death Alley with members of MührGewapend Beton and The Devil’s Blood showcased how one band flows out of another and out of another, and so on.

That Death Alley debut had charm worthy of its title — which was also my favorite of the year — and showed the potential of that band to set up a real stylistic range going forward. I hope they continue to expand, get a little weird and freaked out and keep that core of songwriting and forward drive that makes Black Magick Boogieland so propulsive. For new bands, Cigale‘s self-titled was beautiful, but would later become tinged with tragedy following the death of guitarist/vocalist Rutger Smeets earlier this year. Not to mention friends and family, his is a significant loss for European psychedelia as a whole, and while that was inarguably one of the low points of 2015, the album itself remains a gorgeous statement.

Young acts like FoggDemon HeadBison MachineSunderCloud Catcher and even Sacri Monti showcased varied takes on classic heavy, some more into boogie and jams and some looking for something a little rougher edged. Cloud Catcher‘s progressive take was a particularly pleasant surprise, while Sunder‘s psychedelia teemed with melody and a cohesive presence born out of what could’ve been unhinged otherwise. Between these, the heavy riffing of The Devil and the Almighty Blues and Serial Hawk, the formative fuzz of Chiefs, the resonant doom of Khemmis and the righteous traditionalism of Crypt Sermon, the notion of genres and subgenres as an ever-expanding universe seemed to be playing out on a weekly basis.

This, invariably, leads to new extremes, which in turn brings me to CHRCH. Like Foehammer, whose EP is in honorable mentions, the Unanswered Hymns long-player from CHRCH was a bright spot especially for how little light it seemed to let escape its abyssal grasp. They’re an easy bet for a band to catch on because they’ve garnered a formidable response already, but what sticks out to me most about them is the sense of pushing established parameters into fresh territory. What they’ll do in the months and years to come of course remains to be seen — they could break up tomorrow; it happens — but where a group like Primitive Man are almost singularly based on extremity of pummel and brutality (not to take away from them), CHRCH have the space in their sound for a multi-faceted progression, and that’s a huge part of what made Unanswered Hymns so encouraging.

I know there were many more debut LPs than these released this year, and even more debuts that were EPs and demos of note and things like that. The reason I single out debut albums for a list is because it’s among the most pivotal offerings a band can make. You’ll never get to release a second debut record. Some bands never live theirs down, some never attain quite the same level again and struggle with it for decades. Either way, it’s no small thing to get a group together and bring it to the point of putting out a first long-player, and that accomplishment in itself, regardless of the results, is worth highlighting.

No doubt I’ve left a few excellent offerings out. I hope you’ll let me know in the comments what debut albums landed hardest with you in 2015. In any case, thanks for reading.

 

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The Obelisk Presents: 10 of 2015’s Best Album Covers

Posted in Features, Visual Evidence on December 4th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

I didn’t get to do this list last year — at least not that I can find — but especially as vinyl continues to grow as the dominant media for underground and/or heavy genres, it seems more and more necessary to highlight quality cover art as a focal point. This is, of course, not an exhaustive list. There were way more than 10 badass album covers, and I’m hoping you’ll add your favorites to the comments on this post, but these were some of the ones and some of the artists who most caught my eye. A few of the names are familiar — one artist also appeared on the 2013 list — and the work of some was new to me, but all made striking impressions one way or another in a range of styles, and I hope you’ll agree.

No need to delay. Let’s dive in:

Ordered alphabetically by artist

Ruby the Hatchet, Valley of the Snake

ruby the hatchet valley of the snake

Cover by Adam Burke. Artist website here.

Formerly (or at least sort-of-formerly) of Fellwoods and currently also playing in Pushy, Adam Burke‘s style has become essential to the aesthetics of doom and heavy rock. His work for bands like Ice Dragon, Mystery Ship, Pastor, Mos Generator and a slew of others — including me — never fails to impress with its deep colors, natural tones and, in many cases, a sense of underlying threat. So it is with Ruby the Hatchet‘s Tee Pee Records label debut, Valley of the Snake (review here). Burke presents the title literally as a winding serpent in the sky becomes a river leading to a waterfall, the colors of a sun either rising or setting giving a glimpse of the otherworldly while the earth below is presented in darker browns and the jagged rocks in the foreground. There were a few candidates for Burke this year, but this one continues to stun.

