Hour of Thirteen Post New Song “Harvest Night”; Deathly Nights LP Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Late in 2016, multi-instrumentalist/spearhead Chad Davis of Hour of 13 announced the return of the band following a breakup and years of inactivity. Davis, who’d been through two frontmen in Phil Swanson (also Upwards of Endtime) and Ben Hogg (also Beaten Back to Pure), would take on vocal duties himself, but before the band moved forward, there was a look back to be had in 2017’s compilation, Salt the Dead: The Rare and Unreleased (review here), issued in a likewise-revitalized accord with Shadow Kingdom Records.

Davis had at that point moved from his longtime home in North Carolina to California, and hinted toward new material. Well, here we are. Hour of 13 has become Hour of Thirteen, and Davis checks in below with a discussion of the sonic shifts that correspond to that of the moniker on the band’s new album, Deathly Nights. Also coming out through Shadow Kingdom, it doesn’t have a release date as yet, but the track “Harvest Night” has been posted as well as the cover art, so, you know, it exists. That’s a pretty important first step.

A tape EP may or may not precede, and a 7″ single will reportedly follow, as Davis informs:

HOUR OF THIRTEEN DEATHLY NIGHTS

HOUR OF THIRTEEN – SOMETHING DEATHLY COMES…

In the years before the debut HOUR OF 13 album was unleashed, there was an earlier history that belonged to the name…

Beginning in the early part of 1995, there was an entity known as HOUR OF 13 PRODUCTIONS that was an experimental music label I was running that proved to be only fruitful to one double cassette compilation release. Upon a late night pondering which was/is a very common practice, I had decided to shelve the name as I knew it was something to be used for a better purpose. And then one fateful day in September of 2003 it was unearthed again. Even thought the masses know of the first “professional” time the HOUR OF 13 name was used in regards to the Shadow Kingdom release of the self-titled 2007 album, there in fact was a prior use of the name and in a much different format…

Year 2003 saw the coming together of drummer Dave Easter (also a member of the live Ho13 lineup during 2010-2011 and on the first demo recording of “Grim Reality”) and bassist Scott Cline, the three of us also forming the psychedelic doom monster MOUNTAIN OF JUDGEMENT. We had been doing MoJ for some months and decided to play a Halloween show in 2003 with a local fave band of ours (PUJ) and some goons from Charlotte NC (Graveyard Boulevard) at a local music venue. I had written a handful of tunes that were more horror/deathrock sounding so we learned them along with our favorite MISFITS and SAMHAIN tunes and played the show. And the name of the entity for that performance was…

HOUR OF THIRTEEN

A few months followed after that and we had decided to do it again for a show with local NC band WEEDEATER and Virginia maniacs DICK BUTKIS (members now of INTER ARMA) and shortly afterwards the band/name was once again to be saved for a later time. Maybe there was an idea to do the same the following Halloween, but we never did so it slept until 2006, when the early versions of the debut HOUR OF 13 songs had begun to be written. The name was resurrected, THIRTEEN changed to 13, and everything else after that written in stone… Until now…

In this year, 2018, I have faithfully resurrected the HOUR OF THIRTEEN name to move this musical entity forward, regaining the original idea of the focus of the music to what it once was, but also still retaining some of the signature sound that most of you have become accustomed to. This was a decision I had to make, not only for the die hard supporters of the previous incarnation of the band, but also to myself in the midst of letting something I have worked so hard to keep alive just fade into obscurity again. As amazing as that seemed in the past year, I simply cannot let it go, nor will I allow past acquaintances to be privy to my hard work and ideas only to be bastardized into something second rate. There will be no live shows as there is no point in bringing anymore strife and hardship against the name, for it never ceases to seem like any type of plans to do so result in injured feelings and cursed promises. It shall remain a studio effort only, as I’d rather give you quality music than empty hopes.

With this writing, I am pleased to announce the next chapter of this music’s existence with “Deathly Nights”, and brand new album from HOUR OF THIRTEEN to be released by the mighty Shadow Kingdom Records on all formats available. This “revitalization” of the sound can be explained as the mix of the sound everyone has known but with more atmosphere and less guitar solos. Not too far away from the styling of the debut Ho13 album, but also not “imitating” the said album either. One simply will need to listen with open ears and minds and help smash the devastation of the modern day Metal scene that has become more stagnant that the pop music radio stations of today. A pre-release discussed before the new album could possibly see a cassette EP to debut some different mixes from the new album, and following will be a 7″ EP featuring a new tune along with two cover songs, all to be announced in due time (but knowing me I’ll post them early anyway).

In closing, I want to thank each and every one of you that have been along for the ride, both personally and impersonally, as your support for this entity is eternally grateful. I look forward to moving this musical vessel into a direction that steers away from cliche’ and begins to spread even more darkness than before.

Regards,
Chad Davis – 2018

http://hourofthirteen.blogspot.com/
http://www.shadowkingdomrecords.com
http://www.facebook.com/shadowkingdomrecords
https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com

Hour of Thirteen, “Harvest Night”

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Pale Divine Stream “Spinning Wheel”; Confirm Nov. Release for Self-Titled LP; Tour Starts July 20

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Okay, so the new Pale Divine song kicks ass. With guitarist Greg Diener and bassist Ron “Fezzy” McGinnis trading off vocal parts — including some well-placed and well-mixed backing screams — as well as an uptempo kick from drummer Darin McCloskey, “Spinning Wheel” makes it abundantly clear the long-running doom merchants are trying new things on their fifth long-player. Respected purveyor Shadow Kingdom Records unveiled the new track on the occasion of confirming a Nov. 23 release date for the self-titled outing, and the timing is excellent as it also precedes Pale Divine heading out on tour this month with fellow dug-in doomers Apostle of Solitude on an Obelisk-presented run through the Southeast and Midwest that keeps some excellent company along the way. You’d almost think these things were planned out ahead of time.

The point here is, if you’re the list-making type, save a spot on yours for the new Pale Divine. I’ve got a good feeling about it, and “Spinning Wheel” only reinforces that.

From the PR wire:

PALE DIVINE S/T

Pale Divine NEWS!

RELEASE DATES ARE FOR IN PHYSICAL STORES AND DIGITAL ONLY. The physical CDs, Vinyls, and Cassettes will come out and be available to purchase ONLINE before the in store release date. We’ll make further announcements when those will be available.

SKR159 – PALE DIVINE – Pale Divine (Digital) 11/23/2018
SKR159CD – PALE DIVINE – Pale Divine (CD) 11/23/2018 (or before)
SKR159LP – PALE DIVINE – Pale Divine (Vinyl) 11/23/2018 (or before)
SKR159CT – PALE DIVINE – Pale Divine (Cassette) 11/23/2018 (or before)

SHADOW KINGDOM RECORDS is proud to present PALE DIVINE’s highly anticipated fifth album, Pale Divine, on CD, vinyl LP, and cassette tape formats.

For nearly 25 years now, PALE DIVINE have been perfecting the proto-doom sound – rooted in the ’70s, particularly Pentagram and Ozzy-era Black Sabbath but also Sir Lord Baltimore, Leafhound, and even very early Judas Priest – but predating so many cloying pretenders ever since. Not for them is this just another trendy bandwagon to jump on; PALE DIVINE truly LIVE this music. The public’s tastes may be fickle, but diehards know and love the name PALE DIVINE. And for very good reason: albums like 2001’s Thunder Perfect Mind and 2004’s Eternity Revealed are considered classics of the genre, carrying the torch of ’80s forebears like Saint Vitus and Trouble, and keeping that flame burning whatever the cost.

And though it’s been six long years since PALE DIVINE’s last album, 2012’s SHADOW KINGDOM-released Painted Windows Black, the power-trio sound more energized than ever on Pale Divine. A veritable tour de force of everything that’s been brewing in the band’s cauldron lo these many years, Pale Divine explodes with thunder and swagger at every turn: from epic metal excursions to bluesy rockers, groove behemoths to graveyard laments, psychedelic swirl to straight-up crush, this album literally has it ALL! Naturally, actual honest-to-goodness songwriting takes center stage here, and PALE DIVINE possess the panache to pull it all of with style and grace, effortlessly and unselfconsciously so. At the forefront, as ever, are the always soulful vocals of guitarist Greg Diener, who brings pathos and poignancy to such heartrending topics as “Chemical Decline,” “Bleeding Soul,” “So Low,” and “Curse the Shadows.” Which is to say nothing of the production on Pale Divine, which has that rich warmth and as-true-as-it-gets analog sound that further underline the timelessness PALE DIVINE have made their stock-in-trade since the beginning.

The more things change, the more they stay the same sometimes, and there stands PALE DIVINE, tall and proud. In 2018, you’re not gonna find a better, more rockin’ and more pure DOOM album than Pale Divine!

Check out a NEW SINGLE on BANDCAMP!
https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/album/pale-divine

Apostle of Solitude & Pale Divine – 2018 How the West Was Doomed Tour

7/20 Lafayette LA – Freetown Boom Boom Room w Forming the Void & Doomstress
7/21 Houston TX – Dan Electro’s (1pm early show)
7/21 San Antonio TX – Faust Tavern
7/22 Austin TX – Beerland w Witchcryer
7/23 Dallas TX – Prophet Bar w Kin of Ettins, Space Ape & Stone Machine Electric
7/24 Fort Smith AR – Hero’s w RedWitch Johnny
7/25 Shreveport LA – Bear’s w 18th State
7/26 Memphis TN – Growlers w Admiral Longtooth
7/27 Indianapolis IN – State Street Pub w Desert Planet
7/28 Chicago IL – Reggie’s w deepspacepilots