Elder, Lore

elder lore

Cover by Adrian Dexter. Artist website here.

A record that, for many, defines 2015 in a major way, Elder‘s Lore (review here) is not the first collaboration between the Massachusetts trio and artist Adrian Dexter, but the results this time around are particularly satisfying. And since we’re talking about vinyl, the creativity in the gatefold design and the other pieces Dexter contributed to the album proves no less impressive than the progressive turn Elder took in their songwriting — a fitting match in scope and execution. Released by Armageddon Shop and Stickman RecordsLore has pushed Elder into a different echelon entirely, and this will not be the final year-end-type list on which it appears around here, but Dexter‘s work, detail, subtlety and use of color for the cover simply had to be seen to be believed.

Kings Destroy, Kings Destroy

kings destroy self titled

Cover by Josh Graham. Artist website here.

Though he’s perhaps best known for his work doing live visuals over a stretch of years for Neurosis, Brooklyn-based Josh Graham‘s list of cover art accomplishments also include Soundgarden, KENmode, Vattnet Viskar and his own projects, A Storm of Light, Battle of Mice and Red Sparowes. With the cover for the self-titled third album from fellow New Yorkers Kings Destroy (review here), he seemed to encapsulate everything the War Crime Recordings release was driving toward with its urban crunch, aggression, and the feeling that all of this is a part of something larger and barely understood. Is it a bowl? Part of some ritual offering? Is it a drain? The expertly manipulated photography takes landmarks from the city and turns them into something as beautiful as it is malevolent, and Kings Destroy lived up to that standard on the album itself.

Snail, Feral

snail feral
Cover by Seldon Hunt. Artist website here.

Every bit worthy of the frame it has. Going back to pieces for Neurosis, Isis, Made out of Babies and more, Seldon Hunt‘s work is always widely varied, covering a range of styles and media. His piece for Feral (review here), a pivotal fourth album by West Coast heavy psych rockers Snail (released by Small Stone), seems to play off the single-word title in portraying a threatening vision of nature. At the bottom, we see human skulls as giant snails, weird glowing dogs and a deer with yellow eyes and snakes entwined in its antlers survey the landscape of huge mushrooms and sparse grass. Behind, two tangled trees add to the sense of foreboding, and a sky that runs from black to red speaks to a night that doesn’t look like it’s about to end anytime soon. Is this Hunt‘s vision of nature’s revenge? Either way, it’s engrossing in its three-dimensionality.

Valkyrie, Shadows

valkyrie shadows

Cover by Jeremy Hush. Artist website here.

Valkyrie‘s third full-length, first for Relapse Records and first in seven years, Shadows (review here), was a classic guitar rock fan’s dream come true. Brothers Jake and Pete Adams led the band through cascading solos, memorable songs and unpretentious vibes. The cover art by Jeremy Hush stood out to me particularly for the violence of its depiction. We see smaller blackbirds using spears or arrows to attack a hawk, and three on one is hardly a fair fight, even with a bird of prey, as a skull looks on from nearby grass. What I don’t know, ultimately, is whose side we’re on — ravens are hardly a traditional harbinger of good fortune — but somehow not knowing that only makes the piece more evocative, and from the detail and use of empty space in its parchment-style background to the struggle it portrays, Hush‘s work certainly grabbed attention.

Ahab, The Boats of the Glen Carrig

ahab the boats of the glen carrig
Cover by Sebastian Jerke. Artist website here.

A Germany-based painter who’s done art for Desertfest Berlin, Colour Haze, as well as the Freak Valley and Keep it Low festivals, Sebastian Jerke contributed several artworks to Napalm Records this year. He’ll continue that thread in 2016 with Greenleaf likely among others, but in 2015, his pieces for My Sleeping Karma and Ahab especially stood out, and the latter most of all. The funeral doomers don’t to anything on a scale less than grand, and Jerke‘s cover for The Boats of the Glen Carrig (review here) offered scope to match. Its sea monsters have breathtaking color and detail, and are familiar and alien at the same time, the central figure’s human-esque hand drawing a crowd either awed or looking to feast. This was one you could stare at over and over again and still always find something new.