Pale Divine is:
Greg Diener – vocals & guitar
Ron “Fezzy” McGinnis – bass & vocals
Darin McCloskey – drums

https://www.facebook.com/serpentspath/
http://www.paledivineband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ShadowKingdomRecords/
https://twitter.com/ShadowKingdom/
https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://www.shadowkingdomrecords.com/

Pale Divine, “Spinning Wheel”

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The Obelisk Presents: Apostle of Solitude & Pale Divine Tour Dates

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on June 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Earlier this year, Indianapolis four-piece Apostle of Solitude threw themselves into contention for the best doom release of 2018 with their fourth album, From Gold to Ash (review here), but before the year is out, one hopes, Pennsylvania-based trio Pale Divine will have their first long-player in more than half a decade released by Shadow Kingdom, and there’s little doubt it’ll have its own argument to make in that regard. If you want a preview of the head-to-head matchup that seems likely to at least make my December more difficult come year-end list time, the two bands will hit the road together next month for a tour of which I’m proud to count this site among the presenters. I know I’ve said this before, but pretty much anytime Apostle of Solitude do anything — video, new track, shows, whatever — I’m happy to be involved somehow. The company they’re keeping on this run only makes that truer.

You can dig the dates below, as well as copious linkage and album streams, because it’s good to be informed and all that kind of thing, but the point here is you should go see these bands. Especially if you haven’t, but even if you have. Apostle of Solitude are riding their best stuff to-date, and Pale Divine are heralding the release of a new record, and I don’t know if you knew this about them, but that’s not exactly something that happens every day.

Dates follow as put together by Hi-Wattage Booking:

pale divine apostle of solitude tour poster

Apostle of Solitude & Pale Divine – 2018 How the West Was Doomed Tour

7/20 Lafayette LA – Freetown Boom Boom Room w Forming the Void & Doomstress
7/21 Houston TX – Dan Electro’s (1pm early show)
7/21 San Antonio TX – Faust Tavern
7/22 Austin TX – Beerland w Witchcryer
7/23 Dallas TX – Prophet Bar w Kin of Ettins, Space Ape & Stone Machine Electric
7/24 Fort Smith AR – Hero’s w RedWitch Johnny
7/25 Shreveport LA – Bear’s w 18th State
7/26 Memphis TN – Growlers w Admiral Longtooth
7/27 Indianapolis IN – State Street Pub w Desert Planet
7/28 Chicago IL – Reggie’s w deepspacepilots

Apostle of Solitude is:
Corey Webb – drums
Chuck Brown – guitars, vocals
Steve Janiak – guitars, vocals
Mike Naish – bass

Pale Divine is:
Greg Diener – vocals & guitar
Ron “Fezzy” McGinnis – bass & vocals
Darin McCloskey – drums

www.facebook.com/apostleofsolitude
twitter.com/Chuck_solitude
apostleofsolitude.com
www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/cruzdelsurmusic
twitter.com/CruzDelSurMusic

https://www.facebook.com/serpentspath/
http://www.paledivineband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ShadowKingdomRecords/
https://twitter.com/ShadowKingdom/
https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://www.shadowkingdomrecords.com/

Apostle of Solitude, From Gold to Ash (2018)

Pale Divine, Painted Windows Black (2012)

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Iron Void Confirm Oct. 26 Release for Excalibur

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

iron void photo by Katrina Kendrick

DOOM!!! Woe unto you if you can’t down with the trad doom righteousness of UK trio Iron Void, and if you can, then even more woe unto you, because they’re just that doomed. It’s been a bit since word came down that they’d signed to Shadow Kingdom Records and were preparing to issue their third long-player, Excalibur, based around the theme of Arthurian legend, but in addition to the prior streaming track “The Coming of a King,” the band have further heralded the album’s arrival with the news that it will be realized at long last on Oct. 26 in CD, LP and tape format, and no matter how you get it, rest assured, you’re getting doom of the highest order. Not admitting openly that I’ve heard it yet or anything, but seriously, the record is absolutely killer.

If you’re not stoked on it yet, get that way, and then hope Shadow Kingdom signs on to reissue the two previous Iron Void albums too, because the more the merrier. Except not merry. Because doom.

Fucking a:

iron void excalibur

IRON VOID set release date for new SHADOW KINGDOM album

Today, Shadow Kingdom Records sets October 26th as the international release date for Iron Void’s highly anticipated third album, Excalibur, on CD, vinyl LP, and cassette tape formats. A mainstay of the UK doom metal scene, Excalibur is the album by which Iron Void will truly be launched onto the world stage.