Acid King, Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere

acid king middle of nowhere center of everywhere
Cover by Tim Lehi. Artist website here.

I actually saw when Acid King unveiled the cover for their first album in a decade, Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere (review here), that there were some people giving them shit for the artwork out front. Don’t get me wrong, everyone’s entitled to their opinion, and if you ever wanted to find a bunch of conflicting ones look no further than the internet, but excuse me — it’s a wizard (Hell, that might be Gandalf), riding a tiger, in outer space. If there’s any part of that that isn’t frickin’ awesome, I’m not sure what it might be. What directive tattoo artist Tim Lehi was given going into the project, which would eventually surface on Svart Records, I don’t know, but it’s hard for me to listen to the far-no-farther out riffs of “Center of Everywhere” and not at very least want to be that wizard. Riding that tiger. In outer space. I’ll defend this one all day if necessary.

Serial Hawk, Searching for Light

serial hawk searching for light
Cover by Samantha Muljat and Sara Winkle. Artist websites here and here.

If I had gotten to do this list in 2014, Samantha Muljat could have easily appeared on it for her manipulated landscape that adorned Earth‘s Primitive and Deadly. For Serial Hawk‘s debut album, Searching for Light (review here), she’s partnered with Sara Winkle, whose work ranges from commercial design and album covers to animation and more. What the two offer in their work for Serial Hawk is a blend of the real and the unreal. We don’t see the face of the photographed subject, but she leads our eye toward the white circle, which, on a horizon could be the sun, but here seems to have descended to the field, landed there toward some unknown purpose. The tall grasses seem to fade into a wash of lighter green, but note the angle of the arm on the right side and the legs toward the center is nearly identical and seems to be working opposite the windblown direction of the field surrounding. Like the piece as a whole, it’s as much natural as unnatural.

Various Artists, Electric Ladyland [Redux]

various artists electric ladyland redux
Cover by David Paul Seymour. Artist website here.

My notes for this list contain no fewer than three separate entries for Minneapolis artist David Paul Seymour. There’s one for ChiefsTomorrow’s Over (review here), and one for Wo Fat‘s Live Juju (review here), but when it came time to pick just one, nothing stood out like Magnetic Eye RecordsElectric Ladyland [Redux] (review here). The full-gatefold spread is my favorite album cover of the year — and a good deal of this year’s covers were by Seymour, who has become nigh on ubiquitous in heavy and psychedelic rock — and for Jimi Hendrix, who’s been portrayed so many times it would be impossible to count, to show up in an original way in an original setting, it showed creativity on a scale fitting to the logistics of the compilation itself, which pulled together groups from around the world in due homage to Hendrix‘s 70th birthday. Its colors, its shading, its strange mercurial pool and waterfall — it’s just perfect for what it was intended to do.

Kind, Rocket Science

kind rocket science
Cover by Alexander von Wieding. Artist website here.

He’s split his time these last several years with his one-man band incarnation Larman Clamor, but Hamburg’s Alexander von Wieding continues to find time for copious design work for the likes of Brant BjorkKarma to BurnEnos and more. This year, in addition to a logo for a forthcoming The Obelisk t-shirt, he also did a cover for a split between Larman Clamor and Blackwolfgoat, whose Darryl Shepard also plays guitar in Kind, so to have him also illustrate that project’s Ripple debut, Rocket Science (review here), only seems fair. I’ll make no pretense of being anything other than a fan of von Wieding‘s work, and he’s in his element with Rocket Science, line drawing a spacescape with a crashed ship manned by what appears to be a frustrated chicken and rabbit (“Rabbit Astronaut” is one of the song titles). A lizard looks on and sticks a forked tongue out at the scene, and as mountains and planets loom behind, von Wieding reinforces a charm in his work that has drawn bands and labels his way for the better part of the last decade.

Like I said at the outset, there were far too many covers for me to call this list comprehensive — right off the top of my head: SunderGroanMos Generator/StubbMonolord (that solo figure walking into the lake continues to haunt), BaronessHigh on FireGraveyardMonster MagnetThe MachineEggnogg/BorrachoEcstatic Vision, Uncle Acid, on and on — but these were just some that particularly resonated with me. If you feel like something was criminally ignored — maybe I missed it — please let me know in the comments.