Iron Void was originally formed by Jonathan “Sealey” Seale and Andy Whittaker (Solstice, The Lamp of Thoth) in 1998 in order to create an old-school doom metal band, worshiping at the altar of doom legends such as Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Pentagram, etc. The band reformed in 2008, with the current lineup consisting of Jonathan “Sealey” Seale (bass & vocals), Steve Wilson (guitars & vocals), and Richard Maw (drums).

Iron Void’s debut EP, Spell of Ruin, was originally released on CD in 2010 and re-released in 2012 via Doomanoid Records. Their self-titled debut full-length album was released on CD in 2014 via Barbarian Wrath and released on limited-edition vinyl by Fear Me! Music in 2015. The critically acclaimed second album, Doomsday – recorded & produced at Skyhammer Studio by Chris Fielding (Conan, Winterfylleth, Electric Wizard) and mastered by James Plotkin – was released on CD via Doomanoid Records in 2015 and released on limited gatefold vinyl via Fear Me! Music in 2016.

With considerable live action in the past few years as well, and encouraged by the critical acclaim heaped upon Doomsday, Iron Void patiently set to work on Excalibur. Arguably the band’s magnum opus, Excalibur is an epic behemoth of Arthurian legend, emitting an atmosphere that’s truly medieval whilst sacrificing whilst sacrificing none of their trademark DOOMED-OUT heaviness. Here, across the album’s massive yet strangely concise 48 minutes, Iron Void weave old-as-time tales of myth and magic, all set to rumbling, dramatically dynamic doom metal. The album is sequenced together with a subtle sort of mastery, taking the listener on a journey into centuries past, all concluding with the stark ‘n’ stirring acoustic closer “Avalon.” As the final notes ring out, you’ll be reaching for the calendar to check what year it is!

Hear for yourself with the previously revealed track “The Coming of a King” HERE at Shadow Kingdom’s Bandcamp, where the album can also be preordered. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Iron Void’s Excalibur
1. Dragon’s Breath
2. The Coming of a King
3. Lancelot of the Lake
4. Forbidden Love
5. Enemy Within
6. The Grail Quest
7. A Dream to Some, A Nightmare to Others
8. The Death of Arthur
9. Avalon

www.facebook.com/ironvoid
www.ironvoid.bandcamp.com
www.shadowkingdomrecords.com
www.facebook.com/shadowkingdomrecords

Iron Void, “The Coming of a King”

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Alms to Release Act One Later This Year on Shadow Kingdom

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 1st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

alms

With a logo made for vest patches and an organ-laced classic doom rollout, Baltimore’s Alms bring a a modern take to the established tenets of Maryland doom. After impressing with their first demo (review here) in 2017, the band not only bring those two tracks — “Dead Water” and the garage-doom-stomping “The Offering” — to the new record, but four others as well, to the new outing, which has been given a release date of “later this year.” I don’t want to start throwing darts, but maybe September? I don’t know. Their sound would suit autumn well. I know that much.

Whenever it shows up, Act One will bring with it a new edge to Maryland’s long-running arc of doom. Could it be that the sound is branching out from its ultra-straightforward riff-led methodology? I wouldn’t guess the trajectory of an entire region’s output, but Alms make an encouraging case either way.

From the PR wire:

alms act one

ALMS reveal first track from forthcoming SHADOW KINGDOM debut

Shadow Kingdom Records reveals the first track from Alms’ highly anticipated debut album, Act One. Titled “Dead Water,” you can hear the track HERE. Shadow Kingdom will be releasing Alms’ Act One on CD, vinyl LP, and cassette tape formats later this year.

Hailing from Baltimore, Alms honors Maryland’s rich heritage of doom metal with a swaggering, soulful sound that unselfconsciously spans decades and idioms. They made their first, grand steps with a two-song demo released at the beginning of 2017. Having already made waves in their local scene, this demo would soon spread like wildfire amongst doom fanatics, and soon the Alms name was on many a tongue. But alas, with the full-length Act One, that name will be on tongues worldwide.

Stomping forward across six BIG songs in a judiciously concise 34 minutes, Alms quickly establish a mood of both merriment and portent. Theirs is a sound which culls the bluesy ruminations of classic Deep Purple, the wild excursions of equally classic Uriah Heep, and the dark thunder of Maryland forebears The Obsessed. And yet, that aforementioned soul and swagger soon take center stage, both allowing the doom chunder to loosely lumber whilst putting a particularly pleading-for-deliverance aspect upon proceedings. It’s that eternal fire of the greatest rock music, especially in that pre-metal era of the 1970s, where fire and brimstone often coursed through rock ‘n’ roll, but near-equally pays homage to the heavy developments at the turn of the ’80s. But all of this would be for naught if Alms didn’t have the songs to back it up, and indeed does Act One have SONGS.