And thanks for reading.

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Serial Hawk Premiere “Of Decay” from Searching for Light; Announce US Tour

Posted in audiObelisk on September 10th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

serial-hawk-Photo-by-Amy-Peterson

Seattle trio Serial Hawk release their debut full-length, Searching for Light, on Sept. 18 via Bleeding Light Records. The four-track, 38-minute LP splits neatly into two sides, but that’s pretty much where the “easy” ends, unless you count the apparent simplicity with which the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Will Bassin, bassist Adam Holbrook and drummer Sean Bulkley enact a groove on top of nodding riffage. The bulk of Searching for Light is very, very heavy, and I’m not going to take that away from it, but even more than the weight of its impact or the edge of bombast in rolling opener “Desolate” that reminds ever so slightly of defunct chaosbringers Akimbo, Searching for Light is immersive. More than that. It’s a record that opens wide and takes you in as it sets out on this course, sometimes fluid, sometimes jagged, loud, quiet, shouting, mourning, on and on across this river of contrasts that are made to work smoothly with each other.

Side A brings three tracks in “Desolate” (9:06), the shorter “Lying in Wait” (3:55) and “Of Decay” (7:05), and side B is comprised entirely of the 18-minute title cut. Throughout, the band benefits greatly from the natural recording style of engineer/mixer Robert Cheek (Chelsea Wolfe, Tera Melos) at Red Room Studios and ExEx Audio, but it’s more about the changes in the songs themselves, which work on top of a foundation of newer-school heavy riffs without losing a sense of atmosphere only bolstered by the strange, eerie serial hawk searching for lightrealness of Samantha Muljat and Sara Winkle‘s cover art. In being sandwiched by “Desolate” and “Of Decay,” “Lying in Wait” could have easily come across as an afterthought or an interlude, but it’s a major factor in the ambience of the record overall, and some of the slower, crashing movements around the halfway point in “Of Decay” seem to be mirroring similar ideas, layers of guitar teasing melody through the pummel and expanding the breadth even further as Serial Hawk make their way toward a how-did-we-get-here final movement of plodding lumber.

All of this, of course, pushes the band toward the inevitable focus point that is “Searching for Light” itself. The title-track, closer and longest singular piece is as ambitious as it is sprawling, but still maintains its landing force, pushing through a minimal, quiet opening into a patient stretch that sets up the build to the album’s final payoff, every bit worthy of the investment of time and the punches to the gut Serial Hawk deliver along the way. It’s the kind of debut that makes it easy to forget it’s a debut, but I have my doubts that the band are finished working in long-form songwriting. If they wanted to, there’s nothing evident here that makes me think they couldn’t get up to a single-song album. They’re halfway there, and while they’ve worked hard to get to this point across a prior demo, EP, live record and single, as well as several cross-country tours, they’re still really just at another starting line with Searching for Light. One hopes they continue searching.

I’m thrilled today to be able to host the premiere for “Of Decay,” which as standard procedure dictates you’ll find on the Soundcloud embed below. Beneath that, you can dig into the dates for Serial Hawk‘s upcoming release tour, which starts Oct. 1 and will once again take them from coast to coast. Have riffs, will travel.

Enjoy:

Seattle, Washington’s hypnotically heavy three-piece sludge/doom act SERIAL HAWK will release their long-awaited debut, Searching For Light, via Bleeding Light Records September 18th. The band’s penchant for punishing, building riffs and reputation for bringing live audiences to their knees with a wall of sound has been encapsulated in this long-awaited album, which will be available on vinyl, CD, and digital download.