Head to the void or to the pub, or both: Alms will take you there (and back) with Act One! Hear for yourself with the new track “Dead Water” HERE at Shadow Kingdom’s Bandcamp. Release date and preorder info to be announced shortly. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Alms’ Act One
1. Dead Water
2. The Toll
3. For Shame
4. The Offering
5. Deuces Low
6. Hollowed

Alms is:
Andrew Harris: Bass
Bob Sweeney: Guitar, Vocals
Derrick Hans: Drums
Jess Kamen: Keyboard, Vocals
Danny McDonald: Guitar

https://www.facebook.com/almsbaltimore/
https://almsbaltimore.bandcamp.com/releases
http://www.shadowkingdomrecords.com
http://www.facebook.com/shadowkingdomrecords

Alms, Act One (2018)

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Pale Divine Announce New Self-Titled LP

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

pale divine

A new Pale Divine record does not come along every day. It’s been six years since the Glen Mills, PA-based trio issued their last full-length, Painted Windows Black (review here), so yeah, if you believe in due, they’re due. The new album, which will be the first since Ron “Fezz” McGinnis stepped into the bassist role, seemingly permanently, alongside guitarist/vocalist Greg Diener and drummer Darin McCloskey. Over the last few years, they’ve been regulars at the Maryland Doom Fest and also appeared at Doom in June, Vultures of Volume and at the Brooklyn stop of the Tour of the Doomed last August with Sheavy and Beezefuzz, the latter of which also boasts both Diener and McCloskey in its lineup.

Doomers don’t need me to tell them that the prospect of a Pale Divine LP being released at some point this year is automatically something worth keeping an eye out for. There isn’t an exact date given by the band or the label, which is the venerable Shadow Kingdom Records, but when I find out more I’ll let you know. Till then, dig the art by Brad Moore and the tracklisting:

PALE DIVINE S/T

Via Shadow Kingdom Records: PALE DIVINE – Self Titled album (Coming in 2018) will be the band’s greatest representation of their entire career with all fresh new music! Awesome artwork done by the incredible Brad Moore. AND we brought back their classic band logo! Enjoy!

Via Pale Divine: BEHOLD! Here is the cover art (courtesy of Brad Moore) and final track listing for our new album coming out later this year on Shadow Kingdom Records.

“All I can say is its a bit different from past releases,” says bassist Ron “Fezzy” McGinnis. “It’s taken us a good amount of time. We really put a lot of thought and effort into these songs and I think we have done something special. We are hoping the fans dig it.”

Pale Divine – S/T
(2018, SKR159)

Tracklisting:
1. Spinning Wheel
2. Bleeding Soul
3. Chemical Decline
4. So Low
5. Curse the Shadows
6. Shades of Blue
7. Silver tongue
8. Ship of Fools

Pale Divine is:
Greg Diener – vocals & guitar
Ron “Fezzy” McGinnis – bass & vocals
Darin McCloskey – drums

https://www.facebook.com/serpentspath/
http://www.paledivineband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ShadowKingdomRecords/
https://twitter.com/ShadowKingdom/
https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://www.shadowkingdomrecords.com/

Pale Divine, Painted Windows Black (2012)

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Quarterly Review: Eagle Twin, Wight, Sundrifter, Holy Mushroom, Iron and Stone, Black Capricorn, Owl Maker, Troll, Malditos, The Freak Folk of Mangrovia

Posted in Reviews on April 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Quarterly-Review-Spring-2018

I’m pretty sure this Quarterly Review — life eater that it is — is going to wind up being six days long. That means next Monday look for sixth installment, another batch of 10 records, which were not hard to come by among everything that’s come in lately for review. I do my best to keep up, often to little avail — some random act’s Bandcamp page starts trending and all of a sudden they’re the best band ever, which hey, they’re probably not and that’s okay too. Anyhowzer, I’m trying is the point. Hopefully another 10 records added into this Quarterly Review underscores that notion.

More coffee. More albums. Let’s rock.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Eagle Twin, The Thundering Heard (Songs of Hoof and Horn)

eagle twin the thundering heard songs of hoof and horn

Consuming tones, throat-sung blues, a wash of lumbering doom – yes, it’s quite a first three minutes on Eagle Twin’s The Thundering Heard (Songs of Hoof and Horn). Released by Southern Lord, it’s the Salt Lake City duo’s first outing since 2012’s The Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale (discussed here), which arrived three years after their 2009 debut, The Unkindness of Crows (review here). Once again, the four-song outing finds guitarist/vocalist Gentry Densley and drummer Tyler Smith exploring the natural order and the natural world the 11-minute “Quanah un Rama” and the 14-minute “Antlers of Lightning” bookend “Elk Wolfv Hymn” (8:22) and album highlight “Heavy Hood” (7:21), creating an ever-more immersive and grit-laden flow across the album’s span. It’s hard to know if Densley and Smith are the hunters or the hunted here, but the tones are massive enough to make YOB blush, the rhythms are hypnotic and the use they’re both put to is still unlike anything else out there, ending after the chaos and assault of low end on “Antlers of Lightning” with a moment of contemplative guitar lead, as if to remind us of our solitary place in imagining ourselves at the top of the food chain.