Serial Hawk on tour:
10/01 – Boise, ID – The Shredder
10/02 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Underground 3
10/03 – Laramie, WY – Baby Hospice
10/04 – Colorado Springs, CO – Flux Capacitor
10/05 – Omaha, NE – O’leavers
10/06 – Minneapolis, MN – The Hexagon
10/07 – Chicago, IL – Burlington Bar
10/08 – Dayton, OH – Blind Bobs
10/09 – Syracuse, NY – Gorham Brothers Music
10/10 – New Haven, CT – Crunch House
10/11 – Brooklyn, NY – The Acheron
10/12 – Philadelphia, PA – TBD
10/13 – Washington, D.C. – The Pinch
10/14 – Atlanta, GA – The Basement
10/15 – Birmingham, AL – The Firehouse
10/16 – Houston, TX – Rudyard’s
10/17 – Austin, TX – Sat – The Lost Well
10/18 – TBD
10/19 – Santa Fe, NM – The Cave
10/20 – Phoenix, AZ – Yucca Tap Room
10/21 – San Diego, CA – Tower Bar
10/22 – Oakland, CA – Golden Bull
10/23 – Sacramento, CA – Cafe Colonial

Serial Hawk on Thee Facebooks

Serial Hawk on Twitter

Serial Hawk on Bandcamp

Serial Hawk via Instagrammophone

Bleeding Light Records’ BigCartel store

Bleeding Light Records on Bandcamp

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Serial Hawk Sign to Bleeding Light Records; New Album Searching for Light Due in Sept.

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 13th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

serial hawk (Photo by Amy Peterson)

Seattle trio Serial Hawk have signed to Bleeding Light Records and will issue their debut full-length, Searching for Light, Sept. 18 on LP, CD and download. The album was engineered and mixed by Robert Cheek (Chelsea Wolfe, Tera Melos) at Red Room Studios and ExEx Audio and mastered by Blake Bickel at Dynamic Sound Service, and was completed shortly before the three-piece embarked on a full US tour last fall.

How better, then, to herald the upcoming release than with another cross-country trek? Starting May 22 in Eugene, OR, Serial Hawk — guitarist/vocalist Will Bassin, bassist Adam Holbrook and drummer Sean Bulkley — will pound the streets from the West Coast out for a quick swing through the Northeast before making their way quickly back through the Midwest, hitting Nebraska and Wyoming before swinging back through Idaho en route to a tour-ending hometown show at Black Lodge on June 14.

The album contains four cuts, one of which — “Lying in Wait” — was released as a precursor 7″ last fall, and comes after Serial Hawk‘s 2011 demo and 2012 EP Buried in the Gray. Offered up with immediate bombast and riffy largesse, its grooves crash heavy and unfold in patient turns of pace and development. Oh yeah, and it crushes. Lots of crushing.

Cover art for Searching for Light is a collaboration between Samantha Muljat (who also did Today is the Day and Earth‘s 2014 outings) and Sara Winkle. You’ll find it below, followed by the tracklisting for the album — I don’t want to give away too much, but that title-track is a glorious 18 minutes long — as well as Serial Hawk‘s tour dates and a quick teaser video of which it’s my pleasure to host the premiere.

Dig it:

serial hawk searching for light

Serial Hawk, Searching for Light Track Listing:
1. Desolate
2. Lying In Wait
3. Of Decay
4. Searching For Light

Serial Hawk Spring 2015 Tour
May 22 – Eugene, OR – The Wandering Goat
May 23 – Sacramento, CA – Starlite Lounge
May 24 – Redwood City, CA – Bobby D’s
May 25 – San Luis Obispo, CA – Sweet Springs Saloon
May 26 – Glendale, CA – The Complex
May 27 – San Diego, CA – The Hideout
May 28 – Phoenix, AZ – Rogue Bar
May 29 – Santa Fe, NM – The Cave
May 30 – Oklahoma City, OK – The Observatory
May 31 – Bryant, AR – M. F. Metal Music
June 01 – Birmingham, AL – Syndicate Loung
June 02 – Atlanta, GA – 529
June 03 – Raleigh, NC – Slims Downtown
June 04 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie
June 05 – Boston, MA – Cambridge Elks
June 06 – New Haven, CT – Three Sheets
June 07 – Pittsburgh, PA – Smiling Moose
June 08 – Chicago, IL – Cobra Lounge
June 09 – Omaha, NE – The Hideout
June 10 – Laramie, WY – Buckhorn Bar
June 11 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Music Garage
June 12 – Boise, ID – The Crazy Horse
June 13 – Portland, OR – The Know
June 14 – Seattle, WA – Black Lodge

https://www.facebook.com/serialhawk
https://twitter.com/serialhawk
http://serialhawk.bandcamp.com/
http://www.instagram.com/serial_hawk
http://bleedinglightrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://bleedinglightrecords.bandcamp.com/

Serial Hawk, Searching for Light album preview

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Ceremony of Sludge IV Set for March 20 & 21 in Portland, OR

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 6th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

ceremony-of-sludge-iv-banner

Hard to argue with the lineup for the Portland-based Ceremony of Sludge IV. Not the least because it’s eight bands over two nights, which is killer. I wonder how long each band gets to play, if it’s full sets or like half an hour or what, but either way, it’s a manageable Friday and Saturday night, and it doesn’t look like there’s a clunker in the bunch in terms of who’s playing. Cool to see Ancient Warlocks making the trip from Seattle to play the first night and Serial Hawk doing the same for the second. Two cities with such vibrant rock traditions that are only about two hours apart, sometimes it feels like you hear way more about Portland and Seattle separately than you do the Pacific Northwest as a whole. I guess you could say the same of New York and Philadelphia, though. Fair enough.

Either way, some familiar faces in the likes of Diesto and Holy Grove and Disenchanter, and a newcomer or two like Old Lie, who’ve just recently finished tracking their debut EP.

Details and many, many links follow:

ceremony-of-sludge-iv-poster

Ceremony of Sludge IV Comes to Tonic Lounge, Portland

CEREMONY OF SLUDGE IV
MARCH 20 and MARCH 21 at TONIC LOUNGE | Portland, OR
$7

Portland Heavy Seen and Soundcontrol PDX present Ceremony of Sludge IV, to be held March 20th and 21st at Tonic Lounge in Portland, Oregon. The annual mini-festival showcases some of the most crushing bands emerging from the heavy-music community here in the Pacific Northwest. The shows are 21+ and $7 at the door.

Ceremony of Sludge lineup:

March 20th
Holy Grove
Ancient Warlocks
Disenchanter
Old Lie

March 21st
Diesto
Serial Hawk
A Volcano
Tsepesch

Limited edition “Ceremony” prints by Epochal Void will be available for purchase, as well as T-shirts from Mr. Black. The bands’ performances will once again be filmed for the Portland Heavy Seen project, with audio recorded by Penumbra Sound Arts.

Ceremony of Sludge: https://www.facebook.com/ceremonyofsludge
Soundcontrol PDX: https://www.facebook.com/soundcontrolpdx
Portland Heavy Seen: https://www.facebook.com/portlandheavyseen

Holy Grove: https://www.facebook.com/holygroveband
Ancient Warlocks: https://www.facebook.com/AncientWarlocks
Disenchanter: https://www.facebook.com/DisenchanterPDX
Old Lie: https://www.facebook.com/oldlieband
Diesto: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Diesto/101968243187195
Serial Hawk: https://www.facebook.com/serialhawk
A Volcano: https://www.facebook.com/avolcanopdx
Tsepesch: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tsepesch/204890382882138

Epochal Void: https://www.facebook.com/epochal.void.5
Mr. Black: http://www.mrblackpedals.com/
Penumbra Sound Arts: https://www.facebook.com/PenumbraSoundArts

Serial Hawk, “Desolate” Live at Ceremony of Sludge 2014 in Portland, OR

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Video Premiere: Serial Hawk, “Desolate” Live at Ceremony of Sludge 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 28th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

serial hawk at ceremony of sludge

Seattle trio Serial Hawk have a new album coming soon. Last year, before releasing their Lying in Wait 7″ in the fall, the three-piece made the trip to Portland, Oregon, to take part in the Ceremony of Sludge festival, along with LampreyHoly GroveBlackwitch PuddingSiouxDisenchanter and others. Over the last couple months, parts of each act’s set have been premiered hereSerial Hawk played the first night of the fest, March 7, with LampreyTowers, and Beard of Bees at Club 21 in Portland, and the video was filmed by Cole Boggess and Justin Anderson with audio by Tim Burke.