Eagle Twin on Thee Facebooks

Southern Lord Recordings website

 

Wight, Fusion Rock Invasion

wight fusion rock invasion

One wonders what it might’ve been like to see Wight on the 2015 tour on which the Bilocation Records-issued vinyl-only Fusion Rock Invasion: Live Over Europe was captured. Still a year out from releasing their third album, Love is Not Only What You Know (review here), the former trio had already become a four-piece with guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist René Hofmann, bassist Peter-Philipp Schierhorn and drummer Thomas Kurek bringing in percussionist Steffen Kirchpfening and already undertaken the funkier aesthetic turn that LP would represent coming off of 2012’s Through the Woods into Deep Water (review here). At least I’d think it would be something of a surprise as the band hit into “Helicopter Mama” and “The Muse & the Mule” and “Kelele,” which comprise side A of Fusion Rock Invasion, but by all appearances listening to the crowd response between songs, they seem into it. Who could argue? Wight’s groove in those songs as well as the older “Master of Nuggets” and Love is Not Only What You Know finale “The Love for Life Leads to Reincarnation” on side B, are infectious in their grooves and the soul put into them is genuine and unmistakable. One more reason I wouldn’t have minded being there, I suppose.

Wight on Thee Facebooks

Wight at Bilocation Records

 

Sundrifer, Visitations

sundrifter visitations

Name your bet someone picks up Sundrifter’s Visitations for a proper release. The Boston three-piece of vocalist/guitarist Craig Peura, bassist Paul Gaughran and drummer Patrick Queenan impress in performance, aesthetic and craft across the nine songs and 48 minute of their for-now-self-released debut long-player, and whether it’s Queenan dipping into blastbeats on “Targeted” or Gaughran’s rumble on the Soundgarden-gone-doom “Fire in the Sky” or the fuzz that leads the charge on the Queens of the Stone Age-style “Hammerburn,” Peura doing a decent Josh Homme along the way, each member proves to add something to a whole greater than the sum of its parts and that is able to take familiar elements and use them to hone an individualized atmosphere. In the wake of melodically engaged Boston acts like Gozu, Sundrifter would seem to be a focused newcomer with a solidified mindset of who they are as a group. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised either if they kept growing their sound. Something about the psychedelic distance in “Fire in the Sky” and “I Want to Leave,” says there’s forward movement yet to be had.

Sundrifter on Thee Facebooks

Sundrifter on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mushroom, Moon

holy mushroom moon

Serenity and presence. There’s no shortage of either on the second Holy Mushroom full-length, Moon. Incorporating the prior-issued digital single “Éufrates,” the five-track/43-minute excursion is rife with natural-toned psychedelic resonance, marked out by organ/piano working alongside the guitar (see “Birdwax Blues”), as well as guest contributions of double bass and saxophone, and other sundry moments of depth-creating flourish. Their trance-effect is palpable, and Moon is an easy album to get lost in, especially as the Spanish three-piece make their way through 12:35 centerpiece “The Preacher,” moving from a dreamy opening line of guitar into funk-laden heft that only pushes forward with Hendrixian abandon through a massive jam before rounding out sweetly with vocals over background organ and sweetly-strummed guitar. “Éufrates” would seem to start the same way, but varies the structure in more of a back and forth format before closer “Grand Finale in the Blind Desert” brings both Holy Mushroom’s most patient execution and their most vibrant jam (sax included), essentially building from the one into the other to end the album in energetic fashion. To say it works for them would be underselling it.

Holy Mushroom on Thee Facebooks

Holy Mushroom on Bandcamp

 

Iron and Stone, Petrichor

iron and stone petrichor

A debut long-player of no-pretense, no-nonsense sludge-infused doom, Petrichor (on Backbite Records) shows German five-piece Iron and Stone as ready to follow where the riff will lead them. The late 2017 album is a solidly-delivered 10 tracks and 43 minutes that strikes mostly in monochrome intent, save perhaps for the acoustic “Interlude” near the midpoint. Their 2015 EP, Old Man’s Doom (review here), was similarly upfront in its purposes, but carrying across a full-length – especially a debut – is a different beast from a shorter outing. Their heavier push on “Monolith” is welcome and the break-then-chug of “Deserts” does plenty to satisfy, but Petrichor might require a couple concerted listens to really sink in on its audience, though as I’ve said time and again, if you can’t handle repetition, you can’t handle doom. Iron and Stone effectively balance traditional doom and rawer sludge groove, playing fluidly to whichever suits their purposes at a given moment.

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Black Capricorn, Omega

black capricorn omega

Sardinian doom cult Black Capricorn push well beyond the limits of the manageable with their 95-minute fourth album, Omega (released Nov. 2017 on Stone Stallion Rex), and that’s clearly the idea. The three-piece of bassist Virginia, drummer Rakela and guitarist/vocalist Kjxu offer grim ambience and tempos that sound slow regardless of their actual speed. That said, the 17-minute “Antartide” is an accomplishment as regards crawl. After a sweetly melancholic opening of guitar, it lurches and lumbers out its miserable heft until a return to that intro bookends. Even shorter tracks like “Flower of Revelation” or “Stars of Orion” hold firm to the tenet of plod, and though the results are obviously a lot to take in, the idea that it should be a slog seems all the more appropriate to Black Capricorn’s style. The band, which hits the decade mark in 2018, churn out one last bit of wretchedness in the nine-minute closing title-track before giving way to an acoustic finish, as if to remind that Omega’s sorrows are conveyed as much through atmosphere as actual sonic heft.

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Owl Maker, Paths of the Slain

owl maker paths of the slain

Guitarist/vocalist Simon Tuozzoli, also of malevolent doomers Vestal Claret, leads the new trio Owl Maker, and in the company of bassist Jessie May and drummer Chris Anderson, he embarks on a heavy rock push of six tracks with the debut EP, Paths of the Slain, still holding to some elements of metal, whether it’s the double-kick in opener “Ride with Aileen” or the backing vocals and guitar solo of the subsequent “99.” Songwriting is clearheaded across the EP’s 23 minutes, and in terms of first impressions, “Mashiara” shows a focus on melody that retains a metallic poise without losing its riff-driven edge. The balance shifts throughout “Freya’s Chariot” and the all-go “Witches,” the latter of which touches on black metal in its first half before turning on a dime to mid-paced heavy rock, and closer “Lady Stoneheart” nods in its back end to NWOBHM gallop, as Owl Maker seem to tip their audience to the fact that they’re just getting started on their exploration of the many interpretations of heavy.

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Troll, Troll

troll troll

When one considers the multiple connotations of the word, Portland’s Troll are definitely going more for “lives under a bridge” than “meddling in elections” when it comes to their sound. Their self-titled debut EP, issued in 2017 before being picked up by respected purveyor Shadow Kingdom Records for a 2018 CD/tape release, is a highlight offering of classic-style doom worthy of Orodruin and Pilgrim comparisons and headlined by the vocal performance of John, who carries songs like opener “The Summoning” and the later, more swinging “Infinite Death” in a manner impressive in both frontman presence and melodic range. His work is only bolstered by the riffs of guitarist Lou and the consistent groove held together by bassist Wayne and drummer Ryan, whose drive in centerpiece “An Eternal Haunting” is neither overdone nor incongruous with the wall its tempo hits, and who meld shuffle and plod on closer “Savage Thunder” with naturalist ease. Potential abounds, and they reportedly already have new material in the works, so all the better.

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Malditos, II

malditos ii
Some bands, you just have to accept the fact that they’re on a different wavelength and that’s all there is to it. Magma. Master Musicians of Bukkake. Circle. Enter Oakland, California’s Malditos, whose sophomore outing, II: La Réve, arrives via Svart Records. From bizarre psychedelic chants to ritualized repetitions that seems to be daring you to play them backwards on your turntable, the spiritual freakout to songs like “Azadeh” and the penultimate “Momen” is palpable. Reach out and touch it and it will ripple like water in front of you. A sense of space is filled with elements alternatingly horrifying and engrossing, and after they make their way through “Le Passage” and centerpiece “Disparu” and wind up in the title-track to close out, the journey to the final wash of noise gives the distinct impression that for neither the listener nor the band is there any coming back. High order head trippery. Will simply be too much for some, will gloriously expand the minds of others.

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The Freak Folk of Mangrovia, Sonic Meditations: Live @ Palach

the freak folk of mangrovia sonic meditations live at palach

I don’t know how much improvisation is a factor in the sound of The Freak Folk of Mangrovia, but the Croation collective bring an ultra-organic presence to their perhaps-debut release, Sonic Meditations: Live @ Palach. The group, which seems also to have gone under the names Marko Mushan & the Mangrovian Orchestra and The Free Folk of Mangrovia, was opening for Acid Mothers Temple that night, and Sonic Meditations mostly breaks down into parts – “Sonic Meditation I,” “II,” “III” and “IV” – before the band closes out with “’Mangrovian Summer,” all the while with The Freak Folk of Mangrovia making their way through progressive dreamscapes, dripping with effects and spacious enough to house an entire Mangrovian village, however big that might be. It is otherworldly and jazzy and moves with such fluidity that the entire “Sonic Meditation” becomes one overarching piece, complemented by the closing “Mangrovian Summer,” which ebbs and flows through louder, more active jamming before capping in a wash of noise.