The song is called “Desolate,” and it comes as a preview of what the new Serial Hawk LP holds in store in following up the 2014 single, 2012’s Buried in the Gray EP and the band’s first demo, released in 2011. Drummer Sean Bulkley, who was announced as the band’s drummer at the end of last Jan., does the honors in starting the song with a persistent tom rhythm that holds firm as the guitar and bass rumble to life. By 90 seconds in, a heavy foundation is established, and the rolling riffery that takes hold from there is both massive and open, guitarist Will Bassin topping the crash and distortion with raw shouts while bassist Adam Holbrook drives home a groove to which even the camera can’t seem to resist nodding.

A big slowdown brings about some choice feedback-laden deconstruction as Serial Hawk build the track up only to tear it apart again. Their appearance at Ceremony of Sludge was the first night of a West Coast tour that lasted two weeks (they did a full US tour in the Fall as well), and it seems pretty safe to say that run got off to a good start.

More on the new Serial Hawk album hopefully to come as we near the release. Enjoy “Desolate” in the meantime, with thanks to Justin Brown and Ceremony of Sludge:

Serial Hawk, “Desolate” Live at Ceremony of Sludge 2014 in Portland, OR

Serial Hawk on Thee Facebooks

Serial Hawk on Twitter

Serial Hawk on Instagram

Serial Hawk on Bandcamp

Ceremony of Sludge on Thee Facebooks

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Third Annual Ceremony of Sludge Set for March 7-8 in Portland, Oregon

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2014 by JJ Koczan

I haven’t posted about it yet, because when it comes to this kind of thing one can never really be sure something is going to happen until it’s already happened, but as you can see in the PR wire info below, pending disaster I’ll be hosting a series of videos following the 2014 Ceremony of Sludge in Portland, Oregon. While it would be nice to kick around the West Coast for an extra week after the Pentagram, Radio Moscow and Kings Destroy tour is over and actually attend the thing myself, I think I’d give poor The Patient Mrs. a coronary if I started lobbying for such a thing, so I’ll have to be content with the clips when they arrive.

The two-night fest is free as in “doesn’t cost any money to get in the door,” and set for March 7 and 8 at Club 21. With LampreyHoly Grove, Sioux, Serial Hawk, Blackwitch Pudding, Tsepesch, Disenchanter and Beard of Bees, the lineup is right on as well, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all goes down.

Here are the preliminaries, followed by a couple track’s off Sioux‘s upcoming release, The One and the Many. Dig:

 

Third Annual Ceremony of Sludge Comes to Club 21, Portland

THIRD ANNUAL CEREMONY OF SLUDGE
MARCH 7 and MARCH 8 at CLUB 21 | Portland, OR
FREE

Portland Heavy Seen and Mr. Black present The Third Annual Ceremony of Sludge, to be held March 7th and 8th at Club 21 in Portland, Oregon. The annual mini-festival showcases some of the most crushing bands emerging from the heavy-music community here in the Pacific Northwest. The shows are 21+ and FREE.

Ceremony of Sludge lineup:

March 7
Lamprey
Serial Hawk
Tsepesch
Beard of Bees

March 8
Holy Grove
Sioux
Blackwitch Pudding
Disenchanter

The bands’ performances will be filmed by the Portland Heavy Seen project and released via TheObelisk.net to kick off their new video series.

Mr. Black, a Portland-based effects pedal company will provide Ceremony of Sludge T-shirts for $5, and offer discounts for their pedals.

Ceremony of Sludge: https://www.facebook.com/ceremonyofsludge
Mr. Black: https://www.facebook.com/mrblackpedals
Club 21: https://www.facebook.com/Club21PDX
Lamprey: https://www.facebook.com/lampreypdx
Serial Hawk: http://serialhawk.bandcamp.com/album/buried-in-the-gray-ep
Tsepesch: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tsepesch/204890382882138
Beard of Bees: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Beard-of-Bees/441345789233457
Holy Grove: https://www.facebook.com/holygroveband
Sioux: http://siouxtheband.bandcamp.com/
Blackwitch Pudding: https://www.facebook.com/blackwitchpudding
Disenchanter: https://www.facebook.com/DisenchanterPDX

Sioux, The One and the Many (2014)

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