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Robespierre Premiere Track from Debut Album Garden of Hell

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

robespierre

One doubts that when it comes right down to it, the two members of Robespierre are evil, or monsters, or even men of violence, as they assert repeatedly in “Men of Violence.” More likely they’re just normal guys: jobs, families, etc., but if their debut album, Garden of Hell — issued via the respectable tastes of Shadow Kingdom Records — is any indicator, they at least know how to wield a hook. The narrative (blessings and peace upon it) holds that guitarist/vocalist David Cooke and drummer Gordon Logan circulated a demo tape circa 1983, private press-style. Went to friends of the band and probably a couple lucky few who went out to shows in the band’s native Liverpool. There was a second demo as well that had even less distribution, and after they showed up and gained some traction online, the two were compiled together on 2011’s Die, You Heathen, Die! with the first four-track demo on side A and the second, from about a year later, on side B. Thus it was that nearly 30 years after their original circulation, Robespierre‘s work finally saw official release. They may or may not be evil, but they’re certainly patient one way or the other.

After this, there was only one thing to do: make a proper album. Thus, some seven years later and some 35 after the band’s original founding in 1983, they offer their first full-length. Garden of Evil tries to make up for lost time with a robespierre garden of hell10-track/48-minute run that, furled by cuts like the opening salvo of the driving “Punish Oppressors,” “Mare of Steel,” and the more decidedly doomed “Dwelling in the Shadows,” with a creeper riff and chorus worthy of the classic metal grit with which it’s presented. Of course, those more familiar with the totality of the NWOBHM know that it wasn’t all major label sheen and motorcycles on stage, and Robespierre‘s raw tones and rawer production remind of classic metal born of a decades-thriving underground producing cuts like “Feel the Fire” driven by little more than the passion for creation, the desire to pay homage to one’s heroes — bit of Sabbath crunch to the opening riff of “The Black Mirror” — and the expression is disaffection, melancholy, whatever it might be. Taking their moniker from an influential figure in the French Revolution, Robespierre aren’t without a social edge, as both “Punish Oppressors” and “Men of Violence” showcase at the outset of each side, but at its core Garden of Hell is metal for the orthodox among the converted, be that those who were there the first time around during the NWOBHM or those who simply wish they could’ve been.

As to just how Robespierre managed to pull off such a classic sound, I wish I knew. There are plenty of heavy rock and metal bands out there who use “vintage” gear and recording methods at affect that kind of cultish ambience, but as the band make their way through “Dagon Rises” and the start-stop stomping “Fear,” toward the closing duo of “Welcome to the Cult” and “I am a Flower (In the Garden of Hell),” which arguably are the album’s two most immersive tracks, they do so not with overblown hyperposturing of sound, but with naturalist, dirt-under-the-fingernails metallurgy. It’s not that they sound as though no time has passed, just that they make that passage of time irrelevant through their structures, presentation and performance. As “I am a Flower (In the Garden of Hell)” dooms its way to its ending with a classy final solo giving way to a few strumming acoustic chords, the sense of Robespierre as a classic metal band is less about the superficialities of their sound and more about the clear measure of heart put into ever single one of these tracks. I don’t know if Robespierre will do another record, or if they do, how they might attempt to modernize (or not modernize) their sound, but the level of catharsis in finally putting out a full-length after 35 years must be staggering, and they’ve done justice to that span in their songwriting and atmosphere.

Robespierre‘s Garden of Hell is out now on Shadow Kingdom, but this is the first time this song has been streamed. You’ll find it on the player below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

SHADOW KINGDOM RECORDS is proud to present the LONG-awaited debut album of ROBESPIERRE, Garden of Hell. A cult name among NWOBHM diehards, ROBESPIERRE were actually active during the original NWOBHM movement, recording two demos in 1983 that remained unreleased or circulated only among close contacts. Those two demos were released in 2011 as the Die You Heathen, Die! compilation, introducing the Liverpool band to a whole new generation lusting for vintage heavy metal sounds. However, ROBESPIERRE never recorded a proper debut album – until now! Indeed sounding like nearly four decades haven’t passed, Garden of Hell brims with that musky ‘n’ musty scent of classic NWOBHM: traditional and totally METAL songwriting, with hooks piled high and no small amount of grit.

And like a few of their original NWOBHM contemporaries, ROBESPIERRE are keen on dipping into doom – like, really DOOMED-OUT doom that plods like tombstones slowly falling over and enveloping the listener in an ancient haze. Similarly, the band’s forward momentum is brisk but never too aggressive, in exchange exuding a rare sense of class and allowing the subtle textures of their endless hooks to sparkle in the night. Above all, Garden of Hell is aptly titled: for all the raucous rockin’ going on, there’s an ever-present atmosphere of supernatural horror dusting nearly every note. A ROBESPIERRE album has been a long time coming, but no better time than now than to step into the Garden of Hell!

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